How to Sell & Closing More Sales Leads with Follow Up Calls Skills

The Sale is in The Follow Up
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

how to sell and improve sales skills with secrets of closing more leads and deals via follow up prospecting message, phone call and letter techniques

Learn how to sell and improve sales skills with secrets of closing more leads and deals via follow up prospecting message, phone call and letter techniques.

As a homeowner, I’m always having to fix something. Those of you who own homes know exactly what I mean. I’m in the habit of getting a variety of quotes for the big stuff, and it’s amazing how some companies/sales reps follow up on a sales quote (and so get the business), and others don’t. Here’s a recent example:

My air conditioning coil went out (my existing heating and air company—we’ll call them Air Quiet—quoted me $2,500 to replace it), so I decided to have another company—we’ll call them Air Aggressive — come out to give me another quote.

Air Aggressive came out with two guys: the guy who crawls around and the “closer”—a guy who doesn’t get his hands dirty. After they looked at everything, they immediately tried to upsell me to a whole new unit (including a new heater). They said there wasn’t any reason to replace the coil on a ten-year-old compressor, etc., and it made sense. Their quote was about $9,600.

I then called Air Quiet back to give me a quote on a comparable new system. A very knowledgeable guy came out and quoted me on a better system (apparently, according to him, the first company was giving me an inferior system), and the new quote for a “better” unit was just $8,300. I told him I’d think about it.

So, here’s what happened next. The first company, Air Aggressive, followed up five days later. I got a call from the office and a nice woman said I had work that needed to be done and was I ready to schedule it? (That was a nice assumptive close). I told her I was thinking about it. She stopped there and told me she would be in touch.

Four days later, I got a call from the closer himself: Was I ready to schedule the work? No, not quite yet, I’ll be in touch, I told him. Zero come back to that stall, instead, he just said he’ll look to hear from me.

Three days later, I got a call from the closer’s manager: Was there anything I needed to know, and was I ready to schedule the work I needed? No, I replied, I’m still thinking about it. Zero attempts to overcome that stall either…

I received one more voice mail from the company, Air Aggressive, and they have left me alone since then.

The other company, Air Quiet—you know, the one with the good quote? Nothing. Not a phone call, not a voice mail, not an email. Nothing.

If I hadn’t received such a good quote from them, and, especially, if I hadn’t been informed by them that the other company was using lessor quality products (a model down in rating), I’d have gone with air aggressive already. And if Air Quiet had followed up, they’d probably have the business by now….

My point here is that follow up is the key to getting the business. And it’s not just this way with heating and air companies. I’m amazed (and I’ll bet some of you are as well), at how laid-back many sales people are. It’s surprising they get any business at all!

One of the things that has always made me a top producer (even now in the consulting world) is that I’m on it. And on it. And on it some more. I have specific follow up appointments scheduled, I’m sending emails and cards, etc., in between those meetings, and when I get a stall, I use three or four closes to overcome them or at least understand exactly what is standing in the way.

In other words, I don’t give up. I’m persistent and tenacious. I act with a sense of urgency. And this has always been a key contributor to my success—in and outside of sales.

So I’d like you to ask yourself whether in your own company you are more like Air Aggressive or Air Quiet?

My advice: If you want to close more business and make more sales, you need to follow up a lot more than you probably do. Don’t leave it to your prospects to get back to you—they rarely will.

Phone Sales & Business Prospecting Calls Tools Tips Methods & Ideas

Avoid This One Error when Prospecting by Phone
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

best creative, effective phone business prospecting scripts, tools, tips, process, methods and ideas to help you successfully close more sales

Learn about the best creative, effective phone business prospecting scripts, tools, tips, process, methods and ideas to help you successfully close more sales.

On Facebook last week, there was a very brave soul who was making cold calls live. I clicked over to hear him doing it (he sells SEO services), and as I watched I noticed he was making one crucial error that was leading to him not getting very far with prospects. I want to share with you what this common prospecting error is and how to immediately fix it.

Before I do, I just want to acknowledge the guts it took to put himself out there, live, for all the world to see. Good for you! After hearing him, and watching him be so courageous, I wanted to help him. So I contacted him and offered to do a complimentary coaching session with him to help correct this fundamental error. Prior to the call, I asked this sales rep to send over recordings, so I could play and point out exactly what he was doing wrong.

