The Future

April 22, 2015 What a fascinating day about the future held in conjunction with the Tribecca Film Festival.  Learned about companies without walls, AOL Tom Armstrong spoke about collaboration, advertising and eye balls (and shortly thereafter bought Huffington Post), how robotics are playing a role in our lives now and in the future.  But the most enlightening was a presentation about 3D printing and how it well even change the food we consume.

 

PowerPhrases® for Women: Decisiveness Speech for Better Results

Dressed in a business suit with a brief case in hand, a dark-haired woman stepped up to the counter next to me at California Kitchen and said: 

Can I have a sausage pizza? 
And can I have a coke? 
And will you get me some fries? 

It was as if she was asking permission to place her order. I wondered how she spoke at her business meetings. Here is my guess:

May I make a few suggestions? 
I’d like to talk now, okay?

Or how about with her kids? 

Turn off the TV, will you please? 
Do you mind helping me? 
Can you be quiet? 

I wanted to give her a copy of my book, PowerPhrases®! The Perfect Words to Say It Right and Get the Results You Want

How often do you speak with indecisiveness and uncertainty? Women complain that men do not take them seriously at work. Women complain that their kids only respond to their Dads. This is because women are more prone to use tentative speech.  

While she says: I feel pretty good about this proposal
He says: My proposal will increase revenue by 32%

While she says, I don’t think you should be watching TV until your homework is done
He says: Turn the TV off right now and do not even think about turning it back on until your homework is done! 

It is said that men state opinion as fact and women state fact as opinion. Opinion stated as fact sounds judgmental, however, fact stated as opinion sounds weak. PowerPhrases® provide the middle ground where words are chosen to mean exactly what you want to say. Facts are stated as facts and opinion as opinion. Requests are made as requests and instructions are given as instructions. A PowerPhrase® is a short specific expression that gets results by saying what you mean and meaning what you say without being mean when you say it. One of the PowerPhrase® principles is that your words are as strong as they need to be and no stronger. Women often need to up the amperage; men often need to tone it down. 

Upping the Amperage
 
Kinda, sorta and maybe are Killer Phrases that weaken your message and keep you from being taken seriously. Instead of saying style: you might want to consider, say I recommend.  Instead of saying "I’ll try" say"I will" 

And take those tags off the end of your sentences that make you sound like you are asking permission, like "you know?" And "right?" 

If you are placing an order such as the woman at California Kitchen, do not imply you are seeking their approval of your order! Simply say,  I’d like a sausage pizza, a coke and some fries. 

If you want to make a point at a business meeting, again, do not ask permission; just make your point. Or you can request the floor decisively. Say: I need your complete attention here please. 

If you want the TV off, say it like you mean it. Turn the TV off I'd like it turned off now. 

Back yourself up with action. If they balk-they do it because they have learned that you do not mean what you say. 

If you need help and expect to get it, say so. Instead of asking if they mind helping you (which they probably do mind,) simply say: I need your help.

If you want them to be quiet, don’t ask if they can be quiet, (you know they can if they want to), say: I need you to be quiet. 

Let your voice carry your message. Say what you mean and speak with the decisiveness you feel and you will get more powerful results in the world. 

The Good News about Being a Woman Speaker: How So-Called "Feminine Traits" Translate into Speaker Strengths

Guest blog by Lois Philips, Ph.D.
Author of Women Seen and Heard: Lessons Learned from Successful Speakers

“Listen up. My presentation will change your life.” 

No doubt about it: in order to be successful at work, or in a community leadership role, women must master presentation skills. This is not an easy thing to do because public speaking is a function of the male role, and what we expect men to do. Society encourages boys to become leaders, but being assertive in terms of telling people what to do, how to spend their money, and whom they should vote for (or not) is still a relatively new posture for girls and women. As they move into occupational and professional roles formerly occupied by men only, and see the potential for leadership roles in all facets of life, girls and women don’t have a choice. Women need to be more assertive in finding a “public voice.” The good news is that women speakers don’t need to mimic men but, rather, can capitalize on the very “feminine” traits that society has devalued for centuries. Many of those same traits are speaker strengths. 

“Feminine” behaviors such as “batting your eyelashes,” subordinating one’s interests to others, focusing on conventional standards of beauty, being coy and evasive are media inventions and aren’t what we’re addressing here. Those behaviors don’t help women to succeed in life as people with intelligence and leadership capabilities. Let’s focus, instead, on a cluster of feminine traits that sociologists indicate is a preference for “sociability.” 

In personal conversations, women relate; they don’t dominate. Effective public speaking requires that the speaker is also relating to listeners: empathizing, making connections, solving problems, sharing experiences, and finding common ground. Ask yourself: Do you capitalize on a range of “feminine traits” that can help you to be effective at the podium? Take this self-assessment quiz to find out. 

Reflect on your presentation style. Which of these statements describes you? 

q 1.I enjoy talking with people.

q 2. I am willing to share personal anecdotes and disclose personal information if it will help me to make a point.

q 3.I do worry about what other people think.

q 4.I do like to find out what I have in common with people with or to whom I’m speaking.

q 5.I think about consequences of decisions, and how they might impact other people.

q 6. I appreciate the practical details of everyday life and how things happen.

q 7. I prefer to empower other people rather than taking credit for knowing it all.

q 8. I make things happen through my relationships with people, not (necessarily) through status, position, or power.

SCORING: Give yourself one point for each statement to assess whether you are able to integrate what have been described as “feminine” attributes into your presentations.

q 0-2 Seek opportunities to be whom you are when speaking to groups and audiences. Start by volunteering to be on a panel, speaking to a group of people with whom you are familiar so you can experiment with a “relational” approach.

q 3-5 When you tackle a problem or propose a solution, you’re confident at the podium, expressing feelings, disclosing relevant information, and relating to people in a personal way that makes you able to connect.

q 6-8 Congratulations! Your presentation style effectively incorporates feminine traits; your presentations are thoughtful, you relate to people, and you can personalize dry material. You have the potential to be a leader who can influence others to think differently and take action regarding the extraordinary range of issues facing us as a society. Time to meet the media!

Are my conversational skills an advantage at the podium?

As a result of the female socialization process, a conversational style of speaking will be familiar. Good speakers adopt that off-the-cuff “I’m interested in you, this-isn’t-just-about-me” tone to create a sense of intimacy that people appreciate. In conversation and delivering presentations, curiosity is an advantage. Women know how to keep a conversation going, using segues that bridge from one topic to another with a “That reminds me of ….” and “Has this ever happened to you?” The same skill set is a plus when you address a group conveying an “off the top of my head” approach. People leave thinking, “Now that’s someone I’d like to get to know better.”

