Question of the Day

“Judge someone by their questions rather than their answers.” – Voltaire

q1.jpg

“Get out now while you still can.”

The guy on the other side of the table told me this as he stared at me with no expression.

I was a year out of college and struggling to make a job I disliked (working in a CPA firm) work.

The guy was a senior member of the firm asked to mentor me.

At our very first lunch outside of the office, instead of showing me the ropes, he tried to show me the exit.

Turns out he was miserable.

He hated being a CPA.

But he felt stuck.

He told me he was married, had young kids, car payments, and a mortgage.

“It’s too late for me to get out. Don’t get stuck like I did.” was the way I remembering him putting it.

Warning given.

Warning taken.

I jumped ship (and careers) a few months later.

SALES & LIFE

When I was an accountant, I knew many unhappy accountants.

They did not like their job:

  • The hours.
  • The monotony.
  • All those memorable lunches sitting at your desk alone staring at an Excel spreadsheet.

They may have been unhappy, but they were excellent at what they did.

They produced high level CPA work.

They delivered for their clients.

That’s not possible in SALES.

I’ve never met an unhappy, high achieving sales person.

Never.

An unhappy sales person has almost ZERO CHANCE of:

  • Engaging.
  • Connecting.
  • Building Trust.
  • Providing Value.
  • Helping someone else succeed.
  • Getting invited back.

ELEVATE YOUR QUESTIONS

What’s the best way to feel fulfilled in your career?

That’s hard to say.

It’s different for each of us.

There are no magic answers.

But there are MAGIC QUESTIONS.

The fastest way to elevate your MINDSET is also the fastest way to elevate your sales game:

Elevate the quality of your questions.  

10 QUESTIONS TO JUMP START YOUR SALES (and life)…

  1. What needs to happen for today to be a success?
  2. Who needs my help today?
  3. Who do I need to ignore?
  4. What do I need to stop doing?
  5. What do I need to get over?
  6. Who do I need to spend more time with?
  7. Who do I need to walk away from?
  8. What am I excited about?
  9. What’s missing?
  10. What am I grateful for?

High level questions attract high level answers.

U2’s Bono said, “We thought that we had the answers. It was the questions we had wrong.”

No need to get stuck anywhere.

What tough questions do you need to ask yourself?

That’s the…

#QuestionOfTheDay

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

Advertisements

JAB, JAB, JAB, HOOK

“The person that gives value first has the leverage.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

jab2.jpg

What’s the worst professional advice you ever got?

In Tim Ferriss’ new book, Tribe of Mentors, Ferriss asks a series of questions to a group of elite athletes, super achievers, & billionaires.

Here’s one question that generated some fascinating dialogue:

“What are the bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?”

This question brought me back to my first SALES job.

During our weekly sales meetings, my manager would walk around the meeting room and say phrases like “Work the close!” and “A.B.C. – Always Be Closing.”

It was like Alec Baldwin’s character “Blake” from Glengarry Glen Ross giving you a motivational talk each week.

SALES was all about CLOSING a deal.

Get the contract signed and move on.

Helping a customer succeed and establishing a long term relationship had little to do with the process.

For my money, “Always Be Closing.” is the worst professional advice I ever got.

EVERYONE IS IN SALES 

Like it or not, EVERYONE is in SALES.

We all have something to sell:

  • Our product to a customer.
  • Your kids on brushing their teeth.
  • Convincing your husband it’s time to remodel the kitchen.

If you really want to CLOSE THE DEAL, focus less on CLOSING and more on VALUE. 

LEAD WITH VALUE

Sales is all about providing VALUE.

It’s HELPING someone get the OUTCOMES they are searching for by using your idea, product or service.

Gary Vaynerchuk, internet entrepreneur & bestselling author, has an amazing philosophy on how to get people to decide in your favor.

It’s called JAB, JAB, JAB, HOOK.

GIVE TO GET

Think of the SALES process like a boxing match.

Each JAB is you providing HELP and VALUE to your customer.

The HOOK, which comes only after a series of jabsis your ask.  It’s what you are trying to get the other person to agree to.

