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This RR discusses how commission breath impacts the final terms of an agreement. I wrote a previous RR on commission breath and how it affects your ability to sell. For reference, it is reprinted at the end of this rule.

All skilled negotiators know that the best time to ask for a concession is right before signing the contract because they know that we are already spending the commission (commission breath). It puts pressure on us at that make or break moment, and we have to decide if we want to jeopardize the deal by not conceding that final request, which often times is not the final request. Continue reading

Often, when salespeople want to accelerate the process, they tend to skip steps to arrive at the outcome sooner. However, more often than not, skipping steps in the Sales Funnel®, tend to increase the length of time for the result. Worse yet, the outcome is not the one desired.

Trust the process. It will not abandon you. You will abandon the process. I recall a study done by an insurance company years ago that analyzed the reasons for a drop in sales, by their sellers, in their second year. They thought it was because the rookies had sold all their friends and family members and could not sell to strangers. What they found out was quite surprising. In their second year, the insurance salesperson knew the answers to the questions they were asking their prospects and stopped asking the questions. For instance, they knew how much insurance the family needed if they were a family of four earning $100,000 a year. Continue reading

This week was the first crack at getting back in shape after my car accident. Being injured results in packing on some major pounds. So I went back to what netted the quickest results for me in the past, which is P90X. Now to any of you who have tried the P90X program you know it is extremely difficult. It takes dedication, hard work, perseverance, and the realization that there are no gimmicks; what you put in is what you get out.

But before I ever decided to invest in P90X in the first place, like most of us these days I did some market research. In that research one of the tools/programs that constantly came up was the BowFlex. Now I’m not sure how long the BowFlex has been around, but I can’t really remember a time when the Bow Flex did NOT exist (I’m 28 if you’re wondering). So it begs the question, “It has to work if its been around this long, right?” Well… maybe.

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How do you really differentiate yourself from your competitors? There are normally three types of competitors in a market. They are:

  • The big solid national/global company.
  • The small regional company with a good reputation.
  • The small cheap competitor.

Continue reading

There has been quite a lot of information and theories published on Left Brain/Right Brain leadership. In fact, my latest leadership course has a section on Left Brain (systems, processes, skills) and one on Right Brain (motivation, trust, empathy).

However, not much has been published on how to sell to the whole brain. Left Brain is logic and Right Brain is emotion. On which side of the brain does your sales strategy focus? Have you thought about it? How much more would you sell if you could sell to the side of the brain that your prospect uses to make decisions?

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There are a lot of buzz words in sales that, for the most part, seem to be the “answers” to making sales. Come on, you know them… right? You must be able to            relationships. The customer has to see the            in your product or service. The prospect must            you before they buy from you.            is everything.

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Lagniappe is a popular term in customer service circles. It means giving a little extra, especially when unexpected. Most organizations know the definition, but few practice it. It may be the number one way to increase customer satisfaction. I just returned from a poker tournament where I experienced lagniappe. This tournament was an invitation only free roll tournament, which means that it was free but you had to be invited and first prize was $15,000 cash. Oh, and did I mention that the room was also free? But none of that was the lagniappe. All of those things were advertised and when you receive exactly what you expect you are a satisfied customer. But your goal should not be satisfied customers. What you should be striving for are advocates. An advocate is someone who goes out of their way to sing your praises because you exceeded their expectations.

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I had just completed dinner in a Shanghai restaurant and was reading the local newspaper. On the front page was an article about swill oil. It turns out that swill oil is used oil that is to be recycled for fuel but often finds its way back in to the kitchen. It is filtered and re-bottled and sold as new oil for a 200% profit. The article further stated that as many as one in ten meals in China is cooked with swill oil. Oh, and did I mention that swill oil is loaded with carcinogens? My stomach started to feel strange. Then I turned the page and the next article was about recycled paper products. Specifically, paper plates, cups, and plastic forks. The article cited two of the largest restaurant chains in China as users of these products. Oh, did I mention that they are loaded with carcinogens?

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A few days before I went to South Africa, I received a call from an old client that was also a friend. I hadn’t heard from him since I last spoke to his group. I asked him why he was calling and he said he just wanted to let me know that I was a great guy and that he was there for me whenever I needed him. He then offered to take me to his farm to do some hunting and then he offered to help me on my property. While In Africa I received a response to my last Ray’s Rule from a great guy that I met at the Jersey Boys seminar. If you recall, I asked for suggestions for topics for Ray’s Rules and his suggestion was that we should not forget the personal touch. He reminded me (and I did need reminding) that too often in this high tech world we have replaced face to face interaction with Skype and hand written letters with emails. Social Networking has its place, but don’t let it replace the personal touch. He wanted my thoughts but I think his are better than mine would be. Here is his recommendation in his words:

“Happy New Year and thanks for the latest Rule. I hope things are well with you and family. A good topic would be the proper use of electronic technology in sales. Too many times I see sales people take themselves out of the relationship equation by relying too much on social media tools like e-mails, LinkdIn, Facebook, and Twitter. These items are great for instant contact, but rarely do they lead to real relationships. It is still important to write letters, have telephone conversations, and meet face to face. Social networking will never replace one on one in building the true relationships that lead to making the big sale.”
Roosevelt Heyward, III, President/CEO of Haywood and Fleming Associates

Thank you Roosevelt, your friendship is valued.

Your BATNA is the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement.

If the client will not allow you to pass on your increased cost to him, what is the best alternative? Is it to terminate the contract or is it to eat the cost increase yourself? If you are asking for a promotion or a raise, do you have another job lined up? You must determine your BATNA before you sit down to negotiate with someone. You have more control and power when you have a satisfactory BATNA. Many times your BATNA is a better action than making a concession that can hurt your reputation or the profit of your company. In a previous Ray’s Rule I said that you should never enter into a contract with which you would be angry to fulfill. Instead, choose you BATNA. You will happier and more productive when you do.