Archive for the ‘Sales’ Category

Differentiate Your Business from the Competition

10_-competition-getty-image All businesses have competition. It may be a business down the street, across town, in another state or even another country. The competition might appear on the internet or in a catalogue. Sometimes the toughest competition is lack of knowledge the business even exists! But NOT all businesses are the same—even if the product or services appear to be the same. Each business provides something unique. The challenge is to know and communicate clearly just what it is that sets your business apart from the competition.

Clarity in these three areas will set your business apart from the competition:

1.      Specialization: You cannot be all things to all customers. Too many businesses make the mistake of trying to offer too many products or services to too many types of customers at too many prices in too many ways. What does YOUR business specialize in?

a. Products/services? Both you AND your customers must be clear about your specialization. What products or services do youbehavior provide to your market . . . really well?

b. Serving a specific market or customer? All-State Legal Supply specializes in providing law firms with all the paper products they need to operate efficiently. McDonalds specializes in providing fast food to people who want to eat quickly and conveniently. What customers are you serving?

c. Geographical Area? Your neighborhood, city, state, country or the entire world. In what geographical area do you specialize?


2.      Segmentation: Clearly define and identify the customers who are ideal for what you sell. Who are they, where are they, when and how do they buy, what value do they want from you, and what benefit is most important to them?


standout3.      Differentiation: Often referred to as Competitive Advantage, Area of Excellence, and Unique Selling Proposition (USP). You have one but can you articulate it time and time again? Being able to differentiate your business and communicate it clearly and concisely is perhaps the most important of all.  What is the one thing you do better than anyone else? What do you offer that is truly unique to you and your business?  What really sets you and your business apart?


Once you have clarity in these areas, focus your resources (time, energy, money and team) on those prospective customers who are most likely to buy from you. Let them know what “Differentiates Your Business from the Competition”!

Get a “Differentiating Your Business Checklist” at under LINKS.

Posted in Business Improvement, Communication, Sales | No Comments »

Know Your Audience

How many times have you lost an important negotiation and wondered why?

It could be because you are communicating the same way to everyone. But you could be missing as much as 75% of your opportunities by doing this.

Everyone receives information differently. Everyone receives information differently. Behavior, personality, environment, skills, role, and emotions all affect how people give and receive information. However, it is possible to increase your communication success with the people you are currently missing the mark with by taking into consideration who you are talking to. 

These guidelines will improve your ability to get the message across to anyone by simply observing behavior first. When you observe someone who is:

bald-eagleDecisive, tough, impatient, strong-willed, competitive, demanding, independent, direct, does not listen

DO: give immediate feedback, concentrate on the subject, focus on the results

DON’T: frustrate desire to take action, restrict power, spend time on non- essentials

COMMUNICATION  TIPS: pick up the pace; be direct, brief and to the point; stick to business; use a logical approach; focus on results, not tactics; identify opportunities and challenges; do not touch or get too close; do not be emotional; act quickly; let him/her win

peacock1Sociable, talkative, open, enthusiastic, energetic, persuasive, spontaneous, emotional, talks more than listens

DO: show enthusiasm, smile, chat, focus on the positive, make it fun, let him/her talk

DON’T: discourage enthusiasm, focus on the details, react negatively

COMMUNICATION TIPS: allow time for socializing; have fun; ask for feelings and opinions; create a friendly environment, be friendly and warm; give recognition; talk about people and feelings; use touch (forearm, back)

doveCalm, steady, laid back, careful, patient, amiable, listens carefully, is sincere, modest, indecisive and trustworthy

DO: slow down, take your time, provide assurance and support, give enough time to decide

DON’T: be restless or impatient, press for action, make sudden changes, fail to deliver on promises

COMMUNICATION TIPS: be patient, build trust, draw out opinions, present issues logically, relax and allow time for discussion, show how solutions benefit him/her, define all areas, provide plenty of information, secure commitment step-by-step, involve him/her in the planning

owlPrecise, exact, analytical, logical, systematic, quiet, careful, formal, disciplined, does not express emotions

DO: give details, answer all questions patiently, give time to think and decide

DON’T: keep information to yourself, pressure for decisions, be too chatty

COMMUNICATION TIPS: use data/facts, stay on task, focus on quality, use proven ideas, do not touch, be patient, slow down, avoid personal issues, explain clearly and carefully


Once you identify your audience, apply these simple communication approaches and watch your success begin to soar!

