When I was a teenager, I worked at a telemarketing company setting up appointments with homeowners for thermal window presentations. We were each given a very small cubical, a phone, a few torn-out pages of the reverse directory phone book, and instructed to call everyone up and down each street until someone said “yes.” One of the very few tools we were provided with was a mirror mounted directly in front of us, so we could see our facial expressions as we spoke with people. Underneath the mirror, there was a small sign that said, “smile and dial,” because people can indeed hear a smile in our voices. Try this with your friends. Speak on the phone with a smile and then without. Have them tell you when you are smiling. Invariably they will guess correctly. Remember, our clients can hear our smiles too!
It’s been said that a smile only has value after you give it away to someone else. That’s not just touchy-feely, tittle-tattle either; there is a plethora of hard, scientific data to back that up with facts.
A 2001 study from Jörn P.W Scharlemann shows that a smile increases trust amongst people by 10%. A 1991 study by Hinsz & Tomhave shows that when you smile, you get reciprocal smiles from 50% of people (pretty good odds!). A 1978 study by Tidd, Kathi L.; Lockard, Joan S., titled the “Monetary significance of the affiliative smile: A case for reciprocal altruism.” showed that service staff earned significantly more than their slack-faced, bovine-like peers. If you’re not sold yet, a 1952 study by Abel & Kruger suggests that smiling people outlived their forlorn friends by an average of 7 years!
The eyes are also powerful communication tools. More than that, our eyes tell people if our smile is genuine or not. A smile that engages only the mouth is forced. A smile that includes the eyes is real. These genuine smiles are called a “Duchenne” smiles, named after a 19th-century neurologist from France who figured all this stuff out. Also, make sure when you smile, that you proudly display your crow’s feet–we all have them! It’ll show the world that you are indeed happy to see them and that you have been smiling for a long, long time!
Let’s begin each day with a big smile, wear it on the way to the bank, and enjoy a longer and happier life.
Copyright 2018 Paul Edgewater All Rights Reserved
Left: “Moses” sculpture by artist Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
Right: “A Life For Art” painting by artist Carl Paoli http://www.carlpaoli.com
If you are a regular reader of my material, you know that I love to make my point with analogies, similes, and metaphors*. I believe that these communication tools make it much easier to influence others because the reader/listener/recipient can embrace a concept that is an already-accepted notion.
I present the reader with two analogies that I believe illustrate a point I like to make during my talks. We may want to look at our lives as pieces of art. For this example, I’d like the reader to think of your life as both a painting and a sculpture. When we set goals for ourselves, it’s essential to be sensitive to time and what can be accomplished in the finite amount of time we’ve been given. For example, let’s look at the physical goal of getting into shape. There are two things we need to concentrate on: doing some things and not doing other things. For instance: Doing exercise and not overeating. Both are equally important and should be done in concert with one another. Let’s dig a little deeper.
Think of your TO-DO list like you’re painting a picture. We can look at our lives and goals as a blank canvas. We can add color and texture and subject matter until we become what we envision for ourselves. The possibilities are myriad, and we can keep adding elements (doing things) until we finally see what we envision for ourselves. These include, but are of course not limited to: going to school and getting a degree, or attending seminars, going to the gym, reading a book, starting healthy habits, etc. It’s essential to keep the following in perspective: we can’t ‘undo’ the things we do. We will either benefit from our actions, or learn from them, but we have to do them. The master painter, John W. Gardner, said, “Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.” So don’t be afraid; just live! Finally, as Tony Robbins says, “take action!” So make a list of your ‘to-dos’ and start doing them!
Next, think of your TO-DON’T list like you’re carving a sculpture out of a block of stone. This list will include all of our bad habits, bad thinking, and bad decisions. When it comes to our negative proclivities, we have to cease and desist; it’s that simple. Again, using a metaphor, the following may or may not have transpired, but it illustrates a truth.
The story of Michelangelo being congratulated at the unveiling of his immortal David.
“How in God’s name could you have achieved a masterpiece like this from a crude slab of marble?” a fan is supposed to have asked him.
“It was easy,” Mike is said to have said. “All I did was chip away, everything that didn’t look like David.”
