5 Phrases You’re Not Using Enough

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5 Underrated Phrases

Words matter.  Don’t let anyone tell you different.

“Tell me more about that…”  Great at client meetings, great in customer conversations, great in coaching sessions and great at parties!  You don’t lead unnecessarily, you don’t shut someone down and you don’t force anyone down any path they don’t want to go.  You learn and they get to talk and share.  Great sales people know this.  And any of you actors out there know this is the one of the keys to great improv acting—it always keeps the conversation moving and don’t we all want that?

“We love you…”  What is wrong with us?  Do you think your customers give a flying hoot that you “value” them or “appreciate” them or “thank” them?  Blah Blah Blah.   Don’t you really love them? And if not, shouldn’t you?  (Their business puts food on your table).   Use “love“, “adore” or “cherish” in your print materials or email marketing and even those live conversations or voicemails.  There’s nothing wrong with saying “You folks are one of our absolute greatest customers”.  Make it your own—but make it different and real.  Get above the clutter and stand out.

“Let’ me figure out what I can do.”  Who knows why we humans default all the time to what we “can’t” do.  It’s maddening and so hard to break.  But you say the same thing except far better by saying “Let me think about it and come back with what can be done.” Vs “I can’t do this.”   It’s a world of difference be it at work in service, sales and even in your personal relationships.  Positive Resonates; Negative Detonates.

 “Who besides yourself…?”  Add any ending to Who besides yourself as in “has a say in the decision”, “wants to review”, “would like more info”, “would benefit from a demo”?  Too often we push our contacts away (whether we know them well or they just answered your call) instead of protecting them, their contributions and frankly their egos.  Always include, never insult unintentionally by presuming they do not play a role in the next step.

So you’re all set, this will get you (insert pursuit, dream or goal)”:  Easier than it seems but sadly at the end of most meetings, transactions or purchases we limp along and wrap up the pricing, the purchase order or the specifics of the next contact instead of inserting how what just happened is so critical to what the client or the business wants.   They don’t want the copier you’re selling; they want more time to focus on real work.  They don’t want business Facebook page built; they want to get more customers because they’ll be found more easily.  They don’t want to just list out action items for the next meeting; they want to know how what they did today is going to make a difference.  Tie off each meeting or interaction that way no matter what you do—you’ll solidify the value and strengthen the partnership.

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

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Essentialism: Holy Cats!

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One way to make sure no one reads a blog post is to publish it late on a Friday afternoon.

And even better, have that post be an esoteric, academic brain bender.

Check and Check  :)

But before you close this window out, shut down your computer and otherwise skedaddle, take this with you into the weekend.

“In a few hundred years when this history of our time will be written from a long term perspective, it is likely that the most important event historians will see is not technology is not the internet, is not e-commerce.  It is an unprecedented change in the human condition.   For the first time – literally—in substantial and rapidly growing numbers, people have choices.  For the first time, they will have to manage themselves.  And society is totally unprepared for it.”

Holy Cats that’s deep. (Actually I never say “Holy Cats”.  One of my smart colleagues in Minnesota does though when her mind gets blown, so I thought it was appropriate).

The quote is Peter Drucker as retold in a superb book I am reading by George MeKeown called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

Get the book.

  • It’s not about doing less work; it’s about doing the right work.
  • It’s not about just making choices; it’s about making them so nobody else makes them for you.
  • It’s not about process and practice and structure; it’s about valuing time to think, even time to sleep.
  • It’s not about prioritization; it’s about priority.

I don’t do the book content justice in this short post and truthfully, I haven’t even finished reading it ( but it is sooo good) ; suffice to say go get the book and have a Holy Cats moment or two.

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

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Haven’t You Changed Yet? 3 Things Sales People Must Do Now

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Haven’t You Changed Yet? 3 Things Sales People Must Do Now

You know it’s true.

