Five Myths that Jeopardize Your Sales

December 6th, 2016

Five Myths that Jeopardize Your SalesThe world is full of myths, and the field of sales has its share. But while myths can be entertaining—and even instructional—they can be dangerous if taken seriously.

Listen to my appearance on Breakthrough Radio with Michele Price. In this segment, I do what a heretic does best, debunking five common myths that are likely costing you sales. You’ll also discover insights and tactics that will enable you to boost your sales quickly, ethically and profitably!

To learn more about Michele Price and listen to her interview other business experts on Breakthrough Radio (which I highly recommend), check out

Eleven Ways to React When You Lose the Sale

November 29th, 2016

Eleven Ways to React When You Lose the SaleEveryone loses a sale now and again. It’s the nature of selling. Heck, in my career I’ve lost more sales than I can count.

But the way you react to losing a sale impacts how well you do on your next sales opportunity. And all your future opportunities.

With that in mind, here are eleven different ways you might react to losing a sale:

1. Bitch about it to anyone who will listen

2. Quit work early and go get drunk

3. Blame everyone and everything else

4. Get terribly depressed

5. Bemoan how stupid the buyer is

6. Curse your deity of choice

7. Give up

8. Complain to your boss that you can’t compete because your product/service isn’t good enough and/or it’s too expensive

9. Accept it and move on

10. Congratulate the buyer, wish them success, and let them know you’d still love to serve them in the future

11. Analyze your actions to determine if there’s anything you could do differently or better next time

Each of these is an understandable reaction. But only three are useful to you. And only two of those will help you close more sales in the future. I’ll let you figure out which those are. You’re pretty smart.

How to Prospect Profitably

November 22nd, 2016

High-Profit ProspectingIf you want more sales, odds are you need more prospects. But there’s more to prospecting than just raw numbers. And that trips up a lot of salespeople.

“Prospecting is not a complex process,” asserts Mark Hunter in the first chapter of his new book, High-Profit Prospecting. “It’s simply finding people who can and will buy from you.” Like so many things in life though, simple does not mean easy. And in this well-written book, Hunter elaborates on the prospecting challenges that today’s salespeople face.

The decline of the telephone and the emergence of email and other communication tools did not cause the evolution of prospecting. Rather, what caused it to change is a shift in knowledge. When I was prospecting twenty-five years ago, I had all the knowledge about my product—if the customer wanted to know anything, they needed me. Today the customer has the knowledge, and….the ability to choose from any number of options and companies. The customer now has the ability to ignore you, the salesperson. If and when they’re ready to buy, they often can make the purchase online without ever contacting a salesperson. The evolution of prospecting is not due to the number of communication methods available, but rather to the shift in who has the knowledge.

Hunter argues—and I agree—that in order to succeed in this new reality, salespeople need to combine some of the tried-and-true methods of the past with new digital tactics in an effort to deliver value and build confidence from the first contact on.

To that end, Hunter shares a wide variety of tactics you can use to improve every aspect of your prospecting, from planning to execution, including:

• 7 Things Motivated People Do to Stay Motivated
• 9 Places to Look for Prospects
• How to Tailor Your Prospecting Plan to Your Market
• 6 Ways to Separate Prospects from Suspects
• 10 Ways to Get a Phone Number
• How to Get Past the Gate-Keeper
• 10 Best Practices for Prospecting With the Telephone
• 11 Rules for Leaving a Great Voice-Mail
• How to Prospect with Social Media

Hunter also includes sample phone scripts, e-mail templates, and more, so you don’t have to struggle to figure out what to say. Simply adapt his words to your product or service!

Another element of this book that I love is its emphasis on profitability. (As you might expect of a book entitled High-Profit Prospecting.) Hunter makes an excellent point:

The type of leads you get will determine the price you get. If you’re not getting the price you want…the problem might be your prospecting process and specifically whom you’re targeting in that process.

Prospecting is not about going after whoever will talk with you or whoever you get routed to. Prospecting is about focusing your efforts toward the person(s) with the greatest potential to deliver not just a sale, but also a sale at maximum price.

