Social Selling is Just Good Selling – Sales eXecution 2440

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Last week I had the honour of placing in the top 10 of the 30 The Top 30 Social Salespeople In The World.  But more than ever before it highlighted the need to unhyphenate sales, and focus on those things that make sales people good at what they do.  I can’t speak for the others on the list, but I do not see myself as a social seller, but as a sales person who takes the profession seriously, and as a result of that commitment use every available tool to communicate with my market, and deliver avenues and means for them to achieve their objectives vis-à-vis their business.

top30socsale

This is why I had some gentle fun with Social Selling’s predecessor, Sales 2.0. These are not just marketing terms, but limiting terms, especially in the hands of the wrong people, especially the pundits. If Sales 2.0 was the label for those who were leveraging Web 2.0 tools and opportunities in their sales, then what number do we assign to those sales people who were early adopters of the first wave of web capabilities, Sales 1.0? What about those of us who jumped on things like portals, the original BlackBerry pagers, Sales 0.0. And what of the sales people who invested in Palm Pilots and green screen e-mails, Sales -1.0. Take to the logical conclusion voice mail in the 1908’s Sales -3.0, answering services introduced in the 1930’s Sales -6.0, etc.

Silly marketing terms that pre-occupy sales people and sell products for those selling to sellers. So let’s unhyphonate sales, especially silly, potentially revenue destructive labels like “No Cold Calling”, “Referral Selling”, “Trigger Event Selling”, and others. These address one small aspect of sales in a very incomplete and ineffective way and serve only to sell a product. This may explain why some were left off the list who are in one light much more “social” than many of us on the list.

I can only speak for myself, but I suspect I was on the list because I love selling, and writing about selling and will use every available tool and means of selling better, these days that includes social. I think if you want to hyphenate sales, there should only be one Good-Selling, everything else is just packaging.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

 

 

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Using Content Marketing to Drive Sales1

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The Pipeline Guest Post - Megan Totka 

Using content marketing to drive sales will certainly only continue to grow exponentially in 2014. Nearly every company, small or large, will use this tactic to increase their sales.

If you look back on content marketing, you’ll come across examples that predate the Internet. Content marketing is certainly not a new strategy, but it is one that has been made easier by technology. Several hundred years ago, content marketing was possible, but it was certainly a little tougher to get your sales message out there. A few of the examples offered were John Deere, who published a magazine offering farming tips, and the Jell-O company, who distributed free cookbooks full of recipes using their product. Both companies have obviously done quite well for themselves.

So what should you do to effectively use content marketing to drive sales in 2014? Here are a few things to consider:

Visual content – infographics, which gained lots of popularity in 2013, will continue to be on the rise in 2014. People love getting their information in a visual manner – less reading, more colors. Infographics were used by 51% of B2B content marketers in 2013.

In-person events still rule – a survey of B2B marketers showed that people still think that in-person events are the most effective way to market and sell to potential customers. While most of the time, the Internet is king, in person marketing is still very much an effective strategy.

Strategy vs. no strategy – while we can argue that anyone who is involved in marketing has needed to devise a strategy, not everyone actually records a concrete marketing plan to follow. However, the same survey as mentioned above shows that companies who have a documented content strategy think that they are successful about 66 percent of the time, compared to companies that don’t have a recorded strategy thinking that they are successful only 11 percent.

Content marketing still poses some challenges – the B2B marketing group reported that there are definitely still some challenges to be overcome when it comes to content marketing. Some of the top concerns are not having enough time to produce quality content, a budget shortfall, and a lack of vision.

We all know that sales and marketing need a delicate balance in order to work well without overwhelming your customers. Content marketing is a way to build your brand while offering useful information at the same time.

(Photo Source)

About Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

Cold Calling is “IN” Again! – Sales eXchange 2346

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

frozen calls

Sadly I am at an age where I find myself saying “I remember the first time that was cool”, I have seen thin ties come and go enough times enough time to know not to throw out any ties, because it is only a question of time before someone says, “wow, that’s a cool tie, is it new?” The only thing I can’t remember if it was 1987, 1993 or 2007 when I actually first bought it.

