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How to Choose the Right Stories for Your Sales Quiver

By Jeff Beals

“Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.”

So says an old Native American proverb attributed to an unknown author. Storytelling has long been central in many Native American cultures and traditions.  The art of storytelling is also a particularly powerful tool in business especially sales.

I have written about the benefits of storytelling in the marketing and sales processes on a few occasions because storytelling makes your work easier. It is one of the most powerful sales tools available. Among management consultants and sales trainers, storytelling is in vogue these days. In fact, I even offer a full workshop on how sales professionals can harness the power of compelling stories.

You want to win over a prospective customer? Tell a story.  You want to diffuse a conflict in your office?  Bring people together with a story.  Do you want your company to have a certain mystique that intrigues the public?  Cast your vision in story form.

A story is one of the most valuable things a business, organization or individual person can possess. Stories are effective.  People can be moved by stories.  Great accomplishments can be achieved because of an inspiring story. Objections can be overcome thanks to a well-timed story. Deals can be closed because a would-be buyer is finally comforted by a relevant story.

But which stories should you choose?  Every sales professional should have an arsenal of stories ready to go for just the right purpose. I like to think of stories as arrows in your sales quiver.  Not only do you want a fully stocked quiver, you want very effective arrows.

What kinds of stories are effective in a sales situation?  Here are some things to keep in mind when you are filling your story quiver:

Purposeful – First and foremost, you want stories that clearly illustrate the point you are trying to get across.  Make sure there is no ambiguity.  After you share the story, it should have a visible effect on the listener.

Struggle & Change – Often the most effective business stories are one in which somebody endures a struggle or goes through hard times. At the end of the struggle, the person(s) in the story change and are better because of the experience.  Keep in mind that prospective clients going through the buying process are experiencing change.  Oftentimes, a big change pushed the prospect into the buying process in the first place.  What’s more, the new product or service you are selling will create additional change.  Many people are afraid of change.  It makes them feel uncomfortable and anxious.  Any story that shows how other people have emerged successfully from a similar struggle or change can be useful in your sales efforts.

Genuine & Authentic – Use stories that are real as opposed to made up.  Furthermore, if you were personally involved in the story or experienced it firsthand, it’s even more effective.  Prospects find it reassuring when the sales person self discloses especially when he or she is honest, humble and at times self-deprecating.

Backstage – Stories can be particularly engaging when they allow the listener to get a behind-the-scenes look that most people don’t experience.  If you lift the curtain, so to speak, and let people peek into the inner workings of a company or an interesting person’s life, it can be a powerful sales tactic.

Product Successes – Have some real-life stories of how consumers benefitted or companies made more money because of the product or service you are selling. If there’s something unique about the buyer or the circumstances in which the buyer made the purchase, the story will be even more impactful.

Entertaining – A boring story defeats the purpose of storytelling. Just as you would not want to read an uninteresting book or a dull movie, nobody wants to hear a lackluster story about your business.  Stories that have humor, excitement, action or a surprising misunderstanding will make an impression.

Theatre of the Mind – Try to use stories that create a lot of visual imagery in the listener’s head. Anytime your prospective clients can clearly imagine the situation – especially if they picture themselves in the situation – your story is going to be more effective.

So, think about the stories your company or organization has that might be of fascination to people on the outside. How can you capitalize on these stories? Once you have the stories, practice how you will share them and when in the sales process you will use them. Then go load up your quiver and become a spinner of sales stories.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker, award-winning author and sales consultant, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions through effective sales and personal branding techniques.

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.” – Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff. I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” – Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA

“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us down here. He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had heard. Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com

The Agenda: Part Two of “How to Get Them to Attend Sales Meetings”

Why do so many salespeople avoid sales meetings?  Why do some reps consider sales meetings to be just one step above pain, suffering and disease?  Part of the problem might be the structure of your meetings.

Too many sales meetings meander haphazardly from one topic to another without much purpose. Too many sales leaders wing it, showing up without a thoughtful agenda, and even worse, no real justification for holding the meeting.

During such meetings, attendees are generally disengaged until someone brings up a controversial subject. Only then, as the meeting becomes a gripe-fest, do people perk up and pay attention.

