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Mark Twain & Selling Success

by Mark Bowser

I came across an interesting quote the other day from Mark Twain. At first, it seemed just humorous. As I began to ponder it though, I realized it was filled with depths of perspective for the world of selling. Mr. Twain said, “I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn’t know.”

Now, what does this mean for us and our sales success? I heard one time that “I don’t know” is the first sign of wisdom. Why is this true? Well, because it starts a searching process. When you don’t know the answer then you have to seek the answer. By so doing, you find the truth, the reality. Former business leader at GE Jack Welch was famous for walking into meetings and asking “What is the reality here?” Sales professionals have to ask the same type of questions. What is the reality with this prospect? What is the reality of my performance? What is the reality of the competition?

I believe that far too often sales professionals, business leaders, and politicians are afraid to say “I don’t know.” What are you afraid of? That you will lose the business? That you will be seen as vulnerable, weak, ignorant, or even worse? But remember, “I don’t know” is the first sign of wisdom. Wisdom on how to solve the prospect’s challenge. And that is the whole point of selling.

The only problem with saying “I don’t know” is if you leave it there. Don’t leave the person in no man’s land. Instead say, “I don’t know, but I will find out and let you know.” This is the mark of the true sales professional. This is the mark of the champion.

That is really what they are looking for. That is the solution they seek. When you do that, you not only solve their challenge, but their respect for you also goes up too. You see, you don’t have to be perfect in order to get the sale. In fact, perfection here on Earth isn’t reality. Prepare the best you can. Present your product or service the best that you can. Answer their questions the best that you can. And, learn from the process.

So, the next time a prospect or customer asks you a question that you don’t know the answer to, then do what Mark Twain did and tell them so.

So what is next?  

  • Please connect with me on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/markbowser.  I find it very beneficial to network with other sales and business champions. I also can be reached at mbowser@MarkBowser.com
  • If I can be of service to you and your team through a training seminar or in any way, then don’t hesitate to ask. 
  • If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your network. Thanks.
  • You might want to check out one of my books on Amazon
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Spring Training for Sales Professionals

By Mark Bowser

“It is the bottom of the ninth, two outs, men on first and third and Joey Votto at the plate,” expressed the baseball announcer.  “It has been a good Spring Training for the Cincinnati Reds here in Arizona.  A win here today will be the icing on the cake. Reds are down by one and need a hit.”

“Votto swings and connects. It is a long fly ball to right center. The fielder is going back, it might be…it hits the top of the wall. One run is in.  Votto is on his way to second, Phillips is passing third and they are sending him home.  Here’s the throw…it is not in time…and this one belongs to the Reds.”

Every spring, major league baseball clubs meet in balmy climates to fine tune their skills for the upcoming season. Rookies and Veterans alike converge for this annual pilgrimage.

Ponder this thought. If spring training is beneficial for professional baseball players, how about the professional in the world of selling? It is not too late to start your spring training.

I had the honor of talking with veteran sales leader Dave Carlin. Dave  has been leading new sales professionals since 1983.  Dave holds the position of Vice President with Prograde.   Prograde is a print, marketing, and fulfillment company for promotional products and apparel headquartered in Cincinnati.

Dave puts his new representatives through several months of Prograde’s version of spring training.  The new sales rep will spend time in various parts of the company before they will call on their first prospect. They will spend time in the warehouse learning how to smoothly and efficiently process an order for shipment. They will go from department to department learning why and how the company is successful day in and day out.  The new sales rep will even spend time in e-commerce. Is this over kill? Is this really necessary?  Many companies shove their sales people out the door with their sample kit and a list of customers to call on their first day.  It is as if they are going to pick up sales success by stumbling all over customers through some warped type of osmosis.

Well, let me tell you this fact and then you can decide for yourself whether Dave’s approach is the best philosophy.  Let’s talk about when the economy totally stunk. Their team sales went up 19% in 2012.  Remember…that success was in a bad economy.   They succeeded despite the economy, not because of it.  World Series, here comes Prograde.

We know what is working for Dave and Prograde. Now, let’s talk about you. Do you have a plan to increase your sales in 2015 so that you succeed despite any economy?  How much time are you and your sales team spending in spring training?  Plan your spring training, work your plan, and expect to win…and I will see you in the World Series.

*Let’s connect on LinkedIn.  Feel free to send me an invite to www.LinkedIn.com/in/markbowser

*Mark Bowser is an Author and Professional Speaker.  He can be reached on LinkedIn or through his website www.MarkBowser.com or email mbowser@markbowser.com.

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The Business Linchpin: Can It Destroy You?

By Mark Bowser

I have been thinking. Is there a linchpin that could start a domino effect that could devastate your business, career, or life?   And, is there a tipping point that could start an avalanche of success like a runaway snowball?

Interesting questions, but are there answers?  My wife and I love to watch the hit ABC TV show Castle.  Last season, they had an intriguing two part episode that explored this concept of a linchpin.  In the story, an economic linchpin was discovered that if put in motion would destroy the United States economy and start a downward domino effect that would lead the globe to World War III.  It was a very entertaining escapade from our daily lives and in the story the bad guys almost succeeded?  But, it got me thinking.  Is it possible?  Could one event in our lives do so much damage and destruction?

Well, as I continued to think about it, I began to believe that there very well may be a linchpin or a tipping point for our careers, business’, or even our lives.  Let’s explore the linchpin first. What if you had all your eggs for success in one basket and you lost the basket?  Do you see where I am going with this?  Brian Tracy says that “Everything Counts” when it comes to selling.  What if you or one of your associates kills (accidentally of course) the business with your largest client?  What if that client composed 85% of your annual business?  Could you survive…or would it be your linchpin? 

So, what is the solution?  We must avoid the business error so many of us are guilty of, including myself.  We put most of our eggs in one basket and if we lose that business, we are headed towards economic devastation known as Chapter 11.  We avoid it by spreading out our sales and marketing.  By kicking into high gear our prospecting for new and more clients. 

The only way to avoid the business linchpin is to make sure that no one event or any one client so controls the life blood of your business existence. Spread it out. Market more. Do business with different sized clients.  From a personal standpoint, we have to make sure that we put aside a part of our income from every paycheck.  Why?  What would happen to you and your family if you lost your job today?  How would you avoid a personal linchpin?  In this economy, we all know friends and family who are currently out of work or were out of work at some point in the last few years. We must have a cushion of resources to fall back on.  That strategy and discipline will kill the linchpin…and not you.

Now, let’s talk about the tipping point.  Is there a point where all your marketing, all your sales, all your success converge into a place where it spills over to tremendous, incredible visibility, and success? I believe so.  Why do some products go viral? I don’t think we can know the answer for sure…but we know they do.  In fact, this article may go viral, but why this one and not another one?  Malcolm Gladwell wrote a great book titled The Tipping Point.  Go pick yourself up a Kindle ebook version today.  It is awesome! You can get Malcolm’s book for $9.99.  And while you are there, I invite you to take a peek at one of my books like Three Pillars of Success

Your tipping point exists and it will find you…if you continue to practice business success. In fact, do more of it. Supercharge it. What will make you more visible? What will get you and your product or service more attention? How can you get your product or service into the hands of more people? How can you serve them more than you currently are?  Seek the answers to these questions and take action on what you discover and before you know it, your tipping point will find you.

 

Three Pillars of Success by Mark Bowser on Amazon Kindle.  Only $2.99

http://tinyurl.com/cczcuwy 
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