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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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PRESS RELEASE --Tennessean Column June 2012

Posted on :September 05
PRESS RELEASE --Tennessean Column June 2012
PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release  Striving for Success Column Column Launch --June, 2012 The Tennessean has selected Tom Black, The Boxcar Millionaire, to share his sales wisdom in a continuing column in their business section. Randy McLain, Business Editor sought Tom out to partner with The Tennessean in reaching out to sales professionals with helpful advice on strategy as the economy recovers. Tom hopes his column will provide a touch of humor, inspiration and motivation for those along for the ride in the roller coaster career of sales.  He says of Tom: “The Tennessean is adding a total of five new business columns written by experts in their field, including Tom Black. Tom’s new column on sales to help people in the trenches learn to prospect for clients more efficiently and close the deal more often is going to be perhaps the most fun one to read of all.” Tom founded the Tom Bla ...
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PRESS RELEASE --News-Leader Column August 2012

Posted on :September 05
PRESS RELEASE  --News-Leader Column August 2012
Businessman Tom Black gives back to Ozarks Successful businessman, MSU grad maintains ties to Springfield area   7:40 PM, Aug 4, 2012 Written by: Kathryn Wall   Coming Monday Tom Black will be writing a regular business advice column for the News-Leader. Watch for his first column Monday, followed by one every other Monday on the Business page. Tom Black might not be a household name in the Springfield area, but he’s definitely had a local impact. Black came here from Kansas to attend Missouri State University and join the debate team. There he met future local standouts like Chamber President Jim Anderson and Attorney Tom Strong. Although Black now lives in Nashville, Tenn., he still maintains connections here, including a business in Republic. Bancsource, a banking equipment sales and service company, has around 400 employees, compared to the 27 workers there when he bought the company ...
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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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PRESS RELEASE: Commencement Speech at Missouri State University 2010

Posted on :June 24
PRESS RELEASE: Commencement Speech at Missouri State University 2010
PRESS RELEASEFor Immediate Release Missouri State University CommencementJQH ARENA685 S. John Q. Hammons ParkwaySpringfield, MO Contact:Sherry StringfellowTom Black Center for Excellence, Inc.sherry@tomblackcenter.com615.263.2833 May 14, 2010 - Springfield, MO.  Missouri State University has selected Tom Black (The Boxcar Millionaire) for their commencement address Friday, May 14th.  Tom graduated from then Southwest Missouri State University with a degree in Rhetoric and Public Address.  He was a nationally ranked debater and was active in student government.  He is a significant contributor to the University and remains in close contact with the current debate team. His business career is a true rags to riches story.  Born in humble circumstances, he has built several large nationally known companies in the banking services industry.  Recently he created the Tom Black Center for Excell ...
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PRESS RELEASE: Ordre Des Coteaux Promotions - May 2010

Posted on :June 21
PRESS RELEASE: Ordre Des Coteaux Promotions - May 2010
PRESS RELEASEFor Immediate Release June 17, 2010, Reims, France – The Ordre Des Coteaux Has Recently Announced Promotions for Three Americans; Bruce Fingerett, Todd McGowan, and Tom Black.  Bruce Fingerett and Todd McGowan Were Inducted into The Order as Chevaliers.  Tom Black, a Member for Over 11 years Was Promoted to The Office of Chambellan.  Only a Handful of Americans Have Ever Received this Designation and it Truly Sets Tom Black Apart as One of America’s True Champagne Authorities. Tom Black has been given numerous rewards in the food and wine world.  Being a member of the Commanderie de Bordeaux, on the National Board of the Chaine des Rotisseurs and an officer in the Order de Conteaux separates him from most gastronomiques. Unlike other champagne wine fraternities, which confine themselves to the promotion of a particular “cru” or variety of grape, the very special feature of t ...
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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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Nashville Business Journal - October 2008

