Page 1

May – June 2013

№ 23

r e p u e S nc e d i f n o C GAVIN INGHAM

on how to be super confident and increase your selling abilities. p.8

Get your copy of John Von Achen's latest audio book


Founder of and SOLD Magazine John Von Achen Editor-in-Chief Helen Bereschinova Copy Editor Oleg Vetoshnikov Designer Lubov Karmanova Cover story: Gavin Ingham Contributors: Dr. Jim Anderson, BRODY, John Brubaker, Alice Heiman, Knowledge Tree, Jeff Koser, MTD Sales Training, Andrea Nierenberg, Peter Barron Stark, Andrew Rudin, Richard Ruff, Rick Reynolds, Bill Quiseng COLUMNISTS: Landy Chase, Jason Forrest, Michael Goldberg, Shep Hyken, Michelle Mazur, David Newman, Michael Pedone, Sean McPheat, Rick Roberge, Maura L. Schreier-Fleming, Peter Temple, Phil Waknell, Dan Waldschmidt, Steven Watson, Greg Williams Owned and Operated by CENTE MEDIA, LLC. 1800 Pembrook Dr Ste 300 Orlando, Florida 32810

Win from within Sales may seem like an external activity – working the phones, calling on clients, etc. – but much of the process of super sales success is inside your head. Every shining star of sales has a confident mindset, an internal source of selfmotivation that drives him or her to move forward. The best salespeople have learned how to program their minds, so confidence becomes a habit. Don’t allow others to tell you that you must be born with confidence… and you don’t believe it either! It’s a skill you can learn.

Confidence is the agent of change Whenever you feel stuck in neutral, you need to make a change. Super-charging your confidence can dramatically change the way you face sales challenges. You’ll conquer more of those obstacles because you have a positive look, there’s a bounce in your step. Prospects will see you differently and be more receptive to your message and the value you offer. In his cover story, Gavin Ingham presents a number of rather simple strategies to develop your confidence, so it’s always shining in any situation… it will become a light that will never dim.

Introducing and Professional development is a bit different for salespeople and sales executives. That’s why we’re happy to introduce SOLDLAB Professional Selling ( and SOLDLAB Sales Management ( Both offer content focused on professional development, but one is for salespeople and the other for sales executives. The SOLDLAB portals are available 24/7, and packed with the latest ideas and insights to drive your professional performance. As always, you’ll find additional information and support on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Keep on Closing!

CONTENTS 08 How to Build More Confidence & Close More Sales 12 It’s not Who You Know it’s What You Know 14 Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Annually – Make Time for Sales 17 Selling on the Edge. The Secret to Achieving Greatness when You’re Just a Nobody 18 Selling on the Edge. How One Relationship Can Change the Rest of Your Life 20 Creating Urgency for Sales Success. Goodbye, Guesswork. Hello Confidence


22 22 The Silent Assassin 26 Unusual Places to Network 28 When Qualifying Calls : Nothing Beats a D-A-M-D Good Lead 30 Ringside with Michael. How Do You Turn Social Situations into Business? 32 SOLD Q&A. Ask the Sales Pro 33 INSIDE SALES BUZZ. Unqualified Leads: Follow-Up or Forget?

34 Relationship Building Both in Good Times and Through Turbulence 37 Market Smarter, Sell More. 21 Killer Sales Questions to Boost Your Confidence

and Close Any Deal Faster

39 Market Smarter, Sell More. Sell Like a Girl 41 Sean McPheat's Money Magnets. How to Conduct a Thorough Fact-Find 44 Sales Anecdotes and Their Antidotes. Developing Confidence & Personal Motivation 46 Sales Anecdotes and Their Antidotes. Developing Relationships and Their Impact


on Your Influence

May – June 2013

May – June 2013 48 48 The Art of Persuasion 51 Pitch Perfekt Presentation. 5 Simple Steps for Stories that Sell 52 Pitch Perfekt Presentation. The Secret to Effective

Persuasive Presentations

55 Presentation 2.0. Confident Speaking 56 Presentation 2.0. Present with Presence 58 Visually Speaking. Beware: Dogs in Pantyhose! 60 Visually Speaking. Using Props! – Creative, Memorable AND Fun!

62 Using Skillful Questioning in Negotiation 65 Developing a Road Map for a Major Account Negotiation 67 Advice from the Master Negotiator. Value of Reading Body Language 68 Advice from the Master Negotiator. The Negotiation Path to Victory

72 5 Actions that Prevent At-Risk Accounts 75 The Winner's Curse: Sometimes It's Better to Lose a Sale 77 No Surprises. No Excuses 78 Create Customer Amazement TM. Core Values Are the Key to Customer Service 79 Create Customer Amazement TM. Firing the Customer 80 SOLD Bookshelf. Using Great Customer Service as a Dynamic Business Strategy for Success 82 The Coach Approach. "I Want My Money Back, NOW!"


KnowledgeTree helps customer-facing teams use and improve their best content. Find out why Network World named KnowledgeTree one of the 10 SaaS companies to watch. And learn why Alcatel, Genesys, Fuji Chemical and 500 other global companies use KnowledgeTree to unlock the value of their collateral. Funded by River Cities Capital Funds, Hasso Plattner Ventures, Core Capital and Hatteras Funds, KnowledgeTree is headquartered in Raleigh, N.C. The company can be found online at Š 2013 KnowledgeTree. All other brand names are trademarks of their respective companies.

How to Build More Confidence & Close More Sales 8|

May – June 2013

Confidence. You either have it or you don’t. You’ve either got it or you haven’t. There are confident people and there are not so confident people. There’s nothing that you can do about it.


hat’s what perceived wisdom would have us believe about confidence. That’s what most people believe about confidence. But what perceived wisdom and most people think is seriously wrong. Perceived wisdom can and probably will seriously damage your sales, your career and your business. Confidence is a mental programme. It’s something that we do, not something that we are. Confidence is a habitual way of thinking. That means that confidence is something that everyone can learn if they put their mind to it. You can increase your confidence. You can develop your ability to be more confident and increase your selling abilities. The question is, “How important is it to you to build your confidence and make more sales?” If you want to be a sales superstar, being confident should be very important to you because confidence changes the way that you behave and the way that you approach sales situations and challenges. Confidence changes your habitual actions and the results that you ultimately get. Confidence changes your image, your appearance to others and your ability to influence and persuade. Confidence can change your sales results, your business demeanour and your destiny. Building confidence can be done in many ways. In this article, you will find strategies for building your confidence and getting more of the results that you want in your business. Try some of these strategies and see which work best for you.

vices or solutions provide for your clients. Salespeople who really believe in the value that their products add for their clients and their clients’ businesses sell more and at higher prices than those who don’t have the same levels of belief. Asking for client testimonials will help you to truly understand and focus on the value that you really genuinely add for your clients. Taking time to solicit, compile and appreciate client testimonials will help you to feel more confident in the face of client rejections and more robust in the face of client cynicism.

Ask for Client Testimonials.

Log Personal Successes, Wins and Sales.

Collecting client testimonials is essential for supporting your sales efforts but it also works wonders for building your confidence. Imagine what it would be like to have a file full of testimonials from delighted clients who all think that you, your product and your service are just fantastic. How would it make you feel when you read through them? What would it do for your confidence if you were to review them regularly? Collecting client testimonials also strengthens your beliefs about the value that your products, ser-

Compile Case Studies. Much like gathering client testimonials, compiling case studies is great for building your confidence. It is, of course, useful for your sales presentations too. Get detailed studies of clients that you have worked with successfully. Consider interviewing them to put together this study. In today’s marketplace, getting happy clients on video is a super-smart move (video is without a doubt one of the most powerful and easily accessible marketing and sales mediums to “come of age” in the last few years). Salespeople consistently underestimate the real impact that their solutions and products have had within the businesses of their clients. By taking the time to do this exercise we not only create robust beliefs about our solutions but we also ramp up our confidence and realize solid and credible marketing materials to boot.

What has been your best success since you’ve been in sales? What was your most profitable sale? Which sale of yours added the most value for one of your clients? What was the most important sales lesson that you ever learned? What would be your best sales tip? Who is your most satisfied client and why? When did you last think about any of these things? I would guess probably not recently enough. In our society we are incredibly adept at forgetting our


successes and achievements and focusing instead on our failures and losses. This is not how to build confidence. I attended a sales seminar recently and one of the speakers said that you are only as good as your last sale. You’ve probably heard this said by a sales manager or a sales director at some time or other because it’s one of the “accepted wisdoms” of selling. Now, I understand why people say this and why this is often said but I don’t agree with it. Not one bit. What people really mean to say is that you shouldn’t rest on your laurels after you’ve made a sale and that you should carry on working hard towards your next sale. But they don’t say that! By saying, “You’re only as good as your last sale,” something entirely different was said. If you’re only as good as your last sale and your last sale was a disaster then what does that make you? What’s worse, most salespeople have probably heard this saying at some point or other and probably believe it at some level!

Believe this: You are a success. You have unlimited sales potential. That fact never changes. Your potential is far greater than even your very best sale precisely because you have unlimited potential. You are way better than your last sale because you can pick yourself up,

learn from your experiences and keep on going until you do achieve tremendous success. Invest in a sales success log and start now by recording your best sales successes, wins, deals and learns.

Visualize Previous Successes. Someone once said that we are what we think about the most. If you constantly think about sad and depressing things then you are going to feel sad and depressed. If you constantly think about losing sales and being beaten up by clients then you are going to feel bad. If you constantly expect to have to “cut your margins” to get the deal then you’re not going to close big deals. Conversely, if you consistently think about happy and uplifting things then you are going to feel good about yourself. If you keep your mind focused on how you add value for your clients, how you can make more sales and how you are going to succeed, then you are going to close some pretty impressive sales. Emotion is really a series of mental activities. We can “do” confidence any time we like by simply remembering a time when we were super, super confident and reliving it. Simply by remembering a time when we felt confident we actually start to feel more confident. Try it out now. Think of a time when you were super confident. What were you doing? What were you thinking? What thoughts were going on in your head? Who were you with? Now double the confidence that you are feeling and live the moment like it is now.

To be successful you need to model successful people

10 |

May – June 2013

Feel more confident? Of course you do. Make sure that you use this technique any time that you need to feel more confident. The more often that you practise this technique, the easier that it will get and the more confident you will feel.

Vividly Imagine Being Confident in Future Sales Situations. Choose a future situation where you previously might not have felt so confident. Put that to one side in your mind for a few moments and use the last technique to get yourself into a confident and resourceful state. When you are feeling really confident, think about the "unconfident" future scenario, but this time dealing with it from your super confident state. Take some time with this visualization and notice how you act, think, move and feel differently than you normally would. Note the changes in your attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. Learn what you need to learn from this exercise and then repeat the process a few times over. Now that you’ve done that, next time you get into this kind of selling situation you are far more likely to be able to access your more confident state. If it doesn’t work perfectly at first, keep practising. The more that you practise, the better this process will work for you and the more confident you will feel.

Ask Your Clients Why they Bought from You. I was doing some research with my clients to help me to improve my sales. I wanted to know why they bought from me in the first place to see if I could use this to my advantage in future sales situations. It’s certainly fair to say that I did get some great sales tips but one of the main things that I discovered was that I had loads of clients who wanted to tell me all of the positive reasons that they had bought from me and not from my competitors. Understandably, this gave me a major confidence boost.

Model Confident People. To be successful you need to model successful people. Modeling is an approach for analyzing, understanding and copying someone else’s success strategies. It is based on the principle that if one person can do something, so can you. Modeling is one of my preferred strategies for achieving anything that I want to achieve. First of all, find someone who can do what you want to do amaz-

ingly well. In this case, that will be someone who is extremely confident. Analyse their values, beliefs, emotions and behaviours and then try them out yourself and see how they work for you. This can take a bit of practise at first but once you get it, it can be an incredibly quick technique for accelerating personal development and building confidence. The beauty of modeling is that you can model not only people that you know, but also people that you’ve read about or know of. Obviously, the more information you have on someone, the more effective this approach will be.

Ask Yourself Better Questions. Use this technique when you are preparing for an event – whether a cold calling session, a sales meeting, a sales negotiation or a sales presentation – or indeed in any situation where you think that you might not be quite as confident as you’d like to be and where a boost of confidence would benefit your performance. Take some time beforehand to construct some questions that will focus your mind on how you can be more confident. These pre-selected internal questions will focus your thoughts and therefore your emotions. The quality of your internal questions is essential if you are going to be more confident. Here are some ideas for questions to get you going...

“How can I feel confident in this situation?”, “How would I behave if I was totally confident?” and, “What do I need to learn to feel confident all of the time?” By using these strategies for building sales confidence you will be able to influence more effectively, sell more congruently and win more sales. These techniques are incredibly powerful but to get the best results you need to take consistent action, starting now! Gavin Ingham

Gavin Ingham is a writer, inspirational speaker, sales conference catalyst, founder of the "I am 10" movement, avid book reader and a lover of great coffee. For more information visit

| 11

It’s not Who You Know it’s What You Know Knowledge is key to self-confidence


nowledge is power. And in sales, it’s the key to self-confidence. But it’s not enough to know your product and how it compares to the competition. Real self-confidence comes only with a comprehensive understanding of: what your perfect prospect looks like the critical business issues facing that prospect the way your product or service helps address those issues the quantifiable value produced by addressing the issues Without this level of knowledge, the sales process is in continual danger of going off the rails – taking your self-confidence along with it.

culturally similar? What business issues of theirs are uniquely satisfied by your product or service? Answering questions like these will provide the information you need to create a profile of the ideal prospect. Once you know what the perfect prospect looks like, you can target companies that fit the profile you’ve created. This will enable you to focus your energy on prospects that have a much greater probability of becoming clients. It will also decrease the length of the sales cycle. If a prospect is a fit, obviously the path to the goal is shorter. This is why knowing and targeting the right prospect is fundamental to a salesperson’s self-confidence in the sales process.

Know What the Perfect Prospect Looks Like

Know the Prospect’s Critical Business Issues

Confidence begins with the knowledge that the right prospect is in your crosshairs. This is critical. First, the perfect prospect will be more receptive to your value proposition because your offer is a good fit for their organization. Second, these prospects will look a lot like your best customers. So you’ll be able to speak with authority about how well your product or service drives value for an organization like theirs. To create a profile of your ideal prospect, look no further than your current customer base. Who are your best customers in terms of money spent with your organization and ongoing business? What are the attributes of these customers? What defines these relationships? Are your companies

Once the right prospect is targeted, even deeper attention must be given to the issue of understanding the company’s critical business issues. These

12 |

When you know the company’s critical business issues, you know where the company is going to allocate resources. The more critical the issue, the more resources that will be allocated to it.

May – June 2013

are things that would create compelling value for an executive. Typical examples include increased competition, economic or regulatory issues and plans for global expansion. Uncovering these issues will require some research into the company and its industry. Several sources can be used to obtain this information including: The company website Annual report News releases LinkedIn Jigsaw Corporate databases The more specific information that can be gathered, the better. When you know the company’s critical business issues, you know where the company is going to allocate resources. The more critical the issue, the more resources that will be allocated to it. So insights into a company’s core business concerns will enhance self-confidence during the sales process when you learn to relate them to the sales offer.

Know How Your Product or Service will Help the Prospect Address these Issues This is where the rubber meets the road. When you can take your knowledge of a prospect’s critical issues and show how your product or service helps address those issues, you have a compelling sales proposition. And you have identified the true value of your product or service to that company. To make this connection, you need to evaluate your product or service through the lens of the prospect’s critical issues. How is your product or service going to help the company win more business, increase productivity, reduce costs, compete

The more critical the issue, the more resources that will be allocated to it in other markets, improve productivity, increase customer or employee satisfaction, or meet regulatory requirements? Look to your current customer base for the answers. How does your company help its best customers meet these challenges? When you have the answers, you will be able to confidently report to a prospect how your company can address its critical business needs. For example, your product won’t just make the order fulfillment process more efficient, it will enable the company to reduce costs. A lower cost structure can lead to competitive differentiation. Or perhaps the money saved can be put toward the planned opening of an order fulfillment facility in a new location, enabling the company expansion. This type of alignment with the customer’s goals demonstrates that you truly understand the business issues and have a solution that will help address those issues. In sales, nothing beats knowledge for building self-confidence. And when you know how your product or service solves a high-level, critical business issue for a prospect, that’s as good as money in the bank – for both your prospect and you! by Jeff Koser

Jeff Koser has more than thirty years of experience in consulting, executive sales management, business strategy, and sales enablement. In addition to his many speaking engagements, Jeff is co-author of the award winning book, Selling to Zebras, HOW TO CLOSE UP TO 90% of the BUSINESS YOU PURSUE, FASTER, MORE EASILY and MORE PROFITABLY. And the recently published, Selling to Zebras The Untold Story, for salespeople. And In 1999 founded Selling to Zebras, Inc. Selling to Zebras, Inc. is a sales enablement company offering unique, effective and winning sales solutions to businesses. Using the ZEBRAselling Process, Jeff and Selling to Zebras, Inc. have established a proven track record of successfully helping companies increase sales in a variety of industries. The ZEBRAselling process is chronicled in the book Selling to Zebras.

| 13

Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Annually – Make Time for Sales I Didn’t Sell This Week What?   Do you ever get to the end of a week and wonder why you didn’t have time to do the prospecting or business development work you needed to do? Ever get to the end of the month and panic because you didn’t make enough sales or don’t have enough sales objectives in your sales funnel to hit your goals? As a business owner, you will always have too many things to do. Prioritizing becomes critical. If your business depends on you to sell or manage salespeople, you must make time to do it, or risk failure. Making sales a priority is a challenge for almost every business owner I know. Planning is the key. It’s tough to allocate time

14 |

to selling, but is crucial to your success. First, schedule the time to sell, then stick to it. Every good salesperson knows that attention must be paid to working their sales funnel, daily. When selling is neglected, it gets harder to do the amount of work needed to make up for the days you didn’t sell.

Can you imagine waiting to dig a well until you are thirsty? Sales Defined So, what do I mean by selling time exactly? “Selling is everything from prospecting to closing the deal and retaining the business. It includes anytime you spend generating leads, meeting with prospects to qualify them, meeting to ask questions and move the sale forward,

May – June 2013

closing the deal, retaining the business and asking for referrals.”

Planning I recommend making a list of the selling work you need to do. Then add of all the ways you prospect or generate leads. Here are some examples: Sending information to prospects. Scheduling sales calls. Preparing for sales calls. Conducting sales calls. Making sales presentations. Attending Networking events. Attending trade shows. Connecting on LinkedIn. Etc. In order to get your priorities completed you have to plan ahead. Your calendar is your best friend. If used properly, it will help assure you have time set aside for selling among all of your other activities.

Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Annually Here’s what I recommend. Plan your daily, weekly, monthly and annual selling activities and put them on your calendar along with your other tasks.

