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Skip  A Step Ahead
with Skip Miller
May, 2010Vol 4, Issue 4
April Showers bring May Flowers

Those May flowers had better be right around the corner.  As far as spring weather is concerned, we have hit a new low.  Only place to go is up, and I am sure we are all tired of waiting for real spring weather.

Speaking of being tired of waiting,
are you waiting on your customers to get back to you?
Does it seem that they do not having the same sense of urgency as you? You notice the deals not moving as fast as they could?  Your prospects are delaying getting back to you?  Your emails and voice mails having no effect on them returning your calls?
Unlike the weather, here is something sales and sales management can do to understand buyer's motivation. 

Most of you are doing a great job of getting buyer needs and requirements.  The theory goes, if you get their real needs, and match those with what you are offering, you will get closer and closer to getting an order. 
It all seems like a good theory, until the prospect goes dark, they go ghost, and/or they don't call you back; oh-oh, Maybeland right around the corner.
Here is a shocker.  Needs and requirements are really good, but they do not provide buyer motivation.  They are like a digital photo.  No movement.  If you want movement, if you want video, then find out their problem.  In the B-B world, no problem, no motivation; no motivation, no deal. 
What is causing the prospect to spend resource, spend time, money and effort to go out and buy a new solution? 
What's the problem they are trying to solve, and how are you are a piece of that solution, not the entire solution?
Remember, the world does not evolve around you and your product/service.  You are a piece of the pie of change, maybe even a big piece, but your buyer is motivated on solving the problem, not buying something from you...sorry.

May flowers are a piece of the changes of spring.  How are you and your company being a part of the changes your customer is spending most their time on?  What can you do?
Ask them what challenges they are tackling right now, and see how you can help them, rather than give them a presentation on what you sell and hope they see the light.
June is right around the corner.  Go find some problems and help your customer get ready for summer.

In This Issue
Lessons from The Advanced Sales School

"A" Player?

Achieve more! 
Blow out your 2010 goals! 
 Sign-up now!    
Advanced Sales School Ropes Course
July 12-14, 2010
Transform your top salespeople! 
Sales Cycle Optimization
Pipeline Velocity
Customer Communication
Preparation & Presentation
Personal Growth

Lessons from The Advanced Sales School! 



Come to the Edge, he said. 
They said - "we are afraid"
Come to the edge, he said. 
They came. 
He pushed them...and they flew

Guilaume Apolinaire
18 "A" Players gathered in Los Gatos, CA last month for our first 2010 Advanced Sales School. 
18 "A" Players from various industries and different companies.  Names as varied as Apple, Honeywell, Lafayette Venetian Blind, MindJet, TransNational, WebEx, .  Some with sales cycles measured in days, others in years.  All considered at the top of their game by their own peers and companies. 
3 intense days of personal growth,
Skip made a statement early in the program.  "The #1 thing holding salespeople back is themselves"  That concept was proven out more than once in the 20+ hours we were together. 
During the Ropes Course portion of the class 18 "A" Players set a goal that more than half the group didn't believe they'd be able to achieve.  An hour later, they had blown out their goal by 174%.     
How?  Overcoming personal limitations.  Opening themselves up to different solutions.  Pushing themselves beyond pre-set expectations.  Teamwork.  Asking for help.  Relying on others.  Trusting in a process.  Committment.  Trust.  Going to the Edge and jumping. 
Even "A" Players are afraid of failing.  Even "A" Players have a fear of the Unknown.  They've had success doing their thing a certain way.  It's hard to change. 
The Advanced Sales School gave them the safety net they needed to experiment with different philosophies, thought processes and tactics.  The Ropes course pushed them beyond boundaries they didn't even know they had, provided significant personal wins and showed them anaologies that tied into their business and their careers.  
Matt - "I didn't realize the confidence I had until I tried.  I didn't want to climb that tree.  I didn't want to stand on that ledge.  There was no way I was jumping - I'm scared of heights.  But then, I did it.  I can cold call on anybody now!" 
Wendy - "It showed me I can be Fearless
Chad - "It tells me to go after it and not be afraid to fail.  Put yourself out there and good things happen!" 
Marek - "Once you're on the ledge there's no turning back.  Trust in the process, committ to making it happen and then see it through" 
A Players...One more time
Kyle AwardOne of the things great sales organizations do is focus on their A players.  Most companies spend anywhere from 50-80% of their time on their B and C players, and let the A players just run. 
"Hey, they are above plan, and they are an A player.  If they need me, they call."
Focus on your All-Stars...why?
There are numerous things wrong with not spending time on the A players or All-Stars.
The A-Zone
The law of the A player says A players take one year to learn, one year to master, and one year to get bored and look for something else to do.

In Year 1, the A player is acting like an A player, and they are doing great.  By year two, they are really doing well, and enter the A-Zone.  This is a zone where most people in the organization recognize them as A players, since, well, they are acting like A Players.  They are above quota, doing mostly all the right things, and are being rewarded for their success. 
By Year 3, they know they are an A player, and they stop working so hard.  Oh, they are making the number, but they are starting to work the system.  They are milking the current accounts they have, they are not prospecting so hard, and although they will be 100% of quota or better, you know and they know they left some deals out in the territory.  
By year three, there is a Gap in performance between what they could be doing, and what they are doing.  We call this the 20% Gap.  A players are leaving at least 20% out in the territory.  If they can be motivated to act and behave like they did when they were I their first two years, managers could close the Gap, and get at least 20% more from their A players.
Great sales organizations spend time with their top sales people.  They constantly create a learn and grow organization.  Ideas?
Constantly give an A player a new major account to penetrate
Have A players introduce new technology into the company
Make sure A players get 40-80 hours of training per year
Measure A players differently than the rest of the sales team. 
Give them additional MBO's or KPI's and pay them for it
Number of new appointments with C-Level/month
Number of prospecting days per month
List price deal bonus
Number of deals over a certain dollar amount/month or quarter

You can be very creative, and the extra money you spend will more than be covered in revenue and margin dollars that will be generated with these types of metrics
Summer is almost here.  Vacation time. Leisure time. 
It's up to you to create a sense of urgency.   
Understand their Big Picture.  Their Solution Box B.  Help show how your product or service is an integral part of their WHOLE solution. 
Have a great May! 

Skip and team