Monday, December 20, 2010

To the End of 2010

For me, 2010 has been a wonderful year, and I am so glad that you have taken time out of your day to read this blog. I will be taking a break from blogging for the remainder of 2010, as it is my belief (and hope) that most of you will be home with your families this holiday season. Next year, will bring some new additions and certain changes to the blog based on our survey results from this fall. I look forward to sharing new sales tips with you in 2011, and wish you and your loved ones a very joyous holiday. Good Selling!

Friday, December 17, 2010

KeFactors Friday (Rewind): Don’t Overlook Your Human Capital

Today is the last post of 2010 on the Sales Is Not For Sissies Blog. I decided it might be fun to wrap up 2010 with the first KeFactors Friday post that Ms. Lucy Key ever posted for us.

Most businesses are so intensely focused on developing new revenues, leadersand managers typically overlook a hidden corrosive that will cost plenty if left unaddressed.

Aggression is valued in sales teams—and why not? Sales really for “sissies”or the faint-hearted; it’s demanding, vigorous work.

But there’s a danger in becoming a workplace culture so reverent of aggressionthat it tips into tolerating or even encouraging uncivil behaviors.

Low-intensity incivility ranges from stealing someone’s food out of the break-room fridge to leaving shared work areas untidy and depleted of supplies. High-intensityacts include sending nasty e-mails, hogging credit, or yelling at and publicly humiliatingcolleagues and subordinates.

Intentional or not, incivility exacts a huge toll: authors Christine Pearson and Christine Porath (The Costs of Bad Behavior) state rudeness is on the rise and estimatethe tab at $300 billion/year for U.S. employers in expenses related to lost time, loweredmorale/productivity, and employees fleeing a toxic workplace.

Fact: Chronic offenders will alienate other employees. Teams need trust(“psychological safety”) in order to learn and to reach peak collaborative skills, andoffenders kill this, especially if they’re team leaders. Coping behaviors can includeavoiding the offender; withholding effort, help, or information; or sabotaging theorganization for tolerating the offender.

Fact: Witnesses to rude behavior register the same physiological stress reactionsas targets, and few customers will continue to do business with an organization thatpermits rude behaviors, even from their high achievers.

Fact: Employees who are habitually targeted by rude behaviors will leave, andthe costs of replacing them are high, to say nothing of the relationships and networks thatleave with them. Pearson & Porath’s formula for quantifying this: 150% the annual salaryof a low-ranking employee; 250% the salary of middle management; and as high as 400%the salary of upper management.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Looking for that perfect holiday gift? Pick up a copy of "101 Call Tips." It's great for bosses, colleagues, employees and makes for a great stocking stuffer!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What to Avoid if You Don't Want to Turn Off Customers

In June 2010, CFO Magazine published the results of research from McKinsey & Co., a consulting group. It listed the sales practices that annoy customers. Clients complained about . . .
  • Too much contact: 35%
  • Lack of knowledge about the products and services the rep sold or what the competition sold: 20%
  • Lack of industry knowledge about usefulness of the product/service to customer: 9%
  • Overly aggressive sales style: 8%
  • Customer forgotten/ignored after the sale: 8%
  • Other: 20%

Number one on the list--too much contact--is all about the value you bring. If you don't bring enough value, customers perceive sales calls as wasting their time.

To bring more value, plan better calls. Ask yourself, "How can I help my customer get a raise?"

Salepeople who help their customers earn raises are welcomed with open arms.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The One Thing Everyone Wants to Buy

On Friday, November 5th, I arrived at the Atlanta airport by 6:35AM. I checked my bags by 6:40. At 6:45, I walked into the Brooks Brother Store near Delta’s check-in area. Before the clocked hit 7:00AM on the dial, I spent $198 for a gray suit jacket to expand my working wardrobe.

As I handed over my credit card, I didn’t worry about price or wonder if there was a better gray jacket to be found at another store. I was happy to spend the money because buying clothing at the airport at the crack of dawn saved me time.

We’re all short on time and we all want more of it. Even when buyers claim they need a low-priced option, most of them really mean they want the lowest acceptable price taking the least amount of time to find.

What does this mean for sales professionals?

It means all of us need a time-saving component in our selling scripts. “Customer, we save you time because . . ."
• We’re easy to deal with.
• We’re watching your back.
• We are experts at this.
• We eliminate problems.
• Customers get what they expected to get.
• Customers like the end-product.