Posted on :August 14
Nashville Business Journal - October 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008  |  Modified: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 The ‘practical’ art of the sale ‘Boxcar Millionaire’ gives motivation to small businesses Nashville Business Journal - by Linda Bryant Nashville Business Journal Tom Black’s life began in the tiny town of Nickerson, Kan., a long way from the corporate offices in Middle Tennessee where he served as CEO of two public companies — Private Business and Open Solutions. Black’s parents weren’t members of the local country club. They were dropouts who worked low-paying jobs and were so destitute the family lived in a railroad boxcar. Surprised that he even made it through high school, Black got his first introduction to selling at Nashville’s Southwestern Co., where he peddled books door-to-door in the summer while he worked his way through college at Southwest Missouri State Teachers College. Thus began his escape from a hard-scr ...
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PRESS RELEASE: See Tom Black at Entrepreneur Media Conference in Miami Beach

Posted on :August 11
PRESS RELEASE:  See Tom Black at Entrepreneur Media Conference in Miami Beach
SEE TOM BLACK AT HIGHLY-ANTICIPATED ENTREPRENEUR MEDIA CONFERENCE IN MIAMI BEACH For Immediate Release (Nashville, TN – June 3, 2009) – Tom Black, well-known as one of Nashville’s most successful entrepreneurs, the nation’s best sales trainer, and author of the wildly popular book, Boxcar Millionaire, will speak at Entrepreneur Media’s 2010 Growth 2.0 Conference presented by the UPS Store on January 26, 2010 at the Miami Beach Convention Center.  Tom was specifically asked to present his incomparable “Secrets of Sales Success” sales training to over 500 entrepreneurs and small business owners.  “It is an honor and a privilege to be associated with an organization like Entrepreneur Media,” said Black. The Growth 2.0 conference is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to get hands-on, business-building advice. The content offered in the seminars is specifically designed to offer fresh ideas, ha ...
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Wine Spectator article

Posted on :August 07
Wine Spectator article
Wine Spectator Magazine, June 15, 2007 Collecting A Life of Wine Lessons Businessman Tom Black`s Cellar-Building Strategy Stresses Classics    By Peter D. Meltzer Tom Black has a spectular 20,000-bottle wine cellar (with an additional 9,000 bottles on consignment to Alto, an upscale Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence-winning Italian restaurant in New York), but you`ll never hear him boasting about it. He firmly believes that collectors should appreciate the scope of what they have and not try to impress guests with trophy bottles all the time. "I probably have 100 vintages of Chateau Latour,"  he says, "but I don`t feel compelled to brag about it. I`m happy drinking Chateaus Haut-Bailly, Batailley and Grand-Puy-Lacoste. Wine is an art form, and I enjoy learning what the winemaker-as-artist has accomplished." Black, a 48-year-old Nashville, Tenn, businessman (his company, Bancsour ...
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For immediate release 120108 - Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne - English version

Posted on :August 06
For immediate release 120108 - Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne - English version
America’s greatest Sales Trainer receives ‘Royal Promotion’ In the most prestigious symbol of success and celebration For Release: Immediate(Nashville, TN – December 1, 2008) - Established in 1656 by aristocrats in the court of French King Louis the XIVth, the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne is responsible for managing a global communications policy of essential information concerning the wines of Champagne, France through a worldwide network of highly-knowledgeable staunch supporters. These individuals are prudently chosen from all over the globe and include renowned restaurateurs, sommeliers, connoisseurs and international personalities in politics, media, stage and screen.Entrepreneur and author Tom Black is one of America’s top wine experts and collectors and has been a representative of the Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne for the last decade. At a prestigious ceremony held at the Sain ...
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For immediate release 120508 - Leadership Seminar-7

Posted on :August 06
For immediate release 120508 - Leadership Seminar-7
America’s Greatest Sales Trainer to Hold Leadership Seminar - Learn How to ‘Sell Yourself Rich’For Release: Immediate (Nashville, TN – December 5, 2008) – It turns out there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow after all. Tom Black is author of the wildly popular book The Boxcar Millionaire and he exemplifies the essence of the American Dream. Black was born in the small town of Nickerson, Kansas, where he lived with his family in a railroad boxcar – yes, a boxcar.Well, Toto we’re not in Kansas anymore! While the road to success isn’t exactly paved with yellow bricks, it is paved with hard work and a commitment to following a proven sales system. Tom Black worked his way up the free enterprise ladder known as America and today, this Nashville based entrepreneur and author is recognized as the greatest Sales Trainer in the Country. Black is passionate about sharing his secret to suc ...
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PRESS RELEASE: Sales Managers Forum Launched-5-21-09.doc

