Monthly Archives: August 2016

How to Get Your Voice Mails Returned

When voice mail first came out, it was the hottest thing in business. Everyone anxiously checked and even responded to their voice mail no matter who was calling. It was a beautiful thing…

After a while though, prospects stopped returning voice mail and turned their attention to email. And then that pretty much dried up, too.

Today, sales reps are asking if it’s even worth it to leave a voice mail, and I’m here to tell you that you CAN get effective results from voice mails IF you follow a few proven rules.

[Register Now for Mike’s All New Webinar: “5 Proven Techniques That Get Your Calls Returned” this Thursday, September 15th, at Noon Pacific / 3PM Eastern]

There are two strategies that will set your voice mails apart and give them the best chance of being returned. The first is to combine a set number of voice mails with a set number of dedicated emails to form a “touch point” plan that keeps you in front of a prospect for a specific length of time.

Studies have shown that repeated attempts to reach new contacts is crucial in not only creating a brand awareness, but also in increasing the odds of that prospect reaching back out to you. In addition, by making repeated attempts and leaving your contact information, you create a familiarity with that prospect so when you do finally connect, the conversation is more “warm” than “cold.” How long should this touch point plan or campaign be? Studies differ, but the best strategy tends to run from 22 days to a month.

When you compare that to how many messages – both voice mails and emails – you may be sending out now, your low contact rates may be the direct result of not enough attempts to contact your prospects. If you’re interested in learning exactly how to develop that touch point plan, make sure and sign up to my ezine as I’ll be publishing an article on how to do just that in the next week.

The other strategy is to leave a carefully crafted stand alone voice mail that follows some specific rules. I will be covering what those specific rules are in my upcoming Webinar, “5 Proven Techniques That Get Your Calls Returned” on Thursday (Register Here). Here are some of the important points and what we’ll cover in the Webinar:

1) First you need to know whether you should even leave a voice mail or not? Believe it or not, there are some best practices regarding this…
2) The next thing you need to do is use a script and stop with the um’s and uh’s. Furthermore, the right script will ensure that your voice mail is compelling. “What’s in it for them, etc.? Whatever you do, don’t say.
3) Stop making the one mistake 99% of people make that almost guarantee that a voice mail is not returned. In our free webinar, you’ll find out what that is!
4) Make sure and use the one technique that will motivate your prospect to pick up the phone and call you.
5) Sometimes leaving a voice mail might NOT be a good idea. You should make sure you’re familiar with the alternatives…

If you want to know the 5 Proven Techniques That Get Your Calls Returned, then… Register Now for Mike’s All New Webinar: “5 Proven Techniques That Get Your Calls Returned” this Thursday, September 15th, at Noon Pacific / 3PM Eastern.

The Proper Way to Set a Call Back

Not all sales close on the first – or even second or third, etc. – closing call. Because of that, it’s often necessary to set a call back to continue the conversation. Like most parts of a sale, the call back is one of those recurring situations that you, or your sales team, will find yourself in countless times a day or week.

Because of this, it’s important that you develop and then script out a best practice approach to handle it effectively. Unfortunately, many sales reps have never given the call back (or very many other parts of their sale) much thought. Instead, they adlib it and so develop ineffective and bad habits.

Some of these include:

“Ah, when should I follow up with you?”

This is obviously a weak set up and gives all control of the call – and the ensuing sales cycle – over to the prospect. As strange as it may sound, this is how over 50% of sales reps handle the call back.

Another ineffective approach:

“When will you be speaking with ________? O.K., would it be alright if I followed up after that?”

Again, this is a weak approach and gives all control to the prospect.

While there are some instances when you need to find out what the next step is, (i.e. talking to a partner, meeting with a committee, etc.), what’s important is that you, the sales rep, take control of the call back timeframe AND get commitment from your prospect.

Here are some examples of the proper way to set a call back:

“__________, in terms of talking to your partner, what time today can you do that?”

Sometimes it’s better to assume they can and will be speaking with the other person that same day. This works best in a small company or in a business to consumer sale. If you know it’s going to be later in the week or another time, then change the script accordingly. Try:

“__________, when is the soonest you’ll be speaking with them?”

