Trev’s Blog

This is where I share my best answers to your toughest sales and marketing questions so you can get more customers more often. My answers are practical, tactful, and psychological. Think Stoic.

Different vs Better

August 5, 2020

I cofounded an ad agency in Seoul, Korea in 1999.

Could I speak Korean?


So I started advertising in English, in a country where everyone wanted to learn it.

While local ad agencies pitched with better

“우리의 제품은 더 좋습니다 때문에…”

(Our product is better because…)

We pitched with different.

“Would you like to know how to sell your vacuum cleaners in America?”

Did we get clients?


In business, DIFFERENT is BETTER than better.

Because it’s very hard to communicate better…

When your competitors are trying to communicate better too.

Besides, better is subjective.


Different gets attention.

Different is easier than better.

Better matters later.

Or doesn’t matter at all.






Give And Take

August 4, 2020

I clicked “chat with a sales rep” to ask a question about a 2020 FORD truck.

He responded with…

“Before, I can answer your question, could I get your name and phone number?”

I clicked END CHAT.

Prospects wants information NOT interrogation.

Always go out of your way to help them FIRST, before asking for anything in return.

When you can consistently do that…

Your business will generate 50% more revenue than businesses that don’t.

Give to get.


Get to give.





Swallow Your Pride

February 16, 2020

My advice if you lose your sales job today… Don’t waste more than one month applying. If you don’t get an offer, swallow your pride and grab any sales job that pays the bills. I know car sales reps who earn $200K per year. Working and earning will get you up in the morning, keep you sharp and confident, and shows your next employer you’ve got grit!

Pandemic Selling

February  14, 2020

Short term selling is pandemic. Quitting after 8 calls, sending the break up email, marking “dead account” in the CRM. Big payouts are in the long term. Win the year, not the month.

The goal of cold calling is not to be perfect. The goal is to be anti-fragile.

February 1, 2020

Locker Room Sales Talk

January 6, 2019

Locker room sales talk sounds like this…

“I tried a new closing technique on him.”

“I sold them above rate card pricing..”

“I had a rebuttal for every objection she threw at me.”

Lots of ME versus THEM language.

The prospect is not your opponent.

They’re your spouse.

Guts And Empathy

December 15, 2019

It takes guts to make cold calls.

And empathy, because guts without empathy is just telemarketing.

The empathetic sales rep calls up knowing their solution will not be a fit for most prospects.

What makes the empathetic sales rep “really” stand out from the telemarketers is…

They say things kinda like…

“Hey David, there’s something you might want to take a look at. No guarantee it will be right for your situation. But you never know. Worth a peek sometime?”

When you allow empathy to take the lead in your cold calls, you sound natural and genuine.

And guess what?

Humans tend to respond favourably to that.

Lonely Profession

December 9, 2019

Being a sales rep can be a lonely profession.

You prospect alone.

You follow up alone.

You close alone.

Maybe you even work from home alone.

Being a sales director is a lonelier profession.

This is because…

Even though you’re always with your team…

You can never complain or have a pity party around them.

You’re their leader.

You must be stoic.

And that’s not easy.

Sales directors… RESPECT


December 8, 2019

Salespeople are unique in their ability to accept rejection.

They keep plodding despite the never-ending no’s, the lost deals, and the missed numbers.

Yet, the hardest part of the job isn’t coping with rejection…

It’s believing in the mission promoted by the people around them. Their coworkers. Their managers. Their leaders.

Believe, or be leaving.


December 3, 2019

Ghosting in business has to stop.

We’re all guilty.

I’ll be the first to admit it.

But it takes just 2 seconds to hit reply to a text or email and type three simple words…

Yes I’m interested.

Not right now.

Maybe next month.

Nobody is THAT busy.

Nobody’s fingers are THAT heavy.

Give closure today to a…

Job candidate who took time to interview with you and wants to know if there are next steps.

A sales rep who took time to present to you and wants to know if you’re still interested in their product.

Even if you have to respond to 10 people per day, that’s just 1 minute of your time.

Giving closure shows you care. It elevates your brand.

