Tips and Techniques to Manage Difficult People

Posts Tagged ‘Presentations’

I’d Be Nervous if I Wasn’t Nervous

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When was the last time you did some public speaking?

Perhaps it was a presentation to a client, or maybe your boss, or at an interview, or even at an event in your personal life. Did you feel nervous?

It happens to meAlan Speaking

It sometimes surprises people when I tell them I get slightly nervous before a speaking or training event. They seem to think that because I’ve been doing it for years, nervousness would no longer be an issue.

It doesn’t matter if it’s twelve people or twelve-hundred people. In fact, I’d probably prefer to speak to the twelve-hundred than the twelve.

It’s scary

Public speaking is still one of our greatest fears; it turns grown men and women into nervous wrecks. The mere thought of it turns our tongue to cotton wool, causes our internal plumbing to act up, and turns our knees to jelly.

However, “nerves” is a normal human emotion and as I often say, ‘I’d be nervous if I wasn’t nervous!’

It’s how you handle the nerves that will determine your success as a speaker.

Who’d be an actor?

The great actress Sarah Bernhardt once asked a young actress whether or not she suffered from nerves before she appeared on stage. ‘Oh no, Madame,’ the young actress replied. ‘Well,’ Sarah Bernhardt said, ‘Don’t worry; it will come along – with talent.’

The technical part

Nervousness is vital, you need nerves. Nerves release a cocktail of chemicals into your bloodstream, one of which is adrenaline. This in turn releases glucose into the blood stream. This gives you more energy and your mind becomes sharper.

The thing is, not to overdose on these stress chemicals or you’ll start to shake like a jelly and overheat. You need to work off some of these chemicals.

Listen to the professionals

Murray Walker the ex-motor racing commentator used to run on the spot as fast as he could just before he went on air. You could try that or run up and down the stairs. Wave your arms about like a lunatic and get lots of oxygen into your system. Obviously it’s better to do this when no one is looking!!

Make friends

Speak to as many members of the audience as you can, before you stand up to speak. This tricks your brain into thinking you’re talking to lots of your friends.

Speak louder than you’d normally do, that helps the nerves as well. It also keeps the people in the front row awake and makes sure the people at the back get the message.

Have a glass of water handy for that dry mouth. Don’t be afraid to stop and have a drink, it makes you look really cool and professional.

However, one word of warning; do not drink alcohol. It might give you Dutch courage, but your audience will end up thinking you’re speaking Dutch!

If you’re into creative visualisation, then that’s also a great way to handle the nerves. Spend some time before the event visualising yourself being really successful. Whatever you do, have lots of positive self-talk with yourself.

Believe me; once you start to apply this, the butterflies in your stomach will all be flying in formation.

And, if you want to listen to this post:

If you want me to help you with your public speaking, give me a call or send me an email – go on, don’t be nervous!

+44 (0) 1383 306 391

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One Reason You Get Nervous

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What makes you nervous?

There are many situations on our lives where nerves can be a problem and sometimes they get the better of us.

Where did he go?

I was at a wedding a few years back in the UK. And like most weddings, the best man was there in the church, doing his duty, beside the groom.

However, when we arrived at the reception – no best man! He’d gone AWOL, done a runner, back to Canada where he came from.

Luckily someone stood in for him, and I’m glad they didn’t ask me – I’d want to be paid!Fotolia_21705786_S-203x3001

Me also

It sometimes surprises people when I tell them I get slightly nervous before a speaking or training event. They seem to think that because I’ve been doing it for over twenty years, nervousness would no longer be an issue. You wanna bet?

“Nerves” is a normal human emotion and as I often say – ‘I’d be nervous if I wasn’t nervous!’

However, it’s how you handle the nerves that will determine your success in what ever it is you do.

One of the reasons you get nervous

One of the biggest fears for humans is the fear of rejection and we’ll do almost anything to avoid it. It stops people making speeches, contacting customers, asking for the order, or even asking someone out on a date.

Successful people feel the fear of rejection but they don’t allow it to paralyse them. They take action even although they feel uncomfortable. And of course, the more you do it the less uncomfortable you feel.

