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April – May 2012

№ 12



? t n a v e l e R Lee B. Salz Master



discovers the extinct species of salespeople


your Brand and Customers Emotionally

p. 18

p. 36

p. 48

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The Corner Shop in New York That Sold More Men's Suits than I would never advocate or condone any form of dishonesty in selling, but the following story did make me laugh very much when I first heard it and the success of the sales technique was, in fairness, partly due to the customer’s dishonesty as well as the salesperson’s. Macys is a very large department store in New York with a massive suit department for men. The Discount Suit Store which was just around the corner from Macys would have fitted in to one little corner of Macys’ suit department. In spite of that, the two brothers who ran the store reputedly sold more suits every week than Macys. Here is how they achieved that… The brothers were George and Fred Morrissey. George worked the shop floor which was packed with rails of suits from floor to ceiling. There were ‘cut price’ and ‘sale’ notices everywhere but none of the suits had a price tag on them; so a customer would have to ask how much an item was. George pretended to be rather deaf. This is how the sales process went… Customer: “How much is this blue serge suit?” George: “I’m sorry I’m a bit deaf. Can you repeat that please?” Customer (a little louder this time): “How much is this blue serge suit?”

George: “It’s in the Sale. I’ll have to ask the Boss.” Then, in a loud voice, George would call out to Fred in the back office: “Fred. How much is the Blue serge suit?” Fred: “One hundred and seventy five dollars” George would then turn to the customer and say “The blue serge is seventy five dollars sir” which of course was the real price anyway. Most customers, thinking they would be getting a real bargain, would try it on to see if it fitted, pay for it as quickly as possible and leave the store. Sometimes, although not that often, other customers would point out George’s mistake to him. He would then thank them graciously for their honesty and ask them to wait just a moment while he had a quick word with Fred. The customer would see them whispering to each other and then George would return with a big smile on his face and say – “The boss is so grateful for your honesty, he has told me to tell you that in return for that great kindness, you can have two suits for one hundred and seventy five dollars!” by Bruce King

Bruce King is recognised internationally as a leading sales, marketing and personal growth strategist. He is a highly sought after keynote conference speaker, sales and marketing master class presenter and sales trainer, business adviser to SMEs, a personal coach and best selling author. Bruce has more than thirty years experience working with organisations from SMEs to major international companies and speaking to audiences around the world on the subjects of sales, marketing and achieving greater results in any area of their business and personal lives. Learn more at:

CONTENTS 08 As a Sales Person, Are You Relevant? 12 Moving Beyond Excuses


14 Is Empathy Killing Your Sales Career? 15 Sales Goals in a Tough Economy

18 Are Salespeople About to Become Extinct? 21 Selling in a Tough Economy 23 Lead Qualification & Lead Nurturing: Whose Job Is It? 25 Success Secrets from a Sales Super Star


26 26 Identify All Decision Influencers and Underst and Their Role in the Sale 30 This is YOUR Economy – Now Go Get It! 31 Tell me, how did that sales call go? 34 Up Your Charm IQ. Rev Up Your Rapport


April – May 2012

April – May 2012 36 36 Master the Ultimate Sales Tool: Perfect Recall 39 Attracting Lustomers – How to fascinate new customers with Trust + Lust 40 Don't Memorize; Visualize Your Persuasive Presentation

42 The Secret to Handling Objections 45 Why Asking Better Sales Questions Won’t Help You Close More Deals 46 Sales Negotiators Know That It’s Ok to Be Irrational


48 How to generate that elusive emotional connection between your brand and your customers: Sainsbury’s shows the way 51 You Made a Mistake… But Now I Am Your Biggest Fan


54 A Tale of Two Restaurants 56 Create Customer Amazement TM


Are There REALLY More Mobile Phones Than Toothbrushes? (A note from Jamie Turner: In Go Mobile, the book I’ve coauthored with Jeanne Hopkins from HubSpot, we discuss an often-repeated statistic that there are more mobile phones in the world than there are toothbrushes. To confirm this statistic, I asked 60 Second Marketer contributing writer Nicole Hall to do some research on the subject. Her story of how she approached the research and what she learned during the process is fascinating. I’ve asked her to share her journey with members of the 60 Second Marketer community.) If you read a lot about mobile marketing, you’ve probably heard the sensational statistic that more people in the world own a cell phone than own a toothbrush.  I, for one, found this statement a little suspect, kind of gross, and very depressing. So, I started digging to figure out whether this stat is true or false. Read on for Mythbusters, 60 Second Marketer Style. The Mobile Marketing Association of Asia, where this information originally came from, stated that out of the 6 billion people on the planet, 4.8 billion have a mobile phone while only 4.2 billion own a toothbrush. So, the first step to proving or disproving the stat was to find out whether the number of people who own a mobile phone was correct. So, I ran a standard Google search for “number of mobile phones worldwide.” This number was fairly easy to find, though different sites often reported the numbers differently. However, after perusing several different sites, I settled on a fairly regularly cited stat of 4.6 billion subscriptions. (Check out Chartsbin, for more on this number as well as a cool interactive infographic.) But it’s important to note that the 4.6 billion figure measures penetration by the number of subscriptions, not the number of people with cell phones. While this may seem a small difference, it really isn’t. According to BusinessWeek, over 20 countries have mobile phone penetration rates over 100%, with the UAE’s penetration reaching as high as 233%. And according to Chartsbin, the number of countries with over 100% penetration is nearly 60. This indicates that many people who were counted in the MMA’s stat were actually double counted because they have multiple subscriptions. If the penetration rate in these countries is lowered to 100, the number of people that have cellphones drops to around 4.2 billion. But, to play it safe, we’ve settled on a figure of 4.0 billion mobile users just to make our estimates even more conservative.

Next, I moved on to trying to figure out how many toothbrushes there are in the world to see if the MMA quoted 4.2 billion was correct or not. Now, you’re probably thinking “how hard could it be to find out how many people own toothbrushes?”

Are there really more mobile phone users than toothbrush users? We've done the homework and, based on a few assumptions, the answer is yes. Let me tell you, it’s hard. The first Google search I entered – “How Many People in the World Own a Toothbrush” – returned pages upon pages of sites that were all quoting the MMA’s stat that “more people in the world own a mobile phone than own a toothbrush.”  It was unhelpful at best, infuriating at worst. Depending on what syntax I used, I got some marginally helpful facts. For instance, according to environmental website,, each year 50 million pounds of plastic in US landfills can be attributed to discarded toothbrushes. Then, after discovering the average toothbrush weighs 62 grams, I calculated that the US goes through roughly 366 million toothbrushes a year.  However, when considering this only accounted for number of toothbrushes discarded, and only in the US, I hit a dead end. Ugh. But not to be discouraged, I continued my search. And finally, after much clever Googling, I found a stat that said Colgate has 34% global market share in manual toothbrushes. Now, if only I could find how many toothbrushes Colgate sells, I could figure out how many toothbrushes are sold throughout the globe! (Again, this would probably include some duplication of people as, hopefully, people replace their toothbrushes, but hey, it was a start.)

Unfortunately, my Google luck had run out, and I could not find how many toothbrushes Colgate sells globally. I couldn’t even find a sales number. However, with nearly three hours already sunk into this project, I was not going to abandon it. Instead, I made contact with Colgate to see if they would let me in on what appeared to be a state secret. I called Colgate’s media inquiries line, and after much holding and transferring, I was able to leave a message for someone in the toothbrush brand division. It’s worth pointing out here, that everyone I spoke to at Colgate was exceedingly helpful, and all seemed to want to help me get to the bottom of this. However, as I was waiting for the Colgate employee to return my call, I saw a stat from Oral-B that claimed that the “brushing market” is a $5 billion a year market globally. Aha! Another solid lead. Now all I needed to find out what the average cost of a toothbrush, and divide $5 billion by that number to figure out how many toothbrushes are sold annually. Unfortunately, the average cost of a toothbrush is also a difficult number to find. However, I took to Amazon and averaged the cost of the top 20 toothbrushes, for an average US cost of $3. Then, to extrapolate what these costs might be in other countries, I looked at the cost of living for 83 countries published in the Mercer Global Cost of Living report. And here’s where things got exceptionally nerdy. Since the cost of living is expressed in terms of an index, with the base cost of living being the United States, I multiplied the index of each country by $3, the average cost of a toothbrush here. This returned an average cost of a toothbrush to be around $2, which would indicate only 2.5 billion people have toothbrushes. However, this number was skewed because it did not take population into account. So then, I looked up the population for each of the 83 countries, and divided each country’s population by the total world population to figure out what percentage of the population their country accounted for. Then, using this number, I calculated the weighted average of the cost of a toothbrush. This returned the slightly more satisfying cost of $1.55 per toothbrush worldwide.

It’s important to note here, that many African countries are left out of the cost of living data as the data is not collected there. This probably allowed the average cost of a toothbrush to be slightly higher than it would be if these countries were included. However, if we use the $1.55 average cost, and Oral-B’s reported market size of $5 billion a year, we find that approximately 3.22 billion toothbrushes were sold last year. Which is, alas, lower than the number of mobile phone owners, which we calculated to be 4.0 billion. But this number must be taken with a grain of salt. Because most African countries were taken out the mix, which account for nearly 15% of the worlds population, the $1.55 average cost of a toothbrush could actually be closer to $1, which would significantly change the number of toothbrushes sold per year. So, again, to provide the most accurate numbers possible, we’ve gone conservative and estimated the number of toothbrushes sold last year to be 3.5 billion. Additionally, it is quite likely that there is not 100% mobile penetration in any country, given the fact that there are children, who all probably do not have phones. Therefore, even when you lower the penetration rate of those 60 countries who reported rates over 100%, it is still probably too high, and indicates that even the countries with rates under 100% are probably overstated as well. The bottom line: I’m a data junkie, so I love investigating this kind of stuff. That said, it’s really difficult to pin down exact numbers on any of the data we collected, so at some point, you simply have to put a stake in the ground and make some assumptions. Based on the research we’ve conducted, we feel that there are almost certainly more mobile phone subscriptions than there are toothbrushes on the planet. And, if you make some additional assumptions based on our research, in all likelihood, more people own a mobile phone on the planet than own a toothbrush. And there you have it. by Nicole Hall

Nicole Hall

Jamie Turner is the founder of 60SecondMar-

is an account manager and a well-known mobile marketing expert.

at BKV Digital and

He is also the co-founder of 60SecondUniversity.

Direct Response

com, an online social media training website.

and is a contribut-

From the editor: Jamie Turner is the founder of 60Sec-

ing writer for the 60 and a well-known mobile marketing

Second Marketer.

expert. He is also the co-founder of, an online social media training website.

As a Sales Person, Are You Relevant 8|

April – May 2012

I’ve been seeing a lot of discussions and blog posts about this topic lately, relative to B2B sales. So, at the prompting of a new connection, I decided to explore sales relevancy and offer my own perspective.



According to, “relevant” is an adjective meaning “bearing upon or connected with the matter in hand; pertinent.” Synonyms include applicable, germane, apposite, appropriate, suitable, and fitting. Okay, so, what does that mean for you in sales? Well, first, it means no, you’re not relevant. And secondly, it means yes, you are relevant. Confused? If so, this post is for you. Because your relevance is situational, and depends on a variety of factors. Let’s explore...

VIEWPOINTS There are several ways to approach this. As with 360-degree or multi-rater assessments, you can approach it from multiple angles. What do you think? What does your customer think? What does your sales manager think? What do others at your company think? All of these have a place and an impact, but we’ll just analyze two here: What you think What your customer thinks Your viewpoint is critical, because if you don’t feel relevant, it will be hard to convey relevance and pass those feelings to your prospects and customers, with integrity. More importantly, however, even if you feel you’re relevant, if your customer doesn’t, what you believe (or your manager or others) no longer matters. It’s oddly symbiotic, though. You must believe your relevance to have the best chance of your customer rec-

ognizing it. But if you alone recognize your relevance, you’re still irrelevant. So, how do you get a customer to think that you and your products are relevant? To start, stop trying to prove it or “get them” to think it, and go in with an intense curiosity to diagnose and determine if you can be authentically relevant and add value. Here’s the key… If you can find a way to eliminate vexing problems, minimize current challenges, avoid future ones, improve something that’s important to them, or accomplish a critical business goal – all at a cost that is perceived to be less than the benefits gained – you achieve relevance, from the customer’s perspective. And the faster you can determine whether you have relevance, the better it is for you, your company, your prospect, and their company.

PRODUCTS & SERVICES Let’s continue with a quick discussion of products and services. Other than having influence with your Product Management team, based on market/customer needs and feedback, product development and management is outside the scope of the frontline sales role. You sell what you have. So for the purpose of this discussion, I believe we must take product design out of the picture, assuming the products and/or services that a sales person can offer are relevant to their target market, or at least under certain circumstances and conditions which create a need. With the above foundation laid, the focus transfers to the mindset, approach (process) and skills of the sales person.


Sidebar Note: If your product and services aren’t relevant to the market, and your ately company is not responding appropri e to to market feedback or yours, it’s tim jump ship. MINDSET Mindset already plays an important, recognized, and foundational role in sales success. In this case, I’m referring specifically to your thoughts about yourself, your prospects and customers, and even though we exempted it above to a great degree (assuming market relevance), your products and services.