We should ask ourselves; what about me now is superfluous, useless, or worse, harmful? After we figure that out, we need to chisel away those parts of us and get rid of them. What can we learn from this exercise? Often, much what we want to become is already inside of us, and all we have to do is get rid of the parts of us that get in the way (our ‘to-don’t-list), then take the time we’re saving with that action and start doing the things that improve us (our ‘to-do-list). Think again about losing weight. Those six-pack abs are hiding behind a layer of fat. Get rid of the fat and expose the abs. The parts of us that need to be chipped away can be physical things (like the fat), but also intangible things like bad habits (like over-eating) and poor thinking (like a bad attitude). There’s another ‘plus’ to not doing certain things: Contrary to not being able to ‘undo’ actions we take in the painting analogy above, we don’t have the same risk with our ‘to-don’t’ list in the sculpture analogy. It is challenging–if not impossible–to regret not making poor decisions or taking counter-productive action. For instance, we can never be hit by the train if we don’t take a chance trying to cross the tracks when it’s coming. We are all guilty of doing things we shouldn’t be doing, and not doing them makes our lives so much better. The masterpiece of David lies in wait in all of us. All we need to do is chip away; everything that doesn’t look like what we want to become. These are usually going to be poor habits. Rarely do we have to change a good habit to make our lives better. So make a list of your ‘to-do n’ts’ and stop doing them!
Bonus tip! If you’re like me and have used the excuse that there isn’t enough time in a day to develop the habits we need to do to succeed, we can stop doing that. Because when we eliminate our bad habits, we free up the time necessary for the good habits to take over. Win-win!
Are you still not convinced that expunging bad habits will free up your time for good habits? According to Nicole Fisher, healthcare contributor to Forbes online, Americans spend an average of 12 hours a day in front of a screen! TVs, computers, mobile devices are taking up 1/2 of our lives! But it’s actually far worse than that sounds. If we sleep 8 hours out of every 24, this means we’re awake 16 hours a day. If we spend 12 hours of waking time in front of screens, 75% of the time we’re not sleeping, we’re wasting away watching other people live their lives instead of living our own. After you read this, please put away the device you read it on—or walk away from it—and keep walking until you put in a few miles!
Finally, Zig Ziglar said it well: “Lack of time isn’t the problem; lack of direction is.”
Thank you for your interest! If you found this useful, please subscribe and share!
Please visit Carl Paoli’s website. He is one of the greatest artists of our era.
Be sure to read my other metaphors about Personal Development:
*One of my favorite books on the subject is “I Never Metaphor I Didn’t Like” by Mardy Grothe. It’s an excellent compilation, and it’s available on Amazon.com (see my review of the book there too). Click the link below and buy it. It’s a cool book, and he has many other worthwhile works as well. Note: Keep an open mind when reading Grothe’s material, as he has a tough time hiding his political leanings. If you can put those aside, you’ll enjoy his work thoroughly as I do. https://www.amazon.com/NEVER-METAPHOR-DIDNT-LIKE/dp/B006G899N4/ref=cm_cr_othr_d_pdt_img_top?ie=UTF8
I receive a lot of emails every day. Many are people are soliciting my business, and I don’t mind this at all. What I do mind is how people craft their message. Without knowing it, many people who write email marking campaigns are irritating the very people they are trying to close.
Here are two tips to NOT piss off your prospects.
1st tip: When expressing why we are reaching out to the recipient, it’s best not to use passive language like:
“I wanted to see if you are interested…”
“I just wanted to check up to see if you had any questions…”
Do not make apologies for reaching out. Don’t preemptively dismiss your proactivity. You have nothing to defend.
Instead of writing an email that says:
“I just wanted to touch base and see if you were interested in…blah, blah, blah…”
Write this instead:
“Your time is valuable, as is mine. If you are interested in learning more about my offer, let me know. If you have no interest, please let me know that too, and I won’t bother you anymore. We are both too busy to spin our wheels. Thank you and much success.”
Stop apologizing for striving for your success. Frankly, it pisses off people who have their act together. I want to know you are busy and I want you to value your time as much as I value mine. Grow a set and talk to me like an adult and not like a scared child. If I don’t respect you, I’m not giving you my business. Don’t apologize for reaching out to me!
2nd tip: Do NOT put “Re:” in the subject line on your first email. If you think your prospect is stupid, then do this. If you treat your prospect like a 12-year-old, they will act accordingly. When I see “Re:…” in the subject line when I know I never emailed this party, I want just to hit ‘delete,’ but I take the extra step of opening the email, unsubscribing and blocking the sender. How dare you put “Re:..” in the subject line when I didn’t email you first.
I want you to succeed, and the best way to do this is not to piss off your prospect.
Thank you for your interest.
The type of people who win at life, never change:
- Those of us who are unafraid of not belonging to a group.
- Those of us who celebrate rugged individualism.
- Those of us who lead and don’t rule.
- Those of us who are keenly aware of sowing and reaping.
- Those of us that set goals.
- Those of us that have contingency plans, yet rarely need them.
- Those of us who would rather be on the giving side of charity than the receiving side and make a point to be.
- Those of us who tithe.
- Those of us who reject the pretense of anyone who hasn’t walked the walk on which we are embarking.
- Those of us willing to share our life-learnings with those who are ready to learn.
There is nothing new under the sun and the rules of winning are constant and evergreen. Don’t reinvent the wheels of success; only refine them and improve upon them. Even as they are, they will serve us well.
