Monday, February 28, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Ninety percent of all those who fail are not actually defeated. They simply quit." -- Paul J. Meyer

Sales is a tough profession to be in. There's the rejection, the long hours, the constant worry - and oh ya, the rejection.

The only way to succeed in sales is to have the strength to keep going, and not let it get you down. Look at every day like a new day, one in which you can reach your goals!

Friday, February 25, 2011

SalesDog Quick Tip - Smile!

Before making cold calls, make sure you're sitting up in your chair and smiling. Not only will you feel better and more confident, but that confidence will carry over in to your speech!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Your Customers Are Selling You

Today sales trainer Mark Hunter shares how your customer is selling you! It's an interesting, thought-provoking article.

Your customers are selling you as much as you're selling your customers.

Anytime you're in the middle of a heated presentation with a customer, it's only natural for the customer to start trying to sell you. You might ask what are they trying to sell you? It's simple — they're trying to sell you why they don't want what you're offering, but only with enough emphasis not to have you run away. They just want you to make them a better deal.

Today's economy has only compounded this problem where everybody thinks for some reason they're special and, therefore, they should have a deal that's special to them. It's easy to fall into the customer's trap, as it usually begins with the customer expressing some hesitation. However, at the same time as they're expressing some hesitation, they're usually sharing with you the unique problems and issues they have.

I've found customers love to share their unique issues with the salesperson because they believe that by sharing what they believe is unique to them, the salesperson will then extend to them an offer that's not available to anyone else.

New salespeople fall for this very quickly. At the same time, I've watched many veteran salespeople unknowingly fall into it also. This is especially true when the customer and salesperson are of opposite sexes. The way you avoid this trap is by staying firm in the confidence of what your price/value relationship is.

Once you start wavering with one customer you will find yourself wavering with many more customers to the point that if you don't catch yourself you will start going into every selling situation thinking beforehand how you're going to personalize the offer to allow the customer to have a unique deal.

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

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Disturbing Deficit

Sales trainer Tom Reilly's newsletter never fails to get me thinking. Today he discusses the importance of connection, especially in today's business world.

In the United States, most people are concerned rightly about a 1.6 trillion dollar federal budget deficit, yet there is another deficit that is far more insidious and perilous to business—a diminution of empathy.

In 2010, researchers found that empathy among college students is at an all-time low. Seventy-five percent of the students tested reported the lowest scores on empathy in the thirty-plus years that social scientists have been studying this. These all-time-low empathy scores are happening against the backdrop of all-time-high narcissism scores.

We have a coming-of-age generation that would rather text than talk, send an abbreviated e-mail over a hand-written note, and make a quick cell-phone call versus invest face time with someone in deep conversation. On one hand, this presents a significant challenge for sales managers that recruit from the ranks of college students. On the other hand, this offers a great opportunity for salespeople who rely on empathy and people skills to build relationships with customers. Professional selling is a people business.

Humans are social creatures. We are hard wired to interact physically with other people. We want to do business with those whom we trust and like. Carl Rogers, father of client-centered therapy, wrote, "Nothing feels so good as being understood, not evaluated or judged." Actively listening to customers requires that we set aside personal biases (put narcissism on hold) and understand (empathize with) their reality, as subjective as it appears. Who would have thought that an ageless concept like empathy would become the new frontier for differentiation?

Tom Reilly, president of Tom Reilly Training, 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. Learn more at

Monday, February 21, 2011

Quote of the Week

"You need to overcome the tug of people against you as you reach for high goals." -- George Patton, General

There will always be people who don't believe in you or what you're doing. People who will bring you down with their negativity, and intentionally (or unintentionally) hold you back. When you've got bog goals, one of the best things you can do is notice the people who hold you back and break away from their influence.

For example, if your co-workers are negative, avoid the break room and take a walk. Breathe in fresh air, think about your goals, and walk back into work ready to reach them. Don't let others drag you down!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Help People Decide

Author and speaker Anne Miller knows how to engage people and get them listening - and today she points out another resource that does the same. Miller's articles never fail to make an impact on me - read on, and I'm sure you'll feel the same!