Never hold a sales meeting just for the sake of holding a meeting.  If the meeting doesn’t improve skills, encourage communication and foster trust, you’re wasting everybody’s time.

Last week, I wrote about some ways you could entice people to show up for your sales meetings. This week, I’m going to talk about the essential components of a meeting agenda.  You don’t have time for all of these agenda items at each meeting, so pick and choose which ones are best for you at any given time:

Celebrations of Success – In this part of the meeting, highlight the major sales that have been closed in the past week.  Discussing these completed deals boosts morale and also provides an opportunity for other sales reps to learn from the experience.

Pending Deals – Highlight transactions that are in the queue but not yet closed.  This will give everyone an idea of what business/revenue is on its way. Be careful about this section, however, as some sales reps are superstitious and don’t like to count their chickens before they hatch.

Announcements – Every sales meeting should have a “housekeeping” section in which you inform attendees about important details and events in the company.  Communication (or lack thereof) is a major complaint of salespeople and a big cause of their discontent.  While this agenda item is quite important, only spend the minimum amount of time necessary on it during the meeting. I’ve seen way too many sales meetings get sidetracked by unnecessary discussion related to simple announcements.  Read the announcements quickly then move on! Send an announcement summary email immediately following the meeting in which you reiterate the important announcement details.

Rumors in the Marketplace – Open the floor for attendees to share what they’ve heard about competitors, potential clients and about macro issues that could have an impact on your company.  Your sales force is out and about in the field every day, so they are collectively a tremendous source of intel.

Sales Training – No matter how long you’ve been in the sales game, you can always get better.  You probably won’t have time to do this at every meeting, but periodically bring in an expert speaker to help your team improve its prospecting, qualifying and closing skills.

Lessons of the Week –Here is a chance for one or more of your sales reps to share their experiences. Use it as a way to educate the entire group about the pitfalls and barriers sales reps encountered and how they either successfully overcame them or failed because of them.  This type of learning is immeasurably valuable and ultimately develops a set of best practices for your company’s sales department.

Internal Guest Speakers – Invite a key person from one your company’s operating units. Have him or her provide updates on important products or services.  It is obviously important that sales reps are up on all the important aspects of what they sell.

Marketing Demonstrations – Regularly invite representatives from the marketing department to go over new campaigns. Ask the marketing rep to show new ads, videos, mailings, social media posts, websites, etc.  Life is easier when salespeople and marketing employees work hand in glove.

Group Counseling – One way to get sales reps to bond with each other is to have them help each other out.  During this segment of the meeting, ask a rep to bring up a problem he or she is having with a difficult client or prospect. Invite the rest of the group to give input, ideas and advice. This can be immensely beneficial for the person with the client issue and educational for everyone else. Perhaps most importantly, it brings the sales reps together as a team.

Discussion Time – Some sales leaders ask their reps to read an article before the meeting and then have the group discuss it. It could be an industry-related article or a sales-and-marketing article.  If you do this, choose an article that is short, reads easily and has valuable content. An article that provides a new way of looking at a common problem tends to be received the most enthusiastically.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker, award-winning author and sales consultant, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions through effective sales and personal branding techniques.

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.” – Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff. I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” – Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA

“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us down here. He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had heard. Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com

 

 

 

 

 

How Can You Get People to Show Up for Your Sales Meetings?

By Jeff Beals

Does this describe the sales meetings at your company?

It’s 10:06 a.m. on Tuesday and people are still strolling in for the start of your standing 10:00 sales meeting. Those who are already seated, including the vice president of sales, are chatting about what they did last weekend and in no apparent rush to get things underway. When the meeting finally does begin at 10:08, half the people are on their phones reading emails or playing games.  Several other attendees didn’t bother to show, claiming they had “important client meetings.” 

The meeting bounces from one topic to another with a lot of interruptions and spontaneous, tangential conversations.  When the meeting finally ends – seventeen minutes past the scheduled time – attendees bolt out as fast as they can, grumbling to each other about how much time they just wasted.  One sales rep says to another, “That’s an hour of my life I’ll never get back!”

