You try to forget the many embarrassing moments in selling. Even so, one of my more uncomfortable incidents stays in mind 20 years later. Maybe that’s because I managed to salvage it — more or less.

Here’s what happened. [click to continue…]

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Use this technique to win attention for your sales presentation.

Use this technique to win attention for your sales presentation.

Have you ever been on the receiving end of a sales presentation that made you wish you were almost anywhere else?

In the business-to-business software industry where I work, we’re guilty of heinous neglect of basic communication principles.

What’s so bad about our presentations? Nothing — if you don’t mind excessive length, jam-packed PowerPoint slides, lack of variety, droning voices, endless jargon and sound-alike marketing drivel, illegible views of software demos, and an avalanche of detail.

Please, Spare Me the Reruns!

Have you heard it said that in the moments just before you die, your entire life flashes before your eyes? If that’s true, I dread reliving any of the horrible software demos I’ve sat through – even if the replays would last for only for a few milliseconds.

I’d so much rather spend my last conscious time on earth remembering the parts of my life I didn’t hate.

This article helps you fix just one problem with sales presentations. But it’s the most important one: How to get and hold your audience’s interest. It contains a few tips I bet you haven’t heard before. [click to continue…]

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Understanding the hijacker's mind is your first step toward deterrence.

Understanding the hijacker's mind is your first step toward deterrence.

Two earlier articles explained what happened when a senior executive in my company briefly grabbed control of my recent sales opportunity. It appears to have cost us the sale.

Because I’ve seen the same thing happen multiple times in the years I’ve been selling, I’ve given some thought to why it happens. When you understand the likely causes, you’re in much better position to prevent it.

This article provides eleven reasons why it happens.

  1. [click to continue…]

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What's wrong with this picture? Where would you even start making it better?

What's wrong with this picture? Where would you even start making it better?

Steady. I feel a rant coming on…

Last week the sales team in my company was working on revising our core sales presentation.

That frustrating experience made me think of a little-known idea that I believe is one of the most important points both Cliff Atkinson and Garr Reynolds make in the books I mentioned in a prior article.

This article shares the highlights with you. [click to continue…]

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istock_000005921236xsmallThis short article introduces three solid resources that can help you make dramatic improvements in your presentations. [click to continue…]

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Ron Popeil, pitchman extraordinaire, demonstrates the food processor that sold more than a million units. Previous articles have focused on the importance of asking good questions in nearly every kind of selling.

One obvious exception came to mind as I idly watched QVC for a few minutes while I waited for my wife to get ready for an evening out.

As she pulled on her jacket and checked her purse for her keys, my eyes stayed on the television. Why was I watching “that ridiculous channel?” she asked.

On the screen was an average-looking, forty-something woman selling cosmetic skin cream that she said contains “essential mineral elements.”

I realized the sales person had somehow riveted my attention to a topic I couldn’t care less about. And she’d done it without asking any questions.

The experience made me admit to myself how much I enjoy and admire the art of hawking and pitching. [click to continue…]

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The deal was ours to lose. All I had to do was follow Jim's directions.

The deal was ours to lose. All I had to do was follow Jim's directions.

A prior article set the scene. This one makes you privy to an explanation that most people in my company haven’t heard.

First, a quick review of the situation.

I’d been working on a million-dollar deal for about five months. Jim, a senior executive in our company (and my boss’s boss), slid into the driver’s seat on my deal when it came time to meet with the customer’s key decision maker.

When I returned from a weeklong vacation, Jim told me the deal was ready to close. He said he was confident we were in good position to drive across the finishing line in a week or two.

Jim gave me a short briefing on the meeting he’d had with the senior decision maker while I was gone. He told me exactly what he thought we needed to revise our proposal.

I wrote up Jim’s suggested changes and sent the revised proposal to George, my main contact in the account.

Complications

It wasn’t going to be quite as easy as Jim had made it appear. Jim was still holding the keys to the car, and he wasn’t quite ready to let go of them. [click to continue…]

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What do you do when your manager gets behind the wheel and won't let you back in the driver's seat?Tell me if this story sounds familiar. It’s about a senior executive who can’t let go of a deal that someone else is responsible for.

I’ve been working on an opportunity for several months. My prospect is a well-known global brand with worldwide annual revenue north of $2 billion.

Our team did a good job of working with the prospect’s evaluation team, and finally we had our shot at meeting with the key decision maker to close the deal. It looked like it would be worth about a million dollars. [click to continue…]

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Start asking better sales questions today, with these quick tips for preparation.

Start asking better sales questions today, with these quick tips for preparation.

Maybe you’re not ready to wade through the 19 books that an earlier article recommended to help you ask better sales questions.

Or even to read one book, for that matter.

I know. You’re restless, and you’ve come to the right place.

So here’s a short list of seven easy improvements you can make immediately. [click to continue…]

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Here are 4,000+ pages of extra-credit reading you can do.

Here are 4,000+ pages of extra-credit reading you can do.

Are you picking up the track I’ve been laying down in the last few articles? Do you agree with me about the importance of asking better questions ?

If so, then you’re probably chomping at the bit for more specific ideas on how to do it.

You’ll get plenty of that in future articles.

But we assume you’re restless because you’ve come to the blog with “help for restless sales people.” Maybe you want to zoom ahead of the rest of class (and earn a gold star in the process).

Mon ami(e), this article is for you. It provides 19 good books you can read in the meantime. [click to continue…]

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