August 2012 | Click links (>>) below to read articles
  • Selling When You Don't Have the Best Product on the Market - Motivating Your Customers and Yourself by Barry Maher >>
  • The # 1 Way to Improve Your Closing Ratio By Eric Slife >>
  • 7 Tips on Conducting a Better Needs Analysis by Jim Domanski >>
  • Sales Habits: The Good and the Bad By Bill Lee >>
  • Using This Question Should Require A License by Art Sobczak >>
  • Selling Success By The Numbers by Jim Meisenheimer >>
  • Think Like A CEO! by Paul Cherry >>
  • 5½ Tips on Creating a Successful Tele-prospecting Opening Statement by Jim Domanski >>


Selling When You Don't Have the Best Product on the Market - Motivating Your Customers and Yourself by Barry Maher

Here’s a lesson from a salesperson, a lesson we all frequently tend to forget.

Ron Campbell tested high in intelligence and even higher in sales skills. His positive, high-energy outlook impressed the interviewers at Industrial Industries, and both his former employers raved about his ambition and his honesty. Bright, talented, upbeat, ambitious and ethical: those were the qualities that won Ron his dream job. And those were the qualities that caused him to quit in disgust less than a year later.

I met Ron while I was consulting with Industrial Industries, immediately after he'd been hired. Twenty-eight years old, he'd moved from a $33,000 per year sales rep position with a mom and pop operation to a "Professional Sales Career" with a Fortune 500 giant, where the average first year earnings were $67,000, and someone with Ron's potential could make well over $100,000. Then there was the company car, expenses, and a benefit package tempting enough to make me or anyone else question the joys of self-employment. As a result, Ron's infectious grin became a near-permanent fixture on his face.

When I arrived each morning at 7:30 AM, he was already in the training room, studying hard. When I left, sometimes as late as 7:30 or 8:00 in the evening, he'd still be around, usually picking the brain of anyone who had anything to teach him. In his second month on the job, the division manager asked him to deliver a motivational presentation at a key sales meeting. Even the veterans were impressed.

I figured he'd be a memory in 18 months. Cynicism was practically a job requirement at Industrial Industries. I'd seen too many of those who should have become the best and the brightest crushed by the realities of selling for such a demanding company. Ron seemed particularly vulnerable.

The day I finished my contract with the company, Ron volunteered to drive me to the airport; he wanted a chance to pick my brain. I gave him my card.

"Everyone around here has been raving about your potential," I said. "But if things ever get too rough, please give me a call before you do anything that can't be undone."

He thanked me, but assured me that he considered this job the chance of a lifetime. "I'm lashing myself to the saddle on this bronco," he said, reminding me that while Ron was from New Jersey, his sales manager was from Texas. "It can buck, it can even bite, but there's no way it's going to throw me."

The call came eight months later. He told me he was quitting the next day.

"Their prices are just too high," he explained. "I just can't sell their machines."

"Ron, you can sell anything you choose to sell."

"I can't sell this stuff. Not in amounts large enough to meet their ridiculous quotas."

"How many of the others are making their quotas?"

"Some of them. Most of them, I suppose. But the company puts so much pressure on the reps to make their numbers, who knows what they're telling the customers? I sell clean, and I don't sell enough. And I don't feel good about what I do sell. I get prospects to trust me, then use that trust to talk them into buying something they wouldn't have bought on their own. That's what selling is all about. And that may be fine if you've got the best product in the marketplace . . ." His voice trailed off.

"But," I said, finishing the thought, "not everybody can have the best product in the marketplace."

"That's the problem."

"That is a problem, Ron. But aren't you the guy that told a division meeting that in Chinese the word for problem is the same as the word for opportunity?"

"Crisis. The word for crisis is the same as the word for opportunity."

"You're quitting your job tomorrow, Ron. The job you told me was your chance of a lifetime. If this isn't a crisis, it will certainly do until one arrives."

So how did Ron fill the glass.

Simple. He’s become a major resource, developing an expertise his customers no longer feel they can do without. "His machines may not be quite as reliable as his competition's," one of them admits. "But he knows more about that type of milling than anyone in the industry. The free information we get from him more than offsets the cost of the occasional problem his products may encounter. He's indispensable. Besides, when there is a problem, Ron's on it: practically before the machine stops humming."

I recently spoke with Bill Swetland, a customer service rep with Industrial Industries, Ron's company. "When one of Ron's accounts has a problem," Bill said, "he fights for them harder than they'd ever fight for themselves . . . Sometimes I wonder who he's working for."

