Friday, November 30, 2007

SalesDog Quick Tip

Nothing burns a customer more quickly than a broken promise. Don't make promises you can't keep 100% of the time.

Here's an easy way to remember this: Be slow to commit and quick to deliver.
Today's quick tip comes from sales expert Jim Meisenheimer.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Is your sales manager a dodo?

If you feel you aren't getting the support, training or advice you need from your manager, check out Lee B. Salz's new book, Soar Despite Your Dodo Sales Manager. After all, you are responsible for your own sales success.

Salz shows you how to first determine whether your current company is a good fit for your sales skills, then he helps you create your own "Sales Architecture" or sales system. His mentoring style guides you through a planning process for developing your territory, navigating your way through accounts, presenting, and dealing with the unexpected. With his advice, you're sure to adapt and thrive.

Learn more about Lee B. Salz and Soar Despite Your Dodo Sales Manager at

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The 5 Secrets of Winning Emails

How would you like to harness the power of email to connect with customers? Here are five secrets of winning emails from Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales, to set your email apart from everyone else's.

Use the prospect's first name in the subject line. Putting your prospect's first name in the subject line will automatically distinguish your email from the hundreds of others your prospect gets. In addition, we're all partial to our own name, and this will draw your prospect's eyes like a magnet.

Customize the first few lines of your email as much as possible. Many people preview emails by reading the first paragraph in Outlook. So the beginning better be short and have immediate value to your prospect. Example:

"Hi Barbara, Mike Brooks here with MHS Software. I've got some ideas about your networking issues for your new office that's opening in Houston next month. We've helped a lot of companies in this area, and I think you'll find it useful if we talk."

Keep your email short and easy to read! Nothing will turn your prospect off more than long, information packed paragraphs. Break up your sentences into different paragraphs if possible, to make them easy to read and accessible - no more than three sentences per paragraph.

Ask for a return response - whether they're interested or not. This is a great way to end your email and a good way to get a response. Simply thank them in advance for their consideration and say you're looking forward to their response.

Promise to follow up by phone if they don't respond. Let them know that you understand they are busy, and that out of consideration, if you don't hear from them you'll follow up with a call in a day or two. This really increases your response rate - and be happy if you get a "not interested" response. These prospects just disqualified themselves and saved you a lot of time and energy.

Try out these email secrets from Mr. Inside Sales, Mike Brooks, and watch your response rate go up! If you've got an email secret to add to the list, let us know!

Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales, specializes in helping sales reps avoid rejection and make more money. Check out his free ezine at

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sales Lessons from Dancing with the Stars

Jill Konrath of Selling to Big Companies proves that sales lessons can be found everywhere - even in the popular reality show Dancing with the Stars.

What can you learn from a Spice Girl, a NASCAR driver and Marie Osmond? Find out at Have some fun learning and here's hoping your favorite contestant wins!

Build your story, build customer relationships

You want to build relationships your competitors can't steal. If you're in business to business sales, you know that organizations don't buy from other organizations; people in organizations buy from people in other organizations.

"In order to build relationships, you need to let the other person know something about you," says sales expert Chris Lytle. "Self-disclosure is the act of revealing yourself to the other person. And while you don't want to reveal everything, you do want your prospect to understand something about your expertise, background, and motivation."

"Start with why you are doing this besides the money," suggests Lytle. "Another thing to disclose is why you chose this particular industry. Was it because of, or in spite of, your college degree? Have you had a lifelong interest in this or did you recently discover it? What customers have you helped? What problems have you solved? Of all the companies you could have chosen to work for, why did you choose this particular company? What is it about the company or the product that keeps you excited?"

That's probably more than enough to get you started on your story. The challenge, says Lytle, is keeping it brief and compelling. But the reward is great. "When the people on the other side of the desk understand more about your experience and your motivation for doing the job, they feel more comfortable discussing their real concerns," says Lytle. "After all, there's a real person across the desk from them. Not just another salesperson."

Tell us your story. How are you using it to build relationships with customers?

Chris Lytle, CSP, time releases immediately applicable sales advice via the MAX-ATM Automatic Training Machine website. Check it out at

Monday, November 26, 2007

Five Business Gift Giving Mistakes to Avoid this Holiday Season

Anyone braving the shopping malls during the holiday season knows that finding the perfect gift for family or friends is not easy. Business gift giving can be even more challenging. "Choosing the right business gift actually requires more time and thoughtfulness," says Tina LoSasso, Managing Editor of, in one of 80 sales lessons in the new business book, Top Dog Sales Secrets. LoSasso identifies five common business gift-giving gaffes:

Quality trumps quantity. "A small box of exquisite, handmade truffles will be appreciated far more than a big box of run-of-the-mill chocolates," LoSasso advises. "If the head honcho at your biggest account is a wine connoisseur, remember, it's far better to send one bottle of the very best than several ordinary bottles he'll never uncork."

