Shouldn’t You Ask Better?

Ask the wrong question and you’ll get the wrong answer. In fact, if you ask the wrong question, you can’t get the right answer, except by accident. For example: A business project fails, and the owner persists in asking: Who’s

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Beware, Murphy Lurks!

Everything takes longer, is harder, costs more than we thought, and breaks at the worst times. Those are Murphy’s Laws. Business is outstanding! We’re billing more than ever! Then, cash disappears, bills exceed income. This is perfect, honey! We’ll move by

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Take In The Good!

How do we enjoy ourselves when we’re predisposed to be negative, a product of our evolution? Negativity and discriminating between what helped or hurt protected us from harm. Our brains were anxious so we’d survive. What helped us then harms

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It’s Not About Promises Made!

He was struggling to do his job, and promising to do everything—everything his boss wanted, everything he could, everyday, to improve his performance. Even in the face of contrary evidence, he maintained his position, sounding so sincere. Over and over,

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What, Me Worry?

So many of us are worry-worts. If it ever happened, or could, we worry about it. There’s no sense telling us, “Don’t worry.” That doesn’t help and it certainly won’t stop us from worrying. Worry makes us miss so much,

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My Favorite Sales Questions!

Three of my all-time favorite questions—When? What day? What time? For example: They say, “I promise to call you.” I ask politely, “When?” They answer, “Next week.” I ask politely, “What day?” They answer, “Tuesday.” I ask politely, “What time?”

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Just Say NO!

We’re often asked for our time. Too often, we give it immediately. Why do we do it? Maybe we want to please. Maybe it’s a bad habit. Maybe it’s guilt, fear, or embarrassment. Maybe we should try something else! Do

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Preaching Isn’t Teaching!

When someone says, I don’t know, it’s often a knee-jerk reaction they’ve used since childhood to get themselves off the hook. If you want people to learn, teach them to think for themselves: to look it up, to take a

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Manage to Excel!

Most of us have trouble making good decisions. We make lists in our heads, on paper, online. Then, we start working top down. Often, we don’t take the time to prioritize our list. Much of our effort is wasted; time

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No Do-Overs Allowed!

Ninety-year-olds were asked: If you could live your life over, what would you do differently? Three answers recurred: I would reflect more. I would risk more. I would do more things that would live on after I’m gone. This isn’t

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Empathetic Salesperson?

A salesperson meets a prospect. The prospect asks: What does your company do? The salesperson replies: We’ll get to that. Tell me about you. Is that empathy? Isn’t the salesperson really saying: What you want doesn’t matter to me, what

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Better Results, Less Effort!

Many business people think sales is about talking, presenting or, what I call yapping. Presenting your information is important. At the right time, the right way, for the right reason, to the right people. Therefore, the key selling skills are:

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When We Screw Up!

When we screw up, let’s stop calling it “dealing with priorities”. Call it what it more often is: over-promising, knee-jerk decisions, and disrespect. When you screw up, just admit it, then apologize, rectify it, and don’t do it so much

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Confirm! Get Bigger Results!

One of my all-time favorite sales questions is—Did I answer your question? A simple confirming question I ask after I believe I’ve answered theirs. I don’t assume I’ve answered them. I ask. I confirm. Why? To eliminate misunderstanding; to make

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Attitude and Activities

My client asked: How do I measure a new salesperson’s performance before she has enough time to start closing business? My response: Attitude and activities. He replied: I get how to measure activities. Calls. Appointments. That stuff. It’s attitude I

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Even When It’s Business, It’s Personal!

People say it all the time—“It’s not personal, it’s business.” Really? Let’s think about it. Let’s pretend you have to fire me. And during the meeting, you tell me: “It’s not personal, it’s business.” Do I believe you? I don’t

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Will They Buy?

I’ve been asked this so much lately, I thought I’d remind us all.  In sales, if you’re dealing with a qualified prospect, you can answer the following questions, Do they need it? Do they want it? Will they use it? Can

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Possibility Thinking!

I overheard a conversation this week, which started: “Well, probably we can’t, but, oh, maybe, possibly…we can.” Sounds like they got it backwards…what Zig Ziglar calls, “stinkin’ thinkin’.” Why not start with the possible, the doable, the positive? How ’bout—“Probably

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Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Testing!

Anything worth doing long-term is worth testing short-term. Whether an idea, a project, or a partnership, try it out, see if it fits—with your vision, your goals, your ideals. The feedback you get will make it easy to decide—for you,

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Set Exceptional Goals!

I’ve used positive self-talk my whole career, liking the adjective “exceptional.” What a “pump-up” word. Old affirmations I said over and over, with enthusiasm—I’m an exceptional salesman. I’m an exceptional presenter. I’m an exceptional coach. Why not use that same

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Direct and Effect!

When Tjan interviewed global CEOs and senior executives, asking them if they thought their meetings met their intended objectives, they said less than 40% of the meetings did! How does this happen? It’s simple: people are avoidance-motivated. Tjan writes, “…the answer

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Monkey Management***

When Hartman and I started together, he’d often ask me what he should do. To save time and energy, I’d tell him. Eventually, we decided on a different process. When he’d ask me what he should do, I’d say: You know I

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What’s Next?

When we train sales people, we ask them to focus on the next step, not every step. The next step must be taken before all the other steps are necessary. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first

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Done Is Better Than Perfect!

Striving to be perfect is self-defeating. Why? Anytime you set an unachievable standard, you guarantee failure. This is how it sounds: We have to wait until everything is just right. And: Let’s do more research and planning. Or: I’m not sure

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The Crime of Interrupting!

In a business session, I found myself wanting to interrupt our client. Knowing that interruptions are like stomping on someone’s thoughts, I controlled my impulse. I focused on listening to them as if they were the most important people in the world. They

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Invest In You!

Reading Jon Westenburg, I was intrigued by his article about how to take control of my business and my life. Here’s the gist of what he said (with some editorial comment). Write a list of 100 things you’ll do in

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