In the many challenges you face in life you won’t “win them all” but you must have the courage to try. I read somewhere that – ‘winners make mistakes but losers never do.’

That’s because winners have the courage to try and they know they’ll make mistakes; however that’s how they learn and move forward.

I make mistakes allllllll the time!

What do you think?

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7 Ways To Be a Powerful Persuader

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I’ll always remember the first sales course I ever attended and the definition of selling that was drummed into my business couple dealbrain.

‘Selling is the art of creating a desire in the mind of a buyer and satisfying that desire so that buyer and seller benefit.’

Now that may seem a bit old fashioned for many of today’s salespeople, but I believe the principle still holds true particularly if we’re attempting to persuade another person; be it a member of our team, a colleague or a customer.

Change the mindset

If you’re going to persuade someone to change their behavior, their viewpoint, their attitude any other aspect of their business or personal life, then you’re talking about changing a mindset.

If anyone is going to change their mindset then they need to envisage benefits for them that outweigh their present circumstances or situation.

If you’re the person doing the persuading, then you need the following skills, qualities and characteristics which make you believable and credible.

1. Belief

Successful persuaders believe in themselves and what they’re talking about. After all, if you don’t believe in what you’re saying, how do you expect anyone else to?

2. Enthusiasm

I’ve known people who totally believe in what they’re saying but fail to communicate with any enthusiasm or passion. Many people find difficulty with this.

If you want to persuade someone, you’d better find a way to get enthusiastic about it.

3. Knowledge

You must know what you’re talking about, so make sure you have all the information, facts, figures and statistics to make your case.

4. Empathy

Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. What do you think is important to them? Consider carefully why they should accept what you’re saying.

If someone is frightened of flying, then there’s no point in telling them not to be silly and to stop behaving like a baby. You need to think about how you might feel in these circumstances and what might persuade you to change your mind; you need to outweigh the fear with benefits relevant to the individual.

5. Persistence

If you want to persuade someone, don’t give up on the first ‘no’ or rejection of what you say. Persist and persist – but do it nicely!

People wont necessarily react in a negative way to your persistence when they realise you really believe what you’re saying.

There’s a fine line between being persistent and being a nuisance.

Watch the other person’s reactions and if it looks like you’re persisting too much – stop!

6. Energy

Put energy into all your interactions with other people. Energy fuels enthusiasm; we are persuaded by people with energy.

Many TV presenters use their energy to sell us their ideas. Think of the celebrity chefs on TV persuading us to produce fabulous meals or other presenters who get us all excited about re-modelling our homes or gardens.

7. Consistency

Everything you do or say is important, everything counts. If you want to be a powerful persuader then you must be consistent. If you’re trying to persuade someone to keep their promises, then you must always keep yours.

If you say, ‘I’ll phone you back in ten minutes,’ then phone them back in nine minutes.


To be a powerful persuader you need many skills, qualities and characteristics. Even with them all in place, there is still no guarantee of success.


People are more likely to be persuaded by people they trust, they like and have a good relationship with.

Sell yourself and change a mindset.

Excerpt from How to Manage Difficult People How to Manage Difficult People

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3 Steps to Effective Cross-Cultural Communication

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Let me tell you a quick story. Some years ago when I first visited South East Asia as a Professional Speaker, I was Two businessmen in suits shaking hands and smiling.somewhat apprehensive about how I well I would communicate with people from totally different cultures. After all, I was born and brought up in Glasgow, Scotland. It was even a challenge at times, to communicate with people 150 miles away in Aberdeen, whose culture was slightly different from mine. So how would I communicate with people on the other side of the world?

I needn’t have been concerned because the people I met and spoke to in Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia were much closer to me, in communication, than I had anticipated.

We need to understand the world

In this global economy, we all have to interact with suppliers, vendors and our counterparts in other cultures. Our effectiveness as cross-cultural communicators will be determined partly, by our knowledge of other cultures. Knowledge of food, art, fashion, behavior, customs, language and religion; all of this will stand us in good stead when we communicate with others. This knowledge can be gathered from books and other media; also from closely listening to and observing the people that we interact with.

