Home Bookstore A Sample Chapter of Seal the Deal: The Essential Mindsets for Growing Your Professional Services Business

A Sample Chapter of Seal the Deal: The Essential Mindsets for Growing Your Professional Services Business

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Demystifying Selling and Distinguishing Networking, Marketing, and Sales

“We are all continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.”

—John Gardner

In this chapter, you will find the first telecourse dialogue, which covers the initial context setting for the course, and the theory and practice of the 30-second commercial. You will learn how to create, refine, and practice your own 30-second commercial to use when introducing yourself on the phone or in person, and when networking in order to have a response to that question everyone asks when they first meet you: “So, what do you do?” This first live script includes more dialogue than the others so that you can get a feel for the participants and their baseline of comfort or discomfort with the notion of business development. Hopefully, you will recognize elements of yourself among them and feel confident that this system will work for you.

After the dialogue piece, selling is further demystified with a few suggestions for how to reframe your thinking and understand your current mental barriers so that you can get your head in the game. There are a few worksheets for you to use to explore mindsets and mental positioning with respect to sales as well as a chart depicting the distinctions between the three critical domains of networking, marketing, and sales. From there we’ll explore time management, both as a mental barrier to selling and as an organizational process.

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Telecourse Session #1: Your 30-Second Commercial

The Difference between Marketing and Sales

[Suzi] Before we get into the specifics of a 30-second commercial, I want to talk a little bit about the difference between marketing and sales activities. To start, let’s have each of you say what you see to be the distinction between marketing and sales. If you don’t know, that’s okay too. I just want to get a sense of your thinking.

[Len] I think marketing is partly studying the market, and shopping around in the market, and sales is giving the pitch, and getting the contract.

[Suzi] What does that mean to you, making the pitch? [Len] Telling people exactly what you do, and also connecting with

what people need.

[John] I think of marketing as a kind of a strategy, planning and strategy, and that includes research. And I think of sales as the implementation, where you actually get out there and pound the pavement, press the flesh, make the human connection, and do the follow-up. But one of them seems more strategic, and conceptual, than the other.

[Bill] To me the marketing is stuff that I can do by myself, alone in my office, and the sales is stuff I have to do with another person.

[Jeremy] I’ve heard you speak on this topic before, Suzi, so I’m going to be giving some of your answers. Marketing to me is positioning yourself, deciding your strategy, and providing information. And sales is developing the relationship with a customer and getting them to sign contracts.

[Suzi] Yes, marketing and sales go hand-in-hand. Marketing activities are the things that you can do by yourself, in front of your computer, creating text, writing letters, doing research, all of those things that you said—that’s right on target. Also marketing includes building a website, fine-tuning your website, writing articles, getting articles or books published, and creating your letterhead, your logo, and your business card. Those things, image and collateral kinds of things, are

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Step 1: Demystifying Selling and Distinguishing Networking, Marketing, and Sales

the marketing activities. It’s very easy to spend lots and lots of time on marketing activities. The bad news is, those things alone don’t get you the contracts. They help, but in and of themselves, they don’t get you the contracts.

So the time you’re spending working on marketing is time that you’re not spending on sales activities, and the trick with sales is that it’s all about the numbers. (More on that later). It’s all about how many sales activities you’re undergoing in a day, how many prospective clients you have in your pipeline, how many times you’re following up with folks in your pipeline. Because sales is a process, it takes time to move through that process. So all that time you’re spending on marketing activities, while they’re important and necessary, they’re not moving you toward getting the contract. So I just want to make that distinction up front, because there’s nothing wrong with doing marketing activities, but if you’re like I was, maybe you’re kind of afraid of sales because you’re afraid of rejection, or you feel like you’re bugging people, or you’re just resisting it for whatever reason. It’s much easier to focus on marketing and pat yourself on the back and say, “You know what? I’m doing what I need to be doing. I’m spending hours each day writing these letters, I’ve got it all fine-tuned and I’m ready to go, I’ve got all my materials in place, I’ve got my brochure ready.” Well that’s great, but it’s not sales. I just want to make sure that we’re not tricking ourselves into thinking that all the time we’re spending on marketing is forwarding our sales.

[Len] I think that’s a very important distinction because I have fallen into that trap. I am a sinner and I confess. And then you can really get discouraged—“How come I’m not getting the clients? What’s going on here?”

[Suzi] Right, and it feels like, “Oh I’m working so hard. I’ve spent hours writing these articles. I’ve really got the words the way I want them. I’ve got all my materials ready. My letterhead looks great.” You feel like you’re working a lot, and you are, but it doesn’t get you the clients directly. So I’m not discouraging those activities, but it’s important to be very clear with yourself that on any given day, whatever amount of time you spend on marketing, developing marketing materials, or on marketing activity, you want to spend at least that time plus 50 percent more on sales activities so that you’re getting a good balance. We all slip into wanting to do the marketing stuff, “cause it’s much easier.” And we can see the accomplishment much more quickly. You write a

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document, you end up with a document. It’s not like the sales process, where you can be in it for two years before you see results. Any thoughts on that?

[Len] I have a humorous take on it: Companies create marketing departments to keep their salespeople from wasting time. Get people who won’t sell to stay home and do marketing.

[Suzi] Yes, getting out there and selling is hard at first. I’ve heard people refer to it as pounding the pavement, pressing the flesh, making the pitch, while it’s really just about getting out there and creating relationships and talking to people.

What would you say is your gut reaction to the concept of sales and sales activities? Is it something that feels good to you, or is it something that you’re resisting? Is it something that feels positive or effortless, or bad or uncomfortable—how does it feel to you?

[John] Maybe the word would be threatening.

[Jeremy] I guess my humorous response, if I could summarize in 10 words or less would be, “Isn’t there something else I have to do?”

[Len] Sales makes me uncomfortable, especially if I don’t really under- stand it. If I think that I have some sort of understanding about what I’m doing, I feel better, but sales is foreign to me, basically.