Yourself Your view of yourself (from your self-worth to your perspective on the value you offer your customers and your knowledge and skills) is a critical foundation. Of course, an over-inflated view of yourself is as detrimental as low self-esteem or poor perception, so be cautious of either extreme. While we could debate specifics all day, at a minimum, you must believe that from a business perspective, you can offer value to your clients through your knowledge, skills, behavior and integrity. Without this, you’ll have a great deal of difficulty acting authentically, transparently, and confidently, and providing real value – meaning, you will have difficulty conveying relevance.  Your prospect may see relevance around you or despite you, but the hope of that that’s certainly not going to fuel your sales success long-term.

Prospects / Customers It’s also important that you value, respect and empathize with your customers and their challenges, obstacles, goals, and plans. Are you other-focused, rather than selfish, and more concerned with “being interested” than “being interesting? These topics aren’t always discussed this way in sales circles or sales training, but it shifts your perspective and value quickly. Have you ever not respected someone, and then tried to serve them transparently and authentically or

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build a trust-based relationship? It’s pretty difficult to act with integrity that way. And often, your true feelings will come through in some way. If your focus is on selling something rather than serving your client, won’t that change your behaviors toward your customers? The way you think and feel about specific customers, or your customer base in general, also makes a difference. Ask yourself... What habits have you formed? Do you whine and complain about your customers and their issues and quirks? Or do you hold them up, with high regard for their good traits, respect what they are trying to accomplish, and value the diversity of your differences? Even the way you speak about your customers when they’re not around, creates a foundation on which you’ll build your business – or not. Choose carefully, because it can impact your relevance and success.

Products / Services For this discussion of mindset about products and services, let’s separate the general perception of relevance of your products and services in the marketplace from your personal perception. Because even if most reasonable people agree that your products and services meet a need and are relevant, if you don’t agree, you will struggle to convey relevance. So, even if the market deems your products and services relevant, you must too. (If you can’t, again, this is a sign to move on.) To greatly increase your relevance, especially with the products and services you offer, understand first what makes you relevant to your best customers. What situations did they face? What problems did they experience? What goals did they have? What were they desperately trying to avoid? When you understand what MAKES you relevant, from THEIR perspective... you can prospect other companies and buyers who are in those same situations, face the same problems, want to avoid the same thing, and who have the same goals.

PROCESS There is a lot of talk today about sales process. To me, this is just a replicable set of tasks, steps and stages you move through with a customer, while interacting with them to determine if your products and services add value and are relevant for them.

April – May 2012

There are debates and opinions everywhere these days about the folly of approaching sales process from the sales person’s or selling company’s perspective, versus the client-focused perspective of matching your sales process to the customer’s buying process. The real world is rarely so black and white. I think having (generally) replicable processes and definable stages make sense. I advocate what I call “organized fluidity.” Structure and process help most people perform better (and often, serve customers better), so having a sense of organization and being able to define and replicate steps and stages are important.  At the same time, I do also believe that you lose relevance quickly if you can’t adapt to whatever your customer’s buying processes and preferences may be, and work within them, to prove your relevance and add value. Don’t build a cage with your sales process, then, but rather build the skills necessary to determine where you and the customer are in the process at any given time and to respond accordingly. Internally, it’s helpful to have the infrastructure to record this, report it, and track it, but that’s on your side and is generally a lag indicator of what’s happening, not a force for developing the relevance necessary to keep things moving forward.

win solution and being personally relevant by doing so openly, with trust, integrity and transparency, can provide the exact edge you need ion today’s difficult business climate to win deals.

LITMUS TEST So, ask yourself, do you:  Believe in yourself, your company and your products and services (given the right set of conditions, where they can make a difference)?

SKILLS So much has been written on the need for: Strong diagnostic and questioning skills Business acumen Logic and reasoning Interpersonal communication skills Emotional intelligence Relationship and trust building skills... ... and most importantly, the ability to forge solutions that solve problems, avoid problems or accomplish goals – but these are truly the skills that are often required for business and sales success. But for me, in terms of relevance, nothing is more critical than understanding the business needs and the personal needs and motivators of decision-makers, and finding solutions that accommodate both. An approach that is authentic, exploratory, and involves partnering to build solutions may not always be possible, but it certainly is ideal. Because in the end, your competitor may be relevant, too… or their products and services may be. So working to find the best win-

The faster you can determine whether you have relevance, the better it is for you  | 11

 Support and thoughtfully consider your customers and their viewpoints and situations, with empathy?  Make a difference yourself through curiosity, authenticity, transparency, integrity and client focus?  Focus where it matters? And where you can be relevant and make a difference? (Why waste time if you can’t?)  Do what homework and research you can, to determine in advance how you might be relevant – even if you still need to verify or expand that opportunity through discovery?  Modify your approach, within reason, to fit the customer’s buying process, rather than force fit them into yours?  Shift the focus from trying to sell something, to trying to serve others, and sell something as a result?  Worry less about being interesting, and focus more on being interested?  Through the above, find a way to help your customers eliminate vexing problems, minimize current challenges or avoid future ones, improve something that’s important, or accomplish a critical goal – all at a cost that is perceived to be less than the benefits gained from their perspective? If so, or when so, the answer to the original question in this post is “Yes.” As a sales person… you are relevant!

Thanks for Reading! As always, praise, feedback, or disagreements may be posted here or sent to me privately at mike_kunkle at mindspring dot com, at your discretion. Be safe out there, and happy selling! by Mike Kunkle

Mike Kunkle is a Sales Effectiveness Director with a passion for Sales Training, Sales Management, Sales Transformation and Sales Performance Improvement. Contact Mike mike_kunkle at mindspring dot-com. 214.494.9950 Google Voice. Connect with Mike: www.

Moving Beyond Excuses As small business owners, we aren’t only the creative thinkers behind are work. We are also salespeople. And, sometimes, as salespeople, we mess up. We tell a client that we are able to do something only to find out that we were misinformed and cannot fulfill the promise. We get confused by the financials and misquote numbers. We (gasp) forget a customer’s name. These events do not mean that we are bad people; they mean we are human. Yes, making mistakes such as these can cost us our business and our reputations, but they only mean that we are fallible beings. We will mess up; it’s inevitable. The important thing is what happens next. What do we do when we fail? When we make these awful mistakes, what do we tell ourselves about the situation? All too often, we make excuses for our behavior. We tell ourselves a story about how we are not to blame and it makes us feel better about our failures. I didn’t lie to my customer; my manager led me to believe that I could deliver on a certain item. I was just the messenger. It wasn’t my fault that my customers were misinformed. It was my manager’s fault. It isn’t my fault that the numbers were misquoted. The layout on the document I was discussing with the customer wasn’t clear. Someone from the finance department is responsible. They should have made the numbers easier to discuss. I can’t help it that I forgot a customer’s name. Do you know how many names I hear in a single day? Besides,,!/

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April – May 2012

A great salesperson does not care about who’s to blame

I’ve been really stressed lately about meeting my numbers and the last thing I care about is a name. If management didn’t put so much pressure on me to reach my goal, maybe I could engage better with customers. It isn’t my fault. Okay, these excuses are kind of lame. Most salespeople can do better than that. But the point is that they are excuses. They pass the blame on to someone else. Why is this such a big deal? Because the salesperson that makes excuses for her behavior, regardless of where the fault lies, is not improving. The next time a similar situation arises, the same thing is going to happen. The question a salesperson should ask herself when she messes up is not, “Whose fault is it?” It doesn’t matter whose fault it is! That is irrelevant. The question a successful salesperson will ask herself is, “How can I do better next time?” A great salesperson does not care about who’s to blame. The great salesperson cares about improving. Making excuses justifies failure. Moving beyond excuses and asking what we can do differently in the future sets us up for success. Perhaps we need to personally validate a claim that is made by our manager before making the claim to

our customers. Perhaps we need to get a better grasp on the financial aspect of the deal we are discussing. Perhaps we need to focus more on relationships and remembering customers’ names. Whether or not we had good reasons for making the mistakes we made, we need to focus instead on how can avoid them in the future. What about you? Have you found yourself making excuses and rationalizing your failures? I ask you, where does that get you? What can you possibly stand to gain from that kind of thinking? Get rid of your excuses. Stop trying to find someone to blame. Work instead on improving yourself. What’s done is done. All that matters now is the future. What will happen next time? That’s the important question. That’s how we can become great salespeople. by Doug Rice

Doug Rice helps small businesses attract and retain customers through creative storytelling and online presence. Learn more about him at

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Is Empathy Killing Your Sales Career?

The hardest part about selling in a down economy is not the extra layers of decision makers or the tighter budgets to deal with… plain & simple, it’s customer empathy. When we are making cutbacks in our personal lives it’s easy to understand that our customers and prospects are doing the same thing for themselves and for their businesses. Perhaps more than ever we are hearing “You know we’ve had to cut back in that area” or “There’s no money in the budget.” Or, perhaps we are hearing those things about as often as we have in the past, but now we are hearing them through more empathetic ears and it is making more sense to us these days. Over the past 18 months I have noticed more and more of my clients asking for coaching on negotiating and getting budgets allocated for their projects. They want sound bites and tactics to become more effective in upholding their margin and getting their full fee. Of course I have some great tactics to share, but that’s where most sales train-

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ers & coaches have to stop because after that, their tool box is empty. The real issue is not what you are saying, but how you are hearing what is being said. Let me say that again so you can hear it the way it will make a difference for you… The real issue is not what you are saying to uphold your margin, but rather how you hear what the prospect is saying to you about wanting a lower rate. Take the case of Rebecca, a smart and successful salesperson. She and her husband both worked and made a decent living, but when he got laid off it was up to her to feed the family. In the beginning it was not a problem and they both thought it would only be a short time that they would rely on her income, but as the months wore on Rebecca got more and more anxious. They canceled their family vacation, she stopped getting her hair highlighted and they rarely went out to dinner. Without the additional stresses on the home front, Rebecca was very productive and the

April – May 2012

person most likely to be paid the highest margin forthe consulting work she sold for her company. When the game changed and she HAD to sell, while at the same time she was making cut backs in her own spending habits, her margins started shrinking. There are two things Rebecca needed to be aware of before any training would make a difference. First, she had increasing levels of customer empathy. She put herself in her prospect’s shoes and because she was limiting her own expenses, it made sense to her that her prospects were doing the same. I explained to Rebecca that if someone was drowning in a pool and everyone jumped in to help, there would be nobody standing next to the pool dialing 911. She decided that she could listen to her prospects vent but it would only reinforce her conviction that now was when they needed her most. Second, Rebecca had to address her inability to effectively handle stress. When a person is stressed they cannot access all of the information they have which could help them get out of the stressful situation. This is why sales training does not work unless you are clear about what rattles you and how you typically handle those types of situations. She learned to breathe and pause before answering questions or blurting out solutions. This extra moment, and the oxygen along with it, helped her to think of additional responses like the ones we practiced in training. Selling in a tough economy does not have to be tough and it is certainly not impossible. It just means you have to be aware of what is stopping you because it goes beyond sales tactics and one liners. by Merit Gest

Merit Gest teaches people how to become Possibility Thinkers at conferences around the globe. To book Merit for your next event, please call 720-980-1286, or visit

Sales Goals in a Tough Economy M

aking your sales goals in a good year is one thing, but attaining them in a difficult year is an entirely different challenge. Putting aside the common cliché that when times are tough, great salespeople are made; the reality is that making your goals puts more money in your pocket. Therefore, I keep reminding salespeople to think of how many times in the past they’ve watched a customer materialize out of nowhere only to become a major player in helping reach their year-end objectives. If you’ve been in sales for any length of time, you’ve had this happen. I am not advocating that you kick back and relax while you wait for the big customer to appear. I understand that it takes work to make your goal, but, at the same time, don’t lose sight that occasionally nice breaks do occur. The good news is that you can be successful if you’re willing to take the time to work through the following steps, despite the current state of the economy. The first step to help you make your sales goals in a tough economy is to break down your goal into weekly objectives. Keep in mind, however, that these should not be based on closing “x” number of sales, but instead on accomplishing “x” number of activities that you’ve found are critical to your success. When your goals are strictly measured in terms of sales dollars or units, you can easily become dejected by numbers you’re not happy with. Activities to monitor may include making prospecting phone calls, conducting customer presentations, or having follow-up meetings. This breakdown strategy is similar to the way coaches successfully motivate their teams. By dissecting the game into a series of activities that the coach knows the team can accomplish, they will be in a better position to win the game.

