Category Archives: Sales/ Management/ Leadership

The home of the Un-Salesmanager and the Sales Management 2.0 Podcast. This is where I let my inner social scientist and sales geek loose in an effort to make the world a better place free of bad sales experiences!

Carnival of Sales & Management Success – September 11, 2007

Welcome to the August 15, 2007 edition of carnival of sales & management success.

Please forgive me for taking such a long hiatus from my blog. As many of you know I work in for profit education as a Director of Recruitment and the months of August and September can be very difficult to say the least. The good news is school is starting this week, and things will be back to normal for me very soon. I have quite a collection of articles in this carnival posting. I hope this will tide you over until I get out a new post later this week. Thank you again to everyone for being so patient!

Gustav S presents 10 Reasons why only 4% of the population achieve their goals posted at success-is-in-you.com.

Gavin Ingham presents Getting in the right state versus getting in a right state posted at Jooplar.

Jane Chin presents A Danger of "Too Much Experience" posted at On Careers and Life, saying, "How often are you the victim of your own knowledge and experience?"

rck@TheRoadtoCEO.com presents How to React to Criticism posted at Get More Done with Activity Logs, saying, "Receiving negative feedback is never easy. But when you understand how it can help you accelerate your career, you might begin to view criticism differently.

One of the factors that distinguish expert performers from everyone else is how they interpret and use criticism. Instead of trying to avoid it, top performers welcome it and use it to significantly enhance their performance.

In this issue we share a strategy you can use to benefit from criticism, rather than feel hurt by it"

Karl Goldfield presents Building a plan Part 5: Seeing the results first - Thank you Mr. Covey posted at Coaching sales champions.

Ivan Rios presents How to Deal With Envy posted at artofleading.net.

Ivan Rios presents Mistakes Happen: How Do You Respond? posted at artofleading.net.

Ivan Rios presents When To Lose posted at artofleading.net.

Sagar Satapathy presents Startup Required Reading: Top 100 VC Bloggers posted at Bootstrapper.

George Courtney jr presents Ten Ways To Torpedo Your Sales Pitch posted at The Authentic Bartender Blog.

Bhupendra Khanal presents Cost of Retention Vs cost of Acquisition posted at Analytics Bhupe, saying, "There is nothing called cost of customer acquisition or customer retention, all cost are to improve the product offering and service."

Jack Yoest presents Close the Sale: Make the Pain Worse posted at Yoest.com, saying, "30% of people admitted to a hospital’s emergency room feel no pain.

There might be a sucking chest wound or a missing limb, but nothing hurts.

An anesthesiologist will still administer an anesthetic not only for the pain, which might come eventually, but to also still the patient. To keep the patient quiet, sedated, compliant.

So even though the patient was not in pain, he still got a pain relieving solution.

(The Alert Reader will remember that Your Business Blogger once worked for Mallinckrodt — but only on the medical device side, not the drugs.)

Sales is sometimes the same way. A solution to the customer’s problem should be provided even if the patient customer feels no pain.

So how does the professional sales representative sell when there is no pain?

Your Business Blogger suggests that the sales rep doesn’t."

Charles H. Green presents Deer in the Headlights Decison-Making > Trusted Advisor Associates > Trust Matters posted at Trust Matters, saying, "When faced with surprise sebacks the way most people react is to just do the same thing - they freeze, and can't adapt. Some people, however, can. Why?"

wilson ng presents Going to the Top too fast posted at Reflections of a BizDrivenLife, saying, "Success is intoxicating, and we all desire it - if possible, we would like to have it thrust upon us as soon as possible. However, scaling up too fast can be dangerous, and success that is easily won can as easily be lost or worse, can hurt you as much as failure does."

Gary van Warmerdam presents Being Optimistic With Awareness posted at Happiness, saying, "In the best selling book Good To Great Jim Collins advises us of the perils of being optimistic. That same awareness can serve us in other areas of our life as well. The key is to have the awareness to discern the good optimism from the dangerous optimism."

