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Four words: Winner. Whiner. Smart. Dumb. Pick two!

QUESTIONS: Who’s going to win the next Super Bowl? Who’s going to win the next World Series? Who’s going to win the next Masters Tournament?

ANSWER: The team or the player that’s best prepared. The team or the player that makes the fewest mistakes. The team or the player that stays steady and keeps its cool. The team or the player that creates breaks and takes advantage of them. The team or the player that prepares one razzle-dazzle play, takes the risk at the opportune time, and pulls it off. The team with the most dedicated players. The team or the player with the best coach.

Same in sales.

In this year’s Super Bowl, both teams were capable of winning. But victory does not always go to who’s the best. It more often goes to who’s the SMARTEST. Smartest coach. Smartest players. And, of course, whomever got the breaks, and took advantage of them.

Same in sales. The smartest will win, especially if they get the breaks. (Or do smart people create breaks?)

BIG QUESTION: What does smart selling mean to you?

MY ANSWER: It doesn’t take as much brains as it does take understanding. So, I have created the perfect acronym to help you:
S – SMILE.
M – MAKE FRIENDS.
A – Have the ATTITUDE of a WINNER.
R – Take RELATIONSHIP ACTIONS.
T – TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.

Pretty simple. No memorization required. No “find the pain” manipulation. Just an easy to understand formula that will guide you to more business.

Let me deepen the SMART SELLING definitions:
S – SMILE. This defines your warmth, approachability, and overall feeling. It’s a greeting beyond a handshake that sends a welcome, open message. It’s both peaceful and reassuring.
M – MAKE FRIENDS. This is not as easy as it seems. Some prospects want to keep it ‘all business.’ Your responsibility is to create friendly dialog that might result in finding some common ground. Look for their smile. That’s a sign you’re breaking the ice. And note my mantra: All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends. All things being NOT QUITE so equal, people STILL want to do business with their friends.
A – Have the ATTITUDE of a WINNER. This is not just a positive or a YES! Attitude. This is a winning attitude that combines your will to win, your preparation, and yourself-belief. It’s a positive, internal confidence based on previous wins. Not cocky, more like self-assured in a way that passes your confidence on to the customer.
R – Take RELATIONSHIP ACTIONS. This means you take long-term oriented actions. Actions that will stand the test of time. Actions that give your customer the feeling you represent their best interest, not just your own. You speak the truth, have high ethical standards, and are known for service. You’re taking service actions, and value actions beyond the sale. Not sell and run (the 1970’s definition of ‘hunter’), rather stay and help. Earn the relationship to a point where it becomes referral based, and testimonial possible.
T – TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. Taking responsibility starts with who you are as a person, and transcends to who you are as a salesperson. As a smart salesperson, youhave to know the responsibility is yours if you lose a sale – the same as if you win a sale. The good news is when you become responsible for both success and failure, you also become a student of sales and life. Blaming others (the opposite of responsibility) allows you a hall pass form self-education. It’s forgotten or passed-on rather than studied.

MAJOR AHA! I just tweeted: “When it’s raining outside, and you blame the rain, keep in mind it’s raining on everybody. Take responsibility. #gitomer” – RESULT: 42 re-tweets and 14 favorites within 1 hour – on a Sunday morning!

Here are a few more critical elements of Smart Selling: Product smart. Customer smart. Value smart. Preparation smart. Follow-up smart. Service smart.

BIGGER QUESTION: How smart of a salesperson are you? Now that you have my definition, the reality is you may think you’re smarter than you actually are.

SMART SELLING REALITY:

  • Smart salespeople don’t sell on price.
  • Smart salespeople don’t reduce price.
  • Smart salespeople don’t match price.

BIGGEST QUESTION: Now that you have read this, are you still as smart as you thought you were a few minutes ago? Probably not, but that’s a good thing. Now that you’re aware of what ‘smart-selling’ consists of, you can begin to take advantage of it.

There’s one more element of smart selling – it’s the two word essence of a successful salesperson. To find out what it is, go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first-time visitor and enter the words SMART SELLING in the GitBit box.

