Monday, March 25, 2013

Disastrous Prospecting Mistakes You May Be Unintentionally Making


I hear the excuses all of the time.
  • “I don’t have time to research.”
  • “I know my material and I deliver it perfectly.”
  • “I’ve been very successful doing it my way.”
  • “I have a script, and I have a quota; I do what I’m told.”
When you think about Sales Intelligence and the need to do your homework BEFORE picking up the phone, sending an email, or going to a meeting–if the above sounds familiar–might I recommend another comment you may soon want to memorize: “do you know anyone with a job opening?”

The world of selling has dramatically changed from the days where prospects would actually listen to your pitch. Prospects don’t have time to hear your story, nor do they care about you or your company. They do, however, dramatically care about themselves. So why not leverage what THEY care about into YOUR selling process?

A favorite sales expert, best-selling author, speaker, and person is Jill Konrath. Bottom line…Jill gets business and Jill knows how to sell. Jill also is a huge proponent of Sales Intelligence. Following is a recent article by Jill that sums up the “Why” of doing your homework and how it can help you craft a personalized opening statement.


No one I know wants to sound like a self-serving salesperson. So, as we prospect for new customers, we vow to never stoop as low as those product-pushing peddlers.

Instead, we decide to be paragons of professionalism. When we contact our prospects and get their voicemail instead, we’ll leave a message like this one:
Hi Pat. This is Jane Kerry calling. I’m with Big Deal Strategies, a leading marketing firm in the Minneapolis area. We offer a wide range of services, including branding, collateral development, as well as packaging and web design – one-stop shopping for all your marketing needs.
I’d love to set up a time to find out about your needs and tell you a bit about how we might help your company. Please give me a call at your earliest convenience. My number is 123-456-7890. I look forward to meeting you. Have a great day!
As we hang up the phone, we pride ourselves on how gracious we were. Not one bit pushy either. In short, perfect.

Well, guess what!  When your prospects hear that “nice” message, the first thing that pops into their head is, “Another self-serving salesperson!” Then they hit the Delete button as fast as they can. It happens with email too.

Or if you actually get a person on the phone, they’ll brush you off right away by saying, “We’re happy with our present vendor” or “We’re not interested.”

Why is this happening? It’s simple. Your non-salesy message is “salesy.” You may not think it is, but if you got dozens of near-identical, but very gracious messages each day from salespeople, you’d change your mind in a hurry.

In short, you have violated the #1 Paradoxical Sales Principle: To get more sales, stop selling.

When you talk about your own company, you’re selling – even if you do it nicely. You really cross the line if you use verbiage like one-stop shopping, industry leader, user-friendly, scalable, best-in-class, robust, or innovative.

In fact, if you say even one nice word about your company, you’re seen as a typical salesperson – despite all your best efforts to not be. So stop talking about yourself.

How about this for a fresh perspective: Focus on your customer instead. That’s the antidote to “selling.” In your next call on a prospect, think about how you can quickly:
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of what’s happening in their firm or industry.
  • Align your message with their issues, goals, objectives and concerns.
  • Bring them ideas, insights and information about highly relevant topics.
  • Sound like a colleague who’s been thinking about their business challenges.
That’s what it takes to capture your prospect’s attention today. Your “nice” spiel doesn’t work anymore. It just gets you d-e-l-e-t-e-d.

Try this instead.
Pat. Jane Kerry calling. 123-456-7890. If you’re like most marketers today, you’re probably under a ton of pressure to increase your lead generation effectiveness. One of our recent clients was able to increase their sales pipeline by 31% at the same time they decreased their marketing spend. Let’s set up a time to talk. Again, it’s Jane Kerry and my number is 123-456-7890.
Or, you could say this.
Pat, Jane Kerry calling. In researching your company, I saw that one of your prime initiatives this year is to drive sales of your new products. We’ve worked with lots of other high tech companies on this same challenge. I have some ideas on how to shorten ramp up time for your new product introduction. I think you’ll find them interesting. Let’s see if we can get some time on the calendar in the next week. My number is 123-456-7890. (repeat).
See the difference. It’s palpable. You’re a business peer. A real professional. A person who brings substantial value. Someone worth meeting. A person who cannot be ignored!
Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling (#1 Amazon sales book) and Selling to Big Companies, a Fortune “must read” selection. She’s a frequent speaker at sales conferences and kick-off meetings.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


by Kit Grant

“Nothing ever just happens. You have to make things happen, including individual success. Success is the direct result of definite action, carefully planned and persistently carried out by the person who has conditioned his mind for success and believes he will attain it.”Napoleon Hill

