Category Archives: The Art of Selling

May I have my algorithm, now, please?

May I have my algorithm, please? Remember when dating sites first came out? I don’t know if they still do this, but they used to promote this thing they “did”.

Finding your perfect mate…mathematically! 

Here’s how it works. You enter answers to a survey. Do you smoke? What is your age? What was your GPA during college? What is your profession? Are you an outdoors person? Do you like to drink pickle juice in the middle of the night, watching TV in your swimsuit?

You know, the usual.

And then, they would run all of this data using an algorithm against all other data – and POW! Your perfect match! We did the math and here he is!

It was always a little hard for me to buy

I found myself deeply suspicious that anyone’s algorithm could take all of this “perfectly” correlated data and find me the right guy.

Unfortunately, this is how most “Sales Training” works

We are trained that if we can capture a bulk of the circumstances; the level of the decision-maker, the industry, the economy, the average length of a sales cycle, the ferocity of the competition, and the number of pixels on our marketing pieces (as a sample set) – and we can put this all into a formula and POW! – we will have the right approach to CLOSE THE DEAL!

To that I say ‘hooey’

Each sales transaction, every one, is a complex and delicate social and psychological transaction. Whether you’re selling your three-year-old on eating his peas, or selling an airplane contract to Boeing. Procurement departments are put in place to keep this complexity out – but that just adds one more element to the mix.

How to use sales training

Here’s what I’ve found to be VERY useful. When I hear something that makes sense, I give it a try. See if it works FOR ME. If it does, I keep it. If it doesn’t, I tweak it or toss it. I don’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out what is wrong with me that it does not work.

When I hear something that makes me sick to my stomach, I ask WHY I am being trained that way. There “might” be a good reason. If there isn’t, I scrap it!

When I have worked for a company who insists on a certain way, I found my self-expression in it – or moved on.

There is NO exact formula or mathematical algorithm to sales. It is a constant dance and an unending opportunity for refinement and education. It challenges and fascinates me. And I love it. I have found my voice in it.

I wish the same for you and am willing to help in any way I can (and willing to learn EVEN more than I now know!)

So, let’s keep this community going! It is a beautiful art we pursue! 

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Love ’em 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

Boy, do I have a surprise for you!

We have got some COOL stuff about to happen.

The amazing Robert Terson received delivery of his BRAND NEW book Selling Fearlessly today. I wish I could have seen his face when he opened the box…smelled the fresh new pages…saw the colorful covers…the completion of many, many hours of loving work.

Here is what I LOVE about this book. It is written by one of the most generous men I know. Someone whose writing chops are a match for his selling chops. Someone who ACTUALLY sold his whole career. (Go to and read The Mound Road story he has avaialable on the site – it will draw you in!)

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Bob doesn’t tell you how to sell, he SHOWS you how to sell.

So, the cool thing that is happening is that Robert is going to do a VaVaVaVoom (Vicarious, Virtual, Voyeuristic) Interview with me, The Irreverent Sales Girl, later this month. The interview will be fun, inspiring, will share some highlights and give you at LEAST one thing that will make a difference in your success.

It is my privilege to help this amazing man introduce his masterpiece to the world. Stay tuned for more information!

Love your stories UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

Keeping the wolves at bay

Keeping the wolves at bay…

I have had a client for a long, long time. They are a signature client and many other clients come on board with me because of THEM! They are important to my past, present, and future success.

Recently, they decided that they wanted to start looking around at other options. New, sexy, exciting, (unproven) options! They have included me in the process and are giving me the chance to stay in the game with them.

Tomorrow, I present to their team – and here’s why I’m 90% positive I am going to keep the relationship…because every chance I get, I talk to them about all the great things we’ve been able to do together over the years. We have a PARTNERSHIP. When THEY wanted to make a big, unprecedented splash in their industry, I was there. IT was awesome. When they wanted to expand their reach, I was there, we have results to show for it. When they wanted to support new markets, I was there and it made a huge difference.

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But, if I weren’t communicating these wins with them (like a walk down memory lane), then it’s easy for them to forget when something new and sparkly shows up on the scene. It’s why I am going to keep this business (they even let ME select the position I wanted in the order of presentations. I picked LAST, of course).

The principles I’m talking about are easy to apply in any industry. They go like this:

When you get a new client

Send at least a handwritten thank you note, if not a gift. AND thank the person who sent them to you. This works with selling cars, furniture, appliances, real estate, mortgages, farming equipment, office supplies … ANYTHING.

When you have had a client for awhile

Check in to see how they are using your products. Has anything changed in their life? What is coming up that you should know about?  If you are a car dealer, you will find out that a daughter is about to turn 16 and a new car is in order (probably for mom and dad, but a new car, nonetheless). If you are in furniture, you will find that a baby is on the way, or that an aging couple is moving to a smaller place and needs help with the new setting.

