Today’s Tip: Collecting IS Selling
The quality of your collections effort is every bit as important as delivery and product service. It can make or break a relationship.
There are two ways to handle collections – aggressively or assertively. Aggressive collections might get you the money, but jeopardize the relationship. Assertive collection efforts mean that you listen and conduct an open honest dialogue to fulfill the needs of both parties. Trust me that I “get” the money pressure we all face and the importance of getting paid. This is why it is so important to treat collections as a vital aspect of the sales function.
Discuss collections – before as well as after delivery – in a way that nurtures the relationships you want to keep. This is not the time to burn bridges.
For more tips, scroll to bottom of this page.
THE PASSING OF A LEGEND
On Wednesday, Zig Ziglar passed away at the age of 86. He was one of the all-time great speakers who changed the lives of many people. He was born in Alabama, but raised in Yazoo, Mississippi, a fact for which he frequently said, “A lot of people brag about that, but in my case it’s true!”
You can look up quotes from Zig and get a flavor of his charm and power. But there was nothing like hearing him live (a privilege I enjoyed on three occasions) or listening to his audio series, “See You at the Top”. He illustrated the power of anchoring a concept to well-crafted story.
My favorite was about the two railroad employees who were close friends, one of whom worked as a laborer for an hourly wage over thirty years, while the other rose to become the company president. When the laborer’s puzzled co-workers saw the two socializing one day, they asked how it could happen. The laborer said, “We started on the same day pounding stakes and have known each other ever since.” His co-workers mockingly asked how his friend managed to become the president while the laborer was still pounding nails. The thoughtful reply was, “…because thirty years ago, I went to work for $3.15 per hour and he went to work for the railroad.”
Nobody had a better way of spinning a tale than Zig. During his legendary story of “the pump” in which he reminds us about the value of effort, two men are working an old fashioned water pump to earn a drink from a deep well. One gives up, believing the well to be dry. The other eagerly takes over to finish the job and earn a well deserved refreshment. Zig concludes by reminding us that, “the harder it is to pump…the deeper, the cooler, and better tasting that water will be.” He, of course ended every story with the tagline, “See you at the top.” For particular emphasis and his belief that everyone could achieve greatness, he sometimes added, “…and I do mean you.”
Zig also had a knack for making his audience laugh. I once heard him, during an interview, state that he intended to insert humor every seven minutes becuase he felt this was the average attention span of his listener. He emphasized the power of the “little things” by saying, “It’s the two inches of sheet which hang over your bed at night that keep you warm. If you tell a woman that she has beauty that make the hands of time stand still, that’s poetry.” Zig paused and then delivered with perfect timing, “But if you tell her she has a face that would stop a clock…well, that’s a different thing all together.”
It is even worth noting, for salespeople who believe they should “wing it” that Zig Ziglar scripted every single word of his presentations. This discovery changed how I sold and presented products. I started to build chapters for all of the products and programs I provided. It’s a practice that I continue in my lectures and sales effort to this day, one I recommend highly for you!
I first heard Zig when I was thirty years old and, quite frankly, far off the path to success. My life changed when I heard him say, “Do more than you’re paid to do and soon you’ll be paid more for what you do. Because, if the people you work for won’t pay you more, then soon…somebody else will.” I started volunteering for tasks and developing programs (including some of the training I deliver today) for no extra money. I heeded his advice and lived his philosophy. For that, I thank you, Zig!
In my profession where many claim to be motivational speakers, Zig was the real deal. I’m sure he’s up there in heaven working on his golf game and swimming in his arrow-shaped pool. And I know that one day, I hope to see him up there…at the top!
WHAT IS ACCOUNTABILITY?
If you want to know, visit the Denver Airport where I was receiving a shoeshine like any other I had there in the past. Rubber guards were inserted into the tongues of my shoes to protect me from the blow torch passing quickly over the tops of my shoes to soften the leather and polish. The spray of water and eager buffing of Claudette Rien, a native of suburban Paris, brought my shoes to a sparkling shine.
She told me to be careful stepping off the platform and waited for payment. I asked how much I owed her and Claudette said in a heavy French accent, “Whadeveh you teenk eet’s wordth.” I paused in stunned silence and decided to pull out a sawbuck. She graciously accepted the ten dollars. As you might expect, I had to ask how this strange practice of pricing began.
“It makes sure we do a good job,” Claudette insisted as another patron stepped onto the platform. Her associate, Justin Martinez, took the pulpit.
“It makes us accountable,” Justin said. “Everyone should be accountable in society. Our teachers, business leaders…even the commander in chief. So this is our way of making sure we do the right job for our customers.”
“We started this in July of last year,” Justin stated proudly. “Our revenues are up 37%. It was the best thing we ever did. Sure, some of our customers pay only a dollar. But most do just what you did. It is our way of making sure that everyone is satisfied in the deal. Isn’t that how everyone should think in business?”
Indeed… The story of Justin and Claudette remind me of the power of being energy givers, as I wrote about in my January 2007 ProSales Article.
The amazing thing about giving an honest day’s work for an honest day’s wage is that the worker is happier. In a world in which many individuals are doing as little as possible on the job and feeling cheated by employers, it is refreshing to discover people that are passionate about their work and faithful that it will pay off in the end.
The real lesson of the story is not about the money. It’s about performance management based on commitment and faith. Every employee should learn that hard work pays off eventually. Every employer should realize that performance management is based on a fair rewards system that produces happy, productive workers. The key to personal and financial growth is the faith that hard work DOES pay.
It’s a lesson we should all share.
PAST TIPS OF 2012©
© Building Leaders, Inc. All Rights Reserved
December-07-2012: Write the Songs of Special Things
Barry Manilow, the legendary pop music composer, said the problem with the young singers is that they try to put too many notes into a bar rather than tell a story with the lyrics. Think about that the next time you hear an American Idol competitor wailing away in a display of uninspiring musical gymnastics.
The key to leadership and sales success is not how many words you can share or how important the story is to you. Great communicators sing lyrics that resonate in the hearts of listeners.
