Monthly Archives: May 2017

A Kick in the Teeth May be Good for You

“You may not realize it when it happens,
but a kick in the teeth may be the best
thing in the world for you.”
– Walt Disney

When I read this quote, I immediately resonated with it. The kick in the teeth came for me when I lost one of the most important sales in my young sales career. While we never like losing a sale, sometimes when we do there can be some good that comes from it. There sure was the case for me. Here’s what happened.

I had been working as an investment broker for about two years, and I wasn’t very good at it. Sometimes I’d have a good month, and most other months were pretty bad. I was living paycheck to paycheck, and in between, I was living on my credit cards. In fact, my cards were maxed out then this occurred. I desperately needed a sale to pay my rent, and if I could close one that day, I could ask the boss for an advance so I had some spending money for the weekend.

Luckily, I had sent a prospectus to a solid client who purchased a share in every deal I sent him. And luckily again, we had a new deal that had just been released, so I Federal Expressed it to him and was anxiously looking forward to closing him. If he did his normal one unit in the new deal, I would earn $1,000 – just enough for rent money and $200 left over for the weekend.

It was a Friday, a hot day in late May, and I came into the office with a bit of a lightness in my step. I was feeling a mixture of hope, mild enthusiasm, and just a little bit of fear. Mostly, though, I was pretty sure my client would buy and that I would skate through another month of existence.

The appointed time came, and I dialed my client’s phone number and he picked right up. I told him I had been looking forward to speaking with him and asked if he had received the new program. What he said next was the kick in the teeth I hadn’t expected…

He said, “I did get it Mike, and after looking at it, I think we’re going to pass on this one. Give me a call on the next one.” Then he hung up on me.

Devastated, shocked, overwhelmed with dread, these and many other horrible emotions flooded me. I stood holding the receiver to my ear until the fast beeping came on. Slowly I hung the phone up, and my thoughts shifted to how I was going to pay the rent, put gas in my car for the weekend, etc. I was basically ruined.

I went for a long walk in the heat of the San Fernando Valley, and many things went through my mind like how did I ever get into sales to begin with; what I was going to do after I quit the job that day; what was going to be different for me at my next job; what was going to become of me….

And then another thought occurred to me. I thought that if I quit this job as a loser, then I’d just quit again if and when the going got tough at my next job. Then I started thinking of the top three producers at my present company, and thought of the nice cars they drove, the nice suits they wore, and about the houses they owned. And I realized that if they could be successful there, then I could too.

In fact, I made a commitment right then and there. I committed that I would learn and begin doing everything they were doing, and that I wouldn’t give up until I, too, had become a top producer. My mantra became: If they can do it, I can do it better. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and I committed to working harder, investing time and energy (and money) in myself, and that I was going to do any and everything I could to succeed before I gave up.

Over the course of the next 90 days, I went from last place in sales production, to first place. I literally transformed my sales performance and my life. I did it with dedication and hard work. I was the first person in the office and the last to leave. I worked nights and weekends listening to my recorded calls and made adjustments to my scripts. I copied the techniques of the top producers and visualized phenomenal results. I was driven; I was willing.

I had experienced the kick in the teeth that is good for you, as Walt said. While it felt horrible to have that client not buy from me that day, I now know that if that if he had, I would have gone on living hand to mouth. I didn’t know it then, but when he said no, it was the beginning of a new commitment and a new life.

Today, when something doesn’t go as planned, I ask myself what I can learn, and how this can be good for me.

Getting Behind the Stall Objection

Last week I was speaking with a new prospect who had called in to inquire about one of my inside sales training programs. I went over her needs, matched up my training to fit those needs, gave her pricing options and then began closing on possible dates for the training.

And that’s when I got the old stall, “Well, let me run this by my boss, and I still have to hear back from some other vendors, etc..” Sound familiar?

Now all stalls are bad, but what was even worse was that a few days later she stopped returning my calls and didn’t respond to my emails. Now I can take a hint, and I knew that she probably wasn’t going to be a deal. I’m sure you can relate, and so I want to give you an effective technique that will allow you to:

1) Open up the dialogue again.
2) Find out why your prospect isn’t going with you.
3) Get them to tell you what you might be able to do to save the sale.

It’s called the “I love to learn” technique and here’s what you do:

First, you’re going to have to be persistent and keep calling your prospect until you get them on the phone. Don’t leave any more voice mails. And once you do get them to pick up the phone, say the following:

“Hi __________, I’m glad I reached you – how have you been?”

They will likely try to brush you off here, so you say:

“That’s perfectly OK. I’ve been in sales long enough to know when we might not be a match for a company. Just a quick question, though. You know, I love to learn, and I’m always trying to improve, what specifically about our (offer, quote, product or service) didn’t seem right for you at this time?”

