Avoid this “Ghost” of Christmas Future

A while ago, I got a chilling reminder of the bad “Ghost of Christmas Future” I narrowly avoided all those years ago. Here’s what happened:

I was on my way to work with a new client when I stopped at Starbucks for a cup of coffee. As I stood in line, I glanced out the window and saw a city bus stop and a bunch of people got off. One guy – mid 40’s, tall and lanky – started walking towards the Starbucks, and there was something about the way he was walking that was familiar to me.

When he entered the store, I recognized him from many years before when we were both struggling inside sales reps trying to sell investments over the phone. His name was Mark. After I got my coffee, and he got his, he came up to me and said, “You’re Mike Brooks, right?” “Yes” I said. “Hey, we used to work together!” he said. “I remember,” I said.

He asked me what I was up to these days, and I told him I had become a consultant in inside sales, and that I was off to work with a new client. I asked him what he was up to and this is when the chill hit me. He said he was starting a new sales job today, and then he rolled his eyes as if to say, “And this one will suck, too.”

We walked out of the store together, and said goodbye and went our separate ways. He went to wait at the next bus bench, and I got into my Mercedes and drove away.

As I sipped my coffee and listened to the tunes in my plush car, I thought about how different our lives had turned out and wondered what happened to make them so different. As I did, I knew exactly what it was.

During our time together, the owners of the company brought in a superstar in inside sales, a guy named Stan Billue, to motivate us. Stan spoke to us for an hour about what makes up the difference between the top money earners in sales versus all the other sales reps. He said that you had a choice that very minute to either commit to learning and using proven scripts and techniques that would double or triple your income, or you would just keep doing what you were doing, and then you’d just keep getting what you’d been getting.

Stan said: “If you’re willing to do what most sales reps aren’t willing to do, then soon you’ll be able to enjoy the things, the lifestyle and the future that most sales reps will never be able to enjoy.”

I was sold. Mark wasn’t. I invested in Stan’s cassette series, “Double Your Income Selling Over the Phone.” I committed to learning, practicing, and doing what he suggested. My sales and income soared.

Mark thought what Stan taught was just a bunch of old sales techniques that wouldn’t work for him. Mark thought he knew better. Mark didn’t believe in using scripts, “I’ll sound like a telemarkerter,” he said. “I have to go with the flow because each prospect is different,” he said. Mark didn’t believe in putting in the time, energy or money to get better. So he didn’t.

Fast forward to our Starbucks encounter. Over 20 years had passed between that Stan Billue talk, and I realized that, that seminar was the moment I made the decision to change my life. When Mark showed up that day, he was the Ghost of Christmas Past that could have become my Ghost of Christmas Future.

My life had changed because of Stan’s material, my commitment to investing in it and then using it diligently. My life is infinitely better because I did, and I have no doubt that had I not bought it and studied it and used it, it would have been me that was taking a bus to my next, new job. It sends shivers down my spine just thinking about it.

The moral here is that you, too, can avoid the Ghost of Christmas Past from becoming your future. Stan just went back into the studio and produced another masterpiece of sales training that can and will double or even triple your income in 2015 – if you get it and use it.

You can get it here.

Now I know only a select few of you will actually invest in this, but I also know that those of you that do, have a good chance of driving a Mercedes next year rather than taking the bus. It’s really up to you. If you want to avoid Mark’s “Ghost of Christmas Past,” then Act Now.

Believe me, there is not a day that goes by that I’m not thankful I did…

3 Gifts EVERY Sales Professional Wants

The Holidays are finally here. To most sales people, this means extra days off, and half days before Christmas and New Year’s; it means holiday parties, year-end bonuses (if they’ve been good and made their quotas), and even promotions if their company offers them. It means holiday cards from vendors, and it means long lunches spent at malls trying to avoid the crowds.

It also means gifts. There may be gifts from co-workers, bosses, department heads and clients. There may be gifts from themselves (the best kind), but also from family members and friends. It’s a wonderful time of year, as many of you know, and if only we could make these feelings last the whole year…

Well, maybe you can. What if you were to receive some gifts that could make all the feelings you have right now last throughout 2015? What if you were to receive some gifts that would guarantee that you would have a better year in sales next year than the one you just had?

