Friday, April 29, 2011

Stop Sabotaging Yourself and Get Into Action!

Today sales trainer Rochelle Togo-Figa shares how you can overcome fear and start making sales. She shares a story that will inspire you to get going!

Whenever we step into something new or take on something we've never done before, it's not uncommon to experience fear. It could be the fear of failure, fear of rejection, or fear of success. The fear can manifest itself in different ways that we're not always aware of. Some signs of hidden fear are: Procrastination, distraction, excuses, feeling stuck, feeling overwhelm, negative beliefs, worried, and anxious.

Let me share a story of a client and how she dealt with her fear. Maybe you'll see yourself in this story.

Christina came to me because she had started a new business, and was not taking the steps to get it off the ground. She's extremely talented and had huge success in her corporate position. She had enough of the corporate world and was eager to start her own business. She had no problem creating new ideas for her boss and presenting to vendors, but when it came to promoting herself and her business to others, suddenly she was stuck.

Christina had made a list of people to contact. These were people she knew and could possibly help her. When I asked her why she wasn't following up with these people, her response was, "Well, they told me they would call me and since they never returned my calls, I assumed they're not interested." I asked her, "Did they tell you they're not interested?" She responded "No, I just assumed they weren't interested since they didn't call back."

In reality, she didn't know why they weren't calling her back. She had made up a story and was stopped because she believed her story was true. Christina was transferring her own thoughts, beliefs and perceptions onto these people. And, the more she listened to her own thoughts, the more she believed they were true.

I suggested to Christina there might be others reasons they're not calling her back. They could be either busy or away.

She realized these excuses and reasons for not calling these people were also covering up her fear of rejection. What if they don't want to help me? What if they're not interested? As long as she believed these thoughts to be true, nothing would change and her business would suffer.

Once she distinguished her fear of failing was a self-imposed negative belief and not the truth, she began to feel freed up. The fear no longer had to keep her stopped. She knew she had created these self-limiting thoughts and they were not true. We took the negative thoughts and reframed them into positive thoughts. And every time the fear would come up, Christina would shift her thinking to a powerful, positive thought. This took practice but over time it became a new habit and easy to do. We then created a step-by-step plan and she got into action. What followed was amazing!

Christine was re-energized and ready to go forward. She contacted all the people on her list, completed her website, and started sending out letters introducing her services. The positive responses she received from people she had reached out to helped her to feel more confident and gave her more clarity on the direction of her business. And, the best news is two companies she had contacted have expressed interest in hiring her. These results happened when Christina identified the fear that had been holding her back, realized she had created the negative thoughts and changed her thoughts, created an action plan, and then got into action.

Your Assignment:

•When you feel stopped, step away from your office and spend quiet time with yourself.
•Write down all the thoughts you're having at this time.
•Then ask yourself, "Did I make up these thoughts?"
•Write down the answer next to each thought. You'll see that many of these thoughts are made up by you.
•Write down the steps you can take NOW to get you into action.
•Visualize yourself being in action and how it feels.
•Write down the date you will take action and the outcome you want to achieve. (Example: I will call Jim on Monday and he will be happy to hear from me, or he'll have someone to refer me to.)

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

Thursday, April 28, 2011

In Sales Your Attitude Is Everything About Everything

What an inspirational article from sales trainer Jim meisenheimer - enjoy!

In sales attitude is everything about everything.

Even though a lot of salespeople know this, they pay little attention to keeping their attitude positive on a daily basis.

Selling is never easy. In fact someone once said, "Selling is easy if you work hard at it."

If you have the wrong attitude, achieving selling success is almost impossible.
Your attitude is of course an intangible. It's also the foundation of your selling success.

Too many salespeople don't spend enough time working on their attitudes. You should think about it every day. You should think about it before every sales call.

After every sales call reflect on the attitude you had throughout the sales call.

How's your attitude when someone cancels an appointment at the last minute?

How's your attitude when someone says you’ll have 45 minutes for a sales presentation and he ends the call just after 20 minutes?

How's your attitude when someone takes a shot at your company?

Sure attitude is everything about everything in sales. Never forget this!

How's your attitude when someone starts hammering you on your pricing before you've had a chance to give your presentation?

How's your attitude when someone tells you they only buy on price?

How's your attitude when someone procrastinates and can't make a decision to buy the solutions you're selling?

How's your attitude when you find out the person you've been talking to isn't the decision-maker?

