Friday, September 9, 2011

Are You a Student of Sales?

Today sales trainer Kelley Robertson gives us a great reminder - never stop learning!

The business world is constantly changing but many sales people don't keep pace with these changes. Instead, they continue to use tired tactics, outdated scripts, and ineffective approaches.

Consider these questions...

--When was the last time you attended a sales training workshop?
--What was the last sales book you read?
--How often do you implement a new technique, strategy or approach?
--What changes have you made in your sales approach in the last three month? Six months? Twelve?
--Are other sales people in your company achieving better results than you are? If so, what are they doing differently? What could you learn from them?

Several years ago I attended a conference and one of the breakout sessions focused on negotiating skills. I struck up a conversation with the guy beside me and learned that he was the chief negotiator for a prominent gravel company. When he told me that he had held that position for more than 15 years, I asked why he was attending this particular program.

"I can always learn something and even if the session only reinforces what I know, it will be worth it."

What a great perspective!

He truly epitomized the concept of being a lifelong learner and reminded me of the importance of keeping an open mind.

To succeed in today's challenging business climate and increase your sales, it is essential to maintain a student's mindset and constantly look for ways to refine your skill and update your knowledge.

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

Thursday, September 8, 2011

SalesDog Quick Tip

Think differently.

Not every group of prospects is going to be interested in the same things. Learn to differentiate between the companies and contacts on your list, so that you can grab their attention in your cold calls and lead generation activities.

Today's quick tip comes from Kendra Lee, a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert and author of the award winning book "Selling Against the Goal" and president of KLA Group. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and association events. To find out more about the author, read her latest articles, or to subscribe to her newsletter visit or call +1 303.741.6636

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Where Does the Time Go?

Today sales trainer Tom Reilly shares how a return to some old-fashioned selling may just be your best bet.

Salespeople spend most of their time on non-revenue producing activities. Really?

A recent study found that salespeople spend more than 70% of their time doing things other than selling. Our research found that salespeople spend, at most, 30% of their time in face-to-face selling. The rest of the time is spent handling administrative tasks, making collections calls, resolving logistics issues, attending meetings, and filling out reports.

How can we call these folks “salespeople” anymore when less than half of their time is spent selling? Maybe we should call them "support account administrators who occasionally sell." Who is at fault--salespeople or management? Finger pointing does not really accomplish much other than scapegoating the blame.

It confounds me when salespeople tell me that they cannot make more face-to-face calls. Why not? Do buyers perceive little value in the meeting? Do managers require salespeople to yield to administrative distractions? Is traffic that bad?

I grew up in a sales culture where we were required to make eight face-to-face sales calls per day. If we were in the office between 8 AM and 5 PM, our bosses assumed we were goofing off, and we probably were. Sales managers scrutinized our phone credit card statements to make sure we did not spend the day doing phone work versus face-to-face selling. We did paperwork at night or on Saturday morning. If it sounds a bit Draconian, it was not. We were salespeople after all, not office people. I learned a work ethic that helped me start and run two successful businesses, and I am eternally grateful for the lesson. Maybe it is time for some old-school selling rules again.

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.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Someone might have a germ of talent, but 90% of it is discipline and how you practice it, what you do with it. Instinct won't carry you through the entire journey. It's what you do in the moments between inspiration." -- Cate Blanchett, actress

Time in sales means money. Make the most of yours by practicing, practicing, practicing.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Lost in Translation

Today's article comes from sales trainer Kelley Robertson. Enjoy!

Too often sales people use jargon, technical terms, acronyms, and other language that sounds foreign to their prospect or customer.

When I worked in consumer electronics, sales people constantly referred to product numbers when talking to customers. Because they worked with the products every day, they were familiar with the SKU numbers but their customers were not.

When you deliver a sales presentation (formal or informal) it is critical that you ensure that your presentation doesn't get lost in translation. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing the other person's attention, or worse, alienating them.

Before every sales call or meeting you need to consider the person(s) you're speaking with, their level of knowledge and expertise, and their position. Then you need to adapt your approach accordingly.

Unfortunately, most people don't think about the presentation from their prospect's perspective. They forget that the other person may not understand the terminology. They don't realize that their prospect may not be familiar with common acronyms or other jargon.

Take the time to simplify your approach before every sales call, appointment or meeting. Eliminate jargon, acronyms and other language that may sound foreign to the other person.

Make it easy for your customer or prospect to understand you and your presentation won't get lost in translation.

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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

SalesDog Quick Tip

Find the real value.

If your company offers a lot of different products, think carefully about where their real value lies. What end result are your customers really buying from you? That's the best place to begin your prospecting and lead generation messages.

Today's quick tip comes from Kendra Lee. 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.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Irritating Listening Habits

Today's article from sales trainer Tom Reilly describes the kinds of listeners we don't like to be around - people who don't actually listen, but are constantly thinking about themselves. Read about these types, and then make sure you're not one of them!

Top-achieving salespeople spend 60% of their time listening on a sales call. Listening is a core competency for salespeople, yet too few companies and managers emphasize its importance to success. Schools rarely teach it. Training budgets generally ignore it because it is a soft skill. Most people assume that if you have two ears you know how to listen. Wrong. Here are some of the irritating listening habits I have noticed in training salespeople:

Competitor —this person is a master of one-upping the other person. The competitive listener typically says, “You think that’s something, let me tell you about something I did.”

Anticipator —this person spends most of his or her listening time thinking about what they will say next.

Rusher —this person is always giving the other person the bum’s rush. The attitude is, “Hurry up and finish, I have something to sell you.”

Distracted —this person is a walking billboard for attention deficit disorder. Every little distraction catches his or her attention. Their being distracted distracts the speaker.

Disinterested —this person cannot even feign being interested. They find the conversation dull and make no pretense to be interested.

Multi-tasker —this person thinks they can effectively communicate with others as they check text messages and emails. This is the phone conversation when you can hear the keyboard in the background. This is just plain rude.

Effective listening requires the listener to put his or her focus on the other person, not themselves. Too many people fail to subordinate their interests in an effort to understand the other person. You can only fully understand what someone is saying (and feeling) when the conversation is more about them than you. This is good listening. This is good selling.

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

Monday, August 29, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Don't let yesterday take up too much of today." -- Will Rogers, humorist

It's really easy to dwell on the past. We've all done it - after a particularly difficult day, we all sit there thinking about what we should have said or should have done. Here's the thing - while you're thinking about that, you could be making sales today!

Each day is a clean start, so make the most of it! Put yesterday behind you and focus all your energy on what you can control today.

Friday, August 26, 2011

"Free" Does Not Have Value

Happy Friday! Today we have a great post from sales trainer Mark Hunter. It will definitely give you something to think about over the weekend!

If something is free — or worse, available in unlimited quantities — how could it have any real value?

My problem with “free” is it’s what far too many salespeople and marketing teams are using as a way to try to create loyal customers. Ask yourself, “How loyal are you going to be to something that’s free?”

Yes, offering something for free can be part of a strategy to create awareness or to reward loyalty, etc. Unfortunately, “free” is being thrown around way too much, and as a result, it winds up becoming something people expect. Now we have a real problem — not only does “free” have little value, but it’s what people expect.

What makes free even worse is many times it’s used as part of a strategy to get somebody to buy something that would be considered high-price. This only winds up creating an even bigger problem, as the contrast between “free” and the high-priced item is too much for the customer to understand.

My other problem with “free” is it attracts customers and potential customers who can’t afford to stick with you when you attempt to move them to full-price. What results is a pattern of continued discounts all in the name of trying not to lose a customer. Ironic, isn’t it?

Yes, “free” has a place. You’re reading this blog for free. In fact, you might say my website is nothing but free stuff, and you’re right. Before you call me a hypocrite, let me explain.

I use “free” as a way to create awareness and to build traffic on my website. This is similar to the way another company may do direct mailings of a product sample or a salesperson might host a “lunch and learn” session with clients.

The goal of using “free” is to know how you’re going to use it in your overall sales strategy.

Before you offer anything for free, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

1. What is the goal of what I’m trying to offer?

2. How will I measure the results?

3. What is the process I’m going to use for moving prospects from “free” to “fee”?

4. How firm is my pricing plan to make sure I have a profitability plan that works?

5. Will I be offering “free” to everyone? If I don’t, how might it impact those who don’t get it for free?

Keep in mind as you develop your “free” strategy that your banker and your accountant don’t accept “free.” Offering something for free might make you feel good, but until you monetize the “free” you haven’t put any food on your table.

