Hey All Sales Reps: 911 for Speaking Bloopers

June 23, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, DiResta Communications, Marketing, sales, Sales Training, small business, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As a sales trainer I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly as far as bad presentations. It doesn’t matter if the “blooper” is in front of 2 people or 200…it still smarts.

Diane Diresta of DiResta Communications has submitted this guest blog which gives us some ideas about what to do when you, in fact, suffer a blooper:

If you’ve ever seen the outtakes of a movie or TV show, it can be quite funny. The actors make mistakes and then they laugh about it.

But what about public speaking bloopers? Suddenly it doesn’t seem so funny. I watched a man give a presentation with his fly open. Another presenter had the slides in the wrong order. President Bush frequently mispronounced words. And I once knocked over a cup of coffee while giving a seminar!

We’re going to make mistakes. That’s a given. But how you handle the mistake is what counts. What’s your recovery strategy?
I ask my audiences to think of their worst fear. One person was afraid she’d trip over a wire on the stage. So, imagine it actually happening. What could you do to recover?

How about saying… “I want you to know I’ve been practicing that entrance for weeks.”

Or you could say… “Never let it be said that I don’t know how to make an entrance.”

Or… “Now that I have your attention…”

One motivational speaker had to contend with a fire in the middle of his speech. He led his audience to the parking lot, stood on a car, and continued his speech.

If companies and cities can have disaster recovery strategies, so can you. Develop a list of one-liners that you can put in your toolbox and you’ll be prepared for any situation.

Thanks Diane, and here’s hoping no one ever has to content with a fire in the midst of their presentation. Here’s how to find Diane (www.diresta.com).

Too Shy to Network

June 14, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, Networking, sales | 1 Comment

Are you too shy to network?

I know how intimidating networking can be and how downright uncomfortable it can make you feel. I’ve had participants in my training classes tell me that they’d rather do just about anything else than attend a networking function.

That’s sad because business networking is a necessary activity….or some would say a necessary “evil”. Effective networking helps you to make the contacts and connections that will (potentially) lead to new business opportunities. Steering clear of networking means that it is much more difficult to get the introductions and leads that turn into clients.

So, if networking causes you great stress, here are some tips that are sure to make it easier, and maybe even, pleasurable.

–When attending networking events, go early! By showing up early you will be one of the first people in the room and everyone that arrives afterward will naturally gravitate towards you.  Additionally by arriving early you have the opportunity to meet the event organizers and even the speaker, should there be one. It is highly uncomfortable to get to an event late. It seems as if everyone knows each other and is engaged in meaningful conversation. The antidote—get there early.

–Be prepared. Take the time to research the group holding the event. Learn about their members and gather some background information that will help you in conversation when at the event. You may even be able to speak with the event organizer and learn information about the expected attendees. The more you know, the more comfortable you will feel.

–Have a plan and then execute it. Do you want to meet 5 new people? Reconnect with some past contacts? Knowing what you want to accomplish helps you to actually do so. If you enter the room and are aimless, you will probably not get the maximum ROT (return on time).

Most importantly, remember that everyone is there for the same reason and probably, some of them are shy as well.

Take a moment to gather your thoughts and then walk over to some folks and say hello. Ask them about their business or perhaps how they came to be at that particular event or even if they are members of the group. You’ll be surprised at how fast the conversational ball gets rolling and before too long, you won’t remember that you are shy at all.

The Way We’re “Treated” in a Doctor’s Office: Well, It’s Just Plain Wrong

June 9, 2010 at 7:14 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Customer Service | Leave a comment

I went to the doctor’s office yesterday. I was a first-time patient and yes, the “usual” transpired:

*A somewhat surly receptionist ignored me while she finished her conversation with a co-worker, then looked up and thrust the obligatory insurance forms towards me.

*I completed the paperwork, went back to the desk, handed them to her and asked her approximately how long I would be waiting. (I was 15 minutes early for the appointment as they requested on their confirmation call.) She told me that it would be 20-25 minutes and so I settled in with some work and the time passed by.

*25-30 minutes later I approached the desk and asked for an updated ETA. She told me another 5 minutes.

*15 minutes later I approached again and asked if this was “standard” for this particular doctor in the practice. Her reply: yes, always. I asked if there was another doctor for me to see as I was running out of time. The answer…you guesed it—NO!

*10 minutes later the nurse brought me into the office for my exam and treatment, which was completed in 10 minutes start to finish.

Could you run your business in this manner?

Is there another profession that can get away with such a shocking lack of customer service?

I say not. And here’s the thing. From time to time, I get phone calls from physicians querying my firm about the customer service skills training programs that we offer.

We go back and forth and then it always comes down to cost; they just don’t want to spend the money on this type of endeavor.

And I can see why. The treatment that we receive from the front desk is often a hand down from the doctors themselves. Since they don’t consider the time schedule of patients to be important, the receptionists have carte blanche to treat customers/patients in kind.

Yes I know not all doctor’s offices are the same but unfortunately I have had this experience many times.

The choice is mine. I can elect to go to another doctor next time and poerhaps I will. And with the world of managed care perhaps this doctor will get the message when I cast my vote with my business and chose to not give him mine.

Pushing the Pipeline: I Don’t Know About You But Business is STILL Slow

June 8, 2010 at 6:51 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, entrepreneurship, sales, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment

Sure there are been some sputterings of renewed business and yes, there is a bit more activity. But seriously, since last year was so totally devoid of new business (thank goodness for those ongoing clients on retainer), a little upward blip does not really register in my cash flow.

It still seems that so many of my prospects are just “frozen”.

At first they seem interested and want a meeting and then they even ask for a proposal. I carefully craft an action plan that is sure to please and address their major needs and wants, all the while staying within their budget.

The proposals get submitted in a timely manner and then they just sit there while my prospects stall in the land of inertia.

They don’t say “no” and they don’t say “yes”. Sometimes I can’t get them to say anything at all, this despite screening them carefully and following up with an invitation to a networking event or luncheon, information about something of interest or even an introduction to a new contact. (See, I DO follow the 3 “I’s”!)

But still….nothing.

It’s frustrating especially since I do believe that I am tactically going about it in the correct way. I hear from other folks that they’ve been experiencing much the same thing and so we commiserate but that does nothing for that cash flow issue.

And so I’m following yet another one of my sales training rules:  when the pipeline is flowing slowing you have to make certain that you fill it even more with prospects in varying stages of readiness and need. Although it might be flowing slowly, something, yes something, will definitely roll through and become that next new piece of business.

Or at least I sure hope so.

What are you doing to push the pipeline faster?

Need More Business? 5 Tactics to Ratchet Up Sales

June 6, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, Branding, entrepreneurship, Marketing, sales | Leave a comment

Do you need more business? If you have answered yes, then you should consider doing these five things this week:

1. Mine the “gold” in your existing database. It is (usually) much easier and faster to get more new business from an existing or dormant account, than prospecting and starting with someone new. You already have credibility and a track record of success.

2. Prospect proactively. Yes, prospect. Send emails, snail mail, make outbound tele-prospecting calls, network more strategically, and take the steps that get you “out there”. Being reactive is a recipe for faiilure.

3. Think hard about your deliverables and what you are offering to the marketplace. Is it old and stale or have you changed with the times? Are you certain that people still want / need what you are providing?

4. Work harder. Just when you think you have just about had it, send 5 more emails, make 3 more calls, go to one more networking event.

5. Be a perfectionist and become known as a resource that adds value every step of the engagement. What is your personal brand? What do people say about you and your business?

The best time to start doing this is…now!

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