Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Emotional Time Wasters

"Do you remember the things you were worrying about a year ago? How did they work out? Didn't you waste a lot of fruitless energy on account of most of them? Didn't most of them turn out all right after all?" -- Dale Carnegie

I know what you're thinking, so let me say this now - no, I did not forget what day it is and do another quote of the week! This quote is actually a lead-in to a great reminder from networking guru Andrea Nierenberg. Here's what she has to say:

Emotional Time Wasters. We all fall guilty to at least one of them some of the time and maybe several. Recently I tweeted about this and asked people what they were doing to manage their time and therefore alleviating their stress. It is an interesting thought to ponder.

Here are the Big Five:

Indecision - too often we waste time by standing in motion. Take action on something that has been nagging at you. You will feel better and create a next step.

Guilt-can be paralyzing. We allow something to play over and over in our heads and often the 'act' has been committed. Whether we are upset because we said something we now regret or something else - instead of stewing - start doing. Write a note of apology, pick up the phone or any other way you can confront the situation.

Worry
- I read once that 75% of what we worry about won't happen and 15% is inevitable. If you must worry, spend 10 minutes a day worrying and then let it go.

Perfectionism
- Sometimes we spend so much time trying to make something 'perfect' that by the time we send out our proposal, our competitor has already won the business. Be thorough, strategic and do your homework then make it happen. It will never by totally perfect. I'm not talking about typos. That is inexcusable.

Procrastination - my definition for this is 'getting ready to get ready.' We can always find an excuse not to do something. Right now, think of one item that you are procrastinating on and do it before the end of the day. Just start - remember the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

We all know these five emotional time wasters by heart and there is really no way to totally rid ourselves of them. Do your best to get rid of them, and you'll have more time for money-making activities - and more enjoyment in your life!

Andrea Nierenberg is the president of The Nierenberg Group, a business communications company with a total process for educating, motivating and connecting people. Learn more at www.nierenberggroup.com

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Quote of the Week

"Until you commit your goals to paper, you have intentions that are seeds without soil." -- Anonymous

There's nothing wrong with dreaming big. In fact, I would say there's something wrong with not dreaming big! Think you'd be a good fit for that managerial or VP position? What about making enough money to take a European vacation? These are things you can do...but you have to start at the beginning, with a pen and a piece of paper.

Most big goals need a plan - and to create a plan you need to write down action steps and commit to them. If you want to go on vacation next year, how much extra money do you need to make? Do you need to sign one more contract each month? Every three months?

Once you know what it will take to reach your goal, you can continue breaking it down into manageable pieces. Maybe you need to go to a networking event every month to meet enough new prospects that will become your extra contract. Or maybe you need to get into the office half an hour earlier to get a few more calls in.

The point is, writing your goals down makes them more manageable - and attainable!

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Summer Selling

Are you going on vacation this summer? If you've got some days saved up, cheap flights and hotels make it a great time to get in some rest and relaxation. That being said, you don't want vacation time to have any negative impact on your business. Follow these tips from Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter, and you'll be able to rest easy knowing your sales aren't going anywhere.

"Summer is upon us and that means a lot of vacations. Just because there's a vacation in your schedule, it doesn't mean you should let it slow your selling process," says Hunter. "As much as you might be looking forward to it, it's best to avoid mentioning it to prospects or others. Talking about it may give a potential customer a reason to go someplace else when they're ready to buy, if for no other reason than they think you won't be focused on serving them."

Take these steps to avoid missing sales while you're away:

1. Make sure either you or someone else can still check your email and voicemail messages at least a couple of times a day.

2. Know in advance how you will handle any orders that may come in and how sales questions or issues will be handled.

3. Plan your vacation schedule so you will have a couple of blocks of time to deal with hot sales issues. For example, take one hour every other day to be available by phone or email to deal with issues. If you don't need it, great! If you do need it, you won't feel that it has disrupted your vacation because you planned for it in advance.

4. Do not leave a message on your voicemail saying you're away on vacation. Nothing will turn off potential customers faster than knowing you're away.

5. Always remember that your vacation is a product of the job you do. If you didn't do your job, you wouldn't have a vacation so working a little bit while you're on vacation is certainly no big deal.

Mark Hunter, "The Sales Hunter," is a motivational sales speaker and industry expert who addresses thousands each year on how to increase their sales profitability. For more information on his sales training or to receive a free weekly sales tip via email, contact "The Sales Hunter" at www.TheSalesHunter.com.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Five Secrets to Effective Time Management

During hard economic times it is often prudent to take on more responsibility at work to show how important you are to the company. But that shouldn't mean you're at the office 12-13 hours a day. So how do you get everything done in a normal time period? Use these time management techniques from sales trainer Mike Brooks to fit more into your busy days.

