Tag Archives: sales training

Killing Time Wasters

Sales professionals in multiple industries ask me all the time about what they can do to avoid time wasters. If you could find more time to increase prime time selling hours, wouldn’t you make more money and increase your job joy? The biggest struggle for most sales people is the “chase” and constant follow up. Follow up is important but following up with your right audience is time well spent yet the others should never have been included in your pipeline.

There is a big difference between pipeline and pipe dream!

Here is the biggest time waster which you have complete control over.

Qualifying prospects

This is a hot topic for me and so many others that train sales professionals. If you qualified clients before you invested all your time into a potential client like the Mortgage Industry and Automobile Industry, you would know if the time you are going to invest into that client will be well spent. You wouldn’t sell a $2.5 million dollar home to a single man or woman who makes $30k a year, right? or you wouldn’t extend credit to someone with a FICO of 500 or someone who has a history of late payments, right? Selling in today’s market is all about identifying your target audience whether you are running ads on Google, Facebook; etc. or even if you are generating leads the traditional way of cold calling over the phone or in person. Sometimes as sales professionals we are just fishing for anyone to take the bait and bite, we spend all that time reeling the big catch in and then after fighting tooth and nail to pull it in, they bite the line and escape. If you ever gone fishing and have been through this experience, it’s one of the worse. Ask me about my fight with a 20lb. rainbow that took me an hour to reel in just to watch it swim away 3 ft. from my hands. Qualify like your life depended on it and you’ll see first hand, you’ll increase your selling time and prevent the headaches and heartbreaks.

Follow Up or Fall Out

Now that you qualified your potential clients, the ones that have not bought your products or service fall into your follow up file. What is your game plan when following up with prospects? Do you have a timeline goal to close these deals? What plan do you have in place for each follow-up call? Each follow up call should progress to the close not an attempt to close each time you follow up. The client who doesn’t buy on the initial call needs to be courted through different touch points. Have a strategy put into place and execute with precision. Maybe your first follow-up touch point will be an email or text with a link to  your strongest testimonial, video or newsletter or maybe it will be an exclusive offer. The whole concept of follow up or fall out is you either get them closer to the close or you push them out of your priority list. 

Implement these two steps and you will notice a difference in the amount of selling time you now have to generate more leads, more business and more commissions. 

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Stop, Drop and Roll

You are a master of closing, sell with a silk tongue and you are Mr. Personality. You know how to close but for some reason you’re hitting a wall lately or maybe you are just getting into the sales profession and you are searching for that Platinum process that will guarantee you sales and graduate you into the rankings of a Proven Closer. The sales call is catching fire and you are stuck right in the middle of a burning inferno with walls collapsing, beams falling and the smoke is building all around you. It’s getting really hot, really quick so what should you do?

 

Just as you were taught as a kid in elementary school…you need to stop, drop and roll. You might be asking yourself what is this technique? I’ve been in sales for decades and I have never heard about this. Well, I’m going to shed some light on this technique so you can start applying it right away.

 

STOP! 

The first rule of thumb in sales is the client should be doing majority of the talking. How can you sell a client on a product or service you offer if you don’t know what the client needs. This subject is a little controversial but the rule is 80/20. The sales associate should only be doing 20% of the talking and 80% listening. If you find yourself talking too much, the odds are greatly stacked against you because first off, you will come across as someone who is in it just for the sale and also you may come across desperate. I understand, you as a sales professional you’re objective is to close the sale and when you walk in the door, the client knows your a sales person but that doesn’t mean you’ll close the deal. Keep in mind, people don’t care what you know, until they know how much you care! Everybody wants to buy a product or service from a desperate sales person, right? Never! No! Incorrect! Clients can smell desperation off your collar. No one wants to deal with a thirsty sales rep so quench that thirst before going in.

DROP.

Once you gained your composure and you stopped screaming “fire” it’s time to drop. Drop what? Drop some of the most thought provoking questions that your client needs to answer that will lead to the close. I’ve been in sales over 20 years and I have learned that the better and more structured the questions are in regards to their business, the greater odds are in your favor. Asking the right questions about what’s important to them is key in probing and needs based selling. 