"But that's part of what they're buying," Ron explains. "They're buying me. That's what they are paying for and that's what they get. I make sure I'm worth the extra money our products cost and then some."

Because he's free from doubt about the value his clients will be receiving, Ron can sell honestly. He can tell the truth to his customers and to himself and still close any deal. He sells to more customers and he sells more to each customer. And his referrals are astonishing.

How good a deal are your customers or your bosses or your people getting when you get them to buy into what you’re selling? And what can you do to make it better?

About The Author:

Selling Power magazine says, “To his powerful and famous clients, Barry Maher is simply the best sales trainer in the business. Barry speaks, writes and consults on sales, sales management, leadership and communication. A highly regarded keynote speaker, motivational speaker and trainer, he is also the author of No Lie: Truth Is the Ultimate Sales Tool which has been translated around the world. Contact him and/or sign up for a monthly article by email at The original of this article appears at

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The # 1 Way to Improve Your Closing Ratio By Eric Slife

If I could show you one simple technique to:

  • Reduce your sales cycle,
  • Improve your closing ratio,
  • Sell at higher margins,
  • Eliminate objections,
  • Reduce your company’s expenses,
  • Get more calls returned,
  • Improve your self-worth,
  • And, have more time for your family;

would you take advantage of it? How about it if I told you this one little thing won’t cost you a dime, and is so easy you can start doing it upon completion of reading this tip?

One of the biggest mistakes reps make, regardless of what they sell, is they don’t properly qualify prospects from the very beginning. This is often because managers want more appointments, demos, and proposals; and reps feel good about themselves when they schedule an appointment. As a result, reps act like dogs that chase after every car that drives by.

Instead, our attitude should be one of it’s a privilege to draw from my expertise, and I’m going to be very selective on whom I choose to help. By doing this, you eliminate a lot of illegitimate prospects who cost you time and money. Because you choose to only work with qualified prospects; you sell more, in less time, and at greater margins. This will boost anyone’s self-confidence.

Too many times we don’t ask more direct questions because I think we are afraid to offend our prospect. However, questions can be tweaked just a little bit, so we still get the prospect to open up without making the prospect feel guarded.

The first part of your sales call is to lay down some initial ground rules. This will allow your prospect to feel more at ease and to respect your time. It might go something like:

Jill, I really appreciate you meeting with me today. I don’t know if we are the right solution for you, but I’d like to ask you some questions, so we can both determine if we are a good fit. If at any time during this process I feel our product isn’t the best solution for your needs, I will let you know, so I don’t waste your time.

Likewise, I often find prospects are uncomfortable telling me they’ve decided to go in a different direction. As a result, I start feeling a little bit like a pest when my calls or emails aren’t being returned. Needless to say, at any time during our conversations, I also want you to be comfortable telling me, we aren’t a good fit. Are you okay with this?

By doing this we are telling the prospect, it’s okay to say “no.” Just like a desperate boyfriend or girlfriend, you become more unattractive by clinging on when you’re not wanted. Assuming they agree to this, it’s now time to start qualifying your prospect with some preliminary questions.

  • Please share with me a little more about your current situation - I realize this technically isn’t a question. However, the goal here is to throw them a softball, so they feel at ease and start to openly share information. During this phase find out what product or service they currently are using. At this point, I’m trying to determine if they have a clue of what the cost may be. If they have never utilized a similar product or service, they may be caught totally off guard by the price.
  • What are some of the changes you want to see occur? – Again another easy question, but it’s going to bridge to our next question. It will also give you an idea as to the probing questions, you’ll want to ask after you’ve qualified them.
  • When do you want to see these changes take place? - Depending on the complexity of sale the importance of the actual implementation date may vary. However, if they don’t have a deadline they probably don’t have any urgency, and it’s not that high of a priority. It’s especially important not to be quoting price or giving away information prematurely. If a decision isn’t going to be made in a timely manner, and you give them all your information, they no longer need you.
  • Can you think of anything that would prevent these changes from occurring by…? – Whether it’s changes within the company (mergers, firings, hirings), money, a boss, etc.; you’re better to know right away what your potential obstacles are that could derail the sale. This will often reveal the true decision maker(s), internal politics, or budgetary restraints.
  • Who else is involved in the decision making process? - In order to get a more accurate answer, you need to appeal to your contact’s ego. I always precede this question with the words “besides you.” Another approach would be to ask your contact; tell me about your decision making process. This will often reveal the major players, and the role they will have without offending your initial contact.


  • Have they tried to fix this problem before? - Again if they answer “yes” but didn’t address the problem, this is a red flag. You need to determine what’s changed that prompted them to fix this problem now.

