Sales tips for the aspiring rock star!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

100 Totally Random Sales Tips!

I've put these tips together for you in a free 15 page PDF . . . no strings attached. Actually, you have to do two things. First, shoot me an email requesting it (I never sell my email list nor will I ever spam you. Promise!) The second is that you forward the PDF to your network should you find value in the 100 + tips. Fair enough?

1. Athletes and musicians warm up, so should you! Before hitting the phones, call your own voicemail. Listen and evaluate.
2. Follow the 2 minute rule whenever presenting something. Every 2 minutes make it interactive. Ask a question, involve them and for God’s sake come up for air.
3. Add a PS to your auto signature and use it as free ad space by informing people of products and services you offer. Example: “PS Ask me about how our blah blah blah helps companies achieve blah blah blah.”
4. Change your perception of the word “No” No isn’t a door slammed shut for all eternity, it simply means Not Now!
5. Every verbal agreement gets a written confirmation. Next time someone agrees to something like “Call me next month and we’ll set an appointment” Confirm it by sending a handwritten note.
6. Don’t ever call someone “To check in”. Seriously Dude!
7. According to BASEX, the average American loses 2.1 hours each day to office interruptions. Track your time for two weeks, analyze and ask yourself how you can get some of that back.
8. Do you ever get nervous before either a speech or hitting the phones? Try holding a ceramic cup of warm water. It travels the nervous system and has a calming effect.
9. Don’t ever just read a book and then put it down. Read it, summarize the key ideas and then write out how you are going to implement those ideas into your life! Bonus points if you re approach that book later in your life.
10. Manage your time better by asking yourself: “Is this the best use of my time, right now?” If it isn’t then you need to adjust Moy Pronto.
11. Confucius say: “A bad month doesn’t happen on the 30th dude!”
12. The next time someone puts you on the spot and asks you an awkward question, ask them “Before I answer that, I’m curious, what prompted you to ask that” It will buy you time and put the onus of awkwardness right back on them!
13. 25 Creative Tips Get In The Door found here:
14. Before going out to battle each day, put your body armor on by reading/listening to something positive.
15. World’s Greatest Time Management Tip: Just Say No!
16. Give yourself a pep talk. Remind yourself of all you have accomplished. Rinse, repeat and then give someone else a pep talk!
17. “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves” Carl Jung. Think about that next time someone pisses you off. You’re welcome! J
18. Networking Tip: The last thing you should do before a networking event is make sure you are “current” Check their website, the local business journal and the news so you are versed in what’s happening today.
19. Networking Tip: The first thing you do after a networking event is send thank you’s to all you had a chance to chat with.
20. Consider using an accountability partner. Nothing jolts success like mutual swift kicks in the rear!
21. Give value to your network by playing matchmaker. Who can you introduce to each other today?
22. Successful people look in the mirror. Pick one area you want to improve upon and take immediate action toward improvement. Kick it up a notch with an accountability partner.
23. Get better at Linkedin by clicking here:
24. One of the biggest mistakes with regard to Pre Call Planning is in Googling the company and individual only on the first appointment. Things change and you need to be in the know. Set up a Google alert for ALL your customers and top prospects.
25. Just a reminder to “conquer the world” at home too. All the success in the world isn’t worth neglecting the things that truly matter.
26. Colonel Sanders took 1009 “No’s” before getting the “Yes” that launched KFC. How many “No’s” do you have in you?
27. Watch Glen Gary Glen Ross & Boiler Room, have a good laugh, then make a note to NEVER do those things J
28. Listen to comedy right before you hit the phones. It’s hard to be nervous or uptight when you just laughed your ass off! I highly recommend the Jerky Boyz but they may be a tad offensive for some.
29. Zig Ziglar’s Goals Setting and Achieving Them On Schedule and Tony Robbins Personal Power program are fantastic goal setting programs for you to consider.
30. So with 170 billion emails per day ( the average consumer being exposed to 3,000 ads (FastCompany Magazine) the average buyer getting at least 40 calls per day and people now doing the work of at least 1 other employee due to downsizing . . . what’s your plan to stand out?
31. Need to figure out a prospect’s email protocol? Learn the Google trick here
32. Cool MP3 on how to adapt to different types of people.
33. Working “smarter” can’t ever be an excuse for not getting our uniforms dirty! Here’s to working smart and having to change a filthy uniform at the end of each day J
34. The 12 ‘clock Reality Check: Each day at noon you should be halfway through your objectives. If you aren’t, then adjust at noon not 5 to 5!
35. “Everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was” Just a reminder to begin that thing you’ve been putting off. There are no dress rehearsals in life.
36. Networking Tip: It aint about you! Make it about them!
37. Cure for Procrastination . . . Use some “TNT” as in Today, NOT tomorrow!
38. Use a digital voice recorder to jot down the names of all the companies you pass when you are racing to that appointment.
39. Use your camera phone to take a picture of the building directory for later reference. Bonus points if you hum the James Bond theme while you do it!
