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    Guest Post By: Emmie Brown

    Anyone reading this would agree that referrals are a good thing. Referrals that trickle in because someone heard about you from one of your clients don’t come often enough.

    There are 3 reasons why you don’t get enough referrals:

    1. You don’t ask
    2. You ask passively
    3. You ask incorrectly

    Here is a list of common reasons given for why you didn’t ask for referrals:

    “I shouldn’t have to ask. If I do a good job, people will refer me.”

    “I don’t want to come across as pushy or salesy.”

    “I ran out of time before my next appointment.”

    “I’ll ask later. I need to earn their trust first.”

    “If I ask, I will look like I need the business. I want to look successful.”

    They are all rationalizations- rational sounding lies believed to be true. The truth is professionals make time to ask for referrals and they do it in a way that the client actually gets excited to help them.


    Some people ask but are fearful. Fear causes you to ask passively or ask with trepidation: “I really appreciate referrals. If you think of anyone who would benefit from what I do, please connect them to me.” You mention that you like referrals. You don’t ask for them directly. You don’t get them.


    Others don’t ask for referrals correctly. You ask, “Do you know of anyone who. . .” You actually set yourself up to get “I can’t think of anyone right now, but I will let you know if I do.”

    Other objections you get when they ask poorly include:

    • I need to think about it.” “Can you call me next week?” “I’ll get back to you.”
    • The “Hermit” objection: “I don’t know anyone.”
    •  “Sure you can call him, but just don’t use my name.” “Let me talk to  him first.” “I’ll have him call you.”
    • “I don’t give referrals.”



    Here are just a few tips that we teach at Southwestern Consulting:

    • Always ask “who do you know who . . . “ instead of  “do you know anyone who. . . ” or “is there anyone who. . .?”
    • Pause after you ask to allow them time to think. Break eye contact. And, look down at your paper ready to write.
    • Use memory joggers. For example, there are certain life events that trigger people to think about insurance. Anyone who is getting married, buying a new house, buying a new car, having a kid, retiring, or changing jobs is a great prospect. Ask who they know in each of these categories.

    The number one way to get referrals is to give someone any opportunity to give them to you. If you are not asking, start there. Then, work on your attitude. You must expect to collect names and numbers. Next, use the above techniques. You will be amazed by how many referrals you get!


    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.


    What motivates top producers in both movie making and money-making?  Is it money?  Is it recognition? Is the fame? Is it winning an award?

    Oscars for Top Producers

    Last year I attended the Direct Selling Association national meeting in Washington, D.C.  In a round table training sessions the topic was “How to Motivate a Sales Team”.   Leaders from various direct selling companies told how they motivate their sales teams, and then the question came to me and I said, “At the Southwestern Company, what we do is…”   I heard someone whisper, “This will be good!”  As I looked around the table every leader was looking at me intently with their pens in hand ready to hear the secrets of the Southwestern Company and how we motivate our sales team.  I told the group that it all begins with helping train young salespeople to find their purpose for working hard.

    Knowing why you are doing what you are doing will help you reach the pinnacle of any industry.  The reason award winners on Oscars night get to walk up on a stage in front of the world and accept an award for being the best in their industry is the same reason the Southwestern consistently trains people to be more successful than they ever thought.  Both Oscar winners and top producers know the WHY behind what they do.

    If your WHY is big enough, you will find the how.

    What is it that motivates you?  Is it money? Is it recognition? Is it fame?  Is it winning an award?

    An easy way to find your purpose is do the following exercise:

    Write out 5 characteristics of the type of person that you want to be.

    Make a list of 10 things that you love about life.

    Write out 10 things that you are thankful for.

    10 things you want to do.

    5 things you want to have.

    Then write down in 3 sentences or less what motivates you.

    Once you know what motivates you to achieve your highest potential; the awards, fame, and fortune is bound to follow.

    For more sales tips go to www.swsalestalk.com.

  • Are You Fishing in an Empty Pond? FIND MORE REFERRALS IN 3 FULL PONDS

    Are You Fishing in an Empty Pond?