With this in mind, Hunter discusses the differences between the “tactical buyer” and the “strategic buyer.” And the ideas he lays out all focus on reaching and working with the people who will value everything you bring to the table, rather than price-buyers.

High-Profit Prospecting is a book that lives up to its name. It’s easy to read, practical, and comprehensive. It will help you acquire not just more prospects, but more quality prospects. Which means not just more sales, but more profitable sales.

Six Things to Stop Doing to Boost Your Sales

November 9th, 2016

Six Things to Stop Doing to Boost Your SalesA lot of sales advice focuses on things you should be doing. But equally important to know are the things you shouldn’t be doing. Like what, you ask?

Listen to my appearance on Breakthrough Radio with Michele Price. In this segment, I share six specific things you’re doing that are sabotaging your sales efforts. Cut these things out and you’ll achieve better results almost immediately!

To learn more about Michele Price and listen to her interview other business experts on Breakthrough Radio (which I strongly recommend), check out

How Prospects NEED to Feel

October 25th, 2016

How Prospects Need to Feel

© Andylim | Dreamstime

All buying is emotional. Always. Whether you’re selling to businesses or consumers, the buying process is emotional from beginning to end.

And that can be a challenge for us as salespeople, because when we first encounter a prospect, their emotional state is frequently a negative one.

At the beginning of—and often throughout—the buying process, prospects can be in any or all of these emotional states:

• Scared
• Confused
• Anxious
• Pressured
• Frustrated
• Wary
• Annoyed
• Overwhelmed

The problem that creates is that as long as a prospect is feeling any of those ways, they’re not going to buy. In order for them to part with their hare-earned money, they need to feel:

• Comfortable
• Confident
• Relaxed
• Relieved
• Smart
• Secure
• Excited
• Happy
• Proud

Which means you need to change their emotional state. That’s actually a huge part of professional selling. It’s not just regurgitating features and benefits. It’s understanding the buyer’s emotional situation, discovering the reasons causing the buyer to be in that situation, and then helping them to move out of it and into a different, more positive state.

How can you accomplish that?

• Ask questions
• Listen attentively
• Empathize with them
• Respect their thoughts and opinions
• Educate them
• Provide proof—testimonials, case studies, before-and-after photos
• Emphasize your warranty/guarantee/return policy
• Don’t pressure them
• Give them choices
• Discover and answer their objections

The process of changing a prospect’s emotional state takes longer in some cases than others, depending on the degree of the emotions any given prospect is experiencing. But it is an essential aspect of selling, and the better you get at it, the better your sales will be. And the better you’ll feel.

47 Things You Can Compete On Besides Price

October 18th, 2016

Things You Can Compete On Besides PriceIn sales, the single worst factor you can compete on is price. Selling on price guarantees you a razor-thin profit margin. As well as constant customer turnover, because price buyers are notorious for having no loyalty—they’ll switch as soon as someone else offers a lower price.

And that’s assuming you make the first sale to begin with, which you likely won’t, because the vast majority of buyers make their decisions based on a multitude of factors besides price. So if you’re competing solely on price, you’ll lose the sale most of the time.

What can you compete on instead? Here are 47 other factors:

1. Construction quality
2. Quality of materials or ingredients
3. Safety
4. Environmental friendliness
5. Convenience
6. Durability
7. Ease of setup/installation
8. Years of experience
9. Warranty
10. Comfort
11. Energy efficiency
12. Color choices
13. Accuracy
14. Speed
15. Ease of use
16. Customization
17. Exclusivity
18. Hours/days of operation
19. Security
20. User training
21. Design
22. Maintenance ease
23. Maintenance cost
24. Risk
25. Consistency
26. Power
27. Capacity
28. Location
29. Resale value
30. Customer experience
31. Size
32. Track record
33. Versatility
34. Pickup and/or delivery
35. Operational costs
36. Taste
37. Packaging
38. Reliability
39. Specialization
40. Customer service
41. Longevity of product
42. Longevity of results
43. Healthiness
44. Company stability
45. Return policy
46. Uniqueness
47. Mobility

Figure out which of these items relate to your product or service and emphasize them rather than trying to beat everyone else’s price. You’ll make more sales at higher profits with stronger loyalty.