Just remember…

We’re human.

We’re hardwired for closure.

We can handle the truth – good or bad.

And YOU owe us that.

Right + And + ? (Formula)

November 21, 2019

You can’t open a conversation with a prospect if they’re not ready to listen.

So, whenever they respond with an objection…

For example…

“I’m really not interested now.”

Try this formula….

Right + And + Question (prospect listens)

For example:

Prospect: “I’m really not interested now”

You: “Right. And in case things ever change… okay to call you back down the road?”

When you say RIGHT they keep listening, because you’re agreeing with them.

When you say AND, they allow you to get your question in, whatever it is, even it it’s unrelated.

Never use BUT….

Right + But + Question (prospect gets defensive)

One last thing…

When you use the right + and + question formula…

Say it slowly and thoughtfully…

Word matter, speed matters, tone matters.

Debunked Beliefs

December 17, 2019

There are people who believe that the lottery is just a numbers game.

If they keep buying a ticket each week eventually they’ll hit the jackpot. Of course they’ve had small incremental wins. They’ll tell you about the time they won $100, $500, or even $1,000. And if they had just picked two more correct numbers they would have won millions.

For them it’s only a matter of time before they WIN BIG. It’s a numbers game after all. I call them hopelessly optimistic.

And then there are salespeople who believe that selling is just a numbers game. If they just make enough calls they’ll book enough demos and close enough deals.

Here’s where the “selling is a numbers game” theory gets debunked…

What happens when you’re busting out 50 sales calls per day all day long yet seeing dwindling returns?

What happens when call output doesn’t translate into quota attainment?

You can’t just double your output. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Selling is not a numbers game, it’s a psychological game. And the more you study the psychology of sales, the less you’ll have to rely on grind it out grunt work to hit your number.

Books help.

Overusing Names

November 18, 2019

Was on a call with a software sales rep last week.

He used my name 3 times in 5 minutes.

Sounded good the first time.

By the second and third time, it sounded kinda fake.

Watch how often you use your prospect’s name in email exchanges, texts, and phone conversations.

Say their name at the start of the conversation say it at the end.

Good enough.

Be authentic. It sells.

November 14, 2019

Better to learn the truth today from your prospect, than to get strung along for months with a lie.


November 7, 2019

Avoid these platitudes when emailing prospects.

“I hope you are doing great.”

“I hope your day is going well.”

“I hope this email finds you well.”

They’re the Hallmark greeting cards of sales intros.

More down to earth, genuine, openers could be….

“How are you this morning, Kyle?”

“How are things at ABC Widgets, Jessica?”

“How about this weather, Daniela ?”

Engage deeper by including their company name, department, upcoming event, a mention of the big game last night, or even better… a trigger event.


Questions engage people.

Questions get responses.

And responses get your email address whitelisted, not junked.

Needy language

November 6, 2019

Whenever a sales rep hears “I’m not interested” from a prospect, and responds with…

“I’m only asking for 15 minutes…”

“If you’d just give me a chance to explain…”

“I haven’t told you what we do yet…”

I can’t help but think… this is “needy” language.

Make the ask, accept a no means no, call back another time with a better offer.

Because a compelling offer is far more powerful than a convincing argument.

Just ask your spouse.

5K Connections

November 5, 2019

98% of sales reps with 5,000 LinkedIn connections hit their quota.

Here’s the problem most sales reps face:

They don’t have 500 connections, let alone 5,000.

Want 5,000 potential buyers in your network?

If you can connect with 25 people per day for one year and half of them connect with you, that’s 4,562 connections.

Connect with customers, if you haven’t done it.

Connect with your customer’s 6.8 stakeholders.

Connect with your customer’s competitors PLUS their 6.8 stakeholders.

It may take 1-2 years to get to 5,000 LinkedIn connections, but it’s a powerful, portable, personal asset.

You can do it at home while you’re watching Netflix.

The best time to make a LinkedIn connection was one year ago…

The second best time is now.

Follow-up psychosis

November 5, 2019

We present, prospect thanks us, then we ask…

“When’s a good time to follow up?”

