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The CPR of Sales
Getting Back to the Fundamentals
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Woody Davis, an experienced sales leader dedicated to helping other sales
professionals reach their goals and potential is the current Vice President of
Sales at CRMPoint, a unique Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Development firm specializing in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Woody is a retired US Navy Veteran, Husband and father of three and
grandfather of nine. Along with his leadership at CRMPoint, Woody’s
experience includes leading a statewide sales force at a major copier
manufacturer for 10 years.
www.linkedin.com/pub/woody-davis/13/898/b51
CRMPoint Headquarters
12616 W. 62nd Terrace
Suite 113
Shawnee, KS 66216
Texas Office
16225 Park Ten Place
Suite 500
Houston, TX 77084
Florida Office
1802 Alafaya Trail
Orlando, FL 32826
Arizona Office
60 E Rio Salado Parkway
Suite 900
Tempe, AZ 85281
Minnesota Office
15025 Glazier Ave
Suite 104
Apple Valley, MN 55124
We are ready to share our passion with you! We always offer complimentary consultations. Call us today at 1-877-CRM-1411.
INTRODUCTION
When my son was 12, I taught him how to pitch.
He had a strong arm and put the fast in fastball. We
started with the fundamentals: rock back, line up
and throw. Whether we were practicing in the backyard or he was playing on the baseball diamond,
the key to success was doing the exact same thing,
every time.
As he got older, he became a very good pitcher
and learned how to throw splitters,
curveballs and more. But he always went back to
the fundamentals. Any person playing a sport or
perfecting any skill will continue to go back to the
fundamentals. For musicians, it also comes down to
the basics. Even if you’ve played piano at Carnegie
Hall, you still have to practice the scales.
In sales, we’ll experience success when we go back
to the fundamentals too. We know what actions result
in sales, and we go back to those basics with
consistency, persistence and resilience.
I call this Sales “CPR.”
CPR, in a medical context, is Cardio
Pulmonary Resuscitation. If you look across a
crowded room, you’ll notice a variety of people
of different shapes and sizes. On one side of the
fitness bell curve is a man who exercises regularly,
eats right and knows his heart is in great condition.
On the other side of the curve is a heavy smoker
who is a little overweight and eats cheeseburgers
three times a week. Which one do you think is
closest to needing CPR?
Now, we learn CPR with the hope that we may
never have the need to use our training. But aren’t
we glad there are those out there who know the
process and have that life-saving knowledge? CPR
is only the basics, of course, and even one day in
medical school would teach you much more. But
these are the
fundamentals, the basics, the core.
And so, back to Sales CPR, also an acronym
(Consistency, Persistency & Resiliency) — the
fundamentals, the basics, the core of sales success.
I will endeavor to define these principals throughout
the course of this book to share how these three
fundamental traits have helped drive the best sales
professionals to success.
I had a sales mentor at the start of my career
who gave me great advice. It was the start of my
first year and, I’ll admit it, I was terrified. He noticed
my response to the seemingly unreachable goal
that had been passed down from the main offices.
It just felt too big, my eyes glazed over and I felt
numb. He looked at me and said, “How do you eat
an elephant? Isn’t it one bite at a time?” He had a
few more memorable and colorful quotes that would
remind you of Alec Baldwin, which we won’t go into
now. Let’s just say that I didn’t think I could drink
coffee in my first few weeks. But this phrase
resonated with me so much that I posted it above
my desk.
So, whether you’re at the start of a new year, a
new month, or just a new day, the secret to meeting
your goals with confidence is returning to the
fundamentals of the profession.
“...how do you
eat an elephant?
Isn’t it one bite
at a time?”
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con·sis·tent — adjective
: always acting or behaving in the same way
: of the same quality; especially : good each time
: maintaining a particular standard or repeating a task with minimal variation
Talk to successful athletes about what keeps them
focused and you’ll get the same answer: knowing (and
remembering) the fundamentals. Over and over again,
the most successful athletes get back to the basics.
The same good things get the same good results.
Successful business people and other professionals
will say similar things.“Remember the fundamentals
of success and visit them often.”
