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Archive for the ‘Sales’ Category

One Man Wolfpack

In entrepreneur, Marketing, networking, Personal Branding, Personal Development, relationships, Sales on June 23, 2017 at 11:00 am

Remember the scene in The Hangover when Allen claims to be a “one man wolfpack”? Sales and entrepreneurship is not much different. Yes it can be lonely, but it does not have to be.

I love working with new or inexperienced sales and marketers. There is a twinkle in their eyes and a burning desire in their hearts. But when that fire starts to flicker and that twinkle dims a little, it can get lonely. I try to be that person with an open ear for these young professionals. Not because I think that I am just that good, but rather because I have empathy for them. More times than not, they just need someone to voice their frustrations to. I’ve been in sales and marketing for almost 20 years and have been an entrepreneur for nearly 6 years. I find it helpful to have someone I’d like mind to talk to when times get tough, and if you do this long enough, you will see tough times.

Start adding members to your wolfpack today.

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The Competition

In Image, Marketing, networking, Personal Branding, Personal Development, Sales on June 22, 2017 at 11:00 am

You know them well. It’s that company that offers the same products and services that you do. The athlete wearing the other team’s colors. Yourself. 

Whoever you have identified as the competition, flip the script. Think of yourself as your competitor’s competition.

Are you the type of company, athlete, or person that the competitor looks at and says, “they’re easy they do ‘xyz’ we can overcome that”. Or are you the type of competitor that they do not mind losing to. 

Over the years, I have had several competitors in business and in athletic arenas. A few stick out in my mind. You knew when you were up against them that you had to bring your “A-Game”. But the ones that truly stand out are just good people to their core. When you lose to them, you say, “I get it, people like them”. It reminds me of that scene in Firgetting Sarah Marshall when Jason Segal’s character is surfing and bumps into Aldos Snow, his ex-girlfriend’s current lover and says, “…you’re so cool. I can see why Sarah likes you”. 

I long to be that competitor to my competition. I like when I run into a competitor and they have “heard of me”. I like when my competition is “job searching” on my behalf because they know the impact and the relationships I have and the ones that I foster. It means I’m doing something right. I’m competing without malice. Doing my job serving others. Not going down the path so commonly traveled by others which is to trash the competition. 

My challenge to you is be that competitor that takes the high road. Be the competition that your competition wants to introduce themselves to. Be that competitor that others talk about in a positive light. Be that competitor that the competition does not mind losing to. 

1 More Meter

In entrepreneur, Personal Development, Sales on August 6, 2016 at 9:45 pm

Watching Olympic swimming and one thing seems consistent: the swimmers that are performing the best are pushing just one more meter in their under water dolphin kick. It makes sense really. There is less resistance and it’s energy efficient. 

This is not an easy technique to learn. Let’s be real, you’re under water longer. And if you’re anything like me, who wants to spend longer under water?

What if we appiled this principle to business? Do the hard work just a little longer. Make that extra call. Generate that extra purchase order. Close that extra deal.

1 more meter!

The Trade Show

In Events, networking, Sales on August 2, 2016 at 5:10 pm

I work several trade shows / expos each year. Some of them produce a great deal of traffic, others not so much. I don’t get bogged down about this, though there are times that I wonder why I’m there.

The trick is to out in the work and keep delivering your message. You never really know if the person you are presenting to is a key decision maker or if they have the ear of the key decision maker. Just because there title does not start with the letter “C” does not mean that they send business your way. 

The key is to work for the desired outcome. Keep hustling.

Show and Tell

In Communication, Sales on August 1, 2016 at 5:05 pm

Remember when you were a kid, and one day out of the year you got to bring something special from home and share it with the other students? I can remember this like it was yesterday. Standing there holding a peacock feather that I got from our family friend’s peacock farm. Not only could you tell how excited I was to show this item to my friends, I practiced for days what I would say about it. Everyone was at full attention as I held this 4 feet long feather and told them about this beautiful bird. Show and tell. Tell a story, and provide a visual.

As sales professionals, you should do the same thing. Have something to show your prospect. If you have a sample of the product, great. If you can do a product demo, even better. Holding a pen and pointing to a point in your literature works well too. In fact, you can guide the prospect to where you want them to focus by pointing or making a circular motion with your pen at the desired spot on the brochure. And if you have absolutely nothing to show, please use had motions. Allow your prospect to see your passion.

What will you bring for show and tell?

The Long Road Wisdom

In Personal Development, relationships, Sales on July 27, 2016 at 5:09 pm

The relationship sell. Sales is one of the most simple things on the planet when it is stripped down to the basic principles. You have a product. You find buyers. The buyer makes a purchase. Done.

Of course, it is never this simple in real life. When it is, you are typically selling commodities. If you are selling something other than commodities, you should be in the business of relationships.

Relationships take time. It is a long road. You have to continue to drive that road until you reach your destination. The trick to the destination is that you are rarely there to stay. You have to continue to drive that road and take your relationship to new destinations if you want it to survive because there are others out there driving that road as well. Some get there faster than you. They are just more skilled, not necessarily better than you.

Be warned though, if you try to rush the relationship just to make a sale; you could end up taking a turn for the worst and crash and burn. Once this happens, you rarely get to travel that particular road again.

The Lumineers’ song “Flowers In Your Hair provided the inspiration for this post. The lyrics are: “Cause it’s a long road to wisdom, but it’s a short one to being ignored.” I find these lyrics very profound.

