Lessons From the NFL to Close More Business

Are you ready for some football?

The first preseason games are in the books, and coaches are watching game film and teaching players how to improve every week.

I read a piece by Peter King from SI.com about his conversation with Ellis Hobbs—former cornerback with the New England Patriots. He was talking about how much respect he had for Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

Ellis said, “Early in my career, Bill called me into his office, and we sat there, for a long time, studying game film. He taught me to look for the simple things, and not to make football so complicated. I got better. I was with one of the best coaches of all time, and he helped me become a better player.”

In inside sales, too, you can become a better sales producer if you concentrate on the simple things and doing them better. Here are two things you can do starting today to increase your closing ratio and make more money:

#1: Keep a record of the reasons your prospects don’t close and then concentrate on qualifying on these issues up front with your next prospects. This was one of the simplest and most effective habits I developed early on to get better.

I kept a notebook with all my prospects in it and every time they didn’t buy, I’d put in red ink the reason why not. I even boiled it down to three codes: NI, for No Interest; NM for No Money; and NC for Not Cooperative.

And then throughout the days and weeks I’d go back through my notebook and look for patterns and ask myself, “What do I need to focus on during the qualification stage?”

If too many prospects were not buying because they simply weren’t ready to buy right then, then “No Interest” needed to be addressed during the qualifying call. I’d start by asking more direct questions like: 

“_______, if you find that this would work for you, what is your time frame for moving ahead with it?”

And so on.  Bottom line—if you don’t get it right during the qualifying call, then you’ll never increase your closing ratio.

#2: Ask for bigger orders on every close. Oh, I know, you’ve heard this before, right? But how often do you actually do it? 

So many sales reps are afraid to ask for too much and are just happy to get a minimum order. I know because I used to be that way…

But my career turned around when I began asking for bigger orders on every single call. And what I learned is that you never know how much a person or company can handle. You can always go down (in price, quantity, etc.), but you can never go up.

The truth is, it’s all the same amount of work anyway, so why not ask for two times, or three times the minimum order and see what you get? If only two in ten of your prospects buy the increased amount, how much more money would that mean to you?

In addition, the good part about consistently asking for more is that you’ll end up getting more—and every time you do, you reinforce the habit to do it. And as soon as you get a taste of closing bigger deals, you begin looking for and expecting them. Try it and you’ll see for yourself. It’s one of the simplest things you can do to make a lot more money.

So, there you have it—two simple ways of closing more business and making more money. Just remember as you’re reading this, NFL players and coaches are working on the simple things to improve. 

You should be doing so, too!


Need More Proven Responses to the Selling Situations You Face Every Day?


ON DEMAND SALES TRAINING THAT GETS RESULTS!

If your team is struggling with call reluctance and is tired of the endless rejection they face, then get instant access to our On Demand training today. We provide the exact talk tracks, templates, and proven tools your team will be motivated to apply, all structured around an award winning comprehensive inside sales approach that gives your team the confidence to succeed in every selling situation they face today.

Unlimited License: One to 100 reps can attend for one low price!

Perfect for 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

3 Things You Should Stop Saying in Sales

I have listened to thousands of sales calls over the years, and I spend the majority of my coaching and training hours listening to sales calls even today. And I still hear the same mistakes….

Here are three things NOT to say if you want to become more effective at opening and closing more sales:

#1: When speaking with a gatekeeper and they ask if they can tell the prospect who is calling, don’t:

  • Just say your name (“John,” or “John Davis”)—and then nothing else…
  • Say your name and company name
  • Say your name and company name and then start pitching the gatekeeper…

Instead, respond with: “Absolutely! Please tell prospect’s first name, that John Davis is holding, please.”

#2: If you’re speaking with a client and you’re asking if they need to order anything, don’t say:

  • I’m just calling to see if you need anything today?

Instead, change the question to make it assumptive. Ask: “While I have you on the phone, what’s on your white board that you’ll be needing soon?”