[Bill] Before Christmas I went into a cycle of going to meetings and all kinds of Christmas parties, the local business association, this association, that association. I was nervous and uptight, but I pretty quickly became used to it. It’s just a lot of people like me showing up at these places, we’re having the same feelings, but it’s quickly dispelled. It’s not so bad when you get in it. It’s kind of like swimming in cold ocean water; you get used to it and later on it seems you’re fine. You just have to be in it for a while.

[Suzi] You’re talking about networking types of events?

[Bill] Yeah, Christmas parties plus a presentation at a Chamber of Commerce meeting where I met a lot of people, collected a lot of cards, and another presentation at a financial services company. It was all very exhilarating actually. It created kind of a high—because I was walking and quacking like a duck, and I seemed to be seen as one. And that seemed to be a good first step. And it’s also good for me

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to be able to transfer, to feel like my skills are generic and portable, and to know that this is a viable thing I’m trying to do—at least it seems like it from the response. It’s encouraging when you get past worrying about if you’ll pass for whatever you want to be passing for. And it’s confidence building, and that’s how you become what you say you are, in my mind.

[Suzi] Well, in one of our later classes, we’re going to get into networking, and how to make the most of those networking situations, but right now I want to get back to basics. Just as there is a distinction between marketing and sales, there’s also a distinction between networking and sales. So it’s wonderful to go to networking activities, go to these meetings, meet people, give out your card, develop the beginnings of relationships. But again, that’s not direct sales activity.

[Bill] Well, there’s two things about what you’re saying that explain my own psychological process. After the first week of January, I went into a crash. After spending a lot of time creating a flyer for a different type of business, and then going through all this networking, nothing emerged except people calling me up wanting to have lunch. But I don’t have time for lunch. I wasn’t selling anything.

[Suzi] Right—you weren’t selling. You were networking, you were marketing, but you weren’t selling.

[Bill] And it seemed discouraging. I was doing some right things, but I wasn’t selling.

[Suzi] Right, all of these activities are right things, and I’m not going to say “Stop marketing, stop networking.” You’ve got to keep doing all of that. But let’s not delude ourselves into thinking we’re selling, and let’s not be surprised when that doesn’t yield contracts, clients, business dollars, etc.

[Bill] In other words, I hadn’t taken a shot at the eight ball yet . . . I think I need to do that.

30-Second Commercial Basics

[Suzi] Ready? Let’s start with the 30-second commercial. We’re going to get into what is sales, and the sales process, in later classes, and I hope that you can be patient with postponing that, because I want to

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give you something to use right away: the 30-second commercial. This is not your typical elevator-speech or an infomercial to memorize and deliver with robot-like precision. It is an introduction you can actually start working with right away.

As we build skills in this telecourse over the next nine sessions, you’ll start to get an understanding that there is a sustainable, repeatable process behind sales; there are specific steps and activities that you can embark upon. You’ll know how to do it, and one of the first steps is nailing down your 30-second commercial. Because that’s the thing that’s going to open doors for you, get phone calls through for you, and help you fine-tune some of your networking activities.

So we’ll start with the basics of your 30-second commercial so that you can take a modular approach. The first thing you want to have in it is, of course, your name. And then you want to have something in there right off the bat that gives the sense of what you do in a very concise way.

Key Pieces in Crafting a 30-Second Commercial

Why don’t we go around the group and each tell a little bit about our coaching experience and what we hope to get out of this first class, and then we’ll get into fine-tuning your 30-second commercial. You want to kick it off, Jeremy?

[Jeremy] Why don’t I kick it off with my 30-second commercial? I provide Leadership-Development and Coaching to Executives. I partner with businesspeople to solve the kinds of dilemmas that wake

• Your name, and how to remember it

• Credibility points about you or your work

• Whom do you help?

• What do you help them do?

• What energizes and excites you about what you do?

• Other impressive factoids

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them up at 3:00 in the morning. I’m known for being both a trusted advisor and an intuitive person. I love what I do, and I’m relentless in my determination to help organizations and individuals develop. I’ve been doing coaching for about 15 years, and I’ve decided that that’s all I’m going to say—it’s always going to be 15 years from now on.

[Suzi] Why is that?

[Jeremy] Something about getting older, you want to stop the clock on things you can stop the clock on. Some recent initiatives: I’m going to be giving a talk at a large psychological conference on executive coaching, I’ve been asked to be on some panels at the International Coach Federation (ICF), I’m nominating people to the Board of Directors, and something to do with grandfathering Master Certified Coaches (MCC).

[Bill] I’m a full-time psychologist and psychotherapist in Manhattan and Westchester, and I’ve been doing little bits of coaching in my office here for a couple of years, getting referrals from a friend of mine who has a full-time business. I do it to get out of the office more, and just take on a new challenge—because I’m pretty comfortable with what I do, I’ve been licensed since 1977. Around Christmastime, I thought I was all but signed off to coach two senior executives from a major financial services company with the promise of more to come. That got quashed by January 7, and I’ve been in the doldrums since. Still, I want to gear up, because I think the business cycle will reverse, and I’ll have some big opportunities down the line to be coaching higher-up. That’s the only place I’m really interested in coaching, because I make a decent living as a clinical psychologist, and I’m not interested in personal coaching. I really want to do corporate stuff. So I want to develop my sales approach so that when the pieces begin to fall back into place, I’m there and I’m ready.

[John] I’ll go next. I’m John. I have a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior, and I was on the Business School faculty of University of Florida for 20 years, and 6 years ago it came time for the mid-career change. So I created my own small consulting firm, and we specialize in dissolving resistance to change. I’ve had a lot of Organizational Development consulting in my past, and wanted to add the executive coaching to my bag of tricks. So I just did an Executive Coach Academy class, and I’ve written a book that will be out soon hopefully, on how to dissolve resistance to change in the workplace. Also, I’m giving a paper, if I ever

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Seal the Deal

get the damn thing written, at a conference in D.C. on how to dissolve resistance to e-learning. So resistance to change is kind of my niche, or my specialty. My dilemma is I’m very, very good at the technical part, but not so good at the marketing and sales piece. So I’m hoping this class will imbue the skills—and probably more important some confidence—to take on that sales part of the buy.

