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Monday Morning Messages

COMPETE DON'T COMPARE

The greatest freestyle swimmer of all time, Janet Evans, owns 45 National Titles, four gold medals and three world records. Just before the race for Olympic qualification on the Atlanta Team her coach, Mark Schubert, pulled her aside. Coach Schubert said to her, "Don't forget who you are."

At the U.S. Olympic Trials, Evans was surrounded by younger and perhaps hungrier swimmers. One said she thought the 24-year-old Evans was scared of the other competition. So as Evans walked to the starting blocks for the 400-meter freestyle, her coach took just a moment to remind his swimmer of her credentials. Don't forget who you are - compete, but don't compare! Janet Evans went out and made her third Olympic team, winning the 400-meter freestyle in splendid fashion. Janet Evans, with Coach Schubert's help, learned that winning means excelling at being you.

The former Cleveland Browns' All-Pro, Bill Glass, often says to his audiences, "Be yourself, but learn to be your best self. Don't use being yourself as an excuse for laziness or mediocrity. Be what you ought to be. Stretch toward what you are created to be and in the stretching, you're certain to become a better and more effective person." Each of us measures success differently. However, we can all agree that success in selling today isn't measured by what we are. It's measured by what we are, compared to what we could be. In other words, measure your individual success in selling by comparing it to your real potential - your best self.

Before your next sales call remind yourself of who you are - at your best!

OUTDISTANCE THE COMPETITION

To outdistance your competition you must learn more and better ways to out-serve them. You do this by consistently doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, and always in the best interest of other people - those you serve. Out-serve the competition by demonstrating a genuine interest in your clients, their problems, their concerns and their aspirations.

To gain the reputation of being a master sales professional you must always be a master servant. Study the master doctors of the world, the master lawyers and master accountants. They are master servants and this is true of every relationship of life. You can increase your power to serve to the satisfaction and profit of both the buyer and you.

Here are three relatively simple strategies that will give you an edge on the competition in your relationships with prospects and clients.

• Dress, speak, act and write appropriately. If suits and ties are preferred at your marketplace, wear them. Speak clearly and stick to the point. Be sharp. Even if you're tired try to look bright and energetic. You won't win points if prospects perceive you as lazy, or someone who stayed out too late.

• Never miss an opportunity to do someone a favor. Chances are it will be returned. But don't keep score - and don't use the favor as "blackmail" to get your prospect to do one for you.

• Know as much as possible about your field of business. Broad knowledge about your products and services will lift you head and shoulders above your competitors in the eyes of your prospects, and bring you the success you seek.

Outdistance your competition by out-serving them. You will become your own best recommendation.

THE POWER OF THE MADE UP MIND

High achievers in all fields understand the power of the made-up mind. They think right.

Dr. Edward Rosenow, a renowned surgeon at Mayo Clinic, established his purpose in life and sealed his commitment to medicine when he was just a small boy living in Minnesota's northwoods country. One night, he says, his younger brother became quite ill, and the family gathered together, waiting nervously until a doctor could be located.

When a doctor finally arrived and examined the sick boy, young Edward's eyes were riveted on the anguished faces of his parents. At last, the doctor looked up, turned to the parents, and said, "You folks can relax now. Your boy is going to be all right."

Edward Rosenow, then just eleven, was so impressed with the change the doctor's words brought to his parents' faces, that he said, "I resolved right then that one day I would become a doctor, so I could spend my life putting that same light in other people's faces."

There are few experiences more rewarding than putting light in other people's faces. Yet, it is a reward that comes often to the financial services professional who becomes thoroughly imbued with the value of the contribution he or she makes when properly selling financial products and services to clients. These are the salespeople who discover a worthwhile purpose in meeting prospects' needs and satisfying their expectations. They believe in themselves and in their products and in their mission. And because they do, they consistently achieve superior results.

Never underestimate the power of the made-up mind.

IT'S ALWAYS TOO EARLY TO GIVE UP

Difficulties bring out your best qualities and make greatness possible. The superior selling performances you admire usually take place because the individual subscribes to whatwe call the "Fail Forward - It's Always Too Early to Give Up" philosophy. When you "fail forward", you learn from your experience. You strengthen your resolve. And, you move steadfastly toward your goals.

Generally, in today's marketplace, you have to make more than the initial contact with a prospect to get a sale and gain a client. Studies reveal that:

• 58% - more than half - of all salespeople quit completely after a single call on a prospect.

• 20% make two calls before giving up.

• 7% make three calls.

• 15% make five calls or more, and these are the stars we honor because they produce about 75% of all the business.

It's not what happens to you as a salesperson - but what you do after it happens - that makes the big difference in your selling life. It's the salesperson who uses difficulty, not the one who avoids it, who grows and goes to the top in the company.

A feature story on Fred Astaire included a quote from a critic's review early in his "sales" career. "Can't act. Can't sing. Balding. Can dance a little." Such is the story of life. Such is the story of selling. The important question is whether or not you allow difficulties to bring out the best in you. Do you "Fail Forward?" Fred Astaire certainly did!

