CEO Blog

Category Archives: Sales

All blog posts by Kevin Dee, Chairman at Eagle — Canada’s premier staffing agency, related to sales.

What Makes a Winner in Sales?

The will to prepare to win .. quote Bear BryantAt the very highest levels of competition the difference between winners and “the rest” can be miniscule!

Sprinters win their races by hundreds of a second!

Soccer matches are very often won by a moment of brilliance out of a ninety minute game.

The same holds true for most sports … the best of the best are distinguished from the rest by incredibly small margins.  Yet the “the rest” are typically able competitors!

AND YET … to the victor goes the spoils.

It is the winners who take the trophies, the glory and their place in history.

Winning is a state of mind that embraces everything you do.”  Bryce Courtenay

It is also true that the winners work hard to attain their position.  It can be argued that all of the competitors work hard … but it would be extremely doubtful that any winners did NOT work hard!

So we can take away one lesson … winners NEED to do the work!

In the more mundane world of business, and in particular in the sales profession, it may not be as dramatic, but there are often still small differences that will decide who wins and who loses.

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” Jim Rohn

A second lesson we might learn from winners is that we need to find those “little things” that can differentiate us from our competition.

In order to find those differentiators you may need to answer questions like these:

  • Do you truly understand the prospect’s business concerns?
  • Do you know what their preferences are?
  • Do you understand their personal motivations?
  • Do you understand your competition?
  • Are you current with your industry’s evolution?   What is changing?  Is technology impacting you?  Are disruptors entering your field?  What is happening elsewhere?
  • Are you putting enough effort into your messages, or are they the same tired stories from 5 years ago?
  • Do you understand where pricing is in  your market, today: because today might be different than last week!
  • Are you continuously investing in your relationships?

“Winning is not everything, but the effort to win is.”  Zig Ziglar

Winning take hard work AND part of that hard work is establishing the reason why a prospect will pick you before the competition.

Kevin Dee is the founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

Drive Sales Activity

Change quote from jim Rohn RedProbably every salesperson I know has times when they seem to hit a bump in the road … their success starts to dry up, their numbers decline and they have trouble recovering.

For many the answer is to ride the slump down until inevitably they get fired.

For others they will see the writing on the wall and go looking for another job, which they will win based on their past performance.

The right answer is to accept that things need to change and to take charge of your own destiny.

There are some realities to contend with:

  • Key clients go through cycles and sometimes suppliers fall out of favor.
  • Competitors evolve and find ways to beat you.
  • Clients can fall into slumps and demand drops off.

There are many reasons why your sales performance may be impacted, even if (maybe even because) you are still doing the same things you always did!

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”  Tony Robbins

As a salesperson you can never get too comfortable.  You need to be always looking for your next opportunities, while ensuring that your current opportunities are being well served.  It is a balance that most salespeople find difficult.

A common refrain will be, “How do I find time to prospect when my current clients are so busy?”

There is no comfort in the answer, but it is a classic time management issue … you need to MAKE the time, MAKE it a priority and ACT on it.

Each salesperson needs to find the balance that will work for them, in their specific situation.

A new salesperson with a relatively small base of clients may spend 80% of their time on generating new business and 20% of their time on servicing the existing clients.

An established, senior salesperson might find themselves spending 90% of their time servicing their existing client base and 10% of their time (1/2 a day per week) in prospecting.

Most will find themselves somewhere in the middle.

Sales is about momentum … if you have it, things are good; if you lose it, things are bad!

The obvious answer is to take charge of your own destiny and create momentum!

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour day.”  Zig Ziglar

What does that look like?

  1. Devote time to prospecting.
    • Understand how much time you spend now.
    • Increase it … if you are doing nothing, then spend ½ a day per week on pure new business development.
    • Every month evaluate your current scenario, and increase your prospecting efforts accordingly. If new business is coming at an acceptable rate then OK, if not then spend a day a week and more if necessary.
    • Recognise at certain times you will need to work even harder than usual … so a day a week might not be 20% of your time!
  2. Build your list of key contacts.
    • You should always be bringing value to your contacts … over and above the services you sell!
    • Have as many face to face meetings as you can manage. Use breakfasts, lunches, coffees, drinks after work, networking events … as tools.
    • Use hand written cards to thank for business, congratulate on promotions, celebrate events etc.
    • Get referrals.
    • NEVER become dependent upon a few very key contacts.
    • Try to generate “coaches” … clients who will go the extra mile to help you!
  3. Focus on high return activity.
    • Your goal is to grow business … is your activity furthering that goal?
    • Always build on relationships … make deposits into the emotional bank account!
    • Find reasons to be in contact with your client … interesting articles, industry news, newsletters, in addition to your regular meetings.
    • Always be professional with your client’s/prospect’s time … use agendas to make sure your time and your client’s time is well spent.

