Monday, November 21, 2005

If you look, smell and sound like a Dog then . . .

You are probably wondering what this has to do with sales. It might be a stretch, but here’s what I was thinking: Communication Pie. I know quite a few people who utilize the internet for sales. In essence, they may have very little contact with the public or their prospects. So the words they use (7%) of the communication pie is critical. In fact, it is everything. What you say, the tone in the words and how you lay them out will make the difference between you and another company. I believe that even on the internet people can tell the difference between an “amateur” salesperson and a sales professional. So be careful – whether it’s your web site or a follow-up email, use the system.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Third Party Stories - A Great Tool

I think third party stories are an under utilized tool. It allows you to brag about your self or share some concerns you might need to share. For example: When some ask you "Why should I buy from you?" Of course you go negative and use the usual softening statements and then you can share stories why some of your clients have bought from you. You can use a statement like: Hmm, that's a great question, I hear that a lot. I don't know that you should buy from me. I won't know that until we have a conversation. I can tell you what my clients have told me. Some of my clients say after working with me they no longer accept "I need to think it over" and they have gotten out of the proposal writing business or you can give a specific example of a success story and then say, "I don't know if that is something you were looking for."

Try to think of these stories ahead of time, even right them down and practice them so you are ready. You never know when you will have an opportunity to share a story.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Coaching is not a Fad anymore . . .

The results are in and the news is as I thought it would be. In a recent study conducted by Best Practices, LLC they noted that ongoing and incremental training/coaching is now the norm. They studied 36 companies across multiple industries including Fortune 500 companies. In those companies up to 90% of the companies utilitized ongoing coaching and training. They also noted that up to 75% of those surveyed utilized an outside vendor to provide the sales training/coaching support. This was not new to me. This is our philosophy. I often hear, "But our industry is so different." The truth is sales is sales. Sure there are nuances that need to be dealt with but when it is all said and done, we are selling a service, product or concept. It is always good to see that companies are seeing the value to what we have been doing all along.

The Sales Roller Coaster . . . Weeeeeee

Even the best sales professionals experience the sales roller coaster. Sometimes you get them and sometimes you don't. The question is are you enjoying the ride? And are the highs as high and lows as low.

I was thinking about this today as I looked over my week and the various activities I was involved in and the outcomes of some of those activities. What keeps you from becoming overwhelmed with the ride? For me, as I reflected back on this, it is the focus I have on my goal - my BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). When I am cresting the top of the hill and know it's about to drop, I remember where I am heading. Then I continue to behave, stay true to the plan and move on.

However, during those times when you feel like you are on a roller coaster, it might be wise to revisit the plan. Make some adjustments and look at the cookbook to see if the recipe is working. Maybe something you thought made sense, doesn't anymore. Find something else. When you stay focused on the goal, everything is just a hill not a mountain because you are looking out and not down.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Good To Great is for Individuals Too

Recently I was talking with several people about the book Good To Great. It really is a powerful book with some great concepts. In particular, the flywheel concept really has been resonating with me. Basically, in the book Jim Collins says a lot of companies give up just before all their hard work was about the pay off. Just like a flywheel the hardest part is getting the momentum started, all the effort is on the bottom, pushing up. But once it gets going it takes on a life of it's own, and starts moving almost effortlessly. Today, I realized that is true with our individual sales efforts.

For me I have been working for a year at various networking organization, sitting on committees, helping out at school and behaving consistently. There have been times when I wondered it is worth it? Are my efforts going to pay off? I can safely say that a year later, the consistent behaving at all of my chosen "cookbook" sources of potential prospects, is paying off. (Wow that was a mouthful.) The truth is that I am having fun, making friends as well as contacts and building relationships.

So don't give up. Take a look at your plan. Make sure you are at the right places. Make sure you are there consistently and be involved in what ever you choose. It is not enough to just show up, get on a committee. And then over time you too will reap the benefits of working a plan. And I too believe you will have fun doing it.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Customer "Rage"

I am not making this stuff up. It's out there. In a recent article named 'Customer Rage' Is on the Rise, customers are no longer accepting poor service. The article states "According to a Customer Rage Survey released today, 15% of shoppers surveyed who received unsatisfactory service actually sought revenge for their suffering." I found that statistic to be staggering. Read the article for yourself. It pays to be nice, or it may pay to hire security.

Seriously, most people who experience poor customer service will leave for another provider. They will leave quitely, at first. Then they will tell anyone who will listen how bad it was. Sales does not end with the sale. Take care of the customer, during and after the sale.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Nuggets from the Room

It was week one again and that means a whole new mix of people. As always, great lessons. Today I heard two things, one new and one not so new but the both hit home.

"Pain and suffering are inevitable, misery is an option."

"Manager the behavior, not the personalities."

I hope you enjoy them too.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The story continues - UFC with Vendors

On October 10th, I wrote about an experience utilizing UFC (Up Front Contracts) with a vendor. I am here to tell you that it not only worked, but it was win-win. He came for his appointment, he was done in 30-minutes as I requested, and I had a quote that was within the budget we had set aside. There were no games or misunderstandings. The best part is my son will have brand new windows within 6 weeks. That was the goal. The goal was not to have the sales person move in until a decision was made.

This was my fear after talking to my neighbor who had a window company come in and literally stay 8 hours until he was kicked out of their home. The worst part was the quote he gave was so high they could have bought another home for what he wanted to replace their windows. He did not get the business. Now the man who helped me will be meeting them to investigate the same project, and I am confident he will get the business. Why? Because, he is a professional.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Ah Ha Moments from The Millionaire Mind

Today Ed presented the Millionaire Mind. As always, it was terrific. For me it was bittersweet. I learned that for the most part I am doing a lot of the things that were talked about. I am also working on improving the right areas. My ah ha moment came when we talked about scripting and messages we have learned growing up. For me it was the phrase "You are not living up to your potential." And then I heard it again today. I guess I need to figure out what is holding me back so that I can live up to my potential. I also need to cover my belly while I am trying to do it because that can be a tough pill to swallow.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Macro or Micro

I heard a great quote today at a presentation: "Don't build me the clock, just tell me the time." It brought home the difference between "macro" people and "micro" people. While the amateur is trying to impress his prospect with all the bells and whistles of the clock, all his clients wants is the time. Zig Ziglar uses the example of a 1/2 inch drill bit. He notes that most people don't really want the drill bit, they just need a 1/2 inch hole.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Bonding & Rapport ?

