Could you sell this product?

October 10th, 2007

Sales call leads to kidney donation

Jamie Howard was selling door-to-door when he encountered Paul Sucher, a buyer out of bucks. The man who answered the door was awaiting a kidney transplant and had no money for one of Jamie’s vacuum cleaners. In the course of conversation, the sales rep realized they shared the same blood type, O-positive. The salesman’s response to this “chance” meeting is a bit unnerving, but reveals something special about our profession…

“I went outside, prayed about it, called my dad and my wife,” Howard remembers. “(Donation) was something I was called to do.”

Howard, who is also 35, passed the tests required for potential donors. The operation was done at the University of Colorado hospital in Denver, where Sucher had been on the transplant waiting list.

Two months later, Sucher says he feels so good it’s almost as if he never was ill: “It’s truly a miracle.”


What if there’s more to our time on this planet than pushing product?

What if there’s more to our relationships than buyer vs. seller?

What if there’s more to my idea that the Purpose of our Profession (Sales Autopsy, page 167) is to BE A BLESSING?

Do you have the guts to believe something, somebody, maybe even God, wants us to interact with those we contact – at a level beyond business?

Something unique happened to Jamie Howard & Paul Sucher. Was it a random act of kindness? Or orchestrated beyond our control?

Regardless of reality, what kind of conversations will you have with prospects tomorrow?

Pardon the Interruption

October 9th, 2007

In a wild video, you can see drivers at a race in Australia swerving to miss a kangaroo who begins bounding about the track.

How’s that for a dramatic interruption to the workday of a race car driver?

Guess how this is relevant to your sales role?

Your job is to interrupt their days as well.

Smart sellers know their phone calls break into the lives of prospects. The trick, the smart way to do this is to bust into the brain of a buyer without antagonizing him or her.

One of several approaches I suggest is to open with a comment like, “This is an interruption you’ll be grateful for later.” Then tell the decision-maker how you’ve solved problems for others they should recognize, and want some talk time to make your magic work for them as well.

So your job is to interrupt their day, without wrecking the relationship.

Once you believe that, and act on it, you’ll leap hard and high and kangaroo-like toward greater success.

See you at the finish line.

Ig Nobel Awards Sales Tips

October 8th, 2007

If you’re not aware of the Ig Nobel awards, the most bizarre bits of scientific research from around the world are recognized each year in a ceremony where Nobel prize winners recognize these researchers “achievements.”

You can read about the 2007 awards at

These include viagra for hamsters (to prevent jet lag, of course); the mathematics of wrinkles in sheets, a comprehensive study of sword-swallowing injuries; and the Air Force’s development of a “gay bomb” to help enemies make love, not war.

In a world crying out for attention, these scientists have definitely distinguished themselves from their peers.

How well do you creatively get your market to notice your existence?

In my book, Sales Autopsy (, I suggest a tactic I tried, mailing a coconut with the words, “You’re a tough nut to crack” to a large hospital CFO, where I got the appointment.

Every sales pro – corporate, small biz or entrepreneurial can use a little creative thinking to gain recognition. Then you’ll need to close them, but that’s another skill set.

Let’s gather your best ideas and send them over here. We’ll put together our own Nobel prize for salespeople.

The Concept of Congruency

September 28th, 2007

Brian Blair, now a county commissioner in Tampa, Fla., asserted in a 2002 lawsuit that he had been forced into retirement from his previous career as a professional wrestler after he tripped over a tray of dishes and hurt himself at a Carrabba’s restaurant. Blair announced in August 2007 that a settlement had been reached with Carrabba’s, and thus he would not explain (according to a deposition cited by Carrabba’s attorneys) how the “career-ending” injury allowed him to keep lucrative wrestling dates in Japan months after he fell, or how he registered a .089 blood-alcohol reading that evening even though he admitted to only one sip of wine, or how a sober professional wrestler accustomed to being thrown across a ring could be hurt so badly by a simple fall, or how a politician who generally abides a pro-business, anti-lawsuit philosophy could have initiated such litigation. [Tampa Tribune, 8-25-07]

In selling, congruency is a critical concept when you are interacting with prospects.

