Friday, February 26, 2010

3 Things Great Salespeople Do on Friday

  1. They know it's a great time to call prospects and schedule appointments. People are at their desks wrapping up work. Many are in a great mood anticipating the weekend ahead. Who do you want to reach? Call them now!

  2. It's a great day to strategize about penetrating accounts. Who are your biggest customers? How much do they buy? How could you get more? What do you need to do on Monday to put your plan into action?

  3. Great salespeople close on Fridays. They follow up on the week's opportunities, open dialogues and close sales.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hall of Shame

On Monday, I am posting information on our first SalesIsNotForSissies Hall of Shame nominee. Nominees are people in the sales world who make professional salespeople look bad! I believe it's my job to share what certain salespeople are doing wrong, in order to make sure you aren't making the same mistakes!

If you've come across an offender you'd like to nominate for the SalesIsNotForSissies Hall of Shame, please send your story to

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'm an Atlanta Daybook Expert

As an Atlanta Daybook Expert, I was asked to provide content for their "Daybook Expert Spotlight" section. I decided to focus on why you should take a look at the sales funnel to increase sales.
To read the full article, please click on the link below.

Monday, February 22, 2010

This is NOT a buying signal!

"I'll keep you in mind."

Every salesperson on the planet has heard these words from a prospect. 90% of the time, you don't hear back from the buyer who used the phrase because:
  1. They don't want to buy from you but were too polite to say so.

  2. Now that they understand what you sell, they decided they don't need it now.

  3. They do buy it. When you're face-to-face, the buyer intends to give you an opportunity. Then, time passes.

When the opportunity arises, they buyer forgets to include you on the bid list. When you hear these words, say, "That's great! When do you expect to have to place an order?" Smile and press a little harder for specific details because the buyer will be more likely to remember the conversation and to act upon it. And never forget it's your job to follow-up.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Take 2 minutes and 52 seconds out of your day to watch this. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Past Purchases Point to Current Decision Makers

When selling products or services purchased in the past, the shortest route to a new sale is talking to the person who made the last purchase because it is logical to assume they have the authority to buy. When you call the receptionist to ask, "Who buys the . . ." don't just settle for a name. Ask for a title, too. Sometimes receptionists don't know who the purchaser is, and they will make a guess. Knowing the suspected buyer's title helps you assess if that guess is right or wrong. If the title doesn't seem to fit with the power and authority required for the purchase, call back and ask for the name of the person who has the appropriate title. When you get the suspected buyer on the phone, speak in your friendliest tone and quickly qualify whether or not they are the decision-maker.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

And the winner is...

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to read the blog and leave comments.

I'm happy to announce that Jeremy Esser is the winner of a copy of "Selling in Tough Times." Jeremy, please contact Melissa Silas at to claim your prize.

Hope everyone is having a great week! Be sure to check back tomorrow to learn about how past purchases point to current decision makers. And if you want to pick up a copy of the book, it's available at and

Monday, February 15, 2010

Love is in the air

In honor of Valentine's Day, I'm giving one of my LOVEly readers a copy of my book, "Selling in Tough Times."

For a chance to win, please leave a comment below. A winner will be chosen at random tomorrow. Good luck!

Friday, February 12, 2010

L is for the way you look at me

With Valentine's Day around the corner, today I want to know, "Do your clients love you?"

The answer is yes if . . .
  1. You are the first person they call when they have new business.
  2. You are the last person they call--either because they're ready to place the order or they want to work with you on pricing.
  3. Your clients ignore calls from prospecting competitors because they're 100% happy with you.
  4. You get at least 51% of what the customer spends in your product category.
  5. You ask for a referral and get one.
Have a great weekend and check back Monday for a very special giveway!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ring, Ring....Ring, Ring...

Another post on e-mails...

Question: Do you think you can close by email?

I think the answer is no. In my mind, open dialogues are needed to close sales. Sending an email asking if you got the order is NOT closing. It's requesting information. If you want to sell more, pick up the phone and talk to the decision-maker. Sending an email won't tip the scale in your favor. A phone call might.
What do you think??

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

You've Got Mail

To entice a stranger to look at your email, the subject line must do the following:

  • BE RELEVANT. The message must matter now.

  • Be clear. Be sure you don't sound like a scam.

  • Be interesting.

Here are good examples of subject lines that "sell" opening the email.

  • Last week we saved a customer $$$$ on (name the product or service).

  • Last week, the XYZ Company thanked us because (explain why they thanked you).

Look at the prospect's website because another good subject line starts by saying, "I looked at your website." In the body of the email tie observations to the benefits you offer. People are busy. Keep emails short and easy to skim.

Good selling!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Three Tips to Avoid Missing Out on Making Sales

Great timing usually outsells sales brilliance. Sales professionals know this and ask, “When and why is a prospect ready to buy?” By knowing the answer to these three questions, you avoid missing out on making sales.

1. What triggers a sale? Baby formula, baby furniture and car carrier sales are triggered by a baby’s birth. Wedding plans trigger dress sales, travel arrangements and event planning. In a business, a lease getting ready to run out on the copier pushes companies to start shopping for a replacement.

2. How can you use a trigger event to sell? When you talk to a potential customer, ask questions relating to trigger events. If they aren’t ready to buy today, but they are thinking about buying, make it a point to call them back.

