Asking for Help is a Great Way to Get Information

Everyone loves to be helpful. Because of this, you have a great opportunity to learn more about your prospects and clients if you learn how to ask the right questions at the right times.

Here are some examples of how asking for help, at the right time, can give you a treasure trove of useful information you can use to position your product or service to the right person.

When prospecting, if you don’t know the person or department you need to speak with, there is no better opening then:

“Hi, I need a little bit of help please…”

Now the crucial thing here is not to then ask a question. Instead, what’s important is that you actually wait for the other person to offer to help you first. As soon as they say, “What do you need?” or “I can help you,” that’s when you reply with something like:

“Thanks. I’m looking for the person who handles your lead generation, who would that be please?”

If they don’t know the name, then be prepared with:

“Perhaps you could point me to the right department then?”

Asking for help in this way is also useful when you ask for someone and they aren’t there any longer. Also, it’s great for when you do reach someone and they turn out to be the wrong contact. When that happens use:

“Oh I see. Perhaps you can help then. Who would be the best person to speak with…”

OR

“I see. Can you point me in the right direction please?”

OR

“O.K., perhaps you can help me: who would be the best person for me to speak with in terms of ordering your XYZ supplies?”

These techniques are great for finding the right person or department to speak with. But the power of this technique goes far beyond that. Use the following types of “help” questions once you do reach the appropriate prospect:

“Perhaps you can help me understand how you handle your XYZ process. How do you get involved in that?”

AND

“__________, we have a lot of solutions that may be a fit, but I don’t want to bombard you. Perhaps you can help give me a brief understanding of who handles what, and then I’ll be able to know who would be the best person for some of this. Let’s start with you – what do take care of there?”

AND

“_________, could you help me understand how this flows at your company? Who handles XYZ…?”

AND

“_________, help me understand how the decision process works over there. How do you get involved?”

AND

“__________, I need a little bit of help to understand your org chart – who do you report to?”

AND

“Perhaps you can help me: I’m sure you’ve got a lot of people handling different things, let’s start with the part of the process you handle: what is that?”

Layer with:

“And who handles the other parts?”

As you can see, there are a lot of applications for the “I need a little bit of help, please” technique. Now a word of caution: don’t underestimate how powerful this is. While it seems simple, it is actually a very effective technique if used appropriately.

When asking for help, genuinely mean it. Use your voice inflection and timing. Remember to always wait for them to offer to help you!

If you master this technique you’ll find that you won’t have to work so hard to find things out. People, because they sincerely want to help, will help you – if you ask.

How to Develop an Effective Elevator Pitch

Many inside sales reps (outside reps, too!) struggle when trying to describe their company, products and services, in a succinct and compelling way that engages a prospect and makes them want to hear more.

Instead, a typical opening delivered to an unsuspecting prospect usually sounds more like a monologue meant to repel interest and generate the impulse to get off the phone as soon as possible. I’m sure you’ve been accosted in this way with something like:

“Oh hi, this is _______ _______ with ________ and my company, XYZ, is a leader in national and international shipping and freight services with offices in the top metropolitan cities across the world. We offer one of the lowest overall freight charges on transportation, and also on packaging and supplies. We’re going to have a representative in your city next week and we’d love to stop by to share some information with you and learn more about your business to see how we can help save you money and time as well. Would you be available next Wednesday at 2pm or would Thursday at 4pm be better?”

And companies and sales reps wonder why they aren’t successful…

Rather than break down everything that is wrong with this opening (how about everything?), what I’m going to do instead is give you two rules for developing an effective elevator pitch and then some examples that you can plug your product or service into.

Here are the two rules:

1) Make it brief – one sentence is best, two short ones if absolutely necessary.
2) Focus it on the direct benefits to your specific type of customer.

