Catch a Cue: The Actor’s Secret to Better Listening in Sales


Catch a Cue: The Actor's Secret to Better Listening in Sales

A lot of what acting is, is paying attention. ~ Robert Redford Just between you and me: Have you ever  jumped in to finish a customer’s sentence because you thought you knew what he was going to say? How about rushing in to address an objection before it’s even fully out of a customer’s mouth?  Have you ever started calculating commission during a conversation that’s going particularly well?  Read on:  These tips for more effective listening in sales are for you! In his book Spin Selling, Neil Rackham proposed that good sellers were not necessarily the best talkers, but instead they were often the best listeners. We all know listening is a critical quality for sales success yet it’s so easy to slip into bad habits or take shortcuts when it comes to listening. Listening shortcuts Shortcuts like selective listening (responding to what we expect to hear) or partial listening (dipping Read More

7 Tips for Using Stories in Sales to Win Business


Forrest Gump and sales

Like a great movie, using stories in sales can make a strong impact on your business audience, differentiate you and your solution and inspire action in a way that delivering information alone simply can not.  On the flip side, a poorly crafted or executed story can cost you credibility, attention and ultimately the sale.  With so much at stake, it pays to learn a proven strategy and powerful tactics for using stories in sales from a $1.8 trillion dollar industry that has been engaging and influencing audience’s for centuries: the movies! A successful movie requires the combined efforts of thousands of people, but at it’s core it comes down to the screenwriter, the director, and the actors.   By applying a few tricks of the trade from these storytelling masters, you can bring your sales story to life for your business audiences in a memorable and compelling way that inspires action. Read More

Tina Fey’s Improv Advice for Salespeople


“Start with a Yes and see where that takes you.” Tina Fey

“Start with a Yes and see where that takes you.” Tina Fey I’m a big Tina Fey fan and her book Bossypants didn’t disappoint. Not only is it a fun, insightful glimpse behind the SNL cameras, it also shines a light one of the cardinal rules of improv that has a lot of application for anyone in sales. Improv for salespeople can be a secret weapon when it comes to overcoming objections and moving the sale forward. Improv for Salespeople : Always say “Yes and.” The essence of the Rule of “Yes and” is that no matter what your partner (prospect) gives you, you say “yes” to them. Improv Example: Tina: Hey Julie, that’s a cute monkey you have there. Me: Yes, he is cute, isn’t he? (Even though I don’t see a monkey.) In other words, I accept it. Do I have to agree with it? No. I don’t even Read More

The Sitcom Secret to Winning Larger Deals


Jones, Moss and Hendricks of "Mad Men" pose backstage at the 62nd annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles

Kelsey Grammer was initially cast in just six episodes of Cheers.  Chandler Bing’s” annoyingly nasal girlfriend on Friends, “Janice?” Cast in a single episode. Have you ever received a small role in a customer’s business when you were hoping for the lead? After you finished mumbling about the unfairness of it all, what did you do? Did you sullenly write up the sale or go through the motions of fulfilling the order? Were you visibly impatient, ready to move on to a more promising prospect? Or did you treat this small piece of business as the larger future business opportunity that it was? There Are No Small Sales, Only Small Salespeople No matter how small the role, a good actor makes the most of it. Savvy actors often parlay a small or one-time roll into a bigger role or ongoing opportunity, for example, Kelsey Grammar  turned into a regular member of the Cheers Read More

“Frankly my dear, your presentation is so boring, I don’t give a damn.”


Your presentation is boring

If you’ve been selling for more than a week, you’ve already heard plenty of excuses from buyers: I need to think about it. I can’t afford it. You’re too expensive. The details may vary, but the reason buyers aren’t anteing up typically boils down to this: Frankly my dear, they don’t give a damn because your presentation is boring. Clark Gable delivered this famous parting line after finally getting fed up with Scarlett O’Hara’s self-absorption. (You can only talk about yourself so much — I don’t care how good you look in a hoop skirt.) So what does that have to do with you? Surely you’re not a self-absorbed sales person…but could you be coming across as one to a prospective buyer? Shifting your conversation from an I-focus to a You-focus in the following ways can put you squarely back in the game: 5 Reasons your presentation is boring:   Read More

5 Ways to Close your Presentation with an Encore


Justin Timberlake Encore

Can you imagine an experienced performer like Justin Timberlake ending his performance by singing a few random notes before looking blankly at his audience and announcing, “Well, I guess that’s all I have” ? Not likely.  Professional performers strategically plan how they close their set to leave their audience clamoring for an encore in order to influence cd, t-shirt and future ticket sales.  Yet too many experienced sales professionals leave their closing to chance, not realizing how much influence it has on the outcome of the sale. The Whimper Close and Other Bad Presentation Closings: A typical sales presentation closes in one of three ways.  See if you recognize yourself in one of these examples: The Surprise Ending: “Oh!  I guess that was the end of the deck!” The Speed Freak Ending:  “That’s it.  Thanks very much.” The Whimper Close: “So that’s my presentation.  Hopefully you liked some of the things Read More

Entertainment is Everywhere…until the Sales Presentation Starts


Entertainment is Everywhere

The average American spends more money on entertainment than on gas, household furnishings or clothing.  Global spending on entertainment and media is over $1.8 Trillion dollars. What does that have to do with you—a salesperson who doesn’t sell entertainment or media-related products or services?  It has everything to do with you: These people are your customers.  If you don’t recognize the influence that entertainment has on your customers and leverage it in your sales presentation or conversation, you are placing yourself at a real disadvantage. “But I am there to sell.  Not to provide entertainment!”  Let me draw your attention to the origins of the word, entertainment: Entertainment (Latin):  “To hold the attention of” Gaining and holding the attention of prospects is more challenging than ever.  Entertainment can help you achieve that and ensure your message is heard. Now, who’s in the entertainment business?! Just like you, your prospect likely attendsmovies, concerts, theater and/or sporting events. Read More

The Top 3 Qualities for Sales Success in 2014


Pablo Picasso

You’ve done your sales forecast.  You know what you need to achieve in 2014.  The million dollar question is this:  What do you need to do to get there?  If it were as easy as setting goals, most of us would have hit them by now!   It’s helpful to look at what we personally need to bring to the table to be successful in sales and where we may be falling short.   Several studies have sought to identify the qualities or traits successful salespeople share.  You can probably guess most of them:  Assertive ~ Flexible ~ Committed ~ Focused ~ Competent ~ Goal-oriented ~ Competitive ~ Likeable ~ Confident ~ Passionate, etc.  Read more here. While most of us have these characteristics in varying degrees, taking the time to recognize and develop those areas that are going to be critical in helping you achieve your goals can mean the Read More

A Sales Lesson from The Wolf of Wall Street: “Sell me this Pen!”


A Sales Lesson from The Wolf of Wall Street: "Sell me this Pen!"

Academy Award winner Leonardo Di Caprio stars in Scorsese’s excess-packed The Wolf of Wall Street  – joining a long line of films (Wall Street, Boiler Room, Glengarry Glen Ross) that cast the sales profession in it’s most negative light. While millions of honest people make their living in sales, they rarely make movies about them (with the happy exception of The Pursuit of Happyness.) While I can’t get back the three hours I spent sitting through this morally bankrupt film, I can pass on the one kernel of sales wisdom that almost made it worth the price of admission: Sell me this pen from The Wolf of Wall Street Let me set the scene: Leonardo DiCaprio plays convicted stockbroker, Jordan Belfort and early in his career he is trying to turn a group of inexperienced, undisciplined misfits into junk bond salesmen.  In order to show them how sales works, DiCaprio pulls out a pen Read More

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