Don’t let EXTRAORDINARY become ordinary

Have you let EXTRAORDINARY become ordinary?

You know the services that you offered and the first time your customer was absolutely thrilled, the second time they were happy, now they just expect it.

Once = an exception
Twice = a favor
Thrice = standard

The funny thing is that as people we don’t even notice it happening. Yet I received multiple responses to this month’s A Chip off the Block – Gorilla Edition when I wrote “I never buy anything at Macy’s without a 20% off coupon, they’ve trained me that if I wait a little while it will show up in the mail.” 20% off is now standard price, the customer doesn’t even see it as a discount.

One email said “So true!! I won’t shop at Macy’s w/o my 20% coupon!

Now I need you to consider – if as people we don’t notice it until it’s pointed out, it isn’t hard to see why salespeople don’t notice it either!

That brightly packaged present you’ve been handing over without ceremony or enthusiasm is like getting a cardboard box for your birthday without any singing, cards, noise makers or confetti. Where’s the EXTRAORDINARY in that?

There isn’t any – it is just plane ordinary without the EXTRA.

Never forget that what gives that birthday present the EXTRA is:

  • the though behind the gift
  • it’s timing
  • that it only happens once a year
  • how special you feel receiving it
  • the enthusiasm of the person giving it
  • gifts are an exception

Which leads us back to our customers (because when we are talking about prospects – it’s all new and feels special to them if we’re doing a good job).

All those things you did to earn their business…

  1. are you still doing them?
  2. do they still matter… ie: have a high level of importance to the client?
  3. what would happen if you STOPPED doing them?

Are you still doing them?

It’s funny to me how hard someone will work to EARN new business but then stop doing all those things that got them the customer.

Here’s a story for you: this guy Matt really wanted to work as an inside salesperson for a company…. so he researched, networked, interviewed THREE separate times, stalked the manager, and finally based on tenacity 1st and foremost… earned himself the job.

Then, didn’t show that same drive, dedication, OR tenacity after getting hired. Yup, he didn’t make it a year before he was fired.

Which customers have you let down by not showing up as the salesperson who earned their business in the 1st place?

Do they still matter?

Another tactical error is continuing to do business the same way without investigating how the landscape has changed. What was important when you earned their business – today may be insignificant.

We keep doing things as habit that may no longer get us the result we’re looking for.

Take your commute for example; if there is construction, going the same way to work will take longer – be more frustrating – and may not even get you there. For most of us that drive is habit and we don’t think about it.

When long term construction occurs, I’d challenge that you’ll end up STUCK in it multiple times before they finish – all because going that way has worked more times than not, so we drive without thinking.

Talk about their business & process to make sure you are relevant.

what would happen if you STOPPED doing them?

Here we are back to the problem with ordinary. If you asked a customer what they find  EXTRAORDINARY it may not be what you think.

#1 if it has become the 20% off coupon – they expect it and would notice if you stopped BUT it is ordinary.

#2 what is important to many of my clients are the things I ‘just do’, which means they will be noticed if I stop doing it BUT I might not recognize it as extraordinary.

Today ask your customers for the top 5 reasons they continue to work with you. Then ask again… and again… and again.

Keep the EXTRA in what makes you EXTRAORDINARY!

Action and Expertise combine to create Success – on Success

Action & Expertise combine to create Success… be sure you’re taking one, building the second, and defining the third for yourself! @upyourtelesales

Yesterday was all about Expertise – today lets talk about Success.

  • and defining the third for yourself

Success is an interesting thing; if you are judging your own success by looking at other people you are doing yourself a disservice. Yup – when you measure success in your career and life vs. other people you’ve got it all wrong.

What I’m telling you to do is look at your life ONLY and decide what will indicate success to you! Then go for it.

