Getting The Answers Before You Take The Test Isn’t Cheating…It’s SMART!

Cheating on a test

Most people believe that getting the answers prior to taking a test would normally be considered cheating. However, I believe that if you don’t seek the answers in advance and make a “cheat sheet”, you’re missing a huge opportunity to serve your customers most effectively. When conducting IMPACT™ Selling Workshops over the last 10 years, I am often shocked by the number of salespeople who do not carry a working pad to take notes about customer comments, needs and desires regarding their next vehicle.

The truth is that prospects want us to understand their needs, wants and desires, so when we employ a smart, relevant line of inquiry and take great notes, they actually appreciate it! What stops most inexperienced, under-developed talent in the business of selling cars? See the equation below:

Lack of Training & Development

    Lack of Preparation

    Lack of Selling Process

+ Lack of Confidence                                               

   Lack of Prospect Rapport/Effective Fact Finding

The objective is not to make a new “friend”, but to be friendly and work with your prospect through a process of “guided discovery” to help you help them select the right vehicle. Keep it simple, provide smart, relevant options with simple questions that always give your prospect multiple options to engage and advance the process. Below is a sampling of 10 simple, but effective fact-finding questions designed to make your prospects feel at ease and give you the answers you seek:

  • MILLION $$ TIP…Use Example #1 in place of “Can I help you?”
  1. Are you looking for a car, truck or crossover option today?
  2. What 2 or 3 features or characteristics are most important to you in your next vehicle, safety, fuel efficiency, styling, etc?
  3. What did you enjoy most about your current vehicle?
  4. What would you change about your current vehicle?
  5. Do you prefer a vehicle with or without navigation?
  6. Are considering leasing, financing or just paying cash?
  7. How did you plan to handle your initial investment on your lease…the normal 15-20% down or were you considering more?
  8. Are you leaning toward a lighter or darker color?
  9. Cloth or Leather interior?
  10. Did you want to choose a vehicle with or without a sunroof?

Conceptually, we are seeking the answers to the test of selecting the right vehicle and already setting the stage for future negotiation. It is enjoyable when you’ve prepared by practicing your relevant line of questioning skills, drilled with role playing and then create your own questions. The idea is to accomplish the dual task of being friendly, positive and gaining the inside information your prospect knows that you don’t, so that you can help them make a smarter decision. Think about it from your prospect’s perspective, they came to make a purchase decision, they only do this once or twice every 3-4 years on average, so they want, and react positively to, a Sales Professional who is prepared. Take the time to get really good at this skill, have fun with this and watch your closing percentage soar! And remember…

Amateurs settle for being one of a million, but professionals always strive to be One-In-A-Million!©

You Never Get A Second Chance…

Everybody knows, as the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” In speaking with some of today’s highest producing and highest earning Sales Professionals, the topic of a high-quality customer introduction is often cited as the single most effective ways to initiate a great customer relationship. When you are meeting a new prospect or warm referral for the first time, you are being judged consciously and subconsciously. Our ability to positively kick off the experience is critical, because a well-executed opener helps you gain confidence with a prospective customer and begin the pertinent dialogue necessary to lead to a successful experience. It’s simple to execute, but is also easy, if not easier, to take for granted…and all too often it is. So, why do the very best performers invest quality time employing a professional, consistent ‘Meet & Greet’? One of the more prolific producers I’ve met while working with dealership clients, Carter Nies, a consistent 30-plus unit per month performer, says this about a quality introduction, “It sets the tone for prospects immediately that I respect their time and want to hear more about why they came in to see me. Prospects gain immediate confidence when we make them feel like they are dealing with someone who treats this like a true profession.”

We get the chance to begin anew every time we meet a prospect for the first time. It provides a great way to leverage the first step in our ASD Impact Selling Process™, the “World Class Million Dollar Meet & Greet™” introduction. Making that great first impression is pivotal in establishing the experience that a prospective new client or customer is about to enjoy is far different from any that they’ve had prior to meeting you. And it also begins the process of leaving, and perhaps more importantly, a lasting impression, which can deliver residual business and lots of referrals!

Customers tend to form instant opinions about us, and this impacts how much time they’ll devote to us and our pitch, product or process. Very often this is based on elements such as our personal hygiene, wardrobe, body language, voice inflection and facial expressions, our words, and our overall demeanor. Below are a few simple, yet very effective recommendations to help us achieve a confident and professional initial impression:

TIP: Make sure you are dressed in a neat, clean and professional manner. (Pressed or ironed clothing, without potentially offensive jewelry or apparel)

TIP: Make sure your personal hygiene is above average, as people want to have confidence in those that are serving them. (Professional hair styling, fresh breath clean hands)

TIP: Make consistent eye contact (Try focusing on just one eye for better eye contact…it’s easier!) This one action does more to instill trust than most any other!

TIP: Offer a genuine smile…Every time. In my experience, 11 out of 10 prospects smile back at me!

TIP: Open with a professional, engaging greeting, such as:

  • ‘Hi! Welcome to ABC Automotive, my name is YOUR NAME, and you are? So great to meet you, and how do I spell your last name?’

