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.

THE PERFECT SALES VOICEMAIL

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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.

😉 ✌️

HOW TO OWN YOUR OWN DEVELOPMENT | DAILY ZEE 002

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Today I have the first ever tip for you on the new podcast format called daily zee, and I’ve already screwed it up! 😂

Because this is technically tip #1, but we’re going to call it tip #2 just so the numbering works out, but that’s just fine because today’s tip is about learning,

and the best way to truly learn is to do things, and when you do things you’re going to screw up every now and then.

That’s part of the learning process.

So here’s your tip:

You have to own your own development.

Sales is a really unique environment in that, when you improve, the upside to your business is tremendous in perpetuity.

In the short term if you were to sell say 10% more this year, it would be that you’re going to make at least 10% more money and in most cases you’re probably going to earn a heck of a lot more because of accelerators, bonuses, and the President’s Club trip you might then be eligible for.

In the macro, your ability to grow in your career is tremendous whether you’re looking to move into a higher earning role or into leadership.

The lifetime value of the investments of time and money that you make in yourself is probably beyond the return of any other investment you can make.

The thing is, it’s pretty unlikely that somebody else is going to just give you all of the development and learning opportunities that you need.

It’s up to you to figure out what you need, what are your ambitions and then make sure that your actions actually map up to your ambitions.

My hope is that this show really serves as a platform of discovery to help you find the people, and resources that are best aligned with your goals, aspirations and your style.

I think it’s super important to connect with different approaches that align well with you and the way that you think and operate in business and in life.

This show probably isn’t enough though.

Hopefully, you’ll make this a daily or weekly practice, but I hope you’ll go deeper as well.

Commit to reading some number of books this year.

Attend a sales conference.

Go out and meet people who are on the same journey as you, and most importantly act and be a doer.

When I think of development I think of information, people and action.

The information part is obvious. There’s certainly no shortage of information you can consume.

What I think a lot of us overlook is the people.

Who are you going to surround yourself with?

Who is going to help you get to the next level?

This could be your boss, it could be some select peers on your team, hopefully, you’re also seeking out mentors and coaches who are already where you want to be.

Jim Rohn once said that “you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Apparently, he also said: “Income seldom exceeds personal development.”

Hat tip to my audience for making me aware of that one.

So think carefully about who you’re surrounding yourself with.

Ideas and attitudes are contagious, so it’s important to surround yourself with the right people.

Be intentional about that.

Which brings us to action.

All the information and conversations in the world aren’t going to do anything for you if you don’t act.

Be intentional. Be decisive.

Decide what you’re going to do, and what you’re NOT going to do.

Early in my career I totally overthought things.

I wanted to study and build a strategy that was perfect before I started to execute.

Experience has taught me that I was basically wrong.

I learn way more from just doing things.

It may not be perfect when I start, but I’ll learn more and faster from the real world results that come from actually doing something.

Check out my blog post on how speed in business is so important.

This podcast is a perfect example.

As you heard at the beginning.

It’s not perfect, but I know I’m going to learn a lot more from actually releasing new episodes every day than I am from thinking about the perfect way to do it.

That’s how I went from an idea on August 3rd 2019 to a live podcast more than a year later.

So don’t wait for someone else to deliver the training and experiences that you need to take your career to the next level.

Take complete ownership of your own development.

Now here’s my question for you today, and I’m going to try to ask a question every day to allow you to go deeper and learn from each other.

You can always find the discussion around the daily question by going to my website and click on episode 002

So today that’s Daily episode 002.

Just click on the link in your podcast player.

The link is down in the description and comment section below along with all the resources I’m mentioning or will always mention in my episodes.

Right, the question…. What has contributed most to your own development to date?

This could be a specific person, a specific resource or something that you’ve done.

I’ve tagged you in this video because I want to have you on the podcast, so what are you waiting for? I sent you DM, why are you hesitating?

I’m looking forward to a lively fire side chat and jam session on this topic

AND and I will send a copy of this book: to the person who will have the most highly rated comments in that discussion one month from the day this episode was released.

This book contains money making secrets that can change your life,

Think and grow rich based on the authors famed law of success represents the distilled wisdom of distinguished men and women of great wealth and achievement,

Andrew Carnegie’s magic formula for success was the direct inspiration for this book

Carnegie demonstrated it soundness when his coaching brought fortunes to those young men and later on in life women to whom he had disclosed his secret

this book will teach you that secret

and the secret of another and the secret of other great human beings like him

it’ll show you not only what to do but

how to do it if you learn and apply the simple basic techniques revealed here you’re gonna have mastered the secret of true and lasting success and you may have whatever you want in life,

I got a copy of it back in the 90’s when I was I was a much younger hustler, I’m reading it all over again now in my 40’s

Please share your thoughts, and go read what your peers in sales and leadership have to say.

Thanks for listening, now go do something great to make yourself better and I’ll have another tip for you tomorrow.

Peace ✌️

Tweet Me @ZarirMerwanji 🙂