We are all human

More importantly, our effectiveness as cross-cultural communicators will be determined by our emotional intelligence and human qualities.

Many business people seem to forget that when dealing with other people, they are dealing with human beings. Whatever culture these people have been raised and reside in, they still display human characteristics such as happiness, sadness, confidence, insecurities, desire for acknowledgement and acceptance of others. They experience anger and frustration, jealousy, fear of rejection, laziness and much more.

As humans, we are predominantly driven by our emotions when making decisions; whether to buy product or service or to accept what other people say.

When dealing with others, people will allow their emotions, rather than logic, to influence them.

Step 1 – Communicate on a Human and Business level.

When you work with suppliers, vendors, staff and customers; communication happens on two levels – the Human level and the Business Level. It is always better to open any interaction, be it written or verbal, on the Human Level before doing any business. This satisfies the individual’s need for acknowledgement, courteous treatment and acceptance of their viewpoints.

This does not mean that every time you interact with a supplier, a colleague or a customer, that you launch into some personal discussion. Opening on a Human Level can only take a couple of words, however, they have to be genuine.

The Business Level is about work related issues. If you interact with other people only on the Business Level, their needs on the Human Level will not be met and may get in the way of their ability to understand and respond positively to what you say.

When other people are angry or upset, they will demonstrate strong feelings. It is important to address these feeling on a Human Level or the business aspect may be disrupted and conflict will be created. You need to deal with the other person’s feelings, and then deal with their problem. When the business part of the interaction is completed, it is important to end on the Human Level

Step 2 – Get people to like you

Much of our success in cross-cultural communication will be determined by our ability to sell ourselves to others. Whether in our personal or working lives; people will judge us by what we say and what we do.

More importantly, this will be influenced by how likable we are. Likability is about being human; it’s about displaying warmth.

Warren Buffet, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, sometimes acclaimed as the world’s greatest investor, once said:

‘I’ve walked away from some great deals because I didn’t like the people I was dealing with.’

Likability in people will also be measured by their ability to really listen and be interested in others. Likable people use your name and look as if they care. We like people who have something positive to say and don’t whinge!

Likable people empathize with our problems and accept that we may have a different view of the world from them. Likability is demonstrated by a genuine smile, good eye contact, a sense of humor and relaxed open body language.

Step 3 – Be a credible communicator

When communicating with other people, and particularly when you’re trying to persuade them, the key ingredients are credibility and believability. Your credibility will be determined by the verbal, vocal and visual elements of your message.

If the words you say aren’t confirmed by your tone of voice and how you look, you won’t be believed. People will evaluate you (an average of 11 decisions within the first six seconds) based primarily on non-verbal information. We all tend to make snap judgements about other people, and often make mistakes – we stereotype.

So don’t fall into this trap when you meet other people, or speak to them on the phone. Also, be very aware, they will make decisions about you based on your tone of voice and body language.

Low self-esteem and self-image affect body language and tone of voice. People tend to make movements and display posture which indicates a lack of confidence. The people you communicate with, will sense from your tone of voice whether you are confident and believe in what you say.

If you don’t feel confident in a particular situation, act or pretend to be confident. Walk into a room as if you own the place. Pick up the phone and speak in a clear, confident and distinct manner.

You confidence and credibility will be determined by the self-talk that goes on inside your head.

Listen to that self-talk and ask yourself – ‘Is what I’m saying allowing me to be confident, positive and credible?’ If so – great! ‘Or is it holding me back and stopping me achieve my goals?’ If this is the case – STOP IT, change the program!

By talking to yourself in a positive manner, you’ll start to feel physically better; you’ll look better, sound more confident and credible. Words have an enormous power to create change in the chemistry of your body. Your heart rate, blood pressure, muscles, nerves and breathing will all react to the words you say to yourself and this will evident to other people.

‘Who you are speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you’re saying’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Make no mistake about it, if you build your knowledge of other cultures and couple that with these 3 Steps, you will become an even more effective cross-cultural communicator.