Then we’re locked into waiting.

Instead of asking…

“Is it okay to check back next week?”

Be chill, don’t ask at all.

They’ll likely tell you..

“Will discuss with my team and get back to you.”

Now YOU get to decide when to follow up, not them.

And instead of giving them…

Two days, wait one.

Three days, wait two.


Five, days wait three.

Even if they tell you they’ll get get back to you by Friday EOD… follow up Thursday.

Because there’s a good chance they’ll…

Forget what they told you, or get too busy to tell you.

One last thing.

When you do follow up…. don’t ask…

“Did you decide?”


“Here’s a fuller answer to a question you asked me about feature X.”

“You asked for more detail about out SLA.”

Spoke with our solutions consultant who told me Y”

“Here’s some new insight about Z.”


When you add value to your follow-up, prospects tend to reciprocate with updates…

Regardless of the time window they gave you…

Even if you broke it.

Feel vs think

October 29, 2019

When talking with prospects today, try using the trial close…

“How do you FEEL about ____?”

Instead of…

“Whaddaya think?”

Because FEEL is tied to their emotion while THINK is tied to their logic.

And like it or not…

Most people make decisions with emotion, and then justify with logic.

This is why it’s hard to close deals on time…


Even though you’ve shared with them all the logical reasons they should buy like ROI, they still hedge…

So split test…

“How do you FEEL about ____?


“Whaddaya think?”

Which one gets prospects to open up more often to you?

In sales you should always be seeking the truth….

As quick and early as possible.

That’s how deals are won.

Or lost.

6 words to avoid

October 30, 2019

I, my, me, we, ours, us

Open your sent messages.

Find your last few prospecting emails.

Did you use one or more of those six words in any, given email?

And kinda like this…

“I” would like to schedule a time to talk.

“My” calendar is up to date.

Let “me” know.

“We” work with companies in your industry.

“Our” software is the market leader.

If you’d like “us” to do a demo…

Get in the habit of crafting emails that include you, your, you’re, you’ve you’d, you’ll.


Prospects only care about words that will benefit THEM.


Words that will bore them.

Curiosity matters

October 27, 2019

These days your prospects have zero patience for intros like…

“How are you today?”

“Did I call you at a bad time?”

Dispense with the triteness and get their attention fast with curiosity.

Good news… There are only five things they’re curious about:

Make money

Save money

Save time

Avoid effort

Escape mental pain

But the art of selling is never to focus on just one of these things to create curiosity… you have to use multiple things.

How to do this?

Ask yourself questions like:

What are three ways my product will…

Help them make money.

Help them save money.

Help them save time.

Help them avoid effort.

Help them escape mental pain.

Write them down. Tie them back to your product.


When you evoke their curiosity with multiple things over multiple touch points….

They’ll soon start listening to your voicemails, opening your emails, and taking your calls.

And the faster you can prove those outcomes to your prospects, the sooner you can charge them for it.

The trust antenna

October 26 2019

Whenever a sales rep cold pitches me with…

“We can help you do X…”

My distrust antenna goes up. It’s because they don’t intimately know me, or my situation yet.


If a sales rep cold pitches me with….

“We MIGHT be able to help you do X…”

My distrust antenna goes down. There’s something about the word MIGHT that makes a difference.

Here’s what MIGHT means to me:

“Hey. We don’t know your business well enough yet. Maybe we can help. Let’s talk.”

MIGHT is honest, humble, and holistic.

And what MIGHT be wrong with that approach?

Personal recommendation engine

October 20, 2019

When was the last time you asked Siri…

“Hey Siri. Find a sales rep to sell me something?”

Never, right?

Point is…

We all search for good information FIRST before we buy. So, does this mean the death of the salesman?


Because searching is work. Searching takes time. And time is your prospect’s most valuable commodity.

How to stay relevant, sell more… and make your prospects’ lives easier?


1. Find the best content.

2. Summarize that content.

3. Personalize and share the content.

Content that shares a single business idea.

Content that’s easy for them to digest.

Content that gives them an actionable tip.

