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April 2010

Don’t Let Indecisive Customers (Procrastinators) Drive You Crazy!

“Procrastinating clients don’t need to drive you crazy,” asserts Dr. David Burns, Stanford University School of Medicine Adjunct Clinical Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry Apr29_1 and Behavioral Sciences and author of the international best seller Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy (William Morrow and Company, 1980).

Think about how you handled your last procrastinating prospect. Remember the familiar phrases they used: “I’ve got to think about it”; “I’ll get back to you”; and “I’ll talk to my boss (my lawyer, my accountant, my friend, etc.) about it.” If you are in a depressed market segment, you may have listened to these put-offs: “It’s not the right time”; “Everything is slow”; or “It’s a darn good idea, but we have to wait.”

“The first step,” explains Burns, “is to pinpoint why the client procrastinates.” That’s not an easy task, since it requires a great deal of tact, sensitivity, and empathy.

“Don’t get judgmental, but try to see the problem through the client’s eyes,” says Burns. “Your own attitude toward the client who procrastinates is crucial. Don’t get demanding, coercive, defensive, or hostile. These are some of the most common behavioral traps salespeople need to avoid.”

In his book, Burns explains 12 different types of mind-sets most commonly associated with procrastination and indecisiveness. Reading about them can give you greater understanding and sensitivity toward people who seem to resist you. This can be the first step toward better rapport and – ultimately – a sale.

Identify the nature of the roadblock

One comfort trap to look out for is perfectionism. Clients aren’t totally certain they should buy your product. They think they should always be right and are possibly afraid of making a mistake.

Another trap is sensitivity to coercion. Clients may sense your eagerness and feel pushed. They then decide to resist you to stay in control.

These are just two of the numerous reasons why a client might be slow in closing a deal, while – from your point of view – there seems to be no rational basis for the reluctance.

Choose your best response strategy

Summarizing his clinical experiences with countless procrastinators, Burns advises, “Your best approach is to employ simple verbal techniques, such as empathy, inquiry, and multiple choice.”

If your client responds to your closing question, saying, “I’ve got to think about it,” you could easily follow up with, “What are some of the issues you have to think about?” You also may focus directly on the client’s resistance by asking, “What are some of the things that are holding you back? Would you share some of them with me?”

Be sure to use your best positive energy. If your nonverbal expressions signal defensiveness, you could easily reinforce the client’s (irrational) defenses.

Agreement disarms your prospect

Imagine this reply to your enthusiastic sales pitch: “I’ve got to talk to my boss about this purchase.” If you are unprepared, this surprising answer may take the wind out of your sails and leave you speechless. With a little advance preparation and role-playing, however, you may disarm the procrastinator quickly by answering, “Of course you do. What are some of the things you would talk to him or her about?”

This allows you to agree with the reluctant prospect. This approach puts you both on the same team and encourages the client to open up and trust you. By responding with empathy (“Of course you do”), you put yourself in the client’s position. If you had used a judgmental or defensive reply, such as, “Why can’t you decide on this as you promised?” you’d be reinforcing the client’s hesitancy, and he or she may even add you to the list of subjects to be discussed with the boss.

When nothing works, use the multiple-choice approach

“In some cases, the client won’t respond to your empathy or inquiry technique,” adds Burns. “That should not hold you back from using multiple-choice questions.”

Let’s say the buyer in the example above mumbles, “Oh, I’ve got to get my boss’s opinion on this purchase.” You may follow up with such probing questions as, “Would you be exploring whether or not this is a good purchase in comparison with a competitor’s product?” or “Would you be wondering about the financing?”

“Display an attitude of genuine caring. Paraphrase your questions in a noncoercive yet open way,” counsels Burns. The key is to balance empathy with firmness.

“Asking questions and displaying positive attitudes is only half the battle,” explains Burns. “Dealing with procrastinators also calls for managing your own negative thoughts and feelings.”

Manage your own thoughts and feelings

Most salespeople tend to overlook the relationship between thoughts and feelings. Burns writes, “The most important thing to realize is that all your moods are created by your thoughts, not by how other people are treating you. In other words, the things you are telling yourself silently about your client can influence your moods negatively; and the moment you let yourself feel irritable or frustrated, you can kiss the sale good-bye.”

For example, as you hear the client stall, you may say to yourself, “I have an excellent product. He shouldn’t do this. I’ve offered the best possible price. He’s got no right to be so unreasonable.” Or you might get self-critical and think, “Gee! I really should be able to close this deal. What’s wrong with me?”

“Your emotions follow your thoughts just as surely as baby ducks follow their mother. But the fact that the baby ducks follow faithfully along doesn’t prove that the mother knows where she’s going,” writes Burns.