You can adjust this to fit your product or service, but always change “Is there anything” to “What are you looking for…”

#3: When you are scheduling an appointment to follow up, don’t use the generic:

  • I’ll call you in a month to follow up…

Instead, you should ask the prospect when a good time to follow up is. AND, make this ask assumptive. Try: “When would you like me to check back in with you?”

By asking the prospect when you should follow up, you’ll be able to gauge their urgency and assess their buying rhythms. If they tell you 6 months, then suggest you’ll check in with them in 3, just in case something changes.

Little tweaks like this can make a huge difference in your overall sales results. Remember: practice doesn’t make perfect; it just makes permanent.

Only practice of perfection makes perfect.


Need More Proven Responses to the Selling Situations You Face Every Day?


ON DEMAND SALES TRAINING THAT GETS RESULTS!

If your team is struggling with call reluctance and is tired of the endless rejection they face, then get instant access to our On Demand training today. We provide the exact talk tracks, templates, and proven tools your team will be motivated to apply, all structured around an award winning comprehensive inside sales approach that gives your team the confidence to succeed in every selling situation they face today.

Unlimited License: One to 100 reps can attend for one low price!

Perfect for 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

One Question to Learn Buying Motive

How is your first quarter turning out so far?

Closing lots of business and exceeding your quota? Or are you struggling to catch up and hoping for a strong March?

If you or your team is struggling, a cause might be a fundamental flaw that many sales teams suffer from: failure to understand—and pitch to—a prospect’s unique buying motive.

Let’s review the sales process briefly:

  1. Recognizing all buyers of products and services have specific needs (buying motives) they are looking to fulfill.
  2. Not everyone’s buying motives are the same. The best way to sell someone is to fully understand what their buying motives are and then to:
  3. Pitch to each buyer’s specific needs.
  4. Then, as you do, you use carefully placed tie-downs and trial closes to build a yes momentum that leads to the close.

That’s the essential process of sales. Of course, there are nuances and specific techniques to master the above steps at a high level, and that’s why you train…

But, let me tell you what I have found to be the major problem for teams and individual sales reps who are not making their numbers:

They never understand exactly what each prospect’s unique buying motive is, and so they just keep pitching, hoping that what they say will match up somehow with what a prospect wants to hear.

Two problems with this approach:

  1. Many prospects aren’t buying regardless, and so if you just keep pitching without understanding their buying motive—or worse, haven’t identified that this prospect doesn’t have a buying motive you can fulfill—then you’re wasting everyone’s time.
  2. If you have failed to understand exactly what a specific prospect’s buying motive is, then you won’t be able to speak directly to it, build the appropriate amount of value, and you’ll miss step 5 above and risk talking past the close—and yourself out of a deal.

How would you like one magic question that will reveal to you each prospect’s buying motive? Here it is:

“{first name}, let me ask you: what specifically are you hoping a (product or service) like ours will do for you at this time?”

That’s it! Now, listen carefully to the answer, and ask yourself honestly: Can your product or service give them exactly what they are looking for? If so, pitch directly to it. Use tie-downs to see if you’re getting closer to making a sale. Shift to trial closes mid-way through your close. And if you’re getting buy in, then assume the close!

This one question, combined with the 4-step process above, will elevate your close ratio and help your entire team make their quota.

Try it today!


Need More Proven Responses to the Selling Situations You Face Every Day?


ON DEMAND SALES TRAINING THAT GETS RESULTS!

If your team is struggling with call reluctance and is tired of the endless rejection they face, then get instant access to our On Demand training today. We provide the exact talk tracks, templates, and proven tools your team will be motivated to apply, all structured around an award winning comprehensive inside sales approach that gives your team the confidence to succeed in every selling situation they face today.

Unlimited License: One to 100 reps can attend for one low price!

Perfect for 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

5 Closing Questions You Need

Note to my readers: Because of my heavy client load, I am reducing my blog articles to bi-weekly starting today. Your next blog will arrive on Tuesday, August 17th.

Ever feel stalled during a close?

Wouldn’t it be convenient to have a list of 5 questions you could use to get your prospect talking, to get them to open up about how they’re feeling and what you might need to concentrate on?

