Seven Things You Need to Study to Boost Your Sales

April 14th, 2015

Things to Study to Boost SalesThe top people in every profession got there by studying. Raw talent and intelligence will only take you so far. Whether you’re talking about doctors, athletes, lawyers, business leaders, artists, writers or teachers, the best are committed to continual learning.

The same is true for salespeople. If you want to join the ranks of the award-winners, here are seven things you need to study regularly:

1. Your Product or Service
Product knowledge isn’t everything, but it’s a starting point. Prospects typically don’t trust a salesperson who doesn’t know what they’re selling. Know the details of your product or service backwards and forwards. Not because you’re going to share every detail with your prospects—most don’t want to hear every detail—but because you want to be able to answer any question your prospect has.

2. Your Company
What’s your company’s history? What’s your company’s philosophy? What awards has your company won? How does your company take care of customers after the sale? What are the negative episodes in your company’s past and how has your company overcome them? What makes your company unique? Again, you’re not going to share all this information with your prospects, but if your prospect asks about any of them, you’d better be able to answer confidently.

3. Your Industry
What are the trends in your industry? What are the opportunities and dangers? How might these items affect your company and your customers?

4. Your Competition
If you’re going to effectively sell against your competitors, you need to know them as well as they know themselves. What are their strengths and weaknesses? How do their products and services stack up against yours? In what ways are they superior to you? In what ways are you superior to them?

5. Your Marketplace
What are the trends in your markets? What are the challenges the people in them are facing? What do they want more of and less of? What’s happening to their budgets?

6. Your Prospect
Every prospect is different. This is where exceptional salespeople separate themselves from everyone else. They take the time to learn about each individual prospect—both in their pre-call research and their needs analysis interviewing. The more you know about your prospect, the easier it is to make the sale.

7. Selling
True sales professionals are constantly studying the art and science of selling. From prospecting to closing and everything in between, there’s always more to learn. Fortunately, there are more resources than ever before—many of them free!

Whether you’re brand new to sales or you’re a sales veteran, investing more time in studying these seven items will pay massive dividends.

Using Twitter to Power Your Sales

April 7th, 2015

Twitter Power for Boosting Your SalesWith more than a billion accounts, Twitter has changed the social, business and media landscape. CEO’s, celebrities and world leaders tweet regularly. CNN, ESPN and other media outlets routinely reference tweets on air. And the term “hashtag” has become part of the modern lexicon.

But while Twitter offers tremendous sales and marketing opportunities for businesses of all types and sizes, too many companies are either not using it well or avoiding it altogether.

Seeking to help companies make the most of Twitter are Joel Comm and Dave Taylor in their newly revised Twitter Power 3.0: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time.

Comm and Taylor are legitimate Twitter gurus. Both joined the microblogging site back in 2007, before most of us had even heard of it. Today, Taylor has more than 12,000 followers and Comm—who wrote the first version of Twitter Power in 2009—has more than 82,000. And their Klout scores are in the top 1% of online influencers. So these two know a little something about social media in general and Twitter in particular.

Twitter Power 3.0 is a comprehensive guide to the platform, covering everything from setting up your account to maximizing its impact for your business. If you haven’t yet joined Twitter—or if you’ve barely used it—chapters 3 through 5 will take you step by step through the process of getting started. The authors show you exactly how to:
• choose the right user name,
• create an inviting profile,
• write an effective bio, and
• begin to build a following.

If you’re a more seasoned Twitter user, jump right to chapter 6: “The Art of the Tweet.” Comm and Taylor discuss what makes a good tweet, style rules to follow, and basic Twitter etiquette. If you want to engage current and potential customers, you need to tweet in a way that is friendly, personable and approachable:

Businesses that tweet like a corporate executive addressing a board meeting will stand out on the site and scream that they have no idea what they’re doing— or whom they’re talking to.

The chapters that follow explore strategies to:
• build your brand,
• get more retweets,
• drive follower behavior,
• solicit feedback from your customers, and
• make actual money.

Throughout the book, the authors use case studies and screen shots to illustrate their points. Comm and Taylor share examples of companies that use Twitter well—so you can adopt their approaches—and companies that don’t—so you can avoid their mistakes. This is particularly important, because as the authors point out:

Firms that get social media wrong look like interlopers, uninvited guests who have gate-crashed the cool people’s party. That doesn’t just mean that they’re missing all of the opportunities that the social media site offers. It can also show that the company just doesn’t get it. That could have as negative an effect on its sales as good tweeting can have a positive effect.

