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Objections

Posted on :August 28
Objections
Stephen Covey said, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” Over a life time in sales, I’ve heard hundreds of objections that we’re challenges. Of course my attitude about objections has changed and matured. Here are some ideas about objections.First, objections are buying signs. The prospect is saying, “If you solve my problem for me, I’ll buy.” If they say, “I am not interested, go away!”  This is not a buying sign nor is it an objection. This comment means you generated absolutely no interest. So when I hear an objection, I am thankful the prospect didn’t run me off.Second, a question is not an objection. When the prospect asks a negative question, it’s a question not an objection. When a sales person answers the question like an objection, it makes the sales person look defensive. Don’t do it! Just answer the question simply & directly. The last thing you want is the pr ...
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The Lone Ranger

Posted on :August 22
The Lone Ranger
 Hi Ho Silver! When I was young, I loved The Lone Ranger. He worked alone. Only one close relationship and he wasn’t dependent on anyone. When I started in sales, I was a “Lone Ranger”. I was only interested in me.Every morning, I got up and listened to the same radio station WIIFM (What’s In It For Me!). If my company asked me to do something outside the scope of selling the prospect, I’d tell myself, “I don’t get paid for that”. When I sold someone something, I often left a wake of customer service issues in my path.As I matured, I learned the value of the organization I worked for, the “Company”. I learned it was disingenuous to cash the company’s check and not support the company. However, I had to discover this secret to success in sales the hard way. So today, here’s my sales tip to make more money.Think of your company as a boat in the middle of the ocean. Think of the people on t ...
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The Art of Enthusiasm

Posted on :August 22
The Art of Enthusiasm
The first definition I was given of selling was transference of feeling about a product, idea or service.” I was told nobody will be more excited than you are about your products or services.If we got to profile who we did business with we would all pick someone who’s enthusiastic over someone’s who’s not enthusiastic.  And yet this very important “sales technique” is widely ignored.In my training classes I try to get people to be more enthusiastic. It’s like pulling teeth. Yet, I know what Zig Ziglar said is right. “For every sale you miss because you’re too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you’re not enthusiastic enough.”I think there are two comfort zone issues everyone must overcome to be more enthusiastic. First, some sales people say. “I don’t feel myself when I’m overly enthusiastic. I am afraid the prospect will think I am faking it”. Yes, there are those of you that ...
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We're all in Sales

Posted on :June 10
We're all in Sales
Robert Louis Stevenson said, “We all sell something a product, an idea or a service.” When you think about it, every profession is dependent on communication skills.The best lawyer doesn’t know the most about the law. They communicate the best to the judge, jury and opposing counsel. The best Preacher, Priest or Rabi doesn’t know the most about the Bible or Torah, they communicate it the best to the congregation. The best teacher doesn’t necessarily know the most about their subject but they communicate it the best to their students.This is my point, no matter what we do our communication skills, to some extent determine our success. I have no idea what grades my doctor made or whether he “passed” the state licensing requirements by one point. I go because he communicates effectively with me. I trust him. Trust is a key element of communication/ sales.Yet what do most of us, even those o ...
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Rise Above Your Comfort Zone!

Posted on :May 23
Rise Above Your Comfort Zone!
 When I first became a sales person, no one ever told me about comfort zones. My boss said “do this” or you will fail. I didn't want to fail so I did it. Now as a sales manager who has trained thousands of sales people, I realize the biggest obstacle to most sales people's success and for more success to those who have some measure of success already is their "comfort zone".Over 5,000 books have been written on what to do to make a sale. There is enough information available for anyone to know what to do to make a sale. So, why do some people fail at a sales career?  Or, perhaps worse, get in a rut of results that let them keep their jobs but to never excel? There are thousands of sales people in the "get by" category. They do enough to “get by” and keep their jobs, but nothing more.My contention is that their inability to leave their “comfort zone” is what's holding them back. Wh ...
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Get In With The Sharks!

Posted on :May 08
Get In With The Sharks!
 L. Ron Hubbard said “Man thrives. Oddly enough, only in the presence of a challenging environment.”Too much stress is a bad thing. A little stress can be good. Whenever I feel a little stress, I am more productive, I get more done. Most people who are successful realize this on an intellectual level. Emotionally it’s not always that easy.About.Com defines stress as “The body’s reaction to a change that requires a physical, mental or emotional adjustment or response.” Sales people face stress more than most, especially if they are working on a commission. When I feel stress, I remember this story. I hope it helps you.The Japanese love fish. However, there are not a lot of fish in the Japanese waters. To solve the problem the fishing boats got bigger and bigger. The ships went further and further from Japan. This created a problem. The further they went, the less fresh the fish were when ...
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Names Are Magic

