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  • Ice Melting Lines

    ice meltingGuest Post By: Dave Brown

    Have you ever felt a little awkward after that first five seconds of an initial sales conversation? Using those “Hey, how you doing?” mundane type of initial phrases that lead to you just talking over your prospect and not making a quick connection. I hear and see it all the time!

    Everyday initial conversations starters DO NOT work in the selling world, and DO NOT forward your sales conversation. If you’re wondering why you’re not growing, as you should be in sales, this may help you break through. Shake things up a bit. Make your lead in phrases you!

    Where do we start?

    Bring your personality into it…literally your personality!

    Examples:

    • “Hey is this John Smith? Great, do you have 79 seconds for me really quickly?”
    • “John, I’ve been trying to catch you for months I literally thought you were    kidnapped man, were you kidnapped?”
    • “Hey John, this is Dave, are you ready for this?”
    • “John, how is your office staff running over there today? (don’t let them respond) Who’s winning, you or them?”

    Shake things up then lead into what you are doing and what you’re calling about. You’re melting away the tension that could exist when you use those icebreaking lines that can immediately connect you with your prospect because you’re different. If you are a prospecting master, you are an “ice-melter” with these types of initial phrases!

    Let me leave you with your prospecting golden nugget for the week…

    When prospecting, be YOU. Nobody in this world has your design. Daily you choose to cater to the world, or make it your masterpiece. Make it your masterpiece when you are prospecting today. Get out there and melt the tension, use your ice melting lines to get in and connect with your prospect quickly.

    What are some of the ice melting lines you have used? Tweet them to me @davebrown_swc #meltingtheice #southwesternconsulting

     

    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.


  • FREE TRAINING: Mastering Your First Impression Conversation

    conference_call_xsmall3

    Just in case you missed last month’s sales training conference call, we are making it available to you here!  Each month Southwestern Consulting™ brings together our finest Top Producers to train on today’s most relevant sales topics.  These calls are free and you don’t want to miss out on these opportunities to learn from the absolute best.  Some of our past topics include closing, referrals, prospecting with LinkedIn, follow-up and selling with social media.

    Listen to last month’s call on Mastering Your First Impression Conversation When Selling:


  • Dave Ramsey Gives Southwestern + Take the Stairs a Shout Out!

    One of the blessings of my life recently is that on a fairly regular basis people say “reading Take the Stairs changed my life!” I often wonder what, if any, specific changes they made in their life and if it really (hopefully) made a difference but for Patrick Dichter it definitely did. . .

    Read the rest of this article and listen to the conversation with Dave Ramsey


  • SEEKING SUCCESS? KNOW WHY YOU ARE DOING IT!

    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.


  • WANT RESULTS? NO EXCUSES!

     

    “No excuses.”

    It’s the mantra of almost every top Southwestern salesperson out there. We’ve all been told that to reach our goals, we can’t make any excuses—we have to be unconditionally committed. But I AM unconditionally committed, you say. I don’t make excuses, but I still haven’t reached my goals. What gives? The answer is pretty simple: human beings are far too reasonable.

    READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE


  • 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?

    Man-Fishing-1

    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!


  • 3 TOP LEAD GENERATION TECHNIQUES

    THE TRIPLE THREAT – THREE TOP LEAD GENERATION TECHNIQUES

     

    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

     



  • Tips to Catch the Golden Nuggets Your Prospect is Throwing at YOU!

    Gold Bars and Golden Nuggets: by Lester Crafton

     

    Lester Crafton is an expert in “linguistic influence” from theSouthwestern Company. In a recent interview I had with Lester, we were discussing the importance of every word that comes out of someone’s mouth. Mr. Crafton says, “paying attention to every single word that comes out of someone’s mouth is as valuable as gold bars.”