Getting social media “right” isn’t all that difficult. It requires an understanding of your market and what they want from you as a brand, as well as a willingness to listen and to be “human.” In short, it means being “social.” Which is the real value of Twitter and other social media sites:

What Twitter supplies isn’t a tool for making money online immediately and with little effort. Twitter delivers something much more valuable. It provides the basis on which all successful businesses are built. It delivers trust. There really aren’t many other services that can take entrepreneurs so easily through the process of “Know me. Like me. Trust me. Pay me.” and with so many people.

Thousands of savvy companies have already harnessed the power of Twitter to boost their sales. With Twitter Power 3.0, you can join them.

Are You Pushing Prospects or Leading Them?

March 25th, 2015

Lead Sales ProspectsAikido is a Japanese martial art that focuses on redirecting an attacker’s energy and using it against them. Instead of meeting force with force (i.e. kicking and punching), the idea is to blend with the assailant’s movements to either throw them or pin them to the ground. Aikido makes use of momentum, balance and gravity, rather than speed or strength.

In fact, strength can work against you. A common mistake students make—and I’m guilty of it myself all too often—is trying to push or pull their training partner to make a technique work. That typically results in failure, because pushing and pulling gives the other person energy that they can use, resulting in them pushing or pulling back. Instead, we’re taught to lead our partners. Leading involves subtle body movements that cause an attacker to change their attack slightly and lose their balance.

In other words, pushing and pulling can generate resistance. But leading takes advantage of the attacker’s natural momentum enabling us to be successful in executing the technique.

The same principle is true in sales. Pushing generates resistance.

Have you ever noticed that the harder you push a prospect to take the next step in the sales process, the more they resist?

So don’t push them. Lead them instead. How?

Ask questions.

Most people don’t like being told what to do. But they love to be asked their thoughts and opinions. So rather than dictate to your prospects, engage them Ask questions like:

“What if…?”

“How about…”

“Would it make sense to…?”

“What do you think about…?”

“Would you like to…?”

“What would you say…?”

“Do you think…?”

“Would you prefer…?”

“What else…?”

This approach allows your prospects to continue moving through the buying process without feeling pressured. No pressure, no resistance.

And you can use this technique at any point in the sales cycle: prospecting, needs analysis, overcoming objections, upselling, closing, even follow up after the sale.

So if you’re frustrated because prospects resist when you try to get them to take the next step, stop pushing. Try leading them instead. Because the best way to eliminate sales resistance is not to cause it in the first place.

16 Words (and Phrases) That Undermine Your Credibility

March 11th, 2015

Words That Undermine Your Credibility In SalesOur words can either help or hinder our sales efforts. The right words can ease our buyer’s fears, stoke their excitement, and move them to action. The wrong words can annoy prospects, insult them, and even scare them off.

Some of the most dangerous words, though, are words we’re not even aware we’re using. They’re called “crutch words.”

Crutch words are words we consistently use to
• fill space
• begin sentences
• end sentences
• add emphasis

They’re verbal tics we pick up at a young age and use so often we don’t even realize it.

And they’re hurting your credibility every time one comes out of your mouth.

What exactly are they? Here are 16 of the most common:

1. Right
2. You know
3. Like
4. So
5. Honestly (along with frankly, truthfully, to tell you the truth, to be completely honest with you)
6. Um
7. Uh
8. Okay
9. Well
10. Just
11. Basically
12. Literally
13. Really
14. Very
15. Anyway
16. Know what I mean

Because these are weak words and phrases, every one of them causes you to sound less credible, especially when you use them frequently, as most of us do. And the damage gets compounded when using them in combination: “Okay, well, basically….”

As you read this list, you probably thought of various people in your life who use these words constantly: The person who starts every sentence with “So” or “Well.” The person who ends every sentence with “right?” or “you know?” The person who uses the word “literally” in literally every sentence.

You also probably thought to yourself, “Ha! I don’t use any of those words.” Except that you do. You simply don’t realize it, because we all hear what we think we say, not what we actually say.

Record yourself delivering a sales presentation. Or ask someone to record you in conversation when not aware of it. Or ask people who know you well if you use any crutch words. I guarantee you’ll be astonished by what you hear.

Once you’re aware of your crutch words, you can work on eliminating them. Be cognizant of the words you’re using as you’re speaking. Start your sentences with a real word, not filler. End your sentences with confidence, not by trailing off (so….) or seeking confirmation (“know what I mean?”). Pause instead of saying “um” or “uh.”

Strong communication skills are vital to success in sales, as well as in customer service, leadership, and other areas of business. Make sure the words you use in conversations and presentations enhance your credibility, not sabotage it.

© Feedough | Dreamstime.comBusiness Man Making The Speak No Evil Gesture Photo

Why Being Great Isn’t Good Enough

March 4th, 2015

Why Being Great Isn't Good Enough for Your SalesYou have a great product or service. In fact, it’s better than great—it’s fantastic! It’s awesome! It’s world-class!