Opposing circumstances create selling strength. Fear of opposition will help to keep you uptight, rob you of drive and take the edge off your selling effectiveness. Customer opposition and competition will make you stronger. That's why your reward for success in selling will not be what you gain from it, but rather what you become because of it.

Join the ranks of the stars in selling today - resolve to make five or more contacts with a prospect!.

WINNERS NEVER QUIT

Or, if you prefer, success is never final and neither is failure - unless you let it be.

One of the greatest stories we've ever come across on the will to succeed, centers on Pete Strudwick. Pete, a 50-year old Californian, had an ambition to be a marathon runner. A marathon is 26 miles, 385 yards. This determined competitor has run and completed more than 40 marathons, including the Boston Marathon - and he has no feet. No feet! Pete runs on stumps. When asked, "Pete, how do you run 26 miles with no feet?" he replied, "You don't lean backwards!" In order for you to realize your full potential in selling, you must develop this kind of persistence - keep moving forward.

Winners have the will to win, but it's not enough to just have the will to win. You need the will to work to win. Here is a six-step procedure you can follow to motivate yourself for the long haul and keep moving toward success:

• Develop self-acceptance. It is vital that you have a strong, healthy self-image.

• Realize you have the potential for greatness. Never entertain doubts about your ability to achieve greatness.

• Plan for greatness. Decide to do great things, then do all of the small things that add up to greatness.

• Think like successful people think. Ask yourself: "Is this the way a successful person would do it?"

• Act as if it were impossible to fail. Quiet confidence inspires others to want to see you succeed.

• Monitor your results. Studying the score causes the score to improve.

We often hear it said of successful salespeople: "Everything they touch turns to gold." We sometimes think of these high achievers as being lucky. The fact is, their selling success is the result of their will to win and their will to work to win. By the force of their convictions they wring success from the most adverse circumstances.

FAIL FORWARD

We call the "Fail Forward - It's Always Too Early to Give Up" philosophy. When you "fail forward", you learn from your experience. You strengthen your resolve. And, you move steadfastly toward your goals.

Generally, in today's marketplace, you have to make more than the initial contact with a prospect to get a sale and gain a client. Studies reveal that:

• 58% - more than half - of all salespeople quit completely after a single call on a prospect.
• 20% make two calls before giving up.
• 7% make three calls.
• 15% make five calls or more, and these are the stars we honor because they produce about 75% of all the business.
It's not what happens to you as a salesperson - but what you do after it happens - that makes the big difference in your selling life. It's the salesperson who uses difficulty, not the one who avoids it, who grows and goes to the top in the company.

A feature story on Fred Astaire included a quote from a critic's review early in his "sales" career. "Can't act. Can't sing. Balding. Can dance a little." Such is the story of life. Such is the story of selling. The important question is whether or not you allow difficulties to bring out the best in you. Do you "Fail Forward?" Fred Astaire certainly did!

Opposing circumstances create selling strength. Fear of opposition will help to keep you uptight, rob you of drive and take the edge off your selling effectiveness. Customer opposition and competition will make you stronger. That's why your reward for success in selling will not be what you gain from it, but rather what you become because of it.

Join the ranks of the stars in selling today - resolve to make five or more contacts with a prospect!

MANAGE SALES RESISTANCE

Today's successful sales professionals sell consumer satisfaction ahead of product. Because they are consumer oriented, they know their prospects are more interested in their own problems, needs and wants than in their products and services.

Sal Marino, publisher of the Steel magazine, provided the best strategy for managing sales resistance when he said this: "In the next 24 hours, the buyer's heart will beat 103,689 times, his blood will travel 168,000 miles, his lungs will inhale and exhale 23,240 times, he'll eat over three pounds of food, he'll exercise only seven million of his nine billion brain cells, he'll speak 4,800 words, and not a single one about your product or service - unless you figure out a way to involve him emotionally with your sales proposition. Since two-thirds of his conversation for the day will be about himself and his problems, your only way to get your share of those words is to make yourself part of his world." That last sentence is something that should be emblazoned on the wall in words of fire in order for you to manage sales resistance successfully.

The sales interview is never to be considered as a contest between you and the consumer. If it is, you'll unwillingly act like a contestant and cast your prospect in the role of an opponent. Always think of the sales interview as purely a matter of getting emotionally involved and catering to what your prospect needs and wants.

Successful selling requires that you organize your sales presentation in a manner that will overcome most sales resistance objections before they come up. When prospects say, "I want to think it over" or "I want to compare," there's a strong chance they do not realize how the benefits to be derived from your product will provide more value than it costs. Resistance is the one sure way your prospects have of telling you that you have missed the mark. They feel you want more from them than you are giving to them in the way of "owner benefits."

Continue to be consumer oriented rather than product oriented. It will pay you big dividends. It will help you always understand that, although many people should have what you are selling, they will never buy it until you "make yourself a part of their world" - help them want what you have to sell.

That's managing sales resistance!

