Qualifying: Why Timeline is So Important

Want to know how qualified a prospect is? Then simply make sure you get a definitive answer to their timeline for purchasing or implementing your product or solution.

There are several ways to ask for this. Here are a few of my favorites:

“Again, thanks for reaching out to us and I’ll definitely get you more information on this. Question: What does your review process look like? In other words, after you go through everything, if you thought we were the best fit for you, what would be an approximate start date for you?”

OR

“Great! I’ve got us on the calendar for next (confirm day and time). One more thing: If after the demo you like what you see, when would you want to get this implemented?”

OR

“Great! I’ve got us on the calendar for next (confirm day and time). One more thing: If after the demo you like what you see, would you be in a position to go ahead and schedule an install date?”

AND

“I understand there are several layers to getting this approved, but let me ask you: If you feel that we are the best overall solution, what would be the soonest that you personally would like to get this going?”

AND

“__________, sounds like this would be a good fit for you. Let me ask you: If everything checks out next week, is there anything that would prevent us from moving forward with this in the next two weeks?”

The power of understanding timeline is that it gives you insight into how much urgency there is on the part of your prospect. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got the best solution in the world. If there are steps or processes or other decision makers on their end (or competition they are evaluating), then these are the real roadblocks that will stall your deal.

And the way to find out is to qualify for timeline.

Any of these scripts will help you do that, so copy them down, put them in your own language, and begin qualifying for this most important of all “tells.”

The sooner you understand their timing, the sooner you’ll know how to drive the sale.

Why Phone Scripts Make You Better

To script or not to script? That is the question…

Whether you believe in scripts or not, you & your team are using one right now. Don’t believe me? Record what they say in a week, transcribe it out, and what will you be handing back to them? A script!

The right phone scripts make you better, and here’s how to improve yours today:

How to Successfully Deal with the Gatekeeper

Many sales reps don’t know how to deal successfully with the gatekeeper. If things like: “Will he know what this call is regarding?” keep you up at night, then you need to watch this video and use the proven techniques in it.

And if you’re a sales manager, you need to send this out to all of the reps on your team!

Most Popular Article of the Last Two Years!

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As a sales rep, you need solutions to the problems you face when selling over the phone. You don’t need theory, you need actual word-for-word responses that aren’t salesy.

Responses that work.

And that’s why my blog has thousands of subscribers and why more and more sales teams are added daily.

I thought you’d benefit from my most popular article I’ve published over the last two years. It’s no surprise it deals with objections you get while prospecting.

Study these and adapt them to your product or service and then use them to overcome the objection: “We’re all set.”

And happy Holidays!

BTW: A variation of this objection is anything along the lines of:

“We are okay with our present system.”

OR

“We’ve already got a company that handles that.”

OR

“We’re fine for right now.”

Here’s how to handle it:

“We’re all set”

Response One:

“That’s great, and I’d just like to see if we could get on your vendor list for the next time you’re in the market. Let me ask you…” 

Now get into your qualifying questions…

Response Two:

“Most companies I speak with are ‘all set’ and that’s why I’m reaching out to you now—I want to give you an option for the next time you’re in need of this. Let me ask you…”

Back to qualifying…

Response Three:

“No problem. Let me ask you: the next time you’re in need of this, what’s number one on your wish list?”

Response Four:

“I understand – I didn’t expect to catch you in the market right now. Instead, let me get an idea of your perfect profile, and then I’ll send you some information you can keep on file next time you need this…”

Now re-engage by asking a qualifying question.

Response Five:

“Got it. Let me ask you: the next time you are in need of this, are you the right person to speak to about it?”

If yes, then qualify them for that next time—especially asking about timeframe, budget, etc.

Response Six:

“Understand, and let me ask you: When is your next buying season for this?”

Then keep the conversation going by asking additional qualifying questions.

Response Seven:

“That’s fine; I totally understand. And let me ask you—the next time you are in the market for this, how many companies are you going to reach out to?” 

