Saturday, December 26, 2015

Program your mental GPS for 2016

If you correctly program your internal GPS it will give you step by step instructions on how to reach your 2016 goals. You will get minute to minute feedback telling you if you are on course, or if you need to change direction or change your activities.

The first part of the programming process is to choose a specific destination. It has to be specific. You can't program a GPS to head south. You have to enter a specific address. It can't be a destination that is unreachable or unclear.

The input must be realistic, measurable, obtainable and most important, specific. You have either reached your destination, or you have not.

Program your GPS with ACTIVITY goals. You will never know if you will sell any single person, so the goal of "open 2 new accounts" will never work. Instead, program the activities that will get 2 new accounts.

For example: "Carefully select 10 new prospects and start contacting them every week until 2 or more place an order." Your GPS will respond without any problem.

Your GPS will let you know if you are off course by planting some guilt and self doubt if you DON'T keep your promise to yourself. It becomes easier to make the 10 extra calls than to keep hearing your GPS in the background telling you to make a U-turn! (That's part of your guidance system). If you MAKE the 10 extra calls your confidence and self esteem will be higher. (Also part of your guidance system).

It makes sense that if you don't know where you want to go, or what you want to accomplish, you won't ever establish a working plan of action. The purpose of the GPS is to keep bringing you back on track. Everyday things happen to really mess up the plan. But with your GPS destination you keep coming back on track.

Here's the biggest activity that will guarantee reaching your destination. Keep entering your GPS data! Buy a journal and rewrite your goal daily. Every morning sit down and write your goal along with your list of things to do. Your built is GPS will be working in the background to get you there.

Without a goal it is like a trip I took to Quebec. Everything was in French. I couldn't read a single road sign. Had I not had my GPS I would have been completely lost. However, all I had to do was enter the address of the hotel I was heading to and presto, step by step instructions were given to me.

What is the address you want to end up at? Write it down. Give you mind a clear picture of what it looks like and presto! Step by step instructions will come to you almost like magic.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How to respond to - your prices are too high

In response to your higher price you should never say or feel anything negative about the way you answer the objection. You've got to know the reasons why your price is higher. If you are going up against a competitor check to be sure it is the same quality. Ask what else was purchased along with the particular item.

Don't be embarrassed-don't go on the defensive when the prospect objects to your price. Avoid the following statements like poison.

Never say: "Well, you know how everything has gone up." This is weak. It tries to sidestep the objection, and doesn't answer it. And never say, "Yes, I know you can buy it cheaper elsewhere, but what do you get for your money?" This doesn't answer the objection. Stress instead the benefits of using your product. Benefits that more than justify Its cost.

And never say, "I know our price is high -but our costs have been skyrocketing." The prospect doesn't care about your costs, and it doesn't answer the objection.

Often the sales person can get the prospect to answer his own objection or to admit that it is not a valid objection. This method should be used when the prospect raises an objection on a subject he or she obviously knows little about. To let the prospect answer his or her own objection you just let the objector talk.

Ask your prospect questions about the objections. You may say, for example, "I am interested in why you say that, Mr. Smith. I wish you would explain it to me more fully." You may merely ask him, "Why do you believe that?" If, as so often happens, the objection is not a valid one and the prospect has at best only a half-baked idea of what he is talking about, he will usually flounder around a while and end by admitting that the matter is of no importance.

Assume that the customer or prospect has not really raised an objection but that he or she has asked for information.

"...We sell millions of dollars worth of our products every year to the most successful eating places in town. Here are the names of 12 customers that you will recognize immediately. They buy their groceries from us and they love it because of our service, delivery, marketing programs, low out of stocks, fast inventory turnover and our fast top-notch service."

You explain to the prospect the true situation-you give him the facts. For example, when the prospect says, "Your price is too high," just assume that he asked, "Why is your price higher than that of some of your competitors?" Then tell him why it is higher.

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

How successful people stay motivated

A study of 2000 salespeople was conducted to determine what caused emotional burnout. The research found that having a desire to be of service was 240% more important than simply being satisfied with your job.

Successful selling requires more than simply calling on customers and closing sales to achieve a numerical goal. For continued motivation, it must also involve a cause greater than financial success alone - it must involve helping make customers' lives better.

Money can motivate in the short term. However, for sustained success, there needs to be a sense of serving others. And that means a clear understanding of the difference that a sales person will make in their customers' lives.

When sales people are uncertain of the true impact their product or service has, or don't believe in what they are selling, they waste energy chasing fears and doubts. Over time, they lose confidence and effectiveness.

Staying motivated is a challenge for both the sales people as well as the sales manager. I did my own research on this topic and ended up with about staying motivated. The common denominator was their desire to make a difference in their customers business.

Here are some of the comments from the research:

"Keep learning more about my customers business so I can help them more in unique ways"
Nigel Boswell

"The excitement of helping your customer and knowing he or she is happy generates self motivation"
Joyce Stallard

"My customers are also counting on me to be the very best I can be for them"
Scott Caldwell

"I like people and being able to help them be successful in making money"
Mike Dossett

"The happier I make a customer, the more I stay motivated"
Roland Degregorio

"I get a lot of satisfaction from solving my customers' problems and helping them be successful"
David Kubisch

"I can distinctly remember the rush I would get when a customer would really let me work for him"
Bob Beasley

"I tell myself over and over...I am filling a need. I am providing a service that will change their life!"
Lori Randall

"The more I learn about my product and the way it improves the lives of the user really fuels my passion for what I sell"
Carrie Smith

"I think back to all my customers that have thanked me and have told others about how much I have helped them with ideas and service"
Lynn Goode

"I don't sell anything, I solve problems. By keeping that in mind I really feel I am helping my customer"
Vern Holder

"I like to think that I have useful information for people, so why would I withhold that from them"
Vicki Anderson

"We make a difference every time we sell product to the customers"
Chadney E. Sawyer

"My motivation comes from excitement I get from working with my customers to solve their problems"
Jeff Ramesbottom

"When we go out of our way to make something happen and the customer appreciates our effort to help his business"
Teddy Bazakos

I think you get the point. If you are in it just for the money, your enthusiasm will eventually disappear


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Thursday, October 29, 2015

How to save at least $25,000

Twenty five thousand dollars is a lot of money to gamble with. That is a very conservative figure when totaling up the cost of hiring and training a new sales rep. With that kind of cash outlay a few wrong decisions can be quite costly. Here are some specific qualities to look for while conducting the interview.


If you take a walk through any book store and look and the success section, many of the titles hint on the idea that your sales success is guaranteed instantly if you follow their formula. Turn on the TV and during a commercial break all of your problems can be solved within 30 seconds after taking a certain pill. The generation coming into our business has unrealistic expectations when it comes to success as a sales professional, and when it doesn’t happen instantly, they quit. They are used to instant gratification. The key to finding out if they have patience is to ask them: “How long they think it will take to become a true professional in this business?’ See how close they come to three years. Most of them will say 3 months.


Many sales training programs are built with all the emphasis on closing. Some say that you should close after a maximum of three calls, others say you should try and close at least 5 times during any interview. If you are calling on an account and the close comes too easily, you can be sure that someone else can take your business away just as easily. The best accounts are the ones that are hard to get, and this is where persistence comes in. There are success stories in our business that are simply unbelievable when you hear about the length of time it has taken someone to open an account or build their territory. This quality of persistence is of vital importance in hiring a new sales rep. During the interview ask them: What their biggest accomplishment has been and how long it took to accomplish it? See how close they come to two years.


