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Avoiding Blindness Is a Key to Your Sales Success

By Jeff Beals

One of the first values a good sales leader must establish is the belief that team is more important than the individual. This is tricky, because salespersons tend to be very independent personalities. They tend to be self-confident and like making decisions for themselves without a lot of management oversight.

In such an environment, the sales leader needs to respect each salesperson’s individualism and extend a level of trust and autonomy to each of them. At the same time, the leader can’t allow a salesperson to go rogue. The good of the organization ultimately must be placed above the selfish desires of any individual no matter how talented he or she may be.

Exceptional sales pros, motivated and talented individuals who produce results, don’t grow on trees.  They are NOT a dime a dozen.  While not necessarily rare, outstanding sales pros are special.  It takes a lot of effort to find them and keep them.  Because of that, it’s easy to be blinded by talent.

Don’t let that happen.

Sales leaders sometimes get so enamored with a potential rep’s sparkling personality and jaw-dropping talent that they fail to notice the flaws.  Many sales leaders have hurt their careers because they couldn’t see past a rep’s talent and realize that his ethics or work habits were lacking.

In the long run, no business will come out on top if it hires ethically questionable salespersons even if those salespersons look great on the outside.  No business will come out on top if it hires lazy sales people.

Blinding Clients

Blindness is not only a problem when hiring sales professionals. You can be blinded by prospective clients too. Some sales professionals have essentially sold their souls in order to attract a single too-good-to-be-true prospect who turns out to be a bust.

Look for prospects that will actually boost your business, not those that will end up costing it more in the end. Those clients that look too good to be true most likely are.

Truly one of the keys to success as a salesperson or a sales leader is to avoid blindness and see reality.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques.  He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. 

To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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Personal Branding and the Most Expensive Photograph Ever Sold

Phantom by Peter Lik

By Jeff Beals

You are looking at the most expensive photograph ever sold.

A collector recently paid $6.5 million for the original. It’s called “Phantom” and was shot by Peter Lik, an Australian-born photographer who now works in the United States.

Lik captured this image at Arizona’s Antelope Canyon, a geologically unique slot canyon located on Navajo land. Lik considers it to be “one of the most powerful” photos he has ever created.

The photograph is beautiful. Stunning. Frankly, it’s unlike anything I have ever seen.

But would you pay $6.5 million for it?

Would you be even less inclined to pay that money if you knew several other photographers have captured the almost same image?

My good friend Brad Williams is an accomplished photographer who has spent countless hours photographing the American Southwest. He tells me that several photographers have taken very similar shots in the exact same place. Yet their photos sell for just the tiniest fraction of Lik’s big-money shot.

Why is that? It’s the power of personal branding!

Lik is famous in the photography world. He has made a huge name for himself shooting artistic, panoramic landscapes. According to “The Creator’s Project,” Lik is now responsible for four of the 20 most expensive photographs ever.

I have long extolled the benefits of personal branding. No matter what you do, you benefit when a large number of people know your name and have a positive feeling associated with it. The buyer who invested all those millions of dollars to own one single photograph was buying a name along with the art.

Just like Peter Lik, you must do excellent work but along with that, build up your name. A highly respected and widely recognized personal brand simply makes life easier. It very well could make your life more profitable as well.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques.  He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. 

To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!http://bit.ly/1l86RC6

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What You Really Need to Know about LinkedIn

By Jeff Beals

“LinkedIn is to today’s professionals what the yellow pages were to businesses 20 years ago.”

I’ve been saying that line quite a bit lately when professionals ask me how they can use social media for business and career success.  LinkedIn has been around for quite a while, but now it is becoming front-and-center.  LinkedIn is on the radar!  I can’t believe how many people have asked me for LinkedIn advice over the past month or two.

That’s a good thing, because LinkedIn is one of the most powerful networking tools available.

If you do not personally show up on LinkedIn, you may as well not exist just as a company that wasn’t in the yellow pages back in the day essentially didn’t exist.

LinkedIn has become THE way for professionals to be noticed, find opportunities and make profitable business relationships.  It’s a virtual clearinghouse.  If you are not fully capitalizing on LinkedIn’s power, you are missing out.