    “Golden Nuggets” is the term we use at Southwestern Consulting to describe the seemingly insignificant things that people say throughout the course of conversation. A common denominator amongst most successful “influencers” of people is that they pay attention to every word that comes out of someone’s mouth.
    Earlier this year, I was following a sales rep in the field for a sales performance consulting project. I was perplexed how many things the prospect was saying that the sales rep wasn’t paying attention to. It was like gold bars flying out of the prospects mouth, and instead of taking out a net and catching the gold bars, the sales rep was dodging them and trying to get through their presentation as fast as possible.

    Flying By Gold Bars

    So what are the little things you should be listening for?
    Here is a list of “golden nuggets”:
    – hobbies and things they do for fun
    – people they know that you know as well
    – things that they are interested in
    – what they like about your product or service
    – their answer to all of your questions
    – people they say would be interested in your product or service
    – what they don’t like about the current service provider
    – why they didn’t buy from the last person they talked with
    – why they accepted the meeting with you
    – what grade their kids are in
    – where they work
    – what area of town they live in
    – where they grew up
    – what they say after you answer their objections
    – why they bought
    – why someone didn’t buy
    – what they like the best about your product or service
    – what kind of dog they have
    – what kind of car they drive
    – their favorite sport
    – how they know the referrals they gave you
    – what they did before the job they’re at now

    Take a look at this list and ask yourself “how effective am I at getting ‘golden nuggets,’ remembering them, and then using that information at the right time to answer objections, influence someone to see things my way, set an appointment, or close a sale?” I recommend creating a “Golden Nugget” note book that you write down all of the detailed information you gather about the people that you interact with daily. Then before every meeting or phone call where you’re talking with someone that you’ve got “golden nuggets” about, you pull out your “golden nugget” notebook and review the valuable information you know about them before engaging with them.

    Have fun gold digging!


  • INTEGRITY – Do you have it?

    The Thanksgiving weekend is now behind us and we’re charging forward to Christmas.  The holiday season is unique for everyone, but with the economy in a sad state of affairs, gifts to buy, and work to be done – it’s often difficult to embrace the serenity of the season.  So this week, as a way to kick off the holiday hustle and bustle, we’ve decided to talk a bit about one of the characteristics that will not only help to catapult your career, but will also keep you in the “joyful” holiday spirit all year round…

    The Southwestern Company teaches that one of the most important things you can embrace as your career unfolds isintegrity.  Salespeople, above most other things, should have an insurmountable amount of integrity.  Unfortunately, it’s often difficult for that integrity to translate when it comes to presenting the product or service that you’re backing.  So, what can you do to put your potential clients at ease in terms of purchasing a product or service from you, trusting you, and viewing you as a man or woman of integrity?

    Probably the best way to ensure that your potential clients view you as an honorable person is to have full knowledge and be completely immersed in the product line you represent.  If you’re selling a product that you truly believe in, that belief will translate to your customers.  For this reason, it’s important that you know as much as there is to know about your product, that you can answer any question your clients may have, and that you feel completely at ease discussing the goods and services you represent.

    The number one reason people consider “salesman” to be dishonest is because salesmen often get a bad rap in mainstream society.  Yes, there are a few bad apples, but those bad apples cannot spoil the bunch.

    You see, there’s a difference between being a “salesman” and an honorable salesperson.  The viewpoint mainstream society has of the typical “salesman” is that handlebar mustache wearing, oily hair, flashy grin guy in a plaid suit, donning a gaudy pinky ring and is more concerned about squeezing every penny out of his potential customers than he is about promoting high quality products and building lasting relationships.

    The key difference between this “salesman” and a sales person who’s full of integrity and honor is education and the products themselves.

    If you’re not sure how to educate yourself on your product line or, if you’re concerned about looking and feeling ill at ease in your presentation, consider coaching by someone who’s been down the path before you.

    In the meantime, spend as much time as you can learning about your product line, learning the inner workings of your company, and completely immersing yourself in the reasons that your products and your company are useful, can make a difference, and would be of benefit to any potential customer.

    Dustin Hillis

    www.DustinHillis.me