What makes a sales team successful isn’t only
what happens as the sale is closed. What makes a
sales team successful is the process, the habits and
the strategy. The first part of Sales CPR is C. And C
stands for CONSISTENCY.
Consistent salespeople set high standards and
then keep at them. They know the habits that help
them succeed and keep these up. They build relationships with prospects and customers alike, in a
way that’s more a marathon than a sprint. They put
effort forward on a daily basis, with little variance. A
sales
professional will know five traits and actions that
must be accomplished on a regular basis.
1
Activity is king. Most of us know what the
right things are to do as salespeople. Networking, calling, researching, asking good
questions, following up, keeping good records .
. . the list goes on. All these tasks are important,
and all will contribute to strong sales — but only if
they’re done consistently. Consistent activity will
bring sales, but activity for
activity’s sake isn’t what we’re talking about. A
haphazard approach, even if it includes the right
tactics, won’t bear good results.
2
want to do those tasks that are more difficult, like
picking up the phone and calling a prospect. So we
tend instead to do those tasks that are easier and
more fun instead, like networking. Consistency
matters in both what’s hard and what’s easy. And
just as important is tracking what you do.
Good sales teams tackle the hard and the easy,
on a regular schedule and a regular basis. So how
do we shift away from an erratic approach and into
a consistent approach? Cultivation is the key. Part
of this is scheduling and knowing what works best
for you. A good salesperson needs to know how to
structure a workday towards consistency — and to
keep track of each activity.
For example, some salespeople might check
email first thing in the morning, every morning;
others wait until later in the day. Some salespeople
might make 30 calls at the start of every day, and
others may tackle these in the afternoon. No
matter what schedule you choose, you have to
choose to be disciplined. Create a to-do list and
stick to it throughout the day. Consistently being a
person of good habits and characteristics and
quality is the way towards sales success.
Then make sure each item is tracked. Interacting
with your prospects consistently is what moves them
through the pipeline. Needing that pipeline of
prospects hasn’t changed, but how we get those
prospects has changed. LinkedIn was still in beta
form 10 years ago; today, it’s what I rely on. I spend
an hour each morning on the professional network,
looking at the best trends, updating my profile,
commenting and building relationships. Those lead
to prospects. Salespeople who ignore LinkedIn are
missing out.
Tracking activity properly matters.
Having the tools to keep up with the 50,
500 or 5,000 contacts that you are
managing will give you confidence. We tend to not
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people, and more importantly, people buy from
people they know and trust. So keeping your
promises leads to success . . . if you can gain the
trust of your prospects, then they’ll stay with you
when they become your customers. Keeping track
of promises helps you fulfill them.
4
Know that failure is inevitable. I believe
that we need to track all activity and be
honest with our failures too. We’re not going
to win everything. It isn’t going to happen. Failure is
a reality. But when we track our wins and track our
losses, we can put into perspective what reality is.
J.D. Gershbein is a top thought leader on
LinkedIn for business and personal branding, and a featured
blogger for The Huffington Post. He writes: “Although
much has changed regarding the site, successful use of
LinkedIn still hinges on representing well, connecting
with the right people, and effectively pulling online
conversations offline. Those who have embraced social
networking in their businesses are aware of the good
that LinkedIn can do when worked consistently.
More and more users are activating every day.”
www.linkedin.com/in/jdgershbein
After spending time on LinkedIn, I check my
CRM — this helps me determine what is coming up,
what needs to be followed up on and who I need to
connect with that day. Using this system, I’m able to
consistently shift prospects through the sales pipeline.
Consistency also matters in sales appointments.
Three appointments every day — one in the
morning, one at lunch and one in the afternoon
— builds that pipeline. And don’t eat lunch unless
you’re buying someone’s lunch. This regular
schedule ensures I’m making regular connections.
We typically work from a Lead, Opportunity and
Close model when working with our contacts. And
so it’s important to know where each prospect is in
the cycle — and knowing what the next steps are
will lend to success.
3
Keep the promises you make. The sales
profession gets a bad rap sometimes.
