Acceptable or Unacceptable

I think that Andy should tell the world the name of this gym so that everybody knows their attitude and nobody goes near it. Read about it here and find my comment below the original post. Please comment here or there if you’re as upset as I am.


I seldom talk about my tennis playing in high school and college, but I loved playing, watching, talking tennis. Life, wife, kids, career, house, beach house, moved it way down the list of priorities to the point that I don’t remember where my racket is. Oh well!

Saturday, I caught a glimpse of the women’s singles final match at Wimbledon. The favorite lost the first set, but eventually held it together and won the match by one game. Take a look at the match summary. This was not a case of domination. This was a battle all the way.

Here’s the “blog reason”. Does what happened to Amelie and Justine ever happen to you when you’re selling? When I was watching the match, I watched the players talking to themselves. If you watched their eyes, you could almost predict the next point. Sometimes determination. Sometimes worry.

Check out the match summary again. Look at how close the players were in each category.

Look at the Unforced Errors numbers and Double Faults. Each of these top level, professionals GAVE their opponent over 20 points.

Either one of them could think that they deserved to win. Both of them could think that they deserved to lose.

Only one of them won. Get it? Little differences during can make for major differences in the results.

Compelling Reason vs. ABL

I recently had two conversations (separated by about a week) with a business owner during which we talked about their business and some of the sales-related issues. During the first conversation, the owner told me about a specific situation where the prospect should have bought, but absolutely turned their brain off and gave the stupidest objection possible. The owner’s jaw dropped in shock when they heard the objection, but they took it and left without a sale. I made a suggestion that would have probably not only have re-opened discussions with the prospect, but also would have positioned the owner as someone who could get things done.

During the second conversation, I heard that business was OK. That the owner hadn’t tried my suggestion because it was outside the box and in the face of the prospect. I noticed other changes in the owner’s attitude that indicated that I was no longer getting the whole truth and my “ABL” light went on. (If you don’t remember ABL, check out the link before you go on.) So, I asked a question something like, “Mr. Owner, it sounds like everything is pretty much the way that you want it to be and I don’t see any reason why you would want my help with sales development.” Their response was, “I don’t have $10,000 to spend on sales training.” It wasn’t, “I don’t need help.” or “I won’t follow your suggestions.” or “What would I get for $10,000.” or “We have all the business that we can handle, so we don’t want to sell better.” or “I wish I could figure out how to afford the $10,000 because we really do need the help.” Somehow, they had decided that I would charge them $10,000 to work with me.

Two problems:

1.) We weren’t on second base. There was no compelling reason. There was no urgency. I did not have speed on bases. We hadn’t agreed to any evaluation. We didn’t know how much their problems were costing them. And…..they had not qualified to do business with me.

2.) Because of reason number one, I didn’t know what needed to be done, what to charge, etc. But…I do know one thing. I’d definitely charge a lot for the repetition factor. Remember, I’ve already made several suggestions to this owner that they chose to ignore (including giving them a referral which they asked for and never followed up on because they were too busy. Why ask for it if you’re too busy?). So, I would include a lot of money in my price to cover the fact that I was gonna have to tell them, remind them, follow up, tell them again to make sure that they did the things that they needed to do. So, if they choked on 10 they were definitely gonna gag on 20 or 50. I just sped up the process.

This owner’s business is reasonably successful. They’re happy. They usually feel good about where they are, but sometimes they wonder if it could be better and what it would take. Then they go back to work.

Some will. Some won’t. So what. Next. This person will probably never refer to me. I surely won’t refer to them because of the last one. We’ll both do fine.

Welcome to the 21st Century

A month or so ago, Pete Caputa, introduced me to Tim Grahl and almost simutaneously coined the word, “blog-quaintance”. The first time that Pete asked me why I had a blog, he thought so much of my answer that he replied, “Bull!” Well, after 100 days of blogging I can give several answers.

I don’t want to get into the difference between marketing and sales, but a blog can be used as a marketing tool to predispose a prospect as to the “expertness” of the blogger. A salesperson who has written a book on sales might appear to be more of an expert. A salesperson who has taught a sales course might appear to be more of an expert. A salesperson who is a frequent speaker might appear to be more of an expert. Possibly a salesperson who writes a blog that’s being read might appear to be more of an expert.