Your JABS setup the HOOK.

The JABS increases the chances that your HOOK hits the target.

Just like a boxer has a GAME PLAN before entering the ring, each salesperson needs a plan before entering a customer’s office.

SALES PLAN

Before you ask a customer to do anything, HELP THEM three times.

Prove your VALUE. 

It’s not about “Always Be Closing.

It’s all about: “Always Be Helping.

It’s:

  • Give Value
  • Give Value
  • Give Value
  • Ask

The JAB, JAB, JAB, HOOK method delivers knockouts:

  • It ENGAGES customers.
  • It creates TRUST.
  • Establishes long term RELATIONSHIPS.

People are way more receptive to take action on new ideas with people they like, trust, and know have their best interests at heart.

This is not just a GAME PLAN for SALES.

It’s also a great philosophy for life.

#JabJabJabHook

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

 

Uncommon Gratitude

“Strength and growth come only through struggle and effort.” – Napoleon Hill

grat3.jpeg

Last week was a great reminder of all that we have to BE THANKFUL.

It’s EASY to GIVE THANKS for the good things:

  • Our families.
  • Good health.
  • Our freedom.

I just listened to a REMARKABLE podcast with Gary Vee and Tim Ferriss.

Ferriss was promoting his new book,  Tribe of Mentors.

Gary Vee asked Ferriss two of the most powerful questions I’ve heard in an interview:

  • What setback are you most grateful for? 

  • What failure propelled you the furthest?

Wow.

It makes you think…

When was the last time you were GRATEFUL for an OBSTACLE that knocked you down?

  • The injuries.
  • The setbacks.
  • The breakups.

These OBSTACLES, which seem horrible at the time are actually the fuel that make the good stuff possible.

Often the view at the top is fantastic, but GROWTH happens in the valley below.

It takes UNCOMMON GRATITUDE to appreciate setbacks.

If we want to BECOME MORE, we have to CONFRONT MORE.

We have to think every obstacle that comes our way was made especially for us.

The tests of life are not there to break us, but make us.

Tony Robbins says, “Life does not happen to you, it happens for you.”

Looking back, I can see where this has happened for me:

  • I got cut from my high school baseball team.  I was crushed. To fill my newfound free time, I started training martial arts.  I’m still training to this day.
  • After missing out on a promotion I really wanted, I decided it was time to PROMOTE MYSELF.  I hired a recruiter and landed a position with a growing company.  One of the best moves I ever made.
  • My knee blows out while training Jiu Jitsu.  What started off as scary, turned into an amazing journey that showed me a better way to EAT, TRAIN & LIVE.

UNCOMMON GRATITUDE is being thankful for all the tough times that make you better.

Gratitude is not an automatic response, especially for the tough times.

Being grateful for both the good and the bad transforms an AVERAGE life into a REMARKABLE journey.

What OBSTACLE made you better in the past?

What TOUGH CHALLENGE are you facing now?

Time to give thanks.

#UncommonGratitude

– Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

The Clouds & The Dirt

“I spend all my time in the clouds or in the dirt. That’s why I’m successful.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

clouds1.jpg

Fall is here.

Just walk inside a Starbucks.

Holy pumpkin everything…

I find fall the best time of the year to make CHANGES.

No need to wait for the chaos of the holidays to disappear.

We can get a head start by BEGINNING NOW.

When the conversation at Aunt Nelly’s holiday dinner turns to New Year’s resolutions, we’ll have 3 months of progress to show.

How cool is that?

Besides, I have an awful track record with resolutions.

I don’t do them.

From learning to trade stock options to trying to be less sarcastic, I’ve failed at most of them.

Instead, I now focus on DAILY ACTION.

DAILY ACTION is the secret to accomplishing BIG GOALS.

Gary Vee calls this concept – “The Clouds and The Dirt.”

THE CLOUDS

THE CLOUDS are your goals.

They are the places you want to take your life.

What BIG IDEA do you want to achieve?

  • Create a $1 million customer?
  • Lose 10 pounds?
  • Write a blog post every Monday?

We’ll all have different answers to this question.

But THE PROCESS is the same.

