#TBT – GEEZ, OH PEET! WHAT A PANIC!

I wrote this article over three years ago, but I still remember this epiphany! Hopefully, it will be good for you, too!

“ I had a GREAT BIG call today with one of the Elephants I am tracking.

We seem to be getting so close, yet we are HEAD-TO-HEAD with a fierce and competent competitor.

It’s all I’ve been able to think about lately.

I’ve been getting ATTACHED. 

I realized this during my workout today. Here I am enjoying a nice peaceful morning on the Elliptical and all I can think about is this PANIC I am having about landing this elephant.

rsz_eyes-937972

Ridiculous.

And then, I thought, “What Would the Irreverent Sales Girl Do?”

And, it came to me. She would

Continue reading #TBT – GEEZ, OH PEET! WHAT A PANIC!

One magical question that gives you control of the sales meeting!

rsz_adult-education-572269

I was reading Whale Hunting by the brilliant Dr. Barbara Weaver-Smith and when I ran across this paragraph, I whooped – YES!

I have actually used this idea one time in my career. The meeting was critical to me. The company I was presenting to had already decided to work with my competitor. They had the (unsigned) contract sitting on the decision-maker’s desk.

It was my Hail Mary meeting!

Each person in the room had a different reason to use my product. I’d never met any of them before. They were busy people. And, as I mentioned, they’d already decided to work with someone else. By sheer determination, I had been able to plant enough doubt about their decision in my customer’s mind – so much that they called me in. The whole gang was there.

And I’d better be good!

Continue reading One magical question that gives you control of the sales meeting!

You’ll get more “YESes” When You Listen for the “No”

Ever thought something was going to turn out?

You were going to meet your quota this quarter?

You were going to have a full event?

You were going to have a signed contract on your desk by Friday?

But, then it didn’t.

Want to know why?

It’s not personal. Everybody has this disease.

We all listen for WHAT WE WANT TO HEAR. But, that doesn’t mean that the result is actually going to come in.

So, when it really counts, when it really matters, I invite you to do something new.

Start listening for the “no” hiding behind the “yes” you are hearing.

If someone says they are going to show up to your volunteer event, ask them politely, “Is there anything that would get in the way of you being able to make it? Do you have children you need to have looked after? Is there anything else in your calendar?”

Or, if you’re inviting someone to an event. Find out why they are going and what they want to come away with. If it’s really important to you, ask if it would be helpful for you to pick them up. Then, call a couple days in advance to confirm details.

If they are going to get a contract signed for you, ask them: “Who signs? Are they going to be on vacation or do you expect them to be around this week? Is the timing important to them, too? “

Have them walk through for you how the result they are saying “yes” to is actually going to happen, in reality.

When you need it to happen, you must inspect – dig deeper.

Don’t be worried about asking.

You are supporting the person to do what they already told you that they wanted to do. Done well, it demonstrates your leadership.

Too often, when someone is trying to tell us “no” – we don’t listen and find out more. Sometimes we even leave the conversation thinking that now they are going to figure out a way to make it work.

But, that’s not how people are. They are uncomfortable telling you that they are not going to act on your newest suggestion. They just aren’t going to do it.

It should be a true and rare surprise to you if you are expecting someone to act and then they don’t.

If you are masterful at listening, you will hear the “no” instead of hearing what you want to. When you hear the “no” – you have a shot at turning it into a real “yes”! And that is power!

Love ‘em UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

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#TBT – More of Whatever It Takes

This Throw-Back-Thursday article published in May of 2012 and it just seems like the perfect post to come next. If you’ve been reading my articles this week and you got my Totally Irreverent Tuesday newsletter, you will see exactly what I mean!

“Are you willing to live a Do Whatever It Takes Life for your dreams?

Careful of your answer – there WILL be a test! *GRIN*

Every single one of us has it in us to do whatever it takes for something. We think we’ll be too tired if we REALLY go for it, or that we’ll miss out on something else that life has to offer.

Not true! The more you give to your dreams the ABSOLUTELY more they’ll give to you. But you gotta be willing to do WHATEVER it takes!!! The miracles that come along with this kind of life will TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY!!

Love it up!

The Irreverent Sales Girl”

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What college degree is best for a career in sales?

rsz_laptop-943558I was skimming through Quora today – as I am wont to do from time-to-time. You can find the most interesting questions there, like “What is it like to be dead?” (Reading the answers to that question took up half of my afternoon one day. Fascinating stuff out there.)

