Posts

Why Patience Is Not a Virture…It’s Required

I observe between 60 to 100 executives per year as they hone their consulting/advising skills. I am always amazed and impressed with the ones who have the innate ability to quiet themselves so that their audience has time to process and respond. They resist the temptation to interrupt with more information.

I need to see more of this. Read more

Five Steps of Persuasion

Persuasion is a good thing…in fact, it’s a great thing! However, that’s true only provided that you are persuading the right person or organization to accept an idea that will forward their business agenda along with yours. If you are doing it just so you can be right, then you are using this power the wrong way and, it’s unlikely to work. 

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Credentialing, Part Deux…Ask Killer Open-Ended Questions

In my book I talk about how important the voir dire process is to lawyers. In fact, a dear lawyer friend of mine has said, “a trial is won or lost in the voir dire process.” So, are you winning your clients over with your questions?

Investigate Before Proceeding

During the voir dire stage of a trial, lawyers get their one chance to interact with a juror to observe how they think and what their values are to determine how to present/shape the facts of their case. It is this investigation where they will discover new ways to present information that is likely to resonate with the jury. Critical!!

Lead the Witness

Fast forward to us. I recently wrote about credentialing yourself with your clients. It is the act of demonstrating your knowledge by how you engage with them.  One key element is about asking smart, researched, killer open-ended questions that illustrate your diligence performed prior to a client interaction, whether you are persuading or informing them. It’s also a way to “lead the witness” towards the solution you have for their issues!

Case in Point

Here’s a relevant case in point that illustrates this skill:

A client laments they need to put a plan in place for their team to succeed. An easy yet ineffective question to ask is “How will you format the plan?”

A smart question to ask is: “Why is this mission critical now?” Here you will understand what’s essential to your client versus what they’ve been planning. You will know why, not just what, they are planning.

Your client then may say, “We need better team compliance with our process,” to which you might ask, “Any challenges to this?” I would suggest a stronger approach, such as asking, “How has this lack of compliance hurt you organization? For how long?”

I trust you are tracking the progression of establishing public testimony to then synthesize to segue to your idea.

That’s great credentialing!

By the way, since I referenced my book above, you can take a look at it on Amazon.com. Though I wrote it a few years ago, the lessons in it are as relevant today as they were then.  Hope you enjoy it.

Size Them Up, Then Test the Waters

Here’s an essential modus operendi going into the New Year, make 2014 the year you illustrate your keen understanding of client’s business BEFORE you recommend they purchase your product/service. Read more

Sales Training Tip: Lead When You Dance

I Like to Lead When I Dance…

Consulting is often about establishing the correct climate to consult, like when a dancer takes the lead position.  How the dance will proceed, what direction it takes and the steps to get there are all in the hands (and feet) of the lead.

At this time of year, it is important to take the lead with your clients to help guide where things are heading in 2014.

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Sell Like a Child Would…Be Persistent, Yet Likable

Ever been confronted by a child who wants something…really badly? How many times did the child get what he/she wanted? More times than not? That’s because children possess a skill that most of us have lost a long time ago…the ability to be relentless while still being likable, even lovable!

Why Children Would Make the Best Salespeople

Why do people say that children make the greatest salespeople?  Because they are relentless! Does this scenario ring true to you:

Monday: “Daddy can I have that X Box?” “No.”
Tuesday: “Daddy can I have that X Box?” “No.”
Wednesday: “Daddy, is today the day I get the XBox.” “No.”
Thursday: “Daddy, today sure would be a good day to get an XBox.” “No.”
Friday: “Daddy, if I had an XBox right now, I wouldn’t be bothering you.” “No.”
Saturday Morning: “Daddy, I really think that…” “Okay, okay, we’ll go! We’ll get the XBox today!”

Fascinating analogy isn’t it?

Death of a Salesman…Giving Up

A recent survey of sales executives by the National Research Bureau revealed that 80 percent of all sales are made after the fifth call. And yet…the same survey found that 48 percent of salespeople call once and give up. Further, 25 percent of salespeople call twice and quit. It gets worse. Just 12 percent make three calls and stop while only 5 percent make a fourth call before calling it quits. Only 10 percent of salespeople keep on calling. And, it is this 10 percent – the one salesperson in ten – that make 80 percent of all the sales.

Be Relevant and Persistent

Our job as salespeople/consultants is to be persistent, yet likable. To succeed at persistence, it’s essential to capture what’s important to your client. You need to play back to him/her what their challenge was to prove you’ve heard them. “You said that growing your West Coast division is mission critical.” Then, you create legitimate touch points that serve your client and illustrate your desire to resolve what your client said was keeping them up at night. “With the program I’m recommending, you can start building the West Coast division, see some quick results and grow it steadily over the next 3-5 years.” You’ve just become relevant in his world and you have his attention.You must be able to defend each touch point to your client. That way, they can see and appreciate your empathy.

And DON’T GIVE UP! Be the one of the last nine salespeople your client has seen who actually wins.

Three Effective Networking Tips

Business networking is considered by many to be a necessary evil. Many fear it, others just feel like it’s a great deal of effort. To be effective at networking, you have to understand the importance creating lasting connections will have on your professional life, just like it does in your personal life.    Read more

What’s Best? Strategy or Tactics

Recently during an executive consulting session, I was asked which is the more important conversation to initiate with a client, the tactical conversation or the strategic one? Answer…it’s situational but, it is better to err on the strategic side. Once you go tactical you can’t go back. Read more

How to Close a Deal: Think Like an Olympian

Closing deals effectively is one of the biggest challenges to anyone in business.  One way to master the process of closing is to think “Winter Olympics”  and the downhill skier who hits certain flags through their heat to win the race. 

You and I…we are those skiers but in a business fashion.  Let’s break it down to four flags to hit to close a client with integrity and thoroughness. Read more

There’s No Entitlement in Business

In one infamous scene in the movie “A League of Their Own,” Tom Hanks’ girls baseball manager character is shocked to see one of his players weeping after he has scolded her for making a bad play. “Are you crying? Are you….crying? There’s no crying in baseball!”

Right!  And there is no entitlement in business. Only achievement.

You’re Only as Good as Your Last Performance

In a post 2008 world, all of us need to heed this realization. I especially recommend my millennial clients pay attention. Times are tough out there still. And though stories of the economic recovery are in our papers every day, you probably still have many friends and relatives not employed.  We need to keep in mind that often in our new world we’re only as good as our last performance to the organizations and company brass for whom we work. There are people out there hungry to have your job…and they’ll work hard to get it.

Plan Your Success

Therefore, to understand your advancement, create your own development/advancement plan with your superior.

I’m sure the person you report to has their own metrics they will employ to determine your advancement. Job #1 for you, though, is to understand these metrics and discuss them with him/her so that you are clear about what your path looks like. Once you have an understanding of this path, you can then shape your own developmental recommendations given your unique added value to the organization.  You can put forth your ideas of your achievement from the understanding of your superior’s ideas. Then, you both own your development plan without any ambiguity. Now you have a clear scorecard on which to concentrate throughout the year to advance.

So, develop your success plan.  Get buy-in from your superior with goals based on clear metrics. Show progress on that plan by hitting milestones. And then…when you’re confident you have achieved the goals, ask for the promotion. Remember…you won’t get it if you don’t ask!  Good luck. Let me know how it goes. If you need help with your plan, give me a call.