More time is the one thing everyone wants to buy. Selling your time saving advantage helps you sell more.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Roulhoc Mansion

If you know me, you know I travel - A LOT! I was recently in Memphis, and it had been a year since I’d been there. I was was in an area where poor and wealthy are about a mile apart, and stayed in a bed and breakfast that was only a couple of miles from the prospective new client I was meeting. The house is called the Roulhoc Mansion. Cool place. It was built in 1914 and reminds me a little of my grandmother’s house in the south side of Chicago with the layout and some of the touches. Just so you have a visual, there are pillars in the dining room. As I sat eating my breakfast, it was a real feeling of déjà vu for how her house was laid out.

This place is right in the middle of a poverty stricken area, and initially, as I drove to get there, there were mangy dogs running wild on the street. I would have been more comfortable in a suburban Marriott Courtyard, but figured God had a plan.

The thing to remember in situations like that is, it's good to be uncomfortable once in a while because that forces you to examine your thinking and your prejudices. Overall, it was a great trip and a very cool experience.

Friday, December 10, 2010

KeFactors Friday: Beware of the Blurts

Good intentions often make us say things we shouldn’t, especially when the pressure’s on and the customer’s complaining. Here are some common mistakes—no, here are some deal killers:

Denying the customer’s right to his experience. A common mistake is to blurt out
variations along the lines of, “Oh, that’s not true!”… “I’m sure our employee didn’t mean it that way!” … or “No one’s ever complained about that before!”
• What the customer hears: “You better prove you have a case before I believe you enough to help you.”
• What’s better? Listen. Your job at that moment is to fully understand the
customer’s experience of the problem.

Blaming the customer. This can happen subtly, an accusation made via implication or
nonverbals, but just because it may be inferred or unspoken does not mean the customer hasn’t picked up on it. “Well, we could’ve gotten this done on time, but we didn’t get your content until a week after it was promised to us.”
• What the customer hears: “It’s all your fault. You’re not easy to work with.”
• What’s better? Alert the customer to budget or timing concerns before they become issues, and remember you’re in the business of providing solutions. You’re not there to ward off imagined litigations by assigning blame.

Typecasting the customer. This happens in the most egregious circumstances, when
the workplace culture has become so politicized that an adversarial “us-them” attitude has developed. Customers are outsiders, therefore they’re “idiots”… “crazy” … “ill- informed”….
• What the customer hears: They don’t need to hear anything. Sooner or later,
that attitude of condescension or resentment seeps through employee pores and taints interactions with your customers.
• What’s better? Workplace culture attitude adjustment. Better make it quick too.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Have you ever heard of
EzineArticles? It's a website that allows expert authors and writers to post their articles on any subject of their choosing. The searchable database of hundreds of thousands of original articles can then be used by email newsletter publishers for inclusion within their next newsletter or can be read by the general public.

Click here to read my published articles.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Value and The Selling Cycle

There are three opportunities to show customers you deliver more value during the selling cycle:
  1. Before the sale.
  2. When you close.
  3. After the sale.
What point in time are you showing customers you deliver more value?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Something to consider today...

Few buy the best product. We all buy the best value!

Tomorrow three opportunities for you to show your value during the sales cycle.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tips on Selling to Price-Sensitive Customers

Customers are more likely to be price-sensitive when:
  • They see little differentiation in the product they're buying.
  • Service levels are about the same among their vendors.
  • Products or services are easily compared.
To reduce price-sensitivity, find ways to increase the magnitude of difference between you and the competition.
Can you:
  • Make it more convenient to buy?
  • Deliver it quicker?
  • Prove you're more reliable?
  • Reduce risks?
  • Include something for free?
Uneducated buyers are more likely to use price as a benchmark. If your customers lack the knowledge necessary to fully understand pricing differentials, educating them is a smart way to improve profit margins and foster loyal relationships.

Friday, December 3, 2010

KeFactors Friday: Conflict in Reality

Perfect lives do not create interest. Few movie blockbusters or bestselling novels are
based on perfect people who lead perfect lives, free of danger, ill will, or distress. Such stories don’t entertain. There’s no suspense to them.

Just because a TV program’s called a reality show doesn’t mean it honors reality. Most
reality shows are loosely scripted—but scripted nonetheless—for friction, elimination, rejection, and confrontation. Consequently, reality show players are volatile, quick to fly off the handle. They confront before they have all the facts and offer up behind-the-back candor. There’s also a great deal of name-calling and cussing, and the sort of behaviors which—if you saw it out in public—would make you cross the street with your kids toavoid it.