You can prepare yourself before you see potential procrastinators. Burns explains, “Remember not to defend your self-esteem by putting the other person down. In the last analysis, only one person can make you happy or miserable, and that person is you. And, if you’re thinking about yourself in a positive and realistic way, you feel good and have the world’s most potent selling force at your disposal – self-esteem.”

Mind reading doesn’t work

Don’t read motives into a customer’s behavior by telling yourself that the customer enjoys being resistant or just wants to give you a hard time. This prevents you from uncovering the real reasons for the underlying procrastination. Handling procrastination has nothing to do with getting the other person to give in to you; the solution to resolving the client’s hesitancy lies in allowing it to be expressed. Showing genuine concern for your client – whom you view as a human being and not as an object to be manipulated – is as crucial to an effective sales career as it is to a happy marriage or a lasting friendship.


The steps for handling a procrastinating client are as follows:

  1. Before you even place the call, prepare yourself for a possible delaying maneuver.
  2. Pinpoint the reasons for delay, and show your openness, empathy, and understanding. (Don’t judge; observe.)
  3. Manage your self-talk. Don’t put the client down, and don’t put yourself down.
  4. Help clients realistically appraise the reasons for and against buying now. If it’s not in their best interests to buy your product now, urge them not to. They’ll respect you, and you’ll feel better about yourself and make out better in the long run.
“Selling to procrastinators can be very rewarding and profitable,” concludes Burns. “It’s like Zen. When you want the sale most, it moves beyond your reach. Instead, you temporarily abandon your preoccupation with control and success. As you open yourself to your client’s experience, you are creating new space that is needed to dissolve the client’s hesitancy. Once the pressure is removed, your client will be able to objectively reappraise your proposals (with your guidance) and make a decision.

“No matter what the outcome, you’ve created a win/win situation. You’re ready to make your next call without the burden of unfinished business – and, most likely, with the satisfaction of another sale.”

David D. Burns, MD, is Adjunct Clinical Professor emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine, where the graduating residents have named him Teacher of the Year three times. He is author of several books and papers that help people break out of bad moods. To learn more, go to

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How Can You REALLY Get Better at Selling?

0428_1 When a chicken lays an egg, it usually lets the world know about it. When a sales expert comes up with a new way to sell more, he or she invents a new title like: value selling, solution selling, complex selling, creative selling, C-level selling, Power Selling, Compelling Selling, Systems selling, No-Bull Selling, Selling Lucky etc.

The obvious question: What do we do with all this information? What are salespeople supposed to learn to get better?

The obvious answer: All of it is “proven and tested” to work, but only if the salesperson is willing, able and motivated to learn.

Next are the sales training methods. Role plays, watching videos, listening to a trainer, logging on to a Webinar, following a multiple choice online learning program, videotaping role plays, rehearsing scripts, and getting pumped up by a motivational speaker.

The obvious question: What works and for how long?

The obvious answer: None of them last. Sales training is like exercise. It has to be ongoing.

How can we learn faster so we get ahead of forgetting?

Next are the learning methods. It’s like with the field of nutrition. We know five major food groups. Sales trainers mix them up liberally.

  1. The sales story. This could be an actual account of “how I made this sale,” or “here is what I have learned from this experience.” The downside: Every customer’s situation is different.
  2. The psychological concept. Here are four types of customers. Here is how to deal with each one of them. The downside: Every customer is different and they don’t fit well into boxes.
  3. The script approach. Many companies create a word-for-word script that salespeople can use for various phases of the sales call. Each salesperson learns to deliver the script until it becomes second nature. The downside: Customers notice within seconds that this is a canned presentation.
  4. The sales formula approach. There are too many to mention like the “blue sheet,” the “strip-lining” method, the “AIDA” formula. The list is endless. The downside: Customers get confused, since their buying process doesn’t match the sales formula.
  5. The “common sales wisdom” approach. Sales trainers impart sales wisdom that is somehow rooted in a larger philosophy such as “Socratic selling,” “Customer driven selling,” or “Win-Win” selling. The downside: Insights are great in theory. Every selling situation requires thinking on your feet, with little time left to lean on philosophical insights.
Why are sales not improving?

With all these “proven and tested” ways of teaching salespeople we have to address the uncomfortable question: Why are sales not improving? Or better yet: how come that virtually no company has a good way of measuring the ROI of sales training? 0428_2c Most companies still use “butts in seats and smiley sheets.” Just today I spoke with a salesperson who complained about his company’s sales training: too much information, too little time to take it all in.

Knowledge is like an ice cream cone on a hot summer day. If we don’t eat it, it will melt away. A good story told in a sales training class will fade from memory in a few hours. The enthusiasm generated in a motivational speech vanishes after a few days. The insights gained from reading a book, or an article can wear within a few weeks. The skills gained from a workshop may last a month or two, and then salespeople fall back to their old behaviors.