OK, so here’s what it is: He was calling prospects and his pitch went like this:

“Hi, this is {first & last name} with {his company}, and I know you’re probably busy, so I just want to ask you a quick question to see if it makes sense for us to talk…

“If you could wave a magic wand and change two things about your online marketing, what would they be?”

The responses he got were generally negative, along the lines of, “Look, I’m in the middle of something right now and can’t talk to you…”

As you read this article, can you identify what the mistake in this approach is?

When I was coaching this rep, I told him that the problem was that he wasn’t making any connection in the beginning and wasn’t allowing his prospect to engage with him at all. Instead, he was barging in on someone’s day and asking a question that required the prospect to stop doing what he was doing and then give a ton of information he probably didn’t want to give.

I said it was analogous to saying, “Hey, you don’t know me, but give me your time and tell me how to sell you.”

I also told him that my reaction as a business owner would have been, “Who are you, and how dare you ask me to tell you that!”

What was missing was the common courtesy of human interaction to set up the call. Plus, what was missing was a value statement of what might be in it for the prospect. I suggested he revise his opening to:

“Hi, this is {first & last name} with {his company}, how’s your day going?”

[Wait and respond accordingly—engage!]

“{first name}, I know you’re probably busy, so I’ll be brief. The reason for the call is that we provide affordable SEO services to small companies like yours so you can have a big footprint on the Internet and drive more qualified leads.

“Question: how are you going about doing that right now?”

Note: this is just one of many different qualifying questions I would ask based on how they sounded to me. The point is to 1) Make a connection first, 2) Give the reason for your call—your value statement, 3) Ask an appropriate, quick qualifying question. This is the best practice approach.

After our coaching session, I received an email the next day from this rep. He said he listened to the recording of the session several times and something clicked. He told me that he attends many face to face networking events, and he realized he would never use his phone prospecting script with anyone in person. It would be inappropriate and even rude!

Instead, he said, he would make conversation first, connect and interact with someone. He figured it would probably be true in sales over the phone as well. I told him that was the perfect analogy! I couldn’t have said it any better.

So, for all you inside reps and companies that are making outbound prospecting calls, just ask yourself: Would your technique work face to face? If not, then change it so it would. You’ll do much better when you do.

Secrets & Techniques of Closing the Sale & Handling Price Objections

Five Hidden Secrets behind the Price Objection
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

top secrets of closing the sale with proven training, techniques, rebuttals, responses and tips of effectively handling and overcoming the most common price objections

Learn the top secrets of closing the sale with proven training, techniques, rebuttals, responses and tips of effectively handling and overcoming the most common price objections.

Of all the objections sales reps get, the price objection is still number one on the list. And it makes sense, doesn’t it? I mean think about your own buying decisions – whether you’re in the market for a new car, a new house, or even a dinner out with the family – what’s the one common component of your own decisions? Budget and price, right?

So, it makes sense that all of your prospects have a price consideration as well. But be careful because the price objection doesn’t always mean that your prospect can’t afford it. In fact, the price objection is often the biggest smokescreen objection of all—meaning that prospects throw it out to hide what the real objection is. And the reason they use it is because it works: again, everyone understands budget concerns because we all have them…

Top producers know how to go beyond this smokescreen objection and uncover what the real objection is. And once you understand what the price objection really means, you will gain a unique insight into how to deal with and overcome it. Here are five ‘hidden meanings’ your prospect doesn’t want to reveal when they tell you that your price is too high—and what you should do about them:

1) They think they can get it cheaper somewhere else. With the Internet making your solution available to nearly anyone—or a solution your prospect thinks is the same—it’s difficult to compete on price only…

Solution: The solution here is uncovering that your prospect has another option in mind and then doing the straight forward comparison of “services for services.” This used to be called an “apples to apples” close and it’s still highly effective—if it’s presented correctly. The key, however, is to be able to determine whether that is the real issue and then use a properly worded script do the comparison.

