The 3 Secrets of a High Performing Sales Hunter

The ability to prospect is first and foremost the most important sales skill for gaining market share and sales volume. Without the hunting skill nothing else will happen.

1-The Strong Hunter will prospect and prospect consistently making the same number of attempts to get in front of the decision maker per day, per week and per month. When the hunter makes the same number of attempts per day, over time they can then calculate how many attempts they need to get to the decision maker, to get the sale, measure the amount of sales volume gained, and then be able to adjust their attempts. The successful hunter is committed to working on developing other sales skills to close the gap between attempts made and closed business.

2- The Strong Hunter knows how to get past the gate keeper and is very resourceful in making attempts to reach the decision maker. They have the skill to deal with the gate keeper and not get trapped. The hunter knows that any attempt to have the gate keeper pass on messages or send information in advance of speaking with the decision maker is a recipe for failure.

3-The Strong Hunter has the ability to get to the decision maker. They know getting in front of the decision maker will shorten the sales cycle, which will support doing a better job of qualifying or disqualifying a business opportunity and finding out about money availability. While also discovering the real issues facing the prospect and the compelling reasons the prospect has to make a decision to buy.The strong hunter knows that calling on anyone else in the organization will lead them down a path of having to deal with gate keepers. They will be speaking with people who can only say no and not yes, or having to deal with committees and then present a questionable quote.

 

Management By Wandering About (MBWA)

Picture a boss in a lavish office with sumptuous leather furniture and wood-paneled walls. He’s sitting behind a huge desk full of important work that needs his attention. He’s far too busy to be concerned with anything outside his office walls: there’s enough happening within!

This type of boss can be intimidating and unapproachable. Yet, this is a common scenario in many organizations.

What type of boss would you like to be? Do you want to be remote and bask in your own importance? Or do you want to know what’s happening out there “in the trenches”?

As a boss, you can be admired for your wisdom, knowledge and expertise without being distant and disconnected.

If you build a wall around yourself, your team may not gain from your experience, and this can undermine problem solving and decision making. Being connected can be a major factor for success: The more connected you are, the better you can understand what motivates members of your team, analyze what’s really going on, and find solutions that meet the needs of your people and your company.

Introducing MBWA…

To get connected and stay connected, you need to walk around and talk to your team, work alongside them, ask questions, and be there to help when needed. This practice has been called Management By Wandering Around (or Management By Walking About) – MBWA for short.

William Hewlett and David Packard, founders of Hewlett Packard (HP), famously used this approach in their company. Tom Peters, in his wildly successful 1982 book “In Search of Excellence,” included lessons learned from HP and other companies that used a similar style – and the term MBWA immediately became popular.

What MBWA Can Achieve

Since then, Management By Wandering Around has never really gone out of fashion. If you use MBWA, you can increase the following:

Approachability – When your staff sees you as a person and not just a boss, they’ll be more likely to tell you what’s going on. You’ll get the chance to learn about issues before they become problems.

Trust – As your team gets to know you better, they’ll trust you more. You’ll be naturally inclined to share more information, and that will break down barriers to communication.

Business knowledge – Getting out and learning what’s happening on a daily basis can give you a better understanding of the functions and processes around you.

Accountability – When you interact daily with your team, agreements you make with each other are much more likely to be completed. Everyone is more motivated to follow through, because you’re seeing each other on a regular basis.

Morale – People often feel better about their jobs and their organization when they have opportunities to be heard. MBWA makes those opportunities available.

Productivity – Many creative ideas come from casual exchanges. MBWA promotes casual discussions, so people will more likely feel free to come to you with their ideas.

Despite its obvious benefits, use of MBWA has been hit-and-miss. To be successful, it takes more than simply strolling through your office, warehouse, or production facility. MBWA isn’t a “walk in the park”: It’s a determined and genuine effort to understand your staff, what they do, and what you can do to make their work more effective.

Don’t just do MBWA because you feel it’s an obligation – this probably won’t work very well. You have to truly want to get to know your staff and operations, and you have to commit to following up concerns and seeking continuous improvement.

How to Implement MBWA

These “wandering around” tips can help you get started:

Relax – People will sense your genuineness and casualness, and they’ll respond accordingly. Stiff, formal conversation will probably lead to equally rigid responses.

Listen and observe more than you talk – Use active listening with your staff. When people feel you’re hearing them, you’ll probably seem more sincere. Read some pointers on active listening.

