Monday, December 19, 2005

Move to New Site

This blog has now moved to :

The new site is operational from 19 Dec 2005.

See you there!


Monday, October 24, 2005

Turn your "Fear Factor" into your "X Factor"

"Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses and some don't turn up at all.
Sam Ewing (1920-2001)American writer & humorist
Sometimes you suddenly get the thought that the experts have it upside down. That’s me at the moment. Every motivational book and article stresses the “be positive” attitude. Then I start thinking that some of my best business happened at times of sheer desperation, when my bank/ sales manager was demanding action or else, when my back was to the wall, and there was very little left to lose.

Story One: My Real Estate “career”

I once "enjoyed” a brief career as an Estate Agent…...hey, everyone is allowed one bad career move…....It only lasted five months. I couldn’t give houses away....…I was hopeless. I sold two houses during the first four months, and embarrassed myself and my company by being found fast asleep in a show house in Navan one viewing day. In the last month the gun was put to my head....…”Sell five houses, or else!”. Fair enough. The target was ridiculous but would give the manager leverage to exit Maitiu left.

Funny thing. No future in prospect, no job to go to, no idea what I wanted to do….I was very young, and I don’t talk about it…..but I did sell four houses in the last three weeks!

The boss still suggested I’d be better suited to another career avenue, and thus I missed out on the boom in the housing market of the last few years….another fine mess I got me into….

The point is, that in terror of the “sack” I sold all round me!. I focussed my thinking, I pushed for action and decisions, and generally behaved like a rotweiler on speed…. And it worked….Fear was the factor.

Story Two: The Seminar

Coming out of “Death Valley Curve” after about three years in the training industry, my finances were dodgy , to be charitable about it. Office equipment, salaries, promotion, rents, insurances etc…you know the story. Serious pressure form the bank to start making an upward move in finances.

An idiot cockney barrow boy, by the name of John Fenton, had presented a hugely successful large audience seminar in Dublin , the previous year……over 1700 attended. Colourful, clownish, ( if you were there do you remember The Skull?..”This is Yorick from Warwick”)..Nobody ever remembers a word of the “show”..he wouldn’t describe it as a seminar., but everyone present remembers the skull. A crisp €50.00 note to you if you can remind me of the context in which the skull was used by Fenton…I DO remember the Skull message, BTW.

A friend of mine suggested that if I looked at something similar, but more to Irish tastes, culture, and mores.
Nothing to lose, I designed a five hour large audience seminar, and reckoned it would have a shelf life of three performances maximum……Dublin, Cork, Galway. Taking everything into account wee needed an attendance of 500 to break even, and then we were into profit. A possible extra payoff- sales staff and their bosses from many companies would get a taste of me and my style.

We were very stimulated by the concept. It was something different to our normal activity. I was driven by panic. I was investing a fortune in promotion with no guarantees attached. “S**t or Bust”.
We generated 1100 paying customers in the three venues…Profit!

More interestingly, I presented that seminar 17 times in the following three years both at home and abroad… I was invited to speak at over 30 company sales conferences directly as a result of the prospects attending that seminar. I presented it in the UK, Amsterdam, Zurich and (3 times) in Nairobi. And always the training spin-off after the conference presentations.

And that was the last time we bottomed out on finances.

A happy accident – yes….a bit like discovering Viagra whilst researching a cancer drug.
These days, I realise I am driven by my insecurity as many sellers are. I recently watched Ireland playing for a play off place in the World Cup, and it occurred to me that if they had brought the energy and activity of the last 15 minutes of the game to the previous 75 minutes, they would have beaten the Swiss and Ireland would be on the move again.

Fear is a big driver. Think it through in your own situation and you will see that when fear was your factor, you developed the “X Factor” and gained the result.

Now where’s that guru who says “You have to be positive!” I want to let him in on the secret.

I continue to recommend
“The Brain Audit”. A tour- de –force to wake up your sales thinking.
Check it out here

Keep Selling with Integrity!

Health & Blessings until next time.


More great content for those interested in improving their selling skills:

Great Expectations Coaching Home Page


Friday, October 07, 2005

"Shocked and Horrified!"

"Hard work spotlights the character of people:
some turn up their sleeves,
some turn up their noses
and some don't turn up at all."
Sam Ewing (1920-2001)American writer & humorist

Unlike a large number of those poor naive, innocent and gormless politicians and county councillors, I am not at all easily “shocked and horrified”….the poor lambs….why do we cause them such distress on a regular basis?

But at the minute I am rather gob smacked after a recent encounter with a potential client sales force……

The company owns a very sophisticated database system. It tracks any details they wish to know on customers. The sales force members say, almost universally, “it is great , but it is not being used properly”. Then I discover that they are only obtaining the details of those customers who actually do business with them!….Hello?????????

Nobody is hoovering the details of those who visit but don’t buy.
Nobody sees that although they don’t buy from them, those callers buy somewhere. Nobody sees that if we can’t get them this time, we can influence them greatly before their next purchase.
Nobody sees that “tyre kickers” today are buyers for the future!

Even where some details are collected, a name and a phone number is typically all the information sought.

Management or Seller problem?

A problem for the management or for the sellers? Both. Management needs to focus on developing valuable information for future promotion and marketing. And they own the information. Common sense should tell the sellers that information is power in relation to future purchases….”nah, too much trouble to deal with tyre kickers”

Let me tell you a story. A woman of my acquaintance owns a “posh frock” shop in a wealthy Dublin suburb. High rents, high prices, high affluence in her customers. She never gathered any information on her customers, assuming they came from the immediate five- ten mile area around her outlet, and that word of mouth was building her business.