Guess what? It doesn’t matter. And if you’re laboring under the belief that it does, then you’re losing sales.

Listen to my appearance on Breakthrough Radio with Michele Price. In this 6½ -minute segment, I explain why this is and what you can do about it. These critical insights will transform how you think about your business and your 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…”

Why Being Great Isn’t Good Enough: 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 highly recommend), check out WhoIsMichelePrice.com.

36 Things Buyers Value More Than Low Price

February 25th, 2015

Things Buyers Value More Than Low PriceToo many people in both sales and marketing get hung up on price because they believe that price is foremost in the mind of the buyer. Yet, study after study has found that price typically ranks dead last among the reasons people buy what they buy. (And where they buy it.)

What do buyers value more than a low price? Things like:

1. Accuracy
2. Beauty
3. Being treated well
4. Cleanliness
5. Color choices
6. Comfort
7. Consistency
8. Convenience
9. Customization
10. Design
11. Durability
12. Ease of use
13. Efficiency
14. Energy savings
15. Environmental friendliness
16. Fast delivery
17. Freshness
18. Fun
19. Generous return policy
20. Healthiness
21. Less maintenance
22. Lower operating costs
23. Newness
24. Novelty
25. Painlessness
26. Power
27. Quality
28. Reliability
29. Risk reduction
30. Safety
31. Social impact
32. Speed
33. Style
34. Taste
35. Trustworthiness
36. Warranty/guarantee

So rather than focus on price, look at this list and determine which items apply to your company, product or service. Then build your marketing campaigns and sales presentations around those. Refer to those items when comparing your offerings to your competitors. Use them to overcome price objections.

When you emphasize the qualities that deliver real value to your customers, you’ll be able to close more sales. And you’ll be able to do it without discounting or price matching. Because the above items are what your buyers truly want.

What else do you value more than low price? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

© Nito100 | Dreamstime.comLow Cost Photo

Seven Toxic Sales Thoughts

February 18th, 2015

Toxic Sales ThoughtsOur thoughts determine our actions and our actions determine our results. If your results are not what you’d like them to be, odds are the root cause is one or more negative thoughts you’re harboring despite the fact they’re holding you back.

In my work training and coaching salespeople, professionals and business owners, I’ve noticed several common thoughts shared by a tremendous number of them. Are any of these thoughts poisoning your sales?

1. “Buyers are liars.”
If you believe that all prospects lie all the time, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Because subconsciously you’ll treat them like the liars you believe they are, building distrust instead of trust. Assume instead that buyers are honest and you’ll build rapport and trust faster.

2. “I shouldn’t have to prospect.”
A lot of salespeople expect their company to provide them with all the leads they’ll ever need. (And great leads at that.) In a perfect world, prospects would call us all day long, ready to buy. But really, if that were the case, there would be no need for salespeople! If you want more sales, you need to do more prospecting. Embrace that fact, get better at it and make it more fun. (Hint: One study found that 70.1% of buyers would switch vendors if the new vendor was more fun to do business with.)

3. “Our product/service is too expensive.”
Nearly every prospect asks for discounts, leading most salespeople to believe that what they sell is too expensive. The reality is, most salespeople don’t appreciate the value their product or service delivers to the customer, so they discount reflexively. Take pride in what you sell, appreciate its true value, and recognize that your prospect’s budget is not the same as your budget.

4. “The competition is better than we are.”
Every product and service on the market has its own strengths and weaknesses. The trouble is, we tend to undervalue our strengths and overvalue our weaknesses. Study your competitors and determine what their weaknesses are. And do an inventory of your strengths.

5. “I don’t want to pressure anyone.”
A common fear shared by many people in sales is the fear of being perceived as a stereotypical “salesperson”: slimy, underhanded, manipulative, deceitful, obnoxious. That fear causes them to avoid asking for the sale because they don’t want to come across as pushy, overbearing or high-pressure. Which results in them losing a lot of sales. But there’s a huge difference between pressuring someone and simply asking them if they’re ready to buy. The former pushes them away, while the latter helps them overcome their inertia and make the decision they already want to make.

6. “They aren’t really buyers.”
A lot of salespeople believe they’re really good at sizing up prospects based on their appearance, reputation or title. But when you judge someone not to be a buyer, guess what? They don’t buy! (At least not from you.) Assume every prospect is a genuine buyer.

7. “Sales training is a waste of my time.”
I’m always amazed when there’s somebody in one of my seminars who clearly thinks they know it all already. I’m not saying there isn’t some bad sales training out there—I’ve sat through some of it myself—but it’s a rare seminar, book or video that you can’t learn something from. And that one thing could mean all the difference for your sales.

