Making Rejection Work in Your Favor

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When I speak to sales groups, the subject of rejection comes up often during our Q and A sessions. Rejection is a natural part of the business of sales, and it is critically important to learn how to make rejection work in your favor. The way you view rejection will determine how you respond to each “no”, “not yet”, or “maybe” during your sales career. Your outlook will truly define your sales outcomes and income.

You must learn to love the word, “no” and believe each “no” you receive moves you one step closer to your ultimate goal, which is to hear the magic word…”yes.” – Paul Cummings

What does rejection really mean? Why are we hearing the word “no”? How do we use each “no” response as a call to action that allows us to turn the stopping stones into stepping stones that will lead us to a positive outcome? Is there value in each “no” we receive? Can we truly use rejection to our personal advantage as it relates to our career development? These questions are valid, and I have answers that will allow you to change your mindset about daily rejection.

Rejection Facts

  1. “No” means “not yet” and “not yet” means “yes” is coming your way!
  2. “No” provides you an opportunity to practice your techniques and thereby master the art of sales performance!
  3. “No” means the customer needs more information to make a decision they feel comfortable enough with to say “yes”!
  4. “No” means the customer is not fully satisfied that your product or service will meet or exceed their objectives!
  5. “No” is a call to action alerting you to slow down and ask better questions to get clarity and isolate the reason they said “no”!

“Rejection is not a setback; it’s a shout out from the customer saying, “Please help me say yes.”  – Paul Cummings

The Psychology

Average salespeople tend to react to rejection as though the word “no” is a dagger to their heart. Many take it so personally and allow temporary setbacks to affect their attitudes and dampen their enthusiasm. They give up on the sales opportunity and quit on the customer, believing the sale is lost. Guess what? This type of thinking leads an average salesperson down the path to low sales performance and results. The ultimate destiny is one of self-imposed negativity and can be career-ending. Instead of giving up, you must learn to have “Get back up” mentality.

“No” is just the beginning of the sales process, and professionals visualize this is where the real selling and value building begins with the customer. – Paul Cummings

Winner’s Attitude

“No” to a pro is just like water off a duck’s back. A pro knows that “no” is temporary, and it is during these “no moments” that all their hours of practice and preparation pay off. A pro knows that converting a “no” is about patience, persistence, and professionalism. A pro stays calm and confident when rejection comes his or her way. A pro responds in a positive way keeping the customer’s individual point of need in mind. The mindset of a pro is one of optimism and enthusiasm because they believe that every temporary loss or setback contains a permanent lesson.

At some point in your career, you decide to be either average or exceptional. The choice of how you view “NO” will be a determining factor in which path you ultimately take. Pros love the word “No” and average salespeople fear “No.” – Paul Cummings

Which path will you choose?

Make a difference today.

How to Close the Deal: Use the Right Words

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Words are critically important to anyone in the business of sales. Just like an artist needs a brush and the proper paint, we need the proper words to paint our verbal canvas. I wanted to share a group of powerful words you can add to your verbal arsenal when dealing with a price request, or, objections about monetary terms and conditions.

Once you have reviewed these words you will need to practice, drill and rehearse in order to deliver the words in an authentic and service  based way.

When a customer asks for a significant discount lower than your proposed price, try this approach:

“I understand you would like a $1000 reduction of the final price. Could you be just a little bit more flexible please?” Smile and stay silent.

When the customer tells you up front that they will not buy unless the price is right, try this approach:

“Sir/Mam, I understand the price and value of the product is equally important to you. May I ask you a question? Is there anything I can personally say or do to make you pay more for the product and or service than you believe it’s worth today?” Smile and stay silent.

Sometimes, a customer asks for a price before you have demonstrated your product or service. The problem is you have not had time yet to establish value. Try this approach the next time this happens:

“I understand you would like pricing information today. Our goal is to provide you with the information you need regarding the investment so that you can make a decision with facts in hand. Would you allow me the time to do that today?” Smile and stay silent.

These three groups of words will help any salesperson reduce the intensity of a customer’s price request or objections. Take the time to practice, drill and rehearse. Three things to focus on from a delivery standpoint are as follows:

  1. Your inflection and tone.
  2. Your cadence and pace.
  3. Your points where you pause.

Good luck implementing these phrases into your bank of words.

When Do You Tell a HIPO?

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Across the business world today, there is a mad race going on to select and develop HIPOs within an organization. In case you’re not familiar with HIPOs, they are the high potential employees, the rising stars in a company. There is an even more dramatic event taking place as talent management experts and HR specialist are trying to delineate the best time to tell a HIPO, “You are now a HIPO.” The arguments on the “should we tell them” or “should we not tell them” sides of the equation both have their merits.

The Statistics

Currently 67% of organizations who have embraced the HIPO trend do not tell the candidate when they are selected as a HIPO. For these unknowing lucky individuals it must be like being in “The Secret Society” of all secret societies – so much so, it’s even a secret that you made the grade. This approach must be highly motivating.