Here are some examples of questions I’ve used in my Industry:

  • If you could put together the ideal marketing program together for your business, what would it look like and what would you’re expectations be?
  • What keeps you up at night?
  • What have you done in the past and what were the results?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with your current marketing efforts?
  • Would you rather be relevant, competitive or dominant in your market?

By asking the right questions, you now set yourself up for the final piece of this technique!

 

ROLL!

Now it’s time to roll your clients directly into the close. You stopped throwing up on your client, you gained your composure and starting asking thought provoking questions so it only makes sense to provide the best solution for your client and their needs. This is where you as the sales rep let the client know, “based off of what you said earlier about how you wanted to X and Y, you also said one of the most important focuses of your business is Z, this is what the best recommendation would be. 

 

Sometimes, even the best sales professionals lose their way. Stop, Drop and Roll your way to the close! Happy selling and much success!

 

 

Feel, Felt, Found Technique

Objections are a given on any sales call in any sales profession but it’s how you overcome them that matters the most. Which technique do you use to get the client to give you the okay to move forward and close them? One of the oldest techniques taught by all the sales coaches and trainers is the FEEL, FELT, FOUND technique. This technique has been used by millions of sales professionals across the globe and even though it’s a classic by putting a modern spin on this technique, not only will it flow better but business owners won’t pick up on it as a sales technique.

OBJECTION

“It sounds good and all but I really can’t justify spending $2000 on your product. Money is tight right now and I have to be wise where my budget is spent.”

FEEL

John, I totally get where you’re coming from. Being a small business it’s crucial to make good business decisions…

FELT

It’s a common concern from business owners I speak to on a daily basis. Just a few days ago, I was talking to Carl from ABC company. I had recommended one of our larger programs that start at a $3500 investment and he was a bit taken back by the investment because he had a few other priorities that he needed to think about…

FOUND

But, after going over his potential ROI and sharing some of our client testimonials, he realized that the product we are offering to businesses like his and yours which is similar, he would easily make his investment back with only 2 jobs! He moved forward with our larger program and now he’s glad he did. 

Many sales people deliver the feel, felt, found technique as it is rather than using it as a foundation to build on. The next time you are on a sales call and you encounter those objections, try it out. 

Belief Breeds Buyers

Whether you are interested in getting into sales, you just started in the sales industry or you’ve been in the industry for a very long time…one of the greatest sales qualities you could ever possess in any sales industry would be belief in your product, belief in the value it provides to your clients and belief in your company or organization. Without belief you are just a solicitor annoying every business owner you come across. How can you possible convince a business owner to buy into your product or services if you can’t buy into your own product or service? There is the Law of Transference which says your emotional state can be transferred to another person. So if you lack belief or conviction, everyone you come across will feel the same way. This is one law or rule you cannot fake.

You see belief is more than being educated on a product or service, belief is having passion and conviction about the value that your product or services brings to the marketplace. Business owners not only deserve but they expect the best of what you have to bring. If you are not bringing your A game then you’re better off not meeting with business owners. I have witnessed first hand, clients that were sold by the result of a half-ass sales presentation by an unbelieving sales professional and even though the original sale was made, it was soon cancelled which not only frustrated the client but the rep was frustrated and I was frustrated. In most industries if you lose a client through bad service whether misrepresenting the company, over promising and under delivering or just flat out not selling the product correctly, it takes years for you to regain that specific clients interest ever again even if you sell a different product at a later date. So is it worth it? Due to the amount of competition in the market the person who has the deepest understanding and greater product knowledge will normally have a greater influence on the client or potential client. Belief is powerful and it makes you an authority in your field.

I’ll take people who have conviction and belief in what they do and their product any day over someone who is talented as crazy as that sounds. I’ve built many sales teams in different sales organizations and the sales professionals who experienced long term success were the ones who zeroed in on learning the product, being sold on it and delivering it with passion. If you hit are experiencing challenges on a sales call, try recording your sales presentation and see how believable it is. Would you buy from you?

Power of A Portfolio

Have you ever been in front of a client and everything is going well. The conversation is flowing, the client is engaged and then the question comes out from your client’s mouth…Who have you worked with and do you have any references I can call right now? Um, yeah of course I do. Then you open up your laptop and start browsing through your files hoping to stumble across that forgotten testimonial that’s been buried by your natural talent and charm! Think about when you were interviewing for that dream job you were gunning for. You knew there would be other sales professionals competing for the same position so you not only dressed to the nines but you also brought a “brag book” with you to highlight your superb customer service, your awards, personal references and more. Why? You did it to prove that you are who you say you are. It’s more than talking a big game, it’s all about the proof in the pudding.