Everyone knows that distributor sales is a relationship business and a good personality is important. It is easy for a person to bring out their best side when everything is going smoothly. The true personality test is to see how things are handled when the chips are down. Especially when the things that are going wrong are someone else’s fault. If a product is out of stock, the truck is late, the wrong product was shipped, will they take the side of the customer and fight against the company, or will they work towards solving the problem? The key question to ask is: “How do you feel about accepting responsibility for someone else's mistakes?”

Product Knowledge.

Considering the number of line items it takes to maintain a competitive inventory, gaining sufficient product knowledge is a long, slow process. With new products being introduced continuously and old ones being changed or discontinued, it becomes a real challenge to stay on top of the necessary information. The secret of gaining product knowledge is to compare points of difference. What is the difference between a Choice and No Roll? What is the difference between a Water Added and a Ham and Water Product? Each point of difference will change the price and the value of the product. As professional foodservice sales people we must be able to sell value added products. See what kind of definition they come up with when you ask the meaning of “Value Added Selling”.


At least 80% of a sales persons time is spent unsupervised. In our business it is important that a sales person has a high level of self motivation. They should be hungry and have a strong desire for success. The key question to ask: “What motivates you to keep doing the things that are necessary for success?” Look for goal setters, people who have personal and financial goals big enough to make them do the things the failures don’t like to do.

Self improvement

Nearly all of the top sales professionals I have met over the years have one thing in common. Even though they are on the top of their game, they still believe they can do better. They are the first ones to step up to the plate when it comes to learning new skills or hearing about a new product that will help their customers.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Increase your gross profit 24%

According to the American Society for Training and Development, firms that invest $1,500 per sales person in training, compared with those that spend $125 experience an average of 24 percent higher gross profit margins and 218 percent higher revenue.

Activities Mistaken For Sales Training

Sales meetings

Most of the time spent in a sales meeting is taking care of business. Buyers talk about products that are not moving, data processing tells everyone they are not getting their orders in on time, credit talks about too many days out, marketing talks about the food show and finally a broker has 10 minutes to talk about 20 line items. The sales manager gives out a few spiff checks and sends everybody home.

Computer training

In addition to the initial cost, the time spent in training is extremely expensive when you consider all of the training does not improve one single selling skill. The only thing that increases sales is improving the professional selling skills of your team. Computer training is necessary but it should not be confused with sales training.

Let suppliers do the training

A few years ago the big word everyone was throwing around was “synergy”. Buy 4 or 5 company's, put everything together and new opportunities would appear. When the dust settled, what really happened was 4 of the 5 sales people were let go (downsizing) and one person was left to do the work of five. They are spread very thin with more and more responsibility. To think that they have the time or the talent to do actual sales training that would improve the skills of your team in not possible.

Broker ride-with

A broker, representing about 20 to 40 lines, has the same problem. Too much to do and not enough time to do it in. A broker ride-with will soon become a thing of the past. Two hundred cases of product have to be sold to pay for one end user call. Most brokers do not have any type of formal sales training, only product training.

Leave it to the sales manager

Today’s sales manager is one of the most overworked and under rated jobs in the industry. The best way to describe the position: they are expected to get blood out of a rock and increase the blood extraction by 10% next year. A sales manager has to hire, fire, fill in, handle problems, motivate, evaluate, sit in on committees and keep the sales people, credit people, order entry people, warehouse people and management happy. It takes a lot of work to develop and teach an effective sales training program. Sales managers simply do not have the time.

Continuous training

Every year the professional athletes have spring training camp. It is attended by rookies as well as the veterans who have been around for years. A “sales training camp” should be considered just as important and should be held at least once or twice each year. Changing habits and acquiring new skills takes repetition and practice.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Being aggressive in sales

Being aggressive doesn't mean being pushy, it means being mentally strong!

To be successful in sales you have to have a sense of toughness. If you don't you will give in to failure. If you go into the prospects place of business with only a mild sense of confidence you will likely get beaten by a competitor. If you don’t have a strong need to be mentally tougher in your life, you won’t have the dedication or determination to take the psychological abuse.

The more urgent your desire to have mental toughness, the more likely you will be able to endure the hardships and earn the rewards.

Reviewing your goals and learning new selling principles is not a one time procedure. If you become mentally lazy and foolishly take for granted that your skills are always sharp and readily available, you are unprepared. It doesn't matter how strong you are, or how much stamina you have. If you assume that you don’t need any mental preparation to get the sales numbers you know are possible, you will pay a price.

The competition and tough buyers will kick you to the curb. Even a slightly less than aggressive attitude will have you back-peddling. You see this happen in sports where a team is so heavily favored, they take their opponents too lightly and get beaten. In a more serious example, a warrior may have many victories, but if he begins to bask in glory and rely only on his reputation, he will eventually be killed in war. The point you want to take home here is never assume you are in the right frame of mind to do battle. You must always reload emotional bullets in your mind’s chamber.

Aggressiveness has many different definitions. It does not mean being a bully or being pushy. The aggressiveness I’m talking about begins and takes place in the mind. There are many shades of aggression, the shade I am talking about is psychological.

Aggression is a state of mind that will dominate your thinking process during the adversity that is inevitable. It is about being methodical with a strategy to overcome the threat of quitting. Mental toughness is about your thinking patterns. If you don't have a clear mind, you will have difficulty forming your plan of attack.

Your competitor will always try to disrupt your composure and try to make you panic.

Look at how boxers come out their dressing rooms ready to fight. They are relaxed yet intense with their focus. Although they appear calm, they each have one goal in mind – to win. The best fighters are patient, calculating, and waiting for their opponent to make a mistake. And when he does, the successful fighter will make their move.

On the other hand, if a fighter gets hurt and goes down to the mat, it’s going to take as much aggressive effort for him to get back up. Only through aggressive determination can he make a comeback. In both scenarios, having an aggressive mind is essential to either delivering a vicious uppercut or get you back on your feet when your opponent has knocked you down. It’s all about having the ability to be aggressive at the right time.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Write your orders in advance

Is it possible to write your orders in advance? What if you show up on your customer's doorstep with the order all made out and all you need is their signature? I would say it would be possible if the order was already placed, or they had called in and wanted you to stop by and pick up the actual order confirmation.

But what if it was a mistake? What if you made the call and expected to get the order, only to find out that they never called in? What if it was a set up?

I once conducted a test at a distributor to see if the sales person could get a better response when they believed they were going to make a sale verses calling on a customer without this belief.

On Monday the sales manager and I carefully selected 10 prospects, each in a different sales area that was not currently buying. In each account we obtained the name of the person who was responsible for doing the purchasing. Tuesday this information was passed along to the sales person in that area saying that the prospects had called in and wanted to talk to someone about placing an order.

This changed the dynamics of the entire call. Was there any hesitation about making the call? None. Was there any doubt about whether they might or might not want to see you? None. Was there a lot of time spent worrying about what to talk about. No. It was as simple as going to the store and buying a loaf of bread.

At the Friday sales meeting we confessed. After the dust settled, the results were discussed with each sales person. Seven out of the ten reported a positive response. They each admitted the call was made with a totally different frame of mind. There was no hesitation before the actual confusion started and obvious misunderstanding.

The lesson learned from this exercise was simple. If you know what you want, take action and expect to get it your results will be much better. And just how do you accomplish that? Make a plan for each call, know what you want and expect to get it.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A known demand

In the mid-1800s, "A.T". Steward learned a valuable lesson that will help us all.

