He Shot Game

June 13th, 2006

That might as well be the motto of the newest professional sports league: the World Hunting Association. The league, which will begin operation this fall, will award as much as $600,000 in prize money to hunters who rack up the most points shooting whitetail deer with tranquilizer darts. See the article at:


Darts instead of bullets? They’re hunting, but not really hunting. It’s like practicing being the best hunter in the world. So here’s your selling thought:

How, when and where do you practice being the best?

Do you do it on the fly, when you’re in front of potential clients?

Or do you do it in a safe environment, with other salespeople, where you can bounce ideas and objection-handling language off one another?

#1 rule in preparation for the sales hunt is this:

Practice on your peers, not your prospects.

Sales Tip: Al Qaeda in Iraq leader killed

June 12th, 2006

A painstaking, weeks-long intelligence operation, acting on tips from Iraqis and his own network, led to the U.S. airstrike that killed “al Qaeda in Iraq” leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the military said today. The coalition’s most wanted man in Iraq was killed in a strike on a safe house near Baquba, according to U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Bill Caldwell (CNN.com).

Quick question – who is your biggest enemy in selling?

Answers might range from a top competitor or a weak product/service or yourself.

How do you eliminate it, whatever “it” is?

Define how you differentiate yourself from other companies.

Improve your product or service offering by improving it or adding value.

Stop competing with yourself. Get out of your way by doing some sales training and getting better to get more money.

Find and attack your biggest sales opponent.


June 9th, 2006

It was a hot August day and they were about forty-five minutes early to demonstrate their data technology services. Scott and his partner decided to get a cold drink at the closest convenience store. He bought a super-large frozen cherry drink, and his partner got a lime-flavored one.

They drove back to the prospect’s building and sat in the visitor’s spot, mentally preparing while they finished their frozen drinks. When they were ready to go, Scott looked over, and his partner’s mouth, lips, teeth, and tongue were bright green – really bright, like a clown’s.

He grabbed the rearview mirror and flipped it toward his face. Scott’s features were glowing red.

They couldn’t wipe it off. An oily rag under my seat was equally useless and their corporate brochures refused to absorb the dramatic colors.

circus selling.jpg

It was time for the appointment so the two guys walked to the entrance. People in the lobby actually burst out laughing at these two sales bozos. They sat down with the president, but were so rattled about how silly they looked; they gave the most uninspiring presentation one could imagine. The reps were asked never to come back.

POSTMORTEM: Obviously, thinking more carefully about one’s actions just before a sales call is important. However, the psychological reason a call like this fails is that you can’t gain rapport with a prospect if he or she is uncomfortable being sold to by circus clowns. That is unless you happen to be calling on another circus clown, or the Ringmaster, or minimally, the guy with the shovel who follows behind the elephant. There’s no hope for a rep who makes an unprofessional first impression on a prospect. I told this tale while speaking to the worldwide conference of the Sales & Marketing
Executives International, and received a smart suggestion for Scott: Bring some frozen drinks for the prospect, too – it might just save the sale.

© 2006 Sales Autopsy by Dan Seidman, Kaplan Publishing, coming in October 2006.

My Garbage Guy Hurt his Back

June 8th, 2006

This guy is older and has that weathered look. He smokes and he’s a tough, hard, hard worker.

Garbage Truck.jpeg

His company, Waste Management, needed volunteers to go to the Gulf Coast and help with Hurricane Katrina cleanup. Who better to help with a disaster than a guy who cleans up for a living? Off he went.

So hard worker, soft heart.

Then he hurt his back. And kept working. His comment about keeping at his job?

“I’m just not like these young kids who hurt a finger and go on long term disability.”

This faithful attitude is missing from today’s marketplace. And it doesn’t matter where the trouble lies – company side of the equation or lack of loyalty on the part of employees – each of us should feel responsible to give 100% to any task or job they have right now.

When you sell, are you working every possible moment to maximize your earnings?

Or do you slow down, take shorcuts and turn into a tourist from your profession?

Give everything, every day. You might be surprised how much more money you can make.

Take my garbage truck driver’s route. You just might find more prospects will dump more gold into your lap.

