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Archive for May, 2010

Those of you that know me know that one of my passions is entrepreneurialism. In fact I spend most of my time working with both new and seasoned entrepreneurs every day. It’s rewarding, fun, and challenging.

Because of this love, it shouldn’t be a surprise to you that I like the site freeenterprise.com, a project of the US Chamber of Commerce. It was started to encourage those who would like to start a business, those that have, and those that wish to support those who are entrepreneurially minded.

While freeenterprise.com posts regularly about small business, what I really like about this site is the video contest they’ve been running encouraging people to tell the world what entrepreneurialism means to them. Once a video is up, the Free Enterprise Community is encouraged to vote on their favorite videos. The contest is almost over and they are down to the top 5. All are great videos. All are very encouraging and/or inspiring. Here are my 3 favorites in order from top to bottom. To view the rest of the vidoes, visit freeenterprise.com’s video page.

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Is it? Is your story alluring? Does it beguile, bewitch, or enthrall? Is it fascinating, engaging, maybe even mesmerizing? No? It can be…it’s all in how you tell it.

I was thinking about the TV show This American Life the other day and remembered an interview of Ira Glass, the host of the show. It was an excellent interview that spoke to the importance of not just telling a story, but telling it well and telling it with a rhythm that holds the audience and makes them want to discover the meaning of the message.

When I thought of this interview it made me think of Bobby Rettew, a good friend and a great videograpther. Every time I’m with Bobby he tells me, “It’s all about the story. You have to ask the question, ‘what’s your story,’ and then tell that story in a way that engages.” It sounds simple enough doesn’t it? It is…it’s just not easy to do.

If you feel the story you use to describe yourself or your business falls short of the adjectives listed in the first paragraph of this post, watch the interview of Ira Glass below. It’s packed with good advice and it’s only 5 minutes long. If you want more, visit Bobby’s Blog, read up and then connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. He has links to these sites on his blog. He’s a smart guy and you’ll find he’s very helpful.

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I was talking to one of my colleagues the other day and we got to talking about how few salespeople actually know how to sell. So when I came across this post by Gavin Ingham, I had to agree him. Garvin said:

“I never cease to be amazed by how little effort many salespeople put into improving their sales skills.”

So true! The thing is, there are millions of sources out there that teach people how to sell better, but few take advantage of them. To prove this point, look at what Garvin says about reading books on the subject of sales:

“One of the questions that I ask of the audience in my Selling in Tough Markets (or Selling in a Recession) keynote speech is, “Who is currently reading a book on selling?” The answer is usually about 2% of the audience at any one particular sales conference.”

Pretty sad! Like Garvin, I wish I could get salespeople to invest time in reading about sales. The old wives tale that you either are born to sell or you’re not just isn’t true. While some are naturally better at sales than others, anyone can learn to sell that puts their mind to it. So what benefits will reading bring you:

  • Learning new skills, strategies and techniques. If each book that you read delivered you even just one new strategy, one new skill and one new technique what would that mean for you, your sales results and your business over the next 5-10 years? A heck of a lot – that’s what. Top performing salespeople tell me that they always learn something from every sales seminar they attend or every sales book they read. It’s only less successful salespeople that come up with the line, “I knew it all already”.
  • Revising, improving and re-energizing existing skills. As Anthony Robbins is fond of saying, “Repetition is the mother of skill”. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. I am constantly amazed by how much I “get” from rereading really quite basic books that I have read before. Sometimes, several times. It’s not that there is something new in there, it’s that you see stuff differently and make critical distinctions that you did not make on the first read.
  • Building motivation and self-confidence. People who study have an inner confidence. It comes from knowing that you know your stuff, knowing that you are in the top 5%, knowing that you can do a professional job and knowing that you have put your time in.

This is just three points Garvin made, to see more swing over to his post. So we see there’s power in books on this subject, but there are so many other ways to learn if books aren’t your thing.

  • Audio Books. Why read when you can listen.
  • Blogs. This is a great way to get a short daily burst of sales encouragement.
  • Podcasts. It’s like blogs on tape.
  • YouTube. There are many great videos on selling too. Just look around

So here’s the point. Most salespeople suck. They don’t understand how to organize themselves, how to follow up, how to build trust, or how to close sales. It’s time to wake up! With all the ways you can learn to improve your sales, there is no excuse to not excel! The ball is in your court, how will you play it? To give you a head start, here’s a great video by Garvin about cold calling:

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