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May 13

Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports Coach – Part 4

By Dr. Jack Singer | Sales Professionals

GAME PLAN FOR SALES SUCCESS: Workshop Thursday

Today is “(Mental) Toughness Thursday!”

By Dr. Jack Singer
Licensed Sport Psychologist
Professional Sales Team Speaker/Trainer

This is part 4 of a 5 part series.

GAME PLAN FOR SALES SUCCESS: Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports CoachThis is the fourth day of my week long Game Plan for Sales Success. The week began by exercises aimed at developing group cohesion, and was followed on Triumphant Tales Tuesday by case studies of sales successes that colleagues in your team can share with each other. Wednesday was the day that sales managers introduced specifics about a new sales push, new products, services, sales strategies etc. Workshop Wednesday was more of a didactic format, so that attendees could be exposed to your power-point, video programs, handouts, etc., teaching them all they need to know about these products and services.

We now have arrived at Thursday, which has the goal of troubleshooting problems sales, disappointments, missed opportunities, etc.  This is where mental toughness comes in.  Elite athletes gain knowledge from setbacks and bounce back quickly.  So, (mental) Toughness Thursday is all about training your team to deal with disappointments, mishaps in sales and missed opportunities.

Like athletes, many sales professionals look at missed opportunities and setbacks as “failures,” which now erodes their self-confidence.  And obviously, loss of self-confidence feeds on itself and undermines performance.  So, you need to teach them to quickly defuse the self-flagellation that could result from perceived “failures.” The best way to do that is by pro-actively putting this skill into the training package during the Toughness Thursday.

Using mental toughness in the face of disappointment is one of the most important ingredients for maintaining focus and overcoming the fear of continual failure. Once the sales professional runs into adversity, it is easy to become distracted from the goal, focusing instead on his perceived failure and the fear of repeating the failure.

Sales Performance= Sales Skill + Knowledge + Motivation  Minus Distractions.

This simple formula tells it all.  The more the distractions, the less the sales performance, regardless of skill, knowledge and motivation.  And, the number one distraction is the negative self-talk that follows setbacks in performance. 

Four training tips to help your sales team overcome negative distractions. 

#1) Stop negative self-talk immediately. Self-limiting, negative and pessimistic internal dialogue (self-talk) always inhibit success. Examples are sentences that begin with: “What if …,” “I hope I don’t . . .” “I should have said . . .” “The client won’t like me if . . .” “I always have problems with . . .” “I probably won’t be able to close this sale,” and “I can’t believe how stupid I was to miss that . . .” Negative, messages that pass through your mind immediately lead to muscle tightening, rapid breathing, and perspiring. These physiological responses are perceived as “stress,” and stress inhibits great performance.

Wear a loose fitting rubber band on your wrist and when negative thoughts go through your mind, snap the rubber band hard enough to stop the thought.  If a rubber band isn’t convenient, tighten a fist as a reminder to stop thinking that way.

Once you succeed in stopping the thought, take a few slow, deep breaths, relax, and change your thoughts to ones that are positive and optimistic. For example, when you catch yourself beginning a thought with “What if…,”  change it immediately to “No big deal.  I’ll learn from this and move on.” Always tell yourself to move on to the next opportunity and never linger on the negative situation that already passed.

Once you have taught your team these tips, pair them up and role play negative thinking scenarios and practice healthy responses.  Share examples with the rest of the team.

#2) Give yourself positive affirmations, continuously.  Regardless of what happened that you are not happy about, look to the next opportunity right now. Fill your thinking with positive affirmations about yourself, such as… “I am a very successful sales professional. In my career, I have bounced back from many disappointments and achieved success. I don’t have to be perfect to be successful, and I don’t have to get every sale to be successful.” 

A great plan is to have each member of your team write down 10 positive affirmations and say each one 10 times in the morning and 10 times in the evening.  Make sure they write down the affirmations, not just think about them.

# 3) Visualize sales success before you approach potential customers. Visualize yourself preparing for your next sales call and feeling confident as you enter the room. Visualize the sights and sounds around you as you begin. Picture the customer smiling and nodding in agreement as you show him/her how your product or service is perfect for their needs.

#4) Use the power of goal setting. You are 11 times more likely to reach a goal when you write it down, as opposed to simply thinking about it. Write down short and long-term sales-related goals that are specific and action-oriented. Ensure the goals are realistic.

Next, visualize yourself feeling wonderful once you achieve that goal. Imagine it as if you’ve already achieved the goal. It’s important to then list ways in which you could (or did in the past) sabotage yourself from accomplishing the goal, and how you’ll avoid that behavior.

Training your team to recognize negative distractions resulting from sales  disappointments and how to overcome those distractions will give them the mental toughness necessary to be continually successful.

Stay tuned for the next installment: Finale Friday.

 

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem. To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

Apr 29

Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports Coach – Part 3

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Financial Advisors , Sales Professionals

GAME PLAN FOR SALES SUCCESS: Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports Coach

Today is “Wednesday Workshop!”

