Lessons from the coffee shop to boost sales and seal deals

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Lessons from the coffee shop to boost sales and seal deals

  1. 1. LESSONS FROM THE COFFEE SHOP TO BOOST SALES AND SEAL DEALS By Karen Friedman, Communications Coach, Author, Shut Up and Say Something(Praeger 2010)His name is Steve. He‟s retired now, but before spending mornings at thelocal coffee shop, he spent forty years in sales, owned his own company andboasted a resume of successes.For a good ten years now, I‟ve enjoyed a morning cup of joe with Steve anda small group of loyal Manhattan Bagel regulars in my neighborhood.Sometimes it‟s a quick buy and bye. Other times we sit and chat. We‟vesipped through elections, wars, simmered over political differences andadded extra sweetener to sugarcoat a disappointing Philadelphia Eagles loss.We‟ve come to value each other‟s opinions even if like a steaming cup ofcoffee, our differences sometimes boil over.So on this fall morning, I asked Steve to share his secret of sales success.Without hesitation, he answered “ask for the order” and then added “let metell you a story”. Without realizing the full impact of those six words-let metell you a story- Steve shared the secret ingredient of his years of salessuccess. He‟s a natural engaging story teller. From heroic saves on thetennis court to his grandchildren‟s antics at holiday dinners, he has a knackfor using quick stories to create an emotional connection that makes „theask‟ personal and relevant to the listener‟s life.As a television news reporter for two decades, I helped thousands of peoplecondense complicated information into engaging memorable stories thatimpacted and influenced customers, communities, legislators and decisionmakers. Today clients atKaren Friedman Enterprises rely on us to helpthem communicate clearly, concisely and more persuasively toarticulatevision, advance careers, exude presence and communicate moreconvincingly in critical situations to achieve their goals.Consider this. At a recent communications training program forpharmaceutical sales representatives, repeated role-playing revealed thatthese seasoned pros knew everything there was to know about their productand disease state. However, because their real-life face time with healthcareproviders is so limited, they said they felt pressured to quickly rattle offinformation in monologue style rather than engage in a two-way dialogue toidentify the listener‟s specific challenges and concerns. As a result they weremissing huge opportunities to educate physicians about a frequentlymisdiagnosed condition and sharing examples that might help them addresspatient problems differently. Several weeks after the program, I received an
  2. 2. email from one of the reps who attended. She said after seeing thedifference in how her peers perceived her during role playing; she decided topractice her new found skills at a sales call. Not only did a heartfelt storyabout a patient move her client, but she senses a greater level of trust whichis positioning her and her company as a resource, not just a provider.Explaining how a product or service helps people is far more effective thanlisting its attributes. Yet sales people are often focused on what they want tosay instead of sitting in the seats of their customers.When I wrote Shut Up and Say Something: Business CommunicationStrategies to Overcome Challenges and Influence Listeners (Praeger2010), I wanted to show readers how to convincingly and confidentlycommunicate their expertise in any business situation to overcome toughchallenges and maximize results. Below are 6 sure fire sales strategies andspecific how-to examples from the book that will help you turn no into yesand send your competition out for dandruff shampoo to relieve theirconstant head scratching. 1. ASK THE SO WHATIt‟s easy to tell people why your solution is so great. But if your prospect orcustomer doesn‟t fully understand the significance of the problem you‟resolving, your solution doesn‟t mean anything. For example, I worked with afinancial services company that was getting ready to launch a new service ithoped would generate millions in profits. At a practice presentation for anaudience of investors, the CEO said “recognizing securitization technologywould change the landscape for non-traditional banks” to which I replied “sowhat?” While he insisted his customers would understand what he wastalking about, I urged him to answer the so what by addressing the problemhis company was solving, how that translated to financial opportunityandwhat made his company a great investment in such a challengingmarket. When re-stated, listen to the difference: Problem: Extensive customer surveys show people are disenfranchised with poor service, high fees and being turned down for loans. In fact recent data shows 25 to 30 million small businesses are being neglected by larger traditional banks which means there is a huge untapped market. Solution: We focus exclusively on small businesses so we understand their very specific needs putting us in a unique position to lead this initiative by providing faster access to money, no per-item transaction fees and an entirely different growth model allowing customers to manage cash flow.
