July 2014
 
 

MarianoIf you’ve read my book, Door-to-Door Millionaire, you already know I’m not a fan of the New York Yankees…for crying out loud I have a son named Boston! However, I am a fan of greatness and former Yankee pitcher Mariano Rivera was great.

Rivera, born in Panama, served as the Yankees’ closer for 17 seasons and is Major League Baseball’s career leader in saves. For those not familiar with baseball, a closer is the pitcher who specializes in getting the final outs in a close game when his team is leading.

Closers are known to be imposing figures. Facial hair and tattoos typically precede these men before they throw their first pitch. Contrarily, Rivera approached the mound as a clean-shaven, tattoo-less reliever who let his pitches, not his appearance, terrorize batters. He was also known for his composure and reserved demeanor on the field.

Rivera’s ability to compartmentalize his successes and failures impressed a fellow teammate who said, “He’s won and lost some of the biggest games in the history of baseball, and he’s no worse for the wear when he gives up a home run.” Derek Jeter called him the “most mentally tough” teammate with whom he has ever played. Rivera explained his ability to quickly forget bad performances, “Win or lose, you have to forget about it. Right on the spot…the game that you’re going to play tomorrow is not going to be the same game that you just played.”

Whether it’s closing baseball games or sales, being an effective closer is 90% mental. Having the ability to quickly forget negative experiences and give 100% effort at the next sales opportunity is a crucial element to becoming a great closer.

Sales reps are judged on accounts sold and CLOSERS MAKE SALES!

For door-to-door sales reps now is the time to become a closer. There are no more moral victories for getting people close to buying…it’s all about closing sales.

Even though a skinny Panamanian didn’t look the part of a traditional closer, his mental toughness and focus helped him to become the best closer of all-time. Despite your deficiencies and/or lack of production up to this point, you can start today by focusing your efforts on every single door and closing sales. Your success this summer can be realized if you seek to become a killer closer!

 
 LennyGray
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June 2014
 
 

Clock 3Even the most successful sales reps aren’t capable of buying more time. However, all sales reps can earn time by following a few simple guidelines.

As I’ve observed  hundreds of door-to-door sales reps in the field, I’ve noticed that razor thin margins separate those that sell varying amounts of accounts. I believe these margins have less to do what is being said to potential customers and more to do with how time is managed.

Recently I was on the doors with 2 rookie sales reps from the same office. The first sales rep (let’s call him Enrique) was an average producing sales rep and the second sales rep (let’s call him Lance) was the top producing rookie sales rep on his team. Despite their differences in production, their initial approaches, responses to customer objections and closing language were almost identical.

What separated Enrique and Lance was how they managed their time. Lance was jogging from door to door and cutting across yards, whereas Enrique was methodically walking up and down driveways and across sidewalks.

On average, Lance was spending 1 minute less with each contact finding out if they qualified for his time.

Both sales reps sold an account during my time with them but Enrique took 10 more minutes completing the service agreement. During his sale there were times of awkward silence as well as time wasted performing unnecessary inspections. Lance, on the other hand, kept the conversation moving, efficiently completed the service agreement and effectively solidified the sale.

The time differences in these examples may seem insignificant, however, if viewed over the course of a 16-week summer, the amount of time earned is colossal!

Saving 20 seconds between each door knocked saves 33 minutes a day if 100 doors are knocked. In 96 days (16 weeks), that’s nearly 53 hours earned!

The extra 60 seconds saved when determining if a potential customer qualifies for your time equates to 50 minutes a day if 50 people are spoken to. That’s 80 hours earned in 16 weeks!

And the 10 minutes saved per sale…that equates to earning nearly 17 extra hours for a sales rep that sales 100 accounts.

Adding all of this together is an additional 150 hours of production or nearly 19 more days (for an 8 hour work day) earned over the course of a 16-week summer!

These 3 time-earning techniques just scratch the surface of the various time earning methods that door-to-door sales reps can incorporate into their daily routines. Time can be earned by knocking doors during inclement weather, setting return appointments after dark instead of during primetime, limiting lunch and/or dinner breaks to 30 minutes, and ensuring that at least 1 person is being spoken to for every 3 doors knocked.

Door-to-door sales is in large part a numbers game…talk to more people, make more sales. Earning time gives sales reps the opportunity to speak to more potential customers and as a product of this, more sales will be made.

