Archive for October, 2006

2 for 1

Friday, October 13th, 2006

(don’t tell my wife I’m writing on this)

Can you believe how lucky a guy can get?

I’m looking under the kitchen sink where I’ve strategically placed a mouse trap.

It’s upside down which means I got one. I pick it up and two mice are dead on arrival, heads pinned beneath the trap, noses wedged into a glomp of peanut butter which they will never taste.

What are the chances that, in the instant the trap explodes, two of my wife’s enemies will be caught? I’ve never had it happen and I’ve been catching mice since before my ant vs. the magnifying glass days.

Here’s the sales thought – sometimes you just get lucky. Sometimes you close a sale unexpectedly. Sometimes, out of the blue, a sale falls into your lap.

For all the skills and strategies and activity you build into your selling life, there is that element of chance that grants you a wish, a taste of peanut butter. That same element of chance can snatch away a sure sale when a low-ball offer sinks you or someone changes their mind or a hot prospect dies.

So just rejoice in your good fortune, when it smiles on you. Think of all the hard work you’ve put into your career and how many times you wanted a happy ending. It happened today and you caught yourself a real live new customer. Today you deserve it.

Seeing Red

Thursday, October 12th, 2006

It’s dinner time with the family and Bekah, 6, is hiding a piece of paper under the table. She has a surprise for Mom & Dad.

“Tada!” She announces and waves her spelling test in our faces. 10 words, 8 wrong.

The paper had so much red on it, you’d have thought they slaughtered a chicken in class.

Wendy and I stare at the splashes of red marker, black print and pencil as Bekah bursts out laughing.

“I really messed up this one, Mom and Dad.”

“You’re not upset? Wendy asks. And our little first grader says no.

So as a parent you’re thinking “is this an okay response?” I am actually kind of proud that she’s not devastated by a low score. It reflects a strong self image.

And as a sales rep or coach or manager you might be thinking, “is this response worth replicating? Can I model my attitude and self-talk after a six-year old’s bad experience?”

You know what I’m going to say.

Yes! Your mental health in selling is directly related to how you respond to trouble and how quickly your respond in a manner which reflects a great self image.

Take it from Bekah, a hearty laugh at trouble can drain the black out of it. Out of the mouths of babes…

So when you’re seeing red, think blue skies ahead and green grass around the next prospect and gold in the bank.

Excited about Selling?

Wednesday, October 11th, 2006

Check out this incredible story from the Discovery Channel…

Gas Turbine Engine Fits on a Chip
http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2006/10/10/microengine_tec.html?
category=technology&guid=20061010100000&dcitc=w01-101-ae-0000

Oct. 10, 2006 — A tiny gas-turbine engine that fits on a quarter could replace batteries currently used to power laptops, cell phones, radios, and perhaps even home generators.The micro-engine, being developed by a team led by Alan Epstein, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, could provide five times as much power as a laptop battery for the same cost.”My laptop battery now runs my computer for about three hours before recharging. A micro-engine power system — engine plus fuel — with the same weight as the battery should run the laptop for 15 to 20 hours before refueling,” said Epstein.The engine works on the same principle as a jet engine: a compressor sucks in air from the outside and compresses the air. Fuel injectors add fuel to the compressed air and the mixture gets ignited. (Epstein’s engine will run on a variety of fuel, including kerosene, propane, ethanol, methanol or hydrogen.)

HUGE “WOW” HERE! Big time “you’ve got to be kidding, that’s amazing” thoughts running through my head.
How’d you like to be the rep selling something that exciting and new and innovative?

The energy that comes with presenting something like this should be part of the energy you bring to the job every day.

While false enthusiasm can put off prospects, genuine passion really is respected by your buyers.

So get your motor running and show the world what a great product you offer. It’s just what this planet needs.

The Psychology of Surprise

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

I woke up, woke up my wife, woke up my kids, then got them ready for school and her ready for work (okay, not exactly what happened, but you get the picture).