When all else fails, Plan Z

I was all ready to head to my training today. I always feel great when I hear our clients share their stories of growth. Ed is an amazing trainer. As I slept last night and heard my poor little three year old wheezing and coughing, I knew it was not good on many levels. Today we are home, David is on steroids to get it under control and I am working from my home office. So the good news is that I can still work and I get to take care of my boy.

This is how life is in sales. You make appointments with clients and then for one reason or another they are cancelled. Sometimes you've traveled a long distance to get there only to find out that the person you were meeting with had a crisis and cannot meet. So what do you do? Plan Z. When that happens to me, I get on the phone and make calls, try to get something local if I can. Great time for walk-in cold calls. After all you are in the neighborhood. So never be dismayed. There is always a reason, and sometimes Plan Z was the right plan after all. In fact, I have had Plan Zs turn into major accounts.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Get a Mentor

I never realized just how powerful having a mentor can be. That is something I have done throughout my life. I have had a series of mentors to guide me throughout my life. They have taken different shapes and genders, but they have always been the one to push me, encourage me and nurture me. They always seemed to know what I needed.

I must admit I was having one of those days. A bit discouraging in the sales arena. Something that I thought would happen this quarter is probably not going to happen until next year. It was no ones fault. It was one of the "Life Comes At You Fast" moments. I took a moment to share my concerns with a mentor.

Today I know why she's my mentor. Her response is okay, now what? She suggested to make a list of 10 things I am going to do now, specifically different from what I was doing. It took me right out of the pity party and on to a proactive mode. I went from victim to victor. I am reminded of what Ed says all the time which is that winners do what non-winners won't do. As a I winner, I will move on!

Monday, October 10, 2005

This stuff works when you're a customer too!!!

I just set up an UFC (Up Front Contract) with a vendor. This stuff is cool. We need some windows in my son's room and I have heard horror stories of the vendors who come in to your house and won't leave until they get an order. I determined before I made the call that I was not going to play by those rules. So when I made the call (after getting a reference - who says!), I asked some very targeted questions which helped layout the ground rules. I even told him why by utilizing the "horror story of my neighbor" to lay the ground work of what I did not want to happened.

In then end I have an appointment with a set time, I have established with the vendor what my decision making process is and that I have a budget. I also told him what I will not accept in the process based on my "biggest fear" and then we created an up front contract and what the call will look like. Now when the appointed time comes there should be no mystification, after all we all want the same thing (in different ways). I want a warm room with new windows and he wants to sell me windows. Now let's see what happens. To be continued . . .

Saturday, October 08, 2005

On a personal note

Today I went through all my old files from my previous business. It was time to clean out storage space where it was stored and it ended up in my living space. As I went through each box representing 6 years of my business (life), I was amazed at how much I had grown over those years. I also saw the progress I had made, and I enjoyed the walk down memory lane. Yes, I felt some sadness, but only for a brief moment. I also know that is not who I am today.

For me I realized what I do now is what I am really passionate about. Helping people solve their problems, develop new and effective process in their world and create a financially rewarding future is the most amazing thing. I think that is why looking through all those memories was not as painful as I expected, because I was ready and I had moved on to where I am supposed to be. Pretty awesome.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

If you don’t take care of your customer’s . . .

Someone else will. Dianna Booher, President of Booher Consultants, defines customer services as: "Good customer service is no longer enough. It has to be superior, WOW, unexpected service. In a nutshell, it means doing what you say you will, when you say you will, how you say you will, at the price you promised-plus a little extra tossed in to say I appreciate your business."

Ed in our last class gave a tool to do just that, take care of your customers. It’s like a maintenance check with a call for action at the end. Here are the five steps:

  • Appreciate: Call them and let them know how much you really appreciate them and their business.
  • Changed: Ask them if anything has changed in their business lately. It might turn out that things have and you have something you can offer them or you can refer them to someone who can help them.
  • How are we doing?: Yes, ask them. And then really listen and want to know. Now is the time to deal with any issues. If you ask you are a hero. If you don’t and there’s a problem, they will go away and you won’t know why, but chances are lots of other people will.
  • If you were me, what would you do to improve the process/service/product? This is powerful. Give you clients a chance to be CEO for a minute and give you their feedback on what you can do better. Or what you should stop doing.
  • Introduction: At this point you can see if there is anyone they would feel comfortable introducing you to.

By the time you have gotten to the last step, you have become a trusted advisor and they will be thinking of someone they can call on your behalf. It is important to do this all the time. This is part of the sales process and it will allow you to go back and re-sell over and over again.

Monday, October 03, 2005

"Successful people ask better questions and, as a result, get better answers."

Tony Robbins

Friday, September 30, 2005

The Sales Funnel

I have been doing some study on the sales funnel, what it is, what to do with it and why it is important. Since I am a high Visual I needed a spiffy graphic to help me understand it. Here is one I found that really describes it in simplistic terms.

What became apparent to me is that you need to first identify who fits into section "C" or what is your niche and who is your target audience. Then you need to find them for section "B" and make them aware of your product or service. You will then need to facitilate a process to allow them to be in a position to buy it from you "A."

