Get Specific -4 Ways to Make Your Business Conversations More Effective

Business People Meeting Growth Success Target Economic Concept


Your eyes are glazed over.  You’re trying to be discreet but you can’t help looking at your watch.  Is it over yet?  As meeting standards go this one is pretty brutal. It’s dull, boring, lacking insights, not informative, it’s basically a disastrous waste of your time.  Have you ever encountered one of these meetings?  Here’s a daring question – have you ever been the one driving one of these meetings?  If your answer is “no way, I’d never run such a terrible meeting”, I’d say you should probably spend a bit of time on self-reflection.  We all have coordinated and run meetings like this.  We’ve all wasted someones time at one point or another.

Here are 4 Ways to Make Your Business Conversations More Effective:

  1. Prepare – Do some homework on the individual you’re meeting with and the company.  It’s not enough to just throw out facts about the company or industry.  With the advent of social selling you’ve got to know your buyer – the human behind the decision.
  2. Ask good questions – Dump the “what keeps you up at night” question. So boring.  So predictable.  Kind of shallow.  A rookie question.  Have a hypothesis of what you believe keeps them up and night and throw it on the table.  Of course that requires having completed Step 1 above.
  3. Know what’s going on in the world – Don’t take a political stance, but know what’s happening in the world, the markets, etc.  Election year impacts, the Brexit issue, the Middle East conflicts, the Puerto Rican debt default. People enjoy spending time with people who have a bit of depth.  You don’t need to be Alan Greenspan, Warren Buffet, or Seth Godin, but you do need to have ideas and opinions beyond your company’s.
  4. Manage your time – Arrive early.  If you’re on time you’re late.  I get tired of hearing how bad traffic was.  Sales people today, especially in bigger cities think they can use traffic in Seattle, LA, NY, Boston, Atlanta, etc., as an excuse and people will just understand.  If you want to be like every other sales person walking in the office than great.  You will be – just like every other.  You want to be different?  Give yourself extra time.

One final extra tip.  Please show up with some energy.  No, you don’t have to drink 17 Red Bulls before you walk in the door.  Likewise you don’t want to be Eeyore either. Find the balance between excitement and control.  Do all of these together and you’ll run an awesome meeting.



4 Keys To a Better S.A.L.E.


No matter if you’re new to sales or a seasoned sales executive, brushing up on your selling skills is as important as changing the oil in your car regularly.  Leave the oil too long without changing it and your engine gunks up, gas mileage deteriorates, and in time your engine will fail.  Knowledge is to the sales person what oil is to an engine.  When you stop feeding your mind new knowledge your performance deteriorates and failure is around the corner.  But with so many things to think about, so many calls to make, numbers to hit, you don’t know what to focus on first.  So here’s a tip that will keep it simple…just remember SALE.

The “S” in Sale stands for structure.  Every sales person needs structure.  Some people are naturally disciplined and have strong internal structure while others require help to remain focused and disciplined.  Only you can be honest enough with yourself to know where you fall on the structure spectrum.  Structure includes when you make your calls, how your desk is set up, and whether your car is cleaned.  Structure speaks to your ability to organize.  Stronger organization equals higher efficiency which yields better results.

The “A” in Sale stands for attitude.  John Maxwell, the famous inspirational author, wrote “your attitude determines your altitude.”  Having a positive attitude is essential to success in life and critical to your success in Sales.  Have you ever met a sales person who seemed like they were on their last leg?  No more gas in their tank?  How did that make you feel?  Excited to buy?  Confident in purchasing their product…from them?  No.  No one wants to work with someone with a poor attitude.  No one buys from someone who lacks confidence in themselves, their product, or their company.  If you’re honest enough to recognize you have a confidence gap – read.  Thousands of books and books-on-tape are out their that can help.  Take action.  Don’t let another day go by with a bad attitude.

The “L” in Sale stands for learning.  If you’re not a continuous learning become one…and fast.  Albert Einstein said, “You have to learn the rules of the game.  And then you have to play better than everyone else.”  The rules of the game are always changing in Sales.  Your customer is evolving.  The internet and its ability to provide mountains of information will continue to change the game for years to come.  Better educated customers and prospects force a sales person to constantly up their game.  If you think the sales skills that won you awards 10 years ago, 5 years ago, or even last year will work in 2016 you’re wrong.  News flash!  If your buyer hasn’t already changed, they are in the process of changing.  Read.  As much as you can from as many sources as you can.  Commit to bringing one or two points from what you read that day into your sales conversations, then watch how your customer engagements change before your eyes.

The “E” in Sale stands for energy.  And lots of it.  Sales is physically and mentally demanding.  Some days are more draining that others.  Break up your day.  No matter how good you are you simply can’t sit and make 50 sales calls in a row without stopping.  While that may be physically possible, your energy levels will diminish and your customer will sense it.  Stay hydrated.  Drink 4 – 5 glasses of water throughout the day, or bottles if more convenient.  Stop for lunch.  If you don’t have the time for lunch keep an energy and protein bar handy.  You don’t want low energy levels to come across as poor attitude.  And make sure you get a work-out in daily.  Whether you start, or end, your day running, spinning, swimming or CrossFit, simply make sure to get some exercise in.  It will help keep your mind fresh, your energy up, and your endurance strong.

Happy Selling!

Top 10 Things All Sales People Must STOP Doing!


I love Sales.  I love positioning a valuable solution in a way that meets a prospects needs and improves their way of life.  Whether the solution saves time, money, mistakes, legal action, or helps to improve employee morale, or puts more time back in the owners schedule to spend with their families or friends, I love the art of the sale.  Over the years I have gone on hundreds if not thousands of sales calls with sales representatives, managers, and even other sales executives and have observed some pretty wild situations.  I’ve seen sales representatives doing double duty as they attempted to sell a product from their personal business while on a sales call for the company they were employed by to a phone call I received alerting me of a situation where a sales representative ran into some trouble with The Law!

I have to believe that these crazy situations I’ve seen over the last 20 years are not exclusive to the Sales profession however it does make me think.  Perhaps it’s no wonder that people in general see most sales folks as sketchy or even a little shady.  Why is that?  Well, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite things – I say this tongue in cheek – that I have seen sales people do over the years in selling situations.  This type of behavior only perpetuates some of the attitudes and perceptions folks have of sales people.  If only ALL Sales people STOP doing these things immediately.  Check them out:

My Top 10 List of Things Sales People Should STOP Doing During a Sales Call: 

10. Flipping your hair during a sales call – this isn’t a photo shoot…or is it?

9. Putting sun glasses on your head during a sales call – you’re not a movie star – if you’re not going to wear them put them away!

8. Saying “trust me” – if you earned it you wouldn’t have to say it!

7. Wearing crooked or snagged neckwear (ties). Rough night? I’m a mess! 

6. Wearing clothing that doesn’t fit properly – this isn’t a site seeing expedition – too loose, too tight, too open, goodness gracious have some pride!

5.Immediately pulling out your favorite brochure – Hurray it’s show-and-tell time!  Everyone sit on the floor and pay attention, I’m about to WOW you!

4. Degrading your competition. You know, I don’t like to say anything bad but they suck, not to mention all their employees have priors!

3. Not turning your phone off when in a meeting. Hang on, this is probably the Pres! You have no idea of how important I am.

2. Not knowing how much business the customer you’re visiting has given you already. So what products do you have with us?  Um, I forgot…

1. Showing up late or just in the nick of time.  The traffic was horrible, the sun was too bright, the clouds impaired my vision, I lost power last night, my electric toothbrush wasn’t charged, I just didn’t feel like going out.