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YOU are the Sale

17 Jul

In 2019, we are selling ourselves. It doesn’t matter what your position might be – frankly, it becomes more and more important the higher you are in a company. And as an entry level salesperson, you carry YOU forward – whether that’s at the same company all your life or more likely, whatever career is generated from your first few years in the workplace.

How do you sell yourself today?

1 – You have a kick-butt LinkedIn profile. Because that’s what professional people do. You also have other social media sites – at least Facebook – where you are community-facing on a regular basis. In the old days, networking happened in your neighborhood or at your place of worship or the grocery store where you knew everyone. Today, it’s on the world wide web.

2 – You operate every day with every person under the golden rule. People around you start saying (because you usually succeed at living the golden rule), “I wonder what that guy does…”. They won’t listen or remember – unless they ask with genuine curiosity. That curiosity only comes when they like you as a human being.

I grew up learning from people and many sales books that the buyer didn’t need to like you. It’s actually true – but then you can only be one thing – an expert with a perfect product or service. In case you aren’t the expert yet and/or your product service is only very good in a competitive field, genuine, trusting relationships go a long way in the ten years that I’ve been running my own business.

3 – You are authentic. Part of being likeable is being vulnerable. You have a couple warts and you talk about them openly.

For example, I don’t like golf. That makes me a bit odd in the business community, but I haven’t played a hole since my third child was born. Somehow, I’m accepted.

I’m also a spazz. My children and fiance definitely understand this. They also know they can say “shoosh you dumb bear”… and I’ll immediately realize that I might be talking an octave too high about something that probably isn’t that big of a deal.

4 – You strive to be the best in the world at something. It doesn’t have to be work-related because whatever it is, it makes you human and helps people remember you. I’m not the best in the world (yet) but my passions and talents are in writing. I’m a recruiter, consultant and salesman, so I decided to put off the fiction novel and pour my efforts into these blogs and business books until I’m 50 (then I write the novel).

If you have these four principles above well in hand, there are many directions you can go from there. It’s all about taking your passions and making you memorable – beyond the privacy of your friends and family...

You’re good at golfing… then represent your company at EVERY charity tournament this year.

You’re a juggler… then learn how to juggle EVERYTHING and tell everyone about it (think concise, short stories 🙂 ).

You love to travel… is your office covered with pictures from your vacations away? What’s the front-page screensaver on your phone? Buy a padfolio with photos on the cover. Start a blog for photos or writings.

You’re a pastry chef… then why isn’t EVERYONE at your office getting a birthday cupcake from you every year? Or maybe deliver some cakes to your clients? They will think you are nutty… but they won’t forget you.

You’ve got a heckuva story to tell… you don’t have to be a writer to be an author. What would be cooler than starting your own book? I can help you with that one if you reach out.

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

Are You a Squiggle?

28 Mar

 

squiggle9My most popular blog of all time is about this quick personality exercise – so I thought I would revisit the topic with a little updated editing. I originally wrote articles on WordPress (now I write on LinkedIn as well) and this 2011 post continues to get daily visits even though I never promote it (Old Blog Post).

Are you a square, circle triangle, rectangle or other?

Quick, without thinking – go with your gut and answer that question in your head (better yet, quickly draw it on paper) before you read the rest of this and we will dig into your answer in a minute. If you are thinking about your answer 10 seconds later, this exercise probably won’t be accurate.

shapes1Many moons ago, I met Connie Podesta (Connie’s Site) at a conference. Connie spoke over the lunch hour on this very topic of shapes and the personalities typically attached to them. Based on how people answered (first silently in their head), she described the likely personality traits of the individual with surprising accuracy. For example, Connie said, “the circles are probably talking right now…” and sure enough, I was talking at my table.

