Monday, December 31, 2007

Quote of the Week

"Get over the idea that only children should spend their time in study. Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life." -- Henry L. Doherty

The most successful salespeople view sales as a never-ending learning process. If you're committed to making more sales in the New Year why not make a resolution to study your craft for a few minutes every day?

We're here to be your expert resource for sales advice - so take advantage of it! Click through our resources section, ask questions in our blog, contact our sales experts, order our book, read the newsletter and discuss it with your colleagues or manager.

We'll be back on Wednesday, working with you towards sales success. Happy New Year!
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Friday, December 28, 2007

A New Kind of Resolution

It's almost time for New Year's Resolutions. Besides the usual resolutions of eating better or exercising, how about making a commitment to helping your customers in any way you can?

I came across this tip from sales expert Dave Kahle, and was immediately impressed by the giving attitude (and how it can help you win more sales!) What a way to start the New Year.

"When a customer goes out of business in your territory, get the home addresses, phone numbers and resumes of your contacts," says Kahle. "When you hear of a position opening up somewhere, let them know about it. Try to help them find jobs in your area. Whether or not they find employment because of you, they will recognize that you tried to help. Keep in contact with them. It is possible that they will surface in a position of responsibility for some other company giving you a great opportunity to leverage your relationship into a new account."

Dave Kahle is president of The DaCo Corporation, a sales training and consulting firm. He is also a high-energy, high-content speaker, with a special gift for engaging his audiences and stimulating people to think. Learn more about Dave by visiting his website at www.DaveKahle.com.
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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fill the pipeline with real prospects - not information seekers

Here's a helpful quick tip from Chris Lytle, CSP:

Here's the scenario: The meeting ends. The person across the desk tells you, "I'm interested. Call me next Thursday and we can discuss this further."

Many salespeople dutifully note on their calendars to follow up next Thursday. However, top producers know that a real prospect will be willing to schedule the next step. An information seeker will gladly let you take the initiative for chasing him down.

Find out early in the relationship whether you're dealing with a real prospect or an information seeker with the following words: "Since you're interested, I want to ask you to work with me on a calendar basis. That way I'm not chasing you and we're not playing phone tag. Let's get this follow-up call on both of our calendars."

The people who are willing to engage with you - to put you on their calendars - have passed the acid test. They're your real prospects.

"Let's work on a calendar basis." Make this your mantra and you're going to close more sales.

Chris Lytle, CSP, time releases immediately applicable sales advice via the MAX-ATM Automatic Training Machine website. Check it out at www.max-atm.com.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Where is everybody?

It's the day after Christmas and while much of the world is returning unwanted gifts, or sleeping off the eggnog, SalesDog is back on the job.

If you're reading this, I suspect you're working too. Allow me to share a secret I learned from telesales guru Art Sobczak: This week can be the best selling time of your sales year.

Huh? SalesDog, are you barking mad? No one's in. Everyone's gone until after New Year's. What are you talking about?

Think about it: you're not the only one working today. Plenty of your prospects are. Many of their gatekeepers are not there to hold you back. If your prospect is working, he's probably not being distracted by co-workers, his customers, meetings, and reports that are due. He's probably answering his own phone, and has time to talk.

Now is prime time for reaching prospects. They'll be more relaxed and willing to spend a few minutes with you. And, if they're looking for ways to spend money that is still left in their budgets? Well, I think you're getting the picture.

So, stop lamenting, and get dialing. Come back and share some of your successes this week.

Art Sobczak helps sales pros use the phone to prospect, service and sell more effectively, while eliminating morale-killing "rejection." See free articles and back issues of his weekly emailed sales tips at www.BusinessByPhone.com.
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Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays!

The SalesDog blog will be quiet Monday and Tuesday, as we're closed for the Christmas holiday. We'll be back and blogging on Wednesday, December 26. In the meantime, we wish you and yours the very happiest of holidays.
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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Be memorable, and make more sales

I recently came across an article on Entrepreneur.com that got me thinking. Here's an excerpt:

"Every time John Costigan of John Costigan Companies hands out one of his metal business cards with a custom cutout of his own profile, he's giving away $2. But Costigan, whose Cary, North Carolina sales training firm grows yearly, says it doesn't hold him back one second. He estimates that he's gained over $100,000 in business since debuting the cards in 2003. 'Metal represents what my company is - sharp, different, bold,' says Costigan, 43. He hands out a card to every person who takes his class, reasoning, 'The return on investment is more than worth it.'"

