SALES SECRETS Tips

Read these 37 SALES SECRETS Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Selling tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Get The Truth Out of Anyone

When talking with someone, did you ever get the feeling that they were not being 100 percent honest and upfront with you? While many people have felt this way, whether it's a business owner, manager, parent, co-worker, coach or consultant, I'm often told that they really don't know how to handle it.

Take a salesperson, for instance. Instead of confronting a potential customer about this innate concern, they take what this prospect says and try to do their best to work around it, even though they know that the prospect isn't telling them something.

Many salespeople feel they don't have an approach that would help in extracting the truth - the real truth - from a prospect. After all, what could you say? "Mr. Prospect, I think you're lying to me or not telling me everything." Certainly not an approach I would endorse. Aside from putting the prospect on the defensive, there's a good chance that this approach will destroy any chance of selling to this person.

How can you tell when there's something else a prospect may be holding back from you? Here are a few signs.

If you and your prospect established the desire and need for your product or service and:

They stop returning your calls. They are still reluctant to meeting with you.

You can't seem to move the sales process forward, even when they continue to say "yes" to you. For example: You schedule a meeting and the prospect keeps canceling it. They have a clear interest in your services and even request additional information but something always seems to get in the way of taking the next step.
If you have ever run into a situation like this, there is a strong chance that there's something else the prospect isn't telling you. Here's a great way to find out what's really going on.

Use Your Senses

If a prospect makes a statement that causes your spider senses to tingle, trust and listen to your instincts. Remember, sometimes the real objection is two to three questions deep. Here's an example of how you can respond when you're following up with them.

You: "Mr. Prospect, based on our initial meeting, is it safe to say that you can see the advantages as well as the ROI that you would realize from our services?"

Prospect: "Yes. I definitely see the benefits."

You: "We've been attempting to get together and discuss what would need to happen so that you can start enjoying these benefits, but it seems that something always gets in the way of our meeting. I know you're very busy, but I'm sensing there may be something else that's getting in the way of taking the next step toward working together. Is that true?"

Prospect: "Well, actually."

And now, let the truth be known! Whether he is scared to make the wrong decision, had a bad experience with another purchase, is reluctant to admit he doesn't have the money, fears his job security, isn't the only decision maker, decided to use another company, doesn't want to hurt your feelings by saying "No," or wasn't motivated by a reason compelling enough that would make this a priority and cause him to want to explore what you have in greater detail, these are a few of the obstacles that can fly under your radar unless you dig deeper.

Notice the question I ask doesn't put the prospect on the defensive simply because I'm not accusing him of doing anything that would make him wrong. I'm not offending him by pointing my finger and playing the blame game. For example: "Every time we plan to meet, you keep rescheduling with me." "You told me that you were going to call me but you never did." "You said we would be able to get together for a few minutes." "I told you I was going to call you on Friday at 2 P.M. and when I did you weren't there."

Instead, make it about you. Beginning a statement with, "I'm sensing" acknowledges how you are feeling. Then, ask the prospect for help in determining whether your feeling is, in fact, valid.

This approach gives the prospect the space and permission

   

Stop Making The Sale About You!

On a very basic level, there are five ingredients needed to create a sale:

1. The salesperson.
2. The qualified prospect.
3. A need or want that the prospect has.
4. The product or service.
5. The selling strategy or procedure you follow that guides a prospect to the natural conclusion of the selling process; the sale.

While many salespeople would say the selling process is about the customer, they wind up making it about themselves.

How do I know this? Look at some of the limiting beliefs that contribute to cold calling reluctance that we mentioned earlier.
Think about all the fears or reluctance you may experience when it comes to cold calling or selling.

  • I don't want to say the wrong thing.
  • I don't want to look bad.
  • I don't want to be a nuisance.
  • I don't want to impose.
  • I don't want to be rejected or hear no.
  • I don't want to blow it!

I, I, I, I, I!

Look at the first word that begins each statement above. Making the selling and cold calling process about you is the number one roadblock to successful prospecting and the number one cause of cold calling reluctance.

Instead of making the selling process about you and how much you can gain if you sell, make it about the prospect and how much value you can deliver to them.

If you are experiencing any fear or resistance to prospecting, look at who you're making the selling process about. Chances are, you're making it about you!

Once you shift your focus and energy towards making it about the prospect, it will immediately relieve you of the unnecessary pressure to look good and perform.

You are either making the selling process about you and how much you can gain (money, sales, status, and so on), your fear of rejection, looking bad, or hearing "No," or you're making it about the prospect and how much value you can deliver to them. Now, the cold calling process is no longer focused on the salesperson's negative assumptions or fears but on the prospect and the advantages that your product can provide them.

After all, if you are making the sale about you and are concerned about your performance, then how are you ever going to capture their interest when all of your energy, concentration and attention is being directed on to you rather than focused on the prospect?

Make the selling process about the prospect and the value you can deliver rather than what you can gain if you sell. Once you do so, the sale then becomes the natural byproduct of your selfless efforts and good intentions.

   

Make Your Introductions Pop- Developing Your Laser Introduction

So, what do you do?" This question usually surfaces at some point during an initial conversation with a new acquaintance. Surprisingly, few people know how to respond or introduce their product or service in a way that builds their business or network, without appearing overly aggressive or desperate.

You have probably been asked this question dozens of times. Often enough, the response isn't given much thought. You may reply, "I am an attorney," or "I am in sales," or "I own a business," or "I am a financial planner, (consultant, coach, doctor, CPA, account executive, manager, recruiter)." I've even seen people stumble to get the answer out as if they weren't sure themselves of what it is they do.

On the other hand, those people that walk away from a social event, networking function or trade show with a list of new contacts are the ones who have spent the time preparing an opening dialogue and an intelligent response to this question.

Developing Your Laser Introduction

Here's a technique to assist you in opening up a conversation and new opportunities that will increase your network and client base, while leaving a lasting impression.

The Laser Introduction: I recently asked one of my clients who was a consultant to describe her services. She said, "I help my clients with their business." When I asked her to explain in one sentence the benefits her clients realize or the end result they experience after using her services, she had a hard time finding the words. When creating your laser introduction, begin by focusing on the service you provide to your clients. How do you describe the product or service that you provide? You could opt for something generic, as described above. However, you can have a greater impact by delivering a message that will spark further interest in the person with whom you are speaking.

After all, the term "laser" describes a "devise that emits a highly focused beam of light (or more specifically "a beam of synchronized single wavelength radiation")." Here's your chance to develop your own focused beam of prospecting brilliance that illuminates, clarifies and brings to life every networking or prospecting opportunity you uncover.

When creating a laser introduction, begin by identifying some of your client's challenges. Then, describe how your product or service provides solutions to those challenges.

Begin with the phrase, "You know how:" followed by a couple of common problems that your clients normally experience. Then follow up by saying, "What I do is:" and continue with one or two key points, benefits, value propositions, compelling reasons or MVP's (most valuable proposition) as they relate to how your product or service solves these problems.

For example, if you are a sales trainer or consultant, here's an example of what the dialogue between you and a potential prospect might sound like.

Prospect: "So what do you do?"

You: "Well, you know how some sales teams experience high turnover and struggle to meet their sales goals as well as find new prospects which ends up costing the company time and money?"

Prospect: "Yes. I'm actually going through that myself with my company."

Tip from the Coach: Allow the person to respond, demonstrating you have their attention and that they are interested in what you have to say. Then respond with the following statement.

You: "Well, what I do is help businesses improve their bottom line and bring in more sales by getting their salespeople in front of more targeted, qualified prospects."

Prospect: "Hmm. That's interesting. So, how do you actually do that?"

Notice that I did not tell them what I sell or do or even the specifics of how I go about achieving these results. I simply shared with them the end results they can realize.

Using this approach, you have not only clarified the results you can deliver, but you have opened the door for further discussion about similar challenges that the perso

   

What Do You Think You're Selling? Develop Your Compelling Reasons

Do you know exactly what to say to a prospect that captures their attention so succinctly and effectively that they are actually asking for more? If you are being honest with yourself, it is probably the same answer I hear from most people regardless of age, industry or experience and that is, “No.”

