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october 2012

Learn from

LAZY

Salespeople p. 10

â„– 16

Dan Waldschimdt on the terrible sales ideas we need to rethink p. 26

Plant

YOUR Ideas in Their

MINDS p. 36


Everyone Wants to Move Forward Now, you can learn HOW YOU CAN is a book of HOW . . . specifically how to improve your personal performance and achievement. In this groundbreaking new book, renown peak performance expert John Von Achen walks you through a proven methodology guaranteed to help you reach your maximum potential. There is no hype in this book, no filler and no excuses. Only solutions for how YOU CAN produce better results in everything you are doing.

Meet the Author One word describes John Von Achen, RESULTS! John Von Achen is one of the most respected thought leaders and peak performance experts in the world today. He has become a legend when it comes to helping individuals and organizations achieve their maximum growth, performance and profitability. Known as an inspiring, forward thinking business leader, John Von Achen has consistently provided his clients “real world” solutions they can transfer into immediate results.

Learn more at www.youcan2012.com/


Founder of SOLDLAB.com and SOLD Magazine John Von Achen Editor-in-Chief Helen Bereschinova Copy Editor Oleg Vetoshnikov Designer Lubov Karmanova Cover story: Dan Waldschmidt Contributors: John Brubaker, Dave Brock, Michael Goldberg, Dan Waldschmidt, Jeff Koser, Jerry Acuff, Shari Alexander, Robert Ferrucci, Dave Kahle, Jeanette Nyden, Dr. Jim Anderson, Qaalfa Dibeehi, Maz Iqbal, Michael Hinshaw COLUMNISTS: Jason Forrest, Stan Billue, David Steel, Jeff and Chad Koser, Maura L. Schreier-Fleming, Arnold Sanow, Phil Waknell, Peter Temple, Greg Williams, Shep Hyken Owned and Operated by CENTE MEDIA, LLC. 1800 Pembrook Dr Ste 300 Orlando, Florida 32810


CONTENTS 06 How to Sell Like a Coach 10 Learning From Lazy Sales People 12 Creating Urgency for Sales Success. Improving People’s Lives 14 Success Secrets from a Sales Super Star. Motivation and Confidence for Sales Pros (Part 2)

Rules and

16 Rules and Regulations for Successful Networking

Regulations for Successful Net working

20 Chasing Zebras. The Untold Story… For salespeople Chapters 13-16

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22 The Steel Method. Pinterest Polarizes Demographics,Provokes Knock Offs, Unites Marketers and Makes Billions 24 SOLD Q&A. Ask the Sales Pro

26 Broken Sales Strategy? 17 EDGY Ways To Be A Bad-Ass Again 31 You Don’t Need to Build a Faster Horse – the Art of Selling 32 Improve close rates with sponsors 34 Up Your Charm IQ. The Four Laws of Relationship Marketing

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October 2012


October 2012 36 Getting in the Mind of Your Audience 39 Three Persuasive Presentation Techniques

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42 Visually Speaking. PowerPoint is Often the Last Thing You Need! 44 Presentation 2.0. Exemplary Selling

46 Closing the Sale – A Realistic Perspective 49 Cash Flow Tight? Consider renegotiating some of your contracts. 51 Sales Negotiators Want To Know: Is Longer Really Better? 54 Advice from the Master Negotiator. Negotiation Strategies That Build Relationships and Influence People

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56 The Destination Starbucks – a Concept Customer Experience 59 What's a Company to Do When Its Customers Develop Superhuman Powers?

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62 Customer Experience: What about the ‘Product’? 64 Create Customer Amazement TM. Six Reasons People Are Amazing – and Three Reasons They Aren’t

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How to Sell Like a Coach 10 Ways to take the coach approach to boost your sales numbers There are many parallels between coaching and selling. The two positions both involve the need to produce immediate results on a daily basis while developing a successful long-term career that is built to last. Coaches and sales professionals are both subject to enormous pressure and intense scrutiny. And in the final analysis, both are measured by a scoreboard as well as by their wins and losses. Here are the 10 steps in taking a “Coach Approach” to create game changing results in your sales career.

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October 2012


SCOUTIN G

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Develop a detailed scouting report. In the days leading up to a game, coaches develop a scouting report on the opposition and devise a game plan. They leave no stone unturned in examining of the opposition and the environment the team will be competing in. Not simply information on the other team’s best players but every aspect of the environment that might have an impact on the outcome of the game. Sales professionals can develop their own scouting report by performing pre-approach activities like Googling the prospect to learn more about their background and bio, studying their website and corporate press releases. Additionally you should include research on the other vendors you are selling against to gain the prospects business.

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Have a backup. There is an old expression in coaching, Have a game plan, have a backup plan and be ready to execute both on a moment’s notice. Why? Because it is inevitable that from time to time conditions and personnel will change on game day. Whether it is weather, injuries or strategy what you expect isn’t always what you see. Economic conditions and personnel changes are just as prevalent in selling today. You can have a good backup plan in place by scouting yourself and thinking like your prospect. What would you ask? What objections and questions can you anticipate? This will enable you to have a backup plan already in place to overcome sales stumbling blocks like a new decision maker entering the picture, price objections, stalling and contract terms.

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Think Like A Champion. Many a game has been lost in the six inches between an athlete’s ears. Many a sale has been lost in the exact same place. Have you ever blown a sale at the close and said to yourself “don’t screw up the next one!” Then you somehow mysteriously manage to proceed to do the very thing you were telling yourself to avoid. Quite simply, what you think about, you bring about. What happens when you read “Don’t think about a red Corvette.” You just thought about a red Corvette didn’t you? When you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, immediately replace it with a positive statement. Your brain cannot hold both positive thought and a negative thought at the same time.

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Prepare a game plan. The scouting activities help you formulate the best game plan to simultaneously accentuate your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. Studying the scouting report enables you to develop the best questions to ask in the meeting in order to facilitate the outcome you desire…. a sale.

E M A G RE P

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Visualize victory. The best coaches have their athletes visualize every play of the game and replay their own mental highlight tape over and over in their minds well before the game is ever played. Why? Because the subconscious mind holds tremendous power and cannot tell the difference between reality and visualization, it simply responds to the thoughts that we feed it. Sales professionals should practice visualizing the sales calls to facilitate a better outcome. Visualizing areas like: a strong introduction, answering difficult questions, successfully overcoming objections and achieving the desired outcome of the meeting. What’s on your mental highlight film?

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Review. Just before the opening face-off, prior to the team leaving the locker room, coaches review the game plan, individual assignments, make any last minute adjustments and have the players check their equipment. Sales professionals need to do the same, in the moments before leaving for an appointment be sure to check your equipment, review your objectives for the call and key facts you need to know about the decision maker and the company.

e m i T e Gam

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Focus Factor. What do coaches remind their athletes to focus on in competition? The present. Nothing more, nothing less. Why? Because it is the one and only thing they have control of. They don’t control the weather, opponent or the officials only themselves. Sales people don’t control the economy, the prospects or the competition only themselves. When you are locked in and focused on the moment while selling you can better focus on nuances in communication such as: tone of voice, what isn’t being said and take cues from the body language of the buyer. You are better equipped to adjust your sales strategy as necessary in that moment. A present moment focus helps you sense any tension or unease in the room and work promptly to address it thus changing the tone (and potentially the outcome) of the meeting. Remember that the past is history, the future is a mystery and today is a gift which is why we call it the present. Focus on being present and making the most of each moment because you are the sum total of each of your todays. Today is the most important day of your sales career. Why? Because today plus today plus today equals your quarter, equals your fiscal year, equals your career, equals your life. Here is a great daily test for you to give yourself, at the end of each day write in your day planner or your journal reflect on your activities and respond with one of these two phrases: I’m glad I did or I wish I had. Total it up at the end of the week and the end of the month to see if you’re living your todays or wishing them away.

POST-GA

ME

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The eye in the sky doesn’t lie. Coaches have game film as evidence of exactly where the breakdowns took place and how. Having this objective assessment of performance allows the coach to more easily make adjustments to prevent similar mistakes in the future as well as reproduce the successful plays in the next outing. The sales version of game film is taking excellent notes and engaging in active listening with prospects. Repeating what they told you for clarification and affirmation as well as documenting critical information will facilitate better and more accurate follow through. You should also make it a habit to audio and video record your “practice sales calls” so you can make adjustments and duplicate your successes more easily.

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The post-game report. A postgame review of performance helps make sure you are focused on the flawless execution of the right things as well as the little things. It is important to analyze performance in order to improve your preparation process because within every performance there are actually three performances: The way you prepared to perform, the way you actually went out and performed and the way you wish you would have performed. The goal is to create congruence between these three aspects of performance.

Several post-game report questions to ask yourself: Where did I perform well? What could I have improved? What did the prospect do well? Where can I help them the most? Where did I make the greatest impact? When and how did any breakdowns take place? Answering these questions “postgame” will help you better execute your next game plan as well as create a better client relationship moving forward. Several of my clients have stated that the information sharing of the data from their sales reps postgame reports has helped their sales and customer service departments develop a list of best-practices, do’s and don’ts for new hires, as well as lessons from the field that the reps can all benefit from.

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Treatment and repair. After a hard fought game, coaches have their athletes repair their equipment, treat their nicks and bruises, and rehab their injuries to make sure their muscles don’t breakdown further. Most importantly they will perform prehab or maintenance exercises for injury prevention and to reduce next day soreness. In sales, an ounce of prevention is also worth a pound of cure. How you treat prospects and repair client relationships goes a long way in the sales process. The devil truly is in the details. Based on this, ask yourself what follow up is necessary based on the outcome of your sales call? Is there any damage control needed? The best way to differentiate yourself from the competition is with impeccable follow through. New relationships with customers are won or lost on the follow through and the long-term customer or repeat customer relationship is further cemented by paying attention to these same details. Yogi Berra once said “In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they aren’t.” Truer words were never spoken. Just like in sports, in the game of sales you can’t win a championship without practice. Take the Coach Approach theory and put it into practice to start boosting your winning percentage.

finish

John Brubaker is a nationally renowned performance consultant, speaker and author. Using a multidisciplinary approach, Brubaker helps organizations and individuals develop their competitive edge. Brubaker is the author of The Coach Approach: Success Strategies Out Of The Locker Room Into The Board Room and co-author of the book Leadership: Helping Others To Succeed. John is also the host of Maximum Success: The Coach Bru Show on 1510 NBC Sports Radio Boston. He is a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and he also earned a master’s degree in personnel psychology from FDU. Brubaker has completed his doctoral coursework in Sport Psychology at Temple University. www.coachbru.com

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Learning From Lazy Sales People

O

ften, when I get involved with a new client, I seek out their “laziest” sales people. You know the one’s I’m talking about. There’s always someone that hides away. He keeps a low profile, probably stays out of the office, never volunteers to do things, but always seems to make the number. Perhaps he’s just barely making it, but he’s making it (which is significant when data show that fewer than 50% of sales people are making the number). These people stand out in an odd way. In organizations where there is a frenzy of activity, managers asking for more calls, sales people struggling for meeting after meeting, people spending their time morning to evening chasing something – what they are chasing isn’t really clear, but they certainly look busy. The “lazy” sales person–who always makes his numbers has reduced selling to its essence. They understand the minimum set of things that need to be done to get the order. They’ve actually gotten a well-defined process, understanding the things that have the greatest impact in helping the customer make a buying decision. They don’t try for meeting after meeting with customers, they accomplish what they need to do with the fewest possible meetings. They don’t do all the internal stuff, they do just what they have to do – they are minimalists (and usually delinquent) when it comes to reporting or CRM compliance. They’re slouched in the back of the room during meetings, and the first out the door when the meeting is over (where they go is a mystery). There is no excess, no wasted motion, no wasted time – in what they do or wasted time with the customer. Too often, we confuse activity for accomplishment (Andy Paul has a great post on this: Don’t Confuse Activity With Selling). We measure our success by how full our calendars are. We feel as thou we are accomplishing things when we run from meeting to call to meeting. We look at quantity of activity rather than the quality of the activity. The “lazy” sales people aren’t deceived by this. They don’t seem to break a sweat. Manager come to them saying, “We need to get some more deals to make our quarter, can you help out?” They roll their eyes, look re-

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ally annoyed, usually there is a huge sigh because they are being disturbed, and they reply, “I don’t really know how, I’m doing everything I can, but I’ll try.” Somehow they make it – and it remains a mystery to most of us. We can learn a lot from “lazy” sales people. Understanding what they do helps us understand what’s most important. We can focus our work efforts on what’s critical to moving the sale forward, not what makes us look busy. We do have to be a little careful. Sometimes these “lazy” sales people take some short cuts. The customer may not “totally understand” things (they may be making a leap of faith based on trust). The sales person may forget some important things–both in communicating to the customer or in what they are doing internally. The PO’s may be in error, the contracts may not be signed – there may be some details that have been forgotten or omitted. But those are easy to find. We should try to understand what makes “lazy” sales people successful, how they consistently make the number with the minimum effort, but we shouldn’t seek to emulate their behavior. The ideal is to learn from them so that we can Sell More! One of the down sides to “lazy” sales people is they “just make the number.” As sales professionals, we should be driven to blow the number away, to constantly over achieve our goals, outperform the objectives that have been established. But the “lazy” sales people give us great insight in how to get there most efficiently. by Dave Brock

President and CEO at Partners In EXCELLENCE. As founder, president and CEO of Partners In EXCELLENCE, Dave

Brock has led in building the company to one of the leading boutique consultancies specializing in business, sales, marketing and customer services strategies. Addition-

ally, he has led in the acquisition of new businesses, that have dramatically expanded their scope, capabilities and services. Learn more at www.partnersinexcellenceblog.com

October 2012


NOW Practices for Professional Selling


Creating Urgency for Sales Success

Improving People’s Lives Creating Urgency, Part 2 by Jason Forrest The greatest tool you have as a sales professional is the power of urgency. True urgency goes way beyond incentives, deals, and other circumstances. True urgency comes from a person’s desire to improve his/ her life. This desire has more influence over a person’s buying decision than any other factor. And this is at the core of creating urgency. So forget the market conditions. Forget any negative reports in the media, your sales meetings, or elsewhere. People buy because they want to improve their lives. This very truth is what gives sales professionals the power to overthrow circumstances and create the success in any market. So let’s talk about circumstantial urgency and emotional urgency. Circumstantial urgency could be on the customer’s side (a life change, a trend, a job change, etc.) or on the company’s (an incentive, an upcoming price increase, or a shortage of supply, maybe). But the latter reasons aren’t the real reasons people buy big-ticket items. They buy because they want to improve their lives. Even the most jaw-dropping deals will fall through if the customer doesn’t believe that your product is right for them. Revving up a new marketing campaign and splashing advertising around town only go so far because they only address circumstantial urgency. And, while using circumstantial urgency as an opening or primary selling tool may help close a deal, it’s not going to make the customers loyal. Quick side note before I move on to emotional urgency; circumstantial urgency absolutely has its place in the sales process. When you do have circumstantial urgencies in your favor (such as an upcoming price increase or more demand than supply) then they should definitely be used as a tool to help your customer realize the consequences of failing to act. However, it’s important that you use the circumstance as a secondary selling point, not a primary one. When the market slows down, your competitors offer better incentives, or the circumstances are otherwise not in your favor, you only have emotional urgency to rely on. And you’ve got to stay focused on that and really demonstrate how your product satisfies their needs better than anyone else’s. If you do not help customers

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to fall in love and develop a deep, emotional, “I-have-tohave-it” connection, then there’s really no reason they should choose you over the competition. Now think about this for a moment: If you’re relying on circumstantial urgency, who’s calling the shots? I have some bad news – it’s not you. You’re letting the customer, the market and all kinds of outside factors determine your results, and that’s not how it should be. The sales professional is the leader in the process and it’s your job to help your customer navigate through the buying process and find the product that best satisfies their needs, wants and dreams. You cannot lead your customer to the final close successfully if you choose to sit in the passenger seat. When we give up our leadership and yield to the idea that “the customer only cares about price,” we get buyers to make a rational commitment to our deal without making an emotional commitment to our product. That is a classic prescription for buyer’s remorse, a dysfunctional relationship after contract, and high cancellation rates. And, you know what? Most of your competitors are banking on circumstances to sell. So if you want to win sales from the competition and give yourself an immediate edge, you need to step away from this bad habit and set yourself apart. You must not rely on circumstantial urgency. And you must accept that, by tapping into emotional urgency, you can make sales even when the circumstances surrounding you are not in your favor. Emotional urgency boils down to one desire – to improve our lives–and it is the most powerful urgency of all. It’s what occurs when customers realize that they can take an action that will make their lives better, and that the sooner they act, the sooner their lives will improve. Emotional urgency lies at the heart of selling in its purest form. To understand how emotional urgency develops, let’s examine new car sales. Most customers walk into the showroom saying, “I’m just looking.” They’re not super urgent because their old car still runs fine and there are plenty of cars on the lot. They can walk out the door and go half a block to another dealer.

