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Prospecting: A Practice of Persistence and Perspective

In my previous post I emphatically stated, prospecting is not dead!  Many marketing automation companies may try to convince you otherwise, or you may have convinced yourself with all the information seemingly available at your fingertips, that you have all the data you need to make a sale.

The fact is, nothing can replace actual prospecting.  It’s challenging but worth it.

Ultimately, connecting with someone involves gaining a prospect’s attention by communicating briefly about things that interest that individual. It’s in making that connection where research can help – trying to learn snippets that can help your conversation including education connections, places they’ve lived, companies they’ve worked for, etc.  Just remember: don’t lose sight of the importance of back and forth communication in the connecting process.

The art of prospecting takes patience, persistence, and the understanding of prospect’s perspective.  The following are critical tips for practicing successful prospecting:

  • Takes ten to fifteen phone calls to get a contact.
  • Takes three to six contacts to get an appointment.
  • If you call to confirm an appointment, you risk losing it.
  • Crucial to send a calendar invite immediately upon setting the appointment.
  • Phone appointments are at least 50 percent more likely to cancel/no show as opposed to a face to face meeting.
  • Getting the first appointment is the hardest part of the sales process.
  • Data changes constantly—the most accurate list is one you’re actively calling into.
  • Waste of time to spend much time researching a company online—pick up the phone and call! Ask the gatekeeper questions.
  • You’re competing not just with other salespeople for the buyer’s attention—you’re competing with anything else they view as more important.
  • When you get a Decision Maker (DM) on the phone, you have seven seconds to get their attention
  • Don’t talk about the product, talk about how the product relates to the DM’s world
  • If you can see the world from your prospect’s perspective, you will be in a better position to respond to their reactions when you interrupt their day.

Prospecting is difficult, takes time, requires a thick skin and an ability to be persistent.  It’s no wonder there are companies looking to capitalize on this notion that with their product/service you won’t have to prospect anymore, because, who wants to experience all those things if you don’t have to?  And yet, there is no replacement for prospecting done well.  Your hard, persistent work will pay off.  Read more about how to be an expert at prospecting by checking out Lance Tyson’s new book, Selling Is an Away Game: Close Business and Compete in a Complex World.

sales tips

Very Fake News: Prospecting is Not Dead

Lately, there’s been a surge of advertising saying that traditional selling is dead, that prospecting is dead.

I have two words for that: fake news.

But, I get it…there’s a multitude of reasons to believe prospecting is dead.  At least, that’s what customer relation management (CRM) companies, or marketing automation companies, will have you believe because they want you to think that you don’t have to prospect anymore.

Even though social media avenues like LinkedIn make connections with C-level executives and decision-makers much more possible, every salesperson in the universe is using it, thereby making it difficult to stand out. Also, office staff has little time on hand, meaning that you only have a window of about seven seconds to get past the gatekeepers. Many salespeople end up as just another name in a missed call log or forever lost in a collection of junk emails.

Prospecting isn’t dead, but it’s certainly not easy.

Despite the plethora of information with which we feel inundated each day. In chapter three of my book, we found that 82 percent of sales reps feel challenged by the amount of data and time it takes to research a prospect just to make the initial cold call. What’s more, did you know that poor quality data is costing your sales team at least 30 percent of revenues? Clean, accurate data is the difference for professionals seeking to streamline and clarify the front end of the sales cycle. Our studies show that sales reps are spending at least 32 percent of their time searching for missing data, then manually entering it into their CRM. Quality data is all about working smarter, reserving your resources, and accelerating your team’s sales cycle. According to Salesforce.com, about 70 percent of CRM data “goes bad,” or becomes obsolete, annually.

Bad data is bad for business. But no data, by not prospecting, is worse.

You can gather quite a bit of information through LinkedIn, Google, your company’s CRM…but ultimately success comes from actually engaging with a prospect and gathering “data” from attempting to speak with individuals of interest.

Nothing will replace, or provide greater success than actually connecting with a sales prospect.

Prospecting is definitely not dead.

Learn more about how to effectively start that conversation by checking out Lance Tyson’s new book, Selling Is An Away Game: Close Business and Compete in a Complex World.

Sales

Consider the Doctor’s Office: Selling as a Process of Diagnosis and Prescription – Continued

In my previous post, I introduced the first three steps of my “Away-Game” selling process and how they directly mirror our experience at the doctor’s office.  Each of these steps addresses some aspect of being in the buyer’s mind – which is why it is so successful for sales professionals.  Previously we discussed the connect, evaluate, and diagnosis steps which are critical for moving toward a successful close.

As with the doctor, a diagnosis is just the beginning, and sometimes as a patient, we can be skeptical or unsure of the initial assessment.  That’s where we start back up with the rest of the sales process and pick up with the prescribe step:

4. Prescribe

Once a doctor is sure of his or her diagnosis, they will prescribe something to address a health issue. They may say something along the lines of: “I’m going to give you Tylenol with codeine for that nasty sore throat. Stay away from beer and that John Deere while you’re taking it.” In sales, as with the doctor, you prescribe a solution that addresses the diagnosis you’ve made. You’re tailoring it as much as we can to the specific needs of the buyer. At this point, the buyer will want to know: What is it? How does it work? Who says so besides you? And can you prove it? You’re going to give the buyer precisely the right amount of information, and no more, about the solution, to convince them that they’re justified in buying from you.

5. Dialogue

The deal isn’t done once the prescription is given. Not in the doctor’s office and not in sales. In the doctor’s office, you don’t just accept the prescription and start taking it. You’re going to want to understand the implications, the cause/effect, what will happen if you don’t accept the prescription, and what will happen if you do. Somewhere inside you, you may feel resistance to the prescription. You may want to put off taking it. The doctor’s going to need to have a conversation, however brief, that addresses these issues. In Away Game selling, there has to be a scenario where you’re asking the right questions to make sure the buyer understands what you’re suggesting. You’re talking with them to help them see how our product or service may help them now and in the future, asking questions like: “What do you like about this? What don’t you like about this?” In dialogue, you’re helping them to clarify.

6. Close

At this point, you’ve gone through connecting, diagnosis, prescription, and dialogue. Your objections have been addressed so that we won’t put off putting the prescription into practice. Now it’s time to close. The close is no more or less than an agreement to move forward with the prescription. In sales terms, it’s interchangeable with the commitment. This is what you’ve been working toward throughout the selling process and where you must overcome the last barrier in the buyer’s mind—indecision.

Like your experience at the doctor’s office, it’s a vetting process between both you as the patient and the doctor.  Remember that your patients – potential buyers – want their concerns understood, they want to feel validated.  At the same time, they want to feel confident in your product’s or service’s ability to address their concern – that’s your job as the “doctor” to do that.  Learn more about how implementing these six steps can supercharge your sales team by taking the Tyson Group evaluation.

sales

Consider the Doctor’s Office: Selling as a Process of Diagnosis and Prescription

There are six steps in what I call the “Away-Game” selling process:

  1. Connect
  2. Evaluate
  3. Diagnose
  4. Prescribe
  5. Dialogue
  6. Close

Each of these steps addresses some aspect of being in the mind of the buyer – which is why it is so successful.  To understand how these steps play out, consider your experience at the doctor’s office – it likely mirrors these steps.  In this blog post and the next, I’ll walk you through how each of these steps can be likened to the relationship a doctor has with their patient.

What’s the first thing that happens when you walk into a doctor’s office?

1. Connect

They ask you a series of questions before taking your insurance card and copay. In doing so, they’re deciding if you’re qualified to do business with them. At the same time, you’re checking out the surroundings, the manner in which they treat you, and deciding if you want to do business with them. In this step of the sales process, you’re trying to get the buyer’s attention by communicating things that are important to them, things that will engage and advance a conversation. This is a point where the buyer is deciding whether they want to talk with you further.

2. Evaluate

After you have spent a little time in the waiting room of your doctor’s office, you head back to another part of the office, where a nurse or nurse practitioner or doctor’s assistant asks you questions about your health, weighs you, takes your temperature and blood pressure, maybe reviews your history. They’re evaluating you. They’re gathering information about your health based on age, weight, history, and all those other questions and the measurements they take. All while you’re evaluating them, judging their thoroughness and bedside manner. In sales, the purpose of the connect step is to turn the disinterest in the buyer’s mind into an interest in you and the selling process.

3. Diagnose

The doctor’s manner, the questions he or she asks, the level to which they seem to be listening to a patient’s questions and concerns, will all play into how a patient reacts to the doctor’s diagnosis. As with other steps in this process, the diagnosis cuts both ways. In sales, as you’re going through the questioning process of evaluation, you’re also starting to form your diagnosis. In this step, you’re starting to firm up some of your suggestions and talking about your products or services. All of that is geared toward getting a read on the buyer’s situation.

 

These initial steps are critical to the successful implementation of the next three which I’ll cover in my next post.  In these first three steps, you’re laying the groundwork for your selling process, establishing confidence, expectations, and rapport.  You’re both figuring out if there’s a fit.  Learn more about how to successfully move through these first three steps and help your sales team gain a competitive edge by taking the Tyson Group evaluation.

Meeting Management Tactics to Tame Your Meetings

meeting management tactics to tame your meetings

Here are a couple of meeting management tips I used in some of my past coaching sessions for leadership teams. Unusual… Unorthodox… Crazy… Call them what you will. They get the job done, especially when you use them as coaching opportunities

Meeting Management Tactic: Controlling Access

In this session with a client in the Ohio area, I was reviewing sales leadership practices with the organization’s management team. Continue reading

Tyson Group Committed To Changing How We View Training

specialized training tailored to your performance goals

Last week, we announced Tyson Group inclusion and recognition in Selling Power’s list of Top 20 Sales Training Companies of 2018 (find the list here). As I mentioned in my post last week, such a monumental achievement is never the actions of a single person, but the work of the team, striving to achieve a major, common goal.

The press release noted that Selling Power looked at several areas for judging this year’s candidates. The areas they reviewed were: Continue reading

Selling Power – Top 20 Sales Training Companies for 2018

selling power tyson group award

Recently I learned that Tyson Group received recognition as Selling Power’s Top 20 Sales Training Companies for 2018. I’m honored that our company has received such accolades. But I also have to acknowledge the effort and the commitment that my team has made to bring about this accomplishment.

The landscape of sales is changing. I recognize that our industry is constantly undergoing evolutionary changes but recently, with the advent of digital technology, it seems as if the changes have become revolutionary. Continue reading

Build Your Credibility And Boost Your Sales

building your credibility will accelerate your sales process

Intuitive Sales Wisdom Regarding Credibility

Here’s a bit of insight I stumbled upon about credibility while doing a half day training with one of our regional sports franchise sales teams.

During the the session, I realized these guys were intently focused on their service.  And I needed them to move away from using that as a sales crutch to try something new. So, I started asking a series of questions regarding how salespeople open calls. Continue reading

Strategy For Using Email In Opening A Sales Call

opening a sales call with email

In one of my training sessions, someone asked how to follow-up after sending an introductory email. If we group the email with the phone call, then we can create a solid strategy that works well in opening a sales call.  Incidentally, this strategy also works with direct mail campaigns or as a follow-up to a white paper download. Continue reading

Selling Is An Away Game – Lance Tyson Speaks on Sales Philosophy

selling is an away game

See the world through your prospect’s eyes. Take a walk in their shoes.

You’ve heard me say it before. We’ve written about it on multiple occasions.

Selling is an away game. It takes place in the mind of your prospect.

During my time training salespeople, I’ve run into a few who’ve had a little trouble embracing this concept. They see selling as something that you do to someone. They start by getting their foot in the door, and they end with closing the sale. Invariably, these salespeople have the hardest time getting out of their head and leaving their “mental stuff” behind. Continue reading