Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Ticking Time Bomb

It’s easy to tell people who you are, your position, who you represent and what the organization does. Since every organization offers many benefits, figuring which one to focus on in your elevator speech is tougher.

Choose a benefit based on these criteria.

• It fixes an important problem for the prospect.
• The prospect is motivated to solve the problem now.
• The benefit reflects your competitive advantage.

Relate Benefits to Time Bombs
Time bombs are problems waiting to explode inside your customer’s office. When they detonate, they create havoc and damage. Mentioning a ticking time bomb often grabs the prospect’s attention.

Here are two good questions to ask when identifying time bomb problems.

• If the problem explodes would the prospect’s boss be angry?
• Would defusing the bomb before it explodes make the prospect a hero?
If the answer to both questions is, “Yes,” then you’ve identified a powerful bomb.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What Should an Elevator Speech Say?

The basic elevator speech quickly states:

• Who you are.
• Your position at the company you represent and what the organization does.
• An important benefit with widespread appeal.

This is my elevator speech as president of Thought Transformation. “My name is
Linda Bishop. I am the president of a national sales training and consulting
company called Thought Transformation. We help companies like yours grow
sales through the right combination of tools, training and tactics.”

Take time this week to work on your elevator speech and post it to the blog. I'd love to see it!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Going Up?

This week we will explore The Elevator Speech. The first thing you are probably asking yourself is, "Why Do I Need an Elevator Speech?"

The answer to that question is sales start when potential buyers learn about your offering and they’re interested. A good elevator speech helps you create interest.

• It tells people who you are and proclaims how you help.
• It demonstrates to the buyer they’re dealing with a competent
• It opens conversations.

Ultimately, a good elevator speech pays off—often in unexpected places and situations.

More on The Elevator Speech tomorrow!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Weekend Reading

I've created a resource site for business owners and sales professionals.
On the site, you can download articles on creating your elevator speech, identifying and reaching decision makers, your prospect scorecard and setting goals, which includes my article on "Filling the Funnel."
Visit Happy Reading!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Asking One Question Helps You Close More Sales

Customers want to solve problems. The next time you talk about a new product or service, present the benefits of your solution and then ask, "Can you share a reason as to how you think this would help you?"

Listen closely to the buyer's answer and use what you learn during the sales cycle.

  • Does the buyer sound enthusiastic?
  • Is the reason they give compelling and powerful?
  • Does it indicate the buyer intends to act now?
Repeating the buyer's words helps close deals. It's an easy technique. Master it to sell more.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Dog Sack

Have you ever heard of “The Dog Sack?” I didn’t until I saw this blog post.

The post proves this: Products come and go. Knowing how to sell always has value, as long as you’re willing to apply it in new industries.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

On The Road Again

I will be presenting "Selling in Tough Times 2010" in Louisville KY tomorrow, March 24th, and in Nashville TN on March 25th. This training is sponsored by The Printing Industries of the South. It's fresh thinking and new ideas on cold calling, getting opportunities and closing them.

Monday, March 22, 2010

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

Are you following me on Twitter? If not, you have been missing all of my tips on cold calling best practices. You may not like to do it, but cold calling is a basic selling skill. So, log in to your Twitter account and start following @Linda_Bishop

And if you don't have a Twitter account and/or don't know what it is, see Friday's post.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Tweet Tweet

Do you tweet on Twitter? Do you even know what Twitter is? If not, take the time to learn about it. It could prove to be useful in building relationships and ultimately increasing sales. And don't forget to follow me @Linda_Bishop

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Einstein Says...

“In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” Think about it!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New Opportunities in a Down Economy

You might not believe this, but during tough times there are more opportunities. Changing circumstances forces customers to leave their comfort zone and consider new options. Smart sales people find ways to take advantage of situation!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Clarify and Confirm Selling Technique

If buyers have a problem and you have a solution, opportunity exists. Your challenge is to demonstrate value and prove you’re the best choice among the available substitutes. To accomplish this I developed a technique called Clarify and Confirm.