Do your prospect a favour and save them the time and the hassle of searching for it themselves… long before they ever need it.

Be your prospects’ personal recommendation engine. You’ll sell more that way.

Because they’ll never in 100 million Google searches ever find YOU.

Techno chatter

October 19, 2019

Nothing repels prospects faster than techno chatter.


When you try to explain technically how your product works…

Your prospect has zero questions. They’re bored.


Has dozens of questions. They’re confused.

A bored or confused brain never buys…

No matter how many times you follow up.

The wind down

October 15, 2019

Cold email me, when I’m driving, and you won’t get a response.

Cold email an executive, when they’re sprinting through their workday, and expect the same.

Yes, your message may get a glance, but rarely a response.

In sales, there are no points for opens or glances.

Send your message when execs are winding down their day, not winding up.


October 14, 2019

When you try to sell with swagger, you say things like…

“We’ve been in business for 25 years.”

“We have over 100 clients.”

“We have 10 offices nationwide.”

“Our team has 150 years of combined experience.”

Sure, these things add meat to the bone when you get to the proposal stage…

But when you lead first with swagger, your prospect thinks this…

“So what. Who cares.”

Start by ‘serving’ them first. That builds your brand. That earns you the sale.

Selling with Indifference

October 12, 2019

Every Monday colleagues ask us…

“How was your weekend?”

We respond with… “Good!”

Sometimes they follow up with.. “What did you do?” Sometimes they don’t.

Point is…

They only ask if they FEEL like it. This is called indifference.

One of the keys to success in B2B sales is practiced indifference. Indifference is the opposite of neediness. For instance… The more you appear to need the sale, the less likely your prospect will trust you and the harder it will be to sell.


Always act like you’re okay with the outcome of the sales cycle. Even if you don’t get the sale. This means: Be enthused about your product. Be enthused about its benefits. Be enthused about the offer. But… never be enthused about what your prospect agrees to. That’s irrelevant.

For instance…

Let’s say your prospect agrees to a meeting request… Don’t say… “Thank you so much!” Or… “That’s awesome! Really looking forward to it.”

This is because…

You need to be indifferent with your prospects. They’ll trust you more, become more attracted to you, and be more compelled to work with your company.

Learn to be indifferent. It makes a BIG difference.

Offensive or defensive

October 9, 2019

The best thing about Amazon are its product reviews.

Not the four and five star reviews. I’m talking about the ones, twos, and threes.

Because before we buy something, we want to know if we can live with its warts.

If we can, we buy. If we can’t, we move on.

Your prospects are no different.

Problem is…

When you present, then wait for their objections, you’re working from a defensive position.


Embed anticipated objections into your presentation, then diffuse them…

Long before your prospect asks. Long before they can say NO.

Go on the offensive. Like Amazon.

A KPI worth measuring

October 8, 2019

Not a fan of sales spiffs. Trips and toys I can buy myself. Guess I’m not a coin operated.

Not a fan of leaderboards. I compete against myself. Guess I’m a lone wolf.

What I AM a fan of is…

Collecting “thank you’s” from prospects.

Thank you’s lead to deals.

Thank you’s lead to testimonials.

Thank you’s lead to renewals.

Thank you’s lead to referrals.

Thank you’s are my favourite KPI.

Control the Controllable

October 6, 2019

So a lot of sales reps are using email open tracking.

But what about email scheduling?

If studies show the best times to get a response from prospects are between 8-9 am and 4-5 pm…

Why send emails (manually) any other time?

The more you prospect outside your control, the fewer opportunities you create.

What’s the ideal length for my sales message?

September 27, 2019

If POTUS can make his point in a 280 character Tweet… So can sales reps.

When engaging prospects…

Kill adjectives
Zap adverbs
Drop Jargon
Machete I’s and We’s

Words are your most powerful selling tool.

How often should I follow up with prospects?

September 26, 2019

During coaching calls sales reps and their managers talk a lot about… THE FOLLOW UP Manager to rep… “Did you follow up with them?”

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September 25, 2019

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September 22, 2019

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September 22, 2019

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September 22, 2019

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