Posts Tagged ‘Sales Tips’

When Dr. Howard Thurman- philosopher, educator, minister, & mentor to Martin Luther King & Mahatma Gandhi, took his young children back to his hometown of Daytona Beach, his girls saw a nearby playground and asked to go swing. “You can’t swing on those swings,” said Thurman.

He promised them that he would explain more once they got home…Dr. Thurman had to buy some time because he was at a crossroads- a moment that I’m sure every black parent faced during those times (& still in some respects today)…

….how do you tell your children they can’t play on a “White’s only” playground.

Later he sat his girls down and told them that they were important…so important in fact that they couldn’t swing on those “public swings,” because the “public”only consisted of white children. He said, “You’re so important that it takes the state legislature, courts, sheriffs, white churches, bankers, & businesses-it takes the majority of the white people in Florida to keep 2 little black girls from swinging on those swings.”

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Dr. Thurman reframed the racial inequality he and his family were facing. He reframed the hatred and racism and made it a bridge instead of a barrier. He calibrated his daughters to-yes, see the injustice for what it is, but encouraged them to keep on going- to not let someone else’s opinions, narrow-mindedness, and blatant ignorance be the force of limitation for their lives.

Yes… there will be opposition, but maybe you’re facing opposition because what you are doing is of such magnitude- of such great importance, that those who oppose you are so fearful of you reaching your pinnacle, that they’ll stop at almost nothing to see you not succeed.

Importance is not some, Life’s good…I have no problems…kind of seance- no, Importance is recognizing the significance & impact that you are making and not letting up, giving in, throwing the towel, nor raising the flag.

It’s passages like this that remind me that I need to tell my children how important they are- not just to me, but to the whole world. My son is going through his first love breakup and while it’s incredibly painful to watch, I have to sit on the foot of his bed, rub his back, and remind him that maybe his boo can’t handle all of his awesomeness. His importance is irrelevant to the opinions of others.

We’ve got to remind salespeople, coworkers, & family members that some wrinkles in time are due to the fact that Life chose you…not because you’re weak, but because you are strong… Life deemed you worthy to enough-competent enough to fight this war you’re in. Not everyone can handle it…. but you can.

Whatever you face today, never underestimate your importance. The greater the opposition the greater your importance.

….Keep going.

I’ll see you on the Blacktop.

TOMS-shoes

You may have never heard of Blake Mycoskie, but you’ve probably heard of his company, TOMS shoes. They’re the company  that when you buy a pair of shoes, they’ll give a pair to a child. All told, they’ve provided over 60 million pairs of shoes to those in need. Mycoskie was once asked if his company had ever had one of those WFIO moments-one of those We’re F’d It’s Over kinds of situations. Chuckling today, Blake thought back and told of a time that just as TOMS was started to catch on, they began to fulfill the large orders rolling in until one day Blake got a call from his warehouse that due to a cheaper glue used, the soles were coming off of the shoes.  Faced with mounting orders-a reputation at stake, a supplier who had screwed them, and being flat broke, Mycoskie sat back and said, “We’re fucked, it’s over!”

After some heavy drinking and shoulda/coulda recaps, Mycoskie and his team made some adjustments and found a supplier to take a chance on them. With no money to offer-only potential orders, Blake convinced the supplier that if they could produce the orders to specifications, they would get their money. They took the chance…but Mycoskie took the first chance by asking for the seemingly impossible.

The story reminds me of the parable of the 5 loaves and 2 fish….with thousands of people to feed, Jesus took his eyes off of his circumstances and it is said that he looked up into the hills for the answer.

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See…the solution to your problem is never at the same level as your thinking. You’ve got to lift your eyes…elevate your thinking and take some GTF outta here kinds of actions.

Blake didn’t just sit there Indian style and just let life punch him in the jaw. Jesus didn’t just turn and look at his disciples, shrug and say, “Bruh I don’t know!” You can’t just hold onto the buoys of life hoping the waves will eventually subside…sometimes you’ve got to catch a wave and start riding…and when you fall off, you’ve got to get back on your board and find the next wave.

TOMS shoes said that if they were going to go down, they were going to go down swinging. They refused to back down to the problem-instead they would punch as the problem until they found a crack and once they found the crack, they would squeeze their fingers into the crevices and began pulling away until they found the solution. They lifted their eyes-thinking higher, so high in fact that because they believed in what they were doing, they were able to convince a supplier to fulfill the orders now and get paid later.

There’s a solution behind every circumstance, but you’re not going to find it thinking at the same level as the circumstance.

You’ve got to move from It’s over!  to Dammit it’s on!

