Nov 09 2009


You got 7 seconds, Baby! Do it!


     So you think you can make sales  by building relationships? You think you can sweet talk a prospect into a sale? You think that starting your spiel with a joke will get that signature on the dotted line? You are helping customers to slow own, relax, take it step at a time so they’ll love you when they decide to buy?


     Statistical studies have long shown  that average adult attention span in America is 12 minutes, 7-8 minutes for decision makers, and 7 SECONDS to size you up (It used to be 10 seconds, but we’re in the WiFi age!).

     This means, dear business owners, managers and salespeople  (that’s EVERYone, btw), that you better have your you-know-what together and be prepared to make a spectacular 7-second first impression. Bottom line: No time to blink! 

     First off, junk this dumb idea  that some touchy-feely guru sold you about “relationship selling.” Assuming you still want to have a job in a couple of months (weeks, even), then be alert to the fact that the building of customer relationships can ONLY happen AFTER the sale is made.

     The sale is the starting line. When the check clears the bank is when to start all the hugging and kissing and hand-holding commotion, and not ten seconds earlier! Disregard this at your peril. 7 SECONDS! You got 7 seconds, Baby! Do it! Go for the sale, B~U~T that doesn’t mean to rush in like a ton of bricks. It means make the most of those 7 seconds. 

     One sales pro I respect says  he uses those first 7 seconds to “radiate authenticity and ask a genuine leading question.” What’s an example? “Are you looking to upgrade what you have or try something new?” will certainly get you further than, “How’s the weather out there today?” or “Hi, would you like some help?” 

     “Radiating authenticity,”  incidentally implies many things. Your appearance for one. No one expects you to be wearing a tie and jacket (or a dress and high heels) if you’re visiting farms, nor are you likely to get too far in delivering a Fortune 500 board of directors presentation in jeans and sneakers. Clothes CAN make the sale when they’re authentic and appropriate.  A GENUINE smile and fresh (not overkill Scope) breath help!

     Grooming  is the other half of appearance. And if you don’t already get that you’ll do better scrubbed and neatly trimmed, you probably need more help than this blog can provide. 

     When 7 seconds can make it or break it, when 7 seconds is all it takes for a decision maker to size you up and decide if she or he wants to do business with you or not, you need a game plan. It’s fourth quarter and you’re 3 points behind on the 50-yard line with 7 seconds. You sure better know what you’re going to do when the ball is hiked. You are, after all, calling the plays!                                                                      

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Input always welcome “Blog” in subject line or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! Make it a GREAT Day! Hal

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Dec 15 2008


Do you just turn on the


   faucet and ooze appeal?   


     I left a post at my Twitter friend Doyle Slayton’s excellent (and provocative) site for salespeople about the importance of empathy in sales. 

     We’ve discussed it here a few times, but the fact remains that too few of us go through our days without really stopping long enough to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. 

     So what, you say?  So this: When you can take the time and trouble (and it does take longer, and it can prompt considerable effort) to really try to understand and genuinely appreciate the circumstances of a prospect, you will be making more than one sale; you will be selling the dozens of others this one individual tells about your ability to be empathetic.

     The loyal customer you create may never actually use the word empathy to describe you.  How “nice” you were, or how”easy it was to talk” with you, or “how straightforward” or “down-to-earth” or “engaging” –even “charming”–  you were, may be the terms of choice.  But they add up to the same thing.

     How do you earn these credits?  Do you just turn on the faucet and ooze appeal?  Hardly.  Having others appreciate the way you deal with them and the sense of authenticity you put across, comes –no matter how instinctively pleasant you may be– from conscious preparation and hard work.

     It means that you are careful to exercise proactive listening skills, for example, to ask questions about what interests the other person and not you, for example . . . and listen carefully and attentively to the answers without interrupting, for yet another example. 

     The rule of thumb is to talk 20% of the time and listen 80% of the time.  A guideline that works equally well, by the way, in sales as well as relationships and, especially in dealing with children and aging parents. 

     Most nurses are exceptionally skilled at practicing empathy!

     In healthcare (where unfortunately many professionals flip the percentages and talk 80% of the time), it’s called having good bedside manners.  And how many people do you know who prefer to weigh bedside manners above even training and experience when it comes to choosing a doctor, dentist, nurse, physical therapist, occupational or speech therapist, psychotherapist, psychologist, or veterinarian?

     I’m not suggesting bedside manners should replace professional training and experience.  I am advocating that better healthcare results occur when good bedside manners can supplement good training and experience. 

     Isn’t it that you want these professionals to appreciate your unique circumstances so they understand and respect you as an individual vs. lumping you together with all other broken bones, teeth fillings, muscle weaknesses, swallowing problems, brain and emotional problems, and dog-parents? 

     It’s a pleasure to deal with bedside-mannered healthcare professionals, and courteous, respectful salespeople.  Genuineness as a human being is the secret ingredient.  halalpiar

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