But, I digress.

I stumbled upon this question: What college degree is best for a career in sales? And, I thought, hmmmm…. I would really like to weigh in on that one!

You are right now thinking to yourself one of three things:

1)  I am in sales. I wonder if I got the “right” college degree! (67% are thinking this)

2)  I want to be in sales. There is no way I am going back to school. Wonder if what I majored in is the “right” degree? (32.9999% are thinking this)

OR

3)  I’m in high school and I know for sure that I want a sales career, so I would like to hear more about the right degree for me (Exactly 1 person reading this article is thinking that right now).

The truth is that many of us find ourselves in situations that require us to sell to do a good job.

Either we:

  • own our own business,
  • or ,we are interested in climbing the ladder at our current company and we need to learn to sell ourselves internally
  • or, if we want to earn a leadership position in our firm, we need to get better at bringing business in the door
  • or, we plain old landed a sales job and we want to be the best we can be.

My message for all of you is…

ANYONE can learn to do sales and do it well.

For the 1 reader who is looking for the right college degree, get ahold of my dear friend Dawn Deeter who heads up the National Strategic Selling Institute and she can help! @DawnDeeter

Micheline Anstey, Associate Professor at Southern New Hampshire University, recently told me that if you are a marketing major, you are most likely to have a sales job at some point in your career. While that’s probably true, is THAT the major that sets you best up for success in selling? I’m not so positive.

Some of the smartest and most successful people I know, who have a natural sales style about them, didn’t go to college!

They were out in the real world doing real things learning hands-on what it took to put dinner on the table for themselves and their family instead. And, they self-educated.

If you want a strong, and highly entertaining, opinion about this topic, Google Gary Vaynerchuk’s rant on college. I was going to include the link here…the message is great, but the language just isn’t a good fit for this blog. So, you’re on your own! (You know how to use Google, right? *wink*)

Here are the

THREE MOST CRITICAL THINGS YOU MUST LEARN TO BE GREAT IN SALES

– and where you learn them is entirely up to you.

1) The ability to THINK CRITICALLY

If college offers you ONE thing that is most likely to make you a successful sales person, it is learning the ability to THINK CRITICALLY and become exposed to more WAYS OF THINKING.

The best degrees to learn that skill are more likely to be in Literature, Philosophy, the Sciences, Mathematics, Political Science, Economics, and the like. At SOME point, you are going to have to learn business skills. It will be important that you understand cash flow and profit margins and the business things that your customers are dealing with – but learning to THINK is the most important step.

However, do you really need a college degree to learn that? In today’s world of Information Accessibility, all you need is a device that connects to the Internet and a healthy dose of Curiosity to get an extraordinary education in any skill. And that includes sales.

2)  SELF DISCIPLINE

In sales, there are no Participation Awards. You must learn a “whatever-it-takes” attitude and apply it daily.

If you take your college degree seriously, and use it to become masterful in a subject, then the structure of college may help you develop the critical quality of SELF DISCIPLINE.

If you party the whole time and do what it takes to “get by” in the academic world, you have set yourself waaaaaaaaay back. You may get a degree, but you are going to have to unlearn a whole slew of bad habits to become great in sales.

Throughout your successful career in sales, you will:

  • need to do what other people will NOT do to get the business
  • need to make time to learn, and learn, and learn – in a myriad of topics
  • need to make that last sales call even when you are exhausted
  • need to grapple with your self-doubt and come out on top
  • need to look at the mountain of IMPOSSIBLE and do whatever it takes to climb it
  • need to fail and be grateful for your failures
  • need to wake up before the others do and go to bed after they do.

My favorite teacher on the topic of SELF DISCIPLINE is Dan Waldschmidt. Check him out: @DanWaldo http://danwaldschmidt.com/

3) EMPATHY

This is not a touchy-feely topic, empathy. It is the ability to demonstrate that you can get over in someone else’s world and identify with the way life ACTUALLY occurs to them. (Today, some people are calling this quality Emotional Intelligence or EQ.)

Here’s what I mean. We mostly walk around thinking that our view of the world is the way it really is. When you understand that this it true about you, you have an amazing insight into your customer. Because THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE DOING, TOO!
THEY are walking around thinking that the way they view the world is the way that it really is!

When you can let go of your own view and really speculate about what that person’s world looks like to them, you can now sell!

