The Word a person uses is usually not what they mean … but can you decipher the real message?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

On September 13th 2013 Voyager I became the first man-made object to leave the solar system.  Attached to the spaceship, on a gold disc, is greetings to other inhabitants of the universe in 55 languages from around the world.voyager-message-disc

Among them are a message in Welsh and six now extinct tongues.

  • The Welsh message translates to say: “Good health to you now and forever.”
  • The Chinese greeting invites those who find the disk to come and visit, while others give directions as to where we are.
  • Perhaps the most elaborate greeting is in Amoy, a dialect of Min Nan, which is spoken in parts of China and Taiwan.  It says: “Friends of space, how are you all? Have you eaten yet? Come visit us if you have time.”

Anticipation of a response from the messages on Voyager I, I imagine, is limited.

Cultural Communication Lens

I was working with Samsung Corporation in Seoul and running a number of workshops. As I asked questions of the participants and made some suggestions for them to consider I was met with a wall of inaction. Their most common response was “Maybe.”

I talked this over with my good friend Byoung-chul Min, author of the book ‘Ugly Koreans, Ugly Americans’. He reminded me Koreans do not like to  say “No, I do not think that is a good idea,” because they do not want to hurt my feelings. Coming from my culture, by not hearing a “No,” I assume the answer is “Yes.” Koreans are trained to try and do what the boss wants, no matter how impossible or ridiculous. In this case I was engaged by the boss as a consultant and they were trying to please their boss through me. Once I understood this I immediately started to interpret the use of the word “Maybe,” with “No.”

The project started to move ahead immediately!

The Full Spectrum

The visible spectrum of energy, the images we pick up with our eyes,  represents less than 0.001% of all the information the universe is trying to tell use. Science has developed specialised equipment to pick up x-rays, ultra-violet, infrared, microwaves and radio waves. The atmosphere is full of information if we just know which  equipment is required to pick it up and how to tune in. If you want to listen to punk rock you press a button and a radio station is tuned in. If you want to call a colleague you type in their number and they pick up your request on a microwave band.

How many pieces of information do you use to make a decision?

Psychologists today tell us the average person will make a decision on just two pieces of corroborating information. If three pieces of corroborating  information is offered, no matter how accurate (or inaccurate) that information is, will move a person from ‘likely to take action’ to’ certainty’.

What does this mean?

In every encounter we have with a new prospect we are presented with enormous amounts of data . We get this information verbally, by body language, cultural mannerism and other indirect prompts. We need to be sure we are listening to the whole story rather than the first two pieces of collaborating information.

It would be interesting to observe the reaction the first intelligent life has to the message carried on Voyager I.  Will they make a quick assessment of who we are? or will they ask more questions?

It is easy to listen to one or two pieces of information and make a call on the value of this person or their ability to make a decision. Listening to the hidden message as well as the words spoken will turn you into a communications champion.

Today’s question and actions

Observing signals like happy or sad; stressed or relaxed, are obvious. Investing time understanding the other signals people provide is pure gold.

  • Their demeanor is reserved – perhaps they are looking for a cautious approach
  • Their outgoing nature makes you like them straight away , but they will not make a decision – perhaps they are covering an insecurity
  • They are abrupt and dismissive –  Perhaps their ego needs stroking

Listening to words and using the lens of emotion can bring a whole new meaning to communication and understanding of what a prospect us really after.

Have a great week!

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Is there a link from happiness to success?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

My father in law has the well earned nickname of ‘Lazarus’.

Last Friday we were clearly told by his doctor he was unlikely to survive the night. Last night (Sunday) he was sitting up in bed enjoying a meal and laughing with us all.

What is it that allows some people to move on from even the most challenging situations and achieve success?

I watched the TED talk ‘The Happiness Advantage’ by Shawn Achor during the week. In Happinesshis studies he and his team have discovered a direct link from happiness to success. People who are happy inevitably achieve success. Organisations where there is a positive and happy environment find business improves and margins increase. Here is the link to the talk : The Happiness Advantage

Happiness, however, is not something which can be externally created. It is all about the interpretation of the experience of life.

Can actions create happiness?

I was in the Victorian Government treasuring building and held the door open for a small group of women in an attempt to be polite. I was unprepared for the acrimonious response and sharp language from this group who indicated they did not need a man to open doors for them.