Guy Kawasaki, former chief evangelist for Apple, has an interesting new book coming out in March that, among other things, focuses readers on some basic truths when it comes to communicating the value of services to clients.

In "Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions," he extends the concept of benefits to "salient points." Salient points illuminate facts with meaning to facilitate quicker decisions from buyers. His example: "A label on a cheeseburger that says, 'You'll gain half a pound from eating this' communicates more salient information than 'Total calories: 1500.' Other examples:

Cars: miles per gallon vs. cost of fuel per year

iPads: gigabytes of storage capacity vs. number of songs and movies the device can hold

Charities: monetary amount vs. how long your donation will feed a child

In each case, the salient points add meaning to the facts, thus allowing people to appreciate the impact of the facts they are hearing which leads them to make decisions faster.

Salient Point for Sellers

It is so easy for sellers to get trapped in data dumps. We know so much and feel compelled to share it all! However, listeners today - and in the past - still want to know "Why do I care? What does it mean to me?" Without that link, it is hard for them to justify a decision.

Review your presentations and business conversations. Whether you call them benefits, so whats? or salient points, they are essential growing your business.

Sales and presentation specialist Anne Miller is the author of "Metaphorically Selling" and "Make What You Say Pay!". Check out her site at

Thursday, February 17, 2011

You're in Need of a Quick Win!

Sales trainer Kim Duke writes a newsletter geared towards women in the sales profession - although of course, her advice is so great, anyone can benefit from it! Today she shares a great reminder that can help get you out of the winter blahs and kickstart your sales!

I was hanging out with my nieces and sis last night. We were eating banana bread, watching 4 episodes of Cake Boss and just getting in some over-due GIRL TIME.

My oldest niece just started taking art and proudly pulled out her first drawings of spheres, shadows, arrows and boxes. She put her fuzzy slippers on my leg and said with a grin...

"I thought I was going to be terrible at art Auntie. But LOOK - I quickly did these - and they turned out great! My teacher said it's the best way to start art....with a QUICK WIN."

I stopped mid-bite of my banana bread.

"Quick Win??? OMG - you're brilliant -get me a pen!"

You Need To Get A Quick Win!


We're knee-deep in February, it feels like spring is never going to get here, and new and existing customers seem to be taking longer than usual to make up their minds.


Years ago I had a sales manager who had a great piece of advice when business was slow.

"Go sell something small."

My niece's art teacher was the same. She encouraged her students to have a QUICK WIN (and she made sure they did)

What's A Quick Win?

* You create a small intro or blow-out package for existing customers or people who are on the edge of buying from you - that is too enticing for them to turn down.
* Selling these small packages gives you the positive surge and momentum - it kick starts your sales again!

So get out there - and get YOUR QUICK WIN!

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

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sounding Deliberate or Desperate?

Sales trainer Renee Walkup focuses on helping salespeople to sell more over the phone, and the tips she shares today will do just that!

Yep, it's crummy, do you SOUND over the phone? I ran a seminar last week and the questions came from everyone in the room. "What do I do when I am feeling so desperate to make my numbers/close sales/keep my job?"

If there is one thing I know, after being in sales for over 20 years, is that this crappy economy will pass. We've been through this before and survived. Even thrived. The key to success is threefold:

1. Remain optimistic
2. Be persistent
3. Never let the customers "hear" (or see!) you sweat

No one wants to conduct business with a person who is begging for business. Think of it like dating. When you were dating (if you aren't still), did you REALLY want to go out with a person who was too available on Friday and Saturday nights?

The problem with telephone sales is that the more tense we are, the more it comes out in our voices. The reason is that when stressed, our vocal cords tighten up making us sound desperate. If you want to transform your "desperate" voice into your "deliberate" voice, read on. Once you begin sounding more confident and upbeat, your customers will feel encouraged that your company (and you) are in for the long haul. After all, companies ARE still buying, we just need to be there first in line to get the check, right? So here you go...

