Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Wedding Toasts & Sales

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Brother #3 is Eddie and he’s been chosen as the best man for brother #4, Kenny’s wedding.

At the reception, Eddie is supposed to toast the bride and groom. He is nervous, he hasn’t thought about what to say. He just doesn’t talk to large audiences.

“Daniel,” he asks me (I’m brother #1), “what do I do?” I assure him that all he has to do is recall a couple fun memories, tell everyone how perfect Kenny & Jane are for each other, then wish them well. Or, he can let me do the toast.

“It’s okay, I’ve got it” is his reply. And then the DJ hands him a mic and then he looks at me, then at hundreds of expectant faces.

Suddenly he just blurts out,

“Here’s to Kenny & Jane, may they live happily ever after.”

Silence. That’s it?

I shout, “That’s a great line, did you just make that up?”

He sits down and sets down the mic as it picks up the groom’s sarcastic, “nice toast, if we were Hansel & Gretel.”

Hey selling pros! Are you ready to sell? Really? Preparing for your prospects is one thing that can help you to a fairy tale ending.

But if you’re not prepared, you’ll freeze when it matters most and you’ll fumble and you’ll wing it and you’ll wish you INVESTED (a perfect word) in knowing exactly how you’ll handle each piece of the sales puzzle.

So prepare to prospect, prepare to present, prepare to respond to resistance and prepare to close. Because only when you are thoroughly prepared will you live happily ever after.

Weird Sales Training Experience

Monday, June 8th, 2009
Sales Counselor

Sales Counselor

Yesterday I’m with a financial services client and partway through the morning’s sales training I do a “confession session” where reps share their most embarrassing moment. It’s a very funny time.

This slide (pictured here) is up on the screen and during the break a woman walks up.

“I’m very offended by that image.”

“You are?” People start to gather when they hear the energy in her voice.

“Yes, it is very obvious that the man is looking up her skirt.”

“Are you serious?” I say.

Then silence as everyone around peers closely at the picture.

A man says, “But he has no eyes!”

She retorts, “He is looking up her skirt and it is very offensive.”

I’m shocked and struggle with whether to make a witty comment or a sarcastic one, then resign myself to…

“I’ll have to get that guy a male psychologist.”

Here’s the thought for you selling pros:

What kind of baggage is she bringing into the training?

What kind of baggage do your prospects bring to the selling table?

Everyone has concerns, complicated by biases in their background. Your job is to discover what they are, allay fears and get buyers to say Yes! or No!

How good are your questioning practices? Are they great? If not, why not? Your ability to uncover the heart and mind of the buyer will help you paint a picture of prosperity for them, as they partner with you.

Hunting The Hunter

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Hunting The Hunter
Dan’s target client is not worth tangling with

I used to hunt for new clients at the big trade shows in Chicago. Often small start-up companies would buy booth space, hoping to get discovered by sales reps or even big companies that might have interest in their new product. As a guerrilla-marketing expert, I could quickly analyze the value of a product to a niche, then offer to consult with lead generation and sales coaching.

This product was unusual, yet ingenious in its simplicity. It was a pet comb with a razor blade built into it. You could trim a dog or cat and the animal didn’t know it was being clipped, it was just getting a brushing.

The owner was interested in my expertise and invited me into his home. That was unusual, but I arrived on time and was lead into a living room of dead animals. Tiger heads and hides on the walls, gazelle feet on the chairs. The chairs and footstools were also covered with animal skins. There were some very serious weapons on display as well.

He grinned as I filled up the air with “oohs,” “wows” and ”very cools.” He was a big game hunter and this was his temporary office while he was in the middle of a nasty separation from his wife.

With a barking (hyena-like?) laugh he mentioned that he was in a little trouble for handling home situations a bit too physically.

I politely finished the call and never got back to him. I just got a really bad feeling about the guy. The monthly retainer didn’t seem very tempting as I wondered: what if he ever got mad at my service – would he shoot me?

POSTMORTEM: Do you trust your feelings? I found that as I got better at selling, my feelings got “smarter.” Previously, my sales managers used to hate hearing how I felt about the potential of a sales call I returned from. I was always optimistic, so I confused my hopes with my instincts. I just knew a sale was going to happen – and I was usually wrong. How accurate are your feelings while selling? Did you ever come back from a call and just know the prospect was going to buy? Were you later proven right or wrong? When you can distinguish your dreams from reality in dealing with prospects, you will avoid flawed expectations and surprises. You will then be much better mentally equipped to handle the ups and downs of a selling life. Learn to trust your feelings, it will have great value in your personal and professional relationships.