Posted on :April 25
Names Are Magic
Zig Zigglar said, “The most powerful force in selling is the 3rd party influence.” Brian Tracey said, “Names are magic!” I say “When you learn to use names properly, you will raise yourself a level higher on the ladder of great salespeople.”There are two types of names you should master (I assume you know your own name). First, the customer’s name. Most salespeople are uncomfortable using the prospects name. This is a comfort zone issue you must overcome. The prospects name is the most beautiful word your prospect can hear. Who doesn’t love to hear their name?Also, when you use the prospects name, you break down social barriers that naturally exist between strangers. Calling the prospects name makes you seem more familiar and more like the other people they work with and their family. By the way, most of your prospects co-workers and family call them by their first name, not Mr. or Mrs.T ...
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My Second Language

Posted on :April 08
My Second Language
People ask me if I speak any languages besides English. I do!  I speak Body Language.Every salesperson should be a student of body language, theirs and their prospects. Everybody on a sales call is sending a message with their body. Most sales people don't pay attention, but they should. Today let's talk about the sales person’s body language. So, as a sales person ask yourself what message do you want your body to send. Most sales people have never ask themselves that. From now on you should. I'd suggest you want to say, “I am dependable, predictable, honest and helpful”. Maybe there are other messages but let’s start with these.First,  lean forward when the prospect talks. This says you're interested and involved. Don't sit back in the chair. If you don't believe me just watch couples in a restaurant. You will see who's interested and who isn't.Second, be relaxed. Don't fidget ...
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Happiness is a Way of Traveling

Posted on :March 22
Happiness is a Way of Traveling
I recently read that 49% of sales people were unhappy with their jobs. Wow, that’s a lot of unhappy sales people! We all have mood swings. We all have had bad days, bad weeks and even bad months. The most positive people have a bad day now and then but evidently the problem is bigger than that.Abraham Lincoln said, “Happiness is a way of traveling, not some place you arrive. Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”When I graduated from college, I thought I’d be happy. When I got a new car, I thought that would make me happy. When I got a house, I thought this will make me happy. When I made my first million dollars, I thought “now, I’ll be happy for sure!” When I got married, I thought she would make me happy. None of those worked.What I learned is that it is not an achievement, a possession, an amount of money or another person that would make me happy. What I ...
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Common Sense Mistakes

Posted on :March 15
Common Sense Mistakes
How did this profession of selling get such a bad reputation? Most people are suspicious of sales people. Most people think  salespeople are pushy, high pressure, con-men, Charlatan, cheat, dishonest, crooked, twist your arm make you buy, say anything to get the sale, good golfers.Because of past mistakes, most people have a negative image of sales people. What follows are the most common mistakes I’ve seen sales people make. There are in no particular order.A common mistake sales people make is to “show up and throw up”. Sometimes when we go on a call, we are nervous. This causes sales people to talk too much. Sometimes we are ill prepared; this causes us to jabber on. Sometimes we have a difficult prospect so we do all the talking. Sometimes we’re uncomfortable with strangers and we won’t leave our comfort zone. So, we launch into our sales presentation.This behavior is troubling and i ...
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Success is Never Owned, It’s Only Rented

Posted on :February 13
Success is Never Owned, It’s Only Rented
If we ask 100 salespeople how many want to be successful, 100 will say “Yes, I do”. Yet, we know that by age 65 only 3 of the 100 will be able to pay their own bills. 97 will be dependent upon their family, the government, charity, their church or some other form of support.It’s not that the 100 at 25 years old planned to fail, they failed to plan. I recently read that only 49% of working adults had over $2,000 in a savings account or any account other than a personal checking account. I doubt that the percentages for sales people would be much higher.Some people tell me money isn’t important. I know those people will lie about other things as well. I am not talking about super wealth, I am talking about paying your own expenses when you quit working. Of those 100 I mentioned, about 2 will be wealthy, 1 will be financially independent.Here’s some ideas that will help you not only get to ...
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Change Is Inevitable, so Make Sure to Embrace It

Posted on :February 08
Change Is Inevitable, so Make Sure to Embrace It
Charles Darwin in Origin of the Species said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” So it is in sales and a sales career.As a young sales person I saw change as good and bad. When they lowered or changed my commission that was “bad”. When they changed my territory or raised the prices of my products that was also a “bad” change. When they made me a vice president that was a “good” change. When they gave me more products to sell, that was a “good” change.As a professional sales person, I’ve learned that most change is neither good nor bad. It’s exactly what we make of the change that determines whether it’s good or bad. Charles Swindoll says, “85% of the impact of change is determined by our attitude toward that change” so, today I want to challenge you to embrace every change as necessary and look for the o ...
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Excuses

Posted on :January 24
Excuses
“Excuses, Excuses, Excuses”, that’ what my dad said.  My first sales manager use to say “There are two kinds of people, those who look for a way and those that find an excuse.” He also said “Be the kind of person who goes over, under, around or through any obstacle that stands in the way.”Psychologists tell us that there are internalist’s and externalist’s.  The internalist’s accepts responsibility for their circumstances. They tell themselves that success is their responsibility, not based on their circumstances.The externalist’s  blame their lack of success on their circumstances. It’s my product.  It’s my company.  It’s my boss. It’s my family. It’s my territory.  Earl Nightingale said, “I don’t believe in circumstances.  The people who get on in the world find their circumstances and if they can’t find them, they make them.”The successful sales people I’ve known understand this:  The ...
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People Love to Buy!