Be honest: How many of these thoughts have ever run through your head? If you’re like most people—and most people are—at least one. And probably more.

That’s okay. It’s normal. And becoming aware of those thoughts is the first step to correcting them. And when you change your thinking, you’ll change your sales.

photo credit: Toxic drink via photopin (license)

How to Approach Prospects

February 2nd, 2015

How to Approach Sales ProspectsYou’ve got a list of high-quality sales prospects. Great! Now what? How do you make the initial contact? What exactly do you say? How do you get them to call you back?

Listen to my appearance on Breakthrough Radio with Michele Price. In this ten-minute segment, I share the secrets of making an effective approach. You’ll discover what to say and—equally important—what not to say. Use these techniques when you contact prospects and they’ll actually want to talk with you!

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…”

How to Approach 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 heartily recommend), check out WhoIsMichelePrice.com.

14 Ways Buyers Want to Feel

January 21st, 2015

Boost Sales by Making Buyers Feel These WaysYou’ve heard before that all buying is emotional. Whether you sell to businesses, governments or consumers, your buyers go through a variety of emotional states during the sales process. And while those emotional states at the start of the process can sometimes be positive (hopeful, excited), very often they’re negative.

When a buyer begins their buying process, they can feel:

• Anxious—about the process or the money involved
• Scared—of making the wrong choice
• Pressured—by bosses, family members or deadlines
• Annoyed—at having to buy something they don’t want to
• Frustrated—with their issue, the process or other people involved

And they don’t want to feel this way. One of the goals of their purchase is to eliminate these negative emotions and replace them with positive ones.

By the end of the buying process, customers want to feel:

1. Important
2. Smart
3. Respected
4. Safe
5. Secure
6. Hopeful
7. Comfortable
8. Confident
9. Relaxed
10. Happy
11. Excited
12. Special
13. Enviable
14. Appreciated

And here’s an important point: Whoever does the best job of making buyers experience these fourteen emotions is the most likely to make the sale.

So how can you replace your prospect’s negative emotions with positive ones? Here are some suggestions:

• Greet them with a warm smile and friendly handshake
• Offer them food and drink
• Learn their name and use it
• Ask them about themselves and their situation
• Listen attentively
• Let them sit in a comfortable chair
• Validate their opinions and ideas
• Stress your warranties and guarantee
• Take their objections and concerns seriously
• Provide them with testimonials
• Share examples, stories and case studies
• Refrain from rushing or pressuring them
• Give them a free trial or sample
• Treat everyone in the buying process with respect
• Send them a thank-you note or gift after the sale

Top salespeople understand that a big part of their job is managing their prospects’ emotional states. People won’t buy when they’re scared or angry. They buy when they’re comfortable and confident. And they buy from the person who makes them feel that way, along with the other ways in the above list.

So worry less about your product or service, and more about how your prospect feels. Because when you make your buyer feel most or all of these fourteen emotions, they’ll feel they should buy from you.

Five Places to Find Prospects

January 13th, 2015

Five Places to Find ProspectsWant to make more sales this year? Then you need more prospects! But where are they??

Listen to my appearance on Breakthrough Radio with Michele Price. In this 7½-minute segment, I share five places to find quality prospects. Devote your time and energy to one or more of these five options and you’ll have a steady stream of great prospects all year long!

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 Places to Find 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 WhoIsMichelePrice.com.

Are You Hearing What Your Prospects are Really Saying?

January 6th, 2015

One of the most critical element for sales success is the ability to listen effectively. Whenever I conduct sales training seminars, I always include a segment on listening skills because being a good listener helps you in so many ways throughout the sales process.

And one of the challenges is that we all tend to believe we’re great listeners, when the truth is that most of us suck. As Sharon Drew Morgen—in her new book, WHAT? Did You Really Say What I Think I Heard?—points out:

In general, we assume we hear accurately and that a miscommunication is the other person’s fault. I have a neighbor who is adamant that he hears and interprets every single word accurately, yet he can’t keep a job or a relationship or a friend and he’s 50 years old. So much for reality.

The gap between what we think we hear and what is actually being communicated is the focus of Morgen’s new book, a well-researched and well-written exploration of why communication goes wrong and what you can do about it.

The book is divided into two sections. Section One explores how listening works and—more frequently—how it doesn’t work.

Conversations seem so simple don’t they? The Sender speaks, the Receiver listens then responds. And so it goes. We nod, disagree, share, have a passionate dialogue. It works. It flows. It’s natural. Yet every conversation is fraught with the possibility of failure. Every exchange potentially includes so many biases and assumptions that don’t seem like biases and assumptions that we actually hear so little of what’s really been said, yet we think our version of what we’ve heard is accurate whether it is or not.

The problem is that our brains simply don’t hear accurately. Morgen incorporates the latest academic research as she discusses how and why our brains distort what we hear and the resulting trouble it can cause.

Few of us know how much business we’ve lost because of the lengths our brains go to keep us within our comfort zones. We end up distorting a boss’s request, or misrepresenting a colleague’s ideas, or inventing a prospect’s need, or assuming a spouse’s negative intent when there was none. And it’s so hard to fix when it’s not obvious there’s a problem.

Morgen delineates:
• Nine major elements of communication (and how they can go wrong)
• Four types of filters and how they limit, alter, and misrepresent what we hear
• Seven types of biases that prevent us from hearing accurately
• And other conversational pitfalls.

To illustrate each of these communication barriers, Morgen includes plenty of stories that are both dismaying and hysterical. My favorite was this one:

An article I’d written appeared in a British magazine. Underneath the photo of me, my name appeared as Charlotte Drew Morgan. I called the magazine editor and asked if he could please print a correction with my name accurately printed in the next issue.

Editor: We didn’t get the name wrong.

SDM: But Charlotte Drew Morgan is not my name. My name is Sharon Drew Morgen. You got my name wrong.

Editor: We don’t get that sort of thing wrong. You must have sent it to us wrong.

A head-scratching exchange. How far are we willing to go to make others wrong just to maintain our biases? How many conversations and relationships have we damaged along the way? How much business lost?

It’s those damaged relationships and lost business that WHAT? Did You Really Say What I Think I Heard? seeks to prevent in Section Two. Morgen reveals how to listen more effectively, without bias or misinterpretation. This information goes way beyond what many of us have learned as “Active Listening.” I teach listening skills and I learned a lot.

Throughout Section Two are a variety of quizzes, checklists and exercises to help you develop these new skills. Skills that Morgen acknowledges are  not easy to master:

I won’t sugar coat this: you will get it wrong, be confused, and be frustrated. It will take effort. I know I’m asking you to be conscious and disciplined, so it will be uncomfortable. But maybe this new skill will be less effort than picking up the pieces of a broken relationship, a lost business opportunity, or hurting a friend.

Within 24 hours of finishing WHAT? Did You Really Say What I Think I Heard? I was able to notice biases in my listening that I wouldn’t have been aware of before. And I was able to recognize when others misheard me and why, which enabled me to rephrase what I meant to ensure I was correctly understood.

It’s hard to overstate the value of effective communication, not just in sales, but also customer service, production, leadership and every other area of business. Strong communication skills—and especially strong listening skills—are vital to both your business and personal success. Which is why WHAT? Did You Really Say What I Think I Heard? should be required reading for everyone in your organization.

And the good news is, you can get a copy for everyone in your organization at no cost! Sharon Drew Morgen is so passionate about helping people improve their sales success that she’s giving the book away for free. Just click on any of the book title hyperlinks to visit the page where you can download your free copy to your favorite e-reader, computer or mobile device.

The gap between what’s said and what’s heard can be the gap between making the sale and losing it. Between getting the promotion and missing it. Between a lasting relationship and a broken one. Read WHAT? Did You Really Say What I Think I Heard? and you’ll be able to bridge that gap.

Seven Business Failures and What You Can Learn From Them

December 29th, 2014

Sales and Business FailuresEveryone fails. The question is, what can you learn from the failure? Better yet, what can you learn from other people’s failures?

Listen in as Dino Dogan (founder of Triberr), Andrea Waltz (author Go For No), Jeff Shuey (Chief Evangelist at K2), Stephanie Calahan (The Business Catalyst™), Daniel Cohen (founder of RedShift Writers) and I join Michele Price on Breakthrough Radio. As the seven of us discuss our biggest failures from the past year and what we learned from them, you’ll pick up some valuable insights you can apply to your own business or sales career.

Be Advised: The complete show is two hours 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…”

Seven Business Failures and What You Can Learn From Them: Breakthrough Radio (mp3)

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 are you planning to do differently next year? Share in the comments section below!

How to Boost Your Sales Without Selling More

December 9th, 2014

How to Boost Sales Without Selling MoreWhat if you could increase your sales without any additional time or effort? Without finding more prospects or improving your closing ratio? Sound impossible?

Listen to my appearance on Breakthrough Radio with Michele Price. In this five-minute segment, I share a proven idea that anyone can implement, regardless of what your business is. This powerful tactic will enable you to easily boost both your sales and profits immediately!

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…”

How to Boost Your Sales Without Selling More: 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 heartily recommend), check out WhoIsMichelePrice.com.

