Daniel Tardy: License To Sell

Salespeople should think like mechanics

Posted in Selling by elephanthunters on September 25, 2009

Mechanic

  • My mechanic, Rodney, has been looking at a few things on my car this week.  Rodney is a great mechanic and can fix almost anything on my car, but he runs computer tests to see whats wrong with it before he picks up a single wrench.  He listens to the need and then fixes what’s broken.
  • It’s easy as a salesperson to start replacing parts, tuning, greasing and completely rebuilding the entire car for our prospect without listening to their needs first. While your product or service may have all the answers, your prospect may not have all the problems.
  • Positioning your product or service as a solution to their needs is the best way to serve them.

Summary: Don’t try to sell them a new transmission when all they need is an oil change.

*(this all kind of presumes that your mechanic is the honest straight forward type)

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The EntreLeadership Story: Atlanta Simulcast

Posted in Business, Personal Development by elephanthunters on September 24, 2009

This was a fun little behind the scenes vignette that we did last weekend from the Dave Ramsey Live Event simulcast from Atlanta, GA.

Chris LoCurto interviewed me about the EntreLeadership story and how the EntreLeadership Master Series event has come to be one of the premier training resources for small business owners today.

Shameless plug disclaimer: This isn’t really value added…more of a commercial.  Still fun though.

Mix it up

Posted in Personal Development by elephanthunters on September 22, 2009

trail-running

I run a lot.  Not a whole lot by most people’s standards, but definitely a lot for a 210# guy with a desk job.  My M.O. is to go out and pound the pavement for 2-4 miles with my iPod and my heart rate monitor; same routes, same pace, same music mix…but today I did something completely new.

A buddy of mine, Bill Hampton, talked me into doing a 4.5 mile trail run in Percy Warner Park.

I didn’t really know what to expect, and it’s probably a good thing, because parts of this trail made me feel like I needed a climbing harness and a rope.  It was  muddy, slippery, rugged and fast.  We were leaping over logs, dodging under branches and shuffle-stepping to avoid stumbling down 150 foot vertical drops  just inches away from our feet.  It was dark and wet.  It was hard.  I yelled out a few ‘war cries’ and got Bill to do the same.  We got lost but we kept running under the theory that “all these trails have to come out in the same place, right?”.  So it added a couple miles and we were ticked- part of the adventure and drama.

With about a mile left to go I told Bill, “This has to be the biggest release I’ve had all year”.  I felt alive and free.  The last time I felt this way when I was running was….hmm, not sure I’ve ever felt that way.  Running had become boring.  I had no idea that mixing it up like that would take it from vanilla to exhilarating in just one work out.

The point?

Doing the same thing in a new way defeats the boredom.  It’s easy to get bored with selling and running a business so mix it up daily.

  • If you normally make phone calls sitting down, then try standing up all day
  • If you drive the same route to work every day, try leaving 30 minutes early and take a new CD and a new route
  • Bring breakfast in for your whole office one day and tell them you appreciate them
  • Stand on your chair in a meeting and ask people a thought provoking question (I’ll never forget when Tara stood up on her chair on her first day in staff meeting to introduce herself)
  • Give a high five to everyone you see for a whole day
  • Take a walk on your lunch break
  • Sit on a ball
  • Sit on the roof during your next conference call
  • Play the Rocky Theme at your desk until one of your coworkers makes you to turn it down
  • If someone is in your office having a meltdown, dump water on your head and tell them to chill – they will laugh – and then they will chill
  • Throw up a rock fist every time you close a deal

Don’t be afraid of cheesy.  Cheesy beats boring every time.  Mix it up just for the sake of mixing it up.  Take a risk…leave the pavement behind.

more resources on trail running

Is your protein retarded?

Posted in Business by elephanthunters on September 11, 2009

protien

Cancer is growth

There is a special little cluster of exactly 393 amino acids located on the short arm of chromosome 17 in our DNA.  This important protein known as TP53 can activate DNA repaire, induce cell growth arrest, and destroy cells that are damaged beyond repair.  Basically, sparring all the medical jargon this protien helps regulate uncontrolled cell growth (AKA cancer).

When TP53 experiences a retardation the cell loses it’s ability to control growth and reproduction.  Cancer is simply unbridled reproduction of cells that don’t have an ‘off switch’.