Ask for feedback and ideas – Let everyone know that you want ideas to make things better. As the boss, people may think that your opinions and ideas are “right.” So hold back from saying what you think – the goal is to see what others have to say.

Wander around equally – Don’t spend more time in one department or section than another. And don’t always talk to the same people, or to people with certain ranks. You want to be approachable to everyone, regardless of job title or position.

Use the time for spontaneous recognition – If you see something good, compliment the person. This is a perfect way to show your gratitude.

Hold meetings “out and about” – Instead of having all your meetings in the boardroom or your office, meet with people in their work areas and “on their turf.” This can put them more at ease. Communicate your expectations and needs so that everyone knows what you value.

Don’t use this time to judge or critique – This can make people nervous when you’re around. If you see something that concerns you, talk to the person later, in private.

Answer questions openly and honestly – If you don’t know an answer, find out and then follow up. If you can’t share something, say so. Telling half-truths can break down trust.

Communicate – Share company goals, philosophy, values, and vision. Your “walk-arounds” are opportunities to mutually share information that helps everyone understand and do their jobs better.

Chat – Effective organizations aren’t all about work, work, work. Build relationships. Learn the names of your staff’s kids. Find out what they love to do or where they’re going on vacation. Joke, laugh, and have fun. You may be surprised at how great it feels to relate on a personal level with the people in your office.

Don’t overdo it – Don’t leave people feeling that you’re always looking over their shoulders! Wander around often enough to get a good feel for what’s going on, but not so often that your presence feels like a mundane distraction.

Note: To implement MBWA throughout your company, consider making it one element of your managers’ performance evaluations. What gets measured gets done! If supervisors work far away from the staff they manage, consider moving them, or giving them a second office that’s closer to where the work is done. If managers work near their staff, they may be more approachable.

Key Points

Management By Wandering Around can be an effective and practical way to keep up with what’s happening within your team and your organization.

Make the effort to get out and build relationships with your staff. This can pay off significantly with the information you’ll gather and the trust you’ll build. A team spirit can naturally develop when you show a genuine interest in your people and their work. It’s also a great way to keep the company’s vision alive at all levels. It’s easy, economical. and a whole lot of fun!

Apply This to Your Life

How can you use Management By Wandering Around to help you achieve your leadership goals? Ask yourself the following:

When was the last time you walked around your office or department? Why did you walk around? Were you looking for things that people were doing poorly or doing well? Were you using it as an opportunity to criticize or learn?

Where do you usually hold your meetings? If you use your office or your boardroom, do you think your staff finds that intimidating?

Do you know the first and last names of all your team members? This is a must. Better yet, you should learn the names of their spouses and kids.

Do you know more about a small group of your staff vs. all staff, or more about one department vs. others? Why have you been focusing your attention on just those people? Do you think the rest of the staff sees this as favoritism?

Do colleagues come to you with ideas? Think about the creativity and innovation you could tap into if they did.

Using Affirmations

“I’m never going to be able to do this job; I’m just not smart enough.”

“Why does my boss want me to present at the trade show? I’m a terrible public speaker, and I’ll just embarrass the company.”

“I wish I could stick up for myself at work; in every meeting, I let the others walk over my ideas. I’m never going to get ahead.”

Many of us have negative thoughts like these, sometimes on a regular basis. When we have these thoughts, our confidence, mood and outlook become negative too.

The problem with these negative thoughts is that they can be self-fulfilling. Inside our heads, we talk ourselves into believing that we’re not good enough. And, because of this, these thoughts drag down our personal lives, our relationships, and our careers.

This is why consciously doing the opposite – using positive affirmations – can be helpful. In this article, we’ll explore how you can use affirmations to drive positive change, both in your career, and in your life in general.

Why Use Affirmations?

Affirmations are positive, specific statements that help you to overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts. They help you visualize, and believe in, what you’re affirming to yourself, helping you to make positive changes to your life and career.

While there’s limited research into the effectiveness of using affirmations in a general setting, there is evidence that the use of positive affirmations can successfully treat people with low self-esteem, depression, and other mental health conditions.

For instance, in a study by researchers at Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, people who used positive affirmations for two weeks experienced higher self esteem than at the beginning of the study.

Also, in a study published in the Journal of American College Health, researchers found that women treated with cognitive behavioral techniques, which included use of positive affirmations, experienced a decrease in depressive symptoms and negative thinking. A study by researchers at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, had similar results, and came to a similar conclusion.

