The Importance of Following Up

Let me ask you this: If you just met with a really hot prospect, how long would you wait to follow up with them? A day? A couple of days? A week?

Here’s my experience with a couple of real estate agents this week:

My wife and I are selling our home and have begun interviewing real estate agents to represent us. I got a couple of referrals from good friends in our neighborhood, and then I reached out with an email telling them that I’m ready to list my home and want to meet. I think I’d call that a hot lead, wouldn’t you?

So Tuesday night we meet the first agents – a husband and wife team – a very nice couple who have been selling real estate in our neighborhood (“South of the Boulevard”) and claim to be the Number One agents in this area (It’s odd that the other two agents we meet with also claim to be the Number One agents as well, but that’s a discussion for another article).

We spend a nice couple of hours together, really like them, like their recent experience and success on the next block and also love their strategy. We tell them that we’re meeting with another agent referral the next night but that we will get back with them the following day.

O.K., so now comes the test. When would you, if you were them, get back with me?

The right answer is 9AM the next morning. If I were them, I would have sent a quick email saying it was so nice meeting me, that I enjoyed and really liked the house and that I was confident that I could sell the home using the strategy I outlined. I’d say if there was anything I could do, just reach out to me, and that I look forward to speaking with them (me) very soon.

No brainer, right? Well, here’s what happened: Because I’m a Top 20% closer, it was ME that sent them an email thanking them for their time and how nice it was to meet THEM! I sent it at 9AM and hadn’t heard back from them by NOON that afternoon! How do you think that made me feel in terms of how they would represent me?

O.K. So the next night we had the other agents over – a team of two “Number One” selling agents in our area (they really used that term as well!). We really liked their pitch also and were impressed by what they wanted to list our house for. In fact, when they left, we were leaning towards hiring them! How long do you think it took for them to follow up with us?

We’re still waiting to hear from them two days later!

I’m still stunned because as we told them we’d have a definite answer by the next morning. Did we get a follow up email? No. Did we get a follow up phone call? No. Now two days have gone by and have we heard from them?? NO!! YIKES! What’s wrong with these sales people??

In the meantime, the first couple emailed us the next day wondering what happened with our other meeting and expressed their strong desire to work with us. We then spoke on the phone and negotiated a bit. Now they are coming over tonight to pitch us some more. They’ve redeemed themselves a bit and will probably get our business.

By the way – the other team? We still haven’t heard from them, and I’m thinking I never will. And that’s too bad for them because when we woke up the next morning, we were completely on the fence, and we decided that whoever got back to us first would probably win our business. We figured we’d wait and see who was more of a go-getter, and who would be more aggressive overall and that this would (hopefully) translate into who would be more aggressive in selling our home.

So here’s the lesson for all you sales reps and business owners out there – Don’t wait days or weeks to follow up prospects! Especially the hot ones or the ones you’ve either met with or spent quality time with over the phone. A simple email that thanks them for their time, acknowledges how much you learned and how excited you are to help them will go A LONG WAY to earning you their business. Especially since not many others have this kind of urgency.

By the way, I usually send a quick email right away when I get off the phone with a prospect and include something of value in the email – a white paper, an article – something that will help them and also help them think about me.

So start thinking about what you can send to someone when you reach back out to a prospect. And follow up more often and sooner than you think you should. Based on what the majority of other sales reps apparently do, it will mean more business and referrals for you…

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How to be the Winning Quote

If your clients and prospects are getting several quotes to determine who to buy your product or service from, then I know you’re frustrated. When what you’re selling is essentially the same (and even when it isn’t but your prospect “thinks” it’s the same), it can be maddening to lose business to the lowest bid. Here’s what to do.

Since your prospect wants the best deal regardless of who provides it, then you need to show them that by providing you with the other leading quotes, you’ll be able to either validate they are getting the best deal, or you’ll be able to beat it. The point is that either way, your client will win. And that’s what they want anyway.

Use the following script the next time you find yourself in a bidding or quoting war:

“__________ whenever you have options, price is usually the first and easiest thing to compare. But the problem is, in comparing price what usually gets missed is comparing the actual service and value you’re getting. Tell you what I’ll do. Go ahead and send me over the other quote you have, and I’ll compare it directly to what we’re offering you now.

