One More Way to Rock Your Job in Sales

by Juliana Dixon, Social Media & Marketing

Sweaty palms? Dry mouth? Racing heartbeat? All are potential symptoms of Promotion Obstacles which are so common among salespeople. Promotion Obstacles are ways of thinking, or behaviors, which keep us from telling other people about our company like we should. As you may have heard, we’re now offering training to overcome those obstacles with our ExtraBold Sales workshops. Catherine has been leading these for over a year now. A few months ago, she invited former attendees to join her on Facebook for more accountability and real world tips but now she wants to invite everyone regardless of workshop attendance! Here are a few of her more popular posts-

  • "When feeling fearful or nervous, we start deciding that no response from potential customers means something other than ‘they are busy.’ Don't start deciding for your prospects by giving up your outreach too early!”
     
  • "Trying to ignore negative thoughts doesn't work. Own it and move forward.”
     
  • “I could create an advanced degree today in things to do that take up your day but are non-Revenue Generating Activities! Resist the pull, people!”
     
  • “Good morning, ExtraBold promoters! If you are like me, you are juggling wrapping up the sales work that can realistically be finished before the holidays really kick in and finishing getting your own household ready for this coming weekend. I'd encourage you to take a few minutes each day, maybe 15-20 minutes, and make your notes to set up your "to dos" for getting in touch with people you want to call... Get your data in order and set tasks for yourself so when you sit down to work, you feel organized and ready to jump into those Revenue Generating Activities!”

Want more? Join the conversation and be sure to watch her live videos on topics such as Generosity and Behavioral Self-Handicapping here and start rocking your job in sales.

"Everyone Lives by Selling Something" -Robert Lewis Stevenson

by Juliana Dixon, Social Media & Marketing

This quote may be a surprise if you know anything about Robert Louis Stevenson. As a writer, poet, and composer, what did he know about selling? But stop and think about it- if a writer fails to write a compelling story, no one will pay for it. He must write in a way that is artful and and enthralling or he loses his reader, no one recommends the book, and he is penniless. The sale of the book begins when she puts pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and before marketing and editors step in. A technician must sell confidence in their ability and workmanship or they are unlikely to be hired or get a referral. A non-profit will not raise money if they cannot, with confidence and clarity, convince others of the need and importance of the organization and the trustworthiness of themselves. One does not need a title to be in sales but everyone should be mindful of the sales necessary for any role in which they find themselves.

In the movie Say Anything, recent high school graduate Lloyd Dobler famously says to Jim, the father of his girlfriend, “I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed... or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed... or repair anything sold, bought, or processed.” And we love his honesty and sincerity. But in the next breath Lloyd says: “…what I've been doing lately is kickboxing, which is really a, uh, new sport, but I think it's got a good future. As far as career longevity goes, I don't really know, because, you know, you can't really tell. You’re eight and six as a fighter, you know, but it's no good, you know, you have to be great, but I can't really tell if I'm great until I've had a couple of pro fights. But I haven't been knocked out yet.” Lloyd, in that moment, is actually selling to Jim. He’s selling his passion, the legitimacy of the sport, and his ability to do well in it. Does Lloyd do a good job? That’s debatable. He certainly would have made a more compelling case for kickboxing had he not been so sales adverse. Robert Louis Stevenson doesn’t say everyone sells well, just that we all sell and we depend on it. When we’re more conscious of that fact, we're going to do better in our jobs.

Are you a manager, small business owner, consultant, lawyer, doctor, engineer, or even a job seeker? What do you sell in your job? Identify what you are selling and allow sales to become a more natural part of your mindset and practice. You’ll likely find you do better at your job.

Having an Attitude of Gratitude

While there are circumstances in life and work which seem to strive their best to bring us down, we choose to remember those things we’re thankful for. Science says there is value in seeking to be grateful. With that mindset, here are some statements of gratitude and thankfulness that we’ve reflected on this year. We hope as you read you’ll not only get to know us, but also be inspired to make your own list and focus on those good things this season. Happy Thanksgiving!