Moneywalks presents Ways to Avoid Procrastination posted at moneywalks.

rck@TheRoadtoCEO.com presents A Motivation Secret of Top Performing Managers posted at Get More Done with Activity Logs, saying, "A Motivation Secret of Top Performing Managers
August 7th, 2007
A frequent question we get from managers at all levels is how to motivate consistent high performance from others.

In today’s business environment, you can’t force anyone to do anything.

As a manager, you need to think of yourself as leading a volunteer army. In the words of President Dwight Eisenhower, you need to get people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.

The fact is, psychological research proves that praise and appreciation is far more effective than threats or punishment regardless of what you want people to do.

When people want to do something they tend to put in more and better effort than if they believe that they have to do it. And in this issue we share a motivation strategy that you can use to encourage this kind of voluntary contribution from everyone around you."

Uni presents My ?Proof? of The Law of Attracion-in action (adimin post) posted at You Deserve More, saying, "A cute Law of Attraction story!"

Alvaro Fernandez presents Training the Aging Workforce posted at SharpBrains: Your Window into the Brain Fitness Revolution, saying, "A clear trend that will influence how sales Reps (and all staff) are trained."

Andrea presents One of my (Andrea) favorite "fun" books - not busi... posted at Fail Your Way to Success!.

Charles H. Green presents We've All Caught the Detroit Disease posted at Trust Matters, saying, "As the US car industry continues its inexorable decline it's worth looking at why and asking if other business are also exhibiting the symptoms of the "Detroit Disease"."

Christine Scivicque presents 5 Simple Steps to More Professional Writing posted at The Executive Assistant's Tool Box.

David Kam presents Give Gifts to Market Yourself posted at MarketingDeviant.com.

Louise Manning presents Are You A Good Facilitator? posted at The Human Imprint, saying, "Facilitation is an acquired skill and the ability to facilitate effectively improves more and more with experience."

Matt Hanson presents Matt’s Creative Advertising Blog » Blog Archive » Custom Made Jingles, Commercials and Music for Television and Radio posted at Matt's Creative Advertising Blog, saying, "Looking for the right sound and company to produce that sound can be somewhat tricky, especially if this is your first run with TV or radio. There are a number of things to look out for in terms of getting the best price with a great sounding commercial."

Eric Hudin presents From iPhone to YouTube - The Viral Marketing Method posted at Everyday Marketing Ideas, saying, "Many businesses take advantage of the newest marketing method available: viral advertising. Different marketing strategies are employed by product and service providers, channeling popular and existing social networking communities online."

Chris Russell presents Enhancing Human Performance posted at Productivity Planner, saying, "Knowing why people behave the way they do on the job is the key to gaining commitment to continuous improvement. A manager must understand peoples needs in order to increase motivation and therefore meet the needs of the organization."

Stacey Derbinshire presents Leveling the Playing Fields posted at Starting a Small Home Business, saying, "The lifeplan of school, college, and get a job is the paradigm most are trained to follow. However, only a small percentage of those who follow this plan end up with any level of wealth or financial satisfaction in their secular life."

Ben Yoskovitz presents Ignore a Customer’s Lifetime Value at Your Own Risk posted at Instigator Blog, saying, "Too many companies and people ignore the lifetime value of a customer, and don't pay enough credence to word of mouth."

Millionaire Mommy Next Door presents Evaluation is Critical for Success. How to Measure Your Progress. posted at Millionaire Mommy Next Door, saying, "I have learned from past experience with my other projects, goals and small businesses that it is crucial to monitor progress using analytical measures. Regular evaluations of any project are important for keeping it on track and in alignment with one's vision. Today, on my one month blogiversary, I am illustrating this important evaluation process."

edithyeung presents 7 Phrases Successful People Would Never Say posted at Edith Yeung.Com: Dream. Think. Act..

Luke Houghton presents Making the right decisions posted at Luke Houghton, saying, "Learning to make the right choices"

FitBuff presents I Can Stand My Stand Up Desk | FitBuff.com's Total Mind and Body Fitness Blog posted at FitBuff.com's Total Mind and Body Fitness Blog, saying, "Anyone who spends most of their day sitting down, especially those working from home, should consider a stand up a desk.

