The year was 1993 and I decided to attend my first National Speakers Association conference since I was already being paid as a professional speaker for seven years or so. At this point in my life, I wanted to take my skills to a higher level and really start to challenge myself. I never knew that this speaker organization existed and when I went for the first time, all I can say is that my world as a speaker changed forever.
Obviously, I had the opportunity to see some of the finest speakers doing what they do best. I was just blown away at how much there was to learn and that I really was not as good as I thought I was, especially when comparing myself to these top-notch professional speakers.
The one speech I heard was by Jeanne Robertson and it literally changed my way of doing business. First, her speech was fabulous and I remember sitting on the edge of my chair glued to her every word. She referred to herself long ago being a majorette in high school and how she worked with her baton.
As we left the ballroom, staff members handed each of us a laminated business card that just said the word “baton.” The reason was that after the speech we would remember her and the lecture from that one word. It was a cute idea and it stuck with me.
A week or so later, I had the award-winning idea of just putting the highlights or the most important points of a sales seminar or workshop on the back of my business card. This way, people could have a summary of the time we spent together after I am long gone.
I decided to name this a sales warranty card. The concept was similar to the warranty of your car or truck. I stated on the top of the business card: “It would be null and void if you fail to follow and practice the terms and conditions of the card.”
The concept was easy to understand since it only covered a few basic points that really are everything when it comes to the profession of selling. They are:
Use your planner. And I mean really use it, so if you lost it, you would freak out. A planner can be your smartphone, Ical, Outlook or a plain, old day planner. Stay in touch with all prospects and your existing clients.
Not in the sense of being pushy or closing hard, but in terms of being on top of the game plan. Focus, focus, focus. The more you do each day the bigger the payoff. Remember the sales game is made up of customers you know and customers you haven’t yet met. Bottom line, the more sales calls you make each day, the more you might sell.
All you have is your reputation. There is not a single sale you will ever make that will change your life. Oh, it might ensure a better month or even a better year, but it will not change your life. Everybody says that they are honest, but how many are really, truly honest? People buy from people, and in most cases it is from people we like and especially trust. Those are the people we want to mention or refer to others.
The last part of the business card – written along the bottom – is the key to sales and it says it all in just two sentences:
No. 1: Selling is: Asking not telling; Listening not talking.
No. 2: People buy from people.
As far as I am concerned, the business card is an eight-hour seminar if you omit all the stories, filler material, breaks and lunch. Almost any book you will read on the subject of sales from a notable author will cover the points I listed. They are constant and have never changed since the beginning of time.
Just like any professional athlete, go back to the basics, work on the fundamentals and stay with them. Sales 101 is what is printed on the business card. Sales 202 is going back to 101 and practicing.
Hal Becker is a nationally known speaker on sales and customer service. He is the author of numerous business books including two national best sellers “Can I Have 5 Minutes Of Your Time?” and “Lip Service.” Hal’s newest book on sales is titled “Ultimate Sales Book.” He can be reached at Halbecker.com.