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June 4, 2014

Great business quotes #1 – on sales

JackWarner-e1397201547241When you’ve been around as long as I have, you tend to accumulate things. For me, one of those things is a collection of sayings/adages/quotes that – while seemingly a little ‘trite’ – actually contain some time-tested words of wisdom. This week’s blog post is the first in a multi-week series that looks at some of the most popular business sayings and how they apply to today’s business world. This week…

“Activity breeds results.”

I started my career as a sales rep for DuPont more than 30 years ago. One of the first messages that was preached to us was the saying, “Activity breeds results.”

Fast forward 25 or so years… and as the EVP of a healthcare services firm, I was in charge of training our sales reps. The training program we used started off with the lesson, Activity = Results.

In 25+ years, that rule remains unchanged… to achieve success in sales, DO SOMETHING. The fact is, too many salespeople make excuses for their lack of sales productivity… “it’s a down economy,” “our competitors have better services,” “these leads are not very good,” “marketing hasn’t been very helpful” and so on and so on.

In the world of business… and particularly as it relates to a sales position – sitting and waiting for the phone the ring simply doesn’t work. On any given day at any given time, there are a number of things a “hungry” sales rep could be doing when his or her phone isn’t ringing…

  1. Pick up the phone and call old names from your sales database
  2. Pick up the phone and “cold call” names from an industry directory
  3. Follow-up with those who opened and clicked-thru on a recent marketing email
  4. Follow-up with those that downloaded the latest white paper from your website
  5. Reach out and connect with new prospects on LinkedIn
  6. Go ‘old school’ and write a great introductory letter that ends with, “I’ll follow-up up with you on…”
  7. Update your contacts’ information in your sales database (remember: garbage in-garbage out)
  8. Call some current clients and ask them “How are we doing?”
  9. Get in the car and go visit local clients (take bagels!)
  10. Take a client, ex-client or prospect to lunch
  11. Set-up and use Google Alerts to keep an eye on clients, prospects and competitors
  12. Become an expert on a specific topic… it’s how you’ll differentiate yourself
  13. Get active on social media – blog, tweet, etc. – but don’t sell… provide value!

The point is this… it’s a crazy-competitive world out there. Sitting and waiting for things to happen will result in failure… guaranteed! If you want to be successful in business – and especially as a sales rep – get to work! The opportunity for success rests with you and no one else.

Do you have a saying or quote that you really like and that has real meaning for you? If so, I’d love to hear about it.

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