Friday, December 29, 2006

Why Change Business Culture? 3rd in series
4 Reasons to check your culture! Click here for PDF file

John has just made a major decision and finalized the purchase of the company. He had been the sales manager for several years and asked the family ownership if he could eventually buy in.

Now the whole ship is his and he has some very different objectives than the former family owners. It does not take John long to realize he needs to make some significant changes in order to meet his goals.

As we look at the former culture, the family was comfortable and had a nice profitable business was paid for. John now finds himself with a culture that will hold him back rather than move him forward. After all, he now has a large payment to make each month after buying the business.

Obviously there will be many changes in the company as John moves forward; the challenge is determining what culture he needs to create and how to create it.

Take this challenge; ....More...
Business Culture Creation 2nd in series
Where does business culture come from? Click here for PDF

Jerry is a new hire with the BBB Company. It’s the end of his first week and he is confused. The way they function here is so different from the larger conglomerate he interned at.

There they deliberated on everything from the type of toilet paper to use to the next big customer they wanted to target. These deliberations included research, spread sheets and people defending their take on the issue.

At this newer start-up company they rarely have a sit down meeting! The lines of authority are blurry at best and decisions are made in minutes, some times with discussions that seem more like arguments.

Jerry finds himself frightened by the lack of structure yet intrigued by the fast pace and the willingness of leadership to accept mistakes.

He is experiencing two very different cultures! Neither is right or wrong, they just are!

So where does culture come from? ...more...
Business Culture 1st in a series
Where management stops and Leadership begins. Click here for a PDF File

In the past month I’ve had multiple conversations about business culture with organizations wanting to alter or change their current culture.

These organizations felt so strongly about this potential change they are willing to invest substantial assets to make it happen. So what is culture all about?

Have you ever heard two people in the same profession talk about where they work; one expounding how great a place it is to work and how people are lined up trying to get in? The other indicating they feel like a cog in a wheel and wish they could find another place to work. These views are most likely the results of the two different business cultures!

Imagine working at Microsoft or Apple in their beginning years and what that would have been like. Now imagine working for a company today that is 20 some years behind in technology and thinking. You’ve just experienced two very different cultures!

With that in mind is it any wonder companies that want top performance are talking about and examining their own culture!

As I began working on this article ...More...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Trust, The Power Word in Sales
4 Keys to developing long term trust.

We started out on an advanced concept of dealing with resistance from customers. As we got started I could see the looks of confusion and frustration. This was not going to be easy to get through to them.

“Ok, that’s great”, says one participant, “but we will never get the time to do this. They hang up on us before that! Can you help us get them talking long enough to get to that point?”

Now I had to hide my frustration and tossed the prepared material to the side. “Ok, give me the skinny on what you’re dealing with!”

Did I get them talking then! For 10 minutes they unloaded on being unable to crack the tough customers that would not even give them the time of day. Have any of them yourself?

So here is what we did…..MORE

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Did you sell something today?
5 Areas that can improve sales!
Click here for PDF File:

Joe had a full day with 9 appointments. He comes back to the office with his head hung low, feeling rejected. The boss asks, “Did you sell something today?”

“Not one dang thing”, retorts Joe, “The competition is killing us!”

I wonder how many salespeople and sales managers have had similar days.

A recent list of statistics on salespeople from is as follows:

  • 62% fail to earn the right to ask for a commitment!

  • 86% ask the wrong questions and miss opportunities!

  • 82% fail to differentiate themselves from competitors!

  • 99% do not set the right objectives for the sales call!

  • 95% talk too much and listen to little!

They did not supply the source of these statistics; however I suspect the vital numbers are accurate. I am constantly in conversations with business owners and their management team hearing similar concerns being expressed.

Let’s just assume the numbers are accurate. Agreeing to that; let’s take each one examining the cause, then the cure. .....More....

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Sales Questions According to Socrates
Applying the Four Keys of Socratic Questioning to Selling
click here for PDF File

It’s a warm day as you cross the city square with all of the bustle and people on market day. As you go about your shopping a short ragged looking man is noted standing in the square talking to himself. This must happen quite often, as the crowd seems oblivious of him.

Later you turn to leave a shop and there he is asking you a question. He is very engaging and you find yourself drawn into the conversation which very quickly brings out how you see a current situation. Although he never really takes a position, you find yourself questioning how you see that situation. As you end your conversation and leave the square, the ideas his questions have planted are whirring around in your mind. You have just encountered the philosopher Socrates!

So who is this Greek from 450 BC and why does he have such an impact on us in the 21st century? ……more...

Friday, October 20, 2006


Derren Brown "The Heist" an example of extreme persuasion and the effects Persuaion can have on others.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Century Of The Self - Part 1 of 4 - By Adam Curtis

"This series is about how those in power have used Freud's theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy." - Adam Curtis
An excellent primer on how Persuasion and Influance really work!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Engaging Customers
3 methods to get people talking

Step 1:

Have you ever wondered why some people turn sales people and others down? To get past this resistance we need to understand that selling is all about communications, not your product. In this segment we will start with the initial contact or how to “engage” the other person rather than creating resistance.