If I find that you are truly getting a better deal, I’ll tell you so. If I find that we can match it and even give you a better price and service then I’ll do my best to give you a better overall deal. Either way, you’ll win – how does that sound?”

Once again, this works because it gives your prospect or client what they want – the best overall deal. Plus, they love playing one vendor against another, and this way you can see what you’re up against. Hopefully, once you know that, you can offer them the best deal to win their business!

Six Ways to Handle the “I’m Not Interested” Blow Off

Today you’re going to get six ways to handle the “I’m not interested” blow off. Did you notice that I didn’t call that an objection, but rather a “blow off”? The first thing you must recognize about blow off statements – things like “Just send me information” or “We don’t have the budget” or “I’m not interested” etc., is that these are not objections. Instead they are simply resistance statements meant to blow you off.

You use blow off statements all the time. Think about your response to a sales rep at a department store who asks you, “Can I help you find something?” Your typical response is probably something like, “Oh, I’m just looking.” That is not an objection (because the sales rep hasn’t pitched you anything yet), but instead it’s simply a resistance statement designed to blow you off.

The key to handling resistance statements is NOT to try to overcome them, but rather, to simply acknowledge and then move past them. And that’s what the following “I’m not interested” rebuttals listed below teach you to do.

As with all scripts, adapt these to fit your product or service and your personal style. Once you have, then practice, drill and rehearse these until they become habit. Here are six ways to handle the “I’m not interested” blow off:

“I’m not interested”

(Remember, your goal here is not to overcome an objection – but instead to acknowledge this initial resistance and qualify for interest.)

Response #1:
“That’s fine _________, and many people I speak with tell me the same thing as well. And as they learn more about this and see what this can really do for them, they were glad they took a few minutes to listen.

One thing that would be a good fit for you is….” (Continue on with your pitch, briefly, and then ask a qualifying question like, “Do you see how that would work for you?”)

Response #2:
“I didn’t expect you to be interested ________, you don’t know enough about this yet. But like me and everyone else, I do know you’re interested in (provide a benefit here – saving money, increasing production, return, etc.) and that’s why I’m calling.
Let me ask you a quick question: if I could show you how you can (provide your unique benefit here) and even save you (time, money, etc.) wouldn’t you be happy you took a few minutes to find out how?”

Response #3:
“I know that _______, heck if you were interested you’d have called me! (Say this with a smile in your voice :-) But seriously, I know you get a lot of calls, and every now and then it makes sense to listen to the right call, and this is it.” (Continue on with your value proposition and then ask a question like, “Do you think that would help you, too?”)

Response #4:
“________, you probably get a lot of these calls, don’t you? You know, I get them, too, and believe me, I don’t like getting them any more than you do. But every now and then I listen because sometimes there is information out there that will benefit me. And this is that kind of call for you. Let me ask you a quick question…”
(Ask how they would like to improve, save, make more money using your product or service.)

Response #5:
“Believe me, I’m with you. But the good news is that taking just 30 seconds with me right now could change the way you do business, and could help you (achieve your quotas, save thousands of dollars – whatever your product or service will do for them). In fact, let me share briefly with you how we’ve helped hundreds of companies just like yours…”

Response #6:
“That’s no problem, __________. I have a drawer full of clients who told me the same thing when I first called them as well. In fact, I’ll put you touch with some of them if you want. But the point is this: if you’re like most people I speak with, you’re having trouble (list the problems your product or service solves) and in a couple of minutes I can share with you the solutions to those problems that my other clients are enjoying right now.

Let me ask you – If I can show you how you can (give benefit here), would it be worth a few minutes to find out how?”

Remember, the top sales producers in your company and industry have proven responses to the objections, resistance and blow offs they get over and over again. And that’s how YOU’RE going to move into that elite group as well.

Three Things You Need to Have to Be Happy

Are you happy?

I mean consistently, get out of bed, enthused about another day happy?

Or, do you wake up and wonder if it’s the weekend yet? Or worse, if it’s the weekend already, do you still wake up and wonder when the weekend is coming?

