Tag Archives: e-mail

The 3 Questions that Telephone Reps Should Ask at the End of Every Day

Do you sometimes finish your day and wonder what you accomplished, if anything?

You started off with great intentions to sell like crazy but somehow things got de-railed. You got side tracked here and there: e-mails galore; a lengthy proposal; troublesome client; a chatty friend; sales calls that got off kilter; a report that needed completion… and only a handful of client and prospect contacts. You know the drill.  Sales didn’t get done.

Hey, it’s okay: we all have days like that.

But don’t write if off either. Whether it’s a bad day – or even a good day- you can take it and learn from it. You can squeeze and extract something from every single day if you simply put seven minutes aside at the end of your work day and conduct a ‘debrief’ by asking yourself these three questions:

Question #1:  What happened today?

Take a moment and evaluate your day.  Look at what you accomplished.  What successes / victories did you have?  Bask in them for a few seconds.  Look at what you did not accomplish. Look at the stumbling blocks.  Determine what wasn’t so successful.

The answers to these questions provide perspective about your day. By assessing the highs and lows you are giving credence to your strengths and you’re acknowledging your weaknesses.  It provides a sense of balance that can help mitigate discouragement or despair.  It can also balance too much euphoria which can be equally dangerous.

Question #2:  What did I learn ?

Here’s a question I learned from a mentor a long time ago.  At the end of day ask yourself, ‘what did I learn from what happened today?’  This penetrating question gets you to drill deeper and learn the lessons of success and/or failure. Typically the answers are behavior related.  They tell you what you have to do or what you have to do more of.  Here are some quotes from reps I have worked with when I asked them what they learned about their day:

“I learned that cold calling at the end of day is not good for me. I’m tired and not at my best…”

“I realize that I should not check my e-mail so often because I get distracted…”

“I found out that spending less time socializing increased my contact rate… Kind of embarrassed by that…”

“ I learned that I did not spend enough time preparing my approach to the follow up call.”

“I learned that if I do the hard stuff first, the rest of the day isn’t so bad.”

“I worked on a lot of things but not the ‘right’ things!”

“I spend too much time and effort on composing e-mails.”

“I should have asked my manager for help on this quote a lot sooner…”

“I learned that I spent too much time pitching and not enough time questioning and listening”

“I think I learned that I focus too much on getting things perfect.’”

Question #3:  What needs communicating?

This is a new question I have added to the end of the day de-brief.  I got this from Peter Bregman’s book “18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction and Get the Right Things Done,” and I love it.

Bregman suggests taking a few moments to think of whom you interacted with that day? Customers, vendors, prospects, co-workers, other departments?  Is there anyone you should update? What about thank? Get clarification? Ask a question? Acknowledge?

This is a brilliant and powerful question. It forces you to think about people and events in the day, and you can use it to  help you grow and develop relationships. It can create value. It can position  and brand you.  It can make you more efficient and effective.  It gives you an edge. It shows appreciation; courtesy; thoughtfulness.  Its gets you to do those little extras that most sales reps don’t do.

Implementation

You should de-brief yourself at your desk before you leave.  Don’t do it on the commute home. Do it in your work environment in case you need to take care of something (see Question #3).

You could de-brief with a co-worker.  This works well because it forces you to verbally articulate the answers and in an odd way, it holds you more accountable.

You could de-brief with your boss if he/she has time every day.  Mind you, that’s not always practical

Why 7 Minutes?

Seven minutes is an unusual time so you tend to remember it.  Take five of those minutes to reflect on the questions.  Take the last two minutes to communicate to those who matter (if required).  Send an e-mail or text.  Write a thank you card.  Go over to someone’s desk to say thank you or whatever.

Summary

Get into this simple routine. It gets you THINKING.  It’s not only effective, it’s fun.  You’ll actually enjoy the process because you’ll have a greater sense of what you must do or must do more of.  It puts you in the driver’s seat.  It eliminates victimization.  It gives your focus and direction so that the next day is a little bit better.

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What Would Happen if You Knew Your Prospect Was Reading Your E-Mail?

Every now and then I stumble across a superb new product or innovation.  This is one of them and it has the potential to radically change the way tele-sales people do business.  If you use e-mail in your selling process then read this now!

Okay …The problem with prospecting e-mails is that salespeople have no clue what happens to their messages after clicking the “send” button.

There is an information void because you don’t know if someone has read your e-mail or, more important, has any interest in it. For salespeople, this creates “prospect paralysis” because they don’t know whether to follow up and, if so, when and how.

The Solution

But suppose you knew.  Suppose you knew the moment the prospect got your e-mail and opened it.  How would that impact your approach to following up and selling?

Well you can do that now with a cost effective software program called Contact Monkey.    It’s a new and nifty e-mail tracking service for Outlook and Gmail that tells you in real-time if, when, how many times and where a message is opened, as well as what device or browser was used.

Think about this now: Armed with this knowledge, a salesperson has valuable and actionable insight to make better and more informed selling decisions so they can focus on the most promising prospects and opportunities.

The idea for ContactMonkey emerged when Scott Pielsticker, a serial entrepreneur, was frustrated with not knowing if his sales pitches were getting read or were resonating. To solve this problem, ContactMonkey’s developers created the software, which was recently launched.

How it Works

Here’s an example to illustrate how ContactMonkey works.  Suppose you send a proposal to a prospect. After the e-mail has been sent, you will be able tell if and when the e-mail has been opened. There’s a couple of benefits to you:

  1.  The more the message is opened, the more interest someone likely has in the proposal.  It suggests a certain degree of interest; a warm lead perhaps.
  2. Second, and more significantly, because you get real time notification that the e-mail has been opened you can pick up the phone and make your follow up call.  In other words, you increase the odds of reaching the prospect. The more your contact rate increases, the more your opportunities to sell.

What this really means is you’ll be spending more time in conversations and selling, and less time in dialing and leaving messages or making fruitless follow up calls.

But, says Pielsticker, there’s even more insight that can be gleaned. Another feature within ContactMonkey is knowing if a message was opened on a mobile device, within the Chrome browser or Outlook. If an -email is originally opened on an iPhone, and then opened on Chrome or Outlook, it could mean the proposal generated solid interest.

The same approach works for location. An e-mail opened by recipients in Toronto, Boston and London is another indication of good interest.

For you, this information makes it easier to focus on better prospects interested in their email, while you can quickly ignore prospects who paid little or no attention to the e-mail. In other words, it points you in the right direction.  You’re using your time better and smarter!

For “warm leads”, you can figure out the best time to follow up. If there’s a lot of interest in a message in a short period of time, you can strike while the iron is hot — knowing that they will likely get a good reception.

Finally, a very handy feature is that the recipient of your e-mail does NOT get a ‘read receipt’ request.  Your prospect or customer is unaware of the notification.

I’ve been using it for about 5 weeks.  I don’t get notifications on all my e-mail deliveries; there are still some restrictions. But so far, I get notified on about half the e-mails I send.  I’ll take that.  And because it is open on my Outlook I don’t have to log in and determine if the e-mail was received and opened.  It just pops up and that’s when I turn to the phone to make the call.

A Bargain

Here’s the neat thing: ContactMonkey  only costs $4.99/month or $49.99/year. It currently works with Gmail for Chrome and Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010.

For people who want to get more out of their email, ContactMonkey offers an attractive return on investment. Hey, if you close one deal, it would more than pay for an annual subscription.  Test it out!  Try it.  If it doesn’t work for you, fine.  Your investment was minimal.  But I’d bet you dollars to donuts it’ll make a difference to your contact rate.

Go here for more information.