What other factors do you compete on? Share them in the comments below!

The Single Most Important Success Skill

October 11th, 2016

The Single Most Important Success SkillWhether you’re a salesperson, sales manager, business owner or CEO, there are a lot of skills that are necessary for success. A short list might include communication skills, sales skills, people skills, negotiation skills, leadership skills, and time-management skills.

But if I had to pick one skill that supersedes all the others, that is shared by all successful people, that is the foundation of success in any field, it would be this:

The ability to accept that there might be a better way.

This skill manifests as a hunger for learning, a need to experiment, a passion for pushing boundaries.

It’s what causes successful people to seek out mentors and coaches, to read voraciously, to attend conferences and seminars.

But more than that, it’s what enables them to actually act on feedback, insights, and new ideas.

So how good are you at this vital skill? How open are you to different viewpoints? How willing are you to discard beliefs and behaviors that are holding you back? How quick are you to trade old approaches for new ones?

Admitting you were wrong and that someone else’s way might be better than yours isn’t easy. It’s hard on our egos. And yet it’s a critical skill for your success. You can possess all the skills I mentioned above—and more—but if you lack this one, it will stymie your growth and keep you stuck wherever you are now.

So if you really want to accelerate your success, recognize that the ability to accept there might be a better way is a skill you need to hone. That’s the first step to honing it.

How to Bust Out of a Sales Slump

October 4th, 2016

How to Break Out of a Sales SlumpEveryone experiences slumps occasionally. Not that that’s much consolation when you’re stuck in one. All you care about is how to get out of it.

Listen to my appearance on Breakthrough Radio with Michele Price. In this short segment, I discuss what to do when you find yourself stuck in a slump. And not the same old “think positively” advice—real, actionable steps that you can implement to get traction again. Be prepared to take notes so you can have these valuable tactics available the next time you need to get unstuck!

To learn more about Michele Price and listen to her interview other business experts on Breakthrough Radio (which I highly recommend), check out

What else have you done to break out of a sales slump? Share your ideas in the comments below!

Are You Turning Off Buyers Just by Answering the Phone?

September 27th, 2016

Are You Turning Off Buyers Just by Answering the PhoneThe way you answer the phone seems like a trivial, irrelevant detail. Yet it sets the stage for everything to follow and creates a powerful impression that can either work for you or against you.

Think about it—When you’ve called a company where the person who answered sounded bored or surly, did you want to do business with them? In today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, one single bad impression can be enough to lose a sales opportunity forever.

So don’t take a chance on blowing the sale before you even get started. Here are seven tips to begin your conversation positively.

1. Answer Quickly
People hate waiting. Don’t make them.

2. Say the Company Name
Callers want to be certain they’ve reached the company they were intending to. Give them a quick confirmation.

3. Say Your Name
People want to know who they’re talking to. Remember, this is the start of a relationship.

4. Say Your Department
If you’re in a large organization and calls can be coming to you from both outside and inside, it can be helpful to state what department you’re in, so the caller knows they’re talking to the right person.

5. Don’t Be Too Wordy
But don’t go overboard with the opening script. I’ve called companies where people answered the phone with something like, “It’s a wonderful day here at OmniConsumerGlobalTech. Thank you so much for calling us. This is Josephine St. John Smythe in the customer care department. How may I be of service to you today?”

6. Speak Clearly
It doesn’t matter what you say if your prospect can’t understand it. Speak slowly enough and distinctly enough so your caller can easily understand you. This is one of the problems with an overly wordy greeting—people tend to rush through it, and the caller doesn’t get any of it.

7. Answer Enthusiastically
Words also mean nothing if the emotional tone of voice doesn’t support them. Sounding stressed, annoyed, tired or otherwise negative completely alienates your prospect, regardless of what you say. Even if you’re having a bad day, greet your callers with enthusiasm. Smile before and while you answer the phone. After all, this could turn out to be the call that turns your entire month around!