On a tape that I have been listening to it even suggests that you attach a dollar value to each of the potential customer so that you can track the potential dollars you can earn. When you don't get the sale, you can see what that might have cost you. The goal is to then debrief and see why it didn't happen and then determine what each transaction cost you. The best part is you can really learn from this and create strategies for the future on how you handle future opportunities.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Be there or Be Square

I have to tell you that when my alarm clock went off at 5:30 this morning I was not jumping for joy to get up to get to an early morning networking event. I actually thought, well it wouldn't be so bad if I missed this one, I'll just go to the next one. Then I heard the responsible adult say, get up and make it happen. So out of bed and out the door I went. I took the kids to the before school program (which they love-helps with the guilt) and got to the meeting. This was an interesting exercise in itself since there is a huge convention at the convention center and all the gates were closed to get in and the room was not set up for anyone to easily find the meeting. Finally, I arrived and was able to sit down and enjoy my meal and some great conversation.

The presentation was terrific. Actually, it was alarmingly short which allowed for a great interaction with the group and some really deep conversations. I felt really good about some the feedback I was able to contribute and the contacts I made there. Overall it was a great event.

So what's my point? At any time in the process I could have bailed on going to this event. I could have let being tired keep me from being there. I could have been frustrated with getting into the facility be enough to send me back to the office. I persevered and kept my focus on the goal which was the consistent behavior of being out there to capture opportunities. The good news is that this was a fruitful event that will lead to a qualified future. All in all a successful event.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Nuggets from the Room

It was a great class on Tuesday. It usually is, but the energy this week seemed to be pretty amazing. Some great stuff was said that really stuck with me. I am sure I heard some of it before, but it really hit home this time.
  • You can't manage time, you manage behavior. Basically, we all have the same amount of hours in a day, so what we do in the hours is what matters.
  • Presidents Club and Quick Start was likened to the need to consistently sharpen a knife after some use because it gets dull. So for those of us in the trenches, selling and/or allowing our customer's to buy from us, we need to be in the room on a regular basis to make sure we don't get rusty, dull and loose our skills. That is when we hone them.

Good stuff. Sometimes I have to pinch myself, because I love what I do so much.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Focus Grasshopper

You are probably wondering what happened to the posts. It has been a month since the last post. Well, for me life kind of got in the way, and I am just now getting back into my grove. I had a death in the family, there was a week of vacation and the back to school dance which now translates into the more time for Lia shuffle. So now that I have a handle on my schedule, and I've sorted through the last month, what is next?

The Power of Focus!!! I am creating a plan with behaviors that will generate quantifiable results. The plan is well rounded to include both cold and warm activities as it relates to prospecting as well as the activities of nurturing current clients. I am sharpening my saw with new tools that will help me help my clients and grow as a professional. All in all it is a great time.

Although the last month was a bit hectic and more like a roller coaster ride, it was a time for growth and great insight which will lead to giving me the ability to go from good to great.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Sharpening the Saw

One of the things that I do to Sharpen My Saw is to participate in Toastmasters. It serves many purposes. My main goal is to develop my speaking skills so that I will be prepared to train for Ed when the time comes. It also helps me develop meeting planning and implementation skills as well as leadership skills. This year I have been fortunate to be elected President of the Club. The most important piece has been my ability to think on my feet. Something that is critical in my line of work.

Last night was the Humorous Speech Contest and the Table Topics Contest. Table Topics is an opportunity to give a 2 minute impromptu speech about what ever the person wants you to speak on. They escort the contestants out of the room and each one is brought back in to answer the same question. The one who most effectively answers it is the winner and goes on to the next level. Sounds easy, right. After all it is a Humorous Speech contest, how hard can the Table Topic be. That's what I thought. Imagine my surprise when Ash presented me with the following table topic "You come face to face with a Suicide Bomber, what do you do or say to him."

Don't ask me what I said, it's all a blur. I know I breathed a lot, like Ed taught us. Before the night was over, I was surprised to find that I had won that portion of the event. I am always looking for ways to keep sharp and stay on top of my game. Who know when I might have to answer that question again, hopefully never.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Farmer's Need Hunters

The results are in regarding hiring the right person. As you may know, there are farmers (generally people who service their customers) and hunters (people who bring in new accounts - sometimes called rainmakers). For me the ideal candidate is a hunter who knows how to farm (cultivate). Afterall what is a farm without rain, barren. I just saw some statistics that were eye opening based on companies that use assessments. See for yourself.

In a recent analysis of the last 5000 sales candidates assessed, the data showed that 24%, 1 out of every four candidates, could not, do not, and will not prospect for new business. How would you like to hire one of them? Oh, you already did?

The same data showed that 45%, nearly 1 out of every 2 candidates could not, do not and will not close. I'm certain that you've hired some of them. In reality, 92% of all candidates will have fewer than 23% of the attributes in the closer skill set and 36% of all candidates will have fewer than 53% of the attributes of the hunter skill set.

What does this mean?If you don't use a pre-employment assessment, that can identify the small percentage of candidates who will close and the small percentage of candidates who will hunt, your chances of hiring a winner are quite slim.


So when I look at sales people I look for someone who can hunt and also has the ability to farm. What does this do? Well they will find and close, and then they will service the heck out of them. After that they will reap the benefits of the seeds they have sown by way of referrals. Sounds good to me.

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Results Are In

I didn't set my goals high enough. I am learning our new Sales Accountability Software by utilizing it myself. As part of the program, you set activity goals for your self. Except for a few I exceeded my expectations. That does not mean that I am that good, by no stretch of the imagination. What it means is that I need to reach higher, stretch. I also might need to better understand the goals that I am setting to see if I really am being realistic. To make my point here is my week.

Activity Goal Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Total Percent
Cold Phone Calls 15 17 0 5 0 0 0 22 146%
Follow Up Phone Calls 15 2 0 11 1 2 0 16 106%
Conversations with Decision Makers 5 7 0 3 0 1 0 11 220%
Appointments Set 2 1 0 2 0 0 0 3 150%
Referrals Asked For 3 0 1 0 0 2 0 3 100%
Networking Events 2 0 1 0 1 1 0 3 150%
Client Calls 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 50%
Client Notes Sent 3 0 0 2 1 0 0 3 100%
Prospects Disqualified/Closed Files 5 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 20%

When I really look at this I realize that when I was filling in Cold Calls some might have actually been warm calls. So I need to be careful that I am really understanding what my standards are so that when I fill it in that it is accurate so Ed and I can use this as a tool for me to grow.

