Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sales Motivation in 2010

Now is the time to get started on making 2010 your best year ever - and one of the ways you can do that is by reflecting on your successes and failures from the previous years. Today sales trainer Mark Hunter shares a way for you to reflect on the past, and use it to your advantage in the coming year.

"Many salespeople take time off this time of year," says Hunter. "It can be a great time to enjoy a break, but I also encourage you to pump up your level of sales motivation. Reflect back on the year by making note of the best successes you've had. Write them down in a notebook you can access throughout the coming year."

"Use your successes of 2009 to drive your sales motivation next year," explains Hunter. "In fact, strive to surpass these successes in 2010. Each week throughout the new year, take a look at last year's successes and challenge yourself as to how you're going to do even better. When you do (and you will!), then celebrate by drawing a big fat "X" through last year's success and entering your new success. A few areas where you can measure your sales motivation may include: best new customer, best single sale, best referral, best example of overcoming an objection, best job in handling a customer issue, etc."

"Identify the key areas in your sales process and make a note. By challenging yourself in the new year, you'll be amazed at what you're able to accomplish and how it can help drive your sales motivation."

Mark Hunter, "The Sales Hunter", is a sales expert who speaks to thousands each year on how to increase their sales profitability. For more information, to receive a free weekly email sales tip, or to read his Sales Motivation Blog, visit

The SalesDog blog will be quiet tomorrow, New Year’'s Day. See you in 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Looking Down on Your Meeting

The problem posed by The Whetstone Group is a common one - I know I've experienced it before! Read on for their solution to the problem - it's a great one to keep in mind!

Problem: In the parking lot on the way out of the sales meeting, Sid shook his head and said to his manager, "If I would have only asked about...the call would have taken a favorable turn. Why can't I think of those things while I am in the middle of the meeting?"

Assessment: Salespeople get emotionally "hooked" by reacting to what a prospect says during a meeting. The emotions could be anything from despair ("I'm losing this") to exhilaration ("things are going great"). For example: a prospect denies that they have a problem that you may be able to solve or challenges your credibility. This triggers an unconscious thought pattern that generates a feeling of frustration or defensiveness. This emotional response happens unconsciously and occupies our thoughts for a period of time. During that period we can't ask questions, listen properly or be objective. When a salesperson becomes emotionally involved in a meeting, they have lost control and will not be able to function effectively.

Prescription: Visualize yourself looking down on your meeting. There is a scientific term for this called dissociation. Dissociation can be learned and it starts long before you show up for the sales meeting. First, learn a system that will provide you with an overall strategy and set of tactics to handle any selling situation in an optimal way. Practice, rehearse and review it so you can follow it faithfully (like you would any other skill or sport). This gives you the ability to focus on the process of the meeting rather than the outcome - a key element of dissociation. Secondly, build your conviction and understanding by affirming these key concepts:

--Approach a sales call as if you had just won a million and you don't need the business.

--Remember that people buy things for their reasons and not for your reasons, so find out what their reasons are.

--"No" is an acceptable result of a sales call (provided you have qualified properly).

--Selling is no place to get your emotional needs met - get your emotional needs met from those who love you and support you.

Whetstone Group is a sales process improvement company that focuses on helping companies implement a proven sales process that will increase sales, shorten the selling cycle, increase closing rates, and improve margins. Learn more at

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

How to Attract Your Prospect's Attention via Email...and then Lose It

Email prospecting is growing in popularity, and we think using it in combination with phone prospecting and face-to-face meetings is one of the best ways to grow your business in 2010. The problem is, you can't just send an email with a snappy subject line and forget about the rest of it. Every part of your email prospecting needs to be direct and focused on the customer. Take this story from sales expert Jill Konrath to heart when working on your email prospecting.

The subject line of his email caught my attention right away: "Hi Jill, was hoping we may be able to help each other."

His message continued in that theme. It was gracious, non-pretentious and curiosity-evoking. He pulled me in...

Hi Jill I was hoping we may be able to help each other. We're currently first level contacts on Linkedin and I hope you don't mind my reaching out to you.

I'm interested in exploring mutually beneficial business alliances with you which may allow us to help each other build more business. And, I'd like to offer you 20% of the gross margin of any business you refer to me. Or, if this would be a conflict of interest, I'd be glad to make a donation in your name to your favorite charity.

He then went on to explain the details of how that would work (which was unnecessary since I can do the math) and gave me a short overview of his company.

And then he totally blew it when he said:

Now that was my pitch :) If you have a product or service that I can help you sell, please let me know. I'd be glad to partner with you to help you sell your products or services to our client base if it looks like a good fit.

Excuse me! I thought he was writing me a personal note. When I realized it was a canned email and he hadn't ever bothered looking at my website, I deleted him as fast as I could.

I'm sure he thought he was being nice. I thought he was stupid. Don't make the same mistakes in your email prospecting.

Jill Konrath, author of Selling to Big Companies and founder of the Sales Shebang, is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and industry events. For more articles like this, visit Sign up for the newsletter and get a bonus Sales Call Planning Guide.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Quote of the Week

"We can't think narrowly. We have to think in the biggest possible way." -- Alice Waters

It's that time again - time to be thinking about your goals and aspirations for the coming year. How high have you set the bar? Have you set a goal of just meeting your quota? What about exceeding your quota by ten percent, or twenty-five percent?

If you don't think in the biggest possible way, you'll never make the money you'd like to make. Set a high goal, and then break it down by month to figure out how much your monthly quota should be to hit your goal for the year. Then, only think about that number - NOT what you need to hit your company quota! This will allow you to work towards your goal in a systematic, manageable way - and make it more likely you'll attain it!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Getting Dressed Up? May as Well Take Your Business Cards

The holidays are full of parties just waiting to be turned into networking opportunities. Today sales trainer Renee Walkup shows you how!

Last evening I attended an incredibly fun networking event, disguised as a holiday party. The invitations went out early. There were no typos regarding the date, the time, or the address. Not only that, the event looked like loads of fun. The only sentence that made me ponder was this: This is not a business event. Please do not solicit new clients.

I paused and thought about that sentence. After all, wasn't half of the intent to network and make business contacts? The other half was to let our hair down and have some fun. Then I invited my networking and all-around-event-buddy.

I sent her the invitation with a note: "Amy, do you want to go to this with me?" She replied: "Renee, it looks great. But what do they mean by 'Do not solicit new clients?' Isn't this a networking thing?"

After arriving and grabbing a bite, I saw business cards being passed all over the place. It was like a feeding frenzy of fun, food got it...networking!

Now, what about your parties this month? Do you want to do some double dipping fun and networking? Here are a few tips to get you started:

First, survey the room and approach someone who seems like you in terms of personality, age, attire, etc. Find the person you'll have something in common with to immediately put you at ease. If this takes a few minutes after arriving - so be it. You'll find this a valuable networking tool in all situations because people do business with people who are like them.

Next, open the conversation with a question such as: what brought you to the event, how do you know the hosts, and other connection topics that break the ice, and get your new contacts talking.

Also, avoid mundane or controversial topics such as the weather, politics, and religion. Think of creative topics to ask about before attending the event, so that when you meet someone new, there's interesting and stimulating conversation.

How about practicing active listening skills in the conversation? Make good eye contact, avoid distractions, and listen to the deeper meanings while your new contact talks. You will learn more than expected if you just pay closer attention and focus on the individual - not on who else is walking into the room.

Last, send a hand-written follow-up note telling the person how much you enjoyed meeting them, and if possible, include something slightly personal in the note to differentiate that this new contact made a positive impression on you. If this is a good networking prospect for you, invite him or her to lunch, coffee, breakfast, or even another event!

Renee Walkup is president of SalesPEAK, a national sales performance company, as well as a well-recognized keynote speaker, sales coach, and author, with a 25-year background in sales, sales team management and training. Learn more at

The SalesDog blog will be quiet tomorrow and Friday as we take time off to relax and celebrate the holidays with our families. Best wishes to you and yours!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

How to Fail Forward

I've never heard of failing forward, but I like the idea of anything that makes me feel better when I fail at something. Today sales trainer Tom Reilly shares how you can find power in failure and use it to your advantage. There is a right way to fail and a wrong way to fail. The one thing you do not want to fail at is failure. Consider the following:

--In a study of more then 1,000 successful people, the researchers found that successful people failed more than twice as often as less successful people.

--In our Best Sales Practices Study, we found that top-achieving salespeople do not quit on a piece of business until they receive on average 5.3 rejections from the customer. The rest of the sales population quites after 3.7 rejections.

--Michael Jordan said this about failure: "I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed."