Eventually, I persuaded her to start collecting information on her customers to develop a database.

The results left her feeling like a stunned mullet…”shocked and horrified” doesn’t begin to describe it!

Over 60 % of her clients were coming from 25 – 40 miles away and were middle class rather than posh! They shopped her outlet because they believed it was where the fashionable people went to get their clothes.

By targeting direct mail campaigns based on her new information she tripled her business in eight months.

How well do you know your Customers?

OK, Virginia, the point is obvious. How well do you know your customers and clients?

· How many untested assumptions are you making about them?
· Have you asked them…….anything?
· Have they things in common that you do not know about?
· Is there information available to you about your customers that you are not using?

Napoleon Hill, (Think and Grow Rich) says that accurate thinking is one of the key characteristics shared by top business people.. You cannot think accurately without accurate information

If your information is accurate, you can target promotions, new services, and new products very precisely pin pointed at your customer’s interests.

For any one of these reasons it is worth collecting information from every contact you make. But for all three reasons it is essential…….and is one of the most profitable things you can do.

I continue to recommend
“The Brain Audit”. A tour- de –force to wake up your sales thinking.
Check it out here

Keep Selling with Integrity!

Health & Blessings until next time.


More great content for those interested in improving their selling skills:

Great Expectations Coaching Home Page


Friday, September 09, 2005


Hi Gang,

My hardware is down at present so posting is a problem.
Should be back in the next couple of days.

Computers....don't you love them?!!!

Warm Regards,


Thursday, August 11, 2005

"On My Command.....Give Them Hell!"

"How you play the game is for amateur football. When you're playing for money, winning is the only thing that matters." Leo Durocher

The camera pans back as the Germanian cavalry charges into the arena, heavily armed and armoured - archers, lancers, swordsmen, - and circles the gladiators. The gladiators - one weapon only for each man, and lightly armed - stand in a cirlcle facing outwards and wait, tense, in torment, and desperate.

The camera slowly zooms in on one man, and when it has closed to the point of only showing his mouth filling the screen, Maximus Decimus ( Russel Crowe) spits out the chilling words, "On my command, give them Hell!"

What follows is one of the most violent but best staged scenes in the complete archive of movie filming, comparable to the chariot race in "Ben-Hur", the sinking of the ship in "Titanic", or to the climactic gun fight in "High Noon".

When the heat of battle clears the gladiators are standing victorious over the slain Germanians. Against the odds and overwhelming weaponry, they conquer.

How? An earlier scene has shown Maximus instructing the gladiators on the "how to's" of their only chance to defeat the cavalry. They carry out their scheme to the precise letter of the plan...and they live.

Against superior odds, under-armed and isolated, they defeat their enemy on the basis of a

well executed plan, followed with absolute precision.

Do you have a "well executed plan" that you follow - particularly when you are in against heavy competition - in your selling work? So many sellers - and workers in all functions -just "wing it"and hope someone will make the right noises to produce the needed result. High performers know that it is WHAT they are saying and doing, and WHY they are saying and doing it, that is the basis for their long-term above-average performance. Develop a plan of execution- then stick to it

"Winging it" is for the birds!

If you would like to read a more in-depth article on this plan development, follow the yellow brick road to this article: Moving Your Sales Peformance Up A Level

Let me recommend you examine: The Brain Audit, for some exciting ideas to revamp your sales thinking.

"In the end, its extra effort that separates a winner from second place. But winning takes a lot more that that, too. It starts with complete command of the fundamentals. Then it takes desire, determination, discipline, and self-sacrifice. And finally, it takes a great deal of love, fairness and respect for your fellow man. Put all these together, and even if you don't."
Jesse Owen

Keep Selling with Integrity

More great content for those interested in improving their selling skills: Great Expectations Coaching Home Page:


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Consumer Research Continues To Prove The Same Things

“Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second.”
William James

This week’s blog is specifically aimed at those selling “behind the counter”, but is of relevance to all sellers, irrespective of their sector or type of selling.

Much research is continually being conducted on selling and buyer behaviour. I have recently had the opportunity to view two such "in-house" survey outcomes in connection with my sales training work. Both surveys, coincidentally, were conducted on behalf of retail outlet chains. One chain operates in the home entertainment sector, the other is a major home computer retailer.

Traditionally, retail sellers hold a deep internal belief that price is the key factor that determines sales success or failure. Despite repeated training, this internal belief exists in many retail sellers- my own experience backs this.

The surveys to which I have referred were virtually identical in their outcomes. Slightly different wordings, but the same truths. And the findings of both backup the findings of previous similar research.

Buyers purchase on the following criteria from outlet sellers (in order of importance):
-Helpfulness and Friendliness ( Customer Service),
-Product and Technical Knowledge,
-Value for money,

Even among professional buyers money is not the most important issue. In a survey conducted by the Marketing Institute of Ireland in March 2001, professional buyers ranked Price/Value at number three behind Quality and Service.

Does it surprise you that Value is still only ranked number four, even in tighter economic times? Price is the amount you pay, Value is what you get for the money. But the human values of help and friendliness still rule.

And I believe that if the research had been carried out among buyers exposed to a tele-sales or “external” selling environment, or business-to -business, that the results would not vary to any great extent.

