The One Gift You Need to Give Yourself This Season

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What’s the ONE thing you all wish for this season?

More money, right?

If you’re in sales, then the way to make more money is to close more sales. It’s that simple, isn’t it?

And if you’d like to make more sales, then you need to upgrade your selling skills.

Would you be willing to spend just $18.30 on yourself to do just that?

If so, then the easiest way to do that is to gift yourself the bestselling book inside sales guide that has over 500 Word-For-Word Scripts, Phrases and Questions that will help you open and close MORE sales. Period.

Why Power PhoneScripts?

  • Endorsed by the Top Sales Trainers in the world:

Jeffrey Gitomer, Jeb Blount, Mark Hunter, Jill Konrath, Steve Richard, Trish Bertuzzi, and many others endorse Power Phone Scripts as the best tool for selling over the phone.

  • 5-Star Rating on Amazon.com

Power Phone Scripts has a solid 5-Star rating by 47 users to date!

  • Scripts to help you handle ALL the selling situations you face over the phone:

In Power Phone Scripts, you’ll learn how to:

  • Cold call and Prospect over the phone better and with more confidence.
  • Learn how to qualify prospects without interrogating them.
  • Build real rapport so people will actually talk to you.
  • Present your product or service better and close more effectively.
  • Overcome the objections that are frustrating you now.
  • Close more sales and make more money, period.

As you spend money on gifts for other people this season,don’t forget about yourself! You can get Power PhoneScripts in book form, on Kindle, or on Audible.com

Give yourself the One Gift that will pay you dividends in 2019. Gift yourself the new sales skills that will make your job easier, give you more confidence, and that will make you more money.

Who wouldn’t want a gift like that??

Get it here.

Two Killer Questions to Open & Close a Sale

close a sale better by asking the right questions

I was having breakfast with a client in Denver before a training program I was giving, and we were talking about the importance of asking questions and listening. He told me that a few years ago he was working for a company selling an IT solution, and that while dealing with the Director of IT, he suddenly had an opportunity to meet the new CFO. This was unexpected and he had to think fast!

Here’s what happened:

As he was leaving, and right after meeting with the IT Director, he asked him how he could get in front of the new CFO (knowing that the CFO was the ultimate decision maker). Just as he asked this question, an executive was walking down the hall toward them. The Director said, “That’s the new CFO right there. Let me introduce you to him.”

As he was introduced, my client asked the CFO, “I’d love to spend a few minutes with you and wondered when we could get some time on your calendar to do that?” To his surprise, the CFO said, “I have about 10 minutes right now, come on into my office.”

He followed the CFO into his office, sat down across the desk and the CFO said, “So, what’s on your mind?” My client’s mind went blank, and he just sat there for a moment. He hadn’t expected to be here at this time and found himself unprepared.

Luckily, that didn’t last too long and before he knew it he said, “I have just two questions for you. First, when a client of yours leaves you and buys from someone else, what is the main reason for that? And second, what is the main reason a new client goes with you rather than your competition?”

After that, my client opened his laptop and waited to take notes.

And waited.  And waited…

After nearly five full minutes (a nerve racking five minutes to be sure), the CFO finally began to speak. “That’s a great question, and I’m going to have to think carefully about that. In fact, no one has ever asked me that before…”

The CFO then went on to give his thoughts about this, and, after he was done, he thanked him and promised to follow up with more information—which he did. After a few weeks, the CFO then followed up again and made a purchase from my client and his company.

He said of the interaction: “The two questions you asked me were the best two questions I’ve ever been asked. They forced me to evaluate the only two things that really matter—what means the most to our clients.”

My client was obviously pleased with how this turned out, but he told me that the real lesson he learned from the interaction is just how long some prospects take to think about questions they are asked.

He told me, “Since I was there when I asked the question, I could see he was carefully thinking about my questions. Since I could see that, I didn’t interrupt him—instead I just shut up and let him think.

He continued: “This situation revealed the real challenge we face as inside sales reps.  When we ask questions over the phone and don’t get an immediate response, we tend to keep talking. This is the worst thing we can do. We absolutely have to train ourselves to ask questions and then remain quiet and listen.”

When I asked him the best way to teach reps to do this, he said that using the mute button was the easiest and best way.

If you have read any of my articles or books, then you know my favorite four words are, “Shut up and listen.” You also know that I think the mute button is the most important button on your phone.

To prove this to yourself, make a commitment today to asking questions and using the mute button to let your prospect answer you. You’ll be surprised by what your prospects will reveal and how much easier it is to close sales.

Open Ended Sales Probing Questions for Qualifying Prospective Clients

A Simple Lesson From the NFL to Close More Business
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

top strategies, ideas, ways and examples on how to increase sales qualified leads with the best open ended sales probing discovery questions for qualifying prospective clients

Learn the top strategies, ideas, ways and examples on how to increase sales qualified leads with the top open ended sales probing discovery questions for qualifying prospective clients.

