Customer Relationship Management: Secrets to CRM Success

Learn how Microsoft Customer Relationship Management (CRM) can help you develop profitable customer relationships.

Microsoft CRM uses lead and opportunity management, incident management and a searchable knowledgebase. CRM also makes use of reporting tools for accurate forecasting, measurement of business activity, and employee performance. This webcast is your key to learning the secrets of Microsoft CRM success.

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The Gratitude List…How to Condition Yourself for Success: How to Break Bad Habits

by Daniel M. Wood

We all have habits, tried, practiced and learned behaviors that let us act on autopilot.

They keep us in check and make sure that we can complete tasks on autopilot and still get them right every time. You can compare a habit to a mental programming that you can access anytime you drive a car, get out of bed, prepare yourself in the morning or go to work.

It lets you think about other things while doing things you do every day, perfectly.

The problem is that all of these programmed habits aren’t beneficial. Negative habits can be hard to break, but are very important to address. Most of us have a few bad habits like biting our nails, eating when stressed or taking a glass of wine after work every day. Some of these habits you don’t even notice doing, I had that problem when biting my nails, it came so naturally that I didn’t even think about it.

It is the nature of a habit that makes it hard to shed…

Since habits are programmed behaviors designed to make it easier for us to function, practiced behavior becomes hard for us to change. Our mind has learned to act in a certain way each time it encounters a situation, to unlearn a habit it takes a lot of conscious effort.

Focus on the positive outcome not the habit itself …

Focusing on a habit only reinforces it. The mind has trouble with the word “not” it doesn’t really understand the concept, which means that to the mind “I am NOT going to eat” becomes “I am going to eat” which reinforced the habit.

If you are down and depressed, the state of mind you are in when you chose to eat to cheer yourself up (I am using an example here, change the habit and situation to fit your negative habit) don’t even mention food in your mind, instead focus on what you should do instead e.g. “I will take a walk to clear my head” “I will write the things down so that I can look at them” and so on.

This method works and is the most efficient way to shed bad habits in my experience.

Book Review: The Key to the C-Suite

By Paul McCord

At what level in the company do you sell?  Most sellers don’t sell at the C-level, much less directly to the CEO.  Those who do sell at the C-level face a daunting task of not only gaining the attention of the executive they are trying to reach, but once connected to the executive they must sell in a way that drives the executive to make a positive decision.

Learning how to engage the C-suite in a way that produces the conversation and the decision the seller wants is difficult and a skill that many sellers just never master.  Michael Nick’s new book, The Key to the C-Suite: What You Need to Know To Sell Successfully To Top Executives (AMACOM: 2011), guides the reader through understanding what is key to the C-level executive and how to address their concerns and needs.

Right out of the box in chapter 1 Nick zeros in on what he considers the key to selling to the C-level executive—metrics.  Nick features 10 key metrics such as earnings, return on equity, sales per employee and others that are of critical importance to top executives. These metrics are going to be the featured topics throughout the book as using these to find the prospect’s pain and then to create a solution that will address those pain points.

From Nick’s point of view selling at the C-level is in essence determining one’s value to the executive as defined by how you can impact those problem metrics and then how to construct a case that will demonstrate how your solution will move the metrics in the direction the executive wants to see them move.

In a very real sense this is a numbers book because Nick’s argument is that the C-level buys on numbers.  Nick focuses on the numbers, on making sure the analysis is objective, that the data presented is accurate, that printed material is checked carefully to make sure the math is correct and there are no spelling or grammar mistakes, that all of the potential concrete questions about the needs and the solution are addressed.

From the perspective of the objective sale—the concrete numbers and factual questions—The Key to the C-Suite is a top notch book.  I highly recommend it.

However . . .

There’s more to selling to the C-suite than numbers and objective questions and answers.

Nick ignores the emotional side of the sales equation.  Yes, selling to top executives demands a great deal of specific knowledge about the prospect’s industry, company, and needs.  And it demands a real, workable solution that addresses real problems.  But sales, even at the C-level, are more than simple logical decisions.  They are also emotional decisions.  The decision maker has a number of emotional questions that must be dealt with such as what happens if the solution doesn’t work.  If it does work what does it mean personally for the decision maker?  Who should the decision make get buy-in from and if they can’t, what should they do?

Certainly The Key to the C-Suite is well worth the investment and as said above, I encourage you get it and seriously consider implementing the process Nick lays out.  But also recognize that there is a whole side of selling to top executives that isn’t addressed in the book.  This is, however, an excellent presentation of one half of selling to the C-suite.