October 2012


So a sales professional must create urgency one step at a time. As the customer gets more interested in the new car and becomes more comfortable with the sales professional, the salesperson can ask questions about the old car. Hint: there’s got to be something about the old car that the customer is dissatisfied with or else they wouldn’t be out shopping. Often, emotional urgency doesn’t even begin until the test drive, which is when the customer becomes emotionally involved in the new car because they really start to enjoy the experience. The best sales professionals will then tap into the customer’s desire to improve his life by asking things like, “How does this compare with your current car?” Before long, they can set up the close by asking, “Which car would you like to drive home in: this one, or your old one?” Other big-ticket sales work the same way. True urgency doesn’t happen instantly – it grows a step at a time, and it usually doesn’t even begin to develop or take root until the customer wants a particular product. To build emotional urgency, we must uncover the intrinsic reasons our customers want something new. We must then help them discover how one of our products can satisfy their mission to improve their

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lives. The goal is to help the customer make a decision with confidence. So keeping the primary focus on the product and their emotional attachment to it will increase your chance of making the sale while reducing the chance of buyer’s remorse. People buy in every market. The only question is which sales professional will create emotional urgency and help them fall in love with their product over anyone else’s.

One of Training magazine's Top Young Trainers of 2012,

Jason Forrest is an expert at creating high-performance sales cultures through complete training programs. He incorporates experiential learning to increase sales, implement cultural accountability, and transform companies into sales organizations. Forrest is the author of Creating Urgency in a Non-Urgent Housing Market and 40-Day Sales Dare for New Home Sales. Consulting for many of the leading homebuilders in the United States, Canada, and Australia, he is a regular speaker at professional builder association events and national conferences and a member of the National Speakers Association’s Million Dollar Speakers Group. www.forrestpg.com

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Success Secrets from a Sales Super Star

Motivation and Confidence for Sales Pros (Part 2) Stan Billue has been a Student of Sales an average of an hour a day for 35 years. Each month he shares several Success Secrets to assist you to achieve your next level of Success. by Stan Billue I’m probably different than most Speakers and Trainers who believe that everyone should have a great Attitude everyday. Folks it’s OK to have a bad Attitude once in awhile because the World always needs a few people to serve as Pitiful Examples. Seriously, please don’t allow, or even encourage these people to dump their Garbage in our heads. How many times has one of them said something like; “Did you hear what happened to so and so?” If you ask to hear the details you’ve just invited them to dump garbage into your mind. If you’d like to disassociate yourself from the Whiners of the World, the next time one of them says; “Did you hear about so and so?” stop them dead in their tracks by saying; “No I didn’t but before you tell me is it something that will make us both feel better, help us have more fun, and help us make more money?” Believe me, they will take their Garbage someplace else. If you occasionally run into the person who always wants to talk about all of their trials, troubles, and tribulations, you can also stop them from dumping by saying; “I read the other day that believe it or not, 50% of the people we tell our troubles to, could care less, and the other 50% are actually happy that we’re so miserable. Now, what did you want to talk about?” This won’t make you real popular however it will sure chase away the negative individuals in your life. Develop a Positive Expectant Attitude There’s an old saying; “Those who fear the worst are seldom disappointed.” How true that is. Unfortunately the average person actually uses up to 5 Negative Affirmations every waking hour, to program themselves for failure each day. If you pay close attention, you might start noticing yourself saying things like; "This is so hard" or "I can't do this" or "I never have enough time to get stuff done" or "I can't ever remem-

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ber names" or "I'm such a klutz" or "I always catch a Cold this time of year" or "With my luck I'll probably mess this up." Since the Sub-conscious mind does not have the ability to doubt or reason, it totally believes whatever we program into it. If you look outside tomorrow morning and it's overcast and you say; "What a crummy day", the subconscious doesn't know you're only referring to the weather. All it heard was the programming of the day, that's it's going to be crummy. I urge you to stop using a Negative Affirmation and work at replacing them with these Positive Affirmations. Read these out loud at least twice a day and I guarantee that within a very short period of time you’ll have a dramatically new and improved Attitude about your Life and everything in it. I'M SO STRONG THAT NOTHING CAN DISTURB MY PEACE OF MIND. I'M TALKING HEALTH, HAPPINESS, AND PROSPERITY TO EVERY PERSON I MEET. I'M MAKING ALL MY FRIENDS FEEL THAT THERE IS SOMETHING IN THEM. I'M LOOKING AT THE SUNNY SIDE OF EVERYTHING AND MAKING MY OPTIMISM COME TRUE. I'M THINKING ONLY OF THE BEST, WORKING ONLY FOR THE BEST, AND EXPECTING ONLY THE BEST. I'M JUST AS ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT THE SUCCESS OF OTHERS, AS I AM ABOUT MY OWN. I'M FORGETTING THE MISTAKES OF THE PAST and PRESSING ON TO THE GREATER ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE FUTURE. I'M WEARING A CHEERFUL COUNTENANCE AT ALL TIMES AND GIVING EVERY LIVING CREATURE I MEET A SMILE. I'M GIVING SO MUCH TIME TO THE IMPROVEMENT OF

October 2012


MYSELF THAT I HAVE NO TIME TO CRITICIZE OTHERS. I'M TOO LARGE FOR WORRY, TOO NOBLE FOR ANGER, TOO STRONG FOR FEAR, AND TOO HAPPY TO PERMIT THE PRESENCE OF TROUBLE.

Eliminate Worry Next, you can learn how to eliminate Worry, because it causes Stress. Sit down and make a “Worry List”. That’s right I want you to write down everything you worry about, including Bills, Relationships, even any personal or professional Situations. The first thing you’ll notice is that sometimes these things don’t look quite as serious when you see them in writing. The second thing that just happened is that you’ve flushed out these Negative Thoughts and cleared your Mind. If you study this List carefully, you’ll soon discover that 40% will probably never occur, 30% have already taken place, and another 20% is going to happen and there probably isn’t a darn thing you can do about it. If you do the math that only leaves 10% that you need to worry about in the future. Consequently, you should now set aside a certain time each day when you’re going to worry for 10 minutes. You heard correct. Just 10 minutes a day is all the time you will need to worry about the remaining 10%.

Be Jealous of your Time First and above all else, Mega-Buck Sales Pros are extremely jealous of their time. When they work, they concentrate at working and when they play, they concentrate on playing, and they rarely mix the two. Please appreciate that we are all blessed with 1,440 minutes each day in our Time Bank and it’s up to each of us to invest our time wisely or waste it foolishly. I will challenge you to start identifying the “Time Wasters” in your life on a daily basis. Of course a big one is that studies show that the average person watches about 2 and a half hours a day of the Boob Tube. Granted there should be time in our life for entertainment and relaxation, however maybe we should be a little more selective on what we’re watching. Why not set a Goal to cut your TV time in half and find some new ways to spend quality time with your significant other and/or family, or do some volunteer work, or invest that newfound time in learning and growing. I encourage you to have a sign in your work area that says; “Is this making or costing me money?” The next time you’re on a personal call, or kibitzing with someone in the Office, simply look at your sign and remind yourself why you are there. Also, keep

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track of dials, contacts, mail outs or appointments, callbacks, results, etc. Determine your numbers and percentages and then improve slightly each week. Here’s a neat way to end up with at least 5 extra weeks per year. It’s been proven that the average person wastes at least 6 minutes an hour. That might be starting to work a little late, leaving a little early, taking too many long breaks, personal phone calls, shooting the breeze with fellow employees, day dreaming, etc. If we work an 8 hour day, that’s 48 minutes. A 40-hour week adds up to 240 minutes, which is 4 hours. Assuming we work 50 weeks a year (2 weeks off for vacation), that adds up to 200 hours, which equals 5 complete 40 hour Work Weeks. Amazing but true. If you want an extra 5 weeks of production per year, simply identify at least 6 minutes an hour that you presently waste, and put them to good use.

Become More Confident Salespeople are one of the few professionals that don’t practice any type of ongoing education. They continue to rely of time worn words and phrases that are so over used and abused that they actually turn prospects and customers off. Heck, most don’t even practice, drill and rehearse before they start their day. They simply start warming up by talking to prospects and customers. I urge you to purposely learn one new Skill, Technique or choice of words each and every day. That’s 5 a week, over 20 a month and around 250 during the year. Can you imagine how Confident you will become? If nothing else, read every Article in every issue of SOLD Magazine and pick out just 2 or 3 points from each to add to your arsenal. In addition, there are hundreds of Websites with thousands of Newsletters, Articles, Audio and Video Recordings available to you by the great Speakers, Trainers, Consultants, Motivators, Mentors and Industry Experts. We all have 1,440 minutes each day in our Time Bank. It’s up to each of us to invest them wisely or waste them foolishly.

Stan Billue is known as THE Sales Training Legend as he is credited with creating more 6 and 7 figure a year Income earning Sales Pros than any other living Trainer. You may subscribe to his free monthly Newsletter and weekly Marketing Tip by visiting www.StanBillue.com

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Rules and s n o i t a l u g e R for Successful g n i k r o w Net

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October 2012


I

was recently reading the Pool Rules and Regulations for a golf and country club in town. You may not belong to one (I don’t), but you can probably imagine how strict the rules must be to even enter the pool area. You can probably rattle off many of the rules off the top of your head – no running, no splashing, no food or drink, no alcohol – no fun. At the gate, you always have to show a picture ID, have your bags checked (no food or alcohol), sign an agreement stating that you understand the rules and regulations, get dusted for prints – the usual. It’s like being at the airport! It’s a safety and liability thing so they really cover their bases. Have comfort in knowing that the rules are strictly enforced by the lifeguard on duty. Hey, at least everyone in the pool area knows what they should and shouldn’t be doing. Not quite that way at networking events where I’ve personally been approached by insurance producers with applications in hand looking to sell me a whole life something or other. If there was a pool rules kind of a sign hanging up, this sort of thing wouldn’t happen. How cool would that be? When networking at a business meeting or event, wouldn’t it be great if everyone splashing around you knew what they should and shouldn’t be doing? Can you imagine if everyone that attended association events, networking groups, chamber mixers, conferences, conventions, and cocktail parties had to read, understand, and sign off on the Networking Rules and Regulations? You would do a ton more business and be much better swimmers overall. In fact, more of you might reap the benefits of networking and just jump right in! Without knowing the rules of networking, it’s no wonder so many sales producers and business owners are fearful and uncomfortable when it comes to wading in even the shallow end of the networking pool. With the Do Not Call list, Caller ID, and the distaste that cold calling has on producers, networking has become more important than ever. Is there a better way to get more prospects, more referrals, and grow your business? Below are some networking Rules and Regulations that might demystify the concept of networking and make it easier for you to dive right in. Swim at your own risk.

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Proper Attire Required Determine ahead of time if the event requires business, casual, or very casual attire. There’s enough on your mind, why let your appearance and fashion sense be something else to worry about? Although business people tend to dress in business attire, some events may not warrant it. In fact, if your target market is a trade like construction, plumbing, or municipality like police officers, fire fighters, or department of public works, it may not be the right environment to don a suit and tie. Just don’t forget to bring your towel. Must Have Business Cards, a Pen (or two), and other Related Swim Gear It amazes me how many sales producers I meet at business functions don’t have a business card with them. Business cards breed business and seasoned pros know that. Or they should. Even if you’re attending a conference with others that do what you do, it always pays to have a business card with you. How else are you going stay in touch and continue to learn more from your counterparts and competitors? And a sales producer without a pen? C’mon!

Do Your Homework and Know Who Will Be There Do you know who rounds out the guest list? Have you determined ahead of time if your prospects, clients, referral sources, colleagues, associates, counterparts, competitors, or advocates will be in attendance? Difficult to connect (or reconnect) with those you need to if you’re unsure who will be attending. Often, I attend networking events and various business meetings with an index card complete with a list of names of those I absolutely need to connect with. As I meet and greet others at the event (when the time is right) I reveal the index card and ask if they can offer insight or introductions to those listed. The reaction is always positive and the requests are honored when possible. Funny thing is I’m often asked for an extra index card so those I’m speaking with can craft their own contact list. Cool, huh?

| 17


Networking Only! No Selling Allowed Or horseplay either. OK, repeat after me – networking, networking meeting. Selling, sales meeting. Got it? Networking and selling are two completely different swim strokes. Use a networking event (cocktail party, association meeting, chamber mixer, community service group, conference, convention, trade show, product show) to meet and greet others, make a good connection, prepare for your follow up, and take it from there. Otherwise, expect a loud whistle to be blown and to be escorted off the premises by the lifeguard on duty.

Be Prepared to Ask Questions Know what questions you will ask those you’ll be meeting. It’s the best way to start a conversation, learn about other professions and industries, and attract people to you. Here are a few of my favorite questions to ask those I’m meeting for the first time. So what do you do? Who do you work for? Do you like what you do? What are some of the biggest challenges you face in your work? How long have you been in your role? What brings you to this event? What are you hoping to accomplish here? How will you know you’ve been successful? How can I help you? I ask these types of questions of the people I meet if there seems to be a good connection. Usually, there is. If you’re authentic, genuine, naturally curious, and a little lucky, you may have similar questions asked of you too. Imagine that!

Greet and introduce others with passion. I love introducing people I know to other people I know. It helps provide an easy connection for others, I’m helping the cause, and I feel pretty good about myself. And they feel pretty good about me - which of course can’t happen enough. Besides, if I help other people in good faith, the splash I make has a way of coming back. What can be better than that?

If there is a connection, ask for their business card.

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Don’t be shy. If you’ve spent time with a quality contact and you’re interested in continuing the conversation at a later date, ask for their business card. They might just ask you for yours. How else are you going to re-connect? Not a bad thought to write down the information you’ve captured from the conversation on the back of the business cards collected otherwise you won’t remember with whom to follow up and how. Don’t just ask for a business card for the sake of asking for a business card. There should be a good reason – you like one another, you can help one another, you can refer one another, or one of you is an out and out prospect.

Hand out your business card. I have found it a great practice to hand out a business card when asked – not before. Why you ask? You save cards because most of the time the cards you generously circulate get tossed. But more importantly, it’s a way of qualifying why someone wants your card in the first place. You may respond with, “I’m happy to give you my card – what are you thinking?” Again, don’t just give it out for the sake of it or because you feel you ought to. You might feel that handing out your card breaks up that uncomfortable silence that presents itself when it seems there is no longer anything to say. It seems rude to me to offer a business card to someone who didn’t ask for one. After all, if they wanted it, they would ask.

