Archive for June, 2006

Car Tale

Friday, June 30th, 2006

A woman rammed her car through a wall of the house and it finally stopped in the living room. Her husband was incredulous, “How did you drive the car into our living room?”

“I turned left at the bedroom.”

Great salespeople have a map in their mind of exactly where they are in the selling process.

They are truthful with themselves about the possibility of closing each prospect.

They are aware of next steps.

They know when the brain of the prospect has arrived at the close, so the rep can close.

Think about that one prospect you really want. Do you know when and where your next move is? Which direction you’re turning?

Map out your selling process and you’ll get to the goal that much quicker.

Bad Parent, Bad Prospect

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

A childcare centre in Israel was having problems with parents that were picking their children up late. As a result they introduced a fine for lateness. The result was that lateness increased. Why? Because the fine normalized the behavior. Also, in UK schools, parents that take their children on holiday during term time are being fined up to GB £200. Ref: Prospect (UK)

What bad behavior are you reinforcing in prospects?

Here’s one example; when you finally reach them by phone and they ask you to send literature, do you do it?

Aren’t you just teaching them that their method for getting rid of reps actually works?

Or do you delight in chasing people hiding behind voicemail?

Refuse to endorse and validate bad prospect behavior.

Decide ahead of time that you will not tolerate requests that are destructive to your sales process.

Snakes & Sales

Wednesday, June 28th, 2006

A Newly-Found Snake Can Change Its Color

June 27, 2006 — Researchers scouring swamps in the heart of Borneo island have discovered a venomous species of snake that can change its skin color, the conservation group WWF announced Tuesday. The ability to change skin color is known in some reptiles, such as the chameleon, but scientists have seen it rarely with snakes and have not yet understood this phenomenon, the group said in a statement.” I put the reddish-brown snake in a dark bucket,” said Mark Auliya, a reptile expert and a consultant for the group. “When I retrieved it a few minutes later, it was almost entirely white.”

Great sales professionals change colors to survive in a world of diverse prospects.

How flexible are you in your language and behavior? Do you respect others by having custom conversations? Or are you still pitching like the old snake oil salesmen of days gone by – shoutin’ the same message to every face in every town?

When you help potential customers to talk about their specific needs they will lead you down many different paths. Your job is to see that as many paths as possible end in a close.

Sales Autopsy vs the Gay Parade

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

I was speaking at the big National Association of Health Underwriters ( conference this past weekend. My first session was a riot of funny stories, witty attendee comments and great learning moments.

So I was shocked when the second session had about 25% less people showing up.

Farren, the NAHU director of education, met me after the program and apologized, “I’m so sorry you had missing people there. The San Francisco Gay Pride Parade was going on outside the hotel and a bunch of our people heard the noise and headed out to watch.”

So I was competing with a parade! I caught the tail end of it myself, and even though most adults aren’t too big on parades anymore, this was something so unique and memorable, I couldn’t blame my people for no-showing on their training.

Here’s the tie-in to your sales life…

What are you competing with that you perhaps didn’t consider competition?

1. It could be unexpected circumstances that distract prospects, causing cancelled appointments.

2. It could be that you’re competing with reps who are better training – in skills and product knowledge – than you.

3. It could be that you’re competing, with not another firm selling what you sell, but a different expenditure of your prospect’s funds. For example, you want them to buy your product, but funds get funneled to hire another rep.
Good questions will reveal any potential surprises, like #1 and #3. Getting better at what you do will eliminate #2.

So what will you do?

What’s your currency?

Monday, June 26th, 2006

The value of unused frequent flyer miles in global circulation currently exceeds the total amount of US dollars in worldwide circulation. The calculation is based on 14 trillion miles at 2 US cents each giving a total value of US $700 billion. Ref: The Economist (UK)

What do you collect and measure in your sales life? Is your currency phone calls? Prospects? Closed deals? Time spent in the office? Time spent at home?

Great business pros measure everything they can think of – in order to create balance and have those numbers generate awareness of their weak and strong areas.

Select one currency this week and begin to measure it. You might be surprised at what you learn about yourself.

Sales Rookie in the Saddle

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

(true story) My brother, Eddie decides to go horseback riding. Although he has had no previous experience he skillfully mounts the horse and appears in complete command of the situation as the horse gallops along at a steady pace, Donna admiringly watches her husband.


After a short time Eddie becomes a little casual and he begins to lose his grip in the saddle, he panics and grabs the horse around the neck, shouting for it to stop. Donna starts to scream and shout for someone to help her husband as Eddie has by this time slipped completely out of the saddle and is only saved from hitting the ground by the fact that he still has a grip on the horse’s neck.

