Archive for August, 2012

A Sales Fundamental – Bowled Over By Enthusiasm by Robert Terson

“You never can be too enthusiastic” is a sales fundamental. Conversely, not being enthusiastic enough will cost you more sales than anything else. You can have all those other  fundamentals covered—strong mental attitude, excellent work habits, salesmanship second to none—but if you can’t crank up some genuine enthusiasm for what you’re asking your prospect to spend his hard-earned money on, you’re the equivalent of a baseball pitcher without a fastball. You’re going to get smashed to smithereens. Harry F. Banks said, “A salesman minus enthusiasm is just a clerk.”

A sales presentation is a form of theater; a salesperson is like an actor putting on a performance for his audience. If he can’t get excited about his product or service, the performance is a flop—the prospect will walk out before the second act is over. A prospect buys on emotion far more than logic or reason, and if a salesperson isn’t excited, the prospect won’t be either; and if the prospect isn’t excited—ho hum—he isn’t going to buy.

I’ve seen sales made on enthusiasm alone, the prospect so bowled over by the salesperson’s pure raw energy that he was lifted into outer space before he knew what was happening. I’m not talking about a phony televangelist staging a gyrating revival à la Elmer Gantry; I’m talking about a dignified master salesperson who’s so enthusiastic he practically lifts you off the ground—you feel like you’re participating in a magic show, but just can’t comprehend how he’s doing it.

You want to be a master salesperson?

Get excited!

And don’t worry about being too excited; there is no such thing.

About Guest Blogger
Robert Terson has been a sales professional and entrepreneur his entire adult life. He retired from his advertising company, after 38 years of being in business, in January 2010 to begin a second career as a writer and speaker. He is the founder and CEO of Sellingfearlessly.com. He invites you to contact him at that site or email him at Robert at sellingfearlessly.com  His book–Selling Fearlessly: A Master Salesman’s Secrets For the One-Call-Close Salesperson–is coming out in October, 2012.
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Sales Leadership – The Talent of Consistency and Reliability

Recently in working with one of my executive coaching clients while reviewing potential markets and local customers, I mentioned one local professional services firm.  His immediate response was “I do not want to work with that business because I have observed some unethical behavior.” Having clients who understand  and more importantly demonstrate this sales leadership talent of consistency and reliability does make my role as an executive coach much easier.

Credit www.sxc.hu

Those in sales leadership role including small business owners have “an internal need to be conscientious in their personal or professional efforts.  The need to be both consistent and reliable in their life roles.  This is an internal motivation, as opposed to being motivated by external forces such as job, peer or supervisory pressures.”  In other words, this talent is about balance.

With this specific client having and displaying strong business ethics, I was not surprised by his comment as he has been consistent since our initial meeting. His Attribute Index assessment confirmed his very strong potential relative to this sales leadership talent.  (Source: Innermetrix)

Having a good potential in this sales leadership talent suggests dependability and reliability. In most circumstances, these individuals require little or no direct supervision.  Conversely those who fail to demonstrate this talent are not consistent nor dependable.  “Their work performance and schedules might be erratic and undependable.  They might work very hard for a period of time, but without external motivation or supervision, they might lack the internal desire to maintain this level of performance throughout the duration of the task at hand.” (Source Innermetrix)

Knowing one’s sales leadership talents allows small business owners to sales professionals to even C Suite executives work both harder on doing what they do well and smarter by not focusing on what they do not do well.

P.S. If you wish to learn more about when to use role or specific performance appraisal assessments, I will be conducting a webinar on August 28, 2012.  Visit this page on my website or check out all the webinars currently being offered during the month of August 2012 by the Sales School.

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Know Any Bully Leaders?

After listening to a former client share her story about a past employer, I began to wonder how many bully leaders are in today’s workplace.  There is a lot of emphasis on bullying in our schools and to a far lesser degree about “hostile work environments.”  Yet, with all this information, there still appears to be a lot of bully leaders who are quite clueless about how to be an effective leader.

Credit www.sxc.hu

Bully leaders first and foremost do not like who they are.  Their ongoing use of intimidation to yelling and screaming are a smokescreen. Facing their own limitations is one action they will avoid at all costs.

