THE SECRET TO WORKING IN SALES

Mombasa, Kenya 1983

I grew up in sales.

Long before my successful sales career I was selling candy, mangoes, pizza, burgers, Indian food, landscaping, computer parts, cars, alarm systems door to door and so many other things.

Always sales. A little over 30 years later, and I’m still selling, but I find myself in a position of mentorship and training more and more often.

In light of that, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to quantify exactly what it is that I’m looking for in potential business partners and employees, and I’ve realized a very specific common strain runs through most of my favorite candidates: Experience in sales.

When you work in sales, whether it’s door to door, services B2C, B2B, working the floor at a convenience store or a big box store, working the register at a family business, or taking orders at a fast food restaurant (I know that’s more service-oriented, but it’s still the same set of skills I’m talking about), you start gaining the one thing that I think is really important for everybody to understand: The ability to read the customer.

If you’re unable to read the customer, to adjust to a customer’s response in real-time, directly in front of your face, I think you’re missing out on something that makes every great businessperson truly exceptional.

We’re living in a faster world, and if you can’t reverse-engineer your customer’s finish line in order to make him/her happy, you’re going to have a very hard time breaking through the scale and the speed that we’re now dealing with thanks to the streaming economy.

As somebody who likes to rant– and let’s be honest, I love to rant. I love to talk.

I love to hear myself talking. I love to be heard– It’s shocking to me how much I like to listen.

To be honest, I used to struggle with it.

“Why the heck do I like to listen so much?”

And then it dawned on me (which probably prompted me to write this article): “Oh… I’m a sales person.”

I had no choice.

Customer walks in and I had to listen.

Long before I could spout about what Keypad would go best with that system, I had to hear what system they were going to install.

Long before I could go on about what system they should buy for their vacation , I had to know how many windows were there and, more importantly, what their preferences and lifestyle were.

And so, my friends, I implore you to recognize the world we’re living in; to recognize that the consumer will always be right forever.

I implore you, if you’ve never worked sales, to try and find a situation that allows you to do that.

I implore my sons and all college students to highly consider taking a summer job stocking shelves or working a register.

The soft skills (which are, in my opinion, hard skills) that you will learn in that job will be transferable to everything you do for the rest of your life.

This piece was originally posted on my website. Head over to LinkedIn, I’ve got over 30 features over there. Take a look.

MY WORK LIFE BALANCE IS QUESTIONED ⁉️

Family First, Nothing Else Matters

Recently one of my closest friends said to me … hey I tried calling and texting you and you’re never available during work hours.

Well, sorry DAVE, I’m at work! Call me on the weekends when I’m sipping on a warm coffee ☕️

When I finally spoke to him, we chatted about how busy I am from 8-6 on the daily.

It’s no recent secret that I work a lot.

And when I say a lot, I mean a shit ton, and to be transparent, I do it 9-5 M-F.

I used to brag about the 18 hour days I worked and was def proud of the grind and the hustle, and nowadays?

I firmly believe it’s what you do in those work hours that matter the most.

For me, A five or three minute 1:1 meeting is a normal occurrence on my calendar.

I wake up at six and don’t stop working till 5 and then it’s family time and writing my thoughts like this till ten or eleven at night.

This is what works for me, and Ill never tell you to be just like me.

You should always focus on what provides you with the most value, what forces you to work as hard as you can.

But because I am always working, I get a lot of questions about my family life.

It usually goes something like this: “Hey Zarir, you preach family first, but how can that be when you never stop working?”

I’ll be honest, it’s a fair question.

The image I project of myself doesn’t really allow you to see the other sides of my life.

But that’s just the point.

The way that I storytell my life vs. the way I storytell my private life are very different. And that’s very much intended.

I play in extremes.

My son had a trumpet 🎺 concert next week for Christmas, and I will be the first parent in line for it, mask and all.

On weekends, I am all in.

100%. I’m not playing 4 hours of golf.

I’m not doing a lot of things other people are doing.

I’m all in on the kids.

I’m not trying to argue that my normal Monday-Friday weeks aren’t intense; they definitely are.

But because of that intensity, I have found my cadence with my spouse and my children that directly balances it out.

And the truth is, my wife and I have chosen to say very little about our kids in public.

I understand why people question my ability to be a good dad of three sons.

It might seem like the kids aren’t around a lot, right?

Well, Gabe, Noah and Solomon are teenagers.

I would prefer to keep that part of my life private until they can decide, although I do post pics of us on Twitter and LinkedIn and they haven’t said anything, they like it especially when I’m posting a rant video on Instagram about telling kids to be kind and empathetic.

A lot of public figures are very open about their families on social.

And that’s fine too.

But it was my personal choice to make sure this part of my career, the public image, didn’t bring them into the limelight without it being their choice first.

Lately I’ve been posting more about them and my life as a kid growing up in Mombasa and Nairobi and London and all the places I’ve lived in US.

So I guess what I’m saying is this: never assume you have the whole story.

Yeah, you see me working and in meetings and traveling and hustling.

But there is a lot you don’t see too.

As time progresses, I know I will have to adjust my schedule.