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Second, find a peer with a positive attitude who is willing to take an interest in you. By reciprocating the interest, you will motivate each other. Meet together at least once a week, preferably in person, but by phone or Web conference if that’s not possible. Keep your conversation focused solely on the positives of the previous week to discuss the lessons you’ve learned from them and then how you’ll be able to leverage those lessons in the weeks to come. Remember, there’s no point in bringing negative baggage to the meeting. If you blew it, don’t dwell on it. Move beyond it! We all know that it’s very easy for one person’s attitude to rub off onto another. A positive outlook can create a heightened level of energy that will result in both of you being able to think more clearly and foster new ideas and opportunities. At the conclusion of the conversation, make yourself accountable to the goals for the upcoming week by discussing exactly how you intend to make them. Then, at your next meeting, make sure you take the time to review each other’s goals to ensure both of you kept the focus where you expected it to be. Next, use the time in between each meeting with your positive peer to focus on your key activities. At the end of every day, ask yourself what you’ve done toward accomplishing the week’s objectives. By doing something daily to move yourself toward achieving the goal, it will give you motivation for the next day. Try to avoid putting expectations on yourself to accomplish an entire week’s goal in one day. If you can attain it in that short of a time period, you’ve set it too low and you’ll never reach your full potential in sales. At the same time, don’t allow the weekly goal to be so difficult that you rarely achieve it. Remember, the breakdown of the activities must be achievable. Missing your weekly goals too frequently will cause you to walk away from the entire process. Finally, never allow yourself to be influenced by negative voices. Today’s economy has created an incredible amount of pessimism, especially in the

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Try to avoid putting expectations on yourself to accomplish an entire week’s goal in one day news media. If the news is negative, don’t listen to it! This may include not reading the newspaper, avoiding certain Web sites, and changing the dial on some radio stations. Furthermore, your friends and fellow employees may even contribute to the buzz. Consider cutting them off before their opinions sway you. For those of us in sales, it’s important to remember that people who aren’t going to make their goal are going to do everything possible to ensure their peers don’t either. The last thing they need is for somebody to show them up. Don’t allow anyone to take control of your goals. It goes without saying that achieving your sales goals in a tough economy is not easy. But, like a leaky roof, ignoring it and refusing to take action doesn’t make it go away just because it isn’t leaking on a sunny day. Resolve to stop the problems that contribute to your discouragement. You can’t control what the economy is doing, but you can control what YOU are doing. Take the necessary steps to motivate yourself to achieve those weekly goals, which, in turn, will help you successfully reach your year-end objectives. by Mark Hunter

Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter, is a consultative selling expert committed to helping individuals and companies identify better prospects, close more sales, and profitably build more long-term customer relationships. To find out more, visit

April – May 2012

Are Salespeople About to Become Extinct? I was one of the first people in the world to have a Blackberry. True story! And, I’ll never forget the first conversation I had with the Blackberry salesperson. He said, “Lee, get this… Email on the go! People will be able to send you a message and you will be able to send a response. How cool is that?! Forget those pagers that beep and you have to call someone back. You’ll have twoway communication at your fingertips.” 18 |

April – May 2012


his was a compelling story which is why I had a Blackberry strapped to my belt the very first day the devices were available in the U.S. Imagine that same salesperson calling on me today with that same pitch. “Email on the go…” I’d think he was crazy for positioning “email on the go.” Why? The PDA device is an accepted part of the business professional’s toolkit. We bought into the “email on the go” concept long ago. What question is on our minds today? Which PDA device is right for me? After all, the market is flooded with PDA devices with varying features and functions. There have been countless articles written on the future of the sales profession with many of the authors concerned about what is to become of salespeople. No one has a crystal ball telling them what the future holds for salespeople. Yet, there are steps salespeople can and should take (if they have not already done so) to, not only avoid extinction, but also to dominate the sales game. Quite frankly, the salesperson in the aforementioned story deserves to fall to the perils of extinction for failing to adapt his style with buyer purchasing changes. Every industry goes through changes. Not some, every single one! No industry is immune. Yet, the media only tells you about the massive marketing changes that companies make. You don’t hear about the changes that salespeople must make to also remain competitive. Oftentimes, salespeople wait for the corporate tap on the shoulder addressing sales changes rather than proactively making adjustments. Look at the new car industry. Not long ago, new car salespeople were viewed as Yoda, the wise and knowledgeable being in Star Wars. Those sales people knew everything about the features, functions and deals. Prospects relied on them to share their wisdom so that educated car purchase decisions could be made. What choice did prospects have? There was no way for them to get that information unless it was provided by the salespeople. We don’t need new car salespeople to play the “Yoda role” anymore. The Internet puts every bit of information (and even more than what the salespeople shared) at our fingertips. As a matter of fact,

more and more, people are making their purchasing decisions without ever setting foot in the dealership. They research online and make a buying decision. If you are a new car salesperson clinging to the “Yoda past,” you probably aren’t selling many cars today. You’ve not adapted your approach with the changes in the decision-making process. As a result, you are in jeopardy of going the way of the dodo. The Internet hasn’t just impacted the new car salespeople. It has changed selling for every salesperson on the planet! Salespeople used to be able to show up on a prospect’s doorstep and ask, “What is it you do here?” Given that the only way to learn that information was to ask, prospects were willing to share it. Ask that question today and you will quickly be shown the door. To be successful selling today, salespeople must create value with their prospects…above and beyond what their products offer. That value is often presented in terms of “experience.” The term is often used to describe their tenure with a company or within an industry with the objective of dazzling prospects. Experience is meaningless! Prospects aren’t impressed by it. They won’t buy because a salesperson (or their company) has it. What they want is expertise. Experience means you’ve spent time. It doesn’t mean you are any good at what you do. I’ve seen two-year industry novices develop mastery at levels that blow twenty-year sales veterans out of the water. Those veterans, oftentimes, cling to the “good old days” of selling as opposed to continually shucking and jiving with changes. Bottom-line, if someone is going to invest his time with a salesperson, he must perceive that he will come away with something other than the “privilege” of sitting through a sales call. Up to now, everything that has been shared assumes that the salesperson is even able to book a face-to-face meeting with a prospect. There are still many salespeople “dialing for dollars” and finding that their approaches fall on deaf ears. The change in the selling approach isn’t limited to the in-person prospect meeting. The entire spectrum has changed starting at the very first moment of the prospect pursuit. Imagine. It’s the middle of the night. There’s a pounding at your door. You scramble to put on

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your robe and rush downstairs to see who it is. It’s the police! “We want to talk to you about a crime...” How did they find you? Did they just knock on every door until they found a suspect? Of course, they didn’t. The evidence has led them to your doorstep and that’s why they are contacting you right now. What if the police’s strategy to solve crimes was to ring every doorbell and say “Hi, did you commit a crime today? If so, could you tell me which one?” No suspects would ever be caught. As ridiculous as that sounds, this is exactly how most salespeople approach their search for prospects. They start making calls without a “crime theory” which means good luck finding suspects. If you can’t find suspects, you can’t turn them into prospects. No prospects means no sales. That’s a sequence of events that even makes sense to Inspector Clouseau. There’s an old expression about sales being merely a numbers game. While there is truth in the need for quantity, quality is the ultimate measure. Prospects won’t tolerate being the sales call of the day. Not today! While it is accepted that salespeople hear tons of “no’s” before getting to “yes,” it is exacerbated by poor sales preparation. Let’s say a salesperson plans to call the CFO of a manufacturing company. The sole objective of the phone call is to schedule a face-to-face meeting. Before ever picking up the phone, this salesperson needs to: Research the company by visiting the website and by conducting an online search of it Research the prospect’s industry by visiting association websites and by conducting an online search of it Research the prospect’s competitors websites and conducting an online search of them

Research CFO’s to learn their language (terminology), challenges and areas of focus today By contrasting the information uncovered through this research with the challenges addressed by the salesperson’s product suite, the salesperson is provided with the tools needed to formulate a sales crime theory. Taking a similar approach as the police investigator, the seller answers the question of why that CFO should be interested with this solution right now? If the salesperson can’t answer the question, neither will his prospect. The result – no sale! Salespeople are often adept at mastering their products, but not necessarily as skillful on the other side of the equation…mastering their prospects. Top salespeople become students of the sales game. This doesn’t mean that they just read sales books. These salespeople master what is most important to their prospects at that any given moment. There are many salespeople who will not adapt to their new selling environment. Those salespeople will most certainly be run out of the profession. Those who want to, not just survive, but also thrive will perpetually question the strategies and tactics that made them successful yesterday to see if those same approaches will make them successful tomorrow. No one knows for sure what the future holds for the sales profession, but one thing is for sure…

What made you UNIQUE yesterday, Makes you a COMMODITY today, And EXTINCT tomorrow, Unless you ADAPT to change. ~ Lee B. Salz Lee B. Salz

Lee B. Salz is a leading sales management strategist specializing in helping companies build scalable, high-performance sales organizations through hiring the right sales people, effectively onboarding them, and aligning their sales activities with business objectives through process, metrics and compensation. He is the Founder and CEO of Sales Architects, Business Expert Webinars and The Revenue Accelerator. Lee has authored several books including the award-winning book Soar Despite Your Dodo Sales Manager and is the host of the Sales Management Minute. He is a results-driven sales management consultant and a passionate, dynamic speaker. Lee can be reached at or 763.416.4321.

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April – May 2012

Selling in a Tough Economy C

lose 90% of the sales you pursue even in a tough economy

Indications are that the economy is improving. But the effects of the Great Recession linger. Companies continue to spend cautiously. Spending decisions are made higher in the organization. Traditional sales approaches don’t work. Sales levels, margins and deal sizes are down and sales cycles remain long with many ending in non-decision. Prospects are consolidating, and in some cases, eliminating suppliers in a continued effort to save money. While companies can do little to change the sales environment, our research indicates that there is a problem that is under their control: most companies don’t sell to key decision-makers (Power) even when it comes to their biggest accounts. In fact, most account relationships are stuck at the mid-management level. This is because most organizations sell products based on the day-to-day problems they solve. But the people who make the buying decision evaluate how products solve executive-level problems.

Know the real value of your product This explains why so many companies suffer through long sales cycles, longer approval processes and indecision on the part of the buyer. When you don’t know the executive-level value of your products, you are left to provide the same feature-level, cost-benefit analysis as all of your competitors. Presented with no clear solutions to executive-level problems, buyers are left with indecision.

When an organization approves a significant sales expenditure, it is because a key decision-maker – the person I call Power – gives final approval. Because discretionary funds remain scarce, this happens only when the project solves a keenly felt, executive-level problem. Power must have significant expectations for the project to sign off on it, and quite frankly, the solution may or may not make life easier for front-line workers or middle management. To win approval, Power must know the amount of revenue that the product will generate or money it will save for the organization. But most sales organizations don’t know what this value is because they have never met with Power. This explains why world-wide pipeline close rates are at 15%. Think about that for a moment. Sales, presales, sales support, sales management and executive management now put time and resources into something that isn’t going to happen 85% of the time. You don’t have to be part of that club.

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The key to closing 90% of the sales you pursue is to stop pursuing every lead. Instead, adopt a methodical approach in which you identify your ideal prospects, uncover problems felt at the executive level of those organizations and determine how your products address those problems.

Know who your ideal prospect is In our company, we call our ideal customer a Zebra because once identified, it stands out from everything else in the environment. To know your ideal prospect, look no further than your current customers.

To know your ideal prospect, look no further than your current customers

Evaluate them based on the following criteria to create the profile of your perfect prospect: What types of companies have bought since this economic downturn began? What critical business issues were solved and what value was created? Who was the person who could buy even without a budget – a.k.a. Power? Was a capital appropriation approval process (CAP-x) required and at what funding level? What type of value/return on investment (ROI)/ total-cost-of-ownership (TCO) was provided? What role did technology play in the decision? What is the level of service that will be required to ensure success? Every prospect should be evaluated against the same criteria before and during the sales cycle.

Score your prospects It should only take you five minutes to score your prospect against the profile of your ideal customer. Apply a score of 0-4 for each question, where 0 is an extremely unfavorable response and 4 is extremely favorable. A perfect score is 28 (7×4). For most companies, a score of 23 indicates that the prospect will buy 90% of the time. Deals you have won should score at or near 23. Lost deals, deals you don’t believe will ever close and stalled deals will always score 17-22. Most deals that you lose will score less than 17. Now before spending time with a prospect (or an existing customer), assess whether they are worth your time using your scoring method: A score of 0-16 says spending time with this customer is a waste of resource A score of 17-22 says proceed with caution A score of 23 or above says pursue this account with everything you have!

0-16 High Risk

17-22 Some Risk

23-28 ZEBRA

Identify the critical business issues The second part of this strategy is to adopt a sales approach in which the financial advantages of your product are communicated as clearly as its technical features and benefits. When you know the financial

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April – May 2012

advantages you bring to the company, you can seek the interest and support of top management early in the sales cycle for a shorter, more successful sales process. To determine the financial advantages of your product for your prospect, you need to research the critical business issues which are top-of-mind for Power. Look to the president’s message in the annual report, website content, 10-K’s and various news releases to provide clues as to which issues weigh on the executive mind. These issues are usually articulated as those that are most important to resolve or improve. These are the critical business issues (CBIs) that must be uncovered in order to earn the right to speak with Power. Unresolved CBIs create pain. Solving CBIs creates value. Identify CBIs. Then determine how your products can help resolve these pain points and either create revenue or reduce costs. You will then be ready to elevate the discussion to Power. Selling to Power is the most efficient, successful path to the goal when done with appropriate research and preparation. As a result, when implemented consistently and well, this methodology will enable you to successfully close 90% of the business you pursue regardless of economic conditions. Jeff Koser

Lead Qualification & Lead Nurturing: Whose Job Is It? Are marketing resources or sales reps the right resources to do lead qualification and lead nurturing in the B2B complex sale? The answer is clear, and may surprise you. But first, let's take a look at some lead generation challenges. Cahners Research has shown that 45 percent of qualified leads will end up buying a solution from someone within a year. Qualified Prospects

Jeff Koser is the founder and CEO of

More Buyers

Selling to Zebras, Inc. Selling to Zebras is a global leader in sales process improvement. Selling to Zebras teaches sales professionals how to close 90% of the busi-

Raw Leads

ness they pursue with greater ease, speed and profitability. The company provides process efficiency tools, sales software and management support to help companies achieve considerable sales improvement. Selling to Zebras has helped countless companies achieve their sales goals. Jeff and Chad Koser describe the ZEBRAselling process in their award-winning book, Selling to Zebras. Their most recent book, Selling to Zebras – The Untold Story for Salespeople, tells the story of Kurt Kostner, the dedicated vice president and general manager of C3 Technology, who has been given an ultimatum: Turn sales numbers around in 90 days or pack up your things. It is available as an e-book on

Few Buyers Too many raw, unqualified leads can create a clogged marketing and sales process and an unhealthy sales funnel.


