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 They have a short sales cycle
B Accounts

B accounts are not quite as attractive as your As, but certainly worth pursuing. Here's why:
 They have good potential return: (ROI/ROE/ROO/ROT)
 They require a high amount of invested time
 They have higher maintenance
 They are patient with problems
 They have a good contribution based on margins/profit
 They have a longer sales cycle
C Accounts

I fondly refer to a C account as "a pain in the asset." C accounts usually distract you from your A and B
accounts, offering little or no return for your investment. Here's why:
 They offer low/no potential return: (ROI/ROE/ROO/ROT)
 They require an excessive amount of time
 They are high maintenance, lots of babysitting
 They are impatient when problems arise
 They provide minimal contribution based on low or no margins/profits
 They have very long sales cycle

These accounts are literally a pain. They whine about this and that, finding the darndest things to
complain about. In spite of your efforts they are never satisfied.

As you classify your accounts, I strongly recommend you continue to work closely with your As and
Bs, and toss your Cs. That's right, get rid of them. With limited selling hours, you can't possibly
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maintain C accounts as well as service your As and Bs. Remember, C accounts are a major distraction
to your core business accounts. By responding to or pursuing C accounts, your A/B accounts could
inadvertently become a silver platter opportunity for your competitor. In most cases the neglect is
unintentional but the consequences can be dire. This is a chief cause of lost customers.

However, be aware of potential changes in account status. A C account today may become an A
account tomorrow. Likewise a B today may become a C tomorrow, and so on. There is no universal
grading system. An A or B account in your territory could well be a C in another territory. Each territory
has its own unique account classification parameters.

Here is a fact that may help guide your thinking as you manage and grow your account base. It costs
your employer approximately $200 to $300 for every sales call you make (based on approximately one
hour of actual selling time). Now let's add $200 for the customer's time and we have a $500 sales call.
Not many salespeople think in terms of cost per sales call but as an entrepreneur, you must ask
yourself, "Is this call worth $500?" It becomes clear that time with a C account is not only unproductive,
but very costly.

Once you have determined that an account has a C status, don't be too quick to abandon it. Four
options are available.
1. Use them to practice. Where do most salespeople practice and refine their sales
skills? Usually when they are sitting before an A or B customer. Not a good plan.
Practice the steps of your Sequential Model at a C account. It's a win-win situation. If
you screw up, the customer won't want to do business with you anyway. The big win
is that you took a step closer to refining and polishing your skills in a low-risk
situation. Practice makes permanent”no different than a professional golfer hitting
hundreds of balls at the driving range. A C account is to a sales entrepreneur what a
flight simulator is to a pilot developing a new skill.
2. Double their price. I don't necessarily mean literally double it, but certainly a price
increase may be appropriate. Visit or call your C accounts with their revised pricing in
your hot little hand. No doubt their reaction will be, "Look at this, you increased my
price." Your response is, "Yes, I know." The revised price represents the lowest point
at which you will do business with them. It's your line in the sand. Anything lower and
you are simply not interested. The upside can be rewarding. If they accept your
revised price, you now have a B or an A account. It is surprising how often they
accept the revised pricing”and if they do be sure to nurture them to a solid B or
possibly an A account.
Another response you may hear from a C account is, "I can buy it cheaper elsewhere." That
could very well be true and the natural tendency of a sales representative is to reduce the
price until the customer agrees to buy. However, if the customer is unhappy with your lowest
price-point, I suggest you use Lee Iaccoca's line: "If you feel you can get a better deal
elsewhere, then buy it." It communicates confidence in yourself and your proposal and quite
often customers will reevaluate their decision. Customers today appreciate the old adage,
"You get what you pay for."
Clean deal. Logic tells us that with limited selling hours we simply can't extend your
3.
C customers the luxury of a personal sales call. Explain to them that their situation
does not justify or warrant a personal visit. You will no longer make the one-hour trek
to visit them. It's simply not a good validation of your 1,760 selling hours. Inform your
customer that you are prepared to sell to them, but without direct representation.
However, the condition of doing business is that you redefine the rules of
engagement. These would include pricing, a delivery schedule, minimum order
quantities, and payment terms.
Once both parties understand the new arrangement, invite them to place orders with your
order desk or inside representative. Or they may want to send you an e-mail order or leave a
voice mail. This approach can be effective and represents a clean deal for both you and your
customers. Also, it can be an additional revenue stream that contributes to your monthly,
quarterly, or annual targets.
Fire them. During my years of selling I have never seen a concept so openly
4.
embraced by the business community. Fire C accounts. Companies are no longer
tolerant of the aggravations and frustrations C accounts bring. Case in point: I
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recently called on one of my national accounts and asked how his morning was
going. He said this, "I spent the morning deciding which accounts to fire." This
comment echoes the sentiments of corporate executives. Sales managers have
typically challenged salespeople to close every possible account within their territory.
They constantly ask, "Are we doing business there and if not, why not?" Managers
should now be asking, "Why are we doing business there?" I encourage sales
managers to challenge their salespeople”ask them to validate, with sound
justification, why an account is doing business with them. Just because an account
resides in your territory doesn't mean you have to come hither to their beckoning call.
You can pick and choose who qualifies to do business with you. Establish the
parameters for your A and B accounts and know what parameters flag a C account. I
recently made a sales call and the manager I was visiting had an interesting analogy.
The company was in the process of "demarketing" its account base. It was
eliminating the Cs and focusing on its As and Bs.