Posted in Basics, Communication, Sales | 5 Comments »

Listen With Your Eyes

listening20earThe first thing we are taught about effective communication is to listen. “Listen with feeling;” “Hear what is being said.” But what if we could also see what is being said? Centuries of communication research and observation reveal that impactful, influential communication consists of:

7% WORDS       38% TONE of VOICE      


We spend hours planning what to say, painstakingly choosing words to position ourselves and our products, services or ideas in the most effective way. We spend additional hours analyzing the words of others, attempting to determine the “real meaning.” While words and tone of voice are important, these convey less than half the message.

If we listen with our eyes, what might the gestures or body language we observe be saying?

“I’m happy” Real smiles reach the eyes; false smiles reach the lips only.listen_with_your-eyes1

“I’m defensive” Arms crossed, face drawn, body rigid and tight, leaning back.

“I disagree” Set jaw, shaking head from side to side, narrowed eyes.

“I’m losing interest” Broken eye contact, slouching, checking watch, changing posture,     turning away, sighing.

“You are too close”  Body block, physical retreat, swinging or tapping leg, crossing legs away from you, broken eye contact.

“I’m ready to buy”  Bites lip, furrows brow, rubs chin, handles contract, scratches head, taps with pen, half closes eyes.

“I’m excited” Increased blinking, leans forward, sits up straighter, restless in chair.

Here’s an exercise to improve your ability to listen with your eyes effectively: mute the sound while watching TV and see how well you can figure out what’s going on.

practice-300x278Just as important as observing the gestures and body language of others is keeping in mind what yours is communicating about you. Before your next networking event, meeting or sales call, take a few minutes to plan your gestures and body language, too. Here are some DOs and DONTs to remember:

DO—shake hands and match pressure of the other person; sit in a relaxed position, up and back in chair, or stand straight, move around, gesture; have open arms; maintain friendly eye contact, nod head in agreement, frown thoughtfully, pause before answering question or objection; use forearm or back touch with individuals who are obviously friendly and cooperative.

crossed armsDON’T—close your arms in front of you or hide hands in pockets; perch on your chair; jingle coins or doodle, twist ear or stroke chin, tug nose; touch individuals who are obviously direct or analytical; stare at the floor or across the room.

Get the most out of every conversation: Listen with your ears AND your eyes … and communicate with more than your words!

Posted in Communication, Habits, Sales, Success | No Comments »

Improve Your Business

compassWant a great business? Then do great things. As a leader, business owner, decision maker, you set the tone for the rest of your team, no matter what the size or location. Often, there are so many things to do in a day, we bypass some of the most important concepts that can make our businesses GREAT. The following Business Improvement Concepts, as basic as they may seem, are often overlooked. Apply or revisit these GREAT concepts for your business and see what happens!
1. Have a GREAT Vision:
Great leaders have great visions. Bill Gates envisioned  “a computer on every desk”.  How do you ultimately see your business? What are you doing? Who is around you? What are your sales?
2. Develop a GREAT Business Plan:multi-arrow-target1-300x240
You can’t hit a target you can’t see. Know where your are going and how you are going to get there. What are your goals for the year, the quarter, the month, the week, the day…even the next hour? Review it often and adjust strategies and goals as opportunities and hurdles present themselves. 1 minute of planning can save 10 minutes in execution!!
3. Implement a GREAT Marketing Approach:
To have a great business, you need great sales; to insure great sales, you need a great marketing plan. Who are you marketing to? How are you marketing to them? Remember to focus on what you product does-the benefits-instead of what it is-the features.
4. Attract and Keep GREAT Customers:
Once you get the word out and attract great customers, be sure to ask what they want to keep them coming back. HappyCustomersResisit the temptation to assume you know what they want or even who they are. Know who your best customers are and keep them happy-HAPPY CUSTOMERS ARE YOUR BEST REFERRAL!!
5. Deliver GREAT Products or Services:
If you had to start over, which product or service would you focus on? Which would you eliminate? Know what is successful and what isn’t by getting feedback and tracking your sales. Continuously ask “What can be done to improve?”

