Grave Success & Burying the Competition…

January 14th, 2008

Lee Myung-bak was elected president of South Korea in December, with experts in “poonsgoo” (similar to the Chinese feng shui) attributing the victory in part to the favorable location of his ancestors’ graves, which is an important predictor of good fortune. Candidates not so lucky spent part of the campaign moving their ancestors’ remains to better sites. Former president Kim Dae-jung is said to have learned the hard way, losing an earlier election with poor burial location, then winning after moving some dead relatives around, according to a November Reuters dispatch. [Reuters, 11-14-07]

Wow, what would you do to win a sale?

Light a candle? Sacrifice a chicken? Relocate dead relatives’ graves?

Whatever happened to simple prayers like, “God, please – I need this client. I’ll do anything…”

How much outside control catapults or crashes your career?

If you depend on spiritual entities aiding and abetting your success, you might spend more time sharpening knives and shovels than your skills.

Leave your dreams and fantasies on the altar. Put more leg power and tongue power into your day. That’s how you bury the competition.

Your ancestors will be proud.

Territory Trouble

January 7th, 2008

A long-married couple was sitting in their living room. He was asleep in his favorite chair. She was watching TV. Suddenly, a violent tornado struck the house. It ripped off the roof, picked the man and woman up, swirled them in the air, and deposited them a mile from home. The husband, seeing his wife sobbing, said, “Stop crying, can’t you see we’re safe?”

She whimpered, “I’m crying because I’m so happy. This is the first time we’ve been out together in ten years.”

So when was the last time you visited your territory? When did you last engage in a saturation campaign to declare – to your little, finite world – that you still exist?

Get out. Get a date with some of those old prospects. We could think of a rockpile of reasons that they’re ready to talk to you…

They’re unhappy with their existing service provider who is taking the relationship for granted.

They’re spending too much for similar services and need to review costs to compare what you can do for them.

Your old contact is retired or fired or dead, and the new buyer doesn’t know who you are.

Get out, and start ’08 with a tornado of activity in your backyard. And see what kind of business you can send spinning in your direction.

Windblown Cats & Reps

January 4th, 2008

My little brother, Kenny, just had a problem at home – heavy rains caused flooding on his first floor.

So the insurance company sends a cleanup crew with gigantic fans to help air out the place.

The two cats who reside there (or run the place, as cat lovers might believe) are curious about the fans, so the bravest one walks toward the loud device, sticks its nose around the front of it, then quickly runs down the hall, away from the force of the wind.

Moments later, my brother hears the cat crying and looks down the hall.

The cat is attempting to walk back toward the fan, but the force is so strong that the animal is only walking in place, fur forced back by the wind.

Curiosity has turned into confusion as the pet continues to cry for help.

Kenny scoops the little one up, walks into and beyond the blowing wind and places the animal into the safe zone behind the fan.

Question for you sales reps – do you ever get stuck somewhere and are not sure how to unstick yourself?

It might be boxing yourself into an objection you’ve encountered, but can’t yet handle.

It might be you’re sitting on a sales plateau that is too low to give you the money you’d like to be earning.

Or it might be that the job you’re in has no future, and you’re not sure how to leave or where to go.

If any of these strike a chord, you’re heading into the fan and need some help to get out.

Find that mentor – I’ve been encouraging you to do this for long enough.

Or just find the guts to step out in faith and get training, or interview for that better job.

So shame on all of us who are pushing against that mighty wind and are (hopefully) smarter than a cat.

Go get help, and you can know you’re heading into a GREAT ’08!

Fate, Karma, your Future…?

December 31st, 2007

Least Competent Criminals (from News of the Weird)

Failed to Master the Art of the Getaway: (1) Robert Hickey Jr., running from a Hamilton County (Tenn.) sheriff’s deputy in October, dashed into nearby woods, fell into a well and had to be rescued. [Chattanoogan, 10-30-07] (2) Rudy Aguas, 25, running from a Reno, Nev., police officer in November after a failed carjacking, ducked into a building but got stuck in a freshly poured concrete floor. [KOVR-TV (Sacramento), 11-23-07] (3) A suspect in car break-ins, running from Miccosukee Indian Reservation police near Miami in November, dove into a retention pond but apparently failed to notice a “Live Alligator” sign, and was killed by “Poncho,” a gator well-known to locals. [WPLG-TV (Miami), 11-13-07]

Can you escape your fate?