If that is the case, then how can you expect to uncover more prospects let alone convert these prospects into customers? How can you cold call or prospect effortlessly? How can you deliver a stimulating, thought provoking and valuable presentation?

If you are attempting to prospect without sharing the right reasons as to why a prospect needs to listen to you, then it's no wonder why you are finding prospecting to be such a challenging and frustrating experience.

What are the “right reasons?” Probably the reasons that are several layers deeper than the reasons you are currently using. That's what makes this process so challenging. Once salespeople feel they have a “good enough” reason, they stop. It's like quitting the race 20 steps before the finish line. With today's competitive climate, “good enough” is what will keep you one step behind or head to head with your competition, rather than using this as an opportunity to develop a clear competitive edge.

If you find that you are not even getting past the first 30 seconds of an initial prospecting conversation before the prospect cuts you off and says, “Not interested,” then it's safe to say that the reasons you are currently using can withstand an upgrade. Use the following techniques outlined here to do so.

Develop the Hot Button That Stimulates Interest

One of the first questions you may ask before you embark on your cold calling initiative is, "How can I get a prospect interested enough to want to listen to me, let alone do business with me?"

The answer is simple; give them a compelling reason to listen to you. The word compelling is synonymous with "convincing, persuasive, undeniable, and gripping." When cold calling or networking, are you providing your prospects with enough of a compelling reason during the first minute of your conversation to want to speak with you and learn more about your product or service?

The intention of a compelling reason is to stimulate interest and open up a conversation. Therefore, you certainly don't want to sound like all the other salespeople who are calling on the same prospects and saying the exact same thing.

Compelling reasons are the secret ingredient that many salespeople know about but don't take the time to refine and develop. If your reasons are not powerful enough to move someone from a state of inertia to interest or action, here's your opportunity to give them an overhaul.

What Do You Think You're Selling?

What is it that you are actually selling? Some professionals believe that their title alone conveys an accurate portrayal of the product or service they offer.

Other professionals feel that merely stating the type of product or service they provide is actually what they are selling. If you're selling IT solutions, insurance, advertising, marketing services, financial or legal services, staffing, consumer goods (clothes, jewelry, make up, etc.), commercial real estate, or widgets, consider that your prospect isn't interested in the actual product, but what it will ultimately do for them.

If you think that simply telling a prospect what it is you sell is enough to stimulate interest, think again. Your product or service isn't what you are selling or what the prospect is buying. A prospect buys what your product or service will ultimately do for them.

Crafting Your Compelling Reasons

If you are trying to grab a prospect's attention, your compelling reasons will not include:
1. Your product or service
2. Features of your product or service.
3. Strategies on how to achieve the desired end result. (The “how.”)
4. Unsubstantiated or lofty claims and guarantees.

You may be ask

   

Want A Sale? Follow Up

My wife and I were about to undertake our last remodeling project. Being a consummate consumer, I wanted several qualified companies to bid on our next project. After calling ten contractors, I scheduled an appointment with the five that called back.

Following our meetings, one gave me a price on the spot and two never responded with an estimate. Two contractors mailed an estimate, and one of them followed up a week later.

Guess who got the job. Just by making a five-minute phone call! What fascinated me most was that only one contractor called back to discuss his proposal and ask for my business.

How can these salespeople afford not to follow up? Conducting my own research, each one said they needed more business, yet didn't know the status of the majority of proposals they sent. I sensed that following up regarding their proposal was not their typical M.O. Instead, here's what they said.

  • I thought you were using someone else.
  • I didn't think you were ready to buy.
  • I thought you felt the price was too high.
  • I didn't want to bother or pressure you.

While these contractors formulated their own conclusion, they never bothered to confirm if their assumptions were, in fact, true! They were operating under the costly assumption, "The prospect will call when they're ready."

I asked Bill, one of the contractors, "If you're sacrificing valuable time to drive to an appointment, deliver a presentation, write a proposal and then don't follow up and ask for a prospect's business after taking all of the steps that earned you the opportunity to do so, who are you really helping?" Then it hit him between the eyes. "My competition!"

Bill realized something that only a select few have. While prospects need his remodeling knowledge and skills, they also need his help in making their purchasing decision.

Bill recently called me with some exciting results. After making thirty phone calls to past prospects, he spoke with ten prospects he had met with. Bill sold three more deals ($78,000) in one week that he never would have sold.

In many businesses, especially the ones that sell directly to consumers such as home remodeling, cold calling consumers via the phone is no longer an option to generate new leads. Aside from canvassing door to door, networking, asking for referrals, posting job signs or traditional (and sometimes costly) marketing/advertising campaigns, what else brings in more business? Follow up calls.

How many prospects are waiting for your phone call so they can send you a deposit? How many people are out there waiting to begin working with you?

Bill and I sat down to crunch the numbers. I shared this observation with him. "Consider that you can make about fifteen calls per hour (one hour per week). Assume that out of fifteen contacts, you make one more sale. (Average sale $10,000.) Four hours a month equates to four more sales. Over a year, that's $480,000 in volume. This exceeds the yearly volume of most contractors just by making one hour of follow up calls each week!"

If you take a moment and look at your call back list, how much business does that equate to? Now ask yourself, "How much of it am I willing to give to my competition?"

Since your competitors aren't paying you commission, here's your opportunity to utilize a simple, efficient three-step follow up system that will bring in more (free) sales.

1. Get Permission. Whether you need to follow up after an initial conversation or once a prospect receives your proposal, tries out your product, speaks with references or needs to check their schedule before they meet with you a second time, it's just good business sense to get permission before doing so. For instance, you inform the prospect they will be receiving your proposal next Friday. Before you leave the appointment ask, "May I follow up with you to discuss and answer any questions you have regarding my proposal?" Gaining permission to follow up eliminates

   

Thinking Yourself Out of A Sale

When clients ask for help in closing more sales, I'd ask them to list the objections they are hearing that prevented the sale. It's when they start stumbling over their response that I ask, "Are these the objections you are hearing directly from your prospects or what you're assuming as the reason why they don't buy?"

Whether it's around our sales efforts, during a conversation with our boss (and our kids), or when trying to uncover ways to best manage your team, certain assumptions can dramatically affect the results we seek to achieve, especially during a conversation.

Rather than uncovering the real barrier to the sale, assuming the objection becomes a detrimental process that spreads like a virus throughout every sales call. These assumptions are not based on the facts but rather the salesperson's assumption of the truth.

Salespeople often fall into this trap when creating solutions for their prospects. During a conversation with a prospect, they uncover a similar situation or problem that they have handled with a previous client. So, they assume that the same solution will fit for this prospect as well.

The problem arises when the salesperson fails to invest the time to go beyond what may be obvious and explore the prospect's specific objectives or concerns.

Thinking they "know" this prospect, the salesperson provides them with the benefits of his service that he perceives to be important, without considering the prospect's particular needs.

The next time you're speaking with your boss, your family your employees, or if you're on a sales call, rather than assuming the objection, how the prospect makes a buying decision, what they know or what they want to hear, follow these suggestions to create more selling opportunities.

1. Identify The Knowledge Gap.
That's the space between what people know and what they don't know. Instead of assuming what they know, start determining what they need/want to learn in order to fill in this gap and ensure clear communication. What may seem old or common to you is new to them. Use questions up front to uncover what's needed to fill in the gap. Example: "Just so I don't sound repetitive, how familiar are you with-?"

2. Be Curious.
Question everything! Since you're in the business of providing solutions, invest the time to uncover the person's specific need or problem, as opposed to providing common solutions that you assume may fit for everyone. For example, the words "Frustrated, successful, affordable, reliable and quality," can be interpreted in a variety of ways and often carry a different meaning for each of us.