I’ll see you next time on the Blacktop.

straight outta compton

Alan Wenkus, the screenwriter for the movie Straight Outta Compton (the story of N.W.A., the group that pioneered gangsta rap) was recently interviewed on a morning talk show and asked how much of the movie was real. Wenkus thought about it for a few seconds and said, “About 80% of it was real-it’s not that the other 20% was not, but it had to be colored in order to make the movie more cinematic.” He went on to say that, yes, the rappers’ lives-growing up in South Central L.A., having to face police brutality, gangs, and witnessing homicides on a daily basis was colorful enough, but certain emotional elements had to be put into the movie so that the audience could connect more with the characters of the movie. Essentially, Wenkus took actual facts, coupled it with emotion, and beget a blockbuster hit. “Before the movie my phone hardly rang-now I can’t keep up with the phone calls and producers are throwing money at me,” said Wenkus with a laugh.

When presenting your product, how cinematic are you? Your product presentation should be like that of Wenkus’ screenplay-factually written but comes alive with an element of flare. Customers buy cars, but they pay commissions based on how well you emotionally draw them into your product. They don’t need you to be a Wikapedia of cubic inches, torque, horsepower, and departure angles-no they need to know how your vehicle will improve their lives and the only way they’ll discover that your  vehicle is their best decision, is when you add an emotional element to make your script, i.e. your knowledge about your product, leap off the pages and into the mental screens of their lives. When they can imagine how they will look and feel driving their new vehicle, they’ll buy a ticket to your movie.
Great salespeople are great storytellers. Remember, your customer may have seen many shows, but they haven’t seen your show.  Take what you know and make it come emotionally alive with a hit show.
I’ll see you next time on the Blacktop. 

In sales, we’ve always been taught to “mirror” our customers, but what do you do when your customer is rude?

janitor

When my daughter MacKenzie says her prayers at night, I let her free flow-whoever and whatever she wants to pray for, I let her roll. One night as she was praying, she prayed for a name that I’d never heard before-his name was “Mr. Vic.” When I asked her who “Mr. Vic” was, she told me that he was the janitor at her school. “I’m praying for him, because he’s always nice to me,” she said. The other day Mack forgot her lunch, so I told her I would drop it off on my way to work. With only a few minutes to spare, I rushed into her school and placed her Lunchable on the table next to the lunchroom entrance alongside of a half dozen other kids who forgot their lunch too.  As I whirled around a man mopping the school’s floors, stopped swaying the mop from side to side and with a big, toothy grin, asked me how was I doing?  In a rush, I smiled back and told him I was doing fine and in turn, asked him how he was doing, but I didn’t have time nor the inclination to wait for his answer. As I waved goodbye to the ladies in the school’s front office it hit me, the man I had just spoken to in the hallway was Mr. Vic.

Turning around I walked back down the hallway and asked him, “Are you Mr. Vic?” he smiled and said that he was and as I shook his hand I said,  “Thank you for what you do, Mr. Vic.”  Stopping his mop, he pridefully looked around and said, “Oh, I’m just trying to keep it looking good around here.” “No,” I said, “Thank you for what you do while you’re here.”  I went on to tell him how my daughter prayed for him and that I appreciated how nice he was to her. “Sir, I’ve been here a long time, but I’m not here for the money-I’ve been offered opportunities to work at other places for way more money, but I don’t feel like that’s the position I’m supposed to be in. Maybe one day, but right now, I’m right where I’m supposed to be. My position is right here with these kids.”
Life is a blur and then we die. It becomes a blur because, we’re so focused on titles that we give no thought at all to our position in life. We’re so fixated on how the words printed below our name on our business card read; so hellbent on trying to schmooze with certain people, so adamant about rubbing elbows with a certain others, and are so seemingly obsessed with who we can step on, beat out, or crossover in our quest for a title, that we’ve lost sight of the most impactful part of our lives..our position.
If not today, one day you could find yourself wearing a title that you don’t care for-maybe you’re working for someone that you feel is inferior to your skills and expertise; perhaps you’re being asked to shoulder more responsibility with no more pay; or it’s conceivable that you find yourself standing in the ashes of a once promising career-for years you climbed the ladder of success-literally sacrificing everything, only to find yourself today back on the bottom rung having to start all over again.
Ground zero is where most people stall in life and ask, “Why?” Why was I passed over for this promotion? Why am I the one singled out to do more work while others stand around and get the credit? Why did injustice prevail and ruin my life? People who ask why park in life and become bitter; people who ask while move forward in life and become better.
The better question is to ask, “What do I do while I’m in this position?”
  • If you work for someone who you feel is inferior to your level of expertise and knowledge, your job is to make them look better. You have to understand this one position is not the end game in life unless you allow it to be. Use your vantage point to not only shore up their areas of weaknesses but also to gain a bird’s eye education into the pressures and decisions that they must make on a daily basis. If they’re poor at building relationships, you help build it for them; if they’re unorganized, you keep them on task; if they’re short sighted, you help them set the long-term vision. Stop competing for their title and begin completing their position. Not only will you earn her trust, but also you’ll build the morale of the  entire store. Remember, you’re teaching those who work under you how they should think and act. If you want it done to you, do it to others; if you want it done for you, do it for others.
  • If you keep getting volunteered for more work, shut up and do it. It’s been said that if you want something done, give it to a busy person. Don’t think like those who want to get the most for doing the least. Learning and teaching a new skill keeps you out of your comfort zone, raises your level of expertise, and makes you more valuable. Don’t wait for something catastrophic to occur to decide that you need to raise your game. Stay ready, don’t get ready.
  • If you find yourself back on the bottom rung in life…you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. I worked hard and lived fast until in 2008 I lost it all. I was financially, mentally, and spiritually bankrupt and had to start all over again. With my ego stripped, my position removed, and my hope lost I was scorched earth. But out of the ashes come new growth. It was at that time that I had to take responsibility for my life, put my feet back in the stirrups, and ride life’s horse again. I learned how to appreciate the good times and the bad; I realized that I could never be satisfied with what I already knew, and I had to lean on God to remind me that I still had more to give and much more to do. What you’re reading is my position..it is my testimony to let you know that you are not alone.
When you leave a room or leave this world what will be said about you? Obituaries are for titles-all the awards you amassed, all of the boards you sat on; all of the ribbon cutting ceremonies you attended will be printed on that piece of paper. But eulogies are for position. What will your eulogy be? What impact did you make for those you were around? Use your position to friend the porter who eats alone at lunch; use your position to encourage the accounting clerk who can barely pay rent and day care; use your position to develop the salesperson whose last resort is the car business.
Why’s not the question. While is. Use your position to go make an impact. They’re waiting on you…
Thank you, Mr. Vic.