Posted on :January 24
People Love to Buy!
People love to buy, they hate to be sold. You walk into a retail clothing store and the clerk runs over, gets a little too close and says “May I help you?”  Psychologically we push back and said, “No, I’m just looking.” Now, you probably went in there with a purpose but you don’t want to be “sold” anything.Well, in selling there is a natural tension between a salesperson and prospect, especially in the first meeting between strangers. Most of us get paid to meet with strangers and reduce or eliminate this tension. Part of a great sales persons ability is to create a “Buying Atmosphere”.So, what do we hate about salespeople? What creates that tension: I’d suggest three things have to be overcome. First, the fear by the prospect that the salesperson will say anything to make a sale. Second, the fear that the salesperson will try to manipulate us and not let us make our own decision. Third, ...
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Death of the Salesperson

Posted on :January 24
Death of the Salesperson
In the 2007 ‘Affluent Attitudes Towards Salespeople’ survey, 90% of those surveyed said, “A true sales professional is hard to find”, and in just a few years it’s gotten worse.The annual survey of ‘Affluence and Wealth’ in 2007 found 66% of the respondents “depend on the salesperson to know the specific details of the product that makes it worth more.” Three years later, that percentage had dropped to 39% - almost in half.Also,   interestingly enough in the same survey, 37% said “they had close relationships with sales people they relied on.” Three years later, it had dropped to 25%. It continues to go down. As a sales professional and a sales trainer, I find these facts alarming. Here are some reasons I believe this is happening and some things you can do to make sure it doesn’t happen to you.First, I think many sales professionals today have a weak work ethic. In the book Outliers, by ...
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Expect Something Great

Posted on :January 24
Expect Something Great
I have the privilege of knowing some very successful interesting people. One of my friends, Jess, passed away about a year ago, he was 81. One night at dinner, I asked him what he thought his life would be like when he was 75 (his age that night). He told me he always expected great things to happen. Jess grew up in the depression. He told me many days his family only had rice to eat. He worked during high school, college and law school (he went into real estate law when he graduated). He was working his way up the food chain.In 1974, he and his wife bought an orchard in Napa and planted grapes to sell to local wine makers. Everything was going fine until 1981. In 1981, there were too may grapes and he couldn’t sell his. He and his wife, Jane, decided to make their own wine. They decided to name the wine for both of their last names, Kendall Jackson.Yes, when Jess passed away, Forbes mag ...
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How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling

Posted on :January 24
How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling
This was a popular sales book written in the 50’s by Frank Bettger, it’s still relevant today.  The secret in the book to Frank’s success was the  law of averages.  The law of averages is a sales person’s best friend. Why do I say that? First, in sales two brothers follow each other everywhere, See More and Sell More.  Man, as an individual, is unpredictable. Man in the mass is predictable. Our largest insurance companies are based on this principle. Yet, my whole career I’ve seen people fight the law of averages. You might as well fight the law of gravity.My first sales manager, Sam Johnson, said “If you want to give yourself a 20% raise, see 20% more people.” That’s the great thing about commission based selling jobs. The more you sell, the more you make.Second, the law of averages will help you when you get in a slump. Johnny Bench, arguably the greatest catcher of all time, said “Slu ...
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So You Have A Bad Attitude You’re Attitude Doesn’t Matter

Posted on :January 24
So You Have A Bad Attitude You’re Attitude Doesn’t Matter
When I started to sell, I was told “You can’t sell with a bad attitude.”  What I came to understand is that, “You can’t sell if you let your attitude affect your performance.”If you’re like me, you have mood swings   most people do. Most people are more productive when they’re in an upbeat, positive mood. Most people are less productive when they are in a low or bad mood. Since I want to be as productive as possible I try to do 2 things:First, I try not to let my attitude affect my performance. Every professional goes through mood swings. The greatest in every profession separate themselves from others by not allowing a bad attitude to determine their performance. Actors say it well, “The show must go on.”  Despite how we feel, we must put out our best effort and give our clients and prospects our best performance. Our mind set must be “I don’t feel as good as I’d like but my mood won’t ...
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Why Should Anyone Buy From Me?