[Suzi] John, what is your evidence that you are not good at the sales and marketing part?

[John] When given the chance, I don’t do it.

[Suzi] But does that mean that you’re not good at it, or that you would prefer not to do it?

[John] It probably means I’m scared of rejection. If someone holds my hand and does the introductory paragraph to someone, then I’m wonderful. But getting the ball rolling in the first place, and doing the self-presentation from ground zero, that’s the part that seems to be the hang-up.

[Suzi] Thanks, John. That leaves Len.

[Len] I’m a clinical psychologist, just about as long as Bill has been. I’ve gotten into coaching and consulting because the idea really appealed to me, beginning a couple of years ago, and I’ve been refining my skills since then. At first I was practicing on a non- commercial model. I was working with families with a developmentally- disabled or a Downs Syndrome child, and coaching them in terms of managing their everyday kinds of issues. After a while, I moved my focus into commercial areas, and now I want to work more as a consultant and coach for upper-level executives in financial institutions. So I’ve been drafting and re-drafting a letter of introduction to one particular bank that I’m thinking of approaching, and I also wrote a newsletter, and I’m going to be writing more. Also, just yesterday I contacted a local Chamber of Commerce; I was scouting around to find information about the CEO of the particular bank that I’m interested in working with, and I contacted the Chamber of Commerce where he is a member. And they were so very welcoming of my call, I have an appointment with them and will introduce myself to them at the next meeting.

[Suzi] And Len, what has drawn you to the financial services world as your clients?

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[Len] Well, the kind of consultation I want to do is with executives. For two reasons: One, there are a lot of very good banks in the area where I live. And the one that I’m focusing on is a growing bank. I’ve done a lot of investigation and basically I’m experimenting. I’ve talked with different businesspeople about my new endeavor in consulting. And while talking with a particular stockbroker about the bank that I’m interested in, I learned that he knew the philosophy of the bank CEO. Basically the CEO wants everybody to be very people-oriented in his banks, and very service-with-a-smile kind of thing. His service model is McDonald’s, so I did my research: for example, McDonald’s posts statements about its service approach on its website. So I felt great about that, plus I know this bank is a growing bank and I found a Harvard Business Review article that’s really relevant. So I put together the ideas from McDonald’s and the article and cast them in a way that I think would be quite appealing to the CEO; when he reads my newsletter he’ll see I’m right on target for his concerns.

[Suzi] So you’ve tailored your marketing materials to what you have learned to be his philosophies and beliefs.

[Len] Right. Very specific that way. And so this has been a practice run. I wish it will turn out to be something, but it’s really practice in refining my skills. And so I’ve also just begun to develop various kinds of inserts for a folder, so when I meet with people in banks, I’ll have appropriate materials to show them. Besides referring them to my website, I’ll have a little brochure that I can show them.

[Suzi] Keep in mind that marketing actions are not the same as sales actions. I’d like you to think about a strategy for making direct contact with the CEO or other decision makers in these banks, and asking for a meeting.

[Jeremy] Okay, Suzi, over to you.

[Suzi] My name is Suzi Pomerantz, and I lead leaders from chaos to clarity. I’m an executive coach, and I’m the owner of Innovative Leadership International, LLC, which is a leadership-development firm that specializes in executive coaching and training. And I have my master’s degree in teaching, and I’m internationally certified as a master-certified coach. My coaching business began in 1993, and mostly I coach executives from corporate law departments, such as DuPont, Sears, Welch’s, Tyco, and also across the country. I have

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coached and trained executives at Lockheed Martin, at American Express, at the U.S. Postal Service and other government agencies, and primarily what we do in my company is help leaders exceed prior levels of performance and improve their leadership skills. So that’s me, and what you just heard is my 30-second commercial. So part of what we’re goingtoworkonis. . .

[Len] Do you have that spiel posted on every wall in your residence?

[Suzi] No, I don’t. I’ve just done it so many times I kind of have a bullet list in my head. It doesn’t sound exactly the same every time. Jeremy can attest to that, because he’s now heard it three, four times?

[Jeremy] Yeah, three times.

[Suzi] So it doesn’t sound exactly the same every time, but I have the bullet list in my head for what I want to cover each time. I have a longer version for when I’m standing up in front of a room introducing myself. I have shorter versions of it for when I’m at cocktail parties, or for example, Len, when you go to your Chamber of Commerce meeting— that would be a good opportunity to have a finely-tuned 30-second commercial when you walk around the room meeting people.

[Bill] What would your 10-second commercial be?

[Suzi] That I’m an executive coach and I focus on leaders to help them find clarity within chaos and I’ve coached and trained in over 110 organizations worldwide. That’s basically the short version. Sometimes, when I have a little more time than that, I might throw in that I primarily work with attorneys and managers of corporate law departments, and I might list a few of the organizations I’ve worked with—particularly if I know my audience. When I’m talking to attorneys and executives, they want to know where I’ve worked before. They want to know if I’m capable of handling executives of their caliber. So I find that that’s important for my target audience, but it may not be for yours. So part of delivering your 30-second commercial is to know whom you’re targeting. You don’t need to know that right off the bat to design your 30-second commercial, but it is helpful for fine-tuning it later on.

So Jeremy said, “I coach executives.” That’s very clear. Mine is “helping leaders find clarity” or “helping leaders exceed prior performance.” To start putting your 30-second commercial together, think first about who you want to help, and what you want to help

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them do. You also want to include something that gives you a credibility boost right up front. Jeremy’s credibility boost was “I’ve been an executive coach for 15 years.” Bill, your credibility boost is “I’m a psychologist and psychotherapist.” You might want to throw in the number of years you’ve been doing that.

[Bill] I’m concerned that it wouldn’t sound very impressive.