By doing it the first way, you’ll either be setting or confirming the time frame and controlling the call back. If they can’t do it that day, then they’ll come back with a more definite day and time and that will keep you in tighter control of the sales cycle. After they let you know, say:

“O.K., great. I’m looking at my calendar for that day – what’s better for you on that Tuesday – morning or afternoon?”

Now you’re locking down not only the day, but also the time. You’re getting them involved and having them check their schedule. Once again, YOU are controlling the call back, and by doing it this way you’re not letting a lot of time pass between when they speak to their partner and when you next speak again.

If there are a lot of decision makers involved, or if it’s going to be a longer process, then you should schedule a “progress call” to access their level of interest and to keep yourself in the loop.

Try:

“I understand you’ve got several people involved in this and that you’re talking to other vendors. Here’s what I’d suggest: since you’re likely to have some questions come up between our next call, how about I reach out to you in (one week; two weeks, whatever is appropriate) just to see if there is anything I can answer for you.

“I’ve got my calendar in front of me – how does (suggest a day and time) look for you?”

Once again, you are driving the sales cycle and the call back. This is crucial to keep you top of mind and to allow you to head off any problems that might come up during the decision process.

And another:

“I’ll go ahead and send you the information we just talked about, and then I’ll schedule you for a call back next Tuesday. Do you have your calendar handy?”

Noticing a trend? Once again, I’m in control of the call back time frame. And don’t worry – if that’s not O.K. with them, they’ll suggest another day/time that is. Setting a call back like this keeps the sale moving forward and keeps them from “falling through the cracks.”

Now what happens if they want to call you back and won’t allow you to set the call back? Two things: One is that this isn’t a good sign. It means they want to control the sales cycle (which is never good), and, number two, it can also mean there is an objection that is standing in the way of the sale.

When this happens, you should try to move the call back date out just a little further and still try to control when you get to call back. Try:

“I understand. What’s the timeline for this?”

Qualify for timeline first. Then:

“Tell you what: If I don’t hear from you in the next (30 days – whatever is appropriate), then I’ll get in touch with you to see if there are any questions. What do you prefer, mornings or afternoons?”

Once again, you’re in control of the call back, and you’ve got a definite time frame and time of day to call back.

The bottom line with the call back call is to keep control of when it happens. Never leave it up to your prospect. Try to lock down the soonest date after any “event” that is going to happen, like them speaking to a partner, etc. Next, get them involved by having them check their calendar and identify a time of day. Try to get their buy in on that day.

By getting better at directing the sales cycle, you’ll get closer to making deals happen. Make it a point to get good at this – and all other – parts of the sale. As you do, you’ll move closer to becoming a top producer in your company and then in your industry.

Top Characteristic Part Ten: Invest Daily in Your Attitude

Now that you have resigned from the company club, you can use that time and energy to do the one thing that will have the most impact on your performance and your life: Find ways to build up your attitude on daily basis.

Before we get in to some ways to do that, let me emphasize the importance of investing time and energy every day to improving, strengthening and elevating your attitude. The “every day” part is the key. Think about it:

How many times a day do you eat? If you’re like most people, then you probably eat three times a day and have some snacks in between. Now let me ask you: If you skipped breakfast, how would you be feeling by, say, 11am? Cranky? Hungry? Unable to concentrate much?

How about if you also skipped lunch that day? How would you be feeling around, say, 3:30pm? Would you be ready for that big presentation? Or that meeting with your sales manager or boss?

O.K., now let’s say you got home by 6pm and you didn’t eat anything all day. How would you be around your wife and kids? (Or roommate or girl/boyfriend?) Would you want to be around you?

Now imagine going two days without food. Try three. I think we could all agree you’d be pretty much worthless by then (if not way before!).

The reason I bring this up is that your mind, your attitude, needs feeding just like your body does. If you don’t make a concerted effort to feed it regularly, then it, too, will get sluggish and worthless. If you don’t spend active time feeding your mind, feeding your attitude positive material, then you will be more susceptible to negativity, more susceptible to members of the club, and each time you have a bad outcome – client doesn’t reload, new prospect doesn’t buy, you don’t make your lead numbers – you’ll get more and more discouraged.

