Five Steps to Creating a Powerful Marketing Piece

March 21st, 2017

Five Steps to Creating a Powerful Marketing PieceMuch—if not most—marketing is wasted. Various studies put the number at anywhere from 40% to 60%. You can’t afford to waste time, money, and effort like that though. If you want to generate more sales, your marketing needs to be effective.

How can you make sure it is? With five simple questions: who, why, what, where, and when. Whatever kind of marketing you’re contemplating—be it a website, a radio commercial, a flyer, a YouTube video, a sales letter, a Google ad, a brochure, a social media contest—answer these five questions in detail to ensure its success.

1. Who is the audience?
Everything starts with your intended audience. Who are they? What do they read, watch, and listen to? Where do they go and when? What are their problems and goals? What do they want more of and less of? The more narrowly you can define your prospective customers, the more relevant a message you can craft. You’ll also know where to put that message for maximum exposure to those people.

2. Why should they care?
Whatever your medium, you only have a few seconds to grab the attention of your prospect. To do that, you need to open with something that will resonate with them. Which means your headline or opening needs to make a statement or pose a question that relates to something they care about. (Hint: Your company, product, or service ain’t something they care about.) Your headline or opening should address a problem they have or a goal they possess.

3. What is the message?
This is the bulk of your marketing piece. What do they need to know? How will buying your product or service impact them? How does it achieve the promised results? What makes your product or service better than your competition’s? What proof can you provide? Include as much information as the medium allows, always linking everything back to the benefit to the reader or viewer—because that’s what they care about most.

4. Where do they go to take the next step?
What’s the next step? Do they need to call you to schedule an appointment? Should they come down to your location? Click here to have someone contact them? Submit an entry on your Facebook page? A marketing piece without a call to action is virtually worthless. Tell them exactly what you want them to do. To improve compliance, make the step easy.

5. When should they take it?
Finally, tell your prospect when they should take action. Should they call now? Do they need to come to the store on certain days or certain hours? Is there a deadline? Be clear. Also, it’s essential that you overcome their natural inertia by giving them a reason to act when you want them to. It can be a promotion, a bonus, a limited supply, an event, or something else they gain by acting in the specified time frame or lose by failing to act.

Too many businesses waste their marketing budgets by sending the wrong message to the wrong people. Follow these five steps with every marketing effort you make and your business won’t be one of them.

Selling Virtuously

March 8th, 2017

Selling VirtuouslyDoes boosting your sales mean you have to be sneaky, underhanded, manipulative, and high-pressure? Absolutely not! In fact, if you truly want to excel in sales, you need to be just the opposite. Because a virtuous salesperson is a successful salesperson.

Listen to my appearance on the Black Belt Selling podcast with Anna and Stephanie Scheller. In this interview, we discuss:

• Why the old ways of selling don’t work today
• The key to making the sale
• How a coach or mentor can help you boost your sales
• The two most important sales skills you must master
• And more!

You don’t have to choose between selling effectively and feeling good about yourself. You can—and should—do both!

17 Places to Look for New Prospects

February 21st, 2017

17 Places to Look for New ProspectsWondering where your next sales lead is coming from? Wonder no more! There are lots of places to find potential prospects—some in the physical world and some in the digital. Here are—in alphabetical order—17 of them:

1. Associations
2. Chambers of Commerce
3. Directories
4. Facebook
5. Google ads
6. Industry events
7. Instagram
8. Lead-sharing groups
9. Linkedin
10. Mailing lists
11. Networking events
12. Pinterest
13. Snapchat
14. Trade shows
15. Twitter
16. Your existing customers
17. YouTube

Each of these options has multiple opportunities for reaching potential buyers. Pick three or four places to devote your time and figure out how to maximize your investment in each. If something doesn’t work, tweak what you’re doing or try another place altogether.

The important thing for your sales is not to sit around waiting for prospects to find you. They may find your competition first, or they may never even realize they need you. Instead, go after them. You know where they are.

Tell Your Prospect: Be Mine

February 7th, 2017

Tell Your Prospect Be MineEveryone sends Christmas cards. Their impact is minimal, because we all receive so many of them that none stand out.

