How to Follow-Up with Prospects and Win Business

A while ago, my wife and I renovated our new home, and as part of this grueling process we had to get many quotes from all different kinds of people. This ranged from window replacement people, plumbers, electrical contractors, painters, tile companies, contractors, fine craftsman, window treatment companies – the list seemed endless. After they finally showed up and saw the work, their next job was to deliver a quote (usually by email). As a sales trainer, the next part seemed pretty straight forward to me – and that’s for them to follow up on their quotes, right?

Would you believe that over 90% of these people NEVER followed up on their quotes? I am absolutely amazed by that! It makes me understand and believe even more in a card I once saw on sales:

SALES STATISTICS
48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
12% of sales people only make three contacts and stop
ONLY 10% of sales people make more than three contacts
2% of sales are made on the first contact
3% of sales are made on the second contact
5% of sales are made on the third contact
10% of sales are made on the fourth contact
80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact

Interesting statistics, aren’t they? I always follow up with prospects – and many, many times as well – and that practice alone has made me more successful than 90% of my competition. And after my recent experience with these contractors, I’m even more convinced that just following up regularly gives you a significant edge over your competition. Here is a sample follow-up campaign (emails and phone calls) I use that you can adapt to your sales cycle:

Email #1:

After my initial phone call with a prospect – whether they want information or links to my website – I always send a separate email thanking them for taking the time to speak with me:

Dear (Prospect’s name),

Thank you for taking a few minutes today to tell me a little about your company and what you are trying to accomplish. It sounds like if I can help you (repeat their specific needs here), then there might be a fit between our companies.

I’ve sent you over the (brochure, specs, job scope, whatever you promised – as well as a meeting request) and look forward to our next conversation on (confirm time for next contact).
If you have any questions before we speak, please don’t hesitate to call me back on my direct dial phone number: (Your number).

Once again, thank you for taking the time to speak with me, and I look forward to continuing our conversation next (week).

Sincerely,
(Your Name)

Email #2:

My next contact comes two days later. It always includes something that might be of interest to my prospect. Here is a sample email:

Dear (Prospect’s name),

I was thinking about you and thought you would enjoy seeing/reading the following article: (Name of an article, company brochure, white paper, something related to them). I think this is in alignment with what you’re trying to accomplish.

Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help you. Once again, my direct phone number is: (Your number).

Looking forward to speaking with you next (day and time of appointment).

Sincerely,
(Your Name)

Email #3:

My next contact comes with a phone call on the date we have scheduled to speak next (You DID get a specific day and time for your next contact, right?). Often times before this I will also send out an automatic meeting reminder as well. My opening for this call is very assumptive and avoids common mistakes such as: “I’m just calling to follow up,” or “I’m just calling to see if you had time to read the material I sent you,” or “Did you have time to go through our website?” etc. Instead your opening call should something like:

“Hi _________, this is ________ ________ with (your company), how’s your Monday going?”

You know ________, I’ve been looking forward to speaking with you today. I’m sure you looked over the information I sent and probably have some questions, so tell me, where would you like to start?”

Again, always be assumptive, and obviously vary your opening based on whether you’re doing a demo (re-qualify in this case), or simply assume they’ve done what they committed to doing and then ask a question to get them to reveal what they are thinking.

So, by now – by this second conversation – I’ve reached out to my prospect five times! (The first is the email with my information, the second is the email, “Thanks for taking the time,” the third is the meeting request, the fourth is the next email with additional information or an article, and the fifth is the automatic meeting request. Including this follow-up call, I’ve now reached out to my prospect six times! But this is just the start….

After my presentation, I get a specific day and time to follow up again, and I will send another email article or white paper in-between this. And if my prospect isn’t available when I call back, I call them several times a day during the week until we connect – and, of course, I also send emails.

In addition, any prospect in my pipeline also goes into my Send Out Cards campaign, from which they get a physical greeting card from me in the mail each month until they buy. (See this amazing card system here: www.sendoutcards.com/mrinsidesales)

On average, between emails and phone conversations and meeting reminders, my prospects get between eight to twelve contacts within the first two weeks. And then they get a card in the mail each month as well.

Lastly, if a prospect goes dark during or after this, I always send them my “Should I Stay or Should I go” email which gets me a response over 65% of the time – even when every other method fails to get them to react. Here’s what it is:

Subject line: (Prospect Name) Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Dear _________,

I haven’t heard back from you and that tells me one of three things:

1) You’ve filled the position or you’ve already chosen another company for this.

