This Is A Sales Call, Not A Marriage Proposal

For some salespeople, maintaining an appropriate emotional distance from their clients is no problem. For others, it’s a real struggle.

Sales is about gaining trust. It’s not about promising a prospect the stars and the moon. If you find yourself getting down on bended knee and proclaiming of course it’s no problem to push the shipment through three days early (knowing full well the havoc this will create for production), that’s a clear sign you’ve lost sight of your mission.

Too many salespeople-especially those new to sales-fall into the black hole of overvaluing relationships.

Overvaluing relationships means placing too much emphasis on the dynamic between yourself and your prospect.

Going into a sales call with a mindset of wanting to sell something compromises your filter. Instead of determining if you even have a qualified buyer in front of you, you leapfrog to the marriage proposal and place yourself in the position of saying anything to close the deal.

If this is you, you need to work to maintain an emotional distance. On the one hand, you should be able to engage prospects and clients in a cordial, friendly, professional manner while, on the other hand, allowing objection and rejection to roll off your back. If you slide into overvaluing relationships, the danger is that you:

Lose objectivity Lose sight of the mission

Have a hard time handling rejection

Take it personally when you receive an objection

Compromise too much in negotiation

Overvaluing relationships lead to a number of negative outcomes. However, there are several things you can do to mitgate these issues: Talk with your sales manager. Make them aware of the issue.

Use an in-depth sales assessment or personality assessment tool that can help you understand your cognitive structure.

Ask for sales coaching.

You may believe that ingratiating yourself with a prospect is the fastest and surest way to make a sell, but this is wrong thinking. While there’s no denying that people like to buy from people they like, they will always do business with someone they trust.

If you’re putting too much energy toward relationship building versus following the sales process, take immediate action to seek coaching on the proper method for maximizing each sales opportunity to its fullest potential. By doing so, you are creating a huge advantage for yourself and making the sales process much easier for your prospects and clients. Your closing rates can improve and your overall performance will benefit.

Barrett Riddleberger is an internationally recognized leader in the fields of sales assessment, custom sales training [], sales recruitment and sales consulting. He also is founder of Resolution Systems Inc., a strategic sales consulting firm. His book, “Blueprint of a Sales Champion,” details how organizations can find, train and retain top performing salespeople… even in a highly competitive market. An accomplished author and sales consultant, Riddleberger is also highly in demand as a business development and motivational speaker for organizations seeking to drive their sales force to greater levels of performance. For more info visit or call 866.350.4457.

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7 Obstacles That Hold Sales Professionals Back and What You Can Do to Overcome Them

To be successful in sales you must overcome 7 obstacles. Almost every sales professional runs into these obstacles at some point in their career. For many these obstacles continue to reoccur. These obstacles are not always addressed in sales training, which is why we advocate an ongoing sales coaching relationship. As you read, assess your sales skills and your effectiveness at overcoming these challenges. By conquering them you will be able to take your sales performance to a whole new level.

Obstacle #1: Fear of the “No”. Much has been written about the fear of rejection but it still remains an issue for many sales people. I find that it is helpful to give my prospects a “no-option” right up front! My product/service is not for everyone. I don’t want anyone to feel manipulated or disrespectfully coerced. Neither do I want any “buyers-remorse.” When people say “yes” to me I want them to truly want what I am offering. I want it to be a “win-win” situation. Otherwise there is no hope for a long-term relationship.

As a sales professional you need to truly believe in your product or service. You need to be passionate and enthusiastic about what you are offering. You need to communicate the unique benefits of buying from you. But in the end, if the prospect says “no” it does not diminish the value of your product/service, and it is not a personal rejection of you. You must differentiate that within yourself in order to succeed.

Obstacle #2: Not Being Prepared. It’s very important that you prepare before making the sales contact. I know that there are times when selling opportunities present themselves serendipitously, but most of the time you will have an opportunity to prepare before the contact.