Walking outside to meet the school bus we encounter a giant wooden stork on the lawn with a sign congratulating me on my new baby – Sales Autopsy (the new book – www.salesautopsy.com).

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It was from my wife’s parents. A great surprise – funny, unexpected, yet a perfect metaphor for bringing a book to life – birth.

How do you surprise your clients and prospects?

You can send a message that you care and are fun to do business with and are a creative soul by offering something to delight the hearts of your clients and potential clients.

I’ve created a Sales Comic Book (www.salescomics.com), a video game Revenge of the Reps (www.revengeofthereps.com), and I regularly email unusual news items that keep me top of mind of the people who feed my family.

What can you do to surprise someone today?

Pumpkin Selection and Selling

Monday, October 9th, 2006

I’m with the family yesterday at this gigantic pumpkin farm (the farm was gigantic, not necessarily the pumpkins).

We hop on flatbeds pulled by a tractor with about 40 other people and crawl our way to a massive field of pumpkins. Since each acre can yield several thousand of the rounded Halloween artifacts, we were staring at 100,000 or more orange squash.

Fifteen minutes later everyone is back on board with their treasure – except a family of five who can’t decide which pumpkin each one wants.

Now you basically have 100,000 to choose from (minus the rotten ones or ones that have been pecked by birds or the ones that are not quite ripe). And Mr. Dad and Mrs. Mom can’t help their kids make a decision.

So we drove off, left them waiting for the next train to arrive.

Does that family remind you a bit too much of many of your prospects?

Your job in selling is to help people come to a decision. Get them to say yes! Get them to say no! (so you can go away and find someone else to work with). Get them to say let’s meet again!

“I’ll think it over and get back to you…” is NOT a decision.

This indecision will destroy you mentally and physically as you wonder and dream and wish that those prospects would just make up their minds.

Help them pick the pumpkin, that’s your job in every interaction of your selling day.

REVENGE OF THE REPS

Friday, October 6th, 2006

You can’t take it anymore. I can’t either.

You are sick of beastly buyers and pathetic prospects who hide behind voicemail, lie to you and generally make your sales life unbearable.

Even rejoicing in the misfortunes of other sales blunder victims in this book can’t get you past these professional parasites.

Would you feel better if I gave you a gift?

I have a prescription that can get you fit for work again. Fill it and be healed at www.RevengeoftheReps.com

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When you arrive there you will receive the tools to get revenge on these evil scoundrels. As you watch the streets in your territory fill up with prospects, notice how they toss nasty objections at you…

I won’t buy from you or your descendants

If you’d lower your price to match your IQ…

I would like to see you – on a milk carton

You sales vampires are sucking the blood out of buyers

Only buy American – Native American

I was frightened by a salesman at birth

You remind me too much of my mother

I need references; this time no relatives!

I need to talk to my spouse, partner, accountant, spirit guides

I hate salesmen, my ex-husband is one

That’s enough!

Pick up your giant mutant laser pointer and begin blasting away.

All the pressure you felt butting heads with buyers during cold calling and telemarketing will dissipate as these characters dramatically disappear from the screen.

This free, Xbox-quality graphic game was made just for you, compliments of me, your author.

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No more lead generation nightmares, just justice and revenge at www.RevengeoftheReps.com.

(excerpt from Sales Autopsy by Dan Seidman)

World Class Sales Pros – what they do…

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

…that distinguishes them from everyone else who sells.