Here are some tips for failing forward - extracting value from failure:

--Always view failure in the short term and success in the long term. You are on a path of long-term success, littered with short-term failures.

--The sale is never over until you or the customer call it quits. Sometimes, the customer may quit before you do, but don't let that slow you down.

--Treat failure as feedback. It teaches you what not to do. If you quit too early, you lose the benefit of learning what did not work.

--Failure holds no power over humility. A humble person says, "Look what I learned."

--Feel the sting of defeat and use it positively to prepare for your next opportunity.

Failure need not be final. It need not describe you as a person. It is commentary on your outcome in a specific area.

Tom Reilly is the president of Tom Reilly Training. He is an authority on value-added selling, and speaks to thousands of salespeople and managers annually on increasing their value to their company and customers.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Patience is cannot reap immediately where one has sown." -- Soren Kierkegaardy

This time of the year is often tough for the dedicated salesperson - you're still working hard, making calls, prospecting, and doing your best - but still feeling the holiday slow-down. If you're working hard and not seeing the results don't worry - you are planting the seeds for success in Q1. Come February and March when others are scrambling you'll be doing well off of the relationships you're building now.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Best Sales Practices: Closing the Sale

Today sales trainer Dave Kahle shares the best practices of the nation's top closers - and you know they're not using manipulative closing techniques. Read on for closing tips you can feel good about, and confident implementing.

Unfortunately, there is no one issue that is more misunderstood and incompetently trained than that of "closing the sale." Much of the sales training on the subject, as well as the vast preponderance of sales literature, is way off the mark.

Closing is not a matter of continually pressing for the business, nor using manipulative techniques, nor clever repartee, nor memorizing any "magic" closes.

Just today I said "no" to someone who kept pressing me for the order. I interpreted his pressure as desperation on his part, and his desperation meant that there was something not right about the deal. I said "no." In this case, the highly trained, very skilled salesperson, with the right product at the right price, did exactly the wrong thing, and brought about a negative result, solely on the basis of his poor judgment about the customer, and his repeated attempts to close the sale.

When it comes to closing, the best salespeople do two things. In the traditional sense, they ask for the order when they sense that the customer is close to committing to a decision. This has always been the classic definition of closing the sale.

But in the hands of a master, closing takes on a larger meaning. Sales masters also understand that "closing" is more than an event that gets tagged onto the tail end of the sales process. They understand that "closing" is the process of attaining an agreement with the customer on the action that the customer will take as a result of every interaction. They have the mindset that every sales call - whether 45 seconds on the phone, or 90 minutes in the customer's office - always should end with some agreement on the next step.

The process of closing, then, starts with the first "Hello" and continues through every interaction that the salesperson has with the customer.

So, confirming an appointment is a mode of closing. As is gaining a commitment to view a presentation, test a sample, research other users, etc. The best salespeople continually seek, and obtain, commitment from the customer to take action at every step along the way.

As a result, the final decision to buy the product or service is a natural, logical result of all the commitments (closes) that went before.

The best salespeople are continually and effectively closing every conversation with the customer. That's why this is a best practice of the best salespeople.

Dave Kahle is the President of the DaCo Corporation, specializing in helping business-to-business companies increase sales and develop their people. Learn more at

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Law of Timing

There are a lot of things in life that are all about timing - getting a job, meeting the love of your life, getting the cookies out of the oven before they burn. In sales, the success of your negotiation can depend on timing. Today sales expert Brian Tracy shares the rules of the law of timing, and how you can use them to help your negotiations - after all, when your timing is right, you will always get a better deal!

The More Urgent the Need, the Less Effective the Negotiator
If you are in a hurry to close a deal, your ability to negotiate well on your own behalf diminishes dramatically. If the other person is eager to make the deal, he or she is functioning under a disadvantage that you can exploit to your advantage. For example, every company has sales targets for each month, each quarter, and each year. Sales managers are tasked with hitting incomes, and their bonuses. Therefore when you are buying any large ticket item, you will almost always get the best deal if you wait until the end of the month when the pressure is on to hit the targets.

Don't Rush

The person who allows himself to be rushed will get the worst of the bargain. Rushing or using time pressure is a common tactic in negotiation, and you must be alert to other people trying to use it on you. People will often tell you that you have to make up your mind quickly or it will be too late. Whenever you hear this, you should take a deep breath and patiently ask questions to find out just how urgent the situation really is. If someone insists that he or she needs an immediate decision, you can reply by saying, "If you must have an answer now, then the answer is no. But if I can take some time to think about it, the answer may be different."

Allocate your Time
You resolve 80 percent of the vital issues of any negotiation in the last 20 percent of the time allocated for the negotiation. Probably because of the prevalence of Parkinson's Law, which says, "Work expands to fill the time allotted for it," most of the key issues in a negotiation get jammed into the final phase of the discussions. Up to this part of the negotiation, there seems to be a natural human tendency to procrastinate on the resolution of the most important issues. What this means for you is that you must be patient in a negotiation. You must be prepared for the key issues to be resolved at the last minute.

Final Point
A final point with regard to timing. Whenever possible, you should delay making an important decision. At the very least, don't allow the other person or persons to rush you into a decision by suggesting that if you don't act now, it will be too late. Whenever the item under negotiation involves a great deal of money, a long life of a product, or long duration of the decision, or it is the first time that you negotiated in this area, buy time for yourself. Take at least twenty-four hours, if not an entire weekend, to think over your decision before acting. Use time as a weapon to strengthen your position and to improve your ability to make better decisions.

Action Exercise
Avoid deadlines for yourself whenever possible. Tell the other party that you are not going to make a decision today, no matter what is agreed to. Give yourself at least twenty-four hours to think it over before deciding. Sleep on it as a matter of course. You will be amazed at how much better you think when you have put some time between yourself and the decision.

Brian Tracy is Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations. As a Keynote speaker and seminar leader, he addresses more than 250,000 people each year. Learn more at

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What to Do With an Immediate Brush Off

I know this has happened to me - you're making a call, and you get maybe half a sentence out before the caller says, "Not interested" and hangs up. Not a very fun experience. So what do you do to handle the situation? Today tele-sales expert Art Sobczak shares his expertise.

Should you just call back right away and act like you were disconnected?

Well, you could, but really, is that going to cause them to think how clever you are? I doubt it.

If this truly is a prospect that you want to pursue, consider some alternatives.

First, consider that the prospect might be having a bad day, or has just experienced an office emergency requiring immediate attention. Therefore another contact might be worth the investment, just not right now.

And instead of calling, try an email, fax or a brief note, stating,

"I have the feeling I called you at a bad time the other day. I apologize. The purpose for my call was to run an idea by you that could potentially help you to (fill in the blank with some result they would be interested in). I'd like to ask you a few questions to determine if we have the basis for a
conversation. I will call you again on Friday, or you can reach me at 800-555-2922."

Is this likely to get a high response rate? No, but any response you get would be better than the flat out "no," and the upside return on the investment could be huge.
Another alternative would be to simply place them back in your calling rotation for a few weeks down the road. They likely won't remember.

Art Sobczak helps sales pros use the phone to prospect, service and sell more effectively, while eliminating morale-killing rejection. To get FREE weekly emailed TelE-Sales Tips visit:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Best Networking Question Ever

Be a more effective networker this holiday season with this tip from Anne Miller:

Oh, no -- yet another networking event. -- and more coming with the holidays!

Are you ready?

Elevator speech? Check.
Smile and business cards? Check
Shoes shined? Suit pressed? Look like a million bucks? Check
Objectives set? Check
Up on latest news for smart conversation? Check.
Discussion questions memorized? Check.

With everyone pretty much a networking clone by now, how do you get real interest in you?

Surprise people.

Ask this high pay-off question and watch them light up: "Tell me, what would someone have to say for me to recommend you?"

People LOVE this question. A. They feel I am really interested in helping them (I am). B. It gets them off their canned elevator speech and provides a much richer description of what they do that would really help me help them. C. Best of all, that interest in them sparks a deeper interest in what I do. A win-win all around.

Try it at your next event. Let me know how it works for you.

Anne Miller is a popular sales and presentations expert and author of the book, Metaphorically Selling: How to Use the Magic of Metaphors to Sell, Persuade, & Explain Anything to Anyone. She works with people in high stakes situations and clients like Yahoo!, Citigroup, and Time, Inc. to sell millions of dollars of business every year. Visit her site at and her blog at

Monday, December 14, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn." -- Harriet Beecher Stowe

December is a tough time for most salespeople. You're frantic to make your numbers for 2009, and you're already starting to worry about falling behind in 2010. Right now, you have to be giving it your all - no slacking during the holidays! Even if prospects keep telling you they're waiting until after the holidays to make decisions - there are many companies that are not doing that!

