Objections: 5 Things You Need to Do Now

I was on the “Sell or Die” podcast with Jeffrey Gitomer a couple of weeks ago, and he asked me a good question. He said this question would cause me to think a bit and then he asked, “Mike, how many objections are there?”

That did cause me to think. After a moment, I told him that while there are a lot of variations of objections, in truth there are really only a few. And he agreed. Jeffrey said that once he was training onsite and he asked the manager that same question, and the manager replied, “There are a hundred different objections!”

Jeffrey then challenged him with, “I’ll bet my entire fee there are no more than 15, and if there are less than 10, you double my fee.” After going through them with this manager, there turned out to be just 12.

And that’s been my experience as well. Whenever I’m onsite with a company, I brainstorm with the team to identify all the objections they get. They rarely can come up with more than 5-7 for prospecting and about the same amount for the close.

So given this truth (and I’m sure once you think about your own situation you’ll agree), I can give you 5 things you need to know how to do to anticipate, prevent, deal with, and overcome them. Here they are:

1) As I write about in Power Phone Scripts, the key to dealing effectively with objections is to recognize that there are a finite number of them (about 5-10). And you’re going to get these same ones over and over again. So you need to anticipate them.

Be prepared for them with an effective, best practice approach or script. In fact, write out three or four responses to the most frequent objections you get, learn them, and use them over and over again.

Sounds easy, I know, but you would be amazed by how many sales people still won’t take the time to do this. If you will, however, you’ll increase your success rate and your confidence exponentially.

2) Prevent them. At the end of your presentation, two of the biggest objections and stalls are, “The price is too high,” and “I need to talk it over with…”

These two objections should have been uncovered and dealt with during your prospecting call. These should have been qualified for and you should know in advance what the decision process is like, and if this fits within their budget.

If you don’t, then weave these kinds of qualifying questions into your prospecting script and never encounter them again.

3) Know when to deal with objections. My mentor taught told me there were three times to deal with objections: When they come up, later in the presentation, or never.

You need to decide which time is best for you. If you deal with them when they come up, you’re likely to lose momentum and give control over to your prospect. If you delay them until the end, (“I’ll cover that in just a few minutes”) then you can buy yourself some time and the objection might even go away. And if you don’t answer it at all, sometimes you’ll find that the prospect doesn’t bring it up again.

When you decide to handle an objection depends on many things, and you can probably tell when the right time is. Just know you have options.

4) Know how to deal with an objection. One of the biggest mistakes people make is they rush to answer an objection. That shouldn’t be your first approach. Instead, always get into the habit of questioning an objection and make your prospect work to answer and clarify it.

Doing so often allows you to get more information about what the real objection is, and often times your prospect—in explaining it—will give you the seeds to answer it. Simple statements could be, “Really? Why is that?” or “What do you mean by that?” or “Why is that important to you?” or my favorite, “Oh?”

5) Be ready to go to work when you get an objection. The final thing I want to share from my podcast with Jeffrey is when we both talked about how the sale starts when you get an objection. In fact, I shared that I was taught that the sale doesn’t start until you’ve received 5 objections!

Compare that to how you handle objections today. Do you tend to give up after one objection? How about after two? Bottom line is that if you’re not prepared with a best practice approach (a script!) of what to say when you get objections, then you’re probably not ready to stay the course and keep closing until you win the sale.

Think about the 5 points above, and compare your own methodology to handling objections. If you need to change something to fit these 5 points then do it. You’ll close more business as a result.

And finally, check out the upcoming Sell or Die podcast to hear the interview in near future. You’ll enjoy it and learn a lot.

Cold Calling Sucks—But Only if You Suck at It

There is a lot of talk these days about how cold calling sucks. And I agree—it can be brutal. When I started my career in the financial industry, I had to make more than 150 cold calls every day. Sometimes, I’d be so beaten up by 11 am that I just wanted to go to lunch and never come back!