Finally, don’t think you can copy the strategy used by some software companies in becoming successful because of giving away millions of copies of something. For each software company that made that strategy successful there are at least a dozen or more that failed. I like to tell people if you want to try that strategy, then let me give you another one you can copy even faster.

Each month there’s at least one or two people who buy a lottery ticket somewhere that is worth a million dollars or more. Since that worked for them, then why not go do it yourself and let me know how that strategy turns out for you.

“Free” is over-rated and over-used!

Now, let’s all get back to work selling real value!

Contact Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter for your next Conference or Sales Meeting. To see and hear Mark Hunter now visit

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Growing Your Business the Old Fashioned Way

Today's article comes from sales trainer Jim Meisenheimer. It's a great one!

I like reading the Wall Street Journal and I'm often inspired by the articles I've read. In a recent addition, there was an article about Lillian Brownstein Chodash who is now 91 years old. The article describes how she landed a job back in 1938, in the days of the Great Depression.

She'd been out of work and looking for work for 15 months. One day she focused on a nine story office building in Jersey City, New Jersey. She took the elevator to the top floor and started knocking on doors. She was relentless in her pursuit of a new job. She faced rejection after rejection and kept knocking on those doors. When she got to the second floor her luck was about to change.

Did it have anything at all to do with luck or was it just her persistence that turned the tide in her favor?

On the second floor Lillian knocked on the door of a father and son real estate and insurance company. It turns out they just fired their secretary.

After she passed a shorthand and typing test they hired her right on the spot.

It seems to me the big difference between not working and networking is making personal connections.

Whether you're trying to find another job or trying to find new customers it requires a very strong personal commitment.

Let's review what Lillian did and how to apply it to you and your keen interest in finding new customers.

To do this let's use the acronym PROF.

P = Persistence. Lillian didn't stop looking until she reached her goal of finding a new job.

R = Repetition. She was knocking on doors. She kept knocking on doors until one of the doors finally opened for her.

O = Overcame rejection. She never stopped looking for work and you should never stop looking for new business. She quickly got over the last rejection and immediately started knocking on more doors.

F = Formula. Lillian had a simple formula that she followed. She just kept knocking on doors. Remember, not all doors will open for you, but for sure some definitely will

Here are a few more things to consider when you're focused on growing your business.

1. Establish goals that make you stretch.

2. Prepare and practice how you will ask your customers for referrals and introductions.

3. Think like Babe Ruth, who at one time was the leader in both home runs and strikeouts. He had a terrific attitude. Every time he struck out, he believed he was one strikeout closer to his next home run.

4. Plan your work and work your plan. Making sales calls without a plan is a total waste of your time. This isn't selling it's being ridiculous!

5. Skip the morning newspaper and don't listen to the news in the morning. It's 90% negative and won't contribute anything to your positive attitude and sales effort.

The keys to success are in your hands now.

Being a PROFessional sales representative should have a new meaning for you.

If Lillian could knock on doors to find a new job, you should knock on more doors and make more sales calls everyday to find your new customers.

And don't forget to ask the right sales questions when you're talking with your sales prospects and customers.

Jim Meisenheimer is a Professional Speaker and a Sales Trainer . He has just developed and released 2 new Training Programs for Sales Managers and Salespeople. He has worked with 533 Corporations during the last 23 years - and he had 72.7% repeat business last year. Jim delivers practical ideas that get immediate results.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Create Your Sales Plan

Today sales expert Brian Tracy discusses the importance of a sales plan, and how you can go about building one.

Nothing happens until a sale takes place. Your actual ability to sell your product or service to your customer determines your profit or loss, success or failure, in business. The sales process, to be effective, must be planned and organized in detail from start to finish. Every word and action must be scripted, rehearsed and memorized. Nothing can be left to chance.

Sales Recipe
Making a sale is like cooking with a recipe. You must use the correct ingredient and blend them in the proper quantity with the right timing. All successful companies have developed a proven sales process that can be duplicated over and over. By using a proven sales system, you can accurately predict the quantity of your sales, the average size of your sales, and the profitability of your sales activities.

It is important to speak directly or by telephone to people who can and will buy and pay in a reasonable period of time. Start with your ideal customer profile. Who is he or she exactly-in terms of age, occupation, income, education? Who is he or she exactly—in terms of problems, wants, needs, attitudes, and experiences regarding your product or service? If you could advertise for perfect customers, how would you describe him or her?

Marketing and advertising is aimed at telling your ideal prospect that your product will help them. The ideal prospect has an immediate need for what you sell. The ideal prospect knows you, likes you, and respects your products or business. The ideal prospect can buy and pay for your product if he or she likes it.

Establish Rapport
Establishing rapport and trust with the customer is a must. The prospect will not listen to you or buy from you unless he/she likes you and believes that you are honest. Be friendly, straightforward and believable. Be punctual, prepared and properly dressed. Ask questions and listen carefully to the answers. Make no attempt to sell until the prospect is relaxed and comfortable with you. Identify what the customer needs so you can better sell to them. Ask carefully planned, structured questions so that you can fully understand the customer's situation.

There is a direct relationship between asking questions and sales success. Plan your questions word-for-word in advance. Make no effort to sell or talk about your product. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Presenting Your Product or Service
Repeat back the specific needs or concerns that your prospect has expressed. Position yourself as a trusted advisor, dedicated to helping him solve his problem or achieve his goal with your product. Position yourself as a teacher-showing her how your product works to help her satisfy her needs. Match the customers expressed needs and concerns to the product or service. Focus on helping rather than selling. Conclude your presentation with an explanation of how the product is delivered or used. Invite questions.

Action Exercises
List three phrases or questions you can use or ask to determine if this is a qualified prospect.

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, August 23, 2011

SalesDog Quick Tip

Become a CRM Expert

Become an expert on your Customer Relationship Manager software. Learn the shortcuts and get into the habit of updating it with brief notes and a follow-up activity after every client call. You'll miss fewer details, and make more sales.

Today's quick tip comes from Kendra Lee, a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert and author of the award winning book "Selling Against the Goal" and president of KLA Group. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and association events. To find out more about the author, read her latest articles, or to subscribe to her newsletter visit or call +1 303.741.6636

Monday, August 22, 2011

Quote of the Week

"The first part of success is "Get-to-it-iveness"; the second part of success is "Stick-to-it-iveness."" -- Orison Swett Marden, Editor, Success Magazine

When you start implementing new sales strategies they're going to take time. Time for you to get used to them, and time for you to start seeing results. Keep this in mind as you work towards your sales goals - nothing happens overnight, so make sure you stick with it and stay positive!

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Master Question

Today we're sharing a quick, but important post with you from sales trainer Skip Miller. It's just what I like - value and concrete advice in a short, easy to read format!

Quantify has to be the master question of the day.

“They have to do something soon.”
“It’s a really big deal for them.”
“This is really, really important to them.

Any of these statements strike home? It’s really cool when you can use them in combinations.

“They have to do something soon since this is really, really important to them.”

How soon is soon? How important is important? Senior executives live in a quantifiable world. When you hear a subjective measure, qualify it with a quantify question:

“How soon?”
“Can you define ‘big’?”
“On a scale of 1-10, how important is this?”

Want to get rid of the maybes? Get the numbers. Can’t get the numbers? Probably talking to the wrong person.

A recognized authority on the psychology of sales performance, Skip Miller has helped countless companies, already at the height of success in their respective fields, achieve an even greater level of sales productivity and success. Learn more at

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Use Humor to Open Hearts and Minds

Today communication expert Dianna Booher shares how you can successfully weave humor into your presentations. Actually enjoying a presentation sounds good to me!

In our presentation skills workshops, a frequent question our consultants receive is this: "When is it okay to use humor in a business or technical presentation?" Answer: Almost always.

The follow-up question: "How do you define humor? And where do you position the humor so that it works best?"

Humor, whether in a presentation or a conversation, doesn't necessarily mean a joke or one-liner. In fact, jokes rarely work. If you've already heard them, assume that others have as well. Having a sense of humor simply means the ability to see life in a light-hearted way. Those who see everything as a matter of life-and-death wear a permanent frown and make those around them ill at ease.

