Category Archives: Customer Service

Notes and thoughts about exceptional (or exceptionally bad!) customer service.

The Power of “What Are You Doing About That NOW?”

You’re in a sales conversation. Things are going pretty great. The questions your customer is asking are easily answered by your solution.

THEN, they throw the zinger at you. The question you can’t answer easily. The problem they want to solve, but you don’t have a plug-and-play answer.

You wrack your brain…you start making things up

You start thinking crazy things like…”Hmmmm….If they are asking for it, they must need it.” OR “Wow, my competition must be able to help them and I CAN’T!” OR “Help! I’m going to lose this sale!”

PAUSE. Take a moment. 

Then say, “That’s a great question. What Are You Doing About That NOW?

This question ALONE is a money-maker. 

Now, listen. Their answer will be VERY telling. It will give you access to FOUR options which will help you shine like a ROCKSTAR and ONE option that will help you stop wasting your time.

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The FIVE power options

1) They will tell you that they AREN’T doing it now, but they would really like to.
This will give you the chance to commiserate with them. “Yes, that WOULD be great. Unfortunately, we don’t do that now. Why is that important to YOU? Have you heard of anyone else who does that, because I haven’t.”: (NOTICE: Now you are on THEIR side of the table and you can gain valuable information about any competitors who might be in the mix.)

2) They will tell you the painful way they are handling that now.
This will give you the chance to commiserate with them. Then, you can talk about OTHER possible solutions to their problem that you CAN help with. You can use examples of other clients who have had similar issues and have solved them with YOU!

3) They will tell you the way they are working around the problem.
This will give you the chance to encourage them to continue to use their workaround and YOUR solution. Then, you can launch into how YOUR solution is going to solve so many of their other problems that this workaround might be less painful.

4) They will tell you that your competitor DOES offer a solution.
This will give you the chance to find out what your customer’s TOP priorities are. Is the competition able to deliver the more important solutions that YOU can deliver? Then, ask them if they would be open to you sharing the solution your competitor offers with your manager so that your company can possibly start working on a baked-in solution for your service.

5) They will tell you that they currently have a good solution to that particular problem or that your competitor offers a good solution for them.
This will give you the chance to find out if the solution you DON’T have is a deal-breaker. If it is, bow out gracefully and thank them for considering doing business with you. (You will STILL look like a ROCKSTAR, by the way, you just won’t be closing the business. Funny thing is, sometimes when you bow out on the “deal-breaker”, you find it wasn’t a deal-breaker after all and they appreciate your honesty – AND THEY BUY!)

So, when you get into a jam. And you customer wants something you can’t help with. Be calm. And confidently ask, “Hmmmmm….What Are You Doing About That NOW?”

Love your selling UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl



Creating my Incredible 2013

Creating my incredible 2013I am creating my incredible 2013 – with the help of this truly wonderful resource:

I am going to shamelessly steal from the planner (please go get it – so inexpensive – so powerful – WE CAN DO IT TOGETHER!)

From Leonie Dawson (who you will LOVE):

“The Entrepreneur’s path can be the most spiritual experience of your life [btw, salespeople ARE entrepreneurs]

You will be called on to change every part of you that holds you back, so that you may step into your brightest magnificence.

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The path of growth, of expansion, of transformation, of change, is not always the easy one.

It will cause you to face your fears, all the parts of you that are undeveloped.

You have no choice but to step into this, whole of face and whole of heart.

This is the path that is calling you, the path that has been destined for you.

This is the path that is calling your greatness out of you, it is the path that calls you to dream your biggest dream.”

Salespeople ROCK!

Love your Courage, Brilliance, and Perseverance UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

It is all about looking good!

If you think about it, the MOST important thing to humans seems to be looking good! Our currency is adoration, looking like a good guy, and being right. And, we will do ALMOST ANYTHING to achieve those key qualities.

Here’s how this helps YOU as a salesperson (or, frankly, any business person).