2) They actually can get it cheaper somewhere else. This can seem difficult at first to handle, because after all if they can get it cheaper somewhere else, why wouldn’t they do it?

Solution: To answer this question, just ask yourself what motivates you to pay a premium for a product or service you know you could get less expensively elsewhere. Reasons can include:

a. Getting it from a more well-known source often means that handling any problems, questions or returns is easier. (It’s why I still take my car to the dealership…)
b. Buying something from a person or company you respect or like is often another reason to go with a higher priced item.
c. Convenience: Sometimes it’s easier or less time consuming to buy a product or service from a source you know and trust—even if you have to pay a bit more.
d. Quality of product. Often times a knock off or generic product is available, but those sometimes don’t come with all the support, instructions, warranty, etc., that you can get by paying a bit more from the manufacturer.
e. You. The only place your customer can get you—your knowledge, your customer support, your belief and your desire to stand behind your product and make any problems right—is by buying it from your company and doing business with you. This is a powerful buying reason and one sales reps routinely underestimate.

3) Price is just a smokescreen hiding other objections. Often times prospects are not ready or willing to move forward with a purchase for a host of different reasons. If they are a business, then initiatives can change, or personnel changes, timing, scheduling, etc., also affect purchases. Or, for both individuals and companies, there can be multiple decision makers with different objectives, or prospects decide to keep looking or delay or postpone the decision for many other reasons as well.

When prospects don’t want to reveal what is really stopping them from making a buying decision, they will often just throw out the price objection because it works. Revealing anything else would require an explanation, but saying it costs to much, or that they simply can’t afford it, usually gets sales people off their back.

Solution: The key here is to find a way to get your prospects to reveal what is really behind their decision not to buy and then effectively deal with that.

4) They actually can’t afford it. Sometimes the price objection is just as it sounds: your prospect can’t afford—or chooses not to afford—your product or service. If this turns out to be the case, then it’s something you should have addressed during qualifying.

Solution: Top producers always qualify for budget, among five other things, and they know in advance if a prospect can afford their solution. If you have qualified correctly in the beginning, and you still get the price objection, then you can be sure it’s a smokescreen hiding items one through three above.

5) They don’t see the value in what you are selling. Often when a prospect tells you that the price is too high, what they’re really saying is that based on what you’re telling them they’re getting, they don’t feel the “spend” is justified. This often means that you either:

a. Didn’t completely understand their buying motives and so didn’t show how your solution addresses them, or:
b. You didn’t build enough value in the results they are going to get as a result of making the purchase.

Solution: After you’ve clarified that this indeed the case, then it is up to you to go back and build that value by pitching specific points and tying them down after each one to make sure your prospect sees and buys into the value.

As you can see, the price objection isn’t always about the price, but rather, it often means something else. Your job as a closer is to be prepared with a scripted approach to find out exactly what the real reason is, and so position yourself to overcome it.

Handling & Overcoming Common Objections in Phone Cold Call Prospecting

Avoid Rejection While Prospecting with this One Technique
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

sales training with best tips, rebuttal techniques and responses on how to go about handling and overcoming most common objections in phone cold call prospecting

Discover sales training with best tips, rebuttal techniques and responses on how to go about handling and overcoming most common objections in phone cold call prospecting.

Prospecting by phone can be hard—gatekeepers screening you out, decision makers don’t want to talk to you, etc.—but it doesn’t have to be. I’m going to give you one proven sales technique to use that will allow you to overcome many of the sales objections you’re getting now.

In fact, if you just take a few days to memorize this scripted sales technique, and then use it on each and every call for a week, you’ll be amazed by how much easier prospecting (or cold calling) becomes.

Before I give you this sales prospecting technique, let me tell you how you’ll use it. This technique will help you overcome objections from:

1) Gatekeepers
2) Decision makers
3) Assistants
4) Influencers, etc.

And, this technique will work with any of the following sales objections or sales stalls like:

1) We wouldn’t be interested
2) We already have a company that handles that
3) We’re happy with who we’re using
4) We aren’t doing anything until next quarter/year/never…
5) We don’t take unsolicited calls
6) I’ll have to check with my boss to see if we’re interested…

As you can see, the following proven sales technique will work on the most common, frustrating sales objections and sales blow offs you’re getting now.

