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‘Positive Attitude’

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Sixty Second Sales Tip #4

In this clip, from the sales training video Make My Life Easier, Warren emphasizes the pitfalls of the price trap, and how selling value is what makes you great. Don’t miss it!

Video Missing.

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28 Objections

One of the great things about blogging are the comments and the emails I get from so many business professionals, salespeople and sales managers. A great example is David Moore from the UK, who regularly leaves his insights here.

However, sometimes you come across a comment where you can’t help but do a double take. This comment is so long, I cannot post it here, so you’ll have to click this link: comment from Savio.

Savio wants me to turn around 28 objections for him! Unfortunately, Savio’s problems run much deeper than his inability to overcome objections. What he’ll seriously have to start overcoming are his own perceptions because apparently he see’s himself failing in every aspect of his business (See Yourself Successful).

In the very first paragraph he writes:

“I feel that my relatives and friends will reject me for being a life insurance agent as they are more successful and earning lots more money than what I am earning. In fact some of them have already rejected me and disapprove of me for being a life insurance agent. I am worried what other people will think and say about me.”

Right away this tells me that Savio does not believe in what he is doing, otherwise he wouldn’t be worried about what other people think. Plus, it’s obvious he does not believe in his product (see Belief).

There is nothing wrong with being a life insurance agent. Ask any family who has lost a loved one, and was still able to maintain their lifestyle; provide for a spouse or children’s education; or, not have to sell the house and downsize; all because of financial help from a life insurance company.

And I have a rule that applies here! It is impossible to help those who expect a commitment from others to be much greater than their commitment to themselves.

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Winning Referrals

I just received the following email from Ira, who is a property and casualty insurance agent. He has a very interesting question about referrals and since this is such a big topic among salespeople and business owners, I thought I would share my reply with you:

Warren,

I just found your site via your BusinessWeek interview, and I really enjoy your content.

I wanted to ask you a question regarding referrals. About a year ago, I got into the commercial insurance industry. I provide small to mid-size companies General Liability coverage, commercial vehicle, property insurance, etc. I am very fortunate in that I am quite often able to lower their costs without sacrificing coverage and am able to provide outstanding service to my clients.

My question is: how do I get these guys to understand that I really am trying to build my business with referrals and have them give me some names, intros, etc, without them feeling like they are putting another sales guy onto them? I feel like if I can save someone 40+%, they should be willing to help me out by giving me some guys to contact.

What are your thoughts?

My first thought is that Ira is hurting himself mainly because of his perceptions (sales sterotypes). Ira is not only providing a valuable service to these business owners, but in his own words states, “I am quite often able to lower their costs without sacrificing coverage and am able to provide outstanding service to my clients.”

Anyone who can do that is not selling; they’re helping, which is what successful salespeople do. A salesperson like Ira who saves clients money while delivering quality service is not another sales guy out there bothering people.

Good salespeople who deliver lower costs, asset protection and quality service are the kind of people clients and prospects WANT to see. This makes it Ira’s obligation to get referrals. Rather than “putting another sales guy on them,” don’t you think Ira’s clients would love to refer him to fellow business associates knowing that if he does the same for them, it wil help their businesses?

I think the issue Ira has is quite common. He’s afraid to ask for referrals. He shouldn’t be, especially since he does such good work for his clients. But while Ira states, “they should be willing to help me out by giving me some guys to contact,” the first rule of referrals is: "You have to ASK!" In referrals and in life, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. You cannot sit around and wait for something to happen; you have to MAKE it happen.

Here’s what Ira should do:

  • Make a courtesy call to each one of his clients.
  • Ask each one of these clients for three names. When asking for referrals always ask for a specific amount. Don’t use open ended questions like, “Do you happen to know anyone who might be able to use my service?” That’s the kind of question that usually gets you a big fat NO!
  • When speaking to his clients, Ira needs them to agree with him that they are more than satisfied with everything he’s done for them and then ask them if they know three other business owners, they are friendly with, who they feel could benefit, much like they are, from his services.

People know and hang out with others who are just like them. In Ira’s case, his clients are business owners. I guarantee each one of them knows other business owners.

Referrals are the life-blood of a successful business. A prospect who has been referred by a satisfied client is more likely to buy and more likely to become a long term repeat client.

So remember the three rules of referrals:

  1. ASK!
  2. ASK for a specific number
  3. ASK the kind of questions that can be answered. (Could you give me the names of three business owners you know who might benefit from this service?)

Links to past articles on winning referrals:

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Make Employee Praise Worthy, Not Worthless

Do you ever just say to yourself, “Am I going crazy, or is the whole world nuts?” This happened to me recently as I was reading an article a couple weeks ago in an issue of the Wall St. Journal, titled, “The Most Praised Generation Goes to Work.

The article discusses the culture of praise that has been heaped upon the latest generation of twenty-somethings. From parents and teachers who see their job as building self-esteem to soccer coaches who make sure every player gets a trophy, the need to lavish praise on young adults who might wither under an unfamiliar compliment deficit has crept into the workplace.