This may explain why so few actually reach or feel successful. It is not an accident but rather requires a change in thinking followed by appropriate actions to bring about the desired outcomes. Most people would say, “That sounds too hard — it’s too much work”. It would also explain their results. I do not believe most people really want success; they prefer to just be comfortable. What’s the difference? Successful people need to keep on going, setting new goals and achieving things thought o be outside their capability. Comfortable people can just coast. Well — I never met anyone who could coast uphill for very long. Once you are clear on the difference, you get to make the choice. That’s right, it’s not about luck, where you were born, who your parents were, which teachers you had, the bosses and co-workers you previously had. You cannot change the past as much as some people would like to. So go forward from today with new objectives, new energy and a belief you can do something and watch what happens. You may happily surprise yourself.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Motivational Speaker, Marilyn Sherman | Get to know Marilyn a little better!

A Quick Q&A to get to know MARILYN SHERMAN

Marilyn Sherman - Get a front-row seat in life!What is your expertise?
After years being in training and development for a finance company, I spent 5 years on the road with a seminar company and the last 15 years as an independent motivational speaker/author sharing my message of hope, encouragement, and strategies to be more productive. I've written three books about personal motivation and what people can do to get out of their comfort zone and live life in the front-row. With my background in training, I also add value to my clients by conducting workshops on dealing with difficult people. So, not only do I motivate people to be better at work but I teach them how to handle the people around them who aren't so ready to change!

What are the 2 biggest challenges you help clients overcome?
Workplace stagnation and lack of motivation

What’s the one thing you do (on stage/ for clients) that no other speaker does?
The one thing that meeting planners say that impresses them most is how I show up early and attend the events leading up to my presentation, then if my schedule permits, hang with them afterwards. I totally immerse myself into their program so I can speak with more of an understanding of who they are and what they are about. They love it, and I love it too!

What groups tend to need your message the most?
Groups that hired a boring speaker last time! Actually, groups that are looking for practical information that their audience can immediately apply to have increased productivity, morale, and teamwork, delivered in a fun, engaging way.

Describe your presentation style on stage - or how others would describe you & your speaking style.
Funny, authentic, real, relatable and engaging. Oh yeah - and magnetic!

What’s one thing you say on the platform that scares the pants off your audiences?
They are responsible for their own success. Their obstacles are really excuses and if they don't like their seat in life, it's up to them to move it or change their attitude about it.

Today’s audiences are sophisticated and expect more from a speaker - what do you do to keep your content fresh and innovative?
I spend time talking to attendees prior to my program to really understand what their issues are and weave them into my presentation. For associations, I engage in their events and ask a lot of questions.

What is one thing your audiences always remember after having attended your presentation? That life is really lived in the front-row and they too can move closer to the front-row of their life with simple attitude adjustments or perspective shifts.

What are three adjectives past clients have used to describe your presentation and/or message after having heard you?
Best. Speaker. Ever. (and fun, authentic, relatable).

Fill in the blank: Marilyn Sherman is the "Front-Row" gal.

Marilyn's Personal Website
Marilyn Sherman's Full Biography
Marilyn Sherman's Topics & Presentations
Watch Marilyn Sherman's Demo Videos
Marilyn Sherman's Client Testimonials


Interested in bringing Marilyn to speak at your next conference or event?
Let us know! We'd love to help - feel free to email, call or fill out Marilyn's web form. We can check Marilyn's availability and answer any questions regarding her fees & programs, too. We look forward to helping you take steps on getting you in the front row!
-- Thank you --

Sarah Whitten | Marilyn Sherman's Manager
913.498.9775 |
Standard Ovation |

Friday, March 1, 2013

Standard Ovation turns 1 year old!

March 2, 2013

HAPPY FIRST ANNIVERSARY STANDARD OVATION! Standard Ovation has officially been open for one year! [cheers!] We have had a blast so far - and can't wait for many more years! Thanks to everyone who has supported us: our clients & bureau partners and to our absolutely amazing team of speakers! We also want to extend our gratitude to everyone else who has been supportive in our journey: our friends & families, our business partners & vendors, people in the industry who have been so helpful & kind, and to everyone else who has given advice, sent us a note, gave us a kind word, and cheered us on! We have genuinely enjoyed our first year at Standard Ovation and we cannot wait to continue managing our remarkable speakers - growing, learning, inspiring and making an impact on others!

Standard Ovation
www.thestandardovation | 913.498.9772 |
Sarah Whitten | Charlotte Raybourn | Amy Crocker

Standard Ovation Speakers:
Dr. Gary Bradt
Kit Grant, CSP
Michael Hoffman, CSP
Gregg Lederman
Sam Richter
Marilyn Sherman