Archive for July, 2011
Catherine Mallers, a virtual assistant and founder of The Office Grapevine left a comment regarding this short post on Facebook:
Just debriefed a second person in two days who cannot believe the accuracy of this real time assessment. Do you know what your real talents are? In both cases, the individuals did not know their top 5 talents, but did know at least 1 of their lower 5 talents.
She “read” something in this post that escaped me by her comment:
“I would not be where I’m at without your valuable insight, but seriously not knowing your worth??!!
Many people believe they know their worth, but in reality they are only aware of their worth. To confirm knowledge usually requires some sort of assessment. For example, we all know the worth of 2×2 because we can confirm this worth or knowing by our past assessments on multiplication tables to physically counting.
Another example is someone knows they are not healthy either through their weight or maybe some additional huffing when climbing stairs. Until this individual weighs himself or herself or takes some diagnostic assessment for lung capacity, the individual only has awareness and not true knowledge or worth.
So what does this all have to do with sales? Everything! The salesperson’s worth is a reflection of her or her own “knowing” based upon past beliefs (the sum total of all experiences).
What would happen if that knowing was actually assessed through
by bringing clarity to that awareness?
For over the past three years, I have been assessing awareness in individuals through the use of a incredible assessment tool. This tool is not a test because a test determines right or wrong, but rather a performance appraisal tool to establish a measurable benchmark from which to establish a line for forward progress.
The results have been astounding as to awareness, knowing and worth.
- 98% of respondents rank the accuracy of this diagnostic at least a 7 or higher on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being poor to 10 being very accurate
- 95% of respondents do not know their top 5 talents from a list of 78 talents or attributes
- 95% of respondents know their bottom 5 talents from a list of 78 talents or attributes
With a reliability coefficient of around .92, this tool is suppose to correctly assess 92 out of 100 individuals. Having given it to almost 400 people, I have had only 2 people who said the results were not accurate in any way shape or form. This is ahead of the projected misread of almost 32 people. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Many assessments (think performance appraisal) such as DISC, Values, Myers Briggs, 360s have reliability coefficients around .85. What this means instead of misreading only 8 people per 100, the potential is to misread 15 people per 100.
Then with the use of The Results Tool™ co-developed between myself and Laura Novakowski, the individual can begin to infuse the confirmed awareness into a proven goal achievement process. Laura and I developed this tool along with a detailed workbook because we saw the value in using data from different assessments and integrating that knowledge into changing behaviors. Just think about all the assessments you may have taken and what did you do with the results? For the majority of people, the results were probably shoved into a drawer or file never to see the light of day again. What a waste! To have confirmed awareness regarding sales skills or any other skills and not take aligned action based on that knowledge and worth is foolhardy to say the least and leaves you even more “pocket poor.”
Returning to sales, what would happen if you discovered that “Understanding Motivational Needs” was one of your top 5 talents even though you thought “Handling Rejection” was your number one talent? Would that confirmed knowledge of your sales skills support you even better to increase sales? Again, by assessing your awareness you truly know your worth and that worth is how to increase sales.
Saturday’s Sales Cartoon
Saturday’s Sales Quotation
“Everyone lives by selling something.”
Robert Louis Stevenson
The explosion of interactive web based platforms is labeled by some as 2.0. A discussion over at LinkedIn talked about Sales 2.0. Social media is also labeled by some as 2.0 even though many applications are beyond this initial designation.
What I am observing in this new selling environment whatever you call or label it, a lot of people are expecting free and sometimes being insulted when they are turned down. I mean with all the blogs, the articles, there is an explosion of free content, free ideas, free thoughts. After all, this is the value of this new way to market, prospect and sell your solutions without having to pay an internal employee or contract to an outside firm. Isn’t it?
Hello, no it is not!
This past week, I received another request from someone wanting me to review their product for FREE under the opportunity to see if we were a good match for me to sell their products. Of course, this review would have taken at least an hour ($150 cost to me if not more) even though the email said it would be along a couple of minutes. Reading all the questions they wanted me to answer was at least two minutes.
What really grated on my nerves to begin with was this email had my name wrong. And this business is selling curriculum to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses through sales coaching, training, resources and advice. Hmmm, a big red flag surfaced in my little old Swedish sales brain.
