Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Email is Great - Or is it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Do the Tough Things First

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

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

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

Okay, here it is...

Start with the most important tasks first.

Simple, huh?

Well, it is in theory.

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

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

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

They require effort and considerable mental energy.

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

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

Here's my suggestion for the upcoming week.

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

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

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

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

Monday, June 27, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Losing is a learning experience. It teaches you humility. It teaches you to work harder. It's also a powerful motivator." -- Yogi Berra

When you lose a prospect or client how do you react? Do you let it defeat you and keep you from making more sales, or do you take that loss as an inspiration to work harder and do better for your clients? Take inspiration from every setback, and you'll find that nothing can keep you from success!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Organized for Success or for Failure?

Today sales expert Colleen Francis discusses what you need to stay organized in today's busy selling world. After all, your level of organization is key to your success!

You can not be successful if you are not organized. Being organized does not mean having a spotless sanitized desk with a pen in every color to match your color coded file system. Nope. Being organized means having one place, one contact management system that you use everyday to manage all client files, your complete calendar, every task, and all information you need to prepare for each sales call.

There are a variety of systems you can use. Chose one that meets your business needs. I will not tell you what to buy. I will tell you that spreadsheets, databases and email systems are worthless systems to manage your sales opportunities. They do not allow you to manage key aspects of your business such as, scheduled follow up calls, your calendar, multiple account contacts, and your sales opportunity funnel, in one place.

I recommend a true sales force automation system such as, (for example) Infusion Act! Landslide,, SugarCRM, Maximiser, Pivotal, Saleslogix, Goldmine or Oncontact, because they become your sales dashboard. A well used contact management system, organizes your day and your calls, while allowing you a complete view on all tasks required to close a sale. Please note that I am not endorsing any of these systems above. They were the only ones that I could think of off the top of my head….

A well implemented CRM is NOT an administration tool, it is a sales tool. If used properly it will help you sell more, in less time, and with less stress! Your objective is to get into the habit of using it everyday, for everything. The best sales people I know use their contact management systems to track, at a minimum:

1) Customer contact details for multiple account contacts

2) Personal and professional milestone dates such as birthdays and company anniversaries

3) Sales funnel opportunities such as how much a prospect will buy and when

4) Status of the prospect in the sales cycles, probability of close, and by when

5) Scheduled meetings, calls, and follow up tasks

6) Notes of past calls and actions

7) Links of emails sent

In short, every correspondence to or from a customer goes into the contact manager. Using it this way allows a top performer to empty their mind of data clutter, and forever eliminates the “…I have a funny feeling I have to do something today but I can’t remember what…” problem we inevitable get when we are busy, and disorganized.

With their mind freed up from “customer information clutter” the top 10% can focus their attention completely on the task they are working on at the moment, usually prospecting, presenting and closing without fear of missing another important task..

Here is an interesting story that shows how ineffective a sales call can be when you are not organized:

A few months ago I had a voice mail left from the office of a very prominent author and consultant. You would all know his name if I told you, so I won’t. The sales rep’s message was that Mr. Big Wig wanted to invite me to an event. I was intrigued and flattered so I called back, got the rep on the phone and said, “This is Colleen Francis, you called yesterday about a meeting with Mr. Big Wig?” He said…

“Oh…. I did?…. When did you say I called?”

Was my patient reply.

“Oh”…… (long pause)….”Hmm… “What did you say your name was again?”

“Colleen Francis”
was my not so patient reply

“Hmm? I’m not sure what this was regarding; did you say you met X at an event?”

I went on to explain to the situation to the rep. He interrupted and said “Oh yeah!” and followed up with a sales pitch to a seminar.

Do you think I bought?

Now, to be fair, I am NOT saying that this selling atrocity would not have occurred had the rep been using a contact management system. Nothing can take the place of a bit of common sense or a human brain. What I am saying, is that had this sales rep been using a proper contact management system, he could have looked up my name while we were talking (even put me on hold for a minute while he did this), scanned his notes from yesterday to see why he called me and recovered the call quickly and effectively.

You can’t be expected to commit every sales activity to memory. This is a sure recipe for failure and the reason why sales reps forget calls, are late sending proposals or routinely repeat the same questions to clients in successive meetings.