8. Ask Permission to Place on Hold
If you have to put someone on hold immediately, ask permission: “May I put you on hold?” or “Can you hold for a moment please?” And then wait for the answer. It only takes a couple seconds, and makes your prospect feel valued.

Answering the phone effectively isn’t difficult, but it does take some effort. It’s well worth it though, to start your conversation off on a positive note. Because buyers judge you and your company on every little detail. So make this detail a good one.

21 Things Buyers Fear

September 20th, 2016

Things Buyers FearWhile buying something new can be exciting, it can also be scary. And as salespeople, we can get so caught up in the excitement part, we forget just how scared our prospects can be.

And that’s dangerous for us. Because if a prospect is too scared, they won’t buy.

What exactly are buyers afraid of? Lots of things. Including:

1. The unknown
2. Buying the wrong product/service
3. Losing money
4. Delays
5. Missing out on opportunities
6. Being unable to upgrade or expand
7. Unexpected future expenses
8. The product/service won’t work
9. Not being able to return product
10. Being stuck in a contract
11. Getting sick or injured because of the product/service
12. Company not taking care of them after the sale
13. Having personal information stolen
14. Being embarrassed
15. Not being able to use the product/service
16. Their recipient won’t like the gift
17. Spending too much money
18. The product breaking or wearing out quickly
19. The results of the service not lasting
20. Things going to waste
21. Looking bad to their boss, team, spouse or kids

Even one of these fears can paralyze a buyer and prevent the sale. Which means we need to address their fears and resolve them in our sales process. Otherwise we’ll be bombarded with objections, put off indefinitely, or lose the sale to someone who’s better at allaying our prospect’s fears than we are.

So which of the above fears potentially afflict your buyers? How can you acknowledge them and alleviate them before they derail the buying process?

When you confront your buyer’s fears head-on, you make it easier for them to buy. And that makes closing easier for you. Because then the only thing your prospect has to fear, is missing out on the awesomeness of your product or service.

What else have you found that buyers fear? Leave them in the comments below!

How NOT to Prospect on LinkedIn

September 13th, 2016

How not to prospect on LinkedInI recently received this message in my LinkedIn mailbox (the names have been changed to protect the guilty):

Eric Miller
Junior Sales at Tuttle and Hobart Integrated Supply

Howdy! I was checking out your linkedin profile and was impressed. I would love to network with you.

Do you think your company could use a promotional video to help simplify your message? We also offer referral commissions.

Check out for top of the line promotional videos or email

BTW – we are now offering a linkedin promo – 35% off!

Please do not respond to this message on linkedin as I do not check my account often enough. Check us out online!

After I stopped laughing, I contemplated all the things that were wrong with this message:

1. “Howdy?” That’s your greeting? What are we, cowboys? I’m half surprised you didn’t also use “;pardner.”

2. “LinkedIn” has a capital “L” and a capital “I.” If you can’t get the little details right, how can I trust you to get the big things right?

3. In the first paragraph, you say you want to network with me, and then in the next sentence, you start actively selling me.

4, We don’t even know each other and you want me to start referring people to you????

5. You’re offering me a big discount right up front? That smacks of desperation and communicates that your product isn’t worth much.

6. Do not respond on LinkedIn??? You don’t check it often enough??? WHAT??? Are you kidding me???

The entire message is the equivalent of walking up to somebody at a cocktail party, shoving a brochure in their hand, and saying, “Read this and get back to us.” It’s amateurish, disingenuous, and insulting. Not only is it worthless, it actually gives me a negative opinion of the company. I will actively avoid this business as a result.

If you’re going to use LinkedIn as a prospecting tool, remember that it’s called “social” media for a reason. Get to know people. Take part in discussions. Provide value. Be social.

LinkedIn is a powerful sales tool. But like any tool, it’s only effective when you use it properly. So take the time to learn how to use it right. That will get you better results.

