This is the second part in a series on the Kick Ass Sales Philosophy. I'll be highlighting Effort in this post, specifically why you need standards.
Effort + Curiosity + Ability to Make Connections = Kick Ass Sales.
What do you do once The Measurable is discovered, decided upon, and committed to? You set standards around it.
Story to Illustrate
At my very first sales job, I sold athletic shoes at The Athlete's Foot in the Greenville Mall in Greenville, MS. [Side Note: Getting that job taught me the principle of persistence. My father believed strongly that I needed a job the moment I turned 16. I applied at the local grocery stores and at The Athlete's Foot (worst name for a shoe store known to man). I abhorred the idea of stocking shelves, so I hounded the manager of The Athlete's Foot (ha! I still can't believe it was named that...crazy!) with 2 phone calls every day for 2 weeks. She finally gave in and interviewed me -- which I nailed.] This was back in the early 90's when companies actually believed in training a new employee, so I had to watch 14 videos about how to sell shoes. [Side Note: Watching those videos taught me consultative selling.]
Eventually, I became the #1 sales person in the chain of 7 stores my boss owned. I was always asked how I outsold full-time employees at locations with much higher foot traffic. My Sales DNA had somehow told my subconscious which alerted my primal need to survive that activated the greed needed for me to figure out what I was doing so I could keep getting big commission checks and so I could answer those questions.
This was my answer: ask to look at customers' old shoes, ask them if the need shoe cleaner, and ask them if want extra laces. Looking at old shoes tells you what foot and gait problems people have. If you show them what problems they have, it is easy to sell the more expensive shoes to fix those problems. Bringing up shoe cleaner and laces raised my Item per Transaction numbers and, on busy days, netted me extra sales equal to the price of a new pair or two of shoes.
My story illustrates the point of my last post and the point of this one as well. The Measurable I found was asking about old shoes, cleaner, and laces. The Standard I set for myself was to ask every single person I felt was open to the question. Why not ask every person whether I felt they were open or not? That's the point of my next post breaking down the Kick Ass Sales Philosophy: Expectations - what effort you should expect of yourself.
What is a Standard?
A standard is the norm, an acceptable (not exemplary ) level of performance. In order to keep your job, you need to perform at the standards you set for your measurables. If you are not motivated to that level of activity, you are cheating your company, your boss, and your co-workers by sticking around to collect another paycheck. Standards are not the bare minimum you can get by with. They represent the level of activity it takes to be average. You need to be able to quantify this for The Measurable you have chosen for your process, and since your measurables need to be something over which you have total control, nothing should keep you from meeting the standards you set.
Why Kick Ass Sales People Should Hate Standards
If you are a top gun, a winner, a Kick Ass Sales person, then what standards represent is kryptonite. You want to stay as far away from them as you can. Standards are for weeks you are sick and out of the office 3 days. Standards are what the loser next to you tries to get done each day. Meeting standards means you will end up being....average. Sometimes, it is just as good to know what you need to stay away from as it is to know what it is you need to gravitate towards.
Next post is for winners. What your Effort needs to aspire to isn't Standards, It's Expectations.