The Fastest and Easiest Way to Reach Sales Greatness

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jan 17, 2017 @ 06:01 AM

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One of the things I hear an awful lot is, "Dave, how do you write so many articles?"

1,600 articles in 10 years equates to an average of about 3 articles each of the 48 weeks that I work.  The secret behind that kind of prolific writing can actually help you too - to find and close more business, sell more consultatively, qualify more thoroughly, and earn more money.  Would you like to know what that secret is?  I'll share it below.

Back in the 1980's I wasn't writing sales books and articles, but I was writing songs.  And you probably won't be surprised to learn that I had a new song in my head just about every week.  They came non stop - just like the sales and sales management articles have flowed steadily for the past 10 years.  

The secret is very simple.  32 years ago I announced to the universe that I was a sales trainer.  31 years ago I similarly announced that I was a song writer.  27 years ago I announced that I was an expert in sales assessments. 10 years ago I announced to the universe that I was an author and a Blogger.

I didn't make any of that stuff up because I was very qualified in all three areas.  The big difference was my conscious affirmation to the universe.  After the announcements were made, I had no shortage of sales training and sales assessment innovations, as well as poems and melodies to accompany them.  

So how can you use this concept to become a better hunter, closer, qualifier and consultative seller?

It's really simple.

Start letting the universe know that "I'm a hunter!"  "I'm a closer!"  "I sell consultatively."  And, "I am a very thorough qualifier."

"Of course, you can't simply announce your intentions and then wait for something to happen (like "The Secret" suggests).  You must put forth the effort and the time - when you are selling and when you are improving your skills."

After you begin repeating these affirmations, you will not only begin improving in these areas, but you will be guided to the tools, resources, mentors, coaches and trainers that can help you improve in these areas.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales effectiveness, sales efficiency, sales greatness

10 [More] Tips to Help You Sell More and Get More Done Than Anyone Else Part 2

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Jan 05, 2017 @ 06:01 AM

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To start the year off I posted My Top 10 Tips to Help you Sell More and Get More Done Than Anyone Else. I received so many thank you notes and emails expressing appreciation for that post that I decided to share 10 more tips for those who have the capacity to become even more efficient.

1.  Browser Bookmarks - I use the Chrome browser but I believe you can do this with IE and Safari as well.  There are approximately 300 websites that I visit. Some, like Membrain, Google Sheets, LinkedIn and online Banking are opened multiple times each day, while I might visit other sites once per quarter.  Most of the sites are applications and tools for the business but some, like restaurant menu pages, simply give me quick access to what I need.  I use a bookmarking system that saves me a tremendous amount of time.  I have 8 folders on the bookmark bar of the browser.  They include:

  1. Most Used
  2. Email/Access
  3. Business
  4. Health/Fitness
  5. T & E
  6. Web Tools
  7. Servers/Content
  8. Audio/Video/Presentation Tools

Each of those folders has shortcuts and/or additional folders that contain shortcuts to the pages I frequent.  For example, this screen shot shows my Most Used Folder where you can see 6 additional folders, with shortcuts.  Cash and Checking has 6 shortcuts, Blog has 9, OMG has 15, DKA has 19, Google has 5 and Wunderlist has 2.

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My homegrown bookmarking system saves me huge amounts of time. I know exactly where to click to get instant access to the pages.

2. LastPass - You can save even more time if you don't have to log in to the sites you visit!  LastPass, a Chrome Extension, not only saves the user names and passwords for all of your sites, but it will also log you in automatically!  Nothing to type, nothing to click!

3. Adobe Echo Sign - If you need to get contracts signed, there are a number of applications available for doing that and I have found advantages to doing just that.  First, people tend to quickly sign electronic documents while PDF's attached to emails must first be printed, reviewed, signed, scanned, and resent. Sometimes those get forwarded to legal departments where they get lost. The work involved in getting a PDF signed, compared to the relative simplicity of getting a document signed electronically, is profound.  If it's from Adobe, the email message is far less likely to be deleted than one from other online document signing applications and Adobe Sign reminds people to sign if they haven't gotten around to it so it's fast, easy and brainless.