Instead, try sending your prospects and customers Valentine’s Day cards. Not the big, fancy, expensive ones. I’m talking about the little ones with cartoon characters on them that come 30 or so to a pack. The kind we used to give each other in third grade. At just a few dollars a package, they’re a marketing bargain.

You might add a short note—something like:

• LOVE having you as a client
• You & Us 4ever
• We’ll Stand By You
• Let’s Get Busy
• Call Me, Maybe?
• You’ll love working with us
• Miss You
• Let us be your one & only

Send them off to your clients and prospects in your own (hand-addressed) envelopes and wait for the response.

If you want to up the ante, include a few—or a package of—Conversation Hearts candies. Or a few chocolate hearts. Or some other Valentine’s candy. Your investment will be a little more, but your impact will be even greater.

This is an especially powerful tactic when dealing with prospects. A survey conducted by Britt Beemer for American Demographics found that 70.1% of respondents would switch to a different vendor if the company was more fun to do business with.

That company could be yours. Wouldn’t you love that?

Seven Negotiating Mistakes That Hurt Your Sales

January 31st, 2017

Seven Negotiating Mistakes That Hurt Your SalesNegotiation is an essential element of most sales efforts. Yet too many salespeople, professionals, and business owners lack the skills to negotiate successfully. If you’re not good at negotiating, it can cost you both sales and profits.

Have you made any of these common negotiating mistakes lately?

1. Not being willing to walk away
This is both the most common and most deadly negotiating mistake. If you’re not willing to walk away from the deal, you’ve already lost. Your willingness to walk away is your greatest source of power in any negotiation.

2. Having the wrong attitude
Do you—like many people—hate negotiating? Does it make you uncomfortable? Do you do whatever it takes to avoid it? Then you need an attitude reset. Negotiating is not about fighting or conflict or seeing who can screw over the other side more. It’s about working together to create an outcome that’s beneficial for both parties. It can be challenging, but it can also be fun and invigorating.

3. Undervaluing your product or service
Too many salespeople don’t appreciate the full value of their own products and services. As a result, they often ask for too little or they agree to a low-ball first offer—both of which hurt profits.

4. Failing to do sufficient research
Whoever has more information in a negotiation has an advantage. How much do you know about your buyer? What are their goals and dreams? What are their concerns and fears? What are their values and priorities? What pressures and deadlines are they dealing with? What is your product or service really worth to them? What options do they have besides buying from you?

5. Focusing on only one issue at a time
While it’s natural to try to resolve one issue before moving on to another, it’s also easy to get stuck that way. Look at the whole picture. Often you can trade one issue for another, thus resolving two at once.

6. Making unilateral concessions
When you make a concession without getting one in return, you encourage your buyer to ask for more. If there’s no cost to them, why shouldn’t they ask? Which opens you up to losing more and more on the deal. Always, always, always require a concession from your buyer in exchange for a concession from you.

7. Not looking for creative solutions
What’s important to your buyer besides what’s on the table? What’s important to you besides what’s in the contract? Could you give them better terms instead of a discount? Could they provide you with referrals? Could you throw in something that costs you little or nothing but would be valuable to them? Look for creative ways to increase the value for both sides. (Hint: This is where having lots of information about your prospect really comes in handy.)

Fortunately, each of these mistakes is relatively easy to correct and thus avoid in the future. Awareness is a big part of each one. Practice negotiating in low-stakes situations to get more comfortable, gain confidence, and hone your skills. That way, when the pressure is on, you won’t make any of these mistakes, earning you more sales and more profits.

Nine Ways to Correct a Customer Without Insulting Them

January 24th, 2017

Nine Ways to Correct a Customer Without Insulting Them

In my last post, I wrote about the fact that—contrary to a popular business cliché—customers are often wrong. In those situations, it’s up to us to correct them, so they don’t make a mistake, or at least prevent them from making the same mistake again.

How we correct people though, is critical. It’s imperative to avoid making potential or existing customers feel stupid, because a person who feels insulted shuts down, and may walk away forever.

For that reason, you should never, ever tell a buyer, “You’re wrong.” Just because they are, doesn’t mean they need the fact rubbed in their face.