Reject run-of-the-mill. Shun the ho hum food baskets and opt for a more memorable gift. "Check your client notes," suggests LoSasso. "What are his hobbies? Does he golf, cook or play sports? If your client, the gourmet cook, is still raving about the meals he enjoyed during his vacation in Tuscany, send him a beautifully illustrated regional cookbook. Your gift, and you, will be remembered far longer than a generic tin of cookies."

Don't even think of advertising. "Sending gifts with your company's logo on them makes you look stingier than Scrooge," says LoSasso. "Save the logo-imprinted pens, paperweights, mouse pads and calculators for your next trade show. Instead, send a gift from your region of the country: Ghirardelli chocolate from San Francisco, smoked salmon from the Northwest, citrus from Florida or California or barbecue sauce from Texas."

Beware of booze. "Alcoholic beverages are usually risky business," warns LoSasso. "The one exception is when you know someone loves a certain brand of rare Scotch, a particular wine, or a regional microbrew. Never send a bottle of champagne to that key account in Salt Lake City, or for that matter, frozen steaks to your customer who is a vegetarian. Don't laugh - it happens."

The gender trap. Gender differences present their own gift-giving dangers. While it is generally acceptable for a saleswoman to send her stressed-out women clients personal items, like lotions or a spa kit, salesmen should not be so familiar. "Sorry guys," says LoSasso. "You're not in the club."

LoSasso's advice is excerpted from the bestselling book, Top Dog Sales Secrets, authored by 50 renowned sales lecturers, consultants, and corporate trainers.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Create Customer Gratitude

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. A day for reflecting on what we're most grateful for. We've talked this week about expressing our thanks to customers. But, what about customer gratitude? What can you do to make your customers thankful for you?

Here's a story from George Ludwig, author of Power Selling: Seven Strategies for Cracking the Sales Code that illustrates the type of sales behavior that produces grateful customers.

One cold Friday night in January 1991, the phone rang. "Is this Tom O.?" the caller asked.

"Yes , it is," Tom replied. "Who's this?"

"I'm Dr. Gary B. from XYZ Children's Hospital. I'm the new ortho surgeon here, and we have an emergency spinal case tomorrow. My technician and I don't know how to run the Cell Saver, and neither does anybody else available to us. We have a six-year old boy who really needs surgery now - he can't wait till Monday. Can you help me run the device and train us, too? I used another brand back in Boston, and I can't reach that sales rep."

"I'll do it. What time do you need me?" Tom answered.

Dr. B. said, "Be here at 6:30am to scrub in."

The next morning, Tom ran the Cell Saver, which collects blood shed during surgery, separates the oxygen-carrying red cells, and returns them to the patient during the procedure. All went well in this four-hour operation. Dr. B. and his nursing team thanked Tom profusely for coming on a Saturday, with such short notice, and going the extra mile for their patient.

About a year later, Tom received a phone call from the ABC Teaching Hospital in Minneapolis. The company he sold for had been completely locked out from getting any of the Cell Saver business at this hospital, but the purchasing agent on the phone wanted to fax a purchase order for seven Cell Savers, worth more than $100,000 in business. Tom was stunned and elated! He was also confused, because he hadn't even visited the hospital in six months. The purchasing agent told him that their new chief of surgery, Dr. Gary B., refused to use any other type of equipment. Their order needed to be completed ASAP, and Tom ended up with a killer commission check.

Now that's a grateful customer. What can you do to prove your worth to your customers - when they need it most? Give it some thought - and enjoy your turkey!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Power of a Hand-Written Note

Yesterday we started the week with a reminder to extend this season of thanks with gratitude to those who play a part in your sales success. Your customers certainly play a big part in your sales success - why they define it. Sending a hand-written note of thanks is an ideal way to express your gratitude.

"The true power of the handwritten note is that it is personal," says sales trainer Tom Richard. "Think of the people who send you handwritten notes. Mostly family and friends, right? Receiving a handwritten note from you is as comforting and pleasant for your customer as hearing from an old friend. It does more than just say 'thank you' for the meeting, lunch, phone call or referral. It sends an important message about you, and how you like to conduct business."

"If you think sending handwritten cards is a lot of work, you're right. That's why your competitors aren't doing it. In today's selling world, success depends on separating yourself from the competition every chance you get."

