Traits of Top Salespeople

"Top salespeople are flexible: they know how to adapt their sales presentation if their prospect’s situation changes."

Category: Product or Book Review

What’s at the next exit?

What’s at the next exit?

Most of us in the sales profession drive a great deal. Your territory may be named accounts in your city or maybe a geographic patch within the city. It also could be several states in your area.

No matter the size of your territory, you probably find yourself driving down the highway. During those long lonely drives when you are burning up your cell phone plan, you might get hungry or thirsty or need to visit a clean restroom. The more you drive your territory the more you learn the best exits to stop at. However, what do you do when you are driving an unfamiliar route? Or maybe, you are in need of a Starbucks. Or maybe, you are hungry for a particular brand of hamburger and don’t want McDonald’s but instead, you want Whataburger or In-N-Out Burger.

You could always do a search on your mapping application on your phone. But that isn’t especially helpful because as smart as your mapping application is, it doesn’t give you destinations in the direction that you are going on the highway. What good is it knowing that Starbucks is five exits the wrong way?

Put iExit on your smartphone. You will love it if you drive down the interstate regularly. Open the iExit app on or near any interstate nationwide and watch the magic unfold. It finds you automatically, shows you exits ahead, and allows for easy searching. Your GPS will tell you how to get there, but iExit will tell you where to stop along the way.

The app offers a directory of services and businesses within 1.5 miles of the next 100 exits you will pass. This eliminates much of the guesswork that goes into road trips. Should you stop here, or will there be better food coming up? How far is the nearest gas station? Will there be a hotel in about half an hour? Now you know.

In addition to hotels, restaurants and gas stations, iExit will locate rest stops, campgrounds, RV parks, hospitals and diesel fuel. If you tap on the icon for each service or business, it opens with more details.

So the next time you are hurting for a Starbucks, open up iExit. Put Starbucks in the search window and you will be rewarded with every Starbucks convenient to the highway for the next 100 exits.

The app is available for an iPhone as well as Android.

I don’t get paid to recommend iExit to my readers. I am simply a fan and I use the app all the time.

Evernote as a business card reader

Evernote as a business card reader

If you want to manage your relationships with your prospects and customers, you will need an effective and quick way to scan business cards to your personal and professional database. Evernote provides an effective way to accomplish this tedious task.

It is very possible that your employer requires you to put this information into their corporate database. This is perfectly acceptable. Your employer pays you and you represent them to your prospects and customers, therefore, they have every right to ask you for information about those that you meet. However, this does not preclude that you maintain your own list of people that you have met – you are not forced to forget everyone that you met when you leave an employer.

Regardless of where you store your contacts, you need an efficient method for taking the information off of a business card and getting it into your computer. Your basic choices are:

  • Pay an assistant to transcribe the data.
  • Manually transcribe the data yourself.
  • Use an optical character recognition (OCR) tool to accelerate your own efforts.

I have used several OCR tools in my past. My current favorite tool is to use Evernote. I find it to be very efficient and quite accurate. I use an iPhone and here is some assistance in using Evernote to increase your efficiency with scanning business cards.

The business card camera captures the clearest possible images of your business cards and saves everything into a contact note including:

  • Name, title, company, and additional contact info
  • An image of the card
  • A photo of the person and LinkedIn profile information (when available)

Business card scanning is an Evernote Premium feature. Basic and Plus users can currently get 1 year of business card scanning for free when they connect Evernote and LinkedIn.

Using the business card camera

Start scanning cards

To start scanning:

  • Make sure your device is connected to the internet.
  • Open up Evernote.
  • Hold the “+” icon on the bottom of Evernote and three icons will appear. Slide to the ‘Photos’ icon from the quick note panel on the home screen of Evernote on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Position the camera over the card so that the edges of the card remain in view. The camera automatically detects, focuses, and captures the business card (there will be a green overlay on the card). Note: If the business card isn’t automatically detected, tap the button in the upper right corner to turn Auto Mode off.
  • Once the business card is captured, Evernote displays all the information recognized from the card. If you are logged into LinkedIn and the email from the card matches a LinkedIn profile, Evernote pulls in additional information about the contact.

Review and edit contact info

It is a good idea to review the information scanned from cards to verify if it is the way you want it to appear. If Evernote finds a matching LinkedIn profile, Evernote imports additional contact information from that profile and adds a LinkedIn icon beside any of those corresponding fields.

If any of the scanned information needs to be edited, do the following:

  • Tap the field to edit the information.
  • Tap Save to save to Evernote as a new contact note. To scan additional cards, tap Back to camera or tap Done to finish.

