If Closing Sales is the Problem, a Webinar is the Answer…

By Guest Author: Erik Luhrs, The Bruce Lee of Sales & Lead Generation

I get asked a lot of questions about sales. It’s kinda my job.

But the main question that everyone asks, in one form or another, is “How can I close more sales?” After all, at the end of the day that is what we all want, right?

Twenty years ago closing sales was pretty easy. You connected with a prospect, you built a relationship, you went through your process and you got check.

Of course twenty years ago, there were FAR less salespeople trying to contact your prospect, your prospect did not have Google to use for researching solutions (that was the salesperson’s job), your prospect had far fewer choices and far fewer distractions.

So technology has leveraged prospects AWAY from us. Thankfully, we can use technology to leverage them toward us. And the single best technology to use for that is webinars. Why webinars? Let me give you seven reasons.

Watch a short video here

Reason #1 – Webinars are second ONLY to Live events in terms of conversion rate. But webinars have an incredibly higher ROI than Live events because:

• You don’t have the costs (space rental, travel, electronics, shipping, insurance, staffing, food, etc) associated with Live events.
• You don’t have the time delay (3 months out at least and sometimes years) associated with Live events.
• You don’t have the hassle (scheduling, coordinating logistics, contracts, etc) associated with Live events.
• You don’t have the singularity issue of a Live event (you can’t “replay” a Live event).
And that’s just for starters.

Reason #2 – Webinars create instant Authority and Rapport

If you want to have influence over a prospect they must perceive you as coming
from, what I call, the “Mentor” position. This is the person who automatically knows more than they do, so they never question them.

There are plenty of mediums through which to display your “Mentor” status: Books, articles, blogs, podcasts…  But webinars beat all of these because they allow you to combine authority building with rapport building. How so?

Webinars affect all modalities (visual, auditory, kinesthetic), they are dynamic, they are interactive, they are live (usually), and they are intimate regardless of however many people are on. I’d like to see a book (even a NYT bestseller) do that!

Reason #3 – Webinars handle the “Value Proposition”

One mistake salespeople make is believing that they deliver a “value proposition.” They don’t!  The prospect determines what is or is not valuable. It is up to them, not us.  So the best way to help prospects determine our “value” to them is by exposing them to as much of our thinking, stories, philosophies, and ideas as possible.

Webinars are, obviously, a great way to do this.

Reason #4 – Webinars do the heavy lifting of Lead Qualification

One of the biggest pains in the butt is qualifying leads.  As you well know even the best qualification process still lets unqualified prospects through on a regular basis.  Every minute spent with unqualified leads is a minute less spent with qualified ones who can actually buy.

Webinars allow us to interweave our qualification criteria into them, subtly and directly, over and over. This “rinse and repeat” process filters out far more unqualified leads faster, while conversely reassuring qualified leads that they are in the right place.

Reason #5 – Webinars handle Objections faster and easier.

As we get further into the sales process we become more and more concerned about when the objections will show up. And we worry that we might miss them if they aren’t overtly stated.

Yes objections are a signal that they prospect is still interested, but the longer they simmer and hide beneath the surface, the longer the sales cycle takes and the more chance for derailment. And if an objection is not stated out loud, or handled directly, it is game over.

Webinars allow us to indirectly handle objections by addressing them through stories and demonstrations as well as handle them head directly by calling them out ahead of time. Since this is done in a virtual setting the prospect does not realize you are talking to him and his objections. They are simply eliminated without hassle.

Reason #6 – Webinars equal Leverage

Selling one on one sounds impressive. And yes, there are still pieces of the sales process that may require direct interaction between the salesperson and the prospect. But in today’s world, where technology is omnipresent and is used by everyone, focusing exclusively on “face to face” sales is a fool’s game because for every opportunity you get from face to face, someone else is getting 10 by using technology.

Every professionals dream is (or should be) to work once and get paid over and over. Webinars provide this kind of leverage by allowing you to address many people at once and/or recording your webinar and deploying it with prospects as needed and/or repurposing it for different markets or issues.You can’t do that face to face.

Reason #7 – Webinars close sales

At the beginning of this article I said the main question I get asked is “How can I close more sales?”  The answer I tell everyone is the same:
You can close more sales by opening more opportunities!

Salespeople have a tendency to become hyper-focused on the opportunities in their pipeline. This may be common, but it is foolish. We have no idea how many other issues, obstacles, salespeople, fires, and priorities are assaulting the prospects in our pipeline.

We’d like to think we are their main focus, but we aren’t. So your pipeline is precarious at best. And when they disappear “all that effort” we put in disappears along with them. But if we can put “all that effort” into multiple prospects at once, then our efforts automatically yield much higher results.

Webinars are the key because…

• Webinars allow us to engage more prospects faster.
• Webinars allow us to create authority and rapport with multiple prospects at once.
• Webinars allow prospects to discover our worth to them.
• Webinars allow prospects to qualify themselves in or out or our pipeline.
• Webinars allow us to handle objections effortlessly.
• Webinars allow us to leverage our efforts repeatedly.
• Webinars are (or are capable of being) the majority of the sales process.
So, when used properly, webinars allow us to “tee up” the sale.

