Tag Archives: motivation

Fake it ’til You Make it?

By  The Irreverent Sales Girl (http://www.irreverentsalesgirl.com/)

When I was first getting started building my Investment Management business, I was terrified of meeting with clients. I had the education. I felt confident that I could help, but I was afraid to ask for the business. I was afraid I could not connect with the customers.

What to do about my insecurities?Angie Harmon

So, I came up with this great idea. I was a big fan of Law & Order at the time. It was when Angie Harmon was on the show playing a no-nonsense, beautiful, composed attorney. She always kept her cool and she always had it together. And, she looked great doing it!

I decided I would “be” Angie Harmon in every meeting. I dressed the part and I acted just like she would in all of the conversations.

It worked like a charm.

Every meeting I walked in with the confidence and poise of Angie Harmon. I listened like she did. I spoke calmly and clearly just like she always did.

I constituted myself as someone successful. And people responded.

People opened up to me and I found it easy to take my time to hear what they wanted and make solid recommendations. Then, I confidently opened the conversation to ask for the business. I calmly pulled out the paperwork at the right time. And the prospects became clients over 80% of the time – in the first meeting.

Find the person who you can “be” to take your business to the next level. Maybe it’s James Bond, or Cat Woman, or a mentor. Put yourself aside and act the part.

Soon, it will start to come naturally! And you will be who you wanted to be and enjoy the same success!

Diane SmithBringing a Dash of Dignity, Adventure, and Poise to the Art of Selling, The Irreverent Sales Girl encourages her clients to seek new horizons and honor their own muse. She offers compelling messages that remind you of who you are and what is possible; a message of hope, challenge, and new thinking – just when you needed it most. http://on.fb.me/salesgirl.  To view the original article by the Irreverent Sales girl, go here
http://musings.irreverentsalesgirl.com/2013/04/fake-it-til-you-make-it/#.Ubz6d-fVDng
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10 Action Tips to Increase Your Sales

by Jill Konrath (www.jillkonrath.com)

Want to take your business to the next level? If so, take these actions. They’re guaranteed to make a difference in your sales results.

1. Clarify your value proposition

Strong value propositions are essential for getting in to see the corporate buyer. Make sure you can clearly articulate the business outcomes customers get as a result of using your product or service.

Be precise – numbers, percentages and time frames make your value proposition even stronger.

2. Target a specific market segment

Don’t chase every available opportunity. Focus. Focus. Focus. Increase your knowledge and expertise in a particular market segment.

Learn as much as you can about their business needs, terminology, issues and marketplace trends. This significantly increases your client desirability.

3. Prepare Ad Infinitum

Today’s customers suffer no fools. Unprepared sellers are quickly escorted out the door. Before you meet with any new prospect, research their business.

Read their annual report, check out their website, interview their clients, and review analyst’s reports. Find out what’s important to them, their challenges, goals, and strategic imperatives.

4. Create Seductive Ideas

Use your brain and think for your prospective and existing customers. They’re so busy putting out fires; they lack time for problem-solving, strategic thinking, creative alternatives or even reflection.

A seller who consistently brings business ideas to the relationship becomes indispensable – winning contracts with minimal competition and at full dollar value.

5. Slow Down, Lean Back

Don’t try to rush sales – even if you’re desperate. Customers feel your push and immediately erect a wall of resistance. On first sales calls do NOT lean forward.

To maintain a consultative approach you must LEAN BACK. The minute you lean forward, you’re “selling” – trying to get your customer to buy. Lean back. Slow down. And you’ll get the business sooner.

6. Pursue Quality, not Quantity

Make fewer sales calls – but much better ones. Focus all your efforts on preparing for the call. Determine the logical next step for each meeting. Then, working backwards, think about what you need to do to make this outcome a reality.

Test every idea you come up with from your customer’s perspective. Think: If I said or did this, how would my customer interpret it or react? Only their perception is important – not what you meant. Make your changes before the call to increase your success.

7. Minimize Opportunity Leakage

Unless customers can explicitly state the business value of your offering in concrete terms your opportunity can easily evaporate into thin air – even if they appear highly interested.

To increase your order rate, ask questions such as: Why would this help you? What value would you get from this service? What are the primary benefits you would realize from my product/service? This cements the value in their brain.

8. Make Follow-up Meetings Concrete

Don’t ever leave a meeting without scheduling your next one – or you may never catch up with your customer again. They’re running from meeting-to-meeting, busy handling way too many projects.

The longer it takes to reschedule, the more their desire for your offering fades. Get the meeting on both your calendars now – even if it’s just to talk on the phone.

9. Always Debrief Your Sales Calls

This is the only way you can get better. Ask yourself: a) what went well? b) where did I run into problems? and c) what could I do next time to get even better results?

This is absolutely the only way you will improve. Sales is a grand experiment – customers change, markets change, your offerings change, and so does your knowledge base. Unless you’re continually learning, you’re losing ground.

10. Reframe Your Attitude

Stop blaming the economy or anything else for your problems. There are many things totally within your control. Approach all tough sales situations with a “what’s possible” or “how can I?” mindset. If you’re stuck, brainstorm with friends or colleagues.

Accept 100% responsibility for your sales success and continually be on the lookout for creative approaches to take your business to the next level.

konrath 4217  websize croppedJill Konrath helps salespeople get their foot in the door and win big contracts in the corporate market. Sign up for her free e-newsletter by sending an email to jill@sellingtobigcompanies.com. You get a free “Sales Call Planning Guide” ($19.95 value) when you subscribe. Contact Jill Konrath at  jill@jillkonrath.com or at (651) 429-1922 to find out how she can help your sales force take their business to the next level
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Selling Fearlessly: 5 Reasons Why You MUST Read This Book on Selling

When I first picked up Selling Fearlessly – A Master Salesman’s Secrets for the One-Call-Close Salesperson, I had my doubts.

Personally, my sale isn’t a one-call-close. Neither are most of my clients. So I wasn’t quite certain how valuable it might be.Selling Fearlessly book

Boy … did I call that one wrong.

Robert Terson has written one hell’uva  of a good book that fits with any type of sale, simple or complex.  It is chalk full of stories, examples, skills, techniques and insights on what it takes to be an effective and successful sales person. Its’ conversational style makes it easy to read and understand.  I couldn’t put it down.

5 Reasons To Read this Book

There are five compelling reasons why you should read Selling Fearlessly.

First of all, it’s a  damn good read. You’ll enjoy it because it flows along at nice fast pace. Bob illustrates points clearly and concisely. It’s entertaining and it’s fun. You won’t get bogged down with stuffy, high falutin’ theories.

Second, it acts as a prompt or a reminder. I was surprised (and maybe even a little embarrassed) to recognize that I had become complacent in certain areas of selling.  Bob’s book was a wake-up call.  It reminded me what I need to keep doing to stay at the top.

Third, the book was motivating. Bob tells good stories that make you think and evaluate; stories that make you feel good; stories that inspire you to get off the couch and do something. (My favorite was of 1992 Olympic runner Derek Anthony Redmond.  I watched the video and was touched to tears).

Fourth, Selling Fearlessly is practical.  It gives you specific how-to tips and techniques.  Terson explains how to handle objections, how to present, how to probe, how to close; the whole gamut of skills. Valuable, usable stuff.

Finally, its real life selling.  It’s not the world of perfect or theoretical.  Bob tells it like it really is with no-holds barred.  His humble and often humorous stories illustrate what it’s like out there.  The book has a truth to it like no other.  (And at less than $19/copy you can’t beat it!)

Summary

 Selling Fearlessly is a book for both sales rookies and veterans alike. Rookies will see that selling is more than just showing up and delivering a pitch. Veterans will see that selling is a life long journey of learning and improving. It’s sage sales wisdom has value regardless of your years in sales or the type of product or service you sell.  Get this book. Read it. And start selling like a master.

Go here to visit Bob’s site and to read his blog!

 

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The 9 Reasons Why Telephone Prospectors Fail

Telephone prospecting can be tough but sometimes we’re our own worst enemies.

Recently, I have been monitoring dozens of calls by various reps.  I listen and watch as some succeed and others fail. Based on these calls (and hundreds of similar calls over the years)here  is  my  list of nine reasons why tele-prospectors fail to achieve the results they could or should get.

Reason #1: Lack of a Clearly Defined Goal, Objectives and Plan

To succeed in telephone prospecting you need three fundamental components. First, you need a clearly defined goal to help drive you to pick up the phone and prospect. Is to achieve a monetary goal? Is it to build your book of business and minimize future risk?  Is it to save your job? All of these are compelling reasons.

Second, you need specific calling objectives.  Focus on decision maker contacts. If your objective is five new contacts per day, work until you get it.  You might be able to do that in ten or fifteen dials … or it might take thirty.

The third component is a game plan.  Tele-prospectors fail when they don’t block time to make their calls, when they don’t have a list ready to go, when they haven’t prepared a script or call guide, when they haven’t practiced and the list goes on. They wing it and they fail.

Reason #2: Lack of Ambition/Drive

Let’s face it, there’s not a good deal of hope for someone who is indifferent about their success.  If the internal pilot light doesn’t burn bright within you then chances are you’ll fail.  This doesn’t make you a bad person or a flawed individual. It makes you a person who lacks the ambition to succeed in this particular job.  If that’s the case, fin something else you are passionate about and you’ll do better.

Reason #3: Lack of Self Discipline

Perhaps discipline is the key to any form of success. It is the ability to stay the course. Take dieting, for example.  Stick to the diet and exercise program and you’ll lose weight.  Cold calling is the same. Stick to it.  Stick to your strategy and stick to your plan even when every fibre in your body screams “no, don’t do it.” If you do that, you WILL succeed.

Reason #4: Procrastination

Procrastination is that dark little cloud that scuttles across the success horizon.  We put off what we know we must do.  Often we are ‘waiting for perfect.’ Of course, perfect never comes but we convince ourselves it’s just another half hour away. And that’s the real culprit: the self-rationalization of why we didn’t pick up the phone and make the calls.  It’s coming up with lame excuses and then believing them.

