Brian Willett
Wednesday, 11 April 2018 / Published in Sales Blog

Humans are really easy to understand if you think about what makes us tick, gets us excited, scared, angry, etc.  Yes we are emotional beings.  And we only care about ourselves.

I know, someone out there is saying to themselves right now.  I don’t only care about myself.  I put others before myself. Blah, Blah, Blah.  Maybe you do.  But what if I told you your were fired.  You wouldn’t be thinking about the money you spend each month on your charity of choice.  Nope. The first thing you would think about is how you are going to pay your mortgage, car, or put food on the table.

This week, I was reminded again, how selfish most humans really are.

As a sales manager, I not only sell but I also manage a sales team.  In my business, some sales reps stay for a while and there are some that stay for a season and move on.  Thats okay.  It happens, what we do is hard.

I get the resignation letter and we have a conversation. The employee tells me they are willing to work out the two weeks.  I really needed that person to do that so we could get things in place to make a smooth transition.  They weren’t going to a competitor, so I was good with it. We get three days into the two weeks they are to work, and the person goes awol.  They don’t return my phone calls. They are not sending emails or returning my texts.

Look I am a pragmatist.  I have been in business long enough that I understand that when people have made a decision to leave their position, in their minds they have already left the position. Most likely, they left the position weeks or months ago. But now it is just final, because they finally let their manager know.  So the fact they weren’t returning my calls. I understand.  No hard feelings.  We will both move on.  However, don’t expect to get a two-week paid vacation; in between jobs at my expense.

After the third day of no return calls, texts, or emails. I left a message for the sales rep.  It sounded something like this.

“I was just calling to let you know that this will be your last day on the payroll.  I appreciate your willingness to work out the two weeks, but it is evident that you have already moved on.  And that is okay.  But we will be ending your employment as of today.”

Again, I am not upset at this point. We both are moving on. That is life.

So after leaving voice mails for three days and not getting any response. I leave the above voicemail. And wouldn’t you know, I get a call back within one hour of leaving the message.

So we talk about what needs to happen and everything is ok. They were a good colleague and in the future we will most likely do business together.

But as I was talking with a colleague of mine about this situation, they reminded me of what a great illustration of how to leave a voicemail that the person receiving the message will actually care enough to return.

As my story illustrates very vividly.  When we leave a voicemail with someone we must communicate what we offer and how it could directly impact their bottom line, as it did in this case, it creates the urgency for them to take action.  I have no idea why they didn’t return my calls the three days prior, and it doesn’t matter.  However, when you do finally strike a nerve that impacts them directly, emotionally, and in this case financially, it will cause action to occur and they will return your phone call.

So today as I making phone calls to prospects I will be reminding myself constantly about this interaction. If I want to get my phone call returned, I must leave a message that states how the person can either benefit by calling me back or lose something if they don’t call me back.  We are all interested in anything that can help us.

To your success and your future.

Brian Willett
Wednesday, 11 April 2018 / Published in Sales Blog

I recently played a fun game called three truths and a lie with a group of colleagues at the office.  It is a good way to get to know others that you work with and find out interesting things about each other. It is a great icebreaker in meetings and just an overall fun game to play to get to know people at a different level than you might know them currently.

How does it work:

  • Each person in the group gets a turn
  • When its your turn, you tell the group three things about yourself that are true and one thing that is a lie.
  • You can tell the truths and lies in any order you want, some people play two truths and a lie, but I prefer three truths, because then we get to know someone a little bit better.
  • After you tell your three truths and the lie, the group then guesses which of the four statements was a lie.
  • You can facilitate this a variety of different ways. The purpose of this exercise is to get to know the person at a different level than you currently know them and maybe find out something interesting that you would have never guessed about the person.

This game sparks a lot of different conversations, because people then become interested in learning more about whatever it is that the person revealed about themselves and many times people find that they have common interests or hobbies.

I am going to start writing a blog called tree truths and a lie.  Since it is my blog it is my opinion, you may disagree with my opinion, but I don’t care.  My hope is that you will respond to this post in the comments section and tell me which of the four statements you think is a lie.

I will be posting this blog once a week on a variety of different topics.  I look forward and appreciate your feedback.

There are many truths and lies about selling intangibles but here are mine:

  1. The most important thing to know about an intangible product is that the customer usually doesn’t know what they are getting until they don’t get it.
  2. It is important to remind the buyer regularly of what they are getting from your service.
  3. Unique to tangible products is that the customer is seldom aware when they are being served well.
  4. An intangible product is harder to sale and differentiate in the market.

