#783 It’s all sales all the time

Posted by frank October - 16 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Everybody is selling!

I had breakfast with an accountant named Mark. When I say accountant do you think sales? Probably not. We call them “Bean Counters” don’t we? The archetypical accountant is very Clark Kent. We picture them wearing bifocals, writing with mechanical pencils and doing their grocery lists in Excel don’t we? As my great friend Rick, who is an accountant himself, says; “You know when an accountant has personality because he’s looking at YOUR shoes!”
I figured the guy I was sitting across from at breakfast, was all of that (minus the glasses).
Then, as we spoke about our businesses, he surprised me by talking about business development and the sales techniques he brings to bear in order to increase his business.
He said he works from home a few times a month and when he does, he prospects. Now, he did not use the word prospects, but that’s what I’m calling it.
Here is what Mark said. “When I work from home I decide on a range of calls. Maybe it’s L to P today. I hit the contacts icon on my phone; go to the first contact at letter L and call. I then call every contact in order until I get through the P’s, IF I can get through the P’s! Four or five letters usually takes an entire day. I am not calling them for business. I am calling to catch up and see how they are but invariably these calls result in business. By the next day three or four of those people are calling with a project they need help with, or a person they want me to call who needs my services.”
What Mark is doing is positioning himself for selective attention. Selective attention is all about awareness. If I decide to buy a blue Subaru because while driving around I usually see green Subaru’s and I want to be different, guess what? As soon as I make the decision, there will be a virtual parade of blue Subaru’s presented to me as I go through my day. It’s not that they weren’t out there before, it’s that I wasn’t looking for them. It’s like that in sales and that is precisely what Mark is doing. When Leo Lemoncello, in Mark’s contact list, hears about a tax problem from a business associate Leo may or may not call Mark depending on his level of comfort in offering a recommendation, how many accounting professionals he knows and if Mark even enters his mind at that moment. But if he has recently spoken to Mark, Mark becomes the blue Subaru.
Mark has a very successful accounting practice in Manhattan and I am not surprised. Every successful business, at it’s core, is a sales company. Some other accountant may be able to memorize Pi to 300 digits or do the square root of 3,364 in his head, but unless he goes out and finds people who want to hire him, (SELLS!) his skills won’t mean beans.

2017 Motto Daily disciplines create desired outcomes

#782 Everybody is Selling!

Posted by frank October - 9 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Selling skills are nothing more than a set of tools that can help you to bring people around to your point of view. My accountant is awesome with numbers. He is very well trained and handles my tax problems with a deftness that keeps me from ever having IRS issues. My doctor has a degree from a prestigious medical school and has spent countless hours learning the science of the human body so she can diagnose my symptoms and offer me relief from what ails me. But if the three of us go to a hockey game and want to move down closer to the ice, who do you think goes to speak to the usher? Me; the guy with the sales skills.
Your ability to relate, persuade, and communicate will do more for your bank balance, personal relationships and overall career than any other set of skills you can master and that translates to sales skills.
Sales has gotten a bad rap in our society. At the mention of sales skills people conjure up images of Danny DeVito in Tin Men or the famous ABC (always be closing) scene form Glengarry. The truth is we are all selling.
The veterinarian sells you on heart worm pills for your dog. Moms and Dads are selling their kids on the importance of reading, and the lawyer is selling the jury on the innocence of his client.
I sell my kids on coming for Sunday dinner,
Who has a better chance to gain the favor of a fair maiden? The guy with no eye contact, half turned away, searching for the right words or the guy who is squared up, with soft eyes, asking questions and listening with respect?

#781 Bumper to bumper competition

Posted by frank October - 2 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

You don’t ask…you don’t get
After my visit to Washington last week I told you about my cabbie, Belay. What I want to tell you now is what happened right before I met Belay. I was walking down Maryland Ave. which is lined with food trucks. I wanted to get something for lunch to eat on the train ride home. There were literally dozens of choices. As I walked slowly, trying to read all of the offerings, I was suffering from information overload. I was really hungry and everything looked and smelled great! I couldn’t decide.
Suddenly, from the Persian Grill truck I heard, “Hey, you want a taste?” I looked up to see a man smiling at me with a succulent piece of lamb, extended toward me, on a toothpick. I took it, ate it, and it was really good. I smiled and he said, “You want on a salad or a wrap?” I said, “It has to be neat to eat on the train.” He said, “I make you a nice tight wrap.”
This is sales. While everyone else sat back, Ali went for the business. He hooked me with a free sample and then assumed the sale. He didn’t ask if I wanted it. He read my body language, knew I liked the sample and gave me an either or close; salad or wrap.
If you’re wondering how to gain the business in your crowded market, follow Ali’s lead. He literally has bumper to bumper competition.

