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You Can Find Opportunity in This Era of Cluttered Communication

By Jeff Beals

“The Times They Are a-Changin’” wrote singer-songwriter Bob Dylan in 1964.

If Dylan and his listeners were impressed with the pace of change 50 years ago, they surely would not believe how fast things are changing now.  Rapidly evolving communication technology and rapidly expanding marketing channels are changing the way businesses and individual professionals communicate.

According to global media services agency ZenithOptimedia, 2014 is expected to be the year in which money spent on internet advertising will exceed the combined amount spent on printed newspapers and magazines.

The rise of internet-based commerce has been meteoric. After all, it really wasn’t all that long ago when we didn’t even have the internet let alone the powerhouse marketing platform that the internet is today.

The increasing power and influence of internet-based marketing does not necessary mean that print media have done a bad job or are about to go extinct.  On the contrary, print media are still very important and relevant.

Rather than a damning referendum on old media, the rise of internet marketing shows just how fragmented media today have become.  We now live in the loudest and most cluttered marketplace in human history.  So many messages compete for your attention.  We have unprecedented access to information, both journalistic and commercial.

These changes can be both good and bad depending on your point of view.  If you make your living selling advertising for traditional media it can be quite concerning.  That said, many established media companies have adapted quite well by adding high-quality digital platforms to complement their traditional ones.

If you are a company or person looking to get your message across, you now have a lot of choices.  On the other hand, all the clutter in the communication environment means it is harder now for your message to be noticed than it was in the past.

What are the secrets to success in a more fragmented, cluttered and loud marketplace?

1.   Be disciplined and assertive in your communication efforts

2.   Go back to the fundamentals of good communication

In today’s marketplace, you must constantly put forth messages in a variety of media – a mix of social media, internet news media and traditional media. Furthermore, the effort must be constantly sustained.  You can’t take a day off.  Worthwhile and attention-getting messages must spring forth constantly.

More importantly, the quality of the message matters more than how you release that message.  In other words, the medium used to communicate with your target audience is just that – a medium.  Whether you are using the phone, direct mail, newspapers, television, radio, email-based marketing, blogs, podcasts, social media engagement, door-to-door salesmen or carrier pigeons, the product or service must stand on its own merit.  The message must be compelling on its own merit. Fundamentals matter.  If your product has a viable market, it will sell.

I don’t fear changes in communication technology; I embrace them.  As a person who has messages to convey and services to sell, the more communication channels I have, the better.

I derive great value out of social media and other internet-based forms of communication, but I love traditional media too.  After all, many of my articles are published in paper-based periodicals, and I have been hosting a terrestrial radio show for 10 years.

Regardless of the medium and where we might be at any given point in technological history, human beings are essentially the same.  They make decisions based on what they value and do business with individuals and organizations they trust.

Sure it takes more work, and in many cases more staffing hours, to prepare messages for new media that pop up.  But new communications vehicles open the possibility of reaching new people.

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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Selling Against Your Friends

By Jeff Beals

Relationships with sales professionals from competing companies can be touchy.

It is in your best interest to have positive relationships with your competitors, but you have to be careful.  On one hand, such relationships keep job possibilities open for you, and if you’re a sales leader, these relationships form a candidate pool from which you can hire.

On the other hand, it’s easy to let your guard down when you befriend competitors thus compromising your company’s position.

Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when it comes to befriending people who want to beat you in the sales arena:

  • Even if you have the heart of a cut-throat competitor, be cordial when you run into the competition. You never know when you actually might need them.
  • A wily competitor might be gathering intel during casual conversations, so stick to pleasantries and superficial talk.  Don’t divulge your secrets.
  •  If you sell for a small organization, you may be able to grow quite wealthy living off the big guy’s table scraps.  Befriend sales pros from much larger companies.  They just might refer business to you that is not big enough for them.
  • If you engage in one-upmanship and gamesmanship with competitors, make sure you do it for valuable reasons and not simply to boost your ego or satisfy a constant craving for competition.  If you engage in one-upmanship just for the fun of it, be careful – make sure the other person has a thick skin and/or good sense of humor.  Friendships among competitors can be fragile.
  • Sometimes you must get between your client and your competitor.  That’s not just figuratively “in between” them; it might be a good idea to show up if you know your client is going to encounter a competitor.  In highly competitive sales efforts, your personal, physical presence may be necessary to ward off competitors looking to steal your client at the last minute
  • As appropriate, find ways to “hide” your prospects from your competitors.  If you find a “diamond-in-the-rough” client, don’t let the world know about him or her.  Do what you can to keep them under the radar.
  • All is fair in love, war and sales. Because business can be so brutally competitive, some sales leaders look for ways not only to beat the competition but to weaken it preemptively.  Many of Sun Tzu’s ancient Chinese theories on military strategy apply to the game of sales. In sales, you sometimes need to outflank the competition, employ the element of surprise and weaken your competitors before you even begin the battle.  A dramatic way to strike a blow to a competitor is to hire away one of their sales reps.  If you can’t beat ‘em, steal their best salesperson.

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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If Emotion Can Nearly Bring Down a 300-Year Union, Think What It Can Do for You!

By Jeff Beals

Tensions flared and emotions ran high as the calendar neared Election Day. For weeks, television reports showed footage of passionate citizens campaigning – feverishly trying to convince their fellow countrymen and countrywomen to vote one way or another. Images of large crowds holding little blue signs saying “YES” and “NO THANKS” will be remembered for generations.

It was an historic vote that took place recently in Scotland. The ballot language was simple: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

Such a simple question. Such raw emotion.

A group of Scottish nationalists had been urging the Scots to vote for independence and thus end the country’s 307-year union with the United Kingdom. Geographically, Scotland is small and its population is little more than 5 million. But it’s an important part of the U.K. for both cultural and economic reasons.

For a while, the pro-independence nationalists, known as the “YES” campaign, looked like they might pull it off. They stirred passions, inflamed feelings of Scottish pride and painted a rosy picture of what life might be like in an independent Scotland.

A pro-British-union group, known as the “NO” campaign, sprung up to protect the status quo. Politicians in London, desperate to keep the union intact, promised concessions and incentives if the Scots voted to stay.

In the end, the “NO” campaign won as the Scots voted 55-to-45-percent to remain part of the U.K. While the final margin was 10 percent, the polls showed a much closer race just a couple weeks prior. At times during the campaign, it appeared to be a toss-up.

I’m not Scottish. I’ve never been to Scotland. And other than a European history class in college and watching Braveheart on cable 20 years ago, I’m not schooled in Scottish history.

But I was fascinated with this election and the campaign preceding it.

Like many political campaigns, emotion played a key role.

A quote in the Wall Street Journal illustrates that emotion: “My heart says ‘yes’ but my head says ‘no,’” said Kyle McBride a 21-year-old resident of Glasgow who supported independence.

If you look at the campaign from a purely logical perspective, most Scots are probably better off keeping the status quo. Had the country chosen independence, the economic ramifications, at least in the first few years, could have been onerous.

Choosing independence generally would have been a “heart” decision over a “head” decision. I’m not saying “head” decisions are always best and that “heart” decisions are bad. I usually think with my head, but sometimes it does make sense to go with your heart. As a non-Scottish and non-British person, I didn’t really care which side won.

The point here is that the use of emotion, playing to the Scottish people’s hearts, was effective. Until the “NO” campaign pulled out all the stops near the end, there was a decent chance the “YES” campaign would have won. Scotland would have shocked the world.

I have often said that a person’s life is like an ongoing political campaign. We are all “running” for something. We’re all trying to “get elected” to whatever is important to us.

Political campaigns have a long history of using emotion. Businesses have also played on emotion to sell products. Individuals often rely on emotion to convince others to do something or to change their way of thinking. Emotion is powerful. It’s motivational. Emotion is flat-out useful.