Here are three gifts you can give yourself that will pay you back over and over again for years to come:

Gift #1: The gift of a positive, expectant attitude. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more important than a positive attitude. Zig Ziglar said it best all those years ago: “It’s your attitude, not your aptitude that determines your altitude.” This is true in life, of course, but especially true in sales.

The number one thing you can give yourself this December is a resource to help you nurture a positive attitude. There are scores of books out there, and my favorite is still, “The Advanced Formula for Total Success,” by Dr. Robert Anthony. It’s out of print, but you can still find some used copies on Amazon.

My favorite way of developing a positive attitude, though, is through the use of subliminal recordings. I especially use these at night to fall asleep to, and they always work for me (and millions of other people, too). Click Here to find a recording that resonates with you, and then start listening.

Gift #2: The gift of proven, specific sales techniques that will improve your sales skills. Let me ask you: Do you believe that practice makes perfect? If you said “yes” then you’re wrong. Practice only makes permanent. If you are adlibbing and using ineffective sales techniques, then you’re just going to keep getting substandard results. And that’s what most (unfortunately) sales reps do.

If you want to truly have a better 2015, then you have to improve your sales skill set. And the way you do that is by investing your time, money and energy to get better. It’s kind of like setting a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight. If you want to do that, then you have to invest some time, energy and money (if you’re going to join a gym or buy new sneakers) to get the new result, right? In other words, you’re going to need to change what you’re doing.
It’s the same with your sales results. If nothing changes, then nothing changes. Here’s an easy way of making more sales next year: Invest in my eBook of Phone Scripts, or take advantage of this incredible holiday deal on my powerful 5-CD program. Remember, only practicing good techniques is what’s going to make you a better sales professional.

Gift #3: The Gift of Gratitude. Want to know the fastest way to improve your attitude and your life? Become grateful for everything in your life. Yes, I mean EVERYTHING. Oh, it’s easy to be grateful for the good things in your life, but what would happen if you became accepting and even grateful for the things that are not going your way right now?

Being grateful for everything in your life means you are grateful for being alive. My first mentor used to say that every day he woke up on this side of the grass, it was a great day. The same is true for you: If things aren’t going your way right now, or if there is a problem you’re dealing with, be grateful you get to go through it – it means you’re alive and on this side of the grass! And on this side, the grass is always greener…

Another mentor of mine seemed to be happy all the time. I once asked him how he maintained such a good attitude, and he told me it was simple. He said, “I don’t expect anything, and I accept absolutely everything.” Sounded pretty Zen like to me.

There are many books and CD’s you can invest in to help you “develop an attitude of gratitude,” but the easiest way is to simply make a list of 25 things you’re grateful for right now. Do it after you finish reading this article, and you’ll know what I mean.

So, do you want to extend this holiday feeling into 2015? Give yourself any one of these gifts and you will be on your way. Give yourself all of them, and you’ll live each day with this holiday feeling!

One of the Easiest Things You Can Do to Increase Sales

A few years ago I was introduced to a system of marketing that is easy, inexpensive, and automatic even. It’s a way that I stay in front of prospects so when they are finally ready to buy, I’m the first person they think of. Once I learned about it, I was all in. Then, once I started using it and getting results, I wondered why other sales people didn’t use it. And that’s when I remembered the famous words my mentor taught me years ago.

He said, “Mike if you’re willing to do the things that most sales reps won’t do, then soon you’ll be able to do the things most sales reps will never be able to do.”

And I found out that means live a lifestyle most people only dream about. As you probably well know, most sales people struggle to make sales, while the top producers seem to enjoy all the perks, bonuses, recognition and lifestyle others only dream about. I took his advice and I’ve been living that lifestyle for over 25 years…

So what are the things “most sales reps won’t do?” If you’re a regular reader of my ezines, then you know many of them. But here’s something I don’t mention much, but it’s a perfect example of one of those things that, again, is easy, inexpensive, automatic and extremely effective. Yet, most sales reps just won’t do it. But those that do reap major benefits…

I’ll start with the story that got me hooked on this system. A guy named Jordan owns a vacation property in Phoenix, and one day he went to his getaway and found that someone had broken in. They didn’t steal anything, but it looked like they lived there for a while. They brought their own food, did their own cooking, and didn’t wash the sheets when they left.