Posted on :August 06
PRESS RELEASE: Sales Managers Forum Launched-5-21-09.doc
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact:  Jon Sturgeon, Club Organizer & Host, 214 Overlook Circle, Suite 152, Brentwood, TN 37027 615-812-8611 jon@tomblackcenter.com Sales Managers Forum Launched - A New Professional Development ClubNashville, TN – May 20, 2009. The newly formed SALES MANAGERS FORUM, a professional development club exclusively for managers of sales people launched in April. A monthly luncheon meeting is held the last Thursday of each month from 11:30 - 1:00 at Carrabba’s Restaurant next to the Mall at Green Hills. “The idea for this club was borne out of the need to address the unique issues that managers of sales people have,” says Jon Sturgeon the club host and organizer. Sturgeon says, “There is nothing like this in Nashville and the response has been great. We had barely started to get the word out and had 20 managers attend the first luncheon meeting in April. Our current lo ...
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PRESS RELEASE: Sales Excellence Awards-5-08-09.doc

Posted on :August 06
PRESS RELEASE: Sales Excellence Awards-5-08-09.doc
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEContact: Sherry Stringfellow, Tom Black Center for Excellence, 615.263.2833 Inaugural Sales Excellence Awards Winners RecognizedNashville, TN – May 8, 2009. The Tom Black Center for Excellence revealed Nashville’s top sales people and runners-up in eight industry categories at the first annual “Sales Excellence Awards” ceremony and luncheon at F. Scott’s on May 1, 2009. A crowd of businesspeople from many of Nashville’s foremost companies attended in support of the nominees. In the inaugural year of the Sales Excellence Awards, The City Paper and the Tom Black Center for Excellence joined forces to highlight great sales achievements for 2008. Winners were chosen based on their percentage increase in growth of their business over the previous year. The results were tabulated and vetted by Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain, PC and Associates. “Sales is the gas and oil that ...
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Sales Excellence Awards - City Paper & TBCS

Posted on :August 06
Sales Excellence Awards - City Paper & TBCS
FIRST ANNUAL SALES EXCELLENCE AWARDSNominate Your Best Salespeople Today!Presented by the Tom Black Center for Excellence The City Paper and the Tom Black Center for Excellence are looking for the city`s best salespeople.If you manage salespeople in the Nashville MSA, we want you to nominate your top achiever. Three Finalists and the winner in ten different industries will be honored at an awards banquet and in the March 31st edition of The City Paper.Finalists will be chosen based on percentage sales gains for 2008 over 2007 and vetted by LMBC.Complete rules and a nomination form can be found. TheCityPaper, Tom Black Center for Excellence, LATTIMORE BLACK MORGAN & CAIN, PC and Affiliates
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For immediate release 112608 - French Embassy - French Version-7

Posted on :August 06
For immediate release 112608 - French Embassy - French Version-7
Tom Black exerce les fonctions du Président pour Profiter le Fondation Culturelle Française-Américaine Pour la Libération : Immédiat(Nashville, TN – le 21 novembre 2008) - Pour la première fois jamais, tous 61 châteaux énumérés en 1855 historique la classification de Médoc et tous 26 châteaux énumérés dans la classification Sauternes 1855 donneront une bouteille de leur vin pour composer deux lots de vente aux enchères rares et uniques. Tous sont de la vendange de 2003 remarquable, en le faisant la collection de trophée qui transformera votre cave dans la "conversation de la ville"!Ces offres sans précédent seront vendues aux enchères le 3 décembre 2008, à une tenue de soirée extraordinaire fundraising le dîner à être accueilli par l'Ambassadeur français Pierre Vimont survenant à son Washington, résidence de courant continu. Le Président de cet événement excitant est notre très propre, l ...
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For immediate release 112608 - French Embassy-7

Posted on :August 06
For immediate release 112608 - French Embassy-7
Tom Black Chairs Wine Auction to Benefit the French-American Cultural Foundation For Release: Immediate(Nashville, TN – November 26, 2008) - For the first time ever, all 61 châteaux listed in the historic 1855 Médoc classification and all 26 châteaux listed in the 1855 Sauternes classification will donate a bottle of their wine to compose two rare and unique auction lots. All are from the remarkable 2003 vintage, making this the trophy collection that will transform your cellar into the talk-of-the-town! These unprecedented offerings will be auctioned on December 3, 2008 at an extraordinary black-tie fundraising dinner to be hosted by the French Ambassador Pierre Vimont taking place at his Washington, DC residence. The Chairman of this exciting event is Nashville entrepreneur and renowned sales trainer and author, Mr. Tom Black. The Tom Black Center for Excellence is among the numerous v ...
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For immediate release 120108 - Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne - French version-7