Don’t tell stories to impress; tell stories that touch the heart.
December-06-2012: Gem Quality Prospecting
This morning, as I sat at my computer sifting through 43 LinkedIn invitations, the tip of the day became an easy task.
The invitations came from a variety of sources including people already in my database, competitors, salespeople, a music professor, and so forth. As is my usual practice, I took time to examine every gem in that box of rocks and write a personal note to EVERY one of them. Most people use LinkedIn to amass a large list of contacts. Instead, I recommend that you use it to find quality contacts over quantity; people with whom you can work and share a mutually beneficial one-on-one relationship.
Rather than treat market opportunities as a confusing mass of names and businesses, instead take time to examine every contact and nurture each relationship individually.
December-05-2012: It’s Never Too Late
It’s 3:30 central time. Ellice and I have been filming a promotional video all day and never got around to sending a tip because we were busy developing our marketing materials. So… my thoughts are a) it’s never too late and b) out of sight is not out of mind.
The next time you think a sale is lost because you haven’t heard from a client or the process takes longer than expected, remember that people might be thinking about you more than you know. Have faith that relationships are blossoming even when you’re out of touch with a client. Just remember to follow up. It’s never too late.
December-03-2012: Revel in the Cornucopia
If you don’t like grocery shopping, then you’re doing it wrong. Nourishing our bodies properly is not the thing we do in between the tasks of life; it is the thing of life.
I have heard many people tell me they “hate” going to the grocery store. You may not realize it, but the pepper you shake onto scrambled eggs was once as valuable as silver. It is easy to take for granted the centuries of malnutrition that plagued mankind (and does in many parts of the world today). Diseases such as scurvy (Vitamin C deficiency) and rickets (Vitamin D deficiency) aren’t even in our modern lexicon.
I think it is almost a sin to take the privilege of grocery shopping for granted. The next time you walk up and down the aisles surrounded by food from around the world, pause to consider the privilege of the cornucopia that magically appears before you.
November-29-2012: Sell ROI, Not Price
I’m still on the rant about price objections. A salesperson responded to my tip today, by writing, “My market is different. It’s all about price here.” Really? I’ve learned the toughest market in the world is the one I’m in on any given day…because people in every market tell me theirs is different and it is all about price. Really?!?!
Which are better bargains?
- A hammer for $35 or a nail gun for $195 that pays for its cost in labor savings in a few weeks? Side note: The nail gun is safer and reduces long-term physical stress for the user.
- An unknown window brand that costs $3500 per house or a $4500 household name that increases re-sale value by $2000 instantly? Side note: The household name probably has better long-term service capabilities.
- The piece of junk discount suit for $195 that disintegrates in a year, not to mention makes one look like an amateur among business leaders, or an $850 suit that lasts a decade and makes a powerful statement about your professionalism? Side note: A recent study showed that purchases of investment grade clothing yield better long term cost benefit for the user.
- A new GPS-only device for $495 or a smart phone that includes GPS tracking as a side benefit to all its other functions? Side note: Do I really need a side note here?
I could go on all day with examples. The key point is that the salesperson needs to illustrate how the price is secondary to the total return on investment (ROI). You can’t expect the buyer to do your job for you. The next time you feel victimized by price negotiations, shift the dialogue instantly from price to ROI.
November-28-2012: Will Yourself to Win the Price Battle
I’m back on the rant! If you think selling is about having the lowest price, think again. If it was only about price, we could fire all the salespeople and simply install drive through windows at every business. The crackling voice on the box would ask, “Would you like a side order of windows with that lumber load, Mister?”
If you want to win, then STOP using price as an excuse. Stop talking about it. Stop telling your boss it’s about price. Stop telling your customers that “you’ll see what you can do.” Stop telling YOURSELF that it’s about price. Change your behaviors; your mind and heart will follow. The only way to beat the price objection is to “will” yourself to a new mindset through forced behaviors. Steal a page from the playbook of the great American philosopher, Muhammad Ali who shouted, “I said I was the greatest before I knew I was.”
Tell yourself it is not about price before you believe. Soon enough, you will.
November-27-2012: Sell to Help
Are you asking for help to make a sale or selling to help?
“Beggars” are salespeople focused on making instant sales by asking prospects about competitor’s products, services, and pricing. They feel this makes them sales leaders because they are asking what their competitor “could do better.” In reality, they are asking the prospect, “Can you help me figure out how to sell you something?”
Sales Leaders demonstrate sincere intention to help. They recognize that their products and services are merely tools to help clients succeed. Instead of asking prospects for help making a sale, work diligently to understand your client’s personal business challenges. If you figure out how to help, the sales results will come easy.
November-26-2012: It’s NOT the Product
Selling is always a service. It’s not about the product.
The best example comes from real estate, a market in which every sales agent shares the same inventory of goods. They are not selling the same brand of product. They are selling the exact same unique one-of-a-kind product. It doesn’t get more competitive than that. In order to distinguish yourself as a real estate sales agent, you must become a consultative sales leader who helps people achieve their objectives and dreams.
It never matters what product you sell. The only thing that matters is personal service, professionalism, and ability to help others succeed.
November-19-2012: Competence Wins
There is an old adage that says cream rises to the top. Last week I noted that polls don’t matter. This week it was certainly proven to be true when the SEC was positioned to represent the conference in pursuit of a seventh consecutive NCAA championship.
There is no question about the superiority of play in the conference and fate now proves that competence wins. It reminds us all to ignore office politics, gossip, and issues out of our control.
Do your job competently and success will find you.
November-16-2012: Change or Lose
If you have ever read my articles or attended one of my seminars you’ve probably heard me paraphrase Albert Einstein by stating, “Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting the SAME result.”
CASE STUDY: The Hostess company is on the verge of collapse and likely to be out of business soon. It will be a case study that is discussed in business classes for many years. People will wonder how a company that was practically an American institution became unprofitable while producing a delicious product using the most inexpensive ingredients, probably containing very little food.
