The One Essential Habit that Transforms Good Salespeople Into Rainmakers

The One Essential Habit that Transforms Good Sales

You know those “stand-out” people — the 20-something who climbs the ladder in record pace, the salespeople who make off-the-chart sales… every month?

They seem untouchable — but what are they doing differently to really make it rain?

Bagel + Slim Jim = A Breakfast of Champions

A few years ago, I facilitated a sales training for a company. Each member of their 20-person sales team was required to attend — except for one. They didn’t want to mess with his process. We started training after lunch, but I asked to come in early. Each morning, I got there in time to watch the guy who had clearly learned how to be a good salesman begin work. Here’s what he did.

He started each day the same. This middle-aged man came in every day with a bagel and a banana. He’d eat the banana first. Then he’d eat the bagel. Then he’d make his phone calls, schedule his appointments, and spend his afternoon going to those appointments. It was the same thing every day.

Another guy worked for me a few years later. He was a rockstar salesman who started each day with a Slim Jim, Arizona Iced Tea, and a granola bar.

Seriously? Do these breakfast foods matter? Yes! The ritual of the same breakfast made a difference in their days. It was a part of their system — it put them on the trajectory of building relationships, closing deals, and working their system.

It’s not the breakfast that matters — it’s the routine. A bagel or a Slim Jim may not be nutritional superfoods, but they were a vital part of making these good salesmen great. Why? It started their daily sales routine.

Establishing Habits for a More Productive Day

In the book Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explains why habits are so powerful:

[Habits] create neurological cravings. Most of the time, these cravings emerge so gradually that we’re not really aware they exist, so we’re often blind to their influence. But as we associate cues with certain rewards, a subconscious craving emerges in our brains that starts the habit loop spinning.

These salesmen found success by starting their day with habits that cued their frame of mind for the day. When the sales guy eats that bagel and banana, he associates his breakfast with sales. It automatically puts him in the mood to sell and starts his craving for sales.

Remember Pavlov’s dogs? We’re not very different. When we start our day consistently — whether with gas station food, a green smoothie, or a particular song, we cue ourselves for the rest of our day.

Meanwhile, we also ground ourselves. We remind ourselves that it’s our world. As we interact with people the rest of the day, we’re grounded. By starting a day with routines, we create our own world so that the prospects are coming into our world, as opposed to trying to penetrate the prospects world.

Eat Your Breakfast

So how do you start each day? Your exact breakfast may not be the same as these guys, and it doesn’t have to be. The key is consistency. What will you do each day to set the stage for a killer sales day?

Then follow your system for sales. If you don’t have one, it’s time to start. Have you been wondering how to be a better salesperson? Using a process for managing your prospects and clients is essential.

Want to learn more about creating and honing your sales process? Check out this article: How to Close More Deals by Mapping Your Sales Process

The one essential habit to boosting your sales is establishing a routine to begin your work day. The hardest part of the day is getting started — and Slim Jim may be just the place to begin.

Sales Funnel Management: Close More Deals by Eliminating the Noise

sales-funnel-management

If you’re looking to move your prospects from possibility to purchase, it’s time to reexamine your sales funnel management. At the top of this metaphorical funnel are any people who could potentially buy. Then, as they move closer to being a client, they move down the funnel.

But how does this funnel really help the sales process? It works toward two advantages.

1. Planning Your Sales Steps

Figuring out where people are in this process helps you manage your sales steps. So, if a person is a new prospect, you know what to do. If they’re a returning customer, they’re at a different part of the funnel, and you need to take a different action step.

Related: A Sales Lead Management Process You Can Count On

See, too often people wait for the customer or prospect to tell them to go to the next step. It works better if you figure out how to get them to the next step. Don’t just wait for it to happen — make it happen.

Look at your pipeline and ask yourself, “What’s the next action I need to do?” Keep your action simple. It shouldn’t be conducting extensive research and geological surveys. It can be as easy as setting a reminder to call them tomorrow. Use your pipeline to be proactive, not reactive.

2. Balancing Your Sales Steps

Funnel management in sales also keeps you balanced. Try to spend time with prospects in each part of your funnel: the top, middle, and bottom. You should be continually prospecting, quoting, and closing. If you focus on these areas in phases, your pipeline goes dry. The key is doing all of your essential activities regularly. Maybe you start with phone calls (the top of the funnel) and schedule a lot of appointments. Well, don’t stop making those prospecting calls when you start going to appointments.

Balance every stage of the process. That way, you keep your sales steady. Otherwise, you work a few prospects through your pipeline only to realize you have no one left at the top of your funnel. Once your current deals close, you’ll have to start at square one, and it’ll be a while before you make another sale.

More Tips for Managing Your Sales Pipeline

Keep Sales Stages Simple

The way you move people through the pipeline should be easy. Know your next steps for each level. How can you get them from the top to the middle? When you have go-to sales steps, the answer is easy.

Related: How to Close More Deals by Mapping Your Sales Process

Limit Active Prospects

You only need to focus on a few sales-ready leads at a time. Now, you might have 500 prospects, but who are the sales-ready leads you can work through the pipeline? You can’t manage 500 records and move them to their next steps. It takes too much time. Instead, you need to be able to look at your sales-ready leads daily to figure out their next step. Then figure out who will fill their spot after they buy.

I used to be a sales trainer. Our first step was to look at pipeline reports. And so often, I’d see 100 people on their forecasting reports. They were proud of it. High numbers looked great on their report, but it wasn’t actionable, much less realistic. During our training, I’d ask them to get their prospect list down to seven people. Sure, they had more options than that, but they needed a smaller number to make it manageable. So they’d choose seven deals of various sizes to focus on, and they’d start closing them. It was way easier to close two out of seven deals than it was to close two out of 100.

De-Clutter Your Funnel

Most of the time, the pipeline ends up in an Excel file. Salespeople have reporting responsibilities, so they keep this file that they tweak and submit every Friday afternoon. But after a while, they become numb to it. They’re used to looking at the same data — after you’ve seen “oddball” on there for so long, it just stays. It’s natural, but not so effective for keeping the pipeline fresh.

If you want your team to get their funnel down to seven (or however many works for your industry), let them pick which prospects they want. Then they need to literally only focus on those potential customers until they close the deal or go back to another status. Delete the others from your file for now. They’re not your focus.

Your pipeline isn’t about how many prospects you can cram into it. It’s about what’s real. If you want to close deals, you want to eliminate as much noise as possible. The only people you should deal with are the ones you’re actively pushing through your pipeline.