You should also plan time for planning. Crazy, you say? But this is time well spent! Remember this activity has a direct impact on your revenue!

this time you look at your upcoming week. Put scheduled meetings on your calendar, travel time, and time to do follow up from sales calls and networking. If you keep a to-do list block time on your calendar to work on it. One to two days before each sales call add a 30 minute block to do your sales call planning. Monthly – You’ll need 1 hour a month to plan for your upcoming month. Just a suggestion, 10 to 12 days before the end of the month is a good time to do this.  Take a look at the big picture so that your weeks can run smoothly. Put anything on your calendar for the month that is already planned. If you have a trade show coming up or a sales presentation be sure to block off plenty of preparation time to prevent having to “pull and allnighter”. Last minute rush jobs are never our best work. If you plan to have enough preparation time, you can save yourself a lot of agony. Annually – Planning for the upcoming year should happen in October or November. Set several hours aside to set goals and make your plan.  Based on your goals you can set the events, programs, conferences, trade shows, promotions and other activities you will need to meet your goals as well as the planning time needed. I like to block time 12 weeks in advance of a show or event to do the planning. Adequate planning time helps things run smoothly. by Alice Heiman Known as the Sales Connector,

Daily – Choose a time, first thing in the morning or last thing in the day, to plan your upcoming day.  This should take you about 15 minutes if you have done your weekly planning. Before checking email and voicemail and before everyone else’s priorities get in your way, take a look at your schedule and priorities for the day and make any necessary adjustments. Make sure you have time scheduled for your sales follow up. Add your daily planning time to your calendar.

Alice Heiman knows how to get you connected in a way that builds relationships that lead to sales. Small business owners nationwide appreciate Alice’s straight forward “how to” style of communication that takes them step-by-step through what it takes to get connected to increase sales.  Her one-to-one sales coaching and her Sales Success Groups have helped many clients exceed their sales goals.  Visit her website for articles on sales and

Weekly – Put a 30 minute appointment on your calendar each week  to do your planning. During

sales management and for weekly insights on selling subscribe to her blog

| 15

MTD Sales Training Image by MTD Sales Training. MTD have trained over 50,000 sales people in over 2,500 companies across the UK and internationally.

Selling on the Edge

The Secret to Achieving Greatness when You’re Just a Nobody by Dan Waldschmidt You make the decision to keep trying no matter how hard it gets along the way. That’s the secret to greatness. Even if you feel like a nobody. You never stop trying. No matter how painful it feels or unpopular you become, you just put one foot in front of the other until you get to where you want to be. Along the way you’ll be laughed at. Your intentions will be second-guessed. You’ll be told you’re fighting for something that doesn’t really matter.

You’ll Even Start to Doubt that You’re the Right Person. What started out as a glorious endeavor now feels like a miserable exercise of pain and suffering. There’s no grandeur where you’re standing. No appreciation or sympathy from those around you. All you see are obstacles. All you feel is pain. All you think about is giving up. That’s where John found himself one late evening in the summer of 1968. It was the Olympics in sunny Mexico City. Except by now the sun was almost setting and the Olympics were over. The closing ceremony had finished. All the medals had been handed out. The music had finished playing. It was time to go. As the competitors gathered their belongings and attendees started to make their way out of the stadium, the Olympic announcer made a strange announcement over the loudspeaker: “Please remain in your seats”. Confused, the crowd looked around, wondering what new event was planned. Was there a last-minute celebrity appearance? A surprise concert? What was going on? Through the evening light, the attendees could see the spinning blue lights from police motorcycles still somewhat far off from the stadium. The lights moved slowly down the road – as if they were waiting for someone. And they were. The announcer explained to the crowd that a final marathon runner was entering the stadium.

Even more confused, the crowd buzzed with questions that no one could answer. Wasn’t that event over a few hours ago? Hadn’t the medals been handed out already? They had seen Mamo Wolde from Ethiopia win the gold medal, becoming only the second person in Olympic history to medal in successive Olympic marathons. They had cheered for Mamo and marveled at his courage. And now they buzzed with anticipation. As the motorcycles got closer to the stadium you could hear the whine of police sirens. The blue lights cast an odd glow on a runner who was making his way into the arena and towards the finish line.

Today might be your day to achieve greatness | 17

Selling on the Edge John limped his way into the outer reaches of the stadium lights. He was covered with blood. His right leg bandaged. Every step is painful. His breath ragged. The crowd quickly quieted in stunned silence. How could this man keep running let alone stand on his feet at all? Unused to running in such high altitude, John had begun to suffer cramps early in the race. But he continued to run with the leaders. And then 11 miles into the race, disaster struck. As he was jockeying with the other runners for position, he was tripped and landed violently. His head smashed into the pavement, gushing blood. His knee was dislocated from the socket, tendons torn. His shoulder was fractured. As a final disgrace, he had been trampled by the runners behind him who were unable to stop. That man was the man who ran bravely into the stadium in front of them. The hushed silence of the crowd turned into a thunderous boom as they watched John fight his way slowly towards the finish line. Ever step was a feat of super-human courage. The applause was deafening as John took his final step past where Mamo Wolde had set a new Olympic record hours earlier. Medics raced to pick him up from where lay collapsed on the track. He was taken by that same police escort to the Emergency Room at the hospital. The next day sports journalists from all over the world rushed to John’s side, all asked the same question: “Why, after sustaining the kinds of injuries you did, would you ever get up and proceed to the finish line, when there was no way you could possibly place in the race?”

To John it was simple: “My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; they sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.” He was the last of the 57 finishers of the 1968 Olympic Marathon. In all, 75 runners started a race that day. For whatever reason, 18 of those runners dropped out of the race altogether. Only 3 runners got awards. But one man created a story that will never be forgotten. That man was John Stephen Akhwari.

He Started Out the Race as a Nobody. The truth is that John was from a dirty farm in Tanzania. Back home he had a wife and 6 children to support. They spent their days working in the fields to grow enough crops to survive. It was a hard life. All that changed by the time he crossed the finish line. Not the dusty fields in Africa. Not the family depending on him. Not the hard life working to survive. All that would still be the same when he went home after the Olympics. But for the rest of time, John Stephen Akhwari will be remembered as a nobody who achieved greatness. A man who refused to quit long after it was the sensible thing to do.

That’s the Same Challenge You Face Today. Whether you keep moving towards where you want to be or if you decide to make excuses and drop out of the race. Today might be your day to achieve greatness. Are you ready to try?

How One Relationship Can Change the Rest of Your Life We all like to think that we would do anything, no matter how hard, if it could change the rest of our life. By doing something breathtakingly bold, we could tip luck in our favor. Irrevocably shift the cosmos toward our beleaguered position. You can do that. Despite what you might think of as “wishful thinking”, you are in control of your future. Of how things turn out.

18 |

You can change the rest of your life with one choice. It just might not be the decision that you thought it was. Michael Chase was at the end of his rope. A retired paramedic, he was now homeless. Living out his van. Moving from city to city. Making money from the odd job that he could hustle.

May – June 2013

That’s when he met her. Michael was on the street when he saw a woman having a seizure. She fell to the ground. Convulsing. Busy morning commuters barely stopped to move around her. Most not even looking at her as she lie there barely moaning. Michael sprang into action. He had no money. No home. Not even enough gas in his beat-up van to drive the women to the hospital. But he gave what he had. Himself. Pushing through the crowd, Michael cleared a space around the women and began to stabilize her. Looking up, he told a man walking by on his phone to call 911. And he got back to work performing CPR on her. Holding her hand until the ambulance arrived. When the woman was able to get out of the hospital, she asked Michael to come spend the afternoon with her and her family. They walked outside the house, along a river in Georgia, talking. That’s when she found out that Michael was homeless. His gift of kindness seemed all the more special given his own problems at the time. She rented Michael a hotel room for the week. A better place for him to sleep at night. And when the week was over, Michael packed up his van and started to head out to find another day job. That’s when she asked him for his disposable cell phone number. A long chance that they could stay in touch. Michael wasn’t even sure he would have enough money to keep the number live. But he shared it anyway. No expecting to hear from her again. The days turned into months. And the months turned into a friendship. A friendship between a man who gave what he had and a woman who needed that gift.

A few months later she got sick again and Michael didn’t stop to think twice. He begged and borrowed the 250 miles worth of gas money he needed to drive to her. That was the last time they were apart. Michael married that woman. And together they opened a successful painting company outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Michael’s gift transformed his life. He met his soulmate. He found the courage to get back on his feet. To find love and success and inspiration. That’s a gift that he hopes keeps transforming other lives. Each Christmas, Michael and his wife find three or four homeless, out-of-luck people and pay for them to stay in a hotel through the holiday season. Each night, they bring these families home-cooked meals, warm clothing, and help them reconnect with lost family and other friends they once knew. Four of these people Michael has helped are now off the streets, working jobs, and back in touch with their family. One of the people now follows Michael’s example and helps several more homeless people every year around Christmas. One gift. From a man who had nothing to give. And it transformed the rest of his life. He found love. He lost his fear. He inspires us to do the same. You might call it luck. Or chance. Or good timing. But those are just excuses. Petty explanations for the difference you can make when you give what you have to others. When you stop believing the worst about you and start sharing the best you have to offer. Would you do anything to change your life for the better? Then start giving.

You can change the rest of your life with one choice

Dan Waldschmidt is an international business strategist, speaker, author, and extreme athlete. His consulting firm solves complex marketing and business strategy problems for savvy companies all over the world. Dow Jones calls his Edgy Conversations blog one of the top sales sites on the internet. He’s been profiled in Business Week, INC Magazine, BBC, Fox News, The Today Show, and Business Insider, has been the featured guest on dozens of radio programs, and has published hundreds of articles on progressive business strategy. He is author of the soon to be released Edgy Conversations: How Ordinary People Can Achieve Outrageous Success.

| 19

Creating Urgency for Sales Success

Goodbye, Guesswork. Hello Confidence How Accomplishing Emotional Urgency Takes the Guesswork out of Selling by Jason Forrest Each week in sales offices all across the nation, sales leaders ask the inevitable, “How many sales are you going to make this week?” And each week, big-ticket sales pros sweat, run through a variety of scenarios to give their best guess, or just don’t even try to answer accurately. You’ve seen them all. Some roll their eyes and pull a number out of thin air just to get the focus off of them. The sandbaggers count up their hot prospects and then subtract one or two (so that they don’t risk disappointing their boss later). The sales whisperers shut their mouths tight and shake their heads, “no.” They ain’t talking because they don’t want to jinx it. And then there are the dreamers who say something outlandish, under the guise of positivity. They’ve averaged two sales a week for six months, but they say, “This is the week I’ll make six! I just feel it.” And then of course you have the safers who feel like they can’t say zero, but they don’t want to make any promises they can’t keep. So they just play it safe and say one. Listen, I get it. It’s tough to predict sales! Sales pros might think something like, “Let’s see... the Joneses have been here five times in the past week. So I’ll bet they’re going to buy. And the Martins have been here eight times this month – this has got to be the week they decide to move forward. And I’ve got at least two other possibilities, so I’m gonna go with three sales this week.” But it’s a flawed strategy because the Smiths may have made their search a full-time job and they’ve been to all of your competitors five times, too. Or the Martins love your product but are tripped up on financing. Here’s the good news – by following the process of creating emotional urgency, sales pros can answer that question with certainty. They can consider the phases of emotional urgency and pinpoint where

20 |

each customer stands, leading to a more accurate prediction. Leading customers through the phases or emotional urgency moves prospects through the Sales Funnel (below). Here’s how it works. At the top (opening), write down your monthly traffic (which represents the number of prospects who are entering the funnel). Every prospect is either somewhere in the funnel, removed from the funnel when they choose to go a different direction or moved out the bottom of the funnel as a buyer. Below the traffic count, write “Phase One: Unsatisfied.” This is the first level of urgency and means that a prospect is not happy with his/her current situation. Most of your prospects will be at least this far. Otherwise – they would never walk through your door. Below that, write “Phase Two: Product.” This means that a prospect believes that your product is the best option for them. Below that, write “Phase Three: Product Selected.” This means that your prospect has picked the big-ticket item and (when applicable) the features, colors, and upgrades they want. The funnel continues to get narrower because you will have fewer people who make it that far. The next phase is “Phase Four: Urgency.” This means that they realize that the product they want could get taken off the market (when applicable) and/or that they are in the right place at the right time. Write that in. Next, write “Phase Five: Decision.” This is where prospects realize that the sooner they act, the sooner their lives will improve. It’s a very important step – not just in the sales process, but in the post-sales process. Because it’s the one that most ties them to the product emotionally. When you have successfully moved a customer through each phase of emotional urgency, they will

May – June 2013

exit the funnel as a buyer. At the bottom of the funnel, you will write down your net sales for the month. It’s important to accomplish each stage of urgency with prospects because, with big-ticket items, prospects that get cold feet will be more likely to cancel if they haven’t. If the product is just good enough, they will be more likely to cancel. If they think they can come back next week, next month, or next year without possibly losing their dream product, they’ll be more likely to delay the purchase. If they don’t believe the product will make their lives better, they will have no trouble canceling at the drop of a hat. And then, of course, it works the opposite way too. Customers who have fully accomplished every stage of emotional urgency are convinced that the product is the one for them, that now is their chance to get it, and that it is truly going to make their lives better. These are the customers who are so emotionally attached and internally urgent that they will steadfastly endure the unexpected obstacles they may face as they move forward. They’re just not gonna cancel on you. Of course the number at the bottom of the funnel is going to be smaller than the one at the top (unless

you are the king or queen of big-ticket sales and your conversion rate is 100%). The rest of your prospects are just trapped somewhere in the funnel. As your determine which prospects are stuck an which are ready to be moved out of the funnel, you can strategize what’s next. We’ll discuss strategies next month. In the meantime – get your prospects emotionally urgent. It’s good for them and it’s good for you. As you use this tool, you’ll be able to answer your sales leader more confidently. Say goodbye to guesswork and hello to the sales funnel. 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 a sales trainer, management coach, regularly featured speaker at national conferences and professional association events, member of the National Speakers Association’s Million Dollar Speakers Group, and a published author. His newest book, Leadership Sales Coaching, is now available.  

| 21

The Silent Assassin 22 |

May – June 2013

It is a silent assassin that kills sales, marriages, your golf swing, free throws, relationships; it can really kill your results in any endeavor. It’s a seemingly little thing that when you don’t execute it, can have serious ramifications on the end result you are seeking. It’s a lack of proper follow through. Not convinced it’s lethal? Consider this… Half of all sales people give up on a prospect after the first time they are told no. Another 30 percent give up after the second no. Research indicates it takes five no’s by a single prospect to get them to say yes. Therefore by simply demonstrating follow through you will outperform 80 percent of your competition. The silent assassin known as follow through is actually self-inflicted, just ask the 80 percent.


ack of follow through is an epidemic in our workplace. Why? Because when you begin noticing the exception as remarkable (a person who demonstrates follows through) you have a very clear indication that there is a societal issue at play. Recently, Julie, a sales professional and colleague of mine asked me for a referral to a speaker for her association’s upcoming event. I pride myself on being a resource and a connector of others so I happily found two highly qualified peers and made the introduction. Julie called me back almost in shock that I followed through so professionally and to the extent that I did. I told her that she should know by now to expect nothing less than this from me. Her response floored me: “Yes, but it so rare to see. I’ve come to expect so little from people because they never follow through on what they say. I appreciate that you’re a person of your word.” I immediately thought how sad it is that lack of follow through is so common that my simple act of actually following through caught her attention to the extent it did. (I was the exception.) Follow through is becoming an endangered species. Thus it is important that we understand its meaning, importance and value to you in your role.

Fol-low-through – [fol-oh-throo] noun: the act of continuing a plan, project, scheme, or the like to its completion. The term is rooted in sports as a fundamental aspect of most athletic movements that involve hitting or shooting. A lot of golfers underestimate the importance of great follow through, thinking it’s not important once the face of the club has made contact with the ball. It’s the same thing with professional basketball players. Yes, even people at the pinnacle of their profession struggle with follow through. It also relates directly to your workplace.

Why Follow Through Is Important According to professional golf coach, Josh Nahm, follow through is important because it shows you what has come before. He stated that “when you see someone’s follow through appear effortless

| 23

and smooth you know a good swing has occurred”. Nahm gave the example that even an untrained eye can see the difference between Tiger Wood’s swing and a weekend hack at the local municipal course. A major part of the difference is in the follow through. In the workplace, your lack of follow through also shows your prospect what has come before. How you do anything is how you do everything. If you do not follow through on small requests it indicates you cannot be trusted to execute larger initiatives. Anything less than prompt, timely follow through erodes your integrity and others’ trust in you. When you state your intentions and align them with action, people will trust you and gravitate to you. Nahm also revealed that “Swing follow through is about commitment. When someone is uncommitted on a shot you see them stop on impact. This is usually done out of fear. When they are completely committed there is no fear and they swing right through the ball.” I would argue that follow through in anything is about commitment. In the context of sales, 80% of people are stopping on impact so to speak when they are told “no” by a prospect because they are not fully committed. When you are fully committed to your product, your company and to your own success you repeatedly follow through after the objection.

compromised. Consequently the ball won’t travel at the right speed, direction or hit the exact location you intend. To quote NBA shooting consultant, Tim “The Target” Sullivan, “deceleration is a preconditional failure of everything you’ve worked towards”. It is the same in business, if you don’t follow through well, you won’t get the result you are looking for. If you decelerate on a client so to speak, you lose momentum, timing and credibility. Figuratively speaking not following through is akin to dropping the ball. The difference between sports and business is that in sports, you’ll always get another shot. The ball will find you again. That client you dropped the ball on however will remember your fumble and will make sure you don’t get the ball again. 

That client you dropped the ball on however will remember your fumble and will make sure you don’t get the ball  again

What Does Follow Through Actually Do? In the sports setting, follow through encourages a positive release of the ball. It also facilitates consistency. I know I saw it with the collegiate lacrosse players I coached. What happens is when you don’t follow through all the way when shooting you actually start decelerating the lacrosse stick before the ball has been released. As a result, the momentum, timing and power of the shot are

24 |

This all begs the question, how long should you follow through?

According to Sullivan, who has worked with NBA All-Stars Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki as well as Team USA Basketball, “you should follow through until the intended action is no longer affected”. In other words, follow through until the ball is in the basket. What a powerful metaphor for business. How long should you follow through with a client or prospect? Until the sale is made, until the results are delivered, until the project is completed; whatever the case may be, that is precisely how long. I asked Sullivan if even the most carefully executed shot can be botched by poor follow through and he drew a fascinating parallel to the business world. Sullivan indicated that “Yes, poor follow through can have an adverse impact on the most carefully executed task because it is the subconscious neglect of making sure you deliver a specific result.” In essence, in business and sport, that subconscious neglect takes place when people try

May – June 2013

to short cut what cannot be short cut. When you short cut the process with anything, the results can be devastating. To his point, the whole purpose of follow through is to improve the execution of the shot you are taking. Whether that shot is with a basketball or golf club in the hands of an athlete or a pen in the hands of a sales person, make no mistake about it; follow through matters. Follow through helps guarantee your fundamentals aren’t compromised. I’m a firm believer in the fact that little things make a big difference. Follow through is one of those little things. In my coaching business, many clients contact me because they are in a slump or not happy with their current results. When we delve into their reality, nine times out of ten the culprit is that they’ve deviated from their fundamentals. So much of success in anything is about following the fundamentals. Follow through is a fundamental skill, so is consistency. Whether it is a sales call, a presentation, or a job interview without proper follow through you will not achieve your desired outcome.

Human beings have a tendency to feel like we’ve finished an activity because the “activity” of it is done. Whether you’re an executive or an athlete, poor follow through or, worse yet, no follow through, makes no sense. When you consider all the preparation and sweat equity you invested in taking that “shot”, why would you short circuit all of the momentum, power and timing you had by not following through? John Brubaker

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 award winning book, The Coach Approach: Success Strategies From The Locker Room To 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 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.