The concern, of course, is that this bleeds into everyday life. Human beings are visually
inclined and thus visually influenced. Watch enough people flying off the handle, and you come to believe it’s socially acceptable.

Who’d object if you blasted your horn at the driver ahead of you, slow to move after the
light turns green? Did a co-worker irritate you? Maybe this person irritates everyone in the office, so what would be so wrong with blowing your stack at her? Maybe you’ve got a customer who’s constantly nagging and complaining, so dealing with him is exhausting. Who would hold it against you for confronting him with your objections to his behavior?

We’ve become so anxious about detecting how we’re being “disrespected,” we’ve
forgotten what it is to give respect. Conflict is not a green light for physical, mental, or verbal abuse. As natural and inevitable as it is to experience conflict and anger, don’t give up your right to choose. Your reactions are your choices. Your reactions are within your power to choose.
The role of conflict in reality TV is to drive up ratings.

The role of conflict in reality is
to tell us, “Something’s wrong here. Something important needs to be worked out.” How you participate in a solution says a lot about who you are, as a professional and a human being.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Good Reads

I love to read. Reading helps keep me business savvy and in the know. Here's another business-related blog that I recently came across, which provides useful information especially for the small business owner.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Big 9 - 0

Thought Transformation’s 90 Day Rule

Diligently pursue leads for 90 days using phone, email and mail.
If you haven’t connected within that time frame,
you’ve reached the point of diminishing returns.
Move on!
You’ll find more success in the long-run.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In or Out?

Finding Leads - The Inside/Outside Approach

The Inside Approach

• Go through your current prospect list and call everyone on it.
• Organize a prospect swap with fellow salespeople to shake things up.
• Ask your boss to assign you inactive accounts.
• Search within your own clients. Are you calling on every person and every department that buys?

The Outside Approach
• Set aside 4 weekend hours and search the Internet for leads. Websites like
and are great tools and membership is free.
• Spend five minutes checking local business news every morning, either by reading the paper or going on-line.
• Profile your ideal customer, and then buy a list of similar companies.
• Ask clients, friends, and family for referrals.
• Network.

Monday, November 29, 2010

10 x 10

Thought Transformation 10 x 10 Rule

More success comes when you start with these assumptions:

10 Calls = 9 Voice Mails + 1 Conversation

10 Conversations = 1 Appointment

10 x 10 = 100 dials to get 1 appointment

Try it out and let me know how it goes.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Big 5 - 0

Yesterday, we starting calculating how many leads you would need to reach your sales goals. You should have determined how many new accounts you would need to meet you goals.

Today, take the number of new accounts you would need to meet your goals and multiply the number by 50.

Why Use a Multiplier of 50?

If you work 50 leads, the odds are good that at least one lead will turn into a customer. You are however welcome to modify the multiplier based on personal experience.

Now you know exactly how many leads you need in order to reach your goal. Good selling!! (And good Turkey Day!!) I'll be back on Monday with the Thought Transformation 10 x 10 Rule.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How Many Leads Do I Need?

The answer comes from simple analysis.

• Determine your sales goal.
• Calculate value of a new account in the first year.
• Use these numbers to determine the number of leads needed to reach the goal.

Set a Goal

Are you trying to grow new account sales by $10,000 or $1,000,000?

Challenging goals require you to sift through more leads.

Calculate the Value of a New Account

Step 1: Determine the number of new accounts you opened last calendar year.

Step 2: Determine the total sales dollars that came from all new accounts during that year.

Step 3: Calculate to find average value.

Total Sales from New Accts ÷ No. of New Accts = Avg. Value

Example: Last year you opened 3 new accounts. All together the 3 accounts generated $75,000 in sales.
$75,000 ÷ 3 = $25,000
$25,000 is the average value of a new acct.

How many leads do I need?

Divide your goal by the average value of a new account toBold find the number of new accounts needed.

Goal ÷ Avg. Value of a New Acct. = No. of New Accts. Needed

Example: Let’s say you set a goal of $100,000 in new account sales. You calculated the average new account brings $25,000 in sales during the first year.

$100,000 ÷ $25,000 = 4 new accounts needed to reach goal

More tomorrow on what to do with the number of new accounts needed to reach your goal.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Leads, Leads, Leads

Over the next two weeks, I will be sharing important information on leads.

