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.

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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

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.

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!

Sorry! I’m Really Swamped!

So your spouse asks you on Monday morning if you can pick up the dry cleaning today. You say you will do it the next day as you are “really swamped and just don’t have the time.”


As you’re packing up your stuff to leave, you scan your email Inbox and notice a promo piece from a big electronics store with the subject line Selected Laptops 30% Off – Today Only.  You have been needing a new laptop for a while so you click the link in the email to see if there’s a suitable model.  You find one.  The normal price is $699 – on sale today only for $489.

You somehow manage to Read the rest of this entry

MAKE MORE MONEY BY INVERTING YOUR PHONE CALLS

I know the title may sound a little odd but it means exactly what it says.   The way most of us tend to make business calls is completely backwards in terms of productivity. This applies as much to other business calls – not just sales but I am specifically addressing sales calls here.  It will create happier clients which ultimately will earn you more money.


The good news is that it’s an easy fix.

When we first meet a client we put a great deal of effort into building a relationship which includes getting to know them as people – not just clients.  This is a good thing.  We learn things about each other such as hobbies, family and a host of other things.  They don’t necessarily become close friends but they do become more than strangers.

So in addition to business stuff our phone calls usually include some kind of non business chit-chat. You know, asking how they enjoyed their recent holiday trip – or they ask us about ours.

There’s nothing wrong with doing that. It helps Read the rest of this entry

COLD CALLING IS NOT PART OF A SALES REP’S JOB

This is neither an endorsement nor a condemnation of cold calling.  In some models, it makes sense, in some it doesn’t.

This post isn’t just about cold calling – it is about all lead generation activities.  Lead Generation is a marketing function.

I draw a distinct line between marketing and selling.

  • Marketing: Reaching out to potential buyers with the goal of having them raise their hand and say “I’m interested in discussing your product.”
  • Sales: Working with those folks who raised their hand with the goal of closing a sale.

Once you embrace this concept, you’ll see that the time spent on lead gen (or any marketing activity) means that the individual working these activities is NOT working on sales activities.

Sales activity is the part where revenue is generated.

That’s all fine and good but what if you are a small organization Read the rest of this entry