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The New Alphabet of Selling

July 29th, 2011

Some people say the A-B-C of selling is ‘Always Be Closing.’ Those people aren’t selling much in an economy that demands due diligence and with buyers who are very sophisticated. After a very competitive sales situation, this veteran discovered a new alphabet of selling:

A = Attitude
This week, a customer booked a competitor to come in on the same date and time as my appointment. My first reaction was disbelief and then I felt insulted. ‘Wait! – I thought to myself… this is a negative thought.’ Then, I pretended to be the buyer. I was going on the sales call with another team member, so I called her and said ‘if I was in their shoes, I’d shop around too.’ Then, we developed a plan to present our competitive advantages. You may be a novice or a veteran – but maintaining a Positive Mental Attitude is not a place you arrive at. It’s a state of mind that accepts a challenge with a ‘can do’ spirit.

B = Belief
If you really believe that your product is best, there is no limit to the hard work that will go into earning the business. When we arrived – I could hear the competition in the next room. My heart was beating – and yes, I was a little nervous. My colleague and I were both very determined and neither of us wanted to lose the business. When my buyer arrived, I looked him in the eye and said ‘I drove 6 hours to tell you that I want your business.’ Our research and preparation then kicked in as we showed how our solution would lower costs and improve staff efficiency. There was passion in our presentation – we believed.

C = Commitment
You have to show a customer your level of commitment before you can expect loyalty from the buyer.
• In our sales situation this week, it took a lot of hard work and travel to secure the business.
• Our internal support teams provided supporting information.
• Our management team provided some incentives for the customer.
• There were lots of little agreements that ultimately lead to getting the business.

We left the account and found a local restaurant for lunch. While eating, my team mate and I talked about how our momentum had changed when we focused on the customer’s point of view. It energized our efforts and unleashed our belief in the solutions offered. Our commitment lead to a positive, constructive agreement that everyone could live with. We earned the business and it was exhilarating!

Hours later, I arrived home after a 16 hour day. You’ll get no clichés out of me or fancy closing lines. Selling is hard work – period.

Make Your Customers Feel like Rock Stars!

July 24th, 2011

A Sales Manager was running an event at a local winery. It was brought to her attention that the architect for the original building of the vineyard was a guest.

• The Sales Manager approached the gentleman, smiled and said ‘welcome!’
• Then, she made sure the elderly gentleman had a glass of wine and a good seat for the music.
• When the retired architect was about to leave – he was thanked for coming.
• The very next day, the architect came back with his wife and invested in some more wine.

My comment was “You made him feel like a rock star!”

The vintner laughed and we had a brief conversation about the importance of good customer service in business.

Here is a quick summary:

1. Customer was greeted with a smile and eye contact
2. Customer has all needs and wants addressed
3. Customer was checked on
4. Customer was thanked

You may notice that the customer was the focal point. The bottom line is that the customer came back with a guest the next day to double the business! A customer centric attitude with polite behaviors is good business and leads to increased revenues. Setting up standards and coaching towards these Best Practices will make sure that your customers are treated like rock stars!

Distorting Time with ‘Wow’ Moments

July 23rd, 2011

In Tony Robbin’s book Awaken The Giant Within, he maintains that we can ‘distort’ time.  Let’s take this as a challenge to explore how time is flexible in our own lives. Then, we will look at harnessing positive energy to stretch time!

Time is Flexible

Watching a clock will normally make a day crawl; getting completely immersed in activities will make the clock spin. The old adage ‘time flies when you are having fun’ is really true! If you want time to move quickly, stick with multiple activities. Fill up every hour with different goals and tasks. Feel free to multi-task to demand more of your mind!

  • Avoid boredom – seek constant stimulation and invigorate your schedule with personal challenges. This will help you avoid getting depressed or anxious.
  • If you want to control and harness time, select activities that require full concentration.

Stretch the Magic Moments

In meetings with customers, I love to get a ‘WOW.’ I used to move on quickly from these magic moments but now choose to stay there as long as possible by…

  • Asking questions to encourage discussion around the topic.
  • Using humor and enjoying the laughter
  • Solving problems and encouraging discussion

Avoid Negativity

Observation and experience has taught me that negativity shrinks or KILLS magic moments:

  • Negativity comes in many forms, including our non-verbal body language.
  • If verbal comments include any complaint, gripe or gossip – the excitement is snuffed.