How's your attitude when you get a flat tire during a snow storm as you're driving to a sales prospect's office – an appointment you've been working on for 2 months?

How's your attitude when you're dealing with problems at home?

How's your attitude when you don't feel well?

Your attitude is everything and here's a real life example to illustrate this point.
During the Vietnam War, Air Force Colonel George Hall was shot down and captured in North Vietnam. He was a prisoner of war for 7.5 years.

Even though he was barefoot and dressed in his black prison uniform, shut up in a small cell, he realized that through the power of his imagination he had an amazing freedom. He realized his attitude is everything about everything.

He was able to leave his prison cell everyday dressed in a Polo shirt and slacks. He wore clean golf shoes. He could feel the thick grass under his feet.

The Colonel played each hole of his favorite golf course, starting with the first and ending with the eighteenth. He studied each shot, measured each swing, felt each blade of grass between his fingers as he replaced every divot.

He played his golf everyday in the theatre of his mind.

He noted the sand in each bunker, hit each shot, sank each putt and strode on to the next hole - all in his imagination.

Every day for 7.5 years he played a perfect game of golf on his favorite golf course. The Colonel realized that only he had the power to make a choice between being resigned to his fate, of fear and hopelessness, or he could replay his happiest moments from the past, taking his mind off solitary confinement and setting it free upon a beautiful and famous golf course.

When he returned from his captivity, in his first golf game he shot a 76-not a bad score for a professional golfer, but even more amazing for an amateur. When he was asked how he had accomplished such a feat, he said he never had more than 2 putts on a green during the last 7.5 years.

All those years of playing perfect games in the theatre of his mind, had produced a near perfect performance on a very challenging golf course! It was his best round of golf ever.

Don't think about how tough you have it in life think about how tough Colonel Hall had it for 7 1/2 years as a prisoner of war.

If you believe your attitude is everything about everything in your sales career, work on the little things you can do to maintain a very positive attitude every selling day?

Jim Meisenheimer publishes The No-Brainer Selling Tips Newsletter, a fresh and high content newsletter dedicated to helping you grow your business and multiply your income. Use this link to sign-up for Jim's F-R-E-E The Start Selling More Newsletter and to get your copy of his Special Report.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Relax and Recharge

I don't know about you, but I'm having one of those weeks. One of those weeks where I wake up in the morning and think to myself, "How is it only Wednesday?!" Reading this article helped to change my bleak mindset around this morning - thinking about and planning relaxation is relaxing in and of itself!

Regular relaxation is essential for a long life and personal effectiveness. Here are some techniques for relaxing physically that are used by the most successful and highest paid people in America.

Take Time Off Every Week
First of all, work only five or six days per week, and rest completely on the seventh day. Every single study in this area shows that you will be far more productive in the five or six days that you work if you take one or two days off completely than you ever would be if you worked straight through for seven days.

Get Your Mind Busy Elsewhere
During this time off, do not catch up on reports, organize your desk, prepare proposals, or do anything else that requires mental effort. Simply let your mind relax completely, and get busy doing things with your family and friends. Maybe work around the house, go for a walk, engage in physical exercise, watch television, go to a movie, or play with your children. Whatever you do, discipline yourself to shut your mental gears off completely for at least one 24-hour period every seven days.

Get Away on Mini-Vacations
Second, take one three-day vacation every three months, and during that time, refrain from doing any work. Do not attempt to catch up on even a few small things. If you do, you keep your mental gears in motion, and you end up neither resting nor properly doing work of any quality.

Take Big Chunks of Down Time
Third, take at least two full weeks off each year during which you do nothing that is work-related. You can either work or relax; you cannot do both. If you attempt to do a little work while you are on vacation, you never give your mental and emotional batteries a chance to recharge. You'll come back from your vacation just as tired as you were when you left.

Give Yourself a Break Today
If you are involved in a difficult relationship, or situation at work that is emotionally draining, discipline yourself to take a complete break from it at least one day per week. Put the concern out of your mind. Refuse to think about it. Don't continually discuss it, make telephone calls about it or mull it over in your mind. You cannot perform at your best mentally if you are emotionally preoccupied with a person or situation. You have to give yourself a break.

Go For a Walk in Nature
Since a change is as good as a rest, going for a nice long walk is a wonderful way to relax emotionally and mentally. As you put your physical body into motion, your thoughts and feelings seem to relax all by themselves.