Sales is hard work … but it is also extremely rewarding.

You should NEVER have time to wonder what to do.

You should NEVER have time to waste.

“Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.”  Alan Lakein

You should become a Time Management Ninja!!!

If you are doing these things then you will create that momentum which will serve you well, and you will be serving your clients well too!

If this topic interests you then here are a couple of older blog entries that you might find useful …

Rescuing Salespeople from a Slump

Salespeople and the Comfort Zone

Kevin Dee is the founder  of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

Productivity Tips from the Best Salespeople

Your income is related to attitude quote by Jim RohnHow do the most productive salespeople spend their time that makes them so successful?

The best salespeople have many qualities, but in terms of productivity these are just a few ideas :

1.  They maximize time with clients and prospects.

  • They make it a priority to fill up their calendar.
  • They go out of their way to have meetings, never putting them off because they are inconvenient or might entail a drive.
  • They will fill their calendars out into the future, and group meetings by geography or building.   If you have to drive to a meeting then who else could you meet while there.
  • They recognize that time spent with any influencer is good … this could include assistants, receptionists, contractors etc.

It is difficult to get past Zig Ziglar’s obstacles if you are not meeting with, and listening to, your client and understanding her situation.

“Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”  Zig Ziglar

2.  They set themselves mini-goals.  They will likely already have targets set by their company, but they set their own to motivate themselves.  Here are just a very few ideas:

  • an increased number of meetings this month, by some number or percentage;
  • an increased number of calls out;
  • an increased number of telephone conversations;
  • an increased number of warm leads; and
  • an increased number of written cards thanking clients.

All of these will be in addition to their own company targets that will likely be revenue, margin or profit focused.

Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect.”  William Clement Stone 

3.  They focus their efforts on “high return” activities.  Salespeople are paid to generate revenues.  Tasks that are not focused on that goal will always be secondary.

  • They will be super organised, with great time management skills.
  • They will chase leads.
  • They will chase and build relationships … that are meaningful.
  • They will push their internal colleagues to meet the needs of their clients.
  • They will bring added value to their contacts wherever possible.
  • They will get their vital administrative work done (CRM notes, account collections etc) but secondary to the higher return activities that lead to revenue.
  • They will not allow paperwork, busywork, “administrivia” or any non-vital tasks get in the way of their success.  (Note the difference between vital and non-vital admin!)
  • They take full advantage of their work day, and will put in the extra time whenever needed.

Everyone lives by selling something.”   Robert Louis Stevenson

Would you add anything to this list of what successful salespeople focus their time doing?

Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

Start Your Day Right

Astronaut John Glenn's quote about taking charge of your lifeI often write about “driving your day” but what does that look like?  It starts before you even log into your computer.

1.  Get in the right frame of mind.

This can be different for different people, but here are some ideas that you might want to try.

  • Read some uplifting material … motivational quotes, “feel good stories”, your favorite blogger or uplifting writer
  • Work out.  You will need to fit it into your schedule, but  morning has always been my “go to” timing for a workout, even with kids and a busy job I made it a priority.
  • Read your OWN “feel good” book containing a list of all the things that are positive in your life.  Create one today and Add to it often, and pull it out whenever you need “reminding” that life is good.
  • Park your “personal baggage”.  A tough thing to do for many people, but try to leave any personal worries behind so that you can concentrate on your work.  At least if work is going well then you will feel better for that.

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”  William Penn

2.   Get your “To Do” list organised.

  • Review yesterday’s list and add the items that need to be on today’s list.
  • Take a little time to think through whether there are other items that should be on the list.  If you manage several project areas in your role, then keep a list of those major areas handy to prompt you.
  • It’s now time to scan the email and pick out items that need to be on the “To Do” list, don’t process all your email yet … just identify the key ones that need to be processed.
  • Check voicemail and add important items to the “To Do” list.
  • Check your calendar for scheduled activities … meetings etc.  Make sure they are on the “To Do” list.