What an interesting idea - a subtle marketing message built into your business card. There are so many ways to make yourself memorable - whether with your business card, a thank you note, or simply the way you treat customers.

What are you doing to be memorable?
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

SalesDog is in the news

Our new sales advice book, Top Dog Sales Secrets, was just reviewed on ebiztutors.com. This site is a great resource for businesses looking to grow, so we're excited to be recommended by their editors. You can read the review here.
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You've got a plan. How do you stick to it?

As the calendar year winds down, thoughts turn to new goals for a new year. Maybe you had a great year and want to go further, or maybe you didn't perform as you hoped and need to make some changes. Whatever your situation, thinking ahead will help you make it happen.

How do you ensure that you stick to your plan and reach your goals? Sales trainer Colleen Francis has some tips to help you focus:
  • Make each goal quantifiable. It's simple to say, "I want to triple my sales this year," but how realistic is a goal like that? To make goals stick, you need a breakdown of exactly how you plan to succeed. How many more cold calls would it require? How many presentations?
  • Execute on a daily basis. Once your goals are quantified, make a daily chart that includes the number of cold calls made, presentations scheduled, sales closed, etc. It's the only way to chart your progress and adjust on a week-to-week basis.
  • Create a "To-Do List." Successful salespeople know goals are more than words on paper. Each week, make a list of the top five things you need to adjust in order to achieve them. The following week, replace the ones you've accomplished and continue to work on the others.
  • Create constant rewards along the way. You are the ultimate manager of you! Lasting success comes when your motivation comes from within - not an outside source. To help along the way, provide yourself an incentive at key milestones. Try setting up small bonuses for meeting benchmarks along the way. Treat yourself to a purchase, a trip, a day off, or coffee with a friend. One way to achieve long-term goals is by focusing on short-term ones. I believe that what gets rewarded gets repeated.
Check out more of Colleen's advice at www.engageselling.com. You can also reach her by calling 877-364-2438 or emailing her at [email protected]
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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Slamming the iPhone

You'd be hard-pressed to find a business person - heck, even a 12-year-old, who hasn't thought about getting an iPhone. All those features in one tiny device? I'm sold! Sales trainer and consultant Robert Graham was too - until Verizon stopped him from switching carriers with an "iPhone slam." Read on for Graham's story - and his advice on how you can apply Verizon's strategies to keep your customers.

So taken was I with Apple's new iPhone, that I called Verizon to cancel my service. I told Travis, the Customer Support Agent that I had to quit in order to buy the cherished device. Travis said fine, and described the cancellation process. Then, just before we ended the call, he pulled The iPhone Slam. He said, "Before you make the switch, I just want to make sure you know some of the problems with the iPhone."

For example, the iPhone
  • Can't send pictures (not true)
  • Can't text (also not true)
  • At&T's wireless network is slow (definitely true)
  • Has a weak battery that the user can't swap out which, when it dies, will be a serious headache (definitely an issue)
He then said, "In fact, if you would like, I could send you a comparison sheet detailing all these points." And while we were speaking, I got a PDF that highlighted many of the problems people have with "the Apple device from AT&T," as they call it.

My chat with Apple
Now I had some doubts about making the switch, so I called Apple. When I told the customer service agent about my Verizon call, he laughed and said that all the other carriers have iPhone slam campaigns. He debunked some of the points above, played down some of the others and admitted to a few faults.

In the end, I decided to wait until iPhone 2.0 is released so they can iron out some of the kinks. I couldn't help but smile when I realized that the reason I didn't buy an iPhone that day was because the Verizon support specialist had been trained on how to slam the iPhone. Had he simply told me how to cancel my service, I would have done it.

Lessons learned
The lesson I took from this was not, of course, to slam my competition. In fact, I always give credit where it is due and go out of my way to build alliances with my competition.