Use the following questions to help open your prospect up and to get them to reveal where they really stand, and what you need to do to move closer to the sale:

#1 “I can tell that’s important to you; why does it mean so much?”

#2 “You know, I’ve given you a lot of information, do you mind if I ask you what you think so far?”

#3 “I understand that you need to (talk to someone, check on something, or any other stall), but let me ask you: Based on what we’ve gone over so far, what do YOU think?”

#4 “Let me see if I have this right.  You (restate what they said), right?  What would have to change for this to work for you then?”

#5 “If you had to make a decision right now, what would it be?”

And a bonus layering question:

#6 “And what would change that for you?”

If you found these questions helpful, then it’s time to write some of your own. Make them specific to your product or service and write them so you’d be comfortable asking them. 

If you’re a manager, this is a great exercise for a sales meeting.  You could do two: one for prospecting and one for the close.

If you found this article helpful, then you’ll love Mike’s eBook, “The Complete Book of Phone Scripts” with over 130 pages of powerful and effective scripts to help you easily get past the gatekeeper, set appointments, overcome objections and close more money!

Happy Selling!


Need More Proven Responses to the Selling Situations You Face Every Day?


ON DEMAND SALES TRAINING THAT GETS RESULTS!

If your team is struggling with call reluctance and is tired of the endless rejection they face, then get instant access to our On Demand training today. We provide the exact talk tracks, templates, and proven tools your team will be motivated to apply, all structured around an award winning comprehensive inside sales approach that gives your team the confidence to succeed in every selling situation they face today.

Unlimited License: One to 100 reps can attend for one low price!

Perfect for 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

How to Pitch Multiple Products

Rookie mistake: You’ve got several products or services you can offer a prospect, and you start by offering the first, or main one, then hear an opening for another one so pivot to that one, and describe another—and then another.

Result? Stalled sale. “Let me think about these and get back with you.”

Sound familiar?

Luckily, there is a best practice around this and it is:

Stick with your main product or service, close that deal first, then circle back around and pitch the ancillary product/service. You can use the intel you got from your initial pitch to open up the upsell.

Something like, “You know, {first name}, the last time we spoke, you mentioned you had trouble with your XYZ. We have other clients in your situation, and they found our…very helpful. Can I ask you how you’re handling….”

And off you go!

The dangers with offering too many choices are you’ll often talk past the close. Not only will the prospect be confused, but you will be, too. Once you get to the end of your presentation, your offer will be muddled, and that will make it difficult for your prospect to make a decision.

In addition, often times other products or services bump up the dollar amount, and this often slows down decision making as well.

Note: There are two exceptions to this:

  1. While this rule applies in a general way (80% of the time), there are times when you should pivot and offer something that is more in alignment with what your prospect needs/wants. I’m sure you know when this happens.
  2. When a prospect is totally in and buying anything you’re offering. At that time, load them up! They are in “the ether” as we used to call it and the old adage, “strike while the iron is hot” applies here.

Your best practice, however, is to secure the deal on the product or service you’re pitching, then circle around for the upsell.

Another note: The best time to do that is right after they buy—don’t wait too long, as they’ll cool off and want to “see how it goes.”

So, simplify your offer, make it easy for your prospect to say yes, then circle back around with any upsells using the intel you gathered during your pitch.

Happy selling!


Need More Proven Responses to the Selling Situations You Face Every Day?


ON DEMAND SALES TRAINING THAT GETS RESULTS!

If your team is struggling with call reluctance and is tired of the endless rejection they face, then get instant access to our On Demand training today. We provide the exact talk tracks, templates, and proven tools your team will be motivated to apply, all structured around an award winning comprehensive inside sales approach that gives your team the confidence to succeed in every selling situation they face today.

Unlimited License: One to 100 reps can attend for one low price!

Perfect for 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

Qualifying: Before or After Your Presentation?

I was working with a new client this week, and I listened to a recording of their presentation and it went like this:

  1. Hello, how are you doing—brief rapport building
  2. Deep dive into their presentation—including features and benefits
  3. Qualifying to see what the client was most interested in.