Here's what happened …

As a young boy in Ireland, he saved up $1.50 and decided to try his hand at selling merchandise. He spent $0.87 (half of his money) on buttons and string. Then, he went door-to-door and tried to sell his goods.

The result? A total failure. Instead of giving up, he learned this valuable lesson, "I'll find out what the housewives really want and sell that." He did some research and discovered a “known demand.”

Using the last of his money, he bought things that people really wanted. Because they wanted them, he had no difficulty at all in selling them for a profit. He said about this experience … "I will never gamble again in business. I will first discover what people want."

A.T. moved to New York with some Irish-spun Belfast linens and laces (a known demand) and opened a shop on Broadway, A. T. Stewart & Co. From there he built the largest merchant business in the world focusing on his strengths and a known demand.

By 1848 he had built the largest retail store in the world at that time. Stewart also had branches of his company in different parts of the world and owned several mills and factories. Stewart had an annual income of $1,843,637 in 1863. His business success is estimated to have made him one of the twenty wealthiest people in history, with a fortune of approximately US$90 billion in 2012 prices.

How can we, as sales people, benefit from this story? Before you start to make your sales pitch, find out what your customer wants (a known demand) and help them get it. You won't have to sell, only help them buy.

All of my books and programs are based on what you, a person who sells for a living, want (a known demand).

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

Your mother won't even tell you....

I have often wondered if people who talk too much are capable of changing. Maybe it's because no one will tell them - not even their mother!

What is the one thing eighty percent of all customers dislike about sales people? The answer is not surprising: Talking too much. Your role as a sales professional is not to "show and tell" but to "ask questions and listen".

The reason you talk too much is understandable. You called on the customer and asked for some of their time. This sets up a professional expectation on the part of the customer, "You asked for my time, now tell me why you want it." The pressure then falls on the sales person to deliver a presentation. This is the point in the selling process that separates the professionals from the armatures. The armature mistakenly believes that selling and talking is the same thing. The professional knows that you can't sell anything until you first know what the customer wants.

There is an old proverb that would look great on your dashboard as a reminder: "We are all given a certain number of words to speak, when we speak them all we die!"

How many of these powerful selling techniques require you to go on-and-on about your products and company?

~ Remove any previous objections or solve any previous problems before you start your presentation.

~ Before trying to convince your customer of a new idea find out what they based their last purchase on.

~ Get your customer talking about their future goals and listen for clues that will tie your products or services and their future together.

~ Find out by careful listening and questioning what your customer wants and let them know that you are sincerely interested in helping them get it.

~ The ability to get your customers to talk as you carefully listen will position you as a friend and partner.

~ Be a good listener and you will demonstrate how intelligent you really are.

~ If you find that you are doing all the talking and responding to carefully asked questions, you might end up talking yourself out of the sale.

~ To increase your confidence focus on your customer rather than yourself by asking questions.

~ Ask questions about the quality standards they use so you will be able to present the right products and prices when the time comes.

~ Find out if there is anything your prospect dislikes or would like to change about their current deliveries.

~ Find out if the prospect is having trouble finding people to staff the operation.

~ Find out how aggressive the company is in their marketing.

~ Find out what type of customer base the prospective new account has or is targeting.

~ Show them by your interest in their business that you are interested in their success.

~ Listen for “points of difference ” that you can use to set your company apart from the competition.

Here's my favorite: "It is better to be silent and thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt."

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Do something hard

I started my sales career taking an unusual path. I started as a butcher/meat-cutter. I creatively cut up and merchandised everything from a 200 pound sea turtle to a 1,000 pound moose!

I remembered the very first thing I was taught. It seemed simple, yet by doing it and making it a habit I would cut down on my production time as much as 50%!

This habit was keeping my knife sharp.

Several times every hour I picked up the "steel" and ran the edge of the blade at a specific angle and applied a certain amount of pressure along the length of the hard surface. Within 3 or 4 strokes the edge was back and the knife was razor sharp again.

The "steel" is the steel rod that came with the carving set you have in your kitchen. The one you never use.

It takes 21 days to learn how to correctly "steel" a knife and make doing it a habit.

By pressing the knife, which is something flexible, against the steel, something that is hard, the knife stays sharp.

To stay sharp, you, a flexible sales person who can easily talk yourself out of doing something, must make a habit of challenging yourself to do something hard as frequently as possible. To stay sharp you have to do the things the complacent, ho hum type of sales people don't like to do.

That steel should remind you that selling is not an easy way to make a living. That steel should remind you that to take business away from a competitor you have to be sharp.

Let's take our exercise one step further. Let's identify the 7 hard things you have to do to keep razor sharp.

1. You have to be good at planning and managing your time.

2. You have to be silent, ask better questions and listen.

3. You have to get the attention of your customers.

4. You have to give well thought out, professional presentations.

5. You have to overcome objections with product knowledge and facts.

6. You have to be skilled at asking for the order.

7. You have to take care of the follow up.

These are the seven hard things you have to do.

Do hard things. Stretch yourself. To be better than you are you have to do something you haven't done. Take the challenge. Go get the "steel" and do something that is hard or difficult for you to do. You WILL have a sharper cutting edge. Do it for 21 days and it will be a habit that will keep you improving every day of your career.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Do you have the necessary passion

I am very fortunate having the opportunity to interview hundreds of restaurant owners, grocery store owners, CEO's, presidents and managers of successful businesses. All of the brilliant people I know and interview have had many setbacks in the pursuit of building a successful business.

Based on those interviews I have narrowed it down to the primary reason people are able to overcome the obstacles standing in the way of their future. This one thing gives them the power to break free of the past and initiate their own pattern for success.

From some of the small towns in Kansas, to the large cities like Indianapolis, to the unique restaurants in New Orleans, I have discovered the common denominator of these successful people:

All the successful people I have interviewed have an intense passion for what they do!

When these people talk about their business you can see it in their face and feel it in their enthusiasm. They are excited about what they are doing. They are full of ideas about how they are going to improve not only their business, but improve the service they give to their customers. They are excited about how they are going to add new menu items, try new recipes, add on to their building, open a second or third location.

I interviewed Chef Pat Gallagher, owner of Gallagher's Grill in Covington, Louisiana. Pat has a long and successful career in the business working for the original Ruth's Chris Steak House and the Winner's Circle before starting his restaurant.

Pat said to be able to put in the long hours and the dedication requires an absolute passion for every aspect of the business.

Webster's definition of passion is a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion, compelling feeling, enthusiasm, or desire for something.

There are some extraordinary people in our business who know the key to their future is a passion for what they do. I think you will agree that it takes a lot of passion for Pat to volunteer to make 14,000 crab cakes for an annual Jazz Fest!

If you are questioning or doubting your potential for success consider that you may be judging what's possible based on what you have experienced in your past.

The past does not equal your future. You have the power to change everything in your business starting today.

Have you heard it said that it takes vision to be a success? Think about what vision actually is. Are you able to see something that others can't yet see regarding yourself or your business? Here's a practical definition of what it means to have vision:

"You are able to see in your mind not the way your business is, but the way it can become."

Many people, especially athletes and celebrities, have discovered this power and have used it to exceed every expectation. They never see themselves as victims. They don't allow circumstances to keep them down.

People that live in poverty tend to remain in poverty. This mindset is passed on from generation to generation. Repeating the habits of their past represents the same pattern of thinking that leaves people stuck in a cycle of no growth.