It's now been one month since I set mine up, and this article chronicles how it has improved my posture, productivity, and performance.

Plus there is a short video to show you how to set one up yourself for free to try out."

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
carnival of sales & management success
using our
carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our

blog carnival index page
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The Seven Deadly Career Sins

I was surfing MSN.Com today and came across a really good article called Seven Deadly Workplace Sins. I really should write more on this type of topic, because many people in all careers fall into these seven career traps. However, I think in the high paced and high ego world of sales and marketing the problem is frequently magnified because so many very young high performing sales people get promoted into positions they are not yet ready for emotionally. When this happens, everyone looses. The company looses a high performing sales person, the newly promoted manager is set up to fail, and oftentimes fired or demoted, and frequently the team suffers because the new immature manager actually drives down production and morale.

I am in no way trying to advocate not promoting your top talent, it can be a GREAT idea. However, I think we owe them the training and preparation they need to be successful. One of the most important things I do on my team is mentor and train my top performers to someday be great sales managers, and every time I go on vacation or a business trip, I reap the rewards of this effort because I am not constantly worried about what is happening at work.

In your absence, SOMEONE is leading your team. Think about that for a second and ask yourself this question: Is it the person I want it to be? Or is it the joker encouraging everyone to go out for a 3 beer lunch?

Over the next few weeks I will be talking a lot about coaching, mentoring, and training, as well as the difference between leadership and management. I look forward to your comments, and hope we can get another great conversation started that allows us to all grow personally and professionally.

-Brad

Carnival of Sales & Management Success – August 1, 2007

Welcome to the August 1, 2007 edition of carnival of sales & management success.

Karl Goldfield presents Building a plan Part 4a: Get to know your team (New Hires) posted at Coaching sales champions.

Charles H. Green presents Top Ten Things Not to Say in a Sales Call posted at Trust Matters, saying, "Here's how to blow that sale in one easy step!"

Charles H. Green presents Trusted Professions posted at Trust Matters, saying, "Recent surveys ranked teaching as one of the most trustworthy professions in the US."

Charles H. Green presents Is Neuroleadership More Than Reinventing Wheels? posted at Trust Matters, saying, "Is neuroleadership doing more than just codifying common sense? Are there any lessons leaders can take away from it?"

Terry Dean presents How to Influence Others posted at Integrity Business Blog by Terry Dean.

rck@TheRoadtoCEO.com presents » Blog Archive » Get More Done with Activity Logs posted at Get More Done with Activity Logs, saying, "Get More Done with Activity Logs
Using activity logs as part of your time management strategy can significantly increase your productivity.

Karl Goldfield presents Building a plan Part 4b: Get to know your superiors, reports, and peers (Just hired) posted at Coaching sales champions.

Warren Wong presents My Partner?s Not Doing Enough Work! posted at Personal Development for INTJs, saying, "Do you find that your partner's not doing enough work and are angry for having to pick up the slack? Here's how to handle it."

Susan Velez presents The Millionaire Inside; Get Inspired posted at The Secret To Life.

Matt Hanson presents Matt’s Creative Advertising Blog » Blog Archive » Advertising Jingles and Commercials - Radio & TV posted at Matt's Creative Advertising Blog, saying, "I offer some great tips to stop you from getting ripped off by advertising companies. It can happen if you don't follow these simple rules. Thanks for providing the carnival."

Ivan Rios presents 9 Surefire Ways to Be a Bad Leader posted at artofleading.net.

Chris Tackett presents How to Write a Headline and Grab Your Prospect by the Eyeballs! posted at Direct Marketing News, saying, "The art of writing headlines is important for direct marketing. I will cover how to come up with some great headlines just like the one I use in this article."

Jimmy Atkinson presents 14 Good Hosting Options for Hardcore Developers posted at Dedicated Hosting Guide.

Eric Hudin presents You Can Make More Working Less posted at Everyday Marketing Ideas, saying, "Time management is a myth. Time doesn’t stop. There is no managing something you can’t control. What you can do is eliminate your wasted movements to become more efficient and effective."

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
carnival of sales & management success
using our
carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our

blog carnival index page
.