 Sadly, the above passage describes way too many sales meetings at way too many companies.  And that’s why attendance at sales meetings is often not so stellar, and those sales reps who do show up are often sitting back in their chairs, rolling their eyes and not engaging in the meeting.

Sales reps generally dislike their sales meetings, but that’s because meeting leaders typically don’t put enough effort into those meetings.  If you’re the sales leader, it’s up to you to make your meetings useful and desirable. That’s especially true if your sales reps are independent contractors and legally can’t be “forced” to attend.

Do you want people to attend your sales meetings?  Do you want sales reps to be more engaged and contribute more during the meetings?  If so, I have some help for you:

See It Through their Eyes – Always try to see your meetings through the attendees’ eyes.  When you view the agenda from the sales reps’ eyes, you can assess the meeting’s strengths and weaknesses. In order to increase the attendance at and participation in your sales meetings, make the meetings valuable to the attendees. As a sales leader, you don’t define what the attendees value; they do.

No B.S. Zone – Be as honest and transparent as possible regarding company policies, changes in the commission structure, and new product launches. Try to establish a “No B.S. Zone.” Sales reps hate hearing a bunch of politically correct corporate double-speak from their sales manager.  Sure, there are some things you are not at liberty to discuss with sales reps, but with everything else, be an open book.  The sales reps will trust you more and become more engaged in all facets of the company.  Too many organizations are unnecessarily tight-lipped about non-essential things.

Skillful Facilitation – The person who leads the sales meeting must have good facilitation skills, which means he or she is fully present and in charge of the meeting. A competent meeting facilitator is inclusive-but-assertive, meaning he or she makes sure all people are involved in the discussion but has the discipline necessary to keep the meeting on schedule.  The facilitator should always be on the lookout for an excuse to publicly praise individual sales reps in front of the whole group. A good sales leader sees the facilitation of sales meetings to be an art, carefully balancing the agenda/business side of the meeting with humor and light heartedness.

Free Stuff – Everyone likes to receive something for nothing.  Periodically give away some company swag, such as t-shirts or coffee cups with the company logo. Free food also helps.  Some companies provide coffee and doughnuts at their sales meetings. Other companies will periodically reserve a room at a nearby restaurant and provide breakfast or lunch for the whole sales team.

Rotating Facilitators – Once in a while, it might make sense to have one of the sales reps lead the weekly meeting.  Periodically offer one of the normal attendees to be guest facilitator. Let him or her design their own agenda.  Having one of the reps act as guest facilitator would be fun and a nice change of pace for everyone.

Outside Speakers – Meeting attendees tend to listen more intently when someone outside the company is presenting.  Just like the rotating facilitator advice above, it’s a change of pace. What’s more, high-quality speakers provide valuable information that will help sales reps be more effective and close deals faster.

Book Club – Find a well-written book about sales techniques or industry content and provide a copy to each rep.  Assign one chapter a week and then take a few minutes to discuss that chapter during the meeting.  Discuss how the book content relates to your company’s work.

Team Building – It might make sense a couple times a year to cancel the weekly sales meeting. In its stead, schedule a bonding activity such as an outing to a go-cart-racing track, golf course or game arcade.  You could also consider hiring a retreat leader and going through a structured team building exercise.  If you choose to do a facilitated team building exercise, it is better to do it off site rather than inside your office.

Welcome the Newbies – Always take time to introduce newcomers to the sales team.  Give rookies a chance to introduce themselves and give an overview of their career backgrounds.  Then go around the room and have all the existing sales reps share their name, work function and length of tenure at the company.

Recruitment Tool – If you have a well-organized sales meeting with engaged attendees, you have a nice recruitment tool.  If someone is thinking about joining your team, let them observe a sales meeting (assuming you are not going over confidential internal information that week).  Most existing sales reps will be even more alert and active in the meeting if they have a prospective colleague present.

Leave Them Wanting More – In the end, the meeting should be a positive, enjoyable experience filled with valuable information that helps attendees be more successful.  But don’t go to long. A great meeting is even better when it ends on time.