Is that a foreign concept? Well here are some examples, in no particular order, of answers some clients have given me when we are working on this:

  1. freedom
  2. financial security
  3. comfort for my family
  4. lack of worry

Why did I pick those four to share? It is because they don’t look like typical ‘salesperson success factors’. Most people expect some of the other answers I do hear:

  1. hit my goal for the year
  2. increase my paycheck
  3. earn insert award here
  4. be in the top 10

What may interest you is that when I hear the traditional answers, I ask What will that do for YOU? Which is when I get the answers from the first list, and yes – the answers match up 1 to 1, 2 to 2, 3 to 3, 4 to 4 between the two lists.

Yes that’s right; the answers are from the same salesperson!

When you’re deciding what success is, go past the surface and figure out the deeper result you are looking for in your life!

Action and Expertise combine to create Success – on Expertise

Action & Expertise combine to create Success… be sure you’re taking one, building the second, and defining the third for yourself! @upyourtelesales

Yesterday was all about Action – today lets talk about


  • building the second,

This is where we make sure our actions will move us in the right direction! That the steps we’re taking move us forward. That what we do every day makes us BETTER at finding opportunities, defining & qualifying them, then earning their business.

Malcolm Gladwell talks a lot about expertise in his book The Outliers, mentioning time and time again that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert – regardless of your field. I don’t disagree at all, but would like to add that you have to be practicing the RIGHT things.

Practice makes permanent ~ David Dolbear

Imagine if a ballerina practiced ‘en pointe’ incorrectly – not only would it not be graceful, she would probably hurt herself. The more incorrect practice the worse the injury would be PLUS it certainly isn’t making her into a prima ballerina.

Now that we’ve determined that we need to practice the right stuff – here is a breakdown of what 10,000 of practice AT WORK might look like:

  • 40 hours x 50 weeks (see I’m giving you vacation time) = 2000 hours/year
  • minus the 2 hrs/day we aren’t really working… leaves us with 1500 hours/year
  • of that 1500 hours – we might be focusing 1/2 the time = 750 hours/year
  • rounding DOWN – it will take us 13 YEARS to become an expert

Have you ever looked at it that way? Even if you add an extra hour each week of working toward expertise it nocks off a chunk of time to achieve expert status.

An extra 24 MINUTES each day will bring that time to 12 years instead of 13 (if you really do the math it is 11.76 yrs vs. 13.33 but who’s keeping track). For some people that would mean popping in an educational CD instead of listening to talk radio on their commute each day.

Add to that reading a sales book or *gasp* two, each year and there you are an expert!

Every single day if we are working to be a little better at what we do. Taking tiny steps forward toward expertise, you’ll be amazed at how quickly mastery will come.

Give yourself a leg up on the competition – spend 24 minutes today getting better at your craft, then come back tomorrow for Success.

Action and Expertise combine to create Success – on Action

This was a tweet I posted September 14th that keeps coming back into my head:

Action & Expertise combine to create Success… be sure you’re taking one, building the second, and defining the third for yourself! @upyourtelesales


  • be sure you’re taking one,

Currently I’m annoyed every time someone says “Work Smarter, not Harder.”

Why? because I truly believe the phrase was made for people who were already working hard! Today though it seems to be an excuse not to put in effort and take action.

I was doing a sales training program at a company and heard a salesperson say that who had been wandering around, getting coffee, chatting away with co-workers. BLECH – what that person needed to do was sit back down in their chair and dial the phone. Although I guess that is certainly smarter than what they were doing.

To misquote David Sandler, or perhaps Pete Morrissey the guy who taught me to sell to begin with – successful salespeople do the things unsuccessful salespeople fail to do.

The most basic of those things in telesales is to dial the phone – it is the foundation of everything else we do. Don’t confuse this idea with brute force (expertise is the next section after all) but without dialing the phone how will you talk to a human?

If you don’t talk to a human – how will you have a conversation? Perhaps even about business, their industry, or your product (crazy).

Which of course is how we find business opportunity – then talk some more to define it and qualify if we’re the best choice.

When we are the best choice… we sell stuff! To channel my inner soccer fan “S-C-O-R-Ehorns blowing, flags waving.