THE DIFFERENCE IS ABOUT FIVE MINUTES

The difference between the stars in selling and the mediocre performers is about five minutes. The stars in selling spend five minutes more planning their activity and preparing their presentations. They invest five minutes more in research and study. They put five minutes more in prospecting and contacting potential clients. They are self-disciplined and this quality makes the difference.

Disciplined salespeople are:

• Enthusiastic -- They employ the magic of enthusiasm to inspire others to believe in them and to buy from them. They sell with a sparkle in their eye. They speak with a note of confidence in their voice.

• Resourceful -- They have imagination, initiative and fresh ideas. They are students who are always looking for the better way.

• Predictable and dependable -- Their word is their bond and their acceptance of a challenge is always a forerunner of a job well done. They can always be counted on, never counted out.

• Courageous -- They stand for what they believe to be right, even in the midst of conflict and criticism. They dare to be an individual whose honor and integrity are respected and admired by all who know them.

• Persistent -- They believe that "failure comes from following the line of least persistence."

• Optimistic -- They have a reason for every success, not an excuse for every failure. Continually, they turn the impossible into the possible.

• Dedicated -- They make a habit of being punctual and following through. Their motto is, "Let me help. How can I serve you?" They are conscientious but never contentious; determined but not dictatorial; dedicated but not demanding.

Continue to develop the five-minute difference - - self-discipline!

INCREASE YOUR LISTENING POWER

Books have been written and courses have been developed on how to be a more effective listener. Every salesperson should read and study all he or she can on this important area of selling. By listening, you:

• Show prospects you respect their opinions.

• Show prospects you're really interested.

• Learn how to guide, direct and assist prospects.

• Help prospects help themselves.

• Exert subtle pressures on prospects.

Here are proven ways to increase your listening power:

• Pay attention! This might seem too obvious to mention. However, it's surprising how many of us try to fake our attention. While listening to someone, we should look at them - squarely in the eye is always best -and give them the attention and respect we appreciate so much when we are talking.

• Recognize the importance of skillful listening. If you don't accept the fact it's beneficial to hear more of what prospects say, there's no reason to bother improving this creative power.

• Observe prospects' gestures and facial expressions. Empathy is one of the outstanding marks of a master salesperson.

• Don't rule out any topic of discussion as totally uninteresting. Creative people are always on the lookout for new and different information. Keep your mind open for new ideas. Let your mind exercise itself as often as possible so that you can strengthen its capacity. This is just the same as exercising any muscle to avoid atrophy. New ideas are all around you and many of them will come by way of the spoken word. Absorb everything you can. You'll become better informed.

• Avoid prejudging the speaker. Listen to what is said, the way it is said - and ask yourself why it is being said.

• Become a note taker. While listening, take notes to review later. This suggestion will help jog your memory and bring back major points as well as compliment your prospects in the process.

• Listen for areas of mutual interest. Resist distraction. Remember, our minds can think at a speed of 500 words per minute, but prospects talk about 125 words a minute.

SELL ETHICALLY

At the center of all you do in selling is all that you are. It's the core issue. Ethics is not a discipline you learn. Ethics is a statement of who you are.

Ethics is a way of life that is intricately woven into your daily selling activities. Your Code of Ethics is not a set of principles to be framed and hung like a picture collecting dust on a wall.

We like this description of ethics: Something that you do for the soul. It's doing the right thing because doing the right thing is the right thing to do. That's ethical behavior. What is your ethical base? Can you articulate it? Can you identify how it influences your personal and professional behavior?

Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's Restaurants, says that, "success begins inside." Unless your attitudes and beliefs are right, you can never be a real success in the world around you. He contends that people can never really have their act together unless three things are true about them:

• They are honest
• They believe in something
• They are self-disciplined

A pebble dropped in a pond has an amazing effect on the entire ecology of the pond. Such is the influence of your behavior. The ripple effect is beyond measure. This kind of awareness is the beginning of ethical behavior.

Your recommendations do have a positive or negative effect on the life of your clients. Your dealings with the companies that provide your product line affect their bottom-line results and thereby the service they are able to provide for your customers. Your behavior impacts your own reputation and business success. Your life is a part of many other lives. Maintaining high ethical standards is the right thing to do, and it's also good business. A spotless reputation is an invaluable marketing asset.

Competency and trust comprise the framework for marketplace success. Build them every day with your commitment to excellence and by selling ethically.

BE A RELATIONSHIP BUILDER

"People like doing business with those people they enjoy. They are more likely to make concessions to them. The bottom line is that you can get more of what you want by making prospects feel comfortable. When people like each other, the details rarely get in the way. When people don't like each other, details are likely to become insurmountable obstacles." - James Henning

The well-known investor, Warren Buffett, has three qualifications for judging his investment opportunities. He never invests with anyone he doesn't trust, respect, and like - regardless of how good the numbers look.

How many times have you heard it said, "When all things are equal, prospects have a strong tendency to buy from individuals they trust and like best"? This is easily understood. The interesting thing is this: In this age of relationship marketing, should things not be equal, prospects show the same tendency. Like Mr. Buffett, they still tend to buy from salespeople they trust, respect, and like.

