Next year starts today. Whether you’re the team leader or a salesperson, Paul has tips on how to stay motivated and finish this year strong.
Take an open, honest look at your pipeline of opportunity, especially during times of peak performance.
“Your pipeline is more likely to dry up when you experience success, not failure.”
The pain you’re going to feel of an empty pipeline is not going to happen right now; that pain will happen three, six, maybe even nine months down the road.
Selling to your existing customers is the easiest way to grow your business, so now is the time to leverage deals that you’ve already closed.
Do more––even if you’re already crushing it.
Start laying the groundwork today for the deals that you want to close next year.
You have time working on your side; put a couple of whales in that pipeline.
Get your downloadable chapters of Selling Through Tough Times now at toughtimer.com.
Click here to purchase the latest edition of Value-Added Selling.
Thanks to our production team at The Creative Impostor Studios!
Click here to book a complimentary consultation with Strategist and Producer, Andrea Klunder, to find out how to launch, produce, and grow your company’s podcast.
Thank you for tuning in. Our show is updated weekly with the questions you ask. So, please go to the home page to ask the question that you want answered.
Be sure to follow our show in your favorite podcast app and share this episode with a colleague or friend.
And most importantly…make it a big day.
How do I finish the year strong and stay motivated?
(Transcribed from podcast)
Today’s episode, we’re going to talk about a question that came up when I was working with a sales leader just the other day. The question was, “Paul, my sales team is absolutely crushing it this year.” So, his team is outperforming, they are well ahead of their number. They’re going to have a great year. So this sales leader said, “You know, the only challenge I face right now is keeping my team motivated.” He said, “What advice would you have for this situation? When you have a sales team that is absolutely crushing it, how do you motivate them to finish the year strong?” So that’s what we’re going to discuss on today’s episode.
Before we get into that, though, a quick shout-out to our sponsor, Andrea, over at The Creative Impostor Studios. Andrea does a great job. Just emailed her the other day with an idea on how I can improve the podcast, and within 20 minutes, she responded with a few ideas. Andrea is that type of person. She’s very responsive, attentive, and that’s the kind of person you want to partner with when you’re building a podcast. So, if you’re thinking about building a podcast, reach out to Andrea and her team. We’re going to have a link over to their website on this episode’s webpage.
Next thing, drum roll, please. (Drums on desktop.) I was never a drummer as you can probably tell. But, we just launched my brand new website, ToughTimer.com. Gosh, I’ve been spending months on building this website, and there is so much content available for you for free if you visit the website. It’s very simple. It’s ToughTimer.com. TOUGHtimer.com. Now, the book is coming out in September, but there is content right now available to help you sell through any challenging time that you’re facing. Whether you’re new to sales, whether you’re experienced, whether you’re facing a tough competitor, whether you’re facing industry disruption, whatever it is, you’re going to benefit from this book. And, to prove it to you, I’m going to give you something that nobody else is getting right now. You are going to get some downloadable chapters for free. I’ve got three free chapters for you to download. All you’ve got to do is go to ToughTimer.com. Go to the book page on the website, and there you can download three of our chapters: the introduction, chapter one, and then our chapter on messaging. So, check out the website. We’ll have a link to it on this episode’s webpage.
All right. So let’s get back to it. How do you help your team? How do you motivate your team to finish the year strong?
Well, we’re going to go through a couple of tips and ideas because we are entering that final leg of the 2021 selling season. It’s hard to believe. This year is just flying by. So, the first thing you need to do, whether you’re a sales leader, whether you’re a salesperson, you have to take an open and honest look at your pipeline of opportunity. That is absolutely critical. Especially during times of peak performance. This is when your pipeline is the most vulnerable of drying out. Think about it. When you’re struggling and you know that you’re not near your number, you’re already making more calls. You’re already trying to fill that pipeline. The reason your pipeline starts to dry up is when you experience more success. Your pipeline is more likely to dry up when you experience success, not failure. So, if you are outperforming—if you are doing extremely well right now—now is the critical time to analyze your pipeline to make sure that you have a steady flow of new deals coming in.
That means, for every sale that you close, you need to make six more prospecting calls to fill in that order that has just exited the pipeline. So increase your activity. Take an open and honest look at it. If you have some of those deals in your pipeline that are dead, that are stalled out, that just ain’t going to happen, move them out of the pipeline. I’m amazed at how often salespeople keep dead opportunities in their pipeline. They try to resurrect them. As I mentioned on my previous podcast episode with Carson, it’s like they’re resurrecting a deal like it’s the Weekend at Bernie’s movie. Get those deals out of the system. Admit that they’re gone. And by doing that, you’re going to take a clear look at your pipeline; you’re going to realize that you need to do more. You need to create more activity. That’s going to motivate you because the pain you’re going to feel of an empty pipeline is not going to happen right now. That pain is going to happen three months, six months, maybe even nine months down the road. And when you think about that timeframe—three to six months from now—we are going to be at the end of the year and right at the beginning of a new year. You want to start out the year with some momentum. Now is the time to fill that pipeline. So that’s tip number one.
Number two, if you’re already crushing it this year, now is the time to leverage the deals that you’ve already closed. Think about those deals that you closed earlier in the year. Think about the business, the new opportunities that you’ve won earlier in the year. Go back to those opportunities, review with them, see how they’re performing, and then look for new opportunities to grow the business that you have with that customer or with that client. Remember, selling to your existing customers and clients is going to be the easiest way to grow your business. I remember, we did a couple of different studies on this, and we found a couple of different studies as well, but salespeople tell us hands-down that is where they spend their time. In fact, our research shows that top-achieving salespeople spend 80% of their time trying to grow their business with existing customers. So go back to those deals you have already won and sell more to them. It’s easier, and you’re going to be more profitable as a company as a result of it. So go back and leverage those existing relationships that you’ve built. And if you go back to them and you reconnect with them, and now it’s not the time, keep in mind that you’re planting seeds for next year. Okay? So leverage your existing opportunities.