2017 Motto: Daily disciplines create desired outcomes

#780 Belay for President!

Posted by frank September - 25 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

FIRST OF ALL A BIG WARM WELCOME TO ALL OF THE WONDERFUL PROFESSIONALS I MET AT CRD ON FRIDAY! Thanks for making me feel so comfortable. I loved our time together! (BTW CRD, notice the backtracking in today’s message)
In 2006 I was in DC and rode with a cabdriver who taught me a great lesson which I wrote about on the following Monday. Friday I was in DC and, again, my weekly thought is from my cabdriver! What are they feeing these cabbies?
Belay is from Ethiopia and has been driving a cab in DC for 32 years. When I got into his taxi almost immediately he let go of a few choice words which were directed at a bunch of teenagers who were crossing in front of us and yelling loudly about God knows what. I asked him what matter was. He said “They always yelling because they on the welfare!” I said, “Because they’re on the welfare?” Belay said, “Yes, it is sustainable poverty! They go to bad schools, eat bad food, no clean bathrooms, learn nothing, no manners, no nothing! We gonna spend 200 million to flood relief in Texas this week but we got no money to fix those schools! I got three kids. One engineer in Ghana, one IT director in DC, other one has highest government clearance you can get and works in Pentagon. These people (pointing to the people in the street carrying on) don’t care. Welfare parent to welfare kid and over and over.” I made sure my kids got educated!” “Got educated?” I asked.
“Yes I come here 32 years ago not to stay home to make the welfare. I come here for a better life for my children. I would work 100 hours a week if I had to for them to get education. In United States you can be anything. You can be cabdriver or go to the moon! In my country I seen people starve to death! I know real poverty, not this #$*! Welfare. They eat chips and drink beer and coke and always yelling. I got to put food on the table. Real food. No one give to me, I work and my kids got education now all I need is grandchildren and I gonna retire on social security.” “Social security?” I asked. YES! I work many years my wife work many years and we pay taxes to get it. Not welfare. Someone got to educate these kids so they don’t keep the welfare and give it to their kids. Maybe we stop giving so much and make them work for some.”
I’m hoping Belay runs for office. I can see the posters now: End the cycle of Poverty! Put America to work! Belay is the way in twenty twen-tay!

2017 Motto: “Daily disciplines create desired outcomes”

#779 Zero talent required

Posted by frank September - 18 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Sometimes it seems that those you deem to be more talented than you get advantages you don’t so here is a list of 15 life-improving, advantage getting, things that require zero talent:
1. Being on time
2. Smiling
3. A full effort
4. A great attitude
5. Preparedness
6. Listening
7. Open body posture
8. Gratefulness
9. Saying hello first
10. Gossiping less
11. Complaining less
12. Work ethic
13. Charity
14. Showing up
15. Enthusiasm

2017 Motto: “Daily disciplines create desired outcomes”

#778 Stifling creativity

Posted by frank September - 10 - 2017 - Sunday ADD COMMENTS


There are two types of jobs. There are jobs that require thinking, creativity and judgment and there are rote jobs that require only a process. The problem is that both require a healthy mix of both.
I often see difficulty in this as I speak with clients or just casually observe as I go through the world. The difficulty comes when a job that requires Judgment and creativity gets handcuffed with too many policies and when a rote job isn’t given any leeway to be creative.

Last week I went to Starbucks for coffee. I was in Manhattan and it was late for the neighborhood I was in (just before closing time). The store was completely empty. The clean-up guy had the key in the door and was turning chairs upside down on tables when they took my order. “I’d like a decaf Americano please.” She said, “OK what’s your name?”
I thought, “My name is the only guy in the store before you close” but I said “Phyllis”, just to throw a pattern interrupt out there. The drone said “Americano for Phyllis”, and wrote my name on the cup, giving me a wry smile for being a wiseass.
In a small business I work with, a manager I know had to make a decision about granting unpaid leave to an excellent employee. When he came up with a creative solution, HR shot it down as against policy. The employee was, essentially, forced to choose between her honeymoon and her job. Guess who gave notice less than one month of her return?
Creating an environment where people think and make judgment calls is much, much harder than governing by strict policy law but in the end do you really want people yelling “Americano for Phyllis!” to an empty store?
2017 Motto: Daily disciplines create desired outcomes

#777 Pace and Tone

Posted by frank September - 5 - 2017 - Tuesday ADD COMMENTS

In selling, as in life, communication is everything. In my opinion understanding people and being understood is paramount to success.