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Think of lead generation, lead qualification and lead nurturing as progressive steps in a funnel. Marketing pours raw, unfiltered leads from a variety of sources into the top of the funnel. Ideally, what emerges at the other end – ready for professional handling by a lead-hungry sales force – is a steady supply of qualified leads, each with a defined process and timeframe for buying. Reality, unfortunately, rarely matches the ideal. All too often, no one is managing what happens to leads once they enter the funnel. Marketing, focusing on lead cost instead of quality, thinks it has done its job simply by dumping in the unfiltered leads. No one contacts the inquirers to do lead qualification. No one augments the leads with demographic and firmographic data. No one engages with long-term suspects via lead nurturing to convert them to short-term, qualified sales opportunities. No one evaluates the effectiveness of the lead sources. In this garbage-in, garbage-out lead generation scenario, you can’t blame sales reps for ignoring the output. Who should process leads? A lead is a general classification of an individual with an actionable need for a product or service. Short-term leads, also called qualified sales opportunities, are ready buyers that have the potential to close within one or two sales cycles. Only a small portion of freshly generated leads typically fall into the short-term category. The root of the broken lead generation “system” described earlier is lead qualification: little or no effort has been made to determine whether each raw lead has any potential at all, much less whether it is short-term or long-term. Whose job is lead qualification and lead nurturing? In our observation of how hundreds of companies treat leads, the bulk of the work overwhelmingly rests with sales – and that is a recipe for failure. Even if leads are pre-qualified, sales people are notoriously poor in following up on all but the hottest of leads. In fact, experts say, sales does not follow up on more than 70 percent of leads provided to them. Management rightfully motivates and compensates sales people to focus on making the imme-

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diate numbers, not on building a pipeline of prospects. To fully leverage the talents of your sales force, don’t expect sales reps to filter leads, qualify them, and then cultivate the long-term ones until they are ready buyers. They just won’t do it. Traditional marketing departments are also not the best equipped for this important job. They are filled with brand builders or communicators who do not possess lead generation skills and technology, or they are measured on “response rates” and “cost-per-lead,” which are the wrong metrics. In our experience, best practices suggest that a separate group, inside or outside the company, needs to take control of the vital lead generation, lead qualification and lead nurturing functions. Think of this group of specialists as “lead farmers,” or prospect development specialists – they qualify raw leads, nurture lukewarm prospects into the hot category, and turn the developed leads over to the sales force for harvesting. Often this process takes months. A developed lead is one that sets the stage for relationship selling. A lead farmer equips the sales rep with in-depth knowledge about the prospect. With advance insight into the prospect’s motivations, pain points and buying plans, the sales rep can engage the prospect in a consultative conversation rather than launching into a cold-call presentation or a discovery interview. Dan McDade

Dan McDade, president and CEO of PointClear, ViewPoint draws on his 20-plus years of experience helping companies develop prospects and drive revenues. Named one of the 50 most influential people in sales lead management in 2009 and 2010 by the Sales Lead Management Association, Dan offers insights into how to close the gap between marketing and sales and explorations on the most effective means of reaching target audiences – supported by real-world examples – Dan fosters productive thought and collaboration among executives.

April – May 2012

Success Secrets from a Sales Super Star Stan Billue has been a Student of Sales an average of an one day for 35 years. Each month he’ll be sharing several Success Secrets to assist you to achieve your next level of Success.

Editor Note: “This is the first article in a regular column in SOLD where THE Sales Training Legend, Stan Billue, shares Sales Secrets for Success” Most Sales Pros are quick to admit that the majority of a Sale is made during Qualifying. The best definition I’ve ever heard of Qualifying is to gather the information that we will need to make a Sale. Here are some great Success Secrets to assist you in Qualifying

Make your Customer a Star. First, realize that the average person would rather talk about him or herself then hear about the 10 most famous people who ever lived. Since you are probably not one of those famous people, please allow them to do most of the talking during Qualifying. There are 3 things that people care about the most, which are Themselves, their Job or Career, and their Family. Train yourself to be a great listener and show a sincere interest in your Prospects and Customers. This is the easiest and quickest way to develop Rapport. They will end up “buying” YOU and whatever you represent will go with that Sale. Here are a few great sayings to remember: “To be Interesting, you have to be Interested.” “Make a Friend and then Make a Sale.” “They don’t care how much we Know until they Know how much we care.” Although you might believe you are a good listener, most of the time Salespeople only hear words and noises and rarely do they intently listen. Most Salespeople are normally too busy thinking about what they are going to say as soon as the other person is done talking. I urge you to develop your listening skills in 3 critical areas: [1] What they say [2] How they say it [3] What they really meant Of course, if you’re not sure, ask them.

Use Instructional Statements. The best way to Qualify is to use Instructional Statements. I understand that in Selling 101 we learned about Open and Closed Questions and that Open Questions are better since they usually give us more information. However if you need to find out 5 to 10 things during Qualifying, it can end up sounding like a FBI interrogation. Instead, start to use Instructional Statements which are less confrontational and much more conversational. Start using; “Tell me about . . .” and ”Share with me . . .” and “Fill me in on . . .” to name a few. In addition, please realize that these Prospects and Customers have probably been Qualified by many other Salespeople, all of which ask for the same basic information. Through the years many of these Prospects have developed “Scripted Answers” to these “Scripted Questions”, which aren’t always the whole truth and nothing but the truth. This is where the statement of “Buyers are Liars” originated. The simple way to get them off of their “Script” is to start using Continuation Phrases. Each and every time they answer a Question or Instructional Statement, before going on to the next subject, try saying; “Go on” or “Tell me more” or “And then what happened” or “Please continue” Whatever they say next to explain, justify, or enhance their initial response is the now truth. by Stan Billue

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

Identify All Decision Influencers and Understand Their Role in the Sale

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May – June 2012

Making tough sales requires that you identify all decision influencers as well as distinguish their roles in each sales opportunity. Identifying your prospect’s decision influencers is one of the most important and strategic activities.


n all too common reason sales are lost today involves salespeople who identify and sell to only a partial list of the decision influencers, believing they have made contact with all of the people who will impact the decision. It is important both to create and maintain an accurate list of all of your account’s decision influencers and keep it up to date. Another mistake to avoid is making assumptions about an influencer’s role in a buying decision – either by underestimating or overestimating someone’s real influence. The only thing certain today is the uncertain way companies make decisions, who that will involve, and what those roles will be in the future. In recent years, sales managers have asked me to focus even more on the implementation of this step in the sales process because they recognize that their salesforce is probably losing sales due to this problem.

The Selling Challenge Today is Adjusting Fast Enough to the Changing Decision Making Processes Among Large and Smaller Prospects No doubt businesses of every size and industry have rethought their purchase decisions in light of economic uncertainty and change. Some of these behaviors include: More buyer influencers brought into the buying process Additional functions or departments within the organization asked to provide input into buying decisions Changing roles, such as lower-level users with no previous buying influence making these decisions, or buying decisions made by committee Extending the sales cycle or purchase decision timeline

Shortening the sales cycle or purchase decision timeline Increased number of bid requests, usually forcing prices lower Changes in decision making criteria – these shifts may cause the buyer to stray from onceheld convictions about quality, speed of delivery, customization or service after the sale. Keeping new vendors out of the bid process, making it more difficult to break into new accounts. Increased importance of financing options over other decision making criteria. Increased use of vendor bidding processes such as RFQs, third-party administrations, and reverse auctions. Third-party bid collection resources having increased input into the selection process and sometimes even having final decision authority.

Know the Various Influencer Roles That Form Within a Company Consistently closing sales with large or tough clients depends on your awareness of how companies shape influencer roles, and knowing how that varies based on organizational structure, industry, and economic climate. Decision influencers carry varying levels of influence and position within a company, such as the following: Final decision makers, who may or may not gather opinions from others Members of a team charged with making a decision as a group Those who make recommendations as part of the process, but who do not make the final choice Actual users of the product/service but who do/ don’t make the decision, some of these individuals will carry big sway on the final decision

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Those who can exert their influence at the eleventh hour due to position or authority, and even override the recommendations of others 3rd party influencers are brought in from the outside (consultants, experts) that may have little or significant impact on the decision Gatekeepers who influence whether or not you even make it in the door to the prospect, but may not directly influence the final decision There are any numbers of endless combinations of people, buying teams, or departments who can help – or prevent – your entry to a prospect. You made need to wade through a list of many names and titles before you get an idea of the decision making dynamics in your prospect’s company. Fortunately, there are ways to improve your efficiency and success with this task.

Confirm the Role of Each Potential Account Influencer The first rule of identifying the key decision influencers is understanding their role in a decision versus

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As you develop closer ties to the account, immerse yourself in the company grapevine their job title. They are not one in the same. The dynamics of decision making can change rapidly due to budgetary cuts, resource alignment, mergers, etc. Begin by investigating the following: Who are the primary decision influencers? This list will evolve as people take on new responsibilities and influencer, and some names will drop off the list over time. Who is the name of your contact’s boss or bosses? It is a good idea to go at least two levels. Tip: As you develop closer ties to the account, immerse yourself in the company grapevine. Seek out names and contact information, and find out who the right people to know are and how to get in touch with them successfully.

April – May 2012

What are the names and contact information of your contact’s direct reports? Direct reports are people whom they supervise or have some level of direct or indirect influence over their work. Note: Your contact’s direct reports could be “sleepers” – people who appear to have little or no influence but who could ultimately make the final decision. I had a client lose a huge sale recently because the salesman did not understand the importance of the input of a direct report. The direct report was a supervisor who had never before had the chance to select a vendor, but was given that authority on this particular project. This left the salesman with nothing but a lost sale and a very hard lesson learned. Who are your contact’s counterparts? These counterparts could be co-workers who share in the final decision. This is critical to know, because these individuals often have substantial input in the decision making process. Who are all the members of a purchase team or committee? Collaborative decision making is becoming more common all the time, as companies strive to involve more people from throughout the organization. These collaborators can often come from unlikely areas of the organization, so be prepared to follow the trail wherever the breadcrumbs lead. Titles don’t make decisions – people do. Consequently, the role the person fills in the decision making process is what you must nail down, not necessarily their title or position. As important as it is to identify all the decision influencers, it is even more vital that all the decision influencers know you. Building positive strategic relationships throughout the organization is your goal once you have established a thorough account profile.

Stay On Top of An Account’s Decision Influencers Identifying decision influencers and roles means that you must learn to ask good questions. The following questions will help you uncover those people. “Who are the people who will be involved with this decision?” Tip: Be sure to follow up with the question, “Is there anyone else?” “What will their involvement be in the decision?”


Tip: Probe to determine exactly what their input will be – do they make the final decision themselves, make recommendations only, coordinate the decision with others, etc. There are numerous roles an influencer can fulfill – strive to understand all of them. “Who will use my product/service?” What is their role in the decision? Is there any chance they can influence the final decision? How? Tip: Remember that users can influence the outcome of buying decisions, and they seem to be called on more than in years past to make these purchases count.


“Who makes the final decision?” Will it be more than one person? How many people? Look for buying teams or committees – these are more common now than ever.


“Is there anyone else who might influence the decision one way or another? Someone we haven’t talked about? Someone you may have just thought of who I need to contact?” Tip: These questions serve to confirm that the decision influencers haven’t changed without your knowledge.


“What other departments/divisions of the company are involved in this decision?” Who would you suggest I contact?



“What role will your boss or other leaders play in the decision?”

You must ask these questions in the earliest stages of working with your prospect, as well as throughout an account’s maturity. To be successful, pose these questions in different ways and at different times, and pose them to everyone you meet. And of course, be tactful, ask the right questions at the right time in the right manner – and do it often. by Mark Holmes

Contact Mark Holmes: 417.883.7434; 1-800-841-8540


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This is YOUR Economy – Now Go Get It! This economy is made for anyone who is passionate about what they do the business they promote or the service they offer. This is a Trust & Value Economy – and economy that has consumers desperately looking for and seeking out services they trust, products they value, and people with whom they can connect. In fact, this economy is all about connection – emotional connection. The better you are able to understand and relate to your customer the more successful you are going to be – period! Are you ready, are you prepared? Have you made the changes to your sales and marketing strategy that you need to make? According to Gary Vaynerchuck (author of 'Crush It' and 'The Thank You Economy') our grandparents are actually better prepared to succeed in this economy then we are. Wow! Why? Because they did business in a time when it was all about building relationships and making connections. They understood their customer and they understood their market. They wrote the book on how to engage, build trust and add value. Now it is time for us to get it out and start reading. Somewhere in the last decade the importance of soft skills slipped away, replaced with assertive techniques, pushy sales, and “nag you to death” follow-up. Well, luckily for both our customers and us, the art of conversation, relationship and connection are back. There back and they're working. If you want to succeed in this new economy, if you want to make this YOUR economy, then

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you need to take a second look at your sales techniques, your marketing approach and your customer's experience. You need to ensure it is rooted in emotional connection, engagement, trust and value.