I knew that if I continued like that, I wouldn’t make it in sales, and I knew that something needed to change. What I finally figured out was that the top reps in the company didn’t mind cold calling. In fact, they actually “smiled and dialed.” I soon learned that cold calling sucked because I sucked at it. And I became determined to change that…

What I learned, and part of what I teach now, is that to get good at cold calling—or prospecting, or whatever you want to call it—you have to invest some time and energy and, yes, even some money. Here are three things you can begin doing now to get better at prospecting:

Number One: Invest in some sales material to help you instantly get better. Face it: you’re not alone in having to prospect for a living, and many others have been there and done that. Why not leverage what they have discovered to make calling easier?

There are plenty of good books on theory out there, but if you want to actually get better on your next phone call, you’re going to need actual word-for-word scripts. Best place to start?

Power Phone Scripts: 500 Word-For-Word Questions, Phrases, And Conversations To Open And Close More Sales. Get it here.

Number Two: Start thinking about helping people rather than selling them. I learned years ago that the people I was calling were actually just people—just like me. Once I took a genuine interest in building rapport with them, learning about them, listening to them, and making a connection, I did much, much better. And I enjoyed my work more.

Take a hint I’ve given people over and over again and record yourself. When you listen to yourself, ask: how well do you actually listen to people? If you’re like many sales reps, you may be talking over people, or just waiting for them to take a pause so you can start pitching. Nothing will turn someone off quicker than that. People can tell when it’s all about you or if you’re truly interested in them.

Learn to use your MUTE button when someone is talking, and force yourself to pause after you think they are done talking. Use the “1,2,3 alligator” pause after they finish talking before you begin.

Listening is the most important thing you can do to get better—start practicing this today.

Number Three: Put a smile on your face. Get a mirror and look into it before you pick up the phone. People can tell if you’re smiling, and you’ll transfer that energy to your prospect. People can also tell if you are tense, angry, or in a hurry to pitch.

I know it sounds corny, but trust me: the $4 you’ll spend on a mirror will go a long way to improving your phone presence while prospecting…

Don’t underestimate the impact these three tips will have in improving your cold calling. If you think prospecting sucks, then I’ll wager that you kind of suck at it. That can change if you’re committed to getting better. If you’re in sales, then I hope you are, because you’re going to be making a ton of prospecting calls over the life of your career.

So what are you waiting for? Get busy. Order a book of phone scripts, get a mirror at CVS at lunch, and listen to a phone call on your afternoon break. If you do these things, you’ll be better at cold calling by tomorrow.

Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales receives multiple awards from AA-ISP

Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales receives multiple awards from AA-ISP’s 2018 Leadership Summit last week: Service Provider of the Year Award – Sales Script Development AND The TOP 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals in 2018 Award. 

Raleigh, NC, April 9, 2018 — MrInsideSales.com announced today that the AA-ISP recognized Mike Brooks as part of the AA-ISP Leadership Summit 2018 at an awards gala held on April 4th at the Sheraton Grand in Downtown Chicago, Ill.

Mike’s company, Mr. Inside Sales, is hired by business owners to develop and implement proven sales processes that help them immediately scale and grow Multi-Million Dollar Inside Sales Teams. He also offers customized sales training programs, works as a virtual V.P. of Sales and presents at sales conferences, delivering keynotes and break-out sessions around the world.

On receiving this year’s award, Mike said: “I was humbled and delighted to have a new category created to acknowledge the importance of creating best practice script playbooks for inside sales teams. My passion is driving excellence through standardizing the messaging that each company, and each sales rep, delivers.”

“It is an honor to recognize Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales, as this year’s recipient of the 2018 Service Provider of the Year Award for Sales Script Development. Mike has consistently proven his dedication to helping advance the professionalism and performance of the inside sales industry, which is the mission of the AA-ISP,” said Bob Perkins, Founder and Chairman.

“We applaud Mike and thank his company, Mr. Inside Sales, for their service to our growing profession and community of inside sales representatives, leaders and solution providers,” stated Perkins.

