Category Archives: attitude

You “Gotta” Believe, Or Else…

Frank Edwin “Tug” McGraw Jr. was a Major League Baseball relief pitcher and the father of country music singer Tim McGraw.

He is likely best remembered for two things… recording the final out, via a strikeout, in the 1980 World Series, bringing the Philadelphia Phillies their first world championship… and his pithy quote referenced in the title above, “You Gotta Believe!”

Belief is a big factor in sales, sales management and, for that matter, any form of business or institutional leadership. We all must believe in ourselves, in our organizations, and that the job can be done.

Sales professionals must believe in the products and services they sell, and also that organizational leadership will support what they’re selling.

Sales managers and leaders must believe in the same things, and also in their team’s ability to do the job.

These beliefs are contagious.

But so too is the lack of belief!

Therefore, whether we are sales managers, team supervisors, group leaders, department heads or business owners, we should carefully question our dis-beliefs, because if we doubt our team’s ability to do the job; if we have second-thoughts about their dedication or loyalty to the cause; if we second-guess each move they make; if we have no faith in them, then it will show.

Even worse, it will show in their performance, because they will sense the doubt and become paralyzed by the fear of ridicule or worse; and it will filter-through to their families and friends, to our clients and prospects, and, ultimately, to the marketplace.

Our belief, or lack thereof, cannot be masked; so as leaders we might do well to consider our true beliefs and make a conscious effort to either develop an honest belief in our work force or develop a work force in-which we believe; and then we must find ways to express that belief each and every day.

The positive results might truly be surprising!

As the late Zig Ziglar once said, “A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.”

“A” is for Attitude

Selling is a people business.

People buy from people, and most often, from people that they like. But what makes one sales rep more likable than the next? Surely all, or at least most sellers try to be likable!

Attitude makes the difference.

A positive attitude is not only easily recognizable, but it’s catchy.

Sellers who possess truly positive attitudes “assume the sale.” They honestly expect the best from customers and prospects, and they offer their personal best as well.

Positive people tend to react to things positively as well and, more importantly, tend to bring about positive reactions from others.

Possibly W.W. Ziege summed-it-up best when he said,  “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal. Nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

Thought on the Value of Failure…

Thomas J. Watson built a worldwide industry during his 42 years at IBM, where he served as CEO and Chairman. He was a pioneer in the development of accounting and computing equipment used today by business, government, science and industry.

Starting out as a bookkeeper at age 18, he went on to sell sewing machines and musical instruments, and then joined National Cash Register (NCR) as a salesman.

Eventually Watson worked his way up to general sales manager at NCR, inspiring the sales force with the motto, “THINK,” which later became a widely known symbol of IBM.

Watson developed IBM’s management style and corporate culture from his training at NCR, and turned the company into a highly-effective selling organization. To the surprise of many, one of his most famous sayings was, “If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.”

Selling Change

It’s all new!

The latest… new and improved!

It’s an updated, enhanced formula, just released!

Hot off the press, the newest style!

Less fat, more protein, superior quality, finer taste…

Easier to use, better, more comfortable, more efficient…

At one time or another all of these phrases have been used to sell products or services, and they all promote the same thing — change.

It would seem the marketplace must like change or marketers wouldn’t flaunt it; change, therefore, must be good — right?

What’s Good Can Be Bad — “If it ain’t broke…”
But of course change is not always perceived as being good.In their daily quest for new customers, sales people constantly struggle to overcome buyers’ comfort with the status-quo.  In organizations of all types people tend to look with fear, uncertainty, and doubt (the FUD factor!) at new policies and procedures, and look with deep concern at new compensation plans or updated benefits programs; and people at all levels regularly cringe at the suggestion that there might be a different or better way to do their jobs!

In the day-to-day real world, change most often promotes uncertainty, doubt, fear, resentment or loss, and this is not news.  The concept of “creative destruction” — an economic theory based on the premise that new ideas inevitably bring about the demise of older (more comfortable) ones — was popularized way back in the early nineteen hundreds by Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter.

Yet without change comes stagnation and potential loss. Current-day examples include Xerox in copiers or Polaroid in instant photography, each experiencing significant declines in market share and profits as competitors introduced new and improved, lower-cost alternatives.

The cassette tape replaced the eight-track, but was then outdone by the compact disc, which was undercut by MP3 players… and the list can go on.