Get and start using a contact management system today. If you have one in place, make sure you are using it to its full capability. This is the only action I am recommending you take this week. You will be glad you did.

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Listen Constructively

While we all know the importance of listening, today sales expert Dave Kahle shares the importance of listening constructively. It's a great read!

A study of the behavioral characteristics of the best sales people was published a few years ago. One of the not-so-surprising conclusions was this: The best sales people “listen more constructively” than their more average counterparts.

What does it mean to “listen constructively?” My wife is a crises counselor, and she talks about listening “empathetically.” That means that she listens to understand and relate to how people are feeling. But the study didn’t say great sales people listen “empathetically,” it said they listen “constructively.”

There is a clue to its meaning in the word itself. Think “constructively = construction = building.” Listening constructively means to listen for things upon which to build.

Great sale people ask great questions, and then listen more constructively. They focus intently on what the customer is saying, filter it through the perspective of things “upon which to build.” So, they build their next question on the braces and beams of the customer’s answer. As they dig deeper and listen intently, they gather a better picture of the customer’s issues, needs, situation, motivation and concerns. They form a clearer mental “blue print” of the selling situation, and are able, therefore, to provide a more accurate and appealing solution.

This, of course, flies in the face of a piece of conventional wisdom that proclaims that good sales people are good talkers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Good sales people are good listeners, not good talkers.

A study published by, found that 74% of 200 purchasers surveyed at companies nationwide said they would be “much more likely” to buy from a sales person if the seller would simply listen to the prospect.

Imagine that. Almost three quarters of customers would be more likely to buy if the sales person would just listen!

Listening well -- listening constructively -- is not a natural skill. It takes intentionality and dedication to work consistently at it and to become, over time, one of the best listeners. As in every aspect of sales success, the best decide to become the best, and put in the time and effort it takes to gradually develop the skills that take them to the top.

There are few things more important than listening well. The best do it better than the average. That’s why they are 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

Monday, June 20, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Your imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions." -- Albert Einstein, Physicist

If you want something, you need to be able to imagine it first. Think in detail about what you want, and picture yourself achieving it. Then get started on what you need to do to make it happen!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Time Management Tip - 1 in 20

I love time management tips, and this one from business expert Diane Helbig is excellent!

So many people are struggling these days with time management. I hear it all the time 'I just need to figure out how to schedule an hour a day...'

Here's a thought - STOP trying!

I think the mistake we make is trying to carve out big blocks of time. They're too big so we don't do it. Let's face it, if we had an hour to do something, well, we'd be totally organized and productive!

Try looking at it differently. Compartmentalize. Pick 1 thing to do in 20 minutes in one day. Don't over-analyze it or worry over it. Just set out to do 1 thing in 20 minutes today. Tomorrow you can pick a different thing to do in 20 minutes.

This serves two purposes
1. it helps you break your tasks down into little bite-size, DOABLE, pieces.
2. it puts that thing into a little space so you can do it and move on.

When you work this way you will find that you are accomplishing things. This will prompt you to continue the process, which will serve to accomplish more and more things in your business. How great is that??!!

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, June 16, 2011

Are You Giving A Profound Show and Tell Experience?

Today sales expert Kim Duke shares an important sales lesson - with a fun story, like always!

I love to cook! As a kid growing up on the Canadian prairies - it seemed a rite of passage to learn how to cook from your mother. By the age of 12 I could make a complete roast beef dinner complete with mashed potatoes and gravy. Cooking truly is one of the joys of my life!

When I was recently in France, one of my favorite fun things to do was to shop at the local village markets. There's a local market happening almost every day of the week.

We stopped at a table where a man was selling knives of every shape and size. The prices were high but that's not the most important thing to a cook.

What's important?

Having SHARP Knives.

Using my limited French skills I asked...."How sharp are these knives?"

The man looked at me and said nothing. And then he provided a PROFOUND Show and Tell Experience.

First he picked up a piece of paper, held it in the air and cut it into thin, clean strips with short strokes as if he was a fencing expert.

Are You Giving A Profound Show and Tell Experience?

Here's a big hint for you.

People don't like to buy risky things at risky prices from risky people. So if someone doesn't know or trust you - guess what? They think YOU'RE RISKY.

What's One Of The Fastest Ways To Reduce Risk?

Show and Tell. (Notice how the word SHOW comes before TELL?)