If they don’t have the money, urgency, authority, and ability to fix the problem; you don’t have a qualified prospect, and you need to politely wrap up the call. It doesn’t mean you right them off; it just means that you focus your attention on other qualified prospects.

At some point, most of us will ignore these warning signs and hope things will turn out for the best. Needless to say, we waste our time, energy, and money with prospects that aren’t going to buy from us, and we miss out on other great opportunities because our focus is diverted. If you want to be a great closer, start by learning how to be a great qualifier.

About The Author
My wife and I started Slife Sales Training, Inc. in 1999 because we saw the potential of the Internet to deliver comprehensive sales training at an incredibly affordable price. As a result, both individuals and smaller companies now have access to training that was once exclusive to companies with deep pockets. Since then, our company has evolved, and now we have one of the most extensive and affordable online sales training resource. Visit our website today for a 3 day trial.

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7 Tips on Conducting a Better Needs Analysis by Jim Domanski

Want to know the secret for significantly improving your sales results, generating more revenues and making more commissions or bonus?

Get better at conducting a needs analysis.

Depending on your target market and the product or service you sell, a needs analysis is quite possibly the most important activity in which you can engage.   Needs analysis help you AND your prospect identify areas of opportunity and areas of challenge. Done correctly, an effective needs analysis can also quantify those areas and ultimately determine if there is a need that your product/service can fulfill.   In other words, it is the key to sale.

Here are 7 tips to help you improve your approach to analyzing a prospect's need:

Tip #1: Write out every single question you can possibly imagine

Here's the toughest part but it's worth the time and effort. Think of every single, solitary question you could ask your client relative to your product/service application. Everything: big or small, significant or insignificant. And then write every one of those questions down on a sheet of paper.

I know. It's tedious. But here's what happens. First of all, this exercise gets you to stop and think. It makes you more thorough in your thought process because you have the time. Second, and maybe more significantly, this exercise begins to imprint the questions on your conscious or subconscious mind. It will help you remember them and conjure them up when conducting your needs analysis.

Tip #2: Group your questions into categories

You can do this step in conjunction with Tip #1. Where possible, group your questions into categories. This makes them less random, easy to access and easier to remember. Categories create another level of focus for you and help with the imprinting process.

For instance, you might have a category called "situational questions" which might be questions that ask about the prospect's current situation or environment. These might be fundamentals such as number of employees, number of locations, types of niche markets, the machinery they use, the processes they follow, the software applications etc.

Another category might be 'motivator questions' i.e., those that explore possible challenges, problems and issues or opportunities, enhancements and improvements that your client might be experiencing relative to your product/service solution. Of course, these are important questions because they uncover needs and motivators.

A third category might be 'analysis' questions which are questions that get the prospect to quantify and elaborate upon a problem or an opportunity.

Tip #3: Ask yourself, "Why am I asking this question?"

By now, you should have a pile of questions. Now it's time to cull and refine that list. Review each question and ask yourself "why am I asking this?" Is it vital information you absolutely NEED or is it nice to have?

Re-write those questions that you absolutely need to have answered on another sheet of paper. Write these in RED. They are 'must haves.' This is your "master list." These questions go to the heart of needs analysis. Keep them in their categories.

In blue or black ink, below your master list, have your 'nice to have questions.' You can ask these questions if they are relevant or helpful to you and/or the prospect.

Tip #4: Ask yourself, "How will asking this question make my prospect feel? What will he/she think?"

Review your revised list and think about how your prospect might feel when asked. Some questions, particularly questions that probe for problems and concerns can be sensitive in nature. Some might feel defensive. Others might feel embarrassed. Others might be a bit hostile because you seem so 'nosy.' Think about this from THEIR perspective.

Identify the sensitive questions and then move on to Tip #5.

Tip #5: Ask yourself, "What is the best way to ask this question?"

If you have a question that might make a prospect feel awkward, embarrassed, cautious, defensive or hostile, use a 'softening trigger phrase' before asking. A 'softener' is phrase that can take the 'sting' out of asking a sensitive question and make the prospect more receptive to replying.

For example, "Jim, some of the safety directors I have spoken to have expressed concern over the new OSHA ruling on ... Let me ask, you what are your thoughts..." In this case, the prospect recognizes that he is not alone, that others have concerns, and that it's 'okay' to speak up. He becomes less self conscious.

Here's another one: "Debbie, hypothetically speaking, if you could improve production by 10%, what would be the net impact on profitability?" In this case, Debbie is not being held to specifics and not necessarily being held accountable for the estimate. In other words, she is not putting herself at risk because the question is creating a 'make believe' scenario. This makes it easier to truthfully answer.