Savvy professionals search for and identify the emotion in any situation. They figure out what’s causing the emotion and take it into consideration before making a decision.

Whenever human beings are involved, emotion is present.

While it is possible to overplay the emotion card, you would be wise to harness its power. Whether you are trying to close a deal, win an argument or convince your colleagues to adopt your idea, you stand a much better chance if you understand others’ emotions, control your own emotion and manipulate emotion to support your desired outcome.

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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Rock-Solid Philosophy Paves the Way for Selling

By Jeff Beals

Sales leaders must take many steps in order to develop an effective selling strategy for their companies. One of the first steps is to determine “who you are” as a sales organization. This also means “who you are not” and “who you never want to become.”

Strategies simply are not as effective if your organization hasn’t created a culture. Determining what you are and why you want to be that is hard work. It can be tedious and sometimes argumentative if there are conflicting opinions among the leadership.

In order to determine who you are and create a healthy selling culture, leaders must set their philosophies and beliefs. Ultimately all sales and marketing efforts should rest on a philosophical foundation.

Philosophy and beliefs are your unshakable, solid foundations. They are crystalized by focusing on values, mission and vision.

First, sales leaders should record their core values. These are the qualities that mean the most to them, the lines they will not cross, the expectations they will not compromise.

Once these values are agreed upon and recorded, it’s time to develop a sales-team mission statement. A relatively short written passage, the mission statement summarizes your purpose, your reason for existence. Almost as important is the vision statement, which is a description of where you will be or what your organization will look like at some snapshot point in the future.

Core values are a big determinant of any organization’s culture whether it may be a sales team or an entire company. These are the commitments that drive you each day. Core values indicate what is truly important to you. On a broad level, these values are related to your beliefs and philosophies. More narrowly, they relate to your behavior. Core values are important to success because they keep your inner self and your outward actions synergized.

If you know where your sales team stands philosophically, you are more likely to make decisions in harmony with your organization’s true character. Acting this way will enhance your team’s long-term success.

Before taking your products and services to the market, understand what actions you will not tolerate, what corners you are not willing to cut and what ethical boundaries you are not willing to blur.

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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Thou Shalt Honor the Influencers!

By Jeff Beals

In almost any given deal, there is someone other than the decision maker who has influence over the process.  Sales pros should not only discover the influencers but must honor them as well.

Working with influencers takes work. Some salespersons resent having to take the time with people who aren’t the primary prospect. Don’t fall into this trap. Holding animosity toward influencers or even feeling annoyed because of them is dangerous. If you don’t embrace those who influence your prospect, you run the risk of scaring off both the influencer and the prospect.

Ultimately, working with an influencer is in your best long-term interest. When prospect and influencer are both sold on an organization, the prospect has a higher likelihood of being a good client and a greater chance of being retained for an extended period of time. That means you ought to be happy when the prospect’s colleagues (if it’s a B2B deal) or friends/family (if it’s a B2C sale) want to be involved in a decision.  It can be an encouraging sign when the prospect wants affirmation from people close to him or her.

Smart sales pros want influencers to be involved. Early involvement by influencers may actually increase the likelihood of client/customer retention down the road.

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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What’s One Way of Marketing Yourself That Nobody Else is Doing?

By Jeff Beals

Here’s a question to ponder:  What’s one way of marketing yourself that none of your friends or colleagues are doing?

In order to succeed in today’s ultra-competitive environment, you need to stand out in a positive way.  People need to know about you.  When an opportunity arises, you want your name and face pop into the decision-maker’s head.

Regardless of your occupation, you are fighting two major battles: the aforementioned competition and “commoditization.” You may be the best at what you do, but there are so many competitors in your marketplace. In an era of commoditization, consumers have more choices than they know what to do with. Clients often assume all providers are competent, so they end up making their choices based on a professional’s personal brand.

The same thing applies when you’re looking to make a career change.  A job search is simply another type of marketing campaign.  Hiring managers often have multiple candidates from which to choose.

