Monthly Archives: May 2010

The Five Secrets To Writing Killer Prospecting Script

I’ve written, tested, re-written, tweaked, copy edited, composed, marketed, reviewed, and used thousands of telemarketing scripts over the last 26 years.

I’ve written and used opening scripts, closing scripts, prospecting cold calling scripts, warm inbound scripts, closing scripts, rebuttal scripts, trial close scripts, initial resistance scripts, blow off scripts, qualifying scripts, etc….

Bottom line? Nobody writes better scripts than yours truly, Mr. Inside Sales. Heck, I wrote the book on scripts The Complete Book of Phone Scripts which you can get at almost half price today by using the coupon code: SCRIPTS But more on that later…

When companies and sales reps hire me to write or review or tweak their prospecting scripts, almost always I find they are saying or doing the same things wrong.  In today’s article, I’m going to give you The 5 Secrets to writing Killer Prospecting Scripts.

Secret #1: Stop asking, “How are you today?” Believe it or not, 80% of your competition still advertise themselves as lame sales reps making cold calls by asking this over used and insincere question.  Nothing identifies you more as a pesky telemarketer than opening your call with that question.

Instead, try: “Hi _________, how’s your (day of the week) going?”

Or, “Well hi _________, happy (day of the week) to you!”

These may not sound that impressive, but believe me, they work!  Try it and see for yourself.

Secret #2: Stop talking at your prospect and instead ask a question so you can connect early on. Again, believe it or not, 80% of your competition start pitching as soon as they get their prospect on the phone.  Compare your own script to this and ask yourself how long your first opening paragraph is.  Three sentences?  Four?  Way too long!

You must engage your prospect right away and begin a conversation.  That means asking them a question early on!  Try something like (after you’ve wished them a happy Tuesday):

“__________ the reason for the call is to let you know about the service we provide with regards to your accounting procedures.  Who’s handling that for you now?”

Or, “__________ briefly, the reason I’m calling is to show you how we could perhaps save you money and time with your widget process.  I was told that you handle that, is that correct?”

See how that goes?  It’s imperative that you connect right away, and the best way to do that is by asking a question.

Secret #3: Listen and Think B-4 You Respond Next:  Asking a question in the beginning not only allows you to connect with your prospect, but it also allows you to gauge their reaction.  The reason 80% of your competition is afraid to ask a question is they are afraid their prospect might not be interested.  That’s OK!!

The Top 20% are anxious to find out who is, who isn’t, and how much someone might be.  And they do that by carefully listening to their prospect’s response to this question, and then they Listen and Think B-4 Responding.  You need to as well.

In other words, don’t just start pitching again here, but rather, be prepared to vary your response based on what and how your prospect responds.  In other words, listen and react to what they say.

Secret #4: Make sure you have a list of questions to ask your prospect so you can gather all the information you’ll need to fully qualify or disqualify them. You need to know the six areas I’ve written on before, but basically you need to know:

•    Why they’ll buy (their hot buttons)
•    Why they won’t buy (possible deal killing objections)
•     Who makes the decision (how many people are involved)
•    What the decision process is all about – how long, etc.
•    What other companies they are looking at (who your competition is)
•    Their budget

If you don’t know all of these things before you send out your demo or information or quote, then I’ll bet you’re closing less than 3 out of 10 leads sent out.

Secret #5: Make an exact appointment time to get back with your prospect. You’d be amazed by how many sales reps are not doing this!  Instead, 80% of sales reps are chasing and chasing unqualified leads they can never reach again (and who never close).

Making an appointment gives you SO much information.  First, if they won’t commit it tells you how uncontrollable your prospect is.  And remember, “Leads never get better!”  Also, if your prospect misses your appointment, what does that say about them?  And, of course, when your prospect is there and waiting for your call, what does that tell you?

Start setting a definite time with ALL your prospects and watch your closing rate start to climb…

So there you have it – the five secrets of writing killer prospecting scripts.  You can instantly improve your prospecting script by incorporating any or all of these techniques.  And if you want to do it the easy way, then take advantage of my Special Offer today and get over 110 pages of proven and effective scripts for over 40% OFF!