In addition, Mike Brooks was also named as this year’s recipient of The TOP 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professional Awards. “Mike Brooks has proven his dedication and commitment to advancing the profession of inside sales, which is the mission of the AA-ISP,” said Bob Perkins, Founder. “We are confident that Mike will continue to have an impact on   the inside sales community for years to come”, stated Perkins.

A complete list of companies and individuals recognized by the AA-ISP will be published on the AA-ISP website, go to www.aa-isp.org.

About company 

Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales, is a master phone script writer and author of the new bestselling book on phone scripts: Power Phone Scripts: 500 Questions, Phrases, and Word-for-Word Scripts to Open and Close More Sales.

Mike is THE recognized authority on inside sales training and phone script development, and his company, Mr. Inside Sales, was awarded the 2017 Service Provider Designation for training and development by the American Association of Inside Sales Professions last year as well.

Mike is hired by business owners to develop and implement proven sales processes that help them immediately scale and grow Multi-Million Dollar Inside Sales Teams. He also offers customized sales training programs, works as a virtual V.P. of Sales and speaks often at sales conferences, delivering keynotes and break-out sessions around the world.  For more information, visit his website: http://mrinsidesales.com

About AA-ISP

The AA-ISP, the global Inside Sales association and our industry’s most trusted and respected resource for everything Inside Sales, is dedicated exclusively to advancing the profession of Inside Sales. The association engages in research studies, organizational benchmarking, and leadership roundtables to better understand and analyze the trends, challenges, and key components of the growth and development of the Inside Sales industry. Our mission is to help Inside Sales representatives and leaders to leverage our information and resources through published content, local community Chapters, global conferences, career development, and an Inside Sales Accreditation program.

For more information on AA-ISP, please visit www.aa-isp.org or follow the company on Twitter @AA_ISP.

 

Top 25 Comments:

  • No theory with Mike…he did it himself and is continuing to do it.  Everything he’s learned is transferrable and understandable.
  • Mike is consistently the best- best ideas that work!
  • Great insight and the simplicity of his techniques are so easy to implement.
  • Consistent, quality information and tips for inside sales people, and as a marketer, I also use the tips to help me “sell” as well. Love his insight, lessons and I always learn something.
  • Mike provides clear responses to objections, blow-offs etc. that help a salesperson to have a back-up plan and continue the discussion.
  • His techniques and information is the best!
  • Very informative with tremendous insights into teaching urgency and the creation of value statements.
  • Mike provides very practical solutions to what can be an intimidating process.  His scripts give you first-hand ways to make yourself more productive.
  • Outstanding insights into structuring outbound outreach that works.
  • His content and scripts are amazing – the cornerstone of my inside sales process.
  • He’s given so much real USE info.  He’s sharing everything that can help people; so much more than GENERAL theories that aren’t duplicatable.  His stuff is immediately actionable!
  • As one of the most direct, down to earth, sales trainer out there. His content, books and training really deliver ready to use knowledge with no time wasted.
  • Freely shares his experience and insights
  • His dedication to share the knowledge and skills that have helped him elevate himself from a low income salesperson to one of the top sales people in his career.
  • Mike consistently provides the highest quality sales information that is easy to understand and apply.
  • Because I listen to his tapes and read his book on phone scripts that just always give me more confidence especially when I get stuck. When it comes to inside sales, he makes it easy
  • Mike is good at bringing out the salesman in everyone.
  • He provides incredible content. His script framework and content surrounding the habits that lead to success are superb.
  • I feel that the information and techniques found in Mikes books and the personal attention he gives his clients make him a top candidate for this award. He has helped me and my team tremendously. The scripts and the grading techniques he taught us has made our firm much more competitive in our market.
  • Mike has great pointers and scripts on handling cold-calling and prospecting that I’ve found to be very helpful!
  • Mike is extremely knowledgeable and experienced in sales. He has they awesome little tips and ways of looking at things that end up making a huge difference in how you approach sales. I’ve been reading all of his stuff for a few years now and recently did sales coaching sessions with him. He has greatly enhanced my ability and comfort with sales. I highly recommend him for this award! He deserves it!
  • Mike provides many on-line training sessions regarding sales.  He is very knowledgeable of sales and offers tips on how to improve.
  • Very easy to use useful suggestions.  Definitely has a thorough understanding of the sales process.
  • Mike’s scripts are very effective.  We use them in many of our marketing and sales efforts.  His blog and website are very content rich.  The tips included in his blog are consistently effective.
  • Mike has done nothing but make our company money with his open, honest and motivating information.   I honestly cannot imagine how we would be training new employees, or for that matter, re-training old ones without his help.  There is no substitute for what he has to offer.
  • Over the years, I have found Mike Brooks’ Mr. Inside Sales information on track, relevant, and motivating.  I can’t say that about any other Inside Sales pros out there today.
  • Presentations and books are invaluable tools in the growth of my business.
  • Mike has never ask for anything from me. He gives value first and has provided weekly helpful hints and performance improvement suggestions without ever asking for anything in return. If and when I have another staff of inside sales pro’s – I will turn to hi for training. :
  • Mike is very motivating and his tips and scripts are things I can actually use in my daily business
  • In our start-up the teachings from Mr. Brooks have really been a life-saver.
  • I’ve been in sales setting up appointments for our professionals for 30 years, and his book Power Phone Scripts has opened my eyes to a right-on approach.
  • Freely shares his sales wisdom and truly is a great surrogate mentor to me over the years.
  • His products have increase my sales
  • The information Mike shares is top-notch.
  • Mike does an amazing job at clearly sharing his expertise to help my team and I do a better job with our clients – especially qualifying prospects so we can spend more time with folks who want to buy. Tuesday is one of my favorites days of the week as I look forward to Mike’s weekly sales column.
  • Mike is very generous with his knowledge.  He offers real, tested advise that works.
  • He is pleasant to work with and knowledgeable and very helpful!
  • Always great articles, tremendous insight into the inside sales world and I learn something every time I read it.
  • I’ve bought Mike’s books and gained useable and productive work tips.
  • Great author, leader, mentor, and most importantly, an excellent salesperson with quantified results.
  • His phone scripts have helped me tremendously
  • He is tops at what he does and helped our team so much!
  • I have been listening to his recordings and have been subscribed to his weekly ezines for 3 years and I have found his information to be very, very helpful.
  • He provides a lot of valuable tips and information at no charge and without pushing other products.
  • He really helped me a lot with his information in qualifying prospects, plus some new insights in general sales techniques.
  • Mike has some great insights and his guidance is well thought through
  • He study under Stan Billue and then became a master himself helping others conquer Inside Sales.

Thank You to My Readers: MIS Wins 2018 Service Provider Award!

Chicago: AA-ISP Leadership Summit:

I’d like to take a quick moment to acknowledge all my readers and clients who nominated MIS in two categories this year.

At the Summit in Chicago last week, a brand new category was created just to acknowledge my commitment and contribution to inside sales. MIS was awarded the “2018 Service Provider of the Year Award” in the category of Sales Script Development!

Now that was unexpected, and I’m deeply humbled by it.

In addition, I was named one of the “Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals”—for the eighth year in a row!

It was an honor to be recognized in this way, and even more so because I was nominated and voted on by you—my clients and readers! So thank you very much! (Visit my AA-ISP page to view some of your comments.)

For all of you who have supported me over the years, I’d like you to give a free sample from my new book, Power Phone Scripts. In this sample, you will get word-for-word scripts on a variety of cold calling subjects such as:

  • A brand new prospecting approach
  • A better opening than “How are you today?”
  • Don’t say that, say this!
  • How to develop an effective elevator pitch
  • Four ways to get past the gatekeeper
  • Why asking for help is a great way to get information
  • Stop pitching the gatekeeper – and what to do instead
  • What to do if the prospect takes only emails

You can access your free sample with all these scripts here.