Eat Lighter Foods
Also, remember that the process of digestion consumes an enormous amount of physical energy. Therefore, if you eat lighter foods, you will feel better and more refreshed afterward. If you eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain products, your digestive system will require far less energy to process them.

Be Good to Yourself
Since your diet has such an impact on your level of physical energy, and through it your levels of mental and emotional energy, the more fastidious you are about what you put into your mouth, the better you will feel and the more productive you will be. We know now that foods high in fat, sugar, or salt are not good for your body. The lighter the foods you eat, the more energy you have.

Action Exercises
Here are three things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action:

First, plan your weeks in advance and build in at least one day when you will relax from work completely. Discipline yourself to keep this date.

Second, reserve, book and pay for your three day vacations several months in advance. Once you've paid the money, you are much more likely to go rather than put it off.

Third, decide that you will not work at all during your vacations. When you work, work. And when you rest, rest 100% of the time. This is very important.

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, April 26, 2011

Welcome Price Objections

Sales trainer Tom Reilly never fails to give me a unique view on selling - and today's article is no different. He says a seller should welcome price objections - find out why!

Your price is too high. I can buy this cheaper someplace else. That is more than I want to spend.

These objections frustrate and intimidate salespeople. Price objections remain the chief perceived obstacle that salespeople bring to our seminars. Yet, they need not be as threatening as most salespeople believe. Simply, heed the words of two great thinkers.

Shakespeare wrote: "Death, where is thy sting? Love, where is thy glory?" To set the record straight, St. Paul wrote the former long before Shakespeare picked up his pen. To extend the metaphor, "Price, where is your sting?"

When customers raise money objections—notice that I said money and not price—they are expressing a concern over profitability, whether it is company or personal prosperity. The fact that buyers raise money concerns should give you some hope for your response if your solution has a positive financial impact on the buyer's business. Money is a better conversation to have than price.

"Mr. Buyer, the fact that you raised money (not price) as a concern is the most compelling reason why you should consider our solution again. There are at least five ways that we have a positive financial impact on your business …" At this point, elaborate on the various ways that your solution affects "money" for the buyer. This could include: time savings, quicker availability of product, greater energy efficiency, higher productivity of workers, more up time, etc.

When you frame price objections as money objections, it changes the conversation. It is a conversation that gives you a fighting chance. You have removed the sting from the objection and paved the way for a real conversation about your total value. Then, you can say, "Price, where is your sting?"

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, April 25, 2011

Quote of the Week

"If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are an excellent leader." -- Dolly Parton, Singer

Don't we all want to inspire someone else to do more with their life, and show them how dreaming big pays off? I know I do! This great quote reminds me that to inspire others, I need to dream big and work hard to inspire my own life!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Selling to the Old Brain - Three Ways to Increase Sales Results

Science was my favorite subject in school - especially biology and physiology. I love learning about how the human body does what it does. The amount of reactions going on inside your body just to move your hand or foot is mind-boggling! Enough of my nerdiness though - today sales trainer Colleen Stanley shares a great article that shows how you can use information learned from studies of the brain to make more sales.

Many salespeople have heard the phrase that selling is an art and a science. This phrase is moving beyond a cliche with research results from the world of neuroscience. The profession of sales is changing and sales professionals that desire a true competitive advantage know and apply the neuroscience behind how and why prospects make buying decisions.

Astute salespeople sell to the old brain, the amygdala. It is a small almond shaped structure, located above the eyeballs. The amygdala is the oldest part of the brain and screens all stimuli coming into the brain. This processing happens without logical thought or reasoning. When the "old brain" senses danger, it produces a fight or flight response in a person. Many untrained salespeople unknowingly send prospects into fight or flight mode because of their outdated selling techniques. They end up in uptight sales meetings, chase mode or losing to the new competitor: doing nothing.

Here are three ways that salespeople can sell to the old brain and increase sales:

#1: Stop asking leading questions. For some reason, salespeople change their language during a sales call. They ask leading questions such as, "So if we could show you how our product can save you thousands of dollars, would you want to move forward?" The old brain hears a close coming, defenses go up and the prospect goes into fight or flight mode. Prospect responses vary from objections (fight) to a think it over (flight.) Another common place in the sales process where salespeople ask leading questions is after delivery of their value proposition. "We work with companies who are challenged with this, this and this. Are you having any of these issues?" This leading question makes a prospect feel cornered and she responds with a "not really" or holds the conversation card closer to her chest. The result is a superficial conversation versus a transparent, consultative conversation.

