Take the Sales Fool Test

Are you a Sales Fool?In celebration of April Fool’s Day, please take the Sales Fool Test. The purpose of the test is to determine whether you are a sales fool or not.

1). Do you forego doing any research on prospects or leads before contacting them?

2). Do you avoid planning your day and instead just start making a bunch of cold calls and sending out cold emails?

3). Do you forget to follow-up on prospects or leads that you have spoken to?

4). Do you avoid entering sales notes and other critical information in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database?

5). Do you send out long and boring emails that scream “please delete me?”

6). Do you blame others because you don’t have enough leads or prospects to call on?

7).Do you conduct webinars or online tours without asking attendees what type of information they are seeking about your product or service, or what type of pain points or problems they are trying to solve?

are you a sales fool?8). Do you keep interrupting your clients while they are speaking rather than spending the time listening to their concerns?

9). Do you constantly bad mouth your competitors to your clients rather than focus on your strengths?

10). Do you avoid learning more about sales because you feel that you are already an “expert”, or you don’t need to read books, blogs, articles, or attend workshops or seminars to improve your craft?

If you answered yes to a couple of these questions, you are not a sales fool, but it would be a good idea if you brush up on your skills.

If you answered yes to half of these questions, you are a border-line sales fool who needs to seriously learn more about your craft.

If you answered yes to all of these questions, you have no business being in sales and I recommend that you find other employment.

There you have it! The Sales Fool Test. How did you do? Please let me know.

Happy April Fool’s Day!

Today is Humiliation Day

 Humiliation. In sales, we face it all the time.

Most of us deal with rejection every day. Prospects hang up on you. Clients or prospects don’t return your phone calls or respond to your emails. Meetings or phone conferences are canceled at the last minute. Clients don’t attend your webinars.

bullying and humiliation in salesSo I guess that it’s no surprise that someone created a special day for it, because today is Humiliation Day.

According to World’s Special Days, Humiliation Day was started on July 1, 1923, by Chinese Canadian immigrants to protest that country’s Chinese Exclusion Act. Each year, all Chinese stores were closed and all celebrations were boycotted that happened on Canada Day (formerly called Dominion Day).

When the act was abolished in 1947, the day has ever since then been celebrated worldwide on January 3rd of each year. Why that day? Don’t know.

The purpose of the day is not to humiliate someone. Instead, it’s to focus is on humility and being humble.

And what can be a more humbling experience than working in sales? Sure, you want to be as positive and confident as you can when you go to work every day. But as we all know from experience, working in sales can sometimes be humbling.

Below are a couple of articles on how to overcome humiliation –

Is It Possible to Recover From Humiliation?, by Cheryl Conner
10 Steps for Getting Over Humiliation, by Bella DePaulo, Ph.D.

To help you reflect on this day, here are some quotes about humility to help you –

“The principals of living greatly include the capacity to face trouble with courage, disappointment with cheerfulness, and trial with humility.” By Thomas S. Monson

“Recognizing your talents doesn’t mean believing they’re limitless. Accepting your strengths doesn’t lead to pride, but instead to humility; you’re less likely to resent what others have if you understand your own bounty.” By Gina Barreca

“Humility is the true key to success. Successful people lose their way at times. They often embrace and overindulge from the fruits of success. Humility halts this arrogance and self-indulging trap. Humble people share the credit and wealth, remaining focused and hungry to continue the journey of success.” By Rick Pitino

Is your glass half empty or half full for Positive Thinking Day?

be positive, is the glass half empty or half fullSelling isn’t hard – it’s dealing with negative thoughts and attitudes that are hard. Sure, some will argue that sales are just a “numbers game” and that you should embrace rejection. But that’s easier said than done.

There is so much negativity associated with selling. While most salespeople are honest and hardworking, there are a lot of bad apples who make the rest of us look like sleazy losers. Like it or not, selling as a profession has a bad reputation.

So it’s tough not to come to work daily and not feel down on yourself. You make phone calls, you get rejected. You send out emails, they get deleted. You send out direct marketing pieces, they get thrown in the trash. You go on sales calls, and no one answers the door. While you do all the basics, like doing your pre-call research, asking good qualifying questions, determining needs, finding pain points, and overcoming objections, you know from experience you have to dig through a lot of dirt to find gold.

As a result, negative feelings behind to boil up. You start saying to yourself, “maybe I wasn’t cut out to be in sales,” or “maybe it’s not too late to go to law school,” or “maybe working behind a cash register isn’t so bad after all.”

Wake up. Snap out of it. Today is Positive Thinking Day. Today erase all of those negative thoughts and feelings and focus on being positive.

Is positive thinking difficult? No. But only if you make it so.

