Queen for a Day or More…

November 22nd, 2006

The Louisiana Association of Fairs and Festivals has pages which list all the queens of their events.


If you were to enter, you could try for the following “queenships;”

Shrimp & Petroleum, Meat, Shrimp (evidently without Petroleum), Family Fishing Rodeo, Swamp Pop Music, Pecan, Oyster, Crawfish, Swine, Loggers & Forestry, Fur & Wildlife, Honeybee, Duck or Tamale Queen.

There could be a festival every weekend in the state – where a competitor could land an award as the queen of some wildlife or food, perhaps with some toxic chemical thrown in.

What awards have you won, as an individual sales rep or for your product if you’re an entrepreneur or sales exec?

When SalesAutopsy.com went live, I looked for web awards online and applied for everything – Yahoo! site of the Day, Humor Site Award, even landed on the American Marketing Association Magazine as one of “Marketing’s Best Websites.”

Now I hunt for awards for my books or products. Because every time you land something worth crowing about a reporter or website is looking for content every day to help you shout to the world. The credibility and exposure are priceless and will land you exposure and business.

Right now Sales Autopsy is a finalist for Selling Power Magazine’s Top Sales Training Program of the Year. http://www.stevieawards.com/sales/

What award can you apply to – for yourself or your product and service?

Look for awards – that’s great guerrilla marketing!

Monday, from now on…

November 20th, 2006

Decide today that you will increase your activity for the week, somehow, in some fashion.

Will you make 10 new calls each day beyond your normal phone work?

Another face-to-face meeting each day, even if it’s cold-calling near a prospect or client’s location?

See what a bump in your activity can do to permanently award yourself a raise.

Smart sales pros are always testing their limits. What are yours?

Turkey Sale Dies

November 17th, 2006

Greg’s Healthy Eating Pitch Dies a Bloody Death

Our health food store was running a sales contest. It was a big push to sell our expensive, organic Thanksgiving turkeys.

A woman and her daughter came in and began firing objections at me – too expensive was, of course, the favorite.

I flew through the benefits of our turkeys. They are hormone free. They eat grain, good grain – without drugs or chemical additives. The birds roam freely and are well watered. So they’re quite happy. In essence, I painted a scenic picture of Old McDonald’s farm.

To provide a dramatic contrast to ordinary turkeys, I shared the life of a typical frozen turkey. They are crammed into cages where their beaks are sawed off. They’re often sick and injured from the wire cages and so are loaded up with antibiotics. These drugs are now in your food and when you get sick, the doctor’s drugs don’t work as well since your body is building up a store through all the ordinary farm animals’ meat you eat.

I wrapped up my persuasive pitch with a dynamic description of a frozen turkey vs. a recently slaughtered, fresh bird.

The growing look of horror on my customers’ faces told it all. I’d killed the sale.

POSTMORTEM: Greg! Your wild description of a great product overwhelmed the senses of your customers. So basically, your excitement over-rode your own sales sense. Obviously you dumped all your turkey news when you should have been asking questions: “Have you ever bought something more expensive than you planned?” “Is healthy eating a concern, along with good eating this holiday?” You get the picture. By way of encouragement, remember that some prospects are looking for reasons not to buy anyway. That might be what happened to you – they wanted an excuse not to spend the money on a real premium bird. Ask great questions and your prospects will talk themselves into the sale.

Fire Ants and Firing at Trouble

November 16th, 2006

Lorenzo Martin, 34, was charged with domestic violence in September, accused of holding his estranged wife’s leg in a bed of fire ants, resulting in more than 100 bites (Cottonwood, Ala.). [Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus, Ga.)-AP, 9-5-06]

One thing you can say about evil, it tends toward dramatic fits of creativity.

People go into conflict when they don’t get their way. In a world where selfishness reigns, it’s tough to sell intelligently unless you put the other person’s needs ahead of your need to close.

And this is where trouble arises. You won’t always get your way anyway. So your ability to handle conflict is a measure of your mental health. How do you react to things gone wrong?

Do you lash out, perhaps not at the prospect, but at co-workers or worse, family, when you get home?

Do you relax and move on?

You can be immune from the trouble, from the sting of a thousand biting prospects, if you just learn to take your lesson and move on.

Topless Skull Confirms Earliest Autopsy

November 15th, 2006

The earliest confirmed autopsy in North America was conducted more than 400 years ago by French colonists desperate to determine what was killing them as they endured a rugged winter on St. Croix Island, scientists concluded.