There were, however, a handful of great sales lessons to learn here:
  1. Be prepared with answers to common questions, misconceptions and objections
  2. Know your information so that you can be helpful, effective and don't tell lies
  3. Have your resources ready so you can fire something off during your call or immediately after
  4. Always tend to your client's best interests
  5. Be professional, courteous and ethical
And, most importantly of all,

6. If you're going to go down, go down swinging.

Robert Graham is the Principal of GrahamComm, LLC, a consulting and training company that helps clients deliver outstanding presentations and dramatically increase their sales. Sign up for his monthly Ezine, Speaking and Selling Success, at www.grahamcomm.net.
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Monday, December 17, 2007

Quote of the Week

"As long as you're going to be thinking anyway, think big." -- Donald Trump

Great advice. It doesn't take any more effort to think big, and your opportunities will expand as you expand your thinking.

Keep this advice in mind this week. It will inspire you to call big, ask big, and sell big. Go for it!
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Friday, December 14, 2007

Help for Last-Minute Business Gift-Givers

If you're scrambling to get a gift into your customer's hands before they take off for the holidays, relax. "Think New Year's" suggests SalesDog.com Managing Editor Tina LoSasso in the new sales advice book, Top Dog Sales Secrets.

Get the cards in the mail. Then send an appropriate New Year's gift. Think pens, desk clocks, or paperweights, packaged with noisemakers and streamers. Timing your gift to arrive right before New Year's is a great way to stand apart from everyone else.

When is a gift not a gift? When it comes with your company's logo on it. Save the logo-embossed pens, paperweights, mouse pads and calculators for trade shows. And gift certificates from your own company are not really gifts. They're promotions that make you look stingier than Scrooge. Instead, send a gift certificate from a national department store or ecommerce site. Many sites offer corporate gift certificate programs.

Remember, everyone gets a card. All clients, large and small, should receive a holiday card. Avoid religious themes. Stick to "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings" and again, no advertising. Resist the urge to add your company logo or business tagline on a greeting card.

Tina LoSasso is Managing Editor of SalesDog.com and a contributor to the new sales advice book, Top Dog Sales Secrets.
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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Lady SalesDog in the News

Don't take our word for it! Multiple news outlets have been contacting Lady SalesDog recently to get her advice on business gift-giving. She was recently featured in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

For more gift-giving tips, find Lady SalesDog's complete advice here.

Happy Holidays!

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Setting Goals for 2008

Successful salespeople know that setting goals is one of the best ways to stay on track throughout the year, and now is the perfect time to get started. Have you created your plan for the year? How many more clients do you want to sign on? How much money do you want to make?

"If you haven't started thinking about your sales goals, you're likely to be in the same place this time next year," says sales breakthrough expert Rochelle Togo-Figa. "The definition of a goal is 'a dream with a plan and a deadline.'"

"The most common reasons people don't reach their goals are they fail to write them down, fail to make a plan, and fail to take action. Without knowing where you want to go and how you're going to get there, you'll never reach your goal destination."

Here are Togo-Figa's nine steps to help you achieve your goals:

  • Create your S.M.A.R.T. goals for the year. Make sure your goals are vivid and specific, measurable in quantity, achievable, realistic but also a stretch, and you have a timeline of when you'll reach your goal.
  • Write down all barriers you can think of that might get in the way of you achieving your goals. Writing down all these thoughts on paper helps to diminish them.
  • Select the top 3 goals you want to reach in the next 3 months from your list, and commit yourself to taking an action step every day to achieving these goals.
  • Write specific action steps for each goal. An action step doesn't have to take very long to do. It could be spending 10-15 minutes daily working towards that goal. If your goal is to sign on four new clients in the next three months, an action step could be making ten new prospect calls each day before 9am.
  • Make a list of people who can support you in reaching your goals. They may also have goals that you can support them in reaching. People like to help, so ask them.
  • Put your goals in a visible place so you can see them daily. Post them on your desk, in your car, on your bathroom mirror.
  • Every day read your goals aloud. Speak your goals in the present tense, as if you're already there. The more you say your goals aloud and to yourself, the more real they become.
  • Visualize yourself having reached your goals. See yourself succeeding. How excited you'll be when you bring in those new clients and get that bonus commission check!
  • Promise yourself that you will achieve your goals. If you want this to be the year of sales breakthroughs, then it's up to you to commit yourself emotionally, mentally and physically. Otherwise, it's likely not to happen.
Put these goals into practice while setting your goals, and you'll see success throughout the year.

