Monthly Archives: April 2016

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!