Selling Thoughts from Jupiter

August 24th, 2006

I’m camping with my son in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan. They have a computerized telescope at the camp. It is a very cool instrument.

I look into it and am gazing at the planet Jupiter – 390 million miles away!

But a mere 240,000 miles away I can’t see the moon. It is hidden behind some trees. And it is full, spectacularly full. I simply walk around some giant pine trees and am hypnotized by the thing.

And since we’re enamored of numbers at the time of this writing (well, at least I am), I want to mention that an experiment in 1997 – where scientists bounced lasers off the moon’s surface – showed that our neighborly satellite is exactly 15 billion inches from earth (based on viewing habits, your mileage might vary).

So that night I could see 390 million miles away, but was blind to 240,000 miles. Interesting paradox.

How’s your vision about your business, your future, your potential?

Can you spot yourself way, way, way down the road?

Can you peek at yourself around the corner?

You need the ability to see long and short term to be successful.

Stop and gaze into the telescope of your sales life. And try to survey what your future life looks like in the near and the far.

The exercise will do your eyeballs and brains some good.

Speed of Life Selling

August 23rd, 2006

RIDGEVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Willy the tortoise made a break for freedom — well, break may be too strong a word. It was more like a slow crawl.

But after a month on the lam, the 40-pound tortoise with a 2-foot-wide, gold-colored shell is back in the wading pool at his owner’s home.

Kellie Copeland-Burnup reported the tortoise had escaped July 1.

A local emergency medical services technician spotted Willy on Sunday along a rural road about five miles away. During six weeks on the run, Willy averaged .005 mph, well short of a new land speed record.

The tortoise is now inside a chain-link dog kennel in Copeland-Burnup’s back yard although she knows he is capable of digging under a fence.

“I’ll be keeping an eye on him,” Copeland-Burnup said.
© 2006 Associated Press

A great question in selling is do you work slowly or quickly?

Is it slow and steady to nurture relationships into accounts?

Or is it qualify quickly, then sell ’em or walk away?

Both speeds has advantages. Great sales pros can do both.

Which do you need to work on? Turtling your way through interactions or moving on more quickly?


August 22nd, 2006

In July, Cory Neddermeyer, 42, was turned down for unemployment benefits in Iowa, after a judge ruled that he was fired for cause. His employer, the Amaizing Energy ethanol plant, suffered a massive spill that created a pond of fuel alcohol, and Neddermeyer (a recovering alcoholic), after resisting as long as he could, gave in and started drinking from the pool (causing him to pass out and later register an 0.72 blood-alcohol reading). [Des Moines Register, 7-9-06]
Let’s look at obsessions. Are they good or bad?

Could be both, right? If activities related to things with which you are infatuated are destructive, that’s bad.

If your fascination with something helps you to absorb every bit of data and this leads to expertise on a subject related to work or a hobby, that’s good.

So control is the real issue here.

And good judgement.

What do you have a “sweet tooth” for?

Is it helping or hurting your goal to become a true expert in your profession?

Your obsessions – will you embrace them or let them go?

Barry Manilow Sales Tip

August 21st, 2006

A council in the Sydney, Australia suburb of Rockdale is planning to play Barry Manilow songs in car parks late at night to deter gangs of youths from drinking, smoking and racing cars.
Ref: Daily Telegraph (UK)

Who would you like least to have around your prospects and clients? The competition?

Then what selling activities or strategies are you adopting to keep the competition at bay?

Good local public relations helps, the stories keep you top-of-mind in your marketplace.

Charity work does the same thing.

Keeping in touch by email, phone or real mail is a smart way to let those prospects and existing customers know that you’re thinking about them.

So take a tip from our friends “down under” and sing your way to success by putting a Manilow move on your marketplace: Drive away those competing gangs of reps by letting them know that you are everywhere – and have no intention of going away.

Poorly-paid Insects

August 18th, 2006

An entomologist at Cornell University (US) has worked out that the annual value of insect services in the US is around US$57 billion. Insect services include crop pollination and land cleaning. Ref: New Scientist (UK)

This means that outside the knowledge of over 300 million Americans, insects are doing work for us, and not getting paid. And they’re doing it without our permission.

So aside from the fact that some scientist at an Ivy League school probably got paid a few hundred thousand of our tax dollars to do this speculative research, there’s a lesson here for salespeople.

It’s related to a theme you’ll see continue to pop up here – on being grateful for what we have.

The lesson’s in a question:

Who is helping in the background?

Today is about going beyond the obvious. It’s not about the sales assistant or marketing team or anyone you’re closely aligned with in your selling day.

Let’s make it about the other people with whom you have limited contact who support you. Internally, it might be accounting/finance and HR people. Externally, it might be suppliers or the actual manufacturers of the products you sell.