6. Track GREAT Numbers:numbers
Identify key numbers and track them. A key number or numbers will tell you instantly how your business is performing. What matters most…Number of customers? Number of sales? Profit per sale? Customer aquisition cost? Renewal period? There are always one or two numbers that predict the success of a business more than any others. Know what they are and focus on improving them.
7. Get GREAT Results:
Planning is important but if it doesn’t yield results it is not a great plan. FOCUS on results; and if they aren’t great, revisit your vision, adjust your plan, review your marketing approach, evaluate  and talk with your customers, assess your products or services, check your numbers AND get back to getting GREAT results!


Posted in Basics, Business Improvement, Business performance, Sales | No Comments »

Back to Communication Basics

Business owners, clients, friends keep telling me they can’t sell…they have no experience, they hate selling. How did sales get such a bad rap?? How many of us ARE in sales?? Do you offer an idea, product, service or yourself toj0439347 somebody in your life? Who do you offer these to? Spouse, partner, kids, boss, customer, staff, suppliers…..everyone you come in contact with. What are you doing every time you sell? COMMUNICATING!
Well, as business owners, what do we need most? CUSTOMERS! Without them we have no business. How does someone become a customer? They buy something.Why do people buy? To satisfy an emotional need.
What kind of emotional need might they be satisfying? The need for MONEY? That’s what most people say, but what emotional need does that money satisfy?
Your job is to find out what that emotional need is and how you, your product, service, or idea can satisfy it and continue to satisfy it. You do that by communicating effectively and basically, that’s all selling is..
My 6 Keys to Communicating for Success:
1. Consider Perspective:
Perspective is based on an individual and that individual may not look at things the same way you do.
 a. Consider who you are communicating with.
 b. Use DiSC-the language of observable behavior to learn HOW people behave.
 This POWERFUL tool can give you insight into how to effectively communicate with others.
 c. Learn to adapt your communication style. 
TO LEARN MORE…contact me at or respond to this post.
2. Ask Good, Open Ended Questions:
 a. Builds rapport which builds trust.
 b. Shows interest.
 c. Gets people talking-Why is this so important? Your job is to find out what that emotional need is and how your product, service, idea can satisfy it. People will give you the answers if you get them talking.
Open-Ended Questions require an answer and encourage dialogue as opposed to close ended questions which require only a yes or no response. Great Book: Questions That Sell by Paul Cherry to get  ideas of questions for any situation.
 EX: Are you happy with your suppliers? Vs. What have been some of your likes and dislikes with suppliers in the past?
 EX: Do you like working there? Vs. Since you’ve been with the company, what have been some of biggest hurdles you’ve faced?
 EX: How’s business? Vs Everyone is dealing with change, what’s the biggest change you are facing?
3. Listen:
 a. Shows respect and indicates the individual is important.20565
 b. Allows you to get information about their style!!! (DiSC)
 c. Let people complete a thought before responding. Most people are already forming a response before hearing the full thought-what might you be missing?
 d. Pause before responding-take time to formulate a response or logical, appropriate comment.
4. “Hear” What Isn’t Being Said - 3 Components of Communication:
 a. Body Language 58%
 b. Tone 35%
 c. Content 7%
What are your body language and tone are telling others? What are the tone and body language of the others telling you?
5. Get Feedback:
 a. Know what your customer wants instead of what you think they want.
 b. Just ask, don’t assume-SURVEYS can provide that information.
 c. Be specific about the feedback you want-ask questions that will provide you with the information you really need.
Mom6. Everything Your Mother Taught You Is Not Out of Style:

a. Look people in the eye (don’t stare).                                                                                                                                                     b. Shake hands-use the same pressure as offered.
c. Say “Please” and “Thank You” AND Mean it!
d. Comb your hair (Yes, how you look matters!)
e. Stand Up Straight AND……SMILE!

What works for you???


Posted in Basics, Communication, Sales, Success | No Comments »

