Audience Resistance: If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them

December 2, 2011 at 8:43 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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I just read this blog post by Diane Diresta, Diresta Communications and thought that it was so spot on that I had to share it here.

As a sales trainer, I don’t always have the most receptive audience. Sometimes the training has been shoved down their throat by senior management; other times folks are just plain snarky and live in a world of negativity and “anti-learning.”

Read Diane’s advice on how to handle the situation:

You don’t need the audience from hell to encounter resistance. Resistance can occur in one-to-one conversations or in  small groups. Sometimes, resistance is subtle as in the passive aggressive participant. It occurs in sales calls all the time. Most presenters think of resistance as negative. Yet, research demonstrates that in sales calls, skepticism is actually a good sign and often leads to a sale. Resistance shows that the audience is engaged. Your job is to embrace the resistance and as in martial arts, use their energy to reverse the situation.

In sales presentations you can reverse negative questions. Objection: “You’ve never worked in our industry.”  Answer: “That’s exactly why you need me. I’m objective.”

Whether you’re managing a team, running a meeting, or giving a formal presentation, it’s not enough to be a good speaker. Effective public speakers must be able to manage the process. Group dynamics are ever changing and dealing with groups can be sticky. A  good leader or facilitator is able to change perspective and use a number of strategies.

I developed the 3D Strategy which works in most situations-Depersonalize, Detach, Defuse.

Step one: depersonalize. People come with their own emotional baggage. One woman walked out of a motivational speech because the speaker was wearing an Elvis costume. The audience member didn’t  like Elvis. It had nothing to do with entertainer’s talent or competence. So don’t take it personally.

Step two:  detach. That means that you don’t engage the ego. Once you go head-to-head with that heckler you set up a competitive dynamic. Don’t let your emotions get out of control. Ask questions; don’t defend. Use the power of peer pressure.

Step three: defuse. Dissipate the negative energy. One of the best defusers is humor. If you get tense, the negative energy will increase. Take a light, playful approach. You can’t laugh and be angry at the same time.

I’ve learned that when I embrace resistance, the audience is more engaged. Recently, I gave a speech at the NYXPO at the Javits convention center in New York.  Knowing that people would be checking their cell phones, I created a hash tag #dianediresta,  and told them to tweet any tips they’d like to share with their networks. What once was a negative is a great BIG positive. Now my message is going out to thousands of people.

Just like a grain of sand is an irritant to an oyster, over time that irritant becomes a pearl.

The anonymous author of this quote said it best:

“With every shift, with every change resistance is the natural order.  The tree resists the wind, the egg resists the chicks hatching and the cocoon resists the butterfly’s first flight.  Without resistance there could be no stability and there could be no strength.  Ultimately resistance is the promise of success, never of failure, always of success; yours, mine and every person’s everywhere”.


Fresh Burst Listerine and Other Such New Enhancements for Your Sales Pleasure

September 14, 2011 at 11:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I do wish that I was a consumer products marketer for it seems that with great regularity they are able to come out with product improvements and enhancements, designed I believe, to push consumers into the stores and get them to buy the new (improved) version of what they already bought.

We service providers should take a lesson from consumer marketers. We should be examining our service offerings on a regular basis and thinking about how we can enhance and improve upon what we are currently providing.  How often do we go out into the marketplace and tell clients and prospects alike about our newest, greatest, most improved version of…well, ourselves.

We should be taking a lesson from all of those packaged goods firms and consumer marketing giants that manage to keep us interested and going back to get their next best and latest version of __________.

Let’s take a lesson from Listerine, shall we?






Stand Clear of the Closing Doors, Please

September 13, 2011 at 7:08 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I take many subway rides each day as I navigate through the city heading to meetings, lunch appointments, networking events and the like. Uptown, downtown, the New York City subway is the fastest and most efficient way to get from one place to another.

And at each stop: “Stand clear of the closing doors please.”

Yes, over and over again at each stop, “stand clear of the closing doors please.”

And do you know what…the repetition works! The ongoing (taped) reminder seems to help us all step out of the way when the doors open thereby letting our fellow riders get on and get off at their stop. Yes indeed, stand clear of the closing doors please.

(Would we stand out of the way without the constant reminder? Mmm, not certain, but I rather think not. And anyway, why take that chance; it’s easy enough to remind us!)

Now think about your business. How often do you remind your clients and prospects of your key deliverables, repeat your value proposition and key points of differentiation and reiterate exactly how your business improves their personal or business lives?

Are you reminding them enough or do you think that because you told them once or even twice you just don’t have to say it again?

Are you leaving business on the table because your clients and prospects simply don’t “recall” exactly what you provide, or ALL of the things that you can do for them?

Stand clear of the closing doors please indeed.

Winging It: Hurricane Irene & How You Run Your Business

August 27, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training | Leave a comment
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Be smart. Be prepared.

That’s what lots of folks along the Eastern seaboard are hearing. And many, myself included, have heeded these words and have stocked the house with water and food, made certain that the flash lights are operative, filled the car with gas and on and on and on.