When you hear a prospect make a comment like, "I want a quality product that will give me the results I want at an affordable price,” use this as an opportunity to explore deeper into what they want or need most. "What type of results are you looking for?" "What is affordable to you?" Questions allow you to clarify what you have heard or go into a topic in more depth so you can become clear with what they are really saying.

3. Clarify!
Make each prospect feel that they are truly being listened to and understood. Use a clarifier when responding to what you've heard during the conversation. Rephrase in your own words what they had said to ensure that you not only heard, but also understood them. Then, confirm the next course of action. Examples: "What I'm hearing you say is..." "Tell me more about that." "What do you see as the next step?"

4. Just The Facts, Please
"I told a prospect that I'd follow up within a week. Two weeks later, I figured I missed my chance and they went with someone else." Sound familiar? Effective salespeople don't guess themselves into a sale. To ensure you're operating with the facts, ask yourself this, "Do I have evidence to support my assumption or how I'm feeling?" Enjoy the peace of mind that comes from gaining clarity rather than drowning in the stories that you believe are true.

5. Recall Your

   

When Cold Calling, Don't Go For The Sale

Think about the intention or the end result of your prospecting efforts. It's probably not what you think. Lets refer back to the definition of prospecting.

"Prospecting is defined as any activity or conversation you engage in to position yourself in front of a prospect with the intention to inquire, assess, discover, and educate so that you can determine whether there's a fit and a relationship that's worth pursuing which can then lead to presenting your product or service in order to earn your prospect's business."

Rather than focusing all of your energy on making the sale, first determine if there's a good fit between you, your prospect, and what you are selling.

Instead of feeling that the intention of prospecting is to get a sale, provide a demonstration, submit a proposal, or schedule an appointment, the initial intention of prospecting is to determine if there's a fit worth pursuing.

While this may sound a bit strange, closing the sale and earning the business of a prospect is not your initial goal. Instead, your primary objective is to determine whether you and your prospect are a good fit.

Take a moment and think about how this change in your attitude and mindset would change your cold calling approach as well as your experience.

While your traditional approach may be to produce a measurable result, now your primary objective is to discover whether you and your prospect are a good match and if this relationship is worth moving to the next stage of your selling process. If you feel that you constantly have to push the sales process forward, you're not taking into consideration that the prospect may simply not be ready, let alone may not be a good fit for what you are selling. Pushing the sales process forward before a prospect is ready only creates pressure for the both of you, fostering an unhealthy relationship from the start. Therefore, instead of asking yourself, "How can I sell this person?" change this question to, "Do I even want this prospect as a customer?"

Notice that the second question shifts the balance of your power back to you. Now, you're the one making the choice about pursuing the relationship rather than surrendering all of the decision making power to the prospect regarding whether or not they will buy from you, let alone listen to you!

Notice how this shift in your mindset will also change your approach. Instead of feeling as if you have to convince or push the prospect into the sale (appointment, demo, proposal) by regurgitating your pitch all over them, now you're going to want to learn and gather as much information you can about this particular prospect.

How do you determine if there's a fit worth pursuing? Typically, you would conduct a process of inquiry or an investigation. Woven into the fabric of any investigation are questions. Instead of the prospect interviewing or qualifying you, this brings new meaning to the phrase, "Qualify your prospects!" Now, you're the one doing the qualifying. The fact is, the interviewing process goes both ways.

Lets face it. You and I both know that the ultimate objective of your prospecting efforts is to sell more and boost your income. However, to achieve this goal, it's just not where you are going to focus your energy and thoughts.

Realize that when you cold call, one of your objectives is to open up your prospect's thinking to the possibility of working with you in order to provide them with a better solution or eliminate a recurring problem.

As such, if you are looking to change the perception or mindset of your prospects, whose mindset do you think needs to be changed first? Yours, of course!

By identifying and embracing this common misconception around prospecting, you can develop a strong foundation for cold calling success, providing you with the opportunity to think like a top producer and respond to each prospect in a healthier, more productive, and more enjoyable way.

   

Learn To Love Cold Calling

If you're like many salespeople, the idea of prospecting or cold calling to generate new business, although effective, may not be the primary revenue generating activity that excites you.

When salespeople resist cold calling, sales managers often respond by providing additional training, role playing, a revised presentation, or more qualified prospects to call on as the solution to improving cold calling results and productivity. Unfortunately, these tactics don't always eliminate the anxiety or level of resistance that salespeople experience when cold calling.

Perhaps the real issue is not tapping into the source of cold calling reluctance. Fixing the symptom without understanding the true source of the problem only results in a temporary solution.

Instead of focusing on strategies that only address the symptom, explore the source of your anxiety to permanently overcome the fear and resistance to cold calling; your beliefs surrounding cold calling.

We all have a certain set of beliefs or rules formed through our upbringing, education and experiences that influence our decisions and shape our attitude towards life and our career.

Unfortunately, there are those old limiting and confining beliefs that often keep us prisoner, stalling our professional growth and preventing us from creating greater selling opportunities.

Your outlook determines your outcome. In other words, what you believe to be true about cold calling is exactly what you'll continue to manifest in your career. So, if you believe that cold calling is, "Forcing someone to accept something they don't want, intrusive, annoying, manipulative, a waste of time, intimidating, scary, something I hate being subjected to myself, etc.," that's exactly what you'll continue to experience every time you cold call.

Consider challenging these assumptions and replacing them with healthier ones that would better serve you. For example, "Cold calling is informative. It lets the prospect know where they can locate the product/service they need." "Cold calling is a way to educate and serve people. It enables me to become a prospect's trusted expert or advisor, preventing them from making potentially costly mistakes that result from purchasing the wrong product/service or using a company that may not effectively fill their needs."

Notice how these upgraded beliefs make the cold calling process less about the salesperson and more about the prospect. In other words, either you are making the selling process about YOU (Ex: how much you can gain, your fear of rejection, looking bad, hearing no, etc.) or you're making it about the prospect and how much value you can deliver to them. Now, the cold calling process is no longer focused on the salesperson's negative assumptions or fears but on the prospect and the benefits you can provide them.

To eliminate your resistance to generating new business via cold calling, try this exercise the next time you prospect. Unhook yourself from the outcome or to hearing a "Yes" or a "No" and focus solely on uncovering the prospect's needs, providing solutions and giving value. You'll notice that this shift in your mindset will produce the outcome you want with less effort; attracting new customers towards you without having to push.

Upgrade and direct your thoughts so they enhance you without them controlling or consuming you. (Otherwise, we'd still believe that our flat Earth is the center of the universe!) When you exercise your choice to upgrade your current beliefs in a way that serves you and your prospects, you'll find the permanent solution to eliminating your reluctance and accelerating your cold calling success. Hey, you might even enjoy it!

   

Make Your Introductions Pop- Developing Your Laser Introduction

So, what do you do?" This question usually surfaces at some point during an initial conversation with a new acquaintance. Surprisingly, few people know how to respond or introduce their product or service in a way that builds their business or network, without appearing overly aggressive or desperate.

You have probably been asked this question dozens of times. Often enough, the response isn't given much thought. You may reply, "I am an attorney," or "I am in sales," or "I own a business," or "I am a financial planner, (consultant, coach, doctor, CPA, account executive, manager, recruiter)." I've even seen people stumble to get the answer out as if they weren't sure themselves of what it is they do.

On the other hand, those people that walk away from a social event, networking function or trade show with a list of new contacts are the ones who have spent the time preparing an opening dialogue and an intelligent response to this question.

Developing Your Laser Introduction

Here's a technique to assist you in opening up a conversation and new opportunities that will increase your network and client base, while leaving a lasting impression.

The Laser Introduction: I recently asked one of my clients who was a consultant to describe her services. She said, "I help my clients with their business." When I asked her to explain in one sentence the benefits her clients realize or the end result they experience after using her services, she had a hard time finding the words. When creating your laser introduction, begin by focusing on the service you provide to your clients. How do you describe the product or service that you provide? You could opt for something generic, as described above. However, you can have a greater impact by delivering a message that will spark further interest in the person with whom you are speaking.

