Posts made in December, 2013

You Can’t Quit

Posted by on Dec 29, 2013 in Fearless Selling, Motivation | 0 comments


I came across this poem many years and I still enjoy reading it from time-to-time.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the roads you’re trudging seem all uphill,
When the funds are low and debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down quite a bit
Rest if you must, but don’t quit.

For life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure runs about,
When he might have won if he’d stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned to late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is just failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far.
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit!

~ Author unknown ~

Download a full-colour poster version of this poem here.




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Do You Know How to Listen?

Posted by on Dec 27, 2013 in Assessment Business Center | 0 comments

The 10 Commandments of Powerful Listening



Rules for being a good listener involve courtesy and common sense. Some rules may seem obvious, or trivial, but it is amazing how many people forget them. Often, you don’t mean to be rude, but your enthusiasm for a subject and your own desire to hear yourself talk make you forget courtesy. At other times, you are so intent with expressing your own viewpoint that you forget to listen to what the other person is saying. You just plain stop listening!


Here are some rules for good listening:


1. Fight off distractions. Train yourself to listen carefully to your prospect’s words despite such external distractions as a ringing telephone, passersby, or outside noises. Focus on words, ideas, feelings, and the underlying intent of your prospects.


2. Do not trust your memory. Take notes. However, keep your notes brief, because listening ability is impaired while you are writing. All you need to write down is something to jog your memory later so that you can recall the complete content of the message.


3. Let your prospects tell their own stories first. When prospects explain their situations, they may reveal interesting facts and valuable clues that will aid you in helping them to solve their problems and satisfy their needs. Then, you can tailor your discussion to their particular needs, goals, and objectives. You can thus dispense with those aspects of your presentation that may have been inappropriate to that specific prospect.


4. Use feedback. Constantly try to check your understanding of what you hear. Do not hear only what you want to hear. In addition, consistently check to see if your prospect wants to comment or respond to what you have previously said.


5. Listen selectively. Very often in conversation, your prospects will tell you specific things that will help you identify their problems. These critical messages may be hidden within the much broader context of the conversation. You must listen in such a way that you can separate the wheat from the chaff.


6. Relax. When your prospect is speaking to you, try to put this individual at ease by creating a relaxed and accepting environment. Don t give the impression you want to jump right in and speak.


7. Listen attentively. Face your prospects straight on, with uncrossed arms and legs, and lean slightly forward. Establish good eye contact. Nod affirmatively and use appropriate facial expressions when called for, but don’t overdo it.


8. Create a positive listening envıronment. Try to ensure an atmosphere of privacy away from sources of distraction. Do not violate your prospect’s “personal space.” Take great effort to make sure that the environment is conducive to effective listening.


9. Ask questions. Ask open‑ended questions to allow your prospects to express their feelings and thoughts. The effective use of questions shows your prospects that you are interested and that you are listening, and it allows you to contribute to the conversation.


10. Be motivated to listen. Without the proper attitude, all the foregoing suggestions for effective listening are for naught. Try to keep in mind that there is no such thing as an uninteresting speaker—there are only uninterested listeners.


These are the 10 commandments of powerful listening. If you are really willing to learn how to listen it will take a lot of hard work to learn the skills, and constant practice to stay in shape. Remember that prospects feel relieved when they find salespeople who understand what they have to say about their problems. Once you truly understand your prospects by actively listening to them, they will most likely reciprocate by listening to you and trying to understand your viewpoint. Isn’t this what selling is all about?



This article was adapted from Tony Alessandra’s new six‑cassette audio alburn, The Dynamics of Effective Listening, available for $59. To place your order or receive information about Dr. Alessandra speaking to your group, call 1-800-222-4383.

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The Trouble with Control

Posted by on Dec 26, 2013 in Business, Great Leadership By Dan, Sales | 0 comments