And that is how you close more sales!

+++++++++++++++++++++

As you’ve seen webinars are an incredibly effective tool you can use to increase sales. But you can’t increase your sales with webinars unless you are actually DOING webinars!

If you are ready to use webinars to close more of your own sales, then you’ll want to check out this short video right now.

How to Deal Effectively with the Influencer

So many closing situations now come down to pitching to and trying to influence an influencer, that it’s time to teach the proper way of doing it. A couple of things first. An influencer is defined as someone who is involved in some way in the decision process – they either help make the decision, or they have to approve your product or service first before they pass it on to other decision makers, etc. The bottom line is that there is someone above them who weighs in heavily or who has the final say on whether or not to move forward with you.

So the first thing you need to do is determine how your influencer fits into the decision process (if at all), and how much influence they have. Use the following questions during the qualification stage to determine this:

“And ________, besides yourself, who else would weigh in on this?”

AND

“And how does that process work?”

AND

“What is your role in that process?”

AND

“And how much influence do you have in that process?”

AND

“What generally happens when you recommend something like this?” (“Do they generally go with your recommendation?”)

Sometimes you’ll be able to get through all these questions during the qualification stage, but if you get rushed, ask as many as you can. It’s important that you have a clear idea of what your influencer’s role is, and how much influence he or she actually has before you go through your demo or presentation later.

By the way, once you begin your demo, it’s always a good idea to go back through these questions before you launch into your pitch. Doing so will give you a head’s up as to how it’s likely to end. Wouldn’t it be nice to know the stall before it even comes up? And once it does, here is how you handle it:

You: “So from what we’ve gone over, it sounds like this would be a great fit for you – let’s go ahead and get you started today.”

Influencer: “Well, I’m going to have to show this to the committee.”

You: “I understand, and just out of curiosity, based on what you’ve seen here today, do you personally think this would work for you (your company, department, etc.)?”

Influencer: “Yes, it looks good.”

You: “Great, then I take it you’re going to recommend it to the committee?”

Influencer: “Yes I will.”

You: “Good. Just out of curiosity, what generally happens when you take something to the committee that you personally recommend?”

OR

You: “Good. Just out of curiosity, when you take something to the committee that you personally recommend, what do they tend to do?”

OR

You: “Great! And how much influence do you have with what they’ll end up doing?”

OR

You: “Great! And how often do they go with your recommendation?”

Note: If you get buy in that they generally go with what they recommend, then:

You: “Wonderful! Since they usually take your recommendation, and since you’re on board with this, here’s what I recommend we do: I’ll go ahead and get the contract out to you and schedule an install date. Once you get the approval, we’ll already have much of the work done to get you going. Now, what is a good time for the installation of this?”

Let’s break this down. The first thing you did (during the qualification stage) was to get clarity over how much influence your influencer actually had over the final decision. This is an important step that most sales people actually miss.

Next, at the end of your close, you make sure that the influencer was sold on your product or service first, before you went down the “committee” path. It’s crucial you get their buy in at this stage.

After you do get their buy in, that’s when you can ask if they’re going to recommend it and how much weight their recommendation carries. After that, you do a trial close on paperwork, etc. You can make this as soft a trial close as you want, the point here is that you want to take your influencer as far as he/she will let you. The further they let you go, the more likely they’ll be a deal later.

Start implementing these techniques in your sales calls starting with the qualification stage. The more you learn about the influencer, and their role, the better equipped you’ll be to take the close further at the end.

A Farewell Story about Stan Billue

As some of you may know, Stan Billue, “Mr. Fantastic,” passed away yesterday, May 11, 2015, of pancreatic and liver cancer. In the 1980’s, Stan was my mentor, and I attribute much of my early success to his sales training materials and techniques. Later, in my career as a sales trainer, Stan and I became colleagues and worked together on sales webinars and such. He will be missed.

One thing I always appreciated about Stan was how he was always closing. It didn’t matter what the subject was, or what was going on, Stan was always looking for the angle and trying to close. I’d like to relate a story he told me a few months ago about what happened the day he was officially diagnosed:

Back in February this year, Stan sent out an email saying he had just been given three to six months to live. This was on a Sunday, and I immediately picked up the phone and spoke with him. He told me that when his primary care physician saw the results of his tests on that Friday, she directed him to go to the hospital and so he went right over.

While at the hospital, they ran some further tests and confirmed that he was gravely ill, and told him he needed to stay in the hospital through the weekend and then go through some tests the following Monday. Stan didn’t want to stay in the hospital, and he started closing the doctor to allow him to go home. Here’s how it went, according to Stan:

Stan: “Well why don’t I just go home where I’ll be more comfortable, and I’ll come back on Monday for the test?”

