During the past week I received some very interesting email
messages from my newsletter readers that I would like to share with you.

Toney wrote: “Jeff, I’ve been reading your e-newsletters for a while
and may I say they are great! Thank you so much for putting the
time and effort into them. I appreciate all the advice and honesty that you give.

“I’m working on building my advertising business and I am a decent
salesperson, but not really good. In fact, I’m not good enough for
our needs right now. I need to kick the sales into action
and make some things happen.

“How can I look for the right person that would be good in this
area to work for me setting up some appointments, or for
that matter, making the sales themselves?

“I would appreciate any advice you could give on this. I know you’re
a busy man and may God bless you in everything you are doing for everyone.”

And Joaquim wrote: “I always read your newsletter with great
interest and I have been using your ideas to consolidate my
knowledge and fine-tune my strategies.

“However I feel you focus more on the side of ‘knowing what
your customer needs’ rather than ‘creating the need in a customer.’

“In fact anyone can sell something to someone who needs it. But it’s
more difficult to sell something to a prospect that didn’t know
she has a need. That should be the ideal focus for a salesman.

“After all our Companies are not exactly known for producing
everything a customer needs. But we certainly produce something
a customer needs, once created or shown that need. And how
do we create or show that need? Work, leads, work,
newsletters, work, information, work. Am I wrong?”

Ever since I started selling back in the early 1970s, every salesman I
ever met — or maybe it just seems that way — hated to make sales calls. Face-to-face meetings were OK, but the thought of getting on the telephone to schedule that meeting was downright terrifying.

Most sales people will do anything they can to
avoid using the phone, and as a result,

* They don’t schedule any appointments,

* They don’t create any opportunities,

* They don’t close any sales, and

* They don’t make any money.

Then they wonder why business — and life — is so tough.

In Toney’s case, she’s thinking of hiring someone to sell for her. But I think her perspective and attitude is wrong.

She says she’s a “decent” salesperson, but isn’t making much money
at this moment. Yet, she’s considering hiring someone to do the sales for her.

When you’re running a business you’ve two goals:

*1. Profit: Make a lot of money.

*2. Cash Flow: Get paid from your customers for the products/services that were purchased.

I think everybody should have an MBA — a Massive Bank Account!

In running your business, your goal and objective is to be as efficient, effective and streamlined as you possible can. That means staying focused on the activities, tasks and customers/prospects
that give you the greatest results.

The 80/20 rule states:

* Eighty percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your customers.

* Eighty percent of your profits comes from 20 percent of your customers.

* Eighty percent of your results comes from 20 percent of your efforts.

Let me say it differently: Most of your results come from doing a
handful of activities with a small number of people. The rest of your time, energy and effort is wasted.

Focus your time, energy and effort on the activities and people
that give you the greatest results — and payoff — and stop doing the rest!

Warren Buffett says, “You don’t need to have extraordinary effort
to achieve extraordinary results.” You just need to do the ordinary,
everyday things exceptionally well.

For Toney to become successful she needs to learn how to use the telephone to find customers.

Because she doesn’t want to learn how to sell, she wants to hire
someone to make the calls for her. (Does this sound familiar?)
But employees cost money, adding to the cost of running the
business, increasing the fixed overhead and lowering profits.

The most profitable businesses in their respective industries are the
ones with the lowest cost structure, i.e. Southwest Airlines, Dell
Computer, Wal-Mart, and Microsoft.

The telephone is the best — and least expensive — sales tool you own. Don’t fight the phone. Learn to love it because it saves you time.

Use the telephone to qualify your prospects before you meet with them. How much time do you spend driving to appointments with people who’ve no interest in doing business with you? Ask some great questions on the phone and you can determine whether
or not the meeting is necessary.

Sales managers across corporate America keep pushing “face time,”
because they think seeing a prospect face to face builds relationships
and rapport. Change your attitude, think of the telephone as face time.

Which is more beneficial to you, spending two hours driving to and
from a client meeting for a fifteen-minute meeting next week,
or having the same 15-minute meeting on the telephone tomorrow morning?

Serve your customers. Solve their problems. Deliver what you said you would deliver. And you’ll have a customer for life.

What could you do with that “extra” two hours that you didn’t spend
in your car? Why not spend it on the phone looking for new customers.

This takes me to Joaquim’s question. Once you’re speaking with
a prospect — either in person or on the phone — how do you
find out what the customer needs?

The easiest way to do it is by asking great questions.

Most sales people sit down with a prospect and start going through
the catalog or product list showing them everything they have to
offer, (or explaining the bells and whistles of their newest products).

It’s done in the hope that the customer will stop the salesperson and
say I want — need — one of those. I’ll take one in red, yellow, and green.

But more often than not, the salesman bores the customer to death because the only thing she’s talking about is herself, her products and her company.

It isn’t enough that you “know” the customer has a need for your product. The customer must ‘know’ that he has a need for your product and that need must be satisfied immediately.

The best way to get the customer to realize he has a need is to ask
questions that are aimed directly at the need you’re trying to expose.

You ask:

* Power questions,

* Economic development questions,

* Financial impact questions.

You ask questions that make people think. You ask questions that
challenge them. You ask questions that make them feel uncomfortable. You ask questions that make them squirm.

And by doing so they discover they do in fact have a need
for the product you sell, and you’ve made a sale.

Here are the five things you should be doing to be more successful:

*1. Learn to love the telephone. Make it your friend. Use it all day long.

*2. Get focused. Spend your time doing activities and tasks that have a huge payoff.

*3. Eliminate waste and inefficiency. Don’t be in a hurry to hire more employees.

*4. Ask great questions. Use questions to help your prospects discover their problems.

*5. Don’t work harder, Don’t work smarter. ”’Work less.”’

”’Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey Mayer’s Succeeding In Business Newsletter. (Copyright, 2002, Jeffrey J. Mayer, Succeeding In Business, Inc.) To subscribe to Jeff’s free newsletter, visit”’ http://www.SucceedingInBusiness.com

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Hawaii Reporter is an award-winning, independent Hawaii-based news and opinion journal founded in 2001 and launched in February 2002. The journal's staff have won a number of top awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including the top investigative news reporting awards, business reporting awards, government reporting awards, and online news reporting awards.