TIP: Offer your business card immediately after exchanging names. Too often, I witness an unwitting Sales Professional offer their card at the “moment of dismissal” when they’ve determined that they aren’t going to complete a transaction at that time. This sends the wrong signals to a prospect.

These simple, yet impactful suggestions may seem trivial when examined individually, but compounded over the entire purchase/selling experience, they deliver real, improved results. Start to work on these actions today and begin the journey always remembering…

Amateurs settle for being one of a million, but professionals always strive to be One-In-A-Million!©

3 Dynamic Secrets That Top Performers Already Know…Do you?

#1 SELF-EDUCATION: It’s how the best get even better!


Everybody knows there is an absolute cornucopia of incredible, high-quality material and content available today that is easily and seamlessly distributed, much of it freely, through the internet. Most successful people are working on “ownership” of their own Six-Inch Space©, their mindset, every single day through various mediums. It’s as easy as employing your fingertips on a smartphone, tablet or PC. The late, great philosopher, businessman and thought-leader, Jim Rohn, made self-education a priority and a virtue. The reason that this is the #1 secret of top performers is simple, because the first step toward high-performance must come from within. By unlocking what already exists in all of us, we begin to understand, believe and project the success that we are destined to achieve if we begin by working on ourselves first. Here are seven great books to get you started:

  1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  2. The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
  3. Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty by Harvey Mackay
  4. Seasons of Life by Jim Rohn
  5. The 5 Levels of Leadership by John C. Maxwell
  6. Outliers by Malcom Gladwell
  7. Born to Win by Zig Ziglar

#2 NETWORKING: Good works and groundwork will build your network!

When sharing ideas with many of the thought leaders in business today, I am often asked the question, “What do you believe is the single most dynamic action a genuine professional must do to create real leverage in their career?”

My answer, without hesitation is always…”BUILD A MEANINGFUL NETWORK!” In today’s business, the landscape is often akin to a military grade exercise in the social media dominated digital jungle. LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Twitter…It can be all too easy to get fooled into believing that all we need to do is develop an online presence with platforms such as these in order to effectively network with peers, colleagues or potential clients and customers. These are all outstanding tools and resources that help you to amplify your reach and connective tissue in building sustainable business relationships. However, if you plan to leverage your greatest asset, your network, you first need to be out in the real world meeting real people and cultivating genuine relationships. The power of a bona fide human relationship is exponential and yields amazing opportunities for rapid growth, as well as the chance to really help your connections gain and prosper personally and professionally from knowing you and you knowing them. In my experience, being genuinely interested in people and their goals and dreams is an essential ingredient for rock solid, rewarding relationships. Making warm introductions when you see the potential for two connections to mutually benefit, without “keeping score”, is a powerful way to employ your network capital. When we can help others to achieve their goals with little to no expectation in  return…that is when the magic happens.

#3 PERSONAL BRANDING: Projecting a Smart & Powerful Presence

The concept and practice of personal branding has gained mainstream credibility over the last 10 years. In my discussions with the most successful professional leaders operating within the major spheres of influence on consumer behavior such as marketing, advertising, and sales, the importance of understanding how your personal brand affects those with whom you interact every day.

In order to exercise influence, leadership and deliver the sustainable results that we seek, it is essential that your personal brand is uniquely, genuinely and authentically…you. Anything less is easily perceptible to the marketplace, and generally speaking the reception is tepid at best. The best relative experience that I can share is that the sooner you experience the power of self-examination and awareness of what traits, skills and qualities that you possess and are valued in the market, the quicker you will see the responses you seek. A simple, yet impactful exercise to help you begin building your brand is to ask yourself this question, “What three words would I like the marketplace to say when asked about me and what I deliver to them?” After you’ve determined this, ask 3-5 people whom you respect to answer the same question about you from a third-party perspective. These answers will help you to give shape and substance to what image you show to the world.

In the end, as I teach in my workshops and seminars, your objective is to separate yourself from being a “one of a million” in the world in order to exhibit and position you, your company and/or your brand as a One-in-a-Million™ player!

“Knowing why you were born is a gift to you, knowing how to best use that gift to succeed and help others is a treasure.” – 2015

Sandy Cerami is an Entrepreneur, Professional Speaker and Consultant specializing in delivering his unique brand of enlightened thinking and multiplied better results through proprietary materials and resources he continues to develop, The Six-Inch Space© and The Definitive 21st Century Guide Series©.

Email Sandy directly at

Connect with Sandy on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn

The Leadership Question…Yes Virginia, it is a paradox!

“Being smart enough for the right people to seek you out for opinion, experience, and counsel is a valuable asset…Being smart enough to seek the right people out for their opinion, experience, counsel and opportunity is priceless.”

– Sandy Cerami –

Most people that are thrust into leadership positions by any number of unexpected or unplanned circumstances can struggle to ascertain the best manner in which to influence their charges effectively. Knowing and knowing that you don’t have to know…It’s how the smart grow even smarter.

It is plainly evident to even the casual business observer that when we look to scale in any environment or at any level, there are unique challenges that require multidisciplinary talents and effectiveness. There exist very few individuals, if any, that can accomplish anything of scale without leveraging networks, talents and expertise in today’s global world. But this is not reserved simply for big questions, concerns or challenges…it is universally applicable to both the grandest and the most basic of all things we ponder.

