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  • Category Archives Sales Coaching
  • Under the Bus You Go

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

    As a sales manager, we’ve all been there, haven’t we? We have all had team members who weren’t performing as they should. Then we hire a new team member, and we fear that the new team member will think the others are role models to follow. So, without really thinking of the consequences, we throw our current team members under the bus by telling the new person to not watch the others because their activity or results aren’t acceptable.

    Wow. How did that help?

    Imagine how confused you would be if you were hired to perform at a higher level than others while other people are left to do as little as they pleased. How would that be fair?

    In working with many sales managers and business owners, we have seen this pattern repeated often. Why? Typically it is because our client is trying to turn around their sales by bringing in new talent, but they aren’t in a place where they can let the other lower-performing team members find success elsewhere.

    This practice is wrong on many levels:

    First, it sends an immediate signal to the new team member that you (their new leader) can’t be trusted to have their back.

    Second, it lets the new team member know that “gossip” is accepted here.

    Third, it sows the seeds of distrust among team members. Any one of these is a problem. All three of these can be fatal for your organization.

    So what is a manager to do?

    Step 1:     Let everyone know the vision of your company. Where do you see everyone going and what do you see them achieving together? Present this to your team early and often. Get everyone excited about the part they play in the success of the team as a whole.

    Step 2:     Before bringing in new sales team members, sit down with your current team individually to discuss their personal and professional goals. Also, apologize if you haven’t been clear in your activity expectations in the past or you haven’t been doing your job as a leader to hold them accountable to doing the things that will help them reach their goals. Let them know that you plan to be a better leader for them because their personal success is important. Set out a reasonable plan for sales activity (referrals, dials, reaches, appointments set, appointments held) and begin tracking them (preferably using our CSF system that will do the math for you with quick and easy reports). Set up weekly one-on-one Personal Conferences (PCs) where you will review their numbers and help them improve in the areas where they need help to achieve their goals.

    Step 3:     Hire your new team member and repeat Step 2 (sans apology). No comparison needs to be made with the current team members. Everyone should be held to their own activity levels, which should be consistent for everyone.

    Step 4:     Prepare for the best and the worst. Best case scenario is that you continue to meet with all team members and work with them to perfect the skills they need in order to hit their activity numbers. You stay consistent with your help and accountability, and they continue to get better at achieving more than they had before. Worst case scenario is that your team members don’t step up to the plate. If they aren’t willing to work toward what is expected of them, then you will need to think about putting them on a Performance Recovery Program (PRP) —or Performance Improvement Program (PIP)—which includes a training program. If they aren’t successful on the PRP, then you will need to be prepared to help them find success with another division of your company or with another company.

    Step 5:     Stay consistent. The best sales leaders are consistently keeping the company vision in front of their team members while also connecting sales and activity numbers to t achieving personal and professional goals. Consistency in casting vision, accountability, and helping them to develop the skills they need to be successful will keep you from ever feeling the need to throw any of your team members under the bus. Instead, you will be lifting them high in recognition for how much they are achieving.

     

    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 to Better Train in the Field

    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

    Field training

    I recently had one of my clients come to me and say, “I am not sure my managers are working with people very effectively in the field, can you check it out for me?” After investigating, they weren’t! They were working with their agents all day long in the field, doing the presentations, but expecting the brand new rookies to learn by osmosis. Many times we think we are teaching people how to sell effectively just by having them watch us. It does not really work like that at all! They cannot always just learn this way, they actually have to do what they are learning.

    Someone can sit in a class on how to learn to ride a bicycle and intellectually understand how to balance, or how they need to put one foot down and the other up. It’s not just about reading a book on it or being told that will teach someone, it is actually having someone along side of them helping them stay balanced and figure it out. As a leader, we don’t just need to have the team watch what we do, we actually have to coach them as they go.

    This is a field training methodology. It’s very simple and effective. It’s a formula you can use when you’re working with new people in the field, and you watch each other to help develop new skills.

    The methodology is to watch, show, watch, make it real.

