vacationfromworkHere’s what you might have missed from No More Cold Calling this month.

A beach, a ball, an ocean, a lake, a pool … that’s all kids need for a great summer vacation. That’s all adults really need as well. But we don’t make time to relax, unwind, enjoy ourselves, or just have some alone time to think.

A senior sales executive told me she checks out on weekends and schedules an hour each week to “think”—just to get “off the grid” and tap into her creativity. I was astounded, as everyone at this company responds to emails and texts within minutes.  But great customer service doesn’t have to come at the expense of employee well-being or innovative thought.

Think you need permission to unplug? You don’t. That’s been one of No More Cold Calling’s themes for July, and we’ve published several great blog posts about the importance of unplugging. My favorite is “Wondering How to Grow Sales? Create Time to Think.

Here are a few others you might have missed:

On Vacation? Increasing Sales Can Wait Till You Get Back

Earlier this summer, I spent two weeks overseas without checking email. How could I possibly afford that luxury? As a small business owner, increasing sales and staying connected to my clients are top priorities. My team can keep the business running smoothly in my absence, but I’m the one responsible for increasing sales. (Sound familiar?) Unplugging was hard at first. I checked email the first few days while I was traveling, but once vacation officially started, I turned off my devices and focused on the world in front of me. Two weeks later, I returned feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to get back to work. (Read more.)

Too Busy to Get Referrals?

If salespeople don’t stay in touch with prospects and referral sources, they won’t be able to keep hot new leads coming in. Yet, many reps have what’s known as “call reluctance.” They dread the thought of “dialing for dollars” (i.e., cold calling people they don’t know), so they focus on the deals that are currently in their pipelines and dream up every possible excuse for not picking up the phone. No matter how much you have on your plate, unless you make time to prospect, your sales pipeline will dry up. That’s a nightmare situation for any smart salesperson. (Read more.)

Want to Choose Your Clients? Get Referrals

You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family. That’s a well-worn saying. My variation: You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your clients. We all want to work with our Ideal Clients—people who value what we offer, communicate well, are forward thinking and reasonable, have a good sense of humor, and will give the time, money, and resources to make our business projects successful. With Ideal Clients, our sales time collapses, productivity soars, deals are larger, and they help us get referrals to others like themselves. Then there’s the opposite—the PITA client. (Read more.)

Business to Business Sales Reps Shouldn’t Cave on Price

Buyers can smell fear and anxiety a mile away, and most will take advantage. Successful salespeople avoid this problem by having enough confidence—in themselves and their products—to stand firm. If price is the only decision point for a client, red flags should be waving so furiously that you turn around and run the other way as quickly as possible. This person will consider you a commodity. You will be nickel-and-dimed, squeezed on everything, and expected to deliver additional services at no charge.  When you offer a valuable product or service, you don’t need to cut your price to attract great customers. In fact, doing so can hurt your business. (Read more.)

Are Referral Leads Waiting in Your Inbox?

Salespeople and comedians have something in common: More often than not, success comes down to timing. Sometimes we get lucky. We’re in the right place at the right time and meet the perfect prospect. Other times prospects read content we’ve posted, and our phones ring off the hook. You never know when people are ready to buy, or how something you say will resonate at just the right time. But luck is not a sustainable advantage. To keep your pipeline full of hot prospects and referral leads, make your own luck by following up on business opportunities and staying in touch with your referral networks. (Read more.)

“Sales Management” Is Not a Dirty Word

Remember when the phone was ringing off the hook and companies hired anyone who could fog a mirror? No one had time to prospect, because they couldn’t keep up with the business coming in every day. Then the recession hit. Companies had no pipelines, and many businesses folded. The problem was that sales management had their heads in the sand. They thought the bubble would never burst, at least not for them. So, they neglected the strategies, sales metrics, and processes that could have kept their businesses strong, or at least afloat, when the going got rough. History does repeat itself. That’s why great sales leaders must also be great sales managers. (Read more.)

[Message to Management]: Read This Before You Fire Your Sales Executive

“My CEO just fired his VP of sales in Europe.” “Jim left because our company grew beyond his capabilities.” (Translation: He was fired.) We hear these types of comments all the time, usually followed by, “It’s tough to find a sales leader with the experience we need.” No wonder the average tenure of a sales executive is 18 months! Are CEOs hiring the wrong people? Or just setting expectations too high? Rather than expecting a new leader to turn the company around overnight, perhaps it’s better to set clear and reasonable expectations with specific, incremental goals. (Read more.)

Test Your Referral Savvy

I’m conducting a study on referrals, and I need your help. Please take my 14-question Referral I.Q. Quiz. The questions are mostly “Yes/No,” and it should take less than four minutes to complete. Once you’ve finished, you’ll be bounced over to a results page, where you can see the aggregated answers from everyone who has participated.

Take the Referral I.Q. Quiz now.

My goal is to get a 1,000-person sample, so please invite your network to take the quiz as well. Participation is anonymous, and I promise you won’t be added to any lists. Thanks in advance for your support!