Salespeople can easily want to do so much
that we fail to properly follow up with the things we
promised. It’s not that they are over-promising and
under-delivering; it’s that they’re promising and then
not delivering at all. It’s true that people buy from
5
Care — really care. Be truly interested in
your prospect’s business goals and help
your prospect achieve them. This starts with
doing your research and continues with asking the
right questions to find out what the prospect wants
to accomplish. As the sales great Zig Ziglar said,
“You will get all you want in life if you help enough
other people get what they want.”
From a management perspective, you can
encourage consistency by wanting to help your
people instead of wanting to control them. This
is what it means to be a caring coach. Know the
strengths of every person on your sales team, and
consistently manage towards those strengths.
For sales managers, a good follow-up system
can help you make sure your team is doing the right
things, and doing them consistently. Like a coach on
the sidelines, a CRM system can allow you to watch
what your team is doing from a distance, and then
connect when needed. You can step in to compliment, challenge, encourage or correct, just at the
moment it’s most needed.
per·sis·tent — adjective
: the quality of continuing steadily despite problems or difficulties
: continuing to endure over a prolonged time period
When my son was perfecting his pitching arm,
I remember thinking about my days as a 12-yearold. I never wanted to play ball. It just wasn’t in my
plan when I was a kid. But as a dad, when my son
showed interest, I wanted him to realize his dream.
So, I learned the basic fundamentals of pitching and
worked with him to learn to be consistent.
Initially, I would place his arm at the right position
or make sure he was throwing from the stride in
order to deliver the ball properly. As he became
more proficient, my interaction was less while my
encouragement became more important.
Sales Managers who understand their proper role
in their sales people’s day can best encourage from
the sidelines and interact only when it’s needed. My
advice is to invest in the right tools like a good CRM
or good sales training to help your people realize
their goals, and interact when needed.
Here’s a crazy statistic: 47% of salespeople give
up after just one follow-up call. That’s right, about
half give up after just one attempt. Persistence
puts you in the other half, and it’s that stick-to-it
quality that brings success.
No matter what we’re trying to master, it’s certain
that we will encounter setbacks. If sales consistency
is going back to the fundamentals of seeing people
every day, then sales persistence means that you’ll
keep doing this every day, no matter what obstacles
occur. The second part of Sales CPR is P. And P
stands for PERSISTENCE.
We all have things that try to attack our day,
things that get in the way of the sales fundamentals.
It’s easy to get sucked in by these things. Constantly
dipping into that barrage of email, for example, can
carry us quickly from 8 am to 5 pm, and we’ve met
no one and made no sales. Social media, especially
LinkedIn, can be an incredible tool for sales, but it’s
easy to waste several hours and have no results to
show for it.
Internal obstacles get in our way too. Admin,
travel, planning, service and order processing are all
part of the sales job description, but without persistence, they can easily encompass our day, and
we’ve made no sales calls at all.
How people are buying is changing. In 2007, it took an
average of 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect.
Today, less than 10 years later, it takes eight. To further
complicate the sales process, most customers begin their
purchase process well before they engage with a
salesperson. Much of the purchase process takes place
online . . . in fact, buyers are 57% of the way through the
buying cycle before they reach out to sales. And for
more complex purchases, this number
increases to 70%.
This is why persistence has never been more
important for sales success. It’s still true that people
buy from people, businesses buy from people and
they both buy from people they trust. Therefore, the
key to successful selling is keeping track of your
leads and opportunities you’re working on. Without
a system in place, it’s nearly impossible to keep
track of the promises you make.
Sales professionals need to build the trust with
the people they are contacting. They need to have
key performance indicators in place, giving them
the ability to maintain that trust. As these contacts
develop into relationships, you must have a system
and process of managing those relationships —
your CRM.