When someone is buying from you, MAKE SURE they look like a ROCK STAR.

If a man has to defend his purchase of his car to his wife, MAKE SURE he looks like a GENIUS about the decision he made.

If an employee is buying a service, MAKE SURE that his boss is thrilled with his business acumen.

If a … well, you get the picture.

People want to feel smart about the decisions they make. If you understand why someone is buying, what need it fills for THEM and for their INFLUENCERS — you have got it made!

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Make sense? Start finding out what EVERYONE who is impacted wants. Then arm your buyer with everything THEY need to look REALLY REALLY GOOD!

Your job is to create ROCK STARS!

Love your peeps UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

Do you have to be COLD to make COLD calls?

You do not have to be cold to cold call
Cold Calling Myths

Today I was doing my cold calls.

I think about cold calls a lot, the more I talk with solopreneurs and budding salespeople.

Here’s what I realized.

There is a lot of mythology about cold-calling.

There are two visions that people conjure up when they think about cold-calling:

Either they imagine the frustrated cold-caller: locking his jaw, picking up the phone with a clenched fist, hoping that someone won’t actually answer the phone, “Please GOD Please, let it go to voice mail”. Then (when they answer) “Please GOD Please, let them be nice”.


They imagine the Monster Cold-Caller: fangs dripping with the blood she anticipates from her victim.Going for it. Driving and driving and driving – like a machine mowing down everything in her path.

(Genders made up).

It’s not like that for me, and it doesn’t have to be that way

I am not going to pretend that calling on someone I do not know is ever easy. We have a natural resistance to being a pest and feeling like we are wasting someone’s time! THANK GOD for that resistance! It is not something to overcome. It is a reminder that you are an AWESOME human being.

Which brings me to the next mythology:

If you want to be a great cold-caller, you must have a thick skin

People imagine that the great cold-caller can take a “rejection – kick-in-the-teeth” call and move on. Not true.

It doesn’t work to have a thin skin, either, but perhaps the thickness of your skin has nothing to do with it.

A new paradigm

Imagine this. If you were a person who was passionate about your product. You had done as much research as possible about who you are calling to make a conversation about THEM (this takes about 2 minutes, tops!) and you are willilng to consider that there is another person on the other end of the line who has priorities in their day and their lives. And you KNEW that 3 out of every 10 people were going to respond to you favorably.

NOW, how does cold-calling look?

It starts to look like an interesting conversation. An opportunity to connect. A thought about how YOU can make a difference in someone else’s day.

Here’s the rub

There are four muscles YOU MUST develop as a ‘cold-caller’.

1) Creativity – get creative about how to reach the people who will care
2) Emotional Radar – learn to get in “someone else’s world” FAST
3) Vulnerability with Confidence – the ‘hardest’ of all, but the most rewarding
4) A system that you stick to – you’ve gotta do the work. Every week. Sorry!

If you can do those, the world is your oyster

And they are simple skills to build. And trainable. I have trained my sales staff to LOVE outreach. I have a hard time calling my cold-calling “cold”, ‘cuz it rarely is.

Let’s keep the conversation going. Just know that there are ways that you will be LIT UP by your cold calling. AND YOU WILL RULE!

Wondering how to go from 5 to 6 figures in sales? Check out this Free eBook:

Love your work UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

A funny thing happened to me last week!

Are you the sales bully? One of the most amazing women on the planet today allowed ME to be a guest blogger on her site. Erika Napoletano is REDHEAD WRITING. She is a columnist for Entrepreneur Magazine, she is a Tedx Talker. She is, in short, the real deal.

AND, she is SO human.

I am humbled by her interest in the message of Bringing a Dash of Dignity to the Art of Sellling. So, today I share the Guest Blog that she allowed me to contribute.

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It is on one of my FAVORITE TOPICS. I OBJECT to you overcoming my OBJECTIONS!

Enjoy good storytelling here: Are you the sales bully?