If we’re to learn from these examples, then we must accept the fact that change — either in the form of innovation, continuous improvement or both — is a critical component of growth and ongoing success. Without innovation and change we run the risk of losing our competitive position, or worse.

“Whatever made you successful in the past won’t in the future,” said the late Hewlett Packard CEO Lew Platt.

But if people tend to resist change as previously noted, how might managers or business owners best go about getting the team to accept it — to buy in? How can we help people more readily embrace improvement programs, try new protocols, accept new pricing models or generally believe in the up-side of change?

Simply stated, we must sell it!

Just like the sales and marketing experts who create the “new and improved” ad copy, slogans and selling presentations, we must sell the concept of change to our team members and sales force before trying to present or roll-out new policies, procedures, campaigns, programs or plans.

And just like any sales mission, this will require forethought and planning.

We might start by identifying how the team will benefit from a proposed change. What’s in it for them? What are the consequences of not changing? What will it cost? What opportunities might we lose?

What’s the competition doing?

The next step is to determine how to properly position a proposed change. Since we know there is a tendency toward defensiveness, it’s important to make people understand that they are not the problem.  In other words, a change in policy or approach need not mean that the team has been doing things the wrong way.  Rather, it means the world is changing and we must change too, lest we fall behind.

Finally, once the presentation is made and the new “whatever” is launched, there must be follow-up and assessment. Has everything worked as we’d hoped? Should we modify the new plan? Are there unforeseen consequences?  While we don’t want to send a message indicating we’re not resolved to the new program or approach, it is also a good idea to let everyone know we’re fair and open-minded — that at the end of the day we’re all on the same side.

Change may be unsettling, but without it our futures are at risk; and there are clearly ways to minimize the negative effects. It will require effort, planning and persistence, as behaviors and attitudes are not easily influenced.

Margaret Thatcher may have summed it up best when saying, “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it!”

The Winner?

cards_on_the_table_400_clr_14651“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal. Nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” W.W. Ziege

Selling is a people business. People buy from people, and most often, from people that they like. But what makes one sales rep more likable than the next? Surely all, or at least most sellers try to be likable!

Attitude makes the difference.

A positive attitude is not only easily recognizable, but it’s catchy. Sellers who possess truly positive attitudes honestly expect the best from customers and prospects, and they offer their personal best as well. They tend to react to things in an upbeat way and, more importantly, tend to bring about positive return reactions.

Every sales person and every sales manager should recognize the importance of developing and maintaining such an attitude within themselves and within their organizations.

A final testimonial to this discipline is a poem, author unknown, entitled The Winner. The final verse:

Life’s battles don’t always go
to the stronger or faster man;
but sooner or later the man who wins
is the fellow who thinks he can.

What is the One Thing Your Organization Has That No One Else Has?

glueWe frequently ask sales teams to answer this simple question:

“What’s the one thing your company has that none of your competitors have, nor would they claim to have?”

At first people rack-their-brains to identify that illusive feature… “Ease of use!” or “Simple integration!” or “Exceptional support!” or “An extra whatever…”

But these answers are not correct… because competitors most likely have, or at least claim to have the same things.

The correct answer is always the same… YOU are the one thing that is truly unique… the one thing that can not ever be duplicated by anyone!

Our competitors will all claim to have similar or better things to offer; they will talk about “high quality products, excellent technical support, the latest technology, great customer service, return on investment, on-time delivery, guarantees, the best of the best…, and so on, and so on.”

In one of his daily sales tips, author Jack Falvey states, “If you’re part of the sale, there’s no such thing as a commodity!”

He goes on to explain that our product or service becomes a commodity purchase only if we declare it so; because if we are part of every sale, our product or service is automatically differentiated and becomes unique (and worth paying a premium for!).

So the real question is, what can YOU add to every transaction… to every proposal or quote?

Whatever it is, it does NOT need to be tangible. We’re not suggesting an extra discount or a “throw-in.” Rather, what can YOU add that is truly unique?

  • Better analysis?
  • Better advice?
  • Convenience?
  • Superior buying experience?
  • Honest interest?
  • Faster turnaround?
  • An extra set of eyes?
  • A conversation with a support expert?
  • A referral to solve an unrelated problem or satisfy a different need?
  • Preparation of documents…?

Obviously the answers will vary depending upon your buyer’s needs, interests and priorities . But if we consistently probe to determine what “little extra” they might value and make sure it is part of our value proposition, we will then differentiate ourselves and our offer from all others.