Personal anecdotes, humorous quotations, or witty comments overheard on the street, a cartoon quip, a visual, a prop, a facial expression or gesture added at the appropriate moment--these are the humorous touches that work best after you've established rapport with your colleagues.

Your willingness and ability to "lighten up" can be invaluable in positioning yourself as a confident person, comfortable in unscripted situations.

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, August 17, 2011

SalesDog Quick Tip

Open emails with a welcoming greeting.

Start your emails with an inviting salutation. Use the prospect's name ("Hi Tom!") so when they glimpse it, they immediately know this email was written for them.

Today's quick tip comes from Kendra Lee, a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert and author of the award winning book "Selling Against the Goal" and president of KLA Group. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and association events. To find out more about the author, read her latest articles, or to subscribe to her newsletter visit or call +1 303.741.6636.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Worst Sales Prospecting Email Ever

Today sales trainer Kelley Robertson shares a prospecting email he recently received - and explains why it's one of the worst! Thankfully, you can avoid these pitfalls with a few simple changes to your emails!

Good Friday Morning,

My name is (I left the sender's name out) and I live in Florida. I would like to know if I could possibly send your company some promotional product options and quotes via email?

We offer over a million items that we can add your company logo to including;

Pens, T-Shirts, Hats, Magnets, Tote Bags, Water Bottles, Eco Friendly items, Mugs, Key Chains, Stress Balls, Trade Show Items, Umbrellas, Flash Drives, and much more.

Please let me know what items you normally purchase or are looking for and I will send you quotes and try to save you money.

Sender's Name
Marketing Executive
Orlando Florida

This was the email that landed in my in-box last Friday morning. Here are a few reasons why it is one of the worst prospecting emails I have ever received:

No attempt was made to identify a potential business problem I might be experiencing.
The sender did not create ANY value.
"Possibly" and "try" are weak words.
The call to action was weak.
There was no website, company name or telephone number.
The sender used a Gmail address.

If you use email to prospect it is critical to demonstrate your expertise, identify a business problem and indicate how you might be able to help.

Avoid sending messages like this one.

Otherwise, your prospects are simply going to hit the delete button a moment after they open your email; if in fact, they actually take the time to open it.

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

Monday, August 15, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Without courage, all other virtues lose their meaning." -- Winston Churchill, British prime minister

What have you done to push past your comfort zone today? Stretch yourself, and your work will be more meaningful!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Easy Exits

Today's post comes from The Whetstone Group, and shares with you how giving your client an easy exit may help you get the sale.

Problem: Salespeople are so predictable! They use the “pull” approach, constantly trying to convince and persuade their prospects to buy from them. Of course, their prospects are on to these tactics and are doing their best to “push” the salesperson away. Often, even good prospects feel trapped and push the salesperson away because they don’t want to be sold.

Analysis: Clearly a better approach is needed. Why not try the push approach when selling, from time to time? Giving the prospect an easy exit, pushing them away, can have magical results when you have a good prospect.

Prescription: An “easy exit” is an opportunity for you to make the prospect feel comfortable by bringing up situations that may still be a source of concern and let the prospect deal with them. In effect, you’re providing them with an “easy exit.” You’ll find that one of two things will happen: they’ll convince you that your concern is unwarranted and that it’s really not an issue (proving to you that they really are a good prospect) or they’ll admit that your concern is valid. This gives you a chance to probe for more pain or to take it to “no,” thus arriving at the right conclusion for both parties without wasting everyone’s time. In either case, rapport is maintained, even strengthened, and you’re doing the disqualifying, not them. Here are a few Examples:

During your initial meeting say, “If we don’t have a fit, it’s okay to tell me.”


“We may take some time together today looking at your situation only to find that we’re not the right solution for you. If we’re not, you need to be comfortable telling me that. Okay?”

When the prospect begins to discuss his challenges say, “That problem doesn’t sound like it’s causing you that much trouble. Are you sure it’s really that important to fix?”


“It doesn’t appear that this issue is a major priority at the moment. Am I reading the situation correctly or have I missed something?”

During your budget discussion try, “I get the feeling that this is much more than you had planned to invest. Do we need to talk further about that?”

You need to keep your "antenna" up at all times to assess what the prospects are implying when they make a statement. Often a prospect will not tell you the whole truth regarding a problem, but will send out bits of (mis)information instead. It’s your job to relieve pressure and help uncover what the prospect is really saying (see the above examples). Your role is to gently minimize the prospect's assertions of pain and their commitment to do something to fix it, thus getting them to defend their position and prove to you that they are a good prospect with real pain and a real commitment to finding a solution. Any time you give them a chance to run away from doing business with you and they don’t take that chance, they’re sending a message that they want to do business.

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

Thursday, August 11, 2011

SalesDog Quick Tip

Funnel your questions

It can be easy to miss key information about your prospect's needs, or forget to ask the right questions in the first place, if you don't have a questioning strategy. Use a questioning funnel to stay on track and ask the right questions in the right order.

Today's quick tip comes from Kendra Lee, a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert and author of the award winning book "Selling Against the Goal" and president of KLA Group. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and association events. To find out more about the author, read her latest articles, or to subscribe to her newsletter visit or call +1 303.741.6636

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Pros and Cons of Your Career

I love today's article from speaker Billy Cox - it's a great reminder of how thinking positively can change your mindset - and your sales!

It is said that Benjamin Franklin made decisions by taking a piece of paper and writing all the reasons to do something on one side and all the reasons not to do it on the other. Then he would evaluate both sides and make his decision based on the results.

I challenge you to do the same. Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side, write everything you love about your career. On the other side, write everything you don't like. Now, evaluate both sides.

Most of the time, you will find more things that you like than dislike. But you can't just look at the number of reasons on each side - you also have to evaluate the relative meaning and impact of each reason. For example, you might have three positives and five negatives. But the three positives may be huge, quality-of-life issues, whereas the five negatives are minor administrative headaches you could learn to live with.

This exercise will help you discover what motivates and excites you. When you focus on the positives, the negatives will become insignificant. And as you focus on your likes, you will love what you do even more. The more you love what you do, the more you win.

Billy Cox is a self-development speaker who has the unique ability to bring business and life issues together with a focus on business. He is the author of The All-Star Sales Book, The Dream Book and You Gotta Get In The Game. He can be contacted by calling 1-800-722-4685 or

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Why Do CEOs Buy?

Today sales trainer Mark Hunter steps inside the CEO mind to help you make more sales!

If you are wondering what drives a CEO’s decision to buy, I can guarantee you it is expectation, not price.

I should really be saying something like, “Why CEOs don’t buy anything.” That is the real tip.

You see, CEOs don’t buy — they only invest. In fact, that is what all companies do. They invest in outcomes, rather than buying “stuff.”

For the CEO, this means the investments they make are designed to deliver one thing — an outcome (an expectation that their company will benefit from whatever it is you are selling).

It is really a very simple concept; however, there is still another component to it.
CEOs make their investment decisions based on their strategies, and this means the timeframe under which they work is many times far longer than the salesperson’s time frame.

The time frame is not necessarily the time it takes for them to make a decision. Typically, CEOs make decisions far faster than any other person in a company.

Rather, the time frame they work under is the time frame when they expect to receive the benefit. I like to think that CEOs do not live in today’s world, but rather they live in the world they expect their company to be in.

This might a be a time period of 1, 3, 5 or even 10 years from now. When we in sales begin to accept the reality of the world in which the CEO lives, we can’t help but be in a better position to sell to that CEO.

Price will always be secondary to the CEO.

They understand this because they don’t buy anything. They only invest in expectations and outcomes. Again, for those of us in sales, this provides us with a huge opportunity to maximize our price when we know how to target our sales process to the CEO.

If you are using the same selling skills and strategy with CEOs that you use with purchasing departments or other lower-level personnel, there is no way you will ever succeed with both groups.

The sales strategy you use for the CEO needs to be 100% focused on the investment/benefit outcome they will receive within the time period they are working.

Contact Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter for your next Conference or Sales Meeting. To see and hear Mark Hunter now visit

Monday, August 8, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." -- Mother Teresa

Kind words can go a long way in sales. They are essential to building relationships, soothing ruffled feathers, and maintaining client relationships. Take a minute to share a kindness with someone, and the effects will be long-lasting!

