Higher Power

Secrets #3 - 4

Secret #3Have the Final Say. Even when they delegate, successful CEOs are the final approvers of every initiative with which they come into contact. Their employees are charged with the task of conducting the fact-finding process and making decisions and recommendations, which the CEO must approve. They manage a tight circle of influence and authority.

"My persistence and my ability to identify and clarify set the pace in my organization," says Andrew D. Horowitz, 34-year-old CEO of The Estate Management Group, a wealth management consulting firm in Valencia, California. "Everything echoes back to me."

Horowitz never settles for what he calls a "stopper" in a sales situation or decision process. As he puts it, "Failure is quitting." Horowitz takes responsibility seriously, no matter how much he delegates. You should, too.

Secret #4Model the Ideal Sales Process Consistently for Your Organization. No one plays the role of a model salesperson better than the head of the company. Here are thoughts on the ideal sales process, culled from successful CEOs who make it a priority to share these fundamental selling lessons with everyone in their organizations.

>> "Trust, integrity and honesty pave the way to successful relationships in all business endeavors."

-Jim Amos, CEO, Mail Boxes Etc.

>> Focus on the right prospect. "Yes, you need to sell-but you don't need to sell everyone."

-Karin Bellantoni, CEO of I-Mark, a voice-response marketing firm in Newport Beach, California

>> "Following up and persistence are critical. Answer and return all phone calls."

-Doug Simon, CEO of Mobility Elevator & Lift Co., a custom elevator manufacturing company in East Hanover, New Jersey

>> "Forget the typical ice-breaker. Get down to the real business issues first."

-Keith C. MacCumber, CEO of So-Luminaire Daylighting Systems Corp., a commercial skylights manufacturer in Carlsbad, California

>> "Constantly 'blitz' your territory."

-S. Cash Nickerson, CEO of Team America, an employee benefits outsourcing company in Washington, Ohio

At Team America, a territory blitz is a concentrated effort to reach out and contact many prospects or existing customers in a short time. You can do it by sending a letter or e-mail first, then picking up the phone or making a series of in-person calls.

>> "Always ask permission before you start to take notes. It lets the other person know that what they're saying is important and it clears the issues of confidentiality."

-Joe Mancuso, CEO of The CEO Club, an association of more than 2,000 CEOs and presidents in New York City

>> "Always be clear about the fact that you are here to sell."

-Bob Posten, CEO of Landis Strategy & Innovation, a research and consulting firm in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

>> "Aim high. It's best to cast a bigger net into your territory."

-Kevin Dyevich, CEO of Comfort Direct, a mattress manufacturer in New Brunswick, New Jersey

Think of the last big deal your business landed. Now take the total time it took to get the deal, and divide that number by the amount of the sale. Now, do the same with the smallest sale. Finally, compare the numbers. If you're honest, you'll find big deals are always more worthy of your time and effort.

Tony Parinello has become the nation's foremost expert on executive-level selling. He's also the author of the bestselling book bearing the name of his sales training program,Getting to VITO, the Very Important Top Officer, 10 Steps to VITO's Office,as well as the host of Club VITO, a weekly live internet broadcast.

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This article was originally published in the August 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Higher Power.

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