Secret #1 - Identify the two most important things to do each day, and then do them. Identifying these priorities is actually easy. Each night before you go home, make a list of all the things you need to do the next day. Once that list is completed, ask yourself, "What two things, if completed, would have the biggest impact on my bottom line?"

Once you've identified these two items, make them your top priorities for the next day and commit to getting them done. Unlike most people who struggle with many conflicting activities that rob them of their time, by adopting this one habit, you'll move into the top 5% of all business executives and managers.

The most effective executives and business owners are "doers" and the way they are able to accomplish great things is they have the ability to identify the important things and they commit to getting them done.

Secret #2 - Start each day with your top two priorities and work each one through until it's completed. Then cross it off and complete the next one. Resist the temptation to multitask other activities while you're working on your priorities, and don't start the next one until you're done with the first one. Working each one through to completion is the key.

This builds momentum, a sense of accomplishment and empowerment, and most importantly you'll actually be getting your important priorities done each day.

Secret #3 - Start with your most important (or most difficult) priority first. Accomplishing one or two important tasks always leads to more success -- and always frees up the most energy. Once those "mountains" are out of the way, you can easily and more enjoyably take on your other tasks of the day.

Most people do the opposite: they put off the hard (and most important stuff) and get caught up in the time robbers. This is a sure recipe for feeling overwhelmed. Do the opposite -- start with the hard, and watch your day get easier!

Secret # 4 - Group your other activities. Paperwork, checking e-mail, checking voicemail, etc., are incredible time drains. The worst thing to do is to keep checking them every few minutes. Make a schedule - perhaps after you cross off a priority you allow 15 minutes to check these things and then go right back to your next priority. Paperwork and other non-essential activities especially are best grouped at the end of the day.

Although these things seem important (and some are) don't keep getting tangled up in them. You must stick to your top two priorities (like 2-3 hours a day spent cold calling -- a top priority that pays for itself many times over). Grouping your activities allows you to get all of the other 'stuff' done but not at the expense of your priorities.

Secret #5 - Prepare your next day the night before. Before you leave the office, make sure you have your written list of priorities and grouped activities timed and written down. This helps you stick to a schedule when you get to the office, and that's another secret of effective time management.

It also allows you to get more rest because you're not worrying about or planning your day as you're trying to fall asleep at night.

Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales, specializes in helping sales reps avoid rejection and make more money. Check out his free ezine at http://www.mrinsidesales.com/ezine.htm

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How to Open a Cold Call

During a recent workshop sales trainer Kelley Robertson discussed with his clients the best way to open face-to-face cold call. One participant volunteered to share his approach.

"Hi Mr. Prospect. I'm Mr. Sales Person and I work for Big Sales Company. We do a lot of work in your industry and have been in business for over 40 years. We carry a wide range of products and services including this, that and the other thing. We pride ourselves on delivering great service and..."

Unfortunately too many people in sales think that they need to talk about their company or product or service when they first connect with new prospects. But this approach is ineffective.

Here is a better way:

Begin by stating your name and your company and then reference a problem you think that your prospect may be facing. "Mr. Prospect, Kelley Robertson, Big Sales Company. One of the trends we're seeing with companies like yours is the requirement to improve accuracy while also increasing production. How does that compare with your situation?"

This takes less than half the time to say which means you reduce the risk of your prospect tuning you out. Avoid the blah, blah, blah syndrome and focus on your prospect when you make a cold call.

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 www.robertsontraininggroup.com

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Littlest Thing Can Close the Deal

You all know how I love my stories! Here's a great one from sales trainer and speaker John Costigan. He follows it up with some excellent action steps that will help you to get the meeting and close the sale.

Here's John's Story:

I had the joy and honor of sitting down with Kevin Eastman, the Boston Celtics Assistant Coach at our office in Raleigh last week. We've known each other for a year now and they truly don't make 'em any better. After a productive and enlightening business discussion, he spent some time helping my son on the basketball court. It was a great thrill!

But here's the story: Kevin mentioned that his own son Jake had just committed to play basketball for Bradley University under the tutelage of Head Coach Jim Les. As we spoke about the recruiting process Kevin had this comment: "One thing that really stuck out for me during this process was the personal handwritten letter they sent to me...not my son, but just to me. It was very high touch and different than any other response we had received."

Point: If this works for recruiting a basketball player and earning a parent's trust, why wouldn't it work for you with your customers and prospects?

Action Steps:

Get off email. Take the extra time and send something "manually" or snail mail to your prospect or client. We get so lost in email, it's actually embarrassing. Yes, email is an incredibly effective way of quickly communicating to confirm meetings, share information etc. But if you find yourself typing more than...heck, more than this blog post, you're missing the boat.

Be different than your competition! Find an edge, personalize your message. Nothing is more personal than writing, not typing, but writing a note to someone. Think about how you open your mail when you arrive home. You have gobs of junk mail, bills, etc... Then the one handwritten letter comes up and sticks out from the rest. Most of us will open that first, or last. Not in the middle. You either set down all the mail you have and go to it immediately, or throw out the junk mail then sit down and focus on the personalized note.

So next time someone wants you to send out info, OR you are proactively trying to get into an account, handwrite a note and attach it to market information, not product information and you will increase your chances of them reading it way more than an email.

John Costigan, president and founder of John Costigan Companies, conducts sales training classes around the world for a list of clients that reads like a "who's who" in the corporate world, including Hewlett Packard, SAS, Exxon-Mobile, Standard Register, Tommy Hilfiger, Concerto, and Slazenger Golf. Visit his site at www.JohnCostigan.com.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Quote of the Week

"What's the point of talking to anyone if you don't tell 'em what you think?" -- Jon Krakauer, American writer

If you want to stand out in a sea of vendors, helping prospects to see you as an expert is the best way to do it. But, how? First, make sure you're well versed in the issues and challenges your prospect is facing. Then tell them what you think.

That's right - tell them what you think. Not what you think they want to hear - what you actually think would be best for their situation. You may help them see an issue from a new angle, or find a solution they didn't think of - and you'll be elevated in their eyes as a result.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Leave Messages That Get Returned

Yesterday tele-sales expert Art Sobczak showed us what we might be doing wrong that's keeping prospects from returning our calls. Although prospects are busier than ever, Sobczak believes voicemail is not a lost cause - you just have to make it work for you. Here's what he suggests you do to start getting those calls returned.

Learn about them first. Be a detective. Glean info whenever possible. Go to their website. Enter the company name and prospect's name into search engines. Read trade publications, your local Business Journal, and the ones in your territory. Then use that information in your messages as it relates to how you might be able to help them get or avoid something.

Talk to others in the company. Anyone and everyone. Continue your info-gathering. Identify yourself and company and say, "I hope you can help me. I'm going to speak with Ms. Byer, and I want to be sure that what I have would be appropriate." Then ask questions.

Be prepared. Voicemail is not new technology. It shouldn't be a surprise that you will be asked to speak after the tone. So why not be prepared for what you'll say, without hesitation? (Just notice how many messages you get that begin with, "Uhhh...") There's no excuse to not be smooth and confident.

Use a "possible results" statement. This is the grabber. Mention what you might be able to do for them. Personalization increases their interest level. "I understand you're now looking at ways to increase the number of long-term leases at your Highland Park property. We specialize in some unique marketing methods that help property managers minimize vacancies..."

Use a multi-media approach. Don't rely on voicemail to carry the entire load. Back up your message with an email, a fax, a letter, or a message that you ask the screener to write on the pink message pad and give to the boss. And don't overlook the lowest tech, but highest touch approach: handwritten letters.

Say YOU'LL call back. You need to control the communication. It's your responsibility to reach them. Tell them you'll call back Thursday morning. Then DO it. But do give them options to reach you, leaving your phone number and email just in case they want to contact you.

Use a "last resort." At some point of repeated futility, depending upon their future potential and the size of your prospect pool, you need to punt and leave a final, firmer message. What is that point? If you sell office supplies, everyone could be a prospect, so the magic number at which you let go would be smaller than for someone selling train locomotives to railroads. What to say?

"...I've tried several times to contact you about how we might be able to help cut your cost of customer acquisition by 20% like we have for B.O. Industries. If I don't hear back from you I'm going to assume this is not something you'd like to discuss at this time..."

This often elicits a response (I've even heard apologies) from people who are interested and simply were too busy to reply.

While most sales reps are ensuring they never get through because of their voicemails, you can set yourself apart and pave the way for a productive conversation. Avoid these mistakes, use these ideas, and the sound of the tone will be like the music of a cash register!

Art Sobczak, President of Business By Phone Inc., specializes in one area only: working with business-to-business salespeople - both inside and outside - designing and delivering content-rich programs that begin showing results from the very next time participants get on the phone. You can learn more at www.businessbyphone.com

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Why Your Voicemails Are Ignored

Tele-sales expert Art Sobczak is one of those people that gets right to the point - and I really like that. Here he shares the most likely reasons as to why prospects don't return your calls.

"The same reasons apply to all salespeople leaving voicemails," says Sobczak. "Pick any three (or more) of the following reasons."

The message is too long. Grab their attention within 10 seconds or you're done. Picture someone picking up their voicemails in a busy, noisy airport; they don't have time to listen to your life story.

It's not about them. They don't care about you, or that you're their new "account manager." And really, why should they? They're just like Tony Keith in his song, "I want to Talk About ME."

You sound salesy. Mention that you have a new product, a service, that you want them to do business with you, or that you want to meet with them, and you evoke the same resistance as when the store sales rep says, "May I help you?" Face it: most people run the other way when a salesperson approaches them.

Most people don't return voicemails from sales reps. News alert: They're swimming upstream as fast as they can to stay up with their daily piles of work and emails. Very few say, "Oh, good. Another call from a sales rep. Move that to the top of the to-do list."

You only called once. Even if someone returns the occasional voicemail, who do they call? Probably not the one-time caller. A buyer I interviewed told me that he never returns calls, and the only sales reps who have the remotest chance of even getting through his screener next time are those he recognizes as having left several interesting voicemails.

Now that you know why they aren't calling back, it's time to start fixing those problems. Sobczak will be back tomorrow with advice that will help you craft messages that get returned.

Art Sobczak, President of Business by Phone, Inc., specializes in one area only: working with business-to-business salespeople - both inside and outside - designing and delivering content-rich programs that begin showing results from the very next time participants get on the phone. Learn more at www.businessbyphone.com

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Selling today isn't rocket science. It's harder...

To penetrate space, scientists need master only the immutable laws of mathematics and physics. Simple. So simple, in fact, the basics are taught in high school.

Selling, on the other hand -- prospecting, pitching, negotiating, closing and more -- demands understanding the dynamics of the human mind and how to influence the myriad forces that inform its decision-making. To succeed you have to know what you are doing! That's why I'm recommending you get a copy of SalesDog's Top Dog Sales Secrets.

In this book 50 of the world's foremost sales experts give you real-life examples, successful scripts, and powerful, proven advice to rapidly increase your sales.

You'll learn how to:

--Double your sales success by changing a few words
--Grab your prospect's interest in 15 seconds or less
--Use sure-fire ways to beat the price objection
--Leave compelling voicemail messages that have prospects calling you
--Read your prospect in 60 seconds or less
--Be the big winner at the negotiating table
--and much more!

Your copy of this remarkable book comes with a complete Sales Resource Library of over 70 downloadable e-books, audio and video training programs, e-courses, special reports and white papers from top sales and business growth leaders. These powerful sales growth tools are yours to keep. You can see the complete Sales Resource Library here.

You are guaranteed to increase your sales IQ with Top Dog Sales Secrets. Get your copy today!
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Building Trust in Today's Economy

For many people, the instability of the economic climate has left them feeling wary of new deals or contracts. For this reason, it's vital that you create a foundation of trust for your relationship, and then constantly work to maintain it.

According to sales trainer Colleen Francis, "Meeting - or exceeding - customer expectations is at the heart of trust. When expectations aren't met, trust is broken, opportunities are missed and sales can be lost, all despite the countless hours of hard work that were put in to almost making something happen."

Here are Francis' tips for maintaining a trusting client relationship:

1. Be clear, thorough - and honest


Shared expectations produce greater harmony and more sales - period. When establishing expectations at the onset of a project, be as thorough as possible, and be prepared to adjust as needed.

For example, if you find the customer asking for something you simply can't deliver, try some of the following to set the right expectations, right from the start:

--"I'm not sure we can provide the program with that deposit schedule. If we can't, does that mean it's over between us?"
--"I don't think we can meet your delivery schedule. Knowing that, does it make sense for us to move forward?"


In addition, be clear about what your customer can expect from you, as well as what they can't. Tell them what you can deliver instead of what they are asking for. Tell them that if ever you are unable to fulfill a request, you will always let them know either up front, or the minute you realize it yourself.

2. Set the bar for consistent performance

Remember the old adage, "under-promise and over-deliver?" In sales, this isn't just a falsehood - it also sets an expectation that you might not be able to keep up with in the future.