The old brain doesn't like leading questions because they are manipulative and inauthentic. A better question to ask after delivering your value proposition is, "Not sure if you are having any of these issues..." This response is not trying to lead the prospect. The fight or flight response is eliminated and the prospect is more willing to engage with the salesperson.

#2: Seek the truth, not the sale. When a salesperson shows up to a sales meeting with the intent of closing business, the energy in the room changes and the old brain knows it. The prospect's guard goes up and level of conversation goes down. If you want to close more business, change the intent of your sales meeting from closing a sale to seeking the truth and doing the right thing. Please note that this is not a tactical selling skill. This is a mindset that a salesperson must fully embrace in order to show up different to a sales meeting. When a salesperson seeks the truth versus a sale, he asks better questions, the right questions and the tough questions. He brings up objections versus overcoming them. (Everyone in the room knows the objections so why not bring them up?)

For example, the truth seeking salesperson will ask the prospect, "Don't you have the resources in-house to do this project?" The prospect will be surprised and respond with the truth. And the truth could be yes, they can do it in-house. When would you like to know? Before you write a proposal or after? Remember, the old brain is on the lookout for danger. Truth telling is not dangerous, it's refreshing. The result is a relaxed sales meeting where both parties have an open dialogue about problems, challenges and goals.

#3: Focus on the prospect. There is a very old saying. "People buy from people they like and who are like them." Guess what, this old phrase is linked to the neuroscience of the brain. The astute salesperson is highly attentive to the prospect's communication style. She matches and mirrors the prospect‟s body language and energy. She pays attention to the prospect's rate and volume of speech and matches the pace. If a salesperson isn't applying these basic rapport building skills, he can show up to a sales meeting talking too fast, too slow or coming across as too intense. The amygdala sounds the alert of discomfort and the salesperson loses the business due to chemistry and lack of likeability.

Stop asking leading questions, seek the truth and focus on your prospect. Sales is about biology and psychology. Make sure you are selling to the old brain.

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

Thursday, April 21, 2011

SalesDog Quick Tip

Keep prospecting emails succinct.

The goal is to make your email look like something they can quickly read and address. Limit them to 175 words or less. Use 3-5 short paragraphs. Hold attachments back until you start the sales process.

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, April 20, 2011

The Importance of a Prospecting Routine

I love this advice from sales trainer Adrian Miller - it just makes sense!

Most of us have routines. We may get up at the same time each work day, follow a regular pattern of shower, coffee, morning news and then our commute with little deviation day by day.

How about at the gym? We work through a series of exercises and maybe machines, methodically working each muscle group. There's very little in the way of thought process; we just "know" what comes next.

And while being routinized 24/7 can be mind-numbing, there's something to be said with knowing what you have to do, when you have to do it and how to execute it to experience the desired outcomes.

And that's the way it should be with sales prospecting as well. You shouldn't be in the position of "reinventing the wheel" every time you engage in prospecting. I'll go one step further. Prospecting should be part and parcel of your "ongoing" business development efforts, not just a stopgap measure to do when sales dip down.

Yes, make sales prospecting part of your routine. It doesn't have to be a daily endeavor but you do have to know the following:

How many contacts do you need in your sales pipeline in order to win the volume of business that you need/want? (What is your "close" rate?)

What is your sales cycle (average length of time from the start of the sales dialogue to booking the business)?

How will you prospect (by phone, in-person canvassing, email, direct mail)? The mode will determine timing, follow-up, etc.

If you know these statistics you'll be better able to plan (routinize) the scope of prospecting effort that is required to meet your sales revenue goals.

So take the time to develop your plan and then make it a routine, something that you don't need to think about and reflect on.

Get into a "just do it" mindset and just like exercising and showering it will become part of your "regular" activities.

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, April 19, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade." -- Rudyard Kipling, author

This great quote is a simple reminder that if you want something, you have to work towards it. Nothing happens without hard work and dedication, so get out there and get going!

Monday, April 18, 2011

"Now That We're Done, Can I Ask You a Question?"

Today the Whetstone Group shares a great way for you to get a second chance with a prospect when it seems like there's nothing left to be done. It's definitely worth a try!

Problem: We blew it. The prospect said "no." We worked like crazy to put together a great presentation and our hopes to get a commitment to buy were high, but it just did't happen. The result was a no...failure, and worse, now we don't know where to go. Do we just pack it up and leave? There's got to be a better exit strategy than that.