1) They disqualify quickly (not qualify, but disqualify first)

2) They realize that feature/benefit selling has limited use today and motivate buyers by offering both benefits and problems solving conversations

3) They respect prospects while evoking respect in return (this is a big deal in a world where prospects believe reps are snakes and reps believe prospects are liars)

4) They don’t crash on contact. Great reps have a distinct approach to create fabulous first impressions

5) They don’t earn combat pay. Handling adversity and all the negative things that occur in a selling life (up to 90% of all interactions!) is done in a healthy fashion

6) They focus on three investments for themselves – improving themselves personally (hair, clothes, shoes, appearance); improving tools (best equipment, software, pdas, etc.); improving their brainpower (sales education in class, by book, audio, video learning)

7) They participate in Mentor Mania. World class sales pros accelerate their learning process by finding a smarter, wiser individual who can coach them quickly toward success

Want more detail on these seven issues? How about some hilarious sales horror stories that reveal the truth of these strategies?

Check out the new book, Sales Autopsy (Kaplan Publishing) at the newly designed, www.SalesAutopsy.com.

Hilarious Selling Blunder

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006

ANIMALS ANTAGONIZING REPS

Scott was selling insurance “farm to farm” and had never driven a nice car. In fact, he’d never even owned a new car.

Things were going well, so the rep decided to reward himself.

Scott shopped for vehicles and because his territory was large and gas mileage was a factor, his choice was a brand new, bright red Toyota.

This was all happening in the 1990s and rural America was not as conservative as, say, the seventies. So it wasn’t really risky to be seen by farmer prospects in a Japanese car. The country was well beyond the days when they only bought American.

So Scott’s precious selling partner was washed regularly, kept up, and treasured like the valuable selling tool it was.

Then the day arrived when his brand new baby was forever marked by the life on the farm.

The salesman was stalled on a “think about it” during a call and walked out of that farmer’s home. The farm owner courteously led the rep to the front door and saw it all before the young salesman did. “It” was described by the prospect’s slow, deep drawl in a comment that challenged his car-buying decision. “That’s what you get for buying a foreign car.”

Scott had no response. He couldn’t believe what he was looking at.

The man’s biggest Billy goat had climbed on the roof of his new Toyota and completely caved it in.

“Here, git down here, you.” The farmer spoke to his animal and its hooves scratched and dented the hood as it hopped its way to the ground.

“You got insurance for that, don’t you?” He grinned at his witty joke.

In stunned silence Scott pried open the door and climbed in. The windshield was cracked and seemed ready to pop out. The new, low roof left him about six inches to see above his steering wheel.

The door kind of closed and the salesman drove home, scrunched over – ending his day early. He called his insurance company and was asked, “is this a joke?” before Scott’s rep realized that this was going to be his favorite, his most unusual claim of the year. Scott had heard the saying that selling is like going out to battle every day. He just never dreamed that his transportation could end up a casualty of war.

SalesAutopsy_cF.jpg (from Sales Autopsy, now available at www.barnesandnoble.com/salesautopsy)

POSTMORTEM: Scott now expects the unexpected. How well do you handle adversity in your life (selling or personal)? So whatever “it” is that makes things difficult for you, get over it. Life is a long string of memorable moments – too many tough, too few good – just shake your head, grin and move on. Don’t let those rough times get your goat.

Sales Autopsy Book Excerpt

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

Introduction (check out the book at www.barnesandnoble.com/salesautopsy)

It was a dreadful day’s end for Mark. His best customer called, out of courtesy, to say he was switching vendors. There went 25 percent of his revenue. Then another major prospect phoned about a 5:15 pm (hoping he’d get Mark’s voice mail) to say he was going with someone else. The future was fizzling fast for this good friend sitting next to me.

And Mark wasn’t just a friend because his wife packed extra sushi in his lunch to share with me. He was a smart sales pro, a plodder who just kept working the phones whether times were good or wretched. His day was now ending with pats on the back and condolences. You’d have thought we were at a funeral.

I came to work early the next day, 5:30 to be exact—the time when I normally pulled practical jokes on my peers. (I’d never been caught; my college days were paying off in the workplace.) I knelt down next to Mark’s desk, dug out my big white piece of sidewalk chalk, and began to draw an outline of a body.