That’s part of life, and that’s just what I do: I continue to always adjust based on what is happening in my life.

Bottom line: there are a lot more things going on here than just the things you are making assumptions on.

You do what works for you, less judgement, more kindness.

Thee End.

😉

THE PERFECT SALES VOICEMAIL

🎧 SUBSCRIBE TO MY PODCAST 🎧

today’s tip is actually from some content I’ve been following here on LinkedIn with Florin which according to his profile he was the top rep at Loopio, he’s since moved into a Management role and he had this little nugget to share in his content that I’ve been following.

He said that One thing that is inevitable and every single salesperson has to realize is that most people are not going to respond to your voicemail.

Do you agree? So I looked it up And I think there is a statistic out there that it’s actually under 1 percent.

So what I’m saying is if You ever receive a message back from a voicemail, that’s pretty shocking.

So the way that I see voicemail is that the main purpose of it is to direct the prospect to your email or DM or text message.

You only really have five or 10 seconds within that voicemail to capture their attention.

So he does have a specific script that he uses which makes sure that his prospective clients know who He is and where Hes calling from so that they can go back to their inbox and then search it up.

And so here’s an example of that script.

I think this is a good point to kind of insert like who is Loopio because you actually serve the sales market so that’s actually fairly relevant here.

hi Florin. This is zarir from Loopio.

I sent you an email yesterday regarding improving your X process.

But I have not heard back from you.

Can you give my email a quick glance and reply back.?

Again it’s Zarir calling from Loopio.

I love this because I did this when I was a sales rep and So just recognizing the fact that nobody’s ever going to call back

but you’re leading them to your blog post or DM or for those of you not familiar with a DM it’s the old inbox me message talk, a direct message.

So what did we do here, we created a call to action that is a channel that they can use.

Call to actions to your DM or text or landing page could work too, but DM or email is best, texting is a form of DM too by the way.

Let me know your thoughts on this

I read most of his articles late last night and Florin is pretty full of brilliant ideas like this, so if you want more

Head over to his feed and tell him I sent you, or just start engaging in his content.

where he lays down page after page of prospecting gold nuggets.

today’s question of the day is:

How have you effectively leveraged voicemail?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on utilizing the voicemail channel.

Now I don’t have a book to giveaway for the top contributors to this discussion, but I will find ways to reward the most engaged participants over time across topics.

So take the time to share your thoughts with this community, and I’m confident you’ll learn a lot and get a lot of value from your efforts.

Then be sure to come back tomorrow for another prospecting tip,

you’re going to love this one!

and I’ll SEE YOU in the next post.

Peace ✌️

😉

LAUGHING AT YOUR QUOTA

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today’s tip comes from Jeffrey Gitomer.

If you’ve been in sales for any length of time you probably already know who Jeffrey is and have likely read at least one of his over a dozen books, so let’s get right to it:

I was doing some intention classroom preparation last night for a sales training class I’m teaching this morning and I came across some Jefferey Gitomer materials from my sales library some of you may know him as the author of The Little Red Book of Selling.

One of the Best selling sales books of all time, but you also may not know that he wrote a book called the Sales Manifesto.

A book available on Amazon.

Go get it now. Here’s why.

There are about a thousand tips inside that book.

Things that will turn into money.

Let me give you one of them.

If customers perceive no differentiating value, they’ll compare price, and then buy price from anyone.

Your ideas will differentiate you.

Your demeanor will differentiate you,

and your questions will certainly differentiate you.

The questions are.

Does your prospective customer perceive that you’re differentiating from others and is there a differentiation of value?

What does that mean? It’s pretty straightforward. Do you want to be a utility, escapism, or entertainment? Make the call.

Differentiate and sell.

Don’t differentiate and die… from the price.

I want to share with you one final thing about the manifesto salesperson because you may want to become one.

You may be wondering what is that manifesto salesperson like.

It’s very simple.

Weak salespeople look at quotas and become fearful.

Mediocre salespeople look at quotas as a goal.

Manifesto salespeople look at quotas… and laugh. 

Well there you have it.

Short and sweet.

You never know who’s watching.

You never know what they’re looking for.

Give everything your best effort, no matter the task at hand.

In my career, I’ve made a stunning amount of business decisions, some of these decisions were predicated on something a person did outside the context of “business.” I played tennis with you for example and you showed competitiveness, hard work, team work and kindness and maybe patience.

You’re always on.

Forever.

Especially now in a world where social media and the smartphone have become so huge.

For example, I pay close attention to the social media presence of my companies employees on Twitter.

While I’m reading those posts, I recognize that some of the time, they are PR-ing themselves, or playing a different game.

They might even have a completely different personality.

But let me be clear.

I’m not judging them;

I’m judging their behavior on social media.

I want to figure out what is making them tick and what they care about right now.

What gets them motivated?

“Gaming the system” is over.

Going out of your way to make a grand gesture to impress your boss just for the sake of looking good is no longer a viable strategy.

To “trick the boss” is done.

Everything is far too transparent right now.

So give it your best shot.

Give it your all.

And if you feel like you still aren’t getting noticed?

Are you forced to go out of your way to “trick the boss”?