Here's one more: "Pat, sometimes clients see this as a sensitive question but I ask because it goes to the heart of what we can solve. We are finding that..." In this case, the softener trigger phrase warns the prospect that a potentially awkward question is coming up. In this manner, he/she is not caught off guard. In addition, the phrase explains why the question is being asked and implies a benefit for the prospect.

Tip # 6: Create a needs analysis cheat sheet

Once you have created your list of questions including softener trigger phrases, create a 'cheat sheet' or job aid. Use colored paper, use colored ink. Use large font. Hand write it or use Word and cut and paste. Put you questions on an 11 x17 sheet so there's plenty of room. If required, paste two 11 x 17 sheets together. Make your needs analysis sheet big, bold and brassy. No one can see it but you. Post it where it is easily accessible and visible so you can reference it.

Tip #7: Drill, practice and rehearse asking your questions

The last tip is to drill, practice and rehearse your needs analysis. You could do this with your manager, or a co-worker, friend or spouse. You can rehearse it in your mind. The idea is to familiarize yourself with the questions and get comfortable with them. Use your cheat sheet and get comfortable with it too.

The objective of this entire process is NOT to ask every single solitary question, one by one, like conducting a survey. The idea is to ask the appropriate questions when required. You might begin with a few situational questions, then segue into a motivator question, then back to a situational question or two, and then move on to an analysis questions.

No one can teach you the flow of questioning. That is a factor of the client and the information that he or she gives you. But KNOWING the questions ahead of time (having them imprinted on your mind) makes asking the appropriate question at the appropriate time much easier.


Good needs analysis differentiates you from your competition. Your prospects tend to see you as more consultative. You will get better, more relevant information. This gives you a distinct opportunity to sell more. Take the time and do it right.

About The Author:

Teleconcepts Consulting works with companies and individuals who struggle to use the telephone more effectively to sell and market their products and services. For more information on consulting services and training programs, articles, and other resources visit or call 613 591 1998.

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Sales Habits: The Good and the Bad
By Bill Lee

Do you ever find yourself driving down the road when something an elementary school or high school teacher said pops into your mind. This happened to me just this morning. It had to do with habits.

I was in the fourth grade when my teacher - Mrs. Gordon - explained to us that there were two kinds of habits: good habits and bad habits. She went on to explain that an example of a bad habit was using bad or profane language. And an example of a good habit was brushing your teeth after meals. I remember this lesson almost verbatim although it took place over 50 years ago.

Mrs. Gordon also pointed out that it takes approximately 40 days to develop a new habit and approximately the same amount of time to get out of the habit of doing something you want to stop. (I wonder how Mrs. Gordon knew that way back in the dark ages.)

My experience has convinced me that 40 days is just about the right timeframe. I remember once giving up coffee for Lent. I had developed the habit of drinking coffee all morning, and after about my third cup, I spent much of the morning racing back and forth to the restroom, which had a detrimental effect on my personal productivity.

After the 40 days of Lent were behind me, I noticed that I didn't crave a morning cup of coffee as I had in the past. I realized that I had broken a bad habit. If I remember correctly, I didn't drink another cup of coffee for four years.

The same rule holds true for good habits. Back in the spring the landscaping company that takes care of our yard telephoned me and told me about an "early bird" special on mulch. The owner of the landscaping company told me that if I would allow the landscapers to spread the mulch before April 1 (when they had more time on their hands) he would give me a super duper low price. I agreed.

Now here it is July and I was walking my new puppy around the yard when I noticed that the landscaper had never spread the mulch and the yard was beginning to look pretty bad. When I called him, he apologized profusely saying that he failed to make a note of my telephone call and he had forgotten to deliver the mulch.

As a salesperson, has this every happened to you? I'll bet it has. I know it used to happen to me until I got into the habit of making a note immediately after a customer asked me to do something. Making notes is a GOOD habit. Trying to remember something a customer asked you to do is a BAD habit. All salespeople know this, but even though we know it, we sometimes attempt to rely on our memory.

I was working on a consulting assignment recently when the salesperson I was interviewing received a telephone call on his mobile phone.

"I need to take this," he said, "this is my largest customer."

The salesperson excused himself and walked over to the sales counter. When he returned he told me that the customer was asking the status a special order product that was holding up one of his jobs.

"I wanted to crawl under the sales counter," he said, "I forgot to place the special order and the lead time is a minimum of four weeks. I can't believe I let placing that order skip my mind. My customer is furious with me."