I was talking with a client the other day and he told me about a psychologist he heard being interviewed on the radio, and the psychologist had a very simple three-step process to being happy. He said that if you examine all the happy people in the world, they generally all have these three things in common. Here’s what they are:

#1) Someone to love. This is an important ingredient for happiness for many reasons, but one of the biggest is that it gets you thinking of someone else other than you. Let’s face it – the quickest way to feeling miserable is to think only about yourself all the time. If you don’t believe me, just try it for a few hours.

When you have someone to love, however, you spend much more of your time thinking about their welfare instead of your own. Also, you now have someone to share life with – both the good and the bad. You are no longer in this thing alone. You have someone on your side and someone who knows you and cares about you. This someone to love can be a spouse, a partner, or someone you are dating or in a relationship with.

The person can also be a son or daughter, or even another family member. In some instances the bond with a pet can be strong enough for awhile. I remember once I got a cat and told my chiropractor, and she asked how long I had been without a pet. I told her over 10 years and she said, “How did you go so long without unconditional love?”

John Lennon said, “All you need is Love.” It turns out there are two more things you need to have:

#2) Something to do. Boredom is a killer. It can kill a relationship, a vacation or just a weekend. In fact, compare how you feel when you don’t have anything planned for a weekend to how you feel when you wake up with a list of things to accomplish or enjoy. It’s a different experience, isn’t it?

Mark Twain said “To be busy is man’s greatest happiness,” and I agree. That’s one of the reasons I love sales. In sales there is always plenty to do. There are people to call, deals to close, clients to work with, and sales reps to train. I have a thousand things to do in my business, and I love them all.

After work I fill my time with the gym, with writing, with friends and, of course, with spending time with my wife. Together we make plans to get together with friends, find ways to help others and then engage in one of our favorite activities – planning vacations and trips together. And that leads to the third thing you must have to be happy:

#3) Something to look forward to. The other day, I was looking at an email from a travel site I subscribe to (travelzoo.com) and they had just sent out their weekly travel specials. I almost deleted it because I have a very busy second quarter coming up, but I opened it at the last moment.

When I went down the list of travel deals they had, I was amazed to see a deal to Honolulu for five nights that included air for two and a five night stay at my favorite hotel on Waikiki Beach – the Mona Surfrider. It included airport transfers, breakfast for five days and even two cocktails each evening. The price was amazing. Ten minutes later my wife and I were booked!

What’s amazing about this is how I felt immediately after I paid for our reservation. Before it I was feeling a little overwhelmed by all the work I had to do. But the moment I got off the phone with Pleasant Holidays, I was a changed man! There was a lightness in my step, and all I could think about was getting there and sitting on the beach watching the sun set the first night. I could already feel the soft trade winds blowing and the Hawaiian band playing there under the Banyan Tree. Heck, I get excited by it just writing this!

It was at that moment I realized and remembered how important it is to have something to look forward to.

As I listened to my client describe the three things you need to be happy I smiled to myself when I realized I agreed. In that moment, happiness was simple. And when I hung up with him and thought about it some more, I realized that I was indeed happy.

And that made me smile some more….

How to Overcome the “Just Email Me Something” Objection

If you prospect for a living, then I know you get the brush off, “Just email me your information.”

And if you then take the time to email something thinking that you’ll have something to discuss on the next call, then I know how deflated and frustrated you are when you attempt to get back to someone. Does, “Oh, it’s not for us” ring a bell? Or worse?

Here is what to say the next time you get the “Just email me something blow off:

“(First Name), I’ll be happy to do that. I’ve got over 600 pages of information I could email you, so let me just ask you a couple of quick questions to make sure I’m sending you something that fits your situation…”

Now ask them your qualifying questions!

This technique will save you hundreds of hours of calling and chasing unqualified and disinterested prospects because, finally, you’ll have a chance to disqualify out the non-buyers right away.

And, of course, you’ll also be able to actually uncover who the real, interested buyers are as well. How great will that be?

The profession of sales isn’t hard if you just take the time to prepare proven and effective responses to the selling situations you run into day after day. Unfortunately, 80% of sales reps will never do that and this is why they struggle.

Today, you have the chance to prepare YOUR response so you can move a little bit closer to Top 20% sales performance.