The Power of Passion!

passion1Several past posts have focused on the subject of “passion” because it is arguably the ultimate path to differentiation.

When a person is passionate about their work or an activity it has a profound impact on others – whether they are customers, prospects or colleagues.

Passion is powerful! It is contagious; it promotes credibility and buy-in. It shows that we care!

Passion sells!

In a recent article posted on salesnexus.com,  author Craig Klein asks, “What’s Your Passion?”

In the article Klein references a very inspiring book which we also recommend; it is entitled “The War of Art“ by Steven Pressfield, and it shares some excellent perspective on achieving goals and unleashing our passion.

In it Pressfield quotes W.H. Murray of The Scottish Himalayan Expedition: “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it.  Begin it now.”

As Klein points-out, the idea is not to fall victim to procrastination. “Start today.  Even if you’re not sure you’ve chosen the right path. The best way to know for sure is to begin the journey.”

Cory Treffiletti, President of California-based Catalyst S+F, seems to have had a similar perspective when he suggested adding a “fifth P” to the four basic principles of marketing, which are commonly referred to as the four “P’s” — Product, Price, Placement and Promotion.

The “fifth P,” Treffiletti suggests, is what unites a community and motivates individuals; the “fifth P” inspires desire and instills loyalty; it encourages word-of-mouth.

The “fifth P,” Treffiletti says, is passion!

While this final example may be a bit “over the top,” I’m thinking you will agree it’s hard to ignore the obvious passion exhibited by “the tambourine guy” in the video below.

videoicon

The reference was made in a LinkedIn article by Dana Therrien, at SiriusDecision, who suggests, “No matter what your part is, and whatever band you play in, be exceptional, be passionate and try to have some fun. Isn’t that what we all want to do? We all want to work somewhere where we can feel free to be expressive, where things are interesting, where people are creative, and where all the players bring out the best in one another by knowing and performing their parts.”

Selling Attitude!

attitude2“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal. Nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” W.W. Ziege

Selling is a people business. People buy from people, and most often, from people that they like. But what makes one sales rep more likable than the next?

Surely all, or at least most sellers try to be likable!

Attitude makes the difference.

Read the full article…

Confidence Can Be Very Catchy… Or Not!

confidenceConfidence is a big factor in sales, sales management and, for that matter, any form of business or institutional leadership. We all must believe in ourselves, in our organization, and that the job can be done.

Sales professionals must believe in the products and services they sell, and also that organizational leadership will support what they’re selling.

Sales managers and leaders must believe in the same things, and also in their team’s ability to do the job.

These beliefs are contagious.

But so too is the “lack of belief!”

Therefore, whether we are sales managers, team supervisors, group leaders, department heads or business owners, we should carefully question our dis-beliefs, because if we doubt our team’s ability to do the job; if we have second-thoughts about their dedication or loyalty to the cause; if we second-guess each move they make; if we have no faith in them, then it will show.

Even worse, it will show in their performance because they will sense the doubt and become paralyzed by the fear of ridicule or worse; and it will filter-through to their families and friends, to our clients and prospects, and, ultimately, to the marketplace.

Read the full article…

Step Outside-the-Box for Personal Growth & Achievement

boxSales professionals, sales managers, and business owners all share the need to maintain consistent personal development.

Many speak of stepping outside of one’s “comfort zone” as being a requirement for growth and skill development.

But as we all know, most of us do not readily embrace change, even when we are well-aware of the potential gain!

In a recent PULSE article,  Dr. Travis Bradberry, coauthor of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and President at TalentSmartexplains that the very act of stepping outside of our comfort zone is critical to our success and well-being.

“Our brains are wired such that it’s difficult to take action until we feel at least some stress and discomfort,” Bradberry writes. “In fact, performance peaks when we’re well out of our comfort zone.”

Maybe, as Bradberry suggests, it might be easier for us to step outside-of-the-box if we took smaller steps?

Here are some of the “little steps” he lists — which qualify as examples of not only as stepping out of our comfort zone, but also as potential catalysts leading to greater levels of personal growth and success:

  • Get up earlier
  • Meditate
  • Focus on and achieve one “impossible” goal
  • Volunteer
  • Talk to someone you don’t know
  • Bite your tongue!

“Staying in our comfort zone means stagnation,” Bradberry says. “Just as an oyster only makes a pearl when it’s irritated by a grain of sand, no one has ever accomplished anything remarkable when comfortable.”