Have a buddy system and help others. I’m all about helping others get their feet wet and encouraging them to swim. It’s a nice thing to do and a big part of making a splash at the event. It’s also a lot of fun (and sometimes safer) to network with a buddy – especially if they’re looking to meet the same folks as you. Just don’t let the safety and comfort you may have with your buddy prevent you from meeting new people and making new connections.

Mention your Call to Action – when asked. Know what your purpose is and only share it when asked. If you don’t know or can’t share your purpose,

October 2012


it will be difficult making solid business connections (swimming metaphor aside).

Keep the Conversation Short If possible, try not to talk to anyone longer than 6-8 minutes – without ever looking at your watch. That’s just rude. But the last thing you want to do is prevent someone from moving on and meeting more people. And you probably want the chance to make a few more connections as well. So when you get that lull in the dialogue, invite the contact to continue the conversation at some point over the next couple of weeks. This can be by phone or a more formal face to face meeting. Exchange cards, make a few notes, and say your good byes. If you don’t wish to continue the conversation (and they may not want to either) simply say it was great speaking with you and best of luck today. You may want to introduce them to someone else that may be a better connection for them.

Listen More and Talk Less Especially right after eating. When meeting someone in a networking environment, it’s easy to get caught up in what you’re going to say next rather than listening fully. Sales producers are often given the stigma of talking more and listening less. It should be the opposite. If you listen and learn enough, they may have something more worthwhile to say and you just might generate an appointment or referral.

Always Be the One to Follow Up Not following up is the same thing as not having made the connection in the first place. How often do

you follow up? How soon after a first meeting do you get back in touch? Do you follow up at all? Of course, if you’re speaking with someone about setting up an appointment to discuss being hired, there’s no issue with the follow up. But how about when the connection you make is not with a prospect? Or at least it doesn’t seem so on the surface? If there’s a good reason to follow up – it’s a prospect, it’s a referral source, it’s someone you like that meets the same kind of people you like, it’s someone you can help, it’s someone that can help you - then be true to your word and get back in touch as close to 24 hours as possible. Count on this – the contacts you make will almost never follow up with you. Following up is simply being proactive about moving a relationship along for positive and hopefully mutual reasons.

You Must Make a Friend and Have Fun Once you meet a few great people and get the breathing thing down, you will be much more comfortable in the deep end and it could even be fun! Heck, you may even get some business out of it. If you make networking feel like work, it will be work. Just be in the market to make a friend, help people, and have fun, and you’ll be an advanced swimmer in no time. There are more guidelines that should no doubt make the list but this is an excellent start. Please keep in mind that all persons using the pool and pool facilities do so at their own risk. We cannot be held responsible for any personal injury or death. Establish these Rules and Regulations as your networking standard and help provide a safe and enjoyable swimming experience for all! Thank you for your cooperation. by Michael Goldberg

Michael Goldberg has helped thousands of sales producers generate hundreds of thousands of dollars to their bottom line. His expertise is in the areas of networking, referrals, recruiting – and believe it or not – amateur boxing! Michael has been a featured speaker at numerous conferences and has been referenced in the Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal. Clients include MetLife, New England Financial, Mass. Mutual, Northwestern Mutual, Jackson National, Thrivent Financial, Securian Financial, Chubb & Son, Aflac, Prudential, and New York Life. Michael is an award winning adjunct instructor at Rutgers University and donates time to speak at networking groups focused on job search. Knock-Out Networking! is available in bookstores and online now! Michael runs a popular group coaching program called Training Camp that forces sales producers to get in “fighting shape” to see more people, write more business, build great relationships, and fight the good fight! Weigh in at www.MichaelNetworks.com!

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| 19


Chasing Zebras

Selling to Zebras

The Untold Story… For salespeople Chapters 13-16 by Jeff Koser | Chad Koser

Selling to Zebras

Chapters Chapter 13 – Invitation to the East Coast Chapter 14 – Power-level Business Issues Chapter 15 – Force Success Chapter 16 – Zebra Buying Cycle

The Untold Story… For salespeople Jeff Koser Chad Koser Chapter 13 – Invitation to the East Coast Chapter 14 – Power-level Business Issues Chapter 15 – Force Success Chapter 16 – Zebra Buying Cycle

Next lesson for Kurt – learning how to build the Zebra and earn the right to speak to Power. Kent Clark’s team shares their experiences on what drove them to adopt the Zebra system and the success they achieved. Read on and find out how this methodology makes sense and can work for your business. Did you miss the previous chapters? If so, they are available through SOLD; previous issues. www.soldlab.com/archive OR purchase the eBook directly from Amazon.com

Chapter 13 It feels good taking action very early in the day. Kent answers before my cell phone even registers a ring tone. “Hello, Kurt,” Kent greets, with three cups of coffee worth of enthusiasm. “This is early even for you, isn’t it?” “Yes, Kent, but I’m ready to go to the master,” I return with equal vigor. “I read somewhere recently that when the student is ready, the master will appear. Well, I’m definitely ready, and you appeared.” “You flatter me,” Kent replies. “At the risk of alienating my wife and family, I really want to continue, in person, the conversation we started yesterday. I’m hungry to make more efficient and successful use of my time, to close more of my pipeline, and to just plain start enjoying life again. Even Sam has heard from your people that your new approach is working.” “Well, we are going to review our Zebra and attempt to take this thing to the next level tomorrow, so you’re welcome to join us here on the East Coast,” Kent offers. “But is that the endgame – to close more of your pipeline?” Link to remaining chapters

-Find Your Stripes!

Jeff Koser is president and owner of Selling

Chad Koser is the co-

to Zebras, a sales acceleration software company.

author of Selling to Zebras.

The software implements the successful ZEBRAsel-

Chad established a reputation

ling methodology and helps clients to bridge the gap

for exceeding sales targets

between low or plateaued sales and dramatic sales

by successfully applying the

improvement. Jeff has more than thirty years of

ZEBRAselling methodology in

experience in consulting, executive sales manage-

multiple organizations over the

ment, business strategy and sales enablement. He is the lead author of

past decade including Baan Supply Chain Solutions,

the award-winning book, Selling to Zebras, HOW TO CLOSE UP TO 90% of

VoiceStream Wireless (now T-Mobile) and GE Medical

the BUSINESS YOU PURSUE, FASTER, MORE EASILY and MORE PROFIT-

Systems Ultrasound. He has also worked with Selling

ABLY and the recently published, Selling to Zebras The Untold Story, for

to Zebras customers to successfully implement the

salespeople. Learn more at www.sellingtozebras.com

methodology in their organizations.

20 |

October 2012


info@sellingtozebras.com


The Steel Method

Pinterest Polarizes Demographics, Provokes Knock Offs, Unites Marketers and Makes Billions by David Steel By now, Pinterest has made history and is already one of the top 10 websites in the world. Within three years (the site first launched in 2010) the Pinterest site has peaked and now counts 104 million visits per day, $26 million dollars per year, and has an estimated $12 billion price tag in overall value. It’s also exceeded competitors LinkedIn and Google Plus in total traffic, while it inches its way up to Twitter’s monumental user base. In fact, Pinterest is already staring Twitter down, considering that users spend more time surfing Pinterest (89 minutes per month) than Twitter users (21 minutes per month). Furthermore, the virtual inspiration board website is closing in on Twitter’s 182 million users, with 104 million visits – and growing strong. (Source: Forbes Magazine) While many users browse Pinterest for inspiration, not everyone finds it easy to maintain an active account. This is possibly because Pinterest is a unique creation, one that stresses visual images (as well as video) over articles, and sharing content (or repinning) as often as possible. In essence, Pinterest is a social bookmarking site (devised similarly to Digg and Reddit) but graphically-centered, minimizing the need for intense concentration. In response to its simplicity, users spend minutes on end liking photos and artworks, sharing memes and uploading their own designs.

Is Pinterest a Site for Women? Monstrous success aside, Pinterest quickly developed a reputation for being a “female website” since nearly 80% of its user base is made up of women. NPR ran a story back in February suggesting men were still trying to figure out how to use Pinterest, and it was a “feminine” website accentuating décor, food, dress and fashion. Naturally, someone had to prove this wrong. So enter Drew Hawkins, who intentionally set out to create a “Board of Man” embracing masculine iconic imagery. It started as a joke, but the page

22 |

eventually grew to 185,000 followers. Now Hawkins takes the site more seriously, turning his attention to new website discovery, to home planning and other manly interests – not involving meat, Chuck Norris, or any other famous images that defined the early Board of Man page. Hawkins later told the press “It’s OK for men and women to care about the same things… Some guys really like to cook. And that's OK.”

Men Brace Up for Pin It Competition The humor behind the demographic splitting is only helping to multiply other similarly devised social bookmarking sites – essentially the same technology but marketed towards men. CNN News reported on new for-men pin sites popping up, including DudePins, Manteresting, PunchPin, GentleMint and DartItUp – all launched within 2012. Naturally, sites such as these quickly separated themselves from Pinterest by posting more pictures of “babes”, motorcycles, cars, guns and alcoholic beverages. Perhaps the only conclusive point made by the male Pin It war is the fact that Pinterest discourages sexual material, and bans nudity, strong language and hate speech – something knock off sites promote, and even Facebook and Twitter refuse to censor. (Except in cases of user complaints) Of course, this demographic question is not really a concern among marketers, male and female, who are targeting Pinterest as the “next big thing” in social networking. Pinterest is eclipsing big names like LinkedIn and Google Plus and it’s hard to deny that female customers are a huge chunk of the market. In fact, Pinterest is said to bring in more referral traffic than YouTube, LinkedIn and Google Plus combined!

Marketers Win, Everyone Wins Marketers also realize that just because the site doesn’t have a “manly reputation” there are no barriers from men joining. In fact, virtual scrapbooking, photo sharing, and creating motivational posters are

October 2012


a largely unisexual practice. After all, hanging up pictures of “pinup girls” is a long-standing male habit! So it’s easy to see the idea of Pinterest is far from female exclusive. It’s merely a three-year-old site that’s still being studied for potential, for advertising angles and for new approaches to marketing. Society has barely begun to understand the socialization aspects of social networks – that is, the necessity of discussing over blatant advertising. Social bookmarking, a practice characterized by even more subtle and patient brand building. Popular categories of Pinterest now include malecentric topics such as Men’s Fashion, humor, cars and motorcycles, outdoors, DIY projects, sports and health and fitness. The Pinterest world is rapidly evolving and as it becomes more mainstream, expect more creative input coming soon from both genders – all of which are eager to make some noise and garner worldwide attention. Ultimately, Pinterest is a site determined by the imagination of its users. Vapid ideas crumble and pages go extinct all the time; but committed entrepreneurs who are willing to compete for attention are having fun and making money. Whereas most social bookmarking

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sites are focused on writing, and require some heavy comprehensive skills, Pinterest is a relaxing site, a site that stresses simplicity and a spirit of rapid clicking fun. It’s precisely what many people want after a hard day of work – and it can be used to market products and services with just a tad of subtlety. So share those images floating around in your brain. You may be surprised at how much people like to mind meld with strangers.

For nearly two decades, marketing visionary David Steel has taught companies how to engage customers and prospects to drive sales. After founding his first company at the age of 20 and successfully growing and selling it to a Fortune 150 firm, David founded “Sneeze.it” one of today’s fastest growing social media businesses dedicated to helping companies build online revenue streams and integrating social media into an organization’s sales process. David is a renowned keynote speaker, motivator, trainer, and strategist. He is widely recognized for his ability to help organizations to monetize social networks. David’s latest book – Sneeze It is due out later this year. Contact David for more information 800-223-4342

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SOLD Q&A

Ask the Sales Pro

Maura Schreier-Fleming, sales strategist and consultant answers your sales questions. What sales issue are you facing that you want some direction? Ask Maura. by Maura Schreier-Fleming What do the top salespeople you have worked with have in common? Personality traits? Motivations? What are the things they have in common? The top salespeople are all great listeners. Many people think their speaking skills would distinguish them from their competition.  It's not true. Why? Successful selling is more brain and less mouth. You have to listen and understand what your customer is experiencing and how he might need your products or services. Unless you listen, you miss the opportunity to fit your product into your customer's needs. People buy with emotion. Listening allows you to hear the emotions. If you've just got the gift of gab, you end up selling by forcing people to buy. That's not great selling. The best salespeople don't force their products on customers. Instead, they listen and help their customers make great buying decisions. 

What are the top 2 or 3 key things you should do to ensure a successful cold call? Be prepared. Be prepared. Be prepared! What that means is that you have done your research on the company you're calling on. You understand their business and know where your product or service fits to improve their business. You have thought of some ideas on how you could help reduce costs, avoid costs or help them increase revenue. You have a fluent introduction that describes what you do that might interest your prospect. You plan an opening question (I call it a Pinball question) that gets your customer talking so you quickly engage him in a business conversation. If your objective is to get a meeting, you quickly demonstrate your credibility by sounding confident because you are prepared. As a result, your prospect wants to hear more. You can then say, "It sounds like we have a reason to meet" and you arrange the meeting.  Above all, you NEVER ask a prospect on the telephone, who you've never met, "How are you doing today?"  It's the question that will certainly lead to a failed cold call. 

What's the best way to answer the 'Try to sell me this pen' sales interview question? I would ask the interviewer how important taking notes is for him during the interview. If he said it was very important, I would ask if I could borrow his pen for a minute. Then I would tell him, "Mr. Customer, you indicated this pen was a pretty important tool for you to do your work. What will happen to your interview success if you don't have your pen?"  When he says, that he can't continue. I would say, "Do you want to buy a pen?"

Maura Schreier-Fleming, is an international speaker and sales consultant. She works with business and sales professionals on their persuasion and communication skills. Her books include Real-World Selling for Out-of-this-World Results and Monday Morning Sales Tips. She writes the women in business blog for Allbusiness.com and is a sales coach for them. She's been quoted in the New York Times, Selling Power and Entrepreneur. Clients include UPS, Fujitsu, Capital One, Ebby, the Houston Texans, and Conoco. She was Mobil Oil's first female lubrication engineer in the U.S. and sold $9 million of industrial lubricants when hydraulic oil was under $2.50/gallon. Website: www.Bestatselling.com

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October 2012


Will you close more this year? Maybe SOLD TV can help? Straightforward, practical and positive, SOLD TV is a web television show for sales professionals, sales executives and anyone interested in mastering the art and science of selling. Hosted by John Von Achen, each week SOLD TV delivers original ideas, relevant strategies and invaluable inspiration to add power and results to your sales career. And, most probably, you will start closing more sales more often (even in the tough times)

Watch SOLD TV today! www.soldlab.com/tv

Meet John Von Achen Known as one of the most respected sales experts in the emerging markets of Europe, Asia, Russia and the C.I.S., John Von Achen has become a legend when it comes to helping individuals and organizations achieve their maximum performance. Through his thought provoking seminars and exceedingly popular books, John Von Achen reaches an audience of tens of thousands from around the world every month. Because of his record for enhancing corporate and personal achievement, small progressive companies, medium sized enterprises, Fortune 500 companies and multinational organizations regularly turn to John Von Achen for their sales training, coaching and consulting needs.

www.johnva.com


Broken Sales Strategy? 17 EDGY Ways To Be A Bad-Ass Again 26 |

October 2012


S

ales needs an overhaul. Frankly, the entire selling process needs to change. And to be fair that’s probably an exaggeration. (Not everything needs to change.) Despite the sensationalism around recent trends in buyer behavior, buying and selling is pretty much the same now as it was 5,000 years ago  – those who want something pay those who can deliver it. It’s just that simple. And regardless of the next evolution in buyer behavior, most of that won’t change. So why does the entire selling process need to change? Simply, we’ve collected too many bad sales processes over the years. We’ve become addicted to hollow phrases and people-less selling processes. We’ve adopted conventional wisdom and selfish behavior as guide posts for our activity. And when that’s not enough, we let social peer pressure determine what we do and who we are.

