Friday, December 21, 2012

Sales Tips Galore

As 2012 comes to an end, I hope that this year has been profitable and that you've met your overall sales goal for the year.  I will continue to offer my sales tips and tricks throughout 2013 in an effort to help you acheive sales success next year. If you currently only read the Sales Is Not For Sissies blog, consider these other outlets to receieve additional sales tips.

Self-Taught Sales - Thought Transformation's free, monthly newsletter. To sign up, visit (In the middle of the homepage there is a link to sign up.)

Twitter - Follow me for daily sales tips: @Linda_Bishop

Linda Bishop Online - Visit for a plethora of great sales information including downloadable materials

TT Books - Visit to access Thought Transformation's online store with easy to read guides and booklets available for purchase.

We'll be back first thing next year with more tips to help you succeed!

Happy Holidays and Good Selling!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Online To-Do: December 2012

I've said it before, and I'll say it again....Get on LinkedIn! Your online to-do for this month is to join LinkedIn and set up a profile.  Try the free version to start and see how this online social network can help you connect with clients and prospects. If you're overwhelmed by the set up of the site and just don't know where to start, consider purchasing The Sales Pro's Guide to Using LinkedIn.

Good Selling!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Ten Selling Tips to Persuade People to Buy

Sales professionals are masters of persuasion. Persuasion is a process. It requires rapport building skills, credibility, the ability to craft a logical argument and the eloquence to present it. Persuasion is not manipulation when it is based on mutual gain and ethical selling behaviors.
Use these ten tips in 2013 to help you become more persuasive and convince more buyers to say, "Yes, I'll buy.”
  1. Establish credibility in the first meeting. Show buyers why they should trust and believe you.
  2. Buyers are either open to new ideas or closed to them. To persuade a buyer, they must listen with an open mind. If their mind is closed, your first challenge is to open it.
  3. Find common ground. By pointing out shared thinking and shared experiences, you demonstrate to the buyer you understand your point of view.
  4. When the buyer talks, listen past the words for strong emotions. What does the buyer care about?
  5. Ask opinion questions. We get the ammunition we need to persuade by looking below surface level facts and understand the thinking that underlies past decisions.
  6. Tell stories. Stories interest prospects and customers. Design them so listeners draw the right conclusions. Stories help you persuade because buyers will always find their own conclusions more believable than any statement you can make.
  7. Be likable. We are all more willing to accept the ideas of people we like.
  8. Look at possible arguments from both sides. If the audience brings up a negative point, nod and say, "That's an excellent point. I considered it and . . .”
  9. Provide evidence to prove benefits are real. Use testimonials, statistics and real life examples.
  10. Fear stops people from taking action. Identify concerns. Alleviate risks.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The One Thing Everyone Wants to Buy (Rewind)

This entry was originally posted in December 2010, but I thought it was worth reviewing once more as the content is still relevant today and can help you sell into 2013.

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.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fill the Funnel - Opportunities

Are Opportunities Turning Into Sales?
If a customer seriously considers you, you have two options. You can cross your fingers and passively wait to see if they decide to buy or you can take an active role and try to close the deal.

Closing is always the smarter approach. Opening a dialogue won’t always close the sale, but it’s a smart way to gather helpful information and knowing more helps you make more sales in the future. To turn more opportunities into sales, practice closing skills and take them to the next level.

The old saying, “Sales is a numbers game,” still holds true. By increasing the amount in the funnel at any stage, you improve the end result. If you put more in the funnel and improve selling skills, you will see a bigger boost because you increase the odds of converting prospects into customers.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Fill the Funnel - Smart Calls

Are You Making Smart Sales Calls?
Once you determine the buyer is interested, the next stage is building a relationship and learning more about the customer’s needs. Salespeople build rapport by asking questions and listening to the answers, and furnishing information. Customers who like their salesperson and your product remain in the funnel. They represent real opportunities for sales.

If many potential customers enter the funnel, but few turn into opportunities, work on improving your team’s sales skills.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Fill the Funnel - Talking to Prospects

Are You “Talking” to Enough Potential Customers Who Might Want to Buy?
If the market is big enough, potential customers are aware and your price is fair, and you still aren’t getting enough sales, the next step is to ask if you’re starting enough selling conversations to qualify leads. 

