Dealing with Client Emotions

Dale Carnegie Training,

Dale Carnegie said, “When dealing with people, remember that you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion…” If you remember this statement during every one of your customer service interactions, you will be half way to understanding how to deal with customer complaints. You must be prepared to first deal with a client’s emotions and then deal with the actual issue. Unless you can respect the client’s perspective, it will be difficult to deliver a solution that turns a negative situation into a positive one.

One of the easiest ways to turn a negative customer experience into a positive one is by avoiding an argument. The easiest way of avoiding an argument is to simply show respect toward the client’s opinion and never say, “You’re wrong.” By avoiding an argument and respecting their opinion, you will be able to find out what the real issue is and come to a timely conclusion.

It is also very important to listen to the client or customer. Let them explain their situation and what they find to be challenging. By letting the client do a majority of the talking, you will gain useful insights to a possible solution, as well as a better understanding of their point of view.

By listening to your client and understanding their point of view, you will be more sympathetic to their ideas and desires. This will allow you to resolve any issues while providing value to your client.

Remember to avoid arguments, let the client do a great deal of the talking, and be sympathetic toward their ideas and desires. As a result, you will be able to effectively deal with client emotions and, in turn, resolve their complaints.

Can the Right Music Motivate and Improve Sales Performance?

Dave Kurlan, Understanding The Sales Force

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

musicOne of the many changes to affect selling during the last several years is that salespeople are making fewer face-to-face sales calls than ever before and more of the selling has moved to the phone.  This has resulted in more calls (although shorter), more resistance with a longer sales cycle, and greater success in closing sales, deals and accounts which might not have been possible just a few years ago.  The biggest difference though?  It might just be the music.

Back in the good old days, many of us played music on the way to sales calls while some listened to sports, news, or talk shows.  I’m focusing on music today, so I’ll we’ll discuss how music could serve to:

  1. Motivate
  2. Calm
  3. Stop the Thinking
  4. Improve Focus and Resolve
  5. Boost Adrenaline

While some might play classical, easy listening or new age music to calm their nerves, others play genres that could motivate them for upcoming calls.  In much the same way as a pitcher or hitter has a personal music clip played to get their adrenaline pumping as they enter a baseball game, music can have a similar effect on the psyche of a salesperson.

If a salesperson has a one-hour ride to the next sales call, it would require about 10 tunes to fill that time. I invite you to join today’s conversation by sharing your pre-sales call playlist (or the tunes you would include if you had one).  I’ve shared mine and encourage you to contribute yours. It will be very interesting, perhaps even exciting, to see all the variations (or not) in the styles of music and specific songs that everyone prefers prior to a sales call. There is no right or wrong, just personal preferences.

Here are my 10 (Frank, you’ll notice that the band Chicago does not appear in my Top 10 Pre-Sales Call Playlist):

  1. Hi, Hi, Hi – Paul McCartney and Wings
  2. Go All the Way – The Raspberries
  3. It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me – Billy Joel
  4. Lucretia Mac Evil – Blood, Sweat and Tears
  5. Rock and Roll Band – Boston
  6. Gonna Fly Now – Maynard Ferguson
  7. In the Mood – Doc Severinson
  8. Birdland – Maynard Ferguson
  9. My Music – Loggins & Messina
  10. Long Train Runnin’ – The Doobie Brothers

Okay, it’s your turn.  Which ten songs would you listen to prior to a sales call?

Urgent Sales Goals!

By Tony Cole, Sales Brew

Got your attention, or at least I hope I did. There is nothing more urgent than that word itself and of course, even more urgent is what it means. I know what it means in my personal and sales career but just for a minute; let’s visit what the experts say:

Urgent: an earnest and insistent necessity, of pressing importance requiring speedy action, imperative

Stop for a minute if you will and think about what in your life is urgent. If you are fighting a serious health issue, I’ll bet you are in that state of mind and being. I’ll bet that taking care of whatever health issue it is that is affecting you is pretty urgent and you are focusing a lot of resources and effort around that.

The reason that I’m bringing all this up with such urgency is that I just participated in a sales meeting and was reminded about the urgency of meeting the goals that we set for ourselves. Our sales coach pretty much put it on the line with us. If you can’t make the goal, then don’t agree to them. If you aren’t meeting your goals, then they aren’t urgent. And why not? Gave me pause to think.

What creates urgency? Is it pain or is it pleasure or is it that we are just competitive and will not, absolutely will not fail a goal that we have set. All of those reasons are great ones but right now, I want you to stop and think about your goals and which ones are urgent for you. Do you feel the drive, the will, the energy to do what you need to do to reach them? And if you don’t, why not and what do you want to do about that?