One Question to Gage How Your Presentation is Going

If you give a demo or presentation to showcase your product or service, then you probably know all about the frustration of getting to the end, presenting your pricing options and then asking for the order only to be told a variation of, “Well, let me think about it/talk to corporate/get back to you, etc.”.

What’s equally frustrating is when you use tie downs throughout your presentation like, “Does this make sense so far?” and all you get back is a tepid, “Um, hum”.

Want a better way of taking your prospect’s pulse and getting a line on exactly how things are going before you waste 30 more minutes and only to arrive at one of the deflating stalls above?

Here it is: If you feel things aren’t going well or if you feel your prospect isn’t engaged and you’re not quite sure how to get them involved, then simply do this: After you complete a slide or part of your presentation, pause and say:

“(Prospect’s name), let’s stop here for a moment. Now I know I’ve given you a lot of information so far, and I’d appreciate it if you’d share with me what your thoughts are so far?”

Now hit MUTE and give them space to answer. Let the seconds tick slowly by… If they only give you a one or two word answer, don’t un-mute yourself! Instead, let the silence force them to elaborate. If they won’t give you much or give you an unsatisfying answer, then finally say, “Oh?” And MUTE yourself again.

If you do this consistently, you will eventually get to what is on your prospect’s mind. And the sooner you do this, the better off the rest of your presentation will go and the less frustration you’ll get at the end.

As with all my techniques, you don’t have to take my word for it – instead, try it yourself and see how it works for you. Remember, the art of sales is simply a series of proven skills that you use over and over again until they become habit. And good habits equal good results.

Happy selling…

Here’s the Secret to Success

Want to know an important secret? The most powerful technique to ensure your immediate and continued success is staying focused on what you want – all aspects of it – and not give in to worry, doubt, or to the temporary circumstances are happening right now in your life. I know this sounds simple, but most people find it extremely hard to practice.

While everyone understands the importance of goal setting, what usually happens after the excitement wears off is that reality sets in. You may have a goal to earn a certain amount of money, or drive a different type of car, etc, but after you receive a few checks that seem to be about the same, or after you get back into your old car for a few months, have you ever found that you forget about your goal and just start accepting that things are probably going to remain the same?

Or have you ever attended a motivational seminar or read a motivational book and been fired up for a while? Have you even taken some of the advice and written down your new goals or even taken some action and tried a new marketing plan or diet? If you have, then you’ve probably experienced the kind of let down that comes from not making progress fast enough and then laying in bed at night worrying about your income or about your future (again).

In fact, let me ask you right now: “How much of your thinking is about what you don’t want to happen or about what might happen if something you’re trying to accomplish doesn’t work out?”

The answer to that one question will always determine your ultimate success. You see, the secret to all success is to be able to stay focused on exactly what you want regardless of how long it takes, or what else is currently happening. It is this single ability to stay focused, committed and always trained on the end result you want – no matter what – that enables you to ultimately achieve any goal you set.

So how do you stay focused on what it is you want when so much seems to be contrary, or your mind constantly says, “Yes, but….”? Here are some tips that help me, and might help you as well.

I remember when I wanted to upgrade my Nissan Hatchback to a Mercedes. Well, at first I couldn’t afford the down payment, didn’t know how I was going to make the monthly payments, insurance, etc. Instead of trying to figure all that out, I started with the thought, “If other reps in the office drive nice cars and they seem to be able to write enough business to afford them, why not me?”

That basic belief was the core driving thought that I always went back to when I had a bad sales day or week. Whenever my mind started to go negative on me with the, “Who are you kidding? You a Mercedes?” And so forth, I would always reaffirm what I could believe in – “If others could do it, I could do it too!”

After that, I strengthened my vision by going to a Mercedes dealership and test driving the car I wanted; I had the sales rep at the dealership take pictures of me next to my ideal car (in fact you can see that exact picture by clicking here and scrolling down a bit). I brought all the brochures home of the car I wanted and kept them on my desk and looked at them often. And then I wrote an affirmation card and spent three to five times a day slowly visualizing how I felt now that I owned my dream car.