After all, the term "laser" describes a "devise that emits a highly focused beam of light (or more specifically "a beam of synchronized single wavelength radiation")." Here's your chance to develop your own focused beam of prospecting brilliance that illuminates, clarifies and brings to life every networking or prospecting opportunity you uncover.

When creating a laser introduction, begin by identifying some of your client's challenges. Then, describe how your product or service provides solutions to those challenges.

Begin with the phrase, "You know how:" followed by a couple of common problems that your clients normally experience. Then follow up by saying, "What I do is:" and continue with one or two key points, benefits, value propositions, compelling reasons or MVP's (most valuable proposition) as they relate to how your product or service solves these problems.

For example, if you are a sales trainer or consultant, here's an example of what the dialogue between you and a potential prospect might sound like.

Prospect: "So what do you do?"

You: "Well, you know how some sales teams experience high turnover and struggle to meet their sales goals as well as find new prospects which ends up costing the company time and money?"

Prospect: "Yes. I'm actually going through that myself with my company."

Tip from the Coach: Allow the person to respond, demonstrating you have their attention and that they are interested in what you have to say. Then respond with the following statement.

You: "Well, what I do is help businesses improve their bottom line and bring in more sales by getting their salespeople in front of more targeted, qualified prospects."

Prospect: "Hmm. That's interesting. So, how do you actually do that?"

Notice that I did not tell them what I sell or do or even the specifics of how I go about achieving these results. I simply shared with them the end results they can realize.

Using this approach, you have not only clarified the results you can deliver, but you have opened the door for further discussion about similar challenges that the perso

   

How To Develop a Referral Agreement With Your Customers

What exactly classifies as a referral? If we were to create some parameters that define what a referral is, this is what it would look like.

Synonymous with "recommendation" and "testimonial," a referral is a potential prospect that is directed or given to you by someone you know or someone you don't know who feels that you are the best source for help or information regarding a specific, subject, product, or service.

What makes a referral so incredibly attractive and desirable is that it is, for the most part, a warm lead. That is, when you approach a referral, there is less of a need to convince or sell them. A certain degree of interest, credibility, and comfort has already been established. Chances are, there's already a need present. All you have to do then, is turn that need into a want or a desire for your product using the questions in your needs analysis.

Typically, your clients are going to be the top source for referral business simply because they are the ones who actually utilize your product, making them the most effective testimonial you can find to endorse your product.

The following dialogue illustrates how you can establish a referral agreement with your clients. This way, you will be able to identify the clients who are willing to become a referral source for you and the most appropriate time to ask them for referrals. This is a great example of how to set up your strategy to increase the amount of referral business you currently generate.

You: "Mrs. Client, may I take a moment to share with you how I build my business?"

Client: "Sure."

You: "Well, what I enjoy most about what I do and where my time is best served is working with my clients. I want to spend as much time as possible serving my clients and exceeding your expectations. In order for me to spend more time with my clients and less time marketing or prospecting for new business I really need the help of my satisfied clients.

Please understand, I'm certainly not asking for any referrals from you now. Personally, I feel that would be incredibly presumptuous to ask you to introduce me to other potential clients before you even have a chance to truly utilize and benefit from my services. After all, we just started working together!

However, in a couple of months or even weeks, when you are clearly realizing the benefits of my services and have gotten even more value than you expected, would you be comfortable sharing the results you have experienced with others and introduce me to those people who might also benefit from my services?"

Client: "Sure, I don't see why not.

You: "That sounds great. Thanks in advance for this consideration. Just so I know what it will take to make you a raving fan, what can I do to make you comfortable enough to actually want to refer business to me?"

The most effective way to earn referrals is to over- deliver on the value your clients expect so that you actually exceed their expectations. Once you confirm this to be true, it now becomes a great time to ask for testimonials or a reference from a happy client.

If you find that you are having difficulty asking for referrals, then question how strong your belief is in your product, your commitment to serving your clients, and the value proposition you can deliver.

Setting up a referral agreement with your clients will remove any reluctance and make you feel much more comfortable when asking them for referrals. Since they now know this is something you will be asking of them, it's okay to ask.

   

Want A Sale? Follow Up

My wife and I were about to undertake our last remodeling project. Being a consummate consumer, I wanted several qualified companies to bid on our next project. After calling ten contractors, I scheduled an appointment with the five that called back.

Following our meetings, one gave me a price on the spot and two never responded with an estimate. Two contractors mailed an estimate, and one of them followed up a week later.

Guess who got the job. Just by making a five-minute phone call! What fascinated me most was that only one contractor called back to discuss his proposal and ask for my business.

How can these salespeople afford not to follow up? Conducting my own research, each one said they needed more business, yet didn't know the status of the majority of proposals they sent. I sensed that following up regarding their proposal was not their typical M.O. Instead, here's what they said.

  • I thought you were using someone else.
  • I didn't think you were ready to buy.
  • I thought you felt the price was too high.
  • I didn't want to bother or pressure you.

While these contractors formulated their own conclusion, they never bothered to confirm if their assumptions were, in fact, true! They were operating under the costly assumption, "The prospect will call when they're ready."

I asked Bill, one of the contractors, "If you're sacrificing valuable time to drive to an appointment, deliver a presentation, write a proposal and then don't follow up and ask for a prospect's business after taking all of the steps that earned you the opportunity to do so, who are you really helping?" Then it hit him between the eyes. "My competition!"

Bill realized something that only a select few have. While prospects need his remodeling knowledge and skills, they also need his help in making their purchasing decision.

Bill recently called me with some exciting results. After making thirty phone calls to past prospects, he spoke with ten prospects he had met with. Bill sold three more deals ($78,000) in one week that he never would have sold.

In many businesses, especially the ones that sell directly to consumers such as home remodeling, cold calling consumers via the phone is no longer an option to generate new leads. Aside from canvassing door to door, networking, asking for referrals, posting job signs or traditional (and sometimes costly) marketing/advertising campaigns, what else brings in more business? Follow up calls.

How many prospects are waiting for your phone call so they can send you a deposit? How many people are out there waiting to begin working with you?

Bill and I sat down to crunch the numbers. I shared this observation with him. "Consider that you can make about fifteen calls per hour (one hour per week). Assume that out of fifteen contacts, you make one more sale. (Average sale $10,000.) Four hours a month equates to four more sales. Over a year, that's $480,000 in volume. This exceeds the yearly volume of most contractors just by making one hour of follow up calls each week!"

If you take a moment and look at your call back list, how much business does that equate to? Now ask yourself, "How much of it am I willing to give to my competition?"

Since your competitors aren't paying you commission, here's your opportunity to utilize a simple, efficient three-step follow up system that will bring in more (free) sales.

1. Get Permission. Whether you need to follow up after an initial conversation or once a prospect receives your proposal, tries out your product, speaks with references or needs to check their schedule before they meet with you a second time, it's just good business sense to get permission before doing so. For instance, you inform the prospect they will be receiving your proposal next Friday. Before you leave the appointment ask, "May I follow up with you to discuss and answer any questions you have regarding my proposal?" Gaining permission to follow up eliminates

   

Become a Networking Guru - The Six Principles

Ask yourself this question. Would you rather make a cold call or follow up with a qualified referral; that is, someone who has already expressed some level of interest in your product as a result of an endorsement from someone else?

Okay, so maybe this question can be classified as a rhetorical question. If you would rather build your business off referrals, is your sales funnel bursting with potential new business that you've generated through networking and by utilizing a referral program? If not, then you will certainly have the opportunity to make this a reality and experience it firsthand after implementing the following strategies.

What is that, you say? You don't feel comfortable going to a networking event, into a room filled with people you don't know, and then have to ask a complete stranger for new business? How about those special interest groups or lead groups where the intention is to help other people build their business by sharing referrals? I have news for you. Most people feel the same way. Chances are, you don't enjoy networking because you feel that you're alone, "out there" all on your own. Hey, it takes a lot of courage to fly solo and into an event where you don't know anyone. Yet, maybe there's a way for you to change your mindset around this.