Time perhaps, if you feel you work in a price sensitive sector, to re-evaluate how you are delivering on the real criteria that your buyers are applying to their purchasing decisions.

"I dream my painting and then paint my dream."
Vincent vanGogh

And Keep Selling With Integrity.

More great content for those interested in improving their selling skills:
Great Expectations Coaching Home Page:


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

U2, Padraig Harrington- and Selling?

Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.
Newt Gingrich

There is a connection, but let me share the buzz with you first.
U2 –Vertigo
Saturday evening last ranks as one of my highlights of the year. U2 playing the home leg of their “Vertigo” tour in Dublin.
I’ve been a fan forever. My wife and number two son had arranged – behind my back, a surprise Father’s Day present, only a week late. I’d been wondering at his offhand lack of suitable filial grovelling the previous weekend.
Saturday at 4 pm, I’m ordered to wear my denims, and not to ask questions. “Just get your butt into gear, Dad”. Did as ordered. I started to get the message when we reached the city centre…. the party atmosphere was palpable…. all sizes, shapes and ages buzzing in the town…and all wearing denim! I ‘d forgotten it was de rigeur for rock concerts.
I financed the munchies beforehand (Dad’s do, naturally) and then we joined the streaming mass of 82,000 other party goers on the way to Croker (Croke Park…overseas readers think Toronto Skydome, Wembley Stadium, Melbourne Cricket Ground).
What a night! Suitably warmed up by The Thrills and Paddy Casey (get into him now, if you haven’t yet discovered him), the crowd went bonkers when the first chords of “Vertigo” slowly rose to a crescendo, with smoke and dry ice pouring across the stage and then, hidden by the smoke, they were there taking over the music, and in about five seconds, the crowd.
The sound, the performance, the lighting, the setting,, the big screens…absolute magic! As darkness fell it became even more spectacular.
“You”, “Where the streets have no name”, “In the name of love”, “City Walls”, “Vertigo”, “Sunday, Bloody Sunday”…. an endless procession of their mega hits, the crowd singing every word along with them, yet you could still hear Bono singing perfectly. The sound was that good. He can be a preachy git, but he is some showman.
Close to three hours later, after a thirty minute encore and reprise of some of their biggies, the lights finally fade, and you realise you are physically and emotionally tired. A solid three hours of rocking catches up with you (well with me, anyway, as a bit of an oldie) and believe me when I say that if you are not rocking with U2, it’s only because you are dead from the neck down.
They have emotionally engaged you and you realise their songs have meaning. You have been off the planet for a while and it takes time to return to planet Earth. You have noticed nothing except the music, the way it was delivered, and you want to go thought the whole thing again tomorrow evening! And I now see why Bono has become so influential on a worldwide basis as a communicator and pain in the arse to the world’s governments.
He owns his audience. He has a message. He keeps it simple. He knows how to put it across so that we really listen.
Our Taoiseach (Prime Minister) was in Saturday’s audience. Bono whacked him with Ireland’s failure, as Europe’s most prosperous economy, to sign up to committing an annual 0.7% GNP to relieving world poverty. Perhaps the sound of 82,000 voices roundly booing him will force him to pay some attention to the matter…. shrug…he’s a politician, so who knows?

Go back two paragraphs…KNOW and OWN your audience, have a REAL message, keep it SIMPLE. ENGAGE your audience emotionally, FORCE THEM with the power of your words to REALLY LISTEN.

BTW. I’m no longer just a U2 fan; I’m an apostle for their music. If you ever get the chance, don’t miss them! Vertigo Tour schedule here:

Padraig Harrington
Saturday evening was magical, but Sunday night rounded off the weekend beautifully, as one of my heroes hit a 65-foot putt across a roller coaster green to score eagle and win his second golf tournament in America this year.

He’s one of my heroes for two reasons:
One: I admire his sheer work rate in lifting himself into the world’s Top Ten golfer’s list, although he is not blessed with as much natural talent as many others. Hard work and never knowing when to quit makes him an outstanding role model for anyone who wishes to reach their peak.
Two: He was reared and lives only a mile or two away from me, and a local hero is always good for bragging rights. You can meet him doing the shopping, or working on our local club (Stackstown) practice range, on his weeks off from the tour.

Read about Padraig’s wonderful amateur/ professional career here:
This included beating Tiger twice in a row (with Jody Fanagan, our best ever amateur not to turn professional) in the Walker Cup at Royal Portcawl, the last amateur tournament they both played before turning professional on the same day.

Persevere! Six back with five to play. Three back with three to play. An outrageous shot on the last hole and Padraig is the winner!

I am reminded of an appalling statistic (DTS Inc.) from a couple of years back in relation to sales people:
67% of Sellers give up after the third “No” from the buyer.
73% of Buyers only say “Yes” after the fourth “No”.

As sellers, we do not take enough “No’s” in our customer’s interests!
Persevere. Take as many “No’s” as you need to. Perhaps, as you are physically ejected from a seventh floor office window for your insistent persistence, you may say to yourself as you reach a falling speed of 23 feet per second, “I guess this means he’s not going to buy……………..TODAY”. Now that is high performance selling!

I know this blog is for sellers, and the connections I made may be tenuous, but I needed an excuse to write about U2 and Padraig. ;-))
"If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading."
Lao Tzu

Have a good week
Keep Selling!


