Streetfighter Selling

for Sales Professionals

  • Dec

    Treasure Time

    Ben Franklin said that time “is the stuff that life is made of.” Spend it like gold, because it is. We all have 1440 minutes in each day, to wisely use or while away. Oh, and in case you’re thinking I’m one of those serious, work-around-the-clock, clenched-fisted type-A’s, forget it. I believe in maximizing those daylight hours for the good of us and our paper, then strike up a good balance with rest, relaxation and recreation. A few blow-off-some-steam breaks throughout the day can be beneficial to our sanity, too.

    Say it – Do It

    Show everyone you’re a pro. Find something small you can do. Something easy, even insignificant! Then, follow through. A small thing like mentioning an article you’d recently seen on a topic of interest to them. Mention it, adding, “I’ll make sure you get a copy.” Then move on, but make sure you follow though and send it. Believe me; it’ll make an impact. And, before we get too focused on the little stuff, let’s not forget the biggies either. A major beef of purchasing managers is last minute (or non-existent) quotes, proposals and follow-up materials. When you say you’ll do it, do it. They’ll be blown away, and you’ll be seen as a top-flight professional.

    Use Your Brain like a Sponge

    Not for spills, though. Just for information, ideas and details. Ever have an idea pop into your mind while you’re in traffic, or in the shower, only to forget it later? The human brain processes millions of information bits every minute (that’s a ton of traffic), making it difficult to consciously remember everything. But, again, there’s no challenge we can’t solve, right? Hand-held digital recorders are cheap now. Pen and paper are even cheaper. Write or record regular ramblings, then sort through them. The greatest sales-boosting ideas come in an instant.

    Invest in Your Business

    The top 10% of salespeople live by this rule, regardless of whether they have an expense account or not. It’s their livelihood and, along with the commitment comes the responsibility to operate like a business. Appointment books, recorders (as mentioned above), the right clothing, a clean vehicle, sometimes CRM software, client lunches, gifts, greeting cards should all be basic operating tools. Skill-building books, tapes and seminars, too Every profession requires continuing education. We should expect no less from ourselves. If you’re already doing this, congratulations!

    Take Massive Action

    I think ‘there’s not enough time’ was the number one reason for incomplete work or unachieved goals. Are we not living in the most opportunistic of times? A helter skelter approach isn’t appropriate, but duplication of efforts is. Can I make 2 more calls every day? Can I ask a few more of the right questions from every prospective customer? Can I use technology more effectively for service? Yes. Let’s work to reinvent our activities this next year, and stay away from business as usual.

    Get a Daily Dose of PMA

    Norman Vincent Peale coined the term Positive Mental Attitude as an elixir for success. Over the years, it’ been treated with both reverence and indifference. Some say it’s fantastic…others say it’s a bunch of artificial happy-talk that covers up reality.

    It works now more than ever. Take it with an equal amount of #1 above (massive action) and I guarantee you’ll have an incredible year.

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  • Dec

    The guru of attitudes, Dennis Mannering says “attitudes are contagious…are yours worth catching?” Now, “researchers” (people with lots of times and grant money) report that happiness is contagious, confirming what Mannering has been espousing for 20 years.

    “The more happy people you know, the more likely you are to be happy.”

    Here’s my take. I don’t suggest we all go around with plaster grins and stiff handshakes. But count your blessings. I’m a big proponent of following the news. But you can overdose on bad news, too. An hour with an all-news cable channel can convince even the most optimistic person that there’s no hope.

    When life becomes a roller-coaster, buckle up and enjoy the ride.

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  • Dec

    Fresh Eyes

    Filed under: Uncategorized;

    Sales doesn’t really change that much. As Jerry Jones (dominative owner of the Dallas Cowboys) once said, “there are five rules to selling: one is ‘get the money.’ I forgot the other four.”

    But some things do change.

    For years, many companies did things the same old way. Call it the old formula. Some symptoms: a long-time customer base (sometimes just a few) and all of their time and resources are devoted to those few (while new business development is virtually ignored). Then, when the economic pendulum swings and business slows, their sales curve plummets like a bowling ball off a ten story building.

    Breaking the old formula means having ‘fresh-eyes’ for:

    -measurably expanding customer base

    -Looking deeper for new opportunities with existing customers

    -Connecting with multiple decision-makers

    In many businesses, decisions may be made by the brass, finance, engineering,

    production and sales, as well as the buyer. Streetfighters find ways to make that happen.

