How to communicate

Connecting with prospects on follow-up is becoming harder and harder. In the past we only had one ore two ways to communicate. You either called the prospect or visited them in person. There was no email. Twitter was a figment of Mark Zuckerberg’ imagination. There was no video chat, no text messages, InMail or instant message. The world was a simpler place. Most everyone had a “secretary” who knew where your prospect was at all times and could tell you when the best time was to reach them. Now it is easier for the prospect to hide behind voice mail which did not involve the secretary lying about you being in a meeting. They can avoid your call because their phone tells them it is you calling. To make matters worse they are a moving target since they can be working from anywhere with there cell phone and fewer and fewer people have administrative assistance that keep track of them. In this environment following up with a prospect can be a nightmare. But there is a way out. The first time you talk to the prospect, all you have to do is ask them how they want you to communicate with them. It is that simple. Some people prefer text messages some prefer that you call their cell some prefer email. Ask them and then get an understanding as to when and how you should follow up. The question that I like is “Is there any trick to getting a hold of you?” When you ask that question directly they will give you the secret formula to getting them on the phone.

If you have a sales question you would like to discuss follow the link to schedule a call:
https://calendly.com/dancaramanico/callwithdan

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Desire must become an Expectation

Your expectation of the outcome of a sales call will most often dictate how successful the call will be. The reason is that you communicate your expectation through your body language and tonality. So, on any call, if you expect to get an answer to a question you will have a better chance of getting it than if you think there is no chance of getting an answer. In a slightly more macro perspective, if you expect the sales call to go well and you expect to close the deal you have a greatly increased probability of doing just that. This translates into your whole career and life. Those who expect to succeed generally do. Those who expect failure generally fail. The main lesson is that you can accelerate the process if you just expect to succeed before you actually have success. In this case the Chicken really does come before the egg. Expect to succeed and you will not be disappointed in the long run.

If you have a sales question you would like to discuss follow the link to schedule a call:
https://calendly.com/dancaramanico/callwithdan

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Make sure there is Urgency

Pain is not enough to get a sale. The prospect must also have some urgency to fix the pain. If you don’t know when the prospect needs the problem fixed, you have not really gotten the prospect to share a compelling reason to buy. You have just identified a problem. As any homeowner knows, there are many things that are annoying around a house and “need” to be fixed. But the average homeowner does not fix everything as soon as it becomes known that it is not exactly as it should be. You can tolerate a leaky faucet even though it is annoying, and it is costing you money. There is no urgency to fix that especially if you are not skilled with certain tools. However, if a pipe bursts and water is spewing everywhere, there is urgency to do something about it immediately. So, when you are on a sales call do not be satisfied with uncovering the problem or pain. Make sure you determine whether the prospect has enough urgency to solve the problem before you count it as qualified.

If you have a sales question you would like to discuss follow the link to schedule a call:
https://calendly.com/dancaramanico/callwithdan

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Don’t Give Up

Salespeople give up too soon when trying to connect with a prospect by phone. The latest research says that it takes 16 attempts to reach a prospect. Unfortunately, salespeople on average quit trying after 4 attempts. The problem is that 20 years ago when you could reach someone with 3 or 4 attempts on average the prospect was stationary. If they were working, they had to be in their office and had a phone on their desk and a gatekeeper trying to keep you from getting to them. A skilled salesperson could defeat the gatekeeper and get to the target prospect quite easily. However, the modern executive is mobile. They can work from anywhere and their phone tells them who is calling and with the push of a button they can ignore the call. Its hard to defeat that. We have many other ways to track them down in today’s world. We can message them on 3 or 4 different ways and we can connect via Linkedin etc. But telephone prospecting is not dead. It is still the way that you have the most control over. So the lesson is don’t give up. Keep trying. Take different angles of attack and eventually you will connect.

If you have a sales question you would like to discuss follow the link to schedule a call:
https://calendly.com/dancaramanico/callwithdan

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Reduce your Sales Goals to Activity Goals

Sales goals are good to have but they are not enough. The problem is that sales are not something you can commit to since you do not have control over closing a sale. However, what you do have control over is your activity. You can control picking up the phone or asking for a referral or going to a networking meeting. So, you must convert your sales goal into an activity goal. This is relatively easy if you have been tracking your activity since you have all the metrics. My unscientific eyeball average estimate is that fewer than 10% of sales people track their sales activity on day to day basis. If you are one of the 90% who don’t, you can still translate your sales goal into an activity goal by guessing at the conversion ratios. Then you start tracking your activity and you will soon know your ratios and you can adjust accordingly. The key idea here is to convert your sales goal into an activity goal and then hold yourself accountable to doing the activity. Do that and the sales will follow.