To begin, lets take a moment to define what networking actually is (in the spirit of selling). Networking is the act of meeting new people, often in a social setting with the intention of interacting with them, exchanging ideas, and developing mutually rewarding relationships that would ultimately lead to creating new selling opportunities which would bring in additional business.

One of my clients, Cindy, was a stay-at-home mom looking for ways to generate some additional cash to help out her family with the monthly expenses. To do so, she found an outside sales position selling a line of self-care products. This position gave her the freedom and flexibility to create her own hours, while honoring the priority in her life, which was her family.

Cindy knew that in order for her to make this worthwhile, she needed to maximize the little time that she had to devote to her business. After speaking with the top reps in her company, Cindy quickly realized that the only way to leverage her prospecting time was if she put herself in front of as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. As such, she began to search for local networking groups, trade shows and business events that she could join or take part in.

Cindy called me one morning and shared her situation with me. Finally, she said, "Keith, I am so uncomfortable attending these functions with people I don't even know. And even if I did start talking with someone, I wouldn't know what to say or how to stimulate their interest in what I am selling without sounding pushy or overly aggressive."

I then shared several observations that she considered to be the treasure she needed to make networking a prospecting activity she could actually enjoy.

1. Bring a Wingman: Rather than flying solo at your next networking event, bring a friend, co-worker, or business associate along with you. This "security blanket" will boost your confidence as well as your comfort level and immediately removes the bulk of reluctance associated with attending a networking event by yourself.

2. You Are Not Alone: If you ask most people who attend networking events, they would tell you that there are certainly some feelings of apprehension and fear when it comes to meeting new people (if they were being honest). Rather than placing yourself in the class of people who you perceive to be the minority, instead, consider that you are amongst the majority of people who feel the same way you do.

3. Keep Your Intentions In Focus: If you expect to go to a networking function and walk out with a handful of business cards from people who want to buy from you, think again. To maximize your networking effort

   

Thinking Yourself Out of A Sale

When clients ask for help in closing more sales, I'd ask them to list the objections they are hearing that prevented the sale. It's when they start stumbling over their response that I ask, "Are these the objections you are hearing directly from your prospects or what you're assuming as the reason why they don't buy?"

Whether it's around our sales efforts, during a conversation with our boss (and our kids), or when trying to uncover ways to best manage your team, certain assumptions can dramatically affect the results we seek to achieve, especially during a conversation.

Rather than uncovering the real barrier to the sale, assuming the objection becomes a detrimental process that spreads like a virus throughout every sales call. These assumptions are not based on the facts but rather the salesperson's assumption of the truth.

Salespeople often fall into this trap when creating solutions for their prospects. During a conversation with a prospect, they uncover a similar situation or problem that they have handled with a previous client. So, they assume that the same solution will fit for this prospect as well.

The problem arises when the salesperson fails to invest the time to go beyond what may be obvious and explore the prospect's specific objectives or concerns.

Thinking they "know" this prospect, the salesperson provides them with the benefits of his service that he perceives to be important, without considering the prospect's particular needs.

The next time you're speaking with your boss, your family your employees, or if you're on a sales call, rather than assuming the objection, how the prospect makes a buying decision, what they know or what they want to hear, follow these suggestions to create more selling opportunities.

1. Identify The Knowledge Gap.
That's the space between what people know and what they don't know. Instead of assuming what they know, start determining what they need/want to learn in order to fill in this gap and ensure clear communication. What may seem old or common to you is new to them. Use questions up front to uncover what's needed to fill in the gap. Example: "Just so I don't sound repetitive, how familiar are you with-?"

2. Be Curious.
Question everything! Since you're in the business of providing solutions, invest the time to uncover the person's specific need or problem, as opposed to providing common solutions that you assume may fit for everyone. For example, the words "Frustrated, successful, affordable, reliable and quality," can be interpreted in a variety of ways and often carry a different meaning for each of us.

When you hear a prospect make a comment like, "I want a quality product that will give me the results I want at an affordable price,” use this as an opportunity to explore deeper into what they want or need most. "What type of results are you looking for?" "What is affordable to you?" Questions allow you to clarify what you have heard or go into a topic in more depth so you can become clear with what they are really saying.

3. Clarify!
Make each prospect feel that they are truly being listened to and understood. Use a clarifier when responding to what you've heard during the conversation. Rephrase in your own words what they had said to ensure that you not only heard, but also understood them. Then, confirm the next course of action. Examples: "What I'm hearing you say is..." "Tell me more about that." "What do you see as the next step?"

4. Just The Facts, Please
"I told a prospect that I'd follow up within a week. Two weeks later, I figured I missed my chance and they went with someone else." Sound familiar? Effective salespeople don't guess themselves into a sale. To ensure you're operating with the facts, ask yourself this, "Do I have evidence to support my assumption or how I'm feeling?" Enjoy the peace of mind that comes from gaining clarity rather than drowning in the stories that you believe are true.

5. Recall Your

   

Stop Making The Sale About You!

On a very basic level, there are five ingredients needed to create a sale:

1. The salesperson.
2. The qualified prospect.
3. A need or want that the prospect has.
4. The product or service.
5. The selling strategy or procedure you follow that guides a prospect to the natural conclusion of the selling process; the sale.

While many salespeople would say the selling process is about the customer, they wind up making it about themselves.

How do I know this? Look at some of the limiting beliefs that contribute to cold calling reluctance that we mentioned earlier.
Think about all the fears or reluctance you may experience when it comes to cold calling or selling.

  • I don't want to say the wrong thing.
  • I don't want to look bad.
  • I don't want to be a nuisance.
  • I don't want to impose.
  • I don't want to be rejected or hear no.
  • I don't want to blow it!

I, I, I, I, I!

Look at the first word that begins each statement above. Making the selling and cold calling process about you is the number one roadblock to successful prospecting and the number one cause of cold calling reluctance.

Instead of making the selling process about you and how much you can gain if you sell, make it about the prospect and how much value you can deliver to them.

If you are experiencing any fear or resistance to prospecting, look at who you're making the selling process about. Chances are, you're making it about you!

Once you shift your focus and energy towards making it about the prospect, it will immediately relieve you of the unnecessary pressure to look good and perform.

You are either making the selling process about you and how much you can gain (money, sales, status, and so on), your fear of rejection, looking bad, or hearing "No," or you're making it about the prospect and how much value you can deliver to them. Now, the cold calling process is no longer focused on the salesperson's negative assumptions or fears but on the prospect and the advantages that your product can provide them.

After all, if you are making the sale about you and are concerned about your performance, then how are you ever going to capture their interest when all of your energy, concentration and attention is being directed on to you rather than focused on the prospect?

Make the selling process about the prospect and the value you can deliver rather than what you can gain if you sell. Once you do so, the sale then becomes the natural byproduct of your selfless efforts and good intentions.

   

Learn To Love Cold Calling

If you're like many salespeople, the idea of prospecting or cold calling to generate new business, although effective, may not be the primary revenue generating activity that excites you.

When salespeople resist cold calling, sales managers often respond by providing additional training, role playing, a revised presentation, or more qualified prospects to call on as the solution to improving cold calling results and productivity. Unfortunately, these tactics don't always eliminate the anxiety or level of resistance that salespeople experience when cold calling.

Perhaps the real issue is not tapping into the source of cold calling reluctance. Fixing the symptom without understanding the true source of the problem only results in a temporary solution.

Instead of focusing on strategies that only address the symptom, explore the source of your anxiety to permanently overcome the fear and resistance to cold calling; your beliefs surrounding cold calling.

We all have a certain set of beliefs or rules formed through our upbringing, education and experiences that influence our decisions and shape our attitude towards life and our career.

Unfortunately, there are those old limiting and confining beliefs that often keep us prisoner, stalling our professional growth and preventing us from creating greater selling opportunities.