Ahhhhh….. The NFL is back! Teams have played a couple of games, and coaches are watching game film and teaching players how to improve every week. I once read a piece by Peter King from SI.com about his conversation with Ellis Hobbs—former cornerback with the New England Patriots. He was talking about how much respect he had for Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

Ellis said, “Early in my career, Bill called me into his office, and we sat there, for a long time, studying game film. He taught me to look for the simple things, and not to make football so complicated. I got better. I was with one of the best coaches of all time, and he helped me become a better player.”

In inside sales, too, you can become a better sales producer if you concentrate on the simple things and doing them better. Here are two things you can do starting today to increase your closing ratio and make more money:

#1: Keep a record of the reasons your prospects don’t close and then concentrate on qualifying on these issues up front with your next prospects. This was one of the simplest and most effective habits I developed early on to get better.

I kept a notebook with all my prospects in it and every time they didn’t buy, I’d put in red ink the reason why not. I even boiled it down to three codes: NI, for No Interest; NM for No Money; and NC for Not Cooperative.

And then throughout the days and weeks I’d go back through my notebook and look for patterns and ask myself, “What do I need to focus on during the qualification stage?”

If too many prospects were not buying because they simply weren’t ready to buy right then, then “No Interest” needed to be addressed during the qualifying call. I’d start by asking more direct questions like:

“_______, if you find that this would work for you, what is your time frame for moving ahead with it?”

And so on. Bottom line—if you don’t get it right during the qualifying call then you’ll never increase your closing ratio.

(Want more scripts? Click Here for over 500 of them!)

#2: Ask for bigger orders on every close. Oh, I know, you’ve heard this before, right? But how often do you actually do it?

So many sales reps are afraid to ask for too much and are just happy to get a minimum order. I know because I used to be that way…

But my career turned around when I began asking for bigger orders on every single call. And what I learned is that you never know how much a person or company can handle. You can always go down (in price, quantity, etc.), but you can never go up.

The truth is, it’s all the same amount of work anyway, so why not ask for two times, or three times the minimum order and see what you get? If only two in ten of your prospects buy the increased amount, how much more money would that mean to you?

In addition, the good part about consistently asking for more is that you’ll end up getting more—and every time you do, you reinforce the habit to do it. And as soon as you get a taste of closing bigger deals, you begin looking for and expecting them. Try it and you’ll see for yourself. It’s one of the simplest things you can do to make a lot more money.

So there you have it—two simple ways of closing more business and making more money. Just remember, as you’re reading this, NFL players and coaches are working on the simple things to improve.

You should be doing so, too!

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.

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.

How to Work Anywhere in the World

Lately, I’ve received quite a few emails and phone calls from people asking me if I can help them find a phone sales job they can work anywhere in the world. I spoke with a woman last week who, apparently, has a lot of experience in inside sales, is used to working on a short-term contract basis, and wanted to know if I had any contacts with companies who could use her services. She wants to work from Paris.

Just today, my assistant forwarded me an email from a guy who asked this same question: did I know of any companies who were looking for remote inside sales reps. More and more people are wanting the flexibility to work from wherever, and, presumably, whenever they want, and why not? A couple of years ago, my wife and I took a condo on Waikiki Beach, HI, for two months. I worked in the mornings and by noon I was at the beach. It was pretty sweet.

So, is it possible to earn a living selling over the phone while enjoying the flexibility of working from where ever you want to? And, perhaps as importantly, is it possible to work less than 40 hours a week (or on a schedule that works for you) and still make enough money to enjoy the lifestyle you want?

I’d say, yes…but.

In order to pull this off the way you might want it, you have to get really, really good at selling over the phone first. And you need to have the self-discipline to maintain an independent, structured work day. Let’s break this down quickly:

First, there are only a few really good, top producers in any company. These reps can literally write their own ticket because their employers value what they produce so much. If they want to do what they do from home or from Paris, with today’s technology, most of them can. Moreover, they usually don’t have to look for an industry or company to work for, because they are already successful doing what they do.

Unfortunately, not all sales reps are that good (or haven’t put in the time to get that good yet). For the majority of sales reps like these, they could still conceivably work remotely, but it will be closely controlled, and they will make just an hourly wage (if they can find it). Not quite the freedom to explore Paris that we’d all imagine…

The solution is to first dedicate yourself to becoming the one of the best producers in your company or industry. If you can’t do that, then your options will be limited. But once you’ve attained that level, then you’ll have your pick of industries to work in.

Here’s a big suggestion for you: Pick an industry that has recurring income. Three industries I can think of are debt collection, credit card processing, and financial services. In these (and other) industries, once you develop a book of business, you spend a lot of your time maintaining that book (and enjoying the flow of consistent income) and working referrals.

Next, you need to be self-motivated and very disciplined. Only you can determine if you can do that. I’ve found that very few people can (mostly the 80% of sales reps who are selling to pay their bills), but that the top 20% producers can.

Again, this is something you’ll need to answer for yourself. If you can develop the structure and maintain the discipline it takes to work from a home office, then go for it—after you’ve become a top producer.

So, can you work remotely? Absolutely! You’ll just have to pay your dues first by following the advice above. After that, well, enjoy Paris (or surfing Waikiki)!

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 (August 8th). 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.

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!