As the article states, “Employers are dishing out kudos to workers for little more than showing up. Corporations including Lands’ End and Bank of America are hiring consultants to teach managers how to compliment employees using email, prize packages and public displays of appreciation. The 1,000 employee Scooter Store Inc., in New Braunfels, Texas has a staff ‘Celebrations assistant’ whose job it is to throw confetti – 25 pounds a week – at employees. She also passes out 100 to 500 celebratory helium balloons a week (Author’s note: You can’t make this stuff up. Can you imagine a company who’s willing to admit they pay someone to pass out balloons and throw confetti?).The Container Store Inc. estimates that one of its 4,000 employees receives praise every 20 seconds, through such efforts as its “Celebration Voice Mailboxes.”

Aside from the social and psychological ramifications of this insanity (psychologists agree that adults who were overpraised as children tend to be narcissistic at work and in personal relationships). They’re also lousy at basking in other people’s glory, which makes for problems in work and marriage relationships. How can a company develop outstanding performers out of people whose egos are so fragile?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big believer in encouraging and recognizing employee achievement, but the key word here is achievement. No company or organization can survive when doing the minimum (showing up) is considered praiseworthy. Companies succeed because of the many people who constantly go above and WAY beyond the minimum. Praise and recognition lose its value when it’s too easy to achieve; leaving no incentive to go way beyond the minimum.

But here’s a bigger problem: we all know that experience is the best teacher, because it gives us the opportunity to make mistakes, and all successful people will tell you that you learn from your mistakes. However, we only learn from our mistakes because there are other people (managers, peers, co-workers, friends), who can point out our mistakes and show us how to correct them.

How can you, as a manager, business owner, executive or leader possibly be expected to correct the mistakes of people who are so used to being praised for every insignificant accomplishment? When the slightest criticism, no matter how warranted, will send them screaming to the nearest therapy session? If you can’t be told you made a mistake, how can you ever avoid making the same mistakes over and over again?

Don’t make praise meaningless, make it worth something.

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Success and Resentment

Have you ever wondered why so many people resent success? I know the attitude that underlies this resentment, but there is no justification for it. Most successful people get where they are by not only outworking and outthinking everyone else, but also because they are willing to take the kind of risks that average people fear.

In fact, many of the people who resent success had many of the same opportunities to be successful, if not more. However, instead of looking in the mirror and admitting they were unwilling to do what it took to get there, they find it much more satisfying to try and bring others down. I have been watching this for many years and witnessed it again over the weekend.

This past Saturday, I spent 9 hours in a high school gym watching my daughter Emily, and her team, The Bouncing Bulldogs, compete in the Region II Jump Rope Championships. The top four finishers in their age group, in each event (11 of them), qualify for the national championships, held at the end of June in Orlando.

Emily competed in all eleven events and I’m very proud to say that she won the gold medal in eight events, the bronze medal in one and a 5th place ribbon in another. In fact, based on total points the Bouncing Bulldogs as a team, won the regional championships for the 15th straight year. The Bulldogs have won the national championship for the last three years running and make up the majority of the US National Team that has dominated the world championships the last two times it was held. They are arguably the best jump rope team in the world.

What’s puzzling and very disturbing, though not surprising about their success, is the reaction of other teams and people, including those in charge of the sport! Instead of trying to duplicate their success; holding them up as role models; or promoting them as the face of the sport (for purposes of legitimizing the sport), the Bulldogs have been bad-mouthed and derided by other teams jealous of their success, yet far too lazy to try and duplicate it.

USA Jump Rope, the governing body of the sport (a sport that is desperate to get recognized as an Olympic sport) even changes the rules used in competition on a yearly basis, in order to try and derail the Bulldog express. Naturally, it hasn’t worked; the Bulldogs just work harder and keep winning. Duh!

At this past weekend’s regional championships, two teams who had been in our region in the past, switched regions this year because they complained that not enough of their kids were qualifying for Nationals. The other teams there were almost disdainful of the Bulldogs. One group of coaches and parents from another team wouldn’t even clap when kids from the Bulldogs were called up to receive their medals and ribbons. How pathetic is that?

The Bulldogs, like any successful group, outwork everybody. These kids are in the gym almost every single day. The older kids MENTOR the younger ones and make sure they pass down this culture of excellence. Are they doing anything that any other team couldn’t do? Of course not; they’re just doing what almost every other team is unwilling to do. But instead of looking in the mirror, taking responsibility and trying harder (much harder), these teams and the sorry adults who run them have the misguided notion that their failure is not so bad if they can tear down those who have succeeded.

I’ll guarantee if asked, every one of these other teams would want the same success as the Bulldogs, which tells us that people resent successful people mostly because they’re not one of them.

Bringing someone else down to legitimize your own failures does not make you more successful; it just makes you a bigger loser. I would much rather give it my all and fall a little short, than never give it a shot and knock those who do. How about you?