Next week will be Part II of “How Can You Get People to Show Up for Your Sales Meetings,” in which I will discuss what should actually be on your meeting agenda. Stay tuned!

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker, award-winning author and sales consultant, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions through effective sales and personal branding techniques.

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.” – Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff. I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” – Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA

“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us down here. He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had heard. Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com

 

 

 

 

 

The Problem with Incongruent Sales Roles

By Jeff Beals

I worked for the university as a grad assistant back when I was in graduate school. As it turned out, I had about six weeks of downtime in the summer of 1992 after one assistantship ended and another began.

Looking to make a little money during that period, I found a job working for an outbound telemarketing company. I had sold things over the telephone back in high school and was good at it, so I figured it would be a nice short-term way for an impoverished grad student to make some quick cash.

It’s amazing what you could buy via telephone back in the heyday of telemarketing before the advent of the Do Not Call List. I was assigned to sell packages of 300 Australian lottery tickets to consumers in the United States for $235 per lot.

I wasn’t excited about the product. After all, who was going to buy $235 worth of lottery tickets over the phone? I was also a little disconcerted about pushing a gambling product. I’m not necessarily a gambling teetotaler, but I’m not a big believer in it either. I was uneasy with the ethical part of selling lottery tickets, because as you know, many of the people who would buy them probably needed to be spending the money on something more important like food or rent (and $235 was a lot more valuable in 1992 than it is today).

After going through training and orientation, it was time to hit the phones. Time to smile and dial!

I was right; selling an expensive batch of lottery tickets was much harder than the other things I had sold in the past like travel memberships and discount buying clubs. Though my heart admittedly wasn’t in it, this was nonetheless a tough sell. Nobody was interested. I didn’t make a single sale the first day, and the second day didn’t start off much better. Rarely did I even make it through my scripted spiel without being interrupted on hung up on.

But toward the end of the second day, I got a live one on the hook. The woman sounded elderly when she answered the phone. I went through the script trying hard not to sound robotic even though fatigue and boredom had settled in by that point. At the end of the script, I made the assumptive close, and much to my surprise, she said she’d take it! I was frankly shocked that she actually wanted it and was so surprised, I stammered a bit while going through the fulfillment language.

As we completed her ordering and shipping information, it became apparent to me that she was not entirely coherent. I got a sick feeling in my stomach. Does she know what she’s doing? Should this old woman be spending her money on lottery tickets that have virtually no chance providing a return?!!? To assuage my guilt, I committed the end-all-be-all sin of telesales: I said, “Are you sure you want to buy this?”

She was absolutely convinced.

We completed the sale. I filled out the paperwork, stood up, handed it to the supervisor and resigned right on the spot. This was not the job for me.

Those two days working in that ill-fitting job taught me something that has made me a better professional and a much more effective salesperson. You should never sell something you don’t believe in.

Passion for the product is an extremely important attribute for long-term success in any sales role. If you have any concerns about what you sell, you’re not terribly likely to hit your potential. If you and your product are significantly incongruent, something probably doesn’t feel quite right.

Life is short, and our careers are even shorter. Not only does it feel good to sell something you believe in, it’s generally more profitable too.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker, award-winning author and sales consultant, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions through effective sales and personal branding techniques.

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.” – Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff. I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” – Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA

“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us down here. He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had heard. Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com

Never Relinquish the Initiative

By Jeff Beals

“Hold up a mirror and ask yourself what you are capable of doing, and what you really care about. Then take the initiative – don’t wait for someone else to ask you to act.”

That advice is courtesy of Sylvia Earle, a world-famous marine biologist who broke through a number of gender barriers over the course of her long career in the sciences.

The late Steven Covey, one of world’s most famous leadership theorists, once said, “Employers and business leaders need people who can think for themselves – who can take initiative and be the solution to problems.”

Long before Covey’s and Earle’s times, one of the greatest Americans in history, Ben Franklin, said, “Plough deep while sluggards sleep.”

History has proven that successful people are always on the move. They get things done when they need to be done. Successful people are not afraid to keep working when less accomplished people are taking time off.