And it’s time we stopped.

business card was your own personal Yellow Pages. In an era where an executive worked thirty years for the same company, keeping phone numbers on pieces of paper made sense. That seems distinctly out of place in today’s social landscape.

Edgy Alternative: On line identity and social profile manage ment

3

Networking Events

The second major evolution in selling came about with the localized settlement of pioneers on their way out West. As towns sprung up across the prairie, merchants caravanned a wide assortment of goods from the East to their local area. Buyers appreciated the diversity of the products and reputation of the business owner. The shop owner would network with the local buyers. Shaking hands and buying prospects drinks became ways to build rapport and trust. That hasn’t evolved much in the last few hundred years. We find ourselves still slapping backs, buying beers, and feigning intimacy.

It’s time we gave it all a second thought. Here’s a few terrible sales ideas that we need to rethink:

1

Edgy Alternative: Crea ting unconventional ideas and giving aw ay invaluable industry knowledge  – cre atingattraction.

“Always Be Closing”

Made dramatically popular by Glengarry Glen Ross, we’ve largely subscribed to the idea that the entire sales process is a series of trial closes. We use charm, wit, and a series of leading questions in rapid succession to build rapport, qualify budget, and get a commission check. And while there’s nothing wrong with closing deals, the idea that “closing” is the journey is misguided and self-limiting. You can only bully and out-smart your career so far.

Edgy Alternative: ”A lways be caring andcollaborating”…

2

4

Daily Status Reports

Just about the time we stopped getting the results from our sales executives, we decided that them spending 30 minutes drafting up a daily email about activity was the way to go. Instead of creating accountability and transparency, we substituted process justification. The daily email of sales activity is all about quantity. It’s bulk achievement over breakthrough achievement. And in spite of the added requirement for our sales team, it doesn’t seem to help them be any more successful.

Edgy Alternative: Hir ing better sales people and creating a culture of accountabilit y over ac tivity

Using Business Cards

Do we really need business cards any more? Seriously. It used to be that the business card was the primary way to inform potential customers of what you did and how to get in touch with you when they needed your services. In the days of the rolodex, the

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5

Selfish Sales Processes

In our quest to be more effective sale people and avoid losing sales deals, we built sales processes to

| 27


guide our behavior. And with the best of intentions, we created a careful series of qualification questions and buyer agreements. We started to demand “upfront commitments” from interested prospects in order to share more of our insights. And while not thoroughly impeachable, the selfish attitude behind these behaviors has made us less effective, less impressive performers. In attempting to remove fallibility from our work, we forgot that it never was about us in the first place.

Edgy Alternative: Bo ld empathy and passionate investm ent in others

8

Cold Calling

Calling new prospects with new ideas and help for probabilistic frustration is in no way anything to be ashamed of. But in the silliness of explaining the series of actions and emotions that make this outreach truly effective, we’ve confused the real point of evangelism. We use terms like “warm calling” and “hot calling” and build passionate line-in-the-sand sales training about what is right and what is wrong. There is nothing wrong with evangelism. Being a jerk, a bully, or downright shady is something else. Maybe that’s where we should focus our sales training efforts. Edgy Alternative : Emotionally intelligent passion (some practice and preparation he lps).

6

The “I” and “We”

It’s in our emails, voicemails, and Powerpoint presentation. All we talk about is us. It’s our product, our process, our unique differentiation. It’s how we start our correspondence and end our sales pitch. It “us” versus the rest of the world and we’re determined to get ours. And we’ve forgotten the power of the buyer’s pain and passion. And that’s just sad, because that’s really all the buyer really cares about. The “I” in your tone of voice is just getting in the way of a deal getting done.

Edgy Alternative Ferociously make it all ab : out “them” (even when it hurts)

7

Writing Too Long Emails

Somewhere wedged between the novella and Webster’s dictionary are just over 9,000 emails sent by sale executives to potential buyers on a daily basis. For some reason we think that our buyers have the time and interest to read this stuff. They don’t. It’s not even close. They are constantly pulled in 17 different directions for the ten consecutive hours they are in the office. Sitting down and reading emails (especially a long one) is the lowest priority on their list. Being boring isn’t a good strategy for any business endeavor. Keeping your emails “mobile” friendly and focused is key to getting the action you want from buyers. Edgy Alternative : 4-5 sentences max sent 2-3 times (in a seamless conversation) over a 24 day period or until you get a re sponse

28 |

9

“Checking in”

Somehow we seemed to have missed the memo that our clients down really don’t care about our personal schedules. The idea that we place a call or send an email to a customer with the opening line “I just wanted to check in with you” is just silliness. More than that, it indicates a sloppy sales process. Somewhere upstream in the process, the opportunity wasn’t qualified properly or key information that you need to deliver results was somehow lost in the process. The “Check in” is a clear indicator that you need to check out your sales process and hone some new skills. Edgy Alternative : Star t ever y conversation with the word “YOU” and stop commun icating unless you are delivering new value.

10

Always-on Prospecting

Prospecting doesn’t need to turn you into a jerk. Just because you are passionate about what you are up to doesn’t mean that we are. It’s a misnomer that you always need to be prospecting. In fact if you try to do that then you’ll find yourself not really prospecting at all. You’ll find yourself franticly flailing  – tossing out business cards, and interrupting new friends with your “I do that too” tagline. Getting new business is vital to your ongoing success. But when you force yourself at prospects it’s just distasteful and ineffective.

October 2012


Edgy Alternative: Int ense shortterm bursts of targeted activity aimed at attracting key markets.

11

Ponderous CRM Tasks

As the sales process has rapidly accelerated over the years, much of that can be attributed to the use of technology enablement. The Customer Relationship Management platform is the single largest toolset at play for sales teams. And it consumes incredible amounts of time from team members. Organization is key to stay focused and prioritized. Lists of tasks, opportunities, and customer contact information are all vital. You need them. But are you sure you need a CRM in the first place? Maybe you need to be a little more disciplined and lose all the “busy work” organizing your database.

Edgy Alternative: A careful, educated selec tion of sales tools instead of running after what’s being adver tised.

12

Industry Jargon

Ahhh…. the buzzwords. What would we do without them? Every industry has their own set of coy, unintelligible acronyms that are bantered around with linguistic deft – as if the use of the words themselves qualify us as players. And it’s a big fail. New customers are intimidated by not understanding what we are talking about. And prospects have a hard time differentiating us from the rest of the goons in the industry, since we all happen to be using the exact same vocabulary. By the way, a lot of this jargon is influenced by scientific or technical advancements in our particular vertical. And traditionally, that crowd hasn’t been the best at selling things. So, you might want to think twice before adopting their terminology.

Edgy Alternative: Cre ate your own “humanized” terminolog y and use them confidently.

www.soldlab.com

13

Not Apologizing

Somehow being fallible seems to vanish when we emerge each morning from our “bat cave” and head out to sell. We fail to connect with prospective customers in one of the single most powerful ways when we refuse to apologize. Emotion is like a pendulum. Crying can turn into laughter with the right comment. Anger and frustration can turn into relief and appreciation with the right touch. And instead of using this to our advantage (and frankly, just doing the right thing) we stand with our chests pushed out, defiantly reminding our customer that “we don’t make mistakes like that”. It’s naive business-making at the core.

Edgy Alternative: Ad mit when you screwed up and give ba ck until your buyer knows you’re sorry

14

Listening to the Experts

You know more than the experts. Yet in every industry we pay homage to the single few intrepid leaders who emerge from the pack with a vision of the future. And that “following the leader” ideology is extremely self-limiting. Expertise is something that we all have. And sharing your unique perspective is a huge differentiator. An old proverb states that: “To learn, one must teach others”. That’s exactly the model for sharing expertise. You’ll emerge from the crowd, be different, and attract new customers who want bold, new solutions  – rather than just another “monkey do” consultant. Learn from everyone but be your own man.

Edgy Alternative: De Build your expertise in exa fy the gurus. ctly all the opposite ways. And be bo ld.

15

Qualifying Sales Effort

As markets and services began accelerated diversification, the idea of qualification became a prevailing methodology for targeting potential new customers and maintaining effective time management. Through a series of questions (that we continuously refined) we were able to see “if” and “how

| 29


much” time we should spend with a prospect before our activity became a complete waste of our time. Certainly, effective and efficient use of your time is wildly important to your overall success. But no series of questions or amount of “industry experience” can predict the intangibles. Rationing your experience to those you feel most eligible sounds a little selfish (and down-right “skeevy”).

Edgy Alternative: Giv ing away as much help and insight as you can manage (without ask for anything in ret urn)

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Email Marketing

Almost 3 million emails are sent every second of the day. We’ve evolved from door-to-door sales to direct mail campaigns to telesales to now email marketing. And as with all of the previous evolutions, quantity seems to be the standard modus operandi. We buy lists of names or create complex web processes to capture traffic in order to build a database of candidates for our “email blasts”. And then we send out horribly boring “all about me” content that is shamefully one-way. We are even so bold to send these newsletters from our super-intimate “DoNotReply@bestcompany.com” email address. And while the technology is impressive, we haven’t stopped to rethink if we are adding any value to the world with our frantic emailing activity.

Edgy Alternative: A dedication to the “conversation”. A revolution against being boring.

Since birth, Dan

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“Doing” Way Too Much

Sales has come down to a bullet list of what you’ve done  – a series of actions of accomplishments. And we’re careful to share our most recent “104% of quota” accomplishments with anyone who will listen. Somehow we imagine that “doing” things is what makes us who we want to be. And that’s horribly misguided thinking. Doing is always a result of being. Who you are (deep down) will always drive what y0u do and who you become. So attitudes become important over immediate actions. And yet we train new sales actions and somehow downplay the need for better sales attitudes. And then we wonder why our amazing “power phrases” don’t help us close down more deals. Maybe it’s because actions don’t really matter if our attitudes are broken.

Edgy Alternative: Therapy and a focus on “being” rather than “doing”. Fixing ou r head games.

Time for Change? Without a doubt it’s time that we reexamine why we do what we do. We’ve accepted the status quo with little question and it’s undercut our ability to achieve outrageous success. We’ve become addicted to predictable, “follow the crowd” mediocrity. But we can change all of that. And it can start today. by Dan Waldschmidt

Waldschmidt has been refusing to accept business as usual. Sure, he had a lawn

mowing business at 12, but he turned his into a money-making machine (though he opted not to tell his mom about his increased profits). He ran track like plenty of other kids, but he pushed himself to break his high school's mile record. He got the usual entry-level job right out of college, but then he changed the sales process, earned millions of dollars for the company, and became CEO by the time he was 25. These days, Dan is a business strategist. A conversation changer. Dan and his team help executives arrive at businesschanging breakthrough ideas by moving past outdated conventional wisdom, social peer pressure, and the selfish behaviors that stop them from being high performers. The Wall Street Journal calls his blog, Edgy Conversations, one of the Top 7 blogs sales blogs anywhere on the internet and hundreds of his articles on unconventional business strategy have been published. So read the blog, check out his resources, send him an email, ask him for help. Whatever you do, don't just sit on the sidelines! Learn more at: www.danwaldschmidt.com

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October 2012


You Don’t Need to Build a Faster Horse – the Art of Selling I recently read a quote from Henry Ford, “If I’d have asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!’” Ford is right that customers will often tell you they want one thing when in reality, they don’t have a clue. They are missing the in-depth knowledge and understanding about what is available or how something different could help them. You’ve probably encountered similar circumstances when you are selling. The reality is that if you ask your customers what they want, in most cases, they really can’t answer that question accurately. If they are accustomed to having horses, they’d say they want faster horses. That’s part of the challenge of selling. It’s not often that what we are selling will be as dramatically different as a horse and a car. But this serves as a great example of how we first need to understand the mindset of our customer. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our in-depth and comprehensive knowledge of our products and offerings that we tend to forget that customers probably have different perceptions. How often do you slip into using acronyms or make assumptions that your customer has the same base level of knowledge that you do? It pays to take a step back periodically and try to analyze and understand the position of your customer. In fact, just yesterday I was speaking to a sales rep who was explaining how she often relies on what she calls her “customer sense”. Let me paraphrase what she said. “I pride myself on being a professional and spend due diligence in preparing for every sales call. In the beginning, I stayed on my agenda – and then I realized that it’s not about me, it’s about my customer. I need to get on their agenda. So what I’m bringing to them and the message that I’m delivering has to revolve around them. I’ve learned by trying to understand their mindset, I really can be more effective at what I do. For example, last week I called on a customer that I was just getting to know. I realized after

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a few minutes that I had made some erroneous assumptions and that his level of knowledge was not the same as most of his peers. That’s when I changed direction and started asking questions to understand what his perceptions were. It made all the difference!” You may feel at times that what you are selling is so different from what your customer describes that you may as well be discussing horses and cars. That’s when it helps to take a moment, regroup, and try to understand things as if you were that customer. How do you describe a car when your customer only knows what a horse is? And why would this prospect want to talk to you about it? You do need to find out about your customer’s wants and needs. That’s part of selling. But part of selling is also helping them understand what can be possible with your product or service. That’s why asking customers what they want has to be done in the right context. If you are selling the model T Ford, odds are that they will tell you they don’t need that – they just need a faster horse. It’s up to us as sales people to lead them to a different conclusion. by Jerry Acuff

Jerry Acuff, CEO and founder of Delta Point, has over twenty years of experience in speaking and consulting extensively on the issues of sales and marketing excellence. Jerry’s breadth and depth of experience and expertise has led to his position as Executive in Residence at the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Jerry has been featured in numerous business magazines (Fortune, Fast Company, Selling Power, etc.) and on MSNBC. Jerry is the author of three best-selling business books: The Relationship Edge, The Relationship Edge in Business, and Stop Acting Like a Seller and Start Thinking Like a Buyer.

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Improve close rates with sponsors Develop the only relationship that matters At the risk of sounding harsh, forget about middlelevel management connections. The only relationship worth having today is at the executive level. While it is increasingly difficult to get an unsolicited meeting at this level, it’s possible for those who know how. The key is shock and awe: prove that the company either has a problem that it didn’t know it had, has a problem that can be solved for which it didn’t know there was a solution or has the chance to create more value than it was aware was possible. Once that is done, the right to be heard and get sponsorship is earned.

Start with the right prospect In order to be successful, pursue the right prospects. Look for prospects that resemble best customers – and by that I mean the customers for whom your company provides the most value. Analyze the current customer base. Then create a profile that reflects the best customers’ characteristics (size, market sector and other demographics, business issues solved, executive sponsorship, etc.). Then use this profile to screen prospects. This is critical

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because if a prospect is similar to your best customers, a strong case can be made relative to what can be done for them. Focus energy on companies that most closely match the perfect client profile and measure the degree of fit to accurately predict when each will be won.

Do research and be prepared Before seeking out an executive-level sponsor in a prospect’s organization, research the company, its industry and its competitors. Know the

While competitors are doing demos showcasing features and benefits, you are analyzing the company’s own business data and identifying how your solution can improve their bottom line.

October 2012


business issues confronting the company. Understand its competitive environment. Gather as much information as possible from its website, press releases, industry publications and resources such as Hoovers. Once the critical business issues facing the prospect are understood, develop a sales presentation that focuses on how your company can address those issues. Then seek out an executive-level contact.

Make your case and ask for sponsorship By doing the appropriate homework and presenting a clear case for a solution, the executive will pay attention. This person’s sponsorship is important for this process to work because they have the clout to garner the resources needed and the authority to make budgetary decisions. This is key. The evidence presented on how similar companies have been helped, as well as research on the company and its business challenges have demonstrated a serious executive-worthy message. Now it’s time to deliver the goods. This requires obtaining confidential information that will only be available if a sponsor clears the way.

