I was eating sushi when it happened.
My friend Gil Wagner was expressing frustration about a colleague of his.
Finally, his rant came to an end with the following comment:
“I love her to death,” Gil said, “but I just can’t see anybody writing her a check.”
I almost choked on my Spicy Tuna Roll.
I can’t see anybody writing her a check.
Ouch. THAT’S not good for business.
HERE’S MY QUESTION: What if someone described YOU that way? Think that might have an impact on your sales?
Now, that incident happened a few months ago. And since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about Gil’s comment, wondering what the characteristics are of businesspeople who ARE worthy of their customer’s checkbooks.
Today we’re going to explore seven practices to help you become more “checkbookable," which is (yet another) word I made up this year:
1. Say yes to yourself. Before anyone writes you a check, two things have to happen. First, you have to sell yourself on yourself. Next, you have to sell THEM on yourself. As Jeffrey Gitomer reminds us in The Sales Bible, “The deeper your belief, the deeper your pockets.”
My suggestion: Every morning before work, have a daily appointment with yourself. Recite affirmations, re-read goals, meditate, whatever it takes to activate the appropriate mental state. I’ve been practicing this daily since 2002 and I credit it as the single most important thing I do, every day.
Here's a helpful guide on how to do this. Try it for a week. I promise it makes it easy to create the right inner condition to say yes TO yourself, then act on the trust you feel FOR yourself. What do you say to yourself every day?
2. Become a peer of the buyer. First, by discovering the CPI, or Common Point of Interest. Second, by asking PFQ’s, or Passion Finding Questions. Third, ask yourself: What are you willing to LOSE on the first sale in order to guarantee a relationship? Time? Lunch? Money? Free samples? A few hundred bucks? It might be worth it if you become their friend. Are perceived as a friend by people who write checks?
3. Look for every possibly opportunity to reduce uncertainty. You’re starting with a negative balance with your customers. Most of your them have been screwed over, sold to, marketed to, argued against, targeted, annoyed, persuaded, dishonored, pitched, pressured, bothered, interrupted, threatened and manipulated by too many companies too many times. And their tired of it.
Trust and loyalty are at an all time low; fear and skepticism are at an all time high. What’s more, other professionals in your industry have set a precedent of mistrust. And the default posture of the average person is to NOT believe you. You need to disarm that preoccupation whenever possible. What strategy will you use?
4. Defend your value proposition. The more people know about you and what you do, the easier it is (and more likely it is) that they can and will defend you. This is known as the massive evidence concept. And like a good trial attorney, you need to introduce as much evidence of value as possible. Just remember: Don’t confuse the value you deliver with the delivery mechanism OF that value. Are you selling the right thing?
5. Charge fees commensurate with your contribution. “How are you improving the client’s condition?” That’s the mantra of legendary consultant, Alan Weiss. Your goal is to answer that question, state your fee confidently – then shut up. Own the thing you’re trying to tell people. Speak with uncompromising language. Be unapologetic. Don’t feel guilty for demanding compensation for your value.
And, remember that confidence opens checkbooks. Ask yourself, “I wonder how much I can help?” and stop thinking, “I hope I don’t blow this!” The stink of desperation will be unavoidable. Have you ever practiced quoting your fee to yourself in the mirror for twenty minutes straight?
6. Keep your posture. My friend and the owner of goBRANDgo, Derek Weber, tells his staff that a salesperson is similar to a free safety in football. “On defense, you need to have your weight centered and balanced. Up on the balls of your feet ready to react quickly in whatever direction you need to go. Similarly, when speaking to your prospect in a sales environment, if your weight is too far forward and you’re overly aggressive, you cause the prospect to feel pressured. This instantly puts them on the defensive, lowers comfort and tarnishes trust.”
Derek tells his salespeople that strong posture comes from confidence in your sales approach, which comes from practice and preparation. That means go into the call knowing what questions you need to ask in order to discover the information you will need to assess the prospect’s viability as a potential customer. And that helps you control the direction of the sales call without being pushy or domineering.
“Keep yourself centered, your weight balanced, and up on the balls of your feet ready to ask,” Weber said. “It makes the difference between making the sale and being run over for a game-losing touchdown.” What type of posture do you maintain in your sales calls?
7. Leave people with a positive emotional impression. Finally, let’s revisit Gil’s example from earlier. He also told me, “By chosen profession, Marcie is a coach. But upon first impression, Marcie is timid. Mild-mannered. Even tongue-tied. In other words, her outward self seems much more suited to following than leading. That's why I can't see anyone writing her a check. How do you hire a coach who visibly seems more comfortable following than leading?”
Therefore, the challenge is simple: Make sure the message you’re preaching the dominant reality of your life. Other the disharmony between your onstage performance and backstage reality will be too loud. How do you leave people?
REMEMBER: If you want to become worthy of your customer’s checkbook, you’ve got to make yourself checkbookable.
Execute these seven practices, and soon you’ll start receiving more checks than Jerry Lewis on Telethon Weekend.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How checkbookable are you?
LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "6 Ways to Out Position the Competition," send an email to me, and you win the list for free!
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
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Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I was eating sushi when it happened.