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Carnival of Sales & Management Success – July 18, 2007

Welcome to the July 18, 2007 edition of carnival of sales & management success.

Ivan Rios presents The Art of Leading / 5 Steps to Successful Leading posted at artofleading.net.

Ivan Rios presents Self-Confidence to Be a Leader posted at artofleading.net.

Jack Yoest presents Management Training: The Collected Sayings of Benjamin Franklin?s Grandfather posted at Yoest.com, saying, "The lineage of Benjamin Franklin is a bit murky. So Bill Oncken, Sr. would regularly attribute management training quotes to make a point more memorable .

“It’s hell to work for a nervous boss — especially when you are the one who is making him nervous.”"

Hunter Arnold presents Make More of Your Promotion posted at Make More of Your Job, saying, "Hello-
I am submitting a post which outlines some easy steps to ensure that employees are successful after being promoted. Thanks in advance for the consideration!
- Hunter Arnold"

Warren Wong presents How Much Money Is Integrity Worth? posted at Personal Development for INTJs, saying, "How much money is your integrity worth? Here's why integrity is your most valuable commodity."

Jack Yoest presents Management Training Tip #1, Office Politics posted at Yoest.com, saying, "Learn to Love Office Politics.

The first prerequisite in management training is learning the ability to persuade. To be a salesman."

Lori Prokop, Blog Manager presents Sales Management: Leading and Coaching a Selling Team posted at J Mark Walker - Sales Training, saying, "J Mark Walker says “leading” a sales team is more like coaching little league than it is like “managing” a department. Top sales people crave “coaching!” They resist “management!”"

Lori Prokop, Blog Manager presents Marketing Strategy posted at Rodney Burge - Marketing Strategies, saying, "Rodney Burge advices to see everything you do as marketing."

Stephen Dean presents Killer advice from Michel Fortin… » Stephen Dean's Copywriting And Internet Advertising Blog - Copywriter posted at Stephen Dean's Copywriting And Internet Advertising Blog - Copywriter.

Krishna De presents Blog comments can build your personal brand posted at Todays Women In Business: lessons in leadership.

Charles H. Green presents FUD - Why Sell Is Still a Four Letter Word posted at Trust Matters, saying, "Sales is still a four letter word - here's why, and what you can do about it."

Warren Wong presents The Life Pursuit Of Money posted at Personal Development for INTJs, saying, "Why should making money be a life pursuit? Because making money actually helps people! Here's why."

Ted Reimers presents Benefits of getting an MBA posted at CampusGrotto.

edithyeung presents 7 Phrases Successful People Would Never Say posted at Edith Yeung.Com: Dream. Think. Act..

Ant presents 3 Ways to Increase your Blog Stats posted at The Beef Jerky Blog.

Karl Goldfield presents Building a plan: Performance Expectations - A smidgen of Sun Tzu posted at Coaching sales champions.

Karl Goldfield presents Building a plan: Finding Talent - Unearthing potential and making stars posted at Coaching sales champions.

Susan Velez presents Prosperity Consciousness posted at The Secret To Life.

Uni presents Does the Law of Attraction Really Work? posted at You Deserve More, saying, "A great Law of Attraction article!"

Karl Goldfield presents Building a plan Part 3: Hunters, Gatherers, Communicators, and Collaborators posted at Coaching sales champions.

Cade Krueger presents Do You Know Your Prospect? posted at Write To Right.

Krishna De presents How to ensure you ask powerful coaching questions posted at Talking Coaching.

Krishna De presents Making a great impression with customers posted at Krishna De.

Warren Wong presents How To Come Up With Good Business Ideas posted at Personal Development for INTJs, saying, "Are you thinking about starting a business? Here's 4 steps to come up with great business ideas."

Warren Wong presents Just Do It posted at Personal Development for INTJs, saying, "Are you pondering over a task? Are you not sure if you should do it? Here's why you should just do it!"

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
carnival of sales & management success
using our
carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our

blog carnival index page
.

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, .