There’s no doubt that you need to stand out in today’s loud and crowded marketplace, but in some ways, that’s getting harder and harder to do.  In a social media-driven world, it seems like everyone is talking and nobody is listening.  If that’s the case, how can you get the right people to listen to YOU?

Tactically, the methods of carrying out a self-marketing message typically consist of networking, getting involved in your industry or community, social media, writing blog articles, recording podcasts, getting interviewed by the media, writing reviews on websites such as Amazon.com, donating time or money to causes, building a group of respected people to recommend/refer you, and making sure you have a strong presence in Google search results.

You can do all of these things or some of these things.  But doing these things simply isn’t enough.  It’s awfully difficult to find a self-marketing tactic that nobody else has discovered.

The message you convey is more important than the methods you use to market yourself.

In other words, you can differentiate yourself based on what you have to say.  If you want a way to market yourself that none of your friends or colleagues is using, find what’s unique about you and determine how you will convey it.

I call it your “area of self-marketing expertise.”  It’s something about you and your profession that is fascinating to someone who does not do what you do.

In other words, it’s something related to who you are professionally but is intriguing to someone who otherwise wouldn’t really care about your profession. Everyone is hopefully an expert in his or her profession, but an area of self-marketing expertise is quite different. It consists of the most fascinating aspects of your job, company or industry.

So what’s your area of self-marketing expertise?

If you’re not sure, sit down with a few friends and explain what you do. Ask them what they find most interesting. Take notes.

Once you have decided on your area of self-marketing expertise, think about how you will communicate it in an intriguing way. When that’s mastered, it’s time to put your area of self-marketing expertise to work for you. Use it at networking events, in newsletter articles, in public speaking, when dealing with the press and in your social media postings.

Professionals who have well defined and carefully crafted areas of self-marketing expertise will ultimately be more successful, because they never run out of interesting things to talk about. An area of self-marketing expertise becomes a magnet, attracting people to you.

When people are dazzled by what you have to say, they’ll be more than happy to hire you, recommend you and bring you opportunities.

The key to marketing yourself in a way nobody else is doing is to differentiate your message.  With a little introspection, you ought to be able to come up with something, but there only on you.

Once you figure out your unique self-marketing position, announce it to the world.  Have confidence in your message.  Don’t let other people or any haunting feelings of self doubt stand in your way. Self-marketers have to stick their necks out and take risks. Not only is it worth the risk, but establishing a well-known personal brand is essential in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace.

By the way, promoting yourself is never about ego; it’s just marketing. In our super-charged world, hard work and talent are no longer enough. You need to make sure key audiences know about your abilities and accomplishments.

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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If You Want to Convince Someone, Listen Two-Thirds of the Time!

By Jeff Beals

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood,” wrote Stephen R. Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Too often we get that order mixed up. We focus on being understood as opposed to understanding those with whom we live and work.

Whether your role is executive, managerial, sales, customer service or anything else, it is critically important to your success that you listen.

Super executive Lee Iacocca, former CEO of Chrysler, once said, “I only wish I could find an institute that teaches people how to listen. Business people need to listen at least as much as they need to talk. Too many people fail to realize that real communication goes in both directions.”

Iacocca’s statement reminds me of the old saying, “God gave you one mouth and two ears; use them proportionately.”

In other words, we should listen twice as much as we talk. I call it the “Rule of Thirds.”

Two-thirds of the time you spend talking with a colleague, client or a prospect should be focused on the other person. One-third of the time is focused on yourself.

“No man ever listened himself out of a job,” said former U.S. president Calvin Coolidge. Simply put, listening is one of the top skills required for professional success.

Why is focusing on the other person so important? The answer is simple: most people are rather self-absorbed. They are their favorite subjects.

If you show earnest, sincere interest in a person’s “favorite subject,” he or she can’t help but like you. They will feel a connection with you. Showing sincere interest by truly listening disarms colleagues and clients and paves the way for your success.