But the opposite also holds true! Most of the time people that have a positive upbringing also go on to have successful careers because they have adopted the mindset of success.

There are many stories of people that broke the cycle because they were hungry and believed it was possible to change. They did not give into the belief that "The past equals the future".

If you look at all the people in your own life, you can easily recognize this pattern, both successful people and those stuck in their past.

Here's the question to see if you still have passion:

Are your dreams bigger than your memories? If your answer is yes, your future will far exceed your past.

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Monday, August 10, 2015

Make my day

Does this sound like you?

When you call on a prospect you feel like you are bothering them. You feel like you are causing them some type of inconvenience. You convince yourself that it is not necessary to make the call.

By fixing this negative attitude you will have a lot more fun doing your job.

Even if they hit you with one of these standard objections, they still want you to call on them:

I have too many suppliers already.
I'm tied up in a supplier contract.
I'm happy with my present supplier.
You don't carry a full line.
I'm not interested at this time.
Business is down.

These are not really objections; they are invitations to engage in a conversation!

Most people like to be called on by sales people. Many times their current suppliers are neglecting them, taking the business for granted. By making the call and giving them the attention that may be missing, leaves the door wide open for you.

What are they really saying when they lay one of these objections on you?

I have too many suppliers already.
(And not one of them are any good - maybe you have a better approach.)

I'm tied up in a supplier contract.
(My contract is a joke and I would really like someone to challenge it.)

I'm happy with my present supplier.
(Ha! They are overcharging me, taking me for granted, and could care less about my business.)

You don't carry a full line.
(Why don't you surprise me with something new and exciting)?

I'm not interested at this time.
(I am always interested in someone showing me how to make more profit.)

Business is down.
(Why don't you show me how to pick it up?)

Your prospects are bored, tired of the same thing over and over again, and looking for some excitement.

Why don't you be the one to fill that need? Get excited about your products and services and "make their day!" by making the call.

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Be specific

There is an old saying that one specific is worth a hundred generalities. Being specific demonstrates that you have done your homework.

Don't say "This will increase sales".

Instead say this; "If you sell just 100 of these per week your profit will be over $12,000 per year. Is there any reason we shouldn't get started right now?"

Don't say "This will lower your labor cost".

Instead say; "This will save you four hours per day in labor cost which will amount to over $7,000 per year in total savings. If you can use an extra 7.000 in profits let's get this going today."

The same is true when talking about percentages. The more you can tie it to a dollar amount the more receptive the customer will be.

Don't say; "This could lower your cost by one percent".

Instead say; "This could lower your cost by at least $10,000 per year, which is a full percentage point. Do you agree that kind of savings is worth the small investment in our program?"

You can’t close on a generality. You can only close on a specific.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ask for help...

A company I was working with needed to sell off a considerable amount of inventory and raise money for their year end P & L statement. It was a large company with sales people covering the entire country. The normal procedure would be to call all the sales people and tell them to call their customers and get the job done. If you have ever been on the selling end of this kind of situation you know how difficult something like this is.

The sales manager took a different approach. Instead of telling each regional manager to get out and sell the extra inventory, he called each one of them and asked for their help.

He explained that the company had over produced certain product lines and they needed to get the inventory down for the end of the year. He suggested to the sales people that they select some of their better customers and ask them to help us out.

The result from using this approach was outstanding. It turned out to be the best month the company had in its' entire history. When you ask for help you are giving them a compliment by putting them in a position of power. It is within their power to help you and this makes them feel important.

Try asking your customers for help on something and see what happens. Nine times out of ten they will bend over backwards to help you. And the other benefit of asking for help is you are building a closer relationship with your customer.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Why 2 out of 3 sales people fail

A study conducted on the failure of sales people discovered an amazing fact.

Out of 2,347 sales people employed by leading concerns in twenty-seven lines of business during a one year period, 1,482 of them failed before the year ended.

The fact that 63 per cent of the total number failed means that nearly two sales people failed for every one who was successful.

The reasons for this high rate of failure?

97% Lack of industry
37% Discouragement
12% Failure to follow instructions
8% Lack of product knowledge
4% Dishonesty 2% Poor health.

Think about it! 97% of the people who failed simply didn't do the work! And the work is making calls.

Show me a person of average ability who diligently gets out of the door early every morning, makes contact with 10 to 15 customers or potential customers every day and I will show you a person who is destined to succeed.

If you worked as hard on selling as warehouse employees, delivery drivers or meat cutters work at their jobs, your sales would double.

Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of folks who know how to put in a good days work. You are most likely one of them. There are plenty of top sales people who know they paid a price for all the business they have.

I know several sales people who are in the five to ten million dollar a year arena. Ask any of them how they are able to sell so much and they will tell you the same thing. They work their tail off! They are hungry and ambitious.

How did we get so soft? When did we start thinking that it wasn't necessary to call on more customers? I think it started when someone came up with what they thought was a satisfactory number of customers or prospects to call on. There is no satisfactory number. You have to call on however many it takes to move x number of cases out of the warehouse or to sell x number of products.

I know a sales rep in Las Vegas who has 6 accounts and sells thirty million dollars a year! He calls on each account twice a day. I know another rep in Alabama who has 80 accounts and sells six million a year.

Make the calls, see the people, and success is guaranteed.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

All my competitors are selling on price

"All my competitors are selling on price and I have to meet their prices or lose the business.”

What if your competitor was giving their product away FREE? What if there was very little quality difference between your product and the “free” product? What if their method of distribution was much more efficient than yours? Could you sell against that kind of competition?

Someone was given a sales challenge to sell against that kind of market condition. And they are very successful. The product is bottled water. How do they do it? Do they lower their price and try to compete with tap water? Do they badmouth the water company and tell their customers “yea, it may be free, but look at what you get!”

Is bottled water really any better? I gave it the ultimate taste test. I put two bowls of water in front of my dog – one from a bottle that I paid over a dollar for – the other from the sink faucet. My dog tried both of them. Which one do you think she preferred? The tap water! Did I switch to tap water? No. I still pay an outrageous price for a bottle of water.

Why? Somehow the perceived value of water in a bottle is a strong enough benefit for me to fork over my hard earned cash.

Every item you sell has within it a huge perceived value for the customer or you wouldn’t be selling it. All you have to do is find it and present it to your prospects.

What is your perceived value? What does a customer experience when he or she is interacting with you and your company? For example quick resolution of problems, achievement of a desired outcome, fulfillment of a need through a purchase; a feeling of confidence following the purchase; or satisfaction with post-purchase service.

It's not just the price; it's this perceived value that goes along with the product or service that makes a customer choose one vendor over another.

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

You can't sell anybody anything

That's right, it can't be done. No one can sell you or me anything we don't want. And if they do, we will more than likely send it back or resent the fact that they persuaded us to buy it in the first place.

No, you can't sell anybody anything, but here's what you CAN do. And with this concept your life is about to get a whole lot easier. All you have to do is help people make good decisions. And the good decision will be to buy from YOU.

Ask yourself this question: Why would someone want to buy products and services from me? Once you have your complete list of "reasons why" you are ready to help a prospect make the decision to buy from you.

The next step is to approach your customer with a negative comment. For example, "This product may not be for you."

I know, I know, that is the exact opposite of how you have been taught to sell. But consider this...

Regardless of what a sales person says, a customer or prospect has a natural tendency to disagree. By making a negative statement we can actually get a positive response. On the other hand, if we make a positive statement they will respond with a negative statement.