Why the cloak of secrecy? Hmmmm, this is strictly my opinion I believe these are the reasons why:

  • Fear of creating an entitlement culture
  • Fear of setting unrealistic expectations
  • Fear of setting selection criteria
  • Fear of legal issues (discrimination)
  • Fear of relationship damage

All of these fears could be legitimate if the organization fails to properly structure and administrate a HIPO selection and development program.

33% of organizations playing the HIPO card tell the candidate when selected. Why do they take this different path? Again this is my opinion:

  • They have well-defined selection criteria.
  • They set clear expectations with candidates.
  • They have strong candidate development programs in place.
  • That have formalized HIPO contracts.
  • They simply have confidence because of preparation and process.

Be Candid and Transparent

It is also my opinion that being open and candid is always better. The Secret Society approach is almost like “a whisper culture” where people are left to wonder and worry about the process. I believe this has an adverse affect on culture.

Team members appreciate knowing the rules, the criteria, and the selection process guidelines. Confidence grows in your organization when your openness grows. Let them in on the secret, “We think you are great and have the potential to be amazing.”

The Talent Race

You must recruit the best, train them to be even better, and retain them afterwards to be competitive in today’s marketplace. Invest heavily in your recruiting, training, and development processes. If you don’t, your great recruits will become your competitor’s future super star performers.

Did you ever want to be a part of that club, you know the one…with all the secret handshakes and membership criteria? Well, it sounds like you have a 67% chance of joining one if you are in fact a HIPO in someone’s eyes.

Find out about Paul Cummings University demos here.

The Sophisticated Beggar

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During a business trip to Edmonton, I encountered someone who made an indelible impression on me. In fact, he captured my attention, made me laugh, and he even closed the master closer. He did all of this in a matter of minutes by following several basic selling principles. As a matter of fact, I would say he was truly a professional at his trade. Ragged clothing, mussed hair, torn-up shoes, and rotting teeth aside, this man was at the very least a “sophisticated beggar,” and at the most someone’s child who, someway, somewhere, and somehow lost his way in life.

It is amazing how some of life’s greatest lessons come from the least likely people or circumstances. There is an abundance of lessons available to all of us if we simply open our eyes and hearts to the endless possibilities. Many times, we are so caught up in our own little world of pressing problems that we are blind to the magical moments surrounding us. This “chance” encounter on a street corner in Edmonton was a great example of one of those magical moments.

As I left a restaurant with my business associates, an abrasive person demanding money immediately confronted us. Yes. I said “demanding money,” and he was doing so in such a manner that anyone’s desire to help would quickly diminish. Simply stated, the approach was flawed and overbearing. As we waited for the light to change, I felt a light tap on my shoulder. I turned to see who was behind me, and I heard a very kind voice say, “Excuse me, sir, may I ask you a question?” I looked into the eyes of a man whose face could tell you a million stories. I said, “Sure, go ahead.”


He said, ”If I tell you a joke and make you laugh, will you give me a dollar?” I found this approach to be very engaging. Think about it for a minute. The gentleman opened the conversation with a polite, permission-based question. He made great eye contact, smiled, and spoke in a pleasant voice. He then used a strategy I have taught my students for years by offering me value before he asked for money. Not bad, for a beggar on a street corner in Edmonton. Every salesperson could learn from this man’s approach.

I responded, “Sure, if the joke’s clean, go ahead.” He immediately became very animated in his movements. I was shocked as he used great communication skills to tell his joke. This man used voice inflection, cadence changes, and planned pauses to deliver the joke with impact. One thing you can’t really teach is timing, and this man had great comedic timing. Obviously, he had mastered his presentation skills. It is safe to assume he had delivered this joke over and over until it was second nature to him. Truth be told, it was hilarious, and we all burst out laughing when he finished.

At this point, he gently held out his hand with his palm facing the sky as if to say, “Pay me now.” It was his very sophisticated, yet subtle, version of a closing question. I reached in my pocket and gave the man a 20 to 1 return on his original request. He had definitely exceeded my expectations in every way.  As I handed him the $20.00, he thanked me graciously and wished me a great rest of the day. I thanked him for the laugh and the enjoyable experience. As he walked away, I saw him stop and gently tap another person on the shoulder. When is the best time to close a sale? Right after you just closed one.

I wish all my students would follow the guiding principles of selling that this man used that day in Edmonton.

This man was much more than a “sophisticated beggar.” He was a truly great sales professional.

Attributes Are Your Business Card

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After conducting over 4,000 live events as a corporate teacher, I am convinced salespeople drastically underestimate the power of their own attributes with regard to their results, reputation, referral base, and customer retention capacity. Your personal attributes are your business card. It’s what people see in you, feel from you, and hear from you that will lead them to tell others about you and your products and services.

The Attribute Check Up
Today’s customers are more demanding and better educated than ever before. Their ability to research prior to purchasing has armed them with more buyer confidence and has served to increase their expectations of salespeople.

As a result, salespeople’s character attributes matter more than ever before as well. Consistent attribute checkups are mandatory for success. Look at the list below and be brutally honest with yourself. Do you display these attributes consistently with your customers?