1. Use the Renee-method of "three" when leaving your message. It should have three parts: WHO you are, WHAT you are calling about, and the ACTION needed. WHO, WHAT, and ACTION. This message shouldn't last longer than 17 seconds. Here's an example: "Hi, Wayne. This is Renee Walkup of SalesPEAK. We fill a training gap by helping your salespeople book more appointments using the phone. Call me at: 678 587-9911."

2. Keep your feet off the desk, your head up, and your smile ON. When your posture is right, so is your powerful deliberate voice. If you sound distracted or discouraged, your customers will hear that even through thousands of miles of fiber optics and satellites.

3. Stop arguing with the customers. If you are getting push-back "no money, downsizing, blah blah", then resist the urge to create a combative conversation. I hear more and more salespeople doing this as their sales are down during these times. Just relax and handle the objections as you always have--professionally and with skill.

So these tips should get you jump-started into sounding more confident, more in control, and most importantly, help you close more sales!

Renee Walkup is president of SalesPEAK Inc. and author of "Selling to Anyone Over the Phone". You can contact her at 678-587-9911 or Her website is

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Try to Impress Your Prospect - Lose the Sale

I read this article from sales trainer Paul McCord and then couldn't stop thinking about it. He offers up an excellent point about using industry lingo to impress prospects, and how it could be negatively affecting your sales. Read on for his expert advice!

Knowledge should be one of the most powerful tools in our toolbox.

Knowing how to use specialized industry vocabularies should also be one of our basic and power tools.

In reality, for many of us, knowledge and specialized lingo are powerful--in costing us business.

Naturally a great many new salespeople are tempted to try to impress prospects and clients by demonstrating their product knowledge and slinging their newly learned industry vocabulary around. They tend to oversell, answer questions no prospect has ever had, dazzle with words the prospect and client may not be familiar with. They talk about the fine points of their product or service; discuss how their service or product will impact ROI; how best to onboard new employees or products or services; how their product or service creates a new paradigm to address the prospect's issues or needs; and the list goes on.

Impact ROI? I see, you mean whether or not it makes me more money than it costs. Onboarding new employees or products or services? I get it, you mean purchasing and integrating a new product or service or hiring and orienting a new employee. Creating a new paradigm to address issues or needs? You mean a different way of dealing with the problem, right?

You can say ROI, onboarding, or paradigm, or you could just talk to your prospect. Some say that if you want credibility with your prospects and clients you have to speak their language. I don't have a problem with that in the least--if you're actually speaking your prospect's language. But how many prospects actually talk about onboarding a new product or service or creating a new paradigm to address an issue or problem? And there's certainly something to be said about just talking to the prospect in plain English.

And very often new sellers butcher their newly acquired vocabulary and confound and frustrate their prospects with their enthusiastic demonstration of their knowledge of the minutiae of their product or service. Many lose more sales than they capture because of their lack of discipline and their need to impress.

Unfortunately I've noticed over the past three years that this desire to impress isn't confined to new sellers. I consistently run across experienced sellers who should know better that are making the same rookie mistakes. The only real difference between these experienced sellers and new salespeople is experienced sellers tend to have a better grasp of the industry lingo.

In the current tough selling environment even experienced sellers are falling into the trap of trying to oversell and to impress with their knowledge and 'deep' understanding of the prospect's issues. We tend to pull out all the stops and often end up losing our discipline and the prospect's attention. We try to force the sale.

Rather than creating new clients, we end up alienating them.

Whether you're a relatively new seller bursting with enthusiasm and wanting to impress your prospects or an experienced seller feeling the pressure to produce, you need to step back and relax. Giving in to the pressure to oversell and force the sale is self defeating. Address your prospect's needs and leave the unnecessary demonstration of knowledge and the impressive vocabulary at the office.