  • Make a statement outlining a specific problem you can help the buyer solve.
  • Ask a question to clarify if this is an issue for the buyer.
  • If the buyer agrees they would like to solve the problem, share the specific benefits of solving the problem with the buyer.
  • Ask a question to confirm the buyer is interested in receiving the benefits.

It’s simple. It’s effective. It works.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Don't Worry, Be Happy!!

Something to think about as you start off your week.

Just because your customers don’t complain, doesn’t mean they are loyal. Take the time this week to make sure you’re keeping everyone happy!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Plausible, Probable and Guaranteed—How do your promises stack up?

Sales professionals are a lot like courtroom lawyers. We build cases to persuade people by presenting evidence to prove our product or service delivers the benefit we promise.

Selling evidence can be plausible or probable. Plausible evidence has the appearance of truth. It could happen, but you’re not making promises. Probable evidence is stronger. The customer knows the desired outcome is more likely to occur. When you sell on the basis of plausible or probable evidence, the buyer must be willing assume a certain degree of risk because you haven’t guaranteed an outcome.

Guarantees make promises, eliminate risks and shorten sales cycles. When the customer knows they can count on an outcome, it’s easier to make the decision to buy.

Rethink your sales approach. What type of evidence do you provide? Is it plausible or probable? How can you make it stronger? What can you guarantee?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Inspired Selling Gets Sales

Inspired selling starts with a positive attitude that is visible to the buyer from the first moment you meet. It’s coupled with genuine concern for the buyer’s best interests. In a world where buyers have many options, inspired selling creates competitive advantage because it focuses on a critical differentiator that can’t be copied—YOU!

Inspired selling delivers a message customers want to hear because it’s about helping them. It’s aspirational as well as personal. It doesn’t just tell customers what you can do for them. It evokes emotions and is visionary, painting a clear and compelling picture of how life will improve by making the purchase.

Inspired selling inspires buyers to buy, and earn you a bigger paycheck.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Echo Effect

Echoes repeat sounds. When you’re trying to get a prospect’s attention, creating an echo in the buyer’s mind with email, mail and phone messages reinforces your value proposition and helps you sell.

Echoes are created by multiple touches. The prospect becomes familiar with you and your product. Recognizing who you are and what you represent often lead to buyer interest because repeated messages chip away barriers and help gain mindshare.

Different contacts create different experiences.

· Mail delivers a tactile experience. Opening an envelope, unfolding a letter and holding it as we read uses both body and brain. Combining a physical experience with a mental one engages prospects at a deeper level. Follow the letter with an email or phone call, and your next message echoes.

· Email gets skimmed—if the topic is interesting. The subject line is a big opportunity to put a billboard directly in front of the prospect. Reading a subject line and mentally processing it takes about 5 seconds before the “delete or save” decision is made. If the prospect values the message enough to save it and you follow up it with a call, you create an echo.

· Phone message are auditory experiences giving you the opportunity to use your voice to demonstrate you’re friendly and competent. If a buyer hears from you often enough, your voice will echo in their head when they interpret other messages.

Mail, email and the phone—how can you use them together to create a message that reverberates, gets you meetings and helps you sell?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Resurrect the Dead: Step Five

Step Five: Go on Appointments
If they agree to see you, do what you normally do during a sales call with a new prospect. Tell them about your company. Explain how you can help them.

At the end of the call, smile and say, “We have worked with you in the past, and would love to work with you again. How can we make that happen?” See what they say.

This plan gets results. It’s worth the effort to resurrect dead customers because plenty of them are perfectly willing to come back to life with a little nudging from you. Often, reviving them is quicker and easier than expected.

An experienced sales rep named Chris followed the plan. He put together a long list of dead customers and made calls to update his contacts. At one old account, the busy receptionist mistakenly connected him directly to the buyer. The buyer was happy to hear from Chris and immediately agreed to see him.

Chris learned a lesson that day. Some dead customers aren’t even dead. They’re just hibernating and one phone call is all it takes to awaken them.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Resurrect the Dead: Step Four

Step Four: Follow-Up

Figure out when the letter will land on the ex-customer’s desk. Call within 48 hours of the anticipated arrival time. If your target picks up the phone, great! Talk to them. Treat them as you would any new prospect, and try to get an appointment.