And then ask how you can become one of them, what their budget is, who the decision makers are, etc.

Response Eight:

“No problem. What you might find helpful is to know about our special pricing and the additional services we provide. Did you know that….”

Then pitch one or two things you do that others don’t – and use a tie down!

Response Nine:

“I’m glad you said that. What I’ve found is that those companies who are already using a vendor for this are surprised to learn that….”

Give them a shocking statement about how you’ve just been rated number one, or that you give free delivery, etc. Something that will peak their interest…

Response Ten:

“No problem. Could I be the “next in line” company you call the next time you’re in the market for this?”

If yes,

“Great, let me get your email and send you my info…”

Then:

“And just out ofcuriosity, what would have to change for you to even begin looking at someoneelse?”

Look for an in here…

So there you have it: ten ways of handling this age old blow off.  Just remember, your goal isn’t to try to overcome this—rather, it’s to sidestep this resistance statement and get information you can use to create value and continue the conversation.

Now, it’s not too late to give yourself the best gift you’ll get this holiday season: Over 500 more word-for-word scripts, questions, and phrases that will help you make 2019 your Best Year Yet!

Order Power Phone Scripts here.

Note: There will not be a blog article next week on Christmas Day. Our next blog will come out on Wednesday, January 2nd.

Why Aren’t You Using More Tie Downs & Trial Closes?

sales technique best practice tie downs and trial closes

I don’t know why tie downs aren’t used more by sales reps selling over the phone. I was listening to an experienced rep the other day just pitch and ad-lib to a good prospect, and at the end of the call, she had no idea about the prospect’s level of interest, nor did she qualify the prospect.

Tie downs (and trial closes) serve several important functions, including:

Getting confirmation that the point you just made was understood and accepted by your prospect.  This is especially important when selling over the phone because you don’t have the physical clues to tell you how your presentation is going.

Using tie downs is also instrumental in building a yes momentum. If the prospect is agreeing with you, then you can feel confident at the end in asking for the sale.

Tie downs also give your prospect a chance to engage with you—when you use one, you actually have to wait for them to respond.

Trial closes are crucially important as well. If all is going well with the tie down responses you’re getting, then as you head toward asking for the sale, you can use a few well-placed trial closes to make asking the deal even easier.

There are many other value reasons for using tie downs, but let’s look at some of the most effective, and go over in what situations they work best:

#1: Whenever your prospect asks you a buying question (and any question a prospect asks you is a buying question), after you answer it you must use a tie-down.  Examples:

If a prospect asks you how much something is, after you give them the price—or the range of prices—you can use any of these tie downs:

“How does that price sound?”

OR

“Is that what you were looking to spend today?”

OR

“How does that compare with what you are paying now?”

OR

“Is that within the budget you have for this?”

OR (If selling a commodity)

“That’s a great value today, and I’d take as many as I could at that price—how many can I ship you today?”  (O.K., that’s a close, but I couldn’t help myself!  Do you see how tie-downs can lead to a close?)

If a prospect asks a question about a feature or a benefit, use any of the following: 

“Does that make sense?”

OR, better:

“How would you use that?”

OR

“Do you understand how that works?”

OR

“I think that’s a great benefit – how about you?”

If a prospect makes a statement that seems negative, use:

“How did you come to that?”

OR

“Compared to what?”

OR

“What do you mean exactly?”

OR

“How does your current vendor handle that?”

#2 Use tie downs throughout your presentation. Most sales reps power through their presentations and use far too few tie downs or check-ins (as the rep I listened to demonstrated last week). And when they do, they are usually closed ended which lead their prospect to reveal little. Use these more open-ended tie downs to engage AND learn crucial buying motives:

“That’s how we drive the leads…. now tell me about how you would get the most out of them?”

OR

“That’s one of our biggest selling points…. tell me: how would this impact how you’re currently doing things?”

OR

“Do you see how this works?”—And then: “How might this work for you?”

OR

“Are you with me there?”—And then: “What questions do you have?”