Paul McCord, a leading Business Development Strategist and president of McCord Training, works with companies and sales leaders to help them increase sales and profits by finding and connecting with high quality prospects in ways prospects respect and respond to. An internationally recognized author, speaker, trainer and consultant, Paul's clients range from giants such as Chase, New York Life, Siemens, and GE, to small and mid-size firms, as well as individual sales leaders. He is the author of the popular Sales and Sales Management Blog

Monday, February 14, 2011

Signal Your Intent

One of the most important things to me in the selling process is that the buyer always feel comfortable. I feel better during a sale if they always know where we are and what is going on - and this tip from sales trainer Kelley Robertson accomplishes just that. Today Robertson shares the importance of signaling your intent to your client, and making everyone feel comfortable.

One of my pet peeves is people who don't signal when driving. From a simple lane change to a turn at an intersection, it never ceases to amaze me how many people don't bother to signal their intent.

Sales people should signal their intent, too.

Here's what I mean.

As you start a discussion with a new prospect, outline how you plan to manage the sales conversation by saying something like,

"Rick, I'd like to start by asking you a few questions to gain a better understanding of your situation. That will help me determine if I have the right solution for you.

Assuming I can help you, I will prepare some information and we'll agree on a day and time to discuss it. Does that sound fair?"

Or, if this is a subsequent meeting or sales call you can signal your intent by saying,

"Susan, as we discussed in our last conversation, my goal today is to review the proposal, answer any questions you might have and to discuss the next steps. Does that still work for you?"

You may think that this fundamental step won't affect the outcome of your meeting or sales call. However, it is highly effective because it tells your prospect that you actually follow some sort of process while demonstrating your professionalism, expertise and self-control.

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

Friday, February 11, 2011

Lower Levels Can Sell Easily to C-Levels

Are you feeling too nervous to pick up the phone and call a company's CEO or CFO? Well, today sales trainer Sam Manfer shares tips and ideas to help you feel prepared and confident to face people on the C-Level and show them what you have to offer.

A CEO is working with a lot of papers on his desk. Underneath the papers there's a sharp letter opener. As he slides the papers over to do another task, he hears the scrape of the letter opener on his beautiful wood desk. He looks and is distressed because it has left an ugly mark. He calls his admin and she's also distressed. The VP of Sales is next door and he calls her over to look. She's no help. Then the admin says, let's call maintenance. George the maintenance guy comes up. He gets some Old English Polish, applies it, and the scratch disappears.

Two months later the CEO spills coffee leaving a stain. So who does he call directly? That's right George. Why, because George took care of the problem and delivered results. See it's not about level. It's about who can this high level executive trust to handle his issue.

Here's a common situation. You feel you're too low on the totem pole to reach out to some senior managers. You feel it would be better for your boss to meet with this high level exec. The resulting problem is this. Your senior managers only have the credibility of their title. The problems are: (1) they are not as close to the situation as you are and can easily screw up the opportunity the minute they open their mouths, and (2) you lose your chance to develop credibility.

Prepare Yourself

1. Pick and exec you'd like to meet. Getting to high level people (or anyone) is all about credibility.

a. What have you done to earn credibility with that executive? If nothing,

b. Who has credibility with this executive and is willing to transfer it (set-up a meeting) to you?

c. What would you have to say for that person to set-up a meeting for you?

2. People will only agree to meetings if there is a benefit for them. What's in it for this executive to meet with you? Be detailed and specific. You'll have to use this to get that meeting.

3. Other than title, what qualities do higher level people have that gets them meetings?

a. What does their position represent to get them the meeting?

b. What do you have to do to represent the same effect?

4. What would it take for your boss to get a meeting? What would he say? What additional work (if any) has to be done to get you the meeting instead?

5. List 3 people at high levels you've met with by yourself or without your boss

a. How did you get there?

b. What's keeping you from duplicating these same steps for a future meeting?