And if you let that happen, then you’ll begin searching for reasons why you won’t succeed. And if you let that continue, you’ll find them or you’ll make them up…

Top producers always spend time consciously feeding their minds positive stories and positive examples and cultivating a “can do,” positive attitude. They spend time taking in other positive thinker’s ideas and strategies, and they purposefully employ those strategies in their lives. They are constantly listening to audio books, or reading (or re-reading) books on how to get better and do better. Many top performers also spend time with affirmations and visualizations along linked to purposeful and motivating goal setting.

And all this pays off. Those producers who are in the habit of developing a vision, and who dedicate themselves to achieving it – no matter what – those are the top producers, the top athletes, and other top performers who always out perform their competition.

But it all starts by making a commitment to developing, feeding and cultivating a positive, can do attitude. And the key, again, is to do this daily (several times a day, actually).

So how do you get into the habit of doing this? A good start is to find the medium that works best for you. If you are a reader, then get some books that resonate with you and commit to reading a certain amount of pages each day.

If you prefer audio books, then get those books on MP3 and listen to them on the way to and from work or when you get home, or at the gym, or when you’re walking the dog.

One resource I still work with today are subliminal recordings. Subliminal recordings are great because they speak right to your subconscious mind which runs just about everything in your life. I listen to recordings either during meditation or during relaxation sessions. I also use them to go to sleep with sometimes. A great resource for these can be found here.

Another good thing to do is to pick up a few books or audio programs on setting goals. Just listing what it is you’re going to accomplish this year (or what’s left of it) can be highly motivating by itself. As soon as you define your vision, you’ll find that you begin to automatically feel more positive and motivated. When setting goals, just remember:

Whatever you want to have or achieve is possible. Other people around the world are having and achieving the very thing that lives in your heart. If they can have it and do it, so can you! But you’ll need to work for it first. You’ll probably need to rearrange your consciousness so that it can fit a new expectation of what you believe is possible. And this is where affirmations are useful.

Affirmations are simply statements or images that you feed yourself, thoughts and emotions that you tend to dwell on all the time. Everybody uses affirmations – you’re using them right now. The problem is that most people are using the wrong affirmations and getting the things they don’t want as a result.

The reason for this is that most peoples’ random self-talk is incredibly negative. That’s where affirmations come in. Affirmations are nothing more than carefully constructed words, phrases and stories that you design in advance that support the goals you’ve identified are important for you.

There are many books on this subject, and you can easily do a search and find the one(s) that speak to you.

But affirmations are key to you feeling positive about yourself and your career, and for helping you maintain the positive attitude that will enable you to persevere and succeed.

With all of the resources above: books, CD’s/MP3’s, subliminal recordings, goal setting, affirmations, etc., you’ll be able to put together a varied and full course of “food for your attitude” that you’ll be able to munch on throughout your day.

If you’re not doing this now, or have stopped, then start today. It is amazing how just a little bit of positive energy can turn around a day, a week, month and a whole life. Remember, all top producers have a positive, can do attitude. If you don’t believe me, then get around one of them – their attitude is contagious. Yours needs to be, too.

In ending this series on the Top Ten Characteristics of Top Performers, I hope you’ve seen some ideas that resonate and that you feel will work for you. Just adopting a few of these habits will have a dramatic effect on your career in sales, and on your life in general. Hopefully you’re already using some of the characteristics, and you already know how valuable they are.

Make a commitment today to put even more of them to work for yourself. I guarantee the more you use, the better you’ll feel and the better you’ll perform.

Top Ten Characteristics of Top Sales Producers (Part Nine)

These last two parts will focus on the one characteristic that is perhaps the most important of all. You’ll find this characteristic in ALL top performers, not just in top sales producers. You’ll see it in top athletes, actors, musicians, dancers, top business people, academics, etc.

All top producers have this quality in abundant amounts, and parts nine and ten will focus on how to develop, grow, protect, and maintain it within the sales arena. And here’s what it is:

“All top producers develop and maintain a
positive, can and will do, attitude.”

