Author Archives: Mr Inside Sales

Whatever You’re Thinking, Think Bigger

Whatever You’re Thinking, Think Bigger.

–Tony Hsieh, entrepreneur

You’ve probably heard the expression that “Life is a self-fulfilling prophesy.” Nowhere is that more immediately apparent than in the world of commission sales. As you look around the company or industry you work in, I’ll bet it’s true that some reps, the top producers, are making two, three or even four times more than other reps selling the exact same product or service? Have you ever asked yourself why that is?

I sure did. My moment of clarity came one day when I grew sick and tired of being sick and tired. I had just lost a big sale, and suddenly I didn’t have spending money for the weekend. As I looked around at the top three producers, I saw their expensive suites, and I saw their nice cars in the parking lot. They were selling the same thing I was, but my results were totally different. I wondered what I was doing wrong.

At that moment, I made a commitment that day to do whatever I had to do to succeed. Within 90 days I went from one of the bottom producers to the top out of 25 reps. As soon as I was handed the biggest paycheck I had ever earned, I went back to my desk and wondered just what the limit on my income could be at that job. Looking at what others had been earning for over a year, I set a new goal of income for myself – a big one.

By the end of that year, I had reached that goal. As I lay on a lounge chair in Maui, Hi (a bonus from the company!), I set an even bigger goal for income in that next year. By the end of that year, I hit it again! The following year, I had bigger income goals, but I knew I needed more opportunity, so I left that company and became a vice president of sales with a new firm. I hit my goal again. Suddenly life became very open to me.

I have learned to be a big believer in visualization and affirmations, and over the years I have proved to myself that whatever I think is possible becomes possible. But I have also learned that it can become a limit. Rarely do I exceed my goals, rather, I achieve them. And that’s why I love today’s quote. I read something similar once that has become my new mantra:

“Imagine better than the best you know.”

What I love about this quote is that whenever I finish goal setting for the year or the quarter, or the month, I ask myself: what would happen if I imagined even better? What would be even more exciting and fulfilling? What would my life be like if I accomplished something more?

And once I go beyond what I think is possible, I look for evidence of someone else achieving it. I always find examples of people or organizations who have higher goals than I do, and this always inspires me to dream bigger.

I do believe life is a self-fulfilling prophesy, and this leads me to another quote I think often about: “Most people don’t set goals to high and miss, they set them too low and hit.”

So today, I constantly challenge myself to ask “what if?” This helps me raise the limits of what I think are possible, and this allows me to keep hitting bigger and better goals.

Now granted, there are other variables at play. One of the most important is, of course, skill and technique level. Top producers consistently practice better selling habits and better sales techniques. But you can learn and practice these, too. They tend to work harder, but, again, you can do that.

They put in the time, energy and money required to perfect their craft. But the good news for everyone else, is that these techniques and habits can be learned by anyone willing to put in the same time and effort.

Years ago, I heard a sales trainer say that the great thing about sales, especially commission sales, is that you are the boss. Think about it: the company you work for pays all the bills – they pay the phone, office space, pay the support staff, get the leads, etc. All you have to do is determine the amount of money you want to make. The great thing about sales is if you want to get a raise, then you can give yourself one – close more sales.

After I applied myself and mastered the craft of sales, in other words, put in the time to learn how to make a connection, build rapport, qualify leads, handle objections and stalls, etc., I realized that there was another component to sales: the mental part. What I realized is that what separated me from big dollar producers wasn’t my skill set any longer, but rather, what I expected of myself.

Someone once said that the world (and sales) is like a vast ocean: some people go to it with a teaspoon, others a cup, and others a dump truck. How much you take out of the ocean is determined by the container you take to it. It’s the same in sales. What’s the difference between someone making a million dollar a year in commissions and someone making $5,000 a year? Their expectation level.