I did respond professionally even though internally I did edit some of my thoughts. Calling people idiots is not a good way to engage in conversation. And as my Swedish grandmother told me “Do not cut off your nose to spite your face.” Thank heavens for all those mini-lessons on self-leadership. They become more and more valuable as I grow older.
Here is my email response and any specific references to the individual or company have been removed.
Thanks for your email. With time being so critical, I truly do not have time to download anything. Your message should have included the attachments instead of sending me to a website. Additionally your request would take far more than 2 minutes.
As an aside, I truly hope your content includes a point about checking the names of your intended recipient. My name is Leanne, not Leane. Getting the name correct is especially critical as people buy from people they know and trust.
Also as a trained instructional designer, a blended learning environment is the best way to learn. A 100% online environment without personal interaction will not deliver sustainable results. Additionally those who are 50 or older are not geared for videos as they take too much time and it is far quicker to read than watch. Quick feedback for your information.
Finally, I am very confused. If you would not mind, please share with me why I should evaluate your program for free? I understand we live in an information rich society and it is important to support others. However, my time is valuable as well and as a trained instructional designer, a business coach for over 10 years and an executive consultant, I do not evaluate programs especially with people I truly do not know not to mention solutions that may be in direct competition with the solutions I provide. I checked my contacts and I do not know you outside of sharing two LinkedIn groups.
My goal is for your to take the remarks as constructive criticism. You are more than welcome for any help this response may have generated.
Note: The time to construct this email was between two and five minutes.
And to my surprise, I received a return email. The question of the misspelling of my name was answered this way:
“You’re email address made our list of over 2000 potential partners that we deemed a good fit.”
Beyond using You’re for Your (this person’s command of the English language is questionable), here is not the way to overcome a sales objection. Blame the company from which you secured the list. Where is the quality control?
Of course, do not accept personal responsibility or accountability.
That would be too much like right!
Earth to salesperson who is supposed to know better this is your first impression and you will not have a second. This company is engaged in what I call professional services malpractice because they are sharing the same poor business practices and behaviors and charging for that sharing. Give me a break!
Of course the email did not directly answer my last and primary sales objection about why should I review their material for free? Instead the salesperson made another sales pitch as follows:
Would you be interested in an affiliate partnership with (name removed)? We are offering 50% commissions (or about $600) for each referred sale. Details available at (website removed).
Immediate gut response – Hell No!
Hmm, did I not object to being sent to a website in my first paragraph? Yep, I did. Ignore my sales objection and continue with your sales pitch in hopes to increase sales. Tell me how that is working for you?
This salesperson and his company are clueless beyond expectation. First I do not sell for anyone besides myself. Second, I do have strategic partnerships, but not with less than professional companies as I deem this organization. Third, my first month of executive sales coaching ranges between $500 (for telephone) to $700 (for face to face within an one hour drive) so why would I sell for them when I make more money for myself?
Sales objections should never, ever be ignored especially when you answered one and not the other or others. Sales objections happen because you as the salesperson violated the 3 sales buying rules which in turn allowed the five sales objections buckets to remain open.
To increase sales, do not rely on Free in the Sales 2.0 world when outreaching to strategic partners. Instead do your research, invest some time up front to build the relationship and truly engage before sending out an email to 2,000 suspects in hopes for them to review your solution for Free and possibly become affiliates. This person did have the opportunity to connect with me on LinkedIn, but now he has lost that opportunity and in private conversations I will share the name of this less than ethical organization.Share on Facebook
A colleague once said “We drive by more business than we will ever secure.” Just take a look at that stack of business cards (think sales leads), how many have you acted upon? What is your follow-up procedure. How do you do fact finding? These questions and many more came to me after reading the following story, Learn and Earn, by an unknown source.
Chuan and Jing joined a wholesale company together just after graduation. They both worked very hard.
After several years, Jing got promoted as sales executive,but Chuan remained in her position as sales representative.
One day, Chuan decided to submit her resignation letter to their boss. She complained that the boss did not value her work.
The boss knew that Chuan worked very hard over the years, but Chuan has to understand the difference between her work and Jing’s. The boss then thought of giving Chuan a simple test.
“Go and find out if there’s anyone selling water melon in the market,” the boss said to Chuan.