Top Characteristic Part Nine: In order to develop and protect your positive attitude, the first thing you need to do is resign from the company club.

What I mean by this is that you have to stay away from the group of sales people in your office who do nothing but grumble about how bad or unfair things are in your company or about how bad the economy or industry is.

You know what and who I’m talking about. You usually find them congregating in the break room or hallway or warehouse, or they are outside smoking cigarettes or waiting for the food truck. Every company has them, and they are poison for your career and your life.

This “company club” can be made up of average sales people or a mix of under producers and unhappy managers who feel they deserve more, or even above average sales people who think they should be treated better.

They grumble and talk negatively about any and everything: The leads are bad or marketing is doing a crappy job, or the good leads are being given to the top producers only. They grumble about the product, or the pricing of the product, or the warranty or durability. They grumble about their office environment, the phone system, the computers or their desks and noise level. They grumble about the commission structure or the salary or benefits, or the bonuses they did or didn’t get.

They are lazy and set a low standard and drag everyone who will let them down to their level. Instead of focusing on solutions or on making things work, they look for reasons why a new sales campaign or lead source won’t work. They are a cancer to all companies, and they are especially deadly to you and your sales attitude.

The answer? Resign from their club.

When I was a bottom 80% producer, I used to love the club. Every morning the club would meet in the kitchen to eat the free donuts or bagels the company provided. Were we grateful and thankful for the free food and coffee? No. If they gave us bagels, where was the salmon? If they brought donuts, where were the bagels?

And once we poured our coffee and started in on the free food, we’d start in on the leads, or the industry, or the company or on how the top producers always got preferential treatment. We grumbled our way through the food, grumbled our way back to our desks, and grumbled our way through lunch.

If we missed a sale, we’d reconvene in the break room to talk about how we could never sell this stuff with all the things that were wrong with it. How in the world did they expect us to be competitive if they were going to put out such trash? And the leads! On and on we would go until it was finally time to go home. And then we’d grumble to our wives or husbands…

Everything changed, though, when I made a commitment to become a top producer. Once I had, the first thing I did was resign from the company club.

Instead of commiserating with the club, I’d arrive at the office an hour early and start cold calling or closing leads I had set up the night before. When the club finally wandered in, I usually already had a deal on the board and was going for another one. I declined invitations to go to lunch with them, and instead I ate at my desk.

When the club members came over to my desk during work hours, I didn’t stop calling to talk with them. Instead, I went right on calling and working. They soon got the hint. When they tried to engage me in the breakroom, I was pleasant but told them I had to meet my call quota and wanted to get back to work. After a while, they left me alone.

What was interesting is that I noticed that the other top producers acted the same way I now did. They were the ones who also came in early and left late. They were the ones who were more focused on working than they were chatting, and if they did want to talk, it was usually to strategize a better way of closing a deal. I almost never heard them grumble or talk bad about the company or the industry or the market.

The top producers (of which group I began a part) were more interested in finding ways to succeed and exceed quota. They didn’t mind working harder, or getting help or leveraging management’s or each other’s experience. When we spoke with each other, it was usually to challenge one another to do better. We competed in a positive way to up each other’s game. We shared resources and closing techniques.

What I found is that we had our own club, but it was lightly attended because we had work to do. On those occasions when we did get together, it was to talk about better things like what neighborhood we were moving into, or whether we liked Mercedes or BMW better, or how we were setting up our retirement accounts. These were not the kinds of subjects that were ever discussed in the company club.

What I find even now as a consultant is that all the companies I work with have a company club. When I’m onsite, I can see them gathering and chit chatting. I also see the top producers at their desks working away. I’ve found that top producers are usually loners who are always working, always looking for ways to improve. At the end of my training, the company club members thank me politely and then head off to the break room to talk about what a waste of time the training was.

The top producers, however, are in the training room picking my brain for a new technique or to discuss one of the scripts or closes I’ve developed for them. They are thirsty for information and you can see the commitment on their faces. They are top producers who are always looking for a way to up their game.

So the question for you is: Are you a part of the company club in your office? If so, then resign today and start finding ways to build your attitude rather than spending your time ripping it down. And you can begin building it up by following Top Characteristic Number Ten.