According to Health CheatSheet, in its article “6 Health Benefits of Positive Thinking,” having positive thoughts can do the following for you –

1). Increase your lifespan
2). Improve resistance to the common cold
3). Lower cholesterol
4). Reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease
5). Improve coping skills during hardships and stressful or depressing times
6). Slow aging

And if that’s not enough to convince you, you can always read the classic The Power of Positive Thinking: 10 Traits for Maximum Results, by Norman Vincent Peale. 

In his bestseller, the author argues that the keys to positive thinking include believing in yourself and everything that you do, improve your personal and professional relationships, and be kind to yourself.

Not bad advice.

As for the origins of the day, according to the International Business Times, Positive Thinking Day was started by Dr. Kirsten Harrell, a psychologist and life coach, and owner of ipopin.com, an online source of one-minute affirmations.

So have a happy Positive Thinking Day!

Any good ideas for National Swap Ideas Day?

National Swap Idea Day for salespeopleOne of the challenges of working in sales or any occupation is swapping ideas. Some of us like to jealously guard our ideas and not share them with our co-workers or upper management. Others are very open about exchanging ideas. And finally, there are a few who are reluctant to make suggestions for fear of being criticized or fired.

In the spirit of National Swap Ideas Day (which is held every September 10th), let’s make this a day of openly exchanging ideas and suggestions with one another.

Based on my research, no one knows the exact origin of National Swap Ideas Day. However, some believe it was created by Robert Louis Birch, who is also credited for creating other strange holidays including “Lumpy Rug Day,” “Trivia Day,” and “Nothing Day.” Mr. Birch was a retired librarian from the U.S. Patent Office Scientific Library and the National Agricultural Library.

The obvious purpose of National Swap Ideas Day is to get everyone to share thoughts and concepts.  This can be done on a one-to-one basis or in a group environment. There are no rules, so everyone is encouraged to be creative and think outside the box. For those who may too shy about offering their ideas, maybe you should create a permanent suggestion box in the office.

To learn more about making suggestions in the workplace, please check out this post from Six Sigma Online (Aveta Business Institute) called “Demonstrations of Success – How to Correctly Offer Suggestions in the Workplace.” And here’s another post from Think IT Association called “5 Ways to Offer Suggestions to Your Supervisor (without getting fired!).”

To help you further, please read The Idea-Driven Organization: Unlocking the Power in Bottom-Up Ideas by Alan G. Robinson and Dean M. Schroeder.

They make the argument that employees can offer insights to help make a business grow and become more successful.

And finally, to make the day even more interesting, there is actually a hashtag that you can use on Twitter – #NationalSwapIdeasDay.

Today is National Hand Shake Day!

business handshake for salespeopleToday is National Hand Shake Day.

All salespeople are familiar with handshakes. In fact, it’s safe to say that you probably couldn’t do your job well or even get a sales job unless you know how to properly shake hands.

I couldn’t find the origins of National Hand Shake Day. However, it’s always celebrated the last Thursday of June.

No one knows the exact origin of handshakes, but according to Wikipedia, “archaeological ruins and ancient texts show that handshaking was practiced in ancient Greece as far back as the 5th century BC.”

As we all know, shaking hands is a sign of respect when greeting someone. Outside sales reps shake hands daily; inside salespeople not so much unless they are attending a trade show or meeting a large client outside their office.

The Oatmeal.com website lists 9 types of crappy handshakes. They include the “bone crusher”, the “misfire”, the “limp, dead fish”, and the “never-let-go” handshakes.

If you feel you are guilty of one of those handshakes, have no fear.

Debby Mayne, an Etiquette Expert, outlines “7 Tips on Proper Handshake Etiquette” in her column in About.com. Her advice includes shaking hands firmly but not crushingly, shaking hands for about two to five seconds in duration, and offering a greeting before and during the handshake.

If you still need help, the Australian Government Business Agency put together this funny video below that is posted on YouTube –

Today is Pack Rat Day (really)

pack rat

Salespeople, along with many office workers, have a bad habit of being pack rats. You know when I mean. Your desk or files are jammed with old compensation reports, sales literature, marketing brochures, and an array of other documents that you have never gotten around to properly file or read.

We are so busy making sales calls, trying to hit or exceed our quotas, and traveling to trade shows, and we just let our documents pile up.

Computers were supposed to eliminate paper – you know, “paperless” offices. However, I suspect the opposite is true. We are now dealing with more paper than ever because some of us just don’t trust our computers to safely secure our documents.

In celebration of you and all pack rats, today is official “Pack Rat Day.” Yes, it’s an official holiday. No one has any idea of the origin of the day. I’ve done some research online and I couldn’t find anything.

To all you packrats out there, here is some advice – it’s time to let go. Believe me, the less clutter you have in your office, the better off and more productive you will be.