I hold open the door for anyone, and it is interesting to note the varying responses from men and women. The response of this group was as a result of seeing my action though a different lens.

It was not the action of holding the door open which caused the response. Even though my action is exactly the same everyone interprets my actions differently and their response is different. It is the interpretation of the action by the individual which creates the response.

No matter what I do to be kind, the response and interpretation to this action is always in the mind of the recipient. Happiness is a decision and it is people who make happy decisions who are successful.

In business and sales creating a positive and happy environment is a vital ingredient. There can be a lot of negative external stimuli which is easy to translate as being ‘I am not interested’. Discovering positive and exciting ways to view the world is probably our most important skill.

My father in law, along with the family, took the diagnosis given by the doctor and created a positive and happy environment. In all the happiness his body seemed to forget he was sick and within a few hours was well on the way to balance. While his cancer is unlikely to leave, his attitude of happiness creates new opportunities for life.

Today’s question and actions

This week try these actions to help increase your level of happiness;

  • When you have a few minutes take a short walk and look for things you may have not seen before
  • Take a few minutes at the end of the day to journal, or re-live one positive thing you experienced during the day
  • Take time to send an email or call someone just to say ‘thank you’ with no expectation of a response.

You will be surprised how much happier you feel. Even more important, how much better you perform as an individual.

Have a great week!


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What are you missing by heading through life on cruise control?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

My wife and I were celebrating our 34th wedding anniversary and decided to visit one of our favourite gardens in the Melbourne hills. The garden was familiar and the path we something different surprising resultswere following well signposted and well worn. We got to the end of the path and were about to turn around. At that moment I noticed a small signpost with an arrow and the symbol of a hiker.

The path it pointed to was overgrown, muddy and generally uninviting. It almost yelled “No one goes that way”.

We decided to try this less well traveled path and were met with breathtaking views; an awesome creek and wildlife which seemed to pop up their heads and say “What do you think you are doing coming this way?”

This average day and average walk turned into a spectacular day by taking the path less traveled.

Do you see what everyone else sees?

In 1928 Alexander Fleming was researching the properties of Staphylococci. Laboratories were not as sterile as they are today and it was not uncommon to find cultures contaminated. In most cases the culture was simply thrown out and started again.

It just happened that on 28 September 1928 Fleming noticed something which everyone else missed. The Staphylococci near the fungi were destroyed.

He could have been like everyone else and kept throwing out the contaminated samples. Instead he observed something different … and this changed the world.

Are you a Seagull?

Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.

― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

In business and in sales it is easy to see what works. Everyone else is doing it already. It is like seagulls at the beach. They flap around and chase after the same crumbs. Eventually most of them are fed.

In an industry full of followers (seagulls) it is easy to be flap around and be average. It takes someone with vision to see the same results in new ways; and someone with courage to take the new pathway.

In life there are many well worn paths. Sometimes what we see is what we expect to see and not what is really there. My wife and I had trodden the path in this garden many times and never seen this new way … and that made the day spectacular.

It is easy to go through life on cruise control. Be careful as you may miss life altogether.

Today’s question and actions

This week, as you go through your routines of life, stop and ask yourself these questions;

  1. I wonder what other ways there are to achieving the same results?
  2. If this gadget/solution overcomes  this problem, I wonder what other problems it could solve in other areas as well?

Be a bit like Alexander Fleming. Look for the unusual, the small sign showing something is different. You never know, you might just change the world … or at least make life a bit more interesting.

Have a great week!

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Can you fake a genuine smile or warm personality?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

Quite by accident my wife started to listen to Brian Tracy’s ‘Psychology of Selling’ CD set I left in the car. She became intrigued by the idea Smilesof talking yourself into a positive emotional state by repeating mantras like ‘I like myself’ over and over and every so often will text me in the morning with messages like ‘I Like Myself’ to help me start the day with a positive attitude.

A simple mantra like ‘I like myself’ repeated over and over has the surprising ability to change the way I feel about myself. I have a number of these sayings I use on a regular basis to remind me about who I am and the way I interact with others.

Actors, politicians, sales people, indeed anyone whose success depends on their ability to confidently interact with others, rely on their ability to read another person’s body language and emotion and reflect their character using that body language or emotion.

