Archives for April 2013


headstandI don’t mean that you should sell while holding the yoga headstand posture, Sirsasana. I mean that it’s often good to look at selling from a completely new perspective. What if we took everything we “knew” about selling, and stood it on its head? What if we assumed a whole different set of viewpoints?

What if selling were:

  • A natural, enjoyable, generous, and valuable way to connect with others in an intimate way that brings out the best in them and in us
  • Not just the means to an end, but something we look forward to doing
  • Service to everyone we meet, because we honor, respect, and appreciate them—whether or not they buy
  • A way to feed our souls, as well as our bottom lines
  • Practice for growing into the people we’ve always wanted to be

Come to think of it, selling has a lot in common with Sirsasana after all! The Yoga Journal points out that articles on yoga tout “the benefits, ranging from increased flexibility to ultimate immersion in the Great Cosmic Ooze. They describe yoga as a stress-free, painless way to well-being. But by touting only the obvious goodies, these articles not only paint an incomplete picture of yoga, they also rob it of its juice. The pleasures and benefits of yoga are indeed numerous and profound, but the difficulties you encounter in your practice are at least as important.”

That sounds like selling! But wait, there’s more. The same piece says that “Sirasana provides an opportunity for experimenting safely with the unfamiliar and the fear it engenders. Headstand can be scary. It literally turns your world upside down. Beginners may become disoriented, unable to tell left from right and top from bottom. But, as B.K.S. Iyengar says…, ‘The best way to overcome fear is to face with equanimity the situation of which one is afraid.’ Fortunately, disorientation in Headstand subsides fairly quickly. With regular practice, you can begin to experience the benefits which led the yogis to call Sirsasana the ‘King of Asanas.’”

I don’t have to tell you that selling can be uncomfortable. It’s even uncomfortable to stretch ourselves into the “new points of view” listed at the top of this post! But the benefits are enormous when you use the 6 Soul of Selling steps. In The Soul of Selling, I list some of the many payoffs of selling in this way:

  1. You master something challenging. Selling isn’t for sissies. It asks you to make the uncomfortable transition from talking about results to producing them.  It asks that you be the source of inspiration and value, both for yourself and for the people you contact. It asks for a high level of personal power and commitment, as well as for compassion and service. When you’ve done that, you have accomplished something—and you know it.
  2. You never again have to wonder if you will produce the result. You are no longer waiting to find out what you’ll produce; you are guaranteeing it.
  3. You never again have to wonder if you are manipulating people. You aren’t.
  4. You are in the driver’s seat. You say how many sales you will get, and you get them.
  5. Your confidence soars. You are winning and helping others win. You know that people are served and honored in your presence.
  6. You become a bigger person, with a larger vision for success and serving others.

Just like the headstand, selling asks a little more of you than is comfortable—but it gives back to you a hundredfold.

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The Cosmic Hors d’Oeuvres Tray

hors doeuvresYou just got your coaching certificate, or signed up as a multi-level marketer, or decided to hang out your shingle—so you thought you might sign up for a couple selling/marketing blogs and…

WOOSH! The next thing you know, you’re receiving 50 emails a day from people selling webinars on how to make a “6-Figure Income” within four days! They all seem to think that anybody can do this, and what’s the matter with you for not signing up for their $200 webinar?

What’s better than a “6-Figure Income?” Having fun, that’s what! Here are some facts:

  • Almost nobody makes six figures their first year.
  • There is no shame in not making six figures, ever.
  • It’s much more important to have fun when you sell than it is to make six figures.

If you focus on making selling fun, you’ll be happier and you might even have more sales. Think of selling as inviting people to a party or, as I say in The Soul of Selling, passing the Cosmic Hors D’Oeuvres Tray.

Say your sales goal is to move around the room, offering people tender morsels, until your tray is completely empty. You spend a few minutes taking in the succulence of  those hors d’oeuvres: the plump little olives in cheesy puff pastry, the sumptuous mushroom caps stuffed with crabmeat, the sassy broiled shrimps, the sensuous runny brie on crispy crackers, the naughty little pigs-in-blankets sizzling away in the midst of it all.