The Many Dangers of Dihydrogen Monoxide

Before you read any further on this post make sure you visit this site: http://www.dhmo.org/Today I was surfing the net and ran across the DHMO (H2O).org site and nearly busted a gut laughing, but what was really funny is how many people in different Internet forums have come out strongly against DHMO before even knowing what it was. Dihydrogen Monoxide is water!This web site is a great example of how marketers and spinster politicians play on the emotions of the public or use disinformation to close a sale, or sway public opinion for political gain. I’m not posting this as a what to do article, but rather a what not to do, or what to watch out for. You competition very well may be using similar tactics to take away your clients right now. It is your job to not only service your customers but to educate them with good information so that they can make the best and most informed decision possible for themselves or their company.I hope you enjoyed this, had a good laugh, and will pass this on to a friend. I was very busy this week, and did not get the quantity or quality of posts I wanted to; but I will be back to my regular posting schedule starting today. -Brad

Is what you are doing REALLY productive?

Have you ever had someone on your team who is in your opinion extremely talented, but just does not seem to close as much business as someone who would appear to be significantly less talented? So have I, and I think what it boils down to is many extremely talented sales people do not close nearly as much business as they could because they stay busy, but they are not focusing on the correct things. It is not just the volume of activity that is important, it is the quality!

A few days ago, I wrote an article called Start With The End In Mind. In this article I explained how to use conversion data to plan your next week, month, or quarter. It’s a great tool, but if you remember I left out the part about dials to contact as a method to predict in this model.

The reason for that is because so many sales managers will tell their team “all you need is 100 dials a day and you will be successful!”  Frankly, I just don’t think it’s true! I have seen talented sales people making 30 good calls in a day run circles around “hard workers” who diligently get in their 100 (and sometimes more) dials. Does this mean less is more? No, or at least, not exactly.

What it means is it’s not the quantity of what you do; it is the quality that will influence your success. I Googled like crazy trying to find someone else willing to put this into print specific to sales and it seems I am the only person saying this, but that does not make it untrue. I think most consultants are just afraid to tell a company I think your people spend too much time looking busy making less than productive dials when they could be doing things that are actually lead to closing deals.

To emphasize this point I will share with you one of my own personal experiences and then I will leave you with something to think about. When I was a young new sales person I had a great start and everyone was sure I would be their next superstar after a few months. After about 6 months I was proving them right when I set a new record closing 12, 15, and 18 deals consecutively when most people in the company struggled to get 10. rolling into the 4th month my director came to me to share my conversion data and explained to me how I had done so well on somewhere between 30 – 40 dial per day, and that if I had done 100 per day like he had been telling me to I would have closed another 45 deals!

The dollar signs flashed before my eyes, and of course I diligently made my 100+ dials every day, but guess what… My production actually fell to only 8 deals the next month 100% MORE input got me 50% LESS output!

What was the problem? The real problem was my manager’s manager got in the way of my productivity. You see, I, like most great sales people was a bit lazy. I wasn’t achieving higher than average numbers because I worked harder than everyone else. I had learned to become extremely efficient. I was booking more appointments with 30 to 40 calls than the 100+ club because I was not focused on making dials. I was focused on making contact and having some quality conversations. When that focus shifted so did my productivity. Needless to say, I went back to my old program the next month and was in great shape again.

So what would the better advice have been? When I see someone like this, I sit down with them share their conversion data, and plan the next quarter, but I only talk about things that matter. For a sales process that begins on the phone that is getting a live voice or a “contact”. Without contacts you can make all the dials you want and you will be right where you are now.

Takeaways: Are you focused on the important things right now or are you keeping busy? What are the most important things you need to focus on to drive sales? Start measuring these things and setting goals based on that data and you will see your numbers climb.

Sales managers, are you overly focused on activity? Think about how you can help to re-focus your team on the most important things and set up goals and contests to reinforce those things.

Later this week I will talk about how I set up contests that drive production and not activity.