[Suzi] Well, it is when you talk about executive coaching. First of all, if you’re talking to executives, you’re a doctor, and that’s impressive. You know what you’re doing. With a psychology background, you know a lot about emotional intelligence that you can transfer to the workplace. Now, you also have to know your audience. I know that when I work with attorneys, many don’t want to deal with psychologists, because then they feel like they’re getting into something like psychotherapy, rather than executive coaching.

It depends on knowing to whom you’re talking. If there’s anything negative going on about therapy, you might not want to take that route. You might want to say what you’ve been doing as a therapist over X number of years, and how that’s helped certain people. I’ll give you an example: My husband is a clinical psychologist. Over the past couple of years, he has been branching into executive coaching. And when he talks to prospects, he doesn’t necessarily have to mention that he has a private practice in psychology. He might say he’s been working with high-powered executives on issues such as X, Y, or Z, and he might talk about the issues they’ve been working on in therapy, but he can talk about it in the context of business.

You can take your experience in your practice and turn it into language that’s going to be relevant to the audience that you’re speaking to. But that takes knowing something about them, too. So when you’re designing your 30-second commercial, you want to design it to be generic enough that you can use it in most cases. You want something that you practice over and over and over again— something that you know so well that if I woke you up in the middle of the night and asked you to introduce yourself, you would be able to rattle it off.

So in crafting your 30-second commercial, the key points are your name, some credibility points about you, what it is that you do, and for whom you do it—whom you help and what you help them do. And anything else that you think might be impressive in the first 30 seconds. I’d definitely recommend writing out your 30-second commercial.

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But for now, let’s just practice by thinking out loud: Knowing those key points, let’s see what comes off the top of your head. Who wants to go first?

[Len] I’m Len, I’ve been a clinical psychologist for the past 25, 26 years, and I do consultation assessments, data-based feedback, and executive coaching for corporations and upper-level executives.

[Suzi] Great. Now one question I have for you is did you say “data- based feedback”?

[Len] Meaning based on data. If you do an assessment of some sort, like a 360-degree assessment, it’s like an evaluation of skills within that office environment, and you do an assessment and then you get back together with the person that the assessment was about or focused on, and you go over the data with that person.

[Suzi] Okay. So you might want to find a more generic way of saying that. Because not everyone you’re talking to is going to ask you, like I just asked, if they don’t know what that means. A lot of folks are going to assume that they know, or they’re not going to want to look stupid. Because here you’ve been a doctor for 26 years, so they’re not going to want to show you, especially if they’re a high-level person, that they have ignorance in any area. So you might want to find a very straight- forward, elementary way of expressing that so that it’s not a jargon term that might cloud over for somebody the real effectiveness of what you do. That was an excellent first shot. Next?

[John] I help leaders build support for and lead controversial change projects. I’ve just written a book describing a new way to dissolve resistance to change in the workplace. You know how employees and managers treat change with skepticism, even outright hostility? I turn that resistance into commitment and support. I specialize in coaching executives who are leading a difficult change project, and I’m particularly effective at helping leaders deal with the people problems of change.

[Suzi] All of that is great, but it sounded like you were reading rather than talking. Can you do that without reading it?

[John] Not today, but yes I can. By the way, a tool I often use for memorizing lines in situations like this is just writing it down. A lot of times, that helps me a lot. So if I wrote something down a hundred times, I would remember it.

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[Suzi] Well, it also depends on your learning style, too. I’m the kind of person who’d feel trapped by having to have the same words every time, which is why I opt for the bullet list in my head of the points I want to cover. That way I have the flexibility to have it sound slightly different every time, but still have the same points. I get bored easily, so the modular approach allows me to mix it up a bit.

[Jeremy] My style is to have a trigger word for each thought, so there are four or five trigger words that I can use to remember five things.

[Suzi] Excellent. So that’s something to take into consideration as you’re writing and practicing your 30-second commercial. What’s your learn- ing style? Are you like John where you need to write it down 100 times? Are you like me where you just want to write a bullet list? Do you want trigger words like Jeremy? Part of having an effective 30-second commercial is knowing how you work best, and imagining yourself in different situations. The best one is the elevator test. Nine times out of 10, you’ll be in an elevator, riding up with somebody to a different office in the building, and you and that person are the only people in the elevator. Well, you could stare at the floor, you could stare at the numbers, or you could talk to the person. And in an elevator, you have 30 seconds or less to actually make your point.

Think about that scenario, or think about being at networking meetings and how quickly you meet people there. Think about being at conferences when you have a break in between sessions and you’re meeting people, or think about being at social parties or weddings or brunches or lunches with family and friends and meeting people there. Strategize various contexts in which you’d want to introduce yourself. As you think through different scenarios where you might say your commercial, determine what your method will be for practicing it.

[John] I have a question on credibility. The only credibility piece I’ve mentioned is books that I’ve written. Should I throw in something about my Organizational Development consulting past?

[Suzi] I would definitely say you have a Ph.D. in organizational behavior. That’s definitely credible when you’re talking about executive coaching. Other credibility points include the number of years you have worked in a particular field, any books you have written, any degrees (master’s, doctorate) that you have earned, and any impressive clients you have worked with. For example, I don’t have a

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doctorate, but I have the credibility of having worked with some of the big Fortune 500 companies. So that’s what I use. Okay, who haven’t we heard from?

[Bill] Me. I’m Bill, I’m a psychologist with 25 years of experience. I coach senior executives and high-potential employees in the banking and financial markets to achieve performance—wait a second, I’m reading this, hold on.

[Suzi] That’s okay.

[Bill] My name is Bill. I am a psychologist with 25 years of experience coaching high-potential employees and senior executives to achieve superior performance and results in leadership through a high-impact coaching relationship.

[Suzi] That’s great! Now, another thing to think about is that you never know whom you’re going to be meeting at any stage of your life, no matter where you are. So your 30-second commercial has to be simple enough that you could communicate to someone who’s not an executive, because they might be married to an executive, they might be the son or daughter of an executive, or they might have a client who’s an executive to whom they might want to refer you.

I think all of you did a really good job of having your 30-second commercials be clear and simple enough that they don’t just speak to the executive-level person. That was great. So I would say in terms of fine-tuning them, practice them on people in your family or with people you see on a regular, daily basis. And if you’re isolated and you don’t see anybody, call somebody up and practice on them. Your homework assignment is going to be to practice this at least 15 times between now and next week’s call.

[Jeremy] I have an image of sitting down at a table with a two year old, and they look at you and they don’t blink. You’re sitting at the table and you’re giving them dinner, and then you’re telling them, “Hi, my name is Jeremy,” and doing the commercial.

[Suzi] Yeah, why not?

[Jeremy] Oh, it was just a funny idea to me.

[Suzi] Well, what’s going to happen is, depending on the people you practice it on, you’re going to get different reactions. And if you’re open to coaching from the people you practice it on, you’ll find

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different ways of fine-tuning it. You don’t have to take everybody’s feedback to heart, but I would think a three year old would have a lot of valuable points for you, if you’re open to it.

So back to the homework assignment: Practice your 30-second commercial 15 times—you have to find 15 different ways to practice it. So that means 15 different people, and include yourself as one of those people, meaning practice it in front of a mirror. I would try to do it face- to-face. If you can’t, do it over the phone. As you find different ways of practicing it, allow it to evolve and be fine-tuned, but keep in mind the key points: that you want to have credibility, you want to say what you would do, whom you help, and what you help them do. And then you want to make sure it’s within 30 seconds.

The shorter and more succinct you can get it, the better. But practice it until it starts to feel natural, and see what happens. Observe as you practice it 15 times over the next week. Observe how it evolves, and observe how you feel about it, and observe how natural or fluid it starts to feel. We’ll kick off next week by talking about that. Any questions? Comments? Thoughts? Observations that anybody wants to share at this point?

[Jeremy] Well, this is backing up a little bit at this point, but one of the advantages of this class being small is that Suzi’s really going to have a chance to coach us in depth, and maybe we’ll have a chance to coach each other, getting to the nitty gritty. And I guess that’s a disadvantage, too—there’ll be no hiding here.

[Suzi] I want you to feel free to be as vulnerable and open as you can on these calls, because that’s how you’re going to make real progress and find out where your personal stumbling blocks and barriers are so that we can move through them.

[Jeremy] Before we all hang up the phone, I’d like to say that your process, Suzi, reminds me of what’s called stroke production in tennis, which is as you get more efficient with your strokes, you can produce them better and play the game faster and harder. So one of my goals is not only to be out selling, but to get two more company clients, which could be either large or small companies, by the end of the 10 weeks. That’s a personal goal I’m going to set for this.

[Suzi] Okay. I want to tell you that’s a stretch goal. [Jeremy] Yeah, I like stretch goals.

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Seal the Deal

[Suzi] Good, because 10 weeks is a very short time in the sales cycle, and we’re going to talk about the sales cycle next time.

[Jeremy] I know, but I have a couple irons in the fire, so I’m cheating a little bit.

[Suzi] Oh good, because if you were aiming for two new clients from start to finish within 10 weeks, I’d say that’s very aggressive, I just wanted to be clear about that. Yeah, absolutely nothing wrong with aggressive goals.

[Jeremy] Suzi, do you want to comment?

[Suzi] First of all, I want to completely acknowledge that Jeremy gave me my first experience as a teleclass instructor a few months back. He said, “Why don’t you just come and do one and see how it goes?” That made this teleclass possible, and I have to tell you that I really enjoy this format, much to my surprise. My formal training is as a teacher, and I do a lot of teaching in front of the room, plus I’m a visual learner. So I had a lot of preconceived notions that teleclass learning might not be the best format—and I’m happily proved wrong. So I’m really looking forward to working with you all for the next 10 weeks and having all of you accomplishing what you want to accomplish in terms of sales.

So, Len, we’ll look forward to hearing how your 30-second commercial went at your Chamber group.

Homework

Practice your 30-second commercial 15 times. Practice it in front of a mirror, practice it over the phone, and practice it as many times as possible face-to-face with different people.

Fine-tune it as it evolves and observe how you feel about it, and how natural or fluid it starts to feel. As you experiment with different ways of saying it, keep in mind the key points: that you want to have credibility, you want to say what you would do, who you help, and what you help them do. And then you want to make sure it’s within 30 seconds.

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Step 1: Demystifying Selling and Distinguishing Networking, Marketing, and Sales

Losing Negative Baggage

In his book Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play, Mahan Khalsa shows us the problem: “With due respect to true sales professionals, the notion of sales and selling carries a lot of negative baggage. It is the second oldest profession, often confused with the first. No matter what you put in front of or in back of the word ‘selling’ (consultative, solution, visionary, creative, integrity, value-based, beyond), it still ends up with the sense of doing something ‘to’ somebody rather than ‘for’ or ‘with’ somebody.”1 Often, even the best-intentioned sales and marketing books out there teach us tips, techniques, gimmicks, tricks, or other manipulations. Until you are clear about who you are, who you help, and what you help them to do, you are ill- equipped to make any kind of offer to your prospective buyers. The whole goal is to make them an offer they can’t refuse. Mark Joyner calls it “the irresistible offer” and in fact wrote a fabulous book2 by that title. Joyner says that in their busy lives, prospective buyers are being bombarded by thousands of marketing messages daily, which means we have less than three seconds to get their attention and make an offer so attractive that they simply must buy our services.

Once we take the time to understand our mindsets and the societal/ cultural mindsets pertaining to sales, then we can begin to reframe these important activities in a way that supports us and sustains us, rather than depletes us or stresses us. It is possible to transcend dysfunctional sales practices and simply help people in ways that they will appreciate. Sales feels uncomfortable when it is not aligned with core values. My Grandma Helen always said, “Life can be beautiful.” Well, I’ll borrow her attitude here and assert, “Sales can be beautiful.” You get to break out of the mental chains, change the game, and create a new dynamic around selling—one that is meaningful to you. When it is integrity-based, it gives you energy because it is linked to your core values.

