Archive for April, 2010

That’s Not My Monkey

April 30th, 2010

Imagine walking into a prospect’s office and having him or her say, “I have a problem. There is a monkey on my back and I want to make it yours.” Any normal person would know better than to say, “Great, toss that over here and let me add that to the monkeys I am already working with.”

As a sales coach, I spend time with quite a few people who have big monkey collections. They have accepted that their prospects and clients’ problems are actually theirs. Unfortunately, these monkey collections have some predictable consequences. (more…)

That Ice-Cream Truck Music…

April 29th, 2010

Recently, I found myself absorbed with the notion of influence. I wondered aloud who the great influencers of our time are, then wondered further how each had reached their influential positions. A voice in the room, that of a top trusted advisor, shot back, “The number-one salesman in the world is a kid who wants ice cream!” We laughed.. Yet buried in that answer was delicious truth. (more…)

The Streets Are Littered With Flat-headed Squirrels

April 28th, 2010

Last week, I found myself trapped in a fast food restaurant. This restaurant boasts that they have served more than six billion. Still, the people in front of me seemed to be having a new experience; they simply could not decide between meal one and meal two. To call them indecisive would be an insult to equivocators all over the planet.

There is one factor that will shape your business more than any other, and that factor is your ability to make decisions. Whether it is a hiring issue, a pricing issue, a customer service issue or any of the myriad decisions that we all face on a daily basis, your ability to decide and move forward will impact your business more than any other factor for the next 90 days. (more…)

Setting Sail

April 27th, 2010

With the great economic storm over the last year, many businesses wisely pulled back into safe harbors for a period of time. In fact, those that failed to make adjustments and continued their course were likely wiped out or at least seriously damaged. Unwise use of credit and perhaps a bit of bad luck has taken its toll on many. However, perhaps you are one of those businesses that made the proper course corrections by making the difficult and sometime painful choices. By reducing overhead, limiting loses and maintaining profitability you may have survived 2009, but there now is a new question: is it time to set sail again? (more…)

Dump the Jute!

April 26th, 2010

“Dump the jute, man, on the burning ground.”

Van Morrison serves that to us in a song called “The Burning Ground.” I’m rarely sure what he’s singing but you can count on whatever it is to be unique. I dig that. All hip cats dig that.

“The Burning Ground” is arguably one of Van Morrison’s most intense forays into personal and spiritual allegory. More importantly, it’s just a dang good tune. Within it, though, is a message that makes me think of the plight of so many unknowing salespeople: the challenge of head trash. (more…)

Consult the Bones

April 23rd, 2010

Salespeople are not wise to the ways of great sorcerers and for that we can all be thankful. Sorcerers are known for exotic blends, flash powder, potent broths and a willingness to pluck the eyes out of living things. Sorcerers spend an inordinate amount of time consulting the bones, looking to see what the future holds – which usually ends up about half-right. There’s every reason to believe that consulting those dried up old bones might be about as successful as the “winging it” strategy employed by many sales amateurs. (more…)

Presidents Talk to Presidents: Shorten Your Selling Cycle with EBS

April 20th, 2010

“Equal business stature, that’s all I want–to be treated as an equal. I have earned that right. Yet to a gatekeeper or prospect, I am the lowest form of humanity.”

So lamented a friend of mine over a recent lunch of burgers, fries and a heaping plate of frustrated sales efforts.

As a sales trainer, it’s frustrating for me as well to listen to such stories when I know that the man I was sitting across from–like others– have all the requisite skills of a trusted advisor. Unfortunately, when they engage in the work of finding new prospects, their self-esteem gets a whack. Prospects can be cold. Tough. Gatekeepers can be worse. (more…)

Stop Cold Calling!

April 15th, 2010

There are a lot of good reasons to pick up the phone and reach out to new prospective customers. When it comes to finding new business opportunities, the phone offers a high level of efficiency, is relatively inexpensive, and is a great way to gather valuable information that can help us find business.

However, cold calling isn’t really selling–it’s more closely aligned with marketing. In fact, let’s stop using the term “Cold Call” and replace it with the term “First Contact Call” (FCC). Use these FCC’s not to “make sales” but rather to qualify or disqualify further actions. After all, “making a sale” for most of us, takes more than one phone call. (more…)