Posted on :January 24
Why Should Anyone Buy From Me?
Every salesperson must ask themselves “Why should the prospect buy from me?” It’s a fair question. Despite ourselves, some people will buy just because of our product or service. However, we need more than just the “gimme’s”.Most people choose a product or service based on three things: The quality of the product, the quality of the service and the price. Why is this important to consider? Because unless you’re reading this in North Korea, you have competition. The prospect is considering those three things about the competition too.This leads us to the concept of your “Value Proposition”.  A value proposition is your statement that does two things. First, it tells the prospect why to do business with you. Second, it differentiates you from the competition.Let’s talk about these three elements of your “Value Proposition”. Price is easy. Is your product or service a good value for the mon ...
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Barbarians at The Gate; Gate Keepers

Posted on :January 24
Barbarians at The Gate; Gate Keepers
Over and over I hear people say they can’t get through the gatekeepers. Well, I can’t either so let’s all give up. Seriously, let’s talk about some ideas to help overcome gate keepers.First, if you know what you’re facing, why not prepare for it? I doubt if most sales people have prepared standard answers for gate keepers. So, begin by preparing answers for gatekeepers.Salesperson: “Hello, may I speak with Bill Smith?”Gatekeeper: “May I tell him who is calling and what it’s regarding?”Now, you give a planned response, well thought out beforehand.“It’s Tom Black from ABC, is he in?”Now, I’m back in control because I ask the question. A lot of gatekeepers will put you through.Most people say too much and talk themselves out of getting through. The less the better. Everything you say can and will be used against you.So, you get a great gatekeeper and she answers “He is in but what’s it abou ...
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Don’t Look Back, You’re Not Going That Way!

Posted on :January 24
Don’t  Look Back, You’re Not Going That Way!
Yogi Berra said “You gotta’ have a goal or you might end up somewhere else.”  It doesn’t make sense but we all understand what he means.  My first sales manager said it better, “A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder.”I think most of us have goals, however, we don’t maximize our goals by using a proven system to motivate ourselves and measure our progress.Here are some important elements of great goal setting. First, it must be written down. If it isn’t written down it’s not a goal, it’s a wish, it’s a hope, it’s a prayer but it’s not a goal. Write it down!Second, set a time frame. You must have a finish line. No finish line, no goal.Third, you must tell someone important to you about your goal. By committing to someone important to you or many people, you put pressure on yourself to perform. Sports is full of examples of this. Mohammad Ali, Joe Namath and Dizzy Dean; all c ...
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Control the Sales Cycle

Posted on :January 24
Control the Sales Cycle
Will Rogers said, “You can be on the right track but still get run over if you aren’t moving fast enough in the right direction.” The sales cycle is the time it takes to make a sale from the first meeting to the prospects commitment to buy. It’s different in every industry. It’s different with every product and service but every product and service has a sales cycle.Every salesperson would like the sales cycle to be as short as possible. The shorter the better so the sales person can go find another sale. When I sold books door to door, the sales cycle was about twenty minutes. When I sold a product to the largest banks in the world, the sales cycle was about six months, sometimes longer.Over the years I’ve learned several things which can help you control the sales cycle. First, never close a meeting or a phone call without the next meeting or phone call being scheduled.For years, when ...
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The Ability to Ask

Posted on :January 24
The Ability to Ask
The greatest sales people don’t have the “gift of gab”. What they have is the ability to ask questions. Harvard did a study of the history of “sales scripts” in American Business. The first planned presentation they found dates back to 1863. But more importantly, they found that one common denominator in all the scripts were the use of questions.When you make a presentation of your product or service to a prospect, it should be a series of questions. The first series of questions should be rapport building questions. You build rapport by finding something in common with the prospect. So the first series of questions should be about the prospect.For example, “Where are you from?”, “How long have you been here?”, and “Where were you before this?” Once you find something in common with the prospect, you can move to the second series of questions. Rapport building is important, your prospect ...
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I Object to That!

Posted on :January 24
I Object to That!
Emerson said, “The reasonable man attempts to adopt to the world, the unreasonable man attempts to adopt the world to himself. Therefore all progress is dependent upon the unreasonable man.”Every salesperson must be unreasonable because they are asking their prospect to change their world in some way. Never is there the need to be unreasonable greater than when the prospect gives you an objection. However, the trick is not to seem unreasonable. It’s one of the greatest paradox’s of sales.First, realize an objection is a buying sign. The prospect is saying, “Solve this issue or problem and I’ll buy.” For me, the sales process is 50% about uncovering the prospects real objection. It’s one of the reasons we use live people for sales and not written proposals. Trust me, your prospects can read.Second, use the formula every great sales trainer teaches, “Feel, Felt, Found”. The principle is wh ...
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No More Cold Calls!

Posted on :January 24
No More Cold Calls!
A recent NY Times bestseller had this title and if you Google this title, you get hundreds of references to this idea. Why? No sales people want to “Cold Call”, it is unnatural to call a stranger and ask them to give you money.However, cold calling is a necessary evil. No matter what you’re selling, you eventually run out of friends and family. So how do we avoid cold calling? The movie industry has popularized cold calling with movies like Glengarry Glen Ross and Pursuit of Happyness. The best answer to no more cold calling is the effective use of referrals. The key word here is “effective”.So here’s my system for always having referrals. I assume everyone at this point wants more referrals. So, first set a goal for referrals. Your goals are like house plans. You don’t start building without plans. Perhaps your goal is one new referral a week, perhaps 10 per week, or one per month. What ...
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The Elevator Speech!

