Summary: A Mind for Sales: Daily Habits and Practical Strategies for Sales Success by Mark Hunter
Summary: A Mind for Sales: Daily Habits and Practical Strategies for Sales Success by Mark Hunter

Summary: A Mind for Sales: Daily Habits and Practical Strategies for Sales Success by Mark Hunter

Kindle | Hardcover | Audiobook

Mondays, especially mornings, are a perfect time to reach out to customers. By reaching out to prospects at the start of the week, you’re saying “I care and want to help you sooner than later. Your desire to use Monday to get organized is an excuse for your lack of desire to engage with customers.

Another reason you should be making Monday calls is that it shapes your day and week by getting you off a good start. We all have those days we feel like not getting into gear. When you do calls on Mondays, either following up a lead or catching up with a customer, you’re pumping yourself up with amazing energy. It motivates you for the rest of the day and week.


Sales is leadership.

Sales isn’t something we wait to do. Sales is something we do, just like leadership. Sales is leadership and leadership is sales. When we wake up each morning, our objective should be just that: sell and lead.

The most important person you’ll ever sell is ‘yourself’. If we cannot lead ourselves, we cannot expect others to lead themselves. If we wouldn’t buy from ourselves, we cannot expect others to buy from us. Sales leadership is merely words. Sales leadership is the foundation on which we do everything. Not just on Mondays. Every day.


Sales is a lifestyle.

When you view sales as taking away from others, it’s a job. When you view sales as helping others, it’s a lifestyle.

Sales is about helping people. To do that effectively, you’ll need a scoreboard. Here are some metrics you should measure in your scoreboard:

  1. The percentage of time spent customer-facing.
  2. The percentage of leads that turn into customers.
  3. How many days does it take to turn an average lead into a customer?
  4. The percentage of sales from  new customers each year.
  5. The number of calls made to find a qualified prospect.
  6. The ratio between offers made and deals closed.
  7. The percentage of time spent on administration and general office work.


Sales is not service.

Sales is not about creating service. Sales is about creating incremental value. 

You’re in sales. Your job is to move people to the next level even when they’re not thinking they need to. This means never setting for merely what you hear but challenging their ideas. Sales isn’t for the faint of heart. Sales people who are faint of heart morph into customer service people.

Yes, there must be communication between sales and customers. Yes, both departments interface customers, but the objective is different.


Trust is the bedrock.

The level of trust between both parties will determine the level of negotiation needed to make the sales. 

If you want to minimize the amount of negotiation later on in the sales process, you must work to increase the level of trust between you and your prospect early in the sales process.


Your three most important assets for sales success.

Your three greatest assets are your time, your mind and your network. The more effectively you manage them, the more success you’re likely to achieve and the more excited your Mondays are going to be.

Warren Buffett is proud of the time he keeps open on his calendar free of meetings. He believes strongly in keeping a large block of time on his calendar open to work on growing his mind. He states he’ll spend as much as 80 percent of his day reading. He advocates the value of reading 500 pages a day. He believes knowledge is no different than money, both are assets you want to have working for you as they compound their value each year.

Here are six guiding questions too plan for your day:

  1. What will I do that will truly make an impact?
  2. Is what I intend to do going to move me closer to my goal?
  3. How will what I do today help my customers?
  4. What will I do today that will warrant me being paid?
  5. How much of my time today will be spent with customers?
  6. What can I do differently to stop doing that will free up more time?

Answer these six questions and put them where you can be continually reminded of them. The key is to never forget that the only way we’ll get more out of our time is by planning how we intend to spend our time.


Plan and reflect.

Planning your day is one thing. Reviewing your day is the other. It’s too easy to feel we’re productive because we feel exhausted at the end of the day. That’s not always the truth. Sometimes, that doesn’t get us anywhere. Answer the same six questions before you head to bed to review your day and help you plan the next day.


You can’t take clicks and likes to the bank.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you’ll turn your business around by getting active on social media. This fallacious thinking may sound something along the lines of “If I’m really active in posting content and commenting, life will be good!” This thinking is no different than high school kids thinking some new clothes will suddenly get them the attention they’re craving. The kid might feel great for some time, but within a couple of weeks, the clothes are old and buried on the bedroom floor under a mass of other clothes.


What your CRM is not telling you.

Many sales teams load the CRM with bogus data knowing senior management would be only looking at the top-line macro reports. Don’t think for a moment this type of behavior does not happen in your organization. Salespeople will always look for an easy way out when it comes to administration work.

Your goal with whatever CRM you use is not to use it to bluff management. Don’t use it as an excuse for why you need more admin time. Use your CRM for what it is, a proactive tool to manage your time moving forward.