Opening the Sale – Because You’ll Never ‘Close’ Without Opening Well

By Richard Dickerson, The Brooks Group

In working with and coaching salespeople, particularly new or untrained ones, I have noticed many struggling with how to initiate sales calls. Whether “cold” or scheduled appointments, salespeople often have difficulty deciding how to open the sales call. Why not simply be honest and express your intentions?

When salespeople arrive, call, or e-mail, prospects likely have several fears or concerns they want alleviated, and we have to alleviate them within the first few minutes.

They are:

Who are you?

Who do you represent?

What do you want?

What’s in it for me?

These anxieties must be addressed quickly and completely or you will have difficulty moving the sale forward. By taking the heat off the prospect, he or she will be less resistant, less tense, less anxious and more likely to listen.

Your prospect or customer knows you are a salesperson. He or she is not stupid or naive. Being honest about yourself and your reason for meeting, calling, or e-mailing will position you much more favorably.

Issue a Statement of Intention by saying, “Hello. My name is Richard Dickerson and I am with The Brooks Group. The purpose of our meeting is to get to know you better, share information about our [whatever product/service you sell] and talk about anything you wish to discuss with me.”  Or you could begin, “Hello, I am Richard Dickerson and I am with The Brooks Group.  What I would like to accomplish today is to meet you, get to know you better, share information about our [whatever product/service you sell] and discuss anything you wish to discuss with me.”

By starting this way, you have clearly stated a reason for being there and, most importantly, invited dialogue. Remember, prospects know you are a salesperson. They are more comfortable if they feel no pressure from you. The phrase “and anything you would like to discuss with me” takes the pressure off them and you. It discloses your wish for dialogue — a conversation, not a data dump by you, the salesperson. Prospects feel threatened by monologue. It’s inconsiderate and self-focused. We, as professional salespeople, have to focus on the prospect, and the prospect has to feel that focus to help develop trust with us.

Also, this is not a script; it is a language or methodology for gaining attention and building trust and rapport. Use your own words that exemplify the principle. And remember to keep it simple. Use the fewest amount of words, and speak with conviction and confidence to clearly and sincerely convey interest in your customer’s most pressing concern. It is an invitation for the prospect to express what’s on his or her mind, which, for most prospects, is a refreshing change from the all-too-typical sales monologue.

Another mutual benefit for the prospect (as well as the salesperson) in using the Statement of Intention is that it provides a means of minimizing unsolicited “small talk”, those so-called “ice breakers” we all remember from traditional, old school sales training. The concept of ice breakers was to reduce tension, anxiety, and aggravation from buyers. The practice of using ice breakers often led to a social conversation because salespeople couldn’t move the conversation back to sales talk. It was “safe” for the salesperson and the prospect. Thus, the so-called sales call developed into a social visit that created MORE post-visit anxiety for everyone…wasted time, lost opportunities, no sale, frustration, etc.

Of course, if the prospect wishes to engage in small talk, let him or her, but participate carefully. Remember, this is a sales visit and we must move the dialogue toward a sales discussion with the buyer’s participation.  All the more reason to develop rapport quickly.

Sales professionals understand that prospects and customers are more comfortable buying from salespeople they perceive to be most like themselves. Accordingly, top salespeople focus on mirroring the style of their buyer. This reduces tension, enhances trust, and creates a more positive perception of the salesperson. The Statement of Intention, spoken in a manner in the style of the buyer, becomes even more powerful and effective. The Statement of Intention has clarified:

Who are you

Who do you represent

What do you want

However, you must still answer the critical question remaining in the mind of the buyer.

What’s in it for me?

It’s important to think of the Statement of Intention as a method to initiate the sales conversation, encourage dialogue, build trust and rapport quickly, and begin the sales process. Remember the simple Statement of Intention: “Hello, I am Richard Dickerson and I am with the Brooks Group. The purpose of our meeting is to get to know you better, talk about The Brooks Group’s offerings, and anything else you wish to discuss with me.” And then BE QUIET and listen. Most of the time you will hear “OK.”

DO NOT begin your sales presentation at this moment unless the buyer invites you to. Try this instead:

“You know, [Mr./Ms. Buyer], I have learned that when people get exactly what they are looking for, they’re happier, more excited and things work out best for everyone. Do you mind if I ask you some questions to see if we can provide that for you?” This very simple question confirms what the buyer wants to discuss, which is “What’s in it for me?” What is in it for the buyer is what he or she wants to tell you and what he or she wants you to provide. If the buyer answers “yes” you have his or her undivided attention! If he or she doesn’t have time for questions, ask when there will be time.