Right now, save $20 on my $49 “Complete Book Of Phone Scripts” Use the coupon code, SCRIPTS and save $20 instantly!  You’ll get a ton of great scripts for just $29!!  Visit: http://www.mrinsidesales.com/scripts.htm to read about this valuable sales resource.

Did you like these tips? Do you have questions about writing your own scripts?  Leave your comment below.

How to Listen like a Detective

I once heard an interview with a police detective that directly relates to sales.  The detective was talking about various interrogation techniques, and he said something that I thought was brilliant and totally applies to the importance of listening while selling over the phone.

The detective said that when you ask a question you should never say or do anything that might cause your subject (prospect) to stop talking.

In other words, you listen.  With full attention, and you don’t interrupt.  You don’t ask other questions.  You just keep listening even when you think they’re done.

In sales, and especially in inside sales where you don’t have all those visual cues, listening is the most important thing you can learn how to do.

Here are some techniques and tips you can begin using today to improve your listening:

#1:  Use a script. One of the biggest reasons sales reps don’t listen is because they’re too busy thinking about what they’re going to say next.  This is especially dangerous to do during the qualification stage when your prospect is revealing why they will and why they won’t buy.

You must script your questions!

By using a script, you’ll be able to really listen and so pay full attention to what your prospect is saying.

#2:  Don’t interrupt. I can’t tell you how many times I hear sales reps interrupting their prospects while they’re still talking.  Not only is this rude and disrespectful, but it shows they’re really not listening.

When I was new to the phones, in order to learn how to listen I had to literally put my hand over the mouthpiece and hold it above my head!  That way I could babble on and blurt out whenever I wanted to say, all the while allowing my prospect to still talk.

It was hard at first, but boy did it pay off.  By not interrupting, I often heard my prospect tell me exactly what I needed to do or say to sell them.

Get in the habit of catching yourself interrupting your prospects and start using the mute button on your phone.  You’ll be amazed by what they are trying to say.

#3:  Allow some space after you think your prospect is done talking. Many times sales reps think that pauses mean that their prospect is actually done talking.  Not so!  I hear it over and over.  Again, the reps can’t wait to start talking so they will jump in as soon as their prospect takes a breath.  Stop it!

A good habit to get into is to pause a full 3 seconds after you think your prospect is done speaking—that’s 1001, 1002, 1003, before you say something.  Again, you’ll be amazed by how often they will fill the space—and often reveal crucial information you’ll need to make the sale.

#4:  Use “Oh,” Uh huh,” and “What do you mean?” If you haven’t heard the information you need to make the sale, use one of the above techniques to keep your prospect talking.

Remember—they hold the key as to why they’ll buy, and you will learn this only if they’re talking and you are listening.

#5:  Listen to your own recordings. You are recording yourself, are you?  I’ll write more about this in another tip, but you must listen to yourself closing a sale to know how and where you need to improve.

Nothing brings this home more than hearing yourself talk over people, interrupt, or just plain miss what they are saying.  If you’re not recording yourself go to Radio Shack tonight and invest $50 in a recorder.  It’ll be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.

So there you have it — some simple yet powerful ways to improve your listening skills.  Just remember above all, don’t do or say anything that might cause your prospect to stop talking!  Keep listening!

Three Things You Must Do To Succeed

Job layoffs. Budget cuts. Recession. Welcome to 2010! While 80% of companies and sales reps are expecting the worst, the Top 20%, as always, expect to and will do well this year. Here are the three things they are doing, and that you can do, too, to make sure you are successful in 2010:

1)    Protect your attitude.  You absolutely must do everything you can do to develop, protect, and nurture a contagiously enthusiastic attitude. Now more than ever, your attitude will be the biggest determining factor affecting your success this year.  Think about all the negative people you’re going to run into today, this week and this month.  Are you going to infect them with your positive, can do attitude, or are you going to get more and more negative with each phone call?  IT IS UP TO YOU!!

Starting this week, get into the habit of feeding your mind and attitude daily with affirmations, by listening to motivational CD’s, by reading two pages a day in a positive book, and by goal setting. If you haven’t read books like, “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield, or “Beyond Positive Thinking” by Dr. Robert Anthony, then go to Amazon and order them today.