I believe great salespeople always look for leads. The reasons they do this is because:

• They want to grow their business.

• They want to replace lost business.

• They want to eliminate marginal clients and replace them with better ones.

Any other reasons why salespeople look for leads?? More tomorrow on the number of leads you will need to reach your goal.

Friday, November 19, 2010

KeFactors Friday: When your brand sucks (and when it doesn’t)

Would you ever do this?

You buy an expensive car and outfit it with luxurious upholstery and fittings.
Experts tell you it’s imminently road-worthy and could take you far.

Then you hand the keys over to a randomly selected group of strangers. You
don’t explain anything about the condition in which this car should be maintained, figuring “common sense” will guide that. You look away when it’s clear some of these drivers aren’t fit to drive, either from inexperience or irresponsible behavior. When wrecks occur, you expend a great deal of money to repair the car and appease the other injured party, but do little more than a perfunctory rehabilitation of the driver behind the wheel.

Asking the question again: would you ever say this?

“I believe in XYZ for my cell phone and wifi needs. Sure, they’re more expensive
than anyone else and they never return my calls, but I figure it’s worth it because of their name. They’re often late for service calls and sometimes they get my bill wrong. When I ask for customer service I’m treated with indifference, sometimes rudeness, but what the heck, they’re a big name.”

Organizations spend huge dollars to create brand identity, but let’s face it: human
beings are not loyal to brands but to people. Behind every brand are touchpoints who enliven your identity as an organization. If you, as a leader, are not specific and concrete in your vision of what the brand means, and how the customer should experience it, then you’re bound to sabotage your own vision.

I drive past three competing groceries to shop at my local Publix. Their brand is
based on friendly service and reasonable pricing, but their credo — “where shopping is a pleasure” — is spelled out in actionable terms for the employee. If a customer asks you where to find a certain product, stop what you’re doing and don’t just point them to the aisle. Escort them there, and show it to them. Even if you can’t spell out every touchpoint, having enough in hand sets the bar to which employees can respond to customer needs. Final question: What is your customer’s experience of your particular brand, and do your employees know how to make that experience come alive in a positive way?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Gobble, Gobble

It's hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is just one week away. Spend today getting organized for a short work week starting Monday and take this opportunity to call clients you are hoping to finalize a sale with as they might not be in the office next week at all. Good selling!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Communication Styles - Part 2

Here's a wrap-up on direct versus indirect communication.

When selling, pay attention to communication styles. Is the buyer speaking to you directly, providing useful information so you can do business together? Or are they smiling while they skirt the issue?

When prospects and customers tell you exactly what you need to know to sell them, it’s a buying signal stating, “I want to work with you.”

Indirect communication lets you know there is still work to be done before you
make the sale.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Communication Styles - Part 1

Last month, I posted a basic description of direct versus indirect communication. Over the next two days, I will posting a little more information on the difference.

Direct communication gets right to the point. Speakers state what they are thinking without embellishment. They speak with a specific goal in mind because they want the listener to understand their position.

“Bob, if you can drop your price by $400, I will give you this order.”
“I can do that.”
“Great. You have the order.”

Indirect communication drops hints and beats around the bush. We use indirect communication when we aren’t sure about the desired outcome or the person we are communicating with, and want wiggle room.

“Bob, your price is a little high.”
“How high?”
“I don’t remember exactly.”
“If I match the lower price, will you give me the order?”
“I’m not sure I want to do that. Why don’t you give me your best price and I’ll

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tip 1 - How to Gauge Interest

This week, I will be sharing a few useful tips when it comes to sales. Today's tip deals with house to gauge a customer's interest. Look for these signs of engagement and interest:
  • Eye Contact
  • Mouth open as if to speak (Please let them interrupt!! It's a sign you've touched a nerve.)
  • Nodding
  • Smiling
  • Hand gestures accompanying words

Friday, November 12, 2010

KeFactors Friday: The value of story

Human beings love stories, and we’re natural storytellers as well.

And one of the first things a fiction writer learns is “Show, don’t tell.”
Instead of saying “Harry was a busy, impatient man,” it’s more evocative to say “As his wife described her day, Harry drummed the table with his fingers until she glared at him.” That says a lot about Harry, his wife, and the possible state of their marriage.

And here’s how stories fit in with work life.