Remember, this is an “elevator pitch” designed to inform and grab interest in a prospect during the time you’re in an elevator together. Try working with the examples below:

Elevator pitch example #1:

“ _________, we work with small business owners helping them save on average 20% on their shipping costs while also increasing their efficiency and tracking. To see how we can help you, I’d like to schedule a brief, 10 minute meeting next week…”

Elevator pitch example #2:

“ ___________, we make inside sales teams as much as 33% more productive by providing them with a best practice approach that helps them cold call more effectively and close more qualified prospects. This means an immediate bump in revenue and profits often within the first 30 days…”

Elevator pitch example #3:

“ ________ the ABC company gives homeowners complete peace of mind by eliminating routine maintenance costs and insuring against unexpected expenses. I’ve got just two questions to see which of our plans might work for you….”

Elevator pitch example #4:

“ _________, our motto is: “A guaranteed comfortable night’s sleep or your money back.” Now, have you ever tried this luxury brand of mattress before?”

Elevator pitch example #5:

“ __________, at XYZ advertising, our small business clients get the most comprehensive online exposure, the certified highest traffic and the most qualified leads in the industry – all at the guaranteed lowest rates. Where are you currently advertising online now?”

As you can see by the above elevator pitches, not only are they short and focused on the benefits to a specific customer “small business owner” or “homeowner,” but they often end with a qualifying question, “have you ever tried,” and “where are you currently advertising online now?”

By ending with a qualifying question, you are not only engaging your prospect, but you’re also learning about their buying motives and uncovering their level of interest as well.

Take some time now to develop your own, concise and compelling elevator pitch and then replace your monologue with a more effective opening. Your customers (and your bank account) will thank you for it.

5 Ways to Get Better at Handling Objections

I coach a lot of sales professionals, one on one, in individual sessions every week. Sales managers, business owners and also individual sales reps who are committed to moving into the top 20% or op 5% of their profession.

Prior to working with someone, I send out a “coaching intake” form that they fill out and return to me prior to our first session. This gives me insight into their particular sale, what they want to work on, what’s standing in their way, and what they hope to accomplish during our time together.

When working with individual sales reps, one of the most common requests I get is that they would like to get better at handling objections. I tell them all the same thing: “If you just do exactly as I’ll teach you to do, then in 60 days, you will know exactly how to handle objections, and you will no longer be scared when your prospect or client brings one up.

In fact, I tell them, you’ll even welcome them!

So what’s the secret? Well, there are five of them, really. And I’ve listed them below. If you want to get better at handling objections, if you want to confidently learn to handle or overcome them like the top pros, then simply follow the secrets below:

Secret number one: Take time to carefully script out rebuttals to the common objections you get day in and day out. Remember, the best thing about sales is that you get the same objections, stalls and put offs over and over again. You already know what’s coming!

The true pros recognize this and take the time to script out best practice responses to them, so when they get them, they can confidently and effectively handle them.

Other sales reps still choose to adlib their responses which means they are making up one poor response after another. This is why they are discouraged and unsuccessful.

So take some time right now and script out your best practice responses so you’ll never have to scramble for what to say again!

Secret number two: Memorize your best practice responses. Don Shula – the famous Miami Dolphin coach – once said that his players practiced, drilled and rehearsed their plays and techniques over and over again so they could internalize them and act automatically without thinking when they needed to.

He said that football moves so fast that: “If you get into a situation and have to think about what to do next, it’s already too late.”

Same thing in sales. By internalizing your best practice responses to objections, you’ll be able to handle them automatically, without thinking or stressing.

Secret number three: To effectively memorize your rebuttals, you’ll need to put in some time. The most effective way to memorize and internalize them is to record them into a recording device (and you’re already carrying one of these around in your pocket – all smart phones have one), and then listen to them 30 to 50 times.

This is the same thing you did with your favorite song, and it works for rebuttals to objections as well. In fact, you’ll even remember the exact inflection and pacing as well, so make your recording a confident one!

Secret number four: Record yourself and listen to how you sound when delivering your rebuttals. Listen for if you’re using the right rebuttal to the objection your prospect or client just gave you.

By recording yourself, you’ll learn tons of things that will make you better, including how to deliver your rebuttals more convincingly. You’ll also learn whether or not your rebuttal is the best one to use – which leads me to secret number five.

Secret number five: Be prepared to revise your rebuttals often. After listening to your sales calls over and over again, you’ll find ways to improve. Perhaps a rebuttal can be shortened? Maybe it can include a few key words or phrases? Perhaps you could deliver it with a bit more energy? Or less energy?

