Monday, July 27, 2015


Presenting offers in three stages helps buyers make decisions. Always offer a good basic solution, a better solution and the best solution. When presented as 'Good-Better-Best' offers, behavioral studies show that buyers discount 'good' solutions as likely missing important value. The risk of loss is one of the most powerful influencers on buying decisions. The 'best' solutions are seen as more than what is needed and often viewed as wasteful. This mental calculus most often results in clients choosing the ‘better’ solution. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Use a Dummy to Prove a Negative

Business people evaluate decisions based on the return on investment. Showing an ROI requires you to monetize the value of the benefit. But sometimes the benefit is the avoidance of problems. How can you monetize the value of something that has not happened?

Use a dummy, made up situation to make your point. The process of walking through the potential savings helps prove the negative. If the likelihood of the situation occurring is strong, it will not be a stretch to get a client to assign a monetary value to that situation. For instance, if you charge $25,000 to develop an employee manual, you should be able to make up a reasonable story of a situation that could go wrong. Use this example to demonstrate how the training and policies developed in the manual can avoid the potential costs associated with not having the manual. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Promote Yourself Sparingly

Promote yourself sparingly. Be real and genuine. Make sure the achievement you are promoting is significant and adds value to your client relationships. Don’t embellish. Strike the balance between sharing your accomplishments that clients should be interested in with 'wearing out your welcome' by adopting the client's point of view when deciding whether or not to promote an accomplishment. Do this by asking yourself, 'What value, benefit or new capabilities does this accomplishment convey to my clients?'. If you cannot come up with one way in which a client would benefit from this information, it is most likely just empty self promotion. In this case, think hard about what impression this creates among the recipients. If you find one, make sure you include an explanation of the benefit to your clients in your announcement.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Keep Epic News to Youself

It's tempting to open a conversation with a prospective client with a tale of your epic vacation to Tahiti. You had a wonderful time, the weather was beautiful and Tahiti is an exotic place few people get to enjoy. Who wouldn't enjoy hearing about your epic vacation?

It turns out, you will feel worse off after having told the story because people will feel less like you. I've noticed this phenomenon in my own sales presentations but didn't understand why this occurred. Epic tales (a large purchase or exotic vacation, for instance) are extraordinary. To be extraordinary is to be different, and social interaction is grounded in similarities. It runs counter to what you would expect, but social research backs this idea up. Participants in a recent study thought that sharing their extraordinary experiences would make for an engaging conversation. But in fact, the opposite happened as the people being told the extraordinary story felt more distant and less able to relate to them. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Single Most Important Question To Ask Every Client

A simple yet very effective way to gauge how well you are doing in servicing your clients is to ask one simple question: On a scale of 1 to 5, how likely are you to refer my services to your closest business associates, peers, family or friends?  The question is known as the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and has been used extensively across many different industries for the past two decades. When I was the VP of Marketing for a regional bank, we added the question to as many customer touch points as we could and reported the monthly average score on our management reports. Financial reports are a trailing indicator for your firm's performance. But the NPS gives you a real time snap shot into how you are perceived by your clients and their willingness to participate in your success. 

Monday, June 22, 2015


A person's pupils expand and contract depending upon what they are thinking and how engaged they are in a conversation. When a person's pupils are large and remain large, it can indicate they are interested and engaged in what you are saying. Conversely, when the pupils get smaller, the person has lost interest, their brain is overloaded or their mind may be wandering.  But don't stare at your prospects pupils too long. Looking into someone's eyes for longer than 5 seconds will make them feel uncomfortable.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Help Yourself by Talking to Strangers

Striking up a conversation with a complete stranger is hard. But it may just prove more useful to you than the target of your conversation. Engaging others in conversation not only opens up potential new relationships and connections but it can also improve a person's sense of well being and put individuals in a more positive mood. Being civil toward random strangers is typically believed to benefit others—society at large or those who are befriended. But results of recent research indicate that 'pro-sociality' benefits the individual as much if not more than the target of the kindness. Think back to the times when a stranger has started a conversation with you or even just commented on something you both just witnessed.  In the vast majority of those instances the person proved to be interesting, friendly and good natured. So say hello to strangers and start a dialogue. You'll be glad you did, and happier.