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How to Get Your Message Across – Show How You Feel

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Do you ever get the impression that people are not really listening to you or understanding what you’re saying? It Managerdoesn’t matter if it’s face to face or in a more formal speech or presentation.

Most people are not particularly good listeners. They are easily distracted and interrupted by other stuff going on in their brain.

They might be tired, in a hurry, confused, physically uncomfortable, don’t understand your jargon, or maybe just thinking about what they will say next.

So if you want to get your message across, then it’s important to take into account all of these points. And it’s also important to ensure you are making the best of your speaking skills.

The problem is that, the words you use, although essential, can be contradicted by your tone of voice and your body language.

Many people are now familiar with the results of research conducted by Dr Albert Mehrabian. This tell us that the impact of a message is dependent 7% on the words we use, 38% on tone and a whacking great 55% on body language.

I’ve read articles that take issue with these figures, suggesting that words are more important and have greater impact than Dr Mehrabian suggests.

I wouldn’t be prepared to put any figures on these three aspects of communication, however, I am totally convinced that how you look and how you sound are far more important than what you say.

Recently I conducted a one to one training session in selling skills for a director of a small computer software company. A video camera was used to record this director’s sale pitch to a potential customer, a role played by me.

When I replayed this recording, my director client was horrified to watch his presentation. In his pitch he used words such as, ‘Young exciting company – staff with lots of enthusiasm for their product – lots of energy and passion for what they are doing.’

The only thing was that he, the person in the video, had about as much excitement, enthusiasm, energy and passion as a plate of cold porridge.

He was saying the words but they just weren’t convincing. He was dull monotone and boring, and he knew it. The good thing was, that once he’d realized it, he could do something about it.

On occasion people say to me. ‘I am as I am; I’m a quieter sort of person. I can’t leap up and down and get excited about something even though I feel it inside.’

My answer to these people is, ‘Don’t change your personality but do make a slight change to your behavior. Turn up the energy a little bit, put a bit more power in the enthusiasm, and warm up the passion just a tad more.

If you were to ask these same people about their football team, their children or their hobby, then just watch them get fired up or at least get a little bit warmer.

One quiet unassuming chap held me spellbound one day telling me about his hobby of beekeeping. It wasn’t so much what he was saying but how he was describing it. His eyes were shining, he was speaking quickly and he was using his hands to describe this subject which he had now made very interesting.

So if you want to get your message across to your employees, your customers or your colleagues, then show more of how you feel.

Other people will respond more to your feelings than to what you actually say.

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Motivation Doc in Singapore and Malaysia

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Motivate Your Customers, Motivate Your Staff, Motivate Yourself8646613779_8374bb1291_m1

If you want to find out how to do that, then I’d be pleased to see you at one of my seminars and learning events in:

Singapore and Malaysia September 2013

For details of seminars and workshops, please contact my friends at:

d’Oz International Singapore

Tel: (65) 6391 3733

Contact them now and I’ll look forward to meeting you.

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10 Tips for Handling Public Speaking Questions

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How you handle questions from an audience can often be the deciding factor as to how your presentation is received. If you’re pitching for business, then it’s absolutely vital to handle questions well.

1. Be prepared for questions. When you write your presentation, think about what you’re likely to be asked and what your answer is going to be. Maybe you won’t want to answer a particular question there and then, so think about what you’ll say to satisfy the questioner.

2. Make it clear at the start. You may decide to take questions as you go or at the end of your presentation.

Whatever you decide, make it clear at the start and don’t change your mind.

I would suggest questions at the end in a short presentation; if you take questions as you go, then your timing will get knocked out.

And always remember, an audience won’t forgive you for taking half an hour when you were only scheduled to speak for fifteen minutes.

3. Never finish with questions. Far better to ask for questions five or ten minutes before the end, deal with the questions and then summarise for a strong finish. Too many presentations finish on questions and the whole thing goes a bit flat – particularly if you don’t get any.