This is the time for a Bonding Statement. Clearly stating that you understand the need to bring value and involve, listen and focus on the buyer BEFORE you can recommend a solution solidifies trust, builds rapport and creates value for the buyer. Most importantly, it distinguishes you as a professional salesperson, valued resource and strategic partner. The Bonding Statement can be as simple as the above example or as sophisticated as referencing characteristics of a specific position in an organization. Either way, its purpose is to appeal to the style of the buyer and demonstrate understanding of the buyer’s role.

For example, suppose the buyer is an entrepreneurial CEO. An effective bonding statement would be:

“[Mr./Ms. CEO], understanding how important it is to maintain your autonomy, provide strategic direction and create long-term value, do you mind if I ask you some questions to see if can help you achieve this?” Again, the purpose is to demonstrate an understanding of the buyer’s role and goals. This enhances the value YOU bring to the prospect. Obviously, this requires preparation, understanding, empathy and self-awareness on the part of the salesperson. All of this positions YOU much more strongly than your competitors. It enhances a prospect’s perception of you, as well as your offering, thereby positioning you as a “least risk” provider.

People listen to those they believe have something important to say, and will support ideas which they help create for themselves. Using the Statement of Intention and the Bonding Statement will allow both the salesperson and the prospect to satisfy what each want to accomplish. It “opens” the sale in a positive, beneficial way; helps build trust and rapport quickly; sets the sales process in motion; creates value in the mind of the buyer; and distinguishes you as a true sales professional.

Will This Sales Candidate Really Fail If We Hire Him?

Dave Kurlan is a top-rated speaker, best-selling author, sales thought leader and highly regarded sales development expert.

This week I called the type of candidate that traditional HR professional love – his resume was formatted, there were no typos, his background was exactly what my client craved – but the assessment wasn’t so impressed with him; he was a borderline candidate at best.

Normally this candidate would not have received a call from me but because he was a good fit, I was looking for a needle in a haystack candidate (again) and was on the cusp, there was no downside to a 3-minute call.

What a disaster!  He didn’t engage me (“Hi”), couldn’t articulate how his experience met the description in the job posting (“I did all of that”), failed to string a complete sentence together (“Mine was more money”) and didn’t provide a single example, detail or explanation.  He also failed to ask a single question.  And he was on the cusp.  Weak salespeople don’t sound that bad so why didn’t the assessment tell me about this issue?

It turns out that while the major findings we typically focus on were acceptable, there was one finding – The Sales Posturing Index – that was the lowest I had ever seen.  On a scale to 100, “Fred” scored 20!

While Fred was confident enough, he had no clue how poorly he came across, how awful his first impression was, and how badly he presented himself.  Most obvious during the 3-minute call were the following Posturing Qualities that he didn’t possess: “Develops Relationships Early”, “Consultative Skill Set”, “Sales Optimism”, “Sales Empathy”, “Sales Assertiveness”, “Goal Oriented”, and “Controls Emotions”.

As always, this assessment is very predictive and you only need to believe in it?

Which side of the cusp was the candidate on?

When it says Not Recommended, you really need to believe the science behind the recommendation – if you dare to hire one of these candidates 75% of them will fail inside of 6 months.

7 Deadly Words You Should Never Use if You Want a Better Life

By Robert Pagliarini

Comedian George Carlin famously spoke about the “seven words you can never say on television,” but the following seven seemingly innocuous words/phrases might be even worse. To say them is almost like dousing your goals, hopes and dreams with sulfuric acid.

Creating a better life is hard work! It takes little effort to maintain the status quo, but if you have a dream of making more money, getting a promotion, starting a business, becoming healthier, or improving your relationships, you’re going to need as much support as you can get. Strike these seven deadly words/phrases from you lexicon today:

1. When. This is a filthy word when it comes to improving your life. It sounds like this . . . “When I lose 10 pounds I’ll start dating again. When I’m a little older I’ll go for that promotion. When I complete my degree I’ll start that side-business.” Most of the time, our “whens” just don’t happen, or if they do, they take so long that we’ve forgotten what it was we wanted in the first place. “When” is rarely necessary, but just to be sure, ask yourself this: “Would it be illegal, unethical or immoral to start now?” If the answer is no, don’t wait for when.

2. Someday. There’s nothing wrong with having a “someday” list of things you want to do and places you want to go, but when you find that your “today” list is empty, you’d best start moving some of your future goals into the present. Someday is such a deceptive word. It makes you feel good by proclaiming you’ll someday achieve something, but months, years, and even decades can pass and you may find that your someday is still a long way away.