When actors win Oscars most often you will hear people say things like “They really caught the essence of the character”. Heath Ledger, who played The Joker in The Dark Knight, invested a lot of time understanding  the psychology of the character. His father, in the documentary Too Young To Die, revealed Heath Ledger kept a diary covering many of the aspects of what the character would be like.  In the end it seems the character overtook him and he died of a drug overdose – with much speculation around his drug dependency on his trying sleep problems following his playing this character.

Actors who do not make the effort to get the essence of a character end up in B grade movies. Their lack of effort is obvious with their audience groaning as they hear lines being said in an unconvincing manner.

To fake genuine interest in business and sales clients is a deadly sin. Like a B grade actor your client will see straight through you. We need to be like great actors; we need to live our daily lives totally immersed in the desire to care for our customers at the same time as keeping our minds focused on closing a sale.

Fake or real smile?

Here is a GREAT test you can take to test whether someone is giving you a genuine or fake  smile.  It’s located at;

Most people are surprisingly bad at spotting fake smiles. One possible explanation for this is that it may be easier for people to get along if they don’t always know what others are really feeling.

Although fake smiles often look very similar to genuine smiles, they are actually slightly different, because they are brought about by different muscles, which are controlled by different parts of the brain.

Fake smiles can be performed at will, because the brain signals that create them come from the conscious part of the brain and prompt the zygomaticus major muscles in the cheeks to contract. These are the muscles that pull the corners of the mouth outwards.
Genuine smiles, on the other hand, are generated by the unconscious brain, so are automatic. When people feel pleasure, signals pass through the part of the brain that processes emotion. As well as making the mouth muscles move, the muscles that raise the cheeks – the orbicularis oculi and the pars orbitalis – also contract, making the eyes crease up, and the eyebrows dip slightly.

The more you can genuinely be interested in people the better you will feel and the better the people you deal with will feel. Being genuine with people builds relationships, builds sales and businesses.

Today’s question and actions

This week, as you meet up with people, try these actions;

  • Before you meet a person say to yourself ‘I like myself’ three or four times
  • Follow this by saying ‘I like this person’ three or four times
  • Notice two or three things you can genuinely like about them and engage with them in a sincere discussion

You will be surprised how much simpler it is to move to business discussion by being sincerely interested in them as a person. Even more, you will become a better person as you learn more about them as well.

Have a great week!

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What unseen signs are holding you back from your true potential?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

I came home from work and opened my front door. The first thing I noticed as I came in the front door was a trail of bright pink post-it note arrows on the floor my granddaughter had placed.the right direction

What struck me was the feeling of compulsion I had to follow the path of arrows to their conclusion, which I did. She had placed the arrows on the floor for Granny (Great Grandma) who was coming to visit in a few days so she would know where she had left a card for her. The path of arrows went from the front door of the house right up the stairs to the guest room, across the bed and pointed to the pillow where there was a letter waiting for Granny.

I observed, over the next few days, as others came in, every person who came in the front door asked “Where do the arrows lead?” and many followed the arrows without even thinking. Of course, when Granny finally arrived a few days later her first question was “Where do these lead?”.

Signs are valuable  and tell us who we are

Life is full of signs. There are obvious signs like the ones we see on the roadside – “One Way” or “Stop”. Others help us to know where we are like street sign names and signs pointing out directions to go to get to a destination. During the 2nd world war in the south of England all the road signs were either removed or changed for misdirection in case the country was invaded. Without signs we can be confused and get lost.

Limiting Signs

In life, like on the roadside, there are signs. They are just not so obvious. Mostly these signs are placed by others. “This is the way to go” or “You are not good strong enough”. Some of these signs are well intentioned, however, can place serious limitations on our ability to succeed.

Making up a new sign

One of my favourite Carlton and United advertisements (for Beer) a couple of years ago featured a parade of men divided into categories. At the head of each category there was a sign and it seemed obvious the category each person should be in. One category was labelled “Men punching above their weight”. In this category there were men who were overweight and obviously not looking after themselves. On their arms were super model girlfriends / wives.

This made me think “Are they really punching above their weight? Or do they have a different self image to the one others may have of them?”

I started a sales job and my sales manager said “Greg, if you are good you will typically sell one system a day or perhaps four a week”. This became my sign. When I achieved that I was happy.