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.


About the Author

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].

A new way to look at questions and engagement: emotionally

When you’re asking an existing or prospective customer a question, the object is to get them to think and respond emotionally.

To most salespeople this strategy sounds like a foreign language.

START YOUR THINKING HERE: The sale is made emotionally and justified logically. Once you understand that fact, it makes perfect sense to engage the customer emotionally to set the tone for them to decide to buy.

Most salespeople are taught the difference between open-ended and closed-ended questions. A closed-ended question is one that results in a yes or no answer. An open-ended question is one that begins to create dialogue from the customer. Open-ended questions are good, but they don’t necessarily breed emotion. This process is necessary to understand, but at its core is passé.

Here’s a new way of thinking about your questioning strategy: logic-based questions vs. emotion-based questions.

This thought process and strategy will give you a new awakening about how customers think and decide. And by using emotion-based questions, you can get them to decide on you.

CAUTION and CHALLENGE: This is insight to a new questioning process that will help you formulate emotionally engaging questions. I’ll give you phrases to use, and a few sample questions. Your job is to understand the process and create your own questions based on your product, service, customer needs, and customer’s desired outcome. Questions that draw out their emotion, and keep focus away from logic – AKA price.

Logic-based questions center around the old-world ‘qualifying’ questions. These are questions that both annoy and aggravate the customer. Logic-based questions basically ask for money information so the salesperson can begin to salivate. “What’s your present payment?” or “What have you paid in the past?” or “What’s your budget?” or “Do you want to lease or buy?” These are questions fall under the category of ‘none of your business.’

KEY CONCEPT: Do not qualify the buyer, let them qualify themselves because you’re so friendly, engaging, and genuinely interested.

The late, great Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming really interested in other people, than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

Emotion-based questions ask about their life and use, not their money. Prior to beginning your ‘presentation,’ ask the customer emotion-based questions that begin with the words, “How long have you been thinking about…” or “What were you hoping for…”

Get the customer to paint their vision of outcome.
Get the customer to paint their picture of ‘after they buy.’

During the purchase, ask emotion-based questions such as, “Is this what you had in mind?” or “How do you see this serving your purpose?” or “How do you see your family enjoying this?” Or take it even deeper with, “What do you think Bobby will say when he sees this?”

Emotion-based questions draw out feelings – feelings that will lead to true engagement and honest answers about how your product or service will affect their expected outcome.

When you can get the customer to visualize outcome, you also have them visualizing ownership – otherwise known to you as ‘purchase.’

MAJOR POINT OF UNDERSTANDING: People don’t actually come to purchase. They come to purchase because they want to USE. What happens AFTER the purchase is way more important to the customer than the actual purchasing process. Drawing out their emotion during the process is the key to getting them to take ownership.

So, during the sales presentation you might want to ask questions that begin with phrases like, “What are you hoping to achieve?” or “How will you use this in your business?” or “How do you envision this will add to your productivity?” or “How do you believe this will affect your profit?”

Whether you are selling to a consumer or a business, whether you are selling on the phone or face-to-face, the process and the emotional involvement are the same. Someone wants to take ownership, and your job is to get them to visualize it, be engaged by you, agree with you, believe you, have confidence in you, trust you, accept your price, and pull the trigger.

The key to this is emotional involvement. No manipulation, no pressure, no old world sales techniques, no NLP, just friendly and genuine emotional engagement that touches the heart and the mind simultaneously.

“Jeffrey, I’ve been taught to ‘find the pain.’ Is that emotional?” Yes, but in a negative way. A very negative way. Pain is a negative emotion – or as I call it, a ‘none-of-your-business emotion.’ Dumb questions like, “What keeps you up at night?” create an uneasy, uncomfortable atmosphere between you and the customer. And most of the time, if you’re asking a negative-based question the customer will not give you a real answer.

AHA! Don’t find the pain. Find the pleasure.

Pleasure evokes positive emotion. “Tell me about your vacation.” “How is Morgan following your passion for fashion?” “How is Henry following your passion for golf?” “Where was your biking trip this year?”