If you’re not on LinkedIn, start your profile today.  If you already have a profile, you will want to take a little time to assess it and see if you can improve your profile strength rating.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to maximize the one form of social media that is most important to professionals:

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Placing a picture on your profile is almost as foundational as having your name on it.  Nobody takes your profile seriously if you didn’t take the time to upload your headshot.

Max It Out

Maximize your profile’s effectiveness by filling out all the possible fields.  Do not skip any part. LinkedIn is not a place to be a wilting flower.  It is not a place for excessive modesty.  Sure, you want to be tasteful as you describe yourself, but when it comes to LinkedIn, don’t leave anything on the table.

30,000-Foot View

One of the first things to appear on your LinkedIn profile is the summary section.  This is where you describe yourself broadly.  It is not tied to any one job you may have held.  The summary is your introduction to the reader and provides a chance to show your personality, your career focus and the value you bring to an employer or prospective client.  Make yourself sound like the successful, competent professional that you are by using compelling, robust key words.  Remember that LinkedIn is searchable, so you want to have a lot of words for a searcher to grab.

Job by Job

List each job you have had in chronological order.  Just like the summary section above, use descriptive keywords.  Don’t just say what you did in a matter-of-fact way; talk about the impact you had and the value you created in each job.

Be a Joiner

LinkedIn offers a wide variety of discussion groups that you can join.  Search for groups that relate to your interests and professional expertise.  You can participate in group discussions or read what others have to say.  In addition to learning new things related to your field, these groups help you develop relationships with other professionals.  Even if you do not have time to be actively involved in LinkedIn groups, join a few anyway.  That way your name shows up when someone searches for people in that group.

It’s All Who You Know

Build your list of connections.  Reach out to people you know.  The spirit of LinkedIn says that you only connect with people you know but many people violate this.  I recommend you only reach out to people with whom you have some connection unless there is some other compelling reason.  If you are about to join a new company, you may want to reach out to people already working there.  Perhaps you are going to a conference and you want to connect with other attendees ahead of time.  In these instances, include a short note explaining why you are reaching out along with the connection invitation.

Some people wonder if they should accept a LinkedIn connection invitation from someone they don’t know.  Again, the spirit of LinkedIn is to only accept people you know, but I personally don’t subscribe to that rule.  Given what I do, I live a somewhat public life, so I accept everyone who asks to connect unless something about their profile looks fishy or out of the ordinary.  You will have to decide what is right for you.

Monitor Who Sees You

It’s not out of paranoia but rather a source of good networking intel. LinkedIn allows you to see who has viewed your profile.  Anyone who takes the time to look up your profile probably has a reason for doing so.  That means you might have the opportunity to do business together in the future.  Look at their profile too.  If there seems to be synergy in your work, you might want to reach out to that person.

Let Yourself Be Seen

Just as you can see people who looked up your profile, others can see that it was you who looked at theirs.  You don’t want to be a stalker, but it might be to your benefit to look up the profiles of of people who could hire you or become your clients.  They may notice that you saw them, which may in turn cause them to look you up.  This simple exposure to people who are professionally beneficial to you could lead to a positive outcome.

In Conclusion

Don’t be left in the shadows!  LinkedIn opens all kinds of professional opportunities for you.  Even if you’re one of those persons who has a distaste for social media, it is still in your best interest to hang your virtual shingle and be a registered member of today’s economy.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques.  He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. 

To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!http://bit.ly/1l86RC6

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Attention Sales Leaders: When Do You De-Recruit Your Star Players?

By Jeff Beals

If you’re a sales leader, you surely know how difficult it can be to recruit top-performing sales reps to your company.  It’s a supply-and-demand scenario: exceptional sales talent is rare, therefore everyone covets it.  The high value and chronic scarcity of great sales talent leads to constant recruiting, the wining-and-dining of sales stars in hopes they will bring their talents (and their books of business) over to your company.

While sales leaders have many responsibilities, one of the least discussed but most important is the management of egos. Professional salespersons tend to be a self-confident and highly independent lot. What’s more, they tend to be highly competitive. In managing egos, the sales leader needs to be clear about his or her expectations and exactly what the selling expectations are for sales rep and sales manager.