Reason #5: Lack of Persistence

Persistence is a close cousin of self-discipline but it refers to giving up too soon.  Instead of making fifty dials we make forty.  Instead of setting a goal of reaching fifteen decision makers we quit when we get to twelve, or thirteen or even fourteen.  Persistence is not following on a prospect four, five or six times but rather settling on two.

Reason #6: Negative Outlook/Attitude

You can almost guarantee that a person with a positive mental attitude will succeed in virtually any endeavor.  A person with a negative mental attitude will invariably fail.  A negative person sees walls, obstacles and barriers with every cold call. Here’s what they say or think: “Oh they won’t be interested,” “Oh, no one is in on Fridays,” “Oh, I wouldn’t want to be bothered this early in the morning,” “Oh, that list is lousy,” “Oh, our competitor has a better price.”  You get the picture.

Reason #7: Lack of Decisiveness

Ever notice how decisive people tend to succeed in almost anything they do. Decisive telephone prospectors don’t hum and haw, they pick up the phone and get at it. They may not like cold calling but they deal with it. They ‘git ‘er done.’  Indecisive people waffle, hesitate, delay.

Reason #8: Lack of Risk

Successful telephone cold callers will take a degree of risk.  Smart risk. They’ll call early in the morning (like 7:00 a.m) or later in the day (like 6 p.m.) and risk the ire of a prospect.  They’ll risk the fact that the prospect has call display but will still may a half dozen, well timed calls.  They’ll do something a little bold like send a bottle of spice, or a cookbook, or a fishing fly hook, or whatever to catch the eye of the prospect.

Successful people have a degree of audacity.  Those who fail, don’t. They play it safe. Always. And they’re left with table scraps … if that.

Reason #9: Poor Company

Those who fail at prospecting tend to hang out with others who are in the same boat. (Did someone say “Titanic?”)  They commiserate with one another.  Misery adores company.  Meanwhile, successful telephone prospectors are phone, dialling, get past gatekeepers, speaking to prospects, setting appointments, getting sales … that sort of thing.

Summary

I wish I was perfect. I am not. Far from it. From time to time I fall into one or more of these categories. I know I sometimes procrastinate. Sometimes I lack discipline, and on occasion fail to persist.

But I know that I am doing it. And I take responsibility for it. And it doesn’t last long.

Learn to recognize why you fail and when you do, nip it in the bud … and start succeeding.

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The Decline of Selling Acumen and What You Can Do to Fix it Fast!

Be brutally honest:  When was the last time you bought a book on selling?

I ask because over the past two-three years I have been asking sales reps and their managers that very same question.  The results of my unofficial but compelling survey are … well … shocking.

Survey Results

Here are the results.  Of the 516 reps asked, only a measly 13 have bought a book on selling.   Thirteen!  That’s it.  Only 2.5 %.

Of course, the survey is not scientific and it is not necessarily representative of sales people as a whole. At least, I hope not.  It is certainly not a controlled market research test.  At best, you might call it market ‘intelligence.’

Nevertheless … I wonder… I wonder if it might actually be representative.  And if it is, the implications could be staggering.   You can’t help but wonder if sales are suffering simply because the business acumen of sales people is not growing and developing.  If you’re a sales rep, sales manager or sales executives you should probably feel concerned.

Selling Chaos

Consider the current situation in the marketplace.  There’s little doubt that selling is getting tougher, more challenging and certainly more competitive.  Have you noticed that buyers are much more conservative and cautious thanks to the economic issues over the past few years? Meanwhile, decision makers have more options thanks to the fact that every sales rep in every industry is knocking on every door or calling every number. Sales cycles are longer as the multitudes of choices are evaluated.  Put another way, finding revenue dollars is not a walk in the park.

So, in the midst of all this selling chaos, you’d think there would sense of urgency about keeping current with the latest selling strategies and tactics.  But the ad hoc survey suggests otherwise.

Why Reps Don’t Read Books

And so I asked these reps and managers, why they don’t bother investing in books.

While some found books to be “passé”, the vast majority agreed that a good book on selling has value and would help improve their approach to selling or managing but essentially it boiled down to a handful of key issues:

–          Books take too long to read; don’t have the time

–          An entire book might not be relevant

–          Too many choices

–          Hard to determine which are applicable to specific needs

–          Uncertainty of value /quality

–          Expensive

In today’s hectic selling environment, there is probably a degree of legitimacy in these reasons but it doesn’t solve the problem of increasing sales acumen.

A Simple Solution

But I may have stumbled across a solid solution with company called getAbstract.  As their name implies, getAbstract, is a company that provides book summaries (abstracts, hence the name) on sales and marketing (as well as a number of other business area).  They condense every book into a nifty little  5- page summary that makes reading fast, easy, and affordable. You can read it on your computer or handheld device; you can print off a PDF if you like something tangible in your hand; and many of the books are offered in MP3 format.

But what this really means is that you can get a feel for the book and its’ relevance to you and your selling situation.  If it’s applicable you’ll discover what’s ‘hot’ in the marketplace, the trends that are impacting sales both strategic and tactical.  If it’s not applicable, you move on without having wasted time, effort or money.

Subscription based, getAbstract also provides a HUGE archive of past books that you can review and scan at your leisure.  Should you discover a book that strongly resonates with you or your sales team, buy it.  Sales executives can scan for high level sales strategy and philosophy; managers can  scan for information that can help them manage, coach and train; and sales reps can scan for ideas, tips and techniques. It’s a hell’uva resource for any sales organization.

Summary

Bottom line?  In today’s competitive, turbulent marketplace anyone involved in selling needs an edge.  A book summary is by no means the only thing an individual can do to develop their sales acumen but it’s a heck of a good start.   Committing 15-30 minutes every week on self-development creates personal accountability for sales success.

I highly recommend this company because it provides a much needed resource to sales organizations everywhere. Give getAbstract a shot.  Check them out.  Explore their information and take control of your sales destiny.  Click here for visit their site.

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5 Steps on How to NOT Prolong the Agony of Cold Calling

I know that the sales reps I am coaching hate cold calling.

I know because they tell me at every opportunity.  They tell me about the worries, dreads and fears before they even pick up the phone and dial.

The REAL Problem with Cold Calling

This got me to thinking that the real problem with cold calling is not so much the cold calling itself but rather the thought of cold calling.

If you’re not a fan of cold calling you probably do what most callers do: you agonize about making the calls. You work yourself into a lathered frenzy and you delay the inevitable moment for as long as you can:

  • you check your e-mails,
  •  you read a short article in a newsletter,
  • you straighten your desk,
  • you check your e-mails again,
  •  you get your call guide out and ready
  • you decide a coffee is in order,
  • you need to make a fresh pot,
  • you chat with a colleague about some issue,
  •  you get back to your desk and resolve to pick up the phone
  •  but first you check your e-mail…
  • oh…look… something you can reply to.
  •  And so it goes.

Sound familiar?

You see what’s happening, right? You waste time, you spend energy, a sweat breaks out on your brow, and you fret.  In other words you prolong the agony. It wrecks your psyche and eats away at your resolve.  You sometimes –often?- don’t make your cold calls at all…

The Key is Momentum

But here’s the thing I have noticed when working with those who have to cold call.  Once you start dialing, once momentum is created, it’s not as bad as you thought it was.  Call it ‘resignation’ but you’ve surrendered to the moment the process of cold calling becomes more manageable than trying to manage the stress and worry of thinking about it.

And the best thing is, once you get it done, it’s over.  No more worries.  There is a fantastic sense of relief and accomplishment, isn’t there?

5 Steps to Avoid Prolonging the Agony

So the trick is avoid prolonging the agony and start making the calls before worry has a chance to take a firm hold of your resolve.  Here’s how to do it:

First, schedule your calling for the first thing in the morning. Get your cold calling done. Don’t let it hang over you like the sword of Damocles.   Make an appointment in your Outlook or other CRM. Put an alarm on it. Don’t be tempted with choices. Make the commitment. Schedule it for the entire week, like an exercise program.

Second, before you leave your office for the day, have your prospect list open on your computer (or on paper on your desk) ready to go.  If you can, put your computer into sleep mode so that you need only touch a button.  You don’t want to have to wait for the computer to warm up because that creates delay. Have at least 25 names prepared on a spreadsheet or whatever you use. You don’t want to be hunting around for names.

Third, have your call guide and job aids (or whatever you use) sitting in front of the computer ready to go.  Don’t bury them away so you have to search for them. Remember the agony that comes with prolonging the moment.

Fourth, when you arrive in the morning boldly go to your desk, sit down, touch the key to access your list, and boldly dial the first number on your list of 25.  Dive in.  Don’t chat with friends, don’t grab that coffee, and for heaven’s sake don’t check your e-mails. They’ll be there when you finish making your calls. Make that first dial.  You’ll be glad you did.

Fifth, go through your list of twenty five prospects.  Don’t stop at all until you’ve gone through the entire list.  At that point you can decide if you want or need to continue dialling, take a break or move on to something else.

The Relief

Regardless of what you do, you’ll have already done something! The heavy lifting has been started or has been completed. What a relief. Hallelujah! The rest of your day by comparison is a walk in the park.

Do you know what you’ve done here? You created momentum and spent your time and energy on getting the task done instead of fretting about it.  You’ll feel good. Real good.  And the added bonus is you’ll start picking up leads and sales here and there.

Don’t prolong the agony. Hunker down. Do it.

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Controlling Your Sales Destiny – Tip #12: Sell Like a Champion Today

This is the final (12th)  in a series of posts about taking control of your sales destiny and achieving sales success.

Tip #12:  Sell Like A Champion Today

The Notre Dame University football team (the Fighting Irish) have a large sign posted above the doorway as they exit their dressing room onto the field.  It’s been there for years and it says, ‘Play Like a Champion Today.’  When the players leave the locker room they reach up and touch the sign to remind themselves of the spirit of the message.

Apart from all the folklore and legend behind the Irish and that little sign, the real message to the players is to play and act like a winner (champion) …despite the odds…despite what others may think…despite the record… despite adversity.

It’s a powerful thought or attitude and one that can easily apply to selling and to your sales destiny: Sell like a Champion Today.

Act Like A Winner

In other words, go out there and act like a winner (Champion) despite the odds…despite what others might think … despite your (sales) record … despite adversity.