Critical first conversations focus on learning if potential customers are interested in buying what you sell. In printing, many initial qualifying conversations start with cold calls. If that’s true at your company, then having the sales team smile and dial more often is one way to pour more into the funnel.

Marketing tactics such as advertising, direct mail, telemarketing, and trade shows are other ways to open selling conversations by raising awareness in your marketplace. These programs help to introduce your company to a large pool of potential customers and encourage customers to call you.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fill the Funnel - Your Market

If you’re looking to increase sales, take a new look at the sales funnel. The funnel concept survives because it’s simple and brilliant. Potential customers flow in at the top of the funnel and the process of qualifying prospects begins. Some leads progress down the funnel and turn into opportunities. Other leads decide they’re not interested and evaporate. The speed of progress depends on the urgency of the buyer’s needs and your team’s selling skills. Some opportunities turn into orders and cause dollars to drip out at the bottom of the funnel.

Do You Serve a Big Enough Market?
Customer needs, geographical reach, and your ability to create awareness all place practical limitations on the size of the market you serve. If you can’t reach customers, they won’t buy from you. Your ability to create awareness combines with the buyer’s willingness to consider you as a supplier. Those two factors set boundaries and limit your reach.
Awareness is critical when selling. Many people may need your offering, but unless they know you exist, they won’t consider buying it from you.
If there aren’t enough potential buyers in the area you reach and serve, you must expand your territory to pour more into the funnel. If there are plenty of local buyers, but too few know you exist, your problem is creating awareness.

Some companies have a tougher problem to solve. There are plenty of potential buyers and loads of them know you exist, but they still aren’t interested in purchasing. Then, the problem could be your value proposition. Simply put, your value proposition states the benefits the customer gets when they pay your price.

Customers believe a price is “fair” when they think rewards justify costs. When too few customers are willing to buy at your price point, you have two options. You can increase the number of benefits offered so they get more for their money. Or, you can reduce the price to fit expectations.

Monday, December 3, 2012

2013 Sales Goals

As 2012 comes to a close, I want to spend this month reviewing how you can set and reach your sales goals in 2013. To start, consider the following:

The best goals are realistic, yet challenging. When you reach a goal you’re proud of what you accomplished. To decide if a goal is realistic, answer these questions and use the information as a guide.
  • How much did you sell in 2012?
  • How much do you want to sell in 2013?
  • Who were your customers in 2012?
  • How much did they buy?
  • How much do you project them to buy in 2013?
  • Estimate the gap. Goal-Total Sales Projected for 2013 from Current Customers=New Business
  • What does the average customer buy in the first year?
  • How many new customers do you need to reach your goal? New Business ÷ Average Value of a New Customer = No. of New Customers
  • Based on past experience, how many prospects do you need to talk to in order to get a customer? That is how many people you need to load into the top of the funnel, qualify and convert.

Friday, November 30, 2012

LinkedIn - Social Media

By now, it is with great hope that you are utilizing today's social media tools to connect with both customers and prospects. Be sure your LinkedIn contacts know about the other social media tools you use by including them in the contact information section of your LinkedIn profile. Just a reminder, if you are listing your Facebook, Twitter, Blog, etc. be sure these accounts are kept professional!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

LinkedIn - Complete Your Profile

According to LinkedIn, users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.

Wondering what makes your profile complete?
  • Your current position
  • Two past positions
  • Your education
  • Your profile summary
  • A profile photo
  • Your specialities
  • At least three recommendations

Monday, November 26, 2012

LinkedIn - Profile Pictures

This week, three to-dos to help spruce up your LinkedIn profile.

Profile Picture

Do people buy from you because you're wild and fun, or because you're a competent sales person who brings expertise to the table?

If you said because you're wild and fun then use the crazy picture taken on your cell phone in a bar.  If people buy from you because you're a competent sales professional, then you should look the part on LinkedIn.

