Tag Archives: objectives

5 Steps to Achieving the Tele-Prospecting “Zone”

Aaron Rogers and Tom Brady have been there. So have Justin Verlander, LeBron James and Sidney Crosby (when he’s not concussed). They’ve all been in the “zone” at one time or another throughout their careers.

The Zone

The “Zone” is that almost mystical and magical place in time and space where their athletic performance is extraordinarily focused, where they seem to perform with perfect mastery, where their passes, shots and hits simply and utterly boggle the mind. Everything clicks. It’s like magic. When the athlete describes the Zone, he or she talks about being swept away, losing track of time, and becoming completely absorbed in the activity.   Some experts have speculated that some athletes (for instance, Wayne Gretzky) can actually see events unfold a second or two before they take place.

Whatever is behind the Zone, the end result is typically astonishing.

The Tele-Prospecting Zone

But here’s the thing: the Zone is not just reserved for those in sports.

This place of seemingly effortless productivity and success can be achieved by virtually anyone in any area in life, including tele-prospecting. The trick to achieving a zone-like state is to have a process or method that when applied consistently and with discipline produces superior results.

5 Steps to Reach the Tele-Prospecting Zone

While the results of being in the Zone can be almost mystical, getting in the zone is not so mysterious or profound. There are five steps you can implement that will lead you to the Zone when prospecting or selling:

Step #1: Be Zone Ready

Aaron Rogers does not walk onto the field seconds before the game and start throwing completions. He gets ready for the big game long before that time. Before you pick up the phone and begin dialing, make sure you have your ‘master’ list of decision makers, their names, numbers, extensions, and e-mails. Like Aaron, do your ‘homework’ well before you get on the phone so you are game-ready. Have your notes, call guide, job aids – whatever you need- ready to go.

What this does is ensure that you have ‘flow.’ Flow is that steady, almost rhythmic process of calling that is uninterrupted by stops, pauses and delays. Watch Tom Brady when he’s in the Zone. Typically, he goes into a hurry up offense. No major delays. The flow is there. His job is to maintain it. Do the same. Pick up the phone and dial. No answer? No success? Dial again. Don’t lose the ‘end zone’ focus

Step #2: Create a Zone Friendly Environment

Watch Justin Verlander in the dugout when he’s pitching for the Tigers. Watch how closely his fellow Tigers leave him alone. They don’t want to distract him and disrupt his concentration.

To be in the Zone you have to stay focused on the task. Find or create a spot to make your calls that is free of distractions and temptations. Turn your back away from your fellow workers to avoid visual distractions. Post a sign called “Zone Calling” outside your office or cubicle that tells everyone that you are not to be disturbed. You’re in the zone.

Step #3: Be Zone Wise

Ever watch LeBron James on the court? He has an innate ability to exploit weaknesses in defenses. He makes the most of time and space he is given.

Same thing in tele-prospecting: there are good times to make your prospecting calls and there are not-so-good times. You want to exploit those good times like LeBron exploits his defenders. For instance, the best time to reach higher level decision makers is earlier in the morning or later in the day. To get into the Zone you may have to start calling at 7:30 a.m. or continue calling after 5:30 p.m. You increase your odds of success.The best time to reach your decision makers may vary. Test times. Look for a “Zone Wise” time. Keep track of your results. If you discover a good time, exploit it.

Step #4: Have Goals and Deadlines

You can bet your bottom dollar that Aaron, Tom, Justin, LeBron and Sydney don’t start their seasons or their games with “well… I’ll do my best and see what happens.” Pitchers know what they want to achieve as an ERA. Quarterbacks have ratings stats they would like to achieve because it gives them perspective on where they are and what they must do. Zone-ready athletes are goal oriented.

Give yourself an objective that is meaningful. It’s not about the number of dials, it about the number of contacts. If your goal is to reach twenty decision makers, dial until you reach twenty DECISION MAKERS not until you reach your quota of 80 dials set by your manager. If that means fifteen more dials, then make fifteen more dials (Step #4.) If you reach your twenty in less than a day, you’re in the Zone, keep dialing. That’s when you achieve superior results.