Do you control your future, or does it just happen to you?

The three jokers above seemed destined to be caught for their crimes.

Do we, as salespeople, have to suffer fortunes that are too similar to our pasts? Do we continue, for some, that downhill plunge into mediocrity?
Or can we evade average and improve ourselves in 2008?

Do this, right now, while you’re focused on your future;

1) Find a mentor to accelerate the learning curve to success (list 3 right now and contact them to ask for their guidance),

2) Stop chasing poor prospects, this is our #1 failing in sales. So define the perfect prospect and only attend to that target,

3) Pick out, read and apply the learning from a great book. Now you know I’m biased, believing that Sales Autopsy (a #1 business best-seller the third week it hit the shelves) is a smart choice. And as you read it, you’ll realize that it simply focuses on a few places in the sales process where you can most easily and fruitfully improve.

See, you don’t need a system the length of a freight train to sell well.

You just need to fix a few spots where you’re weak, and see how strong your performance can grow.

Do these three things to start your day and you’re off to a GREAT ’08!

Screenwriters’ Strike, Prospects’ Strike

December 20th, 2007

Tough times, in particular for television shows that need daily or weekly writing.

Here’s a thought – what do you think those screenwriters are doing, now that they’re not doing what they want to be doing? (say that 3 times fast, with a keyboard in your mouth)

I bet each of these individuals is working on their own stuff. They’re crafting shows or plays or movies that they would love to bring to life, but nobody is paying them to do so.

Guess what? We’re heading into holiday times for sales reps, when the prospects are on strike.

You can’t reach them. So what are going to do with your time over the next week or two?

How about working on your own stuff as well?

Get a book, listen to an audio, spend some time sitting with other sales pros and chatting about techniques to get past gatekeepers, close business and lead generation strategies.

Be fruitful, keep busy, but most of all stay positive during your prospects’ strike.

It’s a great time to get better at your craft. So when those buyers come back to work, you’ll be readier than you’ve ever been to write a contract that leads to more happy endings in 2008!

It’s too Cold to Golf

December 17th, 2007

A golf pro was approached by two women.

“Do you wish to learn to play the game, ma’am?” he asked one.

“Oh no,” she said. “It’s my friend who wants to learn. I learned yesterday.”

DOH! So how long does it take to learn to sell?

Come on, say an answer out loud.

Really? You think?

See, anyone can learn the elements of selling. That there is some process to the interactions. That prospects hide from us and blow up that process. That you need tough skin. And all the rest.

But to really learn you need tons of interactions with buyers.

And the smart reps shortcut that a bit (but just a little) with tons of interactions with sales mentors, coaches or training experiences.

Go out there for a month and really, really, really increase your dialogues and contacts. See if it doesn’t speed up your trip to selling success.

You probably won’t hit a lot of holes in one, but you’ll win more matches over time, in shorter time, by sheer experience.

Flipping a Sailboat & Selling

December 14th, 2007

On my honeymoon my wife and I were learning to sail and she wouldn’t back off when she was about to run our mast parallel to the ocean. This means the boat is about to flip on its side or worse.

I didn’t want to get wet (even though I grew up on the ocean).
I didn’t want to get wet (even though I’m a great swimmer).
I didn’t want to get wet (everyone was watching).

So I yelled at her for the first time ever (practicing for when we’d have kids).

She stopped us dead in the water, looked me in the eye and said, “are you going to let me fail or not?”

It’s what I get for marrying a trainer.

How does failure feel to you?

Has it happened enough that you’re okay with it? Or…

Are you afraid when you see it sailing over the horizon?

Are you nervous that when you turtle up in front of a prospect (and can’t close) that you’ll be embarrassed in front of your peers?