Women appreciate the give-and-take of informal conversation. The speakers I’ve interviewed said that they prefer to deliver an impromptu speech, rather than read from a prepared manuscript. Perhaps this preference for interaction is why women do so well during the Q and A phase, after delivering their prepared remarks. Because women approach “speechmaking” as if it were an extension of having a conversation, they tend to scratch out their remarks on the backs of envelopes or scratchpads, rather than writing out their remarks word-for-word. This casual attitude can backfire as those envelopes are rarely saved, explaining why it is difficult to find a collection of women’s speeches, except perhaps for the most formal Commencement or Memorial addresses or those in the Congressional Record. Are you saving your presentations? You never know when they will come in handy, perhaps published as transcribed or rewritten as an article for your organizational newsletter.

Even in formal communication settings such as a public hearing or a conference, “feminine” qualities can be demonstrated when an outline of key points is used only as a guide so that the speaker can look listeners in the eye, rather than reading from a prepared manuscript Even more than the desire to convey information, the more feminine speaker will want to build a trusting relationship with her audience. She knows that those relationships will serve her well in implementing any proposal she has presented. To make contact with people, and using her notes as a reference point, she will look at individuals in the audience, one key point at a time. And listeners remember what is said when the speaker is looking directly at them as she makes her point.

President Ronald Reagan was lauded for his delivery skills, making each person in the audience feel as if he were talking directly to him or her in a conversational tone. Interestingly, we later learned that a woman, Peggy Noonan, wrote many of Reagan's most outstanding speeches. Her words empowered Reagan with a feminine style of empathy and caring that made an impact, across party lines.

Am I being strategic – or self-indulgent- when sharing personal anecdotes?

Women disclose what they know. Hoarding information? No way? That’s a man’s game. Whether you just discovered a new outlet for designer shoes, the best interest rate for first-time homebuyers, or the cure for cancer, you like to share what you know. It’s what women do. Of course, going on and on and on is never a good idea when listeners are busy people wanting you to get to the point. 

Women have grab bag of personal stories they can use to make an otherwise dry subject come alive for an audience. They remember these stories because they were instructive, occurring at choice points in their lives; as a result they can recall them instantly, and the stories become tighter and more pointed with each telling of the tale. Stories can form the basis for sustaining friendships and family life and are a way of revealing values and character. What better way to get to know a leader than through the personal examples she provides? 

Former Governor Ann Richards has admitted that the years after her divorce were a time when, "I smoked like a chimney and drank like a fish." Through self-deprecating humor, she makes it clear that this destructive time in her life is behind her; she went public with this situation before the press used it to destroy her credibility. Women are comfortable using their life experiences as a strategy for making a point, which works well at the podium. Being candid about one’s imperfections makes the audience trust the speaker as someone who is “just like us.”

Statistics are abstract and often misleading; they don’t do justice to the complexity of problematic situations. Stories help statistics come alive. Describe the economic and social consequences of being a teenage mother when you describe “Mary”. Explain the idiosyncrasies of a family business by describing three generations running “The Chang Restaurant Business.” What does the war in Iraq mean unless you tell us describe the life of a young soldier from our neighborhood. Pie charts don’t help your audience to care about the impact of a particular policy on real people. Personal examples soften up the listeners’ apathy or resistance to changing their point of view.

For example, Susan Lowell Butler was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and initially given a poor prognosis. Using a dynamic presentation style, she speaks to conference audiences, sharing the challenges she faced in moving from diagnosis to treatment. The importance of funding cancer research takes on new meaning when she asserts, “I wasn’t going to be a statistic.” Butler is now an advocate for increased funding for cancer research, and listeners are more likely to join her. Women are more likely to respond to a human face than to the most shocking statistic presented as an abstraction. Do you have a personal story that will support your key points?

Can my relationship skills help me get my message across? 

Political speakers pay media coaches big bucks to learn how to “stay on message,” but this is less important to women who want their message to make sense to their listeners. After all, your listeners are going to be most affected by a proposed change in a way of understanding a problem or taking action. You propose “Elect me!” or “Invest in my product (service)!” In order to achieve your goals, you need your listeners’ buy-in. Staying on message is less important than whether the listeners can relate to you. Will they care? Can they relate to you? Women worry about what other people think, and doing so is probably a good strategy for any speaker.

For example, you may want to speak about controversial issues but cultural obstacles can get in the way of being seen and heard. Television producer Christina Saralegui speaks about breast cancer and gay issues in ways that get people involved because she relates to and respects the Hispanic culture of modesty. As a Hispanic woman, Saralegui wants to build bridges when she explains, “We’re all parents and we have the same problems. I try to appeal to the common denominator…. everyone is in this together.”

Should I worry about what other people think?

Maybe it's true that women tend to worry more than men do about what others think, and conventional wisdom indicates this anxiety impedes women’s ability to be decisive leaders and make those tough decisions. Interestingly, twenty years ago the groundbreaking book called “In Search of Excellence” pointed out that the best managers walk around the office and find out what people are thinking and feeling. No big news to women; we’ve always operated that way. As a result of caring about what others think, women speakers are more likely to have learned about the audience beforehand to know what they’re getting into. Knowing what people are worrying about allows the speaker to be better prepared for what might be asked during the Q and A. No need to operate in a vacuum before making a decision. Good leaders have always known this and, as a result, their presentations have been more effective in persuading people to join with them.

Before discussing something as complex as, for example, the new Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 which provide guidelines for oversight of Corporate Boards, a speaker will want to know about her audience’s level of sophistication. Did anyone in the audience lose their pension as a result of recent scandals? Are they worried, confident, or in denial? Women speakers know how important it is to meet with members of your audience before a presentation to scope out their interests, needs, perspective and sophistication. Schmoozing with people during a break in the meeting or conference can help the speaker gather anecdotal material and test her position. Will it fly? Can she explain complex terminology in everyday terms? 

What do I have in common with my listeners? 

A conversation in which people relate to one another’s concerns about what really matters is how women learn, strategize, and plan and share resources. Jargon, acronyms, and spreadsheets are guaranteed to put people off. We’ve all been a member of a family, we’ve all worked, been to school, paid taxes, earned licenses or credentials. Find that common ground and hold firm but keep the connection as simple as possible. As former Governor Ann Richards said, “Explain the issues in language your mama can understand,” and people will pay attention. Consider levels of education, work sophistication, parenting, age, socioeconomic factors. Are you managers or support staff? Prefer people to products? Find that common ground, or you won’t have a leg to stand on when your listeners competing interests, the upcoming coffee break, or the fascinating person seated next to them draws their attention away from you- the presenter.

The “relational” approach to public speaking is more engaging than the “talk at” approach to which we’ve grown accustomed. The latter is not how women typically communicate. Talking “with” is more like it. “What’s on your mind?” we ask, and then we can take it from there in linking our topic to those concerns.