Helping Professions and the Conflict with Sales

Coaches and consultants are not unlike the other helping professions. Self- employed doctors, lawyers, accountants, artists, and mental health professionals often sabotage their own efforts to make a healthy living or

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Seal the Deal

amass personal wealth by not engaging in prosperity-generating mindsets. They are rarely taught or trained in a systemic sales process, and often are not aware that one even exists, so they find themselves truly committed to helping others and hoping that that will be sufficient to attract clients. They have a helping mindset and are hoping for sales. Often they have a negative view of sales and perceive it to be about forcing oneself on others, or pushing people to do something they don’t want to do. Reframing their current sales mindset to one of helping and meaningfulness would allow them to integrate their commitment with sales activity.

The other thing I see a lot is people who may be excellent practitioners, but often are not businesspeople or salespeople. To truly succeed in business, we must be coaches who think like businesspeople and we must consider ourselves to be the sales executive in our own businesses. If we think of sales as helping others determine if our services and products would be useful to them or not, we can begin to integrate our commitment to helping with our need to sell. I approach every sales conversation seeking ways in which I might help. There are no pitches, no agendas, no attachments to closing. In this way, I can feel good about selling—I have reframed it from being something that people do to move used cars off a lot to being about making a difference with people, which is one of my core values. Identify your current mindsets about sales and see how you can reframe it for yourself to be something that aligns with what’s true for you.

Use the Understanding Your Mindsets Worksheet to explore your mindsets and identify the changes you want to make to set off on your new adventure.

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Step 1: Demystifying Selling and Distinguishing Networking, Marketing, and Sales

Worksheet: Understanding Your Mindsets

1. How do you perceive sales? What is your definition of sales? ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________

2. How would you describe your job? ____________________________ ________________________________________________________

3. How do you view your job in the context of the sales process/cycle? ________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________ 4. What are your core values? __________________________________ ________________________________________________________ 5. How do you define success at prospecting? ______________________ ________________________________________________________ 6.Howdoyouorganizetheprospectingportionofyourday? ________ ________________________________________________________ 7. How do you measure your results? What do you measure? __________ ________________________________________________________ 8. What obstacles or barriers exist in your work? ____________________ ________________________________________________________

9. What changes would you put in place if it was up to you to re-design your job description and work responsibilities?            __________________

________________________________________________________

(continued)

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Seal the Deal

Worksheet: Understanding Your Mindsets (continued)

10. How do you prepare to call prospects?            ________________________ ________________________________________________________ 11. How do you identify targets and prospects?______________________ ________________________________________________________ 12.Howdoyouqualifyleads? __________________________________ ________________________________________________________

13. What are the preconceived assessments you already have of the person you’ll be talking to on the other end of the phone line? How do you view the person you are calling? How do you think they perceive you?

________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________ 14. What is your intention on every call? Do you set goals for each call?

________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________

15. How much importance do you place on creating relationships with the targets you call?            __________________________________________

________________________________________________________

16. What structures for accountability have you developed and are they effective? ________________________________________________

________________________________________________________

(continued)

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Step 1: Demystifying Selling and Distinguishing Networking, Marketing, and Sales

Worksheet: Understanding Your Mindsets (concluded)

17. What motivates you? How can you motivate yourself: A. To generate more calls? __________________________________

B. To generate more appointments?            __________________________

C. To generate more qualified leads? __________________________

18. What will it take to align your thoughts about selling with a key core value? __________________________________________________

________________________________________________________ Notes: ______________________________________________________

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Seal the Deal

Partnership and Service: Mental Positioning

If you approach sales activities with a reframed belief system, it might look like partnership and service rather than bugging people or needing to sell stuff. In the Mental Positioning Worksheet, write an example of what each mindset means to you or what it could mean to your business development and delivery efforts. Try these mental shifts as you go about your sales actions each day and see what opens up for you.

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Step 1: Demystifying Selling and Distinguishing Networking, Marketing, and Sales

Worksheet:

Mental Positioning

Write an example of what each mindset means to you or what it could mean to your business development and delivery efforts.

Authenticity ________________________________________________

Beinguseful ________________________________________________

Abundance            ________________________________________________

Listening __________________________________________________

Imagination ________________________________________________

Creating team or partnership ____________________________________

Enrollment            ________________________________________________

Loving your work            ____________________________________________

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Seal the Deal

Distinguishing Between Networking, Marketing, and Sales

People often misuse the term marketing to be an all-encompassing concept to mean everything from press, exposure, pricing, referrals, networking, and branding to sales, business development, rainmaking, and getting new clients. Marketing is often broadly used to refer to the act of getting your message/product/service to market as well as to define the materials and design of your image. I’d like to try to un-co-mingle the three main concepts of networking, marketing, and sales for you. Once you have a clear understanding of the distinctions between these terms, you will be able to manage your time so that you are leveraging each piece of this critical trinity to get to the sweet spot where deals are sealed.

In a nutshell, networking is about relation, marketing is about prepa- ration, and sales is about implementation. What does that mean? Figure 1.1 will give you specifics about each one, but basically, networking is the relational aspect of your business. It is connecting with others for the purpose of sharing resources, information, leads, referrals, ideas, etc. Cultiva- ting a working network of relationships is crucial to your business development system, but in and of itself will not be the way you build or expand your client base. Marketing is how you will prepare yourself to take your unique identity package, your irresistible offer, and your message to market. This involves a lot of strategy, design work, writing, and outreach, but those things alone will not get you the clients you want. Sales activities are about implementing your business development strategies. Simply put, sales involves making appointments, seeking to be of service, making fabulous and bold offers, and asking for the business. Your goal is to master the integration of where preparation and relation meet implementation.