And wouldn’t that smell sweet?

Sudoku Puzzles and Sales Pros

June 7th, 2006

Sudokus! They’re the craze of the puzzle solving set. Plain old crossword puzzle creators are losing their jobs by the score. Despondent, these jobless writers are using their last bottles of ink to play hangman, then putting themselves in the noose and ending their puzzling careers.

Basically, sudoku puzzles are composed of a 9×9 grid filled with numbers and blank spaces. You must use numbers 1-9 in each row and 3×3 section, without duplicating any number in a row. There are literally tens of millions of puzzle possibilities.

Sudoku Puzzle

How has this unique, new format from Japan taken the world by storm?

First of all, if you like evidence, Sudoku puzzle books have constantly been on International Best Seller Lists for the past couple years.

From a selling standpoint there are three lessons here…

1) There are different levels from easy to evil. So anyone can play.

2) More people play these than crossword puzzles (which require tremendous knowledge to complete)

3) The solutions, whether easy or evil, all follow a system. Learn the system, solve the puzzle.

Connect these three facts to three questions about how well you sell.

Do you customize your conversations for each prospect, some who are easy to sell to, some who are evil? Sales Pros don’t treat everyone the same.

Do you have multiple marketing strategies to reach out to the largest potential audience? Sales Pros have more people in their pipeline and therefore make more money.

Do you follow a selling system? Bad and mediocre reps are puzzled by what happens when they don’t close a sale. Sales Pros know exactly where they’re at when they sell because they’re following a system – be it Miller Heiman, Sandler Sales Institute, Spin Selling or a corporate methodology.

So take it from Sudoku – customize conversation, attack the broadest possible market and systematically sell everyone you meet.

And that’s the solution to selling smart.

Cold Wind, Cops & a Car

June 6th, 2006

Welcome to winter John thought as he stood inside the Quebec airport terminal. Outside the snow was sideways from a furious wind.

John and his partner had flown in for a sales call – from the sunny south – Alabama, USA. The French gal at the Hertz counter pegged them immediately and began speaking in beautifully accented English.

John gestured over his shoulder to the weather. “Do we have to walk to the shuttle, walk to the Hertz lot, then walk outside again to our car?”

She smiled and shook her head. “Sir, we will deliver your auto right outside that door. It’s a blue Ford Crown Victoria.”

Five minutes later, a big blue Ford pulled up and a man jumped out and ran into the terminal. The two men looked at him and the guy nodded as he walked by. John glanced at his partner who said “let’s go!” and they dashed into the snow.

Thank goodness the car was running and warm. They drove out of the airport and John told his colleague to pull the map out of the glove compartment where the counter woman had said it awaited them.

The door was popped open. Paper trash and other garbage spilled onto his lap.

“This car is a dump!” John couldn’t believe Hertz would give them a vehicle without cleaning it first. And then that little light went off overhead. They looked at each other and said together,

“It’s not our car.”

A glance into the rear view mirror and the men realized that someone else had come to the same conclusion. Another light was going off, a flashing light from a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) vehicle.

Well, of course they had taken that poor guy’s car who nodded to them, thinking he was giving the “go ahead and get in” signal while he rushed in from the cold.

The RCMP were very professional throughout, doing their best to suppress their grins at their stupid mistake. And Hertz apologized for the confusion, telling the two of them that they wouldn’t be charged for driving the car that Hertz intended they use – once they finally got it.

John said his lesson was that impatience can have lots of unexpected consequences.

POSTMORTEM: John, a wanted man north of the border! He’s right, though. Life is getting too fast. We’re always in a hurry. We cram cell phone conversations into our down time during the day. We can’t even relax and enjoy television commercials anymore. Our clients and prospects want us to get quickly to the point as well. We rush to sell and this is when mistakes happen. BUT, if you learn to slow down and calm down – it will increase your energy when you need it most. Be wise about managing your time, take time for yourself. You body, your mind and most importantly, your family will love you for those times you choose to simply slow down.

© 2006 Sales Autopsy by Dan Seidman, Kaplan Publishing, coming in October 2006.

Leaving Las Vegas

June 5th, 2006

I’m at the airport, at the gate, about to head home.