Here’s what I know for sure. I know that others have created urgency for me in my career in terms of reaching deadlines or delivering on a project or bringing in the revenue. Usually though when others have created urgency for me, it’s been a less than satisfying end result. When I truly want something and create urgency for myself, well that’s when great things happen. The urgency we self-create is the blood running through our veins. It is ours. It keeps us ticking and alive and makes things happen.

I adopted my son from Guatemala almost 3 years ago now and there were all sorts of problems in the process. The system created a lot of stress and yes urgency for me when they told me after 8 months that perhaps I should plan to adopt another child, not Steven, not the child that I had met and held for two days. The urgency of that moment and what I felt and did after that is how I define urgency. Total commitment. Complete focus. Unquestionable tenacity to achieve that goal.

And what an achievement it has been! Without the financial goals and success that I had urgently pursued and achieved in my past, I may never have had this unbelievable child in my life. That’s what urgency does for us. So take a look at your goals right now, and think about what it is that you feel urgent about. Because these will determine your future and what types of amazing accomplishments you will experience in your life.

10 behaviors of the hyper-successful

By Michael Hess, CBS

(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY Money and its material manifestations are the most typical measures of a person’s professional success, but they’re not always telling or even accurate: We all know it’s possible to buy nice things without being financially successful (debt is an unfortunately common substitute for net worth). So I rarely make assumptions about a person’s business or other financial accomplishments based on clothes, cars, boats or houses.

Knowing and dealing with many highly successful people, I’ve found that there are behaviors and characteristics that are much less superficial and more telling than just acquiring status symbols. In my observation of ultra-high achievers, the more professionally successful they are:

– The less stuff they carry: The most successful people I know never carry laptops, briefcases or much of anything else, other than (usually two) phones.

– The fewer calls they answer or return: Even with those two phones, top dogs rarely return calls that aren’t critical to their own business or personal needs.

– The harder they are to reach by anyone or any means.

– The less time they spend at a computer.

– The shorter their e-mails. You might say that Alphas use less alphabet.

– The less social media they use (except for celebrities).

– The less they know, stay current, or care about pop culture (again, except for celebrities).

– The less TV they watch (except sports, especially anything involving their alma maters).

– The more non-leisure stuff they do that’s not directly related to their business (charities, boards, outside investments).

– The more newspapers they take off the flight attendant’s cart in First Class (unless they’re on their own plane, which makes all the other points moot).

The less stuff they carry: The most successful people I know never carry laptops, briefcases or much of anything else, other than (usually two) phones.

– The fewer calls they answer or return: Even with those two phones, top dogs rarely return calls that aren’t critical to their own business or personal needs.

– The harder they are to reach by anyone or any means.

– The less time they spend at a computer.

– The shorter their e-mails. You might say that Alphas use less alphabet.

– The less social media they use (except for celebrities).

– The less they know, stay current, or care about pop culture (again, except for celebrities).

– The less TV they watch (except sports, especially anything involving their alma maters).

– The more non-leisure stuff they do that’s not directly related to their business (charities, boards, outside investments).

– The more newspapers they take off the flight attendant’s cart in First Class (unless they’re on their own plane, which makes all the other points moot).

Some of these behaviors are obvious, some may seem ironic, and of course none are meant to suggest that business and money are the only measures of a successful life. Some of the observations are made with a little ribbing intended, and none are scientific, though I’ll bet they could be: I don’t know a single mega-successful business person who doesn’t exhibit at least half of these traits.

Truth be told, much of the list doesn’t bode well for me, much less my shot at that sweet Gulfstream 650 I’ve had my eye on. I carry a laptop (I sort of have to, since I make bags for them), I return more calls and messages than I ignore, I only have one phone, and I’m not well-known for brevity in my e-mails. And for the most part, I don’t care — I don’t like some of these characteristics in others, and there are parts of my life, personality and business behavior that I’m not interested in changing. If that keeps me out of the most rarified air, so be it.

But there is an important central theme that’s valuable to all of us, regardless of where we are on the ladder, whether we admire these behaviors or are put off by them, or whether the list accurately reflects our own style or aspirations. No matter what combination of these characteristics the Masters of the Universe might possess, the bottom line is the same: Without exception, the people at the very top of the business ladder don’t waste time.