You need to ensure it includes the 3 Must Have Strategies for 2012:


Push Don't Pull

Ask yourself are you pushing your customers to buy or are you pulling them to learn more about your product or service? Your business growth strategy needs to be built around your ability to pull your customer in rather than pushing them to make a decision. In a shifting economy, that has heavy competition, you need to understand the consumer is in control. You can do a lot to influence their decision, but since they are inundated with choice the decision to buy remains theirs. You push you lose, you pull you gain a customer for life.


Blend Don't Separate

In today's economy 14% of consumers trust traditional advertising, 78% trust peer recommendations. While you can design, develop and shape your brand, you cannot dictate the customer experience. If you want to succeed in today’s economy then you need to blend not separate your traditional and social advertising. You need to make people aware of whom you are and what you do via traditional channels, but you need to engage, connect and build trust through social networks and forums. You need to invite people to

April – May 2012

experience, share and comment about your company and give them the ability to define and draw others into the value of your brand.


Niche Don't Expand

While we all realize the economy has changed, do we really realize just how much it has changed? Consumers are different now – they want to be sure of what they are buying, believe in the person they are buying from, and they want to verify and validate their choice. They are looking for experts. While our gut reaction is to offer anything to anyone willing to buy, the truth is the more we narrow our focus the more our market will expand. To be successful, we need to define our niche, decide what we want to be known for and what client we really want to serve. The better we niche our focus, the better we can define our brand, the more we engage our target our market, the more we create trust and value for our customers. Yes, the market has changed and so have the rules. This is an economy for people who wear their values on their sleeve, and who are filled with passion and caring for their customers. Understand that, and you'll realize this is YOUR economy – Now Go Out and Get It! by Meridith Elliott Powell

Meridith Elliott Powell, President of MotionFirst, is a coach, speaker and business development expert. An award winning business professional, she is the author of two books, 42 Rules To Turn Prospects Into Customers, Mastering the Art of Success and co-host of Spotlight Carolina, a television program showcasing small business. As an active member of the National Speakers Association, International Coaching Federation, and the American Society of Training and Development, Meridith helps people master the skills to Plug Into The Power of Connection and move their businesses and their lives to profitability. Learn more,

Tell me, how did that sales call go? M

y very first sales position was selling human resource information systems (HRIS) for a company named Comshare. At the time that I was hired, I had minimal knowledge of computers and software, no formal sales training and no previous sales experience. I had spent the previous ten years working in human resources for a major airline, handling compensation, benefits, recruitment, EEOC, labor relations, etc. So, how did I end up in sales? What did I possess that what was attractive to Comshare? I had situational knowledge. I had the capability to speak with human resource executives who had the ability and the authority to purchase my offering, and had the skill to discuss their business goals, problems and issues. My first sales manager and the gentleman that hired me was Phil Dupree. Phil was an experienced technology sales executive, having spent a number of years at MSA. I had been onboard a very short period of time when I secured my first sales call; it was with the Director of Human Resources for a local bank. Since this was my 'first' sales call and because I had no prior experience, I asked Phil if he wanted to accompany me on the call. However, he felt I was capable of going out on my own and suggested we talk about the results of my call when I returned to the office. He was going to allow me to go it alone. So how did the call go? It went great. My prospect told me that he was planning on purchasing a PC-based HRIS and wanted to know all about Comshare. I was excited at the prospect of closing my first sale and proceeded to tell him everything I had learned in my

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short tenure. It wasn't that much, but he seemed pleased and accepting of my answers. I ended up spending a little over an hour with my prospect. I couldn't wait to return to the office to tell Phil about my call. "Tell me, how did that sales call go?" Phil asked. "It went great!" I replied.

"That's good to hear. What are they hoping to accomplish?"

"They're going to purchase a PC-based HRIS."

"That's good, because that's what you sell. But, why are they going to buy a PC – based HRIS? What are they hoping to accomplish?"

These were seemingly routine debriefing questions that I was unable to answer. I was so happy when I heard the phrase, "we are going to buy," that I never even thought to ask the question. I was embarrassed, which made me pleased when the conversation ended. I went back to my office happy that conversation was behind me. Not too long after that conversation I was fortunate to schedule another call – by myself. When I got back to the office, I chose not to seek out Phil, in the event that he might want to have a similar, uncomfortable conversation. However, it wasn't long before Phil found his way to my office. "Tell me, how did that sales call go?" Phil asked. Here we go again, I thought to myself. "It went great!" I replied.

"That's good to hear. What are they hoping to accomplish?"

"That's good. What are they hoping to accomplish? What is a PC-based HRIS going to allow them to do, that they can't do now or would like to do better?"

Once again, I was unable able to answer Phil's routine debriefing questions and once again, I was embarrassed. I might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer but after having been unable to answer his questions and embarrassed twice, it dawned on me that... Phil was going ask me these debriefing questions every time I went out on a sales call and I needed to be able to answer them. The questions that he was asking me and the answers he wanted me to provide were more important to me, than to him! Why would a prospect spend their money for my product and services? What is it that they can't do now, that they would like to do better? What is preventing them from achieving their goals? What bad thing happens to them if they continue to operate the way they're currently operating? Pre-call planning was more than just getting driving directions to my prospect's office. It meant planning the conversation, developing the questions that I needed to ask in order to obtain the information that I needed, to do the best possible job for my prospect and for Comshare. They say that people are best convinced by reasons they themselves discover. Phil never threatened me, never told me what I needed to find out, never told or showed me how to do it. What he did, by asking his debriefing questions, was allow me to discover what I needed to do to become a successful salesperson. He modified my sales behavior. Thanks for the lesson, Phil. by Gary Walker

Co-founder of CustomerCentric Selling®. As Co-founder of CustomerCentric Systems, LLC and Co-author of the Customer-

"They're going to purchase a PC-based HRIS to replace their existing mainframe application." I thought I had been clever with that response since it was what they told me. However, I wasn't clever enough. Phil wanted more.

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Centric Selling® (CCS™) sales methodology, Gary Walker is responsible for working with the global sales channel and developing new products to improve the sales performance of CustomerCentric Selling® clients.

April – May 2012

Don’t Leave the Success of Your

New Hire Salespeople To a Roll of the Dice!

You go through an exhaustive process when scrutinizing and evaluating sales talent in search of great salespeople to add to your team. The new rainmakers accept the job offers and now the real work begins ... for both of you. The new hire salespeople arrive with a toolbox loaded with skills. Yet, how will you get them up to speed to sell for your company?

"They're great sales people! That's why we hired them." Sure, they have strong sales skills, but that alone doesn't position them for success on your sales team. They need a bridge that connects their skills with the sales roles in your company - empowering them to reach their true potential. That bridge is your sales person onboarding program.

"Why does it take forever for our new sellers to bring in sales?" You hired sales people, not entrepreneurs. Most don't have the ability to figure it out on their own. When a structured sales person onboarding program is not in place, you create a high risk of new hire failure. Remember, adding headcount to your sales team represents a significant corporate investment in revenue. That investment needs to be managed wisely for you to receive a return on it. The Revenue Accelerator® is a sales learning management system designed to help companies of all sizes and industries protect their new hire investment through sales person onboarding.     

Reduce new sales person ramp-up time Increase seller performance Reduce sales turnover Build employee engagement Attract top sales talent to your company

Don't leave the success of your new hire sales people to chance. Use The Revenue Accelerator® to get them up to speed and get a strong return on your new hire investment.

Up Your Charm IQ Rev Up Your Rapport To boost your charm, charisma and likeability IQ you must understand the ingredients that play an essential role. The #1 factor in enhancing your charm correlates directly with your ability to build rapport. Rapport can be defined as “bringing agreement, harmony and accord to a relationship”. Isn’t that what we want in our connections – to discover points of mutual interest or common ground, reach agreements, live and work together in harmony and enjoy interactions along the way- with more ease? Rapport is the magic ingredient for getting along with our customers, co-workers, colleagues, committee members, families, friends, neighbors and everyone else we encounter in any role, anywhere, anytime. Getting along means smoother sailing, fewer hassles, and more fun! The key to revving up rapport lies in expressing the same qualities that people find attractive. It’s the pleasure/pain principle in action. We move toward the people we like- those who are easy to get along with, who make us feel comfortable, who bring out our best qualities (including our smiles, laughter and good feelings). In the reverse, we move away from those who bring us discomfort- those with whom we find nothing in common, or who grate on our nerves, make us see red, hold up our plans, don’t meet our expectations, give us headaches, or provoke other negative responses. The relationships that bring us pleasure and good experiences are likely to endear as well as endure, generating fond memories, long-lasting impressions and joyful feelings. In contrast, the relationships that bring us discomfort and cause negative experiences are likely to test our endurance; although their accompanying impressions, feelings, and memories may also last, we probably wish they wouldn’t. The ability to rev up your rapport is critical to creating enduring connections. Without it, you’re more likely to suffer the pain and stress of troubled relationships and disappointing connections. You may also miss out on wonderful opportunities and their power to transform. All are typical fallout from choosing a life of disconnection According to the book, “Get Along with Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere … 8 keys to creating enduring connections with customers, co-workers – even kids, by Arnold Sanow and Sandra Strauss here are key traits you must focus on to rev up your rapport;


Good communication skills




Neat appearance


Positive attitude

Engaging style

Social skills





Conversely, here are traits that typically turn people off or turn them away; Abrasiveness Lack of humor Apathy

Negative attitude


Poor body language


Poor communication skills


Poor social skills

Lack of appreciation


Lack of confidence


Rapport is the magic ingredient for getting along with our customers Not only does rapport enhance your personal and professional relationships, it can also boost your company’s bottom line. Communicating with insight, perception, and empathy strengthens your efforts to keep customers happy, gain and maintain trust, regain favor with disgruntled clients and customers and increase the likelihood of getting their repeat business and their referrals. Likewise, building good rapport with colleagues increases the quality of your working relationships, with corresponding impact on productivity, creativity, cooperation, morale and overall job satisfaction.

2 3 4

Pay attention. When conversing with someone by phone or in-person give them your full attention. Don’t get distracted by other people or tasks. Don’t interrupt. When you interrupt someone, sensitivity, rapport and commitment are killed. If there is one thing people hate, it’s being interrupted. Treat others as special. To the extent that you treat someone as special and focus on their needs and concerns they will immediately gravitate to you and want to deal with and work with you in the future. A good way to remember this concept is to greet every person you meet as if they were a long lost friend! Be interested not just interesting. This is the key to popularity. Too many people end up talking all the time, dominating the conversation and fail to have a two way conversation. People love people who listen to them. As Norman Vincent Peale stated, “Getting people to like you is merely the other side of liking them” by Arnold Sanow, MBA, CSP


Arnold Sanow, MBA, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) is a speaker, trainer, coach and facilitator. He is the

Here are 5 specific steps you can take to boost your rapport:

author of 6 books to include, “Get Along with Anyone, Anytime,

Call people by name. As Dale Carnegie stated in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People,” there is nothing more important to someone than their name”

was recently named by successful meetings magazine as one of


Anywhere” and “Present with Power, Punch and Pizzazz.” He the top 5 best “bang for the buck” speakers in the USA.,

Start Your Own Big $$$ Speaking and Training Business... NOW! Earn up to $1,500, $3,500, $5,500 and More for Each and Every Presentation! Hi, I am Arnold Sanow, MBA, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional). I have been a full time speaker since 1985, delivering over 2,500 PAID presentations to more than 500 different companies, associations and governmental agencies. I am also the author/co-author of 5 books and many CD’s to include; “Get Along with Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere”, “Marketing Boot Camp”, “Keeping Customers for Life” and others. In addition to being a professional speaker, I am also a coach and mentor to speakers, trainers and coaches. As your coach, I will work with you on an ongoing basis to assist you in starting, building and growing your own part or full time business. I will guide you step by step, to what it really takes to succeed in this lucrative, exciting, fun and personally rewarding business. As your mentor and coach, I will save you time, money and frustration. You will quickly develop a solid speaking and training business with diversified income sources and profit centers ---- to maximize your income from every client and every engagement. “My income has increased 300% in the short time I have been working with you” – Ron Culberson, CSP “I have been speaking full time for over 15 years and one of the best things I ever did was hire Arnold Sanow as a coach” – Ray Stractbein “Arnold, your advice really works! Business is coming to us!” – Rick Mauer “To Mr. Marketing, without you and your mentoring program neither my business or this book would be a reality” – Robin Webb, Author of “Pynch of Thyme” “I am following your advice and the step-by-step manual and I have already booked a number of speaking engagements. Thank you!” – Roz Trieber To assist you in building your business I have developed a number of options tailored to your needs, your goals, your challenges and your concerns.

