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Promises, Promises and a Moment of Silence

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If 50 percent of the people kept 50 percent of their promises 50 percent of the time, the world would be a much better place. Nowhere is that more true than in a selling situation. How many times has a supervisor, colleague, or even a client promised something and then not delivered? The power of a commitment kept cannot be understated. It clearly shows that you care about yourself and, more importantly, the other person; in this case, your customer.

Everything is to be gained when we make a promise to do something and then make it happen successfully. You might even go so far as to set up a situation in which you deliberately make a commitment and then carry it out. Not only will this differentiate you as being someone who keeps your word but, even more critical, as someone who is better than the competition.

In today's fast-paced world, conversation may be fleeting, plans not refined, and agreements forgotten. The edge gained by remembering, arranging, and carrying out a promise will prove insurmountable to even the most dogged competitor.

Ultimately, a commitment becomes like a close-aggressively formulated and executed, where sales and rewards will undoubtedly follow.

Sometimes you can say a lot by not saying anything during a sales presentation. Often, successful sales-people are so enthusiastic about their jobs, products, and what they have to say that they do all the talking. It is a well-known fact that no one ever learned anything when they were busy talking and not listening, so then why do we do it?

The key to a successful presentation is identifying and addressing the needs and concerns of your customers, and you can only accomplish this when they can communicate them to you.

Ask probing questions and give customers time to answer; do not do it for them. Ask them how they feel and what they need, and then tell them how your products will fit into their overall scheme. And after closing, wait patiently for the response. The excitement of the sale or the fear of rejection often spurs us to provide answers to our own question. Count to five if necessary, but let the customer answer; remember we are doing the selling, not the buying!


This is another topic to which reams of material have been devoted. It is a crucial component of any salesperson's success. First impressions are lasting, and in order to represent a top-notch company one must look the part. Furthermore, our customers are healthcare professionals, physicians, pharmacists, and nurses who have spent years learning their trade, and you can convey respect for them by your appearance. The importance of a professional appearance was discussed earlier and certainly cannot be understated. However, a truly professional appearance goes much deeper than that: it is the entire image that the representative presents, including clothing, grooming, and comportment.

One's demeanor is an extremely important element in successful sales or any profession. Great effort should be made to portray the picture of success we are striving to attain. Remain calm in the face of adversity and similarly when victory is at hand. Always be considerate, polite, and respectful, particularly when those around you are not. This behavior undoubtedly provides a winning edge.

The three C's are an excellent benchmark: Calm, Cool, Collected at all times. If a representative looks and acts together, access, presentations, and opinions are all enhanced. This becomes especially important when being challenged or encountering a major objection. During these situations, it is easy to crumble, show emotions, or give in, but the grace we exhibit under fire speaks volumes about our inner selves.

Above all, show no weakness. Even when dead wrong, admit it, drive on and capitalize on the opportunity that this is sure to present. At best, this could merely be a test and major victory could be within grasp. At worst, a major challenge may be about to fall, but you will be all the more ready to regroup if you are thinking clearly and are on your feet.

What is critical here is to remember that appearance addresses one's outer presentation, that is, clothing, accessories, and the like. Image is the inner component. This is the more critical stuff that demonstrates to the world what we are really made of. It is the impression that will last the longest and have the greatest impact, so ensure that it is a positive one.

Dare to be Different

An Anecdote

Throughout this article, I have avoided anecdotes, primarily because anyone can find some kind of story, situation, or study to support their argument. However, I will deviate this once to make my final point and conclude.

Back in grade school, we were given the popular puzzle. The challenge is to connect all the dots with only four continuous lines. I took this puzzle home and worked fairly diligently on it, figuring out the answer. I found that by folding the paper a certain way I could indeed connect all the dots with four lines. Many classmates were stumped, for by staying within the confines of the dots it cannot be done. Only by thinking outside of the boundaries can this puzzle be solved.

The next day I strode into class feeling like King Kong. I was creative, I had the answer, and I had done it alone. Much to my chagrin, however, I found out that I was not supposed to fold the paper-that was not allowed! I was supposed to be creative, but in the right way.

There was an important lesson here. Even when doing an exercise that was supposed to encourage free, creative thinking there were rules. Despite the fact that I had an answer, it was different from the so-called approved solution. I thought it was merely different; instead it was just wrong.

The point is that to be successful today means stretching the conventional thinking of the past. Just because it was done one way before does not mean that it will work now. It also means going that little extra bit and being more daring and creative. Dare to try another way, shift the paradigm, break the mold, and blaze a new path. Take what is presented here, apply it in your own style, dare to be different, and you shall succeed.
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