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Thank you for visiting our site. For over 25 years DEC International has delivered exclusive content to thousands of companies just like yours! What makes us different and of value to you is the wide breadth of services we offer that allow you to time your sales efforts more effectively than anywhere else. DEC has a unique outlook on researching; we believe it is a cooperative effort between our Members and ourselves. Finally, we know that we work at your pleasure.

Allan Feifer
President, DEC International

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Apologies to Shakespeare for my literary license, but allow me to point out that we now live in a kind of post-apocalyptic world where the survivors are suffering to one degree or another from post-traumatic stress disorder. The symptoms are clear to see with individuals and companies guarding their business so closely that they may not realize how isolated and vulnerable to change they have become. Others work themselves to death in an environment of diminished staff and resources, while others have developed the habit of not trusting anything they cannot see, smell or touch. Finally, many more lead lives of quiet desperation waiting for the other shoe to drop and bad things start to happen all over again.


It goes without saying; it’s a different world now compared to a few years ago. We talk to a lot of people and can help some. Others we can’t reach (sometimes literally) to tell our story. The problems we encounter mirror some of the problems and challenges that you might encounter in your own business.

It’s generally acknowledged that in every selling opportunity that either the prospect or the seller forms an opinion that becomes the basis for all future interactions. In selling into any market we presuppose three factors are at play:

  1. The average prospect has experienced a reduction in available staff and a commensurate increase in his/her workload.
  2. The desire/ability to “take a flyer” and do something out of the ordinary or spend time on improving an approach is greatly diminished under the current economic conditions, primarily due to concerns about Return on Investment and risk reduction concerns.
  3. Subcontractors particularly, more so than suppliers and GC’s have a focus on putting out bids instead of taking their time to maximize their profitability and efficiency.

Said, or unsaid, these three dynamics are very much on the minds of your prospects and become hard to overcome roadblocks to your efforts. I want to be concise, so that you can get the gist of what I’m driving at and conduct yourself in a manner most likely to convince the prospect to go forward with you. It is imperative that you overcome these objections before going for the close. The close will more naturally follow when all objections are either overcome or mitigated. You must address these issues prior to attempting to close. The following is an example of how to deal with these issues and to make the prospect a tad bit uncomfortable with any preconceived notions they may have and, more likely to be receptive to you. The goal is how you can help your prospect better achieve his/her goals with you, instead of without you:

Mr. Prospect how does your 2010 business compare to what you’ve done so far this year? How do you see 2012?

What about profitability and your rate of closing deals? Many people tell me they are winning a small amount of the jobs they bid and that the margins are painfully thin. What about you?

Over and over, people describe to me a situation where they are busy quoting, but are painfully close to the margin. We can help, but only if you can clear your mind and work smarter, not harder. We have opportunities the other guys don’t have, a lot more. I want to prove that to you and once you are convinced, I want to help you access these opportunities. What concerns do you have about using our leads vs. continuing whatever it is that you are doing?

Objection number one—I don’t have time to bid more work. You have a choice on what you bid. Do you bid the easiest things you can find and access or do you work hard on developing relationships and being a bit unconventional. Do you really want to be one of 5, 10 or more bids? Take the time to select projects that have higher margins and less competition. Create time to manage your business instead of always being in reactionary mode. This is what DEC does. Ask us how.

Objection number two—will I see a payback from your service? Every year, DEC delivers over 2,500 private sector opportunities to its members in Georgia. Some of those projects have your name written on them. But, you have to both know about them and pursue them. We can tell you how. We can’t make you use the information, but we are your partner in pursuing better business for your survival and prosperity. Economically, the cost of our service is very small in relation to the potential payback. You have to ask yourself the question, “Do I really want to go it alone in this market?”

Objection number three—how do I integrate your information into my way of doing business? We are different! That’s the good part. Instead of doing the same thing, the same way, and expecting to get a different result; we’ll help you change the way you do business so that you can be more productive and efficient than your competitors while at the same time allowing you to access leads and opportunities they simply don’t know about. We’ll help you spend more time and resources on a smaller number of bids to ensure success. We’ll spend an initial half hour with you asking questions and making recommendations after you sign up. Will our competitors do that? Ask them and find out.