Never stop learning, critiquing and getting better. The top professionals in any industry are always adapting, always learning and always improving. You should, too.

So there you have it: the five ways to get better at handling objections. If you’re truly committed to becoming one of the best producers in your company or industry, then commit to using the secrets above.

I guarantee that if you do, your career and your life will change in exciting and fulfilling ways.

How to Requalify Existing Prospects and Clients

One area many sales reps struggle in is how to requalify existing accounts, or prospects they haven’t spoken with in a while. Let’s first establish the need to do this, and we’ll address exactly how to do it.

First let’s acknowledge that all things change. In fact, someone once said that the only thing that doesn’t change is change itself. It’s constant. And that means that just because a prospect or client was in charge of a certain function last month or 6 months ago, it doesn’t mean they are in charge of it today.

In addition to their duties changing, their areas of responsibilities change also. Someone who was responsible for handling lead flow may now also be in charge of ordering those leads. Or someone who was responsible for one area of the business (and ordering) may have given that responsibility to someone else.

The bottom line is that it’s important to do more than just, “Oh hi, just calling to see if you need anything?” Today, it’s important that you requalify the person you’re speaking with and try to find as many opportunities as possible to sell your product or service.

One of the biggest problems sales reps have is knowing how to transition into requalifying. The resistance I get from sales reps is, “But I spoke with him three months ago! I already know what he does.”

“Yes,” I answer. “But how many times have you found that things have changed since then?”

If you’re honest, the answer is it changes all the time.

So what you need to begin the requalifying process is a good transition sentence, a soft approach, so you can begin requalifying and get the updated information that often makes the difference between a successful call and one that results in nothing at all.

Here are some examples of transition sentences. Remember to adapt them to fit your personality, your product and service:

Transition sentence one:

“________, since it has been a few months since we’ve spoken, let me just make sure my information is correct. Besides yourself, who else handles…”

[This is an assumptive way to find other decision makers in the company…]

Transition sentence two:

“___________, let me get up to date on things with you. I know that last time we spoke you said you handled (X); what else are you responsible for these days?”

Transition sentence three:

“Because things change all the time, let me just ask you a couple of quick questions to make sure I’m up on things on your end. For example, what other products are you handing these days?”

Transition sentence four:

“___________ I’m updating the information on all my accounts this month – do you mind if I just verify a few things?

Great! What is your current extension?

How about your direct phone number? Cell? Email?

And are you still the only contact for all the printing needs there?

What other things are you handling?

How about other departments – who would I want to speak with…

How about your need for (X) – where have you been sourcing that these days?

What would you need to see from us to begin placing an order for that also?

[I’m sure you can think of more…]

Transition sentence five:

“_________, I know the last time we spoke you told me you handled (X), is that still correct?

Great. What else are you in charge of?

How are you handling your (XYZ)?

What other departments are handling the (ABC’s)?

And what other products are you in charge of?

And remind me again of the decision process there?

How about timeline?

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

And so on…

As you can see, just because you think you know something about someone, you can still learn more. Think about it: When was the last time you were able to thoroughly qualify someone on the very first call? It probably took a few, didn’t it?

When you use these kinds of requalifying questions, you’ll be in a much better position to completely qualify an opportunity. And that can only lead to more business.

A Better Approach Than, “How are you today?”

Nothing signals a sales call more than that worn out opening, “How are you today?”

As soon as you ask that of someone you’ve not spoken to before, their immediate thought is, “Oh, here comes a sales pitch from someone I don’t want to talk to!”

If you don’t believe me, think about your own reaction when someone calls you at home or the office that you don’t know and asks you that? I cringe just thinking about it….and so do your prospects.

Wouldn’t you like to know a better opening? Wouldn’t you like to find something that doesn’t sound salesy, yet still breaks the ice and gets your prospect to respond positively?

Well I’ve got it for you.

I learned this opening working with a new client recently, and while at first I was suspicious of whether it would work or not, after listening to recordings, I found that it worked really well.

So well, in fact, that I now teach it to other clients and it works great for them also!

