Welcome to the Whole Brain Selling Blog

Our blog gives you the best sales advice—gleaned from our thousands of deals a year and collaboration with the world's premiere businesses.

The term, “cinch by the inch” generally refers to a difficult task. If you do a little at a time the task is more manageable. That saying popped into my head one morning as I was walking along the beach with my wife, but for an entirely different reason.
When we first put our feet in the water it felt cold. The longer we walked the more comfortable the water became. That got me to wondering why so many people settle for a life that gets a little worse as time goes by. In a previous Ray’s Rule, I told you about the term NBA (Never Be Average) that was a family rule. How do so many allow themselves to say “Good Enough” which means they could have done better if they tried harder. Maybe it is because it happens so slowly that you don’t notice that you are not growing and fulfilling your dreams.

Are you settling for good enough? Life is too precious to waste. Be the best that you can be. Go for your dreams. Do not get buried with any “If onlys” or “What ifs” in you. If you have lost a job or are unhappy with your status in life, this is an opportunity to start over and do what you have always wanted to do. It is not as difficult as you may think. The hardest part is to start. If you eat a burger today and drink a six-pack, it will not kill you. If you do it every day you will die years too soon.

The same is true for doing things right. If you read a book this week on your profession, it will not make you that much better than your competitor. However, if you read a book every week about your profession then you will dominate your competition in a year or two. Over a 30 year period, I have read about 1,000 books on sales and leadership. I consider that one of the main reasons for my success.

You do not have to be twice as good as the next person to achieve spectacular results. If you were 5% better at closing; 5% better at prospecting; 5% better at getting referrals, then you would be earning 100% more than the average person.

Read a book on sales this week and next week and next week…

How can there be scarcity when the economy is in the dumps? Scarcity does not have to only refer to supply, but can also apply to opportunities. If people think they may miss an opportunity, they will act. I have been considering buying a house for investment because prices are so low and I do not want to miss out on this once in a lifetime buying opportunity. I am encouraging my son to buy a car so that he does not miss out on the great deals right now. All this got me to thinking about how we can use this “missing out” mindset to increase our sales and get reluctant prospects to commit. If you sell cars or real estate, this should be very easy and you should be hitting the phones calling every prospect you ever had. If you are in B2B, it may not seem as apparent, but the principle is the same.

Many suppliers are offering great deals to increase their market share. You must make the prospect understand that these offers may soon disappear. Make them believe they will be missing out if they do not act now. One of the key skills of a Salesmaster, is the ability to accelerate the buying process. That is why two years ago I changed my title on my business cards from “Speaker”
to “Accelerator.”

Create urgency and become an accelerator and watch your sales accelerate.

I was speaking to a financial society recently and was asked how I handled setbacks during my career. It was a great question and I thought that some of you might benefit from my response.

I was with RCA 35 years ago when they actually manufactured computers and I had just been promoted to program manager of the VCU installation when RCA announced that we were going out of the computer business. One day I was on an emotional high and the next I was on the street looking for a job. I learned many valuable lessons on my journey from joblessness to success. First and foremost, failure is an outcome, not a person. You only become a failure when you quit trying. Second, you must actively program your mind with positive thoughts and not allow yourself to be influenced by negative news or poor results. Perception is reality to the person perceiving it. Create your own reality. Listen to motivational tapes instead of the news. Visualize success. Remind yourself of the great sales you made in the past. Tell yourself that your prospects need what you are selling as much as you need to sell it. Fear is the dominant motivator in the market place right now. Fear to make a decision is the one that you must overcome to be successful in this environment. You must make your customer afraid not to buy. In B2B, it is that they will become less competitive. In B2C, it is fear that these bargains will not last long and they will miss out on the buying opportunity of a lifetime.

Create a sense of urgency and excitement. Be positive. It is contagious.

In my dark days, a co-worker and I would drink coffee all day complaining about the economy and how tough it was to sell with interest rates at 18% for second mortgages, etc. No wonder we were failures. We programmed our mind for failure and had a partner that was all to willing to reinforce that belief.

Stop hanging around negative people!

Which type of selling do you do most? Comparison selling or desire selling? Most salespeople have not considered the difference and others still do not even know what I am talking about. If you are not very good at desire selling then you are in for a long hard road during this economic downturn.

Let me explain. Comparison selling is when the prospect has decided to buy or needs to buy what you sell. The only decision to be made when you show up is from whom. It is in comparison selling where we promote our USP’s and try to differentiate ourselves from our competition. Most of us are pretty darn good at doing this.

Desire selling requires an additional set of skills.You have to first create the desire for the product before you tell them why they should buy it from you. People buy for one of two reasons, desire for pleasure or avoidance of pain. Once you have determined which reason you customer will use (discussed under a different Ray’s Rule) then you must magnify the pleasure or the pain to such a degree that it overcomes their reluctance to part with their money.

My favorite new phrase is The juice must be worth the squeeze, which I heard used by the Oracle sales team when I was working with them a few months ago. Simply stated, what the client perceives as the benefit (the juice) must be worth more than the benefit of holding onto their money (the squeeze).