What does this mean in day-to-day terms?  It means when you walk in the office, behave and look like a champion sales rep.  Avoid the sad sack, whoa-is-me bedraggled look of someone who is lagging behind.  Don’t drag yourself to your desk and plunk yourself down in self-defeat.  Others around see it.  Your boss sees it.  But more important your inner self sees it … and responds to it.  It senses defeat and acts accordingly.

Act like a winner, a champion.  Walk a bit quicker; with purpose.  Hold your shoulders higher.  Be conscious of your facial expressions at your desk, at meetings, at lunch … anywhere!  Think about what you say and how you say it.  Don’t be a whiner (See Tip # 1) and avoid the Dementors (See Tip # 3)

When you lose a sale don’t beat yourself up. If someone scores on the Irish, they don’t give up.  What would a champion do?  He or she would say “…okay, what am I going to do about it?” (See Tip # 2)

And sometimes it’s tough.  Sometimes holding your head high is a real battle when all you really want to do is collapse. Choose to fight it. More significantly, choose to look and behave like a champion.

Action Items

Action #1:  Create a little poster with the words “Sell Like a Champion Today.”  Post it to remind you of that attitude.

Action #2:  Before you walk in the office, put your ‘game face’ (‘selling face?’)  on and keep it on. Don’t let people see you sweat.  In other words, be conscious of your behavior: your words, actions, body language.

Summary

Controlling your sales destiny is a matter of attitude and choice.  With the right attitude you can choose to succeed.

BTW, on January 7, 2013 Notre Dame plays Alabama for the National Championship. Win or lose, you can bet the Irish will play like champions.

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Controlling Your Sales Destiny – Tip #11: Find a Coach, Conscience and Cheerleader

This is the eleventh in a series of posts about taking control of your sales destiny and achieving sales success.

Tip #11:  Find a Coach, Conscience and Cheerleader

There seems to be a tendency in sales people to ‘go-it-alone.’  Maybe it’s because we’re adults and we feel we should be able to work on our own and be independent that we resist coaching and help from others.  Maybe we feel ‘inadequate’ if we ask for help or guidance.  Maybe we fear embarrassment.  Maybe we worry about admonishments. Or perhaps we are just shy.

Whatever the case, get over it!

Reach out. Find someone who can lend perspective, sharpen your game, improve your skills, and give you an edge; someone you respect and someone who will HELP you grow professionally; someone who is honest and forthright; who doesn’t have an ‘agenda’ other than to help you succeed. It could be:

  • A manager
  • A sports coach
  • A consultant
  • An advisor
  • A role model
  • A friend
  • A parent
  • A partner

You’ll be in Good Company

Think of it: superstar athletes have coaches.  Aaron Rogers, Serena and Venus Williams, Tiger Woods, Justin Verlander, Sydney Crosby, and every Olympic athlete under the sun have coaches.  They have them because coaches make them better, provide objectivity, and ultimately hold them accountable.

Here’s the big thing: they’ll often act as your conscience: remind you of things, push you a little, admonish here and there, get you to do the things you might like to do.

Oh ya, they’ll do another thing:   they’ll also cheer for you and praise you. They’ll help build you up.  High five you.

Actions

Here are a few actions to get you started

  1. Make a list of people who can act as your coach, conscience and cheerleader.  Typically, it is your boss because they can work with you, real-time, on the job. (But not all bosses want to coach or cheerleader so you might have to go elsewhere).  Incidentally, you can have more than one coach. Different coaches can help you on different elements of your sales game: skills, attitude, knowledge etc.
  2. Formally approach your would-be conscience/coach/ cheerleader and explain what you want them to do.  Depending on your needs, their role will vary.
  3. Commit to listening.  Hey…sometimes you won’t like what you hear. Don’t defend yourself or your action.  Just listen to what they have to say.  They’re in your corner.  For you to control your sales destiny you need to have someone who points out what you might not see.
  4. Implement what you learn.  This is where the rubber hits the road.  Your coach will provide you with direction but it’s up to you to take the steps.

Don’t go it alone.  If you’re truly interested in succeeding in sales, find people who will help.  Take control of your sales destiny!

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Controlling Your Sales Destiny – Tip #10: A Propensity for Action

This is the tenth in a series of posts about taking control of your sales destiny and achieving sales success.

Tip #10: Propensity for Action

Perhaps the single biggest issue that sales reps face when it comes to controlling their sales destiny is the failure to ‘execute’ or execute consistently.

Put another way, they fail to consistently take effective action on those tasks and activities that have the most significant impact on their sales. Or put yet another way, they have the tendency to procrastinate on key priorities.  For instance, active and ongoing tele-prospecting (business development, cold calling …whatever you want to label it) is often a task that is delayed or whittled because it is not always pleasant.  Yet we all know how important and vital it is to success.

So, here’s the moment of truth: are you guilty? Some of the time? Often?

The Thick of Thin Things

You see the problem is it gets easy to get caught up in the thick of thin things.  It gets easy to clear up our e-mails instead of picking up the phone and calling a prospect.  It is so much more rewarding to surf the net to do ‘research’ on a prospect rather than call that prospect.  You know precisely what I mean, don’t you?

Not surprisingly, 80% of your success in sales will come from about 20% of all your daily activities.  At the top of the list are actions like: cold calling, following up on leads, actively up selling and cross selling, developing relationships and selling to existing clients, gathering referrals and a few others.

Successful reps – the top of the heap reps- have a propensity for action. They do it! They clearly know their priorities and they make the habit of acting on them.  They know that if they act on these important activities and do nothing else, then they’ll succeed.  In fact, an average sales person who has clearly established his/her sales priorities and who gets important tasks done that relate to those priorities will run rings around everyone else.  The point is: you don’t have to be a genius if you act and act wisely.

Actions

Do you have a propensity for action? Here are four actions to get you going:

Action #1:  Identify the top 3-5 priorities in your selling day.  These are those important, sales building and sales sustaining activities that will produce consistent sales results. (e.g., prospecting … I know…you’ve heard it before). Do it right now!

Action #2:  Commit to those priorities by scheduling precisely when you’ll do them.  Block out chunks of time.  Tip: the action that you dislike the most should be done first.  Get it over with. Schedule these activities for the next four weeks. Put them in your Outlook or CRM or whatever you use.  Just do it.  Like, now.

Action #3:  Discipline yourself to follow your plan.  Resist the urge to do something less important or trivial.  CHOOSE.

Action #4: Pause and think. Throughout the day ask yourself, “is what I am working on truly contributing to my sales destiny?” If not, consider what you should be doing.

Summary

Remember this: propensity for action doesn’t mean scurrying about looking busy.  Looking busy doesn’t buy you diddly squat.  It means definitive action of those items that are significant and important.

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Controlling Your Sales Destiny – Tip #4: Apply Elbow Grease

This is the fourth in a series of posts about taking control of your sales destiny and getting you on your way to achieving sales success.

Tip #4: Apply Elbow Grease

Sometimes all you need to control your sales destiny is a little elbow grease.

Elbow grease means work harder.  Do a little more. Push a little harder.  Extras.  Sweat a bit. Grunt work. The old college try and all that good stuff. Nothing horribly complex.  A simple tactic that can pay big dividends.

Sometimes we think we are working harder but maybe we’re not.  Here’s a test: do you regularly get into work twenty or thirty minutes before starting time?  Do you stay after quitting time? Do you sometimes work through lunch? Do you take work home at night to clear up a few things?

What often happens is our work ethic erodes and we don’t see it.  Sometimes we get complacent.  At other times we get down-and-out lazy.  (I know I do every now and then).  And when that happens productivity takes a hit.

Elbow Grease Action Items

We all know what hard work is.  It’s nothing dramatic. It’s just nose to the grindstone. Here are two action items that are easy enough to implement and manage.

Action #1: Apply the 15-15-15 Principle.  This means arrive 15 minutes earlier and start making cold calls.  Take 15 minutes less at lunch and make some calls. Stay 15 minutes later in the day.  You’ve just uncovered 45 minutes of extra selling time per day. That translates to 225 minutes a week or a little less than 4 hours more a week.  That’s 16 hours in a month or put another way, 2 full days.

Action #2: Do work at home. Just 30 minutes.  Write thank you cards.  Compose e-mails.  Stuff envelopes. Read a sales newsletter.  Visit and research the websites of your prospects.  Check out Linked in profiles.  Do all this from the cozy comfort of your home.

Elbow grease increases your odds of success by giving you more opportunities.  It’s like increasing your time at the gym, you’ll get stronger faster.

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Controlling Your Sales Destiny – Tip #3: Avoid Dementors

This is the third in a series of posts about taking control of your sales destiny and  achieving sales success.

Tip #3: Avoid Dementors

In the fantasy world of the Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling there is a creature called a “Dementor” which is a frightening, ghost-like being that roams around and sucks the souls out of their victims leaving them listless, hollow and almost lifeless.

In the real life world of selling  there is an equivalent creature.  A “Sales Dementor” is typically an insidious co-worker who is capable of sucking the selling life out of virtually any sales rep with their constant complaining and bitter observations.  They find (or make up) fault and flaws in your product. They point out the “gross” inadequacies of your boss and/or the company (whether they exist or not). They loudly report how much better your competitors are.  You know the people I am talking about, right? They’re those gloomy critics who manage to find the bad in just about everything. They’re like whiners who have crossed the line to the Dark Side.

Sales Dementors create a toxic environment with their relentless negativity.  They’re destructive. The more you hang around them, the more likely it is to affect you. They poison your mind and deplete your spirit. They slowly drain the energy out of your selling effort.  At some point you begin to rationalize poor performance:  “You see, it’s not just me struggling, it’s other too.”  This creates a group mentality of  despair and self-pity.  You feed off each others discouragement.  You stop taking action.  You stop ‘doing.’  You become a victim.  And one day you wake up with nothing but a sense of bitterness … and no sales.

A bit dramatic? Perhaps. But you must avoid Dementors if you’re going to control your sales destiny and achieve success.  Dementors drag others down with them.