RULE: NEVER rely on your memory for anything. Develop the habit of either doing it now or make a note to remind yourself to do it later.

Try this: Make a list of your top three bad habits. We all have them. And make a contract with yourself that for the next 40 days you'll break the bad habit. This commitment will go a long way toward enhancing your professionalism as a salesperson.

Here are several good sales habits we all need to commit to:

• Follow up with your customers. Never "assume."

• Practice your sales presentations in front of a video camera and ask someone a great deal better and more experienced at sales than you to critique your presentation.

• Memorize the first two or three sentences you plan to use on a sales call.

• Always identify a goal you wish to achieve on each sales call.

• Immediately following each sales call, jot down what you committed to do for that customer or prospect.

• Get in the habit of writing hand-written, hand-addressed and hand-stamped thank-you notes following key sales calls.

• Be careful not to overdo it, but dress just a hair better (more professionally) than your customers dress.

• Spend a few minutes rehearsing before each sales call.

• Before you go home each evening, prioritize your to-do list.

About The Author:

BILL LEE is a business expert. Starting out in 1965 as a field sales representative and then a sales manager with New York City-based GAF Corporation, he soon became a part owner of one of the fastest growing start-up companies in the US — Builder Marts of America, Inc. (BMA)

Bill and his partners grew BMA from a startup to sales of $640 million in just under 20 years. Bill served as a corporate officer at BMA with general management responsibility for the company’s largest division.

Today, Bill is a sought-after seminar leader and business consultant who works extensively throughout the US and Canada.

He is author of Gross Margin: 26 Factors Affecting Your Bottom Line, now in its third printing.

His most recent book, 30 Ways Managers Shoot Themselves in the Foot was released in October 2005.

Thousands of owners, managers and salespeople read Bill’s award winning ezines and magazine articles on sales and gross margin improvement and best management practices.

Bill is president of Lee Resources, Inc., a Greenville, SC-based consulting, training and publishing organization.

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Using This Question Should Require A License by Art Sobczak


Do you know what causes lots of accidents during test drives of autos by prospective buyers?

It's the salesperson asking,

"Is this the type of vehicle you would like to own?"


Yes, it's true, according to car salesperson, Jim Miller, interviewed in Douglas Rushkoff's book, "Coercion: Why We Listen to What They Say."

A question like that, preceded by the proper set up, creates a state of suspended animation that causes the mind to do strange things.

Miller says that first the salesperson "reinforces" the prospect; he makes the potential buyer feel awful about the bucket of rust he now drives:

"How does the ride compare to your car?"

"How do the seats feel?" Comfortable? Just like an armchair?"

Then he asks the question. The question that car salespeople joke, causes a split second of customer insanity. "The mind goes blank, the body paralyzes, the eyes get glassy, dilated.

And you'd be surprised how many people have an accident at just that moment."

The author, Rushkoff, says the power at work here is "disassociation." With the car example the prospect is already in the vehicle but then asked to own the same type of vehicle. Your present situation is reframed in fantasy, creating a momentary disassociation from the activity you're involved in. (Kind of like me asking you, Could you imagine yourself reading this email newsletter right now?)

That's why so many drivers crash, according to Rushkoff. "It's a momentary loss of awareness during which the customer's defense mechanisms and rational processes are disabled."

He says the technique is so powerful it's in the CIA's interrogation training guide.

Am I personally buying into this?

I don't know. Who am I to argue with the CIA? Now if it were the Secret Service...

However, the example cited just one car salesman, although he did add that the technique was from a popular training program in the car business.

What I do know is that the process and techniques are similar to what I've been suggesting for a long time: identify and embellish their need, pain, or problem.

Then present your recommended solution.

Then ask for commitment.

Embellish the Problem

Once you've uncovered a need area, resist the tendency many salespeople succumb to: talking about their product or service. Instead, question more to get them to further visualize, relive, feel, and even exaggerate the pain.

"How often does that happen?"

"Then what do you have to do?"

"What other problems does that cause?"

"Then what?"

"What does that cost you?"

Present Your Recommendation
This is where you talk about your solution. Use their words as much as you can--they won't argue with
what they said.

Ask for Commitment
Here's where you can ask the "magic question" cited by the author to put them in that state of stupor--or at least get them to imagine owning and enjoying the results or your product or service. It's really sort of a trial close.

"How do you feel you would use that?"

"What do you feel that would do for you?"

"Would you see this as something that would help you
avoid those problems in the future?"

"How much do you think this would help you make/save?"