Well it seems that cold calling is coming back into fashion. Not only do you find people dropping euphemisms when referring to the activity, companies popping up all over the place to perform a service many are needing but forgot how to execute. Many closet callers are coming out and proudly proclaiming not only that they regularly part take in cold calling, but that it producing results that exceed the expectations many, and helping many exceed quota.

Amazing what an Arctic Vortex will do.  Here we are less than two weeks into the New Year, and the signs are all over that cold calling is cool again. Just last week I had a notice for a webinar from one of the original Sales 2.0 gang, inviting me to a webinar on cold calling.  BTW, if you want to attend a webinar from someone who never wavered from cold calling, click here.

Other pundits who not so long ago wrapped themselves in the Sales 2.0 cloak, before dawning top layer of social selling, are now shedding their load, and freely speaking about the virtues of cold calling.

What is truly refreshing in some of their proclamations, is not so much their embracement of this staple and age old tool of sales success, but more importantly their abandonment of the “Us vs. Them” dribble that often dominates the debate.  The former stance that cold calling is dead, and it is all about the new thing, is now more reasoned and tempered, and sounds more like those of us who were out in the cold for a while.  Namely that it is about a blend of approaches and means of engaging with potential buyers, not one means vs. another.

Maybe it has more to do with the fact that the economy is showing some life, revenue expectations by Wall Street and companies themselves, are causing people to realise that they will need to be more than found if they are going to make quota, they’re actually going to have to go out and find some potential buyers who are not currently in the market or expressed that they may care to be.

In a recent LinkedIn group discussion asking if cold calling is dead or not, the comments were absent of the usual posturing about how cold calling was bad or dead.  The tone was more logical, again, putting cold calling alongside social selling and other techniques and tools that make up a successful tool kit.

LinkedIn itself, seems to be leading the charge back.  Despite a recent article “Cold Calling is Dead, Thanks To LinkedIn”, seems to have jumped on the band wagon.  As with most leaders and pundits, the measure of their commitment lies in what they do, not always in what they say.  Since a picture is worth 1,000 words, let me point to a recent advert for a sales position at LinkedIn, promoted on LinkedIn. When it comes to Responsibilities, just look at what is number one on the list:

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About the only thing that could make cold calling more fashionable is to call it Zombie Calling!

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

3 Things Some Pundits Won’t Tell you about Cold Calling – Part 1 – Sales eXchange 2186

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Keyhole and Telephone - Key to Success - Locked Out - Communicat

There is no hotter topic in B2B sales than cold calling, does it work, and is it necessary in today’s social environment, call screening, voice mail, and “inbound” universe. Well I am here to tell you it does work in 2013, and will continue to work in 2014 and beyond. And I am not alone in that conviction, not only are other experts with me on this, but so are the facts; I know many don’t like confuse the issue with facts, but I just feel the need (see below).

Definition: To start we need to define “cold call”, there are almost as many meanings as there are pundits. When I say cold call, it simply means that you are not on the targets agenda for that day. You could have encyclopedic knowledge about their company, the prospect personally, industry, all the real success you have delivered to people like them in similar scenarios; if you are not a scheduled event – you are a cold call. I am not talking about just picking up the phone, start dialing at A, and keep going, saying “Wanna buy?” That’s not cold calling, that’s just dialing for dollars, not effective from a time and resource view point, especially given the time demands sales professionals face these days.

But if you do your homework, prepare for the call in every way, expose yourself on social media, whip up a the best posts, etc., it does not change the reality that your targets are trying to pack 16 hours into a 12 hour day, just like you. Unless you are scheduled, you are a cold blast of interruption. That’s what makes the call cold, no matter how strong the content, they are reacting to their schedule, which does not include you or me. It is a dynamic that needs to be dealt with, and mastered, otherwise you are a socially correct, smart beyond belief sales person with a phone in their hand, a dial tone in their ear, and no new opportunity in your pipeline, now that’s cold. So as we look at three things they don’t tell you about cold calling, keep this definition in mind.

