Saturday Morning Sales

Kevin Latchford


Finding Time When Your Calendar Is Full - November 28, 2015

If you’ve ever heard the saying, “the clock is your enemy”, well then you probably played sports at some time. However, have you ever heard the saying, “the calendar is your best friend”? If so, you must be a sales person. I not only love the saying, but I wholeheartedly believe in this saying. So, what do you do then when you feel as though the calendar is full?


I have yet to meet a sales person that hasn’t struggled, even a little bit, with time management at some point in their career. And, the most common thought, the calendar is full so how can I squeeze anything else in there? This week’s post, although brief, is for my own team members as you enter the final month of the calendar year. Yes, it will be very busy, but you can always fit in one more call or one more email.


I remember the early days of my career, the pre-Internet / pre-cell phone / pre-smart device / pre-mobile existence days, when accessing work information required you be in the office (regardless of whether the office was in or out of the home). Today, however, work is at your fingertips. And, because you can access your office anywhere at any time, there seems to be an expectation that you can and should do more. To a certain extent this is true, but a sales manager must also manage with an expectation that his or her sales team also have personal lives.


Assuming for a moment you have a great sales manager, one that encourages you to spend quality time with family and friends, then how can you squeeze in one more call or one more email? Planning!


Having your calendar on your computer and smart device can be the best tool in your sales arsenal, as long as you use it to its full extent. Here’s how…


Put every single personal and professional appointment in the calendar. I mean every single one. If you don’t want someone in the office to know about your unusual rash and subsequent doctor appointment, mark it private. If you don’t care that your coworkers know that your daughter has a piano recital tonight, then don’t mark it private. The point is…every time you need to be someplace, put it in your calendar.


Second, evaluate your week, and then put “blocks” in your calendar. A block is a period of time that you cannot be bothered for a meeting. You have work to be done and you will get that work done in those blocks. Blocks should also include the personal time with family and friends.


Finally, when you feel as though something cannot be added to your calendar, look for the time in between your appointments and blocks. Before you know it, you’re squeezing in one more call from a parking lot prior to a meeting. You will find the 5 minutes needed to send an email while waiting to pick your son up from football practice. You’ll come to realize that you wake up at 7:00 AM on Saturdays and can spend 20 minutes reading that industry article you didn’t get to on Wednesday.


My point is this, please consider the small windows, the 5-15 minute windows here and there in your calendar, because these are valuable to making sure a little more can get done. Most importantly, these steps in time management will help you reach your weekly goals without intruding upon your own personal time.

Thank You - November 21, 2015

I am thankful. I woke up a little earlier than normal this morning to join my son in activities that are one of the bonds of our relationship. Last week I wrote of a reflective period during this time of the year. As I sit outdoors this morning watching the sun rise with my first born, I can say nothing more than thank you.


Being thankful is being appreciative for what you have. As a career sales person I am thankful for all of my clients. I am grateful for you placing your trust in me to guide you toward success. I am thankful to my parents for their wisdom that have helped me continue to grow, even as an adult.


Thanks too goes to the team around me that support my business goals every day. Through the achievement of our business goals I can meet my personal goals. Together we are on a mission and together through supporting one another we will achieve our goals.


And, of course, thanks goes to my wife and children. Without your support and understanding I would not be in this position. I awake every morning and take on the challenges of my career specifically for you.


Thank you.

Why Do People Buy From YOU - November 14, 2015

Regardless of the company you work for or the products/services you sell, have you ever asked yourself why people buy from you? This is a question I often challenge my team members and sales clients with and the answers can be telling.


One of the more common answers I hear, which unfortunately comes from a very average sales person, is that the customer/client has no choice. They are an assigned rep and the customer/client needs their product/service. On the opposite end of the answer spectrum come responses from the ‘A’ level sales person – they buy because of me.


Over time sales people need to be reminded, or remind themselves, that they are the reason why their customers/clients buy. This is an empowering moment in ones sales career, when the light bulb goes off, and you realize you can control your level of success. That’s right, people buy because of YOU, which means YOU and YOU ALONE can guide your career path.


