…..its an activity game. Its about doing the right amount of the right activities in the right way. If you focus on the numbers you just get numbers. If you focus on the right activities then you get results. This was the essence of the advice from Chris Mather – a top sales manager from a company selling door to door when I interviewed him for TheAccidentalSalesman.com last year.

I worked with Chris’s company a number of years ago. At the time I just worked with consultants and service businesses but they wanted someone who was an expert at modelling behaviour. Being a Master Practitioner in NLP I was referred to them. It was a fantastic project even though a little ‘left of field’ at the time.

They wanted to find out why 10 of their sales people were selling 3 times as much as anyone else and then work out a way of getting the underperforming sales people to increase their results. They assumed it would be their technique or their scripts or perhaps their experience in sales. The funny thing was that, in my view, the top performers spent less time selling and their technique was actually not as good. Their scripts were typically longer and unpolished. If you did not know any better and had to judge based on one performance who was the top earning sales person you would probably get it wrong! The average sales person talked a good talk and sounded very plausable to the anyone who would care to listen about how hard it was.

The model had 5 key areas but in a nut shell the key difference that made a difference was the quantity and quality of activity. The top performers knocked on more doors than anyone else and were very clear who they should be selling to and who were unlikely to buy. They made their decision on whether to sell or move on before a word was even spoken!

I KNEW about qualification before I started the project but it was only when I saw a sales process that lasted a maximum of 5 minutes that I could see what a big impact it made. If you did the maths and the amount of time each stage of the sales process took, it was statistically impossible for them to sell enough without carefully qualifying out poor prospects. The top performers would judge by the look on someones face as they opened the door and quickly move onto the next. The average sales people would ignore this and just have a go.

Chris’s voice is incredibly motivating and his team typically rely on him to motivate them and they do really well. The top performers rely on their own motivation and that was the other major difference. They did not have to rely on a sales manager to pick them up and keep them going. His sales people still did well but if he went on holiday then the performance would drop. The top performers were 100% consistent. They knew how much activity they needed to do and got on and did it.

For me the message is that selling skill is important but more important is lead generation activity and being good at qualifying out people that are unlikely to want to buy from you. Make you sure you are knocking on the right doors and then get knocking. Finally make sure you are motivating yourself to do enough activity consistently. The top performers were self taught and they were always improving on their own technique.

Who would have thought I would learn so much about selling business services from studying people who sell door-to-door!!

You can hear the edited highlights of the tele-seminar here on TheAccidentalSalesman.com along with other recordings, e-books and videos of top trainers. Its all free for members and its free to join.

Best wishes


Richard White
The Accidental Salesman