So Jordan did what most people would do: he opened the yellow pages and picked an alarm company and hired them. Now, here’s where the story gets interesting. Jordan said that when he bought the house he was pitched by several different companies to install an alarm. He decided not to do it at the time. But he said if any one of the sales reps kept in touch with him, for example, if any one of them had sent him a reminder card every couple of months, then they would have been the company he would have called.

And they would now be getting the $45 each month he sends to the other guys he picked at random!

What I learned from this story is that there is a company out there that sends custom cards that can be arranged in a campaign that you customize to send at any interval you want. You write the cards in advance and then just input a prospect’s name and voila! Every month or every two weeks – or any interval in between – this company sends a beautiful card to your prospect.

I was sold. I know that many of my prospects might like what I have to offer but something happens and they have to delay the purchasing decision. But I also know that THINGS CHANGE! And when they do, I want to be top of mind to get that business. And I do get the business.

I’ve been using Send Out Cards now for several years, and I’ll tell you now I’ve made hundreds of thousands of dollars from prospects who call me out of the blue because I’ve stayed in front of them.

Just last year I got a $64,000 deal from someone who had been referred to me because the guy who referred me got cards from me. I had never even spoken to the guy! I invested about $12.50 in cards (which were sent without me doing anything) and that’s the result I got. And that’s just ONE example. I’m telling you, this system works.

And now here’s the good news. Even though Send Out Cards is a direct marketing company, now you can begin using them without signing up or paying any fees. You can use them on a pay as you go basis. And at under $2.00 per card (again, for a beautiful, custom greeting card delivered right to your prospect), this is the easiest, most affordable and effective marketing program you will ever use.

You’ll need to use my distributor # to try it out: 83661

Now I know that most of you won’t do this. Again, only those people “who are willing to do what others won’t” will actually try this. But those that do will make more sales, be more confident and begin “doing the things that most sales reps will never be able to do.”

If you’re ready to begin rising above the crowd, then click here and learn more about this amazing system. And when prospects start calling you to do business with, you’ll think back to this moment and be happy you did.

P.S. And don’t forget that the holidays are coming! Send Out Cards can send not only custom Holiday Cards, but very affordable, unique gifts as well to your special clients and prospects. Try it now. Use 83661 to get started today!

The Key to Building Real Value

You hear it all the time – if your price is higher than your competition you’re told to “build value.” You’re instructed to stress the quality, the warranty, the features, etc. But your prospects have heard all that before, haven’t they? Want a better way?

Let’s face it – if services or products are more or less the same, then prospects will buy from the people they like, know or trust. Your enthusiasm and belief for your product or service is a big factor in getting your prospects to place an order with you over your competition. Knowing this, I’ve often used the following script to not only build value in my product or service, but also to build value in the most important part of my product – myself. Here’s what to say:

If your prospects says, “I can get cheaper,” or “Well the XYZ company has something similar for less money,” or anything like that, say:

“You know _________ I’m aware of all the other options for this (product or service) and I’ll tell you now, if I thought any of them were better for my clients, I’d be working there and selling that.

“When I got into this industry I did my own research, just like you’re doing, and I looked for the company that not only offered the best (product or service) but also delivered the best customer service and follow-up.

After all that, I chose (your company) because they give my clients the best overall value and the best experience. And that means they continue to do business with me and refer new business to me as well.

__________, if there was a better product or company for you to be doing business with I’d be there and we’d be talking about that. But there isn’t.

“Bottom line — if you want the best overall value, results and experience with this (your product or service) then do what I did – choose (your company) – You’ll be happy you did. Now, do you want to start with the X size order or would the Y size order be better?”

This technique builds value in the most important part of any sales transaction — you and your belief in your product or service. If you didn’t do research, then let the prospect know why you did choose your company and what you like so much about working there and offering that product.