“I am grateful that I like everyone with whom I work; many other people don't like their boss or their co workers and I'm grateful for such enjoyable, bright, talented people with whom I can walk through life. I'm grateful that my family is healthy and that they love the work they are doing. I'm grateful for slow times at work that allow us time to slow down and write and think.” Catherine Brown, President

“My family has had a big year with selling our house and a cross country move so I’m very thankful to be on the other side of it! I’m grateful for the wonderful opportunity I have in working with such thoughtful and kind people and the flexibility it allows. And, right now at this very minute, I’m especially grateful for cooler weather and pretty fall leaves!” Jolly Dixon, Social Media & Marketing

“Professionally 2016 marks my seventh year of working for Initial Call and with Catherine Brown...I am thankful for a job that is full of diversity and I am grateful for a professional journey that has allowed me to partner and work beside bright energetic people who are dedicated to excellence...I am also grateful for my good fortune in having amazing clients with creative businesses and the drive to grow those businesses. I recognize it is a rarity to partner with colleagues and customers that welcome new ideas and enjoy creating strategic sales solutions and I am so thankful.

Personally it has been an amazing year full of change and and unexpected events. I started out 2016 with a fairly small family of one beautiful adult daughter, one loving adult son an amazing daughter-in-law and one precocious grandson. I am closing out 2016 with a daughter, a son, a daughter-in-law, three step daughters, one step-son, one step-son-in-law and nine, that’s right nine grand children ages 4-17. My life looks absolutely nothing like it did a year ago or is at all what I expected. And I am shocked, amazed and so very thankful.” Elisabeth Hodges, Project Manager

“I’m thankful for having the flexibility to do a variety of work I enjoy. Every day is different, so I'm never bored! I’m thankful that my kids are getting older and more independent. They are growing up and sooner than I realize they'll away at college. I'm just not sure if I'll be thankful when they start driving or terrified! I’m grateful for my ‘tribe’-- friends and family -- who I share celebrations and sorrows with. It is a gift to be surrounded by to many people I love and who I know love me.” April Karli, Webmaster

“I am thankful for a husband who lives a Christ centered life and lives his life as an example of what it means to have a daily walk with Christ. I am thankful that my children have grown to be faithful followers of Christ and live by example at college, I am thankful for all the great things that they continue to accomplish at the University of Missouri. I am thankful for the life that Initial Call has allowed me to have, one that allows me to work and use my skills and also be at home to handle all of the family manager duties and raise my kids.” Laura Killough, Sales Manager

"Of all of the many things I'm grateful for, at the top of my list is my education. Critical thinking skills and educational curiosity fostered by GREAT teachers have served me well... For me, my education is the fundamental thing that has afforded me all of the opportunities I've had, the people I've met and the adventures I've experienced. It's always been clear to me that I "own" my own perspective; that it's my responsibility to defend my thoughts, actions and beliefs. An open mind and critical thinking skills are the foundation of sound, informed decisions. The kind of decisions that impact a lifetime. My life is measurably better because my education was outstanding and I appreciate it every single day." Barbara Lacke, Project Manager

“I am thankful for good, and I mean *good*, coffee.
I am thankful for the sounds of the ocean.
I am thankful for the variety of friends I have in my life.” Gail Straughn, Office Manager

Is Sales As Scary As Halloween?

by Juliana Dixon, Social Media & Marketing

Halloween isn’t my cup of tea. While I totally love the candy aspect of it, I’m not into being scared for fun. Haunted houses and scary rides get crossed of my list of things to do in October before they’re even on the list. Can that happen? I think it can. How do I know I don’t like those things though? Well, I’ve been through enough of them to know! There is one thing that is pretty great about being scared- the huge relief when it’s over and you’re ok! Could it be like this in sales?

When it’s Halloween, I can choose to avoid the scary things. However, we can’t avoid aspects of our job which we may find scary. If we don’t pick up the phone, ask for the referral, write that email, or make that presentation, we’re not going to close business and we’re not going to put food in our fridge. If everyone gets nervous (or even fearful sometimes) about some part of their work, then our response to that feeling makes all the difference. Are we going to avoid the situation as best as we can or are we going to face it head on?

