Friday, October 29, 2010

Letting Go Is Hard To Do

Do you have prospects that are dragging you down? Keeping you from focusing on those that are actually making you money? It's time to get rid of them! Sales trainer Wendy Weiss tells you how to deal with this tough situation.

Every sales person has them. Those deadly lingering prospects. The ones that never buy anything. They say, "Not just yet..." They say "Not quite ready..." They say, "Call me back in a couple of weeks..." or "Call me back in a month..." or "Call me back in six months..." over and over and over. And you do call them back over and over and over and they never buy anything. They say, "Not just yet..." They say "Not quite ready..." They say, "Call me back in a couple of weeks..." or "Call me back in a month..." or "Call me back in a few months..." over and over and over.

We've all been there. Calling that prospect, hoping this time will be different, hoping this time they'll say, "yes" and that this call will make up for all the previous calls and all the time spent. Besides, if you don't call them, then maybe your competition will...the nightmare of all nightmares...your prospect that you've been calling for years now will buy from someone else. You don't want that to happen. Oh no! And so you do call them again and they don't buy anything. They say, "Not just yet..." They say "Not quite ready..."

So how do you end this vicious cycle that breaks so many sales professionals' hearts? Step one: Identify and only pursue qualified prospects. Step two: Ask the tough questions. Letting go is hard to do...but well worth it in the end.

Make sure that you know what makes a prospect qualified for you. Far too many sales professionals spend far too much time chasing after prospects that will never buy. The reason: The prospects aren't really qualified in the first place.

In your conversations with your prospects, look to qualify prospects out. Far too many sales professionals are afraid to ask the tough questions, questions about the process, the budget and how that decision will be made. Ask the questions that you need to ask to determine that you are indeed speaking with a qualified prospect. If you're not, they won't buy anything from you. As soon as your prospect gives you information that tells you that you're no longer speaking with a qualified prospect, stop pursuing that prospect.

Some times prospects do have legitimate reasons for asking you to call back at a later date. And that's ok. If a prospect has a legitimate reason, then by all means call them back when they have asked you to call back. (Just make the call a little earlier than the prospect has suggested—better a little early than late.) If however, your prospect has not explained why they want you to call back at a later date then make sure to ask:

"(Prospect's name), I understand and am happy to call you back. Let me ask you a question though: What will have changed between now and (whenever they said to call back) that will enable us to move forward?"

And lastly, if you have prospects that you have been following up with time after time after time and getting nowhere ask those prospects:

"(Prospect's name), we've been talking for awhile now, and you have indicated that we'd be able to help you (fill in the benefit.) I know that you're very busy and I don't want to waste your time or mine. I need to ask you, what is the probability we'll be able to work together in the next few weeks/month/quarter?"

If your prospect cannot give you some assurance that you will be working together, stop pursuing that prospect. They are not going to buy from you.

Letting go of prospects is hard to do. When you let go of inappropriate prospects, the ones who will never buy from you, that will free you to pursue real prospects. The ones that say, "yes."

Learn more from cold calling expert Wendy Weiss at or email her at

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Make Sure Your Nonverbal Cues Don't Contradict Your Words

Dianna Booher is a communication expert who offers great advice for salespeople. After all, communication is a huge part of our sales - so make sure you follow her tips!

Have you ever been involved in a conversation that went something like this:

"Why did you get so upset at what I said?"

"Look, all I said, was 'blah, blah, blah.'"

"Yes, but what you meant was _______."

"All I said was, ‘blah, blah, blah.’"

"That's may have been what you said, but what you meant was ______."

This discussion could go on for days until someone understands that the message is what someone hears and sees, not necessarily what someone says.

Tell a non-performer that her behavior is unacceptable. But smile and nod encouragement at the wrong time during your discussion, and she may walk away thinking "no big deal" and go back to the status quo.

Announce to the media that the customer reports about defects in your product are isolated incidents. But do it with a furrowed brow and you may have lawyers soliciting class-action claims by noon.

Tell your team that "things are under control." But do it with a nervous fidget and team members may wonder if you'll hold your job long enough to report their recommendations.

Words alone never carry the complete message. Messages come from context, relationship, tone of voice, what was said, what was not said, and body language. Consistency produces clarity.

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.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Three Skills to Improve Conversation

As salespeople, we depend on our communication skills to build our businesses. That's why I loved seeing this article from sales expert Brian Tracy - three skills to improve conversation? I'm in!