Adapt it to fit your personality, product and company, and then get in the habit of using it whenever you feel the need to build more value.

How to Use Better Tie Downs

You’ve probably heard that nothing identifies you more as a sales person than using the worn out greeting, “How are you today?” right? Prospects know immediately who is calling and they can’t wait to get you off the phone. You know what else identifies you as a sales person? Using any of the following worn out tie downs like:

That’s a nice feature, isn’t it?
Would that make you feel better?
Are you with me so far?
And you’d like that, wouldn’t you?

There are many other tie downs that are so obviously a sales technique that using them makes you sound like a used car salesman. Besides being old and annoying, these kinds of tie downs are also closed ending statements that get your prospects saying ‘yes’ or ‘sure’ and nothing else. And that’s what you learn about your prospect’s buying motives – nothing.

Here’s a better way to use tie downs. First of all, remember what your purpose is in using tie downs: to take the pulse of your prospect to see if you’re losing them or if they’re with you, or if they’re bored or engaged, or if they have a question, etc.. In other words, because you’re selling over the phone and don’t have the visual cues you do when you’re in person, you must use some kind of check in statement to see how the conversation is going.

The key to successfully checking in with your prospect is to ask a tie down that engages your prospect and elicits some kind of response. What that means is that you must ask a question that is more open ended and sometimes even a little assumptive. It’s easy to change the worn out tie downs you may be using now, and here are some examples:

Instead of using, “That’s a nice feature, isn’t it?” you can ask:

“This will save you a lot of time over how you’re doing that now. Just out of curiosity, what are some of the things you might do with that extra time?”

Instead of saying, “Would that make you feel better?” you can ask:

“You’ll save money using our new processor, and how would that go over with the boss?”

Instead of saying, “Are you with me so far?” you can ask:

“You know, I’ve shared a lot of information with you so far, do you mind if I ask what you think about it?”

Instead of saying, “And you’d like that, wouldn’t you?” you can ask:

“Everybody obviously likes to save money (do less work, save time, etc.), how have you been able to save in this area this year?”

Again, the point is to ask questions (tie downs) that encourage your prospects to reveal information that you can then learn something from. If you’re listening carefully enough (remember to hit your MUTE button), then you’ll be surprised by the buying motives and hints to the sale you’ll hear.

By the way, if you’re a sales manager, this is a great exercise for a meeting. Get all your reps together and make a list of the worn out tie downs they are using now, and then brainstorm new ones that are open ended and that engage people. Your team will not only make more sales, but prospects will enjoy talking to them as well.

5 Secrets of Successful Opening Scripts

Cold calling is tough, I get it. Even if your marketing department is generating so called “warm leads,” the resistance of people who receive an unsolicited call can be fierce. Heck, you probably don’t like getting calls from home improvement or alarm companies when you’re at home either, do you?

So what can you do to make your calls sound different? What can you do to give yourself a fighting chance to engage your prospect and perhaps even begin a conversation? And what can you do to prepare for the inevitable objections, stalls and put offs you are going to get?

While I could talk to you for hours about all the techniques and skills you can develop and use to be more successful at cold calling, here are 5 secrets that will go a long way towards getting you in the door, building quick rapport and qualifying your prospect:

Secret #1: Clearly identify yourself and your company right from the start. Try:

“Is this John Sanders? Hi, this is Mike Brooks with Industrial Cleaning.”

While this might sound like a no-brainer, you’d be surprised by how many sales reps are still trying to trick people with false openings, or by just giving their first name. Prospects, just like you, know a sales gimmick when they hear one and will blow you off the moment they suspect one.

Secret #2: State the reason for the call quickly and ask a question to engage them:

“Briefly John, we’re offering a special on warehouse cleanings. Have you ever worked with a cleaning company before?”

The shorter the opening you can come up with, the better. The problem with most sales people is that they launch into a full blown pitch at the beginning of the call without engaging the prospect. This turns prospects off, and the sales rep doesn’t learn anything about the prospect’s needs. Asking a quick qualifying question at the beginning gives you information you can leverage, and by asking about their experience with your specific product or service, it sets you up nicely to talk about your offer.