Instead, empathize with them and validate their belief. Use statements like:

• “I understand how you might think that.”
• “A lot of people are under that impression.”
• “That’s a common misconception.”
• “I used to think that too.”
• “Unfortunately there’s a ton of misinformation out there.”
• “I hear that a lot.”

If you’re dealing with a customer problem that was partially—or entirely—the customer’s fault, use statements such as:

• “That’s an easy mistake to make.”
• “Happens all the time.”
• “I probably would have done the same thing.”

By empathizing and validating, you help your prospect or customer feel better about being wrong. When your buyer feels understood and respected, rather than belittled and judged, they respect and like you more. Which makes it easier for you to correct their thinking, as well as to get or keep them as a customer.

Correcting a customer who is wrong is not the time to display your intellectual superiority. Rather, it’s the time to empathize and validate, because both sales and customer service are ultimately all about emotions. Create a positive emotional experience for your customer and they’ll reward you with their business.

The Customer Is Rarely Right

January 17th, 2017

The Customer Is Rarely RightOne of the most common clichés in business is “The customer is always right.” It’s a staple of books and training seminars on sales, marketing, and customer service.

And it’s dead wrong.

While today’s buyers certainly have access to more information than ever before, there are still plenty of things they typically don’t know, and thus can be wrong about. These include:

• What questions to ask
• The costs that go into producing a product or service
• What they really need versus what they think they need
• The meaning of industry terms
• What makes one product or service better than another
• Hidden costs, fees, and taxes
• Risks
• How appropriate something is for their particular situation
• Maintenance needs and costs
• Why buying a cheaper option can be terrible
• How to properly use their new product or service
• The future
• What they don’t know

Add to this all the biases, prejudices, misinformation, rumors, myths, and urban legends rattling around in the average person’s head, and it’s no wonder so many prospects have difficulty making buying decisions.

That’s what buyers need you for. To clear them of their misconceptions, help them figure out which options are best for them, and ensure they have a positive ownership experience.

It’s also why you need to begin your selling process by asking lots of questions and listening carefully to the answers. So you can discover what they know and what they only think they know. It’s the latter than can cost you the sale. Only when you uncover the gaps and inaccuracies in your prospect’s knowledge can you help them overcome them. That way you can both be right.

Look to the Past for Future Sales

January 10th, 2017

Look to the Past for Future SalesAs a general rule, it’s best to focus on the present while keeping an eye toward the future. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should completely ignore the past. Because not only does the past hold a plethora of lessons—both personal and business—it can also hold opportunities for sales now and in the future. Here are three past sources of future business.

1. Past Clients
Your past customers already know you and (hopefully) like you, so the hardest work is already done. How else can you serve them? Do you have new products or services they could use? Have they developed new needs, challenges or goals? Do they have other divisions or locations that could use what you sell? And do they know other prospects they can refer you to?

2. Past Prospects
Just because a previous prospect didn’t buy from you then, doesn’t mean they won’t buy from you ever. What was the reason they didn’t buy? Has their situation changed? Did they choose a different company, and if so, did they have a good experience? Might they be looking for a new vendor?

3. Past Relationships
It’s easier than ever to lose contact with people we used to know and interact with. Fortunately, it’s also easier than ever to reconnect with people we’ve lost touch with. Reach out via social media or perhaps an old-fashioned phone call or e-mail. Don’t ask about sales opportunities during your initial contact—focus on them. Rebuild the relationship first, then you can ask for introductions or referrals.

You obviously don’t want to dwell on the past, but you should poke around in it every once in a while to see what gems you might be able to mine from it. One little nugget from the past could turn into a huge sale in the future.

Short Attention Spans Aren’t the Problem

January 3rd, 2017

Short Attention Spans Aren’t the ProblemIt seems like every other week I read an article bemoaning the ever-declining length of the human attention span, which apparently is down to 4½ seconds. (Which means you’re no longer even reading this.)

Here’s the thing though: I’ve never been able to find a legitimate study that scientifically documents this supposed decline.