For more information about winning at life, please visit me at:
My good friend and coach, Dave LaRue, shared a phenomenon with me that is common to many achievers:
“That worked so I well, I stopped doing it!”
At first blush, the statement seems whimsical or quaint, but it’s exceedingly profound. The lesson is consistency. Don’t let your drive to succeed be modulated like the AC/Heat on a thermostat (on and off and on and off, etc.). If something works, keep doing it and don’t stop doing it. Too many of us close the deal, lose some weight, achieve the goal, get the girl (or guy) and then stop doing the things that made us achieve those things. If we want to keep closing deals, keep the weight off, achieve more goals and keep the girl (or guy), we have to keep doing what got us those things in the first place, or they go away. Jim Rohn reminded us years ago, that if we don’t use something, we lose it. Disuse equals loss; every time. Personal development means growth and in order to grow, we can never go back to what we did in the past if it didn’t serve us. But if it worked, by all means, keep doing it and keep finding new ways to improve upon it!
For more information on Dave LaRue and his philosophy, click here:
For more information on me, click here: http://www.pauledgewater.com
Thanks for reading!
Here’s a great way to get past the ‘gatekeeper’ at any business when paying them a visit in person.
Assume that the very first person you see when you enter the place of business is either the owner, manager or the one in charge. Even if it’s completely obvious to you that this person may ‘just’ be the receptionist, or an employee, never ask this person if you can “see the owner or manager, etc.” We do this for two reasons:
- No matter what they look like, they very well could be the owner, manager, or the one in charge and you’ll be doing a lot of damage to your case for not recognizing that. Even if the person is in overalls and changing a lightbulb, they could be the main contact. If we ask this person something like, “is the owner in?” they will not be happy to have to tell us that they are indeed the owner. Always assume you’re speaking to the key contact and they will appreciate that you made this assumption.
- If you really are just speaking to an employee of the key contact, invariably they will get a ‘kick’ that you thought they were the owner or manager, etc. They will respond with something like “I wish” with a big, broad smile. But in the back of their mind, you have created a bond with this person; you thought they were special and they will like you for it. You have recognized this person’s potential for growth and greater things. If this person is a receptionist or a secretary, they will very likely let their guard down for you when it comes time for follow up visits and the like; they won’t be a gatekeeper anymore; they will be a welcoming committee.
Try this the next time you call on a prospect and you’ll see a marked improvement in how you are received at businesses you visit.
Note: this works on the phone too!! When someone picks up the phone, ask: “You’re the owner, right?” You’ll be pleasantly surprised how well this works!
It’s been said that our bodies communicate 90% of what we are saying, versus 10% for our words. We’ve all heard, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” We wield far more influence with our words when they are accompanied with positive body language. I’m not going to delve too deeply into this on this blog, as this is a study in and of itself. If you’d like to learn more about this subject, I would suggest that you study NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), the last word on the subject.
For this blog, I’ll highlight what I have found to be the salient points of body language that have greatly helped me in my sales and business career:
• Smile! Pretty simple: Just wear your best smile as often as you can. Make sure it’s genuine and warm.
• Listen intently by maintaining eye contact.
• Make sure your posture is straight and strong
•Subtly nod your head to communicate an affirmative message to your prospect—whether or not you agree with them (more on that in my blog, Empathetic Selling https://edgewaterblog.com/2014/05/07/empathetic-selling/). A little nod is letting them know you’re present and paying attention.
• Pace your prospect’s style of speaking. Speak slowly if they do. Speak quickly if they do. Speak loudly if they do. Speak softly if they do. People like people who are like them and one of the quickest ways to establish rapport is to have a similar speaking pattern. Be careful not to mock them; do this with stealth.
This is the tip of the iceberg. I strongly encourage you to do your research on NLP and body language, not just for a sales tool, but in the interest of effective communication in all your endeavors.
Let’s examine the “Yes, yes, yes” method of closing the sale. At first blush, this tip may seem like a contradiction of my earlier blog, Assume The Sale, (https://edgewaterblog.com/2014/06/25/assume-the-sale/) when I suggested that you never ask a closed-ended question (one that could be answered with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’). So is this a contradiction to our last training? No.
In sales and business, we have to try everything until we find what works for us and depending on our personalities and our ability to persuade, this “yes, yes, yes” tactic can work wonders. Legendary sales trainer Brian Tracy, says that when people answer “yes” to a series of questions, they are more likely to say, “yes” to your ultimate proposition. The trick is to make certain that the questions you ask will indeed illicit a “yes” response; nothing that requires a commitment by the prospect. Come up with some ‘safe’ questions. For instance, if it’s nice out, ask the consumer, “Isn’t this a beautiful day?” They answer, “yes.” If your home team just won a big game, ask, “Isn’t it great that xxxxx won??” Again, they answer, “yes.” Then when it comes to asking someone to make a purchase, they are on a ‘yes-roll’ and the likelihood of getting them to make a purchase goes up exponentially (factoring that you still ask “which,” not “if,” during your close-see Assume The Sale). I’m suggesting that you have very upbeat, positive and light-hearted conversations with your prospect to grease the skids.
It’s important not to overdo this as we only have a small window of time to properly educate the consumer and too much fluff will annoy them. Formulate our questions in advance so that we’re not getting “no’s” about anything. It’s a highly effective tactic that will go a long way to increasing cooperation and compliance in all areas of our lives, not just when we’re selling.
Sometimes a clever joke in a movie or TV show is all that it takes to permanently alter the perceptions of the multitude. In the old TV show, The Odd Couple, the character of Felix Unger is in court and demonstrates why one should never “assume.” Click here for a link to the scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svkgOsr7pUc This logic was used once again in the original Bad News Bears movie in 1976. It’s a cute and clever joke, but ever since this joke was first proffered, generations of people have almost always assigned a negative connotation to the word “assume,” as if making an assumption is always a bad thing. Nothing could be further from the truth. Can we all agree that when we assume something to be so, it rarely results in all parties transforming into asses?
One of the greatest salespeople ever, Elmer Wheeler, used to instruct his students, “Don’t ask if, ask which.” In other words, don’t give your prospect a choice between something and nothing. Rather, give them a choice between something and something else. Instead of asking, “Would you like one of these knick knacks?” – ask instead, “Which one of these knick knacks would you like?” or “How many knick knacks would you like?” or “What color/size knick knack would you like?” Often when someone says “no thank you” to your offer, it isn’t because they’re not interested; it’s because you gave them the opportunity to say “no,” which often times is just a conditioned response. When you ask an “if” question, you are giving the prospect a choice between “yes” and “no.” This is what we call a ‘closed-ended question.’ These are to be avoided whenever possible. At worst, they end the sales process immediately with a “no” response and at best, you won’t have much to go on with a “yes” response. As salespeople, we are always trying to engage our prospects in conversations that reveal their needs and wants. If someone just gives you a “yes,” you now have to ask another question to dig deeper. Assuming the sale begins with asking open-ended questions that start with “Which,” “When,” “Where,” “What” and “How.” These will get your prospect reflecting, responding and revealing their real needs and wants to you.
Another part of ‘assuming the sale’ is to have the right attitude about your product or service. If what you are selling isn’t something that you’re completely sold on, you’ll have a hard time selling it. You should start your day with the assumption that since you’re sold, everyone else will be too. If you have reservations about what you’re selling, your prospects will be able to tell. If you are not sure about how you feel about this, do a little research into your product(s) and service(s) and do a little soul searching too; you may have to work somewhere else, or sell a different product or service to succeed. Anthony Robbins discusses this in his best-selling book, Unlimited Power. We have to be congruent to have the influence we desire. As salespeople, we have to be fully aligned in this area.
Assuming the sale is a one of the strongest tools for maintaining a positive attitude and succeeding. Our greatest successes will usually follow entering a situation with highest expectations of a successful outcome.
Nike reminds us: “Just Do It.” Don’t overthink sales, or how you’re going to approach prospects. The worst thing that’ll happen if you don’t close the deal is that you will learn how to not close the deal and you’ll get it right the next time. A perfect example of this was back in the late 1980s, I was the Chicago sales manager for Metagram America, a long defunct, alphanumeric paging/answering service, which at the time was the cutting edge in communications technology. It was a 24/7 live answering service that would answer your calls with a customized greeting and then send the user, what would today be called a text message, on a device that looked like a beeper. Remember those? All of our sales reps were issued one of these pagers and were tasked to hit the pavement. Many of the reps would sit in the office and spend hours figuring out their strategy for the day before getting in their cars and going on sales calls. At best, they would see about three to four prospects before coming back to the office to complain that they hadn’t closed any sales.
My number one salesman had a different strategy. I hardly ever saw him. The only time he would ever come in the office would be to get more literature and business cards. The rest of his time was spent talking to people about Metagram America. He would talk to hundreds of people every week and he sold more than anyone in the country. He ‘just did it.’ He didn’t over think it. He would strike up casual conversations with people he met at the bus stop, train station, at the grocery store— whenever and wherever he was. He didn’t take the process too seriously and his commissions were seriously large. I’m not suggesting that every company has a product or service that lends itself to this type of approach. I’m aware that some things can’t be closed without a lengthy and involved consultative process. But in all industries, a salesperson can still vacillate too long before getting the ball rolling.
The bottom line with regard to the numbers game is to do the math. There is a very good chance that you will double your sales if you pitch twice as many people. You will triple your sales if you pitch three times as many people and so on. Ask yourself how big of a raise you’d like, set your goals, do the math and hit the pavement.