Doctor: “There is a wait for two weeks to get this particular test, but if you’re a patient in our hospital, we can get you scheduled in for Monday.”

Stan: “Doc, let’s cut the bull here – isn’t it true that you have a lot of pull around here and if you scheduled me for Monday, they’d run the tests on me on Monday, regardless if I was staying here or not, right?”

Doctor: “Ah, I guess so, but in order for you to get the medication I’m suggesting, because it’s so strong, you’d have to be here to get that…”

Stan: “O.K., Doc, but, again, excuse me, but let’s cut all the bull again, and I’m sure if you prescribed this medication because I needed it over the weekend, heck, they do it, right?”

Doctor: “I guess so, but…”

Stan: “And besides that, when I’m at home, I can be with my kitty cat, my family and I can smoke. I mean, you wouldn’t let me smoke here in the hospital, would you?”

Doctor: “Well, no, but we could have a nurse wheel you off the hospital grounds to have a cigarette.”

Stan: “You mean not right in front of the hospital, but ‘off the grounds’? What do you mean?”

Doctor: “Well, the nurse would have to wheel you across the street because you’re not allowed to smoke on the hospital property. And then she’d have to turn around because she’s not allowed to see you smoking…”

Stan: “That sure sounds like a lot of trouble. Why don’t you just schedule me for the test on Monday, send me home with enough medication for just the weekend, release me now, and I’ll come back Monday. Doesn’t that sound much easier?”

Doctor: “I guess so, let me see what I can do.”

Stan went home for the weekend, got to be with his family, and then went back for the test on Monday. Just like that. Stan told me that all his sales and closing skills came into play in that situation, just like in every other situation he found himself in. Always Be Closing.

Stan will be missed, but he will not be forgotten. His sales techniques will live on through my teachings and through many others as well. If there are Pearly Gates up there, and if they refuse to let him through at first, I know Stan will find a way to close St. Peter. Heck he’s probably doing that right now…

Rest in Peace, my friend….

Ten New Ways to Handle the Objection: “The Price is Too High”

The price is too high is an objection that is as old has humanity itself. If you think hard enough, I’m sure you can see the ancient Egyptians walking around an outdoor marketplace haggling with sellers using this very objection. And if you think even harder, you can probably envision weak sellers dropping their prices to make a sale. Things haven’t changed much in four thousand years, have they?

The good news is that today there are a variety of proven ways to handle this age old objection. The most obvious way is to see it for it often is: a smokescreen hiding either a real objection or an attempt to haggle and have you to cave in and give a better price. In either of these situations the technique is to isolate the objection first and see what other stalls they come up with are before you negotiate price. You’ll see examples of these below.

The following rebuttals are broken down into two groups: One set of rebuttals are for business to consumer sales – things like investments, insurance, home remodel, etc., and the other are for business to business. In B to B, the objection often manifests more as a “budget” problem, but many times companies are looking for the best deal as well and so will still try to haggle on price with you.

Below are ten new ways to handle both types of price/budget objections. Pick the ones you’re most comfortable with, then make them your own and practice them until they become automatic. Given the frequency of this objection, you’ll be much more confident once you know how to handle it:

Business to consumer rebuttals:

“The price is too high – I can’t afford that”

Response One:
“I completely understand, and let’s face it – we all have to work within a budget. But there is always a difference between a purchase and an investment. With a purchase, the value usually goes down, so regardless of what you spend – whether you can afford it or not – it’s never going to appreciate or justify its value.

But with an investment – like this is – what you spend always justifies itself and ends up either saving you money in the long run or paying for itself month after month. And it always makes sense to invest in yourself, don’t you agree?”

[If Yes]

“Then here’s what I recommend we do…”

Response Two:
“I definitely hear what you’re saying, but let’s take the price out of this for a moment and let me ask you: besides price, what other reasons do you have for not moving forward with this today?

[Note: I know that’s a negative response, but given that you are trying to isolate the objection and uncover any others, in this case it’s recommended.]

OR

“I understand and let me ask you: if price weren’t an issue on this – in other words, if this were more in alignment with what you could pay, is this something you would move forward with today?”

[If Yes]

“Great! Then tell me, where could you get the money from for this?”

Response Three:
“__________, you’ve probably heard that expression ‘Other people’s money,’ right? Well the good news with this is that you can use other people’s money to purchase it and begin enjoying the benefits right now! We have two ways for you to do that:

You can either put this on a credit card and make whatever payments you can until it’s paid off, or you can take advantage of our introductory offer where you can put no money down and make interest free payments for as long as 18 months!

In the meantime, you get to (start enjoying/the benefit/the protection) of this (service or product) from day one! Which of those two options do you like better?”

Response Four:
“Now _________, for this investment – as with every other – you always have to ask yourself: what is working for me now and what could be working harder? Like all of us, I’m sure you’ve got some stocks or funds that haven’t performed quite as you’d have wished, don’t you?

Well this is your chance to move those under performing investments around and put your money to work for you in a vehicle that can not only help you make up for lost time, but exceed some of your better producing investments.

