A large portion of my time is spent with my sales team.  Interviewing, training, coaching, commiserating and celebrating (lather-rinse-repeat)…

When interviewing candidates, the one-and-only ingredient that I look for is persistence. Confidence, enthusiasm, smooth-talking and dressing sharply are all attributes for success.  But the crucial character trait that will make-or-break a salesperson is persistence.  

I’ve seen salespeople invest weeks and months into potential opportunities, only to walk away right at the finish line.  As Ross Perot says, “Most people quit on the one-yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown.”

According to marketing Experts:

44% of sales people give up after one “no” from a customer
22% give up after two “no’s”
14% give up after three “no’s”
12% give up after 4 “no’s”.

One more fast fact: 80% of prospects say “no” FOUR times before they say yes! It’s a process that they need to warm up to. Did you get that?! 44% of salespeople give up after the first no! You have the perfect product, vendor, and price – simply the time is not yet right. Yet most salespeople have given up by that point, when in fact the “no” was merely part of the sales process rather than a final true “no”.

Note:  Too many salespeople believe that persistence means putting their prospects on a quarterly call list. That isn’t persistence. 

Persistence is a lot closer to a child asking for candy; they keep asking until they wear you down, completely unimpressed and unmoved by your objections. If you feel strongly that you can make a difference then you should be trying relentlessly to get their attention!

Use creative persistence. You don’t want to be the “pushy” salesperson who calls and calls and e-mails and calls to the point where you get deleted the second you’re identified. You do want to be the salesperson who engages through creativity and differentiation.

Happy Tuesday & Happy Selling!

Persistence: The Only Key You Need

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I know, I know.   It’s been 4 months (and 4,000 restart attempts) since my last blog.  This is not easy, so please cut me some slack…

I think back to how it all started.  Despite having the most professional and well trained sales team in the world (!), our team occasionally needs a “boost”, a spark of motivation, or just a plain “kick-in-the-pants”!

I started sending out a weekly email to my sales team sharing some war stories of my own time in the battlefield of sales.  I’m not the expert, but I’ve made enough mistakes to warn others…

I added a few friends to my email distribution list to gather some feedback, and it was they who suggested (pushed me) to turn the email into a weekly blog and share it with the greater public.   Today, with over 10,000 subscribers I want to thank every one of you for reading, sharing, and most of all commenting and giving constructive feedback to help me make this better and better.

I promise to get back on schedule (no better way to make sure it get’s done than to announce it in front of 10,000+ people!) and I’m looking forward to next week Tuesday’s blog.

Happy Tuesday & Happy Selling! Kevin

How it all started…

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My friend tells me he would be happy with $10 million. Another sets his limit at $10 billion. All of us have calculated a number that would enable us to quit the daily grind. We dream of the day when we can say adios to the rat race. We aspire to a life free from commutes, meetings, deadlines, office politics, and expense reports.

But there are some who have managed to accumulate enough cash to quit working forever. Yet, instead of heading off on a permanent vacation, many of the mega rich remain in the workforce. And these affluent professionals really work. Many devote more than 40 hours a week in jobs that are oftentimes banal and stressful.

The question is, why?

For one, oftentimes they have nothing better to do. Usually in order to become that wealthy, you typically have to work more than 40 hours a week. Being a workaholic doesn’t leave much time for other things. So when you drop out, what else are you going to do? Your whole life was work.

For many, call it ego, insecurity, or the need to be the big kahuna, but it’s also hard to give up an exalted status. Or they tell themselves they will get out when they are the king of the hill, except there’s always a bigger hill to climb and conquer. 

Michael Norton, a Harvard Business School professor, had a particularly elegant model for understanding this. Norton says that research points to two questions people ask themselves when determining whether they’re satisfied with something in their life: Am I doing better than I was before? And am I doing better than other people? 

Many achievements in life are hard to quantify or compare.  So people turn to money as a comparison that can be quantified. “Am I making more money? or Does my house have more square feet? or Do I have more houses than I used to?”

This instinct to measure and compare doesn’t disappear once people have an obscene amount of money. And if a family amasses, say, $50 million but upgrades to a neighborhood where everyone has that much money (or more), they feel a lot less rich… Hence the ever-shifting goalposts of wealth and satisfaction.

However for some mega rich, they never set out to be rich. They set out to pursue a passion.  That enthusiasm doesn’t go away even when people hit that mega level of wealth.

Happy Tuesday & Happy Selling! Kevin

Why do Billionaires still work?

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I held off writing this email for many weeks now. I dread sounding like a condescending, finger-wagging, fear monger. But when I witness the aggravation and damage that business owners bring upon themselves day-in-day-out, I feel that I must speak out.  This must stop. Please forgive.

I am referring to what is known in the Credit Card Processing industry as “collusion”.

The purpose of a merchant account is to be able to accept credit card payments from customers – for the goods or services disclosed during the application process. A business owner may not charge a credit card to loan themselves money. Certainly not their own card!

Aside from bad economics (it costs 2% – 3% to get those funds = approximately 25% a year) … someone who swipes cards through their account for non-true-business purposes is putting their entire business at risk. The processors and card brands (especially Amex) are on high alert for such transactions and will detect these transactions most of the time. For a business that relies on being able to accept credit card payments, the fallout can be devastating.  The merchant account will get shut down by the processor with the business and business owner getting blacklisted by all US processors.  Many times the funds (that the merchant so badly needed) will get frozen for six months, leaving the business owner with a credit card bill to pay without even having the funds he tried to obtain.

We see these stories every day. A business who is accustomed to transactions ranging $500 – $1000, suddenly processes a $25,000 transaction. A quick review shows this was the merchants own card (or father, brother, neighbor, etc.) being swiped to cover payroll the next day. Please I ask all our clients (and please tell your friends too): don’t take risks. No loans on credit card. The processors and card brands are diligently scrutinizing every large transaction. (If you are in need of urgent funds, ask your processor for a cash advance. The rates might hurt, but at least you’re not risking your merchant account.)

I just want to end this email with an important note: If your merchant account was shut down by a card brand or processor and you were NOT doing anything wrong, please reach out to us.  We can help.

Happy Tuesday & Happy Selling!


Playing The System

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