In the final analysis, the prospect either believes in the challenges and answers you throughout or he/she does not. By extension, their belief in you is on the line as well. We have the additional challenge of being different than some of the other services. Some provide online plan rooms with limited availability. Some provide reports, while others don’t. Every service winds up having its pluses and minuses. For many of our prospects, the ultimate choice is to do nothing, which becomes a fourth objection. Is rocking along with the status quo an option for your company? I am a firm believer that this option is not a viable choice for anyone. I believe that you must address all of these objections whether voiced or not. An absolute requirement when you do discuss objections is to ask whether they believe you or not after the discussion of each objection. Never assume.

Good Selling!

Allan Feifer is the President of DEC International. Allan started DEC more than 35 years ago and has background in the process and construction industries as well as many years as a recognized authority on construction trends and analysis. Allan lives in Florida with his wife and two cats. You can reach him at



Someone put a listing of the 10 Commandments of Selling on my desk.  I thought it provided some great talking points.  I present it here for your review with my comments.

  1. Thou shall not take the competition’s name in vain.  What is there to gain from talking about the competition?  You are immediately suspect when you speak badly about them.  Resist the urge to say “we blow XYZ Company away”, instead sell features and benefits.  Don’t be afraid to compare and contrast your product/service with the competition.  Use techniques of comparative advantage to spotlight your strengths without slamming the competition.
  2. Thou shall not work with too few customers and prospects to obtain thy goals or desired income.  We’ve said it before and I guess we’re about to say it again…whenever you depend on a specific deal to obtain, it probably won’t.  Another way of stating the case, never measure your sales efforts, you invariably will do too little.
  3. Thou shall not procrastinate.  Woe unto thee who procrastinates.  The funny thing about opportunity is how fleeting it is.  While you’re thinking about what needs to happen, circumstances are occurring that will likely negate your future actions.  Moral of the story, early action is often the most effective.
  4. Thou shall always prospect- even during good times.  Particularly now, when the general economy has been so good, for so long, some of us may have forgotten the importance of prospecting early, often and most importantly- regularly.  Now, more than ever is the time you should be religiously reading your “Facts” reports and identifying future prospects and opportunities.
  5. Thou shall not ignore the importance of building trust and respect and of being liked by the clients.  Our mantra is “people buy because they believe you believe in your product/service”.  Bring your prospects to the point of their believing in you and the sale is 80% done.  It may not be so much about liking you as it is a high confidence level in you and your company.  Remember the old adage- reputations made over a lifetime are lost in an instant.  Value your hard-won good reputation over almost everything else.
  6. Thou shall not think only of today.  Remember that Noah built the ark before it was raining.  Planning, planning, and planning.  No one should expect, once they get it right, that it will stay that way.  Change is an overriding constant we face; devote regular monthly or quarterly time to thinking about tomorrow.  Know with the certainty of absolute faith that you will have to modify, adapt and change to meet a different challenge tomorrow.
  7. Thou shall not talk too much on sales calls.  God gave thee two ears and one mouth as a reminder to listen twice as much as thou speak.  Remember the female lead in the movie Jerry McGuire?  I can’t remember the actresses name but there was a line where Jerry is trying to make up with her, twenty minutes into his supplication speech she says “you had me at hello”.  And so it is with a lot of selling.  Know when to shut-up!
  8. Thou shall not depend on luck to be successful.  Selling is hard work.  For a lot of reasons you don’t want to rely on luck being a lady.  Often the luckiest people in the business turn out to be the hardest working.  Draw your own conclusions.
  9. Thou shall not accept excuses and stalling techniques by clients who are procrastinating about making appropriate decisions.  Do not stop asking the difficult questions when moving the business forward.  Time is everything in sales.  The amount of time you have, your timing and your prospects timing all must be made to come together to meet your needs, the company’s needs and your prospects needs.  Always remember that time is finite; don’t wait for a favorable alignment of the stars that may never come!
  10. Thou shall not blame others for thine own lack of results.  We are the owners of our own success/ failure.  Don’t blame others.  We revel in our successes; can we claim any less ownership in our failures?