One last thing before I give you this proven sales script: This sales technique is meant to allow you to get around the sales stalls and sales objections above. The last thing you want to do is try to overcome these stalls or objections. Instead, your goal is to get past this initial resistance and back into your qualifying.

OK, here it is: Whenever you get any of the above sales objections or sales stalls, you simply reply:

“That’s perfectly OK, and just know that I’m not trying to sell you anything today. Instead, I just want to provide you with a proven resource you might be able to use down the road should you find you ever need… (Pick from one of the following that best suits the objection you’re getting):

• This product or service, or
• A new vendor for different services, or
• To compare quotes and services with a different vendor, or
• See what else is available to you, or
• In case you do need to reach out to someone else for whatever reason…

(And I’m sure you can think of some of your own, right?)

And then get right into a qualifying question, like:

• “So let me ask you: how often do you use XYZ?” or
• “When was the last time you checked…” or
• “How many quotes do you normally get when you need…?”
• “How do you get involved in…?”

Again, I’m sure you can come up with other sales qualifying questions here. The point is to A) side step the sales objection using the technique above, and then B) engage your prospect by asking a qualifying question.

If you master this one technique, you will instantly avoid many of the sales objections and stalls you’re getting now. Having a proven response like this to handle the selling situations you get into, over and over again, is what will change your prospecting experience and allow you to speak with more qualified and potential sales leads.

And this is what will lead to more sales success. So, get to work: adapt the sales script and questions above to suit your selling situation and use it, master it, over the next week. And then watch your meaningful sales conversations and sales results soar.

Best Ways & Techniques How to Improve & Increase Closing Sales Process

Close More Sales Using More Assumptive Questions
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

best ways on how to increase, improve and boost your sales process performance with more effective tips, techniques strategies and ideas including top closing lines and assumptive questions

Learn the best ways on how to increase, improve and boost your sales process performance with more effective tips, techniques strategies and ideas including top closing lines and assumptive questions.

Want a quick tip for closing more sales over the phone—or even face to face? Learn to ask better questions!

Surprisingly, when I listen to closing calls (or even prospecting and cold calls), I hear sales reps ask the wrong types of questions over and over again. Here’s an example:

“Do you have any questions for me?”

Quick: What’s wrong with this kind of question? If you answered that it’s a “closed-ended” question, you’re right. This question forces your prospect to answer either “yes” or “no.” Either way, the conversation stops.

The better sales reps close more sales and open more sales conversations by taking the time to change all their closed-ended questions into either open-ended questions or even assumptive questions. To do this with the above question, you’d change it to:

“What questions do you have for me?”

Granted your prospect can still tell you no, but this way you’re at least leading them to answering the question, rather than making it easy for them to just say no and end the conversation.

Below you’ll find better questions to help you prospect and cold call more effectively, and to help you close more sales by asking more effective questions:

Change: “Would you like to get more business?”

To: “How much more business would you like to get?”

Change: “Do you think you would get more traffic (or leads) from using this?”

To: “How much more traffic (or leads) do you think you would get using this?”

Change: “Do you think your other (departments/locations/etc.) could benefit from this?”

To: “How many other (departments/locations/etc.) would benefit from this?”

Change: “Do you have a budget for this?”

To: “What kind of budget do you have for this?”

Change: “Do you think your partner/manager/corporate would agree with this?”

To: “Why do you think your partner/manager/corporate would agree with this?”

Change: “Does this make sense to you?”

To: “Tell me, what part of this makes the most sense to you?”

Change: “Is this something you would like to go ahead and try?”

To: “Let’s go ahead and get you started…”

Change: “What do you think your manager will say?”

To: “How do we get your manager to say yes to this?”

Change: “Are you the ultimate decision maker on this?”

To: “And besides yourself, who else would be making the final decision on this?”

Change: “Is your (current solution) providing all the leads you need?”

To: “What would you like to most improve with your (current solution)?

As you can see, many open-ended questions can be turned into an assumptive ones. And do you see how much more suggestive and powerful they are? Go through your qualifying script, your closing script, and your objection scripts and look for opportunities to transform your closed-ended questions into powerful and effective assumptive ones.