I asked myself a simple question “Why couldn’t I sell two a day or ten a week?” I set that as my new sign and set a new company record – consistently.

Like the feeling I had when I first saw the arrows my granddaughter put on the floor, every sign we have on our road in life places a limit on what we can do.

It is easy to see the signs on the road. By listening to what others say we create our own self limiting signs. Life is full of people who are happy to tell you what you can’t do, why you should not do or try something. Each time we listen we create another sign. Eventually there are so many signs we can get paralysed with the fear of disobedience.

Today’s question and actions

What signs are in your life? Are they real or imagined? Did you put the signs there yourself? Or were they put there by someone else? How would your life change if you placed new signs on the road of life?

  • My weight is normally 80kg’ instead of ‘I have a big body
  • I sit six appointments a day’ instead of ‘four appointments is what the company requires


Have a great week!

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The X Factor in selling … is this the most brilliant strategy ever?

Welcome to Monday

Look at these two young girls and ask yourself…What do you see?transform-through-conversations-photo

Do you see a sharing of common interests? Do you see shared secrets? Do you see an absence of guile? Do you see a sense of fun? Do you see genuine affection? Do you see honesty?

Now here is my next question ……Wouldn’t you be more than pleased if this photo was actually an accurate mirror of a typical interaction between you and your prospect?

Imagine recapturing that innocence of youth. Imagine your prospect showing genuine interest in you (Let’s just forget about your product for a minute) Imagine your prospect sharing secret concerns with you. Imagine your prospect relaxed and displaying non-threatened body language.

I am about to give away what I believe to be the X Factor for success in sales. This factor comes after more years than I care to admit to in sales and sales management.

At this point, I have to warn you, if you are a selling coward there is no point in you reading any further. This X Factor for successful selling requires courage.

OK, so let’s assume the selling cowards have now left the room. Those of you who have the courage, draw near. Yes you are right in part, yes the X Factor does involve Honesty but not just the Honesty you would have imagined.

All of us understand the importance and need to be honest about facts

I fully endorse the need to be honest about facts. It has always been easy for me to be honest about facts because I still go red if I tell an untruth.

I can hear you saying “Tell me something I don’t already know” OK let’s look at and focus on the actual X Factor for success in selling …..


Remember how we talked earlier about how we would like our prospect to behave. Well why should they behave honestly, why should they tell us honestly what they really think.

Think about how stupid we are when we clearly want the prospect to be honest about their feelings while we sit there all professional and wonderful and completely dishonest about how we feel.

If you have the courage and you want to deliver the perfect sales presentation, stop presenting and start talking with the prospect. Start by being honest about your feelings.

As a sales manager I have often begun a debrief with a salesperson after they missed a sales by asking this simple question, ”What do you know about the client?”  Typically, the salesperson will start telling me what position the prospect holds in the company, how he is looking to update the current model etc. At this point, I usually stop the salesperson and qualify my original question “What is their family situation, what are their interests and even more importantly what do you think their buying style is?

99% of failed sales can be put down to our failure to really get to know the prospect. It is all about being honest about facts and feelings.


You have just shaken hands with the prospect and they ask you how you are today?  Your reality is that you have been caught in a traffic jam and you are a bit hassled. Instead of saying I’m fine thank you why not say “Boy oh boy, I am feeling a bit hassled after spending the last twenty minutes trying to get through one set of traffic lights”

It might take the prospect back somewhat but you can bet the prospect is now saying to themselves. “Thank goodness, this person is not one of those over the top super salesmen who are tediously positive about everything. I might be able to actually relate to them


Sales presentations don’t always go well. There often comes a time in your presentation when you sense that your prospect is just not buying. You could keep prattling on or you could pause and make an honest comment such as ….

Bill/Sally I really don’t think I have done a very good job today. It is clear to me that you are not getting excited about this proposal. I think you are going to have to help me here. What is the main issue in your mind?”

Remember, if you are going to close a sale, you are going to have to determine the real objection

If you have been honest about the mood of this encounter and you have established a real relationship you can afford to bust the whole thing open with an honest question such as that stated above.

Of course, when you are ‘putting on’ honesty, especially honesty about feelings and emotions, your body language is likely to expose your true feelings and the disconnect result in loss of rapport.

