Monthly Archives: August 2011

Are You Managing the Right Activities that Drive Sales?

If you’re in inside sales management, then you know all about metrics.  In fact, whenever I consult with new clients the owners and managers automatically begin showing me their call monitoring reports.  They show me metrics on how many calls a rep is making, how much average time each rep spends on the phone, what their conversion rate is, and on and on.

When they ask me what I think, I tell them I think they’re measuring the wrong things.  Now don’t get me wrong – those things are important and they should be monitored.  The problem though is that those metrics are not what drive sales.

You see, it isn’t the activity around the sale that’s important (and that everyone measures), but rather, it’s the activity during the sale that matters.

In other words, as a manager you need to know exactly what and how your reps are responding and dealing with their prospects and clients while the sale is going on.

There are two times to monitor and coach this:

1)      You can either monitor your reps while they’re actually on the phone with a prospect or client, or:

2)      You can record the call and spend time reviewing and coaching your rep as you go over their performance.

Both of these methods will give you the most important information of all: Are your reps using the best practice approaches to successfully handle the sales situations they run into 80% of the time when trying to sell your product or service?

You see, if your reps either don’t know how to best handle these sales situations, or if they simply aren’t using effective techniques and skills, or worse, if they just don’t have the talent or willingness to consistently use proven best practices, then it doesn’t matter how much time they spend on calls, or how many calls they make or how many leads they get out.

Again, it’s how they perform during a sales call that matters most.  And your number one goal as a manager is to know how each of your reps perform while in the sale, and then to teach them the most effective, best practice techniques to win more sales.

Once you’ve given your team the skills and techniques to succeed in your selling environment, and you’ve trained them thoroughly on them, then managing simply becomes a job of coaching adherence to these best practices (see numbers one and two above).

Again, it isn’t the activity around the sale that’s important, but rather, it’s the activity during the sale that matters.

Just Send Your Information Rebuttal

Best Way to Handle the “Email me your information” Blow off

How do you currently handle the brush off, “Just email me – or send – me your information”?  Believe it or not, about 80% of sales teams I speak with actually shoot off an email, schedule a follow up call, put the company in their pipeline and then begin the frustrating process of chasing unqualified leads.

If you’re doing this as well, then I don’t have to tell you what it’s like trying to get back to these leads.  Want a better way?

I was having a conversation with a director of sales the other day, Kevin Gaither, and he told me that his team has come up with a great response that helps them qualify past this blow off objection.  Here’s what they say:

“I’d be happy to email you our information.  (Prospect’s name) I have a 64 page PDF file that I can email you, but do you mind if I ask you just a couple of quick questions so I can only send you that part that you’d be most interested in?”

Brilliant response, huh?  Now I can already hear some of you – “But I don’t have a 64-page PDF….”  Well, how about adjusting this response to what you DO have?  How about:

““I’d be happy to email you our information.  (Prospect’s name) I have a variety of brochures/price lists/product catalogues/programs I can email you, but do you mind if I ask you just a couple of quick questions so I can only send you that part/the specific information/the right price list that you’d be most interested in?”

What I like about this response is it immediately calls their bluff.  If they are just trying to blow you off, then they will not cooperate here and will tell you again to just email your information – which you won’t do.  It’s better to set another time for the call (for when they do have 5 minutes to discuss this with you).

On the other hand, if they are even slightly real, then they will allow you to ask a couple of qualifying questions and you’ll be able to see if they would be a right fit for your product or service.  Either way, you win.

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Summer Sales Slow? Five Things to do NOW!

I don’t know about you, but two days before July the 4th business slowed down and then after the holiday, it seemed to stop!  We do have business, of course – very much like you – but the pace of business, the new leads and the urgency of the first half of the year seem gone…

What happened??

Summer happened, that’s what.  As I speak to clients and colleagues (who aren’t on their family vacations) they tell me the same thing – many of their bosses, co-workers, suppliers or business partners are either on vacation, just coming back from a vacation, or just about to take a vacation.

In fact, many people I know are taking as much as three to four weeks off!  (I just spoke with a potential coaching client, and when I asked him when he was thinking of starting our coaching relationship, he told me it would be after his month long vacation in August.  He and his wife will be back right before Labor Day.

So there you have it.  Business is seasonal.  Kids get out of school.  The weather changes.  People have worked hard and are now ready to take some time off.  Business changes and people seem to relax.

Does this mean companies aren’t buying or planning for the fall?  Of course not.  It just means that they are going to begin doing things on their time table, not yours.

