Category Archives: Selling skills for new business start-ups

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

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“Matching life experience with new careers” — article in NY Times

"HEALTH navigator? Conflict coach? Pollution mitigation outreach worker? These
emerging jobs aren’t household terms yet, but they are a natural fit for older
people looking for new career opportunities, said Phyllis Segal, vice president
at Civic Ventures, a nonprofit research group based in San Francisco."

— That's the opening paragraph in Elizabeth Pope's article in the New York Times.

You might ask, "What does it have to do with the subject of this blog—Selling Face-to-Face?" 

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My SELLING 101: Essential Selling Skills for Entrepreneurs, Consultants, Free Agents now on Amazon Prime

Amazon has recently upgraded its Kindle software, so what appears on the Kindle comes out  closer to the visual quality and layout of the printed version.

101 Cover new 3rd ed-4x6jpg Small Web viewI took advantage of that opportunity, and cleaned up the electronic typography  of SELLING 101, and at the same time entered it in the Amazon Prime program.  Here's the link:  Selling 101: Essential Selling Skills for Entrepreneurs, Consultants, Free Agents

What Amazon Prime means to you as a reader is that you can borrow it free, from Amazon, for however long you want.  As I understand it, if you're  a Prime member, and own any version of Kindle, you can borrow up to 12 books each year.  Only catch, only one book at a time.

And if you borrow a book and find it so indispensable that you just gotta have it? Just "return" it, virtually, buy it, and borrow another.

If just want to buy Selling 101 in e-format, not borrow it, same link gets you there.

“I was a Washington lawyer” — Washingtonian Magazine

Here's another heartwarming, uplifting story (in Washingtonian magazine) of a lawyer who left the field of First Class travel and lots of dollars in return for lots and lots of billable hours , then reinvented himself into a happier field. "… what I wanted to do all along was tell stories. and play rock n' roll.")

His name? Ron Liebman.  His core point: if you're a practicing lawyer, ". . .to make it work you have to live the job. and if you live the job, there goes the rest of your life. It took me a while to get that."

It took me a while, too. Like him, I (also) was a Washington lawyer. And a New York lawyer. And a Virginia lawyer.  And, to paraphrase the old saying about boats, "The second happiest day of my life was when I finished law school and got admitted to the bar (s), but the happiest day was when I walked away from law and lawyering."

Why am I including this story: because this blog is about (beyond sales) career reinvention, going off on your own, career change, and self-employment as a career opton.

In any case, for more on Ron Liebman and his books

For his article in Washingtonian"I was a Washington lawyer"



“Pulling off the ultimate career makeover” — Fortune

When I was starting-up on this blog, I expected the main readership would be among new business start-ups, consultants, new free-lancers, people new to selling and sales.  Why? Mainly because the economy was begining to slide down, and a lot of people were going off on their own— some as involuntary entrepreneurs, others as self- reinventors in advance of getting laid off.

It hasn't been that way, so far as I can tell: most of the readership seems to be professional sales people, folks who already know their way around a sales call, and were looking for fresh ideas.

Yes, that kind of info is here, but also here are a lot of the basics of getting started in sales, or starting up a new venture, finding prospects, and making a convincing case. There are also a lot of free sales training articles drawn from books (Selling 101, How to Sell Face-to-Face Survival Guide, Sales Training Tutorials, and Sales Presentations and Demonstrations.

In any case, for the "reinventors" out there, let me recommend the article, "pulling off the ultimate career makeover" in Fortune, issue of July 4, 2011.   Case studies include,

  • An owner of franchises who sold them off and is setting up his own franchise operation, Yogurt Mountain. (Full disclosure: I have not, repeat not, received any free samples!)
  • A sales executive formerly with the likes of Intel, Dell, and NetApp who, after being down-sized, first became a free-agent, then was hired as director of marketing of a social media operation.
  • A lawyer, downsized after the media burst bubble burst in 2000, who turned around to become a contractor with the same firm. That led to a further reinvention as she set up what's best described as a legal firm of part-time lawyer contractors, many of them women juggling work and school-age kids.
  • A director of strategic development and communicaitons who got cut when that company was acquired. He then did what any good consultant and strategist does, develop his "brand" after an analysis (which makes very good reading) of his passions and skills.  Now he's consulting full-time.
  • Another lawyer who left the practice (good for him!) to become an author of mystery novels. (First reinvention.) Then when the market for paper books started sliding, he moved into the e-book field and took on self-publishing his backlist for Kindle and the like. (Second reinvention.)    By the way, as a "reformed" lawyer myself, I can't resist giving a plug to another lawyer who found "real work," hence this: his name is Paul Levine and you can read more about his mysteries at  Website of Paul Levine 

Fortune article: Pulling off the ultimate career makeover, by Douglas Alden Warshaw





“Older Americans fuel entrepreneurial boom” — says article in Smart Money

"Faced with bruised nest eggs and high unemployment rates, older Americans—ever resourceful—are becoming entrepreneurs, " begins this Smart Money article by Anne Tergesen.

The core of the article is a Q and A with  Eric Ries, Entrepreneur in Residence at Harvard Business School, focusing on his forthcoming book, The Lean Startup.

Here is one sample, making a point  that I think is very much on-target with what we speak of in this blog.  Notice how there are elements of making cold calls, using a consultative selling model to find prospects' real needs, and then crafting a brief, focused message making the case of how he can best fill those needs expresssed:

Q: What if you are offering a service, such as carpentry work, and you know there is a market. How can you go about testing whether your business will succeed?

A: I know someone who started a home interior design company. He knew that people would spend money on home refurnishing, but would they want to buy it from him? He spoke to prospective customers, to find out why it was that they wanted to remodel. It turned out that many potential customers in the place where he was based were women. He had the realization that they were not just buying home remodeling, but the sense of control a designer could create for them over their environments. He tried out tag lines for his business until he found a hit—which enabled him to market himself as offering something they could not get elsewhere. The tag line he chose was “unlike your husband, we listen.”

Link to that Smart Money article, "Older Americans fuel entrepreneurial boom."

Consultative sales skills: How to set the context before asking questions

Consultative selling, bear in mind, is selling by asking the questions that prompt the prospect to recognize needs for what you offer.

Another key point to bear in mind:  In using a consultative sales approach, ask questions, but shape the

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“Never too late to start a business,” USA Today

That's the title  of Laura Petrecca's article in USA Today, but actually it's by no means just about "older" Americans: the stats indicate it's "just-plain American" (of all ages) who are starting new businesses, electing self-employment, and otherwise going off on their own as consultants, free-agents, and the like.  Here are some of the key numbers on self-employment from that article:

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Independent contractors, consultants, free agents: article in New York Times

The nature of work may be changing, suggests Michael Luo in The New York Times, as work may be "becoming more temporary and project-based, with workers increasingly functioning as free agents and no longer being governed by traditional long-term employer-employee relationships."

Michael Sinclair, featured in the article, speaking of his role as an independent contractor in the

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