Congruent refers to a state of agreement. And, no it’s not agreement with the prospect. This is about your behavior and language agreeing with each other. In essence do you walk your talk?

Our politician above exhibited behavior that was completely incongruent with what he claimed to stand for.

In selling you want to show that you are honest and put the prospect’s concern above your own. If you pay lip service to that, then push for your solution, you reveal yourself as a snake – a sneaky sales rep who will do anything to close the deal.

Congruency – it’s the foundation of a great rep’s breakfast (and lunch and dinner). Got it? Good!

Sumo Selling Skills

September 27th, 2007

Annual “crying sumo” events are held in several Japanese cities every year. These feature sumo wrestlers holding specially dressed toddlers out in front of them. The heavyweight wrestlers sweet talk the little ones into crying, and the first sumo holding a bawling baby is declared the winner.


How good are you at selling?

I mean, are you really great, just spectacular at persuading prospects to buy?

Think of yourself holding a competing rep in your hands, squeezing him or her until they cry like babies.

So your decision today is whether you want to be that baby getting squeezed out of commissions, or that sumo squeezing the sales life out of other reps, until they weep with fear at your presence.

What’ll it be? Overpowering strength and skill or child-like earnings?

Your choice.

Hunting Hawk Selling Lesson

September 25th, 2007

I’m looking outside, into my backyard this morning.

Squirrels scamper about.

Birds zoom in and out of trees, some dropping to the ground where they pull and stretch at long earthworms who have hidden themselves poorly in the grass.

A bunny nibbles at clover which seems to grow in spite of our regular grass cutting.

All the proper animal sounds accompany this visual display of nature.

In a moment the atmosphere changes as a Red-tailed Hawk floats onto a lower branch in the biggest tree of the yard.

Everything freezes, like pausing a video game or movie. It’s pretty strange and, at the same time, kinda cool.

Nobody in plain sight wants to be noticed by this predator.

For 6, 7 minutes nothing moves. Then as if the hawk is no longer there, the scene is taken off “pause” and everything starts back into action.

The hawk watches a few minutes more, then flies away.

Aren’t sales reps like hawks? Predatory creatures seeking the attention of prospects who are quite adept at hiding.

How well do you glide into the lives of your buyers?

How well do they stop what they’re doing to attend to your presence?

How often do they continue life as if you don’t exist?

Your job is to land on a local branch and gain attention. It’s not to blend into the landscape and become invisible to your marketplace.

And hiding prospects, even in plain sight are worthless to you and your career.

Go, go get ’em. Invade their yards, get their attention and do what your job title describes, sell.

A Sales Rep goes to his Doctor…

September 24th, 2007

A patient comes into a doctor’s office for an examination and, after it was over, the guy says: “All right, doc. I don’t want you to give me a bunch of tongue twisting scientific talk. Just tell me straight out in plain English what my problem is.”

“Okay,” says the physician, “you’re FAT and you’re LAZY.”

“Uh, fine,” replies the rep, “now give me the scientific terms so I can tell my friends.”

I’ll tell you one of the biggest secrets I reveal when coaching sales executives and entrepreneurs:


See, everyone’s a bit lazy. Some are a lot lazy.

Stop the lazy streak for a day or a week. You close more business.

Then, later on, you can focus on increasing skills. In the mean time, you make good time, making more money.

Increase quantity of behavior; number of calls per day, etc., and you can cash in with a grin.

3 ? Quiz on Web Selling

September 21st, 2007

From my friend Alan Lee who is an ACT! CRM guru on web-based leads and followups…
(the answer to #3 might surprise you)

How savvy is your sales follow up? Take this short quiz, and find out. (The answers appear at the end.)

