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?

“That’s Too Expensive”—What It REALLY Means

September 10th, 2014

What Too Expensive Means for Your SalesOne of the most common objections salespeople, professionals and business owners encounter is the dreaded Price Objection. While the wording can vary from prospect to prospect, the gist is, “That’s too expensive.”

Fearing the loss of the sale, too many sellers respond by immediately dropping their price. While this can sometimes close the sale, it’s usually unnecessary, meaning that most salespeople are needlessly throwing away profits.

Because the statement “That’s too expensive” doesn’t mean “If you don’t cut your price I won’t buy this.” What it really means is any one of a number of things. Here are some of them:

• They’ve never bought this type of item before and have unrealistic expectations.

• You haven’t fully educated them about the value of what they’re getting.

• They’ve seen the same product somewhere else for less.

• It’s beyond their budget.

• They’re comparing it with another product or service they believe is comparable.

• They don’t understand the dangers of buying cheap.

• They were planning to buy from someone else all along and just needed a second bid.

• It’s more than they had intended to spend.

• They just want to see if you’ll drop your price.

• The factors that make your product more expensive aren’t of value to them.

• They’ve never spent that much before.

• They’re trying to start a bidding war between you and your competitors.

• You’re showing them a more expensive option than they need.

• They’re cheap.

The good news is that most of these issues are relatively easy to deal with. And most of the others (they’re cheap or they’re trying to start a bidding war) are situations you don’t want any part of.

The key is to ascertain which of the above scenarios is really occurring. So when confronted with a price objection, ask your prospect, “What do you mean by that?” And keep probing until you uncover the real issue. Dealing with that will enable you to close the sale and keep your profit margin, both of which are essential to long-term sales success.

Would You Rather Be Right or Successful?

September 3rd, 2014

Right or SuccessfulWe all want to be successful. And we all like to be right. The problem is, those two things are frequently in opposition.

Whether in sales, customer service, leadership, or our personal relationships, we are often faced with the uncomfortable choice of catering to our ego or catering to the issue at hand.

And it astounds me how many people will choose their ego every time, despite the fact it damages relationships, exacerbates problems and prevents them from succeeding.

That’s the blinding power of excessive ego, which stems from insecurity. And it’s one of the hallmarks of people who seem to constantly struggle without ever reaching their goals.

If you need to be right all the time, customers will stop buying from you, employees will find other jobs, and friends and family will avoid you.

With few exceptions, the most successful people in every field are the ones who have enough self-confidence to allow others to be right. They understand that being wrong in the moment doesn’t mean they’re failures, and that asking for other people’s advice, help and forgiveness is crucial for achieving long-term success.

If you’re wrong, acknowledge it. People will respect you more. If you need assistance, ask for it. Most people are happy to help because it makes them feel important and valued.

With that in mind, here are nine powerful phrases to help you achieve more sales, business and personal success:

1. You’re right.
2. I was wrong
3. That’s a good idea.
4. What do you think?
5. I would love your feedback.
6. Let’s try that.
7. I could use your help.
8. Thank you.
9. I’m sorry.

Use these phrases liberally. They will strengthen your relationships, generate more ideas and create more success in your life.

And that’s what really matters.

Right?

Seven Things You Should NEVER Do at Your Trade Show Booth

August 27th, 2014

Things You Should NEVER Do at Your Trade Show BoothA trade show is a tremendous opportunity to increase your exposure, acquire new leads and even close sales. But when I see the behavior of too many of the people staffing trade show booths, I wonder why the companies bother exhibiting at all.

At show after show after show, I see the same behaviors over and over again. Behaviors that cost sales. Here are seven things you and your salespeople should never do at your booth:

1. Talk on your phone
2. Work or play games on your phone, tablet or laptop
3. Eat
4. Look bored
5. Talk with each other in the booth
6. Read
7. Leave it unattended

All of these things make visitors feel unwelcome and unimportant. If you can’t be bothered to treat me with enthusiasm and respect at a trade show, why should I think you’d treat me any better as a customer?

In fact, all of these behaviors are worse than not exhibiting in the first place, because if I see any of them, I now have a negative view of your company. Which means I’m less likely to do business with you.

How can you prevent these behaviors?

1. Staff appropriately
Schedule enough people to attend the show so that everyone has ample time for breaks. And select people who are enthusiastic about going.

2. Train your staff
A trade show is a unique sales environment. Bring in an outside expert to conduct a training seminar for your people so they can make the most of it.

3. Incentivize them
Behaviors that are rewarded get repeated. So what do you want them to do? Create incentives to encourage those behaviors.

A trade show is a huge investment of time, effort and money. If you want to achieve more sales from that investment, make sure you’re staffing, training and incentivizing effectively. That way your people can sell to the visitors that were ignored at all the other booths.

The Four Things Buyers Want Most

August 20th, 2014

Four Things Buyers Want MostEveryone knows that buyers want the best products and the best service at the best prices. But that’s not all they want. And in fact, those aren’t even the most important things they want. What are the most important things buyers want?

Listen to my appearance on Breakthrough Radio with Michele Price. In this nine-minute segment, I share what these four items are and why they matter so much. When you provide these four things to your prospects and customers, you’ll gain a huge edge over your competitors.

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 Four Things Buyers Want Most: 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 absolutely recommend), check out WhoIsMichelePrice.com.

Change Your Perspective, Change Your Sales

August 13th, 2014

Sales Perspectives 1

 

Suppose you’re checking into a hotel. You have a choice. You could have a room with the above view or….

you could have a room with this view:

Sales Perspectives 2

 

Which would you choose?

Odds are, you’d choose the room with the first view.

Of course you would. From the first room you can see sun, sky, water, trees, boats! From the second room you’re stuck looking at the adjacent building and some concrete rooftops. Bleah.

Here’s the thing, though:

They’re the same room.

See?

Sales Perspectives 3

 

This is an actual room I was staying in at a recent conference in San Diego. While I could have chosen to focus on the view to the right, I chose instead to focus on the view to the left. That’s the view I was grateful for each morning when I woke up.

How we choose to see things tremendously affects our mood, our energy, our thinking and our actions. Our perspective impacts our results.

Do you see challenges or opportunities? Are you trying to sell stuff or are you trying to help people? Are you bitter about what you don’t have or grateful for what you do have? Is your product really expensive or is it really good, with a price that’s commensurate?

Never in life are situations 100% perfect. The question is, are you choosing to focus on what’s wrong or on what’s right? Your weaknesses or your strengths? The fact that you failed or the fact that you can still succeed?

You get to choose how you see everything in your business and personal life. If you don’t like what you see now, perhaps you need to start looking at things differently. Change your perspective, and you’ll change your sales, your relationships and your life.

The Worst Sales Letter EVER

August 6th, 2014

Worst Sales LetterRecently my e-mail in-box was graced with the worst sales letter I’ve ever received:

Subject: Referral please – company contact

Dear Don:

I am hoping you would direct me to the right people within your organization to speak with. I have recently been assigned your organization as one of my named accounts. Thus, it is important for me to be able to speak with those who are responsible for a) lead-generation, b) demand-creation, c) sales support and d ) marketing programs. I would sincerely appreciate it if you would forward my letter to them or perhaps write me and give me the proper names.

I was recently hired and am very excited about my new job. I want to be able to dazzle my management with my ability to proactively get in touch with the right people. Thus, I have been doing a great deal of research on the web, going through Linked In, Google +, Xing and other similiar sites.

Over the past twenty years my company has worked with Intel, HP, Oracle, Microsoft, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Google, Apple, Yahoo and hundreds of other Tier-1 firms. We provide a wide variety of services surrounding sales and marketing. If you have the time please give me a call to discuss same at 512.377.XXXX.

How bad is this letter? Let me count the ways:

1. There are 18 first-person references (I, me, my) and only five second-person references (you, your). That’s nearly a 4-1 ratio, and the opposite of what it should be. Because a good sales letter focuses on the prospect’s wants, needs, goals and concerns.

2. There’s no mention of benefits or results. Why should I be interested?

3. It dwells on what he wants and what’s important to him. I don’t care what he wants! I don’t even know him!

4. He’s asking me to do his job for him. Like I have time for that.

5. He states, “I was recently hired…” Which means he probably doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing and can’t answer my questions. There goes his credibility down the toilet.

6. He’s lying. He hasn’t done any research on me. If he had, he would know I’m the person to talk to. He would also know something about me, which he would mention in the letter. Since he’s lying, clearly he—and his company—cannot be trusted.

