One Powerful Way to Learn More About a Prospect

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Let’s start with the obvious: Sales reps talk too much. Whether it’s nervousness, fear, inexperience, or just the conviction that if they stop talking the prospect will say “Not interested” and hang up, it doesn’t matter.

If you listen to calls from your sales reps, you’ll find that they simply talk past the close. They talk over their prospects. They talk after they ask a question (and don’t even let their prospect answer).

And then they talk some more…

The dangers of talking so much are many. Often times, when talking past the close, sales reps will actually introduce objections. This is a common problem and one entirely of their own making.

Another problem is they talk over their prospects and so appear rude and give the impression that they don’t care about what the prospect has to say. This makes them seem pushy and salesy, and makes the prospect want to disconnect with them.

As if all these problems aren’t enough, by talking so much they aren’t learning anything about the prospect, their needs, their pain, or about what they would like help with. I have always taught that the prospect has all the answers: why they’ll buy, why they won’t buy, what you need to say to sell them, etc. But if you aren’t listening, you’ll never hear any of this.

And that means you’re tempted to just keep talking and pitching…

The good news is that there is a powerful way to learn more about a prospect. When I give this to you, it’ll appear simple—and it is—but it is difficult to practice because most sales reps are so invested in talking.

Here’s what it is: At any point in a conversation with a prospect, if they either give you what appears to be an objection (like, “We wouldn’t be interested…”) or are just not volunteering much information, all you have to do is say:

“Oh?”

And then be quiet and hit your MUTE button.

When you say it, say it in a way that expresses a question—let your tone of voice rise slightly. Practice it now: “OH??”

Do not disregard this as being silly or too simple to have much effect. It’s one of the most advanced and powerful tools a real closer has in his/her arsenal.

This week I challenge you to talk less and listen more. And the technique you’ll use is the “Oh?” technique. Try it and see for yourself how much more you learn from your prospects. Remember, they have all the answers…


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Who Should Attend?

Any sales reps dealing with the following issues:

  • Reps struggling with call reluctance
  • Getting screened out by the gatekeeper
  • Overcoming blow off objections like, “Just email me something”
  • Identifying decision makers
  • Qualifying prospects
  • Setting call back appointments that stick
  • Giving successful presentations and dealing with objections
  • Staying motivated

Gatekeepers: Six Things NOT to Do

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If you’re getting screened out by gatekeepers, then chances are you’re probably causing that screening. Before we get into the things you may be doing to cause them to begin interrogating you, let’s quickly define some terms.

First, not all gatekeepers are the same. About 30% of the gatekeepers you get are closer to being assistants, or office managers, or influencers. The other 70% are straight receptionists or operators. With both groups, you shouldn’t do any of the six things you’re going to learn today, but adjustments will need to be made in the kind—and amount—of information you give (to the 30% group).

That said, we’re going to concentrate on the 70% of the gatekeepers you get, and I bet you would love to learn what not to do to antagonize or encourage that 70% to screen you out.

Key Point: The vast majority of receptionists and operators would prefer not to screen you or interrogate you. Their job isn’t to “vet” you, but rather, it’s to find out your name, company name, and a brief reason why you’re calling. They need this complete info to give to the person you’re trying to reach.

Failure to give this complete info—coupled with not being polite and not using instructional statements—is what triggers the screening you get now.

The first step to getting put through to decision makers is to make the receptionist’s job easy. And that means you need to stop doing some (or all) of the six things you’re about to learn next.

Each of these six points just cause the gatekeeper to begin interrogating you, so if you stop doing these things, you’ll have a much better chance at being put through—without screening! As you read these, ask yourself which of them (or most of them!) you’re doing now and adjust your approach accordingly. You’ll be amazed by how much easier it will be to get through:

#1: Only giving your name when asked who is calling (and not giving your company name). If you only give your name, the natural thing the gatekeeper is thinking is, “And from what company??”

Making the gatekeeper ask you what company you’re from immediately triggers her/him to begin screening you. And why would you want that?

#2: Pausing after giving any information (like your name or company name, or even the reason for the call). As soon as you stop or pause without giving an instructional statement, you’re handing control over to the gatekeeper. And guess what? She will begin interrogating you!

#3: Pitching the gatekeeper. With the other 30%, a little bit of info must be given, but with receptionists, the moment you start pitching, that’s the moment you raise a big Red Flag that says, “I’m a salesperson!” As that point, they will begin to screen you out…

#4: Just giving your first name (and then pausing). Every gatekeeper knows this trick, and nothing will get them interrogating you faster than this.

#5: Being pushy or rude. Some sales people think that if they just bully their way in, the gatekeeper will step aside and let them through. Yeah, right. How’s that going for you? Truth is, being courteous and polite will get you much further than almost anything, and you’d do well to get on their good side—right away.

#6: Opening your call with, “Hi, how are you?” This puts gatekeepers (and everyone else) on the immediate defensive because they don’t know who you are! And it also triggers them to begin screening you because it telegraphs that you are a salesperson. By the way, it’s especially annoying when you greet the decision maker this way as well.

So, how many of these mistakes are you making every day? The more mistakes you’re making, the more you’re getting screened out.

If you’d like to know exactly what you could be doing and saying, then you can view a special (short) webinar I put together to teach you, word-for-word, what you should be doing instead.

Once you watch that, and begin using the scripts and technique in it, you’ll immediately begin breezing past gatekeepers 70% of the time. And I know that will make your life easier and improve your results!

So watch the video today.