Then watch as you gain more control over selling situations and begin eliminating the objections and stalls that you may be creating—by asking the wrong kinds of questions—right now.

If you’d like two more scripts to help you close more sales and give better sales presentations, then click here for my new book: Power Phone Scripts.

As you’ll see, the more prepared you are for your sales presentations and closes you are, the more confident and successful you’ll be.

Best Sample Cold Calling Sales Pitch scripts Tips Techniques Examples

Best Openings for Your Closing & Presentation Calls
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

effective openings and sample outbound cold calling phone telemarketing sales pitch scripts including the best tips, techniques and examples ever written for closing calls.

Discover effective openings and sample outbound cold calling phone telemarketing sales pitch scripts including the best tips, techniques and examples ever written for closing calls.

If you close sales or do sales presentations over the phone, then you might be wondering what the best way to open the closing call is. Inside sales, as you may know, offers lots of advantages, one of them being that you can use a sales script that is proven and effective. Obviously, you want to memorize and internalize the script, so you don’t sound like a robot, but once you do, you’ll be able to deliver a consistent sales presentation, or closing call, over and over again.

And this brings us to today’s sales blog: what is the best-practice opening for your sales presentation or closing call? To answer this, let first look at what not to do:

Believe it or not, many sales reps open their sales presentation or closing calls with this weak opening:

“Oh hi, this is _______ _______ with _________, and we had an appointment right now to go over the presentation. Is this still a good time for you?”

Now I know that it seems polite to check in with your prospect before just launching into your presentation (which you’d never want to do anyway) but giving them an out right at the beginning isn’t the way to go. Don’t worry—once you use the opening below, if they don’t have the time, they will let you know.

Before we get to the openings, let me remind you that you’ll first want to get a feel for how they are doing, and you’ll want to build a little rapport. You can use either of the following (or use your favorite opening that works well for you now):

“How is your Wednesday going so far?” or

“How’s your morning going?”

Either of these is better than the old and tired, “How are you today?”

By the way, once you do ask how they are, make sure and listen and react accordingly! Listen for how they sound—are they in a rush? Happy or upset to hear from you? Open and willing?

Use this feedback to adjust the pacing of your presentation. Also, make sure and respond and interact with them here. If they ask you how you’re doing, make sure and acknowledge this and thank them for asking you. And don’t be so quick here to jump into your pitch. Take a minute or two and connect.

After you do this, use an opening that is assumptive and shows that you’re excited to meet with them today. Try either of these sales opening lines:

“_________, I’ve been looking forward to speaking with you today because I have some updates that you’ll be interested in. I’m sure you’re in front of a computer, so do me a favor and go to….”

OR

“I’ve been looking forward to speaking with you today. I’m sure you’ve gone through the (email/website/information) I sent you and you probably have a few questions. What did you want to ask me before we get started?”

This last presentation opening is powerful because it immediately gets your prospect to reveal what questions they have, how interested they are (you’ll know by the quality of their questions), and it gives them a chance to interact with you. This is much better than having you just pitch at them and do a features and benefits dump.

If you think these closes or presentation opening statements are too basic or won’t work, then think again. Compare them with what you’re using now and commit to trying them for week. You’ll be surprised how much easier your closing calls and sales presentations will go.

If you’d like two more scripts to help you close more sales and give better sales presentations, then click here for my new book: Power Phone Scripts.

As you’ll see, the more prepared you are for your sales presentations and closes you are, the more confident and successful you’ll be.

Cold Calling Techniques: Overcoming & Handling Common Sales Objections

Overcoming Objections: “We are already working with someone.”
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

Cold calling techniques for handling and overcoming the most common objections in telemarketing phone sales including the best call rebuttal responses for "not interested."

Learn cold calling techniques for handling and overcoming the most common objections in telemarketing phone sales including the best call rebuttal responses for “not interested.”

One of the main reasons sales reps dislike prospecting and cold calling is because of all the sales objections they get. Let’s face it: overcoming objections can be tough! Do any of these objections sound familiar?

“I wouldn’t be interested.”

“Just email me something.”

“We already have someone who handles that.”

