A Kick in the Teeth May be Good for You

“You may not realize it when it happens,
but a kick in the teeth may be the best
thing in the world for you.”
– Walt Disney

When I read this quote, I immediately resonated with it. The kick in the teeth came for me when I lost one of the most important sales in my young sales career. While we never like losing a sale, sometimes when we do there can be some good that comes from it. There sure was the case for me. Here’s what happened.

I had been working as an investment broker for about two years, and I wasn’t very good at it. Sometimes I’d have a good month, and most other months were pretty bad. I was living paycheck to paycheck, and in between, I was living on my credit cards. In fact, my cards were maxed out then this occurred. I desperately needed a sale to pay my rent, and if I could close one that day, I could ask the boss for an advance so I had some spending money for the weekend.

Luckily, I had sent a prospectus to a solid client who purchased a share in every deal I sent him. And luckily again, we had a new deal that had just been released, so I Federal Expressed it to him and was anxiously looking forward to closing him. If he did his normal one unit in the new deal, I would earn $1,000 – just enough for rent money and $200 left over for the weekend.

It was a Friday, a hot day in late May, and I came into the office with a bit of a lightness in my step. I was feeling a mixture of hope, mild enthusiasm, and just a little bit of fear. Mostly, though, I was pretty sure my client would buy and that I would skate through another month of existence.

The appointed time came, and I dialed my client’s phone number and he picked right up. I told him I had been looking forward to speaking with him and asked if he had received the new program. What he said next was the kick in the teeth I hadn’t expected…

He said, “I did get it Mike, and after looking at it, I think we’re going to pass on this one. Give me a call on the next one.” Then he hung up on me.

Devastated, shocked, overwhelmed with dread, these and many other horrible emotions flooded me. I stood holding the receiver to my ear until the fast beeping came on. Slowly I hung the phone up, and my thoughts shifted to how I was going to pay the rent, put gas in my car for the weekend, etc. I was basically ruined.

I went for a long walk in the heat of the San Fernando Valley, and many things went through my mind like how did I ever get into sales to begin with; what I was going to do after I quit the job that day; what was going to be different for me at my next job; what was going to become of me….

And then another thought occurred to me. I thought that if I quit this job as a loser, then I’d just quit again if and when the going got tough at my next job. Then I started thinking of the top three producers at my present company, and thought of the nice cars they drove, the nice suits they wore, and about the houses they owned. And I realized that if they could be successful there, then I could too.

In fact, I made a commitment right then and there. I committed that I would learn and begin doing everything they were doing, and that I wouldn’t give up until I, too, had become a top producer. My mantra became: If they can do it, I can do it better. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and I committed to working harder, investing time and energy (and money) in myself, and that I was going to do any and everything I could to succeed before I gave up.

Over the course of the next 90 days, I went from last place in sales production, to first place. I literally transformed my sales performance and my life. I did it with dedication and hard work. I was the first person in the office and the last to leave. I worked nights and weekends listening to my recorded calls and made adjustments to my scripts. I copied the techniques of the top producers and visualized phenomenal results. I was driven; I was willing.

I had experienced the kick in the teeth that is good for you, as Walt said. While it felt horrible to have that client not buy from me that day, I now know that if that if he had, I would have gone on living hand to mouth. I didn’t know it then, but when he said no, it was the beginning of a new commitment and a new life.

Today, when something doesn’t go as planned, I ask myself what I can learn, and how this can be good for me.

Getting Behind the Stall Objection

Last week I was speaking with a new prospect who had called in to inquire about one of my inside sales training programs. I went over her needs, matched up my training to fit those needs, gave her pricing options and then began closing on possible dates for the training.

And that’s when I got the old stall, “Well, let me run this by my boss, and I still have to hear back from some other vendors, etc..” Sound familiar?

Now all stalls are bad, but what was even worse was that a few days later she stopped returning my calls and didn’t respond to my emails. Now I can take a hint, and I knew that she probably wasn’t going to be a deal. I’m sure you can relate, and so I want to give you an effective technique that will allow you to:

1) Open up the dialogue again.
2) Find out why your prospect isn’t going with you.
3) Get them to tell you what you might be able to do to save the sale.