One key to becoming a great conversationalist is to pause before replying. A short pause, of three to five seconds, is a very classy thing to do in a conversation. When you pause, you accomplish three goals simultaneously.

The Benefits of Pausing
First, you avoid running the risk of interrupting if the other person is just catching his or her breath before continuing. Second, you show the other person that you are giving careful consideration to his or her words by not jumping in with your own comments at the earliest opportunity. The third benefit of pausing is that you will actually hear the other person better. His or her words will soak into a deeper level of your mind and you will understand what he or she is saying with greater clarity. By pausing, you mark yourself as a brilliant conversationalist.

Ask Questions
Another way to become a great conversationalist is to question for clarification. Never assume that you understand what the person is saying or trying to say. Instead, ask, "How do you mean, exactly?"

This is the most powerful question I've ever learned for controlling a conversation. It is almost impossible not to answer. When you ask, "How do you mean?" the other person cannot stop himself or herself from answering more extensively. You can then follow up with other open-ended questions and keep the conversation rolling along.

Paraphrase the Speaker's Words
The third way to become a great conversationalist is to paraphrase the speaker's words in your own words. After you've nodded and smiled, you can then say, "Let me see if I've got this right. What you're saying is . . ."

Demonstrate Attentiveness
By paraphrasing the speaker's words, you demonstrate in no uncertain terms that you are genuinely paying attention and making every effort to understand his or her thoughts or feelings. And the wonderful thing is, when you practice effective listening, other people will begin to find you fascinating. They will want to be around you. They will feel relaxed and happy in your presence.

Listening Builds Trust
The reason why listening is such a powerful tool in developing the art and skill of conversation is because listening builds trust. The more you listen to another person, the more he or she trusts you and believes in you.

Listening also builds self-esteem. When you listen attentively to another person, his or her self-esteem will naturally increase.

Listening Develops Discipline

Finally, listening builds self-discipline in the listener. Because your mind can process words at 500-600 words per minute, and we can only talk at about 150 words per minute, it takes a real effort to keep your attention focused on another person's words. If you do not practice self-discipline in conversation, your mind will wander in a hundred different directions. The more you work at paying close attention to what the other person is saying, the more self-disciplined you will become. In other words, by learning to listen well, you actually develop your own character and your own personality.

Action Exercises
Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.

First, make a habit of pausing before replying in any conversation or discussion. You will be amazed at how powerful this technique really is.

Second, continually ask, "How do you mean?" in response to anything that is not perfectly clear. This gives you even more time to listen well.

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

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What's Your Customer Hot Spot?

Kim Duke is a sales and business expert who doles out advice with fun, interesting anecdotes that really make it come to life. Enjoy this story and great tip about getting to your customer's hot spot.

Last week-end I made a huge cauldron of my famous lentil soup (yummy) and I was scrounging around in my kitchen "plastic drawer" looking for containers to freeze it in.

My younger sister was here, sipping coffee as I was grumbling swear words under my breath about all the stupid Gladware I have.

I couldn't find lids to fit. All the lids had stretched out in the dishwasher and were unreliably LOOSE

Younger sis piped up and said: " Kim, you need to ditch that crap and get Tupperware."

· It lasts forever (I'm warm)
· They have great product guarantees (warmer)
· You can buy replacement lids (getting hot)
· You're wasting money on always replacing the Gladware (hotter now)

And then.... " You're a huge environment lover and recycler - you won't be buying cheap plastic all the time!" WHOOP! WHOOP! HOT BUTTON!!!!

Into the recycle bin went all the cheap, nasty and useless Gladware and now I am a Tupperware convert. (And NO I don't sell Tupperware and they didn't pay me for this!)

What's YOUR Customer HOT BUTTON?

Right now, you're probably making MANY assumptions about your customers. Most of them are TOTALLY INACCURATE or OFF THE MARK. You're paying attention to details YOU THINK are what your customers want vs what they really want or need. And you're missing out on their HOT BUTTONS.

Here's your assignment. Use a service like and survey your customers re: their challenges, frustrations and what they'd like to see from you and your business in the future.

Remember. Hot Buttons cause customers to say YES much faster AND PRICE typically fades away as an objection.