The 1st step is DECIDING what we want to accomplish.

For me, I want to be a more consistent writer.

I’d love to be 2 to 3 weeks ahead with blogs posts.

Waking up Monday at 4:30am to finish this week’s post is not a long term strategy.

THE DIRT

THE DIRT is how you get there.

It’s the DAILY GRIND.

The DIRT are the SMALL DAILY ACTIONS we need to take that make the CLOUDS possible.

THE DIRT is the journey.

It’s the gritty path that leads to our GOALS.  

DECIDE

Decide on 1 daily action you can do that gets you closer to your GOAL.

For me, I need to write more.

My DAILY ACTION:

  • Write 200 words each morning before 7am.

BE SPECIFIC

The SECRET is to be specific.

My goal is NOT to “Write every day.”

That’s too vague.

Our ACTIONS need to be:

  • Simple.
  • Actionable.
  • Accountable.

JUST SAY NO

TIME and ENERGY are limited resources.

We have to be intentional where we invest them.

Gary Vee said, “I don’t spend any time on things that don’t matter.”

This means sometimes saying “No” to people.

Saying “No” is tough.

We think we are letting people down.

But when we don’t say “No” to distraction, we are only letting ourselves down.

WHAT DO YOU SEE?

When you look into THE CLOUDS what do you see?

Keep your eyes on the CLOUDS

But your hands in the DIRT.

Our thoughts are with our friends in TEXAS & FLORIDA this week.

#StayStrong

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

 

 

 

Build It

“Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos

Empire-State-Building-9.jpg

My first year in SALES was rough.

Watching me try to secure an appointment was like watching Shaq at the foul line.

They paired me with the best sales person in our office.

He took me to lunch.

After listening to me complain how hard it was, he offered some advice:

“Be patient.  You need to BUILD YOUR BRAND.”

I wasn’t even sure I knew what a BRAND was.

BRANDING was not taught in tax accounting class.

We all need to BUILD our own BRAND.

What’s a BRAND?  

Our BRAND is:

  • The REPUTATION that arrives before we do.
  • What people EXPECT when they decide to work with us.
  • What our customers SAY about us when we’re not in the room.

Tom Peters said, “All of us need to understand the importance of branding. Our most important job is to be head marketer for the BRAND called “You”.

If we don’t BUILD IT, we’ll become just another face in the crowd.

If we work for a BIG company, we’ll fade away into another replaceable employee.

If we run our own business, we’ll be at the mercy of PRICE.

Our BRAND gives others PROOF:

  • It’s the PROJECTS we’ve done.
  • The OPPORTUNITIES we took on.
  • It’s the way we TREAT other people.

HOW TO BUILD YOUR BRAND:

LEAD WITH VALUE

Our first move should be to HELP the people we are looking to serve.

Find ways to help people accomplish their goals.

Nothing establishes TRUST faster.

BE FRIENDLY

People may not remember what you accomplished.

They will definitely remember how you made them feel.

KEEP IN TOUCH

Remembered people get opportunities.

Send the hand written note.  Remember their birthday.  Know their kid’s names.

Do the hard work it takes to make CONNECTING easy.

BE AUTHENTIC

Have the COURAGE to be yourself.

Everyone else is already taken.

BUILD YOUR ON-LINE PRESENCE

Your BRAND is not your product or your company.

It’s YOU!

Pick a social media platform.

Establish your online presence.

A good brand acts like a MAGNET.

People will proactively seek you out.

The best time to start BUILDING YOUR BRAND was about 5 years ago.

The second best time is TODAY.

If we don’t BRAND ourselves, someone will do it for us.

Your move…

#BuildIt

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.Net

 

 

Walking Backwards

“Stop focusing on what you need to do.  Focus on who you need to become.” – Darren Hardy

walkbackwards

This week’s Vibe continues with the series on The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People.

Habit #2:  Begin With The End In Mind

The end of my accounting career was a REMARKABLE teacher.

The CEO of my company brought in a high powered consultant to help fix a slew of problems.

This consultant was at the top of his game.

He was an Ivy League professor, political consultant, and a talking head on CNN.

