Entrepreneurs: 3 Best Practices for Building an Inside Sales Team

If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner and you want to sell your product or service over the phone successfully, then there are 3 things you need to know before you begin. Watch this short video, and I’ll tell you exactly what they are:

Avoid these 3 Mistakes when Dealing with the Gatekeeper

Are you still getting screened out by the gatekeeper?

Are you still getting interrogated with questions like:

“Will he know what this call is about?”

“Is she expecting your call?”

If you are, then chances are you’re still making one of three fundamental mistakes listed below. In fact, just last week I was reviewing a client’s sales team’s calls, and I repeatedly heard many of the reps making these common mistakes.

And unfortunately, these mistakes lead directly to the kind of screening questions you see above.

The good news is that you can avoid all this by simply not doing what you’re going to read below. So, let’s dive in:

1) When the gatekeeper asks who is calling, don’t just give your name, and especially don’t just give your first name (hoping that the gatekeeper will think the decision maker knows you!).

Just giving your name and then stopping invites the gatekeeper to keep screening you. In fact, when you just give your name and pause, it telegraphs to the gatekeeper that you are a sales rep and that you should be screened out. And they proceed to do that.

2) Never answer a question (like “What company are you with?”) without giving an instructional statement. This is huge. Many sales reps answer the gatekeeper’s question and they just remain silent….

This again triggers the gatekeeper to ask you more questions, which then annoys them, and they figure that putting someone as annoying as you through will only get them into trouble. So—they screen you out instead.

3) Use some manners. Again, it’s amazing how rude some sales reps can be. They barely explain who they are, or what company they’re with (see #2), and they rarely are polite. And guess what? You get what you give. If you are rude or not kind with the gatekeeper, you’ll get that exact attitude back—and then some!

Little words like “please” and Thank you” go a long way when dealing with anyone—especially the gatekeeper.

Avoid these three blunders when dealing with the gatekeeper, and you’ll go a lot further in getting through to your prospect.

For more scripts and techniques on how to deal effectively with the gatekeeper, click here.

Closing Sales is Like First and Goal

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Hope you’re enjoying the NFL playoffs. A client and I were talking about that Bear/Eagles game a week ago, and (besides the Bear’s kicker—I do feel bad for him), we were talking about that last scoring drive of the Eagles. How they went for it on 4th down with 56 seconds left—and scored the winning touchdown.

That reminded me of what I was taught when I was new on the phone: that the sale doesn’t start until the fourth or fifth no. My manager used to tell me that it’s a like football:

He said that driving the ball down to the red zone was the same as giving your presentation. And that as soon as you asked for the sale at the end, you were now in the red zone.

He told me that if the client said “no,” then it was up to me to use a close and ask for the sale again. This was like running the first play in the red zone.

If the prospect was still willing to engage with me but still said no, then all that meant was that I didn’t get into the end zone on that play, but I had three more tries. So, I’d read another close and ask for the sale again.

If I got another no, then it was just third down. Time to deliver yet another close and ask for the sale again.

Same thing on fourth down: Run another play and try to get into the endzone.

Same thing in sales: If you’ve received three or four no’s, it’s time to try for it again, to read another close.

Think about the Eagles game. Did they give up after they ran first down and didn’t get into the endzone? Of course not.

What they did was they ran two more plays and then they went for it on fourth down. And they scored and won.

Now a couple of quick lessons:

1) You’re not always going to score on the first or second or even third closing attempt, but you must keep running plays—ask for the sale all four times.

2) Sometimes you get a penalty on the defense and get another set of downs—more times to ask for the sale!

3) Sometimes you can kick a field goal (drop close) and still come away with some points—or a partial sale.

The bottom line is that you don’t give up when the prospect says no—instead, just look at it like a fresh set of downs in the red zone—four new attempts to deliver a close, overcome an objection, and keep asking for the sale.

That’s how I dealt with objections (I kept running plays—using closes), and that’s how I made hundreds of thousands of dollars every year selling over the phone.

And it’s how you will, too, IF you keep closing and running plays in the red zone.

The Best Goal Setting Technique

Happy New Year!

If you’re like most people, then you’ve got a lot of goals in a lot of areas, don’t you?

If you are feeling overwhelmed with all you’re going to accomplish, you may be wondering where you’re going to get the time to do them all.

I’ve been goal setting for years, and while I (and the rest of the world) may get pumped up by all the wonderful things I’m going to accomplish and all the changes I’m going to make, what I’ve learned is that there is only so much time.

It’s still true that if you want to know how much goal accomplishment gets done, just drive by your local gym’s parking lot during the first week of January and then compare it to the first week in March.

I once heard Brian Tracy talk about setting goals, and he recommended a technique that not only made a lot of sense, but that turns out to be so powerful, it is life changing…

He said the way to get the most out of your goals is to make a list of your top ten goals for the year. Think about what’s most important to you in the different areas of your life and write down ten things.

Next, prioritize that list so that the most important goal is number one. The way to determine which goal is number one is to ask yourself which of the ten things you’ve listed would have the most impact on your life if you actually accomplished it.

Once you have your list prioritized, throw away the other nine goals and make a commitment to making that number one goal a reality in the next twelve months.

And once you’ve made that commitment, ask yourself what one action you can take today, right now, to begin reaching that goal. And once you have identified that, do it.

Before you go to sleep tonight, identify the one action you’re going to take tomorrow, and then commit to taking it.

And then do this each and every day until you have accomplished that one most important goal.

When I heard this, my first thought was, “Yeah, but what about the other nine goals? What about balance and all that?”

And that’s when he explained that despite our best intentions, most goal setting starts strong, but by March slows down, and by the summer most—if not all—have been abandoned.

That’s why identifying one goal, the most important and most impactful goal, is a better way to go.

In thinking about this one goal, think about how much your life will change (and the lives of your family members) if you reach this number one, most important goal.

If your goal is to become a top producer in your industry and double or triple your income, think about the impact that will have on your family. Think about buying that new home, or providing for your parents, or allowing your wife or spouse to stay home.

If your goal is to finally write that novel, think about how your life will change when you finally accomplish that this year! Think about the weight off your shoulders now that it is a reality rather than just another dream.

If your goal is to lose weight, get in shape, and get off your medication and live a longer, healthier life for yourself and your family, think about the long-term rewards achieving that goal will bring you! (And think of the consequence if you don’t.)

Whether or not you agree with Brian, I’m here to tell you that it’s more impactful for you to hit the most important goal in your life than it is to set ten and not hit many of them…

And, hey, if you reach your number one goal by July, you can get to goal number two!

If you’ve set goals for years and not been very successful at following through, then why not take the pressure off yourself and try this method?

How good would it be if you actually reached your most important goal in 2019?

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.

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.