Friday, August 5, 2011

You and Apple

Today author and speaker Anne Miller shares a story that reminds us of the importance of shpwing value, not telling. Think about this great tip, and then make the change in your presentations!

One of the great joys of my business is that, while I frequently work in the digital and media space, I also get to work in other industries as well, e.g. investment banking, money management, professional services, even the pork industry! I am always fascinated by what people do and the challenges they have in selling their services or products. However while the industries differ, when these professionals tell their story, there is one failing they all seem to share...

They confuse laundry listing features, processes, models, and functionalities in excruciating detail with communicating the real source of their value: what their product or service does for the buyer. Does it increase ROI? Make buyers’ lives easier? Save them money? Give them a competitive edge? Enable them to sleep better at night? Increase their revenues? Cut their costs? Increase their transparency? Help them be in compliance? Avoid litigation? Protect their share of market? Reduce time spent on routine tasks? Make them heroes to their clients? Other?

That is what people buy, not the latest wrinkle in your model. The cliche about people not buying nails for the sake of owning nails but for the holes those nails make holds true.

Take a Tip from Apple
Writer Nigel Hollis' article in The Atlantic Monthly talking about the differences in advertising among consumer technology companies echoes this point very well. “Blackberry, Samsung or Nokia ads are often laden with so much information that the recipient is left in a blaze of numbers and claims. Instead of focusing on how people interact with technology, those companies focus on features and specifications...Now think about the Apple iPad. The first ads for the iPad did not focus on the product features, like memory, speed, or slimness. Instead they portrayed someone relaxing on their sofa using the product. The ads didn’t tell us what the product was. They told us how we would use it, accessing news and entertainment whenever and wherever we want.” The rest, we know, is history.

Are You More LIke the iPad or Samsung?
Whiz-bang technology notwithstanding, no matter what you sell, people don’t care what you have, or how you do what you do until they know what it does for them. So, step back from the descriptive minutiae of your offering and shift your gaze to the bigger picture of what that minutiae means to your buyers. Showing how your offer changes your buyers’ lives for the better will change your bottom-line for the better as well.

Internationally respected author, speaker and seminar leader, Anne Miller teaches sales people how to increase their business; coaches CEOs and senior management to communicate successfully to key constituencies; and enables technical people to transform complex information into simpler, meaningful messages. Learn more at

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Power of a Smile

Business expert Andrea nierenberg has such a positive, uplifting attitude when it comes to business. I love to read her positive messages, and this article is no different!

In the Chinese scriptures it is written that a smile affects every single cell in our bodies.

We all know there has been much research conducted on how smiling and laughing can prevent some disease and certainly stress and that it take less muscles to smile then it does to frown---so why does it sometimes seem so hard to give one away.

I recently watched someone totally change when I said to him - ‘you have a great smile’---it was like he became a different person and he truly did. I took a chance because in our meeting, at first he epitomized a curmudgeon...

I took a leap of faith and I’m glad that I did in this case.

However sometimes we encounter people who we feel are difficult in the way they appear to us and we really shouldn't assume anything---knowing that for every action, there is always a reaction. It is human nature to make a judgment and we all do - so this is only a reminder on some basic suggestions.

Often when I present on conflict resolution in my communications sessions, I start with a basic truth that the only person we can truly change is ourselves. So the next time we run into someone who seems difficult or who doesn't seem to have an approachable expression, we might need to change the way we interact.

Take a quick look at my S.M.I.L.E. principle. I hope it brings one to your face after you review the list.

S. Stay in control. Think about how your responses could be perceived by others. See things from the other person’s point of view.

M. Make yourself be 'heard'. This has little to do with volume or emotion. It is about speaking clearly, and in a style others can appreciate. To understand the other--observe and listen to them, discover their hot buttons and don't push them.

I. Involve the other person by asking questions. Listen to the answers carefully. Then you can respond to their concerns and ask more questions that will address issues that interest you both.

L. Let go. Sometimes the best thing to do is to walk away. Sometimes you have to give the situation a rest. When you come back, you will see it from a different perspective.

E. Keep your ego in check and at the door. Your conscience needs to be your guide and maintain respect for the other person. The goal needs to be for both parties to win the war over the challenge, even if you have to surrender the battle.

It is always our choice. We can go through life fighting a battle or we can choose to sign peace agreements. Not always easy - yet the rewards are much greater with the latter.

Andrea Nierenberg is the president of The Nierenberg Group, a business communications company with a total process for educating, motivating and connecting people. Learn more at

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The You Headline

Today's tip from sales trainer Skip Miller focuses on an important part of your sales language - changing the word "I" to "You."

Why is it we always want to talk about ourselves?

“Here’s what I would like to do…”

“What I need is…”

“If I could do this, we could…”

A sales person feels so powerful telling a prospect or customer what they will do for them. They want to let the prospect know how important they are to them, and emphasize this fact my using the word, “I”.

Well, this may feel quite empowering to the sales person, but from the customer perspective…it’s all about them… and we know this…but fail to use this tool enough.

Change it to

“Here’s what I would like to do…What you said you wanted to do is…”

“What I need is…You said you needed…”

“If I could do this, we could…You said if you could do this, and we can help, then you could…”

Always review your written correspondence for too many “I’s”. It’s about them, not about you. By using the word you and their name, the customer is feeling like your heard them. They feel validated, and their rapport with you increases. By using the word I, they think of you as a vendor doing something for them, just like everyone else.

You want customers to get back to you, and you also want to be in control of the sales process, right? Get rid of the I’s, and start thinking of them, not about “I”.

A recognized authority on the psychology of sales performance, Skip Miller has helped countless companies, already at the height of success in their respective fields, achieve an even greater level of sales productivity and success. Learn more at

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

SalesDog Quick Tip

Hear More Than Words

When you listen to recordings of your prospecting telephone calls, use a checklist to see how well you're consistently achieving your primary objectives. Are you reaching decision-makers, using a confident tone, focusing on their business needs, handling objections well, and asking for referrals?

Today's quick tip comes from Kendra Lee, a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert and author of the award winning book "Selling Against the Goal" and president of KLA Group. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and association events. To find out more about the author, read her latest articles, or to subscribe to her newsletter visit or call +1 303.741.6636

Monday, August 1, 2011

Quote of the Week

"If you want to conquer fear, don't sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy." -- Dale Carnegie, motivational expert

The sales profession has a lot of fear built into it. Everyday you deal with the unknown, you deal with rejection, and you deal with ruthless competition. These things will always be a part of the profession, so all you can do is think past them, and get started. Conquer those fears by working hard!

Friday, July 29, 2011

9 Key Steps to Closing Bigger Sales

Today we're sharing a great article from sales trainer Rochelle Togo-Figa. Her key steps to bigger sales will help you to create more opportunities, and close them!

A client recently called me with some very good news. She had been hired by a large company to do several projects for them. She was so excited she could hardly contain herself. She had been working hard on growing her business for several years and it was beginning to pay off.

I told her this didn't happen by luck. She had created a clear and concise step-by-step sales action plan and had diligently and consistently followed each step. Let's take a look at the steps she followed that led to her business success.

1.Know your niche. Be clear about the market/industry you want to go after. Often new business owners make the mistake of being generalists because they want any business they can get. Be specific about who is your ideal client and put all your energy in that direction. Get yourself known as a specialist in one area rather than trying to be an expert in everything.

2.Ask for referrals. There's "low-hanging fruit" right under your nose. If a client is satisfied with you, they'll be happy to help you. Ask happy clients if there is anyone they know who you can call. If your client works within a large organization, figure out the department you want to call and then ask the client who they know in that department. This is the first step my client took, so do this early on!

3.Get the meeting. When calling the prospect for a meeting, introduce yourself, give the name of your referral and state the purpose of your call. If they know and respect your referral source, you've opened the door to getting the meeting. Don't wait to say who referred you. Let the prospect know immediately who referred you.

4.Visualize getting the business. Close your eyes and actually see yourself walking into the meeting with confidence, having a great meeting and then getting the business. Do the visualization a few times the day before, as well as before you go to sleep and on the way to your meeting. How you come across as soon as you walk in the door sets the tone for the whole meeting.