Also these types of business leaders lack emotional intelligence, big time.  Bullies are clueless about recognizing and understanding the emotions of others as well as their own emotions less alone how to motivate their workforce without threats and intimidations.

What is so sad is the far reaching results of their bullying behaviors. Good employees become tainted and suspicious especially when they leave to seek employment elsewhere.  In some cases, these good employees may land at a business where there is a high performance work culture based upon solid business ethics. Finding such an employer may restore their faith in people.

Returning to the question, do you know of any bully leaders?  If so, what actions did you take. Please share your stories, minus any names to protect the guilty, thereby allowing others to read they are not alone.

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How to Increase Sales – Stop with the Bullying

Even though small business owners to sales managers know better, many still engage in bullying. Maybe their behaviors are the result of being bullied in school or not having consistent positive business ethics. However, bullying behavior is not how to increase sales.

This past week I reconnected with an old client who had just changed jobs.  She shared with me that her past boss would scream at her employees and this organization had an extremely high employee turnover rate.  When she left, she was the employee with the longest tenure of 4.5 years.

Her previous boss is a bully!

No ifs, no ands & no buts

Of course there may be other more appropriate psychological terms, but that does not excuse the fact this organization has a culture of bullying lead by a leader who is a bully.

Screaming, yelling, being sarcastic all contribute to an anti high performance work culture and research shows this is an absolutely ineffective motivational strategy.  And what is worse is through word of mouth, other business owners hear about this bullying behavior and will probably choose not to do business with an organization where disrespecting people is the common behavior.  For if the organization disrespects its employees, it will disrespect its customers.

Sure people lose their tempers as human beings are first emotional creatures.  However truly great, value driven leaders will apologize and do everything in their power to not repeat that emotional and obviously poor business leadership behavior. These types of leaders consistently demonstrate high emotional intelligence.

If you are wondering how to increase sales, it may make sense to do a quick temperature check on your organization’s business leadership to eliminate any bullying.  And that may need to start with your own behaviors as the small business owner or sales manager.

Sales Cartoon

Credit www.funnysalescartoons.com

Sales Quotation

“Beliefs are experiences real or imagined infused with emotions conscious or subconscious.”

Leanne Hoagland-Smith

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How To Tick Off Loyal Customers in One Easy Step

Loyal customers are the backbone for small businesses to the super sized ones. These returning buyers not only continue to exchange their hard earned dollars for your solutions, but share their delight with friends and neighbors to even complete strangers.

During good and bad times, many small businesses in order to gain more buyers take this one action that is truly short term thinking and in plain honesty – stupid. They offer new customers a special price while leaving their existing loyal customers thinking:

“What am I chopped liver?”

I was reminded of this when reading an exchange over on Facebook and how one loyal customer is being charged a different subscription price for his print newspaper home delivery compared to the neighbor across the street. Then he calls into customer service and receives the standard run-a-round because no one wants to tell him the truth that he is being penalized by his customer loyalty.

Hmm, maybe I should ask the neighbor across the street what she is paying.  That might prove interesting.  Of course, if it is different, I will cancel my subscription without hesitation.

Enticing new customers is a good marketing strategy. However, remember in this age of social media where people can talk through cyberspace, still read print newspapers not to mention all those mailers delivered via the USPS, there is a very good chance your existing loyal customers are reading those “special offers to new customers only.” And ticking them off is not a good business practice or a way to increase sales.

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Value Connecting Conversations Versus Value Creation

Some sales experts and business consultants have jumped on what appears to be this ever growing wagon train of value creation.  There is a strong belief salespeople can create value. Think value proposition statement. If you have been a reader of this blog for a while, you may know I am a contrarian when it comes to this belief, because I believe value is unique to each buyer.

A recent (July 2012) research report by e-tailing group and MyBuys suggests buyers place greater value in sharing data with retailers than within their social networks especially if it enhances the shopping experience.  This research appears to reinforce the “brand” of the retailer as customer enhancement is directly connected and builds customers’ expectations. Seth Godin defined “brand” the noun as meeting the expectations of the buyer.