Monday, June 13, 2005

Two Days in Three Minutes

“Don't worry about failure. Worry about the chances you miss when you don't even try.”
Staff writer, Wall Street Journal

He says, "What are the very best three tips in your "Selling Against Competition" sales programme, Maitiu?"
I say,"It's all important, nothing in our programme is superfluous."
"I know, I know. But-"
"But, if you don't remember anything else, there are three things that are absolutely essential. If you don't know these three things, and keep at them, you're dead!"

Here, now, for the first time ever, the Three Things You Must Know are revealed:

Ask lots of questions. Even if you don't know which type of question you're asking, keep asking. In successful sales calls, buyers always talk more than sellers.
  • Firstly, ask questions to discover what (s)he is doing( or not doing) at present, or what is happening in her business.
  • Then, probe to uncover her problems, and develop that until she is squeaking in pain!
  • Ask more questions designed to grow both the size and the urgency of the problem in her mind.
  • Then ask payoff questions to develop buyer awareness of the value of your solution.
But if you can't remember any of that, keep asking questions anyway. Let the buyers talk, and listen to what they tell you.
Always try to get a committment to move forward to the next step of the sale. Sales calls go nowhere unless the seller has a specific call purpose -BEFOREHAND. Then everything is geared to achieving that purpose during the call. Get a committment from the buyer to take an action that moves the sale forward. It could be introducing the seller to another decision maker in the account, agreeing to a demo, or arranging for the "teccies" from both companies to meet. On each sales call, aim for the highest level of agreement /commitment that you can realistically expect.
Influence decision criteria. It's NOT about the price! Whether they know it or not, buyers always have a list of criteria that they use to evaluate solutions. If the decision is being made by a committee, the list is likely to be a formal document with carefully considered rankings. This is one reason why the deepest discounter doesn't always win: Price is not the top priority for every buyer and every type of purchase. In major account selling, the ability to influence the buyer's criteria rankings is indispensable. If you can show the buyer that they have undervalued criteria in which you excel, you can change the rankings to make your solution more attractive.

The Three Things You Must Know are no substitute for training from a top-notch organisation that specialises in sales performance improvement. If you need the most effective skills and strategy training the industry has to offer, there is One Company Name You Must Know... ;-))

No Substitute for Sales Training
As you can see from reading this article, there are some quick ways to improve your selling. But to change your sales behaviours and achieve lasting success, there is no substitute for our
Unlock your Selling Mind Open Workshop......See details at In this intensive integrated 2-day course, you will learn the sales skills that will affect positive behaviour change - giving you the advantage in the sales world
....and if you are really good already, a sales coach can bring out your brilliance......Check this out.

"In the long run, a short cut seldom is."
Malcolm Forbes

Keep Selling!



Tuesday, May 24, 2005

"Good Enough" doesn't cut the mustard!

[Scroll to bottom of page for author information....THX]
"The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it."- Michelangelo
I hear these statements way too often:
From Sales Managers
"Well, my salespeople are seasoned."
"My sales reps are veterans."
"The people here are very experienced."
From Sales Representatives:
"I've been through training before."
"I've seen that stuff already"
"I've been in sales quite a while."
"I'm on target. I don't really need it."

Let me put it in another light. What if you heard the following?

From a Cardiac Surgeon
"I had a class on heart surgery once back in medical school. That's good enough."
From a Professional Footballer:
"I don't need to go to training, or practice free kicks and penalties before games. I've been playing for years."

Of course, those are all nonsense statements.
As are the ones from sellers and sales managers who believe they or their people are good enough.
The fact is, "Good Enough" does not win championships, or make people excellent or wealthy.
(And by the way, sales managers who think that experience alone makes for a good salesperson, think again. Experience measures attendance.
Accomplishment and results measures success, and continued learning ensures it…'s called Expertise)

So, what's my point this week?

You likely have not come close to reaching your potential as a sales professional. Few people have.
I know I haven't.
In order to accomplish more of what you're capable of,
I challenge you to look at your own "good enough" barrier and break through it, regardless of how high that bar is for you.
This invisible obstacle is what holds many people back.
Just when people begin approaching an opportunity to put in a little extra,
to invest in themselves, to seize a potential new achievement,
many hit this mental boundary and say to themselves, "That's good enough."

Good enough is when talented people don't fully develop their abilities.

Good enough is when service slips and customers complain.

Good enough is when sales professionals do what it takes to get by, but miss growth and commission opportunities in the process.

People who are satisfied with "Good Enough" cheat themselves, their family, their company, and their customers.

Action Step:
If you're serious about sales as a career--not just something you do to pay the bills-- take a serious look at what you're doing to improve your "sales health."

Sales is a science, a skill, and an art. It needs a continual intake of new information, and "perfect practice" of your skills in order to reach new levels.

Just when you're about to say, "This is good enough," push that barrier away. Go that extra bit.

Health experts suggest exercising 20-30 minutes at a time, 3-5 times per week.
If you invested an equal amount of time on your sales health ...reading, listening to tapes and CD's, attending seminars and sales network meetings, and even writing, you can accomplish things other people--with low "Good Enough" barometers--will never come close to reaching.

Let me recommend you examine
The Brain Audit, for some exciting ideas to revamp your sales thinking.

Keep selling!

Great Expectations Coaching Home Page:


Monday, May 09, 2005

Sell like a Brownie....Jessica for President!