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Voice Mail/E-Mail – What to Say and What to Write (Part 2 of 2)

If you want to increase the response rate from prospects then you need to integrate and harmonize e-mails with your voice mail. In effect, you want to leverage the strengths of the two mediums while minimizing the weaknesses.

(This is Part 2 of a series. See Part 1: How to Get More Response to Your Voice Mails by Using E-Mails)
Your Voice Mail

Your voice mail message needs to be short and intriguing. It needs to reference a problem or concern that your prospect might be experiencing but it should not pitch a solution.

Next, the prospect should know precisely what he or she must do once they’ve heard the message.

And finally, it should reference the e-mail that you sent which will get them to scan their inbox. By getting them to interact with their e-mail you tend to create a stronger impression of you and your offer.For instance, your voice mail might sound like this,

Hi ______, this is ______ calling from ________.

_______, the reason for my call is to share an idea with you that could possibly reduce the hassle and headache – and the cost – of recruiting quality sales reps at your firm. I have also sent you an e-mail.

In the mean time, my number is xxx xxx xxxx. Again, it’s _________ from __________.

Thanks, ____

Easy isn’t it? The message is quick and to the point. No infomercial here. A problem is cited (hassle, headache and cost) and a solution is implied without a pitch. Finally, there is the reference to the e-mail. You can bet that most recipients of this voice mail will check their e-mail if only to gather more information about you and your company.

Your E-Mail

Your e-mail should echo your voice mail so that the prospect quickly relates the two. It starts with the subject line. A nifty subject line is simply this:

                Subject:  Jim, regarding my voice mail

         Subject:  Joan, voice mail message

                Subject:  Pat, today’s voice mail

Notice, the e-mail features the prospect’s first name. Using the first name acts like an eye magnet for the prospect especially if they’re glancing at their smart phone. Once they see their name, they’ll then be reminded of the voice mail. If they haven’t checked their voice mail they almost certainly will after seeing the message. If they have heard the voice mail, they’ll be curious if there’s additional information and open it up. In either case, you’ve left an impression.

As for the content of your e-mail message, use the theme of your voice message,

“Hi _______,

This e-mail is a follow up to the voice mail I left you regarding an idea I have that might reduce the hassle, headache and perhaps even the cost of hiring a more effective and successful sales rep.

Could you squeeze my call in tomorrow morning or perhaps late afternoon?

Let me know what works best for yo

Kind regards

Look at how short and simple this message is! Whether the prospect reads this at his/her workstation or on their iPhone sitting on the couch, the message is compact and to the point. If a quality rep is an issue with the prospect, there is reason to call if only out of curiosity.

Notice there is no fancy, detailed pitch.

The action request is simple. The prospect could key in “Tmw 8:30” during a commercial break or on the commute from a bus or train or subway or wherever.

Summary

Sending out an e-mail after you’ve left a voice mail adds one more step to the selling process. It appears a little tedious. But the purpose of the effort is to improve RESULTS. More prospects will notice your message and remember it. A certain percentage will act upon it. And that means more selling opportunities.

So integrate e-mail to your voice mail and start selling more.

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How to Get More Response to Your Voice Mails by Using E-Mails (Part 1 of 2)

If you’re an inside sales rep, you are well aware of the challenges of getting prospects to respond to your voice mail messages. In fact, many telephone reps don’t leave voice mail messages simply because the return call rate is so low.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The fact of the matter is you can increase the volume of return calls simply by combining your voice mail message with an e-mail message.

Integrating voice mail and e-mail gives you a 1-2 punch in terms of messaging. You get the audio power of a voice mail message combined with the visual power of an e-mail message. This creates greater awareness and interest in you and your product/services. This article will show you why this works and how

The Trouble With Voice Mail Messages

As if you don’t know this already but the trouble with voice mail is that there are just too many messages being left with prospects. Every sales rep seems to leave one cluttering up the voice mail box. Worst of all, most of the messages aren’t very good. Consequently, prospects have become skeptical if not jaded. Many barely listen to the message; some ignore them completely. The net result is a low pay off for you.

Voice mails have some additional drawbacks to consider. Voice mail tends to be an 8:00a.m. to 5:00 p.m. medium. In other words, the majority of business people tend to access their e-mail only during business hours. Add to that, many decision makers are not at their desks but rather in meetings or off site so accessing voice mail isn’t always the most convenient of tasks. And let’s face it, very few are checking voice mails at 8:45 at night

Finally, responding to voice mails can be a bit of a pain. Often it means jotting down a number and calling you back. The prospect runs the very real risk that you’re on the line forcing them to play telephone tag and leaving a message. Who needs the hassle?

The Power of an E-Mail

In B2B, e-mail is still the darling of the business world. First off, e-mail provides a visual message. It is something prospects can SEE. It creates a degree of tangibility because it is on a screen or sometimes printed out on paper.

Increasingly, e-mail is becoming the preferred method of communication if only because it is fast and convenient.

Think about it. Most decision makers have a smart phone that they take EVERYWHERE. If they’re in a meeting they can and will quickly check their e-mails. If they’re stuck in traffic they check their e-mails. If they’re watching “Dancing With the Stars” or if they’re at their child’s hockey game, they can -and do-check their messages. This means your e-mail will at least be ‘seen.’

Of course, it can easily be deleted. Your prospect probably gets more e-mails than voice mails so they are adept at scanning and deleting more quickly.

But the point is obvious: an e-mail tags along; it follows and lingers; it’s instantly accessible; it’s easy to craft an instant response.

The next step is to provide your prospect with a visual and verbal message that compels them to take action or to be receptive to your follow up call.  See the next post  ( Voice Mail/E-Mail – What to Say and What to Write which will give you some specific tips.

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Don’t Send a Prospecting E-mail Like This

A good prospecting e-mail makes a follow up call easier and often more successful.

But the operative words are “a good prospecting e-mail.”  Here’s an example of an e-mail I recently received. It has just about everything you shouldn’t do when prospecting.  Read the e-mail and see my comments in bold.

The Prospecting E-Mail from Hell

Subject: Inquiry Localization Services (Okay, not bad.  I had no idea what this was or meant but the “inquiry” could have been about my services (in other words, a lead)…so I opened it.)

Hi Jim, (personalized and informal: good)

(GROAN! A quick glance at the length of the e-mail staggered me.  Clearly a pitch. Look at the length of some of those paragraphs!  Who has the time to wade through all this? I read it only because I felt an article brewing deep inside me)

Hope this finds you well and on a great path! (Trite. False. Waste of time. Credibility drops. Get down to business)

My name is _________ and I represent ­­­­­­­­­__________, an award winning e-Learning localization company.(ya…whatever…) I write this email to solicit an opportunity to meet with you and discuss our services around localization of content and e-Learning development.   (I see.  And what’s in it for me? What do I get out of it?  Talk about me, not you!)

(Man! Are you kidding me?  Look at this long, rolling paragraph! Am I supposed to be impressed with these features? It ain’t workin’ for me!) Since 2000, _________ has vastly expanded its e-Learning translation capabilities and in just 2011, we localized 200+ courses in 50+ languages both eastern and western. ____ has huge experience within localization of training materials, and now additionally providing extensive translation, engineering, and testing services for a wide array of e-Learning infrastructure software and content. We have saved thousands of dollars for our clients by rightly managing the source files (such as externalizing content in XML files) allowing customers to easily and more affordably perform localization of all titles. (Oh … here’s the benefit, nicely tucked away.  If the rep had told me this up front, I might have been a little more interested.  I suspect that 99.965% of the readers never got this far) Whether the content is scientific, commercial or legal, with _________ localization service at the helm, your content receives focused treatment, testified by quality of the output.

