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Category Archives: Inspiration

Build Your Sales Business – Work When Competitors Slack Off

by on July 5, 2012  

lazy business personWe have talked already about how many professional sales people slow it down during the summer months. If you are a professional seller, you will know right away if I am talking about YOU or about one of your colleagues – you know what I mean, right?

It is rampant in our companies. When the boss is away……… I used to goof off quite a bit. One of my sales managers was a real jerk and when he would take off for a week, I was sure to arrive late, slack off on meetings, make fewer calls, and have a little more fun than usual. After all, I was entitled, wasn’t I? Unfortunately this only hurt me because frankly my jerky sales leader (and I use the word “leader” very loosely) was only concerned about himself.

When I got focused on what the priorities were for me and my business building, I never did that again.

Is anyone in your office saying, “Everyone’s gone the rest of this week” or “No point working hard till September” or “Might as well take it easy while we can”


Don’t make that be you. Just think of Dr. Steve Perry and the kids at Capital Prep.

You may have seen Dr. Perry on CNN’s Black in America documentary or on a news channel somewhere. He is an author of the book, Push Has Come to Shove: Getting Our Kids the Education They Deserve – Even if it Means Picking a Fight.  He’s standing up for kids getting educated in America, and he’s a force to be reckoned with.

Dr. Perry is principal and founder of Capital Prep, a college preparatory school in Hartford, CT.

Oh, and they started the school year TODAY – July 5th.

Yep, today, when public school kids all over North America are heading to the beach, the malls, Disneyland – Dr. Perry is getting kids ready for college. You see, 100% of his graduates GO to college. This is an amazing statistic knowing the apathy that surrounds our educational system. Perry says:

“Every child that graduates from Capital Prep goes on to a 4-year college. Period.”

So – politics aside – are YOU starting YOUR selling education back up today? Are you planning while your competitors are thinking about the next cookout or hotel stay?  Have you set bold goals like Dr. Perry has?

What is your plan?

When will you start?

While you’re at it, consider a donation to Capitol Prep here.  There is nothing like giving the gift of education.

Lori Richardson writes, speaks, and trains on sales topics for B2B mid-market technology front-line sales teams. Why not sign up for our twice-monthly newsletter,Sales Tips in a Minute or the blog rss feed? We value your time and promise good stuff for you.

Five Things I Took Away From Blogworld NMX

by on June 7, 2012  

photo courtesy of Blogworld

Blogworld & New Media Expo NYC is in its third day, but I’m back to the office after 2 solid days of sessions – and wow, what a fire hose that was.  Since “blogger” has been part of who I am for the past 7 years, I really identify with this event and was at Blogworld in Vegas a couple of years ago.

Relevance to B2B

Blogworld is extremely relevant to B2B, even though it is not a B2B crowd. Some presenters wear flip-flops and seemed proud to be in t-shirt and sloppy jeans. Since I live in the corporate world, yet run a small business, it flows for me and I like the great mix of people. Presentations I heard referenced big consumer brands were applicable to who we work with in the corporate world.  I feel that by attending an event like this, it helps us to stay current and hopefully more relevant to our constituents.

Terminology Changes

Former descriptors, like “mommy bloggers” are now “lifestyle bloggers” or “parenting bloggers”. Even the event, Blogworld, was renamed as just “New Media Expo” or NMX for short, at  yesterday’s end of day keynote. Times change.  Events and brands evolve. It is good to move forward and not get stuck in the old.

There is no Substitute for Meeting People in Person

Meeting up with colleagues is always valuable, but meeting new potential partners and some of the speakers is amazing. You can’t do that with a virtual event.  No matter what the conference is, if you take nothing away from presentations, the connections will be invaluable.

Disappointments Always Happen

As someone who has planned much smaller events, I know that there are so many issues that can and do go wrong. For this event, the Javitz Center as a venue is wrong – because of poor (no) wi-fi – not even AT&T coverage –  and just this cavernous building located near nothing. I got more used to it the second day, but when I want to be social online, at a new media conference, I need connectivity.

A couple of “bigger name” speakers were disappointing. One showed up late for his session and made little eye contact with the audience. What’s with that?

After blogging for more than 8 years, I know a lot of the content that was discussed in many sessions I attended. However, I want to be better. If I pick up 3 or 4 ideas from each full day, that is a huge win. In a world of instant gratification, I think people expect too much –  especially when everyone in a session has varied and diverse backgrounds. Attendees need to calibrate their expectations.

It’s About the Content

There were real diamonds in the Blogworld mine – gems that made me glad I invested to attend. For example:

The Podcasting Track was fantastic – tools, lessons, and lots of examples

Standout sessions for me were from presenters

Jay Baer,  Marcy Massura and Adam Keats, Barry Moltz and Becky McCray, Derek Halpern and Rich Brooks.

The Day 2 keynote with Chris Brogan was inspiring. My friend Karin, a new blogger,  was really moved when Chris said at the end to be brave.  It would only make sense as a blogger / speaker that he’s post his talk on his blog, right? I love that. Read it, and it will give you a flavor of the heart of the event – people like Chris who are passionate, helpful, and inspiring.

Since I also have the virtual conference to listen to, I’ll catch up with what I missed on Day 3. Next year, I’ll go to Vegas – looking forward to NMX 2013


Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the “Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012″ and one of “20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management”. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for tips and strategies in selling.