Are you consistently...
•Displaying before and after pictures?
•Showing powerful testimonials with names, locations and pics?
•Allowing people to test your product or service?
•Providing samples?
•Using endorsements of celebrities (if applicable)?
•Showing the media coverage you've had?
•Offering a variety of ways for them to "sample you"? ie/ ezines, articles, printed newsletters, video, audio, podcasts, blogs, Facebook etc?

If you're not? I bet you're struggling. And really - selling doesn't have to be a struggle!

What you need to do is evaluate HOW and WHAT you can do to offer your customers a
PROFOUND Show and Tell Experience.

Now...back to France. HOW did the gentleman give me a PROFOUND Show and Tell Experience?

He didn't say a word. Instead he put his hand in front of me - lifted his thumb...
..and proceeded to shave thin shavings off the front of his thumbnail with the knife.
He looked at me with a smile and I looked back with an even bigger one.

SOLD! I bought 3 knives in about 3 seconds.

I was happy and so was he.

Don't be the risky person with the risky product or service and the risky price. Come up with a PROFOUND Show and Tell Experience for your potential customers instead.

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, June 15, 2011

Don’t Make These Sales and Marketing Mistakes

Today sales trainer Jim Meisenheimer shares some important tips (and things to avoid!) when selling.

How would you rate your sales and marketing effectiveness?

When it comes to sales and marketing, you can either be effective or ineffective.

I saw an incredible demonstration recently on how to do it right.

Let me explain. Recently my wife and I went to Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota. The show was “George Gershwin Alone.” It was a one man show about the music and lyrics by the brothers George and Ira Gershwin.

It was based on the book written by Hershey Felder who also happened to be the star of the show. What a terrific performance.

Depending on how good the show is there usually are curtain calls.

When this show ended Hershey came out to a standing ovation. But this was different.

After a short minute or two he waved at the audience to take our seats and we did.

He asked the audience to call out George Gershwin song titles for him to play and sing. Then he proceeded to sing some songs and had fun with the audience.

So when he finishes this routine he says the Theatre asked him for his help.

He said in one week he would be doing another limited engagement show, “Maestro – The Art Of Leonard Bernstein.” He told us he wanted us to go to the Box Office right after the show and buy tickets because we would save 20% because we were at today’s show.

Well of course I was the first one in line to buy these tickets.

He said the Theatre asked for even more help. He agreed. He told us he brought just 200 copies of his soon to be released NEW CD and he would donate all the proceeds to the Theatre.

He said he would also be happy to autograph the CDs.

After I bought the tickets to his next show, I also bought his new CD for $50.

Look, Hershey gave an amazing performance and then proceeded to demonstrate the art of salesmanship.
He gave us a call to action. He told us where to go to buy the tickets today.

He gave us an incentive for buying today – save 20%.
He created a sense of urgency with his CDs by saying the supply was limited and he only had 200 copies.

He added more value by offering to autograph the CDs.
I go to a show to be entertained and I was. I also had the opportunity to see a brilliant display of salesmanship.

Let me put this into a business perspective for you.

Some of the biggest sales and marketing mistakes I see salespeople and companies making include the following:

Selling on price. Why sell on price when you can sell on value? I believe the word discount should be eliminated from all marketing and advertising materials.

The word discount should be replaced with the words value and incentives. And whenever possible your value should be quantified in dollars.

If you can’t quantify your value don’t expect your sales prospects and customers to be able to see it.

Selling features instead of selling benefits. This is a huge mistake marketers make. Salespeople also do the same thing and are always talking about features instead of focusing on the product’s benefits.

Let’s take a windshield wiper blade for example. These blades are made of rubber plain and simple. Yes they cling to the windshield and remove rain, sleet, and snow from your windshield.

But what’s the benefit for your customer? Well, the benefit for a senior citizen who has to drive down a mountain to buy groceries and go to church during a winter storm is peace of mind and safety because the windshield wiper blades enable your customer to see clearly and drive safely.

Emphasize the benefits if you want to motivate your sales prospects and customers to buy your products.

No sense of urgency. Tell your sales prospects and customers that, using this example, your supply of wiper blades is limited, just like Hershey did. In fact tell them how many you have in stock and they need to hurry in because they’ll be all gone in a few days.

No call to action. This one is a no-brainer. Do what you can to make it easier for your customers to buy.

