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  • Category Archives Sales
  • Learning to Strike Out and Keep Swinging

    Guest Post By: Dave Brown

    Baseball was one sport I actually did not play, but I’ve watched enough to know a little about it. What gets me is the striking out. Of course, I think of sales.

    baseball

    One thing that can happen in baseball: you strike out while just looking at the ball. You watch it go right by you and you do not even swing.

    For those of you who also do not play baseball, it’s whenever you’re sitting there ready to hit the ball and it comes whizzing by you. Three times and the Umpire does his thing and says you’re out of there! Are you at least swinging, or just letting it hit the glove behind you?

    Don’t be that person who never even swings at the ball or someone who never gives yourself a chance to be in the game.

    This happens with so many people. They don’t even give themselves a shot, like when an objection comes up they just let it go right by them and don’t keep trying. They are just letting their commission whiz right by them.

    It’s in every process and part of the sale. It’s in the prospecting whenever you ask somebody to meet with you, or set an appointment with them, ask them to make a decision. Make it happen! You can’t strike out by not even trying to set something up!

    There have been times on the phone I know someone is not interested, but I jump right to asking them to make a decision. Yes, or no. When can we meet? They may say something like, “This is not for us, Dave. There’s no way we could make it work.” What I say is, “OK, cool when should I come out and train your team?” I just ask when is good for them. It’s important! I don’t let the ball just go by me I will swing and try to hit and sometimes it will be a great hit. Home-run!

    One of the worst things you could do is procrastinate on asking someone to follow through with the decision of meeting with you or purchasing your product or service. Why wait? 

    Average people get “maybe” all the time. Top producers find ways to get “maybe” out-of-the-way! To make a change, and make that ‘maybe’ be confident, ask for that decision to be made.

    Whenever you ask someone to say yes or to say no, it’s a good thing. The ‘no’ will keep you moving. You know to shut those down. The yes, of course, is a great thing! “Maybe” is something you create by not asking someone to make the decision… by not swinging that bat and going after it.

    There is so much weight and emotional energy that when you don’t ask for the appointment for the business it’s like what the heck are you even doing.

    Are you truly in sales, or are you just a professional presenter?!

    Go out there and start swinging, stop striking out just watching things go by you!

    What are some of you ‘focus techniques’ – I want to hear them! Comment here, tweet me@davebrown_swc, or connect on LinkedIn. 

    Dave Brown is a senior partner and executive level coach at Southwestern Consulting and author of the upcoming book Painless Prospecting. Dave was a record breaking salesman for Southwestern Advantage, knocking on over 50,000 doors before the age of 25. He has spoken and trained over 100,000 sales professionals across the globe with Southwestern Consulting.

     


  • Building Confidence in You

    Guest Post By: Gary Michels

     

    The other day, someone asked me, “What makes a customer or prospect have confidence in the person selling to them?”

    Great question!!

    First of all, you must believe yourself, that you along with your product/service, are the absolute best choice for that particular person.  My self-talk goes something like this: “I am the best salesperson, working for the best company, with the best products and services, for this person, at this time.” Psyche yourself up with this kind of self-talk.  Once you do this, you’ll be well on your way to successful selling.

    confidence

    Besides self-talk, video record yourself giving your presentation.  Listen to it once with your back to the screen.  This way, you can hear exactly what you say as well as how you say it. The next time through, watch it with the sound turned down.  This will help illustrate how your body-language speaks to others.  Do you have any distracting habits like adjusting your glasses or twirling your hair?

    In addition to improving your self-talk and your confidence surrounding your ability to sell, there are a few other things you can do to establish confidence in you from the folks who are soon to be your customers.

    1)    Write an article or story about your company or yourself, what you are doing to help others, and what results/benefits those people received.

    2)    Get a prospect to help you in your presentation. Maybe they can pass out materials or ask for directions on how to get to the appointment.

    3)    Be as prepared as possible. Don’t be fumbling with papers, tripping over your verbiage, or moving with a tentative step.

    4)    Tell a story about you helped another client or maybe even film one of your happy clients with your phone sharing briefly about their success with you. Then show this video to your prospect.