40. Use “T Formations” to increase your leads. On your next appointment, visit the business to the right, to the left and across the street giving you 3 new leads for every new appointment. Not too shabby!
41. Use continuation questions such as “How so?” “Can you give me an example of that?” “Please elaborate” etc to get to the core of your prospect’s needs!
42. Consider checking out job boards such as monster, careerbuilder and hotjobs as a possible lead source. Companies that are hiring are doing so for a reason!
43. Success Magazine is a must read for the aspiring Jedi!
44. Stephen Covey once said “Most people do not listen with an intent to understand. Most people listen with an intent to reply” How are you doing in the listen to understand department?
45. “We generate fears while we sit. We overcome them by action. Fear is nature’s way of warning us to get busy” Dr Henry Link. Just a friendly reminder to get out there and get after it!
46. When was the last time you watched yourself on video tape? It’s a great way to improve your skills!
47. Use a mirror by your phone. What you see is what your prospect gets. You know smiles can be “heard” the same way a poor disposition can be. I’m just sayin
48. Get a headset or a long phone chord and get in the habit of moving when you prospect. The energy is contagious! Plus you look really important pacing around the bull pen like Gordon Gecko in Wall Street!
49. Make sure you are using multiple venues of prospecting such as phone, email, snail mail, networking, social networking, creative etc. Each prospect responds differently to different approaches so why limit yourself?
50. Consider “sparring” with your teammates before hitting the phones. Through objections at each other. Raise the bar by having to respond with 3 different responses.
51. The next time you send a letter to a prospect, put it in a colored envelope and hand address it. It will resemble a personal card and get opened!
52. Sometimes the best way to a prospect’s heart is through their stomach. Go to the bakery and ask them to bake a big cookie with the inscription “We want to take a bite out of your business!”
53. The next time someone wants you to call them back next month to set up an appointment, respond with “Why don’t we pencil it in now and I’ll make a note to confirm with you to make sure the date still works with you as we get closer”
54. At least once a day ask yourself “Is what I’m doing moving me closer to my goals?” If the answer is “no” then adjust your course!
55. It is absolutely imperative that you take time to think and strategize. Check this article out for details
56. Lots of free resources to “get back to school” with your sales
57. “Your job is to never be a bore. If you are a bore, slap yourself” Jack Welch. Reflect on that one today!
58. Would you ever take a call or worse yet, make a call from a public restroom? If so, quit sales and get help. Note to everyone else: Don’t borrow cell phones J
59. When was the last time you taped your end of a prospecting call? Listen for “ums” “you knows” Do you sound confident? How’s your message. Football coaches view the video tape of the game, perhaps you should too!
60. When asking a client for a referral, cue their memory by giving them groups of people to think of. Groups could include family, friends, golfing buddy, Linkedin contacts. You get better results when you prompt their thinking.
61. A nice way of getting all the decision makers present is to simply ask “Who else, beside yourself should join us?”
62. A common mistake when setting up meetings is to get the highest level of decision maker there. Yes, we need them, we also need to get the people feeling the pain there as well. A person at 30,000 feet may not feel it the same way.
63. Want to improve the quality of your communication? Ask a better question!
64. Want to tap an area you might be missing? Try the sales department as a possible point of entry! Here’s a shock: Salespeople love to talk and might be able to point you in the right direction!
65. When answering an objection, answer the objection and then redirect the conversation towards a commitment. Example “John, why don’t we get together anyway, we have some ideas that might be able to impact some of the work you are doing with _________. How’s your schedule for early next week?”
66. Objection Buster: “Upside/Down” This is when you present an upside for taking an appointment with you and then following it with a nonexistent downside. Example: “The upside is that I have some ideas that really speak to your 4th quarter initiative you spoke about in ABC Gazette. The downside, other than a few minutes of your time, I can’t think of one”
67. Try sending an initial email to several decision makers, including folks higher up in the food chain. Put them all on the “To” address line so no one accuses you of getting cute. The beauty of this approach is that it inspires internal chatter and can put peer pressure on the key contact to take a meeting with you if there is a known need for improvement.
68. Once you’ve gotten the whole “dress for success” thing down, don’t forget the often neglected areas: Your computer bag, the notebook you use instead of a pad folio, your pen, the interior of your car, your trunk etc. Shine those shoes and pop a breath mint while you’re at it J
69. The next time you find yourself thinking something represents “Sales 101” ask yourself this question “Is it sales 101 and I’m already doing that or is it sales 101 and I need to START doing that?”
70. Use fear as a counselor and not a jailer. Counselors help us get better. Jailers immobilize us. Change the word “fear” to respect. It will keep you from getting sloppy!
71. Be careful when you give your name, phone number, directions etc. Things we say often are often rushed when we say them. Slow down, and communicate clearly as if it were the first time you ever presented that info.