Secret #3: Describe your offer in a sentence or two:

“Great, so you know some of the things a cleaning service can offer. While our service is similar to (the company they mentioned), there are a few important differences…”

Be careful not to pitch too much here. Again, a couple sentences should be enough to give them basic information like price, features and other important differences. Now, be prepared for the brush off!

Secret #4: Know how to side step the most common objections you get:

“I understand that cost is a concern, and many of the companies we do business with had the same issue. And that’s why we’ve come up with special packages designed for small business like yours that are both affordable and flexible.”

Your rebuttals need to be scripted out, memorized by your sales team, and delivered in a natural, relaxed tone. They also need to acknowledge what your prospect has just said, and give them a way to justify considering your proposal and get them wanting to know more.

Secret #5: Always insert a trial close in your first call:

“From what you’ve told me, I think you’d be a good fit for what we offer; let’s go ahead and set up an appointment for someone to meet with you to discuss your needs.”

There are a variety of trial closes you can use, including ones for setting an appointment, and all the way up to asking if a prospect would consider taking the next step if he/she likes what they see. These need to be carefully scripted to avoid using worn out sales techniques like, “Well, if you like what you see, this is something you’d move forward on, right?” That kind of language only turns people off and identifies you as a hungry salesperson.

While these five secrets form the backbone of any good opening script, there are other crucial elements needed here including qualifying questions to identify buying motives, decision makers and decision process, etc. You can find many of these related articles in my “Inside Sales Training Blog” on my website.

The bottom line is that you must script out your opening call to avoid sounding like everyone else and to give you the best chance of making a connection and furthering the sales process. Using these secrets is a good place to start.

The Three Most Important Metrics to Measure

What are your three most important metrics you measure to track and predict revenue?

That was the question I asked my LinkedIn “Inside Sales Management Group,” and the answers I received were quite interesting. Whether you’re a business owner, sales manager or even a sales rep, you know that metrics are a crucial way to measure your performance, predict revenue, and evaluate progress made. But which metrics are the most important? Before I give you my answer, let me share some of the answers I received:

One answer was: 1) Opportunities created, 2) # of times contacted, and 3) conversions, deals closed.

I thought that was an interesting answer, especially the “# of times contacted.” While I understand the opportunities created and conversion or deals closed, I don’t know that I’d include # of times contacted as one of the three most important metrics to measure. Obviously it’s important to know how much time a sales rep is spending chasing a sale, and also how effectively they are closing on each call, but I think there is a more important metric that I’ll share later on.

Another answer was: 1) Opportunities created, 2) Calls made on the accounts, and 3) Quality of the call.

This was obviously in relation to account management calls, and once again opportunities created was listed number one. The thing that I found interesting with this answer was quality of the call. As you’ll see later in the article, quality of the call, and, more specifically, how that quality is measured, is one of my top three metrics.

The most interesting answer came from VP of Sales, DJ Farnworth. Here was his answer:

1) # of open deals (times) 2) Historical win rate (times) 3) Historical ave. deal size = Pipeline. DJ said:

“One metric I’ve found very effective is: (# open deals) X (historical win rate) X (historical avg. deal size) = Pipeline. This takes some of the moving variables out of measuring just the numbers that are in the existing open deals and is based on past performance which should better indicate likelihood than a probability entered by the sales person.”

What I liked about this answer is that it seemed to most accurately predict the upcoming pipeline. I’ve sat in a lot of pipeline meetings, some worldwide even, and almost everyone in the room knows there is a lot of ‘wood’ that isn’t going to close. Getting an accurate account of what is truly likely to come in seems hard. This formula seems easy. You should try it.

O.K., now for my answer:

1) # of opportunities, 2) Close percentage 3) Script grading adherence evaluation per closing call.