    Picture 7

    Have you ever heard anyone use the excuse “I just don’t have anyone to call on!”?  Fishing in a pond without fish is not fun.  Our job is to find the ponds that have fish. There is a large body of water that a lot of salespeople seem to forget to fish in and there are 3 main pools of water you can pull from to fill your pipeline.  The large body of water that is the holy water for salespeople that will keep them alive forever is REFERRALS!

    3 Referral Pools

    1. ABC Lake– Asking for a referral from every person you meet
    2. Old Man Joe’s Farm Pond– Calling on existing clients and “farming your book of business” and asking for referrals
    3. Fish Hatchery– Developing a network of referral power partners who send business to you

    At the Southwestern Company we have seen true sales professionals who know that prospecting is a vital ingredient in the recipe for success.  In fact, prospecting should be one of your daily tasks.  As you may have heard before, prospecting can make or break your sales effort – which is exactly why you need to do it well…but what does it take to be “good” at prospecting?


    First of all, it’s important to keep in mind that prospecting is more than just a part time task…it is your livelihood.  Prospecting should not be a duty that’s left only to “slow” times.  Continued prospecting ensures constant growth, and can minimize income and production slumps. Your prospecting efforts should be viewed as an investment in the future success of your business.  Basically, it’s an investment in your long term goals.  If you’re consistently seeking out new leads, you guarantee yourself an audience regardless of market status.

    Secondly, you should recognize that prospecting is a discipline.  Rory Vaden the Co-founder of Southwestern Consulting a Southwestern Company says “Success is never owned, it’s only rented, and the rent is due every day.” It won’t matter how “good” you are if you don’t have the discipline to see it through.  Much of being a successful sales person is perseverance and practicing a solid work ethic.  Set prospecting activity goals for yourself and use a schedule to get there.  Commit yourself.

    And finally, prospecting should be viewed as a task that requires both quality AND quantity.   Prospect well, but prospect often. Many sales professionals at the Southwestern Company swear by the “triple rule” that says your prospecting efforts should exceed your expected sales by three times.  For example, on the small scale, if you wanted to sell 3 products, you should prospect 9 potential clients!

    Remember: never lose sight of what needs to be done!Get a handle on the commitment you’ve made to your own success and stick to your goals.  Make sure you are “fishing” like a pro and asking for referrals.  Ask yourself, are you reallytaking advantage of available resources?  Are you procrastinating?  If you are not working at your full potential get a coach or accountability partner to help you make sure you’re fishing in the right ponds and consistently have you line in the water.  For more info on coaching go to

  • The “Golden Ten”: How to Generate Leads and Turn Contacts into Clients!

    The “Golden Ten” – how to Generate Leads and Turn Contacts into Clients!

    One of the most important things you need to ensure sales success is a solid resource of leads…but that means you will have to get out there and generate those leads!  The good news is that lead generation doesn’t have to be intimidating and if you use the right techniques, it can actually be both productive and fun!  Because this is such a common sales question, we’ve put together the “Golden Ten” tips for generating leads.

    So, without further adieu, “The Golden Ten”:

    The Golden Ten

    The Golden Ten

    1)      Use your networking resources!  Exchange URL links with companies or business that share your target audience but do not represent a direct competitor.  When any member of that target audience visits your “partner’s” web page, he or she will have direct access to YOU!  Increasing web traffic is a MUST in lead generation; more people use the Web as a shopping forum than another other available source. For example www.southwestern.com andwww.southwesternconsulting.com shares web traffic to help increase web traffic from the Southwestern Company to Southwestern Consulting.

    2)      Give your patrons a chance to hear from you.  Put your ‘opt in’ on every page of your web site. As a patron browses your site, he or she may not be immediately inclined to provide you with contact information – but providing them with more opportunities may prove enticing.  The more opportunities you take to generate leads – the better.  This option is convenient and is not overly pushy.    For example check out the Southwestern Company seminar website at http://www.ssnseminars.com/.

    3)      Use a newsletter as a way to advertise your business.  No matter what’s going on with your company, customers will respond to a newsletter option.  Giving potential patrons an option to sign up for a monthly business update or newsletter is a great way to spark interest even over a long period of time.  Statistically, customers who don’t purchase immediately will make a purchase within the subsequent 12 months!  A newsletter will allow you to stay in view during this window.