In many shops, there is great pride (and respect) that comes from being the number-one salesperson for the month, quarter or year. That competition is generally a good thing, but you do have to manage egos. Not everyone can be the number-one salesperson, which is tough when you have several outstanding ones.

As far as who is the best sales rep on the staff, competitive people ultimately realize that competition itself answers the question. When you accept a big-time sales position, you know the standards are going to be high. You know your colleagues on the staff are going to be ultra-talented and highly motivated. Unless you’re naïve or unless the leadership has set up an unfair system, you know why you’re the number two person and not the best.

The sales leader’s job is to recruit talented reps and then keep motivating them to become better and better salespersons.

So, how does a sales leader manage a team of big egos and teach them to be disciplined members of a team especially after wining and dining them during the courtship process?

“De-recruit” them.

From the minute they sign an agreement with you, it is time to start de-recruiting them.  But you do it in a way that keeps them confident and motivated.  Help your sales reps to “keep it real” and not get too high on their own supply.  Give them all the resources they need (and all the resources you promised while recruiting them) but make sure they know they are expected to produce and earn their own business.

De-recruit them but do it carefully.  It’s a fine line.  Your sales reps must produce and they must be accountable.  Top producers don’t mind high expectations, but if you de-recruit your new people too harshly, they’ll leave for one of the many other companies that would love to have them.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques.  He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. 

To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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How to Harness the Power of a Little Gift

By Jeff Beals

A revolutionary retail concept came to life northeast of downtown Dallas in 1985.  That’s when the first Blockbuster Video store opened.  The business boomed and quickly soared to great heights.  At one point, Blockbuster boasted more than 9,000 stores worldwide.

Nothing lasts forever, and some things only last a short while.  As fast as Blockbuster rose, it came crashing down.  The company was unable to keep up with Netflix, Redbox and other competitors with fresher business models.  Blockbuster went kaput in 2013, and today only a handful of franchised stores still carry the Blockbuster name.

While its glory days are long faded, Blockbuster did one thing in particular back in 1994 that made a long-lasting impact on the retail industry:  Blockbuster invented the gift card.

Before Blockbuster’s creative breakthrough, retailers issued “gift certificates,” pieces of paper, instead of those slick, colorful cards with magnetic strips on the back.

It was a stroke of genius.  Gift cards were like a box-office smash hit.  People loved them, and other retail businesses copied the idea.  In 2001, Starbuck’s created the first gift card that could be used over and over again.  Nowadays, gift cards are ubiquitous in the retail industry.  According to Smithsonian magazine, Starbuck’s now sells more than 1,500 gift cards per minute!

Why are gift cards so popular among customers?

They are convenient.  They are easily portable. They allow a shopper to use their gifted dollar amount over the course of multiple purchases or trips.  They are refillable. Choosing gift cards does not require the purchaser to invest the time and energy that are required when purchasing a traditional gift.  People love receiving gift cards, because they can purchase whatever they want on someone else’s dime.

There is yet another reason people enjoy receiving gift cards - They are more valuable than cash. 

That’s right; when it comes to perceived value, gift cards are more desirable than plain old cash.  I know that statement sounds crazy.  If I receive cash, I can use it in any way and in any place I desire whereas a gift card limits you to the business that issues it.

Nevertheless, gift cards are more valuable.  Why?  It’s partly because the giver still went to at least a little trouble and customized the gift at least a little bit.  That makes gift cards a smidge more thoughtful than a check written out to you or a fifty-dollar bill stuffed in an envelope.  Another reason might be the card itself – they are designed with colorful, glossy images that appeal to the eye.

Gift cards work so well because they are desirable gifts.  Now I’m not saying it’s a smart move to buy one for your special someone – that might land you in the doghouse!  But for business gifting, the gift card is hard to beat.

Since gift cards are so effective in the professional world, it’s time to use them to your benefit.  Gifting is a very powerful way to make you, your career and your business more successful.  People remember and appreciate the gifts they receive.