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

Monday, October 25, 2010

Quote of the Week

Life is a challenge, meet it. -- Mother Teresa

Some days, especially Mondays, can feel like more than you're able to deal with. Whenever you have one of those days, remember this quote. You are strong enough to meet the challenge head-on and triumph. Keep that in mind, and you can get through any day!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Seek Problems, not Projects

This is a great quick tip from sales trainer Tom Reilly. Enjoy!

Give me a problem any day versus a project. Too many salespeople ask customers the wrong questions:

"Do you have anything I can quote?"

"Are there any projects I can get involved in?"

"What can I do for you today?"

These questions have a common denominator; each depends on the customer's initiative for the opportunity. The salesperson is responding to something that is already in the works. This is reactive selling.

Proactive selling is creating—not just responding to—opportunities. Proactive salespeople seek problems, not projects. They want to identify areas of dissatisfaction or pain for the customer and find ways to make the pain go away. They dig for root causes to solve problems versus masking them with a band aid. Better questions to ask include the following:

"What is keeping you up at night?"

"What is the toughest challenge you are dealing with now?"

"What problem have you given up on that you wish you could solve?"

Once you have mastered the problem-solving method of selling, you graduate to problem-awareness selling. This is where you make buyers aware of problems that they did not know they had. When you bring solutions to un-recognized problems, buyers see you as a vital member of their team—a proactive, value-adding sales professional.

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.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Few More Interesting Ways to Follow-Up

Business expert C.J. Hayden recently published a list of 44 wonderful, interesting ways of following up with your prospects. With this list there is absolutely no way you'll ever need to call "just to follow-up" again! With so many options, we've run the list over three days, ending today. Enjoy, and let us know which ideas you use!

29. Send a link to a video where you share helpful tips or a client success story.
30. Refer them a prospect for their own business.
31. Watch for their posts on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn and comment on them.
32. Post something useful to a message board where they are members.
33. Post a comment on their blog.
34. Invite them to visit your updated website.
35. Make them a free offer that will subscribe them to an autoresponder series.
36. Give a free teleclass or webinar and invite all your prospects.
37. Invite them to an open house, reception, demonstration, or free workshop.
38. Host a networking breakfast or brown bag lunch and invite several prospects.
39. Offer to give a talk or brown bag lunch for their organization at no charge.
40. Write a white paper or case study and send it to all your prospects.
41. Ask the person who introduced you to contact them and mention you again.
42. Introduce them to a colleague of yours they might like to know.
43. Volunteer for an organization where they also serve.
44. And of course, you can always ask if they are ready to start working with you.

Following up consistently is one of the most productive marketing activities there is, but it won't work if you don't do it. The next time you realize you are avoiding follow-up, pull out your prospect list and choose an approach at random from the suggestions above. It matters much less HOW you follow up than it does THAT you follow up.

C.J. Hayden is the author of Get Clients Now! Thousands of business owners and independent professionals have used her simple sales and marketing system to double or triple their income. For more information, please visit

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Take the Opportunity to Compliment Others

I don't know about you, but an out-of-the-blue compliment really does a lot for me. Something like that can carry you through the day, or sometimes even the week! Today sales expert Jim Meisenheimer shares a story that made him recognize the power of a sincere compliment - hopefully it will do the same for you!

A few years ago I spent three days in St. Louis attending the National Speakers Association Winter Workshop. I arrived late Friday afternoon and my luggage arrived late Sunday afternoon.

Had that happened to me 15 years ago I would have gone "Ballistic" for the entire weekend. I must be growing up because I treated the "Entire luggage thing" as an inconvenience – and a minor one at that.

During one of the breakout sessions a speaker emphasized it was very important to tell people what they are doing right.

These genuine compliments will make people more receptive to you and your ideas.

I thought it was a good concept and made a written note of it.

The next day I took a seat in the last row to hear the opening general
session. A few minutes into the presentation a woman sat down next to me and introduced herself as K.R.

After the initial introduction she said, "I've been using your 12 Best Questions To Ask Customers for several years with extremely good results." WOW a compliment first thing in the morning! I told her, "That makes my day."

Usually, after a program, I'm "Outa there." This time, however, I stayed to chat with K.R. She told me about the work she's doing and the book she was writing.

She also told me she was related to Albert Einstein, which she has cleverly worked into the title of her first book.

