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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