3 Sales Tips from Two-Year Olds

by on May 14, 2012  

Before I got into professional selling, I was a preschool teacher who worked with two-year olds. We were licensed for 12 two-year olds in our room within a daycare center, and I had two assistants. For anyone who knows me now, it may be hard to believe that I did that for five years, utilizing my degree in education. I actually loved it, but unfortunately, it didn’t pay the bills.

I got into professional, business-to-business selling and made a wonderful career out of it – but what I learned from two-year olds stayed with me years later. It was reinforced after hanging out with one special guy I call Vitamin E this past weekend. He has mastered these sales techniques, and I want to make sure as you start off your week, you think about these, too.


When you are interacting with a prospective buyer, do you have the energy and passion of a two-year old who loves to see garbage trucks and motorcycles go by? Crank up your energy two degrees – you will be amazed at how people will receive you differently on the phone and even in your writing. In person you can easily show how you exude energy, enthusiasm, and passion for the prospect’s issue and how you may be able to help them. Generally we all need to tune up our enthusiasm level, and that includes in your follow-up.

Too “busy” to send follow-up notes or next actions right away? Make it happen immediately – otherwise you will get diverted and distracted. Keep energy high for setting a plan and causing next actions to happen.  I’ve found that for me, I have to consciously do follow-up the same day, or the very next day to stay on track. How about you?


Two-year olds are masters at repeating what they want. It’s clear we were all born with this ability to state a goal and keep reminding big people around us what that goal is – as if we just have to keep saying it, because sometimes that’s enough to make something happen. That doesn’t mean you bulldoze prospective buyers into doing what you want to have happen. It DOES mean that you focus on appropriate goals and stretch goals and your determination along with the right actions will make things happen. Will you come all the way to hitting your stretch goal? That depends on your plan of action, the value you are presenting, and the activity on the right things that you create. It’s not magic, but it also won’t happen without focus and determination.


The best questions you can ask prospects in your sales career are focused around the word, “Why?” Two-year olds have this one down pat. Have you ever lost a deal because you had too much information? Probably not. Have you lost deals because you didn’t have enough information? I bet you have – I know I have on numerous occasions.


For more youthful inspiration read about Caine’s Arcade - an amazing kid with a big vision and endless determination.

Look in the mirror today and see if you are that high energy, enthusiastic person that represents great products and services. If not, work on conveying more energy on the phone and using power words in your e-mail to convey this enthusiasm. Don’t go overboard, and be sure to couple enthusiasm with knowledge.

Do you have activity goals in addition to revenue goals? Post them and work to make them happen. Keep personal goals in addition to corporate goals. Share them with others for support.

Ask better questions. If you can’t answer why an important prospective customer is doing or saying something,  go back and find out the answers. Be conversational and sound inquisitive rather than like they are at an inquisition.

Find friends or relatives that have a two-year old and ask them about passion, determination, and questions, unless you are lucky enough to have one yourself.

Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the “Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012″ and one of “20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management”. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for tips and strategies in selling.


Sellers Can Learn About Luck from Caine’s Arcade

by on April 19, 2012  

This week I was around hundreds of sales professionals from all walks of life. Quite often I asked them if they had seen the viral video, Caine’s Arcade yet. Nearly all of them said they hadn’t.  They each told me how busy they have been and don’t see things like this as I do via Facebook.
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I’ve seen this short film about a dozen times already. To me, young Caine Monroy from East L.A. is the epitome of what I was always taught in sales about luck.

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. – Seneca

In this case, the preparation was all the effort and planning and love that Caine put into his cardboard arcade – always knowing that he was preparing for his customers. He built. He designed. He innovated. He swept. He showed up and he was passionate about his offerings. He merchandised. He thought about ways to reward customers with tickets when they played.

Opportunity showed up in the form of Nirvan Mullick, the filmmaker who happened by for a car part and was taken aback when he saw the front of the parts store filled with imaginative cardboard creations. Nirvan said it took him back to his childhood, and when Caine told Nirvan about his options for playing – that’s when he further realized more about Caine’s gifts.

“$1 gets you four turns. But $2 gets you a Fun Pass”.

Immediately, most anyone would want to know what a Fun Pass is, right?

In sales, this is what is so critical, yet so few sellers can say something to pique your interest – they usually go on and on and on some more. Caine simply shared his business strategy – and now some phenomenal things have happened.

Be sure to visit the Caine’s Arcade website. Share it with your sales team next time you want to talk about reps being more creative and innovative. Then see the good that has come from all the people who saw the film and chipped in to get this kid a college education, and OTHER kids in the future. Brilliant!

I have news for Caine – there’s more out there for smart, passionate, talented, positive, hard-working kids like him. The opportunities are endless for a kid like Caine.

Congratulations to Nirvan for sharing this with the world. You did a great service. Now the question for everyone else is – are you putting the preparation in for when opportunity comes to you?

Also check out the Forbes post by TJ McCue on 9 Hidden Factors of Caine’s Arcade Success.

Note to Caine: You may not understand all of this now, but someday you will. Thank you for inspiring so many people just by thinking about offering others a wonderful arcade experience and in being so dedicated to it. I hope to meet you some day! PS – I love your Army goalies! They are awesome.

Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the “Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012″ and one of “20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management”. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for tips and strategies in selling.