What comes to mind now that wouldn’t mind putting to better use for you?”

Response Five:
“You know, you said something very important – you said that the price is too high. I’d really like to work with you on this, so help me to understand – what exactly are you comparing this price to?”

Business to business rebuttals:

“The price is too high – We don’t have the budget for it”

Response One:
“You’re right, and I know we’re not the cheapest out there – and it’s important that you heard that right – we’re not the “cheapest” service on the market. And there’s a very important reason for that: The quality that you get with us goes far beyond the few extra dollars you’ll invest today, and let me tell you the top three reasons why….”

Response Two:
“And that’s exactly why we offer our introductory package. Here’s the thing: we’re so convinced that you’ll come to appreciate the added services and value we offer that as soon as you begin using our service, you’ll forget all about the small initial cost.

In fact, you’ll find that in the long run our (product or service) is not only affordable, but it saves you time AND makes you money. And that’s something you’re interested in doing, isn’t it?”

Response Three:
“_________, if you really think about this from a business perspective, you’ll soon see that this is actually something that you can’t afford NOT to do, and let me tell you why: If you don’t put this (product or service) to work for you, while you may save a bit of money today, you’ll be losing money tomorrow in terms of (lost revenues, cost overruns, lost sales and opportunities, etc.). As a business, you just can’t afford to keep doing that.

So here’s what I recommend: Do what all businesses do: Finance this. Put it on your business credit card and make payments, write off the interest, and all the while, begin profiting from the extra business and market share this will bring you. When you’re ahead, just pay off the card and keep the profits from this! Let’s go ahead and do this….”

Response Four:
“You know, a lot of business owners (V.P.’s, etc.) at first think this is an expense, but think again: if it helps to bring you more business, and/or helps you keep the clients and customers you already have, then it becomes an investment in your success, doesn’t it? And that’s how all successful companies grow – they invest in their business.

And that’s what you have the opportunity to do right now. So let’s get you started…”

Response Five:
“I hear you _________, and let’s just say that I could wave a magic wand and get you the money (or reduce the price to where it would fit within your budget). Level with me: what other reasons would you have for not at least considering putting this to work for you today?”

[Now listen for the real objection and deal with it appropriately]

So now you have ten new ways of handling the price objection. Make sure and listen for what the real objection is and then use the right script to overcome it.

Five New Ways to Handle the “We’re Currently Working With Someone.”

If you’re selling one of the more popular products or services on the market (and who isn’t?), then you probably run into this blow off all the time. Like most brush offs, prospects like to use this because it works – unprepared reps usually respond with a feeble: “Oh, O.K, well, could I call you back in 6 months?”

Being prepared with a few good scripts will allow you to get past this objection, and will allow you to qualify an opportunity where most other people will miss it. With the following scripts, I advise you to customize them to fit your personality, product or service, and then to practice them over and over again until they become automatic. Just like you should do with all scripts.

Pick your favorites from the list below:

“We’re currently working with someone else (and we’re happy)”

Response One:

“No problem at all. But while I have you on the phone, what I’d recommend you do is at least learn about a few features we offer that you may not be getting now, so if you ever need to reach out to another company, at least you’ll have an idea of what’s out there. In fact, let me ask you: Are you getting XYZ? (Mention something you offer that your competition doesn’t…)”

Response Two:

“That’s great and let me ask you: if in two minutes I can give you an idea of why more companies are switching to us, would you at least accept an email with my contact information for when you do need to consider using someone else?”

[If yes]

“Great – the number one reason companies switch to us is for XYZ – are you currently getting that now?”

Response Three:

“Who are you using?”

[Wait to hear, then]:

“That’s a good company, in fact, they are the reason that we created our (name your advantage) – it’s something that takes what they do, but makes it better – have you heard about it?”

[Listen for an opening]

“If you’re interested, I can show you two or three other things we do differently, and then you can judge for yourself if you’d like to learn more, fair enough?”

Response Four:

“That’s great – it means you’re in our sweet spot. For the future, though, you might want to know that in addition to the (product/service) you’re getting from them, we can also give you XYZ – would you find that useful?”

Response Five:

“That’s great – because things change so quickly in this market, it means that we can be a great resource for you for when you need to compare pricing or services down the line. Let me quickly ask you:

“Are you the right contact for this?”

OR

“How did you decide to use (the other company) for this?”

OR

“What do you wish they did better?”

OR

“How open would you be if we could show you how to do (XYZ)?

As you can see, these scripts are designed to start a dialogue with someone and get past their initial reflex response. If you can get someone talking to you, you have a much better chance to find an opening and create an opportunity to uncover a qualified lead.

Want more proven scripts like these to help you sell more with confidence?  Get over 200 proven, current, real world scripts PLUS over $500 in bonuses FREE by Clicking Here.

