Thursday, February 28, 2008

Extra day=Extra training

We have an extra day in February this year, in case you didn't know. So here's an extra bit of wisdom. He's become one of my favorite no-nonsense sales trainers. Art Sobczak wrote this in his email this week:

This Week's Tip:
So You THINK You Have a Hot Prospect?
Yeah, Right.


Omaha, Nebraska is where my business is
based and where I maintain a primary residence.

As I travel the country and mention Omaha,
I hear a number of comments. Typical lame
farmer jokes (this is a metro area of close to a
million people), and comments from uninformed
elitists who think it is the same place as
Oklahoma (hullo, that would be a STATE).

Also, many people associate Omaha with,

-Omaha Steaks

-Mutual of Omaha and Wild Kingdom

-Warren Buffet

-For sports fans, the College World Series.
That is the focus of today's Tip. (Trust me,
there is a huge sales point here.)

Right now, even though much of the country
is still experiencing the frigidness of winter,
the college baseball season has begun, and
the goal of thousands of players is to get their
team to Omaha in June for the national

I've written about the College World Series many
times over the years. If you are a sports fan, you
really should try to get here to experience it.

The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association)
does not hold any other of its many championship
tournaments at a fixed location other than the
College World Series. They know it would be tough
for any other community to support it and embrace it
like Omaha has over the past 50 years.

And, Omaha wants to keep it forever. As a result,
every time the NCAA says "Jump!," the power people
in Omaha say, "How high, sir?"

Well, the NCAA has said that they want a new
stadium in which to play the games. A new,
$140 million downtown stadium. Of course,
Omaha said, "OK, but we need a new 20-year
contract to keep the tournament here."

I'll spare you all the details, but what it all has
boiled down to is that a major power struggle
has taken place here between the mayor, and
a few people on a commission that was appointed
several years ago to run a new arena that was
built. The ridiculous bickering over where to
build this thing could potentially mean losing
the entire College World Series.

OK, let me get to the sales point.

Yesterday, the mayor and a few other high-
powered execs on his own stadium committee
presented the NCAA with their proposal for a
building a new $140 million stadium, asking for
a 20-year contract.

The NCAA, which considers itself perhaps even
more important and powerful than The Vatican,
The Supreme Court, the IRS, and
perhaps even Oprah, replied,

"That's nice. But come back to us when you
have broad-based support in Omaha."

And the Omaha people left with that as a
result of their "sales call."

Kind of like a sales rep who gets off the phone,
thinking he has a hot prospect when he hears,

"Sounds good, we'll give it some thought.
Get back to us."


"Broad-based support"?

Now, I was not in the room, but if I was, I
would be waving my hand wildly, like a
second-grader, and would ask this simple

"Excuse me, but could you please define
what you mean by 'broad-based

I mean, if you were going to spend $140
MILLION to secure a sale, isn't it reasonable to
know exactly what you need to do in order to
earn that right?

Sales reps: look at your follow up files right now.
Pick a few of the prospects you are working on,
particularly the ones you think you have a good
shot with. Why do you think that?

Did they tell you something that sounded like
the "broad-based support" phrase? If so, I bet
you don't get the sale.

Sales Managers: How many times have you sat
with reps, reviewing their pipeline, asking about
specific prospects, and you hear things like
the broad-based support phrase? It often sounds

"They said they were going to do something.
They just needed to work a few things out."

Here's a pretty simple suggestion
that can move your sales process along more
quickly, and help you get more yes answers:

Get specifics on exactly and specifically what
needs to happen next. Leave no doubt.

"What specifically needs to happen on your end to
move forward?"

"What will we need to do in order to make this happen?"

"When you say you need ______, what does that
mean? What does that look like?"

"How do you measure ______?"

"When you are evaluating/demo-ing the product,
what criteria will you use to judge it, and what will
you need to see to move forward?"

Some squeamish types might argue that this is
being pushy. No, it is business.

And if the mayor calls, I'll be happy to go on the
next sales call with the NCAA.

We encourage you to reprint these Tips in your own email, online, or conventionally-
printed publications. It's free, as long as credit is given.

Art Sobczak, President, Business By Phone Inc. 13254 Stevens St.,
Omaha, NE 68137,
(402) 895-9399. Or,

Please Pass this Issue Along to Friends, Co-Workers,
Customers ... Anyone Who Could Benefit.

They'll appreciate it, and so will I!

Or, simply have them go to and enter the email address.

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