28 Ways to Cripple Your Sales Team

June 26th, 2019

28 Ways to Cripple Your Sales TeamAre your salespeople too efficient? Is their closing rate too high? Are they bringing in more business than you can handle?

It’s a common problem. I see it all the time in my work as a speaker and trainer. I feel your pain.

Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to handicap even the best salespeople:

1. Don’t provide them ongoing training
2. Don’t coach them
3. Don’t connect them with mentors
4. Set unrealistic quotas
5. Take away part of their territory
6. Give them too large a territory
7. Change their compensation structure so they earn less
8. Withhold positive feedback
9. Withhold constructive feedback
10. Don’t offer any incentives
11. Refuse them time off to attend seminars
12. Use the cheapest CRM
13. Keep them in the dark about competitors
14. Create contests that pit them against each other
15. Make them fill out as much paperwork as possible
16. Don’t give them support staff
17. Require them to work nights and weekends
18. Criticize them in public
19. Transfer the customers who know them best to someone else
20. Force them to sit through endless meetings
21. Frequently berate and belittle them
22. Sexually harass them
23. Spread rumors about them throughout the organization
24. Ignore their requests, ideas, and suggestions
25. Make them pay for as many of their expenses as possible
26. Don’t give them any public praise or recognition
27. Refuse to take them with you to conferences
28. Go behind their backs and talk with their clients directly (bonus points for offering them a better deal than they got from your salesperson)

Think of all the benefits of an unskilled, under-equipped, demotivated sales team: You won’t have to open new plants or locations, you won’t have to struggle to keep up with increasing customer demand, and you won’t have to hire more people. (Heck, you can even lay off some of your customer service staff and save money!)

So if you’re burdened by too much new—and repeat—business, implement these tactics and you’ll slow that torrent of sales down to a trickle. You can thank me later.

Marketing Is Not What You Think It Is

June 20th, 2019

Marketing Is Not What You Think It IsMany people believe that marketing and advertising are the same thing. Or if not, that marketing consists of the promotion you do to drive sales.

But the reality is very different. Marketing is everything you and your business do that can potentially impact sales. And that’s an awful lot. Using this definition, marketing includes:

• Hours of operation
• Number of locations
• Where locations are situated
• Your niche
• Product quality
• Product design
• Packaging
• Services offered
• Delivery policies
• Return policies
• Selection
• Staffing
• Ease of parking
• Parking lot lighting
• Interior lighting
• Market research
• Hold time
• Uniforms or attire
• Vehicles
• Certifications and degrees
• Exterior and interior cleanliness
• Customer service
• Pricing
• Merchandising
• Staff friendliness
• Case studies
• Testimonials
• Bathrooms
• Ease of checkout
• Social media
• Sampling
• Customer surveys
• Split testing
• Responsiveness
• Product names
• Giveaways
• Sales training
• Customer service training
• PR
• Networking
• Charitable and community efforts
• Signage
• Web site
• Blogging
• Contests and sweepstakes
• Strategic partnerships
• R&D
• Association memberships
• Customer reviews

All of these things influence whether or not a person does business with you. Which raises three questions:

1. How many of these strategies and tactics are you currently using?

2. How many are you using well?

3. Which ones could you add or improve?

Almost everyone and everything in your organization plays a role in marketing. Take this to heart and make sure everyone else understands this as well. And be sure to incentivize and appreciate everyone appropriately. Because you can spend a fortune on advertising, but if the other items on this list aren’t good enough, it won’t matter much. Devote more time, money, and efforts to the above factors instead, and it will dramatically improve your long-term sales growth.

Are You Serving or Selling?

June 12th, 2019

Are You Serving or Selling?It has been said by many leadership experts that a great leader is a servant. A true leader isn’t ruled by their greed or their ego, but by their desire to help others.

I would argue that not only is this true, but that it also describes great salespeople, professionals, and business owners.

Contrary to what too many people believe, selling isn’t about manipulating people into giving up their money. (Although there are some people and companies that unfortunately operate that way. Those are con artists, not decent human beings.)

In truth, selling is helping people acquire the things they want and need for a better life or business. A great salesperson helps people solve their problems or achieve their goals. They are advisers, consultants, assistants, counselors, coaches, advocates. They serve their buyers in myriad ways.