If you are having a difficult time in getting your prospects to make a decision to buy maybe you have not provided enough juice.

I have just completed a 360 assessment for one of my clients which required me to interview almost 100 salespeople. I was struck by the number of them that were on a “personal best” pace. Many told me that they would earn from 10% to 90% more this year
than last year. What? How can that be? I thought everyone was having a terrible year. Grab your Tums because I am going to regurgitate some things you have heard so many times, that it may make you sick:

  • Attitude
  • Refusing to participate in this recession
  • Working smarter
  • Working harder
  • Improving your sales skills
  • Attack while others are in survival mode
  • Asking for help
  • Leveraging relationships
  • Looking for the opportunities created by the recession

On my way to Dubai, I met an old client that is GM of a BMW dealership and I asked him how he was doing, fully expecting to hear of how rotten sales were. Instead, he told me that January was a great month and February was even better. Astonished, I asked
him why his dealership was so successful while others were preparing funeral arrangements. He said it was attitude. They made it a point to keep energy levels high and every time a customer came in to the show room, they were treated with smiles, high energy, and a group of salespeople that did not have commission breath. His salespeople were not hanging around the water cooler lamenting and bitching about the economy. They were in their offices calling their old customers and telling them of the great deals. Michelle, one of the salespeople that attended my class last year in Dubai, said she was on a roll and expected to hit superstar status this year, even though she sold to the construction industry, which even in Dubai, has slowed dramatically. And yes, she was back for a refresher course to help her achieve that goal. Others choose not to attend because they were in the class last year… Hmmm! The top salesperson was back for more, but the ones that needed it most were MIA. There is a lesson there. My business is at an all time high. All of my clients are in the attack mode and see this economy as an opportunity to increase market share.

What can you do to achieve similar results? All of the above and go back and re-read all of Ray’s Rules. I do it and am always reminded of something that I should be doing that I am not doing. If you sell B2B, find the critical business issue and link your solution to that issue and put a dollar amount on the value of that solution. Yesterday, I was speaking with a client that said a one percent gain, in account retention, equates to $20 million. If my training can increase his account retention by 5%, then they would save $100 million. Cut off the zeroes and the principle still applies. If you sell advertising and it takes ten leads for your customer to make a sale worth $10,000 and the profit is $1000, then each lead is worth $100. If your ads generate 100 leads, then the ad campaign will generate $10,000 profit. If the ad campaign cost $1000 then the ROI is 1000%!!!!

If you think life is bad and your mountain is too high to climb, go see Slumdog Millionaire and thank God that you live in a place where you can still attain the American dream. Get going! There is opportunity out there waiting for you to find it.

I was reading an article this morning by John Maxwell, one of my favorite authors, and in it he referred to a story about John Wooden the great basketball coach. Wooden was talking to a player that was not all there at practice and only giving about a 60% effort. He told the athlete that he knew the athlete was thinking that he could coast that day and make it up with a 140% effort the next day. Wooden said, “You can only give 100%. You can not make it up tomorrow. That 40% is gone forever.” How many of us think exactly like that athlete. I have tried to live by the rule, wherever you are, be there. What I mean is when you are working, work. When you are playing, play. Play hard, work hard. So many people do not give 100% when they are working, and then feel guilty when they are playing. I returned from Dubai Saturday. I worked hard. This week I have been
playing and it feels good. In order to play guilt free, work hard.

Pardon the reference to poker, but I am working on my skills getting ready for my foray into the 09 World Series Of Poker, but I digress. We all know that referrals are worth their weight in gold, but how and why do we get them (or not).

In the last two weeks I have been bombarded with referrals and I got to wondering why I get so many of them. Then I was chatting with my son and he reminded me that it is a matter of trust. Think about it. If I give you a referral I trust that you will not damage my reputation, that you will treat my referral with integrity, that you will deliver a quality service, and the referral will thank me for sending them to you. The risk/reward for giving referrals is lopsided. There is very little reward and a lot of risk.

So how do I get them and what can you do to get them? First and foremost, you must be trustworthy. Covey, in his wonderful book, The Speed Of Trust, says a lack of trust is either a problem with character or competence. I may trust that you will not lie (character) but not trust that you can perform to the level that I want (capability). I will assume the first because I know readers of Ray’s Rules would not lie, so I will focus on competence. How good are you, really? I can not tell you how many times I
could have recommended a friend that I like and have no issues with their character, but would not recommend them for a job because I was not confident in their competence. I was not willing to put my reputation at risk. Are you the best at what you do? Would
someone risk their reputation on your ability to perform at a high level?

Let me share a secret that I learned a long time ago. Under promise and over deliver. Most salespeople do the opposite. The higher your sales skills, the less you have to promise to get the deal. Most organizations that hire me have dramatic results and
audiences often say that my speech was the best they ever heard. I have one client that has increased their closing average from 14% to over 70%. I would be a fool to tell a prospective client that they could achieve those same results. I typically tell them that will get a 1-10% increase in sales, so that when I exceed their expectations they become my advocates.