This is way too cool.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Sales Accountability - What's That???

Picture managing a sales force with targets they are supposed to reach and behaviors they are supposed to perform. At the end of the week they don't seem to be bringing in the results. So what's the problem? Now picture a sales person who is surpassing all their goals. Hmm. What's going on? Now you can know! And now there is a tool to help you manage the sales people who are not performing to their potential and learn from the ones who are exceeding your expectations.

Sales Accountability is a program that you can use online to manage your team. Each team member creates a profile with realistic goals and objectives. Then on a daily basis they quickly update it, online, no matter where they are. Then at a quick glance they can see how they are doing. No surprises at the end of the month or quarter.

When you have a team member who is struggling you can coach them on their behaviors and what they are doing and help them discover what they could be doing differently to get better results. Check out the web site and let us know if you want to try it out. We can set you with a demo to see this tool.

I have been using it and I can tell you it is eye opening. No more head in the sand and sad sob stories of why things aren't happening. Now I can focus my attention and work on what I need to in order to get the job done. Wow, for me it is awesome. I love what we do.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Dog Days of Summer

It is interesting what you hear in the summer. Everyone I talk to says how they are so slow and can't get anyone on the phone to do business with. So what do they do, they stop behaving, after all what's the point. Right????

One thing I have learned over the years is not to let the outside conditions such as weather affect my game plan. As you develop your cook book and then your list of activities, it should be the same Spring, Summer, Winter or Fall. Sure you might need to adjust a little, for example, I find that it is hard to get a live person on Friday's in the Summer so I call on Thursday.

Sage advice I received when I first started in business was to create a marketing plan and market whether you are busy or slow and you will never be slow. It was so true. When I waited till I had time to market then I had lots of time. But if I built it into my plan, I was always busy. Same with sales. Always be behaving no matter what the weather.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Thinking For A Change

I just started a new book called "Thinking for A Change" by John C. Maxwell. One of my fellow Toastmaster's recommended it highly. Within the first 10 pages I can see why. In Chapter 1 - Understanding the Value of Good Thinking, Mr. Maxwell opens with the following quote from Benjamin Disraeli

"Nurture great thoughts, for you will never go higher than your thoughts."

Wow! That spoke volumes to me. We teach that through our I/R Theory and how you will only attain what you believe you are worthy of attaining. So in order to raise your "I" you must feed you mind with strong, positive and great thoughts. Read great books and spend time with great people. In a short time your "I" will grow.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Monday Monday

As I sat in my air conditioned office (thank goodness for air conditioning) I reviewed what I did last week. Then I set up my plan for the day. I only had 3.5 hours to work on my activities, and I wanted to get the most bang for my buck. At the end of my 3.5 hours I was not sure if I had done enough so I took a moment to reflect. What did I get done?

  • I made 20 calls (cold and warm).
  • I actually had four meaningful conversations that gave me two qualified "no's," one qualified future and an appointment.
  • I wrote and mailed two letters to follow-up on networking meetings.
  • I finalized a document I needed for Toastmasters and made copies.
  • I organized my schedule for the week.
  • I sent out several emails and printed some articles to read.

Although that might not seem like a lot to some, for me it was a huge accomplishment. What does this all represent? The continuation of my behavior that I defined in my cookbook last week. I am seeing that as I behave each day and do that consistently, I am seeing results. So I am thrilled for the day and my activities and see it as a step in my gradual and incremental growth. Have you looked at your daily activities lately?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Cook Book

I was meeting with Ed and getting some advice. I felt a bit confused on how to allocate my time. I have several things I am involved in as well as the work that I do. I am a Toastmaster and this year they elected me President of our Club. I am a member of Women's Network of York and I am serving on a committee to promote an event that is happening in October. I am involved in the Chamber's Partnership campaign. And I also need to fit in my behavior for Staub & Associates.

My dilemma is that I have about 10 hours a week to work at this point on pay-time activities. Ed noted that I was talking cook book. It's funny how I was talking cook book, some thing we teach and yet it did not seem that obvious to me. Then it hit me, I do it naturally without labeling it. So right now my recipe for success has to only include those things that will provide me with tangible results in a short time. Once I defined the results needed to be successful, it was easy for me to decide where to spend my time.

I love our system.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Does this "Sandler Stuff" work in a Commodity Business?

This was a question posed today in our training by someone who was relatively new to the program. In fact, today was week one. So what is the answer? Well, as always, the room came to the rescue with an answer. You know the best lessons come when the students become the teachers.

The example was given that in a commodity business such as buying a truck load of sunflower seeds the client does not always buy strictly on price. Sure that is a consideration. When all is said and done there are lots of things that go into the decision making process. Will the sunflower seeds be there when they said it would be? Will they be in good shape (wet or dry)? Will the process of ordering it and getting it delivered by an easy one? Will the terms be right?

The question then becomes, how do you let your prospects know all of this? By asking the right questions, and finding out what is important to them about their sunflower seeds and the process. How was it handled in the past? Do they currently get their deliveries on time from their current vendor? Are they happy with their current terms?

Sure you might still have to be part of a bid. And, if you do it right, you will develop the "trusted advisor" relationship with your prospects and clients so that the bid is a formality because of the bond you have developed. Why? Because they know you care. You not only asked but you listened and heard. So whether you are selling sunflower seeds or office equipment you still can have an edge over the other vendors who place their bids.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Where should I spend my time?????

Because I am a mother of two young boys as well as a women in business, I find time to be my biggest commodity. As I make my schedule for the week and I know I have behaviors to do, my challenge is not to waste time. Further, I need to utilize the limited time I have as wisely as possible. So today as I did my planning in solitude (at 5:45 am) I felt a little overwhelmed. What to do? When to do it? Where should I invest my efforts?