As you’ll see, it’s assumptive in nature (always a good thing), it gets your prospect to agree with you, and puts you in control to continue your opening. Use it word for word for a week, and I think you’ll agree:

“Hi _________, this is ________ ________ with (your company), I trust you’re doing well today?”

If you’d like to vary it a little, you can also say:

“Hi _________, this is ________ ________ with (your company), I take it you’re doing well today?”

OR

“Hi _________, this is ________ ________ with (your company), I hope your day is going well so far?”

As you can see, this opening invariably leads to a yes, and even a response of, “I hope yours is, too?”

The big difference here is that you’re going to finally stop sounding like every other sales rep out there and you’re going to stop telegraphing your sales call.

As with all these scripts, don’t take my word for it – try it yourself and see how it works for you. I’m sure, with a little practice, you’ll love how effective it is!

How to Qualify for Interest

Today it seems to be harder and harder for sales reps to qualify for interest and to identify buying motives.

One thing making this so difficult is the decision tree: often there are many different levels of decision makers (committees, bosses, regional managers, corporate, etc.), and sales reps often just skip any attempt to qualify for interest.

Instead, they just send their information or schedule their demo and hope for the best.

As you might suspect, the way around this is to be prepared with scripted questions that are assumptive in nature and that lead your prospect to reveal what the buying motives (or motivation in general) are for the various other departments and decision makers.

Use the following scripts (or customize them to fit your product or service), so you can gain an understanding of what the buying motives are and how to tailor your pitch to each group to close the sale:

Qualifying Question #1:

“ _________, why did you (or corporate/manager/boss) choose the solution you’re using now?”

Layer:

“And what are you (they) looking to improve upon now?”

Qualifying Question #2:

“If you were to pick one thing that would be a deal killer if it weren’t there, what would it be?”

Qualifying Question #3:

“What have you heard they’re (corporate, their manager, boss, etc.) specifically looking for in the next (your product or service)?”

Qualifying Question #4:

“Besides price, what else is important (to you, them, etc.)?”

Qualifying Question #5:

“I know that these (your solution) may seem to be all the same, but tell me, what will stand out for you…what’s the one or two things you’re really hoping to see?”

Qualifying Question #6:

“_________, what have you heard in terms of what the priorities are for adding this (your product/service)?

Layer:

“And what is the timeframe you’re hearing for implementation?”

Qualifying Question #7:

“Out of all the companies you’ve (or corporate/manager/boss) has seen so far, what looks the best to you?”

Layer:

“And why is that?”

Qualifying Question #8:

“If you had to pick one thing that this is going to come down to – you know, one thing that you think will be the deciding factor as to who you’ll (corporate/manager/boss) choose, what do you think that will be?”

Layer:

“Besides price, what’s next?”

Qualifying Question #9:

“__________, you haven’t made a change so far, just out of curiosity, what is motivating you to consider doing so now?”

Qualifying Question #10:

“__________, I know I called you out of the blue; I’m glad you’re interested in seeing what we have. Quick question for you, though: What do you think it will take to convince the (corporate/manager/boss)?”

I bet you can think of some of your own, can’t you?

The key to any sale is getting your prospect to tell you how to sell them. If you can do that, you’ll make your job much, much easier.

Ten Ways to Soften the Price Objection and Keep Pitching

Many sales reps get thrown off their pitch when a prospect objects to something early on during the close.

For example, if when talking about the price of a product or service, the prospects says something like, “Oh, that’s way too much,” many sales reps don’t know how to respond – and often do the wrong thing.

The wrong thing in this case is to stop and try to overcome the objection. Instead, a sales rep should retain control of the call, soften this objection and move on to build more value.

Here’s an example:

If a price or price range is given (say, anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000), and the prospect objects with, “That’s more than we want to spend,” then instead of stopping and trying to overcome the objection (which only gives control to the prospect and throws you off your momentum), you should respond with any of the following:

Response One:
“That’s only a range, and I’ll explain how that works in just a moment…”

Then continue on with your pitch.

Response Two:
“There are some other options, but first let me explain how this works and how it can impact you (or your company or other departments, etc.).”