3. Willpower. According to behavior change expert Dr. BJ Fogg of the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, “Imagine willpower doesn’t exist. That’s step number one to a better future.” The problem with willpower is that most people either think they have it or they don’t. They’ll say, “Well, of course I ordered the double-fudge sundae. What did you expect from someone who doesn’t have any willpower?” Your genes determine the color of your eyes, NOT whether you order dessert.

4. Want/Wish/Hope. Don’t be a wimp! Stop wanting, wishing, and hoping to do something or for something to happen. If you want more control over your fate, you must take more responsibility for your actions and their outcomes. Don’t sit around expecting change to arrive in your mailbox. It takes a decision and it takes action, not wishful thinking.

5. Not good enough. How can a phrase with “good” in it be so bad? These three simple words will keep you from hitting the publish button, making that important phone call, or trying out for the audition. The solution? Flip it around. Instead of “This isn’t good enough…”, change it to “It’s not perfect but it’s good enough.” Don’t wait for everything to be perfect. Just put it out there and see what happens. For more insight into this, listen to my interview on with Peter Sims as we discuss his book, Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge From Small Discoveries.

6. I don’t have the time. The same guy who doesn’t have time to go to the gym with you after work will miraculously be able to free up an entire evening if you present him with free Laker’s basketball tickets. It may feel like you don’t have time, but with some focus and pruning of non-essential commitments (e.g., TV), you can free up 20 minutes to two hours every night to work on those actions that will help you create a better life.

7. It’s not the right time. If not now, when? No, really? If you are waiting for the stars to align, it’s not going to happen. Instead of waiting for the right time, shift your thinking and look for the least worst time to get started.

Think back to an achievement or goal you’ve accomplished. It took vision, dedication, and perseverance. Not excuses. Stop castrating your future with these seven deadly words/phrases and start working toward a richer life.

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Buyers always buy for their own reasons not ours.

By Jonathan Farrington

Every successful sale is made not so much because of the excellence of your product or of your sales pitch, but because consciously or unconsciously, you have found the human reason why your prospect should buy: You have found the door to their motivation and have opened it. The more you understand the function of human motivation, the more successfully you will sell.

In its simplest form, motivation emerges as a cycle. It starts with a want or need, expressed or hidden. Inherent in this is a problem, a problem that must be overcome in order to satisfy the want that must be solved. Once solved, the want can be satisfied and the cycle is completed.

In terms of personal development, there are several levels of needs. You will no doubt be familiar with Maslow’s “Pyramid of Needs” These needs are basic to everyone you sell to, live with, or encounter, and we all of course are different. Their needs will vary in degree, in shape, and in the nature of their answers. But they are common to all. As you are alert to them, as you understand them, so will your success with others be measured.

How do people seek to satisfy their needs? Thorndike’s Law of Effect supplies the answer: “People tend to behave in a way to gain rewards and avoid punishment.”

Again, this varies with different people. Generally, people can be classified into three dominant types:

• The Achiever

• The Seeker of Social Recognition

• The Security-Minded

(But no one is likely to be a “pure” type)

The Achiever is most likely to be oriented toward gaining rewards.

The Security-Minded is likely to be dominated by the desire to avoid punishment.

The Social Type stands somewhere between the two.

These are the dominating factors. But in varying degrees, each has a little of the other two in them.

In terms of selling, whatever the dominant drive of your prospect, they are above all, buying benefits. Benefits are best defined, in this context, as the results of the product, which enable them to gain rewards and/or avoid punishment.

In making their decision, the buyer uses the “Minimax Principle” – To minimize their losses, or to maximize their gains. This is true whatever the personality orientation. The emphasis depends again on their individual motivational drive.

The “Law of Effect” then – depending on specific motivation – relates directly to the “Pyramid of Human Needs” and expands in this manner:

The benefits you have to offer are both negative and positive. The right emphasis, directed in the right way, offering both to determine preference is your shortest way to your objective.

In summary, according to Russell: “The essence of motivation is finding meaning in what we are doing. Motivation is an inner control of the individual.” Only you can motivate yourself.

All these concepts apply to you in all phases of your life and your work, as well as they apply to others. Finding the right meaning in what you do will be the great motivator for a more effective you.

Understanding the nature of what motivates each person you deal with will enable you to help them make a decision favorable to both of you.

The most important fact to remember in influencing the behavior and decisions of others is that people do things for their reasons, not ours!