When I go to these National Speaker Association workshops and conventions I usually find myself running like a gazelle between the breakout sessions. The compliment got me to "Simmer Down" and take an interest in K.R.'s business.

Anytime you have the opportunity to compliment a prospect or an existing customer do it. If your compliment is sincere and genuine your prospect may be more receptive and open to investing more time with you and your ideas.

A few minutes before the next session began, we shook hands and said "Goodbye."

I realized I wasn't touched by an Angel but I was touched by an Einstein.

Jim Meisenheimer publishes The Sales TrailBlazer Newsletter, a fresh and high content newsletter dedicated to helping you grow your business and multiply your income. To learn more, visit

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More Interesting Ways to Follow-Up With Your Prospects

Last week we began a three-part series from business expert C.J. Hayden about following up with prospects - specifically - fun, interesting ways to follow-up. We encourage you to share your ideas in the comments and make this list even longer! Here are numbers 14-28 on Hayden's list:

14. Invite them to a concert, play, reading, or art opening.
15. Offer to stop by their place of business.
16. Send a letter summarizing what you last talked about and suggesting next steps.
17. Ask for a meeting so you can prepare a detailed proposal for them.
18. Send them an article (or link to one) that you have written.
19. Send them an article someone else has written about a topic relevant to them.
20. Send them a present -- chocolate, cookies, flowers, a plant, a bottle of wine, or a book.
21. Send them a birthday card.
22. Send them a joke or cartoon about their industry or your field.
23. Send a postcard reminding them what you do.
24. Tell them about a special offer available if they act now.
25. Offer them a free sample of what you can do for them.
26. Send an announcement about a new development in your business.
27. Send a copy of your newsletter or post from your blog and invite them to subscribe.
28. Send a link to a print or audio interview with you about your work.

Which of these ideas have you used? How did they work for you?

C.J. Hayden is the author of Get Clients Now! Thousands of business owners and independent professionals have used her simple sales and marketing system to double or triple their income. For more information, please visit

Monday, October 18, 2010

Quote of the Week

"Luck is the sense to recognize an opportunity and the ability to take advantage of it." -- Samuel Goldwyn, entertainment executive

Luck has always seemed like a one-sided thing to me - it doesn't seem very fair that you're either a lucky person or you're not! I much prefer this idea of luck - the sense to recognize an opportunity and to take advantage of it. With this idea of luck, anyone can be lucky - as long as they put in the time and effort to know when to build on an opportunity.

So if you've been thinking negatively, waiting for luck to find you, you'll be waiting a long time. Start thinking about making your own luck, and start seizing those opportunities!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Interesting Ways to Follow Up With Your Prospects

Business expert C.J. Hayden recently compiled a fantastic list of interesting, fun ways you can follow up with your prospects so you don't have to call to "check-in." Her list has 44 examples, which we will break down over several posts, so you can try a few at a time. I think her advice will definitely help to get the creative juices flowing and jump-start your relationships with your prospects.

You know you need to follow up with prospective clients, but you often find yourself putting it off. "I already called them three times," you think. Or, "They never answer the phone anyway." Or, "I hate hearing no." Or, "I don't want to bug them." Or, "What do I say that's new?"

It's only natural to resist placing phone calls to prospects who didn't return your last call, never seem to be there, may not be ready to buy, or might say they're not interested. But here's the good news. Calling prospects on the phone and asking them to hire you is not the only way to follow up!

Yes, you can call your prospects on the phone, but you can also email them, send a letter or note by postal mail, fax them, overnight them a package, send a text message, or instant message them online. And those are just the different communication channels you might use. The type of messages you deliver can be much more varied than simply asking prospects to do business.

Consider the following ways that you can follow up with your prospects via any communication channel you choose, in order to build a relationship, remind them of what you do, and present yourself as a valuable resource and expert in your field. Many of these follow-up approaches can also be used with potential referral
sources and networking contacts.

1. Ask if they have new questions about what you last discussed.
2. Tell them about a book, article, or website that might help with what you talked about.
3. Send a personal note with a copy of your brochure.
4. Point them to a vendor who can solve one of their issues you don't address.
5. Prepare a personalized marketing kit for them focused on their unique issues.
6. Tell them about an upcoming event that addresses an issue you think they have.
7. Invite them to an event where you are a speaker, organizer, or sponsor.
8. Attend an event where you are likely to run into them.
9. Send a nice-to-meet-you or good-to-see-you note with your business card.
10. Call or email to ask what's new in their world.
11. Leave a brief benefits-oriented commercial on their voice mail.
12. Ask them to meet you for coffee, a drink, or lunch.
13. Invite them for golf, tennis, a bike ride, or a walk in the park.

