April Fools at the Schools

April 1st, 2008

I’ve sent my twin girls off to 2nd grade today where they will switch classes on their teachers.

My son will be leaving a carton of orange juice on his teacher’s desk. When she picks it up, hundreds of Skittles candies will pour out of the big hole at the bottom to the delight of his classmates. He will also be placing a rubber snake beneath her desk – because she’ll be getting down there to pick up candy.

See, the best practical jokes (and I could write a book about tormenting students and professors through 4 years of college) anticipate the reaction of the person being pranked. By knowing their response you can take the joke to another level.

How well do you anticipate responses when you sell?

Nobody in our business should ever be surprised by a prospect’s behavior. NOT EVER.

We’ve heard all the objections, so why haven’t we created fantastic and potent responses to each one?

I have. I got sick of hearing the same old things, so I went out and got smart about dealing with the behavior of potential clients.

Take your top six objections, then ask around to determine how others who sell well react to them. Or look ’em up online.

No more surprises in selling.

Let the only fools be reps who don’t attend to their careers as professionally as you do.

Have a great April 1st. Go do something funny to someone you care about.

My 2nd Grade Teacher & Selling

March 25th, 2008

No, the beautiful Mrs. Schumacher did not inspire me to a career in our profession. In fact, I only remember one thing she taught during that year…

“When you butter your toast, you don’t have to coat the bread to every corner.” (back then you learned manners as well as math)

So I’m thinking of Mrs. S today as I plop my toast on a plate and begin to smear butter across the coarse, lunar-like surface.

And I think, “NO! I’m not going to be frugal with my butter. I’m successful. I can afford it. I can put all the butter, then all the jam, then all the jalapeno peppers on my toast that I want (just checking if you’re still with me on the last one).”

And I smear too much of everything, too far across my morning meal.

So how’s your attitude on your performance?

Do you treat yourself, often, to reinforce that you’re doing well and deserve some goodies?

I like that my teacher taught us to be frugal. And I do believe every sales pro should have a personal budget and be able to live within their means.

But I do like rewards and bet you do as well.

And you definitely earned the right to treat yourself a little more than you have been doing up until today.

So butter yourself up big – you deserve it!

Mark Twain for Sales Reps

March 13th, 2008

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.

-Mark Twain

This is a pro procrastination message.

Here’s when I encourage putting off those calls and activities…

You know those poor prospects that just showed up in your contact manager to re-connect? Put ’em off to tomorrow. Or later. Or forever.

You have so much legitimate business, there is no reason to chase these jokers.

So unless you have a small, well-defined territory that you need to saturate over time, just procrastinate on poor prospects.

And get going after the good ones.

You can tell your manager that sales expert Mark Twain said so.

Sales Training Iguanas

March 10th, 2008

In early January, when a national deep freeze extended even to the Florida Keys, iguanas fell into their natural hibernation-like torpor, and some compassionate Floridians, unaccustomed to seeing iguanas that appeared nearly dead, took them indoors to warm them up, which is a mistake. The owner of the veterinary clinic in Marathon said one “sweet lady” called him about the five-footer she had dragged inside. “When it woke up,” said the vet, “she couldn’t understand why it seemed to be coming after her. When they warm up, they go back to being a wild animal.” [Keynoter (Key West), 1-7-08]

If you facilitate or oversee sales coaching and education, here’s a question for you…

What are you dragging into your training house that doesn’t belong there?

Too much of traditional sales training is based on strategies that are no longer as effective as they were in the 70s and 80s.

You know this is true, too. Prospects have heard all of our closes and when we offer up some of these common comments, it comes across as pre-planned, perhaps even manipulative. Many of them today are much smarter than we are.

We also know a great deal more about buyers than we knew in the old “blast ’em with features and benefits” days (i.e., “I’m praying one thing on this laundry list of benefits will strike a chord and cause that guy to buy”).

In fact, with sales teams I’ve managed or been hired to train, I teach them how to eat lunch. Think about it. Do you want reps crashing around 2pm every day, tanking productivity and diminishing morale in the office or out in the field?

A holistic approach might also include giving some budgeting skills to reps whose income might fluctuate as erratically as John Travolta’s acting career.

So drag those old, five foot lizard-like ideas out of the house. Replace them with smart new strategies that increase the quality of your training and the quality of your sales team.

