If You Have To Wonder – - Forget It!4

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Crossed Fingers

We’ve all heard that communication is 60% body language, 30% intonation, and 10% the words we use (give or take). While this is an important statistics for sellers to keep in mind, it means nothing to those who sell or set appointments by phone, where there is no body language, and it’s down to intonation and words; and as we have said before, words may not break your bones, they could hurt your sales.

People can’t separate themselves from who they are just because they are selling, which means many of speech patterns they have developed over the years are present when they are selling. As a result they tend to use words that are just not all that effective when selling by phone, without the benefit of body language and limited by straight up intonation.

This is especially an issue while prospecting by telephone, or (dare I say it) cold calling. Now if you are a post-modern seller who does not cold call you’ll find the rest of this piece less than compelling. But if you are prospecting by phone, even if only those leads you sourced via inbound marketing, there are some steps you can take to have more success in a world void of body language.

Beyond the words you use, you also need to change your assertiveness or intensity, here are a couple of examples. I often hear people on the phone say “I was wondering if we could set a time to meet”, or “I was hoping to schedule an appointment”; really, I would have thought you knew you want to set a meeting. The above is a result of our social conditioning. In an effort to be polite, a good thing, we fail to compensate for the lack of body language. When you picked up the phone you weren’t wondering, or hoping, you wanted to meet. If you were standing in front of them, you can settle for wondering, but on the phone you need to compensate for the lack of body language, and not only clearly state your intent but go further by accentuating and asserting your desire to meet.

Note I am not saying be aggressive or rude, but you need to cut through the din created by other sales people Not a big change, but an effective one, “Mr. Brown, I am calling you today to specifically set a time to meet… or … schedule a time … arrange a meeting”. The words are down to you, it is more about the confidence and attitude you project. Who would you rather spend time with a wishy washy person hoping for something, or a confident professional clear in intent, abilities and direction? They say hope is not a plan, well it’s not very attractive in sales either.

Along the same lines, don’t say things like “I’m just calling”, “just following up”, or just anything. And please don’t combine two weak words: “just wondering”, “just hoping”.

There is in fact one thing you can do to leverage aspects of body language even when you are on the phone. Stand up, speak in a natural state, get a mirror and have a conversation with “a person” in the mirror. I know of one sales person who has a full length mirror in their office, and their prospecting calls consist of them conversing with the prospect, and the person in the mirror. You can step in to key words you want emphasise, you can catch yourself about to interrupt, and more. Sounds awkward, most things do at first, but the payoff is real and lasting.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto


Sales Come Flooding If You Let Them – Sales eXchange 2240

By Tibor Shanto - tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca


No one argues the need to listen in sales, as I have written about here before what you listen for is key. Sometimes it comes down to the question you ask; other time to how well you listen, eliminating distractions and not just listening to the client, but hearing what they are saying.

And while many talk about Active listening, they practice Selective listening; looking for cues to pitch and push their agenda over the buyer’s. Don’t get me wrong, the seller’s primary function is to sell, drive revenue for their company, while delivering value for both the buyer and their company. Key here being mutual value, not ours over the buyer’s, but that’s exactly where many sellers seem to end up.

There is just bad skills and manners, which can be corrected. Where it is really fatal is when the problem is rooted in the intent.

I have been working with a rep who needs help in being a better listener, I have been on a few meetings with the rep over the last couple of weeks, and I swear the rep would make more money if they got $10 for every time they didn’t let the buyer finish a sentence, then the actual commission that may result from the sale (which may not happen because they didn’t shut up long enough to let it happen).

The funny thing is that if you ask the right question, which this rep often did, a lot of truth and selling opportunities will present themselves, but you have to let. Back to intent, if you want to hear how you may maximize your opportunity with buyers, you have to let them tell you, and they will. But if your intent is to sell them something, a very specific something, there is no room for the truth or the buyer’s reality, it may interfere with what you want to sell. So many reps, like the one in question prevent thing from flowing.

