Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ya, It's Personal

The best salespeople make the process personal - because it's personal to them! Today sales trainer Tibor Shanto explains.

One of the dumbest pieces of advice sales professionals are given by bad managers or inept trainers when they lose a deal is "don't take it personally, make sure you take the lesson and move on." While I agree that we need to learn from each deal, good or bad; but not taking it personally, is not only dumb, but shows a real lack of understanding of sales. Most everyone agrees that a purchase/sale is an emotional event; that applies to both the buyer and the seller.

The best sales people are very passionate about their product and craft. This means giving the sale your all, and to do that they get involved emotionally, they know that enthusiasm is infectious and they make sure they have what it takes to infect the buyer. We have talked about this before, that all things being equal, the sales person that wins the deal is the one that really wanted it more.

The down side is that this opens the rep up to extreme emotional swings, soaring to great heights when they win a deal, and painful crash landing when they lose. So what's an enterprising sales professional to do to avoid wearing out before their time or lose their mind? The best thing they can do is have a clear step by step process, and do their utmost to adhere to it. This allows them to give every situation their full talent and energy, and recover quickly to execute their next sale.

This is not to say that they live in some fantasy world, but in sales you need to be fully engaged, which hard to do if you are not personally and emotionally involved. The question simply becomes, do you hold back to spare your emotions, or do you go full out, and in the process win more deals, and reduce the times you have to deal with the let downs.

So go ahead, your really have no choice, take it personally, get engaged, win more deals, and use that same strength of character to understand the price of success, and then move to the next opportunity to get involved.

Tibor Shanto brings over 20 years of sales experience to Renbor Sales Solutions Inc., from telemarketing to leading a global sales team focused on providing top end solutions. Tibor has helped to improve performance for sales professionals in a wide variety of fields, from financial services to on-line B2B specialists.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Are You In Touch?

In today's business world you need to be at the top of prospects' minds to get their business. Sales expert Mark Hunter tells you how to best stay in touch.

How often are you reaching out to your customers and/or prospects? I suggest you set a goal for the number of customers/prospects you will reach out to each day. These "touches" may be in-person or may be over the phone, but you have to be very serious about achieving this number each day.

Your goal with reaching out is to learn more information that will help you better understand their pains. Create 10 truly great questions that get them talking. You will likely start to see how the benefits of your product or service can help alleviate their pains, thus giving them a reason to start doing business with you or to do more business with you.

Why is it so important to reach out regularly to your customers? You will be honing your selling process. I encourage you to establish a process that allows you to communicate your continuity and competence to the customer. I call this the "C+C." This then allows the customer to have confidence in you. Because here's the deal - customers will only do business with people they have confidence in.

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

Monday, March 29, 2010

Quote of the Week

"In business, words are words, explanations are explanations, promises are promises, but only performance is reality." -- Harold Geneen, industrialist

You can tell your clients everything they want to hear, but if you don't follow through on it, they won't stick around for long. People everywhere want results - so performance truly is everything. Keep your words, explanations, and promises on the same level as the performance you can deliver!

Friday, March 26, 2010

What Avoidance Behavior is Holding You Back?

Today's economy demands you do more with the time you have - make the most of it with this advice from sales expert Art Sobczak.

Picture the sales rep who spends two prime hours every day online, and reading trade journals, the Wall Street Journal, and more, "so he can be well-versed, just in case someone asks questions."

And the rep who feels obligated to assume ownership of all minuscule customer service
situations--ones easily delegated--because she wants to be certain they're handled correctly. And her call productivity suffers as a result.

Or, the salesperson who is always fixated on one "big deal" devoting tons of time--at the expense of placing other calls--working on the proposal.

Know anyone like these people? ARE you one of these people?

If so, you are flat out avoiding something. And probably denying it.

There are all kinds of avoidance behaviors. Whenever I get particularly ambitious around the house...tightening things, replacing filters, by the way, I'm the most un-Home Depot guy in the history of males) it is a sure sign I should be parked in front of a computer, preparing for a training program or writing articles.

What non-sales activities do you engage in that steal from your productive selling time? Or, what call behaviors do you practice that are not as effective as what you should do?

For example, some reps insist on just asking a few questions during a first call, "touching base" on a second call, then phoning a few more times before finally getting into the meat of selling. They rationalize that they're building a relationship. Bull. They're constructing a fat follow-up file.