Track your efforts. Track those dials and decision maker contacts. Track the ratio of decision maker contacts to sales or appointments. Track the time that you called to see if there is a better time (Step #3)

Step #5: Just Do It

Nike has it right when they say, “Just Do It.” Get in the game. Pick up the phone and dial. Don’t stop. Be relentless. Do what it takes. At the height of his game, Sydney Crosby did it all. He skates…all the time… he doesn’t dog it. He back checks. He hits. He takes hits and gets up. He fights for position in front of the net. He’s tenacious. Sometimes he’s chippy. He does it all and he doesn’t stop until the game is over. He does not quit

Go through your master list. Don’t stop. Dial. Don’t leave messages if there is no answer. If you go through your list in a half an hour, start dialing again. If you haven’t reached your target objective, don’t quit. It’s sometimes grinding and tiring but … just do it!

Summary

The truth of the matter is that great athletes aren’t always in the Zone. Tom Brady sometime throws five interceptions. Verlander sometimes lobs balls that get smacked out of the stadium. Sid the Kid and LeBron have missed easy shots and lost games because of it. You’ll have those off days too. That’s okay.

The point here is that you go into every call session with a Zone plan. You do everything you can to get into the Zone. You don’t hope the Zone shows up. You do everything to make it happen. You are in control. Apply these principles and you’ll hit the Zone, not all the time, but some of the time. Either way, you’ll be a heck of a lot better off than you were without this process. Just do it.

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Keep a Black Book

If you’re serious about a career in sales and you want to continue improve your selling skills and abilities (and subsequently) earn more, then keep a black book.

What’s a Black Book?

A black book is literally a bound book of some sort or another (see some popular choices below) that you use to record virtually anything.  It is a single and central repository of everything that is or could be important or significant to you.

7 Good Reasons to Keep a Black Book

1. Black books keep you more organized.  Instead of having sheets here and there, notebooks here and there, smart phone notes here and there, your black book is the one place for everything.  This means you can find everything you need. Use it for client notes, telephone numbers, prospecting notes, memos to yourself.  Everything.  It will save you time, frustration and hassle.

2. Black books keep you focused.  You can record important things like your goals and objectives.  You can use your book to create a daily “To Do” list. Note your priorities.  Your book will keep you on task.

3. Black books keep you motivated. Use your black book to record your ‘victories’ or to list your dreams.  Use them to record your results.  Jot down inspirational quotes.  Cut out pictures of what you’d like to buy or places you’d like to visit or scenes that inspire you. Tape them inside.  Refer to them. Remind yourself of what you’ve achieved and what still lies ahead.

4. Black books keep you wise.  Note your ‘losses ‘and ‘defeats.’  Jot down why you might have lost a sale.  What did you learn from the experience? Were you prepared enough?  Do you need to brush up on a skill? Should you be working on your product knowledge?  You’ll find it quite rewarding when you take personal responsibility.

5. Black books make you more creative.  When a good idea pops into your head, capture it in your black book. Immediately.  Craft some notes while the idea is still sizzling away. Go back to the idea later and expand on it.  In this manner, you’ll never lose the thread.  (You can use your black book to “mind map” your ideas.  Mind mapping is a way to more effectively tap into the creative, right side of your brain.  Check the internet for Joyce Wycoff’s book called “Mindmapping.”  It will literally change your life.)

6. Black books make you look…well…smart.  This may not be a big deal for you but when you go into a meeting with your black book under your arm you immediately set yourself apart from the crowd.  Look around. Half the people won’t even be equipped with a pen or a pencil.  People who count (bosses, executives, owners and the like) take note of someone who comes prepared. It elevates your status.

7. Black books create a legacy.  I have black books dating from the late 1980’s.  Every now and then I haul out one or two.  I see how I have progressed and matured.  I sometimes see where I have regressed.  But it gives me a sense of personal development and growth. I suspect it will do the same for you.