  1. Opens Up Untapped Overlooked Markets:

Above I spoke about facts supporting cold calling as a key component of any prospecting success, one example is a recent WSJ article “Cold Calls Still Help the Bottom Line”.  Notice how social media such as LinkedIn and others play a role in their prospecting success, as does cold calling. Nothing can be truer than the comment about how by less people making prospecting calls, has created a reduction in competition for prospects by phone. This same concept pans out in a couple of other ways. First, those depending on inbound only, without outbound cold calls, are limited to that narrow segment of the market that initiated the “buying process” on their own, and as such see you in a different light. You read a lot about how many buyers are some 60% through their buying process before reaching out to a seller. I believe that, but what does that say about the role of the sales person involved:

    • They are usually reduced to providing data to validate buyer’s research
    • Rather than playing the role of thought leader and advisor, they are reduced to price discussions and negotiating with their own company
    • In effect, the true logical conclusion of an inbound sale is for someone to take the order, that’s not selling

I know one can argue that these sellers can challenge the buyer’s thinking and change direction, but if they had the wherewithal to do that, would they have waited or allowed the process to be 60% executed without being in the game? No, they would have prospected them, and by not doing so, allowed the process to get away from them.

But where does that leave the other segment of the market, those who have not initiated the buying process, those who have something like what you sell, but could benefit from what your offer specifically; what if you can help them achieve their objectives better than they are now, but are just not calling in? Seems to me that to get to them, you’re going to have to pick up the phone (along with other actions), and if you are not on their schedule, you have to deal with being an interruption, a cold call, and deal with their reaction to the interruption not the quality of content.

This means learning to deal with the response, the objection, the rejection, the horror; well not if you are prepared.

Now – Download the Objection Handling Handbook
Wednesday Part 2 – They used to cold call – what’s changed?

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

What’s A Better Seller? – Sales eXchange 1990

By Tibor Shantotibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Blue Collar

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of discussing sales and selling with Charles Adler, Canada’s Boss of Talk.  Charles had read my piece in the Globe and Mail on the difference between a blue-collar approach to selling and the white-collar approach.  We explored other aspects of sales and successful people, take a listen, and let me know or Charles (@charlesadler), know what you think.


What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Time To Grow Up – Sales eXchange 1980

By Tibor Shantotibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

grow up

When my kids were young and they would wish for something not real, or as a way to avoid a task, like “I wish I didn’t have to clean my room”, “I wish I could grow up to be a princess”, their grandmother always responded by saying “If wishes were horses then beggars would ride”.  It’s interesting how that expression has great significance and application to many sales people and sales advisors, all now grown-ups.

I am speaking specially of advice doled out by some sales pundits that serves more to placate and patronize readers than help them improve their selling skills and success, delivering clichés and politically correct feel good myth, instead of proven and practical road tested advice based on experience.  While we all want to make our audience feel good, I think it is more important to provide pragmatic advice that yields measurable results, even when it requires effort on the part of the reader and will often force them from their comfort zones.  I for one do not see a problem in challenging readers and sellers, and do not apologize for creating some discomfort in helping them succeed.  Much better than some of the sugar coated buzzword riddled schmaltz others seem to be peddling in an effort to make sellers feel good and allow them to rationalize their lack of effort, inventiveness and results.  But as we all know sugar highs don’t last.

If you are wondering why I am on about this, it’s because once again I have someone taking a shot at my often debated, never disproven voice mail technique, not because it doesn’t work, it does, but because it does not appeal to their “sensibilities”, a sensibility that leads to no returned calls.  As usual the technique is misrepresented, making it easier to cast in a questionable light, they then schmear a load of subjectivity mixed with value judgment, and raising but not speaking to the specifics of words like “trust” or “ethics”.

The reality is that there are no absolutes in sales, nothing works all the time, every time, most things don’t work most the time, so when you have a technique that proves to be 30% – 50% effective, you have something worth adopting.  What’s more, while the technique may seem counter intuitive at first, those who try it, report back a consistent success rate.  Recently there was a debate in a LinkedIn group, there were many who questioned the technique, who once they tried it, liked it, mostly because it got them call backs and appointments.

Most recently, the technique was again misrepresented, and labeled asinine.  I bet I can find some internal memos at most record companies dating back to 10 years ago that called iTunes an asinine way to sell and consume music.  I bet there were some Blockbuster folks who called Netflix asinine.  Interestingly few are willing to challenge it head on.  One challenger was invited to debate the technique on “This Week In Sales” webcast, but declined, I wonder why; not the worst thing, I had the whole show to myself.