Bernadette, my wife, goes ballistic when she sees an article or an advertisement for a product she’s interested in and there’s no contact information.

Be sure to include a person’s name, an address, a phone number, store hours, and a website if your product can be ordered on line.

Tell people to visit your place of business or your website today to get a special bonus product with every purchase.

Make it easy for your customers to do business with you and they’ll keep coming back.

And always say, “Thank you for your business,” enthusiastically!

And I must thank Hershey again for his 2 brilliant and memorable performances.

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 titled, "The 12 Dumbest Things Salespeople Do."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Pipeline Myth

Today sales trainer Skip Miller shares how to clean out your pipeline to separate the real prospects from those that are just taking up your time and energy. A good summer cleaning will do wonders for your time and ability to reach good prospects!

End of 2Q coming up. Pipeline looks OK, and what does not close this month will slide right into July and start the second half of the year off with a good head start.

You're kidding, right?

Most sales organizations live with 40-60% forecast accuracy. That is to say, given 50 deals and a 90-day window, about half will close. Other deals will come in, some others drop out, bluebirds will peek in, etc. It gets to where you ask 'why bother with forecasting anyway'; just close what you can.

Sales people can be really ProActive if they want to make sure they are forecasting real deals, and have a better than 50/50 shot.

Get an I-Date
What date does the prospect say they are going to use your stuff, not when they are going to buy it. I-Dates are dates the customer is going to start using what you are going to sell them to make money, save time, or lower their risk, and their has to be a reason for the I-Date; not just because the prospect told you so.

Get a Cause
What is causing the prospect to change, to do something different, to spend time talking to you? Not what do they want (feature/benefit), but what is the reason they are changing the way they are doing things, and why are they talking to someone like you?

Get a Homework Assignment
It is amazing that sales people believe if they do everything the prospect asks of them, they will "reward" them with an order. Such a push. It's OK to ask the prospect early in the sale to do a homework assignment. Give them a task to do. Have them give you a referral, red line an agenda, kick off a demonstration. The more "sweat equity" they invest early in the process, the better chance you have of determining if this is a real deal. If they are unwilling to do some homework, what does that really tell you about the commitment they have to working with you? Hmmm.

You have 30 days to close and clean out that pipeline. Yes, you will end up with a short pipeline list and have to go find (prospect for) more business. Myths and delusions are hard to close. Better you hunt early than go after table scraps.

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

Monday, June 13, 2011

Quote of the Week

"The key to successful time management is doing the most important task first, and giving it your full concentration, to the exclusion of everything else." -- Alex MacKenzie

In sales, there are so many tasks to do. In addition to prospecting and selling, there's research, meeting preparation, emails, phone calls, and lots of other busy work to complete in a day. That means it's very easy to be productive, doing things other than the big thing you should be focusing on.

This quote reminds us to focus on the one big thing first, get it out of the way, and then go back to those other things. It's a way to stay productive, and feel accomplished!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Screeners See Right Through These Cheesy Techniques

Today sales expert Art Sobczak uses a real-life example to remind us of sales tactics to avoid - one of the biggest being stale, manipulative techniques to get past the gatekeeper.

This actually happened to me a few years ago, and I was reminded of it when a reader told me he received a call from a guy using the same technique.

The caller was suspiciously evasive with my assistant: "I'm calling him back. Will you connect me now please?" he insisted.

My calls aren't screened, but I do want to know who's calling and the nature of the call. "There's some guy on line one ... says he's calling you back. I don't recognize the name. Sounds like kind of a jerk."

The caller greeted me:

"Hi Art, Gary Smith with International Investors."

He then breathlessly spewed a pitch on municipal bonds.

I interrupted him. "I don't know you and never called you. You told my assistant you were calling me back."

"Yeah, well, heh, heh ... I called you a few days ago, you weren't in, so now I'm calling you back. I told the truth."

Wonderful. Someone who practices "technical truth."

Perhaps deception, mincing of words, evasion of questions, and outright lies are accepted by and expected from some people, but I believe they have no place in professional sales. I have to wonder, when callers use these tactics, what are they thinking? That the person they actually get through to--if they do--is going to congratulate them for being a slimeball? Hey, nice job buddy on using the old, "It's a personal call" technique to get through to me. Haven't heard that one in a while!