Use your black book to:

Here is a summary list of things you record in your black book.  But don’t feel constrained.  Use it however you see fit.

  • List your sales victories
  • Stimulate thoughts and ideas
  • Record your yearly sales goals and objectives
  • Record your daily goals and objectives
  • Make notes about your clients
  • Take meeting notes
  • Take notes while on the telephone
  • Impress your boss with your thoroughness
  • Tape in articles of interests on sales …or whatever
  • Paste in pictures that inspire
  • Write compelling quotes
  • List “lessons learned” from your mistakes
  • Jot down “Top 10 Lists” ( e.g., Top 10 fiction best books, best movies, best restaurants,best business books, best web sites etc.)
  • Create daily to do lists
  • Doodle and draw
  • Jot down dreams and ideas
  • Note your achievements
  • Draft proposals
  • Write down quotes (“Never, ever quit,” “L’audace, l’audace, toujours l’audace!” etc.)
  • List strategies to develop new customers
  • List ways to develop your relationship with existing clients
  • Jot phone numbers and messages
  • Note questions or issues
  • Rate restaurants that you visited
  • Insights and observations on anything
  • Recipes (All Purpose BBQ rub)
  • … you get the picture, right?
Choosing Black Books

First off, black books don’t have to be black.  Color doesn’t matter. It’s what’s contained inside.

Next, go to any bookstore and you’ll see ever-growing displays of “Moleskin” books that are leather or cloth bound.  More expensive, they tend to have a ‘neat’ look.  People like Ernest Hemmingway used them, so you’d be in good company. They come in different sizes and themes.  Piccadilly make a less expensive version and it’s just as effective.  Check them out on line.

I have gone to art stores and purchased blank sketch books.  These books are sturdy rugged things, and they give you lots of space to write, sketch, and map out your ideas.

But you don’t have to get fancy.  Your black book can be an inexpensive wire bound notebook that you can get almost anywhere for a few bucks.  Doesn’t matter.  Whatever you like; an expression of yourself.

Black books or ‘journals’ are nothing new by any stretch of the imagination.  Caesar had one (it was in a scroll format, of course). Napoleon had one too. Most professional golfers keep a version of a black book.  Most great figures had a black book of one sort or another.  I’ll bet a lot of sales gurus have them as well.

Invest in yourself today and you’ll find yourself in good company.

 

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This is Why Calls Wander Aimlessly

by Art Sobcak (www.businesbyphone.com)

 

On a commercial for an online brokerage, one guy asked another,

“Does your brokerage house give you objective advice?”

“Yeah, their objective always is to sell me something.”

Of course that was meant to be a humorous slam on full-service brokers whose intent is to sell stocks instead of give objective advice.

A  Clear Objective

However, it got me thinking about how lots of sales reps do NOT have a clear objective when they pick up the phone.

For example, when I ask reps for objectives before calls I hear such things as,

“I want to see who they’re buying from now.”

“I’d like to qualify and send out some info.”

“Want to see if they have any needs.”

Granted, all of those should be accomplished, but none are the end RESULT you’re ideally looking for on a call.

You wouldn’t you get in your car and say, “I’m going to start my car, and then just go out on the road somewhere.”

No, you get in your car because you have a very specific destination in mind. And when you have a destination, then you figure out what route you need to take in order to get there. Then you follow that route. And usually you arrive.

Yet, many sales reps get on the phone with no clear, specific destination in mind. Then they end up cruising aimlessly, and not surprisingly, ending their wayward journey without a pleasing
result.

Maybe you’ve had that feeling after a call. Where you sit there shaking your head, thinking, “What just happened on that call? I was all over the place.”

This week’s Tip is boring, simple, but yet required for success:

Have a Primary Objective before each call.

I define your Primary Objective as what you want them to DO as a result of the call.

Again, emphasis on the DO. It must be action-oriented.

The ultimate Primary Objective is to get them to buy on this call.