So here’s what you can do to not only make sales now, but also set yourself up for the best finish of any year you’ve ever had:

1)      Don’t let up.  Keep working hard – if not harder.  Make more calls.  Send more emails, stay later and come in earlier.  The time you put in now may not seem to pay off right away, but in the fall you’ll see the fruits of your labor.

It reminds me of the “dog days of summer” in NFL training camps.  I still remember what Bill Parcells told his players in late December when they were about to begin a drive that would determine whether they got into the playoffs or not.  He looked at his exhausted linemen and said: “This is why you lift all those damn weights!”

The effort you put in now will make the difference at the end of this year…

2)      Connect with established clients.  This is the perfect time to send a card, to make a call, and to talk with clients about things other than business.  For example, where are they going for summer vacation?

Face it, if things are slow for you, they are probably slow in their business as well.  How about asking what they are doing to deal with this period and what they are doing to get ready for the fall.  And how about asking how you can help them do that?   Set yourself to work with them when they’ll be ready…

3)      Work on improving your skill set, new product development or other part of your business that will make a difference in the second half of the year.  If any of you have thought about developing a greeting card campaign to stay in front of your customers and prospects, this is the perfect time to do it!

Some of you know that I use Send Out Cards to keep in front of my clients and prospects, and did you know that you can now use that same system without a sign up fee?  Click Here to find out how.  Just use this number to try this system out for free: 83661

Why not design a card with a picture of yourself and family on YOUR vacation and send it to all your clients and prospects.  That’ll give you something to talk about.

4)      Make goals for September through December and develop a plan of action to accomplish them.  Develop an affirmation card and goal sheet of what you’re going to earn, what it’s going to feel like over the holidays to have accomplished it and begin smiling each day as you feel the feelings of having done it.

Remember, “Fear Pushes, but Vision Pulls.”  Use this time to create a compelling vision of the rest of the year for yourself and let that vision pull you through the summer…

5)      Feed your mind a positive diet.  This is the time to feed your mind every single day (and many times in the day as well).  My favorite book to re-read during each summer is: “Beyond Positive Thinking” by Dr. Robert Anthony.  You can get it on Amazon.com

I’ll bet you have your own list of positive reading material you’d like to finally read.  Pick one book tonight, put it on your desk and commit to reading it before Labor Day.  That alone will make a huge difference for you.

The most important thing to remember during the summer is that “This too shall pass.”  If business has slowed down, that will change.  And if you take advantage of any of the five suggestions above, you’ll be the most prepared to prosper when it does…

If you found this article helpful, then you will love Mike’s bestselling book on what it takes to become a Top 20% producer: “The REAL Secrets of the Top 20% – How To Double Your Income Selling Over the Phone.”  (Recommended by Jeffrey Gitomer!)  Get a Special Offer and read about it by clicking here: http://www.mrinsidesales.com/secrets_and_CD.htm

Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales, works with business owners and inside sales reps nationwide teaching them the skills, strategies and techniques of top 20% performance.

He offers a FREE audio program designed to help you double your income selling over the phone, as well as an internationally acclaimed FREE Ezine. If you’re looking to catapult your sales, or create a sales team that actually makes their monthly revenues, then learn how by visiting: http://www.MrInsideSales.com

Secret to Success? Focus on What You Want – Not What You Don’t Want!

Want to know a little secret?  One of the most powerful techniques you can use to ensure your immediate and continued success is to stay focused on what you want – and all aspects of that – and not to give in to worry, doubt, or to the temporary circumstances that might be happening right now in your life.  I know this sounds simple, but most people find it extremely hard to put into practice.

To start with, while everyone understands the importance of goal setting, and many of you may even have goals now, what usually happens after the excitement wears off is that reality settles in.  You may have a goal to earn a certain amount of money, or drive a different type of car, etc, but after you receive a few checks that seem to be about the same, or after you get back into your old car for a few months, have you ever found that you forget about your goal and just start accepting that things are probably going to remain the same?

Or have you ever attended a motivational seminar or read a motivational book and been fired up for a while?  Have you even taken some of the advice and written down your new goals or even taken some action on trying a new marketing plan or diet?  If you have, then you’ve probably experienced the kind of let down that comes from not making progress fast enough and of laying in bed at night worrying about your income or about your future.

In fact, let me ask you right now: “How much of your thinking is about what you don’t want to have happen or about what might happen if something you’re trying to accomplish doesn’t work out?”

The answer to that one question will always determine your ultimate success.  You see, the secret to all success is to be able to stay focused on exactly what you want regardless of how long it takes, or what else is currently happening, or what temporary obstacles might be in your way.  It is this single ability to stay focused, committed and always trained on the end result you want – no matter what – that will enable you to ultimately achieve any goal you can set.

