February 2013 | Click links (>>) below to read articles
  • Results Get Better When You Get Better by Tim Wackel >>
  • Mistakes to Avoid When Speaking to a Group by Bill Lee >>
  • This Will Get You Rejected by Art Sobczak >>


Results Get Better When You Get Better
by Tim Wackel

Selling can be a very frustrating profession. Maybe you find yourself trying to compete with inferior products… or perhaps your new sales manager is a real bonehead who just doesn’t understand you. And then there is this whole “economy” thing going on.

Being great at selling means you must find new opportunities, close existing deals, build customer relationships, manage channels, negotiate contracts, play nicely with the factory, get paperwork in on time and always have your car looking good in case the boss decides to visit accounts with you.

It amazes me when I think about all the “stuff” you need to master. Where in the world do you get the energy to accomplish it all and still find time to be a Mom, Dad, Husband, Wife, Daughter, Son or Friend?

Few universities offer degrees in professional selling and most in-house sales training barely scratch the surface of what you really need to know. Eventually most of you figure it out… especially if you enjoy receiving a regular paycheck. The school of hard knocks is a tough teacher that I inadvertently still visit even though I bring more than 25 years experience to every call.

Good news! Turns out there is a better way to enjoy more success. It doesn’t require your boss’ approval, you don’t need to lay out a lot of cash, and it takes just an hour of your time. Sound simple? You bet, but for many of you it won’t be easy. What I’m about to share has changed my life and I’m confident it can change yours.

Those of you who have attended one of my programs will probably recognize this wisdom. I consistently get feedback that these three little habits hit a nerve deep inside of most audiences. These thoughts have been around for a while, and yet most people choose to ignore them. What will you do?

Habit #1. Spend 30 minutes daily getting regular exercise.

I’m not suggesting you become a gym rat or a bodybuilder (although either option is good by me). All I’m suggesting is that you spend 30 minutes getting some sort of exercise. Go to the park and walk the dog, get on a treadmill, sign up for an aerobics class, join your local YMCA or visit the workout room at the hotel you’re staying at tonight.

Doctors have been telling you for years that exercise is good for you and you know it is true. I like to ask audiences “how many of you feel better and more productive after exercising?” Without exception almost every hand goes up.

Turn off the TV, get off the couch and just do it!

Habit #2. Spend 20 minutes a day reading.

Everything you need to know to be successful beyond your wildest dreams has already been written, you just haven’t read it yet! Too many people stop reading knowledge literature when they “graduate” (see also finish their formal education). Today you probably enjoyed the sports page or the lifestyles section of the paper. You spend time reading about other people and their success and failures but you don’t spend enough time reading about how you can grow.

You’ve all spent some time on Amazon… you can find books on sales mastery, leadership, parenting, golf, tennis, health, relationships, gardening… (need I go on?)

Find something you’re interested in — better yet, find something you’re passionate about — and start reading. Highlight words, write notes in the margins, study the text and watch what happens to the quality of your life. By the end of the year you will have read over a dozen books, increased your knowledge, improved your mastery and enhanced your success.

Habit #3. Spend 10 minutes writing every day.

Journaling is one of the most powerful and underutilized tools for learning. Centuries ago Socrates wrote that “an unexamined life is not worth living” and I believe his advice is more relevant today than it was in 400 B.C. spending time capturing your thoughts, feelings and ideas helps you crystallize your beliefs, free your mind from unnecessary mental overhead and help you learn about your own habits and hang-ups.

For years I’ve had a tendency to get anxious about getting everything done perfectly and on time. This anxiousness put stress on me and my personal relationships. Once I started writing about these situations I began to look back and discovered that everything seemed to get done on time (and the stuff that didn’t get done turned out to be no big deal!). Sounds simple, but the power of learning from your own words and ideas is tremendous. I encourage people to buy an expensive leather notebook to journal in because the value of what you will write inside will far exceed the cost of the notebook. Try this consistently for 30 days, and if you don’t find value in this exercise then I will buy the leather notebook from you!


Thirty minutes of exercise, twenty minutes of reading, ten minutes of writing. An hour may seem like a lot of extra time that many of you believe you don’t have. You might have to make some hard decisions about watching less TV, getting up earlier or saying no to some “busy” work. But think of the incredible investment you’re making in yourself and the awesome example you are setting for your spouse, kids, friends, family and colleagues. Don’t let this opportunity slip away!

Tim Wackel

Tim Wackel is hired by sales executives who want their teams to be more successful at blowing the number away. Tim’s “no excuses” programs are insightful, engaging and focused on providing real world strategies that salespeople can (and will!) implement right away. Sales teams from BMC Software, Cisco, Fossil, Hewlett Packard, Allstate, Thomson Reuters, Raytheon, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Catalina Marketing, Philips Medical Systems, Red Hat and TXU Energy count on Tim to help them create more success in business and in life.