Perhaps your objective is to “Get agreement that the customer will take your proposal to the board meeting and recommend its approval.”

Maybe you want to qualify, generate interest, and get the prospect to agree to do a side-by-side comparison between his existing product and yours.

Look at these again. They all involve your prospect/customer DOING something.

And think big. One thing’s for sure: if you aim low, you’ll rarely hit above your target. When you aim high, you’ll sometimes reach it, and on average, will achieve greater results than if you start low.
Action Item
So here’s your homework: For every call you place from here on out, simply ask, “What do I want this person to DO as a result of this call?” That’s your Primary Objective.

And when you have your end target in mind, it’s much easier to plot your map, and ultimately arrive at the target.

As Dr. Steven Covey says in his “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” begin with the END in mind.

Art Sobczak is president of Business by Phone and is North America’s premiere B2B telephone selling trainer. Author of several books on tele-sales, Art’s practical, no-holds-barred approach to sales is refreshing AND effective.  Visit his website at www.businessbyphone.com or call him directly at 1 800 326 7721. Be sure to sign up for his newsletter!
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Are You a Quitter But Just Don’t Know it? 10 Decisive Ways How NOT to Quit

Are you a quitter but just don’t know it?

Nobody likes to think of themselves as a quitter but statistics would seem to indicate the many sales reps tend to quit far too soon and far too easily. In his article, “It’s always too soon to quit,” Lewis R. Timberlake revealed the following

–  only 10% of people actually succeed at what they set out to accomplish

– another 10% accept defeat and try to resolve these feelings by turning to various obsession

–  finally, 80% of the population simply endures their frustration and blame their lack of success on circumstances

While not referring specifically to sales reps and perhaps a bit harsh,  Timberlake’s statistics are probably not that far off the mark.  The percentage of exceptional and truly unexceptional reps is proportionately small while the vast majority of sales reps sit somewhere in the middle.

Being in the middle of the pack does not constitute failure but it does beg the question why aren’t more reps exceptional?

Timberlake’s take on the issue is that the number one reason why people do not achieve  higher levels of success is because they quit too soon.  By quitting he doesn’t necessary mean throwing in the towel. He means giving up on actions that lead to success. He means stopping short. Folding too soon. For instance,  instead of 75 dials a tele-sales rep might ‘quit’ at 60; instead of reaching 25 decision makers for the day they settle on 20;  instead of taking a half hour to read a skills newsletter they quit and watch The Simpsons.

Why do Sales Reps Quit

First, it’s easy to quit; there’s nothing complex about it. The rep simply stops the effort when all that was required was a little perseverance and elbow grease.

Second, quitting is  rewarding. Yes, rewarding. When a rep ceases an activity (such as cold calling) the frustration or rejection stops immediately.

Third, there is no immediate consequence. Quitting a task is very personal, silent and unseen, and there is no immediate reprimand.

Fourth, taking action means change and change is uncomfortable even if it is good for the rep.  Many reps take the path of least resistance and quit at this stage instead of enduring the short period of discomfort.

Finally, Timberlake points out that many people quit simply because they don’t know how to take decisive action to change their circumstance.

10 Decisive Ways To Take Action and Not Quit

If you sit in the middle of the pack and suspect you might be “quitting” on yourself, here are ten decisive ways you can take action, avoid quitting and succeed in sales.

1. Ask Yourself This Question

Ask yourself, “Is this what I want to do right now in my career?” If it isn’t, if you’re doing the sales job out of desperation and hate it, get out. This is the legitimate time to quit.  If your heart’s not into it you won’t have the motivation. But if you think you can do it, then give it your best shot and continue reading.

2.  Shut up and Take Responsibility Now

Stop being a victim. Victims give up. Stop the irresistible temptation to whine, lament and excuse your behavior. Don’t  blame your manager,  the list, prices, product and the economy for your less than stellar results. Say to yourself, “Okay, things aren’t going so well, what am I going to do about it?” This question puts the onus on YOU and no one else to take responsibility for your success.