Let me give you an example and you be the judge.

The normal approach for Army recruiting has been to try and convince someone to join by presenting all the benefits, which is the most logical approach. Here is the negative approach I am talking about:

The Army may not be for you! Why not get the facts, see if you qualify, and then make a good sound decision as to whether this would be a good career choice?

Do you see the psychology behind this approach?

The Army may not be for you.

What does that statement provoke? It makes you ask the question: Why not? Why wouldn't it be for me? It makes the prospect wonder what the facts are, what information do they have that will help me make a good decision. It doesn't insult my intelligence by assuming that they know what I want. It lowers the resistance that comes natural when someone is being presented with a sales pitch.

Why not get the facts?

This implies a "no obligation" investigation into what they have that I might be interested in. It peaks my interest without undue pressure. And it takes much of the pressure off the seller as well. Instead of having the image of a high pressure sales person, the recruiter becomes a career consultant by presenting their facts and using their comparison grid to help the prospect make a good decision.

See if you qualify.

This provokes a challenge. No one likes to be in a position of not being qualified.

Like a good lawyer, you always want to ask questions that you know how people will answer. Here are a few more examples you can use to test the concept. How would you answer these negative questions?

I have a new, high quality product, but you probably don’t want to look at it?

I have three consulting packages, but you probably don’t want to look at the most expensive one?

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Do you expect success

The common denominator of all successful professional people is the same. THEY EXPECT TO SUCCEED.

The common denominator of all unsuccessful people is the same. Deep down inside – THEY EXPECT TO FAIL.

Look at a successful surgeon. When they operate on someone they have the positive expectation of success.

A lawyer is another good example. When they are addressing the jury they have the 100% positive expectation of convincing the jury to see things from his or her point of view.

A politician must have the expectation of success. If you interview several candidates running for the same office the night before election, they would all believe they won. If they lost this expectation of winning at any point during the campaign they would immediately be out of the race.

However, there is a difference. Most professional people must go through several years of higher education before actually starting in their profession. All during these years the attitude of high expectations is slowly building day by day. Once they have invested in four to six years of education they feel they have earned the right to expect success. And they have.

Compare that to the profession of sales. If you have never sold a thing in your life, have very little formal education and are looking for a job – you can start a career in sales tomorrow! The profession will welcome you with open arms no matter what your background, experience or education may or may not be.

In sales you have not had the day-by-day, year-by-year preparation that most professions have. You may go through a short company training program that pumps up your expectations to a high level, however, once you enter the real world, alone and unprepared for what’s next, your expectations take a downward turn and things look different.

To succeed there has to be certain things in harmony. Your expectations and your goals must be equal. If your goals are too high or unrealistic you won’t expect to reach them and you will see to it that you get what you expect.

Your goals must be clearly defined, realistic, reachable and most importantly APPROACHED WITH THE POSITIVE EXPECTATION OF SUCCESS.

Without the advantage of having four years of sales training before making your first sales call, you have to take a different approach. You have to teach yourself this important principle of selling – to expect success.

Everything you read on the subject of selling and negotiating will help. Every training event you attend will add to your expectations. The more you know and understand your profession, the more you will expect success. It should be a life-long activity - learning to improve your selling skills.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Turn off the cell phone

Can you imagine being in the closing moments of a large, important purchase and just as you have one final question before you sign the deal, the sales person takes a call on his cell?

That would tick me off enough to say "take this sale and stick it!" Well, that is exactly what happened to YOU! And that is exactly what you DID!

I recently asked people on my email list to send comments about their last car purchase. What they liked or didn’t like about the sales person that sold them the car.

As I was editing and placing the comments my readers were so kind to send me there was one HUGE complaint that showed up over and over again. The biggest deal maker or deal breaker was how well the sales person listened, or did NOT listen. Without a single doubt, the most important skill a sales person can have is to listen better.

Here are just a few of the comments YOU made about this important part of the sales process:

"Great listener"

"Because the salesman listened"

"Listening to us was the key"

"Listened and keep gathering information"

"It was his listening skills that earned the sale"

"He was listening to me and my wife"

"Not listening cost him the sale"

"Asked really good questions and listened"

"He listened to what I said"

"He listened and there was no high pressure"


"He wasn’t pushy and listened"

"He listened to my wife, he asked questions"

"He listened what I was looking for"

"Politely listened to my wife"

"Asking what is important to me"

"Not listening to what was wrong"

"By listening to us he made the sale"

"He was willing to listen, really listen"

"Took the time to listen to us"

"Not listening and pre-judging needs cost him the sale"

"One thing he failed to do and that was listen"

"If they only would have listened he would have sold me"

"Asked the right questions and listened carefully"

"He reinforced the fact that he was listening to me"

"He asked questions then he shut up and LISTENED"

"Had he listened to us he would have made the sale"

"He listens, he consults, he works to get me what I want"

"My salesperson listened to what I had to say"

"He listened and offered suggestions"

"He did NOT waste my time but LISTENED"

And by listen, I mean focusing on what they are saying rather than waiting for an opening to jump in and start “selling” again!

Are you guilty of talking too much and not being a great listener? If you are guilty, I guarantee, people will cross the street so they won't have to listen to your endless, meaningless, boring stories.

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

What to ask early in the sales call

One thing about customers we all agree on - they have long memories. Ten years ago someone from your company may have made a mistake with a particular customer. It could have been anything from not receiving a credit to a phone call not being returned. There may have been something about ad delivery driver that previously upset the customer.

That is why the initial questions should always try to uncover any over riding objection the prospect or customer might have. Until you clear this objection your presentation, no matter how good or convincing it is, will fall on deaf ears. Since it is almost always necessary to make more than one call on a prospect before they are ready to buy, The initial call should always start by gaining information.

Many sales presentations are designed to go through the entire presentation before handling the objections that are sure to arise. Once again any objections your potential customer has for not giving you an order should be handled first. The reason is simple: If there is some obstacle that seems insurmountable, your prospect will not hear anything else you have to say until you deal with it.

In the back of the prospects mind, maybe not even consciously, they will be thinking that whatever you say doesn’t really count, because there is an overriding reason why they will not give you the business anyway. As long as an obstacle blocks your path, you will never get past it until you bring it out in the open and deal with it. The only way you can bring this obstacle out in to the open so you can deal with it is by asking questions early in the sales process.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The best closing technique of all

Have you ever laughed at a joke that wasn’t very funny, but everybody else laughed so you felt the obligation to laugh? Have you ever bought something based on the fact that it was the “best selling” or “fastest moving” item? Would the statement “4 out of 5 people surveyed recommend this product” influence your decision? How about “over two million copies sold” on the cover of a book? Would that make you feel more comfortable about your decision to buy it? If so, you are not alone. People are highly influenced and persuaded by what others do.

I am the first customer to go through the car wash, yet the tip jar has 10 one-dollar bills folded in the jar. I am the first one in the bar and notice the bartenders tip jar already has several dollar bills in it. I am the first one to put money in the collection basket at church, yet I notice that there are already several 5 and 10-dollar bills in plain sight.

What does all this mean? It means that this concept works and it can work for you too. Here’s how.

Everybody likes to think of himself or herself as a nonconformist – someone who does their own thing. You and I like to see ourselves as independent – until it comes time to make a decision – then we find out what everybody else is doing and what everybody else thinks – and conclude that they must be right – and make the decision that I am going to do the same thing.

Do you see the relevance to your business?