The answers will include poor marketing, bad distribution fulfillment, and a failure to evolve the brand. Hostess allowed the Brand to evolve organically, which produced only one positive image, the iconic deep fried Twinkie. At the same time, the company advertised little and failed to leverage its position as a nostalgic slice of Americana.
As a huge fan of the Hostess cupcake, I observed that the company’s onsite inventory management and demand fulfillment was sorely lacking. I discovered too often a convenience store end cap that was void of my favorite item even when amply stocked with alternative products. It was easy to see years ago that the company probably lacked operational efficiency.
In any case, the simple truth is that the company did the same thing for decades…and eventually got a very different result.
1. Change or you’ll be left behind.
2. You can still purchase a lifetime supply of Twinkies before Hostess closes the doors. The delectable elongated cake with cream-like substance in the middle has a half life of 67 years.
November-13-2012: Only The Game Counts
Clearly the red states of the south learned a lesson last week when discovering that the polls don’t always matter. (NO! I’m not talking politics!!!) In this case, it turns out that Alabama is not a rubber stamp to win the BCS championship and, more significantly, it could be the first time in nearly a decade that the Southeast Conference (SEC) doesn’t put a team in the championship game. Take that SEC!
Learning Lesson: Potential, praise, and past performance might get you to the dance, but it’s only the game day effort that matters. In business, EVERY day is game day. Play each one like a championship is on the line.
NOTE: Before my red state brethren write me e-mails about the superiority of the SEC, I get it! I’m just a Yankee pokin’ fun, mostly because I realize that the conference is two levels above any other football conference in the country. I don’t get many chances for a dig.
November-12-2012: Honor Sacrifice with Empathy
Today is a day that enables us to meditate and pray for the soldiers who fought for a belief in our country. Many of our veterans fortunately returned home safely and maybe never had to engage in battle. Thousands unfortunately lost their eyesight, limbs, and mobility. Countless others returned from battle with minds permanently altered and scarred. Some never returned including the warriors from Vietnam still missing in action. Let’s honor together by taking some time to reflect individually on the millions of humans who paid immensely for the privilege of our safety and freedom.
My eyes fills with tears when I think of the abject violence that teenage soldiers have endured. My heart aches with the knowledge that more violence is coming. My hope is that one day we won’t have the events that deprive young men and women of the future they deserve. Until then, let’s come together to honor the memory of our lost warriors, warriors returned home, and the warriors still in harm’s way. It’s not a conservative thing; it’s not a liberal thing; it’s the right thing.
November-09-2012: Proud Of or For
There are two ways to be proud of a person. One is an expression of approval, while the other is an expression of praise.
To be proud “of” a person can unintentionally emphasize your ego to imply a condescending statement of approval. To be proud “for” a person is a selfless recognition of accomplishment and demonstrates sincere awareness in the energy it took to succeed.
Maybe the distinction is semantic, but the sentiment is not. Regardless of the verbiage you choose, the next time you want to recognize a worthy accomplishment, let someone know how proud you are for them.
November-08-2012: Welcome to 2013
I apologize. My tip today is about a month late…
Too often managers and executives assume that monthly sales results are a function of the activity that takes place during the month. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sales success is a function of the prospecting that takes place long before the “now”. Thus, my tip of the day is to remind you that 2012 is over! Any sales you achieve during the remainder of this year will be based on your efforts of the past…or luck.
It is time to start building your 2013 sales results before it’s too late. 2013 started happening sixty to ninety days ago. If you haven’t started aggressively planting seeds for 2013 yet, get on it!
November-07-2012: Deal with Bad Calls
It’s third down and long when your receiver makes a circus catch to keep the drive alive. The yellow penalty flag negates the play just before a replay proves the ref made a horribly wrong call. What do you do?
A. Cuss out the official.
B. Complain to everyone who will listen (and force those who don’t want to) and ruin their day by making them feel as badly as you.
C. Take the ball and run home.
D. Fight the good battle. Play with the confidence that you can overcome any obstacle.
The correct answer is….
November-06-2012: Laugh at Yourself
One of the great characteristics of leaders is the ability to laugh at oneself.
Abraham Lincoln was once called two-faced, to which he responded, “If I had two faces, do you think I would choose this one!”
NOTE: Before you see Stephen Spielberg’s latest movie, “Lincoln”, I strongly encourage you to read the book. A Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I rank it as one of the best non-fiction books I’ve ever read and certainly the most inspiring.
November-05-2012: Give Value Freely
Tip: Give value freely to increase your exposure and brand worth.
Case Study: Grateful Dead enthusiasts know that the band was famous for encouraging fans to bootleg recordings of their concerts. As a college hippie, I owned more than fifty free cassette recordings and valued Jerry Garcia’s different improvisations for each of my favorite Dead songs. You wouldn’t be surprised that this got me excited to see the Dead in concert, but you might be a little surprised to learn that I still went out and purchased nearly every available album they recorded. This was part of the Grateful Dead’s grand marketing scheme.
Most casual music fans assume that the Dead was a motley crew of drug-using hippies who succeeded accidentally while, in fact, the band held regular strategic marketing meetings to cultivate its brand. In addition to their gift for creating unique music, they discussed methods to sell albums and “logo-ed” merchandise while filling arenas to capacity with loyal followers. Among the many factors producing a cult-like following was the availability of bootleg recordings that worked as a form of viral marketing before the concept even existed. The business lesson: Provide free value to your audience that increases your exposure and brand worth.
How This Applies to You: Instead of promising to deliver value, prove it before the prospect becomes a client. If you publish a newsletter, first, make sure you give ideas that are worth money before expecting a client to pay for your goods and services. If you are a salesperson, become a consultant who provides profitable ideas to help prospects succeed before they become your clients. If you want to be remembered in the market and become the first choice when prospects are seeking a new supplier of goods and services, then give free ideas that encourage people to pay for more….kind of like my tips of the day.
