Listening and salespeople. An interview with Lisa B. Marshall and Chris Murphy

Lisa B. Marshall The Public SpeakerOver the last three months, my company (MCC) developed our Business to Business sales workshops. Our first session is May 25-28th. We have a great group of salespeople attending and  we are really excited for the sessions to begin.

In researching ideas/methods to improve sales listening skills, I reached out to Lisa B Marshall. Many of our visitors will recognize Lisa as the public speaking expert at Macmillan’s Quick and Dirty Tips Network and may already subscribe to her Pod Casts in iTunes.  As a communication specialist, Lisa B. Marshall helps organizations and individuals share, present, and discuss ideas in a compelling, concise and cost-effective manner.

Lisa offered me some wonderful tips that can help Salespeople improve their communication skills. Lisa invited me to an online “face-to-face” interview to discuss  my views on salespeople and listening. I had a great time doing this interview and look forward to working with Lisa on more projects in the very near future.

The complete interview is here.


Customers. Why don’t you spend more time learning from them?

Our customers hold the keys to the Castle, yet most of us still refuse or are reluctant to talk with them.

We can and should lean on our customers to help us shorten the time it takes to get up to speed as a new salesperson and also to help a tenured rep out of a sales slump or general funk. Against my worst judgment, here is how you can do this:

Go and see your customers on the days they use your service the most!!!

WOW! (I know you are thinking “WOW”, because you already get what I’m saying).

Our customers work with us because they like our stuff! They are the ones that pay to hang out with us, so it only reasons that they can tell us what is cool about what we offer. They can tell us about how cool Sally on the support team is. They can tell us how our service saved them from staying late. They can tell us how when they figured everything was lost, Sally from support talked them back from the edge and made the unimaginable happen.

Yes, they can give new hires everything they need to be successful in sales. Yes, they can show a tenured rep why she ROCKS and how more people should be working with her.

It’s not ENOUGH to just call up your customers or email a survey to them. Get out amongst them and watch how they interact with your service and support team. I advocate 1 -4 Sales Touches to current accounts a year. New hires should spend 5-10 days of their first month on the job watching current customers use your services. Experienced reps should spend a minimum of 1-2 days a quarter watching their major accounts/partners use the services they sell.  This experience is a win-win for the customer, salesperson, support team and company.

The message is clear: Don’t fear your customers. Get off your butt and give ’em a hug. Chances are they reward you with a 30-40% increase in sales production.

Don’t believe me; give it a try this summer. Your holiday budget will thank me!

Take control of your website! It’s easy, really it is.

Technology is getting easier to use by the minute. From a marketing standpoint this is enabling more and more business owners the opportunity to take internal control of the content on their business website.

Using the right technology you can very easily create, modify and delete website content without knowing a single piece of code. The ability to do this will give you more power to influence how your business is viewed on the internet. This should improve Marketing, Sales and Support delivering a much better customer experience.

To take control you will need a Web Content Management System (WCMS).

In a nut shell a WCMS is an online application that allows you to make changes to your site anywhere any time of day. This includes adding pages, pictures, forms etc… A good WCMS allows you to do these things using tools which you are already familiar with and probably even use every day.

Getting started with a WCMS usually entails working with a web company to first convert your existing site to run on a WCMS and than a quick 30 minute training session.  When looking to WCMS focus on usability for you! If the WCMS feels complex than you should continue looking until you find an application that fits your user level.

You will know when you’ve found the right WCMS for you. The WCMS I use is called the Site Management Console (SMC) modifying my web content is as easy as creating a document in MS Word.

Here is a short video I made this morning showing how simple it is for me to modify an existing web page.

Jigsaw fully integrated with

The recent purchase of Jigsaw by is outstanding news. Now users of gain simple access to an outstanding list source.

Jigsaw is the perfect marketing companion to all organizations that use and VerticleResponse. Using Jigsaw you can:

  • Build marketing lists for import
  • Update existing lead database
  • Quick search for additional contact points
  • Update/clean  your email database

The Data Fusion product offers clients an extremely powerful marketing tool.

Here is a short video to give you an overview of using Jigsaw in

(full disclosure my company MCC  is a referral partner of jigsaw)

Qualifying Calls

What can you do to improve sales now?

There are so many ways to improve sales that one can easily spend all day just thinking about it. I’ve never won a new client by just thinking about it. In the real world, sales just take a little bit of doing.

One of the absolute best sales tools for creating business is called “Getting off your ARSE!” – a very simple concept and all it calls for is work. A better way to look at this is to think of work as Making Money!

If someone asks you what you are doing this week, don’t say, “You know, same old same old, going to work, blah, blah, blah.” No. Look her in the eye and say I’m going to make a ton of money this week and donate 20% to XYZ charity. She’ll laugh. You won’t. She’ll look at you funny and then say, “What do you mean?”

What you mean is that as a salesperson, every day we go out and make things happen with people so that we can help them use our stuff. We do this by adding value to the markets we serve. The markets we serve are the ones we get out in front of everyday.

So when you are just thinking, you are not out in front of anyone. When you are working, you probably do not have the right mindset to be out in front of anyone. To win in sales, you need to get in motion — not some crazy running around with pom-poms waving in the air thing. You need to work in organized chaos. Always flex to the day, yet keep contact flow and rhythm to your selling process.

One area to gain proper control is Qualifying Calls. ‘Old school’ people call these Cold Calls. Why they tag such a horrible name onto something so wonderful is beyond me. Why not just call these calls Getting Kicked in the Face? With a name like Cold Calls, I think I would prefer to spend a morning doing Kicked in the Face calls. Somehow, I might feel a like I was doing some meaningful work. A meeting with a sales manager might sound like this:

“Team, today we are going to start out with 100 Kicked in the Face Calls. We know things are going to get bloody. Understand that we are in this together. Now let’s get out there and get our face kicked in.”

Qualifying calls are like Cold Calls but nothing like them. Yes, we use a phone.  No, we do NOT badger people and run our heads against a brick wall with a bunch of selling crap.

A Qualifying Call uses simple human decency to interact with the people we dial. Common courtesy is something everyone claims to want in human interaction, yet so few people actually understand what it means to properly do this in day-to-day life.

In Qualifying Calls, we use simple questions to gain access to conversations in which both parties get to decide if a next step is in order. When done properly, you will gain the following:

  • Sales Leads
  • Partner leads
  • Cleaned up data base
  • Referrals
  • A wonderful marketing list
  • Respect from prospects

If you want to learn more about using Qualifying Calls, please send me an email. If enough people are interested I will be happy to host a webinar on the subject.

Birdseye view of Social Media based on HubSpot Metrics.

The biggest take away from these slides, if your business is looking to gain more inbound leads the number one place to start is your company blog. Enjoy the slides and a big Thank You to HubSpot for publishing this information.

Another Web Conference Bites the Dust! (An instant classic for sales people)

We’ve all been here before!

Love to hear about similar experiences and any Web Conferencing service recommendations.