This is an oversimplified exercise and admittedly, a little silly. But similar to many personality assessments, there is some real accuracy to it … and it only takes 20 seconds! Give this exercise a try and don’t fret about the results as we are all a bit of each of the five shapes. I often ask this as an interview question to candidates, depending on the position. I’m not only curious about their answer, but I like to “read” their reaction to the question as well.

Note that I modified the original exercise on two accounts:

  1. I found that too many people were answering squiggle when given as an option (just because many people thought it was clever or funny) so I changed it to Other.
  2. I also added a rectangle because there was a void between squares and triangles. And those who choose rectangle seem to fit my personality description below.

copSquare: They are typically organized, work hard, love structure and want more order in the universe. Squares dislike situations where they don’t know what’s expected. They prefer working alone and are logical, sequential thinkers who often collect loads of data and file it so it’s easy to locate. Squares have trouble saying, “I’ve got enough information,” to make decisions. They strive to label everything as black or white – and they usually dislike this shape exercise more than the others! Your librarian or the next police officer who pulls you over is probably a square. I hope your CFO is a square.

edisonRectangle: They are a seeker and an explorer who is always searching for ways to grow and change. Rectangles often ask themselves “Who am I? What is the world about?” They are the most receptive of the five shapes to new learning. Rectangles are the least attached to a specific ideology and often cause their co-workers confusion when changing from day-to-day. Most people go through rectangular periods of their life when they’re in a state of change. Thomas Edison was probably a rectangle.

Steve_Jobs_Headshot_2010-CROP-780x611Triangle: They are decisive leaders who focus well on end goals. Triangles are self-confident and carry strong opinions. They can be dogmatic and shoot from the hip. Triangles like recognition and put stock in status symbols. American business has been run by triangles, and this shape is most characteristic of men. A huge positive is that they can communicate well with all the other personalities. Steve Jobs was a triangle.

marilynCircle: They get their energy from other people and work well with others due to their ability to communicate and empathize. They read people and can spot a phony right off. Circles like harmony and have more difficulty in dealing with conflict or making unpopular decisions. They can be swayed by other peoples’ feelings and opinions. They can be very effective managers in egalitarian business structures. Circles like to talk! Marilyn Monroe was a circle.

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Other / Squiggle: They are creative; a “what if” person who’s always thinking of new ways to do something. Squiggles are starters, but struggle with finishing because their mind never stops as they leap from A straight to Z. These catalysts do not like highly structured environments and can’t tolerate the mundane due to their shorter attention span. If squiggles don’t get excitement at work, they’ll find it elsewhere in life. Undoubtedly, Lady Gaga is a squiggle.

 

What’s your shape?

Beyond this shapes exercise, I’m a big fan of personality assessments like DiSC, Myers-Briggs and Strengths Finder 2.0. Over the years, I’ve probably taken 40-50 different assessments. I also like the Kolbe index and at our company, we always use a sales assessment for our candidates. In addition, I’d recommend a plug-in tool on LinkedIn called Crystal which analyzes the personality of a connection based on an algorithm that studies their communication style.

I think even the worst assessment forces you to go through an exercise of self-reflection. Even if the results don’t seem accurate, you will examine your personality, habits, strengths and weaknesses. Even the worst assessment accomplishes this.

I personally feel that the best aspect of these assessments is when you share them with your boss, co-workers or significant other. When I have an employee take an assessment, I share my personal results with them as well. I’ve found that it fosters an easier discussion about their weaknesses. We all have a personality and none of them are wrong – they all come with positives as well as negatives. By identifying these, it’s easier to work with others.

If I’m a circle and you’re a square, we can poke fun at ourselves – and objectively, discuss the value and strengths we both bring to the company or team. We’re all great and all a little crazy. Be aware of your weaknesses and focus on your strengths!

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

 

Getting LinkedIn Recommendations

12 Mar

recommended

In my blog posts over the last six weeks, I’ve covered LinkedIn as a part of a 7-part series (this is my 7th and last post!).