I believe the Enrique’s of the world can produce just as many sales as the Lance’s if they learn how to earn time instead of burn it. In a sense, an increase in production isn’t always about what is being said, but it’s about how many potential customers it’s being said to.

 
 LennyGray
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Ray Allen crop

February 3, 2000

As an aspiring broadcaster I had the opportunity to conduct a post-game interview with Ray Allen following one of his NBA basketball games. At the time, both of us had a lot more hair but a lot less experience in our professions. Ray was in his 4th year as a professional basketball player and I was getting ready to begin my 3rd year as a door-to-door salesman.

My interview couldn’t have went any better. Ray was a true professional throughout and even took time to ask me a few questions about my professional goals and aspirations. I’ve been a huge fan of Ray’s ever since this experience.

Now, over 14 years later, I’m a 17-year veteran in the door-to-door sales industry and Ray has recently completed his 18th NBA season and is currently playing in the NBA Finals attempting to win his 3rd NBA Championship.

In a league where the average playing career is only 4.8 years, Ray has nearly quadrupled this average. How has he done it? What are his secrets? I’ve identified 3 courses of action that he has taken that I believe are the primary reasons for his longevity.

  1. Follows a Regular Routine
  2. Adopts Healthy Habits
  3. Improves through Repetition

Ray implemented a game-day routine a few seasons after being drafted:

  • 11:30am – 1:00pm: Takes a nap
  • 2:30pm: Eats a meal of chicken and white rice
  • 3:45pm: Arrives at the arena
  • 4:30pm: Walks onto the court to go through his shooting routine

Ray says the structure he implemented into his game-day schedule has helped him get into a more consistent rhythm while playing.

As sales reps we all strive for consistency in our production and adopting a regular routine will greatly assist us in achieving this goal. Our routines should have us following a strict daily schedule. Our selling hours, eating schedule and even toilet breaks should be monitored to ensure we are in “rhythm” while in the field.

Ray has also adopted healthy habits that have aided him in having such a lengthy career. In college, Ray recalls eating a cheeseburger before practice and feeling especially sluggish. None of his teammates were feeling more tired than normal so Ray attributed his sluggishness to the cheeseburger. Ever since that experience he has consciously thought about everything he puts into his body.

Being sluggish on the doors is a sure-fire way to limit our production. In fact, not having healthy eating and sleeping habits is made evident if we find ourselves wearing out during the prime selling hours of the day. Our energy should be peaking during primetime. If you find yourself wearing out as the day wears on, I would suggest monitoring your food and liquid intake to ensure you are putting things in your body that will help keep you fresh throughout the entire day. We need to have the same energy on door #1 as we have on door #100.

Ray is the best 3-point shooter in NBA history and is highly insulted when others say his shooting is a, “God-given talent.” He has worked extremely hard to develop the best jump shot in the game. As noted earlier, Ray follows a shooting routine before each game which includes making 5 shots from 5 spots from 5 different distances on the court. He also makes 5 free throws in between each set of shooting. That equates to 150 makes!

Similar to becoming a great shooter, becoming a great salesperson is only achieved through repetition. It’s important to know how many people you are trying to sell each hour (I advise contacting 7 potential customers each hour while knocking doors), how much time you are putting into improving your craft when you are not on the doors (I would advise practicing your approach and reading books about sales…Door-to-Door Millionaire is my personal favorite!) and also giving 100% effort at every sales attempt.

To endure your summer sales experience (or any sales experience for that matter) it is imperative to follow a regular routine, adopt healthy habits and make improvements through repetition. These principles contribute to our overall success and help to maximize our earnings. It’s worked 18 years for Ray Allen and it can work for each of us too.

Thanks for the lessons Ray and good luck in the NBA Finals!

 
 LennyGray
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May 2014
 
 

Aerial view on neighbourhood pool and houses

After training 4 rookie door-to-door sales reps last week, I was reminded of 4 powerful sales techniques that often go unused.

