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March 11, 2021 47 min

Most sales professionals operate without a strategy, which results in a reduction in sales productivity. How can we fix this?

That is the topic of discussion in this episode of The Modern Selling Podcast, with my guest, Brain Margolis.

Brian is a former environmental/fisheries scientist turned entrepreneur. He is the founder of and author of the book The Index Card Business Plan for Sales Pros and Entrepreneurs. His client list ranges from individual sales reps to Shark Tank entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies. Brian's Pillar System helps sales pros and entrepreneurs create a strategy so simple, it fits on an index card, but so powerful it’s helped create 7 figure earners and has been licensed by some of the largest companies in the world to train their sales teams.

The Need for a Sales Strategy

Brian says that sellers can grind their way with their skills and work ethic, but at a certain point they will hit an upper limit, because there are just so many hours they can put into their work every day.

What most sales professionals never stick with consistently is having an actual strategy. A strategy is a predetermined place to focus those skills and work ethic. That way, they get the biggest return on investment instead of winging it and being reactive.

“When it comes to sales professionals,” Brian says. “I think there are two versions of everybody's business. One is the reactive version, where she just reacts all day, flying by the seat of her pants. And the problem with the reactive version of the business is most of the output doesn't give you anything back. The other one is the intentional version, where she determines ahead of time-based on good criteria, good thinking, where to put her skills, effort, talent, and work ethic so that she gets the biggest return.” 

And the difference between those two versions of the exact same business, is the difference between failure and success.

The challenge that we have is salespeople don't know how to develop a strategy and how to focus on the right areas.

Building an Intentional Plan

So, how do you build a strategic plan to be intentional?

Brian says there are three components or pillars of an intentional plan.

1. Consistency Pillar

What are those things that you need to do consistently? What do you already know how to do effectively, that if you just did more of it, you would have the biggest impact on your business?

2. Effectiveness Pillar

Many sellers are working hard but they are not getting better at their jobs. They don't become more effective at the skill.

“A lot of salespeople consider making 25 cold calls productive,” Brain says. “But yet if I said, would you be willing to spend an hour a week getting better at something, working on your messaging, working on your direct response copywriting, most of them don't see that

as work. And so you have to intentionally put time and effort into getting better at those skills so that when you do send the email you get a higher response.” 

3. Strategic Pillar

Make sure you're doing the things upfront that make everything else more effective. For example, a seller can just make 50 dials, but taking an hour each week to do research on the clients would make those same dials more effective.

Brian calls this the pillar system. A pillar is an activity that you control whether it gets done or not. As long as you hit your pillars every week, everything else takes care of itself.

Sellers should start every week with a plan of who they are going to call and what they are going to do every day according to those three pillars. Planning their week in advance will revolutionize their results.

Be sure to listen to this podcast for more tips and strategies to help your sellers become more productive and successful at their work. Plus, Brian talks about the Index Card Business Plan, where sellers can use index cards to plan out their sales activities.

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