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Good sales teams give it their all in the face of
difficulties and challenges, looking fear right in the
face. Fear was my main obstacle my first year in
sales — and every year since, actually. As a coach,
it’s your job to look after your team. A good CRM
system allows you to watch the data that’s pouring
in. You can help coach your charge and make them
better, giving your sales professionals advice to make
them better. Armed with this data, you can help your
salespeople overcome that fear. Eleanor Roosevelt
said “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
As we eat that proverbial elephant —
remember, one bite at a time! — we must have the
tools available to follow through with persistence,
even when we don’t want to. Automating follow
through is one way to streamline persistence, making
sure we continue to follow up and follow through.
That constant loop keeps us persistent and keeps
us selling.
Persistence means never giving up, and staying
on the path. Good sales teams give it their all in the
face of difficulties and challenges, looking fear right
in the face and building relationships that lead to
strong results.
I was recently at a networking event
designed to allow entrepreneurial
conversations and presentations to take
place. The main speaker that day was the
CEO of a company whose product will one
day outshine GE if they are successful.
Intrigued, I wanted to learn more about the
simplistic approach the owner was taking
in growing his small startup.
There was a large line to meet this CEO
and it was a little intimidating to just walk
up and engage him in conversation. But
with sincere curiosity to learn more about
his company’s building process I did. Of
course, he eventually asked, “What is that
you do?”
“I help companies organize their
customer relationships using the power of
Microsoft Dynamics CRM, making it
affordable for a small to medium sized
business to customize a CRM matching
their processes rather than their
processes changing for the technology,
” I answered.
“You must be kidding,” he responded.
“We’ve been looking for a CRM
Development company for months and
need help with exactly what you do.”
The rest is history.
These types of engagements happen all
the time . . . but only because of
persistence. After this presentation, I
could easily have pulled email up on my
phone, made small talk with people I
already knew or just headed to my car.
But I am amazed at the business that
takes place with persistent conversations.
re·sil·ient — adjective
: the ability to quickly recover after setbacks
: able to withstand difficult conditions
: able to spring back after bending, stretching or being under stress
No athlete makes every shot, hits every ball or
blocks every goal. And it’s the same in sales. It’s an
obstacle if you fail but you don’t need to stop.
And that’s what resilience means: the ability to
quickly recover after setbacks.
You’ll be betting on a sale coming through, and
you don’t get it. What salespeople tend to do is run
to the corner and lick their wounds. But what would
happen if a championship baseball player struck out
in inning one and inning three and in inning six, told
his coach he’s failed, so he’s done? He’s given up
on opportunities for success in innings seven, eight
and nine. He might have hit a grand slam later in the
game. For the team’s sake and his own he has to
keep going.
Sometimes, you’ll have prospects go silent on
you. You’ll have sales that don’t close. You’ll stumble
on a sales call. But back to the fundamentals you go.
Return to the basics and approach it with
resilience to get back on top of your game once
again. The third part of Sales CPR is R. And R
stands for RESILIENCE.
When they face setbacks, resilient salespeople
bounce back. Challenge? Accepted. Problem? Let’s
find a solution. That positive attitude transcends
their processes and habits. 80% of sales are closed
after the seventh call. Resilient sales teams don’t
give up on call one or call six.
Remember, failure is inevitable. It’s part of the
territory. And when (not if, but when) we fail at our
goals, we have to take the right path to correct it.
What sets the great salespeople apart from the rest
is not how many sales they make or how quickly
they make them, but how resilient they are when
they don’t make a sale. Go back to the things you
did at first and you’ll fall back in love with selling.
As always, returning to the fundamentals is critical
in sales — and its one way you cultivate a resilient
character.
In this day and age, if a salesperson stays in his or
her role for more than four years, that’s an anomaly.
There may be external setbacks, like the company
restructuring or relocating. There may be internal setbacks, like chasing big deals all year and not closing.
But you can’t give up on yourself. You have to keep
going on.
I can’t offer a list of bullet points on how to
become resilient. It’s cyclical. If you don’t experience
setbacks, you’re probably not doing your job. Of
course we want to be successful in selling. But those
successes sometimes happen in conjunction with
setbacks.
Just as sales are made by
resilient professionals, history
is made by resilient people:
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• Oprah Winfrey was demoted from
her first job because she “wasn’t fit for
television” — and her multi-awardwinning talk show was the highest-rated
program of its kind in history, and she’s
been called the most influential woman in
the world.