The key to a right response is changing the way we think about what is making us fearful. At a haunted house, I have to remind myself that it isn’t real. On sales calls, we can remind ourselves that our customers need our product and that we are helping them by selling to them. We can remind ourselves that getting in touch with some people may take several tries and that isn’t being pushy, people are just busy. When we reframe our thinking, it becomes easier to do those things we once found difficult or even fearful.

When you experience that relief in sales, when you finally get through to the person you’re wanting to reach, when you get the referral you asked for… that bravery is motivating! And I guess that’s why people love haunted houses too. They’ve been brave and have overcome fear. Working on our sales fears is no different than getting up the nerve to get on a spooky ride. We just have to work on changing the way we think and that changes what we do. The relief and feeling of accomplishment on the other side is glorious.

Even A Pro Gets Nervous

by Catherine Brown, President Initial Call

I was meeting with a friend yesterday who had attended an ExtraBold sales training course in Oklahoma City earlier this year and he shared that of all the new concepts he learned in the class, one of the most helpful ideas he took away from the workshop was knowing that when he feels nervous in performing sales activities, he knows he’s not alone. Everyone gets nervous while promoting something sometimes. Why is it that we think our problems are unique and our struggles are not universal to the human race? 

I tend to believe these myths also, believing I’m the only one who thinks that when a prospect doesn’t return my phone call, it means that they are annoyed that I reached out to them, assuming the prospect doesn’t like me and they think my services are dumb. I wrongly believe that after so many years in sales, I shouldn’t get nervous. These ideas just aren’t true! The more I train people who promote various products and services, the more I see that we are all the same: we all think that no one else worries about what worries us. 

When someone doesn’t call you back or email you back or text you back, the silence means they are busy. Silence doesn’t mean your service stinks or that you’re not smart or that your mission isn’t worth promoting. Silence means people are busy. Silence is neutral. Silence isn’t bad. We have to begin to believe that it’s possible that we believe things about ourselves and our work in sales that just aren’t true. 

There are many reasons that people believe things that aren’t true. Perhaps you’ve rehearsed a script over and over in your head that says something like, “Don’t bother people. They won’t be interested in what you’re doing.” Perhaps you’ve had a negative experience with a pushy, insensitive salesperson as a customer and swore you’d never be like THEM, and now you find yourself in a sales role (surprise!). There are 100 reasons we believe what we believe but I am here to tell you, everyone feels nervous while selling and you are in good company. 

5 Things That Won't Happen at One of Our Workshops

by Juliana Dixon, Social Media & Marketing

It takes guts to admit when there’s a problem. Sometimes we don’t even know there is a problem until someone points it out to us. That’s what our workshops and testing do, open your eyes to ways your thoughts about sales are affecting your sales behaviors which in turn affect your sales outcomes. By addressing the root issue, your thoughts about sales, we can set you on the path to improved sales habits and even improve sales outcomes. With that in mind, here is what won’t happen at one of our half-day ExtraBold sales training workshops:

  1. You won’t get a list of tactics that promise big bucks or endless clients. You probably have been to plenty of seminars like that and you know what needs to get done you’re just struggling to do it or maybe you’re trying what you’ve been told to do and still not seeing sales. At our workshop you will learn about yourself and the role your personality and tendencies play in sales results.
     
  2. You won’t hear lectures that really don’t apply to your specific sales situation. You will learn all about the strengths and weaknesses that combine to make you the salesperson you are and you will learn strategies to reform your weaknesses and how to play to your strengths.
     
  3. You won’t be a bored wallflower. In these ExtraBold workshops, we get personal. We share struggles and we share successes. We laugh together and when it all clicks and you begin to understand yourself, you might shed a tear or two of joy. You’ll be surrounded by reluctant salespeople just like yourself who are beginning to be enlightened about how their thinking contributes to their sales outcomes.
     
  4. You won’t go away hungry… at least not in your belly! We include a light breakfast and, yes, it is satisfying. However, you will find yourself hungry to get back to the glorious work of sales now that you understand yourself better. You’ll find new enthusiasm and appreciation for your role and your ability.
     