November-02-2012: Build Your Own Paradigm
The most successful people in history were able to ignore naysayers around them. Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Steven Jobs, and others were never stifled by the limitations of other people’s imaginations. The next time someone promotes their own pessimism about the future, don’t believe it. They are seeking company at their pity party.
Don’t let the limitations of someone else’s paradigm become yours. Be a leader who shares a worthy vision and promotes a belief in infinite possibility.
November-01-2012: Ready, Fire Aim
Some of the most successful people in history save time and innovate just by doing.
Take risks and evaluate after the fact. Ready, Fire, Aim is a powerful recipe for success!
October-30-2012: Be in Sales Fashion
The old style salesperson promotes value and service, assuming that the job is to push products, while ending up frustrated by combative price negotiations.
The modern salesperson sees transactions with an open heart, allowing for the possibility that the product or timing might not be right for the client, while focusing on ways to help the client make profits.
The modern salesperson sells more profitably because she becomes a contributing member to the client’s success.
October-29-2012: Sell The Experience
You think Harley Davidson sells motorcycles? Think again.
Harley sells Rebellion. You see it in archetypal leather vested gang riders. You also see it in wealthy doctors and lawyers trying to recapture the freedom of their youth. The motorcycle is merely a vehicle to express the rebellion.
Stop pushing products and instead sell the experience you offer.
October-26-2012: A Good Laugh Cures All
Studies have proven that laughing actually improves your health. So laugh freely and share a good joke.
As a way to end the week, I want to clarify an issue regarding my Monday blog. I sent out a satirical piece that I wrote for humor. Some readers thought it was an actual story taking a political position. The answer is, no. I was only trying to poke fun at our the comedy of our political landscape. Also, some readers asked me where I found the story. I wrote it!
So, if you want a good laugh, click here BILLIONS OF DOLLARS FOR A $400,000 SALARY – The “Uranus Factor”
..and have a great weekend. Keep laughing.
October-25-2012: Stop Ignoring Stuff
It is easy to get caught up in worry. Stop ignoring the immediate world around you and look around. The magnificence of the planet and accomplishments of human construction are worth marveling over.
Take time to breathe in and look around in the present.
October-24-2012: It’s NOT about You
Building a business relationship is a lot like dating.
You can focus on your wants and interests. But you’ll have more success if you can at least pretend to show interest in your client. And if you actually care, success comes easily.
October-23-2012: Great Leaders Follow
Being a great leader is not about knowing how to lead.
A great leader knows how to be a great follower and leads from that perspective. When you learn to recognize and follow good leadership, then you will become a great leader.
October-19-2012: Show People You Care
You may not know that I send out a daily business tip for free to subscribers. I’ve put you on my list for this week only. If you enjoy them and would like to continue receiving them, then please go to my website to sign up or respond directly to me. I’d love to share them with you and offer the daily mental floss that has helped others.
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Have a great weekend. Show people you care.
October-18-2012: The Experience is More than the Product
Great sales leaders listen to all factors affecting the buying experience.
Case Studies: Tony is a roofing contractor in the north suburbs of Chicago. He told me a great story of a client who had invested six figures in the landscaping of their home. He told the homeowner that he should allow Tony to build a platform and scaffolding around two elevations of the home in order prevent damage to valuable decking, shrubberies, and the rock garden. At the conclusion of the project, the homeowner asked, “How much extra did it cost me to have you put up all the scaffolding?” Tony (at least he claimed to me) responded, “A lot less than it would have cost you to replace all of your beautiful exterior home decorations.” He was paid on time…at a healthy margin…and received an instant referral from the elated client.
The “experience” is much more than the product and service you provide. There is an impact to the entire organism – e.g. building, family, corporation. Sales leaders empathize by listening carefully to make the buying/ownership experience seamless.
October-17-2012: Great Sales Leaders Make A Case
Case Study: I listened to a Garage door dealer in Canada complain that price was the only motivator his prospects understood. At the same time, he showed me brochures he use to promote the concept of a garage as a “bonus living space” in the home. See: www.garageliving.ca The sales representative for the garage door company explained that the re-seller had the perfect presentation to overcome any price objections. He said, “Even if your clients aren’t ready to build their dream garage as a bonus living space, at least sell them on the idea of a top-of-the-line garage door to prepare them for the future if they ever decide to dress up that space.” This was a perfect example of selling the experience of product ownership before the transaction begins, both for the garage door manufacturer and its re-seller!
Make a case for “ownership” instead of “buying” prior to the sale. The former defines and experience, while the latter defines only an expense. Sell the experience before the transaction.
October-16-2012: Sales Leaders are Proactive
Great sales leaders are consultative, not reactive.
Case Study: If you have a repeat client who is continually experiencing the same problems with your company products or service, it is a sign that YOU are doing something wrong. If the client is consistently receiving late deliveries, then you must take the initiative to help them schedule better. If your client is frequently leaving important items off the order, then recognize the consultative sales opportunity to help them get future orders right.
October-15-2012: Sell Before the Experience
Great sales leaders are fire preventors, not fire put-er-outers.
Your job as a salesperson is to manage the future experience of your goods and services before that experience occurs.
Case Study: My electrician told me that problems with Netflix streaming, after months of bad reception, could be cured with an upgrade high speed Internet access and noted that this “was not an unusual occurrence in [his] experience.” In other words, he anticipated problems and yet failed to inform me prior to installation. I would have upgraded before installation and enjoyed my experience more had he managed my expectations. His lack of “experience management” with clients affects their satisfaction and might cost him valuable referrals.
Help your clients by sharing the things you see every day so they can expect the things they wouldn’t otherwise consider.
October-12-2012: Canadians are Americans Too
The other day I suggested that we try to buy more American made products. My friends and clients to the north reminded me that I should have elaborated and said “North American” made products. For me it is inferred, but maybe not for all my readers. So, remember…
Canadians are Americans too.
Happy belated Thanksgiving Canada!!!!