Then continue on with your pitch.

Response Three:
“Based on what you know now, it may seem like a lot, but let me get through exactly what you get for this…”

Then continue on with your pitch

Response Four:
“_________, you obviously don’t have to go with this at all, and I’m not asking you to make a decision right now. Instead, let me finish explaining how this works, what you get, and how it might work for you (or your company, etc.).

After that, you’ll be in a position to decide what to do next, fair enough?”

Response Five:
“Let’s put the budget aside for a moment and first see if this is a solution that would even work for you. What I’ll do is explain everything to you, answer your questions, and then we can address whether or not it provides the value to justify the investment, O.K.?”

Response Six:
“The budget and the value this provides is quite worth it – as you’ll see. Let me finish explaining how this works and what my other clients are getting out of it, then you can decide what – if anything – you want to do. Now…”

Continue on with your pitch.

Response Seven:
“Let’s put budget aside for a moment and let me show you how this can positively affect what you’re spending now…”

Back to your pitch

Response Eight:
“I know at this point it might seem like a lot, but I guarantee once you understand the whole picture, you’ll easily see the value here…”

Back to your pitch

Response Nine:
“_________, those are only the price ranges and what you decide to ultimately spend will be entirely your decision and based only on whether you see enough benefit to move forward. Let me show you…”

Back to your pitch

Response Ten:
“_________ until we qualify your business, we won’t know what your payment options are, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. What I recommend is we go through the approval process and then you can decide if this is worth it for you or not – fair enough?”

Remember, the point here is not to get thrown off early in your pitch just because a prospect objects to the price. Instead, you want to maintain control, build value and get buy in during the close.

And you can do this by using one of the rebuttals above to soften the objection.

How to Handle the “Status Quo” Objection

As you know, I often get emails from readers of my ezine, “Secrets of the Top 20%”, asking me how I would handle various selling situations and objections.

Someone sent in a request asking me how to deal with the, “We are used to the status quo and don’t want to make waves” objection. This reader also wrote that he had been told by another training company that he needed to, “Make them painfully aware of something they don’t see coming at them (like a freight train) and develop a more compelling message.”

As you might imagine, he wasn’t able to come up with anything that was working.

By the way, I must comment here that I frequently hear this about other “sales training” companies: they are quick to offer what sounds like good advice, but they don’t provide the specific solutions to back it up.

As you know from reading my ezines, watching my YouTube videos or reading or listening to my books and CD’s, I not only tell you what to you, but also how to do it.

In this case, I think the reader was having trouble with this technique because, to begin with, it’s not a good approach.

Trying to convince someone that what they’re doing is a bad idea and it’s going to lead to big trouble (so you can say, “I told you so” later), isn’t going to endear you to anyone. What I recommend instead is to find a way to bypass this obvious initial resistance and find a way present your product or service in a non-threatening way.

Your goal on the prospecting call isn’t to overcome objections (which this isn’t, by the way), but rather, to qualify and set a date up to demo your product or service.

Here are some sample scripts to help you do just that:

Objection: “We are used to the status quo and don’t want to make waves…”

Approach One:

“I’m completely with you and believe me, I don’t want to rock the boat. But because things change all the time, there might come an instance when you need to consider your options. So let’s do this: I’ll set a time to give you a brief demo of what we do and how it might help you.

After we do, you can then decide if you want to do anything with it now, or keep it in your back pocket in case you ever need to consider a different source – sound good?”

Approach Two:

“I understand and I’ll try not to make too many waves here. Just out of curiosity, when was the last time you did compare services and pricing – you know, just to keep current on what’s available to you?”

Approach Three:

“I’m with you and believe me – I’m not here to cause trouble. But let me ask you this: isn’t it wise to at least know about your options just in case you need to make a change at some time in the future?”

Approach Four:

“I’m with you. So tell you what: instead of me trying to sell you something, let me just educate you on what’s currently available in the marketplace – you know, so in case you need something further down the line, you’ll know who to call – make sense?”

Approach Five:

“No problem, I fully understand. Let me ask you this though: If something were to happen to your current provider, wouldn’t you at least want a dependable backup plan so you didn’t miss a beat?”