Love your peeps UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

Making the most of my conference attendance!

Going to the Big Conference

Here’s one for those who attend conferences. Some juicy tips that will help you make the MOST of your dollars.

I’m headed out to a big fat conference in New York this week. All of the decision-makers in my industry are attending.

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I’ve gotten to be a bit of a pro at this (at least for myself) and would like to share my favorite tips for making the VERY most of the time and money you are spending to attend:

1) To booth or not to booth
I am attending this industry-standard conference as a vendor. But, NEVER as someone with a booth. Know why? I find it’s a waste of money. If the conference will let me attend as a vendor without a booth, I DO IT! I circulate more. Meet WAY more people. And spend less money. Geez, I hope the conference organizers aren’t reading this 🙂  If I MUST have a booth to attend, I work to get myself on as many panels and invited to as many parties as possible.

2) Pre-conference Prep
I email my entire list of current pipeline prospects and people I haven’t spoken to in quite some time. I ask them, are you attending the such-and-such conference? I will be there and I would LOVE to meet. This accomplishes a few things. 1 – it gives me credibility as someone who is keeping up-to-speed as a thought leader. 2 – it gives me the chance to set up appointments to meet people face-to-face, which allows for some nice efficiencies. 3 – It gives me a reason to be in touch. 4 – it allows me the opportunity to be a resource to my customers who can’t make it to the event – I touch base with  them when I get back about the top 3 things I learned – or with people I’d like to connect them to.

3) Opening the conversation
I used to find this to be the hardest thing to do at a conference. What do I say that won’t annoy the daylights out of someone who is there trying to get educated in their field (and avoid vendors, frankly). Now, it’s easy. I simply ask: “What do you most want to get out of this conference?” or “What is the thing you would say has been most valuable about your time here?” This opens the conversation for what THEY care about. Often, I’m able to serve as a resource with some of their key issues. SCORE! (And they’re glad to talk to me because they are talking about themselves. Critical.)

4) Don’t drink
I leave the alcohol consumption to the celebration of all my new business when I get home. If I am really going to work the conference to its best advantage, I need all the stamina and sharpness I can get. I go to the parties and join in on the fun, but I keep it straight. This is my business, after all.

5) Bring LOTS of business cards, but leave the presentations at home
Conference attendees do NOT want one more thing to drag home with them. I bring plenty of cards, and make sure I get theirs!

6) Carry the Thank You notes and stamps along with me
Yep. The hand written Thank You note again. When I am REALLY on my game, I write the cards out before I go to bed. At least I have them on the plane with me for my ride home. I believe people are impressed that they get something personal from me right away on their return.

7) Set a goal
I set a goal of how many meaningful connections I am going to make at the conference. Connections that could lead to a sale. My goal for this three day conference is 20 meaningful connections. Obviously, I will make many more connections than that, but I’m talking about the ones that will lead directly to further conversations about working together. I hold myself to my goal and I don’t quit until I’ve made it. It’s a great game!

8) Be a stalker
This is only for the VERY accomplished. If I am listening to a keynote or a panelist who is a big deal at their company (my favorites are the Fortune 500 CEOs), this CAN be an ideal time to connect with them. But, I am careful. I MUST have something MEANINGFUL to say that takes about 5 seconds and addresses core issues they just mentioned. I ask them for a CONNECTION at their company, not for THEIR time. These can be magical moments.

9) Love ’em UP!
When I get home, I’m quick to put a bullet-point summary of the value I got from the conference. I send this to all my peeps who I did not see at the conference. I become a thought leader and valuable resource! Then, I connect with all the *meaningful connections* to set future action. I do NOT let this wait until sometime next week. I will take off Tuesday afternoon, as a reward- as long as those communications go out ASAP!

10) Balance the drawer and then we’re out!
I take care of my finances. It’s never fun, but I challenge myself to finish my expense report and turn it in within two business days. No use carrying balances for the work I have done.