My current favorite that comes with an 8 minute DVD I play each morning on my lap top is: “Finish Strong” by Dan Green. That book/DVD alone will a great investment in your attitude.

2)   Sharpen Your Sales Skills. Let’s face it – there is no room for error in today’s economy.  Sloppy sales presentations, poorly qualified leads, and just plain lazy and bad habits are going to make you miserable in your job this year.  You must, and I mean must, learn, practice and use effective sales techniques that will allow you to identify buyers and then deliver effective presentations to close business.

The Top 20% will be well because they already use effective skills and spend time getting better, but the bottom 80% are going to sink like a stone.  I’d say that up to one quarter of all sales reps will lose their jobs this year because they won’t improve enough to make it in this economy.

What are YOU doing now to improve your skills each day?  Obviously there are many things that will work for you, but one of the easiest and least expensive ways to do that is to go to Amazon.com and pick up a copy of my book, “The Real Secrets of the Top 20%: How to Double Your Income Selling Over the Phone”  It’ll be the best $14 bucks you’ll send this year…

3)    Start Listening To Your Prospects. Now more than ever, it’s crucially important that you learn how to connect with your prospects and show them you really care about what they’re going through and what their needs are.  80% of your competition is going to pitch and pitch and pitch, and this is going to turn off the people they are trying to sell.  The Top 20% are going to take the time to understand the difficulties their prospects and clients are going through and they’re going to find ways to help them.  And it all begins with listening.

People are going to buy from people they like, know and trust, and the best way to build this rapport is by asking questions and actually listening to their answers.  I’ve written many articles on listening skills, so just Google for them, or, again, invest in my book and read about the techniques I teach there.  But whatever you do, you must begin showing your prospects you care, and best way to do that is by listening.

So there you have it!  Three simple things you can do that will guarantee you success in 2009.  Just remember, 80% of your competition won’t do these things, but if you will, you will smoke them in sales.  In fact, you will become a Top 20% producer, and I’ll bet that will make your 2010 successful, won’t it?

So commit to yourself today and start implementing these three techniques.  Believe me, this time next year, you’ll be glad you did!

How to Handle Incoming Leads

I get many requests each week from readers who want to know how they should deal with incoming “warm” leads.  “These leads are more qualified because they are calling in,” I hear over and over.  But we all know this isn’t necessarily true is it?  In fact this attitude leads to the biggest mistake 80% of your competition is making when they receive warm leads —

“They go into pitch mode rather than qualification mode.”
80% of your competition mistake the “implied interest” of a call in to mean they are already qualified, and all they need to do is explain their product or service.  Wrong!

The Top 20%, on the other hand, know that warm leads can be some of the biggest time wasters of all, so they do what they always do — disqualify people who are “just looking” so that they can identify the real buyers, and they do this by asking questions rather than pitching.

Here are some great questions to ask the next time you get a warm lead:

“Thank you for contacting us today, what was it about our ad/promotion/website that caused you to call us today?” [Listen for the buying motive]

“Who else are you looking into?” [Listen for your competition]

“What do you like best so far?”

“How long have you been thinking about (buying, investing, changing) something like this?”  Then,

“What has kept you from acting on this?” [Listen for possible objections]

“When are you looking to make a decision on this?”
You see how this goes.  Just remember, to be a Top 20% producer, you have to begin finding buyers — whatever the lead source.  So stop pitching and start qualifying!  Remember, it’s still up to you to find and separate the buyers from the non-buyers.

What are your thoughts on warm leads?  Leave us a comment below.

Questions to Help Open Up the Sale

Have you ever been in a closing situation that seems to have stalled, where your prospect isn’t really objecting, but they sure aren’t going where you want them to go? Sometimes during a close you’ll find it necessary to sort of re-open the close, to keep your prospect talking, and to find out exactly what is on their mind.

This is especially true when you’re not sure how to respond to an objection or to how your prospect or client feels about a specific point or feature.  It is times like these that you need to just ask a question and let your prospect tell you which direction you need to go in, or how you should respond.