Today’s question and actions

Consider the last sale you lost. Take time to go through it honestly, step by step, in your mind. As you do take a note of how many times you could have been more honest about different twists and turns in your interaction with the prospect.

  • Did you notice your prospect changing their posture or facial expression?
  • Did you notice your voice change in tone, speed or inflection?
  • Did the level of rapport change on your side

You may not realise the hidden messages you send when you are being less than honest about facts and feelings.

You may have to think about how to say it but I can tell you one thing for sure, you need to start saying it.

Have a great week!

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What is the balance in your ‘I can trust you’ Bank Account?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

In Australia we live in what I call a ‘high trust’ society. We tend to take people at their word.

What Words Are You Using To Build Trust?


You are at a social gathering where you do not know anyone. Someone asks you “What do you do for a living?”

You could say “I am an airline pilot with Virgin Australia” and most people will accept what you say immediately. In fact you could make almost anything up!

This model will, of course, fail immediately if the person you are talking with says “I am too, which route do you fly?” or if they know someone in the room who is also a pilot.

The lesson here is, in Australia and many ‘Western’ countries people tend to trust first and ask questions later. In most of the world, however, business is transacted in a low trust environment where trust must be earned, sometimes with every call you make.

We work with those we trust to solve our problems

If I want someone to make a buying decision with me I need them to trust that what I say will happen when they buy my product or service. The bigger the decision the larger the level of trust required.

Trust comes in three stages

This is a good person (stage 1)

I was talking with an older person just listening to their stories. After awhile, out of the blue, she said “Greg, you are a good boy”. I was so surprised I said “Why don’t you put that in writing”, which she did.  I now have a signed piece of paper which I treasure stating ‘Greg is a good boy’.

Getting to the point where someone thinks you are a good person is just a matter of listening and asking open, reflecting and probing questions. The fact you take the time to listen tells the other person you are someone they can trust.

This person has good ideas (stage 2)

A fellow business coach asked for a minute of time to discuss a client of theirs they were having trouble with. At the end of this discussion she said “Greg, you always have great ideas. Do you mind if I use you on an ongoing basis?” All I had done was listen to the problem and reflected ideas back in the same format as she stated them.


The person I am coaching has achieved all the goals we set out to achieve. I do not know where to go from here” she said.

Have you reset the goals in light of the way the person has developed?” I asked.

What I did was reflect back her words in a new way. While this was not rocket science, it did give her an ‘ah-ha moment’ and cemented in her mind that I have good ideas and moved me to the next level of trust.

This person can do what they say they can do (stage 3)

You can change all that COBOL into JAVA using an automated tool?” one incredulous programmer asked me. I could see this multimillion dollar project was going nowhere despite the level of trust we had developed. I asked,  “John, if I can show you this working will you authorise a pilot program?”.

What John wanted was evidence for himself and others of his team I was a trustworthy person. We setup the demonstration and won the pilot program. They believed because we showed we could do what we promised on a small scale, then a large scale.

Trust Bank Account

When you meet someone for the first time you automatically open a ‘trust bank account’ with a small, but positive, balance.

    • Every time you promise to deliver a result (to get more, to save more, to look good, to feel good, to eliminate pain, or to be loved) and you do it, you add to your trust bank account.
    • Every time you fail you make a withdrawal.

Can you be trusted before you can prove it? Yes, in most situations people will take you at face value. When it comes to decision that will impact their business or life you can be sure it will only be made when you trust bank balance is substantial.

Today’s question and actions

This week, when you meet with your clients ask this simple question; “How could purchasing this product or service change the way you do business?” you may be surprised by the answer.   What are you doing to make deposits into you trust bank account?

    • Every time you make a promise, no matter how small, if you do not deliver it counts as a withdrawal.
    • Send an unexpected handwritten card or thank-you note and you add to your trust account.
    • Do you listen attentively?
    • Do you share ideas?

Nothing will establish trust and increase sales better than becoming an expert in asking the right questions, following up with ideas and showing how these ideas work with other organisations Email me to setup a time to talk about opening a trust account with your team.

Have a great week!

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What is your sales pace? Four critical things the tortoise can teach us.

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

I was doing my regular run pacing myself to my music at 142 beats a minute. All of a tortise vs haresudden this young man, well young compared to me, rushed by making me feel like I was barely moving.