    What you do, and how this works, is you have them do a portion of their presentation, role play a section or the entire thing, and you watch how they do it. When you’re watching, you are not looking for every little thing they are doing wrong, you’re looking for the biggest and most important area. One or two things that you can give them suggestions on, that if they do it, they will improve their presentation and make it better. You’re watching them, and listening for that one piece of advice you can give them.

    The second thing you do is show them. You role play it back to them and have them see what it is that you are wanting them to get in very accurate detail. Then you have them do it again. Watch to see if they improve and use that advice and make sure they know you notice the difference. Now you go make it real. You go out and do the full presentation and apply what was learned.

    The magic about following this formula is that even though you are giving someone one little piece of advice and they are practicing and applying it, over time, if you’re continuing to work with people with this methodology their skills will go from very small, to very adapted.  They are going to be strong, they will be proficient and know how to do things right. It won’t be because they just watched you and tried to pick up what you were doing. You broke it down for them one piece at a time. You followed an effective field training methodology.

    How have you learned to best train your field agents?  Share some key ways you help others grow and learn in your business.

    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.


  • “I’m Sorry” & Customer Service

    Guest Post By: Amanda Johns Vaden

    While reading  new book that I got turned on to called “#GIRLBOSS” by Sophia Amoruso, one of the things she talks about is how important it is to apologize to your customers when things go wrong. Here’s what I believe when it comes to saying, “I’m sorry,” in regards to customer service.

    I believe that you should always take responsibility when things don’t go right in your company. Many times it’s going to be your fault, and many times it’s not. Regardless, they’re still your customers.

    We’ve all heard that old adage saying, “The customer is always right.” Let’s just be honest, that’s not true. The customer is not always right. But regardless, they are still your customers.

    And here’s what I’ve noticed as a customer and a consumer of many types of things: I don’t hear “I am so sorry” or “Let us fix that for you”. In fact, most times, the person on the other line or the person standing behind the counter is trying to inform me why it was my fault, why this didn’t go right, or trying to give me some logical explanation as to why this happened.

    Here’s what I know about apologizing. The more you try to defend yourself or the more you try to reason, the more defensive the other person’s going to get. Although I don’t necessarily believe that you should be sorry for everything that your customers are unhappy about, here’s what I know:

    The quicker that you respond with a genuine empathetic, “I’m sorry this happened to you,” you’re not saying, “I am sorry we did this. I’m sorry that we failed you.” You are saying, “I am sorry that you feel this way. I am sorry that this was your experience.”

    If you can show genuine empathy quickly, all of the negative attitudes tend to diminish. It’s when we don’t apologize. It’s when we don’t take responsibility. It’s when we don’t make an effort to show our customers that we appreciate them as customers that things turn ugly.

    And let’s just be honest. In the world of social media and online feedback, no one can afford a constant barrage of unhappy customers because if you keep your customers unhappy long enough, you’re just not going to have any customers.

     

    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


  • 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


  • Letting Go of the Uncontrollable

    Guest Post By: Dustin Hillis

    Donald Miller says in his book Scary Close, “the root of sin is the desire for control”… and “the root of control is fear.” The fear of losing control is a powerful driving force that causes us to behave in a variety of crazy different ways. For some, this fear manifests itself by self-promotion and being self-righteous with the thirst for winning and being the best, while others might be controlling their image and presenting a perfect front to the world. For some, it’s the pursuit of being right or the relentless domination of others with an iron fist and exerting their will over the “inferior” people around them. The inverse is true when the craving for control rears its ugly head through self-destructive, shameful and guilt-ridden vehicles such as alcoholism, drug addictions, work obsession, food addictions, sex and pornography addictions, and many other self-control coping mechanisms create the illusion of having control in one’s life.

    In the “self-help” industry I often hear motivational speakers, authors, and “experts” promote prosperity and how to be in control of their results. Being in control of results usually involves manipulation. It hasn’t been until some recent events in my personal life that I’ve realized how destructive “being in control” can be. Upon reflection of my life, the more I’ve tried to control uncontrollable things, other people and results, the more I seem to screw up. Yet, everything noteworthy that I’ve ever done has come to me by letting go of the desire for control, focusing on the right activities and trusting God to deliver the outcome how He sees fit.

    letgo

    Don’t get me wrong. I feel that we are all called to take action and use the talents God has given us. However, we need to focus on the diligent activity, not the results. Ultimately, we only have a few things that we should put our focus on and let God take care of the rest.