Why brag about myself when I can brag about other people?

Women tend to be unassuming and self-disclosing, perhaps to a fault. Modesty, by definition, means freedom from conceit or vanity. Considered a feminine virtue, modesty can be appealing to audiences when they realize that a speaker is admitting that she's new at the leadership game, particularly when she says, "I'm human, I can make mistakes, and I don't know everything, so let's figure this tough problem out together." That's quite different from the speaker who masquerades as open-minded when listeners know a proposal is “a done deal.” Arrogant speakers think they have an edge on knowing more than anyone in their audience. That approach may have worked in the old days, but audiences today deserve more credit. Everyone sitting in front of you is an expert in something. Modesty assumes a position of mutual respect: people appreciate being respected by the “expert” at the front of the room.

Some speakers forge ahead with a canned speech, no matter what the audience's unique perspective or demographic composition might be. In a post-Enron era of scandals at the top, audiences want to hear from new leaders who are outside the system, and women leaders will certainly have a fresh take on a range of social and economic problems. 

More often than not, women brag about their staff or other volunteers instead of their own accomplishments. What’s wrong with sharing recognition? A more modest approach can be appealing to listeners, particularly if they are among those being applauded. Taken to extremes, modesty can backfire, but still, let’s take the middle ground, and leave grandiosity and posturing to men.

Are the practical details of everyday life important to my listeners?

Women haven’t had access to great wealth so they tend to be more practical and can paint various scenarios for their audiences. Since women speakers of diverse backgrounds share a perspective that lies outside of “ the establishment” (historically populated by white males), they can draw attention to situations that are often ignored. Women tend to become advocates for change in areas that directly affect their everyday lives. It’s not just health care; it’s a question of “How can my mother—and yours—pay for her prescription drugs on a fixed income?” It’s not just employment in general; it’s a question of “How can I fund my small business?” It’s not education in general, it’s “How can I get my school Board to fund after-school programs?” It’s not just the issue of affordable housing, it’s “How can I qualify for my first homeowner’s loan?” It’s not just safety, it’s “What will it take to install more lighting in our parking lots?” It’s not just the issue of child-care, it’s “How can we as parents organize high-quality, affordable childcare for employees in our corporation?” If women don’t address the more practical details and implementation of broad policy issues as they affect us in our daily lives, who will? 

Think it's impossible to make dull, dry, technical and financial talks more relevant to the lives of families and women? Women speakers are more likely to give hard, cold statistics a human face because they see numbers in terms of human equations: A equals B. 

Architects who design complex buildings are the first to admit that “God is in the details.” Present a visionary plan and people immediately become anxious about the future. They wonder: How do we implement this new product or service? What are the steps? Who will be affected? How long will it take? What compromises will we have to make? As you present the blueprints for change, know that listeners are more willing to help you if they know what they’re getting into and presenting the practical side –including attention to details - mean fewer surprises later.

Can my relationship skills help me to gain credibility as a leader- i.e., as “the voice of authority?”

Good speakers—and this is true of both men and women—aren't aloof. They know how to build relationships with the audience before and during the presentation. At the podium, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Dole share anecdotes about people they’ve met that illuminate how policy and legislative decisions play out in everyday life. Hillary talks about her mother’s experience growing up unloved and poor, and how she, in turn, became committed to improving the foster care system. Liz Dole walks the room “Oprah style” and gets up close and personal. Each professional speaker has staff members help him or her learn about their audiences. 

You can do the same thing by making some phone calls beforehand and after your presentation to build and maintain relationships. People create momentum around the change efforts you are proposing but people don’t go out of their way for people they can’t relate to. Whether attitude or behavior, change doesn’t happen overnight. A dynamic presenter builds new relationships with like-minded people who come up afterwards and ask, “I liked the way you presented your case. Where do I sign up? I want to work with you on this.”

Women today don’t just want a level playing field or a seat at the table: they want to be at the head of the table or at the microphone. Feminine attributes and qualities such as relating, disclosing, and caring—coupled with an outsider’s point of view—ensure that dynamic women speakers are seen, heard, and remembered.

[1] Excerpted and adapted with permission.

Networking for Opportunities

Guest blog by Erwi Flynn

Networking can be an intimidating task. Many businesspeople don't know how to go about this process, but there are ways to make it more enjoyable and rewarding. In these tough economic times, it is more important than ever to foster new business alliances. How do you network for new opportunities?

Plan Your Networking Approach
"Although we know that the goal of networking is to discover new business opportunities, it's more than a "paint by the numbers" process," according to Andrea Nierenberg, a keynote speaker for conferences and corporate meetings and President of The Nierenberg Group. "It takes time, patience, and creativity to cultivate people into our lives." 

When Nierenberg first started her consulting business, networking was starting to get a bad reputation. "People saw trade shows and business seminars as 'targets' to pass out and collect as many business cards as possible," she confides. "Ultimately, people networked when they needed something from someone."

To make positive networking become a part of your everyday life, start with a strategy and begin the process. "Begin to imagine that many people you meet can lead you to potential business," Nierenberg says. "Think about how that strategy will include tactics to allow people to feel comfortable to want to help you achieve more." 

First, know your contact. Let's say you call someone up and say, "Hi, Bob. I need your help with some referrals. Any suggestions?" On the surface, it seems harmless. However, people will sense when you're using them as a means to and end. Have a genuine dialog first; then, at the right time, ask them if they would help you "brainstorm" for new ideas to develop new business. 

Second, see the potential. Everyone we meet is a client, prospect, friend, or knows someone who can help us meet one. "Often, the top people rely on people they manage for advice," Nierenberg advises. "While the president of a company signs the biggest checks, you might want to find ways to let that person's staff see how you can provide the products or service to help everyone at the company." 

Third, follow up in unique ways. No, you don't have to send singing telegrams. When you network with new people, work to remember something that is important to them. Then, these topics can become a springboard for future communications. 

For example, if someone likes fishing, you could send a follow-up note that has a fish on it. It doesn't take much, according to Nierenberg. However, it does take some thought. It's this attention to detail that will strengthen your networking relationships. 

The Three P's of Networking

Deb Haggerty, President of Positive Connections, views the successful networker as someone who enters a room and sees people who need to be connected with others. Once this attitude is adopted, there are three steps to make networking pay off -- Process, Place, and Practice.

1. Process. Process refers to how and why you are going to go about
networking. Haggerty recommends asking yourself the following questions:
* Why am I networking?
* Who will I be networking with?
* What am I able to give?
* What do I hope to gain?
* When will I network?

"With these answers in mind, set goals for your networking -- decide on a
tracking system and get your tools ready (business cards, brochures, contact
lists for referrals)," Haggerty explains.