The Five E’s of Great Customer Service

September 6th, 2016

Great Service Equals Great SalesSales is service and service is sales. So if you want more sales, you need to be providing more than just good service. You need to provide exceptional service. What does that mean, exactly?

Listen to my appearance on Breakthrough Radio with Michele Price. In this 8-minute segment, I share five elements of extraordinary service. You’ll discover what it takes to deliver service that leaves your customers not merely satisfied, but elated. When you ensure your customer service embodies these five factors, your clients will come back to you again and again, as well as refer you to everyone they know!

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

The Five E’s of Great Customer Service: Don Cooper on Breakthrough Radio (mp3)

To learn more about Michele Price and listen to her interview other business experts on Breakthrough Radio (which I strongly recommend), check out

The Best Thing You Can Say to a Prospect

August 30th, 2016

Best Thing to Say to a ProspectSalespeople–along with professionals, business owners, and others who have to sell as part of their jobs–are always looking for magic words. Words and phrases that will quickly capture a prospect’s interest, easily overcome objections, and effortlessly close the deal.

So in that spirit, I want to share with you what I have discovered—after much painstaking research—to be the single best thing you can say to your prospect. Write this down, commit it to memory, tattoo it on your arm. Without question, this will help you achieve more sales.

The absolute, single, BEST thing you can say to your prospect is…….
(wait for it)

Years of training, coaching, mystery shopping, and being a customer myself, as well as sharing with and reading other sales experts, has led me to one inescapable conclusion: The vast majority of salespeople talk too much!

So shut up!
Zip it!
Close your trap!
Shut your pie hole!
Be quiet!
Put a sock in it!
Mute yourself!
Button your lip!
Clam up!

Instead of constantly running your mouth, hoping the right words will accidentally spill out, let your prospect talk. More often than not, if we just shut our yaps, our prospects will tell us everything we need to know.

To be even more effective, ask your prospect questions. Listen intently. Ask them to explain, or for more detail. Empathize. Smile. Frown. Laugh. Nod or shake your head.

Most of us believe—many of us have even been taught—that the more we talk, the closer we get to the sale. The opposite is actually true: The more our prospects talk, the closer we get to the sale. But they can’t talk if we’re talking.

So shut up and make the sale.

What Are You Willing to Fight For?

August 22nd, 2016

My Dad in the hospitalThis is my first blog post in nearly a year. Last September, my 74-year-old father was hospitalized for what turned out to be pancreatic cancer. (Those last two words kinda give away how this story is going to end.) I immediately flew out to Washington, DC to be with him.

Over the next seven months, in two hospitals and two nursing homes, he battled like a prize fighter. He endured two surgeries, four “procedures,” five trips to the Emergency Room, four trips to the Intensive Care Unit, feeding tubes, catheters, delirium, multiple infections, a concussion (thanks to the negligence of one of the nursing homes), and a stage 4 bed sore. (Whatever you do, do not—I repeat, DO NOT—do a Google image search for “stage 4 bed sore.” You’re welcome.)

Throughout this excruciating ordeal, I was by his side every day, doing everything in my power to help him survive. Several times over the course of those months—when he was struggling and suffering the most—I asked him if he wanted to keep fighting or if he wanted to just quit. Each time he said, “Let’s keep fighting.” So we did.

And that’s why you haven’t heard from me in so long. I didn’t blog, I didn’t tweet, I didn’t do any sales or marketing. I just focused on my dad. Talking with him. Changing his dressings. Learning all I could about his condition and care. Applying creams, ointments, and powders. Feeding him ice chips. Holding his hand.

If you know anything about pancreatic cancer, you won’t be surprised to learn that my father didn’t make it. But if I had to do it all over again, I would. In a heartbeat.

Because, DAMN it—he was worth fighting for.

And that’s my question to you: What are you willing to fight for? Your family? Your business? Your clients? Your idea? Yourself?

Whatever your answer is (and it can be more than one thing), put everything you’ve got into it. Don’t half-ass it. You may only have one shot.

There are never any guarantees in business or in life, but as long as you’re willing to fight—and willing to give it your all—you will always have a chance at success.
Thanks for everything, Dad. Love you.