Great! I’m ready to rock ‘n roll! What strategies do YOU use to make the most of your conference time? I can’t wait to hear!

Love your peeps UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

Are you HOT?

Hot Selling
Be hot, sell more

Are you HOT? Let me clarify.

When you are HOT, you have great attitude! People want to buy from confident, self-possessed, passionate people. That’s HOT!

You do NOT need to look like the woman in this pic (who does, really, look like her?) But, the attitude is there!

She is confident, knows who she is, and is going to make sure that YOU look like a ROCK STAR when you buy her products. (This applies to men, too, BTW!)

You may “feel” less-than-confident when you are selling. We all do. Seriously!

One of my best friends once told me — “You can’t judge a person’s insides by their outsides”…meaning, they may LOOK all put together, but it doesn’t mean they are.

Go find your attitude. Find your passion. Find where YOU are HOT (and it may be that you are the EXPERT who CANNOT be denied! See Mike Kunkle as an example)

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Find it. And go forth and be awesome! Let your HOT shine through (everyone’s got it!)

Love your hot UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl





Making a difference

I was reading some research today about why people volunteer. I mean volunteering with nonprofits – getting involved with a cause. In every age group, the overwhelming reason that people say they volunteer is that they want to make a difference. It wasn’t a surprise to me. Mostly, I think people are wired to feel they are part of something bigger and that they make someone else’s life better.

It’s the same thing with the greatest salespeople I’ve ever known. They are out to make a real difference – for their customers, their society, their company, their families, themselves.

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Here are the top characteristics of a salesperson who is out to make a difference:

1. They understand the big picture of what happens when people buy their products – the jobs it creates, the efficiencies it allows, the satisfaction that is achieved, the industry it improves.

2. They keep themselves educated in their field and their industry, so that they serve as a real resource to their prospective clients – whether they buy or not – because they are committed that people get the right solution.

3. They make sure they have a REASON to call on someone before they pick up the phone or write the email. A REASON that will matter to the person on the receiving end.

4. They stay in communication with customers to make sure that they are up-to-speed on the new things their customers may need, make  sure that what they have sold is still working, and to fix issues that might have gone wrong. They are in the relationship for the long-term and interested in the performance of what they sold.

5. They make good on their promises and do whatever it takes to make their customer “whole” when they haven’t delivered EXACTLY how their customer expected them to. THEY take responsibility for the outcome of the sale. 

Isn’t selling fun? It is wonderful when I know that I have made a REAL difference for people.

Love your peeps UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

Everybody skims…

This post is designed for YOU to get your message across to the customers that matter.

A recent a-ha moment! 
I recently got advice from the SPECTACULAR Erika Napoletano (of fame – or infamy – you choose).

Erika gave me the AWESOME offer of submitting a guest post to her blog. So I submitted one. And she generously front-stabbed me (Front-Stabbing: the generosity you offer when you tell people how it REALLY is – to their face. Antonym: get the picture).

Her advice about the article I had submitted? Her words…”… try adding some subheadings that make it easy for the reader to skim (we ALL skim!)”

Then I realized…

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I may not be a great author, but I DO THIS IN SALES!
It occurred to me. I am CRYSTAL CLEAR that people SKIM my messages … in email, letters, and voice mail.

That’s why I get such a high level of response in my sales messages. I give it to ’em the way they want it.

I use BOLDED text for each new point. I use bullet points to make my points. It works!

The best part of the story…
In fact! I had a very interesting challenge a few years back. My “prospect” (for lack of a better term) was WILDLY busy. Beyond busy.

So, every email I sent her was the whole message in the subject line without scrolling. With back-up support in the body – if she could get to it. 20 words MAX.

She LOVED it. She told me that I was the ONLY person who “got” the way she wanted to be communicated with! She always got right back to me – a salesperson’s dream.

Still no guest post
Nearly every day, I revisit the guest post I am to send to Erika. Thank goodness, she is not counting on me for content!