“Time = life; therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.”  Alan Lakein

3.  Prioritise your “To Do” list.

  • Look for the Important items.
  • Look for items that move you closer to your goals.
  • Look for items that give the best return on your effort.
  • Look for urgent items … but ensure they are are also important.  (Other people’s emergencies do not necessarily become your priorities.)
  • Look for quick wins.

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”  Zig Ziglar

4.  Now you can execute … start to knock off those tasks, starting with the highest priority items and knock off the quick wins as you can.

Some other thoughts:

  1. Just because the phone rings does not mean you need to answer it.  Use call display judiciously and plan time in your day to process voicemail.
  2. You do not need to process every email as it comes in either.  Use filters to create “folders” for non-urgent emails.  Schedule time to process those emails.  Switch off that little alert that tells you an email arrived!
  3. When new tasks come along make sure you prioritise them and schedule them into your existing tasks.
  4. Do NOT celebrate every task done or small task completed.  Stay focused on knocking off tasks.
  5. DO celebrate meeting milestones and major wins.
  6. Remember technology is a tool … use it as such, and don’t be a slave to it!

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”   Benjamin Franklin

Being your best at work feels good, has a positive impact on your life and should maximise the time you have available for the other things in your life.

Kevin Dee is founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

How to Get Your Prospect’s Attention

Brian Tracy Solve problems don't sellA constant challenge for salespeople is  getting  the attention of prospects.

We try cold calling, and get ignored.

We send emails that don’t get read.

We get on social media and try to connect with our prospects … and then get their attention, only to be shut down quickly.

What gives?

How are salespeople supposed to do their job if they can’t get the prospects attention?

Here are a few thoughts …

“Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”  Zig Ziglar

1.  Most decision makers are extremely busy, and their time is probably their most important asset … you need to demonstrate that you will not waste their time.

  • Get to the point.
  • Have a compelling story, but don’t be hokey.
  • Make sure you have the right person.
  • Understand what is important to them.
  • Don’t ask them to do your work.  (Visit your website, point you at the right person etc.)

2.  If a decision maker doesn’t know you then you are already at a huge disadvantage.

  • Get referrals whenever possible.
  • Get out and meet lots of people, while NOT selling.  Get involved in the community, with charities, in clubs, etc.
  • Use your network to get introductions and grow that network.
  • Use your social media to provide value, NOT to sell.  Become known as a thought leader.
  • Find ways to meet the people you are targeting, without a sales pitch and hopefully in a non-threatening environment (industry organisations, networking groups etc.)

3.  If you can’t get close to a decision maker, then get close to the people who are close to them.

  • Executive assistants are great people to know.
  • Receptionists wield a lot of power.  If they put in a good word for you it often has influence
  • Direct reports or even trusted senior employees might be able to help your cause … IF you build a good rapport with them.

4.  The sales profession requires a short, medium and long term strategy.  If you are not consistently working on your long term plan, then you will never get ahead.

  • Work harder than those around you.
  • Network more than those around you.
  • Give back more than those around you.
  • Take the short term wins, but always be working towards a longer term strategy.
  • Build your credibility every day.

“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.”  Mary Kay Ash

Perhaps you might have other suggestions for the up and coming salesperson?

Kevin Dee is Chairman and founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

Top 10 Blog Entries for 2015

Top Ten Eagle blog entriesThe following were the most popular blog entries from the last year.  If you missed any of them then now is an opportunity to catch up!

Surviving a Downturn (in Alberta?).  This was a “reprint” of advice from Tom Peters just before the last recession.  It seemed topical back in January as oil prices plummeted and jobs were being cut in the oil patch.  Unfortunately things are not better yet!

“You buck yourself up with the thought that “this too shall pass”—but then remind yourself that it might not pass anytime soon, so you re-dedicate yourself to making the absolute best of what you have now.”  Tom Peters

Independent Contractor Myths & Realities in CANADA!  The Canadian Federal regulations around independent contractors have not changed in thirty years, despite the changing nature of work.  Too often I see “experts” pontificating about the risks of using contractors without a real understanding of the subject.  There are many benefits to companies using independent contractors and so this blog was focused on presenting the facts!

“Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others.”  Ayn Rand

Attitude Matters … A Little Humility is a Good Thing!  This was a reminder that no matter how good we are, or think we are, it can always change!  It does not cost anything to be a little humble, and it will help with relationships that could be important to you at some point in the future.  Also includes 13 rules from General Colin Powell.

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; noting on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” W. W. Ziege

Email Etiquette – 20 Tips!  Email is such a big part of our lives that everybody should be aware of the basics of email etiquette.  Some of it is good manners, some of it is common sense and some of it is good time management … hope it helps!

“Communication works for those who work at it.” John Powell

10 Lessons From a Retirement Party on Living a Good Life.  A good friend of mine retired this past year, and it was interesting to see the impact he had on so many people.  He is a role model and we can all learn from him.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”  Vivian Greene 

Positive (or Negative) Influences Can Change Your Life.  Some of the best advice I ever received was to surround myself with positive people, and equally try to avoid negative influences.  This blog entry expounds on those principles.

“Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher.”  Oprah Winfrey

10 Thoughts About Measuring Success?  For many people success is defined by money or position, but that is narrow thinking.  Success should be personal, not necessarily what others consider success.  YOU need to decide what success looks like for you.

“Stop chasing the money and start chasing the passion.”  Tony Hsieh

Leadership Should Be Uncomfortable (and it is)!  Leadership is sometimes glamorised, so it is important that you know what you are getting into!  This was an attempt at showing some of the realities of leadership.

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humor, but without folly.”  Jim Rohn

A Mentor/Mentee Relationship is Attractive BUT Hard Work!  Both mentors and mentees need to work hard if such a relationship is to bring the real value.  Learning by osmosis in an ad-hoc fashion is rarely effective!

“For every one of us that succeeds, it is because there’s somebody there to show you the way out.” Oprah Winfrey

Waiting is Not a Winning Strategy.  In contradiction to the phrase, Good things come to those who wait, my suggestion is that you need to make things happen yourself!

“Don’t just stand there.  Make it happen.”  Lee Iacoca

Hope you enjoyed some of my blog entries in 2015 … in January I will have been blogging for 10 years, and I have written about 1,850 entries.  I guess that makes me “opinionated”!

Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

In Sales? Keep the Pedal to the Metal Especially NOW!

Jim Rohn Successful people do what unsuccessful people won'tThe pandemic and its fallout have paralysed salespeople everywhere … but YOU don’t need to be one of them!

One opportunity for us as salespeople right now is to improve our network.   We can both increase the number of contacts that we have, and improve the relationship we enjoy with those contacts.

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”  Dale Carnegie

Right NOW we need to put the pedal to the metal and be our busiest ever!  So we can leave the competition in the dust!

Some tips …

1.  Be diligent about your “To Do list”.

2.  Use your calendar … and fill it up with meetings.  Zoom meetings, phone meetings and soon socially distanced meetings!

3.  Be creative … regular phone meetings, virtual drinks, shared presentations, a walk outside.

4.  Meet with anyone who might be an addition to your network … clients, prospective clients, influencers of clients, assistants to clients, receptionists at clients, accounts payable people at clients.

5.  Send thoughtful messages to all of the people in your contact lists.  Personalise them as much as possible … do not send mass boring “same as everyone else” emails!

6.  Bring value to your network … share information or interesting articles; drop off goodies; allow them to participate in charitable activities; help them raise funds for their causes; get your company involved!

7.  Introduce other people to your network … management, other members of your team, your accounting people, whoever makes sense.

8.  Introduce members of your network to each other.  Make thoughtful introductions.

9.  Thank your clients for their business.

10.  Thank your network for being your network.

If people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.” Zig Ziglar

Just a few things that good salespeople are doing right now … will you be one of them?

Kevin Dee is founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

Sales Relationships & The Holiday Season – 10 Tips

Connections quote by Richard BransonIf you are in sales then you typically want to grow your network and improve the quality of relationships with each of those people in your network.

It is just common sense, the more people that you deal with the more opportunities that become open to you.

The better relationship you have with those people then the more chance that they will WANT to do business with you.

So all salespeople should be constantly working on those two objectives (a) meeting new people, and (b) improving their relationship with the people they know.

“You don’t close a sale, you open a relationship if you want to build a long-term, successful enterprise.”  Patricia Fripp

At this time of year there is a somewhat unique opportunity to make some headway with both of those goals.  Here are some ideas for you:

1.  December can mean a slight slowdown in activity with some clients.  Don’t assume this is the case, but there may be an increased opportunity to meet people this month.  Take advantage of that.

