Trustfully Climbing Toward a Signed Agreement

By Jeff Beals

When trust exists, you don’t have to “sell” your prospects anything.

Clients believe trusted providers will keep their best interests in mind and provide them with the best products or services for their unique needs. When you achieve a level of trust with someone, deal-making is easy.

Trust facilitates decision making. Trust is what makes business possible. It makes business easier. When trust exists, deal-making is simply more fun, because participants endure far less stress and tension. Huge purchases are still sometimes made verbally and sealed with a handshake when both parties trust each other without reservation. As a salesperson, you can just “feel it” when trust settles into your relationship. That’s a great sign; it tells you that things are progressing toward a likely agreement.

In order to build trust, you must climb the “relationship depth chart.”

At the bottom of the chart is rapport, which leads to the second level—a relationship. After that, trust blossoms, ultimately leading to a sale or a done deal. With each prospective client you meet, start at the bottom of the relationship depth chart and work your way up. You climb the relationship depth chart by listening to your prospects/clients, empathizing with them, learning what they truly value and getting to know important people in their lives.

The relationship depth chart is sequential and therefore must be followed in exact order. First, seek to establish rapport. This simply means that after acquaintance is made, mutual affection exists between two people—I like you, and you like me. We have found some commonality and our personalities jibe. Once rapport is in place, you can proceed to a relationship, which is a deeper commonality that implies a longer-term friendship, mutual respect, empathy and loyalty. When two people have a healthy interpersonal relationship between them, they tend to enjoy reciprocating—that is, giving each other items of value and doing nice deeds for one another.

Once the relationship is firmly in place, you will probably encounter a “moment of truth,” an opportunity to prove your loyalty in the relationship.  If you hand this moment of truth properly, trust springs forth naturally. The stronger that trust, and the longer it has been in place, the more likely the two parties—buyer and seller— can come to a deal. Strong levels of trust lead to enduring business relationships, which can be almost impossible for a competitor to break.

Constantly climb the relationship depth chart with everyone you encounter. Wherever you are with any given person at any given time on the depth chart, the focus is only on advancing to the next highest rung. Your goal is to move every prospect to the top of the chart, but focus on one step at a time. In other words, you’re unlikely to have trust if you skip the relationship part. You’re unlikely to sign a deal when you haven’t passed the rapport stage.

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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Your Sphere of Interest

By Jeff Beals

In order to promote yourself effectively, you need to become a celebrity in your own “sphere of interest.”

Everyone has a sphere of interest. It’s your own narrow slice of the population. If you work in marketing, you might call it your “personal target audience.” If you work in sales, you might call it your “personal lead pool.”  Whatever it’s called, it’s comprised of those people, who in any way, can help you reach your goals – clients, prospective clients, those who refer clients, someone who could hire you, someone who could get you on a coveted committee or board.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Find ‘Em: Active vs. Passive Prospecting

By Jeff Beals

Once you know the desired characteristics you are seeking in your prospects, the next step is to find them.

Regardless of industry, some prospect leads come from branding and advertising efforts. A prospect could be compelled to contact your company because of a long-standing, respected brand you have established in the marketplace. More directly, the prospect could be responding to one of your advertisements. Maybe the prospect stumbled upon your company’s website or Facebook page. He or she could also be responding to a direct mail piece or email blast your company sent to a list of leads purchased from a company such as InfoUSA or Hoover’s.

While the marketing department may have worked hard to build that brand and may have spent countless hours and dollars creating effective mass media campaigns, the prospects generated this way are “passive” from a salesperson’s point of view. When would-be clients seek out the company on their own or as a result of marketing, the salesperson is merely a friendly order taker who is filling a customer service role. The only selling skills such a person would exhibit would be those necessary to avoid screwing up the opportunity or those necessary to upsell the already interested prospect.

While most salespersons happily accept passive sources for prospects, they don’t count on them. Consider these call-ins to be pleasant surprises. The bulk of your prospects, and consequently the bulk of your income, will probably have to come from active sources—in other words, from your own efforts. As the old adage says, “Salespersons eat what they kill.” The more proactive you are, and the more initiative you take in prospecting, the richer your diet.

To be a proactive, initiative-taking salesperson, embrace all facets of prospecting. That means you become a researcher, detective and tireless networker. You are constantly searching. If you have an assigned geographic territory, you must “own” it. You constantly touch base with people in your territory who can recommend people and give you tips on what possible clients are thinking.