When you have had a client for a few “seasons”

Send tokens of appreciation and schedule a coffee, simply to “walk down memory lane”. If you are in real estate, you can reminisce about how far that couple has come from their “first home buyer” experience to upgrading to a home for babies and for helping the first child get their first home. If you are in appliances, you can chortle about the surprise new range that he bought for his wife on their fifth anniversary.

The point

The point is…if you want to have a successful book of business that builds on itself, you will keep it personal and you will remind your clients of the partnership you have developed over the years.  This may seem like a lot of work, but BELIEVE ME…the repeat business and referrals you will receive FAR OUTWEIGH the cost and effort it takes to keep getting NEW clients.

Love the partnership UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

What I learned from Galaga this week

Have you ever played Galaga (the video game)?

I LOVE that game. Haven’t played in years.

This weekend, I went to a resort in the Smoky Mountains that had the vintage game Galaga! YAY! I was so happy.

I started playing. I was having a blast. Playing and playing and then…something interesting happened.

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I started approaching the HIGH SCORE! YAY! I was going to beat that high score. WOW! The first time EVER I was going to be on the screen for being the HIGH SCORE.

So, what did I do? I started playing the game with an eye on the score…and GUESS WHAT!

GAME OVER at 10 POINTS UNDER the high score. Aaaaargh!

Isn’t that just how it goes? You are playing like a winner and THEN you look at the score and GAME OVER.

I played another game after that and came nowhere near my first score. Then, I just turned the game off.

The lesson? Keep your eye on playing. Let the score INFORM you, but keep your eye on the game.

When I am being my best and doing everything I know to make my customer happy, game on! When I calculate against what someone else has done or the “score” I am hoping to achieve…it comes to a DEAD STOP!

Love the game UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

A funny little story about Uranium

You’re familiar with Uranium, right? That lovely little radioactive substance?

Funny thing about Uranium. It has a very specific rate at which its radioactivity decays. It has a precise half-life and, so far, has never been known to vary.

Here’s the crazy thing…If you watch Uranium under a microscope…it will not decay. No matter how long you watch. You can watch and watch and watch. No decay. BUT, as soon as you leave the microscope to do the dishes or grab a nap or something, when you come back to take a peek at the little guy it is EXACTLY as decayed as you would expect it to be given the precise half-life and all that jazz.

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Sounds like that BIG DEAL you keep waiting to close, doesn’t it? You watch and watch and watch it. You poke at it. You hold your breath. You make promises to a higher power. You fret. Then, just when you go talk with some other customer, start doing other work…BOOM! It slides right in. Deal closed.

See what I’m sayin’ here?

Love all the deals UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl


Repeat after me: You’re welcome.

You have NO idea how important this one phrase is.

Ponder it.

Get back to me.

Do you get it? (Most don’t)

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Love acknowledgment UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

How do you engage someone in ways they never imagined?

I was attending a conference session headed up by a very interesting organization called Care2 (Make a Difference) at I do NOT condone every one of their messages, but they solidified something for me.

Care2 postulates that if you have a business that satisfies 6 Basic Human Needs, you have got a winner!

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I was thrilled. First, I already work to incorporate all of them – AND it gave me ideas for getting even better. I am thinking about painting these 6 key words on my office wall to remind me (and all those who work with me) to fulfill these needs in every interaction. Ready? Here they are:

1) Significance: Day-In-and-Day-Out, I make sure that EVERY person who interacts with me is acknowledged publicly. Think I can’t keep it up? TRY ME!

2) Connection: People have a deep desire to feel connected – to a person, a brand, a company, a vision. I work HARD to provide pathways to this. I will never stop!

3) Contribution: People are DYING to make a difference. I am so grateful that YOU make a difference with me. It is my goal to demonstrate publicly the difference you make and the contribution you are to my life, to others’ lives, and to all of your communities.

4) Certainty: People want to know what to expect when they listen to my messages.I believe they expect Dignity, Irreverence, Inspiration, and something that reminds them of who they are. I work very hard on this quality. The Irreverent Sales Girl does not swear and rarely disparages – UNLESS you are so totally off base that disparging you is the only avenue I can see (*grin*).

5) Variety: The yin to the yang of Certainty. (Or is it the other way around?) In any case, people want to be Surprised and Delighted. They like a twist. They want something a little unexpected. This is why I stay FAR away from “warmed over porridge” otherwise known as sappy platitudes. There is plenty of that everywhere else.

6) Growth: People want an opportunity to grow. Everything I offer is designed for exactly that. So that I can grow and hopefully offer something that inspires you to grow, too! If we do not all grow together, I’ll likely get left behind! No GOOD!

Feel free to steal these tenets if you’d like. I stole them after all! I think they are amazing!

Let’s go forth and give people what they want!

Love your work UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl