Living Is Selling – Leave your personal baggage at home

We all have stuff going on in our personal lives, every day. Some require heavy lifting to deal with such as financial issues, a messy divorce, etc. Some are easier to fix, like the disagreement you had with your spouse last night. Any of these points of stress distract from your ability to sell as your focus isn’t where it should be.

While life does get in the way of selling please remember this essential rule. Under no circumstances don’t share your problems with the people you work with. Your manager or supervisor will think you are not able to perform and your peers will see you as a weak link on the team. Also, and this is the biggest rule of all. Never share your personal problems with your customers. Never.

Speaking to anyone at work about your personal baggage won’t make the problems go away and even though some might seem to care they really don’t. They have their own issues and it’s very possible they are bigger than yours

This is not to suggest you’re on your own. You have friends and family members you can and should turn to for help or at least pay attention to your story. In the worst cases you can always rely on professional help too.

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Living Is Selling – You are not a professional unless you really are a professional

The most simple definition of a professional is someone who can be held personally responsible for their work. A short list would include doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers, architects, etc. These professionals have degrees and accreditation which means they can be held accountable for their mistakes. Yes, these professionals can be sued and lose their license to work in their chosen profession.

People in sales are not professionals by definition. We are experts, a trusted advisor or an authority with experience, training and qualifications, that’s it.

This doesn’t mean that we are not accountable. Accountability for us is self imposed and our long term success depends on it.

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Selling 101 – Don’t get in your own way

Sometimes we unnecessarily over complicate our day to day sales efforts by overthinking a challenge. It is possible there isn’t an obvious solution so we strategize and plan and agonize about how to proceed.

If you see this happening, stop it. You are getting in your own way and wasting valuable time. Just hit go and you can pivot while you are doing your good work.

Don’t turn yourself into a useless committee that spends its time looking busy. You’ve got sales to make. Go do it.

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Selling 101 – If you don’t know, ask. And ask again and again…..

Never, ever, ever pretend to know. The person you are talking to will instantly know that you are pretending and in that moment your credibility is gone. Getting it back is next to impossible.

It is very okay to admit you don’t know and you will find out and get back to your prospect or client with the full answer. Your credibility account will actually get a nice deposit!

When you are seeking the information you need, to be able to answer the question the has been asked of you, this is best way I know for you to never have to pretend again. Just keep asking for clarity until you reach the point where you are 100% certain you could explain what you have learned to someone else.

Depending on the complexity of what you have found out, it is also a good idea to practice your explanation with a peer. Then you will truly know what you know.

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Selling 101: It’s not about you

I am sure you are a sales person for a reputable company and are selling a great product or service. What you are selling is so great it has the best quality and value with all the research data possibly available to back up your claims. You can even demonstrate why your product or service is so much better than any of your competition.

All that stuff is really only about you. Your sole purpose in sales is to help others. That means you have to change your point of view and think of your prospects needs and wants. It’s about them and nothing else.

Once you know what the problems are you are in a position to solve them with your customized solutions that your great product or service can provide.

It’s easier than you think. Just imagine yourself sitting on the other side of the desk. It’s a whole different view.

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Selling 101: Own your mistakes

Mistakes happen. Sometimes more than we like!

An example of a small error that happens every so often is when we have copied the body of a message from a previously sent e-mail to send it to another new prospect.

After you hit send you immediately realize the salutation had the name of the person in it from the previous e-mail, not the name of the new person it was intended for.

First it is embarrassing that we could be so carless. Second, we might think that it doesn’t matter because the person getting your message won’t care or even notice.

This simple mistake isn’t so small. It does matter. They will notice and they will care. The recipient will doubt your sincerity and will wonder if this sloppiness is an indication of how you generally do your work. Worse, some may even consider this as an insult.

You can turn this perception around by getting out in front of your mistake by immediately taking responsibility for your carelessness. By sending another message with the subject line “an embarrassing mistake”, tell the new prospect you realized what you did and apologize. It is very possible that you have just turned a negative into a very real positive.

The outcome to your response is that not every sales person does this. The one who does, stands out from the pack. In a competitive world, owning your mistakes can and will make a difference in your career.

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Selling 101: Look far down the runway

When landing a plane the pilot is looking at the runway far ahead and not over the nose of the aircraft. The result is a smooth almost gentle landing where you barely notice the wheels touching down.

Think of this analogy before every sales call. By thinking about your client’s needs and not your own you are now thinking long term, not about a short term sale. Think about the potential of building a long term relationship too.

Visualize what a positive future outcome might look like everyday and you will smooth out the bumps!

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Time to pivot

I have had this blog for a number of years. My random thoughts and observations as I “wonder around” in my day to day life have been shared and viewed with very mixed results. It also has not helped that I have not been very consistent with my posts in the last year or two.

It’s time to make a change. Starting with my next post I am going to focus on one primary subject that is specifically targeted to a potentially large group. of people. That subject is going to be about sales.

I have spent my working life in this wonderfully fun and at times immensely frustrating field of work. It has been rewarding and yet full of risk. Along the way though my skills and knowledge grew and I feel I now have something worthy of sharing to interested readers.

I think the real pivot is the learner is now the teacher!

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It’s very possible to increase yours, even without the feeling that it’s hard work.

Pick something that you have an interest in, are curious about or have a passion for or simply recognize a natural talent that you are fortunate to have. Then immerse yourself in it, to learn more about it with a goal to understand it so well you can actually explain it to others.

By simply learning about something you enjoy and have become good at it, even an authority on the subject, you have just given yourself a free education.

Sharing your new knowledge and experience is evidence of a new level of intelligence. It will be seen by others and appreciated too. Now imagine the outcome if you continue this learning loop. It makes me wonder how smart any of us can become simply by learning through experience.

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Over the last few months I find myself drawn to the documentary category on Netflix. The reason is simple. Watching a documentary is entertaining and educational. Who knew learning could be as much of an escape as any good drama series.

If you like to think and discuss about what you have watched long after ‘the show’ has ended here are two documentaries that I believe are more than worthy of your time.

This quote in Social Dilemma sums up the entire story. The quote goes something like, the only other business that refers to its customers as users is the illegal drug trade. We are users on social media. We crave the rewards of recognition and acceptance and we always go back for more. Countries and organizations know this and exploit our attention with messages that can change our thinking and behaviours. The message in the documentary that I believe to be true is that the divisions we are witnessing between rich and poor, black and white, right and left are being driven by content on social media delivered by algorithms and artificial intelligence.

For a literally immersive experience watch My Octopus Teacher. If you want to learn about survival and relationships in the most unlikely way then spend less time on social media and watch this unique story. It is worth every minute of your attention!

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