72. Want to get to the point quickly in your next client meeting without playing “20 Questions”? Ask “Granted I called you, but what prompted you to take this meeting today?”
73. The next time someone tells you your price is too high, don’t ask, “how much?” right off the bat. Have them put the higher price into a context by asking “Compared to what?” Sometimes you will hear “I’m not sure, it just seems high” Gives you something easier to fight and buys you a few extra seconds to lose that “Oh crap!” feeling.
74. Make it a habit that every time you receive a commission check you reinvest in yourself somehow. A book, a cd, a seminar. We invest in others when we buy stock. How about a sure thing known as “YOU”
75. Make it your mission to move all these virtual relationships you have to real time!
76. Reduce prospects going MIA on you by saying this at the end of your “first time” appointments. “(name) Hopefully you feel I was upfront and honest with you today. I’d like to ask one favor of you. At some point you are going to make a decision. You may decide yes, which is always cool as I make my living on the word Yes. You may decide No, not as a good as a Yes, but I will know where I stand with you. The worst place for us to be is a no decision. Can I ask that either way you’ll let me know?”
77. The next time someone suddenly has to run it by someone else, say this “I understand and do you plan on recommending us to (name)?” They will most probably say Yes. “Does (name) generally go with your recommendation?” They will most probably say Yes again. “Is there any reason why we can’t go ahead in the meantime, subject to the disapproval of (name)?”
78. Ask a client why they chose you. It may surprise you and offer you a new approach for future clients!
79. Want to know a killer rapport building technique? Ask better questions. Ask the questions no one else asks. Ask the questions that make the other person stop dead in their tracks and think about their business challenges/opportunities in new ways!
80. Are you doing the whole Automobile University thing by listening to instructional/motivational cd’s during your windshield time?
81. In the words of the immortal Wedding Crashers “Rule #76: No excuses . . . Play like a champion!”
82. Chances are, sooner or later someone is gonna want to play “let’s make a deal” with you. Why not sharpen your negotiation skills by reading The Secrets of Power Negotiation For Salespeople by Roger Dawson. If you Google the author, remember, Roger not Richard or you will get that ass from Family Feud!
83. Just a note for you to stop taking it all so seriously. Have some fun along the way and pass the fun along to others!
84. African Proverb: “If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do you no harm” May 2010 be the year we all evict our internal enemies from our lives!
85. Refuse to go to your grave with your music still in your head!
86. Have 3 compelling reasons for calling a prospect. If you can’t think of any, don’t call!
87. You can get a good look at a T Bone steak by sticking your head . . . well, you know the rest. Rent Tommy Boy and have a good laugh today. Life is way too freakin short!
88. Many reps fall into the trap of conducting a thorough needs analysis only on the first appointment. Things change and we need to stay current. Make sure you do this regularly with your clients.
89. If you aren’t keeping a journal, please report to the Principal’s office and check out this article by a really cool dude:
90. Successful Sales Reps focus their time on the 3 Big Rocks: New Account Acquisition, Account Retention and Account Development. All other activities are scheduled around the “money activities” Too many reps do the opposite.
91. Remedy for “Ums” and “You knows”: Slowing down and better preparation. Tape yourself for a reality check.
92. You can prompt a prospect (say that 10 times fast) to relive pain by asking more questions that begin with “Tell me about a time” “Can you share with me an example of . . .” And what happens when we retell a story that’s unpleasant? Gold star if you said “You get mad all over again” Emotions are very powerful in sales. Make sure you get your prospect in the proper state.
93. Always “We/We” before you leave your appointment. We/We as in “What else should we have discussed that we couldn’t get to today?” and We/We as in “Who else besides yourself should join us next time?” Note: If it’s a long ride then we/we needs to be embraced on the traditional level.
94. Nike has it right: “Just do it” Regrets are a bitch!
95. Remember “No” is a conditioned response to any offering via phone. With that in mind, what’s your plan to get beyond that “No”. And just for a goof, why not call everyone who told you “No” this year.
96. Dale Carnegie once said “There are always three speeches. The one you practiced. The one you actually gave and the one you wish you gave” Look at each appointment the same way and take the most important element with you . . . The Lesson! Note: I said the last part, Dale was cool but not cool enough for that cool ending to his thought. Just putting that out there J
97. Consider setting up a phone “mixer” with 5-6 others from your network. It’s a great way for you to play matchmaker and gain additional visibility! Remember to invite Paul Castain. I’ll bring the virtual Margaritas!
98. Need to break away at a networking event but don’t know how to do so politely? Try this “You know (name) I promised myself that I would go outside my comfort zone today and really try to meet as many people as possible. If you don’t mind, I want to try and push myself a bit. I really enjoyed talking with you and hope we can chat again soon” If that doesn’t work say “Look Brad Pitt” and run in the opposite direction. If that still doesn’t work, call me and I’ll come get ya!
99. Go on a 30 Day Social Media Diet!
100. Understand that sometimes our attitude needs an enema!