2) You’re still interested but haven’t had the time to get back to me yet.

3) You’ve fallen and can’t get up, and in that case please let me know and I’ll call 911 for you…

Please let me know which one it is because I’m starting to worry.

Honestly, all kidding aside, I understand you’re really busy, and the last thing I want to do is be pain in the neck once a week. Whether your schedule has just been too demanding or you’ve gone another direction, I would appreciate it if you would take a second to let me know so I can follow up accordingly.

Thank you in advance and I look forward to hearing back from you.

Kind regards,”

If this email made you laugh, then think about getting your prospects to laugh as well. Again, this email gets over 65% of my prospects to email me back and let me know their status. Try it, it works.

As you can see, having a follow up system – and sticking to it – will put you ahead of over 90% of your competition. And if you’ve qualified a lead properly in the beginning, then this kind of perseverance is often enough to win you the business the majority of the time.

Closing Questions to Isolate the Objection

One of the most effective ways to deal with objections or stalls is simply to ask questions and isolate them. This works because many objections you get when closing are not actually objections at all – instead they’re smokescreens hiding what the real reason or objection is. The reason sales reps have trouble with them is because they believe them and either try to overcome them or simply give up and opt to “call back later.”

What you must do is get to the bottom of what’s REALLY holding a prospect back. Is it because they have a better deal elsewhere? Is it because they know their boss would never let them get a new product or service? Is it because they don’t have the budget or because the price is too high? Is it because they aren’t the real decision maker, or because they aren’t qualified to make the decision on this at all? Is it because their current supplier or agent can always offer them a better price to keep their business? Is it because they don’t know enough about how your particular product or service will really benefit them? Or is it because they think the learning curve will be too disruptive to their business? Is it because they don’t believe in your value prop? You get the idea…

There are many factors that might be standing behind the objection you’re getting, and the only way to effectively overcome them is to know what the real or deciding factor is. And you do that by questioning your prospect. Not in an interrogative way, but rather in a consultative way. You do it with layering questions and assumptive questions. You do it by using or adapting the questions below to fit your product or service and your personality.

From the list below, choose the ones that feel right to you and then adapt them, post them in your cubicle, or record and listen to them until they become second nature:

Closing Questions to Isolate the Objection

“_________, there is something that seems to be bothering you about this – would you mind sharing with me what it is?”

“It sounds like there something else that you’d like to share with me about that. What else should I know about this?”

“What would you say is an example of why you need to think about this?”

“_________, help me get an idea of what you’re thinking about here…”

“Tell me what I need to know so I understand where you’re at on this?”

“What other vendors are you looking at for this?”

“What do you think is the biggest reason for not going with this now?”

“I totally get that you need to (think about it), what one thing about this do you think you’ll need to think about most?”

“You know __________, it sounds like this is really important to you – can you tell me why?”

“How does making a decision on this affect you or your department?”

“__________ what else do I need to know to get the full picture on this?”

“If you went with this and it didn’t work out, how would that affect you?”

“If you went with this and it did work out, how would that affect you?”

“_________, just out of curiosity, how did you get to that?”

“How much of this decision is up to you?”

“And what is your personal perspective on this?”

“Can you tell me a little more about that, please?”

“How does your upper management fit into this?”

“If you decided to go with this, is the budget there?”

“How about you – what are your feelings on this?”

“And how much influence do YOU have?”

“You know, I keep hearing you say X, but I keep feeling that you mean something else. What might that be?”

“What aren’t you telling me?”

“How would this fit into your (budget, plans, initiatives,) right now?”

“I think what you’re telling me is __________, is that correct?”

“Don’t you mean “when” it works out?”

“If you’re/they’re a go on this, when would you like to see it implemented?”

“I’m sorry, I’m not following you – can you tell me exactly what you mean?”

“How urgent for you (your company) is this right now?”

“__________, from where you’re sitting right now, do you think this is a smart thing to do?”

“Oh, and why not?”

“What would you need to see added to this to make it worthwhile for you?”

“What can I do right now to help you get into this?”

“Level with me, what is really holding you back?”

“What is really standing in the way of us working together?”

“Is there anything that I can do about it?”

“What do you seriously think it is going to take for us to work together?”

“What else should I know?”

