handed. Even the best fishermen—the best speakers—need to change the way they do business and
improve their selling skills to book more engagements. They can’t wait for the fish to come to
them. They must rise early in the morning, and go
out to find the fish.
2Grow through crises: Maintain a
positive outlook. I have experienced
many crises in my life, both personally
and professionally. When I was 12 years
old, my parents informed me that my
little sister and I were going to leave our country
and head to the United States the next day. Imagine
losing your friends, family and material possessions
in one day!
That experience, although very traumatic, prepared me to face other obstacles. So, although
speakers are facing difficult times in today’s economy, it doesn’t compare to losing everything in
a single day. When you have been hit hard with
a water hose, a spray from a water pistol doesn’t
affect you much.
Another personal crisis occurred many years
ago, when the head of human resources at Tyco
asked me to help an executive whose seven-year-old daughter had died in a freak accident in a gymnastics class. The man, who was devastated, was at
risk for losing his job. I made an appointment to
see him the next day; however, when I went to my
hotel room that afternoon, my mother phoned me
to report that my father had been in a car accident.
(At the time, she didn’t know he had been killed
instantly.) When the grieving father found out
what happened, he came to me and we helped each
other deal with our losses.
On the professional front, when I worked
for Xerox Learning Systems many years ago,
the mother company faced a grave crisis. At that
time, Xerox had 77 percent of the world market.
Suddenly, its share plummeted to 12 percent. What
happened? Our patents had expired, and competing
companies went to the patent office in Washington,
D.C., and bought the Xerox technology. So, our
competitive advantage vanished. In a year, the competition was selling excellent products at much
reduced prices. We almost went out of business.
Our leadership decided that we had to change
our manufacturing processes, our marketing and
our training. We were told to create the world’s
most well-trained sales force. To learn what separated great salespeople from mediocre salespeople,
Write a book.
A book is your calling
card, and makes you
an “expert” to your cli-
ents. If you can’t write
a book, write one
chapter and ask other
speakers to each con-
tribute a chapter.
Do not “spray
everything you do at
clients to see what
sticks; for example,
subject matter and its
features and benefits.
Ask the right
Learn how to sell by
finding out the clients’
needs, and satisfying
them with a particu-
lar solution or inter-
vention that solves a