So don't just give up, thinking there's no chance for sales in the coming weeks. Companies are still doing business - keep going so you can make it yours!

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Goofy Christmas Mistake You CAN'T Make With Customers

Are you gearing up for Christmas gift giving? Planning what to get your top clients to show how much you appreciate them? Hold it right there - you might want to hold that gift until January! Check out this advice from sales trainer Kim Duke to see why.

"I love the decor, the songs, the cheesy Christmas specials (my favorite is the Charlie Brown Christmas), my mom's shortbread, visiting with friends and family and having mulled wine after cross-country skiing," says Duke.

"This fa-la-la-la-la atmosphere can lull you into making one of the GOOFIEST mistakes I see people making with their customers."

What Is The Goofy Christmas Mistake?

Sending Christmas cards and presents to your clients.

You know what I'm talking about here.

The dreaded fruit basket.
The frightening fruit cake.
The dried-out gingerbread house.
The Costco cheese platter.

All mixed in with 12 million Christmas cards that are strung out on a string across your client's office. Or worse - some lame e-card that says Seasons Greetings.

If you're doing this – you are breaking the GOLDEN SALES DIVA RULE:


Listen - I know you love your customers. However, giving them something at Christmas when they are swamped with a bunch of Christmas goodies - does not make you stand out.

So what should you do? Send something in January.

Why? Well – the fun is over and the bills start to pour in. The credit cards are full, it is cold outside and your client is starting to feel a little grouchy.

Here's where YOU come in.

You're going to send something FUN in the mail to them – a cool gadget, a magazine subscription for their favorite hobby, a ticket to the opera – whatever would float their boat. Or you'll take them for lunch and give them the scarf you found for their Paris trip. Make it personal.

And you're only going to send it to the TOP 10% of your clients, the clients who are responsible for keeping you in business with their referrals and purchases. (The ones you'd have a panic attack over if they went to your competition)

Your client will love you for it. You will stand out in the crowd. And you've created an opportunity for starting the year off on a positive note.

Kim Duke is an unconventional, sassy and savvy sales expert who shows women small biz owners and entrepreneurs how to increase sales in a fun, easy, stress-free way! Learn more and sign up for her free e-zine at

Thursday, December 10, 2009

15 Ways to Stay Motivated and Focused When Cold Calling - Part 2

Yesterday tele-sales expert Jim Domanski shared priceless tips with us to make cold calling more manageable. Today he's back with even more tips for you to start using right away.

Call and only call.
Don't use your 1-hour sprint to make copious notes, stuff envelops, send a fax or compose an e-mail after a call. You'll use up precious minutes. Stick to your hour of dialing and stick to the goal you set. After you've done your dialing you can go back and update information.

Reward yourself. You've heard this one before: if you do your solid hour of dialing, give yourself a reward. Maybe it is a triple grande latte at Starbucks. Whatever. Something.

Create a competition. Misery loves company. If you have associates, get them to cold call with you at the same time. Have a contest for dials, connects, presentations, leads or sales. Buy a small trophy and award it to each other on a daily basis. Have fun with it.

Make a commitment to someone else. Publicly state to a co-worker, boss, friend, significant other or whoever that you WILL do 1 hour of cold calling at a given time. Ask them to ask you how you did. Telling them you didn't do it will make you feel embarrassed and sheepish which means you'll want to avoid it at all costs. (Thus, you're more likely to pick up the phone and get it done).

Track results. Keep track of your dials, connects, presentations, leads, sales and revenues. Make a chart on a sheet of paper. Use little 'sticks' to record your results. This is easy and takes .67 seconds per stick so it saves time. Over time you can create a predictive model. If you have a boss, it's also a great way to provide feedback on lists or offers.

Avoid the Dementors. In the Harry Potter books 'Dementors' are creatures that literally suck the life spirit from people. Whiners and complainers are like Dementors. Avoid them at all cost. They'll drag you down and eventually your drive and spirit will be depleted.

Hang out with winners. If there's someone who is good at cold calling, or at the very least, is disciplined about cold calling. Sit near him or her. Feed off their energy. Compete with them. Their drive and spirit is infectious.

Don't be a wimp.
You know what's real easy? Quitting. It's real easy to quit. Don't be wimp. Stick to the plan and follow the tips here. Give these ideas a chance. Your revenue and your job may depend on it. So don't quit. Be persistent.

Cold calling doesn't have to be as miserable as we sometime make it. Follow these tips and you'll create momentum and the process will not be so taxing. It'll be easy, faster and more effective. Just do it.

Jim Domanski is a tele-sales expert and president of Teleconcepts Consulting. Teleconcepts Consulting helps businesses and individuals who are frustrated with the results they have being getting when using the telephone to market and sell their products. For more information visit:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

15 Ways to Stay Motivated and Focused When Cold Calling - Part 1

We know that the people who like cold calling are few and far between. That's ok, but most people still need to do it to keep their business active. Use these manageable tips from tele-sales expert Jim Domanski, and we think your attitude towards cold calling will change - at least a tiny bit! We'll share the first half today, and the rest tomorrow.

The 1-hour sprint - Treat your cold calling not as a marathon, which is tedious and grueling, but rather as a sprint. Devote a good solid hour to calling then stop. An hour is manageable and achievable and not nearly as discouraging as the thought of four hours of cold calls.

Set a goal. Having a 1-hour sprint is great but tie it to an objective. For example, you might have a goal of a minimum of 30 or 40 attempts. This will help ensure that you stay on the dialing track and not idle away the time with other activities.

Schedule your cold calling.
Sit down right now with your calendar or planner and schedule that 1-hour sprint every day for the next three weeks. Consider it an unbreakable appointment. This will create discipline and reduce procrastination.

Fish where the fish are. Are there better times than others to reach your target market? You bet there is and that's when you should be calling. Executives, for instance, are easier to reach early in the morning, say, from 7:00 onwards. Wake up early and start dialing. You'll increase your success almost immediately.

Do it first. If your target market doesn't have a particular time that's more effective than another, then schedule your cold calling for first thing in the morning. Do it first. Get it finished so that it doesn't linger over you like the sword of Damocles.

Create a Master List. Don't fiddle with your database flipping back and forth from screen to screen. Get a list of 30 prospects. Put their names on a pad of paper with their phone numbers. Begin at the top and start dialing. Go down the list. If there is no answer, don't leave a message; go on to the next name and number. If you get through the list with no answer, start at the top of the list and begin again. This creates speed, rhythm and focus on productivity.

Be prepared. Duh! Be prepared and organized. Have your opening statement prepared ahead of time. Don't shoot from the hip. Know what you want to say. Practice it if you have to. Have any job aids you might need in front of you. Have a pen that works. Clean your desk of clutter and distraction. Do all this before you start your 1-hour sprint.

Jim Domanski is a tele-sales expert and president of Teleconcepts Consulting. Teleconcepts Consulting helps businesses and individuals who are frustrated with the results they have being getting when using the telephone to market and sell their products. For more information visit:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Presentation Pratfalls to Avoid

Not too long ago we featured some presentation pratfalls from sales trainer Daniel Adams - luckily he came right back with fixes that were realistic and do-able. Today he's back with more fixes to get you feeling confident - and get them to say yes!

No Customization
During my workshops one of my client's key take-aways is that, "as of today, There Are No More Standard Presentations!" This is key for several reasons. First, this best practice provides push-back to the customer who questions why each key attendee must be contacted prior to the presentation. You may have heard a customer say, for instance, "Why do you have to talk with our key executives? Can't you just come in a give us your standard presentation? After all, your competitor did." A Superstar responds: "I'm glad that the other vendor was able to present to you. At our company we do not have any standard presentations. Each one of our presentations is highly customized based upon the client's current and future needs. Our clients appreciate this approach because it insures that we present only what is essential to them and insures that we respect their time."

Weak Eye Contact
No audience member wants to be lectured. If they wanted you to read material, they could accept your literature and skip the presentation. Instead, they want you to connect with them. Make a point to connect with the eyes of the audience with each key point you are delivering.

Sticky Floor Syndrome
There is a saying in presentation skills: "Get out of the phone booth." That simply means, don't glue your feet to the floor and limit natural gestures as if you are stuck in a phone booth. Unless you are making a speech behind a podium to a large crowd you will appear much more relaxed and approachable if you move around naturally. Keep in mind that the key area for you to deliver your presentation is the LEFT side of the screen.

Poor Ending
Don't end your presentation on a flat note. Take a cue from the great singers who end on a high note delivered with passion. With respect to our memory there is the rule of primacy and recency. It states that we remember the first and last thing we heard. Of the two, we remember the last words the most.

