Figure 4 Leg Cross

business manager sitted on black armchairWhat Do You See?

The “Figure 4 leg cross” is a seated position used mostly by American men. You’ve just made your presentation and the decision maker takes this position.

  1. What is his attitude?
  2. Should you challenge any negative comments he might make?
  3. Is he ready to make a decision?


  1. His attitude is competitive – “bring it on!”
  2. If he makes a point, he’s ready to argue for that point. Tread carefully.
  3. Don’t ask for a decision until both feet are flat on the ground.

The Mosquito Elevator Speech

A Mosquito feeding on blood

Mosquitoes have a lesson for salespeople: make the customers itch. Sure, the tiny gnats with hypodermic noses could brag about how small they are, how fast they can be in and out, and how stealth they are. But they don’t. They just do what they do best. Make you itch. And then scratch that itch.

There are several ways salespeople can design their “elevator speeches”. You can brag about yourself, product, and company. You can list your customers. Spit out your prices. But, like the gnat, you’re just an annoyance.

Be like the mosquito. Stick it to ’em. Ask them about problems you know they’re likely to have and watch them squirm.

A sales trainer might ask, “How many of your people didn’t meet quota last month?” A banker might ask, “How much are you paying in hidden monthly fees that you don’t even understand?” Sell advertising? How about “Would you like a foolproof way to measure the leads and sales you get from your advertising?” What if you’re a staffing rep calling on a commercial account? “Could the employee candidates being sent to you be better qualified so you don’t waste countless hours doing interviews going nowhere?”

The question becomes your elevator speech because you’re talking about what makes you different. Even better, prospects are talking about their problems they need to solve.

The prospects can either continue itching, or scratch the itch. Their choice. But you get their attention.

Asking Questions Isn’t Just About Getting Answers

English: Actor/Model Oris Erhuero

Answers to your questions give you more knowledge. That’s a given. But questions are often more important than the answers you get.

One of the most important reasons is to get the customer to relax. Asking easy questions allows you to establish a baseline for how to judge future body language signals he’s going to send. When he’s talking about his vacation, he’ll be leaning towards you, gesturing with his hands, smiling, and chin up. When you ask a critical question in a few minutes, he may lean away from you, cross his arms, put his chin down, and furrow his brow. These physical clues are more important information than any answers he may try to deceive you with.

By establishing a baseline for how he acts, you can determine which specific questions make him anxious, causes stress, or gets him to open up. Then you can adapt your presentation.

How to Start a Conversation with the CEO

English: Henry Kissinger at the 2009 premiere ...

When making a sales call on the CEO or president, how should you begin the conversation?

  1. With several minutes of small talk
  2. Cut to the chase
  3. Wait until the CEO steers the conversation to the subject at hand

(2) Head honchos are usually Driver or Analytical personalities – neither enjoys small talk. Assume you only have fifteen minutes. Take the lead, cut to the chase, and start with your most important point first. It may be the only point you get to make. Speak in specifics: numbers, percentages, and dollars. Be prepared to prove every statement.

Helen Thomas knows where to start: Trying to evade a difficult question, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said the answer was too long and he didn’t know where to start. Helen Thomas responded, “Then start at the end.”

Warm Calling? Who Do You Think You’re Kidding?

During a break in our Cleveland seminar, an owner told me I should change the name of our seminar from Cold Calling for Cowards® to “How to Make Warm Calls”. He stresses to his salespeople to think of their calls as being warm calls and not cold calls to make the process more fun.


Couple of things.

First, the title of the seminar has brought in over 150,000 attendees. Why? The title is emotional. People identify with the feeling.

Second, cold calling isn’t fun. It works. But it isn’t fun. Cold calling sucks and changing the name isn’t going to take the dread out of the process. Just like the rose, cold calling is still cold calling by any other name.

The truth about cold calling? Those who actually do it know what I’m talking about.