Carnival of Sales & Management Success

This post is to announce that on July 18th I will be hosting the first edition of a new blog carnival titled: “Carnival of Sales & Management Success”. This carnival was created to help give sales people and sales managers the tools they need to be successful. I would like to cover basic sales skills, values, leadership, management, coaching, and other areas of interest to people that would like to grow to the next level in sales or sales management, without having to memorize a bunch of cheesy lines or compromise there values or beliefs. To submit an article please use this submission tool:

Blog Carnival submission form - carnival of sales &  management success

Thanks!

 -Brad

Start With The End In Mind

Do you know what your conversion data is and what it means? Most sales people don’t, and it is a shame. Understanding conversion data will help you identify training needs, and set realistic goals with a solid plan for achievement. This knowledge could, if used correctly give you a HUGE boost in income. In this article, I will explain how to use your conversion data to ensure you continue to grow your income year after year.

What conversion data will help you do is go from saying I am trying to close X deals this month and taking a WAG (Wild Ass Guess) to explain how; to using the best information available to estimate a SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess). It’s not a perfect system but it is far better than just tossing out a number and saying “I’ll close 20 deals this quarter” and having no idea how! Before I raise anyone’s hackles this is not a simple increase A input to get B outcome, but that may be part of what’s required! Here is how it works.

First you need to break down your sales process into logical steps. That should look something like this: Lead – Attempts to Contact (ATC) – Contacts – Scheduled – Appointment – Proposal – Contract. Your individual process may have more or less steps, what is important is that you understand your process and are able to measure what goes in the front and what comes out the other end.  

Next, you should record data on each stage for several weeks. In the previous model that data would probably look something like this:

Chart 1 sales data 

So from this model I can immediately extrapolate that 134 leads netted me 18 deals under contract, but what else could we do with it? The next step is to divide each step into the next and see what percentage moves forward in the process. That data should look like this:

Lead to Contact: 59% Contact to Scheduled: 52% Scheduled to Appointment: 90% Appointment to Proposal: 63% Proposal to Contract: 75%

I have purposely left out ATC to contact, but we will cover that in a minute.

Now I will plug this data into my model in Excel. This should only take you a few minutes to build, but if you need help, e-mail me or ask in the comments and I will happily help you out. This is my sample model:

 Sales model projection 1

In my model I assumed YOU control your lead flow, but you could just as easily start yours at contact to scheduled if you do not and the effect would be the same. I also recommend you always round a decimal up to ensure you do not come up short.

Now is the fun part. I built my model to auto calculate so as you change the red or blue numbers everything else changes with it. The weekly need number will also change if you change the 12 by weeks left to some other number to suit your time frame.

This is where the fun starts. I always build two models one with “Real” conversions and the other with my goal conversions. For this fictional sales person I may say what If I could increase my contact to scheduled to 55% and my appointment to proposal to 70%? My new model would look like this:

sales projection #3

We now have a theoretical 20 deals under contract in 12 weeks with no additional lead flow. The difficult part is figuring out HOW to increase those numbers, and that takes time, but at least now you know where to focus your training. The other route to 20 deals would be to some how put more leads in your funnel and that model would look like this:

sales projection Chart 4 

So you can see how you could achieve gains by either increasing your lead flow (assuming quality remains the same) or training to improve your conversion in some specific areas. More likely if I were this person I would work on both a little because more efficiency with more leads = bigger gains!  

I left out the ATC data, because the quality is so hard to measure. Is a call at 2AM as good as one at 9AM? Is the content of every e-mail and letter the same? I look at lead to contact as one big number to work on, but I do like to track my dials to contacts separately just to check for efficiency and test new scripts and e-mail or direct mail campaigns. But again that is another post!

Again, I want to reinforce that just saying if I generate 13 leads a week I will net 20 contracts. You have to take a strategic approach and make sure you actually hit your goal each week on all the other stages and update the model every week or so to ensure you stay on track. The primary function of this tool is to find training opportunities, and set manageable realistic goals with a solid plan to achieve them.

Please feel free to contact me with an e-mail or comment and I will be happy to assist you in building your model and coaching you on its implementation.

-Brad

10 things a good sales person should never say and why.

It seems like no matter how often sales managers say it, or how often sales people hear it, there are some phrases they will just NOT stop using. I am going to break my usual professional tone and share some insight as to what I (and your clients) hear when you use these lame highly over used lines.  