3. Avoid the Quitters

Avoid co-workers  who drag you down with negative talk; those who look to justify their mediocre results by pointing fingers at others or at circumstances. Misery loves company. They’ll infect you with their negativity and they’ll persuade you to quit on hard work or smart work by offering reasons not to push harder.

4. Hang out with Winners

Get to know, work and hang out with the winners in the office, the top producers; the best of the best. Ask them questions. Learn. Observe. Absorb. You’ll see they do the extras here and there. Copy them. Winners don’t quit. They finish the task.

5. Find a System

 A system is a step by step way or method of doing something. It might be a good opening statement, a killer voice mail template, a technique to get past a get keeper, a way to handle smokescreen objections. Find out what the best of the best do, steal it and apply it. This will reduce frustration and discouragement and increase success. The net result is less tendency to quit.

6. Do it Now! Implement Your System Immediately and Stick to It

 Make a small poster with the words “Do It Now” printed in big letters. It’s your new motto. When you find your system or you learn a new technique, skill or process, don’t wait to implement it. Apply it immediately. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll master it and reap the benefits. Don’t wait till Monday. Do it now. Then give it your best shot by sticking to the plan. It takes a little time for results. Don’t give up if you don’t get immediate success.

7. Get Some Skin in the Game

 Here’s a heck of way not to quit: get some skin in the game. This means investing YOUR money and your time in self development.  It might mean buying a sales book, investing in a webinar, purchasing a sales DVD or downloading a MP3 recording.  Once you reach into your pocket and spend your hard earned money you’ll find you want to quit less and get an ROI more.

 8. Work a Half Hour Longer

Come in 30 minutes earlier or stay 30 minutes longer each day. An extra half hour a day amounts to only 2.5 hours per week but that means 10 hours per month or 120 hours a year. Imagine the dials, connects, visits, presentations and the sales you will make with an extra 15 days a year? Too tough? Start with 15 minutes more a day and you’ll still get incremental results.

9. Set Targets

 Everyone knows targets are important so commit to a set of goals every day.   Set meaningful  goals and then post them in front of you so you don’t quit when you are five dials short of one decision maker contact away from achieving your objective. Whether it is an activity goals (e.g., dials, contacts, visits, etc.) or a revenue goal (or both), set it and push yourself to get it. Make the extra calls. Push yourself for the extra visit. Git ‘er done.

 10. Find a Cheerleader, a Coach and a Conscience

Whether it’s your manager, a peer, a mentor, a friend or a spouse, find someone to act as a cheerleader, a coach and above all a conscience. Share with them your daily targets and report the results to them every day. They’ll give you high fives, they’ll give you advice or encouragement or they’ll give you a little frown. Whatever the case, you win.

Now you know what to do. Go out and do it. And remember the famous words of Winston Churchill, “Never, ever, ever quit.”

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The Top 18 Traits of Lucky Tele-Sales Reps

Let’s face it, some telephone reps seem to be consistently luckier than others.   The stars always seem to be aligned for them and they forever seem to get more sales … and bigger sales, to boot.

But scratch the surface of these so-called lucky tele-reps and you’ll discover a number of common traits.  Coincidence?  Not likely.  Lucky reps are lucky because they consistently DO things that other reps do not. Put another way, lucky reps MAKE their own luck. They draw opportunities to themselves like magnets.

Here are 18 traits of lucky reps.  See how you compare.

#1. The number one trait of lucky reps is personal accountability. Lucky reps know that at the end of the day they are personally responsible for their success or lack thereof. They don’t blame or point fingers at their manager or prospect  list or their products and prices or customer  service department or their competitors.  They depend on no one. They are never, ever victims. When faced with a challenge they simply say, “So what am I going to do about it?”