#3 (Script grading adherence) is based on recording each call and grading adherence to your best practice script and scripted rebuttals. The reason is if a rep is winging it, they won’t get better and you can’t coach them. The manager’s job is to teach the best practice approach and then coach to it. Then you measure who is adhering to it and who isn’t. Every other metric (number of calls, number of contacts, trending to revenue for the month), etc., flows from that direct metric.

I always like to talk metrics with managers to see if they are measuring this very important component. Bottom line is if your reps aren’t using the best approach and handling objections and sales situations effectively, then the other metrics won’t improve much. If you ask them to make more calls, all you will get is more bad calls.

I’d love to hear about some of your favorite metrics, so visit our site and submit some. In the meantime, begin listening to how your reps are performing during their call, and begin improving their delivery and technique. That’s how you automatically improve all the other metrics.

The NFL Has a Playbook, Do You?

Now that Labor Day is past, it’s time to think about getting back to work, pushing hard in September to set yourself up for the fourth quarter and….and….wait a minute. Fourth quarter? That reminds me the NFL season has just begun! Are you ready for some football? I sure am!

In preparation for the season, all 32 teams have been working hard on scripting out every play on offense, defense and special teams. They have studied the talents of their players and developed plays to maximize their strengths. They have analyzed their competition looking for tendencies and weaknesses, and they have scripted out the plays most likely to be successful against them.

After they designed these plays, they organized them into a playbook and then gave a copy to every player and coach – usually on an iPad, by the way – and they told them to study, learn and memorize every play and position during that play. It’s absolutely crucial that the players internalize each play so they react rather than think. As Dan Shula, the Superbowl winning ex-coach of the Miami Dolphins once said, “If you have to think about what to do next, it’s too late.”

An NFL playbook is a sacred thing. Most players are responsible for always knowing where their playbook is, if not to always having it with them. They bring it to every meeting they attend, take it home with them, and spend hours each day studying it. The only time they let it go is if they get cut. And no player ever wants to be told, “Coach wants to see you. Make sure and bring your playbook…”

No NFL team is without a playbook because no NFL team could be successful without it. And the same is true for a company with an inside sales department. If you own or run or are a part of an inside sales team, your playbook is your complete script book. Just like in football, your playbook also has sections. These sections include cold calling and qualifying, closing the sale and objection handling, and for call backs. It should also have a section of best emails and voice mails.

And just like in the NFL, every one of your sales reps need to study, learn and memorize every best practice response for every situation they get into. Just like in football, your sales reps need to automatically know how to handle the situations that find themselves in. When they get an objection or stall, they must automatically know how to respond. If they have to think about what to say, it’s too late!

In football, as in sales, being prepared with a proper game plan is crucial for success. No football team would just go out on a Sunday and wing it. That would be suicide for the coach and the team. Yet it’s amazing how many sales reps and sales teams do just that. Instead of taking the time to script out the best responses, they insist on ad-libbing and winging it. And then they wonder why they don’t win more sales.

To succeed in the game of sales, take a tip from the NFL – identify the selling situations your team gets into, identify every objection, question and stall, and then script out the best, most likely to succeed response to each of them. Give them to your team members and make them drill, practice and rehearse them. The most prepared team on Sunday tends to win. And the most prepared sales rep tends to close the most deals.

If you’re in sales management or an owner of an inside sales team, then it’s your responsibility to equip your team with the tools and techniques they need to win. And that starts with a playbook of scripts that will help them properly qualify prospects, overcome stalls and objections and close the sale.

Remember: No NFL team would think of entering the season without a carefully constructed playbook, and your team shouldn’t either.

Note: If you need help in writing the most effective playbook with rebuttals and scripts that really work, then contact me. I’ve written script playbooks for companies of anywhere from 25 pages to over 135 pages, and the sales teams that use them see increases of sales of as much as 34% in 90 days. Your team can, too!

The Key to Using Your Imagination

I’m reading a great book this summer about the power of using your imagination, called “The Law and the Promise” by Neville. It’s the kind of book that adds very fine distinctions to the concept of the Law of Attraction, and acts almost like a graduate level work on the subject. It’s the kind of book that reminds you what you think you already know about the power of setting specific goals and visualizing their accomplishment, but it does so in a way that makes you go, “Ah hah!”