Rochelle Togo-Figa, The Sales Breakthrough Expert, is the creator of the Sales Breakthrough System. Visit her website at www.SalesBreakthroughs.com
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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

'Tis the Season (for Not Getting Any Work Done)

Here's some timely advice to keep you focused, courtesy of The Queen of Cold Calling, Wendy Weiss:

--No one's doing any work. It's the holidays.
--Nothing gets done till January. It's the holidays.
--No one sets appointments till the New Year. It's the holidays.
--Too much to finish up to take the time to prospect. It's the holidays.
--Prospects are taking time off. It's the holidays.
--I'm taking time off. It's the holidays.
--My assistant is taking time off. It's the holidays.
--Their assistant is taking time off. It's the holidays.
--No one wants to be bothered. It's the holidays.
--No one is thinking about work. It's the holidays.
--Prospects leave the office early. It's the holidays.
--Prospects go to the office late. It's the holidays.
--Everyone is having office parties. It's the holidays.
--No one's thinking about business. It's the holidays.

Sound familiar? For many, this is the season of not getting any work done. Don't let it be that way for you!

Print this list out. Send it to your competition. Then, get on the telephone.

Prospects do conduct business, even during the holidays. Years ago it was possible for a prospect to say, "I don't have my calendar for next year, call me after the first of the year." Today prospects have their calendars on their computers and/or PDA's and can schedule appointments for next year or even several years out if they are so inclined.

Prospects make appointments before, during and after the holidays, just as they do at other times throughout the year. If a prospect asks you to call back after the holidays, suggest that you "pencil in a meeting for after the holidays." Promise that you will call to confirm it. Do so.

Wendy Weiss is known as The Queen of Cold Calling. If you need help getting prospects on the phone, or booking appointments, visit WendyWeiss.com. In celebration of the season, Wendy's having a holiday sale on her training products! Check it out.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Need a Quick Gift for your Sales Team?

Books make great gifts because of their high perceived value. Here's one that will help your sales team close more, and earn more: Top Dog Sales Secrets. Jeffrey Gitomer says, "One of these top dog secrets can earn you a fortune."

"It's like reading the best ideas from 50 sales books all in one book," says Michelle Nichols, Savvy Selling International.

Top Dog Sales Secrets belongs on the desk of every member of your sales team. You can still get copies in time for the holidays. When you order in bulk you receive a discount and free shipping. Click here for details.
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Monday, December 10, 2007

Quote of the Week

"Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the sales man - not the attitude of the prospect." - W. Clement Stone

You're tired. You're having a bad day. Or worse, you don't believe you can succeed. Is it any wonder none of your sales calls are going well? Prospects can sense a poor attitude from miles away - and won't be interested in talking with you.

Make a commitment to yourself that you'll convey a positive outlook this week. You'll feel better and notice a difference in your sales.

I find that when I'm tired or cranky (which almost never happens!) taking a moment to think about fun weekend plans, or an upcoming trip, often puts a smile on my face and makes my calls much more positive. What triggers do you use to transform a bleak outlook into a positive attitude? -- Kelly
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Friday, December 7, 2007

Capture your prospect's attention with a business letter

While working on my Christmas cards, I got to thinking about sending mail to clients. It's a form of contact that is under-appreciated in selling today, and is a great addition to your rotation of meetings, calls, and e-mails. Sales expert Steve Martinez has some great advice on how to make sure your prospects are intrigued by your sales letters.

"Salespeople often overlook the advantages of using business letters for sales growth," says Martinez. "The facts suggest that fewer salespeople are using the business letter to develop relationships. Mailing and postcards are very popular but these are not as effective as a true business letter. This is a missed opportunity; we can capture more business when we send a traditional business letter."

The Old Fashioned Business Letter
"Businesses are looking for ways to improve their marketing objectives and this requires a more personalized, targeted approach. The old fashioned business letter cuts through the clutter of other mailings. If you want to be read, use a personalized business letter approach. You can automate this process with your business printer so your mailings appear personal, which will increase the letters' effectiveness."