As an industry, “sales enablers”, we keep highlighting the fact that only 50% of B2B reps make quota, well what is our role in that?  If we do not push them to better themselves by trying, new, alternative, and yes at times outlandish but effective methods.  We should challenge our audience, not just dust off the edges of tired techniques that play to the emotion of the reader even while ignoring the fact that what is being peddled are just retreads with new labels.

In the end it is down to the reader, our consumer, they choose how they want to make or not make quota.  In the end the readers are like we the pundits, some know what is Shinola, and what’s not.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

90% BS – Sales eXchange 1950

By Tibor Shantotibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

BS

There was a good post this week at Funnelholic blog, looking at “Best practices for getting in the door”.  In the piece there was a statistic attributed to the Harvard Business Review that stated:

“Harvard Business Review: 90% of C-level executives say that they never respond to cold calls or email blasts”

Now I can’t speak for the e-mail blast part, but as for the responding to cold calls part – “Horse manure! That’s for sure!”

I can tell you from personal experience, mine that of my clients, and other sellers, that the percentage of executives who respond is much greater than 10%, and even if they wanted to reframe the statistics and limit it to those who have made a purchase from a cold call, the number is still much higher than 10%.

There could be a number of explanations for this misrepresentation of the facts.  One can be the way the question was asked, because it is true that in the wrong hands, cold calls can be painful for both parties; maybe they specifically asked executives predisposed to not taking cold calls or want to be politically correct in a social age; or they relied on data from the “never cold call” crowd, whose bias would taint the survey, after all it is hard to sell DVD’s, books, and ab machines if cold calling was shown to be working.

I suspect that this is the sales world version of the Bradley Effect, where voters told pollsters one thing about how they will vote, while doing opposite when they actually went to cast their vote.

As I have stated here before, there are no absolutes in selling, if your job is to engage with potential buyers, you will need to try all resources available to you, including cold calling.  The post on Funnelholic highlights this in a clear way.  While in certain markets you can get away with little cold calling, in other segments, you will never hit quota without picking up the phone and making some well-placed cold calls.

Another cause is the fact that many organizations spend a lot of money training their people on “selling” or managing accounts or relationships, but very little on proper prospecting.  While lately there have been some programs focus on the use of social media or LinkedIn, again they ignore cold calling, after all, if you don’t do it, you can’t teach it.

Some of the referral based programs overlook the fact that while someone may give you a great referral, but unless the person making the referral calls in advance or introduces you, not always the case, and your call to the target is unscheduled, guess what, it’s a cold call, doesn’t matter what you want to call it to make you feel better.  Unless you have mapped out the call, how you manage the likely objection, and turn it into engagement, you’re beat, and will become a statistic.  Maybe the statistic was that 90% of cold calls are so bad that they would not buy from those callers.  Which is reasonable given the fact that they have only been trained on the latter half the process.

What is interesting is that I have met executives leading sales force espousing alternate means to cold calling at conferences or webinars, who in a different setting lament their teams’ overdependence on their existing base, and the inability of their teams to prospect, including cold calling.

In the end, either both I and my clients are the luckiest sellers on the planet, or the 90% statistic is 90% politically correct BS.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

 

How Hosting Contests on Your Twitter Feed can Improve Sales2

Increased sales GP

The Pipeline Guest Post – Kim Willington

Of course you know that social media is a great way to get exposure for your business. What you may not realize, however, is that social media is also a great way to increase direct sales — sometimes right from your feed. The immediate, conversational nature of Twitter makes it ideally suited for promoting your business and increasing sales.

In particular, hosting contests on your Twitter feed can increase your sales, not only in the short-term but also by promoting relationships with customers and generating leads. Here are a few tips for how you can increase your sales by hosting contests on your Twitter feed:

Promote New Products

When you have a new product, hosting a contest is a great way to generate buzz and to sell more of those products. By offering the contest, you instantly get more exposure for the product, amounting to free advertising that gets people instinctively excited about the product. Those who don’t win the contest will feel like they have missed out on something special and will be more likely to go back and buy the product instead.