Attaining your definition of success requires you to take the initiative, to be a self-starter. Nobody else can do the heavy lifting required for you to reach the pinnacle of your existence. Sure, you need to delegate and engage the talents of others, but it’s up to you to actually make your goals happen.

Don’t wait for opportunities to present themselves to you. That’s too passive. It makes you dependent on other people and external conditions you can’t control. Instead, be assertive. Go out into the world and make your own opportunities. Create your own luck.

In today’s hyperactive world, there is no room for passivity. That’s unfortunate, because most of us have a tendency to procrastinate. How ironic would it be if you put off taking the initiative? Don’t procrastinate. Take the initiative and set yourself up for long-term career and life success.

As the legendary French leader Charles de Gaulle famously said, “Never relinquish the initiative.”

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker, award-winning author and sales consultant, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions through effective sales and personal branding techniques.

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.”  - Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” - Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff.  I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” - Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA

“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us down here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” - Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com

In a Distracted Environment Your Communication Must Be Varied

By Jeff Beals

I visited my alma mater last week and toured a brand-new facility that just opened on the first floor of the library. Back when I was in college, that entire floor was filled with thousands and thousands of books. When I really needed to concentrate, perhaps while studying for a big test, I would find a little corner on that floor. It was almost completely devoid of sound and just may have been the quietest place on Earth.

That has all changed. The rows and rows of dusty old books are long gone. Now the first floor is a hive of activity. Hundreds of trendy-looking tables and stools plus scores of ergonomically correct chairs fill the space. A Dunkin’ Donuts operates right in the middle. Hundreds of students were studying and talking.

The impressive renovations weren’t the only thing I noticed while walking around the new library commons: the students were extremely connected with technology while studying. Almost all of them had laptops open on their tables. Many were also using tablets and smart phones at the same time. In addition to all that technology, some students had old-fashioned text books in front of them. Studying is now a multimedia experience and a far-cry from my college days when the only thing on the table would have been a text book and some notebook paper.

I recently thumbed through a newsletter produced by Bozell advertising agency and a statistic jumped out at me: “78 percent of us use another device while simultaneously watching TV.”

I guess I wasn’t surprised to read that, because it feels as if I’m always using one of my devices, while television has become omnipresent. Everywhere you go there’s a television playing. Even at home while taking it easy, it’s common to have a television on in the background while you’re working on your laptop and texting someone on your phone.

Whether we’re talking about college students studying or any of us spending time at home, one thing is clear: we are pulled in many different directions and many different stimuli are competing for our attention.

In other words, we are quite distracted these days.

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.

If you make your living by marketing a company or selling products and services, it takes a great deal of effort to cut through the clutter and grab someone’s attention.

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 channels – a mix of social media, internet, traditional media and good old face-to-face communication. 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/service has a viable market, it will sell.

Instead of fearing or dreading all the distractions your clients face, embrace the opportunity to reach people in multiple ways. As a person who has messages to convey and services to sell, the more communication channels I have, the better.

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, award-winning author and sales consultant, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions through effective sales and personal branding techniques.

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.”  - Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” - Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff.  I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” - Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA

“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us down here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” - Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com

 

Are You Selling the Wrong Thing?

By Jeff Beals

If you want to sell more widgets, stop selling widgets.

If you want to sell more real estate, insurance or financial planning services, stop selling real estate, insurance and financial planning services.

If you represent Tupperware, Avon or Pampered Chef, stop selling those things too.

The world’s most successful salespersons don’t sell products and services. They sell VALUE. In other words, instead of selling insurance, you’re selling security, protection and peace of mind. Instead of selling Pampered Chef products, you are selling prestige, coolness and an easier way to prepare gourmet food.

Now, before all you “non-salespersons” stop reading this article, consider this: Regardless of what you do for a living, you are in sales. Everyone sells. Here’s why: 1. If you work for a company, you have a moral obligation to promote that company whenever you have the chance. After all, your job might depend on it. 2. You’re always selling yourself – possibly for a new job, a promotion, a better assignment within an existing job or for perks/benefits. 3. If you have an idea that will make your employer more successful, you may have to sell that idea to the ultimate decision maker. 4. If you are involved in a civic or philanthropic organization, you may have to sell the organization’s mission in order to raise funds and attract volunteers.

