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Archive for the ‘Sales’ Category

Sales Prospecting

A dreaded thing for many a sales person. Why? Does it need to be? I think not.

The Problem

Too many sales people view prospecting as work. I once read a fellows definition of work, “Anything you do when you’d rather be doing something else.” Can’t remember where I read it, but it stuck with me. Why? BAD ATTITUDE!

There are Other Ways

If your attitude stinks, what do you think will happen during your day? Will it be a good day, or a bad one? We often decide what our day will be like before it even starts. What to do? Change your view.

Quit Working

Quit working? That’s right, quit it! Now I didn’t say quit your job, but I am saying stop working. If you think sales prospecting is something you do when you’d rather be doing something else, you’re forgetting why you’re in sales in the first place; to help people.

Find the Joy

Sales prospecting should be fun! It should be exciting! It should be helpful! It’s about people. Will you sell everyone you talk to? No. But does that mean you need to get down in the dumps because a sale didn’t happen or someone was rude? Did you enjoy the interaction? You won’t always, but many times you will. Did you learn something? Did you laugh? See where I’m going? Sales will come naturally to you if you’re honest, likable, compassionate, and you put others first. Genuine interaction will lead to this if a true need is there. So relax. Have fun. Don’t take the process of sales prospecting so seriously. Look to build a collection of relationships instead of a collection of notches on your bed post. View it as a time to meet people, interact with them, and get to know them. Make prospecting a hobby. Something you do for fun, not work.

Image: marchbox

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Is it? Is your story alluring? Does it beguile, bewitch, or enthrall? Is it fascinating, engaging, maybe even mesmerizing? No? It can be…it’s all in how you tell it.

I was thinking about the TV show This American Life the other day and remembered an interview of Ira Glass, the host of the show. It was an excellent interview that spoke to the importance of not just telling a story, but telling it well and telling it with a rhythm that holds the audience and makes them want to discover the meaning of the message.

When I thought of this interview it made me think of Bobby Rettew, a good friend and a great videograpther. Every time I’m with Bobby he tells me, “It’s all about the story. You have to ask the question, ‘what’s your story,’ and then tell that story in a way that engages.” It sounds simple enough doesn’t it? It is…it’s just not easy to do.

If you feel the story you use to describe yourself or your business falls short of the adjectives listed in the first paragraph of this post, watch the interview of Ira Glass below. It’s packed with good advice and it’s only 5 minutes long. If you want more, visit Bobby’s Blog, read up and then connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. He has links to these sites on his blog. He’s a smart guy and you’ll find he’s very helpful.

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No Can Be Your Friend

The word “no” can be your friend! One of my favorite books on the subject of no is Go for No. It touches on points I’ve been teaching my students for years!

If you’ve trained with me, or if you’ve been to one of my marketing seminars, you’ve heard me say, “When someone tells you no, smile and ask for a referral to 3 or 4 more people that will tell you no, because you need 3 or 4 more people to tell you no before you get to a yes!”

This book takes you one step further. It tells you to go for no to get MORE yeses!!!! You see, too many people go for yeses. Once I get to their quota of yeses they stop. What Go for No teaches is not to stop until you get to your “no” quota, not your “yes” quota. This is great advice and something every salesperson should read! Pick up a copy from Amazon.com or see if your local book store can order one for you.

Want a little taste of what you’ll learn, check out this video:

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Your Sales Pipeline


Some call it a funnel and some call it a pipeline. Either way I’m talking about putting potential customers in one end with the hope they will come out the other side as a sale.

Selling is not a perfect business. There is emotion, fear, desire, and need involved. People buy for many different reasons. It would be nice if we could just walk up to a customer, show them our product and they write a check. Does it happen? Sure! Just not very often!

Instead of looking at sales as a one time thing, we need to look at selling as a process. Similar to how a farmer sows seeds into a field, you need to sow an interest in your products into your customers. Not every seed will sprout, just like some of your customers won’t be interested in what you sell. That’s why farmers sow so many seeds, they expect a percentage to fail.

Every time you show your products to a potential customer, they start to travel down your sales pipeline. Some slide right through and buy right away, some won’t even consider going in the pipe and others meander down the pipe as they make their decision.

It often takes time for your customer to get to the end of your pipe. It could take days, it could take weeks. It doesn’t matter! The point is to keep the pipeline full.

So how can you feed the people in your pipeline so they don’t turn and walk out the way they came in? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Thank you cards. When someone shows interest in one of your products, but doesn’t buy, send them a nice thank you card for considering what you’re selling and let them know you will follow up at a later date, or offer a buying incentive. (so much off, free case, something like that)

2. If it’s a trusted customer, offer to leave the product with them to test for a few days. This is called the “Puppy Dog Close”. Once you get it in their hand and they get used to using it, they’ll want to keep it.

