The ABC's of Selling

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Over the years I have learned (and keep learning) a lot about sales. I am hoping that my first hand experience can give you an edge and a head start to success. Here are some quick and easy ideas that can and will help you nail down your sales.

A – Availability for your customers is essential, so they can reach you with questions, concerns or reorders.

B – Believe in yourself and your company, or find something else to sell.

C – Customers aren’t always right, but if you want to keep them as your customers, find a way to make them right.

D – Deliver more than you promise.

E – Educations is for life – never stop learning.

F - Follow up and follow through. Never leave a customer hanging.

G – Goals give you a reason to go to work every day. When you reach your goals, set higher ones!

H – Humanize your selling strategy by learning everything you can about your customers.

I – I is the least important letter in selling.

J – Join trade organizations and community groups that will help you both professionally and personally, such as Toastmasters, Chamber of Commerce or Junior Achievement.

K – Know your competitors and their products as well as you know your own.

L – Listen to your customers or they’ll start talking to someone else.

M – Maybe is the worst answer a customer can give. No is better than maybe. Find out what you can do to turn it into a yes.

N – Networking is among the most important skills a salesperson can develop. Someone you know knows someone you need to know.

O – Opportunities are everywhere. Keep your antennae up.

P – Price is not the only reason customers buy your product, but it’s a good reason.

Q – Quality can never be sacrificed if you want to keep your customers satisfied.

R – Relationships are precious: They take time to develop and are worth every minute you invest in them.

S – Service is spelled “serve us” in companies that want to stay in business for a long time.

T – Trust is central to doing business with anyone. Without it, you have another word that begins with T:Trouble.

U – Unlimited potential is possible whether you sell computers or candy. You are the only one who can limit your potential.

V – Volunteer: It’s always good to give back. You’ll probably find that you get more than you give, and there is no shortage of organizations that need your help.

W – Winning doesn’t necessarily mean beating everyone else. A win-win situation is the best of both worlds.

X – X-ray and catscan your customers so that you know everything about them – so you can serve them better.

Y – You is a word your customers need to hear often, as in “What can I do for you?”

Z – Zeal is a critical element in your presentations, service and life in general. Let your enthusiasm shine!

Learn more about my new book, The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World

Click here to help me spread the word about my new book.

If you already bought my new book, make sure you download or request the hard copy of my new Network Builder for FREE Here.

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Hands-On Beats All Else

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In the National Hockey League, there’s a saying: “You can’t ride the boards to glory.” In other words, you’ll never win the Hart Trophy–recognition for being the League’s most valuable player–with your fanny glued to the bench.

For sales–as with everything else in life–there is no substitute for hands-on experience, day in and day out. If you’re in the majors, you can bat a thousand in the batting cage, but there is no replacement for going up against an ace reliever with a nasty change-up while 40,000 riveted fans in the stands hold their breath.

When I was 19, I played for Minnesota in the NCAA golf championships at Purdue, confident I would be the next Ben Hogan. Competitors from the South like Don January and ken Venturi banished my dreams to the rough forever.

My mother sat me down and explained the facts of life: “Harvey, you started playing golf at age 7. That’s probably the same age as these other guys. But weather makes it impossible for you to practice much of the year. So you’ve been playing 6 months for 12 years. They’ve been playing 12 months for 12 years. And 72 months of live experience will never beat 144 months. You better find another dream.”

Same goes for sales. Hawking lemonade and Girls Scout cookies can teach you a lot about rejection and renewal while your sales bones are still growing and resilient. Get in the ring early…and often.

Learn more about my new book, The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World

Click here to help me spread the word about my new book.

If you already bought my new book, make sure you download or request the hard copy of my new Network Builder for FREE Here.

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The Mike Litman Show

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I had the pleasure and opportunity to talk with Mike Litman on his radio show about my new book The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World. This whole launch process has been a great opportunity to meet and talk to so many impressive and amazing people.  Mike has been working since 1997 to develop a platform where he could positively influence as many people as possible. He is a success by any standard and he has plenty to offer the world.  You can listen to the interview below or Click Here for the post on Mike’s website.

Mike Litman Show by HarveyMackay

Learn more about my new book, The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World

Click here to help me spread the word about my new book.

If you already bought my new book, make sure you download or request the hard copy of my new Network Builder for FREE Here.

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Better Humble Than Stumble

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In the history of the world, there has never been a city that juices itself more on ego then Tinseltown. That said, I remain a huge movie buff and religiously watch the Academy Awards telecast. I’m even more interested because my son, David, is a film director and producer in Hollywood.

The curious thing? For the very cream of the entertainment profession, genuine humility flows in their blood. Stars with staying power understand exactly how reliant they are on the support of others.

Two of the most memorable lines during the 2008 Oscar ceremonies came from the year’s Best Actor and Best Actress, Sean Penn and Kate Winslet.

“I want to be ver clear,” Sean Penn admitted, ” I do know how hard I make it to appreciate me.” While few would refer to Penn as humble, that had to be the understatement of the year! Kate Winslet was disarmingly honest: “I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t made a version of this speech before. I was probably eight years old staring into the bathroom mirror, and this would have been a shampoo bottle,” she said as she held up her Oscar.