Relationship building is a learned skill. When you build relationships to provide added value to your prospects/clients, you will find you have gained a competitive edge. Never build relationships just to make a sale. It boils down to forming ten simple, relationship-building habits.

• Use prospects' preferred names. A very simple habit, but one you'll see violated often.

• Show up on time. Being punctual shows you care.

• Compliment appearances. This indicates you are alert and paying attention.

• Make prospects look smart. Build confidence in prospects.

• Recognize achievements. Sending congratulatory notes is a profitable use of time.

• Do something nice for some member of prospects' families. This is a sure way to get close to your prospects.

• Point to possessions in which prospects have pride. Again, this demonstrates that you pay attention.

• Give prospects business. Giving them leads or sending them information that might be helpful to them wins prospects over.

• Say "please" and "thank you." Simple, but powerful relationship-building words.

• Do what you say you're going to do. Treat commitments made as debts yet to be paid.

These ten simple habits seem rather obvious. However, the failure to observe them is probably the single biggest cause of loss of credibility in relationships with others. Successful salespeople have successful habits -- develop these ten relationship-building habits.

Again, never build relationships just to make a sale. Build relationships to provide added value and service to prospects and clients.

TAKE THAT FIRST STEP

"There are three kinds of people in the world today: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who have no idea what is happening." - Nicholas Murray Butler, former Chancellor of Columbia University

J. B. Conway, a great sales manager, once said, "A good aim in your business life is not quite enough. Yesterday ended last night. Today you have to pull the trigger again." The hardest job for most salespeople is pulling that trigger and getting started again. Getting started will no longer be difficult for you if you follow these simple steps:

• Resolve to have a victory every day. Salespeople who enjoy the reputation of knowing how to get a job done tell us the secret lies in forcing yourself to take that first step toward achieving some kind of victory today. Goethe said, "Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute. What you can do, or dream you can, begin it! Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Only engage, and then the mind grows heated. Begin, and the task is half completed."

• Have a well-conceived sales strategy. There's no better follow-up for a solid resolution than a clearly spelled-out selling procedure. Mortimer Feinberg, a noted psychologist, put it this way, "You have to direct your efforts. You have to channel your energies. Otherwise, all the energy and output you generate is dissipated. You can't win the race in selling unless you run on the track."

• Work under the challenge of deadlines. While visiting the plant of a large, midwestern publishing firm, we observed the many sales training courses, books and sales aids laid out on display. Someone asked, "How did you people ever prepare so much material?" The President laughed and explained, "If it weren't for deadlines, we wouldn't need much space." Deadlines are drivers. No matter how much you may sometimes despise them, deadlines can be profitable to you. They motivate you in making things happen now.

• Visualize the rewards in your mind at all times. Whatever it takes - post them in your home, car, office - get them firmly implanted in your mind's eye and take the first step! 

EXPECT THE BEST

"The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done." - Arnold Palmer

Expect to do those things that look like they can't be done. Set your expectations high. They will be the limit to which you rise. And when those expectations are set high, begin to do the little things required to reach those goals. Doing little things well is a necessary step toward doing big things with excellence.

Romana Banuelos had little reason to expect great things for her life. When she was just 18 years old, living in Mexico, her husband deserted her and her two children. She was poverty-stricken and uneducated. But the day she found herself alone and penniless, she began to expect great things of herself.

Romana borrowed enough money to buy bus tickets for herself and her two children to Los Angeles, California. She spoke no English. She had no skills or training.

She arrived in Los Angeles with only seven dollars in her pocket. When she gave the address of a distant relative to a cab driver, it took her last dime to pay the cab fare. Safe with her relatives, Romana began her search for a life of meaning. Though beaten down, disappointed, and rejected, she held on to her great expectations for a better life.

She got a job washing dishes in a cafe. After the evening shift was over, she stayed on from midnight to six o'clock in the morning to make tacos. Romana was able to save $400, which she invested in a taco machine. She expected great things of herself!

During the next 20 years she developed the largest wholesale Mexican food business in the world, Romana's Mexican Food Products. But that is not the end of the great expectations of Romana Banuelos. Because of her outstanding accomplishments, she was frequently cited by the business community. Ultimately, the President of the United States appointed her Secretary of the Treasury, the first Mexican-American and the sixth woman to hold the position.

Romana Banuelos had a dream. She expected great things of herself. She expected the little things she did to be done very well. And those little things done well paved the way for big things done with excellence.

What about you? Do you expect great things of yourself? Do you expect to do the little things very well? Do you expect those little things done well to pave the way to big things done with excellence? Expect great things of yourself!

BUILD GOODWILL

Building a professional image tends to soften your market. It facilitates the process of turning prospects into clients. It keeps these clients coming back and endorsing you to others. Building a professional image brings profitable growth to your business or practice.

Here are six ways in which you can build your image:

1. Project Success.
Prospects focus on you before they focus on what you are selling. Their perception of you carries considerable influence in their decision to do business with you. Study successful salespeople. Cultivate an appearance that projects an image of competence, confidence, and pride in your sales performance.