That combination – always combating any negative thoughts with a thought I could believe in – “If others could do it, I could as well” – along with constantly feeding myself the feelings of having accomplished my goal, enabled me to stay focused on what I wanted, rather than on what I didn’t have.

The result? Four months after writing up my affirmation card and making the commitment to owning the car of my dreams, I went back to the same dealership and bought the exact car I had been visualizing about.

So my question to you is this: What do you want, and what belief can you believe in now that can become your default self talk that will counteract any negative thinking? And then what kinds of reinforcement tools can you surround yourself with that will keep you focused on how you’ll feel once you attain your goal? These, coupled with an affirmation paragraph that you read and visualize several times a day, will keep you focused on what you want.

And once you do that, your goal will always become a reality…

6 Things NEVER to Say During Your Sales Presentation

I’ve been listening to sales rep pitch their products and services for over 25 years now, and there are still words, phrases and techniques that send shivers down my spine. And I’ll tell you now they send shivers down the spines of their prospects and clients, too.

Let’s face it – when selling over the phone, all you have is your voice, and the way you deliver your presentation – the words you use, the inflection, pacing and timing you use – has a huge impact on the way you are perceived by your prospects. Unfortunately, many sales reps project an image of being unprepared, unsure, rushed and sometimes even scared.

Your prospects sense this immediately. They know from your first few sentences whether they are dealing with a confident sales pro, or with someone who isn’t very sure of what they’re selling and who is uncomfortable with the sales process. And like sharks, these prospects will attack and blow you off with all the stalls, resistance and objections you get now.

If you want to project an image of professional competency, then make sure and avoid using any of the following statements or words:

What NOT to say when cold calling or prospecting:

1) Stop opening your calls with, “How are you?” I’ve written about this before, but 99% of sales reps are still telegraphing themselves as unwanted sales persons by starting out their conversations this way. How do YOU feel when someone you don’t know calls you and uses this worn out line? Probably like hanging up on them– which is exactly how your prospects feel as well. So stop it!

Instead, use a better opening line that immediately differentiates you from all the other sales reps calling your prospects. Use something that connects with them instead, that focuses them on the call and that forces them to think and interact with you.

A few of my favorites are: “How’s your Tuesday going so far?” and “Has it started/stopped snowing there yet?” and “Can you hear me O.K.?”

2) Take the word, “individual” out of your vocabulary when speaking, emailing or otherwise addressing a prospect, as in, “I know you’re a busy individual…” The word individual is an institutional, cold phrase that doesn’t belong in a sales conversation.

Think about it: When was the last time someone you didn’t know called you and referred to you or your wife as “individuals”? How’d that make you feel? Did it give you the warm and fuzziness or did you make you think you were about to be committed?

The language you use must help you create a natural, conversational tone, and words like, “busy individual” or “busy professional”, etc, do just the opposite.

3) “Things of that nature.” I cringe as I even write those words…. Whenever I hear a sales rep end a sentence with “Things of that nature,” I’m pretty sure they have no idea of what they’re talking about. That phrase is most often used by mediocre sales reps to hide or cover up the truth that they don’t know all the details of what they’re talking about. Or, it is used to as lazy way to bridge into other qualifying questions.

If you are using it now, please consider using something else, or better, explain a few of those “things” and then use a tie down to see how that landed…

What NOT to say when closing a sale:

1) “Can you transfer me to (the decision maker)?” Most presentations end with the stall: “Well, I need to run this by my boss/partner/manager/corporate, etc.” Unfortunately, this usually comes as a surprise to many sales reps who failed to qualify for this upfront. Some sales reps then think they can just bulldoze through the stall by demanding to talk to the decision maker right then and there.

While I applaud you for your tenacity, asking to blatantly go above the person’s head you’re speaking to or have just pitched, immediately alienates them. Often times this person is some kind of sales influencer and alienating them is NOT what you want to do.

Instead you should use different techniques, one of which being: “So, John, when you consult with your manager, is this something that you’re sold on and will recommend to them?” (If yes, then): “Great, how can I help you sell them on this?” (Only if they can’t think of anything): “Would it help if I spoke to them and went over this just like I did with you?”

That’s the way to get permission and to finally earn the right to speak to the decision maker.

