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Archive for April, 2007

While The Cat’s Away…

Posted By Michael Roby | Saturday, April 28th, 2007

This week I presented the [tag]keynote[/tag] speech to a gathering of top financial advisors with Smith Barney, a division of Citigroup, which was held at the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin. This educational conference was attended by advisors from five states, as well as representatives from 14 [tag]financial services distributors[/tag] who “wholesale” investment products through these advisors. My presentation was on [tag]client referrals[/tag] and [tag]client relationship development[/tag], but I picked up a great idea from one of the wholesalers.

He mentioned that most of the [tag]financial advisors[/tag] in attendance were in his territory. Knowing these FA’s would be at this conference for three days, and that their assistants would be back at their offices, he decided to do something nice for these assistants. The wholesaler had his assistant send each of the FA’s sales assistants a note recognizing their hard work while their boss was at the conference, along with a $10 [tag]Starbucks[/tag] gift card. A little caffeine helps when you are putting in long hours!

Let’s examine this example of [tag]sales excellence[/tag].

  • The [tag]investment wholesaler[/tag] either started or maintained a relationship with the “Gatekeeper” for some of his best clients and prospects
  • He also helped his internal wholesaler do the same
  • The sales assistants will likely mention this to the FA in a favorable light
  • The wholesaler made himself stand out from his competition.

When the cat’s away, often their assistants shoulder the load for keeping clients happy and the business running. Too many salespeople ignore, and in some cases are rude to their clients’ assistants. This simple expression of recognition and appreciation goes a long way to making certain you get past these gatekeepers when you call for an appointment. When competitors call, assistants often have a say in what products salespeople choose to sell. At the end of the day, it never hurts to be nice to people.

What ideas do YOU have for reaching out to assistants of your clients and prospects? Write a reply to this post if you have an idea you would like to share.

Good selling!


Posted By Michael Roby | Saturday, April 21st, 2007

Yesterday I delivered the [tag]keynote speech[/tag] for the 21st Annual Conference of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP.) [tag]AIIP[/tag] members provide businesses and organizations with “specialized research; information, knowledge, records management, writing, editing, indexing, training, translations, database design, and web page development.” ( These talented professionals cover a very broad range of information disciplines, including business and industry, banking, finance, legal research, healthcare, public records, government, and others

In preparing for this presentation over the last few months, I spent time interviewing several of the officers and other members of AIIP. When I arrived at the conference, my suspicions were confirmed; these people finished much higher in their class standings than I did! Many are former librarians, and they are incredibly intelligent people and talented researchers. In addition, they are exceptional business people!

During the opening session, they came to the podium, and in 30 seconds or less, gave their [tag]value propositions[/tag], [tag]defining statements[/tag], and the [tag]taglines[/tag] for their companies. Here are some of my favorites:

  • “An HMO of Information”
  • “A High Tech Business Doing Business The Old Fashioned Way”
  • “Making green while going green”
  • “The world of information at your fingertips”
  • “Only The Smart Survive”
  • “Linking Data to Decisions”

Wow! I witnessed what is possible when you have a collision of extreme technical competency and exceptional marketing. This raises a question…how do YOU describe what YOU do with YOUR value proposition, defining statements and tagline? The time you have to capture the attention and interest of a prospect continues to shrink. In a bullet-point world you must be able to quickly tell people what you do, and how you do it. If you have a good tagline, I would love to read it. Feel free to send them to me, or leave a response to this post and share it with others.

So…what DO you do, and HOW do you do it?

Good selling!

Even Actors Are In Sales!

Posted By Michael Roby | Friday, April 13th, 2007

Last night my wife and I went the Chanhassen Dinner Theater in Chanhassen, Minnesota to see a play called “Male Intellect: An Oxymoron.” This one-man comedy starred a friend named Stevie Ray. Stevie is a very successful businessman. Executive Director of “Stevie Ray’s Improv Company,” columnist for the “[tag]Minneapolis Business Journal[/tag],” author, nationally known [tag]speaker[/tag] and corporate trainer; this is a busy guy! Stevie is also in demand as an MC, having hosted the Miss Minnesota Pageant, and a long list of other civic and charitable events. In addition to being an outrageously funny, talented artist and businessman, Stevie is a wonderfully giving person.

Do NOT miss the fact that he is a businessman. As a [tag]sales trainer[/tag] and [tag]speaker[/tag], he did something at the close of last night’s show that reminded me why he has been so successful in so many businesses…he asked for referrals!

After he took his bow, they brought the lights back up and Stevie stepped back on the stage. He thanked his audience for coming (another great sales principle; say “thank you” to your customers!) This play is a bit of a departure for “The Chan” and Stevie joked that he loved the great crowds the play has drawn, as it is depressing to do a live show to two or three people! Then he asked us, if we liked the show, to tell a few of our friends about it. “Send them an email” he suggested lightheartedly, all the while doing so with his ever-present wit and energy.

Great salespeople don’t just make sales; they grow their businesses by developing and broadening their “circle of friends” and creatively asking for the [tag]customer referral[/tag]. So, you get your wish, Stevie. I am sending this to some of my closest friends in sales. Whether or not you have the good fortune to see this really fun production, Stevie gives you a gift – a reminder to ask for the referral! (By the way, if you like this Blog, pass the link along to your friends in [tag]sales[/tag] and [tag]sales management[/tag]. I love referrals, too!)

Good selling!