2. Place. Open your mind to the endless possibilities. Anywhere there is
another human being, there is the possibility of networking. Especially good
locations are:
* Chambers of Commerce
* Professional Conferences
* Social Clubs and Churches
* Professional or Alumni Associations
* Charitable Organizations

3. Practice. Like anything else, proper networking must be practiced to get it right. "The most important aspect of networking is creating a good first impression," Haggerty says. "Since you only have one chance to do this, it makes sense to hone the skills that will accomplish it."

Her guidelines are as follows:
* Keep business cards with you at all times, along with pen and paper to write notes on the cards you receive. This will help you to remember the who, when, and where of why you have them.
* Have a "Tell Me About Yourself" attitude. This is a short phrase that will enable you to respond professionally and lead to a meaningful conversation with a prospect.
* Remember the three-foot rule. Anyone within three feet (about the length of a handshake) is a prospect and possible contact for you.
* Always smile at people - it's contagious!
* Have fun! Take networking seriously, but don't be serious when you are doing it. 

Bottom line: Networking is an attitude. Your job is to get others to see you as someone who wants to help them. Once you accomplish this, everyone you add to your network will be actively selling you to everyone else they network with, Haggerty reports. 

Sales Tips I Learned from My Cat

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales  
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

I love my cat. Her name is Ms. Kitty. She was named after Mr. Cat, who died 11 years ago, and after Amanda Blake of "Gun Smoke" fame. Ms. Kitty and I just celebrated our birthdays. She's 11. I'm... well, I celebrated a birthday, too. 

Those of you who are cat lovers are nodding your heads and smiling. The rest of you probably think I've totally lost it. But before you tune out completely, let me share some of the fabulous sales tips that I have learned from Ms. Kitty and from all the cats in my life.

<<Be clear in knowing your goal>>

Ms. Kitty always knows what she wants. Whether it'smore food or to be petted or not to be petted, she knows what she wants and when she wants it. She spends much time pondering her wants. All that time spent sleeping on the coach is not what it appears. She's really planning her next move.

<<Ask for what you want>>

Once Ms. Kitty has determined her goal, she asks for it. Clearly and concisely. "Meow." She lets me know in no uncertain terms what she wants. And if I'm not clever enough to understand the first time, she is patient with me until I do. 

<<Ask again>>

If at first you don't succeed. Ms. Kitty asks, and asks and asks. She won't go away. She won't stop saying, "Meow." She wants what she wants when she wants it, and she lets nothing stand in her way.

<<Ask a lot of people>>

Ms. Kitty has learned over time that I don't always immediately accede to her demands. That's okay. She just asks someone else. And then someone else. Eventually, some human being says "yes."

<<Be persistent>>

Ms. Kitty never judges herself. She doesn't worry about being "too pushy" or "too aggressive." She doesn't worry that her prospect might be "too busy" or "already have a cat." She believes in herself, she knows what she wants, and she keeps asking until she gets it.

<<Don't take "no" for an answer>>

Ms. Kitty is clever and creative. She keeps asking. She asks many people. She reworks her pitch and starts over. She does not hear "no." She realizes that sometimes humans are slow and she just has to keep after us till we "get it." It's a process.

Sales Plan? What's a Sales Plan?

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

In the past, if you said the word "plan" to me, I would bolt and run. I'm the "creative type," a former ballet dancer and choreographer-I'm terrible with details. When I was dancing professionally, all the details were taken care of; all I had to do was show up and dance. Even when I was choreographing, as long as I met my deadline for when the dance needed to be complete, I could go with the moment, go with the impulse and see where the dance led.

A hearty dose of reality hit when I began to run a dance company. All of a sudden, I had people-employees, volunteers and dancers-waiting. I had to know where we were going and how we were going to get there. It was a different world. Every decision had impact
down the line. If we were going to have a spring season, I needed to know what we would be performing and where we'd be performing it. How many dancers would I need? What about costumes? Were we going to commission music? What would it cost? How would we pay for it all?

It took a long time for me to grasp the impact of having a plan. Because I was running a small, grass roots organization, there never seemed to be enough time, people, money or resources. I was always putting out fires. Every plan I developed changed the moment I keyed in the last sentence and printed it out. Plan-who has time to plan? Especially when the plan keeps changing!

Over time, I began to see the planning process as a road map. You know your ultimate goal. You figure out the best way to get there. Your plan needs to include contingencies and have enough space that you can deal with fires and still move forward. And
sometimes, the plan changes; it might need some adjustment or "tweaking." As long as the goal remains the same and as long as you keep taking steps forward to achieve that goal, your plan will help you get there.

In sales, your goal is revenue-driven. How much money do you want to make? Or a better question: How much profit do you want to make? Then, how are you going to achieve that?

Your basic plan should start with a dollar amount and work backwards. If, for example, you want to gross $500,000 in sales this year, on average, how many sales would that be? What is your average sale? On average, how many prospects do you have to see or speak with to close one sale? So, how many prospects would you need to see or speak with to close the number of sales you would need to reach your goal of $500,000? What steps do you need to take to see or speak with that many prospects?

Wow! What a mouthful! Here is a mathematical formula:

First:
Value of average sale =______________
How many prospects to close one sales: _______________

Then:
Gross sales ? average sale = total number of sales needed

Number of prospects to close one sale x total number of sales needed = total number of prospects

(This formula is from a dancer who counts up to 8 and starts over again! If I can do it-you can do it!)

Then:
How will you reach those prospects?

Power Language for Appointment-Setting

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

1. Use power language: "The solution is." rather than, "I believe the solution is."
2. Never use the word "appointment" when trying to set one. Instead, use the word "meeting." "Meeting" sounds more professional and more important. "I would like to meet with you."
3. Use directed words to reach your prospect. When you ask to speak with your prospect, say, "Jane Jones, please," and not, "May I speak with Jane Jones?" The first sentence conveys authority; the second asks permission.
4. Use directed words (and open-ended questions) to gather information. Ask, "Whom should I speak with?" and not, "Do you know who I should speak with?" The first conveys authority, 
and whomever you are questioning, if they know, must answer with a name. In the second sentence, the response could simply be "yes" or "no."
5. Whether trying to ascertain a good time to call your prospect back or trying to schedule a meeting, it is a good idea to give alternate choices. "Is this afternoon good, or would
tomorrow morning be better?" It is much easier for your prospect to decide "when" rather than "whether."
6. "I'm just calling." Eliminate the word "just" from your vocabulary. That little word "just" is an apology. It says that your call is not important and that what you have to say is not important. Simply tell your prospects and customers why you are calling. That is enough.
7. ".we will hopefully achieve." Hopefully? No one pays you to "hopefully" do something. They pay you to actually do it! Tell your prospects or customers what they will achieve or should
expect to achieve.
8. Be clear and to the point. You are telling your story to a stranger who has never heard it. 