• Michael Jordan was cut from his high
school basketball team, and has missed
more than 9,000 shots in his career —
and then became a six-time NBA
champion, five-time NBA MVP and
four-time NBA all-star.
• Walt Disney was fired from a
newspaper for having “no original ideas”
— and he then won 22 Academy Awards.
• The Beatles were rejected by
DECCA studios, told they “have no future
in show business” — and are the most
commercially successful and
critically acclaimed band in history.
• Dr. Seuss was rejected by 27
publishers for his first book — and then
he became the best-selling children’s
book author in history.
• Abraham Lincoln was defeated in
eight elections and failed in business —
and then he became the 16th President of
the United States.
As the General Manager for a major copier
manufacturer, I started the sales process with the
a large state agency in 2006. I had been consistent
and persistent in every aspect of the relationship,
following up with people frequently and keeping my
promises year after year.
In 2009 — more than three years after our
relationship began — I was on cloud nine when
we were awarded the contract. This was a major
announcement, with $15 million on the line. This
was a big victory, both for my company and me.
But the next day, I got a phone call. Sorry, they
said. They had made a mistake and misread the bid.
The State was ready to award the contract to our
competitor.
At that moment, it would have been easy to plant
our feet, consider suing and cut ties.
However, we were resilient in our relationship. I
returned to the relationship I’d built with the state.
We spent weeks in negotiations and, finally, split the
contract. We had the contract for years to come.
Having a good system for follow-up is key to
being resilient. Had I not tracked my relationship
progress with the state, I likely wouldn’t have stayed
in touch at all, let alone been considered for the
major contract.
At one of my first roles, we called our CRM “the
system.” Our sales manager would ask each of us to
tell him about the people on our list, ensuring that we
wouldn’t run from a setback in those relationships.
Everyone needs some kind of system. This makes sure
you remember the promises you’ve made,
connect with your contacts and track the needle.
What do you think you’ll be doing 365 days from today?
My hope is that your consistent work, persistence with
prospects and resilience when the going gets tough
will have you celebrating your best year yet.
CONCLUSION
Motivation is something that’s always evolving. At the
start of my career, I entered the sales profession to
make more money and have more freedom. Fair enough
motives for launching a career . . . but that changed quickly.
After I gained my first client, I quickly realized that the sales
profession is not about looking out for number one. Sales,
in practice, is about solving problems and providing results
for those who are searching for solutions.
It became more fulfilling for me to solve issues for
business owners and managers, and to help sales
teams grow. That problem-solving motivation is still
my heart today, and it’s a significant part of a
successful sales team. There’s much to be said
about the art of the sale, and about how to
navigate and finesse those all-important asks.
But what makes a sales team successful is not
only what happens as the sale is closed. What does
make a sales team successful is the process, the
habits and the strategy. I’ve worked for a variety of
companies and sold a variety of items, to people
and to businesses. The product can change, but the
traits of the people who sell them are the same no
matter what. Great salespeople are consistent,
persistent and resilient — no matter who they’re
selling to and no matter what they’re selling. Pair
these abilities with a good system for managing
relationships and watch sales soar.
Ultimately, your sales team’s CRM system is a
tool. It’s a powerful tool and can carry your sales
team to new heights when it’s used well. But these
good habits and commitments to process are what
differentiate those successful sales teams.
CRMpoint.net • 1-877-CRM-1411 • [email protected]
CRMPoint Headquarters
12616 W. 62nd Terrace
Suite 113
Shawnee, KS 66216
Texas Office
16225 Park Ten Place
Suite 500
Houston, TX 77084
Florida Office
1802 Alafaya Trail
Orlando, FL 32826
Arizona Office
60 E Rio Salado Parkway
Suite 900
Tempe, AZ 85281
Minnesota Office
15025 Glazier Ave
Suite 104
Apple Valley, MN 55124
We are ready to share our passion with you! We always offer complimentary consultations. Call us today at 1-877-CRM-1411.
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