Next thing—next thing you’ve got to do is you’ve got to do more. If you want to be more successful, you’ve got to do more. You know, and this is especially true for those salespeople that are not hitting their number. So let’s talk about that for a moment. If you’re not hitting your number, it’s not enough to do 5%, 10%, 20% more. No, instead, do 300% more. I just wrote an article on this and it talks about J. J. Watt, arguably one of the best defensive ends to ever play at the game when he’s healthy. The guy’s unbelievable. He is. His career has been riddled with injuries, tough times, slumps, right? The equivalent of what we face in sales, he’s experienced plenty of them. So, when he’s experienced injuries, he will do more to get back to game-playing levels.
During a scrimmage, here’s what he will do. They’ll go through the scrimmage play, and that’s typically four to five seconds. But after the play is whistled dead, he sprints an additional 20 yards away from the huddle. And then he jogs back. The reason he does that is to improve his overall stamina, his endurance. Because, during an injury, you lose some of that endurance. So he’s trying to gain it back—getting himself ready to go out there and play. So he’s doing more. And if you look at it, relatively speaking, to the initial effort of four seconds in a scrimmage, he’s running an additional 20 yards, which is about four more seconds. And then he’s got to run back to the huddle, which probably takes him eight seconds. He’s doing 300% more. So if you were behind, you’re like J. J. Watt, you’re coming back from an injury. In sales terms, you’re coming back from a slump. You don’t need to do 150%, 200%. You need to do 300%. That 300% is going to get you back in ready position. So you just simply need to do more. If your goal is to make 10 prospecting calls a day, make 30 prospecting calls. If your goal is to set 10 meaningful appointments that week, schedule 30 meaningful appointments that week. You just simply have to do more.
Now, for those of you who are absolutely crushing it this year, congratulations. But as Dabo Swinney says, “Last year’s touchdowns don’t count for this year’s games.” So that means every single quarter, every single month, you in sales, you’re hitting the reset button. We start over every single month. I get that. Not only that, but we start over every single year. Next year is only, it’s only about four months away. That means that next season starts to. That means right now, the deals that you want to close next year, you need to start laying the groundwork today.
And I know some salespeople are out there saying right now, “You know what? Paul I’ve already crushed my quota. I’m well, ahead of it. Why don’t I hold some of these deals that I have pending until next year?” Here’s one piece of advice. The world changes overnight. If anything, we have learned over the past year and a half, that our world can change overnight. If you have a deal that you can close, you better close it while you can, unless your team caps your bonuses and commissions. And I hope sales leaders, I hope business owners are listening to this. If you are a salesperson and you can close a deal today, but your company has already capped out the commission or the bonus that you can make, I would hold the deal. I would hold the deal until you get paid on it.
And I know many people are probably saying, “Well, Paul, what happens if you lose a deal?” Well, maybe your company will learn its lesson and stop capping your commissions and stop capping your bonuses. That is the dumbest thing that I have ever heard in the sales profession. Why on earth would you want to limit your sales team’s ability to produce results? Salespeople will do what you pay them to do. And if you restrict that payment, if you cap their commission, hey, that’s the price you got to pay for not paying them correctly. And I want to be clear on this, if you, as a salesperson, can close that deal, but your company’s already capped your commission, they’ve already capped your bonus, I would wait until next year. I would wait until the next quarter. By doing that, teaches your company a lesson. Teaches them that, “Maybe we should pay when they earn it.”
Now, if your company doesn’t cap your commission, if they don’t restrict your bonuses, then you’ve got to push those deals through. You’ve got to push hard all the time. Success breeds more success. Operate from a mindset of abundance. Don’t think, “Oh, you know what? Maybe I should hold some of these back to start off the year strong next year.” No, put yourself in a position where you have to be successful again the next year. The harder you push now means the harder you’re going to have to push next year. But guess what? The harder you push, the more outcomes you’re going to generate. So again, next season starts today. Push those deals through if you can get paid, but if you can’t, hold them ‘til next year.
And then finally, when you are at this point in the year, and you’re already crushing your number, you view time differently. It’s almost like you view your time the way a gambler and a casino views playing with house money. It’s like it’s not real almost. It’s like the time that you’re going to invest is house time. And so, here’s what I would recommend doing. Go after a couple of those whales—those huge opportunities—those opportunities that take a long time to come into fruition, those low probability ones. And I say low probability just because maybe you don’t have as many in your pipeline already, but go after those whales. You have time working on your side. You have the ability to put the effort in now, and who knows? It may come into fruition this year; it may come into fruition next year, but you’ve got to lay the groundwork today.
So Phil put it, put a couple of whales in that pipeline. Go after them. And when you go after them, make sure you have a plan. Meet with all the right people. Go after those high-level decision makers. Remember, you’re playing with house money right now, so you’ve got nothing to lose. Your year is already set. So use this as an opportunity to catapult your success moving into next year.
All right, folks. That’s today’s episode. make sure you visit TheQandASalesPodcast.com. While you’re there, you can ask me a question and I’ll turn it into a future show. Hit that follow button, share this with your colleagues, especially share it with your company if they cap your bonus. And clip out that part that I went on a tirade about. So, clip it and share it with them.
Make it a big day.