October-11-2012: Be Constructive
I often wonder how well people who boo in the stands would stand up to the scrutiny of an audience watching their every move on the job. I think about the fact that professional athletes do something on their worst day that I could never ever have done on the best day of my life. That prevents me from booing…that and the fact that I’d hate for people to watch every single action I take during the course of my workday. I know I’m far from perfect and couldn’t take the booing!
It’s easy to criticize and blame, but only constructive feedback about performance and a focus on the issues will change the world.
October-09-2012: Support Small Business
If you’re one of the people (like me) who believes it important to support small businesses and American jobs, then try, as difficult as it may be, to buy American made products from independently owned businesses.
October-08-2012: Be Quiet
I imagine life before the turn of the 20th century and wonder what people did to occupy their time when there were no movies, television, text messages, e-mails, traffic jams, drive-through windows, or other modern amenities of life. I think that a lot of time was spent being quiet and allowing the natural circadian rhythm of life to take its course. It is important to take time to be quiet.
October-05-2012: Smile Habitually
You have a choice about the mask you’ll wear in public – the happy mask or the angry one. I know for certain that the happy mask contributes positive energy for your fellow humans. Studies have repeatedly proven that a smile not only makes you look happy, it actually changes your body chemically and makes you feel happy.
- Look for the good in people; it will help you overcome cynicism.
- Laugh at yourself; people will become more attracted to you.
- Smile habitually; it creates endorphins that make you feel better.
Have a great weekend. I hope you enjoy the beautiful fall weather in your part of the world.
October-04-2012: Winning is Overcoming Fear
Winning is Overcoming Fear – Pain requires attention. Pain tells you something is wrong and that your body needs treatment. Fear is mental pain that needs treatment. In the face of fear, don’t run away from it. Dive directly into it and deal with the facts that are creating your mental pain. Then cope by taking the best action possible under the circumstances.
Fighting the battle, even in the presence of fear, is a trait of winners.
October-03-2012: Winning is Preparation
You have heard the common interview question answered the same way hundreds of times. The player scores the winning point and is asked what went through his mind, to which he always replies breathlessly, “Nothing. I’ve taken that shot thousands of times in my life. I was ready and, good lord willing, it went in.” The lord may have helped, but I think the thousands of hours of practice helped more.
The practice that you repeat over and over during your career creates success in the heat of the moment.
October-02-2012: Winning Requires Character
Winning Requires Character – A lot of businesspeople give up easily when the chips are down. The difference between winners and losers is less about skills and more about character and the persistence to compete even when the score is not in your favor.
Winning is Believing – This week I am writing about “winning.”
As I watched the Ryder Cup and heard the announcer say that the golfer, “…looked calm on the outside” as he was lining up the crucial putt that would win or lose the match, I thought that the golfer didn’t look calm at all. Conversely, the winning team’s players acted and behaved as if they expected to win, even when they were down a seemingly insurmountable deficit early in the match.
The difference between winning and losing is your belief in the outcomes. Assume you’re going to be successful and you will be.
September-28-2012: Sudden Success
The tip today comes courtesy of my friend Jack Anderson, who was recently promoted to a VP position and, in response to my congratulatory e-mail wrote, “Thanks! After 26 years in the industry I feel like an overnight success.” He reminds all of us that success is never sudden, but instead an accumulation of dedicated years of hard work.
If you want to achieve sudden success, then work hard every day and one day you’ll be an overnight success too!
September-27-2012: Feed Egos
There is a type of buyer I call “Mr. Jones +” because he wants to do more than keep up with the Joneses. He wants to be ahead.
Your presentations to this type of buyer should feed the ego! This type of buyer actually values paying more for goods. This type of buyer wants the latest and greatest innovations and is swayed (unlike the control freaks and analytical buyers I wrote about the two previous days) by the enthusiasm you bring to your presentation.
Ego-based buyers value keeping ahead of the Joneses and are willing to pay for it. Make sure your presentations show them all the ways you can provide status and a competitive edge.
September-26-2012: Fight When it’s Right
Control Freaks are the types of buyers who thrive on conflict. Their disagreements should not be necessarily construed as objections because these people debate to process information.
Sometimes it’s right to fight unemotionally for what you believe with this audience. They will respect you for standing up for your position, especially if you can back up your promise to deliver results.
September-25-2012: Don’t Overtalk
Analytical thinkers are the type of buyers most easily “talked out of a sale.” An analytical thinker incorporates every piece of information into the decision making process. Thus, when you are dealing with a very analytical buyer, avoid introducing new data that confuses the decision making process. Limit your presentation only to relevant information that engages the buyer and eliminates confusion.
When you think you’ve made your case with this type of buyer…shut up.
September-24-2012: Bring Your Own Energy
I have watched speakers during presentations ask repetitive questions to their audience in hopes of generating group energy. The result is completely the opposite. A (quiet) engaged audience is alienated by the distraction of questions and a plea for energy sharing.
Great speakers accept that an audience comes to receive energy rather than give it. The next time you make a presentation to a group, worry less about audience participation and more about delivering meaningful, unique content. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the feedback you receive and the rise in your credibility.
September-21-2012: Reevaluate Success
It seems a problem of epidemic proportions in our society today is that we measure success only by wealth and status. The result is greed, fear, and the irrational pursuit of “more.” Be careful not to evaluate your success in life only by the size of your treasure. It leads to jealousy of those who have more and a false sense of superiority over those who have less.
Find gratification in your accomplishments that help other people.
September-20-2012: Visit Client Websites
The first step in qualifying (i.e. understanding your client’s needs and challenges) begins before the meeting. Take time to visit the websites of clients and prospects prior to meetings in order to understand them better. If you’re really good at what you do, you may even have some productive suggestions for them. For example, I always suggest that clients stop providing “Free Estimates” and instead offer “Free Consultations”. One puts the seller in the role of a price-oriented sales beggar. The other establishes your credentials and shifts the expectation of a sales call from a bid opportunity to a personal consultation.
Visit websites to offer ideas that can help your clients. (Did you notice the tip within the tip? If you liked the consultation idea, then you recognize that your clients will love the suggestions you can make when you visit their websites and provide beneficial ideas.)
