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Jeff's Selling & Success Newsletter
May 2008

Dear Jeff,

Thanks for reading my newsletter. If you find it useful please forward it to any friends or associates who might also benefit from it.

  • Will a Motorcycle Accident Make Me Sell Differently?

  • Will a Motorcycle Accident Make Me Sell Differently?

    On May 5th at 8:00 a.m. I checked the weather and saw it was a brisk, but sunny, spring day. I decided to use my motorcycle to go to an informal business meeting at 8:30 followed by a trip to the doctor to investigate a very annoying cough I'd had for over a week.

    About a block away I thought about turning back to get my leather jacket instead of the mesh one I was wearing, and riding gloves, as it was chillier than I originally thought. I decided against it as I wasn't going too far. I dropped off some DVDs at Blockbuster and was heading to my meeting with time to spare.

    Heading up Long Beach Boulevard, a major street with three lanes of traffic in each direction, I was checking out the traffic and the road ahead of me, as usual. On a motorcycle things can happen quickly so the smart rider is always looking 12 or 13 seconds down the road as that typically gives you enough time to stop in an emergency. I noticed a car in the left turn lane of the oncoming traffic and quickly evaluated that she was waiting to turn and not moving, obviously giving me the right-of-way.

    I don't know what was really going through the driver's mind (she later said she just didn't see me) but she did turn in front of me and at that point it was too late for anything but an emergency stop on my part. In a moment that seemed surreal, I slammed on the brakes and the bike went down on its side, throwing me off onto the street. The bike proceeded to slam into the right side of the car that had turned in front of me. I went tumbling about 20 feet before I stopped. Somehow I got up and staggered to the side of road where I collapsed. I was amazingly fortunate. Fortunate that the traffic behind me stopped in plenty of time so that I didn't get run over. Fortunate that concerned people, including the 80 year old driver of the car that turned in front of me, came over quickly to help me. Fortunate that my injuries, while painful, have left me with all my limbs intact and working. I suffered a broken collarbone and some bruised or cracked ribs (the x-rays couldn't tell) and a bunch of abrasions to my hands (those gloves would have come in handy) and knees. It seems everyone knows someone who has either died or been paralyzed as a result of a motorcycle accident so I consider myself "lucky."

    Did this event change my life? Change the way I think? Change the way I'll sell? Well, it certainly changed my life for a while. Having never had a broken bone in the first 53 years of my life I soon discovered that broken bones hurt. A lot. I lived on some very strong painkillers for a week-and-a-half before I was able to deal with the pain without drugs. I slept sitting up on my sofa as I couldn't lay down.

    Did it change the way I think? Not really. For as long as I can remember, part of my philosophy has been to live my life as if I might die at lunchtime. I'm unwilling to lay dying and have my final thought be, "Man...I wasted my last morning on earth being angry or upset" so I choose to be happy and enjoy my life.

    Will it change the way I sell? Nope. I still believe in all the things I believed in before but I'll share some thoughts that I shared in New Orleans last week when I addressed the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau attendees at their annual convention. They asked me to come and speak about "Reducing Churn and Increasing Market Share." For those of you who don't know what churn is, it means your customers go away. In advertising they don't renew. In telecommunications it means they left you to go to another carrier. Since it's far less expensive to keep a customer than find a new one, reducing churn is something we should all strive for. Here are a few points I made in my talk.

    1) Churn (losing customers) typically occurs because we didn't understand the goals of the customer. It's crucial, in the discovery phase, to engage the prospect in a conversation that uncovers their "real" goals. The word "real" is in parentheses because the prospect often doesn't know their real goals or can't articulate them. As salespeople we must ask the same question in different ways at different times of the sales process to make sure the prospect is giving us "honest" answers. If we don't help the prospect reach their real goals we can expect them to not be a client very long.

    2) As salespeople we must use a sales process that spends much of the time gathering information. The emphasis of your conversation with your prospect must be conversational and must help you to discover not only what they are trying to accomplish, but also what makes sense to them. We have to ask lots of questions and some of those must include how the prospect currently handles whatever you're trying to sell them. If you sell advertising, you need to discover how they attract customers now. (Whatever they're doing now makes sense to them and we need to know that in order to sell them) Present less, question more. When it is time to present, make sure to focus on benefits over features.

    3) Make the prospect feel special. We all like to be desired, we all like to feel important and special. Turn off your cell phone. (better yet, leave it in the car) Ask questions and listen actively. (if you don't know what active listening means, e-mail me and I'll explain) Focus on the prospect like they're the most important person in the universe. At that moment, when you're sitting in front of them, or speaking with them on the phone, they are the most important person in your universe.

    4) Follow up. Stay in touch with your customers and prospects. Continue to let them know that their business is important to you and that you value the trust they put in you as a supplier. If you don't stay in touch with your customers, your competition will.

    5) Stay positive. In this "challenging" economy it's easy to get negative. The fact is you probably need to prospect more to achieve the same results as a year ago. Do it. There are some businesses that are thriving even though gas prices are high. The customers are out there. Find them. Eliminate all negative self-talk and don't let others influence you negatively. Keep a good attitude. If A=1%, B=2%, C=3%, etc. what does ATTITUDE add up to? (100%)

    As always, it's my pleasure to answer any questions you might have or help you with any selling situations which might be challenging you. Call or e-mail anytime.

    Make It Happen,


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    Jeff Goldberg & Associates is a sales training and professional speaking firm specializing in helping salespeople sharpen their skills so they can close more business, more profitably. The training and workshops are based on Jeff's more than three decades of experience as a sales trainer, salesperson and sales manager.

    While we cover many topics, specific areas of concentration are: How to get more appointments, How to sell more effectively and How to close more business. We offer programs on being a more effective leader, customer service, negotiating, presentation skills and many others.

    We customize our programs to fit your specific situation and needs.

    Jeff is also available for keynotes and other speaking opportunities.

    phone: 516-608-4136

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    Jeff Goldberg & Associates | 76 Troy Avenue | Long Beach | NY | 11561