Action Steps

  1. Simply choose to stop hanging out with Dementors. Walk away. Get back to work. Don’t indulge them by listening.
  2. Choose not to contribute to the pity party (see Tip #1).  Don’t heap your complaints onto the fire otherwise you can become one of those dreaded Dementors.
  3. Take a stand.  If the Dementor whines about the list(or whatever), simply say, “Gee, mine seems to be okay.” You don’t have to belabor the point. You don’t have to defend it.  You just have to say it.  Saying it tells everyone where you stand. Then continue working. Taking this stand makes you a winner. Positive people will gravitate your way. You become an ‘anti-Dementor.’
  4. Find other winners and hang out with them.  Winners take positive steps. They share good thoughts. They point you in the right direction.  They make you feel good. Everything is possible with them.  That’s where you want to be.

Summary

Create a positive selling environment and get your sales on track. Start by avoiding those negative destructive people; not just fellow reps but ANYONE who pull you down.

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Controlling Your Sales Destiny – Tip #2: Take Personal Responsibility

This is the second in a series of posts about taking control of your sales destiny and getting you on your way to achieving sales success.

Tip #2: Take Personal Responsibility

Get this: no one – absolutely no one – is responsible for your well-being and success but YOU!

Not your company. Not your boss.  Not the marketing department. Not your parents.

You.

The precise moment that you accept this reality is the precise moment you will have taken full control of your sales destiny.  You’ll find it liberating and intoxicating.  Once you realize that no one really gives a fig about your sales destiny you’ll start to take action; you’ll start DOING.  And given that you’ve stopped whining (See: Tip #1) you’ll have more time to take proactive and reactive action.

2 Actions You Can Take Now

The first action you can take is creating an imaginary company called YOU INC.  (Or call it “Mark Inc.” or “Sherri Inc.” or “Donna Inc.” or “Brian Inc.”) What this means is that you begin to see yourself as an independent businessperson, not a sales rep or an employee.  Start behaving like your job was YOUR company.  Ask yourself, “If this was my company would I work nine to five? Would I saunter in five or ten minutes late every day? Would I spend a good portion of my day complaining or goofing off?”  I doubt it.

The second action you can take is to create a poster that says this:

So, What Are YOU Going to do About it?

Make it big or small, fancy or plain but whatever you do, post it somewhere visible (maybe next to your Whiner Resignation Form?).  When things get tough look at your poster.  Remind yourself who’s ultimately responsible.

If your sales are down, ask yourself ‘what am I going to do about?’ Work smarter? Work harder? Get coaching? Get organized? Cross sell? Up sell? In each of these cases, you’re thinking about solutions rather than ‘whoa is me.’

If your prospect list is lousy, ask yourself, ‘what am I going to do about it?’ Ask for more referrals? Reactivate inactive accounts? Get on the internet and find a new list?  Start doing! It’s your responsibility.

One Concession

Hey … I know things in sales sometimes get overwhelming and discouraging.  So here’s the one concession I will make.  If it really gets tough, allow yourself 10 minutes of self-pity and misery.  Gnash your teeth. Scream to the sky.  Pull your hair out.  Look desperate and beleaguered.  At the end of 10 minutes, stop the self pity and ask yourself, “So, what am I going to do about it?” Analyze your options. Build a plan.

This is a POWERFUL, POWERFUL tip.  Apply it.  Victimization will end. You will be back in control.  There’s still work to be done but the panic is gone, the rebuilding and re-focusing has started.  Think YOU Inc. and think personal accountability and responsibility. Your sales destiny is on the right track.

And keep your eye out for Tip #3.

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Controlling Your Sales Destiny – Tip #1: Stop Lamenting

 

This is a first in a series of posts about taking control of your sales destiny and getting you on your way to achieving sales success.

Tip #1: Stop Lamenting

I have grown weary of listening to the reps about the lousy economy, about poor lists, about useless managers, high prices, crumby marketing and poor products,  etc.  I am tired of the finger pointing and excuses.  It’s so destructive and well… boring.

Look, if you want to be successful in sales or if you need to break out of a slump, the very first thing you MUST do is stop the lamenting. Stop whining. Stop moaning.  Stop the self-pity.  Right now.

The Cost of a Lament

Lamenting is costly and selfish.  When you verbally complain about all the reasons why you’re not selling more you waste precious time and energy that you could have used for selling.  When you bemoan your lack of success, you heap more onto the fire of despair, and at some point your will to succeed falters.  It begins to eat away at your attitude and motivation.  When you bellyache you annoy many others around you who just want to hunker down and get to work and be successful (and guess what? They DON’T care about your state of affairs).   And finally – and maybe worst of all- when you gripe you’ll  infect others around you with your poison and a drag them down.   They don’t need that.

Lamenting is a way of releasing pent up frustration.  I get that.  It sometimes acts as a safety value when the pressure gets too high.  The only trouble is it grows and grows until it becomes a habit. It becomes easier to complain instead of act.

3 Things You Can Do Right Now

First, make a choice.  You need to choose NOT to lament.  That means stop the verbal complaining and whining.  Right now. This very second.  Choose to keep your mouth shut.  Just say no.

Second, print the declaration below and sign it.  I know, it looks and sounds silly. Doesn’t matter.  Do it anyway.  It’s kind of fun and very symbolic of your new attitude towards success.  Here it is.

Official Lament Resignation Declaration

 I _______________________ on this date of _______________ do hereby officially resign from the lamenting, whining, complaining, moaning and groaning.  I acknowledge that lamenting does not improve things and in fact, makes them worse.  I recognize that others find lamenting destructive.  I am declaring to myself and those around me that I don’t want to be negative anymore.  Instead of moaning I’ll take actions to control my sales destiny.

 

Signed ________________________

 

Third, post it at your desk. Publicly declare your intention.  Tell yourself – and everyone around you- that you’re through with moaning and groaning; that you won’t play that game again.  Silly as it may sound you will inspire yourself and others!

The precise moment that you take these 3 simple steps is the precise moment that you have established control of your success and your destiny in sales.

Well done!  Look for Tip #2.

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Telephone Dialing Gotcha’ Down? Take This Quick Break

Pounding out dials to prospects and clients sometimes takes its toll.  If you need a quick mental recess, read these paraprodokians by Winston Churchill.

A paraprodokians is a figure of speech in which the later part of the sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected.  You’ll get a kick out of them.  Read them. Chuckle.  Clear your head.

PARAPROSDOKIANS

1. Where there’s a will … I want to be in it.

2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you … but it is still on my list.

3. Since light travels faster than sound … some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

4. If I agreed with you … we’d both be wrong.

5. We never really grow up … we only learn how to act in public.

6. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.

7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit … Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

8. They begin the evening news with ‘Good Evening,’… then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.

9. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism … To steal from many is research.

10. Buses stop in bus stations. Trains stop in train stations … On my desk is a work station.

11. I thought I wanted a career … Turns out I just wanted paychecks.

12. In filling out an application, where it says, ‘In case of emergency… notify:’ I put ‘DOCTOR.’

13. I didn’t say it was your fault … I said I was blaming you.

14. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut … and still think they are sexy.

15. Behind every successful man is his woman …  Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.

16. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.

17. You do not need a parachute to skydive … You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

18. Money can’t buy happiness … but it sure makes misery easier to live with.

19. There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.

20. I used to be indecisive … Now I’m not so sure.

21. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.

22. To be sure of hitting the target … shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

23. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

24. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

25. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian … any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

26. Where there’s a will … there are relatives.

And one more:
I’m supposed to respect my elders … but its getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

Churchill also said, “Never, ever, ever quit!”  The fun is over.  Now, get back to work!

(Source: sent to me via e-mail from France)

 

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Beware the “Whittle” Effect When Selling

If your sales have leveled out or worse, have dropped off, maybe you’re suffering from the “Whittle Effect.”  Left unattended, your sales might continue to slide and sooner or later you’ll feel the economic (and perhaps professional) pinch.

What is the Whittle Effect?

The Whittle Effect is the tendency of reps to ‘whittle’ down their approach to selling. It means diluting, reducing or even eliminating certain skills or techniques.  It means taking short cuts. It refers to slicing away and trimming good, solid selling practices.   The net result is a  selling skill set that is drastically pared down to the bare bones.

But here’s the worst part: you don’t realize it. The Whittle Effect is like erosion.  It occurs slowly and over time.  You don’t recognize it but it gradually takes its toll.

Implications

Here’s what happens. Your sales level off and then they start to drop.  You dial harder and still they drop. You get frustrated. Your boss puts you on a ‘get well’ plan. You dial harder and yet the net result is minimal.  You get depressed. You blame the list, the product, the company, the price, the manager…the world. You feel victimized.  You know what I am talking about.

How to Determine If You’ve Whittled Your Selling Process

If you’re in a sales trough and feeling a little flustered you might be suffering from the Whittle Effect. There are three things you can do to determine if that’s the case:

First, you can record your calls and compare them to what you were taught in training or compare them to when you were doing very well. 

Listening to your calls is a powerful way to assess your situation.  It works even better if you can listen to some archived calls from a time when you were selling well. Of course, you must listen openly and honestly to determine if you’ve sliced and diced your calls.

The only trouble with this approach is not all companies record calls. If that’s the case, move on to suggestion #2 below.

Second, you can get your manager to monitor your calls. 

This is simplest and easiest method of identifying if you’re suffering from whittling. Get your manager to monitor your calls or role play with you.  Very quickly it will become apparent if you’ve trimmed your sales process down.  Not unlike going to a sports coach, your manager can monitor and observe and determine if you need to put some meat back onto your sales approach.

Finally, just be honest with yourself.

If you’ve been in a rut and your sales are down it’s no time to kid around.  Be brutally candid with yourself:  have you cut corners? Have you tried to steam line your opening statement? Have you cut a question here and qualifier there? Has your presentation/offer been trimmed and pared down so that it lacks ‘umph?’

If you’re like most reps I have worked with you’re probably guilty.  But hey, no problem.  You just need to back to basics.

What to do: Back to Basics

How many times have you heard that one?  You probably groaned when you saw this solution.  You might have even been thinking there was something “else” you should be doing because the basics seem so … well… basic.

But it’s almost always the issue. When an athlete or team falters inevitably they acknowledge to the world and to themselves that they must get back to the fundamentals. And almost inevitably, they get back on track.  Basics are the foundations of success.  They’re not necessarily new or sexy or advanced but they’re reliable.