If you are trying to motivate your employees, gift them once in a while with a free-lunch gift card to the restaurant near your office.  You want to thank a current client?  Gift them.  Are you trying to smooth over a relationship after you had a conflict with a colleague?  Gift them and send a contrite note as well.  You want to get into a prospective client’s office?  Gift them.  Send a gift card and a personal note customized to that prospective client and then follow up with the phone call a few days later.  Mention that you hope the person received the gift card and ask to talk briefly.  If you took the time to send a gift, most prospects will feel at least somewhat “obligated” to talk for a few minutes.

You want some really good news?

Gift cards don’t have to be high-dollar-value in order to make an impression.  For a routine or small “thank you,” a $10 gift card to a nearby coffee shop should do the trick.  Even client-thank-you and prospective-client-door-opening gift cards don’t have to be terribly expensive.  Depending on the situation and person, something between $25 and $100 should suffice.

Thanks to a now-defunct movie rental business, your work is easier.  Gift cards are a powerful tool for entrepreneurs, sales professionals, managers, and anyone who depends on volunteers.  Employ the power of gifting and reap the rewards.  Carve out a line in your company’s or department’s budget for gift card purchases.  A relatively small investment can bring a mighty return in the form of new clients and retained business.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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How to Win the “Contested Close”

By Jeff Beals

I’m a big believer in doing everything right before closing in order make the close anti-climactic.  If you have established a relationship and figured out what the prospective client truly values, then the close is generally a formality, a foregone conclusion.  All you have to do is ask, call the question, seal the deal.

Closes are easy when the prospect has a trusting relationship with you and you truly understand who they are and what they’re all about.  But what happens when the prospect has established a trusting relationship with you and your competitor at the same time?  What if the prospective client falls in love with two competing vendors?

This is a contested close. It is not terribly common but it does pop up from time to time.

When you find yourself in a contested close, be prepared to go into battle and fight until the very end.  Never give up.

I like to think of contested closings as being analogous to the fourth quarter of a tight football game or the bottom of the ninth inning of tied baseball game.  Keep battling so you are properly positioned in case the chance to win presents itself.  You never know what could happen at the very end of the game or the end of the sales process.  Like athletes competing to the final whistle, salespeople who keep fighting put themselves in position to snatch victory at just the opportune time.

If you are mired in a contested close, it might mean you tried to close too soon.  In other words, the prospect is not ready.  Take a few steps back in the process and go return to the fundamentals: ask more questions, build trust and search for ways that your product or service provides what they value.  Focus on your value differentiating factors.

You might also do some competitor research if you know which company or individual is competing with you.  Find their weaknesses as a provider and think about how your solution might be better.  Generally, it’s not a good idea to point out the competitor’s weaknesses directly.  Instead, accentuate your positives in the areas where you know the competition is week.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!http://bit.ly/1l86RC6

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!  http://bit.ly/1gZqcoA

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The Power of Your Personal Target Audience

By Jeff Beals

Whether you’re in Atlanta or Austin, San Diego or San Antonio, Kansas City or Salt Lake City, shopping malls and retail centers generally look alike.  The products, displays, signage and building architecture are so uniform that it’s hard to tell whether you’re in New Orleans or New York.

There’s a reason for that.  Malls are carefully designed for a specific reason and for carefully targeted retail consumers.

Studies have shown that women make the vast majority of purchases, so women make up a huge part of a retailer’s “target market” or “target audience,” a group of people with shared characteristics that make a person more likely to buy a certain product or service.  Women with higher household incomes usually make more and larger purchases, so income would be another critical characteristic for a retail target audience.  Education, age and cultural aspects are also considered when a company determines its target audience.

Women purchase 70 percent of all books sold.  Given that, Barnes & Noble is probably more concerned about women than men.  It only makes sense to focus your marketing resources on the segment of the population that’s most inclined to buy what you purvey.  People buy more during certain periods of their lives; that’s why advertisers are obsessed with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Of course, not all marketing is geared toward women.  News-talk radio stations target men.  Video games target teenage boys.  You don’t see many beer commercials going after female drinkers.

Whatever business you’re in, you figure out what segment of the world is most important and you zero in on that group.