Posted on :January 24
The Elevator Speech!
Recently I read The Fine Art of Small Talk. It re-emphasized the importance of networking. It’s short and has big print. My kind of book, it’s worth a read!So, what is an elevator speech? The best explanation is a short memorized speech about what you do for a living. It’s a brief and persuasive description of your company and its product or service offering. Here are some rules to follow assuming you want to develop more prospects from networking events, social events and trade shows (If you don’t get out of sales).So, what makes a great “Elevator Speech”? First, they are less than 30 seconds long. Does that seem short? Time yourself. That’s a lot of introductory material. Mine is about 20 seconds long. Anything more is too much.Second, they’re enthusiastic. Selling is transference of feeling. No one you first meet will be more enthusiastic than you are about what you do. By the way, yo ...
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It’s the Sales Person that Makes the Difference

Posted on :January 22
It’s the Sales Person that Makes the Difference
My name is Tom Black. I was born in humble surroundings and sold my way to financial success. More importantly, I’ve helped thousands of sales people be more successful with my proven sales theories and techniques.  As a national sales manager at Southeastern Company, I recruited and trained students to sell books door to door. As a national sales manager at FISI-Madison Financial, I grew a new business from 0 to almost $400 million in sales. As a founder and CEO of Private Business, I recruited and trained hundreds of salespeople and took the company public.As the founder and CEO of Imagic, I introduced check imaging to hundreds of banks, merged the company with OSI and the combined entity grew to almost $1 billion in sales.Currently, I have several companies I own and on most I serve as Chairman of the Board. The largest of these is Bancsource. As CEO, I grew the company from 27 employ ...
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Preparation Before The Call

Posted on :January 22
Preparation Before The Call
Abraham Lincoln said if he had six hours to chop down a tree, he’d  “spend the first four hours sharpening the saw”.Zig Ziglar says, “You can’t be too busy chopping wood to sharpen the axe”.Tom Peters, while at McKinsey and Company, said “we prepared one hour for each one minute of anticipated meeting time with a prospect”. (30 minute meeting, 30 hours of pay)Today, sales people have more opportunity than ever to prepare for their sales calls. Yet over and over I see sales people arrive on the call without as much preparation as possible. Technology, social media and the glut of general information available allows us to be very prepared for every call.When we are calling on a new prospect, we should know everything we possibly can. You never know when some bit of information will help you communicate more effectively.Many companies I’ve been associated with lately have had a great deal ...
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Needs Assessment

Posted on :January 22
Needs Assessment
If we went to the doctor and he didn’t do an examination and he told us to “go home, take two aspirin and call me in the morning” then we would think he was a quack. Well, that’s what sales people do all the time.Many times I’ve seen sales people do this. They begin the presentation of their product without a needs assessment. Sometimes this is called the discovery process. Whatever you call it, the GREATEST SALES PEOPLE DO IT! The weaker sales person jumps into the presentation of their product.Whatever product or service you’re selling there are a series of needs based questions you should ask before you present your product or service. Just like the doctor, the sales person is trying to find out “what’s wrong”. Only the discovery of a problem, a want or a need, justifies a salesperson presenting their product or service.The very best, most professional sales people realize nobody buys ...
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Create a Buying Atmosphere

Posted on :August 26
Create a Buying Atmosphere
August 2010This month we talk about creating a buying atmosphere.  Can you imagine buying a ticket to a movie that was produced without rehearsals, without the appropriate scenery, lighting, and actors?  It just wouldn’t happen.  You’re buying that ticket because of the preparation that went into the movie’s production…the stage has been thoroughly set.  The preparation is what made it “your idea” to purchase the ticket.  It’s the same for the product/service you’re selling.Getting in the Mood:  The Buying AtmosphereSpectacular performances are always preceded by unspectacular preparation. I so strongly believe that what you do before the actual performance in preparation is just as important as what you do in the performance that I’m spending time on the foundations of a great performance before getting to the specifics of giving a presentation.Let’s discuss the concept of creating a bu ...
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Outsmart 'Em

Posted on :April 30
Outsmart 'Em
April 2010This month we talk about outsmarting our competitors.  No need to fear competition...it's good for business!  Know your market and be prepared for opportunities that arise.  Possess the ability to spot unmet customer needs, be enthusiastic, and always have a thoughtful plan to put into immediate action.Outsmart ‘EmThree stores on the main street in town stood side by side. They all sold the same type of merchandise. One day the owner of the store at one end put up this sign: ROCK BOTTOM PRICES.This prompted the storekeeper at the other end to hang up a sign reading: LOWEST PRICES IN TOWN.The owner of the store in the middle was thrown by these aggressive maneuvers until he had a bright idea. He put up his own sign, which proclaimed: MAIN ENTRANCE.Like the owner in the story you must find a way to write “Main Entrance” on your product line or service. There is always a way to o ...
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Know Your Enemy: The Competitive Advantage