Uncontrolled growth is deadly

One of my small business clients recently confided in me this unnerving reality about his business:

“I used to think that all my business needed was massive growth, but now that I’m experiencing it I can’t figure out how to put the breaks on because I can’t identify what caused the growth to begin with.  I’m kind of scared.  I feel like I’m running down hill out of control.”

When is the last time you preformed an assessment of the TP53 in your business or organization?  Are you in control of the growth or are you just riding a wave and hoping you don’t fall off?

Here are 3 reasons why growing quickly is overrated:

  1. Growth requires more growth. Landing a massive account requires us to max out our systems in order to produce for that account and eventually take on more personnel, equipment and other overhead to service the clients demands.  This is dangerous if you end up in the position of making a desperate hire that brings a buzzard into an eagle culture.
  2. Growth does not equal profit. I talked to a client recently who informed me that his gross revenues are up 300% this year and his personal income is at an all time low.  He’s working really hard to feed the monster.
  3. There is a significant correlation between slow, controlled growth and long term stability. Building a house without a foundation would eliminate  a step and save time, right?  Going through the effort to pour a foundation is vital for the longevity of a house and it is imperative for a successful business.

Summary:

  • Give yourself permission to be the slow, ugly, tortoise…he beats the hare ever time.
  • Keep your TP53 in check; left unattended it will destroy you.
  • Take some time this weekend to write out your growth plan for Q4.


Un and Re Employed

Posted in Personal Development by elephanthunters on September 9, 2009

unemployment

  1. To be unemployed means you were employed and now you’re not
  2. Being unemployed is better than never having been employed to begin with
  3. If you have never been employed then you are just ‘trying to find work’…this is a journey for some I suppose
  4. If you are unemployed then you are simply in the process of becoming re-employed, and you will, because with the character that you’ve gained recently you’re more valuable now than you’ve ever been
  5. Stay employed, employ yourself, or get re-employed but don’t ‘try to find work’.  By definition if you’re unemployed you’ve already found it at least once

Some will say this is semantics or a play on words and it doesn’t help them get a job.  Some will see this as a paradigm shift.  I probably wouldn’t  hire the ones who say it’s semantics.

P.S. If you’ve never worked…this just means you’re lazy so please stop making yourself feel better by saying that you’re unemployed.  Unemployed is a distinguished title for people who know how to work and are simply in the process of becoming re-employed.

Here’s how I almost died the other day

Posted in Personal Development by elephanthunters on September 4, 2009

dogbite

I wasn’t familiar with the road I went running down this week (mistake number one).  As I was enjoying the soothing autumn air and letting Ray LaMontagne coax me through the pain in my tired legs, I suddenly caught a glimpse of something fast and fur-covered out of the corner of my eye.

“Oh crap!”, I thought.  “Some four legged beast is about to enjoy full meal of Tardy steak and Brooks Trance running shoes for dessert!”

I don’t know what kind of dog it was.  I do know it was big, fast, and it had teeth that would make a Husqvarna chainsaw envious.  I pulled out my iPod ear buds in time to hear this beastly creature growl and then bark and then ‘scream-bark’…yes, he was literally screaming as he sprinted toward me,

“Come here fat boy. I’m going to kill you and eat you!”

I panicked.  This demon was closing in fast, and I was doomed.  I kept running, and I started flailing my arms, yelling, and kind of skip-jumping in a way that would make a bystander think he was observing a wrestling match between an octopus and a bull horn on a conveyor-belt.  My diversion tactics were futile, in fact, I think they actually enticed this crazed animal even more.

Just as the death monster was preparing to lunge through the air toward my jugular vein, and I was beginning to make my peace with The Lord, I heard a loud voice yell,

“Hey, get back here!”.

Suddenly the storm clouds that had been building diminished, the sunshine broke through, and my life un-flashed before my eyes! The Dalai of this hound dog’s Lama had spoken!  A very large man wearing nothing more than a very small pair of overalls uttered four magic words, and it was all over.  The pooch tucked his tail, whimpered, and began to strut back toward the man in the tight overalls.

“Don’t worry about him. He couldn’t hurt a flea”,

Overalls Man assured me.

“Thanks” I thought. “Maybe you should tell him that.”

Take away:

As I began to jog back home I started to wonder how many times have I been like that dog?  How many times have my intentions been completely playful and pure yet my actions were perceived as threatening and scary?  I have a dominant personality style and I tend to justify my flippant actions with the fact that I care about people deep down inside and I’ll never hurt anyone…at least not intentionally.  People should just know what I’m thinking, right?  Wrong.

When I don’t slow down and acknowledge people in the midst of charging the hill and getting things done I loose my biggest ally, trust.  Perception is reality.  My intentions aren’t good enough.  My actions are what communicate whether I’m a viscous killer or a trusted friend.

I have a lot to work on in this area of my life.

Proverbs 15:1

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”

Batteries Included

Posted in Business, Selling by elephanthunters on September 3, 2009

Battery Image

I purchased two different things this week that needed batteries but did not include them.  Why have we accepted this as the norm?  It’s frustrating to buy something and then have to buy something else in order for the original purchase to be valuable.  I think that ‘some assembly’ should not be required…that’s what I’m paying you for when I purchase your product.  If I wanted to assemble it myself I would just go buy a bunch of parts online and spend a weekend in my garage emancipating my power tools and listening to The Goo Goo Dolls.  When I buy your product I just want it to work.  Period.

Think about your business/product/service.  How can you eliminate ‘Batteries not included’ experiences for your customers?

You don’t have to eat the cost of the proverbial batteries to serve your customers…just build the cost into the price of your product or service to keep your transactions clean and inclusive.  Eliminating ‘gotcha’ fees will go a long way to build loyalty among your customer base.

Have you ever had a great buying experience where everything was as simple and straight forward as it was advertised to be?

I’d love to hear about it!

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Read this ASAP to get free Chick-Fil-A

Posted in Business, Selling by elephanthunters on September 3, 2009

Chick-Fil-A free sandwich deal.

One of my associates at the Chick-Fil-A corporate office sent me an email today with this ad.

Here’s the 5 things I love about it:

  • They’re giving me free food
  • They picked a day that is memorable and that I’m likely to be available to take advantage of the offer.
  • They’re communicating to me with pictures: [you]+[t-shirt]=[sandwich] so I don’t have to read to get the message, only to clarify the message
  • They give me options to put a reminder on my calendar.  I use Outlook for everything so I clicked the link and in 5 seconds the reminder went right into my preferred method of organization
  • The deal is only good for one day so it creates a sense of urgency because it’s an event

Everything about this ad makes it easy for me to tell friends “Hey, I heard Chick-Fil-A is giving away sandwiches on Labor Day and all you have to do to get one is wear a t-shirt with your teams logo on it!” and so I will…

If you’d like the original email:

  • to try out the calendar feature
  • to send to your marketing guy for a great example of how to sell your product
  • or to forward to your friends

Just email me at daniel.tardy@daveramsey.com and I’ll send it to you.  (I’m not smart enough to know how to make the image in this post do it automatically)

Manipulative Selling

Posted in Selling by elephanthunters on September 2, 2009

Really good sales people can also be really good manipulators.  We have a way of painting word pictures and asking leading questions to position our product or service as something that the prospect would almost feel stupid to turn down.

BE CAREFUL.

I’ve learned to never trap a prospect although it’s very easy to do and sometimes even works.  They feel violated when they are trapped.

Here’s an example of trapping:

  • First you ask: “Mr. Smith you can see how my product can save you a lot of money can’t you?” Of course the answer is yes if you’ve made a decent presentation.
  • Then you follow up with: “Mr. Smith I’m sure as an educated man you appreciate the value of saving money anywhere you can don’t you?” Of course he’s going to say yes…if he doesn’t it means he’s not an educated man based on how you positioned your question.
  • Then you trap him with a question like this: “So Mr. Smith you’ve basically admitted in your own words that to not purchase my product would be a foolish decision, haven’t you?” WOAH – Awkward! Wrong! Please don’t do this! Ever.

This may seem extreme and silly to a mature salesperson. However, even subtle and crafty trapping carefully woven in to a presentation gives sales people a bad reputation and cannibalizes their credibility.

Summary:

  • If a prospect ever feels that saying “No” is an undignified answer then you have abused your roll as a salesperson.
  • Selling is not trapping people so they feel guilty if they don’t buy, but it is serving people with information that educates them on the value of your product or service.
  • As a general rule of thumb avoid asking leading questions.