18 Disciplines of Selling

The first quarter of 2010 is coming to a close-have you closed as many sales as you planned? If you are like many, sales is a complex, frustrating activity that can deflate your ego as fast as a pin in a balloon. I continue to hear this from my clients, colleagues, friends and even strangers I happen to strike up a conversation with while waiting in lines, sitting on the bus, even in passing on the street! What is it about having to present a prospect with value worth more than the price that can send an otherwise confident, articulate, enthusiastic adult running for the door?  The magic words, “let me think about it”, bring instant relief to many and justification for the retreat.
back_to_basicsI began sharing the 18 Disciplines of Sales used by a consistently successful sales associate and 2 time recipient of the Brian Tracy award for Sales Excellence. In past blog posts these were presented a few at a time. Considering the consistently recurring sales theme, it seemed timely to share all 18 at once. Hope these offer some relief from frustration. Sales CAN go according to plan. Apply these basics and make the second quarter of 2010 exceed your expectations:
1. Be PROUD of whatever role you are in and act like it. Perception is reality.  CONFIDENCE SELLS!!
2. Act like a WINNER. People gravitate to those they perceive as winners. Success is an attitude.
3. Expect SUCCESSS and er, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER give up. Success requires persistence.                         getting-organized2
4. Be PASSIONATE about what you do and show it. People feel passion and they pay for passion.
5. Get ORGANIZED. If you live in clutter your mind is cluttered.  
6. Set written, clear, concise, smart GOALS. Commit 2 minutes a day to think about and write them down.
7. Have a daily, prioritized PLAN. Must apply this discipline. Prepare it at night and let your superconscious mind go to work on it. Stay focused and insure that what you are doing “right now” is the one thing that will move your business forward.
8. Have a clear idea of who your TARGET CUSTOMER is. Work hard to narrow it down so your prospecting time is effective. Be aware of opportunities right in front of you.
9. Selling is about RELATIONSHIPS and effective communication. Identify who you are speaking with and what their needs are. People buy from those who understand them. Leverage tools out there, like D.I.S.C., to sharpen your listening and communication skills.
10. Clearly understand your UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION (USP). What sets you and your business apart from others? Know and be able to articulate it. The time spent figuring this out is worth every minute (or hour!!).
11. Create a POWERFUL 10 second MESSAGE. Only 2% of all salespeople can articulate what they do in 10 seconds. DSC00354Answer WII-FM (what’s in it for me?).

12. In it’s most basic form, selling is a game of NUMBERS. Talk with alot of people, sell to them all. ASK for appointments. ASK for referrals.
13. LISTEN!! the prospect will tell you how to sell them.
14. Be CONSISTANT and PERSISTANT. 80% of ALL sales are made on the FIFTH to TWELTH contact.  48% of salespeople NEVER follow up with a prospect        

15. Understand that closing is NOT A BIG EVENT…It’s Incidental!
16. Understand what you are willing to give up to get what you want.
17. TRACK EVERYTHING…hours, cost, leads, customers…..
18. Work HARD and work SMART . What you put into it is what you get out of it.
Now get out there and SELL!!!!!!

Posted in Basics, Discipline, Goal Achievement, Goal Setting, Productivity, Sales, Success | 1 Comment »

Perform at your best…no matter what!

Margaret MaclayBack in August I was all excited about writing a blog. I jumped right in and entered my first post!!!

Then I got distracted, things got “busy”, procrastination set in and suddenly hesitant about whether anyone would actually read or care about what I had to say, the posts ceased as rapidly as they had begun.

When posting my March workshops I realized that more than 195 days had passed since my first/last/only blog entry. My, how time flies! But isn’t this indicative of what happens to us in business and life every day? They say “time flies when you’re having fun”…but it flies whether or not you’re having fun. Months just seem to glide by.

I was reading something a more diligent author posted-don’t recall the source, so sorry to whomever I quoted in the title of this post-and was struck by the words “Perform at your best…no matter what”.  No matter what? Despite intentions to do our best, we all have overly full schedules, reasons for why things didn’t get done… much better than blaming the dog for eating it and distractions, good, bad or otherwise.

Most recently, The Olympics were the distraction. The snow was a distraction. The Yahoo blog post about winners and losers at the Olympics was a distraction. After all, despite 17 days of viewing, on 3 channels, with recaps at least twice an hour, something important could have been missed!! It was…the lesson we can be reminded of by some of these amazing athlete’s who truly do perform at their best no matter what. Time to take action!

Part of performing at your best no matter what as a business owner, is to take action every day. Take action that might not always be fun, but is important to moving your business forward. This is what distinguishes the winners.

Indeed time is flying. Today is March 1st. The first quarter of 2010 is almost over. Yikes! What a great time to make a commitment to “perform at your best no matter what”  and achieve everything you planned for 2010.  Even if it’s not always that fun. The results are bound to be fun and satisfying.