OR

“That’s a nice feature, don’t you think?”—And then: “How would that work for you?”

OR

“Is this sounding like it might work for you?”  (Now we’re branching into trial closes—did you notice that?)

#3: Tie downs can easily become trial closes. Customize from any of these to fit your product/service:

“What do you think of this so far?”

OR

“Would this location work for you?”

OR

“How many locations would this work for?”

OR

“How many departments would want one of these as well?”

OR

“That’s pretty special, isn’t it?”

OR

“Do you see why this is so popular?”

OR

“Tell me, would that fit into your budget?”

OR

“Most people like this—how does it sound to you?”

OR

“Will that work?”
OR

“What else do you need to know?”

OR

“What other areas are you interested in?”

OR

“Would that be enough for you to move forward with this?”

OR

“Tell me: how close are you to wanting to move forward with this?” (A great trial close!)

Let me reiterate that using tie downs & trial closes gives you the information you don’t have because you can’t see your prospect’s reaction (because you’re selling over the phone). Therefore, it’s critical for you to begin using more of the above tie downs & trial closes during every conversation.

Remember, the more you can get your prospect talking, the more you’ll learn what it will take to close them…

Want more solid scripts you can begin using today to make more money? Buy yourself the best Holiday Present you’ll ever gift yourself (or your sales team!): Power Phone Scripts: 500 Word-For-Word Questions, Phrases, And Conversations To Open And Close More Sales

Four Proven Responses to: “We’re all set”

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Many sales reps still have trouble handling the initial resistance statement: “We’re all set,” or “We already have a dealer/supplier/vendor for that.”

If you struggle, too, then you’ll love the proven response below. Adapt them to your style and product or service, and start getting past this common objection.

“We’re all set”

Response One:

“That’s great, and I’d just like to see if we could get on your vendor list for the next time you’re in the market. Let me ask you…”

Now get into your qualifying questions…

Response Two:

“Most companies I speak with are ‘all set’ and that’s why I’m reaching out to you now—I want to give you an option for the next time you’re in need of this. Let me ask you…”

Back to qualifying…

Response Three:

“I understand—I didn’t expect to catch you in the market right now. Instead, let me get an idea of your perfect profile, and then I’ll send you some information you can keep on file next time you need this…”

Now re-engage by asking a qualifying question.

Response Four:

“Got it.  Let me ask you: the next time you are in need of this, are you the right person to speak to about it?”

If yes, then qualify them for that next time – especially asking about time frame, budget, etc.

As with all selling situations, it’s easy to handle objections and stalls if you’re prepared with a good response.

If you’d like over 500 more responses to the common objections and stalls you face, then invest in my bestselling book on phone scripts: Power Phone Scripts.

You don’t have to keep struggling!

How to Handle: I looked it over and not interested

I’ve been getting a lot of requests lately from readers who are getting blown off when they call a prospect back.

To help with this, I’ve been asked to give some scripts to handle this initial blow off before a close.

So here are three proven scripts you can use the next time your prospect tells you “I looked it over and I’m not interested…”

Response #1:

“I understand, and that’s perfectly OK. At first a lot of people I speak with don’t fully understand all the ins and outs of this and that’s why I’m here. Before you make a decision though, let’s do this. It will take just a couple of minutes to explain how this might help you, and if, after you understand it, you still think it’s not for you, we’ll part friends. Do you have that information handy?”

[Must end by directing them to take an action…]

Response #2: 

“I didn’t expect you to be interested; heck, our marketing department hasn’t yet figured out a way to get our prospects to call us back—and that’s why they hired me!

But seriously, {first name}, this (product/service/investment) has some great features that aren’t readily available in the (demo/material/information) I sent you, and it’ll only take a couple of minutes to find out if they would be a fit or benefit for you.

Tell you what, do yourself a favor and spend a few minutes with me to find out how and if this would be right for you. Grab the information/quote/brochure and let me cover a few things – do you have it handy?