Their answers, of course, are designed to get them mentally taking ownership of what you sell. And that makes the final close a lot easier. After all, if they sell themselves, that's better than you having to do it, right?

Think about these ideas, adapt them, and use them in your own situation. Just don't cause any car wrecks.

About the Author:
Art Sobczak, President of Business By Phone Inc., specializes in one area only: working with business-to-business salespeople--both inside and outside--designing and delivering content-rich programs that participants begin showing results from the very next time they get on the phone. Audiences love his "down-to-earth,"entertaining style, and low-pressure, easy-to-use, customer oriented ideas and techniques. He works with thousands of sales reps each year helping them get more businesses by phone. Art provides real world, how-to ideas and techniques that help salespeople use the phone more effectively to prospect, sell, and service, without morale-killing "rejection." Using the phone in sales is only difficult for people who use outdated, salesy, manipulative tactics, or for those who aren't quite sure what to do, or aren't confident in their abilities. Art's audiences always comment how he simplifies the telesales process, making it easily adaptable for anyone with the right attitude.

Contact Info
Art Sobczak
Business By Phone Inc.
13254 Stevens St.
Omaha, NE, 68137

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Selling Success By The Numbers
by Jim Meisenheimer

Is there a formula for selling success? Actually, I think selling success by the numbers is the way to go. More about this in a minute.

I just read an article in the Wall Street Journal about a 15-year-old boy named Nicky Bronner.

The kid just loves eating candy. On the other hand his parents thought he was overdoing it.

In fact, two years ago they threw away half of the Halloween candy he collected.

He wasn't happy about this.

His father tried explaining how the ingredients could actually cause health problems like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

So he did extensive research on the Internet and found out his father was actually right about the potential health problems.

So he did what any ordinary 15-year-old boy would do. He set out to unjunk candy snacks.

He named his company "Unreal Brands."

He was entering a $31 billion candy market, at the age of 15.

His startup company now has 19 employees. His father, a very successful entrepreneur, helped him start the business.

Looks like he's off to a good start because within a couple of months his candy will be on the shelves in Target, Kroger's, BJ's, and CVS Caremark.

Don't even think little Nicky is lucky.

He's selling by the numbers - his numbers.

And so can you!

Here are five things Nicky is doing that you can adapt to your business to help you improve your sales productivity.

1. Be original. Have an original idea or at the very least an original approach to selling your products. Don't be an imitation be yourself.

2. Be different. Avoid blending in with your competition. Do everything you can to stand out from them. Remember, even little differences can add up to a big difference.

3. Be passionate. Having lots of experience is good. Having lots of product knowledge is good. Having a quick mind is good. You will sell a whole lot more when you start showing your passion for your products and your company. I believe it's the ultimate differentiator.

4. Be relentless. How many times should you fail before you give up? How many times did Edison fail in his attempt to invent the first electric light bulb? Never, never give up!

5. Be bold. Take the chances most people avoid because of their fear of failure. One of the reasons I started my company 24 years ago this month, was because I dreaded saying these things on my deathbed. "If only" and "It might have been."

I might add that Nicky knows a little bit about Buzz-selling too.

He has definitely created a buzz for himself, his candy products, and of course his company.

The buzz starts with him, and starts with you too.

Start selling by the numbers today if you want to start selling more tomorrow.

About The Author:

Make sure you check out Jim's Sales Trailblazer program:

Jim is a Sales Strategist and is the creator of No-Brainer Selling Skills. He shows salespeople and entrepreneurs how to increase sales, earn more money, have more fun, and how to do it all in less time. His focus is on practical ideas that get immediate results. He offers Advanced Sales Management Workshops, Sales Coaching, Consulting, In-house Sales Training Programs, and a wide variety of Learning Tools i.e. books, special reports, sales manuals, and CDs.Jim Meisenheimer is a member of The National Speakers Association, where he earned the C.S.P. designation, Certified Speaking Professional. He has authored five books including, "The 12 Best Questions To Ask Customers," and the recently published “57 Ways To Take Control Of Your Time And Your Life”.


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Think Like A CEO!
by Paul Cherry

The purchasing agent is on a roll. He hammered that sales rep on price only three minutes into their conversation. Five minutes later, the agent strutted into the CEO’s office like a peacock, proud of having squeezed the sales rep on price. But one month later, the peacock was molting as problems reared their ugly heads. The delivery was off by two days, and the quality check showed the product was sub-par—so now it’s the purchasing agent getting hammered by his boss, all because he was more interested in getting a low price than in getting the best value.