As you can see, there are many ways to get your prospect talking to you. There are many ways to get them to open up and reveal what it will take and/or why the deal won’t happen. If you’re not asking some of these questions, then you’re simply letting your prospect put you off, and your pipeline is filling with prospects who likely aren’t going to buy from you.

Take some time right now to adjust four or five of these questions to fit your personality, your product or service, and fit them to the specific objections or stalls that you get. And then use them when that situation comes up. Remember, the best way to prepare for success is to prepare. So start now…

How to Question for Budget

Qualifying for budget, or handling objections around budget and money, are areas most sales reps feel uncomfortable in. To start with, I’ve heard many sales reps tell me that bringing up budget or money on a qualifying call is not only uncomfortable, but that it’s inappropriate as well. They say, “I haven’t given any value yet, so it’s too early to talk about budget!”

My response is that if your product or service is out of a prospect’s budget, or if they feel it’s too expensive, then it doesn’t matter how much value you give it – they aren’t going to buy from you. That’s why it’s crucial to qualify for budget up front – just as you would with decision maker, timeframe, etc.

And when objections about money or price come up, again, sales reps often struggle with how to handle it. In fact, most sales reps’ default response is to try to lower the price rather than either build value or help the prospect find other areas to get budget from.

Below you’ll find a variety of ways of both qualifying for budget and asking questions to help assist you in helping the prospect find the budget. Getting comfortable with regularly asking these questions – both during the qualifying stage and during the close – will allow you to both identify qualified prospects and help you close them.

As always, adapt them to fit your product, service or personality and practice, drill and rehearse them until they become automatic for you:

Budget Questions during qualifying:

“How much budget do you have set aside for new advertising?” (This week, quarter, or year)

“How much are you currently spending to attract new consumers?”

“How much budget do you currently spend on keeping or retaining your existing customers?”

“How much have you set aside this?” (Your product or service)

“What do you know about management’s budget when it comes to adding….” (Your product or service)

“Besides yourself, who else would weigh in on making a budget decision on this?”

LAYER:

“And what is their role (or your role) in that process?”

LAYER:

“And what do you know about their budget for adding a new…. (Your product or service)

“How much of a priority is this (your product or service area) for you this month?” (Or quarter)

“How much does your department (or company) spend on new client acquisition?”

“Our solution runs a ballpark of $10,000 up to $50,000.” If you liked what you saw, could you work within that range?”

“What’s your budget for this?”

“What are your plans for (your product or service area) for the upcoming season/quarter for this?”

Budget Questions during the close:

“What is a new customer worth, roughly, to you?”

LAYER:

“And how much budget, per week/month/year, have you set aside to attract those new customers?”

LAYER:

“And how much of that budget is still not used that you could apply to this?”

“When something like this comes up that you believe will work for you (your department or company), how do you normally go about getting the budget for it?”

“How do you draw from next month’s/quarter’s budget to get something like this that you really know will help you?”

“What is your yearly budget for this area (of your product or service)?”

LAYER:

“And how much of that do you have left over?”

“Let me ask you: around this time of year, how do you handle these kinds of purchases?”

“Who else could you get approval from to afford this extra expense?”

“How do you normally get something above budget approved?”

“How can you borrow against next year’s budget to get the profits and results this year?”

“What do you have to do now to make sure this is properly budgeted for next quarter?”

“What other areas/departments can you borrow from to start this service today?”

“If money weren’t an issue here, would you move forward?”

[If Yes]

“GREAT! What are three ways you can think of now to get the budget for this?”

“What did you do last time you really wanted something?”

“How did you get the money last time you really wanted something?”

“We all have ways of getting the money when we really want something, what way do you have of getting the money now?”

“Who (which department) could you borrow from?”

“How about I put you on our low cost down payment program, and you can then set up easy monthly payments so you can get started today?”

As you can see, there are a variety ways of not only bringing up or getting clarity around the budget issue, but of also leading your prospect to revealing how and when they can get or find the budget. Have some fun with this and hit MUTE while you get all the answers and solutions around budget that you need!

Ten New Ways to Handle the “I Need to Think About It” Objection

How do you currently handle it when your prospect gives you the stall, “I need to think about it”? If you’re like most sales people, you might give a wimpy, half-hearted response and then ask when you can call them back. That doesn’t feel too good, does it?

Let’s face it, whenever you get this objection – or any other stall that is similar to it like, “I need to wait until next week/month,” or “I’ll get back to you it,” – you know as well as I do that it means your prospect isn’t sold and will probably not move forward with you. If you don’t believe me, just look at your won/loss rate when you get this objection.