(Incredibly, there’s even more features… not that I care. Can you imagine the telephone pitch or the voice mail that this rep might deliver?) With a team of over 5000+ multi-disciplinary translation specialists, ________ does more than million words of translation and voice recording across 100+ concurrent projects every year. _________ localization services have proven their effectiveness at more than 50 training design companies, and with many leading publishers. G-Cube’s clients include Huthwaite, Corpedia, Kaplan, Omega Performance, ESI International, Sunwin Services Group, QA, Practice IT, Skillsoft, Cigital, Datatask, Incisive Media, Oilennium and many more.

Here are some of the examples of language works:

SSQM Chinese: <link> (Stop, buddy!  You’re killing me by overwhelming me.  Do you think I have the time in my busy day to read all this and STILL click on the Chinese link?)

SSQM Spanish: <link> (see above comment)

I’ve also attached a calculator that will allow you to calculate the expenses if ________ were to do translation, voice recording and repurposing for you.  (Don’t tell me there’s an attachment too? Who would open it?)

_____ is the one amongst very few organizations in the world to be assessed at Level 3 in SEI-CMM (look at the jargon!) frameworks. Its solutions have won prestigious awards including Brandon Hall, APEX, Codie, and Deloitte Fastest 50 Technology. 

I would like to trade 30 minutes of my ideas with 30 minutes of your time.  (isn’t that clever and cute!)  Are you free on 21st  August (Tuesday) at 10:00 am your Local Time for a quick call? Later works well too.   (Oh dear… you can bet I won’t reply.  And just to be sure, I’ll screen every call on the 21st just in case the rep decides to call anyway. I mean, what more can he “tell” me?  EVERYTHING  has been laid forth in the e-mail)  

Look forward to your reply. (Ain’t gonna’ happen)

Best Regards,

How to Improve Your Prospecting E-mail

Look:  I know I was being somewhat sarcastic and flippant in my remarks. But these types of e-mails are typical and I am tired of them, aren’t you?

If you’re  using e-mail for prospecting your message has to be about me, about problems I might have or about opportunities that I might achieve. You need to offer hope.

Next, your message must be short and to the point.  I’m going to scan it, not read it.  So you better make it crisp and clear. It must look short and read even shorter. It’s not something you whip up in 2.5 minutes.  It takes time and effort to compose an effective message.

Finally,it must intrigue me.  It must make me want to learn more.  You do this by teasing me about the potential benefits you have to offer.  Get me salivating with curiosity.

What to learn more? Visit the other articles on this page.  Learn to write an e-mail that gets prospects to turn their heads.

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Please… Return My Call

by Eric Slife www.salestrainingcentral.com.

Getting prospects to return your calls is one of the most frustrating problems you experience.

You can be 90% sure a deal will close in the next week and suddenly, silence. If you keep calling, you appear desperate and annoying, so what do you do?

Before you drive yourself completely crazy, take solace in the fact your competition faces the same problem. However, that alone won’t pay the bills. Before exploring some tactics that will help you get your calls returned, first ask yourself, “Why don’t prospects return my calls?”

Here are some of the more common reasons prospects don’t return calls:

  • Fear – Most people don’t like confrontation. They would rather completely avoid you, than deliver you bad news.
  • Too Busy – Prospects are bombarded by calls every day. Even though returning your call may only take 5 minutes, the thought of having to talk with a sales person when they have nothing new for you and a pile of work on their desk can seem like an hour. In addition, if they have 10 similar calls that day, it will take an hour.
  • Lack Urgency – If their problem hasn’t reached their pain threshold, they will lack a sense of urgency to fix it. Without pain, their problem isn’t a high priority.
  • No Value – If you are leaving messages that don’t provide additional value or specific reason for them to call you back, there is no point for them to call you. “I’m just calling to see if you got my brochure (or made a decision),” won’t stimulate someone to return your call.
  • Using You – If a company is just fishing for information, they will lose all interest once they receive what they want. Don’t give up information without getting something in return. If they want a price quote over the phone or a brochure, make them first agree to an appointment.

How do you get people to call you back?

Your first action with your prospect is to establish the ground rules and expectations. Your prospect needs to know it is okay to say, “No.”

For example: “Mr. or Ms. Prospect I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you. At the end of today’s meeting, my goal is for us to establish if my product or service is a good fit for you and your company. In order to do this, I’d like to ask you some questions, so I better understand your business. Are you okay with this?”

If at any time during our conversation today or future conversations it becomes clear to you that we aren’t a good fit, or you decide to go in a different direction, are you comfortable with telling me, ‘No’? In addition, if at sometime I need you to return a call or reply to an email for additional information or to determine what you want next, what method do you prefer? Great, let’s get started.”

By doing this, you are laying the ground rules. If they don’t return your calls, politely remind them of this conversation. This doesn’t mean you email or call them every other day. Give them an opportunity to respond. I suggest at least 4 business days between contacts.

Let’s say, you’ve laid the ground work, and your calls still aren’t returned, here are some specific techniques you can do to reach your prospect.

  • Disengage Caller ID: Contact your phone company and ask them how to temporarily disengage your caller id. Let’s face it, we all screen our calls. If they still don’t pick up, don’t leave a message, but call back at a different time using the same technique.
  • Use Email: Many times if a prospect can’t be reached over the phone, an email is your best alternative. I’ll often include the following in the Subject Line: John, regarding your request about…
  • Fall on Your Sword: Don’t come across as upset or demanding. Take the opposite approach:

“Mr. or Ms. Prospect, unfortunately we’ve been unable to connect, and I’m starting to feel like I’m becoming an annoyance. I certainly don’t want to be a pain in your side, but I’m feeling like your situation has changed. Please let me know what’s changed, and how I should best follow up with you. This politely let’s them know they haven’t returned your calls, and they appreciate your graciousness.”

  • Contact The Receptionist: That’s right, call the receptionist. Let them know you have had trouble connecting. See if your prospect has been out of town. They may even have information that sheds light on the situation. You may uncover some important internal politics or changes that are happening.
  • Go Over Their Head: Sometimes, you may need to make an end run. One catch. Have your manager make the call to the person over your contact. This way you still may be able to save face with your prospect.

Call at Higher Levels: Most sales people think they are speaking with the decision maker, when in reality they aren’t. Many times sales people will ask, “Are you the decision maker?” Unfortunately, too many people don’t want to admit they aren’t the decision maker. To get a more accurate answer, ask them, “Who else besides yourself will be involved in the decision making process?”

If you start by calling the actual decision maker, you will receive more direct and honest answers. True decision makers don’t have time to play games. In addition, if they tell you to call someone lower in the organization, you can always use that as leverage if someone isn’t returning your calls. You might say something like:

“Mr. or Ms. Prospect I know you are busy. However, I promised _________ (their boss) I would provide them periodic updates, or information by this date. Unfortunately, I can’t provide them with this until I speak with you concerning…”

  • Fire Your Contact: If everything else has failed, it’s time to fish or cut bait. Reach out one last time, to inform them you are throwing away their file. Believe it or not, this will get some people to realize it’s time to make a decision. If it doesn’t work, walk away knowing you’re better off spending time with real prospects

One final thought. Sometimes deals fall through. In this case, the best thing you can do is to build top of mind awareness. Create your own drip marketing campaign, so when a company is prepared to purchase, you are at the top of their list, or at least number two. In addition, this is a great way to obtain referrals!

About The Author:
I started Slife Sales Training, Inc. with my wife Daphne in 1999. Since then, our company has evolved into one of the most extensive and affordable online sales training resources www.salestrainingcentral.com. Sign up for our newsletter today and receive Top 10 Voicemail Blunders for absolutely FREE.
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5 Tips for Better e-Mail Marketing Results

by Corey Perlman

Reports on the demise of email are greatly exaggerated.