Connect with LinkedIn

Evernote automatically build a content-rich note around business cards you scan. Business cards become searchable contacts in Evernote with full contact information, a link to their current LinkedIn profile, and a photo, plus a section for notes.

You don’t have to be connected with the person on LinkedIn for this to work. As long as you’ve connected your LinkedIn account to Evernote, you’ll automatically get the person’s profile info and photo. After scanning their card, you’ll have the option to connect on LinkedIn, share your own contact information, or save the new person’s info as a contact in your device’s address book.

If the scanned business card email address matches a LinkedIn profile email address, you can send a LinkedIn connection request from Evernote in one of two ways:

  1. Scan the business card and save the note. When you see the confirmation message, select Connect on LinkedIn. A notification appears to let you know the invitation has been sent.
  2. If you’ve already scanned the card, open that note and tap the Connect link.

Easily save new contacts

There are two ways to save contact information from every scanned card to the contacts on your mobile device:

  1. Automatically: To save information from every card scanned, simply tap your account name and select General > Camera > Business Cards and toggle ‘Save to Contacts’ on.
  2. Manually: Select Save to contacts from the options menu.

By default scanned cards are saved to the ‘Business Cards’ notebook. You can change this notebook and how cards are tagged from the Settings screen. Simply tap your account name and select General > Camera > Business Cards and select Notebook or Tag to change your preferences.

Photo by shinya

The Seven Deadly Management Sins Of Sales Managers

The Seven Deadly Management Sins Of Sales Managers

I recently read a great article by John Care, Managing Director of Mastering Technical Sales and author of the book Mastering Technical Sales: The Sales Engineers Handbook. His focus was on pre-sales managers but I actually think the seven sins were appropriate for any leader and definitely any sales leader. Here is a quick list but jump over to John’s article and read the rest of his discussion.

Management Sin 1: Expecting Perfection – You Are Only Human.

Management Sin 2: Micro-Managing the Detail.

Management Sin 3: Confusing Communications

Management Sin 4: Not Understanding Who The Customer Is – to modify John’s point in his article, a sales leader isn’t primarily serving the customer that pays the bills but the sales leader should consider his/her sales team to be the customer. Question for all sales managers: what did you do today that will enable your salesperson to hit their goals when you are not watching?

Management Sin 5: Giving Orders.

Management Sin 6: Losing Sight Of The Fight.

Management Sin 7: Ignoring The Needs Of Your Employees.

Think about the best and worst characteristics of all your previous managers. Make a list. That is a great start to positive and negative behavior for any presales leader. You must understand that, especially in high-technology settings, there are many ways to get something done – and only one of those ways is “yours.”

We have all seen great salespeople flop when they become managers. I believe there are two key reasons for this:

  1. The great salesperson really didn’t know how they were able to achieve greatness. Yes, they did most things correctly, but they didn’t understand why they were doing those things. This caused them to be unable to effectively share these techniques with their teams.
  2. The great salesperson thought that managing was different than selling. If the sales manager looks at each of their team members as an individual customer and tries to think about how to “sell” that individual on the manager’s goals, the entire process would go differently. For instance, you would never “tell” a prospect that they have to do X. Instead, you would explain to a prospect why doing X was in their best interest and helped the prospect achieve his or her goals. When you treat your direct reports like a prospect, everyone wins.

You should read the entire article by John on this subject. It is excellent. Please download it here.


Owler is a reasonable substitute if Google Alerts is confusing to you

Owler is a reasonable substitute if Google Alerts is confusing to you

I actually prefer to use Google Alerts to find news about my prospect and customers. I find it a bit easier to control the output. I explain my technique in my book. However, some people get confused by the complexity of carefully scripted Google searches and Owler is a good tool if you are in that camp. Thank you to Mr. Carpenter for suggesting it to me via his book as I didn’t know about this tool before reading the book.

TIP # 109 Use Owler . Owler is a good free resource for finding news ( trigger events ) about prospective companies. This is great information to use in personalized emails.

Carpenter, E.R. Brain Dump: 167 Tips & Tricks from a Six-Figure Sales Prospecting Legend (Kindle Locations 634-635). Forest Wade Press. Kindle Edition. (content reformatted to make it easier to read on this site)


Use Hunter to find email addresses (I like it even though I am a Trapper)

Use Hunter to find email addresses (I like it even though I am a Trapper)

I love Hunter. I didn’t know about it until I bought Mr. Carpenter’s book. It was a great tip and made the entire price of the book worth it. There are lots of other tips that will probably help you. If you close one deal because of the book, it is well worth the investment. No, I do not get a commission for plugging the book, I am simply a fan.