Analysis: We have to look back to the qualifying steps of the call. We probably failed to accurately diagnose the prospect's pain and as a result our prescription (or proposal) was off target. But it's too late now. We need a strategy to get us back in the game. Here’s an idea that works.

Prescription: After you've gotten a "no" from the prospect, try saying something like this. "Mr. Prospect, it sounds like it's over. Am I right?" Prospect acknowledges that it is. Then you say, "Well, now that we're finished, can I ask you a question before I leave?" The prospect will let you do this since he has a vision of your imminent departure. You continue, "First let me apologize. I really felt like we had a good fit, but obviously I failed to completely understand what you were looking for. That's my fault." Now you conclude with, "What were you really hoping I would have brought to the table today so that you would have felt more comfortable with my proposal?"

This is where the prospect will typically bail you out and tell you what you needed to present to get the business. Once he's told you, if it's something you can do, you may be able to resurrect the sale by saying, "Thanks, I guess I really blew it. But if I could do that, would it make any sense for us to continue talking or should we keep the file closed?" You'll be amazed at how it gets people to open up and talk, once they think it's over. It may give you that second chance you need to make the sale.

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

Friday, April 15, 2011

Don't Discount an Opportunity

Opportunities to meet new prospects are everywhere - but we often discount them because we don't think those people are a good fit. While qualifying is important, business coach Diane Helbig shares a story that's a great reminder to look for possibilities everywhere - you never know when you'll be surprised.

I know a lot of solopreneurs who think about using public speaking as a marketing tool. I like this strategy because it accomplishes a lot of the relationship building & exposure they need to grow their businesses.

These same people sometimes struggle with determining where they should speak. Some environemtns don't seem to make sense. For example, someone who sells B2B (business to business) might think it not worth their time to speak at a Kiwanis or Rotary meeting; or even a church group or PTA. I can certainly see why they'd think this. They don't think their target audience is in the room, or paying attention.

However, I'm not sure they're right. Last year I spoke at a Rotary meeting. I really didn't think it would be a way to build my client base. But, a friend of mine asked me to speak, and I often think these kinds of things are leaps of faith. So, I got up early in the morning and headed over to the meeting. I gave my speech and met some really great people. What's more, I added some people to my newsletter list. I was more than happy with the outcome.

The other night I conducted a Social Media Hands-on Workshop. Lo and behold, one of the attendees was someone who'd heard me speak that morning last year. He'd been following me ever since and when he saw the workshop on my newsletter, he signed up. This proved to me that the exposure and connections you receive when you do presentations can be invaluable to your business.

Now, do I believe that you should target where you speak and try to gain opportunities at events that are germane to your business? Of course I do! My only point with the story above is to suggest that you not discount other opportunities. You never know where your next piece of business might come from.

When you are providing value through your presentation, people will be drawn to you, and your business will grow.

Diane Helbig is a Professional Coach, and President of Seize This Day Coaching. She works one-on-one and in groups with business owners, entrepreneurs, and salespeople. Visit her website at

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Best Practices: Prepare Better Sales Questions

Today sales trainer Dave Kahle shares how to create better questions that will aid your sales process. Sounds good to me!

The single most powerful tool that a sales person has is a well-phrased, appropriately asked question. Nothing else compares to the impact a good question can have on the customer and the sales process.

That's because a good question directs and influences the customer's thinking. When you ask a question, they think of the answer. That simple statement neatly packages the latent power of a good question.

Yet, few sales people understand that, and fewer still implement it. A number of years ago, a study was done on this very issue. Here are the results:

"Out of 300 sales people studied, 87 percent realize the importance of asking questions. However, only 27 percent displayed the ability to ask a well thought out, stimulating series of questions."

In other words, thirteen percent of the sales people in the world don't even recognize the power of asking a good question. And only about one out of four could actually do it. That means that three out of every four sales people, or 75 percent, don't ask good questions.

There are two issues here: First, realizing the importance of using good questions effectively, and second, actually doing so.

This is such a big issue that my book, Question Your Way to Sales Success, is devoted entirely to this issue.

Everyone can ask a question. I have a three year old grandson. He can do it. This issue isn't asking questions; the issue is asking better sales questions. While I can't condense the book to a few hundred words here, I can point out a couple of things that the best do with this most powerful tool.

1. They prepare their major questions before the sales call. This gives them the time to select the best language and sequence.