I hope social media pundits keep telling people email is dead because it will just make more room for our emails to get through!

According to a 2011 Clickz.com survey, 91% of people still check email once or more daily. In other words, we still get just as excited when we hear the ‘Ding!’ indicating a new message has arrived. 

However, email marketing has become a real challenge with email programs like Gmail and Outlook playing nightclub bouncer-deciding which emails get in and which stay out. People are also overwhelmed with the amount of email they receive, so getting ours opened and read is a constant battle.

So here are Five Tips to see better results from your email marketing.

Tip #1: Never send an email first thing in the morning. 

There’s usually a 6-8 hour window where people are sleeping and hopefully not checking email. After breakfast or when they get to the office, they open their email and are usually met with a flood of junk mail and a few important pieces mixed in. As email goes, this is the most overwhelming part of our day. Most of us skim through, deleting what we can so we can get ahead of the email snowball.

Not a great time for your email to be mixed in with the rest.

Now fast forward a few hours. The junk is gone, we’ve put out the fires and we feel good about our organized inbox.

Great time for your email to arrive.

Between 10am-2pm is when I try and get my email out.

Tip #2: Play with the subject line. 

Shorten it. Ask questions. Use a startling stat. Use their name in the subject line.

Then watch your open rate and see what happens. You’ll start to see a pattern and you’ll make adjustments accordingly. I subscribe to lots of other eNewsletters and take note when they get me to open the email. They give me great ideas for new subject lines.

Tip #3: Worry more about value, less about frequency. 

I get an email every single day from Mashable.com and I’ll probably never unsubscribe. This is because they pack their emails full of value.

At the same time, if I subscribe to a newsletter that comes once every three months and it’s packed full of promotions and ads, I’ll leave immediately.

Pump in the value as much as you can. You’ll build trust and rapport with your subscribers and they will look forward to your emails each time they arrive.

Tip #4: ABCE – Always Be Collecting Emails 

No matter what, you’re going to lose subscribers. In fact, I’ll lose a few when I send this email out. Oh well. We can’t dwell on it. Maybe I just hit them on a bad day or they got tired of my goofy pictures – I’m not going to let it bother me.

Instead, I’m going to keep finding ways to invite more people to be part of this eNewsletter. I do this by:

– Having a subscribe form on my website

– Having a subscribe form on my Facebook Business page

– Letting people share this newsletter with their friends

– Asking for emails at my events and in my books, audios, etc.

ABCE – it’s one of the lifelines of your business.

Tip #5: Give a clear call to action. 

People can only get so much from an email. Don’t make them try and figure out what the next step is to work with you.

Let them know in a casual and non-agressive way if they’d like to learn more, here’s what to do.

That’s why I do webinars every few months – it’s great way for our subscribers to get a deeper dive into web and social media marketing

Corey Perlman is an entrepreneur, best selling author and nationally-recognized social media expert.  His most recent book, eBoot Camp, (Wiley) became an Amazon.com bestseller and received global attention with distribution rights deals in both China and India. This do-it-yourself book written in layman’s terms provides the know-how to win business in cyberspace, while eliminating the need for a large marketing budget.
Corey’s company, eBoot Camp, Inc. manages the social media marketing for over 20 companies around the world. They also put on seminars and workshops for individuals and businesses looking to expand their digital footprint.
For more information, visit www.ebootcamp.com or call 855-eboot-now
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Do Me a Favor and Rate this E-Mail Follow Up Message

Do you ever have clients and prospects who don’t call you back after you’ve spoken or sent a proposal or quote?

You know what I mean: you’ve spent time on the phone discussing their needs, an opportunity is evident, the client seems keen enough, you’ve sent a proposal or quote and suddenly, things go silent despite your follow up calls and messages.

But here’s a nifty little e-mail message that seems to be getting a response.

The Message

Subject: Mike, can you do me a favor?

Hi Mike,

I have a quick favor to ask.

I am following up on the proposal I sent you regarding __________ (your product or service) and how it can  ________ (briefly describe the benefits the client will derive). I’ve left a couple of voice mail messages and e-mails but as of yet we haven’t been able to connect.

Can you do me a favor leave me a voice mail message or send me an e-mail on where you are at in the decision making process?

If things still look good, great.  If not, no problem.  In either case, it would help me with my planning and follow up (not to mention getting my boss off my back).

I appreciate the gesture and look forward to your e-mail (or leave me a message at xxx-xxx-xxxx).

Kind regards,

Why it Works

This message works for a number of reasons.  First, the subject line is intriguing.  It uses the prospect’s first name which tends to catch the eye and draw the reader into the message.  And next, it creates interest because it asks for a favor.  A favor is an unusual request. It is somewhat personal and that makes it compelling.  You can bet the recipient will read further.

Second, the opening line reinforces the ‘personal’ request.  Note the use of the word ‘quick’ which tells the reader that the favor won’t take long.

Third, the e-mail provides a quick summary of the situation by reminding the prospect about your product or service AND the benefits the client might derive.  This is important because it reminds the prospect why they originally requested the information from you.  In other words, it can help remind them of the need.

Fourth, the message lays on a little guilt by saying that you left a ‘couple’ (which really means more than two) voice and e-mail messages.  The rebuke is very soft and cushioned by the phrase, “…but as of yet we haven’t been able to connect.”  These words gracefully imply that perhaps the prospect has tried contacting you but you weren’t available.  They’ll feel less guilty but it makes it a little easier for them to respond.

Fifth, the ‘favor’ is clearly defined: an e-mail or phone call regarding the status of the sale.  The e-mail makes a ‘negative’ response easier to give if that’s the case (“no problem”), and it also suggests that the rep is getting some heat from the boss because the prospect hasn’t responded.  Again, the clever and subtle use of guilt.

The e-mail concludes on a positive tone.

Summary

This message will get you a good response rate.  It has a reasonable and polite tone and because it asks for a simple favor, it is hard NOT to respond.

Give it a try and see for yourself.

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The 2012 B2B Tele-Sales Trend Report

What’s in store for B2B tele-sales departments in 2012?

This Special Report provides you with an abbreviated ‘executive summary’ of 10 trends that are impacting the world of telephone sales.

Tele-Trend #1: Telephone Selling Growth Spurt -Again

B2B tele-sales is growing at a rate of 7.5% compared to field sales at only .5%. Clearly more companies are jumping on the telephone band wagon. Telephone selling applications are also growing in complexity and sophistication thanks in part to technology and the internet and thanks in part to a newer generation of buyer who is relatively comfortable with less face to face interaction. However, growth means more competition and more options. Smart telephone executives will emphasize the quality of the sales call to give themselves a distinct, competitive advantage.

Tele-Trend #2: The Decline of the Cold Call

Cold call to closed call ratios with drop like a stone which means it will take more dials and connects to achieve the same results. With so many companies turning to the phone your buyer has more options. Savvy companies will look for ways to become more effective with the smart use of the internet (see below) combined with a higher quality call. More emphasis will be placed on ‘smart dialing” (more skills, finesse and expertise) and less on ‘hard dialling’ (cranking out more phone calls).

 Tele-Trend #3: The Growth of Visual ‘Calls’

‘Visual prospecting’ is the intelligent use of e-mail to prospect because today’s buyer is linked to visual messages through their smart phones at work in meetings, commuting, at home, at leisure, on the weekends, 24-7. Smart, 1-to-1 e-prospecting customized to the individual prospect and integrated with a well planned voice follow up campaign will change the telephone prospecting landscape.