Evidently the Carnegie Institute of Technology agrees with me saying: “85% of your financial success is due to your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate and lead. Shockingly only 15% is due to technical knowledge.”

One of the first things I teach in this area is tone and pace. Matching these two is vital to rapport and without rapport there is zero chance of creating good, long term, business relationships.
Imagine speaking to someone who is relaxed and sonorous in their speech patterns; Picture, Shaq.
Now imagine and excited George Costanza, from Sinfeld, running up to him to try to convince him of something. It is an instant clash due to tone and pace. Frenetic, high pitched speech vs. measured, low tones is a complete mismatch.
I made up an extreme example to illustrate but the key is to listen for pace and tone and to match it (not imitate a person) in order to gain rapport and to be heard. If your pace and tone are too drastically different from that of the person with whom you’d like to make a point, you will have almost no chance of getting the outcome you desire.

2017 Motto: Daily disciplines create desired outcomes

#776 Everyone is Selling

Posted by frank August - 28 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Everyone is in sales. We’re all selling some of the time. Selling, in my lexicon, means convincing. You many not carry the title of salesperson but you are selling to make your living. The biggest differences between professional salespeople and all others are the compensation structure and the recognition and honing of the skills.

Doctors need to sell patients on healthier lifestyle choices.
Lawyers need to sell juries on the innocence of their client.
Moms sell kids on the need to read.
The admin person sells his supervisor on the need for a raise.
A good boss sells her people of the need to work harder and produce better results.
When you get pulled over you’re selling that cop on the idea that he doesn’t need to write you a ticket.

Can the doctor just tell you what to do? Sure he can but how does that usually work out?
Can you tell little Frankie to read more? Sure you can, but will he?
Can the boss simply order people to do more and better work? Of course he can but what will he get when he isn’t breathing down their necks?

• Selling is telling with enthusiasm and emotion.
• Selling is telling with a picture that takes people from where they are to where they want to be.
• Selling is stories of better outcomes based on similar circumstances.
• Selling is building the trust that allows one to suggest (sell) an idea.
• Selling is convincing old idea keepers that change can be good.
• Selling is looking out for the best interest of another and helping them to get there.
• You’re selling every time you contrive to bring someone to your point of view

I’ve studied sales (convincer strategies) for close to 40 years and here’s what I’ve found. Those with better sales skills, regardless of their profession, do better in life.
So get the images of Tin Men, Tommy Boy and Glengarry out of your head and embrace your inner salesperson.
Understanding this skill set will serve you well in every area of your life.

2017 Motto: Daily disciplines create desired outcomes

#775 Outsides Vs. Insides

Posted by frank August - 21 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

You can’t know someone’s inside by judging their outside, yet, we do it all the time.
When I was a kid I was invited over to my friend Keith’s house. Keith’s Dad drove a Cadillac in the days when driving a Caddy meant you had money. Keith had nicer clothes than I did and had all the latest things a boy could want. When I came home I whined to my Mom about how much Keith’s family had compared to how little we had.
She explained the concept insides vs outsides, without ever demeaning Keith’s family. She explained the value of love and family vs. money and things and then she went to the bookcase, pulled out a book, and read me this poem:
By Edward Arlington Robinson

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.

And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
‘Good-morning,’ and he glittered when he walked.

And he was rich – yes, richer than a king –
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

2017 Motto: Daily disciplines create desired outcomes

#774 Now You vs. New You

Posted by frank August - 14 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

In a contest of New You vs. Now You, Now You kicks butt…and that is not a good thing.
New you is the future you that you imagine and Now You is, well, You.

New You is 12lbs lighter and feels great, but Now you, just ordered the nachos an another beer.
New you is tobacco free and the picture of health. Now you went 12 hours without a smoke and then drove to 7-11 at midnight for a pack of Marlboros. New You is happily retired with the income he needs to live well in his twilight years. Now You just took a loan against his 401K and went to Vegas.

Now You is posing rationalizations and making judgments while New You doesn’t even get a lawyer!
The problem is that Now You is clever. He knows you inside and out because he is you. He knows exactly what arguments to make to convince you that the pleasure you seek now is OK and that there is plenty of time to work on New You. He’s a liar. He’s a snake oil salesman.

Take a small step toward New You today.

2017 Motto: Daily disciplines create desired outcomes