Have you tried some of these ideas? Which ones might you try in the upcoming week? Do you have your own fun way of keeping in touch? Let us know!

C.J. Hayden is the author of Get Clients Now! Thousands of business owners and independent professionals have used her simple sales and marketing system to double or triple their income. For more information, please visit

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Eliminate Mutual Confusion

Today the Whetstone Group covers a topic that far too many people are familiar with - meetings that go nowhere. Their advice will help you to turn those meetings around, making them effective and keeping the sale moving.

Problem: Ever go on a sales call where there seemed to be little structure, where both parties seemed to be on different pages, where expectations were not met, and little was accomplished? Even worse, you expected something positive to occur but simply got a lukewarm response such as, "Give me some time to think about what we've covered. Call me in a few days." Opportunities are squandered and the buyer seems to be in control.

Analysis: All too often sales calls are unstructured; objectives are not determined or communicated. Winging it seems to be the primary strategy employed by the salesperson. Assumptions are made that the buyer knows why you're there and no clarification of purpose is needed.

Prescription: The key to successfully implementing the Common Sense Selling approach and taking the lead in the selling interview is to agree early in the meeting as to exactly what the agenda will be. You must determine with your prospect the amount of time available for the meeting, what the prospect would like to accomplish for it to be a successful meeting, obtain permission to ask questions to get a better understanding of the prospect's needs, and agree that at the end of the meeting, at the very least, you'll make a decision as to whether or not to continue talking.

If you have a very clear meeting agreement, you'll build tremendous rapport with the prospect, improve communication significantly because both parties have the opportunity to ask questions, eliminate premature presentations, get decisions and eliminate "think it overs" and, most importantly, take leadership of the selling interview. In addition, our clients tell us that prospects visibly begin to relax when they hear that the seller is comfortable with hearing "no." The meeting agreement is one of the most effective selling tools you'll ever own...master it and you're well on your way to becoming a true sales superstar.

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

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Are You Referable?

We talk a lot about the importance of referrals for your business, so I thought this guide from sales trainer Kelley Robertson was a great tool. Make yourself more referable by following his easy tips.

Referrals are one of the best ways to generate new sales. Here are five ways you can become more referable.

You can effectively articulate what you do. I have met numerous people at networking events who have failed to help me understand exactly what they do. To become referable you MUST be able to clearly state your value proposition.

You can describe your ideal client. At a recent networking meeting, I was asked what type of companies I work with. My answer was somewhat vague because I work with a wide range of organizations. It would have more effective for me to state who my ideal client is instead of listing the different industries I have worked with.

You refer people to others. One of the best ways to become more referable is to refer business to others. When you meet people, look for ways to connect people in your network to those individuals. When you refer business, you generate business.

You acknowledge the referrer. I have recommended other trainers and speakers to people and even though those individuals secured business because of that referral, I haven't always received thanks for that referral.

You consistently execute. Whether you sell a product or service, people want to know that you can deliver what you say you will. That means offering value or creating an experience that meets or exceeds your customers' expectations.

As President of The Robertson Training Group, Kelley has helped thousands of professionals improve their business results with his engaging approach to sales training and speaking. Learn more at

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Seven Powerful Strategies to Increase Sales

I love articles like this - clear, great advice to help you sell more! Put these tips from sales trainer Tessa Stowe into practice today.

If you want to increase your sales, read and put into action these seven powerful sales strategies.

Strategy #1: Stop Selling
Stop trying to convince or persuade people to buy your solution. Stop trying to get a sale. Instead, focus on how you can help the person you are talking to get what they want - whether it's your solution or not. Focus on how you can give them value. Amazing as it may seem, with this approach over time, people will be interested in you and in what you have to offer. Even if they don't need it themselves, they will refer others to you.

Strategy # 2: Throw Away Sales Gimmicks
There are lots of sales gimmicks to attract attention or increase appeal. You can learn 50 ways to close. You can learn how to overcome objections. You can learn how to give the best and most persuasive presentation. The problem with most of these approaches is that they are focused on persuading and convincing and getting the sale. Your prospects sense that it's all about you - you getting the sale. They feel that you don't really care about them. They pick up that you are trying to persuade and convince them and their automatic protective reaction is to get away fast - and they do.