Sure they're busy, but it's like running on a treadmill. Lots of sweat, but no forward progress. Oh, but they're building "relationships." Not so much.

Here's one way to deal with avoidance behavior.

1. Make a commitment to improve. If you don't have that "want to," read no further.

2. Pinpoint what you know you should do, but don't, or don't do it often enough.

3. Identify the activity or behavior that you rationalize as important, but deep down you know it's a mask. This is where you need to be brutally honest with yourself.

4. Determine what activity or behavior you will replace it with. For example, calling higher in an organization, asking for the bigger sale earlier, sending out fewer proposals to only the more highly qualified prospects, or spending less time internally chasing down answers to questions and delegating more instead.

5. Set specific, quantifiable, time-sensitive goals. Write them out. Any time is a great time to start, especially as we approach the new year.

6. Take action. Track your progress.

7. Reward yourself! What gets rewarded gets repeated.

So why wait? Don't avoid it any longer. Take some action, any action right now that you've been avoiding. You'll be glad you did.

Art Sobczak helps sales pros use the phone to prospect, service and sell more effectively, while eliminating morale-killing "rejection." See free articles and back issues of his weekly emailed sales tips at

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"Why Should They Give You an Meeting?"

The more direct you are, the better! Take this advice from The Whetstone Group and be clear with your prospects about what they can expect from you.

Problem: One of the biggest challenges that salespeople face is getting meetings. People are constantly bombarded by marketing messages via the media enticing them to purchase. Prospects receive daily calls from salespeople who want to see them, so it's no wonder that they treat most requests for meetings with skepticism and suspicion. This unfortunate fact of life makes the salesperson's job that much more difficult.

Analysis: Basically, the prospect isn't clear as to why she should see you. She's been promised so much from so many over the years, but the results have typically been less than promised. You are viewed as an unwelcome intruder who must fight an uphill battle just to get the meeting.

Prescription: There are several things that you can do to give yourself an advantage. First, deal with the skepticism and doubt up front. Tell the prospect what you will not do. For example, "I will not waste your time making a bunch of promises about how my product can help your company. The fact is I'm not sure we can help you, but I'm calling you because many other companies like yours have found that our product has been a good fit for them. Do you think it would be worth 30 minutes of your time to evaluate something that has the potential to...(mention a pain you can fix or a benefit they might receive)? If at the end of the meeting you don't think we have a fit, I'll be on my way. Does that sound fair?" This can be done over the phone or even adapted to an email or a letter.

Another option is to tell them what they will learn by meeting with you. Make reference to a satisfied client who received measurable results from your product or service that are meaningful to this particular prospect. "At the very least, you'll find out just how people in your business are successfully dealing with...and you'll learn some realistic options to change how you..."

Remember, no one likes the typical sales BS and no one likes surprises. Be up front and tell it like it is, then deliver on your promises.

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, March 24, 2010

6 Simple Ways to Make Your Clients Feel Special and Have Them Wanting More

In today's business world you have to make sure your clients are happy - not just satisfied. Are they so happy they will tell other people about you? That's the goal! Today sales trainer Rochelle Togo-Figa shares tips to create those happy, excited clients you want.

I recently spoke to an entrepreneur who told me she had signed up for a program and soon after she signed up she received a phone call from one of the people leading the program to thank her for signing up. She was so impressed they took the time to call and personally thank her.

Now she's feeling confident she made the right decision and excited to get started. She's going to get a lot more value from the program because she's feeling taken care of. And, if she continues to have the same positive experience throughout the program, she'll purchase another program or product from them. They now have a long-term client. All of these wonderful results from one short phone call thanking her for signing up for their program.

So what are you doing differently to take care of your clients? During these times, people are spending but they're more cautious about where they're putting their money. There's a lot of competition out there. If you want to retain your clients and have them buying more, you have to stand out from the crowd by doing things differently.

Here are 6 simple ways to make your clients feel special and have them buying more:

1. Pick up the phone, call your clients, and thank them for their business. This personal touch is easy to do and shows you genuinely appreciate their business.

2. If you're having an event, invite them to come "free," or if you're attending an event that you think they might be interested in attending, invite them to come as your guest.

3. Send them a token of appreciation, for no reason, other than that you appreciate having them as a client. You could send a book, something yummy, or some small gift.

4. Call them during the year to see how they're doing and how you can help them. Calling for no other reason than to let them know you're thinking about them will set you apart from many of your competitors.

