When “Everything” Isn’t Enough

August 22nd, 2012

My buddy, Shaari, was staying with me for a couple of weeks in between overseas assignments. (He teaches English in various countries around the world.) His next job is in Afghanistan, so he needed a heavy winter coat.

We headed out to the nearest sporting goods store. When we arrived, we found a few lightweight jackets, but nothing substantial. We asked a salesman if they had any heavy coats. With a shrug of his shoulders, he replied, “Everything we have is out here.”

Apparently believing his answer was sufficient, he turned and walked away. We left the store.

We drove to the next closest store. Again, only lightweight jackets. Again, we asked the saleswoman if they had anything heavier. Again, the response, “Everything we have is out here.”

We walked out, trying to shake the feeling of déjà vu.

Our next stop was Colorado Ski & Golf. Unlike the previous two stores, this place had the heavy coats we were looking for. Also unlike the previous two stores, this place had a salesperson—David—who knew his merchandise. He talked to us about the pros and cons of different brands and helped Shaari choose the perfect coat.

Unfortunately, the store didn’t have that coat in Shaari’s size on the rack. When Shaari asked if they had it in his size, David replied, “Everything we have is out here.”

“However,” he continued, “I can call our other stores in the area to see if any of them have it.”

Encouraged, we waited. After about five minutes, David returned, a coat in his hand and a smile on his face.

“I decided to check in the back just in case. Turns out we had a couple back there.”

The coat fit like a…..um…..glove.

Relieved and appreciative, we went to the register to pay.

Whether you’re a salesperson, professional or business owner, people come to you because they have a problem they need solved.  Just because the answer to a prospect’s problem isn’t right there in front of you, doesn’t mean the problem goes away. Are you—and your people—willing to do what it takes to help prospects solve their problems?

I had never been to Colorado Ski & Golf before, because it’s so much further from me than other stores. But the next time I need sporting goods or apparel, I’m going there first. Because their people understand that sometimes “everything” isn’t enough. But when you do a little more, the result is a happy customer.

Social Media Myths and Your Sales

August 14th, 2012

social media myths and your salesThere are dozens of myths about social media, from the idea that only big businesses can do it well, to “if you build it, they will come.” The danger of these myths is that, if you buy into them, they’ll sabotage your social media efforts and hurt your sales.

Listen as Michele Price interviews me and Andrea Waltz—author of the book Go for No— on Breakthrough Business Strategies Radio. In this 75-minute interview, the three of us explore these diverse myths and separate fact from fiction, truth from fairy tale.

You’ll discover:
• Which rules of traditional marketing apply to social media and which don’t
• The very real risks of social media and how to manage them
• Which industries social media is good for and which industries it isn’t
• Why it doesn’t matter if you’re funny
• How to shortcut your learning curve
• And much more!

To listen, just click on the link below. Or to download the interview to listen later, right-click the link and select “Save Target As…”

Social Media Myths and Your Sales: Don Cooper and Andrea Waltz on Breakthrough Business Strategies Radio (mp3)

To learn more about Andrea Waltz, click here to follow her on Twitter and visit her web site at www.GoForNo.com.

To learn more about Michele Price, click here to follow her on Twitter and visit her web site at www.WhoIsMichelePrice.com.

Why You Should Quit

August 2nd, 2012

Virtually every personal development “guru” and business “expert” extols the value of persistence and perseverance. Quitting is considered the ultimate sin.

Phooey.

Quitting is valuable. Important. Even crucial to your success, both in sales and in life.

If your sales, your career, your project, your relationship isn’t where you’d like it to be, your best course of action may be to quit. Throw in the towel. Jump ship.

Want proof?

In 1993, after winning three NBA championships, Michael Jordan—one of the greatest basketball players ever—quit basketball altogether. Why? He had lost his passion for the game and needed a new challenge. He found that challenge in baseball, but discovered he wasn’t good enough to play at the major-league level. What did he do? He quit! Jordan returned to basketball and led the Chicago Bulls to three more championships. Quitting the first time enabled Jordan to rediscover his love of basketball. Quitting the second time enabled him to channel his passion and skills where they could have the greatest impact.

When Steve Jobs returned to a struggling Apple Computer in 1997, he slashed Apple’s 15 product lines to just four. In other words, he quit on 11 product lines. That allowed Apple to focus their resources on the few products that had the best chance of succeeding.

No. 61 (Rust and Blue), 1953, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

The artist Mark Rothko quit on his childhood ambition of becoming an engineer, moved to New York and became one of the most famous painters in the Abstract Expressionism movement.

Financial guru Suze Orman quit her job as Vice-President of Investments at Prudential Bache Securities to start her own company, which led to her writing nine best-selling books and becoming a TV personality.

Bill Gates quit Harvard to form a little company called Microsoft.

Coke quit on New Coke because…..ummm…..nobody wanted it. (Pepsi quit on Crystal Pepsi for the same reason.)

Shall I quit with the examples? Fine.

Here are nineteen perfectly good reasons to quit a job, a product, an approach, a project, a sales campaign, a habit, a customer, a vendor or a relationship (professional or personal):

1. You suck at it
2. You hate it
3. You’re bored
4. There’s no money in it
5. It’s not working
6. It’s getting worse
7. The product sucks
8. The people suck
9. The boss sucks
10. What you initially thought turned out to be wrong
11. The results aren’t worth the effort
12. You’re asked to do something unethical
13. You’re being lied to
14. The person is abusive
15. They’re too unreliable
16. You’re being taken advantage of
17. There’s no support
18. It’s bad for your health
19. It’s preventing you from being effective in other areas

I’m not saying you should quit at the first sign of trouble. Nor am I arguing that it’s okay to blame everyone and everything else if your job, your life or your product sucks. (The problem could very well be you.)

I’m just saying that if things aren’t working, quitting may be the best thing you can do.

Quitting on a lousy company can lead you to a better job with a different company. Quitting on a failing product can free up resources for a newer, better product. Quitting on a terrible employee can create an opportunity for someone who will perform more effectively.

In short, quitting enables you to move on. To new ideas, people and opportunities.

So here’s an important question: What—or who—do you need to quit?