Conduct a client assessment Asking for sponsorship is seeking permission to perform an assessment of the current state and practices related to your company’s product or service. For example, if your company sells supply chain software, the prospect’s current supply chain process and tools would be evaluated against best practice process and tools. Performance would be compared and gaps would be identified, which if closed, would make the new supply chain faster, cheaper and better by improving revenue and/or reducing cost. The sponsor provides access to the people and information needed to perform the assessment. In addition, by granting permission, the sponsor is now invested in the assessment’s outcome.

ness case identifies baseline metrics (where they are today), the improvement that is possible and the value of closing the gap. The amount of improvement that is possible and the value of that improvement are defensible because of the measurable results achieved for other similar companies. A business case incorporates all of the costs of implementation including sometimes expensive and elusive costs associated with change and change management. This type of thorough evaluation creates a credible total cost of ownership discussion (TCO). The end result will produce an accurate, cashflow-positive, TCO-based, business case discussion with an executive. Consider for a moment what a powerful tool this is. While competitors are doing demos showcasing features and benefits, you are analyzing the company’s own business data and identifying how your solution can improve their bottom line. Needless to say, the business case provides compelling support for the sales proposition. Clearly showing the financial value of your offer demonstrates an understanding of the issues at their core. A carefully prepared, well-researched, financially driven sales pitch will help close sales. But it can’t be done without the help of an executive-level sponsor. That is why it is worth the research and effort to earn that person’s support. An executive sponsor is the person who has the ability to make resources available, the authority to make a buying decision and the motivation to work with a company that understands by Jeff Koser

Jeff Koser is president and owner of Selling to Zebras, a sales acceleration software company. The software helps clients to bridge the gap between low or plateaued sales and dramatic sales improvement. Jeff has more than thirty years of experience in consulting,

Build a business case (more than ROI)

executive sales management, business strategy and sales

The information uncovered in the assessment provides objective data about where the prospect is today. This is the evidence needed to develop a business case in support of the sales proposition. A business case is more than a simple ROI. The busi-

book, Selling to Zebras, HOW TO CLOSE UP TO 90% of the

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enablement. He is the lead author of the award-winning BUSINESS YOU PURSUE, FASTER, MORE EASILY and MORE PROFITABLY and the recently published, Selling to Zebras The Untold Story, for salespeople. Learn more at www.sellingtozebras.com.

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Up Your Charm IQ

The Four Laws of Relationship Marketing by Arnold Sanow Relationships! Relationships! Relationships! are the key to building and growing a successful career or business. By living by the laws of relationship marketing we can give ourselves an almost unfair advantage over our competitors. We not only build loyalty but differentiate ourselves from the all the competitive forces we face. To keep from just becoming just another commodity, follow the four laws of relationship marketing on a daily basis and watch your opportunities – grow!

1

You’re not just closing a sale, but opening a relationship. Closing the sale is only the beginning of the sales process. We are all in business for the long term. The key to continued success is building a solid relationship with our current customers. These are our best customers. In fact, it is 6 times more expensive to get new customers than it is to persuade our already happy customers to use us again. After a sale is made there are 3 things that usually happen. We either ignore the client, follow up once or have an ongoing commitment to keep in touch on a regular basis. Unfortunately, about 90% of sales people get excited about making the sale and forget that the key to success is that your best customers are the ones who already like and trust you. It is a much easier sale to upsell, resell or generate more business from current customers than it is to get new ones. New prospects who don’t know you take a much longer time to close than current ones. In addition, if we keep in touch with our customers on a regular basis and treat them like gold our business from referrals will skyrocket.

2

People buy who you are, not what you do. There are two ultimate reasons why people will want to work with you. It’s because they like you and they trust you. Your character, manners, kindness all play an important role for continued success in a

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service oriented business. In fact, in an article in USA today titled, “Americans are ruder than ever” it was pointed out that those companies who treated customers with kindness and respect were prospering. To establish likeability and trust follow some of these guidelines: Be interested not just interesting – This is the key to popularity. Most sales people talk about themselves, their products and how great their company is. The more you find out about the other person and find out about their needs, challenges and concerns, the easier it will be to close the sale and develop long term relationships Understand others first before having them understand you – If you want to be successful in building relationships you need to communicate in the ingredients that others find as important and not just what you find as important. In other words, if you talk to everyone from your communication style you will miss the boat in building solid connections and relationships about 75% of the time. For example some people like to have long conversations while others want to get to the point. The more you understand this the better your relationships Follow the 3 keys to developing a lasting relationship. These include, showing trust both initially and on an ongoing basis (do what you say you are going to do, keep promises, do it when you say you are going to do it) ; do an excellent job (under promise and over deliver); show that you care (if you don’t care about me, I don’t care about you). I would recommend that you have 15 minute meetings with your staff to go over with your associates to discuss what trust and caring means.

October 2012


3

You’re not selling, but solving problems. Your sales success will grow when you take the time to listen to your customers’ wants and needs and then show them products and services that are best for them. By understanding the difference between features and benefits you will not only solve your customers’ problems, but insure your success. Features are about you and your product or service (what it is). Benefits are the specific results your product or service offers to your client or prospect (what it does). For example, when I found out one of my potential clients wanted to do more speaking, I offered him an opportunity and the next thing I knew I was offered the keynote speech at his convention.

4

sored dinner speeches across the country. I then suggested he have a regular marketing column in his magazine. By focusing on one client, I turned one keynote into over 20 engagements. Success is working well with one customer at a time. As Joe Batten said, “Before you tell ask, before you talk listen, after you listen relate, always show that you care. And when you can translate that you care… they will want to do business and they don’t let the details get in the way!”

Arnold Sanow, MBA, CSP (Certified Speaking Profes-

Develop “strategic” relationships. Work vertically instead of horizontally, many of us try to be everything to everybody. Instead of spending a lot of time going from one gig to another, focus on how you can help your present client and offer them more services. For example, one of my clients who I delivered a keynote for also needed a breakout session. I then found out that his organization spon-

sional) is a customer and workplace relationship expert who speaks and consults. He is the author/co-author of 6 books to include, “Get Along with Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere” and “Present with Power, Punch and Pizzazz.” He was recently named by Successful Meetings Magazine as one of the top 5 “best bang for the buck” speakers in the USA. www.arnoldsanow.com – speaker@arnoldsanow.com – 703-255-3133

“Arnold’s program was perfect. He was terrific with lots of humor, relevant information, and effective examples. Overall A+.” ~ Lorelei Long, HR Manager, Mayer, Brown, Rowe Law Firm

When You’re Looking For:

✓More Than Just Another Rah-Rah Rally ✓More Substance and Less Hype ✓More Humor, Interactivity, and Content ✓Specific Strategies and Solutions You Can Use ... NOW! Arnold Sanow, MBA, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) will deliver a customized, entertaining, information-packed, interactive and non-boring presentation with plenty of “walk away” information that can be used … Immediately! Arnold has delivered over 2,500 paid presentations to more than 500 different Companies, Governmental Agencies and Associations. Over 90% have hired him again. He is the author/co-author of 5 books to include, “Get Along with Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere”, the “Charisma Card Deck,” and “Marketing Boot Camp”. He is a frequent guest in the media (USA Today, Wall Street Journal, CBS evening News) and a former adjunct Professor at Georgetown University.

www.arnoldsanow.com • speaker@arnoldsanow.com

703-255-3133

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Getting in the Mind of Your Audience 36 |

October 2012


“These are not the droids you are looking for,” he said with a simple wave of his hand. And the stormtroopers let the mysterious hooded man and his friends pass through with a simple, “Move along.”

W

ouldn’t it be wonderful if you had the persuasive powers of Obi Wan? Your speeches and sales meetings would be so much easier - and shorter, for that matter. You could mystically burrow into the minds of your audience members and plant ideas that would help make their lives better. Sadly, the Jedi mind trick is still out of reach. Those who do not have The Force are forced to do a bit of behind the scenes work in order to compel people to take action simply based off of the words we say in one fleeting moment: the speech. After almost 10 years of being a speech writer and speech coach to executives, sales teams, and professional speakers, I’m hired to make sure that someone else’s speech resonates with their audience. Over the years I have watched countless speakers fail to connect with their audiences, thus missing out on great business opportunities. It’s quite sad because the solution is fairly simple. Typically, whether the speaker is assigned to give a sales presentation for his company or has to speak in front of a new audience, the speaker will sit down and look at the topic that they are supposed to speak about. Some examples: sales success strategies, Q2 reports, team building, the future of the company, innovation. The speaker will stare at the topic and think, “Okay. Sales strategies (for example). What do I know about sales strategies? What can I say about sales strategies? What are some points that I can make about sales strategies?”

STOP! You’ve already screwed the pooch on the speech! If your outline of ideas begins with “I” statements - What can I say? What do I know? - then how can you expect to connect with your audience? You are approaching the speech from the speakers perspective. All great speakers approach a speech from the audience’s perspective. Think of it this way. All of the great innovations in this world were created because someone saw a

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problem that many people were having and figured out a solution. People were getting ejected from their cars in car accidents: the seatbelt. People had their kids running back and forth to the television to change the channel: the remote control. People wanted to stay looking young: Botox. Your speech is a product. It is a providing a solution to a problem. Just because you may not be able to slap a barcode on it or gift wrap it, doesn’t make it any less so. Your problem-fixing product comes in the form of words. And just like any new product that helps someone overcome a challenge, you need to thoroughly understand the problem. And since most speeches solve issues within an audience’s mindset, you need to delve deep. Here are the questions I go through before I write speeches for myself or clients. They have proven to be ridiculously awesome at helping speakers get into the minds of their audiences and create outlines for powerful presentations. What are their assumptions/expectations about me and the program? Get ready for a sad truth. Audiences already have made judgments about you and your speech long before you say your first word. They are looking forward to it. They don’t think they need the information. They heard that you are an amazing speaker. They have no idea who you are. They feel they already know everything on this topic. Understanding those assumptions and expectations helps you craft your speech accordingly. If they think it’s dumb to be brought in for another sales training, then call it out! Say, “Listen guys. I know you’ve been through many workshops like this one. Sometimes it feels like you’ve heard everything there is to hear about sales strategies. I’m not going lie. You might have heard some of this information before, but my goal is to refresh your memory on some things - bring it back to the forefront of your mind so it doesn’t get lost in the overload of information you have to hold in your brain - and present you with 1 or 2 new ideas or

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concepts that might make you think about your sales process in a slightly different way. Sound good?” Get their buy in early on. Don’t ignore any elephants in the room. Call it out. That shows confidence and command of the situation. When it comes to understanding the expectations of the audience, you then need to ask yourself if you can meet those expectations or not. If you cannot, at the beginning of your speech you need to set the tone/expectations for the rest of the program. That gives them a heads up on what to really expect from this point on. What are their challenges? You can’t truly solve an issue if you don’t understand the entire problem. On the road to success in any area, there are roadblocks. Your audience has faced those roadblocks. What are they? What was the experience like? How did it feel? What did they think to themselves when they couldn’t accomplish what they set out to do? If you can get a crystal clear picture of their thoughts and feelings when faced with those specific challenges, then you will be able to better empathize with your audience, they will connect with you more, and they will be more receptive to your suggestions on how to overcome those challenges - because you obviously understand what it’s like to go through it. This is why it is so fatal to begin your outline from the speaker’s perspective; you automatically come charging in trumpeting solutions. When you start from the audience’s perspective your speech clearly identifies the audience’s problem, as they experience it. Take them to the depths of the problem’s darkness. Make them hunger for your answers. That’s when you’ve got a stellar speech! What specific outcomes are they looking for? What goals are they wanting to achieve? It’s not all doom and gloom. Your audience has an idea of what they want to get out of your speech. They want to learn how to be sexier and have more money - or whatever. They know what they want to get out of this. The end-result benefits. Your job is to paint a picture of what life would be like if they achieved those goals. Make them see the light at the end of the tunnel. How would that look? How would they feel? What would be different/better? It’s up to you to plan out a speech that will give them the information and motivation to think, act, or feel differently in order to reach those goals and experience the achievement.

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What problems will I cause? I bet that one caught you off guard! “Me cause problems?! I’m there to solve problems, not create them!” Hold your horses. Your speech exists to create change of some sort. You are there to get your audience members to make a shift in a different direction in order to reach the goals they have set out to accomplish. Change isn’t easy. People don’t do well with change. When there is change, there are unexpected problems, issues, or resistance. You should know what lies ahead for them on the battlefield. Give them a heads up. Let them know what to expect. That way, when they are implementing your strategies and they aren’t surprised when different challenges come their way. You told them it would happen and they have more confidence to push through. What do they need to hear? Now that you clearly understand their expectations, identified their problems, and understand their goals, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. The “how to” portion of your speech is probably where you would have begun if you structured your speech from the speaker’s perspective. When you approach your speech from the audience’s perspective, you focus on your content last. That doesn’t mean that your content is the last part of your speech; it should be woven throughout the program. But how can you tell them what they need to hear without understanding all of the other components? I started writing speeches thinking I would approach it one way, but after I delved into the mindset of the audience, I found out it was more effective to take a different approach. This is how you ultimately can connect with your audience. Not through content, but understanding and adjustment. by Shari Alexander

Sharí Alexander is the co-owner of the Expert Message Group. EMG works with executives and sales teams to craft their message, polish their speeches, and build their businesses. On the platform, Sharí shares her experiences as a presentation coach and speech writer to help organizations improve public speaking and communication skills. Her specialty lies in influential communications, body language, and overcoming the fear of public speaking. Learn more at www.expertmessagegroup.com

October 2012


Three Persuasive Presentation Techniques

T

ed took to the front of the room at a recent presentation workshop. It was his turn to deliver his persuasive sales presentation. Standing at one end of the long oval table and making eye contact with his five sales colleagues he began to lay out the reasons why an imaginary prospect (us) should purchase his system. “Finally” he said as neared the end of his talk “if you implement our system we will improve your process and as a result reduce your cost.” “Ok” I said “but prove it.” “What do you mean?” Ted asked. “You’ve made an assertion” I said “that you will improve my process and reduce my cost but an assertion will not persuade anyone. You need to prove it” And this “prove it” approach, I believe, is at the heart of the persuasive sales presentation. Time and again I have seen sale representatives deliver a laundry list of assertions to their prospects. “You should buy our product because it has high quality ratings, a competitive price, we have a quick turn on delivery, great follow up service” - and on and on and on. But the prospect will likely not find that kind of presentation the least bit persuasive because none of the assertions are supported by any evidence. Let’s look at three methods we can use within our sales presentation to prove our assertions and persuade our prospects. These methods include the statistic, the story and the quote. Statistics. Research shows (Armstrong 2008, Rossiter &Percy 1980, Kelly & Hoel 1991) that statistics and charts are excellent persuasive tools for a presentation. However, presenting statistics can be tricky. Prospects will often find data meaningless if it’s not put into context for them. Whenever using statistics to persuade your prospect I suggest explaining exactly why the data is relevant to them. So if we use Ted as an example he might begin to persuade his prospect that he can improve their process and reduce their cost, by saying something like this: “For every $1.00 you spend buying printed marketing materials you spend $6.00 managing that material.” You

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should provide the research source for your data on your power point slide and now put that data in context for them – “what this means Mr. Prospect is that the true cost of your printed marketing materials isn’t in the cost of your brochures and sell sheets but in the managing of the inventory, the processing of requisitions and the distribution to end users.” Now you’ve delivered data that the prospect will find compelling because if they are purchasing printed marketing materials you have shown them exactly how this data relates to them. That kind of data will get the attention of the prospect and so we have begun the process of persuading them that improving their process can, in fact, reduce their cost. The next step in the persuasion process would be to tell this prospect a story. Stories, or if you prefer case studies or examples are, to the surprise of most, more persuasive than statistics (Pennington & Hastie 1991, Lee & Leets 2002, Green & Brock 2000). I realize that’s not logical but human nature being what it is people love stories. We love to tell them, we love to listen to them and as a result we find stories both interesting and persuasive. But that same research also shows that the most persuasive presentations combine both stories and statistics. So Ted’s story could come right after delivering his statistic on cost savings and could look something like this: “At this time last year ABC company was in the same situation as you, they utilized a highly manual process that included physical inventory counts, product requests that came in via email or phone call and distribution that was handled by Marketing personnel who spent eight hours a week focused on managing print. Today ABC has transitioned to our automated system, now we manage their inventory and distribution, orders are placed within the system and reports are available in real time 24/7. Today, the Marketing personnel spend just two hours a week focused on print.” Now we’ve given our prospect a compelling statistic and a story (real life example) that supports that statistic. We’ve painted a picture for them of two

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Prospects will often find data meaningless if it’s not put into context for them worlds, the inefficient manual world that ABC company used to live in (and that the prospect currently lives in) and the efficient automated world that ABC company lives in today (and that awaits the prospect if they transition to Ted’s system). If you’ve done your homework and can accurately describe to the customer the pain points within their current situation you’ll notice their heads nodding in agreement as you verbally detail their current struggles. One more step and our persuasive case is complete. A quote from an industry expert, a credible research company or a customer can have a tremendous impact on your prospect. When you quote an expert who supports the case you’re making it’s as if you pull that person into the conversation to help you persuade the prospect. So once again returning to our example, after giving the prospect the compelling statistic and then delivering the descriptive story Ted could show the prospect a power point slide that has ABC company’s logo and text that reads “The savings in both time and money have far exceeded our expectations!”

