Thursday, November 19, 2009

Turn a $1 Bill Into a $100 Bill!

Every once in a while I come across a story about some genius who bleaches a piece of currency and tries to turn it into a higher value piece of currency. For example, they would bleach a $5 bill and run it through their printer so that it looked like a $50 or $100 bill. As you can imagine, the Secret Service doesn't really appreciate that kind of activity.

That made me think about currency. Obviously, I would rather have a $100 bill than a $1 bill. They are both made from the same material, but the value is determined by what is printed on and in them. Your value is determined in much the same way. Studies have shown that a high school drop out makes much less than a graduate who makes much less than someone who has a degree. One aspect of that value is what is put inside the person's head.

Education and ideas do not care where they come from. The next time you walk into a wealthy person's home, ask to see their library. Chances are they have a personal library somewhere in the home. I would imagine that they did not decide to purchase a bunch of books because they had empty space to fill. I would surmise that the books helped create the ideas that created the wealth.

What have you done to add value to your currency today? Listen to audio books, read, attend a seminar. All of these activities are a great way for you to turn your $1 bill into a $100 bill...without getting arrested! Always Better Your Best!
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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sales Tips Learned While Falling From the Sky

I had the unique experience of jumping out of a perfectly good plane a few years ago. Prior to boarding the airplane and jumping out of it, the skydiving club educated us via a detailed ground school class. Through experience they knew it was a lot easier to figure out potential problems in the classroom than while plummeting to the ground at a high rate of speed.

Our instructor had completed hundreds of successful jumps and assured us that if we followed what he told us, we would have a great experience. Needless to say, none of the people in our group was going to "figure out our own way" to jump. Not a smart idea. We learned how to exit the plane safely so we didn’t have an encounter with the propeller, how to fall in the right posture, when to pull our chute, and how to land safely. The jump went off without a hitch and it was a fantastic experience. We understood and knew that the person we had been listening to knew what the heck he was talking about and that we were all in a much better situation to listen to his every word rather than “trial and error” which could be catastrophic.

Fast forward a few years later where I found myself as a sales manager running the #1 vacuum dealership in North America with my great friend and sales genius, Joe DelVecchio. We had 150 total sales people and had nearly 60 people coming in every day to sell full time, door to door. To insure success we would track everything: number of demonstrations, the number of referrals, the number of sales, and the number of owner referrals.

One day, we realized that the closing ratios weren’t adding up. Most direct sales closing ratios are 1 sale for every 3 or 4 demos. We were running 1 sale for every 6. In the morning meeting we decided to let all of the reps know that there were two people out of the 80 demonstrations scheduled for that day who were friends of Joe. They had been briefed on how the demonstration was supposed to run, no short cuts, including the appropriate closes. It was like a secret shopper, but the sales person would visit the shopper instead of the other way around. If the rep happened to do a demonstration for one of those people and did everything right, we would reward them with $200 cash the next morning.

An interesting thing happened that day. Instead of the 1 in 6 closing ratio, our group closed 1 in 2.6. The next morning, the reps came in fired up and excited. They had earned almost $21,000 in commission collectively the day prior. We placed every demo sheet in a hat and drew two names for the $200 cash. Frankly, Joe and I never did have any secret shoppers that day, but the lesson was the same. If you do the right things, every time; you will get the right results.

Do you have a business where your sales force roams free and doesn’t produce? Don’t get me wrong; if you have a salesperson that achieves fantastic results and puts on a clown suit to do it, that’s fine with me. However, most salespeople will flounder without a system and burn up the leads and opportunities that they’ve earned or have been given. There’s a reason why your name is on their paycheck, or that your name has the title of sales manager beside it. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a better salesman than everyone. It should mean that you understand a system of selling that can be duplicated and shared with others.

Here are a few things I draw upon to this day from my early years in the vac business that I’ve found to produce fantastic results for my top consulting clients who achieve consistent breakthroughs:

#1. Set up a demo board of achievement for salespeople to qualify and aim to make it onto. The demos or customers on this board are usually those who are unassigned to any particular representative and walk or call in saying things like, “I’d like to buy. Can you sell me product?” The reps MUST hit a goal the month prior to be on the demo board.

#2. Maintain a sales tracking system and check it often. This can be called a “pipeline” or “sales funnel”. Track the number of prospects talked to; follow up, results, and referrals. It is imperative that you maintain records of the customer’s contact information.

#3. Reward the right efforts, not just the results. Everyone has had days where you work your tail off and sell nothing. Everyone has had days where they are unstoppable. Applaud the effort; however, don’t let a salesperson become a “professional visitor” instead of salesperson. Track closing and referral numbers carefully.

I would imagine that the “success tracks” in your business have been laid. The question is, “Are you making sure your team is staying on the track?” Like the story to open up this article, don’t let them pack their own parachute until they’ve proven they can be successful and safely manage your business!

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit
or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Taylor Swift's Success Recipe

Last night the entertainment world was rocked by a very talented young woman. Taylor Swift, who is 19 years old, accepted 4 awards at the Country Music Awards show. Ironically, the one common denominator among the artists whom she beat out to win Entertainer of the Year was that she was an opening act for them on their tours.

Despite the millions of fans who are cheering for her and celebrating her success, there was one thing that Taylor Swift said that was profound. "Everything I have wanted has just happened to me." She started her career with passion, goals, and hard work. She knew it would not be an easy road, but she was more focused on where she was going to instead of what she was going through.

How can you learn from this success recipe? Regardless of the goal, starting point, or condition; several things remain constant:

1. Have a clear picture of what you would love to achieve. Remind yourself of it throughout the day.
2. Celebrate the little victories, no matter how seemingly insignificant.
3. Be prepared to do anything to make it happen!

While goals and dreams are nice, they are nothing without action. Put energy and passion into action and you will be unstoppable!
For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit
or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Finish Line in Sales

When I visit with many sales professionals and ask them, "What is the finish line or goal of your client transaction?" I hear the same response nearly every time. "To write the order."

While writing the order by definition separates sales professionals from professional visitors, there is one huge missing piece that is worth thousands or even millions of dollars. The referral.

Many people think that by asking for a referral, or introduction to someone who may enjoy your product or service; they will jeopardize the sale that was just made. If you did that poor of a job demonstrating the need for your product or service, then you deserve to lose the deal. There is no stronger form of advertising than third party recommendation. Here is how one of my friends in the flooring industry asks for referrals.

"Thanks for your order, Mrs. Jones. Could you help me out? I like meeting nice people like you who have floors in their homes. Do you have any friends or neighbors that you could introduce me to who have floors in their homes?"

The customer usually laughs and mentions a few people. Many weak sales professionals will hand the new client a stack of cards and say something like, "If you can hand a couple of these out and tell them to call me..." If you listen hard enough, you just may hear the cards hitting the garbage can on the way out the door.

The most effective way to capture those leads is to follow up with something like, "If you could just write down their name or address in my client log book, I'd love to just drop them a note and introduce myself."

You want to be the person in charge of your referrals. If you are leaving referrals in the customer's mind, you are leaving money on the table. The worst thing they can do is tell you "No". They can't shoot you and eat you.
For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit
or call our offices at 1-800-863-2591.