Of course, it’s important to realize that although some people have successfully used affirmations to overcome depression and negative thinking, the technique may not work for everyone. Some people may view affirmations as “wishful thinking,” or simply looking at the world with an unrealistic perspective. Quite a lot can depend on your mindset.

So try looking at positive affirmations this way – many of us do repetitive exercises to improve our body’s physical health and condition. Affirmations are like exercises for our mind and outlook; these positive mental repetitions can reprogram our thinking patterns so that, over time, we begin to think, and act, in a new way.

Note:

There has also been research that says that the higher your self-esteem, the more effective affirmations can be. This research also found that affirmations can actually have a negative effect if you have very low self-esteem. If this applies to you, work on boosting your self-esteem before you use them.

When to Use Positive Affirmations

You can use affirmations in any situation where you’d like to see a positive change take place. These might include times when you want to:

Raise your confidence before presentations or important meetings.

Control negative feelings such as frustration, anger, or impatience.

Improve your self-esteem.

Finish projects you’ve started.

Improve your productivity.

Affirmations are often more effective when they’re paired with other positive thinking and goal-setting techniques.

For instance, affirmations work particularly well alongside visualization – instead of just picturing the change we’d like to see with visualization, we’re also saying it aloud using a positive affirmation.

Affirmations are also useful when setting personal goals. Once you’ve identified the goals you’d like to achieve in the short and long term, you can use positive affirmations to help keep yourself motivated in order to achieve them.

How to Use Affirmations

Remember – affirmations are positive statements that help you challenge and overcome negative thinking and self-sabotaging behaviors. They’re usually short, positive statements that target a specific area, behavior, or belief that you’re struggling with.

Start by thinking of the areas of your life you’d like to change. For instance, do you wish you had more patience? Or a deeper relationships with your friends or colleagues? Or do you want a more productive workday?

Write down several areas or behaviors you’d like to work on. Then, for each of these, come up with a positive, present-tense statement you can repeat to yourself several times a day.

It’s also important that your affirmation is credible, believable, and based on a realistic assessment of fact. For instance, imagine you feel bad about the level of pay you’re currently receiving. So you begin to use affirmations to raise your confidence about asking for an increase. However, it probably wouldn’t be wise to affirm to yourself that you’re going to double your salary: for most people, and most organizations, doubling what you’re earning in one go just isn’t feasible. Keep it realistic!

After all, if you can’t believe the affirmations you’re repeating to yourself, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll have any impact on your life.

Tip:

Affirmations should be formed in the present tense, as if they’re already happening. This helps you believe that the statement is true right now. For instance, “I am well-prepared and well-rehearsed, and I can give a great presentation” would be a great affirmation to use if you often feel nervous speaking in front of a group.

Tip 2:

The power of affirmations also lies in their repetition. It’s useful to recite your affirmations several times a day (have them pop up in your computer diary). You also need to repeat your affirmation as soon as you start to engage in a negative thought or behavior.

Tip 3:

Affirmations are more effective when they’re thought or said with feeling. Every affirmation you choose to repeat should be a phrase that’s meaningful to you. You need to want this change to happen.

Here are some examples of positive affirmations:

I have plenty of creativity for this project.

My work will be recognized in a positive way by my boss and colleagues.

I can do this!

My opinion is respected and valued by my team.

I am successful.

I am honest in my life, and my work.

I like completing tasks and projects on time.

I’m grateful for the job I have.

I enjoy working with my team.

I’m bringing a positive attitude to work every day.

I am excellent at what I do.

I am generous.

I am happy.

I will be a leader in my organization.

Tip:

The use of affirmations is just one way to make positive changes to your life. You can also use techniques such as Thought Awareness, Rational Thinking, and Positive Thinking, and Cognitive Restructuring. You may also want to take our quiz, Are You a Positive or Negative Thinker?

Key Points

Affirmations are positive statements that can help you overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts.

To use affirmations, first analyze the thoughts or behaviors you’d like to change in your own life and career.

Next, come up with positive, credible, present tense statements that are the opposite of these thoughts. Repeat your affirmations several times a day, especially when you find yourself slipping into a negative thinking pattern, or engaging in a negative behavior.

Remember that affirmations are most effective when used alongside other strategies, such as visualization and goal setting.

Customers for life

 

The most successful companies place great value on developing lifetime relationships with their customers. In today’s competitive marketplace, they’re aware that their customers are aggressively prospected and their loyalty cannot be taken for granted. Customer-focused companies recognise that relationship building and follow-on service are critical components for promoting both customer retention and revenue growth.

Today we have access to innovative tools, such as the Internet, cellphones, faxes and voicemail, all designed to enhance our ability to communicate. Nevertheless, even with all of these technological tools at our disposal, the alarming number of dissatisfied customers, lost sales and failed relationships all reflect the fact that none of us are as effective at communicating as we would like to believe.

Temperament understanding helps to foster effective communication. Research in the field of human psychology indicates people are born into one of four primary behavioral styles; aggressive, expressive, passive or analytical. Each of these four temperament styles requires a unique approach and communication strategy.

For example, if you are working with the impatient, aggressive style, they want a quick fix and a bottom-line solution. Under pressure they can be ill-tempered and quick to anger. Give them options so you don’t threaten their need for control. Don’t waste their time with chitchat; stick to business.

Meanwhile, at the other extreme, the stress-prone analytical style requires more information and is interested in every detail. Their cautious and analytical nature makes them susceptible to buyer’s remorse. Be sensitive to their need for reassurance and guarantees. Once you learn how to identify each of the four primary behavioral styles, you will be able to work more effectively with all of your customers.

Communicate effectively

Recognise the importance of nonverbal communication and learn to “listen with your eyes.” It might surprise you to know that research indicates over 70% of our communication is perceived nonverbally. In fact, studies show that body language has a much greater impact and reliability than the spoken word.

Create a favorable first impression and build rapport quickly by using open body language. In addition to smiling and making good eye contact, you should show the palms of your hands, keep your arms unfolded and your legs uncrossed. You can develop harmony by “matching and mirroring” your customer’s body language gestures. Matching and mirroring is unconscious mimicry. It’s a way of subconsciously telling another that you like them and agree with them.

Improve your active listening skills. To develop and encourage conversation, use open-ended questions to probe the meaning behind your prospect’s statements. Occasionally repeat your prospect’s words verbatim. By restating his or her key words or phrases you not only clarify communication, but also build rapport. Keep your attention focused on what your customer is saying and avoid the temptation to interrupt, argue or dominate the conversation.

Little things make a big difference

Rendering quality customer service is both a responsibility and an opportunity. Often salespeople view customer service as an administrative burden that takes them away from making a sale. The truth is that customer service provides opportunities for cross-selling, up-selling and generating quality referrals.

Customers describe quality customer service in terms of attention to detail and responsiveness. Customer satisfaction surveys consistently point to the fact that the little things make a big difference. Not surprisingly, the top two customer complaints with regards to customer service are unreturned phone calls and a failure to keep promises and commitments. Make an effort to see yourself through your customer’s eyes. True customer service is meeting and surpassing your customer’s expectations.

Successful salespeople “go the extra mile” when providing service and turn the customers they serve into advocates to help them promote their business. Your referrals and follow on business are in direct proportion to the quality and quantity of service you render on a daily basis. Want more referrals? Improve your service!

Here are five powerful customer service tips.

Under-promise and over-deliver. Develop a reputation for reliability; never make a promise that you can’t keep. Your word is your bond.

Pay attention to the small things. Get in the habit of returning phone calls, emails and other correspondence quickly. Follow up, follow up, follow up.

Stay in contact and keep good records. Take the time to jot down notes from meetings and phone calls making certain to record all relevant information. Maintain a written record of service. This is especially helpful when clients are reassigned to a new sales rep. Setup a suspense system to track important contact dates such as client review calls and birthdays. Consider sending a personal note or an article of interest every six months.

Give your customers a promotional gift. Consider sending them a letter opener, coffee mug or a calendar with your picture and contact information.

Establish a feedback system to monitor how your customers perceive the quality and quantity of the service you provide. Service is not defined by what you think it is, but rather how your customers perceive its value. When it comes to customer service, perception is reality.

Progressive companies emphasise commitment to customer service from the top down by establishing training standards and continuously monitoring customer satisfaction. Companies that fail to implement an effective customer service programme actually do a disservice to their customers and unknowingly, leave the backdoor open to their competitors. If you do it right – sales and service will blend seamlessly.

Crafting an Elevator Pitch

You’ve just bumped into a former client at the airport. After exchanging pleasantries, he asks you what your new company does.

You open your mouth, and then pause. Where on earth do you start? Then, as you try to organize your thoughts, his flight is called, and he’s on his way.

If you’d been better prepared, you’re sure that he’d have stayed long enough to schedule a meeting.

This is one situation where it helps to have an “elevator pitch.” This is a short, pre-prepared speech that explains what your organization does, clearly and succinctly.

In this article, we’ll explore situations where these are useful, and we’ll look at how to craft an effective elevator pitch.

About the Technique

An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that you use to spark interest in what your organization does. You can also use elevator pitches to create interest in a project, idea, or product – or in yourself. A good elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride of 20 to 30 seconds, hence the name.

Elevator pitches should be interesting, memorable, and succinct. They also need to explain what makes you – or your organization, product, or idea – unique.

When to use an Elevator Pitch

Some people think that elevator pitches are only useful for salespeople who need to pitch their products and services. But you can also use an elevator pitch in other situations.

For example, you can use one to introduce your organization to potential clients or customers. You could use them in your organization to sell a new idea to your CEO, or to tell people about the change initiative that you’re leading. You can even craft one to tell people what you do for a living.

Creating an Elevator Pitch

It can take some time to get an elevator pitch right. You’ll likely go through several versions before finding one that is compelling, and that sounds natural in conversation.

Follow these steps to create a great pitch, but bear in mind that you’ll need to vary your approach depending on what your pitch is about.

1. Identify Your Goal

Start by thinking about the objective of your pitch.

For instance, do you want to tell potential clients about your organization? Do you have a great new product idea that you want to pitch to an executive? Or do you want a simple and engaging speech to explain what you do for a living?

2. Explain What You Do

Start your pitch by describing what your organization does. Focus on the problems that you solve and how you help people. If you can, add information or a statistic that shows the value in what you do.

Ask yourself this question as you start writing: what do you want your audience to remember most about you?

Keep in mind that your elevator pitch should excite you first; after all, if you don’t get excited about what you’re saying, neither will your audience. Your pitch should bring a smile to your face and quicken your heartbeat. People may not remember everything that you say, but they will likely remember your enthusiasm.

Example:

Imagine that you’re creating an elevator pitch that describes what your company does. You plan to use it at networking events. You could say, “My company writes mobile device applications for other businesses.” But that’s not very memorable!

A better explanation would be, “My company develops mobile applications that businesses use to train their staff remotely. This results in a big increase in efficiency for an organization’s managers.”

That’s much more interesting, and shows the value that you provide to these organizations.

3. Communicate Your USP

Your elevator pitch also needs to communicate your unique selling proposition, or USP.

Identify what makes you, your organization, or your idea, unique. You’ll want to communicate your USP after you’ve talked about what you do.

Example:

To highlight what makes your company unique, you could say, “We use a novel approach because unlike most other developers, we visit each organization to find out exactly what people need. Although this takes a bit more time, it means that on average, 95 percent of our clients are happy with the first beta version of their app.”

4. Engage With a Question

After you communicate your USP, you need to engage your audience. To do this, prepare open-ended questions (questions that can’t be answered with a “yes” or “no” answer) to involve them in the conversation.

Make sure that you’re able to answer any questions that he or she may have.

Example:

You might ask “So, how does your organization handle the training of new people?”

5. Put it all Together

When you’ve completed each section of your pitch, put it all together.

Then, read it aloud and use a stopwatch to time how long it takes. Your elevator pitch should be no longer than 20 – 30 seconds. Otherwise you risk losing the person’s interest, or monopolizing the conversation.

Then, try to cut out anything doesn’t absolutely need to be there. Remember, your pitch needs to be snappy and compelling, so the shorter it is, the better!

Example:

Here’s how your elevator pitch could come together:

“My company develops mobile applications that businesses use to train their staff remotely. This means that senior managers can spend time on other important tasks.

“Unlike other similar companies, we visit each organization to find out exactly what people need. This means that, on average, 95 percent of our clients are happy with the first version of their app.

“So, how does your organization handle the training of new people?”

6. Practice

Like anything else, practice makes perfect. Remember, how you say it is just as important as what you say. If you don’t practice, it’s likely that you’ll talk too fast, sound unnatural, or forget important elements of your pitch.

Set a goal to practice your pitch regularly. The more you practice, the more natural your pitch will become. You want it to sound like a smooth conversation, not an aggressive sales pitch.

Make sure that you’re aware of your body language as you talk, which conveys just as much information to the listener as your words do. Practice in front of a mirror or, better yet, in front of colleagues until the pitch feels natural.

As you get used to delivering your pitch, it’s fine to vary it a little – the idea is that it doesn’t sound too formulaic or like it’s pre-prepared, even though it is!

Tip 1:

You may want to keep small take-away items with you, which you can give to people after you’ve delivered your pitch. For example, these could be business cards or brochures that talk about your product idea or business.

Tip 2:

Remember to tailor your elevator pitch for different audiences, if appropriate.

Key Points

An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that you can use to spark interest in what your organization does. You can also use one to create interest in a project, idea, or product.

An elevator pitch needs to be succinct, while conveying important information.

To craft a great pitch, follow these steps.

Identify your goal.

Explain what you do.

Communicate your USP.

Engage with a question.

Put it all together.

Practice.

Try to keep a business card or other take-away item with you, which helps the other person remember you and your message. And cut out any information that doesn’t absolutely need to be there.

Sales Managers: You Are Responsible for Your Organization’s Culture

Your company’s culture is far more important than you realize and don’t think for a moment it’s somebody else’s job.

Everyday your employees come to work, but do they come to engage their minds?

The output of an organization is influenced dramatically by how each person in the organization feels.

Culture is far more important to an organization than most managers believe.  It’s important for several reasons, including the fact it serves as a foundation with regard to integrity and personal performance.

Your employees are taking their cues from you.

They watch you to see how you handle yourself in good times and bad times, and what they see from you becomes what they wind up believing as acceptable behavior.   Culture starts at the top. It does in a family with the parents, it does in a school with the administrators and it does in the workplace with the managers.

Watch a company when they bring in a new CEO from outside the company. Notice how thing change.  Same thing goes for departments within a company when an outside manager takes over.

The impact you as a manager/leader has on your team is far greater than you realize.  Bigger yet is the impact you have in ways you never thought about.

Your people take their behavioral cues from you. To put it another way, as you are now is how your employees will be someday.   Is that scary or is that inspiring?

What are the things you do or don’t do that are impacting how they behave?

Many people are say culture can’t be measured, so it’s not something to worry about.  I’ll challenge that and say a company’s culture can be measured.  It shows up in both the top-line sales numbers and the bottom-line profit results

Making a Great First Impression

It takes just a quick glance, maybe three seconds, for someone to evaluate you when you meet for the first time. In this short time, the other person forms an opinion about you based on your appearance, your body language, your demeanor, your mannerisms, and how you are dressed.

With every new encounter, you are evaluated and yet another person’s impression of you is formed. These first impression can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo, making those first encounters extremely important, for they set the tone for all the relationships that follows.

So, whether they are in your career or social life, it’s important to know how to create a good first impression. This article provides some useful tips to help you do this.

Be on Time

Someone you are meeting for the first time is not interested in your “good excuse” for running late. Plan to arrive a few minutes early. And allow flexibility for possible delays in traffic or taking a wrong turn. Arriving early is much better that arriving late, hands down, and is the first step in creating a great first impression.

Be Yourself, Be at Ease

If you are feeling uncomfortable and on edge, this can make the other person ill at ease and that’s a sure way to create the wrong impression. If you are calm and confident, so the other person will feel more at ease, and so have a solid foundation for making that first impression a good one. See our section on relaxation techniques to find out how to calm that adrenaline!

Present Yourself Appropriately

Of course physical appearance matters. The person you are meeting for the first time does not know you and your appearance is usually the first clue he or she has to go on.

But it certainly does not mean you need to look like a model to create a strong and positive first impression. (Unless you are interviewing with your local model agency, of course!)

No. The key to a good impression is to present yourself appropriately.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and so the “picture” you first present says much about you to the person you are meeting. Is your appearance saying the right things to help create the right first impression?

Start with the way you dress. What is the appropriate dress for the meeting or occasion? In a business setting, what is the appropriate business attire? Suit, blazer, casual? And ask yourself what the person you’ll be meeting is likely to wear – if your contact is in advertising or the music industry, a pinstripe business suit may not strike the right note!

For business and social meetings, appropriate dress also varies between countries and cultures, so it’s something that you should pay particular attention to when in an unfamiliar setting or country. Make sure you know the traditions and norms.

And what about your grooming? Clean and tidy appearance is appropriate for most business and social occasions. A good haircut or shave. Clean and tidy clothes. Neat and tidy make up. Make sure your grooming is appropriate and helps make you feel “the part”.

Appropriate dressing and grooming help make a good first impression and also help you feel “the part,” and so feel more calm and confident. Add all of this up and you are well on your way to creating a good first impression.