#2. Lucky reps believe they are lucky.  Maybe because they take personal responsibility and are masters of their own fate, lucky reps have positive attitudes.  They seize the day. They are optimistic. They see the positives of their activities and thrive on small victories.  They genuinely believe they are lucky and good things will happen.  Because they feel fortunate they ARE fortunate

#3. Lucky reps fail.  In other words, lucky reps will take risks, try new things and look for angles. Sometimes they fail.  But to paraphrase basketball great Michael Jordan, they succeed because they fail.  As a result of the risk they took, they know what works and what doesn’t work.  And because of that, they’re always ahead of the pack.

#4. Lucky reps are clever little thieves.  They steal good ideas and tactics that help them in selling. They are open and willing to try a new technique or approach. They are flexible and adaptable. They change and adjust. Dust does not settle on lucky reps.  They don’t dismiss anything that might give them an edge

#5. Lucky reps absolutely avoid “dementors” and naysayers.  They don’t hang out with negative people who can drag their spirits down. They don’t huddle together and whine and complain. Lucky reps know negative talk saps energy and effort.  While others lament, they prospect and sell.

#6. Lucky reps typically arrive a little earlier for work. It’s a simple thing: they get started a little sooner and as a result, create more opportunities for themselves.  Not luck, just a little bit of elbow grease.  Harder work.

#7. Lucky reps almost always stay a little later at work. Not long. Just enough to clear up e-mails and clean off their desk. Seems small but the next day the rep can start with the important stuff: prospecting and selling. There’s no clutter; no distraction.

#8.Lucky reps are network builders.  They tend to develop “Luck Lists” of individuals from all walks of life (associates, former coaches, bosses, teachers, vendors, friends, customers etc.) who can help in them in their business and personal lives. Call them mentors or guides, these people can act as resources with their expertise, knowledge, experience, savvy and insights or they can act as centers of influence and refer business.

#9. Lucky reps are builders of relationships.  Lucky reps intuitively know that it is not enough to have a ‘lucky list.’  That network of individuals needs to be groomed and nurtured.  Consequently, they build equity with their list by staying in touch. Sometimes it’s a card or an e-mail or a phone call. Sometimes they send an article or link.  Whatever it might be, lucky reps communicate and build value on a regular and continuous basis.

#10. Lucky reps have a built-in compass.  The luckiest of reps have written goals for the year that guide them; give them focus, direction.  They break their goals down by quarter, by month, by week and by day.  Their work efforts emanate from these goals; dictates their priorities. They know where they stand at any given moment. They’re always gauging and monitoring and adjusting their course.

#11. Lucky reps talk less, question more and listen closely .  By effectively using questions, lucky reps get the client to open up, share more information, be more candid, identify their problems or concerns or opportunities.  And because they are better at understanding the needs of the client, they sell more.

#12. Lucky reps prospect daily.  Prospecting is like a good exercise program: it keeps them sales fit.  What looks like luck is simply an unrelenting adherence to business development so that their funnel is forever being filled.  What looks like luck is really just fundamentals in action.

#13. Lucky reps have a propensity for action.  Lucky telephone selling reps are doers.  They don’t procrastinate. They would rather do something –anything – than nothing.  And because they DO things instead of sitting around on their butts and waiting, things happen.  They take steps to initiate ‘luck.’

#14. Lucky reps are invariably process driven.  This means they look for processes and methods that making them a little more efficient and a little more effective.  They know that other successful reps have gone before them and develop steps that make selling faster and easier.

#15. A lucky rep is a good planner.  Maybe it stems from goal setting but ask a top rep what he or she has planned for the day and they’ll give you an itemized list of what and when.  They schedule their time for prospecting, relationship building, follow up and paperwork. When it comes to a phone call they have a game plan: objectives defined, opening statements prepared, questions to be asked etc.  When they hang up they have the next 3 or 4 steps already figured out in order to move the sale ahead.