Use the following questions to help open your prospect up and to get them to reveal where they really stand, and what you need to do to close the sale:

“I can tell that’s important to you; why does it mean so much?”

“Let me see if I have this right.  You (restate what they said), right?  What would have to change for this to work for you then?”

“Do I have that right?”

“What else do I need to know to understand how this affects your operation?”

“How would you react if I told you we could handle that and give you this?”

“Can you give me more detail on that?”

“What is your perspective on this?”

“And what has led you to feel that way?”

“What is your experience with this (solution)?”

“When was the last time you tried this?”

“What would have made it work better for you?”

“If you went ahead with this, what would be the worse thing that could happen?”

“I hear you saying X, but I’m also hearing something else.  Could you elaborate on that please?”

“And if you didn’t move on this solution today, how are you going to change your results and get more (leads, sales, production, etc.)?”

“Do you see how this (your solution) has been designed to fix your exact problem?”

“How is this sounding so far?”

“I see where you’re coming from.  How did you arrive at that?”

“What leads you to believe that?”

By using these questions, your prospect will be forced to open up and in doing so give you the opportunity to re-open the conversation and the sale.

Did you find  this article interesting?  Do you have anything to add?  Let me know by leaving a comment below.

How to Overcome the “I Need to Think about it / Need to Wait until Next Week/Month / I’ll Get Back to You” Objection

One of the oldest and most used smokescreens in the book is the, “I need to think about it” objection. So many sales reps struggle with this one because they think the prospect isn’t saying no, and so they don’t know how to respond to it.

Unfortunately, what many of you have found out is that your prospect actually is saying no – they’re just saying it in a way that makes it difficult for you to handle it. Well that will end for you today. By using the scripts below, you’ll see if you’re prospect really does need to think about it, or if he/she is blowing you off. Believe me, you want to know now so you can save yourself weeks of chasing and begging a deal that will never close.

Response #1:
“_________, whenever I tell someone I need to think about it, I usually mean one of three things: 1 – I’m not going to be a deal for whatever reason and I just want to get them off the phone, 2 – I kind of like the idea but I’m going to have to find the money or talk to my partner, or something else is holding me back, and 3 – I really like the idea and I just have to move something around before I say yes.

Be honest with me; which one of those things is it for you right now?”

Response #2:
“__________, I may have given you too much information on the warranty (or pick another part of your product or service here), is that what you need to think about?”
(Now use your mute button and let them tell you what they are going to really think about)

Response #3:
“You know _________, if this isn’t for you, I’d rather have a no right now – believe me, you won’t hurt my feelings. Is that where you’re leaning right now?
(It is always better to get this objection out of them early.)

Response #4:

“__________, let’s face it – you’ve already been thinking about this for a long time. You know you have to make a change or nothing else will change with (your operating system, your results, etc.). Thinking about it more won’t fix things for you – only making a decision will. You like this; you’ve already told me it would work for you. So let’s do this – go ahead and put me/this solution to work for you now and if you change your mind later you will still get the benefit that you’ve acknowledged you need. Here’s what we need to do to get you started…”

Response #5:
“__________, the only thing more costly than making a bad decision is not making one at all. If you don’t change things then things won’t get better for you. Now, you’ve already admitted that this has the best chance to make a positive impact in your production, right?

Then do what my other clients do and put me and my company to work for you. Once you see the positive results we both know are possible here, you’ll be back to expand our coverage for you. And that’s going to be a win/win for us both, isn’t it?

Then here’s what we need to do…”

Response #6:
“___________, since we both agree this has a great chance to work for you, let me do this. While we’re on the phone right now, I’m going to email you three customer testimonials – companies just like yours who were hesitant as well – and when you read about how successful they were with us, I’ll put together an introductory offer that you won’t be able to pass up. Once you see for yourself how this works, then we can talk about further involvement, is that fair?”

Response #7:

“__________, what I’m hearing from you is essentially a no – and that’s alright. As a sales rep, I hear that all the time and it doesn’t bother me. It just means I haven’t yet explained the value proposition right. Tell me, what would it take to convince you that this would be a good idea to move forward with – and please be honest with me.”