Posted on :March 31
 Know Your Enemy: The Competitive Advantage
March 2010This has a great joke in it.  Enjoy!  Plus, we consider the importance of knowing your competition and knowing your prospects’ every need.  Are your competitors taking your prospects?  Find out why and how.  What do they know that you don’t?Know Your Enemy:  The Competitive AdvantageKnowledge of the competition is essential to reaching the goals you set for yourself. When I was selling books door-to-door, I looked at every competitive product in every person’s home I could find. It took some extra time, but like Zig Ziglar says, “You can’t be too busy chopping wood to sharpen the axe.”When I sold products to banks, I subscribed to 23 banking publications, and I paid for them myself. Why did I invest so much time and money on looking at competitive products and reading trade publications? Two reasons: I wanted to know my competition, and I wanted to know my industry.There is a r ...
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More Techniques for Building Your BEST Presentation

Posted on :February 02
More Techniques for Building Your BEST Presentation
February 2010This month we look at the power of dropping names.  People like referrals.  We like knowing a product or service is endorsed by a friend or colleague before buying into it ourselves.More Techniques for Building Your BEST Presentation"Oh, They Bought": The Power of NamesThe most powerful resource in selling is the third party influence.  Names, names, and more names.  Nothing gives prospects confidence more than hearing someone else they know bought the product and likes it.  So how do you introduce names, individuals, or companies to a prospect in order to get the desired effect?In the book business, I read a list of 50 to a hundred names of people who had bought from me before I ever demonstrated the books.  When the prospect identified the ones they knew, I made a comment or a mental note.  Then as I gave my presentation, I used the names that had been identified, and I ...
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Natural Comes With Practice

Posted on :January 29
Natural Comes With Practice
January 2010This month we talk about sales skills.  Professionals leave their comfort zones.  Practice these sales skills and win!Natural Comes With PracticeAllow me to dispel a myth believed by many salespeople:  It is not unnatural to be enthusiastic.I’ve heard salespeople tell me, “It feels unnatural.”  Of course it does at first, but what’s natural about calling someone you don’t know or knocking on the door of a total stranger?  You must practice it until it becomes second nature to you.  Then it feels natural.Enthusiasm is not just a tone you portray in your presentation; it’s a lifestyle.  It works better if it’s just a part of your life.  It’s not something you can just practice in your professional life.  It is something you must practice in every aspect of life.  Don’t be the kind of person who brightens a room when you leave.  Brighten the room when you arrive.A good way to de ...
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Get Your Body Talking

Posted on :December 31
Get Your Body Talking
December 2009This month we focus on body language and ask ourselves what type messages we are sending.  Take care that they are positive!Get Your Body TalkingAnother element of enthusiasm is body language.  Motion creates emotion.  In countless sales presentations, I’ve witnessed salespeople sit back in their chairs and talk to prospects from across the desk.  These salespeople are working against themselves.  If you’re presenting to someone across the desk, get on the edge of your chair, lean forward, animate your gestures to the point of feeling a little ridiculous, and act enthusiastic.If you’re presenting to a group and they are all seated, then stand up!  It’s hard not to be enthusiastic when you’re standing and talking, although I’ve seen some of my college professors and a few preachers pull it off.  Just decide to get animated and get excited.A common question salespeople ask me ...
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No One Said It Would Be Easy

Posted on :November 30
No One Said It Would Be Easy
November 2009This month we talk about academy award winning presentations.  Would your sales presentation win an academy award?  Read on!No One Said It Would Be EasyIn building a fantastic presentation, you must adopt equally solid sales techniques.  Every great professional develops special techniques that are not natural.  In tennis, no one naturally holds the racquet on the backhand like the pros.  Golf requires unnatural grips and swings as well.  Lawyers learn negotiation and questioning techniques that are not natural.  If you’re a religious person, you know sometimes your faith requires unnatural behavior.  In the medical field it goes without saying that there is a learned behavior required.Don’t use the “It doesn’t feel natural” excuse.  Demand excellence of yourself and this does not happen naturally.Sales techniques are really just good communication skills.  Somehow technique ...
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Goal Tracking

Posted on :October 28
Goal Tracking
October 28, 2009We’ve been discussing goals – sharing them, exceeding them, taking them over the top.  This month, it’s tracking your goals.  Gotta do it for ultimate success!Goal Tracking: Follow the Bread CrumbsSetting goals is not enough. If it were, I could stop the goal setting process right now and end this book. Once they are set, you must track them.I love legendary NBA basketball coach Pat Riley’s book and the story of how he set a goal for each starter on the Lakers to be the best at their position. He posted the stats of the best player in the league at each position, and then he compared his players’ stats to those top players as benchmarks. This posting was public, posted for all to see.By the end of the season, he had the best players at every position, statistically speaking. And they won the championship – Riley’s ultimate goal. That’s the perfect example of setting speci ...
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The Art of Goal Setting