The key that I took from it is the distinction between thinking of an image or goal realized and thinking from the image instead. This difference is so important, that it means the difference between a vision or goal being manifested or not.

The book points out that everyone uses their imagination, and the way most people use it is to think about something. In other words, they imagine something – a new car, more money, a new home, etc. – and they think about what it looks like, or they visualize the image as being out there. For example, everyone can hold the image of a beach in their minds – everyone can visualize it. The imagination can create virtually any image and think about it. That’s how most people use their imagination.

The difference in thinking from the image rather than of the image is that when you think from the image, you become part of it. It ceases to be an abstract concept, and instead, by entering into the wish fulfilled, you feel its accomplishment and thereby manifest it much faster. As Neville says, everything we see is created by focused and sustained thought through imagination, and fastest way to sustain that thought is to think and feel from the image manifested.

What this means in practice is that it’s crucial to create an image and then to inhabit it by feeling, seeing, hearing, sensing, acting as if it has been manifested. The sooner you do that, the sooner it will come into being.

Neville has many other golden nuggets in this book, like:

“Imagine better than the best you know.”

“If we live in the dream – thinking from it – and not of it, then the creative power of imagining will answer our adventurous fancy, and the wish fulfilled will break in upon us and take us unawares.”

“The drama of life originates in the imagination of man.”

“Life would undergo a change of appearance because we ourselves had undergone a change in attitude.”

I love that last quote about attitude. I’ve written many times about how changing our attitudes can change everything else too. Remember it was Zig Ziglar that said, “It’s our attitude, not our aptitude that determines our altitude.”

If you are looking for another book to add to your summer reading, then pick up this gem and read it today. It’s a fast read (you could read it in an afternoon), but it is a rich read as well. All books of truth are. I hope that learning to live from your dreams help you manifest them even sooner.

Three Ways to Get Better at Listening

What do you think the most important skill of a Top 20% producer is? Persistence? Work ethic? Time management skills? Closing skills? Tenacity? Certainly all of these skills are present with any Top Performer, but what really separates a pro is their ability to truly listen. And I mean the ability to sit through awkward silences, to not jump in and speak when the client or prospect is thinking, and to be O.K., in fact even welcome, those dead silences when it’s almost impossible not to say something…

So how do you get better at listening? Here are the three top techniques I teach that immediately make you a better listener:

#1) Get in the habit of hitting your MUTE button immediately after you ask a question OR immediately after your prospect or client begins to speak. This habit will force you to listen and, because you’re muted, it even allows you to talk over your prospect because she/he won’t hear you!

The other rule with the MUTE button is to count slowly to 3 after they pause or when you think they are done speaking. You’ll be amazed by how they will often fill in the space and complete their thought – often giving you amazing information you can use to close the sale.

#2) Use my favorite technique to encourage someone to keep talking. If a prospect says something you don’t understand, or if they haven’t revealed a buying motive yet, when they stop talking, simply say, “Oh?” I know that sounds too easy, or even a little awkward, but try it and see for yourself how powerful this is.

Also, make sure your voice goes up at the end of the “Oh?” Put a question in your voice as you say this and after you do, make sure and Hit MUTE. If you master just this one technique, you’ll be so far ahead of your competition because you’ll learn much more from your prospects and clients…

#3) Use any of the following statements to encourage your prospects to keep talking:

“What do you mean by that?”

“And what else?”

“How do you mean?”

“I’m sorry, come again?”

“What would have to change for you?”

You see how this goes. The important thing is to ask an open ended question and, after you do, Hit MUTE!

It took me several years to learn how to truly listen to my prospects and clients, and I used all of the above techniques to help me get really good at it. I will tell you now that I hear things no one else hears. I hear the motive and the meaning behind what they are saying, and if I’m not clear, I simply say, “Oh?”

Don’t take my word for this, instead, try it yourself and see. I guarantee that once you get good at listening, you’ll get better at qualifying and closing. And if you don’t improve your listening skills, you won’t improve in those areas very much or very quickly. Remember, the most important skill of a Top Producer is the ability to truly listen.