Good Selling!

Allan Feifer is the President of DEC International. Allan started DEC more than 35 years ago and has background in the process and construction industries as well as many years as a recognized authority on construction trends and analysis. Allan lives in Florida with his wife and two cats. You can reach him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


How many of my readers out there have lost business on price alone? Everything you read says “Sell Value.” Unfortunately, I have to wonder if our customers are reading those very same books. It would seem to be self-evident that when the lowest quoted price is the only factor considered; frequently, that price does not equal the final total cost. Yet, over and over we see companies, large and small put their subs and suppliers through the price ringer, frequently with the knowledge that there’s not enough money in the final price to provide the product/service in a professional manner, on time and to back it up afterwards.

Whack-A-Mole was an arcade game with the single requirement of beating to death a plastic representation of a mole over the head with a mallet to get him to go back in his hole. The same game today is played by the most levels of the construction industry today in its quest to get the lowest possible initial number on the Purchase Order, or even worse, to beat another supplier or sub over the head with that last price someone leveraged out of the first poor sucker. In the context of buying and selling your products and services, Whack-A-Mole can be described as the destructive action by one company, bent on destroying another. This only works in really bad markets like the one we live and work in at present. A wonderful example of Whack-A-Mole on steroids is the way government is “driving down the cost of Medicare.” Of the several ways they could do it; raise premiums, throw more money into the pot, restrict care or pay less to providers, the government chose to play Whack-A-Mole with the providers and now pays them only 80% of what private insurers do and is on the way down to paying only 60%. The provider’s choice is simple; play and lose money or opt out of the largest pool of customers that exist. How long will that work before so many providers opting out that the system simply collapses? Now, this blog is not about whacking the government, but it goes to show that the game of Whack-A-Mole depends on at least one weaker player in the game to work, and right now providers are politically weakest with seniors and the government holding most of the cards.

Let’s now get back to the two of us. It goes without saying that none of us want to be that weak player with a mallet hanging over our heads and the expectation of being that next mole to be whacked. In many years of one-on-one and group conversations, I continue to be amazed at the sheer number of sales professionals who feel powerless when it comes to negotiation. All of us have heard that animals can smell fear; the same goes for humans as well. There are two different kinds of situations we will likely face in a typical sales presentation:

  • Individuals we talk to that have the power to make their own decisions
  • Corporate types that take their instruction from on high

The way you approach each one is different because you need to talk to someone you can solve a problem for, not some well-intentioned but powerless serf who is just carrying out party orders and does not want to become that next mole about to be whacked. Rule number 27 applies here.

Only the brave few will go to bat for a stranger.

Most will do what is expected of them rather than to break new ground; even when they know you are correct. No matter how good you are at your job, there are limits to your power and influence. When you’ve reached that limit with someone that’s it. However, that limit is reached much earlier when the person you are talking to is either powerless themselves or is unwilling to step outside their comfort zone. Further, your ability to influence events drops precipitously, the farther away from the decision making process you are. The takeaway I want you to take to heart is that you must always endeavor to sell the actual decision maker, no matter how many toes you feel you are stepping on. If you can enlist an underling in supporting you, so much the better. But remember, it’s always easier to be pushed downward in an organization, instead of being pushed up. For both political reasons and human nature in general, underlings will tend to block your upward movement. When you receive an unfavorable result at a lower level, it is frequently difficult, if not impossible, to move up the food chain. If nothing else, you are moving up the chain in a damaged condition and behind the 8 ball situation. Bosses don’t like to overrule their reports any more than staff likes you to go over their head. Start at the top and relieve yourself of a lot of pain. The reception you receive from someone who is worried about things you can help him/her with vs. the person who is just trying to do a good job and hold onto it can be dramatically different. It is up to you to size up the situation and zero in on the individual feeling the pain. Bottom line: If you can’t solve a problem, what is it that you are offering that is going to be compelling to your prospect. Find a way to be compelling to the person who is most likely to be able to understand and accept your message. Otherwise...

Whack. Whack. Whack.

Good Selling!