In my opinion, recommendations (not to be confused with skill endorsements) are the most important section on LinkedIn. Recommendations are probably a bigger differentiator than anything else on their site.

If you are a job-seeker or salesperson, recommendations may be the number one thing that make people comfortable hiring or doing business with you. We can all tell people how great we are – but someone else’s words mean a lot more. Get at least 10 recommendations on your page.

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How do you get recommendations? Give them. I make a concerted effort to write them on a regular basis – and in most cases, it’s an opportunity to ask for one in return. Don’t make this a bigger deal than it is; write 3-4 sentences about why you think highly of them (and if you don’t, do not give them a recommendation!). And don’t get caught up in making it perfect. 

My recommendations say something like:

“I worked with Joe when we were both at ABC Company. I had the opportunity to see him in action and he did SOMETHING really well. I’d highly recommend Joe – please reach out if you have any questions!” (under SOMETHING describe 1-2 specifics).

This took me about 90 seconds to write.

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Here are the 3 steps for writing a recommendation:

  1. Go to their LinkedIn profile and click on the 3 dots in the right corner. In the dropdown menu, choose Recommend.
  2. Choose how you know this person and your position at the time.
  3. Write your recommendation.

Clients and people that you’ve reported to are the best recommenders, but colleagues you’ve worked with can also provide a recommendation. Just like the ones you give – only ask those that think highly of you and/or love the service you provided them. So don’t be shy and ask for them! Then ask again… if they say yes the first two times, then politely pester them a third time until they actually write one for you.

People are heavily influenced by these so don’t wait until someone asks for your references after interviews – put them out there for the world to see! 

gifthatsallfolksIt has been fun breaking down some of the best features of LinkedIn over the past 6 weeks. If you took my suggestions to heart, you understand better how to sell, recruit, find a job, join groups and receive recommendations… and you probably have one of the better profiles on LinkedIn. The quality of your profile will have ongoing benefits.

Despite the length of my 2019 LinkedIn entries, we have not exactly covered the breadth of this site. If you have questions about anything on LinkedIn, feel free to reach out to me.

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

http://www.blueoctopusllc.com

 

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/getting-linkedin-recommendations-drew-schmitz/

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Greener Pastures?

17 Oct

greener pastures

Because I own a recruitment firm, it goes without saying that I’ve seen a lot of salespeople changing jobs in 2018. The unemployment is low and salespeople are in demand. I’m often asked, “Is now the right time to leave?”… and usually my answer back is “Maybe you shouldn’t.” There’s a big difference between being curious and genuinely frustrated. The grass often looks greener on the other side of the fence but that doesn’t mean that you are going to be more fulfilled in making a job change.

So Why Should You Stay?

  1. You have a good boss. He/she taught you the role well, is always there for questions, helps you achieve your sales goals and doesn’t micromanage you.
  2. Your commission structure isn’t changing every year. I’ve seen companies change their sales comp plans annually. If yours hasn’t been constantly adjusted, then you may want to consider yourself lucky.
  3. There is no commission ceiling. Obviously, you want an uncapped commission structure so you can continue to give yourself a raise.  You also want a territory that can continue to grow.
  4. A strong company culture. This can mean a lot of things, but mainly it’s positive (even fun!) and supportive of the entire sales team.
  5. A serious value proposition. Every company has one… but do they really? List the differentiators of your company’s product or service. Is it one-of-a-kind in certain niches?
  6. Your company has a plan. The vision and 5-year goals of the company are continuously shared and openly discussed. If you feel good about not only where the business stands now but see yourself working for a long-term winner, why even consider a change?

If you have 5-6 of the above, don’t call me. You should make the best of where you are currently working and stop worrying about the stresses of making a job change.

It’s time to grow faster~

Drew Schmitz

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

 

How to NOT Sound Like a Salesperson

16 May

Stopx

Before you meet a prospect, or even speak to them, you are probably trying to catch them via email or LinkedIn (or in some type of written format). You may get lucky reaching the decision maker through a call or knock on their door – but usually it’s not that easy if you have any type of complex solution.

