Friday, January 30, 2015

Are You Taking Advantage of the Most Powerful Emotion in Sales?

by Sam Richter

What is the essence of Sales Intelligence? Why is it a lead generating and deal closing machine like no other? It is not the inside secrets of effectively using search engines, mining the Invisible Web, or leveraging social media to find information. That is the “how.” Rather, the “why” is a mindset that differentiates one salesperson, and one organization, from all others. Following is a modified chapter from the best-selling book, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling about how making the other person feel important can make the difference in winning the complex sale.

If you’re over the age of 40, you remember the days before the Internet. Most firms didn’t have email, there was no such thing as video conferencing, and if you had a cell phone, you had to keep it in a briefcase because it was so cumbersome. Yes … the days before broadband and wireless technology (or said another way, the days when you could go home and have a life).

If you were in business and especially in sales, we did something else in those pre-Smart Phone, pre-Twitter, pre-webinar days — we took our prospects and clients out to lunch. We didn’t have the technology to easily communicate with our prospects and clients other than via telephone, so we made it a practice to take them out for two-hour lunches, four-hour golf outings, and three-hour sporting or theater events. Remember those good old days?

In the high-pressure, high-technology, “don’t-have-enough-time” world of today, how many of you take your prospects or clients out for two-hour lunches?

How many of you even take the time for lunch?

Why did we spend so much time with our prospects and clients? For one reason: We wanted to build a relationship. We wanted to learn about the other person, his or her values, and what he or she cared about in business and in life. We wanted that person to get to know us because we knew that if we could connect on a personal level, we could provide value, we could ensure relevancy, and we could establish loyalty. We wanted to show that we cared.

We wanted to make our prospect or client feel important.

Maslow's Hierarchy of NeedsYou’re probably familiar with Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. In his 1954 book Motivation and Personality, Maslow outlined the five levels of human needs. Maslow’s Hierarchy is often portrayed as a pyramid, with the largest and most fundamental levels of needs at the bottom (e.g., food and air), and the need for self-actualization at the top.

Some people associate self-actualization with people such as Tony Robbins or the Dalai Lama — individuals who have maximized their potential and are at complete peace with themselves and the world. Whether that’s the true definition of self-actualization or not, it’s safe to say that most of us will probably not reach the pinnacle of Maslow’s pyramid.

What I find fascinating is what’s directly below self-actualization. It’s the need to feel important. The need to feel appreciated. The need to feel recognized. The need to feel loved. In fact, the need to feel important and appreciated ranks much higher than the need to eat or breathe.

In study after study since Maslow came out with his theory, people report that they would rather die than not feel appreciated.

Think about that for a moment as it relates to your business and your sales efforts. Imagine if you could tap into that emotion?

What are you doing in every prospect and client interaction to make the other person feel important?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

"Why not you?" - The Immeasurable Heart of Russell Wilson

by Don Yaeger

"Why not you?" 

These simple words were spoken to Russell Wilson by his father, Harrison, and they would change his life.

Years before his Super Bowl championship with the Seattle Seahawks, Wilson was a high-school senior and multi-sport athlete, torn between a baseball career and football dreams. The Baltimore Orioles had drafted him straight out of high school with a guarantee of a million dollar contract. Deep down, however, Wilson desired to play professional football one day, but there was one issue that every coach and scout had raised: At a little under six feet, he was undersized. It was the same old song he had heard since playing youth football.

His father, who then was struggling with adult-onset diabetes, told him that professional sports could wait. By choosing to go to college instead of to pro baseball, Harrison explained to his son, Wilson would get to play both of his beloved sports as well as gain an education. Wilson promised his father that he would take this path and soon after turning down the Orioles, he enrolled at North Carolina State…and unknowingly began his championship journey to the Seattle Seahawks and the Super Bowl.

Russell Wilson and FatherIn an interview with the New York Times, Wilson commented on his father—who passed away in 2010 from complications with diabetes—and how he still relies on his inspiration today to get through tough circumstances. “He used to always tell me ‘Russ, why not you?’” Wilson recalled. “And what that meant was believe in yourself, believe in the talent God has given you even though you are 5-foot-11, and you can go a long way.”

Think about that for a moment. “Why not you?” The advice is so simple, practical—and yet so profound. A father says it to a son…and he rides that to the pinnacle of his profession.
“He and my mom gave me my belief,” said Wilson in the interview. “I play with my dad in my heart every game because he really taught me about discipline, preparation and how to be an ultimate competitor.”

Wilson has lived by the “Why not you?” motto ever since his conversation with his father. He has dedicated himself to the continuous pursuit of Greatness—which is evident in his lifestyle and work ethic. At North Carolina State, Wilson would begin his days at 4:30 a.m., practice for football, go to his classes, attend baseball practice in the afternoons, and then study in the evening. He finished his undergraduate degree in three years and, when he transferred to the University of Wisconsin, drove halfway across the country to get the Badgers’ playbook and learn it in less than a month.

He once again encountered criticism about his size during the NFL Draft, and was drafted in the third round (75th overall) by the Seahawks. As he watched quarterbacks Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, and others get selected before him, Wilson refused to be discouraged. Instead, he saw this oversight as another opportunity to prove the naysayers wrong.

When he got his chance, “Why Not You” became the theme.

Now, after three stellar seasons in the NFL, Wilson is attempting to win his second Super Bowl championship, back-to-back…and the critics have all been silenced.

We can all be evaluated by our height, weight, lack of accomplishments, or any other external factors, but heart simply cannot be measured. Some of the Greatest victories in sports history have been won by outmatched underdogs who did not understand the meaning of “quit.”

Russell Wilson asks himself all the time, “Why not me?” Have you stopped to consider, why not you? What question drives you the most? Is there something in your life that you’d like to achieve—something that is more meaningful than a million-dollar contract?