By Dr. Jack Singer
Licensed Sport Psychologist
Professional Sales Team Speaker/Trainer

This is part 3 of a 5 part series.

sales, sales success, insurance sales, sales coaching, role playing, game plan

In my first two articles about a week long Game Plan for Sales Success, I discussed kicking the week off with “Magic Monday,” involving strategies to develop group cohesion among your sales team. The second training day, which I referred to as “Triumphant Tales Tuesday,” has the goal of successful team members sharing the elements of their successes with their colleagues, in the form of case studies.  This day includes role playing exercises, so that team members can practice the skills that have already been shown by their peers to be successful.

Now, we are at mid week, where I suggest a workshop format, Workshop Wednesday.

Recall that this training week mirrors that of a sports team. Wednesday is typically the day for the team’s game plan for their next opponent is introduced. In this case, sales managers can introduce specifics about a new sales push, new products, services, sales strategies etc. Workshop Wednesday is more of a didactic format, so that attendees can be exposed to power-point, video programs, handouts, etc., teaching them all they need to know about these products and services.

As on Tuesday, role playing exercises can be very helpful in practicing these new strategies.

Because many sales professionals internally resist change, the introduction of new or different products, services or sales strategies may raise this resistance.  Consequently, this is a wonderful opportunity to discuss methods of overcoming resistance to change.  In such a discussion, I include such topics as “Overcoming Imposter Fear,” “Taking Charge of Your Internal Critic,” and “Taking Charge of Your Attitudes and Emotions.”  All of these topics (addressed in other articles I have written) address the issue of resistance to change.

Like all training days, I recommend ending with a fun exercise.  There are many manuals offering team building closing exercises and some are directed specifically for sales professionals.  An example is “Superspy.” In this sales training game, attendees pair up in teams to discover the most critical information they need about a fictitious company that is a prospective buyer of your product or service. The team with the most creative ideas for uncovering critical information about the prospective buyer wins a fun prize.  All of these exercises serve multiple purposes:  having fun together, developing a competitive spirit between small teams, and brainstorming to develop creative ideas to sell your products.

Stay tuned for the next installment:  (Mental) Toughness Thursday.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem. To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

Apr 12

Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports Coach – Part 2

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Financial Advisors , Sales Professionals

GAME PLAN FOR SALES SUCCESS: Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports Coach

By Dr. Jack Singer
Licensed Sport Psychologist
Professional Sales Team Speaker/Trainer

This is part 2 of a 5 part series.

Today is Triumphant Tales Tuesday!

Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports Coach

In my first article about a week long Game Plan for Sales Success, I discussed kicking the week off with Magic Monday, involving strategies to develop group cohesion among your sales team. Using a nautical analogy, no matter how many different “boats” your individual team members arrived on when they joined your sales organization, they are now all on the same “ship,” with each crew member working toward the goal of bringing the ship into port successfully.

Now, it’s Tuesday and time for team members to share success stories with their colleagues. Modeling success strategies from colleagues helps all team members achieve their individual goals, with the combined team goals obviously being accomplished as well.  Again, as in sports, focusing on team goals, rather than individual ones, creates cohesion and the desire for colleagues to help each other.

Triumphant Tales Tuesday actually serves three purposes:

  • First, colleagues share case examples of sales successes they have accomplished, a form of “best practices” sharing.  The more detail included in the stories, the better, with all of the elements that ultimately led to the sale, including listening to and assessing the prospective client’s needs, asking the right questions and closing techniques.
  • Secondly, sharing case examples of success stories that the sales professionals shared with some prospective clients, in order to convince them to purchase products or services, is a valuable sales tool, from which to learn.  For example, an insurance sales professional can share a story that she told a prospective client about how happy another client was that he purchased that insurance product, because shortly afterward, there was an accident or family tragedy, which was fully covered by the product they had purchased.  Showing prospective clients how current ones are thrilled with the product or service they purchased from you is a powerful selling tool.  It is like a testimonial, but telling it in story form is much more impactful than simply quoting a comment from a satisfied customer.  Of course, if the current client is willing to be contacted by your prospective client, that is even more powerful. Your current client will be helping to close the deal for you!
  • Third, these tales of success can easily lead to role playing scenarios, where team members can practice story-telling skills with each other, as if they were telling them to prospective clients.

Role playing, with the task simulating as closely as possible an actual sales scenario, is a powerful learning technique.  Football teams, for example, in preparing for bowl games, will simulate crowd noise and other distractions during their practice and they practice in the same facility in which the big game will be held. Simulating what they will face during the game conditions the players’ mental and physical “muscle memories” so that the actual game will be much less stressful and they will be focused on the goal of winning.

So, too, in sales training, the closer the training simulates the exact situation in which the sales professional finds himself, the less mental and emotional distractions will hamper the ultimate sales approach.

There are many forms of role-playing used in training.  Like all training, I make it fun by having colleagues cheering for each other, giving out prizes for the best “acting,” and concluding the day with another fun activity.

Stay tuned for my discussion of the third day of the Game Plan for Sales Success, Workshop Wednesday.

Listen to Dr. Jack and Jon Hansen discuss this topic on BlogTalkRadio.

Listen to internet radio with Jon Hansen on BlogTalkRadio

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem. To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.