Search
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Family Business Center

Six Secrets of Sales Success

by Shel Horowitz

Two members of FBC sponsor Momentum Group, Ken Furst (familiar to FBC attenders) and recent addition Scott Farland, shared their Six Secrets of Sales Success with Family Business Center members at the June meeting, held at the Log Cabin.

1. Sharpen Your Saw

Remember the old story about the woodsman who was struggling to cut down a tree with a very dull saw? He was "too busy" to stop and prepare his tools properly, and so wasted enormous hours dong the job badly. Don't be like that! Don't get so caught up in the minutia of your day that you skip the time to step back and look at the big picture.

2. Manage your Time and Turf

Whether you're Bill Gates or Billy Goat Gruff, you have the same number of hours in a day. How well you use them makes all the difference. Categorize tasks as directly generating revenue, indirectly generating revenue, or non-revenue producing. And spend more time in the first category. Even the highest achievers in sales typically only spend a third of their time on direct revenue generation—so think what you can achieve if you can move that up a few percentage points. Quantify it; if you pay a rep $60,000 per year, that means each hour is worth $30.

3. Be a Pro, Not a Sales Jockey

Put yourself in your customers' shoes, and approach them as they would like to be approached. Listen a lot, understand the objections and the "so whats"—understand that in order to become a customer, your prospect must internalize the benefits of your solution. Ask your best customers, who are certainly being wooed by other vendors, why they've chosen to stay with you.

4. Focus on the Meaning of Life

Why are you really in business? While you want to switch as many hours of your business time into the most productive areas, keep in perspective the things that really matter: time, community, loyalty—and love.

5. Slice the Bologna Backwards

Figure out where you want to be and reverse engineer the goal into a series of steps. If you know what you want as a profit, you can create a sales target based on that goal. It's not about working hard, but about meeting those goals effectively. You can "create your own W-2" by visualizing the number you want on the income line of your tax return.

6. Follow the Principles of Demeanor

A good rep understands the goals and purposes of the organization…builds customer relationships based on empathy, worthwhile conversation and of course meeting the client's needs…knows how to support his or her people…NEVER gossips or moves an appointment…and understands the importance of profit without being greedy.

Back to Top