Keep in mind businesses don’t want to take a gamble on what you have to say about your company, your product and the results you say they could possibly get from your product or services because number one, business owners are a lot more educated and savvy about what their needs are and being that we are in the age of DIY, they can educate themselves watching Youtube videos and get a better understanding of what they are looking for. This means that in order for you to really deliver the client with a value proposition, make sure you offer them a piece of mind or an insurance policy which is your portfolio of businesses you have dealt with in the past.

What Should Be In Your Portfolio?

In my 23 years in sales, I have seen some amazing portfolios and then I’ve seen some…not so amazing ones.

The first thing to consider is think about the objections in your industry that you come across the most. Portfolios are another great way to put another layer of paint on how you overcome objections because it removes the perception of what the customer thinks about you. They know you are taught how to overcome objections, speak with a silver tongue and you posses a certain skill set. This gives them a piece of mind to actually read a letter or see a video of a satisfied client if you are using a digital portfolio and it helps to drop their guard because they tend to trust other business owners over the sales rep.

The second feature you should have in your portfolio are character references that clearly explain why a prospect decided to do business with you. The importance of this is because your clients that you sign up will be working directly with you which means give them an idea of who they are going to be dealing with and the support they can expect to receive as long as they remain clients. People buy from people they like!

Finally, include businesses that will speak on your behalf. You should always have a handful of current clients that any potential client could call or email and are willing to give a snapshot of who you are and the service they are receiving currently. This is without a doubt the most powerful component in your portfolio. If you aren’t currently doing this then you are missing the boat. Think of how many businesses in your pipeline would close if they heard from so and so about the results your product or service is producing.

Keep in mind, every potential prospect that give you their time…there is interest to some degree which means you better treat that appointment as if it was your only chance to win them over. I don’t care how good you are at following up because if the client loses interest then it doesn’t matter how many touches you make. Your greatest chance of closing a deal will happen when they are emotionally compelled to make a decision and logically it makes sense. Put together a powerful portfolio and see how many more closes you make every month. This is a proven system that will improve your results.

3 Keys To Success

Why do most people just make it in their sales career and not succeed? There are three main reasons why sales professionals don’t make it to the top 5% of the sales rankings. Have you ever done an inventory check on your own career to see if you are doing these three things and doing them consistently?

  • Always Be Cultivating- Some of the best of the best consistently cultivate. No matter how busy they may be or how good things may be going at that time, they always make prospecting for new business a priority. Prospecting is not seasonal nor is it something to do when you are bored or business is slow. You may have a full pipeline in the works or maybe you are an account manager and you are responsible for managing millions of dollars in revenue but at some point you will need to replace those accounts or clients. There is something called client retention and new business acquisition and most companies put a higher value on new accounts. This is how their business grows and this is how your personal book of business grows. If you are putting new business prospecting on the shelf then you are willing setting yourself up for failure. You’re playing sales roulette. You need to always till the top, turn the dirt and keep planting the seeds. Remember what brought you to the place where you’re at in the first place.
  • Don’t Be a Busy Body- There is a big misconception between being busy and being productive. The best example I can give is the difference between a car being in neutral and in drive. The car is still on in neutral but it’s not going anywhere unless you put the gear into drive. This is the same for anyone who is in sales. Some sales people think that busy is a good quality to possess until they realize that their results don’t represent the work they put into it. What does this mean? This means that you need to “clean out the closet” and look at your time wasters. This reminds me of a sales rep that used to work for me. Everyday, he would come into the office with a stack full of business cards and he would sit there at his desk shuffling through these business cards, staring at them and putting them in alphabetical order…believe it or not. Everyone would egg him on asking who he had in the pipeline. He came into my office one evening and told me he had some great news he wanted to share with me. I was sitting right across from him as he pulls out what must have been 20 pages of leads filled from the top of the page to the bottom. He let me know that his pipeline was growing and he now had 300 hot leads that he was working on. What came next was as Oprah says was an Ah…Ha moment. I asked him to bring in his business cards so we could review his pipeline. His pipeline was a pipe dream and it was a commission robber and time-stealer. I took his business cards and inserted them into the circular file and showed him why i did that. He was average far below the average rep and was sitting in the bottom 25% of the rankings for sales reps. He had not made a commission check in the last month so after realizing how much time he was wasting on busy work…he identified prospects that he had met with twice in the last couple of months and targeted those leads. We met on a Monday and by Friday he had doubled his productivity than the month prior.
  • Yearn to Learn (Reading, Seminars, Audio books)-When was the last time you picked up a book, invested into a sales seminar or listened to an audio book that challenged the way you thought, worked and helped you to sharpen your skill set? If you aren’t growing then you’re dying. Some of the best of the best out there today, even as successful as they may be still invest into themselves. Learn how to critique yourself on a monthly basis. Identify how many prospects did you reach out to, how many thought provoking conversations did you have and what percentage of those turned into clients. Are you consistently increasing your earnings on a monthly basis or are you experiencing the ups and downs. You can only learn so much by doing the work…and why do I say that? Most of us who are in sales will learn through first hand experience but because we all have our limitations and we only know so much, you become your own ceiling and limit your earning opportunity. You need to desire continued learning and education and I don’t mean going to school, I mean the resources that are out there for any of us to utilize. Whether it’s a book, a seminar, audio books, researching online or watching videos on Youtube…the more time you invest in yourself, the better you will become and the more money you will end up making.

