Tag Archives: quitting

The 3 Secrets to Tele-Sales Success

Ever wonder why some tele-sales reps (any type of sales rep, for that matter) are more successful than others?

Scratch the surface and you’ll find that they all seem to apply these three simple secrets:

  1. They find a system
  2. They implement it immediately
  3. They stick to it

You CAN be as successful as you want by following these three secrets.  I can’t take credit for them.  I got them from Bob Burg years ago in an amazing little pamphlet he sent me called, “The Success Formula.”   They’re simple but powerful principles that literally can change your life.

Secret #1:  Find a system

Look, it’s this simple:  being successful in tele-sales has been accomplished by others before you.  They’ve done the heavy lifting. They’ve tested techniques, methods and processes. They’ve failed. They’ve tried again.  And eventually, they got it down pat. They found the “formula.”

The first secret is to discover what they did and simply follow it.  Replicate their system (with obvious customization to your situation).  A system is a repeatable series of actions.  It means they can be copied, implemented and mastered. Burg sums it up by referencing Michael Gerber, author of “The E-Myth,”

 “Systems permit ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results predictably.  However, without a system, even extraordinary people find it difficult to predictably achieve even ordinary results.” 

Okay … so what does that mean to you?

It means doing some homework. Seek out those who are very successful. Bob calls this O.P.E. – Other People’s Experience.  Maybe it’s the top rep in your company.  Perhaps it’s someone you know who is successful in a field similar to yours.  Find a coach or mentor you respect and pick their brain.  Scan the web.  Look for authorities.  Read their stuff.  Find out precisely what they do. If it resonates with you then model it.  Duplicate what they do. Hijack the process. Don’t re-invent the wheel. I sure as heck don’t.

Secret #2: Implement it immediately

When you’ve found your ‘system’ take action; apply it immediately.  Avoid the tendency to ‘wait for the right moment.’  Don’t procrastinate. Don’t wait until next week or the start of the new sales month or quarter. You know you’ll never do it. Dive in. Hunker down.

Why is it that we tend to delay implementing new ideas?

Basically there are three reasons. First, there’s the fear we’ll fail or look silly or be rejected or whatever.  Second, there’s the issue of time. It takes time to master; time that we think we don’t have or can’t afford.  Third, there’s the ‘change factor.’  We resist change because change is awkward and uncomfortable.  Our natural tendency is to avoid it.

I get all that.  I feel these things myself.  But at the end of the day ask yourself, “Do I want to improve (be more successful) or not?”

Hey, if you’re happy with where you are and what you are achieving then don’t DO anything.  But don’t complain either.  But if you want to further succeed then the price you pay is facing your fear, finding the time and dealing with the discomfort of change.

Secret #3: Stick to it

Think of diets.  Follow the diet and you will inevitably lose weight. Admittedly, it can be tough but when you DO follow it, pounds fall off.  And of course, the moment you stray from the ‘system’ of the diet is the moment you fall back into old habits and regain the weight.

The same is true with your tele-sales success formula.  You need to stick to it; persevere; carry on; stick to it. Sure you’ll stumble and fall.  Just get back up. Start again. Build your discipline. You WILL get stronger.  And you WILL succeed.

Here’s the single biggest challenge you’ll face: quitting. Quitting is just so dang easy to do (go here http://www.telesalesmaster.com/1375/motivation/ for more on this topic).  You need to fight that.  That’s why desire and drive are so important.  You have to WANT to succeed if you’re going to succeed.  Lip service ain’t going to cut it.


There you have it. In less than 700 words I have given the formula to becoming more successful in tele-sales.  It’s so incredibly simple, isn’t it? But it’s not fluff or hype. It works.  It really, really works.  Start your success journey today.

And be sure to visit Bob Burg’s website at www.thesuccessformula.com 

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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.


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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7 “Positive” Reasons Why Your Voice Mail Messages Are Not Being Returned

Do you get discouraged when your voice mail messages are not returned?

Most reps do and they beat themselves up about it.  They convince themselves that the prospects doesn’t care; or that they asked for a quote or proposal because they wanted to get rid of the telephone rep; or that they’ve gone with a competitor who had a better price etc.