Why not sit down in a team meeting or at a networking group or by yourself. And identify who is in the background, contributing to your success.

Then thank them.

Look at it this way, the roses you can afford to send to those insects were somehow nurtured and grown by them before you even got there.

Wacky Dreams, Living Large, Living Long…

August 17th, 2006

For my 95th birthday, I want to swim from Catalina Island to Los Angeles underwater (54 miles).

I would use air tanks, and it would take me about 22 hours.

But my wife says she would divorce me if I do it (married 54 years). I’m almost 92 now, so I still have three years to convince her to let me.

Fitness Icon Jack La Lanne
Muscle & Body Magazine August 2006

Wow! This man, heading in age toward the century mark, is still dreaming big.

As a former Mr. America, La Lanne started the fitness craze in 1936. What an influencer he is on our lives today.

What are your dreams? Are they spectacular, dramatic and colorful?

Or are they gray?

When I was young, I would track down authors who inspired me and speak to them. These conversations propelled me to write and influence my peers in the selling world. That dream is being fulfilled today, I have close to 2 million monthly readers.

When I began to get paid to speak at national sales conferences, I began to listen and view world-class speakers. Again I tracked down many of them, like Jeffrey Gitomer, and was further inspired to dream of my potential as a presenter.

What is your dream and what can add fuel to it, so it lights up your life with passion and purpose?

So where will you be in two or three or five decades?

In fact, maybe Jack La Lanne is proof that dreaming big and living long are somehow connected.

Desert vs. Dessert

August 16th, 2006

Remember way, way back in school when you got the spelling of these words mixed up?

Desert is meant to refer to those vast wastes of sand, where the dry air and heat can suck the life out of you. Sounds a lot like bad prospects, doesn’t it?

Dessert is the prize, the long-awaited happy ending to a meal. Reads a lot like commission time, doesn’t it?

Here’s a truth about selling: Every rep goes through the desert.

We all hit those times that try men’s souls (and women’s souls and both genders’ income statements).

Your ability to save for the future is key to surviving those long, dry spells in the desert (uh, oh is Dan going to talk about personal budgeting? Yes, but not right now).

So how well are you doing, mentally, physically and financially as you prepare for the desert? Do you have a cushion to rest upon when it gets dry and hot and very sunny?

The desert – you might have just gotten out. You could be headed toward it. Or you could, today, be right in the middle of it. Prepare.

You just don’t want to die there and become your competition’s dessert.

Fishin’ & not Selling

August 15th, 2006

Not only has professional fishing grown so spectacularly that last year’s leading money winner earned $547,000, but popular “fantasy fishing” leagues, resembling fantasy baseball and football, employ elaborate statistical breakdowns of fishing tournaments to help players pick winners, according to a July Wall Street Journal report. “Average weight per fish (caught) over careers,” “margin of victory (in pounds),” and other data points are plotted by players, along with weather reports, depth and temperature of tournament lakes, and intangibles such as “home-lake curse.” The organization FLW Outdoors estimates 40,000 fantasy players, many of whom have never actually fished. [Wall Street Journal, 7-20-06]

In 2005, it was estimated that the U.S. lost over one billion dollars in productivity playing fantasy sports.

But, fantasy fishing? That’s just takes the fishcake.

Great sales pros are disturbed by activities which distract them from making money during selling time. “Selling time” refers to those hours when you have access to prospects and current clients.

So, what waste can you eliminate from your day, in order to to optimize earnings?

You might just discover your fantasy about selling successfully is not just a game you play on paper or in your head.

Sales Theft

August 14th, 2006

“My grandfather invented the burglar alarm. But someone stole it from him.” – Victor Borge

A paranoia exists in sales training circles. It seeps into the fearful brains of trainers everywhere. “Somebody is going to steal my brilliant idea.”

As a writer who is constantly concerned about properly crediting sources, I’ve had plenty of people “borrow” from me.

One major university professor posted my stories on his web pages,  AS IF THEY WERE HIS OWN, even using my meta tags (hidden keywords for search engines) to get traffic to his site.

Integrity issue aside, your job in selling is to get better faster. So just absorb ideas, put them into play and see how they improve your income – regardless of these idea origins.

Read, listen, attend events.

Adapt, test and improve your selling life. That’s your job within your job.

Zero-based Selling

August 11th, 2006

In tennis, “love” refers to a score of zero points. Historians believe the term is derived from the French word for “the egg,” “l’oeuf,” referring to the physical appearance of the number zero.

Zero is a good number in selling.

It’s the number you assign to a bad prospect. “This has ZERO chance of closing!”

You can even give out zeroes to more people…

Give them to weak prospects, too;

and mediocre prospects;

even good prospects that take too long to make decisions.

Zero-based selling is about disqualifying time-wasters.

Start to spend less time with Zero quality prospects and become a hero to your company, family and banker.