A proactive salesperson shows up at events, spends time on the phone seeking information and keeps up with those current events that can affect his or her industry. Creativity is important as well. Sometimes a client that doesn’t look so promising at first can become a great one if you find a way to view him or her through a different lens.

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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A 38,000-Foot Lesson about Empathy

By Jeff Beals

I experienced something on a recent flight to Atlanta.

As we starting taxiing to the runway, I settled in and gave my typically indifferent reaction to the flight attendant’s standard safety demonstration. But this flight was different. Three extra flight attendants – all new hires—were on board. One of the experienced flight attendants announced to the audience that three new flight attendant trainees were making their first voyage. He also mentioned that these new attendants had been chosen from thousands of applicants.

Under the watchful-yet-encouraging eyes of the veterans, the trainees led the safety presentation. You could tell they practiced it a great deal. One of the trainees, the one closest to my seat, couldn’t wipe the smile off her face. She was so excited to be doing the demonstration for real. The pride radiated from her face. When she completed many of the passengers applauded.

I thought it was cool but then got absorbed in my reading material and didn’t think any more about it. We arrived in Atlanta, and as I exited the plane, the previously smiling flight attendant trainee was crying and hugging one of the more veteran attendants. She was overcome with emotion and was just letting it all out. Between sniffles, I could hear the trainee thanking the veteran for all the help and guidance. The veteran told the newbie that she had worked so hard and had “earned” the job.

The sight of the trainer and trainee embracing and sharing an emotional moment really struck me. To be honest, I never really thought much about flight attendants, their training and what it must take to become one. To be even more honest, I’ve never been a big fan of flight attendants. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with them but my brain associates them with being crowded into an uncomfortable space while being subjected to a ridiculous number of needless rules and regulations. Air travel is a necessary evil in my career. Flight attendants are essentially “the face” of an irritating experience.

The display of affection, emotion and tenderness I witnessed stamped an utterly human image on the two flight attendants involved. What was just another flight for me was a career-defining moment for the trainee. She will surely remember that day for the rest of her life.

It is easy to take people and their work for granted. I’m guilty of it even thought I try to be appreciative to the people around me.

This experience reminded me of the importance of empathy, seeing the world from someone else’s point of view, walking in someone else’s shoes. Whether we are trying to close a deal or trying to convey an idea to our colleagues, we must constantly focus on empathy.

For what is no big deal to you or me might mean the world to someone else.

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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Attention Sales Leaders: Resource Acquisition Is Near the Top

By Jeff Beals

Sales leaders have so many responsibilities – recruiting reps, training them, keeping them motivated, forecasting/budgeting, working closely with marketing and so many others.

But there is one area of a sales leader’s job that is crucially important but often underrated: resource acquisition.

The most effective sales leaders do what it takes to make sure their sales teams have the tools and budget they need to close deals.

Attracting new clients is so important that every organization should devote considerable resources. That said, not all do. Leaders of various organizational departments in a company jockey and position for resources. Some are better at it than others. If the sales leader isn’t good at playing corporate politics, the sales staff might be at a resource disadvantage against the competition.

If you’re a sales leader, do not let this happen. One of your single most important duties is to provide your sales team with everything it needs to succeed. You don’t ever want to give your salespersons an excuse for not performing. Lack of resources is a convenient excuse for a sales person but should never be an excuse for a sales leader.

One of the best ways to ensure abundant sales resources is to establish your personal clout inside your organization. This is accomplished by doing good work and practicing good internal politics.

Clout is affected by timing. Make a pitch for greater sales resources right after you score a high-profile victory. Make the pitch when the higher-ups most value you and believe they could least afford to lose you.

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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As Their Eyes Water, Practice Helps You Stay Composed

By Jeff Beals

We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but forty years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon.

Those words were spoken by President Ronald Reagan on June 6, 1984 at Pointe du Hoc, the rocky cliff along the Normandy coast where allied soldiers four decades earlier had invaded Nazi-occupied France. Reagan and several other world leaders were there marking the 40th anniversary of what we call “D-Day,” one of the most important moments in world history.

Whether you loved him, hated him or were somewhat ambivalent, there’s no denying Reagan’s ability to give a great speech. He wasn’t nicknamed “The Greater Communicator” by accident. And among his many speeches, Normandy was one of the best.

Reagan closed with these emotive words:

Here, in this place where the West held together, let us make a vow to our dead. Let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Let our actions say to them the words for which Matthew Ridgway listened: “I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.” Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their valor, and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.

Given the setting, the anniversary and the skillfully delivered message, it was an overwhelmingly emotional moment. Barely a single dry eye could be found, and some attendees were actually sobbing.

Many in the audience or watching clips on television were amazed that Reagan was able to complete the speech without choking up or becoming overcome with emotion. One such incredulous person was Reagan’s own vice president, George H.W. Bush, a man with a reputation for choking up at emotional events.

Back in Washington a week or two later, Bush brought up the speech during his weekly lunch meeting with Reagan. Bush asked the president the secret to his composure at the podium.

“I say it over and over again,” Reagan said, admitting that he rehearsed the entire speech nearly 30 times before delivering it publicly.

As the old saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.”

If even the Great Communicator needed to practice, certainly the rest of us do too.

While there is a risk of over-practicing, causing you to sound cold and robotic, many of us (myself included) are more likely to skimp on the practice.

Whether you are about to give a speech, deliver a sales presentation or solve a conflict among a group of employees, you will surely benefit from “saying it over and over” before you enter the venue. As you practice, you will become comfortable with the material, allowing you to focus on the finer points of your delivery not the least of which is composure.

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 You Softly

By Jeff Beals

In the majority of cases, in the vast majority of businesses, hard selling simply does not work. Thank God! One of the reasons so many people fear a career in sales is the disdain they have for the hard sell. Don’t worry, because chances are good that hard selling is actually counter- productive. One of the most liberating messages I can provide you is that selling softly works better than beating your prospect’s head against the wall.

Although you want to avoid hard selling, that’s not to say you should be passive and meek. On the contrary, you must be persuasive in your communication and persistent in your effort. Just don’t be obnoxious and overbearing. Nobody should be the type of salesperson who would appear in a Saturday Night Live parody.

Effective sales professionals climb the relationship ladder. They are interested in people and focused on providing valuable solutions. They are buying coaches. They are transaction facilitators who guide prospects to those products and services that provide the best value and solve the biggest problems. When you focus on coaching and facilitating your prospects, the hard sell is not necessary; in fact, it would feel very foreign and out of place if you tried it.

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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You Don’t Know It Until You’ve Taught It

By Jeff Beals

I was involved in the Boy Scouts back when I was a kid and from that experience came a number good life and business lessons. We had a saying in our troop that sticks with me to this day:

“You don’t know it until you’ve taught it.”

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, executive, sales manager or any other kind of professional, this is sage advice.

The adult leaders of our Boy Scout troop were committed to teaching the kids how to become leaders. They constantly turned over the responsibility of teaching the younger members over to the older members, and as they did, they reminded us, “You don’t know until you’ve taught it.”

The adults could have easily taught the younger kids how to tie knots, set up tents and start campfires much faster than the older boys did it but that wasn’t the point. The goal was to force the older kids to truly know – and master—the concepts through teaching it to others.

It works like a charm.

When you teach someone how to do something, you concentrate. You study up. You learn it and understand it at a much deeper level. As a teacher, you look at the subject matter from more than one angle. You anticipate questions and prepare possible answers. You are forced to organize your thoughts in order to make a cogent presentation to the learners.

I experienced this first hand in 2003 when I accepted an adjunct faculty position teaching real estate at my local university. I was working in real estate and held a real estate license at the time. But I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know about real estate until I started putting together a syllabus and a semester’s worth of class lectures. While I thought I know a lot about real estate before becoming an instructor, I knew infinitely more after preparing 15 three-hour lectures and fielding pointed questions from a bunch of college seniors who were paying tuition in order to hear what I had a say. It was obvious from day one that a class full of future real estate professionals fully expected their professor to know everything about their future profession. I had to be constantly on my game and it was a darned good experience for me.

If you’re an executive, company owner or sales manager, think of ways you can use more experienced employees to teach newer employees. I guarantee you everyone will benefit.

Of course, you don’t have to be in a leadership position to capitalize on this little truism. Take the initiative to help newer team members. Think of the things you do well and then go out of your way to help a colleague understand those things better. If a colleague is struggling with something, help them figure it out. By doing this you will benefit the entire organization, build a friendship with the person you teach and improve your personal skills at the same time.

Once you have taken the time to teach a colleague, you will fully realize that you don’t know it until you’ve taught it.

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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