#16. Lucky reps invest in themselves.  Lucky reps will buy books and magazines to help them sell. They do homework. They’ll buy thank you cards. They’ll purchase on-line products.  They’ll research a little more. They’ll occasionally send small gifts to their luck list.  They use their own time and money. They get some skin in the game. When they invest in themselves they push a little harder to get an ROI.  And to think, some call them lucky…

#17. Lucky reps say thanks.  When a lucky telephone rep gets a sale, a lead or referral they go out of their way to say thank you.  Often it’s with a personal card; something that shows they took the time and effort to show appreciation.  Put another way, lucky reps don’t take for granted the help they get and the good fortune they derive.

#18. Lucky reps don’t quit.  They’re politely persistent.  They don’t give up easily.  They take a few more shots than most. They’re not always successful but when they do land a big sale with their dogged persistence, we say their lucky.  But they know better.

So, based on these 18 traits how do you stack up?  Are you a luck magnet?  Chances are you have some of these traits but probably not all.  Work on them. Implement them. Practice them.  Make your own luck!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Create a Master List

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

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

2. Write Your Goals

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

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

3. Clear Your Desk

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

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

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

4. Clear Up Your E-Mails

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

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

5. Clear Up Your Voice Mails

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

6. Arrive 15 Minutes Earlier

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

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

7. Schedule Your First Call

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

Summary

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

Et voila.

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

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The 7 Closing Habits of Highly Effective Tele-Sale Reps (Habit #1: Be Prepared for a Close)

Ever notice that some tele-sales reps consistently out sell other reps?

Why is that? Why do some reps continuously lead the pack in terms of sales and revenues and others don’t?

Sure, knowledge and experience play a role in their success, but when you scratch the surface you quickly discover that highly effective tele-sales reps all have one thing in common:  they are exceptionally good closers.

They know precisely how to get the client to commit, take action and buy the product. This is not an accidental trait. It’s a habit they have formed.  In fact, there are seven closing habits that highly effective reps share.  Here is the first.

Habit #1: Great Closer are Prepared for the Close

Hide behind a corner in your office and watch a top closer.  Very rarely do you see them pick up the phone and start dialling and smiling. What you’ll see is that virtually every top closer takes a few extra seconds to plan out their call on a pad of paper.

A good closer begins by assuming a sale has been made and then works backwards from the point. They ask themselves, ‘what must be done to get me here?’  While each rep will have their own individual approach they all focus on three core components of the call:

Objectives

First, highly effective closers have two sets of well-defined objectives.

Primary objectives are those objectives that they want to achieve on that particular call. Depending on the situation, the primary objective is often to get the sale – dollars in the door.  But not always.  For example, the primary objective might be to get the prospect to attend a webinar . The primary close is not the monetary sale but rather the commitment to the webinar. The sale might come next. Whatever the case, the rep knows the end game of that call and writes it down.  This sets the tone for the rest of the planning.

Great closers also have secondary objectives.  A secondary objective could be a contingency objective. For example, the primary objective might be to close the monetary sales but failing that, a webinar might be the contingency objective.  A secondary objective might also be an action that the closer would like to accomplish in addition to the primary objective. Perhaps it is a cross sell or a referral.

The Strategy

Once the objectives are clear, the next step is defining a strategy. A strategy is nothing more than the ‘way’ the objective will be achieved.  Typically, a good closer will address three issues.

Questions – Prior to the call, a highly effective closer will have a handful of key questions that are designed to direct the client’s thinking. Almost like signposts, these pre-planned questions point to the challenges or the opportunities that a client might be experiencing. These are the motivators that must be tweaked if a successful close is to occur. Motivators are what gets a prospect to take action … and hence, buy.

Selling Points – An effective closer will jot down the key selling points that will have the strongest impact on the prospect.  Usually in bullet form, the selling points revolve around the ultimate benefits the prospect will derive. Writing them down on a sheet of paper ensures that they will not be forgotten or diluted when presented.

Objections – Finally, great closers are never caught off guard. They  will note the major objections that he or she is likely to encounter and are prepared to respond accordingly.

The Close or the Advance

The third area that closers focus upon when planning is the ‘close’ itself.  Top closers are not hesitant about writing down a closing phrase or two.  For instance, “Would you like to give it a shot,” or “When would you like to get started?” “How many do you need.”  The act of writing the close imprints the close on the mind of the rep and increases the likelihood that it will happen.