So sit down in your chair and dial that phone! Come back tomorrow for: Expertise

Shine On, Harvest Moon

My fellow Sales Blogger, Leanne Hoagland-Smith posted on Harvest Moon Madness – while my thoughts turned more to Shine On, Harvest Moon – first sung in 1909 but the Leon Redbone version of the chorus is what I was taught

Oh, Shine on, shine on, harvest moon
Up in the sky;
I ain’t had no lovin’
Since January, February, June or July.
Snow time ain’t no time to stay
Outdoors and spoon;
So shine on, shine on, harvest moon,
For me and my gal.

  • Are you one of the salespeople out there who “ain’t had no lovin”?
  • Or maybe hoping that the harvest moon will “shine on”?

If either one is the case it NOW is the time to look at what has put you into this predicament! Shining the harvest moon on the top 3 things you’re not doing.

Here are some favorite “not doing” items from the salespeople I coach:

  1. Cold Calling – it always amazes me the justification list salespeople can come up with as the reason they don’t have time to cold call. Many of the activities, in and of themselves, are valid – but become excuses on why NOT to do something that is uncomfortable.
  2. Asking “Why do you buy from me?” – this question is in my top 10 questions to ALWAYS ask, yet the fear is the customer will think of reasons to change their mind or not have a reason at all. Baring the sarcastic answer of ‘maybe I shouldn’t’ (which is usually followed by a snort or laugh) the important Customer Facing Reason for asking this is simple – how else will you make sure you keep doing it?
  3. Asking Tough Questions – why didn’t I give you the tough question? because what ‘tough’ is depends on where you are in your sales career AND you’re personal hang-ups. I always have a tough question I’m trying to add into my repertoire, once the question becomes easy… I put another post it up on my computer with the next one to work on. What’s your tough question?
  4. Calling Difficult People – ‘difficult’ is another vague word that might range from grumpy all the way to sweet yet unhelpful. We all have difficult people in our account bases – the one’s we roll our eyes when it’s time to call. Back to the notes from #1… many times we will find lots of excuses on why today isn’t the right day to call.

Once you can identify your top 3 things you’re not doing – the only fix is to DO THEM. I know, sound so simple doesn’t it?

When I first got into sales, one of the trainers said “Successful salespeople, do the things unsuccessful salespeople fail to do.” Notice there is nothing about LIKING to do them… WANTING to do them… or BEING COMFORTABLE doing them…

Stop making excuses and start doing.

  • If you’re missing a skill set – learning = doing
  • If fear is stopping you – facing the fear = doing
  • If you’re uncomfortable – pick an accountability partner and do something together
  • If you don’t like it – focus on the result you do want and then take action

Movement – Action – Effort

It is always funny to me when people spend lots of time, energy, and resources to create the perfect plan… then never put in the effort it will take to implement it.

Movement = Action

To ensure that you are always moving forward toward your goals, you need to take action to make them happen.

The best career, sales, or account plan is useless if action isn’t taken. There can be no momentum – without movement and no movement until you (yes you) take action.

Action = Effort

What does do you need to do to take action? Put in effort – yes I’m talking about the evil idea that work ethic counts.

I’ve come to despise the saying “don’t work harder, work smarter”. I believe that phrase initially was said to people who were already working as hard as they could… needing to find better ways to work hard to move forward more quicly!

Now it is said as an excuse not to work hard in the 1st place. I’m here to remind you that it is going to take 10,000 hours of concerted effort to become an expert at what you do (according to Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers) and that is whatever you do.

“Practice Makes Permanent” ~ David Dolbear

This is a saying that my Taijiquan instructor always uses. Making sure that the effort we put in, is getting us to the result we are looking for. Let’s face it, if you use bad techniques (in sales or taijiquan) over and over and over again – you aren’t moving forward toward your goal, rather you’re creating bad habits that will hinder your success.

Look at your plan and consider – what effort will I put in today to take action on my plan and begin the forward movement I need to reach my goal?