Archives for March 2013

Generosity of Spirit: Giving and Receiving Support

supportFor “people people,” many of us who sell are notorious “Lone Rangers.” Asking for support from the people in our lives—in the form of contacts, endorsements, time, money, referrals, enthusiasm, pep talks, foot massages, or just kind words on the phone—is uncomfortable for many of us.

People often ask me, “Does it count toward my promise if somebody helped me get the sale?” It’s as if they thought they had cheated if somebody supported them in keeping their promise. I tell them it counts double. They are aghast!

The Soul of Selling asks a lot of us—a high level of service and personal interaction, making promises that we keep no matter what, even being adults! To work at this level, we need to give and receive support. Support is one of the most precious commodities on earth—and yet sometimes we don’t even know what it would look like if somebody supported us.

Support is anything that helps you do your job better or more easily. It can be physical, emotional, financial, intellectual, or energetic. Being supported doesn’t mean you turn over all the responsibility to another person, and expect that person to do your job for you. That is abdication. Support happens when you are ready and willing to do it all, but graciously and gratefully accept help.

Most people have more fun, and are more productive, when they make themselves part of a community of support–and that support can take many forms. The ways people support you may have nothing to do with selling, something to do with selling, or everything to do with selling:

  • You have lunch with an old friend from school and hardly even talk about your jobs, but you leave knowing there’s someone out there who wants you to succeed and whose buck is on you.
  • You have lunch with an old friend from school, tell him what you’re doing, and he has six people for you to call.
  • You have lunch with an old friend from school, and he becomes your biggest customer.

I had a terrible case of the flu several years ago, and my neighbor called to ask if she could get me anything at the store. “Oh no, I’m fine,” I said instinctively, without even pausing to think whether I needed anything.

“Are you sure?” she asked. My silence must have tipped her off. “You do realize, don’t you, that it would really make me feel good to bring you something. I’d feel like I was helping.” That was a great lesson. I know it makes me feel good when I can help someone.

When people are willing to support you, let them—especially if you’ve asked them to do it! It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give people. Supporting another person is a joy. Be generous enough to let people be part of your success.

Why do we resist being supported? People say:

  • I don’t want to owe anybody.
  • I don’t know what they might want in return.
  • I’m embarrassed. I don’t want them to think I’m needy or weak.
  • I need to prove I can do it myself.

“Honestly, it’s easier if I just do it myself,” Howard told me. “The minute I get people around, depending on me, I have to spend all my time taking care of them.” Howard echoed what a lot of people fear about support. The assumption is that people are going to be troublesome, and that you will have to spend more time and energy taking care of them and fixing them than you would just doing the job yourself. Sometimes it turns out this way, but you can also set it up to work.

Sometimes we don’t ask for support because we don’t know how to do it. We don’t want to impose, or put people on the spot. Even when we think they probably want to support us, asking can feel sticky. Remember, it’s just us chickens. The other person is just another person, just like you. Ask yourself, “What would I want to hear if I were in this person’s shoes and they were asking me for support?” Here are some guidelines:

1. Be clear about what you want. Know exactly what you want from people before you ask them. Don’t approach people with, “Hey, I could use some, you know, help. What do you, like, you know, think you might be able to do to support me?” That will most likely produce confusion, frustration, and/or resentment, rather than support. Instead, take some time to think about what you really want and to develop your request: ~ Anne, would you be willing to sit with me for an hour and talk about people you think I should approach?

2. Be very specific in your requests. Vague requests understandably make people nervous. A blanket promise for “support” can mean anything from buying the person a cup of coffee to fostering their firstborn child. The more vague your request, the less likely they are to agree—and the less fulfillment they will feel, even if they do go out on a limb. When the request is clear and specific, people can make good choices about whether or not they can help: ~ Thanks for asking what you could do, Bill. I could use some support with this contact list. Could you take ten people and check their information?