Let’s say you are a new sales person calling on a potential account. Would you say; ‘I am new and don’t have any customers yet – will you take a chance and be the first?” If you were a seasoned sales person would you go into a potential customer and say; “We have great quality and excellent service?” No, you wouldn’t want to say something like that because their response would be “so what.” You would want to take the approach that the bartender, car wash, church, evangelical preacher and concert promoter took. You want to bring on your success stories, testimonials, references, people your prospect knows and a list of happy customers who are buying from you. You would want to put a little money in your tip jar to show that others are buying and they are happy. Why? To make them feel safe about their decision to buy from you.

We find out what everybody else is doing and what everybody else thinks – and conclude that they must be right – and make the decision that I am going to do the same thing. This is the best closing technique of all.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

How many sales people follow up

Only 10% of sales people follow up to a buyers complete satisfaction. Do you know what your customer expects after the sale?

No matter how hard you worked or how much you have discounted your price when you sell a customer, he or she then feels that you still owe them something. The perception on the part of the customer is that you, the seller, have not only gotten new business but also his or her money. There were many other sales people after the same account and the same business but you were chosen as the recipient.

Therefore, psychologically, you now owe your customer a favor, even though you had to bend over backwards to get the order. That is why follow up is so important to keeping the business.

You have been calling on a particular customer for months and have never gotten to first base. They are polite, however, they keep telling you to come back at a later date. All of a sudden you make a small sale!

As soon as we leave the account you check the stock status. Everything is checked and you send your customer a text the next morning confirming the order, delivery date and approximate delivery time. After you check to be sure everything was delivered you make a follow up call to be sure everything was alright with the product. You get a few small reorders and continue the same follow up strategies. And then the orders get larger. Soon you are the primary supplier.

Later you are having lunch with the customer and he lets you in on the reason he switched: YOU FOLLOWED UP AND YOUR COMPETITOR DID NOT !

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

The reason most sales people - and companies - fail...

The first step in determining how to grow your business or increase your individual sales is to carefully identify a market and determine how much business is available. Then set a realistic goal for achieving your objective.

Here are several "for examples":

A full line food service distributor sales rep should be working on 50 customers and prospects. A conservative estimate of the total food, supplies and related purchases for restaurant would be $4,000 per week, or approximately $200,000 per year. In 50 accounts the total would average $10,000,000. If you are selling $2,000,000 per year, you are at 20% of the total market.

If your company has 25 sales people, the total market is $250,000,000. If your sales are $62,500,000, you are at 25% of your total market. If your sales people are only working 25 customers and prospects, your market is reduced to $125,000,000.

If you are a company that sells only supplies and related products other than food, as a sales rep you should be calling on 125 customers and prospects. If you do the math, the total supplies and related products in 125 customers and prospects is approximately $7,500,000. If you have 30 sales people your total market is $225,000,000.

If you are selling real estate you need to stake out an area with 500 houses and start making contact. There will be enough houses go on the market to make a good income provided you have positioned yourself as the area expert.

If you are a restaurant owner and you need to sell 2,000 meals per week to survive, you need a market of 10,000 customers coming in once every 5 weeks. Your marketing should be focused on how you can get 10,000 customers to return every 5 weeks.

If you are selling cars, every 5 people you talk to will, on average, buy a car from you. That means that if you want to sell 10 cars a month you have to talk to 50 people. If you want to sell 12 cars a month you have to talk to 60 people.

If you want to become a professional sales trainer you have to put together a prospect list of 720 companies who could hire you. Then you have to send letters, or make contact with, 12 every day. That way everyone on your list will be contacted once every two months. If you have identified the need and have a solution, you will sell 30 to 40 programs a year.

Now, for the reason most companies and sales people fail, or fail to reach their sales objectives, they don't make enough customer contacts. They fall into the trap of "nobody's buying" or "there's no business out there" or "my territory is saturated". They are buying, they are just not buying from you.

And that's where I come in. I show your sales people how to focus on the opportunities and teach them how to play the game better than the competition. Selling is not a game of chance, it is an exact science.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Do this before giving a discount

Here's a simple idea that will result in more sales and better relationships with your customers.

If you find that you are doing most of the talking during a sales call, or if the conversation is not going your way, try this: Pull out your note pad and start taking notes.

Taking notes is an excellent way to slow down the process, especially when it is not going in your favor. I'm not talking about your iPad or your laptop. I'm talking about an ink pen and a pad like a detective uses.

Writing down statements that are confusing or upsetting is an excellent way to keep things in perspective. Rather than jumping right in with a response, tell the customer to hold on while you write down what they just said. They won't mind. Just the opposite, they will be impressed. Ask the customer to check what you have written to be sure that you got it right. The process of putting those words on paper almost always causes the customer to backtrack, amend, or, better yet, erase the words altogether.

Sales people don't like to lose. They fall in love with making the sale and ignore facts that are important to decision making. They let their own moods, or the moods of the prospect, rule the presentation, causing things to wander off course. These problems disappear when you pull out your pen and write something down.

It is especially important to slow down and do some calculating before you give into a price discount. Your moment of reflection gives the price discount some significance. You must treat the discount as significant, or you are not perceived as having given a discount. No price discount is unimportant. By emphasizing each discount in your own mind and on paper, you have not given ground for nothing.

A quick response robs the customer of the good feeling they get after making a good buy. A quick response leaves the customer feeling that they could have gotten more if they had been smarter. They will try to prevent that mistake from occurring the next time you negotiate, or they will compensate by taking a hard line on another aspect of the sale.

Some buyers use pressure to get what they want from a sales person. Sometimes the writing-a-note tactic is your only defense against being pressured into making a decision based on the buyer's deadline.

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Monday, May 4, 2015

Selling value, not price...

I am going to make this crystal clear. When you finish reading this you should easily be able to switch your customer from buying on price to buying on value.

Here are some examples that should shift your thinking and show you how to shift the thinking of your customer.

If you have $100 to spend on dinner to celebrate your kids birthday, what are you going to look for? The best value for your money.

If you have $400 in your budget for a monthly car payment, what are you going to look for? The most car for your payment.

If you have been pre-qualified by the bank to buy a $250,000 house, what are you going to look for? The most house for your money.

If you have 4 kids and a grocery budget of $250 a week, what are you going to look for? The most value for your money.

If you have decided that you are going to spend $2,000 on a new flat screen TV, what are you going to look for? The most TV for your $2,000.

OK, I know what you are thinking. How can you use this to make the sale instead of cutting the price?

Here is how to make the shift in thinking.

You're selling to a restaurant owner. Here is what you say: "You are spending $5,000 per week for your food, so your goal is to get the most value and the highest quality for your $5,000 weekly investment, is that correct? That is why we don't simply throw out prices and try to beat everyone. We take your budget and give you the highest value for your investment. For example, our service, our quality, our in stock items, etc.

You're selling staffing services. Here is what you say: "You are paying $18.00 per hour for an employee, so your goal is to get the most value for your $18.00 per hour investment, is that correct? That is why we don't simply try to beat everyone's hourly price. We take your budget and give you the highest value for your investment. For example, here are 57 services we can offer that makes us the best value for your money.

You're selling a house. Here is what you say: "I am sure you will agree, the payment on this house is $2,227 per month including taxes and insurance is a stretch. You may be able to find a house with a smaller payment, but look at this street, look at this neighborhood, look at this back yard, how about this great deck, and this fireplace, and these appliances, and the home owners warranty, and the association benefits, etc."