    5)    Carry a printed list of people who have worked with you in the past and share where appropriate.

    6)    Have “Champion Letters” on hand. These are testimonials from some of your most loyal customers. Try to have one letter that addresses each one of the objections you may get during the sales process.

    7)    Get a referral and then ask the person who gave you the referral to personally introduce you or call ahead and put in a good word before you make the final contact.

    8)    Let your clients know you are not part of a “fly by night” company and that you make a point of having regular contact with your customers.

    9)    Lastly, make people feel that you truly care about them. There is no need for “commission breath”. You should come across as someone who really wants to help them achieve.

    If your prospects trust you, they will eventually buy from you. It is all about that confidence that they MUST have in you that will determine your success. Pick at least one of the items on the list above and put it into action today.  Continue using that idea and bit by bit it will become second nature to you.  The more you practice, the more you will be ready for your sales presentation.  Soon, without thinking about it, you will be instilling confidence into your prospects.

     

    Gary Michels is a co-founder of Southwestern Consulting. He is a keynote speaker, sales trainer and business consultant and has motivated nearly 1,000,000 people to achieve their highest potential nationwide. Gary spent 19 successful years as a sales representative for a national fund-raising company.


  • The Root of Objections

    Guest Post By: Amanda Johns Vaden

     

    no

    One of the most important things about the art of answering objections is knowing what objection you are really answering.

    Because typically the number one objection that people give you, is not their real objection. It’s an excuse.

    So how do you determine what the difference between an excuse and an objection is if you are going to be successful in overcoming this?

    First, you must learn how to isolate the objection. This technique is simple but incredibly powerful. It allows you to keep moving forward after someone challenges you with an objection.

    So a very typical objection that you may face can be as simple as, “Well you know what Amanda? This sounds great, but I really need to talk to…” – my business partner, or my spouse, or my parents, friends, dog, or even their great Aunt Berta – “before I can make a decision.”

    Now that might be the real objection, but it might not be. If you really think about it, what are they going to discuss with the other person?

    Something like: Can we afford this? Should we do it? Do we have the time to implement it and do we have the budget to do so? They may talk about something, but it may not be the real objection. So here’s how you isolate the objection.

    The next time that somebody tells you, “I need to talk to (xyz),” respond with, “Hey, I completely understand, Mr./Mrs. Customer. Other than talking to your business partner, is there any reason that you wouldn’t want to move forward with this?”

    Asking them, “other than this” – whatever objection they just gave you – “is there anything else holding you back from moving forward?” gives you the opportunity to see what the real hold up is. If they say no, then, green light, they’re telling you that is the only thing they need to do, so your job is to close on the next step and schedule the next meeting.

    But if they say, “Well actually, what we need to talk about is the budget.” Now, you have the real objection. It’s not talking to their business partner, it’s the money.

    So remember, the first time you hear an objection, isolate the objection. Then you’re one step closer to finding the root of their doubt and closing the sale.

    To learn more you can view the rest of my website here.

     

    Amanda Johns Vaden is a founding partner, executive coach and senior consultant at Southwestern Consulting. She has worked with over 400 sales offices nationwide.  Amanda is the author of the upcoming books Unspoken: Redefining Expectations Between  Men and Women in the World of Work and 4-Dimensional Follow up: Increasing Client Retention and Customer Loyalty Through Follow-Up


  • 2 Steps Forward And 3 Steps Back Part 1

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

    Depressed business woman

    Do you ever have little annoyances in your business that aren’t bad but they bring business to a halt? It is often worse because it’s something that is a little frustrating and you think it will go away but it keeps coming back over and over again?

    –          Maybe someone at the office is driving you mad?

    –          Or people aren’t doing things the way you know they need to be done?

    –          Or something or people are slipping through the cracks?

    –          Or maybe it’s that next ‘great idea’ that will be the next big thing that will revolutionize your world?

    If not, are your breathing? It happens to all of us!

    Usually what happens is that we live in this little world where small frustrations are the norm and we’ve just learned to ignore them.

    Before too long we find ourselves years later in almost the same place we were before, often frustrated and losing hope that anything will ever be different! Overwhelmed and/or annoyed is our new normal and we keep going!