Posted on :September 22
The Art of Goal Setting
September 22, 2009This month we discuss the importance of sharing your goals with someone.  Share your goals – and then exceed them! Don’t StackSome days your sales goals will be on track, and other days, they will be slow.  This will happen to even the greatest of salespeople throughout their careers and that’s OK.  The important thing to remember is that this will, in fact, happen.  So don’t stack your results goals.  If you don’t get the results you want one day, one week, or one month, don’t stack up your shortfall into the next goal period.  Goals are designed to help you, and stacking can create a millstone around your neck that will sink you.Stacking goals never works.  If you have set an annual goal and you see that you’re far behind six months into the year, just reset your goals.  Trying to hit your initial goals becomes impossible and your goals have become a whip, not a dangl ...
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Visualize Success

Posted on :August 25
Visualize Success
August 25, 2009Hey guys,This month we talk about commitment.  A goal once set – then death or victory.  Set goals and then don’t allow yourself excuses. Visualize Success, then Crystallize It My third summer on the bookfield selling books door-to-door, I decided I wanted to be the number one salesperson. My sales manager encouraged me to do this, and I am sure that he and all the other 25 sales managers were encouraging salespeople on their teams to do the same.This fact didn’t even dawn on me at the time, but I realize that now. Before that summer started, I went through the following exercise. Let me tell you, it worked! I became the number one salesperson in the company.The summer before, I had sold to approximately 1,000 customers. After crunching some numbers, I determined that my average customer bought roughly $40 worth of books. I then factored in the fact that the top salesperso ...
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No One Succeeds Without Goals

Posted on :July 31
No One Succeeds Without Goals
July 31, 2009This month we discuss goals. Yogi Berra said, ‘You gotta have goals or you might end up somewhere else.’ Hope you enjoy.No One Succeeds Without GoalsI have covered the first two foundations for a great presentation’ a great attitude and a planned, practiced, and inspired presentation to give to prospects. The third foundation of a great presentation is goal setting and tracking. I briefly discussed goal setting as it relates to the number of people you see. Now I want to give it a full discussion to show its importance throughout the entire sales process -- from planning to execution and follow-up.You need goals in at least two areas’ activity and results. You should have both a high and a low goal. Your goals must be written down, have a specific timeframe, and then be communicated to someone who is important to you. Let’s go through this step-by-step.Activity GoalsFirst, y ...
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IV. Watch Yourself.

Posted on :June 30
IV. Watch Yourself.
June 30, 2009Last month we discussed my recommendations for planning a great sales presentation and I gave you the first three points in that newsletter. Here are the last three recommendations:IV. Watch Yourself. Practice your script out loud in front of a mirror. Here's where we separate the women from the girls and the men from the boys because frankly, most of you won't go that far. But you should!Fred was failing at his job selling software to banks. I went to see him to put him on probation. I felt like it was hopeless, but I wanted to give him one last chance. I worked with him all day and watched three of his presentations; they were awful.That evening between the end of the day and dinner I had Fred give me his presentation over and over, and we worked until midnight. I realized that night that Fred had been working for us for four months and had never really learned his prese ...
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How To Have Fresh Fish

Posted on :May 27
How To Have Fresh Fish
May 27, 2009Recently I read this story and thought you'd enjoy it.How To Have Fresh FishThe Japanese have always loved fresh fish. But the waters close to Japan have not held many fish for decades. So to feed the Japanese population, fishing boats got bigger and went farther than ever.The farther the fishermen went, the longer it took to bring in the fish. If the return took more than a few days, the fish would not arrive fresh.The Japanese did not like the taste. To solve this problem, fishing companies installed freezers on their boats. They would catch the fish and freeze them at sea. Freezers allowed the boats to go farther and stay longer. However, the Japanese could taste the difference between fresh and frozen and they did not like frozen fish. The frozen fish brought a lower price. So fishing companies installed fish tanks. They would catch the fish and stuff them in the tanks, ...
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A Different Look at 'Planned'

Posted on :April 27
A Different Look at 'Planned'
April 27, 2009'It's not where you're from; it's where you're going. It's not what you drive; it's what drives you. It's not what's on you; it's what's in you. It's not what you think; it's what you know.'********************************************************A Different Look at 'Planned'An insurance salesman showed up at the sales manager of a large drug company's door without an appointment. He asked to see Mr. Johnson, the sales manager, but Mr. Johnson's assistant refused, saying that her boss never sees salespeople without an appointment.The salesman, Ed, thanked her.'So that I might know where I'm going when I do have an appointment,'he asked, 'where is Mr. Johnson's office?''It's the second office on the third floor,' the assistant said, 'but you need an appointment.'Ed thanked her and promptly snuck up to the third floor. There he placed himself in Mr ...
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And Now Introducing: 'The Buying Line'

Posted on :March 27
And Now Introducing: 'The Buying Line'
March 27, 2009And Now Introducing: 'The Buying Line'I want to introduce you to a concept I developed selling books door-to-door, an idea I've found applies to every kind of selling. It's called the 'buying line'.This is the principal behind the buying line: After a certain amount of time during a sales presentation or several presentations, the prospect's interest rises to the level necessary to make a favorable buying decision. Or, the interest level does not rise to the level necessary to make a favorable buying decision.In either case, the mythical line you are trying to reach as a salesperson is the 'buying line'.It seems logical that the shortest distance between two lines is the best. When you meet a prospect for the first time, you start two clocks: The time clock 'how long you're with the prospect 'and the interest clock 'what the prospect's level of interest is in ...
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So You Don't Want to

