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Posts from the ‘Sales Best Practices’ Category


Relationship Selling is Key, Even During a Crisis

There is a mirror image, a flipside if you will, to the challenges the current economy brings to you as salespeople.

That is, it is the best time in years to take customers away from your competitors and here is why.

businessmen sitting in front of a computer
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Stress = Opportunity

Coronavirus! Stock market dive! The world is ending!

girl sitting at laptop working on business objectives

Not really, but as the stress levels go up people do begin to behave differently, and that can be good news for salespeople.

Suddenly, prospects are more alert, more worried, more interested in news and better solutions. They put an invisible sign up that says, “HELP!” and if you can help them, they may be more willing to listen.

Using an analogy, it is kind of like a property owner who won’t take a pitch on a water vacuum until they have a flood.

When things are cruising along, it is very hard to get prospects to listen to new ideas. But when the going gets tough, they often open up their minds to innovation, solutions and emotional relief.

It is therefore an excellent time for you to make the rounds while emotions are running high and find any way you can to help people with their material needs and soothe them a bit emotionally.

People may be divided these days politically, but we are all in this together when the chips are really down.


No Pain No Gain

There is a ton of research that shows that people fear pain more than they enjoy reward. Put another way, they will work harder to avoid potential loss than they will to achieve potential gain.

Fear over reward sign

So how can we use this information to improve our performance as salespeople?

A couple of things come to mind.

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Waste Time . . . Watch Your Hopes and Dreams Disappear!

I do a lot of individual sales coaching. Every client is different and has different goals and needs, but the number one challenge I run into almost every time is time management.

businessman sitting in front of computer writing in a notebook

A salesperson starts out the week with a plan, but it quickly deteriorates into a mish mash of new business development, old business follow ups, administration, and . . . let’s be honest . . . screwing around with all sorts of distractions that come up.

When I hold them accountable for the time they actually spend on what I like to call “Pure Production,” it is shockingly low. Then, they wonder why their performance has flat lined.

There is only one path out of this quicksand and into the clear, and that is to set up our top priorities for the week and then commit to nailing them no matter what else comes up.

I like to imagine a life and death scenario – either I fulfill this commitment or I will die.

I know that sounds dramatic but it is not that far from the truth.  As salespeople we have to sell to live, to feed our families, to send our kids through college. All the rest of the stuff we are doing with our business day is an excuse for not actually producing for ourselves and our families.

I like to take an hour or so on Sunday night and map out my week. I name:

  • My top priorities
  • The calls I am going to make
  • The people I am going to contact
  • The outcomes I am looking for

That is my gold standard for the week. I then march through those priorities like Patton’s Fifth Army through Germany. Total focus! No excuses!

When I do this, I ALWAYS have a very productive week.  When I don’t . . . when I get distracted and start to slop around . . . I inevitably wind up right where I started, and that is the definition of insanity.

There is a highly respected consultant who demands that his clients start out the week by making fifty calls to prospects and clients on Monday mornings before doing anything else. 50! Now that is a lot, but his point is, watch what happens to your business when you make fifty calls every week before you do ANYTHING else. Of course, it depends upon your business but you get the idea.

Get at those top priorities first. Trust me . . . you will find time for all that other stuff later.


Handling Procrastinators

Let’s take a few minutes to talk about one of our “favorite” prospects as salespeople: The Procrastinator.

You know who I mean. The prospect who never says no but never says yes, chewing up huge chunks of time in the process.

person holding a pen, waiting to take action
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My All Time Favorite Tip

People often ask me, of all the different tips and advice I have written and spoken about over the years, do I have a favorite that stands out above all the others? 

Of course, communication and selling through relationships are complex topics and a lot of things need to come together for success therein, but I do have an answer that, if we do this over and over through the course of our selling and personal lifetimes, will generate an astonishing bank account of goodwill and benefits.

smiling business professionals having a positive encounter.

Each time you encounter someone, when you finish the encounter, step back and ask yourself the following question:

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Happy Holidays & Happy Selling

We are going to take the rest of December to refresh. But first, we’d like to take the opportunity to thank each of you for your support of our mission . . . providing insight and information to the most dynamic and interesting set of people in the business world . . . salespeople.

I make this next statement with complete conviction and sincerity.

Salespeople are the last pure capitalists. You wake up each morning unemployed and you have to get up, put the helmet on and produce. Nobody “gives” salespeople anything. You are lean and mean. You live by your wits and you eat what you kill. You are the tigers of the business rainforest.

I know that some who read this blog may not be strictly salespeople, you may be managers or professionals who also pursue a craft beyond selling, but you read our blog because you know that, at some level, we must all sell our ideas, and that we must all sell ourselves, in order to accomplish our objectives. To you I say, “Congratulations,” because you have decided to rise above your less ambitious peers, and your less energetic competitors, to enter that most rare of all realms, the realm of “rainmaker.”

To me, the selling life is the greatest life in the world. It combines curiosity with problem solving, human interaction with personal passion. It generates competitive fire and the ultimate sense of fulfillment when a transaction is achieved and each party is delighted with the result.

And sales, at its best, provides us with a daily opportunity to help people, to lift their spirits, to generate fellowship and build lifelong relationships.

So, remember, you are a very, very important person. The very life of your company depends upon how you and your fellow salespeople perform. Would you have it any other way?

We want to wish each of you a great holiday season and a healthy and happy 2020!


‘Tis the Season

The holiday season is a great time to experience just about every level of sales quality when we hit the malls. Obviously we are not going to expect the same level of training resources for most retail and seasonal salespeople that we would in the business to business environment, but it is still worthwhile to pay attention to preparation and, most of all, attitudes.

In making the rounds over the weekend, I loved dealing with the young kids who are working for a few weeks through the season. These are the kids that need the money and I had watched them earlier in the year filling out applications and heading into managers’ offices for interviews.

Nothing against the richer kids, but how much stronger are these people going to be when it comes time to go after a full-time job?

Anyway, for the most part, these seasonal employees came ready to play. They approached me immediately, almost always knew where to find what I was looking for, and usually had a decent grasp of the products they were representing.

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It’s a Numbers Game

Research shows that numbers have 10X more impact than words in the context of a sales conversation.

That is obviously a huge incentive for you to convert as many benefits of your products and services as you can into numbers you can communicate at key moments.

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Black Friday and What it Can Teach Us as Salespeople

It was not that long ago when Thanksgiving weekend was all about family, turkey and football and the concept of Black Friday – the manic shopping day after Thanksgiving – did not even exist. Oh sure, people might head over to the mall and start doing some Christmas shopping, but it was a far cry from the institution and media phenomenon that exists today.

So, how were the retailers able to drum up this feeding frenzy?

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