Voicemail word cloud

Voice Mail – To Leave or Not To Leave?0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Proactive Prospecting Summer – Part 9

I like to hear sales people talk about voice mail, especially the ones who do not leave messages. If you are going to succeed at prospecting, phone will be part of your tool kit. If you’re going to make phone calls, you are going to hit voice mail. You can run from it, like many so-called sales people do, or you can watch the video below, understand why you should leave them, then follow the link in the video to learn how I get 40 – 50 percent of messages I leave returned in 72 hours or so.

Don’t forget, you can take the on-demand version of the Proactive Prospecting Program available on-line at Sales Gravy University.

 

PPP On Demand
video intro 2016

Impact Questions0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Proactive Prospecting Summer – Part 7

Questions can be a powerful tool in prospecting, just as in other stages of the sale. In this portion of the Proactive Prospecting Summer, we look at using questions in a different way in prospecting than we would later with an engaged buyer.

Take a look, and leave you response in the comment area below.

Don’t forget, you can take the on-demand version of the Proactive Prospecting Program available on-line at Sales Gravy University.

iStock_000001908289Small

Prospecting Dynamics0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Proactive Prospecting Summer – Part 6

In this segment of Proactive Prospecting Summer, we look at the importance of the unspoken in prospecting calls.

Telephone prospecting, after all, is an exercise in communication. If we take the experts at their word, communication is roughly 60% body language, the one thing we don’t have working for us on the phone, or e-mail, or LinkedIn; 30% intonation and expression, and only 10% the words used to communicate. Yet most of the effort by sellers in prospecting is focused on words “the messaging”, and little effort to compensate for the 60% not available to at the time of the game. Which is a lot like getting the best warhead, then placing it on a delivery mechanism that is bound to miss the target.

When we call someone unexpectedly, unscheduled, we need to ensure that we are cognizant and balancing for environment, on both ends of the call. What’s gone on before the call, going on during the call, and things likely to happen as a result of the call? Managing all that, is managing the dynamics of the call, take a look.

Next Step

How to prepare, manage and execute is dealt with in much greater detail in the Proactive Prospecting Program available on-line at Sales Gravy University.

 

Portrait of a businessman giving a business card

What Do You Sell?0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

Proactive Prospecting Summer – Part 4

In this part of the Proactive Prospecting Summer series, we look at improving how we communicate early in the call.  Clear concise communication is key to sales, especially in the pressure packed first few seconds of an unscheduled prospecting call, yes, a cold call. Yet it is interesting how many sellers fail to effectively communicate the simplest concepts at this crucial stage of the sale.

Try this experiment, if you are a manager or team leader, next time you have team together in a room, or call, ask them to respond to the following question: “What do you sell?” If you need to set it up, tell them the setting is a trade show and the person asking the question could be a viable prospect, so the answer counts. After a few minutes, you can start capturing their answers.

Go ahead, try it now, we’ll be here, I gotta check my e-mail anyways.

Good, you’re back, gave it a go? Here are the types of answers I get when I do this with teams:

“I sell…

Software
Hardware
Copiers
Transportation services
Marketing Automation
CRM
Recruiting
IT Integration
Engineering

Occasionally I hear:

“We sell solutions”, but when I ask them to elaborate, they do not go to the problem they “solve” (as in solution), they revert to product.

Others will offer up “efficiencies”, a top 5 “Sales Empty Calorie Word”. While it sounds cool, it means nothing to a prospect who has heard a thousand times before. If you don’t shape it in some way that they can visualize in their business, words like efficiency, productivity, solutions, work-flow, and others are devoid of meaning, and can in fact hurt you in a prospecting call.

I recently worked with a leading telco provider, and in doing this and a related exercise answering the question “why do people buy from you and your company?”. The Alpha rep in the group offered up, “We sell productivity, that’s why people buy from us, we make them more productive.” I said “great, give me an example.” Still confident, he fired by “we make them productive through the efficiencies we bring”. I asked for an example of the efficiencies their clients realise, here is what I got “We increase efficiencies for them by making them more productive.” “In what way?” I asked, and it literally circled like that for five minutes. How long do you think a prospect will give him on an unsolicited and unscheduled call (or e-mail, or InMail)? Exactly.

