Friday, July 29, 2011

9 Key Steps to Closing Bigger Sales

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rochelle Togo-Figa, The Sales Breakthrough Strategist, is the creator of the Inner Game of Salesâ„¢, a proven step-by-step sales process that will help you close more sales, sign on more clients and make more money with ease and velocity. To sign up for her free sales articles and teleclasses on closing more sales, visit

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Maximize Your Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

SalesDog Quick Tip

Record Your Cold Calls

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

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

Monday, July 25, 2011

Quote of the Week

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

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

Friday, July 22, 2011

Relationships Are Everything

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Do the Hustle

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Another Lousy Appointment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, July 18, 2011

Quote of the Week

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

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

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

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How Do You Measure Success?

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

SalesDog Quick Tip

Devote One Day a Week to Prospecting

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

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

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author of 42 books, Dianna Booher, CSP, CPAE, delivers keynotes, breakout sessions, and training on communication and life-balance issues. Her latest books: Speak with Confidence, Your Signature Life, Your Signature Work, E-Writing, and Communicate with Confidence.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Quote of the Week

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

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

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Three Biggest Mistakes in Sales Presentations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Think Like A CEO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Quick Tip: Write Out Your Questions Beforehand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

4 Ways to Get Out of a Sales Slump

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike Brooks,, is creator and publisher of the "Top 20% Inside Sales Tips" weekly Ezine. If you're ready to Double Your Income Selling Over the Phone, then sign up to receive your FREE tips now at:

Friday, July 1, 2011

Time and the Art of Selling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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