    Here are 3 areas of daily focus:

    1. Your Attitude

    After the economy took a major dip in 2008, my father was in a board meeting for a Fortune 100 company. The CEO was going around the table reaming all the VPs for their numbers being off target. The gentleman sitting next to my dad was smiling ear to ear as the CEO berated his way down the line of senior executives. Once he set his fierce eyes upon the smiling man, he ripped into him, “I don’t know why you have that silly grin on your face. There is nothing to be smiling about with your numbers either!” Then the man stood up and calmly replied “Sir, no disrespect. But you can yell and scream at me all day long; however, there is nothing you can say or do that will take my positive attitude away from me.” Then the brave bold man confidently sat down. The CEO’s demeanor changed on a dime and he shouted with enthusiasm, “That’s right! We need more of you to have an attitude just like this guy!”

    You determine your attitude every day. Your attitude is a choice.

    2. Your Schedule

    We are called to be productive and serve other people. The best way to serve other people is to be organized, focused and proactive. At Southwestern Consulting, we work with hundreds of different companies all across the country and we find the #1 thing that people need help with is controlling their schedule and time. The best approach is to be diligent and plan how you are going to spend every minute of your most precious resource you’ve ever been given, your time. The key is to not get caught up in the trap of being busy to just be busy. Wasting time and wasting your talents is a waste of your life.

    Be proactive, not reactive. Understand your priorities. Set your schedule and stick to it!

    3. Your Activity

    There is a massive difference between people who “work hard” and people who “work smart”. Typically, people who “work hard” measure everything in how long they spend doing something. They think that a 3-hour meeting is a good thing because the person listened to them gab on for that long. Typically, people who think they “work hard” do end up focusing on results and measure everything they do based on the results they are or are not seeing. Therefore, they do not experience peace and joy when working because they are focused on results, that is something they cannot control.

    The rare individuals who “work smart” are the ones who focus on being efficient and effective. They work referrals/word-of-mouth marketing; they gather intel before engaging someone in a sales situation; they find ways to shorten the sales cycle and are excited about spending less time with people and serving them as fast as possible, and not wasting the prospect’s time, as well as their own time. They focus on productive activity and not wasteful, unproductive time.

    When my wife was a little girl, her father would make her re-vacuum the stairs if she missed a spot. He would tell her, “It doesn’t matter how hard you work up a sweat if you don’t get the job done right. You need to work smart and get the job done right the first time.”

    Letting go of the uncontrollable is a scary thing because in order to truly let go we, first must look long and hard into a mirror and admit what it is that we don’t want to let go of. Most of the time, the people, things or results someone is trying to control are stemming from a much deeper-rooted issue that manifests itself in the form of control. Living in truth and admitting our imperfections, wounds from others, personal sins and mistakes and asking for forgiveness is the beginning of letting go. Next, is putting a plan and accountability in place to change our behaviors to ensure that we don’t keep repeating the mistakes that are causing the need for control. Lastly, we have to fully submit to God all of our anxieties and worries and focus on being thankful and loving those around us. Once we let go all of the uncontrollable, life becomes more fun! The grass is greener, the sky is bluer, and everything tastes sweeter. Just let it go.

     

     

    Dustin Hillis is the Co-founder of Southwestern Consulting. He is an expert in understanding buying, selling and management behavior styles and how to identify them and adapt to people the way they want to be communicated with. He also specializes in writing efficient and effective Customized Sales Scripts/Word Tracks.  Mr. Hillis consults companies on creating Compensation Plans, Recruiting Systems and Sales Strategies. Dustin is the author of the book Navigate: The Art of Not Thinking and co-author of Speaking of Success along with Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard and Jack Canfield


  • 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.


  • 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