A college degree will help you with Empathy – especially if you have a degree in things like Philosophy, Literature, History – subjects that force you to think from another person’s world. Perhaps even in a different time or a very different world circumstance.

However, just being a well-read person can do this for you. Pick up books that DO interest you and books that DON’T interest you.

  • Read, read, read, read, read.
  • Watch, watch, watch, watch, watch.
  • Listen, listen, listen, listen, listen.
  • Research like crazy.

Get good at EXPERIENCING what it is like to be in someone else’s situation and see that how they behave makes PERFECT sense, given their unique point of view.

What is the right answer to “What do I need to be a success in sales?”

The answer has nothing to do with a college degree or any other formula. The answer is always and purely…

The never-ending, “never-give-up” commitment to be a success in sales and never stop.

Love your sales journey UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

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You Have a “Do-Whatever-It-Takes” Attitude and Here’s How I Know

I run into people who positively suffer in their jobs, or with their health, or with certain relationships. Perhaps you can relate to that yourself.

I want you to think about one of those parts of YOUR life right now.

Do you have it?

I’m about to tell you something you are not going to like, but stick with me –  it will make sense and give you new freedom. I promise!

Imagine that it really IS OK with you that this part of your life is exactly the way it is – RIGHT NOW.

WHAT?

I bet you a million dollars that the reason you are upset about this part of your life is because someone else, at some point, made you feel that it SHOULD be a different way. And so now you’re stuck with the suffering because it is not as it SHOULD be.

Perhaps you just really really really wish YOUR body was the perfect type, or YOUR work style was the perfect way to achieve success, or YOUR opinion about your family members was the socially acceptable one. So, you could love it the way it is now.

It wasn’t YOU that really wanted it to be different.

Here’s how I know this is true.

There are things in your life that you have taken a “DO WHATEVER IT TAKES” attitude and it has worked.

For me, when I was a child, I was DETERMINED to be the person who could stand on hot asphalt in the summer in bare feet longer than anyone else. And I did WHATEVER IT TOOK to earn that distinction. (I know, a crazy goal, but there you go.)

When I grew up, I was DETERMINED to get a job in marketing after school even though all of my professors said that NEVER happened right out of undergrad and especially with my grades (I had failed out of my freshman year). But, I did WHATEVER IT TOOK to make sure I got that job. So, while most of my high-grade-getting college friends were waiting tables, I held a marketing position with a major brand.

Today, I am DETERMINED to have a magical, intimate, juicy, relationship with my husband and I do WHATEVER IT TAKES to make sure we do! (BONUS: He does too.)

But, it’s not like that in every area for me.

Is my house as clean as it should be? No.

Am I as successful in my business as I know I can be? No.

Does my body look exactly the way I think it could? No.

But, I have to get STRAIGHT with myself that I am simply not brining ALL of myself to these areas.

You have done this, too.

If you have children, I promise you have at some point had a “DO WHATEVER IT TAKES” attitude about something that concerns them. Either, they are picked up on time from school. Or they are going to get in to see THAT doctor. Or, they are going to have 3 square meals every day.

And, I bet you’ve been like this at a number of things.

So, now, go back and look at that area where you are suffering.

Are you bringing a “DO WHATEVER IT TAKES” attitude to it?

Can you live with it the way that it is? Even learn to embrace it?

If, yes. Then, congratulations, you can now focus on the things that are TRULY important to you and give up the suffering.

If, no. If it really IS important that this area be different. If it is unacceptable for the way it is to be the end of the story in that area, then let’s GET CRACKIN’ and dust off your WHATEVER IT TAKES attitude in that area.

Either way, you no longer get to complain. Because now you know that you could make it different!

You are amazing.

Love your life UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

BONUS OPPORTUNITY: Post a comment that tells me what you are NOW going to do in that area!

SUPER BONUS: Sign up for my Totally Irreverent Tuesday newsletter here. It’s where I publish the really entertaining stuff that I never publish anywhere else: http://bit.ly/IrreverentTuesday

#TBT – OWN UP! How Vulnerability Makes the Sale

rsz_sad-316424This is an article that got a lot of love back in 2012. I still hate reading it, but it worked so well, I just have to share! Love it UP!

“Ever had that one client, that one boss, that one family member that EVERYTHING you do with them doesn’t work? No matter what they need, you screw it up?

I had a presentation with THAT customer today! 

Today I had a presentation in the last stages of a competitive bid for an important contract.

EVERYBODY was on the phone.