It gets so easy to convince yourself that your calls are not being returned for negative reasons that it becomes nearly impossible to pick up the phone and make another attempt.  It gets far easier to quit rather than persist.  But what if all those negative things aren’t happening?  What if your prospect is positive about you and your company/products?  What if something has happened?

Here are just 7 “positive” reasons why your calls might not have been returned and why you should continue to follow up.

1. Your Messages Were Not Received

What if your message wasn’t received because there was some technical error? What if your client has lost his access code and can’t retrieve your message?  What if there was a problem with the voice mail system?  If you think that the message was not received you’ll be more inclined to make another attempt or two.

2. Your Prospect Simply Forgets

You know what? People forget.  Things come up. Minor or major emergencies crop up. Your call drops down the list. Maybe your prospect had every good intention and simply forgot. They’re human after all.

3. Your Message Was Confusing /Convoluted

To me there is nothing worse than a long rambling message.  Most prospects won’t listen to your entire saga of a message and consequently will miss or ignore your request for a call back.  Did you make your message ‘listener friendly?”  If not, call again.

4. You Delivered Your Phone Number so Fast the Prospect Didn’t Catch it

Early last week I had a message from an individual who might be interested in my training services or who might be trying to sell me something.  The message was vague but intriguing and I couldn’t really tell.   The only trouble is I cannot figure out the phone number.  She recited it so fast, so slick and so garbled that I cannot get all the digits despite listening to it several times.  I can’t call her and I haven’t received a follow up call.  She’s probably convinced herself that I’m not interested.  Too bad, because I am.

5. You or Your Prospect Inverted Your Phone Number

I think I am slightly dyslexic.  More times than I would like to admit I have inverted a number or two or three.  Maybe you inverted a number.  Or more likely, maybe your prospect inverted a number when they jot it down.  They called you back and discovered they had the wrong number.  Things like this happen.  So, call and leave another message.

6. Your Prospect  Expects You to Persist

Some prospects don’t make return calls for umpteen reasons. They expect you to do it. If you want their business you need to earn it the old fashion way: with a little effort.  Apply the effort a few more times. Impress them with your keen follow up.

7. Your Prospect is Swamped

Most prospects aren’t sitting back and doing nothing.  They’re busy.  The have a lot on their plate. They haven’t forgotten you they simply have more pressing issues.  They have prioritized their day. Nothing personal, simply business.  So that means you might have to push the envelope a little more and little harder.


There you have it: 7 ‘positive’ reasons why your prospect hasn’t called you back.  There is nothing nefarious behind their failure to call back but rather legitimate and benign reasons.  If you think that way, you’ll be more inclined to pursue the prospect. So pick up the phone and try again.

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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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Rejection is Not Failure

When a prospect is rude or abruptly terminates the call or says ‘no’ to your offer, do you feel rejected?

Most reps do.  It is a natural reaction.  But it should only be a short term, momentary thing.  You cannot let it consume you because if you do, you’ll stop doing the things that will build your business and increase your sales. If you let rejection overcome you, you WILL fail.Rejection is not failure. Failure is quitting -Rick Castle

So let’s talk about getting a grip on rejection; about getting additional perspective. Last  week I watched an episode of “Castle” on ABC and while it’s’ basically a light hearted mystery/comedy series, it featured two profound message for sales reps.

In the episode, Castle’s daughter, Alexis, received a rejection letter from Stanford University.  She was absolutely devastated. Her world was ‘at an end’ and ultimately lamented that she was a failure.  She was ready to throw in the towel; give up; quit.  If you’re in sales, you could feel for Alexis and her angst.

Meanwhile, Castle, a successful mystery writer that works with the NYPD solving murder mysteries, tries to help is daughter by giving her a couple of profound thoughts on rejection.

Profound Thought #1: Rejection is Not Failure

Castle says to Alexis, “Rejection is not failure.”

This is a remarkably astute insight particularly for those of us in sales.  Being rejected by a prospect  does not mean YOU failed.  It means the prospect chose not to answer your questions or listen to your presentation or to buy your product or to set an appointment.   The prospect did not reject YOU.  They rejected your business offer for their own reasons.  So while your call objective may not have succeeded, you did not fail. By definition, then, you are not a failure.

