Talking can lead to three of the biggest mistakes that business owners and sales people can make.

1. Self-Talk or more specifically, letting yourself drown in it.
2. Talking too much instead of listening.
3. Believing Your Excuses.

But there are 3 tools that have been proven effective to stop this bad talk, so your business can succeed, and your sales can skyrocket.

The $5 Solution: Business owners talk about competition and strategies to beat them while giving a lot of reasons and excuses why something’s not working. Talk to any business owner and you’ll hear all the self-talk about their challenges: pricing, we can’t do this, we know we’ve got to do this, we need more, our software isn’t as good, our equipment doesn’t work like this, we can’t sell this and on and on.

Thirty-five years ago, I was working with a CPA firm to help them. They talked about their employees and asked, “how do we get business?” while bemoaning the fact that the marketplace was so competitive.

They were flabbergasted when I told them that I could solve all their problems for five dollars. I said give me a five-dollar bill, they did and I had all the partners write their signatures on it and I said, “I’ll see you next week when I come back”. The following week I came back and I walked in with a frame and mirror that cost $5. I told them everything everyone in their organization was sharing with me was fraught in self talk and that if instead we focused on what they could do, how they could grow their business with facts and numbers, they would grow their business.

Don’t Puke on Your Customers: The number one thing that makes most sales people fail is puking on their customers. I give my sales people a customer presentation clothes protector to remind them that if they start puking, they can give this to the customer to protect their clothes. Another tool I use is a recorder pen. I have my sales people
stick these in their pockets and record their presentations. At the end of the day, they stick it in the USB, e-mail the file and we transpose it. One hundred percent of the time we see the train wreck before it ever got to the crash site, and it never crashed for the reason the person thought it did. What we see by listening back is usually that the sales person is absolutely puking on the customers, not engaging them.

If you want to be successful in sales, learn to ask questions: open ended questions, engaging questions, relationship questions. Find the source of the customer’s pain. What you do is not relevant until you know what they need and can provide an alternative to help them out. If you’re calling on someone you should already know if they are the kind of customer who can use your service so just make sure you’re asking open ended questions and you’re not puking on your customers.

Banish Excuses to the Box: There is a brown box on the conference table in my office that we’ve been using for twenty-five years to help get rid of self-talk and all the nonsense that goes on in our company. It’s an excuse box. Our team has written their five favourite excuses on cards and put them in the box. So, if they start giving an excuse for why they didn’t make a return phone call, they didn’t get a report in or wherever, we say, ‘the excuse you’re about to give is as good as the one that’s in here, so just go ahead and draw one out, what does it say? “my mom had to go to the dentist,” well, we tell them, that’s just as good as the one you’re about to give.’ Your team needs to understand that nobody gets paid for excuses.

The $5 solution, the customer presentation clothes protector and the excuse box – all of these tools are to help remind you that your destination, your success, your future, all of the things that you think that are happening that are against you or that are not right for you, 99% of the time they are controllable by you.

Free Solutions: If you would like any of these tools for free – the $5 solution, customer presentation clothes protector or the excuse box,
send your name and address to

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