Deep Breath. Let it out.

Relax your shoulders.

Let go of any outcome.

Be Happy - you might just meet your next best friend.


80 - 20 RULE

Most people never finish. This is true no matter what business you are in. I spend a lot of time working with writers, or is that wannabe writers. It's amazing how many professional business people, sales people included, tell me they want to write a book. They understand the power, prestige, authority and potential for significant business increases that writing a book will bring them. These are smart people who have great ideas, work hard, and really want to excel. They see the potential and possibility that writing a book about their product or service will bring. They commit themselves verbally, financially and mentally - but what happens?

The 80 - 20 rule, and I think it might be more like 9.5 - .5 rule in this case, kicks in. They start. They spend a week researching, planning and outlining and a few actually go ahead and begin the writing process. Most do not go beyond this point - they quit, regardless of how valuable they know the end result will be. It's the same in your business. The vast majority of your competitors will quit before they enter the magic 20% place. That's why the upper 20% in every sales profession will always make all the money - the other 80% do a pile of work and leave the magic on the table. In this case, "the magic," is the cash.

You can vault yourself into the 20% by working as hard and smart as the rest but what are you prepared to do to make the leap into the "magic place?" Here's a secret - you already know what you need to do and it's usually the thing you want to do least.

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Today's thought is just a nibble of an idea for you. When it comes to sales, the marketplace is absolutely overcrowded with competition. One of the challenges is to make yourself stand out from the crowd. Whether you are hiring and training salespeople, or are a salesperson trying to rise above the other reps servicing the same market, the trick is to get your message into the right hands. Somehow, you must make an impact that is professional, personal and demonstrates your knowledge.

One thing you might consider is using your unique selling proposition ( you have one, don't you?) as the basis for a small book about your service, or product, that provides value to your client and allows you to distinguish yourself from the competition. Not a long diatribe, but rather a short, focused book that will provide benefits to you and your customers.

It's amazing what happens when you make the effort to  write a book and use it is as your new calling card since it truly makes you unique and gives you instant credibility with prospective clients. You can do it easily, simply, and with very little financial commitment given today's publishing technology. I know this is a bit self-serving, but if you want some help in a practical and efficient way - I wrote a book about how to write a book, and you can look at it here.

If you would prefer a printed edition, rather than downloading it to your computer, it will be available in the next week or two. Please don't dismiss this idea since it has worked for a very powerful but very small number of successful sales professionals - think Zig Ziglar, for one.



Sometimes we all need to be reminded of who the customer is in the exchange of goods and services. Each of us has experienced a rude waiter or store clerk. They have forgotten that we, the customer, pay their salary. The same holds true for other interactions where it may not be quite as obvious that there is a service provider/ client relationship. The health care provider who has no time to listen to your problem, the government employee who has no interest in talking to a taxpayer, the cable company service person who is in too big a rush to provide meaningful help, and so on; they are all in a sales position.

As sales professionals, let's make sure that we never fall into the trap of forgetting who the customer is - no matter how long we have been dealing with them, how sick we feel, how much our back aches, how bad a mood our boss is in, or the flat tire we just fixed on the way to the call.

Our customers deserve our best, just like we do when the table is turned.



As a stockbroker, this adage was ground into us in training programs. "Know your client," held a different meaning in that context than it does in this. As a broker, it referred to knowing your client's financial ability to absorb potential losses, which night cause him to move his business elsewhere ( yep, a cynical statement on my part). For a professional sales leader, it is the starting point for creating a long term relationship that will provide mutual benefits for your client and you.

It starts by being genuinely interested in your client's business needs, problems and goals. It is much more than sending the "corporate birthday card," or perish the thought, asking the disingenuous question about their spouse and children's health.

"Know your client," by knowing what they do, who they do it for, and what their challenges are. Anything less than that and the birthday card acknowledges your own lack of relationship building skills and more importantly, your lack of interest in getting to know someone you work with. And yes, it isn't about selling to, it's about working with or for.

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I recently had a conversation with a young man who is working for a large distributor of industrial products. He is hoping to be promoted to the sales force soon and we talked about what it takes to be successful in his newly chosen career. In this case, he is intelligent, has a university degree in history, is well spoken, articulate and would probably make a great choice for a sales position. It might be a mistake, however.

The company is firmly entrenched in the old economy. Sales people continue to make personal calls on busy purchasing agents. They are not given email addresses or even smart phones. The distributor has a catalog of 10's of thousands of products and they expect their sales people to learn, retain and regurgitate product knowledge that will result in ever-increasing sales. I'm not sure the purchaser has the time, or the patience, for this anymore. Most people searching for solutions to problems turn to the internet for answers - isn't that what you are doing now?

Here's what I know for sure - everything the internet touches, it changes. This includes sales training, product knowledge, solution selling, distribution, pricing - everything. I would be more excited about this young man's prospects if he were charged with spending his time creating relationships based on a willingness to provide solutions when something goes wrong. Something will always go wrong either with the customer's business, requiring a new product, service or idea. Something will always go wrong at the seller's end with delivery, product failure or technological change.

Spending our time as sales people, learning how to create relationships based on honesty, authenticity and integrity will result in more sales, more profits and more success over a longer period of time. Now, this also assumes that a sales person learns their product and service, the competition, how to respond to requests and problems, and how to interact in a highly interconnected world. People expect replies and solutions instantly and if they don't get them from you, there is someone else who is building a relationship with your client who is more than eager to supply the answers.

My suggestion to my young friend is to learn as much as possible about the industries his company services and become an expert in internet based communications, social networking, and so on. Post a profile on Linkedin, join some industry groups, and start a conversation that is professional and learn, learn, learn.



I recently posted about "Strengths vs. Weakness" and implied that the best among us, promote their strengths and don't spend much time on trying to change their weaknesses. I also recommended that you look at a book called StrengthsFinders 2.0 which is the basis for this philosophy. A philosophy that is explained and promoted by no less than the Gallup Management organization who have been polling and interpreting people for over 100 years. They have a very powerful program for helping businesses understand themselves and their employees.
Yesterday, they released a new blog that speaks to exactly the issue of Strength building and how management can promote, understand and encourage this road to success for their own companies and the people they employ.
I strongly recommend that you take a few moments to read it here. This will be excellent information for sales people and sales managers alike.



What is the ONE thing you can do right now that will make a positive difference in your sales?
Go ahead, do it...I can wait...can you?


Are you working in a place that supports and mentors your growth and success?

If not, what are you going to do about it?

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What is the one thing that all prodigies and ultra successful people have in common? They work on their STRENGTHS rather than their weaknesses. I know that sounds contradictory to many of you. Most of us have been told about the areas we need to work on and improve - they are usually areas that we are not strong in. Just the opposite is what separates the superstars from the also-ran's. Don't be an also-ran, check out this book and see how you can become a sales superstar. STRENGTH FINDERS 2.0



The challenge, then, it seems to me, is to realize that perhaps the prospect knows something you don't, or, just as likely, doesn't believe what you believe. Your job as a marketer is to figure out what your prospect's biases and worldview and fears and beliefs are, and as a salesperson, your job is to help them know what you know.
If you keep questioning our judgment, we're going to keep lying to you.

MARCH 4, 2012




Sales result from relationships, which is what happens when authenticity meets an open mind

The question of course, who has the authenticity and who has the open mind.



Clients demand authenticity today from every experience they have, but especially in a sales relationship. No longer does a professional sales person need to be perfect, in fact far from it. Today's professional makes a connection with their prospects by finding common ground through being REAL. No hint of hiding information or the truth. Confront the issues and solve the problems. Leave room for questioning and expect to be challenged on your answers. Put yourself in your client's shoes - you would expect the same.