You are selling a car. Here is what you say: "What is the payment or price range you are looking for? $400 per month. Then our goal is to find you the best value for your investment, let's start with this one I have right here. It not only has a huge rebate, all the great features, but we have marked it down as well. With all this you are actually getting a $600 per month car for a $400 per month investment."

1. You first ask: "How much are you already spending, or how much are you willing to spend, or how much do you have in your budget?"

2. You then ask: "I assume your goal is to get the most value for your investment, is that correct?

3. Your presentation is helping them make the best decision by showing how much value they will get when they buy from you?

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Monday, April 27, 2015

The Best Job In The World!

I have the best and most rewarding career in the world. Helping others become more successful. I have been a full time speaker and sales trainer since 1992. My paycheck is not only the money I am paid, but more importantly, the gratitude, testimonials and success stories I receive as a result of my training, encouragement and services.

I have had sales people take me aside at some of my seminars and tell me the only reason they stayed in sales was because of something they heard at one of my seminars 10, 15, or even 20 years ago. I can't begin to tell you how much that means to me. I can't begin to tell you how much that motivates me to keep going. Selling has never been an easy road for anyone to travel. You have to be able to keep going in the face of setbacks, uncertainties, fears and doubts.

After years and years of working with some of the most successful sales people in the country, I boiled selling down to the skills required for success.

If I had to choose one - the single most important skill is attitude. The majority of sales people have a pretty good attitude, but only the top performers know that selling is a state of mind. And once you realize that your state of mind is totally under your control, things will start to happen.

I am going to share with you the secret of top performing sales professionals. Many people don’t want you to know this secret because it is so powerful. This secret has been used all through history by kings, presidents, religious leaders, big companies, TV shows, advertisers, politicians, parents, coaches and teachers. It is also used by gang leaders, drug pushers, criminals, bullies, thieves and even the friends you hang out with.

Here it is...

Nearly every minute of the day you are being motivated to do things. How? By the words and pictures you put in your mind or allow people to put in your mind.

The repetition of positive or negative words and pictures day after day begins to affect you, for good or for bad. Your mind motivates you do the things that the words and pictures represent.

The Boy Scout Oath, the Girl Scout oath, the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, the prayers, quotes and affirmations you are taught are all forms of putting words and images in your mind.

Marketing companies who motivate you to buy things use words, pictures and commercials that make you want to buy them. Politicians use words and pictures to make you want to vote for them. Drug pushers use words and pictures to make you buy drugs and get high.

Once these words and pictures are used to motivate you to do certain things, and you continue to do them, they become habits and you become controlled by them. Once the habit becomes stronger and stronger it becomes very difficult to change. Maybe someone can make you do things, and maybe they can’t. But one thing is for certain. You will “DO THINGS” and whether you end up a great success, or you end up "average," it will be because of the things you motivated yourself to do with the images and words you used to program your mind and attitude.

When your order and read the More Gross Profit book you will be taking the first step to program your mind for success in sales.

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Sunday, April 19, 2015

You have to be 9 times better...

If you are trying to sell a new prospect who has been loyal to a competitor and buying from them for years, you have to be 9 times better than their current supplier.

But wait, it is not as hard as it sounds.

There are nine things customers consider buying before buying from a new vendor. If you can show your customer that you are 2 or 3 percent better in each area you stand a much better chance of getting your foot in the door.

If you are not sure how you stand, research each item on the list and make a camparison grid with you and your competitors. Similar to what you might find on a software box.

(1) Consistency

(2) Arrives in Good Condition

(3) Problems Fixed Quickly

(4) Operating Cost Savings

(5) Company Stability

(6) Fewer Headaches

(7) Knowledgeable Sales Rep

(8) Company with a good Reputation

(9) You have to be likable

What does this mean?

When you have reached the point in the development of a new prospect to make a presentation, include these 9 "reasons why" and show how you are better in each one.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

When you lower your price - try this...

Don't keep lowering your price without asking for something in return. You will make it too easy for the buyer to keep asking. When you give in to one of the requests such as price reduction, marketing money, extra services, etc., what should go through your mind? "If I do that for the customer, what can I ask the customer to do for me?”

This is your attitude, not your actual statement. Negotiating as a seller is not the same as negotiating as a buyer. If you get tough and walk away, at the end of the day you haven't sold anything. Most of the negotiating strategies are designed for buyers and must be adjusted if used by a person trying to make a sale.

Many people complain that customers today have no loyalty. "Show a customer how to save money on a certain item and they will shop around to see if it can be purchased cheaper from a competitor." If customers are not loyal, perhaps it is because when you give everything you have, you don't ask for anything in return. Trading builds a relationship. Giving and taking are part of selling; they are part of the process and not a sign of weakness!

Here are a few points to keep in mind:

1. Don't be shy about asking for something in return when a customer asks you for a price discount. If it is done in a spirit of cooperation they will not take offence. You are not doing anybody favors by giving away something for nothing - the customer will not respect you and you hurt your own self respect.

2. Never give up anything without getting something in return even if what you get seems trivial. The customer offers to buy the floor model of the coffee machine at a reduced price. You, instead of lowering the price, offer a one year free service agreement.

3. The customer requests a lower price on a specific item. You offer a 3% discount if they double their order.

4. The customer complains that the price is too high. You offer to sell your higher quality product line at a slightly lower price. Explain to the customer that the higher quality is an investment in their customer satisfaction.

5. Whenever lowering your price, never go down in equal increments. Each time you go down on your price ask for an additional line item or something in return.

If customers are not loyal, perhaps it is because when you give everything you have, you don't ask for anything in return. Trading builds a relationship.

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

What is the best approach to problems?

"You don't understand - my company has some big problems and it makes my job really tough!" Pick up the Sunday paper or go on line, go to the classified section and find a job that has no problems. If it is there - they don't need you. A company with problems is a company with opportunities!

A problem is a chance for you to show your best. There are people who spend all their time reinforcing obstacles. Office politics. Perceived defects in the product or service. Impossibly tough competition. Endless personal problems. Unfair commission schedules. We all have problems.

A persistent negative outlook will not only make it difficult for coworkers and supervisors to work with you--it will make it difficult for customers to work with you.

It's common to hear a salesperson complain, "you don't understand how much is expected of us here."

The goals of most sales managers are usually pretty clear-cut: get good results from the staff. If you're not making sales, complaining about everything is only going to compound the problem. Not only will you be wasting valuable time you could be using to talk to new customers, but you'll also lose the perspective you need to identify and resolve the problems you're having.

Many companies have had the experience of having a salesperson perform poorly in a certain territory, complaining that "the market is saturated". Take that person off the territory, put someone else on it, and sales take off.

Usually, the first salesperson focuses on limitations, while the new sales person brings no preconceptions to the territory, and sees fresh opportunities as a result.

The best approach to problems is to become part of the solution. Leaving one company because of problems and going to another is a trade off for new problems. No one likes to be around someone with a negative attitude. Carrying around negativity drags you down and keeps you from moving full speed ahead. A persistent positive attitude can cancel the negative one's.

It takes much more work to remain positive than negative. Negativity in the work environment can spread like a cancer. It starts with one member and quickly moves to other members until the whole office or company is infected. Obstacles will always be a permanent fixture of everyday life, but the bright side is there are ways around them. Satisfaction comes from being victorious over those obstacles.