You might be wondering to whom you should listen. Who is worthy of your attention? Who deserves your best listening skills? That’s easy: everyone. You never know who has the right information for you or knows just the right person you need to meet.

Sam Walton, the late founder of Wal-Mart, once said, “The key to success is to get out into the store and listen to what the associates have to say. It’s terribly important for everyone to get involved. Our best ideas come from clerks and stock boys.”

When it comes to listening, remember to do it sincerely and remember that everyone counts.

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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Closing the Deal Requires a Finer Touch

By Jeff Beals

There’s an old adage in the sales profession “A.B.C. Always Be Closing.”

While it’s a cliché, it does make sense at some level. Although you should always focus on building trust and determining what the prospect values, in the back your mind, you want to look for little clues and signals that the prospect is ready to sign. To gauge this, try incorporating “test closes.” It’s like floating a weather balloon to test the atmosphere.

Test closes help you figure out just where you stand. Ask questions such as, “How are you feeling so far?” “What’s the likelihood that you will make a move this month?” “What would it take for us to do this deal?” “If I was able to get you X, would you be willing to Y?”

When you’re trying to close a highly competitive sale, it can help to bring in a designated closer. This person is usually a highly experienced sales professional with some level of power or authority and who has not worked much with the prospect up to that point. Some companies half-jokingly refer to this person at “the hammer.”

I wrote a book a couple years ago called Selling Saturdays: Blue Chip Sales Tips from College Football in which I studied how legendary college football coaches “sold” their teams to elite, highly coveted athletes.  The result was an extraordinary perspective on the sales profession.

In college football, the designated closer is almost always the head coach. The National College Athletic Association (NCAA) allows assistant coaches to have more contact with prospective players (prospective “clients”). The assistant works with the prospect building the long-term relationship and developing trust.

At the end, when it’s time to seal the deal, the famous, highly paid head coach comes in and dazzles them. The big boss comes in and says, “We want you. We know you can be a huge success here. Let’s get it done.”

I call it, “putting a finer touch on the closing process.”  It sometimes requires a little finesse to close the deal.  Other times it takes a more provocative and memorable encounter.  Knowing the difference is an art, part the canvas painted by a savvy sales pro.

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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Is Someone You Love Going to College? Their Success Depends on Three Words

By Jeff Beals

It’s that time of year – college students are making their way back to campus. Soon picturesque quads across the nation will be filled with backpack-toting collegians walking under perfectly azure skies crunching fallen leaves underfoot.

Thinking about the annual return of students to campus reminded me of a note I received from a reader several months ago. He asked me to write an article about college success. He wanted me to offer advice to students about to enter college. I told him I would be happy to do that but wanted to wait until the article would be timely. Well, that time is now.

If you have a son, daughter, grandchild, niece, nephew or anyone else you care about who will be starting college this fall, please read on. If YOU are going to college, it’s especially important to read on…

By the way, I’m actually quite comfortable addressing this question and fairly well credentialed in doing so. Before entering the for-profit business sector 14 years ago, I was dean of student affairs at a private college.

The keys to college success are quite similar to those of the professional world.

Three Words

Responsibility. Authority. Accountability. Success ultimately comes down to three words. I used to harp on those three words when I would meet with new students and upperclassmen. In order to succeed, each individual must take total responsibility for his or her own life. You must graciously accept credit when it is due, and more importantly, you must be the first to stand up and take the blame when you have made a mistake.

If you get an “A+” on a term paper, it’s because you did the necessary work, not because you got lucky. If you’re late for class, it’s your fault, not because you got stuck waiting at a railroad crossing (you should have left earlier). People who adopt this belief are almost always more successful than those who make excuses.

Every individual has responsibility for himself or herself. Nobody else can or should make decisions for you. Fortunately, each of us has the authority to carry out that responsibility. Nobody has the right to take away the power you have over your own life. Finally, we areaccountable for the decisions we make – good or bad. You live with the consequences of your decision-making and actions.