Do it quick before your sales continue to hibernate. Call me directly for help or ideas, I’d be happy to talk about this with other corporate sales training pros.

Dan Seidman, dan@salesautopsy.com or 1-847-359-7860.

Richest Man in the World

March 6th, 2008

Forbes just published its annual list of the world’s wealthiest men. http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/News/GatesDethroned

And my name wasn’t there. Didn’t notice your name either.

And sorry, ladies – none of your fellow females made the top ten, but there are 99 billionaire women as noted here: http://www.forbes.com/2008/03/05/women-billionaires-female-

So how do you attain income like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates and the new #2 Carlos Slim Helu, Mexican media mogul (Bill got bounced from #1 to #3)?

These guys are very smart. These guys work very hard. And these guys surround themselves with other smarter, harder working people.

And since you’re not born smart, and there is no “hard worker” gene (unless your mother was a queen bee), you can be encouraged to know that ANYONE CAN GET ON THIS LIST.

So what are you doing today to get smarter?

Oh, you’re watching television 4 hours a day? Right, that’ll do it.

And what are you doing to work harder?

Investing 4 hours a day into television?

Okay sales pros – a conscious decision to improve yourself is followed by action that reflects your desires.

But the real trick is to tell someone, create an accountability partner to kick you in the tail when you fall short of your desired changes.

At least I didn’t decide to preach about my really, really smart friend who is married with a kid and doesn’t own a television.

How about today? Is today a good day to start?

Outlaws, Sheriffs and Selling

March 5th, 2008

The sheriff said to the outlaw, “I’ll give you a fair chance. We’ll step off ten paces and you fire at the count of three.” The men pace off, the sheriff shouts, “One, two” – and then he turns and fires. The dying outlaw says, “I thought you said to fire on three.”

The sheriff said, “That was your number. Mine was two.”

Hey, when you’re selling, did you ever notice that your buyer’s timing is never quite in sync with you? Not on the same page? Not working with the same number?

As sales pros we prefer urgency and a quick decision. As buyers we’re often fairly cautious, slow, even methodical before making our choice.

So shame on us, when we sell, that we are surprised by buyers who won’t give us a clue how soon they’re deciding what to decide.

Like any objection, we should be prepared to pre-empt a buyer’s propensity to delay decisions.

At the very least, we can request the time-frame whereby the prospect’s company needs to conclude its evaluation of products and services.

So you’ll find that you have the skills to create urgency (more on how to do that, on a later date) or not.

If not, at least get that buyer to share when they’ll be done talking and ready to take action.

This way, you find out what his or her number is and you adjust your sales approach accordingly.

Now that we’ve addressed this repeating problem you should never let it happen again. If you do, that’s weak selling. And in the eyes of your manager, criminal behavior.

Bob Hope for Sales Pros…

February 22nd, 2008

The Scottish caddies are great. One old fellow at St. Andrews told me, “I had a golfer who was so lousy he threw his clubs into the water. Then he dived in himself. I thought he was going to drown, but I remembered he couldn’t keep his head down long enough.”

Are you “keeping your head down” during your selling day?

This is all about focus and attending the right things at the proper time.

You get a prospect who wants to chat about the latest sports news, or dress styles or the weather. What to do?

Answer with a smile and move the conversation right to business. Be creative and smooth; “Yes, that was a great game. We have our own game to play in the business world as well, don’t we? You have your company to grow, to defeat the competition. I’m my company’s role player to grow and win business for them.” And you’re right back on track, head down, hitting straight and true to the center of the green.

That will keep you on and in the green. You make more money by keeping your focus.

Sales Reps, Clean up Your Act!

February 21st, 2008

When I’ve managed sales teams, and in my coaching practice, I talk about how nutrition can affect performance.

So eating healthy and getting exercise AND GETTING REST is not just good advice from Mom. Here are a couple rules which will be expanded upon in a future book, or in my keynote, if you have a sales event and want to open it with humor and smart ideas for your team.

1) The WORST foods in the world are french fries and donuts. Anytime you eat something that is fried through and through your body cannot break it down, that is, digest it, unless you could get your internal temperature up to 300+ degrees and liquefy the oil which crystallized in the food. Don’t eat them, ever.