No Follow Up or Thank You Note
Every attendee must receive a thank you note from you. The note will summarize the top 3 to 5 Unique Competitive Advantages of your offering relative to your client's specific need. It will conclude with a listing of the Next Step - Action Items and Owners.

Forgetting Your Number One Presentation Goal
Many reps get so caught up in the content of an upcoming presentation that they lose sight of the overall goal, which is to establish or improve your level of TRUST. A presentation provides an excellent opportunity for your customer to compare your diligence and ability to consult relative to that of your competition.

Daniel Adams, author of Building Trust, Growing Sales, and creator of Trust Triangle Selling helps corporations improve their profits by optimizing the performance of their sales teams. He is a frequent and popular speaker at national sales meetings, workshops and association events. Visit

Looking for a way to add interest to your presentation that's meaningful and shows your attention to detail? Customized presentation materials like folders, binders, index tabs and pocket folders from may be just what you're looking for! Check out their excellent prices and quality materials here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Pressure is a word that is misused in our vocabulary. When you start thinking of pressure, it's because you've started to think of failure." -- Tommy Lasorda

Wow! Is it weird that a quote from Tommy Lasorda got me thinking more than many others have?! How many times have you felt like you couldn't handle the pressure, and gone off into a nice moment of self-pity? I know I've done that - and I always blame the outside sources, when in reality what I'm thinking is, "I'm not capable of doing all of this, I'm going to fail."

When I think back on those situations, that's exactly what was going on! I didn't have confidence in my abilities, so when a stressful time popped up, I immediately blamed the outside sources, instead of feeling confident in my ability to handle it.

So what's the lesson? The next time you're feeling overwhelmed by the growing list of things to do, take a big breath and remember how capable you really are! Then get back to work!

Friday, December 4, 2009

SalesDog Quick Tip: Always Keep the Ball in Your Court

Here's a quick follow-up tip from sales trainer Al Uszynski:

At the end of a sales call if the prospect tells you, "I'll call you if we're interested," don't accept that at face value and walk away. As salespeople we never want to agree to put the next action item 100% in the customer's hands. Too many salespeople simply agree to this only to never hear from the person again.

One way to deal with the situation is to come up with a contingency plan in case the customer doesn't happen to call you:

"So if I don't hear from you before next Thursday, I'll give you a call. Is that okay?" When the customer agrees to this, you're covered. They still may call you, but if they don't, they agreed that you should call them. When you follow up as promised, you have an opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism by keeping your promise to call on the exact day you agreed to.

Al Uszynski is a results-focused sales trainer and professional speaker. His proven, quick-start sales training program, "15 Ways to Grow Your Sales Tomorrow" helps sales professionals ignite immediate sales growth. Learn more by visiting

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sales is a Verb

See how Diane Helbig redefines sales:

Sales is a verb. Okay, now settle down. I know if you look in the dictionary it says that "sales" is a noun. Stay with me here for just a minute. My point is that "sales" is an activity. It isn't something you do once the phone rings. It is something you have to actively participate in for your business to grow.

There are many ways to market and prospect. Your job is to consider them all and then select a handful that you are going to implement. From cold calling to social media, from public speaking to networking, there are many avenues you can take. Your goal is to get the word out about your business and to get yourself in front of the right people.

Who are those right people?
The first group is potential clients. This group does not contain everyone or every business. It does contain a number of people or companies that have a need or desire for your product or service. There may be more than one potential pool here for a variety of reasons. You may have more than one product or service that fits the needs of different segments. There may just be different segments that need that one thing that you specialize in. Whatever the case is, identify those target markets.

The second group is the people who know those prospects. These can be considered referral sources. They are people you want to get to know because they interact with your prospects. You want these referral sources thinking about you and referring you when they uncover or identify a potential client for you. You, of course, can be doing the same thing for them.

How do you get in front of them?
Depending on what you sell, who you sell it to, and who you are, you need to identify a handful of marketing and prospecting methods that you will use. Because sales is an activity you want to have methods that you can implement in concert with each other. This helps build energy and activity around your business.

I submit that if you pick one at a time you will find it difficult to generate real activity and interest in your product or service. Whatever you choose, make sure they are methods that require action on your part. For example, if you are going to send an introductory letter, end it with a statement about how you will be following up with the prospect. Not the other way around!

If you send out a mailer or deliver flyers to businesses in your area, follow them up with a phone call. Don't expect your phone to ring simply because you dropped off a piece of paper.

Make sure you choose methods that fit with who you are. If you are uncomfortable talking to a group of more than 3 people, don't pick public speaking. The key is to select the methods that map with who you are so you'll do them. I'm not a big fan of cold calling so to include it in my plan is a bad idea. I don't like it so I won't do it. So much for activity! It really matters that you consider a variety of possibilities and choose the ones that you feel comfortable with. It's the way you ensure the implementation.

And don't forget about your current clients. They are a great pool of potential business. Keeping in contact with them will help you find out what's going on with them. You'll be able to uncover whether there are any additional opportunities there. It isn't their responsibility to reach out to you. Remember, sales is an activity. Don't miss out on these possible opportunities. I see too many business owners and salespeople who believe that their clients will call them when they need something. Then they are surprised to find out the client went someplace else. Didn't they know we offered that, they ask themselves? Well, no; not if you haven't been in front of them, talking with them, and building the relationships with them.

Getting the picture? Great! When you realize that your business growth is up to you and the action you take, you'll be way ahead of the game. You'll no longer sit by the phone waiting for it to ring. Instead, you'll be picking it up and reaching out to others.

Now you can see what I meant at the beginning - sales is a VERB. So go on, take action; go get that business! It's not going to come get you!

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

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Using Email Effectively in Tele-Sales

There's been a lot of talk about the use of email when prospecting, especially in the world of tele-sales. After all, it's a big change, and you want to make sure it's used effectively in unison with your calls. Today tele-sales expert Art Sobczak explains how to use email in conjunction with your calls to increase sales and remain productive.

I regularly get questions about how to use email effectively in sales/telesales. Of course as with all general questions the answers can vary depending on a number of variables such as complexity of sale, source of lead, industry, etc.

In general, here's how I typically answer:

If a sales rep is spending the bulk of his/her time writing and sending introductory emails instead of calling, that is likely "call avoidance." Here are great times to send emails:

1. Right after a call, summarizing the details of the call, their interest, and what is to happen next.

2. Right before the next call, perhaps the day before, or maybe a few hours before. Let them know you look forward to speaking with them, remind them of what they were to do, what you did, and bring something new to the table of value, perhaps some new information.

This gives you two "touches" between calls, and provides a better chance that they will do what they committed to on the previous call.

Art Sobczak, President of Business by Phone, Inc., specializes in one area only: working with business-to-business salespeople - both inside and outside - designing and delivering content-rich programs that begin showing results from the very next time participants get on the phone. Learn more at

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

7 Disciplines for High Performance

There's so much to do in one day, that creating priorities and sticking to them is an essential part of success. Today sales trainer Brian Tracy shares his seven disciplines you must develop if you want to achieve all that is possible for you.

Goal Setting
Every morning, take three to five minutes to write out your top goals in the present tense. Get a spiral notebook for this purpose. By writing out your ten goals at the beginning of each day, you will program them deep into your subconscious mind.

This daily goal writing will activate your mental powers. It will stimulate your mind and make you more alert. Throughout the day, you will see opportunities and possibilities to move more rapidly toward your goals.

Planning and Organizing
Take a few minutes, preferably the night before, to plan out every activity of the coming day. Always work from a list. Always think on paper. This is one of the most powerful and important disciplines of all for high performance.

Priority Setting

The essence of all time management, personal management, and life management is contained in your ability to set the proper priorities on the use of your time. This is essential for high performance.

Concentration on your Highest-Value Activities
Your ability to work single-mindedly on your most important task will contribute as much to your success as any other discipline you can develop.

Exercise and Proper Nutrition
Your health is more important than anything else. By disciplining yourself to exercise regularly and to eat carefully, you will promote the highest possible levels of health and fitness throughout your life.

Learning and Growth
Your mind is like a muscle. If you don't use it, you lose it. Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field.

Time for Important People in your Life
Relationships are everything. Be sure that in climbing the ladder of success, you do not find it leaning against the wrong building. Build time for your relationships into every day, no matter how busy you get.

Action Exercise
These seven disciplines will ensure that you perform at the highest level and get the greatest satisfaction and results from everything you do. Study these seven disciplines and then make a plan for how you can incorporate each of them into your daily life.