For me, preparation involves going to the prospect’s website, blog, or social media sites before the contact. There I want to learn everything I can about the company and the individual that I will be meeting with. Prospects are typically very impressed if they see that you have done your homework. They feel valued and respected.

I also want to prepare my attitude. I want to go in with the right mindset, being customer-centered and customer-focused. I want to be optimistic and visualize this prospect becoming my customer. I want to anticipate as much as possible what will happen in this conversation. However, I always want to remain flexible and open to the unexpected.

It is very important to be prepared. I would encourage you to develop a system for personal preparation and use that system every time you make a contact.

Obstacle #3: Focusing on Yourself Rather Than Your Prospective Customer. I alluded to this in Obstacle #2. It is very important that you focus on the other person. Your attention and your energy must be directed to understanding them and serving them. This contact is not about me. It is about the prospective customer, about their wants and needs. We must be tuned in to them before and during the contact.

There is a Hebrew Proverb that says “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” I want to understand my prospect (if possible) better than he understands himself. I do not want to be preoccupied with my fear, my discomfort, or my ideas. I want to be totally present for my prospect in that moment of contact.

Obstacle #4: Failure to Listen During the Selling Conversation. The most important tools you have in the selling conversation are questions. The quality of your selling is directly related to the quality of your questions. You must go prepared with good questions and then be ready to ask more questions as they surface in the conversation.

Questions are essential to help you get to know your prospect and to understand what their needs are. I always encourage my clients to prepare good questions ahead of time so that they will be asking better questions than their competition.

However, it is not enough to just ask questions. You must also listen carefully to what they are saying. When appropriate, say back to them what you hear them saying. Listen beneath the words. What are they feeling in the moment of the conversation? How is my question impacting them? Listen and observe. Let them do most of the talking as you guide the conversation with powerful questions.

Obstacle #5: Not Keeping Your Promises. It amazes me how many people do not follow through and do what they say they will do. Successful sales professionals keep their word! They stand behind their promises no matter how difficult or inconvenient.

Prospects are asking themselves one primary question, “Can I trust you?” If you fail to keep your word in the initial meetings or the sales process, it is likely that the prospect will assess you as unreliable and/or dishonest. Bottomline: Keep your word!

Obstacle #6: Inability to Close the Sale. In my early days of selling this was a huge problem and I’ve discovered that it is for many other people as well. I could have a great conversation, ask some good questions, and uncover some clear needs that we could meet. But when the time came to close the sale something happened and I walked away empty-handed.

Always remember that people buy based on emotion, and they justify with logic. In other words, every buying decision is an emotional decision. A good selling conversation will guide you into the prospect’s points of pain and passion. If you never uncover pain or passion you will probably never close the sale.

The 3 keys to a successful close are emotions, buying signals, and questions. Through your conversation look for the moments of emotion. Don’t be afraid to linger there. Also be watching for both verbal and visual buying signals. And then, when the time seems right, ask the closing question.

There is an art to this but with practice and evaluation you will be able to improve your ability to close the sale. You might consider engaging a coach to help you with your questions and scripts, as well as to help you increase in your self-awareness and other-awareness.

Obstacle #7: Failure to Continuously Improve. Leaders are learners, and successful sales professionals are always learning and improving their skills and their mindset. Both require attention and intentional development. No doubt you are reading this article because you want to improve. Let me encourage you to continuously read, observe, engage mentors, attend seminars, talk to colleagues, and evaluate your selling experiences. Be an aggressive learner and you will become a top notch sales professional!

As you increasingly overcome these obstacles you will gain more confidence and improve your sales performance. I believe that you will fall in love with selling and begin to see it as “serving” rather than taking! You will gain greater financial success and enjoy the fruit of a growing network of people who appreciate you. And you will realize the enormous potential you have to succeed in sales.