5. Invite your clients to a "Client Appreciation" luncheon or tea. Choose a restaurant or cafe and invite your favorite clients. You're going the extra mile and they'll appreciate you for doing this.

6. Send them a short note, letting them know you value and appreciate their business. It doesn't take much to write a short note of appreciation and the rewards you'll get back from your clients are priceless.

Rochelle Togo-Figa, The Sales Breakthrough Expert, is the creator of the Sales Breakthrough System, a proven step-by-step sales process that will help you close more sales, sign on more clients and make more money with ease and velocity. To sign up for her free sales articles and teleclasses on closing more sales, visit

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Hope You Don't Open Your Calls This Way

Because you only have a few precious seconds to make a connection and establish interest, you'd better have a good opening prepared in advance. Besides being very busy, your prospects probably get a lot of sales calls every week, and many of them from your direct competition. So why would they want to talk to you? What can you do to separate yourself from all the other calls they get?

The answer is that you have to establish a real connection with your prospect and stop sounding like all the other sales reps who call them. Here is what your competition usually sounds like (I hope you're not doing this!):

"Oh hi Mr. __________, this is _______ _______ with the MLT Group. __________, we are an industry supply manufacturer and we help companies streamline their production process. We work with many companies in your field and save them between 10 to 15% on the cost of their storage and delivery process. What I'd like to do is ask you some questions to see how our process may save you that kind of money as well. Where are you currently getting your..."

Do you see how this opening makes no connection with the prospect? Do you see how it just starts pitching at the prospect and doesn't acknowledge that the prospect might be busy, or not interested? Do you see how there is no rapport built here and how it's a one sided conversation? How do you feel when someone barges in on your day and starts in with a pitch like this? You're probably thinking what most prospects are thinking: "How do I get this sales rep off the phone?!"

Now let's look at the right way to open your call. Your goal in the first few seconds is to make a connection and get them to interact. You have to acknowledge that they may be busy or that you respect their time and you need to establish some rapport and separate yourself from all the other sales reps calling them.

Try this:

"Hi ________ this is _______ _______ with (your company), how's your Tuesday going? Great. Listen, _______, I know you probably get a ton of calls so I'll make this brief.

Let me ask you, if I could show you a better way of tracking and shipping (or) and save you money doing it, would it be worth spending five minutes with me next week to show you how?"


"What is the one thing you could change that would have a dramatic impact on your productivity and that would save your company money?"


"If you had a magic wand and could change one thing about how you currently do (their business), what would it be?"

Can you see how this quick questioning approach is more effective than what you may currently be using now? Eighty percent of your competition still barge in on their prospects and open their calls up with a long explanation about what they do and what they offer, and pitch their products and services without checking in with their prospects or establishing any kind of connection. No wonder most people brush them off the phone!

You can separate yourself from this group instantly, starting today, by using the opening technique above. Once again, adapt it to fit your product or service, and then practice it until it's natural and easy for you to use. As you do, you'll begin to notice yourself struggling less, making more connections with interested and qualified buyers, and you'll have more confidence and feel better about yourself. Just like the top 20% do!

Mike Brooks,, is creator and publisher of the "Top 20% Inside Sales Tips" weekly Ezine. If you're ready to Double Your Income Selling Over the Phone, then sign up to receive your FREE tips now at:

Monday, March 22, 2010

Quote of the Week

"The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving." -- Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Supreme Court justice

I love getting a reminder that I am in charge of the direction in which my life is headed. It's my decision if I slack off, or don't put my best effort into sales calls - just as it's my decision to put in extra time, stay on task, and forge relationships with clients.

If you're unhappy with the direction you're going in right now, or if you're not moving at all, you have the power to make a change. Choose where you want to go, and start working towards getting there!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Who Needs What You Have?

You've got a great product that all businesses should need, want, and you call and tell them that. Good idea? No!

Cold calling random companies to tell them they need your product is not the most productive way to spend your valuable time. Take the more targeted approach suggested by sales trainer Sam Manfer, and people will appreciate your call.

Who needs what you have?

Don't say everyone. This attitude makes cold calling overwhelming, and you'll get lots of rejections. You must establish a list of criteria, and here's where your boss and other successful salespeople can help you.

Ask them, "What are the characteristics of our/your 3 best customers?" Get them to think deeply about the specifics - the people, the environment, the circumstances of each customer. List these characteristics and notice similarities among these customers.