The skull in question was discovered during excavations by the National Park Service in June 2003. The top of the skull had been removed to expose the brain; the skull cap was replaced before the body was buried, the scientists said. (Discovery Channel)

Everyone wants the scoop on failure and death. Okay, so “scoop” was a poor choice of words, given the image of a head with it’s lid off. But figuring out failure is a sign of maturity in selling and a sign of skill in management.

You should be reviewing every sales call to analyze what went wrong and what went right.

Did you gain rapport at the beginning?

Ask great questions to lead the prospect down the path to the close?

Leave with a yes, no or well-defined next step?

Autopsy often, your sales brain will get bigger, faster – guaranteed.

iPod and the Potty

November 14th, 2006


iPod Toilet.jpg

The state-of-the-art device – called an iCarta – makes it easier for people to listen to beats while using the bathroom.

It is designed, according to the US manufacturers, to “enhance your experience in the smallest room”.

The gadget, which costs around $99, or £54, merges an iPod docking station with a toilet roll dispenser.

Wow, life is so frantic that we can’t hide for a few minutes to take care of personal business. We always have to be engaged, connected, watching, listening, spinning the motor of our brain.

Sales pros, we can go a couple directions with this lesson. Do we talk about energy, rest & recovery? It’s a theme you’ve noticed in the past here. Not today, today it’s this…

What do you do “with” your spare time, not “in” your spare time?

“With” implies control, “in” implies you fall into your spare time, like a trap.

How many books do you own, which you’ve never read, that might offer you some ideas that translate into dollars when you sell?

How many cds, dvds and tapes fall into the same category?

Take charge of your time and turn it into education that pays off.

This might mean reading, listening and watching. In fact, you could put much of your content on your iPod or mp3 player to learn on the fly or while resting around work hours. Control of your time might also refer to finding a mentor and engaging in dialogue that nourishes and enriches you.

Be wise WITH your spare time, and you can keep your sales out of the toilet.

US Postal Service

November 13th, 2006

Please go out of business!

American doesn’t need your horrible service. 5 stations with one worker and 12 people in line is too typical. I guess everyone in back is getting a well-deserved break.

We don’t need your deceptive “promises.” My Monday “Priority” package to my sales buddy in Birmingham, AL was supposed to take “two days average.” The words “about” or “average” do not amount to a promise. As of Friday, end of day, no package has arrived. This is why people switch to FedEx and UPS – they deliver, literally, on their promises.

U.S. citizens, some who call themselves patriots, don’t need your color scheme or use of the American Eagle logo. You borrow the brand of the greatest country on the planet, then represent it with horrible business practices, skyrocketing prices and poor people skills. Sure, you’re a government organization. Can’t you just pretend that you’re like a bad penny, so we can place you on the railroad tracks of commerce and laugh as you’re flattened by the competition?

You readers think this rant is just about one bad experience of mine? There have been dozens over the past couple years. These bad practices are regular practices by good old USPS.

You can laugh now, what will you do in a month, when the holidays hit?

Every business sells every day, even when they make no money. They sell reputation and perception. And buyers buy based on those two factors.

So how well do you sell when you’re not selling?

Highest recommendations for shipping to go: www.ups.com and www.fedex.com.

Buyer with Big Ears ends a Sale

November 10th, 2006

Nicole was managing a sales rep who had a serious aversion to asking for referrals. He was deathly afraid to use this strategy – the easiest way to gather new business. Even after a successful sale he would actually start to sweat if he just thought about asking.

Since a great deal of coaching is actually counseling, they dug into his past to find out what was going on here. One day something triggered a memory of this story and he revealed a tormented sales childhood that was at the root of his problem…

In Tom’s rookie days as a life insurance salesperson with a large firm, he had to be accompanied by his boss on all sales calls.

The very first client meeting Tom and his manager went to was with a successful female attorney. Tom watched as his boss smoothly convinced her of the need for not only personal coverage but buy/sell policies for the law firm as well. On their way out Tom’s manager asked the female attorney for some referrals and was rewarded with several highly qualified names.

The two agents didn’t realize how well sound carried as they waited for the elevator in the historic, stone and marble office building. Tom’s manager turned to his new agent and said, “You see Tommy, this business is so easy, it’s like shootin’ fish in a barrel.”