Profound Thought #2: Failure is Quitting

Castle then provided a second profound thought.  He said, “Failure is quitting.”

I think he nailed it on this one.  He was saying to Alexis that if she stopped submitting applications to universities simply because Stanford rejected her, then she WAS a failure. Failure is when you don’t give it another shot; when you don’t pick up the phone and make those tough cold calls after you’ve heard ‘no’ a dozen time.   Failure is when you quit or quit too soon.  Failure is a lack of persistence.

Castle tells his daughter that he was rejected 20 times by publishers before his first novel was published (and became an instant success and a millionaire). In fact, he even had his first rejection letter framed and hung on his wall so that he would never forget that success is about  perseverance;  about hanging in there and going the distance.

Sure, the show is fictional but Castle’s message is superb.  Being rejected doesn’t mean YOU are a failure. You’re only a failure when you stop doing the tough things that will bring you success.

Don’t quit.

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How Many Times Should You Make a Follow Up Call?

Answer: how long is a piece of string?

A piece of string is as long as you cut it. Follow up calls are as long and as many as you make them.  To be effective and successful in following up leads, you need to know when to cut the string. You need to know when to cut it short or when to cut it long.

Too Short

Bottom line? Most sales reps cut their string far too short.

Far, far too short.

They give up far too easily.

I have seen several studies that indicate that any where from 68% to 87% of sales reps give up after their first attempt. I believe it.  Let’s round it off a bit and split the difference and say 80% of sales reps quite after one follow up attempt. One!


On single, solitary attempt.

Too Long

Opposite extreme: can there be such a thing as too many follow up calls?  Can there be strings that are cut too long?

Ya, you betcha there can.

Let’s clear something up right here and now.  There are those out there who talk about persistence and how it is the key to getting the sale. They advocate follow up until the prospect says no.

That’s a load of bull.

Two points:

First of all, it can annoy…gravely annoy your prospect. Far from admiring your pigheaded persistence, you will anger them. You will NOT endear yourself to them. Trust me.

Second, and maybe this is more important, making a series of follow up calls is a waste of time. If I were a sales manager, it would scare the wits out of me if I found a sales rep making ten or twelve follow up calls to each of his prospects.   I would seriously question their common sense.

Granted persistence to the degree I am talking about can pay off. But the number of times you convert the lead is simply not worth the “opportunity cost.” The opportunity cost refers to all the opportunities you forfeited while attempting to call a client who is clearly not interested.

The Magic Number for Follow Up Calls – The Rule of 4

So now we’ve put bookends on the issue and bracketed the string.  So what’s the magic number?

I call it: The Rule of Four.





You make four follow up calls.


  • Because as many as 90% of  sales reps give up after one call.
  • Because about 95-97% of sales reps give up after the second call.
  • Because four is a manageable number.
  • Because four is persistent without being a pain
  • Because precious few (the “vital few”) make four calls
  • Because it can pay off

That’s why.

4 X  3 Timing

Your follow up ‘string’ is all a matter of timing. It is not just making four calls, it is knowing how far to space those calls apart.

Here’s the formula.

You make four calls and space them 3 business days apart from each other.  So if you call  Thursday.  If you haven’t heard from the prospect you make your next call on the following Tuesday and then again on the Friday. Use some sort of planning system – calendar, Outlook, Goldmine…whatever- to schedule the calls.

Why three days?

Because three days gives your prospect enough time to make a call back.  Three days also displays persistence without being overly annoying.  It’s a simple as that.

Exception to the Rule of 4

Are there exceptions?

Of course there are!  If you have spoken with a prospect and it looks like a possible lead, you may want to persist in your follow up…make your string of contacts longer. But you can do so with other mediums to show persistence with some variance (see Volume 3 Issues 25 and 26).  This lessens the annoyance factor. But remember to spread your contacts out.  A daily call or two is the kiss of death.


There are far too many short strings out there.  Manage your string and watch your sales grow.

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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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