The Coach Approach Success Strategies From The Locker Room To The Board Room “The lessons and insights in The Coach Approach may be rooted in sports but they apply to just about every aspect of leadership in business. Through behind the scenes experiences with his teams John shows you how to take your organization to the next level. If you’re interested in winning, you will love this book. If you’re committed to winning, you need this book.” Patrick Sweeney, President of Caliper and New York Times Best-Selling Author of Succeed on Your Own Terms

“The Coach Approach is the one book on leadership and teambuilding I’d have if I could have just one.” Don Meyer, the winningest coach in NCAA men’s college basketball

| 25

Unusual Places to Network P

or what I call Serendipitous Networking Everywhere

rior to starting my own consulting firm, shopping for unusual items was an interesting pastime. Little did I know that such a "hobby" would result in a $50,000 sale for my business. It all started when I bought an outfit from a salesperson who I decided to stay in touch with afterwards. After this first purchase with this salesperson, I got to know her by stopping in to say "hi" and by referring many other shoppers. She returned the favor by suggesting that I contact the new management team who, as it turns out, were looking to provide corporate training for the whole chain. To get the ball rolling, I first sent a letter to the president and complimented her on her wonderful line of clothes, and mentioned that I had been a collector for years. Two months later, I got a call inviting me in to make a presentation about my services, and to write a proposal. The rest became history over time. My first client could be traced back to a conversation we had on a train ride. She was sitting across from me and pulled out a book I had just read. We began a conversation and before we knew it, two other people had joined in. As we got around to talking about what kind of work we did, it was time to get off the train. However, the woman I first met said, "I'm looking for someone to design a

customer service program, so send me your material." I did better than that. The next day I hand delivered the material and left it with her receptionist. She called that afternoon and we started working together six months later. She has since left that organization and we still have the opportunity years later to work on projects. Keep in mind that it's not that simple. There was a long waiting time. Actually, for both of the above experiences, it took almost a year to get from the first interaction to the closed sale. However, it’s like walking through a garden and throwing out seeds; you know that they all may not bear fruit. However, if you don't start with the seeds, there will be nothing to water, nurture, and eventually harvest. That’s why we need to seek out potentially "bankable" places to network which is everywhere in life. Recently I received an email from the daughter of the vice president of the bank where my parents used in Florida and now I have an account for my condo there. I had been sending her mother my newsletter tip for several years and always stop by the bank to say hello. The banker put her daughter, who is a training director at a major restaurant chain, in touch with me. Now we're in the process of discussing their training needs. Let's face

Remember to


anyone who refers you to someone

26 |

May – June 2013

it – who can give you a better referral than someone’s mother? Once while visiting Sarasota, Florida, which is my part time residence, I was waiting in the checkout line and noticed the name badge on the woman helping me- which was "Training Director." We started to chat, and I complimented her and this specific chain for the exceptional service they provide and she invited me to come to their training department the next time I was in the store. I immediately followed up by sending her a handwritten note and put her on my ezine distribution list. I also mailed a letter to the corporate office of her store, expressing how very nice she was and how she went the extra mile to make my experience a pleasant one. Will I get an assignment from them? I do not know. However, I have a new "contact" that I can get to know over time. Here are a few techniques to help you serendipitously network more effectively and to keep a 24/7 mindset of awareness of all the possible opportunities that can develop over time, patience and follow up. Give a new contact a sincere compliment, such as, "You seem to enjoy your work and enjoy making people feel welcomed." Show a genuine interest in the person. Simply ask questions to learn more about him or her as a person and of course with sincerity. Really listen and learn. Follow up immediately. When a new networking contact leads to writing a proposal, get the person the information as soon as possible. Do the follow-up based on the person's directions. Always include something extra that your competition may not provide. I call it "WIT" – Whatever it Takes. Remember to thank anyone who refers you to someone. The contact might have come from a party, a wedding, a business function, or from your health club. Keep the person who invited you "in the loop" and let him or her know about what's happening. Chances are he or she will speak

to your "new contact" and have the opportunity to put in a good word for you. It takes no time and is always remembered. "The Wizard of Oz" principle. Remember what the good witch tells Dorothy at the end of the movie, that "you always had the ability to go home." Now, think back to your current client list. How did you get each assignment you're working on? Chances are, if you think back, those clients were either referrals or relationships you developed that started off as nothing. Get out your note cards today and send out "thank you" notes to those you work with and those who referred you to clients. It’s guaranteed to make you, and, more importantly, your contacts feel better. Whether a handwritten note or an email or even a phone call- do it and make someone's day special. Finally, who says going to a dentist has to be a painful experience? Once I went to my dentist’s office to have some work done. A short while back I had provided customer service training for his staff, and of course, I had been referring patients to him. My dentist left the room while I was waiting for the Novocain to settle in. Suddenly, he ran in to tell me something urgent. He said, "You have to meet my patient in the next room. Her company needs someone like you!" Of course, I arranged a followup meeting when we could both speak clearly and without pain! The real coincidence is that she just happened to come in to the office for an emergency because, as she was traveling, her tooth broke. We can't predict life! Networking is life and often the opportunities are right in front of us. by Andrea Nierenberg

Andrea Nierenberg is a business development authority who demonstrates how to balance today's high-speed communications with the people skills that transcend time and technology. She is also the author of 6 books on Networking and Sales. Her consulting firm focuses on seminars, workshops and executive coaching and recruitment. More at

| 27

When Qualifying Calls: Nothing Beats a D-A-M-D Good Lead Everyone likes the phone to ring with the sound of a potential new client. In fact, most business people get so excited over an incoming lead, they completely ignore the all-important process of qualifying the call – and pay the consequences later. Do you know how to tell the difference between a bona fide buyer and a tirekicker? When handling an incoming inquiry, the objective is to determine if the call is a DAMD good lead, meaning the caller has: D = Desire, a pre-identified need;

Others will be more vague in their response, i.e. "I just wanted some information on your company's services." Not to sound ungrateful for the attention, but these are tire-kickers. Mail them something if you like, but don't schedule a meeting until after you have followed up behind the material and qualified the contact further. Establishing Authority: Question: "Assuming your company were to want to proceed with this, what would your decision process be, and who else besides yourself would be involved?"

A = Authority to make the decision; M = Money to afford to buy from you; D = Deadline; a timetable in mind for doing business. How does one go about establishing these criteria on the telephone? It's not as difficult – or as time-consuming – as you might think. Below is a list of my "Excellent Eight" – eight simple qualifying questions to ask those incoming callers who express an interest in your company's products or services. Use my "Excellent Eight" with every incoming lead, and you'll always be well-prepared to close the sale. Establishing Desire: Question: “What prompted you to call?” A simple question, and yet the most important question in determining the quality of the lead. The more specific the response, the better (in most cases) the selling opportunity. You are looking for the caller to respond with a simple, specific answer: in effect, "I am looking for ______.” If this is the response you get, gain a complete understanding of the caller's interest, and then schedule an appointment.

28 |

Don't be afraid to ask this question. This is not being "pushy"; it is being a good business person. Ask with confidence. Then, once you establish the other people involved in the decision, attempt to have your contact arrange a meeting for you with these other individuals. Explain that everyone will have different questions and issues, and that you would like to get all questions answered prior to putting together a proposal. Establishing Money: Question: "What is your budget?" Does everyone answer this question? No – but nobody will mind you asking it. Another approach is to say, "Our fees for this type of application will be in the range of from ______ to _______. Is this within your budget?" Yes, you might get a "no". Well, better to find out now than later, right? Establishing Deadline: Question: "What is your timetable for wanting to move forward?" Ideally, the caller will give you a timeframe, such as "we need to have made a decision on this by (date)." A person who says "we haven't gotten that far yet" is not in buying mode yet – and your

May – June 2013

job is to put them there. Other questions to cover in the initial phone call: “How did you hear about us?” The key to increasing the frequency and quality of future leads is to identify what forms of marketing are working for you. Asking this question consistently of every incoming lead is critical to growing your business. Track your sources of incoming leads to determine which marketing efforts are paying dividends. Find out where the caller heard about your firm, and make a note of it. Over time, you will learn where your marketing dollars are paying dividends – and where your marketing dollars are being wasted.

“What have you liked and not liked about what you've seen so far?” This is a clever way to determine what you are up against in a competitive sale. You will not only learn how your competitors have performed to date; you'll also learn, by repeatedly asking this question during incoming calls, exactly how they market themselves, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Now you are ready for your meeting! Consider for a moment how much better prepared you will be for your first call – by taking the time to ask a few intelligent questions. In qualifying leads, knowledge is power. Knowledge – and power – is gained by those who know how to get it. by Landy Chase

Knowledge – and power – is gained by those who know how to get it

“What other options are you considering?” This is a polite – and effective – way of asking "who is my competition for your business?" without having to actually ask this question. Usually, if they are looking at other options they will answer the question, "We’re also talking to _____". If this occurs, go to the next question, which is:

Landy Chase has worked with the sales forces of clients in over sixty different industries as a speaker, sales trainer, and advisor since founding his company, Landy Chase Incorporated, in 1993. His selling career included

“Where are you in your meetings with them?” Are you going to be the first option they talk to? You need to know, before scheduling a meeting, if your buyer has already met with your competitors. This is a critical step, because it allows you to plan you strategy for opening your first meeting. If they have already met with you competitors, go to question 5.

repeat President's Club awards as a sales person, experience as a National Sales Trainer for a two-billion dollar corporation, and field experience as a sales manager in both small-business and major-account B2B environments. He writes extensively as a columnist for a number of business publications and has published hundreds of articles on selling skills and sales management.

| 29

Ringside with Michael

How Do You Turn Social Situations into Business? by Michael Goldberg Very carefully! But here’s the truth. People don’t want to feel obligated to do business with you just because you took them to a ball game. Or wined and dined them over lunch. Or spent hours playing golf on a Tuesday afternoon. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best at what you do in the world! Business happens at the speed of trust and if there is no trust, no value, no genuine relationship, and no synergy, all the ball games in the world aren’t going to change those relationships. A few years back, a wholesaler for an annuity company saw me speak at an event and hired me to speak at a couple of his “road shows”. He thought my message about networking would be a great incentive to attract financial advisors to his events. And he was right. In fact, his events were such a success that he hired me again and referred me to some of his counterparts around the country who also hired me. I returned the favor by introducing him to some of my client firms in his region. Now, the business was nice but I also thought I got a great friend out of the deal. We’re based only a few hours from one another and share a love for the same football and baseball teams – a rare find! Well, the relationship never took off. For some reason, the wholesaler became reluctant to respond to my messages. I actually saw him at a client event (I referred him) where again I was the speaker. He was very nice to me and even apologized for being so bad about returning messages. I joked about it but it was the last time we spoke.

I still have a relationship with him but it’s not where I thought it was going. Here’s my point. I thought I did everything right in terms of building the relationship. The connection felt natural and our conversations were fun and never felt forced. He may have felt that if we developed the relationship further that he would be obligated to hire me – which I’m hoping wasn’t the case. So it’s never a sure thing even when you do everything right. So imagine the cost of doing only some things right? Or everything wrong? Here are suggestions to help you do everything (or at least most things) right when looking to develop social situations into business.

Be very specific about what you want when it comes to business

30 |

Understand what Networking is All About

It’s not just shaking hands and kissing babies. Handing out business cards. Promoting your firm and how awesome your products are. Pitching your wares. OK, there’s some of that, but not much! Networking is about learning from and potentially helping people. Good people, those you like and want to help. If you help great people, they help you right back!

It’s All About Them Always focus on learning about the other person until they start asking questions about you. Typically, I don’t talk about myself unless someone asks me a specific question. The exception might be if something just happened in my world that I’m excited about and want to share. If something is

May – June 2013

going on in your business or even personal life that is so exciting that others will relate or be interested in hearing, feel free to share. But remember to shift gears and start asking questions about them. By being interested you become interesting!

Be a Connector As you’re learning about people you meet, think about who you can introduce them to that will help their cause. Some clients you work with (and those you’re looking to work with) may have a niche in let’s say the manufacturing industry. Maybe you know the VP of Operations for a manufacturer and can provide an introduction. Givers always gain so look to offer help and make connections in the best interest of the parties involved. I have two hard and fast guidelines – you must really like them (because if you don’t, your friends may not either) and they must be great at what they do (professionally, they must offer value and make you look great in the process).

Find Common Ground The best way to find common ground is to ask great questions. So, how did you get involved in financial services? What college did you attend? What made you become an independent broker? What are some of your current initiatives and goals? What are your biggest challenges? How do you market your business? What do you do for fun? If you don’t get similar questions asked in the form of, “How about yourself?” you’re doing something wrong or there’s simply not a good connection.

Say what You Mean and Mean what You Say Be very specific about what you want when it comes to business. If there is a specific type of re-

ferral you want, mention it (when the time is right). The more specific you are, the more likely you are to get it. Remember the manufacturing example I mentioned earlier? If that financial advisor doesn’t mention manufacturers and related details about how they help, that connection does not happen. So make it happen!

Speak the Language of WE Practice using WE language and establish collaboration and working together – what true networking is all about! You know, it’s been great that we’ve had the chance to spend time playing golf (badly) and learn about each other’s businesses. I would love to explore how WE might help one another moving forward? Or, how can WE refer each other more business over time? Yes, you can be direct if you use WE language and make the business relationship truly that – a relationship!

Out of Sight is Out of Mind Believe it! Establish a “staying in touch” strategy that keeps you connected and learning from those you meet, like, and value. Examples include a standing phone meeting every 30 days, dinner whenever you’re in town, quarterly meetings, or whatever. I have sushi with one client every quarter (she buys!) and we discuss movies, television, family stuff, and spend about 5 minutes discussing business. There’s nothing new under the sun and these ideas are far from revolutionary. But most business owners (sales reps too!) don’t have a system in place to do a lot of the little things consistently. Who are you looking to meet or get to know better? Implement some of these ideas into your day to day with prospects, clients, and referral sources and see what happens. Out of sight is out of mind.

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!

| 31


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 How to make sales prediction?

What's the hardest thing about sales and why?

First, making a prediction that's accurate is dependent on how willing you are to face reality. There are salespeople that I see that make projections that are ridiculous. They have no track record to predict future performance, yet they think they'll make their stellar goals. They are kidding themselves and their manager – if he's buying their sale. I advocate making accurate predictions.  How do you do that? You gather as much past data to base your future predictions. If you've historically picked up 10 pieces of new business each year, then a future prediction of 10-12 is realistic, 25 isn't.  Another aspect of making a realistic sales forecast is to look at your success rate with specific types of customers. Most salespeople aren't making the analysis they should be making to identify their ideal customer. If you've been successful in the past with specific types of customers remember that unless you change something about your selling, then it's unlikely that you're going to be successful in the future with different types of customers.  In short, look at your past successes, predict based on those data and then examine your results. This probably should have been an answer that the former CEO of JC Penney read before he made his sales predictions.

Everything. That's a pretty broad answer and somewhat tongue in cheek. Think about it. Selling is persuading a variety of people about making a difficult change. People don't like change.  Some prospects are knowledgeable and some are not.  The knowledgeable ones may think they know what they know and don't.  The ones who lack information may require extensive information to educate them to buy.  Doesn't that sound pretty hard?  It is.  Yet the successful sales professional knows this and prepares.   Successful sales professionals try to make selling easier. They know their products, their competitors' products and general business. They understand how to communicate effectively, listen, ask strategic questions and identify good prospects.  If all that sounds hard, well it is.  That's why it takes a certain type of person to be successful in sales.  The good news is that if you make the effort to be a life learner and improve your communication and knowledge that's the best way to make selling easier. Here's even better news. If selling were entirely easy to do, I suspect many salespeople would leave the profession. Why? They enjoy a challenge.  I often say that selling is the best game in town. Win or lose, the excitement and the challenge of making the sale is what I thrive on. I see this in other successful salespeople.   So here's the answer to what's the hardest thing about sales. It is hardest if you don't have that fire in your belly.  If you don't have it you'll never get it.  Without it, you will find that it makes your selling really, really hard.

32 |

Maura Schreier-Fleming is an international speaker and sales consultant. She works with business and sales professionals on their persuasion and communication skills. Website:

May – June 2013


Unqualified Leads: Follow-Up or Forget? by Michael Pedone

Sales Question:

"What Should I do With My Unqualified Leads? Should I continue to follow-up or just forget them?"

Answer: Depends on your definition of unqualified. For me, a prospect needs to have three things in order to be qualified: 1) A problem that I can help them solve; 2) Power to make or at least influence a decision to purchase; 3) Ability to afford my solution to their problem should they decide they want it. If they are missing any of those things, they are not qualified. At least not at this moment.

Smile and Dial Days In the days of smile and dial, we were taught to deepsix the leads that weren't qualified. Hang-up and dial the next one. That is a huge mistake because as long as the lead meets certain parameters to be a suspect, even though they may not be qualified right now, that doesn't mean any one of those three criteria's can't change in a moment’s notice. Example: You could be speaking with a decision maker today who could afford your solution if they wanted it but doesn't need what you offer only to have a "trigger event" happen two weeks later and now needs a solution like yours. (I'll explain what a TRIGGER EVENT is in a minute)

Sales Pipeline Jam On the flip side, I've seen way too many sales reps miss quota month after month because they keep following up with the same unqualified leads over and over again. Sure, the unqualified prospects take your calls, are friendly to you and you even feel "safe" calling

them. You also fool yourself into thinking that you are doing a "good job" and are "building the relationship" yet you are wasting time and money and your manager is missing out on his/her bonus because you aren't hitting your numbers. Too many unqualified leads in the sales pipeline. This is a bad situation to be in.

The Power of a Drip Here's what I've found to work best when dealing with unqualified leads… Have a drip email marketing campaign in place that flows on a consistent basis. Think of it as "catch and release" when it comes to fishing. You've got a prospect that doesn't measure up to having all three needed criteria for qualification. So you throw them back into the pool and let your drip email marketing take over. This way you stay in contact with them without bogging down your phone time and when a trigger event happens, they contact you. Now you're dealing with a warm lead.