Find their pleasure, find their purpose, find their expected outcome, uncover their true emotional motives – and you will find their wallet.

Now that’s pleasure.

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.


About the Author

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].

Replacing the cold call with: ANYTHING!

I am sick of the argument that cold calling still has a valuable place in selling. Someone PLEASE show me the value.

Let’s look at the stats…

  • 98% or more rejection rate
  • 100% interruption of the prospect
  • 100% they already know what you’re selling
  • 100% they already have what you’re selling
  • 100% manipulation to get through to the decision maker
  • 100% lack of personal preparation about the customer
  • Most sales managers could NOT do what they ask their salespeople to do
  • Rejection is the biggest cause of sales personnel turnover
  • Ask any salesperson if they’d rather have 100 cold calls or ONE referral
  • Cold calls suck.

QUESTION: With these horrid stats, why do sales managers insist on, even measure, cold call activity and numbers?

ANSWER: I have no earthly idea.

Here are 12.5 real world connection strategies to eliminate cold calling. These are not “no brainers.” They’re “brainers!” They’re ideas and strategies that require smart, hard-working people to turn the strategies into money:

1. Build relationships and earn referrals. Visit existing customers. Offer ideas and help.
2. Use LinkedIn to make new connections. Use the ‘keyword’ search feature to uncover prospects you never knew existed. Then connect without using the standard LinkedIn wording. Be original.
3. Ask your informal network of connections to recommend customers. Building and maintaining local and industry specific relationships are critical to building your success. Pinpoint people who respect and admire your ability, the same way you respect and admire theirs.
4. Network face-to-face at the highest level possible. Not an ‘after hours’ cocktail party. Join high-level executive groups and get involved.
5. Join a business association – not a leads club. Someplace where owners gather.
6. Speak in public. All civic groups are eager to get a speaker for their weekly meeting. Be the speaker. If you give a value talk, a memorable talk, EVERY member of the audience will want to connect. You’ll have the potential to gain fifty ‘cold call’ connections each time you speak.
7. Speak at trade shows. Why not get praise for the great speech you gave at the conference every time someone walks by your booth, instead of trying to get them to putt a ball into a plastic cup.
8. Write an article. Nothing breeds attraction like the written word. I am a living example of what writing can do to change a career. Get in front of people who can say yes to you and become known as an expert.
9. Write an industry white paper. CEOs want to create great reputations, keep customers loyal, keep employees loyal, have no problems, maintain safety, and make a profit. Write about how your industry does that and EVERYONE will want to read it (and meet with you). White paper, or brochure? You tell me… Which one gets you invited in the door? Which one earns you respect? Which one builds your reputation? And the ouch question: Which one are you using?
10. Give referrals. Yes, GIVE referrals. What better way to gain respect, cosmic debt, word-of-mouth advertising, and reputation? WARNING: This requires hard work.
11. Send a once a week, value-based message to existing and prospective customers. For the past decade, my weekly email magazine, Sales Caffeine, has been a major source of value to my customers and revenue to me. Where’s yours?
12. Contact current customers who aren’t using 100% of your product line. You have gold in your own back yard. No cold call needed. Call existing customers and get more of their business.
12.5 Reconnect with lost customers. This little used strategy will net you more results than any cold call campaign on the planet. It takes courage to connect, but once you discover ‘why’ you lost them, you can create strategies to recover the account – often more than 50% of the time.

COLD CALL TIME CHALLENGE: What is your REAL use of time making futile cold calls? That’s a number you do not want to see. And how much of your use of time is a waste of time. You don’t wanna see this number either.

Gotta make cold calls? Boss making you cold call? Here’s the strategy for making a transition: ALLOCATE YOUR TIME. If you have to make 50 cold calls a week, allocate enough time to connect with 50 existing or lost customers in the same week. And ask your boss to do both WITH YOU. Let him or her see the futility of making cold calls. Ask them to make 50 cold calls. My bet is they can’t or won’t.