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Master the Ultimate Sales Tool: Perfect Recall

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April – May 2012

You can deliver a flawless presentation, not missing a single point, with only five minutes to prepare. Really.


ost scenarios involving five minutes of prep are disaster-ville. Imagine going into a major sales appointment and having only five minutes to prepare the entire pitch. You stumble through it or read clumsy cue cards. Or, you quickly assemble a slideshow that is more of a distraction than anything. I suspect you already know that you make sales when you connect with people. When you're prepared and know your stuff inside out. When you make a flawless presentation. I have great news. I came across a memory tool years back called mnemonic memory and have used it ever since. It truly takes five minutes (or less) to memorize the bullet points of any presentation or sales pitch. It comes in handy in other areas, too. Here's how it works. Your mind work best with pictures and associations, not with repetition as you were taught in school. So, the first step to achieving perfect recall is to cre-

1. Your company always answers the phone on the first ring. 2. Your accountants all went to Ivy League schools. 3. Your accountants all have Masters degrees. 4. Your team is versed in tax law for all 50 states. 5. Your team speaks 12 languages. 6. The office is open 24 hours, seven days a week. 7. You provide clients with an accounting system that works on mobile devices. 8. Your accountant-to-client ratio is the lowest in the industry. 9. You turn around projects super fast. 10. Your accountants offer free initial consultations.

ate an association of pictures. Start by memorizing an easy rhyming list of pictures for each number (rhymes are easy to remember too), one through 10. This is your anchor picture list. Here’s what I use, and I suggest you use the same. Gun Shoe Tree Floor Bee hive Sticks Heaven Skate Slime Now, let’s pretend that you're selling accounting services. You want to explain in your sales pitch the 10 things that make your company the best choice for your clients. And of course, you share all the things that make you stand out from the competition. You have five minutes to prepare, and here are the 10 points you need to be ready to present.

Using mnemonic memory, you convert all of these talking points into easy-toremember pictures. Here’s how you may do each one:

1. A ringing phone 2. An ivy-covered college building 3. A framed Masters Degree 4. A map of the 50 states 5. Twelve books with a different language title on each (French, English, Spanish, etc.) 6. A neon sign saying "Open 24/7" 7. An iPhone 8. One of your accountants with his arm over your client's shoulder. 9. A stopwatch. 10. An empty cash register.

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Now, when you look at the first item on the sales-pitch list (a ringing phone), associate it with the first word from the anchor list (gun). For example, picture a gun shooting a ringing telephone. Picture it in detail, your arm holding out a gun, smoke rising from the gun and the telephone blown to smithereens. The more details, the better. The more color to your mental picture, the better. Add more sensory details, the sound of the shooting gun and shattering plastic. The smell of the smoke. You want to “feel” in every way you can. Close your eyes and take 15 seconds to really imprint it on your mind. It's critical to take that time. Visualize a connection between the second item (ivy-covered college building) and the corresponding word on your anchor list (shoe). Picture your shoe covered with ivy as the ivy creeps from shoes to an old college building also covered with ivy. Hear a professor speaking in a classroom on a historical subject. Smell the fall air and catch a whiff of beer (it’s a college campus. after all). Add any details you think of to connect the shoe with the Ivy League colleges. The more detail, and oddly enough, the stranger those details are, the easier it is to remember. Before you move on to the third item on your sales pitch, recap the first two. What was the gun shooting? The ringing telephone. How about the shoe? What was going on there? Right, ivy covering the shoe and covering the ivy league college building it's next to. Now, start on the next item. Keep doing this for all 10 items in your sales pitch. Use this mnemonic visual trick to remember two or three things at a time, then go back in your mind and recap the list you have completed. After three or

four recaps, you've completed the entire list. That’s it! You’re done! You now have the ability to perfectly recall every bullet point of your entire sales pitch points without that slide show. Don’t believe me? Let’s test it out. Use your anchor list to guide you. I don’t expect you to have the rhyming down just yet, so go ahead and look at the anchor list of above if you need to. Let’s start with, No. 2: shoe. OK, what is happening with the shoe? Ivy is climbing over the shoe and the building. And that means, for your sales pitch, that your accountants are all Ivy Leagueeducated. OK, No. 8: skate. What was going on with the skate? Low accountant-to-client ratio. Excellent. Now, No 1. The anchor for 1 was the gun. Right: The ringing telephone. We answer on the first ring. Try it for No. 5. How about No. 7? Try No. 3 and then No. 9. What about No. 4? Oh, you’re good. No, no. You are really good. You can now memorize even your most complex sales pitches in five minutes flat. How about them apples? How do you plan to use this tool to your advantage? Share your ideas in the comments. by Mike Michalowicz

Your mind work best with pictures and associations, not with repetition as you were taught in school

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Mike Michalowicz is an entrepreneur, 3 times over – building 3 multimillion dollar companies over 15 years. He is the author of the "business cult classic" (per Entrepreneur Magazine) The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, a small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal and President of Obsidian Launch a behavioral web design firm.

April – May 2012

Attracting Lustomers – How to fascinate new customers with Trust + Lust

The most valuable tool in closing a sale? Trust. (No contest.) But trust doesn’t come cheap. Even with years of dedicated consistency, trust is tough to earn, and easy to lose. In my book, I describe 7 different universal forms of persuasion. Trust is one, of course, but not the only one. What’s a faster way to attract customers? Meet lust: an instant form of attraction. Once you successfully add lust to a pitch, customers pay a higher price point (my research shows that in some cases, twice as much). They’re also more willing to go out of their way to obtain your product, more enthusiastic in talking with colleagues about it, and best of all, more likely to reject your competitors. Trust retains customer relationships over the long-term. Lust, on the other hand, helps you captivate them in the first place. Care to know how to add this zing of attraction to your sales? Three ways to turn “sorta-kinda-maybe” into “absolutely-positively-yes”


Make the Ordinary More Emotional Over time, a straightforward pitch can become stale. A competitive claim can feel cold. Even the most trusted process can begin to seem, wellyawwwwn! a little boring. But when you bring a jolt of creativity to a presentation, or inject a playful wink into your marketing, you’re creating an instant emotional connection. You’re lowering barriers of resistance, increasing your influence, and allowing your prospect to absorb your message.


Add warmth Do you know how powerfully a smile can shift a conversation? Even subtle cues can turn common meetings into persuasive experiences. Real estate professionals often use sensory cues such as baking bread or brewing coffee when showing a home to buyers, because these nostalgic scents cue unconscious memories for many buyers. A brilliant combination of both trust and lust.

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Use trust to decide what you say. Use lust to improve how you say it.


Create “Lustomers” What happens when you turn a cold prospect into an “I gotta have it” sale? You’ve created a “lustomer” – a customer who lusts for your product or service. The more passionately someone feels about you and your product, the more successfully you’ve transformed a customer into a lustomer. You’ve been a lustomer before, probably without even realizing it. Think of those times when you’ve been excited about making some particular purchase a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, tickets to a basketball game, or even a sportscar. (For me, it’s an Apple iPad. I’m practically drooling to buy it.) In these situations, we’re no longer just regular customers, and the sale is no longer just a regular transaction. Thanks to lust. What about you? Are you currently using trust in your sales? Or lust? Or one of the other personality triggers? I developed an online test to measure your fascination, the F Score personality test, to reveal what naturally makes you most persuasive. Trust still reigns supreme. Always will. But while trust drives long-term relationships, lust drives them straight to your door. by S. Sally Hogshead

Growing up with the last name

Hogshead would give anyone an unconventional point of view. Today, Sally teaches people and companies how to fascinate, using the system she developed based on the science of fascination. An author, speaker, and internationally-recognized marketing expert, Sally works with world-class brands such as Coca-Cola, Nike, Target, and frequently appears in national media including The Today Show and The New York Times. Sally’s latest book is FASCINATE: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation. How does your personality brand persuade and captivate? Find out now:

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Don't Memorize; Visualize Your Persuasive Presentation


lmost ten years ago now, when I re-joined Toastmasters (to re-build my self-confidence), I would spend hours memorizing my speeches. We were told to rehearse an hour for each minute of the speech: Seven minutes therefore required seven hours of rehearsal. In today's fast-paced world, that kind of time is very difficult to find. And is it an efficient use of time? I don't think so. The other problem with it is that your passion for the subject during the delivery on-stage just disappears. That's because your focus is entirely on remembering the words. You're simply reciting something you were likely passionate about when you wrote it, but now your focus is on getting it right wordfor-word. Your performance suffers tremendously. I remember often spending a whole day going over and over a speech until I had it pretty-well memorized. But, what would invariably happen on stage is that I'd lose my place during the speech and couldn't remember what the next sentence or paragraph was. I was memorizing words and lines; I wasn't mentally associating thoughts and the flow of the talk itself. What do I mean by that? Well, what I subsequently learned to do was to break the talk down into specific points and to visualize in my mind how these thoughts were connected. And then I would visualize myself delivering these segments. I would do this several times during the day of the speech (in Toastmasters, speeches are 5 – 7 minutes in length). I could think about it in the car, or when taking a break from other work. Now I use that same technique to put together full day seminars in less than a day.

April – May 2012

Let me assure you that you're not likely to learn this technique overnight. Like anything else, it takes practice to become proficient. But there's nothing like it when you have it mastered. It's like sleep walking... you'll be able to do the speech with your eyes closed! There's a technique called "Visualization and Association" (V&A). It's easy to learn. This is a technique that can be used to remember names or facts. You can find an article on it at w w html. What I do with speeches is a little different than V&A. Let me try and break it down into steps: First of all, I write out my speech – usually using a computer. Then I print it out and look at the structure on paper. I find I'm about to get "the big picture" on paper – to see how my points fit together, how it flows. I edit the speech until the flow is correct – until there's a solidly logically sequence. Once I'm happy with it, I go to the visualization stage. The first step in visualizing for me it to mentally see the flow in my head. For example, I would visualize the first point and then how it connects to the second. So, let's look at an example: If I was persuading my boss (in a presentation situation with about a dozen people in the room) that we needed to purchase a new color printer and one of my points was that the old printer required a lot of maintenance, I would visualize the maintenance people working on the printer. If my next point was that the sales people would make more sales with a color printer, then I would visualize the salespeople in the board room surrounded by eye-popping, colorful charts. And I'd do the same thing with the subsequent points in the order I wanted to deliver them. In no time, I can very quickly play a movie of my presentation back in my head. The final step is to visualize myself actually giving the presentation and the gestures I might use, the props I would have on hand, and humor

Like anything else, it takes practice to become proficient

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I might use. I would see myself in action, much the way Olympic athletes imagine themselves winning a gold medal before they compete. Once I have this down in my mind, I can run segments of the movie when I have a minute of two of downtime throughout the day. When I deliver the presentation, I'm talking to the images more than I am reciting words. I can be as passionate as I want to be with those images in my mind, secure in the knowledge that the next one will pop up just when I need it. Passion is a huge part of being persuasive. If you believe in what you're delivering, you'll have a much greater chance of having a positive impact on your audience. And you'll have a lot more fun doing it. So don't memorize your talk; visualize it. It's a really powerful technique! by Peter Temple

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

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The Secret to Handling Objections

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April – May 2012

In my early years of selling, whenever I got an objection, my heart would sink, my stomach would go into turmoil, and my mind would shift into overdrive trying to figure out how to deal with it.


ll my early sales training and all the sales books I’d ever read made a big deal about having to deal with and overcome objections. It was as though every sale contained a mountain called Mount Objection that had to be scaled before sliding down the other side to a Close. It seemed that if you didn’t get any objections, you weren’t really making a sale; you were just having a conversation with the customer. Even today, any sales training workshop worth its salt, including ours, spends time showing salespeople how to handle objections. Frankly, I feel the sales training community spends far too much time showing people techniques for handling objections. That’s right, I said we spend too much time on this topic. Before you mentally tar and feather me, hear me out.

What is an Objection How many real objections do you actually get? What exactly is an “objection”? Is it a roadblock to be overcome? Is it an obstacle to closing the sale? Is it a mountain to be climbed? Webster’s dictionary defines “objection” as “an expression of opposition or disapproval.” If you disapprove of or oppose someone or the company he represents, are you going to do business with them? Hardly. When the customer says your price is too high, or your delivery is too long, or the specifications don’t meet his needs, or he’s happy with his current supplier, does that mean he disapproves of or opposes you? Of course not. So what you might consider to be objections aren’t really objections at all, but are sales realities or simple expressions of concern on the part of the customer.

Of course the customer is concerned about the high price because he’s not convinced of the value. Of course he’s concerned about long delivery because that will cause him delays or problems. Of course he’s concerned about the specifications because your solution isn’t going to do the job. And of course he’s happy with his current supplier. If he wasn’t, he’d come looking for you instead of the other way around. Are there any real “objections?” Probably. How about, “The last time I bought from you delivery was eight weeks late,” or “Every time I try to get service, no one calls me back.”

Biases and Roadblocks You can also run into biases and uninformed customers who throw roadblocks in your way because they simply aren’t going to buy from you no matter what. That’s not a sale, that’s a sales nightmare. Some people won’t buy because you’re a woman or not a woman, you’re too young or too old, or for whatever reason they don’t like you or your company. These aren’t real objections. They’re biases and you’re dancing to someone else’s tune, the title of which is “There’s No Sale Today, Martha.”