To learn more about how we help sales professionals go to

D. Glenn Smith is CEO and Lead Coach at The Growth Coach Houston, a business coaching firm whose mission is to empower business owners and sales professionals to achieve exceptional performance in their businesses and to live extraordinary lives. Glenn has over 30 years of experience and has coached business and organizational leaders on 5 continents. He is a sought after motivational speaker who has spoken to groups of 20 to 2,000, including several national franchises. For more FREE resources go to

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Selling Is Not Just Mere Selling: Optimism and Enthusiasm in Sales

Thinking about sales can sometimes be scary and even intimidating especially when one thinks about competition. Nevertheless, how the company is able to bring in sales and do it successfully is one of the most rewarding feelings that both employers and employees share. Hence, thinking about sales is not just about attitude and strategy alone. Indeed, companies who are able to amass huge sales will agree that optimism along with enthusiasm is one of the main ingredients for successful sales.

Optimism and Its Benefits

Psychologists describe optimism as the basic characteristic that builds positive thinking. It is a psychological resource which unlocks a person’s capacity to succeed in his or her endeavor based on their ability to think that they can achieve it. Additionally, numerous studies have shown that optimism is a desirable characteristic which leads to lesser incidences of postpartum depression, stress and better life satisfaction.

In many cultures, optimism is considered as a desirable trait since it enables people to think positively regardless of the situation. Optimism serves as a catalyst in which people are discouraged from feeling hopeless and apathetic but instead strive for greater hope and action. In the same manner, optimism in the world of sales means that people are able to share their enthusiasm with their customers, knowing that what they have to offer benefits their buyers. This is simply not the bravado of selling but believing that the company’s products bring real results and satisfaction.

Optimism in Sales

When it comes to sales, optimism is taken to mean that sales people have compelling reasons and motivations to offer their products. This motivation is not solely seen in the dollars they can make but also the service given to customers. A sales person can have the most wonderful qualities but without optimism and enthusiasm, they are not able to get customer’s sentiments and trust. A sales coach can also train sales people to sell with intention and integrity.

Successful sales are also brought by people who are pro-active. These people do the necessary actions to make things happen rather than seat and wait for something. Being pro-active and optimistic means people are able to have positive outlooks even in the midst of rejections and down sales. People can benefit from having positive attitude by undergoing sales coaching.

Lastly, optimism in work means that people are able to balance their work life, family and leisure. Sales are important but it should not dominate a person’s life. Hence, putting sales with intent through sales coaching means that selling is done with sincere enthusiasm and bringing valued service.

For more details, please search sales coach and sales coaching in Google.

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The Myth of Leadership Development

Developing leaders is a major strategic action for most large organizations and a multi-million dollar industry for training firms, consultants and universities. But if we have got the meaning of leadership badly wrong, much of this investment could be wasted. There are at least 3 problems with contemporary leadership theory:

1. Leaders are portrayed as occupying positions of authority over others which means that you can’t show leadership until you are in charge of people.

2. The idea that leadership is a learnable skill set fosters the impression that you can’t be a leader without training.

3. By associating leadership with emotional intelligence, what Daniel Goleman himself said is another word for maturity, the impression is created that you cannot lead until you grow up.

The bottom line is that leadership, as currently conceived, is an exclusive club for management level employees, something that those at the front line can only aspire to once they develop the relevant skills and maturity. This is a colossal waste of talent.

Dispersed Leadership and Employee Engagement

A different vision of leadership portrays it as something all employees can do. Certainly, the claim “not everyone can be a leader” is most definitely true when the focus is on what it takes to be a senior executive or even a front line manager. However, when leadership is defined simply as promoting a better way, then all employees who take a stand on any job-related issue, even in a very local, small scale manner, can show leadership to their colleagues and upward to their bosses. Because being a leader is glamorous, all employees can feel more engaged and motivated if they can see themselves as leaders even if they don’t manage anyone. So-called informal leadership means something different – informally taking charge of a group. Simply promoting new directions has nothing to do with being in charge, formally or otherwise, of a group of people.

