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Skip  A Step Ahead
with Skip Miller
September, 2010Vol 4, Issue 9
 It's Back to School Time
   Most of you have sent your kids back to school.  What a relief to have your days back.  No more taxi service, amusement park lines, and Thursday night sleepovers.  It back to school and back to work.
   As you did with your kids, it's time to review your "back to school" checklist.  You want to have a great Q4?  Follow these simple guidelines.
1. Be prepared - You went to Target and got all the school supplies your kids needed to start the year off right.  Did you go into their room and find an old notebook that had 50% of its pages still fresh and declare to your kid, "Hey, this is a perectly fine notebook from last year.  Let's use this!"
   No you did not.  You went out and got all new supplies.  This is the fourth quarter.  You will make or break this year, and set up next year over the next few months.  Go ahead, buy that new laptop.  That new Android or iPhone.  Spend a day getting rid of all the junk around your desk and on your C:Drive.  Get on LinkedIn, Facebook, WebEx, or Twitter.  Learn what these social media venues can do for your prospecting...and they are all free.
2. Get something started - Your kids and you have to sign up for all sorts of activities right from the start.  Clubs, intramurals, parent snack shack duties, fundraisers.  There is a lot going on the first few weeks for a reason.  Those first few days will determine the success of the program. 
   Send out an email, invite your top prospects to a meeting, to a breakfast or to a management review.  Host a WebEx and allow your prospects to hear what your plans are for the fourth quarter.  Give them something for free or minimal investment so they can begin to develop a value proposition before you resort to discounting your offering on December 29th.
3. State your intentions - It is the time of the year to set some goals.  How many Russian sales calls per week for the next 3 weeks?  Number of prospecting calls per week.  How many broad and deep contacts will you have at your top three major accounts by the end of September?  Remember, a goal not written down is like getting into a rental car without a map.  Good luck getting out of the airport without one of those.
4. Declare your major - Your kids even in 9th grade now are being asked what subject they want to major in.  With limited school resources, administrators need to get an idea of how many kids will be signing up for what subjects.  Same with you. 
   Where are you going to get 80% of your Q4 revenue?  What 3-5 accounts have the greatest potential?  Call them up and ask them what are their plans for Q4 and Q1 2011, and see if you can fit in to their Solution Box.
5. Go to the first dance of the year - Kids either are looking forward to the first dance, or they are making up excuses why they don't want to go.  The ones who go will make new friends, re-establish their old relationships, and set the stage for the rest of the year.
   Your dance is on October 1, and it will set you up for the rest of the year.  Go see as many customers as you can in September and do not ask,
"Are you going to buy anything from me this year?"
   What a push.  Go see your customers and ask them,
"What are the critical items you are deciding on in Q4 that will be affecting your Q4 and Q1 business?  What do you see as your biggest risks in accomplishing these objectives."
   Study after study shows that about 70% of executives want their vendors to ask about their pressing issues and risks.  It shows a concern about helping them solve their problems.  About 15% of sales calls live up to this request.  Stop pushing, go to the dance and ask, don't tell.
   Have a great send off to the quarter.  Get rid of those old habits and start fresh.  Fourth quarter only comes around once a year, and the spoils go to those who are well prepared.
In This Issue
Fire Breathing Dragons
The 3 "C's" of Sales  Success!
Jim Blasingame Logo


Skip was recently interviewed on the Small Business Radio Show and shared some powerful tactics to help your company finish this year strong and prepare for 2011. 

1) Clean your Funnel
2) Call Higher
3) Perform a Check-Up! 

Alec Baldwin

Glengarry Glen Ross is NOT a training video for Managers!  
Steak Knife incentive?  Coffee for Closers?  Hard Nosed Motivational Speeches? 
There is a better way!  A more ProActive way.   
Sign up Now!    
ProActive Sales Management Program
November 16-17, 2010
Chicago, IL
Take Charge of the GameBoard! 
chess pieces
Create a winning Sales Culture
Vision: Your Wall of Principles
Motivating your sales team
Increase Pipeline Velocity
Better Metrics & Measurement
Managing up, down & around
Personal Growth
I-Date:  The Maybe-Buster - Part 2
Do I have a real, qualified sale, or is it a waste of time?   
Skip Miller
    Last month, we talked about an I-Date, which stands for Implementation Date.  We call it the maybe-buster because it helps to tell you whether you've got a real, qualified sale.  
   Remember:  Yes is good, No is good, but Maybes will kill you!   
   Once you get a solid I-Date, you can start hunting for Dragons - the events, commitments, promises, tasks, goals and objectives that cause an I-Date to be firm. 
   What a Dragon is: 
  • Something that is causing the prospect to seek education. 
  • Some event or date they have committed to
  • Some event or date their boss has committed to
  • A promise made
  • A Management Objective (MBO) they need to accomplish to get their pay
   What a Dragon is not: 
  • Hot buttons
  • Pain points
  • Go-to features
  • Anything to do with what you are selling
   Some examples of Dragons are:
   If You Are Selling:                           Possible Dragon: 
   Information for a presentation                         Board Meeting
   Cars                                                            End of a lease
   Tennis Rackets                                            Start of a tournament
   Consulting Services                                      Launch of a new product
   Televisions                                                   Sporting Event
   The list can go on and on.  Every sale should have at least 2-3 Dragons associated with it.  This will give you confidence that the I-Date is firm, and you will get a yes or a no decision - not a maybe! 
   Ask them about their Dragons, not about your features and benefits.  They are their Dragons, and you have to get a complete description of the Dragon to see what kind it is so you know if you can slay it. 
   Usually there is such demand for limited resources that prospects won't spend money unless they have a few Dragons to satisfy.  This will justify their spending money and will also get more people on their side - which spreads risk and increases the odds of a successful implementation. 
The best Dragons breathe fire  
   If you can find these, the I-Date has a very, very small chance of slipping.  Fire breathing Dragons are commitments that prospects have made to others - such as their bosses, co-workers, friends, or spouses.  A commitment made to others so that they can get something they need is an even bigger fire-breathing Dragon, since now there are really two Dragons dependent on the I-Date! 
   Ask for prospect Dragons, and if there are some, at lease two, the chances of a maybe have gone down - way down!  
 Fourth quarter starts in a few weeks and 2011 will be here before you know it.  Now is the time to master your pipeline, confirm those I-Dates, slay those fire-breathing Dragons and finish up strong for the year while you're prospecting for new opportunities to hit the ground running come January.  
   Learn the three C's of Sales Success and utilize them in the 4th Quarter.  Start your school year now so the selling year can be one of your best ever!  
Have a great September! 

Skip and team