Five Great Things to Say to Prospects

September 8th, 2015

Five Great Things to Say to ProspectsHave you ever struggled with what to say to a prospect? Do you wish you had an arsenal of powerful words, phrases, and questions that you could whip out and use whenever you needed?

Listen to my appearance on Breakthrough Radio with Michele Price. In this 8-minute segment, I share five terrific things you can say to prospects in a variety of sales situations. And be ready to write or type, because I give you the exact words to use. These verbal tools will help you in your prospecting, qualifying, presenting, and closing!

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

Five Great Things to Say to Prospects: Don Cooper on Breakthrough Radio (mp3)

To learn more about Michele Price and listen to her interview other business experts on Breakthrough Radio (which I definitely recommend), check out

One Simple Trick to Improve Your Sales Presentations

August 5th, 2015

Do your sales presentations cause prospects to buy immediately? Or do they result in yawns, glassy stares and fidgeting?

If it’s the former, great! But if it’s the latter, there’s a simple way to make them far more powerful. What is this tactic? And how can you incorporate it into your next presentation?

Listen to my appearance on Breakthrough Radio with Michele Price. In this 7-minute segment, I discuss how to up your presentation game instantly! You’ll discover how to turbo-charge your presentations so they result in more sales!

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

One Simple Trick to Improve Your Sales Presentations: Don Cooper on Breakthrough Radio (mp3)

To learn more about Michele Price and listen to her interview other business experts on Breakthrough Radio (which I strongly recommend), check out

15 Sales Tips from NSA ‘15

July 29th, 2015

Sales Tips from NSA 15As a sales trainer and keynote speaker, I am, of course, a member of the National Speakers Association. Which means that last week I was in Washington, D.C. for the 2015 NSA Annual Convention.

More than 1700 of the world’s top professional speakers and trainers gathered for four days to learn from each other. The result was an overwhelming outpouring of business ideas and insights.

Here, in no particular order, are fifteen of the best:

Paulson sales tip1. “In a world full of data, stories enable us to digest the information.”—Terry Paulson (@terrypaulson)
Data, while useful, isn’t as powerful a persuasive tool as stories are. Rather than bore your prospect with reams of data, tell them a story of how you helped another customer solve the same problem they have.

Kelly sales tip2. “The more you focus on them, the higher their opinion of you.”—Kelly McDonald (@kellycmcdonald)
Too many salespeople focus on their product or service, under the mistaken belief that doing so will make the prospect want it. But prospects don’t care about you, your product, or your company. They care about themselves. Focus on your prospect instead of your product and you’ll make more sales.

Ed sales tip3. “Each time you contact a potential client, your contact needs to be tied to a purpose.”—Ed Robinson
“Checking in” is not a good reason to contact a prospect. Every contact must serve a purpose, not just for you, but for your prospect as well. How can you serve your prospect with each contact?

Seanlai sales tip4. “Just because it’s effortless (for you), doesn’t mean it’s worthless.”—Seanlai Cochrane (@seanlaic)
Most of us undervalue our talents because they come so easily to us. To earn what you’re worth, it’s critical to remember that others can’t do what we do, and as a result they will pay handsomely for it.

Guest sales tip5. “It doesn’t matter how good the baker is, if the cashier spits on your cake.”—Laurie Guest (@laurieguest)
Your product can be the best in the world, but if your customer service isn’t good, people won’t buy it. Hire well, train continuously, and fire when necessary. Customer experience is paramount.

Gerry OBrion sales tip6. “Be different from your competition in a way your customers value.”—Gerry O’Brion (@gerryobrion)
Being distinctive is vital in a crowded marketplace. (If you’re the same as everybody else, why should I buy from you?) Yet just being different isn’t enough. The prospect has to see some benefit to them in your differentiation.

Dawnna sales tip7. “Your perfect audience is looking for you.”—Dawnna St. Louis (@dawnnastlouis)
Whatever you sell, some people will love it, some will hate it, and the vast majority simply won’t care. Rather than wasting time, effort, and money trying to market to everyone, figure out who your product or service is perfect for, and focus your marketing on them.