Power Words

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

I conducted a teleconference a few weeks ago with people who were new in sales and new to prospecting. The focus of the call was to help participants get beyond fear and understand their prospecting process.

One of the participants on the call told me that she had been given the telephone prospecting script that her team leader uses to set appointments. The team leader was a highly successful sales professional who had been in the business for many years and made quite a lot of money. The participant, who had been in the business for approximately a week, told me that she was going to work with the script and "make it her own."

"No!" I cried out. "Don't do that! Don't make it your own!"

My reasoning? This participant was a beginner. She knew nothing about sales or prospecting. She had a script that was crafted by someone who was highly successful on the telephone. This particular participant did not know enough to make it her own. More than likely, in making the script her own she would eliminate all of the powerful, persuasive and motivating language used by the sales super star who had given her the script.

Some words are better than others. Some words are stronger and more evocative than others. When you are on the phone with a prospect, you have about 10 seconds to grab and hold
your prospect's attention. If you do not do that within that first 10 seconds, your call is more than likely over. If you get through that first 10 seconds, that buys you another 10 seconds. If you get through that 10 seconds it buys you yet another...and so on...10 seconds is not a lot
of time. To get through those 10-second increments, you want to use the most powerful words that you have at your disposal.

If you are a beginner it is entirely possible, indeed even likely, that you may not be comfortable with certain powerful words or phrases. They may be very unlike your usual way of speaking. Even if you've been in sales for a while you might be set in your ways, accustomed to a certain delivery, and changing that might feel uncomfortable.

I've met many people who say they do not want to work with scripts because then they "cannot be themselves." Remembering that your prospecting call happens in 10-second
increments, you want to be the very best self that you can be, every time. That requires preparation.

One of the things that I've always loved about being in sales is that it is crystal clear. You always know exactly where you are. You are either scheduling appointments, or you're not. You are either closing, or you're not.

If you are new to sales and a successful professional gives you their script-don't change a word. That script will be your gold mine. If you've been in sales for a while and want to try out a new script, test it first. Your old script becomes your baseline. For example, make 30
prospecting calls using your usual script and keep track of the number of appointments that you schedule. Then make 30 more prospecting calls using your new script exactly as written. Keep track of the number of appointments that you schedule. At the end of those 60 calls you will know which script works better. That becomes your new baseline.

Perception Is Reality

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

I was never supposed to be a speaker, author and sales trainer. I was supposed to be a ballerina.

I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA. My mother has told me that when I was a small child I would constantly turn on the radio and dance. She said I had no sense of rhythm so she enrolled me in ballet class. That was the beginning of a first career and a great passion.

As a child I danced with Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, always one of the child guests in Act I of Nutcracker. As I grew older, it was the corps de ballet, Snowflake and Waltz of the Flowers. I was even the Sugar Plum Fairy a few times!

At age 17 I moved to New York City to dance, and like every artist in the City, needed a day job. At first I waited on tables. Then I found something more lucrative and more fun-telemarketing.

An ad in "Backstage," the trade publication we would read to look for auditions, caught my attention. It was an ad for a telemarketing company. They would hire actors because actors
can read scripts. (Hiring tip: If you are looking for a part time telemarketer-hire an actor.) The job was calling high-level executives and setting new business appointments. I got the job and was really good at it. Who knew? Ballet dancers don't even talk.

Eventually the telemarketing company started to give me all the "hard leads," the Presidents, the CEO's, the people who "didn't take cold calls." I'd call them, get them on the line, have a great conversation and set up the meeting. It was fun and it was easy.

Years later when I started my training and coaching business I thought all that was necessary was to show clients a system and help them write a good script and we would be finished. 
Imagine my surprise upon discovering all of the human and psychological barriers people face when prospecting by telephone.

That sent me back to the basics to think about not only the system and scripts but also the thought process and mind set as well. I realized something fascinating.

At the time of that initial telemarketing job, I was 19, rather naive and inexperienced in the ways of the world. I lived in a small apartment with four other dancers. I made very little money. Yet, when I would pick up the telephone to call that CEO or President, believe it or not, I felt that I was superior. I may have been calling someone who made 100 times more money, someone who lived in a wonderful house or apartment, someone whom everyone would consider to be the epitome of success, yet I felt superior because I was an artist. 
My belief system at the time was simply that artists are superior in every respect. It never occurred to me that prospects would be anything but delighted to speak with me.

While my mind set and beliefs about the business and corporate world, my place in it and my "superiority" have changed drastically over the years, that belief system was what enabled
me to successfully pick up the telephone and speak easily with high-level executives. Perception is reality. Although my life circumstances at the time were far from ideal I didn't view it that way.

The thoughts and beliefs that you have about yourself directly impact your ability to perform and be successful. While it is not necessary to believe yourself to be superior, as once upon
a time I did, it is imperative that you see yourself and your prospects as peers and equals. If you do not, it is time to change your thought patterns. Instead of thinking about how
important your prospect is, think about all of the ways that your prospects and customers need you. Think about how you help. Think about the benefits that you bring. Start to see
yourself as an equal with something of value to offer. Determine that your prospects will be happy to speak and work with you. Perception becomes reality. 

I close with my all time favorite quote by Henry Ford who said:

"Either you think you can or you think you can't and either way you're right."

More Stuff We Make Up About Our Prospects

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

-- Go through the "no's" to get to "yes."

-- It takes X number of "no's" to get 1 "yes."

-- Every "no" brings you closer to "yes."

I've heard these statements in so many sales training courses and read them in so many sales books. No wonder so many people hate cold calling! Who wants to hear "no"? Who wants to go through X number of "no's" to get to "yes"? That's exhausting and demoralizing. Ecch!

Wouldn't it be so much nicer if almost no one said "no"? Isn't it great to hear "yes"! Wouldn't it be wonderful to only hear possibilities? Well, you can. And this is how:

I have been writing a lot recently about changing the way that you think. Many times, what we think is a "no" is really something that we are making up! It is important to differentiate
between the actual words your prospect says and what you think your prospect is saying. There are the "facts," or "the words," and then there are the stories, the things we make up about what we think our prospect is really saying. Frequently, the two have nothing in common! 

Learning to hear what your prospect is actually saying versus what you make up they are saying will result in hearing fewer and fewer "no's" and feeling less and less rejection. This does take some work and practice, like learning any new skill, but it can be done. Here are some examples:

-- If a prospect says to you that they are not the decision-maker and that you need to speak with someone else, that is not a "no." She is not the decision-maker. But if she gives you the
name of the decision-maker, that is a "yes." She is helping!

-- When you are trying to set a new business appointment, if a prospect asks you to "send something" instead, that is not a "no." More than likely, it means you haven't convinced her
yet. Send her something—you now have a second chance.