5.Prepare an effective presentation. Create a complete presentation of what you want to cover at the meeting. I've created a PowerPoint presentation of The Sales Breakthrough System. I also bring a marketing folder that includes a list of my programs, with descriptions of each, a bio, client list and testimonials. Whether it's a visual presentation or a brochure, you want to show something to the prospect that will enhance your professionalism and make an impact.

6.Practice your presentation. Practice what you're going to say. This includes an opening statement, a run-through of your presentation, responses to objections they may have, questions they may ask, questions you might ask--especially asking for their business--finally, closing for next steps.

7.Establish a connection. Connect with the prospect by looking at them throughout the meeting. Do not talk over them, talk directly to them. You will come across as someone who is warm, confident and in control. This is a valuable skill if you're meeting with a group. Speak to each person for 4-5 seconds, and then move to another person. You'll find each one will pay more attention to what you say.

8.Outline the Next Steps. At the end of the meeting summarize for the prospect what has been discussed and agreed to. Then take out your calendar, asking the prospect to do the same, and write in what the next steps are. Never leave without knowing what the next steps are.

9.Follow Up. As soon as you return to your office, summarize in an e-mail what was covered during the meeting and the next action steps you and the prospect have agreed to take. Send the memo to the prospect the next day. Include due dates for each action step and be sure to fulfill what you said you would do.

Rochelle Togo-Figa, The Sales Breakthrough Strategist, is the creator of the Inner Game of Salesâ„¢, 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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Maximize Your Results

Today's article comes from sales trainer Mark Hunter, who suggests looking at your business in a whole new way so you can capitalize on opportunities. It's a good read!

If you want to maximize your results and your sales motivation, you probably need to minimize your goals.

I’ve watched far too many salespeople become so fixated on trying to make their goals that they fail to see opportunities when they appear.

It’s as if they’ve got “goal paralysis” — a disease where the salesperson is so consumed thinking about their goal that they lose focus on everything, including new opportunities.

I’ve always said my best ideas are when I’ve taken a step back from the problem and suddenly am able to see things clearly.

One of the best ways for a salesperson to do this is to spend time in an informal manner with a few key customers.

Spend time in one of the companies you call upon meeting people you have never met before.

Most of all, spend a little time looking at your business differently. When you do so, it is amazing what you will begin to see.

Today’s economy is strange — no doubt about it. And it requires all of us to look at the things we’ve done in the past and find ways to do them differently. We need to challenge our thinking and we need to challenge our customers. The way we do it is by taking a few minutes to step back.

I’m not saying blow off your goals. I’m simply saying that achieving your best numbers sometimes requires you to look at things differently than you have up to that point.

When you do this, you are doing what I call “thinking beyond” by asking yourself several “what if” and “why” questions. (That’s what little kids do and they have boundless imaginations).

You can maximize your results and your sales motivation if you don’t get so tightly focused on your goals that you miss opportunities that are waiting for you to notice.

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

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

SalesDog Quick Tip

Record Your Cold Calls

The information you'll get from these recordings can help your sales immensely. You'll catch phone habits - good and bad - that you didn't even know you had. (Remember to confirm if in your state you have to ask the other party for permission to record.)

Today's quick tip comes from Kendra Lee, a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert and author of the award winning book "Selling Against the Goal" and president of KLA Group. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and association events. To find out more about the author, read her latest articles, or to subscribe to her newsletter visit or call +1 303.741.6636

Monday, July 25, 2011

Quote of the Week

"A good goal is like a strenuous exercise - it makes you stretch." -- Mary Kay Ash, cosmetics pioneer

Even if you're on track to meet your quota for the month or year, think about changing your goal so you're working harder and putting in more effort. You'll see the reward in your sales!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Relationships Are Everything

This article from sales expert Brian Tracy shares great advice on how to build and maintain relationships with your clients - the keys to sales success! Read on and get building!

Your Foundation for Success
Relationship Selling is the core of all modern selling strategies. Your ability to develop and maintain long-term customer relationships is the foundation for your success as a salesperson and your success in business. Relationship selling requires a clear understanding of the dynamics of the selling process as they are experienced by your customer.

Propose a Business Marriage
For your customer, a buying decision usually means a decision to enter into a long-term relationship with you and your company. It is very much like a "business marriage." Before the customer decides to buy, he can take you or leave you. He doesn't need you or your company. He has a variety of options and choices open to him, including not buying anything at all. But when your customer makes a decision to buy from you and gives you money for the product or service you are selling, he becomes dependent on you. And since he has probably had bad buying experiences in the past, he is very uneasy and uncertain about getting into this kind of dependency relationship.

Fulfill Your Promises
What if you let the customer down? What if your product does not work as you promised? What if you don't service it and support it as you promised? What if it breaks down and he can't get it replaced? What if the product or service is completely inappropriate for his needs? These are real dilemmas that go through the mind of every customer when it comes time to make the critical buying decision.

Focus on the Relationship
Because of the complexity of most products and services today, especially high-tech products, the relationship is actually more important than the product. The customer doesn't know the ingredients or components of your product, or how your company functions, or how he will be treated after he has given you his money, but he can make an assessment about you and about the relationship that has developed between the two of you over the course of the selling process. So in reality, the customer's decision is based on the fact that he has come to trust you and believe in what you say.

Build a Solid Trust Bond
In many cases, the quality of your relationship with the customer is the competitive advantage that enables you to edge out others who may have similar products and services. The quality of the trust bond that exists between you and your customers can be so strong that no other competitor can get between you.

Keep Your Customers for Life
The single biggest mistake that causes salespeople to lose customers is taking those customers for granted. This is a form of "customer entropy." It is when the salesperson relaxes his efforts and begins to ignore the customer. Almost 70 percent of customers who walked away from their existing suppliers later replied that they made the change primarily because of a lack of attention from the company.

Once you have invested the time and made the efforts necessary to build a high-quality, trust-based relationship with your customer, you must maintain that relationship for the life of your business. You must never take it for granted.

Action Exercises
First, focus on building a high quality relationship with each customer by treating your customer so well that he comes back, buys again and refers you to his friends.

Second, pay attention to your existing customers. Tell them you appreciate them. Look for ways to thank them and encourage them to come back and do business with you again.

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

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Do the Hustle

Today's article from sales expert Colleen Francis reminds us of the difference between "hustling" a customer, and "hustling" to do your best every day. It's great!

Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits - Thomas A. Edison

I saw this quote somewhere – might have been a “friend's” Facebook post a few weeks ago and it resonated with me. First let’s define hustle. in this case I take it to mean:

To move or act energetically and rapidly “We hustled to get dinner ready on time”


To sell or get by questionable or aggressive means: hustled stolen watches; hustling spare change.

I met a hustler this past week. Mike is selling to the home builders, renovators and consumers. Arguably a down market. His sales are up 200% this year because he is (as he said to me) “powering through this economy and out hustle my competition”. It got me thinking of all the different ways you can hustle in your own business to ensure your sales stay up….no matter what the economy is doing. Check out this list and add to it as you see fit!

1. Reach out to your current client database at least twice per month with a value based, content rich newsletter – paper based or email
2. Attend at least 1 networking event per week
3. Ask for referrals at least once per day
4. Follow up on your leads at least 7 times by email and 7 times by phone before you give up
5. Prospect every day to keep your funnel full. A full funnel is one full of opportunities totaling 300% of your goal.
6. Identify new target markets to sell to
7. Attend trade shows regularly and follow up with the leads within 24 hours
8. Make 5 more calls everyday
9. Implement a reactivation campaign to win back lost customers
10. Revise your goals for the month quarter and year
11. Change your presentation to place the customer’s values first and your corporate marketing messages last. Remember client’s only care about what’s important to them
12. Talk to your five best customers. Ask them to evaluate your situation and make suggestions for new markets
13. Get a coach or a mentor. Invest in a live training program and network with other professionals for a new perspective.
14. Get to work an hour before everyone. Put in more productive time.
15. Stay away from the complainers. Don’t make your sales worse by hanging around the life suckers and underachievers.
16. Each night before you go to bed make a list of 20 things that happened that day that you are excited about or proud of.
17. Spend 15 minutes before you start work reading materials that focus on developing your positive attitude. Search for blogs or online sources, or start a classic book from Napoleon Hill. Skip the newspaper!
18. If you travel, listen to motivational or educational CDs in the car ALL DAY. Make sure your mp3 player is also loaded with motivational CD’s for listening to in airports, train stations and while travelling.
19. Record your live presentations. Review them with a manager a superstar colleague or your coach. Take notes. Implement new ideas immediately.
20. Ride along with the best sales person you know and watch how they are communicating with clients. Implement what they are doing into your sales approach.
21. Take your boss with you on calls for a week. Or ask them to listen in on your sales phone calls. You’ll get more feedback than you can handle, but it will help.
22. Record your calls and listen to them. Would you buy from you?
23. Tweet, blog or update your social media status with a value message or inspirational message daily.