Tele-Trend #4: The Rise of the Hybrid Rep

 An interesting trend that seems to be emerging is that of the “hybrid sales rep.” The hybrid rep is a cross between a field sales rep and an inside sales rep, often working from a remote location. What this means is the scope and dimension of selling will change significantly. A pure ‘field selling’ model and a ‘pure telephone selling’ model will merge. It will require a different type of rep and a different approach to account management and account development.

 Tele-Trend #5: Finding (and Keeping) the Good Rep

Perhaps the single biggest challenge in the world of B2B tele-sales continues to be finding and keeping high quality sales reps.  Whether it is for a telephone selling position or for a ‘hybrid’ position there is no doubt that the quality of the rep is paramount. To distinguish themselves from their competitors and to implement more complex selling programs, companies need to re-think how they will attract better AND keep better quality reps. Radical shifting in compensation, training and coaching will be required.

Tele-Trend #6: Managing Less, Coaching More

Tele-sales managers absolutely MUST manage less and coach more. Sales reps typically don’t sell more than they could or should simply because they are not very effective at selling. They forget, ignore, dismiss or dilute their skills sets. Managers must be actively engaged on the floor beside their reps getting them better at the sales game. Nothing – absolutely, positively nothing- will provide you with a better return on investment than coaching . Period. But the single biggest challenge is that most sales managers don’t know how to effectively coach behavior … if only because they have never been taught.

Tele-Trend #7: Relationship Marketing and Selling Facelift

Relationship selling and marketing seems good in theory but in practice it seems to have flopped. The problem is implementation. Companies flog their customers and prospects with offers and promotional literature but seem to do little to engage the client at a personal level. This can be tough on the phone but enhancing a relationship and building value over the phone needs a radical facelift.

Tele-Trend #8: Re-Focus on Measurement

Forget about dials and connects. They’re like bikinis: they show a lot but not everything. Today’s telephone sales application must also measure e-mail contacts, e-mail responses and e-dialogues . The way B2B communicates has changed and so too must be the way we evaluate the effectiveness of a rep.

Tele-Trend #9: Social Media Integration

Look for tele-sales departments and companies continue to struggle to come to grips with social media as a ‘selling tool.’ Be careful in determining what is marketing and what is selling and who should be doing what

Tele-Trend #10: Leveraging the Moment

With live contacts on the decline, it is vital to seize the moment. Reps must make the most out of every contact they make or take. Whether it is cross selling, asking for a referral, or gathering market intelligence or whatever, companies need to teach their reps the skills and techniques to professionally and tastefully squeeze every ounce of potential from their contacts. This means skills development and training (not to mention coaching).

Summary

The B2B approach to telephone selling is constantly shifting and changing. Old style techniques, methods, strategies and ways of thinking are not working like they once did. To survive and thrive companies need to adapt and change. Pay heed to the trends and develop your program and your people accordingly.

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The Top 10 B2B Tele-Sales Trends for 2011 (and what they mean to you)

Thanks in large measure to a dismal economy and slow recovery and thanks in part to a new generation of buyers, the world of selling is evolving, changing and morphing.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the world of B2B tele-sales.  The telephone is poised to take the lead role in the method that products are sold. Here are 10 observations or predictions:

1. The Demise of the Field Sales Rep

Face to face sales is declining. And it has been declining for the last 15 or 20 years. The reason? The need for face-to-face contact is not nearly as significant as it once was.  A new breed of buyer AND seller brought up on a bread and butter diet of cell phones, smart phones, text messaging, e-mail, social media and web surging has entered the marketplace. The net result is a generation of decision makers and buyers who are more interested in speed, information and instant accessibility rather than in ‘touchy feely’ one-on-one meetings.

2. The Rise of Tele-Sales

If face-to-face selling is declining then B2B tele-selling is doing just the opposite.  Tele-selling caters to the demands of this new generation and marketplace and the telephone will continue to rise in predominance as the prime selling medium. Tele-Selling has always provided 2-way interactive dialogue but it lacked the ‘tangibility’ that face-to-face selling provided.  That’s changing.  Supported by sophisticated web sites, tele-conferencing, web-conferencing, video conferencing, e-mail and the like, the telephone has been synergized.  Speed of access, 2-way communication, and reduced cost of contact have all contributed to the growth of tele-sales.

3. The Increase of Competition

More and more companies will jump on the tele-sales band wagon in an effort to take advantage of these changes in the marketplace. Businesses will either introduce brand new tele-sales initiatives or they will expand the activities of their current tele-sales programs. Either way, more companies will be targeting the same markets.  Your prospects and clients will have more choice.  This could mean bad news as more competitors take a shot at your share. But the good news is that most of these new ‘pretenders’ to the tele-sales throne will be woefully unprepared and their own worst enemies. This means that a strong tele-sales strategy supported by high quality, well trained and well compensated reps, and managed and  by elite tele-sales managers and executives will dominate the selling landscape.

4. The Maturation of Tele-Sales

Tele-selling applications will continue to shift and evolve from transactional to more complex selling situations.  Higher ticket products and services will be sold to multiple decision makers by TAMs (tele-account managers) seated at a desk, supported by the internet, e-mail and CRM systems that will help manage the process.  Sales pitches will give way to needs focused and questions based selling. Gone will be the ‘telemarketing’ mentality, replaced by the consultative tele-sales mentality.

5. The Growth of Personal Relationships

Tele-Account Managers will nurture and develop relationships with existing clients and prospects at both a business and a PERSONAL level.  Savvy tele-sales firms will actively develop written account plans designed specifically to develop and enhance not only the business side of selling personal side of selling as well.  Companies will seek strategies and tactics to create value, likeability and trust on a 1:1 basis that will work in harmony with business applications.

6. The Evolution and Integration of E-Mail

E-mail contact and communication will rise dramatically in the selling process. It will be equally as important as dialling and 2-way live discussion. A new set of skills and techniques must be developed, trained, coached and integrated into telephone contact. Tele-sales reps and account managers will need to be much more effective communicators with the written word. They will have to be persuasive marketer as much as sellers. Many firms will struggle with this concept as they cling stubbornly to the ‘the more you dial the luckier you get’ mentality.

7. The New Breed of Tele-Sales Rep

A whole new breed of tele-sales rep will enter the world of selling. This ‘uber’ rep will have a more formal education; they will be young, tech savvy, sophisticated and ambitious. Recruitment practices will change to identify individuals who can communicate by phone and by e-mail. Compensation and incentive programs will improve dramatically to attract better quality tele-sales reps.  Training will rise significantly in order to provide reps with skills and abilities to sell complex products and services. Career paths will re-emerge and turnover will significantly diminish.

8. The Coaching Solution

Call quality, call success, and revenue results will be directly related to the degree that proactive coaching is implemented on a continuous and ongoing basis. Tele-sales firms/programs and departments will recognize that active coaching and development of their tele-sales reps will be the key method of achieving the “next level” of tele-sales success. Coaching will be the means to differentiate their selling efforts from the multitude of competitors. The emphasis will be on grooming tele-sales reps who can sell smarter, better and faster.  Companies will discover that hands-on coaching is the ONLY activity that can significantly change, alter and improve selling behaviour.

9. Social Media is Still Maturing

In B2B tele-sales, social media will continue to develop but the jury is still out on the role it might ultimately place.  Certainly in simple, transactional situations social media, used wisely, may drive prospects to call an inside sales rep. Used wisely, it is a means to stay in touch with an existing client. However, it is difficult to see the role of social media in more complex selling situations. Whatever the case may be, social media will play a support role.

10. The Scarcity of Tele-Sales Managers and Executives

The single biggest challenge in the tele-sales marketplace over the short term is the scarcity of an experienced tele-sales managers and executives. Geared more towards managing the ‘numbers’ and transactional sales applications, there are precious few managers/executives capable of developing, implementing and coaching more sophisticated and complex telephone selling programs. If companies are to use the telephone to leverage the changes in the selling marketplace, they will require skilled tele-sales managers and executives to lead the charge.  In the absence of external resources, companies must internally develop their tele-sales management team. Associations can help. Consultants and other outside experts are a must.