    –          We’re stuck. We know it….but we don’t KNOW it. Instead of dealing with that harsh reality we’re either too busy to give it much deep thought often find ourselves saying, “when the kids get older”, “when my company does ‘this’”, “this is how it’s always been done and it just won’t change”, “I’ve tried that before and I know it won’t work”, “I’m doing good enough”, “the poor man just can’t get ahead”…

    –          Arrgghh!

    What is it for you? What right now, at work, is driving you nuts? Write it down because we’re about to have some fun!

    5 steps to EASY, Stress-LESS, getting things done:

    1.  Consider the impact of not getting it done.

    Yes, sit and think of just one of the things that keeps stressing you out and work and consider the IMPACT of not getting a resolution to this? Maybe at first, it doesn’t seem to matter. You haven’t done anything and business is still getting done. OR IS IT? Is business getting done or are you settling for MEDIOCRITY?

    Recently, I hadn’t taken the time to be fully understood by my amazing assistant as to what should be categorized a VERY important email, an IMPORTANT email and an email that can wait. Because of my lack of finding a minute to better discuss it with her, emails that were VERY important were getting marked as ‘not that important’ and I was losing SALES! Yet, because I was making a lot of other sales, meeting with her wasn’t a priority until I almost lost a BIG sale.

    What are you waiting to get ‘taken care of’ and what is the possible impact of you not getting it done?

    Stayed tuned for step #2…

     

    Kitty Barrow is a Senior Partner and Executive Sales and Leadership Coach of Southwestern Consulting. She specializes in creating successful systems that are easily duplicated. Her motto is “Keep Things Simple for Stress-less Selling.” Kitty has trained thousands of sales professionals in companies such as Wells Fargo, MassMutual, New York Life, Xerox Global and Allstate


  • How Important Is Your Tone and Posture?

    Guest Post By Emmie Brown

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    As a coach, we begin every call with our coaching clients following up on actions items from the previous week. On a call with one of my clients, Josh, I asked him about using the cell phone technique. I was fully expecting to hear some enthusiasm and excitement from his experience. He wasn’t excited. Instead, Josh said he hated it! He said it was so awkward, he didn’t get referrals, and he didn’t like the technique at all.

    I was slightly shocked! The cell phone technique works, and it’s a good one! So, I asked him to role play with me. I wanted to find out just how he used the technique and how he was going about interacting with his prospects. He had the right words down. He is meticulous and always pays attention, so I knew something little was off.

    I proceeded to ask him how he was sitting in his chair. Was he leaning forward or backward? He said forward. This was a red flag indicator. I advised him to use the exact same wording, but lean back. Relax and allow the other person across from him to feel comfortable, and not overpowered by his presence. Guess what, two weeks later when he had tried that and I asked him again, he got more referrals! Welcome them!

    Our voice and our posture will make such a big difference in the sales process.

    In a study done by General Electric, body language makes up for 58% of our communication, 37% of communication is our tone of voice, and only 5% of our communication are the words we use. In sales, we spend so much time focusing on learning the right words, but we don’t really focus on how to deliver those words.

    In the sales process, there’s always initial contact, then after that initial contact, there’s always a part of the process where we are asking questions to identify our customers’ needs. We find out how we can serve them.

    After that, we present a solution to those needs. In this part, we want to find a need for a product of service. We need to show that we are actively listening. We don’t need to be too comfortable leaning back, or too assertive and excited where we are leaning forward. We just sit up straight in our chair. Our tone and speed of voice should be slow and low as we are really listening with sincerity.

    In the next part of the presentation, this is where we want to increase the enthusiasm, show them how excited we are about our product. We want to sell the sizzle! Our voice needs to speed up and get louder, convey the interest, and lean forward as we are talking about all the benefits of our product and what it can do for our prospect.

    Finally, we close for a decision and answer objections to get them moving forward. Here we switch gears again. We will lean back, and speak low and slow with our prospect.

    We need to change our tone and speed of voice and posture as we move through the sales process.  Our voice and body language changes as we try to get a point across.