Two announcements come over the loudspeaker.

“Will passengers (three names) please come to their gate? The door is about to close for our Denver departure.” My gate agent explains how people jump on the slot machines right by their gates and lose track of time, location and, of course, their money. They then miss their flights, gates 75-100 feet away.

The next announcement:

“Will the gentleman who left his false teeth and hearing aid on the counter, please return to the men’s room? If you can hear me!”

You can’t make this stuff up.

So here’s your sales thought from my final moments in Vegas…

Where are you? What will you be doing, right after reading these notes?

Keep your focus and you won’t spend your selling life wondering where you are.

With a client? Remember where you are and your purpose for being there.

Working on lead generation at the office? Do it, until you’re finished.

Taking time to get better at your profession? Sharpen the ax and go put your learning into play.

Keep your focus.

Selling is a Gamble in Las Vegas

June 4th, 2006

I’m at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas where the largest jewelry show in the country is going on.

Nobody needs what they’re selling.

Think about this: Salespeople are selling manufactured products, raw diamonds and precious stones to retail salespeople who will sell you a $3 million dollar necklace or $30,000 watch. I stood at one booth that had $50 million dollars in stones on display.

My brother (who works in the diamond business) described how affluent buyers buy expensive jewelry in a tough economy – they do it to feel better. Then they buy in a good economy to reward themselves.

How badly does your prospect need your product or service? Very few of us sell something that is as opulent and expensive as high-end jewelry.

And I’m not discounting the emotional sale that is attached to buyers’ feelings about the spectacular products lighting up the trade show floor here. Let’s look at what you sell.

Chances are (oops, Las Vegas language creeping in) your prospects really do need what you are dealing.

Believe in the value of what you sell. Believe in the problems you solve and the benefits you offer. Do you believe that your sales job is much easier than that of the retail rep who has to sell this $3 million dollar 30 carat center-stone yellow diamond necklace?

Sometimes it’s nice just knowing as tough as your selling might be, others are having it harder than you.

Benefits of Porky Pig

June 2nd, 2006

For forty years sales reps have been struggling with how to sell benefits as opposed to pitching features.

Here’s a quick, easy way to know you’re using benefits and using the strongest possible language to offer optimal motivation to buyers – with our great thanks to cartoon star Porky Pig.

When you use a word or words to describe your offering, add the phrase “so that…” and expand on it. For example;

We have the best cell phone coverage in the country “so that” you are always connected. Keep adding “so that” to this next phrase until you can’t explain further. When you finish, it’s “So that’s all folks!” ala Porky Pig. Let’s see this in action.

We have the best cell phone coverage in the country

“so that…”

you are always connected

“so that…”

you never miss any calls

“so that…”

you can attend to everyone who needs you

“so that…”

you’re perceived as a true professional in your business

“so that…”

you close more sales because everyone wants to work with a pro.

“So that’s all folks!” Thanks, Porky!

You get the idea, go play with it at your next sales meeting.

But don’t eat bacon for breakfast beforehand.

X-Men & Mutant Reps

May 31st, 2006

Let’s face it. The world thinks that sales people are mutants anyway.

In this third X-Men movie, a group of influential people have decided that a good solution to handling mutants is to remove their powers, and an anti-body is formed.

What if that occurred to those of us who sell?

What if we no longer had the ability to persuade and motivate others?

How dramatically would our lifestyles be affected by a significant reduction in income?

Where would we work?

Who would hire us?

Inside the mind of every human on the planet is a jewel in the rough – a diamond of astronomical proportions. It is the thought that we can bring value to others, regardless of our jobs, our dress, our language, even our religious beliefs.

Do you have an identity beyond that of your work success (or struggles)?

Are you building into, bettering others?

We might be mutants because we choose to be different from fixed-income workers.

But even X-Men delight those around them. Go and do the same.

Take some time at work, at home, at play to delight the hearts and minds of anyone you connect with.

You’ll prove yourself of value to them. And you’ll be adding a little sparkle to that diamond in your brain, the place where your thoughts are formed, nurtured and shared.

Go shine today on your portion of the planet.

That’s true mutant behavior.