Daniel Tardy: License To Sell

Guaranteed way to avoid a car wreck…

Posted in Business by elephanthunters on January 27, 2010

You’ll never crash if you never accelerate.

Toyota announced an epic recall yesterday of some of their top selling models.

The problem?

Cars are going too fast!

Well, it’s a little more technical than that, but basically the gas pedal is sticking and causing uncontrolled acceleration leading to traffic accidents.  It’s interesting that we never hear of recalls about vehicles not going fast enough…seems like you typically have to pay extra for more speed.

Are you running down hill or falling?

I’ve visited with thousands of small business owners around the country, and the single biggest problem a business faces is uncontrolled growth.  This is a counter-intuitive dilemma that time after time kills vibrant organizations.  The lack of new business and new sales are rarely the problem…at least not long term.  If you’re leading a small business you must have a plan for controlling the growth.  For being able to put the breaks on.  No one wants a recall on their business.

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Book Review: Linchpin, by Seth Godin

Posted in Personal Development by elephanthunters on January 26, 2010

Linchpin goes on sale today!

‘Linchpin’ will be the business buzz word for the next decade

Seth Godin was kind enough to me send a galley copy of his new book, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

This is hands down my favorite Seth Godin book. Linchpin is for everyone!  Seriously, everyone.  At least everyone who believes they have something to contribute to their world. This one isn’t just for marketers, business leaders or ‘tribe-builders’ – not just for sales people or business owners either.

Read this book and become a linchpin.  Become indispensable.

    What is your gift?

    Godin explains that inside each of us live ideas and dreams that we seldom verbalize, much less act on.  These dreams can be a tremendous gift that we offer our world, but more commonly they simply die before they are ever born.  A linchpin has a responsibility to deliver the gift, and to work diligently to ensure that the gift is valuable.

    Giving ≠ Weak

    I should clarify that this ‘gift to the world’ idea isn’t just a touchy-feely theory involving holding hands around the campfire while singing We Are The World, and becoming the proverbial doormat to society.  The gift we give is the essence of our value to our company, our family, our church, our friends and our tribe.  The gift is what makes us marketable and noteworthy.

    If we are masters of giving our gift then we become a linchpin; a person of such great influence that the organization can’t do without us.  Linchpins can name their price.  Linchpins have options.  Linchpins have fun.

    The excuses are gone

    Factory workers 100 years ago had a difficult time defining their gift, much less giving it.  Push this button.  Pull this lever.  Grease this part. Repeat.  In today’s world the factory model doesn’t work.  Company policy manuals no longer cut it.  Nothing extraordinary is produced by legislation of policy.  You no longer have to be a cog in the wheel…you can be a linchpin (even if you technically work in a factory).

    Godin points out how the world we live in today no longer offers legitimate excuses for falling short of  linchpin status.  The obstacles have not been eliminated, but the excuses have.  The obstacles are what allow us to become remarkable.  When we push through the obstacles we get to a place that far less people dare to venture…but it’s a place of influence and unprecedented glory.

    Ideas are not enough

    Godin explains that a linchpin in the truest form is an artist.  Whether you wait tables, sell pharmaceuticals or run a day care, it’s your ‘art’ that defines you and sets you apart from the pack.   Ideas about art are not enough.  Value is added when art is experienced by people who are not the artist.

    Ideas are easy.  However, ideas that ship are rare.  We all observe, read, wonder, and innovate…at least in our mind.

    The gift, the art, does not become valuable until it ships.  Until the check is collected.  Until you hit publish on your blog post.  Until the patrons at your restaurant eat, drink and applaud.  The tools for art production are all around us.  We don’t need more tools; we need more artists!  In Linchpin, Godin gives us a map to ensure that our art actually ships and that value is delivered to the market.

    Leave the factory

    If your art is stuck in your head, or if you want to galvanize your gift then buy this book!  Most people will not read this book.  Most people will stay in the factory, and live in the fear that they might not have a gift to offer.  Most people are wrong.  You are not most people.

    Get a free copy!

    My friend, Mike Hyatt, is giving away 112 copies of this book today on his blog.  I’ve already given away 4 copies and I’ll definitely be ordering a couple more cases.

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    Get a free galley copy of ‘Switch’

    Posted in Business, Personal Development by elephanthunters on January 15, 2010

    Coming Soon

    From the best selling authors of Made to Stick, Chip Heath & Dan Heath have done it again.  This book is slated to launch February 16th, 2010, and I have been asked to help promote it.  I have no doubt this will be another best seller.  I’ve been given 25 galley copies of ‘Switch’, and have been asked to get them in the hands of ‘change agents’ between now and the launch date.