2. Project Professionalism.
When prospects and clients come into your office, they expect to see professionalism. Make certain they see and feel evidence of success. They should be greeted warmly and made to feel welcome. In addition to attractive and appropriate artwork, they should see your professional designations on your office wall.

3. Project Good Taste.
Carefully consider the design of business cards and stationery you use. Keep both conservative. Make sure the title you use reflects what you do. An attractive brochure can enhance your image. It can display your credentials and communicate to your prospects the broad range of products and services you offer.

4. Establish a Network.
This is not something you do overnight. It takes years of networking. These are relationships you build with people you can rely upon. These are colleagues for whom you do favors. You support their projects. You listen to their problems and they do the same for you. They send you business; you send them business.

5. Project a Message.
Regular, informative mailings to key clients and prospects keep your name in circulation, in mind. It does this in an inexpensive, positive, non-threatening way. You will want to investigate the several industry-related newsletters that can be sent monthly or quarterly.

6. Write Articles and Schedule Speaking Engagements.
An excellent strategy to help you become known for what you know is to publish articles. Trade-association journals and newsletters are usually looking for articles. Published material establishes you as an authority. Circulating reprints will have a powerful influence on prospects and clients. Use industry, club, and community speaking engagements to build your image in front of potential customers. These organizations are usually looking for speakers. As with written articles, speeches create a powerful image of you as an authority. 

SERVE WHAT YOU SELL PT. 2

• First, you can assure your new client that he or she has made an intelligent decision. An effective way to do this is to write a congratulatory letter. This adds a distinctive touch. It displays professionalism. Many of your competitors will not be as well organized or take the time to write.

• Second, look for opportunities to communicate. There are many reasons you can find to send business, prospects, or information to prospects and clients. Ask yourself this question regularly: "What can I do to help my client's business?"

• Next, after your product or service has been delivered, make follow-up, courtesy calls. This eyeball-to-eyeball exposure with the new customer permits you to accomplish several important objectives. It permits you to resell the need for the product and, naturally, in talking to satisfied clients, you can get them thinking about future purchases.

• Finally, frequent, in-person contacts with new clients make it possible for you to get endorsements. Your best prospects will be developed in this manner. Satisfied clients will help recommend you, your products and services. Every time you make a sale, you should ask yourself this question: "Who can I approach and sell a bit easier now because I made this sale?" Once you've sold a customer, make sure he or she is satisfied with your product or service and you.

Remember, it takes less effort to keep an existing client satisfied than to get a new prospect interested. Your clients will be presented claims and counter- claims from people who offer similar products and services.

The competitive edge you want to develop comes from the attitude you project of serving as you sell. You do this in two ways.

• First, you do whatever it takes to establish a record of consistent reliability. Earning the reputation of being a 100% reliable sales professional whose every word and promise can be depended upon takes application, effort and attention to detail.

• Second, you stay determined to be the best-informed sales professional who calls on your clients. This requires a commitment to excellence and a regular program of study.

Once you have established the image of being a reliable, well-informed sales professional, you are in an enviable position.

Again, the basic principle is: Never forget a customer. Never let a customer forget you. Serve what you sell.

HANDLING OBJECTIONS AT THE CLOSE

Below is an excerpt from our eLearning course, Professional Sales Process, on handling objections at the close.

• STEP ONE - LISTEN TO DIMINISH. There should be no knee-jerk responses, no quick moves. Never interrupt the prospect, even when you know what is coming and have a response in mind. Be encouraged that the objection is being voiced; it's evidence that your prospect is listening and thinking. An objection focuses attention on those areas where the prospect requires more information and understanding. Listening to the objection establishes empathy. How you listen is important. Lean forward, nod your head in agreement with the prospect and let your facial expression register "I'm taking your objection seriously." This earns respect. .

•STEP TWO - RESTATE TO CLARIFY. "I want to make certain I understand how you feel and this is what I hear you saying ..." You paraphrase and in the process clarify. This does several things for you. It tells the prospect you have been listening and that you understand what was said. Also, it makes it clear that you don't accept the objection as being final. It gives you time to organize your thoughts, and this can be helpful. This restating step puts you in step with the prospect. It will help you avoid arguments. No one ever convinced a prospect by arguing, so stay in the prospect's corner. Guide him or her to better understanding by providing more information. Do this by tackling the objection, not tackling the prospect.

•STEP THREE - ISOLATE TO IDENTIFY. "If we could handle this to your satisfaction, is there anything keeping you from moving forward today." This helps you decide if this is the only objection, as well as the real objection. There are always two reasons a prospect has for not deciding upon your recommendation -- the reason that sounds good, and the real reason. .

•STEP FOUR - MOTIVATE TO ACTIVATE. Use an illustration, example, or story. Your objective in this stage is to make sure you have a prospect who is now sold on your recommendation. This prospect may or may not be ready to buy -- but they are sold. .

•STEP FIVE - POSITION TO ASSIST.  Since your prospect is now sold, you are positioned to play the role of an "assistant buyer." This positions you to move to Closing Step No. 3, Strategic Move where you make this statement: "If you have no further questions, there are 2 questions I'd like to ask you ..."