The other way this rep and others prevent the truth from flooding, and creating sales, is by failing to get to the root of issues buyers put on the table. Many are good at asking initial questions, but then take the buyer’s initial response at face value and move on. The reality is that people, all of us, “say things”, especially if we have been asked similar questions by a number of sellers in a short span of time. Many responses are a lot like sound bites, and reps settle for that, others take the time to examine the issue from different angles, looking for ways to a) understand what the buyer is really saying; b) to see how they may educate the buyer to better address the buyer’s objectives. Of course the risk is that they may not have the depth for that discussion; their intent is to sell product, not to help clients achieve objectives. And it takes a bit more work than they are willing to do, again, intent; it is easier to cut the prospect off and limit the discussion to those selective facts that you feel you need to make the sale.

Asking the type of questions that get the facts to come flooding, and using that to create clients not only differentiates us from other sellers, but leads to more sales and longer client life cycles than any form of selective listening.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

First Intentions2

First Intentions
By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

We are all aware of the importance of “First Impressions”, not only in sales, job hunting, life, when meeting your girl friends dad, etc.  There are plenty of experts that will teach us all manner of things to achieve the best first impression, from dress to languages both verbal and body, and any number of outward things you can do capitalize on that non-repeatable First.

But for sellers, there is something that can instantly undermine effort put into the best impression, and the fact that it is not external, limits the effect and or impact of the factors mentioned above or others.  In fact if you do not master this one thing, it will not only undermine efforts, but scare buyers away no matter how well you do other things.  If you do master it, it can more than make up for a bad hair day, encountering a herd of wildebeests  on the way to the meeting or other things that may ruin a first impression.  Further, unlike other factors, it is not a skill, and as such you can’t practice, train, or hire coaches; you need to master it on your own.

I am of course speaking about your intent or intentions.

Your intentions is where it all starts; they guide your planning, decisions, actions, attitude, execution and results.  More than any other thing you bring to the game it is the key differentiator.  Often when you are one of two equals from a product point of view, you intent will be what tips things your way.  While buyers may not be able to see your intent like a snazzy  Harvey Specter suit or hair cut, they are fully aware and in tune with your intent and will respond to it directly.

Truly having the intent of winning revenue by helping the buyer or client, helps you avoid the trap of cognitive dissonance , where you are saying one thing but feeling another.  Buyers can sense this, don’t believe, just ask yourself how  many times you did not believe what you were hearing from someone selling you something at a store or car dealership.  In fact the if you look at the way better car sales people avoid the stigma of the stereo type is through their intention.

It can often be a challenge for sellers, they are wound up to go out there and “win” the revenue.  People like me talk to them about hunting, and driving deals, play to win. The untrained assumption is that first impressions and everything we do after that is to win the deal.  But in fact it is to win long lasting customers, and the best way to do that is to help them achieve their objectives, to deliver value throughout your work together.  If you do that you will get the revenue that goes with it, if not, no revenue.

It may seem like a fine distinction, but if you set out to help your client overcome challenges between where they are and where they want or need to get to, not only do you approach the sale differently, but you are very much perceived differently by buyers and clients.  When you set out to win the deal, you at times do, and at times you don’t.  And I’ll bet that when you don’t win a deal, and you don’t understand why, it came down to what the buyer saw as your intent vs. the intent of the seller he awarded the deal to.

Intent even trumps skills.  When working with outbound telesales people, They often want the secret words, the hooks that will get the prospect to say yes. Some practice their vocal delivery, trying to sound like the perfect radio voice in an effort to gain an edge.  While intonation is important, it only goes so far, the intent you project and communicate goes further and deeper.  While I am advocate of scripts, I define script not as a set of words delivered in a specific order, like the dinner interrupting window installers, but as a series of facts you want to communicate in a call, and bases you want to touch with them, thus demonstrating your intent.  The problem with the old style scripts, is that as good as they are, they betray your intent, demonstrating to the buyer that you have a specific agenda, not the goal of helping them.

When you centre your sale around the proper intent of helping the buyer, you are able to engage with both near term and long term prospects, there by having an active and vibrant pipeline at all times.  In planning, it allows you to draft better questions, which further demonstrate your intent, making the buyer more comfortable and confident in opening up more, building more trust, paving the way to more information, more trust, more information, etc.  It creates greater alignment between buyer and seller, which in turn accelerates the velocity of the sales and shortens the cycle.

EDGE Process

During the discovery stage, it drives you to come up with better questions, because you are not just going for the close.  The right intentions allow you to fully explore buyers’ situation, needs, and requirements.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to win deal, drive revenue, but that is not my intent, it is the dividend.

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What’s in Your Pipeline?

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