Spend a few buck and get a professional to take a photo of you that you're proud to load on your profile.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Small Business Saturday

We'll be spending this week wrapping up a few projects and getting ready for Thanksgiving. Just a reminder that Small Business Saturday is this weekend. For more information, visit the Small Business Saturday Facebook Page.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! We'll be back on Monday with some more great sales tips and tricks!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Customer Service 101

I came across this information from "The Best of" and wanted to share it with you. Good selling! 

Three Phrases You Should Never Say To a Customer

"That's our policy."
It's a destructive phrase with a primary purpose to shut down a conversation.

"There's nothing I can do."
There's always at least one thing you can do - return the customer's money.

"That's the manufacturer's responsibility."
Your customer doesn't have the relationship with your partners, suppliers or manufacturers. You took their money, so it's your responsibility to fix the problem.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Online To-Do: November 2012

Do you present your fair share of PowerPoint presentations? Have you been doing so on an iPad, with clients following along on theirs? You may want to check out Idea Flight. I read about this program, and with the ability to remotely control up to 30 iPads over the same wireless network this software may just be right for you.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Wise Man Once Said...

“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, November 9, 2012

Prove Your Worth - Tip 7

Tip 7:  Learn to do a better job of closing
Closing conversations provide insight on customers' definitions of value. Closing helps you understand why customers hesitate to buy. Sometimes, price causes hesitation. When that' the case, ask questions to determine what value the customer seeks. Look for ways to tip the scale in your favor and make the sale.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Prove Your Worth - Tip 6

Tip 5: Offer proof
Proof comes in many forms including testimonials, white papers, case studies and references. It eliminates risk for buyers and shores up claims. You know you're telling the trush. Offer proof, and customers will know it too.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Prove Your Worth - Tip 5

Tip 5:  Eliminate one bad listening habit
More often then we think, we tune customers out when they are speaking because we think we know what they intend to say. Planning a response before customers finish speaking is a bad listening habit. By breaking the habit, you'll learn more in every sales conversation and find news ways to demonstrate value.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Prove Your Worth - Tip 4

Tip 4:  Increase your likeability factor
We all want to buy from people we like, so look for ways to be more likeable. Make eye contact, smile when appropriate. Respect the customer's views.

Relax and enjoy the time you spend with your customer. By increasing your likeability factor, you add value to the sales process, and often the added value is enough to overcome small price differences.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Prove Your Worth - Tip 3

Tip 3:  Clarify
Many products offer benefits the customer doesn't need or want. Find out what the customer thinks is important by asking questions about:
  • Which benefits are absolutely required?
  • Which ones are desired, but not required?
  • Which ones would be nice to have?
  • Which ones are unimportant?
Focus on benefits that matter to the customer in order to create the perception of value.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Prove Your Worth - Tip 2

Tip 2:  Communicate clearly so value is understood
Be specific. Avoid run-on sentences. When you keep sentences short and focused on one point, customers find it easier to follow your train of thought. Customer who grasp the point you're making are more likely to buy.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Prove Your Worth - Tip 1

In sales, day in and day out you must prove value. The next seven posts will provide you with seven tips to help you get the job done and sell more!

Tip 1:  Talk about benefits!
Products have benefits, features and advantages. Benefits sell. Feature explain how benefits are created. Advantages explain how and why you get the hob done better than the competition.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Your Sacred Responsibility

Something to think about....

Every time you touch the client it is your sacred responsibility to build a stronger perception of value. To do that, every phone call, email and meeting must focus on the most important person on earth - the buyer - and how you can help them.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mark Potter: Self Reflection

Here's a great excerpt from a recent CANVAS Notes piece:

"Take a little time to reflect on yourself during the selling season. Ask yourself the tough questions about what you are doing and what you can improve upon. Once we take a look at ourselves, I am sure we will see areas we can do better. Then we can focus on others and start making real progress. It isn’t easy, but it is so much more fulfilling. I believe that great salespeople are as selfish as the rest. However, great salespeople operate in a selfless manner each and every day." - Mark Potter

Friday, October 19, 2012

Online To-Do: October 2012

Stop ignoring the power of Facebook's massive user base! Check out these tips on how to leverage the social network's resources for advertising, generating leads and more from one of Facebook's own.  Visit

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


There is an enormous payoff for companies who move customers from satisfied to loyal on the spectrum because you'll get more business with higher markups. Identify a list of ten satisfied customers with big potential and talk to them. Find out what you would have to do differently in order to qualify for the gift of loyalty.