Then, asked them, "What are the characteristics of 3 prospects that never buy?" Again, try to get them to be specific and add these to your list.

These characteristics will give you an idea of the type of prospects that really need what you have and those that don't. Caution: Don't get sucked into, "should need what you have to offer". Although many "should need" it, you will be successful when you find those that want it.

Since 1995 Sam Manfer has been speaking, consulting, writing and leading seminars in sales and personal development. As a keynote speaker and seminar leader Sam has addressed thousands of new and experienced salespeople and managers all over the world in all types of businesses and industries. Learn more at

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What is Your Voice Really Saying?

Be confident about your product and your price - if you're not confident, others will notice!

Your price must be stated without any hesitation in your voice if you expect the customer to believe you.

This is big fatal mistake so many salespeople make when stating their price - they don't say it clearly or strongly enough. Subsequently, what the customer is really hearing is how the salesperson doesn't even believe in their own pricing. It doesn't matter if it's a B-B or B-C, the inability to communicate vocally a strong price is a huge reason why so many customers ask for a discount or complain about a price being too high.

As a salesperson, you have to believe in your price 100% without exception. You have to be able to state your price points clearly and without hesitation, all while giving the customer eye contact the whole time. This is why I say having a high level of sales motivation is so important to closing profitable sales. If your sales motivation is not high, then you don't stand a chance in being able to convey your price confidently - unless what you're doing is giving it away for free or some ridiculous low price.

Practice reciting your price out loud 25 times while looking into a mirror. I know it sounds stupid, but I'm amazed at the number of salespeople who can't do it, and if you can't do it by yourself, then there's no way you can say it proudly and with conviction to your customers.

Mark Hunter is known as The Sales Hunter.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Great Salespeople Overcome Procrastination

"It will wait until tomorrow." There are times when it is so tempting to tell yourself that, and actually believe it. Clearly, sometimes it is true. However, when we continually put off for tomorrow those things that could and should be done today, we become less effective today. And while it is true that it is only one day, the truth is that we will never have that day back again.

If we accept mediocrity in our performance for one day, we will never be able to gain that time back, and live that day over. And a day wasted can easily become another day, and another, and eventually turn into a habit. Habits turn into character traits, and character eventually determines our performance.

Procrastination, the character trait of putting far too many things off to be done later, is one of the insidious cripplers of sales performance, lurking under the surface of sales performance, and sucking the energy out of a salesperson's performance.

The best salespeople guard against procrastination. They work hard, with discipline, to insure that every day is spent as effectively as possible. They recognize the temptation, and build tools, practices and disciplines into their routines to prevent themselves from falling prey to it.

There are proven tools and techniques to help with this. Scheduling appointments as fully as possible throughout the course of the day keeps you working. If you have an appointment for this afternoon, it's difficult to put that off until tomorrow. The best salespeople are in the habit of making appointments for at least the first call of the day, as early as they can, and the last call of the day, toward the end of the day. That way, the temptation to put something off until tomorrow conflicts with the need to stay mentally in the job until you are finally finished.

"To-do lists,' re-organized at the end of every day, with firm priorities and deadlines, is another effective tool utilized by the "do-it-now" group. By creating a prioritized list of the things that you must do, and assigning deadlines to each of them, you force yourself to confront the necessity to get things done.

And, of course, the regular discipline of developing realistic goals and attaching clearly envisioned rewards to them is one of the most common devices used by the pros to keep themselves in the moment and on top of their games.

The best salespeople understand that they need to manage their weaknesses. They understand that their ability to manage themselves is one of the keys to sustained sales excellence. That's why they excel at overcoming procrastination.

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

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Building Your Business With Social Media

We often warn salespeople to be careful not to waste too much time when it comes to LinkedIn and FaceBook - but I don't think we often give the other point of view - the benefits they can bring to your business! Sales expert Colleen Francis shares this point of view with you today.

Our sales marketplace is changing. While it used to be run almost exclusively on face-to-face meetings and transactions, today, we have been transformed into a space occupied by networks of people where social capital is earned and valued. This has important ramifications for sales, because the real power behind social media is how it can help transform you from being a complete stranger into a known quantity even among groups of people you've not even met yet. Linked-in and FaceBook are great sites to start the transformation for all sales markets.