The Manager’s ignorance is the biggest roadblock to training

As good salespeople get promoted to sales management, they tend to look back at their own struggles with professional development. Here is how many of them reason:
  1. If our salespeople don’t know how to sell, they should not be working for our company. We need to separate the wheat from the chaff and get rid of the bottom 20%.
  2. We don’t have the luxury of coddling our salespeople. We hire only experienced salespeople so we can save the high cost of training.
  3. We build better products to make selling easier. Since our sales have been increasing through innovative products, there is no reason to waste time and money on training. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
  4. Our industry is in a slump. We need to save money. Everybody knows that even the best selling techniques don’t work when fewer customers are buying.
  5. We know what creates more sales: greed and fear. Instead of wasting money on training, we can spend half the money on cash incentives and a better commission plan. It’s cheaper to engrave the names of the top salespeople on a plaque than to waste money on training how to sell.
  6. When I started in selling, nobody showed me what to do. We are all graduates of the “University of Adversity”. It you can’t learn on your own, you don’t have a chance in this field. Those who can’t cut the mustard should get another job.
Would you hire this football coach?

Imagine for a moment you hired a new coach for your football team with an eye on winning the Super Bowl.0428_3 At the first meeting with the team you hear the coach say: “I have a simple six point program for winning. First, we fire the losers; second; we hire only winners with a proven track record; third, when we are winning, we won’t waste time practicing; fourth, when we’re behind, we’ll lay low for a while, until things improve as they always do; fifth, everybody is in this game for the money, so we will put the training dollars in the pockets of the best players and finally, everybody knows that the best training is the school of hard knocks. Instead of wasting time with training, let’s go for the real deal. Let’s play ball!” Sounds ridiculous? Yes, but that’s the same reasoning that prevails in many companies today.

Sales leaders are not likely to lead by example when it comes to education

Sales managers want salespeople to think quickly on their feet and they enjoy the art of improvisation. They love the hunt for business and the thrill of closing deals. 0428_4 Sales managers are not inclined to be educators, nor do they seek out education to broaden their horizon.

Case in point: there are over 5 million sales mangers in the US. Less than 2,000 per year attend sales management or sales leadership conferences. Although there are fewer marketing managers than sales managers, every year over 20,000 marketing managers attend marketing conferences to advance their knowledge.

Some people say that selling is not as complex a subject as marketing. A simple Google search returns over 242 million entries under “selling” and over 463 million entries under “marketing.”

Another factor: the level of professionalism in selling has been notoriously poor since most Universities ignore the sales profession. Of the 3,000 colleges in the US, fewer than 50 teach professional selling. Yet every year over 3 million college graduates enter the field of selling without the professional preparation required in their job. The average initial sales training for new hires is less than three weeks.

What’s the solution to really getting better in selling?

If you are a salesperson, don’t depend on your company to hand you the key to sales success on a silver platter. Don’t expect your sales manager to coach you. If you are lucky enough to work with a good coach, soak up every lesson and apply them on the job. Don’t expect too much from a sales meeting, but use the breaks to learn as much as you can from the top performers. Seek out your own teachers.

Your best teachers are:
  1. Your own curiosity.
  2. Your ability to ask good questions
  3. Your customer. Learn how they think, feel and act. The more you know about your customers, the better you will be able to help them create value.
  4. Your willingness to read more. There are over 5,000 books on the subject of selling. Read a book a week, apply a new idea each day and soon you’ll be at the head of your team. Study the masters of success like Neil Rackham, Jeff Gitomer, Zig Ziglar, Tom Hopkins, Brian Tracy, Josiane Feigon, Jill Konrath, Barbara Sanfilippo, Tony Alessandra, Jim Cathcart, Harvey Mackay etc. Search for sales titles on
  5. Your positive attitude towards professional sales training. Enroll in a Dale Carnegie sales training program and get your company to pay at least half of your tuition. Join a local Sandler Sales training program. Watch the many sales training videos on YouTube, read Selling Power magazine. (That’s the one that over 100,000 sales professionals read – and that 19 million salespeople ignore). If you learn more, you’ll earn more.
  6. Your realization that you are 100% responsible for your success and that you are building your own future.
  7. Your ability to learn something on every sales call. Create your own sales playbook. Write down your best closes, your best ways to handle objections, the best ways to present your solution, the best ways to break the ice etc.
  8. Your willingness to get rid of old habits- to let go of old approaches that no longer work. Become a leader in self-change and self-improvement.
  9. Your determination to embrace new sales technologies and social networking tools. The clock-speed of progress is technology. The faster you adapt, the faster you will grow.
  10. Your ability to be yourself. Selling is not a game we play wearing masks. Customers can see right through you. Customers want authenticity, creativity and above all integrity. Customers will always buy first who you are before they will buy what you sell.

