Friday, April 30, 2010

Even the HBR bloggers think cold calling works

Check this out. Cold Call Tactics That Increase Sales - The Conversation - HarvardBusiness Review.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A "Sin"ful Wrap-Up

Hope you enjoyed learning about The Seven Deadly Sins of Selling. The story began with Jennifer and Rick talking at lunch. Here's where we left off...

Lunch ended. They got up to leave and Jennifer thanked Rick for sharing all the great advice. He closed by saying, “Here’s one last pearl of wisdom. Every salesperson makes mistakes. The smart ones learn not to repeat them.”

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sin #7

Mistake Number 7: You engage in too little new business activity.

How many prospects do you talk to every week? For all too many salespeople in all too many weeks the answer is a big fat zero. Are they really that busy? Or because they’re successful, have they allowed selling—the job they were hired to do—to take a back seat to servicing? To be good at prospecting takes practice. Otherwise when the bottom falls out and you’re scrambling for new work, your skills are rusty and it’s tougher to convince people to buy. Be proactive about seeking new business and you succeed no matter what fate throws your way.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sin # 6

Mistake Number 6: You spend every moment servicing customers when some of the time you should be selling them.

Servicing and selling are two different tasks. Servicing focuses on current projects while selling looks for future business. What questions do you ask when you’re servicing an account? What questions do you ask prospects to get new business? They’re different, right? At least once a month, plan a sales call with current customers. Learn about new sources of pain. Discuss the customer’s goals. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that servicing and selling are synonyms because they’re not.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sin # 5

Mistake Number 5: You assume the customer thinks they’re getting a great price.

Why do customers buy from you? Value or habit? If it’s habit, be warned. Just because your price isn’t questioned doesn’t mean the customer thinks they’re getting a bargain. What if one day your customer decided to look at your quote with fresh eyes? Would your product seem expensive compared to other options? If the answer is yes, mount an on-going campaign to convince customers your product is worth every penny. Even when you’re confident a sale is yours, initiate closing conversations to insure customers believe they’re spending money wisely.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Looking for New Customers?

Next Friday April 30th, I'm doing a webcast called “Get New Customers and Keep Them.” For only $35, participants get 30 cold calling tips and fresh insights on customer care.

To learn more, click here.

Have a great weekend!

Sin # 4

Mistake Number 4: You allow customers to make dumb mistakes.

“I buy from suppliers who watch my back,” a buyer once told me. No one wants to make mistakes or look stupid. Making big expensive mistakes can get a buyer fired, so it’s your job to prevent customers from making them. Ask more questions. Insure buyers fully understand products, processes and schedules. Point out potential problems and discuss them. Stopping customers from screwing up is a big value-add, so be sure you include it with every order.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sin # 3

Mistake Number 3: You’re too darn difficult to deal with.

I talked to a friend in purchasing and she said, “I fired a company this week because they were too hard to deal with.” What about you? Are you easy to work with? Do customers laud you for your quick response to phone calls and emails? Do you anticipate needs and fulfill them before you’re asked? Buyers are busy people. They don’t have time to chase down answers or check to be sure you’re doing your job. If you’re hard to deal with, they’ll fire you and buy from someone else.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sin # 2

Mistake Number 2: You overestimate the value of the service you provide.

All humans have the same bias. We think we’re better than we really are and that leads us to overestimate the value of the service we provide. Sure, you do a good job, but honestly would the competition have done less? Sometimes what we regard as brilliant performance simply met the customer’s expectations. Don’t underestimate your competition. There’s a good chance they work just as hard as you do and that’s why it pays to look for new ways every day to make customers say, “Wow! I’m impressed.”

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sin # 1

Mistake Number 1: You assume long-time customers are loyal.