Follow Up with Exclusive Offers

After a contest is over, you should build on the momentum that the buzz has created for you. You can do so by offering exclusive discounts or other promotions to your Twitter followers and to those who entered the contest. Perhaps you can offer a discount on the product, or you can offer a special free bonus for those who buy the product.
The exclusivity will not only increase your sales, but it will also help you to increase your Twitter following (which can help you build relationships and grow sales later).

Generate Leads

A contest is a great way to help you build long-term brand loyalty and sales by helping you to generate leads. The key is to create multiple methods of entry that work for you. This can include asking participants to join your e-mail list or to follow you on Twitter in order to enter. The more valuable the prize, the more people will enter and the more leads you will have.
Of course, the effectiveness of those leads will depend upon what you do next. Make sure you have a strategy for lead marketing that includes developing an ongoing relationship and encouraging repeat sales.

Twitter can do much more for you than help you promote your brand. If used correctly, it can help you to increase your sales of your own products or to generate additional revenue through affiliate marketing and advertising. Just be sure to strike the right balance between promotion and providing your followers the information they need, and you should see success.
Do you use Twitter to increase your sales? Share your tips for success in the comments!

About Kim Willington

Kim Willington is a freelance writer and researcher, where she has recently been researching service desk software. While away from work, she enjoys antiquing and hiking with her retriever, Spencer.

Shock Treatment – Sales eXchange 1922

by Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca
 
Jump Start

Last Monday I posted about the overlooked opportunity in that segment of buyers know as Status Quo, pundits and sellers alike commiserating each other about the difficulty of selling to a ready group of buyers, vs. taking orders from self-declared buyers.

I’ll be the first to admit change is hard, especially for business buyers who have their handful, trying to make headway in a competitive market.  Change is time consuming, a drain on resources, creates upheaval, usually expensive, and fraught with risk, for the organization and the individual at the centre of the decision.  Moving the dial with these types of buyers requires more than a bit of effort, which is why change is also hard for sellers; it is much easier and safer to rationalize, and wait for a referral.

This is why there is a healthy and growing industry of sages ready to sell indisposed sellers every mean of just waiting at the edge of the forest, encouraging them to wait for something to come out to them, rather than entering the fray and winning business most sellers seem reluctant to peruse.

How much effort does it take? Well take a minute, step back and look around you and study what it takes for people to make critical changes in key their lives. Frighteningly, you discover that people don’t often make big changes, right changes, preferring to avoid and live with the consequences of the Status Quo.  Even when they know that the new state is preferable to their existing one.  The naive notion which many buy into that people will move to a better mouse trap has cost both sellers and buyers much time and money.  You can build the better mouse trap, Trap 2.0, and people will rodent infestation will maybe look your way, then rationalize why they shouldn’t beat a path to your door.

Don’t believe me, how many people do you know who continue to smoke, even after their father expired due to lung cancer; how many people do you know who continue to biggie size it, despite the fact that they have to buy a new wardrobe every six months?  People can change these with a effort if they wanted to, but it takes effort.  How many times have you watched companies go to the brink or beyond because the devil they knew was a better alternative to the one they didn’t know?

The answer is not offering the “right” or “better” solution, or in becoming their friend.  It is about penetrating the barriers the buyers have erected to protect their current state.  Your only choice is to shock them, shock your way past their fortress of hope.  Hope it will work out, hope it will last, and hope no one will notice.  For the “be found crowd”, this is not an issue, the buyer has dismantled the barriers, and are ready to change, but for the Status Quo, intervention time.

Now I am not talking about clamping a couple of electrodes to your buyer’s temples (or elsewhere); but I am talking about asking hard and very direct questions, which at best could be called provocative, at worst a punch below their reality belt.  One does not have to be rude, but one does have to shake things up, which means the ultimate relationship you have starts out a bit rough, but ends up being a solid one, built on being a reliable resource, not a cuddly friend.

There is plenty of writing and thinking out there about how to succeed with the Status Quo, mine, others who provide means and questions you can use.  But the first step is for you as a seller to recognize and decide how you want to deliver value to your buyer.  Once you decide that you can do more than just take orders from ready buyers, and win more business who may not think they need you or your offering, there are plenty of resources to help you, but as with other changes, you need to first admit that you are a card carrying member of the Status Quo.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto  

Dude, You’re Gonna Need More Than 15 Minutes3

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Just 15 minutes

Sales people are constantly working at communicating value to their buyers, especially in the early stages of the cycle, lead gen to prospecting and engaging the buyer to where they could complete an effective Discovery process.   After sellers have done all the work involved in getting to the point where they can engage with a buyer, I am always surprised at how easily they are willing to undermine it, and risk their opportunity by saying something completely unnecessary, and serves only to sooth their nerves.

