Performance Improvement Ideas

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"Managing Sales Leads for Power and Success."

October 16, 2009 by Mike Strawbridge

When I was in commercial sales, one of the things I hated most was figuring out who to call next. I would look at my list of hundreds of names and just sink with a feeling of being completely overwhelmed.

There was no way I could contact all those people. And when I scanned the list my eyes would immediately fall to someone that had rejected me in a big way. Each time I scanned the list, I relived the pain of that rejection and I transferred that energy to the whole page.

Even if flipped to a page that had a success or two. I would quickly find a failure that would wipe out all the positive energy I had generated.

I recently learned a simple and effective technique that eliminates all that negativity and helps me to bring powerful positive energy in to each and every sales lead.

This technique helps to focus my mind on the task at hand and helps to bring in the power of the present moment. I am no longer distracted with whom I might call next or who I called in the past, I am focused on the one person I am focusing on right now.

People, who have rejected me or in any other way brought about negative feelings, can be moved aside temporarily so that this feeling can not haunt my present moment. But they are not lost form the list. I will deal with them at the appropriate time with another procedure I will explain in another article.

This system is deceptively simple and amazingly powerful. I hear it is taught in many sales classes, but not in any I have ever attended before. I learned it from my mentor, Mary Susan.

So here it is:

Instead of making a big long list of all your prospects, either on paper, in a spread sheet or whatever, put each name on a separate 3x5 index card.

Yes, I know we live in an computer age, but sales is about relationships, not electronics. Writing the persons name on the card by hand gives you a connection with that person.

Keeping the list of names in your computer or blackberry may seem more efficient, but do you want to be an efficient sales person or an effective sales person? I am pretty sure the effective ones make more money.

Also on each card write what you want to remember about hat person next time you contact them. Along with the name include the phone numbers, email or other contact info. But more importantly put down personal information about any needs that you already know about.

If you don’t know much about the person, write things you would like to know. Things like their family, their jobs, their hobbies, and other things that give meaning to their lives. This information will give you an easy base from which to launch a conversation.

Now that you have a stack of cards with your leads on them – one name per card – you can sort them. Put the ones you have negative feelings about in the back of the stack. Put them as far form your thoughts as possible. Put the ones you have good feelings or better yet, no feelings about, closer to the top.

When you sit down to plan your day of calls, spread out some of the top cards of your desk and wave your hand over them. Feel the energy and pick out the ones that have the most positive energy about them. Make these your first calls.

As you pick up a card with a name think only about that person. What does he need more of? What would he like less of? How can you make his life a little bit better through your interaction with him today?

Look at the notes you have made on the card about this person. Does he have a family? What are his hobbies? What particular needs have you identified in the past that he might need help with?

You will find plenty to talk about right away from the information you have on your card. No more awkward moments as you stumble into a sales pitch, you can just have a nice heart warming conversation as you identify his needs and trigger points.

Using this card system, leads are no longer just entries on a list. They are real people with real needs. Maybe you can help with those needs and be compensated with a sale. If not, maybe you can refer them to someone who can help them and gain a referral credit.

If you get a less than positive response, you simple shuffle them to the bottom of the deck and move on to another card where you can once again expect a positive response.

There are multiple benefits that become apparent very quickly as you think about this process.

The first is the power of now. By being focused in the present moment you don’t waste energy on thinking about past rejections or worrying about future outcomes. You can simply focus on the person you are interacting with at the moment. Your interaction with at person will be more genuine and much more personal.

Second, it helps you focus. Often if you are using a big list, you will be thinking about all the other names on the list while you are trying to have a conversation with the one person. The other person will feel this even if you don’t make any mistakes. Focusing your attention on that one person will give more energy in to the conversation, like a beam of light focused through a lens.

Third, it keeps your energy level high. When staring at a long list, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. There is no way you can contact them all right now. When you see the names of people who give you bad feelings, the negative energy quickly saps your enthusiasm for doing any more work. By dealing with just one lead at a time, you can easily imagine a positive outcome and therefore easily keep up your energy for the call. If that card does not generate positive energy for you, just shuffle it back and deal with it later.

So if you want to boost your sales energy, or simply get yourself more organized, give this simple effective method a try. You can keep your whole list on the computer as backup like I do if that makes you feel better, but for your daily work, focus on just a few cards. Keep your energy up and your new found enthusiasm will be contagious to your leads as you make contact with them.

Mike Strawbridge October 16, 2009

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