While responsibility, authority and accountability come with a burden, they are also liberating. Success begins and ends with you. People who abide by these three words enjoy more success and lead richer lives.

No Passivity Allowed

Students must take the initiative to make things happen. Successful people live active rather than passive lives. To persist in college, you must deliberately make things happen. Those students who sit in their residence hall rooms waiting for something to happen tend to turn into professionals who sit in their offices wondering why other people are so much more successful.

Get Involved

It may sound counter intuitive, but one of the best ways to succeed academically is to get involved outside the classroom. I saw it all the time when I worked as a college administrator – students who dropped out of school during their freshman or sophomore years tended to be isolated and not interwoven into the campus fabric.

Getting involved in a campus club, organization, Greek organization or athletic team helps you develop relationships with fellow students. These relationships consequently bind you emotionally to the school. If you are having a good time and benefiting from meaningful experiences and relationships, you’re more likely to work hard and do what it takes to stay there.

Collegiate involvement also makes the campus seem “smaller.” This is important, because going to college can feel intimidating to freshmen especially at large universities.

Time Management

While earning good grades takes hard work, you don’t want to be studying 24-7. Your undergraduate experience should be one of the most fun and memorable times of your life. You can enjoy the best of your academic and social lives if you are a good time manager.

As in the professional world, time management habits are one of the single most significant factors that separate the successful from the not-so-successful. If a student is lacking in time management, there are several on-line resources that provide tips, advice and exercises.

Find a Mentor

Mentorship has been proven over the years to be a highly effective path to success. New students should seek out mentors on campus. They could be professors, staff members, and most likely, an upperclassman who leading a successful college career. Having a role model and a source for advice makes it easier for a freshman to live a life of responsibility, authority and accountability.

Mentor-mentee relationships tend be informal, developed over time as people get to know each other and build friendships. That said, many colleges have formal mentoring programs in which incoming students are matched with upperclassmen who have agreed to serve as mentors and follow a designed program.

Be On Campus

Finally, there’s no substitute for just being on campus. I’m a big believer of on-campus living. By being on campus around the clock, you fully immerse yourself in the experience.

However, I understand that on-campus living is not logistically or financially possible for all students. In those cases, students should spend their free time on campus. Instead of going home right after class, stick around. Do your studying in the student center, the library or the quad. Eat your meals on campus. Just being there makes it more likely that you will succeed.

Like so many things in life, college requires that you throw your whole self into the experience. Make it your passion. Be a college student with all your heart. There are some things in life that you can do half-heartedly. College is not one of them. You need to give it your all and be fully committed.

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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The Will to Prepare Is More Powerful than the Will to Win

By Jeff Beals

“It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters,” said the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant, perhaps the greatest coach in football history.

Preparation is important in all walks of life, but in the game of football, it’s patently obvious when you fail to do it. Just as Coach Bryant prepared his team for on-field competition, you must prepare just as intensely for your sales consultation meetings as well as final presentations.

When you consider what’s riding on your sales presentations and how important a positive outcome would be, it makes sense to prepare diligently.

First, study your targeted prospect. Make sure you know everything you can about him or her. The better your background research, the more likely you will be to prove your ability to solve their problems and provide what they value. Go over all the notes you logged during your previous communications with the prospect to make sure you’re not omitting anything important in the presentation. Figure out what critical pieces of information you still need to learn about the prospect and have a list of questions that specifically would yield such answers.

Anticipate any objections the prospect might put forth and have responses ready to go. Determine what parts of your sales presentations are just “boilerplate” material and which parts are to be customized. Spend time getting ready for the customized part, because you want it to sound natural and not awkward.

If you’re new to sales, or you have become a little rusty since your last presentation, there’s nothing wrong with practicing before a big meeting. You could always role-play with a colleague or friend.

On-field success in football is totally dependent on practice, so it’s no surprise that successful sales pros have been known to practice too.

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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