Great Thoughts on Sales, Business and Success VIII

November 24th, 2014

Great Thoughts on Sales, Business and Success 8Need a bit of inspiration? A fresh insight? Or just a good laugh? Check out these powerful quotations. And feel free to share them!

“Each failure to sell will increase your chances for success at your next attempt.” —Og Mandino

“The key to a successful business is not necessarily being the best, but having customers who think you are.” —Susan Palmquist

“Success is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction.” —Al Bernstein

“Don’t let things that could have been, get in the way of things that still can be.” —Elder Maxwell

“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” —Katharine Hepburn

“Rowing harder doesn’t help if the boat is headed in the wrong direction.”       —Kenichi Ohmae

“You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success – or are they holding you back?” —W. Clement Stone

“Every time you step outside of your comfort zone, you strengthen your courage muscle.” —Donna Amos

“Selling more of what you sell has nothing to do with what you sell. It has everything to do with your prospect’s wants, needs, fears, goals, values and priorities.” —Don Cooper

“I can’t understand why people are frightened by new ideas. I’m frightened of old ones.” —John Cage

“Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” —William Faulkner

“You can’t operate a company by fear, because the way to eliminate fear is to avoid criticism. And the way to avoid criticism is to do nothing.” —Steve Ross

“Remove those ‘I want you to like me’ stickers from your forehead and, instead, place them where they truly will do the most good –on your mirror!”    —Susan Jeffers

“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t as all. You can be discouraged by failure – or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember, that’s where you will find success.” —Thomas J. Watson

“An ounce of emotion is equal to a ton of facts.” —John Juno

“There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits of human intelligence, imagination & wonder.” —Ronald Reagan

“Making money isn’t the backbone of our guiding purpose; it is the by-product of our guiding purpose.” —Warren Buffett

“You have to believe in yourself when no one else does. That’s what makes you a winner.” —Venus Williams

“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it’s the same problem you had last year.” —John Foster Dulles

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” —Milton Berle

“Samson killed a thousand men with the jaw bone of an ass. That many sales are killed every day with the same weapon.” —Anonymous

“Folks who never do any more than they get paid for, never get paid for any more than they do.” —Elbert Hubbard

“Some of the best ideas sounded crazy at first. Don’t dismiss yours!” —Cindy Helgason

“Everything about business comes down to PEOPLE. Where in business can we escape the impact of human care, human creativity, human commitment, human frustration, and human despair? There is no reason for anything in business to exist if it does not serve the needs of people.” —Bruce Cryer

“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.” —Auguste Rodin

“Action is the biggest middle finger to doubt.” —John Haydon

“Life is like a taxi. The meter just keeps ticking whether you are getting somewhere or just standing still.” —Lou Erickson

“Don’t let one cloud obliterate the whole sky.” —Anais Nin

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” —Steve Jobs

“Personally, I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.” —Winston Churchill

“We don’t get what we deserve. We get what we BELIEVE we deserve.” —Don Cooper

For more of my favorite quotations, check out Great Thoughts on Sales, Business and Success Volume I, Volume II, Volume III, Volume IV, Volume V, Volume VI and Volume VII.

What are some of your favorite quotations? Leave them in the comments section below!

Six Sales Activities You Need to Do More Often

November 11th, 2014

Six Sales Activities You Need to Do More OftenYour time is your most precious resource. Are you investing it where it will get you the biggest returns?

Listen to my appearance on Breakthrough Radio with Michele Price. In this seven-minute segment, I share six things you need to be doing more frequently if you want to increase your sales. Allot more time in your day, week and month for these six crucial activities and your sales will soar!

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…”

Six Sales Activities You Need to Do More Often: 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 highly recommend), check out WhoIsMichelePrice.com.

Five Giant Sales Lessons

November 3rd, 2014

Giant Sales LessonsHaving been born and raised in the Bay Area, I’m a life-long San Francisco Giants fan. I remember my father taking us to games at Candlestick Park, where even in the middle of summer, cold winds would blow through the stadium and fans would huddle together for warmth.

So as you might imagine, I’ve been ecstatic over the team’s recent success—three World Series titles in the past five years, including a thrilling seven-game affair this year. Each year’s championship run has been different, and has carried different lessons that are applicable to anyone in sales.

Here are five takeaways from 2014 champion Giants:

Everyone goes through bad times
On June 8, the Giants had 43 wins and 21 losses, the best record in baseball. Over the next 56 games, the Giants went 20-36 (the worst record in baseball during that stretch) and dropped behind the Los Angeles Dodgers for the lead in the National League West division. The outlook for even making the playoffs was bleak.