September-19-2012: Prove You Listened
Begin e-mails and other technology communications by reiterating important information your clients share about their challenges. I even include a “What I Heard” section in my preliminary e-mail proposals that lists some of the challenges my client expressed during other conversations (or written exchanges). For example, if a client tells me she is concerned about the experience level of her sales staff, I write, “I heard that you are concerned about the experience level of your sales staff.” If a client tells you that he is concerned about his grass being trampled during a re-roof project, you should write, “I heard your concerns about your lawn.”
Even if you can’t solve the problems, at least acknowledge that you’re listening. It goes a long way towards strengthening relationships.
September-18-2012: Get Technologically Personal
Nothing is closer in communication than a live meeting between living, breathing human beings. But, in the absence of that, it’s worth considering which technologies make you “closer” to the client. A phone call is more personal than an e-mail. A text message is also more personal than an e-mail. I actually believe that earning permission to be on a text basis with a client or prospect is more personal than an only phone call basis.
You may not agree with my assessments, but we can agree that the mode of communication each of your clients values most will differ from one to the next. Make a conscious effort to communicate with clients the way they prefer.
September-17-2012: Technology Week
I’m grateful that you allow me to communicate with you on a daily basis. It’s a privilege I do not take for granted.
This week I’d like to focus my tips on the use of technology. I believe that the impersonal world of technology requires a very personal touch. In other words, the recipients of your technology communications must “feel” your heart if you want to stand out from the noise.
Open each technology communication you write with a personal touch…kind of like I did in this one. I meant every word and truly thank you.
September-13-2012: Compliment Your Competitors
Build your credibility by sincerely complimenting your competitors… and mean it.
They probably do many good things worthy of respect, just like you.
September-12-2012: Beware of “You Said”s
The surest way to elevate tension during a conversation is to say, “you said…” The words make the recipient feel cornered and turn the discussion into a confrontational exchange. Most importantly, the things we think we heard people say are often different than the things they said.
Next time you are about to say, “you said,” slow down and tell them “I thought I heard you say…” It’s a better way to negotiate on win-win terms.
September-11-2012: No Worries
The Aussies like to say “no worries, mate.” It’s a trite saying and easy to forget the power in those three little words.
As we remember the senseless loss of life to abject acts of cowardice, it is worth remembering that on 9/11 the things that mattered were crystal clear in our minds. On that day, our hearts went out to the victims. On that day, the size of your home and retirement nest egg were meaningless. On that day, the only thing we wanted was to bond with friends and family members. On that day, we no longer worried about the little things like office politics, people cutting in line, or economic conditions. On that day, we stopped worrying and focused on caring more than ever before.
Every day should be that way. Worry less…Care more. It’s the happy way to live.
September-10-2012: Finding Happiness
I meditated this morning on my birthday about the things that make me happy. I am happy because of the family and friends I love in my life. It gives me happiness when my tool box in my workshop is neat and orderly. I find that I’m often irritated during a long workout, but incredibly gratified and very happy afterwards.
I was reminded that it isn’t “things” that make me happy. It’s probably no different for you. “Things” give us pleasure, while accomplishment and relationships gives us tremendous gratification. Discover the things that produce gratification, not pleasure, and you’ll be infinitely happier.
NOTE: If you like receiving my tips for free, I guarantee a small investment in you will be very worth every penny! Read more about ideas exactly like the one in this tip. You REALLY should get to Amazon.com or my website to order The Sales Secret. It is rife with ideas that will inspire you to new levels of success!
September-7-2012: Be Able to Walk
The reason so many salespeople feel threatened during combative negotiations is the fear of walking away. The only way to gain the confidence to hold your price is by having abundant alternatives.
Your negotiation power in the room is based on the effort you make outside of the room…prospecting.
September-6-2012: Get Something of No Value
When someone asks you for something in a negotiation that will cost you money, get something in return of little or no value to your client. Some items include a consolidated delivery, a promise for additional business, a testimonial letter, or a referral.
You may truly believe you have to lower your price to get the business. If so, at least get something in return. It’s the professional thing to do.
September-5-2012: Know Your Bottom Line
Know the least you will accept for your products and services before negotiations begin. If you don’t know the point at which you’ll walk, then you may end up costing yourself and your company huge profits.
Remember that you can’t possibly win a negotiation if you’re not willing to walk away from it.
September-4-2012: Prepare Ahead of Negotiations
Gene Kelly once said that a great dancer “is not on the beat. He’s ahead of it.” I think the same is true for adept business negotiators. They’re not reacting to negotiation demands after they occur. Top salespeople expect negotiations and prepare tactics in advance.
Consider the possible negotiations you’ll encounter prior to the dialogue and you’ll have more success during the dialogue.
August-31-2012: Sleep Well
Do not underestimate the power of a good night of sleep. Somewhere in our lexicon, we established a braggadocio that performing well on less sleep is a sign of strength and power. A good night of sleep is the sign of strength and power. It enables you to perform better throughout the day, fosters better health including weight loss, and makes you look better.
Sleep well this weekend.
On a side note, while looking up “braggadocio” to ensure my proper use of it in this tip at dictionary.com, I encountered the word floccinaucinihilipilification. It is defined at the website as “the estimation of something as valueless.” To use it in a sentence, I would say: “The word floccinaucinihilipilification exemplifies floccinaucinihilipilification.” NOTE: If you’re really twisted and in need to do something full of floccinaucinihilipilification, click on the link to the word and listen to the pronunciation of the 12 syllable tongue twister.
August-30-2012: Slow Down
Multitasking, hyperefficiency, and fast paced actions leaf to mistakes. If you don’t believe it, thunk again. I typed this message in thrifty seconds.
Slow down to increase your productivity.
P. S . …and STOP texting while you drivel… Or drive.
August-29-2012: Don’t “Over” Apologize
A common mistake for salespeople is to draw exaggerated attention to mistakes.
Instead, fix the problem, move on, and recognize that clients are usually more reasonable than you expect.