What's a Trigger Event? OK so what's a trigger event? It's when something happens on the prospects side that makes them realize they need a solution. All prospects have it and it’s the only thing that will make a lead "warm". They become hand raisers. And you'll be ready to help when they need it most. Believer. Husband. Dad. Visionary. Entrepreneur. Guitarist. Tampa Bay Lightning Fanatic. Know a thing or two about how to sell by phone. Cyberspace –

| 33

Relationship Building Both in Good Times and Through Turbulence As Dickens said in A Tale of Two Cities, "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." 34 |

May – June 2013


e are all aware of the current economic conditions and while I am a true believer of continually nurturing and building our relationships – now more than ever is the time to jump-start your system and to consistently put your tactics and strategies into motion 24/7. The relationships we build and nurture are the ones that are there for us no matter what, because we have been there for them. Think right now – how often do I touch base to say hello or thank you to my clients/customers/advocates/friends consistently to be on their radar screen all the time? We live in a world of high technology, yet we need to also think ‘high touch’ – and not just to relieve any ‘high stress’ that may be apparent. Be creative as you think of ways to ‘take care’ of the people who you have worked hard to build trust and advocacy with. This goes back to delivering the type of service and value that is priceless. It is going the extra mile and taking the ‘high road’ as I like to call it – there is less traffic there anyway. Here are some simple tactics and strategies you can put into practice: I – Truly become Interested in others. Do this with sincerity and Integrity, otherwise people see right through it. One tool that I use a lot are Google alerts which I set up for people that I want to be able to touch base with often with ideas and interests that pertain to them. You will have opportunities to be ‘in the know’ and can drop them a note or call with information and news. N – Nurture and know what you can about the people in your life. I have a list of many topics that I get to know about my relationships ‘over time’. For example here are a few that help me stay connected and reach out with an article, thought, suggestion or idea that they might be interested in: Birthday Hobbies/Interests Favorite foods/restaurants Vacation interests Kids Pets School alumni Special holidays

Job promotions/moves Who you refer to them Who they refer you to How you met Likes Dislikes Professional Organizations they are interested in Know what ‘motivates’ them Know what their concerns are in business Know what keeps them up at night and how you might help C – Connect and communicate – not just when we want something – much more important when we are there to provide news, insight and a way to help their business or be a supportive ear. Continually create value for your relationships. Be clear and connect with them in the way they prefer. I always ask my relationships – ‘what is your preferred method of communication?’ You have also shown that you are really listening to them – sometimes a forgotten art. E – Execute what you say you will do. Often after all is said and done – much more is said than done. Be sure to underpromise and overdeliver. Take the time to follow up on everything that you say you will do and surprise and delight people by doing so. I make a list consistently to be sure that no matter what – I follow up with who and whatever I said I would – again something that often is not always done. N – Network! To me the word ‘network’ is huge and means many things. I say that ‘networking’ is part of the S Factor – sometimes it is strategic and structured for the events you attend – so be prepared. Most of life though is “serendipitous networking’’ – be aware of every opportunity to meet, connect, reconnect and help someone else. Everywhere in life and every day we may learn something from someone who can give us information that one of our contacts or trusted advisors or advocates would be interested in. So keep your ears open and tuned up and also be sure to continually Nurture your relationships. I can’t say this enough. T – Trust is the key to any relationship in good times and otherwise. Work hard to continually build

| 35

trust with your relationships – and this takes Time. Talk less and listen more – we learn more that way also! Tell them when you do talk – something that will help them or their business or offer a suggestion, apiece of advice. Do your homework and research consistently. I – Take the Initiative to reach out and be connected. If we wait for someone to call or email or meet with us, we might wait a long time. Of course as we build and develop these relationships – it goes without saying that true Integrity is key for any relationship. My Dad always said “With integrity nothing else matter and without integrity – nothing else matters.” I live by this – and it is so true. V – Continually create Value with those in your life. What are you delivering to them that makes you stand out? Also value every relationship in what they have given and continue to provide to you. Make sure to let them know how important they are to you. Be Visible and let them know how to easily find you. You are there when they need you. Consistently have your

contact information available to them so they don’t have to look for it. E – Energy and Enthusiasm are key to continually building relationships that last. Take care of yourself and make sure you plan and prepare each day with goals and ways of measuring. One way I do this is to set a specific goal each day for different clients or relationships. Something as simple as calling 3 extra people with a message of goodwill or a piece of information, 3 extra emails with the same type of message and I’m a big believer of pulling out pen and paper and not just during the holidays to write a short note of thanks, or a greeting of hello and thinking of you. by Andrea Nierenberg

Andrea Nierenberg is a business development authority who demonstrates how to balance today's high-speed communications with the people skills that transcend time and technology. She is also the author of 6 books on Networking and Sales. Her consulting firm focuses on seminars, workshops and executive coaching and recruitment. More at

Andrea R. Nierenberg Your Source to Obtain, Retain and Train mobile: 917.626.8494 Click here to visit our Blog:

36 |

May – June 2013

Market Smarter, Sell More


Killer Sales Questions to Boost Your Confidence and Close Any Deal Faster by David Newman

As a marketing speaker and marketing coach, my clients often ask me for advice on sales. Naturally, this makes a ton of sense because the MORE and BETTER marketing you do, the FASTER and EASIER your sales process becomes. BUT... Nothing frustrates me more than when my clients DO a lot of the great marketing we work on together ONLY TO BLOW IT during the sales process! So... don't let this happen to YOU. Let's talk about what you need to close the deal: the steps you need to get from the first solid marketing conversation to the final signed contract. Depending on your particular business, this could take anywhere from 10 days from first contact all the way up to a year or more. The sales process can be a long and winding road. And along the way, it’s all too easy to lose confidence, let your resolve and motivation slip, and eventually lose control of the sales process – which ends up in chasing the prospect, unanswered emails and phone messages, mounting frustration for you and your sales manager, and a sales pipeline that is gummed up worse than an Alaskan oil spill. BUT there are several factors totally within your control that make your sales process go faster and easier – and some of these can even get you unstuck, unstalled, and moving again for sales opportunities that you had long given up on. The most important factor within your control – by far – is asking smart questions early and often. Think about it: delays in your sales process come from one main source... Surprises. You don’t want surprises on their end – and they don’t like surprises on your end. Each surprise or question or unexpected element can add anywhere from a week to a month to your sales process – and you don’t want that. Understanding this, you’ll want to ask your prospects some key selling questions early on in your conversations and throughout at every major step and milestone.

The questions you’re about to get are not your typical “sales robot” questions that your prospects have heard a million times – totally inept and inappropriate questions like “What keeps you up at night?” “What would it take to earn your business” and others of that stripe. Rather, these are smart questions – they are process questions – they ask about your prospect’s real-world buying process. What’s important to them? Who are the players? What’s their buying culture? What will raise red flags? What ammunition will they need from you to make the whole internal political sales process go faster, smoother, and easier? Questions that get to the heart of the one thing that matters most: How do they BUY? Let’s cover them together now so you can begin using these 21 killer sales questions to close more deals – more easily and more often. This will boost your confidence, restore your motivation – and help you get your sales mojo back!


If you were to decide this is a good idea, how do you buy things like this? 2 How do you implement? 3 What should I know about your timing? Signoffs? 4 When do you budget for things like this? 5 Do you think this deal is going to work? 6 What’s missing or what should we add? 7 Are you going to pitch it? 8 What else do you need to see from me? 9 Can I help you put together some numbers? 10 Do you have some numbers I could include? 11 Who else besides you will be making this decision? 12 Are “they” going to like it? 13 WHAT are they going to like? 14 WHAT are they going to push back on? 15 What else is going to be in our way? 16 How would YOU respond to that? 17 What answers do you need from me to

| 37

Market Smarter, Sell More

so you’re prepared to answer their questions? 18 How much detail do YOU want? 19 How much detail will THEY want? 20 Are there any surprises we should be prepared for? 21 If this were just you and me, how excited would you be to move ahead on a scale of 0-10? Hint: If they answer 9 or 10 – you’re good; If they answer 7 or 8 – ask, "What would need to change to get us closer to 10?" If they answer 6 or less, you have a problem. Go for no with “I don’t think we can make this work. Do you?” Bonus idea: Dan Pink, author of To Sell is Human, offers the following pair of “irrational questions” to help you overcome a negative response at any point in your sales process and sell more effectively: “How ready are you to [take the desired action], on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 means not ready at all and 10 means totally ready?” Next, ask your prospect, “Why didn’t you pick a lower (yes, lower) number?”

38 |

Circle back. Send more value. Ask more questions This will get them to reveal all the reasons buying your product or service might not be such a terrible idea after all. And you’re back in the conversation. Brilliant! Be relentless and follow up like a friendly bulldog. Never let an active prospect get more than 10 days away from you. Always show up in their world like a happy squeaky wheel: Circle back. Send more value. Ask more questions. Offer more engagement. Invite further dialogue. Come back with more ideas to genuinely help them. More and better and faster sales will follow. I guarantee it.

May – June 2013

Sell Like a Girl

What can a 12-year-old teach you about sales? Quite a bit, as it turns out. It's Girl Scout Cookie time in our part of the world. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the sights, tastes, and overall experience of helping your daughters sell Thin Mints, Samoas, and Do-Si-Do's, you're missing a fundamental and wide-ranging education about the dynamics of sales, selling, and salespeople. Here are some points I've garnered while helping my daughter, Becca (a loyal member of Girl Scout Troop 3129) make her sales numbers for three years running when she was between the ages of 10 and 12. These pointers are hard-earned, field-tested, and as applicable to you and your business as they were to Becca and hers.


It's who you know. It's true: The cookie business is a relationship business. Our nextdoor neighbor bought nine boxes – Bam! Neighbors on the other side, two boxes, then three, then still more. Why? Because Becca had something to sell. What's your personal brand doing these days? If you switched products, services, or companies, would people buy from you JUST BECAUSE IT'S YOU?


It's not about the product. It's time to get the lawyers upset. Ready? Girl Scout Cookies, for the most part, taste terrible (Thin Mints are the one exception, in my humble opinion). And they have enough fat, calories, and cholesterol in them to power a small Japanese alternative fuel vehicle. You want good cookies? Buy Oreos, Mallomars, Ginger Snaps, Nutter Butters, Grasshoppers, Deluxe Grahams, Fudge Sticks, etc. etc. Yet Girl Scout Cookies sell like crazy, year after year, donating millions to the bottom line of Girl Scouts of the USA.


It's not about price. At the time of this writing, Girl Scout Cookies cost $4 a box. The smallest box, by weight, is 7 oz. and the largest is 10 oz. Most retail cookies come packaged in a "small" size of around 12 oz. and cost about $2.79. Girl Scout Cookies give even premium brands, such as Pepperidge Farm, a run for their money when it comes to

high cost. Did I mention one of our neighbors bought nine boxes at a clip?


It's not about need. Face it, nobody NEEDS Girl Scout Cookies. In fact, when the girls were out doing a "Cookie Shop" at a local hardware store (local merchants, malls, and grocery stores allow Girl Scouts to set up a table for sales on their premises to support the cause), the number one objection we heard was "I already have some Girl Scout Cookies at home – more than I need!" So, why did they buy? Because they had a relationship with their salesperson that was more important than their need, desire, or use for the actual product. Hey, did you know that Girl Scout Cookies make great gifts, freeze really well, and are only sold for a short time each year? Can you learn from this and apply the lesson to YOUR sales message?


It's not about competition; it's all about contacts and referrals. So who is selling to all those customers who "have Girl Scout Cookies at home – more than they need?" Naturally, it's their Girl Scout. What are the chances of Becca selling a box of cookies to someone whose daughter is also selling the same cookies for the same price? You got it: less than zero. Is Becca going to bang her head against the wall bemoaning those lost sales? Of course not. She tapped into her network of networks – neighbors, cousins, kids, and parents at the Y where she played basketball, my former colleagues at my old job who have become good family friends (and Becca's customers in previous years). Do you know how to fill your pipeline when things seem dry? Do you

Now is the time to get back in the saddle and ride your sales | 39

Market Smarter, Sell More know how to move your prospects along to becoming customers, satisfied customers, and then customersfor-life – not of the product or service you're selling today, but of YOU and whatever value proposition you might be offering now and in the future?


When times are tough and things look quiet, that's the time to push harder than ever. Cookie sales end at a certain time each year. When the sale is two weeks away from the ending date, there are Girl Scout Cookies being sold everywhere you look. We probably had 10-12 boxes left over by the time the deadline came each year. Was Becca depressed that we didn't meet our goal? Were we failures as salespeople? Only if we had quit when it's over. You see, as soon as everyone else stops selling, stops marketing, and stops with the "Cookie Shop" setups – these cookies move up from a commodity to a valuable asset? It's the same thing in your business: When the market is down, your competition has pulled their ads, it's "hunker-down" time, get back to basics, and cut, cut, cut! However, that's the worst time to cut –

you have everyone's attention! There's actually much less noise out there for your message to compete against. Push now, and you'll be heard!!! What does this all mean to you and your business? It's simple: Now is the time to get back in the saddle and ride your sales and marketing activities harder than ever. You've got the floor. You've got more relationships and more people rooting for you than you realize, and if you cut through the old excuses about your product, price, competition, the economy, and all the rest of it, you'll see the sales breakthroughs that lie ahead. Why waste another minute?

David Newman is a marketing expert, professional speaker and founder of Do It! Marketing, a marketing strategy firm dedicated to making thought-leading entrepreneurs and executives more successful. David’s book, Do It! Marketing: 77 Instant-Action Ideas to Boost Sales, Maximize Profits, and Crush Your Competition is available wherever books are sold. Free resources are available online at Contact David directly at or call (610) 716-5984.

Order Your Book Now:

Get Instant Access to

100+ FREE

Marketing Tools

PLUS $747 in Bonus Gifts

40 |

May – June 2013

Sean McPheat's Money Magnets

How to Conduct a Thorough Fact-Find by Sean McPheat

Over the years, the sales profession has had its share of critics, some of it justified by the lack of constructive development of skills in a constantly-moving environment. The idea that if you had product-knowledge, and you could talk about it in a coherent way, you were invited to join the sales team, has perpetuated this critical assessment. Somewhere along the line, sales teams learned that the ‘hard-sell’ mentality didn’t reap the rewards achieved before the onset of technology that allowed for deeper customer research. When companies recognized that prospects actually knew more about the products they were selling than their sales teams did, they had to spring forward in the sales evolution process. One concept that has assisted many sales people in their search for the Holy Grail of sales success is that of ‘reverse engineering’. In their 2007 publication Reversing: secrets of reverse engineering, Eilam, Eldad & Chikofsky, state reverse engineering is the process of discovering the technological principles of a device, object, or system through analysis of its structure, function, and operation. It often involves taking something (a mechanical device, electronic component, computer program, or biological, chemical, or organic matter) apart and analyzing its workings in detail to be used in maintenance, or to try to make a new device or program that does the same thing without using or simply duplicating (without understanding) the original. All well and good, but why is it important for us to learn about this in sales? Well, think of your sales process. It is nothing more than a plan of action, a sort of reverse engineering of what your prospects are looking for to achieve their overall goals. Here are some questions you can ask yourself when conceiving your sales process improvements: If you could set out your end goal as precisely as possible, and plan the journey to achieve it, what specifically would have to happen at every milestone along the way to achieve that goal?

If you could conjure up your perfect customer, what would they look like and what would their situation be? If you could contact your perfect customer, what commitments would they agree to right now? If you could ask any question of your perfect customer, what would it be? If you could get into the perfect customer’s company and diagnose any problem at all, having access to anyone at all, what would that problem be, and who would the person be? If you could determine what you needed from the perfect customer before you asked, what would it be? If you could provide a solution that would make every prospect agree to your solution, what would you have to demonstrate? When you have got an agreement, what future commitments would you want from your perfect customer? Each of these questions helps you to seek out the perfect scenario for your sales process. The idea is to ‘start with the end in mind’ and recognize the final destination before embarking on the journey. This ‘vision’ should always be from the customer’s perspective, and can be approached from two different angles. Firstly, it has to reflect what you want as a business, which could mean your own individual goals or your business goals. Secondly, it has to be seen from the perspective of the customer’s business and the direction they need to go to improve their productivity, profitability, competitiveness or whatever success measurement they use. By reverse-engineering these visions, you identify the steps in the process that will lead you in the right direction on the journey. Your customer-focused vision starts with what you hope to achieve for yourself and your customer. A good example for your business might be “to provide the most efficient and effective cost-reduction solution” or “to offer the best quality customer experience to the business traveler”. For your customers, their vision might be “to be the company of choice in the insurance market” or

| 41

Sean McPheat's Money Magnets “to be the first choice when executives are choosing their travel arrangements”. Now, with these starting points in mind, we can work backwards to reverse-engineer our strategies and processes. For yourself, you might identify the questions that need to be answered to achieve the end goals. How must I brand myself and my products so that I can achieve my vision? What are the main aspects of my product or services that I can highlight to achieve the vision? What qualities does my product possess that epitomizes the vision I am supporting? What qualities do I as a salesperson need to show off my products so that prospects can have confidence and trust in me What targets do I need to set for myself to achieve my end goals? How will I counteract the benefits that my competition has over my products and services? How will I target my market to achieve my goals? What processes should I go through to prove my products will achieve the goals my prospects are seeking? As you see, the work starts at the end and filters backwards, so each step is further back than the previous one. The map is created so that the process works to support and lay a foundation for each progressive stage. This map will enable you to determine which direction you need to go to achieve the overall objectives for yourself and your company. Depending on the end result, it will give you the milestones you need to cover to attain each step in the process. You are able to monitor if the next stage back in the process will actually help you achieve the next one forward, acting as a foundation to build on. When you are clear on the vision you need to achieve for yourself, you can concentrate on being customer-centric and identify the processes you can work on to help your prospects achieve their goals. The previous questions were aimed solely at the reverse-engineering process required to become the product of choice for your prospects. Here are some

42 |

questions to aid you in fact-finding from the customer’s perspective:  How should their business be structured to achieve their end vision? How are they currently making decisions and how successful are they in taking them in the direction they need to go? What are their current processes in finding, maintaining and growing their customer base? What are the most important considerations they take into account when searching for a business partner? What competitive offerings would also fit the bill for their business model? How do they measure success? What criteria do they use to know if they have made the right decision? What future goals do they have to achieve to stay afloat/make profits/be the best in class? Who are involved in making decisions within the company? What are their positions and what overall interest do they have in the way decisions are made? What stages do they go through before making decisions? What criteria do they use to make those decisions? How successful have they been in making decisions in the past? What are the main reasons they have for changing or improving right now? These are just a selection of questions that will help you ascertain what their ‘future-perfect’ situation looks like. The answers will help you build a picture of what the journey will look like. Think of it like a filter, starting with a wide open mouth at the top, and a narrower, more confined outlet at the bottom. The future scenario that you would like their business to achieve is at the top of the funnel. This is where you work back from, creating milestones of possibility as the steps work backwards. Just as you would reverse-engineer that machine or software to determine its stages of development, your factfinding questions enable you to build a quality

May – June 2013

picture of how you can assist them in achieving that goal. You can ask “In order to get to that point by (date), what will the prospect need to do and how could we support them in achieving it?” This question allows you to determine the foundation stone required to build that specific point, filtering down the proverbial funnel. The next question that reverse-engineers the process will be further down the funnel, allowing you to determine what steps the prospect needs to take to achieve that further goal. That is, it helps you and they see the actions that should be taken to lay further steps on the journey. By creating a series of backwards steps from the final destination, you achieve many outcomes: You clarify the sales process for yourself by identifying the questions that will get the most information You assist the prospect to map out the steps needed to achieve their goals You show yourself as a potentially successful business partner to them You appear less like a salesperson trying to sell a product and more like a trusted advisor They start thinking through what changes have to be made to their business to achieve the goals they are seeking You create more reasons for the prospect’s company to consider you, as they can see the long-term results they will get before they even commit to your products. Fact-finding becomes more strategic and consultative when you reverse-engineer the process. It seems less inquisitive and forceful to the prospect, as they realize the real benefits of sharing information with you. You achieve your own goals along the way as you support the direction the prospect’s business needs to go to be successful. And the benefits are shared mutually, as you share in the successes gained by seeing how the preferred results can be achieved through starting with the end in mind. Managing Director of MTD Sales Training, Sean

McPheat is

regarded as a thought leader on modern day selling. Head over to Sean’s Sales Blog for more tips, advice

Want To Improve Your Sales Skills For Free? Download MTD Sales Training’s 6 FREE Sales Training Audios & Improve Your Sales Effectiveness Today!