Apply these 3 keys to success and you will see the difference in your level of success. The beauty about sales is the ability to dictate your own earnings and you earn what you’re worth. Make the most out of the opportunity you’ve created for yourself and you will have a long-term career in sales.

Always Be Closing

Some of the best and most effective closers understand that the close is not come at the end of a sales call. We all have been taught in some form of fashion that a sale starts with prospecting, qualifying, introduction, needs assessment, reinstate and close. This is a great blueprint for sales professionals in any industry but this is a stock sample. The first lesson in sales that I was ever taught that has been the foundation that I’ve built my career around is the sales scripture, “sales is an emotional decision backed up by logic!” Regardless if you are acquiring clients online or offline, this very rule applies today and will always be relevant in the future. Every sales professional has seen Glenngary Glenn Ross, Always Be Closing…You Close or you HIT the Bricks! The truth about that term is so true but you need to understand that Always be Closing should be taken one step further which is always be closing throughout the sales cycle!

There is nothing worse than spending hours with a potential client going through your spiel and when you get the end for the grand finale…nothing happens. Empty face from your prospect leaving you no direction to go. You are fishing out objections so you can overcome them but nothing you say or do will sway the client into conducting business with you. As good as we may be, every sales professional throughout their career will experience this awkward moment. How do you prevent yourself from running into the wall? Well…it’s called test closing!

Where and when do you begin using test closing? From the beginning of every sales cycle! Keep in mind, in the beginning of the sales cycle your prospect is the most “curious” about how your solution whether product or service can solve his need or else he/she wouldn’t be sitting there with you in the first place. So strike while the iron is hot and I’m not saying tell them to sign the agreement. What I mean by this is ask questions geared towards bringing out the pain of why they are where they are. This is the emotion you begin to reel out because as stated before a “sale” is an emotional decision backed up by logic. Once you get them to that emotional level, you can begin to tie it in with reinstating where they are, why they’re there and what you can do to help them change their situation. Questions I normally ask in my industry is, “When did you notice the drop in business and what do you think was the cause of this?” After the client addresses the question, you are able to reinstate the question with getting their buy in or using a test close such as “So, you noticed the drop in business about six months ago when your phone stop ringing and you think it’s due to some of the poor reviews that showed up online as well as you cutting your advertising budget by 50% is that correct? So, in order for you to prevent experiencing times like this again in the future, you agree it’s important to identify the real issue at hand by taking a look at your previous advertising campaigns, study the analytics and address the negative reviews online ? The prospect agrees to it which is another “Yes” which builds and supports your solution.

Once you get a few of those, you are in the clear to assume the sale and finalize the transaction. As long as you focus a majority of your sales call on asking qualifying questions and revealing “pain points” you will increase your closing ratio and avoid wasting your time and the prospects time by not bridging his needs with your solutions. Clients sell themselves first even if you think it’s you that sells them. So the next time you are in front of your prospect…test the waters early in the sales cycle.