    4)      Using a website to advertise your service is one of the best ways to stay out in front of the sales wave, especially since so much of business is virtual these days.  Using an auto responder to automate your website is great way to keep your web page current without taking up scads of time.  Auto responders can be set up to send out a periodic update or email reminding your customers of sales, new products, etc.  Check out the Southwestern Company website atwww.southwestern.com.

    5)      Be personable! Send thank you notes to let your clients know that you truly appreciate their business.  After any successful transaction, issue a thank you – either in the form of a greeting card or an e-postcard.  This thank you note will help you stand out and is very well received in client circles.  People appreciate acknowledgment.  You can use this technique in all areas of business – not just sales.

    6)      Potential customers like to hear what other customers are saying.  Ask your clients for testimonials that can be published on your web page or your sales copy, pamphlets, etc.  This is a great way to show your customers that other “real” people are truly happy with your services.  Video testimonials work great check out the Southwestern Company student testimonial videohttp://www.southwesternsummer.com/southwestern-company-students-home.aspx.

    7)      Use your social networking circles.  Social networking is the wave of the sales future!  If you haven’t yet explored the option of using social networking as part of your sales strategy, today is the day to do so!  Spend some time looking into this powerful tool and don’t let the wave of the future pass you buy!  Check out the Southwestern Company Facebook site at http://www.facebook.com/?sk=messages&tid=1374284354847#!/Southwestern?ref=ts.

    8)      Publish press releases for new products or services.  Believe it or not, people respond to the press in a way that most other advertising falls short.  Use the power of the press release to get your services and your name out anytime a new opportunity comes up.  You’ll be surprised at the response you get.

    9)      Followup, Followup, Followup!  Did you know that most people have to see or hear a message 7 times before it is installed in the “memory bank”?  That means that a followup system that get’s your message in front of potential customers at least 7 times is ideal.  Using varying options for this followup should be easy: an email, a postcard, a letter, a phone call, a newsletter…get creative and have fun with it!

    10)   Market yourself with events!  Promote events, teleclasses, seminars, and other industry related paraphernalia.  Speak publicly as often as possible and use YOU as a resource.  Marketing yourself will be just as important as marketing your business.  Plus, getting out there and showing what you’ve got and what you can do will draw customers like moths to a flame!




    lead-generationIf you’ve been in sales for more than five minutes then you already know that generating leads is a mainstay and a staple for success.  Unfortunately, far too many sales people find lead generation to be intimidating.  The good news is lead generation and lead generation techniques do not have to be intimidating, scary, or even difficult.

    While there are a plethora of varying lead generation techniques, some of them stand out among peers area this week, we’ve decided to put together a triple threat of lead generation.  Three of our very favorite lead generation techniques to help you maximize your sales potential in turn your leads into customers are as follows:

    1. First of all, use your resources.  Use your social networks, newsletters, websites, question and answer forums, and any other networking opportunity that will allow you to put your name and your information out into cyberspace.  For example, check out www.dhillis.me.  Not only that, getting your name out into tangible media will also be of benefit.  For example, if you have a product that you know is persistent genre of customer will require, target that audience with newspaper advertisements, flyers, and snail mail postcards.
    2. Put yourself out there.  Basically, if you’ve had the opportunity or will have the opportunity to speak publicly, attend a seminar, or become involved in a workshop or other events, you should spend some time networking with in that realm.  Far too many speakers will allow themselves to go in my day after speaking engagement.  If you’re speaking in public, be sure and set up a short Q&A session.  A Q&A session, or simply a meet and greet, will let your potential customers (a.k.a. your leads) know that you’re accessible and available.
    3. And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals.  Every time a prior customer, who is happy with your service gives you a name or number of someone else who might be happy with your service also… you’ve generated a lead.  This is an area where many sales people feel intimidated are uncomfortable.  However, if you’re passionate about your industry, confident in your abilities, and you’re laid-back and your approach — your customers will be more than willing to provide you with referrals to friends and family.


    These are just three of many, many lead generation techniques — however, we have to reiterate the fact that these three are a triple threat and stand out among the rest.  Simply adding Beasley generation techniques to your lead repertoire will provide you with results you never before thought possible.