2. They are mindful, at every stage of the sales process, of using better sales questions. They understand that there are questions, there are good questions, and there are better sales questions. So, they constantly focus on creating and using better sales questions. Whether it's a cold call on a prospect, or following up after the sale, at every stage of the sales process, a more effective use of questions will produce dramatically better results. And they know that.

3. They collect good questions over time, and use them over and over again.

A master sales person is a master at the use of better sales questions. That's why it is a best practice of the best.

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

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Are You Winging It?

Today sales trainer Skip Miller discusses the importance of practice - it's an excellent reminder!

It's the start of the baseball season. The NCAA basketball tournaments are just over. Hockey and the NBA are starting to look at the playoffs.What do all these events have to do with selling?

At each of these events, the athletes are honing their skills and trying to put themselves into a position where their skills are juxtaposed with the right opportunity. They are being paid so that all the preparation and practice they have learned through the years is paying off and they can command the most of their talents for the right opportunity.

Hmmmm, it does sound like sales…except the part where the sales person is practicing their selling skills. You know the answer.

Q: Where does the sales person spend the most time preparing for the important sales call?

In between the car door and the front door?
In between when they pick up the phone and the prospect says, "Hello?"

The answer is both, and it sure does speak to the sales and sales management profession. Imagine the coach of a sport team asking the player right before the game:

How many points are you going to get this week?
We are in a five-game many goals are you going to get this month?
How many one-putt greens are you going to get for the tournament?
It's just as silly to ask what's closing this week, but that's another story for another time.

It is all about the tools. Practice the tools you already have and the ones you have forgot (You have the book). When was the last time you practiced in front of your peers a 30-Second Speech, 2nd Call and Beyond, or a G.A.P. Chart? Oh, and since all great sales calls start with the end in mind, what about those Summarize/Bridge/Pulls?

You want to get people to call you back – 20-Second Speech. Need to power prospect – ValueStar and questions about trains. You don't need to tell them about you!

If you don't practice the tools, you will go back to your old habits, and you know those will not get you the results you need to make the year, let alone the next quarter. A 'tool' a week, and practice for 15-30 minutes. Basketball players practice free throws longer than that. Golfers, who have been playing golf all their lives, practice their putting longer than that...and daily. What makes you think you are at the top of your game without practice? Oh yeah, ShowTime. I forgot. Wing it from 60 feet?

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, April 12, 2011

How Many Questions Should You Ask at a Time?

At a social function I was talking to a guy who asked five questions in a row, didn't listen to any of the answers, and only used his questions as a springboard to talk about himself.

Since I didn't take much interest in what he was pitching (he shoved his business card into my hand) I watched and listened as he did that with several other people he met.

Sure, we all know we should ask questions. But the effort is wasted if they're not asked in the right way, or you don't listen to the answers.

Key Sales Point
When a listener hears a question, their mind immediately is conditioned to begin searching for answers. However, when several questions are posed in rapid-fire sequence, you leave the person confused as to which one they should answer first. And, some questions are not answered at all if you don’t give them an opportunity.

For example, read this scenario without stopping to think about each question, as if you were the person hearing the questions:

Caller: "And what do you feel your company needs most regarding boosting morale and enthusiasm? Do you think it would be compensation related...or maybe training? And how does that affect performance in all of the departments?"

Did you feel like a spinning top, rotating around trying to focus on the questions coming from all directions? Same thing happens with prospect and customers.

1. Ask one question at a time. If it's not important enough to stand on its own, don't ask it.

2. After you ask it, shut up. If they don't answer immediately, resist the urge to answer it for them or follow up with another one. They're likely thinking about what they're going to say.

3. After they apparently have finished, remain quiet for 1-2 more seconds. You might get additional information, and ensures you don't interrupt.

4. Follow-up their answer with a related question. Don't ping-pong around from subject to subject. For example, if they answered with, "I believe the main problem we have right now is a lack of motivation," a logical next query would be, "Oh, what are some specific situations where you've seen a lack of motivation?"

5. Be confident in your questioning. One reason people ask multiple questions is that they aren't comfortable asking questions. The only way you're going to truly help someone is by finding out about them. You're not intruding. You're assisting.

Fielding multiple questions is confusing for the listener, and counter-productive for you. Ask one at a time, and listen!

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:

Friday, April 8, 2011

What is Your Victory Strategy?

Today's article comes from sales trainer Tom Reilly.