I was gone long before anyone arrived but coincidently met Mark in the parking lot as we both came to work—me for the second time. People were already gathering around Mark’s desk and laughing when we came in. They didn’t know it then, but they were there for the birth of my Sales Autopsy logo.

While sales disasters (other people’s, of course) often provide needed humor, they can also provide much more. First, laughter is refreshing. It has a healing effect on the soul and body. This is why I collect sales horror stories. We’re in a tough business and could use some relief. In fact, when I speak, my audiences would rather hear their peers’ sales blunders during the “confession session” than absorb selling wisdom or strategies from the rest of my program.

Next, and most important, your ability to recover quickly from irritating, even disastrous experiences in your sales life is a measure of your mental health. You must move forward quickly, perhaps taking time to learn a quick lesson from the experience, in order to keep focused on your goal to build your business.

Have you ever had the crushing feeling that there’s somehow a gap between you and greatness? Throughout this book you will discover, through laughter and the hard-earned experience of those who’ve gone before you, ways to close that gap.

The ideas, strategies, and concepts inside these pages have been compiled from more than 600 sales horror stories and ensuing interviews with your peers. Through these stories and my training and coaching practice, I’ve discovered three larger commonalities among world-class sales professionals. They all

  1. qualify and disqualify prospects quickly;
  2. move beyond traditional 20th-century selling techniques and employ newer strategies that savvy prospects can’t counter; and
  3. invest in themselves in three ways: by upgrading appearance, utilizing great tools, and boosting their selling brainpower.

How can you quickly attain elite status in selling? Share what you discover here with someone else who sells. When you become the teacher, you learn most quickly. And the faster you put your most useful learning moments from this book into play, the more quickly you become the master.

My hope is that you are not just affected but inspired to improve from the ideas you’re about to absorb. I trust this book becomes a blessing to your income, career, and mostly, your family.

Dan Seidman, SalesAutopsy.com

Barrington, IL

P.S. Did you know that, if you lay all the really bad prospects from end to end around the world, 76 percent of them would drown?

The Arrival of Sales Autopsy

Monday, October 2nd, 2006

Today Sales Autopsy the book hits bookstores across the country (Kaplan Publishing).

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Barnes & Noble is the online and brick and mortar partner of choice, offering great discounts for salesforces buying large quantities. www.BarnesandNoble.com In particular, we love them because they actually have a salesforce of their own.

Every month those sales team members read one book. You’ve probably guessed which one it is for October.

They’re reading Sales Autopsy because aside from being packed full of hilarious selling blunders, it reveals the top seven ways that world class sales pros distinguish themselves from everyone else who sell. Here is the table of contents…

SALES AUTOPSY by Dan Seidman

FOREWORD by Best-selling author Jeffrey Fox

INTRODUCTION

  1. THANK GOD THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN TO ME!

My Top Five Sales Horror Stories

  1. DAIRY QUEEN

Disqualify Prospects Quickly

  1. GOOD VS. EVIL

Old School is Closed

  1. RESPECT AND REVENGE

Calculating Clients and Conniving Reps

  1. CRASH ON CONTACT

Failed First Impressions

  1. COMBAT PAY

Adversity over Products, Prospects & Animals

  1. BECOMING AN ANGEL

Three Investments for Sales Pros

  1. IT’S BETTER TO RECEIVE

Mentor Mania and How to Get some

  1. FINAL THOUGHTS: THE PURPOSE OF OUR PROFESSION

What are we Selling for?

Appendix

A. Where do we go from here?

B. Revenge of the Reps: The Video Game

B. Things you Love to Say to Evil Prospects: An Exercise

C. Your Most Embarrassing Moment Selling

Sales Autopsy is a unique gift for your sales team. Call or email me today or visit www.BarnesandNoble.com.

Come get your fix of laughter and learning.

Buy now, you know this is one book you’d love to read.

Dan Seidman, 847-359-7860 dan@salesautopsy.com