    The pendulum will always swing, but sales won’t be going back. It’s up to us to change our own formula for doing business.

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  • Dec

    Now's the time to plan

    With a new year, it’s customary for us to set new goals, and revisit old ones. This past month I’ve heard a lot of terrific success stories from business leaders and salespeople about goals achieved, and often surpassed. And the common denominator with almost all of them wasn’t the goal as much as it was change.

    We’ve all heard that, to be achieved, a goal has to be specific, achievable and measurable. But new goals, with old work habits, are rarely realized. If I wanted to make more calls, sell more major accounts, learn the piano, or do more with my family, but couldn’t find the time, then I’d come up short. When looking at your ’09 goals, consider these potential barriers:


    Is it tough enough getting what’s got to be done accomplished? Does your ‘want-to-do’ list keep growing? New goals could be in jeopardy. Reorganizing your use of time now becomes a priority.

    Comfort Zones

    I’ll use the want more major accounts example here. I’ve known salespeople who develop a comfort working with smaller customers, where making contacts are easier, and often more casual. Their subconscious comfort with those surroundings causes them to put off the unknowns of pursuing multiple decision-makers and competing with larger, more assertive competition. Developing confidence and skills for the pursuit is as important as the prospect list.


    Old habits die hard. Real hard. Making positive, permanent changes too often takes a crisis situation (“do it, or you’re outta here”). Pros rely on strong, personal discipline and the support (and prodding) of a partner or manager.

    Add these to your toolbox and you’re going to do some amazing things in the new year!

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  • Dec

    Scenario #1: your sales are off big time! Gloomy faces and a lot of wailing about the economy fill your office. Closed-door management meetings have everyone on edge. Your biggest personal concern is paying bills.

    Scenario #2: your sales numbers are up. People around the office are calling you a genius, although there’s more than a trace of envy in them. Your biggest personal concern is where you’ll go on vacation.

    Too extreme? No, it’s not. I’ve seen quite a few average salespeople start to see amazing results when they make some major adjustments to their actions…and attitudes. Author Anthony Robbins likes to say “take massive action” (emphasis on MASSIVE). That means doing whatever it takes to grow sales when all signs seem to point down. It might mean making more calls. It might mean asking tougher questions to better understand customer needs. And, while a simple thing like attitude might not seem like it would be a difference-maker, studies show that it does. If you’ve got a positive mental attitude (real…not contrived), it rubs off on others and has been proven to be subconsciously attractive to other business people. Conversely, doom ‘n’ gloom people can be a turn-off. Customers and prospects don’t want to hear about our problems or worries.

    Opportunity is still here, but getting to it requires making changes in mindset and action. You can’t sell today like you did one, three or five years ago. Success in turbulent times comes from doing what it takes, not taking what comes along.

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  • Dec

    Q: “My customers are busy and can’t take time to meet face-to-face. They want prices e-mailed, but then nothing happens. How can I change this?”

    I get asked that a lot. And it’s a chronic problem. Busy buyers just want quotes, and then make their decisions on their own criteria (which, for the most part, include who they feel the most comfortable buying from).

    I don’t like e-mailed quotes. Unless it’s going to a current customer with whom you have an on-going relationship, e-mailed quotes take the selling out of sales.

    But, in those cases where you absolutely have no choice, add these two steps and you’ll see those all-important ‘connections’ grow (and get a better closing ratio):

    Call Ahead

    “I’m about to send that quote and just wanted to confirm one thing.”

    Ask a question about one of the specifications, about their timetable, etc. Thank them again for the opportunity, tell them you’ll “follow up shortly,” and let ‘er rip.

    Follow Up

    Did they say it’ll take a week or two to get an answer? Did they say they’d let you know? Did I say stop there? Especially if this is a new customer, FOLLOW-UP. The key is to have a specific reason for following up…. as you don’t want to sound like a lap dog who says “didja getit…didja getit…didja getit?” (Of course they got it.) Make a strategic call that includes these elements:

    “I know it’ll be a week or so before you have an answer” (set aside THAT debate)

    “but I just wanted to make sure we’ve got everything covered.”

    This could elicit responses from “I haven’t looked yet” to “looks good.”

    Now, reconfirm their next step, thank them for the opportunity. Be sure to fire out a brief thank you letter, too.

    Ps…. Personal visits should be proportionate to dollar amounts. Larger, more detailed quotations have “I need face time” written all over them!

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