But they kept playing with everything they had. “Maybe we’re not the best offensive team,” center fielder Gregor Blanco said. “Maybe we’re not the best defensive team. But we play with our heart every single night.”

Whether you’re a salesperson, business owner or CEO, you’re going to go through rough times as well. Keep going.

All you need is a slight edge
Throughout the postseason, the Giants rarely blew out their opponents. Of their twelve wins, eight were by three or fewer runs, and of those, five were by just one run.

You don’t have to be dramatically better than your competition. Just a little.

History is irrelevant
Most analysts expected San Francisco lose Game 7 because history was not on the Giants’ side—the last nine teams to play Game 7 on the road had all lost. When told this fact after the Giants’ Game 6 loss, pitcher Jake Peavy responded, “This bunch doesn’t care. We’re going to show up tomorrow and try to find any which way to win. Nobody in this clubhouse cares about what happened in the past.”

Your past does not equal your future. Just because you failed before, doesn’t mean you’ll fail now. Just because a strategy or a person or an idea didn’t work last time, doesn’t mean it won’t work next time. Every opportunity is a fresh one.

Focus on what you can control
Game 7. Bottom of the ninth inning. Two outs. A fly ball to center gets misplayed, resulting in a runner on third base. Any hit would tie the game. Pitcher Madison Bumgarner ignored the situation he couldn’t control—the runner on third—and focused on the one he could—the batter he was facing. By keeping his focus, Bumgarner was able to get Salvador Perez to pop out, sealing the win for the Giants.

There are lots of things you can’t control: the economy, your competitors, the prospect’s budget and more. Don’t dwell on those things. Focus instead on what you can control: your efforts, your skills, your immediate task at hand.

Get coaching
One of the few blemishes in the series occurred after it was over—when Chevrolet zone manager Rikk Wilde presented Bumgarner—the series MVP—with the keys to a new Chevy pickup truck. Reading from a note card, an obviously nervous Wilde stumbled through an incredibly awkward presentation. A little coaching and practice would have made a huge difference for him.

You only get one chance with a prospect. Be prepared for it. Get coaching from your boss, your colleagues, a mentor or a professional sales coach. And practice, practice, practice!

Baseball and sales have a lot in common—strategy, competition, training, resiliency, teamwork, and more. It takes a lot of effort, knowledge and passion to be successful in either. Are you willing to do what it takes to be a champion?

 

How to Determine Your Ideal Prospect

October 15th, 2014

Finding Ideal ProspectsToo many businesses and salespeople waste enormous amounts of time, money and effort trying to sell to “everyone.” Savvy ones, though, focus their resources on their “ideal” prospects, resulting in easier, faster and bigger sales.

But how do you figure out who your ideal prospects are?

Listen to my appearance on Breakthrough Radio with Michele Price. In this 9½-minute segment, I share the secrets to identifying the prospects who are most likely to buy from you. Whether you’re in sales or marketing—or both—you’ll discover exactly what to do to maximize the return on your sales efforts.

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…”

How to Determine Your Ideal Prospect: 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 WhoIsMichelePrice.com.

Seven Sales Lessons My Father Taught Me

October 9th, 2014

Sales Lessons from My FatherWithout question, the single biggest influence on my life has been my father. Through his words and actions, he taught me a lot about sales, business and life. On the occasion of his birthday, here are a few of the lessons that have shaped me.

1. Find opportunities and go after them
My father has always been entrepreneurial, dating back to when he was a kid. He would buy packs of gum at the store and sell individual pieces to his classmates in school for a nice profit. I followed in his footsteps, although selling candy bars instead of gum. My dad is a big believer that there are opportunities everywhere—you just have to find them and make the most of them.

2. You are responsible for your own success
Our family was never wealthy—and there were some lean years—but my father never blamed others or asked for handouts. And he wouldn’t let me get away with blaming anyone else for my mistakes or failures. He impressed upon me that everyone is ultimately responsible for their own success. No one is entitled to anything. It’s why I started selling door-to-door at the age of seven. If your sales aren’t where you’d like them to be, don’t blame your product, your boss or the market. Look in the mirror. And then do something about it.

3. Be generous
Please don’t get the idea from the previous paragraph that my dad is selfish or unsupportive. Quite the opposite is true. He’s generous with his time, his effort and his money. He’s generous toward his family, his friends and his customers. He understands that giving is more important than getting. And often our generosity comes back to us in ways we could never imagine.

4. Ask questions
Conversations with my father are always interesting. Not because of the things he says, but because of the questions he asks. He’s not looking to impress, he’s looking to learn. About prospects, about the economy, about people, about life. It forges stronger connections with the people he talks to and gets him valuable information. It’s why I stress the importance of asking questions in my sales training seminars.