2) “I don’t know about that – let me get back to you.” It’s O.K. that you don’t have an answer for something, but what’s important is that you convey that in a confident manner. Try any of the following:

“That’s a great question and we have several ways of handling that. Let me ask you a couple of questions regarding your particular situation, and then I’ll be able to get the best solution for you…” OR

“That’s a good question for my technical support team. Let me see what they would propose and get back with you.” OR

“We have a whole department that deals with that, and I’ll check with them to give you the best solution.”
Each of these responses helps you delay answering until you get the right answer, but they paint the picture of a bigger, more competent company structure which helps to give you credibility.

3) “When should I call you back?” Why would you want to put the crucial follow up of your sale in the hands of your customer? Asking this question means handing over control of the sale to the prospect which means you lose control. That’s bad. Here are better ways of keeping control and getting a commitment for a follow up call:

“How long will that take?” Then: “O.K. I’ve got my calendar open and that would put us to Tuesday of next week. Are you looking at your calendar? Great. How does 2:45pm look for you?” OR

“(Prospect Name) you’re probably as busy as I am, so let’s go ahead and schedule a follow up call to access progress. I can do this same time (tomorrow, Friday, next week), does that work for you?” OR

“It’s going to take me (a day, two days, a week, etc.) to get this started on my end, how about I give you a call around Friday at this time to see if there’s anything else you need? Does 2:15pm work for you again?”

The key here is to get a commitment. All top producers remain in control of the selling process and know when the next call in the sales cycle is – and so do their prospects!

So there you have six things to stay away from during your next sales call. As you use these techniques, you’ll find yourself developing better rapport, getting more information and staying in control of your selling situations. Heck, it’s starting to sound like you’re a top producer already!

Why Not You?

Russell Wilson, the 5’11, 25 year old Seattle Seahawks quarterback who just won the Superbowl, loves to tell the story of how his dad pulled him aside when he was a kid struggling to make teams because he was so small. His dad would tell him, “Russ, you’ve got the talent, you’ve got the drive and the work habits, why not you? Why not you?”

Wilson says those words became the driving force that kept him competing for starting jobs on college teams and kept him working hard to get drafted in the NFL. On draft day, he watched as other quarterbacks got picked in the first round, and then the second round. The announcers who covered Wilson back then all said that if he were only 3 inches taller he would be a first round draft pick. Finally, with the 12th pick in the third round, the Seahawks drafted the undersized quarterback.

When Wilson showed up for training camp, it was almost certain he would sit on the bench behind highly prized free agent, Matt Flynn. Matt had been Aaron Rodgers’ back up in Green Bay and had a franchise record setting, 6 touchdown performance at the end of the previous season. Millions of dollars later, Matt was projected to be the Seahawk’s starter for years to come.

As Wilson started training camp, he heard his coaches say that the starting quarterback spot was open to the best player at that position.

“Why not you?”

These words rang in Wilson’s head again as he practiced, competed and performed during off season workouts and throughout the preseason. By the final game, Wilson was named the starter, and he went on to have an amazing 2012 rookie season.

As the 2013 season began, Wilson had a message for his team: “Why not us?” Every player bought into those words and that became their team mantra as they went on to a dominating 13-3 season. In February as they headed out of the tunnel to start Superbowl XLVIII, they all believed that no matter who their opponent was, there was no reason they couldn’t be hoisting the Lombardi trophy at the end of the game.

After all, “Why not them?”

As I read these stories throughout the season, I kept thinking about a similar mantra I adopted once I committed to becoming a top producer. I was struggling just to pay my rent at the time, but I’ll never forget looking at the top three producers and the porches they drove and the suits they wore and trips they won and thinking, “What do they have that I don’t?”

I realized they all were selling the product I was, had access to the same leads, the same sales scripts, the same amount of time in the day. What was different, I wondered? When I discovered it was only their commitment and ambition, I knew that I could do it too. And that’s when I developed the mantra:

“If they can do it, I can do it better!”

Once I made that commitment, I knew I could work harder and work smarter. I could learn all the top sales skills they were using, and I could perfect them even more. The old determination came back to me, and I suddenly remembered being in college. I knew I could get “A’s” there, too, if I was willing to commit, and I did. And if I did it there, I could do it here. After all, I had three role models who were doing it day in and day out.