When all else fails, do the next right thing. If your list is too long and your time too short, prioritize. Figure out what will give you the most bang for your buck. For me, I fit in a meeting and made some calls. I organized my week and got a handle on the rest of the month. Now the key is to implement once the plan is set.

I always have to build in flexibility in my plans. For example, today I needed to reschedule a meeting with an associate due to switches in someone else's plan. The good news is I've learned about having a Plan B.

So make a plan, work the plan and adjust where needed. When all else fails, be flexible and do you personal best.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Cold Calls

Today I sat down to do calls. It's funny how many things need to get done when the phone needs to be picked up. I'd look at my list and then the phone and then I would remember to check my email. Then I'd look at my list and then the phone and then I remembered I needed to fax a document. Hmmm. What seems to be the problem? Yes, even I have to overcome my own fears and insecurities to make those dreaded cold calls.

As a volunteer for the Chamber I can remember sitting in a room full of people and cell phones banging out call after call and not blinking an eye. It was easy because I was a volunteer and it wasn't about me. Yet, here I am calling for me and our training center and I find the phone feels like a 100 lb. weight.

Here's the good news. I can do it and so can you. All you have to do is try. Each time you do you get better at it and it gets a little bit easier. It is like anything you do, with practice and repetition it gets easier. It's like a muscle that you train or a habit you start. Sure there are other ways of getting business. However a good sales funnel needs to be filled with a variety of activities.

So keep in mind the following:

  • Cold calls are not forever, just till you build a good referral base.
  • It's only part of your program. You need to have other items in your tool box of getting business like networking, marketing and referrals to name a few.
  • Finally, no one has ever died from making a cold call. You will live to sell another day.

Take heart, you can do it. If I can, anyone can.

We've Moved

Our new training center is open and it is awesome. When I first walked into the building I was amazed by the size of the building. Then I opened the door to our office. It really took my breath away. The hardwood floors, the beautiful walls and the large training center with the tables, chairs and whiteboard ready to go.

After Ed gave me the official tour of the building I made a pot of coffee. Helps to start the day off right for me. Then I sat down in one of our offices to make calls and work on the computer. It was an amazing feeling. I truly believe this center is poised for big things as we help our clients grow in their businesses. The center is warm and welcoming. I look forward to our next round of training next week.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Don't Give it Away

Tuesday Ed gave a great "ah ha" moment through a cute story. We were discussing getting paid what your worth. He commented that his doctor only charges for a test if it comes back with a diagnosis. Of course everyone had a blank stare on their faces and then he said it again with a bit of a grin. Then the light bulbs went on. Of course the Doctor charges you for his services even if he performs a test that comes back negative. And yet, he noted, professional sales people are still giving things away. It was interesting to watch that moment and the lights go on.

So charge what your worth. Charge for you spec. work or proposals. You are worth it and if nothing else, you were paid for the work you did even if they take your bid and shop you with your competitors.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Gut Factor

I have come to determine that this factor is probably the most critical factor in determining success. At least that is the case for me. In my previous world, I built a business on guts and did not even know it. I just kept on and before I knew it I had a real business.

Now that I am "selling" for a profession it is a whole new world. I guess I need to work the gut muscle again, it has begun to atrophy. So where do I begin?

  • Well it starts with a plan, and then work the plan.
  • I realize I will have to do the hardest things first or they won't get done.
  • I will build rewards into my plan as I make small accomplishments. (I need to give myself those strokes.)
  • It means facing head on the "brutal facts of your current reality."
  • And for me, it means reaching out for help to all my resources. (I don't do that well.)

The payoff will be worth the workout. I guess it really is no pain, no gain. So I am doing my stretches and getting ready for the workout.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Hold Your Ground & Take The High Road

I just read an interesting article about underground workers undermining the contracting business. In the article it noted that companies are underbidding on projects by as much as 50% and getting the jobs. How do they do it? Well they hire illegal immigrants or pay people under the table (cash), and therefore keep their overhead low. The problem is becoming so big the government is getting involved. Read the article, it's fascinating. Notes From the Underground Economy

In the article a contractor is optimistic.

Although he gets underbid by competitors using underground workers, McLaughlin, the contractor in San Francisco, says he has found a viable niche: homeowners who want proof that the contractors they hire are licensed and covered by
workers' compensation policies, but don't want to pay the prices that larger contracting firms charge
. Until the government settles on a way to assimilate the stealth labor force, McLaughlin says, he'll refrain from turning to the day workers who line the sidewalks of San Francisco's Cesar Chavez Street every morning, gesturing to passing pickup trucks in hope of landing a job for a few hours. But once he can hire them legally, he's looking forward to it. "The work ethic of those guys is unbelievable," says McLaughlin, who regularly logs 12-hour days. "They put me to shame."

This story really made me think about our system and why bidding is not always the best answer. Obviously, there are times you have to place a bid. However, without developing a relationship with the client/prospect and getting a full understanding of the project and their decision making process, it is a no-win situation. And if they are only looking for the lowest price no matter what the consequence, does it make sense to play in their game. I think not.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Power of Communication

It's funny what you take for granted. I recently became painfully aware of how important communication can be. I tend to have a very low key style of doing things. I basically do things but don't generally feel the need to make a big deal of things. It became a big deal. Now I understand that even though I know I do, it doesn't mean people know I am doing.

So for me I have learned the power of a "cc:" on my emails and just a quick email in general. When you are working with clients and in particular prospects, make sure you let them know you are working for them or on their stuff. Jot them a quick note or copy them in your correspondence. I believe this simple item can go a long way into building a strong bond with who ever is important in your world.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Your 30 Second Commercial

As I work with clients, one of the areas they work on is changing their 30 second commercial from one that is based on FAB (Features and Benefits) to one that shows how you can help solve problems (pain). At a recent presentation that I did for the Women's Network of York on how to take networking to the next level, I shared the following two questions. As the table discussed these questions, they were able to do some very cool networking. Remember you are networking all the time.
  1. You are at a dinner party with some of your best friends and someone says "By the way, I've never really understood what you do, can you tell me what you do and who would be a good client for you." What would you say? How can you be prepared to answer that question?
  2. At the same dinner party you overhear your friend talking about a challenge they are facing in their business, can you think of ways you can offer help through your circle of influence. Come up with ways on how you might be prepared to help a friend.