Here are two examples of how I was approached by salespeople this week:

#1) Hey Drew! I’m curious – how long have you been a coach and who is your target audience? I ask because I see Business Coaches being incredibly successful here on LinkedIn in terms of finding new clients and winning new business. The key is replicating the real life, 1-on-1 relationship building you do with prospective clients here on LinkedIn. (I have a whole system I teach on how this works and the Business Coaches I’ve shown it to have had great success.) Happy to share some free tips and strategies if you’re interested. I can send over some free resources. And if you’re not interested, no worries at all. Joe.

Good:

  • He started with a question.

Bad: 

  • He starts out with “Hey” (too casual) and an exclamation point. Salespeople shouldn’t use !’s in an opener. It’s salesy.
  • The question is followed by a bunch of “blah, blah and blah” (too long).
  • Joe tells me in detail, his opinion of why he’s awesome.
  • There’s no call to action at the close.

#2) Drew! I am doing a giving experiment… What’s a challenge or question you’re facing right now related to Facebook Ads or acquiring more users for your SaaS company? My agency helps numerous SaaS companies to dramatically increase user acquisition with Facebook Ads. How can someone like me help you? I would love to help solve your challenges. Be in touch, Aaron

Good:
  • It’s short enough that I read it all the way through upon receiving it.
  • There is a promise that Aaron may reach out again… but it’s still not necessarily a call to action.
Bad: 
  • EEEEEEK – exclamation point.
  • “Doing a giving” is a weird start and I had to take the time re-read it to understand his message.
  • I’m not a SaaS company.
Email Tips:
  1. Keep them short and sweet. Greeting, 2-3 sentences, a call to action and signature.
  2. Make sure your messages are clear so an 8th grader can understand it (the Star Tribune is written at a 5th grade reading level and the Wall Street Journal at an 8th grade level).
  3. Make sure you understand your prospect’s company and role.
  4. Don’t use exclamation points when prospecting.
  5. Ideally, get an introduction – or approach them with some commonality through LinkedIn. Now it’s a WARM lead which tremendously increases your odds of a response.

Note that I generally love exclamation points! I literally remove a couple of them every time I re-read a message before sending – as I typically have 3-4 of them. It makes us sound dumber and too familiar to a stranger. I use them with my internal employees and long-term clients, but not my prospects.

Whatever you say, keep it short and sweet – or they may not even read it. If you’ve established them as a strong prospect, follow-up 5-6 times afterwards (emails or phone calls). Persistence often pays off.

Good Luck! ~Drew

http://www.blueoctopusllc.com

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

Sales Neutrinos

5 Feb

Cover Neutrinos

To those of you who have consistently read my blog –  or “stumbled” into it recently, I have finished an eBook called Sales Neutrinos. If you are interested in a free copy, please reach out. I’ve told everyone that it will cost you in 2016 but I’m giving it out complimentary in 2015!

Essentially, the book is an organized version of my blog – laid out in a linear manner with some new content. I would love to have you take a look. The forward is below…

What is smaller than an atom?

Recently, scientists have identified subatomic particles called neutrinos – they are so miniscule and weigh so little that no one has been able to measure their mass yet. Yet neutrinos are among the most abundant particles in the universe and by finding them, we are able to learn a great deal about the structure and the history of the universe.

I’m a bit obsessive about the root of a word, cause, movement or ideology. I want to understand the reason behind why certain salespeople overachieve while others flounder. Hence, my sales book gets the title Sales Neutrinos. We’re here to uncover the sales truths at the core!

It’s time to grow faster.

~Drew Schmitz

Blue Octopus LLC

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

8 Resume Myths

29 Oct

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How important is the resume? Not as important today as you think…

The 8 Resume Myths:

1. I need to spend days on my resume.  People overestimate its value and spend way too much time or money making it “perfect”. It is a piece of black and white paper and it alone isn’t going to get you a job. It probably won’t even get you an interview.