Similar to secondary objectives, highly effective closers prepare a back up ‘close’ – called an advance – that they can apply if closing the monetary sale is premature.  An advance is action that the client agrees to take (e.g., attending that webinar) by a given date and time.  Effective closers do not say, “Attend the webinar next week and I’ll give you a call later on.”  Effective closers say, “Let’s sign you up for the Webinar on Tuesday, the  9th at 11:00 a.m. , and I will give you a call to discuss the session and the next steps, later that afternoon…how does 2:15 look on your calendar?”

Summary

Highly effective closers begin with the ‘end in mind’ (as Stephen Covey might say). They know precisely what they want to achieve from the call and have a written plan on how they are going to achieve it.  Having a call road map is the first step to a higher closing rate.

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Why Secondary Objectives are More Important Than Primary Objectives

Before you ever lift the receiver to make a customer call or a cold call you need to established not one, two objectives.

By doing so you’ll increase your volume of sales/leads and reduce your level of frustration. While both objectives are extremely important, one is more significant than the other.

The Primary Objective

Whether it’s a call to an existing client or a prospect, take a few seconds to think about and establish your primary objective.  In a perfect selling world, the primary objective is the ideal goal you would like achieve.  It the ultimate result.  A primary objective does not necessarily need to be a ‘sale.’  Depending on the nature of your calling, a primary objective could be an appointment, or gathering a key piece of information, or a commitment to the next, or attendance at a webinar, or agreeing to review a proposal or whatever you decide you want from that particular call.

Write that goal down somewhere even if it is in the column of a sheet of paper. Studies reveal that writing a goal increases the chances of it being achieved compared to a goal that is not written. It seems that the ‘mind’s eye’ become more fixated on the attainment of goal and tends to drive behaviour to that outcome.

Of course, primary objective is important. It is vital. But curiously, it is not necessarily the more important of the two.

The Secondary Objectives

You see, most sales reps ‘get’ the concept primary objectives.  They are kind of obvious and intuitive.

But what many reps don’t ‘get’ is the concept of secondary objectives, and regrettably, they tend to ignore them completely.  But it’s these little puppies that often produce the best results because they maximize the moment. This is precisely why secondary objectives are more important the primary objectives.

Secondary objectives are ‘back up’ objectives; things you’d like to accomplish if you don’t achieve your primary objective or things you’d like to accomplish in addition to achieving the primary objective. They are the little extras; the nice-to-haves. Hidden gems. Diamonds in the ruff. They are the items that leverage your telephone contact and help make the very most of the moment.  Put another way, secondary objective can act as catalysts that help “synergize” the net result of your call.

Secondary objectives can be any number of things. For instance, they might include:

  • a cross sell,
  • a request for a referral or a testimonial,
  • an up sell,
  • a piece “market intelligence”,
  • a query about an ongoing project,
  • a strategic question,
  • an e-mail address of another contact,
  • a request for more information,
  • the mention of a new product,
  • the best time to reach someone
  • … virtually anything over and above your primary objective.

Here’s the other thing about secondary objectives. Suppose you don’t achieve your primary objective. It can be discouraging especially when prospecting. But a secondary objective helps you salvage a portion of that call. It gives you the feeling of achievement; a psychological edge. It helps combat frustration and burnout. You hang up feeling that the call wasn’t a complete waste of time and effort. And of course, if you do achieve your primary objective, anything over and above that is pure gravy.

Like primary objectives, write them down. This will help you remember them as well as improve the likelihood of achieving them. It is that simple. Period. Do it!

Summary

Getting a hold of a client or a prospect by phone is tough at the best of times. And often you only have a minute or two of their busy time.  Make the absolute MOSTof those minutes and seconds by being prepared. Think of your primary and secondary objectives, jot them down and seek to achieve them.  Your results will improve dramatically.

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