• Don’t sell the product or service; tell a story. Instead of praising the new
capabilities you’ve just invested in, tell the prospect a story about a client who had a particular problem and how your team and this new capability solved the problem.
• Praise in detail, not generalities of business-speak. Got a great employee?
Don’t just say “Susan consistently demonstrates professional skill” but “Susan returns client calls within 24 hours, tries to regularly meet with each and every customer, and endeavors to keep them informed of new trends and technology.”
• Customers tell stories too. That’s the power of word-of-mouth: free advertising! The best stories anyone could ever tell about your company arises from complaint resolution: “This vendor made a small mistake on our project but when we pointed it out to them, they didn’t get defensive. They thanked us for catching it, made the improvements, and took care of us immediately. I’d recommend them without hesitation. Heck, everyone makes mistakes.” (What could’ve happened: “Oh my God, we caught a mistake they’d made and you would not believe the hassle we experienced trying to get this little error resolved. First, they got huffy and hinted we’d caused the problem. Next they apologized, which somehow didn’t make it better because by then we were desperate to just get it done on time. Hire them with caution!”)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Show Your Pearly Whites

When you meet new people, look at them long enough to see the color of their eyes. Smile and repeat their name. Walk into every appointment glad for the chance to meet someone new.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Webinar: Repair Ruptured Relationships, Reawaken Dead Accounts

Have you signed up for the November webinar? This month's topic is, "Repair Ruptured Relationships, Reawaken Dead Accounts." We will provide you with the insights you need to turn unhappy customers around and start them buying again.

: This Friday, November 8th from 1:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Cost: $35

Registration Information:
Click here

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Here's something to ask yourself...

Where do my customers have to go to succeed in the marketplace, and how can I be a partner in helping them get there??

Monday, November 8, 2010

Reawaken Dead Accounts

For many years, one of Mike’s best customers was a large bank.
He loved them and thought they loved him, too.

Then, sales began to slip. The bank didn’t call quite as often as they once had. Mike still got orders, but they weren’t as frequent or as large. He noticed, but didn’t react.

He didn’t ask what was going on, or why the situation had changed. No one complained about quality or price, so Mike assumed the situation would turn around.

One day he woke up realizing it had been a very long time since he talked to anyone at the bank. A queasy feeling gripped him as he counted backwards and realized how many months had gone by without a single order. His blinders fell away. For the first time, Mike recognized this customer was dead.

Worse yet, he had probably killed them with neglect and indifference.
This story has a happy ending. Mike worked hard and resurrected his dead client. He continued to do business with them for the next decade.

Everyone has dead customers and resurrecting them can be the shortest route to new sales. Dead customers represent qualified leads. You already know they buy what you sell. Often enough, they will buy it from you a second time if you go out and re-sell them.

Learn from Mike’s mistake. Sign up for this month's webinar, "Repair Ruptured Relationships, Reawaken Dead Accounts," which is part of the
2010 Webcast Series: Relationship-Building Strategies. For more information, e-mail me at

Friday, November 5, 2010

KeFactors Friday: Survival of the fittest - Good Samaritans

A friend of mine had me laughing until I was hoarse about a “who’s on first?” encounter he had with an elderly man and a flat tire. My friend stepped up to help him change the tire and the old man kept repeating, “I gotta go to the bank and cash a check, to pay you for your kindness.”

“I gave him three outs,” my friend recounted. “I suggested he pay it forward by donating money to a church, telling someone he was helped by an alumnus from this school [he was wearing a college shirt at the time], or just give some money to the local children’s hospital. If there was a karmic debt, I didn’t have to be the one to receive the payment.”

The news is filled with stories of cruelty, not just the usual “if it bleeds, it leads” type of crimes, but ones in which insensitivity reigned supreme.

More than ever this year, I’ve been asked to speak on workplace civility: these are minor, banal cruelties — speaking loudly on cell phones while colleagues are trying to work, not helping one’s team when workloads grow heavy, not returning phone calls or emails, indulging in verbal abuse of subordinates, stealing someone else’s food from the breakroom fridge.

In short, putting one’s own needs and interests above another’s.
How do you convince someone else to be kind, to empathize with others? You can’t. But consider these things:

• Unless your life has been an abysmal horror, most of us have benefited at one time or another from an act of compassion. If you thought about it, you could probably build a quite a list.
• People forget names, dates, maybe even faces, but they never forget how they were treated—with cruelty, or with kindness. Survivor stories inevitably include accounts of kindness that border on the heroic.