4. Listen. When asked a question, listen and look like your listening. It may be something you’ve heard a million times before. Treat the questioner with respect and don’t trivialise their point.

5. Thank the questioner. It’s only polite, it shows respect and it gives you a bit more time to consider your answer.

6. Repeat the essence of the question. Some people may not have heard the question so your answer may not make any sense to them. It can also be irritating for them not to hear the question. Again, it gives you more time to think of the answer and it makes you look so clever and in control.

7. Answer to everyone. Don’t fall into the trap of only answering the questioner. If they happen to be near the front then you could end up having a conversation with them and exclude everyone else.

8. Keep it simple. When it comes to questions, many speakers have become more relaxed. The fact that someone is interested enough to ask them a question, leads them to go on too long with the answer. Don’t do it!

9. Don’t bluff or bluster. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so and find out. Suggest to the questioner that you’ll ‘phone them or come and see them with the answer. It can even be a good way to make further contact after the presentation.

10. Have a question of your own. It’s possible that you may not be asked any questions and you then have that awkward silence.

People may be thinking about what you’ve just said and may need more time before they ask. They may also be a bit shy and may take a few minutes to speak out. Why not have a question of your own prepared and say something like. “You may be asking yourself………?”

If you still fail to get any questions then go straight into your summary and closing statement.

Handling a question and answer session well, demonstrates your professionalism and reflects on your message.

Seminar and Learning Events 2013

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Is your business going to grow in 2013? Or is it going to stand still? Or will it go downhill?

You can talk about market forces and the economy. Perhaps you can wait around until they improve. But if you do that, then at best, your business will stand still, and is more likely to go downhill.

You need more customers, clients and sales, and you need them now!

Finding new customers is a challenge we all face in business, and just as importantly, we need to hang onto the ones we have.

Your product or service must satisfy your customer’s needs in terms of technical specifications and price.

But that won’t guarantee you the sales and profits you need.

Much more importantly, you and your staff need to be, motivated and engaged. You need to hold onto the customers you have, motivate them to buy more from you, and also find new customers.

And you need the skills and talents to do this.

I have designed twenty-four new seminars and learning events that will develop the skills and talents of business owners, managers, sales and customer service people. Attending these events will ensure that you and your staff have the skills to find new customers, sell more of your products or services and make more profit.

You may be thinking – ‘What is it going to cost to train my staff?’

Perhaps you should be thinking – ‘What is it going to cost not to train my staff?


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For more information, send an email to:

Or phone: +63 (0) 917 517 5191

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3 Simple Steps to Handle Sales Resistance

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Have you ever thought about the number of sales messages you are exposed to every day?

A recent report stated that we receive about 3000 sales messages a day. On TV, radio, newspapers, roadside advertising; everywhere and anywhere. There is always someone, or some organization, trying to sell us something.

So when we’re approached by a ‘salesperson’, we shut down, and throw up the barriers. We don’t want it, don’t need it, and can’t afford it!

We don’t even listen to what we’re being told.


If you’re in sales, or have a business, or merely want to get your point across to a colleague or your boss; then dealing with resistance is a big challenge.

Handling sales resistance or objections, as some people like to call it, is the hardest part of the sales process.

However, customers are rarely ‘objecting’ to your sales proposal; they are only indifferent to it. This weblink helps you identify their needs, thus growing your sales.

You usually encounter indifference because potential customers:

a. Are using a competitor’s product or service
b. They don’t realize that it’s possible to improve their current circumstances
c. They don’t see the importance of improving their current circumstances


Here are 3 simple steps to deal with resistance; or should I say – indifference.

1. Acknowledge the customers point of view. – Say something like – “I appreciate that you’re happy with your current supplier,” or “I understand that you’re not experiencing any problems at present.”

2. Request permission to ask a few questions.  Say – “I wonder if I might ask you a few brief questions about how you currently organise your supplies. We’ve worked with businesses similar to your own and there may be things we’ve learned that would be of value to you. Would that be OK?”

3. Ask questions. – Once you’ve received permission to ask questions, you want to explore the customers’ circumstances for opportunities, and hopefully, establish a need.