These scripts were taken from my Brand New Book of Phone Scripts due out in about 6 weeks. These are seven out of ten in the book (there are 20+ NEW scripts on how to handle the money objection alone! You’ll want to pick up a copy as soon as it’s released, so stand by…)

In the meantime, enjoy these and send me an email, or leave a comment below and let me know how they work for you!!

How to Overcome the Fear of Cold Calling

If I told you I had an easy way for you to overcome your fear of cold calling, would you be interested?  If I told you I had a guaranteed way for you to actually enjoy prospecting, be more confident doing so, and be more successful at it, would you be willing to try it?  Well, read on because I do…

Let’s start at the beginning.  The fear of cold calling, like all fears, is mostly in our heads. It starts with dread, builds to anxiety, and soon we’re frozen with fear.  The phone becomes a 200 pound weight, we find a million other things to do, and we pray for 5 o’clock.  Sound familiar?

And then if we actually get the courage to begin calling, as soon as we get screened out or blown off, we’re ready to quit until the next day.  If any of this sounds familiar, then you’re not alone – it happens to every sales rep who has to pick up the phone to make a sales call (including, at times, yours truly!).

Ok, now here’s the solution:  Because all fears are in our heads, the solution starts there as well. Let me ask you – have you ever been on a roll, felt really confident and were making calls like a pro?  Perhaps after a really big deal, or after a couple of really receptive calls, I’ll bet you know how easy it can be to pick up the phone and talk with prospects.

The key is to be able to “get into that zone” on a consistent basis.  And here’s how:

I’ve discovered a company that produces high quality, guaranteed hypnosis sessions on MP3 downloads (or CD’s), that literally change the way you think.  For just $12 (that’s $12 dollars!!) you can get an hour long hypnosis session specifically designed to turn you into a cold calling expert.  Immediately after listening to this powerful, 60-minute hypnosis recording, you’ll experience a totally affirmative internal alteration that will literally amaze you – Guaranteed!

And it’s 100% risk-free too!  If you’re not incredibly astounded by the spectacular results, they will refund your order within 90 days!

The sales rep who told me about this reported that after listening to this just two times, his experience with cold calling completely changed!  He was immediately confident, had no fear, and had the best day of conversations he’d ever had working on the phone.  In Just TWO sessions!

He tells me now that he actually enjoys making calls!  It has changed his career.

I don’t know about you, but I use affirmations and meditation CD’s all the time to help me change my internal self-talk, and I can tell you this kind of technology has changed my entire life.  If you have experience with this, then you also know it works.

If you’re interested in changing the way you feel about cold calling, then I urge you to check this out.  They have topics that cover almost every area of life – you’ll probably find many areas you’ll want to explore – but click here and when you get to their website, just scroll down to the business section and you’ll see the “Cold Calling Expert” MP3 (also available in CD, too) I’m talking about.

Think about it:  Would you invest $12 bucks and a couple of hours to overcome your fear of cold calling and become an expert at it?  If I told you that this would work, guaranteed, wouldn’t you at least be willing to try it?   You have nothing to lose except your fear and failure at cold calling!

The Only Qualifying Question You Really Need

I always tell sales reps that your client or prospect has all the answers as to why they will or why they won’t buy, and that it’s your job to find that information out. You do this by asking the right qualifying questions, by layering those questions, by qualifying any red flags you get and by actually listening to the answers you’re given.

While this may sound basic and simple enough, you’d be amazed by how many sales reps still don’t do this correctly. There are a ton of reasons why, but in order to simplify the entire process, I’m going to give you the one question that will get your prospect to tell you exactly what they are looking for (and what they’re not looking for as well). And here it is:

During the course of your qualifying, simply ask your prospect, “_________, if you could wave a magic wand right now and fix (or get) three things that would help your (sales process, bottom line, productivity – whatever is appropriate for your prospect), what would you wish for?”

Now shut up and listen. You will be amazed by what comes next. My experience is that my prospect immediately begins telling me exactly what they are looking for. As I listen carefully, I’m asking myself if my services can actually help them, or if they have issues that are outside of my range of services – like more procedural or accounting/process based.