    Here’s how to get your free copy:

    1. Leave a comment on this post about why you want to read this book
    2. I will select my 25 favorite comments (You don’t get to know the secret formula of selection. All I can tell you is to show some passion, be creative and have fun with it.  It also won’t hurt your odds if you retweet, repost or otherwise share the info.  Remember you’re a ‘change agent’ – so you’re helping promote this too.)
    3. Once you comment, you need to email me your mailing address: daniel.tardy@daveramsey.com
    4. If I select you to be one of the 25 recipients of this book, your copy will be mailed out  on Monday, 1/18
    5. By posting a comment here you are agreeing to (if I select you):
      • Read the book in it’s entirety between now and 2/16 (265 pages)
      • Post a reply to the review post I make on this blog on 2/16 (you’ll get an email reminder)
      • Post your own review on any consumer retail site like Amazon or Barnes & Nobel.

    It’s a great read…

    You don’t want to miss this opportunity to have the info first!  I can already tell you that my review will be a positive one, but I’m not going to spoil it for you yet.

    Stay tuned.

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    The top 3 reasons why follow up doesn’t work

    Posted in Selling by elephanthunters on January 13, 2010

    We’ve all met this guy:

    Todd is a little confused about selling

    I met him at one of our leadership events last fall, right before he blind sided me with an impromptu, overly passionate sales pitch about the software package his company produces.  Todd insisted that his software would be the perfect supplement to our event series, and that we should ‘meet up’ sometime to visit about it more.

    I remember being cordially uninterested.  I asked Todd to email me something about his product, and I told him that if I saw a need to explore this endeavor some day, then I would certainly give him the chance to bid on the service.

    I never got that email.

    The call we all dread

    What I did get, however, was a completely out of the blue call from Todd which, for all practical purposes, was a cold call.  I rarely take cold calls, but since I knew who this guy was (and in a certain sense he was also a client of mine) I told my assistant to put him through.

    The call was a train wreck. At least it was from Todd’s vantage point, for me it was just a waste of time.  If this guy ever had a chance of getting our business he lost it all in a single impulsive call.  What should have been the next step in the sales process for him, ended up putting the nail in the coffin on any hopes he had of working with our company.

    Follow up or pushy?

    I knew the deal was over when Todd said these not-so-magic words:

    “I’m calling to follow up on…”

    I didn’t listen to anything he said for the next 3 minutes.  When he told me he was following up, my first thought was that he doesn’t even have my permission to follow up.  Secondly, what’s he following up about?  And didn’t I ask this guy to email me something?

    “You’re not following up”, I thought.  “You’re calling to try to resell me your little thing that I already said I wasn’t interested in.  How fast can I get off this call without being a total jerk?”

    This behavior is obnoxious, and will result in your call getting screened next time.

    Could he have made the sell?

    Maybe, but there were several critical components to this sell that Todd completely missed including the fact that he pitched a guy who he only met just moments before.

    You must earn the right to be heard.  Just because you have an audience doesn’t mean you have credibility.

    Todd probably has a great product…it may even be a fit for us, but we’ll never know.  The biggest problem area for most sales people has very little to do with the quality of their product or service.  It has everything to do with how they handle the follow up process.  Proper follow up will invariably determine whether or not we achieve success in selling.

    Here are the top 3 reasons follow up fails:

    1. It isn’t follow up. Follow up by definition occurs after the prospect has had a chance to learn something about you, your product or your service.  If you haven’t had a previous discovery meeting, phone call or email exchange in which the prospect willingly received information, then you are still in the prospecting/pitching phase.  You don’t have anything to follow up on.
    2. Choosing the wrong communication medium. I asked Todd to send me an email about his product.  He chose to call instead.  Bad idea.  Your prospect gets to set the tone on their preferred medium.  If they ask you to call then don’t email them…pick up the phone!  If they text you, text them back.  If they tweet you, don’t write a response on their facebook wall.  Stick to their desired medium of communication until you ask if it’s OK to do something different.
    3. You don’t have permission. This is the big one.  I NEVER get off a discovery call without getting permission to follow up.  This is as simple as asking, “Would you mind if I follow up with you in a few days?”.  I even try to get specific on their preferred date, time and communication medium.  So when I send them an email today and then call Tuesday afternoon between 2 and 4 O’clock I don’t have call reluctance, and they don’t feel like I’m bothering them.  If I get permission to follow up, then anything less would be a disservice to them.

    When we follow up well it is a service to our prospect and they will thank us for it.  When we make any one of these 3 mistakes, we  most often will loose the sell.

    The fortune is in the follow up!

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