Remember the best way to become a trusted advisor is to help others with out expecting something in return. Usually people who are grateful find ways to help you. That is what the second question is all about. Always keep in mind how you can help your friends and clients. They will in turn help you.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Is it June Already???

I sat down and reviewed my schedule and I realized it is June. Yes, we are in the 6th month. I know for me that meant the realization that I am no where near where my goals say I should be. Hmmm. So it is time to get serious and revisit the goals, adjust the plan and come up with a strategy.

Are you where you expect to be? Are you ahead of schedule? Do you have a plan? or Are you flying by the seat of your pants, hoping to get a good ride?

If it is the latter, it is time to get a plan. This is a great time to get serious.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Lessons Learned Again

This is why there is a President's Club. You just cannot get all the lessons there are to learn in 8 weeks, it takes a lifetime of learning.

Today I saw lots of "aha moments" for people. Our clients are out in the trenches trying this new approach and guess what, it's working. Some are struggling with how to make it work better, others are feeling uncomfortable because it is not how they have been wired and others are just in the sponge mode, taking it all in. That's what it is all about. Every week we get back together to see what's working, what's not and why.

President's Club, when it is all said and done, is a place to come and debrief, rest and learn some more. The best way to learn is to try and then take a look at what you just did and get some feedback. It's great to have a safe place to come to and say, "Hey this feels uncomfortable, how can I make it work better." And then suddenly find the answer for yourself right in the room.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Sharpen the Saw

One of the habits that Covey talks about is "Sharpen the Saw" which means hone your skills and stay on top of your game. One of the ways I do that is by participating in a local Toastmaster's Group. We meet the 2nd and 4th Tuesday evening of the month. What is great about our club is that we all get turns to grow in different roles. One day you might be speaking or actually running the meeting. You also could be evaluating a speech or helping give candidates impromptu speaking opportunities.

  • For me Toastmaster's has given me confidence to speak to groups or one on one with a client.
  • It helps me think on my feet. You never know what is around the corner and I like to feel like I can handle any situation as it arises.
  • I provides me with the tools I need to learn how to prepare a presentation that falls within the timelines proscribed and how to get my point across in a way that people will understand.
  • It has taught me leadership through the various roles I have performed. I was just elected President of our club and will start in that role in July.
  • It is also a great place to meet like-minded people who might be able to do business with you.

No matter where you are in life, this might be a good tool for you to help you sharpen your saw.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I Love Tuesdays

It's Tuesday and that means it's Quick Start and President's Club. I always feel re-energized after I go to one or the other and sometimes both, depending on my schedule. No matter how many times I go through it, I hear something new and different. I might have been said before, I just wasn't ready. Or maybe it is something new.

The beauty of the system is that we learn from each other. David Sandler discusses on one of his tapes that clients want to know that you have walked in their shoes or moccasin's before they will trust you with their pain. The truth is that we don't always have an opportunity to have those same exact experiences, but at the trainings someone else might have and we can learn. Their stories can be our stories, if we really internalize and learn the lesson.

So even though today was a rainy, dreary day, I knew the sunshine would be there waiting for me. For it is through the group we grow and build each other up.

Friday, May 20, 2005

When Partners Don't Speak the Same Language

Well, not actual language, but are they talking on two different channels. I just talked to someone who is frustrated because a person she's involved with on a project is a "Generalist," talks in concepts and does not give details. She commented on how their constituents are going to want and expect the details. The partner on the other hand feels that if they give too much information they will overwhelm their constituents which will leave them confused and unhappy. He wants to open dialogue and get them thinking.

Interesting that I just came from the seminar that Ed gave on Magical People Skills. Based on the information I gleaned from this seminar, I see this as a difference of styles with one being Macro and the other being Micro. The truth is they are both right. Some people will be overwhelmed by a detailed presentation and others will feel cheated by a presentation with concepts and no implementation strategies. And the truth also is that some will be thrilled with both.

It's great to have these skills. It is clear the more you know about people, how they behave and why, the better you will be able to communicate with them in a way that will allow you to gain better understanding.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Help Others and They will Help You

I think it is Zig Ziglar who always says, "If you help enough people get what they want, they will help you get what you want." There is some truth to that. I have found my most effective prospecting tool and relationship building tool is help connect people. Over the years I have had the opportunity to get to know many people in our local business community. Often I am in a position to give a referral to someone. I have found that over the years, but just listening and keeping my antenna up, I am able to connect people who might not have met otherwise. I have also found that those same people are very grateful and have been in a position to do the same for me.

So when you are out meeting people at a networking event, like a Chamber BAH (Business After Hours), keep your antenna up. You might just be able to help someone else and at the same time be in a position to be helped yourself.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Why a System?

I went to a great meeting today hosted by the Women's Network of York. The presenter was Louis Lavetan and he represents FranChoice. He gave an extremely detailed and interesting presentation on how to choose a franchise, and how to determine if a franchise is right for you. What I liked best was that he broke it down into simple steps. There were 8 key points and he gave great insights into how to work the system. What really struck me about his presentation was that fact that he took something that is very important - the decision to buy and start a business and broke down the decision step into a "step by step process".

One of the things we talk about at our training is the fact that what we offer is a proven system that works. You can look at any sales call that you have ever been to and debrief it to see where in the system you might have failed. Was there good Bonding and Rapport? Did you get enough pain? It is a great way to learn and grow. In fact, we tend to work with a lot of engineers and technical people because they love having a blueprint to something that seemed like smoke and mirrors.

Lou actually gave the following reason for a system, and I wanted to share it with you. When it comes to starting a business and/or buying a franchise, his system helps you:


We talk about pain in our world, and the system (Submarine) is a great cure for sales misery.