3. Be sure to mention the product each time you see the customer. This is not being pushy. This simply gives them another opportunity to buy. Remember! We live in a busy world. We all need reminders from time-to-time.

Since I specialize in training sharpeners, while on the road, I take some time and ride with a few of my students when I can. Almost all the shear sales I see them make are not impulse buys, but the result of sowing interest in the shear over time.

How do you keep guiding customers into your pipeline? Well for starters, be sure your customers know you sell shears and/or other products. Then be sure you have some to show! You can’t sell from an empty wagon and people like to touch and feel before they buy. Give them something to touch and feel!

One thing is certain, your customers will buy what you’re selling from somebody. If you take the time to show them what you have, and remind them of it, they will eventually buy from you!

Image: saleslogistix.com/services/Pipeline – SalesLogistix is a consultancy focused on implementing the most complete and usable SFA / CRM systems. They provide advisory and services for any SFA system, implement / extend Salesforce.com, develop custom Salesforce applications, and sell add-on products for Salesforce.com users.

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I Can’t

I hear it a lot…

I can’t sell well, I’m not a natural born salesman.
I can’t break into a new territory, someone else has it all sewn up.
I can’t sell these new products, I don’t know anything about them.
I can’t make money in this business, their isn’t enough work out there…

Then I see a guy like this…

Seems to me that some people don’t know the meaning of the word can’t. Think of him the next time you think you can’t do something.

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Close a Sale Like a Kid

My youngest son Aidan (5) has been on an Indiana Jones kick as of late. In fact, it’s pretty much all he talks about. He’s seen one of the movies (under heavy supervision by mom and dad), he plays the Lego online Indiana Jones game and he’s even put together his own version of an Indiana Jones Outfit.

His latest acquisition is a little Lego Indiana Jones figure. Charles, my oldest son Ian’s (11) friend, let him “borrow” it. Aidan was elated! But it wasn’t long before the time to return the figure started to draw near, so Aidan started coming up with a plan to talk Charles into letting him keep the figure longer.

He started reasoning with his brother that Charles had plenty of these figures and should let Aidan “take care” of this one a little longer. Ian wouldn’t bite.

Aidan then moved on to his sister Mia (8). He figured she might be able to work her feminine wiles on Charles and get her to convince him to let Aidan keep Indy. Mia was repulsed!

Well the day to return Indy finally came. Aidan realized he wouldn’t be able to elicit any help from him siblings, so he hitched up his britches, walked up to Charles and asked a simple question, “Charles, may I keep Indiana Jones a little longer?” Do you know what Charles said? “Sure Aidan, you can keep him a while longer.” I’m willing to bet Aidan will ask for another extension and that eventually, Lego Indy will be a permanent part of the O’Donnell household. We shall see.

So what is the point of all of this? Aidan asked. It would have been easier for him to just assume Charles would say no, return Indy to him and go home, but he asked. Did you know more sales are lost because salespeople don’t ask for the sale than any other reason? When you have an opportunity to sell something to one of your customers, don’t just hand it to them and hope they will buy. Ask for the sale! The worst they can do is say no. What do you do when they say no? Well that’s a topic for another post.

Lego Indy Image: gazraa

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Yesterday I shared a post Mike Dandridge wrote about customer service and an article Jeffrey Gitomer wrote about the same. Mike wrote about first impressions and Jeffrey wrote about how good service is hard to find. Well I’m happy to say I had the opposite experience today.

I had a morning meeting in Greenville, SC today. We met at a hip little Coffee Shop called Coffee Underground. When I stepped up to order I didn’t know what I wanted. The young lady behind the counter made some excellent suggestions, so I told her to go for it. I asked her to include what my friend was having on my bill. She looked up, called him out by name (he frequents the place) and asked if he’d have his usual. Less than a minute later we had our order and this time I was called by name. Cool!

After my meeting I went to see my website provider. I had some questions, and since I was in the area I figured I’d just drop in and see if they could help. My contact dropped what he was doing and walked me into the conference room. When I told him what I needed, he said he could show me some stuff right then, but it would be better if we set up an online training date so he could have a team put together to help me. He also said that they would record the training, burn it to a CD and send it to me so I could reference it in the future. Wow! I told him I’d call him later to set up the appointment and moved on.

My next stop was my customs broker. My brother-in-law lives in China and he’s starting an export business. He was looking for some contact info. She got me what I needed and had me in and out in ten minutes. Fast and friendly!

My final stop was the bank. I used to hate going to this bank because the teller was detached and I always felt like I was an interruption instead of a customer. I guess they fired the old teller because there’s a new fellow working the drive-through and he’s dynamite. I actually look forward to going to the bank now and all he does is smile, calls me by name and says thank you. Real hard huh!?

As you can see, none of these things took a lot of time, but all of them made an impression. I know this is an overused cliche, but it really is the little things that mean a lot. What little things are you and your company doing to make a good impression on your customers?

Image: CustomersRock

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