So what is a salesperson to small business owner to do if value is unique to each buyer?

One answer is to have value connecting conversations.  What makes more sense is for the salesperson to listen for what the buyer values and then connect that “value perception” to his or her solutions. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  “If you are telling, you ain’t selling.” D.Herdlinger

Value connecting conversations require strong communication skills and especially active listening.  As I write in Be the Red Jacket, active listening is a self leadership skill and does require to have “a CLEAR grasp of what the other person is experiencing as well as thinking.”

The advantage to value connecting conversations is the focus is not on you or what you believe the value of your solution is, but rather on the buyer.  Your ego has taken a back seat to the ego (think wants and needs) of the buyer. What has happened is a pull versus push sales dynamic where the buyer pulls you to him or her instead of you having to push your value onto him or her.

Even though I write extensively about sales, business and leadership, I also  facilitate training and development and deliver keynotes.  Please feel free to give me a call at 219.759.5601 CDT.

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The #1 Sales Tip: Everything Is a “Story” By Christina Hamlett

One afternoon back in 10,000 B.C., some Mesopotamian farmers made the astonishing discovery that bread wasn’t the only thing they could make from harvested grain. Mixed with water and left around to ferment, the result was a blissful brew that instantly made them regret they’d have to wait until 1600 for the invention of a nice pizza to go with it.

Credit www.sxc.hu

If what you just read was the opening paragraph in a newspaper article, you probably wouldn’t know where it was going. That really doesn’t matter. What matters in a marketing context is that you’re already hooked to keep reading to find out what happens next. In a noisy, competitive marketplace where every seller wants to be heard by as many buyers as possible, the ones that consistently close deals are those who know how to employ the most universal magnet in mankind’s existence: the promise of a tale well told.

Murray Teichman was not a household word on New York’s lower East Side in the early 1900’s. Indeed, if he hadn’t discovered that being a dance instructor for $3 a night paid more than his day-job and began teaching strangers the Turkey Trot, Kangaroo Dip, and Tango, he might well have faded into obscurity.

Storytelling as a vehicle for influencing the behavior of others isn’t a new concept. The Grimm Brothers, after all, built their entire career on spinning cautionary tales about the dangers of straying too far into the woods or accepting fruit from strangers. Scheherazade realized that her plot-spinning skills were the only thing that could keep her alive for 1,001 nights. Even our earliest ancestors may have connected the dots that their peers were likely to get more excited about the future applications for fire and the wheel if there was a pulse-pounding set-up to illustrate why these were must-have commodities.

In the 21st century, there are so many things that seem to have been around forever we’d probably be hard-pressed to name their dates of origin. The drop of the New Year’s ball at Times Square. Boy Scouts. Mother’s Day. Passenger flights in airplanes. Gideon Bibles in hotel rooms. To the list of “firsts” that made their debut in 1908 – including Henry Ford’s Model T – a neighborhood eatery in downtown L.A. answered the call of hungry customers with savory sandwiches for a dime and a cup of coffee for a nickel.

What is it about a story that puts us in such a receptive frame of mind to listen? Our cynical consumer side knows that the person at the end of the phone, across the counter or at our front door is there to sell us a life insurance policy, a cupcake or a cosmetic makeover, and it’s our natural instinct to try to resist. Yet the child within is incapable of sophisticated defenses because the temptation of “Once upon a time” transcends whatever our current mindset and transports us – vicariously – to someplace intriguing. We’re likewise drawn to stories about things that have happened to other people, largely that we might learn by their example and be inspired, warned, amused, or even amazed.

To close a sale or craft a media moment that delivers results, what better teachers are there than history’s consummate raconteurs – the novelists, playwrights and filmmakers whose message is simple: It’s the first line of a tale that reels us in and the last one that won’t let us go.

Need more convincing about this sales tip of “everything is a story?”

Can you honestly watch the following commercial and not feel a smile come to your face, the first step in creating connectivity with a company and its product:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NXlv28HYOA

 

About the Guest Blogger

Christina Hamlett, editor of Media Magnetism (http://www.mediamagnetism.org) is an LA-based novelist, playwright, ghostwriter, columnist and script consultant for the film industry. Learn more about her work at http://www.authorhamlett.com.

