Phoenix-Business-Journal-sm

Reducing 8-hour seminar to few basic concepts

The year was 1993, and I decided to attend my first National Speakers Association conference because I already had been paid as a professional speaker for seven years or so.

At that point in my life, I wanted to take my skills to a higher level and really start to challenge myself.

I really never knew that this speaker organization existed, and when I went for the first time, all I can say is that my world as a speaker changed forever.

Obviously, I had the opportunity to see some of the finest speakers doing what they do best. I was just blown away at how much there was to learn. I realized that I really was not as good as I thought I was, especially compared with these top-notch professional speakers.

The one speech that I heard was by a woman named Jeanne Robertson, and it literally changed my way of doing business.

First off, her speech was fabulous, and I remember sitting on the edge of my chair glued to her every word. In her speech, she referred to herself long ago being a majorette in high school and how she worked with her baton.

As we left the ballroom, staff members handed each of us a laminated business card that just said the word “baton.”

The reason was that after the speech we would remember her and the lecture from that one word. It was a cute idea, and it stuck with me.

A week or so later (probably while I was in the shower), I had the award-winning idea of just putting the highlights or the most important points of a sales seminar or workshop on the back of my business card. This way, people could have a summary of the time we spent together after I am long gone.

I decided to name this a “SALES WARRANTY CARD.” The concept was similar to the warranty of your car or truck.

I stated on the top of the business card that “it would be null and void if you fail to follow and practice the terms and conditions of the card.”

The concept was easy to understand because it covered only a few basic points that really are everything when it comes to the profession of selling. They are as follows:

Be organized

Use your planner. And I mean really use it, so if you lost it, you would freak out.

A planner can be a Palm, Outlook on your BlackBerry or a plain, old day planner. Stay in touch with all prospects and your existing clients.

Be aggressive

Not in the sense of being pushy or closing hard, but in terms of being on top of the game plan. Focus, focus, focus.

The more you do each day, the bigger the payoff. Remember: The sales game is made up of customers you know and those you haven’t yet met.

Bottom line: The more sales calls you make each day, the more you might sell!

Be honest

All you have is your reputation. There is not a single sale you will ever make that will change your life. Oh, it might ensure a better month or even a better year, but it will not change your life.

Everybody says that they are honest, but how many are really, truly honest? People buy from people, and in most cases, it is from people we like and, especially, trust. Those are the people we want to mention or refer to others.

The last part of the business card, written along the bottom, is the key to sales, and it says it all in just two sentences.

No. 1: Selling is asking not telling, listening not talking.

No. 2: People buy from people.

As far as I am concerned, the business card is an eight-hour seminar if you omit all the stories, filler material, breaks and lunch.

Almost any book you will read on the subject of sales from a notable author will cover the points that I listed above. They are constant and have never changed since the beginning of time.

Just like any professional athlete, go back to the basics, work on the fundamentals, and stay with them.

Sales 101 is what is printed on the business card. Sales 202 is going back to 101 and practicing.

Originally written for bizjournals.com – by: Hal Becker – Apr 19, 2010, 12:00am EDT