Thank you again for all your support. I look forward to continuing to create great content, and word-for-word scripts that you can use every day to become more successful selling over the phone.

Sales Management: The One Metric That Matters Most

Greetings from Chicago! I’m here this week presenting at the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP) Leadership Summit. If you’re attending the Summit, then make sure and say hello to me.

And if you’re in the city, then stop by and join the breakout session I’m giving tomorrow, Wednesday, at 4:15 pm in the Mayfair room, entitled: The Sales Manager: Seven Crucial Skills Every Inside Sales Leaders Needs Now.

If you’re in sales leadership or in a direct sales management role, you’ll learn a ton of useful strategies and tools to help your team produce more and be more confident. I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow.

One of the “Seven Crucial Skills” I’ll be speaking on has to do with metrics. And the one metric I’ll be speaking about is the one that is the most important one for driving sales and making revenues. I wonder if you can guess what it is?

If you’re in management, then there are lots of metrics to choose from. Companies measure all kinds of things these days—number of phone calls, connect rates, presentations set, leads in the funnel, etc. With technology the way it is, there is no shortage of ways to break processes down and measure them.

But are you measuring the most important one? As you’ll learn today (and I’ll go into more detail tomorrow in my presentation), if you’re not measuring exactly how your reps are performing on the phones during their calls with prospects and clients, then you’re missing out on the most important metric of all.

When I say measuring how your reps are performing, I mean, of course, grading each part of both their prospecting call and/or their presentation calls. You do this by listening to their recordings and literally grading adherence to your best practice, scripted approach. For example, on the prospecting or cold call, did your rep:

  • Handle the gatekeeper professionally and get put through to the decision maker?
  • Make a connection with the decision maker and build instant rapport?
  • Deal with any resistance blow off statements with a best practice approach?
  • Give a quick value statement and give the prospect a chance to interact?
  • Engage the prospect so they didn’t feel pitched at?
  • Qualify the prospect thoroughly, discovering things like buying motive, decision process, timeline, etc.?
  • Set a specific follow up call and a follow up action?
  • Fill out a qualifying checklist?

As you can see, many of the regular metrics (listed previously) don’t drill down to this level of detail, but it is preciously this level of detail that determines how successful a rep will be in making a sale.

If you’d like to know more about how to get this information, and how to measure it, then either attend my breakout tomorrow, or reach out to me for coaching.

I’m looking forward to seeing many of you tomorrow!

Why People Hate Cold Calling – And What to Do About It

The words “cold calling” still make sales people sweat.

I was on the phone with a client just a moment ago, while writing this, and he told me the biggest problem with his sales team is call reluctance. When I asked him why they won’t make more calls, he said they hated being rejected.

Here are two things you can do about cold calling to instantly make you, and your team, more effective at overcoming the “objections” they get:

Number One: Recognize that objections while cold calling aren’t really objections – they are just resistance statements.

It’s like when you go into a store and are asked, “Can I help you?” and you automatically reply, “No, just looking.” You aren’t really just looking—you’re usually looking for something specific (why else would you be there?). But you don’t want to deal with a sales rep so you give them resistance.

This usually makes them go away, but when you can’t find something, you seek them out – just like your clients do when they need you.

Number Two: Script out effective ways to deal with this resistance so you can get around it and start qualifying.

Here are some effective ways to do that with the resistance statement: “I’m/we’re not interested.”

If you make “warm” calls to someone who has filled out a web lead and you have to call them back and get “Not Interested” then say: 

“That’s perfectly okay, _________, you’ve probably forgotten that you (filled in a form, requested info, etc.) so I don’t expect you to be interested in what you must think is a cold call.

“But just to remind you – on (date/time) you (visited our website/dropped by our booth/filled out a form, etc.)—just out of curiosity, what were you looking for at that time?”