If you get voicemail, leave a message. Briefly repeat what you said in the letter. Keep calling. After you have called seven or eight times, tell them if they would like you to stop calling all they have to do is pick up the phone and let you know they’re not interested.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Resurrect the Dead: Step Three

Step Three: Send the Buyer a Letter
Whether you know the buyer or not, write a letter consisting of three paragraphs.
Paragraph 1 explains why you’re contacting the buyer.
Paragraph 2 explains how you can help.
Paragraph 3 thanks the reader for their consideration, and tells them when to expect a follow-up call.
Include your business card and mail the letter.

Here’s why a letter is better than email or a phone call for initial contact. Customers get lots of phone calls and e-mails. They don’t get a lot of letters. Everyone knows it takes effort to write and mail a letter—more effort than it takes to dial the phone or send an e-mail. People respect effort and they appreciate it when it’s directed at them. For these reasons, letters stand out.

Check back next week for steps four and five!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Resurrect the Dead: Step Two

Step Two: Find Out if the Contact Is Current
A couple of days later, get out the list, and make calls. Talk to receptionists. Tell him/her you’re updating files—which is the truth—and you want to make sure information is current. Get the name of the buyer and their title. Confirm phone numbers and email addresses are correct. Be friendly. Be upbeat. Be positive.

Often enough, you discover the old buyer is gone. The slate has been wiped clean and you’re selling to someone new.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Resurrect the Dead: Step One

Step One: List Dead Accounts

Make a list of dead accounts and jot down notes on what you know. Why did the account die? Was there a problem with quality, pricing, or personnel? Was neglect the cause?

For the moment, don’t expend any energy worrying about the probability of a successful resurrection. Just make the list, read it once, and then put it aside for 24 hours. Let your brilliant subconscious mind take over and work on the problem.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Resurrect the Dead

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. Check back over the next five days to learn how Mike brought his dead customer back to life.

Monday, March 1, 2010

SalesisNotForSissies Hall of Shame

Last week, I received the e-mail below. There is NO way the sender looked at my Web site as he implies, or he would have never sent me this e-mail. How do I know that? Well, I run a sales training and consulting company. Therefore, I am the sender's competition.

I believe the sender got my name off a list and sent me a generic e-mail. I hate stuff like this! The sender's smarmy and deceptive sales tactics give all of us truthful sales professionals a bad name. They make it harder for us good guys to sell and reinforce negative stereotypes. So shame on him for telling lies so he can start a conversation.

And that’s why I have nominated him for the SalesIsNotForSissies Sales Hall of Shame!

Do you have a nomination for the SalesIsNotForSissies Hall of Shame?? Send it to

From: XXX of New Paradigm []

Sent: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 3:01 PM

To: LindaSubject: Build a team of 50 dedicated sales reps for less than you would normally pay for 3!


Hello Linda:

My name is Donald Latson and that subject line is not a typo. I found your website while Google searching companies in your industry. I would welcome the opportunity to show you how we can deliver a sales team that will dramatically increase your revenue and allow you to quickly expand into territories that may take years to reach…all for a fraction of the price you might expect!

At New Paradigm,, we have developed the most cost effective method to put a powerful sales force in play. Whether you are looking to augment your existing team, grow your operation, or build a team from the ground up, we can deliver a team of world-class sales professionals to meet all your needs.

Our Sales Branding program provides:

· A company dedicated full sales force, recruited, trained and ready to sell in just weeks · Remarkably thorough 4-step screening and interview process
· Sales professionals chomping at that bit to bring in new business
· Complete scalability to match any production needs
· World-class sales training
· Dedicated sales support team
· Proprietary Lead Generation Tools
· Full sales management including daily sales calls, CRM, personalized coaching, follow-up and much more!

We have turned struggling companies into powerhouses and start-ups into industry leaders. I would love the opportunity to see if we can make that happen for you.

If you are interested feel free to send me a date and time that works best for you to discuss our offering, via a phone conversation. Or, at your convenience, you can give me a call directly. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours for Success,

Account Executive New Paradigm

Phone: 816-507-3934 Fax: 913-383-1943

Dramatically Increased Sales. Superior Client Experience. Guaranteed Results.