3. Ask directly. Don’t beat around the bush. This has happened to all of us, and it’s maddening. “Um, I think we could really support one another…” What does that mean? Does the person want something specific? Does he want me to figure out what he wants and tell him? Anything less than a straightforward request can make people feel as if they are being manipulated. It’s easier to support people who ask for specific support in a clear and “straight from the shoulder” way. ~ Helen, could we have lunch next week to talk about specific ways we can support one another? ~ Joe, I’m going nuts with this one accounting situation. Can I buy you lunch next week and get your input?

4. Make your request an invitation. Avoid making it a plea for help without which you will probably go under (and it will be their fault!). Be sure people know that it’s okay to say “no,” and that your relationship won’t suffer. You’d love to have them on board, but you understand if they are too busy or just don’t want to do what you ask. ~ John, I’m getting together a group of people on Friday to brainstorm about contacts for my business, and you’re invited. It’s fine if you can’t come, but I’d love to have you there.

5. Be grateful—out loud, and in a way they appreciate. When people help you succeed, make a point of telling them how much you appreciate what they did. Let them know the specific ways they made your job easier or more productive. Make your acknowledgment public, if it’s possible and appropriate. ~ Thanks for the call, Karen. It was just the pick-me-up I needed and did a better job because of it. ~ Allen, I so appreciate the way you organized my calls today. It was “above and beyond,” and that’s what makes us a great team. ~ Sue, thanks for sending the “I believe in you” card. I’m grateful that you’re my pal.

Most of us have less trouble giving support than we do receiving it—but sometimes we don’t know how to do it in the best way. Next week, we’ll discuss some great ways to support others.

Meanwhile, what is your experience of being supported?

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The Most Powerful Force in Selling

KeyThe most powerful thing you can do as a seller is to make sales promises that you guarantee—and then keep those promises, every time. That makes your word golden, both to yourself and to others.

This week, we look at #4 in “the only 5 things we need to be happy and successful sellers”:

  1. Free yourself from fear and negative thinking.
  2. Tap into your personal passion.
  3. Create your Speaking Bank.
  4. Make sales promises you can guarantee.
  5. Master the 10-point Honoring Sales Conversation.

It can be uncomfortable to guarantee promises. I say “promise” rather than “goal” because a goal is something you work toward, but which you may or may not reach. A promise is something that you say you’ll do, no matter what.

I invite you to take a deep breath and remember that Soul of Selling promises are:

  • Crafted so that you win. They work for you, rather than against you.
  • Truing mechanisms that bring support, direction, and strength—not stress, grief, or threats.
  • Guarantees for success that keep you on track, moving forward in exactly the direction you want to go.

Crafting powerful promises is half the battle. Soul of Selling promises have 4 characteristics. They are:

  1. Authentic. The promise is yours, not something forced on you from the outside. You create it, you are the source of its energy, and you own it.
  2. Doable. Promise small, and deliver big. Only promise what you are willing to do, no matter what. Stretch a bit only after you have a track record.
  3. For specific sales results, not effort. Making 30 calls (or calling for 3 hours) is worth nothing. Making 3 sales is worth everything. This may sound harsh, but it’s a fact of life: In selling, trying doesn’t count. Trying is admirable, even courageous. But it doesn’t fund a business.
  4. Defined by dates. Without a due date, the promise has no teeth—and you never come off the hook! You don’t know when you’re in trouble and may need to change tactics. Your energy hangs out there in space indefinitely. A date on your promise gives you something to bump up against, and a way to win.


  • I have 6 new clients by June 30.
  • I sell $600,00 of product by March 31.
  • I have 60 people in the seminar by August 3.
  • I sell 6 cars by December 1.

With some obvious exceptions, yes.

When I stopped smoking in 1988, I enrolled in a program called “Smoke-Enders.” It was so extreme that it was based on “Coke-Enders” and was strictly for hard-core smokers. My smoking “Q(uit)-date” was August 14. I knew that if I ever had another cigarette after that day, I would never be able to trust myself to quit. I would approach each new “Q-date” with a little voice in my head saying, “You didn’t do it before. Why would you do it now?”

Not smoking was really, really hard for me. I walked around the block hundreds of times, ate a lot of candy, drank a lot of fancy teas—but in a way, I wasn’t stressed. I knew that I was not going to have another cigarette, so the question had switched from “Will I or will I not have a cigarette?” to “What can I do to manage the discomfort of not smoking.”