Brownie Biscuits!”…

Brownie Biscuits!”…

Brownie Biiiiiiiscuiiiiiiits!”…

Those were the words being bellowed from beside the platform as I joined the queue for the LUAS a couple of weeks ago on my way from a meeting in central Dublin. I had no intention of buying as I walked past the table of screaming Brownies who were selling their homemade biscuits. But that all changed in an instant.

A young girl in a Girl Scout Brownie uniform started walking next to me. “Excuse me, ” she said politely. “How would you like to get a big welcome from the gang when you get home tonight?”

Of course I knew what she was getting at, but her original approach stopped me in my tracks....already the thought forming that I was looking at a youngster with a HUGE future in selling.

I replied, “Sounds good to me

She introduced herself as Jessica and asked if she could show me the different ways I could earn "the big welcome from the gang". (My gang at home is my beloved Sylvia, Hamish the Scottie, and Sky the "mongelar", but don't spoil the story by letting minor details get in the way). Jessica walked me back to the table and pointed to the Peanut Butter Sandwich, the Shortbread biscuits, and “the ones everybody likes, Blueberry Muffins.”

I said, “OK, I’ll take the muffins.”

“Great!” she replied with superb aplomb, “and what other type would you like?”

Okay", I said,"I’ll take the shortbread as well, but that’s all. How much are they?”

“Seven euro for both.”

As a test, I asked, “How about six euro?”

Sorry,” she replied. “Seven euro is my best price.”

I gave her the money and went on my way, completely impressed with the young lady’s selling skills.

Here are the sales principles that Jessica reinforced for all of us:

1.Go where the customers are. More passengers ride the Luas than any other commuter line in Dublin. Every three minutes between 4:00pm and 6:30pm, hundreds of Dublin commuters flood the terminal area on their way home.

Sales lesson: We must look for prospects in places where there is a high-percentage chance of finding qualified potential customers.

2.Fire a rifle, not a shotgun. Her pals who were yelling “Brownie Biscuits!” to the herd of commuters couldn’t effectively connect with individuals.....were annoying them more than anything. Jessica walked up to me, targeted me individually and landed the sale.

Sales lesson: Target an individual and tailor your message to him or her. Sending a sales letter to an “Operations Manager” will get few results.

3.Get attention with benefits. While her pals were asking, “Do you want to buy some Brownie Biscuits?” Jessica got my attention by having me envision "the big welcome" from my family.

Sales lesson: Your prospects are people who are thinking, “What’s in it for me?” Get their attention with a specific benefit that makes it impossible for them to ignore.

4.Use the Assumptive upsell. I had no intention of buying more than one bag until the little rip put the idea into my head with polite authority -and an Assumptive Close! Doing so doubled the amount of the sale.

Sales lesson: Once a customer commits to buying, always try to earn add-on sales.

5.Don’t negotiate price after the sale is made. I had already agreed to buy two bags and my wallet was in my hand. So why would "Salesperson of the Year" Jessica reduce her price and profits after the sale had already been made? And where did she learn this stuff?

Sales lesson: Of course, Irish Brownies don’t offer volume discounts, but salespeople everywhere make this mistake every day! Stay firm on your price especially after the customer has committed.

6. Brownie today, sales pro tomorrow Thirty minutes or so after Jessica made the sale, her promises became reality when I arrived home. Sylvia was happy to see me as soon as I walked in the door. But she was absolutely delighted to see the two bags of very edible muffins and biscuits in my hand.....son and grand daughter were on the way over to visit!

I'm accosted, as most of us are, by street sellers all the time, but I’ve yet to come across a street “salesperson” who sells as effectively as young Jessica. I have a feeling that one day she will have a career in professional sales and will be selling her sales targets through the roof.

And when that happens, you should just hope Jessica doesn’t go to work for one of your competitors!

PS. To answer an often asked question again.....YES, ANYONE can learn to sell! Whatever your position/ function you can sell. Check this out here Although it is written in relation to selling on the web it has many applications for all all types of selling.

Health & Blessings until next time.


GEC Home Page


Saturday, April 16, 2005

Overheard on the train - on a "Sell" phone

A Salesman, travelling from Cork to Dublin by train, placed a mobile phone call to his client to follow up on a possible order.

Let's listen to one side of the dialogue:
"Hi, This is ... I'm calling to check up on the project to see if I can be of any help in moving it forward and check on the status." (He listened to his client). "Well, I'd really like to see it move forward and help you. I think we could do a lot with your company," the Salesman continued. (He listened again to his client). "Well let me know if there is anything we can do."
To be honest, I eavesdrop on salespeople. I can't help it. I love them. It's a (healthy) obsession with me. He was sitting across the aisle from me, and it was impossible not to hear him. I pretended I wasn't earwigging..........

His next call really got my attention. This was a call to his colleague.
Let's listen to the seller's side of this conversation:
"I just called X and it doesn't look good. He told me it looks like the competitor is going to 'step up to the plate'-whatever that means -, and they were going with them." He listened for about one minute to his colleague and said, "Well, I didn't want to press him too much."

From the first conversation I had no idea this salesman had gotten such bad news. I did notice he was very polite in tone to both his client and to his colleague. But what was missing?
He missed a chance to 1) save the deal, and/or at least 2) gather competitive and client information. He needed to "press" a lot more than he did.

It was clear he had put in a proposal on a piece of business. I assume he had given time, resources, and ideas to this client. While a client may not choose us in spite of these things, we have the "right" to try to find out why they don't. Since this did not appear to be cast in stone yet, the salesman might have been able to save the opportunity or reposition himself to at least stay in the running.