Colleen Francis, President of Engage Selling Solutions, helps sales professionals everywhere make an immediate and lasting impact on their sales. She offers key note speaking, sales training and sales coaching, all delivered with a savvy, no-nonsense approach. Learn more at

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Another Lousy Appointment

Today's article comes from The Whetstone Group - it's good, solid advice you can put into practice today!

Problem: It was a gloomy day and had just started to rain when Rick left his second lousy appointment of the day. “Man,” he thought to himself, “it’s pouring down rain, my car is at the other end of the parking lot, and this appointment that I drove 40 miles to see was a total waste of time. My grandmother is a better prospect than this guy.” He put his head down and dejectedly trudged through the rain towards his car. On his way back to the office he reflected on the appointments he had been on recently. The majority of them had been similar to these two, a waste of time for the most part…nobody seemed interested in buying. He was starting to feel like they were all bad prospects. The gloomy day mirrored his mood perfectly. But he needed to do something quickly since his sales were starting to suffer.

Diagnosis: There are no bad prospects; just ineffective salespeople. Unfortunately, salespeople seem to be willing to meet with virtually anybody who expresses so much a passing interest in what they are selling. Hope springs eternal, as they say, and salespeople hope that if they can just get face to face with someone, anyone, something good might happen. However, more often than not something not so good happens. Let’s face it, most salespeople really don’t want any bad news, so they don’t ask the hard questions. You know, the ones that might disqualify a prospect. Questions like the ones we’re suggesting below.

Prescription: If you want more productive appointments, change your attitude and plant your feet. Be adamant that you simply don’t have the time to meet with anyone who can’t pass a quick qualification test. Anyone who can’t answer affirmatively to the following three questions may not be worthy of your time:

“Is the problem compelling enough for you to take a good, hard look at a solution, assuming one were available?”

“Are adequate resources available to implement a solution, assuming you found one that you felt would work?”

“Who else should be at the meeting who needs to be part of the final decision process, besides yourself?”

If the answers to the first two questions are affirmative, you probably have a good prospect. If you get a wishy-washy answer, chances are your prospect is not very close to buying anything from you or anyone else. (Let your competitor go on this call.) The third question is designed to make sure you have the right people at the meeting. How much better would you feel if you had this information before you went out to the appointment?

Your time is simply too valuable to waste with people who aren’t serious or who don’t have the resources to buy. And you can’t afford to spend time with people who don’t have the authority to buy.

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, July 18, 2011

Quote of the Week

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain." -- Maya Angelou, poet

While there are many things in life we can't control, a lot of the stuff we complain about actually is under our control - we're just too scared or lazy to change it. Today, try to think of one thing you complain about that you could try to change. Then write out what you would have to do to change it and get started on that list!

One less thing to complain about means more time selling and making money!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How Do You Measure Success?

Today's post from sales trainer Joe Guertin recognizes the importance of the sales process - not just the end result. Remember to keep all of your hard work in mind!

I remember one of my “great weeks.” I closed three very large sales, and was a real hero around the office. I felt good (and rightfully so). But in reality, it was the months of hard work, follow-through and attention to detail that made that week happen. So, why didn’t I see those weeks as ‘great,’ too?

While nothing beats ‘crossing the goal line,’ we should be just as excited about the race itself. While we measure success with signed orders (nothing smells so good as fresh ink on a contract), it’s those steps along the way that make it all happen.

Streetfighters measure their steps as they go. I recommend that, every Friday, review your activities for the past week. Putting out fires and providing service are good….but are only a passing grade. Do you have a balanced week that also included customer brainstorming, future planning, and planting seeds for future business? I tend to be a little more critical than necessary, but it has served me well. When I don’t perform, I don’t give myself passing grades.

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

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

SalesDog Quick Tip

Devote One Day a Week to Prospecting

Treat that day as a client appointment. Don't let anything interrupt you, and just concentrate on making as many new calls and contacts as possible.

Today's quick tip comes from Kendra Lee, a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert and author of the award winning book "Selling Against the Goal" and president of KLA Group. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and association events. To find out more about the author, read her latest articles, or to subscribe to her newsletter visit or call +1 303.741.6636.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Present Proof, But Don't Expect It to Clinch the Deal

Communication expert Dianna Booher always shares presentation ideas that make a big impact on how you sell - and today's is no different!

Presenting proof makes a powerful presentation. But proof alone rarely makes a sale. Or sells an idea. Many people have wasted enormous amounts of time gathering proof only to discover that a prospect or a manager wouldn't agree that their data proved anything. Always agree on what the other party accepts as proof.

Next, confirm that the other party considers such proof meaningful. For example, you may prove that your engine is faster than any on the market, but if your client values low-cost maintenance more than speed, your proof will be "beside the point."

Then document your proof in writing so others can verify it. It's always advisable to capture your data and publish it in an article or white paper so that it passes the scrutiny of all concerned.

Finally, don't build your whole presentation around your proof, counting on it as "the sure thing." People buy for any number of reasons, and logical proof is only one of them.

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.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Quote of the Week

"When I thought I couldn't go on, I forced myself to keep going. My success is based on persistence, not luck." -- Estee Lauder, entrepreneur

Sales is about effort and persistance - don't let anyone tell you otherwise! It requires a commitment to putting in your best day after day. Are you up for the challenge?

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Three Biggest Mistakes in Sales Presentations

Today sales expert Dave Kahle shares the three biggest mistakes you can make in a sales presentation. Thankfully, he also shares what you can do to fix them!

The sales presentation is the ultimate purpose of every sales process, of every sales call, and of every sales system. The job of the sales person revolves around the point in time when he offers the customer something to buy.

The sales presentation can take a variety of forms. If you demonstrate a product, for example, that is a sales presentation. If you use a hard-copy brochure or a CD Rom presentation on your lap-top, that is a sales presentation. If you deliver and detail a sample, that is a sales presentation. If you respond to the customer’s request, and provide a price, deliver a proposal, or submit a bid, each of these are sales presentations.

Without the sales presentation, there can be no sale. It is, then, the foundational step in the sales process. Everything that happens before is in preparation for the presentation, and everything that happens afterward is a result of the presentation.

You would think, then, that every sales person is extremely well-trained in the science of making an effective sales presentation.

Alas, that is not the case. Left to learn on their own, many sales people make the same mistakes over and over again. Here are the three most commonly made sales presentation mistakes.

1. Lack of preparation.
In my very first sales position, I had to endure six weeks of sales training. In those six weeks, the entire training class had to memorize two four-page sales presentations, and give them to the training class. We were videoed and critiqued, over and over, for the six weeks. At the end of that time we were thoroughly prepared to give that sales presentation.

Now that may have been a bit of an overkill, but the point remains: Preparation is the first step towards an effective sales presentation.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that you memorize the presentation. But it does mean that you organize it, that you secure and check your collateral (the sample, brochures, price quotes, etc that form the basis of what you are selling), and that you practice the presentation several times until you are comfortable with it and confident in your ability to deliver it.

Unfortunately, preparation is a discipline that seems to be fading from the routines of many sales people. The world is full of sales people who either have little respect for their customer’s time, no particular interest in doing their jobs well, or an over-inflated view of their own ad-libbing abilities. Any of these produces the sense that they don’t need to prepare, that on the spur of the moment, they will come up with the most persuasive things to say, in the most effective manner.

That’s too bad. Preparation is the first step toward a better sales presentation, and lack of preparation is endemic in the world of sales.

2. Information purging.
This occurs when a sales person thinks his/her job is to relate everything he/she knows about the product, service or proposal.

I was deeply into a training program wherein we work with six sales people every day for a week. Sales people role-played various situations, we videoed them, critiqued them, and had them role play again, only better.

We were methodically working through the sales process, and it was time to make the sales presentation. The class was taught to organize the presentation on the basis of what they learned about the customer in the previous “find out what they want” role play.

