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