  5. You won’t go away empty handed. You’ll have your unique Sales Preference QuestionnaireⓇ results that you can refer back to anytime you want. Plus, we’ve got training material you can really use (not just toss in the recycling), designed to help you improve as a salesperson. Not only that, but the workshops are a great way to find like-minded people with whom you can forge friendships and accountability.

Now that you know what to expect, what’s to keep you from coming? Click here for upcoming dates and to register. Deadlines are coming soon!

Ever Wish You Had a Sales Coach?

by Elisabeth Hodges, Project Manager

I love working with really smart people don’t you? If you were to look at my StrengthsFinder Profile you would see that my number one strength is “Relator.” Please forgive me, you brilliant folks at Gallup, but I think the term is a little misleading. It doesn’t mean I like to be surrounded by people or that I have an endless list of friends, it means I thrive on being a part of small excellent team. I am by nature driven to surround myself with people I can bounce ideas off of, compare progress with, ask what they would do in my situation. And that spans everything from my health and fitness goals to my business objectives.

As a sales professional or business owner do you wish you had someone you could bounce ideas off of when a deal seems to be going south? Do you wonder what to do to give your calling a boost?

In recent years, the presence and availability of professional coaching has been on the rise in nearly every professional setting and has shown a significant return on investment for companies and individuals. Initial Call is expanding our ExtraBold sales support services to include personal coaching and beyond. In early 2016 Initial Call launched ExtraBold, a call reluctance workshop, helping people understand their results from the questionnaire and learn how they can change the way they think about sales and the way they perceive themselves as they cold call. Now we are incorporating personalized sales coaching.

ExtraBold sales coaching can help you strengthen your scripts, improve the way you function daily, help you ditch any bad sales habits or self defeating beliefs and much more. How do we accomplish this? 

It starts with Initial Call Sales Professionals meeting with smart salespeople and business owners just like yourself and getting to know your sales situation, your sales psychology and helping you to find strategies to improve how you interact with prospects and improve how you sell. We want to help shift you from the conceptual information you gain from the survey and the workshop, to concrete activities that will strengthen your daily sales activities. We pull together a small coaching group of approximately ten (10) sales people, entrepreneurs or business people just like you that agree to work together virtually as a group and individually for twelve (12) weeks. We have six (6) group sessions: one every two weeks and then on the alternating weeks you meet with a coach individually to work on your specific areas of interest or desired personal growth. We are getting some great feedback from our participants. 

“I gained some vital tools to take with me that will improve our sales tactics and strengthen my personal sales skills.”

“I really appreciated having other sales people to bounce ideas off of and get their suggestions on situations that had me temporarily stumped.”

”I am truly amazed at how much I have changed my daily sales behaviors in just a couple of months. I feel much more productive.”

“It was refreshing to hear that I am not the only one struggling with some of these sales issues.”

What I have enjoyed most about this approach is that while individual coaching can help you reach your key sales objectives and bolster your activity, productivity, and effectiveness; the input from an engaged group of peers can take you beyond that. Coaching gives you a connection to other sales and business professionals where it is safe and productive to bounce your sales dilemmas off another person, get ideas outside of your current point of view and brainstorm new sales solutions.

Our next ExtraBold workshop is on August 26th. Join us for that class and the following coaching! Let’s see what we can do together.

What To Do When Your Brain Says "I Don't Wanna..."

by, Herschel Thompson, our guest blogger for the next few weeks. Herschel is a Business Developer at bfac.com

The beach is awesome. Our family just got back from a week at an uncrowded white sand beach and it was truly rejuvenating, refreshing, and life-saving (my father-in-law’s blood pressure set some record lows while we were there.) However, I don’t live at the beach…so, reality hit on Monday after vacation when I was paralyzed to start making calls. I’m a salesman, so no calls = no income. I was definitely motivated to get calling, but still couldn’t do it.

I’m not sure if you argue with yourself like I do, but I’m pretty good at it. “Donuts? No! I mean, maybe…okay, YES!” Despite the best of intentions on the Path to Success (see my last blog), I still make choices that lead me down the easy road…the road of non-revenue generating activities. The conversation in my head sounds like this: “Make the call! Later…after I read the mail, or catch up on social media, or after a snack…”

One great tool that the ExtraBold Sales coaching team has had me work on is the “Thought Realignment Log.”  It is copyrighted, so I can’t share too much of the actual questions, but it walks you through the details of your pending bad decision, realigns your decisions with your goals and motivations, diverts obstacles, and sets you on the right path. 

Since I was having some severe problems launching back into work after vacation, I pulled out my Thought Realignment Logs and starting thinking through my stall tactics and addressing them one by one. I challenged the negative thoughts, created a better vision and plan, then…made 20% more calls that day than I had planned on!

If you’re stalling, self-doubting, or just remembering time at the beach, creating a framework for moving forward despite yourself is critical to overcome the ‘back from the beach’ blues. But you have to have tools in place.

How do you get motivated or realign your negative thoughts and get to work?

Executive Q&A: With Catherine Brown

In case you missed it, our own Catherine Brown was featured in The Oklahoman's Executive Q&A. We were excited for the opportunity for everyone to get to know Catherine a little better and to learn more about Initial Call. From the article:

 

 

In case you missed it, our own Catherine Brown was featured in The Oklahoman's Executive Q&A. We were excited for the opportunity for everyone to get to know Catherine a little better and to learn more about Initial Call. From the article:

Oklahoma City entrepreneur Catherine Brown has built a growing business on something many salespeople and business owners fear doing: cold calling prospective customers.

Her 14-year-old company — Initial Call — provides companies nationwide with cold callers to find sales for them, and also trains internal staffs to decipher and defray any hesitations that may be sabotaging their sales efforts.

“Many people think of sales as a four-letter word; others think ‘used car salesman,'” said Brown, who is sales executive in residence for i2E Inc., a private nonprofit corporation focused on growing technology-based companies in Oklahoma.

“But sales is about initiating relationships with other people, and people should be proud, not embarrassed or afraid, to offer products and services that others may need,” she said. “Anyone who ever has to convince anyone of anything is selling.”

From her home office near Lincoln Boulevard and NE 13, Brown, 44, sat down recently with The Oklahoman to talk about her life and career. This is an edited transcript:

Click here to read the full transcript of the interview.

It's Normal To Be Nervous

by Catherine Brown, President

I am thinking a lot these days about why some people feel nervous when they have to call someone they don't know on the telephone but other people don't mind calling strangers. Why is it that some people have stage fright but others love speaking in front of a crowd and find the experience energizing? We all know that no two people are the same but chances are that SOME aspect of promoting yourself and your products makes you nervous occasionally. Nervousness and the "fight or flight" response to perceived threat has been researched extensively by Walter Cannon. Nevertheless, while it's normal and even human to feel nervous, the feeling can be debilitating in our professional lives and we must tackle this issue and work on addressing it!

Funny story: I have been selling services and recruiting people for work for over 20 years. I also volunteer for a few different organizations that I love, and in my volunteer responsibilities I sometimes have to call people I don't know. A few weeks ago, I was assigned a short list of past donors and I was supposed to make calls to these individuals to:

  • thank them for last year's financial support
  • tell them that this year’s fundraising letter was going out the door and
  • ask them if they were going to be able to renew their gift this year.

Originally, when the organization's Director asked for volunteers to take a few names to call, I thought, "Oh, this will be helpful… I can do that!" When I actually sat down to make the calls, though, the task made me very nervous...even though I've been calling on people for years! When I sat at my desk and stared at the names on the computer screen, I had a freakout moment. (For me, freaking out can mean all the saliva in my mouth dries up and I want to avoid the task, ignoring what I said I would do on behalf of the organization). I asked myself, “What is your problem? Why do I feel so nervous?”  In that moment, I was able to laugh at myself and realize that something was happening that I needed to address. I've learned, in studying how to overcome nervousness in sales, that I can choose to think of this situation differently: procrastination and avoidance were not the answer for me. Reframing the way I was thinking about the work and pausing to take note of my nervousness and its root cause WAS the answer.

The good news is that I did make the donor calls. The people I called were kind on the phone and I've since heard from the organization's Director that the donors renewed and increased their gifts. I hope this story encourages you that everyone gets nervous but not everyone perseveres. Let's be those who persevere!