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Gerhard Gschwandtner,Selling Power

The Psychology of Winning: An Interview with Dr. Denis Waitley (Part 2)

Last week I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Denis Waitley in Dallas to record an interview on Zig Ziglar’s Success 2.0 online video channel. It was an honor to visit with Zig Ziglar, who still enjoys his lifelong passion for helping others get what they want out of life, and it was a real privilege to spend time with these grand masters of motivation. 

Here is a photo from our power lunch in Dallas.
Here's Part 2 of the conversation I had with Dr. Waitley years ago for Selling Power magazine: 

GG: In your book The Winner's Edge, you said, "I didn't realize until I was 35 that I am behind the wheel in my life.”
Dr. Waitley: That's right.

GG: What made you aware of that?
Dr. Waitley: I was failing a lot up until age 35.

GG: At what were you failing?
Dr. Waitley: I became a good Navy pilot, but I never became the astronaut that I wanted to be. That, to me, was a failure. I could fly a plane, but I didn't get to fly a spaceship. Later, as a business executive, I earned an income but never retained my money. I had a couple of business failures. I fixed the blame on my father's suggestion to go to the Naval Academy. I rationalized, asking, “What can an ex-Navy pilot do except fly for an airline?”

GG: You thought that your opportunities were limited?
Dr. Waitley: Yes. Then I figured that I had never learned anything about money. I know a lot about words, so I took several staff positions. I began to see myself as a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. People told me, "Denis, you are one of the most gifted, talented, creative, wonderful individuals we ever met. We are sure sorry you have not been able to convert that to financial or any other lasting success." At 35, I probably was at the lowest point in my life. I had been traveling all the time. I didn't have a good family life. My resume looked like Who's That? instead of Who's Who, and I was actually believing that I might be born to lose – like my dad, because he never made any money either. Interestingly enough, and I don't think he would mind my saying this, a best-selling author, a friend of mine, said as we were walking on the beach that he had the same experience. Until he realized that his dreams had substance, and until he started simulating success and being around people who were successful, he was destined, as was I, to have permanent potential. His book was on the New York Times best-seller list.

GG: What is his name?
Dr. Waitley: Spencer Johnson, the coauthor of The One-Minute Manager.

GG: So you walked on the beach wondering if your dreams were realistic or not?
Dr. Waitley: Some of my dreams were pipe dreams. Becoming an astronaut was unrealistic. I recognized that these unattainable dreams led to repeated failures.

GG: What did you do to get out of this pattern of failure?
Dr. Waitley: I happened to get fed up with the repeating cycle. I began to seek shelter under the shade of winners. I got tired of running with the turkeys. The first thing that I did was to find a very strong clergyman. I needed some real fatherly advice. We went 10,000 feet up in an airplane. He knew flying was a comfortable environment, a success pattern for me. As we were going through the stalls and spins, he gave me reassurance and spiritual dimension at a time when I need them most.

The second thing I did was start going to seminars conducted by high-powered professionals who talked about stress, health, and success. I was studying their patterns of success. I got excited that maybe I was going to be acceptable in this kind of company. When things were at their worst, I began to write The Psychology of Winning.

GG: So at the lowest point of your life, you actually created the biggest sales hit in the audiocassette market. How did your program get published?
Dr. Waitley: I think [motivational speaker and author] Earl Nightingale and [motivational recordings producer] Lloyd Conant are the only two who know this, but after I'd finished The Psychology of Winning, I took my last $500 and flew to Chicago. At that time, I was speaking in churches, getting less than $50 a speech. Someone who believed in me had sent a single cassette that I'd recorded in church to Earl Nightingale. He called me and told me that he liked my voice and thought I had some good ideas. He said if I was ever in Chicago, I should see his partner, Lloyd Conant. I went on the next airplane, and Lloyd Conant believed in my work enough to help me polish my initial draft and take a chance on recording The Psychology of Winning, which literally converted me from almost total anonymity to a certain measure of success.

GG: Now that you've met with success, do you feel an overabundance of success can spoil us?
Dr. Waitley: Absolutely. If you put the road of the approving crowd, the amount of money you make, and the material accomplishments into a bag and say that is success, you would be making a big mistake.

GG: What are the danger signals of success? When you know that you are not riding success, but success is riding you?
Dr. Waitley: There are several telltale signals: number one is an obsession to talk about your own accomplishments all the time. Two: Whenever people tell you something about what they did, you top them. The third thing is an obsession with your own material rewards, a tendency to show them more. You invite people to see the monuments that you've collected.

GG: In your new book, you are suggesting that trying to “collect life” is a self-defeating proposition.
Dr. Waitley: Yes. We can't collect life; we can only celebrate life.

GG: But if we examine your journey to success, we could say that before we can celebrate, we need to manage our disappointments.
Dr. Waitley: I really believe so. We've got to view failures and rejections as healthy experiences from which to grow. We've got to replace "someday" fantasies with goals that we can really track and chip away at every day. We've got to let go of our impossible dreams and stop putting happiness and success on layaway.

GG: I'd like to share an interesting quote with you. Abraham Zaleznik wrote in a Harvard Business Review article entitled "Managing Disappointment," that "there is irony in all of human experience. The deepest irony of all is to discover that one has been mourning losses that were never sustained and yearning for a past that never existed while ignoring one's own real capabilities for shaping the present."
Dr. Waitley: That is really profound and is said so well. Because planting the seeds of greatness means investing your natural talents in the pursuit of realistic goals. Not every seed will grow into a flower, so you need to view these failures as learning experiences. But to enjoy the flowers in your garden, you have to pluck the weeds. This means that you have to recognize and give up your pipe dreams.

GG: And if you don't?
Dr. Waitley: Your natural seeds of greatness will never have an opportunity to bloom.

GG: Thank you.

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The Psychology of Winning: An Interview with Dr. Denis Waitley

Last week I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Denis Waitley in Dallas to record an interview on Zig Ziglar’s Success 2.0 online video channel. 

Here are just a few highlights of Dr. Waitley's extensive career:

  • Bachelor of Science from US Naval Academy in Annapolis
  • Motivator of Super Bowl athletes
  • Chairman of the psychology committee of the US Olympic Sports Medicine Council, responsible for performance enhancement of American Olympic athletes
  • Conducted US study of Chinese brainwashing techniques
  • Rehabilitation coordinator for US prisoners of war returning from Vietnam
  • Simulation expert for Apollo Program astronauts

Dr. Waitley is the author of 15 books. My personal favorite is The Psychology of Winning. Here's a partial transcript of a conversation I had with Dr. Waitley years ago for Selling Power magazine: 

Gerhard Gschwandtner (GG): You have studied the success patterns of some of the greatest achievers around the world. What are the three most common characteristics these winners share? 

Dr. Waitley: The first would be high self-esteem, the feeling of your own worth. The second, the realization that you have the responsibility for choosing your own destiny. The healthiest, most successful people I've seen exercise their privilege to choose. The power of choosing their destinies puts them in charge of their lives. The third characteristic would be creative imagination to translate dreams into specific goals.

GG: What is your definition of a winner?
Dr. Waitley: A winner is, in my opinion, an individual who is progressively pursuing and having some success at reaching a goal that he has set for him or herself, a goal that is attained for the benefit, rather than at the expense, of others.

GG: Do you think that there is an overemphasis on winning?
Dr. Waitley: The idea of winning has been misunderstood and overexposed. It's associated with flying through airports, driving fast cars, or standing over a fallen adversary. I've seen salespeople who were making six-figure incomes, thinking that they had won. They thought winning was reaching a certain financial level or getting to a certain point. Thinking they have arrived, they stand still and go to the country club. Now their company expects more production but won't get it from them because they had the wrong idea. They didn't realize that winning is a continual process of improvement.

GG: In 1976, two researchers, Thomas Tutko and William Bruns, published a book entitled Winning Is Everything and Other American Myths. They wrote, "Winning, in fact, is like drinking saltwater; it will never quench your thirst. It is an insatiable greed. There are never enough victories, never enough championships or records. If we win, we take another gulp and have even greater fantasies."
Dr. Waitley: It is true. The American version of winning is to come on first at all costs, or expediency rather than integrity.

GG: Are you saying that people tend to get obsessed with winning at the expense of fulfillment?
Dr. Waitley: Definitely. I think athletics is the most dominant of all fields where payoff only comes to the winner, but there are notable exceptions. For example, in interviews with five US former Olympic decathlon winners, I found that their individual goals were to become the best they could, not necessarily the best in the world. These athletes have found fulfillment in recognizing and realizing their potential.

GG: Their gold medals are internal, not external.
Dr. Waitley: Exactly. The secret is to compare yourself against a standard that you have set. You measure yourself only against your last performance, not against another individual's.

GG: What is your definition of a loser?
Dr. Waitley: A loser is a person who has an abundance of opportunities to learn and successful role models everywhere but chooses not to try. I read the other day that only 10 percent of all Americans will ever buy or read a book. This means that 90 percent choose not to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities available to everyone in this country. Our libraries are crammed full with enough information for anyone to be an expert in anything.

GG: Do you feel salespeople don't read enough?
Dr. Waitley: To me, the person who chooses not to read is more of a loser than the person who cannot read. I am not suggesting you need to be an intellectual in order to sell; I am just suggesting that if you want to move up, you definitely need the additional vocabulary.

GG: You wrote in your book The Winner's Edge, "Real success in life has no relationship to a gifted birth, talent, or IQ. Would you include gender?
Dr. Waitley: Yes, and I would include race, as well.

GG: Whether you are a saleswoman or a salesman, it doesn't make a difference?
Dr. Waitley: It doesn't make a difference. In fact, there are advantages to both.

GG: Where do you see the edge a woman has in selling?
Dr. Waitley: A woman has the edge of being more gifted earlier in the area of verbal communication. She has a better grasp of nonverbal signals, and she is able to show more empathy in recognizing customer needs. Women are more process oriented. Society, however, has positively conditioned a man to believe that the world is his oyster, and he's been taught to risk in order to get rewards. Women have been taught to seek security. I think women need to be more risk oriented to create security. I also think that men need to learn how to listen more before taking risks.

GG: You have analyzed many winners. I wonder how we can ever know objectively how and why winners win.
Dr. Waitley: I don't think we can put it into a formula. But we can study people who have overcome obstacles. I studied people from every walk of life – hostages, POWs, astronauts, sports figures, and sales achievers – to see if they have anything in common. There are surprising similarities.

GG: Let me rephrase my question. Look at history as an example. The country that wins the war gets to write the history books. History becomes the tale of the winner. If you translate this to people, winners get to tell their stories in interviews. Winners are the most interviewed people in this country. Do you think that they give us an objective picture? Is high performance an objective science or a speculative science?
Dr. Waitley: It's a speculative science. But instead of comparing their methods on achieving success, we need to compare patterns of achievement and see how those patterns overlap. Also, we need to review their thoughts and actions during their worst times. Personally, I've learned more from the worst times than I have from the best moments of my life.

GG: Do you suggest that the strength of winners often depends on how they manage disappointment?
Dr. Waitley: Absolutely. When I studied the adversities faced by leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney, Thomas A. Edison, and Golda Meir, I learned much more than by analyzing some of the great statements or decisions they made. When winners stand on the pedestal, they tend to gloss over what it took to get from the dream to reality.

GG: Why?
Dr. Waitley: It's a human tendency to gloss over the difficulties and remember only the great breakthroughs. Many sales executives focus on the gloss and overlook the real opportunities.

GG: How can we learn from our disappointments in a way that enhances our growth?
Dr. Waitley: Most people never go beyond the adolescent view of failure. They say, "If they laugh at me, it isn't worth learning from the experience." Adolescents tend to believe that performance is the same as the performer. They take individual achievements as marks of their own self-esteem. The healthy individual views failure as a temporary setback. The stumbling block becomes the stepping stone. A better example would be the kid who got new ice skates for Christmas. He goes out on the ice and falls on his head. His mother comforts him by saying, "Why don't you come in and put your skates away," and he says, "Mom, I didn't get my skates to fail with; I got my skates to learn with. What I'll do is keep practicing until I know how to do it right."

GG: Disappointment seems to lead up to a choice between seeking comfort and seeking solutions.
Dr. Waitley: Exactly.

GG: We are reluctant to grow and seek solutions because it's painful.
Dr. Waitley: Right. Eighty percent of all people view growing pain as too uncomfortable or unacceptable. Only 20 percent recognize it as a learning experience.

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Taking My iPad on the Road

To explore how the iPad is a tool for road warriors, I decided yesterday to collect my thoughts about this new Sales 2.0 tool on the fly:

Apr8_2 I had a conversation with my cab driver on the way to San Francisco International Airport. He was planning to puchase an iPad, and I was impressed by how much he knew about this new productivity tool. He agreed that laptops will disappear. He reminded me of why laptops became popular: People wanted to be mobile and take their files with them and work on the road. Now we can grab our files and our applications in the cloud. With Apple's Mobile Me service, there is no need for a hard disk drive. If you ever need to access your desktop, there is an app for that.

I was standing in the security line at SFO and placed my iPad in the gray bin. It was an instant conversation starter: "Excuse me, is this an iPad? When did you get it? Was there a long line?" The lady who asked the questions introduced herself, saying, "I work for Newsweek and am in sales. I am so tired of schlepping my laptop from meeting to meeting."

As I was sitting on the plane waiting to take off, my seat neighbor pulled out his laptop and stared at the screen as he waited for it to come to life. I smiled, since I do not have to wait for a program to launch, to save a file, nor for the iPad to shut down. I can simply hit the off switch. Saving a file, closing a program, shutting down a laptop – that's history.

I took an American flight and missed the wireless connection you get on other airlines. I noticed someone across the aisle firing up a Kindle II, which is a little larger than the iPad, and I smiled and thought, "That’s a one-song band." I’ve got all my Kindle books stored on the iPad.

The plane was delayed and I enjoyed a conversation with my seat neighbor, who works for Toshiba. He told me about a YouTube video featuring a young man who filmed himself last Saturday going into an Apple store and buying an iPad. After he left the store, he unpacked the iPad and then grabbed a hammer and smashed the iPad into pieces. My seat neighbor thought that this was a reflection of how people feel about technology invading their lives.