The Executives, the decision-makers, the business unit people, the purchasers. EVERYBODY.

This presentation went the way all of my other interactions have gone with this customer. Wild technical difficulties to start. Fumbling my words. Stilted maneuvering through the product I was demonstrating. It’s been like this since the beginning…

A fun history

It’s been a train wreck the whole way through.

My first meeting with them I had to cancel because I was driving to see them mid-winter and I couldn’t get out of my neighborhood, the roads were so bad.

In my first presentation with them, they were ALL ice cold. I could not get meaningful eye contact with any of them.

Submitting my proposal – well, that went OK.

The technical call with my Senior Vice President of Product Development and their whole team – I was a FULL eleven minutes late to the call (unprecedented).

This last presentation – just BARELY ran at all and BARELY got it done in the time allotted.

OY! 

I was disenheartened after this call. It was my last opportunity to make a good impression. But, here’s the thing. We really do have a GREAT solution for what this customer needs.

What’s a girl to do?

My first inclination was to let it ride

I had done what I had done. It was over. RIGHT?

Then, the scary move

I wrote to the icy-est (is that a word?) business analyst. I wrote (paraphrase):

“Have you ever had that ONE client, that ONE boss, that ONE family member that you could never get it quite right with?

“For some odd reason your company seems to be that for me. I apologize for the technical difficulties I put you through. My presentation was stilted and I hope I didn’t put everyone to sleep. In nine years, I have never had this experience of everything going wrong. I hope that people can let the great products and services shine through, in spite of my bumbling. Is there anything else you need from me?”

I HATED looking this ridiculous, but you know what happened? 

This Icy person sent me a warm email. She said “The technical difficulties didn’t bother any of us – it was a simple thing to manage. I have passed your email to the head of purchasing.”

Two birds with one stone!

Pretty cool! Not only had I been a “human” with the business analyst, but she gave me the opportunity to be a “human” with the purchasing person, too.

We might just win this thing! 

We might not. But at least I can rest knowing that I have put the best possible foot forward for my company with products and services that deserve to win the contract.

MORAL OF THE STORY

Do not be afraid to let people know that YOU know that you could have done better and that you care that you didn’t do your best. People are amazing.

Love your vulnerability UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl”

Didja ever think about THIS referral source?

I was at a CEB conference in June geared toward Small Medium Businesses and I heard a most provocative idea. Since data is CEB’s “THING”, I found it especially compelling!

They talked about how important it is to ask for referrals when you are growing your business. Nothing new here.

They talked about how much more effective we are when we’re selling to someone who was referred to us – rather than us reaching out to them cold – Yep!

They talked about how to go about the business of asking your clients for referrals. Need help with this? Google is your friend. “How to ask a customer for a referral”.

But, then they said something that really got my attention!

They showed that your absolute best referrals come from sources you might not be thinking about. In fact, these people are the best influencers in your marketplace:

  • Supplier Reps
  • Other Business Owners

Huh!

Continue reading Didja ever think about THIS referral source?

I Need My Space! Give Some Room For the Deal to Close

Have you ever wondered why your deal is not closing? You know you have the perfect solution for the perfect customer, the stars all seem to be aligned and pointing in the right direction. But, no matter what you do, the sucker just won’t close?

Early on in my sales career, I had one of those deals.

Continue reading I Need My Space! Give Some Room For the Deal to Close

#TBT – EVER JUST CALLED SOMEONE TO SEE HOW IT’S GOING?

This post dates back to May of 2014 and got a great response back then. I still love it! People are the most important part of your business. Find ways to Love ‘em UP!

If you believe that sales are founded on great relationships. (And, most of us still do.) Especially in this world of complex sales.

Ever thought of calling your decision-maker up – just to see how their life is going?

It will test your ability to GET OVER IN THEIR WORLD.

What if your customers viewed you as someone who called them because you were interested in what THEY were dealing with. Not just what you could sell them to help them. You won’t always have the answers.

Can you see how much more FUN you would have calling on people?

You have fun. They have fun.

You will find out things about their children, their marriages, their pressing concerns.

You do it because you “getting the deal” isn’t the most important thing to them. But, their life IS important to them.

Do you know that salespeople don’t do this?

Stand out. Demonstrate that you are truly out for THEM.

Love ’em UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

Are you ready to be in sales? Find out with my (very fun) QUIZ.

Bringing a Dash of Dignity to the Art of Selling