1. How long does it take a hot website lead to go cold if not followed up?
a. Less than 1 hour
b. Within 4 – 24 hours
c. Within 24 to 48 hours

2. What time of day results in the highest conversion rate?
a. 9 am – Noon
b. 1 pm – 3 pm
c. 3 pm – 6 pm

3. Which day gets the most completed calls?
a. Monday
b. Wednesday
c. Friday


1. “C” is correct. After 24 hours, the prospect either forgets his request or finds a solution elsewhere. Studies show 4 times fewer sales conversions and 6 times fewer completed follow-ups occur if you dilly-dally. Follow up should include this 3-step process:

* Set up an autoresponder that acknowledges the inquiry instantly and prepares the prospect for the human follow up to come
* The inquiry should be automatically imported into your database, assigned to a website follow-up group and a follow-up activity assigned to a rep (there’s an ACT add-on for this!)
* Hold salespeople accountable for less-than-24-hour follow up on all hot website leads by running daily reports on this metric

2. “C” is correct. The highest conversion rates typically occur between 3:30 pm and 4:25 pm. Even though it may be hard to close the sale from 4:30 pm to 6 pm, sales people often find prospects willing to set phone appointments for the next day at that time, so the follow-up is not wasted.

3. Surprisingly, it’s “C”. Fridays can be an untapped goldmine for reaching decision makers, so don’t give in to truisms that say prospects are in “weekend mode” or already out of the office. Follow-up success increases each day after Monday. In fact, according to one study, Fridays showed 241% more connects than on Mondays.

You’ll find more information about Alan at and a workshop of Alan’s at

Contact him. The sharpest reps seek the smartest resources they can find. Alan would be one of those.

Selling in Swahili – a Language Lesson

September 19th, 2007

From the Swahili of Kenya: Mgeni siku mbili; siku ya tatu mpe jembe. In English, “Treat your guest as a guest for two days; on the third day give him a hoe.”

I received this from a friend of mine who has moved to South Africa. Dave and I played basketball together on a tour in Malaga, Spain. He has since decided to work with a missions organization. This amazing, gutsy guy and his wife, Sherie are working with people who have MUCH less than us. He sends an email each month and gives a language lesson.

I love that phrase and it’s meaning; Mgini siku mbili; siku ya tatu mpe jembe.

If you were hanging around me the next few days, you’d hear me mumbling in Swahili and see people looking at me funny. The first place will be with my kids. Next will be on the basketball court at lunchtime.

See that phrase has significant meaning for anyone in business – whether you sell or are an accountant or manage others, you can be as friendly as you want, but inevitably you have to pull your own weight.

Are you? Do you need to print this phrase out and put it up where you can see it?

Who’s counting on you to handle the hoe? Family, co-workers, prospects and more. Great workers give joy to those around them. Great workers are treasured by all. Are you one? Have fun, but remember…

Mgeni siku mbili; siku ya tatu mpe jembe.

Runners on 1st and 3rd…

June 28th, 2007

I’m coaching the basepaths on my son’s little league team. We have runners on 1st and 3rd when our batter hits the ball to the pitcher.

The boy on the base in front of me breaks for home plate and I yell “Stop, come back!”

The pitcher turns and stares. There’s this big, collective “Oohhh!” from the crowd as parents realize, just as my runner realizes that…

He’s running home from first base!

I have no idea how the little nerve synapses misfired in little Matt’s mind, but I do know this – he was heading in the wrong direction and disastrous consequences were about to result.

How often do we waste time, irretrievable time, in our selling lives by heading in the wrong direction?

This includes chasing prospects who aren’t buying.

This includes each moment we employ sloppy time-management strategies.

This includes ignoring opportunities to improve our skills as sales pros.

Are you heading in the right direction for your career and income and family?

Or are you moments or months away from being out, out of the game, out of the money?

Choose your directions during the day and during your selling life and you’ll score plenty as a sales pro.