Relation + Preparation + Implementation = CLIENTS Or, stated another way,

Networking + Marketing + Sales = $$$$

Many savvy and successful businessfolk will tell you that it is not a 1-to-1 ratio, and that it is most important to spend the bulk of your time in networking or relational activities. If you think of systems, you have to put a lot into the system up front to yield the desired output. Networking and

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Step 1: Demystifying Selling and Distinguishing Networking, Marketing, and Sales

marketing activities are the precursors to sales activities, all of which are necessary input. It isn’t magic. Your networking and marketing activities do not always just naturally lead to a hot prospect and then you turn on the sales juice or begin the sales process. Although that will happen on occasion, wouldn’t you rather be in the driver’s seat than waiting for your networking and marketing efforts to pay off? There’s no need to wait for someone to ask you to dance; you get to take the lead and thereby control your time, your efforts, your results, your business. Taking action in your sales process from the start will dramatically reduce the time to close even while you are building your network and creating your marketing materials and strategies.

Figure 1.1 provides more detail about the distinctions between the three keys to success. If you take only one thing away from this book, my core message is that you need to be taking action in all three domains simultaneously to grow your business.

Figure 1.1: Distinguishing Networking, Marketing, and Sales

(continued)

Networking

Marketing

Sales

Relation

Preparation

Implementation

Pipeline building

Positioning yourself

Contracting

Connection-seeking with genuine interest in others

Market research—studying the market, knowing what the market will yield, under- standing market trends and influences, shopping the market for your competitors

Understanding sales cycle and process

Meeting people

Strategy, conceptual approaches

Knowing your hit rates and numbers

Talking to people and getting to know them better

Planning activities for acquisition, retention, or reacquisition of buyers

Tracking progress

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Seal the Deal

Figure 1.1: Distinguishing Networking, Marketing, and Sales (continued)

(continued)

Networking

Marketing

Sales

Relation

Preparation

Implementation

Getting out there and creating relationships of all kinds

Alone in your office, in front of your computer

Making calls

Asking to meet other people—asking for introductions or at least contact informa- tion and permission to use you as a contact reference

Providing information about who you are and what you do: shameless self-promotion!

Setting up appointments with the express agenda of finding out about the current issues a prospect is facing

Follow-up

Showing people what you do, perhaps including pro bono work

Client meetings to tell people what you do

Manners, etiquette, social graces

Creating text, writing letters, researching clients and prospects

Proposals

Introducing people to each other with an eye to expanding others’ networks

Writing and publishing articles, columns, books

Follow-up

Activities that yield human connection and interaction, not necessarily related to business

Speaking engagements, teaching opportunities

Moving people through your pipeline

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Step 1: Demystifying Selling and Distinguishing Networking, Marketing, and Sales

Figure 1.1: Distinguishing Networking, Marketing, and Sales (concluded)

Networking

Marketing

Sales

Relation

Preparation

Implementation

Nine mindsets of networking

Public relations and media, advertising

Activities that directly yield clients, contracts, business dollars

Finding out what people do, where they do it, why they do it, and what they want to do

Website or brochure building, fine-tuning, management

Action selling system

Image and collateral things: logo, letterhead, business cards, etc.

Activities that yield informa- tive materials (documents, speeches, advertising, promo- tional materials, stuff to hand out or direct people to)

Branding (sustainable, consistent, recognizable, uniqueness)

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Practice Tips: Networking, Marketing, and Sales

• It is easy to spend lots of time on marketing activities, but those alone don’t get you contracts.

• Time spent on networking and marketing activities is time not spent on sales activities. The ideal would be a 3-to-1 ratio: three units of time spent on networking for every one unit of time spent on marketing and three units of time spent on sales for every one unit of time spent on networking.

• The trick with networking is to keep active about following up with folks, even if they are not prospective clients and are not in your sales pipeline. Just keep looking for ways to help people you interact with and keep looking for more people to meet.

• The trick with sales is it’s all about the numbers and tracking those numbers: How many sales activities are you doing each day? How many prospective clients are in your pipeline at any given moment? How many times are you following up with folks in your pipeline?

• Sales is a process, and it takes time to move through that process.

• If you are resisting sales (afraid of rejection, not wanting to bug people, feeling uncomfortable), the tendency is to focus on marketing activities and congratulate yourself for getting all your ducks in a row . . . that’s not sales. Don’t trick yourself into thinking time spent on marketing activities is directly forwarding your sales. Spend more time instead on networking so that you can collect people without feeling like you are asking for anything. Then look to see how you can link sales to your core values.

• Marketing activities are easier for most people in that you can see accomplishment more quickly. You write a document, you end up with a document. Sales activities can be ongoing for weeks, months, even years before you see a tangible result.

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Step 1: Demystifying Selling and Distinguishing Networking, Marketing, and Sales

Time Management: The Accordion Effect

“We have far more control over our energy than we ordinarily realize. The number of hours in a day is fixed, but the quantity and quality of energy available to us is not. It is our most precious resource. The more we take responsibility for the energy we bring to the world, the more empowered and productive we become.”3

—Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz

The biggest complaint I hear from coaches, consultants, and self-employed professionals is that you simply don’t have time to add sales or networking or marketing activities into your busy life. You know you should, but you are overwhelmed as it is. It’s like exercise. You know you should do it, but for some reason that extra hour of sleep seems more important, or you just don’t see how you could possibly fit one more thing into your already packed day.

Before we get into the subject of time and how to manage it, I have to tell you about a dynamic law called the Accordion Effect. The Accordion Effect applies to money as well as time, and both are important to any discussion of sales. The bellows of an accordion expand and contract in order to push the air through to make music. Time and money work the same way. Both expand and contract, come and go. Just as we know with certainty that the ocean tide will go out and it will come back in, both money and time follow the same energetic laws. They ebb and flow. Knowing this will give us access to a sense of continuity or even security.

If we apply this dynamic law to money, it means that money comes and money goes, and the good news is that it will always do this. Why is this good news? Because when applied to sales, it means that you can trust that money will always, eventually, come to you—and this concept allows you to give up the desperation and fear and attachment to “making the sale” or to seal the deal. It gives you the freedom to approach sales as a game. Like chess, once you know each piece and how it moves, you can begin to learn various strategies for success in the game.