When you’re the sales rep in this situation, how do you regain control of the conversation when that purchasing agent is so darn fixated on the price tag? How do you help them foresee the ramifications and risks of holding out for the lowest price, forsaking great opportunities for a better value? Help the agent break out of that tunnel-vision mindset and see the value of your business solution.

The trouble is that, in many customers’ minds, value and price are one and the same. How do you make them understand that the words “value” and “price” aren’t synonyms, that the lowest price doesn’t necessarily equal the highest value for their dollars? Asking the right questions can help you to make your customers look beyond the price tag and see the real value of your products and business solutions.


Does the sweat drip down your face at the very thought of talking with a CEO? Does sparring with stubborn purchasing agents seem like a day at the beach by comparison? You’re not alone — many salespeople get nervous when talking to CEOS and company presidents, because they’re not sure what to talk about. These salespeople put the CEOs on a pedestal, thinking “These people are so busy, and I’m just a schlepper salesperson. What am I doing here?” They keep getting pushed back down, referred to lower-level decision-makers, probably because they zeroed in on analysis and feature/benefit selling instead of concentrating on the big picture that interests the CEO. The trick is to think like a CEO, not an analyst!


Every CEO constantly assesses his competition to survive. By the same token, every CEO must keep on top of trends affecting his industry in order to thrive. Your best bet for engaging the top decision-makers is to ask questions about these two crucial aspects of business—and if you speak with the quiet confidence of a CEO, you’ll impress the purchasing agent enough to get an audience.

You don’t need to launch into a spiel about your products and services right off the bat. Tailor your questions to focus on the kind of business results your customer seeks to reach his goals and rise to the challenges his company faces. The following questions will get him focused on the future while critically analyzing his present situation; he’ll have to ask himself, “Can I get where I want to go with what I have now?” No matter what the answer is, helping him to face that question will prove valuable to his business and yours as he looks to you as a forward-thinking advisor. Here’s what to ask in order to engage the CEO and get into his mindset.

“As you reflect back over the past 5 years, what do you feel has been the biggest contributing factor to your (the company’s) success?”

“In the next three years, what do you think your greatest opportunity will be?”

“In the next three years, who do you think will emerge as your biggest threat?”

“What do you think truly differentiates your company from all the other choices out there?”

“Which of your product’s or service’s strengths will allow you to continue your success?”

“How do you picture the direction of your industry in five years? Ten years?”

“What change could cut into your share of the market?”

“How does the aging of the baby boomer generation (or any applicable trend) affect your share of the market?”

"How does your company measure progress?”

“Are you planning on initiating any integration with other companies?”

“How does your company see itself today? How has it changed over the last five years? Where would it like to be in the next five years?”

“How does your company approach change?”

“What pending legislation (or market conditions, competitive threats, demographic trends, organizational changes, etc.) could change the way you do business?”

“What are the market forces you’re most concerned about?”

“How is your company addressing the competitive pressures of the market?”

“What issues do you think your company must address or overcome in order to be more successful? What specific steps or actions will you need to take?”

“Describe your goals to increase market share. What’s working well for you? What isn’t?”

A typical salesperson wants to get down to the details and connect with the big decision-makers. But their time is at a premium, so you’re in danger of disconnecting from a big-picture thinker’s wavelength if you try tactical approaches such as qualifying or closing. The way to connect with them and demonstrate your worth is by asking the right questions, zeroing in on what’s important to them. Asking big-picture thinkers the big picture questions will tune you into their mindset, with faster and greater results.

About The Author:
Paul Cherry is President of the sales and leadership firm Performance Based Results and the author of QUESTIONS THAT SELL, published by AMACOM Books. Paul can be reached at 302-478-4443 or e-mailed at When you subscribe to our quarterly newsletter at, download our free white paper, “Top Questions that Sell,” based on PBR's latest research on what salespeople need to ask in order to up-sell, cross-sell and win more customers!

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5½ Tips on Creating a Successful Tele-prospecting Opening Statement by Jim Domanski

Here are five and a half tips to help you create a more effective and more successful tele-prospecting opening statement.

Secret #1: Make the opener about them.

Your prospects don't give a hoot about you, your products, processes, services or company. They only give a fig about themselves. In other words, they want to know what your call can possibly do for them. Amazingly, many reps skip this part.

What this really means is that you must incorporate a benefit statement into your opener that gets the prospect to listen and engage. Start by thinking long and hard about your product or service, and then clearly determine the problem it solves or the opportunity it provides for the prospect. This is precisely what your prospect wants (and needs) to hear if you have any hope of continuing further. Incorporate this benefit into your opener.

Secret tip 1 ½ : Use their name - twice.