Which of the four statements is a lie?  I look forward to reading your responses.

To your success and your future.

Brian Willett
Wednesday, 11 April 2018 / Published in Sales Blog

If you are a republican you might really like this post.  If you are a democrat the chances are you aren’t going to like this post or what is in it.  I want to challenge you regardless of which way you lean politically to read the post and learn something from it.  I am not writing this from a political perspective.  I am writing this from a how can I learn from what Donald Trump did and apply it to what I do perspective.

We all now know that Donald Trump won the presidential race.  He won it pretty easily. Causing massive disruption in the political arena.  He did it with out the support of most of the news media, he did it without the support of the establishment republicans, he did it really without the support of most of the career political people making up the news media, pundits, long time politicians, print news, etc.

So how did he do it with all of these people against him?  He did it his way.  He did it in a way that was unconventional and caused massive disruption to the political establishment.

Here are the six things Donald Trump applied to winning the 2016 presidential campaign that you can apply to your sales approach to win every day:

Social Media:  Donald got criticized all of the time about being angry and unfit to be president because of his rants on twitter.  I am not talking about his messages in his posts. I don’t even remember what half of them were.  Here is what I remember:  The news media talking about his posts.  They talked about it all of the time.  That is all they talked about.  By applying some of the following things that I outline below through his social media platform, he was able to get attention all of the time to the people who wanted to hear his message.

Lesson:  Embrace Social media to get your message out to your audience.  It is a great platform to target and pinpoint the people you want to reach.

Lead with an Opinion: Not everyone is going to like to what you have to say.  However, nobody likes a person that says nothing. Also, nobody likes it when you are a fence rider, meaning you wont take a stand either way.  You have to make a stand and have a strong opinion for people to notice you.

Lesson: Whatever it is you believe, state it, stand behind it, and when you get push back don’t back down. Your opinion is yours lead with it.

Make big claims: This is the one that drives people crazy more than anything.  When Donald would make big bold statements about what he was going to do.  Half the people said he could never make that happen.  And the other half of the people were excited that he said it.  That is just the reality of the world we live in today.

If I told you today, that you could spend eight hours with me working and you would earn $500 dollars.  Depending on your current financial situation you may or may not take me up on the offer.  However, if I said you could make $10,000 dollars for the same amount of time, the chances are you would listen.  And that is all Donald Trump was doing when he was making big claims, getting people to listen.

Lesson:  If you want to get the attention of people today, you have to give them a BIG reason to listen.

Get Attention:  The world is as noisy as it ever has been.  With the news media 24/7, Sports of some kind on 24/7, twitter, Facebook, advertising, current events, the holidays, etc., you name it, you have to do be bold and do something to get attention.  Attention is what we all need for our prospects to get to know us.

Lesson: Your biggest challenge in sales is nobody knows you or your product.  If you want to become known, get massive attention by applying some of the ways I outline here.

Talk to your prospects: We all know that America is divided pretty evenly when it comes to politics.  I am sure it probably has always been that way.  Especially in today’s world, where there is more transparency than ever before.  Between twitter, videos, print news, and anything else you can think of, there is always a record of what you have said.  The key today is to define your prospect with clear pinpoint accuracy and then create messages to speak to them.  Again, love him or hate him.  Donald knew what message his prospects wanted to hear.  He was able to create specific messaging to them.  Which fired them up and got them out to vote.  You have to fire your prospects up about your product and then get them to spend money on it.

Lesson: Figure out who you want to reach, and then create a message stating what they want to hear.

Embrace your haters:  As I said earlier.  We live in a country where it is pretty evenly split politically.  So the bottom line is if you are going to win, you have to get fifty percent of the people fired up and hope that the other side doesn’t fire theirs up as much. When you embrace your haters and take them head on as Donald did, it again creates more attention which is what we all want.

Lesson:  Your haters can fuel your desire.  Your haters provide you content to feed the people who love you. Use your haters to define your message to the other half of the people who want to hear your message.

The main thing is that we all our seeking attention in this 24/7 world.  In sales, it is the easiest it ever has been to get your message out.  In most cases it is free to do so.  However, because it is so easy and everyone is doing it, it is harder than ever to get people to hear your message. To go from obscurity to at least being known to people you have to do things unconventionally and be ready to handle the response.

To your success and your future.