Mark  sales tip8. “We all need to belong.”—Mark Scharenbroich (@NiceBikeMark)
Human beings are social animals. And we need to feel part of a community. It’s a fact that companies like Harley-Davidson and Disney understand well and capitalize on. How can you foster community among your customers?

Jenn sales tip9. “Happier employees = happier customers = successful companies.”—Jenn Lim (@DHMovementCEO)
Want to ensure exceptional customer service? Take exceptional care of your employees. Companies such as Southwest Airlines and Zappos have learned that making employees a priority causes them to make customers a priority.

Owen sales tip10. “Consistency is the mother of trust.”—Owen Hemsath (@owenhemsath)
Trust is essential to the sales process. And consistency is crucial to building trust. When prospects and customers are disappointed, frustrated, or unpleasantly surprised, they trust you less and become less likely to buy from you.

DNewman sales tip11. “Prospects are lazy, busy, and befuddled.”—David Newman (@dnewman)
In today’s busy society, people don’t have the time, energy or mental bandwidth to devote to the buying process. So make everything about your buying process as easy as possible for them. The less they have to do, the more likely they are to buy.

Pettitt sales tip12. “It’s not about whether or not you make judgments (you do), it’s about what you do with those judgments.”—Jessica Pettitt (@jesspettitt)
It’s well documented that we all make snap judgments about people based on their appearance and personality. And those judgments can cost us sales. The prospect who walks in wearing an old t-shirt and ratty jeans could very well be a millionaire. Notice the judgments you make and consciously push them aside.

Jolley sales tip13. “Don’t let your pride poison your prosperity.”—Willie Jolley (@WillieJolley)
It’s one thing to take pride in your work and your accomplishments. (In fact, it can be healthy.) It’s quite another, however, to allow pride to mutate into hubris or ego, either of which can be detrimental to your career or business.

Mel sales tip14.“The only thing standing in the way of growing your business is you.”—Mel Robbins (@melrobbins)
Most of us are our own worst enemies. While it’s easy to blame the economy, competitors, employees, and others when we don’t get the results we want, more often than not, we’re the ones who are truly at fault. Ultimately, you are responsible for your own success.

Bradford sales tip15. “What will people pay for? Money, sex, happiness.”—Robert Bradford (@robertbradford)
Everything we buy is a means to an end. What is the end your prospects are seeking to achieve? Is it one of these three things? Or perhaps status, health, or security? Link what you sell to a result people want and you’ll boost your sales.

For more ideas and insights from these fantastic speakers, click on their names to visit their web sites or click on their handles to follow them on Twitter. (To follow me, click here.)

Need an exceptional speaker for your next event? Check out the NSA website or your favorite speakers bureau. (Or just click here.)

How to Avoid Becoming Obsolete

July 8th, 2015

How to Avoid Your Sales and Business Becoming ObsoleteTechnology, society and the marketplace are all changing faster than ever before. With those changes come both threats and opportunities for your business. How can you avoid the former while seizing the latter?

Listen in as Jeff Shuey (Chief Evangelist at K2) and I join Michele Price on Breakthrough Radio. In this special episode, the three of us discuss:

• What today’s pace of change means for your sales and your business
• How to seize opportunities that didn’t exist a year ago
• How to keep your business relevant
• The biggest danger facing your business
• Why failure is a good thing
• The most important skill set of the 21st century
• What you have to stop doing now

Be Advised: The complete show is a bit more than an hour long, so you’ll probably want to download it to your favorite mobile device. To do so, right-click the link and select “Save Target As…”

How to Avoid Becoming Obsolete: Breakthrough Radio (mp3)

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Nine Reasons Salespeople Discount When They Shouldn’t

June 30th, 2015

Reasons Salespeople DiscountOne of the most frequent complaints I hear from sales directors, VPs, and CEOs is that their sales team—whether it’s internal or their distribution channel—discounts too much and too often.