One particular sales person never got that message. He thought a sales presentation was like an oral exam in school. It was his opportunity to spill everything he knew about the product. What should have been a 20 minute presentation dragged on and on for 45 minutes. Even though it was a role play in front of the class, even though it was being video recorded, the person playing the customer began to fall asleep. The hapless sales person continued on, purging himself of every bit and morsel of related information. I had to finally step in and put an end to the tedium.

While that may have been a dramatic example of this mistake, it occurs in smaller ways thousands of times a day. It occurs when sales people feel the need to tell the customer everything they know about the product or service they are presenting, whether the customer cares or is interested in that feature or not.

The problem is greater than just “too much information.” Sales people who do this disrespect the customer, as they don’t take the customer’s interests and requirements into account in the presentation.

As a result, customers are turned off and tuned out, and sales people leave shaking their heads, unable to fathom why the customer didn’t buy all the incredible features of his sales presentation.

3. Failure to include the customer in the presentation.
This occurs when the sales person thinks that the presentation is all about his product, service or proposal. The truth is that effective sales presentations are always about two things: the offer, and how it can impact the customer.

When sales people simply talk about their offer, and ignore the second half of the equation, they make one of the most common mistakes.

Customers are far more interested in how the thing being presented impacts them, than they are in the details of the offer.

The sales person may be impressed with all the neat details and features, but that reflects his/her values, not necessarily those of the customer.

The best sales presentations describe the salient features of the offer, and then relate them to how they impact the customer. Remember “features and benefits”?

This third most common mistake occurs when sales people emphasize the features, and forget the benefits.

If you are guilty of any of these mistakes, or, as a manager, if your sales force is guilty of them, their sales presentations are not as effective as they could be. You are leaving money on the table. Fix these mistakes, and watch your sales rise.

Dave Kahle has trained tens of thousands of B2B sales people and sales managers to be more effective in the 21st Century economy. He's authored nine books, and presented in 47 states and seven countries. For a limited time, you can buy his latest book, How to Sell Anything to Anyone Anytime, and receive $534 of FREE bonuses. Learn more at

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Think Like A CEO

Today sales trainer Colleen Stanley shares how the best salespeople think - like a CEO!

Debra Benton, author of Think Like A CEO, speaks to audiences all over the world about this topic. She is often directing the conversation to other leaders in the organization, not necessarily the sales department. We think it’s time that salespeople quit thinking like salespeople and take Debra’s advice: start thinking like a CEO. These are such salespeople and here are their thoughts, behaviors and actions.

FILO – They are first in or last out. What time are you getting to the office or starting your day? If you are standing in line to order a latte at 8:00 am, you can bet your CEO thinking competitor has completed 20 calls by the time you’ve had your first sip! Great salespeople know the best time to reach the “C” suite is often early in the morning or after 5:00 pm because the gatekeeper isn’t in and/or everyone else has gone home. There’s a reason they say it’s lonely at the top!

CEO’s know that hope is not a strategy. They have too many families counting on them for a paycheck. Top salespeople have the same attitude. When they aren’t hitting their revenue numbers, they do what it takes to get the job done. It’s always surprising to watch salespeople, not hitting quota, hit the door at 4:30 pm. There is a good chance that this salesperson’s sales strategy is based on denial or hope. (There is also a good chance this rep won’t be around next year!)

One of my early sales managers always stressed the power of making one more call, one more stop, one more contact. She nicely said, “I don’t care if you don’t feel like it. I am not paying you for your feelings.” It was always amazing to many how that one more attempt paid off in setting an appointment. (Maybe it was because all the other salespeople were at home.)

They get smarter every day. Most effective CEO’s are enrolled at TUGS, The University of Getting Smarter. Their biggest goal is avoiding that place called, “I know it all.” They understand we live in the knowledge age and companies that compete and win are organizations that have a learning culture. Alvin Toffler says it best. “The illiterate of the future are not those who cannot read or write but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and re-learn.” Let’s face it. No prospect wants to be called on by a dumb salesperson.

Experts in the emotional intelligence world call this competency self actualization. People scoring high in this competency are on a continuous journey to reaching their full potential. Steven Stein and Howard Book, authors of The EQ Edge, report that self actualization is one of the key emotional intelligence skills found in top sales producers. Successful salespeople are like successful CEO’s. They don’t wait for someone to provide education, mentoring or advice. They take charge of their learning and growth. In the sales training business, we quickly disqualify a prospect when he says, “Well, let me see if my company will pay for the training.” What he is really saying is, “I’m only going to get better if someone else foots the bill.”

Accountable and transparent. Successful CEO’s know that they are responsible for putting food on the table for many people. They take this responsibility seriously and are accountable to their organization for their actions and decisions.

Unfortunately, many sales organizations lack accountability and accept bad sales behavior such as incomplete data in the CRM system or poor attendance at sales meetings. They believe the myth that top producers are also a pain in the neck—it just comes with the territory. As a result, they cave into the age old excuse of, “Hey, I’m producing sales so don’t micromanage me.” Imagine if other departments in the company were allowed to operate this way.

The accounting department wouldn’t produce month end reports because they have other things to do. (Don’t worry….we will get you your check sometime this month.) The customer service team doesn’t log in customer conversations because they have so many calls coming in.

Lack of accountability leads to lower standards and mistrust. The salesperson that thinks like a CEO knows there are parts of every job that aren’t enjoyable. She also knows that her data and involvement is important in driving strategic decisions at the company.

Think like a CEO. Since you sell to leaders, it’s best to act like one!

Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership Inc., a business development consulting firm specializing in sales and sales management training. The company provides programs in prospecting, referral strategies, consultative sales training, sales management training, and hiring/selection. She is also the author of "Growing Great Sales Teams: Lessons from the Cornfield." Reach Colleen at 303.708.1128 or visit

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Quick Tip: Write Out Your Questions Beforehand

It seems like an easy tip, but you would be shocked by the number of salespeople who head into a meeting with nothing written down! Today sales trainer Mark Hunter discusses what you need to do to be prepared.

Ever head into a meeting with a customer thinking you will “remember” everything you want to ask?

You’d be wiser (and likely more profitable) if you write out your questions before you actually meet with the customer.

The big reason why I encourage people to do this is not what you think. You’re probably thinking it’s so you don’t forget what questions to ask. Yes, this is important, but it’s not the most important reason.

The most important reason why I tell salespeople to write down in advance the questions they want to ask is so they can think through and first determine if each question is worth asking. You will also be able to determine what is the most logical follow-up question to each question.

Too many times the questions salespeople ask are ones they think up either on the fly or ones that are so obvious they border on stupid. Take the time to think through what it is you want to ask.

As you develop each question, ask yourself if it’s going to help the customer see and explain their needs.

Your goal is to engage the customer in a dialogue where they will tell you what their needs and pains are. When they tell you this information, you then have credibility to explore further through the use of follow-up questions.

The follow-up questions are the ones that will really get the customer thinking.

Just make sure you don’t overload the customer too quickly with questions that are too deep in nature.

Work your way through the food chain of questions you want to ask. By taking the customer through a logical progression of questions, it will help them feel comfortable and in control. By doing this, you also will allow the customer to understand better what it is they want and need.

If you move too quickly and ask the customer a very deep question too soon, you run the risk of having them shut down on you. You may feel the question you asked is the right one, but you must be discerning about how the customer will perceive the question.

Writing down your questions in advance equips you to think through how you will ask them, and in so doing, allows you to ultimately ask them at a pace that fits the customer.

Contact Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter for your next Conference or Sales Meeting. To see and hear Mark Hunter now visit

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4 Ways to Get Out of a Sales Slump

It's early July, which means the year is half over, and you only have six months until yearly sales and goals are assessed. How are you doing? If you're in a slump, this is the time to get out of it, so you work through the summer and go into the fall strong and ready to make your quota! Today sales trainer Mike Brooks shares how you can break out of a slump and get those sales moving!

Let’s face it – every now and then sales don’t seem to be going our way and we can begin to get into fear about making our numbers, making our mortgage, taking that vacation, etc. While we may not be able to control the ebb and flow of sales, what’s important is that we keep control of our attitude and expectancy level. In other words, keeping positive, reflecting on wins, and expecting success is what always drives a top producer through the seemingly slow times in sales.