1.     I was just in the area and thought I’d drop by. Are you serious! The professional I am trusting to help me with X issue has nothing better in the world to do right now than just “drop by” to see me?  If you are not doing business with me already I am probably thinking who is this guy? Why is he here and how do I get rid of him as quickly and politely as possible. Unless we really are buddies, don’t just drop by unless you are only expecting to leave something I am expecting with my secretary. Trust me; she already knows to tell you I am in a meeting, and that if I am interested I will call back. If I really am expecting something from you she knows that too. Don’t try to fool her. She hates that!

2.      Have you got a minute? No I don’t! I am busy, and I have 100 other things I could be doing. In my opinion I think you are better off trying to engage me than to give me the easy out and slit your own throat. If I am too busy to talk believe me I WILL let you know.

3.      I’ll try. I really hate this one. I only want to know what you will or can do not what you will TRY to do. If you are not confident enough to say you can do it, do not mention it to me. I would much rather hear, give me 24 hours to do some research on that and I’ll get back to you than I’ll try.

4.      I’m really not sure. Again, your default answer should be “give me x hours or days to do some research and I’ll get back to you. This answer tells me you do not know the answer, but you are taking my concern or issue seriously and want to help. I am really not sure is not the answer of the confident professional.

5.      Its not my fault. Like it or not you are most likely my only contact in the company; everything that goes wrong is your fault. If it isn’t it is still your issue to fix. The best way to deal with this is to apologize, and take the most serious and immediate corrective action as soon as possible. More importantly let me know what it is you are doing to fix it, and how you will prevent future issues of this nature.

6.      What would I have to do to get you started today?Ever seen the movie Tin Men? Unless you want to sound like those guys avoid this phrase at all costs. This phrase screams “I am a slimy salesman!” and any rapport you have built with this client is eroding quickly from this point forward. Instead use something softer like this. You: Are there any other issues or concerns we have not covered sufficiently? Client: No everything looks good. You: Great! Then the next step is to…

7.      We are the lowest price in town.You very well may be, but is this really how you want to try to compete. It typically does not take much effort to come up with a better value proposition than that. Moreover, if I DO find a lower price, you are a liar now, and any trust you built is gone. My dad once told me when picking a service you had three choices; good, fast, or cheap. Pick any two, but recognize you will always sacrifice the third. Your job is to help your clients to understand this. Click here for more on why selling on price is not a good idea.  

8.      Always and NeverAlways and never are just plain bad. There is going to be an exception to every rule. My general rule is to avoid absolute statements wherever possible. Use these sparingly if ever.

9.      What you need is…Unless you are my Dad or a trusted friend, I think this phrase should be avoided. I don’t even use it during a proposal. If I call you with a problem, and we have been doing business for years, and you are intimately familiar with my issues it may be ok, otherwise, present me with options and let me pick. I am the ultimate decision maker as to what it is I need.

10.  Trust me. If you feel the need to tell me this, I am starting to wonder why and will usually assume I shouldn’t. Trust is like love. It’s built over time and the only way to gain it is to earn it.  I hope this list is useful to you. I know everyone has a list of things they hate to hear in a selling situation. I would love to see you share some of those thoughts by leaving comments below.  

A new kind of social networking site…

I was on LinkedIn tonight and I saw a post about TravelersTable.com a social networking site that encourages real time meetings between people over coffee. I did a bit more research and also found http://www.zoodango.com/ a competing site that seems to be a bit further along in the growth process. I have been on LinkedIn for quite a while, and have recently joined MyBlogLog; both of which have been very helpful to me despite the lack of real time interaction involved. Real time meeting perked my interest though because I am a true extrovert, and I love meeting new people, so I did a bit more research and found an interview with the CEO of ZooDango James Sun ( Apprentice Season 6 contestant).I think this is a compelling new way to go about social networking. It makes me a bit nervous because you never know who you will meet, but I guess that could also be the fun part of it. I am curious to see what others have to say about this and here stories from anyone who has tried it out. I am planning on signing up and will blog my own tale of adventure soon.