The folks at this party are terrific, and having a great time. You think about what you might say to them as you offer them an hors d’oeuvres. “No , those aren’t turkey pigs-in-blankets, Marlene. They’re the real thing.” “Yes, Ed, the shrimp are broiled and marinated in a Thai lemon sauce.” Flakey cheese puff pastry, Angela, stuffed with imported olives?” “Runny double brie with rye and caraway crackers, John?”

You straighten your shoulders, bring forth your best self, the one who wants to connect with each person and serve them, and set out into the room.

You look Sally in the eye and give yourself the gift of a rich, authentic connection with her. She takes a shrimp and gives you a big smile. Next stop, Ned. He shakes his head and returns to his conversation. Do you take it personally? No! He may be on a diet, or trying to cut down on fats, or allergic to much of what’s on your tray, or not hungry, or lactose-intolerant to brie, or just engrossed in his conversation! Regardless, your interaction with him is just as warm as your interaction with Sally. The chances that his “no” is about you are slim to none, so you remember to honor, respect, and appreciate him as you do all your “customers”—whether or not they buy.

You go all the way around the room, and still have a quarter of your hors d’oeuvres left. You don’t mind going around again to make your sales goal, because each interaction is a joy. People love to see you coming, whether or not they take an hors d’oeuvres, because you bring your presence, your smile, and your generosity of spirit.  You don’t even mind going out into the hall, or into the kitchen—or even out into the street—to “sell” everything on your tray.

It’s not about six figures; it’s about those warm, authentic interactions. They’re a delight to you and to your customers, even those folks who don’t take an hors d’oeuvres this time around.  Enjoy it, and keep doing it. You’ll like yourself, you’ll appreciate your customers, and you’ll have fun.  If it doesn’t enrich your life, or if you can’t find a way for it to enrich your life, do something else that does bring you joy and serve people. That’s what selling is about.

What makes selling fun for you?

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Mental Chatter UMWe all have mental chatter, those naughty, nattering voices in the back of our heads that judge, compare, and criticize. Negative mental chatter is never good for us—or for anyone around us—but it’s particularly harmful when we set out to sell.  It says things like:

“I’m no good at this, and I don’t want to do it anyway.”
“I’d rather walk over hot coals than pick up that phone.”
“Nobody wants what I’m offering.”
“I failed before, and I’ll probably fail again.”

Nobody should have to live with this, least of all you—a person courageous and generous to sell!

Everyone alive has negative mental chatter—if not about selling, about their mother-in-law, the government, their teenage kids, or their weight. We all need a better understanding of how it works and how to keep it in its place. We will never get rid of negative mental chatter—our survival-oriented minds are hooked up to anticipate and protect us from anything that might go wrong—but it doesn’t have to make us unhappy, disempower us, or get in the way of producing great results.

Here are some things to remember about negative mental chatter:

1. It’s here to stay. The mind’s job is to generate thoughts, and a certain number of them are going to be negative. The good news is that…
2. We have choices. We don’t have to run blindly after every fear or objection our minds toss up. We can stand back, observe these negative thoughts, and instead give our attention to thoughts that serve us and others.
3. Mental chatter is usually about avoiding pain. Most of it is fear-based. It’s about protecting you from imagined physical, mental, or psychological pain—most of which never happens.
4. Mental chatter hates change, even good change. Whenever you set out to do something new, or do it in a new way, mental chatter freaks out. You’ve survived up to now, so any change is a risk! Why rock the boat? Mental chatter always argues for the status quo, and is loudest in the face of change.
5. Mental chatter hates getting specific. Another risk! Promising three sales by the end of the week prompts mental chatter to say, “Danger! You might not make it. Then what?” Failure is pain, and mental chatter will do anything to avoid pain.
6. Ignoring mental chatter, or trying to beat it into submission, doesn’t work. It goes underground and festers if you ignore it, and rises up against you, fed by your attention, if you try to conquer it.
7. The key to mastering mental chatter is to develop a new relationship with it.