• Everyone has a lousy day, or month, or week. The best way to overcome that agitated feeling is to be kind to someone else in need, even if it’s opening a door.

And, as my friend said, if there is a karmic debt to be paid, you can suggest repayment—but it doesn’t have to come to you. That’s the real gift of kindness.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Getting Past Voice Mail

To get past voice mail, apply intelligent persistence.

  • Initiate contact multiple ways - phone, e-mail and mail. Often it takes 10 to 12 contacts before you get a response.
  • Leave relevant messages that address pain points.
  • Make sure you speak slowly and clearly, so the buyer can understand your name and number and write them down as you speak.
  • Your voice is a tool. Be sure you sound friendly and upbeat, even if on the seventh message.
  • Buyers will call back when they need what you're selling and they need it now.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Apply the Rule of 3

You achieve great success if you're willing to try new selling behaviors at least three times before passing judgement on the behavior's effectiveness.

Try No. 1 gives you the benefit of a new experience.

Try No. 2 allows you to apply what you learned and do it better.

Ditto for Try No. 3, but by now a deeper understanding of actions and outcomes allows you the benefit of wisdom and insight.

Apply the Rule of 3 to learning and sell more.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Law Of Value

Something to think about...No one pays more for a product or service than they think it's worth.

Monday, November 1, 2010

How Long Do Tough Times Last?

With just two months left in 2010, I wonder how sales people throughout the country are doing despite the economic crisis our country has been forced to deal with. The question most people ask is, "How long do tough times last?"

Following the Great Depression, in which output dropped by 30 percent and over 25 percent of the nation's work force was unemployed, a decade passed before the economy fully recovered. Fortunately for us in sales, no other downturn lasted anywhere near this long and the majority of downturns in the late 20th century lasted less than a year.

Good times always last longer than bad times, and bad times always get better!

Friday, October 29, 2010

KeFactors Friday: When great things happen to good companies (but it all goes bad anyway)….

It’s a mistake to assume organizational complacency is just about smugness and self-congratulation: it’s also chronic passivity — what one writer calls an absence of “premortems,” or failure to thoroughly assess new initiatives before they’re set in motion.

Ironically, the causes come from positives in the organization’s performance history:

Management only wants positives. Sure, nobody likes chronic naysayers, but skeptics and devil’s advocates can provide analyses of potential pitfalls and difficulties. What happens? Aside from alienating otherwise engaged employees, it also means management grows accustomed to getting a chipper but incomplete report.

“I’m the expert and you’re not.” Experts do tend to be right very often, but it’s an illusion to bet they’ll be right all the time. What happens? Specialist inflexibility or disdain for laypeople can be demoralizing for staff—and galling to customers who may also be laypeople.

• Unyielding belief in prior success. The more a routine succeeds, the more likely people are to assume the process is infallible. What happens? The organization grows rigidly attached to its more reliable solutions and becomes risk-averse (no innovation). There’s also an inability to learn and recover from costly mistakes.

“We have all the best toys!” Technology, however sophisticated, is not infallible, and organizations often make the mistake of investing in IT protocols that make sense only to themselves and their IT guys. What happens? If it doesn’t make sense to your customers (or if it takes too much time to learn and adapt), they won’t rely on your technology even if self-service options are available 24/7.

“My folks are right.” Some groups invite debate; others strive for unanimity, characterizing dissenters as flawed or badly informed. What happens? The tribalism of this can lead to faulty group rationalizations, presumptions of superiority, and miscasting of customers as ignorant outsiders.

The bad news is also the good news: much of the complacency problem lies in human nature, so there’s no known cure. But awareness helps reduce the problems created by complacency, and (I believe) the human mind can overcome any fallibility if the commitment to change is made.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Functional Benefits v. Emotional Benefits

Make sure that you are always enthusiastically talking about your product benefits, even when the customer has bought from you for years. Remember, functional benefits are logical reasons to purchase. They explain to a buyer how your product solves their problems or improves their situation. There are also emotional benefits that relate directly to buyer feelings. Often, they relate directly to the advantages of buying from a wonderful salesperson like you.

Reminding buyers why they made a smart choice helps keep competitors at bay.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Direct Communication v. Indirect Communication

People communicate with both direct and indirect communication. When using direct communication, a person says exactly what they're thinking and what they want. Indirect communication also makes a point, but in a roundabout way.

