Five Words That Will Make You a Better Salesperson and Leader

October 30th, 2018

Five Words That Will Make You a Better Salesperson and LeaderWhatever your job is in your organization’s sales channel, you want to be better at it. Which means you’re always on the lookout for tips, tricks, and hacks to make you more effective and productive.

Well here’s a simple yet powerful one. It’s a five-word question that can significantly increase your influence and performance. It’s:

“How can I support you?”

Whether you’re a salesperson, sales manager, or CEO, your job is to support others: customers, salespeople, or your executive team. (And if you’re a CEO or owner, your job is really to support everyone in your organization.)

Asking how you can support the people you interact with can alert you to problems and opportunities. It enables you to uncover needs and challenges you never knew they had. And it causes people to feel heard, understood, and respected.

Plus, when you provide the support that your prospects, customers, or employees need, you improve your compliance, your results, and your loyalty.

This is not to say that you absolutely must do whatever the person suggests. People can ask for unreasonable, inappropriate, or impractical things from time to time. But even if you can’t deliver on what they would like, you may be able to come up with an alternative that would satisfy them. And merely asking the question will let them know that you value and care about them. That increases gratitude and trust.

So add this question to your repertoire. Make it a regular part of your communications with those you interact with. It’s only five words. But those words will lead to more solutions, more productivity, and more sales.

24 Ways to Keep Your Brain Sharp

October 23rd, 2018

24 Ways to Keep Your Brain SharpWhen it comes to your sales—and pretty much everything else in your life—your brain is your most valuable asset. So it makes sense to do as much as you can to protect it.

And it needs protection. The challenges of modern life mean our brains are under assault every day. The enemies of the brain include:

• Stress
• Poor nutrition
• Lack of sleep
• Smoking
• Routine

Many—if not most—of us in sales and business struggle with one or more of these challenges every day. And if unaddressed, they can lead to poor daily performance and long-term mental decline.

The good news is that researchers in the field of neuroscience have learned a lot about the brain in recent years. And their discoveries enable us to be proactive in safeguarding—and even strengthening—our brains. Beyond the physical basics—get more sleep, eat healthy, stop smoking, exercise—there are myriad ways to bolster your brain.

Scientists have found that engaging in new activities and novel experiences stimulates the creation of new neurons and new neural connections—known as “neuroplasticity.” So the more you can do to keep your brain on its toes—so to speak—the better for its health.

With that in mind, here are 24 ways you can stimulate your brain on a regular basis.

1. Read

2. Take a class

3. Learn a language

4. Play a musical instrument

5. Do puzzles
• Crossword
• Sudoku
• Cryptogram
• Rebus
• Brain teasers

6. Engage in some form of art
• Drawing
• Painting
• Sculpting
• Photography

7. Take up a craft
• Sewing
• Knitting
• Crocheting
• Needlepoint
• Quilting

8. Write
• Fiction
• Non-Fiction
• Poetry
• Journaling

9. Play strategy games
• Chess
• Checkers
• Backgammon
• Go
• Bridge
• Mancala
• Othello
• Risk
• Stratego
• Clue
• Jenga
• Qwirkle
• Catan

10. Play word games
• Scrabble
• UpWords
• Boggle
• Scattergories
• Bananagrams

11. Play trivia games

12. Take dance lessons

13. Train in a martial art

14. Try new foods and cuisines

15. Cook or bake

16. Use your non-dominant hand for ordinary tasks

17. Take new routes to familiar destinations

18. Rearrange, reorganize, or redecorate your home or office

19. Travel—preferably to places you’ve never been

20. Strengthen and expand your social networks

21. Try a new hobby

22. Attend conferences, sales training seminars, and workshops

23. Volunteer

24. Meditate

The proven benefits to these kinds of brain challenges are many and varied, including:

• better memory
• increased focus and concentration
• more positive mood
• reduced stress
• higher productivity
• enhanced creativity
• improved problem-solving
• stronger motivation
• faster reaction time
• greater self-confidence

And as an added bonus, many of these activities involve other people, giving you an opportunity to improve your relationships with friends and family.

You only have one brain. Take care of it. Employ as many of the above strategies as possible as frequently as possible. Your sales, your business, your friends, and your family will all thank you for it.

Do You Care About the Wrong Thing?

October 16th, 2018

Do You Care About the Wrong Thing?You have an amazing product or service. It’s awesome. It’s the best on the market. It’s unique. It has the most features and benefits. It has the longest and most comprehensive warranty. And it’s the best value.

Naturally, you love your product or service. You’re proud to sell it. And you’re excited to extol its virtues to anyone and everyone who could use it.

And none of that matters. Because while you care about your product or service, your prospect doesn’t.

At all.

Your prospect cares about themselves. They care about the goal they’re trying to achieve or the problem they’re trying to solve. They care about their possessions, their finances, their health, their security, their ego, their happiness. They care about their company and their family.

And if you want to boost your sales, that’s what you need to care about as well.

As a keynote speaker and seminar leader, I frequently say this to my audiences: “Selling more of what you sell has nothing to do with what you sell. It has everything to do with your prospect.” Your product or service—as fantastic as it may be—is only a means to an end. The end is what your prospect truly cares about.