Friday, May 13, 2005

“Do you think you could close this sale?”

A friend of mine went into a local electronic store to purchase a big screen TV. She had the money and was ready to buy. Her son was in karate and had a limited amount of time to spend on the purchase and she has a short buying cycle. She found the TV that she wanted and it was $2,000. She found a sales person to help her and gave him a credit card. As David Sandler would say, “Do you think you could close this sale?”

As I mentioned before, she was short on time, which she communicated to the sales associate. Instead of processing her order, he insisted in trying to sell her more complimentary products that would work well with the TV, she had chosen. Guess what happened? He lost the whole sale. He had her money in his hand and lost the sale. My friend said she needed to leave and would have to buy a TV another time.

I am sure the person never even knew he lost the opportunity. My friend walked away angry and said she will never go to this story again. In addition, she decided she really did not need a TV that badly so she kept her money to spend another day.

The moral of the story is “Sell Today, Educate Tomorrow.”

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

It's not too late to go back

At a recent meeting, one of our clients shared a story that I found encouraging and inspirational. He is a young salesperson who is really learning the system. He was working with a client he knows well. In the course of their conversation they asked for a ball park figure for a new server (they sell computer solutions). He made the comment that he just put a similar one in another client's office for $4,000. They said great, get us one. When this young buck went back to the office he found out the real solution was going to cost more like $9,000. He was not sure what to do next. After sharing his story with our group, we encouraged him to go back and fall on the sword.

The following week he came back to our meeting. He was sitting on the edge of his seat. You could see he could not wait to tell us how the appointment went. He shared with us that he went back to his client and told them he made a mistake and needed to talk with them. When this event was all said and done he not only got $9,000 for the server they set aside $10,000 for maintenance cost. He behaved when it was tough and it paid off. So what did he learn:

  • He figured out that he has "money" issues and that his clients don't mind spending money for a good solution.
  • He was vulnerable and teachable and was able to really learn from this experience and through that teach to the group.
  • The group worked as a team to problem solve and further demonstrate that if you fall on your sword, you will be rescued.
  • He learned not all customers are the same, not all solutions are the same and he needs to slow down to speed up.
  • He learned there is more to learn and is back at our latest QuickStart and is focused on learning the effective use of Up Front Contracts.

I see a lot of growth in him and know that in a year or two, if he continues on this path, he will be an amazing professional salesperson.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Focus Grasshopper

I recently found out through an assessment, well I already knew, that I have trouble concentrating. I can loose my focus. It probably comes from being a multi-tasker who always has had to juggle many jobs at once. So I am working on improving my concentration skills. In my quest to gain this skill, I turned to my library. I revisited the book The Power of Focus by Cranfield, Hansen and Hewitt. It is an easy read, and I am enjoying it thoroughly. It states a formula for success that they likened to a Blueprint which I thought was helpful. I am a visual, and I could see the Blueprint. Simply stated: B-ALERT:

Blueprint: My strategic plan for the day. Priorities, appointments, projects. Review the night before or early in the morning.

Action: Concentrate on the most important activities that will move you towards accomplishing your sixty-day goals.

Learning: Expand you knowledge through reading, cassettes, video, mentors, courses.

Exercise: Re-energize for thirty minutes.

Relaxation: Eliminate daily stress. Nap, meditate, listen to music, family time.

Think: Take time to reflect on the day. Review goals, visualize, develop new ideas, use a journal.

This was helpful to me as I work on improving my concentration skills and creating an environment that will be conducive to achieving my goals.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Morning After

As I sit here with my second cup of coffee, and try to focus my brain, I think about how the Expo went. I, of course, enjoyed myself immensely. I am clearly in my element there. But was it productive. Having fun and making it an effective use of my time are two different things.

  • I re-established connections with some former clients and paved the way for a future contact.
  • I met four new people that I would call suspects (one who really needs our training) and might be in need of our services.
  • I behaved and have set a course of action for future behavior.

Overall, yes it was a good use of my time. Today on my behavior plan I am going to make some calls and do some follow-up and rest a little. I am tired but energized.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

I love this stuff . . .

I know this sounds strange, but I love Expos. I feel like I am in my environment. I just spent two hours walking and talking, it just doesn't get any better than that. However, tomorrow I hope to spend less time talking and more time listening. Tonight was the social event, and it was fun. The meat and potatoes will happen tomorrow in the quiet lulls of the day. I cannot wait. Oh by the way, yes I got my coffee, it was terrific.

Expos are great places to reconnect with people and meet new people. I have set up some up front contracts with my contacts to meet them tomorrow and walk around and introduce each other. It will be a great day.

The key will be the follow up after. I have already set aside Thursday morning for follow-up including calls and appointments if it makes sense.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Network, Network, Network

I know the three most important words in our vocabulary are Nurture, Nurture, Nurture. Yet, today my focus is on Networking. This week is the York County Chamber of Commerce's Business Expo. It happens to be their 25th year doing this and as always, it will be an awesome event. So as I plan my behavioral plan for the week, I am focused on meeting new friends, catching up with old ones and being available for my clients at the Expo.

I have been participating in the Expo since 1993, and I haven't missed a year. My plan is always the same, stop off at K&K Coffee to see Dirk and get a cup of coffee. Then start my day of networking.

What is important about working an Expo:

  • Bring lots of cards, but only give out if you feel there is a fit,
  • Get lots of cards, and ask lots of questions,
  • Don't expect to close there, but create an opportunity to follow-up utilizing your up front contracts
  • Follow-up, follow-up and more follow-up

See you at the Expo.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

What is the cost of a Hiring Mistake?

According to one source, for a salesperson whose base salary is $40,000 and has an annual sales quota of $500,000 it can be as much as $302,000. That's based on you letting them go after six months. Pretty shocking. Of course this takes into account the lost sales from lack of production as well as actual hard cost of benefits and salary. It also includes management time to manage the situation. Let's face it, people don't put on their resumes they are terrible at following up or hate doing cold calls. Resumes always look great.

