Category Archives: Sales

Free Sales Seminar in Danbury 5/18: “Stop Asking For Referrals” and Other Assorted Sales Heresies

If you’re personally committed to all the sales training you’ve had in the past, this session is not for you.

Traditional sales training teaches you that the prospect is an adversary and provides you “techniques” designed to help you emerge from the battle in victory. We’ll be challenging the very core of that philosophy and discuss how going outside your comfort zone will help you sell more of what you sell – and have more fun while doing it. Read the rest of this entry

I Don’t Have Time To Get Organized

I made this sign a while back and I have it hanging on the wall right above my monitor.  It is front of me – eye level – whenever I am working in my office.  I stare it while I am working.  I’m staring at it right now.  Since I am aware that in my business model, these are the core things I have to do in order to keep growing my business, how come this is the first post I’ve written on this blog in a little over two weeks?

How come I’ve  only had one cup of Starbucks’ Green tea in the last 10 days?  How come that other than a flurry of Tweets over the last few days, have I pretty much been invisible on Twitter for some time?

Oh I have a good answer – one that allows me not to feel guilty.  I have too much to do!  Between working on actual paying projects, working intensely on some long-term marketing stuff and a plethora of family things to get done, I simply haven’t had time to work on my sphere of influence communication.

If a coaching client told me those were his reasons for ignoring these basic yet vital activities, I suspect he’d see my dark side. I’d tell him that there are only two solutions, based on the truth of his excuses. The first is acknowledging that Read the rest of this entry

DWI – Don’t Wing It! (Well, maybe once)

There are going to  be moments when you are faced with having to answer a question or concern from a client or prospect that you’ve never had to answer before.   You have two options.

You can take the question under advisement and promise a response after you research it.  Or you can improvise an answer.  Which choice you make is Read the rest of this entry

Let’s Talk About You Now. What Do You Think Of My Hair?

Did you ever have a conversation with someone who talks like that?  Would you buy anything from them?

Guess what – the rest of the world is just like you.  Most people are turned off by someone who speaks only about themselves.  The instinct is to get away as fast as possible.

To bond with others and have them look forward to talking with you, you’ll have to demonstrate that you are interested in them.  If someone’s goal is to avoid you, what are the odds that they will buy what you sell?

You can’t fake interest either Read the rest of this entry

My Ship Came In While I Was At The Airport

This is a subject that I talk and write about a lot, because it’s one of the most important ways to maintain and grow your sales revenue.

I was recently cleaning out some old clothes (at the behest of my lovely wife) and a came across a T-Shirt that I bought about 20 years ago. I got it in a gift shop at LAX. The phrase was “My ship finally came in but unfortunately I was at the airport.” (I shortened it a little for the title of this article.)

I was on my way to speak at a convention of Photo Retailers.  My topic was how small retail Read the rest of this entry

5 Things Not To Do at Networking Meetings

There are a lot of different types of Networking meetings.  There are many formats. There are large groups, small groups, free groups, breakfast groups, evening “cocktail party” groups, event groups and others.

The thing that they all have in common is the vast majority of the folks who attend are doing so in order to grow their own network of prospective clients and referral sources. Everyone is there to meet others and increase the size of their community.  We do this by learning about the other folks at the meeting and helping them get to know us as well.

The one exception, is the paid, industry limited groups – you know, where there is a limit of one person per industry. These groups primarily exist not to help people grow their network but to exchange leads.  The following list does not necessarily apply to those groups.

The thing that I am fascinated by is the number of attendees whose behaviors are counterproductive to their own best interests.

Here is a list of 5 of them.  Read the rest of this entry

Lose the Lingo: Talk to Clients in Humanspeak

Whatever your profession it is likely that you know more about it than your client/prospect.  In fact, that is probably one of the reason he chose you.  So when you’re speaking to him don’t speak to him in lingo – phrases that mean something to someone inside your industry but will not necessarily mean anything to a layman [laywoman] [layperson].