When customers choose indirect communication, ask more questions to be sure you understand what they're getting at and the point they want to make.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Conversation v. Interrogation

When you speak to a buyer, it's important to have a conversation, not an interrogation. If you're pleasant, respectful and honestly interested in the buyer's answers, the buyer is more likely to open up and tell you the truth.

Listen to yourself as you close. Remember your voice is a tool. Use it to sell more.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Servicing v. Selling

Do you know the difference?? Servicing focuses on current needs and selling focuses on future opportunities. While it's important to provide excellent service, you should not get so wrapped up in the details of today's order that you stop talking to the customer about their future ambitions and desires.

Friday, October 22, 2010

KeFactors Fridays: Why Your Workplace is Not Your Family

You can see how this happens: when human beings experience close bonds and camaraderie at work, they often liken it to the bonds of family.

But is this correct—or even healthy for the organization?

Consider what’s wrong with that statement.

For starters, there are downsides to being in a family as well, because families also experience:

• unhealthy competitions and rivalries
• adversarial relationships with power and authority
• permissiveness and favoritism
• tolerance of abusive behaviors like incivility and sabotage

And for everyone who feels important and central to the family group, there’s
always someone who feels displaced or excluded.

This is because employees often use the family analogy as a way to express their experience of workplace culture and values, without realizing a great deal of that perception is based in personal assumptions about how a family should function. And frankly, the two templates—family and work—while separate and equal, are very different in purpose and operation.

It’s also meant that many managers confuse the activities of managing with parenting—which only makes employees feel patronized.

The bottom line? Family-like interactions at work are fine unless and until they give permission for behaviors that don’t work for work. (Stay tuned: an e-book is being developed on this topic in greater detail).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Storefront Solutions Sales Training

Click here to read my article on Selling Storefront Solutions from the August issue of Canvas Magazine.

If you've invested in software to set up storefronts for customers and want to increase revenues by selling more on-line ordering solutions,
click here for more information about a training program I've developed.

Good selling!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Twitter in Two Pages

Still not really sure what Twitter is or how it works? Then you might be interested in "Twitter in Two Pages." Thought Transformation's Director of Marketing has mapped out what Twitter is, how it works and what you need to do in order to start "tweeting" today.

Interested in reading this free, informational piece? E-mail your name and mailing address to and she will send you a FREE copy of "Twitter in Two Pages."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

An Economic Turn For The Best??

Last week, Bloomberg reported "Retail Sales in U.S. Climbed More Than Forecast in September." Not only did retail sales climb, but according to the article, sales rose 1.6 percent at car dealers, their best performance since March and in line with industry figures released earlier this month. Additionally, the National Retail Federation is forecasting holiday sales will be the best in four years and companies are planning on stepping up hiring as a result.

So, while retail sales are on the rise...are your sales numbers climbing, too? As we approach the homestretch of 2010, what can you do to improve your numbers? Need some advice?? Feel free to comment below.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Cup of Jo

When it comes to making cold calls, a salesperson’s voice is an essential and powerful tool, but learning to use it properly is critical to success. One way I teach people to warm up their voice is by using the "get a cup of coffee" vibe. If you called a friend to ask them to meet you for a cup of coffee, you would sound friendly. Whether they said yes or no, you wouldn't worry a lot about whether or not they liked you. When you cold call, if you can embrace the "get a cup of coffee vibe," you sound more natural, more friendly and get better results.

Friday, October 15, 2010

KeFactors Fridays: Does This Make My “But” Look Big?

When a customer gets upset, they feel off-balance. Some may even appear vengeful, as if they’re looking for reasons to be unhappy with you and your organization.

Not so.

What the customer is looking for are affirmations that (1) their complaint is being taken seriously; and (2) you are prepared to help them to their complete satisfaction.

Two little words in the English language have powerful charges, and they’re the words “but” and “however.” Why?

Our ears and minds are conditioned to pay special attention to the message following those two words.

For example, what would be your take-away if I said, “Gosh, you always look so well-groomed, but today I find you’re somewhat overdressed for this occasion.”

Or, “I’ll be happy to resolve this problem for you; however, I’ll have to run this by my boss.”

In the case of the latter, the customer still isn’t hearing a helpful message, because tacitly you’re communicating, “I’m not really going to help you because it depends on what my boss says.”

Flip it around—same words, different emphasis:

“I’ll have to run this by my boss; however, I’ll be happy to resolve this problem for you.