August-28-2012: Market Your Credentials
People choose to do business when the timing is right for them. In business-to-business this often means that they choose a new supplier only when dissatisfied with an existing one.
So…market your competence before your product and you’ll sell more of your product.
August-27-2012: Keep Perspective
Last week I had friends and family suffer an unspeakable tragedy. I feel privileged that I could be present to lend support and was reminded from the experience to keep life in perspective. A young woman name Anastasia Schauer died suddenly in a car accident at the age of 24. I knew her from the time she was an adolescent and watched her grow to be a woman that drank life in. She played practical jokes, made people laugh, laughed easily at herself, traveled, and never was cheated out of a minute of life. In her death, she reminded me of the importance of living elatedly.
The economy, job challenges, crayons on the curtains, dirt on the rug, car accidents you walk from…they are all nothing. Truly. In honor of Ana, I implore you to keep life in perspective and relish every moment.
August-24-2012: Turn on Your Mind
Lately, I’ve been forced to watch a lot of television in airports and other public venues. It literally hurts. It’s bad for the brain.
A great athlete can’t stay in shape eating sugar and grease. A great thinker can’t stay in shape watching the drivel on television.
I say (again) turn off the tv and turn on your mind. Meditate, exercise, read, play catch with your son or daughter… Anything to give your brain positive stimulation.
Fight the addiction of television this weekend. You’ll feel better on Monday.
August-23-2012: Look Forward
When people reflect on their lives, the reaction is often sad because they feel life “went by too fast.” When people look forward, they activate the frontal lobe of the brain and make future plans. They recognize that there are many years ahead to enjoy the thrills of life.
Keep looking forward while you can.
August-22-2012: Make Your Offer
There is an old sales adage that is so popular that is has become trite – Great salespeople don’t sell; they help people buy.
You’ll discover that if you reduce your push for a sale and increase your willingness to accept the client’s intelligence to make the right decision, your results will improve. Stop selling and start presenting your services as an “offer” to do business. If your offer is strong enough, people will see the value and respect you enough to do business on your terms.
August-21-2012: Reflect on Your Offer
Today I suggest that you find some quiet time, if only a few moments, to ask yourself, “If I were a prospect of me, why would I do business with me?”
You will be more prepared for dialogues with clients when you can answer that question because you will better understand their perspective.
August-20-2012: Keep Your Head Down
It’s familiar advice to golfers. It also works in business and life. Just keep your eye on the task in front of you and good stuff will happen.
August-17-2012: Cold Calling Day
Friday is cold calling day! That’s our motto here at Building Leaders, Inc.
We believe that people are happiest on Fridays, thus making them most receptive to a dialogue. We believe that most salespeople are already checked out for the week, thus making Friday the day you beat your competition. We believe that bringing a new lead or two into the pipeline to end the week creates optimism for the week ahead.
So stop reading this tip and reach out to someone now!
Cold call today and I guarantee you’ll have a great weekend!
August-16-2012: Focus on Little Things
The two best movies I have seen in 2012 are the documentaries Searching for Sugarman and Jiro Dreams of Sushi. They tell the stories of two men who epitomize the power of quiet passion for a job well done. More importantly, in a world in which the pursuit of money and material wealth is revered to extremes, it is a privilege to be reminded that true power is not mastery over others and the accumulation of wealth. It is instead found in abstention, discipline, and the pursuit of a simple life dedicated to mundane tasks performed with excellence.
Jiro is the only sushi chef in history to win the Michelin three-star rating. He operates a 10-seat sushi bar in the Tokyo subway with his son and a few select apprentices. His tale defines the power of living in the moment and the importance of attention to detail. He is not about cooking rice; he is about cooking rice with excellence. He is not about slicing a piece of fish; he is about ensuring that the taste, texture, and visual appearance is abundant in every bite, with a self-imposed zero tolerance for error. You don’t have to like sushi to watch this movie and be reminded that truly knowing you have attained perfection, even for only a small task, is the only reward one ever needs.
Searching for Sugarman is the story of Rodriguez, a Detroit native who rivals (exceeds in my opinion) the poetic lyrics of Bob Dylan. He recorded a few albums in Detroit in the early 1970s and was never heard from again…in the United States. In South America, Rodriquez is bigger than Elvis and became the musical voice of the anti-Apartheid movement. But his existence and surprising lack of fame in this United States remained a mystery…until now. Ultimately Rodriguez is revealed as an enlightened voice on a hot planet.
Do yourself a favor and find a way to see these riveting films. You’ll discover they are meditative exercises that enhance your existence.
August-15-2012: Polite Drivers are Being Ridiculous!
I have recently discovered that many drivers are patiently letting other drivers in the lane. Just this morning, I was at a four-way stop when another driver kindly waved me through the intersection ahead of her. It’s ridiculous!!
In spite of all the negative news predicting doom and gloom, I’m finding that a lot of people are laughing and living their lives with grace and kindness. These people are either not following the news…or not giving into it. Ridiculous!!! Don’t they know the sky is falling?
August-14-2012: Focus on Decisions
Make business meetings more effective by knowing your desired outcome prior to the start of the meeting. This means determine what you want to decide, not merely discuss.
This is a particularly valuable concept in selling. Sales activity means showing up for the appointment and hoping good things happen while sales accomplishment means striving for decisions that produce mutually beneficial profits.
August-13-2012: Do the Little Things First
Here I am…just back from a week on the road and I was engaged in four important phone calls today that used up my energy. I kept forgetting to do the easy little thing that turns out to be pretty important to some…my daily tip.
We rarely forget to complete the big tasks. It’s the little tasks that get ignored, and then end up growing into problems. Knock out the little tasks to free up your mind and productivity.
August-10-2012: Smarter “Schmarter”
Working “smarter” is overestimated. Work harder instead.
Do More. More phone calls. More meetings. More prospecting. It is very difficult to change the percentages of your success, but you certainly can increase your sample size.
Work harder and you’ll discover that you have more success…on purpose.
Have a great weekend!!!
