If the idea of sitting through an 8-hour sales seminar sounds painful, you haven’t attended one of Jack Daly’s “Smart Selling” seminars. Jack is truly one of the most memorable individuals I have ever come in contact with. At an age when most people are thinking of retirement, (65) Jack is not only conducting dozens of sold-out sales trainings a year, but competing in multiple Ironman Triathlons and marathons. His energy is truly unsurpassed and his ability to communicate actionable ways to increase business is remarkable.

While it’s a bit challenging to distill 8 hours into one column, here are some of my most valuable take home points from the day:

1. THINK BACKWARDS: Begin with the end in mind. Start with writing down your goals for the year/quarter/month. Then develop a written plan on how to achieve those goals – what are the activities that will generate results? Define a system of measuring the progress. Determine a system of accountability so the goals don’t’ just sit in a drawer somewhere.

2. BE MEMORABLE: First impressions are critical in the sales process, so always be sure that both you and your staff put your best foot forward. Not only look professional, also be sure to sound professional when dealing with customers. Take the time to communicate with your best customers through a personal e-mail, or even better, a hand-written note.

3. THE SHORT COURSE ON SELLING (and this one applies to dating too!): Ask questions to your customers and then listen! Stop “showing up and throwing up.” This is my personal favorite. It amazes me how many clueless people I run across who fail to realize that the single most effective way to connect with people is to simply ask questions. Then listen to their answer. Then follow up with another question that demonstrates you heard what they just said. This is a fail-safe way to get people to like you. Trust me, it works. A great book to read on that subject is Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People.

4. PERCEPTION OF VALUE IS KEY: you’ve likely heard the adage “Perception is Reality.” People buy on perception! Design and promote your perception of difference and you will have a much stronger chance of beating your competition. What perception of value are you creating such that people will go out of their way and/or pay a premium to do business with you? Examples of businesses who have successfully executed on this idea are Tiffany’s, Starbucks, and Victoria’s Secret. Who has done this well in the pet industry?

5. SELLING IS THE TRANSFER OF TRUST: Trust trumps price every time! People do business with people they trust. So get to know your customers and keep focused on developing a relationship of trust with them.

6. IF I DON’T HAVE AN ASSISTANT, THEN I AM AN ASSISTANT: Get some help doing the things that are not your strong suit or generating revenue. This is the subject of an upcoming article I’m writing for APPA on “Unique Ability.”

Finally, Jack emphasized the importance of the Law of Attraction (aka The Secret). If you really believe you can be, have, or do something, you will create the circumstances and find the people to allow you to be, do, or have. I know that sounds a bit woo-woo, but I have seen this work not only in my own life, but also in the lives of countless friends and business associates. Your life is a direct result of the expectations you have for it. We are what we think about. If you have any doubts about that statement, read the best selling business book of all time, Napoleon Hill’s “Think and Grow Rich.”

Carol Frank of Boulder, CO, is the founder of four companies in the pet industry and a Managing Director with BirdsEye Advisory Group, where she advises pet companies in M&A transactions and Exit Planning.  She is a former CPA, has an MBA, is a Certified Mergers and Acquisitions Advisory (CM&AA) and holds Series 79 and 63 licenses.  She highly values and incentivizes referrals and can be reached at cfrank@birdseyeadvisory.com.