I had to remind myself I was in this for the exercise and duration training – not to show off. If he wanted to rush on at full pace that was his prerogative.

I rounded the next corner and there he was. Obviously he had been running too fast and run into the young lady he was exchanging phone numbers with. I wondered which insurance companies covered crashes of runners in the park.

Telling the whole story

I have gone back to my roots and doing  a bit of ‘one on one’ selling these last couple of months. As a part of the sales process I have a standard pitch I make and if I do the job well I close most of the opportunities.

I have pitched the same product over a hundred time this month. The discipline of listening to the same questions, patiently answering them, telling the whole story beginning to end is one I have to work at all the time.  The most common reason I miss a sale is if I do not listen to questions patiently, respond  properly, rush through the presentation or leave things out thinking they are not so important.

Your product is brand new every time you present it

I recall the first time I presented the product. I was enthusiastic, excited to be presenting a really interesting environmentally friendly idea with a compelling financial story. The prospect purchased the product, had a good financial win and I banked a good commission. It was a good day.

Today when I tell the same story I remind myself of that first day. I recall the feeling of enthusiasm and the love of helping people take advantage of a compelling financial story. You see, no matter how many times I tell the story, and how bored or uninteresting I think it may be, it is the first time for my customer and they deserve the full treatment. By speeding through the presentation there is every chance I will end up crashing and burning.

There are four things which are critical to every sale pitch

1. Enthusiasm

You need to totally believe in your product or service. When you ooze confidence and belief in your company or person you represent this rubs off on your prospect who will naturally believe you have the answer to their needs. This could be a belief your Barista makes the best cappuccino or your project team will deliver a $500M IT solution.

2. Listening

Even the most mundane and boring questions you have heard a thousand times are critical. Questions mean your customer is interested. Taking the time to carefully listen to questions and answering them fully, no matter how dumb you think they are, builds rapport and establishes you as an expert.

3. Information sharing

Telling your story reflecting the needs of your customer and the questions they have raised. Your story is an enthusiastic telling of the critical elements of your product or service focusing on the areas which make you unique.

4. Asking for the order

This may be as simple as saying something like “Brenda, what we normally do now is take a 25% deposit with the balance due when we install the new system. How would you prefer to handle that?” Depending on the situation you can develop your own method. Even in large sales I have the habit of asking for the order using questions like “Peter, if you were making the decision on your own would you be ready to make a commitment?” or “Based on our discussion today do you think you are closer to making a decision

Today’s question and actions

The story of the Hare and tortoise teaches us the importance of belief,  persistence and finishing.  Here are a couple of things you can do;

  • Recall your first few days on the job and your first sales calls. Bring back the enthusiasm and joy you experienced relating your story.
  • The next time someone asks you a ‘dumb’ question pause and silently say ‘thank-you’ as you have a prospect who is interested.
  • Prepare a few strong closing questions. Even if they say ‘no’ now be prepared with something like “What can I do so you can make a decision?” to move forward.

Your product might be the same. For this prospect it is a whole new story. Tell it with enthusiasm beginning to end and you will be surprised how your close rate goes up.

Have a great week!

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A mask may disguise, but what a person says is a real give away

Welcome to Monday

I could feel the energy draining from my body as I listened to the woes of my prospect. The more I listened and focused on building rapport the worse I felt. I had to do something.

I dragged up all the positive energy I had and asked “Sharlene, what is it about your company which works well?”

I could see the colour in her face change almost instantly and over the next few minutes I managed to resuscitate the sales call into positive territory.

I find it easy to reflect the mood of people I meet with. The mood, however, is usually a Mask reflecting things which have been going on in their life and at work in the immediate past. It is easy to assume the mask is a true indication of the character and state of mind of the prospect/client.

The risk is you reflect the mask they are wearing and not the person. You do this assuming rapport is being built and merrily go on to present your product or service. I know I have done this, particularly when I was a rookie sales person, and was totally dumbfounded when my prospect/client dismissed my proposal or offer out of hand.

A professional  salesperson takes note of the mask people wear. They also seek to test the initial impression the mask portrays with thoughtful questions. Actually, it doesn’t really matter what the question is, what is more important is the tone and manner that the prospect/client uses to answer the questions.