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Don't Forget: I've put all these tips together for you in a Free 15 page PDF . . . No strings attached! Actually it will cost you two things: The first is an email to me requesting it and the second is simply passing it along to your network should you find value in the 100 tips. I never sell my email list nor do I spam anyone.


  1. Hey Paul,

    Great insight as always and I appreciate the throwback plug of "When Your Attitude Needs an Enema", another classic Gem! Keep doing what you do!


  2. I adore your blog, you sing in my Choir!

  3. Amazing Paul! Great list and Thanks. Very helpful.

  4. Dear Paul,

    thank you for this great job.It's a nice tool.

    Peter Van de Velde

  5. Thank you all for the kind words!

    I have a blast doing what I do because of people like you!

    Rock on!


  6. I have a confession...I'm in love with your Blog! Thanks for the great tips, I'll be sure to share this with my network.
    Lisa March
    Central Mass Web Deisgn

  7. Paul,

    You rock man. Thanks for all the information you have shared. I will pay it forward and pass it on to my friends.

    Merry Christmas!
    Robert Boriack

  8. @ Lisa March: What a cool thing for you to say Lisa!

    @ Robert Boriack: You rock too dude! :)

    Thank you both for helping me spread the word and for taking the time to stop by to share you kind words!

    An enthusiastic "Rock on" to you both!


  9. Wow. You make me want to jump from the HR Department to the sales department!!!


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Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics (CGX) one of North America’s leading general commercial printing companies. Paul has over 25 years of sales and sales leadership experience. He has trained, mentored and coached over 3,000 sales and sales leadership professionals. An accomplished public speaker, Paul has delivered numerous key note addresses. He has authored numerous training manuals, articles, blog posts and is currently working on his first book for release in 2011. Feel free to email Paul This has been a paid announcement by the friends of Paul Castain!

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Paul Castain's Sales Play Book is blog dedicated to strengthening our sales game, supporting rock star development and developing jedi like skills. All that is required is a willingness to learn and a sick sense of humor!

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