Tactics to Avoid
Here are tactics to avoid when dealing with screeners, and on voice mail ... approaches that clearly label callers as time-wasting, self-interested salesmen.

-Leaving only a name and number for a call back. Not identifying your company suggests you have something to hide. Granted, it almost forces the prospect to return the call, thinking it might be a prospect or customer. He might even get his expectations up. But the balloon falls with a thud when he realizes it's a salesperson trying to sell him something.

-Making a statement, then a demand. As in, "I need to speak with Jan Smith. Please connect me." Sure. Let's try to intimidate the screener into putting the call through. What are these people thinking?

-Believing the nonsense of, "Never give screeners any information because they can't buy from you." Maybe most of them can't make the final decision to buy, but they can make the decision that no one will buy from you.

Keep in mind what the screener says to the boss after they put you on hold and announce the call to the boss. You don't want them to say, "There's some bozo on the line who sounds like he's selling something. Want me to ditch him?"

What To Do Instead
Here are some ideas on what to do to enhance your chances of reaching your decision maker, getting help in doing so, and having more and better information once you arrive.

-Ask for help. The simplest, yet most effective technique I know is asking for help. You appeal to a person's innate sense of feeling needed, wanted ... important.

-Ask for information. Engage in "social engineering" as I explain in "Smart Calling." Gather as much elementary, factual, qualifying information as you can before speaking with your decision maker. They expect it. Their job is not to waste time educating you with stuff you should already know by the time you reach them. Preface your questions to screeners, assistants ... anyone, with, "I want to be sure that what I have will be of interest to Kathy. There's probably some information you could give me ..." This also positions you apart from typical salespeople who don't respect the buyer's time.

-Have something of value. This is the not so secret "secret" to getting people to return your calls, or at least them being in a positive frame of mind when you call back. You must, I repeat, must, have something of interest for them. Why would they take your call otherwise?

-Your value item should answer a question: "What will you help them gain or avoid?" They don't care diddly about your products or services. They'll let you through or return your message if they suspect you might be able to help them get something they want, or avoid something they don't. And the more customized and relevant your value item, the better (see the point above about gathering information).

For example, a value statement to a screener could be, "We specialize in helping H.R. Directors spend less time screening resumes of unqualified applicants. Depending upon whether or not that's an issue for him, we might have something that he'd like to take a look at. I'd like to ask him a few questions to determine that." And that is very easily modified into a voice mail message as well.

Want to get through more often and have more calls returned so you have a chance to sell? Then don't sound and act like a stereotypical salesperson.

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:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

21 Actions You Can Take Today to Improve Your Tele-Sales Results

This is a great list from tele-sales expert Jim Domanski that will get you selling more over the phone right away!

Want to kick start some life into your telephone selling efforts? Want to get out of that rut? Achieve more? Sell more?

The secret to improving your success is to stop wishing and to start DOING. DO SOMETHING! Take action. Get moving. Shake things up a bit. Get the ball rolling.

In the spirit of the strategy here are 21 ACTIONS you can take today and every day to create momentum and increase your sales.

1. Send 5 handwritten thank you cards to existing clients. Tell them you appreciate their business; that you don't take them for granted. This builds equity in you ... and improves loyalty

2. Ask your manager to monitor some of your calls and provide you with feedback. Additional perspective might provide you with a tip, idea, technique or perspective to give you an extra sale or two.

3. Get into your office and at your desk 15 minutes earlier each day this week. That amounts to 2.5 extra hours of dialing ... and that means more opportunities.

4. Revamp your opening statement. Try a new approach to your opener. Make sure to include a strong benefit. Practice it. Implement it. Stick to it. Change can be very good.

5. Invest in yourself. Go out and buy a book on selling. Then crack it open. Get new ideas, new perspectives, new ways of doing things. It can only help.

6. Stay 10 minutes later every day this week. That's just under an hour more per week. See what happens when you make time for opportunities.

7. Ask 5 customers for a referral. Referrals close at a higher rate and in less time. And they're a lot easier than cold calls.

8. Find an industry related article on the web or in a trade magazine that your clients might find valuable. Send/e-mail this article to 10 clients. By doing this, you become a value added resource. It builds your equity and improves loyalty (see Point #1).