There are a few reasons why you need to speak human – not in professionalese.

  1. Many people will not know what you mean.
  2. If they have to constantly ask you to explain what you’re saying it can make them feel like they are deficient in some way.
  3. If they pretend they do understand and don’t ask, then they are not getting the message you are trying to deliver.
  4. It can make you look pompous and arrogant.  You are not speaking with them in order to show off how smart you are.

For the most part people would much rather have a salesperson say something like “Based on my understanding of your needs – this product will get it all done for you” as opposed to giving me a long dissertation on the inner workings of the product only to have the explanation end with “Based on my understanding of your needs – this product will get it all done for you.”

The caveat to this is that there are some personality types that want to know every gory detail. You’ll know who those folks are quickly when they keep asking detailed questions.


Why B2B Sales People Should Be Working on Days Surrounding Holidays

If you’re a B2B sales person with even a modicum of experience you’ve learned that if you have a prospect or client that is tough to reach, a proven technique is to give them a call during off-hours.  Calling them early before their day hits full throttle or calling them after the end of the work day when they are less likely to be embroiled in the middle of a meeting or project give you greater odds of having a meaningful conversation.

If you do reach your contact, he will likely be impressed with your diligent follow up, which raises your credibility in the universe of sales people who are after him. If you don’t reach him – leave a voice mail.  He will still be impressed with your diligence.  You can’t really lose.

Same rule applies to the days just before and just after a holiday.This is one of the most successful sales techniques, in my experience.

While you may not reach your contact when you do this, you certainly won’t reach him if don’t.  As above, the odds are that he will make note of the fact that you are working when most people are not.

If you want to take it to the next level, just make a round of calls to your existing clients – just to wish them a happy holiday.

Some great times to reach out:

  • Mid-afternoon on the day before Thanksgiving
  • Late morning on the day after Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Eve
  • December 26
  • New Year’s Eve
  • January 2

I’m not advocating that you give up all your personal time and work 24/7.  I am far from being a workaholic.  I think it is counterproductive. Having a balanced life makes you much more successful at your job.  What I’m suggesting actually takes very little time.  The fact is that you won’t reach most of the people you call – but if you do, the contact may actually have the time to talk with you with fewer distractions.

So if you spend an hour on Black Friday making a few calls – go in an hour late on Monday.

This is about differentiation.  I doubt that your competitors are doing this.

Marketing Is Worthless If You Don’t Convert Leads

There are many different types of marketing, each having a specific goal. At a high level though all marketing has the same goal – To generate interest in your product. It is about getting people to raise their hands and acknowledge that they are aware of what you sell, and there is a possibility that they are interested in making a purchase.

There a soft value to putting your name in front of as many people as you can. Brand awareness can be critical to a company’s success. While it’s not a bad thing to increase awareness of your product or service the question becomes that in terms of ROI, marketing programs are often measured using circumstantial evidence.

The bottom line goal of every company is to increase profit.  That’s why profit is on “the bottom line” of a financial analysis.  There are only two ways to improve profitability – increase revenue or decrease expenses.  The prime revenue source for a company is sales.

Take a look at this sales results graph from a hypothetical company that launched a new marketing campaign in January and ended it in May.  “Sales Results” is typically defined as orders that are delivered and invoiced.

With complete certainty we can state that the marketing program was PROBABLY a driving factor in the sales increase that began in February, continued to rise until about 30 days after the program ended. We deem the marketing program a success.Are there other factors that could be the root cause of the increase in sales?  Of course there are.  Better inventory management, improved shipping measures, better invoicing procedures – just to name a few.

So how do you actually measure the success of a marketing plan if not on sales results. It depends on the objective of the  program.  The most common type of program for small and medium businesses generally has the objective of increasing the number of “Leads”, “Inquiries” or “Requests for information.”

So at the end of the day if the number of leads received during the run of a program went up, the program can be declared a success regardless of the sales results.   Sort of like a surgery that is deemed successful regardless of whether the patient lives or dies.

