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Serve Benefits Straight Up

There’s fancy French Cuisine and there’s meat and potatoes. Which one best describes your sales pitch? Do you proudly tick off your product’s features like they are the appetizers and hope to keep the prospect on the line long enough to serve them the Cognac Shrimp with Beurre Blanc Sauce, or do you recognize that with your initial call that businesses want you to hold the appetizers and straight up serve the meat and potatoes? The truth is that they are busy people who want to know what your product can do for them – and they see all your bells and whistles as simply the fringe benefits that belong in future calls.

Every prospect; every company is an individual with specific needs. Selling to them isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. Do your homework.  Find out enough about your prospect to know how you can actually help them before calling.

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Identifying Right Benefits

  • Are they a large, established company?
  • Are they a smaller or start-up company?
  • What is their product and/or service?
  • Are they retail or wholesale?
  • Do they do inside sales?
  • Are they currently using a similar product that yours improves upon?
  • How are market trends and the state of the economy affecting them?

What Do They Want To Hear From You?

  • Numbers – how much time your product can save.
  • Numbers – what percentage of revenue increase might they experience.
  • How much easier your product is to use than their current one.
  • They want to hear that over and above making a sale that you want to help them.
  • They want to hear your respect for their time and your understanding of their needs.
  • The want to know that you’re hearing them.

Take the time to analyze your sales approach and make sure that you’re not assuming that every person you talk to is a technology geek who will be enamored of your product’s ability to jump at the click of a mouse. That’s all fun stuff, but it’s not the meat and potatoes. If you budget time for the appropriate research before you start calling your prospect’s budget will reap the rewards that you’re offering.

 

Last Impressions Generate Repeat Business

I can still hear my high school office practice teacher, Mr. Kimball, saying, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.”  If you knew how far back that was, you’d be impressed with my memory.  There isn’t a sales person breathing that would disagree with Mr.Kimball.  You pick up the phone; dial and you have about thirty seconds to make a first impression that will garner you a second conversation.

Being the professional that you are, you are prepared, you’re in the zone, and you score the coveted invite to a second conversation; that’s great.  Now what? Now is the time to start thinking about what your last impression will be.  The fact is, when all is said and done you will be remembered for one of two things; the problems you solve, or the problems you create.  Closing a deal is one thing, but getting the yearly renewals is another.

Make or Break Practices

Deal Breaker: False promises about your product’s capability.
Renewal: Be upfront about what your product can and can’t do.  Customers rarely expect all or nothing.  If your product is a fit for them, they will be content with knowing that their suggestions will be considered for future updates.

Deal Breaker:  Hidden costs.
Renewal: No surprises.  Present a contract that puts every cost in plain view, before the deal is closed.

Deal Breaker: Failing to call when you say you will.  Slow response when a message is left.  Being unreachable.
Renewal: You are accessible.  You promptly return calls.  You follow through with your promises to call on a particular date, at a set time.  If something truly unavoidable gets in the way, make amends – starting with an apology.

Deal Breaker:  Giving insufficient training on the use of your product will lead to buyer’s remorse.
Renewal: Thorough, patient training in the use of your product where you invite all questions, arrange hands-on learning time, and work through the customizing of your product with the customer – until they are both satisfied and comfortable.

Deal Breaker: Once they pay the bill consider your job done.
Renewal: Regular monitoring during the trial periods, and an open line of communication that spans the years you maintain the business relationship will prove to be worth the effort.

Deal Breaker: Failure to keep your customer’s business confidential.
Renewal:  Unflinchingly protect every confidence; no exceptions; no excuses. 

Best Practice : Aim for more than a sale; aim for a long-term business relationship.  Never forget that whether you are remembered for solving problems or creating them – your customers will spread the word.  Make sure your last impression, be it at the end of a phone call, or the end of a subscription, is one that you can be proud of.

Increase Sales Productivity and Captivate Prospects

Email may not seem like an ideal communications medium when it comes to increasing sales productivity and captivating prospects.  It is, however, how most sellers and buyers communicate today.  More than likely your reps rely on emails as a follow-up to phone conversations and to communicate throughout the sales cycle. 

Because email follow-up, while necessary, takes away from valuable selling time, it’s important to have an email process in place that is time efficient and still effective.   To be effective, the content in a follow-up email needs to captivate your prospects. Read more

How to Have a Brilliant Sales Conversation Every Time (hint: Don’t Break These 4 Rules)

What, does the term “Selling” mean to you? I decided to see how the various dictionaries define Selling–beyond the obvious. Paraphrasing what I found, Selling is “to persuade or influence to a course of action or to the acceptance of something; to bring about or cause to be accepted; to advocate successfully.”

Persuade. Influence. Advocate. To sell-and to do it consistently and successfully-you must communicate ideas to the prospective client. To really draw them into the process, you must first listen, then ask, and answer questions. Communicating is not the same as telling,just as hearing is not the same as listening. Indeed, if you measure a reps performance only by the number of calls they make, you may not adequately be emphasizing the distinction between holding a conversation with someone, and simply speaking with them. That’s becausetalking is not the same as conversing. Read more

To Leave or Not to Leave (a Voicemail Message)

The debate about whether to leave a voicemail message on a cold call is as old as voicemail itself. You all know that leaving a voicemail rarely results in a callback, no matter how great your technique. Statistics found on various sales web sites show a range of five- to ten-percent of voicemails are returned. So even if you are spectacular at your VMs, you might top out at 25-percent call backs. So is it really worth it?

 

I say yes. Definitely. You just need to change your reason and expectations for leaving that message. Instead of expecting a callback, use the voicemail as a friendly, personal, targeted billboard. If you do it right, the next time the person sees or hears your name, they’ll have some kind of positive brand recognition. Read more

4 Simple Steps to Building a Perfect Escalator – Not Elevator – Speech

By Jim Domanski

The trouble with a classic elevator speech is that in tele-sales no one has the time or the inclination to hear what you have to say.

Communicating by phone is different than face to face where a suspect or a prospect will grant you a few more moments if only to be courteous. On the phone it is simple and easy for a prospect to terminate the call and that’s one of the main reasons why you need an escalator speech.

An escalator speech is an abbreviated version of an elevator speech and it is absolutely vital in the world of B to B tele-sales. Whereas an elevator speech is based on the premise that you present what you do over the time it takes to travel a few floors up an elevator, the escalator speech is based on the premise that you present what you do in the time it takes to travel only one floor. Read more

WIIFM – What’s In It For Me – Your Secret Weapon to Getting Your Prospect’s Attention

Change.  Inevitable,  Constant.  Everyone’s talking about it.  Social media, the new (2.0) customer, the downsized organization – and how selling strategies need to change to adapt to today’s customer.

As sellers, I think we can all agree on a few things, today’s customers:

  • Are harder to get on the phone
  • Are less likely to respond to email
  • Can discover a lot more about us and our solutions than they used to be able to (because we help them)

Oh yeah… one other thing:

  • Our solutions and services are still relevant… helping improve and optimize our prospect’s businesses.  Read more

Being More Consultative – Your Quickest Way to Get Called Back

Want to know the best way to get a prospect to call you back or respond to an email?

Communicate in simple language how your solution helps your prospect:

  • Improve or better execute their business strategy
  • Lower the risk of achieving their business strategy
  • Solve a problem that is impacting their business strategy

Read more

Getting The Prospect’s Attention

The primary objective of any sales call is to get the prospective buyer to take action.  Is a lead an actual prospect?  To qualify a lead, we must first get his attention and build his interest prior to “qualifying” him/her and moving to a next step or action. Read more