Think about it: If you were to take a million dollar producer from one company and put him or her in another, how do you think they would do? First, they would make sure a million dollars in commissions was possible in that job or industry, and then they would generate it. But the same is true with the $5,000 producer. Put that person in the same job or industry, and they’ll average about $5,000 in commissions. I’m sure you’ve seen this happen…

What I’ve found to be true in sales – and in life – is that you get what you expect. And the true way to get more – sales, commissions, income – is to believe it’s possible, and then truly expect it.

Pre-Order Power Phone Scripts Today!

Great news! My brand new book, published by Wiley & Sons: Power Phone Scripts: 500 Word-for-Word Questions, Phrases, and Conversations to Open and Close More Sales, is now available for pre-order!

Get Yours Today: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million

Power Phone Scripts is packed with so many new and fresh scripts and approaches you and your team will not only close more sales after reading and applying these proven techniques, you’ll also be more motivated and confident as well!

Here are just five examples of cold call rebuttals (there are five more in the book PLUS examples from the other calls (call-in and existing accounts)!

For cold calling or prospecting calls:

I’m not interested—Response #1:
“Quick question: Does that mean you’re not interested at this moment, but in a few months, things could change, and I should keep in touch?”

I’m not interested—Response #2:
“Who else at your company do you think might have a need for something like this?”

I’m not interested—Response #3:
“I’m with you—quick question though: are you the right contact for this, or is there another department (or person) I should check with?”

I’m not interested—Response #4:
“When should I check back with you?” [If given a date]

“Great. So I can be more prepared for that, quick question: are you the right contact for this?” (Then add other qualifying questions)

I’m not interested—Response #5:
“If you were to be interested, what is the typical (volume, amount, frequency, etc.) that you normally order/use/need?” [If they tell you]

“And who do you normally get that from?”

BAM! How much more successful would you and your team be if they finally had access to techniques that are fresh and actually work?

Now, imagine having over 500 more responses to help overcome other objections, get past gatekeepers, build rapport with decision makers, handle presentations and demos better, leave better voice mails, etc.?

Get Copies for your Entire Team & Get a Discount: Shop Here for multiple copy discounts and give your team the edge it needs to succeed!

Power Phone Scripts is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million

Get your summer reading NOW by Pre-Ordering today!

General Patton on Singleness of Focus

“You must be single-minded. Drive
for the one thing on which you have decided.”

–George S. Patton Jr.
U.S. Army General

I don’t know about you, but I’m a big multi-tasker. This is especially true at work. When I get in each morning, I look at my calendar of to do’s, and as soon as I get started on one task, my email beeps, and I take on something else. Next, my assistant reminds me of an article or email I need to write, so I start that as well. Then a client asks for something, and before long, I’m doing five things at once. The next thing I know, it’s 5 P.M., and I haven’t done any of my follow up calls, let alone prospecting. If you’re like many other professionals I know, you can probably relate.

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not knocking multi-tasking. In some applications, like straightening up my office or gardening, it’s great. But I learned a long time ago that in business – or any other major endeavor – having singleness of focus is crucial to being ultra-successful and accomplishing the goal that is going to give my life the most impact. And anytime I forget this, I pay for it. For example:

In my business as a consultant, I get approached by other companies and people all the time to resell or become a side vendor for their product or service. Years ago, I would divert my attention lots of times and plunge in, thinking I could develop another source of revenue for my consulting practice. Instead, what almost always happened is the moment I took my absolute focus off my core business – consulting and training – my income and the growth of my practice suffered.

A specific example of this is a company and service I love and still use called Send Out Cards. Some of you may know that it’s a direct marketing company (multi-level marketing), that creates and sends out customized greeting cards and gifts. When I was introduced to SOC, I knew at once what a great asset it would be for my business. It allowed me to create a customized campaign of cards that keeps me top of mind for prospects of my business. I signed up and started using it immediately (and still do).