4. iMacros - If you need to do something online - and repeat it often - then iMacros, another Chrome extension, is your solution.  In my case, I regularly score certification tests taken by OMG Partners and their employees.  The scoring process involves navigating to Survey Monkey, logging in, going to the survey that holds the answers, browsing to the most recent submission, opening ToutApp, and loading the Certification email template.  IMacros automates all of those steps so that I only have to select Certification from the iMacros menu and the application does all of the clicking for me until both of those pages are displayed on my browser.

5. TextExpander - Are there words, phrases and sentences that you frequently type?  As I mentioned in part 1, I often type, "Would you mind using this link to my calendar to find and schedule a mutually convenient time for us to talk/meet?"  With TextExpander, I simply type ";cal" and the application types that question into the email for me!  Think about all of the typing you can save with this application!  Click the image below to watch this 10-second video demonstration.

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6. Reachable - Have you ever wasted time attempting to determine the best way to connect to someone on LinkedIn?  Like, who knows that person or who might know them the best?  Reachable leverages your social media connections and does that for you in seconds!

7. Cloud Servers - I don't save anything "on" my computer's hard drive anymore because I need to access my files from whatever device I am using - desktop, laptop, iPhone, iPad or somebody else's device.  Cloud servers allow you to do that - quickly and easily.  I use Dropbox because the Dropbox folder appears in the file menu of my computers where I am most likely to access those files and the files are synced between my computers.

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8. Toofr - Have you ever wasted time trying to find somebody's email address?  Toofr actually accomlishes that for you!

9. Jabra Pro - Do you receive as many calls on your cell phone as you do on your office phone but prefer to use a headset?  I use the Jabra Pro bluetooth headset which connects to your desk phone, cell phone and if you want, your computer so that you can talk to Siri or dictate a Google search - all via Bluetooth.  One headset - three sources.  It switches seamlessly between the 3 devices so that you can simply get stuff done!

10. Snagit - Do you ever need a picture, screen shot or a video of your screen?  Snagit does that with ease.  The video of me using TextExpander was created in seconds with Snagit

 I hope these additional 10 time-saving tips to help you sell more and get more done than anyone else were helpful.  If you have any tips that help you sell more, please add them to the comments.  Part 3 in the series has 7 more tips.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales effectiveness, sales productivity, sales efficiency

Top 10 Tips to Help You Sell More And Get More Done Than Anyone Else This Year Part 1

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jan 03, 2017 @ 09:01 AM

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We attended the organizational kick-off meeting for the team with whom our 14-year old son will be playing travel baseball this year.  The organization is run by former MLB pitcher Brian Rose and one of the memorable things he said at this meeting was, "There will always be someone working harder than you."  He said, "If you take a day off, someone else will be still be working" and, "If you want to be the best you have to work harder than everyone else."   Mark Cuban said, "Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it away from you."

I've always outworked everyone in my own companies so both of these quotes resonated with me. At the same time, hard work alone isn't enough.  You must also be smart and efficient about what you work hard on.  For the first article of 2017, I thought it would be helpful if I shared how I get more done than anyone else I know.

Like many CEO's of small companies, I wear many hats.  As the CEO of Kurlan & Associates & Associates, a global sales consulting firm, I run the business, produce revenue, handle accounting, meet with the leadership team, have some personal clients, conduct some of the training, and do some keynote speaking.  As the CEO of Objective Management Group (OMG), the leading provider of sales force evaluations and sales candidate assessments, I am the chief innovator for product development, select firms that will represent OMG outside of the Americas, coach OMG's partners, meet with my leadership team, and do some keynote speaking.  Running two companies isn't a 16-hour a day load, but 12-hour days are common.  So how do I get it all done?  Here are my top 10 keys to outworking everyone:

  1. Say no.  One of the important things I picked up from business guru and Gazelle's CEO, Verne Harnish, is that you must identify 3 things that you won't do anymore.  I carry that theme forward on a daily basis and as opportunities, events, projects and tasks are presented to me I say no to those things that don't support either the business goals, core offerings, or personal goals and values. 