Five New Ways to Handle, “I’m too busy”

Of all the brush offs you get while prospecting, the good old standby: “I’m too busy to talk now,” is right up there with, “I’m not interested,” and “Just email me something.” The reason this is such a popular response with prospects is that most sales people don’t know how to handle it, and so are easily put off and happy to “call back later.” Of course, this is just what the prospect wants them to do, and, since they now have your caller ID#, they’ll know to let the call go to voicemail the next time they see it!

The key to handling this stall – as with all others – is to sidestep it first and earn the right to ask a few, quick qualifying questions to see if you’re really dealing with a qualified buyer or not. And that’s what the following rebuttals allow you to do.

As with any brush off, objection or stall, though, this one is easy to handle if you just take the time to learn some proven responses to it, and then use them with confidence when you get it. To help you deal with this brush off more effectively, I urge you to pick any of the responses below that best suits your style, product and service. Feel free to change them slightly so they are most comfortable for you to use, and then practice them each and every time you get this objection. Here they are:

“I’m too busy to talk right now”

Response One:

“I completely understand, and I know what it’s like to be interrupted. Tell you what: Before I schedule a call back with you – let’s take just a moment now to make sure this is something that’s even worth it for me to call you back on.

Quick question: How open are you to considering a new vendor to handle your (product or service), if you found you could realistically save your already limited time and money?”

OR

“Quick question: We supply/have a solution for/provide (your product or service), and the clients who schedule a 10 minute call with us are really happy they learned about it. I’m willing to call you back later today or even tomorrow morning, but first – what would you say your level of interest would be in making a move to a more efficient way of (doing what your product or service does)?”

Response Two:

“I’m with you, and let’s face it – we’re all too busy until we hear about something that can really benefit us. Let me tell you in a nutshell how this can help you, and then if you’d like to know more, we can schedule a time that’s better later – fair enough?”

[If yes, then briefly give a description and use a qualifying tie-down question.]

Response Three:

“Got it and I won’t keep you. Quick question: Are you the right person to speak with in regards to (your product or service)?”

[If yes]

“Great, then before I schedule a time to get back with you, let me just ask you two quick things:

Number one, if you found that you could increase (list a benefit or two), and reduce your (again, list a benefit or two), how open would you be to viewing a demo on it?”

And two, if you decided this was worthy enough to seriously consider, who, besides yourself, would weigh in on making that decision?”

“Great, then let’s go ahead and schedule that. I’ve got two times tomorrow…”

Response Four:

“Wow, you do sound busy! No worries – I can either call you back in 20 minutes, or we can spend just two minutes now to see if this is a fit for you – if not, then I won’t have to bother you again. How does that sound?”

OR

“Yes, you do sound busy. O.K., would you like me to call you back in an hour or later this afternoon?”

OR

“O.K., no problem. Let me see….Well, I could call you back this afternoon or we could set up a brief 5 minute call tomorrow morning – which works best for you?”

Response Five:

“Hey, I know what it’s like to be busy – but the last thing I want to do is schedule a call back if you’re really not interested in what I’ve got. Let’s do this: I’ll ask you just a quick question or two and if there’s some interest on your end, then we’ll schedule some time later – fair enough?

[If yes]

“Great. _________, are you open to purchasing/investing/learning about a new way to handle your (your product) if you were convinced it would save you time/make your job easier/be better at…?”
OR

“Quickly, what would your timeline be for (changing/investing/trying) a new service for your (what your product or service does) if you found you could dramatically increase/save, etc.?”

Once again, remember that your job is to earn the right to ask a few qualifying questions to see if your prospect is even worth putting on your call back list. And by using the scripts above, you’ll be able to do just that.

How to Handle: “I haven’t looked at the information yet.”

Of all the objections sales reps get when they call a prospect back to close them, this is perhaps one of the most frustrating – and the reason is because it’s usually caused by the sales rep! Here’s what happens: Sales reps send an email or brochure or link about their information out to a prospect, and when they call back, they invariably open the conversation with:

“Hi, I’m just calling to see if you received the information I sent out to you?”

OR worse:

“Hi, just following up on the information I sent to you – ah, did you have a chance to go through it yet?”

What do you think the prospect will say? Nine times out of ten the prospect will give you the stall: “I haven’t looked at it yet…” And then the sales rep is stuck and usually ends the call trying to schedule a time to get back with them…and you can imagine how this goes.

So, the first tip is to STOP asking IF the prospect has received/read/gone through the information, and instead open your calls with this assumptive opening:

“Hi this is _______ _________ with __________ calling about the information on our lead production process you wanted me to send to you. Now I’m sure you’ve gone through it a bit and probably have some questions for me. What stood out to you the most?”

And then hit your mute button and begin listening to what they say, and how they say it.

If at that time you get the stall that they haven’t gone through it yet, no problem! Just use any of the responses below to counter and move past this objection:

“I haven’t looked at the information yet.”

Response One:

“That’s fine, in fact we can go over it together, and this way I’ll be able to answer any questions that come up for you. Can you open that email up for me? I’ll be glad to hold while you do….