So the question isn’t “How can I make the sale?” It’s “How can I be of service?” Because the latter is the answer to the former.

How NOT to Write a Prospecting Email

June 4th, 2019

How NOT to Write a Prospecting EmailEmail can be a great way to reach your prospects. But there are good emails and not-so-good emails. And then there are emails like this one.

I recently received this email from a local hotel. (As a speaker—and someone who produces some of my own seminars—I attend a lot of meetings-industry events, so I probably met somebody from the property at one of them.) The message is clearly an effort to begin a business relationship, but it…..um…..falls short. (All names have been changed to protect the guilty.)

Please see below message, sent on behalf of Elizabeth Parker:

Greetings from The Ritz-Hilton Regency, Bedford Falls!

I would like to take a moment to introduce myself and my colleague. Myself, Elizabeth Parker and my colleague, Alan Madsen, will be your sales contacts for The Ritz-Hilton Regency, Bedford Falls. I am responsible for any groups located south of i-70 as well as the Western United States and Alan is responsible for anything north of i-70 or based in downtown Denver.

We would be honored and delighted to have the opportunity to earn your business. Please find attached a list of concessions that we are able to offer for any program of 15 or more rooms on peak, taking place between April and December during 2019 and 2020. Also attached is a fact sheet about our gorgeous resort and our meeting space.

We look forward to working with you in the near future!

Warm regards,

Elizabeth Parker
Director of National Accounts
The Ritz-Hilton Regency, Bedford Falls
8675 Heartbreak Ridge
South Park, CO 80001
(303) XXX-XXXX


Kim Eubanks
Group Sales Coordinator
The Ritz-Hilton Regency, Bedford Falls
8675 Heartbreak Ridge
South Park, CO 80001
(303) XXX-XXXY

What’s wrong with this email? Hmmm…..let’s see…..

1. Sent on behalf of?
Elizabeth couldn’t be bothered to send her own message? Or at least make it look like she did?

2. Not personalized
There’s no “Hi Don,” or “Dear Don,” or even “Yo, Big D!” Yes, of course it’s a form letter (I know that), but no one even made an effort to personalize it, which smacks of laziness. And no personalization equals no connection.

3. Not conversational
“Myself, Elizabeth Parker and my colleague, Alan Madsen, will be your sales contacts…” Who talks like this? An effective email is conversational in tone for easy reading and comprehension.

4. Grammar and punctuation errors
There are only a couple of mistakes, but even one can undermine the credibility of the writer. Have all sales and marketing pieces proofread before sending out.

5. “i-70” vs. “I-70”
Again, a minor error, but one that further tarnishes the professionalism of the sender. If you can’t be trusted to get simple details like this right, how can I trust you with my business?

6. Too many first-person references
Not counting the signature lines, there are 17 first-person references, including the name of the hotel, the names of the salespeople, and personal pronouns. Meanwhile, there are only three second-person references, for a nearly 6 to 1 ratio. In the wrong direction. Since “you” and “your” are the most powerful words in sales and marketing, you want to aim for a ratio of two or three second-person references for every first-person reference you use.

7. Speaking of the names of the salespeople…
The message introduces “Alan Madsen,” but the second signature features “Kim Eubanks.” What happened to Alan? Who is Kim? What’s going on here???

8. Nothing about my wants or needs
The message is all about the sender, as evidenced by the 17 first-person references. Well, I’ve got news for you: I don’t care what you would like, what you’re responsible for, or what would honor and delight you. I care about me, my business, and my people. Yet there’s not a word in here about any of those things.

9. No value
A great sales or marketing piece delivers value in some way. It might be news, tips, a checklist, a white paper, an interview, a webinar, a template, an invitation to an event, a free consultation, a buyer’s guide, or anything else that could benefit me or my company. But this email is devoid of anything like that. It just takes up my time and offers me nothing in return. Which is not a promising start to a potential business relationship.

How do your emails compare with this one? If you’re cringing a bit, the solution is to get some training for you and your team ASAP. It’s a valuable investment in your future sales. Because while email can be a powerful sales and marketing tool, it requires skill to use it effectively.

A great email causes your prospects to reply, call, or click. A bad one damages your image and hurts your chances of making a sale. Which are you sending out?