Linked-in: Widely considered as social media's go-to place for business, Linked-in helps you connect all your professional relationships and trusted personal contacts. This service is a great way to reinforce your network of clients and suppliers and discover previously untapped connections between people you know. It's also a great place for testimonials—to receive them and to write them about others who have provided you with great service.

One of the best ways to communicate your expertise and gain followers on Linked-in is by asking and answering questions. To do this effectively you can:

1. Join groups that are relevant to your business and participate actively in the forums;
2. Start your own group, focused on creating a community of focus on your product, service or topic / expertise area;
3. Search for questions based on keywords and supplant yourself in the middle of an ongoing conversation; and
4. Ask questions that will help you start a dialogue or gather research in an area that can better serve your customers and prospects.

Regardless of how you use questions make sure that you are delivering value in your answers. Do NOT shamelessly pitch your products or invite people to "check you out" on the web. Use the questions function in LinkedIn as a tool to showcase your expertise and knowledge in a specific subject matter and users will seek you out as a resource.

FaceBook: While many treat FaceBook as a more personal-focused networking tool, there's no denying that it's a great place to get noticed just by maintaining a presence. Remember: this is one of the most visited places on the web every day. Nielsen research in January 2010 ranked FaceBook third among the top-ten web brands in America today. Therefore, if you have a time-sensitive message that needs to get out, this is a good place to do that. Top-ranked real estate agents are masterful users of FaceBook, using the status updated to post news about their latest hot listings, encouraging readers to share that news with friends and family.

Make sure to create a fan page for your business and invite clients to join. The best companies ensure they deliver knowledge updates in the daily fan-page status field. They also share links and resources to fans on a daily basis. The aim is to create an active community that will dialogue with you and between themselves. You will attract referrals and testimonials if you provide high value advice everyday and reward the community for participation.

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".

Monday, March 15, 2010

Quote of the Week

"I have never known a really successful man who deep in his heart did not understand the grind, the discipline it takes to win." -- Vince Lombardi, American Football Coach

Anyone can be successful - but only if they put in the time and effort it takes to be successful. You can't really put in one or the other - too much time and not enough effort, and everything you're doing is a waste. A lot of effort but not enough time will leave you with unsatisfactory results.

Decide now that you'll dedicate the time and effort it takes to be successful. Then focus on using every minute as wisely as possible. Don't get distracted, don't waste time. Both are precious things that will take you to the top!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Cold Calling is a Numbers Game - NOT!

If you been in sales for any length of time you've probably heard someone say, "Cold calling is a numbers game." It might have been your manager, or perhaps one of your colleagues who advised you to simply keep dialing because if you speak with enough prospects one will eventually say 'yes' to you. Keep "smilin' and dialin'" is often how that advice is framed.

Unfortunately many sales professionals blindly follow this advice as if it tells the whole story. And all too frequently sales managers tell their struggling sales representatives to simply make more dials, and more dials, and more dials.

Hundreds of daily dials, however, does not always result in success. Hundreds of daily dials does not always fill the pipeline. The reason for this is that while 'the dial' is the basic unit of measurement for success, it is not the only factor that influences the outcome of a cold calling campaign. Sometimes the problem for a representative lies not in the number of dials but in the preparation before the dials or in the execution of the dials.

The first factor that will influence the outcome of your cold calling campaign is targeting. Without a list of highly targeted prospects your cold calling efforts are doomed to failure. Those sales trainers and sales professionals who rail against cold calling as being ineffective generally site the idea of opening up the phone book and calling anybody. This is a fundamental misunderstanding of what cold calling really is. Cold calling is not opening up the phone book and calling anyone. Cold calling is a process by which you introduce yourself, your company, products or services to highly qualified prospects. You will never be able to introduce yourself to highly qualified prospects by simply opening up the phone book. Step one in any successful cold calling campaign is to do the homework and develop a highly qualified list. Then and only then should you get on the telephone.

The second factor is skill, your skill in accessing decision-makers and your skill in conversing with them. The really good news here is that cold calling is a communication skill and like any communication skill it can be learned and it can be improved upon. Unfortunately, because so many rely on the idea that cold calling is a numbers game, few take the time to really hone their skills in this area. Sales professionals who will spend hours preparing prospect presentations and designing and redesigning PowerPoint slides, will get on the telephone with a prospect and wing it. Then they wonder why the prospect was not interested in what they had to say. And while it is definitely more difficult today to reach prospects directly, it is not impossible. Representatives with persistence and skill are able to get through to have productive selling conversations with their prospects.

