Peak Your Profits: The answer is in the question!


Q: Hi Jeff. First, I wanted to say how much I’ve enjoyed “Stop whining! Start selling!” My team and I are working on putting the book’s ideas into action. I’m not by nature a salesperson. Cold calling is my downfall. I am nervous, hesitant, uncertain, and scared to say the wrong thing. Do you have any ideas?

A: While you and others are welcome to make cold calls ... brrrrr! It gets cold enough in any city, without the added chill! Leverage your current customers for introductions and referrals. They already know you, like you, love you, and trust you. And they’ve proven it. How? They pay you!

Let’s quickly examine your life. Does your family know you, like you, love you, and trust you? Hope you said, “yes!” However, would it be fair to say, you give them money! That makes it easy for you to be their favorite!

With your clients or customers, not only do they have “affection” for you, they demonstrate it on a regular basis, whether it be with a check, P.O., wire transfer, or at the cash register! Master your referral skills, and you’ll drive new business quickly, ethically, and dramatically!

What will you add and earn? New customers. New revenue. New profits. New commissions. What will you diminish, or even delete? Your customer or client acquisition cost! How sweet is that?! Get to it. Start driving on your referral road to results! And keep me posted on your progress.

Status schmatus!

Q: Jeff, I’m a new, beginning speaker. Since you’re an inductee into the Speaker Hall of Fame, what would be the single most important thing I should do to attain your status?

A: My answer to you, would be the same. No matter what your profession, industry or focus is, forget about “status.” Instead focus on helping your clients or customers attain a more favorable future. Be committed to their successful outcomes, results, and benefits. While I’m proud of the letters that follow my name, J.D., CSP, CPAE, (Juris Doctorate, Certified Speaking Professional, and Council of Peers Award for Excellence), I never forget what matters most to my clients — how I can help them be more and make more?

Focus on action, not on awards. Focus on others’ success, not your status. Focus on deliverables, not designations. Focus on being meaningful and memorable. Don’t focus on medals and medallions. When you’re client-focused, now and forever, earned or awarded titles might come your way. Perhaps some day your peers, community, or customers will acknowledge and recognize you. Until then, let results — not grandeur — inform the world!

To hit it, admit it!

Q: Jeff, I am a CEO, and my salespeople are driving me nuts! Our numbers this month stink. We’ve only got a week left in the month to make up the losses. I am pushing them for immediate volume. Help!

A: Keep ‘em focused on the behaviors and attitudes to produce the right results — today, tomorrow, this week, this month, the third quarter, the year! Your number is your number.

The key is what steps to take to get there. They look to you and your other leaders for guidance, direction and counsel. So lead them!

Keep planting seeds about immediate actions that can generate immediate results, and immediate actions that will yield long-term annuitized results, too — the value of a customer over time.

If you’re too focused on, “We’ve gotta hit the number(s) this week,” your folks are likely to become manipulative with prospects and customers. There’s a big difference between helpful, persistent, and pro-active versus annoying, pushy, and coercive! It’s really tough to hit your numbers in any month and in any economy, if your folks aren’t the best trained and best prepared, with the best belief system, too.

While a “sell it now” philosophy can create quick sales volume, it can also produce “transactional” sales or business relationships and not the lucrative, long-lasting, and highly-profitable relationships. Hey, I love for stuff to happen now! Yet, I’ve learned that on occasion, significant results may take a wee bit longer to achieve. The implications of “how” you sell are actually far deeper than merely are your numbers being hit. It becomes a question of culture and values.

How do you want you, your people, and company to be perceived? By customers or clients? Prospects? Your community? Your industry? Don’t emphasize just hitting your numbers. Stress what customer or prospect problems will you solve this week, how will you make a difference in the lives or businesses of others, what impact will not using our product or service have upon our decision-makers, and what differentiates us. How does that best serve a buyer? What results, benefits, advantages, and outcomes do you deliver that competitors don’t? If you or your folks don’t know these answers, how the heck can they be communicated to your marketplace? When you do have these answers, and you can confidently convey them, you just made it a lot easier to not only “hit” your numbers, but blow by ‘em! Ain’t that fun!

By the way, when a salesperson is under achieving or over achieving, the questions you ask, remain the same. What are you doing that has produced these outcomes/results? How are you spending your time? What aren’t you doing that has produced these outcomes/results? Know that winners will answer the preceding with specificity. Whiners will answer in vague generalities. Specificity, focus and discipline always have and always will drive relationships, results and revenue.

Jeff Blackman is a speaker, author, success coach, broadcaster and lawyer who lives part-time on Marco Island. His clients call him a “business-growth specialist.” Send an e-mail to or go to to subscribe to his free e-letter.

© 2009 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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