While it takes work to identify all the specific characteristics a company considers in the makeup of its target audience, it’s an essential endeavor. Having a target audience not only makes money, it’s liberating.

Think about it – the world is a big place. Billions of people are alive today.  The thought of marketing to all of them is staggering, but fortunately, marketers focus on niches, narrow slices of the population. The trick is to identify the appropriate slice.

The same thing applies when marketing yourself, for you are a product. You are a brand.  You need a “personal” target audience. 

In order to promote yourself effectively, you must become a celebrity in your own “sphere of interest.” Every professional has a sphere of interest. It’s your own narrow slice of the population. It’s your very own personal target audience. It’s comprised of those people, who in any way, can help you reach your goals – clients, prospective clients, those who refer clients, someone who could hire you, someone who could get you on a coveted committee or board.

Among these people, you need to be famous. When someone in your personal target audience needs the services or products you provide, your name and face should pop into their minds. When someone is looking for people to invite to a special occasion, your name needs to be at the top of the list. You are a highly desired person in your community or industry when a large number of people in your personal target audience have heard of you.

But before you can become a celebrity, you need to determine who is in your personal target audience. This is determined by your career, life mission, goals and personality.

Once you know who is in your personal target audience, manage it carefully. Just like a company managing its prospective clients, you as an individual must diligently manage your personal target audience and lavish attention upon it. The people in your personal target audience are precious, critical to your success.

If you tend to your personal target audience, it will yield positive results and help you achieve greater personal and professional success.

Now that we have established this, it’s time to think about your personal target audience. What types of people need to know about you? Where are they? How do you reach them?

There may be billions of people in today’s loud and crowded marketplace, but it’s comforting to know that you can become famous enough by chasing only a minuscule percentage of them. In order to get your message to connect with the right niche, think about what you do and who is in your personal target audience.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!http://bit.ly/1l86RC6

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We Want Vince! How to Enlist the Help of Others in Your Sales Efforts

By Jeff Beals

[Note: This week's "Sales Shape-Up" is an excerpt from the author's book, Selling Saturdays: Blue Chip Sales Tips from College Football, which uses the recruitment of star athletes as a metaphor for selling products and services in any industry.]

As you search for innovative ways to make an impression and let your prospects know they are special, you might want to employ the efforts of others. Your clients, fans and champions out in the business community can play a huge role as you market to new prospects.

Because of strict National College Athletic Association recruiting rules, college football teams have to be careful about orchestrating recruiting efforts by fans and boosters, but it is perfectly fine if those efforts happen without the direct involvement of the school.

Because fans follow football recruiting so closely on the Internet, they tend to know a great deal about the youngsters their favorite football teams are recruiting. That means they usually know when prospective players are visiting campus especially if it’s game day. It is fairly common at big-time football schools for fans to introduce themselves to the prospects, welcome them to campus and hold up signs imploring them to say “yes.”

Spontaneous adoration from 15,000 fans helped Tim Brewster land one of the nation’s biggest football recruits when he was an assistant coach at the University of Texas in late 2001. That’s when he was engaged in a tremendous battle to recruit an all-everything blue-chip high school player from inner-city Houston by the name of Vince Young.

Brewster starting tracking Young when he was a high school sophomore and worked hard to build a strong relationship with him.

During an on-campus visit in Austin, Brewster and Young were about to take in a Longhorn basketball game. Before the game, coach and prospect talked one-on-one downstairs in the bowels of the Frank Erwin Center, the University of Texas sports arena. To give Young a taste of the campus buzz, Brewster took his prized recruit upstairs so he could walk on the court and take in the pre-game atmosphere.

Immediately, upon stepping on the basketball floor, rabid UT fans recognized Young. The news whipped through the arena quickly. The crowd started chanting, “We want Vince! We want Vince!”

Brewster was blown away by the sudden public adoration.  He walked Young back downstairs where the recruit turned to Brewster, tears streaming down his face, and said, “This is where I need to be. I’m a Longhorn.”

Young starred at Texas, achieving All-American honors and leading the team to its only Associated Press national championship in a 45-year span.

