Frankly, My Dear…I Don’t Give a Damn

January 30, 2009 at 8:36 am | Posted in Marketing, Networking, sales, Sales Training, small business | 1 Comment


Ask no questions, learn nothing, sell less…..that’s the bottom-line.

Indifference is a fantastic personal characteristic to have if you’re the roguish leading man in a sweeping Civil War tale, but it’s not quite as charming if you’re a career salesperson trying your best to generate business in a slow economy. The funny thing is that many of us have adopted a Rhett Butler style of prospecting that is highly ineffective – particularly in these challenging times.

If you are not focusing your energies on asking your prospects questions, you might as well be telling them that you don’t give a damn! It’s certainly easy to get into the mindset that all you need to do is sell, sell, sell. This can lead to you prematurely rattling off features and benefits before you even know your prospect’s particular situation.

The sales process begins with a dialog, not a lecture and continues with your ability to be a good listener. Here are just a few other reminders on how to connect with those you’re selling to and actually give a damn.

Be Personable

No one likes a know-it-all or a high pressure salesperson. Your job is to initially gather information and put your prospect at ease. If you can develop a strong comfort level, you’ll eliminate any chance of buyers’ remorse down the road.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

To gather the information you require to determine your prospect’s needs, avoid questions that can be merely answered with a yes or no. Productive questions begin with “how”, “what”, “why”, or “tell me about”. Give them the opportunity to reveal the details that will ultimately enable you to sell more effectively.

Show Your Empathy

Once you begin developing a rapport, you will have the ability to show real empathy for someone’s particular situation. You can then take the information you’ve gathered and your honest desire to help them to sell them exactly what they need.

Stay Enthusiastic

Once you’ve landed an account, don’t fall into that comfortable position of being just an order-taker. Maintain the dialog, keep asking questions, and continue to ask how you can help.



Are You Frozen?

January 26, 2009 at 8:35 am | Posted in Marketing, Networking, sales, Sales & Technology | Leave a comment

In an economic downturn, we are all like deer on a dark and windy road. Some of us see approaching headlights and instinctively know to leap into the woods. Unfortunately, others of us freeze. Unable to go left or right; we think that wherever we leap to will be worse than our current position.

I certainly don’t need to elaborate on what happens to the deer on the road that freezes. If you’re one prone to frozen panics in tough financial times, you need to embrace some logic. Just like the deer in the headlights, you will be doomed to a painful demise unless you take a leap. When times are challenging, being coward and indecisive can be fatal business mistakes. Alternatively being bold, creative, and quick-thinking can not only help you weather through challenges, it can propel you to leap ahead of your competition that is still stuck in the middle of the road waiting to be hit.

Take Action

Start by resolving yourself to do something. Join a new networking group, discover a new promotional opportunity, or learn a new way to market yourself online – just do something!


Stay Visible

It’s natural to feel a little blue when business is slow, but don’t let the blahs turn you into an office recluse. Detaching yourself from customers and prospects only helps them to forget you and notice your competitors. Get your name out there any way that you can. Make calls, send emails, write articles for trade publications, start a newsletter, send out a press release, and attend any events where you can reach out to others.


Don’t Cut Your Marketing Efforts

Companies often make the knee-jerk decision to cut spending on marketing and promotions during a slowdown. What a big mistake! This is the time to communicate your message and offer a value proposition that will resonate with your market. Inevitably, you will have competitors that scale back their marketing out of sheer financial necessity. Take advantage of the less crowded playing field and shout to your customers that you’re still going strong when times are tough.


Keep Positive

Everything in business is cyclical. It may seem like this economy is taking an incredibly long time to turn itself around. However, new opportunities and more business will be there for the taking if you can hang in there and maintain your ability to think fast and keep moving.

How to Screw Up in 2009

January 23, 2009 at 8:03 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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You’re bound to read plenty of articles about how to succeed this year. Some undoubtedly have great tips, but just as many have uninspired, absurdly upbeat ideas that you’ve read a hundred other times. So, I thought I’d mix it up a little with a primer on how to shoot yourself in the foot, create your own problems, and just plain screw up this year.