Examples of Leadership Re-defined

” When Martin Luther King Jr. influenced the U.S. Supreme Court to rule segregation on buses unconstitutional, he had no managerial authority over that organization.

” When the Sony employee who influenced top management to adopt his proposal for PlayStation, they did not report to him.

” A new customer service employee might set an example of a better way of serving customers without being in charge of anyone.

” Whenever you influence your boss to think differently you have had a leadership impact on that person.

None of these examples entails managing the people on whom the leadership impact was felt. The leader sells the tickets for the journey and we need to upgrade our concept of management to take

care of driving the bus to the destination. Of course, further injections of leadership might be required enroute to resell the merits of the journey, but the bulk of the work in getting there requires good management skills. Management needs to be reconfigured as a nurturing, empowering and facilitative function, not just a mechanically controlling one.

Executive Development

What really gets developed in so-called leadership development programs are rounded executives. The truth is that leadership, conceived as challenging the status quo and promoting new directions, is based on youthful rebelliousness, something that is not a learnable skill set. When front line employees with no subordinates stand up for their ideas, they are showing leadership to the broader organization. So-called leadership development programs actually turn employees who are already leaders into managers. This is no bad thing. Organizations need good managers.

This view stands the conventional picture on its head: it is the front line knowledge workers who are the real leaders in organizations, not their managers. Of course, executives can also show leadership, whenever they too promote a better way.

The Benefits of Redefining Leadership

The main benefit is making it clear that all employees can be leaders and that, to do so, you don’t need all the skills associated with being in charge of people. You just need a good idea and the courage to defend it. Further potential benefits include better motivation and engagement of all employees, more innovation and front line ownership, better talent retention and less pressure on senior executives to show all the leadership a complex organization needs.

Why Make the Shift?

Leadership is based on power, traditionally the power of personality to dominate a group. This may still work in politics and public sector organizations but in businesses that compete through rapid innovation, the important power is the ability to generate new products and processes. In a war of ideas, leadership should mean the ability to successfully promote new ideas. So, the reason for making the shift in how leadership is defined is simply that the world is changing from one of stable, physical work to one of dymanic mental work.

See for more information on this and related topics. Mitch McCrimmon’s latest book, Burn! 7 Leadership Myths in Ashes was published in 2006. He is a business psychologist with over 30 years experience of leadership assessment and executive coaching.

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Sales Coaching – 5 Reasons You Can’t Close

When you struggle to close the sale you think closing is the problem. But when you struggle to close the sale closing is a symptom of the problem not the problem itself. When you try to fix a symptom as though it were the problem the problem remains because you’re trying to put a band-aid on a wound that isn’t ready to heal.

Here are 5 reasons you may be struggling to close the sale:

  1. You lack confidence in yourself and/or your supporting products.
  2. You fear rejection and avoid it by avoiding asking for the sale.
  3. You didn’t help the buyer to uncover a motivating reason for buying and buying now.
  4. You didn’t understand the clients most important wants and needs and went down the wrong path offering a solution for problems that aren’t all that important to the prospect.
  5. You didn’t do a good job of connecting with and starting a relationship with the prospect so asking for the close feels awkward, and isn’t likely to result in a “yes” decision.


When you struggle with closing you think you just need a perfect pitch, or the right closing lines and the problem will go away; but that simply isn’t the case. You can have a “perfect” pitch and “perfect” closing statements, and still blow the sale. Why, because a pitch and closing statements treat the symptom not the underlying real problem.

Review the 5 reasons you can’t close and identify where your struggles may be stemming from. This list isn’t comprehensive there could be other problems too that are keeping you from getting sales, but it will give you a good start. The first step to making closing a natural event is identifying the cause of the problem.

The next step is developing a plan for removing or overcoming the problem. Don’t think of your plan in terms of concepts think in terms of actions. When you know what the problem is, the actions you’ll take to overcome the problem, the only thing preventing you from closing is implementation of your plan.

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