For inactive accounts or people you’ve not spoken to in a while:

“I’m not interested”

Response:

“That’s fine _________, and I’m simply calling to update your account information for our records. Quick question: Are you still the right contact person who handles ordering the ________ for your company?”

Or

“Oh that’s okay, I’m not calling to sell you anything today. Just want to make sure you still know we’re here in case you do need something down the road. By the way, do you guys still carry/use/order ________?”

For cold calling or prospecting calls:

“I’m not interested”

Response:

“Quick question: Does that mean you’re not interested at this moment, but in a few months things could change, and I should keep in touch?”

Or

“I’m with you—quick question though: are you the right contact for this, or is there another department (or person) I should check with?”

Or

“I understand. What would have to change for you to be more open to something like this in the future?”

This is how you get better at cold calling (or prospecting or whatever you call it). You will be much more confident if you take the time to prepare yourself for the resistance statements you get over and over again. Once you do, and once you begin getting past your prospect’s defensive barriers, you – and your team – will make more calls and begin closing more deals.

Building Rapport – It’s the Little Things That Matter Most

We’ve all been there: you’re in the middle of something and your phone rings and it’s a sales person calling. You know instantly how the call is going to go just based on the first few sentences the sales rep utters. And if you listen for just 2 minutes longer, your hunch is confirmed – it’s either a “good” call or a “used car salesman” call. And unfortunately, many calls these days sound like the latter.

So what can you do to instantly make your calls better? It all starts with focusing on building rapport. Rapport is simply defined as making a true connection with the person you are speaking with, rather than treating them as a prospect you can sell your product or services to. Ultimately, it’s about treating your prospect with respect, you know, the way you would like to be treated.

So how do you do it? It’s easier than you think if you concentrate on the little things. Below you’ll find a quick list of things that may not seem that important, but that make a giant difference in the way you are perceived as a caller. As you read through the list, ask yourself how many of these things you do regularly, and what you can begin doing better on your next call.

Working with the gatekeeper: The most important thing you can do when speaking with the gatekeeper or receptionist, is to be pleasant and courteous. I always recommend that you keep a mirror on your desk, and when the receptionist answers the phone, you look into it and check your facial expression. Are you smiling? Are you frowning? Are you wincing? Your attitude will be written on your face, and that attitude will be conveyed across the phone.

And the gatekeeper feeds off your attitude. If you’re bright and cheerful, it will pick him/her up, too. If you’re not – well, you probably already know how that goes. So concentrate this week on making sure that your attitude is contagious – because it is. And by the way, this goes for when you reach the decision maker as well.

Next, be courteous. I’ve written about this before, so just a quick reminder: Use please and thank you, and if you ask how their day is going, make sure and comment on it before you rush into what you’re calling about. Don’t just ask as a formality – that’s phony and the receptionist can tell. And, as always, use an instructional statement rather than a closed ended question at the end.

Working with the decision maker: All of the tips above apply here, too, but here’s something specific: If you ask the DM how they are doing, or how their afternoon is, or if it’s still raining (or hot) there, then if they ask how you are, always reply with, “Thanks for asking, I’m…” In other words, answer them back and engage them a bit. You don’t have to rush into your pitch—in fact, it’s much better if you don’t. Building this little bit of rapport will get you much further. So take a few seconds to interact, respond, and be polite.

Next, before you give your value statement or reason for the call, preface what you’re about to say with a softening statement. So many reps just barge right in and that’s an immediate turn off. It’s much better to say something like, “I know you’re busy so I’ll be brief,” or “We haven’t spoken yet, so I’ll respect your time today,” or “I just have a quick question for you…” and then ask it. Again, build rapport by softening your pitch, and then give your prospect a chance to engage with you.

And here’s the last little tip today: keep your value statement short. I’m talking no longer than two sentences. After you do, get to a question immediately! Doing so will allow your prospect to engage and start talking, and when they are talking, you are learning. Plus, if it’s not a good time—or if they want to blow you off—this will give them an opportunity to say so. If it’s not a good time, you can qualify quickly and set a better time, and if they try to blow you off, you can use a good rebuttal.

Either way, giving your prospect a chance to interact with you builds rapport and lets them know you’re not going to be a used car salesperson, rather, you’re there to interact, make a connection, and truly listen to what they have to say. And isn’t that the kind of person you’d like to speak to?

Try these little tips this week and see how many more people you get to have meaningful conversations with. There will be more than you might think.

The Proper Way to Follow Up on a Lead

In my book, Power Phone Scripts, I reveal the secret of sales: 90% of selling situations are recurring selling situations, which means if you want to become a superstar sales person, then you have to take the time to script out a best practice response to them.

And that means you have to stop ad-libbing your way through your sales career.

Think about it: you wouldn’t want a dentist to make it up as he goes along, would you? Of course not! You count on your dentist to be prepared and trained on the up to date, best practices for handling your dental situation.

The same is true in sales.

And one of the most recurring situations is calling back prospects three or four months later. You’d think this would be a simple, straight forward situation, right? It is, but people still get it wrong.

I was listening to a recording of a client making call backs to prospects, and he opened his call this way:

“Just following up with you. We spoke last December and you told me that wasn’t a good time and that you had a lot going on. I’m hoping that you’re more settled now and perhaps we could talk about your advertising needs?”

Obviously, this isn’t a best practice approach. First, why would you lead with the previous blow off objection she gave you in December? It’s like you’re supplying her with the new blow off she’s going to use right now.

Second, why “hope” she’s more settled right now, and why “ask” if “perhaps” you can talk about her needs now?

Here’s the proper way to follow up on a lead:

“Hi {first name}, this is {your first & last name} calling with {your company}. We spoke in December, and you asked me to reach back out to you here in March – and it’s a good thing you did, because we’ve got some great programs going right now for our summer issue!

“Let me ask you…” [And go into a qualifying/engaging question to get their attention…]

The difference here is that now you’re being proactive, assumptive, and enthusiastic. And you’re leading with a reason for this person to become engaged. This is much more effective than the previous technique—or one you may be using now.

Adapt this script to your own personality and product or sale. And then open all follow up calls with a great big smile in your voice, and be enthusiastic and assumptive. You’ll not only be more effective, but you’ll feel better as well.

If you’d like more (like over 500 more) ways to be more effective, then check out my bestselling book: Power Phone Scripts. It’ll be the best $20 you’ll ever spend on yourself (or your sales team!).

Is This a Good Time to Speak?

How do you feel about this opening? People either love it or hate it. Some sales people think it’s a more courteous way of speaking to a new prospect, that it shows respect and separates you from all the other salespeople who are barging in and delivering a monologue. Other people are against using this opening believing that it gives the prospect control of the call and an easy way to get rid of them. So which way is right?

The answer is the latter—but with some qualifiers.

First, the intent of the technique is right in that it gives someone the chance to tell you that they may be in the middle of something and that right now isn’t a good time. The problem is, you don’t want to lead with this as many prospects will simply use this to get rid of you. There is a better way.

What we want to do instead is to establish a little bit of rapport, give a softening statement, a quick value statement, and then give our prospect an opportunity to tell us if they are too busy to take the call right now. Let’s first look at an example, and then we’ll break it down and show you why it’s effective.

When you get a prospect on the line, a best practice opening would be something like:

“Hi {first name}, hope your day is going well so far?

“{first name}, I’m sure you’re busy so I’ll be brief. I’m with XYZ company and the reason for the call is to see if what we do (you can spell out your value prop here) would be a good fit for you, as well. Let me quickly ask you…(as a qualifying question here).”

OR

“{first name}, we haven’t yet spoken so I’ll be brief. I’m with XYZ company and the reason for the call is to see if what we do (you can spell out your value prop here) would be a good fit for you, as well. Let me quickly ask you…(as a qualifying question here).”

Breaking this down, first you’ll see that we’re letting the prospect know that we recognize their time is valuable, that we may not know them yet, and that they might be busy. All this shows respect for their time.

What we’re doing next is asking a question quickly (this is crucial). In other words, we are not delivering a monologue. We are giving our prospect a chance to engage with us, and it is during this break—after we’ve identified ourselves and given a quick value statement—that the prospect has a chance to tell us whether this is a good time or not. I have always found this the most effective way of doing this.

At this point, we are also in a better position to deal with any blow off or resistance statements, because we’ve been able to deliver our value statement and allowed our prospect to interact with us early on.

If you have been “leading with the chin,” as they say in boxing, by asking “Is this a good time,” then try using the above scripting instead and I’ll bet you’ll get further than you are now. Plus, you’ll still be using a more courteous approach rather than just delivering a two-paragraph pitch (which is always annoying).

One last note: feel free to adapt the scripts above to match your own personality. Make it your own, and you’re likely to use it a lot more.

I Doubled My Income in 90 Days Using This Technique

Seems too good to be true, doesn’t it? I mean, who can double their income in just 90 days?!

Those were my thoughts when I first heard the top inside sales trainer at the time, Stan Billue, claim that if you followed this one technique, you would do just that. I was struggling at the time, and out of 25 sales reps in my company, I was 23. Life wasn’t very good back then. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong, so when I heard Stan make this claim, I was all in.

He also said something else: He said that even though this was a simple and proven technique, 90% of sales rep would not follow through and do it. I thought that was just crazy. Who wouldn’t want to double their income in 90 days? And secretly, I thought, if I increase my sales by just 50% it would be worth it. What I’ve come to find out in my long sales career is that he was right—most sales people don’t follow this powerful technique.

Here’s what it is: Make a commitment today to record your calls each and every day for 90 days, and listen to some of them, analyze them, and make a commitment to improving each and every day in the areas you hear need improvement in.

When I first started doing this, it was pretty painful listening to myself, and listening to all the things I was doing wrong. Here is a brief list of what I learned:

  • I talked over prospects.
  • I sounded like a salesman.
  • I didn’t build any real rapport.
  • I completely mishandled the gatekeeper (it was no wonder I rarely got through).
  • I didn’t listen to my prospect’s tone or to whether they were open or annoyed—I just barreled on.
  • I wasn’t following any kind of script; I was adlibbing it big time and it sounded like it.
  • I didn’t sound professional at all – too many ums, and uhs, etc.!
  • I didn’t qualify my prospects and instead just set unqualified appointments, and I wondered later why they didn’t close.
  • I didn’t set a scheduled appointment for the next call, nor did I set an expectation for that call on the rare occasions when I did set one.

And these were just some of the things I found wrong! What I also realized was that if I kept performing this way, I would never improve my results. And what I’ve found in 30 years in sales leadership and consulting is that the majority of sales reps and sales teams are making these same fundamental errors over and over again, and that’s why they continue to struggle.

To illustrate this, just last week I was asked to be a guest coach with a company called ExecVision (a call recording software company) on a webinar called, “Call Camp.” During this webinar, I listened to and critiqued sales rep’s actual calls. I highly suggest you listen to the recording of this webinar. Listen to the Call Camp recording here.

As you’ll see, the sales reps are making many of the errors I used to make. As you listen to the program, ask yourself: How many of these errors are you or your team making?

So, what to do about it? Take Stan’s advice above. Start recording and critiquing your calls today. If you need help recording your calls, for instance, if your phone system doesn’t allow you to record calls, or if you’re making calls using a cell phone, then here is a great solution to help you record all your calls easily: See the recording program here.

If you have questions about the legality of recording calls for your state, then check this article out by Steve Richard of ExecVision. You’ll learn everything you need to know.

Bottom line, you now have no reason not to record your calls. And if you do, you’ll put yourself in a position to double your income within 90 days. The only question now is whether or not you’re in the 10% group of motivated, committed closers who will do this.

If you are, get ready to earn more money – a lot more.