It doesn’t matter if we are using the phone, walking in cold or in a retail setting. We need to avoid adding additional resistance in the other person’s mind. Avoidance of “sales people” occurs in 80% of our population, the result of product pushing.

Here is the key;
“Do I understand what the other person really wants? Do I have an idea of how to talk in their “language”? Can I ask a question that will drop resistance and engage them in conversation”?

It has been proven time and time again that shoving your product in front of someone will create resistance not only to your product, but also towards you.

Review the first and second key from the last newsletter, your customer buys the “results” of your product/service/idea because it fixes, fills or satisfies their perceived needs. This means your product/service/idea is just a means to an end, not the main issue.

2. So our first action is to take the time and determine what it is that our product/service/idea does for the other person. Determine what the real results are from using your product/service/idea. Here are some examples.......More of this
4 Keys to Understanding Sales

Over the years I’ve read a hundred sales books with all kinds of different approaches and ideas. Some were very good and others left questions about their authors understanding of selling.

When ever I found myself in a slump or things just didn’t seem to work the answer always seem to be in the basics. A great chef, master carpenter or champion athlete always seems to have a mastery of the basics. So let’s take a look at what this idea of selling really amounts to.

First: Sales is two people, a customer and salesperson, communicating with each other. The customer is communicating their needs, wants and results required. The sales person is trying to understand these so the issue can be solved by their product or service. Just think of this as two people getting together to help each other improve their situations.

Second: Customers purchase products and services for the results they provide. This can be a real challenge for sales people that have been indoctrinated that sales are all about their product. This means saving time and money, preventing problems, solving problems or creating opportunities; that’s what the customer is looking for. Your product or service is simply a way or method to get the results, so salespeople need to communicate these results to customers instead of the product.

Third: Getting into new accounts, selling new and existing accounts and servicing accounts is all about two people communicating. Getting into a new account is about communicating results that the customer could achieve and communicating it in their language. The selling part is listening, questioning for clarity and communicating the results. Servicing the account is continued communications about the results to date and additional results needed.

Fourth: If we take the selling process, the objection response process or presentation part of selling and take the words “selling”, “objections” and “presentation” away, guess what we end up with. The “Selling” process becomes a communication process that is used every day. The “objection” response becomes a conflict resolution process and “presentation” becomes story telling.

Take this idea of communications instead of selling and see what happens to your productivity. Ask yourself what the potential results of your product could be from your customer’s perspective. Now think about how that could best be communicated to your customers.

We’ll explore each step of the sales process and how communications fits into it in future segments. For now, just think communications.

* DISC Behavior Patterns, ask us about how this can help you sell, manage and engage people check out our web site at or Questions or comments: Contact Harlan at

Friday, October 13, 2006

Wondering who we are and what we do?
Ask your self these questions:

  • Ever wonder why others sell and earn more than you?
    Frustrated with turn downs and unclosed sales?
    Your company tells you to sell, but there is no selling skills provided?
    Your doing ok, but the hours are killing you?
    If you could find a way to reduce your selling time and increse your closeing?
    Do you want more from your selling career?
    You work hard, but the sales just are not coming?

The answer to these questions is "Selling Skills"!

It is unbelivable how many companies hire people to sell, give them some product knowledge, invest in the benefits and hiring costs and then send them out to sell. This is with out selling skills or even some observations of other sales people.

No wonder the statistics show 80% of first year sales people leave the selling profession in the first year! They are frustrated, dejected, burned out and disapointed in thier inability to get the job done. They say it is much harder than they expected, yet all said they recived little if any "selling skills" training!

What kind of loss is this to these companies and mangers? The time to screen, hire and train a new person is not chicken feed! I always figured it was like burning a $5,000 bill everytime I hired a new salesperson!

Our answer to the new salesperson is Sales 101, check it out!

But now, what about the experianced or intermediate performer? What if an experiance person could take their performance up a notch? What would the return on investment be?

Experianced sales people have established a level of skill and ability that keeps them producing. But they are not unlike any profesional sports star that is always practicing thier skills. It is interesting that the top sports pros invest 6-7 times as much time in practice as they do in actual event time! How does that compare to most experianced sales people?

This is where Socrates really comes in! I run a verbal test in my training programs to determine the competency level of each participant in the are of Socratic Questioning. Guess what happens! That's right, 100% of experianced sales people fail to get 20 points! Most hit 3-7 points max! So is there room for improvement?

That's why we put so much effort into developing true "selling skills" in our programs. What have been the results? Experianced people:

  • Have reduced thier selling time!
    Increased thier profit margins!
    Increased thier sales volume!
    Closed on bigger and tougher sales!
    Taken market share from their competitors!
    and more!

For our answer to the more experianced sales persons performance check out
Reverse Engineered Sales.

What do others have to say about their results? Take a look!

Bottom line, if you or your company want proven skill development that takes you and your team to a new level of skill, check us out at

To contact Harlan