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.

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.

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

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

Support Your Delegation Process With Effective Follow Up

delegation process effective follow up and support

Follow Up In Your Delegation Process Establishes Accountability

As a sales leader, you’ll want to spend some time reviewing how you delegate tasks. If you want to make your team as effective as possible and free yourself up to address the problems only you can address, then you want your delegation process to empower your sales people. Continue reading

The One Key Ability You Need For Building Rapport

key skill for building rapport in sales

In our programs, when we talk about building rapport, most people think of the NLP process that involves mimicking a person’s behaviors and speech. They think that somehow, doing this will magically give them the upper hand in talking with people.

Don’t get me wrong. That stuff enhances the communication process. However, when we talk about building rapport in the sales process, I want you to focus on one thing. Continue reading

10 Ideas You Need To Streamline Your Next Sales Meeting

holding an effective sales meeting

In a previous post, we reviewed some guidelines for conducting an effective meeting. Now, when you consider that most executives spend an average of 23 hours a week in meetings, you want these events to be as efficient as possible. You want to get the most out of your meeting while expending a minimum of resources.

Also, consider the cost of holding a meeting. In order to conduct your meeting, you need a room with presentation resources. So you have the cost of the room and the cost of your time to set it all up and break it down. Continue reading