But a great realization!
Please, please, please…when you are sending sales emails, think of the sheer amount of emails that everyone has to read. Put your requests first! Put your backup information in clear, concise terms. GET TO THE POINT!  Remember that the reader is probably emailing from her phone.

This requires work, you will have to think about what is IMPORTANT to THEM. Do NOT expect them to read every line. Boil it down to the juice.

You will ROCK over those TEDIOUS emails your competition is sending.

They will love you. They will read you. They will get back to you. They will buy from you.

And you will WIN!

Love your peeps UP!

And remember, EVERYBODY SKIMS! 

The Irreverent Sales Girl

The BUYER makes the biggest difference of all…

A true story that involves a Real Estate Agent
I had dinner with a very good friend of mine on Saturday. She is a ROCK STAR real estate agent. She works her fanny off for her clients and she KNOWS the market where I live. She knows simply everything about everything in our neighborhood. She is a great connector. She is the REAL DEAL. She IS an Irreverent Sales Girl (meaning she says it straight and she produces results).

Here’s the story she told. My good friend has a problem, one that most real estate agents face. She was talking about the inherent disloyalty of representing a buyer in the marketplace. NOW, no matter what you think of the value of real estate agents or the commissions they make or any of the rest of it, I want you to put that aside for one minute. It will be worth it.

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Buyers are often disloyal. They will work with an agent to get educated, have that agent schlep them all over town looking at the houses that fit their desires, and then they go find a property they love, act on it, and cut the agent out of the deal. It’s not wrong. It is how the system is designed.

(MY advice: If you are so smart that you can ‘go it on your own’, then ‘go it on your own’ the whole way through.)

But, here’s the inspiring part
She went on to tell a story that I loved. She told me of a client who she had been working hard for. He was in the market. He tripped across a home he loved. It was For Sale By Owner. He was ready to buy.

Know what he did?

He said, up-front… “I don’t make a move without my agent. I want HER to manage the deal..from inspections, to attorneys, to reviewing the deal.”

He was no dummy. He has his own business. Something HE knows everything about. And he REALIZED that she does, too. She actually KNOWS something about the pitfalls of buying, the places he could get screwed up, the team of professionals required to make the deal go down, so that it benefits HIM.

He honored her professionalism and valued her expertise. She got paid. He got what he wanted.

So, what’s the point?
Here’s the point. By now, you probably know that my MISSION IN LIFE is to transform the world of selling. For everyone!

When you think about it…People LOVE to buy things they want or need, and they especially love to buy from people they LIKE!

So, where did it all go wrong? Where did sales get such a bad rap?

Well, I think we all know where…from crummy snake oil salespeople who took advantage of trusting buyers.

BUT, times they have a-changed.

From Buyer-Beware to Buyer-Be-Great
I am going to say something radical now.

How YOU are, as a buyer, makes a difference.

If you honor the expertise, the wisdom, and the education you receive from a GREAT salesperson, you will make the world better for yourself, and for everyone else.

Yes, go out and get the best deal for yourself. Yes, work with real pros. Yes, say NO to salespeople who are not getting you what you want.

BUT, be a person who is WILLING to be great in the sales process. Send thank you’s to those who have put their time in – even if you aren’t going to use them. LISTEN for just a minute to what someone has to say. Put aside the need to “protect” yourself (you are bigger than that, anyway.)

Value the work that people do on your behalf. If you are willing to wear the big-boy pants and hold people accountable for doing their work well, AND you are willing to take FULL responsibility for your choices, then we actually HAVE A SHOT at making sales great. By all means, cut OUT the salespeople who are doing it badly, and cut them out FAST. Learn to do business with style and courtesy. As a buyer.

The buyer, more than anyone else, can transform the world of sales into a beautiful and celebrated profession. One where we can ALL get exactly what we want. Please start today. That person SELLING you something may actually have your best interests in mind. Take the time to find out.

Love buying UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl