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July 2010

Ten Winning Personalities of Successful Sales Professionals

  1. The hunter – chases the prospect and closes the sale

    Jul28_1 Every morning on the plains of Africa, a lion wakes up, knowing that if he can’t outrun the slowest gazelle, he will starve. Every morning a gazelle wakes up, knowing that it must outrun the fastest lion. Salespeople know that it doesn’t matter if you are a lion or a gazelle; when the sun comes up, you better hit the ground running.






  2. The farmer – cultivates customers to yield loyalty and repeat business

    Jul28_2The glory of farming: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, surrounded by nature. To nurture the earth will not only feed the body, but it will also feed the soul. Great salespeople cultivate great customers.




  3. The psychiatrist – probes deeply into the real needs of the customer

    Jul28_3“Tell me more about this problem.” The best salespeople are great “drainage counselors;” they patiently listen – no matter how long it takes – until the prospect has revealed the final clue that leads to the heart of the problem. Then they lead the prospect to the solution – while letting the prospect think that it was his or her idea in the first place.




  4. The artist – paints the picture the customer wants to see

    Jul28_4Paul Klee once said that the painter should not paint what he sees, but what will be seen. Great salespeople don’t sell products or services; they paint pictures of what they will do for their customer.




  5. The scientist – examines the customer’s situation with painstaking methodology

    Jul28_5Nobel Prize winner Werner Heisenberg studied the nature of uncertainty. He offered great advice to his students that all salespeople should apply: “Nature does not reveal its secrets; it only responds to our method of questioning.” The best salespeople ask the best questions.


  6. The race-car driver – In the race for success, ineffective salespeople look back, Jul28_6 good salespeople look ahead, and great salespeople see and feel themselves winning.

    Danica Patrick said it best: “It's all about creating momentum and then keeping that going by being focused.” Winning salespeople don’t give up, but they clean up by following up.







  7. The geek– masters technology and sells faster, better, and cheaper

    Jul28_7Bill Gates said, “Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don't think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without the talking about the other.” The best salespeople use the best tech tools and apps.





  8. The chameleon – walks into any room and naturally blends in

    Jul28_8More than 2,000 years ago, Marcus Aurelius wrote, “Adapt yourself to the things among which your lot has been cast, and love sincerely the fellow creatures with whom destiny has ordained that you shall live.” Top salespeople adapt instantly to the customer’s personality. They mirror the customer’s speech patterns and use the customer’s vocabulary.


  9. The amusement director –relies on his or her sense of humor to Jul28_9tease customers out of their defensive fortresses

    Venita Van Caspel, who became the first stockbroker in Houston, said, “Humor is a powerful selling tool. It is hard to change something that you can’t laugh about.”





  10. The inventor – learns something from every mistake

    Thomas Edison undertook 1,000 unsuccessful experiments before Jul28_10he invented the lightbulb. Sales trainer Tom Hopkins teaches his students, “I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed; and the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I can fail and keep on trying.”

The final point: The salesperson’s job is to create customers. No two customers are alike. That’s why we have to adapt our thoughts, feelings, and personality to that of the customer. The best way to create a new customer is to create a new self that perfectly complements what the customer needs. The role of the salesperson is to continually adapt. These 10 personalities cover just a few basics. There are hundreds more. What do you think? I’d like to read your comments.

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What Salespeople Think of Marketing

Let’s Cross the Cultural Divide between Sales and Marketing



What do salespeople think of marketing?

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What do salespeople think of marketing presentations?

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What does marketing think of salespeople?

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It is time for salespeople to change their perception of marketing, and vice versa. All salespeople should make an effort to understand marketing. “Marketing Matters” is a brilliantly crafted message by David Rudolph, regional sales manager at Eloqua. Watch this 2 ½ minute YouTube video.



To get a higher-level overview, here is a five-minute interview with the best-selling author of Spin Selling, Neil Rackham. Here, he shares his views on sales and marketing alignment:

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Clicking on the thumbnail above will play the video.


Here is a refreshing, highly practical e-book (that requires about 15 minutes to read) created by Brian Carroll. The title of the e-book is Start with a Lead – Eight Critical Success Factors for Lead Generation. This e-book makes a solid case for sales and marketing alignment.

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Finally, here is the business case of Ariba, a leading technology company. This slide presentation was created in 2007 by Christine Crandell. What’s impressive is that what Ariba achieved three years ago has yet to be matched by 85 percent of all companies in the United States.

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In most companies, sales and marketing are operating in two separate silos. The same is true when it comes to sales and marketing conferences. There are dozens of marketing conferences that are never attended by sales executives, and there are a handful of sales leadership conferences that are never attended by marketing managers. That’s why we are organizing the FIRST conference in the United States where sales and marketing managers are invited to collaborate. CSOs will bring their CMOs. Sales VPs will bring their marketing VPs. Marketing managers will bring their sales managers. The goal: collaboration. The outcome: more customers. Interested? www.sales20conf.com/collaboration

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John Henry Patterson: The Father of Professional Selling Part III

PATTERSON’S “POLISHED SALESMANSHIP”

The attendees of an NCR convention were startled one morning by the sudden entry of a shoeshine boy on roller skates who shot down the aisle of the auditorium with his shining implements in his hands.

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Coming to a stop in front of the podium, the boy removed his skates, walked up to the chair in which John Henry Patterson, the founder and president of NCR, was sitting, and proceeded to give the distinguished gentleman's shoes a thorough polishing. The salesmen – at first amazed and then amused – settled back to wait for Patterson to appease their growing curiosity.

As soon as the shoeshine boy had finished the job and been paid with a silver dollar, Patterson took him by the hand and led him to the front of the platform.

"Sam," he asked, "how many office buildings on this block did you used to tour looking for business?"

"All of them, Sir," replied the boy.

"And how many do you serve now?" continued his interrogator.

"Why, I just stick to this one."

"How come, Sam? How come?"

"You ought to know, Mr. Patterson, because it was you who advised me that if I'd spend all my time on a smaller group instead of scattering my efforts, I'd make more money."

"That's right, Sam. And how did that advice work out?"

"Well, I've been averaging 40 shines a day since I became the National Cash Register shoeshine boy three months ago. Before that, when I used to work the entire block, I was doing well to get 20 to 25 customers a day. When they see me regularly, my customers get into the habit of being shined up every day at a certain hour. Before, they sometimes would take a quick look at their shoes and say, "No, some other time, Sam."

After dismissing Sam, who put his skates back on and rolled swiftly up the aisle to the exit, Mr. Patterson proceeded to make an object lesson of Sam for the benefit of the salespeople who had been complaining about the forced contraction of their territories by the home office.

"When you have too much ground to cover," he said, "you fail to concentrate. A prospect who seems a little difficult at first, you leave to call on someone else. First thing you know, you have spread your butter so thin that you aren't selling anybody and have nothing but a long list of half-convinced prospects. With smaller territories, you have time and opportunity to cultivate your prospects intensively. You can get to know them like brothers, meet their wives, understand their problems, and show them how to conduct their business at a greater profit. Thus you are greeted as a friend and respected advisor when you enter a store, not as just another salesman. And soon you should be able to load up that merchant with a good representation of all the products we have to sell."

Later, Mr. Patterson referred to this dramatized testimonial as an example of an excellent method of presenting the features of a cash register to a prospect.

"Tell a story," he advised the gathering of salesmen, "when you present a point. Look at the sales of books. People buy many times the number of novels than they do serious dissertations. Look at the magazines – ten stories to one serious article.

"Let that be your guide when talking to a prospect. You got the idea about restricted territories a lot quicker through hearing that shoeshine boy tell about his personal experience than you would have if I had simply outlined the principle to you and asked you to follow it."

THE REWARD SYSTEM

While Patterson demanded much of his salespeople, he gave much in return. Many of his creations, such as the sales conversation, protected territory, and quota system, were vehicles for rewarding salespeople, as well as for increasing productivity.

Patterson was among the first to recognize the value of brainstorming sessions among salespeople. As a result, he decided to conduct regular sales conventions, where agents could exchange ideas on selling. In an every-man-for-himself era, this was a revolutionary concept. In time, the conventions also provided the opportunity to recognize and reward top achievers.

Patterson developed the protected sales territory in order to attract and keep the best sales talent. In the days BP (Before Patterson), sales reps commonly milked an area and then moved on, often into a city or region occupied by other cash-register salesmen. Needless to say, this chaotic habit of raiding a colleague’s territory caused a lot of bickering, turnover, and reduced productivity.

Patterson's solution of the protected sales territory is something salespeople take for granted today. In return for this guarantee, NCR agents had to live up to another of Patterson's creations, the sales quota, the first effort to obtain measurable results in selling. And they had to try another then-unheard-of practice: returning, after a period of time, to customers who had already bought from NCR to try to sell to them again.

Returning to an old customer, a technique Patterson called "using the user," upset many salespeople, who were convinced it was impossible to sell twice to the same prospect. As usual, Patterson was right and the objectors were wrong. Not only did past customers prove a fertile field for new sales, they were also a great source of testimonials for advertising and promotions.

PATTERSON'S SIGNIFICANCE TODAY

It's all fine and well to pay tribute to a man like Patterson. Certainly salespeople and sales managers owe him a debt of gratitude. But after this laudatory display, they would do well to go back and review Patterson's contributions. Not only were his selling techniques the most sophisticated of his day, they are, in combination, more advanced than what is generally practiced today.

Billions are spent on advertising, direct mail, and publicity, but rarely are these tools used as effectively as the cohesive triad Patterson forged. Salespeople still balk at learning product knowledge cold and fail to communicate with customers. Though territories are parceled out and quotas maintained, day-to-day sales performance is not monitored as closely as it was at Patterson's NCR.

It's a pity, considering the rich heritage John Henry Patterson left. Perhaps more than any other American in history, he is responsible for raising the consciousness, self-image, and public image of the sales professional. He taught that good salespeople are made, not born. Patterson transformed an often-ridiculed job into an honored profession and gave salespeople the professional skills to earn a great living in exchange for creating customer success.

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John Henry Patterson: The Father of Professional Selling Part II

THE FIRST PROFESSIONAL SALES FORCE

Early on, Patterson was concerned about the quality of sales, and so –in true Patterson style – he decided to learn firsthand what was happening in the field. In a period of 51 days, he visited sales offices in 50 towns and cities. What he found appalled him. "One half of our salesmen are so ignorant of their product that they will actually prevent a man from buying, even though he wanted a cash register," he said.

Returning to Dayton, he proceeded to gather the sales talks of the NCR's most successful salespeople, writing up every known selling point related to the cash register. The document became one of the first canned sales presentations – the NCR Primer.

THE NCR PRIMER

Patterson made it a requirement that all salesmen learn the 400-word document by heart. Many of the older reps balked. When Patterson discovered their resistance, he implemented tests; those who failed or refused to memorize the primer were fired. The remainder saw their sales soar. The reason: For the first time ever, they had a consistent presentation that covered all the important features and benefits of their products.

July14_1 The primer divided a sale into four steps: approach, proposition, demonstration, and close. In the approach, salespeople made no mention of the cash register. Instead, they explained that they wanted to help the business owner find ways to increase profit. In essence, the salesperson assumed the role of a consultant.

In the proposition, the salesperson described the register for the first time and explained how it would prevent theft and give an accurate account of the day's receipts. The goal of this stage was to schedule a demonstration of the machine in a nearby hotel where the salesperson had set up a display.

The primer was soon followed by the Book of Arguments, which later developed into the NCR Manual, a compendium of answers to every kind of question a prospect might ask. The manual was the first ever systematic approach to handling customer objections. It also discussed topics such as introductions, first interviews, critical sales situations, and closing arguments. Like the primer, it was drawn from the minds of the best NCR salesmen and compiled, again, with the goal of establishing consistency.

Many salespeople today would benefit from the wisdom of the NCR Manual. Always, it had one objective: to help the prospect understand the value of the solution, not merely to batter and cajole the prospect into placing an order or to win in a series of arguments – still major stumbling blocks today.

BIRTH OF SALES TRAINING

Providing the primer and manual was one thing; assuring that salespeople would commit to memory the techniques outlined therein was another. Even with these marvelous tools at their disposal, many salesmen balked at learning. It must have seemed to Patterson that, time and again, he had to drag mule-headed reps to a trough that brimmed with milk and honey.

While attending the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago, Patterson stopped off at the NCR display booths and quizzed the young salespeople. To his astonishment, hardly any of them knew what they were talking about, despite all the sweat he'd devoted to creating the primer and manual.

Patterson promptly hauled the reps off to a hotel room for a training session. This class was neither more nor less than a review of the most basic Q's and A's about NCR products – material drawn straight from the primer and manual. Patterson was so delighted with the results of the impromptu sessions that he decided to inaugurate training schools for all of his salespeople.

The first sales-training school was opened in Dayton the following spring. Though based on the timeworn teacher/pupil format, the classes were as exciting as Patterson himself – a man who once deliberately shattered a water pitcher on a podium to get the audience's attention.

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Before every sales meeting, Patterson wrote “Think!” on a flip chart. He also had a plaque on his desk and created this placard (22x14 inches) to alert visitors that thinking was a prerequisite before speaking with Patterson. His sales manager, Thomas Watson Jr., copied the idea, and when he started IBM, he placed a sign on his desk, sending out the same message to his team. Years later, IBM created the ThinkPad laptop. (Later, Apple dropped the word “Think” and placed an “i” before “Pad.”

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With illustrations, demonstrations, and a good bit of Pattersonian drama tossed in, NCR sales-training instructors coached salespeople on the very modern concept of thinking in terms of the prospect's needs, rather than in terms of the product. These training sessions were really classes in the art of communication, understanding the prospects, and making sure that they understood the sales message.

This was a hot topic with Patterson. He was often quoted as saying that fully one half of all lost sales could be attributed to the salesman's failure to communicate. The erring sales rep might fail to clarify a point, talk indistinctly, make confusing claims, or in some way fail to relay his own mental picture to the prospect.

Patterson rectified the problem of poor communication by teaching salespeople to listen to prospects. They were taught to modify set sales presentations depending on the type of customer and sales resistance shown. Patterson even hired elocutionists to teach sales agents to speak like masters of the stage.

A firm believer in "teaching through the eye" using charts, graphs, drawings, or any other visual aid to get a point across to his sales force, Patterson told salespeople to use the same technique with prospects. Salespeople were schooled in how to illustrate a presentation on a scratch pad while talking about cash registers. Later, outline charts were printed on the pads, which salespeople would complete as they developed their presentations.

The salespeople turned out by the NCR training school were a well-honed lot. Estimates made at the time show that this training was directly responsible for doubling business in the first year.

See Part III tomorrow!

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John Henry Patterson: The Father of Professional Selling Part I

One of the greatest salespeople of all time was born nearly a century and a half ago on July13_1a farm in Ohio. His name was John Henry Patterson, and if he were alive today he'd fire most of the salespeople reading this post.

Brilliant, innovative, dictatorial, and mercurial, Patterson is best remembered today as the founder of the National Cash Register Company (NCR).

John Henry Patterson’s favorite quote: “You must make your mark on this earth, and, if you have never done so, it is simply because you neglected to use the powers you have, or you have neglected to develop them.”

More significant but virtually forgotten is the fact that this mustachioed, bespectacled whirlwind of a man invented modern selling. The sales-training manual, canned presentation, protected territory, and quota system are all products of Patterson's fertile mind. So are sales meetings, direct mail, testimonials, industrial advertising, and publicity.

So numerous were his contributions during his tenure at the NCR (1884-1922) and so vast was his influence that Patterson may rightly be called the Father of Professional Selling. And perhaps even the Father of the Modern American Corporation, for many of those whom Patterson trained went on to found corporations such as IBM, (Patterson’s sales manager was Thomas Watson Sr.) and Burroughs.

Single-handedly and often opposed by business associates and the salespeople who benefited from his genius, Patterson created the greatest selling machine this country has ever seen. It may even be said that no company today approaches the marketplace efficiency that Patterson's NCR achieved in its heyday. Too frequently the practices he pioneered are preached but not followed.

SALES PROFESSIONAL FIRST AND FOREMOST

Few companies have had more inauspicious beginnings than the NCR. When Patterson, at the age of 40, bought controlling interest in the failing Dayton, OH, firm in 1884, there was literally no market demand for cash registers. Fewer than 400 had ever been sold, for several reasons.

The NCR factory employed women who worked shorter hours than men, and they were allowed to bring their children, who spent time playing in the NCR nursery.

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Few retail businesses, the targeted market, appreciated the value of a device they viewed as a kind of Rube Goldberg machine. Clerks who felt the cash register represented a mechanical intruder sent to spy on their integrity were openly hostile to salesmen who came through the door lugging a demonstration cash register. Poor craftsmanship sometimes forced the return of thousands of dollars worth of machines.

Finally, there was the problem of the salespeople themselves. Slovenly, disorganized, ill-prepared, and uncommitted to either the company or product, they almost seemed to stand in the way of sales.

These problems would have sunk most entrepreneurs with a fledgling business, but not Patterson. He was one of those rare human beings whose vision and resoluteness enabled him to achieve divine solutions where other men saw only a quagmire of frustration.

It was with the same single-mindedness that Patterson set out to transform the NCR. A salesman dedicated to professionalism, he believed that improving salespeople was the surest path to success, and that was where he concentrated his efforts. Patterson set out to change the art and science of selling.

CREATING A DEMAND

Patterson was one of the first in the country who was sold – through personal experience – on the value of the cash register. A pair of registers he bought for his retail store cut his debt from $16,000 to $3,000 in six months and helped him show a profit of $5,000. It was that experience that led him to buy the company.

But Patterson was virtually alone as a true believer. So when he bought the company that would become the NCR, his first task was to create awareness of and then demand for the product.

Patterson did this in a way that stunned the business community of the day; through the heavy (even relentless) use of advertising, direct mail, and publicity. In so doing, he raised advertising and promotion to unprecedented levels of sophistication and created models still in use today.

THE POWER OF DIRECT MARKETING

Often it was a process of trial and error. In his first direct-mail effort, Patterson spent thousands of dollars developing a circular for 5,000 prospects. "It was a good piece, but it did not contain a picture of the cash register," said Patterson. NCR received not one response from that campaign.

Still convinced of the value of direct mail, Patterson continued his experiments, learning as he went and distributing circulars by the millions. Some circulars were in letter form, some included pictures, and others dramatized the use of the cash register. Many were in the form of publications directed to specific groups of retailers. To thwart antagonistic retail clerks, Patterson devised the idea of using plain envelopes and often had the pieces mailed from cities other than Dayton.

In one of his most inspired moments, Patterson hit on the idea of incorporating praise from satisfied customers in direct mail. These testimonials proved among the strongest cases ever devised to sway prospects. They were “living” arguments to buy.

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Patterson spent a fortune on paving the way for his salespeople through the mail. Stockholders and employees tore their hair out at that expense, and the post office had to hire additional postal clerks just to handle the influx from NCR mailings. Not content to rely on direct mail, Patterson turned his attention to print advertising. At the time, advertising was most notable for its stuffiness; reliance on baroque graphics; and lengthy, tedious copy. Patterson did for advertising what Frank Lloyd Wright did for architecture – simplified it and made it easier on the eye. Not incidentally, he vastly improved its effectiveness.

Patterson's motto for NCR ad copywriters was "be direct and simple." The copy was kept brief and to-the-point. Ads were printed in plain type styles and were broken up with ample blank space. Patterson liked pictures galore in his ads, provided they were pleasant, upbeat, and "something out of the ordinary" to attract attention.

July13_5 Patterson wanted his ads to sell the need, not the product. He insisted on simplicity and single-minded focus, saying, “No ad is big enough to sell two ideas.”

In conjunction with direct-mail and print advertising, Patterson also developed the industrial publicity release. "Business is news," he believed, and so he hired publicists to generate articles by the score on NCR products and activities.

In the end, Patterson's "wild ideas" about promotion were upheld. Prospects who had never before heard of the cash register, let alone NCR, were regularly bombarded with a cleverly coordinated mixture of direct-mail flyers, print ads, and NCR articles. Those who had previously been unaware of the product suddenly began to develop a need for it.

Unfortunately, the sales force wasn't always in shape to take advantage of Patterson's ingenious efforts. Many knew less about NCR products than did the copywriters. (See part II tomorrow)

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Are We Stuck Knee-Deep in Technology Muck?

This weekend I cleaned up my office and tried to create a system for storing and organizing my business technology tools. With extra time on my hands, I jotted down a few questions about the paradox of technological progress in the sales office.