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With sales, once you know the 10 steps outlined in this book and the mindsets that support them, you can customize the game so that you will use your knowledge of how the numbers work to freeing yourself up to play. With money, once you know the dynamic laws of how it operates, you can let go of the belief systems that keep you stuck in a scarcity mentality. Likewise, with time, if you know that time can expand and contract like the accordion, then you can free yourself from the restraints of not having time to take the 10 steps delineated in this book (among other things). You have already had personal experiences of time expanding and contracting. For example, have you ever been waiting for something you eagerly want and felt that one hour seemed like an eternity? Similarly, when having fun or focused on something intently, you can find yourself in a zone where time (that same one hour) will seem like just a few minutes. Yet we can all agree that one hour is always 60 minutes and each minute is always 60 seconds, and that remains constant.

The application of this Accordion Effect is that it gives you some access to control or freedom, whichever motivates you. If time expands and contracts, that means you have the ability to cause it to do so, because the expansion and contraction of time exists primarily in your perception of it. You can control your perception, particularly in a busy, fast-paced world, by not giving in to the temptation of thinking you don’t have time. You can impact your very real sense of not having time. You can practice intentionally causing time to expand. Try it next time you find yourself saying, “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have time for that.” If you have a commitment to any particular goal or result, you can overcome your timelessness by creating time. In other words, one way to manufacture time for yourself is to practice the mental shifts described above—to reframe time for yourself not as an immutable constant in life, but as something that can move and breathe, expand and contract, and be manipulated to create space for the music of life. When you experience time as compressed, breathe air into it by slowing down, practicing yoga or meditation, taking a walk, recharging your soul in whatever way you choose, and then returning to the tasks at hand.

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Step 1: Demystifying Selling and Distinguishing Networking, Marketing, and Sales

It seems counterintuitive, but the act of taking your time when you seem to have none is exactly what allows time to expand. “Time management is not an end in itself,” say Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz. “Rather it serves the higher goal of effective energy management. Because we have a limited number of hours in a day, we must not only make intelligent choices about how to use them but must also insure that we have the energy available to invest in our highest priorities. Too often, we devote our time to activities that don’t advance our mission, depleting our energy reserves in the process.”4

Understanding the Accordion Effect frees you from all sorts of limitations, ultimately providing the doorway to accessing power. The ability to focus on following recommended practices, step by step, while letting go of the results, letting go of expectations, letting go of judgments and assessments of yourself and your performance, and letting go of the outcomes, while at the same time having a clear focus on what is beyond the desired outcomes: This is the formula to get what you want in sales and in life. It is never just about the money. There is a purpose behind what you want money for. Holding a clear vision of what you want as the ultimate end result of what money can provide for you is the goal to strive for unflappably. There is an opposing push and pull, just like in the accordion, that will help you achieve your goals. Focusing on doing the practices, without attachment to any particular result, trusting that the process works, and relaxing into the game will guarantee a different operational space for you—one that is absent of fear and anxiety, and one that is playful and productive. Part of grounding your mindset in abundance involves expanding your inner capacity to accept and attract what you want. There are numerous practices in every spiritual and religious doctrine in the world that you can employ to open to joy and tap into trust. Figure out what practices will give you access to that place of effortless flow, and then go apply your 10 steps in the sales process.

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Worksheet:

Time Management

As you explore how you currently go about organizing your time as it pertains to business development, don’t concern yourself with recommended per- centages or the right way of doing it. Simply observe and record how you are actually already organizing your time and see what shows up for you.

1. What percentage of your time is dedicated to sales activities as distinct from networking and marketing activities?________________________

2. Of that percentage, what percentage of your time do you spend in each of the following:

_____ Identifying targets _____ Setting appointments _____ Client meetings _____ Follow-up

_____ Professional development _____ Other: ________________

(Total should be 100%)

3. How would you prioritize and rank the activities in item 2 above? List in order of importance below:

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Step 1: Demystifying Selling and Distinguishing Networking, Marketing, and Sales

Practice Tips: Planning Your Week

1. Decide what in your life is most important to you and make certain to allocate time to those items first.

2. Allocate time to make calls to set appointments. (How many calls does it take you to set up one appointment? How many appointments do you want to set up for each week? How many calls does that mean you have to make each day? How long will it take you to make those calls?)

3. Schedule any sales appointments you have set for yourself. (Include travel time and plan to arrive 5 to 10 minutes early. Include any preparation time you may need to prepare for the meeting.)

4. Allocate time for target research, proposal development, letter writing, card sending, and other marketing correspondence.

5. Allocate time for follow-up calls or account-servicing activities.

6. Allocate time for special projects and tasks that are non-sales or service related activities (i.e., networking meetings, marketing activities, expense reports, administrative duties, paperwork, other projects, and billable work).

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Endnotes

1. Khalsa, M., (1999). Let’s get real or let’s not play: The demise of dysfunctional selling and the advent of helping clients succeed. Salt Lake City, UT: Franklin Covey, p. 3

2. Joyner, M., (2005). The irresistible offer: How to sell your product or service in 3 seconds or less. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

3. Loehr, J., & Schwartz, T., (2003). The power of full engagement. New York: The Free Press, p. 5.

4. Loehr, J., & Schwartz, T., (2003). The power of full engagement. New York: The Free Press, p. 106.

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Step 2

The Sales Process, Targeting Prospects, and Branding

“Leap, and the net will appear.” —Julia Cameron

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

We’ll begin with the telecourse in which you will have a chance to see the participants fine-tune and get coaching about their 30-second commercials in more depth. During this session, I introduce an integrated model of the sales cycle and the service cycle. This model is named the Bowtie Model because the shape of the figure illustrating the model looks like a bowtie. After introducing the sales process, I briefly introduce the concept of targeting.

You’ll have a chance to think through how you define your services. Then you will address “moments of truth” in your service cycle and ways to build your brand. The chapter includes a couple of worksheets for you to use in creating your brand and developing your own strategic target list.

 

 

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