Here are the sessions that you will receive • How To Overcome The Economy Objection • How To Overcome The Price Objection • How To Ask The Right Questions To Unearth The Needs, Wants, Problems & Issues • How To Build Up The Value Of Your Product Or Service • How To Get Past The Gatekeeper & Through To The Decision Maker Visit now to claim your FREE Sales Improvement Audios

MTD Sales Training offer one of the most comprehensive and effective sales training systems available. Our sales training team is constantly evolving to incorporate market trends and new developments to help sales people all over the UK become the best they can. If you are looking for a firm that can help your sales team do better, then we are confident that we can meet all your requirements. Visit for more information, or call us on 0800 849 6732 for a no obligation consultation.

and support.

| 43

Sales Anecdotes and Their Antidotes

Developing Confidence & Personal Motivation by Rick Roberge I’ve been lucky. I’ve been a salesman for over 40 years and over those years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with and be coached by a few awesome mentors that cared about me and knew how to get the best out of me. As I think back on all the truly great salespeople that I’ve met, talked to or worked with, every one of them has somebody that they can point to and say, “That person changed my life.” If you examine those mentor/protégé relationships, you’ll see that they weren’t based on methodology, tactics, or even strategy, but the mentor actually helped shape the person. Although I’ll spend the rest of this column sharing my thoughts on how to develop confidence and personal motivation, I will not do it as well as your mentor will. So, if you don’t have a coach and you’re serious about sales, get one. Seriously, get a coach and make them happy. Several years ago, I was talking with a business owner about coaching him to be a better salesperson. He had been through years of sales training, but froze in the heat of the battle and couldn’t execute. Interestingly, he could usually tell us what needed to be done when he was in a classroom setting. As a matter of fact, he often advised other classmates when they put situations up for discussion. He could strategize with the best of them and could prepare and practice his ‘lines’ prior to a sales call, but when the time came, he lost it. I’ll explain some of his issues and some of the things that I did for him, but first I want to share what he said when he hired me. It was springtime and my lot is wooded and abuts a golf course. So, he came over my house and we sat on the deck drinking a beer and talking about life, business, etc. I told him that I’d think about what was going on with him and what it would take to ‘fix’ him and get back to him. I sent him an email with a plan. It wouldn’t be easy and it was more money than he had ever spent on sales training before. When I followed up with him and

44 |

asked what he thought, his reply was, “I think that was an expensive beer!” I laughed out loud at that and asked, “Is that a ‘No’?” (Here it comes. This is the lesson.) He replied, “No because I figure that there’s enough room in your shadow that’s outside of my comfort zone so that you’ll be able to help me.” Wasn’t that beautiful? You hire a coach to grow. You grow by stepping outside your comfort zone, but it’s scary out there, unless your coach makes you feel safe when you’re in his shadow. So, when you pick a coach, pick one that’s going to make you do scary stuff, but keep you safe.  Now, in his case, he lost control of his emotions easily. So, when he was in a sales or networking situation, he started thinking and talking to himself in his head. While he was talking to himself, he was only half (if at all) listening to his prospect. He was planning his whole conversation without involving his prospect. When the prospect asked him a question that was outside the scope of the conversation that he had created in his head, he became frustrated, emotionally involved, upset with himself and his customer and usually watched the sale implode. We created an alter ego and named him, Mr. Cool. When my client went to a networking event, he wore a name badge that said Mr. Cool. I explained to my client that Mr. Cool didn’t have all the knowledge that my client had, but that people liked him and he was a good communicator. So, all my client had to do was think what to say and Mr. Cool could say it. Just like in the training classes. He introduced himself as Mr. Cool and if the person asked, he’d share his real name and explain that his real self is shy, and doesn’t interact well with people, but he’s really good at fixing the problems that his company fixes. However, Mr. Cool is very good at dealing with people and understood the business, needs of the customers, etc. So, he was the perfect middle man between

May – June 2013

When you pick a coach, pick one that’s going to make you do scary stuff, but keep you safe my client and his potential customers. People saw the difference and it worked. Why? Because when he told people about his issues, they related and they helped him and the more that it worked, the more confidence my client had in Mr. Cool. He carried that name badge with him everywhere and whenever he felt the need, he called on Mr. Cool to get him through. If we look to Hollywood, we can pick out actors that have played roles that are nothing like their true selves. Does Russell Crowe really have a bril-

liant mind? Which is the real Kathy Bates, her role in Misery or her role in Titanic? However, actors that get really good at playing a particular type of role get labeled as ‘character actors’ and often get thought of first for their specialty. So, one way to ‘get over it’ is to assume the role of the character actor that fits best.

I hope that I’ve made three points which I’ll summarize here. Growth happens when we stretch outside our comfort zone. Confidence happens when we stretch outside our comfort zone and live. Personal motivation is difficult alone. Get a coach that will stretch you and keep you safe.

1 2 3

| 45

Sales Anecdotes and Their Antidotes

Developing Relationships and Their Impact on Your Influence I have a friend that’s a very successful banker. One day, while having lunch, he told me that one of his mentors had told him early in his career, “Steve, meet somebody new every day and you’ll be a huge success.” As he nears retirement, Steve is likely the most well-known and sought after commercial lender within 100 miles and I’m lucky enough to call him friend. In the 90’s, I owned a collection agency and Steve and I were in the same Rotary Club. One day, Steve and I had lunch together. We talked about our kids, our wives, life, business, etc. After lunch, he asked me into his office. He pulled a box of business cards out of a desk drawer. The box was full of the business cards of people that he had met. He started flipping through the cards, asking me who I knew, and handing me the cards of the people that I should know. I left that day with a handful of business cards of people that knew, respected and trusted Steve and Steve’s suggestion that I contact each one. Mention his name and ask them if they needed help with collections. Almost every one of those introductions became my client. A month later, I bought Steve lunch and, once again, he invited me to his office and pulled out another box of business cards. I left again with a handful of introductions that became my clients. We had lunch again. This time, I told Steve that I didn’t like one way relationships. He asked what I meant, so I explained that he introduced me to several people that liked him, trusted him and respected him and because he introduced me, they gave me the benefit of the doubt. They trusted that Steve wouldn’t introduce them to somebody that wasn’t worth knowing and as it turned out, many needed my help. My concern was that I didn’t know as many people as Steve did and the people that I did know weren’t looking for a new banker. His reply changed my life. “The most important thing that you can do is to take really good care of the people that I refer you to. They will remember that you came from me and if you’re awesome, I’m awesome! They will continue to be my

46 |

customers and bring me more business because you make me way more than a banker. You make me a resource! So, make my customers incredibly happy and make me look good! …. and if you want, buy me lunch every once in a while.” That’s the day that: I stopped asking, “What’s in it for me?” I started introducing people that I cared about to other people that I cared about with the hope that one could help the other. I realized that it was important to be known to be good at something because if I was good at something, everybody that knew it would want me to help their friends. I became a resource. I became known as a person that knew people that could help and if I didn’t know someone, I knew someone who did. I knew it was OK to introduce people even though neither had asked for the introduction. Now, how does this 20 year old story impact your ability to build relationships and grow your influence today? Let’s start with, “Stop asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’” Be of service. Learn what people are good at and introduce them to someone that you like that might need their help, not because you want someone to make money, but because you want someone that you like to get the help that they need. Whether they need the help or not, they’ll know that you were thinking of them. Now, in the story, it was a direct referral, but pretend that I had written an article on collections. Today, Steve would have so many other ways that we could introduce me. He could: Forward the article by email to a friend with a note that says, “A friend of mine wrote this article and I thought that you might want to see it.” Post a link to the article on social media with a note that says, “A friend of mine

May – June 2013

wrote this article. Please share with anyone that might be dealing with (the issue).” Do it the old fashioned way by making an introduction. Give me his friend’s business card or send a mutual email of introduction. (Remember that in the story, Steve didn’t ask permission to make the introduction. He only referred people that knew that Steve would only introduce people worth knowing.) So, now you should see how easy it is to help your friends by socializing their story and growing their reputation. How do you do it for yourself? You don’t! You can’t! You need to get your friends to do it for you, but not all of your friends, just your good friends that have good friends that care about what your good friends think. Why will they do it? Because they want to help their good friends. But that doesn’t build the relationships. The relationship begins when you see that you have a new Twitter follower, or someone looked at your profile on LinkedIn, or you somehow discover someone new is watching you. That is your opportunity to

see if they’d like to start a relationship. Just ask! “I notice that you visited my profile on LinkedIn. What brought you by?” or, “I noticed that you started following me on Twitter. What do you do?” It’s like Steve walking into a room full of businesspeople, shaking hands, meeting them (like his mentor suggested) and having conversations. Not every one of those conversations is going to lead to a ‘close friend’ relationship, but some will! Have you met somebody new today? Have you introduced an expert to an old friend today?

Rick Roberge is a sales consultant and coach. It’s not unusual to see him working side by side with his clients making calls, at a trade show or handling a 'situation'. Today he works only with salespeople that want to be 21st Century Sales Rock Stars that want to attract new customers and convert them into evangelists using social media, sales skills and superb customer service. Rick writes regularly for Sales Rock Stars & RainMakers at and Sales Anecdotes and Their Antidotes in Sold Magazine.

Do you need to learn how to sell? or Do you just need paying clients?

Check out “Getting Sales vs. Learning How to Sell!” at

| 47

The Art of Persuasion Aristotle once said that all speaking is persuasive. This is never truer than during a sales presentation. The ability to influence and be persuasive is an art. It doesn’t have to be difficult, if the following five principles are followed. 48 |

May – June 2013


Know Your Audience

Successful sales representatives, no matter what industry, recognize that audience members – whether one or many  – will be listening to their presentation in terms of their own knowledge, attitudes, needs and communication style. A listener is more receptive when the message is delivered in a credible and clear way. The challenge is that everyone has his or her own version of what clear and credible sound and look like. Pay attention to how each of your clients communicates. Is Jane Doe always brief and to the point? Does Tim Smith prefer a quick chat about his children before a discussion of your product or service? Is Dr. Tyler interested in every statistic and survey that you can find, and will also judge you on how well you understand the data? It is a proven fact that people buy from people who are like them. Get in touch with your own style of communicating first. If you are a detail-driven, cautious individual, then your customers who are likeminded will be a much easier sell for you. However, if you have key customers who are bottom-line oriented, your style may drive them crazy. It’s up to you, not the clients you call on, to adjust your style! Next, never lose sight of the fact that your message should be framed in terms of your clients’ needs – first and foremost. However, be mindful that these needs may also take the form of peer or manager approval, industry trends, and any personal philosophy concerning acceptance of new products and services. Pay careful attention to what drives your customer’s buying decisions. Never assume that all of your clients come from the same mindset about what is important and what is not, and never expect that what you and your company think is most relevant about your product/service is immediately what should be stressed first. The most influential sales representatives know that their first task is to earn their customer’s trust and respect. Once the relationship is established

in those terms, product discussions become more valuable and persuasive.


Know Your Product Line (or Services)

This goes without saying. You have been hired and trained, and should understand by now that product knowledge is paramount. Your reputation and your level of commitment to knowing your product strengthens that of your company. Your knowledge and the way you impart it, must be beyond reproach. Adhere to any industry and client guidelines, and always lead with integrity. Trusted people are influential people.


Appeal to the Head & Heart

People typically make decisions with their heart, and justify them with their head. We are emotionally driven creatures, and your customers are no exception – no matter what their industry. Getting to the heart of what is most important to your clients is key to getting their attention and influencing action. Communicate your product’s features and benefits in terms of what is most important to each person, and the specific goals and priorities each has for his or her own customer base.


Use Confident Language

All too often, our verbal skills distort our image as capable, knowledgeable professionals. Descriptive, simple language and short sentences work the best. When you search for the so-called more “impressive” words, trying to expand your statements or sales pitches into drawn-out monologues, you tend to run into more trouble with comprehension and effectiveness. Certain expressions, phrases and word selection rob salespeople of their power. These “power robbers” should be avoided. Examples of power robbers are: “I guess,” “I hope,” “I think,” “maybe,” “sort of,” “kinda,” “kind of” and “probably.” Tag questions are another form of power robbers. These are questions at the end of a sentence

| 49

Adhere to any industry and client guidelines, and always lead with integrity that give the impression you are unsure of what you just said, or are looking for approval. An example would be: “I think our product’s performance is impressive, don’t you? The “don’t you” gives the sentence a weak ending. If your aim is to stimulate conversation or encourage feedback, ask an independent question. “I think the new feature we added will improve performance and longevity. What are your impressions?” This allows you to say what you think, and encourages a response without devaluing your original statement. In other words, if you are asking a question, ask directly. You can be powerful with your vocabulary without sounding arrogant. Two of the most powerful words in the English language are you and I. You is most effective when influencing, persuading or selling to someone. The focus should be on the person you are speaking to. Other strong words are urge, recommend and suggest. Pick your words carefully. Selecting the wrong one is sure death for a salesperson trying to convince a potential buyer about the merit of his or her product or services.

50 |

Which is the most confident statement and would close a sale? “I hope your customers would benefit from the smaller size of our new product.” “I guess your customers would benefit from the smaller size of our new product.” “I believe your customers would benefit from the smaller size of our new product.” “I think your customers will benefit from the smaller size of our new product.” “I am confident your customers will benefit from the smaller size of our new product.” It’s no contest. The final statement is the correct verbal choice of winners. The idea behind understanding which words send which messages, is to make conscious decisions about the words we choose to use. Instead of saying things out of habit, be aware of what you say and create new more effective habits when you speak. Aristotle also said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.” Make sure your habits are good ones.


Deliver Your Message with Passion & Polish

Even the most effective sales presentation will not guarantee success. Other factors influence decisions. The audience’s perception of you is vital. You must be perceived as credible, trustworthy, knowledgeable and passionate. Remember, you can raise your credibility with any audience by being well organized, using a passionate delivery, and demonstrating sound knowledge of your products/services and your client needs. The ability to empathize effectively with the client is essential to your success in sales. The sales professional who is attuned to all of these elements of influence, and is disciplined enough to apply them on a consistent basis, will be distinguished as an exceptionally influential individual. by Brody Article copyright 2012,

BRODY Professional Development – used by with permission. More information at: or 215-886-1688.

May – June 2013


Pitch Perfekt Presentation

Simple Steps for Stories that Sell by Michelle Mazur

Numbers. You are inundated with numbers. 4 out of 5 dentists prefer Crest. The national debt is 16.7 trillion dollars. The ROI on an investment is 150%. 40% of Americans swear while on hold for customer service (thanks, USA Today – glad I’m not alone). The fact is that numbers don’t sell people on your product or service. Numbers provide great supporting evidence. They show that your product or service solves a problem or impacts a bottom line, but left to their own devices, numbers are sterile, boring and dry. No one has ever been startled by a statistic, and rarely has anyone has made a purchase because of a plethora of compelling numbers. People buy based on emotion. We buy when we feel it’s the right decision.

Great marketers don't make stuff. They make meaning. ~ Seth Godin

Mr. Godin is correct, and I would venture to say he would agree that great salespeople don’t sell stuff. They sell meaning. The best way to create meaning, illicit feeling and entice emotions is through story. Human beings are storytelling creatures. If the audience you’re presenting your pitch to can see themselves in the story you tell, you can sell them your idea, service or product. Does that mean you should abandon those boring statistics? Absolutely not! Remember:

Stories + Statistics = Successful Influence Stories that sell are everywhere. The best stories for you to use in persuasive pitches are the true stories of your customers. You have a niche market. You know them better than anyone else. Use their stunning success stories.

There are universal themes in the stories we tell. This means that your clients’ success stories will appeal to those who are interested in what you are selling. Craft a story that sells from your best case studies. How do you tell a great story? I’ve put together the 5-step SPARK process so that you can captivate an audience, instigate influence and sell more.

Step 1: Set the Situation. Just like any great novel, you need to setup the situation. Ever so briefly describe to the audience the people involved and the place where the story unfolds. It's not enough to mention that Acme Company loved your product. It’s your job to put a face on the company. Tell the audience about Bob, the innovator whose bag under his eyes told the sleepless nights he spent working passionately on Acme Company’s new widget. Those small details allow an audience to connect with Bob, see themselves in his journey and ultimately relate his story to their own plight.

Tip 2: Probe the Problem. This is the easy part – the problem should be one that your service or product solves. The hard part is building the tension and emotion around the problem. You need to build the problem to its natural climax. There’s a big difference between: Acme Company didn’t know how to get the word out about their new widget. Vs. Bob and his dedicated team knew they had a great widget. They put all of their heart, passion, and manpower behind creating it. Their excitement when it debuted was palpable, and their disappointment

| 51

Pitch Perfekt Presentation when they failed to sell one after the launch was heartbreaking. Which one did you like better? The second one, right? Could you identify with Bob and his team? The second takes us on an emotional roller coaster of building enthusiasm to the agony of their defeat. It’s vivid. It’s human, and if you did your homework on your prospects, your audience is going to see themselves in that story. After you take the audience on this ride, it is time to talk about what you are selling. What was the solution that was proposed to solve the lack of widget sales? Tell them what happened and how your amazing product really helped Bob out.

Step 4: Recognize Remarkable Results. Here’s where the numbers come into the picture. Tell your prospect what results were witnessed after buying from you. How much more money did they earn? How many units were sold? Show us the numbers! However, don’t just focus on the dry numbers. Connect those to an emotion. Talk about how Bob could finally get some much-needed rest because things were going so exceedingly well. He could sleep at night knowing that the company was getting a 100% ROI. In fact, the next time you saw Bob, he looked 10 years younger! Remember, statistics + storytelling = successful influence! Make your audience feel for Bob and his team!

Step 5: Know Your Killer Call to Action. The story that you tell should flow naturally to your killer call to action. You’ve got them hooked with the story and the numbers support your point, but you must ask for the sale from the speaking stage. Be clear in your call to action. Give the audience only one option to choose from. Too many options inspire paralysis from analysis and undermine the impact of your story.

Bonus tip: Your service, product or widget is not the hero of your story. You are not the hero of this story. The hero was Bob, the savvy decision-maker who decided to hire you. He’s the hero, as he was smart enough to see how you had the solution he needed. Your potential client sitting in that audience is empowered to be the hero. The SPARK formula is a powerful way to construct stories that sell and invoke emotion. Don’t lose the blah, blah boring number entirely, but you’ll have more influence with statistics if you intertwine them into a great success story.

The Secret to Effective Persuasive Presentations I recently overheard a speaker proclaim: “I want to convince EVERYONE to act on my message!” Yes, and I want dark chocolate to be calorie-free and Bono to sing at my next birthday party. It’s not going to happen, and convincing everyone to accept your persuasive message isn’t going to happen, either.

52 |

You cannot persuade everyone to act on your message. Not everyone is going to want what you are selling. If you're a salesperson, it would make your job a lot easier if you could wave a magic wand and convince people to buy. If you are trying to persuade everyone, you’re setting yourself up for failure. If there was a way to get to a 100% YES, don’t you think Coke, Apple, and the House of Representatives would all be doing it?

May – June 2013

Yes, indeed they would. You might not be able to convince all people to buy what you’re selling, but you can dramatically increase your effectiveness if you know who you are speaking to. How, you ask?

The Secret to Effective Persuasive Presentations and Sales Pitches Want to persuade effectively and efficiently? Want to convert more prospects into clients? The secret lies in understanding your audience: who they are, what they believe and how their beliefs align with your message. Let’s open up my big, bad Ph.D. bag full of tricks and talk about a theory that can help you understand your audience better so you can make more effective persuasion presentations. Let’s talk about Social Judgment Theory by Carl Hovland. I know, “Eew, theory,” but this one will make your next sales pitch more effective, so read on! I’ve often extolled the virtues of audience analysis and building a relationship with people you are presenting to. When you are persuading or selling, this becomes even more crucial. You need to know who is in your corner, who’s ambivalent and who is not going to buy what you have to say, even if they were in the desert and you had the only glass of water. You can divide your audience up into three groups:

Latitude of Acceptance These are your people. You know them because they are smiling and nodding along to what you say. Rejoice! They want what you’ve got! In the latitude of acceptance, there is a range of opinions that are acceptable to people. The closer your idea is to the audience members’ own beliefs, the more likely they are to agree with you and be persuaded (this is called assimilation). Basically, these are the people who are on your side and are likely to evangelize for your cause. They can even help you convince people who have a “meh” feeling towards your message. Treat them well.