    As a sales trainer, when I go into someone’s office, I want them to see me as someone who is confident and enthusiast. I want to bring the heat! I have to walk in the room like that! My tone of voice needs to be loud and fast and I need to be assertive. I will have body language that is forward and reaching out toward them. Unlike when asking for referrals. I need to lean into that conversation because that shows enthusiasm.

    When I sold educational books door-to-door, I needed to get something totally different across. I needed to appear none threatening. To do that, I would turn sideways as I waited for them to open the door so they would see my whole profile, and not think I was threatening as someone head on would be. My voice was low and slow for this presentation.

    To become better at sales, we shouldn’t just focus on the words we use, rather pay attention to our voice tone and speed, as well as our posture. These simple tips can make a world of difference in your presentation and interactions with the people you are doing business with.

    Emmie Brown is an executive level coach and an expert in the Psychology of Scripting. Emmie started her career with The Southwestern Company as a student intern at the University of North Carolina. She continued to work with Southwestern over the next 10 years as a top producing sales manager until joining Southwestern Consulting in 2009. Emmie has spent the last 4 years traveling the country as a professional sales trainer, executive coach and business consultant with Southwestern Consulting and the Success Starts Now! conference series. She is also the author of the audio series Talk Less, Sell More and a breakout presenter at the Success Starts Now! sales training conference.


  • How Your Prospect is Really Saying “Be More Creative”

    Guest Post By: Dave Brown

    creative

    Giving up is sometimes the easiest thing to do. Most often it is never the best thing to do.

    You miss out on changing people’s lives.

    One thing you have to do though, NEVER GIVE UP. If you are down on your luck with your prospecting, I’d like you to learn to talk through the tone! What is the tone?

    That silence on the other end of the phone. You know that tone! You have to talk through it, fight for your prospects, and show how your belief can outweigh anything. Any doubt and hesitation will be diminished when you show just how important your product or service can be for them. Be persistent and truly care.

    When people tell me no over and over again, all they are really saying is, “Dave, how can you be more creative? I need something more creative from you.” That’s all they mean with that no.

    What can you do? Use another name. Share another example or a piece of the puzzle you can solve. Move to the next point. If they say they are going to hang up on you, well done! You are doing your job right and doing your best to get your product in their life.

    The more people you reach, the more lives you can change and make better. That is what we are here to do! You cannot give up. Find your power and find your stride. Talk through the tone.

    You will be amazed by what you can come up with when learning to talk through the tone.

    When prospecting, put yourself in situations where the chances of victory and accomplishment are made for building. You have to crank it, and keep growing!

     

    Dave Brown is a senior partner and executive level coach at Southwestern Consulting and author of the upcoming book Painless Prospecting. Dave was a record-breaking salesman for Southwestern Advantage, knocking on over 50,000 doors before the age of 25. He has spoken and trained over 100,000 sales professionals across the globe with Southwestern Consulting.


  • To Tell the Truth

    Guest Post By: Gary Michels

    Business, Technology, Internet and network concept. Young busine

    I was in a pretty intense conversation once with one of my clients. We spoke about having to let some people go within his organization. My client kept saying he did not want to hurt anyone’s feelings, yet at the same time, he wanted to be true to himself, not only through his words but his actions. He felt that as the leader of the company, it was time to make and follow through on some decisions.

    It seems that often we spend too much time worrying about being polite. When we do this, we hold back our heartfelt ideas and beliefs. We feel afraid that someone’s feelings might get hurt if we speak truthfully, either to them or about them.

    However, do you think it is possible to be honest without being rude or mean? Is it possible to be truthful in a kind, loving and sincere way? I believe it is, otherwise, how will we communicate to others and let them know who we are? How can others let us know who they truly are? Unless we speak the truth, no idea will be challenged and no good ideas will be shared.

    Censoring thoughts and ideas will cut you off emotionally from others. In a way, when you censor yourself it is as if there is an invisible force that is serving to hold you in check. We all need to dig deep and find ways to avoid stifling our genuine thoughts and ideas. Everyone has the capability to express themselves in a kind, loving, and methodical way.  One that is not hurtful. At times, we must make sure to use extra thought and take care to make sure you are using the best words and tone to say what you want to say.  You also need to make sure you are saying them at the right time.  You know the old saying, “timing is everything”. Often, I will ask someone a question in this way: “do I have the permission to share with you what I am thinking and what is in my head and heart, and do it in a safe environment with you”? I find that most times, the person I am speaking with will answer “yes” and be thankful that I was honest and open with them.