Response Two:

“That’s O.K., I know you’re busy, and it’s actually a good thing you haven’t looked at it yet. This way, while I’m on the phone with you, we can go through it together, and I can answer any questions that come up. Do you happen to have it in front of you?
Then use any of the following open ended questions to engage the prospect:

“By the way, how are you currently handling your lead flow right now?”

OR

“You mentioned that you have compared these kinds of services before – what have you particularly been looking for in a new provider?”

Response Three:

“I understand and that’s O.K. Let’s do this: let’s spend just a few minutes together right now and I can direct you to a few points that might have particular interest to you. Go ahead and open that email/brochure up…”

Response Four:

“It sounds like you’re as busy as me! No problem, though, here’s what we can do: while I have you on the phone, let me point a couple of things out to you so that later when you have more time to go through it, you’ll know what to look for. Can you open that email briefly for me?”

Response Five:

“That’s O.K.; I know how busy you are. If you have just a minute now, I’ll be happy to quickly point out some of the points that would appeal to you most. That will save you time later when you go through it. Do you have that handy?”

Response Six:

“I’m sorry you didn’t get it; it probably got stuck in your spam filter. Tell you what, I’ll just go ahead and resend that right now…..O.K., it’s on the way to you. Tell me when you see it pop up….”

Response Seven:

“I’ll go ahead and send the brochure again, and while it’s on the way to you, let me just ask you:

“How motivated are you and your department to make a change in the way you handle…?”

OR

“And if you do like the program, besides yourself, who else would have to weigh in on this decision?”

And any other re-qualification questions.

Response Eight:

“I completely understand and how about this: Go ahead and open that email up, and I’ll just briefly point out two things that will give you a framework for when you have time to go through it. Do you still have it in your inbox?”

Response Nine:

“Hey I get that all the time, so no worries. If you have just a few minutes now, I’d be happy to point a few things out – can you open that email briefly for me?”

Response Ten:

“I completely understand and let’s schedule a time when we can go over that together – how does later today or tomorrow morning look for you?”

As you can see, the best way to deal with the “I haven’t had time to look at the information yet” objection is by not causing it to begin with! After that, if you do get this annoying stall, it’s easy to sidestep it – if you know how. And now you do!

Four Ways to Get Past the Gatekeeper

Getting screened out by the receptionist or gatekeeper is still one of the biggest causes of phone aversion. Questions like, “Will he know who’s calling?” or “Will he know what this call is about?” or “Has she spoken to you before?” are enough to keep any inside sales rep up at night, and the sad thing is it doesn’t have to be this way! If you follow the basic philosophy provided below and then adapt and use any of the scripts provided, you can instantly increase your transfer rate to the decision maker.

The basic philosophy on getting gatekeepers to put you through is this: Stop trying to hide, trick or fool the gatekeeper into thinking that you already know or have spoken to the prospect before. And this means stop just giving your first name or not providing your company name, and most of all, STOP pitching the gatekeeper. The rule is this:

Gatekeepers just need to know your full name and your company name so they can let the decision maker know who’s on the line. In most cases, that’s it. Use the following proven techniques to fly by them and be connected directly with the decision maker the majority of the time:

Technique #1: Please, please, please. I’ve written about this technique before, but it remains the absolutely most effective and easiest one to use to increase your chances of being put through up to 65 – 75% of the time (I still use this every single day and it WORKS!). Here’s how it goes:

Receptionist answers: “Thanks for calling the ABC Company, how can I help you?

You: “Hi, this is _______ _______ with (your company name), can I please speak with ________, please?”

That’s it. Simple, easy and very effective. The key is to say this with a warm smile in your voice, and make sure you use “please” twice and use the instructional statement: “can I please speak with…” The other key is that you give your full name and your full company name as well (even if it doesn’t mean anything to them).

Technique #2: If you don’t know the name of the contact you need to speak with, use the “I need a little help, please,” technique. Try:

Receptionist answers: “Thanks for calling the ABC Company, how can I help you?

You: “Hi, this is _______ _______ with (Your company name), I need a little bit of help please.”

[It’s crucial that you WAIT for the person to ask how they can help you…]

“I need to speak with the best person who handles (your product or service), who would that be, please?”

Over 50% of the time, if you’ve asked this nicely enough and waited for their response, the receptionist will route you to the right department. When you get there, simply use the previous opening again, and you’ll most likely be connected with the right contact.

The key here is to: 1 – Be polite and put a smile in your voice, 2 – Use please, and 3 – Make sure and WAIT for the person to respond BEFORE you ask for the right person. This works, if you follow the above 3 steps.

Technique #3: If you don’t know the name of the contact, an alternative is to ask to be put through to a department instead, and then use the technique above. This is a great way to completely bypass the gatekeeper and so avoid all screening. Use this:

Receptionist answers: “Thanks for calling the ABC Company, how can I help you?

You: “Hi, could you please connect me with the marketing department, please?”

Again, be assumptive and use that powerful word, “Please.”

