Author Archives: Michael McGaulley

Low Cost Ways to Gauge Demand for your Start-up: Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal just posted an extended article, actually the product of four interviews, with four start-up coaches.  I won’t try to echo their advice, just give you the link.

The relevance here, to this site, Selling Face-to-Face, is that a lot of readers of the blog, and of my how to sell guides, are people who are already engaged in, or considering undertaking, new business start-ups.  Reinventing your career (voluntarily or involuntarily)?  Considering self-employment? Got a new better mousetrap– or better App– you think (hope?) the market really, really needs?  You’ll find some savvy advice in this article.

Link to Wall Street Journal article “4 Low Cost Ways to Gauge Demand for your Start-up”

In selling, sometimes the best thing to say is nothing . . . just listen, then work from what you hear

Sales tip: silence is one of the essential communication skills . . . and a powerful selling skill, as well.

When you're in the 1-1 selling face-to-face mode, non-verbals can be just as significant—and telling–as words.

Think of the questions you ask in a sales call as seeds. It's crucial to give the questions time to grow, and the power of silence gives that time. After you ask, be silent, even if it means letting the silence hang in the air. That gives the prospect time to think and respond.

Ask a question, then let it "grow" in the silence and listen closely to the response. In some cases, you'll need to rephrase the question so it's clearer, or to focus the Decision Maker's response so it's more on target.

But those are exceptions. As a rule, once you've asked the question, bite your tongue and let the prospect talk. Listening well is at least as important a communication skill as speaking confidently.

There are other good reasons to ask fewer questions and allow more silence: constant interruptions to ask new questions may irritate the prospect.

Besides, if you let the prospect go at her own pace, and in the general direction she thinks best, you may find other potential needs opening up in ways that you wouldn't have anticipated.

Above all, don't be so busy asking questions (and thinking of what your next questions will be) that you neglect to listen to the answers you do get.  That's another benefit of the power of silence: silence gives you time not just to listen, but also time to think ahead.

Why smart people should go into sales — from Fast Company

If you're thinking of going into sales, if you're already in sales, if you don't know what you want to be when you grow up (no matter your present age!) there's a top-rank article you need to read in the magazine FAST COMPANY.  

It's "Why smart people should go into sales," by Andrew Yong, and among his  accomplishments include authorship of the book, SMART PEOPLE SHOULD BUILD THINGS.

I'll leave the article to you, but add that "selling" is not just selling products or services, but it's also persuading, reading body language and other buying signals, pulling out objections  and hesitations, presenting concepts, learning to find and fill needs (needs that often the other person isn't really aware of, so part of "selling" is showing the need and how you can best fill it).  All of these abilities pay off many times over if you move from sales per-se to management, customer service — even to setting up your own business and marketing your skills, perhaps as  part of career reinvention, or electing for self-employment as your new career option.

 Link to article in Fast Company

Elevator pitch

It seemed strange to find the term "elevator pitch" used by the New York Times in an article "Billionaires with big ideas are privatizing American science," but there it was.  Beyond that, the Times had found the distinguished science magazine Nature had also used it in an article on how to "sell science".

In any case, the Times defined "elevator pitch" as ". . . a digest of research so compelling that it would seize a potential donor's attention in the time between floors."  And, "Practice in front of the mirror and 'with anyone who will listen. [and] "when the pitch is smooth enough, 'aim high.'"

Couldn't have been said better.  In another posting on this blog a while back I added that it should flow smoothly and run not more than 30 seconds.  

By the way, sometimes it's termed "elevator pitch", other times "elevator speech" or "opening Business Statement"–the term I use in my book SALES TRAINING TUTORIALS (second edition) especially  in . . . 

Tutorial 1, especially section 5: How will I introduce myself and my product or service? What's my "Opening Business Statement or "Elevator Speech"?

Tutorial 6:  How to get past the "gate-keeper" or "screen";

and Tutorial 7: How to ask the prospect for an appointment

Sales Training Tutorials is available in both E-book and paper-book formats.

You'll also find more related how-to in my SELLING 101 Third edition available in both paper and E-book versions.  See especially . . . 

Section 4: Getting past the Decision Maker's Screen;

Section 6: Convincing the Decision Maker to meet with you;

Section 8: Opening the face-to-face meeting with the Decision Maker

 

Non-verbal communication tips

There seems to be particular interest in the topic of using and reading  body language –non-verbal communications — so here's more.