Strategy #3 : Qualify, Qualify, Qualify
If someone does not have a problem that they want you to solve now, they are not a prospect. So it is a waste of your time and theirs if you spend time now trying to help them buy your solution. Spend your time helping those that want to benefit from what you have to offer now. Put in place a qualification process and only sell to those who qualify. Then you will have more time for those that are ready to buy, and this will increase the probability of them buying from you.

Strategy #4: Answer Two Questions
Prospects want to know the answer to two questions: "Why should I be interested in your type of solution?" and "Assuming I am interested, why should I buy it from you?". Can you answer both these questions in 30 seconds? If you can't, how can you expect your prospect to want your help? Make it a priority to give clear and concise answers to these two questions fast.

Strategy #5: Increase Your Price

If you always use strategies #1 and #2, trust will be present. Since trust is there, your prospect will feel more comfortable about committing to a longer term relationship with you. So you should offer them a longer term commitment option that is in their best interests and clearly benefits them now.

Strategy #6: Appreciate Your Customers
The easiest, fastest sales are to your current customers if - and this is most important - you have consistently shown that you appreciate and care about them. Just doing a great job is always expected, and you can't anticipate repeat sales and referrals from this alone. If you conscientiously recognize and are grateful to your customers, they will buy more from you and also become loyal fans and refer others to you. What you appreciate will show gratitude in return, so appreciate your customers.

Strategy #7: Build a TRAC record
If someone does not need or want your solution now but it is likely they will in the future, put in place a system. You need to build Trust, Relationship, Awareness, and Credibility (TRAC) so that they will remember you and contact you when the time is right. Do this consistently over time, and your pipeline will overflow with people contacting you who want what you have and already know, trust, and like you.

All these seven sales strategies are easy to do. They are also easy not to do. So if you commit yourself and consistently use them, you will make significantly more sales faster. THEY WORK !

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

Monday, October 11, 2010

Quote of the Week

"Do not fear going forward slowly; fear only to stand still." -- Chinese Proverb

Business can be slow at times. Prospects take a long time to decide about purchases, your boss takes a long time to decide about the promotion, you make call after call with little to no response. This happens to everyone!

What's important is to focus on the fact that things are happening, no matter how slowly they may be happening. Rushing the process can make you seem desperate or make it seem like you don't have your prospect's best interests at heart. Keep your business going by always trying something, working toward your goals, and you will reach them - maybe just not on the time frame you wanted!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Are Your Prospects Suffering from Frazzled Customer Syndrome?

Everyone is busy, busy, busy - and that makes selling even more difficult. You need to cater to those busy, frazzled customers to really succeed. Today, in an excerpt from her new book, SNAP Selling, sales expert Jill Konrath tells you how.

Many of the people you're calling on today suffer from a severe case of Frazzled Customer Syndrome. This debilitating condition is brought on by excessive workloads, 24/7 availability, information overload, lack of sleep, and job-related stress.

You likely encounter these individuals on a daily basis. They're good people who are doing their best to survive in a crazy-busy workplace.

Their calendars are overflowing and they're constantly falling behind, but they feel powerless to stop the unrelenting, escalating demands on their time.

Their frantic pace is both exhausting and exhilarating. They can barely focus on important tasks because their days are filled with interruptions, distractions, and constantly changing activities.

One minute they're working on a document. The next, they're checking e-mail, text-messaging, responding to a customer, or doing research online. This frenetic multitasking fools them into thinking they're accomplishing a lot, but in reality they're doing very little.

The result? More work, unmet obligations, unfinished projects, and chronic feelings of underachievement.

To make matters worse, they don't see an end in sight. Instead, they deal with constant downsizings and reorganizations and rapidly move from job to job, never really mastering their current one—all the while wondering if they're next on the chopping block.

Their personal life is just as frenetic, as they juggle work commitments, family, and personal time until they crash in front of the TV every evening. It's no wonder they don't have time for you.

Recognizing the Symptoms

How do you know when you're dealing with customers who suffer from Frazzled Customer Syndrome? Typically they:

* Have a "net it out" mentality. These impatient, time-starved people want you to get to the bottom line right away. If you don't, they're immediately dismissive.