Posted on :February 26
So You Don't Want to
February 26, 2009Hi! Hope you enjoy this month's newsletter. In addition, I'd love to tell you about an upcoming training opportunity you won't want to miss! It's our Advanced Sales Training class coming up in March. All the details are below -- hope to see you there!ADVANCED SALES TRAINING March 20, 2009Hilton Suites9000 Overlook Blvd.Brentwood, TN8:30 ' 4:30Business Casual$500.00 per personincludes registration, all materials,and continental breakfast* Learn new closes to get prospects off the fence* Learn to identify personality styles and what motivates them to buy* Find out if you really have a selling system and, if not, how to get one* Discover how to build a lifelong relationship with your customers* Learn how to beat the competition every time* Learn how to sell and close groups* Learn how to sell around a Request For Proposal (RFP)* Learn buyer's styles* Learn how to do b ...
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The Planned Presentation

Posted on :January 30
The Planned Presentation
January 30, 2009The Planned Presentation: The Only One Worth GivingA planned presentation is not only a building block for a great performance, it is central to the entire sales process. And yet, no principle I've taught over the years has been met with more resistance. However, there is no principle I believe in any more strongly than this.I can just hear the groans now. "But Tom...- I don't want to sound canned.- I want to be flexible.- Every situation is different.- I talk to different levels of decision makers, so I need different presentations."I say: "OK, fine. Making these excuses is a lot easier than doing the work of a professional, which is planning your sales presentation."Yes, There is a Best PresentationI believe in a planned presentation and here is why. First, the best tool you have is your words. What comes out of your mouth determines your success or failure. If th ...
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Selling is a Profession

Posted on :December 23
 Selling is a Profession
December 23, 2008Selling is a ProfessionA critical and often overlooked element of your attitude is to always remember that you are a professional. After all, sales is a profession. What do most people think of when you say the word "salesperson?" A few words come to mind:- Pushy- High pressure- Conman- Charlatan- Cheat- Dishonest- Crooked- Twist your arm- Make you buy- Say anything to get the saleIt's true that even some salespeople would describe sales using these words. That is because some salespeople are all of those things!Salespeople in general have a bad image, frankly, because there have been so many bad ones. A professional attitude will set you apart. You can change the image of the pushy, plaid-suited, greasy salesperson. Make up your mind that you're going to be proud you're in sales, and then act like it. It is impossible -- yes, impossible -- to give a great presentat ...
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Leave Your Comfort Zone

Posted on :November 20
Leave Your Comfort Zone
November 20, 2008 I. Leave Your Comfort Zone To be great in selling, you must have a willingness to leave your comfort zone. I've never met a great salesperson who did not leave his comfort zone.Sometimes it's in the approach. You just hate to make a cold call, knock on a door, or pick up the phone and call someone you don't know.Sometimes it's in the set-up. You just hate to ask the prospect's questions about their business, their children, or whatever.Sometimes it's when you close. You just hate to bring the prospect to a point of decision.Sometimes it's in the follow-up. You just hate to hear another objection or stall.Sometimes it's when you ask for money or payment. You say: "Can't we just send them a bill?"Maybe it's all of these, but whatever it is that's uncomfortable, to be great you must overcome it.For me, it's the close. When I was selling books for the Southwes ...
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Developing a Service Attitude

Posted on :October 29
Developing a Service Attitude
October 29, 2008Developing a Service AttitudeHave you ever been shopping for something, and you could literally see the dollar signs in the salesperson's eyes? Believe me, your prospects can see the dollar signs in your eyes as well if your attitude is one of do anything to make the sale. That is why a service attitude should also be an inherent part of your attitude.William Penn, historic figure and founder of Pennsylvania, said: "I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow human being, let me do it now as I shall not pass this way again."If you always give to get, you'll never get. But if you give to give, you'll get. Whatever you put into the lives of others will come back into your own. It's pretty simple, really. Put out good - you'll get good. Put out bad - you'll get bad.Steve sold check so ...
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Think Big

Posted on :September 29
Think Big
September 29, 2008Hope this edition of our newsletter finds you healthy, happy, and terrific! We'd like to tell you about a couple of training opportunities coming your way soon. You can register online @ http://www.tomblackcenter.com/ or call 615.377.7752 for more info. We'd love to see you there!The Boxcar Millionaire's$ALE$ INCUBATORFor only $70* a week, you can have one of America'sGreatest Sales Executives as your coach!Who: Business owners, sales executives, sales managers and sales representatives seriously interested in improving their sales culture, process, efforts and results.What: Once a week, for eight (8) consecutive weeks you will meet with Tom Black and learn how to accelerate your sales efforts and results. He will evaluate your business and sales plan and help each participant hone their sales efforts to achieve their goals. *Each Incubator is limited to 15 particip ...
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