Suffice it to say, you are indeed working in sales. Everyone is in sales. That’s why it’s so essential to understand the importance of “value” in your work.

You don’t want to be paid for the job, hour, gig, order, product, showing, presentation, contract, deal, project etc. You want to be paid for the value you bring to the client. And if you do a truly effective job of establishing value, you then can receive regular income from that client on an on-going basis. You must be seen as an investment, not an expense.

How do you go about convincing a client that you provide great value?

Delivery - Consistently deliver outstanding results. With so much competition in the world, clients have the right to assume that all providers are competent. Make sure you are more than competent in your operations.

Interpersonal Communication - You will have a hard time determining what the client values if you don’t communicate thoroughly and listen carefully.

Relationships and Trust - Do what it takes to build a strong bond with your clients.

Once you establish trust, you pave the way for value, which is determined by the client an only the client – not you or me.

Only once you have started to build a trusting a relationship with clients and have figured out what they value (or care about) is it time to start talking about what you can do for them. Too many business leaders and sales representatives start spouting off the features and benefits of their products before it’s time.

Focus on the client. Determine what is most important to him or her. Remember that the client defines value, not you.

Ultimately, you are not in the product- or service-selling business. You’re in the results-selling business. The right results, along with a trusting relationship are what your clients truly value.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions through effective sales and personal branding techniques.

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.”  - Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” - Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff.  I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” - Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA

“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us down here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” - Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com

What Business Are You Really In? It’s Probably Not What You Think

By Jeff Beals

During my sales workshops, I like to ask the participants to answer a couple questions:  “Who likes Nordstrom?” “Who likes Wal-Mart?”  It always creates a buzz and causes the audience to stir, because people tend to have strong opinions about those two retailers.

Nordstrom is a chain of upscale department stores based in downtown Seattle, the chic and sophisticated hub of the Northwest.

Wal-Mart is the world’s biggest discount retailer and is based in Bentonville, a town of 36,000 people tucked away in northwest Arkansas.

At first glance, you might think these two businesses could not be more different, but a closer look reveals they are very much alike.  Both enjoy huge, rabidly loyal followings.  Their customers love them and go back again and again.  Millions of families live almost exclusively on affordable products purchased from Wal-Mart.  Nordstrom customers are known to travel hundreds of miles to visit their favorite department store.

These two similar-but-different retailers have been successful over many years, because they know their real business.  They know what they really do as opposed to what it appears they do.

Wal-Mart is not in the grocery-and-general merchandise business. Instead, it’s in the “saving-people-money-so-they-can-live-better” business.  Nordstrom isn’t in the garment retailing business.  It’s in the “make-you-look-and-feel-special” business.  The experiences and feelings Nordstrom provide are, to many customers, even more valuable than the apparel and accessories themselves.

The key word for both companies’ success is “value.”

No matter what you sell, success ultimately comes down to your ability to deliver great value for the money your clients invest.

But how do you define value?

You don’t.

Value is determined by the client. Value exists in the client’s head. By making your clients feel truly special, you make it easier for them to see the great value you can provide.

The sales professionals understand that value is critical.

The most successful real estate agents are in the “help-you-get-your-dream-house” business. Insurance brokers are in the “keep- you-safe-and-secure” business. Financial advisors are in the “make-you-wealthy” business. Professional consultants are in the “keep-your-company-solvent” business. Risk managers are in the “keep-your-butt-out-of-court” business.

Clients feel most special when their service providers prove that it’s all about client. The successful person is the one who is in business to make someone else’s dreams come true.

As the legendary Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart once said, “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody, by spending his money somewhere else.”

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions through effective sales and personal branding techniques.

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.”  - Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” - Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff.  I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” - Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA

“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us down here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” - Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com

How to Turn Your People into Portals of Profit

Crete Carrier Truck

By Jeff Beals

As I was driving on the freeway last week, I came upon a semi-trailer truck which had a message printed on the back in big red letters: “Our most valuable resource sits 63 feet ahead.”  As I passed the truck, I saw a similar message in even bigger letters printed along the side of the trailer: “Our most valuable resource sits here” and then a big red arrow pointing at the driver.