We all want to see behind the mask. It is the words a person uses which gives away what is really going on behind the mask.  Even more specifically its… they say it.

The success of a sales presentation or attempt to influence is dependent on these critical early interchanges.

Let’s look at some examples, how they respond to your question and how a professional might best deal with them.

Example #1 – Mr Peters

THE MASK:      Stern and somewhat forbidding

ANSWER:        Mr Peters answers your question in a self assured and somewhat masks-meanopinionated manner

RESPONSE:     The professional knows immediately that they need to use strong eye contact and respond in a firm and confident manner.  They know that if they slip back into a more obliging posture, this Mr Peters will chew them up and spit them out.

This is an easy example as the Mask that Mr Peters wears is usually  consistent with the manner in which they answer your question.

Now lets contrast Mr Peters with the next example

Example #2 – Ms Noble

THE MASK:      Stern and somewhat forbidding

ANSWER:         Ms Noble answers your question in a very formal manner and she offers a masks-meanrational and considered response

RESPONSE:      Although the professional saw the same Mask on Ms Noble, her answers denote a less aggressive style of person who will respond to a more intimate but business like approach.

Mr Peters will respect the more intense “I’m not to be toyed with” approach whereas our Ms Noble would expect and respond better to a formal yet more engaging approach.

Same MASK different ANSWER, different RESPONSE

Now lets look at another example with an entirely different Mask

Example #3 – Mr Harper

THE MASK:      Affable and friendly

ANSWER:         Mr Harper answers your question with some enthusiasm but somehow turns your question into a question for you

RESPONSE:      The professional quickly realizes that Mr Harper’s Mask seeks to presentmasks-happy-jpeg an affable image but in reality he is actually sizing you up and trying to ascertain whether and how this encounter is going be to Mr Harper’s advantage.  The professional will quickly adapt to the situation and start highlighting what is in this for Mr Harper (The WIIFM)

The professional is also aware that if he is not calm, careful and alert he/she will end up being sold by Mr Harper on why Mr Harper is not buying today.

The mask is often an unconsciously acquired form of sales resistance.  A mask does exactly what one would expect. It conveys to all and sundry an image that suits the wearer not necessarily where they are at or what they are actually thinking…..But the answer is the real give away.

Today’s question and actions

What Masks have you observed? Even the most crusted on Masks can be seen through with good questions.

  • Have a few really positive questions up your sleeve like “What is working well” or “Where can you see something like this adding value?”
  • Use the ‘sharp angle’ if you feel yourself drowning in negative territory. “That is exactly why I called …can you see why?”
  • Sometimes you can just ask them to remove the mask “Jason, is that how you really feel? or is that just where you are today?”

Some masks are easier to spot that others.  Of course you can read more about the Masks people wear in the book “Selling to the 7 Emotional Buying Styles or downloading the Sales Analyzer app (see link on the right)

Take a magnifying glass and zoom in on the Buying Style of your prospect.

Have a great week!

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Six core sales and business principals. How sharp are your skills?

By Greg Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

Like many weekend handymen I have a shed full of tools I use only occasionally. This saw-blade-sharpeningweekend I pulled out my power saw and expected a perfect cut in the expensive piece of timber I had just purchased. You can imagine my surprise, and the expletives I muttered under my breath, when the timber split along the cut.

I took the old blade with me to the hardware store to make sure I replaced it with a compatible blade. The first thing the salesperson asked was if I wanted to have the blade sharpened as it was perfectly good, just dull from exposure, wear and tear.

I was reminded of an important lesson from the Seven Habits taught by the late Stephen Covey. I had not used the Power Saw for a few years and I had expected it to perform to the same specification as the day I purchased it.

Last week I was talking with a business owner who was lamenting the poor quality of people applying for sales roles. If he offered a big guarantee he would get hundreds of applicants. If the sales person had to rely on their own skill set to earn commissions he might get one or two applicants.  He made the bold claim there were only about 500 professional sales people in Australia who earned more than $250,000 and most never made more than their base salary.

Brian Tracy, in his program ‘The Psychology of Selling’, relates a recent study which outlines the sad fact less than 5% of full time sales people have ever attended a sales training course, read a book about selling, or listened to a tape or CD by their own choice.