    For more info on working referrals go here:http://secure.ssnseminars.com/store/Navigate-How-to-Navigate-Referrals-3-disc-set-by-Dustin-Hillis-P641C10.aspx


  • 5 Easy Steps to Creating a Follow-Up System

    5 Easy Steps for Effective Follow Up & How to Incorporate Social Media

    For sales professionals, having an up-to-date contact management database is one of the KEY systems you must have in place to be successful. Even more important, is having a
    system in place to create effective follow-up. Your business is built on following up with leads and building relationships.

    If you don’t have a contact management system in place, you will not be able to follow-up effectively with prospects, you could lose clients and you will not be able to build your business.

    Your contact management system doesn’t need to be an expensive database but it does need to be easy to use, easy to maintain and easy for you to find your contact data. Once your contact management system is in place, you need to ensure that you keep it up-to-date and are using it to follow-up with prospects and client regularly.

    Here are 5 easy strategies for an effective follow-up system:

    1.   Update as you go. Whenever you speak with or email a contact, take a few minutes afterwards to update your database with this information BEFORE moving on to the next task. For example, did your conversation end with you promising to contact them again? If so, note this and create a follow-up task so you don’t forget.

    2. Touch base regularly. Each month go through your database and see who you haven’t had any contact with over the last few months. Send them a ‘just touching base with you’ email or call them.

    3. Don’t forget snail mail. A handwritten thank-you card gets noticed, so invest time in writing personal notes to key contacts – they will remember you for it. If you want to keep it automated, a great tool to use is Send Out Cards – it’s really quick and simple to use. You can choose to send either a card or postcard and it is a great ‘stay-in-touch’ service. It is just as simple to use as email, only more personal!

    4. Send a newsletter. It is not exactly a personal one-on-one follow-up, but it is keeping you in touch with your database and your name in front of them. Your newsletter may generate a response from the reader, which means you will be able to turn this into a one-on-one communication with your contact!

    5. Make it a habit: Update your database regularly. If you don’t get the opportunity to update your database as you’re going along, spend 20 minutes at the end of each day reflecting on what you’ve done during the day, who you’ve contacted, what the outcome was, and enter all of this information into your contact management system.


    1. LINKEDIN TIP: Do a search to see if your contact has a LinkedIn profile. If so, send a request to connect. Do not use the default invite – write a personal note that addresses your conversation, thanks them for them time, etc.
    2. TWITTER TIP: Search for their Twitter profile and follow them.  The nice thing about twitter is that you can follow anyone; you don’t have to wait to be accepted. You can then send a direct message to them on Twitter. Take the time to review their Twitter feed and find a tweet that is worth re-tweeting. Everyone loves to have their contact re-tweeted and it will help to build a lasting relationship.
    3. FACEBOOK TIP: Most people are not going to add new contacts to their Facebook profile, because it is a place for connecting with friends. But, some contacts may have business pages that are used for just that – business. Do a Facebook search for the contact’s business name and if they have a Facebook PAGE, then be sure to LIKE it. This gives you another platform to connect with your contact and build a relationship.


    For more tips on using  SOCIAL MEDIA for marketing and follow-up, check out Rory Vaden’s NEXT GENERATION MARKETING.

  • 5 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make on LinkedIn

    So you want to use LinkedIn to increase your sales? It’s no wonder it’s the place to be with over 100 million affluent, ambitious and influential business people like yourself connecting daily. Many sales professional are trying to use LinkedIn to find more leads, to connect with decision makers and increase sales; but most are not seeing results.

    You can make the most of your LinkedIn marketing efforts by avoiding these 5 mistakes:


    The first thing people do when they join LinkedIn is to create a profile. There are places to add previous job roles, qualifications, etc. and this is where people make the mistake of turning their profile into a resume. Unless you are job hunting, resist the temptation to complete these sections in complete detail.

    The most effective introductions focus on who you help and what problems you help them solve or results you help them achieve. Then you can give them more details as to why you are uniquely qualified to help.

    LinkedIn is for making business connections and you need to design your profile to have the impact you want on those connections.