  1. Who doesn’t love new technology, like a new computer? But what about the cables under the desk? With all the engineering brains in the world, why has no one come up with a system that doesn’t require crawling under your desk to connect a new device to the computer?
  2. Why are the most advanced products always on a waiting list? Like the iPad? Or the camera connection kit for the iPad?
  3. Why are the latest and greatest products (that people stand in line for) released with major glitches (like that iPhone 4 antenna problem). If Apple is smart enough to create a runaway success, why doesn’t it test its own products before the launch? Or why not team up with a carrier that doesn’t drop calls? Apple acts like the weak sales manager who just can’t fire that unproductive old timer.
  4. Why do the Apple USB iPhone and iPad adapters always disappear? I must have purchased six in the last year. I have one in my office, one at home, one in my car, left two in a hotel, and left another on a plane. They cost $5.20 wholesale and $29 in an Apple store.
  5. Why do software programmers design products that are “user friendly” yet build in so many features that even the vendor suggests turning on only a few essential functions to ensure user adoption?
  6. Why is it that the moment you want to download an important file from the cloud, your Internet connection slows down?
  7. Why, when a salesperson’s computer breaks down, does it turn into an automatic excuse for not making calls that day?
  8. Why does a laptop take two to three minutes to boot up, while an Apple iPad is ready to work the moment you turn it on?
  9. Why can’t we watch a Flash video on an iPhone or iPad? Is Apple driving people to PCs so they can watch Flash videos?
  10. Why do people become hypnotized by the hourglass on their computer? Can’t programmers replace that with a message that reads, “Stop staring! Go to work!”
  11. Why do so many people spend hours making an endless number of aesthetic refinements to their PPT presentations, while they spend no time at all checking their spelling?
  12. When salespeople have a problem with their computers or software, why do they prefer to solicit the advice of three or four co-workers (who know even less) before asking someone in their IT department?
  13. Why can’t computer makers install two hard disks in each desktop? At the end of each day, the computer could do an automatic backup. People are way too busy to back up their documents. Why not automate that task? It could be an easy up-sell.
  14. Why can’t notebook-computer makers offer two-sided screens – one side for the salesperson to see, the other side for the customer to watch from across the desk?
  15. What do salespeople do with the time saved by using all the time-saving applications? They look for more technology solutions and test-drive more applications. It seems that we are so busy looking for new ways to save time that we have no time left to do real work.
  16. Finally, how can we take advantage of the increased productivity that technology seems to offer without getting stuck in technology muck? It seems that the only way to enjoy the time-saving advantages of technology is to turn it off and go for a walk.


Update: Last night I updated my iPhone (3GS model) software to the latest version 4.0. As a result, the bluetooth connection with my BMW no longer worked. It worked perfectly fine with the old software. I tried for 20 min to pair the phone with the car, without success. Called BMW and the service manager said that the latest iPhone 4.0 software does not allow the phone to connect with the car. I was also told, that there is a way to pair the phone by following a certain code sequence, however there are two problems with that a) it voids the BMW computer warranty - and that computer costs $2,300 and b) the pairing is not reliable, the connection is likely to drop several times a day. When will we get technology that works for us, instead of wasting time figuring out why technology has quit working for us?

Seven Reasons Salespeople Talk Too Much

Why do we often talk more than we should? When other people talk too much, we notice immediately. When we talk too much, everyone else notices except us. 

Here are a few possible explanations: 

  1. Anxiety. People who are anxious use an avalanche of words to avoid dealing with potential conflict (like a prospect saying "no"). Instead of balancing talking with listening, they believe that their wall of words will protect them from what they imagine as a threat. They often refuse to give up control of the conversation by adding a trail of words that echo the ones that they've expressed previously. 
  2. Lack of preparation. The less clear we are on any given subject, the more words it will take us to talk about the subject. Here is an eye-opening exercise. Ask a salesperson to make a presentation about your company as if you were a new prospect. Time the presentation. Next, ask the salesperson to write a brief, but concise description of your product or service in 180 words. Now, read the copy at normal speed. How much time did it take? About one minute. It should not take more time to engage a prospect.
  3. Stress. When we are tired we tend to ramble and our ability to concentrate begins to decrease. Our brain responds to mental fatigue by producing more words and less meaning. The cure: Get enough sleep, eat healthy and exercise regularly.
  4. Lack of a roadmap. Do you know where your conversation will lead before you start talking? If not, write down the answers to three questions: What is my call objective? What information do I need to get? What information do I plan to give? Stay on track, stay on message and don’t skip vital steps.
  5. Lack of a time budget. Decide to invest a specific amount of time for each call and stick to it. If you are a manager and you want to save time, conduct your meetings standing up. This forces people to be brief and to the point. If you meet with longwinded people, ask the moment they get on your nerves: "We have another five minutes, what else do we need to cover?
  6. Lack of humility. Some people think that everything they say is profound and important. When they talk, they experience a rush of good feelings and they often fall in love with their own words. They may use catch phrases and complex language to impress their customers. Being expressive is nice, however good relationships require us to be receptive to others.
  7. Ineffective thinking. While some salespeople continue to hopscotch from problem to problem, others quickly get to the core of a customer's problem, solve it and close the sale. Decide which thinking style would be most helpful to achieve your objective: convergent thinking or divergent thinking? Convergent thinking leads to a focal point in the middle of a circle, divergent thinking radiates - like the sun - away from the center in every direction. Divergent thinking opens people's minds; it leads to new ideas, thoughts and possibilities. As a result, the conversation goes on and on. Convergent thinking leads to conclusions, and concrete results, like a closed sale.