Technique #4: If you get screened further, you absolutely MUST know exactly how to respond. Use any of the following techniques:

If the receptionist asks: “Is he expecting your call?”

You answer: “I don’t have an appointment, but could you please tell him that _______ _______ is holding please?”

If the receptionist asks: “Will he know what this call is about?”

You answer: “Not specifically, but please tell him it’s about (his lead tracking), I’ll be happy to hold on, please.”

(The key to the above answer is that you ARE NOT going to pitch the receptionist, and you ARE going to use please and use an instructional statement.)

If the receptionist asks: “Have you spoken to him before?”

You answer: “Not about his lead tracking, but could you please let him know that ________ _________, with __________ is holding please?”

Don’t mistake how simple these techniques seem – they are powerful and they work IF you deliver them warmly and exactly as stated. Just remember, a gatekeeper’s main goal isn’t to screen you out, but rather to pass on accurate information on who is calling from what company, regarding what. Will you run into some gatekeepers who are harder to get through? Of course. And will these techniques work all the time? Of course not. But if you use them consistently, you’ll find that they will work about 70% of the companies you call into. And I’ll bet that’s a lot better than how your current techniques are working now, isn’t it?

Five New Ways of Handling the “Just Email Me Something”

While the method of this stall has changed throughout the years: it went from, “Just put a brochure in the mail, and I’ll look at it,” to “Why don’t you fax something to me, and I’ll look it over,” to now it’s, “Just email me your information, and I’ll look it over,” unfortunately, it all still means the same thing: your prospect either doesn’t want to take the time to be pitched, or they don’t need what you’re selling.

Either way, this stall sets up one of the most frustrating parts of sales – the chase. Think about it: how many times have you sent off your information and, when you’ve been fortunate enough to “catch” the prospect again, you’ve heard: “I haven’t looked at it” or “We’re not interested at this time”? Probably a lot, right?

The way to avoid this is to earn the right to ask a few key qualifying (or disqualifying, as I like to call them) questions so you can save both of you a lot of time and effort later on (to say nothing of saving yourself a lot of disappointment as well).

The solution, as always, is to be prepared for this brush off with a good script that fits your personality and product or service. Take the time now to adapt and customize one or more of the responses below so you are prepared the next time your prospect uses this stall.

Response One:

“I’ll be happy to do that, but once you see the material, you’ll probably have more questions than answers…so let’s do this first: I’ll ask you just a couple of quick questions to see if this is even a fit for you at this time, and then, if it is, I’ll send you some targeted information – sound fair?

[If Yes – ask any appropriate of the questions below]

“First, would you be the right contact for handling (XYZ)?”

OR

“I know I called you out of the blue, but if you found that you could (give a benefit of your product or service), what might your timeframe be for considering making a decision on it?”

OR

“How are you currently handling (XYZ), and what might motivate you to consider making a change?”

OR

“How open are you to seriously considering making a change (or making a move on) XYZ in the next one or two months?”
Now note about this rebuttal I put in the question: “sound fair?” at the beginning. You can leave that out if your prospect is in a rush or if you can tell you’ve caught him/her at a bad time – you’ll need to decide on a case by case basis.

Response Two:

“You bet I can – what’s your email address?”

[Take it down and then email them your information!]

“O.K., I just sent it. Now while you open that up, let me ask you a quick question:

“How do you get involved in ordering/handling/working with the XYZ?”

OR

“From a needs standpoint, how motivated is (your company/department/are you) to change/fix/replace/buy XYZ right now?”

OR

“What would you need to see in the information I just sent you for you to become interested in learning more about what we do?”

Response Three:

“I’d be more than happy to do that – where would you like me to email that?”

[Take it down and then email them your brochure.]

“O.K., it’s on the way to you. What I’d like to do right now is take just two minutes to get an idea of what’s important to you, and then I can direct you to that part of the information when you get around to it. Let me ask you:

“How do you get involved in ordering/handling/working with the XYZ?”

OR

“From a needs standpoint, how motivated is (your company/department/are you) to change/fix/replace/buy XYZ right now?”

OR

“What would you need to see in the information I just sent you for you to become seriously interested in making a change in how you’re handling XYZ now?”

Response Four:

“I have a better idea: rather than send you something you may not be really interested in, I’ll save you the time of going through it – or deleting it! – by asking you just a couple of quick questions now to see if there’s really a need. If there is, then I’ll have my assistant email you something:

“Are you the best person to talk to about changing/replacing/ordering the (XYZ)?”

OR

“I know I called you out of the blue, but if you found that you could (give a benefit of your product or service), what might your timeframe be for considering making a decision on it?”

OR

“How are you currently handling (XYZ), and what might motivate you to consider making a change?”

OR

“How open are you to seriously considering making a change (or making a move on) XYZ in the next one to two months?”

Response Five:

“Be happy to do that – where do you want me to email that to?”

[Then]

“And while you have me on the phone, let me briefly ask you just a couple of quick questions which will determine whether or not it makes sense for me to follow up on information I’ll send you. For example:

“How likely are you (or your company/department) to be in the market to make a change in (the way you handle XYZ) if you found a better alternative?”