-- If a prospect says she's busy and asks you to call back, that is not a "no." That's a request to call her back. Do so.

-- If a prospect's secretary says that your prospect is in a meeting, that is not a "no." Your prospect is in a meeting. Ask when she will be done with that meeting, and call back
then.

Many of our "no's" are actually quite neutral. But we don't hear them as neutral. We read extra or hidden meaning into the neutral words and turn them into something quite different. Examine the facts. Examine what is actually being said. Check to see if you are "making stuff up" about a conversation that, when you examine it, is actually neutral. Is your prospect really saying "no," or is it a story that you are telling yourself?

Hearing "no" continually is demoralizing and dispiriting. It is difficult to be energized and interested when facing that wall of rejection. Stop hearing "no" by always checking your facts in prospecting and sales situations. As you check your facts, stop yourself from "making stuff up" about those facts. As you do this, you will find that many of your "no's" disappear. You will hear more "yes's." While the "no's" may never disappear completely, eventually "no" itself will become the aberration. You will then be able to prospect in a whole new way. Go to it!

Marketing Conversations and Conversation STOPPERS

Guest blog by Nina Ham cppc, lcsw

Where many marketing conversations get off-track are the ones you have with yourself, before you even pick up the phone or initiate the handshake. As independent professionals, usually at the helm of solo businesses, we sometimes find ourselves facing daunting internal obstacles as we try to begin our day’s marketing activity. With no one in our office-of-one to help with a confidence booster, an important resource to have in our self-management toolbox is a means of submitting the negative self-talk for an internal Second Opinion.

Let’s imagine you’re about to pick up the phone to follow up on a promising contact you met a few days ago. You recognize that the clammy hands gripping the phone are a sure sign that Fear of Rejection is in charge. You’ve convinced yourself that the voice about to answer your call is just waiting for an excuse, any excuse, to hang up. What to do? Time for a Second Opinion! 

The Department of Second Opinions draws on that part of yourself that knows enough to question the self-defeating voices by asking, “How real is this?” Buttressing its wisdom is the recognition that a conversation underlies every marketing activity as sub-text, a conversation that’s usually unspoken. While we may tend to think of marketing as telling people what we do, in fact all our marketing activities implicitly ask a question: “Do my services have potential value to you?” When Fear of Rejection is in charge, the door slams shut on any potential conversation. “Do my services have value?” “No!” End of conversation. But what if you stay in the (unspoken) conversation and wonder, “What are they actually saying no to, and why?” They could be saying no to having the conversation now, or to a perceived misfit between their needs and your services, or even to the person they couldn’t say no to 10 minutes earlier!

Viewed in this light, the imagined door slamming shut in your face shifts to a swinging door. Even if it shuts, you’re likely to come away with useful information about the needs of this prospect, or about how to better position your services for your target client. Even if it shuts on him or her as a prospect, you’ve gotten the word out to one more person about your services.

Another conversation stopper, particularly seductive for service professionals: “I Can’t Sell Myself”. This one actually negates any conversation from the outset, presuming instead that rather than talking, you have to convince or even manipulate the prospect. A Second Opinion might point to a more promising line of inquiry such as: How do I quickly and accurately inform myself about my prospect’s needs and present my services as an effective solution?

Shifting the internal voices – abandoning the conversation-stoppers or door-slammers and instead framing a question - gives you a good chance of getting off on positive footing for the actual conversation. It’s very helpful to remember that even if the prospect says no, this doesn’t have to be your last opportunity. When you relax into the conversation, into listening and asking as well as telling, you may hear an interest or need that has no direct connection to your services but provides a basis for staying in touch. This will indeed have been a successful marketing conversation! Good luck.

Leaving Messages

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

'Hi __________. My name is _________. I'm your ________ sales person calling to introduce myself. I would like to talk to you about what we have to offer.'

The above is an actual message that was left on my voice mail. I did not call back. Would you? Probably not.

Let me state up front that I'm still not a big fan of leaving messages. Having a conversation with your prospect is always so much better, and with some skill and patience it is possible to
eventually get most prospects on the telephone.

If, however, you choose to leave a message, you must give your prospect some reason to call you back. 'I would like to talk to you about what we have to offer' does not cut it.

When you are speaking with your prospect for the first time, it is imperative to have a hook, something to grab and hold that prospect's attention. If you don't hook your prospect in the
beginning of your conversation, they will not want to speak with you. They will say, 'I'm not interested,' and worse case, they may hang up on you.

It works exactly the same way when you are leaving a message. If you don't have a hook, if your message does not grab and hold your prospect's attention, your prospect will hit delete and that will be that.

The process for finding your hook, whether for your actual conversation or for your message, is always the same. You want to identify hot buttons, those issues that are so important to
your prospect that when they come up, your prospect stops in her tracks to listen. Every single message that you leave must have a hook. And if you plan on leaving more than one message, you will want to have different hooks. (And BTW: If you really want to reach your prospect, you will need to leave more than one message.) This way you will always be saying something new.

Start by making a list. List every benefit and value that youand/or your products/services bring to your customers. Once you have that list, create a message for each benefit/value. You can have more than one message about any one benefit/value, as long as you have another angle or another point that you can make. When you are done, you should have several different generic messages that you could then leave for your prospect. Once you've developed your generic messages, you can then customize them for any particular prospect. 

He.are are some additional tips for leaving messages:
* Say your name and telephone number at least twice, once at the beginning of the message and once at the end.
* Spell your name.
* Speak slowly and clearly. No one will ever call you back if they do not understand you.
* Slow down when you spell your name and give your telephone number. Your prospect will interpret this slowing down as a direction to write, and will pick up a pen and write down your
information. This works when you are speaking directly to your prospect as well.
* Make sure to tell prospects that you will call back if you do not hear from them. This way you take back control and are not left sitting by the phone, waiting for prospects to call.
© 2006 Wendy Weiss

Inactive Leads

Guest blog by Erin Flynn

Case study: Jump-starting those inactive leads. 

"Thanks for calling to confirm - but I'm afraid I'm going to have to cancel our meeting for next week. We've decided to put a hold on all our spending in this area for now. We'll be re-evaluating in a couple of months. Keep in touch, okay?"

It's part of the sales landscape - a law as dependable as gravity. No matter how effective, persuasive, or experienced a given salesperson is, some percentage of that person's promising leads will turn into "opportunities." These are static contacts that aren't moving through the sales process and can't be counted on to provide income - at least for the time being. 

The question really isn't whether contacts will fall into the "opportunity" category, but what steps to take when they do. How do you reignite interest and generate activity within your list of "cold" prospects? Canadian sales representative Gino Sette came up with an interesting strategy. 