5. Stay positive
My dad smiles a lot. And he always has a kind word or a compliment for everyone he meets. When he visits clients, you can actually see them perk up because of his presence. I’m not sure if my positive attitude was inherited or if I just unconsciously imitated him growing up, but either way, it has served me well. Because buyers prefer to do business with people who are positive.

6. Know your priorities
When my parents got divorced, my father lost his car, his house and his business. But he got full custody of me and my brother. We were what he cared about most. What’s most important to you? That’s what defines your success.

7. Do whatever it takes
After the divorce, my dad worked multiple jobs to support the three of us. He was willing to do whatever it took to make sure we had what we needed. And he has always maintained the same approach with his customers, often going above and beyond to take care of their needs. Are you willing to do whatever it takes?

You won’t find my father on the cover of Forbes or in any Who’s Who, but he’s a great man and a true success.

Happy Birthday, Dad. And thanks.

Five Things You Need to Love to Boost Your Sales

September 30th, 2014

Things You Must Love to Boost Your SalesYou might not think love is vital to your sales success, but it absolutely is! Specifically, there are five things you need to love if you want to increase your sales.

Listen to my appearance on Breakthrough Radio with Michele Price. In this eight-minute segment, I share what these five items are and why it’s so important to love them all. Whether you’re a salesperson, business owner or CEO, you’ll gain powerful insights that will help you sell more. And you’ll love that!

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 Things You Need to Love to Boost Your Sales: 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 WhoIsMichelePrice.com.

Nine Ways to Bore Your Audience to Tears

September 23rd, 2014

boring sales presentationsHate giving presentations—sales or otherwise? Want to relieve yourself of the burden of having to prepare and deliver them ever again?

Just be lousy!

After delivering a few terrible presentations, people will stop asking you to give them. And then you’re home free!

But how can you ensure that your presentation is as awful as it can be? Use these time-tested techniques that horrendous presenters have been using for years to put their audiences to sleep.

1. Talk about what they don’t care about
Everyone cares most about themselves, so when listening to a presentation, we’re most attentive when the speaker is talking about things that matter to us. So talk about anything and everything else! For a sales presentation, that means dwelling on the history of your company, your values and mission, all the features of your product or service (all of them), and anything else you can think of about you. For a speech, focus on issues that don’t affect your audience, avoid empathy, and use examples they can’t relate to.

2. Lose the enthusiasm
Enthusiasm is contagious, so if you’re enthusiastic, your audience will tend to be as well. Fortunately, the opposite is also true. If you sound like you don’t care and don’t want to be there, your audience will feel the same way.

3. Speak in a monotone
No matter how interesting your subject matter, it’s really hard to pay attention when the speaker speaks in a monotone. So don’t let any emotion come through in your voice and avoid changes in your rate, tone and volume.

4. Use lots of data
Numbers in and of themselves are boring. So put your audience to sleep by using as many as you can, preferably with no context. Put the “numb” in numbers!

5. Tell jokes
Amateur presenters believe telling jokes will keep audiences interested and entertained. The reality is, however, if you’ve heard the joke, odds are your audience members have too. Which means it’s not funny and instead, a waste of their time. In fact, opening your presentation with a joke is one of the fastest ways to lose your audience’s attention.

6. Use plenty of clichés
As with jokes, people tend to tune out when they hear clichés because they’ve heard those phrases a million times before. Great presenters avoid clichés like the plague, but if you want to suck, use them like they’re going out of style.

7. Avoid stories
When you tell stories, you risk capturing your audience’s attention. Because stories are inherently engaging. Neuroscientists have discovered that the human brain is actually hard-wired to follow stories to find out how they end. Replace any stories you have with statistics, data and technical jargon.

8. Don’t ask any questions
Asking questions gives audience members an opportunity to be involved. It forces them to think and to contribute. It turns a mind-numbing monologue into a stimulating dialogue. Along the same lines, don’t give your audience the chance to ask questions, if at all possible.

9. Drone on and on and on…
The only thing worse than a boring presentation is one that never seems to end. To maximize your atrociousness, maximize the amount of your audience’s time you waste. Ramble. Go off on tangents. Repeat yourself. Go to great lengths to avoid making a clear point. Eschew structure. Ignore your time constraints. The more you drone on, the more grateful they’ll be when you finally, mercifully stop.

Whether you’re presenting to prospects, peers or paid attendees, these tactics will guarantee you stink up the place so badly you won’t ever be asked to do it again. Sure you’ll lose sales, miss out on promotions, and never feel the exhilaration of a standing ovation. But that’s a small price to pay for being able to forever remain in your comfort zone. Isn’t it?