2.  Many people will send holiday cards or messages to their clients.  Take advantage of that opportunity.

  • Customise messages as much as possible.
  • Try to demonstrate a difference … it could be a charitable commitment or something people care about.
  • Don’t just send the same old card/message with a bunch of signatures … does anyone pay attention to those?

3.  Ask for referrals.  People are feeling a little more generous at this time of year, just maybe they will introduce you to another potential customer.

4.  Work hard.  Many salespeople will be slowing down, so differentiate yourself as a committed professional.  People notice.

5.  Drop off some special cookies or festive “goodies” at your clients.

6.  Be especially nice to the receptionists and executive assistants because they can be great allies.  Don’t forget them when you send cards and drop off treats.

7.  Make sure your contact lists are up to date.  They can be gold in organising your sales activities, and this time of year is a good time to make sure they are complete.

8.  Be professional in how you treat people.  These are business relationships, and human nature might tempt you to favor those that you like personally more than others … don’t!

9.  Look for opportunities to partner with your clients.  Join them in serving meals to the needy or visiting kids in hospital, or invite them to join your company in such activities.

10.  Look for ways to spread a little good will.  You never know who is watching 🙂

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”   Maya Angelou

Happy holidays!

Kevin Dee is founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?

Document Meetings … It Saves Grief!

Aristotle about QualityEvery manager will be familiar with the concept of miscommunication.  How often have you had these situations:

  • You THOUGHT you had been clear.
  • They THOUGHT you meant this when you meant that.
  • Everyone left the meeting on the same page … but somehow things went off the rails.
  • Three people left a three-person meeting with three different impressions!

One of my lessons learned over the years is to always ensure that a meeting is documented after the fact.  It gives one more opportunity to ensure there was no miscommunication, to identify areas of confusion and to have a document to look at in the future, should the issue need to be revisited. Some obvious examples might be:

In the case of a status meeting with an employee … I would get them to document back to me all actions that were agreed upon.  The act of capturing the actions will bring clarity to the employee and remove “wiggle room” should any of them not happen.

In the case of a meeting with multiple participants I would suggest the “nearest to the action” person document the meeting, identifying all key decisions and action items, together with any timelines and allotted responsibilities.  eg.  A sales situation involving delivery and management might result in the sales person documenting the results.

It has always been a good business practice that salespeople document their client meetings … but so many don’t do that.  Typically it is a lack of commitment to doing things the right way.  Unfortunately it can  lead to miscommunication, finger pointing and does not serve the best interests of the salesperson’s employer nor their client!

Any group meeting that does not result in a shared document misses an opportunity for clarity, for accountability and for a record that can be revisited in the future as needed.

So the take away is  … adopt the practice of documenting meetings to ensure that everyone is one the same page.  It saves a lot of grief!  If you are a manager then hold your people accountable to that standard too!

“Paying attention to simple little things that most men neglect makes a few men rich.”  Henry Ford

Kevin Dee is founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?


change quote from SocratesWhy are you doing things the way that you do them?

You still call on the same clients.

You still have the same selling messages.

Your offerings are the same.

Your pitch is the same.

Your value proposition is the same.

Yet … the world is changing.

Don’t change for change sake … but do make sure that what you are doing is still relevant!

A little girl was watching her mother prepare a fish for dinner. Her mother cut the head and tail off the fish and then placed it into a baking pan. The little girl asked her mother why she cut the head and tail off the fish. Her mother thought for a while and then said, “I’ve always done it that way – that’s how Grandma did it.”

Not satisfied with the answer, the little girl went to visit her Grandma to find out why she cut the head and tail off the fish before baking it.

Grandma thought for a while and replied, “I don’t know. My mother always did it that way.”

So the little girl and the Grandma went to visit Great Grandma to find ask if she knew the answer.

Her Great Grandma thought for a while and said, Because, in my day, we had only a small kitchen, and my baking pan was too small to fit in the whole fish.

Today we live in a fast changing environment … what worked a couple of years ago just might not be working too well any more.

Worse  yet, what we were doing a couple of years ago might not have been working too well then!

We all need to constantly change in order to to remain relevant.

“The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.”  Bill Clinton

Kevin Dee is founder of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?