When you under-promise and over-deliver, you set the bar for what the customer expects you to deliver at a whole new level. What you "over-delivered" becomes the new baseline, and when you aren't able to meet this new standard consistently, your customer will end up feeling confused, disappointed - or betrayed.

To build a consistently profitable relationship, there's no point in delivering better, faster for less investment than your original promise if you know that you can't keep that promise through the relationship. It's better to simply say what you are going to do, and then do it exactly as and when you said you would.

Colleen Francis, Sales Expert, is Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions. Armed with skills developed from years of experience, Colleen helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line. Learn more at www.EngageSelling.com

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Refine Your Referral Requests

While referrals are a great way to fill your pipeline, they can be a lot of extra, unnecessary work if they're not quality referrals. Today sales expert Kendra Lee is giving us the advice we need to ask for - and get - referrals that are a great fit. Follow her recommendations and you won't have to chase sub-par referrals any longer!

According to Lee, low-quality referrals happen when we leave up to the client who they should refer us to. "If you really want to be successful building your pipeline with referrals, you need to take a step back and think about what types of introductions you really want. Just any old referral won't get you your next hot prospect. When you leave it up to your customer to figure out who they think would be a good referral, they won't consider all the qualification points you do."

They might not recognize that they're a great client because they're:

--focused on issues that fall within your offering's sweet spot
--using your solutions exactly like you want other customers to
--in a specific industry or a certain size company
--treating you as a trusted advisor

"Suddenly you find yourself with a referral that's less than ideal," continues Lee. "It's too small a company, has a completely different set of needs than you address, or is outside your industry expertise."

"Because the referral came from one of your top clients, you either have to figure out how to say "thanks, but no thanks" or follow-up then explain to your customer why it wasn't the best fit. It's possible you could actually waste as much time following up on this unqualified introduction as you would cold calling!"

"A poor referral from a great client puts you in an awkward position - all because you were trying to shorten your new business development cycle through referrals," says Lee. "Mediocre connections won't help you fill your pipeline. No, you only want top quality referrals. Your desire is to get introduced to companies and contacts that really need your offerings and will want to talk with you. You're looking for new connections with the characteristics of your best clients."

Don't limit yourself to asking for referrals that are similar in size, industry, or region.

"Broaden your expectations to seek introductions to people who'll implement and appreciate your offerings like your best clients do. Ask for contacts who'll want to work closely with you and welcome your expertise and recommendations."

"To get referrals that fit such specific qualifications, you need to frame who is a great connection when you ask. Tell your customer what types of companies make the best match for your offerings."

There are two parts to framing your referral request.

--Say, "someone like you who..." - and fill in the blank with the profile of your ideal referral.
--Then add, "someone who needs..." - and include the classic challenges, issues or needs you address.

"What you're doing is creating a picture of your ideal referral for your client," explains Lee. "Now as they mentally search through all their colleagues, they can easily determine which ones to recommend. You've taken the guesswork out of it."

"Call me a referral snob if you will, but if we're going to ask for referrals, spend precious time following up on them, and then work them with due diligence, don't we deserve to get only the very best introductions? I sure think so!"

Kendra Lee is the 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 SMB segment. To learn more visit www.klagroup.com.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Quote of the Week

"You can't be a smart cookie if you have a crummy attitude." -- John Maxwell

Although this quote sounds like something you might hear on Sesame Street, it's very important to remember. You can be the smartest person around, but if you're not working with a good attitude, other people won't want to help you and you will miss out on important opportunities.

A crummy attitude also keeps you from doing your best work. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to finish a project when you're feeling sorry for yourself or muttering to yourself about how mad or upset you are? At those times, work seems to drag - and your performance drags with it.

Don't let a crummy attitude get in the way of your success. It's something you can and should be able to control!

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Don't Be a Nuisance

Sometimes you just don't know what to say when you pick up the phone. Instead of saying "I'm just calling to check in..." use this advice from tele-sales expert Art Sobczak to spice up your calls.

"Calls to regular customers, and to prospects you're clinging onto should always contain something of value...something that lets the customer feel you are contributing something useful by calling," says Sobczak. "Keep in mind that your regular customers are someone else's prospects. If they feel they are being taken for granted by a sales rep who simply calls and says, "Do you have an order for me?" they might eventually fall for the wooing of a competitor who is creative enough to dangle something attractive in front of them. Also keep in mind your prospects are likely buying from someone else, and won't budge unless they see some value
in what you have."

So, what to do? Here are just a few ideas to spice up these calls to position you as a value-added resource, and not just a salesperson.