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So your month isn’t starting off like you hoped, huh? I know, you started the month off vowing to go back to the basics, but now it seems as though you’re the only one not selling anything. 

Here’s my advice to you: Be mad, but don’t get mad
Be mad at your situation, but don’t get mad at your process. The worst thing you can do is get mad- when you get mad, you lose your composure- quickly becoming agitated and make a big deal out of the smallest things; you become self-oriented-having a me against the world, I gotta get mine, mentality; start blaming everything & everyone instead of taking responsibility for your own efforts, and become uncoachable- choosing to be deaf, dumb, & blind to making the necessary adjustments in your techniques. 
When you get mad, you take shortcuts- the problem with that is when you shortcut your process you lengthen your time of recovery.  
So Be Mad, but Get Consistent.  Keep your thinking, speech, body language, and effort focused on the results you’d like to see. 
Have a great week on the Blacktop! 

 Have you ever noticed that all head football coaches seem to say the same thing at a press conference? When boiled down, they invariably say something like “They’re a good team; we have our work cutout for us; we’ll be ready to play.”  That’s it! It makes you wonder why there are press conferences anyway-they give no insight into the challenges, weaknesses, fears, injuries, nor conflicts they may be internally facing. The only sound bite we get is ”They’re a good team; we have our work cutout for us; and we’ll be ready to play.” They do this simply because they don’t want to reveal any distinct area that could give their opponent the advantage to win. 

As a sales professional, you need to hold your own press conference every morning. You are the head coach, captain, and member of a team of 1. When you hit the ground this morning,  give yourself a sound bite that there will be opportunities mixed with challenges; effort in the face of complacency; and execution due to preparation. Stop holding press conferences for yourself and others- offering insights of your frustrations, insecurities, aggravations, and injustices-for one: your audience (i.e. other salespeople) are glad it’s you and not them and two: negative speech = negative action = negative results. Stop griping and start grinding. 
  • “They’re a good team.” Respect the fact that there will be opportunities today that will be laced with rejection, negativity, defeats, and setbacks. Don’t avoid making a mistake today-you can’t win a game in a clean uniform, instead go out there and get dirty by failing early and often-that’s where the greatest growth and opportunities are found. Ironically, at the first stain of rejection, most of your fellow salespeople will turn back and sit on the bench of mediocrity. Opportunities are only revealed to those who are willing to keep showing up. 
  • “We have our work cutout for us today.” Your opponent isn’t your customer-it’s you. It’s who you were yesterday; your choices; what you allow; what you did and didn’t do-you took a 2 hour lunch, hid in a van and watched movies, and hung out in service all day when you could’ve caught up on product knowledge, perfected your walk-arounds, and followed up with sold and unsold customers. Say to yourself, “I have met the enemy and the enemy is me-the me who says it’s good enough, maybe tomorrow, I’m going to.” 
  • “We’ll be ready to play.” Stay ready-don’t get ready. Stop reacting to your day, be your own “whether” man. Most salespeople react to the traffic (or lack thereof), weather, or the attitudes of others. Find an alternative route to your day-while they’re standing around waiting for something to happen, you go out there and make it happen. Talk to service customers who are waiting to get their oil changed; introduce yourself to the guy standing in line at the gas station, call EVERY-nice, rude, or indifferent customer you’ve worked with recently. Just like you used to throw the football up in the air and catch it in mid-stride, hurl common objections at yourself and practice smoothly overcoming them. Learn the art of persistence-most salespeople stop at the customer’s first No-practice finesse by pulling the layers of No’s back hearing the intent behind their objection so that you can offer other, more suitable alternatives. 
Sound bites are for others-insight is for you. Huddle up.