LinkedIn Ain’t Selling – Insights Into Social Selling

linkedin and social selling

This post on social selling was originally published on Nov 17, 2016  and updated on Feb 13, 2019.

I often get asked to give a talk on the power of social media and how that works in the profession of sales. There’s still a lot of buzz around the topic of social selling and it makes sense with more professionals using platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter for business. But make no mistake, social media is not a substitute for strong sales skills and processes. Continue reading

Sales Training Exercise – Build a Sales Starter that Grabs Attention

use a sales starter and seize your contact's attention
In an earlier post, I cited an example where Jessica had unsuccessfully tried a few times to engage a prospect during her sales opening. Yet when she asked a question that cut to the heart of her contact’s problem, Jessica’s sales starter got her contact’s attention. And it earned her a meeting!

Here’s a tip: the more generic your sales starter, the less engaged your contact will be and the less effective your sales opening will be.

Instead, make your sales opening specific to the contact and to their business or industry. Jessica was successful when she created her opening to address her contact’s challenges down to a personal and career impacting level.To make that happen, Jessica had to do some research on her contact. She had to know something about her contact’s business, and the challenges her contact faced on a regular basis.

Mind you, these aren’t cold contacts. These are people in companies where you think you have a decent shot at driving some business. These are people who have already raised their hand and have in some way indicated that they are in the market for what you are selling. So take a little time to do some discovery work on these people.

Sales Training Exercise – Sales Starter Assignment

Here’s your assignment for the week. During your lunch break today, write down the top five industries that you serve. Then, for each industry, write down five companies that you are looking to break into or are looking to upsell.

Then, when you are back in the office, write down three contacts that are in a position to make a decision for each of the companies you have listed. Now, for each of those three contacts, write down:

  1. Their name
  2. A compliment on one of their accomplishments
  3. A startling statement or statistic about their industry that ties into the solution you provide

The information here is easy enough to find on Linkedin, your CRM, and their social media streams and blog posts. You don’t have to go overboard and discover every detail about their lives. But you do have to show them that you are seriously interested in their business.

Now, you have some options in creating your sales starter before you perform that follow-up call. And your sales starter will be more effective at grabbing your prospect’s attention because it leverages an issue, concern, or idea that already has their attention.

Remember, no one cares how much you know unless they know how much you care. So, do like Jessica. Use a sales starter that shows your prospect immediately that you have their best interest at heart. Your sales opening will seize your prospect’s attention every time.

 

Are you ready to take the quiz?

Want to know if your sales process puts you in the field of play and not on the sidelines?

Take our online sales evaluation here  and quickly assess how your knowledge and skills stack up in the industry.

The Prospect’s Buying Process – Leverage Powerful Insights

buying process gaining insights into your prospects thinking

The Specific Interest Statement in the Buying Process

To make the right diagnosis, the salesperson must align their sales process to the prospect’s buying process. The salesperson accomplishes this by making interim summaries throughout the process. For example: “Based on what you’re saying, you’re looking to address your number one or number two interest, and that’s going to address your motivation.”

This is where the salesperson makes a Specific Interest Statement. They can apply the product or service to the prospect’s needs and appeal to both the prospect’s logical and emotional reasons for buying. Continue reading

Sales Training Exercise – Resolving Common Sales Objections

sales objections sales training exercise

In a previous post, I gave an example where I coached a member of my sales team on how to resolve common sales objections at the start of the sales process before the prospect brought it up.

Here’s a tip. If you review your past sales calls and you find you’ve repeatedly addressed a particular class of sales objections, don’t become a prisoner of hope. Don’t run through your sales process *hoping* your prospect won’t bring up that particular objection.

Instead, create a general response to those objections and offer it as a solution at the start of your sales process. In the past post, time was a big issue when we sold training. I turned it around by transforming the time spent in training into time invested in personal and team improvement, a win for the company as well as the individual.

Sales Training Exercise – Sales Objections Assignment

So, here’s your assignment. Sit down at the end of today and review your calls from the previous week. Identify and write down all of the objections you faced. Keep a tab of your most popular sales objections; i.e. the ones you encounter multiple times throughout the week.

Next, create a solution, or solutions, to address those sales objections, and create a general response based on those solutions.

Then, when you deliver your presentation, lead off with your solution to address the problem before they bring it up. You’ll reduce your sales cycle time and your prospects will perceive you as a forward-thinking business consultant.

Want additional insights on your effectiveness in moving the sale forward? Want to know if your knowledge of the sales process puts you in the field of play?  Take our online sales evaluation here  and quickly assess how your knowledge and skills stack up in the industry.

The Secret to Influence in Sales – Making Your Ideas Their Ideas

sales influence how to make your ideas their ideas

In a previous post, I spoke about empathy and sympathy and how it’s better to be sympathetic to the client’s situation vs being empathetic and joining them in the situation. Let’s delve a little deeper into that and see how we can use this to influence the sale process. Continue reading

Empathy vs Sympathy: Are You a Part of Your Prospect’s Problem?

sympathy and being sympathetic in your sales diagnosis

The Role of Sympathy and Empathy in the Sales Process

Here’s something I learned in my past about the roles sympathy and empathy play in the sales process. Keep in mind, you are sitting across from your prospective buyer because you want to help them solve their problem, not become a part of the problem. Continue reading

Bridging the Gap: Asking Questions to Drive Your Prospects Interest

questioning process builds interest and bridges the sales gap

In the last post, we explored the potential of enhancing your evaluation process by asking sales questions. In this post, we’ll take a deeper dive into using the questioning process to build increased interest in your prospects.

Previously, we used a river as an analogy to develop a questioning model. In this river analogy, one bank represented the prospect’s current situation. The opposite bank represented the desired situation. And the river represented the gap that the prospect must bridge in moving from the current situation to the desired situation. Continue reading

The Secret to Closing Sales Is in Knowing What Your Prospect Wants

closing sales involves knowing what your prospect wants

Do You Know What You’re Really Selling?

As I addressed in the previous post, much of your success as a salesperson will hinge on an effective sales starter. Contrary to the popular belief, there is no skill in closing sales – it’s all about creating a great opening.  Your opening should quickly establish rapport with the prospect by engaging in brief pleasantries. But, you should also gauge how to make the best use of their time. Help them see that you value your time together.  You’ll find substantial part of creating that value is understanding what your prospect really wants and why they want it. Continue reading

How To Open Your Call To Get Your Prospect’s Attention

get your prospect's attention during the sales opening

Use a Sales Starter to Get Your Prospect’s Attention

Opening a sales call to get your prospect’s attention is no different than introducing yourself to someone of interest in your personal life.  Both situations require authenticity, interest, and relevance.

Beginning the conversation hinges on a good sales starter – something that captures your prospect’s attention favorably. To make this happen, you can compliment a prospect on an achievement or positive quality. You can highlight a referral. Also, you can leverage statements that educate or even startle your prospect to capture your prospect’s attention. Continue reading

sales

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.