Your outlook determines your outcome. In other words, what you believe to be true about cold calling is exactly what you'll continue to manifest in your career. So, if you believe that cold calling is, "Forcing someone to accept something they don't want, intrusive, annoying, manipulative, a waste of time, intimidating, scary, something I hate being subjected to myself, etc.," that's exactly what you'll continue to experience every time you cold call.

Consider challenging these assumptions and replacing them with healthier ones that would better serve you. For example, "Cold calling is informative. It lets the prospect know where they can locate the product/service they need." "Cold calling is a way to educate and serve people. It enables me to become a prospect's trusted expert or advisor, preventing them from making potentially costly mistakes that result from purchasing the wrong product/service or using a company that may not effectively fill their needs."

Notice how these upgraded beliefs make the cold calling process less about the salesperson and more about the prospect. In other words, either you are making the selling process about YOU (Ex: how much you can gain, your fear of rejection, looking bad, hearing no, etc.) or you're making it about the prospect and how much value you can deliver to them. Now, the cold calling process is no longer focused on the salesperson's negative assumptions or fears but on the prospect and the benefits you can provide them.

To eliminate your resistance to generating new business via cold calling, try this exercise the next time you prospect. Unhook yourself from the outcome or to hearing a "Yes" or a "No" and focus solely on uncovering the prospect's needs, providing solutions and giving value. You'll notice that this shift in your mindset will produce the outcome you want with less effort; attracting new customers towards you without having to push.

Upgrade and direct your thoughts so they enhance you without them controlling or consuming you. (Otherwise, we'd still believe that our flat Earth is the center of the universe!) When you exercise your choice to upgrade your current beliefs in a way that serves you and your prospects, you'll find the permanent solution to eliminating your reluctance and accelerating your cold calling success. Hey, you might even enjoy it!

   

What Do You Think You're Selling? Develop Your Compelling Reasons

Do you know exactly what to say to a prospect that captures their attention so succinctly and effectively that they are actually asking for more? If you are being honest with yourself, it is probably the same answer I hear from most people regardless of age, industry or experience and that is, “No.”

If that is the case, then how can you expect to uncover more prospects let alone convert these prospects into customers? How can you cold call or prospect effortlessly? How can you deliver a stimulating, thought provoking and valuable presentation?

If you are attempting to prospect without sharing the right reasons as to why a prospect needs to listen to you, then it's no wonder why you are finding prospecting to be such a challenging and frustrating experience.

What are the “right reasons?” Probably the reasons that are several layers deeper than the reasons you are currently using. That's what makes this process so challenging. Once salespeople feel they have a “good enough” reason, they stop. It's like quitting the race 20 steps before the finish line. With today's competitive climate, “good enough” is what will keep you one step behind or head to head with your competition, rather than using this as an opportunity to develop a clear competitive edge.

If you find that you are not even getting past the first 30 seconds of an initial prospecting conversation before the prospect cuts you off and says, “Not interested,” then it's safe to say that the reasons you are currently using can withstand an upgrade. Use the following techniques outlined here to do so.

Develop the Hot Button That Stimulates Interest

One of the first questions you may ask before you embark on your cold calling initiative is, "How can I get a prospect interested enough to want to listen to me, let alone do business with me?"

The answer is simple; give them a compelling reason to listen to you. The word compelling is synonymous with "convincing, persuasive, undeniable, and gripping." When cold calling or networking, are you providing your prospects with enough of a compelling reason during the first minute of your conversation to want to speak with you and learn more about your product or service?

The intention of a compelling reason is to stimulate interest and open up a conversation. Therefore, you certainly don't want to sound like all the other salespeople who are calling on the same prospects and saying the exact same thing.

Compelling reasons are the secret ingredient that many salespeople know about but don't take the time to refine and develop. If your reasons are not powerful enough to move someone from a state of inertia to interest or action, here's your opportunity to give them an overhaul.

What Do You Think You're Selling?

What is it that you are actually selling? Some professionals believe that their title alone conveys an accurate portrayal of the product or service they offer.

Other professionals feel that merely stating the type of product or service they provide is actually what they are selling. If you're selling IT solutions, insurance, advertising, marketing services, financial or legal services, staffing, consumer goods (clothes, jewelry, make up, etc.), commercial real estate, or widgets, consider that your prospect isn't interested in the actual product, but what it will ultimately do for them.

If you think that simply telling a prospect what it is you sell is enough to stimulate interest, think again. Your product or service isn't what you are selling or what the prospect is buying. A prospect buys what your product or service will ultimately do for them.

Crafting Your Compelling Reasons

If you are trying to grab a prospect's attention, your compelling reasons will not include:
1. Your product or service
2. Features of your product or service.
3. Strategies on how to achieve the desired end result. (The “how.”)
4. Unsubstantiated or lofty claims and guarantees.

You may be ask

   

Get The Truth Out of Anyone

When talking with someone, did you ever get the feeling that they were not being 100 percent honest and upfront with you? While many people have felt this way, whether it's a business owner, manager, parent, co-worker, coach or consultant, I'm often told that they really don't know how to handle it.

Take a salesperson, for instance. Instead of confronting a potential customer about this innate concern, they take what this prospect says and try to do their best to work around it, even though they know that the prospect isn't telling them something.

Many salespeople feel they don't have an approach that would help in extracting the truth - the real truth - from a prospect. After all, what could you say? "Mr. Prospect, I think you're lying to me or not telling me everything." Certainly not an approach I would endorse. Aside from putting the prospect on the defensive, there's a good chance that this approach will destroy any chance of selling to this person.

How can you tell when there's something else a prospect may be holding back from you? Here are a few signs.

If you and your prospect established the desire and need for your product or service and:

They stop returning your calls. They are still reluctant to meeting with you.

You can't seem to move the sales process forward, even when they continue to say "yes" to you. For example: You schedule a meeting and the prospect keeps canceling it. They have a clear interest in your services and even request additional information but something always seems to get in the way of taking the next step.
If you have ever run into a situation like this, there is a strong chance that there's something else the prospect isn't telling you. Here's a great way to find out what's really going on.

Use Your Senses

If a prospect makes a statement that causes your spider senses to tingle, trust and listen to your instincts. Remember, sometimes the real objection is two to three questions deep. Here's an example of how you can respond when you're following up with them.

You: "Mr. Prospect, based on our initial meeting, is it safe to say that you can see the advantages as well as the ROI that you would realize from our services?"

Prospect: "Yes. I definitely see the benefits."

You: "We've been attempting to get together and discuss what would need to happen so that you can start enjoying these benefits, but it seems that something always gets in the way of our meeting. I know you're very busy, but I'm sensing there may be something else that's getting in the way of taking the next step toward working together. Is that true?"

Prospect: "Well, actually."

And now, let the truth be known! Whether he is scared to make the wrong decision, had a bad experience with another purchase, is reluctant to admit he doesn't have the money, fears his job security, isn't the only decision maker, decided to use another company, doesn't want to hurt your feelings by saying "No," or wasn't motivated by a reason compelling enough that would make this a priority and cause him to want to explore what you have in greater detail, these are a few of the obstacles that can fly under your radar unless you dig deeper.

Notice the question I ask doesn't put the prospect on the defensive simply because I'm not accusing him of doing anything that would make him wrong. I'm not offending him by pointing my finger and playing the blame game. For example: "Every time we plan to meet, you keep rescheduling with me." "You told me that you were going to call me but you never did." "You said we would be able to get together for a few minutes." "I told you I was going to call you on Friday at 2 P.M. and when I did you weren't there."

Instead, make it about you. Beginning a statement with, "I'm sensing" acknowledges how you are feeling. Then, ask the prospect for help in determining whether your feeling is, in fact, valid.

This approach gives the prospect the space and permission

   

Become a Networking Guru - The Six Principles

Ask yourself this question. Would you rather make a cold call or follow up with a qualified referral; that is, someone who has already expressed some level of interest in your product as a result of an endorsement from someone else?

