You never know who is listening…

Today as I sit in the airport, at a gate going to a smallish town, I could not escape the voice of a man, talking very loudly into his headset on he phone.

He wasn’t being very nice to he other person on the other end.

And then I heard it…he was a marketing rep, who was discussing their pitch plan with his colleagues. Openly and loudly. In the airport.

….At a gate full of people who were all traveling to do business with the same company, in some capacity.

Unfortunately for him, I am also a marketing rep, and I was also traveling to pitch a marketing plan.

To the same company.

So I learned a bit about him, and about my competition. Which helped me pick up a few tips (what I might say differently in my own pitch, what I definitely would NOT say…ever).

You never know who is listening…

Cord Tacos are the best! Easy cord storage….no life-threatening bundle of wires to unwrap.

Cord Tacos are the best! Easy cord storage….no life-threatening bundle of wires to unwrap.

Tags: travel

The Pregnant Pause (aka Silence Has Power)

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I recently wrote a post  about knowing when to stop selling….recognize when we see the “yes,”  then stop and close the deal.

Similar to that is to know when to stop talking…embrace the silence.  Use it as a power position - or, at least, a prompt position.

Silence is uncomfortable. If you ask a question, and your client does not answer it, it’s awkward.  We all want to jump in and either clarify the question, ask it in a different way, or move on completely.

RESIST THE URGE.

EMBRACE THE PREGNANT PAUSE.

The Pregnant Pause is a sales weapon that takes practice and discipline, but when mastered has a tremendous success rate at getting deeper knowledge, thus advancing the sale.

The technique is complicated, so bear with me as I try to sum it up into a concise lesson.  Here goes:

Ask a question, and wait for the answer.

Seems easy, right? It’s not.  Silence is terrifying and uncomfortable. But as uncomfortable as it is for you, it’s also awkward for your client in the room. They want the silence to end as much as you do. 

Or, maybe they’re just pondering the question.  And if you jump in to save yourself from the discomfort, the client’s pondering stops, and you don’t get you answer.

The pause itself is pregnant because it bears within it the keys to the kingdom of knowledge, and knowledge is the key to everything (closing the deal, implementing a successful campaign, understanding your offering’s perceived service gap).

I used this technique recently in a presentation at an agency to a group of people. I’d asked a question about what metrics they use to determine whether a campaign was a success.  I got quick answers back like, “We look at impressions, word of mouth, etc”

I asked a deeper question, “But what metrics, exactly, are you using to capture impressions and word of mouth, and how do you assign value to those metrics, and what, exactly, means it was a success or failure?”

For what seemed like an eternity, we sat in silence for the better part of 30 seconds.  (Try to sit in silence for 30 seconds in a meeting room of 12 people.  I dare you to tell me it’s NOT uncomfortable.  AWKWARD!)

Maybe they were pondering the question. Maybe they didn’t know.  But what I found out is they’d never thought about it….they really had no idea. 

Why was this critical? Because I was about to embark on a campaign with this agency on behalf of its client, and nobody knew what the goals of the campaign REALLY were.  And that leaves the door open for post-campaign wishy-washy stuff, and nobody likes to be evaluated on wishy-washy stuff.  We then refocused the meeting and agreed on terms of success, which altered the focus of the campaign.  Now, I could implement something successful, deemed valuable by the client.

If I’d moved on from their silence without the awkward pause, we never would’ve reached the Ah-Ha! moment that allowed us to set true campaign goals and metrics.  

The phase “Silence is golden” isn’t just meant for toddlers during a long car ride.

It’s meant for all of us, from time to time.  (Don’t ask my constituents if I always embrace silence…I’m a work in progress, too!)

Resolution: Insomnia

I have chronic insomna. I don’t sleep….well, I sleep from 10pm-1am, and am then jolted awake by some thought.  Any thought. 

I forgot to finish something at work: AWAKE.  

We stayed too late at a friend’s house after dinner: AWAKE. 

I smell food remnants from that night’s dinner: AWAKE. 

(Seriously: i will NOT cook food inside; I’m a grill master because the smell stays out THERE.)

Meanwhile, enjoying dreamland, is my husband, who falls asleep before his head makes an impression on the pillow, then saws logs (thanks BreathRight…sort of) happily until he wakes up the next morning.  (THIS IS NOT FAIR.)  

As for me, any little thing/thought/overheard snore, and I’m awake until 4 or 5am, where I spend the night on the couch watching infomercials (I *need* that Shark vacuum!) or catching up on the DVR backlot.  

And then I may fall back asleep, but have to get up (right in the middle of REM sleep) to start my day, and I’m usually exhausted - and by 4pm, I’d do almost anything to take a nap. 

This nightly routine is followed by a daily routine (one that likely contributes to the insomnia) which starts with 6 cups of coffee.  

You read that right.  6 CUPS OF COFFEE.  Half a 12-cup pot. And that’s before I take my first phone call of the day.  I sometimes also pile on “low-caffeine” tea during the day (green tea is healthy for me, right?).  

And the cycle continues. 

I’ve never seen a doctor for this.  I’m afraid to take prescription meds (though I frequently take OTC sleep aids, which create nightmares during the few shut-eye moments I’m able to muster)….mainly because of the horror stories about sleep walking, sleep driving, sleep cooking (I practically start my house on fire when I grill while awake! Can you imagine the RISK??).  

So in 2014 I’m creating some resolutions.  And to help combat my sleep issue,  one resolution is that I’m setting my alarm every day. 

Excuse me, you ask?? Set my alarm?  Ok….look.  I work from home when I’m not traveling, so I have been able to not set an alarm and still get “to the office” before most people. Most days. 

But one thing that keeps coming up in research is that people who awaken at the same time (and go to bed at the same time) - thus getting the same hours of rest every night (within 30 mins) - are more likely to feel awake, be more productive, and are more successful in general. 

(Full Disclosure: the ^^ same people also maintain a healthy weight, a possible probable motivating factor in the alarm strategy.)

Because of my sleep swings, I may be working at 5am, or I may be just falling back asleep at 5am. There is no routine. 

So starting in 2014 I’ll be setting an alarm to get up early, get my workout done early, and get to the office early. Every day.

Even on weekends.  

……I think.