6. What else can you do to be seen as a credible solution source to a senior manager?

Taking It to the Streets

1. Now for that same exec you pick above, how will you get him or her to respect and trust you?

a. Get someone the executive trusts to introduce you. Look to those people you work with. But you'd better be prepared.

b. Show them or remind them they can win with you.

c. Tell them what to say and why it is important for the exec to meet with you. I.e. you want to make sure his/her expectations are being met by you and your company.

2. In the case where you use your bosses, how will you get them to transfer the credibility of their positions to you?

a. Instruct your boss to defer questions to you. Encourage your boss to let the client's exec know that you have the capability to handle his account. Note: You have to set this up with your bosses ahead of time.

Sam Manfer delivers key note speeches and in-depth selling work shops for those anxious to increase sales. His hands-on coaching turns individuals and sales organizations into selling whirlwinds. Sam's selling awards and $ Million sales recognitions support his methods. His book, TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER$ along with his Matching Chemistry's CD and sales seminars replace selling myths and cliches that frustrate decision makers with a proven approach that captures their attention. Follow Sam's C-Level Selling Blog for more insights. Sign-up for his free Selling E-Zine.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Benefit? Only if Your Customer Thinks So

For a long time now, we've talked about how important it is to sell the benefits of a product rather than the features. While this is good advice, sales trainer Mark Hunter takes it up a notch and explains why you need to have the customer talking benefits - rather than you!

As much as salespeople like to talk about the "benefits" of a product or service, the truth is that something only becomes a benefit when the customer says it is.

Nothing drives me crazy faster than having a salesperson share with me how their number one objective in a sales call leading up to the close is to explain to the customer all of the wonderful benefits of what they have to offer. Excuse me but this is why people have the perception that salespeople don't know how to listen and how the typical salesperson thinks they know everything.

A quote of mine I like to use is "it's not a benefit until the customer says it's a benefit." Get it? Until the customer speaks the words from their mouth, there is no way I or any other salesperson can say that's a benefit the customer wants. The reason I'm a strong believer in this comes down to my belief that when a person says something it has a lot more meaning than if they merely nod their head at something the salesperson just said. Let's face it...they could be nodding simply because they are polite.

When the customer actually says in their own words what they're looking for, then it takes on value. Plus, once they say what they're looking for, it then gives you, the salesperson, an excellent opportunity to ask follow-up questions to get the customer to reveal more.

We are in a much better position to close the sale and do so at a profitable margin when we’ve been able to get the customer to verbalize the various benefits they want.

One more thought — yes, it is possible to close a sale after having a customer verbalize to us one good benefit; however, I believe the more benefits the customer shares, the higher the profit margin you'll be able to achieve on the sale. The customer is expressing to you several benefits, each with a different degree of value to them. As the customer shares with you multiple benefits, keep in mind that they are providing you excellent information you can use as follow up after the initial sale. In other words, you can begin working toward the next sale. After all, a good sale is one that leads to the next sale.

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, February 8, 2011

Begin 2011 by Getting the Easy Sales

I know it's actually February, and not exactly the beginning of the year any more, but I really like this article from sales expert Art Sobczak and think it's excellent advice to start implementing anytime!

Did you go through an annual review recently? They can be very profitable.

Oh, I'm talking about YOU doing an annual review of your customer and prospect database, and then doing reviews with your customers and prospects.
That's right. The first place to mine for gold is in the treasure you now possess.

Most people begin a new year with grand plans to increase their new business. Yet many of those same people don't pick up the easy stuff first, skimming the cream that already residing in their computer.

Here's how.


Of course, you know everything important that's happened recently in the world of each of your best customers, right? And you have your thumb on exactly what their plans are for 2011 and beyond, right? And they're going to continue buying from you at the same level, right?

Of course you know this because they are very, very important to you, accounting for most of your income. They are helping to finance that new car, house, boat, or whatever else you have your eye on.

You are ingrained in these accounts because you also know that your smartest, hungriest competitors are having strategic sales meetings right now putting bulls eyes on those accounts, targeting them to steal away from you, so that THEY can get lots of business from them.

What's that you say? Maybe all of those things are NOT true? Maybe you should pay more attention to them? Yes, of course you should. Quickly.