Begin with "YOU"

A good way to begin these calls is by saying something like,

"I was thinking of you,"

"I heard some interesting information, and you immediately came to mind," and,

"When this news came out, I thought about you..."

Industry News
Perhaps you have some news they might not be aware of. Or, maybe they are aware of it, and you have something to help them take advantage of it. For example,

"Ms. Prospect, you probably are familiar with the new regulations regarding the reporting of waste disposal. We developed a way to make that less of a headache for companies in your situation, and I'd like to ask you a few questions to see how much of a problem you anticipate this being."

New Policies at Your Company
If you change restrictive policies that would enable you to do business with people who didn't qualify in the past, call them again. For example, if your minimum order size has been dropped, or, you're now carrying a line that they asked for before and you didn't have it, or you've lessened credit requirements. With regular customers, calling with changes to their advantage is always welcome.

New Regime at Your Company
This can be effective for those accounts you haven't been able to break because of legitimate, real objections they had. If, for example, new management has cleaned house and improved quality, decreased errors, etc., call again, since you're now selling a new company. Also, these can be spun into reasons for calling existing accounts.

New Capability
If you have products or services that deliver results you weren't able to before, that is always a good reason to call. Just be sure you are positioning them in terms of results to the listener. Not, "Hey, we have a new product and we think it is great."

New You
Maybe you fell to pieces and self-destructed on a previous call. Since then you've acquired more skills and confidence. Maybe you've come up with new ideas, or a new strategy.

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: www.BusinessByPhone.com

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Golden Rule Of Salesmanship

As I've mentioned before on this blog, I think stories are one of the best ways to really learn something. I've often found that someone else's real-life story makes me think of my own experiences and where I might be making the same sales mistakes. This story from sales trainer Jim Meisenheimer definitely got me thinking - hopefully it does the same for you!

"I started thinking about the golden rule of salesmanship the last time I got my hair cut," says Meisenheimer. Let me explain.

I get my haircut every two weeks - it's been a habit of mine for the last 20 years. The person who cuts my hair now is Amir. I guesstimate he's in his mid-20s. He's personable, enthusiastic and usually gives me a good haircut. His routine is to cut the hair, wash it, dry it and finally style it.

Last week he has my back to the mirror so I couldn't see what he was up to. When he turns me around to face the mirror I almost screamed. The sides of my head are brushed forward and the top spiked - I mean really spiked. He said, That's the way he likes it. Unfortunately he didn't pay for my haircut - I did.

He said it made me look 10 years younger. A couple of shots of Botox would make me look 10 years younger - but not his haircut.

Remember - I get my haircut every 2 weeks. Do you think he has any clue what the lifetime value of my business is? If I were Donald Trump I'd be tempted to say, "Amir - you're fired!" Well, I'm not Donald Trump so I'm going back to see Amir on Friday for another haircut.

Before he gets his scissors working I'll ask him to read this newsletter. Better yet, maybe I'll wait until he finishes my haircut.

As a result of thinking about all of this I think it's fair to say, at least in my opinion, the golden rule of salesmanship is "Know thy customer."

When you know your customer it makes it easier for you to give them what he wants. Don't ever make the mistake of giving your customer what you want. It's not about you, it's about your customer. The customer writes the checks and pays your bills.

You can really shake up your thinking about the value of your customers by doing some simple math. Calculate the lifetime value of your customers. Determine what each customer is worth over your lifetime. As soon as you determine the lifetime value of your customers you'll probably start treating them differently - I know I did.

Jim Meisenheimer publishes The Start Selling More Newsletter, a fresh and high content newsletter dedicated to showing salespeople how to start selling more. To subscribe and receive a copy of his special report, The 12 Dumbest Things Salespeople Do, visit www.StartSellingMore.com.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

6 Basics for Potent Face-to-Face Networking

Networking often seems like a no-brainer - you talk to people and then start working together, right? Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. You've got to capture their attention, create a sincere connection, and then follow-thru to create and maintain a working relationship. Sales blogger Scott Sheaffer has some great basic tips on his blog that will guide you through these steps and make networking much more manageable.

Click here to check them out!

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sales Tip: The Early Morning Voicemail

Sales trainer and speaker Mark Hunter gives quick tips on his blog that pack a punch. Follow his tips and see your client relationships grow!

