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  • The “Perfect” Game

    Guest Post By: Gary Michels

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    This game is more of a challenge, I challenge you to view the world as “perfect.” Perfect exactly the way it is and the way it is not. Regardless of your circumstances, you need to view the world as perfect. Begin this challenge by figuring out right now how everything that has ever happened to you has been the perfect thing. You also need to decide that where you have been and what you have done in your life thus far, has led you to where you are today.

    Why is today perfect? You are alive! You have a body that functions! You have opportunities to contribute to the good of mankind and help others achieve happiness. Go ahead, choose anything in your life and declare it perfect. Do it right now! What is perfect in your life? Why is it perfect?

    Every time something happens to you, especially if it is something that was not exactly how you planned it, declare it to be “Perfect!” Then, thank the Universe for bringing that experience to you and allowing you to learn from it. Without failures in your life, you will never know the taste of success. Ask yourself what can be learned from this? How can I grow? Is the action or event you are experiencing teaching you how to be more patient, more of a risk taker, be more giving… or is it giving you feedback letting you know where you are now and what areas of your personality do you want to continue to work on?

    If your leader or manager tells you the commission rate is going down, say “Perfect, I was wondering how I was going to break through barriers and make more sales. Should a prospect you have been counting on to purchase your product or service, suddenly decide not to, you need to say to yourself, “Perfect”. Then, you say to yourself something along the lines of : “I was getting too attached to that deal anyway. I found myself feeling off-kilter because I was so desperate for that one particular sale. The Universe will always provide for me as long as I mean well and work hard.”

    Start playing this “Perfect” game with those around you. Ask yourself what is right about this person? Why have they entered my life? What do I like about them? What are their positive attributes? How can I honor them? You must strive to always be in the “perfect” mindset. It is knowing you are experiencing each moment for a specific reason.

    Remember to ask yourself:

    1. What is perfect today?
    2. What is perfect about my career?
    3. What is perfect about my life?
    4. What is perfect about myself?

     

    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.


  • “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


  • Impossible…Really?

    Guest Post By: Kitty Barrow

    How do you respond when people tell you that something you want to do is impossible?

    What if the WHOLE WORLD believed what you wanted to achieve was humanly impossible? Not just impossible, but, what if they said reaching your goal could put you in danger and maybe even lead to death?

    Untitled designWould you stop and find a new dream?

    What if you went to a big prospect or a big competition that you had prepared for years to be successful with and you blew it? Would you consider giving up and quitting?

    That is what Roger Bannister did. When he finished 4th in the 1952 Olympics, his dream of winning an Olympics Gold medal was gone. He considered himself a failure and spent 2 months considering if he should quit his sport forever.

    Then he and his coach set a new goal…for him to be the first man to run the mile in under 4 minutes. “Impossible” – right? Experts say that your heart might explode at those speeds!

    Do you think he then went out and suddenly ran that fast? Of course not, he did what all top professionals do…he trained hard. He worked hard. He made his life uncomfortable. He did things that were inconvenient and painful.

    Because this man didn’t listen to skeptics….Because this man decided to put aside his feelings of self-doubt and failure…Roger Bannister will be known forever as having accomplished one of the greatest sports moments ever.

    LET ME ASK YOU….what is your dream? What has God gifted you to do that you are letting yourself believe you can’t do? What excuses or rationalizations are you allowing yourself to believe about what is holding you back?

    Decide today…will I listen to the naysayers (even if the naysayer is between my ears) or will I live my dream and possibly make my mark in history.

    It’s funny sometimes how the choice is all YOURS and the first step is just believing in that.

     

    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


  • The Root of Objections

    Guest Post By: Amanda Johns Vaden

     

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    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


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

    Guest Post By: Dave Brown

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    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.


  • CREATE A BUYING ATMOSPHERE

    How to create a buying atmosphere

    We’ve talked about how building trust is a crucial facet of selling. So, how do you make someone like and trust you? At the Southwestern Company they teach how you need to create a “buying atmosphere”–a non-pressured environment that allows your prospect to open up their mind and allow you to truly demonstrate the value of your product or service.

