Mar 07

Sales Training: When You Walk the Talk, Expect to Stub Your Toe Occasionally

By John Aberle | Business Lifestyle , Business Systems , Relationship Selling , Sales and Marketing , Sales Training

I admit to having egg on my face. You probably gathered from this headline that I believe in walking the talk. I have put in hours on the copy in my website to be sure that I approach everything – as best I know how – from the viewpoint of “What’s in it for me?” where the “me” is you the reader. Additionally, when I do sales training, I constantly emphasize the importance of benefits instead of features.

Well, last night I sent off a prospecting letter for a job I would like to get, even if it means convincing the prospect that they need such a position. Typical salesman, I see the need or suspect there might be a need. Now I have to find out if the prospect agrees that they do indeed want such help. I was really excited about approaching them to sell them on my services. There in lay the potential problem. I got so excited that I didn’t double check my benefits statements.

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Mar 03

Master Sales Call Reluctance to Become the Hero in Your Own Story

By John Aberle | Business Lifestyle , Business Systems , Relationship Selling

Because I decided to take a break from the genres I normally read to relax, I finally recognized the parallel between the protagonists in my novels and making sales calls. In every genre I read, the main people in the stories must be likeable enough that the reader will care about them. At the same time, they must have some flaws that make them human. Ideally, these weak character traits will help set up the tension for the conflict that they must overcome. In many story lines, the conflict takes place within the protagonist’s mind and emotions. In other words, the central character must overcome some fear or other weakness to win the prize, which can be anything from a kingdom to a battle to a relationship, such as a happy marriage.

This is the very thing that I found when I started out in sales. Sales managers call it “call reluctance.” It’s a fear of cold calling and prospecting. Most people I know want to be liked. Some want it so badly they reject others before the others can reject them. So when we have to make cold calls, our mind starts to present a myriad of reasons not to make the effort: “I’ll look stupid”; “They’ll throw me out”; “What if they say no?” If you’re in sales, you probably have your own favorite lines your mind uses to undermine your prospecting. Part of it too is a fear of the unknown and worry about being unable to handle it.

Over the years, I’ve found the following ten actions you can do to overcome your fears to become happy and successful as a salesperson.

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Feb 27

I Knew Better but Did It Anyway – And Now I Wish I Hadn’t

By John Aberle | Business Lifestyle , Business Systems , Relationship Selling

Anybody who’s been around computers and software as long as I have has no excuse for what I did. But it looked so pretty. And their sales pitch was so seductive. Besides, it was FREE. So I went ahead and took the upgrade to Internet Explorer 8.0 BETA. If you’ve been around software — and are not a developer or programmer yourself — you doubtless know enough to run just as fast as you can from version x.0, in this case 8.0. In this case, Microsoft did what they do best: they wrote great marketing copy.

My mistake #2 was in assuming that because it made sense to me, it did to an aggressive marketing company. Again, I know better than to assume. But I proved that I’m still a sucker for a pretty face. And Internet Explorer 8’s web page was just as pretty as their marketing and design team could make it.

Ultimately, no amount of marketing will undo the negative expectations regarding a company’s products. For businesses smaller than Microsoft, you can’t afford this level of damage control. Focus instead on making sure that your products leave customers raving about how wonderful it is, not what it cost them to implement.

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Feb 22

Fun Time Adds Zest to Life

By John Aberle | Business Lifestyle , Business Systems , Relationship Selling

This weekend Dorothy and I celebrated her birthday at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. Even though she had to work most of the day, we arrived around 4:30 PM and enjoyed the attractions until 9:00 PM when we grabbed dinner at the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney.

We had a blast! Most of all, it was an opportunity for me to pull away from work to just enjoy time with my wife. Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Les Hewitt describe the need to include “Fun Time!” as one of the seven areas of our lives that we need to plan for. It recharges us. Living a balanced life includes allotting time for recreation.

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Feb 20

Sales Can Provide a Great Life as Well as Great Income

By John Aberle | Business Lifestyle , Business Systems , Relationship Selling

Selling is one of the most challenging professions imaginable. And yet for over 25 years I have loved every day of it, especially once I learned to become a “servant salesperson.” I found that I really loved selling — because I was providing a valuable service to my customers.

Before I could serve them, though, I had to understand what their problems were well enough to see how my products could help them. I also had to know my products well enough to tell when they could do what my prospect needed and when they couldn’t.

When customers believe that you really want to help them get what they want and feel they need, the sale becomes a cooperative process in which they trust you to help them buy.

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Feb 11

When Disaster Strikes, Are You Ready?

By John Aberle | Business Lifestyle , Business Systems , Relationship Selling , Sales and Marketing

Last Friday, one of my consultant friends sent me an email about disaster preparedness. I asked Tom’s permission to share it because there is no area of the country exempt from some potential disaster: hurricanes, tornados, floods, and earthquakes. While this is not strictly speaking a sales and marketing issue, the whole purpose of sales and marketing is for a business to survive and thrive. Given this viewpoint, here are Tom’s thoughts about being ready to handle what comes from Mother Nature.

You need a large, multi-cell flashlight to see where you are walking and to illuminate possible threats. While digital photographs of your loved ones are helpful, you need print ones too. And how about digital and print lists names, addresses, phone numbers, and medical information, such as prescriptions. Don’t forget the earthquake kit in your home must be duplicated in the car.

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Feb 10

How Well Do You Take Care of Your Best Customers?

By John Aberle | Business Lifestyle , Business Systems , Relationship Selling , Sales and Marketing

What’s your experience with promotions run by companies to get new customers? In my experience, most companies run these enticing offers to get new customers to sign up. However, once they have my business, I become a given in their minds. I don’t count any more. (You don’t either to these companies.) They only focus on getting new business so the offer doesn’t apply to me, or you if you’re one of their existing customers.

Recently with all the economic chaos, Disneyland created a clever marketing campaign to increase sales. On your birthday, you can come free. But this is where Disneyland stands apart. They remembered their annual pass holders, who don’t benefit from this offer. Their solution gives a marvelous example of how to treat your best customers, the ones who buy from you again and again.

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