"Leaving voicemail messages is not a very effective way to develop new relationships, but it is a great way to keep in contact with your current customers that you don't deal with frequently," says Hunter. "The entire process takes less than 5 minutes a day if you do it between 7:00 and 7:30 AM. During this time, the majority of people are not at work. Calling them early in the morning almost guarantees that you'll reach their voicemail, allowing you to make 3-5 calls in the span of only 5 minutes. Your objective should be to keep the person you're contacting from forgetting about you. Start the message by telling your contact that you haven't heard from them lately. Compliment them on their business or simply suggest that the two of you should talk later. If you happen to reach someone at this time of morning, all the better. The person who answers will be impressed that you're at work before most people, and, chances are, they will be willing to talk for a few minutes. Remember, your objective is not to sell anything. It's simply to raise the other person's awareness of you, thereby opening the door for future sales."

"Especially in today's marketplace, keeping your name in front of your clients is crucial," continues Hunter. "Everyone is fighting for business and those who don't put forth the effort to stay on the top of the list will quickly fade or be replaced by their competition. Remember, "out of sight, out of mind." Using this early morning voicemail technique is especially effective because it accomplishes your purpose with great efficiency. Not only have you started your day off achieving an important goal, you can use the rest of your time to focus on your day's objectives."

Mark Hunter, "The Sales Hunter", assists companies to identify better prospects, close more sales, and profitably build more long-term customer relationships. To receive his free weekly "Sales Hunting Tip" visit www.TheSalesHunter.com

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Quote of the Week

"A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle." -- Benjamin Franklin

If the economy is making work tough for you right now it's essential that you stay open and don't get wrapped up in yourself. Closing yourself off not only makes you grumpier, it also keeps you from learning about new opportunities, making new contacts, and hearing about a new prospect that moved in down the street. Keep your eyes, ears, and mind open and maybe you'll discover some secrets to sales success!

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Friday, June 5, 2009

Quick Fixes That Can Improve Your Sales

Yesterday sales trainer Wendy Weiss showed us how our words can create resistance with our prospects, and quick things we can do to change that. She's back today with two more problem questions and their quick fixes.

Has that worked well for you?

This question begs a 'yes' or 'no' answer. Remember that the status quo is very powerful. Few prospects, unless they are absolutely miserable, will answer 'yes' to that question because few people like to admit (especially to strangers) that they have made a mistake. Most therefore, will automatically answer, 'yes', and then they'll probably add, 'everything is fine'. A 'yes, everything is fine' answer leaves you with no place to go. You're facing a wall of your own making.

A slightly better version of this question would be, 'How is that working for you?' You might be able to gather some additional information. Even when phrased this way, however, the strength of the status quo makes this simply not a good question to ask.

A better question to ask would be, 'How do you handle it when (fill in the blank) happens?' You fill in the blank with an issue or challenge that, because you've done your homework, you know your prospect might face. This question will give you information and possibly uncover areas of weakness or need where you might be able to help.

Is your vendor/advisor/broker showing you/telling you about (fill in the blank)?

This problem question will yield a 'yes' or 'no' answer and is also potentially confrontational. In addition, this question can have the very subtle subtext that the prospect has made a mistake in their choice of vendor/advisor/broker. As with the first question, this question puts the prospect in the wrong, which will automatically create resistance. A better question again is the one mentioned above, 'How do you handle it when (fill in the blank) happens?'

These very subtle changes in verbiage can totally change how your prospect views you and your call. The language you use can make a prospect open and willing to have a conversation with you or it can make a prospect totally shut down. The good news is that what you say is under your control. It is very possible and not particularly difficult to make these subtle tweaks that can have a huge impact.

Wendy Weiss, The Queen of Cold Calling, can be reached at www.wendyweiss.com or [email protected]

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Are You Creating Prospect Resistance?

The syntax of a sentence is the way in which the words are arranged to convey meaning. Why am I giving you a quick lesson in linguistics? Because the way in which you phrase your thoughts with clients and prospects will influence their understanding. Cold calling expert Wendy Weiss has some tips to help you phrase your words in a way that will close the deal!

Here are some sample questions you might be using that need a quick fix:

--Don't you want another set of eyes to look at what you're doing?
--Has that worked well for you?
--Is your vendor/advisor/broker showing you/telling you about (fill in the blank)?

There are several problems with these types of questions. The first is that the answer will either be 'yes' or 'no'. A 'yes' or 'no' answer will give you no additional information. In addition, these types of questions set up resistance from the prospect. They essentially set up a wall where none existed before.

Let's look at the first question: "Don't you want another set of eyes to look at what you're doing?"