REALITY: Double your quota, double your sales numbers using the strategies above, and your boss won’t care ONE LICK if you ever make another cold call. In fact, they’ll be asking you HOW YOU DID IT.

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.


About the Author

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].

The phone is smart. How smart is the user?

Have you noticed the shift in human focus and concentration?

Sitting in the lobby of the Public Hotel in Chicago, there are about 50 people sitting and milling around, engaged in some form of interaction – primarily WITH THEMSELVES.

Oh, there are others with them, but these people are head down on their phones. I’m sure you have both seen them and been one of them.

Maybe you’re even reading this on your mobile device right now!

Guidelines of phone use have significantly changed because of technology availability. Five years ago (before the launch of the game-changing iPhone), all you could do on a phone was send and receive calls – and painfully text. Remember your early texts – a-b-c-(oh crap)-2. That was a technological EON ago.

Cellular phones are smart these days. Most of the time, they’re smarter than their user. They are as much ‘app’ driven, as they are talk and text. If you include email and the Internet in general, your calendar, Facebook and other social media apps, Google and other search engines, news and other of-the-moment information, Instagram and other photo apps, your camera, music, movies, Angry Birds (I’m currently playing RIO HD), Scrabble, and other games, Foursquare, Paypal, and of course the ubiquitous Amazon (where you can buy anything in a heartbeat, and read any book ever written), you at once realize your phone or tablet has become your dominant communication device – and it’s only an infant in its evolution.

Voice recognition is the next big breakthrough.

Most people are not masters of their own phone. They use programs they need, and rarely explore new ones, unless recommended by a friend. (Think about how you found many of the apps you use.)

If you’re seeking mastery of your device, here are the fundamental how-tos:

  • How to use it mechanically. (Not just on and off.) Your phone holds technological mysteries and magic that can make your hours pay higher dividends once you master them.
  • How to use it mannerly. The ‘when’ and ‘how loud’ are vital to your perceived image. See some more rules and guidelines below.
  • How to use it to enhance communication. Texting is the new black. Data transmission now exceeds voice transmission – by a lot. Emailing a customer? How do they perceive you when they read it? Is it “C U L8r” or “See you later”? Is it “LMK” or “let me know”? You tell me. I don’t abbreviate. My mother would have never approved.
  • How to use it to master social media. Tweet value messages on the go. Facebook is inevitable, and now that Instagram is linked, you’ll need an hour a day to post and keep current. RULE OF BUSINESS: Whatever time you allot to personal Facebook, invest the same amount of time to your business (like) page. Post and communicate to customers.
  • How to use it to allocate your time. Use your stopwatch feature to measure the total amount of time you spend on your phone. You can easily hit start-stop-memory each time you use it. Your total at the end of the day will shock you – but not as much as multiplying the total by 365.

Here are the rules, guidelines, and options to understand the proper time and place for use:

  • When you’re alone and no one is around. The world is your oyster. Be aware of time. If left to your own device, minutes become hours.
  • When you’re by yourself, but others are within hearing distance. Speak at half-volume, and keep it brief.
  • In an informal group. Ask permission first. Use your judgment as to what to ignore. Be respectful of the time and attention paid to the people you’re with.
  • In a business meeting. Never. Just never.
  • In a one-on-one sales meeting. Beyond never. Rude.

Flight attendants scream at you to ‘power down,’ whatever that means – not as loud as is you if you referred to them as a ‘stewardess,’ but close.

AIRPLANE HUMOR:
Plane lands and the entire plane is on their phone or staring at their phone, and walk off the plane like lemmings marching to the sea in a robotic stare.

REALITY: People are walking into walls, tripping, bumping into other people, and crashing their cars while looking at and using their phones.

A classic cartoon in The New Yorker magazine a few weeks ago showed a picture of a woman on her phone saying, “I’ve invited a bunch of my friends over to stare at their phones.”

The smart phone is here to stay – they’re cheap to use and application options are expanding every day. Your challenge is to harness it, master it, and bank it.

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.


About the Author

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].

How have you progressed since the third grade?

“What I did on my summer vacation.”