“If they can do it, I can do it better!” That mantra drove me to succeed. I relentlessly listened to my recorded calls and committed to improving on the very next call. I learned how to qualify leads, and I learned how to listen (thank god for the mute button). I developed affirmations and began visualizing my success. And each and every day, probably a hundred times or more, I would repeat to myself:

“If they can do it, I can do it better.”

And I did. In 90 days I went from last place out of 25 sales reps to being #1. And I never looked back. Nine months later, I was the top rep out of 5 branch offices and won the closer of the year award. (That award, by the way, was a Corvette convertible. You can see a picture of me standing in front of it here – scroll down a bit).

I’m going to borrow a line from Anthony Robbins right now and say that I’m not telling you this to impress you, but rather to impress upon you that if YOU make a similar commitment, then YOU can also become a top producer at your company or in your industry.

And once you do this, entire world changes. Your family’s life changes. Your future changes. You sleep better every night and you don’t dread Mondays.

Once you become a top producer, you never go back and suddenly you know how to succeed in selling anything. I’m here to tell you, the freedom from worry, from debt, from the future is an amazing feeling and one you owe to yourself and to your family.

Now if you’re wondering if you can really achieve this kind of success in sales, I’ll borrow a line from the 3rd round pick of the 2012 NFL draft:

“Why not you?”

The Sooner You Lose the Sale, the Better

Last week I was speaking with another training company about perhaps joint venturing on webinars together. They would give a webinar to my list of subscribers, and I would then give one to theirs. After the initial conversation, next steps were made and we were to exchange various deliverables and take the conversation to the next level.

After giving it some thought, however, I decided that we weren’t a good match for each other, and, before we went through all the trouble of sending and reviewing material, I emailed them and declined. The email I got back was brilliant. They thanked me for my time and then simply said:

“We always like to lose early.”

Now that’s a response from a company (or sales rep) who understands the value of qualifying. Unfortunately, most sales reps operate the exact opposite way. Here’s how most sales reps do it:

Most sales reps act with a desperation to put anyone into their pipeline that will take their information. They are then happy to call these very shaky prospects back and waste their time by sending information or revising documents or whatever else they are asked to do. And after this long and frustrating process, the majority of these prospects end up not being a sale. In fact:

The industry wide closing average is 1 or 2 out of ten prospects!

Think about that for just a moment. Think about all the time, energy, phone calls, voice messages, emails, chasing and disappointment you have to go through pursuing 8 or 9 prospects through a sales cycle only to have them finally tell you no.

That’s why the response, “We always like to lose early” is so brilliant. By losing the sale early in the process – as a direct result of an intensive, first qualifying call, by the way – we both saved ourselves a lot of work, a lot of time in following up and the disappointment of a lost deal at the end of it all.

What this all comes down to is the concept of “disqualifying” your leads rather than qualifying them just enough to get them into your pipeline. What this allows you to do is spend less time pitching unqualified leads that steal your valuable time. And I’m sure you know who I’m talking about…

In order to identify non-buyers early on, get into the habit of asking these types of qualifying questions during the initial call:

“I know we’re at the very early stages of this, but give me an idea of your time frame for making a decision on something like this.”

“If you like what you see in our demo, what would be the next steps for you?”

“What would hold you back from making a decision to move forward on something like this in the next two weeks?”

“Besides yourself, who would be making the final decision on this?”

Then layer:

“And what insight do you have on where they are leaning right now?”

And finally,

“From what I’ve been describing so far, what are your initial thoughts on this?”

If any of these questions reveal that your prospect might not be a good fit or won’t buy at this time for any reason, then hold off! The less time you spend pitching bad leads who aren’t going to buy, the more time you can spend finding the real buyers.

This is a big point, so here it is again:

The Top 20% producers spend more time disqualifying out the non-buyers and so less time stuffing unqualified leads into their pipeline hoping they will close. In other words, they would rather lose early because it frees them up to find and spend more time with buyers later on. And this is what makes them top producers.

I challenge you to start losing more sales earlier in the sales process so you can spend more time winning bigger deals more often.