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October 20, 2009


The Power of Visualization


As any athlete will tell you, visualization is an important tool.  They are taught to see the ball into their hands, to see the seams of the pitch or the tennisball, to see the puck onto the stick, or the ball onto the foot.  Visualization slows time down by foreshadowing the event before it happens, giving the athlete’s mind-body connection a powerful assist.


Salespeople who are successful use visualization in much the same way.  When they approach a client, they’re not seeing the client through their own eyes; they are seeing themselves through the client’s perceptions.  They are not seeing their product (or service) in their hands; they are seeing it in the client’s.


Here’s why visualization works: you know your product or service intimately, all of its ins and outs (if you don’t, find another line of work).   The question is not how you see it, it’s how your prospect sees it.  Visualization helps you explain the benefits of your offer in your client’s terms, in his or her language: in his or her vision.


Let me give you an exercise: try to explain your product or service in the words of a prospect who is seeing its features for the first time.  Example:


Prospect: “That’s a laser printer.  I’ve seen laser printers before; that’s just another one.  It’s tan-colored, and it might look pretty good beside my desk.”


Salesperson: “I understand you’ve seen many printers before, so I won’t bother you with features with which you’re already familiar.  What is it about printers that’s most important for you?”


Prospect: “I like not having to change the toner…”


Well, she could have said “I like very crisp imagery” or “I need a printer that’s faster than what I’ve got.”  But, by seeing the product first as the prospect saw it, the salesperson now has an opportunity to differentiate it, to make it stand out.


I spend a lot of time in workshops with salespeople on this technique, and we end up whiteboarding numerous scenarios, but, just for fun, try this with your product or service: describe it as a prospect would, and then work out the multiple paths you might take from the likely responses to an open-ended question that summarizes the client’s viewpoint.



October 8, 2009


Some of us remember the days when one of your most essential sales tools was knowing where the motels were in your territory -- so you could "freshen up" and use the payphones! Cellphones have partially eliminated the need for motel lobbies.  Now the smartphone is eliminating the need to lug PCs around all the time.

I've just adopted the i-Phone (this is not a paid endorsement; it comes from the heart).  It's the Swiss Army knife of sales tools.  With over 85,000 apps on hand, it can do practically anything your PC can do (albeit with a smaller screen).  I know there are a lot of Blackberry fans out there, but I'm a visual sort of guy, and the i-Phone suits me just fine.  I highly recommend it.

Let me know your smartphone experiences.  Write me at


September 30, 2009


The talented salesperson has the ability to form relationships, ask probing questions in a non-threatening way, and, in essence, get over to the customer’s side of the desk.  These skills can be learned, and improved upon, during a sales career.  There are three important elements in sales skills development:


  • Structure – An understanding of the sales process from prospect identification and qualification, through information-gathering and relationship formation, to formulating and presenting credible recommendations which will be accepted and embraced by the customer.


  • Flexibility – The ability to understand what a customer is saying, adapting to meet contingencies, and using objections to further the sales structure process.


  • Organization – The process of creating individual and team goals that are credible, obtainable (although always a perceived “stretch”).  For the individual, the ability to keep a lot in play at the same time, without confusion or anxiety.


In any successful consultative sales organization, particularly in business-to-business sales, no team can be successful without these elements.


I welcome your comments.  If you wish to post your comment, please let me know...