Technology is great but it isn't necessarily better than the system we are already using.

It Worked So Good…

We stoped doing it.

I love innovation and technology! So many things that show up on my Amazon suggestions call to me to just hit “Buy with 1 click!” So many information products (classes, seminars, resources, do it for you programs, etc.) sing to me.

I’ve seen a lot of marketers claiming that you no longer have to cold call. How cool! Wouldn’t it be awesome to just use social media? “Who needs to cold call,” the charlatans cry out. Just buy my course for $1,999 and I’ll show you how to leverage LinkedIn!!!

I’m not alone. As I work with sales teams all over the country, I regularly see organizations that have walked so far away from the basics of sales, they couldn’t find their way back with gps.

The reality is that we aren’t really leveraging technology. Technology is leveraging us.

Please understand that I am not a technology hater. I am more connected than I probably should be. Technology has made many aspects of our lives much easier (not necessarily any simpler.)

We get so caught up in learning the new tool that we forget to do the basics. Why? It is very safe to spend 4 hours learning how to do LinkedIn searches. Nobody can tell us no when we are watching videos.

Instead, we start spamming inviting people, we have zero connection to, to learn about our awesome opportunity. When they don’t respond or tell us they aren’t interested, at least it was so easy to ask we don’t feel the rejection the same way we would on the phone or in person.

Back To The Basics

The legendary college basketball coach John Wooden, at the first practice of the new season, started by teaching his players how to put on their socks. Wait… What? Weren’t these some of the best basketball players in the country? Surely they knew how to put on their socks. The freshman players would roll their eyes but the Juniors and Seniors would let them know immediately to shut up and pay attention. Coach Wooden explained that if they didn’t put their socks on right, they would get blisters. If they got blisters, they couldn’t practice properly. If they didn’t practice properly, they wouldn’t get to play.

Tim’s Basics of Sales

Sales is very much like putting on socks properly. It’s the little things that will derail your career. The sooner you master the basics, the faster you will hit the levels of success you desire. So what are the basics?

Master These Basics First. We’ll Work On Three-pointers Later.

  • Read SOMETHING! 80% of salespeople have never read at least one book on sales. 20% of all salespeople take home 80% of the available commissions. Hmmmm. Do I have to draw you a map? Read!!!

  • Never stop prospecting. According to the late, great Zig Ziglar, the number 1 reason salespeople fail is due to a lack of prospects.

  • Pick up the phone. “But Tim, I much better in person,” I hear you say. Tough! Cold calling via phone is a skill you must master.

  • Get out of the office. “Didn’t you just say to use the phone?” Yep. You need to be good in person too. Jeb Blount explained on his recent Success Is Voluntary podcast interview, that by choosing only one way to prospect (or one day of the week, or just during the same time block) you are limiting your probability of success. LISTEN HERE

  • Use a script! You need a track to run on. I could write 5 blog articles on this point alone. Instead, I suggest that you listen to Scott Channell’s recent podcast for more on this. LISTEN HERE

  • Followup, followup, followup. I am now coaching, speaking and writing full-time. Not only have I had to relearn how to prospect, I am relearning the importance of following up. Many of my sales and engagements are happening on the 9th, 10th, 11th time I have reached out.

  • Use a CRM. If you are going to be a professional and followup at the right time, there is zero chance you can accomplish that using an excel spreadsheet or a scratch pad. I wrote a blog article in 2014 explaining a low-tech version of a CRM. (READ IT HERE) If I were to rewrite it today, I would caution using it for very long. The sooner you can get onto ACT!, Pipeline Deals, or some other inexpensive CRM the better!!!

  • Role-play prospecting and Decision Maker presentations: When I was a corporate sales trainer, I could instantly tell if someone had practiced or not while they were going through their initial training. So could the prospects…

  • Do your homework. Never ask a prospect a dumb question. I know you have been told your whole life there is no such thing as a dumb question. I hate to break it to you, you’ve been lied to. Asking a Decision Maker questions that you could have found out by just googling them is a dumb question.

  • Shut up!!! Once they buy, keep your mouth closed. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen salespeople talk past the yes and lose the sale.

  • Go for no. Once you have the first commitment, keep asking for additional commitments until you finally get a no. In their best selling book Go For No  Andrea Waltz, and Richard Fenton tell the story of a suit salesman that stopped selling whey he hit his self-imposed maximum sale to one customer. The customer never said no. How much greater that sale could have been will never be known. Read the full story HERE. You can also listen to Andrea’s fantastic Success Is Voluntary Podcast Interview: LISTEN HERE

  • Show your appreciation. Send the handwritten thank you note. Refer business to your client. Create a gifting strategy. Drop by with donuts or pizza. John Ruhlin wrote a fantastic book about this very thing! Giftology should be a foundational book for every salesperson.

  • Keep your commitments! One of the reasons salespeople often get a bad rap is they promise the moon and then ghost on their clients. Don’t screw it up for the rest of us. Under-promise, over deliver instead. This can be as simple as the expectations you set on your outgoing voicemail. Read more about this HERE

  • Complete the implementation. Meet with the Decision Maker immediately after the enrollment/implementation has been completed. Find out if there is anything you missed or unmet expectations. Now is the time to get ahead of it versus trying to fix it after the problem has festered.

  • Service your accounts. Or someone else will. Enough said.

  • Get a mentor. There are people in your organization that have already gone where you want to go. Learn from their mistakes. I have found, without exception, that the people in this industry are incredibly gracious and will share with you their best practices. You could eventually learn it on your own. Why would you want to do that? For more information, listen to Success Doesn’t Leave Tracks LISTEN HERE

  • Get a coach. This may sound self-serving as I do coaching. I promise it isn’t. There are sooooo many reasons to get a coach. Instead of listing them all, I’ll ask you this question instead: What do Richard Branson, Steph Curry, Oprah Winfree, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Michael Phelps, Tony Robbins, Metallica, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bill Clinton, Serena Williams, Luke Skywalker (I could keep on going…) have in common? If you guessed they are incredibly successful and wealthy, you would be right… But what I was going for was they all have coaches. Seriously. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. “Yeah, but they can afford it,” some might say. Huh, I wonder why. Oh yeah, they have a coach… Get a free, 30-minute coaching session with me by CLICKING HERE. 

Your Turn

What are some of the things that worked so well you stopped doing them? Leave a comment below or email me at

Tim Martin

Tim has spent the last 22 years in the VB sales world. During that time he has recruited and trained over 2,000 agents to get people to do what they should, but wouldn't do if we didn't come along. In addition to his leadership rolls at the two largest VB carriers on the planet, Tim has worked with outside organizations through consulting and sales coaching. His energetic and humorous key note addresses have also inspired and electrified audiences throughout the United States. Currently Tim is also working on his first book "Success Is Voluntary." Tim and the lovely Dizzy D reside in Peoria, Arizona. They have been married for 30 years and are the proud parent of two gorgeous grown young women, Brittny 29 and Victoria 26.

Category: Blog Posts
Posted on: Friday, July 12, 2019

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