Brian Tracy is Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations. As a Keynote speaker and seminar leader, he addresses more than 250,000 people each year. Learn more at

Monday, November 30, 2009

Quote of the Week

"The best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your own arm." -- Swedish Proverb

How true is this? Sometimes the workload or expectations we face everyday seem like too much. When you get that feeling, resist the urge to go complain to your co-workers or mope until someone offers to help you. Instead take a minute to think of all you're capable of, and then get moving. You are your best source of help and inspiration - no one else!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Decide That You WANT to Listen

I came across this article from sales and communication expert Dianne Booher, and it was so true I had to share it with you.

Booher says, "Many people listen poorly because they have no intention of listening well. They're preoccupied. They're too busy talking so that they can feel understood."

How many times have you sat in a meeting and watched a co-worker stare off into space or check their BlackBerry under the table? What about the person that cuts someone off mid-sentence to continue with their own agenda? You might not believe it, but these actions aren't kept just to the workplace - they extend to meetings with clients and prospects. Yikes! Read on for more of what Booher has to say on the topic.

"Have you ever heard people say that they don't have time for something: golf, a fundraiser, church, or dinner with a friend? What they mean is that something isn't important enough to them yet to make time for it," says Booher.

"The same is true for listening. We'll find ourselves poor listeners until we make up our minds we want to become good listeners. Listening requires conscious effort and a willing mind. It's a decision to take an action, not just waiting your turn to talk."

"Listening involves actively processing what the other person is saying to you: clarifying, asking questions, drawing out additional information, reading between the lines, giving feedback, verifying understanding, analyzing, and drawing conclusions about what you've heard," continues Booher.

"What's the payoff? Listening keeps you informed. It increases your impact when you do speak. It gives you a negotiating edge and powerful influence. Best of all, others will love you."

"Whether you're sitting around the conference table in a team meeting or the dining table for your Thanksgiving meal, make a conscious effort to listen. Listening is a gift you give to yourself and to others. Give it on purpose, not just when forced."

Author of 42 books, Dianna Booher, CSP, CPAE, delivers keynotes, breakout sessions, and training on communication and life-balance issues. Her latest books: Speak with Confidence, Your Signature Life, Your Signature Work, E-Writing, and Communicate with Confidence.

The SalesDog blog will be quiet the next two days as we take time off to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with our families. We wish you all the very best - see you on Monday!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Five Tips for Creating C-Level Selling Confidence

When you're selling to the CEO, the CFO, or the CMO, there's a lot going on that can make you nervous. After all, this is the person who makes the final decision. They're often tired from overwork, and they see more salespeople then they'd like to each day - so you've got to make it count, every time. Today sales trainer Sam Manfer has five tips for us that will help you build the confidence needed to sell to these power players.

Keep learning your trade. The three areas of continuing education are selling skills, people skills and your product/service skills. As you learn more about any one of the three, you will become more assured of yourself.

Prepare for the encounter.
Get coaching from someone about the person you will be meeting. To avoid biases, I call the person directly and ask him/her the expectation they have for the meeting saying, "So that I don't bore you with a lot of grizzly details you don't want to hear, what would you like me to be prepared to talk with you about?" It will amaze you how this warms up the other person.

Approach the meeting with a quest to learn. It will take off all the performance pressure. All you have to do is prepare questions. If he already told you in the pre-call, confirm what he told you to be sure. Then dig into the details. Once he tells you the tune he wants to hear, you can sing it with passion. Why worry yourself about what to say when, if you ask and listen, they will tell you what they want to hear?

Prepare yourself. People with the power to say yes or no are intimidating. This is fear. Fear means you are thinking negatively about the upcoming event. Since you don't know the future, project positively. That becomes excitement. What you think the other person will think of you comes through in your walk, your posture, your language, and your tone. So be thinking great results and it will pump up both of you.

Advise yourself as you would your child or a close friend about being confident. If your daughter told you she was nervous about an upcoming interview, what advice would you give her? Well, you are that child and you have the answers to your own power. You just have to ask yourself, "What can I do?" Then listen.

Sam Manfer delivers keynote speeches and in-depth selling workshops for those anxious to increase sales. His hands-on coaching turns individuals and sales organizations into selling whirlwinds. Follow Sam's C-Level Selling Blog for more insights.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Happiness is mostly a byproduct of doing what makes us feel fulfilled." -- Benjamin Spock, Pediatrician

With the Thanksgiving holiday this week in the U.S., I've been thinking a lot about staying positive and being thankful for the good in my life. One way to do this? Make sure you're doing what makes you feel fulfilled - do that, and the other worries will seem less important.

And even if you're in a job right now that leaves you less than fulfilled, begin brainstorming what you can do to find something that makes you fulfilled. Or, make a list of the good things you do have at your job - and focus on those things! Either way, there is good all around us - if we only choose to see it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Will They Sell For You?

Often times there are multiple people involved in the sale - and you many not even know some of them. This means your main contact then has to go and sell you to those other people - and a lot can happen in that situation. Today sales trainer Joe Guertin shows us how to avoid that situation and make the sale.

If you were a buyer, would you go out on a limb to support a new contractor or supplier? Bet you didn't think "yes" right away. These days, that decision-maker who reports to others will need your help in selling you to others.

Here are two tips on helping make it happen:

1) Don't just sell to one person, but give them whatever they'll need to 'sell' you to the rest of the team...which is best done when you:

2) Make connections with the other decision-makers. When there's a committee or other group who'll influence the decision, get an audience with them, face-to-face. The buyer is far more likely to get behind your plan when they see the others supporting it, too.

In a big-ticket, 'Complex Sale,'; a complete, internal strategy is essential. But, even in day-to-day renewals, too many opportunities are delayed or lost when a plan has to be 're-sold' internally, but without your expertise.

Joe Guertin is an advertising sales trainer, speaker and coach. His programs have informed and entertained sales professionals nationwide. Visit his Sales Resource Center at

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Watch Your Language

I really enjoy reading advice from sales trainer Kelley Robertson - he gets straight to the point, and discusses familiar situations - so you often feel like you can apply his advice right away. Today he's talking about the impact language can have on your day - I know I'll be watching my words more carefully! Read on for his advice.

Are you familiar with the expression, "Be careful what you wish for, you might just get it?" The language you use during the course of a day can have a tremendous impact on your results.

For example, in recent weeks, I have heard people use expressions such as:

"We're clawing our way through these times."
"It's really tough out there."
"People aren't as easy to sell to as they used to be."
"It's a war zone out there."

While these comments may be accurate, every time you state them - either aloud or to yourself - you reinforce the difficulties associated with selling.

I recall talking to a coach during my second year of business. My business had taken off quickly and I distinctly remember saying, "This should be more difficult." Needless to say, a short time later, it became more difficult. When I rephrased my sentiments, revenues began to climb more easily. I'm not suggesting that using positive language will magically make your problems go away. However, what you say will either move you closer or further away from your goals.

Here's a suggestion: For one day, carefully monitor what you say and count the number of times you use language that is self-defeating, negative, or that expresses difficulty. Then change that phrase to positive focused language.

Kelley Robertson is the President and founder of Robertson Training Group. He specializes in helping businesses increase their sales, develop better negotiating skills, coach and motivate their employees, create powerful work teams and deliver outstanding customer service. Learn more by visiting

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Out of Business

Sales trainer Anne Miller recently had a wake-up call that made her take action and change some things about her business. Upon reading her story I felt compelled to make some changes for myself - you might too!

"I recently met with a client to discuss possible follow-up training to a negotiating seminar we had done for her team," says Miller. "She mentioned her need for presentation skills and when I said I could help her with that, she replied, "Oh, I am working with someone else for presentations training. I didn't know you did that." Didn't know? How could that be? I have written books on presenting, consulted on a zillion presentations across many industries, run hundreds of training and coaching sessions for people from groups of junior and seasoned reps to CEOs going out on road shows. And she didn't know????"

"Well, shame on me. I reviewed all my materials from my business cards to my website and realized it was easy for her not to know the range of services I provide. I had obviously fallen down on marketing. So I changed everything, even my email signature, to explicitly describe the value I believe I bring to clients. Now, if someone doesn't hire me, it won't be because they didn't know what I do."

"Keeping clients aware of what you do is a real challenge. Eileen Sutton took this one step further and recently sent this email to her clients. I love it because it is brief, it is friendly, and it works."

Dear Anne,

Sometimes we don't let our inner circle know of our achievements.

So far this year, I've positioned a private-equity firm, a $20B asset-management firm, a Latin American investment bank, and a cash-management firm representing 300 banks nationally.

If you're aware of a financial firm that's in the market for a clearer, more profitable identity, perhaps I can help. My new brochure is attached, and consultations are complimentary. Thanks so much for your time.

