Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Gate Keeper

Recently I read an article from a colleague who is also considered to be a "sales guru."  The content of the article was specific to "getting beyond the gate keeper."  His strategy included using coy language and what I consider to be bullying tactics.  I could not disagree with him more!

Since most "gate keepers" or administrative assistants are women, I resent this advice on so many levels.  First of all, bullying is never a good strategy.  Second, I think that this kind of advice validates the negative imaging associated with salespeople. As a salesperson myself (and it is my belief that WE ARE ALL IN SALES) it's important to remember that WE ARE IN THE RELATIONSHIP BUSINESSWhen you are in the business of building relationships, being coy or being a bully can NEVER be part of the sales equation.

It has been my lived experience that the administrative assistant  IS my greatest advocate.  She can get my information to the key individual more quickly, more concisely, and more effectively than I can on my own. She is part of my relationship, and I value what she can teach me about this client that I otherwise would not know.

A better strategy would be to actively build a relationship with the gate keeper FIRST.  Just as you would in the beginning of any relationship, engage in this relationship. This person holds the keys to where you want to go next; approach with caution and care.  A good deal of my early speaking work included speaking for administrative assistants specific to professional development.  Their number one complaint was that often times salespeople did not treat them with dignity and respect.  Huge error.

The next time you are making a call--on the phone or in person--remember this, The Gate Keeper has the power to open the doors to your future.  Might make sense to pause a minute and thank her--in advance-- for her assistance!

Now Get Your Big Girl Pants On ... and SELL Something!~

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Hanging In -- In The Sale

I've spent a lot of my lifetime negotiating; whether it be with my husband,my kids, or in my professional life. There truly is no better negotiator, however, than a kid in a grocery store. You can learn a lot from that kid.

I just returned home from watching a five year old with some of the most incredible sales finesse and negotiation skill that I've ever witnessed. I'm sure that I heard his mom say no at least six times to that new cereal he "absolutely had to have." She, strong in her conviction, shook her head to the point that I was slightly concerned about brain bruising. Perhaps there was brain bruising, because when I met up with them again in the checkout lane, the cereal was in the cart.

Kids this age have an amazing propensity to understand that the first "no" is only the beginning of the sales cycle. We can learn so much from this--particularly as women. We women cut and run long before the negotiations are over. Why is that? Fear of rejection? Fear of making a fool of ourselves?

While I'm not conclusive on my answer, what I do know is this ... if we hang in there just a little while longer than we may be comfortable, incredible things can and D0 happen.

The next time you have the opportunity to begin negotiations ... just remember that five year old kid ... what you end up with in your "cart" will probably be a whole lot better than cereal!

To your continued success and significance!

For more information on sales negotiation skills go to

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sales Negotiation Skills 101

So what are you calling yourself these days? What's your title on your card? Can I recommend something that will be THE BEST advice that you'll EVER receive? Regardless of what you're calling yourself, regardless of your title, YOU ARE IN SALES.

How's that feeling to you? Are you starting to hyper ventilate? It's okay...I'll wait while you get a brown paper bag--breathe deeply! What I'm telling you is the absolute truth! If you don't think that it's your responsibility to:

1. Sell yourself
2. Sell your ideas
3. Sell your company
4. Sell your products/services

All I'm asking you to do is rethink it! Remember the "magic eye" books? You know, when you'd open a book and the picture would be all gumbily gook and you'd put your nose to it and then slowly pull the book away? Wella--and you could magically see the picture? That's what this concept might feel like to you now--a bunch of gumbily gook. But I'm telling you, sit with it. Slowly consider. I promise the "real picture" will appear.

The problem is that most of us (especially women) have a distorted image of what a salesperson is. We imagine someone in a blue plaid polyester suit who somehow puts us under a spell and gets us to purchase that which we do not want. It's crazy. A true salesperson is an extraordinary listener. And here's the thing...hearing is innate, God willing. LISTENING is a practiced skill! Within proactive listening, your concern should be about posturing (that means that you are FACING the person with no obstacles--like a remote between you and them), comprehension, and validation. And here's how you'll know when you've got it down. LISTEN AS THOUGH THERE'S GOING TO BE A TEST! Seriously, this one little habit will increase your effectiveness personally AND professionally.

Do you think it'd make a difference if people saw you as an extraordinary listener? Might it change how your customer or client views you? How about in your most intimate personal relationships.

Humor me...give it a try...15 minutes everyday--for a month. And here's another catch--when you are practicing proactive listening, if you start thinking about what's for lunch or who's going to pick up the dry cleaning, that's a FOUL and your 15 minutes has to start over. This is UNBELIEVABLE HARD, you'll see. But once you've practiced and you can do a full 15 minutes, add to your time. Then, when you think you're an "Olympian at listening," here's what you're going to do next...LISTEN TO SOMEONE THAT YOU DO NOT LIKE! Why would I ask you to do that? Well, just as there are difficult people for you, YOU are a difficult person for someone else. Hard to believe, I know. However would you not appreciate the person that is listening to you invest in proactive listening when YOU are the one doing the talking? I suspect the answer is yes.

Give it a try. Fifteen minutes. Everyday. One month. Let me know how you do, will you? I'll be anxious to hear from

To your continued success and significance!

For more information on sales negotiation skills go to