So please be wise and take the long road to relationship building.

I Can Hear You Smile

In Communication, Marketing, Sales on July 25, 2016 at 5:03 pm

And so can others. I used to work in durable medical equipment sales as a marketing director. My office was located with the billing department. They have the difficult job of fighting with insurance companies to a) make sure that the customer’s insurance will cover the equipment at a minimal cost to the patient and b) ensure that the company is reimbursed according to the reimbursement schedule provided by the insurance companies.

I’ve always believed that you attract more flies with sugar than you do with vinegar. To this point, I would walk by and hear the billing clerks speaking with whomever they had on the other line and thought to myself, “I would make it as difficult as I could on this person because of the tone they are using with me on the phone”. When the clerk would hang up the phone, I would tell them to smile while they are speaking, even if it is a fake smile, because it would change the tone in their voice. A few of the clerks would take my advice and guess what, those clerks ended up having better reimbursement numbers and shorter reimbursement times. On bad days (let’s face it, we all have them), I would write the word “SMILE” on a sticky note and place it on their keyboard. They would usually hang up the phone and tell me how evil I was. Regardless, it worked.

We all conjure up what we think a total stranger looks like when we speak to them on the phone. Wouldn’t you feel better knowing (or at least thinking) the person on the other end of the line was smiling while they were speaking with you. Give it a try. Smile while you are talking on the phone. I can hear it on the other end of the line.

Not A Real Estate Agent

In Sales on July 24, 2016 at 10:15 pm

Im not a real estate agent, and I do not play one on TV. I recently sold my neighbor’s house in a social media app called “Nextdoor”.

I know this post is going to ruffle feathers, and I’m OK with that as long as someone benefits from it. Let me get to the gist of the lesson before I get to the story.

SOME PEOPLE MAY NOT WANT TO WORK WITH AN AGENT

SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS ARE NOT NECESSARILY YOUR PERSONAL SALES FLOOR.

Lesson over. Here is the story (paraphrased for you sake).

Interested home buyer: I’m interested in buying a home in ABC Neighborhood.

Agent 1: I am a real estate agent, I would love to help you. Check out my profile.

Me: my neighbor just put a FSBO sign in their yard. Let me get the number for you. (Interested home buyer liked my post)

Home owner in a different neighborhood: my home is for sale, come see it (she posted this 3 times, I’ll spare you).

Agent 2: I am a real estate agent too. Check out the link to this home. 

Interested home buyer: that home is under contract.

Agent 2: the site is not always up to date.

Interested home buyer: it’s been under contract for two weeks.

Agent 3: I am a real estate agent too. Check out the link to this home in a totally different neighborhood.

Me: (15 minutes later) the number is 555-555-5555. Give them a call. The home is beautiful.

Two weeks later, my neighbor informed my wife that I sold their house for them. The sign was in their yard less than 24 hours. 

Why was I able to do this? I listened to the buyer. I was not trying to sell them something that would make me money. I sold them what they wanted. I hear people all the time talk about what a pain in the ass the home buying process is. I’ve been through it myself twice. Agents showing me properties that were out of my price range and out of the areas I was interested in. Who benefits from this? 

Agents I know you are all taught the same system that worked for the person before you, but trust me; those that stand out perform the best. Look at the top performing agents in your firm, they sell differently than the other 90% of you. Take note.

Business PEDs

In Generosity, Image, Marketing, Personal Development, Sales on July 23, 2016 at 9:45 pm

Performance Enhancing Drugs. Chances are, if you follow sports you have heard of PEDs. More and more athletes are turning up positive for their use as tests are becoming more advanced. 

While I do not condone the use of PEDs by athletes, I understand the temptation. These athletes have to ensure that they keep their job and their job is dependent upon their performance. And let’s face it, as we age, we do not exactly recover the way we did when we were in out teens and 20s.

As an entrepreneur there is no magic pill or injection that will make us better at our job. If there was, would you take it?

This got me to thinking today: maybe generosity and gratitude are indeed the PEDs of entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs that I know that give the most (either financially or of their time) seem to be the ones that are the most successful. Maybe generosity and gratitude ARE indeed business PEDs.

So the question stands, would you take them?

Focus vs. Fluff

In Communication, Personal Development, Sales on July 19, 2016 at 5:05 pm

One of my greatest strengths is also a tremendous weakness. 

Focus. 

When I am truly engaged and working, I can drown out almost anything. I have the ability to cut to the chase immediately and ensure that business is handled in a timely manner. I get things done.

Though sometimes I am so focused that I forget to address the fluff (my word for relationship building words and phrases). Don’t get me wrong, I think fluff is important, I’m just very task driven. 

Some get lost in the fluff. In sales, I call these individuals “professional visitors”. They have the best relationships, but the business never really extends beyond the surface encounters of the visit.

There is a fine balance and when you find that balance you start to reach more of your sales goals. Have you ever witnessed that sales person that can go into an account and appear to be just visiting but also able to get the pitch and the close in without anyone really noticing? They’ve got the balance and people love them. That’s why they get the business. 

Start paying attention to your sales call tendencies and figure out what you are. It is important to be yourself, but if you can tweak things just a bit, you and I can both achieve balance.

Fluff up your focus a bit, or focus up your fluff.