Happy to help in any way in return. Let me know.

Very best,

How are you reminding your clients and network about your current services?

Anne Miller is a popular sales and presentations expert and author of the book, Metaphorically Selling: How to Use the Magic of Metaphors to Sell, Persuade, & Explain Anything to Anyone. She works with people in high stakes situations and clients like Yahoo!, Citigroup, and Time, Inc. to sell millions of dollars of business every year. Visit her site at You can also visit her blog at

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ensuring a Profitable Sales Day

You all know how much I love a good time management tip! Today sales trainer Colleen Francis shares several tips she put together after working with a sales team that made a commitment to do proactive, outbound sales prospecting everyday from 9-11 am. Here's how they stick to it:

1) Print out a list of at least 30 names to call the night before you leave the office, so you don't have to turn on your computer first thing in the morning (and risk checking email).

2) Make your calls from a meeting room rather than the open cubicle area so other employees can't bother/interrupt you

3) Put the phone on do not disturb

4) Keep cell / mobile device in the car during the "calling time"

5) Have a weekly contest to see who can make the most calls / appointments and sales during this time

6) Instruct receptionist to put all inbound calls directly into voice mail.

7) Turn off email and web browsers. Only use CRM during this time. If this can be done at the source by IT, all the better!

8) Create your "to do list" or "to call list" the night before.

9) Arrive at work 30 minutes early to get settled before "call time starts".

10) Block other employees from entering the sales area during this time with a banner that reads "Do not enter. Earning your salary"!

11) Send prospecting emails to prospects at the end of the day rather than during the "call time".

"While some of these ideas are fun, some are serious, and some are outrageous, they all work," says Francis. "I am sure you have some ideas to add to the list as well. At its core, sales success is all about demand generation, lead generation and prospecting. No prospects, no sales. Knowing that, what are you doing everyday to ensure prospecting for new business remains a top priority on your team?"

Colleen Francis, Sales Expert, is Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions. Armed with skills developed from years of experience, Colleen helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line. Start improving your results today with Engage's online Newsletter Engaging Ideas and a FREE 7 day intensive sales eCourse:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Strategic advantage lies in the leverage of knowledge." -- Robert Buckman

We advocate reading a lot to increase your knowledge about the profession of sales - but we don't talk enough about reading materials in your field. You have to be an expert, be able to make recommendations, and see things coming in the field. To do this you have to read trade journals, news articles - whatever you can!

Read up and you'll be able to show your customers you know what they're going through - and what they should do to best make a profit.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Presentation Mistakes That Can Cost You

You've done a lot of work to get to the point where you can make a presentation to a new prospect - so don't ruin all your hard work with a little presentation mistake that's easily avoidable. Today sales trainer Dan Adams shares some of the biggest presentation mistakes with us - and tells you what to do to avoid them.

Mediocre First Impression

Jack Welch said: "Whenever I see a young man make a great presentation, I never forget that young man. Unfortunately the opposite is also true." You will never get another chance to make a great first impression. Your first impression is key to a great presentation. Consider the very first few slides you intend to show your client. Do they convey that you have done your homework and that you have created a highly customized presentation? Or, do they smell like the same old "standard" presentation you have used over and over again?

No Presentation Goal
Every meeting and every presentation must have a goal or objective. Your presentation's goal should be clearly communicated at the beginning of the meeting to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Poor Visual Aids: Less Is More
Dump the cartoons, and remember that the primary goal of the slides is to remind you what points you want to make to your client. The 4 X 4 rule of thumb works great. Never use more than 4 bullets per slide and never more than 4 words per bullet. Avoid paragraphs of data!

Too Long: Less Is More
In general, most people don't want to sit through a very long presentation; they get bored. If I learn that my competition has taken 2 hours to bore my client with their presentation I might open my presentation with: "I know you are very busy. Out of respect for your time I plan to take 30 minutes to share the information you requested. If any of you would like me to stay longer that's fine, we can delve deeper as needed."

Allowing "Derailments"
A presentation may get "derailed" if you permit a question or comment to take you in a direction that is not in your mutual best interests. Questions and comments are fine as long as they are controlled and take you in a direction that you find acceptable. Otherwise respond with: "Judy, that's a great question, thanks for bringing it to my attention. If you can hang on to that I'm planning on addressing that specific issue at the end of our time together."

No Audience Involvement
Without audience involvement you will not know if you have connected with them. You will not know if they understand your points. Stop occasionally and ask the audience members questions such as, "Does that point capture how your department may benefit from ABC?" Or, "Give me your opinion on our approach to ABC". Once you pause for reinforcement the audience becomes more receptive to your effort to satisfy their objectives. Just be sure that you maintain a balance between audience involvement and derailment.

Daniel Adams, author of Building Trust, Growing Sales, and creator of Trust Triangle Selling helps corporations improve their profits by optimizing the performance of their sales teams. He is a frequent and popular speaker at national sales meetings, workshops and association events. Visit

Looking for a way to add interest to your presentation that's meaningful and shows your attention to detail? Customized presentation materials like folders, binders, index tabs and pocket folders from may be just what you're looking for! Check out their excellent prices and quality materials here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Quality vs. Quantity

When selecting material for this blog I try to feature different authors, different topics, and different points of view. After all, one piece of advice will not work for everyone's situation. That's why I jumped at the chance to run this article from sales trainer Adrian Miller. She gets into the quantity vs. quality debate like Mark Hunter did on Tuesday - but offers a different take on it that might be a better fit for you.

"The age-old debate of quantity versus quality - Is one truly more important than the other? For sales professionals, the answer is unequivocally No! Quantity and quality are both important if you want to succeed. We've all heard the "experts" drone on and on about the importance of "quality" when it comes to leads. Isn't the concept of developing quality obvious enough? Of course, we'd all love to have only those leads in our funnel that turn into valuable customers. However this isn't always the reality."

"What is frequently neglected or downplayed is the necessity for quantity," says Miller. "Like it or not, sales is inherently a numbers game. If you currently have three "quality" prospects, but you need ten new customers this month, you're not going to be successful. To reach your goal, a significant amount of time must simply be spent on gathering new leads."

"To balance the demands of acquiring both quantity and quality in your sales funnel requires constant multitasking. Let one ball drop and your sales funnel will deplete. What do you need to do to maintain the balance necessary to keep the sales flowing?"

Here are a few helpful tips:

Regular Prospecting - Make it an absolute must to reach out to a set amount of new prospects each and every day. Let's face it - The more calls you make, the more opportunities you will discover. It's not rocket science!

Aggressively Network - As part of your regular routine to make contact with new prospects, networking must be a priority. You'll need to do more than just attend the quarterly get-together for your friends in the industry. Seek out online and in-person opportunities with enthusiasm. Help others by generously providing referrals and introductions and take advantage of any that you receive, too!

Keep Organized - Leads are valuable, so keep track of them efficiently. Develop your own contact management system and stay on top of where each lead is within your sales funnel. Don't let even one slip through the cracks because of an inability to manage the sales process.

Don't Make Assumptions - Sometimes the best customers come from the most unlikely of places. Don't dismiss leads or introductions because you think they have little potential for you. Value every opportunity and find out as much as you can before you drop contact with anyone.

Adrian Miller is the President of Adrian Miller Sales Training, a training and business consulting firm delivering sales-level performance training and executive-level business development consulting. A nationally recognized lecturer, she is also author of "The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success".

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Which Sales Are Best?

A sale is a sale, right? Not exactly, says sales trainer Mark Hunter. The level that you sell to has a big impact on the amount and quality of your sale. Read on for Hunter's take on the situation.

"Many times salespeople believe they can crack a new customer by contacting a person they already know who happens to work in a mid- or lower-level position in the company," says Hunter. "Salespeople do this believing it will be the best way to develop the customer, but in the end, all they're doing is giving away profit. The real profit in any transaction is made when the strategic value of the decision is understood. You can best understand that when you're dealing with senior level people."

"The lower you go in an organization, the more tactical the focus is and the more the individual is going to base their decision on the absolute price point. Lower and even mid-level people focus on the price as a way for them to be seen by others as being tough and shrewd. For them, they think this approach is the best way to get promoted."

"When you sell at the highest levels of the company, price point is way down on the list," continues Hunter. "The goal of senior level people is to move the company forward, either by eliminating an issue with which they are dealing or by opening up a new opportunity. In either of these situations, they will look at the strategic value and base their decision accordingly. This does not mean you eliminate all contact with mid-level or lower-level people in a company. It means you continue communication with these people to better develop your information and to better understand how the company works and how you can assist them."

