By CommenceCRM

Best Practice #40 – Has a system for planning work

By Dave Kahle

I believe in forms! I know, that makes me a pariah among salespeople.  More paperwork!  Are you crazy?

No.  I’m experienced.

Here’s the thing about a well-designed form – it forces you to think thoroughly and methodically.  And thinking thoroughly and methodically is one of the ways that the best salespeople separate themselves from the pack.

I believe it is the ultimate success skill for salespeople.

A few years ago, as I was interviewing a salesperson for a sales audit, the salesperson, in a moment of reflection said, “I never realized what a thinking person’s game sales really is.”

Amen.  Thinking well, for a salesperson, is the ultimate competitive edge.

I believe that half of a salesperson’s success can be attributed to the quality and quantity of the thinking that he does.

In spite of that, good thinking among salespeople is not that common.

Bertrand Russell once said, “Most people would rather die than think.  In fact, they do.”

The world of salespeople is overrun with those who don’t want to think.  Give them the quick and easy answer.  “Tell me the five words that are guaranteed to get the customer to say yes.”  Or, “Teach me the phrase to use to close every sale, or overcome the most difficult objections.”  The constant search for the easy answer is the most visible expression of the avoidance of the painful process of thinking it through on their own.

Some, even if they do understand the need to think, don’t have the discipline to consistently think well.

That’s where the best lap the mediocre.  They understand that planning is just one form of thinking, and good thinking is stimulated by appropriately designed forms and tools.

customer ranking and qualification questions

For example, let’s say I have a form to use to plan my strategy in a key account.  The form asks “Who do you need to meet this month?” That question, on the form, forces me to consider the answer.  Or, “What close to the money opportunities are there in this account this month?”  Again, the question forces me to consider it.   I have to write something down on the form, or input into the field on my computer.  I have to respond.  I have to think.

Good forms prompt good thinking.  Good planning is good thinking.  The best salespeople excel at planning by using appropriately designed tools and forms to force them to be thorough and systematic.

That’s another reason why they are the best.

Dave Kahle is one of the world’s leading sales authorities. He’s written ten books, presented in 47 states and nine countries, and has helped enrich tens of thousands of sales people and transform hundreds of sales organizations. Sign up for his free weekly Ezine. His most recent book, How to Sell Anything to Anyone Anytime, has been named one of the “five best business books,” by three international entities.

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