Posted on :August 06
For immediate release 120108 - Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne - French version-7
Libération de Mass-médiaLe plus grand Entraîneur Des ventes de l'Amérique reçoit ‘la Promotion Royale’Dans le symbole le plus prestigieux de succès et de célébrationPour la Libération : Immédiat (Nashville, TN – le 1 décembre 2008) - Établi dans 1656 par les aristocrates dans la cour de justice de Roi français Louis le XIVth, l'Ordre des Coteaux du Champagne est responsable de diriger une politique de communications globale de renseignements essentiels concernant les vins de Champagne, la France par un réseau mondial de supporters dévoués hautement-bien-documentés. Ces individus sont prudemment choisis de partout sur le globe et incluent des restaurateurs illustres, sommeliers, des connaisseurs et des personnalités internationales dans la politique, les mass-média, le stade et l'écran. L'entrepreneur et l'auteur Tom Black sont un des experts supérieurs de vin de l'Amérique et des collec ...
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PRESS RELEASE: Japan Mega Event 09

Posted on :August 06
PRESS RELEASE: Japan Mega Event 09
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEContact: Lesa Eden Executive Director Tom Black Center for Excellence 615.377.7752 TOM BLACK INVITED TO SPEAK AT THE MEGA EVENT 2009 IN TOKYO, JAPAN NASHVILLE, Tenn. – April 1, 2009 – Tom Black is well known as one of Nashville’s most successful entrepreneurs, the nation’s best sales trainer, and author of the wildly popular book, Boxcar Millionaire. Black has recently been invited to speak at Team James Skinner’s business/personal motivation, and leadership conference, MEGA EVENT 2009, in Tokyo, September 19–26, 2009. Tom was chosen from thousands of sales trainers to present “Secrets of Sales Success” at this highly acclaimed event. Black will take the stage along with Dr. Stephen Covey, Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul), John Gray (Men are from Mars…), Hyrum Smith, and others. “It is an honor and a privilege to be associated with an organization like ...
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May DECANTER interview with Howard Goldberg

Posted on :August 06
May DECANTER interview with Howard Goldberg
My Passion for WineThe frank Tennessee businessman talks Howard G. Goldberg through his advice for Barack Obama, and his 20,000-bottle cellar Tom Black, 49, owner of around 1,000 bottles of Champagne, made a whirlwind visit to New York in February to attend a fellow collector’s Champagne tasting. I asked: ‘If you could have just one bubbly for life, what would it be?’ A quick reply: ‘1979 Salon Le Mesnil or 1979 Cristal.’ Is there a US sparkler he likes? Quicker: ‘No.’ Direct, quietly intense, informal, Black can be wry. Why did he become a collector? ‘Women have large wardrobes and lots of shoes so they can pick and choose what they want to wear. I wanted to pick and choose what to drink.’ The Boxcar Millionaire, Black’s self-published book, evokes Horatio Alger novels that inspired 19th-century youths to strive for rags-to-riches lives. Born in a small Kansas town, he first lived with ...
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Stags Leap Article

Posted on :August 06
Stags Leap Article
STAG’S LEAP WINE CELLARSNews Fall / Winter 2008-09 Volume 40Collector’s CornerBy Tom Black I started collecting wine in the mid-1980s, during my second visit to Napa Valley. I had the opportunity to taste some older vintages at a winery there and realized how much more interesting and satisfying the wines were when aged and cellared properly. It was on that trip that I put down my first wines for later consumption. Among them was a 1984 Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars CASK 23 Cabernet Sauvignon. Over time I have put down over 30,000 bottles of wine and tasted what most people judge as the greatest wines of all time. For many years I collected only California wines, and at one point I had approximately 5,000 bottles. Since then I have opened some and sold some, and my California palate has widened to include European wines. But all throughout my 22 years of passionate collecting, I could never p ...
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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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