Just think: a few minutes and a stamp can help you grab your prospect's attention, maintain strong customer relationships, and make someone feel special. Why are you waiting?

This advice was excerpted from Top Dog Sales Secrets. Tom Richard is an author and sales trainer. Learn more about him at

Monday, November 19, 2007

Quote of the Week

"No one who achieves success does so without the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude." -- Alfred North Whitehead

Wise words to contemplate this week as we pause to give thanksgiving. Give some thanks for the people who are helping you achieve sales success.

Friday, November 16, 2007

No trust

This week we're looking at the five obstacles to any sale as outlined by legendary sales trainer Zig Ziglar: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust. Today's obstacle: "no trust."

To overcome a lack of trust, you must first realize that most prospects don't know you and may never have even heard of your company.

Here's a tip from Michael Dalton Johnson, Editor of Top Dog Sales Secrets that should help:

"All things being equal, who do you think your prospect is going to buy from: the company he has known for years, or you, the new kid on the block?" asks Johnson. "Allay his fears by providing him with current customer lists (including contact names and numbers for some of your accounts), testimonial letters on your customers' letterhead, documented case histories, and press coverage. A referral from someone he knows and respects will swing doors wide open."

There you have it: expert strategies and tactics to overcome the five basic obstacles to any sale. Now put this knowledge to use and make more sales!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The thrill is gone

Zig Ziglar says there are five obstacles to any sale. Today we investigate the fourth obstacle -- no desire.

You probably recognize "no desire" in the form of brush-offs, "we're happy with our current supplier," prospects gone AWOL, and price objections. Why? When prospects don't see the value of your product or service, they have no desire to do business with you - or buy your product at any price.

Julie Thomas, CEO of ValueVision Associates says that your challenge as a salesperson is to help prospects recognize the value of your product, so that your sales campaign ends up on their short list of must-have purchases. Only after you have identified the critical business issue, its underlying problems, and the value of solving these problems, are you in a position to help the prospect move your solution to the top of the list of must-have purchases.

Every problem and business issue has a cost or impact. The challenge is to help the customer see the value from his perspective, not yours. This means asking questions such as:

--How much time do you spend chasing inventory information?
--How much delay does that cause, and how does that translate to revenue production?
--How does this affect you? Are you impacted by this personally?

Once you've established value, you'll discover that "no desire" is no longer an obstacle.

This advice was excerpted from Top Dog Sales Secrets. Julie Thomas is president and CEO of ValueVision Associates.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Creating a sense of urgency

Zig Ziglar said, "Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust."

Today we're looking at the "no hurry" obstacle. You know the problem. Your prospect has an acknowledged need. You have the solution. They have the budget. But, they're just not moving forward.

In this situation, "Clients often need a little prodding to overcome their lack of urgency," says speaker and consultant Mike Schultz who advises that you:

Ask yourself, "What won't happen?" By the end of the sales process, you should have a very clear idea how your services will provide value to the prospect if he buys. Your next step is to get the client to understand the implications of not choosing to engage your services. Start by building a case (to yourself) for the negative implications if the client chooses not to solve the problem or address the issue using your services.

Ask the client, "What won't happen?" At the appropriate time in the sales process, ask the client, "To help me understand your situation so I can craft the best solution for you, can you give me a sense of what will happen if you choose not to move forward in this process and engage our services?" Like a good trial lawyer, you already know from your earlier analysis what those implications will be. However, the point is to get the client to state those implications out loud, in his own words.

Quantify the results. Just as you quantify the benefits and value of moving forward, quantify the implications for the customer of not moving forward. Make sure your case is clear before going on to the next step.

Demonstrate the results. When demonstrating your value in the presentation or proposal, also demonstrate the value of the "What won't happen?" analysis. For example, suppose you demonstrate that revenue will go up by 3% and customer retention 20% if they purchase your service. Now show them the flip side. Demonstrate that if they choose not to go forward, revenue will stagnate or drop and customer retention will drop by at least 5%.

"By employing a 'What won't happen?' analysis in your sales process, you will find a consistent increase in the sense of urgency of your clients, resulting in measurably increased closing rates," says Schultz.

Give his advice a try and let us know how this strategy works for you!

This advice was excerpted from Top Dog Sales Secrets. Mike Schultz is principal of Wellesley Hills Group.

Come back tomorrow to find out how to deal with the "no desire" obstacle.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

No Money? No Problem.

Today we tackle the second obstacle to sales: "no money."

Sometimes the no-money objection is only an excuse, suggests sales training firm The Brooks Group. But when funding to buy your product or service is your prospect's genuine concern, try these suggestions:

Deal only with prospects at the senior level who can revise the budget, develop strategies and make emergency purchases for products or services that fall into unforeseen areas.