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Sales Leadership – The Talent of Project and Goal Focus

Many times in seeking individuals with sales leadership talents the often overlooked one such as project and goal focus are potentially more responsible for the inability to increase sales.  What happens is the “Theory of Osmosis Learning” takes over.  Stand next to this person or that and you will magically learn their talents through osmosis.

When we examine this sales leadership talent of project and goal focus, we can gain greater clarity as to its importance.

“The ability of an individual to maintain their direction in spite of obstacles in their path.  The ability to stay on target, regardless of circumstance.  This score is derived from a person’s clarity and focus on their self-direction and their appreciation of structure and order.” (Source Innermetrix)

One of the key words to describe this capacity or ability is clarity.  Having clarity especially when it comes to structure and order is truly dependent upon the organization as much as it is the individual. Organizations that lack structure and order unintentionally weaken this sales leadership talent.

When a top sales performer demonstrates this capacity, he or she “has a good ability to stay on track while involved in a project, even if there are unforeseen obstacles that occur during the process.  They will tend to ignore the problems, but will stay on the path even if some event causes the course to be slightly altered.  This person will also have the ability to keep a single task from diverting them from overall project goals.” (Source Innermetrix)

Conversely the inability to demonstrate this sales leadership talent of project and goal focus may have some individuals swaying away “from the prescribed course of action.  Their Project /Goal focus can change quickly and without much effort.  They may require direct supervision in order to stay focused on a particular task or project.” (Source Innermetrix)

When those in sales management as well as small business owners recognize that successfully managing the marketing funnel (new sales leads) is reflected through this sales leadership talent of project and goal focus, then they just may increase sales as well as reduced stress of not meeting sales goals.

 

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The Secret of Selling Is Ask Yourself How Can You Just Be Valuable?

Credit www.sxc.hu

Boy, wouldn’t it be great if the secret of selling would be duplicated, replicated and all sales leads would magically increase sales? What a way to start each week knowing ever potential new customer or prospect would add greenbacks to your pockets.

There are a plethora of books, seminars, webinars, sales training coaching solutions that all provide the answer to this secret of selling.  Yet when you render all this great information, knowledge and wisdom down to its very essence you are left with this one thing:

Just Be Valuable

So today take these five (5) actions steps to unlock the secret of selling.

1. List what you have heard from your clients that suggest how you can “Just Be Valuable” *(JBV)

2. Ask yourself how can you integrate “JBV” into your marketing behaviors.

3. Ask yourself how can you integrate “JBV” into your selling behaviors.

4. Track your “JBV” behaviors now compared to what you were doing before

5. identify the impact of those changed “JBV” behaviors to your life and your bottom line.

Remember “JBV” is a behavior that focuses on the client or potential client and not on you.  Do not confuse “JBV” with value creation that focuses on your ego and not on the client.

P.S. Speaking of ego, you may find this article on Ego the sacred cow in business of interest.

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Are You Out of Gas?

Today my Pastor during his homily asked “Are you out of gas?” This question was in a response to the Gospel of John Chapter 6:35, 41-51 and the First Reading of 1Kings Chapter 19:4-8.

Credit www.sxc.hu

How many times are we so tired, we are out of gas and just feel like giving up?  In First Kings, Elijah felt that way as he was wanted to die and sat down under a broom tree waiting for God to take him.

Many of us have shared Elijah’s thoughts especially when life becomes more than we can handle. Crawling under a tree, wanting to stop all the bad stuff, sometimes is the easier way.  Continuing to fight the good fight is emotionally and physically draining. Finding a way to fill up our gas tanks is indeed a challenge and more so during dark times.

Sunday’s are for me and many others a time of reflection. To think about the events of the past week and how we can use those experiences in the weeks to come.

Reflection or better yet self-reflection is one way to fill up your gas tank so that you will not run out of gas as you travel life’s roads.  By investing some time into thinking about what has happened and thinking about how to keep on going as in the case of Elijah who had to walk 40 days to Mt. Horeb does make us better individuals to ourselves and to others.

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