If you look at the list above, it is all correct, but it really relates to what your company “manufactures” or “produces”, or from the buyers point of view, it is literally the “deliverables”, the stuff that will be in the boxes when it arrives on “location”. But buyers are more interested in the impact the “deliverables” will have on their business. Buyers, especially economical buyers, set out to achieve business results, the “deliverables” are just a means to an end, and for most economical buyers (not the implementers, or the people who get to “push the buttons” every day, the means are a distant third to the outcome.

Many cold callers try to explain what they do at the top of the call, and then wonder why “there is no interest”. Likely because that is not what the buyer was thinking about at the time they called. But if you move to defining things in a way that aligns with the outcomes they are looking for, that are similar to what you current clients are already achieving. So go ask them what is different in their world vis-à-vis their goals, issues, risk, reputation, cost structures, market share, anything other than something that sounds like a deliverable.

As a seller, you need to translate the question “What do you sell?” to “What are they looking to achieve?” The answer has to be driven by the outcomes they are looking for. How will their world be different after they buy from you? That’s what you sell.

You can drill down on this exercise, and make it more specific to your business by exploring the on-demand version of the Proactive Prospecting Program on Sales Gravy University.

PPP On Demand
lincoln five

The Levers Of Sales Success0

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

Proactive Prospecting Summer – Part 3

Last week in Proactive Prospecting Summer, we looked at time, and how the way high performers look at and utilize time, gives them an advantage in winning, just as the also-rans are limited by their view of the very same thing. But time is just one of five levers a seller can focus and to continuously deliver more wins, but more importantly as a means of continuous improvement. The challenge for the masses, more than anything else is the need to continuously improve, they see it as a chore, high performers see it as a never ending and highly rewarding journey.

The trick is not focusing on all five at one time, but instead focusing on one at a time, achieve improvement in that area, go back and look at the impact it has had on the other levers, assess, and focus on the next one, which will vary from rep to rep.

The fact that it does vary rep to rep, is a challenge for many managers, because they feel they have to come up with multiple coaching plans for each of their reps. It’s much easier to approach things from a one size fits all lens. The way we help our clients balance the playing field is two-fold. First, we start with accountability, mutual, what the manager brings to the mix, and the specifics the rep is accountable for. Second, is the introduction of our Activity Calculator tool, and the people who say sales is not a numbers game will hate this (and probably fail to hit quota), because it requires you to know your numbers as good or better than you know your favourite athlete’s numbers. But it is the tool that allows us to take a standardized approach to a very individual coach and execution experience.

The five Levers:

  • lincoln fiveQuota – While you may not be in control of this number, it is a key factor in how you plan your execution, use of time and other resources, and how you pull it all together.
  • Deal Size – This is variable you can directly impact and move. Unless you are specifically assigned to certain size accounts, you can choose to pursue accounts that will yield more per cycle. Mentally, it is like taking the cheaper options of the shelf; by not pursuing account under a certain threshold. Even if you are locked into a size of account, there are ways to have an initially larger sale, and to continue to upsell the opportunity.
  • Proposal to close – While this one sounds simple, it is not, usually because there are different ways of improving this ratio, and usually people are overwhelmed by choices, and just resort back to what they always do, and end up with the conversion rate they always do. One counterintuitive way to improve this is to reduce the number of proposal you put out there that you know won’t close, you know spaghetti proposals.
  • Discovery to Proposal – Probably the place you can have most impact in a number of ways, each leading to more improvement across the cycle.
  • Initial meeting to Discovery – this is all about that first meeting, where the ground work for the cycle is laid, a good initial meeting can facilitate all the other variable, a bad one, just leads to more unnecessary work.

As you enter or change any of the above, the tool will not only show you the change in the other levers, but allow you to adjust your execution to play to your strengths. This will all make sense when you download the tool. Some will have less choice than others, but again the tool will help you adjust for that.

Success with the tool is over time, pick a lever, pick a specific element that impacts that lever, set a goal: destination and time to achieve, make an action plan, break it down to bite size pieces, and then execute. Work with your manager (or call me), to keep you honest and on track.

Here’s the deal, whether you want to do this or not, at the start of your next fiscal year your quota will go up, and as that lever is pulled, you need to have a plan for the effect on the other four.

For those asking what all this has to do with prospecting, simple, the better you are at getting that initial meeting, the more choice you retain in how you approach the five levers above. If you struggle in prospecting, never setting aside enough time to master it and just do it, the more difficult all of your levers will be.

Don’t forget, to make full use of the Activity Calculator, and take your overall prospecting to the next level, check out the Proactive Prospecting Program on Sales Gravy University.

PPP On Demand
Biz On The Beach 3

Proactive Prospecting Summer – Part 10

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca 

Many in sales look at summer as a time where they can slow down a bit, reflecting what they believe to be the pace of things around them. That’s just wrong on so many levels, that we’ll leave it to others to analyze, our focus is Execution, improved Execution. So rather than following the 80% of your peers who go into summer mode, I instead invite you to use the summer to improve your prospecting skills so can remain in that 20% that drives the economy, the 80% is piggybacking on.

Every Thursday in July and August, the posts in the Pipeline will focus on a specific element in Proactive Prospecting. While this in itself will put you on the path to better prospecting, meaning a fuller pipeline of better opportunities, you can take it a step further by enrolling in the Proactive Prospecting Program on Sales Gravy University. Consisting of instruction by me, exercises, and tools, the same program clients have used to increase conversions and pipeline by over 25%. Enroll in the program today, and use the Thursday Proactive Prospecting Summer series to keep you on track, and filling your pipeline. By the end of the summer you will have both more opportunities in your pipeline than the 80% who “took the summer off”, but the skills that will keep you ahead.

Today we will look at two important sometime related often confused fundamentals, Objectives and Execution.

Objectives

As you know I am not a big fan of pain in selling, not because I am squeamish, but because buyers in pain are a small part of the overall opportunity, they are pursued by everyone and as such feel entitled to “a better deal” instead of the right deal. The largest pool of opportunity professional sales people have are those buyers not impeded by pain, but are focused on achieving their business Objectives. If you change your narrative from pain to Objectives, you will be communicating to, and heard by a greater segment of the market, a segment ignored by the 80% who are “jonesing” for pain; let’s look at that for a sec.

Every business and business person has Objectives. Some will run into a problem along the way, usually about 10%, and they will seek to relieve that pain, but then get back on track to achieving their Objectives. So to engage more meaningfully with a greater segment of the market, you need to forget pain, and embrace Objectives. The best way to do that is to actually set your own Objectives, and experience the opportunities and challenges in achieving them. This will give you the ability to empathize with others who are focused on Objectives, not just pain.

Here’s what you do, right now: write down your objectives for this program, no more than three, you gotta be real. Make them specific, “I want to be better at starting the call”; “Communicate value more effectively”; “Have my voice mails returned”, you name it, but set a clear, realistic Objective based on where you are now, and where you’d like to be by Labour Day.

Execution

We all know success in sales is all about Execution, everything else is just talk; so while setting Objectives is a step in the right direction, actually doing it is another. Some of you may be familiar with the old riddle:

Five frogs sitting on a log – four decide to jump off, how many are left on the log?
While most answer one, the answer is five.
Deciding to do something and doing it are two different things!

You Have To Jump

No matter how good a set of Objectives we set, they are worthless till executed. I’ll challenge you with an Objective: Focus on correcting what you did wrong, rather than waiting for perfection to try.

Feel free to e-mail me directly as you take advantage of the many things you’ll learn in your Proactive Prospecting Summer and the Proactive Prospecting Program on line.

PPP On Demand
wordpress stat