Chuan went to the market. She returned after a while and said, “Yes, there is one.”
The boss then asked her how much is the water melon per kilo. Chuan went back to the market. She returned to inform the boss that it’s $12 per kilo.
The boss told Chuan, “I will ask Jing the same question.”
Jing went over to the market, returned to the boss and said, “Boss, I found one person selling water melon. He is selling it for $12 per kilo, $100 for 10 kilos. He has inventory of 340 melons. He has 58 melons on the table and each melon weighs about 15 kilos. He bought the melons from the South two days ago. They are all fresh and red.”
Chuan was very impressed at Jing’s. She now realized the difference between their works. She decided not to resign, but to learn from Jing.
Lesson: Don’t do something halfway. Always give your best and you’ll definitely go a long way.
Sales research continues to reveal that sales people in spite of being crazy busy have a tendency to do things half way if not less. For example, less than half the leads are followed up. People accept LinkedIn invitations to Facebook friends to Twitter followers and then do what? Usually nothing. Until recently I was guilty of that behavior specific to LinkedIn and Facebook.
The goal of how to increase sales is all about contact beyond the digital email message. People buy from people they know and trust. Not from robots, not from automated telephone marketing pitches, not from pie in the sky marketing. Sales Training Coaching Tip: When you embrace the 3 sales buying rules, you will experience far less sales objections.
Technology has expanded the ability to increase sales and yet has restricted it because people forget people buy from people. Since I have changed how I interact with LinkedIn contacts, I have been able to increase my pipeline as well as to increase sales. All because I am no longer going halfway.
Halfway in sales is truly no way to increase sales. If you wish not to be pocket poor, then follow-up on all the sales leads. Stay in communication, reach out and touch someone so people know you are a real, authentic, caring person and not some automatic robot looking for that next quick sale because only 2% of all sales are made on that first contact.Share on Facebook
Many sales people are aware of the goal to increase sales. They can quickly scan their bank account to know how well their current actions are either achieving or not achieving that goal. Yet after working with many crazy busy sales people these past years, I can say this with 100% conviction:
98% of all sales people fail to truly be aware
What I mean by this statement, is sales people are aware of what they think to be true. Yet, when that awareness is assessed, what they believe to be true is no longer true because the assessment has created a new awareness. Sales Coaching Tip: Many sales people are in a fog and do not know it.
Just imagine if you as one of the crazy busy sales people believe that your best talent is “Handling Rejection” you may be ignoring your true talent of “Evaluating What Is Said.” What would happen if you truly knew that handling rejection is a secondary talent because your ability to listen and evaluate is truly what is supporting your goal to increase sales? Would you be able to focus more on your actions on even listening better?
Would that change in your behaviors increase sales for you?
One of the talents that separates high sales performers from not so high salespersons is the talent of “Realistic Personal Goal Setting.” The logic is quite simple. If I cannot achieve my personal goals, how can I achieve organizational ones?
When working with clients, this talent of realistic personal goal setting is one I focus on when analyzing an awareness assessment that I employ within my sales coaching and executive consulting practice here in the Midwest, Chicago and Northwest Indiana communities. Additionally, this talent is directly connected to time management issues. For unless you have a promised commitment or a written goal, why would you give a hoot about the time? Life indeed would be more like that lazy river with you gently floating by. Sales Coaching Tip: Time management is an oxymoron as no one can manage a constant.
Awareness is the first step to leverage one’s talents (think sales skills). After that awareness is assessed using a tool such as the Innermetrix Attribute Index (my personal favorite), then individuals can create clarity from which focus is the next step. By having clarity around a presumed awareness has the potential of walking down the wrong sales path. In simple terms by confirming what you actually know to be true allows you to work smarter not harder.
The failure to assess awareness when it comes to talents or sales skills has people focusing on non-talents or worst yet weaknesses. Another fact that I have discovered after assessing the awareness of almost 400 people is:
98% know what they do not do well with greater accuracy than what they do well
This awareness is directly related to negative conditioning from years of education. People are conditioned to focus on their weaknesses instead of their strengths. Let me ask you this simple question:
Why do winning teams win?
Do they win because of their weaknesses or their strengths. The obvious answer is their strengths. So why the focus on improving weaknesses instead of leveraging strengths or talents? Sounds a little backwards to me.