A Word About Individuality

The good news is you can usually create a good impression without total conformity or losing your individuality. Yes, to make a good first impression you do need to “fit in” to some degree. But it all goes back to being appropriate for the situation. If in a business setting, wear appropriate business attire. If at a formal evening social event, wear appropriate evening attire. And express your individuality appropriately within that context.

A Winning Smile!

As the saying goes, “Smile and the world smiles too.” So there’s nothing like a smile to create a good first impression. A warm and confident smile will put both you and the other person at ease. So smiling is a winner when it comes to great first impressions. But don’t go overboard with this – people who take this too far can seem insincere and smarmy, or can be seen to be “lightweights”.

Be Open and Confident

When it comes to making the first impression, body language as well as appearance speaks much louder than words.

Use your body language to project appropriate confidence and self-assurance. Stand tall, smile (of course), make eye contact, greet with a firm handshake. All of this will help you project confidence and encourage both you and the other person to feel better at ease.

Almost everyone gets a little nervous when meeting someone for the first time, which can lead to nervous habits or sweaty palms. By being aware of your nervous habits, you can try to keep them in check. And controlling a nervous jitter or a nervous laugh will give you confidence and help the other person feel at ease. Again, see our section on relaxation techniques for help with this.

Small Talk Goes a Long Way

Conversations are based on verbal give and take. It may help you to prepare questions you have for the person you are meeting for the first time beforehand. Or, take a few minutes to learn something about the person you meet for the first time before you get together. For instance, does he play golf? Does she work with a local charitable foundation?

Is there anything that you know of that you have in common with the person you are meeting? If so, this can be a great way to open the conversation and to keep it flowing.

Be Positive

Your attitude shows through in everything you do. Project a positive attitude, even in the face of criticism or in the case of nervousness. Strive to learn from your meeting and to contribute appropriately, maintaining an upbeat manner and a smile.

Be Courteous and Attentive

It goes without saying that good manners and polite, attentive and courteous behavior help make a good first impression. In fact, anything less can ruin the one chance you have at making that first impression. So be on your best behavior!

One modern manner worth mentioning is “turn off your mobile phone.” What first impression will you create if you are already speaking to someone other than the person you are meeting for the first time? Your new acquaintance deserves 100 percent of your attention. Anything less and you’ll create a less than good first impression.

Key Points

You have just a few seconds to make a good first impression and it’s almost impossible ever to change it. So it’s worth giving each new encounter your best shot.

Much of what you need to do to make a good impression is common sense. But with a little extra thought and preparation, you can hone your intuitive style and make every first impression not just good but great.

5 Stupid Phrases Salespeople Say By Accident When Trying to Close

Below are 5 stupid phrases salespeople say right when they’re presenting the price and trying to close.  (Usually what ends up happening is they offer a discount! Ouch!)

Have you ever found yourself saying…

Is that more than you thought it would be?

Are you concerned about the price?

How does this price compare with what you’ve been looking at?

I’m sure there is some flexibility in the price.

I think I can come up with something cheaper.

As you read through them, you may have breathed a sigh of relief because you can’t recall using any one of them.

Guess what?  Most people have used them or variations of them, and worst of all, we don’t even realize we’ve used them.

We use phrases like this because we’re not confident and we’re trying to close the sale based on our friendliness to engage the customer.  Big mistake!

Never try to close a sale unless you are confident.  If you’re not confident, there is no way you will be able to come out of the sale with the highest level of profit possible.

Also, using friendliness to close a sale is certainly a fine strategy, but use it throughout the sale process — don’t just double-down on the use of friendliness as you close the sale.

In this situation, the friendliness you’re displaying to the customer is causing anger with your company by costing you and your company profit.

When you state your price, you must do it with confidence in you voice and body language, and then after stating the price, be silent.

It’s the silence that destroys the salesperson who is not confident.  The silence overwhelms them and they suddenly make a stupid statement like one of those listed above.  State your price and wait for the customer to respond.

On Being Young and In Sales

On Being Young and In Sales

Tom writes: “I am 25 years old and sometimes feel as though I am not perceived as a peer to the business owners to whom I sell. Do you have any tips to combat this?”

Yes.

I started working in sales when I was 19 years old. I never thought of myself as being in sales at that time, but I was making cold calls, making sales calls, and making deals.

I wasn’t officially in sales until I was 24 years old and a mentor forced by to become an Account Executive by threatening to fire me if I didn’t leave an operational role and go outside full time. I was young. I looked young, and I wore my long hair in a ponytail. I also wore a nice suit every day. Of course, that was Los Angeles, so I didn’t look out of place at all there.