Go back to your original training material. Go back to your original call guide. Go back to what made you effective.  Commit to the fundamentals again. Become more thorough and comprehensive.  Stick to the plan, put more ‘meat’ on your approach to selling, and eliminate the whittle effect.

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This Technique Won’t Work for Your Selling Situation… So Don’t Bother With It

Do you make this mistake when selling?

When you read, hear or otherwise encounter a new selling skill or technique or process, do you tend to dismiss it?  You know what I mean: almost immediately rationalize why it won’t work.  You say to yourself, ‘it’s not me,’ ‘it won’t work with my clients,’ ‘that’s too cheesy,’ ‘my clients won’t like that,’ ‘not applicable to my product/service.’  The list goes on.

Simply put: saying that technique or skill won’t or can’t work is a debilitating mind game. It stunts sales growth and directly impacts your sales career.

Why we Play Mind Games

There are two primary reasons why some sales reps play these games.

  1. First, fear.   By denigrating an idea right off the bat, it means a sales rep doesn’t even have to try it.  If he/she never has to try a new method or approach there is no risk of rejection and ‘failure.’ For some, it is better to risk nothing and gain nothing than risk something and gain a lot.
  2. Second, complacency.  Some reps play mind games simply because they are complacent or worse, lazy.  Trying something new or different means change.  Change is uncomfortable for most people.  We become conscious of our awkward performance as we learn and implement, and because we are more conscious the mistakes or miscue seems huge.  We get embarrassed. We think the client is sitting there dissecting the error.  Better to stay in that safe, albeit conservative, selling world that we know and love so well.
The Net Result

The problem is we don’t realize we are victimizing ourselves.  Let’s face it: no one likes to admit they are ‘frightened’ or ‘lazy.’  Consequently, the tendency is to craft a detailed and seemingly logical rationalization that explains why a technique will not possibly work and therefore justifies the reason we won’t implement it. Case closed.

But what really gets closed is growth, development, and ability.  Sales results will typically stay the same … or maybe even decline.  The rep does not reach his or her potential in their sales or their career.  This eventually leads to frustration and discouragement.  Goals, objectives and dreams are not accomplished.  Bitterness ensues. Burnout is not unusual. Termination is a possibility.  The list goes on.

Who Plays These Mind Games

We are all guilty of the rationalization mind game to some degree (I am certainly no exception).   A degree of rationalization is human and sometimes legitimate.

But where rationalization really tends to settle is on underachievers or those who are going through a slump.  Rationalization offers an excuse to poor performance: “I know this technique won’t work so I won’t apply it. Not my fault.”

What to Do

The next time you read or hear or see a new sales technique,  pause for a moment and analyze what you are thinking. Try to catch yourself in the act of rationalization.  Do you hear the tape being played in your mind that says, ‘this won’t work because…”

If so, you’ve taken the first big step.  You’re looking at the problem square in the eye. Good for you.

Then try this one for size when it comes to rationalizing.  Say to yourself,

“I know this won’t work …. But… but… what if it did?  What if I tried using this new opening statement (or new objection handling technique, or new e-mail template or new closing technique …or whatever) and it works?  What would happen?  What could I gain from it?”

In effect you are fighting mind games with mind games. You are turning the logic around and forcing yourself to think of the benefits of taking the risk.

Then, say to yourself,

                “If I try this new technique what’s the absolute worst that could happen?”

If you’re honest with yourself, the answer is this: not much. In other words, you are not risking a lot.

At this stage the next step is to exercise a choice.  You have a choice to accept your initial rationalization (“it won’t work”) or a choice accept your  ‘re-rationalization’ (“what have I got to lose?”).

One more tip: even if you decide NOT to use the technique (and that’s okay, too) still keep an open mind. Don’t dump all over it.  The thing is, until you try it yourself you don’t really know if it will work or not. You have no evidence. Leave it alone.  By doing so, you don’t close your mind to future possibilities.

Summary

I am still stunned and amazed at the responses I sometimes get from readers of my blog, tweets and newsletters (or on occasion, in workshops) listing the ‘x’ reasons why one technique or another can’t work.    I think to myself, if they simply spent the time they took to compose their e-mail and applied it to trying the technique, their sales would probably increase in a New York minute.

Make a choice today.  Think, “It might work.”  Then give it a shot.

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8 Things You Have in Common with Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady

by Mark Hunter, www.thesaleshunter.com

If you’re in sales, what do you have in common with Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady?

Don’t laugh, because you have more in common than you think. Let me give you 8 things:

1. You spend far more time preparing than you actually do selling or playing a game.

2. You can’t do your job without a sales plan or a playbook.

3. You can’t do your job without knowing something about your prospect or a scouting report.

4. You can’t do your job without feedback from your customers or your coaches.

5. You always face obstacles with the little things that get in the way or the fans who can annoy you.

6. You face objections each day just like they face tough defenses in every game.

7. You have bad sales calls you have to bounce back from quickly, just as they have bad games from which they have to bounce back.

8. You have amazing sales calls with amazing results, just as they can complete the pass no one expected.

Yes! You as a salesperson have far more in common with the great NFL quarterbacks than you maybe had first thought.  As much as we all have in common with them, there are a lot of differences.

The biggest difference between Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and a salesperson is probably the salary.  Sadly, another difference  worth looking closely at is commitment.

Aaron and Tom are committed to doing their job at a level that goes far beyond the level of commitment 99% of all salespeople have toward their job.

Let me leave you with one question.

How much more successful would you be if you were to increase your commitment level?  I’m not asking for it to go to the same level as Aaron and Tom give — I’m just asking, “What would happen if you stepped up your game?”

Only you know the answer.   It’s worth exploring.

Mark Hunter, “The Sales Hunt” is a consultative selling expert committed to helping individuals and companies identify better prospects, close more sales and profitably build more long term customer relationships. To learn more visit his web site at www.thesaleshunter.com

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Use the Stanislawski Method to Give Yourself a Mental Selling Edge

 Sales a little slow? Getting tougher to pick up the phone and dial?

Need a little umph? A shot in the arm? A dose of  motivation?  Something –anything- to get your mojo back?

Try the Stanislawski Method of motivation.

Positive Mental Attitude

The Stanislawski Method is not unlike visualization but whereas visualization seeks to get an individual to see him/ herself successfully performing a job (or sport) , Stanislawski teaches that the individual should recall successful events in one’s life or job just prior to performing the task at hand.  His theory is that the mind should be ‘fertilized’ and ‘nurtured’ with positive thoughts.

In terms of tele-sales and prospecting, Stansilawski would probably suggest that before you pick up the phone and dial, take a twenty or thirty seconds to simply relax and think about your past successes.  In essence,  conjure up a positive mental attitude by recalling real events from your past.  In effect, when you think like a winner, you become a winner …at least in your approach and the sound of your voice. There is a degree of enthusiasm and confidence that translates readily on the phone. At a subconscious level,  your clients will sense it.

Action Plan

Do this: take a sheet of paper or a small card and list all your major accomplishments to date. Brag all you like, no one has to see it.  Don’t be shy.  It is a personal document meant for your eyes only.  Keep the card handy – in your wallet or purse or on a document on your computer.  Update it from time to time to keep it current.  Before you begin calling take a look at it.    Haul it out when you are going to make a big call on an important client or prospect. Use it to remember when you were at your very best.  You’ll actually feel something surging.

Look, tele-sales and tele-prospecting can get discouraging.  Don’t become a victim to discouragement. Use the Stanislawski Method to fight back and give yourself a little extra edge.

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Hidden Telephone Selling Gems – The 10 Best TelesalesMaster Articles of 2011

There’s over a hundred articles on this site. Pretty daunting, isn’t it? To make it easier for you, here are the 10 most popular articles on this site (and other sites!)

#1:  The ABCs of Tele-Sales – 26 Powerful Tips for Tele-Sales Success – In this article you’ll get even more links on variety of tele-sales skills and techniques.

#2:  7 Cold Call Opening Statements From Hell – If you don’t nail the cold call opener, you don’t have to worry about the rest of the call.  Here are 7 openers you want to avoid.

#3:  How to Leave a Killer Voice Mail Message (And Get Your Calls Returned) – Tired of a lack of response from your voice mail messages?  Try this one on for size.

#4:  How to Slay a Sales Slump in 15 Minutes or Less – We’ve all experienced a slump. This award winning article tells you how to manage it.

#5:  The 5 Voice Mail Messages From Hell -Are Your Guilty of One of These? – The reason why your voice mail messages aren’t being returned is probably because the messages are weak. Do you leave one of these messages?

#6:  8 Sales Questions You Can’t Live (and Sell) Without –  The key to telephone sales success is in the questions you ask.  Good questions mean good answers. Here are 8 good questions!

#7:  How Mr. Spock  Would Plan and Prepare for a Follow Up Call – This article not only provides you with practical tips but also a job aid that you can download and use to plan your next follow up call.

#8:  “I am not interested!”  Dealing with the Ultimate Brush Off Objection – We’ve all heard it and it’s a tough nut to crack.  This article provides a rather provocative strategy to dealing with it.

#9:  8 Tips on How to Make a Perfect Follow Up Call – By far and away, this has been the most read article I have ever written.  Thousands and thousands of hits around the world. Find out why.

#10: 5 Ways to Overcome the Dreaded “Let Me Think About It” Objection – Don’t be caught off guard when a prospect tosses out this objection.  Here are 5 ways to deal with it.

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Just 1 More -How to Create 240 More Sales Opportunities

Here is a guaranteed way to create 240 more sales opportunity!

When you’re finished your dialing for the day, pick up the phone and dial one more time. When you think you’ve reached your limit, dial one more time.  Just one more. That’s it.

No big deal. One more dial.

Doesn’t sound like much but think about it.  One more dial is 5 more in a week.  In a month, that’s 20 more dials and in a year that is 240 more dials. If you have a 30% contact rate, that’s a little over 70 more live prospects.  If you close at, say, 20%, that’s 14 more sales.

You see, doing just a little more and pushing just a little bit harder can yield impressive results.

Now, imagine if you said to yourself, “Okay, just two more dials before I call it quits.”