  3. 3. 2. HEART OVER HEADPeter Guber, an Oscar-winning producer and business author reminds usthat “hits are made in the heart, not in the head.” That‟s why sharingstories, examples and quick anecdotes are so important if you want to makeyour message stick. People don‟t remember drifts of data, lists of productattributes or mounds of minutia. However, to make a message compelling,you must make it personal. When you personalize information, you‟rehelping your listener understand why they should care. If they care, they‟lllisten. 3. CONFUSION VS CONTEXTDon‟t assume that just because your listener understands your words, theyunderstand what you are saying. In today‟s world of complex communicationbombarding us at a dizzying pace, simplicity is more important than ever. Inourcoaching and training programs, we focus on helping people putinformation into context by using analogies, and examples they might use ifyou were sitting in that coffee shop with afriend. Confusion: Our technology is better than the rest because it offers multiple heterogeneous operating system versatility. Context: Because we can securely handle thousands of data transactions on a single server, customers benefit from more power and efficiency, reduced costs and can spend more time concentrating on their business. 4. KEEPERS AND KEY WORDSLearning to avoid disclaimers and tentative phrases such as “It seems I getresults” or “I hope to have the plan by August” or “In my humble opinion” or“I think or “I guess “will help position you as a more commanding andcredible communicator. Replace these soft words with stronger moreassertive language such as “I would like the plans on my desk by Monday”.Here is another example from a chapter in the book called Keepers and KeyWords: Question: Earnings will likely dip next year. Are you confident? Lacks Confidence: We‟re pretty confident Conviction: We are extremely confident
  4. 4. 5. TO HAVE PRESENCE, BE PRESENTIf you want to excite other people, then act excited. That means sharinginformation with expression, conviction and energy. Use your hands insteadof putting them in your pockets. Look people directly in the eye. If you wantto have presence, then you must be fully present by lettinglisteners feel your enthusiasm. American philosopher Jim Rohn once said“Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feelabout what you know.” If you want to connect people to what you aresaying, you must be connected to it first. You can check out our videoblogfor dozens of quick sales communication tips. 6. ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALLWhile it‟s important to have a message, it‟s more important to make sureyou tailor your message to specifically address your audience. As anexample, an international candy company with long time ties to the local community makes a business decision to outsource some of itsmanufacturing operations to China. This comes at a time when China isunder scrutiny for export safety with reports of Chinese-made toys and foodbeing linked to contaminants. The story hit the national wires and quicklydied. Weeks later as Christmas approaches, the company president wants torevisit the issue and invite reporters to talk with him again. The presidentthinks it‟s an opportunity to discuss how important it is for his company tooutsource in order to continue providing products at an affordable cost. Weadvise against it.While well intended, the president did not fully understand his audience—inthis case, readers. Readers don‟t care about his costs, but are concernedwith losing jobs, safety issues and the potential effects of cheap production.Furthermore, since toys and food are a big deal during the holidays, thestory had the potential to generate even more unwanted attention.Fortunately, he did not pursue it and the story died.To better think like your audience, imagine you are away at college and callhome to talk to your parents. What stories would you tell them? What wouldthey want to know? What would you leave out that you don‟t want them toknow? Now, picture yourself talking to a friend. How would that conversationdiffer from the one you had with your parents?The next time you try to make a sale, think of the story you want people tohear. How would you tell it over a quick cup of coffee to engage the listenerand help them understand how your solution will solve their problem? Lookno further than the wonderful example set late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
  5. 5. He appealed to our emotions by simply explaining how his products wouldmake our lives better and easier so we didn‟t mind eagerly waiting for thenext Apple invention we believed we must have before it even existed.Back in the coffee shop, I swallowed the last of my coffee and readied toleave my table with Steve, the man behind the bagel counter yelled over“would you like any bagels today” to which I replied, “no thanks”. “Okay”, hecountered, “but they‟re just about to come out of the oven”. Well, come tothink of it, I was sort of hungry and could almost taste that fresh hot bagelwith a little bit of melted butter.“On second thought, I‟ll wait and let me have two. One for Steve and one forme. And by the way, thanks for asking.”Karen Friedman is the author of “Shut Up and SaySomething: Business Communication Strategies to OvercomeChallenges and Influence Listeners”(Praeger 2010) and the co-author of“Speaking of Success: World Class Experts Share Their Secrets”. ChiefImprovement Officer at Karen Friedman Enterprises, Inc., her techniques tohelp business professionals become more powerful persuasivecommunicators have been applied on four continents. A professionalcommunication coach and speaker, she is the winner of the prestigious 2011Enterprising Woman of the Year Award, a former award-winning televisionnews reporter and a political candidate. She can be reached at 610-292-9780 or by visitingwww.karenfriedman.com12/7/11 Karen Friedman Enterprises, Inc. Coffee Shopwww.karenfriedman.com/gitomer/ 1/4LEON FOM HE COFFEE HOP O BOO ALE AND EAL DEALLESSONS FROM THE COFFEE SHOP TO BOOST SALES AND SEAL DEALSBy Karen Friedman, Communications Coach, Author, Shut Up and Sa Something(Praeger 2010)His name is Steve. Hes retired now, but before spending mornings at the local coffeeshop, he spent forty years in sales, owned his own company and boasted a resumeof successes.For a good ten years now, Ive enjoyed a morning cup of joe with Steve and a smallgroup of loyal Manhattan Bagel regulars in my neighborhood. Sometimes its a quickbuy and bye. Other times we sit and chat. Weve sipped through elections, wars,simmered over political differences and added extra sweetener to sugarcoat adisappointing Philadelphia Eagles loss. Weve come to value each others opinionseven if like a steaming cup of coffee, our differences sometimes boil over.So on this fall morning, I asked Steve to share his secret of sales success. Withouthesitation, he answered “ask for the order” and then added “let me tell you a story”.Without realizing the full impact of those six words-let me tell you a story- Steveshared the secret ingredient of his years of sales success. Hes a natural engagingstory teller. From heroic saves on the tennis court to his grandchildrens antics atholiday dinners, he has a knack for using quick stories to create an emotionalconnection that makes the ask personal and relevant to the listeners life.