I did, however, when I came back to Columbus. Then I was 25, still looked young, and was now selling major, multi-million dollar deals.

Here’s my advice.

Be Respectful and Learn

The reason the business owners you call on don’t look at you as a peer is because you aren’t yet their peer. That’s okay, too.

The business owners you are calling on are likely entrepreneurs. They’ve taken risks. They’ve built businesses. They have a profit and loss statement and balance sheet for which they alone are responsible. They have a depth of knowledge and experience you likely haven’t acquired.

What I found worked when I was young was my insatiable curiosity to learn from people that knew more than me. Since they had experiences I hadn’t had, I asked endless questions to better understand their business and to learn from them. The more I asked for an education, the more I received one.

After some time, I knew something about a lot of different business, and I gained an understanding of how businesses generally work. Later, when I called on business similar to the ones who were tutoring me, I knew how their business worked and the questions to ask to open opportunities.

So start by being respectful of what they know, and be genuinely curious. You’ll be surprised how much people enjoy teaching you everything they know about their business.

Become a Subject Matter Expert

The other thing that I did that helped me combat my youthful appearance (and the ignorance that accompanied it) was to become a subject matter expert.

My clients knew their business, but they didn’t know mine. I sold temporary staffing, so I started to study employment. I started to read all the labor market releases. I researched legislative changes that would impact my client’s businesses. I started to develop ideas as to how I could add value by helping them see around corners, identifying areas of concern and making plans long before they were necessary.

I discovered that by having subject matter expertise, my clients and dream clients began to think of me as a business partner, as a member of their management team, as something more than just another vendor.

You don’t have to be perceived as a peer by your clients. You don’t have to be their equal right now. They’re older, and they have more experience. But you can—and should—be more than their equal when it comes to your subject matter expertise. Instead of trying to be a peer, try instead to be the member of their management team. Be someone they trust to own the outcomes that you can produce for them.

And as a final note, don’t worry about the whole “being young” thing. I promise that will pass much faster than you can imagine.

Questions

Why is being young sometimes a disadvantage in sales?

Do you have to be considered a peer or equal to sell effectively?

What should you do to be something more than equal in your subject matter?

How do you make yourself more valuable when you lack experience and situational knowledge?

 

Consistent Effort is the Key to Better Sales Results

Consistent Effort is the Key to Better Sales Results

One of the primary reasons salespeople produce sporadic results is because their actions are equally sporadic. Their effort isn’t consistent enough to produce the results they want—or need. It’s zero effort for a long time, and then it’s time to play catch up. But that doesn’t work.

You can’t go long periods without prospecting and then prospect like crazy. You can’t make up for lost time and cram to get results. Building a pipeline doesn’t lend itself to sporadic activity. To build your pipeline, you need consistent effort over a long period of time. Anything less gives you wavy results—it if it gives you anything at all.

You build a pipeline through consistent prospecting.

You can’t follow your sale process for a little while and then abandon doing what you know to be effective in hopes of succeeding by taking some easier actions. There are all kinds of occasions to fall out of your sales process, especially when what you are seeing means you have to get creative. But not following the sales process means poor results, longer sales cycles, and lost opportunities.

You win sales opportunities by consistently following your sales process, by making it your standard operating procedure.

Speaking of prospecting, nurturing is another area we can produce an inconsistent effort. If you only make a call every 90 days, you aren’t nurturing the relationships you need—you’re neglecting them.

You only open the relationships with a frequent and consistent effort to create value.

It’s easy to ask for the commitments you need when it feels like the answer will be in the affirmative, and it’s easy not to when you fear the answer will be no. By failing to ask for what you really need, you go without information that you need to create and win an opportunity. You also go without the access to stakeholders that you need. Then, you’re surprised to learn that you lost an opportunity for which you are perfect.

By consistently asking for the commitments you need, you improve the likelihood of winning the opportunities you create.

None of this is true for sales alone. It’s true in whatever your endeavor, for whatever result it is you hope to achieve. Consistency is the key. It’s the daily stacking up of your efforts, brick upon brick, which ultimately produces results.

Questions

What do you do most consistently? How are your results in that area of your life?

What do you do only sporadically? How are your results different?

What do you need to commit to doing more consistently to produce the results you want?

What do you need to stop doing so consistently to produce the results you’re after?