What happens when you dial 3 more? And 4?  What about 5?  Just 5 more…

Do the math and succeed in sales.

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How to Respond to a Rejection Letter

Have you ever applied for a job only to get a rejection letter?

Who hasn’t?

Here’s a spirited response you might want to consider. Have a chuckle and enjoy!

Dear [interviewer’s name]:

Thank you for your letter of [date of interview].  After careful consideration, I regret to inform you that I am unable to accept your refusal to offer me employment with your firm.  This year I have been particularly fortunate in receiving an unusually large number of rejection letters. With such a varied and promising field of candidates, it is impossible for me to accept all refusals.

Despite [firm’s name]’s outstanding qualifications and previous experience in rejecting applicants, I find that your rejection does not meet with my needs at this time.  Therefore, I will initiate employment with your firm immediately. I look forward to seeing you later today.

Best of luck in rejecting future candidates.

Sincerely, [your name]

I don’t know who created this letter but it’s brilliant.  Can you imagine the look on the employer’s face upon receiving this letter? Priceless. Heck, they might even re-consider and want to hire you if only because it shows creativity and tenacity!

Thanks to Diane Johnson from http://www.johnsonexecsearch.com

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How to Slay a Sales Slump in 15 Minutes or Less

Are your sales slumping?

You’re not alone. Sooner or later we all stumble into a rut.  The longer you stay in the rut, the worse things seem to become.  Sound familiar?

How Most Reps Respond to a Slump

Here’s the thing: When sales dip and stay dipped  many reps start to point fingers to explain their less than stellar performance. They blame the crumby list, they blame the market or the economy, they blame the product they are selling not to mention the price.  Slumping reps will blame their competition, their manager and the alignment of Jupiter with Mars.

The trouble is, the moment you begin to ‘blame’ results on external factors is the moment you become a victim.  Victims feel sorry for themselves  because things are seemingly out of their control. Victims are  ‘helpless.’  Victims are ‘victimized’ by circumstances. Or so they think.  And so the slump continues.

MOTQ – The Moment of Truth Question

How do you slay the slump?  You ask yourself this question:

“So…what am I going to do about it?”

Heavy emphasis on the “I”.  That’s it.  That’s all there is.

You see, at the end of the day it’s YOUR responsibility to deal with the slump. It’s not the manager’s job.  The economy won’t change for you.  Your competitors aren’t going to cut you a break.  The product isn’t going to miraculously change. And good luck on the price.

The only thing that can change is YOU.

This is a liberating question. If you let it, it will galvanize you into action because what it means is this: there’s absolutely no one who will bail you out … but for you.

When you realize that, you realize you have a choice.  You have a choice to do nothing, stay victimized and fail miserably.  Or you have a choice to get up off your butt and DO SOMETHING. Once you  come to grips with this reality, the easier it is to slay the slump because your mind is now in “fix” mode , not “whine” mode.

Action Plan

If you are in a slump or if you sense you’re sliding into a slump, follow these 4 Steps:

1.        Give yourself 10 minutes to feel sorry for yourself. Cry ‘whoa is me.’ Lament. Gnash your teeth.

2.       Then, take a deep breath and say, “So what am I going to do about it?”

3.       Then take 5 minutes to jot down your options. Put everything done from the sublime to the ridiculous. Leave nothing out. For instance, you might write:  “ do nothing,” “quit the job”, “hope things improve”, “get coaching”, “check the internet”, “buy a book”, “ask a colleague”, “come  in earlier,” “stay late,” and all the other options you have.

4.       Analyze each option. Some are ridiculous. Toss them out.  Some have merit. Those that do, begin implementation right away.

The act of ‘doing something’ doesn’t mean overnight success but it the first big step to recovery.

FREE Poster

To  make things easier for you I have created a poster you can hang on your wall.  It says, “So, what are you going to do about it?” When you hit a slump, a problem, concern, dilemma,  or issue simply glance it. It will get you get you moving in the right direction.  Click here for your mini poster. Poster -So, What Are You Going to do About it

Start slaying the slump today.

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Why Sales People Hate Cold Calling

This blog features sales expert Kelley Robertson.  Kelley is one of North America’s foremost experts in sales training and I think you’ll see why in this article. Enjoy!

Cold calling is a fact of life for most people in sales. Sure, the vast majority would prefer to rely on referrals, word-of-mouth, or some other lead source that reduces or eliminates their need to make cold calls. However, unless you deal with an established set of accounts, you will, at some time, be required to cold call in order to generate sufficient leads for your business.

Having said this, even the most seasoned sales professionals often resist this strategy unless they are poked, prodded and pushed by their manager. Excuses include:

“I don’t like the rejection.”

“I don’t want to come across like I’m desperate for business.”

“I don’t want to sound like a telemarketer.”

“I don’t like interrupting people at work.”

“I don’t know what to say.”

However, I believe that there is another dynamic at play that prevents people from embracing cold calling. It’s the need and desire for instant gratification. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The prize inside the box.

We know that cold calling seldom generates quick results. It takes a lot of dials to connect with live people. It takes finesse to deal with receptionists, gatekeepers and executive assistants. It takes a certain amount of creativity to deal with the barriers that get in our way. It takes multiple attempts and a bulldog sense of persistence to finally connect with decision makers. And, finally after all that work, we eventually manage to make contact with our prospect only to hear, “No, thanks.”

I once read that there are two types of people. People who are willing to wait for a reward and those who want the reward now even though the payoff may be higher if they wait. I suspect that people who have the ability to wait for a payoff also possess the ability to make more calls than individuals who need immediate gratification. Let’s face it. Capturing a sale is highly motivating and many people have a difficult time making call after call with little to show for it. Making fifty or sixty dials and not capturing a sale or being unable to connect with a buyer or decision maker can be extremely frustrating. Spending an entire day on the telephone is even more challenging and difficult.

Experts on this subject say that you need to recognize that every ‘no’ brings you one call closer to making an appointment or landing a sale. Some people say that you need to “go for the no” and to use those ‘no’s’ as a stepping stone to hearing a ‘yes.” While these philosophies are technically true, it takes much more than that.

It takes big picture thinking. It requires the ability to postpone the pleasure of getting the reward and developing the discipline to work through the pain and challenge of making dozens of calls with little to show for it.

So, here’s the $64,000 question: how do you develop this ability?

I’ll warn you; it’s not easy. In order to develop the ability to get used to a delayed payoff you actually have to make these calls, as painful and challenging as it is. You need to condition yourself that you will eventually get a reward for your efforts. I know, you were hoping for a magic answer or quick result. Unfortunately, the quick-fix solution exists only in infomercials, novels and movies.

Let’s take a look at this from a slightly different perspective. When you learn a new hobby, sport, language, etc., it takes time to just to become comfortable. It takes longer to develop a level of consistent proficiency. And, it takes even more time to develop your skill to the point of excellence. The same concept applies to cold calling. You can’t expect to make ten or fifteen calls and master the skill. In fact, that number of calls won’t even get you to the point of feeling comfortable. You need to block time in your schedule on a daily basis to make calls. The more calls you make, the easier it will get and the more proficient you will become. As your skill improves, so will your ability to generate leads and secure appointments. You will become more adept at dealing with receptionists and executive assistants. And this will eventually translate into sales.

I guarantee that it will be a grind at first. However, if you can push through your initial resistance you can develop the ability to postpone your need for instant gratification. And as you do this, your results will improve.

© MMXI Kelley Robertson, All rights reserved.

Do you know what sales blunders are costing you money? Get a FREE audio program, Sales Blunders That Cost You Money and two other sales-boosting resources by subscribing to Kelley’s newsletter at www.Fearless-Selling.ca or email Kelley@Fearless-Selling.ca

Kelley Robertson, author of The Secrets of Power Selling helps sales professionals close more sales at higher profits with less effort. Kelley conducts sales training workshops and speaks regularly at sales meetings and conferences. Contact him at 905-633-7750 or Kelley@Fearless-Selling.ca.

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The Top 7 Motivators of Tele-Sales Reps

Last month I ran a brief poll with the readers of my newsletter -Tele-Sales Vitamins- to informally assess what motivates the ‘average’ tele-sales rep.  I provided 7 motivators and asked the readers to rate them from the strongest motivator to the weakest. Here are the seven choices:

7 Tele-Sales Motivators
  • Training, coaching and personal development
  • Compensation
  • Recognition, praise, appreciation
  • Challenging job
  • Career Path/Advancement
  • Good/Fun/Positive environment
  • Job Security
The 7 Motivators Ranked in Order

Below are the results as voted by the readers.

#1 Motivator: Compensation

#2 Motivator: Training, coaching and personal development

#3 Motivator: Challenging job

#4 Motivator: Recognition, praise, appreciation

#5 Motivator: Career path/Advancement

#6 Motivator: Good/Fun/Positive Working Environment

#7 Motivator: Job Security

That compensation was the #1 motivator is not surprising.  It was the overwhelming choice of readers who took the survey.  What it surprising is that motivators #2, #3 and #4 were clustered together. A few votes here and there would have changed the ranking in a heartbeat. Interesting though, that once financial concerns are addressed (compensation) the next three motivators relate to ‘self actualizing.’  Clearly a strong ‘ego drive’ is a key motivator.  That’s a good thing.

That job security was the #7 motivator was a bit surprising.  But then again, maybe it is not so surprising. In today’s uncertain economy perhaps workers understand that there is no such thing as job security. Or perhaps those who took the survey recognized that if they sell well, they don’t have to worry about job security.

So, what do you think?  Any surprises?

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Part II: The 10 Reasons Why You Don’t Sell As Much as You Should (or Could)

In my last blog I posted the first five reasons why you don’t sell as much as you could or should … and what you can do about that.

Here are the final five.  Any of them sound familiar?

6. You need an attitude adjustment

Attitude can be a real sales killer and may be holding you back from extraordinary results. Look, if you don’t like your boss; if you feel your prices are “always” too high; if you feel your list is lousy; or you feel that your competition has a better product, a better offer, better terms … whatever;  then quit. Don’t waste any more of your time.

Or, alternatively,  change your attitude. It’s as simple as that. Negative thoughts and beliefs will hold you back from succeeding.  So here’s what to do.  Stop whining.  Stop blaming and finger pointing.  And above all, stop excusing yourself.  Your sales success is YOUR responsibility.  And finally ask yourself this question, “So, what am I going to do about it?”