My take: This clever kid wanted to ride the coattails of Apple's media hype. In this case, his price tag for two minutes of fame was $600. I doubt that he bought the 64GB version. I wonder what this kid will do when he grows up? He might go to a car dealership and buy a Bentley convertible for $375,000, then drive it to a scrap yard and ask to reduce it to a 4' x 5' scrap package. After posting his video on YouTube and getting 5 million views plus free news coverage, he might declare the scrap package and video a work of art, call it the "Bentley Box," and sell it for $1 million.

My seat neighbor told me that Toshiba sells the memory chips that drive the iPad. Apple's business model is not to build the best product, but to leverage existing technologies more intelligently and leave manufacturing to others.

Morten Hansen, author of the book Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Apr8_3 Unity, and Reap Big Results, believes that Apple has become the corporate poster child of intelligent collaboration. In his book, he describes how Sony tried in 2003 to create a portable music player to compete with Apple's iPod. Sony had all the pieces necessary (hardware and software), but the key executives at Sony were unable to collaborate effectively. The result: the loss of a huge opportunity. Sony's stock stumbled and Apple's stock skyrocketed.

As I wrote my blog post on the iPad, I realized that I turned “scrap time” into productive time. But it wasn’t all work. I watched an episode of The Colbert Report and laughed out loud, and I read a few more pages of a new book I downloaded last night. I was also able to write email that I planned to send as soon as I got connected, and I jotted down a few notes that I wanted to weave into my upcoming keynote speech in Dallas.

My seat neighbor shared an article from USA Today about the iPad. It's obvious that the writer just recycled other bits of news that appeared online the day before.

The big story is that newspapers are no longer reporting what's new. They are in the information recycling business. The other big story is that the linear world is disappearing. The world has moved from 1.0 to 2.0. It's a more dynamic place for those who are willing and able to adapt. The plane landed and I finished my blog post convinced that the iPad will become the ultimate Sales 2.0 productivity tool.

At the W Hotel in Dallas, I checked into my room and tried to connect my iPad with the hotel's wireless network. The iPad recognized the network, but the signal was not strong enough to get online. When I asked the front desk about the connection problem, I was told to go to the lobby, where the signal is strong. I then realized the wisdom of getting the next version of the iPad, which will offer 3G coverage for use in areas where the iPad can’t connect through Wi-Fi or where the Wi-Fi signal is weak. The price of $29.99 a month for 3G service will be easily offset by eliminating the daily wireless fees charged by hotels. My advice to road warriors: Wait for the next version of the iPad that comes out by the end of April.

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The iPad Revolution: The Laptop Is Dead

Last Saturday at 6:30 p.m., I walked into the Apple store in San Francisco and purchased an iPad (64 gig). Zero wait. I took it to my hotel room, set it up, and downloaded the many apps I use on the iPhone.

First impressions: Very cool tool. I downloaded my photos, and they look amazing. I set up my email account and downloaded photos from my laptop and a few TV shows, like The Colbert Report. Videos play instantly. The full-screen mode is stunning. The built-in speakers are good, but I get a better sound experience by using my headphones. I purchased an iPad cover, which has a very smart feature: You can slip the back cover into a slot so that the cover turns into a stand. This is very useful when you reply to emails; the keyboard pops up on the screen the moment you hit the reply button.


Applications I like: Social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Hootsuite, are basic. For news, I downloaded the New York Times, NPR, and LeMonde. For business, I use GoToMeetings (yes, you can log on to a Webinar). I also use WebEx, a calculator (Digits), and Mindjet. I tried, which works on my iPhone, but it only shows the opening screen on the iPad. Marc Benioff blogged about the iPad, but he seems to have missed checking his own app. Our own Sales Strategizer Pro works very well.

I also use two book readers: iBooks and Kindle. Kindle proved to be difficult to download. I had to deactivate my first Kindle to be able to read books on my iPad, and I needed to call Amazon’s excellent customer service. It’s great to have access to a competent person.

I find Apple’s iBooks app much easier to download and use. I particularly like the fact that you can download a fairly substantial book sample (the first 40 or 50 pages). My iBook bookshelf looks impressive, although I purchased only one book,The Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together.

For travel, I use Google Earth and AccuWeather. Someone told me that you could use Truphone to convert the iPad into a phone, but I wasn’t able to make it work. Surfing the Web is really fast and easy. The iPad is moving us into a new era.

Now that I have used the iPad for three days in a variety of business situations, I can say positively that laptops will go the way of print.

The iPad is superior to a laptop in many ways:

1. It’s lighter than a book. You can take it anywhere.

2. Laptops are not designed for sharing. The iPad will pull people from isolation to a place of co-creation.

3. Laptop screens are not dynamic. The iPad screen automatically orients itself in relation to your movements. The image on the screen flips from horizontal to vertical and from top to bottom automatically.

4. As I walked through the hotel lobby, I noticed a number of people sitting in the Wi-Fi zone hunched over their laptops. It dawned on me that laptops force their owners to conform to them, while the iPad follows its owner’s posture.