After watching me struggle close out a project, he pulled me aside.

Consultant:  “What are you doing?”

Me:  “Umm, trying to finish this.”

Consultant:  “What does the finished product look like?”

Me: “I don’t know.”

Consultant:  “Then you’ll never get there.”

Consultant:  “Decide what you want to accomplish.  Work backwards from there.”

My 24 year old mind was blown.

Two questions each of us need to answer:

  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • Who do I want to become?

Your answers are an amazing filter to run decisions through.

You know what to work on.

You know what to ignore.

Crossing off insignificant items on a To Do list may trick your brain, but won’t fool your legacy.

Say your career answer is: “Be the #1 salesperson in my company.”

Work backwards:

  • How would the #1 person PREPARE?
  • What QUESTIONS would that person ask?
  • How would that person respond to ADVERSITY?
  • What type of MENTOR would they be to their colleagues?

BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND.

Know who you want to become.

Go…

-Joe Ciccarone

Next Week:  Habit 3 – Put First Things First

The Gift

“Feedback is a gift.  Embrace it.” – Anonymous

The fastest route to customer access is to provide REAL value.

A HUGE problem for new salespeople is that they have no clue what value looks like.

This killer question can help.

It allows your customer to share their top of mind thinking.

It provides a path to the real value they are looking for you to provide.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate…”

  • the outcome of your last chronic migraine patient?”
  • your confidence in your reimbursement process?”
  • the quality of the toxin training your residents receive?”

Any response less than a “10” gets a series of follow up questions:

  • What’s missing?
  • How would you change it?
  • What do you think the next step should be?

The difference between the customer’s answer and “10” is the VALUE that customer is looking for someone to provide.

The person who does gets the access.

If you are really brave, you can use a version of this question to see what your long time customers think of the value you are providing:

  • “Dr Smith, I have been calling on you for over 5 years.  I am always looking to get better and be a better resource for you.  On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the value I bring to your office?”

Yikes…

This question takes guts.

This question helps you figure out where you need to be.

The answers will not always be pleasant.

It took me years to learn how NOT to get defensive when someone gave me feedback I did not want to hear.

Just remember, feedback is a gift.

Feedback shows you a better way forward.

Average sales people get defensive.

Good sales people embrace it.

Exceptional sales people seek out feedback to become more.

#BeTheException

-Joe Ciccarone

http://www.SalesVibe.net

 

 

.

 

 

 

 

Before We Get Started…

Begin friendly. Begin by finding common ground, or don’t begin at all.”  – Jeffrey Gitomer

We all have them: customers we struggle to connect with.

Our call starts with the customer’s arms crossed and them asking, “What’s up?”. 

The customer’s style is transactional.  We struggle to build rapport.

“Before we get started…”  can help.

Insert this phrase after your opening, but BEFORE you get to business.

It only takes a little preparation & creativity on your end:

  • “Dr Meredith, there are 2 ideas I want to run by you, but before we get started…I saw the residents just named you best teacher.  How did that come about?”
  • “Dr Jim, I’m here to follow up on _____, but before we get started, Amy told me that your daughter just left for college. How’s that going?”
  • “Dr Thought Leader, there is a resident training idea I want to run by you, but before we get started, I saw on the hospital website that you are leading a new committee. What’s that all about?”
  • “Dr Dan, the last time we spoke, you asked me to look into_____. But before we get started,  I heard you just ran your first half marathon.  How did that go?”

“Before We Get Started..” is a tactic that will help:

  • Build rapport.
  • Expand your time.
  • Give your ideas a better chance of being heard.

#EngageOrDie

-Joe Ciccarone

Power Up

“Small salespeople ask weak questions.” – Anthony Iannarino

Our job is to ask power questions to people in power.

Below are 3 POWER QUESTIONS to ask your thought leaders, chairpersons, & key influencers:

  • “_______________ has been a hot topic to many of our top customers, how are you handling this?”
  • “As you look out to the year ahead, what is the most exciting project you are working on?”
  • “From your perspective, what is the most important issue we should be discussing today?”

#PowerUp

-Joe Ciccarone