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Enough of the Cliches

Enough of the Cliches

Cliches are tiresome, especially when their long term effect is negative. In traditional direct sales and retail marketing we focus on the product value statements to convince people to buy a product or service. For many network marketers brief lip service is given to the superior nature of the product before attention is then laser focused on the dough, the benjamins, the opportunity. I believe that is why so many opportunity based products have been hit so hard by the down economy.  Where the product based opportunities are flailing, other superior product value based companies are thriving. Summed up, if you are basing your product value on the opportunity instead of better price, quality or efficacy; you are probably using cliches and white lies to sell your opportunity. (more…)

Body Language

Body Language

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series The Follow Up.

You are judgmental, and so are your prospects. Whether you want to believe it or not, you make decisions about new people you meet within minutes and sometimes seconds of the introduction. We judge people favorably or negatively based upon a whole litany of criteria, and words are rarely what we base our whole judgment upon. Your body language can tell people far more about what you are thinking than your words.

Even for those people who are untrained in body language meanings, contradictions in body and words have a negative affect. When a person is saying one thing with their mouth and another with their body, the conversation feels awkward and insincere.  Awkward conversations will crush any perceived trust, and will doom any chance of a sale or follow up. For those trained in body language meanings, words are secondary to the message being sent by the body. When you study body language, you will be able to see clear contradictions between what a prospect is saying with their mouth and their body.

In many sales and prospecting meetings, the inexperienced salesperson or networker leaves a meeting with a prospect completely pumped about getting the sale because the prospect was saying all the right things. In reality, the only positive thing the prospective was saying was coming from his or her mouth. The prospect just wanted to get rid of the annoyance in front of her by feigning interest. The insincere words spoken by the prospect deceived the inexperienced salesperson, but with training, the salesperson could see that the prospect’s legs and arms were crossed, one hand was covering a portion of her mouth and the prospect was never able to look the perceived annoyance in the eye. An experienced salesperson and student of body language would have seen these warning signs and stopped the sales pitch to get to the bottom of the real problem or doubt. An experienced body language reader would have known that if the person did not begin to open up, this sale was doomed and a follow up would never have resulted in a sale, no matter how many times the salesperson followed up.

In The Definitive Book of Body Language we learn, “Body language is an outward reflection of a person’s emotional condition. Each gesture or movement can be a valuable key to an emotion a person may be feeling at the time.” If you begin to watch, your prospects will be telling you far more with their gestures and body then with words.

I pride myself in being able to connect with people and create enjoyable environments for productivity, but I have made some big mistakes addressing body language. I have had experiences with a person who could not stand me and it was evident whenever we met. My meetings with this person were never very comfortable no matter what I tried. In two of my meetings I made the big mistake of pointing out that the person’s arms and legs were folded and one of his hands was covering a portion of his mouth; all signals that this person did not trust me and or disliked me very much. The meetings were very uncomfortable and discomfort is a unproductive setting when you are trying to get things done. In our business dealings, this person definitely felt himself my superior, and he hated me trying to get to the bottom of his feelings during our meetings no matter how big of an impediment I felt it was toward a resolution. In fact my reads infuriated him and he was quick to remind me. I learned quickly that when a person feels he or she is your superior, be very careful pointing out that they do not look physically comfortable with how the conversation is going. Read the body language and do your best to address the problem with a different direction in the conversation. Not until you feel very comfortable with the person sitting across from you, do you point out that avoidance of eye contact and other body signals are causing a problem in the conversation.

Successful follow up meetings can be critical to your business. You owe it to yourself to avoid leaving a meeting thinking that you are further ahead than you really are. If you understand basic body signals, you will have a good idea of how the follow up will go before you even leave your first meeting. When you understand the basics, you can save yourself weeks of fruitless follow up.

Following Up Without Being a Pain In the Neck

Following Up Without Being a Pain In the Neck

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series The Follow Up.

You know the drill, you had a great meeting with a prospect and everything looked and felt great during the meeting. But, a week has gone by and you have not heard back from the prospect and you are wondering what to do. Questions begin to enter you mind:

  • How long should you wait before you contact your prospect after a meeting?
  • What did I do wrong they were so interested?
  • Am I cut out for this?

Anybody who has ever read a book on sales etiquette or has experience in sales knows that the follow up is just as important as the meeting itself. As entrepreneurs enter the 21st century is it ok to email or text the prospect, or should you just call? Even more important than how you get back with the prospect is when should you get back to the prospect? I have compiled a list of answers from some of the world’s best entrepreneurs in an attempt to give answers to when you should get back to your prospects without worrying if you are acting out of place or being a pest.

We’ll start this series of posts off with one of my personal favorites, Jeffrey Gitomer. In his book, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, Gitomer asks, “Are you a sales leader or a sales chaser?”

“Chasing your prospect too hard? People not calling you back? Pushing too hard for orders? Try running the other way – let the prospect chase you. It’s the best follow-up technique I’ve ever experienced.”

“If prospects are not returning your call, whose fault is that? You’re chasing too hard. They’re running away. You couldn’t get their interest. You couldn’t get them to chase you.

Here are some tell-tale symptoms the chase is going the wrong way:

  • You’ve followed up a few times, and now you’re searching for a reason to call them – but you can’t think of one.
  • You are uncomfortable about calling, you are unprepared, you have not established the needs of the prospect, you are unsure of their status, or you don’t have much rapport with the prospect (or some of each).
  • You call, get their voice mai, and hang up.
  • You left your best message and they didn’t call you back.
  • They told you a decision would be made Tuesday, and Tuesday has come and gone.
  • The prospect is giving you a bunch of lame excuses. And you are accepting them!
  • And the worst symptom of all – you are blaming the prospect for you inability to generate enough interest, create enough value, or for not having a solid reason to call you back.”

If you have never read any of Gitomer’s books and you are an entrepreneur, it is time to invest in your education. The guy is funny and he can cut right through the bologna. His books are short and easy to read. If you want to learn more from one of the masters on how to get prospects’ attention and more on how to follow up with your prospects, he is a must read.

Do You want Followers or Leaders?

Do You want Followers or Leaders?

Most businesses teach their people to be stupid. Yes, being stupid is actually encouraged. I have heard many people even say, “It does not matter if it works, only if it is duplicatable.” What? So if something is working for you and your unique personality, stop doing it because the next guy can’t copy what you are doing? It is time we get something straight, unless we focus on teaching leadership and thinking, we are teaching the people of our organization to be mindless followers, not productive leaders.

The great book Linchpin talks about how the robber baron millionaires from the early 20th century used uneducated people in their sweatshops to make themselves rich. Andrew Carnegie even decided that education caused violent strikes and hurt his business.  The robber barons decided about 100 years ago that if they wanted to be really really rich, they needed compliant uneducated factory workers.  Workers who will be productive and willing to work for less than the value that their productivity creates.  This system worked for a long time, but today, the factory system is breaking down, just ask General Motors.

Linchpin says that schools should teach two things:

  1. Solve Interesting problems
  2. Lead

Memorizing is what is taught in school today, not problem solving or leadership. The whole education system is based upon passing an exam, not creating leadership skills or decision-making abilities.

Leaders in direct sales organizations have been teaching their “factory” workers for years to say the same things, memorize little sayings and get together once a month for a shot of enthusiasm to keep them from quitting too early before they can sell them some more presentation tools or product.  Many entrepreneurs and members of direct sales organizations mock traditional education. Let me tell you, direct sales has a failing grade in real education too. It is time to start teaching our people to solve real problems and lead, not just memorize if we want to thrive in the new economy.

Times are changing my friends, we live in the new economy of an information age. Just teaching a budding sales person or field marketer to follow an easy presentation will not build that person into a leader. Entrepreneurs who are taught to memorize a certain pattern and copy it exactly are no better off in the long run, and neither is your business.  If you want to keep churning people, teach them to follow a set, non-thinking presentation. If you want to build a business that lasts, teach them to think.