Moments later the words “I heard that” echoed down the hall from the female attorney.

“Get back here!” She barked.

Tom and his manager walked into a cold room to a very heated client. The angry attorney waved their literature at them and asked for her life insurance applications and the list of referrals.

She slowly tore everything in half, then tore it again and dramatically walked to the shredder and fed their paperwork into the machine.

POSTMORTEM: What a plot: Drama with great dialogue on a sales call! And revenge to top it off! Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the ocean, new clients are reversing course and killing sales. There are lots of lessons here. Let’s focus on one. And it’s not asking for referrals. How many more times are we going to have the phrase “ask for referrals” pounded into us? This lesson is about handling adversity. How well do you maintain your professional demeanor, even when the weather turns nasty?

You’ll see this addressed in detail in my hilarious and insightful new best-selling book, Sales Autopsy.


And sales reps hate paperwork, too…

November 9th, 2006

A civic group in Vienna, Austria, gathered 157,000 signatures on petitions in May and presented them to city officials to encourage a government program toward cleaner streets. Under the proposal, the government would assign the populace the task of counting and mapping dog droppings as a first step to greater penalties for owners who fail to clean up after their mutts. Critics were pessimistic that citizens wanted to count and map dog droppings. [ABC News-AP, 9-15-06]

And you thought with GPS software that job of mapping our world was no longer a viable business.

You’ve heard the old sales addage that reps hate filling out paperwork?

I’m giving you permission to hate.

I want you to hate doing paperwork during selling time. That is anytime you might have access to prosepcts and clients.

Efficient, high-earning pros hate distractions and can increase productivity by strict, dedicated efforts during true selling hours.

This is smart thinking. So how smart are you when it comes to focus and execution during this time each day?

Sell when have access to buyers. Do administrative tasks when you don’t.

Now, when someone decides to map your success, they’ll record lots of closed business and your manager won’t be logging your efforts as little piles of Viennese doggie do.

Most Embarrassing Moment…

November 8th, 2006

of my career – on the basketball court.

First of all, my hoops “career” is not over. I have two gold medals playing on the U.S. World Master’s Basketball team. That’s Olympic sports for 35 years and older. Pretty cool, get to run with ex-NBA players, European Pros and more. If you play pickup ball or love any sport, image the chance to play with the best of the best for two weeks straight during an international tournament held once every four years. Add to that a practice schedule for six months prior to playing. This is a dream I never dreamed coming true.
But back to my blunder.

We’re winning my final game in college, Senior Day, to honor those of us who’ve put in their four years on the hardwood. So the other team is pressing us full court. That is, they are guarding us from one end of the floor to the other, hoping to get us to make a mistake so they get the ball back, score and close the gap between losing and winning.

I’m passing the ball in-bounds from under the other teams’ basket and a 6’8″ guy is jumping in front of me, hoping I’ll make a bad pass around his huge frame.

I throw the ball over his outstretched hands down the court, toward a teammate running for our hoop.

The ball slips out of my hand and rockets toward the ceiling. I mean rockets, like it was launched upward, rather than parallel to the floor toward our goal.

60 feet above us all, my ball strikes the rafters as the players freeze to watch and the crowd gasps at the enormity of my mistake.

The ball bounces off a beam and drops back toward the court.

And hidden above that beam was a badminton birdie, now dislodged from its nesting place.

It slowly floats down, swooping side to side as if enjoying some hidden wind current on it’s way back to earth.

Silence sweeps through the crowd as they watch the birdie weave its way toward center court.

About 17 minutes later, it hits the hardwood and the crowd explodes into cheers.

And there is nowhere for me to hide.

Here’s the thing about that moment – as dumb as I felt (and it really was too funny to feel foolish for long), there are a dozen times every game when a player makes mistakes. You learn to live with it. They don’t cripple you, they toughen you. So when life invades your existence beyond school (happens to all of us, eventually), your ability to bounce back is a tremendous advantage in the workplace.

Why not think for a moment about a few dumb moments of your own – not sales blunders, but personal mistakes that molded you into who you are today?

Then think of all the relationships that surround you; friends, family, co-workers and more.

You don’t get abandoned by them when you mess up, right?

See, you’re already successful, at that level, wealthy with the gold of people who care about you. That’s awesome!

Nothing to be embarrassed about there, right?

You’re getting great at what you do. Just say a little birdie told you.