“You’re somewhat overdressed for this occasion but gosh, you always look so well-groomed.”

Get it? Always put the positive side of the message behind those two small but powerful words.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Survey Says....

Thanks to everyone who took the time to fill out the Sales Is Not For Sissies survey! The winner of the free copy of "101 Cold Call Tips" is...



We will be reviewing the survey results over the coming weeks and implementing your recommendations. Thanks again for your participation!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"101 Cold Call Tips" - Tip #2

Here's Tip #2. Have you picked up your copy of "101 Cold Call Tips?" If not, click here. Good selling!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"101 Cold Call Tips" - Tip #1

Over the next two days, I will be sharing a tip from my new book. To sharpen your cold calling skills, read the tip and ask yourself if it's something you do consistently. If the answer is "yes," pat yourself on the back. If the answer is "no," integrate the skill and practice until the skill is a habit. Don't forget, besides the two tips I'm sharing today and tomorrow, there are 99 others that you can find in my book. Click here to purchase your copy today!

Monday, October 11, 2010

In 1492...

Today is Columbus Day. Can you take this historic day and use it to craft a clever pitch for today's cold calls? I'd love to hear what you come up with!

Good Selling!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

KeFactors Fridays: What signals are you sending?

Organizations spend tens of thousands of hours and dollars developing eloquent customer care messages—and then overlook simple details, often in plain sight.

One of my clients went to visit a new vendor at their offices. She knew it was a small business (but of long history); since they handled high-volume mailing operations, she didn’t expect a plush setting. And, like many businesses, they proudly stated on website and collaterals that for over 50 years, customers came first.

But let’s review what she experienced.

Upon entering, she smiled slightly to see the lobby sign that welcomed her by name. Nice touch—and one she’d seen other vendors use.

The receptionist, however, stared blankly back at her when she gave her name, and the name of her appointment. (“He’s still out to lunch, but I’ll leave him a voicemail to let him know you’re here.”) ….My client sat down in the lobby and returned calls on her cell. A group of employees came back from lunch and lingered in the lobby, laughing and joking loudly—no one greeted her, asked if she needed help, nor seemed to observe that she was trying to talk on the phone.

She decided to freshen up in the restroom, which was a little unsettling—an overfilled wastebasket, trash on the floor, empty soap dispenser, and a damp, skimpy roll of toilet paper. She mentioned it to the receptionist, whose response was an indulgent smile — “Oh” — but not much else.

Her appointment showed up, only a little late, and they had a pleasant meeting.

Upon leaving, she stepped into the parking lot just in time to see an employee empty a full ashtray of cigarette butts from his car onto the pavement. He gave her a wink and she left.

A week later, when she and her boss sat down with me to review vendor proposals, her appraisal ran like this: “Yes, they do have a long history in the business and their price isn’t bad, but….” Fortunately, her boss trusted her gut instincts and let her process her thoughts. “I’m not sure their service attitude is companywide. They seemed to think that repeating the customer care motto was evidence enough, but I’m not so sure. Don’t ask me how I came to that, it’s just something I picked up on while I was there.”

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Who's Qualifying Who?

Some prospects want what you sell. Others want to learn about what you sell. The challenge for sales professionals is to decide as quickly as possible which buyers represent real opportunities. Separating posers from purchasers requires thoughtful analysis based on what you see and hear in sales calls.

Questions are the foundation of the sales process. You ask them to qualify buyers, to discover if
prospects want your offering and if they’re willing to pay your price.

You qualify buyers, and they qualify you.
They want to know:

• Do I like this salesperson enough to give them my money?

• Can I trust them to tell me everything I need?

• Did they leave any critical information out?

• If information was left out, did it happen on purpose?

• Do I really need this?

• What other options do I have?

• Is this price fair?
• Is there enough value to justify the expense?
• Does the salesperson have the expertise I need?

• What could go wrong?

• If I buy from this company, will my boss think I made a good decision?
• Are there any hidden charges or fees?

• Will the salesperson and the company be easy to do business with?

• Does the salesperson understand me when we communicate?
• Does the salesperson like me enough to watch my back?

• Will the salesperson follow my instructions?

• Do they care if I'm satisfied, or do they just want a sale?

In over 25 years of selling, no prospect ever came out and asked, "Linda, can I trust you?" But,
I knew the question hovered in their mind along with a half dozen others. When important questions went unanswered, the sale never took place.