Avoid Objections So what’s the secret to handling objections? The secret is to manage the sales process so as to avoid them. That’s it. Now, how exactly does one do this? Well, first of all, remember that people buy from people they know, people they like, and people they trust. So build rapport, be likeable and be trustworthy. Do what you say you’ll do when you said you’d do it. Secondly, listen to your customer’s concerns. Find out what’s standing in the way of his buying from you.

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What is he unsure or uncomfortable about? If you’ve spent the major part of the sales process asking questions, probing and qualifying the customer, you will probably have a good idea of what situations have to be solved or clarified before the customer will feel comfortable moving ahead. Sometimes there’s no simple solution to the customer’s concerns. That’s when the customer will hesitate to move forward. If you can’t find a solution, maybe you can negotiate a resolution.  Perhaps a delayed delivery can be offset in some manner. Maybe no one’s product will meet the customer’s required specifications and your task is to help the customer accept your solution as the closest match he’s likely to find.

people recognize the difference between a valid customer concern and an emotional bias. Salespeople need to improve their skills at uncovering the customer’s concerns early in the sales process. They also need to know the difference between a put-off and the reality of human nature that causes a customer to say, “I want to think about it.” The final secret of handling objections is to listen. Most salespeople wouldn’t listen at all if they didn’t think it was their turn to talk next! You need to hone your skill at not just hearing what the customer is saying, but understanding what the customer is saying. Once you understand what is standing in the way, you can work with the customer to pave the way to a smooth sale. The key to handling objections isn’t confrontation; it’s cooperation. So the secret to handling objections is to cooperate your way to more sales. by Brian Jeffrey

If you can’t find a solution, maybe you can negotiate a resolution

Negotiate a Resolution Whatever it is that’s keeping the sales process from moving forward, it’s your job to identify it and to address it in a professional, non-confrontational manner. You’re not trying to overcome the objection; you’re working with the customer to resolve the situation in a mutually beneficial manner. When you do this in a spirit of friendly cooperation, you’re partnering with the customer and coming across as a problem solver, not a peddler. So, by treating what is often considered objections as simple requests for more information or clarification, you can reduce the stress of the situation and keep the sales process moving, hopefully to a successful conclusion. Should sales trainers stop teaching objectionhandling techniques? No, but they should put more emphasis on how to avoid customer concerns from coming up in the first place. They should help sales-

44 |

Brian Jeffrey is a sales management consultant and former sales trainer with over 40 year’s experience. He’s the author of The Sales Wizard’s Secrets of Sales Management, The 5-Minute Sales Trainer, 18 ebooks, and over 100 articles on selling and sales management. Brian provides sales management consulting, coaching, and mentoring to business owners and sales managers. He has had many sales successes (as well as a few spectacular failures) and has learned what works, what doesn’t, and why – information he readily shares with others. Find out how Brian helps companies manage their sales at

April – May 2012

Why Asking Better Sales Questions Won’t Help You Close More Deals One of the most popular recent theories about business development is that if you ask better questions of your clients, you can uniquely uncover pain points that allow you to negotiate a more efficient close. According to the experts, you improve your chances of closing the deal if you ask open-ended questions rather than asking questions that simply have a yes or no answer. For instance, according to the experts it is better to ask “What has worked in the past?” over the simplistic “Did this work in the past?”. Over the last decade, this theory has become a widely taught sales tactic.  Sales trainers all over the world have developed programs that help sales teams (both on the phone and in front of clients) ask questions that tip the odds in the favor of the salesperson closing the deal. And after decades of proposing these ideas the experts still can’t explain why that strategy doesn’t seem to work consistently.

Better questions don’t lead to better sales performance. Oh sure, there are always a few “big fish stories” where that tactic paid off and a salesperson emerges as a hero. But overall, why aren’t better questions helping us close bigger deals question Why is it harder than ever right now to have meaningful conversations with potential prospects? Why is it so hard to generate revenue? Well, the sales experts are well-meaning, but the behavior they prescribe is simply misguided. The true impact of asking better questions is

minimal on increased deals. Sometimes this behavior even backfires, costing the company and the sales rep valuable business they would have otherwise landed. So what does work? And why is this focus on asking better questions so flawed?

Simply, the questions don’t really matter. Caring matters. That’s the secret to more sales. Instead of teaching sales reps how to care about a prospect, sales experts teach you how to ask questions that help you pretend like you care.  That’s a huge difference. But your business prospects are just as discerning as you are.  You don’t want to be around people that don’t really care about you.  You detest fake friends. And so when you sit in front of a potential client and make your way through a list of questions

The sales experts are well-meaning, but the behavior they prescribe is simply misguided | 45

that are designed to trap the client, is it any wonder that you fail to close the deal?

You expect more of the people that you interact with. So do your prospects. The solution then isn’t to train your team (or yourself) to ask questions that are more caring or kind. The solution is to be a caring person.  To be humble yet confident.  To see people not as potential revenue but as fellow humans. Instead of trying to close deals, close wounds. Prospects don’t really care about your presentation that much. They just want their pain to go away. Heal them. Help them. Along the way, you’re really helping yourself. by Dan Waldschmidt

Since birth, Dan Wald-

schmidt has been refusing to

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

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Sales Negotiators Know That It’s Ok to Be Irrational


ow do you view yourself when you are conducting a negotiation? Do you see yourself as poised, confident, and above all rational? I think that most of us see ourselves this way. However, it turns out that we might be missing something here – there is a real power in being irrational sometimes…

Just What Does Irrationality Look Like During A Negotiation? So let’s think about this for a moment: do we really know what rational people look like? I mean, we think that we do. We believe that we have conversations with them each and every day. They seem to keep their voices in a low conversational tone, they listen quietly when you are talking to them and they respond with carefully thought out responses to what you’ve just said. So if we can all agree on what the negotiation style of a rational negotiator is, it does bring up the question of just exactly what does the negotiating technique of an irrational negotiator look like? The answer is that it looks pretty much like what you would expect it to look like. Irrational behavior takes on many different forms during sales negotiations. The first is that you start to reject what the other side of the table says without having a good reason. Another sign that you may be an irrational negotiator is if you start to express a lot of emotions during the negotiations. Irrationality can take on many different forms. The other side may present you with very rational arguments, but you don’t have to agree with them. You have a number of different choices: you can be partly logical, illogical, even go all the way and be illogical.

April – May 2012

The other side of the table will always be trying to read your mind and pre-anticipate what your next move is going to be 

How Powerful Is Irrationality? I can almost hear you saying “Why should I be irrational during a sales negotiation?” In fact, if I want to engage in principled negotiation should I even consider using irrational negotiations? When we look at the negotiation definition that we all use, we realize that the best way to look at irrationality is that it is just another tool that needs to be in everyone’s negotiator’s toolkit. The other side of the table will be spending the entire time that you are negotiating trying to read your mind. Trying to figure out what your next step is going to be. When you start to work some irrationality into your negotiation process, you will confuse them. This is a powerful negotiating technique; however, you may struggle to pull it off. It really comes down to what your natural negotiating style is. If you are a highly logical person who rarely shows any emotion during a negotiation, then you may struggle to start to incorporate irrational behavior into your negotiations.

The other side of the table will always be trying to read your mind and pre-anticipate what your next move is going to be. Using your ability to be illogical can throw off the other side. Being illogical means that at times you become unreasonable, you start to show a great deal of emotion or you simply don’t agree with what they have presented, no matter how clear and logical it is. In order to have successful negotiations, you need to be able to take on multiple identities during a negotiation. Becoming an illogical negotiator is one such identity and the sooner you learn to use your illogical powers, the sooner you’ll be on your way to closing more deals successfully. by Dr. Jim Anderson

Dr. Jim Anderson, a business communications expert, is available to provide speeches to groups on a variety of business communications topics.

What Does All Of This Mean For You?

Drawing on his over 20 years of experi-

In the classic sci-fi TV show “Star Trek”, the bad guys have a cloaking device that allows their spacecraft to disappear. As a sales negotiator it turns out that you have your own form of a cloaking device: the power of behaving irrationally.

ence of working with technology com-

panies and products, he is well suited to share his insights, stories, and observations with your audience. Learn more about Dr. Anderson at

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How to generate that elusive emotional connection between your brand and your customers:

shows the way 48 |

May – June 2012



This article is NOT for novices. If you are novice then I suggest you not read any further as you will not get it and it will occur to you as ‘nonsense’ and a ‘waste of time’.  The exception is if you are a novice with an open mind – you see that makes you not a novice, but a master!  I know that it sounds ‘nonsense’ and ‘paradoxical’ – you are warned.

Failure is built into the existing dominant mindset My blessing and my curse is that I am a constant outsider.  That is simply what goes with being born into one culture (and all that goes with it) and then growing up in a completely different one.  What has this got to do with business, with customers, customer relationships, CRM and customer loyalty?  Kind of everything. I have been involved in the whole Customer dance since 1998 and the one consistent is an intuitive sense that the whole enterprise is founded on a context that ensures that the people and the companies that are doing all of this Customer stuff (to build customer loyalty and reap the benefits) will fail to cultivate that much desired customer loyalty.  How best to convey that?  Let me start with two quotes that kind of point towards what I am striving to make visible to you: “We will win and you will lose. You cannot do anything about it, because your failure is an internal disease. Your companies are based on Tailor’s principles. Worse, your heads are Taylorized, too. You firmly believe that sound management means executives on one side and workers on the other, on one side men who think, and on the other side men who can only work.  For you, management is the art of smoothly transferring the executives’ ideas to the workers’ hands”  Konosuke Matsushita in 1989 (Founder of Panasonic)

“Before producing the products, we produce men” Toyota’s motto If you still don’t get it then let me share with you what Gary Hamel (management guru) has to say. In his latest book (What Matters Now) Gary points out that the single biggest reason most companies don’t adapt and innovate is that their leaders fail to write off their own depreciating personal intellectual capital.  What he is say takes us back to the first quote by Konosuke Matsushita and should also shed light on the second quote (above).

This is what it takes to cultivate loyalty – do you have what it takes? It is quite possible that you think you get what I am pointing at.  That is the disease in which the whole Customer movement is mired and has been mired in since inception.  You get it intellectually – at best you understand it and this is what one of the wisest thinkers / philosophers on the human condition has to say on that:

In life, understanding is the booby prize. ~ Werner Erhard You see the whole issue is that understanding through the mind is simply not enough! So let’s move on to a zen story that gets to the heart of the matter that I am concerned with today.  I invite you to notice how you are impacted (or not) by it: “A saintly woman was walking along the edge of the cliff.  Several hundred feet below her, she saw a dead mother lion, surrounded by crying cubs.  Without hesitation, she leaped off the cliff so that they would have something to eat.”  Do you get it?  COMPASSION/LOVE is the context which gives rise to the kind of being and doing that co-creates the emotional bond between you and your fellow human beings. Your customers are

| 49

human beings – not wallets, even though you think and talk in terms of wallets and wallet share. If you are novice, an intellectual, a ‘rational’ and quite possibly a Top then it is likely that I have pressed your buttons and that little voice inside your head is coming up with ‘nonsense’, ‘rubbish’, ‘liberal’, ‘no place for this stuff in business’…….  So let me share an interesting story with you about one of the UK’s biggest retailers.

The Sainsbury’s tiger bread story: why did this story touch our hearts and put the Sainsbury brand in the limelight? 3 year old Lily wrote to Sainsbury:

And here is the Sainsbury response:

Which brings me back to the central question: why has Sainsbury’s reply to Lily and the positive response to the Facebook campaign (to change the name of tiger bread to giraffe bread) made such an impact on us?  Reading this article I am struck by the following comments made by various people: “Steven Dodds, co-founder of {united}, called the tale “genius”, adding “it screams of spontaneous generosity and humanity.” Dodds said: “Consumers want to be able to put their trust in brands and this random act of kindness, which has made a strong impression on people, embodies the importance of that brands connect with customers. With people wanting to build relationships with less obviously managed brands, Sainsbury’s hits the mark in showing its human side.” Mark Dye, MD of White Label Media, commented: “The humour and warmth shown by a big brand like Sainsbury’s conveys it as a warm down to earth, friendly and approachable brand staffed by real people rather than the complex and often frustrating IVR systems most consumers are faced with nowadays.” Max Thompson from Plug and Play explained that Sainsbury’s decision to rename the bread has reinforced that it cares about its customers and that it considers their opinions enough to cause a rebrand of a product.   “The impact it has had on the Sainsbury’s brand is that it has reinforced that it cares about its customers and that it considers their opinions enough to cause a rebrand of a product. An activity which would normally be exclusively an executive decision,”"

Summing it up The access to that emotional bond that touches our humanity and lifts the human spirit is LOVE borne out of COMPASSION. There simply is no agreement for these words, these concepts, and so it is no surprise that Steven Dodds of United (above) replaces them with “spontaneous generosity and humanity”.  Just ask yourself what provides access to “spontaneous generosity and humanity”.  I assert that it is: an enlightened individual (and organisation) which takes us back to Toyota’s motto “Before producing the products, we produce men”; an enlightened organisation is simply an organisation where the people in it and the culture in which

50 |

April – May 2012

these people live is one that is in touch with the best of humanity – compassion, kindness, love.