Well, then guess what?

If you are able to trick your boss, to manipulate them into believing a narrative you have created around yourself, you don’t want to be working for that boss.

You want to be able to work for someone who understands that you can do that.

If you’re working for someone who isn’t as smart as you, you don’t have the upside you need to keep moving forward in life.

If that is the case, and you find yourself looking for a new gig, the message I am trying to get across here applies even more:

someone is always watching.

You are always on.

No matter what, give everything your most intense effort.

It could mean a promotion.

It could mean a life changing raise.

And it could even mean the start of something entirely new.

What do you guys think?

Let me know.

And if you enjoyed it, smash that like button below.

It would mean a lot to me.

My question of the day for you today is how are you differentiating yourself and your value?

You can share your thoughts down below in the comments where you’ll also find links to a variety of different ways to connect with my content and don’t forget to share share share with your teams.

I’ll give the book to the person with thee most differentiated answers in the comments, our discussion area based on those that are the highest rated by others after one month.

That means you have to like and comment on other peoples $0.03 as well.

So join the discussion, share your own thoughts and read and rate what others have to say.

Come back tomorrow for a killer tip on leveraging DIRECT MESSAGES ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND A BONUS TIP ON VOICEMAILS TO GET THE LEADS YOU WANT.

Have a great day selling!

DO REAL WORK

Today’s tip comes from a salesman, a consultant, the host of a Podcast and a pretty solid Tennis player.

He and I chatted last night about the advice he gave me 3 years ago on a flight to Dallas and it was about how I’ve always struggled with “doing real work” and how since then my work ethic has changed into speed in business

and so I’ve got a tip for you today, and you’re going to want to ignore it completely.

You’re going to think it’s too simple.

You’re going to think that it’s not complicated enough to address your personal situation.

“Awww, but Zarir’s got a few good ideas, but he doesn’t know my business”.

Okay.

Well, I’m going to give you that tip anyway, and I’m going to let you decide after you implement it whether or not it was worth it.

Are you ready?

It’s a very simple challenge.

I want you to identify two spots every day on your calendar — in the morning and in the afternoon.

Start with thirty minutes each.

Your job? Very simple.

Schedule a meeting with yourself.

Shut off your phone.

Shut off all your notifications on your computer and do real work.

Salespeople more than other people in other industries, more than other professionals, are constantly in reactive mode.

Every time you send a message, you can’t wait to hear back.

It’s just digging in the back of your mind and it’s really just sitting right there.

You can feel that point in the back of your brain just waiting for a response, and when you don’t get it you send another one.

And when you don’t get that you send another one over here.

Maybe it’s via email, maybe it’s via Slack, maybe it’s via social media, maybe you are just receiving all kinds of information through various channels from your company.

There is noise everywhere.

In order to get any “real” work done.

You need to shut off the noise.

So what I want you to do is create a space for yourself to get real work done.

Give yourself permission for up to an hour, in the morning and in the afternoon.

If you really have a lot of important thought work, some deep work that needs to get done.

Then maybe you can expand beyond that, but what I’ve found is that most salespeople have a hard time giving themselves permission to do that.

Now if you had a tremendously important meeting with your biggest customer, and it was half an hour, and they asked you to shut the phone off, you’d do it.

But you’re not willing to do that for yourself and that’s what I’m challenging you to do.

So what do you do in these 30-minute blocks?

That becomes the place where you put those projects that need your attention. I’m not talking about your expense reports.

I’m not talking about updating your CRM. Sales force or whatever you’re using to disposition or follow up or organize.

I’m talking about thinking through the next steps of that deal that you’re working on.

I’m thinking about putting together the reporting and doing the information gathering and the research that your prospect or your customer asked you to do.

When you give yourself thirty minutes on either side of your lunch break to do real important work, you will get way more done by doing fewer things.

That’s my challenge to you, and I want you to let me know how you did.

Got it? 😉

So today’s question is quite simple.

Did you do it, or are you going to take me up on his challenge?

You might need to mark your calendar maybe a week from now to remind yourself to go to daily zee tip number 003 and comment on your experience, but for everybody who does,

I will send a copy of this book:

Here’s what worries me — listening to a podcast is passive.

It’s so easy to just move on to the next show or the next episode.

In yesterday’s tip, I talked about owning your own development and consciously deciding what you were going to do and what you weren’t going to do.

So what I want you to do right now is decide.

Either you’re going to try this, in which case you might want to pause the show right now and put those first few blocks on your calendar right now or decide.

Thanks but no thanks that’s nope for me and move on with a clear conscience.

Please don’t think, “oh that’s a really good idea, I should try that out and not take any action”.

Because you’ll forget.

I know it, because I am it.

So make that decision right now.

If you’re in the car and need to pull over for a minute, awesome.

If you’re in the express lane in Atlanta then not so much, wait till you get to your destination.

If you’re in the gym and you need to wait another 30 seconds before you do that next set.

Do it.

Then don’t forget to go over in the comments section and tell me how it went so I can send you a copy of this book.

Thanks for listening and I’ll be back tomorrow with another tip.

😉 ✌️