August-09-2012: Do What You Fear
The difference between a sales Beggar and a Leader is that the former truly believes price is the critical issue of sales success. The only way to change that belief is to hold your price a few times, even when you lose sales, until you realize that you often get the price you ask.
Lost sales are important lessons on the journey to getting your asking price…on purpose.
August-10-2012: Listen Without Interruption
The mistake made by sales Beggars is to interrupt when they see an “opening”, an opportunity to address a client’s challenge with a single bullet. The client’s “pain” is often complex, not to mention the fact that a lot of people can solve the pain of a single issue.
A Sales Leader is in no rush to speak. Listen carefully to hear the full story. It will help you succeed…on purpose.
August-07-2012: Maximize Each Moment
You probably agree that an appointment will, on average, yield better results than a “pop in”. Even if you can’t see the results at the time, your heart confirms it’s the right thing to do.
Worry less about the short term results in the moment. Have the faith that the productive thing you do in each moment in time will eventually yield results…on purpose.
August-06-2012: Success on Purpose
This week I want to talk about “success on purpose”. As Adam learns from his mentor in my book, The Sales Secret, “I’d rather you have some modest accomplishments on purpose than succeed by accident. I can teach you to repeat on purpose. An accident is always an accident.”
Pay attention to the causal effect of your successes. It is a key component to personal growth.
August-03-2012: Work From Abundance
You can choose to work from a perspective of scarcity or abundance. Choose to recognize that there is an abundance of opportunity in front of you and deal quickly and positively with the obstacles along the way.
There are two hundred billion stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. If you travel at the speed of light, 670 billion miles an hour, it would take you 100,000 years to cross the galaxy. There are hundreds of billions of galaxies. If we are insignificant presence, then the Universe of Opportunity is nearly infinite.
Have a great weekend.If you think the little things mean a lot, well…they do!My tip today erroneously noted that the speed of light is 670 billion miles per hour, which implies that you could make an intra-galactic journey across the Milky Way in 100 years with relative ease. The speed of light is actually 670 million miles per hour…which means that the journey will take a lot longer. So, I hope I caught you before you got into your spaceship. Please note that I miscalculated and you’ll need to pack additional water. power bars, and underwear.
August-02-2012: More Heads are Better than Two
You’ve heard that two heads are better than one. There are times when leaders should take the advice of many people.
When it comes to changing procedures, developing improvements to efficiency, or evaluating subjective issues such as marketing materials, build consensus by soliciting the advice of many people on your team.
August-01-2012: Win the Week
My friend Johnny Campbell reminds me that you “have to win the week.” That means 4 out of 7 days with vigorous exercise. Five days wins. Six days wins. But three or less aint gonna get it done.
If you want to be in great physical shape, success is a marathon that you win one week at a time.
July-31-2012: Attitude is Everything
As one watches the Olympics, one notices that the skill difference between the winners and losers is often infinitesimal while the attitude difference is infinite.
Your belief in what you can do is everything.
July-27-2012: Defeat Optimism
I think a lot of people are enthused about positive economic reports and the potential uptick in business. I say, “Fuggetaboutit.” Assume the worst and prepare your sales effort as though you’ll need to continue pursuing every opportunity with gusto. Don’t wait for the rising tide; rise above it!
If the market fulfills our optimistic hopes, you’ll just be further ahead of your competition.
Have a great weekend.
July-26-2012: Protect Your Privacy
Microsoft announced today that it plans to make “do not track” the default setting on its new web browser. Legislative pressure is being applied to protect the privacy of individuals and Microsoft is using this opportunity to get ahead of the competition.
You may not have even known there is a setting on your web browser that allows you to prevent tracking. A Pew Internet study showed that just 38% of users knew how to limit online data collection. The same survey showed, according to today’s Chicago Tribune, that “a majority of web users disapprove of their personal information being collected for targeted advertising.” According to the same article, Microsoft Explorer, wields 54% market share, followed by Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome both hovering near 20%. Apple’s Safari browser currently has 5% market share. Amazingly Google’s Chrome browser does not offer a “do not track” option, although a downloadable add-on option called “Keep My Opt-Outs” is available to accomplish the task.
I guess whether or not you want companies to track your internet activity is up to you. If you want to protect your privacy now, here are some tips. The process to turn off tracking on Mozilla is relatively simple if you pull down the “Tools” menu and click on “Options”. There is a “Privacy” icon which opens up a screen and a box to click on that reads “Tell websites I do not want to be tracked.” The process to turn off tracking on Microsoft Explorer is a bit more convoluted. You can pull down the “Safety” menu and click in “Tracking Protection”. Then “enable” tracking protection by “right clicking” on the line that reads “Your Personalized List” and then enable. NOTE: Your tool bars on Microsoft explorer might be invisible. If so, click on the gear icon at the top right of your screen to pull down the tools menu and choose “Safety” and then “Tracking Protection.”
Microsoft’s action is causing a stir in the advertising industry, mostly from people who want to exploit cookies and tracking mechanisms as the means to target specific audiences for their ads. One Senior Advertising VP, Mike Zaneis, said, “targeted advertising sells for 2.5 times as much as non-targeted.” He added that “We can’t survive in a world,” in which the default browser setting is “do not track.” Another, Jason Wadler of Leapfrog Online, rationalized that “a consumer benefits” by “having their behavior followed.” He added, “If you don’t have the ability to target a consumer segment, then you are going to see a whole bunch of random ads that you don’t care about and that’s not a good experience.”
I am taking no position on the issue, but merely thought the item was worth noting and that I could help you by sharing the method by which you can protect your privacy…if this is an important issue to you.
July-3-2012: Happy 4th for the Children
Along with everyone, I say Happy Birthday America!
Today and tomorrow my reflections are on the future of this country and our children. My votes will be for the politicians who run on a platform for children and the future of our great country.
Support our children.
July-1-2012: The Elixir of Youth
Curiosity is this elixir of youth. Keep open minded and enjoy the wonderment of the Universe. It will keep you young at heart.