* Get easily distracted. Even when they're interested in what you have to say, their attention spans are short. They feel compelled to multitask whenever humanly possible.

* Forget quickly. Because of their excessive flitting from task to task, much of what they commit to never makes it into their long-term memory.

* Demand a lot. They expect you to jump through hoops to fulfill their requests, yet when it's time for them to take action, they move like molasses.

* Suffer from "analysis paralysis." Faced with lots of change, multiple acceptable options, and the lack of time for thorough research, they appear overwhelmed, and nothing makes sense to them.

* Withdraw from contact. When they're buried under other priorities, they don't have any news to report or they have bad news—or go silent altogether.

Frazzled Customer Syndrome makes your job so much harder. Dealing with overwhelmed people is completely different from working with calm, rational people who have time to analyze their situation and study multiple options before moving ahead. But those people are no longer the norm.

To make matters worse, using traditional sales strategies actually creates insurmountable obstacles that can derail your sales efforts.

Your hot prospects fizzle or flame out. They politely (or sometimes not so politely) tell you that their priorities have changed, the budget has dried up or they have too much on their plate right now.

In most cases, your attempts to get them back on track are futile. They tell you to call back next month, but before long that becomes "next quarter," and then, "next year."

They just want to get rid of you. It's not personal. They just can't handle even one more item on their to-do list.

But it doesn't have to be this way. By mastering the SNAP Rules, you can change how your prospects react to you.

Remember to: (1) Keep it Simple; (2) Be iNvaluable; (3) Always Align and (4) Raise Priorities. When you do that, frazzled prospects will want to work with you. And, they'll rely on your guidance and advice when they make decisions.

Want to learn more about these fresh strategies for selling to crazy-busy prospects? To get four FREE sales-accelerating tools and download two chapters of SNAP Selling, visit or email

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Your Road to Success

I love to find inspiration to keep working hard, and this story from sales trainer Tom Reilly does just that!

In a recent issue of the Harvard Business Review, Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Management at USC, discusses his path to becoming a globally recognized expert on leadership. The energy for his circuitous journey is summed up in one sentence, "After I discovered what I felt passionate about—leadership, change, and creative collaboration—people began leaning close to hear my thoughts on those subjects."

Imagine becoming so knowledgeable, focused, and passionate about something that others will travel near and far to hear what you have to say. This resonates with me because I met a salesperson like this years ago. His name was Lester and he sold trucks. He had been in his industry for fifty years. He had developed a reputation for being so knowledgeable that any time a truck was purchased in his territory, Lester got the first call. Customers wanted to hear his thoughts before doing anything.

This is your challenge in professional selling—to become so good at your craft and so knowledgeable in your field that customers cannot afford to do business without first consulting you—to hear your thoughts. If you are not there right now, focus and study. Get passionate about your value. That is the road to success.

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.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Two Types of Salespeople

This article from sales trainer Jim Meisenheimer is a great reminder of the power of practice and preparation. Which kind of salesperson will you be?

Actually "There are three kinds of salespeople; those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who are wondering what happened."

You've probably heard that one before. In fact, there are two different types of salespeople and they are very easy to spot.

The first type is the improvisor. He seldom prepares, his preferred style, is to take things as they come. He likes to be spontaneous. He usually relies on his instinct and counts on his intuition to carry the day.

His days are fun filled and exciting, because he literally treats each sales call as an adventure. He's the Indiana Jones of selling, foot loose and fancy free, whatever that means.

The second type is the professional. He also enjoys his work, for different reasons. He anticipates everything, especially the routines and repetitive stuff. He knows the routines which gives him the opportunity to prepare in advance.

For example, he handles recurring objections. He knows he'll get them over and over again, so he prepares in advance how he will deal with them.

He plays with words, until he creates power phrases that work like magic. Once prepared, he knows that to execute a perfect delivery, he must practice what he's prepared until he nails it.

He records his power phrases into a digital recorder and plays them over and over until they are anchored into his subconscious.

His sales calls are different because he treats them as opportunities not as adventures.

There are two types of salespeople and of course they achieve two different results.

Each one follows a pattern, one is unstructured and one isn't.