Recently I conducted a program for Oracle in Puerto Rico which was a referral from someone that attended a class I conducted five years ago in Puerto Rico. Today, I am leaving for Dubai for a return engagement that was originally a referral. Last week, I had someone from the UK sit in on a class I was conducting, as a guest of one of my clients. Yesterday one of my clients asked me if was available to take on new clients. And so it goes.

Be the consummate pro. Always do more than they expect and do it better, and you will never have to worry about the economy again. Example, I noticed that a recent book order came in from a man that is in commercial real estate. I have done programs for
CCIM in the past and sent him a customized WITY that I had developed specifically for that program. That one gesture may not generate a referral, but a hundred gestures will. Hone your sales skills. Give more than expected. Be trustworthy. And watch the referrals come in.

I can’t believe this, but I have not done a Ray’s Rule on the WITY. It is the single most powerful tool I have ever developed. Most of you have been to one of my seminars or have read my book and already know its value. This rule is for the rest of you.

How can you develop a solution for your customer if you do not know their buying criteria? And, how can your presentation eliminate the primary objection if you do not know what it is until after you have given your presentation? Only by luck and I don’t want to rely on luck for my success. That is why I developed the WITY. It is a document that contains all the buying criteria that the prospect might want. I ask the prospect to rank the top five. When he hands it back to me I simply ask the following question, “If I can provide a solution that meets all of these criteria, will I have your business?”

The three possible answers are yes/no/maybe.If the answer is “Yes” you have already made the sale. If the answer is “No” then don’t waste your time. The most common answer is “Yes, if…” or “Yes but…”. What follows is the objection
they were going to use, to delay the decision.

Chapter 7 of Success Secrets Of The Sales Funnel® has a comprehensive explanation of the WITY.

I do a speech called, “Fail Your Way to Success” and my opening line is, “What failure brought you to this place at this time?” My definition of failure includes any setback, caused by you on not. Failure is not a person. It is an outcome. You are not a failure. What you tried to do failed. You only become a failure when you stop trying. What I mean is as we journey through life, our destination is often determined more by our failures than our successes because failure demands an action whereas success allows us to maintain the status quo. How we handle our failures is of major importance during our life’s journey.

A few years ago I interviewed Zig Ziglar on my radio show and asked him what he would say to listeners that were having a tough time. I will never forget his answer. Zig said, “I would tell them it is down in the valley where the food is grown that will take them to the top of the mountain.”

I know it may seem bleak but this recession could be an opportunity. How so? Another question I ask during that speech is, “Has success prevented you from achieving your life’s goal?” Many of us had achieved a level of success that put us in a comfort zone
and sidetracked us and took away our passion. This could be an opportunity to put that passion back in your life and maybe change careers or re-dedicate yourself to become the best at what you do.

Forty years ago, I was an IT program manager for RCA when RCA decided to get out of the computer business. Overnight I was out of a job. It was devastating and scary. However, it was an opportunity to re-assess my career and my future. The truth is that I
really did not like my job. I wanted to work with people, not computers. So I decided to go into sales for job security. I attacked the sales process and after a couple false starts I became the top salesperson in my company. Then, it happened again. The company I worked for closed their East Coast operation and I was on the street again. But this time it was different. I was really good at sales and could easily transfer that skill to another company. I landed another job within two weeks and became the top salesman in the US in our industry.

All of the wonderful success that I have enjoyed in my life started when I lost my job at RCA. If you are between jobs or are worried about your future remember Zig’s words. You are preparing to climb the mountain and as Zig always says, I’ll see you at the top.

In an earlier edition of Ray’s Rules, I discussed Move Toward/Move Away as it relates to human behavior. I said that everyone is motivated by desire for pleasure or avoidance of pain. I also said that pain avoidance was a stronger motivator. That is why I use deficit questions to uncover latent pain because the greater the headache, the more someone will pay for the aspirin.

We are seeing this theory being utilized by our President. He keeps telling us we are in a crisis and that if we don’t allow him to raise taxes, socialize many of our institutions, etc. that we will be in line at the soup kitchen. As I was listening to the radio today I heard him say that someone goes bankrupt every 30 seconds due to medical bills. Regardless of your political affiliation you have to admire his sales skills.

We now have a splitting headache and here comes the aspirin, the stimulas plan. It is working for him and it can work for you. Most of your prospects are afraid to make a decision to invest in their business, for fear of the unknown. You must make them more
fearful of NOT doing something, if you want to make sales in this economy. Custer did not win the battle by circling the wagons and neither will companies that go into survival mode instead of growth mode.

The measure of success today is not gross dollars, it is market share. If you are increasing market share but losing gross dollars you are on the right track. One of the problems in the past that is coming back to haunt businesses today is that their gross dollars wereincreasing due to increased demand, while their market share was decreasing.They became overconfident thinking that they were doing a great job and had great sales skills. When the market shrank, they found themselves woefully unprepared to compete in the new super competitive environment. To increase market share you must be better than you were last year. This is a great time to dramatically increase market share.