The only reason for answering an objection is to complete the sale. Properly executed, the first four steps have moved your prospect into a position where it is more reasonable for him or her to say yes than to say no. .

The most important factor in stimulating action is your confidence. Always assume your prospect is going to buy now. Proceed as if all you must do is settle the few questions of minor importance. Your attitude can make this closing sale easy and natural.

 

CHOOSE TO MAKE IT HAPPYEN

GO ALL OUT - NO IN BETWEEN IN 2013! We encourage you to make this the best year you've ever had. If you reach and surpass one of the following three areas, you are on your way to having the most successful year of your career.

• Sell the most transactions you have ever sold.
• Sell the largest case you have ever sold and do it in the first quarter.
• Produce the most commissions you have ever produced in the first quarter.

We want to share a message from our colleague, John Lowery*, on choosing to make it happen. Thank you, John, it's a great way to start the year.

Don't wait or wish for something to make it all better. Get busy improving and enhancing life in your own unique way.

Don't depend on someone else to tell you what to do or how to do it. Find real enjoyment and fulfillment by working your own way through life's possibilities.

This is your life and it is filled with great promise. Take responsibility for it, take the initiative and take it to the next level.

Don't pin your hopes on outside factors over which you have no control. Instead, make life great by working diligently and passionately with whatever you have.

Experience life at its fullest by living it on your own terms. Work to solve problems, work to reach your goals, and work to bring your dreams to life.

Life is precisely what you choose to make it. Choose to make it extraordinary.

*Used by permission. The Eagles Perch, John S. Lowery, CLU, Managing Partner, WealthPlan Financial Partners, Lowery Financial Group, 2815 Coliseum Centre Drive, Suite 200, Charlotte, North Carolina 28217, (704) 357-1099

 

CREATE YOUR FUTURE

Success is almost always earned by the minority - the dedicated few who are willing to pay the price.

Success begins with thoughts. Thoughts control our actions. Actions all too soon become habits. Habits shape and mold lives.

Our colleague of years past, Earl Nightingale, labeled this discovery, "The Strangest Secret: You become what you think about most of the time." Actually, thousands of years earlier Solomon pointed out: "Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts."

It is our belief that the best way to predict your future is to create it. We believe you create a future, characterized by high performance and fulfillment, by making a responsible commitment to form sound habits in these five areas:

• Thinking Right
• Working Right
• Selling Right
• Studying Right
• Living Right

Professionals in selling display a blend of pro-active behaviors, enthusiasm and persistence. They make commitments to excellence in all they do. They resolve to make good on these commitments. Professionals know this requires maintaining a correct mental attitude, a good work ethic, sharpening persuasion skills, developing competence and living their lives in balance.

Being always comes before the doing. If you desire to do something great, you must first become something great.

Don't just stand there -- MAKE IT HAPPEN! 

THINK RIGHT

We believe you create a future characterized by high performance and fulfillment, by making a responsible commitment to think right, work right, sell right, study right, and live right. Here are ten strategies for forming the habit of thinking right. :

Make every occasion a great occasion. View every event through the lens of an expectant, determined, creative attitude.

Develop the winning feeling. See yourself winning. Winning is contagious.

Be a peak performer. Learn to pay attention, be motivated to pay the price, be effective at promoting yourself, and persist.

Visualize desired outcomes. Get a clear, distinctive picture of what you intend to do. Mentally rehearse it until it becomes automatic. You'll have begun your path to excellence in selling.

Expect the best. Don't cheat yourself out of high achievement; expect it!

Maintain a positive attitude. Learn to think optimistically. Talent + Motivation + Optimism = Success.

Build a strong self-image. Never surrender your self-confidence. See yourself as competent and well-informed. Feel good about who you are and what you do!

Fail forward. Learn from your experience. Strengthen your resolve. Move steadfastly toward your goals.

Never give up. Perseverance, not genius, separates winners from the losers in selling. Press on!

Bloom where you are planted. Forming this habit develops your self-discipline, sparks your imagination and increases your staying power.

Remember: Success is almost always earned by the minority - the dedicated few who are willing to pay the price. Success begins with thoughts. Thoughts control our actions. Actions all too soon become habits. Habits shape and mold lives. 

SELL RIGHT

We believe you create a future, characterized by high performance and fulfillment, by making a responsible commitment to think right, work right, sell right, study right, and live right. Here are ten strategies for forming the habit of selling right.

Give it your best.Do every selling job to a finish and accept nothing but your best every time. As a professional salesperson, you are paid for the quality of service you provide with what you know, for those you know.

Look like a winner. If you look like a winner, it's much easier to be one. You'll look as if you represent a reliable company. You'll look as if you're accustomed to influencing people and closing sales.

Enjoy every sales call. Before every sales call, ask yourself this question: How would I feel about making this call if I knew it was going to be a good sale?

Pay attention. Learn as much as possible about your prospects -- their reputations and capacities, who they are buying from now and what they are receiving for their dollars. Decide to be a shrewd observer.

Build relationships.All things being equal, or not equal, prospects tend to buy from salespeople they trust, respect and like the most.