The way to handle this, then, is to deal with it when it comes up and get your prospect to reveal what is REALLY holding them back. The truth is, this objection (like so many) is usually just a smokescreen hiding the real objection…

Use any of these rebuttals to get your prospect talking to you, to get them to reveal what is really holding them back, and then maybe, just maybe, you’ll have a chance to close the sale.

“I need to think about it”

Response One:

“_________, obviously there is something that either doesn’t make sense to you, or you need to check on something, I’m not sure. But procrastinating on this won’t help make this decision easier for you. Let me ask you this: What proof do I need to give you right now that this will work for you, to help you make that decision?”

Response Two:

“You know ________, whenever someone tells me they have to think about it, it’s usually because the price isn’t exactly where they would like it to be – is that part of what you need to think about?

[If Yes]

Thanks for sharing that with me. Let me tell you why we price this the way we do, and what you get for that pricing…

[Break down each part of your product/service and justify/build value in your price. When done]:

You see _________, you get what you pay for with this and then some. Let’s go ahead and put this to work for you so you can start enjoying the benefits today…”

Response Three:

“__________ I understand that thinking about it might make sense right now, but help me to understand something – what exactly is holding you back from this today?”

Response Four:

“_________ let me ask you: if I could email you right now testimonials from other clients that describe how much success they’ve had with this program, how much of a difference would that make for you right now?”

[Listen carefully here. If this won’t get them to move forward, then]:

“Then, please, I love to learn, what specifically is holding you back from deciding on this today?”

Response Five:

“_________, as you think about the reasons for either moving forward with this or not, I also want you to think about this:

“How much has this been costing you each month by not getting it fixed?”

AND

“And tell me, how much time do you and your team spend on this each week?”

AND

“And how much more money could you (and your company/sales team/family) make if you finally found a solution that worked?”

AND

“And when you think about all the time and energy you’ve already spent thinking about this, how much has THAT cost you so far?”

AND

“And if you continue to procrastinate, how much more do you think THAT will cost you?”

AND

“If you went with our solution and it worked for you, how much would you save/make?”

THEN

“As you can see, continuing to “think about this” has done nothing to fix it and it has only cost you time, money and energy! So why don’t you finally DO something about this today and starting reaping the rewards right now. Here’s what we need to do….”

Response Six:

“I understand that you’re not quite ready to decide on this. Out of curiosity, what factors do you still need to consider?”

AND

“And what kind of proof would you need to decide to go with us?”

AND

“And what else might hold you back from doing this with us?”

Response Seven:

“If there was one thing that would get you to say yes on this today, what would it be?”

Response Eight:

“__________, generally whenever I tell someone I need to think about it, one of three things is going on: One: I’m either weighing other options and want to make sure I’m getting the best deal, or Two: What I’m looking at just doesn’t fit exactly what I need so I want to keep looking, or Three: It’s too much money….

“Which of those three things is happening for you right now?”

Response Nine:

“_________, how much is a new customer worth to you?”

[Listen carefully]

“And do you think what we’re talking about here will bring you enough customers to at least pay for this?”

[If No, then they aren’t sold on your solution, and you’ll need to build more value]

[If Yes]:

“Then there is no downside here for you and each additional client will simply make you money. So let’s do this: let’s sign you up for our introductory offer, and once you see how this WILL make you money, we’ll adjust your subscription to make you even more…”

Response Ten:

“________ tell me two things: Why would you NOT do this, and why would you DO this with me?”

[Hit MUTE and let them talk…]

These rebuttals will work in a variety of situations if you take the time to customize them to your product or service, and then use them consistently. Ultimately, what you’ll find is that if you can get past this smokescreen to the real reason they’re not moving forward with you, then you’ll have the chance to either build value or clarify something they either don’t understand or misunderstand. And once you do that, you’ll finally have a shot at winning their business.

Six New Ways to Handle: “I need to talk to my boss/partner/corporate” etc

The stall, “I need to speak with someone” is as old as “The price is too high” objection. Despite it being around before all sales reps working today were born, most still have trouble overcoming it. You’d think that with all the good rebuttals and techniques that have been written for it they might have figured it out, but, alas, most reps still struggle with it.