Summary

Are you prepared to take advantage of these changes in the marketplace? Most companies are not. Analyze your tele-sales vision, your reps and managers, and your processes.  What needs to be done? Figure it out now and don’t get caught short. Do something!

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The ABCs of Tele-Sales – 26 Powerful Tips for Tele-Sales Success

A is for “ask for the sale” or “advance the sale. Don’t leave a call lingering by NOT asking for the order.  Close it, for Pete’s sake.  Or if you have a longer sales cycle “advance” it by asking the client for some sort of action (accept a proposal, quote, attend a webinar etc.) and then getting a commitment for follow up DATE and Time.  Go here for more information (http://www.telesalesmaster.com/category/closing-and-advancing-the-sales/ )

B is for “body language.” In tele-sales there is no body language. The tone of your voice accounts for about 85% of your message. This means you must deliver your message with conviction.  People are more convinced by the depth of that conviction than the height of your logic. (Go here for more information:  http://www.telesalesmaster.com/892/uncategorized/)

C is for cross sell. Increase the average value of a sale on 20% of your orders by as much as 25% by offering a related item at the end of every call, when appropriate.  You’ll not only educate your customer you’ll put more change in your pocket.  (Go here for more information http://www.telesalesmaster.com/946/add-on-selling/)

D is for Discipline… especially when it comes to prospecting (cold calling). Schedule it. Then do it. When it’s time to dial, dial.  If your day starts at 8:30, start dialing at 8:30. Or earlier. Not 8:50. Not 8:45. Not 8:35. Arrive on time. Start on time. Stick to it. It is your diet to good sales.

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8 Tips on How to Make A Perfect Follow Up Call

In many ways, a follow up call to a prospect is more challenging than a cold call.

Typically, it’s the follow up call that really gets the sales cycling rolling. It’s here where value truly begins to manifest itself. It’s here where substantive information is gathered; and it’s here where the relationship begins to establish itself.

So that’s why it is absolutely vital to have a superb follow up strategies and tactics so that you can make the most of the moment. Here are eight tips to making a perfect follow up call.

Tip #1: Get commitment for the follow up.

Perhaps the single biggest mistake reps make is not establishing a specific date and time for the follow up call at the end of their initial call. Vague commitments from the prospects (“call me next week”) or the sales rep (“I’ll send the proposal and follow up in a couple of days”) result in missed calls, voice mail messages and ultimately a longer sales cycle. All you need to do is simply ask for a follow up date and time. For instance:

“I’ll be glad to write up the proposal (quote, whatever) and e-mail it to you. And what I would like to recommend is that we set up Tuesday, the 16th, at say, 8:45 to review it in detail and determine the next steps if any. How does that sound?”

If this is not a good time, recommend another time. If that doesn’t work, get them to establish a time and date.  Creating a deadline is a simple but extremely powerful tactic. Use it.

Tip #2: Build equity and be remembered

Here’s another huge tip. After every call to a first time prospect, send a thank you card. Handwrite a message on small thank you card that simply says, “John, thank you for taking the time speaking with me today. I look forward to chatting with you further on the 16th! Kind regards. . .”   No more, no less.

In today’s fast paced world, a hand written card tells the client that you took the time and the effort to do something a little different. At some level this registers in the client’s mind and creates a degree of “equity” in you. It differentiates you and it gets remembered. And it gives the client a reason to be there when you make you follow up call.

If you don’t think a card will get there in time, send an e-mail with the same note. Just be aware that an e-mail does not have nearly the same impact as a handwritten note.

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6 Passive Ways for Sales Cowards to Ask For Referral

Do you know why the majority of sales reps do not ask for referrals on a consistent basis?

They’re cowards.

They fear rejection or the worry that they’ll be seen as too pushy or aggressive or they think the customer won’t like them …and maybe even stop doing business.

Touch a chord?

You know this, right? Referrals are the single most powerful way to increase sales.  Referrals are a hela’uva alot easier to close because there is a degree of affinity. And they close in less time because the trust level is higher. But above all, they close at a much higher rate; as much as 70%.

It’s okay to be a coward. That’s human. It’s not okay to NOT ask for a referral. That’s foolhardy.

6 Ways to Passively Ask for a Referral

All you need to do is develop a referral system that is more passive in nature; one that quietly, discretely asks for a referral.  Asking directly is still your best bet but in the meantime, here are 5 things you can do to get the referral ball rolling.

1. Send an E-mail

This is a fast, simple way to get the word out that you’d like a referral.

In the subject line, use the customer’s first name and write,  “Michael, need your help.”

The message should be short and sweet. It should reference your business relationship and then explain your request.  Here’s a sample:

Michael,

First off,  let me thank you for your continued business. I do not take it for granted and will continue to provide the best possible service.

Secondly, I could use your help.  Much of my business is built on referrals from customers like yourself who have been pleased with the work we’ve provided.

Can you give me the names of some your co-workers ( or colleagues, associates, friends etc.) who might benefit from the services we provide?

I would be grateful for the opportunity to work with them and would give them the ‘extra’ special care and attention.

Thanks, Michael, I really appreciate your help. Regards

It doesn’t clobber the customer with detail. The appeal for ‘help’ always gets noticed and it will get read. It is polite and sincere. No fuss, no muss.   In a ‘cowardless’ world you could make a follow up call but if you don’t, well at least you’ve done something; planted some seeds.

2. Ask in Your Signature File

Use your signature file on your e-mails to passively solicit referrals. It can as simple as:

“Referrals Much Appreciated and Welcomed.” Make thing a hyper link so that when it is clicked Outlook is opened with your e-mail in the “To” bar. Use a different color, bold it … do something that catches the eye of reader.

Of course, the strength of this approach is that if the client thinks of someone he can refer, all he has to do is click. No other action is necessary.

If you have a referral reward system, feature that in your sig file.

3. Send a Letter

Sending a letter is much the same as an e-mail in terms of content.  But a letter is much more tangible and distinctive because the customer has to interact with it by opening it.

To make you letter more effective, hand write the envelope and put a stamp on it instead of printing a label and shoving it through a postage meter.  This shows you took the time and the effort.

But the most important component to a good letter is the PS. A PS is ALWAYS read and read first. It draws the eye like a magnet. Hand write the last part of your message. Use the customer’s name and explain that you will give the extra card and attention.

4. Send Some Business Cards

Depending on the nature of your business or products,  can go one step further with your direct mail strategy my inserting a stack of business cards.  A neat little phrase that I picked up some time ago can be inserted in the letter. It goes like this,

Gina, if happen to be you’re speaking with a colleague (or friend, associate etc.) and they mention the need for (your product or service) please give them my card…

Here’s the thing: people don’t mind giving a referral if they are absolutely confident in the services you provide. It makes them look good.  Extraordinary amounts of business is done by word of mouth. So this tactic works!

5. Send a post card

Postcards are a little less formal than a written letter but the net effect is the same.  Find a good postcard that conveys a business tone and write you message inside. Better yet, if you can find a postcard that suits the personality of your customer it is even better.  For instance,  if you have a good natured customer, find a card with humor.

Whatever the case may be, a post card is a little more casual. It has the ‘no big deal’ connotation surrounding it.  As such, it gets the attention of your client and may prompt a response.

6. Send a Fax

Fax may be dying and even extinct in some industries, but in others it is still a major form of communication.  In others, it significance is much less but there is something about getting an ‘old fashioned’ fax that catches the eye.  Like a vintage car, we tend to look twice.