At a minimum, he should have:
* Acknowledged what the client told him, showing some concern without being critical or defensive
* Asked what the client meant by the competitor "stepping up to the plate"
* Listened and drilled down - why, when, what will the competition do
* Asked how his contact feels about this direction with the competitor
* Asked where the other decision makers stood
* Positioned benefits/ideas
* Checked on where things really stood
* Ended on an action step - i.e., if the deal merited it, go and see the client and try to influence his/her colleagues - "I'd like to come out and see you ... this is so important to you ...I'd like to bring my sales manager with me..."

With acknowledgment and a positive tone and prefacing such as, "I know that the competitor not doing..(whatever)... was a concern to you. May I ask how the competitor is proposing to handle ... (the area where the competitor had not been able/willing earlier to provide the client need)?" The Seller may have gotten important informationthat cold have helped save the deal.

Clients expect to be asked "Why?" and "What?" when they tell you any important news.

In thinking about it, besides "pressing" in a consultative way, there was something else missing from the first phone call. There was absolutely no rapport with the client!

There was no brief client chat, no use of client's name, no benefits stated, and no request to see if it was a good time to speak with the client.

The learning points are that if there is a chance to win deals in a competitive marketplace, we must be more assertive, have established rapport, and make a second and third effort.

Research from DTS in the USA shows that 72% of sellers give up after the third objection, but that 68% of sellers only say "Yes" after the fourth objection!.

It's not easy to stay composed when you get bad news. As salespeople, it is important to be ready to acknowledge, question, and find a way to reposition.
When you get "bad" news, take a breath, remain consultative, and ask questions to find out why - and hopefully start to change the situation or at least gain competitive information.

If you really wish to stir up your selling juices and allow a breath of fresh air blow through your sales thinking, check out The Brain Audit here.

Health & Blessings until next time.
Keep Selling!

Maitiu User: maitiu Talk to me for free from anywhere in the world (GMT time zone)

Changing the World One Mind at a Time

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Selling & Sales: The Anatomy of Failure

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away". ~unknown.

Failed in Business - Bankruptcy, 1831
Defeated for Legislature, 1832
Sweetheart/Fiancee Dies, 1835
Nervous Breakdown, 1836
Defeated in Election, 1836
Defeated for U.S. Congress, 1843
Defeated again for U.S. Congress, 1846
Defeated once again for U.S. Congress, 1848
Defeated for U.S. Senate, 1855Defeated for U.S. Vice President, 1856
Defeated again for U.S. Senate, 1858

ABRAHAM LINCOLN...............Elected President of the U.S.A., 1861

There is NO job to compare with selling for the sheer amount of rejection that is built into it. No other occupation even remotely comes close.

If you are failing with what you are saying and doing in your selling or in your work at the moment, TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT!
Sounds obvious, but most sellers, in the light of failure, continue to do more of the same and fail more as a result....this stupidity is reinforced by sales managers....."Make more Calls"...."Push harder"....."Offer him another two percent off the price"....(Dear Lord, get me away from this please, I'm begging you). Quality not Quantity, is the solution you're looking for.

My advice:
Say something different!..."Like what?", you ask. Some suggestions:

1 Put your ego in your pocket. That's where the problem believe you know everything, or you think asking for help is a sign of failure. No Virginia, NOT asking for help is a sign of stupidity.
2 Go find three -four top sellers ( business sector doesn't matter) and ask them what they say to create their business...adapt and duplicate their "scripts".
3 Go to your nearest bookshop and purchase the first book on Selling Skills you meet. I'll bet there are several ideas in there to stimulate your thinking.
4 Visit I know there are dozens of interesting selling skills tips there.
5 Download Skype from and talk to me...and the rest of the of charge. The sound quality is brilliant and you can tap into endless will need a mic on your computer. My user name is : maitiu. If I'm in the office we'll talk and I'll guarantee you 4 -6 specific alternative approaches to your present (failing) one. Try me!
6 Trawl the web . There are millions of sites loaded with sales tips , articles, and selling methods..many of them cutting edge, and waiting to be tapped into.
7 Attend one of our excellent selling skills courses....;-))........see web site above. Been there? can you remember anythng you learned on a course five years ago....and the selling life has moved on big time since.
8 Ring me!...the next time you are "down and troubled, and you need a helping hand", the next time you have "blown it". ....whoever you are and whatever it is about....I answer my calls live when I'm available and I'll return your call if I am not.....and I promise you will get value from the call. And I love talking to new people.
9 Pass this to at least one of your colleagues( or to them all). Why should you be the only one to benefit? your good deed for the day....someone there will appreciate it and get a helping hand....and it will keep me happy as well.......and that's worth an awful lot to you, as I always honour my sponsors -and my parachute packers.
10 If you have tried ALL of the above and things are still not improving, get a job that does not involve selling.....but only after you have given it everything, your best, your blood.

Ok, number Ten is only a bit of fun. It will never happen!

"Luck is not chance; it's toil. Fortune's expensive smile is earned.'"
Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)American poet

Health & Blessings until next time. ...and Happy Easter

Maitiu User: maitiu

Changing the World One Mind at a Time

Friday, March 11, 2005

Who's Packing Your Parachute?

Not on a selling theme, but very thought provoking.........

Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison.
He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience. One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant in Washington, a man at another table came up and said, "You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters inVietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!"
"How in the world did you know that?" asked Plumb.
"I packed your parachute," the man replied.
Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked !"
Plumb assured him, "It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today."
Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, "I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 'Good morning, how are you?' or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor."
Plumb thought of the hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know.

Now, Plumb asks his audiences, "Who's packing your parachute?"

Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory -- he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety. Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognise people who pack your parachutes.
I am writing and sending you this as my way of thanking all of you for your part in packing my parachute.
And I hope you will send it on to those who have helped pack yours!.....Sometimes, for instance, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word. Maybe this could explain it: When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do -- you forward jokes. And to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get? A forwarded joke! So my friend, next time you get a joke, don't think that you've been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you've been thought of today and your buddy on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile, just helping you pack your parachute.

My Thanks to Tony Gordon -Allianz Dublin, for sending this to me originally.

Health & Blessings

More Inspirational Quotes Here

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Stats to provoke your thinking.

How much time and money do you invest in improving your selling skills?...(voice off: "Please, Maitiu, do you know how pricey training is?".....

Yes, I do, but the price of ignorance is FAR higher!

Check out these statistics and consider....

Half of what a seller knows is out of date in 3 -5 years.

Why do the top sellers in every business instantly volunteer for the next training seminar?

80% of novice sellers develop a fear of selling - leading to call reluctance -and fail because they do not know or understand the basics of selling.

Past experience of an industry and formal education have no relationship to success in the field of selling

Companies often include product training, motivation speeches, and and technical skills under the generic title of "Sales Training". Yet none of these will help you sell anything!

On - the -job training: 95% of on -the -job training is is conducted so incompetently ( the "Trainer" is not a trainer, he's a "Doer"), that the job job suffers considerably. Everyone agrees that it's the trainee's fault....but it isn't!

"Great sales people have the edge because they are able to let go of out-dated ideas".
Donald Trump.

How important is follow up and staying in touch? 82% of customers cite "Lack of care" as their reason for going over to the opposition.

Food for thought, Gentlefolks.

Until next time.


Changing the World One Mind at a Time

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

A Chilling Thought

Here's a chilling and sobering thought that has emerged from a book I'm reading at the monet, called "The New Era in Selling" by Thomas Freese.

"...By the time someone graduates from college, they have completed 17 years of formal education. But in that time, they didn't attend a single class on how to raise a child, and they haven't been taught the first thing about how to sell - which ironically, are two of the most important functions an adult will be asked to perform in their lifetime."

Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Health & Blessings,


Saturday, February 12, 2005

Death of a Salesman

“I realised that selling is the greatest career a man could want.”
Willy Loman
in "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller (died 11 Feb 2005)
Arthur Miller, whom the New York Times describes as "one of the great American playwrights whose work exposed the flaws in the fabric of the American dream," died yesterday in his home in Connecticut.
Miller wrote the classic "Death of a Salesman" in just six weeks in a shed in Connecticut. The play opened on Broadway in 1949, and that year won the Pulitzer Prize, the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, and six Tony Awards, including best play and best author for Miller, who was just 33 at the time. Tony-winning revivals premiered on Broadway in 1984 and 1999. The first production ran for over 700 performances.
"Death of a Salesman" has been translated into 29 languages and sold more than 11 million copies. Critics say it is likely to become one of only a few 20th century American plays to survive the 20th century, according to the Washington Post.
Dealing with both desperation and paternal responsibility, "Death of a Salesman" focused on a failed businessman as he tries to remember and reconstruct his life. Eventually killing himself to leave his son insurance money, the salesman seems a tragic character out of Shakespeare or Dostoevsky. Within a short while, it had been translated into over a dozen languages and had made its author a millionaire.
Miller’s astonishingly rich output includes “All My Sons” and “The Crucible”, but “Salesman” is his masterpiece.
If selling is your life, read the play or attend a perfomance if you get the opportunity. Lessons to be learned.
Read about my stunning new sales training programme for experienced sales people here:

Health & Blessings.


Monday, February 07, 2005

Top Ten all-time Persuasion Techniques/Selling Skills

This is quick and easy. I have compiled an e-course consisting of the Top Ten Persuasion & Selling skills....from my 23 years training sales people.

It will be ready for publication by the end of this month (February 2005). If you would like it delivered to your Inbox with my compliments on publication day, go here and add your name to the list of those already panting in anticipation!.... :-))

Simple...and I promise it will be worth your while.

Check out my web site in the meantime and see my style.
Health & Blessings


Changing the World One Mind at a Time

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A Great Expectations coaching Lesson from the New England Patriots

I was watching the New England Patriots vs the Pittsburg Steelers ( I love them!) American football game last weekend and heard something very interesting. And what I heard is so important to your success thatI want to share it with you.

Let me give you some background info and then we'll move forward. The New England Patriots have been one of the most successful American football teams in the last ten years having won two Super Bowls. This game was important because the winner gets to the Super Bowl in two weeks time.

Here's what happened. The score at halftime was 24-3 . New England was winning and dominating the game. How easy would it have been for the players to start thinking about the Super Bowl? How easy would it have been for the players to come out 'flat' in the 2nd half, to stop playing hard, thinking they'd already won? This happens so many times to teams in this situation.

When the 2nd half was about to start, the announcer commented on what the New England coach had said to his players at halftime. When I heard this, I wrote it, I don't know where he got his information from. Here's what the 2-time Super Bowl Champion coach said to his players during halftime when they were winning 24-3. Write this down. He said, "Concentrate on the next play." Let me say that again, "Concentrate on the next play."

