100 top producers interviewed.
1,750 stories explored.
A ton of insights uncovered.
A scientist by education and the past president of two companies, Steve uses his leadership experience and empirical data to reinforce his assertions.
Whether he is presenting, teaching, or consulting his programs on Leadership, Sales, Marketing, Innovation, and The Client Experience are guaranteed to leave you with actionable steps to take your business to the next level.
His new book is The 21 Secrets of Million Dollar Sellers.
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In 1729, when Benjamin Franklin was 23 years old, he used the money he had saved from his printing business to buy the Philadelphia Gazette. Franklin wanted to build the paper into the largest news source in the colonies. At the time of the purchase the Gazette was struggling. He called his delivery boys in and told them it was time to expand the reach of the paper. He needed them to sell more copies, to place the paper in more locations, to “sell more!” One of the delivery boys is rumored to have said; “we deliver the paper, we don’t sell it, it’s not our job.” To which Franklin legendarily replied – “We are ALL in sales.”
My book, The 21 Secrets of Million Dollar Sellers is about those people who have chosen sales as a profession and made careers out of that choice. This book is about how pinnacle performers build behaviors and hone their skills to become the best at what they do. It provides a road map of proven activities for anyone wanting to gain access to a fraternity of sales success.
My idea was simple; I wanted to know what big time sales people actually did that made them different. I wanted to know, in their own words, in their own stories, how they separated themselves from other sales professionals. I wanted to chart the road from ordinary to extraordinary. For this to work the model needed to encompass a wide variety of industries and business models drawn from the years of consulting work done by my Creative Ventures company. I believed that there were patterns in this idea. My hypothesis was that, when you were at the top of your game, no matter what you were selling, whether it was a product or a service, they were all doing the same thing. That despite variances in age, race and gender these success stories would reveals shared traits.
I had single criteria to get into the study; you had to be someone that produced a million dollars’ worth of sales a year. That was it. Nothing more. This simple filter created a diverse field of sales professionals. There were women, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and just about any other demographic you could define.
After a lot of strategic work, we gained access to these people and started accumulating their stories. It took over a year and half. We discovered the patterns in 1,750 stories. The results are The 21 Secrets of Million Dollar Sellers.
With that being said, I thought I would share a story from our study.
SECRET # 16 – MASTER THE DAY
During our strategic work with various clients I am consistently amazed at the number of professionals, from the vaunted C-Suite leadership echelon to the sales force that fails to recognize the value of their time. Time appears to them to be something they have very limited control over. Client demands, a shifting and changing market, communication overload and a perceived need to be on a 24 hour time clock have thrown time into a gumbo of ceaseless demands. But those at the top of their game have a different philosophy about time. Instead of being victims of their days, they are masters of their time.
During their professional journey top performers quickly realized that time was their most valuable asset and they learned to treat it thusly. Here are a few examples from one of the producers in my study.
- JoAnne S is a superstar insurance sales person. For the past 15 years she has built her client base (book of business) by being ruthless with her time. She maps out, in a strategic manner, a wide variety of time related activities she considers critical to her success.
- MEETINGS: Mention meetings to JoAnne and she will cringe. Over her career she will tell you that she has wasted more time in non-productive meetings than any other areas, including being stuck in Los Angeles traffic! She has developed a filter for this time element and her success has allowed her to follow it:
- Agenda – She will never attend a meeting for which she does not see a written agenda WITH time assignments to each agenda item. You want JoAnne to decide whether she will attend your meeting, you need a specific agenda with at a minimum a start and finish time. This allows JoAnne to be able to allocate a limited resource, time, to the impact of a meeting.
- The Day – JoAnne is a born “morning person”. She knows she is at her best in the AM and starts to loose energy as the evening approaches. This is her energy map. By knowing when she is at her best she can dictate the flow of work to take advantage of her energy. She does all her daily important work before noon. She starts her day at 5:00 AM! By leveraging her energy she creates days of staggering production!
The 21 Secrets of Million Dollar Sellers captures these types of shared behaviors that transcend businesses, markets and sales systems to make available to the reader a wide and diverse menu of actionable ideas to step up your sales game. These power activities are encapsulated in compelling stories that take the reader deeper into the concepts of each secret.
One of the best parts about the secrets is they are not “conceptual” they are actual ideas and actions that are “in play” and proven effect by each and every million dollar sales person in the book.
I hope you like the ideas and the read proves worthy of your time.
Written by Stephen Harvill