Selling, the powerhouse of every business, is the most profitable and rewarding career. In fact, there is so much money to be made in a selling career failure to believe high achievement is possible is often the most significant limiting factor in a sales career.

The basic laws of business and selling are simple, well known and the foundation of all excellent training programs – it is just that so few people follow them! Here I have taken six core principals. If you can focus on just ONE and improve in that area you can dramatically improve your results

The more your client talks, the more they like you

I regularly hear comments like ‘He must be a good sales person – he can talk the leg off an iron stove’ or ‘John is a great sales person – but he just talks too much’.

I have never heard ‘Jill is such a nice person – but she just listens too much’.

People want to be heard and understood before hearing about us. To build a business and sales you need to be listening all the time. Developing your skills of asking the right questions at the right times is fundamental to listening – and listening is the foundation of success.

Professional sales people never make a sales call

Professional sales people make calls to be of service to their client. When you make calls for any other reason the client will know immediately and treat you like a sales person rather than the ‘consultant’ or ‘business advisor’ you may have built your reputation on.

If you’re making a sales call to meet quota, earn bigger commissions, move the “special of the month” or any other reason not arising from your clients needs you need to check your integrity.

One of the main reasons selling has a negative public perception is too many sales people sell for their own reasons, not their customers’ reasons.

A qualified prospect has the need, receives the value, has authority and power to buy.

Sales Professionals are born the same way as Doctors, Lawyers and other Professionals

Brian Tracy tells us that the average sales person lasts less than 90 days in this profession. As with every profession, highly skilled sales professionals have studied and learned their trade.

Top sales professionals pay for and attend training sessions every year. They read regularly and research their profession to be the very best all the time. Research reveals that regardless of age, race, gender or experience, a novice salesman with effective sales training can become as successful as his veteran counterpart.

The number one question is ‘What will it do for me?’

Before you pick up the telephone to talk to your client ask yourself the question ‘If I was the person I am calling what is it that the service or product being sold will impact on my world?’ If the definition of selling could be boiled down to a single sentence or question, this would be it.

Constantly put yourself in your prospects shoes by asking this question. It will help you focus on their needs and the appropriate corresponding benefits.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Your client must believe that you will do everything possible that’s in his or her interest. Without this trust, all the facts, figures and discounts don’t mean anything.

Once you gain the prospect’s trust, however, you become much more than a supplier — you become a trusted business advisor, strategic partner not easily replaced, despite your competitors’ lower price, supposed faster delivery and so on.

People buy emotionally then justify logically

Contrary to what many salespeople believe, this reality actually works in your favour if you’ve done a thorough job of helping your prospect buy.

Your prospect, once they have engaged with you emotionally, find it hard to say ‘no’ as they are saying ‘no’ to someone they like and care for. Once engaged emotionally they will work hard to justify a purchase.

Discuss benefits related to your prospect ONLY

There are more than 1 million 8mm drill bits sold annually, but people don’t want 8mm drill bits. They want 8mm holes. Show your prospects the benefits of your product or service.  If they want am 8mm hole discuss 8mm holes, not the speed of the drill.

Sell value, not price

I was shopping for clothes for my next sales training trip. I commented to my wife that there were a lot of very ugly clothes around. This got me thinking. At some stage these clothes will go on special and at some point, when the price has been reduced enough, someone will buy them. This is a Loose-Loose situation as there is no margin for the store and the buyer will wear the item only once.

Selling the value of your services or product to address business issues will win all the time.

Today’s question and actions

When was the last time you did anything about developing your business or sales skills? Here are two things you can do immediately to start sharpening your saw.

  • Load up motivational, business and sales training audio files on you iPhone or in-car CD player. Listen to these every time you jump into the car – even if it is for just a few minutes.
  • Plan to attend business building or sales skills programs on a regular basis. There are many good one or two hour skill based programs run by training companies which cost nothing more than a few minutes listening to their sales pitch
  • When you find a good program take the plunge and make the investment in yourself

Selling and business building skills, the backbone of the economy, need to be learned, honed and sharpened just like any other professional skill. You are a valuable and important  person and you deserve the best chance of success.

Have a great week!

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Permission is granted to reprint this article with the condition it is republished unedited and in full with full attribution to the author and the authors bio. Please provide a link to the reprint to the following email;

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