Blog Archives

Be a Salesperson – Not a Politician (Perry Mason, Politics and Paychecks)

My latest cinematic masterpiece tries to explain the importance of answering questions that you are asked with actual answer as opposed to pivoting to something you think will make the questioner forget what he asked in the first place.

You’ve Tried the Rest, Now Try the Best!

How many times have you seen that slogan on a take-out pizza box?  Does it somehow validate your decision to choose that particular restaurant?   If you see it on a pizza box at someone else’s home does it somehow persuade you to switch your own pizza preference?

How about the plethora of  auto insurance companies that each claim they will save you hundreds of dollars if you switch from your current carrier, or the bank claiming they have the best loan rate?

Do any of these statements have any meaning for you? Of course  they don’t. They can’t all be 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

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.


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.

Like an ocean cruise except there’s no boat, no water and you don’t actually go anywhere

One of my pet peeves is when sales or marketing type people fall into a syndrome that I call “Why use one word when you can use ten?”

It seems to be a pretty rampant tendency to ignore the fact that a prospect is not likely to evaluate a product based on the cleverness of the slogan or sales verbiage.  In fact, a long, cutesy explanation of something can often miss the target because it doesn’t simply let your audience know what it is your product does.  It can even appear somewhat deceptive.

The best example of this that I’ve ever seen is a scene from one of favorite movies of all time – The Muppets Take Manhattan. As they say on the  talk shows “let me set up the clip Read the rest of this entry

Don’t Make Stuff Up

I was having a discussion recently with a friend.  We were the trying to figure out where the tipping point is regarding statistics in a business presentation.  When it does become overkill?   He said to me at one point “Quoting statistics is pointless anyway. Everyone knows that 95% of statistics that people quote are fabricated – made up on the spot”.

When we both stopped laughing at the paradoxical ludicrousness of his statement we moved on to deciding when we should meet for lunch.

Later on, it hit me that a lot of people make all kinds of stuff up in order to support their position.

Now if you want to do that in your personal life, that’s your prerogative but if you do it when you are trying to make a sale it can be very costly to in the long run.

HOW SO, JEDI MASTER? Read the rest of this entry