A successful cold calling campaign then hinges on three elements: First preparation and putting together a targeted list. Then dials. Then skill level. In combination these three elements are powerful. Any cold calling campaign that is missing one of them will fail. Cold calling is a numbers game plus.

Known as "The Queen of Cold Calling," Wendy Weiss is a sales trainer, sales coach and author specializing in cold calling and new business development. She helps clients speed up their sales cycle, reach more prospects directly and generate more sales revenue. Learn more at:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

5 Key Steps to Getting it Done

As a person who needs a list to stay organized everyday, I'm always happy to see new time management strategies. Today business growth expert Diane Helbig shares her tips to getting it all done - without feeling overwhelmed!

There are steps you can take to get things back in line and start taking effective action:

1. Start by listing all of those to-do items. While it may seem scary, once you have them listed you can start attacking. If they only occupy space in your head they can seem bigger than they are. So bring them down to earth and onto paper.

2. Prioritize the list. This is a key part of taking action. There really are items that are more important or pressing than others. So, put the list in order of importance or urgency. As a part of this discovery process identify any items that you can delegate. Ask yourself what the best use of your time is and if anything on your list falls outside of that scope, delegate it.

3. Take the list of items you couldn't delegate and break them down into bite size steps. When to-do items are large they can seem overwhelming. However, remember the saying 'you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time,' and list the action steps that are necessary to accomplish the to-do item.

4. Then schedule those action items. When will you get them done? This may require taking a step back and looking at your calendar from a distance. Scheduling activities in a constructive way will help you spend less time on them and actually get them done. And keep your goals to three at most. Only add an item after completing one. If the deadlines are different consider staggering your activity so there is no down time.

5. Set up an accountability partnership. This is someone you can partner with to monitor your progress and celebrate your accomplishments. As you complete your tasks and move projects toward completion, make sure you acknowledge it. In addition, your accountability partner can help you schedule action items in a realistic way so you are more apt to be successful. And as a partnership, you will be helping them as well. I find that having these relationships helps me stay focused and on track.

Getting things done is an important aspect of success. You can't afford to allow a large list of to-do items paralyze you or derail your efforts. Remember that feeling overwhelmed is a common occurrence for small business owners. This feeling doesn't have to rule your world - you rule your world. So, take control, create your list, schedule your action items, and partner with someone who will help you stay the course. As you knock down item after item you will find yourself enjoying your business even more.

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, March 10, 2010

Time for Appreciation

So, last week was National Write a Letter of Appreciation Week - woops! I'm a little late with this post, but then again, it's never too late to show someone your appreciation. These tips from sales trainer Nancy Bleeke will be a big help for all of us to begin writing an appreciation note - today!

WRITE the letter. It's not a phone call, email or text. Pen to paper. The recipient can hold it in their hands and for tactile people, that's a good thing!

Last month I got a thank you note from a prospect for the follow-up message I sent - on a quality note card and addressed just to them. I knew this Doer type person appreciated it, or he wouldn't have taken the time.

Be specific in your appreciation. "You are great to work with." is okay - but something like "I really appreciate how you respond so quickly to my messages." is much stronger!

As I completed my drive-thru banking transaction last Saturday, the teller said, "Nancy, thank you for writing your account number of the back of the checks, it made it so much easier to pull up your account." I drove away as the recipient of specific appreciation - and felt how great that is. And the benefit to that teller? I think I will always write the number on the back of the check now.

Do not SELL to them in this letter. The note is to appreciate them and nothing more.

Hand write the address on the envelope. It's much more personal. Making time for writing these letters or notes will set you apart and get your name in front of people again.

If you really want to make it most meaningful, make it personal. Recognize them as a human being, not just about an action they have taken. Examples: Note their integrity, honesty, concern for others, patience.

The hardest part is DOING this. Schedule an hour or two this week to appreciate others. Include customers, your manager, assistants, colleagues, spouse, children, parents - everyone will appreciate it! Set a goal of the number of people you will write a letter to this week and then WRITE them.

Sales expert Nancy Bleeke, The SalesProInsider, helps organizations set aggressive sales goals and achieve them while boosting profitability by hiring, training and retaining the best employees. She shares her expertise with the Timely Tips ezine and her blog. Learn more and download a free ebook at

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It's Your Choice

Bad things happen - but it's your choice how you react to them - and therefore, your choice what comes next. Today, sales trainers The Whetstone Group share a story that shows the power of choice.