2. I should submit it to everyone. Don’t. Pick 20 targets and work them as hard as you possibly can. Don’t fill out online applications unless the hiring manager tells you to do so. Don’t apply to the HR people who don’t know you.

3. People will spend a lot of time reviewing my resume. Nope – recruiters and HR people usually look at it for 60 seconds and then you end up in file “A”, “B” (which they will probably never get back to) or “C” (it’s dead). Is your resume that good that you’ll end up in the “A” stack? This is what they are looking at: (a) The top paragraph (b) Your length of employment at each position and (c) Your previous companies/job titles.

4. I’m just competing against 10-20 people. No, it’s more like 100+. If you aren’t perfect for the job, your resume isn’t going to get you in for an interview. However, if you contact managers prior to their job posting, you will be competing with less than five.

5. At least the person screening my resume is qualified and capable… HR assistants or Administrative Assistants are viewing over half of the resumes. The other half are being read by HR generalists or hiring managers. Again, human resources who doesn’t know you, won’t get you “a leg up”. The hiring managers don’t really understand how to properly screen candidates because they only do it a few times a year – and they tend to procrastinate their hiring search because of other priorities in their position.

6. But I have the formula and know how to create the best resume… You typically write your resume from YOUR perspective instead of the company’s need. Back to my 20 targets in #2, you need to customize it for every organization you present it to. I’d suggest starting with “I want to work for Blue Octopus LLC because…”. The rest of the content on your resume should be catered to the needs of the position (which you found out from the job description and/or a conversation you had with someone working inside the company).

7. I need to look smart on my resume. Ha! The Wall Street Journal is written at a 5th grade reading level. Your resume should be clear to a 4th grader (hire my son to read it!). Use the Flesch-Kincaid index when editing your resume in Word or other programs (included in most spell checks).

8. It’s okay that I have a gap on my resume. No, unless you have an “in”, they will screen you out for being unemployed for three months or more. Unfair? Yes, but that is the reality. You need to show freelance projects, volunteering or consulting happening during that gap. They “think” you’re sour grapes if you show any instability or staccato in your employment. If you didn’t stay with a company for at least three years, that may also be a red flag against you.

All of this said, a resume is a necessary evil. It better not have typos, missed periods or other inconsistencies. Your job is to write a professional and specific 1-2 page document. If you do need a good resume writer, I have some great connections that can do it for just $300. Next week, I will follow up this blog with my recommendations that make a great resume.

 Companies hire capable, work-ready professionals prepared to help them achieve their goals and solve their problems. Answer these problems on your resume and LinkedIn profile. If you follow my steps and don’t end up getting a job in three months or less, I’d be flabbergasted.

It’s time to grow faster.

~Drew Schmitz

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drew@blueoctopusllc.com

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The Best Salesperson in America!

2 Sep

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I’ve discovered 12 universal truths that cause some salespeople to excel and others to fail. Door to door salesmen still exist where aggressive and pushy works but the sales role in America has changed oh-so much over the last twenty years.

The best do the following to make the big money:

  • They are a consultative salesperson. Don’t know what this means? It’s time to get a couple of new books.
  • A good salesperson does everything asked of them and more in their first year with a company. They don’t really owe you anything but training unless you are on straight commission.
  • Real salespeople know their product and services. They always have a tight elevator pitch prepared along with 10 questions. I never know who I might bump into at the grocery store on Saturday.
  • They are authentic – and memorable. Take a Strengths Finder 2.0 assessment. All you need to be is a borderline extrovert and the rest of your sales personality should be customized to play to your strengths.
  • Great salespeople really listen. They recognize that no one is a fantastic listener so they always aim to improve (ask your significant other!).
  • They sell “peace of mind” or outright happiness (I’m serious –  look at what McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Apple and Harley Davidson do so well).
  • Successful salespeople say “please”, “thank you” and “I’m sorry”.
  • They go slow. There’s no rush or desperation in their sales process. They have urgency when a deal is at risk, but at the same time, they are patient with every prospect until close.
  • Winners are consistent. They take days off and have a balanced life, but they always follow-up, dot the i’s and cross their t’s.
  • Closers drive towards YES or NO. Yes, a great salesperson has to be aggressive. You aren’t here to please prospects, salespeople are there to sell deals. If they are the right prospect you will help them – but they have to give you something in return – a real shot at selling you something. Don’t waste time on selling the “maybe’s”. Ask for yes, qualify maybe’s and keep moving the sale along.
  • They continually learn. This may be #1 on my list. It doesn’t matter where you start, it’s that a salesperson is improving regardless of age.

Lastly, the best salespeople get energy from others and really enjoy helping their prospects and customers on a daily basis. It’s a game, so have fun playing it and be damn good at it. 

Next week, I’ll turn the tables and explain what great selling organizations must do to attract and retain the best talent. Enjoy the return to the 2014 – 2015 school year!

It’s time to grow faster.

~Drew Schmitz

www.linkedin.com/in/andrewschmitz/

http://www.blueoctopusllc.com

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blue-Octopus-LLC/176668965728096

Twitter: @drew_schmitz

Would Johnny Manziel be a good salesman?

20 Aug

sleazy-salesman

Cocky or just confident? As a sales coach and sales recruiter, I am always seeking confident salespeople. It comes with infectious enthusiasm, drive, optimism and carries immediate respect. Cockiness is interpreted as brash, arrogant and unlikable. What is the fine line between the two?

20 years ago, I went out on sales calls with a guy that entered an office suite without an appointment. He often flashed the lights on and off to get their attention and to get a laugh. I was amazed how Tom usually got away with it… and then followed it up by selling his printer cleaning services. Tom had a likeability about him and could quickly disarm the prospect at the front desk with a wink, smile and a joke. Later on in life, I realized that he probably wasn’t going to get away with selling anything that cost more than $500. Tom had half of what I was looking for – confidence, but he never succeeded as far as I know, in making a connection with a CEO and selling a bigger ticket item because his borderline cockiness would not fly today.

Cocky Salespeople:
  • Sell you stuff – if you don’t like the product, all they have is words…
  • So they talk a lot.
  • They tell you this product is the best one then make you feel bad for not buying it today (like most people in car sales).
  • This trait develops when people externally are continually telling them that they are important. When this breaks down, they usually don’t have the internal wherewithal to recover well.
Confident Salespeople:
  • Sell you a product and/or service with choices, solutions and benefits surrounding their offering(s).
  • They usually don’t talk that much but ask you what you are looking for and answer questions.
  • The urgency to buy belongs to the customer – the salesperson is urgent, but can sell it to you as slowly as you’d prefer.
  • This trait arrives from an internal self-assurance. It is built from within through a realistic view and trust in your own talents and abilities. It allows you to authentically respond to your customers and prospects.

If you are still waiting for the punchline on Johnny Manziel… NO, he wouldn’t make for a good salesman!

There are two things a salesperson can do this week:
  1. Have your manager or one of your better coworkers join you on a call with a prospect. Their number one job is to evaluate you while in the meeting.
  2. Video tape your presentation in a mock sales call with a coworker.
Evaluate your sales approach and make sure your confidence never comes across as cocky. You can always learn something about yourself through these two simple methods to keep yourself sharp.

It’s time to grow faster.

~Drew Schmitz

www.linkedin.com/in/andrewschmitz/

http://www.blueoctopusllc.com

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blue-Octopus-LLC/176668965728096

Twitter: @drew_schmitz

8 Tips for Getting Prospects to Listen to You

13 Mar

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Do you want to be heard? Below are eight suggestions that will encourage your prospect to listen to you more attentively…

1. Be an active listener. The #1 way to get your prospect to listen to you is to first listen to them. See my post last week on listening tips. It’s not just hearing them, it’s about observing their non-verbals. If you are a great listener, they will return the favor.