    Creating a “buying atmosphere” can be established in a sales situation by using statements such as “Well, Erin what I’m going to do is show you how this works, and if you like what you see that’s great…but if it’s not a fit, that’s no big deal. I just want to make sure you understand how it works. Does that sound fair?”

    Any time you feel like you are over pressuring the client be sure to use a buying atmosphere statement like the one above or even something as simple as “if you like it, great. If not, no problemo.” The sales experience shouldn’t mimic that of a used car lot. It should be the kind of atmosphere that encourages discussion, fosters relationships and builds trust. ALWAYS create a buying atmosphere that keeps both parties comfortable and engaged.

    DUSTIN HILLIS


  • THE BEST WAYS TO HANDLE OBJECTIONS

    Cover them up front

    For example, if you’re having a tough time getting in front of the ultimate decision maker because your champion is wanting to present it without you, then plant the seed during your first meeting that you’re always part of the sales process:

    “Bill, what I enjoy about my job is I see my role as a trusted advisor so with that in mind, here’s what you can expect from me: I’ll take some time to ask you questions to really understand your situation. From there I’ll put together a solution specific to your goals and we’ll set a date for me to demo the right widget for you. From there, I’ll put together a proposal based on your goals and the results of the demo and we’ll set a time to do a proposal review, to walk through it together. This is important because the proposal will be a working proposal. IE it will be a first draft to make sure that it’s spot on and in reviewing it together we might determine if there are any gaps that we need to fill to make sure it’s exactly what you’re looking for. Does that make sense?”

    (Yes)

    “And when I review the proposal, I like to make sure I’m presenting it to everybody who’s part of the decision-making process. With that in mind, who else will be part of making that decision? (My boss, Joe Smith.) “Great, it’ll be important that Joe’s involved in the process because as you know, widgets can be pretty technical with all of their unique features and it’s next to impossible for somebody to explain it well having limited exposure to it compared to somebody like myself who’s been doing this for over 24 years. Does that make sense?”

    By planting the seeds early, you’re covering those objections you tend to get later on like, “No need to review the proposal together. Why don’t you just send it to me and I’ll call you.” Because you addressed this earlier, you will often head off this objection from ever coming up and if does you can remind him of what the two of you agreed to earlier. By explaining at the beginning that you always present the product to all of the decision makers, you’re covering the objection in advance, “No need for you to present it to Joe. I can do that myself.”

     

    In addition to planting the seed early on how you always present to the decision maker, and additional strategy to answer the objection upfront is to send an introduction email to the ultimate decision maker right after your first meeting with your champion. The outline for the email might look like this:

     

    Subjection Line: “Per Meeting with Bill Jones”

    “Hi Joe. I just wanted to introduce myself to you real quick in case you haven’t heard of me yet. I’m with Widgets USA and had the pleasure of sitting down with Bill Jones today to discuss some of our newer widgets. After being in the industry for 24+ years, I wanted to let you know how impressed I was with your operation and Bill Jones in particular. After working with hundreds of people in his position it was a breath of fresh air to sit down with Bill. He’s an expert in his field and represents your company exceptionally well and wanted you to know that. As Bill and I continue to move down the field together, I wanted to make sure that I introduced myself so that when Bill mentions my name it will not catch you off guard. I look forward to making your acquaintance!”

     

    This introduction email serves multiple purposes. (1) Your champion appreciates the kudos you gave him to his boss. (2) The decision maker appreciates you saying nice things about his company and is impressed with you keeping him in the loop. (3) It heads off the objection, “You don’t need to present this to Joe – I can handle it.”

     

    Selling is a lot like playing pool in the sense that you want to set yourself up for success. Amateur pool players only take it one shot at a time. Professionals, however, plan the entire game in advance, setting themselves up for future shots. In the same sense, professional salespeople consider the objections they might get down the stretch and cover them in advance.

     

    Please feel free to share your best objection handling techniques below. Be a part of our mission: Liberating Sales Potential Worldwide!

     

    Action Items:

    ·  Review and role-play the above method for answering objections.

    ·  Write a list of common objections and come up with a strategy for covering them in advance.

     

    Your Partner in Success,

    Steve Reiner

    Professional Certified Coach

     

     

    www.southwesternconsulting.com

    sreiner@southwesternconsulting.com