When I signed up though, I also signed up as a distributor. Because I had a list of thousands of other business people who would benefit from using cards to keep them top of mind as well, it was a no-brainer that I become a reseller. So I plunged in. I spent time giving webinars every month, answered countless emails, had phone conferences and training sessions. My goal was to build a substantial downline and then sit back as thousands of dollars rolled in in residual income.

What happened was very different. As I took my attention and energy off my consulting business, my prospects dried up and my income went down. Soon, I was pulled in two different directions, and I wasn’t making much money from either of them! I realized that I needed to get back to my core business, and that I needed to put my sole focus on it. I did that, and after a few months, my prospect list was full, and I was booking lots of business again. What I learned is what General Patton is talking about in this quote: Pick one thing and focus and drive towards it. If you do, you’ll be successful at it.

I can point to countless examples of how important singleness of focus is: concentrating on school full time; committing to being a top producer when I was in sales; becoming a world class consultant/trainer in inside sales. Whenever I focus on just one thing – full time – I succeed quickly at it. Whenever I try to multi-task, however, or do two or three things at once, they all suffer, and I don’t make much progress.

I’ll end with Brian Tracy’s advice on goal setting: Make a list of ten super important goals for the next 12 months. After you have, look at that list and identify the one that, if you were to accomplish it, would have the greatest impact on your life and your future. Once you have identified it, throw the other nine away and concentrate, 100%, on the one goal that will mean the most for your life.

Just remember, multi-tasking is great for somethings, but for the big things, the life changing things, singleness of focus is the key to success.

Hard Work Pays Off: I’m So Annoyed My Father Was Right

“Hard work pays off. I am so
annoyed at my father for being
right about that.”

–Lena Dunham, actress

This quote sure struck a chord with me. I can still hear my own father telling me how important hard work was. He used to say, “There’s no substitute for hard work, Michael.” And he used to practice what he preached. He was always the first one up in the morning, around 5am, and he wouldn’t return until after 7:30pm. He would spend an hour or so chatting with my mom after dinner, and then it was time for bed.

As a young teenager, I followed his lead. I used to work the summer doing odd jobs for people, for $1.10 an hour, and when I was 16 years old, I got my first job at Jack in the Box. I saved my own money for my first car, and when I was 17 years old, I had three jobs after school and even moved into my own apartment. I worked my way through UCLA, but when I graduated and started my first inside sales job, something changed.

When I watched some of the top brokers at my new company make big money and saw them wearing nice suits and driving nice cars, I thought that after a few months on the phone, I had paid my dues and that I should have that, too. In fact, after making hundreds of cold calls, I felt I deserved it….

But that didn’t happen. After three months, I was struggling, and then resenting my lack of success. “Don’t you know who I am?” I thought to myself. “I’m a college graduate” (more than I could say about many of the reps there), and after three more months, I was secretly thinking that I could probably run the company.

Did they acknowledge me? Nope. So what did I do? I copped more resentments and started hanging out at the break room grumbling with the other bottom performers. As I was sneaking out early one Friday, my manager confronted me and read me the riot act. He told me I was never going to succeed if I wasn’t willing to work for it.

That weekend, after I got over my new resentment at him, I began thinking about what my father had always said. I began thinking about how hard he worked. I asked myself how hard I was working and how much time and effort I had been putting in. My honest answer was not very much.

When I got back to the office that Monday, I found that the top producers were already there and they had even written some deals already. When I was about to go home at 4:30pm, they were still there, in full swing. And that’s when it hit me: If I want to succeed, I’m going to have to work hard – a lot harder than I thought I already was.

Fast forward nine months later. After making a commitment, putting in the time, and putting in the effort, I became a top producer at that company. I was the first one in the office and the last to leave. And as I put my first deals on the board in the morning, I watched the bottom producers straggle in and head to the coffee and donuts. I watched them grumble that they hadn’t been promoted yet, that the good leads went to other people, and how hard the competition was.

After they had long left the office, I turned out the lights in the office, locked the door behind me, and got into my Mercedes. I was dog tired. Suddenly, I realized how my father must have felt each evening. I smiled to myself when I realized that he had been right all along….