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Call Old Clients

Old clients can be hidden nuggets of gold in your database. Or they can become like ghosts … hidden and unseen. Be a ghost-buster. Call those old clients just to catch up. You don’t have to ask if they need to buy anything. Just catch-up on what is going on at the company. There will be personnel changes, changes processes, new products, etc. gathering information may yield some new pain that has arisen that you might be able to help with. This sales tip is not any more complicated than that. Call them. Talk to them. Stuff will happen. It is better than making cold calls and it is a great way to bust out of a slump and get the ball rolling again.

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Analyze Risk when you in a Selling Situation

Analyzing risk is an important element of assessing the prospects compelling reason to buy. It is often a negative factor meaning that the more risk there is from the client’s perspective the lower the possibility that they will buy from you. Risk is often a personal pain. Prospects may think “I can’t afford to make a mistake.” Or they may think that it “is wise to take the safe choice”. Many times, they will not know how to articulate the risk and they may not even be aware of their own fear. But the risk is there none the less. The job of the salesperson is to ask about it and force the discussion even if the prospect does not want to discuss it. So, the lesson is to analyze the risk yourself and get the prospect to discuss it even if the prospect tries to avoid it. And it goes without saying that sometimes the risk factor works in your favor, especially if you are the name brand or the incumbent. If that is the case you should be able to command a higher price … but that is the topic for another video.

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Effectiveness vs Efficiency

You can save time in sales by getting two decision makers in the room at the same time. That is much more efficient than seeing them one at a time. But it is not always the most effective way to handle a sales call. Suppose the two decision makers, both senior VP’s, are being considered for the position of CEO and you get them in a room to discuss your project which is a new software installation. Do you think either one of them will want to open up and tell you all the problems they are having with their rival sitting there listening to every word? I think not. What if I added the HR VP to the mix? In that case it is even less likely for them to open up. You are more likely to get posturing and platitudes than any true expression of the pain they might be in. I had it happen to me. The CEO was willing to move ahead with any training that either one of the VP’s felt they needed. He then called them both into his office together and asked them what they thought the biggest problem with their teams was. One of the VP’s asked if I could meet him privately and the other stated he had no problems that he could think of. The CEO then proceeded to say, “I’ll tell you what the problems are …” and listed several things the VP and his team were not doing. That VP pushed back and got into an argument with his CEO. He was so embarrassed he never wanted to see me again. That’s when the other VP asked to see me privately and he signed up for me to train him and his team. I learned my lesson and never let myself get in that position again.

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You Can’t Find Pain by Email

You can transmit information by email. You can answer a quick question which does not require a complicated answer by email. And you can even submit a proposal by email. But you can’t find pain by email. One of the primary reasons is that people are reluctant to admit to emotional issues in writing unless it is in a diary and most of those are not meant to be seen by anyone. Another reason email pain finding does not work is that you cannot read the tonality and the body language of the prospect in an email. You cannot see how the prospect reacts to tough questions in an email and you cannot be sure that the answer you get by return email was crafted by the author and not by a colleague they conferred with. You are limited by how much you can say (that the prospect will read) in an email and you cannot insert your own tonality into the words to either soften the delivery of a tough question or to imply assuredness or any other modifier to the words you transmit. There are many other reasons but those mentioned herein should be enough to get you to pick up the phone and call the prospect.

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Analyze your thought process

Thoughts you have reflect your beliefs. And Beliefs you have affect your success on sales calls. If you are thinking that “this sales call is not going to go well”, then, it probably won’t go well. The question I would ask is “why do you think the sales call will not go well”. Too many sales managers attack the wrong end of the problem when debriefing a sales call. They focus on what was said and not said and on what was done and not done on the call. What the sales manager should do is focus on the thought process of the salesperson which will uncover what the self-limiting belief of the salesperson was at the time of the call. Once the belief is corrected the right words will get said with the appropriate tonality. And the right actions will take place on the sales call. Salespeople who want to accelerate their growth should analyze their thought processes after the call for the very same reason. If you get your beliefs in line the words will take care of themselves.

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