So how do you stay focused on what it is you want when so much seems to be to the contrary, or your mind constantly says, “Yes, but….”?  Here are some tips that help me, and they might help you as well.

I remember when I wanted to upgrade my Nissan Hatchback to a Mercedes.  Well, at first I couldn’t afford the down payment, didn’t know how I was going to make the monthly payments, insurance, etc.  Instead of trying to figure all that out, I started with the thought, “If other reps in the office drive nice cars and they seem to be able to write enough business to afford them, why not me?”

That basic belief was the core driving thought that I always went back to when I had a bad sales day, or week.  Whenever my mind started to go negative on me with the, “Who are you kidding?  You a Mercedes?”  And so forth, I would always reaffirm what I could believe in – “If others could do it, I could do it too!”

After that, I strengthened my vision by going to a Mercedes dealership and test driving the car I wanted; I had the sales rep at the dealership take pictures of me next to my ideal car (in fact you can see that exact picture by clicking here and scrolling down a bit), and I brought all the brochures home that I could and kept them on my desk and looked at them often.  And then I wrote up an affirmation card and spent three to five times a day slowly visualizing how I felt now that I owned that car.

That combination – always combating any negative thoughts with a thought I could believe in – “If others could do it, I could as well” – along with constantly feeding myself the feelings of having accomplished my goal, enabled me to stay focused on what I wanted, rather than on what I didn’t have.

The result?  Four months after writing up my affirmation card and making the commitment to own the car of my dreams, I went back to the same dealership and bought the exact car I had been visualizing about.  You see, the manager drove that car and it was still available when I was ready to buy.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so!

So my question to you is this: What do you want, and what belief can you buy into that can become your default belief that will counteract any negative thinking?  And then what kinds of reinforcement tools can you surround yourself with that will keep you dreaming about how you’ll feel once you attain your goal?  These, coupled with an affirmation statement that you visualize several times a day, will keep you focused on what you want.

And once you do that, your goal will always become a reality…

What to Do When Asked Your Price

I get emails all the time and it’s great because I get real insight into what reps face day in and day out – and how they are dealing with it.  The email below is a perfect example of this.  I’m sure this rep isn’t alone in facing this kind of selling situation.  Read his email below and ask yourself how you handle it when a prospect asks you for your price:

Hello Mike,

I’ve listened to your CD set many times. You opened my eyes to disqualifying prospects. You’re right, “You can’t close unqualified leads.”

I sell life insurance and on occasion I will have someone ask me, “How much would an insurance policy cost me say for $25,000?” If I just tell them how much it costs then I usually lose the sale and it ends there.

After listening to your CD’s I think I shouldn’t be giving out the price. What would you say if someone asked you this question?

Thank you Mike

Rino R.

Canada

Rino, that’s a great question, and you’re right – you shouldn’t just give a price.  If you do, you’re giving away all control and leverage of the sale.  Here’s what you should do instead.  Just say,

“It depends.”

After that, it’s your turn to qualify and then decide, based on their answers, whether to give out a price or not.  You may want to follow that up with questions like:

“When are you looking to put a policy like this into effect?”

“Would you want to combine this with another policy?”

“How about your wife?  Does she have a policy?”

“What have you been quoted on this kind of a policy in the past?”

“Why didn’t you go with it?”

“What are you waiting for?”

“What is your price range on this?”

“What is your budget?”

“If I could get you a price that would fit your budget today, is this something you’d seriously like me to pursue for you?”

You get the idea.  Before you give your price, you must qualify for interest.

Now, if your prospect is just shopping and you get the feeling he/she isn’t serious about it now, then after you ask these questions and determine they aren’t ready, then instead of giving a price you should say:

“Well, as I said, it really depends on when you’re ready to buy the policy.  I’d give you a range of anywhere from $75 – $100 per month.  Tell you what, when you’re ready to look at some definite numbers, could I be the first person you call?”

And then get their contact info, any other buying information, and move on…

That’s the way to handle any inquiry into the price of your product or service.

Thanks, Rino, for your email and all the best!

If you found this article helpful, then you’ll love Mike’s NEW book of phone scripts, “The Ultimate Book of Phone Scripts.”  Get over 220 Brand New Scripts to help you easily get past the gatekeeper, set appointments, overcome objections and close more sales. Visit:  http://www.mrinsidesales.com/booklaunch.htm and get over $400 of FREE Sales Bonuses by Jeffrey Gitomer, Tom Hopkins and more!!

Do you have an underperforming inside sales team?  Talk to Mike to see how he can help you and your team reach your revenue goals.  To learn more about Mike, visit his website: http://www.MrInsideSales.com