While the concept of having another set of eyes or another viewpoint can work very well, this verbiage is confrontational. Once you've asked the question you have nowhere to go except wait for the answer - which will most likely be 'no'. There's a very subtle bit of a subtext here: The prospect is making or might have made a mistake and thus needs another set of eyes. It puts the prospect in the wrong and will automatically create resistance.

Consider using, "It certainly never hurts to have another set of eyes looking at what you're doing..." followed up by, "Right now, I'd like to introduce myself..." This changes the focus from whether or not the prospect has made a mistake to the caller's actual goal for the conversation, which is an introduction. The concept of another set of eyes becomes the rationale for the prospect to schedule the appointment.

Check back in with us tomorrow for the fixes to the other two questions.

Wendy Weiss, The Queen of Cold Calling, can be reached at www.wendyweiss.com or [email protected]

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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Four Steps to a Super Attitude

One of the most important things you can have as a salesperson is a great attitude. World-renowned sales expert Brian Tracy has the advice you need to stay positive and see the results in your sales!

Here are four things you can do to assure that your attitude is the very best it can be, under all circumstances:

Focus on the Future
First, whatever challenges you face, focus on the future rather than on the past. Instead of worrying about who did what and who is to blame, focus on where you want to be and what you want to do. Get a clear mental image of your ideal successful future, and then take whatever action you can to begin moving in that direction. Get your mind, your thoughts, and your mental images on the future.

Think about the Solution
Second, whenever you're faced with a difficulty, focus on the solution rather than on the problem. Think and talk about the ideal solution to the obstacle or setback, rather than wasting time rehashing and reflecting on the problem. Solutions are inherently positive, whereas problems are inherently negative. The instant that you begin thinking in terms of solutions, you become a positive and constructive human being.

Look for the Good
Third, assume that something good is hidden within each difficulty or challenge. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, a major proponent of positive thinking, once said, "Whenever God wants to give us a gift, he wraps it up in a problem." The bigger the gift you have coming, the bigger the problem you will receive. But the wonderful thing is that if you look for the gift, you will always find it.

Seek the Valuable Lesson
Fourth, assume that whatever situation you are facing at the moment is exactly the right situation you need to ultimately be successful. This situation has been sent to you to help you learn something, to help you become better, to help you expand and grow.

Decide to Be Positive
A Positive Mental Attitude is indispensable to your success. You can be as positive as you want to be if you will simply think about the future, focus on the solution and look for the good. If you do what other successful people do, if you use your mind to exert mental control over the situation, you will be positive and cheerful most of the time. And you will reap the benefits enjoyed by all successful people.

Here are three steps you can take immediately to put these ideas into action:

First, become solution-oriented with every difficulty you face. Make a habit of looking for the answers to your questions, the solutions to your problems.

Second, seek for the valuable lesson in every adversity. Make a list of every idea or insight you can gain from every setback or difficulty.

Third, think on paper. Take some time to write out every detail of the problem, and then take the most logical next step to solve it.

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 www.briantracy.com

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Handy Comeback to Requests for a Discount

Here's a helpful tip from sales trainer Kelley Robertson that will help you when a prospect asks for a discount.

One of Robertson's training clients sent him the following email:

"I sent my prospect a proposal and his first request was that I drop my price. However, I remembered your advice of asking for time to think about his request and told him that I would get back to him the next day. When I was discussing his request with my business partner a few hours later, my prospect sent me an email and suggested that she was open to a concession and I was able to close the deal without resorting to giving her the discount I had initially intended."

One of the most effective strategies you can use when negotiating a deal is to say, "Let me think about that and I'll get back to you."

"Unfortunately, most salespeople hesitate to use this technique because they're afraid they will lose the sale," says Robertson. "However, I consistently found that taking time to think about the other person's request causes them to make a counter-offer. That's because a highly-qualified prospect wants to do business with you and is willing to make a concession. Asking for time to think about the offer places pressure on their decision-making process and can give you the upper hand."

So, before you accept your prospect's demand, tell them that you will think about it and get back to them.

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 www.robertsontraininggroup.com

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Quote of the Week

"The will to win is not nearly as important as the will to prepare to win." -- Bobby Knight, Basketball Head Coach

You've heard the stories of basketball players throwing free throws for hours, and baseball players perfecting their swing, but have you heard the stories about salespeople who practice until they have their elevator speech perfect, or can state their value proposition in the blink of an eye?

These are sales basics that should become part of your automatic sales skills. If you're committed to improving these skills then you'll see the result in your sales. And of course, if there's ever anything you want us to cover more thoroughly, let us know!

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