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Pearls of Sales Wisdom

Posted: May 31, 2011, 3 p.m., EDT

If the idea of sitting through an eight-hour sales training seminar sounds painful, you haven’t attended one of Jack Daly’s "Smart Selling” seminars. Jack is truly one of the most memorable individuals I have ever come in contact with. At an age when most people are thinking of retirement (64), Jack is not only conducting dozens of sold-out sales trainings a year, but competing in multiple Ironman Triathlons and marathons. His energy is truly unsurpassed and his ability to communicate actionable ways to increase business is remarkable.

While it’s a bit challenging to distill eight hours into 500 words, here are some of the most valuable take home points from the day:

1. Think Backwards: Begin with the end in mind. Start with writing down your goals. Then develop a written plan on how to achieve those goals. What are the activities that will generate results? Define a system of measuring the progress. Determine a system of accountability so the goals don’t’ just sit in a drawer somewhere.

2. Be Memorable: First impressions are critical in the sales process, so always put your best foot forward. Not only look professional, also be sure to sound professional. Jack is big on changing your voice mail on a regular basis to keep people interested and informed. Follow up immediately with an email, or even better, a personal card.

3. The Short Course on Selling: Ask questions and listen. Stop showing up and throwing up. The person who asks the questions is in control. This is my personal favorite. It amazes me how many clueless people I run across who fail to realize that the single most effective way to connect with people is to simply ask questions. Then listen to their answer. Then follow up with another question that demonstrates you heard what they just said. This is a failsafe way to get people to like you. Trust me, it works. A great book to read on that subject is Dale Carnegie’s "How To Win Friends and Influence People.”

4. Perception of Value is Key: You’ve heard the adage "Perception is reality.” People buy on perception. Design and promote your perception of difference and you will have a much stronger chance of beating your competition. What perception of value are you creating such that people will go out of their way and/or pay a premium to do business with you? Examples of businesses who have successfully executed on this idea are Tiffany’s, Starbucks and Victoria’s Secret.

5. Selling is The Transfer of Trust: Trust trumps price every time. People do business with people they trust. So get to know your customers and keep focused on developing a relationship of trust with them.

6. If I Don’t Have an Assistant, Then I am an Assistant: Get some help doing the things that are not your strong suit or generating revenue.

Finally, Jack emphasized the importance of the Law of Attraction (a la "The Secret”). If you really believe you can be, have or do something, you will create the circumstances and find the people to allow you to be, do or have. I know that sounds a bit woo-woo, but I have seen this work not only in my own life, but in the lives of countless friends and business associates. Your life is a direct result of the expectations you have for it. We are what we think about.

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