OR

“If you like what you see in the information, what would the next step for us be?”

OR

“What would realistically stand in the way of us doing business together in the next few weeks if you saw some value in the information?”
There you have it – five new ways to handle the age old brush off – “Just mail/fax/email me some information.” As will all new scripts, take some time to adapt them to fit your product or service, and to fit your personality and style. Once you do develop an effective way of delivering this information, then commit to practicing, drilling and rehearsing it until it becomes automatic for you.

5 Things I learned from Stan Billue

Stan Billue, AKA, “Mr. Fantastic,” is a legend in the world of inside sales and telemarketing. A high school dropout and self-described failure at sales and life, Stan made one of the most dramatic turnarounds ever heard of. He did this by getting a mentor, committing to master sales and deciding to do whatever it took to be the best. And he did. Stan went on to become a top sales producer, international telemarketing sales trainer and consultant, and he’s mentored and trained more millionaire sales professionals than anyone I’ve ever met – including making me one, too.

In February this year (2015), Stan sent me an email letting me know of some terrible news: he had just received results from his internist that showed he has advanced pancreatic and liver cancer, and that he’s been given 3 to 6 short months to live. I’m in touch with Stan often, and as you might expect he has good days and bad days, good hours and not so good hours. He’s really living in the moment right now, and we wish him all the best.

In talking to him early during his diagnosis, I asked if there was a way I could help him, and asked if he would be willing to do one last webinar, and he graciously agreed. Because of his health, we recorded it and you can see it here. Stan gives some great tips from a lifetime of inside sales, and I highly recommend you watch and absorb it.

In today’s ezine, I wanted to list 5 things I learned from Stan that helped me become the absolute top of my profession. I hope you, too, find them useful:

1) In 1985, a financial services firm I worked for flew Stan in for a two-hour keynote in a swank Beverly Hills hotel. All the reps from 5 branch offices crammed into the meeting room, and Stan delivered one of his signature speeches that was packed with gold. The one thing I remember the most was when he gave the following advice on what it takes to separate yourself from the majority of mediocre sales reps to become the best:

He said, “If you’re willing to do the things that most sales reps will never do, then soon you’ll be able to enjoy the things that most sales reps will never be able to have or do.”

I took that advice to heart and vowed, then and there, to do the things that I knew I wasn’t doing (and that I knew 80% of the sales reps in the office weren’t doing), and within 90 days I was the top rep out of 25 in my office. Nine months later, I was the top rep out of all 5 branch offices. I’ve never looked back since…

2) Stan said that you could become an expert at any subject in the world, and that people would pay you for your knowledge in 1 year if you just committed to studying and learning a subject for one hour a day.

Boy is that still true today. I decided that I would study the craft and skill of sales for several hours a day (and more on the weekend), and I did become an expert that people pay a lot of money to. And it’s the same for anything you want to be today in your life: a real estate professional; an iPhonography expert; a therapist, the list goes on and on. If you’re willing to commit to something, you can become an expert and be highly paid doing what you love.

3) Record your sales presentations. Stan said there was just one thing you needed to do to double your income in 90 days – record, listen and critique your calls every day. I thought he was exaggerating, but I was willing to try it and guess what? I did double my income in 90 days! This is still the advice I pass on today, and I spend about 45% of my time as an inside sales consultant listening to and correcting sales team’s skills and techniques by listening to their calls. If you aren’t doing this now, no problem. Just start doing it and you, too, will make unbelievable strides in your career.

4) Learn to listen. While this may sound like a no brainer, it’s truly shocking at how bad I was at it. And, by the way, how bad 95% of sales people that I listen to are as well. Once I made a commitment to using my mute button, though, and as I listened to my recordings to see where I talked over someone or where I needed to improve, that’s when sales began to get easy and enjoyable for me.

5) Commit to lifelong learning in your chosen field or career. This is true in any professional field, but it’s amazing how sales people think they know it all and are resistant to investing the time, money and energy needed to get better. Stan said that if you were willing to become a sponge and were willing to continually improve yourself and your skills, then soon you would be one of the highest paid sales professionals in your industry.

And when you do become one of the best, you will enjoy the best homes, the best cars, the finer vacations and the peace of mind that most sales reps will never enjoy. And it will be yours for life. I’ve found this to be true in my life, and I can’t tell you how much it’s worth it. So many sales people struggle through life and wonder what’s wrong, while a select few enjoy the riches available to them through a career in sales. You can too – “If you’re willing to do the things that most sales reps will never do…”

I will never forget the things that Stan taught me years ago, nor the things he taught me just last week during his farewell webinar. Stan still has a ton of solid sales tips that are relevant, effective and very powerful. If you’d like to hear him discuss these things, or invest in his sales material, you can do so here.

Stan, thanks for time, effort and commitment you’ve invested in your life to helping sales professionals become superstars. I, for one, am grateful.