  6. 6. As a television news reporter for two decades, I helped thousands of peoplecondense complicated information into engaging memorable stories that impacted andinfluenced customers, communities, legislators and decision makers. Today clients atKaen Fiedman Enepie rely on us to help them communicate clearly, conciselyand more persuasively to articulatevision, advance careers, exude presence andcommunicate more convincingly in critical situations to achieve their goals.Consider this. At a recent communications training program for pharmaceutical salesrepresentatives, repeated role-playing revealed that these seasoned pros kneweverything there was to know about their product and disease state. However,because their real-life face time with healthcare providers is so limited, they saidthey felt pressured to quickly rattle off information in monologue style rather thanengage in a two-way dialogue to identify the listeners specific challenges andconcerns. As a result they were missing huge opportunities to educate physiciansabout a frequently misdiagnosed condition and sharing examples that might help themaddress patient problems differently. Several weeks after the program, I received anemail from one of the reps who attended. She said after seeing the difference in howher peers perceived her during role playing; she decided to practice her new foundskills at a sales call. Not only did a heartfelt story about a patient move her client,but she senses a greater level of trust which is positioning her and her company as aresource, not just a provider.Explaining how a product or service helps people is far more effective than listing itsattributes. Yet sales people are often focused on what they want to say instead of12/7/11 Karen Friedman Enterprises, Inc. Coffee Shopwww.karenfriedman.com/gitomer/ 2/4attributes. Yet sales people are often focused on what they want to say instead ofsitting in the seats of their customers.When I wrote Shut Up and Sa Something: Business Communication Strategiesto Overcome Challenges and Influence Listeners (Praeger 2010), I wanted toshow readers how to convincingly and confidently communicate their expertise in anybusiness situation to overcome tough challenges and maximize results. Below are 6sure fire sales strategies and specific how-to examples from the book that will helpyou turn no into yes and send your competition out for dandruff shampoo to relievetheir constant head scratching.1. ASK THE SO WHATIts easy to tell people why your solution is so great. But if your prospect or customerdoesnt fully understand the significance of the problem youre solving, your solutiondoesnt mean anything. For example, I worked with a financial services company thatwas getting ready to launch a new service it hoped would generate millions in profits.At a practice presentation for an audience of investors, the CEO said “recognizingsecuritization technology would change the landscape for non-traditional banks” towhich I replied “so what?” While he insisted his customers would understand what hewas talking about, I urged him to answer the so what by addressing the problem hiscompany was solving, how that translated to financial opportunity andwhat made hiscompany a great investment in such a challenging market. When re-stated, listen tothe difference:Problem: Extensive customer surveys show people are disenfranchised withpoor service, high fees and being turned down for loans. In fact recent datashows 25 to 30 million small businesses are being neglected by larger traditionalbanks which means there is a huge untapped market.Solution: We focus exclusively on small businesses so we understand their veryspecific needs putting us in a unique position to lead this initiative by providingfaster access to money, no per-item transaction fees and an entirely differentgrowth model allowing customers to manage cash flow.2. HEART OVER HEADPeter Guber, an Oscar-winning producer and business author reminds us that “hitsare made in the heart, not in the head.” Thats why sharing stories, examples andquick anecdotes are so important if you want to make your message stick. Peopledont remember drifts of data, lists of product attributes or mounds of minutia.However, to make a message compelling, you must make it personal. When you
  7. 7. personalize information, youre helping your listener understand why they should care.If they care, theyll listen.3. CONFUSION VS CONTEXTDont assume that just because your listener understands your words, theyunderstand what you are saying. In todays world of complex communicationbombarding us at a dizzying pace, simplicity is more important than ever. In ourcoaching and training programs, we focus on helping people put information intocontext by using analogies, and examples they might use if you were sitting in thatcoffee shop with afriend.Confusion: Our technology is better than the rest because it offers multipleheterogeneous operating system versatility.Contet: Because we can securely handle thousands of data transactions on asingle server, customers benefit from more