If they are telling me something that I know I can’t help them with, then I know they are not going to be a buyer. If this is the case, I try to find them a resource and move on.

If, however, they tell me things that I know I can help them with, then, after waiting until they are completely done, I will then give them the good news:

“__________ I’m glad you shared that with me, and I’ve got some great news for you. The Top 20% customized training program we’re talking about addresses those wishes perfectly and let me tell you why.  First of all….”

I then go over, point by point, exactly how my training matches up with their expressed needs/desires, and I specifically use their exact wording back to them as much as I can (I was taking notes as they spoke!).

This technique works especially well in today’s economy because it gets your prospect to open up and start talking. And, of course, it gets them to reveal why they will or won’t be a deal for your product or service.

How To Overcome the Smokescreen Objection

Have you ever answered an objection from a prospect only to be given another one that was completely unrelated to the first one? And then after you battled your way through that one, you got another, then another?

If you’ve been in sales any length of time then I’m sure you have. And if you still don’t know how to handle and even avoid that, then I know you’re hating life – until now! That’s because I’m going to teach you a simple technique that will enable you to avoid that common trap 80% of your competition fall into.  And here’s what you do:

STOP ANSWERING OBJECTIONS!

I know that may sound absurd at first, so let me explain.  When someone gives you an objection, they are almost always hiding the REAL reason they aren’t moving forward with you. For example, if they tell you the price is too high what they often really mean is that they can get it cheaper with their current supplier, or they aren’t really in the market right now and they’re just shopping around for next quarter, or they have already decided who they’re going to use and they just needed 5 RFP’s to comply with their process.

Answering the price objection at this point means that you are just falling for their smokescreen which is why you get another objection, and then another.  If you’re sick and tired of losing control of the sale and you want to know if your prospect is real or not, then you must Question and Isolate objections you get BEFORE you answer them.

Here’s how you do it:

If your prospect tells you your price is too high, simply ask:

“I understand ___________, and let me ask you – if our price was right where you were comfortable spending, would you place your order with me today?”

Any answer other than yes means that price is not the objection.  Answering it will get you nowhere.  If, however, they say yes, then you get to negotiate on the price and find a way to close the deal.

Questioning and isolating objections is the only way you’re going to avoid smokescreens and close more sales.  It’s a Top 20% technique, and once you begin using it you’ll be amazed at what your prospects tell you.  For starters, they will reveal their real objections, and you’ll know immediately whether or not you can close the sale.

Don’t Answer Objections, Isolate Them!

Most sales reps hate getting objections.  Their hearts sink into their stomachs, their palms start to sweat, and they start wondering how they’re going to pay the rent.  Sound familiar?

When sales reps ask me how they should handle objections, they are often surprised by my answer.  I tell them they should never answer objections.  When they look at me like I’m crazy, I explain:

“Objections are often stalls or smokescreens hiding other objections that your prospect doesn’t want to disclose.  As soon as you begin answering objections, have you ever found that they have another and yet another?”

“Oh, yeah,” they say.  So here’s what you should do:

Instead of answering an objection you must first isolate and question it. Let’s take two of the most common ones – “Your price is too high,” and “I need to speak with, talk to…”

If your client says, “Your prices too high,” you should respond with:

“I can understand that, and let me ask you a question — if this price was exactly what you were willing to pay, is this (your product/service, etc.) the solution you would go with today?”

Now that you’ve isolated the objection you will see if price really is the only objection.  Any answer other than ‘yes’ and price isn’t what is stopping your prospect form moving forward (which means you have more work to do to find out what is!)

Same thing with the “I’ve got to speak to, talk this over with….” objection.  You should say:

“I can totally understand that, prospect’s name, and let me ask you — if you did speak with _______ and they said whatever you thought was fine with them, would you go with this today?”

Again, any answer other than ‘yes’ and that objection is just a stall.  Answering it will get you nowhere.

Do you see how this works?  The whole point of questioning and isolating the objection first is to uncover what is really holding your prospect back.

And until you find that out, there will be no deal.

So stop answering objections and start isolating them.  You will become a much stronger closer, and you’ll begin making more sales.  Kind of like the Top 20% do!