Allan Feifer is the President of DEC International. Allan started DEC more than 35 years ago and has background in the process and construction industries as well as many years as a recognized authority on construction trends and analysis. Allan lives in Florida with his wife and two cats. You can reach him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Even in downturns, people do much the same thing, just maybe a little less expensively. And, like death and taxes, summer vacations are a certainty.  If they’re not on vacation, summer is a time when many people slip out of the office early to attend to...ugh, more important matters.  What’s a salesperson to do?  This week we will discuss techniques you can use to maintain if not a blistering summer sales pace, at least a productive one.

Recognition that people are going to be harder to reach is a first step.  Change your expectations and plan accordingly.  An advance dose of pessimism can go a long way toward helping you control the situation.  When you talk to a client or a prospect, assume there will be distractions.  Ask for firm follow-up times and verify there are no conflicts on that date.  If the responses you need are important to you, make sure Friday is not one of those dates.  Many, many people develop pressing engagements on Friday’s during the summer.  Be more aggressive about finding out who is involved in the decision making process.  Who does your prospect have to link up with?  Often problems come not with your own contact, but with the people he must talk to.  It’s certainly not inappropriate to remind your prospect that in the midst of the summer season, it might be a little more difficult to reach his people and therefore it might make sense for him to make contact as early as possible.

Your customers and prospects might also be shifting hours this summer.  We know of many people who start work earlier in the summer and commensurately quit earlier in the day.  People you may have reached at end of day might now be reachable only first thing in the morning.  If you make calls to customers at the office traditionally at 9:00, you might consider delaying leaving home at the regular time in favor of making calls at 7:30 to 8:30 at home.  Hey!  Whatever works, right?

There’s a flip side to this as well.  Customers and prospects may be trying to reach you unsuccessfully too!  Yes, salespeople catch the same bug as their clients and have the same proclivities.  We don’t want to be a killjoy, but what have you done to assure yourself the competition does not get the sale when you can’t be found?  Don’t be guilty of the same problem you might be facing on the other side! 

Yes, you can have your cake and eat it too… up to a point.  You can take a vacation, leave early, or otherwise malinger from time to time this summer, if you plan for it.  Many salespeople are essentially middlemen, who see themselves as working for their employer first and their customers second.  Keeping this in mind, a good summertime salesperson will pay special attention to his company’s situation first.  Perhaps your company has estimators or credit managers or certain somebodies, who must approve, price, accept or sign-off on a transaction.  Will they be available to button up that deal you’ve been working on?  Keeping track of your own players becomes another duty to keep in mind. 

Now, let’s turn to what I call the summertime advantage.  Don’t we always like to see a ray of hope in an otherwise negative situation?  Yes, keeping sales flowing in the summer can be more work, but guess what?  What are your competitor’s sales people doing this summer?  Chances are they are on vacation or gone fishing!  Exploit the slower response that is coming from the competition and have your company stand out.  If the other fellow does not have his first team in and you do, your chances of success are increased just that much more.  Mistakes in customer service increase during the summer and right before Christmas.  For whatever reason, the effectiveness of people might not be quite what it normally is.  In my experience, you need every edge you can get.  Tightening up on your sales cycle will enhance your professionalism in the eyes of your prospect.  Show them a lot of action and request a matching response on the prospect’s part.  If the prospect is talking to your competitors (as he probably is) the response is not likely to be as sharp or as quick as is normal.  Again, this makes you stand out.  This is another way you can show prospects and clients you want their business.  You might even be so bold as to ask the prospect how hard the competition is working.  This has the salutatory effect of reminding the client he’s important.  Everyone needs to feel important, don’t they?

The “Endless Summer” does indeed come to an end each year.  Some of the worst workaholics I know are salespeople.  Given that each of us only gets so many summers to enjoy, don't be a summer scrooge and forget family, friends and least of all yourself.  Enjoy this season to the fullest with just a little extra planning.

Good Selling!


Allan Feifer is the President of DEC International. Allan started DEC more than 35 years ago and has background in the process and construction industries as well as many years as a recognized authority on construction trends and analysis. Allan lives in Florida with his wife and two cats. You can reach him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



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