  • Trustworthy
  • Service-minded
  • Intelligent
  • Authentic
  • Likeable
  • Customer-focused
  • Enthusiastic
  • Prepared
  • Available
  • Active listener

There are many important attributes we could discuss, but these attributes will set you apart and give your customers and potential customers a high degree of confidence in you. These attributes need to be defined, refined, and evaluated often in order to be consistently on display.

Questions to Answer:

  • How do you define each one of these important attributes?
  • How will you represent each one of these attributes from a behavioral standpoint?
  • How do you feel each one of these attributes will affect your customers and potential customers?
  • How would you rank these 10 attributes in order of importance?
  • What is one “I will” action you can implement to would improve each attribute?



Next Steps:

  1. Create an attribute card for each attribute with the definition listed.
  2. Read this card every day before beginning your work day.
  3. Write 10 “I will” action statements to refine the attributes on the back.
  4. Review your planned actions each day, and hustle to execute.

If you adopt this strategy, I have no doubt you will expand your audience because your prospects and customers will become your personal advocates. They will become your personal storytellers at home and work.

Why would you not adopt this strategy? What is preventing you from taking action today? What might be holding you back? Resolve these questions, and step over hesitancy and doubt. Embrace action and belief!

Make a difference today.

Find out about Paul Cummings University demos here.

Copyright 2016: Paul Cummings Enterprises.

The “L” Factors

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Sales Leads

During a sales education event I hosted on the West Coast, a topic came up that I am compelled to share with our audience. For anyone involved in the business of sales, I believe this will prove useful to you and your organization.

Two Big Facts

90% of all sales transactions are emotional decisions. These decisions are based on a customer’s “L” factors and where they are on the scale at the time we make the first closing attempt.

10% of all sales transactions are logic-based decisions. These decisions are based on our ability to satisfy the customer’s need for information with a solution they can analytically asses at the time of our first closing attempt.

The Buying LineThe Buying Line

Every customer reaches a point either as an a emotional-based or logic-based buyer where he or she is either over or under the buying line. The buying line is best defined as:

“I have enough information to go forward with the purchase. Ask me to buy now!”

Understanding this process allows sales professionals to better time when the closing sequence should begin. Asking someone to buy when he or she is still below the line invites additional objections and, in many cases, results in a need to negotiate price down to receive a “yes” response to the purchase.

Understanding the “L” Factors

Every customer arrives with his or her own set of factors in hand. The factors are common to everyone but where the customer is on the Factor Scale is unique to each customer based on individual circumstances, past experiences, and current needs and expectations.

The Factors

The Factors

Look for these “L” factors in each customer:

  • Level of Urgency
  • Level of Enthusiasm
  • Level of Interest
  • Level of Experience

Let’s examine the Factor Scale:

Low      Medium        High          Extreme

Example: a customer is shopping for a new automobile. They are in the market and have begun the shopping process. After visiting websites and doing research, they arrive at a Ford Dealership for a first visit:

Level of Interest              Medium

Level of Urgency             Low

Level of Enthusiasm        Medium

Level of Experience         Low

Is this a buyer? Potentially. The goal of the sales professional is to drive these factors into the high or extreme range before making a closing attempt. This is done by following all the key steps on the road to the sale.

The first alert is they have no experience with the Ford product since they have always driven Chevrolet in the past. Their urgency is low because this is day one. Their interest and enthusiasm is medium because they have decided to purchase a new vehicle.

The MissionThe Mission

If we can drive up interest by establishing trust and confidence early, the customer’s enthusiasm for the purchase will follow suit. If we can drive up the experience factor through a dynamic product presentation and demonstration, we can begin to drive up their urgency factor as well. This must be done with a service-based approach.

By slowing down early and determining their “L” factor scale with high-quality questions, we can then present our value proposition to fit their individual point of need. As we present and demonstrate, we can insert value confirmation questions to build minor point “yes momentum.” A series of tiny “yes” responses gradually builds the customer’s “L” factors towards the high to extreme scale.

Sales MantraSales Professional’s Mantra

I want the customer to have extreme belief in my company, product, service, and in me as their representative and solution provider. If they have extreme trust and confidence in these four key areas, I can be confident in a positive response when I make the first request to buy. I will drive their “L” Factors to the extreme level by focusing on their needs and exceeding their expectations. This is where active listening plays an essential role in the process.

In ClosingIn Closing

If you start paying attention, you will be able to quickly determine the Factor Scale. I’m a numbers guy, so I created a numeric equation that I used throughout my career.

Low =              1

Medium =        2

High =             3

Extreme =       4

The Buying Line

1-5:            No chance to sell

6-8:            Maybe if price is very low

9-12:          Good chance at a close

13-16:        I will close the sale

I always waited to go for the close until they were 12 or higher on the scale. This worked well and drove my closing percentages and profits through the ceiling. I hope you enjoyed this post about the scientific side of the business of sales!

Make a difference today.

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