We are approaching the Thanksgiving holiday season and I often use this as a reflective period for myself. The end of the year will soon be here and I am examining how I’ve done in business. Have I achieved my goals? Have I been able to increase my compensation due to my direct sales performance? Am I prepared for the calendar to move one year ahead? Have I left any opportunities on the table, and if so, why? Have I been the best sales person I can be for my clients and my company? And, why did my clients ultimately buy from me this year?


This reflective period and these questions often shed light on who I am as a sales person, as well as who I am as an individual. Often I’ve referenced how the ‘A’ level sales person make sales a part of their life, not just their career choice, and so I believe the answers to these reflective questions define who I am not just how I sell.


As we move closer and closer toward the holidays and the end of the calendar year, I challenge you to ask yourselves these questions. Your goals should be simple: your customers/clients buy from YOU because of YOU. Once you achieve this level of success, you are well on your way to staying an ‘A’ level sales person for your career.

The Story of James & Melissa: Part 2 - November 7, 2015

Following up to last week’s post I am using a very real story to share my thoughts on life as a sales person. It is not a pleasant story, rather one that involves the divorce of a couple, based in part on two very different approaches to sales. This is the story of James & Melissa: Part 2.


Melissa has grown a truly successful career in sales. She is, by all accounts, an ‘A’ level sales person. She has made the necessary sacrifices to advance her career through continuing education and sales training. She’s willing to look in the mirror for ways to improve. When a deal does not go her way, she explores the reasons why, rather than making excuses. As she began to open up recently about her reasons for divorcing James, I learned more about his approach to sales (or lack thereof) and how this bled into their personal lives and marriage.


James never believed in educating himself on sales techniques. Instead, like with his work it seems, he thought he knew it all. He always has to be the smarted person in the room. When he was turned down for work, rather than understanding the reasons why, he simply shrugged it off and commented about the prospective client being too dumb to hire him. It seems that he’d get a taste of success from time-to-time and even a referral or two. He never took a deep-dive look into this small amount of success, but became arrogant with an expectation that success would always be available to him regardless of his approach to sales. Unfortunately, as it seems, the few successes over the past fifteen years have been overshadowed by the many losses.


As I’ve learned, James has taken the same approach to his personal life as he has with his career, and again must always be the smartest person in the room. Melissa shared that he would, at times, criticize her for the extra effort she was putting into her career. While she’s clearly been the consistent bread winner, there’s also been an increase in jealousy by James. Melissa is continuing to be rewarded with new business and James is struggling to make sales.


James’ lack of success, in my opinion, is directly due to his unwillingness to grasp what it takes to be a real ‘A’ level sales person. And because of this unwillingness, coupled with jealousy of his wife’s success and his arrogance, he is on the losing end of not just his career but now his marriage. Could this all have been avoided? Maybe.


Sales people, especially an ‘A’ level sales person, choose not just a career but a way of life. Sales people cannot be jealous of others success. Sales people cannot be arrogant. Sales people are certainly not the smartest people in the room. And, sales people cannot blame anyone else for a loss.


No one really knows for sure what goes on behind someone else’s closed doors. Relationships, especially marriages, are very private on so many levels. But, when you witness the self-destructive behavior of a subpar sales person, it is not surprising that personal relationships, like marriages, struggle too. Being an ‘A’ level sales person means you understand that there are up’s & down’s in any relationship, and it also means you have the patience and maturity to handle the up’s & down’s.


I feel bad for James and Melissa. No one wants to watch someone else suffer through a life altering event like a divorce. The only thing I can do is hope they both come out of this situation in okay shape. I’m sure once the sting of her marriage being over subsides, Melissa will be fine. She has the knowledge and confidence of success on her side. She is an ‘A’ level sales person and she will use her experiences to continue her career and personal growth. I hope James too walks away okay from this change in his life. He must admit his mistakes, he must change his approach to dealing with people, and he must be willing to accept that he’s not the smartest person in the room. If he can do this, he can turn his business around, and he can then get his personal life back on track.


Being close to this situation has reminded me of what I have and what it has taken to achieve my own level of success. It has been a reminder that I must be careful in my relationships and how I approach sales. I’m reminded that putting a client’s needs before my own will pay dividends. And, most importantly, I’m reminded that I’ve chosen a career in sales which is a part of my life. My career has an impact on my wife, children, family and friends, and I cannot take anything for granted.