Blog Archives

Why Are We Having This Meeting Anyway?

Did you ever attend a scheduled meeting or phone conversation with one agenda item and you end up talking about something completely different?

It’s not always a bad thing if a new, more urgent topic comes up and you choose to address it.  If that’s what happens, it’s fine – as long as the original issues doesn’t fall by the wayside.

One way to avoid this, is simply to open the meeting with a statement of purpose.  It can be one sentence but once you put it out there, you and the other guy(s) at the meeting are starting on the same page.  If another topic is suggested and you want to deviate from your plan, that’s fine as long as you all set another time to discuss the stated topic.

It goes along with an older post I wrote about Inverting Your Phone Calls. 

Pretty simple stuff but if you do it, you’ll be making much better use of your meeting time.

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.

Effective Communications Means Knowing Where Your Audience Hangs Out

One of the questions that seems to come up pretty frequently in coaching sessions is “What is the best  method of staying in touch with my prospects and clients.”

There are so many different ways to communicate with people today it’s hard to know what is the most effective choice. Here’s the magic answer.

It’s Up To Them!

Too often you hear sales folks say things like.

I don’t believe in all this new technology.  You can Tweet, Email and Facebook all you want but business is done in person.  MY clients like to see who they dealing with and I like to be out there shaking hands – it’s what I love about sales,

or

It makes no sense to use old-school techniques. MY clients have no time to waste on personal meetings.  I stay in touch by Twitter, Texting, Email, and current up to date methods. You have to use the latest thing to show that you are on the cutting edge.  I simply don’t have the time to visit and call everyone.

Either of those positions is fine – as long as you Read the rest of this entry