The point of these rebuttals is to bypass this resistance so you can get in front of a qualified lead and pitch your product or service. Obviously, once they agree to do a demo with you, you’ll want to ask other qualifying questions.

As always, I encourage you to practice, drill and rehearse your responses so you can internalize them and deliver them in a natural way.

Could you nominate me?

Would you take a minute to nominate me for the AA-ISP’s “Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals for 2016”?

If you’ve benefitted from either the scripts, videos or other products I offer, then I would really appreciate it if you did.

Simply follow this link: Click Here

You’ll need this information:

First Name: Mike

Last Name: Brooks

Company: Mr. Inside Sales

Title: President

E-mail: Mike@mrinsidesales.com

Phone: (919) 267-4202

Thanks for your support and remember to send me any objections or stalls you get so I can provide you with customized scripting and rebuttals so you can sell more with less rejection!

All the success in the world,

Mike Brooks

How to Qualify an Influencer

If this were a perfect world, when prospecting and qualifying we would always get to speak with the decision maker and, while questioning them, we would discover that they were looking for our solution, and that they have the budget and authority to make a decision. Furthermore, when asked about their timeline for making a decision, they would reply, “Can you get it here yesterday?”

Too bad we don’t live in a perfect world…

Instead, it’s more likely these days that we don’t get right through to the decision maker – or to that mysterious “committee” that is going to decide at some undisclosed point in the future – instead, there are usually some layers to go through first, before our product or service can finally get to the right set of eyes.

Usually the person standing in the way of the final decision maker is an influencer – someone who might weigh in on the decision but who doesn’t have the final authority to make the ultimate decision.

Now here’s the key: just because an influencer doesn’t have the authority to make the final decision, that’s not to say they don’t know other crucial information that might help you navigate the decision tree and ultimately make a sale.

Unfortunately, many sales reps are terrible at vetting or qualifying the influencer, so they just send their information and then hope for the best.

If you follow the advice below, you will not only know how to get this crucial information, but you’ll also separate yourself from 90% of the other sales reps who just don’t know how to qualify influencers properly.

Questions to ask: Even though your influencer might not be the final decision maker, they often have some insight into what the decision is looking for, or what their interest in your product or service is.

Because this is true more times than it isn’t, you must always ask any of the following questions to get this insight. If the person you’re talking to is hiding behind the real decision maker, then ask things like:

“_________, you probably work quite closely with (the decision maker), tell me, how open are they to adding (your product or solution)?”

OR

“_________, in terms of what you know, what is their (the decision maker or committee’s) timeline for putting something like this into effect?”
OR

“What other solutions are they considering right now?”

AND

“How do you get involved in the decision on something like this?”

OR

“How much influence (or input) do you have on the final decision?”

AND

“How closely do you work with (the decision maker or committee)?”

[If they are involved]:

“What are you recommending they do?”

OR

“From what we’ve just gone over, do you think this is something that would work for them?”

AND

“Give me your thoughts on how (the decision maker) is going to decide who to pick for this”

OR

“From what you know, what is (the decision maker) looking for in a solution like this?”

AND

“Given what you know about the urgency for making this decision, how soon do you think they will decide on a solution?”

AND

“In terms of budget, what are they thinking?”

AND

“From your perspective, what is involved in their decision process?”

OR
“How many other vendors are they going to look at before they make a decision?”

AND

“From the other companies they’ve looked at, who are they leaning towards now?”

AND

“Is the company they’re using now still in the running?”

AND

“How likely do you think they’ll just use the same company they’re using now?”

AND

“What do you think it will take for them to choose a different solution from who they’re using now?”

AND

“Is there any reason you can see that they wouldn’t move forward with something like this?”

AND

“Is there anything you can think of that I should know that’s important for them in making this decision?”

AND

“What do you think I need to do to have the best shot of earning their business?”

As you can see, there are many areas and many questions you can ask which will give you tremendous insight into the sales process – if you just ask.

Is the influencer going to know any or all of this? Of course not! But, again, more times than not, they’ll know a lot more than you might think.

And if you begin asking some of these questions, you will know it, too!