While it’s maddening, it’s also excruciatingly common. Here’s what drives that behavior:

1. Fear of losing the sale
Every salesperson fears losing the sale. So when a prospect asks for a discount, the salesperson often thinks the sale hinges on whether or not they give one. Salespeople rationalize to themselves that a small commission is better than no commission at all.

2. Fear of confrontation
Many salespeople—and even more professionals and business owners—hate confrontation. And because they see negotiating at confrontational, they acquiesce to discount requests in order to avoid it.

3. “Everybody does it.”
In many industries, discounting is the perceived norm. When salespeople believe they have to discount because everyone else does, discounting simply becomes part of the expected process, both for the buyer and the seller.

4. Don’t understand why they shouldn’t
Too many salespeople don’t understand the damage that discounting can do to a company’s profitability. And too many professionals and small business owners—most of my coaching clients among them—don’t even know what their profit margin is. As a result, they discount because the see a short-term benefit—a quick sale—rather than a long-term problem.

5. Don’t appreciate the product’s—or the company’s—true value
Value is subjective. We all value the same products and services differently based on our likes, dislikes, priorities, fears, biases, experiences, tastes, and more. So sellers often don’t see the value of what they’re selling the same way buyers do. This is especially true in B2B sales, where salespeople are often selling things—chemicals, machinery, software, advertising, business services, etc.—that they would never buy personally. When salespeople don’t fully appreciate their product’s, service’s, or company’s value, they cave to discount requests due to ignorance or even guilt.

6. Unable to articulate the value
Even when the salesperson does appreciate the value of what they’re selling, too often they are unable to communicate that value to their prospect. That results in pressure to discount.

7. It’s the easiest thing to do
Articulating value, justifying price, and negotiating require time, knowledge, and skill. By contrast, discounting is fast and easy.

8. Their managers encourage them to
Pressure to discount doesn’t just come from buyers. All too often, sales managers—either tacitly or overtly—pressure their salespeople to discount. Sometimes through their own example!

9. No one has taught them any other way
While some salespeople discount just because it’s the easy way out, many do it because they don’t know any other way of handling discount requests. Nobody has ever trained them how to deal with buyers pressuring them for discounts. (When I conduct training seminars, it’s always one of the biggest frustrations attendees have.) In the absence of training, people do the only thing they know how to do—say yes to a discount.

The good news is that all these issues can be resolved through effective training. Buy a book for everyone on your sales team, invest in some audio or video training programs for them, or bring a speaker in to your company to speak to them.

Buyers will never stop asking for discounts, for the simple reason that it’s in their best interest to. Salespeople need good reasons to be able to say no.

19 Ways to Be of Value to Your Buyers

June 16th, 2015

Ways to Be of Value to Your Buyers in SalesValue is crucial to sales success, and not just in the obvious way. Sure you need a strong value proposition to justify your price and distinguish you from the competition. But it’s also important to deliver value both before and after the sale.

Because delivering value to your buyer builds rapport, improves confidence, creates appreciation, and earns trust. All of which help you make the first sale as well as future ones.

So whether you’re trying to land a new client or looking to strengthen your customer loyalty, here are 19 ways you can be of value to your prospects and customers:

1. Educate them about your industry
2. Tell them what not to buy
3. Send articles, e-books, podcasts, and videos that relate to their needs, issues and interests
4. Provide a buyer’s guide
5. Invite them to events
6. Promote them
7. Send gifts
8. Feed them
9. Give them sneak peeks or free samples
10. Provide a free consultation, inspection, evaluation, or audit
11. Make them laugh
12. Give them referrals
13. Show them how to save money
14. Show them how to make more money
15. Alert them to risks they weren’t aware of
16. Support their favorite charity
17. Educate their distribution channel
18. Upgrade them
19. Connect them with others who can help them

You don’t need to employ all of these tactics of course, but the more of them you use, the stronger your relationship with your buyers will be. So determine which items on this list are appropriate for your company and your customers, and create a plan for implementing them. You’ll achieve more sales, more loyalty and more profits.