Your message could be the same as those above. Others have use ‘rewards’ to garner names.  (One company offers T-shirts with clever messages for names and it does exceedingly well.  Another has uses cash … with mixed results. Still others have offered candies and chocolates for five names and have been astounded by the response.)

Summary

Look, the BEST way to get a referral is to ask directly.  But if you can’t muster up the courage or if you tend to forget, then try these methods.  The very least they do is create awareness. The best they do is generate a powerful lead.

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Want Better Tele-Sales Results Tomorrow? Do These 7 Things Tonight

If you want to improve your tele-sales results tomorrow start by preparing today.

Here are seven actions you can take tonight that will help make you more productive and effective tomorrow.

1. Create a Master List

Before you leave your office tonight prepare a ‘master list’ of the top 20-30 clients or prospects that you plan to call tomorrow. Put the names and numbers on a spread sheet or a legal pad so that when you arrive in the morning they are there, in front of you, ready to go.

This simple act gets you going; gets you dialing; get’s you DOING.  The trouble with tele-sales or tele-prospecting is that it gets easy to avoid picking up the phone. We find ways to avoid it (as you’ll see below) and consequently, many reps pick up the phone 30 or 40 or more minutes after they arrive.  Similarly, turning on the computer and beginning the day by ‘searching’ the database for prospects or clients can take considerable time.  Don’t squander that time. Have those names ready to go for the morning.

2. Write Your Goals

After you have completed your master list, write your goals for the next day.  This is a classic ‘time management’ technique and no less important now than it was twenty five years ago.  Take the time to write down key goals such as dials, connects, leads generated, presentations made, sales made, revenue objectives, profit goals …whatever.

When you arrive in the morning knowing precisely what you want to accomplish, you increase your odds of making it happen.  Written goals bring clarity and focus. Waltzing in with a vague idea of what you want to achieve typically yields vague results. Be precise. Be laser like.

3. Clear Your Desk

How tempting is it to start your day by organizing your desk, clearing papers, and ‘getting ready’ for calling?  It’s a task that can easily take 20 ‘delicious’ minutes away from having to pick up the phone.  From another perspective, a chaotic desk in the morning often contributes to a chaotic approach to calling.  You search for a pen, paper, marketing material, notes … whatever. You can’t focus on a call because there is always something to pull you away.

A clean desk is refreshing. Because it’s not cluttered, your mind is less cluttered. That means more focus and attention to the calls you are about to make. Clear off your desk the night before. The only thing on your desk should be your Master List and Goals for the Day Sheet.

Seriously, a simple thing like clearing your desk can have a SIGNIFICANT  impact on your bottom line results.

4. Clear Up Your E-Mails

E-mails are an absolutely wonderful way to procrastinate, aren’t they?  You waltz in, crank up the computer and check your messages.  Invariably there are messages from the day before that ‘absolutely need’ a response (or so you think).  So you review your messages, compose replies, edit them and send them out.  And of course, there’s always a message or two from a friend, and a newsletter you should read, a web site link that you can’t resist, and before you know it, 40 minutes have past.

Don’t let the lure of e-mails distract you from your prime objective: to make calls, reach clients and sell or prospect. Answer your e-mails the day before so they are not lingering the next day.  When you do get in, resist the urge to check them until after you’ve called your Master List.

5. Clear Up Your Voice Mails

Voice mails are the audible equivalent to e-mails. Clear them up the night before. Make your return calls before you leave for the day.  Leave messages for those who you don’t reach.  Call them back later the next morning but ONLY AFTER you’ve done an hour of calling.

6. Arrive 15 Minutes Earlier

Want better results almost instantly? Get in 15 minutes early. That’s it. Get in and start working  15 minutes earlier. Do the math.  In a week that amounts to an additional 1.25 hours of dialing.  In a month, that’s five additional hours. In a year that equates to 60 more hours or 7.5 days of additional calling!  It cannot help but increase your results!

Arriving 15 minutes early reduces distraction because there are fewer people around you.  When your co-workers arrive they’ll see you on phone. They’ll be less likely to talk about what they did the night before.  In the meantime, you’ll have a sale or a lead or an appointment before they ever switch on their computer!

7. Schedule Your First Call

Schedule your first call for the VERY first thing in the morning. In fact, block out an hour or more for calling. Treat it as an appointment with yourself and your success.  To make this happen, create an appointment or alarm in Outlook (or whatever you use) so that it pops up on your screen the moment your turn your computer on.  You’ll have an instant reminder.

Summary

Assuming you arrive 15 minutes early to a clean desk with a Master List in plain sight, sit down, turn on your computer, and dial the first name on your list.

Et voila.

You’ve started the day off right. You’ll get more sales, leads or appointments if only because you have purpose, direction, and focus with no niggling little distractions.

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An E-Mail That Gets a Response

Ever had a client or prospect never get back to you?

(SPECIAL NOTE: This article was written by Mr. Inside Sales, Mike Brooks.  This is a heck of a good article.  Visit Mike’s site at www.mrinsidesales.com for superb articles and products )

If you’re in sales, then I know it’s happened to you (or is happening with several of your clients or prospects right now).

If you have ever find yourself in a place where you’ve qualified a prospect, sent information to them on your product or service, and then find that they just won’t return your calls or emails, then I’ve got a guaranteed email that will get you a response.

“Should I Stay or Should I Go”

(Note: this email technique was one I learned last summer when I spoke at the L.A. Chapter of the AA-ISP. One of the participants shared it with us and I’ve been passing it along ever since!)

Subject of your email: “Should I stay or Should I go?”

“_________ While I’ve tried to reach you, I haven’t heard back from you and that tells me one of three things:

1) You’ve already chosen another company for this and if that’s the case please let me know so can I stop bothering you,

2) You’re still interested but haven’t had the time to get back to me yet

3) You’ve fallen and can’t get up and in that case please let me know and I’ll call 911 for you…

Please let me know which one it is because I’m starting to worry…

Thanks in advance and I look forward to hearing back from you.”

Is that great or what?? This works on so many levels including using a “Clash” song everyone can relate to in the subject line, to giving them options and an out in case they’ve decided not to work with you.

And, of course, you give people a reason to smile and that always relieves the pressure from the sales situation.

Use it this week and see for yourself how it works to get your prospects to get back with you and how it gets you deals. And then email me yourself with your results – I’d love to hear them

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How to Create a Hela’uva Subject Line (and get your e-mails opened)

The better you are at composing intriguing e-mails the better your tele-sales results.

E-mail and voice follow up (either live or voice mail) go to together in today’s marketplace like peas and carrots. However, this supposes that your e-mail is intriguing enough to get noticed and opened.

Therein lies the challenge.  The majority of your clients and prospects are swamped with e-mail messages. To cope, they tend to devote no more that 2-4 seconds  scanning your subject line. If that line does not grab them by the collar and tug their interest, the e-mail gets put aside and ignored, or gets deleted and forgotten.

So, in a nutshell, what you want is a ‘hele’uva subject line that screams to the recipient “Look at me! Open me! Now.”

Here’s how you do it.

Step #1: Use their First Name

When you insert the client’s first name in the subject line, they see it and pause.  Your written name is not unlike your spoken name: it gets attention.  When you use a person’s name in the conversation, they tend to listen very carefully to the next 12-15 words.  No surprises here.  People have been conditioned to respond to the internal radar of their name.

The same applies to a written name (especially the first name). It  draws the eye like a powerful magnet to the remaining words in the sentence or phrase.  This too is human nature. The name creates an itch that needs to be scratched.

Step #2: Use a Number in the Subject Line

The second step to creating a hela’uva subject line is to insert a numeric value.