If you get these sales objections when you’re cold calling or prospecting, welcome to the club. These are the same objections, sales resistance statements, and sales blow offs sales reps have been getting for years. And you will be trying to overcome these objections for years to come!

While that may sound like bad news, it’s actually good news. The way to deal with sales objections like these is simply to be prepared for them with a proven, scripted response. Here are three ways to handle the objection: “We currently work with someone”:

“We’re Currently Working with Someone Else (and we’re happy)”

Sales Objection Response #1

“No problem at all. But while I have you on the phone, what I’d recommend you do is at least learn about a few features we offer that you may not be getting now, so if you ever need to reach out to another company, at least you’ll have an idea of what’s out there.

“In fact, let me ask you: Are you getting XYZ?” (Mention something you offer that your competition doesn’t.)

Wait for them to respond and then engage.

Sales Objection Response #2

“That’s great and let me ask you: if in two minutes I can give you an idea of why more companies are switching to us, would you at least accept an email with my contact information for when you do need to consider using someone else?”

[If yes]

“Great—the number one reason companies switch to us is for XYZ—are you currently getting that now?”

Wait for them to respond and then engage.

Sales Objection Response #3

“Who are you using?”

[Wait to hear, then]:

“That’s a good company, in fact, they are the reason that we created our (name your advantage)—it’s something that takes what they do but makes it better. Have you heard about it?”

[Listen for an opening]

“If you’re interested, I can show you two or three other things we do differently, and then you can judge for yourself if you’d like to learn more, fair enough?”

Memorizing proven inside sales scripts and rebuttals like this will help you overcome objections with confidence and make prospecting for sales much, much easier. Since you know these sales objections are coming, why not learn, in advance, proven ways to deal with them? This is what separates top sales producers from all others close more business and make more money in sales…

If you’d like two more responses to this objection, and over 500 more word-for-word scripts, phrases and sales questions, then click here for my new book: Power Phone Scripts.

As you’ll see, the more prepared you are to overcome the sales objections you know are coming, the more successful you will be.

How to Cold Call for Sales | Cold Calling Techniques that Really Work

Cold Calling—3 Mistakes You Need to Avoid Now
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

Cold calling tips, best practices and techniques to avoid and learn ways that really work on how to make effective B2B cold calls for sales

Discover cold calling tips, best practices and techniques to avoid and learn ways that really work on how to make effective B2B cold calls for sales.

With all the technology out there, some people like to say that cold calling and prospecting are dead. But just ask account managers and inside sales managers if they still have to prospect and cold call to develop leads and they’ll tell you absolutely! So, what gives?

The truth is this: while technology has changed the way companies and sales reps source leads and gives them a tremendous amount of intel they can use to make cold calling a bit warmer, in the end, you still have to pick up the phone. Even though technology can make calls for you, eliminating the need to dial in some cases, prospecting for new clients is still a crucial component to selling. Whether you do it after using a tech solution to cull through social media and deliver the best prospects to call, or if you comb through social media yourself, eventually, you have to speak with someone you don’t know. And in that sense, it’s still a cold call.

The real question becomes: how do you get better at prospecting to people you don’t know, and how do you do it effectively? The good news is by avoiding 3 common prospecting mistakes, you can take the “cold” out of cold calling. By following the 3 tips below, you can begin building better rapport with all the sales leads you’ve taken the time to learn more about.

Cold calling mistake #1: Don’t pitch the gatekeeper. A big mistake many sales reps make (both new and senior alike) is to immediately begin pitching the gatekeeper in the hopes that, once they understand how great your product or service is, they will put you through to the decision maker. Nothing could be further from the truth.

To start with, the gatekeeper doesn’t want to hear your pitch. His or her job is simply to find out your name and company name, and maybe the reason for your call, and then to hand you off so he/she can go back to doing their job. They don’t care who you are or what you’re selling. So, stop pitching them.

Also, the moment you pitch them, you just get them annoyed, and they then want to get rid of you. Also, by pitching, you identify yourself as a salesperson, and that kicks in a reaction to screen you out. So don’t do it.

Instead, let them know your full name, your company name, and then ask to speak with the person on your list. And use, “please.” If you need more specific advice on this, see these gatekeeper scripts here.