9. Swap 5 of your prospects who are not returning your call with 5 prospects from a co-worker. Sometimes a new voice and new approach generates a sale or a lead. It works! Do it now.

10. Eat lunch at your desk and explore the internet looking for selling articles, blogs and newsletters that can help improve your sales game. Subscribe to those you like and read them every day.

11. Call 5 of your best clients and ask them what you are doing well from a sales perspective ... then ask them what you could do better. You'll be amazed at the little things that mean a lot. And they'll be flattered.

12. Create a master list of 30 top prospects on a spread sheet or a yellow legal pad. Put their names, companies and phone numbers. Use the list as a fast way to make cold calls when you have a few minutes here and there.

13. Monitor 5 calls of a top performing co-worker. Get additional insights on what they do and how they do it.

14. Make a conscious attempt to cross sell or up sell every time you get an order. Use a Post-It note to remind yourself and prompt the effort. This increases the value of your sale ... and that's a good thing!

15. Check your e-mails at 8:00, 10:00, 12:00, 2:00 and 4:00 ... And not in between. Constantly checking e-mails destroys focus and concentration and distracts you from your calling effort. Be disciplined.

16. Ask 5 customers for a testimonial. Ask them for a simple quote that you can use in an e-mail or letter. Send them an e-mail, confirm the quote and start using them.

17. Change your voice mail ... daily. It takes about 17 seconds but it tells callers that you are there and attentive to messages they might leave.

18. Compliment one or two or three of your co-workers on calls they have made. It creates a positive atmosphere. Typically, they return the favour ... and that can give you an extra 'boost' when you need it.

19, Start keeping a sales journal. Get a 'black book' and record your victories and triumphs. Note your 'losses.' Jot down a good idea or technique. Use it at meetings. Make it a selling job aid. Review it every week on Monday and remind yourself of the things you learned.

20. Check your voice mails at 8:05, 10:05, 12:05, 2:05 and 4:05 (i.e., after you have checked your e-mails- Point #15). Batch non-urgent activities like these so that they don't interrupt the flow of your call.

21. Establish a set of specific personal goals every day. Set activity goals (dials, contacts) and set performance goals (sales, leads, revenue). Post them and drive.

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

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Texting Your Customers? Think Twice!

With the prevalence of texting in our everyday lives, this article comes just in time! Read on to learn why you should think twice before texting that new client.

Texting has become commonplace, but don't ever text a customer or prospect — unless they have first texted you.

Yes, texting is a form of communication, but it is a form of communication without boundaries and that's where we can get into problem. What one person may view as acceptable another person may view as unacceptable.

First problem with texting customers is if they will even know who the text is coming from.

Every few weeks I receive a text from someone who immediately jumps in and shares with me some piece of information. Nothing wrong with this, but I have no idea who it came from. I have an iPhone, and the only time it identifies who the text is from is if I already have that person’s name and number in my contacts.

My experience is going to be similar to just about anyone else with a cell phone. For this reason, I do not text a customer unless they have first sent a text to me.

A second factor to consider is the value of time. When many people send a text, they expect an immediate response. There's nothing abnormal about this, assuming the person receiving the text feels the same way. For this reason, it is just better to let a customer or prospect be the one to do the initial text.

The third issue is the wide use of abbreviations. What one person may abbreviate one way another person may very well abbreviate using different letters. Obviously this can result in a huge problem if the two people texting have different ideas of what they are each saying.

Nobody really knows for sure what role text messaging will play in the business world 2 years, 5 years, or even 10 years from now.

But for now I'll stick with my rule of not using text messaging until the other person has sent me one first. And even when we do engage in texting, I hold fast to the rule of no abbreviations, no slang, and no lengthy texts.

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

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

SalesDog Quick Tip

Try Different Prospecting Methods

Many sellers develop favorite ways of prospecting because they feel most comfortable. Even though you may prefer face-to-face networking, for example, devote some days to other activities like phone or email prospecting. Create multiple sources of leads.

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

Monday, June 6, 2011

Quote of the Week

"Before you begin a thing, remind yourself that difficulties and delays quite impossible to foresee are ahead... You can only see one thing clearly, and that is your goal. Form a mental vision of that and cling to it through thick and thin." -- Kathleen Norris, Writer

This quote is an excellent reminder that getting what we want doesn't come easy. Sure, it may seem like we can reach that bigger numbers goal with just a few more clients, but getting those few big clients requires dedication, practice, and a little luck. We may get sidetracked and broken down on the road to our goals, but if we always keep those goals in mind, we will be able to power through. Hold on to what motivates you most!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Cold Calling Perfection: Are You Hearing This?