Eddie decides that his best chance is to leap away from the horse, but his foot has become entangled in one of the stirrups. As the horse gallops along Eddie’s head is banging on the ground and he is slipping into unconsciousness. Donna is now frantic and screams and screams for help!!

Hearing her screams, the Walmart Security Guard comes out of the store and unplugs the horse!

Okay, so maybe only part of it was true, they shop at Walmart. But how are you in the selling saddle?

Are you going on each sales call or making each phone call as if it’s your first?

Even experienced salespeople can limit their skills and success to rookie level – when they don’t make a decision to make an effort to improve interactions with prospects (you might want to read that again).

Are you still a rookie, despite years of selling? What are you doing to become a true expert at your craft – riding faster and farther than the competition?

Why not respond to this post, share with what “it” is that you’re doing to improve your skills, riding herd on your prospects?

Guerrilla Marketing Whales

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

The humpback whales swim in corkscrew patterns toward the water’s surface near the fish. As the whales swim in ever-smaller revolutions, they discharge bursts of air through their blowholes. One burst of bubbles, forming a bubble cloud, discharges every second during this process.

The result is a bubble net that may be close to 100 feet wide. Similar to a fisherman’s net, the bubbles enclose the herring, preventing escape. Whales capture schools the size of a house containing close to a million fish in this manner.

Diachok and his colleagues believe whales may even classify fish before they catch them. The scientists observed pairs of humpback hunting teams. One whale would swim beneath a school and herd fish towards the surface. A second whale on top of the school then emitted tonal sounds.

Guerrilla Marketing Whale.jpg

How strong is your sales funneling technique? Are you drafting lots of prospects, perfect prospects into your reach?

Get better at smart lead generation. Go read some books by Guerrilla Marketing Guru Jay Conrad Levinson. And you’ll feast on fantastic prospects.

NBA Finals Cold Calling Lesson

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006

Congrats to the Miami Heat for winning the NBA Championship, with a bit of help (okay, lots of help) from the guys in striped shirts. Dwayne Wade was fantastic, but the refs helped him to the free throw line constantly, turning fantastic to spectacular.

But something really strange happened to Heat guard Gary Payton who is the biggest loudmouth and trash talker of all time. He dribbled up the floor and passed the ball to a teammate, then turned to start jawing with an official.

So Payton is yelling at the referee – just as his teammate returns the ball to him and, as Payton is engaged in speaking to someone else, the ball hits him in the back. The defender grabs it and takes off the other way.

A player who talks during a game like this is incredibly selfish. There is plenty of time to talk to the official, during stoppage of play. Does Payton think that the ref has nothing to do during play? The ref is going to be interrupted from watching ten guys who, in this age are built like football players, and are just as physical?

The two-fold parallel between Gary Payton’s actions and a bad salesperson are scary.

1) Bad reps talk too much and so sell themselves and their products poorly, and

2) Payton interrupting a man from his job is just like a cold-calling clown, implying that the individual is not busy and open to interruption. It’s as if the rep says, “hey you must not be too successful, just sitting around waiting for me to show up unannounced.”

Don’t “Gary Payton” your prospects. Learn to listen and only cold call if it’s forced down your throat by management. Cold-calling is almost always done poorly and is often an act of desperation.

Figuring it out

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

My six year old daughter Bekah (short for Rebekah – notice how as life’s pace quickens, more people get nicknames?), figured out that a pony tail hairstyle was very similar to a bun.

She told me “When my hair is up in a bun it looks like a bunny tail.” Hence, bun, a nickname for bunny tail. My wife and I got a great laugh at this insight and here’s the sales-related thought for you…

Have you figured out your prospects?

Do you know what motivates them? What criteria they use to make decisions? How fast they will decide?

Pay attention to their words and ask great questions.

Figure out how to figure out your prospects and you give yourself a raise.

Transparent Buildings & Sales

Monday, June 19th, 2006

Someone has invented “see through” concrete. Obvious applications include transparent security barriers and giving the appearance of space and light in small houses and apartments. Ref: New York Times (US)

How wild is that? There’s an interesting parallel with this invention and the old ways, the old days of sales.

The buyer rarely knew what was going on. Today they’ve experience our techniques for so long, our approaches can be predictable and irritate prospects.

Are you a bit too transparent, too “old school” in your tactics?

Ask yourself this: “How obvious are my selling strategies?”

If the answer lands somewhere around “they can see right through me,” you need to alter your approach, be more real and help others buy, rather than coming across like badly portrayed salesman from an old movie like Used Cars.

So don’t let ’em see you coming, don’t let ’em see you sweat and don’t let ’em see where you’re going either – no “see through” techniques.