Now be quiet and listen.

If you do this right, your prospect will tell you what was wrong with your proposal, and this will give you a chance to adjust or adapt it to fit their needs. Will it always work? Of course not, but if there is still a chance to get a sale, this technique will show you how.

If they aren’t going to be a deal this time, then you can ask any of the following questions to set up future business:

“What might you need to see from us next time you’re in the market again?”

AND

“Do you mind if I kept in touch with you every so often?”

AND

“How about someone in another department?”

Last resort:

“Do you know of anyone else in your industry this might be a fit for?”

This worked with my prospect, and I was able to set her team up for remote training. Try it for yourself and begin finding out what’s really behind the stall and what you can do to overcome it.

The Key To Building Value

You hear it all the time — if your price is higher than your competition you’re told to “build value.” You’re instructed to stress the quality, the warranty, the features, etc. But your prospects have heard all that before, haven’t they? Want a better way?

You also hear all the time that prospects will buy from people they like, know and trust. I would add that your enthusiasm for and belief in your product or service plays a big role in getting your prospects to choose you over your competition.

Knowing this, I’ve often used the following script to not only build value in my product or service, but also to build value in myself. Below you’ll find a script you can use – but, as always, I recommend you personalize it so you feel comfortable saying it:

If your prospects says, “I can get cheaper,” or “The ‘other’ company has something similar or for less money,” or anything like that, say:

“You know _________ I’m aware of all the other options for this (product or service) and quite frankly if I thought any of them were better for my clients, I’d be working there and selling them.

“When I got into this industry I did my own research, and I looked for the best company that not only offered the best (product or service) but also delivered the best customer service and follow-up. I chose (your company) because they give my clients the best overall value and the best customer experience, and that means they continue to do business with me and refer new business to me as well.

“If there was a better product or company for you to be doing business with, I’d be there and we’d be talking about that. But there isn’t.

“Bottom line — if you want the best overall value, results and experience with this (your product or service) then do what I do did – choose (your company) – believe me, you’ll be glad you did.

“Now, do you want to start with the X size order or would the Y size order be better?”

This technique builds value in the most important part of any sales transaction — you and your belief in your product or service. Use it each time you need to build real value, and watch as prospects follow your lead.

Remember, while prospects have a choice of products and companies, they can only get you when they purchase from your company.

Why Qualifying for Timeline is Important

Okay. So I’ve been in sales longer than some of my clients have been on the planet.

I’ve made thousands and thousands of prospecting calls, and thousands and thousands of closing calls.

I teach, train, write books on phone scripts, and develop customized phone scripts and inside sales training programs for sales teams worldwide.

You’d think that I would never get tripped up by or neglect the fundamentals of sales, right?

Wrong.

Just this morning (April 28, 2017), I was on the phone with a new prospect and he was asking me about my background, my training methods, etc. We had good rapport. He was an inbound lead. We really connected and he was interested. This was a slam dunk, right?

As we got to the end of the call, I was positive I’d be getting on a plane in the next couple of weeks to work with this prospect. And that’s when I asked a qualifying question that I neglected to ask upfront: “What is your timeline for this training?” He told me, “Sometime in the Fall.”

So, after a ½ hour on the phone, this call went….nowhere. Where did I go wrong? When he asked me what my process was when working with companies, I should not have assumed he was ready to go. Instead, I should have done what I teach: Qualify.

And the first thing I should have qualified for was his urgency to make a decision. By the way, I normally do this, but because the rapport was so strong, and, again, he was a call in lead, I assumed he was all set. He wasn’t…

Here are some ways to qualify for timeline:

For an inbound call, what I should have done (and will not be skipping again!) is ask:

“First off, I generally book several months in advance, so let’s talk about when you need this training – if everything goes well during your discovery process, when is the soonest you’d like to have this training delivered to your team?”

If he then told me it was six months off (“in the Fall”), I’d have given him an abbreviated pitch, and then told him I’d circle around with him in September.

If you are prospecting to set an appointment or a demo, then the following scripts to qualify for timeline are what you use:

“If you like what you see after the demo, what would be the next steps on your side?”

OR

“If you think this solution is what you’re looking for, what would be your timeline for putting something like this to work for you?”

AND

“If after the demo this is something you’re interested in taking advantage of, could you implement this in the next couple of weeks?”

Qualifying for timeline upfront is crucial to not only closing more sales, but also to avoiding objections at the end like, “I want to think about it…”

Use any of the scripts above, or rewrite them to fit your personality, product or service.

Take my word for it: It’s MUCH better to know in advance when your prospect is thinking of buying.