Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The ABCs of Sales - F is for Freedom

F is for Freedom

Successful sales professionals are granted amazing flexibility and freedom in regards to time and money. When a salesperson is a top performer they have a lot of leeway in how they occupy their work hours. Since many who sell work remotely they are not being observed by bosses and co-workers in an office setting. If they meet or exceed quota and choose to take an afternoon to attend a kids soccer game, nobody would ever question their actions.  

Those who are the best at selling are often well compensated.  Sales professionals who are great at their jobs are among some of the highest paid people in any company, and the best never have to worry about finding a new job.  If you can sell, then there is a company out there who will hire you quickly. It is not uncommon for sales people to be hired away by bigger companies with larger compensation packages, because finding those who can and will do the work to sell are hard to find.  Smart companies cherish and honor their sales teams and financially reward them.

Thus sales people have unprecedented control of their own lives. Like an entrepreneur who has their own business, those in sales call the shots if they are successful. They are not expected to do their work in the office as people in other careers, and so nobody sees what they do minute to minute. If they work from home they don't even need to get dressed unless they have face to face appointments.  

But this freedom can backfire on those who are not disciplined. New sales professionals are often not prepared for the flexibility in their schedule and can easily to slip into bad habits that are not conducive for sales success.

Without supervision some can abuse these freedoms and fall into patterns where they are not prospecting and thus not getting enough leads in their pipeline.  How a salesperson deals with their freedom, and lack of direct oversight from managers, is usually a key indicator to how they will succeed over their career.  

Personal responsibility and getting the job done is what brings the real freedom. To let the flexibility of ones schedule take the lead will end up in mediocre or failure. There is a lot of responsibility to being a successful sales person.

The peak performers are disciplined in how they attack their daily schedule.  They do not let their personal freedoms undermine the routine of prospecting and selling activities, and thus they are the ones who end up with the most flexibility in their lives over time.  

The key is to not embrace the freedoms as a perk, but to let them become your badge of honor after you have reached the top. Freedom for sales people does not mean free time.  

Thom Singer is a keynote speaker and professional master of ceremonies.  He talks regularly to corporate audiences in competitive industries that are sales focused and whose people are seeking success.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The ABCs of Sales - E is for Ethics

E is for Ethics

Salespeople are often lampooned as being sleezy, schmoozy, pushy, and not always ethical in getting people to buy their products or services.  While the cliche image of a used car sales person brings with it many negative connotations, actually most car sales professionals that I have met do not fit this stereotype. The reality is that the majority of people who sell for a living are driven to bring value to their customers.

If you work in sales, or are responsible for new business development to keep your company operating, then there can be a lot of pressure on your to make a sale. While it may sometimes seem tempting to stretch the truth in getting a prospect to buy, the best sales people operate from a strong code of ethics.  They know that a single sale is not as important as their reputation or that of their company. 

While some might argue that this topic goes without saying, it is always a good reminder. In a competitive environment there are always desires to win at all cost. The reality is that the best victories in business are win / win / win, which means the buyer wins, the seller wins, and the ongoing relationships wins.  If you ever cross an ethical line, then nobody really wins at all.

If your industry or company has a written code of ethics then the policy is spelled out clearly. However, most people are not working under a published code of conduct.  Thus, we each need to set our own rules for where we draw the line.  

A company I know was once asked to pay a secret commission to someone in order to win a big deal, and they would not do it.  Later their competition was exposed for inappropriate conduct and sanctioned.  By not doing things they knew to be wrong, they saved themselves a lot of headaches down the line.

The best rule of thumb is that if your actions were to be published in the New York Times, would you be proud of the article.  If you get into grey areas and you would not want your friends and relatives to know what you did, then do not do it.

Always treat clients, prospects, competitors, vendors, and others with  respect.  In too many industries people change jobs and have a way of circling back into your life.  If you have not behaved appropriately along the way then it will come back to bite you. 

Never misrepresent your product or service and do not lead the buyer to believe things that are not true about any part of the transaction. Be true to your own set of morals and remember that being in sales should never feel dirty.  If you think what you are saying or doing is somehow wrong, it probably is not right.

Success is a long journey. Never let short term gains let you damage your future position with your company or in your community.  Always remember to behave in an ethical manner as a sales person and you can make a lot of money and sleep soundly at night. 


Thom Singer is a keynote speaker and professional master of ceremonies.  He talks regularly to corporate audiences in competitive industries that are sales focused and whose people are seeking success.

The ABCs of Sales - D is for Daily

D is for Daily

If you want to be successful in selling your product or service, you must be actively cultivating relationships and prospecting every single day.  Each day you should be adding people to your list of contacts and having conversations with people to clarify if they are a good prospect.

The problems that sales professionals face is that in today's online and mobile crazy world, it is very easy to get distracted.  Too many have fallen into the belief that posting on social media is active prospecting.  The reality is that social media is a "best effort communication tool", so just because you posted it, you have no way of knowing if the right people saw your message.  A tweet has a lifespan of less than 30 minutes, so if your prospects are not on the app at the exact right time, they will never see your message.  Facebook and LinkedIn are no better.

