Spring Into The New Quarter By Michael Pallin
Chances are you are as busy as you want to be right now. Add the traditional spring market to historically low interest rates and the increasing signs of economic recovery, and you have the ingredients of busy.
There are three kinds of busy.
- First there is the ‘Whee, this is great’ kind of busy.
- Then there is the ‘Holy Cow, I’m busy’ kind of busy.
- And then there is the ‘I hope this doesn’t last much longer because I’m at my wit’s end’ kind of busy.
But whether you are happily, gleefully, productively busy – or frantically busy - here’s a quick word of caution from my colleague, and Floyd Wickman Team Trainer Of the Year Sheldon Spiegel, “If you don’t prospect when you’re busy, you won’t be.”
Of all the key systems salespeople need to have in place, the most important system for maintaining momentum (so that you stay busy) is your prospecting system. That is, your system for talking to people who can advance your business with a lead, a referral, an appointment or a signature. We call them qualifying conversations.
So, you might ask, “Why do I need a system for talking to people? I know how to talk to people.” That’s true enough, but the talking part isn’t the problem most salespeople have. Making yourself make calls to generate leads and prospects when you're already busy with leads and prospects is the point. That’s where a system comes in.
By the way, the difference between a lead and a prospect is in having a qualifying conversation. A lead might have a need, and everyone is a lead. When a lead admits a need in conversation, the lead becomes a prospect.
What are the ingredients of a system that makes you prospect?
Begin with a regularly scheduled time, and make that time inviolable. Guard it with your life. Allow nothing short of death or dismemberment to distract you, or to rationalize substituting anything else in its place.
How much time? That depends on how many dials it takes you to have a conversation. How many conversations it takes you to generate a lead or appointment. And how many appointments it takes you to get a check. Market conditions and skill level change the ratios, but doing the basics, and then tracking your activity and results, never changes. Make tracking the second ingredient of your system.
Finally, create some accountability with a partner, or a team, prospecting together and comparing results after each prospecting session.
Over time you will learn how much time you need to schedule, how many numbers you need to dial, how many conversations you need to have, by doing this consistently. Then, and only then, are you in a position to fine-tune your system.
Remember what Floyd Wickman teaches us, “You can’t fine tune anything until it is first consistent.”
The second system to fine tune is your presentation system. Whether you are presenting an offer, showing a house, putting on a listing presentation, getting a price reduction – selling is selling is selling, and selling is a system.
Wikipedia defines a SYSTEM as step-by-step procedures, or an organized method for accomplishing something. Again, Floyd teaches us to always, “Take things one step at a time and stay on track.” And that assumes that you have a track with steps.
There are a number of very effective sales presentation systems taught today, but I like Floyd’s because it’s not about memorization and mechanical scripts. His system is about using your own words and your own style to arrive at a mutual decision one step at a time.
If you’ve ever been called by a telemarketer who is obviously reading a script, you know the disadvantages of trying to learn somebody else’s words, and trying to recite them word for word out in the field. “Please, folks, don’t interrupt me or I’ll have to start all over again from the beginning.”
The advantage of using a consistent step-by-step procedure for every sales presentation is you get better results quicker, because you can fine-tune what works and what doesn’t work.
Try ad-libbing and improvising as you go along, and you will see what I mean.
Let’s say I have time to go on 10 listing appointments a month and I usually get 4 out of 10. But then I implement a system and fine-tune my presentation and get 6 out of 10. Same amount of work, 50% better results.
There’s the answer to the age-old question, “How do I get more business without working harder?” The answer: Lose Fewer! You can’t get them all. You probably don’t even want them all. But you can get better.
And the third critical system when busy is your Follow-Up System. More business is lost due to a lack of consistent follow up than for any other reason.
Make sure you have a system for following up on two categories especially, web inquiries and active prospects. For web inquiries, your system should separate the browsers from the buyers. Keep in touch with browsers, and get buyers to come into the office to be qualified, select and look.
For active prospects, your follow up system should prompt you to communicate when and how your prospects want to be contacted. Most of the time it’s as simple as asking, “What is your preferred method of communicating?”
Sometimes getting as busy as you want to be is just a matter of being in the right place at the right time when the right conditions occur. But staying as busy (and as productive) as you want to be usually boils down to how good your systems are.
I hope that you take a moment out of your busy life, fly up in the air and take a bird’s eye view of your systems in these three key areas: prospecting, presenting and following up. Work your systems consistently. Fine-tune them. And then when the seasons change (as they always do), and when the market changes (as it always does), but your momentum builds instead of slowing down, I know you’ll be glad you did.
Here’s to an amazing spring season ahead for all of you. Remember – we’re here to help! If you need to fine tune your systems and brush up on your skills, click here to learn more about what we do - and consider inviting one of our skilled speakers and trainers into your organization. The results? Extraordinary!