There are plenty of aphorisms you can use to deal with failure.

– There is no failure, only feedback.

– Fail forward.

– Remember, no man is a failure who has friends (It’s a Wonderful Life).

– Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.

– I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure: which is: Try to please everybody.

– Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.

– Do not waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.

– Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

– Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure. We get very little wisdom from success, you know.

Thanks here to Edison, Saroyan, Wilde, Kennedy and others.

Failure gives us the opportunity to know where to improve, to know what not to do, to know we’re steps closer to true and consistent success.

So embrace failure, move on quickly and please…

Don’t make the same mistake twice.

Because if you’re going to swim with the sharks without being eaten alive (Harvey Mackay), you don’t want to tempt fate.

Mortgage Misery

December 12th, 2007

Tough time. The Feds just dropped rates another 1/4 point and people are upset (as reflected in the stock market) that rates didn’t drop more. In today’s thought, we’ll tie a mortgage story into a lesson on competition…

Funny thing (well, not really funny to those involved) is that most companies never know why or to whom they lose business.

When designing a sales training program a few years back, I was interviewing the board of a mortgage company (when it was good to be in that business). I asked who their top competitors were.

“Too many, not worth attending too.” I was told.

Really, you asked me to interview top reps. I did and they all lost business recently, but didn’t know which company beat them out. They also didn’t know why. How do you decide strategy without knowing who buyers are choosing? Are prospects abandoning you based on rates? Turnaround time? Perhaps how ugly your reps’ ties are?


“Okay, maybe we should start gathering that data.”

Everyone in every business should have a clear picture of their competition.

You should have their literature, rates, and ideally know how they sell (this can be done, plenty of prospects will tell you exactly what reps tell them).

It might be too late for many mortgage companies, but it’s never to late to pre-empt the marketing and sales strategies of people who live to take food off your plate.

See, analyzing ahead of time is much more fun and much less expensive than analyzing later, over dead sales.

Gather competitive data. Do it thoroughly. Do it today.

Selfish Bees’ Masquerade Party!

December 10th, 2007

Traditional beliefs about bee colonies stated that only queen bees can supply eggs that produce new queen bees.

In the ultimate overthrow of the monarchy, worker bees have been observed sneaking their eggs into the colony so their offspring will be raised as royalty, according to new research by Lyndon Jordan of the University of Sydney, Australia.

(complete article)

Wow, the ultimate image of teamwork in nature has always been the bee – Striving to build the hive together, strong work ethic, dying for their mates. This new research reveals that insects can go bad, much like selfish humans.

We all want the limelight, to be #1! We want to be queen or king for a day. We want to leave a legacy of outstanding earnings, so the sales world can cry out, “look at that production!”

And, frankly, at times all of us are top performers. We land a great sale and feel like the master of our universe, our hive.

But true top performers are consistent. They buzz about producing steady growth. Would-be queens and kings live in the hive’s penthouse for short periods of time, perhaps only 24 hours at a time (more like a common house fly, than the regal honeybee).

Consistent steady growth, persistent steady contact with your market and fragrant steady impressions on your corporate family are the keys to true, perpetual sales royalty.

Who are you? Today’s pretender or tomorrow’s ruler of the hive?

Sales Reps & Blowing up Banks

December 5th, 2007

Japanese adults push their children to save more, but few are buying the piggy bank introduced by the TOMY Co. in November, because, if not fed with savings for a period of time, the bank just explodes, scattering the contents. [Agence France-Presse, 11-8-07]

Budgeting and money management is NEVER addressed in sales training. It is never taught by companies who invest bankloads of cash to train and inspire a sales force. And why not?

If you’re an entrepreneur or sales manager, wouldn’t you like your team to have better control of their finances?

Every smart business executive should bring someone in – to teach basic money and credit management strategies. That would be a big benefit to employees, sales reps, who deal with money daily.

Give them (or yourself, if you’re a rep who needs this) a healthy perspective on handling their own finances, before they even begin to ask prospects for funds.

Saving some money is like making some more. And you can take that advice to the bank.