Okay, so maybe this question can be classified as a rhetorical question. If you would rather build your business off referrals, is your sales funnel bursting with potential new business that you've generated through networking and by utilizing a referral program? If not, then you will certainly have the opportunity to make this a reality and experience it firsthand after implementing the following strategies.

What is that, you say? You don't feel comfortable going to a networking event, into a room filled with people you don't know, and then have to ask a complete stranger for new business? How about those special interest groups or lead groups where the intention is to help other people build their business by sharing referrals? I have news for you. Most people feel the same way. Chances are, you don't enjoy networking because you feel that you're alone, "out there" all on your own. Hey, it takes a lot of courage to fly solo and into an event where you don't know anyone. Yet, maybe there's a way for you to change your mindset around this.

To begin, lets take a moment to define what networking actually is (in the spirit of selling). Networking is the act of meeting new people, often in a social setting with the intention of interacting with them, exchanging ideas, and developing mutually rewarding relationships that would ultimately lead to creating new selling opportunities which would bring in additional business.

One of my clients, Cindy, was a stay-at-home mom looking for ways to generate some additional cash to help out her family with the monthly expenses. To do so, she found an outside sales position selling a line of self-care products. This position gave her the freedom and flexibility to create her own hours, while honoring the priority in her life, which was her family.

Cindy knew that in order for her to make this worthwhile, she needed to maximize the little time that she had to devote to her business. After speaking with the top reps in her company, Cindy quickly realized that the only way to leverage her prospecting time was if she put herself in front of as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. As such, she began to search for local networking groups, trade shows and business events that she could join or take part in.

Cindy called me one morning and shared her situation with me. Finally, she said, "Keith, I am so uncomfortable attending these functions with people I don't even know. And even if I did start talking with someone, I wouldn't know what to say or how to stimulate their interest in what I am selling without sounding pushy or overly aggressive."

I then shared several observations that she considered to be the treasure she needed to make networking a prospecting activity she could actually enjoy.

1. Bring a Wingman: Rather than flying solo at your next networking event, bring a friend, co-worker, or business associate along with you. This "security blanket" will boost your confidence as well as your comfort level and immediately removes the bulk of reluctance associated with attending a networking event by yourself.

2. You Are Not Alone: If you ask most people who attend networking events, they would tell you that there are certainly some feelings of apprehension and fear when it comes to meeting new people (if they were being honest). Rather than placing yourself in the class of people who you perceive to be the minority, instead, consider that you are amongst the majority of people who feel the same way you do.

3. Keep Your Intentions In Focus: If you expect to go to a networking function and walk out with a handful of business cards from people who want to buy from you, think again. To maximize your networking effort

   

When Cold Calling, Don't Go For The Sale

Think about the intention or the end result of your prospecting efforts. It's probably not what you think. Lets refer back to the definition of prospecting.

"Prospecting is defined as any activity or conversation you engage in to position yourself in front of a prospect with the intention to inquire, assess, discover, and educate so that you can determine whether there's a fit and a relationship that's worth pursuing which can then lead to presenting your product or service in order to earn your prospect's business."

Rather than focusing all of your energy on making the sale, first determine if there's a good fit between you, your prospect, and what you are selling.

Instead of feeling that the intention of prospecting is to get a sale, provide a demonstration, submit a proposal, or schedule an appointment, the initial intention of prospecting is to determine if there's a fit worth pursuing.

While this may sound a bit strange, closing the sale and earning the business of a prospect is not your initial goal. Instead, your primary objective is to determine whether you and your prospect are a good fit.

Take a moment and think about how this change in your attitude and mindset would change your cold calling approach as well as your experience.

While your traditional approach may be to produce a measurable result, now your primary objective is to discover whether you and your prospect are a good match and if this relationship is worth moving to the next stage of your selling process. If you feel that you constantly have to push the sales process forward, you're not taking into consideration that the prospect may simply not be ready, let alone may not be a good fit for what you are selling. Pushing the sales process forward before a prospect is ready only creates pressure for the both of you, fostering an unhealthy relationship from the start. Therefore, instead of asking yourself, "How can I sell this person?" change this question to, "Do I even want this prospect as a customer?"

Notice that the second question shifts the balance of your power back to you. Now, you're the one making the choice about pursuing the relationship rather than surrendering all of the decision making power to the prospect regarding whether or not they will buy from you, let alone listen to you!

Notice how this shift in your mindset will also change your approach. Instead of feeling as if you have to convince or push the prospect into the sale (appointment, demo, proposal) by regurgitating your pitch all over them, now you're going to want to learn and gather as much information you can about this particular prospect.

How do you determine if there's a fit worth pursuing? Typically, you would conduct a process of inquiry or an investigation. Woven into the fabric of any investigation are questions. Instead of the prospect interviewing or qualifying you, this brings new meaning to the phrase, "Qualify your prospects!" Now, you're the one doing the qualifying. The fact is, the interviewing process goes both ways.

Lets face it. You and I both know that the ultimate objective of your prospecting efforts is to sell more and boost your income. However, to achieve this goal, it's just not where you are going to focus your energy and thoughts.

Realize that when you cold call, one of your objectives is to open up your prospect's thinking to the possibility of working with you in order to provide them with a better solution or eliminate a recurring problem.

As such, if you are looking to change the perception or mindset of your prospects, whose mindset do you think needs to be changed first? Yours, of course!

By identifying and embracing this common misconception around prospecting, you can develop a strong foundation for cold calling success, providing you with the opportunity to think like a top producer and respond to each prospect in a healthier, more productive, and more enjoyable way.

   

How To Develop a Referral Agreement With Your Customers

What exactly classifies as a referral? If we were to create some parameters that define what a referral is, this is what it would look like.

Synonymous with "recommendation" and "testimonial," a referral is a potential prospect that is directed or given to you by someone you know or someone you don't know who feels that you are the best source for help or information regarding a specific, subject, product, or service.

What makes a referral so incredibly attractive and desirable is that it is, for the most part, a warm lead. That is, when you approach a referral, there is less of a need to convince or sell them. A certain degree of interest, credibility, and comfort has already been established. Chances are, there's already a need present. All you have to do then, is turn that need into a want or a desire for your product using the questions in your needs analysis.

Typically, your clients are going to be the top source for referral business simply because they are the ones who actually utilize your product, making them the most effective testimonial you can find to endorse your product.

The following dialogue illustrates how you can establish a referral agreement with your clients. This way, you will be able to identify the clients who are willing to become a referral source for you and the most appropriate time to ask them for referrals. This is a great example of how to set up your strategy to increase the amount of referral business you currently generate.

You: "Mrs. Client, may I take a moment to share with you how I build my business?"

Client: "Sure."

You: "Well, what I enjoy most about what I do and where my time is best served is working with my clients. I want to spend as much time as possible serving my clients and exceeding your expectations. In order for me to spend more time with my clients and less time marketing or prospecting for new business I really need the help of my satisfied clients.

Please understand, I'm certainly not asking for any referrals from you now. Personally, I feel that would be incredibly presumptuous to ask you to introduce me to other potential clients before you even have a chance to truly utilize and benefit from my services. After all, we just started working together!

However, in a couple of months or even weeks, when you are clearly realizing the benefits of my services and have gotten even more value than you expected, would you be comfortable sharing the results you have experienced with others and introduce me to those people who might also benefit from my services?"

Client: "Sure, I don't see why not.

You: "That sounds great. Thanks in advance for this consideration. Just so I know what it will take to make you a raving fan, what can I do to make you comfortable enough to actually want to refer business to me?"

The most effective way to earn referrals is to over- deliver on the value your clients expect so that you actually exceed their expectations. Once you confirm this to be true, it now becomes a great time to ask for testimonials or a reference from a happy client.

If you find that you are having difficulty asking for referrals, then question how strong your belief is in your product, your commitment to serving your clients, and the value proposition you can deliver.