"Okay, team, let's win this game! We have put together a powerful offense and a solid defense. All we need to do now is to put some points on the board and to stop the other guys from scoring. Get out there and win this game!"

This scenario is played out thousands of times weekly in sporting events, as coaches inspire their teams with motivational rhetoric. There is only one thing missing—the game plan. Imagine this team running on the field yelling, "Hey Coach, what are we supposed to do when we get out here?" The disconnect between rhetoric and execution is not limited to athletic teams. I see this daily in sales teams.

"Let's go out there and get the business!" How many times have you heard that in a sales meeting? No plan. No strategy. Just rhetoric. The net result of this disconnect is a frustrated sales force because they lack the strategic guidance that a good plan offers. Witness this phenomenon in the following attitudes:

"All business is good business." Do you really believe this?

"Get the business, and we'll figure out a way to make money on it." This sounds like the tail wagging the dog.

"We need the volume." Don't you mean profitable volume?

Fewer than one-in-five employees is able to connect their day-to-day activities to the mission of the organization. This disconnect is the result of management's failure to have their strategy mapped out on paper, with marching orders for the troops. If your strategy is not on paper, you have no strategy. If your marketing strategy is not presented tactically to the sales team, you have no real plan. If it is not practical, it is not tactical.

When salespeople cannot answer this simple question, there is a problem: "What is fundamentally good business for our company?" The answer to this question provides the sales team with the strategic direction they need to allocate their sales time effectively. How can a sales force be criticized for its failure to perform when management has failed to perform its fundamental responsibility—planning, directing, and controlling resources toward achieving organizational objectives?

A battle cry without a battle plan is simply noise.

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

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How Not to Follow-Up

"I'm just calling to follow-up?" That phrase really gets you no where! Today sales expert Wendy Weiss shares what you can do to avoid it and really make a connection with prospects.

This week I've been barraged by phone calls from vendors. You see, a couple of weeks ago I attended the Selling Power Sales 2.0 Conference that was held in San Francisco. It was a great conference and I'm delighted that I attended. During the conference I was able to make the rounds and I spoke with most of the exhibitors there. And of course, I gave them all my business card.

This week the calls started: "Hello Wendy. I'm with _____________. Thank you for stopping by our booth. I'm just calling to follow-up." Call after call after call after call after call of sales reps, "...just calling to follow-up."

I truly wonder how much business these reps have gained with that introduction. I'm willing to bet, judging from the caliber of the calls I received—not a lot. So what should these "following-up" sales professionals have said or done instead of using that lame phrase?

Well, to start off—they should have done their homework. While in the crush of a big conference with many, many exhibitors and a large number of attendees it is frequently difficult to qualify a prospect - they should have at least tried. I had in depth conversations with many of the vendors. From those conversations those vendors should have know that Weiss Communications was not a good prospect for
their wares. You see, they were almost all on the hunt for Enterprise level customers. Weiss Communications is not yet an Enterprise level business.

With a good system in place, they should have made notes after our conversation and taken Weiss Communications off of their list for the reps to call. The challenge here, of course, is that most exhibitors never have any kind of system. They gather as many business cards as they can and then spend time (waste time) calling everyone.

I've received multiple calls from each vendor, multiple voice mail messages, and multiple emails from each of them. That's a lot of phone time and it's simply a waste of time—their time—I just hit delete. The bottom line with qualifying prospects is that if you're not speaking with a qualified prospect, that prospect will never buy anything from you.

There's a real low tech solution here. When you have a conversation with someone at a conference, make a note on the back of their business card. Combine that with a slightly more high tech solution: Google each company or visit their web site before you spend the time to call them. These simple solutions will leave reps with a list that is far more qualified. It will save time and it will make them more effective.

Once you have a list that you've pared down, a list that you believe with the information that you have, is a qualified list—then you start making calls. And when your prospect answers, instead of, "I'm just calling to follow-up" try: "What made you decide to attend the conference?" "What challenges are you looking to solve?" "What made you decide to stop by our booth?" "What did you think of our solution/product/offering?" There are many, many possible questions that you can use to start off your conversation.

The bottom line is that you want to get your prospect talking. You want to find out what are their challenges, what keeps them up at night, what do they worry about… then you can point out how your offering might be able to help.

That is how you engage a real prospect in a real conversation that could lead to a real sale.