Latitude of Non-Commitment These audience members have a “meh” feeling towards your message. Think of them as uncommitted voters. Your message is neither accepted nor rejected. It’s just there.

It’s important to understand that the non-committed are open to persuasion. They will listen to you, especially if your message is relevant to them or solves a challenge they currently face. However, they are going to listen with a critical ear. The noncommitted evaluate your logic and reasoning. They ask the tough questions. Be prepared to respond to their queries and insure your arguments are solid.

Latitude of Rejection As Obi-Wan Kenobi said, “These are not the droids you seek.” They are not your people. You will not persuade them…ever. Don’t believe me? Rachel Maddow and Bill O’Reilly walk into a bar and discuss politics. What happens? 1) Rachel persuades Bill of her point of view. 2) Bill persuades Rachel of his point of view. 3) They find common ground. 4) They leave the bar in a huff because their attitudes are so vastly different. 5) The world explodes from their combined outrage. The answer is #4 (possibly #5, too)! When someone’s attitude falls into your latitude of rejection, you actually perceive your differences to be much LARGER than they actually are. This is known as the contrast effect or why the U.S. government can’t function. You cannot change their attitudes and beliefs. They are a flat-out ‘no.’ It’s better to focus your message on those who will experience the most impact.

What Does This Mean for Speakers and Salespeople? Don’t bother with the people that fall into the latitude of rejection zone. The rejecters are never going to

If you are trying to persuade everyone, you’re setting yourself up for failure | 53

Pitch Perfekt Presentation like you, and that is perfectly normal. If you had the only glass of water in a desert, they’d still say NO. Set them free, wish them well and don’t give them another thought. Turn your focus to the people who want what you are offering. The people in the latitude of non-commitment are going to really pay attention to you if…

Your Message is Relevant to Them If it’s not relevant, expect to see iPhones blazing while you speak. Solve a problem, pain or ill, and they’ll listen with rapt attention. They will also be picking apart your argument and wondering about your credibility. Your message and your credibility must be rock solid. Use the assimilation effect to your advantage here. Discover as much information as you can before about their attitudes and beliefs. Find the common ground and show them that your product, belief or solutions aligns with their beliefs.

for you. Social proof is powerful. It’s the little nudge that might push those non-committed voters over into your corner! It’s a waste of time to try to persuade everyone to take action. Rejecters are always going to reject. The secret to effective sales and persuasion is to understand your audience. How does your message align with their core beliefs? Use assimilation to convince them that you have the solution. Leverage your fans to help those not committed to your message cross over to the other side. Combining these techniques is a powerful way to increase the effectiveness of a persuasive pitch. Speech Coach and Presentation Skills Trainer

Dr. Michelle Mazur guides driven-to-succeed business professionals and independent business owners to ignite the smoldering fire within to speak up, speak out and make their impact – one compelling presentation at a time.   Clients get noticed, promoted and paid more by overcoming their reluctance and learning to speak with

Bonus: Those who are the accepters (your fans) can help you out with the non-committed. Afterwards, when discussing your pitch, they will advocate

54 |

authenticity and confidence, no matter how big or small their audience. To learn her proven approach to get ready for opportunity now – visit

May – June 2013

Presentation 2.0

Confident Speaking by Phil Waknell for SOLD Magazine

Feeling nervous about speaking in front of an audience is perfectly normal. As Mark Twain said, “There are two types of speakers, those that are nervous and those that are liars.” So if you feel nervous, that’s perfectly fine: everybody does. We are putting ourselves out there to be judged, criticized, or even ridiculed by others, and as tribal animals, we care what others think and feel about us. It’s so much easier and less risky to sit in the wings than to get out on stage. So putting ourselves in a position of risk engages our primal ‘fight or flight’ mechanism, which causes our body to prepare, as if faced with a lion on the savannah, either to fight with all our strength, or to run away as fast as possible. To do something about it, we need to act in two areas.

ers at first.” Nobody is a natural born orator. If you prepare well, rehearse well, and present regularly, there is a very good chance that you’ll be an aboveaverage speaker, and stand out from the crowd. In which case, there’s really nothing to worry about.

Control the Physical Reaction Reducing the expected negative risk is a vital first step to controlling your physical reaction to getting up to speak. The second step is to control your body’s reaction, so that even when your body does feel the nerves, they don’t paralyze you. There are plenty of things you can do in terms of breathing better, meditating, etc, but here are four simple, practical tips that will make a huge difference. The first is to prepare and rehearse really well. Then you will not be worried about forgetting what you should be saying. Having a small card with a few words indicating the running-order of your talk will help too: it’s an insurance policy you may never need, but you will feel better if you have it. Next, get a very good night’s sleep. I find when I haven’t slept well, my heart beats uncontrollably before I take the stage, even if I’ve prepared as well as usual. Do not underestimate the importance of being physically rested and relaxed. Third, avoid coffee and fizzy drinks because they will excite you, increase your stress, and also make you need the rest-room, which is not a recipe for calm. And lastly, smile. Smiling releases endorphins, which make you feel happy and less stressed. It also looks positive to your audience. So never forget to smile. With these simple tips, you’ll be less stressed, and you will feel – and look – more confident in front of your customers. And as we all know, confident salespeople sell more. 

All the great speakers were bad speakers at first

Reduce the Expectation of Negative Risk. Risk is usually understood as something negative, but in fact it is simply something which might or might not happen. It can be positive (an opportunity) or negative (a threat). We tend to focus on the negative, and ignore the chance that something great might happen. Risk is also a combination of likelihood and impact. It is highly unlikely that an asteroid will fall on my house tomorrow, but the impact would be catastrophic. It is very likely when presenting to 100 people that somebody will dislike what you say, but is the impact really going to be that life-threatening? So say to yourself that the worst that could happen when you are presenting really isn’t that bad. And it’s just as likely that good things could happen as a result of your presentation. Finally, remember the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “All the great speakers were bad speak-

| 55

Presentation 2.0

Present with Presence Too many presenters focus entirely on their material and neglect the exchange that should be happening with their audience; and likewise, too many salespeople focus entirely on what they are selling, instead of focusing on the people who might one day want to be buying. Good presenters and good salespeople cultivate the art of being truly present, not just physically but also mentally and emotionally. Being fully present allows you to perceive how your customers are feeling and reacting to your messages, to have a deep exchange with them, and to make a personal connection with them. After all, companies don’t buy – people buy – and it is rare that they will decide to buy from you, no matter how rational the decision may seem, unless they have an emotional reason to do so. Here are six ways to be more present during your sales presentations.


Plan Your Time.

It is hard to be truly ‘in the moment’ if you are worried about being late for your next appointment, or thinking about the next customer you have to visit. Plan your agenda carefully so you have more than enough time for each customer, and plan all of your meetings ahead of time so you can be calm and serene, and focus completely on the customers in front of you.



Only birds can ‘wing it’. As Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. ” It is therefore vital to prepare well for your meeting and to know the presentation you may have to give – inside-out. This way, at each moment you will not be worried about what you need to say next, but you can concentrate on the present moment, and take in far more of how your audience is reacting.

How do they feel about you and your products or services? And how do you want to change each of these things with your presentation? To take them on a journey of change, you need to start from where they are, not where you are. When do that, you will be actively with them during your talk.


Personalize Your Presentation.


Perceive Their Reactions.


Pause to Check.

If you are giving a standard presentation that you could give with your eyes closed, chances are they will be closed – to all that is happening in the room. Instead, once you have worked out where your customer is, tailor your presentation to them. Start by talking about their problem. When you give them a talk that is only for them, you will be far more present.

Look each customer in the eye. Monitor their body language. Note which messages touch them, causing them to react positively or negatively. If you have managed the previous steps, you will be very present so use that to perceive what is happening in the room, and if necessary, adapt your presentation accordingly.

A last tip to cultivate presence is to pause from time to time and check that your audience is with you. Ask if they have any questions before you move on. If you are truly present with your audience, you will deliver better presentations, make better connections with your customers, and have a far better chance of making them want to buy. So don’t just present – present with presence. As Partner at Ideas on Stage, the leading presentation design and training firm,

Phil Waknell trains executives, entrepreneurs, celebrities and salespeople


Put Yourself in Their Shoes.

This is not your presentation: it is theirs. You are not trying to sell: you are making them want to buy. So think of your presentation from their point of view. What do they know? What is their problem?

56 |

to create and deliver memorable presentations, and speaks regularly at corporations and business schools about the need for a new way of presenting. He also shares ideas on his popular blog

May – June 2013

Visually Speaking

Beware: Dogs in Pantyhose! by Peter Temple I had a recent experience on stage that taught me a really good lesson. It’s not a new concept for me – even the things we know we sometimes stray from. It had the unintended result of focusing my audience’s attention on a frivolous story to the detriment of my main point, which was mostly forgotten. Here’s the rule:

If you’re going to show a dramatic visual and tell a story about it, make sure it absolutely supports your main point. Otherwise, you become memorable for all the wrong reasons. That was exactly what happened in this case. I was the master of ceremonies for our speaker association’s main Saturday meeting. We typically bring in speakers from other regions of Canada and from the United States. Saturday was no exception.

58 |

We also tend to theme these days – this one was focused on relationships (both in business and in personal life) and how we sometimes take them for granted, or simply don’t give them the attention they deserve. Now, I’m a single guy – actually, always have been. So, why I got picked to host a day on relationships was a bit of a “wonder” and definitely something I was going to play up – and have some fun (most of it at my expense). There’s nothing like self-deprecating humor to get some laughs and win over an audience! I began by putting up a slide of a ship with the word “Ship” beneath it, apologizing for having missed the theme in a cursory conversation the week before. I “had thought” I could talk about sailing (“’Howdy sailor’ being one of my favorite lines”). I bridged to the real theme, “relationships” and tied in a conversation from the night before, in which a preacher (our keynote speaker for the

May – June 2013

day) has suggested that perhaps I was the smartest man in the room not to have ever been married. It led me to my key point that 1) to be in a close relationship is something very special, and 2) over the coming turbulent years, our relationships are going to be more important than they ever have been before. From there, I went into a couple of personal stories, one rather sobering experience of losing my “soul mate” to another man purely because of timing and my inability to realize the importance of our relationship soon enough. So far, so good. That’s where I should have left it. However, just a few days before, I had read an article about a craze in China, in which bored suburbanites are dressing up their dogs in pantyhose. There are pictures all over the web. I had thought to myself, “What a great comment on the superficiality of some relationships.” I wanted to make the point that in today’s world, there are people who are substituting dogs for human relationships – trying to get their animals to fill the missing void of real relationships. Well… the visuals were so provocative, that they got the biggest reaction of the morning so far from the audience. They also got a mention from every other speaker who got up to speak during the rest of the morning. I simply didn’t make the point strongly enough, it didn’t support my main point well enough, and it overpowered everything else I talked about, partly as I positioned it right at the end of my talk, right before the summary. Seth Godin, in his book, “Purple Cow,” makes the point that you have to employ something phenomenal, counterintuitive, exciting, or flat out unbelievable to get noticed in today’s competitive world of advertising and publicity overload. You need to put a “Purple Cow” into everything you do, to create something truly noticeable.

Well, not exactly. Not everything! You see, I really had two speeches there. I had one about the importance of personal relationships, how we need to nurture them to get them to grow, and how they will become more critical during the coming years. There was also another speech about the fact that relationships are tough. They can be hugely rewarding, in fact, “what life is all about.” However, there are some who substitute other types of relationships for really strong, meaningful relationships with others. There may be many reasons for this phenomenon… and one manifestation is in dogs with pantyhose – my purple cow of the morning. Yes, my talk was memorable. Yes, I got some laughs, and more than a few raised eyebrows. But in the process, I trampled my previous point. Who knows what I talked about before that visual hit the screen? Employing the “purple cow” concept is key to being memorable and standing out, whether it’s in advertising, a competitive sales pitch, or a convention presentation. Kmart has a commercial entitled “Ship my Pants” that has over fifteen million views on the internet. It’s an example of a purple cow message that works. You can view it here ( It’s a brilliant campaign that uses a vernacular expression to draw attention to what they do. It’s gabbing its own publicity for all the right reasons! But there are so many commercials that get a laugh and are memorable and I couldn’t tell you who the advertiser is. It’s easy to shoot yourself in the foot if you don’t agonize over the “fit” of your purple cow with your overall message (particularly in the case of visuals, as they’re so powerful). So, if you’re going to be memorable, make sure the vehicle you choose won’t trample your main message and leave you in the dust!

| 59

Visually Speaking

Using Props! – Creative, Memorable AND Fun! We live in a world of visual and information overload. We’re bombarded by email day-in and day-out. Our senses are pummeled by outdoor signage, which is becoming increasingly animated. Advertising is appearing on absolutely everything. Elevators are becoming surround-sound, cinematic events! To get noticed, you have to stand out; be different; be remarkable. When was the last time you attended a business meeting and were confronted by an energetic presenter who used creativity to spark your imagination, who got results by getting you to think “outside the box?” In the daily drudgery of the corporate world, they’re few and far between. In his book, Purple Cow, Seth Godin sums it up very nicely: “You’re either remarkable, or you’re invisible.” In terms of presentations, if you want to be memorable, think visually. The most memorable presentations I’ve ever seen have been visual in nature. Many of them have involved props of one type or another. Some of them took place years ago, but I still vividly remember them. The key is to engage your audience’s imagination. Here are some examples.

Constructive Math!  A recent speech given by a fellow Toastmaster comes instantly to mind. Toastmasters is an in-

60 |

ternational organization with multiple chapters in every major city dedicated to helping its members become better speakers. If you’ve ever been afraid of speaking in public, find yourself a group of experienced Toastmasters. It’s one of the most supportive organizations in the world! This particular evening, Jim chose to combine physics and mathematics – two subjects that typically illicit yawns at their very mention. Not so on this evening! Jim brought along four adjustable shelf posts. Each beam was about as tall as he was. He had them bolted together in a rectangular shape, but when he unbolted them, they flew all over the place in a very awkward pattern. It was all part of the act, and as he bolted them back together into an isosceles triangle, it made for a very humorous lesson in math. Effective and fun!

Science the Spangler Way Steve Spangler teaches kids (and adults) about science with whacky, live examples that are truly memorable. Here he is on the “Ellen Show” having fun with physics (Giant Smoke Ring)

The House That Todd Built I vividly remember developing an awards event for employees in which we wanted to make a statement about how the chief executive had built up a highly energetic and positive corporate culture. We wanted to remind everyone of the good times

May – June 2013

and the dramatic changes for the better that they were enjoying. We fashioned a simple audio-visual presentation around the poem, “The House That Jack Built,” swapping Todd’s name and rhyming phrases that described the ups and downs of the past year. It was the talk of the office for months after.

A Tale of Two Brains One of the funniest and more memorable keynote presentations I’ve ever seen was by Mark Gungor. Thousands of couples attend his “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage®” seminars. Here he is on YouTube using simple props that make his performances truly unforgettable. (Tale of Two Brains)

Tool Belt Tina Simple often hits just the right note. Take the example of Tina, an audio-visual technician in a mid-sized corporate who had to do a presentation about the purchase of a set of new projectors for the sales department. Wearing a handyman’s tool belt filled with a staplers, a mouse, packing tape, magic markers, and other tools of the trade, she effectively made the point that she was going to be there in case there were any issues getting the team up to speed with this new equipment. She got across her point in a memorable and non-threatening manner.

togethers often spark major campaigns. The name of the Boston Red Sox came about from just such a session, as did many well-known icons and brand names. We get five to ten people in a room. Interruptions are not allowed; neither is negativity. In fact, it’s a lot like improv. Every idea is good. You tend to play off other each other; one word sparks another. Start by explaining the objective – the background of the project. And then anything goes! Get the participants to start suggesting words or phrases that might fit the objective – the wackier, the better. Write everything down on a flip chart. Do this for 15 to 30 minutes, then break. Have someone transcribe all those suggestions to paper and then review them the next day. Try combining some of them, creating new expressions. As you review the suggestions, see if there’s something that ties into your key point, something that sparks your imagination. Is there a prop you can use to make to reinforce point? Can you use artwork, a short video, a song? It’s amazing how the simplest idea sometimes makes a presentation come to life and stand out from the crowd. Truly remarkable presentations make their point and get results in a fun and memorable way. I challenge you to think “out of the prop box” for your next presentation!

Fun and Effective

Peter Temple has been a writer/

How can you be fun and effective? Many times it comes down to having a very focused message and then layering on top a creative and fun way to illustrate your main point. How do you decide on what to use as your visual theme? In the ad agency business, we very often use brainstorming sessions. These same types of get-

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. Learn more at:

| 61

Using Skillful Questioning in Negotiation 62 |

May – June 2013

To develop a successful negotiation strategy, you have to know your counterpart’s needs and goals. Skillful questioning will help you gain this information.


hen to Ask Questions

When is it helpful to ask questions during negotiation? You should ask questions to: Gain information. Don’t assume anything when you are negotiating. When you don’t have all the information, ask questions to fill in the gaps. Check understanding and interest level.  Ask a question to uncover how technically sound your counterpart is on the topic you are negotiating, or how committed she is to the outcome of the negotiation. For example, ask whether she will take a specified amount less than the asking price. Determine behavioral style. Ask questions to find out where the other party is coming from, if he is an experienced negotiator, and whether he is an honest and/or decisive person. Gain participation.  When you ask questions, you encourage the other party to talk. This makes your counterpart like you better–and helps you learn more about her than she learns about you. It’s especially helpful to get your counterpart to talk when you realize you have said something she didn’t agree with or understand. Having a chance to talk it out will have a calming effect on her. Give information.  Sometimes you may want to pro-

vide information that will help your counterpart understand your goals. For example, you could ask, “Did you know that the Kelly Blue Book value of your car is only $2,100?” (This type of question can also be used as a test to see whether your counterpart recognizes if your information is correct.) Get an opinion. Questions that ask for someone’s opinion not only provide knowledge, but also indicate that you are interested in what that person has to say. For example, ask, “Can you tell me why you like living in this neighborhood?” Bring attention back to the subject.  Appropriate questions can keep the conversation heading toward your goal. Salespeople often ask personal questions about a prospect to find a starting point for their presentation. This is fine, but eventually you need to discuss the real reasons for meeting. Asking questions like, “Can we get back to the salary issue and benefits package once again?” refocuses attention on the important issues. Reach agreement.  Asking questions can help you find out how far apart your goals are from your counterpart’s.

Appropriate questions can keep the conversation heading toward your goal | 63

For example, suppose a seller is asking $150,000 for his house. You ask whether he is willing to take $140,000, since the house needs landscaping and a new roof. Reduce tension. If negotiations start to become tense, it can be helpful to ask questions about your counterpart’s viewpoint. Understanding his concerns may help you restructure the negotiation. For example, you might say, “Every time we talk about mandatory drug testing for all employees, you seem to be adamantly opposed. Can you share a little about why you are opposed to this testing?” Give positive strokes.  Simply put, positive strokes questions make your counterpart feel important. Suppose your counterpart has received three phone calls from complaining customers during your fifteen-minute meeting. You might ask, “Are you having a tough day?”