There is nothing particularly mysterious about this approach except that it cleverly plays on human nature; on the average person’s sense of curiosity and wonder.  By using a numeric within the subject line you get your clients intrigued. They wonder what the “10 ways” are or what are the “7 possible courses” or what are the “3 things” they must consider. Most recipients  like to take a quick peek and et voila, the message is opened.

Subject Line Examples

The challenge for you is to create something that you can itemize. Here are some examples.

Subject:  Sarah, Special Report: 10 Ways to Get Your Calls Returned

Subject:  Eric, 5  Possible Course Selections for Accreditation

Subject:  Dr. Anselmo,  The 7 Ways to Increase Patient Traffic

Subject:  Kirsten,  2 Quick Items

Subject:  Steve, 3 Things to Consider

Subject: JP: 7 Elements that Impact Your Employees Effectiveness

Subject: Gina, Important –  1 Quick Question

Subject: Rachel, The Top 10 Things Every Single Mom Should Know About Investing

Subject: Mark, The 5 Reasons Why You Don’t Sell as Much as You Could (or Should)

Tip: Odd numbers seem to work better at arousing curiosity compared to even numbers.  That doesn’t mean you can’t use an even number but where possible look for that edge.  Incidentally, “Top 10s”  (an even number) are always great attention grabbers.

Summary

These tips are not huge, earth shattering epiphanies that will sky rocket your sales results but they will help!  They are small things but in sales, small things can give you an edge.  These subject line examples are a bit unusual from most; they’re distinctive.   And because they are you improve your chances of the client opening them and taking positive action.  Make your next subject line a hela ‘uva subject line.

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Things Change: 4 Steps to Winning Back a Sale

What do you do when you lose a sale?

If you are like the vast majority of sales reps, you simply move on. End of story.  And there’s nothing wrong with that. But what if I told you there might be a way you could win back one or two of those sales.  Would that be of interest to you?

This article looks at how you can possibly win back some of the sales you have lost.  At the very least, it will show you how to position yourself for the next sale down the road. We’ll look at what you can send and what you can say to give yourself an edge in the win back department.

Things Change

Never, ever forget this basic premise: in business, things change.

This is not so much a startling epiphany as it is a forgotten truism. The fact of the matter is that businesses morph and change every week, every month, every quarter and every year.  We sometimes forget that and consequently, we give up on sales opportunities simply because we lost a particular sale.

Here are just some of the things that can change:

–         your contact changes jobs or position

–         the company changes focus or direction or philosophy

–         the market changes

–         people change

–         the product or service changes

–         the purchaser suddenly changes

–         laws, regulations and requirements change

–         needs change

–         budgets change

–         wants change

–         competition changes

–         fortunes change

–         circumstances change

The real point here is that at any given time, your prospect can experience change and if you are not tuned into this possibility, you can and will miss opportunities. And the way to stay tuned in is to have a “win back process.”

The 4- Step Win Back Process

Okay, here are a few scenarios.  Let’s say you call a prospect about a budgeting software proposal you sent; or maybe you are calling to set up an appointment because an expiry date was around the corner; or suppose you want to close a prospect regarding an on- line training program; or perhaps you are a financial advisor calling to promote a new mutual fund. Whatever the case maybe: you call and you hear, “We’ve gone with a competitor.”

At this point you could sit on your hands, weep, and whine and do nothing. Not a great option. On the more positive side, you could move on to the next prospect on your list and hunker on. That’s a better alternative. Or, depending on the nature and size of the prospect, you could implement a 4-Step Win Back Process

Step #1:  The Thank You Card

Immediately after hearing that you have lost a sale take about a minute or so and hand write a small thank you card.

Think about this for a moment.  Who sends a thank you card AFTER they have lost a sale?  In this one small gesture, you distinguish yourself as someone gracious and ‘noble.’  It cannot help but frame you a positive light, if not for this sale then the next one.

Make your message simple; something like: “Richard, thank you taking the time to speak with me today. Even though we were not chosen for this project, I appreciate getting to know you. Kind regards. . .”

Hand write the message. Insert your card. Hand write the envelop. Send it within two days.

Step #2:  The Value Added Article

Your next step is to e-mail or fax a value added article to your prospect.   Always try to switch up your mediums.  Use a combination of direct mail, e-mail and fax. It catches the eye of your client.

Depending on the situation, you might do this within a week or it might be within a month.  For example, suppose a prospect had an expiry date on their insurance or waste disposal pick up. He has made the decision to stay with the incumbent but the expiry date is not for another couple of months. Send the article about 3 week later but well before the date.

Your article should have absolutely nothing to do with your company. It should have something to do with the prospect or with his market or with his hobby or interest (if you are aware of this).  Having articles on hand for this type of event means you have to scour industry newsletters and magazine; books, the internet. . . anywhere. Get cracking right now; start building a library of resources articles. Collect them. Save them. Use them.

Attach a small Post-It note on it.  It should read, “Richard, I thought of you when I read this article. Enjoy. . .” Wow! Talk about gracious even in ‘defeat.’ Now that’s just plain classy and it’s bound to register somewhere in your prospect’s mind.

Step #3:  The “Things Change Letter”

In this step, you change your tack a bit.  You send a letter on your company letterhead. Your objective in the first two steps was to position yourself as a top notch rep. You want to continue that positioning here but with the added dimension of giving your company some air time.

Here’s a sample letter. Use it as a template. Adapt it if necessary.

Things Change

‘Dear Richard,

Again, I want to say thank you for considering us with your recent purchase of (budgeting software).  I know you have decided to remain with your current vendor and I respect that

But I also know one more thing:

Things change

Circumstances change. Markets change. People change. Products change. And vendors change.

And I wanted you to know that if things do happen change that we are here should you need more information, a proposal, an opinion or a quote.

Kind regards,

I guarantee you that your average prospect does NOT get a letter like that. Notice I have a headline. It is 16 pt in size and bold.  It catches the eye. It sets the tone. As well, I have broken just about every grammar rule in the book. I did that on purpose. It’s the way people talk. It refreshing and it clear. It sets you apart.

Step #4: The Things Change Call

You could leave it at that. You could send the letter and see what happens. But if you add one more phone call to the mix you can possibly achieve the win back.  Within a week of anticipated receipt of the Things Change letter, call your prospect. Do NOT wait longer than a week. Timing is critical.

Here is a call guide or script to get you started:

“Richard? This is _______ calling from ________.  Richard, the purpose of my call is to follow up on the letter I sent you last week.

I am not certain if you had the chance to review it in any detail but if you did you know I  mentioned how things in business change – how markets change, people change, prices change, and circumstances change

I know you have made a decision to continue on with your current supplier but I wanted to touch base one more time just in case “things have changed” and to see if there might be another opportunity to do business.”

This ‘script’ echoes the sentiments of the letter. It comes after you have implemented a couple of nice gestures with the thank you card and the article.  Chances are the prospect will feel the compelling need to open up to you, give you information and maybe even give you a sale.

Time vs. Reward

Is the time and effort worth the reward?

Good question.  This entire process doesn’t take more than 5-10 minutes of your time.  The trick to making this work so efficiently and effective is compiling your Win Back ‘tools.’ Go out a buy a big stack of Thank You cards, start collecting and saving value added articles, links, books. . . whatever; and prepare your Things Change letter. It’s not a huge effort no matter how you look at it.

Certainly the Win Back Process is something that you would NOT do with every lost sale you encountered. Use your common sense. But there are usually a handful of prospects where this approach is worth the implementation. You might not win back the sale but you will create goodwill and equity with the prospect. . . and that just might tip the scales on the next sale.

Things do change. Will you be ready when the time comes

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