Michael Hess is founder and CEO of Skooba Design, and also serves as an advisor to other entrepreneurs. He is “obsessed to the point of insanity” with customer service. Read the philosophies that make Michael and Skooba Design tick here.


Top 10 Annual Sales Meeting Hotel Location Ideas

By Steve W. Martin, Heavy Hitter Sales Blog

I have had the privilege of presenting the Heavy Hitter sales philosophy at more than two hundred national sales meetings and annual sales kickoffs.  Below, you will find my top 10 hotel locations to hold a sales conference. Be forewarned, this list is based upon my personal experience and I wanted to include properties you may not be familiar with from all across the country. Also, I did not want to focus on mega-hotel locations like Orlando and Las Vegas (you already know all the places there). Finally, my list is based upon reasonably priced hotels (even though some may sound expensive) and these hotels offer something  beyond the generic meeting place.


1. Château Elan (Atlanta, Georgia) –  Incredible property, great facilities coupled with impeccable attention to detail at a reasonable price make the Cheateu Elan number one on my list.  Atlanta provides good year round weather and is easy to get to from anywhere in the US and even Europe.


2. Camelback Inn (Scottsdale, Arizona) –  A beautiful hotel in a fabulous Southwestern mountain setting make the Camelback Inn one of the best locations for a sales meeting.   


3. La Costa Resort (Carlsbad, California) –   North of San Diego, the La Costa Resort is a great place for a meeting any time of year. If your meeting will also include your business partners and channel resellers, this is the perfect place.


4. Claremont Resort (Berkeley, California) –  Just twelve miles from San Francisco, the Claremont Resort is a wonderful Silicon Valley location for small and mid-size meetings.


5. Amelia Island Plantation (Amelia Island, Florida) –  A very different Florida meeting location (better priced in the off-peak season).


6. Rancho Los Palmas (Rancho Mirage, California) – While Palm Springs may require an extra airplane connection to get to, the Rancho Los Palmas is worth the extra effort. Highly recommended activities: rent out the Palm Springs air museum for a nighttime event and “Field of Dreams” softball park for team building event.


7.  SeaView Marriot (Atlantic City , NJ)  A great place for a meeting in the Northeast US that you probably have never heard of.


8. Marco Island Marriott (Marco Island, Florida)  Marco Island is interesting alternative to the standard meeting in Orlando.


9. Long Beach Hilton and Executive Meeting Center (Long Beach, California) – Good meeting facilities and a great location that provides some excellent evening event possibilities– group dinner at the Aquarium of the Pacific or on the Queen Mary.


10. Embassy Suites (Burlingame, California) – I know you are probably surprised to see an Embassy Suites on this list, but this is a great place to have a meeting in Silicon Valley for up to 500 people. It’s only 5 minutes from San Francisco International Airport and situated right on the bay.


Here are some Honorable Mentions:

Westin – Indianapolis, Indiana

Hyatt Regency – Newport Beach, California

Hartford Marriott Downtown – Hartford, Connecticut

Carmel Valley Ranch – Carmel, California

Biltmore Hotel – Phoenix, Arizona

Pinehurst Resort – Pinehurst, North Carolina


7 steps to making your sales contest more profitable, productive, and fun

By Geoff Alexander, Inside Sales Telesales Tips Blog

Today’s topic is sales contests. Are they effective at motivating salespeople and creating more business, or not? Here’s a query from last week’s mailbag…

Hi Geoff, Do you have any suggestions on creating contests that generate motivation for a sales team? Do you think contests are worthwhile? Is a contest age specific; different motivators for different age groups? I’ve been in situations where contests are laughed at behind the manager’s back because they’re not rats looking for cheese. Other situations a contest added motivation because the prize was an iPad for younger group of sales reps. What do you think about contests? Are they worthwhile for temporary gain to “make your sales numbers”? Thx, Jerry

Jerry, the question of running contests comes up frequently when I’m designing our customized sales training classes, and generally, I’m in favor of them, if they’re fun, of fixed, short duration, and have a prize that is actually valued by the eventual recipient(s). Here are 7 ideas that will help to ensure your sales contests are achieving your intended objectives:

1) Make the contest of short (e.g. two weeks) duration. People’s attention tends to wane when the contest runs too long and they could lose interest in getting the prize, too. Attention spans on contests are linked to how exciting the contest is, so keep it short, to provide maximum attention.

2) Make it doable. It’s not very motivating when the contest objective is so difficult that nobody wins. If that happens, you’re not going to get people very motivated when you want to run another contest. A good rule of thumb, if you’re a manager who has done the job yourself, is could I do it, or have I done it myself? And if your best rep has done it before, you’ve got proof it’s doable, and leads to success.