That lifted an enormous burden. I wasn’t going to smoke! I wasn’t a bad person with a life-threatening problem and a weak will! I just had to figure out how to organize my walks, teas, and candy! In a way, I had already won.

The same thing happens when you start guaranteeing your selling promises. You know you’ll do it. You just have to figure out how.

This is the whole secret of the Soul of Selling method, and why people who use it produce remarkable results.

I often talk about the Cosmic Hors d’Oeuvres Tray. Say that your selling promise is to empty the tray of all those succulent little morsels. You pass it around, having delightful and honoring moments with each person. Some take an hors d’oeuvre; others don’t. But you have looked each person in the eye, been present to them, and appreciated them—whether or not they took a morsel. You pass the tray around the room again, but still have some hors d’oeuvres left. You are having a ball, reveling in these encounters with people. You don’t mind if you have to go into the kitchen, into the hall, or even out into the street to empty that hors d’oeuvres tray.

It’s easy to keep going until the tray is empty and you’ve kept your promise—because it’s all about your connections with the people, and that’s enlivening and fun.

Guaranteeing your promise calls up a million “Yeah, but’s…” You know what they are: What if nobody’s in the mood to buy? What if my mother gets sick and I have to go to Houston? But my daughter is graduating. My kids come first and they might need me.

These things will come up. Count on it! That’s why it’s so important to plan ahead when you can. Some people think that in order to keep a promise, life has to stop. Life never stops, and that’s why they have trouble keeping promises. Plan for life to continue, even when you’re selling. Here are three good ways to do that:

  • Expect the unexpected. Know that wild, unforeseen events will intrude on exactly the time you planned to spend selling.
  • Make arrangements in advance for what you can expect. Get support to handle the kids and keep the promise. Figure out the graduation party in February. Don’t leave things until the last minute.
  • Start early, and keep going. When you plan ahead, you have room for life, for emergencies, and for keeping your selling promise. When you put off selling until the last minute, everything else will intrude.

The ability to make promises you can guarantee is what sets you apart and makes you a person of your word—doing what you said you would do with mastery and passion.

“No matter what” is what gives your promises teeth. Honoring, respecting, and appreciating people is what keeps you going until you succeed. When you guarantee your promises, every time, you become a master. You start producing extraordinary results on a daily basis. Even better, that mastery spreads into every area of your life.

What do you think about making promises you can guarantee?

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Irresistible Sound Bites

Treasure Chest with Gold CoinsA Speaking Bank gives you succulent sound bites for any occasion: business or social, a 10-second “What do you do?” response or an hour-long talk. You never again have to worry about what to say, and can put all your attention where it belongs—on the other person.

This week, we look at #3 in the only 5 things we need to be happy and successful sellers:

  1. Free yourself from fear and negative thinking.
  2. Tap into your personal passion.
  3. Create your Speaking Bank.
  4. Make sales promises you can guarantee.
  5. Master the 10-point Honoring Sales Conversation.

Your Speaking Bank is made up of talking points that contain all the information and inspiration that people need in order to buy. These talking points are arranged in clear, cogent and persuasive sound bites of various lengths. They are a cornucopio of dynamic statements that you can draw on as you need them.

Your Speaking Bank statements general include: [Read more…]

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Personal Passion Makes Selling Fun


Whatever you do with passion will be fun—and it’s likely to be successful!

This week, we look at #2 in the list of “the only 5 things we need to be a happy and successful seller”:

  1. Free yourself from fear and negative thinking.
  2. Tap into your personal passion.
  3. Create your Speaking Bank.
  4. Make sales promises you can guarantee.
  5. Master the 10-Point Honoring Sales Conversation.

Tapping into our passion means more than just making a list of nice things about what we sell, and keeping them in mind when we talk with people.  It means pinpointing the specific value of what we offer, and discovering where the real juice is for us.

We’ve all had the experience of buying from someone who truly loved what they sold—and buying from someone who didn’t.   [Read more…]

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