"What you don't do is negotiate with low or mid-level people or provide them any price/value information. If you do, they will immediately begin to scrutinize you based on that. The conclusions they begin to draw may very easily begin to float up the organization, resulting in your proposal coming to a dead-end. The sales you can secure with the higher level executives are the best sales to go after."

Mark Hunter, "The Sales Hunter," helps individuals and companies identify better prospects, close more sales, and profitably build more long-term customer relationships. As a keynote speaker, he is best known for his ability to motivate and move an organization through his high-energy presentations. Learn more at

Monday, November 9, 2009

Quote of the Week

"It is time to make the time." -- Henry Dumas, American writer and poet

Have you been fitting in all the calls on your goal sheet? What about those prospects in the new building around the corner - have you introduced yourself yet? With the end of the year in sight and many people struggling to meet quota, it is essential you make the time to do the little things. Pushing them off for another day will just leave you scrambling come December.

Come in earlier, stay later - whatever it is, make the time now. You'll thank yourself later!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Great People Admit When They Make Mistakes

Sales trainer Bob Burg was lucky enough to have many inspirational people in his life early in his career. Today he shares a lesson he learned from one of those people - a lesson that has helped him throughout his career, and that will help you too! Here's his story:

"Dan Davis...HDH Sports!" His voice was deep and booming, and the studio microphone caused it to echo with spectacular richness. He was the sports anchor for WHDH a.m., big-time radio in Boston in the 70's and 80's. And he was really good. Also, turned out to be a great guy.

While interning at WGTR a.m. (small-time radio in my hometown of Natick, Massachusetts) as a 21 year-old wannabe sportscaster, I met Dan when we both covered the annual U.S. Pro Tennis Championship at Longwood in Brookline. I asked if I could visit him at the station some day and watch him work. He kindly agreed.

While there, he did some great teaching and provided me with many of the inside aspects of broadcasting.

But, what impressed me more than anything was the following exchange:

At one point, he told me that when conducting an interview for a story in which only one answer would be aired, to - rather than asking a bunch of questions and sorting through all the answers later in order to find the best one - simply ask one question; the one I would eventually use.

"Ahh, of course, Mr. Davis," I agreed. "I've been doing it all wrong. I've been asking a lot of questions because I haven't had the confidence to know which one I'm definitely going to use. I'll do it your way from now on. Thanks!"

He then paused, thought about it and said, "Actually, Bob, I was wrong. Eventually, after you're experienced enough, you should do what I said and ask just one question. For now though, until you have the confidence you need, keep doing what you're doing. Ask as many questions as necessary in order to get the right one."

Notice his first five words: "Actually, Bob, I was wrong."

Sure, I learned a "good" lesson in terms of asking questions.

I learned a "better" lesson in seeing a pro - a true pro and a confident and humble man – who could admit to his young "protege" that he was wrong.

Over the next 30 years, I've continued to notice; great leaders, great people, the truly confident, the real winners, not only know they make mistakes, but admit to those mistakes, as well.

What a winner. "Dan Davis...HDH Sports!"

Bob Burg is the author of "Endless Referrals," "Winning Without Intimidation," "The Success Formula," and co-author of "The Go-Giver." Learn more at his website,

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Selling Around the Holidays

Can you believe it's already November? Sometimes I don't know where the time goes! Today sales trainer Mark Hunter shares his advice for navigating the holidays and keeping your sales up!

"November and December are full of holidays, and every company and every employee will have variations to their sales strategy during this time," says Hunter. "Take the time now, regardless of your sales role, to lay out your calendar for the next several months. Plan right now what days you're going to be out, and what events may impede your ability to makes sales calls and follow-up on leads. Next, start getting on to your calendar those activities you know you're going to need to do to close sales before the end of the year with your current customers and prospects."

"When you start laying out dates, allow yourself time for last minute changes," continues Hunter. "In particular, allow extra time for those customers who make decisions via a committee. The last thing you want to have happen to you now is to suddenly see a 4th quarter sale not materialize until January because somebody was out of the office for a few days. Taking the time now will allow you to be more prepared for the wiggles and the shakes that will undoubtedly occur. In turn, your level of sales motivation will not be negatively impacted due to outside situations."

Mark Hunter, "The Sales Hunter," helps individuals and companies identify better prospects, close more sales, and profitably build more long-term customer relationships. As a keynote speaker, he is best known for his ability to motivate and move an organization through his high-energy presentations. Learn more at

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Opportunities in a Recession

Odd concept? Not according to John DiJulius. Today business growth expert Diane Helbig shares DiJulius' "opportunities" from his keynote at the COSE Small Business Conference.

1. New revenue streams

2. Fish when the fish are biting

3. Experience wars vs Price wars

4. Less competition now

5. Back to the basics

"The way I read these he is saying that you now have the opportunity to consider other revenue streams, different target markets, and innovation," says Helbig. "With point 2 he is reminding us to pay attention to where our prospects are and when they are buying and with point 3 he is telling us to focus on the experience we provide to our clients. Create value and price will not be the top issue."

"That there is less competition now is not a question. It is an opportunity to gain market share. However, that alone will not propel your business to the top of the totem pole. You still have to provide value and service. You still have to have a worthy product or service. THIS is where we get back to basics. Remember the rules of sales and the guiding principles that help companies succeed."

"These principles are integrity, value, customer service, and giving back," continues Helbig. "Provide a quality product or service at a fair price on a consistent basis with the customer's needs in mind and you will find your company succeeding in this, or any, economy."

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

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Plan Your Calls Like You Do Your Weekend

What are you doing this weekend? Maybe you haven't thought about it yet, or maybe you could start rattling off a list of chores and activities you'll be doing. Today sales expert Art Sobczak points out the importance of planning - do you plan your calls like you plan your weekend?

Ask yourself these questions:

On the last telephone call you made to a prospect/ customer, what was your specific objective for the call?

Did you have the opening planned so you knew precisely what you were going to say?

Did you prepare a voice mail message you were ready to deliver, velvety smooth, without hesitation?

Were your questions in order?

How prepared were you with your responses to their answers to those questions?

What was your contingency plan in case things didn't go as well as you'd like?

If, without hesitation, you rattled off answers to these questions, I'd wager you do pretty well. When people have trouble answering these questions, chances are there are "umm's" and "uh's" in their calls.

I find it curious and interesting that many people put more planning into their weekend or what they'll have for lunch, than they do their telephone calls.

Quite simply, your sales success correlates directly to your preparation. It's also the key to sounding smooth. Being a superstar in sales, particularly on the phone, is not a matter of "smiling and dialing," plowing through the names, hoping that you'll stumble into someone ready to buy.

Don't believe any trash about this being a pure numbers game. It's a QUALITY game. As I always say, the worst possible time to think of what you're going to say is as it's already coming out of your mouth.

Go back, review those questions, and be certain you can answer them for your next call, and every one thereafter. Do so, and I'm sure you'll show pleasing sales results.

Art Sobczak, President of Business by Phone, Inc., specializes in one area only: working with business-to-business salespeople - both inside and outside - designing and delivering content-rich programs that begin showing results from the very next time participants get on the phone. Learn more at

Monday, November 2, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts." -- Edward R. Murrow

How does the title "Salesperson of the Year" sound to you? Pretty good? If you want to make record-breaking sales in your company, you've got to push through the tough days and keep prospecting, keep making deals and keep your head up. Top salespeople build relationships over time, even if they feel like giving up. Become a legend in your company - keep going, even when the going gets hard!

Friday, October 30, 2009

5 Elements to Selling Large Accounts

Have you been making phone call after phone call, hoping to break into a large account? Today sales trainer Sam Manfer gives us the tips you need to break into these accounts - and tells us what you might be doing that's wasting your time - and not getting you any closer to that account.

"Large Account Management requires knowledge of where the account is going in relationship to its customers, competitors, industry and the economy," says Manfer. This knowledge is housed in the heads of the profit-center leader and his or her staff. So anyone that wants to manage a large account has to get to these leaders on a regular basis and learn issues, concerns, problems or target opportunities these people are thinking about. The only way these leaders are going to let that happen is if the vendor has established relationships with these C-level and senior executives. Here's the guide for large account managers to follow for establishing C-level relationships."

Successful account managers know there is a real purpose for being positioned at the top. Budgets are allocated there. Funds are released there - with or without a budget. Any changes to operations, systems or procedures are usually initiated there and are always approved there. Committees bring their recommendations for vendor selections there for approval.

Always ask yourself or your account manager, "What would happen to your chances of being the preferred vendor if your competitor gets there and makes a positive impact?" This should eliminate any doubt about purpose.