Here's a small tip that pays big dividends. Use the prospects name twice in your opener. Using their name not only personalizes the call but it also gets them to listen more closely. And of course, it makes the call about them! For the most part, use their first name. It makes reduces the sense of formality about your call.

Secret #2: Be more humble in your approach.

In B2B prospecting no one wants to listen to benefits delivered in a bombastic manner. Coming on too strong and being overly confident in your claims can create a sense of immediate distrust. Prospects are skeptical to begin with. Don't augment the situation by going overboard.

The secret to tempering your approach is to be more humble. You do this by employing a simple trigger phrase that acknowledges that the prospect 'might not' benefit from the product or service. For instance,

                "Jan, at this stage I am not certain if _____ might be of benefit to you..."
                "Kerri, I don't really know if this would apply to your situation..."
                "Pat, depending on your circumstances, there is a chance that we might be able to..."

By acknowledging that you may not have a solution or that the benefits might not apply creates instant credibility. In a flash you become more believable if only because you sound honest, reasonable and sincere. And by acknowledging your uncertainty you open the door to questioning and close the door to pitching. (See Secret #3)

Secret #3: Don't pitch

Successful telephone prospectors know that pitching an offer simply doesn't cut it. Prospects don't have the time or the inclination to listen to a droning sales rep. Do you? Explain to the prospect that you'd like to ask questions to determine if there is an opportunity. This creates a dialogue, gets them engaged and helps open them up.

Avoid asking, "is this a good time?" Doing so provides the prospect with a ready-made excuse to get you off the line. Instead, use this phrase, "if I've caught you at a good time I'd like to ask you a few questions..." Prospects feel like they've been asked if it is a good time and are more apt to let you proceed. Of course, you are not really asking about time. You are inquiring if you can ask questions but the prospect perceives that you are being polite and tend to let you continue.

Secret #4: Script the opening lines

If you're planning to make a number of prospecting calls to the same target market, it makes sense to script the opener, word-for-word. Not the entire call, just the opener. Why would you change it up every time? Scripting allows you to master the content of your opener. It also controls a variable. You can test a specific opener on twenty or thirty prospects and gauge the results. Then try another opener, word-for-word with twenty or thirty prospects and compare differences. You might discover one works better than another. Et voila! (See examples of openers below).

Secret #5: Drill, practice and rehearse

Sales reps worry that they will sound 'scripted' if they have a word-for-word opener. Indeed, they might if they don't drill, practice and rehearse. Successful telephone prospectors practice the delivery and flow of their opener. They work on where to pause, what words to emphasize, when to speed up and when to slow down etc. This is the type of thing a Hollywood actor would do.

Prospects evaluate what you say and how you say it. Studies reveal that over 85% of your message is communicated by the tone of your voice. This means you need to get the delivery of these words down pat! This is the most important part of your entire call. If don't nail the opener, you don't have to worry about the rest of the call, do you? Master your opener.

Putting it All Together

So what might a good opener look/sound like? Here are some examples:

A financial adviser might say,

"________ my name is ________ and I'm with ABC Financial. We specialize in helping small business owners develop and maintain viable retirement plans.

_________, at this stage I'm not certain if you've established a retirement program through your company but if I've caught you at a good time I'd like to ask you a few quick questions to determine if there might be a way to maximize your investments and develop a sound strategy for your future.

Let me ask..."

A recruiting specialist might say,

"_________ ? This is _________ calling from XYZ Recruiters. We help high tech companies find and keep IT professionals.

"_______I'm not sure of your current situation regarding your IT staffing but if I've caught you at a good time, I'd like to ask you just a few quick question to see if we can make the process a little faster and a lot more hassle free.

Let me ask you..."

A medical rep might say,

"Dr. ______? I'm ___________ with MNO Medical and we specialize in working with children who suffer for ADHD.

Obviously, Dr._____ at this stage, I'm not familiar with your approach to managing ADHD but if I have caught you at a good time, I'd like to ask you a few quick questions and, if it makes sense, provide you with some information on a new delivery system that gives your patient greater flexibility in their daily dosing.

Let me ask you..."


The goal of an opening statement is not to sell or qualify the prospect. The primary objective of an opening statement is to get the prospect to listen a little be longer; to hook them, so to speak. Apply these five and half  secrets and your listen rate WILL improve. And when listen rates increase, so do opportunities to sell. 


About The Author:

Teleconcepts Consulting works with companies and individuals who struggle to use the telephone more effectively to sell and market their products and services. For more information on consulting services and training programs, articles, and other resources visit or call 613 591 1998.

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