Gino decided to write a letter to every prospect who had decided not to buy from him over a given period. Basically, the letter said this: "It was a pleasure meeting with you awhile back to talk about what your company was doing. Even though we were unable to move forward at that time, I'm still thinking about you." 

Gino then invited each "cold" contact to sit in at one of his company's upcoming events. "This will give you an opportunity to evaluate, first-hand, the applicability of what we do to your business environment," he wrote. "Attached is a list of all upcoming training where my clients have approved outside observers. I've also included a brief description of each of the programs."

According to Gino, he got calls from prospects who were very interested in observing specific programs, even though they had initially declined his firm's training. Gino decided to write to each member of his active client base and extend the same invitation. The letter begins as follows: "First of all, let me thank you for allowing us to work with you and XYZ Company. We are very excited to have you as part of our client list, as you are a significant player. It is for this reason that I would like to extend the following invitation to you…"

As his flurry of return calls proved, Gino's innovative letter technique is an effective way to win back (or solidify) your position on the to-do lists of your customers and inactive leads. His idea can be adapted to training programs, open houses, media events, and any 

Gain Your Prospect's Attention

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

On a cold call you have approximately 10-30 seconds to grab your prospects’ attention—and you won’t get a second chance. Read on to discover how to gain your prospects’ attention…

I was eating lunch. The phone rang and thinking it might be a client calling (and also, let’s face it—I’m a little compulsive) I bolted to my desk and grabbed the receiver.

Instead of my client, on the other end of the line was a perky person telling me that their company provides high-speed Internet access in my area. This was not exciting news. I live in New York City, we have a multitude of options and high-speed Internet access is a given. (An aside: New Yorkers don’t usually respond well to perky.)

I said what I usually say to such callers. I told the caller she needed help with her cold calling and suggested that she visit my web site, www.queenofcoldcalling.com. Then I went back to my lunch.

Believe it or not, your prospects are not sitting by the phone waiting for your call. (And they are all not as compulsive as I am about answering the telephone.) At the moment that you call, all of your prospects are doing something else. All of them. The way that you introduce yourself must get their attention.

So what’s wrong with the introduction, “We now provide high speed Internet access in your area”?

This introduction makes “high speed Internet access” into a commodity. It’s a thing. Most of this caller’s prospects probably already have high-speed Internet access. They already have that thing. They don’t need another.

Whatever you are selling, if you make it into a commodity, (“I’m a printer…” “I’m a financial advisor...” “We sell home furnishings…”) more than likely your prospect has one (or some) and sees no reason to have a conversation.

While you do want to be clear about what you do, more importantly you want your prospect to understand the value that you offer. How do you make your customers’ lives better, easier, safer, more productive…? That’s what will get your prospect’s attention and that’s what will enable you to have a good conversation.

One way to get a prospect’s attention is to lead with price. Saving money will always be high on a prospect’s wish list so if you truly are able to save your customers money, prospects will pay attention. The caller above could have introduced herself by saying the company saves customers money (giving a specific dollar amount or percentage makes this even stronger) on their high speed Internet access.

The problem, however, with leading with price is that there will always be someone who can give your customers a better price. Leading with price does not insure customer loyalty. It almost guarantees that you will have to keep cutting your prices or lose customers to the next caller who comes along offering a savings.

So now we’re back to value. Using the above example, how could the caller have tweaked her approach so that she’d have a better chance of having good conversations with prospects? Here’s an idea:

Perhaps the company she represented was really excellent at taking care of their customers, for example, maybe they didn’t make you wait for a week to get a service call in the event of a problem. Or perhaps they had live human beings answering their phones 24/7 rather than those automated systems that make you dial numbers to get into the right queue and then tell you the wait time will be 45 minutes. (I know, wishful thinking here.) Anyway, the potential of avoiding of annoyance and aggravation because of superior customer service could catch a prospect’s attention. 

The point is that you need to get into your customer’s heads and figure out what differentiates you (your company/products/services) from the competition and why your customers buy from you. Then in your cold call opening, lead with that differentiator and/or that reason. Once you are able to stop making your offering into a commodity and instead focus on the value, your prospects will respond. 

Five Ways to Name Your Prospect

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

The first step in your cold call is frequently an attempt to put a name on your prospect. You think a particular company is a potential prospect--you just don’t know whom you should speak with. How do you put a name on that person?

Here are five ways to find your prospect’s name: 

1. Ask the receptionist
The easiest way to name your prospect is to simply ask the receptionist. A part of her job is to help you identify the prospect. Another part of her job is to connect you. (Generally, receptionists are underpaid and overworked. Callers are frequently rude, so be very nice to the receptionist; she can be a tremendous help.) 

You: “Before yTou connect me, (P A U S E) I need to reach…” (give title) “Who is that please?”. 
(The key word here is: “before.” You say, “Before you connect me” and then you pause because you want the receptionist to hear the word “before” and that way give you a name before she puts you through.) 

Receptionist: "What is this in reference to?"
(This “What is this in reference to?” is different than later on when the secretary or assistant says it. At this point the receptionist doesn’t really mean what is this in reference to? She means I do not understand what you want, I don’t know who to connect you with. Remember: Her job is to connect you with someone.)

You: (Use the “Broken Record Technique”--Repeat what you just said but elaborate a little. For example, if you want to reach the Senior Vice President of Marketing:) I need to reach whoever handles marketing.  I don’t know if that would be your Senior Vice President of Marketing or your Marketing Director or your Advertising Director... Who would handle that and what is the correct title?

(If you keep using the “Broken Record Technique” and throwing out titles, eventually the receptionist will latch onto one and give you a name)

Sometimes if a company has a policy that they will not give out names at the switchboard you can ask to be connected with that department. When the receptionist in that area answers you start over with “Before you connect me…”

2. Call the Chief Executive Officer:
The theory here is that Executive Secretaries know everything. Call the CEO’s office. Ask for the CEO. When the Executive Secretary says, “What is this in reference to?” tell her. She will then generally point you in the right direction, in addition to which when you get to your prospect you can say, “the CEOs office said I should be meeting with you,” implying that you actually spoke with the CEO. 

3. Randomly change the numbers of the general switchboard number: 
If the general number is –5000, call -5001, -5002, -5003 etc. and keep going until you actually reach a human being. Ask them to help you. “Would you help me please?”  People love to help. Ask: “Who is in charge of that department?” “Who is the liaison with…?”  “Who should I speak with?” “Who would handle that?” Once you get a name, ask: “Do you have a company directory? Would you look up that extension for me?” Sometimes they will, sometimes they won’t—but it never hurts to ask.