So what can be done? We believe utilizing an assessments is the answer. For example, the assessment we use can give you such specific information about a candidate such as call reluctance (cold calls) and follow-up skills. If you need a hunter and the candidate is a gatherer, there might not be a fit. So if you don't want to pay later for the mistake of a bad decision, you might want to consider a small investment now to assure a qualified hiring decision.

If you want to know what your sales mistakes have cost you, check out and utilize our Mistake Calculator to get the hard facts.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Best kept secret . . . at least to me!

I love to do internet research. My favorite thing to do is help my clients in their sales efforts. So I try to keep up with their industries and learn more about how I can better serve them. Imagine how thrilled I was to find out about Google Alerts. Just go to and then click on More and you will find a list of things you can get with Google. Alerts allows you to set up special searches such as "Entertainment Farms" and on a regular basis, i.e. daily. You will then get the results of those searches. I set mine up to include news and web searches, which gives me a rich blend on information.

What does this do for me and my clients?
  • I can keep up with latest trends and statistics,
  • I see who the competition is and what they are doing, and
  • I can send articles of interest to my clients which lets them know I am thinking of them. Just another way to give your clients a warm touch. Part of the Bonding and Rapport piece.

So go and set up some Alerts, use the results to stay ahead of the curve and serve your customers. It will be a great tool for you and your business.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Why is the phone so heavy?

Are you like the many sales professionals who hate to do cold calls and see it as a necessary evil? Any one who says they like doing them is usually not telling the truth or is certifiable. So how can we take the sting out of cold calls?

  • Stay focused on the goal or the reward. Always remember that overtime cold calls generally pay, and quite frankly, they can pay handsomely.
  • Remember, cold calls are not forever. As you grow in the business, learn and integrate the tools, techniques and philosophies of the Sandler System, you will not need to do cold calls because you will be busy following up on all the referrals you will be getting from your clients.
  • Cold calls are a great place to practice the techniques that you are using. You have nothing to loose and everything to gain. Try something new, specially when you are doing cold calls in person.
So the next time you decide to make a dentist appointment instead of a cold call, remember the above, get on the phone and create your future, one call at a time. You can do it.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Power of Focus!!!!

I'll admit it, I am distracted easily. I have always chalked it up to my innate ability to multi-task and manage many priorities. Unfortunately, it can be a hazard. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants instead of working a methodical plan. Wow, even the word methodical sounds so confining to me.

I just started reading a new book called the The Power of Focus for Women, and I realized that there is nothing wrong with having a plan and working it. It's more than just goals, but the actions steps and the actual implementation that make the difference. I have always been great at goal setting but easily taken off course because of my resistance to "schedules" and "regimented plans." As it is said "If you are not working your plan, you are part of someone else's plan."

For my attitude/behavior plan I will embrace the concept of planning and working a plan and develop and implement a plan. My first step is to create an environment of solitude that is conducive to planning. Thank you Borders, a good book, a cup of coffee and the Sandler System for making this all clear.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Just when you thought you heard it all . . .

At the last President's Club meeting a client mentioned that one of his clients asked him to participate in a Reverse Auction. I listened in disbelief as he explained. His client created a bid opportunity, on line, the he was to bid on. The only catch, instead of the prices going up like in normal auctions, they needed to go down. The clients was going to pick the lowest bid. What did he do? Being the professional that he is, he sat down and figured out what the job would cost and came up with his bid, he posted it and turned off the computer. Seconds after the computer was off, his client called to ask if everything was okay and why was he not there (why wasn't he playing was what they really wanted to know.) He told them that he posted his price and if he won great, and if not, it wasn't meant to be. After that experience they have created a company policy not to participate in these types of practices.

You really have to have an abundance mentally and the ability to separate yourself from the situation to keep you head on straight.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Empty the Sub Every time?

A light bulb went off at the last meeting and it seemed to resonate with quite a few of our clients.

First, you have to empty the sub every time, with every transaction and throughout the sales process. For example, you might get all the compartments filled and are ready to your fulfillment phase (dog & pony show) and then a new player (decision maker) is introduced to the process. What do you do? Call a time out and start over, overview what has previously transpired and then find out what the new player needs to make the decision. It seems so simple, yet it was amazing to watch our clients get it.

Second, you use the sub with everyone, not just new clients. That was probably the most revolutionary idea for some of our more experienced clients. One client who was coming through the training again said he thought of the sub when he was working with new clients, but suddenly realized he needs to use the sub even with his existing clients. Building rapport and checking to see what has changed in their world is always appropriate and helps to further develop the "Trusted Advisor" role.

Good stuff.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Learn, Grow and Go

I am fortunate to work with an organization that believes in helping people achieve their goals through gradual and incremental change. Staub & Associates has been providing salesforce development and recruitment for 15 years. We provide training and lifetime coaching which is very different to the seminar approach to sales. What is the difference? Well as David Sandler said "You can't teach a kid to ride a bike at a seminar." Also true is you can't teach a person to be a professional salesperson at a seminar. Sure someone might get one or two tricks to close a sale or get past the gate keeper but that will not go far and it will not be sustainable.

True knowledge comes when the student learns, practices, learns some more, makes some mistakes, learns some more and then starts to own the learning. When the ownership happens, forget about the possibilities, they are beyond anyone's comprehension.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Sales is not a Four Letter Word

I used to hate to sell. In fact, I used to say I wasn't selling. People were buying me and my services. Then I realized I needed to go out and get them. That's when I found Staub & Associates who trained me on how to be a professional sales person utilizing the Sandler Sales System. Once I found a system, I was unstoppable.

After 13 years, I made a career change and here I am helping other people find out what I found out. Sales does not have to be hard or painful. Salespeople are not to be despised. In fact, a good sales professional should be considered a trusted advisor.

That's what I want for everyone. To be a trusted advisor and to help other people get what they want which in turn will allow them to reach their goals.