Cold calling mistake #2: Don’t pitch your prospect—yet. The second biggest mistake sales reps make when prospecting is to immediately dump a pitch on someone as soon as they pick up the phone. Or when they tell you they are doing fine and ask you how you are doing.

The reason for this should be pretty clear: nobody likes to be pitched. Instead, your first goal is to try to make a connection with the person you are speaking with and build some rapport. Ask them how they are and listen to what they say. Acknowledge it if they ask how you are, (“I’m well, thanks so much for asking!”)

And then quickly get into a question early (“I understand you handle the XYZ, is that right?) and allow your prospect to engage with you. Absolutely resist the temptation to give them a two-paragraph dump on what you do, why you’re so great, and what you can do for them. Just stop it.

Cold calling mistake #3: Stop winging it. I know you think you sound so much better when you ad-lib and go with the flow, but you don’t. And if you don’t believe me, then listen to your last ten calls.

Here’s the deal: Even if you wouldn’t be caught dead using a “script,” you already are. When you listen to those last ten calls, aren’t you saying the same thing over and over again? That’s your script.

Instead, do what all top pros do when prospecting or cold calling: script out a best practice approach, complete with rebuttals to common blow offs you get all the time (like, “Just email me something”), and then start practicing and using a better approach. Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect, it just makes permanent. Stop practicing poor sales skills and start getting better on each call.

Now if you’re thinking, “Well, this is all good, but what exactly do I say in all this?” then the good news is that I’ve written many word for word scripts you can get by searching my blog. Or, you can get 500 word-for-word scripts in my latest book, Power Phone Scripts.

If you learn to avoid the three mistakes above, then cold calling or prospecting—or whatever you want to call it these days—will get a lot easier for you and your team.

Artificial Intelligence AI & Sales Automation Software Tools Platforms

AI and Inside Sales: 3 Things You Need to Know Now
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

How emerging artificial intelligence is affecting business, marketing by assisting the inside and outbound sales process via automation tools and leads software for Salesforce from the People AI platform

How Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Sales Automation Software Tools Platforms are Affecting Inside and Outbound Sales

Quick: Can you tell me, in three sentences or less, exactly what AI is and how it is going to impact your sales career or company?

If not, then don’t feel bad. It’s kind of like when the word “cloud” started being used to describe cloud-based computing. No one really understood it, and even fewer people trusted what they heard about it.

Welcome to that moment again, only different. Today, technology is much more accepted, and technology and sales are inseparable. I mean, can you imagine doing your job without a CRM system? How about access to social media? If you’re a manager, can you do your reporting and metrics measurement without the host of intelligence tools measuring call times, funnel stage reviews, etc.? Probably not…

And so welcome to the future, I mean, present! If your head is still in the clouds (sorry, I just couldn’t help the pun) when you hear the mention of AI then this article is for you.

Here are three things you need to know about AI:

#1: What is AI?

A.I. (artificial intelligence) as applied to the sales environment means that many of the tasks you currently do as sales reps (and managers), can now be further automated and expanded to explode your effectiveness and even predict your sales results. This means improving on (and eliminating even) tasks like putting emails and communication notes into your CRM, or prioritizing leads, or combing through notes and deciding who the “hottest” leads are.

AI can now do all this—and a lot more. AI (as the name suggests), can even tell you which of the leads (in your entire database) are likely to be a deal. Here’s a quote from Lynne Zaledonis – SVP, Product Marketing, Sales Cloud, Salesforce:

“When you sell into a company, you have to go back and read through all of the past deals that were lost or won — and there are typically a lot of them. AI helps you to have any or all of that information at your fingertips — and to analyze it. For instance, AI can automatically synchronize — and natural language processing can review — all of the calendar entries and emails as part of the millions of data points it uses to make potential recommendations. All those data points are what you use to find the right lead to call or to close a current deal. Imagine not having to do the dirty work because AI surfaces the predictions that you just can’t do yourself. Now that you’re armed with all this information, you can approach the deal differently and with greater likelihood or success.” (See full article here.)

Bottom line, it is in your best interest to learn more about the capabilities of this amazing confluence of sales automation and smart technologies and find the best way to use it to crush your competition—before they crush you.