The expression that does this most is “I just need 15 minutes of your time” or “A quick 15 minutes”.  Both are stupid and useless, the second is one I never did get, how is a “quick 15 minutes” different than 15 minutes, don’t all minutes have 60 seconds, it is just the quality of the content that seems to make some minutes last a lifetime.

I know why it is used, generally comes down to two things, both can be dealt with more intelligently and effectively.  First is the popular notion that if you can get 15 minutes, and do well, they’ll give you an encore and you can stretch it out; I guess we all think we can do a good job.  On the other hand I used to work for a VP of Sales who managed his calendar down to the minute, busy guy.  He would ask you how long you needed, and would book you in for that time, if you said 15 minutes, he would end the meeting right at 15 minutes.  He wasn’t rude, he had to get to his next scheduled meeting, if you couldn’t live up to the expectation I set, it was your issue, not his, you had to deal with it, not him.

Which brings us to the first contradiction, most decision makers have more than what to do in a day, how realistic is that they don’t have other meetings behind your, or other things that require their time and attention.  Yes, no doubt we have all had instances where we were able to extend 15 minutes in to 45 or even 60 minutes, but an occasional anomaly does not make for a sound strategy.

The other issue with this approach is that you are in fact misleading the prospect before you have even met them.  Think about it, do you really want to start things off by lying to the prospective buyer?  Any way you rationalize it, that is exactly what you are doing, not a good foundation for a trust based relationship.

The second reason sales people do this is linked to the first, and just as weak.  Specifically they are trying to minimize the apparent impact on the buyer, trying to make it “easy” on them, “Your time will not be wasted”, is the implication.  But unless you are selling a coffee service or window cleaning, how much real or tangible value can you effectively communicate.  More so, when you are selling what you would call a “solution”, where information has to be exchanged, 15 minutes is not going to get you there, you can pretend all you want, you are going to pitch, worse, you are going to ‘speed pitch’.

Some will tell me, “I can at least get things started”, sure then comeback and continue, with a bit of recapping, you are costing you and the buyer more time.  By asking for 15 minutes you are undermining your  so called “value proposition”.  What the prospect hears is that this is so basic and unimportant, what they are asking themselves is as follows: “we’re going to make real progress in 15, can’t be that important or unique, maybe it can wait, or I can delegate it to someone who deals with unimportant things.”

Think about it, assuming things get started, small talk, while you assume they checked out your web site, you have to validate; if they did, you still need to create context, if they didn’t you have to do a bit more than that.  From here, you need to at least go through the motions of gather information or executing a Discovery of facts and objective. Ah, look at that time is up!  I remember someone trying to sell me an ad in local board of trade directory, they said they just need 15 minutes, I pointed out to him that he will need to ask me some questions, I will certainly have some for him, so let’s get real, how much time will we really need, he was honest enough to come across with a real time frame.

What’s worse, it is usually the seller who brings time in to the equation, not the prospect, again communicating a lack of confidence in their offering, or their ability to sell, or both.  Just stop this juvenile practice, and sell.

Now I know that there times when you will be asked by a prospect how much time you need; in my case I gear my first meetings to about an hour, I am the one that gets antsy after 50 minutes.  But rather than saying “one hour”, I pause, and ask, “how long can you give me?”  They usually come back and say “is an hour enough?”  Touch down!

But assuming they ask again, I just say “I usually need about 30 minutes for Discovery, I assume you’ll have some questions, so 40 minutes is safe.”  If I feel they have a sense of humor, I add “any longer than that I take as interest on your part.”

I do have people who say “I can give you 30 minutes.”  Great I can work with that; if they offer 15 minutes, I say no, I know what is going to happen, it is not a good use of my time, my most important resource.  Either we can find a mutually better time, or on to the next one.  If you have lots of prospects, this is not an issue, if you only have one or two, you may have to settle for the scraps that a quick 15 minutes represent.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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