7. You’re complacent

You might not be selling as much as you could or should because of complacency.  It means you are content, perhaps even smug about your sales results.  You’re happy with what you are making and achieving.  This is not necessarily a bad thing provided you are meeting or exceeding your objectives.

The only trouble with complacency is that it’s a slippery slope.  It gets easy to stop doing the things that made you successful…and you don’t realize it. One day you wake up and you’re behind the game.  Complacency is common and it creeps up on everyone from time to time. The good news is that complacency is relatively easy to fix.  Push yourself every day by trying something new or setting more challenging objectives.  Make 10 more calls. Push for one more sale.  Get in 15 minutes earlier.  Prospect a half hour longer. S tay an hour later once a week.

8. You’re lazy

Being lazy is different than being complacent.  Lazy lies several steps past complacency.  Laziness is knowing what to do but consciously choosing not to do it.  And excusing it. Laziness is seeing what needs to be done and ignoring it.  No one likes to admit that he or she is lazy. If your sales are down and they’ve been down for a while, you need to have a little ‘heart-to-heart’ with yourself.  Only you can answer the question.

9. You don’t invest in yourself

Your sales might not be where you want them because you have done nothing to help get yourself to the next level.  You haven’t invested the time or the money for self-improvement.  That you are reading this article is a good start but, have you bought a book or DVD on sales in the last six months?  Have you thought of hiring a coach? You see, the moment you invest a few bucks of your own money is the moment you have something to lose and something to gain. You create risk.   After you invest the money, invest the time. Schedule a half hour a day or a couple of hours a week to read and learn new techniques. Get new perspectives.

10. You don’t have the talent

Maybe your sales aren’t so great because you lack the talent.  Talent is an inherent ability to do well or at least, well enough. Not everyone has it. I can’t dance a lick. I have NO talent for it. Can’t sing either. Wasn’t blessed with it.  Some people aren’t cut out to be sales people because they don’t have the talent.  If you have tried everything suggested here, if you have moved from sales job to sales job and have not been ‘successful’ then maybe you don’t have the talent. Maybe you should move on to something else. No shame in that. Call it a moment of truth but it could make your life a whole lot more enjoyable.

Summary

If you haven’t gathered by now, your success is up to you.  It’s your choice.  Making certain choices is not always easy but it is the only path to sales success.  Choose wisely.

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The 10 Reasons Why You Don’t Sell as Much as You Could (or Should) and What To Do About it (Part I)

The First 5 Reasons…

A new selling year is staring you in the face.  It’s your opportunity to excel…if you choose.  But before you can do that you need to take a closer look in the mirror and determine precisely why you are not selling as much as you could or should.  Here are the first 5 reasons why you might not sell (and make) as much as you would like.

1. You lack product knowledge

You might not be excelling at selling because you lack product knowledge. Maybe you’re  new to the job. Maybe you haven’t been diligent in learning more about your products and services. You can readily fix this. Learn your products inside out. Review brochures, manuals, white papers, special reports.  Read industry magazines. Subscribe to industry e-newsletters.  Visit competitive web sites. Find a savvy mentor. Pick your boss’s brain. Do SOMETHING. Invest a few extra hours a week. Eat lunch at your desk and read.  Stay and extra half hour.

2. You don’t use the skills that you got when trained

You might not be selling to the degree that you would like because you are NOT using the skills you were taught in training.  The trouble with learning new skills and techniques is that it means CHANGING your selling behavior.  Most people resist change even if that change means better results.  If this sounds like you, find someone that will act as a coach, a cheerleader or conscience.  Most often it is your manager. Engage him or her. Call them to task. Get trained again if necessary.  Get them to monitor your calls and analyze what you are doing well and not so well.  Get them to pat you on the back or kick you on the backside. Do SOMETHING  and start applying what you learned.

3. You abuse that skills that you got in training

You may not be a good seller because you ‘abuse’ what you learned. This is different from #2 where you don’t use ANY of the new skills. In this case,  your don’t use what you learned well.  You have diluted, changed or altered the selling skills and techniques; you go half way; you cut a corner or two… or three…or four; you don’t follow through; you’ve whittled away a tactic.  You may not even know it. The best thing to do is get yourself a coach – a manager, a friend, a mentor, an outsider- to objectively listen and analyze your calls. Be open to their remarks. If you need to re-train. Get your manager to provide constructive feedback.

4.  You lack experience.

You’re new to sales. You’ve just come off training. You haven’t made enough calls to get a complete feel for your selling environment.  You haven’t dealt enough with customers or prospects.  You haven’t had enough victories or defeats. You lack the experience that  only comes with time and effort. You lack the volume work that provides  insights, confidence and savvy. Don’t quit. Continue to plug away. Keep a log book of experiences. Jot things down. Chat with others. Learn. Store those experience somewhere. Just get on the phone and call. Push.

5.  You quit too soon

Speaking of quitting: you might not be as successful as you could be simply because you quit too soon or too easily.  Quitting means any number of things. It means stopping an activity short of completion. For instance, instead of making 70 dials you quit at 55. Instead of following up on a prospect four or five times, you quit at one or two.  If a prospect says ‘no’ when you ask for the sale instead of querying further you crumble like a house cards and hang up. The solution?  Buck up, baby! Grow a spine. Don’t be a wimp. Push a little further. Push a little harder. It won’t hurt a bit and it WILL help your sales.

So there you have the first 5 reasons.  Are you guilty? Keep your eye out for the next post and  the “Final 5” reasons why you don’t sell as much as you could or should.

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The 13th Warrior: How to Combat Discouragement and Stay Motivated With One Simple Question

Do you ever get discouraged with your ‘apparent’ lack of results at the end of the day?

You do you ever feel overwhelmed and frustrated by how little was accomplished and how much there seems to be left to do? Does the thought of the next day on the phone fill you with dread?

Most tele-sales reps have felt this way at one time or another.  We all have.  Hopefully,  these feeling are more the exception than the rule.  But if you find yourself having these thoughts more often than not,  you could be on the verge of burning out and slipping into a sales slump.  Left unchecked this can have a heck of an impact on your sales efforts. Maybe even your job.

Combating Discouragement

Here’s how to combat discouragement and not let it get the better of you.  At the end of the day ask yourself this one question:

“What did I achieve today?”

Simple, isn’t it?  This question is extremely powerful because it literally FORCES you to THINK about your day and to itemize your accomplishments, big or small. For instance, you might review your day and say,

–          Sent  the proposal for ABC company

–          Sent 5 thank you notes

–          Got pricing approval from Mark on XYZ

–          Read a great article on Getting Past Gatekeepers

–          Actually got past 1 gatekeeper

–          Made 75 dials

–          Spoke to 11 decision makers

–          Got one appointment

–          Closed 2 pending sales

–          Tried a new “killer voice mail” and got a return call!

–          Did a workout for 45 minutes at lunch

Here’s the important thing: when you think of what you did do,  it gives balance to what you didn’t do.

That’s called perspective.

In tele-sales it often gets easy to lose perspective and to focus only on what was NOT achieved, on sales you didn’t get, on all the voice mails you encountered, on how few decision makers you reached, on a prospect that went with a competitor,  on the fact that you only got ‘one’ appointment, and the list goes on. It gets easy to beat yourself  down which in turn discourages you from doing something about it. In short, you become a victim.

Let me tell you a story about my son to illustrate the point.

Craig was flipping his house and there was ton of work that needed to be done before it went onto the market. The list was staggering. We worked on weekends and week nights and despite the hours and effort, he’d look at it with such dismay, seeing only what remained undone.  He began to hate the thought of working on it in the evenings and weekends. It was easy to avoid it.  This is not unlike tele-sales or tele-prospecting where the efforts don’t seem to be yielding results.

Seeing his discouragement, I started asking him, “Okay, so what did we accomplish?” (if I was there) or “What did you accomplish?” (if he was working on it alone).  The question was designed to get him to focus on what was done. I made him list everything. Sometimes I had to twist his arm.  Craig would mumble his replies, giving a broad overview of the day. For example, he would say, “We painted the basement.” I said, “No, first we vacuumed the drywall dust. Then we sponged the walls and ceiling. And then we cut and primed all the walls. And we cut and primed the ceiling. And then hung the mail box and  then we put up the new numbers.”  Put that way, we did a lot. It sounded like a lot. And that sounded like success.

And at some point, he began to see the light. He slowly began to enthusiastically list ALL the tasks for that that day, even the smallest.  He would report those accomplishments to my wife with a degree of pride.

The Benefits

Asking yourself what you accomplished not only brings perspective it helps bring about a change in  your attitude.

And with a change in your attitude there comes an inevitable change in behavior; in how you approach your work.

For Craig, the goals for the day or weekend became more defined,  the effort was more concentrated, the quality of work improved, the quantity of work increased.  Interestingly, he began to ask ME what we accomplished. He’d point out things I missed which told he was taking note of the successes and was see progress.

The 13th Warrior

At the end of our ‘listing sessions’ Craig would recite a line from one of his favorite  movies, “The 13th Warrior”.  In the film, a Viking warrior, wounded and dying is left behind to hold off the bad guys who arein hot pursuit.  Rather than dwell on his fate, the warrior chooses to see his successes and achievements.  Reveling in his accomplishments, he grabs his sword,  prepares for battle,  turns to his comrades and says with a joyful grin, “Today…was a GOOD day!” Now, that’s a good attitude.

And what did Craig finally accomplish?

The work got finished, he put the house up for sale,  he sold in less than five days …and he made a killing in the profit. It was a ‘good day.’

Your Turn For a Good Day

Here’s what to do.  At the end of the day, maybe as you pack up or as you head home, ask yourself, “So, what did I accomplish today?” If you can, write everything down. The longer the list the greater the sense of momentum. Review the list. Take pride in it.

And then say to yourself, “Today… was a good day.”

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Why Tele-Reps Fail: Missing 100% of the Shots You Never Take

Wayne Gretzky once said, “You’ll miss 100% of the shots you never take.”