Evidence in this area confirms the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of customers are satisfied and twenty percent are loyal. Satisfied customers will shop for other options. Loyal customers love you. They don’t shop because they’re 110% satisfied. Ask yourself which customers are loyal and which ones are satisfied. Find ways to convert satisfied customers into loyal ones and reward loyalty.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Seven Deadly Sins of Selling

Jennifer walked into Daisy’s CafĂ© to grab a quick bite of lunch. She had been on the phone all morning making cold calls and was ready for a break. Scanning the busy restaurant, she spotted Rick Masters alone at a table. Rick was a real sales pro and she often ran into him at networking events. Since they didn’t compete in the same industry, he was always willing to share his extensive knowledge. She walked over to where Rick sat and said, “Do you mind if I join you?”

Rick struggled to muster a smile. “Sure, but I can’t promise I’ll be good company because I just found out I lost an account to my biggest competitor.”

“Ouch,” Jennifer said as she sat. “What happened?"

“Over the past year, I got complacent and committed the seven deadly sins of selling. Today they came back to haunt me,” Rick said.

Be sure to check back over the next seven days to learn about the seven deadly sins of selling!

Friday, April 16, 2010

"R" Word Wrap-Up

To sum it all up, write this five word question on a sticky note. “What matters to customers now?” Place that question where you see it every day.

The old saying, “Timing is better than brilliance,” speaks to the power of relevance. When your message matters to customers, sales cycles are shorter. Profits are higher because relevance increases value. When you continue to communicate message that matter, you forge strong and lasting relationships.

Remember that today’s concerns may not be important tomorrow. Regularly refresh messages so they connect. Find new ways to be pertinent to customers every day because relevance sells.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

"R" Word Questions

Tap into the power of the R-Word. Think about what prompts potential customers to buy and use the information to craft a better sales strategy by asking the following questions.

1. What’s happening in my customer’s world and how does it affect me?
Businesses and individuals exist in a wider world. What happened when gas prices went up? There were lots of consequences but one of them was a drop in restaurant sales because people cut back on unnecessary travel. Fly up and observe customers from the thirty thousand foot view. How are they affected by commodity prices? What about economic conditions? Is their situation getting better or getting worse? Scan the landscape for changes and determine how you’re affected.

What pain does my customer feel now?
People purchase to solve problems, so what problem is your customer looking to solve today? Be as specific as you can be when describing pain. Is the pain chronic or acute? Would they change to avoid it? When change requires dramatic action, what person within the organization has authority to institute change? Find pain because it shows you the shortest route to a sale.

How do you get a customer to take note of their pain?
When you talk to potential customers, you get one of three responses.
· Complete disinterest.
· Polite interest but no desire to buy.
· They sit up, take notice and say, “Tell me more!”
They say “Tell me more,” when your message is sharp and to the point. Paint a vivid picture of pain. Show them you have the cure. Use punchy selling words to color messages and make them memorable. Chose words like powerful, proven, innovative, rugged, profitable, superior, eye-opening and guaranteed. Strong language grabs the buyer’s attention. Use it to present your value proposition in a way that makes customers believe it’s in their best interests to talk further and learn more.

4. What bomb explodes if customers don't act now?
Some problems are dangerous to ignore. What happens to customers if they don't act now? How will they be worse off? Put the negative consequences of not making a decision under your sales microscope. Inaction comes with a cost. What is the cost? Use it to persuade.

5. What regrets does the customer want to avoid?
We look back at missed opportunities, recognize we made a mistake and feel regret. The next time we’re in a similar situation, we remember the path not taken and chose a different fork in the road. Mark Twain had it right when he said, "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do then by the things you did do." Raising the ghostly specter of remorse and tying it to the customer’s current situation is a sophisticated selling technique that increases the odds of success.

Final thoughts on the "R" Word tomorrow!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Why the “R” Word Sells

Tom walked into his office and a thought struck him. He realized he hadn't heard from Sarah, one of his best clients, in almost two weeks. Picking up the phone, he called her and said, "Just wanted to check in. I figured it was about time for you to place an order."

The silence that greeted Tom laid waste to his good mood. Sarah said, "I've been meaning to call you. Our lines are about to undergo a major shift. You’ve been a good supplier, but the change means we won't be purchasing your product anymore."

