Do you know customers that have been in the same job since time began? Or that have the same lunch every day? Or lived in the same house for decades? In sales psychology terms we call them 'sameness' people. They simply don't like change, certainly not in the contexts mentioned. Then again you may know customers who revel in change -- at work, possibly at home, again it can depend on the context. We call these 'difference' people. There is no right or wrong -- but if you can identify these particular characteristics in your customers, increasing sales is easy! How about you?

"When you say something about yourself it's bragging. When other people say it about you -- it's proof!" (Jeffrey Gitomer) How good are you at collecting testimonials from your happy customers? Great? Then well done, keep it up! You're in the minority though! Many business owners simply never get around to it, or are a little bit nervous about asking or don't do anything with them once they've got them. Here are some 'off the top of my head' thoughts when it comes to testimonials...

But for most of us, after our summer holidays, we share that foreboding as we crack up our laptops wondering what 'the figure' of emails will be. Then there are the bragging rights. I reckon most people share their inbox total with their immediate colleagues within 30 minutes of discovering it (go on -- be honest!). And there's that tinge of disappointment if a colleague has a higher total than you! My challenge to you is...in amongst the emails, the meetings and your other tasks and projects, how are you going to make sure you do enough selling?.

This week's "Tricks of the Trade" is all about freshening things up a little - changing your thinking around sales and business. After all, are you doing the same things over and over again yet expecting different results? How about changing things around a little?

When you sell, it's really easy to talk about you, your company and how good your products and services are. Yet to do so would be a mistake.This approach will rarely work. The problems with this approach are that...

Wow -- Here we go! Quarter four is upon us. Where did that come from? It doesn't seem long since we were clearing snow from our pathways and cars. Yet here we are, gearing up to embrace Autumn, then winter and...you know the cycle! So as we enter Quarter 4 of 2013, the final lap going into Christmas, it's a good time to check in. How are things with you? How are you performing? How is your company doing? What can you do in the final quarter of 2013 so you can say you gave it your all? How are you doing against those 2013 goals you set way back in December last year? Time for action!

Are you the type that never seems to stop...or do you respond to things as they happen? Are you always thinking of starting the next activity before you finish the one you're doing? What about your team?

Does your particular product or service cost more than the competition? Are you often asked to match or beat lower priced alternatives that you know aren't as good as yours? A very common dilemma - so how could you compete against these pesky competitors that undercut you? What's your value strategy?

Having excellent communication skills is vital if you are going to achieve Sales Success. When you communicate with others you are creating an experience for the other person. Everything you say has an impact... even the smallest things. What's interesting is that every word you use will have unique interpretation for the person you are communicating with.

How frustrating is it when you put in lots of hard work for little or no reward? Perhaps you've been working on a tender for a big contract only to see it cancelled, or awarded to a competitor? Or you've given a fabulous sales presentation, only for the meeting to grind towards its end with no sign of a sale? Maybe you've quoted and you just can't get an answer no matter how often you contact them? What about when you think you've been fobbed off - they probably don't want your products but they won't tell you outright so you keep contacting them 'just in case'? We've all been there - it's frustrating and time consuming. The dilemma - do you chase old 'maybe' business or spend more time generating new enquiries?