What do Tim, Phillippe, Dave, Des, Francois, Dane, Brian, Steve, Derek and a whole other bunch of people have in common? They are all from far away, but not as far as Mirona, who lives and blogs in Romania. They have also been mentioned and/or linked to on my blog or I have been mentioned and/or linked to on their blog. It’s cool! Getting feedback from afar makes the world smaller and my “stuff” more universal.

Finally, a blog separates the wheat from the chaff. I talked to somebody today who’s a salesman. He told me again that he doesn’t have time to read my blog, but I have time to write it. Respectfully, I made a lot more money than he did last month. Perhaps he should make the time to read it.

So, I suggest that if you profess to be an “expert”, then you should look like one. A blog might help. A website might help. Writing a book might help. Being interviewed on the “Today” show might help. I kinda took the path of least resistance. What do you do that makes you appear “expert”.

Incidentally, there are so many blog mistakes and faux pas that you may want to contact Tim Grahl. See if he can keep you on track. Oh, one more thing. Rumor has it that Pete Caputa, introduced Mark Paskell to Tim Grahl because Mark wants to come into the 21st Century. Welcome aboard, Mark!

Success Secret #4

I have always been a commission salesman or a professional service provider that didn’t get paid to sell, but got paid by the customer after I sold and delivered on what I sold. I’m telling you this because it shows that my financial success has always been directly proportional to my ability as a salesman. Additionally, whether I knew about it or not, the Rule of Ratios has always influence my customer’s buying decision. For you financial-types, I used to sell cost-saving projects that typically had an 1-2 year payback and a 5-10 year life. I can tell you that I spent most of those 5% commissions as soon as I got home and wrote the check, but my customers got to enjoy 100% of their savings for up to 10 years. So who got the best end of the deal? When I was a bill collector, I charged anywhere from 10% to 50% of what I collected. My customer always got as much as I did. Usually got more and I had to do all the work. So who got the best end of the deal? If the Rule of Ratios is working (and it always is working), your customer will always be better off than you after they buy from you. So, stop apologizing for making a good living. Stop feeling bad about earning a commission or your hourly rate. Don’t cut your price, ever. If your customer buys from you, they are going to benefit at least as much as you. Are you gonna raise your price if you realize that your customer really needs you?

So, believe in what you do. If you don’t, do something else. But once you believe in what you do, bring it to the world. But, before you do, set your goals. Your goals should cover everything from the very first thought of the initial contact, through the sales process, all the way through the delivery process and billing. How much time will be required at each step? How much time cumulative per customer? How much time for the month? Year? Are there enough days in the month? Can you pay your bills if you meet your goals? If you’ve never been able to set goals that worked, you should note that having written goals are the first core competency in the list. If you want help making a set of goals that work, contact me.

OK, so what was #4? Always remember that if your customer buys from you, they will ALWAYS benefit more than you. So, who’s doing who a favor by going through the process?”

Inside the Magic Kingdom at Disney World

A while ago, somebody suggested that I read Inside the Magic Kingdom by Tom Connelan. I don’t remember who it was, but I wish that I did so I could thank them. I read it in a day.

Did you know that 70% of the people that visit Disney are returning? Isn’t that amazing? What an example of customer loyaly. The book was full of little tidbits that can make a difference in your head as well as give you new techniques to use to tie your customers to you. I am going to concentrate on the seven keys that the author believes makes the difference at Disney.

The competition is anyone the customer compares you with. If your customer calls me to do business with me and I give them excellent service, might they not get used to being treated in that manner and look for all of their vendors to give that level of service?

Pay fantastic attention to detail. Not everyone will notice, but the one’s that do will be affected.

Everyone walks the talk. Everyone. President, janitor, middle manager, e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e.

Everything walks the talk. Not just people, everything. Your materials, your literature, your policy, car, building, attire must all send the same message.

Customers are best heard through many ears. Letters that they write, surveys that they complete, conversations with delivery people, billing people as well as salespeople and customer service people can give a real indication of what’s going on.

Reward, recognize and celebrate. One Disney employee compared pay and recognition to water and food. If you don’t have water, you’ll die. If you don’t have food, you’ll still die. It’ll just take longer. Employees need to be paid or they’ll go away. However, if you pay them but don’t recognize them, they’ll still go away, it’ll just take longer.

