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Farquharson/Tedesco on Business Development: Trick-or-Treating for Salespeople

October 2013

Back when your authors were young whippersnappers, Halloween was one of our favorite holidays. We especially loved trick-or-treating, the only activity other than sales in which it's acceptable to go door-to-door with an agenda.

As adults, we usually spend Halloween at home, giving out candy and crossing our fingers that we don't run out before the teenagers with eggs and shaving cream show up. Watching trick-or-treaters from this vantage point, we've realized something: these little buggers would make great salespeople. They've got excellent attitudes, lots of energy, the ability to efficiently plan their night's routes..and they always find a way to get what they want.

Effective trick-or-treaters and salespeople both possess four key attributes, which form the acronym APTT: Attitude, Plan, Think and Tact. With just these four simple sales tools, you're "APTT" to win more business and lock in customers for the long haul. Or get more candy, if you'd prefer that.

Attitude. Does anyone have a stronger "can-do" spirit than the trick-or-treater who charges out the door right after dinner and doesn't stop until his parents drag him back inside after dark? Does anyone get more candy?

Take a page from this kiddo's playbook. If you don't think you can, or you don't want to, you won't. Attitude is the foundation upon which every successful sales career is built. A good attitude means taking advantage of every opportunity to get in front of clients and prospects—and knowing exactly what to do when you do. It's making that last call at 4:45 p.m. instead of skipping out early, or catching a later train back home so you have time to make a few important calls.

Plan. Ever witness a group of kiddies plotting their trick-or-treating paths through the neighborhood? Their level of strategic planning puts many sales professionals to shame. Somehow they intuitively know how to make best use of their limited time.

Similarly, you need a realistic, actionable plan to guide you to success! Every successful plan should have two characteristics: efficiency and effectiveness. Efficiency can be something as simple as how you schedule appointments and manage your sales territory. Take yourself through a territory-planning exercise and determine which stops you can make along the way. Then, extend that exercise to plan how many stops you can make per week and per month.

 

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