Every one of you have given a speech, or written a paragraph or essay about what you did on your summer vacation while you were in grade school.

You wrote about the lake, the mountains, or the week at the beach. Or you gave a speech and your opening line was, “What I did on my summer vacation.” And you held your own hands and nervously performed in front of your peers.

You were worried about what they would think and you were nervous about performing in front of your classmates, but somehow you muddled through it.

Your essay was returned with all kinds of red marks for punctuation, grammar, and misspellings.

For those of you who are pack rats, or have parents who are pack rats, you may still have the document.

PERSONAL NOTE: I have many of my daughters’ early writings. All gems.

I’m giving you this reminder, this bit of nostalgic instant memory, so I can issue you the following challenges: How have you progressed since then?

How much better are your writing skills? How much better are your presentation skills? And how important are those skills to your sales success, your business success, your social media success, and your career success?

I’ve been a professional writer and professional speaker for 20 years. But like you, I’ve been an amateur since the third grade when I talked about what I did on my summer vacation, and in the fourth grade when I wrote about Hurricane Hazel which rocked Atlantic City where my family was living at the time. (If you Google it, you can figure out how old I am!)

What most people don’t understand is their initial training forms the foundation of their present skills. Your grammar, your ability to spell, your self-confidence to be able to speak, and your overall character are formulated by your ability to communicate both orally and in writing.

Every one of you reading this is now thinking, maybe I should have paid more attention when my high school English teacher was drilling the difference of there, their, and they’re or the difference of your and you’re.

Think about the emails you receive with the subject line that says: “You’re in Luck!”

The person who wrote it is immediately perceived as an idiot and the email is discarded as both disingenuous and poorly prepared.

Maybe I’m prejudice, but I don’t want to do business with someone who can’t correct his or her own work in the simplest subject line of an email.

The reason I’m harping on speaking and writing is because they are the foundation of the two most important elements of your success: image and reputation.

Everyone wants to have a great image.
Everyone wants to have a great reputation.

GOOD NEWS IS: You can influence both your image and your reputation with your CONSISTENT PERFORMANCE.

I’ll ask my audiences, “How many of you would be nervous speaking in front of a group of 300 people?” Almost everyone raises his or her hand. The real answer is, they are not nervous, they are not uncomfortable – those are symptoms. The real issue is they are UNPREPARED. They lack the experience, the subject matter expertise, or suffer from limited self-image or low self-esteem – or perhaps all four.

This is further complicated by the fact that most of you reading this know what show is on television on Wednesday night at 9 o’clock, and you’re glued to the set to see witness the next episode of “other people’s drama.” You make a conscience choice to watch something rather than to learn something or do something.

Perhaps if you took a Dale Carnegie course on public speaking, or joined a Toastmasters group, you would be able to become a confident presenter.

Perhaps if you started your own blog, and at the age of 30 or 40, you write about what you did on your summer vacation, you might be able to attract people with similar likes and values as they search the internet, same as you.

Please do not confuse this column as a call to action.
Rather it is a call to reality.

REALITY: Your writing skills and your speaking skills need to be at a higher level of competence if you are looking to elevate your income to a higher level.

REALITY: Your reputation is the sum total of your words and deeds – a large portion of which can come from writing and speaking.

REALITY: Your customer is more likely to buy your message if they buy into your passion.

REALITY: You can gain an amazing business social media presence if you combine your ability to write and your ability to convey a value message to your customers.

Here’s my recommendation to you…

1. Write a 500-word blog post once a week. Write about something you love. Write about something that may impact your customers. Write about something you have an expertise in.

2. Speak in public once a week. A civil organization will be happy to have you as their breakfast or lunch presenter. Speak on something you love, speak on something others will value, speak on something in which you are an expert.

2.5 You will not reap immediate rewards. But slowly over time your image and reputation will emerge. That’s a reward that has nothing to do with commissions or earnings, but it has everything to do with the feeling of fulfillment. That’s a feeling I hope you get to experience.

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.


About the Author

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website, www.gitomer.com, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].