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Mistakes to Avoid When Speaking to a Group
By Bill Lee

Most all salespeople are called on to make a group presentation from time to time. Maybe it's to your fellow salespeople at a sales meeting, or it could be to a group of builders at an HBA meeting. When it's your time to stand up in front of a group, you certainly want come across as professionally as you possibly can. So here are a few mistakes you will want to avoid to keep you from looking like an amateur:

1. If you use an overhead projector or a PowerPoint presentation, discipline yourself not to turn your back to the audience and read the words off the screen. If you have to use notes, put them on a podium or on an index card you can hold in your hand, so you can face the audience. A lot of presenters also position their laptops in front of them so they can see what appears on the screen behind them.

The less you have to look at your notes, the more knowledgeable you will appear to the audience. Experts aren't supposed to have to read their presentations.

2. Don't frown. Don't be so darn serious. No matter how serious you feel, force yourself to keep a pleasant look on your face as you speak. Practice in front of a friend or your spouse to look more relaxed when you do it for real. Practice using a smile more often in your presentation.

3. If a member of the audience should begin to argue with you, never allow yourself to lose your patience with that one person. Here are two suggestions:

• Say to the person giving you a hard time, "I appreciate you input, how would you have handled this situation differently?"

• If the person persists, say, "Please do me a favor. I have a lot of material to cover in a short time. I have a break scheduled in a few minutes, so if you don't mind, please get with me at the break and I will be happy to discuss your concerns."

4. Don't allow your nervousness to cause you to speak too rapidly. If you notice yourself speaking rapid fire, discipline yourself to slow down. Well-timed pauses are very effective ways to grab the audience's attention.

5. Don't fail to practice. The more you practice, the better you'll do. If you hadn't played golf for five years, don't you imagine you would go out and hit some practice balls before you tee it up with a major customer?

6. Don't focus on just one person or one side of the room. Make every attempt to make eye contact with each member of the audience over the course of your presentation.

7. Don't overdo it with too many visuals or too much handout material. If it is a relatively short speech, say, under an hour, keep visuals and handout material to a minimum.

8. Never make jokes at someone else's expense. Odds are that bald, fat, skinny, sexist, dumb blonde, etc., jokes will hit home with someone in the audience. If you make a joke, make yourself the brunt of it.

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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This Will Get You Rejected
by Art Sobczak


Many sales reps look at ads, direct mailing pieces, catalogs, the Internet, or anywhere there's advertising as sources of prospects.

This is wise. But I find so many of these people ill-prepared for what they inevitably hear on calls.

Here's an example of what I received.

Caller: "Hello, this is Bill Jones with Video Recorders. I saw the promotion for your Telesales Success DVD videos and we do DVD duplication."


He became flustered at this point, probably because I didn't say, "Oh, you do DVD duplication? Where should I send my master copy; you can do mine."

"Uh, I 'd like to talk to you about doing yours."

"Look I'll save you some time. I selected my existing company after evaluating quite a few. They have a very good price, quality is fine, and service is great. I have no reason to even consider looking around."

"Oh, OK. Keep us in mind."

Yeah, sure.

Analysis and Recommendations
So you might be thinking that I gave this guy an iron-clad objection that was impenetrable. And you're right for the most part-when it comes to getting a sale on that call. However, he undoubtedly runs into that same objection quite a bit, so I'm surprised he hasn't learned to use something that won't totally slam the door so suddenly in this face. Here's what I would do in his situation:

  • Call Strategy and Preparation: If I were placing this call, my Primary Objective would be to get commitment that the prospect would use my service the next time they had a DVD project. Although that wouldn't be achieved on a majority of the calls, it's always best to aim high. After realizing on the call this wouldn't be reached, objectives in descending order would be: to get commitment that I could at least bid on their next job, and if that wasn't met, to get agreement that they would at least keep us on file as a back-up supplier in case their existing duplicator for some reason no longer met their needs, or if they had other future projects coming up.

  • Preliminary Information: He knew nothing about me when he called. He could have asked the person who answered the phone here about who we now use, how many we typically order, what we pay, and any other qualifying information which would have better-equipped him for the call.

  • Opening Statement: He gave no reason for me to even listen. He may as well just said. "Well, I've finally called you, so I guess you can start using us now."

Simply dialing the phone does not give a person the right to take someone's time. Promising or hinting at some value they could get does.

I would have listened to this: "I'm Bill Jones with Video Recorders. We specialize in top quality DVD duplication, and now work with quite a few training organizations. Depending on the price you're now paying and your level of satisfaction with the quality and service you're getting, it might be worth it for you to take a look at a bid we could do for you. I'd like to ask a few questions to see if it would be worth your while to talk about it."

I would have been more likely to answer questions at this point. However, even if I did retort with the same objection mentioned earlier, he could have picked up on it and used it to ask more questions. For example, "I see. What price are you paying?" If that resulted in a dead-end, a last resort question to at least try and accomplish the last chance objective would be, "What plans do you have in place for a back-up supplier, if for example, you needed a large quantity in a hurry and your supplier wasn't able to accommodate you for some reason?"

Determine if parts of your call process are similar to this one. Analyze every step of the process, determine your own strengths and enhance them, and shore up the weak areas.

Let me help you. Download my step-by-step process, along with tons of word-for-word examples that you can use to avoid rejection and get more Yes answers. Check it out at http://www.businessbyphone.com/HowToPlace.htm

"The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible."
Arthur C. Clarke

Go and have your best week ever!

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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