There is a popular series of books that have been out a couple of years called “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”. When it comes to sales, I do not believe the teachings apply as well. In fact, it is the small stuff the separates the winners from the average players.
So much is taught in sales about the “big parts of the game” such as the cold call, the pitch or presentation, the sales cycle, working a pipeline, overcoming objections, and closing. And yet, with all of this knowledge and training, the majority of salespeople still have difficulty managing the entire process through to the finish line.
At the same time, you will find there is a small group of salespeople that focus on, what most would consider to be the small stuff. What types of things are these? Here are a list of a few of the little things that matter in the profession of sales:
1-They schedule prospecting time every day! They realize that, no matter how hot and heavy everything happens to be in their pipeline today, it is the plowing (prospecting) at the top of the pipeline that opens it up for continued results.
2-They build and consistently use a referral generation process. They know that the best source of new business comes from existing clients and that by leveraging their existing relationships, they actually create a small sales force of their own that “keeps the leads flowing in.” They also realize that they need to 1) Ask for the referrals, 2) Earn the right to ask, 3) Make it easy to refer, 4)and say Thank You.
3-They use target and personal marketing campaigns. They realize that, in business, it is not who you know, but rather who knows you that counts. They create a systemized “touch campaign” that not only reaches out to identified key prospects before they call upon them, but also continues to “whisper in their customer’s ears” regularly. The true pro realizes that value-add relationships develop loyalty from their customer base so they make sure that all of their touches are unique and value-add.
4-They Say Thank You—A Lot! Top producers sometimes go back and revisit the tactics used years ago and “dust them off” for use today. One such tactic is the use of Thank You Notes in the sales process. Too many salespeople rely on brief email notes and voice mail messages to express their gratitude for a sales appointment, a referral, a sale, or anything else. Although Thank You Notes were very common years ago, they are only in the arsenals of those who wish to stand out today! By the way, can you say Thank You too much to your customers?
5-They do what they say they are going to do. Although this seems like a very logical, natural thing for all to follow, the sad truth is that we live in a world where the broken promise is the norm and the “under-whelmed” customer is most common. True sales pros focus on “managing the expectations” of their customers and adding value in the customer’s eyes by OVER PERFORMING on expectations.
In the marketplace, I suggest that, as sales professionals, we need to make sure that we are focused on ALL of the things that are necessary for our success. The little things are what separates us from the crowd. The good news is that, with a little work, you will build the confidence in your “scoring zone” to consistently achieve greater sales results. So…Sweat the Small Stuff!