Firing an account doesn't mean pursuing an unprofessional, unceremonious approach. It means
engaging in an open, honest dialogue with your customer. It could be as simple as saying, "Although
we have both explored the possibility of doing business together, it appears at this time we cannot move
forward. I do thank you for considering us."You then suggest the customer research the market for other
options. Appreciating how valuable your time is, your choice is simple. You can choose to work more
and make less, or work less and make more.
Another aspect to consider is to evaluate each opportunity within existing accounts. Evaluate and
classify each opportunity based on its own merit. Don't throw out the baby with the bath water. For
example, you may be presented with a C opportunity within an A account. Your options are to fulfil the
C opportunity in the interest of the relationship, or to politely decline by explaining your reasons and
perhaps suggesting an alternative. An effective strategy is when you and your customer agree to
disagree. Rather than aggravating your customer by walking away from a C opportunity, it's preferable to
openly discuss your reasons. Come to an agreement and that may be to disagree, all the while keeping
the relationship intact.

Parameters that flag a C account or C opportunities are as varied as customers themselves. Typical
reasons include poor returns, they insist on a rock-bottom price, they are too demanding, you are
unable to fulfil expectations, or they order lower-than-acceptable volumes. However, you may elect to
pursue them for corporate or political reasons as the Head Office may deem the account prestigious or
strategic to the business”one that looks great on the corporate r©sum©.
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Congratulations, you have now completed Step #2
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Chapter 4: Time Management: It's About Time
A mentor of mine once told me, "People make time for things they want to do." If someone doesn't want
to participate, it ain't gonna happen. Back to the dynamics of motivation: Only you can light a fire within (
Chapter 2). We must take responsibility for ourselves and our actions, and use SMART goals to
stimulate motivation. Motivation is the difference between being proactive and in control, or being
reactive, out of control. Become the author of your activities and your success. Make things happen
rather than just reacting to events as they occur. The choice is simple: Either manage time and invest it
wisely, or time will control you.

But I Don't Have Time!
How often have you wished for only "a few more hours" in your day? How many times have you
searched for a magic answer, a quick fix, to relieve the pressures of time? If you are like most of us, the
answer is: frequently. We live in an environment of unfinished tasks, half-done sales plans, incomplete
reports, unread books, and endless personal chores. There is no question that the majority of us are
time-starved, always running "just a bit behind." Would a 30-hour day help? I doubt it. It would just add
six more hours of accumulated stress and frustration to our lives. Let's do a better job of managing the
time we have.
In Chapter 2, you learned about five attitudinal characteristics of sales entrepreneurs and the impact
those characteristics have on performance, personally and professionally. This attitudinal package”
including time management”forms the backbone of the skills discussed throughout the model. Within
the Sequential Model, however, time management is not a step on its own, although I do feel the
subject is worthy of a chapter.

On the wishlist of salespeople's training topics, time management continues to dominate, as if there
exists a magic answer, a quick fix to exonerate them from the necessary discipline required to be
organized: the discomfort of discipline. Once again we tend to search for the easy way, the path of least
resistance. The quick fix is available but not in pill form, not yet. It comes in the form of commitment
and desire, coupled with the attitudinal package discussed in Step #1 of the sequential model.
The first step on the road to recovery is to recognize that you are the one primarily responsible for your
own time problems and frustrations. Don't continue to rely on a plethora of well-rehearsed excuses to
bail you out. The next step is to truly have the desire and the commitment to invest whatever is
necessary to become organized. Without these ingredients, time management will continue to be a
laborious exercise in futility and frustration, robbing you of your full potential.
By the way, you do have enough time.
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Time Equity: What's Your ROT?
Time is a unique, unrenewable resource. It marches onward at a rate of 60 minutes every hour. It shows
no favoritism. No one is immune to the relentless, unforgiving passage of time. Consider this: two days
from now, tomorrow will be yesterday. Or how about this: two days ago, yesterday was tomorrow.
Confused? Read it again, you'll see. Warning: dates on the calendar are closer than they appear.