What exactly is the value of a lead?  I would submit that if you don’t do anything with the lead, it has absolutely no value.  Another way of putting it is this: “A Lead and $2.25 will get buy you a ride on the subway.”

Soooooo – acquiring the lead is important, but selling to the prospect is equally important.  If you don’t have a specific plan to follow-up and close as many of the leads as possible, the money you spend on marketing could be wasted.

As Jerry Seinfeld might say “You know how to GET the lead, you just don’t know how to SELL to the lead.”

Top 5 Cold Call Openings to Alienate Prospects

If you’re a regular reader, you know my thoughts on cold calling. For those of you who are new the neighborhood let me lay it out.

  • Cold Calling is a function of marketing – not sales.
  • It is not the most productive use of your time.
  • If you find that getting in the “cold call zone” works for you – knock yourself out.

If you do choose to prospect in this fashion, it’s pretty easy to alienate the prospect in about 3 seconds.  The commonality of these technique is that they from the the assumption that you can fool someone in talking with you before they learn you are a sales person. Trying to trick someone is akin to saying that you are smarter than they are – not the best way to begin a positive relationship.

Here are some surefire methods to alienate prospects instantly.


Number 5: Hi, my name is Felix. The company I work for is looking for a  top [profession] in your area to partner with us.

Number 4: Hi John, my company is in a bit of a bind. We’ve acquired some highly qualified sales leads and don’t have anyone in your town to work them. Could you help us out by responding to these hot prospects?

Number 3: Hi John, my company is doing a survey of people in [industry] and I was wondering if you’d be interested in being a part of it.


Number 2: Hi John,  Are you making the most money you can as a [profession]?


Number 1: Are you closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge, or you are not aware of the caliber of disaster indicated by the presence of a pool table in your community!

Does Salesaphobia Prevent You From Selling?

You may be someone who trips over his  own feet to prove to the world that he loves all people equally.  You may be someone who is a bigot and proud of it. You may be somewhere in between.

It doesn’t matter where you fall on that scale. We are all SALESAPHOBES to one degree or another. This prejudice stems partially from our own experience.

  • Who hasn’t spent hour upon hour with a time-share representative and their aggressive, never-say-die closing techniques, so we can get two free movie tickets or a night in a $12 – dollar hotel.
  • Perhaps you are still driving a 1987 Ford Escort because you can’t endure driving from dealer to dealer listening to a endless chorus of “What can I do to put you in this car today?
  • Maybe your next door neighbor joined an MLM and you have started only going outside to get your mail at midnight to avoid hearing him try to explain to you that “This one is different – you need to come to a meeting.”

When you add in a lifetime of watching movies like Death of a Salesman, Glengarry Glenn Ross, Boiler Room etc. it’s no wonder that you’ve developed a bad taste in your mouth for people who want to sell you things.

So it’s not a far stretch that our own image of salespeople gets in the way of selling our own products or services. You don’t want people to think that you are one of THOSE people.

It’s a real conundrum though, isn’t it?  After all, if you don’t sell the thing you do, then no one is going to buy it and your vocation goes back to being a hobby.

The cure is to realize that you do not have to change who you are, or compromise your values or alienate people in order to sell what you sell.  Just allow your own personality and your passion for what you do come across.

Be yourself.  Learn how to articulate the value of what you sell in your own words. Identify prospects who benefit by having what you sell.  If you do all of that properly you will never have to pressure people into making a buying decision – they’ll make it on their own.

If you sincerely believe that what you sell will be helpful to people, you just have to let that show through.  If you don’t believe that what you sell will be helpful to people then you may want to rethink your line of business.

Presentation at Networkers Anonymous Today

I’ll be at Rocco’s Restaurant in Brookfield today speaking to Networkers Anonymous, an open networking group that anyone can attend. Come by for lunch, networking and to listen to my incredibly engaging and relevant talk on Entrepreneurial Selling.

Starts at 11:30, with networking and lunch until around 1, at which point you can hang on my every word for 30 minutes.