You know that when a prospect calls, fills out a web form or pings you with an email these days that they have already and absolutely done research about you, your products and your company.  Like a lot of research.

I’ve read a dozen studies that say most folks are 50% to 75% through the sales process by the time they get to you, the live breathing sales rep.

Well that stinks.  It’s sure not like the old days.

Remember the days when prospects or clients needed you to tell them all about your company, the products, the pricing and the options?  Yeah, I do.  It was like the early 2000’s was the last time that was real life.  But now there is the internet, the websites, the blogs, the reviews and all that good stuff.  What do the prospects need you for?  (Answer: to confirm pricing, terms and other such mundane stuff it seems).

But it doesn’t  have to be that way.   There are three things you should be doing all the time now dear sales person, before and during that time when that phone rings, that load leads or that email arrives.

 

  • Differentiation is Your Lead Story:  If the prospect is contacting you – they already have a need; so ease up on hitting the needs discovery so hard up front for criminy sakes.  Instead, focus on differentiation and do it presumptively.  An old colleague of mine taught me the critical question sales must always answer for prospects; “Why with all the competitive alternatives available to me, should I buy from you?”  OK – you know that is important but you need do this presumptively without being asked.  “Yes, it runs around $60 a month and what makes that unique versus others that may offer the service is….”  Or “My guess is you’ve looked hard at options here, one thing to consider unusual but awesome about how our products delivers is…..”    Your job with differentiation as your lead story is to snap the prospect out of price or terms shopping – that’s where they think they are when they call you – and that is what you must change.

 

  • Teach Existing Customers Something New Every Single Day:   Some of the best sales reps in the world don’t like the leads they get today.  They really don’t.  The leads they get today as I’ve said are often folks who have so much research available to them that by the time they contact you – you’re just a talking head sometimes confirming stuff they already know.   The best sales people create their own leads.  They educate and teach before the need arises or do so in such a way that they create the need and therefore are front and center playing the role of a human (and way more engaging) source of research and information than the web.  And they teach about new products and services for sure but in such a way that they are problems solvers and industry challenge averters and hurdles faced but that help to succeed.    Maybe you’re in the lead generation business in your role, maybe you are in the closing end of it too.  It makes no difference – teach, teach, and then teach some more.

 

  • Be a Story Teller:  You know what doesn’t work all that well on the web?  Customer Testimonials.  They really don’t.  No offense to any of the talented marketing folks who nurture, create and publish testimonials.  Some are effective for sure; some are even emotionally moving videos about using a product.  But by and large, the quotes, the blurbs and the statements supporting the products and services on a website or brochure are let’s be honest, not always believed to be credible to the prospect.  But a story told by a real sales person like you who had a real interaction with a real customer who better yet,  looks a lot like the prospect you are talking to;  A story told well that way – now that has influence!   Get good at telling stories.  You all have them.   You have those real success stories with real customers.  (Bonus tip; Fit your story into the Hero model for greatest impact;  1) the customer who feared/resisted change or was down on their luck 2) took the leap of faith 3) ran into some unexpected challenges 4) recommitted to the effort 5) achieved mastery and had awesome results!).  Story telling was never part of anyone’s sales training class – that I can assure you; but it darn well should be now!

 

Times change.  Technology changes.  Buying processes change.   Make sure you are too.

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

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The Luckiest Man In The World

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I’ve said that every year I’ll republish this post on this date.  How can I not?    Nothing’s changed in the last 5 years except for just one thing;  I feel even luckier.   Happy Anniversary Susan.

 

The Luckiest Man In The World

I admit I’m not an expert on marriage and have the track record to prove it.   But my guess is that you’ll be alright if

You marry someone who feels it is more important to be there for others who have less or are in need, than to be there for everyone.

You marry someone who works hard, never misses a day, and defines her performance only by the happiness of her customers.

You marry someone who when she first met your child of 6 years old, knelt down, looked at him eye to eye, said hello and then gave him a big hug.