Xvxryonx makxs a diffxrxncx. This was a great example of how everyone makes a difference. Imagine typing that statement if your “e” didn’t work.

As I read this book, I found myself looking hard at myself, my co-workers as well as several clients and thought of many possibilities. Believe me when I tell you that I’ve only scratched the surface and have not done the book justice. I suggest that you get a copy at your local library, bookstore or order it here and see for yourself.

Happy Independence Day!

Seth Godin Whipping

Seth Godin posted again and Dave Kurlan blogged about it. I’m gonna comment, but I’m not gonna link to anyone because I don’t want anyone to read Seth’s blog. He doesn’t allow comments. He wants me to send you to read his blog. It’s a selfish blog trick. I’ll read him and pass along to you what’s worth reading until he allows comments. His comments are included unchanged. Mine are in bold.

  1. Selling is hard. Harder than you may ever realize. So, if I seem stressed, cut me some slack. Selling is only as hard as the salesperson allows it to be. If he’s untrained, un-practiced, un-professional, he deserves a hard life. If he knows what he’s doing, it isn’t hard. And even if it is, you have no right to take it out on your co-workers.
  2. Selling is personal. When I make a promise, I have to keep it. If you force me to break that promise (by changing processes, features or a rollout schedule) I will never forgive you. What does this even mean? Take responsibility for knowing what you’re promising and don’t make promises that you can’t keep. Jeesh!
  3. Selling is interpersonal. I am not moving bits, I’m trying to change people’s minds, one person at a time. So, no, I can’t tell you when the sale will close. No one knows, especially the prospect. Change people’s minds? What’s that? If there’s a problem in the prospect’s mind, don’t change it. Focus it. Make the prospect realize that you understand their problem better than anyone in the world. Even the prospect.
  4. I love selling. I particularly love selling great stuff, well marketed. Don’t let me down. Don’t ask me to sell lousy stuff. There’s well marketed garbage and poorly marketed great stuff. Should’ve left marketing out of this one.
  5. I’m extremely focused on the reward half of the equation. Salespeople love to keep score, and that’s how I keep score. So don’t change the rules in the middle, please. Reward? Who cares what salespeople want? It’s all about the prospect.
  6. I have no earthly idea what really works. I don’t know if it’s lunch or that powerpoint or the Christmas card I sent last year. But you know what? You have no clue what works either. I’ll keep experimenting if you will. If you don’t know what works, stop blogging about it. Leave it to someone who knows what to do and stop blogging for attention. Someone might actually believe that you have a clue.
  7. There is no comparison, NONE, between an inbound call (one that you created with marketing) and a cold call (one that you instructed me to create with a phone book.) Your job is to make it so I never need to make a cold call. Spoken by someone who’s obviously never watched an inadequate salesperson “blow” an inbound call. The only difference between an inbound call and a cold call made by someone that knows what they’re doing is………”Who’s dialing”.
  8. Usually, customers lie when they turn me down. They make up reasons. But every once in a while, I actually learn something in the field. Ask! Do you really mean customers or do you mean prospects? Prospects lie all the time. If your customers lie, you’re screwing it up. Call me or Dave Kurlan. Get help.
  9. I know you’d like to get rid of me and just take orders on the web. But that’s always going to be the low-hanging fruit. The game-changing sales, at least for now, come from real people interacting with real people. If salespeople did a better job, marketing would support them. Unfortunately, many lazy salespeople sit and wait to be driven by marketing. I’m wrong? Prove it!
  10. (a bonus, switching points of view for a moment): I know that selling is hard and unpredictable. But if you’re going to be in sales, you’ve got to be prepared to measure and predict and plan. You need to give me sales reports and call lists and summaries. It does neither of us any good to keep your day a secret. If you don’t plan and organize, I can’t do my job of marketing. If you give me a list of people to call, then you are entitled to get a report from me. Selling might be hard for you. Marketing would be hard for me. Selling is what I do.
  11. (and bonus number two): The two worst pieces of feedback you can give me (because neither is really actionable or especially effective): a. lower the price and b. make our product just like our competitors. OK, then tell me why we’re different and why that’s worth more and make sure your sending the same message to your target market.