Today's article is by sales expert Wendy Weiss. Learn more at or email her at

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Selling and Prospecting Are Different Skills

Remember that selling and prospecting are different skills. To be the top sales dog, you have to be good at both. Practice each consistently, work on your technique, and you'll improve over time.

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, April 5, 2011

What Does Eye Movement Reveal?

Today sales trainer Mark Hunter shares how you can watch your prospect's eye movement to learn more about what they're thinking.

Eye movement can reveal a lot about a person's level of confidence and commitment. Rapid movement of the eyes many times will indicate the person is not confident about what they are saying — or what they are hearing.

We simply do not pay enough attention to the eyes, whether it be our own eyes or those of the person to whom we are talking. The eyes reveal a significant amount about a person, and yet over the past 25 years as a society, we've learned not to focus on eye contact.

I'm not sure if this is because of the percentage of our conversations that occur on-line and on the telephone — both scenarios where there is no eye contact — or if the decline in eye contact is due to something else.

If we can learn to give people good eye contact and, at the same time, use our eye contact to study them, I believe we can learn a significant amount about how they think and may react to what we're discussing.

Rapid eye movement is but one indicator, but that in itself is huge, as it can tell us their level of confidence. Confident people are calm, and calm people have stable eye movement. This is why many police officers use the eyes as a leading indicator when they're talking to somebody.

Eye movement or eye contact also can tell us if the person is engaged with us or pre-occupied. Yes, it's very easy for people to pick up a person's lack of interest if they are not giving us eye contact, but we can also tell by their level of focus. When people are attentive to what you're saying, their eyes will have far more focus than the aimless stare of the disengaged person.

What I find amazing about all of this is these are not complex insights. They are very basic. Yet that's what makes them so good, because so few people truly learn from the other person's eyes. Raising our awareness to this one cue can open doors where we can gain valuable information.

One final thought — I may have shared this all in the context of watching someone else's eyes, but don't forget the same observations apply to your eyes as well. So pay attention to what you are doing with your own eyes too.

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

Monday, April 4, 2011

Quote of the Week

"People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds. It is something one creates." -- Thomas Szasz, psychiatrist

As someone who has experienced job unhappiness in the past, I have felt the feeling that "I haven't found myself" yet. As if there is a perfect job out there for every single person, just waiting for them so they can become their true selves. I think mine might be to be a book reviewer. Reading and telling people what I think? Sounds good to me!

Of course, I am not a book reviewer, and still I have found a way to be happy with the job that I have. I agree with the quote above - it has to do with creating happiness yourself. Finding something meaningful in each day and being proud of it. Can you find these things in your day? Being proud of your writing in an email or how well you conversed with someone is a baby step towards feeling fulfilled with your job, and yourself!

See what you can feel good about today!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Becoming an Expert

A reader recently sent the question below to sales expert Dave Kahle, asking how effective salespeople manage learning about the many different businesses they call on. Kahle's advice to the reader is practical and easy-to-follow!

Q. Dave, on several occasions you have said that our customers want us to understand their business. How do we do that when we call on lots of different types of businesses? How do we become experts in everything?

A. Unless you are a real genius, you don’t. Rather, you do two things:

1. You prioritize your prospects and customers, focusing your best efforts and your greatest investment of sales time on a smaller number of customers whom you decide are the highest potential customers. So, you decide that while you cannot become experts in every customer, you can become an expert in a few. This requires you to "demote" some customers so that you can "promote" others. Choose those others well.

If you are going to do this well, it is a whole lot more complex than it sounds. You may want to read chapter six of my book, Ten Secrets of Time Management for Salespeople. It explains in detail the concepts, processes and tools necessary to make cold-blooded business decisions about in which customers you should invest your valuable time.

2. Then, decide that while you may not be able to become an expert in everyone's business, you can still, in the time that you do have, learn more about each customer's business. There is a whole lot of room between being ignorant of their business and being an expert in it. Decide to move slowly and inexorably toward the "expert" end of the spectrum.

That means that you decide to become more skilled at the processes and skills necessary to understand your customer better each and every time you meet with him/her. Regardless of what type of business on which you are calling, you can still drill deeper in that particular sales call, even if it is only one call a year. To do this, you focus on improving your observing, asking and listening skills.

So, you focus more precisely on a smaller number of high potential customers, and then you focus on using the time that you have to more completely understanding every customer.

You are in it for the long run. There are very few short term solutions in sales. Invest in the right customers, and in doing the right things with every customer, and you'll see your performance improve.

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