Brian Willett
Wednesday, 11 April 2018 / Published in Sales Blog

According the Bureau of Labor statistics in 2012, 1 out of every 9 people were in a job classification that was considered sales.  So what about the other eight jobs?  Well, according to a study conducted by Daniel Pink (author) in his book To Sell is Human, the other 8 people are in sales as well, just not the traditional sense of the word.

In his best-selling book, Daniel conducted a study titled “What do you do at work.”  They gathered 9,057 respondents around the world. Of the 9,057 respondents they paired down the results to a sample size of over 7,000 adult full-time workers in the United States.

The research had two major findings:

  1. People are spending about 40 percent of their time at work engaged in non-sales selling. Meaning they were spending that time persuading, influencing, and convincing others do get something done, not purchasing a product. That means 24 minutes out of every hour, they are trying to get someone else to do something.
  2. People considered this time critical to their success.

The findings come from people in various types of roles. The research also showed some other interesting findings.

  • 37% of the respondents said they devoted a significant time to teaching, coaching, or instructing others.
  • 39% said they devoted significant time to serving clients or customers.
  • 70% reported that they spent at least some of their time “persuading or convincing others.”

Later in the survey to probe the respondents further. The survey asked respondents to rank 0-100 on a slider scale.  “What percentage of your work involves convincing or persuading people to give up something they value for something you have?”  The average reply among respondents was 41 percent.

It is now fairly obvious that we are all in the business of sales, or as I like to call it influence.  We all have to influence other people or convince other people to listen to us.  Without the ability to do that it is very difficult to get anything accomplished.

The more important thing I want to point out here, is that if 1 out of 9 jobs in a company are traditional sales roles.  Meaning you are paid to go out and generate business by acquiring customers.  It means the other 8 out of 9 remaining jobs spend at least 40% of their time connecting with customers. Then why is sales training, or any kind of training for that matter, only conducted with the sales team?

Since you are reading this, the chances are you are not in a traditional sales role based on the data.  However, my hope is that I at least got you thinking about the fact you do spend a lot of your day trying to persuade and convince others in some form. So the question is how do you do it?

Here are three simple ways to influence, persuade, and maybe even convince others to your way of thinking.

  1.  Ask questions:  This is the number one way.  People like to solve problems on their own.  Especially since you are most likely in a peer-to-peer situation and you can’t just tell them exactly how you feel about something and this is the way we are going to do it.  Nope instead you have to get buy-in from the other person.When you become more skilled at asking the right questions, at the right time, to a person that you are trying to influence, you can win them to your way of thinking.  They start to convince themselves through their own words by answering your questions, that what you are suggesting is the better way.  If, your way is truly the better way.
  2. Listen: Seems pretty easy doesn’t it?  Come on, we all think we are better listeners than we actually are.  But the facts states the opposite.  That we truly aren’t very good at listening.  Nope. We listen long enough so we can respond.  Well, if you are trying to convince or influence someone else to get them to move, then we have to become better at listening to their perspective and then tailoring our response around that to ask a good follow-up question to nudge them in the direction we want them to go.
  3. The best way to win an argument is to avoid it.–Dale Carnegie.  Yep Mr. Carnegie couldn’t have said it any better than that.  You might be thinking, “Does that mean, I don’t stand up for what I think is right.”  Read the quote again.  No.  That is not what Mr. Carnegie meant, nor do I.  Instead of arguing about whatever it is you are trying to get someone else to do.  You instead use basic human relations to get them thinking differently.

Obviously, this blog isn’t long enough to equip you with the skills necessary for you to always get others to do what you want them to do.  The skills required to move others require constant attention and constant reinforcement and development.

Do you have the skills?  As a leader or manager, do your people who are working with your customers have the skills necessary and required to move customers into loyal customers? We know your cost of acquisition is high for a customer in most cases. Then you turn those high value clients over to people you have invested very little, if any time or money into, to persuade and convince those clients to stay loyal to your company and your product.

My unsolicited advice. If it is not obvious.  As you move into 2017, you must increase the amount of money you spend on the people who have to either work with your customers (which is everyone) and everyone who has to work with their peers and colleagues (which is everyone).  So this is the 9 out 9 employees within your company.

How much money are you willing to lose because of lost clients, lost production because people can’t get others to move, or lost employees because managers aren’t equipped with the skills to get others to move?

To your success and your future.

References:  To Sell is Human;The surprising truth about moving others.  Author: Daniel Pink.  Published by Penguin Group (2012) 

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