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Now, after Ted makes his initial assertion, that his system will improve process and reduce cost, he can prove it to the prospect. By combining a statistic with a story and a quote Ted builds a persuasive case that proves to the prospect that he can, and in fact has, delivered on the promise to improve process and reduce cost. When designing your next sales presentation be sure to avoid simply making assertions. Instead, use the statistic, the story and the quote to build a persuasive case and prove it to your prospect. by Robert Ferrucci

Robert Ferrucci coaches sales professionals on how to design and deliver persuasive sales presentations. Using seminars, workshops and personalized consulting Rob guides sales teams through his 9 step process for designing and delivering a presentation that will not only inform but also persuade the prospect and position the sales person to close the deal. Rob focuses on effective presentation structure, persuasive techniques and the effective use of power point. A life-long sales representative Rob is also an award winning public speaker and presentation coach. www.robertferrucci.com | Email: rob@robertferrucci.com | Phone 203 482 4777

October 2012


Sales & Operations Planning Innovation Las Vegas Jan 31 & Feb 1 2013 The Sales & Operations Planning Summit brings the leadership and innovators from the industry together for a summit acclaimed for its insight into the supply chain process. Eective operational planning is central to business success.

Speakers include: Director, Franchise Supply Chain, Johnson & Johnson Vice President, Demand & Supply Planning, Elizabeth Arden VP Finance, Project Maestro, S&OP Lead, Campbell Soup Company Director, Customer Supply Chain Strategies, Kimberly-Clark Sr Manager, Demand Planning, Goodyear Global Manager, Risk Briefing, The Economist

Contact Robert Shanley to request an invitation: (+1) 415 992 7605 rshanley@theiegroup.com

operations.theiegroup.com/sop-las vegas


Visually Speaking

PowerPoint is Often the Last Thing You Need! by Peter Temple In the business world, the use of PowerPointTM or KeynoteTM for communicating is very much a given. However, the poor use of this software has led to an infamous article entitled, “Death by PowerPoint.” These tools have their place, for sure, but the major criticism stems from how they’re used. The question is, “Can these text-based programs be effective in making your presentation memorable? Do they enhance learning; help change minds? Very often, visual support “takes over” from the presenter and becomes the presentation itself. We’ve all seen presenters who read aloud screens of text one after another. That’s something you don’t want to let happen. Here’s why: In surveys, the number one thing that audiences detest is a presenter who reads it to them – the number one thing! To be an effective presenter, your sensitivity as to how and when you use visual support is critical to your success. You should give a great deal of thought as to how each element of your stage performance impacts your message, particularly visuals. In most organizations, when you’re asked to put together a presentation, it’s because the “asker” wants targeted information, as well as your opinion as to its importance, and often, a recommendation as to what to do with it. You’re valued for your knowledge and expertise, not the visuals on the screen. As result, you must be the focal point of your presentation. It’s the same in sales. Here’s something to keep in mind: We make buying decisions based on an emotional response; we justify them based on logic. Think about your car, your home, your wardrobe. “All head and no heart” is not an effective way to communicate. In training, you appeal much more to the head – to logic. Therefore visuals as a “show and tell” device are much more

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appropriate. However, it’s quite well known that in order for someone to learn, they must feel an emotional reaction to the information presented. A negative emotional reaction can sometimes inhibit change, so a positive response is the most effective learning tool. That’s why humor is so important in the classroom. Standing ovations come as a result of touching your audience emotionally. In most cases, using text on a screen is not likely to get you there. We know that pictures are a more efficient way to transfer information than text – it takes less effort to comprehend. John Medina, in his book, “Brain Rules,” states that, “Because it is also a more efficient way to glue information to a neuron, there may be strong reasons for entire marketing departments to think seriously about making pictorial presentations their primary way of transferring information.” Then there’s imagination. We know the role imagination plays in helping Olympians win gold. It’s such a powerful tool in effecting change. If you can engage your audience’s imagination, there is no more powerful way to affect behavior.  But, here’s where a phrase can be even more powerful than visuals. Visuals can actually take away from the emotional substance of your talk. The more concrete your image on a screen, the less it “belongs” to your audience. It’s your image, not theirs. They don’t “own” the image because they’re not emotionally connected to it. This speaks to the power of radio. As a past commercial writer, I could use a phrase to conjure up an image in my audience’s mind –each listener used their own experience to build an image in their mind – creating a personal and often emotional attachment to the product or service I was selling.

October 2012


If you can engage your audience’s imagination, there is no more powerful way to affect behavior

Emotions can enhance an experience and make events more likely to be consolidated into memory. It’s why certain songs stick in our heads – we can often remember where we were and who we were with the first time we heard them. So, the true power of visuals in sales is their ability to engage the imagination and not distract in any way from making your point. A single word or phrase can do the same thing. However, full sentences likely detract – too much information! Here are some questions to ask yourself as you attempt to integrate visual support with your message:

1 2 3 4 5

Is this screen critical in helping me make my point? If not, it likely detracts. Does this screen help me engage my audience’s imagination? What level of emotional impact will this screen have on my audience? Is it appropriate to the tone of my message? Does this screen reinforce, or add clarity to my point? Is this screen about only one thing? (Hint: It should be)

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6

Is the point it makes obvious? (It should be) If you decide to use visual support, consider when and when NOT to use it. If it’s not appropriate to a story you’re telling, for example, turn it off. Otherwise, it distracts from the emotional atmosphere of the moment. The real power of speaker support is in its ability to create emotional impact. If your visual support doesn’t add to your message in a dramatic and memorable way, take a step back and think about whether you need it at all.

Peter Temple has been a writer/ producer/director in the corporate world for over 35 years. He has designed and written countless presentations and speeches and now helps executives, managers, and salespeople use technology effectively in presentations. For more articles and video about using speeches and presentations effectively, go to: www.presentationsforbusiness.com

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Presentation 2.0

Stickification by Phil Waknell for SOLD Magazine

In the last two editions, we looked at two key aspects of storytelling in presentations: structure, and the importance of examples and anecdotes. This month, it’s time to look at how to make your key messages stick. It really doesn’t matter how well you deliver your presentation or how clear your call-to-action was if the customer can’t remember what you were talking about. And no matter how amazing your presentation is, they’ll forget most of what you say. However, they will remember how they felt, and the overall impression you left; and if you prepare properly, they might remember two or three key messages. So in preparing, you have to choose how you want them to feel, what impression you want to leave, and three key messages you want them to remember a week or more after your presentation. Then you have to make those messages stick. Last month we saw how people remember stories and examples, and that is the first and most important technique of what I call “stickification”. Here are three others.

Surprise Visualize someone being surprised. Their eyes open wide, they sit up, and you can even imagine their ears pricking up. When we are surprised, we suddenly pay much more attention to what’s being said, and when we are paying maximum attention, we are influenceable. So don’t be afraid to surprise your customers. I once surprised a major oil firm by announcing that I could save them $50,000 … per day. With those last two words, their ears pricked up and they paid attention, and recalling that surprising memorable figure helped them to remember how they were wasting money and how we proposed to help them.

fear is another. When Bill Gates wanted to bring home the horror of malaria to the rich TED audience in malaria-free California, he released mosquitoes into the auditorium. That was surprising and provoked fear, at least for a moment, and the audience could then relate to how people fear mosquitoes in Africa, and pay more attention to what was originally just someone else’s problem. You can bet they all remembered it.

Say Again Lewis Carroll wrote: “What I say three times is the truth.” If you only say something once, your audience will forget it. If your key message is worth saying, it’s worth saying two or three times. Repetition is a key but often-forgotten technique to make a message stick. As a bonus, you will note that all these stickification techniques begin with S. Try to remember them tomorrow. You’ll find it much easier knowing they all begin with S. (Then add ‘simplicity’, ‘structure’ and of course ‘stories’.) To summarize (there’s another ‘S’ technique worth using in your presentations), if you want your customers to do something after your presentation – like buy – then you have to be memorable. For each of your key messages, choose a stickification technique and build it into your presentation, then rehearse it well, and when you execute it properly, your messages will stick. Next month: provoking your customers’ imagination

As Partner at Ideas on Stage, the leading presentation design and training firm,

Phil Waknell trains executives, entrepreneurs, celebrities and salespeople to create and deliver memorable presenta-

Sentiments

tions, and speaks regularly at corporations

People remember how you made them feel, and why, so make them feel something more than boredom. Surprise is one sentiment, humor is another,

and business schools about the need for

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a new way of presenting. He also shares ideas on his popular blog www.philpresents.com.

October 2012


http://ideasonstage.com

sales@ideasonstage.com


Closing the Sale A Realistic Perspective

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October 2012


There is not a salesperson in existence who hasn't repeatedly heard of the need to "close the sale.” Every new sales manager must view the process of encouraging his/her sales force to "close the sale” as an initiation into the profession. If you're going to be a sales manager, you, therefore, must improve everyone's ability to "close.” Doesn't it come with the job?

T

he sales training literature is awash with advice. Some of it tedious and trivial: "If he says this, you say that.” Other advice is grandiose: "35 new sure-fire closing techniques.” Still other is harmful. "Overcome that objection,” as if selling in the B2B world was a contest between you and the customer, with one of you winning (overcoming) and the other losing (being overcome). That's an attitude that won't get you far. All of this advice shares one common element. It's incredibly overdone. There is no one aspect of sales (at least in the B2B world) that undeservedly receives more disproportionate time and talk than the subject of "closing the sale.”  Not that there is no need to "close.” Every project must come to a conclusion, every offer be resolved one way or the other. It's just that, in my experience, closing has never been the result of verbal gymnastics on my part. It's not my clever refrains, my slick tactics, my memorized "objection over-comers” nor my manipulative perseverance that has brought me business. Instead, it was the suitability of my offer to the needs/desires/values of the customer.  On those occasions where my offer precisely met the customer's combination of desires, values and preferences, I got the business. Where my offer was off, and some competitor's offer was a closer match, I didn't get the business. I don't mean to imply that every sales opportunity is that black and white. Clearly there is a lot of grey area in the process. But, from my perspective, the

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grey area tipping point was most often the personal factors of rapport, relationship and trust, and almost never the tactical manipulations of the salespeople involved. I learned early on in my sales career that it was far more important and profitable to "open” the sale precisely than it was to close strongly. If I spend a lot of time, energy and mental acuity on learning the precise dimensions of the customer's needs, and if I crafted an offer that matched those precisely, there was very little need for concern about closing. I realize that I am tramping all over the hallowed ground of a vast number of sales managers, sales trainers and sales consultants. I am, however, reflecting thoughtfully on my 30-plus years of selling all kinds of things, and my 18-plus years of training and developing sales people. I believe that most thoughtful salespeople will line up on my side of the issue. All that said, there some principles and simple rules that can give us direction on this issue. Let's start with our language. Instead of "closing the sale” let's first call it "resolving the next step.” Not only should the project in general have a resolution, but also every sales interaction (a conversation with a prospect or customer), should have as its goal the identification of a next step in the sales process and the natural and logical commitment to that step.  So, for example, when you are seeing a prospect for the first time, the ideal next step is to get a commitment from the prospect for a second meeting. Without that, you have no hope of getting the ultimate purchase order To walk away from the sales call

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without resolving "what happens next” is to leave the sales call incomplete and relatively worthless.  The ideal next step for a meeting when you are collecting information about the customer's needs is the customer's commitment to view your presentation of your solution. The ideal next step following a sales call in which you present your solution is for the customer to identify the next step in his/her buying process, and commit to that. On and on we go. Every sales call should end in some resolution of the next step in the process, even if the resolution is "no next step with you.” Notice that in each of these occasions, the definition of the "next step” is a commitment on the part of the prospect or customer to do something that moves the project forward. Acquiring that commitment, in each and every sales interaction, is one of the habits of the most successful salespeople. It's what I term "resolving the next step.” If the goal is to successfully arrive at the ultimate resolution, the perceptive salesperson understands that the means to that is a step-by-step process. Every sales call is an investment of time and energy on the part of the customer. And every investment of time and energy should result in some kind of an action step. Unless you are so entertaining that the customer looks at his/her time invested with you as a substitute for the movies this weekend, he/she probably doesn't want to squander his time with you. He probably wants to accomplish something as a result of his investment of time with you. The something will take the shape of a "next step” in his process. So, the thoughtful and effective salesperson recognizes that, and merely asks the customer to identify the next step. When he does, it's nailed down with a deadline. The project moves forward, the sales process continues, and you know exactly where you and the customer stand. All of that brings us to one the most powerful "resolution” strategies. I call it "Alternate next steps.” The definition is this: An alternate next step is an offer made to the customer following the stated or implied rejection of a previous offer. It always involves a smaller risk on the part of the customer, like plan B. If the customer agrees to the alternate offer, it always keeps you in the game and the project moving forward.

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Here's an example. You are offering a one year contract on a product which the customer uses every month. The customer indicates that he's not ready to sign that. Instead of confronting the issue, you resolve it. You offer plan B, an alternate next step.  You suggest, instead, that the customer buy two months worth of the product to see how it works out, and then you and he will get together to assess the benefits of continuing. Instead of a 12 month contract, your offer is a two month trial.  Does that offer represent less risk to the customer? Of course. If the customer agrees to that step, are you still in the game? Is the project still going forward? Yes to both. You see, the reason the customer didn't say yes to your original offer has to do with his concerns – perhaps issues that have nothing to do with you or your product. By offering an alternate next step, you reduce his risk, and provide a mutually acceptable way to resolve the next step. The reason he didn't offer a positive solution to your original offer has more to do with you missing something in the customer, than it did with your lack of verbal dexterity.  Let's summarize:  Forget "closing the sale.” Instead think, "resolv1 ing the next step.” Remember that effective "opening” is the best 2 single tactic for closing.  Create a habit of always asking for action as a 3 way to resolve every sales interaction. Develop the habit of offering "alternate next 4 steps.” If you can execute these four things with ever growing excellence, you'll enjoy your customers respect, you'll maintain positive relationships and become far more important to them, and, you'll far outsell the manipulative "closers” surrounding you. by Dave Kahle

Dave Kahle is one of the world's leading sales educators. He's written nine books, presented in 47 states and eight countries, and has helped enrich tens of thousands of sales people and transform hundreds of sales organizations. Sign up for his no cost weekly Ezine, and for a limited time, receive $547 of no cost bonuses when you obtain a copy of his latest book, How to Sell Anything to Anyone Anytime.