Sell ethically. What is your ethical base? Can you articulate it? Can you identify how it influences your personal and professional behavior? Ethical behavior is doing the right thing, because doing the right thing is the right thing to do.

Manage sales resistance. Realize resistance doesn't mean denial or refusal. In selling, it means, "Give me a reason to buy!"

Close sales confidently. The most important factor in closing sales is not the customer. It's not the product. It's not the price. It's not the terms. It's not the weather or business conditions. It's you - the individual behind the sale - the closer who is thinking right and who has mastered a closing strategy.

Develop endorsements.No advertising is as trusted as the spontaneous testimony of delighted customers. Expect endorsements.

Serve what you sell. Never forget a client. Never let a client forget you.

STUDY RIGHT

We believe you create a future, characterized by high performance and fulfillment, by making a responsible commitment to think right, work right, sell right, study right, and live right.

Here are ten strategies for forming the habit of studying right.

Be a student of selling. In a world of change, you are never completely educated. You must keep educating yourself to cope with change. The more you learn about your job, the less fear there is. Fear is born out of ignorance.

Prepare well. Spectacular performances are always preceded by spectacular preparation. Cultivate the will to prepare.

Develop a mentor. Self-talk shapes your selling life. Take charge of your thoughts. Monitor what you are telling yourself about your situation and about your potential in selling.

Watch your self-talk. Learn as much as possible about your prospects -- their reputations and capacities, who they are buying from now and what they are receiving for their dollars. Decide to be a shrewd observer.

Stay brilliant on the basics. Rely on these fundamentals: Build credibility, be well mannered, simplify your recommendations, speak prospect's language, speak as one having authority, sell at your buyer's pace, avoid exaggeration and dogmatic statements, use repetition, make it the prospect's idea, summarize strategically, and close with confidence.

Achieve competency levels. Become known for what you know. This is the high payoff. Now, your reputation precedes you.

Write effectively. Simplicity is the formula for successful communication.

Develop the slight edge. This principle has to do with what a slight improvement in one skill can do to your performance over a period of time.

Out-distance competition. To out-distance your competition you must learn more and better ways to out-serve them. You then become your own best recommendation.

Build your Research and Development Department. Develop a library of sales support material to stay current on your products and keep you sharp on new selling techniques. Subscribe to sales publications, and utilize the resources available on the Internet.

WORK RIGHT

We believe you create a future, characterized by high performance and fulfillment, by making a responsible commitment to think right, work right, sell right, study right, and live right. Here are ten strategies for forming the habit of working right.

Plan productive days. A successful day consists of a series of successful acts. In selling, productive acts are those that directly or indirectly contribute to your success.

Fix action plan. Begin with the end in mind. Then break it down into easily achievable mini-goals, and focus on those numbers.

Develop self-discipline. Disciplined salespeople are: enthusiastic, resourceful, predictable, dependable, courageous, persistent, optimistic, and dedicated.

Be a self-starter. Don't wonder or ponder or contemplate too long. Don't wait until you feel like it. Don't wait until you feel "hot." Don't wait until conditions are just right. Instead, "begin it!"

Put off procrastinating. Write it on your heart: Success is the product of today, of today's responsibilities fulfilled, of today's opportunities seized, of today's jobs attended to, of today's sales finalized.

Believe in the law of averages. Knowing the numbers permits you to have an almost total indifference to whether or not a given prospect buys or doesn't buy.

Make habit your servant. You can change! You must develop the capacity to substitute a new habit pattern while you are striving to overcome any bad habit.

Manage selling time. It's no good being a model of split-second efficiency if you are working on the wrong things. A successful salesperson reviews the calendar as well as the clock.

Put forth honest, intelligent effort. An honest day's work is our moral obligation to the company we represent, our families and ourselves. At the end of the day, be able to say: "Today, I have given an effective, full day's effort to my selling job. I have displayed discipline in planning, time management and selling."

Do it . . . and then some! Our business in life is not to get ahead of others but to get ahead of ourselves - to break our own records, to outstrip our yesterdays by our today; to do the little parts of our work with more force than ever before. 

LIVE RIGHT

We believe you create a future, characterized by high performance and fulfillment, by making a responsible commitment to think right, work right, sell right, study right, and live right. Here are ten strategies for forming the habit of living right.

Compete, don't compare. Be yourself, but learn to be your best self. Winning means excelling at being you.

Live on the right side of "but." When we live on the wrong side of that little conjunction "but," we say things like, "Oh, I guess the sales meeting was OK, but it was a little long." Living and selling on the right side of "but" causes you to affirm, "Yes, the competition gets tougher, but I work for the best company. I sell the best products and it's great to be alive and selling for my company!"

Develop what it takes. It's often said about successful performers, "They've got what it takes!" They are intensely goal oriented, have high energy levels, know their sales lines, do not take "no" personally, are impeccably honest with themselves and customers, show high levels of empathy, and are 100% accountable for results.

Enrich your mind. Learn the riches of reading. Setting aside 15 minutes a day will enable you to read up to two dozen books a year. To get the most from your books and periodicals, read with a pen or highlighter in hand. Enrich your mind - and improve your sales!