TIP # 104 Use Hunter to find email addresses. It’s free and it appears right in LinkedIn. Just enter the domain name, click a button and the software tells you the most likely email address for the prospect. I imagine it pings the mail server. Capture is another good one to use but it’s fee-based.

TIP # 105 Go to Google and type *@domainname to find email addresses. It’s a wildcard search that can result in finding at least one email address at the prospect’s company. Use the found email address to determine the structure of other email addresses. For example, if I worked at BMW and the domain name is, you should search *

Carpenter, E.R. Brain Dump: 167 Tips & Tricks from a Six-Figure Sales Prospecting Legend (Kindle Locations 617-622). Forest Wade Press. Kindle Edition. (content reformatted to make it easier to read on this site)

Talk Money Instead of Percentages

Talk Money Instead of Percentages

Mr. Carpenter doesn’t need a preamble to this tip. It just makes good sense!

TIP # 73 Talk Money Instead of Percentages. If your product or service can save your prospect money or provide a significant return on investment, tell him the value in dollars. For example, if you discover that he is spending $ 100,000 a year on IT maintenance and your solution can save him 30 % per year, tell him you can save him over $30,000 a year. You can bring home the value when you translate that into what he could do with the money, such as hire a new assistant or free up money for advertising.

Carpenter, E.R. Brain Dump: 167 Tips & Tricks from a Six-Figure Sales Prospecting Legend (Kindle Locations 423-427). Forest Wade Press. Kindle Edition.

Stay current so you can stay relevant

Stay current so you can stay relevant

Your job as a professional salesperson is to engender confidence in your prospect about your abilities. You need to know as much about your prospect’s business as possible. In the case of a tie regarding your product and/or your company, you need to make yourself the reason that your prospect buys your product. In my book, I give suggestions on how to track news about your prospects and customers. Mr. Carpenter does the same in his book and even gives a great template for communicating that information to a prospect.

TIP # 8 Quote news about the prospect’s company and the source of that news. Using news stories about your prospect is one of the better ways to personalize your message to her. It allows her to know that you are thinking about her company and not 400 similar companies too. When using news stories, be smart about it. If you discover a problem the company is having that your company can solve, by all means, use it. Yet you don’t necessarily need to find a problem to use the news as a trigger event. Good news about a company such as growth, relocating, or hiring a new CFO could all be reasons to reach out. For example, if their stock is rising, you could share how your solution can help the stock to continue to rise. If the company is relocating, perhaps your marketing solution might be just what they need to keep their customers informed. It’s impossible to mass produce trigger event – prompted emails. That’s great because personalization is desperately needed in sales. However, you can always create templates to speed up the process. They would look something like this:

Subject Line : (Name): Regarding the (blank) article on (Company)

Hey (Name) –

I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to reach out to you specifically because I read on (website) about how (company) is (challenge or pain). If this is still a challenge you’re dealing with, I have a few ideas on how you can solve it. One way is to eliminate no – shows on first sales meetings. That’s something we specialize in at ABC Company. ABC Company helps organizations with this challenge through our permission-based sales and marketing database. Executive prospects register for the database and tell us their top business challenge up front. Check out this case study we did with Coca-Cola at / cokecasestudy. Let’s schedule some time next Tuesday or Wednesday for a quick, demo/intro call. Just let me know what time works for you, and I’ll take care of the rest.

Let me know,

Emanuel Carpenter

Carpenter, E.R. Brain Dump: 167 Tips & Tricks from a Six-Figure Sales Prospecting Legend (Kindle Locations 137-155). Forest Wade Press. Kindle Edition. (content reformatted to make it easier to read on this site)

Keep value propositions short and sweet

Keep value propositions short and sweet

I frequently advise salespeople to focus your conversations on a prospect’s needs and goals. Mr. Carpenter, in his book, makes an equally great point that these conversations need to short and sweet.

TIP # 6 Keep value props to one or two sentences. If you can’t explain what you do and how you’re the best at doing it in two short sentences, you have a problem. Being concise is the name of the game when writing sales prospecting emails (or having conversations in the hallways) If you can’t narrow it down to two sentences, get together with your marketing department to brainstorm on how to do it.

Carpenter, E.R. Brain Dump: 167 Tips & Tricks from a Six-Figure Sales Prospecting Legend (Kindle Locations 128-131). Forest Wade Press. Kindle Edition. (content reformatted to make it easier to read on this site)