Tag: trap

Great Salespeople Must Be Good Listeners

Great Salespeople Must Be Good Listeners

It has been said that “Rapt attention is the highest form of flattery.” I believe that Dale Carnegie said that quote first, but it is hard to tell and actually doesn’t matter. The quote is insightful.

If you want people to listen to you, then you need to listen to them. To truly listen to someone–not just to hear the words the other is saying but to pay attention to the message contained in the words–is the highest compliment we can give another person. It means that the other person is important enough to us so that we are willing to give him or her our most valuable commodity: our time.

Listening can provide a bond of intimacy that deepens our connection to others. It can enrich our personal relationships. It can increase our earning potential as a professional salesperson.

Listening is a skill that can be acquired and developed with practice. It is difficult to fully concentrate on what is being said rather than just passively ‘hearing’ the speaker. Here are some guidelines:

  • Minimize both internal and external distractions.
  • Show you’re listening by your nonverbal communication and physically demonstrate empathy to the speaker. Some self-help tomes that discuss listening will tell you to maintain a neutral physical position and not respond to the speaker. This is silly and unnatural. Show that you are indeed human and react to the speaker’s thoughts appropriately. The reaction will help you actively engage in the opinions being presented by the speaker.
  • Don’t interrupt and don’t be judgemental. Let the person finish what he is saying before you explain your point of view or ask questions. (More on this below)
  • Stay focused on the subject.
  • Be prepared to clarify and summarize what you are hearing. This will become even more obvious in the next few paragraphs, but you need to remind yourself that you are going to use this what the speaker is saying later in the conversation. This may require you to take physical notes but, at a minimum, you will need to make mental notes.

Once you have listened to what your prospect is saying, you need to do nothing. Take a breath. It doesn’t need to be a cleansing breath to relieve stress, but breathing is a great clock manager. Most adults do a complete breath cycle (in-then-out) in about three or four seconds when you are not exercising. Three or four seconds is a significant pause. During that pause, continue to look directly at the now silent speaker.

There are two reasons for the one-breath pause. The first reason is you need time to think about what you heard, and you need time to think about what you are going to say. The second reason is that nature abhors a vacuum and it is very likely that the speaker will fill this silence with more words. In that case, you will have more information about the next thing to say. In almost every case, you do not want to speak until the other person is completely done speaking (remember the “don’t interrupt” rule above).

During this one-breath pause, you must decide what kind of Trap has been just set for you. Make no mistake about it, if the prospect has just talked to you about things that pertain to you, your company, or your product then it is a Trap. I explain this much more in my book Eliminate Your Competition, but every response that you have to deal with is a type of a Trap. The three types of Traps are:

  1. Accidental Traps – this is honest information gathering by the prospect, not an actual evil Trap designed to destroy you. It is an opportunity to lose the sale, and it is an opening to Trap the competition.
  2. Unintentional Traps – In this case, the prospect doesn’t know he is being used by the competition. This is the most frequent type of Trap.
  3. Collaborative Traps – Competitors place these Traps with the full knowledge and assistance of the prospect. Collaborative Traps are relatively rare in most sales campaigns, but they are the most dangerous if misdiagnosed.

I discuss this in much more detail in my book. You may purchase my book Eliminate Your Competition from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at the most popular retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at such retailers as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

Now you need to respond. It takes practice to respond effectively. This practice should be in the comfort of your home or office. Maybe a co-worker or manager can help but if not, practice with a mirror.

Your response should be to escape the Trap that was just set for you and set a Trap in return. Remember, you are not trying to Trap your prospect; you are Trapping your competitors. Also, it is not a bad thing that you help your prospect find deficiencies in your competitor’s offering; you are helping them to make a sound decision with all of the facts. Also, you cannot set an effective Trap if you do not listen intently.

The four primary steps in escaping a Trap are:

  1. Clarify the meaning of the question.
  2. Acknowledge the business importance of the request.
  3. Respond to the request with a well-thought-out answer.
  4. Using the steps below, set a Trap that is similar to the original request.

The four steps in Trap setting are:

  1. Develop the need with Bait (this is explained more fully in my book Eliminate Your Competition).
  2. Confirm that you meet the need.
  3. Question whether the competition meets the need.
  4. Request feedback on how the competition responds.

If you haven’t read my book Eliminate Your Competition, this may seem difficult to pull off. Hopefully, after you have read my techniques in the book and you have practiced it a few times, it becomes easier to accomplish.

Escaping a collaborative or accidental Trap is much more critical and challenging to accomplish than escaping an unintentional Trap. The successful Trapper understands that he will lose the sales campaign if he cannot listen effectively and escape Traps.

Header Photo by Couleur (Pixabay)
You Lost The Deal – Get Over It! There’s No Crying In Sales

You Lost The Deal – Get Over It! There’s No Crying In Sales

You lost. The customer decided to use a competitor’s product. You will not be getting that commission check.


I will not insult you by saying that it is just business and wasn’t personal. It is affecting you in a very particular way. You may feel inadequate or anger. You may also be in disbelief. You may be frustrated and disenfranchised. You may also have some fear and doubt. There may be some loss of income or anticipated income due to this loss, and now you will have to tell your significant other that the check won’t be as big.

Worse than all of those feelings, you may feel shame within your peer group and your company.

These are all common feelings, and you shouldn’t kid yourself into believing that they aren’t there. Instead, you should deal with these feelings head on and accept them. Plenty of ‘feel good’ books out there will lift your spirits, and my book is not one of them, and this site is not for crying.

To steal Tom Hanks’ line:

There is no crying in sales.

The best advice I have is to get right back out there and keep selling. You need to internalize these feelings and make them motivate you to accomplish more and be more successful. You have just felt emotions that you don’t like and don’t want to feel again. Use this as motivation to avoid these bad feelings again or to have the desire to inflict these emotions on your competitors.

Ask yourself these questions (if you haven’t read my book Eliminate Your Competition then these may not make sense – maybe that is why you lost).

  • Did you fill in every box of the Power Matrix? Were all those people unique?
  • Did you set up a Relationship Map that mapped all of your resources to the appropriate person at the prospect?
  • Did you set up Personal Vision Goals for every person in the Power Matrix?
  • Were you late to the deal and you acted like a Hunter rather than a Trapper?
  • Did you lay out the evaluation plan for the prospect?
  • Did you lay traps for all of your competitors?
  • Should you have focused on the winning competitor differently? Was it an A competitor that has similar capabilities or was it a B or C competitor that took the evaluation into your weaknesses.
  • Did you effectively sell your product, your company, and yourself?

If you don’t understand these questions, then you need to spend time with my book Eliminate Your Competition. It is designed to help you win more frequently and maximize your commission. You may purchase my book Eliminate Your Competition from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at the most popular retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at such retailers as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.

You were outsold! Don’t make any other excuses for the loss. Accept it – you got beat. Now you must figure out what things caused you to be outsold. The wise outdoorsman trapper inspects all of his traps that are empty to find out if there is something wrong that the prey got away. You need to do that yourself if you want to be a Trapper. Hunter’s miss the target all the time and they make the excuse that the prey moved at the last second causing the miss. Farmer’s blame it on the environment when their efforts don’t produce results. Gatherers talk about all of the other business that they still have for that customer. However, a Trapper figures out what went wrong:

  • Did they not understand the prey?
  • Why didn’t the trap work?
  • Did they not place the trap in the correct location?
  • Did they use the wrong type of bait?

The big issue here is that you do not lie to yourself. You can lie to your boss. You can lie to your spouse. You can lie to everyone else, but do not lie to yourself.

Did you really do everything you could to win that deal?

Answer the above questions. Learn from your loss. Now get back up on that horse and make it happen.

Header Photo by JamesDeMers (Pixabay)
What Type of Bait Are You Using to Find Your Prospects?

What Type of Bait Are You Using to Find Your Prospects?

To be an effective salesperson (in other words, a Trapper), you must learn to create and use Bait.

Bait is information prepared to encourage the prospect to react in a certain way. Bait allows you to create a Trap that influences and controls a prospect.

Creating Bait may be very easy for you because your employer has adopted Trapper techniques. Others may struggle because your company has not realized how to perform many of the background steps of Bait development. Regardless of the tools provided by your company, the development and deployment of Bait is ultimately the salesperson’s responsibility.

If you do not understand the true driving reasons behind the prospect’s actions, you increase your chance of failure. Without this knowledge, you will only be delivering a pre-canned message to your prospect and will win only a small percentage of your sales campaigns.

Once you understand the exact reasons for the prospect’s interest, you can decide which unique benefits to explain. To do this, you must evaluate the competition and deduce which benefits you offer have an advantage over the competition and are of interest to the prospect.

Upon understanding the prospect’s reasons and identifying your unique benefits, you must deliver this information to the prospect in a way that is memorable, convincing, and persuasive. This will set up the prospect for a Trap that should help eliminate the competition.

It is very important to understand that if you have no difference between you and your competition, you have nothing to sell. Identify those differences and focus your time on explaining the value of the differences.

I spend a lot of time helping you create Bait in my book “Eliminate Your Competition” which helps salespeople become more effective. You may purchase my book “Eliminate Your Competition” from your favorite book retailer. The ebook version is available at the most popular retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. The paperback version is also widely available at such retailers as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million.