In business and life, one constant we can count on is change. To maximize profits, customers constantly evaluate products, services and processes searching for improvements. When they find a way to do something better, what is relevant shifts and salespeople often feel the ripples.
Relevance lies at the heart and soul of every sale. Buyers base purchasing decisions on what matters now. To put it another way, umbrellas sell on rainy days.

Businesspeople discuss how buyers compare apples to apples and ask themselves to consider what gives their “apple” a competitive edge. To use the umbrella analogy again, online umbrella sellers won’t benefit from changes in the weather but they will sell more orders in bulk. As circumstances change, the buyer’s wants, needs and motivation to purchase changes too.
More tomorrow on the "R" Word!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ranking Three Critical Customer Questions

Customer want answers to three questions in this order.

Number 1: What do you do?
Number 2: Why do I care?
Number 3: How do you do it?

“What do you do?” is number one because customers need a frame of reference. Buyers first seek to establish context. Once they understand how it fits in their world, they are willing to consider if makes their life better—which leads to “Why do I care?”

Question number two is all about the “What’s in it for me?” aspects of your product or service. Once the customer understands what you do, they want to know if it matters to them. If the benefits appeal, they invest time and gain a deeper understanding by asking, “How do you do it?”

This is where many complex sales can derail if the salespeople can’t provide an answer eliminating headaches and risk for potential customers.

Do you want to sell more? Write out answers to these three questions and find a way to improve on them.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Seven Fundamentals of Great Sales Calls

  1. You focus on understanding what the customer wants to buy—NOT what you want to sell.

  2. You walk away knowing more about the customer’s value equation.

  3. You establish or deepen a relationship so the customer trusts you enough to buy.

  4. You differentiate yourself from your competition.

  5. You sell benefits—NOT features.

  6. You come across as a credible source of information.

  7. You create forward momentum in the sales cycle. If there is no forward movement toward a yes or a no from potential customers, then you’re NOT a sales professional, you’re a professional visitor.

Friday, April 9, 2010


It's Follow Friday on Twitter.
Who are you following?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Sales Meeting

Looking for a way to grow sales without leaving your office? With various sessions for one low cost, you can sharpen your skills and sell more! Sign up today for "The Sales Meeting" virtual training sessions. More information can be found here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Social What?!?

Still confused about what social media is and how it can work for you?? Download this chart available on

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

You've Got Mail...Because You're Part of a Listserv

Does your company have an E-mail listserv? How are you collecting prospects? How frequently are you E-mailing your list?

Constant Contact, the company I use to E-mail my listserv recently sent me a guide called "Building an E-mail List that Builds Your Business." It offers some really great tips and you can read it here.

Interested in being part of my E-mail listserv? Wondering on what I send my contacts?? FREE information on selling of course! If you'd like to be added, please e-mail

Monday, April 5, 2010

Make Your Business Card Work For You

Not only do business cards create a tangible link to you, but they get saved if you were seen to have value. Also, by using an innovative one, you can get precious mindshare for a few seconds and that helps your selling message stick.
Here is some more information on the power of the business card, as well as some very clever examples!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Can you hold the door, please?

You’re now ready to create a great elevator speech and use it to sell. One last tip . . .

If you try your elevator speech for a month and it doesn’t generate enough
interest, examine the component parts.

• Are you focused on the right problem?
• Would another benefit be more relevant?
• Is your message too long?
• Is it clear?
• When you deliver your message, are you friendly and positive?

There’s always room for improvement if you look for it! For more information on creating your elevator speech, read my e-book "Create Your Elevator Speech" available for free on

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Time is Ticking

How much time should an elevator speech take? Get out the stop watch and time it. Work on a script that takes 20 seconds or less to deliver. Beyond 20 seconds, a stranger who is listening to you talk starts losing interest. Cull every unnecessary word. Be specific. Eliminate acronyms, trade lingo and jargon. Make sure your message is clear and easy to follow. If you continually stumble over a phrase or word, find another way to say it.