Today. Target the 20% of your customers that now give you over 80% of your business. Call and do an annual review with them. But DO NOT say you just want to call and make sure everything is OK with them. Be proactive. Tell them that your goal is to help them have their best year ever.

Find out about
-Major changes.
-Bought or sold divisions, assets.
-Added or dropped product lines.
-Major initiatives.
-Changes planned for 2011.

-Personnel changes for them? Promotions. Changes in the department(s) that you affect.

Know the answers to these questions, and you'll increase your value to them, consequently providing a payoff for you.


Mine your database and pull out the customers who bought from you once, or those who just buy one or two items or limited single services from you.

Are you customers small because you THINK they are? Or are they buying other things that you sell from your competitors?

Chances are, the answer is "yes" to both questions.


Scan your database and pull out the 10-20 biggest sales you really wanted, worked hard for, but did NOT win in 2010. Call them.

But, please, do NOT say, "I'm just calling to touch base."

Review your notes and develop a value-added reason for calling. Say something like,

"I came across some interesting information in Info Industry Journal, and remembered how you were concerned with the issue of external data security locking in a multi-user environment. I wanted to send that to you ..."

Of course you would then ease into a discussion of their present situation, and perhaps uncover any possible areas of dissatisfaction.

Calls to all three of these groups are really no-brainers! Think about it ...'ve already done the heavy lifting with all of these people. You've put in the long hours, investing time and money in proposals and calls. You know their situation. And very importantly, you'll get to these people more easily than you would cold prospects. You probably know their executive assistants on a first name basis.

Try this. What will it be worth when you pick up a piece of business from one or two of them?

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

Monday, February 7, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Skill to do comes of doing." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Poet

You want to be a great cold caller? Someone who sends great, engaging emails? Someone who can talk to anyone? You may not realize it, but all of those things take LOTS of practice. They are all skills, something that people can work at and get better at.

So, that means you have to get started! If you don't like cold calling because you feel you're no good at it - unfortunately, you won't get any better unless you actually pick up the phone. It can be daunting and scary - so practice on your relatives and friends first. Then move on to a small new client that isn't intimidating. Keep moving your way up, and watch your confidence grow because of all your practice!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Strategies for Branding Yourself and Increasing Your Tele-Sales Revenues for 2011 - Part 2

Yesterday we ran the first half of an excellent article from tele-sales expert Jim Domanski on branding and building your business. Today we're featuring the second half of the article. Enjoy!

1. Get Better at E-mail Communications and Selling

Today's top 'brand' of B2B tele-sales reps must communicate at two levels. FACT: you will not achieve superior sales results if you cannot effectively use the telephone to prospect or sell if you cannot effectively craft a superb e-mail. The telephone provides audio messages (via direct contact and voice mail) and e-mail provides visual messages. In today's marketplace, the two go together like peas and carrots. The trouble is most reps do not know how to compose an effective e-mail that is persuasive and interesting. They write ponderous copy with a dozen sentences. The e-mail is crammed with self-serving propaganda. The grammar is questionable at best.
Learn how to write a good e-mail that LOOKS good and the READS good. And if you don't know how to do that, drop me an e-mail and I'll send you a report or two.

2. Practice Add On Selling

Over 70% of calls to clients and prospects end up in voice mail. What this means is that you must make the absolute most of the 30% or so calls that reach a live decision maker. Add on selling (AOS) is a means to squeeze, leverage and extract every single ounce of potential from the calls that you make in a professional, value added manner.

In practical terms, that means cross selling or up selling in a manner that educates the client and makes them want to listen and learn. For you that means additional revenue, usually at a better margin and typically, that means a better, bigger commission. AOS means asking for referrals because a good referral closes at a rate of 75%. AOS means getting curious and asking questions that gather 'market intelligence' by 'picking' your clients brains to get their thoughts, feeling and suggestions.