Reward loyal customers for their continued support.
  • Have an event to thank them
  • Send a thank you card signed by everyone in your company
  • Send out a small appreciation gift
  • Mark significant anniversaries like the tenth year of a partnership

Monday, October 15, 2012

Account Retention - Part 3

Satisfied vs. Loyal

Most customers fall in the satisfied category. One study estimated 80% of all customers are in this range. Satisfied customers like you, but not enough to pay a higher price for your work. Usually, they don't have  strong sense of what sets you apart from the competition, and often they're buying out of habit.

The best customers are loyal customers and the best advertising for your company is their word-of-mouth. Loyal customers fit this profile.
  • They make regular repeat purchases and pay a premium for your services
  • They purchase all offerings that apply to them
  • They refer others
  • They are immune to the pull of competition
  • They tolerate an occasional lapse in quality or service without defecting

Friday, October 12, 2012

Account Retention - Part 2

Dissatisfied vs. Unhappy
There's a big pay off to salvaging shaky partnerships. First of all, rebuilding often turns out to be more profitable and easier than starting from scratch with prospects. Second, rebuilding offers valuable insights into how to create a better company for all customers. And third, a customer who feels they were heard and their complaints addressed often turns out to be an advocate for your services in the marketplace.
For customers deemed dissatisfied, when you get out ask, "What can we do better?" This will help head off dissatisfaction before it turns into unhappiness.

On Monday, I'll share the difference betweem a satisfied customer and a loyal customer.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Account Retention - Part 1

Assessing account potential naturally leads to assessing account retention. Account retention is based on customer happiness and happiness falls on a spectrum:

Unhappy --- Dissatisfied --- Satisfied --- Loyal

Unhappy customers actively shop for other options, so watch out for these warning signs.
  • Fewer quotes come in and total volume decreases
  • Access to the customer base decreases
  • The flow of information about future projects dries up, and the salesperson is unaware of the customer's long-term plans
  • The customer stops buying certain services altogether
More on account retention on Friday.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Have You Determined Account Potential?

If you have yet to determine the account potential for your customers, read Friday's post and do so today!

Check back Wednesday for information on assessing account retention!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Account Potential

Take the time to assess the potential of your accounts by doing a gap analysis.

1. What is the customer's total spending for all the services that you offer?
2. How much do they buy from you?
3. How can you get more of the total?

Some customers know their total spend and will share that number with you. Others won't know or won't share, and you'll have to make an educated guess. After you come up with a number, do a quick calculation:

Total Customer Spend - Total Spend at Your Company = Opportunity Gap

Armed with this information, start conversations. Talk to the customer. Ask how you can get more of the total and then decide on a course of action.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Organic Growth

Your account list is an asset, so utilize it! You should be working to maximize its value as account lists offer tremendous insight into customer-fit criteria, profitability issues and sales skills. The data nudges you to ask questions such as: Why is one customer loyal while another buys strictly on price? Who buys all the services you offer and who only buys one aspect? Why are sales declining with a customer who is experiencing growth in their market?

Additionally, account lists also tell you the average value of a current customer, how many new accounts were opened last year and how many customers were lost. You know who buys a large amount from your company and who buys little.

Check back Friday for more information on account lists and organic growth.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Integrated Print Forum and Print Management Conference

Will I see you there?
Integrated Print Forum, Pittsburgh, PA October 29-30, 2012
For more information, visit

Additionally, I'll be speaking at the  2012 Print Management Conference in Mashantucket, CT.
The conference is scheduled from October 20 - 23, 2012.
For more information, visit


Friday, September 28, 2012

Online To-Do: September 2012

Just as Steve Jobs had the ability to convince people they needed Apple's products, now you can master the skills to make an emotional connection and sell your product's benefits.  Check out

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Million Dollar Sales Tip 10

Sell more by staying top-of-mind. Create top-of-mind awareness by frequent positive repetitive touches.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Million Dollar Sales Tip 9

When you hear “no” ask more questions. Find out if the prospect means no today or no forever. If it’s no forever, move on

Friday, September 21, 2012

Million Dollar Sales Tip 8

When you sell, voicemail is normal. So are objections. So are customers who say, “Your price is high.” Prepare and practice. Be ready to meet normal challenges.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Million Dollar Sales Tip 7

Every time someone says, “Your price is too high,” they also say, “Your value is too low.” Before you drop your price, ask, “What could we do to increase value so our price would be worth it?”