So whether you’re marketing, prospecting, qualifying, presenting, or closing, focus on your prospect. Key in on their needs, desires, fears, hopes, problems, and opportunities. The more you care about what your prospect cares about, the more of your product or service you’ll sell.

How to Boost Your Credibility at a Trade Show

October 9th, 2018

How to Boost Your Credibility at a TradeshowA trade show is a challenging sales environment. You don’t have the natural advantages you have when talking with a prospect on your own turf. Your competition is everywhere. And all the exhibits look so similar.

How do you stand out and effectively compete? Especially against larger competitors that may be able to buy a bigger booth space than you?

Here are 14 ways to enhance your credibility at the show so you can gain an edge.

1. Awards
You have the awards you’ve won hanging on the walls of your business, but that doesn’t help you at the show. So bring them with you and hang them in your exhibit.

2. Certifications
Do the same with all the certifications of your people. Every one increases your perceived credibility.

3. Photos and Video
Attendees can’t walk through your facility, but that doesn’t mean you can’t show it to them. Post pictures or video of it—perhaps even a virtual tour. You can also use photos and video to highlight products you couldn’t bring to the show or to provide “Before and After” examples.

4. Media Stories
Publicity equals credibility. So post any and all media coverage you’ve received, whether print or video.

5. Reviews and Rankings
Has some credible third party reviewed you or ranked you on a list? Enlarge that and show it off.

6. Testimonials
Customers’ words carry weight with prospects so look for ways to display them throughout your exhibit.

7. Customers
Invite some of your customers to join you at the show. (Pay all their expenses and treat them like royalty.) When attendees can talk directly with your customers at your exhibit, that’s the best sales and marketing there is.

8. White Papers
Create a white paper or special report to demonstrate your expertise and give it to all your visitors.

9. Demos
Showing your product in action can not only draw a crowd, but it can convert prospects into buyers on the spot.

10. Service Techs
Many attendees are hesitant to talk with salespeople, but they’ll happily talk with technicians. And because they typically have both extensive product knowledge and passion for the product, techs can make excellent salespeople.

11. Manufacturer Reps
If you’re a distributor or retailer, ask your manufacturers to send some of their reps to help you at your show. Every rep you have at your exhibit boosts your credibility.

12. Staff Adequately
One mistake that hurts your credibility is not having enough staff at your exhibit. Attendees don’t want to wait, and if there isn’t a person available to engage them immediately, they’re likely to walk.

13. Train Your People
A trade show is unlike any other sales situation, and to be effective, your team needs specific training. A modest investment in a pre-show seminar or workshop can pay huge dividends.

14. Sponsorships
Just because you can’t afford the title sponsorship doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from being a sponsor. Any sponsorship can aid your exposure and credibility if you leverage it well.

Trade shows are valuable marketing and sales opportunities. To maximize them, employ as many of these strategies as possible. The more credibility you generate, the more you’ll stand out, the more attendees will trust you, and the more sales you’ll close.

Five Types of Questions to Ask Prospects

October 2nd, 2018

Five Types of Questions to Ask ProspectsThe single best thing you can do with a prospect—at any point in the sales cycle—is to ask them questions. If you ask enough of the right questions, your prospect will tell you everything you need to know to make the sale.

In my training seminars and workshops, I typically give audiences 20 to 40 specific questions to ask prospects. The exact questions vary based on the industry and type of sale. But they can be broken down into five basic categories.

1. Introductory Questions
These questions build rapport with your prospect and set the tone for the rest of your interactions with them. They also provide you with valuable information. They include questions like:

• How much time do you have right now?
• What is your main goal at the moment?
• Who else needs to be involved in making the decision?

2. Experience Questions
A person’s past experience with the type of product or service you sell influences what they want and don’t want in a new version. So you want to learn as much as you can about their previous experiences. Ask questions such as:

• Do you currently own/use a (product/service)?
• What do you like most about it?
• What do you wish was different?

3. Use Questions
How your prospect intends to use what you sell makes a huge difference in what they should buy. Knowing how they need to use their new product or service will quickly steer you toward the option that’s best for them. Questions that uncover their intended usage include:

• Where do you plan to use it?
• How many people will be using it?
• How often will you be using it?

4. Criteria Questions
Your prospect is going to make their decision based on certain criteria. And those criteria are unique to them. Which means you need to find out those criteria are. Pose questions such as:

• How much maintenance do you want to do?
• Are you working within a budget?
• What are your favorite colors?

5. Finishing Questions
These are the questions that lead you into the presentation or into the close. They’re your last chance to elicit information before moving on to the next step. (Although you can and should ask more questions during the presentation and closing stages.) To make sure you get all the information you possibly can, ask questions like:

• How familiar are you with this (product/service)?
• Is there anything I’ve overlooked?
• What kinds of questions do you have?

So the question for you is, how can you incorporate all five types of questions into your discovery process? What specific questions will provide you with the information you need to close the deal? (Okay, that’s two questions.)

Create your own list of questions based on these five categories. And use them with every prospect. Because the right questions will lead you—and your prospect—right to the sale.

Want some help creating great questions for you and your sales team? Contact me today and we can start putting together a plan!