Guest post by Jen Shirkani:
I write about the damage done when, as leaders, we don’t fully allow employees to have control over their tasks, projects or budgets. Everyone I know says they hate being micromanaged, and we certainly don’t want to list “control freak” as a skill to be endorsed for on our LinkedIn profile page. Yet, there are signs of low trust/high control managers everywhere. But no one will admit to being one of them.  
And it’s not just the nemesis of new, inexperience managers who are nervous and learning to use their delegation skills. It plagues leaders from the top to the bottom of an organization: new leaders, old leaders, promoted from within, hired from the outside. And the list of reasons to stay involved in the nitty gritty details goes something like this:
·       “I am not telling them how to do it, just what they need to do.”
·       “It’s faster for me to do it myself.”
·       “I’m role modeling how to do it so they know what to do next time.”
·       “The stakes are too high for this to fail, I need to be involved to protect my team.”
·       “I am not above doing the dirty work alongside you. I am just being a servant leader.”
Many of these leaders are well intentioned, they do just want to help their direct reports or expedite progress toward a goal. But too often, it just gums up the works as things grind to halt waiting for executive review. One common issue is the senior leader who wants to approve every new hire. And we are not talking small companies who hire less than ten people a year. This is practice at many large organizations who have to review thousands of resumes. And really, without interviewing the candidate yourself, or knowing the ins and outs of every job in every department in a large company, do you really think you know who the best candidate for the job will be? C’mon. 
The other negative consequence I see is the cycle of control feeding control. Assume that I am a very well-meaning leader who stays involved to help teach, coach or provide ground cover for my employee. I am a good person, so when I make choices for another I also have a conscience that goes along with it. I feel a responsibility to them and the choice I helped them make (that I know they will be directly affected by) successful. Which means if I will probably try and control it even more if I see them struggle or going off course. I justify this by saying, “The whole point of me being involved was for this to go well, I can’t let go of things now…” Of course, even with me involved it can still fail or not live up to our mutual expectations. But now, I have my ego to protect and you still need a positive example to learn from so I will just have to get more involved next time to make sure it goes how it needs to. Get it? We create our own cycle of dependency and involvement.
It won’t be easy, but you can learn to be a recovering micromanager. First work to recognize your instincts to get too deep in the weeds. Is this really something you should really be involved in? Is your involvement slowing things down? How will your next tier leaders get ready if you never let them feel both responsibility and accountability? Remember, it is very hard to hold someone else accountable to decisions you have been involved in. Next, read the environment. Are the risks of failure really that great? Are the people around you truly untrustworthy or is your own fear driving your behavior? Are there ways to stay informed without staying involved? Lastly, think back to when you were a new leader. Did you have all the answers before you tried something risky? Didn’t you have to learn from hardships and failure? Is it possible your team is capable and trustworthy even if they don’t approach things the same way you do?    
Hey, we have all been there, the desire to stay involved and in control is alluring. But just remember, all it does is tie you to dependent employees and stifles your organization’s ability to grow and be competitive.


About the author:

Jen Shirkani ( has over 20 years of experience as a learning and development specialist and coach. She routinely works with both executives from the Fortune 500 and principals in family-owned entities specializing in the application of Emotional Intelligence. She holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership.

She is the author of Ego vs. EQ: How Top Leaders Beat 8 Ego Traps Using Emotional Intelligence (  Drawing on real-life anecdotes from Jen’s years of coaching and consulting, Ego vs EQ provides research and case study examples in an easy to read, practical format and is ideal for anyone currently in an executive leadership role, including business owners, or those wanting to become a dynamic future leader.
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4 Lessons from a Failed Sales Call

Posted by on Dec 25, 2013 in Business, Sales | 0 comments

4583785 medium 300x225 4 Lessons from a Failed Sales Call photoYou’ve never made a mistake. Every sales call you’ve made has always been perfect, so this is not for you, but I will ask you to read it anyway.

Reason is simple: You probably know someone who is not as perfect as you and, therefore, needs to know this.

Read it for them. The salesperson you save may just be the one you love.

I will admit I have blown more than my fair share of sales calls and I have learned a few lessons along the way.

Here are four of those lessons:

1. Disastrous sales calls are never as disastrous as we think.

For some reason, each time I’ve blown a sales call, I’m thinking to myself how the customer must think I’m an idiot.  No, not really.  The vast majority of time, they don’t even have a clue it’s a blown sales call.

2. Just because a customer rejects you doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to them again.

Rejection becomes very personal, and thus when a customer rejects you, it feels permanent.  No, quite the contrary, but only if you’re wiling to re-engage the customer again.

3. One bad sales call doesn’t mean the next sales call is going to be bad unless you want it to go bad.

Our mental state of mind is a key part of why we’re successful or not successful.

4. Worst thing we can do is to allow a disastrous sales call to become contagious.

If it does, then you really do have a disaster on your hands.  Let it go. Nobody’s perfect, except some of you who are reading this purely to help out a friend.

In the end, the level of confidence you have going into a call is going to determine the level of success you have coming out.

As I look back on the disastrous sales calls I’ve had, the vast majority started out with me thinking they were going to be a disaster.  Amazing how accurate we can be in our thinking!

Now that you’ve read the list, do your friend a favor and help them overcome the one or two listed that you feel they’re guilty of doing.

Copyright 2013, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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9 Steps that Influence a Buying Decision

Posted by on Dec 25, 2013 in New | 0 comments

The steps of a buying decision differ from the steps of a sale. The sales model has no way to influence the private decisions and buy-in issues that buyers must address before they can buy.

Buyers live in a ‘system’ that maintains their Identified Problem (or ‘pain’) over time, creating work-arounds that become part of the system and, well, comfortable. Indeed, if the buyer really needed to make a change, they would have done so already. It’s only when a group of dedicated, internal change agents are willing to push the river, that a purchase is even considered.

Before buyers can buy, there must be buy-in to the proposed change, a plan that minimizes disruption, and a way to foster agreement between the people, policies and relationships that touch a new solution. A buying decision is far more complex than just fixing a problem.