Getting to the top requires focus. If you set your sights there, you'll figure a way to get there. Caution: Do not ignore the people below on your way to the top. They have to be covered, but realize the job is not finished with subordinates.

Set your scope upward towards senior managers. Target those with P/L responsibility for the division, region, company, etc. where your products/services are used. If you don't, the ruling party will consider you a commodity that can be substituted or replaced, instead of a valuable resource to protect and use.

Confidence is the belief that you belong with these leaders. Unfortunately, the lack of this self-assurance becomes our worst enemy. The reason for this is that we have been programmed from childhood to fear authority figures. So we gravitate to lower, more comfortable levels and convince ourselves that the decision is made there.

There are also past rejection experiences from meetings with executives that went nowhere and rejection from subordinates saying in so many words, "You're not important enough to go beyond me." All of this conditioning has left many salespeople without the confidence to charge ahead and make contacts and relationships.

The solution to this overwhelming intimidation factor is to prepare for the meeting and prepare yourself. Get help from your information / introduction network. Rehearse what will be said and done in the meeting. Reprogram your thinking that this working person with a title is no different than you. Overcome any self-doubt by realizing you are feeling afraid and fear is just negative projection. Pump yourself up to positively project. Think, "This person wants to see me and our meeting will be great for both of us. If not, it's his/her loss - not mine."

Credibility is the door opener. If you've got it you can see this person anytime. Credibility means the person respects you, trusts you and believes you will deliver him/her results. Most salespeople develop credibility at lower levels. Establishing credibility at higher corporate levels is far more difficult because access is limited and what needs to be done and said is very different. Slip here with boring, annoying or no-impact selling approaches and you'll ruin any chance of credibility, further access and a relationship.

The key to gaining credibility is to use your Golden Network to transfer their credibility with the higher-level people to you. They need to refer you, introduce you, and help you establish respect. Once you're there, remember that to keep this busy exec's attention you must talk about what's important to him or her.

Finally, performance provides the real basis for attaining access, developing credibility and establishing relationships with senior executives. However, your performance at this level will be judged on what it does for the individual executive. It is now personal. Not only must the company benefit, but the executive must believe his/her career has been enhanced or protected by doing business with you.

Learn what the chief values and structure your proposition in a way that shows that she/he can get it better and with less risk of failure from you. Then deliver it. Measure the results by his or her standards and be sure the executive is satisfied. If so, that's great. Ask for more business. If not, set a course to bring the results to where they need to be.

Sam Manfer delivers keynote speeches and in-depth selling workshops for those anxious to increase sales. His hands-on coaching turns individuals and sales organizations into selling whirlwinds. Follow Sam's C-Level Selling Blog for more insights.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Assign Your Prospect Some Homework

Today the Whetstone Group is back with a sales problem and their diagnosis. You'll love what this tip can do for your sales - and how much fun it is to assign homework to people!

Problem: Mitch's company sold data storage solutions. A five-year veteran of selling, he called the other day for some coaching. He said that he had just completed a one-hour meeting with one of his top prospects, a large retailer who was a key prospect for his company. He explained that he had experienced difficulty getting the prospect into a discussion of pain and, when he finally did, he felt time pressure to hurry through the qualifying process. As a result, Mitch thought that he had done a poor job in the pain step. He said that this seemed typical of his meetings and that due to poor qualifying on his part, he was not closing some of the accounts that he thought he should.

Diagnosis: Unfortunately, Mitch lacked an effective way to quickly begin the pain qualification process. Without an effective tactic for getting quickly into the pain step, Mitch spent too much time building rapport and discussing inconsequential issues that only wasted both parties' time. While there were a number of tactics to find pain that Mitch had learned, none seemed to be working well for him.

Prescription: We told Mitch to add a new wrinkle to his initial meeting agreement. We suggested that he give his prospect some homework before the appointment. Mitch began saying the following to his prospects, "Mr. Prospect, in order to make our meeting as productive as possible, would you make a list of the two or three most challenging issues you are having with respect to data storage? Then we can really focus our discussion on your issues and try to develop a solution. Does that make sense?"

Interestingly enough, it did make sense to most of his prospects. When Mitch arrived at the appointment, he simply reminded the prospect about the list and asked what the issues were. From there, the pain conversation was easy to conduct. His got to the pain step quicker and was able to qualify in greater depth. He started closing more business because he understood the issues and was able to recommend better solutions.

Whetstone Group is a sales process improvement company that focuses on helping companies implement a proven sales process that will increase sales, shorten the selling cycle, increase closing rates, and improve margins. Learn more at

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Are You a Chameleon When Selling?

Sales trainer Tessa Stowe has years of experience in sales, and today she shares a story of a dinner went wrong. The sales lesson that follows shows the importance of being a chameleon and blending in to different situations. Read on to see what we mean!

Several years ago, my former boss Peter and I went to dinner with the Chairman of the company we worked for. On that occasion, the Chairman talked and talked all evening. After the Chairman had finally left, Peter turned around to me and said "Tessa, we could have been anyone this evening." We felt that the Chairman had just talked at us all night. He would have had exactly the same conversation whether Peter and I were there or not.

The Chairman was not at all interested in Peter or me. In fact, by the end of the evening he knew absolutely nothing about us. It had not been a two-way conversation with us, but instead a monologue directed at us. His words would have been exactly the same no matter who was sitting opposite him.

Without realizing it, you may be acting like the Chairman. If your prospect would start daydreaming while you are speaking, would there be any difference in your conversation? You don't need their input for the conversation if you say the same things no matter who you are talking to.

Think back to the last time you spoke to a prospect. Did your words specifically change for that person, or were they the exact same words you have with all your prospects? Would a neutral observer think your prospect or you were at center stage?

So, what is the cure? It is actually quite simple. Become a facilitator of the conversation by asking powerful questions and quickly blend into the background and the conversation. Become a chameleon in the conversation.

For you to become a chameleon, blending into the background and the conversation, your prospect must feel comfortable about being at center stage. Hence it is critical that you ask your prospect questions about things they care about and know about. If you don't, your prospect will not want to be at center stage.

For example, a CEO cares about increasing revenues and decreasing costs, so ask questions around them. A marketing manager cares about standing out from the competition, so ask questions around that. When you ask questions, use the prospect's language - not yours.

When you are selling, you need to be a master chameleon and adapt your questions and your language to the person you are talking to. You want to blend into the background and make them center stage.

Tessa Stowe teaches small business owners and recovering salespeople simple steps to turn conversations into clients without being sales-y or pushy. Her FREE monthly Sales Conversation newsletter is full of tips on how to sell your services by just being yourself. Sign up now at

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cold Calling Isn't the Only Way to Get Prospects

Not many sellers will tell you they like cold calling - but most will say they do it anyway, because it produces leads. True, but according to sales trainer Kendra Lee, "Cold calling can be one of the most inefficient ways to find leads. Unless you have a list of specific contacts you want to reach, it simply isn't your best technique to fill your funnel."

"I'm a passionate believer in alternate ways of prospecting, especially when you've got a big region you're attempting to cover and you're strapped with a large number to sell," continues Lee. "Instead, you need a plan that'll bring leads in the door in a manner that's comfortable for you."

It's time to change your prospecting strategy. Here are some ideas for you.

Start an email campaign. Afraid of the spam laws? Keep your list small and personalize your emails to participants' needs so it feels as if you sat down to write them an individual message. Send a series of 3-4 emails three days apart to encourage a response.

Know your target market. You need to know where to look for your hottest opportunities. Keep your micro-segments small, 20-125 contacts at a time, so you can be more personal in your communications.

Hold an on-line event. Sound time consuming and expensive? You can run one practically for free so don't let the price stop you. If content or participation is your concern, remember that you're the expert. Make your topic relevant to your target market's top issues and they'll want to hear what you have to say. Share recommendations based on work you've done with other clients. Offer something at the end that'll separate hot prospects from warm leads.

Use social media, press releases and / or articles to get noticed. They'll keep you in front of your target market where they get to know you as an expert. You'll begin to create a relationship even before they require your assistance.

Create a mini-campaign by linking email, events, social media, and articles together to keep you in constant touch with your micro-segments. As a seller you don't have time to run a complicated 6-month campaign, but you can run a simple one over 6 weeks that generates new leads all along the way.

"Some people love cold calling. But if you aren't one of those people, relax, breathe a deep sigh of relief and change your prospecting strategy," says Lee.

"Not only will you build your funnel, you'll also create awareness for yourself and your company through consistent exposure. When your target prospects have a need, they'll remember you and reach out. And isn't that so much more inviting that interrupting their day with a cold call?"

Kendra Lee is a Prospect Attraction Expert, author of the award-winning book "Selling Against the Goal" and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business segment. Visit