3) Have a contest objective that’s sales-oriented, not work oriented. I’m aware of contests that reward inside sales reps with the most dials per week. In these cases, the winners leave a lot of voicemails, but often don’t have as many quality conversations as the “losers.” A better contest might consist of most qualified leads entered into the system, or something more in keeping with sales-oriented Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). To ensure you really do have sales-oriented KPIs, read my blog post on KPIs, and test your own against the model.

4) Give reps prizes that they value. Jerry brought up the following point: “is a contest age specific; different motivators for different age groups? I’ve been in situations where contests are laughed at behind the manager’s back.” I don’t necessarily think age has anything to do with it, but it’s a good idea to ask the sales team, prior to the contest, what they’d consider to be a good prize. If 2/3 of your team already owns something similar to the prize (e.g. electronic gizmos), it’s not going to be much of a motivator. I’d guess a dinner for two at a really expensive restaurant, that none on the team would really consider to be affordable, might be a good one. But it’s only a guess. To be sure the prize will be perceived to be of value, ask your team.

5) Consider making an “out of the box sales” contest objective. In one of my application development tools clients, the reps weren’t always asking the nature of the application their prospects were developing, nor were they getting project names. The result? They were missing business in enterprise accounts, where multiple teams working on the same project could have used the same tools, sold by my client. They were also missing out on certain vertical markets that hadn’t been formally identified, but ultimately were found to be a strength of my client. So we had a contest that was two weeks long. We asked the reps to compete on two items: 1) What was the craziest application that they’d discovered?, and 2), What was the kookiest name for a project? I can’t remember what the prizes were, but the company had a reputation for being generous. The contest was so off-beat and fun that the reps loved it, and had a lot of good fun one-upping each other. Based on what we found after reviewing the appropriate CRM fields, the reps were finally asking those questions and getting answers. This contest helped to change their behavior, and the company never again experienced a problem with reps not getting application project names and data.

6) If you’re engaged in sales training, tie it to material taught in the class that you really want to emphasize. I always emphasize the value of reinforcement after training. When the team is still pumped after training, why not offer a contest specific to one or more elements addressed in the class that you want to emphasize?

7) Multiple winners are OK. You may want to consider running a contest in which there’s a common high-mark, and everyone achieving it wins. When that happens, you may find everyone pulling for each other and helping each other out, which improves team communication, and encourages your best reps to mentor others who may be struggling. The whole department gets better that way, and some managing skills may surface among your reps that may one day help determine who’s the next manager or team lead. And with more than one person over-achieving, your company should make more than enough money to cover the cost of multiple prizes.

So there are 7 great ideas to help ensure that your sales contests provide the outcome you’re looking for. If you’re a manager, add them to your Best Management Playbook, and if you’re a sales rep saddled with uninspiring contests, considering copying them and forwarding them to the appropriate parties. Any of you out there in blogland have input, either positive or negative, on sales contests?

Productivity Tips for Sales Teams with iPads and Tablets

By Lori Richardson, The Customer Collective

Did your team receive iPads or other tablet PCs and you find them under-utilized? As a long time PowerPoint user myself, I have felt guilty about my iPad being my glorified Evernote platform and e-mail source on the road.

Ashley Furness, CRM Market Analyst at Software Advice recently wrote about this very issue – teams of salespeople have received or will received tablets but do not have clear deployment plans. One company we know bought them to appear to be on the “cutting edge” over their competition, but they don’t do anything unique or amazing with them.

While 78% of businesses plan to deploy tablets by the end of 2013, more than half lack an articulate deployment plan. Ms. Furness asked 7 sales and technology experts what advice they would give to business leaders in this situation. Some top recommendations include:

1.    Monitor & set goals for usage

2.    Create dynamic content that goes beyond PowerPoint

3.    Invest in custom apps that address the team’s unique needs

I echo her point about thinking big when it comes to rolling out any new technology. The classic mistake is where you choose one app and in very short order, the sales team will want and need something to integrate with that. Instead of throwing together your plan as you go, create a deployment strategy. Read the insightful article here.

Marketo also has a helpful article written by Silicon Valley veteran Phil Fernandez on how sales teams need to adapt to the new ways of selling and using a tool like a tablet to do that.

Has your company invested in tablets throughout the sales force? If yes, what applications are you running, and how do they work for you and your sales team in general? Do you have a plan?

Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the “Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012″ and one of “20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management”. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for tips and strategies in selling.