Setting up a referral agreement with your clients will remove any reluctance and make you feel much more comfortable when asking them for referrals. Since they now know this is something you will be asking of them, it's okay to ask.

   
What if I don´t believe in what I´m selling?

Believe in your product!

Recently, I heard the top salesperson of an organiation make the statement, "I can`t endorse this product any longer." A visiting consultant replied, "Then it`s time for you to go find a product or service you can endorse." Within one week, the Number 1 sales person for that organization left the company. Was that the right choice? Yes. When you don`t believe in your product or service, you`re being dishonest with your prospects and customers when you present the benefits and value of what you sell to them. Talk about internal termoil!! If you don`t believe in your product or service, and don`t have faith that it will accomplish what you say it will - then "it`s time for you to go."

   
What sales books would you recomend the most?

Books on Selling

Selling techniques remain the same over the years. Selling is not just about going out in the world hawking a product, it includes sales techniques and the psychology of winning. Selling classics by Brian Tracy, Tom Hopkins and Michael St. Lawrence are highly recommended. However "The Book of 5 Rings" and "The Greatest Salesman in the World" which both are often mandatory reading in corporations, are about the psychology of winning which is necessary if you want to be a top salesperson. Selling is not just about dancing on the desk, its about understanding why people buy.

   
How can I energize my sales calls?

Sense of Humor

Develop a sense of humor and practice being a FUN PERSON to be with.

   
How can I change my attitude?

I get to....

Listen to all the sales gurus out there today and you'll hear the same message about being successful..."it's all in your attitude". The Secret is that it's also in the words you choose. The "have's" and the "get's". If you 'have' to do something - it's not much fun. If you 'get' to do something - it's truly awesome.

Example: When a sales rep "gets" to go see his customer, he enjoys the whole process of getting there, the meeting, the follow-up, etc.

When a sales rep says, "I 'have' to go see a customer", the mood is quite different.

Choose the 'get to' over the 'have to' and you'll see a HUGE difference in your attitude.

   
I don´t talk alot...does that mean I can´t sell?

Listen!

Too often, people think that to be a super sales person, one must like to talk. Unfortunately, this misconception causes more lost sales than anything else. It also causes employers to zip right over candidates that portray this quality. If you are truly a sales professional, you will learn to LISTEN more than you talk.

   
How do I get out of a sales slump?

Yikes! I'm in a Slump!

The best way to get out of a `sales slump` is to take a substantially different approach to your day. Rather than rushing out and stressing out to get a sale - because it`s your quota - change your objective! Make your objective for one day to just go out and have `fun`. Don`t try to `sell` anything. If you begin your prospect calls and customer calls with the objective to have `fun`, you`ll be surprized at the response you`ll get...and you may even be surprised when a new prospect decides to `buy` :-)
Have a FUN day!

   
Should I tell my prospect everything I know about my product?

Details

When you're meeting with a prospect, learn to use your intuition to determine what details are important to him and which ones are not. Provide those that will make a difference in the final outcome of the selling process - save the others for another time.

   
What does ´visualization´ have to do with sales?

Assume The Sale

Assume the sale.

When you walk into a prospect's office, you have the ability to ‘visualize' the outcome of the meeting. If you have done your planning and preparation well, then you already believe that your product or service will solve a problem, answer a need, or provide some benefit to your prospect. What many fail to do is to ‘visualize' the outcome of the meeting. If you can ‘visualize' the meeting running smoothly, each step falling into place, etc., then you will be more likely to have a productive communication with your prospect. In sales, we call that "Assuming the Sale".

By planning each step of your sales call, you will be prepared to take the sales call through completion. Focus on making the sale. Picture yourself walking out that customer's door with a total ‘win-win' situation in hand. When you are prepared, you Assume The Sale, because you ‘know' that this is a worthwhile prospect and your service and/or product will provide some benefit to the buyer. If you can begin a sales call by ‘assuming the sale', and can visualize the outcome, you have prepared and planned properly. If you can not walk in with a vision of the sale actually happening, then maybe there's more preparation, planning, or vision needed.

   
How do I get over a sales slump?

Get Over It.

One of the qualities that make for a superior sales person is the ability to recover quickly in tough situations. When you just don't know what to do to make a difference today, do something different. Do something unexpected. Do something to adjust your own attitude. Take a customer a bouquet of flowers – just because you were thinking of them. Stop by and see a prospect – just to give one of your company's new marketing pieces. Send an e-mail – just to say hello. In other words, just do something nice and unexpected for someone else. You might make their day – and they just might make yours, too.

   
What is the best thing I can sell?

What do you sell?

The best things in life ... aren't things!

Sell 'solutions' to your customer's needs, goals, problems ... don't sell 'things'.

   
Can you read body language?

Body Language

Not only can you judge the interest you've created, or not created, by your prospect's body language, they can also interpret your body language. Be pleasant. Use manners. Show professional character.

   
What are YOU selling?

What are YOU selling?

Think of the word "sales" and you assume someone is selling some-THING ... like widgets, cars, houses, clothes, hamburgers, books, etc. When we think about what we `sell` and compare that to what we `buy`, we have a different view! What people buy are solutions. We buy a car so we can go places, clothes to make us look snazzy, widgets to play with, books to learn, etc. We buy is a `solution` to a need, desire, problem, etc. Keep this in mind when you make a sales call to sell your product or service. Put yourself in the buyer`s shoes. Sell `solutions` - not `things`.

   
I´m afraid to make sales calls, what should I do?

I'm afraid of sales calls

FEAR hinders your success at most anything in life. When you are afraid to make that phone call, walk in a new prospect's door, or of accepting a new challenge, stop and ask yourself, "What am I afraid of?" Once you identify your fear, then take action to face it head on. You'll find that it's not as frightful as what you expected - once you have faced it.

   
What is the best way to make my sales calls flow smoothly?

Follow Your Sales Steps

To become a better sales professional and improve your sales results, develop the 'perfect' plan to follow for making a sales call. Then...follow that plan on each and every sales call. As you begin to develop the steps that you follow, each call will begin to flow more smoothly and you will gain confidence by increasing your consistency, and sales should follow.

   
I have a 1977 D dime that is gold. Have you ever heard of it?

1977 D Gold Dime

A gold plated 1977 dime might have been made as a private commerative but not as a U.S. Mint issue. In 1977 the mint issued the Roosevelt Mercury dime. Gold coins have only been minted first between between 1795 - 1933. The Great Depression then forced the mint to recall most of its gold coins to have them melted down. Recently the mint issued coins with some gold quantities, mainly the Gold American Eagle coins issued in demoninations of $50, $25, $10, and $5 and containing 1/10 of an oz of gold to 1 oz of gold respectively. The U.S. Mint has announced the introduction of the 24-karat gold (99.99% gold) bullion coin to begin circulation in 2006.

   
When am I ´late´ for an appointment?

Be on time

When you tell someone you'll meet him/her at a specific time, they are counting on you to be there. They take you at your word. They give you theirs. They may go to extraordinary lengths to be there and if YOU aren't there (on time) it shows lack of consideration for their time and you have not kept your word by agreeing to be on time.

If you are even one minute later than you agreed - you have broken your word. People will remember.

   
What should I do if I don´t have the customer´s attention?

Are you psychic?

When meeting with a prospect or customer, be aware of subtle gestures (body language, breathing, eye contact, listening & attention) that appear right before your eyes! When your prospect is in a hurry...that's not a good time to try to 'push the deal'. If your customer keeps glancing at someone or something else...you do NOT have his/her attention... When a prospects continually asks you to repeat what you just said...he's NOT listening! So, what do you do? Well, you have two choices!

1. GAIN THEIR ATTENTION in a positive way and proceed.
2. It's BAD TIMING...so don't become part of a problem - suggest a better time to meet with them. YOu can even accept full responsibility: "Mr. Customer, you know, I just thought of some materials that I left at the office that I believe you'll want to see...why don't I bring them back by tomorrow about 2:15 and we'll look at them?"

   
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Byron White