Your personal awareness of time will help you control your mental state of mind. When you are active and engaged – life is more fun and energizing. Your positive energy, thoughts and feelings can then be transferred to others to help make time elastic.

Focus on the needs and wants of others and it will s-t-r-e-t-c-h the magic moments of your life!

The Maze

July 23rd, 2011

It was my third visit to jail and there would be no escort in the catacomb of locked doors and gateways. My background was checked and I was given a ‘no escort needed’ security badge. My program leader had been kind enough to show me twice how to get to the classroom. The problem is that very design of the jail was like a maze. It makes sense that a prison would be hard to navigate.

Every turn was a choice with a buzzer. You push the button and wait for the sound giving permission to pass from one hallway into another. I had made it through four doors and started to doubt if I was on the right path. Do I make a right here or take a left? I decided to go right, pushed the buzzer and then went into the wrong area.

Suddenly I realized that I was in an open area with prisoners. The doors to cells were open and it appeared as if the entire area was being mopped and cleaned. The cells were bigger than I imagined – but everything seemed metal grey. Steel bars, metal bed frames and concrete floors were the décor of wardens, I suppose. Nervously, I simply turned around and hit the button. For a moment, nothing happened and I could imagine the guards getting a chuckle out of this. I figured I was on camera and I tried to smile.

Once I was on the move again, I regained my focus and went right to the classroom. As the students came in, I confessed to them that I had gotten lost. One man asked me ‘how did that make me feel?’

Without a moments delay – I replied ‘I didn’t like it at all. I was slightly claustrophobic; a little disoriented and felt like I had no control over my life.’

My student said ‘don’t feel bad – I feel that way every day inside this place.’ The shared honestly kicked the class off on a note of mutual understanding.

One the whiteboard, there were notes from the previous session. One of the messages said ‘don’t let others control your lives.’ I found it ironic.

The lesson today was interviewing skills. I had prepared some scenarios with role plays. One of the volunteers leaned back and a fellow student shouted ‘don’t lean back – lean up!’ My role play went south and an argument erupted.

Holding up a hand I asked ‘are you letting his criticism control you or can you regain composure?’ Lights went off in their eyes and the lesson hit home. Then, I modeled how to mirror body language. I sat in a chair and when my student leaned up – I leaned up. He sat back and then I sat back. We decided that you could overdo mirroring and the best posture is to simply sit up straight.

At the beginning of class – most students were reluctant to do a role play. At the end of class – all but one of my students had selected the role play for next week.

Upgrade Your Computer Skills!

July 15th, 2011

Many employers are seeking workers with computer skills. Yet, most of the managers and business owners report that they have a hard time finding qualified applicants. Look at the following categories and assess your software/computer aptitude:

  1. Basic
  2. Intermediate
  3. Advanced

If you are basic or intermediate, upgrade your computer skills!

One resource that I found online that you may want to check out is:

There are tips on how to create beautiful documents, spread
sheets and images. You can improve your knowledge of file types and even
explore how to create graphics! Working on your computer skills will improve
your confidence both in the interview and once you land the job! Don’t stop
working until you can say that your computer skills are advanced.

Getting Our Warriors Back to the Business of Life

July 13th, 2011

Yesterday, my family dropped me off at the airport after a very nice vacation. On a stop-over in Charlotte, I met a mother with a son in the military. Her son is scheduled to deploy this fall and you could see the concern in her eyes. Without pause, we bowed our heads for just a moment to pray for our sons and daughters.

In a dream last night, I saw soldiers returning from war. Our Veterans were not getting off airplanes, but were shopping for groceries, looking for jobs and getting back to the business of life. In this dream, I saw America respond in the greatest civil movement in our nation’s history:

• Organizations like Churches, Civic Organizations and Non-Profits began to rally together at community levels.

• Hospitals, Clinics and other medical facilities began offering advanced, special services to help our service personnel adjust and heal.

• Businesses got involved too with sponsorships, training and hiring programs.

• Citizens began to assist at local levels with donations and volunteerism.

There were programs of all varieties – and everyone wanted to help. Then – my dream ended as an alarm sounded from my cell phone. It had been so real – watching our country live up to responsibilities.

On the edge of my bed, I realized that I can’t control everyone else’s time and money. What I realized that my dream was no more than a mirror – being held up to my face.


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