4. The made-up name:
If asking the receptionist the first time doesn’t work because company policy forbids them to give out names, make up a name and ask the receptionist for that person. The receptionist will say, “There is no one by that name here.” You will say, “Oh, Jane Jones used to be the Senior Vice President of (fill in the blank).  She was the one I always dealt with. Who has taken over for her?” Assuming that the receptionist has not been at the company since the beginning of time and knows there was never any Jane Jones… she may very well give you the prospect’s name.  

5. A last resort;
Call Human Resources. Use the same technique that you use with the receptionist. “Before you connect me…”

Filing the Sales Pipeline

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

"I have made attempts to contact you to determine if there is a mutual fit between our companies. How would you like for me to follow-up with you going forward? 

"I have been working under the assumption that Weiss Communications will be considering _________. Is this still the case? If you are not interested or if there is another person you would like me to follow-up with, please let me know. I certainly do not want to waste your time."

This is an email I recently received from a sales representative. It's interesting because this is the first communication that I actually received from this representative. Didn't recognize the rep's name. Didn't recognize the company name. Don't really know what he's selling or why I should be interested. And of course, I have heard nothing further from him.

I suppose that if one sent enough emails of this type, eventually someone would respond that they are interested. This strikes me as a very frustrating way to fill a pipeline.

The bottom line is that if you want to be able to sell consistently, if you want to have those million dollar and beyond sales careers, if you want to avoid major frustration and wheel spinning, blanketing the earth with emails, voice mails or even phone calls is not the answer.

The answer is to be highly specific about who your prospect is and why they should buy from you. Far too often when speaking with entrepreneurs, business owners and sales professionals, I ask them, "Who is your market?" and the response is "Everyone."

Sorry. "Everyone" is not the answer that will make money for you. Even if "everyone" could use your product/service, (highly unlikely) they would all be buying for different reasons. Your job is to identify those reasons, make sure the reasons correspond with the prospect with whom you are speaking and help your prospect understand that your product/service is the answer to his or her needs, wants and desires.

So here are the questions that you need to ask yourself:

1. What am I selling? What is the value and/or benefit to my customer who buys what I am selling? What is the reason my customer buys? Why should my prospect be interested in
what I am selling? What need, want and/or desire does my product/service satisfy?
2. Out of everyone in the entire world who might purchase my product/service, who is most likely to purchase my product/service? Out of that group, who is most likely to buy a lot of my product/service? And who is most likely to return again and again to buy more of my
product/service?

If you are able to satisfactorily answer these questions, you will be able to spend your time wisely, focusing on prospects who are truly viable. Your selling time will be productive and your numbers will go through the roof.
To your success!
© 2007 Wendy Weiss

Do Your Words Betray You?

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

What do the words that you use say about you? What is your basic message? Do your words support that basic message?

As a business owner, entrepreneur or sales professional, part of your message must be of confidence and authority. You always want your prospect or your customer to see you as an expert in your field, as someone who is credible and someone who is knowledgeable. Sometimes, the words we use or the way we use them get in the way.

Have you ever started a conversation with a prospect or customer with the phrase "I'm just calling."?

That little word "just" is an apology. It says that your call is not important and that what you have to say is not important. Delete it from your vocabulary immediately! Simply tell your
prospects and customers why you are calling. That is enough.

"I believe that.."
"I think that.."
"I know.."

Who would you rather listen to? Someone who believes or thinks she knows something-or someone who just knows it? The phrases "I believe" and "I think" detract from your message. They detract from your power.
"Once we have completed. We will hopefully achieve."
Hopefully?

No one pays you to "hopefully" do something. They pay you to actually do it! Tell your prospects or customers what they will achieve or should expect to achieve.

To make your words sound powerful, pitch your voice to a lower level than your usual speaking voice. In our society, a lower-pitched voice is perceived as more authoritative. Also, make sure that the inflection goes down at the end of every sentence. When nervous, everyone tends to make even statements into questions with an upward inflection. This will make you sound nervous and unsure. Be careful also, as you are doing this, not to drop off
or throw the last words of your sentence away. That would sound like you are giving up. 

It may take some time and practice before you are fully comfortable eliminating the words "just," "I believe," "I think" and "hopefully" from your vocabulary. It will also take some time
and practice to get the lowered vocal pitch and downward inflections at the end of sentences. But it will be time well spent when you see the difference in the way your customers and
prospects respond. Even if you do feel nervous, using these particular word and vocal tips will make you sound confident and self-assured. Eventually, you will even begin to feel that way!

Call-Killing Phrases

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

How often have you started a call to a friend, family member or business associate with the phrase, 'How are you?' I'm willing to bet the answer is a lot. I know I say it frequently. It's
commonly used as a greeting, as a 'hello.'

Because 'How are you?' is so commonly used, how often have you started your introductory calls with this phrase? If you do use this phrase as an opening for your introductory call, please stop immediately. It's an introductory call-killer, and this is why:

1. If you ask this question, you must be prepared for the answer. What if your prospect answers, 'I'm having a lousy day. My back hurts, I have a cold, I hate my job and my wife left me yesterday'? Do you really care? Is this the reason for your phone call?

2. You lose control of the call. (This is probably the most important reason.) If your prospect does respond, 'I'm having a lousy day. My back hurts, I have a cold, I hate my job and my
wife left me yesterday,' how are you going to get the call back on track?

3. It's a set up, a tip off to your prospect that you are making a sales call. It gives your prospect the opportunity to say, 'I'm busy. What do you want?' (See number 2 above.)

Similar issues apply with the introductory call-killing phrases, 'May I have a moment of your time?' and/or 'Is this a good time to talk?'

With both of these phrases, you lose control of the call right at the beginning, before you've had a chance to say anything at all. If the prospect answers, 'no,' the call is over. These are
also both tip off phrases. Friends, family and important business colleagues would probably not say, 'May I have a moment of your time?' or 'Is this a good time to talk?' Only someone
making a sales call would use this language, and it's all too easy for your prospect to respond negatively.

I know that many of you reading this will argue, 'Wendy, it's polite. It's polite to say, 'How are you?' as a greeting and it's polite to ask permission to speak.' There are, however, many ways to greet a prospect - saying 'hello' works just fine. It is also equally polite to simply introduce yourself and get to the point. This is not only polite, it's respectful of your prospect's time, it's more effective and it allows you to retain control of the conversation.

In order to be truly effective prospecting or selling by phone, it is imperative to control the conversations you have with prospects. You want to set yourself up to have the best possible
conversation that you can have with any given prospect. While it is true that not all prospects will respond badly to the above phrases, why take the chance? Why risk blowing a lead at the
beginning of the call if something as simple as not starting out with, 'How are you?' can totally eliminate that possibility?

Say hello. Introduce yourself. Get to the point and say what you have to say. Then ask for what you want. This is the formula for a successful introductory call. Save the 'How are you?' question for those whose answers really interest you.
© 2006 Wendy Weiss