Build goodwill. In selling, as in business and politics, you will need a lot of people spread out in the right places, whom you can depend upon - because they can depend on you.

Know what is important. The greatest thing in the world, love - love of family, home, friends, associates, company, and country.

Live within income. Somewhere along the line, the lack of good financial management becomes a barrier to professional growth, no matter how talented the salesperson. It eats into concentration and confidence.

Extend your stay. According to the experts, there are seven steps to take if you wish to live longer, healthier days on earth: stay active, be optimistic, cope with adversity, reduce your weight, plan significant events, change the pace, and have periodic check-ups.

Live in balance. Successful individuals many times fail in life for reasons that have nothing to do with how they perform in their jobs. Keep your professional, physical, financial, personal, and spiritual dimensions in balance, and you will function at full capacity.

Finish strong. It is the spirit that motivates, that calls upon our reserves of dedication and effort, that decides whether we will give our best, finish strong, or just do enough to get by. 

HOW TO MOTIVATE TO ACTION

Motivating to action is the aim of every presentation you make. The single most important attitude for you to carry into your presentation/closing interview is this one: I will take the initiative and assist my prospect in making the buying decision. The prospect will seldom ever close the sale. I must supply the motivation.

Summarize the key buyer benefits. This is the first step in motivating prospects to take action now! Frequently, the prospect forgets some of the reasons for buying -- remind them. Your rapid-fire summation recalls to the prospect's mind the important things that dictate acceptance of your recommendation.

Next, ask for any questions the prospect wants answered. You will gain valuable information answering their questions. Look for buying signs here.

Move to questions of your own. Your strategic questions should assist the buyer in making minor decisions in favor of your recommendation. These minor decisions should direct the buyer to make the important decision to buy from you.

It is now time to ask the prospect to buy! Assume the prospect is going to buy from you now.

Many buyers say it is amazing how many sales reps seem unable to bring themselves to ask for the "order." Keep in mind that you may have to ask the prospect for the "order" several times before the sale is obtained.

We encourage you to follow this strategy for motivating prospects to action.

HOW TO STAY AT THE TOP

Selling power originates from developing and maintaining definiteness of purpose. The strength of your purpose determines the attitudes you develop about selling and the habits you develop for spending your time. "Thinking right" will move you to join the agents who get to the top and stay there.

Make these tenets a dominant part of your selling style:

BELIEVE that the modern-day, client-oriented life insurance contract is the single best instrument for providing a complete and balanced hedge against the twin economic dangers that confront every prospect: the dangers of living too long or dying too soon.

BELIEVE that financial products and services, properly sold, are of considerably more value to your buyer than any commissions you can possibly earn.

BELIEVE that you are your most important customer. You must be sold on your job, your products, and your ability to perform.

BELIEVE that you should set realistically high goals and achieve them on schedule.

BELIEVE that time is money and that learning to manage your time productively will be one of your most profitable achievements.

BELIEVE in the law of averages and in the wisdom of knowing the dollar value of each of your primary activities: setting appointments, the fact-finding interview, and the closing interview.

BELIEVE that honest, intelligent effort is always rewarded.

BELIEVE that a selling interview is never to be considered a contest between you and the prospect.

BELIEVE that the power of your sales presentation will always lie in its simplicity.

BELIEVE that the product purchase must be "helped along" and is most often made because you guided the prospect's behavior in an effective manner.

BELIEVE that prospects buy financial products and services not so much because they understand the product thoroughly, but because they feel and believe that you, the agent, understand them, their problems, and the things they want to accomplish.

BELIEVE that almost all development is, in fact, self-development.

BELIEVE that staying physically fit is a prerequisite for maintaining a high level of energy.

BELIEVE that top producers are ordinary people with an extraordinary determination to make every occasion a great occasion.

BELIEVE that the spiritual always determines the material.

BELIEVE that your image of yourself determines how far you will go in earning money, gaining clients, and achieving influence.

Study these philosophies. Digest them. Make them a dominant part of your selling strategy, and you will find yourself among those agents who go to the top and stay there!

SELF-MOTIVATORS FOR MAKING MORE AND BETTER SALES

Nothing can hold back an idea whose time has come. You can give your prospects ownership of the idea of buying what you are trying to sell them by personalizing your recommendations. Remember that you will succeed in this only to the degree that you can speak the prospect's language.

Use a planned presentation and make your proposals distinctive. The following self-motivators will help you make more sales to quality prospects:

Hard planning makes easy selling.

Successful sales professionals pinch pennies for their prospects. Help prospects figure out how the premium can be paid.

Simplify your suggestions to gain understanding.

We learn, and sales are made, through the use of repetition . . . repetition . . . repetition.

You know your business, so speak as someone who has authority.

When a pause or interruption occurs, it's always wise to summarize.

The story method is the most effective means of making prospects understand a point you wish to make or relate to a situation you are trying to describe. So build an inventory of stories and examples and practice telling them. Good storytellers are made, not born.

 

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