Each can be seen as a formula. One formula gets better selling results than the other. Here they are:

I + I = I (Instinct + Intuition = Improvisation)

P + P = P (Preparation + Practice = Professionalism)

The secret to achieving consistent selling success is that there are no shortcuts, no quickies just plain old fashioned hard work. These are the formulas and you get to choose. One doesn't require much preparation. One pays better than the other.

Remember this too, preparation trumps improvisation every day of the week.

Also remember, your customers can tell the difference between "Improvisation" and "Preparation." When you combine preparation with practice you get professionalism
which enables you to meet with a success you never before imagined.

Jim Meisenheimer publishes The Sales TrailBlazer Newsletter, a fresh and high content newsletter dedicated to helping you grow your business and multiply your income. To learn more, visit

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Emails Not Getting Through? A Quick Tip!

For the non-tech savvy (like me!) this is a great tip. When you work really hard to create excellent prospecting letters you want to make sure you do everything you can to make sure they reach their destination. This quick tip from sales trainer Kendra Lee makes for one less thing to worry about.

If your prospecting emails aren't getting through spam filters, check to see if you're emailing out through your CRM system. Sometimes companies' spam blockers flag the data associated with a CRM system and block the email. Try emailing directly from a personal email system like Outlook, or through Twitter or LinkedIn's internal mail systems and see if you're able to break through that way.

Kendra Lee is a Prospect Attraction Specialist and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group helps companies rapidly penetrate new markets, break into new accounts and shorten time to revenue with new products in the SMB segment.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Quote of the Week

"When you find yourself stressed, ask yourself one question: Will this matter five years from now? If yes, then do something about the situation. If no, then let it go." -- Catherine Pulsifer, writer

Sales is a stressful business. There's the pressure you put on yourself, plus the pressure from your boss, your clients, and your family. It can be a lot to deal with, and can make even the smallest tasks seem overwhelming at times. That's why it is so important to keep this quote in mind!

As someone who can get stressed out very easily, I have been looking for ways to keep calm and lower my anxiety levels when i deal with stressful situations. They always happen, but I'm trying to change the way I react to them - and this quote helps me to think realistically about whatever is bothering me. If it really isn't going to matter, then why stress?

What do you think? Let us know in the comments!

Friday, October 1, 2010

How Salespeople Can Differentiate Themselves

I loved this quick, get-real blog post from Bryan Neale at Caskey, and think you will too! He discusses simple changes you can make to differentiate yourself and be a better salesperson.

We get asked this question almost daily in our sales training business: HOW CAN I DIFFERENTIATE MYSELF? Let's spend a little time looking at the bigger picture.

Step 1: Stop Behaving Like a Salesperson
Find 20 strangers and ask them to do word association. You say a word, and they say the first thing that comes to mind. The word: SALESPERSON.

95% of the responses you'll get will be negative: PUSHY, ANNOYING, SLIMY, SLICK, etc. So the first step in differentiating yourself is to STOP BEHAVING LIKE, SPEAKING LIKE AND THINKING LIKE any sort of salesperson.

Step 2: Develop 2 Stories

Express your value with STORIES. The "elevator pitch" is OUT. The 30-second commercial is as up to date as an 8-track tape player. Time to find your voice in the new century.

You need to develop 2 stories: 1) your personal story and 2) your company story. We're not talking about your biographical history. We're talking about why you do what you do—your philosophy with new customers. Stating your intent. Sharing what you've learned. The Story is in and a necessity when it comes to differentiating yourself in the sales process.

Step 3: Keep Features/Functions/Benefits Out of the Conversation
Here's the deal. NO ONE CARES ABOUT WHAT IT DOES. THEY ONLY CARE IF IT MAKES THEIR LIFE BETTER. Salespeople are still addicted to specs, attributes, features, functionality, etc. No one is my life better off with you and your product in it than out of it? That's it.

Step 4: Stop Trying
Stop trying to DIFFERENTIATE. Trying to differentiate from a competitor immediately puts you in a very bad place. It puts you on the defensive. When you're on the defensive, you turn your attention to the COMPETITOR and away from the CUSTOMER. If you really want to differentiate yourself, stop trying to. Just focus on helping the person across the table.

4 small ideas that will dramatically and positively impact your effectiveness in the sales process.

Bryan Neale is a member of Caskey, a training firm that specializes in training and developing B2B sales teams through face to face training, teleconferencing, written materials, custom podcasts and one on one coaching. Learn more at