And in fact, there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary: Movie audiences will happily sit in a darkened theater ( or “theatre” in Europe) for up to three hours at a time. People routinely binge watch ten or twelve straight hours of television via Hulu or Netflix. And every new “Harry Potter” book caused millions of kids to worry their parents by refusing to come down to dinner because they were too busy reading.

The problem isn’t that we have shorter attention spans than ever before, it’s that we have a lower tolerance for being bored.

Which means if people aren’t reading your articles, listening to your sales presentations or watching your videos, it’s not because people don’t have sufficient attention spans, it’s because your stuff sucks.

The reality is, if your stuff is awesome, people will pay attention to it.

So how do you make your stuff awesome?

Know your audience
Define your ideal client: age, sex, job title, industry, location, marital status, income, etc. Write or record specifically for them.

Focus on what they care about
Nobody cares about you. Everybody cares about themselves. So talking about your company, product or service is boring. Talking about your prospects’ wants, needs, problems, goals, fears and dreams is engaging.

Get help
If you’re not a naturally gifted writer or charismatic presenter, you’re not doomed to bore people forever. Just get the help you need to come across better, whether that means an editor, a presentation coach, a professional writer, a graphic designer, a spokesperson, or someone else who can help you shine.

The attention of prospective buyers is one of the most valuable commodities for any business or salesperson. And because the competition for that attention is more intense than ever before, people can be choosier about where they devote it.

But they will devote it, if they’re interested enough. Short attention spans aren’t the problem—the quality of your content is. Make your stuff more compelling and you’ll get more attention. And more sales.

Seven Business Failures You Can Learn From

December 27th, 2016

Seven Business Failures You Can Learn FromFailure leads to success, if you learn from it. But what’s better than learning from your failures? Learning from someone else’s failures!

Listen in as Jeff Shuey (Chief Evangelist at K2), Andrea Waltz (author of Go For No), Stewart Rogers (Director of Marketing Technology for VentureBeat), Finka Josie Jerkovic (Leadership Empowerment Coach), Yared Akalou (Design Strategist) and I join Michele Price (The Growth Hacking CMO) on Breakthrough Radio. As the seven of us discuss our biggest failures of 2016 and what we learned from them, you’ll pick up some valuable insights you can profit from in your own business or sales career.

The complete show is two hours long, so you’ll probably want to download it to your favorite mobile device.


To learn more about my fellow business experts featured in this program, click their names above to follow them on Twitter or click their company names above to visit their web sites.

What was your biggest failure this past year? And what did you learn from it? Share in the comments section below!

Are You Using This Powerful Word Enough?

December 13th, 2016

Are You Using This Powerful Sales Word Enough?Words have power. And some words have more power than others. Some of the most powerful words you can use in your sales and marketing efforts include “free,” “proven,” and “you.”

There is one word, however, that is not just extremely powerful, it’s also highly versatile—giving you multiple opportunities to leverage its power to increase your sales. What’s the word?

“Only”

“Only” is unique in that it works three ways:

First, it conveys scarcity of opportunity.
• “We only have two left in stock.”
• “They are only available for three months out of the year.”
• “We only accept six new clients a month.”

Scarcity creates desire and urgency, because people fear missing out. As a result, “only” encourages buyers to act now rather than waiting.

Second, it denotes exclusivity of a feature, function or benefit.
• “This is the only product that . . .”
• “This is the only service that also . . .”
• “We are the only company that . . .”
• “We are the only authorized . . .

Exclusivity is a selling point. People invariably want the best and exclusivity is associated in our minds with the best. Additionally, people like to feel that they are members of a select group, and the word “only” promises that feeling.

Third, it acts as a minimizer.
• “You only need to . . .”
• “Only three easy payments . . .”
• “Your investment is only . . .”

“Only” has the power to make numbers seem smaller. For example, psychologists have proven that people perceive “only $25” to be less than simply “$25.” The word “only” implies that the price could be—and in fact, should be—more, but isn’t, creating the impression of savings. For that reason, whenever you’re stating a price—whether verbally or in print—be sure to precede it with “only.”

There you have it. One word, three ways to use it to boost your sales. Are you taking full advantage of it?

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 TheBreakthroughRadio.com.

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 TheBreakthroughRadio.com.

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 TheBreakthroughRadio.com.

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.