No, I don’t want you to follow my advice, but these not so gentle reminders will help you avoid some of the most common ways that so many of us fail. Enjoy!

Cower in Fear
With the overwhelmingly bad economic news we’ve all been subjected to over the last several months, it’s natural to feel uncertain about where business is headed. This inevitably leads to fear and backing off from investing in the very things that generate business. One of the quickest ways to screw up is to cease your marketing, networking and public relations efforts. If you start retreating, your competition will be more than willing to fill your vacancy.

Don’t Exceed Your Clients’ Expectations
Sure, you’re already bummed out about business being slow. So, don’t exert any extra energy to go above and beyond what your clients expect from you. Trust me, if you only do the bare minimum, they’ll reward you with no more future work and plenty of free time for whining and complaining.

Don’t Mine the Gold in Your Existing Client Base
Want an especially fast and easy way to screw up this year? Keep hitting your head against the wall going after those expensive, impossible-to-get, cold leads, and avoid the warm, cost-efficient existing clients to whom you can cross-sell. Sure, your current contacts might very well appreciate and need what you might have to offer, but it’s so much more fun putting the effort in with those chilly individuals who will never buy from you.

Stay Focused On What You Can Get, As Opposed to What You Can Give
It’s all about you, you, you – right? When it comes to networking, just keep thinking about what you can get out of each one of your contacts. Don’t bother to be helpful or useful. Selfishness is the name of the game when it comes to pointless networking in 2009.

Develop a Reputation for Irrelevance and Inefficiency
Like it or not, each one of us is an individual brand. Some have quality brands that clients appreciate and buy from, and others of us are more known as the cheap knock-offs that should be avoided. To avoid success this year, work extra hard on letting your good name fall apart in your clients’ and prospects’ eyes. Try making some promises that you can’t keep, never follow through on what you say you’re going to do, and maintain a bad attitude at all times.

There are countless ways to royally screw up this year. Yet, there are just as many opportunities for great success. Stay positive, motivated, and helpful to others; and you’ll find that this year will be both productive and fruitful.

How Dumb is That?

January 8, 2009 at 6:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How Dumb is That?

To not return phone calls and emails in a timely manner, or, to not return them at all! If you’re away or unable to be responsive then make certain you have an “away” message on your email and/or phone.

To not make every effort to exceed your client’s expectations.

To not make certain that your clients know about ALL of your products and services. (Are you leaving business on the table?)

To not stay on the grid and get ROI from all of your marketing and lead generation efforts.

To stop listening and learning from your clients. Have their needs changed; are there any additional opportunities for you to leverage?

Qualify Your Prospects or Else

January 4, 2009 at 6:17 pm | Posted in Marketing, Networking, sales, Sales Training, small business, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wow, that sounds ominous doesn’t it. Well, it should because if you are not qualifying your prospects then you are probably:

–Wasting time
–Wasting money
–Losing focus
–Getting discouraged

Doesn’t sound good, does it?

Qualifying isn’t all that difficult. And the time, money and aggravation that you will save when you are not busy cultivating unqualified prospects will be more than worth the trouble.

First, determine what variables determine whether or not a prospect is “qualified” for your product or service.

Highly important qualifiers are:

–Is the prospect a decision-maker (or influencer)
–Time frame
–What “improvement” will they recognize with your product or service (If they won’t see any improvement, why should they make a change!)

If your prospect cannot provide you with answers that agreeably fit into your sales process, then you must decide how best to proceed.

Change your deliverable so that you can meet their budget?
“Freeze” the sales activity until you are closer to their time frame?
Meet the “real” decision-maker?

Here we are at the very start of the New Year. Perhaps you have already broken your New Year’s resolutions.

But you can have another chance. Make this a resolution that you keep and watch your sales results improve.

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