You marry someone who loves with all her heart, the movies from the 30’s and 40’s because they always have happy endings.

You marry someone who cries tears of joy almost daily just upon hearing that a total stranger had a baby or if she happens to she see two toddlers walking, holding hands.

You marry someone, a single mother who from her teenage years has raised a beautiful person in her daughter with the crazy belief that “I want to raise her not to be like me”.

Susan, your daughter is just like you and it is the greatest gift you have given her.  My son has known you nearly half of his life and I swear, he loves you as much as I do.

Saturday, I get to marry you.

I think we are going to be more than alright.  It’s a trite statement but there is a reason someone came up with it.  Now, I know.

I am the luckiest man in the world.

****

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

Originally published June 9th, 2009

Bailey

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Bailey

Life got in the way of today’s post.

The beautiful lady you see here, her name is Bailey.   And this picture was taken by her Dad (my brother) at the beach yesterday afternoon which is her favorite place to be.

Bailey’s struggle is becoming more than she can bear and her suffering ends today.

I see the saddened emails, texts and even tears from the aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces and friends this week who know this day is coming.  Bailey has been a part of so many people for so many years.

But we can’t really imagine how hard this is for our brother James.   Please know we love you and are there for you.

It’s cliche and trite to say that Bailey or any loved pet was such a good girl.    But she really was.   Let me share just one thing about her with you.   My brother works in a pretty tough space helping young adults – many who have seen and felt suffering first hand in their young lives.

For years Bailey went to work with him every day and those young people loved her.   She greeted everyone equally.  She never judged or intimidated or abused these kids.   She offered some normalcy, someone to hug or to touch or to just sit quietly next to.

Oh were we to be so good as she.

 

Till Next Time,

Mark

Refreshingly Heartwarming

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Refreshingly Heartwarming

I sat in on a training class yesterday for a couple of hours yesterday morning.    It was heartwarming.  Odd word to use I know, but stay with me; it’s something you’d like to see all the time I suspect.

The class was essentially about a slew of new products and all that goes with that.    The trainer was pretty smart so she let the group after about 30 minutes; take some time to dive into a catalogue she made with all the new product pictures, sizes, quantities etc.

I was in the back of the room flipping through the pages myself when I heard the first “Ooohh” and then some “Ahhh’s” and then a few “Oh my gosh(es)” .   Soon the whole crew was engaged in chatter and page flipping and laughter and shouting out a bunch of “Oh look(s)!”.

I was kind of surprised and curious because this training was a lot about change and workarounds and for sure some new processes, procedures, conversions and quoting to come etc.    So I asked the group what all the excitement was about.

This is the cool part; the heartwarming part.

“My customers are always asking me for this stuff…!”

“They are going to be so happy we have this now…..”

“I’m not going to have to tell them “no” or try and do some crazy outsourcing”

“Now they can get it one place, it will be so much easier for them….”

And it went on.

“They want these quantities so badly!..”

“They are going to love what we can do with these now on both sides!”

“I had a customer last week – she would have liked this so much better..”

So it was then I realized how different this moment could have been.

It could have been easily a lot of “Thank god, it’s about time I’ve got something else to sell…!”  or the opposite in  “Great, now I have to sell something else that’ll be added to my quota..”   or “This is just more stuff we have to remember…..”

I’ve been around a while, I’ve seen all of that before and I get it.

But this was different.  And it’s a testament to these folks and their leaders and their culture.  And it’s a nod to the product and business leaders who author the changes.  And best, the reaction bodes as promising for growing the business as anything I’ve seen.   The folks in this training class have a great affinity for their customers; that is the heartwarming part.  And when they see new products – their first thought is a refreshing “I’ve got something else to help these people with….”

How awesome is that?

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

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Say Something Nice (& 3 Ways To Do It)

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Say Something Nice ( & 3 Ways To Do It)

 

Your mother was right about having something nice to say.  Especially if your clients are businesses.

 

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

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