There have always been distractions, and long before there was social media there were things that popped up that kept sales people from prospecting.  Paperwork, internal meetings, servicing existing clients, research, networking events, etc... all have a way of moving your attention away from the important task of reaching out to those who can buy from you.  

In the long run, if you are not filling your pipeline on a regular basis you will find that there will be little new business in the future.

The best way to stay on top of your prospecting for new clients is to do it every single day. Looking for clients is not a part-time job, it is the main thing you must do if you are in sales. I found the best way to do this is to dedicate a certain amount of time each morning to the process of making calls and sending out direct email.  The phone and email are better ways to communicate than social media, as you are fairly certain they get seen.  These used to be more effective, as not many people screen their calls and send unknown emails to spam folders, but they are still the best way to reach people.

Your outreach should be a combination of cold and warm calls.  Cold calls send chills up the spine of many outbound sales people and they proclaim they do not work.  But those who prospect regularly know that sometimes you connect with the right person at the exact right moment, and that brings in real business.  Warm touches are to people who already know you or to whom you have a referral or other connection.  These also will pay off when you find common ground.

And do not give up.  A single call or email might be ignored, but over time many people will respond if you are persistent.  By making a commitment to make a certain number of calls or to work the phones and email for a specified time frame, you will eventually see the results.  

To be successful you need daily habits and you must be committed to taking the necessary actions.  If you do not do it at the assigned time, it will not get done.  Without focus on doing your prospecting everyday it becomes too easy to push it off again and again until suddenly you are way behind on your sales target.

The good news is that daily routines are the easiest thing you can change in your sales career.  If you are not seeing the results you need, upping your consistency to prospecting will almost always help you turn the corner.  Daily activity is paramount to your success.


Thom Singer is a keynote speaker and professional master of ceremonies.  He talks regularly to corporate audiences in competitive industries that are sales focused and whose people are seeking success.

The ABCs of Sales - C is for Closing

C is for Closing

Closing a sales is often regarded as the most important step in the sales process. While it is my belief that getting the conversation started with legitimate prospects is the most important, clearly closing a sale matters. We must move the process along to the signed contract signed if we want to make money.

The saying often tossed around when discussing the closing of sales is "A-B-C",  This means "Always Be Closing" and was made famous in the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross.  Alec Baldwin's character, Blake, spells it out for the salespeople on his team that only one things matters: Getting them to sign on the dotted line.  (the character Blake is also famous for telling one of his salesmen to put the coffee down, as "Coffee is for closers").  The scene in the movie is a classic, but Baldwin's portrayal of Blake is very gruff, and gives sales professionals a bad name.  

While closing is not the only skill a sales person must have, it is important.  Too many people simply market their services and never ask for the business.  They think that the prospect understands the sales process and will move to buying their products when they are ready.  Too many live in fear of being seen as pushy, so the never ask for the sale.  

Asking for business is not pushy. If you have built rapport with your prospective client and you have earned the right to ask them to buy from you, then it is your responsibility to wrap up the sales process.  Closing the sale and getting the signed deal, or hearing "no" and putting closure to the conversation is the natural ending to the journey that the sales professional goes on with the prospect. 

To understand when to close a sale you must have been preparing for winning the business from before you first conversation. Every customer is different, which means you have to be paying attention to their interest levels and any signals they are displaying which will lead you to knowing they are serious about doing business with you.  A good sales person is always observing everything from what is said to the prospects body language. 

Every meeting should close with an ending that includes the "ask" as to what are the next steps.  You should never leave a business conversation without a closing question.  Early in the process that might be permission to send more information, or an agreed upon next step.  But eventually you need to say the words that ask them to become your client.  This should not be scary, but instead exciting.

Top sales people are naturally excited by getting people to buy their product. They communicate how their solution to a clearly defined need is a good fit for the client. This is all part of a process and when the client signs the contract everyone in the room should be happy. Enthusiasm and a smile are extremely valuable when asking for business, as you want to make sure the other person feels good about their decision. 

While there is more to winning sales than having a closing technique, all sales people should be conscious of the importance of the close.  


Thom Singer is a keynote speaker and professional master of ceremonies.  He talks regularly to corporate audiences in competitive industries that are sales focused and whose people are seeking success.

Monday, August 29, 2016

The ABCs of Sales - B is for Bold

B is for Bold

A career in sales is not for the faint of heart. To achieve success as a sales professional a person must take action everyday. Every salesperson will hear "no" far more often than they will hear "yes" from prospective clients, and that is okay.  Accepting defeat and disappointment and then charging forward to the next opportunity is a normal day for those who sell. Top producers hate to be rejected as much as anyone, but that does not stop them from making calls. Top producers are bold.