  2. Calendar.  A functional calendar allows me to visually see my day, week and month.  I manage the calendar myself and don't let assistants anywhere near it.  Not only that, but entries are color-coded so that I can quickly and easily determine whether I am maintaining a balance between the two companies, between sales and delivery, and between work and family.  This is very important: I block out time, in advance, for getting work completed in between calls, appointments and meetings.  In addition to the color coding, my calendar is synced between my iPhone, iPad, Macbook Pro and iMac computers.  I use Google's Calendar syncing as the engine and on my mobile devices I have the Readdle app, and on my computers I use CalendarPro for Google.  

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  3. Automation.  I save time and aggravation by using an online scheduling tool.  Instead of going back and forth with someone to identify a time that we can meet or talk, I provide them with a link to my calendar.  I write in an email, "Would you mind using this link to my calendar to find and schedule a mutually convenient time for us to talk/meet?"  I embed a link to the scheduling tool which, in this case, is an app called ScheduleOnce.  You have no idea how easy this is, how much time it saves, and the thanks I get for making it so easy.

  4. Lists.  I believe that my mind is sharper than it's ever been.  Sharp doesn't necessarily mean that I can remember everything I need to do each day, week and month, and you can't arbitrarily decide which things to write down and which things to remember.  So I have a no exception policy where everything I need to do is committed to a list.  As with the calendar, I use a list that syncs between my computers and mobile devices and my choice is the Wunderlist app.  I use Wunderlist because it has folders, an unlimited number of lists that can be included in each folder, and each list accomodates a sub list, notes and attachments.   I also utilize the due date and reminder options and sort the items in my lists by due date. I would be lost without Wunderlist.  

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  5. Auto Responder.  I turn on my email's auto responder whenever I will be unable to respond to emails for 6 business hours or more.  I don't want to appear unresponsive and my message tells people who they can contact in my absence and when they can expect to hear back from me.  I don't have to apologize when I finally do respond and that saves unnecessary typing as well.

  6. Rituals. In order to be productive, I know that I must wake up at the same time each morning.  My default is 5:30 AM, which gives me an hour to respond to emails that came in overnight.  I usually have a number of emails from OMG's overseas partners, as well as CEO's who choose to work late rather than start early.  Most of my articles are written during this one-hour window in the morning as well.

  7. Anti-Meeting.  Most meetings are time wasters so I don't schedule many.  I have two 10-minute morning huddle calls, one for the leadership teams of each company, at 8:15 AM and 8:30 AM and most of what needs to be communicated in either direction is accomplished during that time.  I have a weekly product development meeting for OMG, a weekly sales/client projects meeting for Kurlan, and monthly and quarterly leadership meetings for OMG.  Less is more.

  8. Anti-Travel.  Some travel is unavoidable but most of what I do can be done by phone, video conference, file share, internet based collaboration and more.  Everyone is busy, travel wastes enormous amounts of time and money and it takes you away from family.  Travel is a last option, not a first option.

  9. Email.  To limit incoming email that requires responding, there are a few things that help a lot.  First, unsubscribe to everything that creates noise.  Spam is impossible to unsubscribe from but if that's the only stuff in your junk folders you can do a quick review and mass delete each day.  In order to do that, it's crucial that you first add senders that you want/need to hear from, but that might end up in your junk/spam folders, to your safe sender list.  With that accomplished, you should utilize the Rules function of your email to automatically move emails that you receive every day, like newsletters, to a newsletter or subscription folder.  I also have folders called "Waiting" and "Action."  When I am waiting for a response from someone, I blind copy myself and move it to the waiting folder, and when someone is waiting for me to do something that email gets moved to the action folder and added to a list.  I never save emails in my inbox.  Instead, there are folders for every client and partner, for marketing, accounting, tools, subscriptions, etc., and emails that need to be saved are moved to the appropriate folder.  Having thousands of emails in your inbox is not efficient!

  10. Family.  Nights and weekends are for family.  Family dinners and watching our son's baseball and basketball games are my number 1 evening priority - not work.  If I am behind, I may take an hour or two to catch up at night, but not until after we have spent quality time together at dinner.

I have 10 more tips on getting more done here.

Do you have any tips that contribute to getting more done than anyone else?  Add them to the comments below!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, time management, sales effectiveness, sales efficiency, working harder

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About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years.  Dave's Blog earned a Bronze Medal in 2016 and this article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016. Read more about Dave.

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