It’s called the “I love to learn” technique and here’s what you do:

First, you’re going to have to be persistent and keep calling your prospect until you get them on the phone. Don’t leave any more voice mails. And once you do get them to pick up the phone, say the following:

“Hi __________, I’m glad I reached you – how have you been?”

They will likely try to brush you off here, so you say:

“That’s perfectly OK. I’ve been in sales long enough to know when we might not be a match for a company. Just a quick question, though. You know, I love to learn, and I’m always trying to improve, what specifically about our (offer, quote, product or service) didn’t seem right for you at this time?”

Now be quiet and listen.

If you do this right, your prospect will tell you what was wrong with your proposal, and this will give you a chance to adjust or adapt it to fit their needs. Will it always work? Of course not, but if there is still a chance to get a sale, this technique will show you how.

If they aren’t going to be a deal this time, then you can ask any of the following questions to set up future business:

“What might you need to see from us next time you’re in the market again?”

AND

“Do you mind if I kept in touch with you every so often?”

AND

“How about someone in another department?”

Last resort:

“Do you know of anyone else in your industry this might be a fit for?”

This worked with my prospect, and I was able to set her team up for remote training. Try it for yourself and begin finding out what’s really behind the stall and what you can do to overcome it.

The Key To Building Value

You hear it all the time — if your price is higher than your competition you’re told to “build value.” You’re instructed to stress the quality, the warranty, the features, etc. But your prospects have heard all that before, haven’t they? Want a better way?

You also hear all the time that prospects will buy from people they like, know and trust. I would add that your enthusiasm for and belief in your product or service plays a big role in getting your prospects to choose you over your competition.

Knowing this, I’ve often used the following script to not only build value in my product or service, but also to build value in myself. Below you’ll find a script you can use – but, as always, I recommend you personalize it so you feel comfortable saying it:

If your prospects says, “I can get cheaper,” or “The ‘other’ company has something similar or for less money,” or anything like that, say:

“You know _________ I’m aware of all the other options for this (product or service) and quite frankly if I thought any of them were better for my clients, I’d be working there and selling them.

“When I got into this industry I did my own research, and I looked for the best company that not only offered the best (product or service) but also delivered the best customer service and follow-up. I chose (your company) because they give my clients the best overall value and the best customer experience, and that means they continue to do business with me and refer new business to me as well.

“If there was a better product or company for you to be doing business with, I’d be there and we’d be talking about that. But there isn’t.

“Bottom line — if you want the best overall value, results and experience with this (your product or service) then do what I do did – choose (your company) – believe me, you’ll be glad you did.

“Now, do you want to start with the X size order or would the Y size order be better?”

This technique builds value in the most important part of any sales transaction — you and your belief in your product or service. Use it each time you need to build real value, and watch as prospects follow your lead.

Remember, while prospects have a choice of products and companies, they can only get you when they purchase from your company.

Why Qualifying for Timeline is Important

Okay. So I’ve been in sales longer than some of my clients have been on the planet.

I’ve made thousands and thousands of prospecting calls, and thousands and thousands of closing calls.

I teach, train, write books on phone scripts, and develop customized phone scripts and inside sales training programs for sales teams worldwide.

You’d think that I would never get tripped up by or neglect the fundamentals of sales, right?

Wrong.

Just this morning (April 28, 2017), I was on the phone with a new prospect and he was asking me about my background, my training methods, etc. We had good rapport. He was an inbound lead. We really connected and he was interested. This was a slam dunk, right?

As we got to the end of the call, I was positive I’d be getting on a plane in the next couple of weeks to work with this prospect. And that’s when I asked a qualifying question that I neglected to ask upfront: “What is your timeline for this training?” He told me, “Sometime in the Fall.”

So, after a ½ hour on the phone, this call went….nowhere. Where did I go wrong? When he asked me what my process was when working with companies, I should not have assumed he was ready to go. Instead, I should have done what I teach: Qualify.

And the first thing I should have qualified for was his urgency to make a decision. By the way, I normally do this, but because the rapport was so strong, and, again, he was a call in lead, I assumed he was all set. He wasn’t…

Here are some ways to qualify for timeline:

For an inbound call, what I should have done (and will not be skipping again!) is ask:

“First off, I generally book several months in advance, so let’s talk about when you need this training – if everything goes well during your discovery process, when is the soonest you’d like to have this training delivered to your team?”