Before visiting a prospect, discover what items are - and are not - usually included in the company's budget. Is your type of product or service usually budgeted for? Know the potential customer's budget cycle, planning times, policy for disposing of excess funds and who controls what parts of the budget process.

Finally, to gather more information to help the prospect solve the no-money problem, The Brooks Group suggests that you continue the discussion by asking the following questions:

  • How have you funded this type of project before?
  • We encounter this quite often. Let me suggest how other organizations have found ways to handle it.
  • How much money have you set aside that may not be used? Are there ways we could access those funds to start this project?
Try these tips the next time the "no money" obstacle arises. You'll soon be saying, "No problem!"

The Brooks Group is a world-renowned sales training firm specializing in business-to-business selling. Visit their website at
Tomorrow's obstacle: "no hurry."

Monday, November 12, 2007

Sales Obstacles

"Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust." --Zig Ziglar

Wise words from a sales training legend. This week we'll look at how to overcome each of these selling obstacles.

Today's obstacle: "no need"
"For many sales reps, getting prospects to open up and reveal their real issues, challenges and concerns early on is the most difficult part of the sales process," says telesales trainer Jim Domanski. "Without this critical information, the rep has no clear direction in which to take the sales call. As a result, demonstrating clear and compelling value to the prospect becomes almost impossible."

"When you probe for needs most prospects are reluctant to divulge areas of pain. This is understandable. Because you're a stranger, they feel a natural hesitancy to open up the floodgates and spill all their issues. On another level, some prospects don't want to admit to anyone that they have a pressing problem."

Domanski advises reps to use a scenario selling technique which makes it easier for reps to ask the tough questions, and prospects to respond. "Scenario selling is formulaic, and divided into two parts," explains Jim. "The rep creates a scenario as a pretext for asking a sensitive question. Next, the rep uses an open-ended trigger phrase such as, 'What has been your experience?' that invites the prospect to elaborate."

Here are two examples:

"Ms. Bixby, much of our client research shows that cash flow is sometimes an issue, particularly with the fluctuating price of oil. Let me ask you - what has been your experience with cash flow over the last year or so?"

"Mr. Edgerton, one of the things we've learned with new practices is that marketing their services is a challenge, because the owners are doctors and not marketers. Let me ask, what has been your approach to marketing, and what type of results have you been experiencing?"

To implement this technique, Domanski suggests strategizing with your manager or fellow reps. Develop a scenario or two that highlights common points of pain. Script your scenario and trigger phase and then practice until they flow naturally. Now deliver and watch the impact on your sales!

This advice was excerpted from Top Dog Sales Secrets. Jim Domanski is president of Teleconcepts Consulting.

Join us again tomorrow as we tackle the "no money" obstacle.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Horror Stories from the Sales Trenches

Has it been a tough week? Looking for a way to lighten the mood on a Friday?

Well, you're in luck! Dan Seidman at Sales Autopsy has collected an arsenal of sales horror stories that will amuse you, and teach you a sales lesson at the same time. In this clip he relays the story of a radio ad sales rep whose poor choice of words had his prospect chasing him out of the office.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Don't take our word for it...

Renowned sales trainer and bestselling author Jeffrey Gitomer is recommending Top Dog Sales Secrets. You know Jeffrey as the author of the popular Little Books including the current bestselling Little Green Book of Getting Your Way.
Here's what Jeffrey wrote about Top Dog Sales Secrets:
"Michael Dalton Johnson has compiled these strategies, tips, and secrets for you to add to your sales bag of success. One of these top dog secrets can earn you a fortune."

If you're ready to earn your fortune, click here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Set yourself up for cold calling success

We know cold calling is tough. So make it easier on yourself by avoiding this Cold Calling Don't from telesales expert Art Sobczak of Business By Phone:

Don't send information before the cold call.
Busy decision-makers toss bulging packages of unsolicited literature with letters straight into the trash (or hopefully, recycling). No matter how many times you send that package, they're not going to open it. Therefore, starting a cold call with, "I sent you a letter, didja get it?" almost never elicits a favorable response.

What should you do instead?

Use an interest-creating opening for your next call, advises Sobczak. Here's his example that you can adapt to your business.

"Ms. Bigg, I'm John Brown with ABC Company. My company specializes in (fill in with the ultimate result customers want and get from you, for example, helping garden centers generate more business during the off-season). Depending on what you're doing now, and your objectives, this might be something worth taking a look at. I'd like to ask a few questions, to see if you'd like more information."

Give this advice a work-out this week. You'll be glad you did!