In today's competitive environment, workloads have become swollen by increasingly leaner and meaner
companies. There are fewer positions on company organizational charts, and the average workload of
those who remain has been growing. Salespeople now have to spend more time in the office distracted
from selling by fulfilling administrative obligations. You must appreciate that companies today pay for
results, not the number of hours you work. Companies no longer reward busyness. In many cases,
working long hours, a 60- or 70-hour week, is simply a smoke screen concealing inefficiencies and poor
work habits. Nothing is easier than being busy, and few things are more difficult than being efficient and
effective. It requires discipline. Imagine having the time to get your work done, leaving the office at a
reasonable hour, and spending the rest of your day with family or friends. It's possible; read on.
The one universal distribution of equity is time: Everybody on the planet has ownership of 24 hours per
day. We all receive the same allotment, day in and day out. Each new day brings an automatic deposit
of 24 hours into our "time account." I refer to it as time equity. Although each day brings a new deposit,
each day the entire amount must be withdrawn, with no balance carried over to tomorrow. Use it or lose
it. The challenge we face is how and where to invest our time equity. These decisions determine
success, career path, productivity, and family status. The truth is that where we are in life is a direct
reflection of how well we have managed our time portfolio”how and where we "spent our time." We
often hear people refer to personal activities in terms of time equity: "How did you spend your
weekend?" or "During our trip we spent a lot of time doing ..." Time equity is the essence of a full and
complete life. We often take it for granted and succumb to its harsh, unforgiving consequences. We
have to take responsibility for ourselves and consciously appreciate the positive impact time
management can have on our lives.
Anyone who expects to achieve sales success should expect to make a serious commitment to
working hard and efficiently. Throughout the five principles of time management that follow I share
various techniques and suggestions to help streamline your activities. Remember we discussed balance
in Chapter 2. Think of your activities in terms of quality and quantity. Balance means quality time versus
quantity time. Many people spend quantity time in the office, but not quality time.

What's your return on time (ROT)? You own it; invest it wisely.
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Five Principles of Time Management
Time cannot think for you, but it can certainly work for you. Like any other investment, time produces
returns if invested wisely and treated with respect. Sales professionals constantly explore investment
opportunities for their time, maximizing their ROT.
Principle #1: Maximize Your ROT
Spending your time wisely starts with paying attention to how you spend it. Only when you decide to
take control of your time will you have the power to stop squandering it. The best starting point to a
better ROT is to conduct your own time-efficiency study. Evaluate your current use of time by breaking
down a typical day into hourly increments. Be objective. Include everything throughout your entire day,
even the time you sleep. You may need to track a full week or two to get a clear picture of your time
usage. The tape recorder you purchased after reading Chapter 2 might be a convenient method to log
your time. It won't take long for patterns or habits to emerge. Some will be painfully obvious and you'll
need no encouragement to change. We improve our ROT only by recognizing how we spend our time.
The next step is to review your time log and classify the activities as time-wasters, obligations, or
priorities. Time-wasters are just that, activities that distract you and contribute nothing toward your
goals. Eliminate them. The danger is that time-wasters are activities performed out of habit. Usually,
they create a false sense of productivity but actually produce few or no results. The cure comes in the
form of personal organization, the process of incorporating structure into your day.
Obligations are the dutiful responsibilities of your job. They are necessary yet unimportant activities,
usually performed throughout the day. They contribute indirectly to your goals. They are the
administrative aspects of your job such as call reports, expense reports, quarterly forecasts, and
various other required duties. Despite the challenges of limited time coupled with increased
responsibilities, you can be productive by evaluating your current usage of your 24 hours and
maximizing ROT. Obligations cannot be overlooked but be cognizant of the negative impact they have
on daily productivity. As you become better organized you can streamline your activities, minimizing the
time spent fulfilling obligations. You may be in a position to delegate some of your administrative duties
to support people (internal customers) within your office. I know of some sales entrepreneurs who have
hired a part-time assistant. Maximize your ROT by doing what you do best, selling.
Priorities are the activities that contribute significantly to your ROT. They are directly responsible for
your results, moving you closer to your goals. Remember, companies today pay for results, not
activities. They no longer pay for attendence, they expect results.
As you evaluate your current use of time, the time-wasters will become clear, allowing you to rethink
your activities. Make the shift from a long day filled with unproductive busyness to a shorter day
focusing on priorities. As a sales entrepreneur, challenge yourself to be more proactive by prioritizing
your tasks. Take control of the activities that prey on your efficiency, compromising your ROT. Once
you complete your time-efficiency study, you will be shocked to see the time wasted reacting to other
people's demands and requests. Most of us habitually spend our days reacting instead of being
proactive, unaware of the costly consequence. I suggest that up to 75% of our day is reactive. A
sobering thought.
Principle #2: Know What Time It Is

If you are like most salespeople, you have too much to do and not enough time to get it all done. To get
ahead in today's fast-paced world, you've got to be aware of what time it is. I'm not talking about telling
time, you learned that years ago. What I'm talking about is: It's not enough that you're doing a particular
job right, you've got to be sure that you're doing the right activity at the right time. By the way, if you
don't have a good watch, get one. The best and simplest time management tool is on your wrist.
Common sense tells us that we should spend the majority of our time working on high-priority A and B
accounts. Most of us don't. We waste a lot of time in the adult daycare center reacting to the demands
of C accounts or even performing C activities. The first step is to take control of your entire day by
knowing what time it is.
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