If he then told me it was six months off (“in the Fall”), I’d have given him an abbreviated pitch, and then told him I’d circle around with him in September.

If you are prospecting to set an appointment or a demo, then the following scripts to qualify for timeline are what you use:

“If you like what you see after the demo, what would be the next steps on your side?”

OR

“If you think this solution is what you’re looking for, what would be your timeline for putting something like this to work for you?”

AND

“If after the demo this is something you’re interested in taking advantage of, could you implement this in the next couple of weeks?”

Qualifying for timeline upfront is crucial to not only closing more sales, but also to avoiding objections at the end like, “I want to think about it…”

Use any of the scripts above, or rewrite them to fit your personality, product or service.

Take my word for it: It’s MUCH better to know in advance when your prospect is thinking of buying.

Apps for Recording Your Phone Calls

Years ago, Stan Billue – the top inside sales trainer at the time – made a claim that every sales rep could double their income in 90 days by doing one thing. Intrigued (and highly skeptical), I listened to what he said next, and then challenged myself to do it. His advice was:

Record and listen to your calls, every day, for 90 days.

So I did. And 90 days later, I had indeed doubled my sales, and my commission. I was sold on the technique, and have since made it the cornerstone of my training and consulting practice. Why? Because it works! Nothing will make you more aware of all the areas you need improvement in (or of exactly how to improve), more than listening to yourself in action with a prospect.

With many people using cell phones these days for at least a portion of the calls they make, I get many requests of the best way to record calls using a cell phone. I was reading The Week magazine the other day, and they listed the following “Best apps” for cell phone recording. I thought you’d want to know about them:

Automatic Call Recorder Pro really is “automatic. The app records either every call or those from specific contacts. “You simply set it and forget it while it records your calls in the background.” ($7 Android only)

TapeACall Pro is a recording app that provides “just about every feature you could want,” including savable MP3 files. The setup for each call takes a moment, and the app costs $10, plus $8 a year for unlimited recording. “But if you do a lot of recording, it’s well worth it.”

Call Recording by NoNotes is a free app that offers most standard features plus built-in voice transcription, making it handy for recording interviews.

Call Record might annoy you with its ads, but for a free app, it’s “about as good as you’re going to get,” and can record every call automatically. As with all recording apps, be alert to state laws restricting recording.

Source: Gizmomo.com

What Stan said all those years ago is still true today: If you want to double your income in 90 days, then make a commitment to recording and reviewing your calls every day. And now, with these apps, you no longer have any excuse not to.

Why You’re Wrong about Phone Scripts

Next week, I’ll be presenting two breakout sessions at the Microsoft sponsored AA-ISP’s Leadership Summit in Chicago. If you’re going to that event, make sure and email me so we can meet during the conference: Info@MrInsideSales.com

You can read more about the event here.

I’m going to be presenting both sessions centered on the importance of having and using best practice scripts (one B2B and one B2C session). What I find interesting is the mixed reaction I still get when I speak to some sales leaders about the use of scripts.

Some obviously get the importance of having a standardized, best practice approach set of scripts to train and measure their reps against, while some others don’t think their reps should use a script. They think they’ll sound too much like a telemarketer or that their sale is too “consultative” for them to follow a script.

Here’s what I tell them: First, all your reps are already using a script. If you don’t believe me, then just record them for a week, transcribe what they’re saying, and then what will you have? You’ll have a script of what they say, day in and day out!

But, I tell them, you’ll also have ten or fifteen different versions of what should be a best practice “story” you’re telling about your company, product, and service. This is because most sales reps are winging it and ad-libbing their way through their sales presentations.

And that is why they are struggling and not consistently making their revenue numbers.

The solution to this is straight forward: Take the message your top producers are delivering, combine that with a standardized “best practice” approach, script it out, and then have your team use that scripting until they have internalized it and are consistently delivering your best messaging.

Once I explain it that way, they suddenly realize what I mean when I tell them they are all wrong about phone scripts.