3. Work Just a Little Bit Harder

Do you want to quickly get a good name for yourself internally or externally? Then simply work harder. The top brands - products or people- did not become the top brand by sitting on the sideline watching their competitors waltz by. Top brands worked hard to achieve the #1 spot. It doesn't have to be 14 hour days. Translated, working hard means cranking out a few more calls in a day or arriving a little bit early - even fifteen minutes or staying late every now and then, and doing some work from home. It means searching for value added articles or recipes or thank you cards to send to clients to build personal relationships. It means learning your products inside and out. Break a sweat now and then.

4. Invest in Yourself

Invest a few bucks in yourself. Buy a book. Order some DVDs. Pay for a download. Sign up for a Send Out Cards program. Attend a webinar or conference and do it on your own dime. Invest in yourself and you invest in your brand by making it better, sharper, more professional. The moment YOU take some financial risk is the moment you'll want a greater ROI. You'll push yourself. You'll work harder because of it (see above). You'll buy those thank you cards and use them. You'll follow up a little more closely.

By Jim Domanski of Teleconcepts Consulting. Please visit Jim's web site at for additional articles and resources for tele-sales professionals.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Strategies for Branding Yourself and Increasing Your Tele-Sales Revenues for 2011

Jim Domanski is a tele-sales expert, and his advice today only showcases that. Today and tomorrow we will feature Domanski's take on personal branding, and how it will help you significantly with your tele-sales.

Here's the good news for 2011:

Tele-sales as a selling application (and as a profession) is growing as field sales continues to decline. More and more B2B companies are jumping onto the tele-sales bandwagon because it is fast, less costly and because it appeals to a new generation of buyers who do not need the same level of face-to-face contact. What they need and want is instant information and the telephone (in conjunction with the internet, e-mail, webinars, tele-conferences, etc.) is poised to deliver it. So this means there is a huge opportunity for you to succeed in tele-selling.

But here's the bad news for 2011:

Because tele-sales is growing there's going to be a glut of competition in the marketplace. More of your competitors will be calling your customers and prospects. In fact, more of your non-competitors are going to be using the telephone to contact your customers and prospects. So this means you need to differentiate yourself; stand out from you competitors and non-competitors. You need to be better, smarter, and more valuable so you stick out from the clutter.

And here's the solution:

Create your own personal 'brand.' In other words, you need to distinguish yourself in the eyes of your clients. You need to be recognizable, memorable, and valuable. You want your clients to say, "I'll take that call" or "I'll return that message."

7 Personal Branding Strategies

Strategy #1: Become a Business Resource

To be a strong brand, it is not enough to simply be a source of information (source of brochures, promotional literature, products, prices, offers, services etc.), you've got to be a "resource." A resource is someone who supplies prospects and clients with 'extras' that go beyond pitching a product or service. A resource provides unsolicited Special Reports and White Papers to add value. Resources scan industry magazines and rip out articles that they share with clients. They provide links to web sites that can help the client work better, smarter and faster. They send independent newsletters and data that their competitors would never think of doing.

Becoming a resource means you have to do more homework and become the industry expert; the product guru; or the 'go-to' guy when clients have a question. Resources do more. Extra. They create value.

2. Build Stronger Personal Relationships

All things being equal, people will buy from people they know, like and trust. In fact, all things being relatively unequal, people will still buy from people they know, like and trust. How well do you know your clients? How well do they know you? What have you done to create likability and trust?

You see, that's the difference between a transaction and a relationship. Customers can transact business with any company/sales rep that is relatively decent and competent. But they would prefer to do business with people who not only add the value (See Strategy #1) but who are interesting, likeable and 'worthy' of the business.

Even in B2B situations, there is still an element of emotion in the buying process.
To brand yourself, you need to tap into this emotional stream. It is planned and purposeful. That means sending thank you cards every now then. It means remembering a birthday or that their son plays hockey or their daughter plays volleyball. It means sending a Memphis Dry Rub recipe to an avid BBQer; it means sending an article from Golf Digest on chipping; it means finding memorable quotes; it might mean sending a cartoon; it could mean gentle teasing about Notre Dame losing to Michigan.