Two Main Types of Questions Questions may be closed-ended and restrictive, or open-ended and expansive. Closed-ended and restrictive. Closed-ended, restrictive questions are those that can be answered very briefly, often with a simple yes or no. This type of question is useful for obtaining a specific bit of information, directing a conversation to a desired area or gaining commitment to a definite position. Some typical examples of restrictive questions are: “You will send the revised quotation to me by Monday, right?” “Do you want to work on Saturday or Sunday?” Open-ended and expansive.  Open-ended, expansive questions do not lead your counterpart in any specific direction. Generally speaking, open-ended questions reveal much more about your counterpart’s objectives, needs, current situation and behavioral style than restrictive questions do. Some typical open-ended questions are: “How do you feel about moving out of your home before Christmas?” “You seem to be upset with my offer. Which aspects seem to be the biggest problems?”

Have a plan. When you are negotiating, it is helpful to have a goal in mind. Ask yourself, “What type of information will help me make a good decision? Am I more likely to get that information by being direct, or by disguising my questions?” Having a questioning plan puts you in the driver’s seat in the negotiation. Know your counterpart. The more you can find 2 out about your counterpart, the better you can target your questions. Move from the broad to the narrow. As you 3 gain answers to broad questions, start asking questions that yield more specific information. For example, if you ask someone selling a car, “Did you keep maintenance records on your car?” and he says yes, you can proceed to ask about the type of maintenance records, the frequency of maintenance, etc. Use proper timing. Be sensitive to your counter4 part’s feelings. If your counterpart finds a question offensive, he will give you less information and will be less willing to negotiate with you again. Asking a man how his diet is going while he is eating a dessert is a good example of bad timing. Ask permission to ask a question. Asking per5 mission is polite, and it starts the swing toward agreement. Once your counterpart has granted you permission, she is more likely to give you a complete answer.


Ask and You Will Receive To be a successful negotiator, you have to know the wants, needs and motivations of the other party. The easiest, quickest way to uncover this information is through skillful questioning. With practice, you will find yourself asking better questions and gaining increasingly valuable information. by Peter Barron Stark

Peter Barron Stark is a consultant, executive coach, speaker, author and President of Peter Barron Stark Companies. For twenty-two years, Peter has crafted customized negotiation programs for business negotiation professionals in companies such as the Boston Red Sox,

5 Keys to Proper Questioning

Coca-Cola, Jack-in-the-Box, the NFL , Wells Fargo Bank and

How you ask a question is as important as what you ask. Following are several key points to remember.

over 200 other leading organizations. To learn more about

64 |

Peter’s programs, visit

May – June 2013

Developing a Road Map for a Major Account Negotiation


ecause of the complexity of the negotiation itself and the significance of getting it right, the actual plan for a major account negotiation must be developed with care. In any major account, if the sales team does not develop a well-conceived and coordinated negotiation plan, they are playing Russian roulette with the long-term relationship with the customer and with the profitability of the sales opportunity. In major accounts, the negotiation process is complex with many false starts, barriers along the way, and from time to time unanticipated good fortunes. Very few, even the most talented, can navigate the journey without a well-developed road map. Let’s review one four-part framework that can provide guidance for developing that road map: Delineate the major issues. In major accounts there is not just one issue that requires negotiation. So, the first step in designing the negotiation plan is to delineate and verify that all the issues are on the ta-


ble. Sometimes the customer will explicitly spell out the issues in a formal “letter of response” to a proposal or presentation. Other times the clarification of the real issues requires a series of interactions with the customer over an extended period of time. Understand the customer’s position. Once the major issues have been identified, the next step is to be clear about where the customer is coming from on each of the issues. It is critical to have a “best approximation” answer to three fundamental positioning considerations: Priority. What is the priority of the various issues and what is the rationale driving that priority? Consensus. What is the customer’s position on each of the issues and what is the degree of consensus among the key players on that position? Flexibility. How wide or narrow is the “Zone of Flexibility” for the position


| 65

on each issue and are there any issues where there is no room for negotiation – a/k/a “Showstoppers”? The answers to these questions must be analyzed within the context of the overall business strategy of the customer. This perspective provides the insight into “why” the customer is taking the positions they are taking. Without the “whys” the subsequent concession discussions will likely turn into nothing more than a back and forth bargaining hassle rather than a creative problem solving negotiation. Establish your position on each issue. Your sales team must address the three fundamental positioning considerations – priority, consensus, and flexibility. When creating your position there are, however, two additional considerations the sales team should address. Creating creative alternatives. All the issues being negotiated are not equally important. Ultimate success will be determined by how two or three issues are handled. Success on these issues will be driven by your ability to develop creative alternatives that are viewed as a win for both parties. In a complex negotiation, there is no substitute for creative problem solving. And, the good news is generating creative solutions is not the gift of the few – it is usually the hard work of the many. Anchoring your message. The importance of anchoring your position is a notion that is consistently underscored in the negotiation literature – and rightly so. It simply recognizes the old adage about “how you say it is as important as what you say.” Whether a glass is perceived as “half full or half empty” all depends on how one frames talking about the glass. In a sales negotiation anchoring is about determining how your concessions on a given issue are presented in a way that justifiably emphasizes the value of those concessions. The key is avoiding the trap of making anchoring some mystical art. Perhaps the most practical and, coincidentally one of the best-supported, phenomenon in anchoring relates to the idea that individuals generally do


66 |

not evaluate concessions in an absolute sense, but rather as changes with respect to some reference point. So the anchoring challenge boils down to selecting the most effective reference point. Is it: the status quo, a prior contract, a deal reached by a competitor, or some industry standard? But in the end, anchoring is simply about how you help your customer understand the value of your concessions. And, remember that anchoring will always occur, so if you don’t do it; the customer will. Develop a strategy for building the value of your concessions. It is difficult to over emphasize the importance of this best practice. No concession – whether it is on price, technical support or any other issue – has a fixed inherent value. Top negotiators build and verify the value of a concession before they offer it. This notion is particularly important in major accounts. Different people in a major account may have differing views about the value of a concession. Also additional value may be derived from a ripple effect in a different division or in the future rather than present timeframe. So, one piece of your concession strategy must be a plan of action for getting the right message, to the right people, at the right time so that the value of your concessions will be optimized. The least desirable outcome is offering in good faith a significant concession, only to find out, after the fact, that it had very little value to the customer – hence, the deal was lost. The best situation is to provide a concession of significant value to the customer that “costs” you very little. The moral of the story: being smart about customer value is just as important in a negotiation as it is in any other aspect of selling. by Richard Ruff


For more than 30 years Richard Ruff has worked with the Fortune 1000 to craft sales training programs that make a difference. Working with market leaders Dick has learned that today’s great sales force significantly differs from yesterday. So, Sales Horizons offers firms effective sales training programs affordably priced. Dick is the co-author of Parlez-Vous Business, to help sales people have smart business conversations with customers, and the Sales Training Connection.

May – June 2013

Advice from the Master Negotiator

Value of Reading Body Language Developing Confidence & Personal Motivation by Greg Williams Reading body language can help in discovering how to create the perception of value and developing confidence. Personal motivation can be daunting when we lack confidence, but it doesn’t have to be. In order to project confidence and motivate others, you must possess the ability to accurately read body language and discern what strategies to invoke to accomplish the outcome you seek. From which, the source of motivation will be revealed. Discovering what instills confidence in someone is where you should commence, when seeking to motivate that person and understanding the source of his or her personal motivation; you can gain greater understanding as to what motivates yourself by this process, too. When it comes to developing confidence and personal motivation, one has to consider the fact that such an undertaking is a two-fold proposition. On the one hand, we instill confidence in others by the way we interact with them. In turn, when we receive positive feedback as the result of such actions, our confidence heightens, which motivates us to attempt new endeavors. If you wish to increase your self-confidence and motivation, become adept at utilizing the following techniques and strategies.

Observe Body Language: What insight can you glean from someone’s body language? When it comes to developing confidence and/or enhancing personal motivation in yourself and someone else, the answer is, a lot.

Body Language of Others: When attempting to accurately detect the meaning of someone’s nonverbal signals (body language), first note how he responds to stimuli in ‘normal’ environments. The purpose of doing so is to denote what is ‘normal’ for him in such an environment. Once you’ve gleaned what is normal, you can compare his future actions to those he emits in stressful and normal situations. After you’ve obtained this insight, you’ll have more knowledge of how to motivate that person.

Your Body Language: The way you talk and the gestures you use to express yourself transmit an image. That image becomes the persona through which others judge you. Verbalizing your sentiments, while projecting gestures that’s contrary to your statements create a misalignment between your words and actions. That’s called incongruence. When conversing with people, your message is partially received through the verbalization of that communication, but more of your it is conveyed through your body language. If you wish to project more self-confidence, act like it; project the image you wish to appear as possessing. Synchronize your words and body language such that the two are in harmony with one another. By doing so, you’ll be perceived as possessing confidence, which will arouse confidence in you.

Paralanguage: There’s power in paralanguage. Paralanguage consists of the manner in which your words are projected (i.e. the way you say something, the emphasis you place on certain words, the phraseology you use when speaking and the words you choose to represent your thoughts). Be very mindful of the words people use to express their thoughts and the emphasis they place on certain words. By paying close attention, you’ll hear shifts in their attitude.

Positioning: What role does positioning play in developing confidence and/or personal motivation? It plays a major role. The reason being, people react and interact with you based on the opinions and views they have about you. Therefore, if you wish to be an influence on them, they have to perceive you as someone that possesses value, related to what’s important to them. To increase the perception and confidence others have of you, set the stage by which they’ll evaluate you. Position yourself appropriately and you’ll be viewed in the light you wish to cast.

| 67

Advice from the Master Negotiator Questions:

Create an Experience:

To gain more insight into the state of mind of someone, consider asking questions such as, “In what circumstance did you receive the most fulfilling outcome in your life? How did that come about? What made the outcome so fulfilling?” By asking a series of questions of this nature, you’ll gain awareness into sources that have motivated the person to move in one direction versus another, and you’ll also have a glimpse into how you might use the same tactics to increase that person’s perception of your confidence to pose such questions. The point being, only a person infused with confidence will be motivated to probe in some areas.

The world that we’re living in is becoming more of one in which people share with one another. Thus, by giving of yourself to others, you create a cycle of good will, which will serve as a positive source of motivation. To enhance your level of confidence, create positive experiences for others. By creating positive experiences for others, you increase your own confidence. The greater the experience, the more you’re viewed as someone that has the ability and capabilities of delivering what you promise. This will lead to a greater ability to have people follow you. Of course, they have to perceive the value in the words and direction you impart. Whether it’s in a personal or professional environment, people need to see the value in what you present, before they’ll acknowledge the desire to achieve the goal you or they are motivated to accept and address. By discovering and implementing aspects of reading body language, along with following the suggestions above, you’ll enhance your persona, increase your self-confidence, and increase your abilities to motivate yourself and those that you wish to influence… and everything will be right with the world.

Self-Perception: Before you can become self-confident, you have to have a good perception of yourself. The point being, if you don’t think you’re capable of influencing others, you’re right and thus you’ll also have challenges with self-motivation. A lack of self-capabilities will emanate when talking to others, which will serve as a detractor to your confidence. To endow yourself with the confidence you desire, begin by understanding what motivates those that you wish to inspire. Then, discern how to deliver what they want. In the process, you’ll discover that your level of self-confidence will climb. Your level of motivation will also increase.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Influence/Building Relationships When you negotiate, what factors do you attribute to building relationships and the role “Influence” plays in that process? In a negotiation and everyday life, there are many components to consider in regards to influencing people. You can enhance any negotiation and the relationship building process by being astutely aware of what motivates people. Just like in a negotiation, to do so, you have to use strategies and tactics that sway people to your way of thinking. As you create your process to influence more people, consider the following factors. Body Language: You can gain invaluable insight from someone’s body language and if they’re perceptive, they can gain a great deal of insight from yours. When assessing someone’s body language, pay attention to …

68 |

Verbal: Paralanguage: Paralanguage consist of the vocal effects that alter the meaning of words. Speaking Pace: When people speak quickly, more so than what is normal for them, it’s usually a sign of excitement and/or the fact that they want to ‘get their words out’ to move on to what’s next. Thus, pay attention to the pace at which people speak and observe when that pace is altered. What you want to observe are the points at which the pace slows down or quickens and take note of what has occurred to incite the pace alteration.

Listen to Emphases: When people speak, they emphasize what is important to them. They may do so by slightly elevating or

May – June 2013

lowering their voice. They may also accent a particular word or phrase to accentuate the meaning they’re conveying. If you’re attentive, you’ll note such distinctions and gather additional insight into their mindset in the process. As an example, if someone said, “Men, without, women would be nothing”. They would project the meaning that, without men women would be nothing. If you examine the same words, but this time shift the emphasis, you can obtain a different meaning (e.g. “Men, without women, would be nothing”); in this example, with the emphasis being place on “without women”, the meaning conveyed is, men would be nothing without women. Just pay attention when people speak and you’ll always glean more insight into their mind, which will allow you to enhance the probability of influencing them.

Communication Exchange:

Be Funny: Humor definitely influences people when it comes to negotiating on the path to victory and building relationships. It can endear one person to another; it can also be used to ease tension in a situation. While humor can be a point of interaction alteration, one must be cognizant of the peril humor possesses (e.g. you say something that you think is funny and it’s perceived as being offensive to the person with whom you’re speaking). When you encounter an impasse or you want to alter someone’s perspective, consider influencing him or her by using humor; just be cautious not to be perceived as being distasteful. Nonverbal: Nonverbal communications consist of actions and gestures that do not involve verbal communication.

You have to use strategies and tactics that sway people to your way of thinking

In order to influence people, you must listen to the words they use to determine how to position yourself. It’s already been stated, by doing so, you’ll gain insight into their thought process. Case in point, some people are more motivated when they see or hear that something is half off; others are moved to action when they hear or see 50% off. In both examples, the end point is the same. The only thing that’s different is the path by which you get there. Thus, once you are aware of the words used by the person you attempt to influence, the faster you can begin the process. Just for fun, try the following on yourself to see which is more appealing to you. A sign in a restaurant states, “Unlimited food”, versus “All you can eat”. Which offer is more attractive to you? As with others, in the answer

is the source that will motivate you to take one direction compared to another.

Style of Dress: People assess your character based on how you’re dressed. The manner in which one is attired also gives clues to what’s important to that individual. While you can gain insight into what’s important to someone via this mean, if you want to silently convey the sentiment that you’re connected to someone, dress in the style and manner that they’re in. If you wish to be more persuasive, dress at a slightly higher style. If the converse is true, dress down. The degree that you move in one direction opposed to another should be determined by the degree of influence you wish to silently convey.

| 69

Advice from the Master Negotiator Feet: When you’re face to face with someone and they are mentally attuned to what you’re saying, they’re feet will be aligned with yours (i.e. your feet and theirs will be pointing at one another). Before they disengage, take note of the fact that one of their feet will point away from yours. Observe when this occurs, what triggered the occurrence, and the direction in which the turned foot is pointing. Such observance will give you a sense of where they and the conversation is headed. At this point, to influence them, you can allow them to make a graceful exit, inquire if they’re still with you, set a follow up action, or say or do something to reengage them. At this point, take note of your actions to determine the viability of the strategy you employ.

communications occur as the result of misperception. In building your relationships, if you really want to be influential, always keep in mind the value the other person places on fairness. To do otherwise is to miss potential opportunities in the future. The negotiation path to victory, when it comes to building relationships and influencing people can be fraught with potential perils, but you can mitigate situations before and as they occur. To do so, when you’re negotiating and building relationships, don’t seek influence for the novelty of possessing it, do so for the relationships you’ll enhance … and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

Perception of Fairness:

Greg Williams, a member of National Speakers As-

Perception is reality. You can be as right as rain during a draught and if you’re perceived as something other than being right, in the eyes of the perceiver, you’re wrong. When connecting with someone and attempting to influence him or her, be sure to cast the perception of your actions in the light that they’ll view in the manner of your intent. Too many times, mis-

sociation, 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

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 … (609) 369-2100 Scan with Smart Phone to watch – “Seven Steps To Negotiating Successfully”

70 |

May – June 2013

NOW Practices for Professional Selling

Actions that Prevent At-Risk Accounts 72 |

May – June 2013

If your company is like most businesses, you likely have accounts that are vulnerable or possibly even damaged. If even a portion of your customer base is unsatisfied or has unresolved concerns, it can have a significant impact on your company’s sales and financial performance. Take, for instance, the $4 billion worth of Fortuneranked company accounts that have undergone an AccountForensics analysis. The analyses reveal that two-thirds of these accounts are vulnerable or damaged. That represents more than $3.3 billion on the line. These statistics are very sobering and serve as a wake-up call for sales executives everywhere who think all their client accounts are safe.


he good news, though, is that the factors impacting whether your accounts are atrisk are almost always controllable. You can take corrective and proactive actions using account support strategies to mitigate damage and repair relationships before it’s too late. While ineffective account support can undo all of the hard work your sales team put into winning the deal and can undermine efforts to expand and renew business, effective account support can generate huge returns on your sales investment and pave the way toward expanded and renewed business. Following are five actions that can prevent at-risk accounts and increase maximum customer satisfaction and retention. Action #1: See Around Corners. No one can predict the future, but you can make a concerted effort to anticipate your clients’ needs by “seeing around corners.” Continually reassess your clients’ needs to see how their needs may have changed or might change in the near future. Look for needs your client has articulated clearly, subtle needs that may not be as obvious, and emerging needs that have not yet been identified or defined by your client. Action #1: See Around Corners. Don’t let competitors beat you to the punch. You can do everything well and still lose an account to a competitor who does things just a little better. To stay competitive, continually offer proactive ideas to your clients. Customers look to you as the expert. If a competitor comes in with fresh eyes and a host of new ideas that your company has not brought to the table, you could lose the account. Customers want ideas, actions, and results, but don’t wait until renewal time to take action. If your sales and account teams only show up at renewal time with the actions and recommendations they should have been providing all along, the account is likely already at risk. Instead, have a consultative, partner-oriented approach throughout the engagement to preserve your relationship with the client.

| 73

Action #3: Avoid Having a Weak Link. One weak account’s support link is enough to bring down an entire client account. To avoid this, continually assess each area of client support, including personnel, company culture, and processes. Begin by identifying areas where your frontline account team may need additional training to avoid being a weak link. In terms of your executive team, assess your company’s executive involvement in each client account and see if clients are receiving enough attention from the executive team. Often times the first evidence of becoming vulnerable is visible at the senior level. It’s very important that your senior executives proactively share ideas, respond, and interact at a senior level within the account. Culture plays a role in this, too. Make sure your company’s culture is aligned with your client’s. This will influence who from your executive ranks should be close to the account and how they should interact.

Action #5: Conduct Forensics on Your Own Accounts. To avoid accounts becoming “at risk,” conduct an account forensics investigation to proactively look for any gaps in customer satisfaction and your performance. Account forensics is the process of examining the state of your client and prospect relationships using in-depth interviews to uncover potential areas of vulnerability. By conducting in-depth interviews with your client companies, you can uncover possible cracks in the relationship before they put an account at risk. Be sure to talk to sources at all levels of the organization and be as objective as possible in your approach. Interview key top-level executives, but don’t forget to talk to middle managers, as well as employees in various departments. Once a problem is identified, respond quickly and communicate a clear commitment to address it. To be successful, all levels of your company must be responsive to gaps and all issues must be thoroughly addressed so they do not reappear. A reappearing issue can be more damaging than an unaddressed issue.