In fact, when you have and follow a scripted approach, you will be:

More confident during your pitch
You’ll be able to listen because you won’t be thinking up what you should say next
You’ll be able to qualify your leads to identify real buyers
Your presentations will run smoother because you’ll be engaging your prospects
Objections will be easier to deal with and overcome
You’ll make more sales and actually look forward to coming to work!

And many, many other benefits.

Bottom line: I’ve been training inside sales reps for over 30 years, and I know what works and what doesn’t. Scripts work – ad-libbing doesn’t. It’s that simple.

If you would like to know more, then book a flight to Chicago and join me next week. It would be good to see you!

How to Deal with the Price Objection (Webinar)

Even though the price objection is nearly as old as time itself, sales people still struggle to overcome it. Think about it: in the markets of ancient Egypt, a shopper at a stall objected to a vendor selling something, and their objection was that it cost too much! With centuries of experience at getting this objection, you’d think we, as sales professionals, would be better at handling it.

The good news is that there are some proven strategies and techniques that will help you deal with and overcome this age old objection.

Sign up for Mike Brooks’ new Webinar “How to Overcome the Price Objection” this Thursday, April 27th, at 1pm EST/10am PST Sign Up Here

But let’s start at the beginning. First, if you are getting this objection at the end of your presentation, then you haven’t done a thorough enough job of qualifying for it in the beginning of your sales cycle. You should never be ambushed by, “It costs too much” when you ask for the sale. To avoid that, use any of the following wording during your qualifying stage:

“And just to let you know, the range of participation is anywhere from $5,000 for our introductory service, up to $25,000 for the full suite of services. Where would you fit, again, if you like what you see?”

If your prospect comes right out and asks you for the price, respond with:

“The good news is that this service is only $250 to get set up, and then just $199 per month on a no obligation, month to month basis. Is that something that would work for you if you liked what you see?”

So that is on the front end. At the close of your presentation, if you get the price objection, you can use a variety of closes, including my favorite:

“{Prospect’s name}, let’s put price aside for a moment. Assuming this were something you could afford (or were more within your budget), does this solution look like something you would choose?”

As you can see, the key to qualifying for and handling the price objection is in being prepared with good scripts.

To help you get even more prepared to handle this objection, join Mike for a full webinar where he will give you even more proven word-for-word responses to help you successfully overcome this objection.

In this proven webinar, you’ll learn:

1) How Top Producers across all industries handle this objection
2) Why your best option is to NOT answer it at all!
3) The proven technique of what to say – and three examples of how to say it
4) How you can use this technique to deal effectively with other objections as well
5) An email script to use when prospects aren’t responding to you any more

If you want to stop struggling with the price objection…

Then Register Now for Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales: “How to Overcome the Price Objection”. You’ll be glad you did!

Preview of My New Book: Power Phone Scripts

Great news everyone: Wiley, a publishing house out of New York City, has picked up the domestic and international rights to my new book: Power Phone Scripts: 500 Word-for-Word Questions, Phrases, and Conversations to Open and Close More Sales!!

The release date is July 11th, 2017. When you get back to the office after the July 4th holiday, be on the lookout for it. I consider this my best sales book ever!

Power Phone Scripts is packed with everything I’ve learned in over 30 years in the inside sales industry, and anyone who reads it will have everything they need to be a top producer in their industry.

Here is a sneak preview of a couple of scripted approaches to handle the “I’ve already got a relationship with someone for that” objection:

Existing relationship close—#1:

“I totally know how that is, and I’m not here to come between you and that relationship. But hey, everything changes, as you know, and if something should change between how you are doing things now, it’s always good to have done your research in advance so you are not scrambling later…

“Why don’t we at least get together briefly, and I will give you some solid options in case you ever need them …” (Set the appointment)

Existing relationship close—#2:

“I understand and you know , every now and then initiatives change. Sometimes you might need a lower price, or more variety of product, or who knows. The point is that it’s always good to know what your options are.

“How about this: it doesn’t cost anything to at least compare what else is out there these days, and who knows, if things change with you at least you will know who to call to ask questions. Let’s do this …”

As always, adjust these two scripts to fit your personality, your product or service. And then practice with them until you deliver them perfectly!