Building a relationship could mean sending homemade cookies, chocolates, or candy. Maybe donuts. Anything that solidifies the personal side of the selling equation.

3. Plan and Prepare More

Look, with the glut of competitors calling the same target markets, your call NEEDS to be well planned and prepared if you expect your clients to listen and perceive value. What this means is having a well-defined primary objective supported by secondary objectives. Once you know your objectives, you can define your step-by-step approach to the call itself. Think of the questions you should ask, the points you should make, and the objections you might encounter. Figure out how to leverage your relationship. Create a pre-text for calling. Craft your opening statement so it conveys a benefit to your customer or prospect. Rehearse if you need to.

Well planned call is a welcomed call. It wastes no one's time. It's clean, crisp and professional.

By Jim Domanski of Teleconcepts Consulting. Please visit Jim's web site at for additional articles and resources for tele-sales professionals.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Acknowledge Your Accomplishments Along The Way

Motivational speaker Josh Hinds' newsletter never fails to perk me up and get me motivated again. This article is no exception!

Are you patting yourself on the back enough? Chances are if you're moving too hastily towards your intended goals you're not taking ample time to enjoy your accomplishments. And doing so has so many benefits that it's something we should definitely develop the habit of doing more of. But make no mistake, the decision to do so begins with you.

First off taking our due credit for a job well done helps to crystallize in our minds that we're making progress. This in and of itself is reason enough to "stop and smell the roses", as the saying goes. Not to mention that acknowledging how far we've come so far helps to recharge our internal batteries, which gives us the get up and go we'll need to make things happen in our lives!

Simply put, take pleasure in your efforts! Doing so helps to remind us that what we're doing is worth the effort. Here's hoping you're well on your way to your own definition of personal success.

Incidentally, if you haven't gotten clear on what "success" means to you, take a little time to define it. It's hard to hit a target when you don't really know what it is.

Josh Hinds is a speaker, trainer, and author on topics such as networking and personal branding. Check out his popular newsletter at

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Spending Time With Clients

Every month sales trainer Dave Kahle receives a variety of questions from his readers. He recently answered a question regarding how much time should be spent outside the office, and I thought his answer was informative and a good reminder to salespeople. Here's the question:

You've said on several occasions that the most important part of my job is interacting with the customers. How important is it to spend time with the customers out of the office, and what percentage of time should I spend doing it?

So many of these answers begin with the phrase "it depends." This is another one of them. The amount of time and money you spend entertaining customers, or spending time with them outside of the office, depends on the value of the account. The larger the annual dollar potential, the more time you should seek to spend with the customer on a personal level.

For example, if you sell water softeners to homeowners at $1,000 each, you probably should not ever invest in entertaining. On the other hand, if you sell those same water softeners to retailers, and one particular retailer could buy 2,000 of them in the course of the year, you should seek to deepen the relationship with that customer.

So, the answer begins with you analyzing the dollar potential of each of your accounts, and then making the determination as to which accounts, if any, are worth your extra investment of time and money. After you've compiled a "hit list" of people with whom you'd like to spend some additional time, create an annual budget. This can vary from a couple hundred dollars for lunches over the course of a year, to something entirely different. I recall a friend of mine who was a manufacturer's rep in the automotive industry, with General Motors as his only account. In the by-gone-days of lavish entertainment, he had an annual entertainment budget of $80,000.

After you have compiled your "hit list" and developed a budget, you then need to determine what that customer could do. Some accounts have policies against having lunch with vendors, for example. Others don't. Don't create an awkward situation by inviting your customer to do something that the company's policy discourages.

Ideally, I'd like to see you have breakfast or lunch every day with a customer. That's a good use of time for both of you. Try to schedule events – concerts or sporting events are always good, and invite your hit list. Be careful about outright gifts. You don't want to be seen as "bribing" anyone. Instead, orchestrate time together so that you nurture and expand the relationship.

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