To help you finally and definitively deal with it, I present you five new, improved and proven ways of handling this stall. Now, let me make something clear: these techniques won’t always work at overcoming this stall (sometimes they will, though!), but they will let you know how much of a stall this put off is, whether or not it’s a smokescreen, and how much of a shot you have at overcoming it, side-stepping it, or setting yourself up for a successful next call (or if there should even be a next call with a prospect).

So let’s start at the beginning. The first thing you need to do is qualify for this stall during your opening call. Do you? If you don’t, then you’re likely to keep getting this at the end of your presentations and, oh, how frustrating that must be for you. If you get it once, then shame on them, but if you keep getting it over and over again, then shame on you. Here’s what you must be asking on your first call:

“And _________, besides yourself, who weighs in on the final decision on something like this?”

And if they tell you their boss or corporate, etc., then you must layer that with:

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

And,

“And what do they usually do when you bring them something like this?”

And

“Based on what you know about how they feel about something like this, what do you honestly think they would do?”

Etc. You must get as much clarity as you can upfront so you know what to expect when you go into your demo or presentation. And, of course, as you begin your close, you must also preface it with:

“And before we get started here, just so we’re on the same page, if you like what you see at the end of our presentation today, what are the next steps for putting to work for you on your end?”

OR,

“At the end of our presentation today, if you like what you see, can you put us to work for you today?”

Again, you must have clarity over the process before you begin your presentation. Once you have that, however, if you still get the “I’ll have to show this to my partner, boss, etc.,” then use one of the proven scripts below to handle it. As always, adjust it, customize it, and make it your own, and then practice, drill and rehearse it until you’ve got it down.

“I need to talk to my boss/partner/corporate” etc.

Response One:

“No problem, and are you going to recommend this to them?”

[If Yes]

“Great! Then I’ll hold on while you check with them…”

OR

“Great! And as you mentioned earlier, they do usually go with your recommendation, right?”

[If Yes]

“Wonderful. Then I’ll go ahead and get the paperwork started on my end – can you reach out and see if they’re available now to run this by them?”

[Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this technique! About 20% of the time, the decision maker is sitting in the next room and some people will go and get the approval right then and save you valuable time in delaying and following up…]

Response Two:

“I understand. Let me ask you two things: One: What do you think the biggest reason is they will put us to work for you today?”

[Listen for the buying motive]

“And two: What do you think is the biggest reason they won’t go with this solution?”

[Listen for what the real objection is and then layer and explore…]

Response Three:

“Of course and I understand – we talked before about your decision process. Let me ask you this, though: is getting their approval the ONLY thing holding us back from doing business together?”

[Listen carefully – if YES then]:

“Will you have time to talk to them before we next speak at 2:30 tomorrow afternoon? Great! Then because you’re onboard with this, I’ll go ahead and prepare the paperwork, I’ll email it to you, and I’ll even reserve a spot for you.”

[Give a brief pause here and wait for push back. If none]:

“I’ll look forward to us moving forward tomorrow!”

Response Four:

“I understand _________.” Tell you what I’d be happy to do: I know you’re behind this, right? Well, it’s not fair to ask you to do my job, so if it’s all right with you, I’ll be happy to reach out to (decision maker) directly and answer any questions they might have – would that be O.K.?”

[If NO]

“No problem. Just out of curiosity, do you think they will go with this?”

[If NO or Don’t Know]:

“What would it take for them to say yes?”

Response Five:

“Well, I know you’re behind this, and I know you need it – as we discussed during out first phone call. I know you’ve tried to sell or buy something in the past, and you’ve probably been told that someone had to “talk to someone else” before, right?

[Wait for a response]

“Well, based on your experience, what do you honestly think is going to happen here?”

Response Six:

“I understand. __________, I’ve been in sales a long time, and when someone tells me they have to speak with someone, it either means they really do, or it means they don’t really have to, and it’s just a way to get me off the phone. I don’t think that’s happening here, but if it is, can you level with me?”

[If they really do have to speak with someone, then]
“Thanks for that. Now, based on what you know about this, and based on the fact that you’d like to see us work together, what do you seriously think is going to stand in the way of this getting approved?”

OR

“Thanks for that. Now, based on what you know about this, and based on the fact that you’d like to see us work together, what do you seriously think it’s going to take to get this approved?”

There you have it! Six new ways to handle the “I need to speak with someone” objection. Remember, some of these will work some of the time, but all of them will help you smoke out the real objection. And once you get a handle on what’s really likely to happen, then you can deal with it and overcome it – or move this prospect to the backburner and move on.

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.