Action #4: Don’t Let Issues Fester and Escalate. One of the greatest dangers to client accounts is an unresolved problem that festers beneath the surface for an extended period of time without being acknowledged or addressed by your company. To avoid this danger, all levels of your company must be responsive and on the same page. When issues are addressed, make sure your solution thoroughly resolves the problem. If your fix is temporary, you will lose valuable credibility and efficiencies. Be sure to communicate to your client what has been done to address the issues. Fixing a problem is one thing; letting your client know what you have done to resolve the issue is a separate action. In complex accounts, sometimes problems can emanate from your client. These can occur when your client does not follow through on obligations or has problems in their business model that impact your performance. When these occur, it is important to diplomatically work with your client to help them resolve the problem. Take blame where blame is due, but help them work through the issues when it’s not you!

74 |

Conclusion When it comes to at-risk accounts, failure is assured if you do nothing, but success is possible if you identify what is wrong, demonstrate commitment to resolve the problem, and achieve visible and measureable improvements. By following these five actions you will more effectively retain customers and achieve a profitable and sustained competitive edge. by Rick Reynolds

Rick Reynolds is a co-founding partner and CEO of AskForensics, which assists Fortune-ranked companies in winning and retaining multi-million dollar accounts. Reynolds is an expert in business forensics, having led hundreds of investigations over a 24-year period to help clients identify company strengths and weaknesses as it relates to sales growth and account retention. AskForensics clients have access to a knowledgebase of account retention data from more than $10.6 billion dollars’ worth of contracts and proposals, over $3.3 billion of which profile at-risk accounts. For more information, visit Follow AskForensics on Twitter: @AskForensics.

May – June 2013

The Winner's Curse: Sometimes It's Better to Lose a Sale


he happiest event in a salesperson's life is winning a major sale against an archrival competitor. The second happiest is losing a sale to your competitor – and learning that the prospect became your competitor's worst support nightmare. We call it the Winner's Curse. I know. I've been on both sides. Having a customer engagement you'd have been better off without is more demoralizing than losing a coveted opportunity. For the also-ran sales teams, buyer remorse over a rival's product can provide a windfall boost to sales – without investing penny in marketing, product development or additional sales expenses. And no one can ever accuse a salesperson of mudslinging when he or she shares a bona fide negative reference about a competitor. A company I worked for many years ago was a premier systems provider to manufacturers and distributors but had little presence in the healthcare market. My employer wanted a beachhead account in this important and growing market. I won a substantial contract to supply a records management solution to the

radiology department of a large, multi-site healthcare client I'll call Mega Health Services or MHS. MHS wanted its new system to record an admission, print a barcode label, scan the label and track an X-ray jacket. Every admission. On demand. Thousands of times per day. We placed the order, and the barcode equipment was delivered and set up in every MHS radiology center. That's when things started to go wrong. The printers started to jam. Many times. In many locations. Calls from upset radiology technicians and nurses poured into my cell phone. "My printer is jammed! It needs to be fixed! Now!" In a face-to-face meeting I can't describe as cordial, the corporate radiology manager spelled out her expectations to me: "Delivering the highest level of service to our patients is paramount to our organization. We expect our vendors to enable that. Period."

No One's Fault My local service manager offered no relief. "There's not much I can do," he told me. "Next time one of the

| 75

printers jams, have them bring it in (to the service center)." "You don't understand," I said. "They can't do that." The service manager had fulfilled his forensic obligations – at least according to his job description. The situation worsened. More printers failed, and the phone calls I received became shriller. Eventually, a manager in my company's consumables division told me the jamming problem might be related to a series of quality incidents at our manufacturing plant. He said that the thousands of labels I sold to MHS were wound too tightly onto the paper cores. That problem cascaded. The over-tightened labels had small amounts of oozing adhesive. At MHS, that adhesive adhered to the print heads as the labels passed through the machines. The labels peeled inside the printers and got stuck. To free the stuck labels, harried employees used whatever they could find – including metal implements, which caused the electrically-conductive print heads to short out. My company's warranty didn't cover that problem. "Fiasco" doesn't come close to describing the outcome. The concomitant problems took months to sort out, and MHS eventually replaced my company's equipment with a competitor's. The label revenue? Gone, too. Worst of all, a new competitor had the opportunity to become a hero, without incurring prospecting expenses, engineering costs and proof-ofconcept costs. I had underwritten all of that, as part of the initial system sale. What cauldron of issues created this Winner's Curse? The general ledger account silos. When it came to revenue and expense accounting, my company didn't share anything between departments. In this Winner's Curse scenario, only one department received revenue credit for equipment: sales. The service manager's revenue came from service contracts, and he believed that warranty support was an expense to be controlled and minimized. And because support expenses weren't cost to sales, I had little incentive to reduce the risks. The Consumables division? It didn't receive credit for hardware sales or service contracts, even though its revenue was dependent. What kind of experiences do these accounting silos create? Just ask MHS's corporate radiology manager.


76 |

Prospect qualification. This focused on getting the sale, instead of gaining a valuable customer. My investigation traded off asking other valuable questions, including "will this prospect become a valuable customer for our organization?" or: "Can this prospect implement our solution?" Poor customer expectation management. In client meetings during the sales process, we didn't discuss risks and minimized MHS' obligations. Many Winner's Curses begin when a vendor over-promises and under-delivers – instead of the other way around. Lack of coordination and performance measurement. Quality control problems at the label plant. Equipment failures. Viscerally unhappy customers. Was anyone watching these notso-disparate events and preparing a coordinated response? Each department had a separate set of performance measurements, none of which mitigated the risk that the customer might be completely dissatisfied. By any analysis, this Winner's Curse was my company's self-inflicted debacle. But in many situations, customers are complicit because they fail to see beyond their own self interest. They don't recognize that a valuable business relationship provides mutual benefits. Customers benefit from what a product provides – and vendors must make a meaningful profit providing it. Some sales engagements aren't worth winning. How can you know? There are two keys. First, have a clear picture of what a Winner's Curse looks like and what it means for your organization. Second, ask the right questions to expose the risks. Those questions must be asked not only at the beginning but also throughout the customer relationship. by Andrew Rudin

2 3 4

Andrew Rudin serves as Managing Principal of Outside Technologies, Inc., a firm specializing in social media and sales strategies for B2B companies, associations, and non-profits. Andy has over 30 years of industry experience in technology, manufacturing, government, and professional services. A specialist in marketing and sales risk management, he has been a successful sales executive, marketer, and product manager, and he has delivered projects for organizations large and small. Andy has a BS in marketing and an MS in information technology, both from the University of Virginia. Learn more

May – June 2013

No Surprises. No Excuses tial dissatisfiers. For When your cusCustomers perceive example, remove tomers call or walk service in their own forbidden phrases into your establishunique, idiosyncratic, such as “I’ll be back ment, they already emotional, irrational, in a second,” Can have a perceived end-of-the-day, and you hold for just a expectation of totally human terms. minute?” and “I’ll what your customPerception is all be right with you.” er experience should there is! Such phrases only be. Your advertising, ~ Tom Peters frustrate a customer website and saleswhen more than 60 seconds go people, which serve a promise by. Review all the customer touch points and take to your customers, have already shaped that any negative issue and make it a neutral. Minimize expectation. Deliver on that promise and your wait times. Clean dirty restrooms. Create “no hascustomers come to trust you. Fall short and you sle” return or exchange policies. Then, as Larry have broken that promise and trust. For example, Winget, the Pitbull of Personal Development puts a restaurant menu is a promise to your customit, “Do what you said you would do, when you said ers that what is printed on the menu is what you you would do it, the way you said you would do it.”  have to offer. If you have to tell a customer that That’s it. It’s that simple.  Just “do what you said he has an old menu, the new menus haven’t been you would do, when you said you would do it, the delivered by the printer and the dry-aged steak is way you said you would do it.” not on the new menu, then to the customer, you And if the customer is unpleasantly surprised failed. He doesn’t care about the printer. All he because you could not deliver, then offer no excares about is his steak. And you failed to deliver cuses. Simply apologize. Even if the customit. And his perception is all there is. er asks for a reason, just say, “It doesn’t matter. Customers don’t care that it’s your first day We failed. It should never have happened and on the job. They don’t care that you are underI apologize.” Remove the surprise and offer some staffed because someone called in sick. Cusform of atonement. tomers don’t care that the computers were down To drive customer loyalty, deliver to each cuswhen they called. They only care that they are your tomer an experience that has “No Surprises. No customers. They are willing to give you their hardExcuses.” earned money in exchange for an experience that they feel is more valuable to them than their by Bill Quiseng money. And when they come to you, they never have an expectation that they will be dissatisfied. Bill Quiseng, Chief Experience So how do you live up to your customers’ exOfficer at, is an award pectations? At the very least the customer exwinning writer, blogger and professional perience you deliver should be with no surprises speaker in the areas of customer service and no excuses. To your customers, any experifor front-line associates and associate ence less than their expectation is perceived as engagement and leadership for managa dissatisfying surprise. And any reason you offer ers. Bill's blog offers tips to improve to explain why you could not deliver is perceived your company's customer experience. His Facebook as an excuse. And their perception is all there is. page and tweets are your #1 source for practical tips, So do everything you can to make sure there insight and inspiration from various sources to improve your are no negative surprises. Get rid of any potenpersonal delivery of customer service.

| 77

Create Customer Amazement TM

Core Values Are the Key to Customer Service by Shep Hyken

What are your company’s core values? If you can’t answer that, it’s worth taking some time to figure it out. One of my clients recently asked about how core values should come into play when hiring and firing, and it got me thinking about the importance of the overall concept. Core values affect the customer service experience – for external customers as well as internal customers (employees). They can attract customers to do business with you, and be a motivating factor for employees to enjoy their work and do it well. If you are at the stage of determining your company’s core values, begin by thinking of words and phrases that you would use to describe yourself. And, what words would customers use to describe you? Hopefully they are the same, and you’re in alignment with the customer. These words and phrases can be the basis of the values that you want to be known by. What does your company stand for? Do you want to be perceived as being helpful, honest, on the cutting edge, fun, driven? The list is endless, and as you can see, it is made up of simple words and concepts that project a certain image. Consider the few words that I’ve mentioned, and you can probably name a company that has that quality as a core value. They have succeeded in building that value into the com-

Don’t rush the process – take your time and involve people from all parts of the company 78 |

pany culture, and it is understood – by customers and employees. These “core values” are more than just aspirations or suggestions – everyone who works for the company must be committed to them. They are as important and permanent as your company vision or mission statement, and may be interconnected with those. Someone who has a firm grasp on his company’s core values is Tony Hsieh, founder and leader of, the online shoe retailer. Zappos. com is one of my all-time favorite companies. It is known for its outstanding customer service and is an excellent example of how to run a customercentric organization. In his bestselling book, Delivering Happiness, Hsieh describes the company’s core values and how they affect hiring decisions. Employees are not selected based on their height or weight, race or religion, tattoos or piercings or the lack thereof. What’s important is the prospective employee’s personality and attitude and how he or she could fulfill’s core values, which include a passion for service, total transparency, a willingness to embrace and drive change, a positive team and family spirit, fun and a little weirdness. These are values that impact the customer service experience, and they are what is looking for in each employee. So, if you don’t have clearly defined core values, now is the time to determine what they should be. What is important to your company and its mission? Don’t rush the process – take your time and involve people from all parts of the company.  If they help to define the core values, they are already on the road to “owning” them. Perhaps you can already list your well-defined core values, but can your employees? If not, do something about it! Communicate your core values in a variety of ways such as in the company newsletter or at a special event. In order to live them, the employees first need to learn them.

May – June 2013

Firing the Customer Is it ever appropriate for a business to “fire” a customer? Though it sounds counterproductive, there are instances in which ending a business relationship with a client or customer is the right decision. I read a great article in Inc. Magazine by Steve Cody titled Five Customers You Should Fire. In 18 years of doing business, Cody opted to terminate a contract five times, essentially “firing” his customers. This got me thinking of similar situations from a customer service perspective. While the article wasn’t actually about customer service, there are some comparisons that can be drawn. In customer service, I firmly believe that there is a specific instance in which it is appropriate to fire the customer. This customer affects the morale and motivation of the employees and makes it impossible for them to deliver a great customer service experience. If a customer is determined to abuse your system – and your employees – you may have to make the decision to end the business relationship. It is a drastic step to take, and, as a colleague pointed out as we discussed the topic, even more so if the customer happens to be among your company’s top clients. You can see that this decision is not an easy one to make. No business wants to lose customers of any kind, but nobody – not even the best customer – should be allowed to abuse your employees. Of course, firing the customer may not be the first step to take to try to correct the situation – it could start with a discussion. Leadership must support and stand up for the employees so that they are able to perform their jobs and take good care of the customers (even the abusive ones). If you show your support for the employees by addressing the problem, it will keep them motivated to do their best. This goes back to what I call The Employee Golden Rule: treat employees the way you want the customer to be treated. A manager can’t disrespect employees by overlooking an abusive situation and then expect the employees to treat the customers well. Leadership has to model the right behavior for employees, and

In some cases, though it’s hard to lose a customer, that may be the best choice that means standing up to abusive customers, defending the employees as well as the company’s culture. If leaders don’t stop customers from abusing the system and the employees, it sends bad messages. First, that the leadership is weak; it can’t stand up to the abusive customer. Or perhaps management just doesn’t care… or, even worse, employees feel that the leadership doesn’t “have their back.” Under such conditions it would be very difficult for employees to stay motivated and make their best efforts to provide a good customer experience. Hopefully, in your business, you will never have the necessity of firing a customer. However, you must always be watchful for situations that call for a discussion with a customer to try to get things back on the right track. And in some cases, though it’s hard to lose a customer, that may be the best choice.

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: – Click here for information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs (

| 79

SOLD Bookshelf

Using Great Customer Service as a Dynamic Business Strategy for Success by Steven Watson for SOLD The art of building a successful and profitable business has, itself, become a big business during the past several decades. There are hundreds of books, articles, blogs, and telecasts available to people touting the importance of management strategies, social media, networking, business planning, and other avenues critical to building a dynamic business enterprise. Unfortunately, one of the most fundamental elements to the success of any business that seems obvious, but is often overlooked is customer service. Randi Busse and Carol Heady, co-authors of the new business book “Turning Rants into Raves: Turn Your Customers On Before They Turn on YOU!” provide a compelling argument for the importance of customer service in generating credibility, trust, and long-term loyalty from patrons. In fact, customer service is more than a “nice” thing to do; it is a business strategy that can effectively distinguish a business owner from the competition. The authors invite readers to examine their own behaviors to determine if they run customer-centric businesses or not, noting that if they do not, they had better start doing so. After all, customer service generates the “Four Rs,” revenue, retention, referrals, and reputation. Unhappy customers seldom inform a company of their negative feelings but, instead, will tell up to 15 other people, or even more if they use social media.

80 |

Busse and Heady frame their discussion around five principles that, if followed, will serve as building blocks for creating a customer-centric business. These are: think like an owner; build relationships; remove the roadblocks; walk in your customer’s shoes; and capture your customer’s heart. They cleverly drive home their points regarding each principle through the actions and attitudes of two fictional characters Rant and Rave that represent polar distinctions in attitude and behavior. Several important themes run through the book that add significant value to the authors’ overall discussion. First, great customer service starts with the way you treat your employees. Employees treated like customers will be much more receptive to prioritizing service issues with customers. Second, customer service does not come naturally, but takes hard work and commitment. Third, it is important to put yourself in your customer’s shoes to gain required sensitivity to his/her needs and priorities. Fourth, customer service is less transactional, and more relationshipdriven in nature. Busse and Heady provide real-world case studies of things companies, as well as individuals have done to demonstrate great customer service. These are a nice touch and add considerable strength and interest to the discussion. In addition, there are simple, thought-provoking exercises and action strategies

May – June 2013

Think like an owner; build relationships; remove the roadblocks; walk in your customer’s shoes  that operationalize important concepts presented in each chapter. The authors point out that building a business through great customer service is achievable and will put owners who choose to prioritize it in rare company. They cite several statistics that prove their point. For example, a recent American Express Global Customer Service Barometer indicated that “93% of Americans report that businesses do not exceed their customer service expectations” and that 55% of consumers have ended transactions due to poor customer service. These statistics suggest great opportunities for business owners to tap into people’s need for — and inability to find — great customer service. “Turning Rants Into Raves: Turn Your Customers On Before They Turn on YOU!” is a quick, easy-to-follow read that adds considerable value to the customer service discussion. Novices to the concept of customer service will make good use of the compelling presentation of concepts and strategies, while more

experienced business owners can use the book to review and rethink concepts, possibly in a new light. If you are looking for a discussion of customer service theories found in the literature, look elsewhere. However, if you want a presentation of practical and achievable ways to generate customer loyalty, repeat business, and word-of-mouth promotion, this is the book for you.

Steven Watson has a highly diverse career background, ranging from freelance copywriting and small business entrepreneurship to executivelevel management within government organizations. He holds a Ph.D. in Public Administration and Master of Counseling, and has professional certifications in resume and technical writing. Steven’s passion over the past several years has been to provide professional career documents to people who need jobs, developing internet publishing expertise, and expanding adult literacy within his community.

| 81

The Coach Approach

"I Want My Money Back, NOW!" by John Brubaker Would your approach to your work change if you had to give your client their money back if you or your product didn't deliver the results as agreed upon? If you answered no, congratulations you're already an owner! If you answered yes, shame on you... you're a renter. The answer boils down to whether you're invested in the client's success or you just want their money. How differently would people approach the level of service they provided a client if they themselves were a shareholder in the client's company? It's the difference between being involved and being invested, between participation and commitment, owning and renting. Many organizations offer their employees stock options in their company. While this may be a nice perk or incentive, I have long believed that the best form of compensation would be to give your employees stock in your client's company. Here is why... How you approach your work is a lot like owning a car versus renting a car. When you own the car you've paid a price to own it outright. You're invested in that vehicle and get to enjoy the benefits of owning over the lifetime of the car. When you rent a car you pay a small price for the temporary use of the vehicle and then simply return it. No investment whatsoever, it was simply a short term transaction, nothing more. With ownership comes care. You park your car in safe parking places to protect its appearance, ensure its well-being and value. Most people who rent a car will always park for convenience with no regard for pro-

tecting the vehicle. And when was the last time you saw someone wash or wax a rental car? People are more likely to take care of something that they own. The same idea is true with your job (and your employees jobs). We are talking about investment and responsibility. Renters don't buy in, OWNERS DO! When I retired from coaching and entered sales, this is something I learned from my mentor, the president of ESPN Radio in North Carolina. He offered clients a money back guarantee and I often heard him tell them "I want your success not your money". While we couldn't become shareholders of the small businesses who advertised with us, the station owner made sure every employee ate, shopped and did business in some way with each of our advertisers. We were all invested in the client's success, literally. I took this example of being an owner to heart and do the same in my business. To show you I walk my talk, here is a link to see the money back guarantee I offer on all consulting, coaching and product sales. Whatever your industry, I recommend you do the same thing:

People are more likely to take care of something that they own

R+C=O Responsibility + Commitment= Ownership What needs to happen for you to move from renter to owner?

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.

82 |

May – June 2013


NOW Practices for Professional Selling

SOLD Jun'2013  
SOLD Jun'2013  

Online publication for the sales professionals