power and efficiency, reduced costsand can spend more time concentrating on their business.4. KEEPERS AND KEY WORDSLearning to avoid disclaimers and tentative phrases such as “It seems I get results”or “I hope to have the plan by August” or “In my humble opinion” or “I think or “Iguess “will help position you as a more commanding and credible communicator.Replace these soft words with stronger more assertive language such as “I would likethe plans on my desk by Monday”. Here is another example from a chapter in thebook called Keepers and Key Words:12/7/11 Karen Friedman Enterprises, Inc. Coffee Shopwww.karenfriedman.com/gitomer/ 3/4Question: Earnings will likely dip next year. Areyou confident?Lacks Confidence: Were pretty confidentConviction: We are extremely confident5. TO HAVE PRESENCE, BE PRESENTIf you want to excite other people, then act excited. That means sharing informationwith expression, conviction and energy. Use your hands instead of putting them inyour pockets. Look people directly in the eye. If you want to have presence, thenyou must be fully present by letting listeners fee your enthusiasm. Americanphilosopher Jim Rohn once said “Effective communication is 20% what you know and80% how you feel about what you know.” If you want to connect people to whatyou are saying, you must be connected to it first. You can check out our video blogfor dozens of quick sales communication tips.6. ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALLWhile its important to have a message, its more important to make sure you tailoryour message to specifically address your audience. As an example, an internationalcandy company with long time ties to the local community makes a business decisionto outsource some of its manufacturing operations to China. This comes at a timewhen China is under scrutiny for export safety with reports of Chinese-made toys andfood being linked to contaminants. The story hit the national wires and quickly died.Weeks later as Christmas approaches, the company president wants to revisit theissue and invite reporters to talk with him again. The president thinks its anopportunity to discuss how important it is for his company to outsource in order tocontinue providing products at an affordable cost. We advise against it.While well intended, the president did not fully understand his audience—in this case,readers. Readers dont care about his costs, but are concerned with losing jobs,safety issues and the potential effects of cheap production. Furthermore, since toysand food are a big deal during the holidays, the story had the potential to generateeven more unwanted attention. Fortunately, he did not pursue it and the story died.To better think like your audience, imagine you are away at college and call home totalk to your parents. What stories would you tell them? What would they want toknow? What would you leave out that you dont want them to know? Now, pictureyourself talking to a friend. How would that conversation differ from the one you hadwith your parents?The next time you try to make a sale, think of the story you want people to hear.
  8. 8. How would you tell it over a quick cup of coffee to engage the listener and help themunderstand how your solution will solve their problem? Look no further than thewonderful example set late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. He appealed to ouremotions by simply explaining how his products would make our lives better andeasier so we didnt mind eagerly waiting for the next Apple invention we believed wemust have before it even existed.Back in the coffee shop, I swallowed the last of my coffee and readied to leave mytable with Steve, the man behind the bagel counter yelled over “would you like anybagels today” to which I replied, “no thanks”. “Okay”, he countered, “but theyre justabout to come out of the oven”. Well, come to think of it, I was sort of hungry andcould almost taste that fresh hot bagel with a little bit of melted butter.“On second thought, Ill wait and let me have two. One for Steve and one for me.And by the way, thanks for asking.”Karen Friedman is the author of Shut Up and Say Something: BusinessCommunication Strategies to Overcome Challenges and InfluenceListeners”(Praeger 2010) and the co-author of “Speaking of Success: World ClassExperts Share Their Secrets”. Chief Improvement Officer at Karen FriedmanEnterprises, Inc., her techniques to help business professionals become morepowerful persuasive communicators have been applied on four continents. Aprofessional communication coach and speaker, she is the winner of the prestigious2011 Enterprising Woman of the Year Award, a former award-winning television news12/7/11 Karen Friedman Enterprises, Inc. Coffee Shopwww.karenfriedman.com/gitomer/ 4/4Share |2011 Enterprising Woman of the Year Award, a former award-winning television newsreporter and a political candidate. She can be reached at 610-292-9780 or by visitingwww.karenfriedman.com 2 0 0 7 KA RE N FRI E D M A N E N T E RP RI SE S I N C .

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