This advice was excerpted from Top Dog Sales Secrets. Art Sobczak is a popular telesales guru. Visit his site at

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Magic Sales Word #3

Sales trainer Renee Walkup has three favorite sales words: oh, tell, and today's word: when.

Walkup says that "when" is the perfect antidote to a serious disease afflicting most sales professionals, the "two-week" disease. You'll know you've got it if you find yourself saying things like, "So, Frank, I guess you now know what we have to offer. How about I call you in two weeks to follow up?"

First of all, Walkup explains, you have now set the criteria for following up. Why should that be YOUR decision? What if Frank is ready to buy? Think you'll get the sale? What if Frank can't get the approval until April, what good will two weeks do for you?

What's so magic about two weeks? It's a waste of time to impose this arbitrary timeframe on your customer when it really makes no sense whatsoever.

Walkup's cure to this selling disease is to "just ask when." It goes like this...

"So, Frank, I guess you now know what we have to offer. When is the best time to follow up with you?"

Now, Frank will tell you, and you're on his time frame--not yours. If he says "tomorrow," you'll close sooner than expected. If he says "April", at least you won't be wasting valuable time calling him every two weeks UNTIL April!

Put this advice to work for you today and watch your sales unfold like magic!

Renee Walkup is president of SalesPEAK Inc. and author of "Selling to Anyone Over the Phone".

Monday, November 5, 2007

Quote of the Week

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant." --Robert Louis Stevenson

Keep this advice in mind as you prospect this week.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Are you getting the brochure brush-off?

You finally have Mr. Big on the line. The conversation seems to be going well. He's even asked you to send him some literature. Wow, he must be interested. Hardly! In reality, you've just been given the brochure brush-off.

This particular evasive tactic has a number of variations: email me some more information, send me a proposal, and put that in writing. How do you know it's really a put-off? Well, just think about where you are with all the other prospects who've told you to send them a brochure. No doubt, you're still chasing them.

Here's how Mr. Inside Sales, Mike Brooks, advises you take control of the situation:

Put-off #1: "Go ahead and send me your information."

Your response:

"I'd be happy to, and if you like what you see would you be ready to place an order?"

"Before I do, I want to make sure you'd be ready to act on it if you like it. Let me ask you... (qualifying questions on budget, decision-making process, etc.)"

"Sure, and after you review it, how soon are you going to make a decision on it?"

"And what would you need to see to say yes to it?"

Put-off #2: "Put that quote in writing and send it to me."
Your response:

"I'd be happy to, and from what we've just discussed, does it sound like you'd go with it?"

"Absolutely. How does this compare with other quotes you've received so far?"

"Great. Based on the quote/price I just gave you, does this sound like it fits within your budget?"

"Be happy to, and after you get it, what happens next?"

Like anything in sales, practice makes perfect. Practice these responses, then put them to work for you. You'll be glad you did!

Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales, specializes in helping sales reps avoid rejection and make more money. Check out his free ezine at

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Foundation of a Salesperson

Business and career coach Diane Helbig had the ultimate sales role model in her father. "He believed completely in his product," says Helbig. "He was confident but not arrogant. He truly cared about the well-being of his prospects and clients - and they knew it. It was a pleasure to watch him interact with his customer."

While we all may not be lucky enough to have had such a strong sales role model, we can all benefit from the sales lessons Helbig learned from her father.

Believe in your product or service. If you are going to sell something, you should believe it is the best thing out there. Understand what makes it stand out; what its benefits truly are. What you believe emanates from you. If you aren't completely sold, people will know it - and won't want what you have to sell.

Exude confidence, not arrogance. Being confident - in yourself, in your product or service, in your message - is essential. However, being overly confident or arrogant will destroy you. Arrogance leads people to sell, to talk instead of listen. After all, they believe they know best.

Truly care about the well-being of your prospects and clients. Caring creates an environment where you are actively listening, and processing what you are hearing. You are realistic, honest, and capable of seeing things from the client's point of view. It's basic respect. You aren't trying to sell them. Rather, you are trying to help them solve a problem.

You'll know you're caring about your customers when you:
--Care that they get their problem solved - whether YOU can solve it or not
--Care that they pay a fair price
--Care that they make an informed (not coerced) decision

"You can see how when you believe in your product or service, are confident in yourself and your message, and care about your client's well-being, you will develop outstanding relationships," says Helbig. "It is those relationships that will bring you quality business for years to come."

Diane Helbig is a Professional Coach, and President of Seize This Day Coaching. She works one-on-one and in groups with small business owners, entrepreneurs, and salespeople. Visit her website at