There are a few things that make business letters stand out from a stack of mail:
  • When you make your letter bumpy, it will often get to the top of the mail and create a curiosity factor to your advantage. I have used rubber bands, cotton balls and other squishy things to make my mail bumpy from the inside. Just be sure to use a first class stamp and it will get through.
  • Always using postage stamps instead of metered mail makes your envelope stand out. If your mail is metered, it looks like a business letter.
  • You increase readership when you hand address each envelope.
  • Don't identify your envelope with a business logo, because it reduces the ratio of openings, if the customer assumes your message is a business letter.
Steve Martinez is a leading authority on automating and systemizing the selling process. His company, Selling Magic, LLC teaches businesses how to simplify, balance and automate the complex selling process. Learn more at http://www.sellingmagic.com
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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Teaming Up to Increase Prospects

On Tuesday we talked about networking at holiday parties. Today author and sales trainer Tammy Stanley shares an eye-opening idea that will have you looking at everyone you meet in a brand new way:

One day I received a mailing from BMW telling me that I would receive a free box of Godiva Chocolates, if I came in and test drove a new BMW. I thought this was brilliant marketing. After all, people willing to spend $30 a pound for chocolate are probably the kind of people who enjoy the finer things in life.

Obviously BMW got together with Godiva and said, "If you send out a mailing to your list with this promotion, we'll pay for each box of chocolates that is redeemed through the promotion."

Who could you team up with? As you enter this holiday season of parties, keep asking yourself that questions. As you talk to people at the different holiday mixers, keep your eye out for a business that you could partner with. Sometimes the perfect blend may at first seem unlikely - just like a car company and a chocolate company joining forces.

If you team up with others, you'll find that together you can come up with all kinds of creative ideas. Stay in touch and constantly seek to improve, and definitely consider the obstacles you might encounter and how to prepare for them ahead of time!

Tammy Stanley publishes the propelling 'Sales Refinery Insights' weekly ezine for independent sales professionals. Get your FREE tips now at www.tammystanley.com/ezine_offer_g.htm
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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Dictate your sales conversation

Questions are critical keys to unlocking the information you need to gather in the sales process. Sales trainer and speaker John Costigan has a helpful acronym to prompt you in asking key questions that will dictate your sales conversation.

D.I.C.T.A.T.E. stands for:

D (Details) "Interesting, can you tell me more about that?"

I (Interval) "How long has this problem been going on for you?"

C (Cost) "How much has this cost you? I mean personally?"

T (Try & Fix) "What steps have you taken to try and fix this problem?"

A (in-Action) "Do you mind if I ask you what happens if you don't fix this?"

T (Talk less) Follow the 80/20 Rule.

E (Emotions) "What kind of aggravation has this caused you and your people?"

Remember this handy tip when talking with clients, and you'll find you're better equipped to help your customers, and make more sales!

John Costigan is a sales trainer and speaker. He combines reality, education, humor, and energy to create a unique training environment that allows people to see immediate results. Learn more by visiting John's website at www.johncostigan.com.
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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Making Holiday Parties Work for You

This week ushers in the holiday party season. From company parties to industry parties, even personal parties, you'll probably be spending more time than you care to, well, partying. Sales trainer Mark Hunter has some networking tips to help you put that time to good use.

--When you arrive, avoid gravitating to people you know. You should initially thank the host and then immediately find someone new to introduce yourself to.

--Keep your business cards in the breast pocket of your coat, a shirt pocket, or in an outside pocket of your purse so they are easy to access and in good condition.

--When giving a person your card, personalize it by hand-writing your cell number on it. This will cause the recipient to feel that they are receiving something special.

--After you meet someone for the first time, use the back of their business card to jot a note about something you learned from the conversation and the date and place you met them. Recording the information will give you something to talk to them about the next time you see them.

--Always keep one hand free to allow yourself to shake hands with people - meaning you shouldn't eat and drink at the same time.

--Initiate conversation with someone who is standing by themselves. They'll be happy to have someone to talk to them and, as a result, will many times open up with valuable information.

And finally, "When you meet someone for the first time, you have 48 hours to follow up with them before they will completely forget about meeting you," says Hunter. Keep these expert tips in mind as you mingle your way through this holiday party season - and you'll reap the rewards!

Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter, provides sales training based on Consultative Selling techniques. Check out his skills resources at www.TheSalesHunter.com
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Monday, December 3, 2007

Quote of the Week

"Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, 'Make me feel important.' Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life." - Mary Kay Ash

Put this thought into practice this week and take notice of the happy faces around you - you'll make more sales, more customers, and more friends.
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