October 2012


C

ash today is better than the promise of more cash tomorrow. This was my motto as a bankruptcy litigator in Chicago, Illinois representing corporate debtors. I would get outstanding deals for my clients with that one line. In an economic downturn everyone wants the real deal – cash today. Tomorrow is a long way off and you might not get there. In a Chapter 11 reorganization, I saw companies from the point of financial ruin and wondered how they had arrived there. While the reasons varied from inept management to cheaper labor in Asia, all the businesses had one thing in common – no one renegotiated onerous contracts. This fact did not strike me, until as a business

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owner myself, I began helping executives improve their negotiation skills. Companies rarely look at their contractual obligations early enough in an economic downturn, often missing opportunities to renegotiate terms. It is as if the fear of tipping off the customer, vendor or supplier that there might be a cash flow problem outweighs the bottom line necessity to restructure an agreement.

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What I do know from negotiating with enraged creditors, customers and vendors is that they all wanted to know why they were the last to know. All too often, I heard complaints that they wished someone would have talked to them before getting a call from the bankruptcy attorney. Renegotiating the terms of some of your contracts can be risky. I urge you to carefully consider these three pieces of advice. Following them will give you a plan of action, easing the process for you.

Start now. Don’t wait until you are in crisis.

for your call, acknowledge the impact that your request might have on them, while at the same time, explaining the necessity of the request. By coupling concern for them with your needs, you balance the proposal. In effect, you are creating an opening for a discussion, rather than a 10 minute diatribe about what this request, if granted, will do to them. It might appear tempting to avoid approaching companies to renegotiate contractual terms. While reducing discretionary spending and boosting sales are an option, renegotiating contractual terms could get you greater longterm relief. But, there are more than tangible, financial benefits from the whole renegotiation process. Companies that engage in an open dialogue with their customers, vendors and suppliers often gain two intangible benefits; a deeper sense of trust and help when you really need it. Contrary to your belief that the other company will not work with you or trust you, companies that are treated with respect treat others with respect. Don’t wait for a crisis to contact valuable vendors, suppliers, and customers. The fact is, once a company is in a Chapter 11 reorganization, all the debtors contracts and obligations are renegotiated. Rather than wait, enjoy the benefits of renegotiating your contracts today. Start now by looking for small but significant. by Jeanette Nyden, J.D.

Rather than asking for the one monumental change ask for smaller, more incremental changes

Assign someone, preferably the CFO, to review all key contracts. Look for terms that could be renegotiated like, charge backs, payment terms, interest or shipping and delivery provisions. Once you’ve identified these terms, calculate the impact of making changes against the impact of not making them.

Request small, but meaningful changes. Rather than asking for the one monumental change ask for smaller, more incremental changes. Payment cycles are a great example. Companies often agree to payment terms without calculating the impact on cash flow. When looking to shorten or lengthen the cycle, request 10 days, rather than a 30 or 45 day difference. In principle, it is much easier to agree to 10 days, because a small change like that may not need approval from upper management. Further, a small change will have less of an impact on the other company.

Jeanette Nyden, author, mediator and public speaker, is the president of J.

Create a proposal.

Nyden & Co., Inc, a Seattle based negotiation

Don’t wing it. Because you are changing terms that impact your bottom line more than they impact the other company’s bottom line, you have more at stake if they say no. Thoughtfully create and pitch the proposal. For example, after you’ve stated the purpose

skills training company. To learn more about

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negotiation skills coaching, visit www.jnyden.com Jeanette can be reached at 2067233472 or at jn@jnyden.com. © Jeanette Nyden 2009.

October 2012


Sales Negotiators Want To Know … Is Longer Really Better? The goal of every sales negotiation is to reach a deal that is agreeable to both sides. The question is just how much time should you take in order to get there? The classic question that all sales negotiators are always trying to answer is if it is better to negotiate in short sessions with long breaks or in long sessions with short breaks? The Power of Long Negotiating Sessions Not all sales negotiating sessions are created equal. If you had to, you could probably divide them up into two main buckets: those that get done quickly, and those that take much longer. Life is full of many distractions. When we are working on a deal that has a lot of different moving parts, we tend to work on it for a bit, get distracted and do other things, and then return, try to remember where things were, and then start to work on it again. Although this technique does work, and in fact it is a necessary way of handling many of the longer negotiating tasks that seem to come our way, it is not the right solution for the really big negotiations. These are the deals where there has been a lot of posturing done by both sides prior to the start of negotiations. The working-on-a-deal-for-a-littlebit-every-so-often approach won’t work in this case. Instead, it’s time to roll up your sleeves

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and sit down with the other side of the table and see if it’s going to be possible to hash out a deal – no matter how long it takes. The magic of long negotiating sessions is that the parties that are participating in it change as the session wears on. The gruff, impersonal exteriors that everyone displays to each other at the start of the session gradually start to crumble as the hours drag on. The human side of every participant starts to come out and it’s this side of the participants that will allow a deal to be reached. Ultimately sales negotiations allow people to reach deals. When you put these people together for a long, focused period of time what happens is that more often than not they find a way to work together in order to make a deal happen.

The Dangers of Long Negotiating Sessions Although a long negotiating session can be a very powerful tool in getting two sides of deal to come together, it is not without its own set of risks. There is never any guarantee that the two sides are going to be able to reach a deal and a long negotiating session may just drive this point home! Additionally, if both sides truly dislike each other before the negotiations start, then

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The magic of long negotiating sessions is that the parties that are participating in it change as the session wears on forcing them to be together for an extended period of time isn’t going to improve their opinion of each other. In fact, it’s probably going to confirm that they really don’t have a lot in common. In order to prevent a long negotiating session from either yielding nothing or, even worse, blowing up on you, there are three conditions that must be met prior to starting one of these sessions:

1

Both Sides Want A Deal: if even before a negotiating session starts, both sides are inclined to strike a deal, then a long negotiating session might be just what you need. Sitting negotiators down around a table and removing the outside influences that can distract people from reaching a deal can work wonders.

sides must respect each other and feel that the other side truly wants to reach a deal. If this condition is in place, then you are already half-way towards reaching a deal even before the negotiations start.

What All of This Means for You There is an almost magical quality to very long sales negotiating sessions. Under the right circumstances, two parties can enter the negotiations and then emerge at the other side with an agreement that nobody thought would be possible. In order for this to happen there are several conditions that must be met before the negotiations start. These include a predisposition on both sides to reach an agreement, the lack of new information regarding the deal to be struck, and respect on both sides for each other. There are no guarantees that a deal will be reached as a result of any sales negotiation. However, sales negotiators who ensure that the correct preconditions are met can use the very long negotiation format to improve their odds of successfully reaching a deal with the other side. Question for You: What are the key signs that a very long negotiation is not going to result in a successful deal and should be stopped? by Dr. Jim Anderson

Dr. Jim Anderson is a business communication skills consultant and the president of Blue Elephant Con-

2

No New Information: when a point in time has been reached where there is no new information to be discovered about what is to be negotiated, then a long negotiating session may be in order. When both sides have started to repeat themselves when talking about the potential deal, this is the time to finally sit down and see if a deal can be reached.

sulting (www.BlueElephantConsulting.com). Dr. Anderson shows individual technical professionals and groups how to use their business communication skills to change the world. He accomplishes this by showing them how to become successful communicators which will allow them to set their ideas free thereby changing their world. Dr. Anderson provides consulting, coaching, speaking and training products and services to

3

Respect Exists: ultimately this is the most important condition that must be in place before serious negotiations can start. Both

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help in 3 key areas of business communications: public speaking, negotiating, and managing (teams, departments, and products).

October 2012


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Advice from the Master Negotiator

Negotiation Strategies That Build Relationships and Influence People by Greg Williams When it comes to building relationships and influencing others, some people are influenced by moving towards a goal (positive mindset), while others are motivated by moving away from a perceived harmful situation(s) (negative mindset). Thus, their source of motivation is based on the mindset they possess. Therefore, the stimulus you use in a given situation determines to what degree and how quickly you’ll influence that person. As a result, when negotiating with someone, it behooves you to understand the mindset that person possesses and what it will take to manipulate them. Note: The definition of manipulate for the purpose of this article is to treat or maneuver in a skillful manner. It should not be viewed as a negative reference. When it comes to influencing people, what negotiation and body language skills do you use? There are many verbal, mental, and nonverbal perceptions at play during such times. In order to captivate the person with whom you’re speaking, you need to use a myriad of body language and negotiation skills. In so doing, you have to motivate the other person to possess the mindset you seek in him to stimulate him to the action you wish him to commit. This article delves into subliminal and not so subtle tactics you can employ to advance your cause.

Mindset: In many environments, people are moved to adopt your position based on how they perceive you, the trustworthiness they sense from you, and the degree they feel you have their best interest at heart. Even if you are sincere in your actions, if your actions are not perceived as being sincere, the other person will be put-off by those actions. The cause of such perception can be manifold. It can be due to the lack of synchronization between your words and body language (i.e. saying yes and shaking your head (which indicates no), speaking in a tone that indicates you’re not sure of what you’re say-

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ing, speaking too quickly, too slowly, moving too close to the other person, or moving away when you should be moving closer. In such cases, a person can turnoff (lose confidence in what you’re saying) in a nanosecond. If you’re not astute and you miss such an occurrence, you run the risk of alienating the person, in which case they’ll attempt to exit your environment as quickly as is humanly possible.

Influence people by being consistent: When attempting to influence people, just like in a negotiation, be consistent and concise in your actions. Even if you’re attempting to influence someone from a negative perspective, if you’re consistent in the manner in which you relate your actions, the other person will be able to perceive your intentions easier, versus being inconsistent. They’ll know, if you say no, while moving your head from side to side (moving head from side to side in most cultures means no) that you mean no. Your body language and verbiage will be in harmony with one another and there will be no room for misinterpretation or the opportunity to misconstrue your messages. In essence, the other person will know where they stand, because there’ll be no ambiguity in the delivery of your message. Note: Some studies have indicated that up to 93% of our communication is delivered via our body language. Hence, if the delivery of your message is succinct, your message will be received with more believability. 

Understand what’s important to the person with whom you’re attempting to influence: In order to influence someone, take time to understand their mindset, what’s important to them, and what it might take to motivate them. You can glean such insight by observing their body language in situations in which they feel comfortable. Take note of what stimulates them in such environments, how they react when they’re displeased, and what they do to

October 2012


realign their mental center of balance. By observing them in such situations, you’ll gain valuable information about ‘what makes them tick’ (do the things they do) and how they react to relieve perceived tension in certain situations. Once you’ve attained such insight, choose to use the knowledge you’ve gained about their mannerisms to influence them. You’ll be better positioned to enter into a relationship that is perceived as being mutually beneficial.

Conclusion: When it comes to building relationships and influencing people, you have a lot of control over the process. The more time you take before beginning the influential process, by positioning yourself appropriately, the easier will be the task. To the degree you make the process fun and engaging (if the situation calls for such), it won’t seem like a chore, versus something that is enlightening and filled with fun. The other person will readily follow your lead, even if subliminally he’s not aware of why he wishes to do so. Like anything in life, you can make your endeavors rewarding, or you can make them cumber-

some. The choice is yours. Just remember, winners know how to win by using the appropriate negotiation strategy and enhancing the process by reading body language, while losers find fault with the actions of others, because they can’t discern how to influence others. Regardless of how you look at it, it’s all in your hands. If you use the ideas and thoughts in this article to build relationships and influence people, you’ll achieve greater outcomes when dealing with people. You’ll also improve your position in life … and everything will be right with the world. Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Greg Williams, a member of National Speakers Association, is a people-oriented business professional, with an extensive background in Public Speaking, Training, and delivering Keynotes, in the subject areas of: Motivation, Negotiation, Interviewing Strategies & Techniques, Strategies to becoming Successful, The plight of small, minority businesses in turbulent economic times. Learn more about Greg at www.TheMasterNegotiator.com

The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert wants to know …

Would you like to be more successful in life? Do you want to earn more money, gain more respect, and be perceived as someone with prestige? Are you someone that wants to achieve more in life? If you answered yes to any of the questions above … YOU need to become a better negotiator and discover how to read body language. Uncover how you can use negotiation tactics and strategies to get more out of every negotiation, while reading body language to enhance the process. For a Free negotiation assessment and insight into how you can become a better negotiator, contact… Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert at … www.TheMasterNegotiator.com (609) 369-2100 Scan with Smart Phone to watch – “Seven Steps To Negotiating Successfully”

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http://tiny.cc/qwqn4

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The Destination Starbucks – a Concept Customer Experience 56 |

October 2012


S

tarbucks is well noted for its consistent customer experience. You can be pretty confident of the experience you are going to get at a Starbucks no matter where you are. I am just as confident holding an ad hoc business meeting there as I am suggesting it as a place to meet socially regardless of which part of the world I am in. It really has become part of my “3rd place” between work and home. As it happens, a colleague Kalina Janevska and I were in Amsterdam and needed to do a bit of work on the fly. We wanted to get out of the hotel so we looked for a Starbucks. We happened to be staying close to Rembrandt Square. We figured there would be a Starbucks nearby as it is a popular spot. We were right. On the East side of the square is a special Starbucks. It’s a concept store and the first in all of Europe. It opened in March 2012. You may not necessarily notice anything special from the outside. There are no signs flashing ‘concept store’. You may notice the typical Dutch bike transformed into a coffee cart. It’s there, but again, it does not jump out at you like a tourist trap gimmick. Understated is the look.

As you enter the cavernous space, you immediately see that it’s different. It’s not just big; it is designed to be cool and hip. It’s a partially submerged industrial loft space – with raw original features. Bottom line, it’s a comfortable place to sit, relax and (for our purposes) to work. We walked in and before we started to think about what we were going to buy, we were thinking to secure the seats next to the electric sockets because we knew we were going to be a while. We quickly found some and then to our surprise we discovered that all of the seats along the wall had sockets next to them. This had ob-

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viously been purposefully designed and exceeded our expectations. We were used to Starbucks having only a few sockets placed at strategic locations – presumably for the cleaning crew’s use. Customers of local Starbucks quickly learn which seats have the accessible plugs. This was not necessary here.

We then ordered our coffees and pastries and began our work. My colleague commented on the wood. Without thinking I said, its’ not that difficult to stain wood to make it look special. She then pointed out a small plaque which said the store had been outfitted using Dutch oak. Starbucks really invested in this place… and it showed. I just needed to look beyond my preconceived notions. The next day, Kalina needed to buy a new mouse so we went walking a bit to find one. Once that mission was accomplished, we both thought it a good idea if we went back to the Rembrandt Square Starbucks even though we were closer to other Starbucks. One visit had done enough to make us want to become repeat customers. We spoke with the Store Manager, Jeroen Bol, and asked him how he measures the success of his concept store. He said two things: “The look on customer’s faces. You can see how relaxed they are”. In other words they have a local metric – chilled out customers. This local metric can be tracked by staff at the local level without the need to wait for a centralised. The use of local metrics is very important in customer experience because without them, employees who deliver the experience are disconnected from the effects they create. With local metrics, employees are able to judge when the experience is off kilter so that they can intervene.