2. Get them to like you. This may not be the “popular method”, but they buy from YOU first and your company and product second and third. Engage the prospect by making it personal. If they dive into business right away, then you can’t talk about the weather or upcoming football game; but the opening 2-4 minutes is usually ripe for you to make it personal. Somewhere in their life whether it’s work or play, they have a passion that makes them glow a bit. If you can figure that out, then you will also enjoy the sales process with that prospect a little more.

  • Find out about their hobbies
  • Look around their office
  • View their LinkedIn profile
  • Do some on-line research (See Sam Richter’s book Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling)
  • Simply ask the prospect what they did last weekend – or what they are doing over the upcoming weekend

3. Show them something. They don’t want to listen to you. They want to see something (men are twice as likely to be interested in seeing or getting their hands around “things”). If you have a product, bring it along so they can touch it. If you are selling a service, show them a few documents as you are pitching them.

4. Let them talk. Your job is to lead a path where they are allowed to talk. Be prepared for every meeting or phone call with 10+ questions. If you can, ask them all! Psychologists a lot smarter than me claim that they literally will like you more, if the person across the table is talking 2/3’s of the time.

5. Show them confidence. Prospects want to buy from someone with poise and self-assurance. If you appear confident (not cocky), you have something they might want. Hold your head high, walk with a purpose into the meeting room and maintain eye contact with your prospect (the rule of thumb is 2/3rds of the time). Your charisma causes them to like you which leads to liking your company and product or service that much more.

6. Be authentic. This theme comes through in my posts repeatedly. You don’t have to be “that” kind of salesperson – aggressive, funny and competetive. Be sincere. Be honest. Be yourself. The only push a salesperson has to make is asking the right questions so you don’t waste anyone’s time. I  let new prospects know this simply by saying the following at the beginning of a call or meeting: “Joan, I’m here to mainly ask a few questions for 30 minutes and understand your company and it’s challenges around business development. I don’t want to waste your time, so you can stop me at any point. If we uncover that my business is a fit for your needs, I’d obviously like to proceed with a follow-up meeting. If we cannot help you, I’ll be the first one to identify that and leave it at this single meeting today. Does that sound fair?” (now their head is nodding and I’m starting the YES Sales Process). Be a genuine, good person while the suit is on Monday through Friday and in the rest of your life. In turn, you will easily connect with certain individuals who will like you and buy millions of dollars worth of your products or services in the future.

7. Know your stuff. All of the above only works if you are actually selling a great product or service. If it’s average or even just “good”, the entire sales process gets more difficult. Assuming you are representing a great company and tangible or intangible product, you had better know it through and through. If you are a greenhorn in a new role, it’s time to take your work home with you for some extra study sessions – or it will take you longer to earn the big commissions. There is always someone smarter than you that can aid in your education process (young and old!). You should be asking someone at least one question every day. Study your competition, understand your target audience, read your industry’s web sites and periodicals, attend the trade shows – and thoroughly know your product or service and its strengths and weaknesses.

8. Be unique. I’m tired of the professional world within which we operate. It is a barrier for creative marketing and often a wall in really getting to know your customer. I double-dog dare you to be unique and take the risk of losing out on some prospects that just don’t resonate with you. Your authentic style along with a little panache will attract the right prospects. The others will likely be the difficult customers and/or the least profitable customers anyway. Be something that none of your competitors dare to be, do something wild and crazy to get their attention, or heck name your company the Purple Octopus! Whatever you do, be great at it and be one of a kind.

Make every day count~

Drew Schmitz

www.linkedin.com/in/andrewschmitz/

http://www.blueoctopusllc.com

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/131nqty

Twitter: @drew_schmitz