In the Harvard Business School HBR Blog Network,  Prof. Amy Cuddy (of HBR) wrote a blog item entitled Want to Lean In? Try a Power Pose – Amy J.C. Cuddy – Harvard Business Review, which relates to her TED talk, the link to which she cites in the article.  That runs about a half-hour, as I recall, and the title and link is Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

NOTE: I started this post intending it for my blog SellingFaceToFace.com (Link here ) but realize it's equally relevant to another of my blogs, CareerSuccessHow-to.com ( Link here ) so will be dual posting in both places.

Now that I think of it, I'll probably be doing more dual posting on topics like this, such as using and reading body language, as career success how-to and the skills relating to selling and selling face to face are often very much intertwined.

 

Non-verbal communication skills: free book sample from PROFESSIONAL SALES PRESENTATIONS & DEMONSTRATIONS

The term, “Non-verbal communication skills” has been getting a number of hits lately on this blog, so I thought it would be a good time to put up a sample on using body language in the sales call (particularly when making presentations or demonstrations) from my little book, SALES PRESENTATIONS & DEMONSTRATIONS.

Today, in this post, for reasons of space I’ll be pulling only a short section from Part Three.  I hope the visuals on non-verbal movements  and subtle communication tips come through

Continue reading Non-verbal communication skills: free book sample from PROFESSIONAL SALES PRESENTATIONS & DEMONSTRATIONS

5 steps in responding to sales objections and questions

This five-step model approach in responding to objections and questions: Explore, Listen Well, Restate (if appropriate), Respond, then Move on.

1.    Explore. Ask questions to get the person talking about what they really mean by the objection, and why it's important to them.  (Why do you feel that way? will do if nothing better comes to mind.)

2.    Listen well to their response.  You may have heard this objection a dozen times already this week, but this person may put a different twist on it.  Don't be too quick in cutting off the

Continue reading 5 steps in responding to sales objections and questions

“How ‘Power Poses’ Can Help Your Career”–career tips from the Wall Street Journal

As factors in your career success, it's not just how competent you are, and it's not just about the words you say: no less important are the non-verbal messages you send . . . and read in others.  I cover some of this in my books, but let me recommend "How 'Power Poses' Can Help Your Career"– an excellent article with accompanying video  from the Wall Street Journal.

The article is not–as you might suspect–about being a  phony poseur, but rather about how to pay attention to the body-language and other non-verbal messages you are sending . . . and receiving.

Continue reading “How ‘Power Poses’ Can Help Your Career”–career tips from the Wall Street Journal

Sending sales proposals: key tips

Turns out we need a new roof over the sunroom, so  Susan started calling around for references, then invited contractors in to look it over.  It's not a busy time of the year here, so most came within a week or so.

They all brought ladders and climbed up on the roof, then climbed down and gave us their initial thoughts.  I think we've had five come by now.  One we crossed off almost immediately because of some intangibles.  I'm not really sure why, maybe it was something in his non-verbals. In any case, his price came in close to double the average.

Bear in mind that the estimators dropped by over something like a ten-day span. All but that one I mentioned seemed credible candidates to get our business. 

But then not much happened for several more days; we waited for them to send their estimates.  Now they are finally coming in. But it's hard for us now to put a face with the paper estimate.  Was AlphaBeta Roofing the guy who suggested . . .    Was Aaardvark Roofing the guy who pointed out . . .

On that, these thoughts.

1.  Put your mug shot on your business card, and leave one of those cards  when you make the first call.  Doesn't matter if you're not movie-star handsome or any of that. It's just to help the prospect remember you.  Send another photo business card when you send the proposal (even if that second one is just copied in and attached to the email). 

I first saw photo business cards when I did a couple of consulting projects with Kodak (obviously that was a while back, long before family friend Kodak started the final fall!), and everybody had a photo card.  Even now, when I look at those old cards and  see the faces,a clear memory of the person and how we worked together comes up.

Most of these contractors left us business cards, but generic ones from Staples or Office Depot with their name and maybe an image of a trowel or hammer or ladder– instantly forgettable.

2.  Get that proposal out ASAP.  If you promise "by the weekend," mean it. First, the prospect is paying attention to  your credibility–do you follow through as promised? If you're poky just in getting a one-page estimate off on time, what does that suggest about your follow-through if you get the job?  I've seen neighbors tied up for weeks when the workers leave the materials in the yard and cut off to do another job somewhere.

Another good reason to be fast in sending the proposal: a prospect with a leaky roof may not wait.  By the time  Pokey Joe finally faxes his estimate Speedy Pete may already have gotten the work permit and delivered the shingles.

Yeah, you're busy running around making those sales calls, but maybe it'd be best to pass on one of those calls at the end of each day and use that time more productively. 

Just my thoughts from the perspective of a prospect.