Danny Boyle, who won Best Director for Slumdog Millionaire, went onstage and started jumping up and down. The movie was originally slated to be released only on DVD, and he said he promised his kids that if he ever won an Oscar, he would accept it in the joyous spirit of Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. Never forget that winning moments are also made of keeping promises to the people who’ve helped get you there.

I’ve been speaking to business groups for decades now, but I remember the first time my wife, Carol Ann, heard me give a speech. I knew she would be my harshest critic, so I practiced a great deal. I delivered what I thought was a great speech. Many people came up to me afterward and complimented me. In the car on the way home, I turned to Carol Ann and asked, “Sweetheart, how many great speakers do you think there are in the world today?”

She smiled and replied, “One fewer than you think, dear.”

Mackay’s Moral: The sound carries farther when others blow your horn.

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Integrity Deflates Easily

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Ethics and integrity must be the cornerstone of every sales professional’s existence. Let me tell you a true story about Professor Bonk, who taught chemistry at Duke University. The lessons: First, integrity is always right. Second, dishonesty can be very risky business.
One year, three guys were taking chemistry and all getting solid A’s going into the final exam. They were so confident that the weekend before finals they decided to go up to the University of Virginia to party with some friends. Due to bad hangovers, they slept all day Sunday and didn’t make it back to Duke until early Monday morning.
Rather than taking the final exam then, they explained to Professor Bonk that they’d gotten a flat tire on their trip to Virginia and didn’t have a spare, so they didn’t get back to campus until late Sunday night. They wanted to delay the exam until Tuesday.

Professor Bonk thought this over and then agreed they could make up the final on the following day. the three guys were elated and relieved. They studied that night and went in for the test the next day. Professor Bonk placed them in three separate rooms, handed each of them a test booklet, looked at his watch and told them to begin.

They opened up the test booklet and saw that the first question, about OXYGEN, was worth 5 points.

They all thought this was going to be easy. Then they turned the page and saw the second question, worth 95 points: Which tire?

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Overcoming Rejection: Tried & True Tips

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  • Take the criticism, but don’t take it to heart.
  • Realize 10 setbacks are the admission price for any major win.
  • Analyze every failure, but never wallow in it.
  • Don’t break stride and let this loss cost you your focus on the next race.
  • Recognize no one person can please everybody.
  • Don’t rationalize the hurt by saying you didn’t want to succeed that much anyway.
  • Tally up what you’ve learned and how you will use it not to make the same mistake again.
  • Let the setback motivate you to try that fresh new approach you have had stuffed in your back pocket for months.
  • Don’t assume you are branded with failure and walk around as if you’re wearing a scarlet letter.
  • Don’t worry when you lose. Worry when you stop being a contender.

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The Single Most Powerful Tool for Winning a Negotiation

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Herr Schwan demonstrated that walking away from the table is not just for when you don’t want to deal. Sometimes it’s the only way you can make the deal you want.

If you have to have a deal, then all the other side needs to do to win the negotiation is to outwait you.

Take international relations. It used to be assumed that being bamboozled in treaty negotiations was part of the price of a free society. The reason the democracies have been such failures in international negotiations with tyrannies is that the attitudes of the general public are part of the baggage our representatives bring to the bargaining table–and the general public has an expectation that “success” in bargaining is measured by the act of reaching an agreement, never mind what the agreement is.

As a result, once our foreign-policymakers are maneuvered into going into negotiations, it’s almost inevitable that we lose, because the other side knows that they have only to refuse to make a deal–unless it;s one they regard as favorable to them–and the public perception will be that our negotiators will have lost a key opportunity.

Vyacheslav Molotov, the longtime foreign minister of the Societ Union, was so adept at this outwaiting technique that his nickname was “Ironpants.”

Deals seldom get worse when you walk away from the table. Be prepared to walk away from the table … and mean it. You’ll be able to go back to the table and get even better terms.

The single most powerful tool for winning a negotiation is the ability to walk away from the table without a deal.

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Hubris the Humorless

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In ancient Greece, Alcibiades was telling Pericles how Athens should be governed. Annoyed by the young man’s tone, Pericles said, “Son, when I was your age, I talked just the way you are talking.”

Alcibiades looked Pericles in the face and replied, “How I should like to have known you when you were at your best.”

Ah, the arrogance of youth. To put the story in context, Pericles is often referred to as “the first citizen of Athens” for his many achievements: his promotion of art and literature, his championing of democracy, and his sponsorship of an ambitious building project that included most of the surviving structures on the Acropolis, including the Parthenon. Alcibiades, on the other hand, was also a statesman and orator.

The respective lengths of the Wikipedia entries for these two suggests history is still duking it out as to who was greater, but Pericles has the clear edge in the impact of his achievements. Alcibiades, defeated at the Battle of Notium, ultimately exiled himself. Contributing to his downfall were the great, unchecked expectations he allowed to be circulated about himself before being thrashed by the Spartans.

In the dictionary, Alcibiades could be the personification of “hubris.” Hubris means extreme haughtiness, exaggerated pride or arrogance. Hubris has lost touch with reality. That’s why powerful people so often overestimate their competence or capabilities.

Recent headlines illustrate hubris to the extreme: the disgraced governor of Illinois flailing to defend his actions in 2010…the CEo of BP complaining days after the Gulf oil-rig explosion and resulting massive oil spill that he wanted his life back. Hubris lives on–an odd affliction that makes its observers sicker than the self-centered souls it afflicts.

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