I’ve developed Buying Facilitation® – a decision navigation model that is an add-on to sales and helps buyers bring together the right people and issues – to enable agreement and ensure change procedures are in place to make a purchase. Here are a few Buying Facilitation® skills to use with sales:


Help the gatekeeper discover who your best point of contact would be.

Don’t try to ‘get through’ the gatekeeper. She knows the best person to connect you with. And don’t attempt to ‘go to the top.’ The top person usually delegates to the appropriate people. Ask for the CEO’s assistant, and she’ll get you to the right people. Question: who is in control of the conversation – you? or the Gatekeeper?

Use Facilitative Questions to get into rapport and have buyers begin to examine how/if/why they would consider changing their status quo.

Until or unless prospects determine to make a change and get all appropriate folks on board to buy-in to change and ensure there is minimal disruption, it doesn’t matter whether

  • you can see their need,
  • your solution is perfect,
  • they think they need you/your solution,
  • they love your solution, price, personality, etc.

IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. Do you need to be working out more? It’s not about the gym.

Here is a Facilitative Question I use to start conversations: How would you know if it were time to add new sales skills to the ones you’re already offering your sales folks? This question helps them think about necessary steps and new choices they must consider.

Remember: discussing solutions and needs assessment are irrelevant at this early stage. Facilitative Questions help the BUYER see the whole picture of what is going on strategically and tactically. Until or unless they know how to manage their system first, they will take no action. This is where buyers go when you’re sitting and waiting.

Lead prospects/buyers through the systems issues they must consider in order to determine how any proposed change will disrupt their status quo.

Facilitative Questions and Presumptive Summaries are used to help buyers look at their status quo with an unbiased eye. No matter what their ‘need’ or ‘problem’ if they don’t think they can change in a way that maintains systems congruence, they will do nothing. Remember: the buyer’s environment/culture/system has lived with the Identified Problem until now, and can continue to do so. If they had known how to resolve it differently, they would have.

Facilitate prospect’s discovery of what sorts of strategic issues they must manage to get folks on board with potential change.

There are 3 levels of decisions necessary: systems, strategic, and tactical. Addressing them in this order is optimal although it’s usually an iterative process.

Lead prospects/buyers through tactical issues they must manage before they can choose a solution.

Once they determine that

  1. their system would be willing to shift to add something/change/resolve something,
  2. their rules, relationships, people, are willing to change,
  3. they know how to shift congruently to minimize disruption,

they will then be willing to bring in a new solution. Until or unless their status quo is reconfigured in a way that the insiders are willing to support, they will do nothing: the risk to their functioning is too high. Hence the longer-than-necessary sales cycle.

Buyers must do this with you or without you – so it might as well be with you.

Help the prospect choose the members of the Buying Decision Team.

Help buyers recognize the right people to include. Usually they don’t know who it will be until way down the road, much like you don’t know all the trials you’ll face before you start a move.

Discuss how your solution fits with the internal issues that they must manage.

This step is about melding your solution with the entire range of issues they have to manage internally, including the people, policies, and relationships.

Discuss/present your solution and show the prospect/buyer how it would fit with their need/problem.

Once they do all of the above and get appropriate buy-in to manage change, they will know how and when to buy, and you can discuss needs/solutions according to their buy-in issues.

Follow up to see if there is anything you can do to help the prospect/buyer decide to purchase.

This is part of a good sales job, of course.


Make an appointment to get in front of the prospect

This is a hold-over from another era. Until buyers put together their decision team and figure out how to change without disruption, your bright shiny face and the efficacy of your solution is irrelevant. You can do all of the above without meeting a client. And then, when you get there, the entire Buying Decision Team will be there and you wouldn’t have wasted any time/visits.

Manage objections and differentiate yourself from the competition.

The sales model creates objections because it pushes data/solution info against a ‘closed system.’ When you hear an objection, it’s merely the system defending itself against change and nothing whatsoever about your solution. Once you teach the system how to manage buy-in without disruption, there are no objections.

80% of your prospects will buy within 2 years – but not from you. The time it takes them to manage the buying decision to ensure there will be no disruption is the length of the sales cycle. You can either sit and wait for them to do it, or you can learn Buying Facilitation® and become the GPS system to help them navigate. Would you rather sell? or help someone buy?


Wanting to learn more? Dirty Little Secrets: why buyers can’t buy and sellers can’t sell and what to do about it. Check out the site for more details.

Or consider purchasing the bundle: Dirty Little Secrets plus my last book Buying Facilitation®: the new way to sell that influences and expands decisions. In addition, you will also receive a bonus illustrated booklet.

Learn Buying Facilitation® | Implement Buying Facilitation® | License Buying Facilitation®
Sharon Drew Morgen is the visionary and thought leader behind Buying Facilitation®, the new sales paradigm that focuses on helping buyers manage their buying decision. She is the author of the NYTimes Business Bestseller Selling with Integrity and the recent Dirty Little Secrets. She is a keynote speaker, trainer and consultant focusing on buy-in and decision making.

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