5. Laptops emerged at a time when the world was still linear. The iPad allows people to leave that static world so they can connect with the dynamic flow of human intelligence online and offline.

6. Laptops run on a limited number of software programs. The iPad runs more than 100,000 applications. I currently use 44 iPad applications. Apps will become a commodity like Kleenex. If you feel the urge to sneeze, you grab a Kleenex and toss it. The iPad is very similar. If you feel the urge to paint, you can download a dozen different apps. Download one, release the inner artist in you, and turn your first painting into a screen saver.

The Viral Growth of the iPad Is Huge This morning I met with Chuck Dietrich, the CEO of SlideRocket, a dynamic startup in the online presentation space. I brought my iPad; he had his laptop. During our conversation, we discussed how many different tasks salespeople need to perform to drive customer value. The conversation brought to mind an interesting chart I received in an email the same morning. I pressed the start button on my iPad, and it came to life instantly (there is no staring at a blank screen for two minutes). Within seconds, I pulled up the email, clicked on the message, and handed the iPad to Chuck, who studied it and asked for the URL so he could share it with his team. I simply forwarded the email and the conversation resumed.

The iPad added instant value to the conversation, and it blended in naturally, which added a touch of elegance to the discussion (and of course a little iPad envy). In this case, the iPad delivered content in real time. In effect, this experience would not have been possible with the use of a laptop. After all, who would want to wait two minutes to make a point? The iPad is a time-creation machine, while your laptop steals two minutes of your time every time you turn it on. And that’s a turn off.

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How the Apple iPad Will Change How you Sell, Work and Play

In a few days, you will be able to hold an iPad in your hands andApr1_1 experience a similar rush that people get when they hold a newborn baby. Over the last three months, Apple’s market cap has steadily grown ahead of Google’s. Today, Apple is worth a whopping $33 billion more. While Google delivers what we want to know, Apple creates magic that we can hold in our hands. The magic of finger-surfing the Internet, expanding photos with two fingers, flicking through emails, and making spam disappear with one touch – wow, what a great feeling!

Here is a great demo of the iPad:


Here is my prediction of what the iPad will do for salespeople:

1. It will give you instant star power. The moment the first iPad leaves a store, the world will be divided into those who own the iPad and those who don’t. The iPad holders will be seen as the thought leaders, the innovators, and the super-cool people.

2. The iPad will change your life. Emails will be faster, photos will be bigger, movies will be more fun, music will be easier to consume, Web surfing will be more enjoyable. Reading books, newspapers, and magazines will be far more enjoyable. (I have not used my Kindle in more than two months).

3. The iPad is the first computer that doesn’t make you wait. It comes to life the instant you turn it on. This is a vast improvement over the traditional PC, which keeps users staring at a screen for two to three minutes before anything happens.

4. Touching your iPad is a huge leap forward in customer engagement. Salespeople can quickly access all the information the customer wants to see. Imagine going on a sales call with an iPad, showing video testimonials or product demos. Soon you’ll be able to conduct a Webinar on your iPad, sharing your screen with customers on another continent.

5. The iPad will become your surfboard for cloud computing. You can expect amazing iPad business applications that will span lead management, marketing, sales process, analytics, comp management, sales enablement, sales strategy, and sales training. Imagine sitting on a park bench after a client visit, flipping through your online configurator, creating a proposal, and sending it to your customer with the flick of your fingers.

6. All iPhone apps will run on the iPad. Google Earth, Salesforce, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter will be available on the iPad. Our new application Sales Strategizer Pro will run on the iPad to help salespeople design a completely customized account strategy. (Disclosure: This is a Selling Power technology.)

The probable downside:

The iPad will accelerate our rapacious desire for more. The core philosophy of IT designers is to deliver more. The Internet delivers more pages than we can consume in a lifetime, more movies than we can watch, more books than we can read, more music than we have time to listen to, more images than we have time to admire, more games than we can play.

What we don’t get from the iPad is “enough.”

While books have back covers that let us know that we’ve had enough to read on a subject, the iPad will feed us more in the most pleasant and effortless way, whether we need it or not. There is no shutoff built into the iPad that is automatically activated when we have had enough.

Who will be the master, we or the iPad?

Here is an interesting question: Will we be able to use the iPad so it will add more value to our lives, or will the iPad turn into a subtle thief of time that reduces our chances of reaching our goals?

Getting new, shiny objects like the iPad creates, in a very small way, the illusion of getting a new baby. Our future is filled with hope. The big question is, what are the chances of the roles being reversed, where grownups turn into hopelessly dependent babies? Will our spouse or significant other require an iTaser to shock us back into reality?

In case you’re interested, I just ordered my iPad online.

Question: Are you planning to get an iPad? Share how you will use it to drive up sales productivity.

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