Response #3:

“I understand, and believe me, I get that a lot. In fact, some of my best clients said that at the beginning as well. But I’m sure you’d agree that any decision you make, whether it’s a yes or a no—and I can take either one—is best made once you understand all the facts, isn’t that right?

Well {first name}, I’m here to help you learn those, so do yourself a favor and grab that information, and let’s briefly go over it. If at the end it’s not for you, we’ll part friends. Do you have it handy?”

Now, take some time and reword them slightly to fit your personality, your product or service. Then get in the habit of using them over and over again. What you’ll find is that more and more prospects will actually let you pitch them, and some of those will buy!

Pitching the Gatekeeper Won’t Get You to the DM

One of the biggest mistakes I still hear sales reps making is pitching the gatekeeper or receptionist in hopes of them being so impressed that they will put them through to the Decision Maker (DM).

Yeah, right.

I mean, how often does that happen for you? Truth is, the more you “pitch” the gatekeeper, the more you just identify yourself as a sales person and the more the gatekeeper is alerted to screen you out…

Here’s what you need to know:

The gatekeeper’s job is to route calls. The information they need to route the call is your full name and the name of your company.

That’s it.

If you use an instructional statement, and are polite, you will be put through without any additional screening.

Here’s your perfect opening:

You: “Hi is {first name} in please?”

Gatekeeper: “Can I tell him/her who is calling?”

You: “Yes, please tell {first name} that {Your first & last name} with {Your company name} is holding, please.”

If you deliver that exact line with a smile in your voice, warm and friendly, over 60% of the time they will not only just put you through, they will say, “Hold please.”

Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself all this week.

Remember, what you don’t want to do when they ask you “who is calling?” is reply with a portion of your pitch:

“Yeah, I’m calling with (company name) and what we do is…blah, blah, blah….”

That will get you screened out every time.

The Art of Cold Calling | How to Make B2B Cold Phone Calls for Sales

5 New Cold Calling Openings
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

art of top B2B cold calling scripts, tips, techniques, openers and best practices on how to make effective, successful cold phone calls that really work to get appointment for sales

Learn the art of top B2B cold calling opening scripts, tips, techniques and best practices on how to make effective, successful cold phone calls that really work to get appointment for sales.

I’m working with an inside sales team who are having success with a cold calling opening that previously I had recommended against using. After listening to their recorded calls though, I’ve been surprised by how effective it is!

While experimenting with variations of this prospecting approach, I’ve developed 5 new cold calling openings and listed them below. My new recommendation is that you try these for yourself to see how they work for you:

Surprise cold calling opening #1: “Did I catch you at a bad time?” I know, seems counter intuitive to give your prospect a way out at the very beginning, and that’s why I’ve recommended against it for so long. But…it’s been working well, and prospects are actually stopping and giving the reps a chance to keep talking. Try it for yourself and let me know how it works for you…

Sales prospecting opening #2: “Is this an okay time to speak?” Again, my instinct (and experience) has taught me this isn’t a good way to open your call, however, I think it’s been working because it gives the prospect control of the call initially, and this seems to encourage them to grant permission to continue. Again, try it and let me know…

Cold call opening #3: “Didn’t think I’d catch you in person, can you spare just a couple of minutes right now?” Again, asking for permission seems to be working for the team I’m consulting with, and this variation puts in a bit of a softening statement.

Sales prospecting opening #4: “Sorry to disturb you, have I caught you at an okay time?” Variation on the theme here—once again, we combine a softening statement with asking for permission…

New cold calling opening #5: “Oh, I’m so glad I reached you. Can you take just a moment to speak with me right now?” As you can see, this, too, is a new opening, continuing the theme of asking for permission.

As with all of these cold calling or sales prospecting openings, you’re giving initial control to your prospect in the hopes that they will grant you permission to have a brief conversation. And, as I said, this seems to be working well.

Pick one of the opening above, customize it so it fits your style, and let me know how it works for you. By providing each other feedback (especially sharing on LinedIn), we’ll all be helping one another get better at prospecting over the phone!

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.