  1. Asking your customers for referrals: While finishing up paperwork for a new customer, I asked him if he had any friends, family or places of employment that could use our services. The man proceeded to sign up his rental property and also made an appointment for his 2 restaurants to be inspected. One sale turned into 4 and it was all made possible by simply asking for a referral. Make a habit of asking your customers for referrals. In fact, if the company you represent approves, you might consider offering a discount on future services for referrals that are given under a specific time constraint. For example, “I can give you $25 off your next service if you refer me to somebody that signs up before the end of the week. Who do you know that would be interested in this type of service?”
  2. Name dropping with service agreements: As I’ve indicated in my book, Door-to-Door Millionaire, name dropping is a vital component for getting potential customers interested in what you are selling. The most effective way to name drop during your initial approach is to use the names of customers you have sold. For example, “Hi my name is Ryan, I’m with Rove Pest Control, I was just next door with Cody and Kylie (and while saying this, show Cody & Kylie’s service agreement to the potential customer and then put it away once they have looked at it), and I wanted to stop by to let you know what they are doing…” This approach is as anti-salesy as it comes, you have a legitimate reason to approach the neighbors of your recently sold customer.
  3. Using follow-up questions: While observing a new sales rep in conversation, his potential customer indicated that her home caught on fire 8 months ago. The sales rep expressed the perfect non-verbal look of dismay that this happened but then proceeded to go through his pitch instead of inquiring further about the house fire. During my sales training sessions I often witness this mistake when sales reps neglect to ask follow-up questions when potential customers give them information that would facilitate conversation. Instead of asking additional questions, sales reps often babble through their sales pitch. In this instance I couldn’t resist interjecting and I cut off the sales rep mid-sentence and asked the potential customer, “What was the cause of your house fire?” Come to find out the fire was caused by mice chewing on some electrical wires in their attic and wouldn’t you know it, we were selling a pest control service! This provided the perfect segue into building value in our service. A great conversation ensued and a sale was made.
  4. Remembering that sales come in all shapes and sizes: Finally, as I reviewed my experiences with these 4 sales reps I attempted to discover consistencies in the sales that were made and come to find out, as often is the case, there weren’t any. During these 4 hours I took part in 8 sales. Four of these sales came from a man in his early 30’s who owned a new home, 2 restaurants and a rental property. One of the sales was made to a couple in their 60’s who had lived in their modest home for 26 years. Another sale was made to a couple in their early 30’s who already had a pest control service and lived in a home that was nearly 40 years old. A sale was made to a lady in her 40’s who lived in an upper class neighborhood. And a sale was made to a young family in their 20’s who were first-time home buyers. This training experience proved once again that every contact should be viewed as a potential customer despite where they live or how they appear.

For door-to-door summer sales reps, June is a big money-making month! You should start to reap the rewards of all of your hard work and capitalize on the lessons you’ve learned thus far. And if applied, these 4 suggestions will contribute significantly to your success.

 
 LennyGray
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May 2014
 
 

Embrace

It seems as though human nature drives us to avoid the uncomfortable. In fact, corporations spend thousands of dollars creating and analyzing survey results that query customer experiences in order to provide them an experience of total satisfaction.

Are customer surveys making us soft? If things don’t go perfectly are we inclined to complain and demand retribution?

For door-to-door sales reps, our days rarely go as planned. Appointments fall through. Days we feel energized and motivated are bursting with torrential downpours. Customers change their minds and cancel. We work the entire day without a single sale to show for it. It’s almost a certainty that every day our plans don’t play out perfectly.

A friend of mine served in the Marines and related several unfavorable conditions he had to endure while spending time in the Middle East. His squad adopted a saying to help them tolerate the miserable conditions:

EMBRACE THE SUCK

Successful door-to-door sales reps learn to embrace the suck. Appointments will fall through, rain will pour, customers will cancel, people will be rude and days without sales are almost certain. Nevertheless, each of us can choose how to respond to these events. Will we learn from them and use them to better ourselves, or will we let these experiences erode our confidence and make us feel sorry for ourselves?

Being uncomfortable isn’t a bad thing…it allows us the opportunity to adapt and problem solve. The essence of door-to-door sales is learning from each sales opportunity and incorporating what was learned at the next door.

In my 17 years of experience, I know as well as anybody that the door-to-door sales experience can suck. However, I also know that learning how to embrace the suck has helped me to outlast adverse events on and off the doors. Life isn’t about learning how to avoid problems, it’s about learning how to deal with them.

 
 LennyGray
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 592
 
 
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