If you wish to increase sales, possibly now is the time to truly become aware by assessing your existing awareness. Then using that information integrate it into a proven goal achievement process including writing WAY SMART goals. By taking these actions, you will leverage your talents or sales skills and realize your goal to increase sales.
P.S. Consider taking advantage of the summer sales coaching special by assessing your awareness and receive 4 hours of sales coaching.Share on Facebook
Seth Godin in a blog post nailed the issue of business ethics by discussing that organizations are comprised of people. Sometimes, we forget that an organization or even a team is comprised on individuals who are united to achieve a common goal that could not be achieved by just one person within the given time frame.
My take on Godin’s posting was simply:
“business ethics are personal ethics”
When working with clients either as executive consulting or sales coaching, one of the first actions is to discuss the values of the organization and for that individual. Within the strategic planning process, the creation of a values statement is one of the outcomes and in my humble opinion is the fulcrum for later successful execution of organizational goals and objectives.
So what are your personal ethics or better yet have you committed them to writing. On the main website for ADVANCED SYSTEMS, the values statement has been clearly articulated. Here is it:
ADVANCED SYSTEMS’ values will continually raise the B.A.R. for our clients and stakeholders.
- Build long term relationships
- Achieve sustainable results
- Results that deliver positive return on investment
Daily behaviors will demonstrate creativity, faith, gratitude, intelligence, innovation, intuition, learning, patience, quality work, reflection, respect, risk taking and thoughtfulness as we work with our clients and meet new individuals.
When we as individuals fail to describe in detail what behaviors based upon personal ethics are acceptable and what are unacceptable, then the anything goes attitude or belief takes over. For it is our beliefs that drive the actions (behaviors) creating the results. What these personal ethics look like varies from the Ten Commandments to the Golden or even Platinum Rule. However the critical element is committing them to writing and then letting everyone know that violation of these positive core values is subject to disciplinary actions and possible termination.
By remembering business ethics are indeed personal ethics may change the discussion and actually improve the interactions between organizations and their customers both internal and external. And wouldn’t that be a good thing to have happen?
The customers’ wants should be primary if any business or salesperson wishes to increase sales. Sometimes by being proactive in addressing those “unstated wants” only improves building the relationship.
One of the writers, Geoffrey James, over at bNet structures his postings to require a continual clicking and therefore reloading of pages much like a PowerPoint presentation. Part of this reason is for additional graphics. Yet with time being a precious resource, this structure turns off some readers as viewed by some of the comments. On the plus side, those who click through the entire article are probably more qualified than those who click off the page.
I can appreciate the time it takes to construct each page. Yet, I wonder if he is actually meeting the wants and needs of his potential audience? Sales Training Coaching Tip: Wants are far more emotional than needs.
Another report by Vitrue analyzed engagement (clicking Yes or making a comment) on Facebook posts with the following results:
- Image posts received 22% more engagement than video posts
- Image posts received 54% more engagement than text posts
- Friday’s were the best days for engagement
- Tuesday’s and Thursday’s followed second for engagement
- Sunday was the worst day for engagement
- The restaurant industry revealed Wednesday to be the best engagement day
If small businesses are using Facebook within their marketing activities, then posting on Friday makes more sense than posting on Sunday. Using a graphic with any posting is also a good idea. Finally, knowing the wants of the target market is critical especially if the small business is a restaurant. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Engagement is a direct result of meeting wants and needs.
There are many different research papers on marketing. Small business owners can quickly get off track or message when processing all this data. This is why it is so imporant to remember the purpose of marketing is to:
- Attract attention
- Begin to build the relationship
With this two-fold purpose, meeting customers’ wants or prospects’ wants becomes critical. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Knowing the demographics and even more importantly the psychographics of your target market are very important.
Returning to the author who requires a continual clicking of Internet pages, the question truly revolves around the purpose of marketing. Yes, he does attract attention. However, I am unsure of as to the second part of the purpose of marketing especially when some of his articles require six or more clicks. The other building relationship obstacle I believe exists is the inability to rescan or reread what was just read because it requires clicking back. Again, time is of the essence.