Today's article comes from sales trainer Kendra Lee, who shares great ideas for how you can better your cold calls!

In email prospecting strategies, one of the first things I advise is that you send yourself a draft before hitting the final send. That way, you get a sense of what it's like for your prospects to receive your emails. You can quickly see where you need to make adjustments to grab your prospect's attention and get a reply.

This same checkup strategy works well for your cold calls, too.

Many of your best and worst phone habits are the ones you probably aren't even aware of until you hear them. 'the same habits that may be keeping you from closing more first appointments.

So, how do you assess your cold call effectiveness? Record them.

It used to be that only the largest companies had access to telephone recording equipment. These days, however, numerous recording options exist. Recording functionality may already be built into your company phone system. If not, at the very least, you can use one of the free conference calling options that record calls.

Depending on where you live, there could be legal issues that require you to notify your prospect that you're recording the call, so do confirm that first. And if recording cold calls makes you uneasy or isn't possible, ask a peer to listen in while you make calls instead

Here's a quick checklist of 10 things you should listen for in your cold call reviews.

1.Are you opening the call with a compelling value proposition? The better you get at grabbing a prospect's attention during the first few moments of a cold call, the easier time you'll have of advancing the sale.

2.Are you talking about products, or business needs? Prospects care most about solutions to their problems, so be sure to frame your call in those terms.

3.Do you sound like an expert? It's important to be authoritative if you want prospects to trust you with their time, much less their investment.

4.Are the suggestions you make, or situations you talk about, accurate? For your discussion to have any weight, it has to focus on a need the prospect considers to be valid and important.

5.How are your listening skills? No cold call should be a one-way conversation. Ask questions that engage your prospects and learn to listen closely to the feedback you're receiving from prospects.

6.How does your telephone voice sound? Is your voice clear and relaxed, or full of "um's" and "ah's?" Cultivating a strong, clear phone voice is important for making prospects comfortable with you.

7.How skilled are you at dealing with objections? Cold calling is full of objections. Practice dealing with them over the phone and your appointment closing ratio will improve drastically.

8.Are you building enough interest before you ask for an appointment? Asking for an appointment too early is a common sales mistake. Make sure the prospect is interested enough in what you're talking about before you propose the next step.

9.Do you look for referrals if your contact turns out not to be the decision maker? Sometimes our research lets us down, but finding the wrong contact doesn't have to halt the sales opportunity. Ask for a referral to the correct decision maker and reference your initial call as an introduction.

10.Is the voicemail you leave one that you would return? If you're going to make cold calls, you're going to leave voicemails. Learning to leave the prospect with a compelling message – and clearly spoken return phone number – are great ways to make your telephone prospecting more effective.

If you can refine your cold calling, you'll get past gatekeepers more effectively, leave more compelling messages, gather more relevant information, and close more first appointments.

And who doesn't want to do all those things?

Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert and author of the award winning book Selling Against the Goal and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment. 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, June 1, 2011

Is Mental Baggage Dragging You Down?

I thought this article was especially appropriate after yesterday's quote. Our thinking plays a huge part in our success!

We all carry around mental baggage. It influences us in everything we do, both in our business and personal lives.

Mental baggage is a collection of all the situations we have experienced or encountered during our lifetimes. We carry all this baggage around in our heads and draw from it when appropriate situations present themselves. Unfortunately, is also prevents us from increasing our sales and improving our sales results.

Here's how it affects us in sales.

At one time during your career you have had to deal with a difficult prospect or had to make that tough sales call. You dreaded making the call because you were certain that your prospect would cut you off and wouldn't give you the opportunity to talk. And sure enough, when you made that call, that's what happened.

Or, you prepared for a cold call but your tongue got tied up and twisted in your mouth and you struggled to get the words out. You hung up with your cheeks burning in shame.

Everyone in sales has encountered situations like this from time-to-time and those situations affect and influence your behaviour today.

What baggage is dragging you down and negatively affecting your sales results and preventing you from increasing your sales?

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