It’s important to ask questions that relate to the benefits of your product or service; however, don’t make it too obvious.

It’s important that the customer believes that you have a genuine interest in his or her business.

To give you some examples – If I was selling a sales or customer service course to an indifferent customer I might ask questions such as:

“How do you currently find new customers?”
“How many customers do you lose per month?”
“How much does it cost you to find a new customer?”

When you start to receive some answers from the customer; you then want to establish what effect it has on the business or on the customer personally. You would ask questions such as:

“How do you feel about that situation?”
“How does that affect your productivity?”
“What impact does that have on your business?”

What you’re attempting to do, is plant some thoughts in the customer’s mind and hopefully establish a need. To establish if a need exists, ask questions such as:

“Would it be important to do something about that?”
“Is that a problem you’d be interested in solving?”
“Would you like to find a solution to that?”

If the customer says “yes,” then you can follow up with a benefit statement about your product or service. If they say “no,” then at least you’ve created an awareness of something that might be important one day – and one that you can deal with.


As I’ve said before; handling resistance is the hardest part of the sales process however that’s why sales people have jobs.

As long as we realize that we can deal with resistance in a professional manner, and although we won’t win every time, we will have more successes.

So, go ahead, give these three points a try and I wish you every success.
 “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” – Naguib Mahfouz – Nobel Prize Winner

If you want to listen to this article or download it to your MP3 player – this is where to do it.

Extract from –


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It’s not only in their personal buying decisions that people are driven by their emotions; business buyers are also emotional.

A business buyer might tell you that he wants to buy a product or service that saves his organisation money. However, he might be buying it to make him look good in front of his boss – another emotional decision.

Warren Buffett the Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and one of the World’s richest men once remarked – ‘I have walked away from some very good deals because I didn’t like the people involved.’ Another emotional decision.

It doesn’t matter if your product or service is predominantly technical or something much simpler; the person who buys it will always be driven by their emotions, so ignore that at your peril.


It’s often extremely difficult for a customer to make a logical decision about a product or service. Most people aren’t qualified to tell a good accountant from a bad one; a good lawyer from a not so good one; one washing machine from another, or one builder or plumber from another. Customers will often make a decision based on how they feel about the person they’re dealing with.

A friend who was opening a new coffee shop business was telling me about her lawyer. ‘Is he any good?’ I asked. She replied, ‘He’s great; he’s really nice and he doesn’t talk like a lawyer!’
If my friend feels that way about her lawyer, then it’ll be so much easier for both of them to do business and she’ll be less concerned about how much he bills her for.


I’m sure you’re familiar with Features and Benefits when it comes to making a sales presentation to a customer. But for the moment, I just want you to be really clear, about what your customers want from your product or service.

Features are the characteristics of your product or service; what it has or does. Benefits are what those characteristics do for the customer.

People don’t buy what things do – they buy results.

The features of a bed that you might be selling could include – “Unique interlinked springs with a triangular structure and up to seven times as many as other beds.” (I took this statement from a bed manufacturer’s web site) However the benefit that the customer really wants is – “A good night’s sleep, free from back pain!”

This is what is sometimes known as the DBM or Dominant Buying Motive.

I don’t promote Sales Training Seminars to my clients, I promote – “More sales and an increase in profits!”

When people consider your product or service they’re only thinking one thing – ‘What’s in it for me?’

Any communication with your customers has to answer that question.

Have a look at some product brochures and business websites including your own. As you read, identify the number of times you see the words we or our starting a sentence.

For example – ‘Our Company has been established for fifty years – We have a quality of service second to none – Our product contains the best of ingredients which meet all safety standards.’

If you change the word we to you and our to your, at the start of the sentence, you get something like – ‘You will benefit from our fifty years of experience – Your tummy will love our superb ingredients!’

If you are to become a successful business person, and draw customers to you, then you must remember – Customers do not buy products they only buy benefits and solutions to their problems; they buy – good feelings!

If you want to save and listen to this article again, please click your mouse over here

Excerpt from How to Make Sales When You Don’t Like Selling


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