#2: Who are the leading companies in the AI environment and how are they different?

Okay, so you’re sold that there may be some application to your own company or sales environment, what now? Now you need to know who some of the leading companies are that have already harnessed AI and determine which one does what best.

For example, some companies, like Nudge, leverage AI to source news and social updates and filter/deliver this huge amount of information directly to you so you can quickly and efficiently use it to make more strategic sales calls.

Others, like People.ai help improve the visibility and effort of the sales team by identifying where they spend their time. It uses this info to then identify stagnant deals, and gives warning alerts about deals that are slowing down, etc. Useful to know, wouldn’t you say?

For a list of other leading AI companies, and what they specialize in, click here.

#3: Will AI finally eliminate cold calling?

Short answer? No.

Remember when “Sales 2.0” came out and all the pundits claimed, “Cold Calling is Dead!” Remember what happened next? Your manager told you to spend 5 minutes on LinkedIn and then pick up the phone and make a cold call….

Same thing will happen here. Will you have more data on your leads? Sure. Will you have reached out to them through more channels like email, voice mail, text, social media, video emails, etc.? Sure. Will you not have to pick up the phone and qualify and sell? Nope.

So, guess what? You are sill going to have to get really good at the profession of sales (better even), and if you want to get ahead of the AI curve, you’d better start today. A great start is having 500+ current, effective, and proven word-for-word scripts, questions, and phrases to open and close more sales.

If you think that sounds like a good idea, then click here. Get a copy for your entire sales team. This the best resource to use while you’re getting ready for the AI sales revolution to transform your company—once again.

A Proven Approach to Handle the “I’m Not Interested” Objection

There has been a lot of talk recently about “Objections.” What they are, how to prevent them, how to deal with them. That’s great, but you may be asking yourself: What do I actually say or do to overcome or get around them?

For those of you who have been reading my blog for years know, I’m all about giving you and your team proven, word-for-word scripts and talk tracks so you can successfully deal with the common objections and resistance statements you get, day in and day out.

Today’s blog will give you the best practice approach to one of the most common objections you get while prospecting or cold calling, the: “I’m/we’re not interested,” blow-off. Today’s response will also work for variations on this objection like:

“We’re all set,” or

“We already have a vendor for that,” or

“We don’t need anything at this time,” etc.

Before I give you the scripted response, let me remind you of a few things:

Whenever you get one of these initial resistance statements, remember that these aren’t objections. You haven’t pitched anything yet, so there isn’t anything for a prospect to object to.

Instead, these are just blow-offs to avoid being pitched. It’s the same as when you walk into a department store and tell the sales rep you’re “just looking.” The reason prospects use this line on sales reps is because it works! Most sales reps stumble over it and usually go away discouraged.

That will change with you today.

Also, remember this: when you get this (or any other) initial resistance statement, your goal isn’t to ask why they aren’t interested (that would only feed into their blow-off), instead, it’s to acknowledge that you heard it, then disarm them with a non-threatening, non-salesy statement, and move back into qualifying your prospect.

Here’s how you do that:

Prospect: “We wouldn’t be interested…”

You: “That’s perfectly okay, I’m not calling to sell you anything today. Instead, I just wanted to give you a resource so that the next time you did need this, you’ll know who to call to check your options.

“Let me ask you…” (Choose a good open-ended question to engage your prospect here.)

It’s that simple.

Now: Will this response work all the time? Of course not—no response will. But it will do something more important: It will uncover real, potential buyers because these prospects will answer and engage with you, and you can now have a meaningful (sometimes short) conversation with them. Your goal is to script out good, quick questions and then set appropriate next steps.

And for those who don’t engage? Use one or two more proven statements or questions to get them to open up. (Don’t have a list of those at your fingertips? What were you thinking! Click Here to get over 500 word-for-word proven scripts, questions, and phrases to open and close more sales.).

As with any technique or script, you’ll need to use this for at least two weeks straight before it becomes a habit. But once it does, you can kiss this blow-off statement goodbye.

And soon, if you use all the scripts I suggest, you’ll have licked the objection problem once and for all…