And mark your calendars and be on the lookout for my new book on July 11th: Power Phone Scripts: 500 Word-for-Word Questions, Phrases, and Conversations to Open and Close More Sales!!

Managing Millennials

Sales management has always been a balancing act between supporting people to achieve more, and pushing them to go beyond what they think they are capable of. In today’s environment of motivating, encouraging and driving performance from the “so-called” millennial generation, there is even more to balance.

Today’s millennials are an interesting blend of being super smart, intuitive, and demanding. Many feel they deserve more than they have perhaps earned yet – more money, a promotion, or even part ownership of the company after 6 months. You know, just like many of us did!

The bottom line is that in many ways millennials are not all that different than the way any other generations were, they are just more vocal about it. And good for them. I’m all for promoting, encouraging, and having people on my staff who feel they can do more.

When it comes to managing this part of the work force, some interesting challenges emerge. Some managers try to fit in with the millennial group (or are even millennials themselves), and they try to lead by getting others to like them. Managers who do this frequently lose their ability to direct their teams because they are afraid of exercising authority for fear of alienating their team members.

The problem is that most managers and other figures of authority — Directors, V.P.’s, and even Business Owners — have never been taught how to properly exercise authority and command respect as leaders.

If you find yourself in this position, follow this proven, 5-step method for exercising authority. It will not only get results, but it will establish, or re-establish, your role as leader of your sales team or department – regardless of their generation.

#1) Make sure your instructions are clear. Having ambiguous goals, or methods of achieving them, automatically undermines your authority and dooms many projects from the beginning. Rule #1 — be clear on the goal and the instructions on how to accomplish it. After you have delivered them, ask your team if they have any questions about what is required, so problems can be cleared up from the beginning.

#2) Encourage people to approach you if they run into problems. Establishing open communication and feedback early on is crucial to avoid big disappointments later. Helping team members resolve problems as they arise ensures quick resolution, continued progress, and good morale.

#3) Take action quickly when you learn of any real problems. Failing to act quickly once you learn of a problem, or putting it off for days or weeks, not only undermines your authority, but also kills morale and confidence. Problems tend to get bigger the longer they go unresolved, and your job as a leader is to solve problems not avoid them.

#4) Insist your team report all the news — good and bad. So many companies treat bad news like the plague. Sales teams are taught to “always be positive,” but an attitude of “always be accurate and let’s find a way to succeed,” is more productive (and realistic). In meetings and one-on-ones, your goal should be to motivate as well as problem solve. Always encourage your team to report all the news.

#5) Use crises as an opportunity to develop people. You are a leader for a reason! Rather than shy away from a crisis (a big deal lost, unexpected bad news, major delay in delivery, etc.), teach your team members how to find opportunity in crises and how to grow as professionals and as people. Focus on the skills or attitudes that are needed to overcome the situation, and work with them to develop and strengthen them.

This 5-step method to exercising authority is powerful and will establish you as a leader and as the “Go To” person in your company. And isn’t that why you are in a position of authority to begin with? Redefine your position of leadership by using and expanding on the 5 secrets above, and involve and build your team while you lead them to greater heights.

How to Handle: I looked it over and not interested

Don’t you hate it when you get back to your prospect, you’re ready to give a great pitch, you need the sale, and…and….they tell you they looked it over and they’re not interested!

Wait a minute! You want to scream. Just give me a chance….

Believe it or not, there is a way to deal with this. And it’s the same way to deal with every other recurring sales situations you get: Be prepared with a solid script – or two or three.

The secret to getting past this objection/resistance statement is to not only be prepared for it, but more importantly, to be prepared to overcome it two or three times. Sometimes it takes that kind of perseverance to get into your pitch and get the sale.

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

Response #1:

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

Response #2:

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

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

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

Response #3:

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

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

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

If you found this article helpful, then you’ll love my Completely Updated and Revised eBook, “The Complete Book of Phone Scripts.” Now over 200 powerful and effective scripts to help you easily get past the gatekeeper, set appointments, overcome objections and close more money!

Visit: http://mrinsidesales.com/completescripts.htm and find out why Jeffrey Gitomer, Brian Tracy, Tom Hopkins and many others recommend Mike’s ebook of Phone Scripts!