    I live by the creed that if one tells the truth and someone turns away from you because of it, that person was probably not truly a close of friend or acquaintance anyway.

    I feel there are two things you can do in your life that really set you free; to tell the truth and live with the truth, even should it hurt.  Also, when you screw up, a good, old-fashioned sincere apology will give you a burst of energy and freshness. This will enable you to move forward with peace and success.

    You can’t “Turn It Up a Notch” if something is holding you back and keeping you stuck in the neutral position!! Holding back the truth is often one of the biggest things preventing “breakthrough” success.  I urge you to speak with honestly but to do so with love in your heart.

    Sell with truth and integrity and you will be successful!

     

    Gary Michels is a co-founder of Southwestern Consulting. He is a keynote speaker, sales trainer and business consultant and has motivated nearly 1,000,000 people to achieve their highest potential nationwide. Gary spent 19 successful years as a sales representative for a national fund-raising company.


  • Goal Setting

    Guest Post By: Brent Widman

    I was speaking at an event the other day and asked,  “How many of you set goals?”  Of the 25 people there I saw about 4 hands go up.  I then asked, “How many of you take time at the beginning of the day, week, month or year to set goals?” “How many of you tell people about those goals? Do you post your goals and do others know what they are?”

    I didn’t see one single hand go up.  I thought to myself, here we go!

    Slovenia High Resolution Goal Concept

    The reason I tell you this is because it can be the one single thing that helps drive your business.  When you know what your goals are each and every day, when we review these goals each day, you realize what you need to do to get there.

    Here’s where we start:

    1. Write down your goals. It can be 1, it can be 10. I don’t care; write them down.
    2. Post them somewhere. On your wall, your fridge, in your office, on your door, as a screen saver, on your phone. Post them everywhere.
    3. Tell people about them. The reason you don’t is because you don’t want to be held accountable. The reason you will is because you want to be held accountable!
    4. Take the time to do it. Take 10 minutes. You can take 10 minutes per day. The first day is to write them, after the take that 10 minutes to review them. It’s worth it.
    5. Know the activity you need to do to hit them. Set a time period you want them done by. You can control your activity every day.

    Goal setting is one of the easiest and toughest things you can do. It’s easy because we can write down whatever we want to. Goal setting is about conviction. If you are truly convicted in what you want to do, what you want to hit, you will go out and do whatever you can to make that happen.  The tough part, you now have that hanging over your head!  You have now told people. YES! Now we are talking. Now you have to do everything it takes to hit those things.  Go get it!

    There are three things that will factor into your goal setting, how you stick to it, and why you do it.

    1. You can control this every day. Have that Positive Mental Attitude!  Enjoy it, this is supposed to be fun. Not overwhelming.
    2. This is Physical, Mental, Social, Family, Career. All those things that go into life. Enjoy it all and be grounded. Do it for the right reasons.
    3. Get a coach, mentor, tell people. Have someone hold you accountable to your goals.  Without that, you are just floating.

    Now, take all of this and set them bigger. Those goals that when you tell people it makes you a little uncomfortable. It makes them think how the heck are you going to accomplish all of that. Don’t listen to naysayers. When you want it, you will do it.

     

    Brent Widman has over 10 years experience in all aspects of sales. He is a professional sales coach at Southwestern Consulting. Brent has expertise in lead generation, prospecting, selling to top execs and the art of follow up. He has worked with numerous individuals to improve their sales processes, day to day interaction and ultimately them as a person. He is a former division director, sales director and district manager for distinguished sales teams in the recruiting, fitness and communications world.


  • TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL NETWORKING

    Guest Post By: Amanda Johns Vaden

    To get started, Google networking in your area – for example: “networking Sonoma County” – and search for a site that has links to different networking events in the area.  Go to the Calendars of the various groups and match that up with your schedule, so that you are going to at least 4-8 a month, some in the morning (breakfasts with a guest speaker) and some at night  (the social happy hour types) so you are meeting different kinds of people.

