Wes Schaeffer states that his purpose in life is to rehabilitate salespeople and train their managers. Most managers are hired from within because they were successful. They were successful because they were hungry, aggressive, and impatient—not necessarily because they were the smartest or most detail-oriented salespeople. Those attributes are at odds with the management role. Those skills can harm them because they are aggressive and impatient with their team.
They’re putting pressure on their salespeople but don’t have the skills to teach them. Salespeople are left on their own to make it or break it. Territory planning isn’t taught. If it is, it’s taught from a book—not from someone who did it successfully. So how do you change that? Find out from Wes in this episode of Sales Reinvented.
Most people are reactive to everything in their lives—it’s not even necessarily a sales problem. The type of people that are drawn into sales are outgoing “people’s people.” They’re not engineers or accountants but simply good at making friends. Their personality is not methodical and goal-oriented. They're relationship-oriented. Now, they’re being asked to plan.
Wes wrote “The Seven Deadly Sins of Selling.” The first sin is shooting from the hip i.e. winging it. Most salespeople have been hired as a cultural fit. A sales manager probably isn’t detail-oriented or has a methodical process for hiring and onboarding. There isn’t a culture built around territory planning.
Wes instructs managers to manage activities and pay on results. Just like losing weight, closing a sale is a lagging indicator. If you want to lose 10 kilos in 90 days, stepping on the scale at 90 days only proves how diligent you were at following the process. What did you eat for every meal? How did you exercise? Maybe you hired a fitness coach or a dietician. Maybe you have a tracking app, planned your meals, and planned when to exercise and how much. If you’re diligent for 90 days, you’ll hit your goals.
Sales managers don’t give salespeople the activities to do. Wes tells people to batch phone calls: before breakfast, during lunch, and at the end of the day to get around gatekeepers. He has different scripts for each call. They’re telling a story through multimedia and different steps. Wes gives his community a way to track their time in 15-minute increments. Whatever you measure, you can improve. Break your big plans down into 15-minute increments, i.e. what you have to accomplish to reach your lofty goals. When you are diligent with this, you’re more likely to be successful.
Wes emphasizes that the mantra “Always be closing” is crap. This idea was propagated when people the age of our grandfathers were in sales. Yet we still live by the adage. Wes’s version of the ABCs is “Always be curious. Always be courteous. Always be concise.” Ask more questions. Take a step back and ask, “Where are you a product fit? Why do people buy your stuff? What pain do you solve?” Start there. Where do these people congregate?
Wes was working for a startup in Austin, TX. The technology was beneficial in the healthcare space. Wes looked at technology in healthcare and there was a huge community with state and regional chapters. He joined those chapters and became active in those communities. He went where the fish were. You can’t just go to the local swimming pool and drop a pole in the water because it’s convenient.
Wes gives out a free guide called “Process Before Login.” The concept is that you need to document your steps and track your activities before you log in to any tool. Because a tool won’t save you. You know what your territory is. You have to figure out how to get in front of people. Can you knock on their door or go to events where they congregate? Once you plan daily and weekly activities, you can manage them. How many phone calls can you make? How many emails can you send? How many handwritten letters can you write? Do you have scripts for text messages? How are you engaging people on social media?
If you're in B2B, LinkedIn can be good. But Wes gets more crappy messages on LinkedIn than anywhere else. Why? Because people don’t know how to communicate. People are spending money to get in front of Wes with an awful message. Learn how to communicate. Blog. Write a post for LinkedIn. It can even be a FAQ post. Prepare written answers to objections ahead of time and link it to a blog or LinkedIn post you’ve written. Your prospect will be impressed. They’ll think you know what you’re talking about. If you do anything, Wes implores you to just start writing. Write a daily article for LinkedIn that your prospects would be interested in. Your life will change in 30 days.
What are Wes’s three sales planning dos and don’ts? Listen to find out—they might really surprise you.
How do you take control of your territory? How do you disqualify a prospect to focus on the important accounts? Listen to hear Wes’s process!
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