Problem: This was Phil's one-year anniversary, although it was an anniversary most people would just as soon forget. Phil was a business consultant who was proud of maintaining long-term business relationships with his clients. Exactly one year ago to the day Phil had experienced the culmination of the worst month of his business career. That day Phil had taken a call from a long time client who regretfully informed him that his company's services were no longer needed; the third such call he had received in the past month. He was devastated, and very confused about what was going on. He had worked hard to develop these business relationships and being fired was tough. Then he reacted the way so many in similar circumstances have; he went into a tailspin. He tanked. He started spending his time worrying about his business and commiserating about his bad fortune. For the next several months, things just got worse.

Analysis: Phil let unfortunate circumstances get the best of him. He suffered from a processing failure. He had a choice and picked the wrong one. He saw the loss of three major clients as a failure on his part and made the decision to let it affect him negatively. Instead, he could have learned a lesson from the experience.

Prescription: It's your choice how you process events that happen to you. Do you see things as problems or opportunities? Phil's story continues.

During the holidays, Phil was at a party and spent some time with Steve, who five years before had encountered a similar situation in his business. Steve told Phil that the temptation to feel sorry for himself was very strong, but he chose another option. Steve said that the loss of business he had suffered had caused him to take a long, hard look at the way his company treated their clients. He discovered an alarming trend. Many of his clients had begun to feel like they were being taken for granted. When this was discovered, Steve immediately implemented a customer appreciation and retention program, which quickly reversed the trend. Since then, his company's sales and profits exceeded industry standards and his company was recognized as the market leader in customer satisfaction.

Giving up and feeling sorry for yourself is the easy way; it takes no talent. The Chinese symbol for adversity contains the symbol for opportunity. Therefore, adversity brings opportunity. Look at the adversity as a learning opportunity. Pick something up when you fall down. There's always a lesson, if you look for it. Learn from it and move forward.

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

Monday, March 8, 2010

Quote of the Week

"If you want the rainbow, you've got to put up with the rain." -- Dolly Parton, Singer

Sometimes the days just stink. It's the way it is. You're late for a meeting, the copier jams, you spill coffee on your shirt, or your boss is in a foul mood and making sure everyone knows it. When these days come, just hold your breath and get through it. Better days are just around the corner, and if you're patient, you'll see the good side of things again soon!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Create Immediacy to Generate an Emotional Response

Make it personal, make it meaningful! This tip from communication expert Dianna Booher is great advice, not only for your business, but for every aspect of your life.

If you are a single adult reading a news story about a teenager killed on a motorcycle because he wasn't wearing a safety helmet, you may feel sorry, shake your head, and continue reading. However, if you just bought your 18-year-old a motorcycle and had an argument with him or her about the importance of wearing a safety helmet, you probably will tune in a little closer to the statistics to find out how you can convince your son or daughter to wear a helmet.

Bring your presentation issue as close to home as possible. Make your audience see, hear, touch, and feel the situation.

If the members of your management team hear about the low unemployment rate on the news, they will have a general awareness of the difficulty of retaining competent employees. However, if you cite the 38 percent increase in employee turnover at your Detroit plant, adding that the company's rehiring and retraining costs hit the half-million mark for the past year, these managers will quickly see the urgency of the employee-retention problem.

Whether you are talking about money, management, or marital problems, appeal to your listeners emotionally. Then supply the information to help them justify their decisions logically.

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.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Are You Hiding Behind Email?

Email is a wonderful convenience for salespeople today - but it could be costing you sales if you're using it as your sole means of communication. Branch out and get a little more personal - pick up the phone! Read on for more from sales trainer Mark Hunter.

If you have a doubt about something (an order, a customer need, etc.) and you need clarification, pick up the phone and call. Don't hide behind an email.

Why is it so hard to pick up the phone and call? We're in sales and yet for some reason, too many salespeople have come to believe that using a telephone to talk to someone is not necessary to be successful. What concerns me the most is when salespeople believe there's a problem of some sort with the customer or they might be a little difficult to handle on the phone, so instead of calling, they send an email.

Don't hide behind an email. Make the phone call. I prefer this for a couple of reasons. First, it shows initiative and that you're willing to be pro-active. Second, if you do reach the person on the phone, you may just find out some very important information that will help you a lot. Finally, even if you do reach their voice mail, you can leave them a message that you tried to reach out to them. Again, this shows initiative.

