Expandmenu Shrunk


  • Tag Archives sales
  • 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

    e16a70bf019142d78d3d7ac4efffbaff

    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.


  • Don’t just work hard. Do the hard work.

    Guest Post By: Rory Vaden

    hardwork-1-560x294Working hard is not the key to success; it’s merely the price of admission. 

    Hard work alone isn’t enough to bring you everything you want. 

    Because if you’re working hard at the wrong things then they won’t take you to where you want to go. 

    You have to work hard at the right things if you want to achieve your desired destination. 

    Which introduces a second element to the equation. 

    Because not only do you have to work hard, you also have to work hard at the right things. 

    So what are the right things?

     Actually, it’s usually pretty simple to identify them. 

    Typically the right things, the best things, the most significant things you can do to achieve your goal are often the things you know need to be done but you most don’t want to do. 

    They are the things that nobody likes to do. 

    If you’re trying to build muscle, it means doing pull ups or leg day. 

    If you’re trying to lose weight, it means cutting your alcohol, carbs, or sugar intake. 

    If you’re in sales, it is prospecting. 

    If you’re trying to get out of debt, it’s making and following a budget.  

    In other words, it’s not enough to just work hard.  

    You have to do the hard work. 

    You have to do the things you don’t want to do. 

    You have to do the things that other people aren’t willing to do. 

    You have to do the things that you know are good for you, but they are hard. 

    You don’t do them because the goal is to make life as hard as possible. 

    Quite the contrary, you do them because they ultimately make life easier.

    But that path is predicated on the unpopular truth that the shortest most guaranteed path to a more productive life is to do the hardest parts of things as soon as possible!

    You don’t just work hard. You do the hard work. 

    And if you that… 

    If you work hard…

    And you also do the hard work…

    Then you will start to find that eventually, things get easier and easier. 


  • 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.


  • The “Boomerang” Sales Technique

    Guest Post By: Amanda Johns Vaden
    boomerang

    One of the most common objections in sales is typically one that can easily throw off your sales presentation entirely. This is because when you hear it, you’re not prepared to answer it…. Yet.

    You’ve all been through a process where you’re just getting started, you’re just asking questions about the potential client’s needs, you get to your presentation, and all of a sudden your prospect cuts you off and says, “Amanda, I’m totally with you, but it’s all going to depend on the price. So just go ahead and just tell me. I need to know what we’re working with here.”

    Before you even get to find their need, before you present value, they’re cutting you off and immediately want to know the price.

    Now that’s a tricky situation because you just can’t evade the question, right? There are people who are going to catch on to that. It’s not going to help you and it’s definitely going to not build trust with your prospective customers.

    But how do you avoid answering that when you’re not prepared to tell them yet? That’s important to remember because upfront you are not prepared to tell them that.

    Because the moment you share the price, poof! Your entire sale just went up in flames because everything they hear after that, it’s all about the money. It’s all about the price.

    You can’t tell them the price until you’ve found a problem. The problem has to be bigger than the price, which is why you can’t tell people how much it is upfront.

    How do you get around it? How do you not completely evade the question, build trust, and eventually get back to it with your customer?

    This is what we call the “boomerang” technique. It’s one of my favorite questions to ask and I love asking it because it’s a game. I use this as a game with myself in all conversations.

    The boomerang is just defined as, “answering any question that you’re not prepared to answer with a question.” If you think about it, any question in the world that you get, can be answered with another question.

    For this specific objection “How much is it,” here is what you want to say, “Hey, I completely understand this is something you want to know and I promise we’re going to get to that. But at this point, I really don’t have enough information to even give you a quote or even guess how much it is. However, if you let me ask you a couple of quick questions, I can get straight to that. Is that fair?”

    In nine out of 10 times they’re going to say, “Sure, that’s fair.”

    So let them know it’s not going to take a long time, you are going to get to it, but you have to cover just a couple of quick things first and then you’ll get right to it. So again, it’s called the boomerang question.

    Answer their questions, their objections with a question so you don’t get off-guard upfront. You want them to focus on their problems and how you can help solve them, not the price.

     

    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


  • Activity

    Guest Post By: Brent Widman

    phone

    Activity is the root of what drives our business. Without activity in the sales world, we don’t have a business. What this truly comes down to is making phone calls. Making those dials that you don’t always want to make, but you know you have to. This isn’t busy being busy. This is being planned, prepped and prepared about who you are going to talk to.

    1. Stop calling the same people over and over again. Don’t hold onto this false sense of hope that someone might do business with you.
    2. You build your business through new people. Where do those new people come from? Referrals, Linked In, Past Clients, Current Clients, etc, etc.
    3. Set up a plan. Know the first 5, 10 or 20+ people you know you are going to call. Have it done the night before or in the morning. It will get you in the right mind set.
    4. Practice. It takes 2 minutes. Practice in the car, working out, in the morning, at night, take a walk, whatever it takes. Take that little bit of time to know what you are going to say. It will get you past the call reluctance
    5. It’s just one call, to them. To you, it’s 10, 20, 30 or 100 calls. But to them, it’s just one call. Don’t overthink it.
    6. If you are truly trying to help people you won’t think about getting rejected. They might say yes, they might say no, so what. You are helping them either way. It’s hard to be nervous when your heart is on service.
    7. Have fun. Phoning and activity does not have to be hard. Stand up, sit down, dance, laugh, say something off the wall. It doesn’t always have to be straight to the point and serious.
    8. The people on the other end of the phone are people just like you. You aren’t going to close everyone, but you can still have a conversation. That will go a long way to calling them in the future.
    9. In most cases, no means “not right now.” Set them out a year, two years or even three. That’s okay, keep them in your system and in your pipeline for the future.
    10. Get after it. When you do the activity it will breed results. When you make excuses it will not. You can’t get mad at the results if you aren’t putting in the activity.

    I hear so many people feel that they are above calling. They get away from what makes them successful. I was coaching a Managing Director the other day and he flat out said, “These are all the things I know I should be doing but I’m not, it’s like I’m a new rep again.” All that means… we can’t get away from what got us there in the first place. It doesn’t have to be the 50 dials a day, maybe for

    All that means is that we can’t get away from what got us there in the first place. It doesn’t have to be the 50 dials a day, maybe for you, it’s 10. It will get you the results you are looking for.

    Stay true to your activity. It only makes you better.

     

    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.