3. Know how to identify hot, warm and cold leads. All leads are not created equal. Hot leads are ready to buy now. Warm leads plan to buy in the next 90 days. Cold leads want to know more but haven’t decided whether they ever will buy. Determine your “sorting” criteria. Put it into a checklist format and use it when selling to evaluate if a potential customer is sales-ready.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Cost of a Lost Opportunity to Make a Sale

You call a potential customer and they say, “Gee, I love what you’re selling but I wish you had called yesterday before I bought this from your competitor.” Those words are an instant downer because you missed out on an opportunity.

I thought about this because I received a letter from a salesperson at the local BMW dealership that read:
Dear Linda, Congratulations! In a few days you will have driven your BMW for two full years. I trust that during this time your vehicle has proven to give you many miles of satisfaction. On the chance that you may be considering another vehicle, I’d like to offer my services.

The letter finished with contact information. Nicely written as it was, I’m not ready to buy another car so it is now in the recycling bin.

But it did get me thinking about the cost of lost selling opportunities and how to eliminate “you’re too late” conversations about just-lost sales.

If you sell hamburgers, every new day creates new opportunities to sell. Same is true for coffee, candy bars and paperback books. These are low-cost, low-risk consumables we buy again and again.

When we buy cars, carpet, or computers for home or a business, the cost of a lost opportunity today has bigger ramifications for sales professionals because it may be one year or many before the customer is ready to purchase again.

So what can you do to insure you don’t miss out? Stay tuned.

Friday, February 5, 2010

10 Ways to Push Sales Up in 2010

Happy Friday! As we wrap up the week, I'd like to share 10 Ways to Push Up Sales in 2010.

  1. Single task when talking to customers on the phone so you don't miss critical information and subtle voice signals.

  2. Follow up on hot leads the instant you receive them. Don't wait an hour or a day.

  3. Take ten minutes. Write down the profile of your ideal customer because it increases the odds of spotting the perfect target.

  4. Sell every day. Servicing is not selling. Selling is about getting new business. Servicing is about making sure current business goes smoothly. I repeat . . . sell every day.

  5. Know how much time it takes to phone prospects. It takes 60 minutes to call 20 people and leave messages. If you call 20 people and have 3 to 5 conversations, you'll spend 90 minutes on the phone. If you want more business, schedule more time to call more people.

  6. Value, value, value! Bring more to every call and you will sell more.

  7. Get in the habit of calling customers after the order delivers and ask, "How did we do?"

  8. Customers will say, "Your price is high." Plan now to give a better response.

  9. Start smiling before you pick up the phone. People buy more from friendly salespeople. Have a yearly sales goal. Break it into weekly increments.

  10. Have a plan to hit the number. If you miss your weekly number two weeks in a row, rethink your plan. Figure out what you should be doing more of and change immediately. I want you to have a great year.

What are you doing to push your sales up?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Break the I-Habit

I'm a sales professional who likes to think I have better-than-average communications skills. Yet, I still find myself interrupting customers. I do it less than I used to, but this year it's the habit I intend to break once and for all. Brains process information at lightning speed. We make connections, draw conclusions, assemble brilliant insights and derive helpful suggestions. The urge to express ourselves is powerful because we're ego-centric creatures. When egos override good manners, we interrupt. If we have a good relationship with a customer, interrupting isn't a deal killer. When you're talking to a prospect you barely know, it's different. I'm sure I lost opportunities over the years simply because I cut off a new acquaintance at the wrong moment and made them like me less as a result.

To stop interrupting, take three easy steps.
1. Notice when you do it.

2. If you open your mouth when someone is speaking, shut it immediately and NOD to show you're listening.

3. Touch your tongue to the roof of your mouth and leave it there as a reminder to keep lips zipped until it's your turn to talk.

One last tip. Follow this simple strategy when you're on the phone because it helps you build relationships there as well.

Do you have any tips to break the I-Habit?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Selling Lesson from an Alabama Car Wash

After a client call, I drove back to Atlanta and passed a car wash. The sign in front wasn’t fancy. It had the name of the car wash and below it the owner had created this message:
Car Wash $5.00.
White Cars $2.00 off today.

I counted three white cars taking advantage of the special as I drove past. Advertising brilliance illustrating the basic principal that a relevant message increases the odds of making a sale.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

No One Likes To Be Sold? You Got That Wrong!

This mistaken perception has been around for a long time, but I blame Jeffrey Gitomer for popularizing it in his book “Little Red Book of Selling.” Great book, but Gitomer is completely wrong. People don’t mind being sold at all. What they hate is being sold badly.

Bad selling has three elements.

1. Your timing sucks. The customer has bigger problems than you can solve, but Mr./Ms. Bad Salesperson ignores subtle –or even blatant—signals. They charge forward and waste everyone’s time.

2. Bad selling labels customers who don’t buy what Mr./ Ms. Bad Salesperson wants to sell as stupid—which is the ultimate stupidity because that kind of thinking is immature and self-centered.

3. How many times have you heard it? “Telling is not selling?” Yet, time and time again, sales un-professionals don’t ask enough questions and prescribe before knowing enough to adequately diagnose the problem.

No one minds being sold by a professional who respects your time, asks enough questions to understand the situation and genuinely wants you to be better off—even if that means you don’t buy their product. The challenge for every sales manager and business owner to have the vision, hire the talent and train them so your team sells the way you would want to be sold.

And no one wants to be sold badly—even customers who are ready and willing to buy.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Something for nothing

I think we all can agree, 2010 was a tough year. However, assuming the payoff is high, this year will be an opportunity for buyers to spend on projects they put off last year. With 11 months left in 2010, this is the perfect time for salespeople to realize that if they want to outsell the competition, they need to freshen their message and approach so it aligns with the buyer's mental outlook.

It's time to realize sales isn't for everyone and it definitely isn't for sissies!