7. It’s spam. Ironically, what gives it away is the disclaimer at the end: “If you’ve received this letter in error, simply respond to the letter and put remove in the subject or click on the following link…”

8. The word “similar” is spelled wrong.

A great sales letter gets the reader’s attention, engages them with good questions, provides enough information to whet their appetite for more and closes with a simple yet powerful call to action. A terrible sales letter wastes everyone’s time and makes the company look bad. Which do your sales letters more closely resemble?

Four Questions That Will Boost Your Sales

July 29th, 2014

4 Questions that will boost your salesWhat’s the biggest key to increasing your sales? Asking the right questions. Although not necessarily the questions you think!

Listen to my appearance on Breakthrough Business Strategies Radio with Michele Price. In this seven-minute segment, I share four powerful questions that you need to be asking. Whether you’re a salesperson, sales manager, business owner or CEO, these questions will enable you to dramatically boost 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…”

Four Questions That Will Boost Your Sales: Don Cooper on Breakthrough Business Strategies Radio (mp3)

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

How Do Prospects (And Others) See You?

July 22nd, 2014

When we look in a mirror, we see ourselves one way. But others see us differently. Which is why so many of us think we photograph terribly. We don’t normally see ourselves the way others see us.

Yet understanding how prospects, bosses, employees and others see us is vital for achieving success in sales, business and other areas of our lives. As Sally Hogshead writes in her new book, How the World Sees You:

“Just because you perceive yourself a certain way doesn’t mean that your team or customers necessarily see you the same way (both positively and negatively). In a connected workplace, your success relies on understanding the impressions you create. It matters less how you see the world. It matters more how the world sees you. If you fail to understand what your audience truly values, then you can’t communicate yourself in a way that makes people want to listen and remember.”

That’s the goal of this tremendous book: to help you determine what others value about you, so you can leverage that uniqueness:

“People can outdo your strengths. But nobody can outdo who you are. Your personality is the only aspect of your work that nobody can copy. People can copy your product, your pricing, your actions, your recipe or program or formula. But they can never replicate who you are. Who you are is the greatest differentiator you’ve ever had.”

So who are you, in the eyes of others?

Drawing on her decade of research with 250,000 people, Hogshead delineates seven communication styles, which she terms “Advantages”: Power, Passion, Mystique, Prestige, Alert, Innovation and Trust.

Each of us has a primary and secondary Advantage. Combine those two and you discover your personality “Archetype.”

How the World Sees You describes each Advantage and Archetype in detail. But you don’t have to spend hours reading through every single description to try to figure out which ones fit you. The book includes a code you can use to take a free online assessment that removes all the guesswork. You get a custom, 16-page report that spells out:

• Your top two Advantages
• Which Archetype you are
• How the world sees that Archetype
• The top five words that describe your strengths
• The other Archetypes you need on your team to maximize your success
• A one-minute coaching tip for your Archetype
• And a sample “Anthem” (explained in detail elsewhere in the book)

For example, my primary Advantage is Prestige and my secondary Advantage is Innovation, which means my Archetype is the “Avant-Garde.” Here’s how the world sees me:

“Your mind works quickly to develop unconventional solutions. You are a prolific idea generator. You bring fresh interpretations of the same old thing. You tweak the game. You change the rules. You bring new ideas and execute them to a high standard.”

My top five adjectives are:
1. Original
2. Enterprising
3. Forward-thinking
4. Dashing
5. Commendable

The sample anthem suggested to me is “Forward-thinking creativity.”

As you can see at the top of this page, the tagline I created for myself several years ago is “Original thinking for boosting your sales.” So I’d say this assessment is dead-on.

What’s the value in this knowledge? As Hogshead points out:

“When you clearly understand your differences, you can escape the gloomy, gray world of the lowest common denominator and start to shine. And outshine the competition. The more you can amplify your innate Advantages, the less likely you are to be a commodity, and the more likely you are to be heard and remembered.”

That’s a huge key to boosting your sales and your overall success.

How the World Sees You is a must-read for salespeople, mangers, CEO’s, heck, just about anybody in business. Think of it as another mirror—one that can give you a more detailed and accurate view of who you are and the value you have to offer to the world.