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is pick up the phone and call. The more you use this technique appropriately, the more you will gain the confidence of your customers.

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

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Words Matter When It Comes to Getting Clients

What you say matters - as much as how you say it! Just take the advice of sales trainer Cheryl Clausen, and change your words - to change your sales!

The words you use and the way you use those words has a big impact on your ability to get clients. The words you use may leave a potential client flat, turn a potential client off and end the conversation, or...

When you use the right words in the right way those words can:

--Evoke curiosity
--Open a conversation
--Generate interest
--Spark questions
--Make a positive impression

When the U.S. Hockey team, a rag tag group of amateurs and collegiate players; took the gold from the Soviet team, considered the best hockey team in the world, in the 1980 Lake Placid, NY Winter Olympics Sports Caster Al Michaels could have simply said, "and the U.S. wins gold."

Those words would have conveyed the end result in an accurate and truthful manner. There would have been no flaws in his phrasing their win in that manner. Yet Al Michaels said...

"Do you believe in miracles? YES!"

What a tremendous difference in the impact those words had on the audience. Those simple words said it all in such an inspirational and quotable manner that even 30 years later this quote is one of the most often repeated quotes in the history of Sports Casting.

Al Michaels might have been lucky when he blurted out those words. Yet, with his countless hours experience as a Sports Caster he has had a lot of practice at using words and phrasing things for a powerful impact.

What might happen in your business if you chose your words carefully and paid close attention to phrasing?

Might you start to gain appointments easily? Would it be easier to help potential clients understand why they want to become clients now?

You have experience and knowledge in the service you provide. Perhaps you could benefit from a little help with the words that convey your message.

Cheryl Clausen, the Increase Sales Coach, works with clients in all areas of sales and marketing - to increase your sales. Learn more and discover the "7 Secrets Top Producers Know That You Can Put to Use in the Next 9 Days" at

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What's Holding Them and You Back?

After yesterday's quote, this article seemed very fitting. Is it time to take a step back and reassess your expectations - and your mindset? Sales trainer Adrian Miller explains.

The economy remains slow, existing customers are still reluctant to buy, and new business seems to be virtually absent. Are these really the problems? Or is it simply self-inflicted inertia? Almost always, when a salesperson is not successful, sluggishness and inactivity are the primary causes.

The recession has definitely caused many inert salespeople to give up. Not so many years ago, when the economy was thriving, many so-called "professionals" only needed to do the bare minimum to make their quota or achieve their performance goals. These are exactly the same people who are now complaining that they are victims of the recession. Perhaps, they are more victims of their own inability to be proactive.
Customers are still reluctant to buy and many are just as plagued by the same inertia as your fellow salespeople who are twiddling their thumbs and complaining.

However, there are ways to jump start your prospects and your sales by taking these movement-making steps:

Uncover Their Obstacles

Do you know the real reasons why your prospects aren't saying yay or nay? It's your responsibility to uncover the root causes of their inertia. Are they not budging because they have been burned in the past? Do they not have money? Is the person you're selling to not the decision-maker? Without this information, you'll be hard-pressed to overcome their indecision.

Restate Benefits

Often times, a sale isn't made because a salesperson doesn't clearly communicate the benefits of their product or service. This isn't the same thing as spouting out features. It's understanding your prospect and telling them clearly why their life will be better with what you are selling.

Provide Compelling Testimonials

Prospects will always feel more comfortable if they can read customer stories that are relevant and timely. Have readily available case studies, customer quotes, and references that you can give those who are sitting on the fence and unable to make a decision. One good testimonial can make all the difference.

Be Persistent

Stop complaining and just get out there. Make calls and visits. Follow through with enthusiasm, and stay focused on making those sales. Don't let yourself be overcome by the inertia that is affecting those around you, and you'll find that the economy is only as bad as you make it.

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

Monday, March 1, 2010

Quote of the Week

"High expectations are the key to everything." -- Sam Walton

What are your expectations for your sales this month? What about this year? If you haven't already done so, plan out where you'd like to be each month - and be sure to aim high!

If you set a goal that's small and easily attainable, how motivated will you be once you reach it? Will you keep going, or take some time off because you feel accomplished? The more you push yourself and the more you expect from yourself, the more money you'll make!