By keeping the customers’ wants and needs at the forefront of the small business owners’ brains (top of mind awareness – TOMA) and better yet anticipating some of those wants and needs by listening to feedback through comments as well as through market research, then small businesses as well as those crazy busy sales people can increase sales. Failure to address these wants and needs will turn off your prospects as well as customers and that is a recipe for disaster.Share on Facebook
Life can get out of balance in a split of a second. One moment everything is going fine, your cadence is uninterrupted and then suddenly everything goes south as the expression goes.
One way to stay balanced is to ensure that when chaos looms and appears to be in charge you have clearly defined your core values especially this one of respect. When you respect yourself and others, returning to a sense of balance is much easier. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Write our your values statement and carry that values statement with you at all times.
During this past week, I had the opportunity to have my 28 year old daughter as a house guest. She was recovering from knee surgery and our house was much easier to navigate than hers. Additionally, her father being retired was around just in case she needed something. By respecting her space and more importantly respecting her as a young adult, the unbalance I experienced with her present was negligible.
Over on Facebook or LinkedIn, there are many discussions that can cause a moment or longer of unbalance. Sometimes the first thought is “How could someone think like that?” Then depending how invested we are in that discussion, our sense of balance can quickly topple. And yet, when we truly respect diversity of thought without labeling people, we can maintain our work life balance. The goal is to listen, interact and if necessary agree to disagree. For if we all believed exactly the same way, my sense is we would not have the accomplishments we currently enjoy.
To maintain respect usually means to let go of our egos. For someone who can have a very strong ego this has been an ongoing challenge for me. Yet with patience (not another of my strong suits unless you can link it to stubbornness) and a strong dose of emotional intelligence, subduing the ego can be done. In sales, as I write in Be the Red Jacket, one sales coaching tip is to leave the ego at the door and another is to have a written values statement.
Years ago, Aretha Franklin sang about Respect and her words still are quite true. When we truly respect ourselves and others, we can maintain a work life balance as well as sustainability as we move forward to increase sales while still enjoying all that life has to offer.Share on Facebook
Sales or rather the overall sales process is truly a contact sport. Yet with the explosion of social media, hiding behind electronic vehicles such as voice mail, email to texting, the personal contact element seems to be slowly fading away.
During a recent round table discussion over at Focus, the participants discussed asking the right questions. Dan Waldschmidt made a comment about lack of caring. Paul McCord wrote a blog after the discussion specific to when to ask the right questions. This sales blog in yesterday’s editorial discussed “touchy feely” and how some is required in sales.
Let’s peel away this apple even further so to speak. What actions do you take upon receiving an invite to connect on LinkedIn or any other social media platform? Do you:
- Immediately accept?
- Ignore the request?
- Research the person and then accept?
- Take action when you have time later in the day, week or month?
- Initiate a process upon acceptance?
During the last few weeks, I have constructed a process regarding the acceptance of LinkedIn invite and local Facebook invites. This has resulted in personally contacting this individuals by phone or in person. After all what good does it do you to have 100, 1,000 or more contacts and there is not any, nada, zip interaction with those who you truly do not know?
Yesterday, this process allowed me to speak with someone who attended Valparaiso University even though she was from the eastern United States. We had a delightful conversation. Early in the week, I spoke with a person from central Ohio and was able to support her by sending her a book, Fail-Safe Leadership, that may help her with a current client issue.
If the purpose of marketing within the sales process is to attract attention and build a relationship, then when allow all those new contacts stay silent, unknown and just be a number to you? This is almost like having a plethora of business cards and not taking any action after that first handshake and brief conversation. What a waste of time especially for those engaged in how to increase sales. Remember this coaching sales tip:
Social media is a contact sport!
Increase Sales Cartoon
Can you relate to this one? I know I can.
Increase Sales Quotation
“We don’t have a question problem (in sales or selling). We have a caring problem…” Dan Waldschmidt
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How come some (small business owners, sales managers, sales professionals and even sales experts) just don’t get it when it comes to growing their businesses especially with regards to increase sales? Listen to the majority of sales gurus to sales roundtables and hear all the spouting of the necessity for knowing how to:
- Ask the right questions
- Overcome sales objections
- Turn stalls into sales objections
- Negotiate for that Win-Win
- Close the sale
Mention anything about interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence within a sales training or development process and hear a lot of push back about
“Enough with that touchy feely crap! What questions do I have to ask?”