"Maitiu, how does that relate to me?" Here's how! So many people out there that are trying to improve their lives, are focusing on targets so far ahead of them and never accomplishing them. They're focusing on 20 "plays" later.

So what happens is this: Fear comes in. Challenges come in and most people quit.

Here's what I do: I focus on my next action step. I make my targets smaller.
I go faster by going 'slower'. I gather momentum. I "concentrate on the next play".

Do you see any reason why you shouldn't 'buy in' to this philosophy? The Patriots are playing next weekend for their 3rd Super Bowl in less than a decade. Their coach who gave them this advice is arguably one of the top 5 coaches of all time.

***Concentrate on your next play.*** Focus on it. Accomplish it.

This advice works, if you work it.

Read about my stunning new sales training programme for experienced sales people here:

Health & Blessings.


Acknowledgement to Mike Litman -

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Sales Coaching: Resolutions or Committments?

Now that the annual nonsense of New Year Resolutions is finished, time to take a look at making something really happen for yourself and your selling during 2005. Read on and pay attention, I'll be asking questions later....and these thoughts apply even if selling is not your are your business.

#1 Go for only THREE things

When you returned to work, turkeyed out, and you made your list of "Things To Do"for 2005, did you get palpitations at the sheer number of items you noted? If you surveyed the year ahead thoroughly, you maybe had 50 -100 items listed....panic!......"I'll never get all that done"...."This will kill me"..."Where do I start?"
Can I suggest you start again and look at it in a different way?
Note down only THREE things you are going to accomplish this year. Make them stretching for yourself , but not OTT. This will generate various sub-lists of "bites"of the work you need to tackle, but mentally you are certain of what you are trying to accomplish, and you see where the "bites" fit into your big picture.....the bites have meaning, give you purpose, and consequently give you a sense of satisfaction as you tick them off your list.

And perhaps one of those things should be to consider our new Sales Development programme specifically designed for experienced sellers. "Unlock Your Selling Mind"is revolutionary. You will never see your prospects, customers, and clients in the same light again...Guaranteed.

To read the Introduction to this Unique new workshop, click on this link:

To read the Introduction to this Unique workshop, click on this link: Unlock Your
Selling Mind

#2 Reduce Your Targets!

You'll be so lucky...;-))....What I mean is that we often set ourselves a target that is way beyond what we are presently hitting, and Mt. Everest appears in front of us. It's pointless to set yourself a monthly personal sales target of €50K if your present performance level hovers around €30K per month. Yet I frequently see sellers attempting this Himalayan feat in the burning light of a bright new year.

Be sensible........15%- 25% is a reasonable growth rate to aspire to and stretches you, but is achievable and will give you that satisfied feeling you live for. Just suppose you increased your yearly sales by 15% each year for the next few years. What level would your business have reached at the end of year five?....I'l take that, thank you very much.

#3 Go for Mars, not the Moon!

Sounds like a contradiction of #2?....not really. Let me tell you a story.......
Back in the early 1980's when I first set up my own training company, we were firmly in "Death Valley Curve" ( Harvard Business School gave this name to the first three years in a start-up flowing out far faster than it is coming in as you build your business to break even).
A friend with an original mind suggested this idea to me. I called in my three sellers and challenged them with, "What would we need to do to invoice four times as much as usual next month?". When their laughter subsided they realised I was serious. Monthly invoicing was running at £10K per month- those were the days when a punt was a punt -and I made the reward deal tasty enough for them to look at each other, and I could see the cogs of their small but beautifully formed minds beginning to wonder how much of the reward they could claim.
What happened next was quite extraordinary...they contacted every lead they ever had logged, they contacted "orphans", they became really creative is gaining decisions and committments, they covered each other (the reward was both individual and team based), they pulled monkeys out of hats where there weren't even hats.......

Alas, at the end of a frantic month they didn't reach their target. They didn't reach the £40 K bulleye. But they did reach £36K! 360% over the normal in four weeks!....God, I love sales people....they can be awkward, stubborn, sarcastic of head office staff, a pain in the butt sometimes...but they are magnificent and hugely talented when challenged....What?....Of course they got their reward! Their efforts made a huge difference to cash -flow and that was the last time we bottomed out.....MacCabe Training became a legend in it's own lunchtime and twenty three years later has evolved into Great Expectations Coaching and is firmly established as a market leader in it's home territory of the Republic of Ireland, with clients and associates in UK, Holland, Switzerland and Kenya.

On an irregular basis afterwards, I'd spring a similar challenge and the sellers loved it. If they thought the gap between had been too long, they were known to bring the matter up at sales meetings on at least two occasions. Don't you just love them?

You too can do with "Can Do".

Good luck for 2005 and may you be (modestly) embarrassed by the increase in your sales at the end of the year.


Read this revealing introduction: Unlock Your Selling Mind

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Season's Greetings from your Business Coach

My apologies for the dearth of entries in the past few days....Christmas preparations and getting coaching/ training materials ready for early January caught up with me.

As your thoughts turn to 2005 after the Christmas feasting, check my web site site for some inspiring ideas to get your juices going. You 'll find it at :

And try this Inspiring Quotations page for some reflections to meditate on:

In the meantime, Health & Blessings to all of you during this Christmas season.

And a sincere "Thanks" to all of you for your unfailing support during the year.

(Next post - early January)

Happy Christmas!.