What a nice message! I assume the company, Crete Carrier Corp. decided to place this message on the truck as a way to:

1. recruit drivers;

2. remind drivers how important their work is to the company’s success;

3. make customers feel good knowing that their freight is being transported by high quality drivers;

4. all of the above

Indeed employees are important to the success of companies especially those companies that operate in highly competitive industries.

But employees are also critical to an organization’s success in a way that many people never consider: personal branding.

When most people think about personal branding, they automatically assume you’re talking about career advancement or something a salesperson, insurance agent or real estate broker would do in hopes of closing more deals.  Certainly, such images fall under the personal branding umbrella.  But organizations benefit from personal branding too.  Personal branding by employees helps companies make more money and organizations more successfully meet their missions.

Businesses large and small must realize that people – their employees – are the portals of profit.  In other words, customers like to come into a company through a human being.  Personal relationships are the most effective way to land big clients. Personal relationships are even effective in the highly commoditized world in which many companies compete.  The more a company’s employees are out and about among the public, becoming well known and building relationships with prospective and current customers, the better a company will do.

Too many organizations fear personal branding efforts by their employees.  In fact, conventional wisdom says that well-branded employees might be snatched up by competitors.  While there is a greater risk of losing well-known employees, savvy companies realize the benefits outweigh the threat of greater turnover.  What’s more, my gut tells me that employees who are encouraged to build their personal brands will be happier at work and therefore less likely to leave (even though they would theoretically have more opportunities to leave).

Organizations need not wait for a threat to tap the latent personal branding power that sits unused on their organizational charts.  Now is the time to empower employees.  Help employees build their brands and turn them loose as deputized ambassadors.  Employees must become famous in their own spheres of interest, so they can become the portals of profit.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions through effective sales and personal branding techniques.

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.”  - Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” - Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff.  I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” - Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA

“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us down here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” - Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com

Why Are Sales LEADERS So Much More Effective than Sales MANAGERS?

By Jeff Beals

 

A sales manager is the person responsible for making sure the sales staff is in place, equipped to succeed and motivated to compete. Good sales managers think quickly on their feet and take immediate, decisive actions to mitigate any threat to the organization’s ability to sell.

 

Sales managers facilitate the sales process and protect the organization’s ability to do deals. While the term “sales manager” is the typical, generally accepted title of the person in charge of sales, the term “sales leader” is more appropriate. A manager supervises details. He or she makes sure tactical work is accomplished in an efficient manner. A leader makes sure those tactical tasks are completed but sees the business from a broader, more global perspective.

 

Even if your company is a small one, with only one person in charge of the sales staff, sales leadership is more important than sales management. The sales leader empowers the sales staff to carry out their work and rewards them for deals completed. Anyone who serves as a company’s sales manager would be wise to see himself or herself as a leader and behave accordingly.

 

As the sales leader, you need to carefully analyze employees’ personalities and push the right buttons to help them succeed at the highest levels. Urge them to accomplish more while still setting them up for success.

 

“It’s putting people in stretch assignments,” said Joe Moglia, former CEO of TD Ameritrade.

 

Moglia believes two primary things are critically important when choosing people for a job and when assigning new goals to an existing employee: alignment and listening. You can’t succeed with one and not the other. The leader must thoroughly understand the assignment and the people being considered for it. The most talented people in the world will fail if their personalities and abilities are not in alignment with the job. When it comes to listening, the leader must ask the right questions and then focus on what employees say and what body language they exhibit. Listen to find out whether the staff member is really excited about the assignment.

 

Effective sales managers accept responsibility. They realize that they are in charge and accountable for what happens, but they don’t see themselves as bosses. A leader is not a foreman. As a leader, you must depend on the abilities and hard work of your staff members. A successful sales leader is one who establishes interdependence. He or she trusts and depends on the staff while the staff trusts the sales leader to guide, provide resources and create a safe, pro-selling atmosphere.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps companies increase their profits and associations achieve their missions through effective sales and personal branding techniques.

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.”  - Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” - Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and
building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff.  I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” - Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA

“I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us down here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” - Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com