Finally: a warning and an invitation The trap is for you to read this, agree with it and understand it intellectually – nodding your head. Why?  Because purely intellectual understanding is a dead end.  All that is because of action.  Action is that which gives rise to the way that things are and the way that things are not.  So I leave you with some of the wisest words uttered for our age – the intellectual age:

In life, understanding is the booby prize. ~ Werner Erhard

Open you heart – all action that has ever made a difference in the world has come from the heart. Jonathon Haidt refers to the ‘Heart’ as the ‘Elephant’ and the ‘Mind’ as the ‘Rider’.  The ‘Rider’ often thinks he is in charge the reality (as neuroscience amply demonstrates) is very different – it is the ‘Elephant’ (the limbic brain, the Heart) that determine pretty much everything that does and does not happen.  So once again, open your heart if you want to cultivate the customer loyalty that you are looking for.  And if you are not prepared to do that then recognise that you are on a fool’s errand: how many more $ millions are you going to spend to stay exactly where you are?  I thank you for your listening and invite you to enter into a conversation with me.  I suspect that I have pressed at least one of your buttons!  Surely you must have something to say – surely you want to tell me that I have got it all wrong.  I look forward to hearing what you have to say. by Maz Iqbal

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

Maz Iqbal at

You Made a Mistake… But Now I Am Your Biggest Fan


earl chose to celebrate her 94th birthday with her family and friends at a local restaurant. Although she had always enjoyed the restaurant, she specifically chose it because she was a member of its frequent diner program and was entitled to free desserts for all her guests on her birthday. She graciously offered each guest whatever dessert they wanted “on the house.” The waitress overheard Pearl and asked for the card that was sent to her announcing this offer. Pearl hadn’t brought the card with her. The waitress apologized, but refused to offer the desserts saying “There’s nothing that I can do. It’s policy.” Pearl was embarrassed, not only for forgetting the card, but also for putting her guests in an uncomfortable position. One of the guests asked for a manager hoping that someone would do the right thing. No such luck. The manager repeated the same mantra, “Sorry, there’s nothing I can do. It’s policy.” The manager “allowed” the guest to call the corporate headquarters. Two phone calls later; a corporate manager said, “No problem!” Of course, there was a problem. A big problem! Pearl was

| 51

humiliated and angry. No one left the restaurant feeling fondly about what had been a great meal celebrating a momentous occasion. It will be a long time before Pearl or any of her guests return to this restaurant, if ever. What had been accomplished? In an effort to “save money” by not allowing people to take advantage of the dessert offer, the restaurant had lost five good and loyal customers. Doesn’t seem to be a smart business move, does it? But it wasn’t just five customers that were lost. This lunch was such a bad experience for Pearl and her guests that they’ve been telling this story over and over and over. People love to tell stories. They especially love to tell horror stories. Interestingly enough, customers won’t tell stories about satisfactory experiences. Too boring… what would be the point? But they will tell stories about exceptionally bad or exceptionally good service. Consider these three examples: You order a new door for your home. The company comes on time and replaces your door. Are you going to share that story with anyone? Doubtful. You are a satisfied customer. End of story. You order a new door for your home. They come to install it and find that the frame was measured incorrectly. This is the third wrong door delivered. Are you going to share THIS story? You betcha! Every friend and family member will know the name of the company and they will tell their friends and family to stay away! You order a new door for you home. They come to install it and find that the frame was measured

incorrectly. The installer apologizes sincerely, telling you that he understands what a waste of time this has been for you. He promises that he will personally make sure you have the right door in a week. Then he asks, “Would that satisfy you?” When you say “yes”, he sets the day and time. The installer comes the next week as promised and installs your door. You are now a satisfied customer. But he wants you to be more than a satisfied customer – he wants you to be thrilled – so he takes 20% off your bill to compensate you for your trouble. The following week the owner gives you a call to see if everything is okay. Are you going to share this story? Without a doubt! In so doing, you will become the company’s cheapest and most effective form of advertising! So, how can you turn your disgruntled customer into your biggest fan? Customers enter into every transaction with a set of basic expectations. When you create a problem for your customers by failing to meet these expectations you’re faced with meeting a new set of even more challenging expectations. There are simple steps that will work to not only meet these expectations, but exceed them. Imagine the following scenario: Mr. Jones has arrived at your dealership to pick up his car at the promised time; however, his vehicle is still being worked on. Mr. Jones is becoming irate. What should you do?

Customers enter into every transaction with a set of basic expectations

52 |

Step One: Empathetic apology. It isn’t sufficient to mumble the

April – May 2012

word “sorry” and expect it to have a positive effect. Your apology needs to show your customer that YOU understand how YOUR mistake has negatively impacted his or her life. Step Two: Take ownership. You want the customer to understand that you are the person who will fix their problem. Ask the customer what you can do to “make it right”. Often people are afraid to ask their customer this question. They don’t want to become obligated to meet an unrealistic demand. You needn’t be afraid of their answer, because simply asking does not obligate you. Most customers are reasonable – at worst, you have the beginning of a negotiation. Step Three: Fix the problem immediately. In the case of Mr. Jones, you would want to get his car to him ASAP. Sometimes you can’t fix the problem immediately, in which case you need to show him that you’re making a sincere effort to resolve the problem. Step Four: Get your customer’s buy in. Asking for the customer’s agreement will ensure that he will at least leave satisfied. Try something like, “I am so sorry Mr. Jones – not having your vehicle ready at the promised time must have really inconvenienced you. I will personally make sure that your vehicle is ready in the next 20 minutes. Will that be satisfactory?” With small problems, these four steps should satisfy your customer. But remember – a “satisfied” customer doesn’t talk about his experience. Now, take the opportunity to add value, so that your customers will talk about how great you are. To do this, you need to take two additional steps.

this customer and choose something that has meaning and value to him. Step Six: Follow up. This is where you can really shine! After a short period of time, call, e-mail or write your customer and make sure they are satisfied with your efforts. This is also an opportunity to ask for more business and referrals. None of these steps take an inordinate amount of time or money, but they can really create delighted customers – customers who will tell stories that promote you to their friends and family. Now, let’s go back to Pearl’s birthday lunch. Why wasn’t the permission to provide the free desserts enough to turn it into a “good story?” The weight of the damage that was done was so much more than the effort it would have taken to make it right at the beginning. What should this restaurant have done? An empathetic apology would have been a start. “Mrs. Grey, we are so sorry that we ruined your birthday. We hope these desserts will make it a little better.” (Steps 1-3 in action) But they needed to go the extra mile. She should have been sent a letter apologizing again and offering a free meal to compensate her for her discomfort. (Step 5) The final touch that could turn this nightmare into an opportunity to create a loyal customer would be a phone call after she redeemed the free meal to make sure that it was good experience. (Step 6) People are telling stories about you and your business. What kind of stories are they telling? View every customer problem as an opportunity to produce a cheerleader for your business. Turn your potential nightmare into a great story. Do the right thing. by Laurie Brown

Laurie Brown is an international Step Five: Symbolic atonement. You need to go the extra mile to show that you are truly sorry. A small token can go a long way to ease the pain your mistake caused. In the case of Mr. Jones, an offer of a free oil change might be appropriate. This gift shows that you understand that an apology alone cannot fix the problem. Reflect on what you know about

speaker, trainer and consultant who helps people improve their customer service and presentation skills. She is the author of The Greet Your Customer Manual and The Teleprompter Manual. Laurie can be contacted through, or 1.248.761.7510, or at

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A Tale of Two Restaurants Last week was Restaurant Week in the Hudson Valley. Any opportunity to eat out in the Hudson Valley is a treat so we made reservations at a restaurant we've been wanting to try for Friday night. Restaurant Week often attracts diners who might not ordinarily frequent a particular restaurant. The restaurants participate in the event because they hope to attract new diners. Participating restaurants assume if they get diners in the door during the promotion, diners will enjoy their experience and want to come back to the establishment after Restaurant Week is over. That's a great concept WHEN the diners enjoy their experience. However, when diners don't enjoy their experience, they may NEVER go back. Oh, and did I mention they probably tell a lot of people about their bad experience? Read on to learn what happened to me. We had heard great things about a restaurant from friends, and it was highly rated (26) in the Zagat guide, so we thought Restaurant Week would be a great time to try the restau-

54 |

rant. We made reservations for 8pm. We arrived at 7:50pm. The restaurant was crowded when we got there. A waitress approached us, took our name and told us it would be a little while for our table to be ready. We were able to get a seat at the bar and have a drink while we waited for our table to be ready. We sat at the bar with our drinks and were there for about 30 minutes (8:20pm), when the waitress came to tell us our table was ready. By then we had finished our drinks so we ordered another round of drinks when we were seated. We noticed that the people next to us had just finished their appetizers. The waitress came back with our drinks and took our appetizer and entrée order. A busboy came over with bread and water (and thank goodness he did as you'll soon find out!). We sat at our table drinking our wine and nibbling on the bread in the basket. After about 25 minutes, we started wondering where our appetizers were. We noticed that the people sitting next to us still hadn't gotten their entrees. We were beginning to get nervous. We were finally able to get the waitress's attention. We asked how much longer our

April – May 2012

wine and treated as if we own the place. Within appetizers would be. She replied, "The kitchen is ten minutes of being seated, we were eating our backed up" and walked away. Not a good sign. appetizers. After another 15 minutes of waiting (did I mention Restaurants only have one chance to make we were starving and it was now almost 9pm), we a good first impression. Restaurant number one decided we couldn't wait any longer to eat and failed at doing so. They lost my business that were going to leave. The people next to us, who night. They also lost STILL didn't have their my future business. entrees, commented And they lost any reto us that they considCustomer service nuggets..... ferrals I would have ered leaving too but made to my friends. felt they couldn't since You can't sell a bad experience, What's the lesson they had already goteven at a discount. for YOUR business? ten their appetizers Approach each customer with the idea of helping And if you're not in (almost an hour ago!). him or her solve a problem or achieve a goal, the restaurant busiWe got the waitress's not of selling a product or service. ness, don't think this attention again and The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself doesn't apply to YOU! told her we couldn't in the service of others. It does. wait any longer for our Here are some of my food to come out and suggestions: were going to leave. Be prepared. Make sure you have enough emWe told her this was our first time dining there ployees scheduled to take care of your customers. (or should I say ALMOST dining there) and we Hire employees that care. wouldn't be back. She gave us a "Sorry", but she Keep customers informed. didn't seem to care too much. We left money on Go above and beyond. the table for our drinks and walked out. About six What suggestions can YOU add to this list? blocks from that restaurant is another restaurant we go to frequently. It's where we are greeted by by Randi Busse name, given our favorite table, poured our usual

Randi Busse, the founder and President of Workforce Development Group, Inc., is widely recognized as a Customer Service Expert. Since her company's inception, Randi has become a trusted resource for many diverse companies and organizations that have relied on her guidance to help improve their customer service and increase their customer retention. Randi is an engaging and inspiring speaker who delivers consistently compelling keynote speeches, training, and consulting advice. Randi writes a monthly customer service newsletter, "Customer Service: It's Not Just a Department; It's an Experience". You can sign up for her newsletter and learn more about her services by visiting her website,

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Create Customer Amazement TM

Caring is Key to Customer Loyalty Did you ever wonder why a customer just stops doing business with you? Is it customer service (or the lack of it)?  Did the customer move?  Pass away?  There are all kinds of studies that are available that will tell you why.  They will give you the general reasons customers defect, which will help you strategize on how to prevent them from defecting.  However, none of them will give you the answer you need for a specific customer. My friend Chic Thompson used to fly 80 round trips a year with one airline, as he traveled around the world delivering speeches and workshops on creativity.  Then one day he stopped flying.  Well not completely, but most flights.  Unfortunately he came down with a medical condition that prevented him from taking longer, more taxing trips.  Chic went from one of the airline’s most elite status fliers, with all the free first class upgrades he could ever want, to making just a few trips a year, which meant no perks. Now Chic thought that someone from the airline might have noticed, but to his surprise, he never heard from anyone.  He had thought that with everything the airline did to get his business, they might try and find out why he stopped. The airline might be surprised to find out that Chic still wanted to fly on them.  He enjoyed the customer service, the perks, the frequent flier program, etc.  Now he can’t, and it appears the airline to which he was loyal doesn’t seem to care.

I was a member of a gym. I went on a two week vacation.  When I came home there was a message from the owner.  He hadn’t seen me for a couple of weeks and called to make sure I was okay.  I didn’t renew a magazine subscription.  A few weeks later I received a letter stating, “We want you back.”  Okay, that’s marketing and sales.  But at least they noticed I didn’t renew. One of the keys to building customer loyalty is caring.  We obviously care about getting a customer’s business.  We spend money and effort on marketing and sales.  We put forth effort to keep the customer.  And then one day a customer leaves.  We assume they chose to do business elsewhere.  Maybe it was the price.  Maybe it was the service.  Maybe they just moved.  There are many reasons. Like Chic Thompson, maybe there are valid reasons that customers don’t do business with us anymore.  In some cases they love us, but just, for whatever reason, don’t (or can’t) do business with us anymore.  We need to know why.  Even if circumstances have changed, we can still keep their loyalty.  Maybe not as buying customers, but as evangelists, customers that sing our praises to their friends, family and colleagues.  And that, in and of itself, is enough of a reason to care about keeping the relationship strong. by Shep Hyken

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


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