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“Repeat customers even though this is a tourist area”. This is perhaps more akin to a global metric, one that Starbucks may use to help assess the success of any of the concepts it trials in the store. It is also directly linked to the bottom line. It was serendipitous that Liz Muller and Nicholas van Hilten happened to be in the store. Liz is Director of Starbucks Concept Stores and Nicholas is with Edelman, the PR firm and handles PR for Starbucks Europe. They pointed out some key points behind the concept: The name – it’s called The Bank because it is literally located in a former bank vault. Sustainability – the place is designed using natural or repurposed materials and fixtures. For example, chairs have been repurposed from old library seats, wall coverings include bicycle inner tubes and traditional wooden cookie baking moulds. There is a heavy use of Dutch oak throughout. From the customer’s point of view, the end result of all this is “loft space hipness”. Local – All of the displays and materials and design are from the Netherlands. There are little plaques around explaining the story behind the decorations. So you really can go on a little tour of the space (and in way, of the Netherlands) reading the plaques. Social – the space is designed to encourage interaction between customers themselves and between customer and employee. There are spaces for bands to play live music; there is a central area where a gigantic long communal table is situated. The counters are all at just slightly above waist height so as to minimise the counter barrier. This store has its own Twitter hashtag (#starbucksthebank) where employees tweet things like when the next fresh baked cookies will be put out. Educational – The plaques I have already explained. Additionally there is “Slow bar” which is where a barista will make you a specially brewed coffee. The coffees on offer in this area are specially prepared small batch makes and are to be enjoyed “black” with none of the fancy “soy caramel latte” type drinks you may traditionally associate with Starbucks. Three types of brewing methods were on offer: French-press, slow brew (a slow drip method) and a new technology called “Clover” which is essentially an automated hi tech machine that uses a vacuum action to draw the cof-

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fee through an alloy looking micro filter. The photo below shows some people being given a coffee tasting lesson at the slow bar.

Nicholas gave us a tour of the store and explained some of the thinking behind the concept. The take away for me was that this concept store exhibits many retail shop customer experience best practices that one would see in companies with iconic shop experiences, Apple, Lush or American Girl. It’s 1) interactive to engage, 2) educational to help transform, and 3) social to encourage meaningful relevant communication. Ultimately what I took away was a vision of how the successful Starbucks experience could go to the next level. In the mid-90s, I had the fortune of advising a couple of local New York City coffee shops how to prepare themselves for the opening of a Starbucks on the same block. In a nutshell, what I advised was “be local” – you know your customers the best, make sure you amplify this knowledge in the experience you provide. Those that followed my advice thrived in face of the superior Starbucks financial might. So I was quite impressed with Starbucks playing with the idea of bringing more local flavour to its stores. Think of it as speaking one Starbucks language but with many different accents. I would still give similar advice to a small local competitor of a Starbucks. It’s just that in the instance that the Starbucks was similar in philosophy to The Bank; the local coffee shop’s experience would need to be even more tailored. Is Starbucks The Bank perfect? No, of course not, no experience is. So what advice would I offer Starbucks? While I think the ideas expressed

October 2012


in The Bank are great, I would offer the following advice to Starbucks: Individual store as the destination - Starbucks is a “destination brand” but few individual Starbucks stores are destinations in and of themselves apart from their convenient locations. I had always thought of the Starbucks experience as being founded on consistently 1) good product, 2) good location and 3) good service. However, it was never really about a particular store being the destination. This place showed me that Starbucks could develop individual locations as THE destination. This would not be practical for most of the Starbucks that can be found on most city blocks. Starbuck would need these to have a more personality as witnessed in The Bank. Internal Experience Design – Starbucks has done a fantastic job as designing an overall consistent deliberate experience – especially the ordering experience. This is great for the average Starbucks shop. However, for a destination (concept) store like The Bank, more emphasis should be placed on designing special deliberate in-store experiences. Right now much of the work of the engagement is left to the architecture (as impressive as it is) and the individual enthused high EQ Starbucks employee. There is lots of opportunity for Starbucks to design in experience options that customers could trigger as they explore various aspects of the store. I look forward to seeing what Starbucks does with the concepts they will trial in the Bank. It has certainly become a destination point for me in Amsterdam. I highly recommend giving The Bank a visit.. by Qaalfa Dibeehi

Qaalfa Dibeehi is Chief Operating and Consulting Officer at of Beyond Philosophy one of the world’s first organizations devoted to customer experience. Qaalfa is an international coauthor of Customer Experience: Future Trends and Insights. Beyond Philosophy provide consulting, specialised research & training from offices in Atlanta, Georgia and London, England. Follow

What's a Company to Do When Its Customers Develop Superhuman Powers? From his ability to fly to X-ray vision and other enhanced senses, Superman has among the best-known catalog of powers. Coming from another planet, it’s only to be expected that he’d be more than just “a little different.” But what about those who started out human and became something more as the result of outside forces? For Spider-Man, it was the bite of an irradiated spider that changed young Peter Parker’s life forever. For Bruce Banner, it was an “experimental gamma bomb” that forever altered the meaning of the word “Hulk” for millions around the world. For your customers, what started as

Qaalfa Dibeehi on Twitter @Qaalfa_BeyondP

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access to the Web while tethered to the desk has morphed, with portable digital devices and a few apps giving them access to everything, from everywhere, whenever they want. Your Customers– And Those You’d Like To Be Your Customers–Have Changed As Well Just as Captain America was transformed from a weak, young man into the "perfect human specimen” at the very pinnacle of strength, stamina, and agility, digital innovation means today’s customers have gone from being relatively credulous and somewhat passive consumers to nearly superhuman themselves.  Often having a better understanding of–and faster access to–information on competitive pricing and product quality than the salesperson sitting across the desk, or in the aisle, or on the phone, these smart customers have become something very like: All-knowing, with instant access to facts about your prices, product specifications, and those of your competitors’. Multilingual, able to communicate in any language. Omnipresent, able to use applications with preset triggers to instantly re-

Your customers – and those you’d like to be your customers – have changed

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spond as products and opportunities become available. Insightful, spotting patterns in data and emerging trends with the immense computing power at their fingertips. Ultra-aware, deepening their experiences by augmenting what they see, hear, and smell. Supersensitive, noticing sights, sounds, and changes happening far away–on larger (and smaller) scales than before, thanks to billions of sensors around the world embedded in everything from medical devices, automobiles, and grocery stores to backyard gardens.

Give Your Company Superhuman Qualities

The same disruptive forces and digital devices driving your customers’ superhuman capabilities can do the same for your company; start by looking at your firm through the lens of these smart customers. For example, smart customers will refuse to be put on hold or engage in inane, scripted customer service calls. What if you are the first company in your industry to ensure your customers will never have to do this again? Smart customers never again need pay anything but

October 2012


the lowest possible price for the commoditized items they need.  What if you find a way to personalize what you sell, thereby re-positioning your competition–and boosting your margins in the process? When it comes to innovative digital disruption, nearly every company has massive opportunities. Or take a bigger step back and look at your entire industry. While there are many examples, let’s take a look at an $18 billion industry that has remained relatively unchanged for decades: parking. Streetline is one firm that’s developing it’s own superhuman capabilities. Becoming “allknowing,” it’s leveraging the disruptive force of digital sensors in parking spaces, meters, and garages in several large cities to aggregateand analyze information on parking availability. Its mobile app, Parker, alerts drivers to open spots, gives alerts on meters about to expire, and allows users to reserve spaces.  Cash-strapped cities and municipalities also can leverage these capabilities to drive revenue and better allocate resources as parking enforcement identifies expired meters. Cities such as San Francisco are developing their own apps (SFpark) using Streetline servers to provide demand-responsive pricing andcreate greater parking availability, while alleviating circling and double-parking.

Bring Superhuman Capabilities To Your Industry Companies like Streetline are disrupting their industries and innovating the ways customers think about and use products and services; they’re among those firms already raising the bar on customer expectations.  Not only are we facing a marketplace of smart customers with near-superhuman capabilities, but those customers are increasingly expecting (and often

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demanding) smart experiences from the companies and municipalities that serve them. We recognize that, for most companies, integrating digital innovation into tried-and-true customer service models requires a brand new way of thinking.  And it may be difficult to move your organizational culture into a mindset of placing these smart customers at the center of your business; quite likely this is going to change the ways your company functions. It may be that incremental changes are the only way you can begin. But begin you must. After all, companies that seize these opportunities to deliver ever-smarter customer experiences will leapfrog the competition by providing delightful, fast, simple, and satisfying products and services that will lead to greater loyalty from and stronger connections with their customers. Those that do not will be increasingly marginalized, making room for both upstart, new companies and established organizations better able to respond to–and profit from–the radically greater customer expectations these superhuman capabilities have created. by Michael Hinshaw

Currently managing director of customer experience innovation firm MCorp Consulting, Michael Hin-

shaw radically improves how companies connect with, serve and profit from their customers. On CMO.com, he shows executives ways to drive value

for their firms by transforming customer experience, and the interactions and processes that support it. Michael is also co-author with Bruce Kasanoff of the best-selling book "Smart Customers, Stupid Companies: Why Only Intelligent Companies Will Thrive, and How to Be One of Them."

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Customer Experience: What about the ‘Product’? Looking at the ‘product’ through the ‘job that the product is hired to do’ lens

I

s the ‘product’ being neglected by the Customer movement?

It seems to me that many approach Customer Experience as if it is all about getting access to the voice of the customer and improving the interactions (marketing communications, buying, paying, service…) between the customer and the organisation.  Is something important being missed? I say that a critical piece is being missed:  the core product or service that calls forth the customer to interact with your organisation.  The danger I see is that of focussing effort on the interactions around the product and not giving the ‘product’ the kind of attention/love/priority that the likes of Jobs/ Ive gave to Apple products.  And thus leaving open an opportunity for someone to come along and render all of your work on interaction design worthless.  How/why?  A new entrant comes along with a radically better product – better at doing the job that the customer hires that product to do.  Think salesforce.com when it comes to CRM.

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What is a powerful access to revisiting your ‘product’ through the world of your customers?  A great access is to think of the situation this way: the customer hires your ‘product’ to do a specific job.  Allowing me to make this real and useful for you. Clayton Christenson shares the story about milkshakes.  He was working for an organisation that was selling milkshakes and there was a drive to sell more milkshakes.  So the team dived into milkshake purchases and found out that milkshakes were bought in the early morning (breakfast time) and in the evenings.   Who was buying these milkshakes and what had they hired these milkshakes to do? The early morning crowd were people who were commuting to work.  And they hired the milkshake to relieve the tedium of the commute (usually in a car).  For these people the thickness and size of the milkshake worked great – it took time to drink the milkshake.  How to improve it?  Add stuff to it that made it last longer, that increased the prominence of the drinking experience and distracted the drinker from the tedious commute. Parents were buying milkshakes for their children in the evening as a treat – after saying “no” many times they felt that they could and should say “yes” to the milkshake.  How was the milkshake doing in terms of the job that the parent had hired it to do?  Poorly.  Why?  Because the kids were taking

October 2012


forever to finish the milkshake.  What was the issue?  The thickness and size of the milkshake.  How to improve it?  Sell it in a smaller size and/or making it less thick. By looking at the ‘product’ through the customer-centred lens of  ‘the job that the customer hires the product to do’ one opens up the possibility of coming up with products that do a better job of meeting the core customer need and delivering a superior customer experience. And this creates the opening to sell more product. How many parents chose not to buy milkshakes because they did not want to hang around 20 minutes or so for their children to finish drinking the milkshake?  What is the price premium that could be charged by selling a larger, thicker, crunchier milkshake to the early morning commuters? Finally, notice this level of understanding enables the organisation to improve its marketing and sales message: to talk about what matters to customers (job that customer is hiring product to do).

bought the ‘product’ and not being able to do that job?  I bet that you have had this experience many times.  If you have not then you can count yourself lucky! Getting value out of the ‘product’ can be a big issue especially for the more complex ‘products’.  How much advice (whatever form it takes) is worthless because the customer does not know how to make sense of and use that advice effectively?  Why has salesforce.com been so successful?  I say because they took the hassle of setting up/operating / getting value of CRM systems away from the customers. Even complex products can be made easy to use and thus more valuable to the customer.   The best example I can think of is Apple.  This is a company that is doing extremely well because Steve Jobs insisted on starting with the customer experience and working back to the technology.   Put differently, making products that the average customer can use straight out of the box is a fundamental requirement of product design at Apple – at least as I understand it.

Look at the ‘product’ through the ‘job that the product is hired to do’ lens

Looking at the usability of the ‘product’ In order to get value out of a ‘product’ – for this ‘product’ to do the job that it was hired to do – the customer has to be able to use this product effectively, easily.  How many products meet that requirement? I have bought electronic products where I cannot even get them out of the plastic packaging!  I have had to look for the biggest scissors and then watch out lest I cut myself opening up the package.  And once or twice I have just done that cut myself.  It is another job to actually set these up and operate them. How many products come with a lousy set-up instructions?  Many.  I have lost count of the amount of time I have wasted on trying to make sense of the instructions.  Do I have to share with you the frustration that is involved in having a job to do, having

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Summing up The product is not in one domain and Customer Experience in another domain.  Any serious examination of the Customer Experience has to grapple with the product and how well it does the job that the customer is hiring it to do.  That means designing that product so that it is both useful (does the job) and usable (easy/intuitive) to use. by Maz Iqbal

Educator and a coach committed to opening minds, touching lives and transforming organisations. Customer-based strategist, a business consultant and a performance coach. Learn more about

Maz Iqbal at www.thecustomerblog.co.uk

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Create Customer Amazement TM

The Difference Between Customer Service and Customer Experience by Shep Hyken I occasionally receive the question, “What’s the difference between customer service and customer experience?” The simple answer to that question used to be that customer service formed the basis of the customer experience. A customer’s main interaction with a business was a person-to-person exchange, either by visiting a store or business, or by speaking to an employee of the company on the phone to place an order, voice a complaint, ask a question, etc. The company representative had the opportunity to deliver great customer service, thus providing a great customer experience. But, like most everything in today’s marketplace, customer experience has changed – it is much more than person-to-person service. Thanks to technology, companies can now connect with their customers in exciting new ways. Social media channels allow companies the opportunity to interact with customers, share tips and ideas, and add extra value to the product or service they offer. Companies make it fun through “gamification,” or creating fun game-like experiences for customers. Here are some examples: One of the interactive games on the Home Shopping Network’s website is a daily jigsaw puzzle. When customers solve the puzzle, it reveals to them a special deal or promotion. An amazing app by Coca-Cola allows you to buy a Coke for someone on the other side of the world. And, the Coke machine dispensing the free gift has a video camera, so the giver can see the expression of the lucky recipient when he or she finds out the drink is free. How fun is that? Amazing!

TV shows are connecting with viewers as well. Many allow viewers the opportunity to interact during the show via smartphone, computer, iPad, etc. Some shows include a “feed” along the bottom or side of the screen featuring comments from Twitter and Facebook. Some of these innovations would seem to move part of the responsibility for the customer experience from the customer service department to the marketing department. Where does that leave customer service? None of this takes away from the need to continue providing excellent customer service. True, some of the focus of the customer experience has shifted, and technology has expanded the avenues for building customer relationships. However, despite its cool factor and the fun that technology offers, when there is a question or problem, it cannot replace outstanding personal service. Customer service remains a vital part of any company’s success, and that personal touch will always be needed.

Thanks to technology, companies can now connect with their customers in exciting new ways

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Shep Hyken is a professional speaker and New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling business author who works with companies who want to develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees. For information on Shep’s speaking programs, books, and learning programs please contact (314) 692-2200. Web: www.hyken.com – Click here for information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs (www.TheCustomerFocus.com).

October 2012


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