While you might not be able to convince 15,000 people to chant your prospect’s name, and in most selling situations that would be rather weird, remember you are not necessarily alone.  Incorporate others in your selling efforts as appropriate in order to make a more powerful impression on your future clients.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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Unambiguous Communication Earns You the Most Respect

By Jeff Beals

I was reading a newspaper article about urban planning a couple days ago and came across this term: “continuous low-density polycentric urban formations.”

Sounds impressive but what does it mean?  The answer is actually simple: “urban sprawl.”

Anyone who lives in a major U.S. metro area knows what urban sprawl is.  You hear the word and immediately conjure up images of traffic jams and endless suburban development.  The term was coined back in the 1950s.  Most people experience urban sprawl every time they drive to work!  Isn’t it much easier to say “urban sprawl” than “continuous low-density polycentric urban formations?”

Of course it is, but it’s not as impressive sounding.

In fairness, this academically imposing term was used in an exhibit at the Yale University architecture school, meaning it was intended for people who actually know what “continuous low-density polycentric urban formations” means.  Nevertheless, we often and quite unnecessarily use complex phrases to describe that which can be expressed in simpler terms.

Regardless of your profession, communication is probably the most essential thing you do on any given day.  It’s easy to fall into the corporate jargon or academic gibberish trap in order to sound intelligent around other accomplished people.  Try to resist that temptation.  Over the course of time, those people who communicate using the clearest, most unambiguous terms are the ones who are ultimately most respected.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!http://bit.ly/1l86RC6

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!  http://bit.ly/1gZqcoA

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A Violation of Trade Show Etiquette

By Jeff Beals

Our company hosted a booth at a large business-to-business trade show today. Thousands of people passed through the aisles and many of them stopped by our booth.  Several of our employees took turns staffing the booth, giving them the chance to meet new people and reconnect with familiar faces.

B2B trade shows are a good chance to network and prospect but not necessarily the place where you’re going to do a lot of hard-core deal-making.

Unfortunately, some people don’t quite understand that.

I personally staffed the booth from 8:30 to 10:00 this morning.  At one point, a very nice (but clueless) woman approached me and introduced herself.  She was professionally dressed and had a pleasant demeanor.

But then things quickly went downhill.

Immediately upon introducing herself, she launched into a breathless litany of her product’s features and benefits.  She went on and on.  I probably only heard every third for fourth word, because I was so utterly uninterested.

It was diarrhea of the mouth, a vocal assault of meaningless features and benefits.

I listened for a while waiting for her to break her verbal cadence, giving me the narrow window I needed to end the conversation.  Finally, she took a breath. I immediately tried the “give-me-your-card-and-I’ll-keep-in-you mind” trick, but to no avail.  On and on she went, regurgitating features and alleged benefits.

I felt trapped.  The booth was my cage and she was the captor. I was cornered with nowhere to go and no option but to stand there and take it.  For a fleeting moment I looked around the booth in vain for a can of gasoline and a match – surely she would stop if I lit myself on fire.

Eventually, someone else walked up to the booth.  I excused myself and said I had to talk to the new person.

Freedom!

Our company exhibits at that trade show every year, and every year the above scenario happens. Several times!  I’m amazed that sales people still behave this way despite all the energy we sales consultants expend helping professionals sell more effectively.

Exhibitors pay a lot of money to rent a booth and display their goods and services at trade shows.  It has always rubbed me the wrong way when people who don’t have a booth go up to everyone else and use in-your-face selling tactics on the exhibitors who are there to meet their own prospective clients.

More importantly, no selling of any kind works when you have not taken the time to figure out what the prospect values.

The hapless saleswoman did not appear to care what I valued.  She asked me not a single question.  She just talked at Gatling-gun pace.

As has often been said, people love to buy but they hate to be sold to.  This advice certainly applies to trade shows and other networking events.  Successful sales people consider the audience and the environment before deciding how to approach new people.  At first, the goal is to build rapport and start to learn what a prospect values.

Be patient.

Letting the process play out the way it is supposed to gives you the time you need to work your magic.  When you jump in too soon, you alienate prospects and you become the person that people avoid when they see you walking down the trade-show aisle.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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