Animal Activists & Guerrilla Marketing

Friday, April 10th, 2009

A recent PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) marketing campaign was aimed to re-christen fish as “sea kittens” because “who could possibly want to put a hook through a sea kitten?”

That is hilarious, memorable, very visual, it’s rather brilliant.

An organization that promotes vegetarian eating practices by trying to protect animals is setting an excellent example for entrepreneurs and sales pros.

How creative are your marketing messages? Can you build an image that makes you most memorable?

One of the finest resources I’ve ever encountered that does this is Sam Horn’s book, Pop! Stand out in any Crowd.

Check out Sam’s work at http://www.samhorn.com/.

When you fish for prospects you don’t want to dive into the deep blue sea for ’em. You want them to crawl into your lap like kittens.

Good Hunting!

Dog Overboard (Selling Strategy)

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Dog Overboard Found Four Months Later
http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/04/06/dog-overboard.html?campaign=w01-101-ae-0001

An Australian couple’s dog fell overboard and was thought to have drowned. He was found four months later living on an island (which he reached after swimming five miles from the boat).

He survived by eating feral (wild) goats until someone came by and picked him up.

Are you looking for feral goats as you prospect during a tough economy?

It’s time for many sales pros to do what it takes to generate income, to feed their families. So while you’ve learned to do a great job of disqualifying poor prospects (see What Great Sales Pros do at http://www.salesautopsy.com/blog/world-class-sales-pros-what-they-do/2006/10/05/), it might now be time to lower the bar a bit and look for goats to sell along with your sheep.

All that being said, my brother’s comment on the dog eating feral goat story was, “How can you sleep at night, knowing your dog has developed a taste for flesh?”

You’ll just have to learn to live with yourself, until things turn back around.

Final thought: If you want me to come in and run one of your weekly sales meetings, just to get some great tips on sweet psychologically-based selling strategies, give me a call. The offer is for local (Chicago-area) businesses, but if you want to pay expenses to bring me in, I’ll do a quick meeting for you anywhere in the country.

Good Hunting!

Croaking Frogs and Sales Pros

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Recently, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has been seeking 75 volunteers to be trained in listening to frogs so that the state can complete its annual frog survey. Georgia has 31 frog species, each with distinctive ribbits and croaks, and surveyors, after practicing detection, will monitor frog habitats to help officials measure population trends. Tracking season begins this week. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution-AP, 11-12-08]

Hey sales pros! How good are your listening skills?

Just as one state has 31 different frog dialects, each of your buyers is distinct in his or her language choices. These word selections can reveal individual and corporate decision-making strategies. They can point you to how more closely aligned your language choices are or (are not) to the that precious prospect. Here are some hints to increase your listening power…

Do you recognize whether that other person processes information visually or by sound or by touch?

Do you lean in when they speak, showing your listener that nothing in the world matters aside from your conversation?

Do you repeat back their EXACT words to show you understand their concerns and questions? I know we were taught early in selling to summarize and re-state, using our own words, the comments being made. This can create a disconnect if, for example, we offer back visual words to a person who processes information auditorially.

So your comment “It looks like you want to show the company…” is not the same when what they said was “I want the company to hear what it’s like to sound…” Big disconnect – so avoid putting your own spin on their words.

So hop to it, improve your listening and you improve your performance. Your buyers will invite you to spend more time in their habitat. And that leads to more greenbacks in the bank.

Death Sentence for Destroying Sales?

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

SHIJIAZHUANG, China (CNN) — The former chairwoman of China’s Sanlu dairy was sentenced to life in prison and three others received death sentences Thursday in a tainted milk scandal that killed at least six infants and sickened nearly 300,000 others.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/01/22/china.tainted.milk/index.html

Maybe we’re too easy on ourselves and our sales teams when they don’t produce.

Share this article with your reps if you want to make them grateful for a culture that accomodates mistakes and failure.

But use it to put a little pressure on them as well.

Going after the Government

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

GOING AFTER THE GOVERNMENT

You are the Rep in Today’s Tale

Imagine this sales scenario.

You have an appointment with the biggest buying group on the planet – the GSA or Government Services Administration of the United States. These people do all the purchasing for the federal government – paper, computers, cars and more.

So you fly to Washington, D.C. and are led into an office that is wildly decorated. Unusual pictures hang on the walls. You gaze at bizarre ceramic figurines sitting atop the desk and office shelves are covered with eclectic knick-knacks.