Years ago I had a customer tell me that he was going to leave and go to a competitor. When I asked why he told me all the things that were wrong with my company. After he told me I realized that I was the one who told him all those things. A good lesson about saying something negative about your own company - it will always come back to bite you.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Your customers are smart

Your customers are smarter than you think they are. They realize that you can't be all things to all people. When you are honest about what you can't do the trust they have in you goes up.

Here is an example.

A test was conducted on the advertising of five products. They ran two ads - one that said they had superiority in all five products and another ad that claimed superiority in three of the five. Which one do you think did better? The advertisement that exposed their weakness did much better.

Why? Customers have become numb to selling pitches and marketing that promises miracle cures. When you make a statement like "this may not be the product for you" your credibility has increased. The customer has more trust in you.

I know. I know. This sounds like the old joke about the sales person who says "you don't want to buy anything today, do you?" This is different. This is admitting that you can't deliver the moon. This is being honest. This is building trust. And people will only buy from people they trust!

When you honestly state a weakness, you are actually helping your customer make a good decision. They will believe you when you tell them what you CAN do.

The advertisement used by Chevy a while ago is a good example. Chevy compares itself with Honda and says they are superior in five models except one. Chevy does not make lawn mowers and Honda does. In their example they use it with humor, however, I don't think they realize how powerful the technique could be if they used it with a tone of seriousness. The fact that Chevy could be big enough to admit that they are highly superior in certain models while admitting that they are not the leader in one or two categories (with justifiable reasons) their inevitability would be higher.

When there is even a small doubt in your mind about whether the product is right for them, let your customer know. Let the customer know you will be personally checking to make sure that your product does the job and the customer is happy with the purchase.

Remember, you can't sell anybody anything. The harder you try the more the resistance goes up. What you CAN do is help them make a good decision. You want your customer for the long haul, not just the immediate sale that will come back to bite you. Especially if you over promise and under deliver.

As a professional speaker, I have turned down plenty of opportunities because I didn't feel I was the right fit. Of course I had to learn this the hard way. I teach sales negotiating. How to make more money by giving more value. I once accepted a speaking engagement for a government agency that really didn't understand the profit concept. Needless to say, I didn't connect with the audience. I now know better. It is not worth the paycheck when you leave knowing that you blew it.

So when something comes along that is not a good fit, I let them know and they have much more faith and trust in me. Somehow turning it down always seems to come back in good way.

I can't teach the government how to make better deals, but I can sure teach YOU how to increase your sales and profits in these challenging times.

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Monday, April 6, 2015

The secret spice of success

Colonel Sanders owned a restaurant that seated 142 people in Corbin, Kentucky, where he perfected his secret blend of 11 herbs and spices and the basic cooking technique that is still used today.

In 1950 a new interstate highway was planned to bypass the town of Corbin. Seeing an end to his business, the Colonel closed his restaurant and auctioned off his equipment. After paying his bills he was broke at the age of 65. He was reduced to living on his $105 Social Security checks.

Confident of the quality of his fried chicken, the Colonel devoted himself to the chicken franchising business that he started in 1952. He traveled across the country by car visiting thousands of restaurants, cooking batches of chicken for the owners and their employees. If the reaction was favorable, he entered into a handshake agreement on a deal that stipulated a payment to him of a nickel for each chicken the restaurant sold.

By 1964, Colonel Sanders had 600 franchised outlets for his chicken in the United States and Canada. That year, he sold his interest in the company for $2 million to a group of investors. The Colonel remained a public spokesman for the company until he died in 1980. In 1976, an independent survey ranked the Colonel as the world's second most recognizable celebrity.

What does Colonel Sanders have to do with you?


It took Colonel Sanders 12 years to sell 600 people on his "nickel a chicken" concept. Let's do the math.

That is 50 sales per year, or one per week. To sell one per week he would have to make 5 presentations per week. Remember, that's the most anybody can sell on their first call - 20%. If you happen to have a run on sales and sell 30%, you will have a dry spell where you sell only 10%.

Five presentation per week is 250 per year. Over a 12 year period that is a whopping 3,000 presentations! I am sure that after he sold a certain number himself he hired someone to make the presentations. But still, it is one heck of an accomplishment!

And remember, he did this from age 65 to 77.

What do you think was going through his mind when 4 out of 5, or 8 out of 10 prospects turned him down. Knowing people the way I do, I'm sure some thought he was a joke, some told him to get lost, some told him he couldn't be serious. "A NICKLE A CHICKEN? WHERE DID YOU EVER COME UP WITH A CRAZY IDEA LIKE THAT?"

Do you think The Colonel felt insecure and worried about what he was trying to do? Do you think that when he was alone at night in his hotel in some strange town with his cooking equipment and spices, he had doubts about being able to get people to pay him as agreed?

I think you know the answer. And that brings us to you.

One of the hardest things to overcome is the feeling of insecurity when you are selling on commission for a living. Without the security of a guaranteed income your thoughts are continually interrupted by fears of failure, rejection and “what people will think if I don’t make it.”

This is serious for the person going through it. If you are on commission and only get paid when you make a sale, or in your own business and are totally responsible for earning an income, it is easy to have visions of not being able to pay your expenses. And sometimes you CAN'T pay your expenses and you have to deal with that as well.

The obvious solution most people will give you is to control your attitude - easy to say and does not really offer a solution. A positive attitude is the end result you are trying to achieve.

There are many short-term programs that give you a temporary relief such as “self talk”, repeating affirmations and listening to motivation tapes. These activities are helpful, however, they are not dealing with the core of the problem.

The question is; how do you keep moving forward with a positive attitude when you feel insecure and unsure of yourself? This insecure feeling causes you to look into the future with apprehension no matter how hard you try to think positive. You still see negative results from the effort you are putting forth today.

You are not convinced that if you do the right things over and over again you will achieve the results you want. You can try affirmations by saying over and over to yourself, “I will make the sale”, “I will get the new account” and still end up with negative results. Why? Because even as you say the words and visualize the results, you don’t really expect it to happen! You don’t get what you want, what you wish for, what you think about, what you visualize or what you affirm. You get what you expect.

Let’s say you wanted to have a back up cash reserve of $25,000 in the bank. You could affirm to yourself “I have a bank account with $25,000 in it.” You could write it down as a “written goal.” You could think “positive” about it. And still – nothing happens.

Why? Because you really don’t expect it to happen! You don't BELIEVE. You might feel good about it for a short time. But after a few weeks it will fade away. Reality will overtake you and you will file your $25,000 bank account idea away as a wish or a daydream or “it would be nice.”

You have also reinforced the concept that affirmations, goal setting, positive thinking and visualization don’t work. The next time you try to get something you want it becomes even more difficult because you not only have to overcome your current feelings of doubt and fear – you also have to deal with your past. “I’ve tried this before – it didn’t work out – but I’ll give it another shot”. Then, no matter how hard you try, deep down inside you don’t really expect it to happen and you are right - It doesn't.

You get what you expect. Nothing more - nothing less. If you want to increase your sales you have to really EXPECT IT TO HAPPEN.

There is only ONE THING that builds expectations – ACTION – doing something productive.

I think the secret Colonel Sanders used to overcome the feeling of insecurity that every human being feels was his DECISION TO KEEP GOING. Every morning he got up and presented his "nickel a chicken" concept to another restaurant. AND 4 OUT OF 5 TOLD HIM TO GET LOST!

There is a big lesson that Colonel Sanders taught us. The Colonel's secret to sales is action. Picking up the phone and making the call, asking for the order at the price you want, writing the letter, or sending a follow up card.

That is the secret spice of success - action.

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