“You want my sales people to be more emotionally aware?
Hell no that will not increase sales!”
The research by Daniel Goleman regarding emotional intelligence along with the work of Dr. Robert Hartman regarding the science of axiology have demonstrated the importance of understanding feelings along with attributes or talents and how those traits affect decision making. Since sales is truly one of having the prospect to make a favorable buying decision, then ignoring feelings is way beyond being 1000% stupid!
Beyond the first sales buying rule that people buy from people they know and trust, the second one is people buy first on emotion then justify that buying decision with logic. Hell, Jeff Gitmore has even trademark a statement about people who “love to buy.” So why these knowledgeable experts continue to share expertise on specific sales skills and ignore the “touchy feely” aspect embedded within the overall sales process is truly beyond this old Swedish gray matter.
Dan Waldschmidt is someone who gets it when it comes to infusing both Knowledge and Skills along with Attitudes and Habits. Two of his recent comments centered on caring and selling hope. Both are emotions.
McKinsey released a research report in 2009 about how successful change initiatives (goals) actually were. The success rate was 40% or on the flip side the failure rate was 60%. Think about goal achievement. Why do most people fail to achieve their goals (New Year’s resolutions anyone)? The answer is simple:
Failure to emotionalize the process and desired end result!
By removing the emotional element, call it touchy feely, interpersonal skills, people skills, soft skills, within any sales training coaching program is living in the land of Da’Nile or at least living in the last half of the 20th century. Bottom line the goal to increase sales will not be achieved or will require far more resources than necessary.
Who can waste any resources especially during challenging economic times?
Folks it is the 21st Century.
Time to get off the old gray mare and get into a more efficient and effective means of transportation. Sales Training Coaching Tip: The inability to increase sales is far more often than not a symptom and not the real problem. The book Fail-Safe Leadership is an easy read and helps to create awareness about what other issues the company maybe experiencing. Also the Star Model can help close the change readiness gaps.
Now too much “touchy feely” is not a good thing especially if some of the basic steps within the sales process have been ignored. There must be balance between emotions (;think emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills) and logic (think sales skills) as the small business owners, sales managers to salespersons build the relationship.
President Theodore Roosevelt probably summed touchy feely up best:
“No one cares how much you kn0w
(think sell or sales skills)
until they know how much you care.”
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Sales objections are obstacles that keep the sales from being closed or what I prefer to think being earned. When the salesperson fails to earn the sale, usually he or she violated the overall sales process.
A discussion over in a LinkedIn group shared some thoughts about those what if prospects who would not make a decision or get off the dime. My observation is if that happened, then the prospect or potential customer was truly not qualified. One of the respondents chimed in that all prospects are qualified. My sense is this person is engaged in a lot of spraying her sales actions all over the place and praying something will stick.
The What If sales objections are those that every crazy busy salesperson needs to answer (think stop) before each sales call so they can eventually increase sales.
- he or she doesn’t like me?
- he or she hasn’t heard about my company?
- he or she doesn’t know about our solutions?
- he or she finds our price point to high?
- he or she dislikes our delivery?
Sales Training Coaching Tip: There are truly only five buckets or categories for the what if sales objections.
When sales people realize that many of the What If sales objections start within the marketing phase of the sales process and can be overcome by better understanding the purpose and goals of marketing, then they will truly have a competitive advantage over the far more clueless salespersons. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Any sales process is comprised of 3 phases of marketing, selling and marketing.
Of course, some sales people will jump ahead of the marketing phase of the sales process and start engaging in the selling phase or as some sales coaches or trainers say “Show up and throw up.” This is not the best earning or closing strategy to overcome the What If sales objections.
Marketing being the first phase of the sales process is so critical to overall sales success. Many sales gurus diminish marketing and yet if we believe in the three basic sales buying rules, then to have this marketing is not essential or critical attitude only continues a course of sales failure. Sales Training Coaching Tip: The purpose of marketing is to attract attention and begin to build a relationship. The goal of marketing is to make a friend and to be asked back for that coveted first time meeting.
The What If sales objections can be overcome and sometimes will not even appear on the sales landscape provided the sales professional prepares ahead of time and has truly been successful in marketing herself or himself.Share on Facebook