He was talking about taking risks; about doing things differently; about learning something new; about laying out on the line. I thought of this quote  last week when a tele-sales manager told me about a rookie he had hired.  Here’s what happened:

The tele-sales rep was given an article I wrote on voice mail messages.  The rep immediately declared that the message would not work. He derided the entire concept.

Mind you, he hadn’t tried it.

He just ‘knew.’

Apparently he is blessed with telekinetic powers that enable him know precisely what a prospect thinks. Equipped with these powers, the rep will never, ever have to try something new or different.

Well, here’s the point:

If you never try a new technique or apply a new idea you will never know whether it works or not.  You will never have to take a risk. You’ll never have to go through that awkward phase of learning something new. You’ll never have to worry about failing.

Nor will you ever have to worry about winning or succeeding.

You’ll stay precisely where you are. Or you’ll slide. Downwards.

One of the biggest problems that plagues sales professionals is going out on a limb and trying something new. It’s why many reps fail. Or if they don’t fail, they achieve staggeringly mediocre results. It is so much easier to ‘pooh hoo’ an idea than it is to give it a shot, right? Here’s the thing:  to achieve success you have to be prepared to take a risk.

What about you?

Do you seek out new ideas? Do you read or listen with an open mind? Do you give something an honest shot before tossing it aside? Or do you quickly dismiss a tip or tactic so that you will never have to make a change in your selling style?

This is a moment of truth. Think about it. It might be the one thing that’s holding you back from being wildly successful.

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The Top 10 Most Annoying Traits of Tele-Prospectors – Are you guilty?

Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. Tele-prospecting is tough enough without engaging in self destructive tendencies. Here is a list of the 10 most annoying traits of tele-sales reps. Are you guilty of any of these traits? Not sure? Ask someone you trust.

#1: “How are you today?”

Prospects rank this as their #1 complaint of telephone reps. The overwhelming majority of those surveyed feel it is trite and insincere and a complete waste of time. It immediately makes them weary and defensive.  What a lousy way to start a call. Since they don’t like it, don’t use it. It’s that simple.

#2: Butchering their name

Prospects hate it when you butcher their name. While it is true that some names are complex and the prospect is used to it, imagine how impressed they will be if you master the name. You do that by calling someone else in the company and asking them for the proper pronunciation. Practice. Write it phonetically. Practice some more. Get it right. Nail it.

3. Presenting in a monotone.

A lifeless and lack luster delivery of your opening statement is a one-way ticket to disaster. The prospect senses that you are bored or unprepared in a split second. Over 80% of your telephone communication is through the tone of your voice. Remember that! Be conscious of your tone before you pick up the phone. The three second you take to say to yourself “Stay up beat,” will pay dividends.

4. Beating around the bush.

Prospects say that many telephone reps fail to get to the point of the call quick enough; they beat around the bush. The prospect gets confused and impatient. The call becomes an intrusion. Get to the point. You do that by using this trigger phrase, “Sandy, the reason for my call is ….”  This simple phrase provides direction and focus in the clients mind. Subconsciously they are relieved because they understand.

Of course, you don’t have to be blunt and say, “The reason for my call is to sell you product X.” Be more subtle, “Sandy, the reason for my call is ask you some questions, get a feel for your situation, and see if there may be an opportunity to…”

5.  Not presenting a benefit.

While some reps are capable of getting to the point, many have failed to delineate the benefit to the client. The benefit is what gets the prospect to tune, listen and listen longer. This is the difference between a mediocre opening statement and great opening statement. If you can reduce expenses, say so. If your service will improve productivity, tell them up front.  If you can improve revenues, let them know.

To carry on with the example in #5 you might say, “…and to see if there might be an opportunity to reduce your acquisition costs.”

6.  Not getting the prospect involved.

No one likes or wants a monologue. The client needs to be engaged to feel part of the process. This means asking questions, getting agreement and seeking acknowledgement so that there is a two-way dialog. This is why it’s a heck of an idea to say the reason for you call is “to ask a few questions to get a feel for your situation…” It alerts the client that the call is about THEM and not you. Once you’ve provided your benefit, ask your first question. Get them involved early.

7.  Not answering a question.

Prospect despise it when they ask you a question or toss out an objection and you ignore it or you skate around by not answering the question directly.  They feel you are hiding something and the instantly, instantly distrust you.  Why risk that? Have your replies prepared.

8. Interrupting

Prospects complain about tele-sales reps who interrupt them with slick answers or more features. When your prospect talks, you listen. Don’t interrupt. Hear them out. Evaluate what they saying. Let them finish. Then, and only then, should you respond.

9. Sarcasm and Rhetoric

Tele-sales reps can blow a sales opportunity by the use of sarcasm or by the ridiculous use of rhetorical questions such as, “You want to save money, don’t you?” or “You’re a smart shopper, aren’t you?  Or “If I could show you a way to save 10% would you take a moment to listen…”Or, “Well, if you’re not interested in reducing the cost of your deliveries, that’s fine by me.” Further comment is unnecessary, right?

10. Not knowing when to quit.

In B to B (much less in B to C), most decision makers will cut you some slack because they know you are doing your job but do not push it. After the third ‘smokescreen objection’ (i.e., the objections seems patently false) you should probably cut you losses

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What’s Important to You is Not Important to Them

Here’s the thing: selling something is far more important to you than it is to your prospect or your client.  Think about this for a moment because it is rather profound and it often dictates your approach to a buyer.

Your job is to sell product, to make a commission, to achieve your objectives, to keep your boss happy. And so with single minded focus off you go into the world of tele-sales. I get that.

The trouble is, your client or prospect doesn’t get that. They don’t give a flyin’  fig.

They could care less about you. They don’t care about your quota. They couldn’t give two hoots if you are lagging behind in sales or leading the pack. They don’t give a damn if  your boss is on your back.  They simply don’t CARE.

They care about one thing and one thing only.

Themselves.

They care about their needs, wants, desires, goals aspirations, opportunities, problems, concerns, issues and worries. Can you blame them?

And therein lies the inevitable clash.

When you call a prospect and put your interests, needs and desires at the forefront there an immediate disconnect.  At a conscious or subconscious level, the prospect puts up a shield of indifference or annoyance because it is abundantly clear that the call is not about him or her, but about you. They see it. As clear as glass.

So here’s the point: make your call about them. Shape your call around them.

Before you pick up the phone, make absolutely certain that your opening statement focuses on the benefits a client can possibly achieve, not about your latest software upgrade or  your hot mutual fund or special offer on wiper blades.  When you engage your client, question them about their situation, their problems, their opportunities. DON”T tell, explain, pontificate, brag, lecture or preach about your products, your services, your unique selling proposition or your special offer.

This is SO simple yet it is ignored daily by tele-sales reps (and field reps) across the continent.

THINK before you dial. PLAN before you dial.

The make your call and make it about them.

Because that’s what’s important.

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Closing the Sale: 25 Compelling Reasons Why Prospects Might Say YES

Closing is often cited as the most difficult skill or technique for sales reps to master.  The primary reason for this reaction is the fear of hearing no. To many reps, the word ‘no’ is associated with rejection and with failure. This leads to frustration, discouragement and despair. Left unchecked, it could mean the loss of a job.

Mind Games

The fear of hearing ‘no’ is an insidious mind game. Consciously or subconsciously, sales reps tend to psych themselves out by conjuring up all sorts of reasons why a prospect would say no:  too expensive, bad economy, happy with current supplier, don’t need, don’t want it, don’t like it, don’t like you. Sound familiar? In effect, reps have prefabricated the ‘no’ they expect to receive. This type of negative thinking is destructive because it creates ‘so-why-bother-asking’ mentality.  Instead, the rep hopes –or prays- that the prospect will take the initiative and say, “I’ll buy it.”

Don’t be a victim of this type of this mind game!

Give your head a shake and reverse the situation.

Sure prospects say no, but a lot of them say yes. And that’s where your focus should lie. Give yourself a fighting chance by NOT focusing on why a prospect might say no and freaking out over it. Instead, focus on WHY a prospect might say YES. It is a simple but highly effective mental shift. By doing this you create a positive mindset and you begin to think of why you should ask instead of why you shouldn’t.  You’ll soon discover that the more you ask, the more you’ll get.

25 Reasons Why Your Prospects Might Say Yes:

Here is a quick list of 25 reasons why a prospect might say yes. Print and post this list somewhere visible. Read it two or three times a day, or whenever your spirit is lagging.

1. For whatever reason, the client likes you. People buy from people they like.

2. The client trusts you. Double whammy. People buy from people they like AND trust.

3. They see the value of your product or service.

4. You price is good. Maybe even great.

5. They want what you have.

6. The prospect doesn’t like your competitors.

7. The prospect doesn’t see any extra value in your competitors.

8. He/she is in a good mood and buys off the cuff.

9. The prospect is in a hurry and wants to save time.

10. The prospect is unhappy with their present supplier and wants a change.

11. The client wants to minimize his risk with the present supplier.

12. The prospect wants to send a “message” to their present supplier.

13. The prospect wants to make a change in product and try something new.

14. The prospect is a new buyer and has no allegiance to the existing vendor.

15. You sell well. You’re good at what you do.

16. The prospect doesn’t have a choice. You win by default.

17. They lack the courage to say “no.”

18. The decision to buy from you can make the prospect look good in the eyes of his boss.

19. You have a great offer. Why not?

20. You are politely persistent and the prospect admires your tenacity.

21. The prospect feels the need to reciprocate because you did or sent something of value (like an article, a card, a bottle of BBQ Spice).

22. They are worried they’ll get caught short.

23. The prospect wants to ‘test you out’ and see how you perform.

24. Your marketing material was persuasive.

25. It’s a mystic moment: Jupiter is aligned with Mars. You just get lucky.

Summary

There are probably 25 more reasons if you simply take the time to think.  Remember this: too many reps dwell too much on why a prospect might say ‘no’ and convince themselves not to ask for the sale.  The smart choice is to go into a sale thinking of all the reasons why a prospect might say yes.  This leads to a positive attitude that reflects in your demeanor and in what you say. It also leads to sales success. Plain and simple.

Think yes and sell more.

PS: Here’s a bonus reason (#26): Your competitor didn’t ask for the sale because he feared saying ‘no’…and you didn’t.

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