    This is how to not work a room at a networking function.  You will see others doing this:

    1. Grouping with people they already know
    2. Spending too long talking to people who are trying to sell to them
    3. Talking too much when they find someone who is interested
    4. Passing out their business card to everyone without collecting information

    Instead, what you should do is:

    how-wow

    1. Move quickly through the room searching for prospects.  (Like “speed dating”)
    2. Have a Wow How Statement that explains what you do.  (Make sure it is one line only and gets them to ask.  “Wow! How do you do that?”)
    3. Share only enough information with them about what you do to keep them interested.  (When they ask “What is that?” respond with a story of how you helped someone that sells a benefit.)
    4. Collect information.  (Get whatever information that you need. Qualify)
    5.  Aim for finding as many prospects as possible that you can call later to set an appointment.

    What are Wow How Statements?
    They are basically an elevator pitch that makes people say, “Wow, that’s cool. How do you do that?”

    At a networking meeting when someone asks you what you do for a living you don’t want to say, “I sell insurance.”  They think about how they already know many insurance agents and they want to run the other way.  Here are some points to consider:

    When coming up with your ‘Wow-How’ think about the following:

    • What makes me unique?  What is my USP?  (Unique Selling Proposition)
    • How can I be seen as a ‘resource’?
    • What makes me different from everyone else in my industry?
    • What is my goal in this industry?
    • What am I exceptionally good at?
    • Why do people work with me over someone else?
    • What is funny or interesting about me, my company or my industry?

     

    Amanda Johns Vaden is a founding partner, executive coach and senior consultant at Southwestern Consulting. She has worked with over 400 sales offices nationwide.  Amanda is the author of the upcoming books Unspoken: Redefining Expectations Between  Men and Women in the World of Work and 4-Dimensional Follow up: Increasing Client Retention and Customer Loyalty Through Follow-Up


  • The More I Train

    Guest Post By: Gary Michels

    In almost everything in life, if you are going to “Turn It Up a Notch” and strive to be above average, you are going to have to train to improve yourself. Some people call it practice, others call it drilling it into your head, and even others may call it rehearsing. To me, it all boils down to the same thing- you are in TRAINING.  You are working to improve yourself and reach the pinnacle of success you are looking for. I once read that in order for one to be a true expert at something, one must spend at least 10,000 hours learning, practicing, and training on that subject. I am not sure if that number and/or fact is true or not, it certainly is a huge feat to accomplish.

    In the game of business and sales, I always suggest that everyone spends a minimum of 30 minutes a day educating themselves.  This breaks down to spending approximately 15 minutes on motivation and 15 minutes on technique. Mathematically, this works out to be a minimum of 10 hours a month and 120 hours a year of bettering yourself.  That is something we all need to be working towards.

    When I want to excel at something, I “PDR” (Practice, Drill, Rehearse) like crazy. If you are driven to be at the top of your game, or just want to improve upon where you are, you must embrace the training concept.  You need to be willing to put up with the pain it takes to train. You must be willing to “PDR” until you have your presentation or information down cold.   Otherwise, you will experience the pain of regret when you do not reach the goals you set for yourself. Training breeds confidence and preparedness- the exact opposite of fear and mediocrity. The words below speak for themselves.

    The more I train…The quicker I get

    The quicker I get…The slower they seem

    The slower they seem…The easier the game

    The easier the game…The greater my threat

    The greater my threat…The more attention I draw

    The more attention I draw…The tighter they play me

    The tighter they play me…THE MORE I TRAIN!

     

    Be excited and enthusiastic about training. Don’t look at it as if it is a burden. The benefits derived from the time and energy you invest in training far outweigh the hassles. Training will make you successful.  You must stick with it and continue to try and better yourself.  Your results will speak for themselves. What type of training can you undertake this week to make you more productive and successful?

     

    Gary Michels is a co-founder of Southwestern Consulting. He is a keynote speaker, sales trainer and business consultant and has motivated nearly 1,000,000 people to achieve their highest potential nationwide. Gary spent 19 successful years as a sales representative for a national fund-raising company.