Confident and courageous are common personality traits of people who spend a lifetime selling products and services.  Those who achieve success in sales believe in their products and in their own abilities.  They are not scared of losing because they know they belong in the lead.

Countless people who try their hand at sales either struggle or wash out of their selling jobs. Having a quota means you can never hide from your own performance. Anyone who has been in a sales career knows that the numbers matter and are always on display for everyone in your company to see.  Comparing success in other roles may be subjective, but for sales people their monthly numbers are black and white. 

When you rely on sales for your paycheck, your future is always at risk. For those who work for companies, they will not carry under performing salespeople for very long.  If you work for yourself you have to have new business opportunities or you will not remain in business. 

If we put a typeface in bold letters we do so for the word to stand out on a page.  Sales professionals who are bold also stand out from their competition.  There is a lot of noise out there and most customers have a plethora of choices on which vendors to utilize for any product  or service.  The ones who stand out get the call backs and eventually win the business.  

In your selling efforts I suggest you embrace the idea of being bold. Look at your actions and examine your internal dialogues to make sure you are not being timid.  Do not hide from making contact with prospects, customers and referral sources.  Show them your dedication to succeeding in providing them with the best service and continue to find ways to get the attention of buyers.  

Bold is a state of mind that will lead you to winning more business.


Thom Singer is a professional master of ceremonies and keynote speaker.  He talks regularly to corporate audiences that are sales focused and in competitive industries.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The ABC's of Sales - A is for Aspirations

A is for Aspirations

Every successful sales professional has an eager desire to achieve more in their life.  They are seeking something greater or aim to produce high value in their career and life.  To get up everyday and achieve results they have to aspire to success, as selling is a difficult and often disappointing way to earn a living.   

These goals to reach personal heights are not just limited to those in careers with "sales" in their job description.  The most successful people realize they are on a sales team no matter what their role in their company.  The truth is everyone is in "sales", even if their only product is themselves.  We all must sell ourselves everyday to our bosses, clients, co-workers, friends, family, etc....  Those who are not consciously looking for ways to improve are missing out on countless future opportunities.

"Sales" often is misunderstood and gets a bad rap in our society.  The image of the "used car salesperson" has negative connotations, and many shy away from wanting to be seen as "selling".  They use terms like "business development" or "account manager" to describe themselves, as if sales professionals are lepers.  

However, without sales there is no business.  Every organization (except apparently for governments) must have income that exceeds expenses if they intend to continue operations.  In highly competitive industries, the sales people are celebrated and well compensated because it is understood that they are driving the business. 

Companies that do not understand the importance of sales will often not hire the most aggressive and talented sales people, and when they do get a superstar they fail to keep them engaged in the company and the person moves on to greener pastures.  Having mediocre sales people means nobody in the company can ever reach their potential.  All companies should aspire to have top level sales teams, and treat them well.

Small business owners and solopreneurs often forget they themselves are in sales. Often they see themselves in the role of delivering their product or service, but without sales they have no business.  Getting clear about the importance of sales and doing what it takes to drive new business is the first step toward a sustainable company.

For an individual contributor, selling more means earning more money.  Sales professionals income should never be capped, as those who are the best at selling will continue to chase their personal goals and try to break personal and company records.  While money is not everything, it is an important benchmark for sales professionals.  

If you are reading this and you are in a sales career, what are your goals?  What do you aspire to earn this year? Be clear and think big.  Create a picture of what you want to achieve and then reverse engineer the steps you need to take to reach your goals. Let your aspirations be a guiding beacon that keeps working hard everyday.  Those who know what they want and how to get there are rarely disappointed when they lose a sale.  They know there is another one coming and that their focused actions will move them ahead. 


Thom Singer is a professional master of ceremonies and keynote speaker.  He talks regularly to corporate audiences that are sales focused and in competitive industries. 

Monday, August 01, 2016

10 Steps To Sales Success

Spending a lot of time working on my business.  To be successful as a solopreneur you have to be a sales person first (this is true for any entrepreneur - if you can't sell you go hungry). 

I cannot be a professional speaker and master of ceremonies if I do not have clients.  Same is true if you are a lawyer, accountant, consultant, coach, etc...  No matter what we do for a living we must develop new business.

Sales drives all business.

I have identified the ten things I must do go acquire new customers. They are not easy, but they must be done.

For me, if I can get past number one and number two I almost always win the business.  The hardest part is getting the attention of someone who can hire me and making them take notice of my services.

My list of steps to sales success:

1. Get prospective client to know you exist

2. Get prospect to go to website and watch video

3. Establish connection and relationship

4. Understand outcomes they desire from their event

5. Demonstrate unique value I bring when I speak

6. Proposal of my services

7. Overcome concerns / objections

8. Negotiate the final deal

9. Close / Get contract signed

10. Follow up and customize program

What are the steps you have to take to win business?  Take the time to identify what you must do, and then decide what areas you are good at, and what steps you need others to help you with in order to grow you company.  

Have A Great Day

thom singer