Knowing that it is wise to seek out and value input by listening to those who’ve succeeded previously is difficult at times, but a quote from Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, articulates this point perfectly. It’s a revealing, relevant neon sign pointing smart leaders, young and seasoned alike, toward this critical mindset. When describing how the leadership at Google operates and makes key decisions from a deeply-rooted cultural basis, Eric said:

“We run this company on questions, not answers.”
– Eric Schmidt, CEO Google –

Knowing that we don’t have all the answers is essential, but understanding that we aren’t supposed to know all the answers simply because of title, rank or position can catapult us toward developing into being far more competent and certainly more confident in leadership roles. This comprehension is indispensable, and it moreover liberates us. It effectively relieves the pressure on us once when we recognize that the role is best played through the nuance of guiding our team to breakthroughs and discovery, not driving it from behind even when we are unsure, because we believe that is what a leader is “supposed to be doing” for our team. Through leveraging the power of multiple people’s experiences, their intelligence and smart lines of questioning, we help to cultivate and develop stronger leaders around us and a more diverse internal “think tank” if you will.

Socrates employed this philosophy when teaching his students, as well as when wrestling to understand or solve a problem. The entire foundation of The Socratic Method is based on education through a dialogue involving multiple people and discussion surrounding lines of questioning, discussion and debate in pursuit of truth and/or resolution.

“I know that I know nothing.”
– Socrates –

With this in mind, it is essential to employ a more enriched understanding of the manifold power of the network that exists beyond your own personal network. It is imperative to get to know your network’s network. Each of us has a network funnel that consists of an ever expanding collection of contact rings that grows as our connections grow outward from us. When we understand and engage this invaluable asset, it can simultaneously cause our own influence to expand and become more valued and sought after. We can help others, and ourselves in the process, to expose our social, business and financial experience and beliefs to other people of influence causing a ripple effect that returns to us as it literally reverberates and bounces off our network providing us a two-way flow of knowledge.

There is, however, a subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, caveat…We must bring value and openness to sharing with us into this process. There exists a Universal Law that guides this philosophy, and that is that we must represent value in the form of “over-delivery”, meaning that we must be generous and thoughtful in our contribution to the process of sharing throughout our network and our network’s network. If we are perceived as “needy” or a “taker” our network responds by stealthily excluding us from participation in a manner representative of the “How to Boil A Frog” methodology. Very often, we don’t see it, or perhaps more effectively put, we don’t feel it…until it is already happened.

Life Lessons For Our Children…The Thrill of Productivity Or The Agony of Deceit

View More:…with its ups and downs, twists and turns, is an adventure worth enjoying through achievement and challenge. To experience one without the other would be a flat line, and offer no drama, excitement or joy. The late, and great, Jim Rohn wrote that people are happier and more fulfilled when they are productive…pursuing and achieving unusual goals.

An open letter to my oldest child on his 15th birthday serves as a reminder to me that these lessons are simply reminders that the journey toward fulfillment in this life never ends…

Dear Patrick,

The day you were born, we were not even thinking of that day in the future when you would turn 15! We were absolutely filled with joy and excited to just stare at you…Over the last 15 years, you’ve given Mommy and me gifts of a lifetime, a front row seat to an amazing young man’s experiences. All of the triumphs, challenges, fun and adventure. This birthday feels a bit like an initial rite of passage as you enter high school at BC with so many possibilities and promise. Become the exact man you want to be, be a leader, be a calculated risk-taker, be courageous…

1. Make your mistakes, but bring no harm to others.
2. Dream specific BIG dreams and make even more specific BIG plans, and share your dreams with others,
3. Take real ACTION, because nothing happens otherwise!

Everything, and I mean e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, you dream about doing and becoming is possible and there for the taking, and the formula is very specific:

Dream it, commit to it, speak of it often, plan for it, and…then TAKE ACTION and DO IT!


Learn from mistakes and from successes, ours, yours and others, because they all hold clues to the life that you dream of.for yourself.

Love your family, especially your sister, because we love you so very much that it defies an articulate verbal explanation. Love your friends, they will be gifts and guide posts for you in life, so choose the very best. Choose friends that you will love, respect and support in their life’s dreams, and look for the same in return.

Help those that need a helping hand and truly cannot help themselves, because compassion is a vital virtue. However, do not fall victim to those that won’t help themselves and desire to drag you down to their level. Give more than you get, and you will be fulfilled beyond your imagination.

Above all pal, be true to who you are and never, ever compromise that, because truly loving that man staring back at you in the mirror is what counts in the end…I love you so much pal!



“Knowing why you were born is a gift to you, knowing how to best use that gift to succeed and help others is a treasure.” – 2015

Sandy Cerami is an Entrepreneur, Professional Speaker and Consultant specializing in delivering his unique brand of enlightened thinking and multiplied better results through proprietary materials and resources he continues to develop, The Six-Inch Space© and The Definitive 21st Century Guide Series©.

Contact Sandy directly at