 So, my initial blogpost stated that I was going to share the 18 Disciplines of Selling put forth by our top FocalPoint Coach, Dan Creed, 2 time recipient of the Brian Tracy Award for Sales Excellence. The first 5 can be found in my post “Success Is Not An Accident!”. Here are the next 5,  which are sure to impact your business success if you give them your best shot no matter what:

6. Set written, clear, concise, smart GOALS. Commit 2 minutes a day to think about and write them down.

7. Have a daily, prioritized PLAN. Must have this little discipline. If you prepare it at night, your superconscious mind will go to work on it. Be focused and insure that what you are doing “right now” is the one thing that will move your business forward.

8. Have a clear idea of who your TARGET CUSTOMER is. Work hard to narrow it down so your prospecting time is effective. Be aware of opportunities right in front of you.

9. Selling is about RELATIONSHIPS and effective communication. Identify who you are speaking with and what their needs are. People buy from those who understand them, not those they understand. Leverage tools out there, like D.I.S.C., to sharpen your listening and communication skills.

10. Clearly understand your USP (unique selling proposition). What sets you and your business apart from others? Know and be able to articulate it. The time spent figuring this out is worth every minute (or hour!!)

The next 5 will be coming soon. No waiting another 195+ days.

What’s getting in the way of you performing at your best, no matter what?

Posted in Business performance, Goal Achievement, Procrastination, Productivity, Sales | 1 Comment »

Are You on Course to Achieve Your 2010 Goals?

Make a decision RIGHT NOW to review your goals, make course corrections and take REAL action to insure you achieve all that is possible for you and your business.

Flight Plan 2010 Workshop:
Stay On Course
… Achieve YOUR Goals!


Certified International Business Performance Coaches, Margaret Maclay and Jerry Cohen will lead you to create an ACTION PLAN to assure you are on course…

During this interactive workshop you will:

-Choose your Destination

-Review your Flight Options

-Write Your Flight Plan

-Prepare for your Journey

-Take off at Full Throttle

-Plan for Turbulence

-Make Continual Course Corrections

-Persist until you SUCCEED!!

Learn the real keys to accomplishing any long term, meaningful success!

$39.95 in advance

$50.00 at the door

Click below to REGISTER and complete payment

NEW YORK WORKSHOP 5:45pm – 7:30pm

Tuesday March 9th, 2010

New York Life Bldg

420 Lexington Ave Graybar Building 15th Floor

NY, NY 10170

Click HERE for Directions

NEW JERSEY WORKSHOP 5:45pm – 7:30pm

Monday March 15th, 2010

Homewood Suites Hilton

10 The Promenade

Edgewater, NJ 07020

Get Directions HERE

You must bring a photo ID with you to the event.

All Materials included; beverages and light snacks will be served

Space is limited

Can’t wait to see you at the workshop!

To your success!

Margaret and Jerry

Jerry and Margaret have over 50 years of experience building, managing, transforming, leading and growing businesses and teams. They utilize the FocalPoint approach, designed by Brian Tracy, which are straight forward, common sense strategies and tactics which have been proven to dramatically increase profitability, effectiveness and overall organizational performance for all types of businesses and professional practices.

Posted in Business performance, Sales, Success | No Comments »

SUCCESS Is Not An Accident!!!

Success_FailureWelcome To My Blog!!!
The place to get and share information about achieving personal and professional success.
This is one of the best times in history to be in business…opportunities are everywhere…you just need to be open and ready to see them when they are right in front of you. HOW to do that?? Keep checking in for tips, methods, approaches and how to apply proven principles from experts, real life experiences and to share yours!

I just returned from the FocalPoint Coaching Annual Conference in Phoenix. 60 of our top coaches from around the globe were present to share ideas and approaches to ramping up Success-increasing productivity and profitability, achieving goals-Generating More Sales.

18 Disciplines of Selling were presented by our top coach and 2 time recipient of the Brian Tracy Award for Sales Excellence .
Here are the TOP 5: (stay tuned for more on future posts)
1. Be PROUD of whatever role you are in and act like it. Perception is reality.  CONFIDENCE SELLS!!
2. Act like a WINNER. People gravitate to those they perceive as winners. Success is an attitude.
3. Expect SUCCESSS and Never, Never, Never give up. Success requires persistence.
4. Be PASSIONATE about what you do and show it. People feel passion and they pay for passion.
5. Get ORGANIZED. If you live in clutter your mind is cluttered.
It was an inspiring week….What inspires YOU??
I welcome your comments, questions and requests for information. Tune in for upcoming events, articles of interest and lots more…..
To your success!FocalPoint

Posted in Sales, Success | 1 Comment »