Welcome to The Pipeline.

How much is too many?23

Recently I have been getting the same question come up during workshops: “How many times should I call a new prospect before I give up?” in reality most say “before we move on”, I hear “before I give up”; this is coming up much more than in the past. The reality is that sales professionals should be reaching out more time to any given prospect than they naturally feel comfortable doing.

There have been a number of studies that show that most reps will try three times then move on. Same studies show that it takes as much as 5 to 7 touch points for potential prospects to let us in. These can be phone calls, in reality voice mail, e-mail, or in some cases fax still works.

So if you are moving on after three tries, and your competitor calls twice the following week, you just primed the pump for his success.

Believe me they wont take it personally, you are not going to upset them, there is money in being professionally persistent! Meaning don’t hound them every day for eight weeks, but six time over the course of a couple of weeks will get you more meeting, and as result more sales, more referrals, etc.

Sell well!

The Pipeline

Thank you!1

What ever happened to the thank you note?

I continue to be amazed how a simple thing like a thank you note is overlooked by sales reps and sales organizations these days.

I am currently interviewing sales people to join our organization and I am puzzled by the fact that 9 out of 10 people I interview do not follow up with a thank you note or e-mail. It kills me, I mean here they are trying to impress me, in many ways I am prospect, and they can’t take 30 seconds to bang out a thank you e-mail.

Not only that but in workshops I do, when I mention that I send a thank you to every individual I have a first appointment with, even if the meeting goes nowhere. People are floored. “Doesn’t that take a lot of time?” they ask. These are professional sales people!

Yes it takes a whole of 30 second, and on a heavy day when I may have four first appointments, I actually sacrifice a whole two minutes. When I ask how many new customers most people see in a given week, it’s never more that 5 or 6, so how much time does it take.

Better question is what kind of impression does it leave with the prospect? Everyone tells me they want to differentiate themselves from other sales people; they tell me it’s about rapport and “the relationship”. So is there an easier way than to say thank you?

By the way, those that do not send me a thank you card after an interview, don’t get a second shot.

Sell well!

The Pipeline

Back to the fray!0

It may sound strange but it was fun getting back in the game yesterday. Had a good relaxing break, and while I was not restless, itching to get back to work, there was a welcoming familiar feel to things. It also helped that there were appointments booked, and proposals that had to be readied, the phone was in full swing, twisting back and forth from desk phone to mobile. And here we are this morning, about to head into the bright sunshine to claim one little piece of the prize. Calls today, workshop tomorrow, 2008 is off and running.

Based on the first couple of days, 2008 is looking good. How is it shaping up for you? Let us know, in the mean time,

Sell Well!

Bring on 2008!1

It’s a bright sunny day here in Toronto, hopefully a good omen to everyone still closing deals today, I salute your drive and wish you success in bringing in those last deals. For those of us who have the luxury of sitting today out and kicking back, well enjoy, and we’ll see you in 2008.

Happy New Year!

Sell Well,

Tibor

Christmas Calling0

I was sitting in the office this morning, catching up, getting some things done while waiting for my kids to call and pick them up (at the mall). At about 11:00 my phone rang, and I pleasantly surprised to hear it was a cold call, an office supply place, not one of the big ones, but a local player. It was an alright pitch, but what I was fascinated by is that he was calling, and trying to fit an appointment in for later this week or Monday next.

I asked him why he was calling today, and working so hard to get me booked. He explained that he is above quota this year, and anything he brings in above quota he gets 12 cents on the dollar. Then he offered up the kicker, “If we can’t connect for this year, and we set something up late next week, I get the year started right”.

Merry Christmas and Sell Well!

They’re everywhere, they’re everywhere!0

I walked into my dentist’s office this morning, in front of me was a pleasant young man who encouraged me to get ahead of him in line. I looked at him and asked him what he sells, a bit red faced and giggling, he said copiers, mentioned the company, and happens to compete with a company we trained. We exchanged pleasantries; he expressed interest in what I do, as we were interrupted by the receptionist. Once I was sorted out, I specifically selected a seat near the front so I can have a front row view of the sales play about to unfold.

Being familiar with the plot, I was more looking to see how he will unfold the themes, spice up his role as the hero, and finally get the receptionist involved in the story that will lead to his happy ending. I am not sure how it turned out, because I was called in mid way, but he wasn’t doing great while I was still there. He talked a lot about price, how great their service was, and asked when her current lease was up. While I was watching he did almost all the talking, she was hardly involved. If he gets the sale, it will be something she did rather than anything he said or did.

When I first talk to him, he asked how I know he was a sales person, I told him it was the way he allowed me in line, having watched him in action, and he just kept confirming it.

Sell well!

Dealing with the holidays1

There is a tendency among sales people to ease up on their cold calling or appointment setting this time of year. In many cases they are encouraged by their managers to go out and close for the year end. In fact I often hear managers ask reps this time of year “what can we pull in from January to close the year stronger?”

While the thought behind this is legitimate, if you can accelerate a sales to close sooner without discounts or major concessions that is good. (Although I would ask if you can do that in December why not apply the same skills in August or November.) The question becomes what happens when you come back in January after a well deserved rest.If you were “closing” in the weeks leading up to the holidays, what shape is your calendar in for new prospect appointments in January? Usually pretty thin, since you were closing rather than setting appointments in December.

This time of year, more than ever, it is important that you set aside time every day to prospect for new opportunities to fill your Pipeline for the New Year. If you don’t then you are going to pay the price with a very slow start to the year, which will lead to pressure, which just perpetuates the whole thing again.

Acknowledging that it is important to close the year well, we recognize that this becomes a priority, all we suggest it don’t let the pendulum swing to far where you don’t prospect at all till the New Year. Prospect a little close a lot, and you can benefit now without paying a steep price in January. Let’s face it, it is already cold in January, why add to it.

Just sell it!

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