2) You eat for FUEL first, not for FUN. Be smart about what you put into your body and you’ll live longer and healthier. You know it’s true, so stop rationalizing about deserving and rewarding and all that crap. When you’re in fantastic shape, reward yourself with something fun (bad) once a week, but stop this ONCE A DAY garbage.

3) Get exercise at least 3 times a week, but 5 would be better. No excuses here! You can exercise in front of the TV (yes, that would be getting stronger while getting stupider) .

4) Rest and recovery are critical for your body’s health. Think of it as a wavy line – speeding up, working hard, slowing down, cooling off. So you can go hard, as long as you rest well and often. Hey interesting coincidence – a wavy line on a heart machine indicates health. A flat line indicates death.

5) Everyone should know that, more often than not, disease centers on your flawed digestive process. Food that doesn’t get used in the body sits there and not only turns to fat, but sticks in your intestines and ferments, leaching toxins into your body. So here comes the “Clean up Your ACT!” advice…

Go do a good intestinal cleanse. It’s the FIRST thing anyone should do that wants to get truly healthy. The program I’ve had tons of people do (friends as well as business relationships) is a two week program. You don’t have to fast (stop eating). The first week you just take some herbal pills with dinner. That’s easy enough, right? The second week you take some powder in water, 5-6 times a day. This powder sticks to the bad stuff in your intestines and eventually pries it off the walls of your intestines and it leaves by, well you get the picture – your normal process of elimination. Sounds a bit disgusting, but you’re rather have that junk in your toilet than in your body.

By the way, the best resource for great cleanse products and related natural treatments is Health Freedom Resources: www.healthfree.com. I use them for treating myself, my wife and my kids – phenomenal results without drugs!

Anyway, you won’t believe what a good cleanse does to your energy and health.

So sales reps, clean up your act!

Stop playing with your health and energy and discover how well you will sell when you’re physically stronger.

February 14th for Sales Reps

February 14th, 2008

You might have read this story before, but it bears repeating, the sales tip is new and you could use the laughs…

I’m newly married and Valentine’s Day is creeping up. What do I do? Well, everything I stand for in selling is about standing out from everyone else.

So I thought everyone gets roses, I’ll be different and get something truly unique. My Princess Bride will be overjoyed at my creativity.

But what would I do? Then it hit me. Remember Venus – Goddess of Love from mythology? I’ll do something related to Venus.

So I got her a plant – a Venus Flytrap.

You know, they’re the little plants that slam shut on insects when they crawl into them. Digestive juices begin to dissolve the little bugs which end up as plant food.

Then I felt bad at the store buying them, they were so inexpensive.

But I felt better by getting her two.

Gotta be honest, it didn’t go over very well.

But I realized later what I was doing was perfect from a salesperson’s perspective. It just wasn’t the wisest thing to do with my wife.

Our job is to distinguish ourselves from everyone else who sells. So I resisted roses because I wanted to stand out in my gift-giving.

Well I now know that I’ve already “sold” my bride on me. She “bought” the day she said yes to “Will you marry me?” And she proved there was no buyer’s remorse when she said “I do.”

But you do still have to separate yourself from other sales reps. How are you doing that? Get creative and have fun. And please let me know what you come up with.

Smoking Ban Reveals Selling Secret…

January 28th, 2008

Michael Windisch, proprietor of the Maltermeister Turm restaurant in Goslar, Lower Saxony, Germany, solved what has become a crisis for other restaurants since the state extended a smoking ban in August. Windisch opened three holes in an outer wall so that, in cold weather, a smoker need not venture outside but can stick his head and arms through the holes and puff away while remaining inside (according to a December report in Der Spiegel). [Spiegel.de, 12-20-07]


Creative solution to accommodate (SELL!) more customers! This sales approach is more about problem solving than benefits (i.e., here are all the good things that will happen when you buy from us).

So what secret do we see in this news item? What does work better than Feature/Benefits selling?

Every sales pro should have two approaches developed to promote their products and services. Some buyers are sold by solving problems. Some are sold by gaining benefits.

How do you identify which animal is which? More later or contact me directly on this fascinating and critical element which ever salesperson should adapt.

But for now, just create a list of benefits you offer and problems you solve. You gain flexibility on your calls and can smoke the competition!