A bit tedious and maybe even a bit unnecessary…but then again, maybe not.

Just maybe this IS going to be as huge a storm as they’re telling us about.

And so tedious or not, I’m not taking any chances and I’ve put everything in order.

But that’s how I usually do things. Even when it seems tedious I’ll often take the time to prepare, learn my lines, do the research; in effect, get things in order.

How do you run your business, create sales, deal with clients?

  • Are you the type that takes the time to be prepared or are you more of a “wing it” sort of individual?
  • Do you take the time to learn about your prospect’s company before the meeting or are you certain that you can catch up and roll with the conversation once it’s underway?
  • How about your speeches? Do you practice and make certain that your timing is impeccable or once again, do you “expect” that it will all work out just fine?

Regardless of your personal style in business here’s hoping that you’ve taken the time to prepare today. In business it might mean that you don’t win an account; the consequences of not preparing for Irene are much much worse.



Ain’t Too Proud to Beg (Mmm, Perhaps)

August 16, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training | 1 Comment
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Ain’t too proud to beg.

Times are tough and there’s no need to belabor the point. We get it.

Our clients (and potential clients) get it too and so we’re all in this together, trying to keep our collective heads above water, go about our business and do what it is we do to keep our businesses afloat (dare I even say profitable!).

So if we’re all in this together then why is that some clients keep trying to extract that extra ounce of blood, get their project implemented at an even lower price, going over and beyond in all of their wants and needs and insisting that we simply acquiesce to their demands.

It’s difficult to be an agreeable sort, to provide extra value and be proactive when you feel battered and bruised when winning the business.

It sometimes seems that they want us to beg.

Note to clients everywhere:  Play fair. Provide fair compensation for worthy work, be honest and forthcoming and don’t try to get something for nothing. (Maybe I should write that into every client’s playbook!).

Unfortunately that isn’t the case and again, since times are difficult many companies have to cave in to the demands of their clients.

But I ask you to consider this when dealing with “these” clients:

–Are you LOSING money for every hour that you work on that client’s program?
–Is executing the project causing a major drain on morale?
–Is the client causing your staff to burn-out?

Can you even AFFORD to take on this project?

Sometimes we have to just say “no” and turn-down and walk away from a client, and it’s a tough thing to do, especially when winning new business is as difficult as it is. You want to win and retain business based on mutual benefits. Begging, caving in and being beaten down by a client’s unreasonable demands should not be acceptable.

How to Convert More Business

May 8, 2008 at 9:41 am | Posted in Customer Service, Networking, sales, Sales & Technology, Sales Training, small business, technology | Leave a comment
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As a salesperson, it’s always helpful to have a long list of prospects. However, if you don’t have a well thought out plan for converting them into customers, you are simply setting yourself up for failure. A low conversion rate is a common problem for salespeople, but one that is correctable with understanding the steps to take through the entire sales process. These steps are easily implemented with little or no cost and can make a tremendous difference in converting a higher percentage of prospects into customers.



Pick Suspects with Care

Not all prospects are created equal, and it’s best to think of them as suspects until they are screened and qualified. This is a fact that seems obvious, but is often forgotten. The reality is that it’s very easy to jump into selling mode, and mistakenly waste time dealing with someone who will never become a customer. Without a process for assessing the potential of a prospect, you are rolling the dice. You might get a customer, but more likely you’re going to get someone who will take your time and not offer anything in return.


Categorize Prospects

When you have multiple prospects, it can be a challenge to keep tabs on where each one is in the selling process. A touch point management strategy is a must. From sales quoting to billing and beyond, companies of all sizes need to make sure that these vital touch points are handled on time and effectively. Without them, the relationship will most likely come to a screeching halt. Sensitivity to what a prospect or a customer is experiencing is crucial and knowing that the proper handling of the most basic of interactions can be what is required to ensure long-term, fruitful relationships.


Improve Your Prospect’s Situation

You can have the most wonderful product or service in the universe, but if it does nothing to benefit your prospect’s situation, they’re not going to buy it. Take the time to understand their situation, their needs and wants, and then show them how you can help them. Never assume that what you’re selling just sells itself. In the vast majority of cases, it won’t. It’s your job to sell.


Move the Process along the Sales Pipeline

Often the sales process heat up early on, and then fades before anything is closed. If you’ve done your homework and know that you have a qualified lead and a potential sale, don’t let the momentum die. Follow through, keep asking questions, and offer your assistance. Don’t let a sale slip through your hands due to a lack of follow through, and by all means, don’t expect your prospects to do move the sales process along themselves.


Close New Business

It comes natural to discuss the features and benefits of what you have to offer, but it can be unnerving to take that final step of closing new business. This is often because many of us associate closing a sale as hard selling. Rather, it’s not a cutthroat maneuver; it’s just a necessary part of the sales process. If you’ve taken the right steps throughout the sales process and recognize that your prospect is ready to buy, they will appreciate the honest, mutually respectful discussion towards the sale.



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