Monday, September 17, 2012

Million Dollar Sales Tip 6

 In every conversation, whether on the phone or in person, find a real reason to say, “I agree” to buyers. We like people who agree with us, but we don’t like weasels who fake agreement.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Million Dollar Sales Tip 5

What would make buyers say, “I must buy from you today?” If you want more sales, find reasons to motivate buying urgency.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Million Dollar Sales Tip 4

Do you want to improve your rapport-building skills by 110%? When you meet strangers, smile and look people in the eye long enough to identify their eye color.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Million Dollar Sales Tip 3

What do potential customers complain about? Complaints indicate pain and pain points to selling opportunities.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Million Dollar Sales Tip 2

Some prospects only want to learn about your product. Others truly want to buy it. Ask friendly but direct questions. They’re the shortest route to identifying potential purchasers quickly.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Million Dollar Sales Tip 1

10 days of Million Dollar Sales Tips Starts Now!

Master cold calling by calling daily, even when you’re busy. In 10 minutes, make 3 calls instead of excuses. Everyone has 10 minutes.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Cold Calling Tip - Success

You can't get an appointment with everyone, but you'll find success if you make enough calls.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cold Calling Tip - Relax

When you call, relax in your chair. Take a deep breath and say out loud, "This will go well." Dial and smile. Know what you want to accomplish.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cold Calling Tip - Eliminate the Squeak

When you're talking, listen to yourself. Is your voice a nervous squeak? Adjust. Speak slowly and clearly. Ask people how they spell their names.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Cold Calling Script

Next time you pick up the phone to start cold calling, try using this script:

  • Say who you are and who you represent. Find out who buys the product you sell and be sure you have their correct name!
  • When you have the buyer on the line, tell them who you are and who you represent. Confirm you are speaking with the right person.
  • Ask, "Do you have a minute to talk?"
  • Offer a benefit.
  • Find out if they need what you sell.
  • Ask for an appointment.
Good selling!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Finding Leads - The Outside Approach

To find leads, consider an outside approach:
  • Set aside four weekend hours and search the Internet for leads. Websites like and are great tools.
  • Spend five minutes checking local business news every morning either by reading the paper or going online
  • Profile your ideal customer and then buy a list of similar companies
  • Ask clients, friends and family for referrals
  • Network

Monday, August 20, 2012

Finding Leads - The Inside Approach

To find leads, consider the inside approach:

  • Go to your current prospect list and call everyone on it
  • Organize a prospect swamp with fellow sales people 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?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Online To-Do: August 2012

If your company isn't quite tech-savvy, check out Pro Contact Me. This site allows you to create a virtual business card and will help you connect with clients and prospects using today's latest technology.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How to Increase Your Sales: Tip 10

Tip 10
For rest of year have sales goals broken into weekly increments and a plan to hit the goals. If you miss the goals two weeks in a row, rethink your plan.

Monday, August 13, 2012

How to Increase Your Sales: Tip 9

Tip 9
Start smiling before you pick up the phone. People buy more from friendly salespeople.

Friday, August 10, 2012

How to Increase Your Sales: Tip 8

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

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How to Increase Your Sales: Tip 7

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

Monday, August 6, 2012

How to Increase Your Sales: Tip 6

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

Friday, August 3, 2012

How to Increase Your Sales: Tip 5

Tip 5
It takes 60 minutes to call 20 people. If you call 20 people and have 3 to 5 conversations, that  equals 90 minutes on the phone.Want more business and to increase your sales? Schedule more time to call more people.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How to Increase Your Sales: Tip 4

Tip 4
Sell every day. Servicing is not selling. Selling is getting new business. Servicing is making sure current business goes smoothly.