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.

Apps for Recording Your Phone Calls

Years ago, Stan Billue – the top inside sales trainer at the time – made a claim that every sales rep could double their income in 90 days by doing one thing. Intrigued (and highly skeptical), I listened to what he said next, and then challenged myself to do it. His advice was:

Record and listen to your calls, every day, for 90 days.

So I did. And 90 days later, I had indeed doubled my sales, and my commission. I was sold on the technique, and have since made it the cornerstone of my training and consulting practice. Why? Because it works! Nothing will make you more aware of all the areas you need improvement in (or of exactly how to improve), more than listening to yourself in action with a prospect.

With many people using cell phones these days for at least a portion of the calls they make, I get many requests of the best way to record calls using a cell phone. I was reading The Week magazine the other day, and they listed the following “Best apps” for cell phone recording. I thought you’d want to know about them:

Automatic Call Recorder Pro really is “automatic. The app records either every call or those from specific contacts. “You simply set it and forget it while it records your calls in the background.” ($7 Android only)

TapeACall Pro is a recording app that provides “just about every feature you could want,” including savable MP3 files. The setup for each call takes a moment, and the app costs $10, plus $8 a year for unlimited recording. “But if you do a lot of recording, it’s well worth it.”

Call Recording by NoNotes is a free app that offers most standard features plus built-in voice transcription, making it handy for recording interviews.

Call Record might annoy you with its ads, but for a free app, it’s “about as good as you’re going to get,” and can record every call automatically. As with all recording apps, be alert to state laws restricting recording.

Source: Gizmomo.com

What Stan said all those years ago is still true today: If you want to double your income in 90 days, then make a commitment to recording and reviewing your calls every day. And now, with these apps, you no longer have any excuse not to.

Why You’re Wrong about Phone Scripts

Next week, I’ll be presenting two breakout sessions at the Microsoft sponsored AA-ISP’s Leadership Summit in Chicago. If you’re going to that event, make sure and email me so we can meet during the conference: Info@MrInsideSales.com

You can read more about the event here.

I’m going to be presenting both sessions centered on the importance of having and using best practice scripts (one B2B and one B2C session). What I find interesting is the mixed reaction I still get when I speak to some sales leaders about the use of scripts.

Some obviously get the importance of having a standardized, best practice approach set of scripts to train and measure their reps against, while some others don’t think their reps should use a script. They think they’ll sound too much like a telemarketer or that their sale is too “consultative” for them to follow a script.

Here’s what I tell them: First, all your reps are already using a script. If you don’t believe me, then just record them for a week, transcribe what they’re saying, and then what will you have? You’ll have a script of what they say, day in and day out!

But, I tell them, you’ll also have ten or fifteen different versions of what should be a best practice “story” you’re telling about your company, product, and service. This is because most sales reps are winging it and ad-libbing their way through their sales presentations.

And that is why they are struggling and not consistently making their revenue numbers.

The solution to this is straight forward: Take the message your top producers are delivering, combine that with a standardized “best practice” approach, script it out, and then have your team use that scripting until they have internalized it and are consistently delivering your best messaging.

Once I explain it that way, they suddenly realize what I mean when I tell them they are all wrong about phone scripts.

In fact, when you have and follow a scripted approach, you will be:

More confident during your pitch
You’ll be able to listen because you won’t be thinking up what you should say next
You’ll be able to qualify your leads to identify real buyers
Your presentations will run smoother because you’ll be engaging your prospects
Objections will be easier to deal with and overcome
You’ll make more sales and actually look forward to coming to work!

And many, many other benefits.

Bottom line: I’ve been training inside sales reps for over 30 years, and I know what works and what doesn’t. Scripts work – ad-libbing doesn’t. It’s that simple.

If you would like to know more, then book a flight to Chicago and join me next week. It would be good to see you!