    When people find you in searches on LinkedIn or when you contribute to Group discussions or Answers Q&A section; the only thing visible is a little box with your name, photo, and your headline. If your headline is your job title, “Sales Manager at XYZ Company”, it doesn’t give people a compelling reason to connect with you; unless they are seeking out your company or sales managers to market to. NOTE: unless you change your headline manually, LinkedIn takes the headline from your last job title.

    COMPARE: Sales Manager at A1 Consulting TO: 4.7 Billion Sales > 900% Growth | Grew Share 14 to 44% | VP Sales Marketing A1 Consulting


    If you create your LinkedIn profile and then fail to reach out to others and join groups where your prospects are, then it’s like attending a networking event and standing in a corner waiting for people to come to you. You need to go out and engage with others.

    Here are some easy ways to engage with others:

    • Update your status message daily

    • Comment on other people’s statuses just like Facebook and Twitter

    • Answer questions on the Q & A boards – This will help you prove your expertise and appears as a leader


    When most people send out invitations to connect, they leave LinkedIn default message. They don’t personalize the email and explain to prospective connections why they should engage and connect with you. You need to tell people what they will get out of the relationship. It also shows the prospective connections that you are taking the time to draft a personal email showing that the connection is important to you. Otherwise, sending the default message looks like you are just spamming a target list to see how many connections you can get. Your connections should be about quality not quantity.


    After coaching many sales professionals to optimize their LinkedIn profiles, I have found that most of them had joined groups that were “sales” groups filled with their competition. Now, it’s good to join some of your own industry’s groups so you have up-to-date information, tools and strategies. But you want to join groups that your prospects belong to – and not just your competition. And, you can join up to 50 groups. Join as many as you can be active in and that you see as your target market. Remember, that when you put out new content and send it to your groups, it will be delivered as a message to them. So, if you belong to 50 groups with 1000 people in each group, your content will immediately reach 50,000 people in your target market.

    IF YOU ARE COMPLETELY NEW TO LINKEDIN, download your FREE guide to Getting Started with LinkedIn.

    IF YOU ARE READY FOR MORE ADVANCED LINKEDIN AND OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS & TECHNIQUES, Rory Vaden’s Next Generation Marketing is for you. You will create new strategies, develop bigger audiences, and foster synergy
    between your old customers and your new prospects.

    You will develop a simple, straightforward, easy-to-manage strategy (which is the most critical step) to increasing your revenue from social media. This program goes beyond anything that has ever been done before, because Rory takes the tireless wisdom of thousands of hours of training on social media and connects it with century-old rock solid principles of professional salesmanship and success. He shows you how to apply everything you already know about sales to this new and exciting medium of social media.

    BUY NOW!

  • Selling with Social Media: Prospecting with LinkedIn

    Selling with Social Media: Prospecting with LinkedIn

    So you’ve set up all of your profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin; now what?

    Below is a sneak peek into some of the social media training we will be covering in Southwestern Consulting’s brand new coaching session:  Get Found, Get Known, Get Clients!

    LinkedIn is a social network that is known for being used primarily by professionals. It’s use is continuing to evolve as more people are joining the network and it is becoming useful to a wider variety of industries. LinkedIn is a great place to connect with other professionals in the same industry and who may be able to help you with referrals or information. It is a great place to build a community of potential customers.

     The video below shows you how to use Linked In to immediately develop a list of target prospects for just about any business you are in. Whether it’s developing referral partners or gathering pre-approach on cold prospects the “advanced search” feature on Linked In can provide you with an immediate, targeted, and free list of people to try and meet. The list gives you a chance to gather a bit more information than you’d normally have on any introductory approach. You can spend thousands of dollars buying lists that are out-dated and that have limited information or you can use Linked In for a very up to date list with lots of detailed information.

    Rory Vaden MBA is a self-discipline strategist, author, and motivational speaker. He is known world-wide for his resonating “Take the Stairs” message of self-discipline. With so many people wondering if social media is the next “escalator” to success Rory has gotten intimately involved with what social media can and can’t do. This video segment is one of 25 lessons from his brand new 3 disc resource called Next Generation Marketing: Selling products, services, and ideas with social media in 30 minutes a day.