One common complaint about CRM systems is their focus on lagging sales indicators.  These systems are designed to help you with activity that has already occurred. Your CRM should help you with leading indicators. Think of how much more confident you’d be if you had all the sights about the future.


Are you a rainmaker or a rain barrel?

The sole job of a rain barrel is to collect the rain that falls into it. The role of a rainmaker is to go out and make it rain. You’re in sales. You need to be a rainmaker. If marketing is the rain barrel, you need to go out and turn those leads into customers.


There’s no time to play with spreadsheets.

You do not have time for these games. Passionate and committed people are not going to stick around a spreadsheet jockey manager. The sad comment is that the spreadsheet jockey manager or salesperson isn’t helping the sales profession no matter what they might think. It’s easy to think cutting-edges and sophisticated systems can magically turn your leads into customers. If you want to play with numbers, you’d better head to the horse track and bet on your horse while on the way to becoming an accountant. But please quit masquerading as a sales leader.


You can’t turn a Walmart shopper into a Nordstrom shopper.

Both Walmart and Nordstrom are great in their own segments, but they appeal to different types of shoppers. Both realtors know their ideal customers and how to reach them. Walmart is discount-focused and Nordstrom is a high-end customer-centric retailer. They don’t waste time chasing the others’ customers.

You need to do the same. Know who your ideal customer is and go after them, relentlessly. If the lead isn’t consistent in at least a few areas, don’t waste your time.


Leads must earn the right to be in your pipeline.

Just because someone somewhere filled out an online form doesn’t make them a qualified prospect. At this stage of the game, they’re nothing more than a heartbeat. This is where you need to be asking questions. The sooner you qualify the lead, the better you’re going to do.

Here are some questions you can ask to qualify your pipeline:

  1. What firm evidence do I have that this opportunity is moving forward in a timely manner?
  2. Is the opportunity sizeable enough to warrant my time?
  3. Do I know the barriers I need to remove in order to close this opportunity?
  4. Is this an opportunity that will generate sales for me at a later date?
  5. Do I have a plan to maximize this opportunity without negatively impacting other opportunities that offer greater potential?

These are tough questions to answer. But you can’t afford to let unqualified leads into your pipeline. That’s not going anywhere. Your goal is simple. Be able to spend more time with fewer and more qualified prospects.


Quick price isn’t quick sales.

One bad type of inbound lead is the one asking for a quick quote or price. They want a price and nothing else. Anyone who has been in sales long enough has dealt with this type of request. Don’t think for a moment that a quick price quote is speed selling. It might be speedy and easy but it’s not selling. It’s not selling because the other person asking for a price isn’t going to buy. Most likely, they’re just looking to validate some other buying decisions they have. Ask anyone in a purchasing department and you’ll know.

Your response to the quick price quote should be like this:

Thank you for contacting us. We have a lot of options and I would be afraid of giving you bad information. Let me ask you a few questions about what it is you’re looking for.

You get the idea. Never give out a price until you know you’re dealing with a legit buyer and you know what the outcome is they’re looking for.


Take your boss to work.

One of the greatest ways to ask tough questions is to bring your boss along on a sales call. The mere presence of him or her will automatically make your conversation more robust. When there’s a second person on the sales call, questions and conversations will almost always be much better.


If you have the ability, you have the responsibility.

You can’t afford to accept hearing ‘no’ from a customer and give up. You know you can help the other person which means you still have the responsibility to make their lives better. THey may reject you because they don’t know it yet.

Always start with an open rather than a closed mindset when you hear no. When average performers get a no, they think it’s game over. When top performers get a no, they think they’re at the starting line.


Not all customers are the same.

You need to be smart when hiring your prospects. And you need to be just as smart when firing your prospects. There’s no perfect solution to both, but here’s a few things you should evaluate:

  1. Size of the opportunity
  2. Probability of closing
  3. Number of other potential prospects
  4. Value of your time
  5. Are there artificial reasons for my company I need to consider?

Avoid making a decision when you’re under stress. Acting on your emotions can often get you into trouble. The rule is simple. Keep your pipeline filled but everyone in it must earn the right to be there.


The only good sale is the one that leads to the next.

The easiest business you’ll ever get is from your existing customers. If you’re doing your job right, they’re either buying more from you or referring you to someone who’ll buy from you. From the moment you’re about to get the first sale with a customer, you already have to be planning for the next sale. There are two numbers you should be tracking:

  1. Amount of business you receive from a customer after the initial purchase
  2. Amount of business created through referrals

Tracking these two numbers will reveal very interesting facts about how well you sell.


Kindle | Hardcover | Audiobook

Also check out: What it takes to be a great salesperson (an excerpt from A Mind for Sales)