This guy has some strange sense of style, you think. And the man’s voice welcomes you to the GSA.

You can’t ignore his “collection,” so you glance quickly across the sea of stuff and pick a small statue to comment on.

“That’s a Roman Centurion! Did you know that a Roman soldier who deserted the army had his armor piled on some logs and was set afire atop his gear?” You’re showing off a tiny bit of knowledge that two guys might find kinda cool. It’s a rapport play, and you think a pretty good one.

The buyer grins, no it’s really a smirk, and he asks what you have to show him.

So you’re caught a bit off balance by his all-business approach to a first-time meeting and dive into your presentation.

Twenty minutes later the call is complete and you get the sense that it’s not going to have a happy ending. And here’s why.

We are the substance of great amusement to these professional buyers.

In fact, in D.C., reps visiting the GSA are not sitting in an office full of dear, precious, personal items. The purchasing team of our government finds and displays odd artifacts because these BUYERS BET ONE ANOTHER, FOR EACH SALES CALL, ABOUT WHAT OBJECT THE SALES REP WILL COMMENT ON! In other words, our predictable behavior is a source of entertainment for buyers who have finally found a way to tolerate our obnoxious actions.

POSTMORTEM: A sales trainer from Washington D.C. told me this tale after it happened to a friend who sold there, and he was let in on the little secret by a secretary at the GSA. Are you so predictable that buyers anticipate your every move? Because if you are, it gets worse: These buyers are already familiar with all the closes your predecessors have used for 3+ decades selling. So later on in the sales process you just might be getting that smirk again. Find ways to distinguish yourself from others (the book, Sales Autopsy, has six or seven great ones). I’ve said it before and it bears repeating – memorable makes money!

Golfing, Dentists & Selling

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

A man and his wife walked into a dentist’s office.

The man said to the dentist, ‘Doc, I’m late and in a hurry I have two buddies sitting out in my car waiting for us to go play golf, so forget about the anesthetic and just pull the tooth and be done with it.

We have a 10:00am tee time at the best golf course in town and it’s 9:30 already. I don’t have time to wait for the anesthetic to work!’

The dentist thought to himself, ‘My goodness, this is surely a very brave man asking to have his tooth pulled without using anything to kill the pain.’

So the dentist asks him, ‘Which tooth is it sir?

The man turned to his wife and said, ‘Open your mouth Honey, and show him.”

Sales pros – funny story, but can you really control anther person? More poignantly, can you control a buyer?

One thing pounded into me when I grew up in selling was this; YOU MUST CONTROL THE SALE.

Here’s the bad news about that old school thinking – you can’t control the sale. Good news? You can TAKE CHARGE of the sale. There is a world of difference here.

You take charge by gaining agreement on the steps you and the buyer will take as you talk and walk through the possibility of working together. This strategy of gaining agreement is the single best indicator of sales skill, or talent, I’ve ever encountered.

It’s the single most critical strategy I teach in sales training. The module is called One Great Opening is Worth 10,000 Closes.

Track me down for details; dan@salesautopsy.com or 1-847-359-7860.

Dan Seidman’s Sales Training Experience was recognized by Selling Power Magazine’s Sales Excellence Awards.

Mike Tyson & Selling

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

“Everyone has a plan, until you punch them in the face.”

Mike Tyson quote per ESPN 1-07-2009

Okay sales pros, buyers have their own plan for navigating the purchasing process. You have a plan for proving you’re their best choice.

Who gets to put their process into play?

Sales reps who set the rules of engagement – and gain buyer agreement for those rules – are significantly more successful than reps who show up and wing it or just pitch a memorized presentation.

This strategy, based on powerful psychology, is called a Behavior Contract. Counselors use it to attain change in the actions and attitudes of their patients. Isn’t that exactly what we want to do when we sell?

While I teach this in depth during the internationally-recognized Sales Autopsy Training Experience (a Selling Power Magazine Sales Excellence Awards Finalist), here is the strategy in brief…

Ask for a time commitment.

Ask for open, honest dialogue.

Ask for closure to end the meeting. Closure means getting agreement to buy, a definite no (that’s a goodbye), or a planned next step.

This is THE SINGLE BEST STRATEGY that exists in sales today.

You want the language you use to reflect your personality, but the steps are always the same.

This is difficult, initially, to implement, but well worth the time invested to adopt in every prospect dialogue.

Contact me for details on this fascinating and potent practice.

You use this idea and you’ll rarely get knocked out, ala Mike Tyson, from a sales call!