    Twitter connects businesses to customers in real-time. Businesses use Twitter to quickly share information with people interested in their products and services, gather real-time market intelligence and feedback, and build relationships with customers, partners and influential people. From brand lift, to CRM, to direct sales, Twitter offers businesses a chance to reach an engaged audience. Here is Twitter’s own guide to Twitter for Business: http://business.twitter.com/.

    Rory Vaden, self-discipline strategist and co-founder of Southwestern Consutling™  has taken his own experiences with Twitter and broken it down into a few simple steps for attracting more business through Twitter.  Listen in to this 8 minute audio lesson to begin increasing your sales todayl.  

     3 Twitter Techniques for Attracting Business  

    Let us know how this worked for you . . .

  • Getting Your Prospect’s Attention Over the Phone

    Considering your focus is an outbound call with the intent to schedule an appointment, the scripting I am suggesting would be used whether the call was answered live or if you leave a voicemail. It would be the same opening statement. The call objective is to schedule an appointment.

    The first thing you want to do is create a “headline” opening statement. You want to create something that is catchy and grabs the attention through proposing benefit to the prospect.

    Three major components of your effective opening monologue:

    1. Pleasantry

    Capture their attention with their full name.

    Use a pleasantry different from, “How are you, today?”

    Don’t use your company name in the opening statement?

    2. Benefit focused statement

    Who is your “Decision Maker” and why should they choose to do business with you?

    Think and speak “Benefits”!

    – Specific

                – Measurable

                – Time Phased

    – Results-oriented

    Hit the “bull’s eye” to get the interest of the caller. The ultimate objective is to get the person to listen to you by connecting at the highest level. The key is to get closer to the bulls eye which is referral specific.

                –  Generalized

                – “Companies in your city…”

                 – “Other groups in your industry…”

                   – Referral Specific

    – “ABC Insurance has increased sales activity and suggested I contact you…”

     – “Mary James was able to improve first time closing ratio by 23% through our unique method…”

    3. Transitional Question

    Require a minor “yes” decision to help move the dialogue forward.

    Deliver further benefits, and then end with a question that asks for an appointment.

    Use the take away technique.


    Review of the Outline of Your Effective Opening Statement:

    Step One: Use their full name

    Step Two: Pleasantry. Don’t ask “How are you today” because it telegraphs you are a salesperson. Simply say “Thanks for taking my call”, pause for a brief second and move on. Do not ask if you have caught them at a good time, because there never s a good time. If you have caught them at a bad time, they can tell you.

    Step Three: Bridge (links communication to become conversational)     

    “Last week…”


    Step Four: Benefit focused Statement

    Step Five: Transitional Question

    Here is an example of how this may work for either the initial call or the voicemail message:


    “Hi, my name is _________from Scottsdale, Arizona. Thanks for taking my call. I trust I have not caught you at a bad time (slight pause) the purpose of my call and I will be brief, I have been talking to a number of sales managers in your area and they seem to be challenged with getting their sales people to do all the necessary activity to meet their sales goals. I am sure that is something that frustrates you as well. We have a unique solution; I am not sure if it would work for you, but if we can invest a few seconds I am sure you could tell if it would work. Recently Joe Smith of ABC Insurance was able to increase sales activity by nearly 30% with our solution within 30 days of implementing it. I can not really tell you right, or show you wrong. Please call me at 800-486-7586 and we can take a quick look. My name again is_____________800-486-7586

     Opening statement on initial call

    “Hi, my name is _________from Scottsdale, Arizona. Thanks for taking my call. I trust I have not caught you at a bad time (slight pause) the purpose of my call and I will be brief, I have been talking to a number of sales managers in your area and they seem to be challenged with getting their sales people to do all the necessary activity to meet their sales goals. Is that something that frustrates you as well? We have a unique solution; I am not sure if it would work for you, but if we can invest a few seconds I am sure you could tell if it would work. Recently Joe Smith of ABC Insurance was able to increase sales activity by nearly 30%with our solution within 30 days of implementing it. I can not really tell you right, or show you wrong. How many sales people do you have on your team?

     Ron Marks