Here are some strategies for a new relationship with negative mental chatter, one that accepts its presence but keeps it from causing trouble:

1. Identify the mental chatter. Write it down. Name it. Get it outside of yourself so that you can observe it. Don’t let it run around loose inside your mind, where it can get its hands on the controls. When mental chatter is an object of observation, it is not you.
2. Check to see if it’s true. Sometimes mental chatter offers important warnings. “Stop! That deal sounds too good to be true. Better have somebody check it out.” If mental chatter says, “You can’t sell because your financial records are a mess,” know that it’s not necessarily true, but clean up your financial records.
3. Recognize it for what it is—mental chatter, not reality. This is the most important strategy of all, and the key to a good relationship with mental chatter. Even when it sound like it knows what it’s talking about, mental chatter specializes in interpretations and opinions, rather than in objective analysis.
4. Let it be, without giving it much attention. Don’t try to get rid of it. Let it run around and around on its hamster wheel, but don’t let it dictate what you do or don’t do.
5. Switch channels to something more interesting—your results, the fun you will have getting them, even positive thoughts that have nothing to do with sales.

What are your favorite strategies for dealing with mental chatter?

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Compliments v. Acknowledgements: Speaking to the Heart of Things

gold-starWhich would you rather have, a compliment or an acknowledgement?

Compliments tend to deal with externals and appearances. Acknowledgments tend to be about internal qualities you admire, and how you noticed that people demonstrated those qualities.


  • I love your hair, Joan.
  • You look great, John. Are you working out?
  • You guys have a great office here!


  • I noticed how well you supported her to get that promotion.
  • I appreciated the “leaning in” you did in that situation. It gave us a great result.
  • You were so kind and generous with him at a point where he really needed somebody on his side.

Neither is better, but acknowledgements are the backbone of The Soul of Selling. We want to speak directly to who the other person is—whether that person is a new buyer, someone considering buying, a fellow-seller, a competitor, or our mother-in-law.  When we speak from our hearts, hoping to touch another person’s soul, we’re better off with acknowledgements because they point to the other person’s inner being.

There’s nothing wrong with compliments. They feel great. Sometimes I would rather have someone tell me they liked my hair than that I was compassionate. But acknowledgment goes to a deeper level. You are saying that you saw a part of who the other person is, and that you appreciate the opportunity to be present to that.

Acknowledgement is often the very best support you can give someone. It makes them feel great, and it makes you feel even better. It’s like walking around with $1,000 bills in your pocket, giving them away from an endless supply. It takes nothing away from you, and gives people something that they cherish. It’s free to you, and incredibly valuable to them.

What is your favorite way of acknowledging people?

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Selling Bonus #1: Supporting Others

Support tree“What’s the most fun you ever had selling?” I asked my selling mentor in 1976. (I was 4 and had only just learned to talk.)

“Teaching other people to sell so they don’t go crazy,” she said without missing a beat. “It gave them a confidence and generosity that they used their whole lives, whether or not they ever actually sold anything—let alone made their living by selling.”

I took two lessons from what she said:

  1. Learning to sell with ease and reliability gives you a tremendous amount of personal power. I know many people who mastered the art and are no longer selling, but who don’t hesitate to commit to things like making big money for their churches or nonprofits, enlisting and managing large groups of volunteers, or stepping up to chair their 30th high school reunion.
  2. Supporting other people makes us feel fantastic. Whether or not that support has anything to do with selling, it makes us feel like a million bucks.

Thinking of ways to support others comes naturally to most of us. If we really stop and are present to others, we can usually see right away what might make their lives easier or better. It seems obvious where we might lend a hand, a word, or an hour. And if we don’t see, we can always ask—which is often a better idea anyway, because our ideas of what would support people and their may be different!

Take a minute and think of two small things you can do today to support people in your life. Even if it has nothing to do with selling, it will help your sales because you will feel terrific.

We each have certain things that we like to do to support people, and certain ways we like to be supported—but some types of support are universal. You can’t go wrong with them, and you can do them even of you don’t even know the other person’s name:

  • See the best in people. Whatever your interaction  with them—selling, lunch, playing cards, socializing—remember to respect, honor and appreciate them. Even if you say or do nothing, they will feel how you are seeing them.
  • Show that appreciation by commenting on something  they did, or some way they interacted  with people, that you admired. You might even send them a card or email.
  • Stay connected with people when you speak with them. Be generous with your attention. Hear them fully and clearly.
  • Be interested, rather than interesting. Keep your focus on what you can do to support them.

It sounds so simple, but how fully do we actually do these things?

How do you like to support people?

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