Archive for speaking

Selling with a smile

Successful salespeople looking to immediately develop customer rapport know smiling-thumbs-upthe importance of a smile.

A smile is a universal indicator of openness, friendliness, relaxation, and likeability. It’s a powerful asset for salespeople looking to build long-term client relationships.

Consider a job interview I once screwed up.

It was about 20 years ago in Boston, and I was perfect for the position. We went through the interview process and I met six or seven people with whom I’d be working. Everything was lining up in my favor.

After the meeting I wandered over to Quincy Market for lunch. Lost in thought, I didn’t pay much attention to the fellow in the suit giving me the once-over.

Not recognizing him as an executive who’d wandered through the meeting I just completed, I gave him a sour look.

It all went south from there, and I never heard from them again.

In hindsight, looking pleasant, or at least neutral, would have undoubtedly been more profitable. Live and learn, right?

Smiling’s value can’t be underestimated. It can easily make the difference between whether or not you walk out with a signed contract in your pocket.

Ask yourself if you smile:

  1. While talking about your company
  2. On phone calls when the other person can’t see you
  3. During public speaking engagements
  4. During video-conference calls
  5. In your professional headshot

People will quickly spot fake smiles, so sincerity’s important for a smile to be an effective tool.

Okay, it’s true that many sales professionals have a naturally upbeat personality, smiling frequently throughout the day and during interactions with customers and prospects.

Interestingly, this simple act also happens to be one of the most effective ways to cut through adverse situations, conflicts, and disappointment. If you’ve just been told no or a deal has fallen through, a smile is your first defense against negativity.

Indeed, many studies show that smiling attracts people because it projects positivity.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow astutely observed; “Into each life some rain must fall,” but a smile is the best defense. Even if you’re talking with people who don’t have time or money or don’t want to listen to you, smile anyway. It keeps you in control of your life, your emotions, and your selling process.

Speak up, Sonny!

This morning I got my dog’s hair cut.

Buddy Weinberg desperately needed a haircut!

Buddy Weinberg desperately needed a haircut!

From across the parking lot a friend saw my hat and shouted “It’s impossible to miss you!”

It’s the power of marketing…finding ways to stand out of the crowd.

Regular readers know that the average American adult is bombarded with 5,000 marketing messages every 24 hours.

As consumers we erect virtual walls around ourselves to block out the onslaught. Marketers are tasked with finding ways to break through those walls.

Simple equation, right?

Still, what do you do with someone who doesn’t want to talk about themselves?

Consider my client Suzy. She’s brilliant, talented, and extremely photogenic. She knows her business inside and out, and has contributed hugely to her employer and her industry.

So I naturally nominated her for the Business Journal’s WOMEN WHO MEAN BUSINESS award…and she protested.

“I haven’t done enough,” she cried.

Now I protested. Because if I waited until she felt she’s done enough to warrant an award, Suzy and I will both be VERY old.

In these days of political bombast, when commercials are shouting at us from every direction that this one is great and that one can solve your problems, there’s more reason than ever to build those walls around ourselves.

And on one level it’s refreshing to find people who are humble. They put their heads down and work, never seeing the promotional opportunities from their productivity, talent or physical beauty.

They’re blessed with the “Aw Shucks” gene.

Yet surviving New York City’s rough-and-tumble taught me that being shy doesn’t equal good marketing. You need to stand up and shout who you are and why it’s important to pay attention to you.

And if you’re not comfortable doing so, you need to find a guy with a megaphone and a big mouth.

Yes, someone like me.

Because failure to promote yourself in your professional community means you’ll disappear from view.

You’ll find promotional opportunities all around you. They easily include speaking at conferences, posting columns to an ever-expanding LinkedIn universe, and schmoozing at Chamber of Commerce events.

Then relax. Even if you don’t win any awards, merely staying visible will introduce you to new friends and sales prospects.

And since so much success is based on whom you know…

Donuts and Business

saturnMy 2002 Saturn’s starting to show its age. First the AC died…then the battery went…or was it the alternator?

Either way, my bride’s been after me to replace the old girl, but I like her. With only 129,000 miles, this vehicle should be good for years to come. Plus she’s already paid for.

Still, things sometimes need to be replaced. So while the wizards at Poway’s 5-Star Automotive patched up my car this morning I munched on donuts, read magazines, and chatted with other customers.

Good thing, because I discovered someone who recognized she needed marketing to grow her business. And she understands that quality services cost money.

We talked about her desires for growth, audience, and what makes anyone want to buy from her.

Which transformed a 2-hour car repair visit into a sales call. A contract should follow behind shortly.

Woo Hoo!

I’ve met people who refuse to attend networking events because they cost money or take away from personal time.

These same people complain their business isn’t growing as much as they want it to.

However, since selling is a numbers game, talking to more people automatically improves your chances of making a sale.

That’s why you’ll find me trolling chamber of commerce events, filling in for friends at BNI, and visiting a wide range of organizational meetings.

I figure the more people I talk with, the more people I’ll meet with marketing needs.

From there it’s just a matter of persuading those prospects I walk on water and the deal is done.

Now, realistically, you can’t do business with everyone. But the opportunity I had this morning didn’t take me out of my way or cost me anything.

Just by my being open to listening to someone else’s needs, I was able to show her a potential solution. She saw I actively listened to what she was saying and decided I could probably help with her problems.

And so a sale was born.

Regardless of what you sell, you’re constantly surrounded by people who might buy from you. The trick is helping them self-select as potential customers.

If they sense you’re only interested in selling to them you’ll turn them off. But if they believe you’re interested in providing answers you’ll close the deal.