I like to compare keeping my attitude up to how a pilot tries to stay on the radio beam when he’s flying. A directional beam is projected to guide the pilot to his destination, and as long as he stays on the beam, he’s safe and he’ll make it through just fine. It doesn’t matter that the weather may be temporarily blinding him or that he may not be able to see where he is or where he’s headed, as long as he can locate and stay on that beam, he’ll be all right.

It’s the same thing in sales. If things are temporarily not going your way, or if you have to start prospecting again, or if that big client or if those deals didn’t close, that’s OK. All you have to do is to get back on the beam of being positive, expecting to close more sales, and continue to reflect on your sales goals. If you can do that (and that may sometimes be a tall order given the temporary appearances), then you’ll be fine in the end.

What you can’t fall victim to is negative thinking. That only leads to deflated attitudes, less activity, and poor sales skills. It tends to feed itself and you start looking for reasons to fail, and you often find them! You know you’re “off the beam” if you’re in fear, if you get agitated easily, if you become resentful of others or if you begin feeling depressed in any way.

If that happens, here are 4 ways to get back on the beam:

1) Reflect back on your previous wins. Get quiet and begin reliving all the times when you closed big deals, when you made your goal and when you got new clients and closed deals. Remember those feelings… This will immediately move you back towards the beam.

2) Remind yourself that your very next phone call could result in the biggest deal of your career. This is not only true, but by dwelling on it you’ll begin to want to make more calls, and you will actually begin attracting that success to yourself.

3) Review your financial goals and begin imaging how you feel now that you’ve achieved them. Relish those feelings. Get excited about what you’re enjoying now that you’ve reached your goals. This is visualization 101 and remember that your subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between a real event and one vividly imaged with feeling.

4) Change your attitude into one of absolute service to others rather on if you’re going to get a deal. Start each phone call with the thought, “I’m here to be of maximum service to this person.” That will not only take the pressure off of you, but your prospect will feel it – and respond to you.

Any one of these techniques will get you back on the beam. If you combine all four of them you’ll be out of your temporary slump in no time and you’ll be closing deals like the top pro you know you are.

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:

Friday, July 1, 2011

Time and the Art of Selling

A salesperson's time is essential. The way you use your time directly correlates to how much money you make! Today author and trainer Anne Miller discusses how salespeople can best use their time.

One of my favorite cartoons shows Opportunity in the form of a woman wearing angel wings speaking into the intercom of an apartment building lobby to a tenant and the caption says, “It’s Opportunity, Mr. Jones. It’s Opportunity. I only ring once.” I was reminded of this while teaching a time management program to salespeople at GE Capital recently.

Time is everyone’s currency. Spend it well and it rewards you. Waste it and it costs you. You only get a few opportunities to sit with any single prospect or client.Make every second count.

Haste Makes Waste (Trite but true)
If you skimp on prep time for a call, prospects will notice immediately, feel insulted or annoyed, clam up, or at least share only minimal information with you, and get you out of their offices faster than you can say, “Have a nice day.” Question to ask yourself: Are you doing the right things during the time you spend planning for your calls to ensure the best reception to you and your business?

If your conversation fails to get into anything deeper than surface needs, you will end up presenting ideas and solutions that are off the mark or have the sticking power of snowflakes hitting hot pavement which will generally lead to smaller deals or no deals at all. While you don’t want to be scripted, you do want to have a conversation that is both substantive and moving forward. Ask yourself: Do you take the time to think through how you will execute a strategic conversation with each person you meet?

If you run from one account to another, you will be very active, but not necessarily very productive, missing opportunities to cross sell, up-sell, and build competitively resistant moats around your clients. Developing $500,000 from two accounts is generally much less wear and tear on you than developing fifty accounts of $10,000 each. . Do you take the time to figure out how you will develop long-term business?

“Slow Down. You Move Too Fast. Got to Make the Morning Last” (Simon & Garfunkel)
I could go on, but you get the point. As much as we all love technology and our various tech toys, there are still only 24 hours in a day. In today’s world where everything moves faster and faster, I suggest it is better to slow down, get your bearings, and take the time to polish your skills, strategies, and attention to detail so that clients will want to spend their time--and money--with you.

Internationally respected author, speaker and seminar leader, Anne Miller teaches sales people how to increase their business; coaches CEOs and senior management to communicate successfully to key constituencies; and enables technical people to transform complex information into simpler, meaningful messages. Learn more at

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Email is Great - Or is it?

Like many people, I love using email. It makes many things quicker and easier. The key phrase there is "many things." Today sales trainer Adrian Miller reminds us that there are certain times where it is much easier to just pick up the phone!

You're trying to schedule an appointment and you email your contact with a suggested date or two.

They get back to you-a day or two later perhaps-and the dates that you had already suggested are now filled, or, they let you know that they're not free on those specific dates but could potentially meet on another date, which of course is not good for you and so you email them with some other alternatives and they respond immediately but, well, they're not free that day. Whew. And on and on it goes for days, sometimes weeks until you PICK UP THE PHONE.

You want to reconnect with a dormant account, one that you haven't worked with in quite awhile. Sure, you know that you've fallen off the grid but you think there might be some life in this business relationship. You send out an email and there's no reply. You're uncertain. Did they get it? Are they not replying because maybe that business relationship wasn't as good as you thought and maybe they don't want to hear from you again? You're curious but intimidated and in order to really find out what's going on you need to PICK UP THE PHONE.

Your prospecting funnel is pretty empty and you see a precipitous drop in business in the next few months. You start to panic and ratchet up your networking and jump further into the social media pool too. You peruse websites, look carefully at postings and send emails to all that seem like they have good potential. You don't hear back and keep prospecting like a demon sending email after email to prospects that you are certain would benefit from your product or service. Still nothing happens. You need to PICK UP THE PHONE.

You need to alert a client that there is a problem in their account. Something has gone awry but not to worry, you're going to fix it. You have a plan and carefully craft an email that explains the problem and what you are going to do to ameliorate it. Still you get a very curt reply and are left to think that the client was not appeased and is, in fact, annoyed at what you said in your email. You reread it and see that the tone and choice of words are not as politic as you originally thought. You need to make amends and think another email might not do it. YOU NEED TO PICK UP THE PHONE.

Geez do you get it? With smart phones, netbooks and laptops being at our fingertips we have wandered away from the telephone and have resorted to communicating almost exclusively by email. And in many circumstances email communication might not be the most convenient method of communication; additionally it might also undermine and weaken your position and desired outcome.

So yes there are scads of situations in which email is truly the BEST way to communicate but before your reach for that keyboard, take a moment to think if perhaps the dial pad might be even better.

You just might be surprised at how positive an experience you will have.

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

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Do the Tough Things First

Time management is something I have always struggled with, so finding tips to help me be more productive is something I definitely search out. I figure many of you will appreciate them as much as I do! Today's tip is from sales trainer Kelley Robertson, wholse advice is always straightforward and practical - just the way I like it!

Ever have one of those days when, despite your best intention, it didn't seem like you made any progress?

Want to know one of the most effective ways to improve your productivity and get more done every day? Interested in learning a sure-fire way to make more sales?

Okay, here it is...

Start with the most important tasks first.

Simple, huh?

Well, it is in theory.

Unfortunately, most people tend to do the more enjoyable tasks first. Whether it's responding to emails, making calls to the customers they like dealing with, or writing a proposal.

However, these are often low-yield activities. You may think they are important but the reality is that they are easy-to-do tasks.

Cold calling, prospecting, and attending networking events usually have a higher impact on our results. But, these activities are seldom fun or enjoyable.

They require effort and considerable mental energy.

Let's face it, dialing for dollars is not an enjoyable task for most people, especially in today's business environment. But, when executed properly and with the right focus, it generates new leads and sales opportunities.

It's easy to get distracted from doing important and tough tasks. Emails from customers, problems that need your attention, and returning "urgent" calls from low-value accounts. These all take your attention away from difficult activities and you justify it by saying, "I NEED to take care of this."

Here's my suggestion for the upcoming week.

Block time in your calendar to take care of your MOST important sales tasks first. The activities that will help you increase your sales. Tasks that are critical to your long-term success.

Shut off your Blackberry. Don't open your email. And don't do anything until those tasks are done.

Start this morning! I guarantee that you will get more done this week.

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