How does this sound to you?

Is this the way your presentations go?

After we went through the call, I suggested it would be much more effective for the rep to know the client’s buying motives (his needs, wants, and wishes) before giving the presentation.

Here’s why:

  1. By knowing the buying motives before your pitch, you’ll be in a much better position to “speak to those buying motives” during your presentation.
  2. While tailoring your pitch to your prospect’s specific buying motives, you’ll also be able to stop after making a point, and, using tie-downs, check in to see how your presentation is going.
  3. Near the end of your presentation—right before discussing pricing—you’ll be able to use a trial close to see if your prospect is bought in. Something along the lines of: “So, based on what you’ve seen so far, does this sound like the solution you’ve been looking for?”

If you want to immediately improve your conversion rates, then make sure you understand—in advance—what your prospect’s buying motives (and potential objections) are.

Then, spend your presentation targeting those needs, and checking in often to see if you’re meeting them!


Need More Proven Responses to the Selling Situations You Face Every Day?


ON DEMAND SALES TRAINING THAT GETS RESULTS!

If your team is struggling with call reluctance and is tired of the endless rejection they face, then get instant access to our On Demand training today. We provide the exact talk tracks, templates, and proven tools your team will be motivated to apply, all structured around an award winning comprehensive inside sales approach that gives your team the confidence to succeed in every selling situation they face today.

Unlimited License: One to 100 reps can attend for one low price!

Perfect for 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

One Great Close You Should Be Using

How do you handle the following two big objections?

“Your price is too high.”

“I can get a better deal/rate/price using XYZ”

Arguably, these may be the two most frustrating objections sales reps get, and interestingly, there is one technique that works amazingly well—but few sales reps use it.

Instead, the vast majority of reps stumble when they get these objections, or worse: they lower their prices to try to compete.

The best way to handle this is to…

Isolate it! Just like you should do with most objections.

Here is the easiest way to do this:

Whenever you get either of the two objections above, simply respond with:

“In addition to price, what else is important to you?”

OR

“In addition to price, what else is holding you back today?”

Then hit that oh-so-important MUTE button, and let your prospect tell you how to sell them.

That’s it!

For those of you thinking this is too easy, I challenge you to use it for the next month each time you get this objection.

You’ll be amazed at what you hear—and how much further you can take your prospects…


Need More Proven Responses to the Selling Situations You Face Every Day?


ON DEMAND SALES TRAINING THAT GETS RESULTS!

If your team is struggling with call reluctance and is tired of the endless rejection they face, then get instant access to our On Demand training today. We provide the exact talk tracks, templates, and proven tools your team will be motivated to apply, all structured around an award winning comprehensive inside sales approach that gives your team the confidence to succeed in every selling situation they face today.

Unlimited License: One to 100 reps can attend for one low price!

Perfect for 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

Ask for More to Get More

My sales numbers when through the roof when I changed one simple thing:

I asked for double or even triple the deal size at the end of each presentation.

Before this, I used to give my presentation and automatically default to the lowest deal size and be happy if I got it.

In fact, it was so bad that I even dropped the price to half the minimum amount, and I was happy if I got that!

What I didn’t realize at the time is that prospect’s often have a lot more budget than I think they do. In fact, once I started asking for larger deals—and companies and individuals started buying more—I was blown away by how easy it was!

In addition to getting larger deals, I also found it was easier to drop a prospect to a lower amount if I started high. Also, the amount I dropped them to was usually twice as much as I had been used to asking for to begin with!

It was a huge win/win.

As I coach sales reps these days and listen to how they ask for the sale, I’m reminded of myself because guess what? Most of them ask for the minimum amount, or the lowest priced package, or worse—they go below the lowest priced package and are happy when they get it.

The biggest problem with this way of selling isn’t just that they are taking thousands of dollars out of their company’s—and their own—pockets, but the worst thing is that they condition themselves to ask for, and get smaller sales.

And they do.

Take it from me (and all the top reps selling these days): The fastest way to double or triple your sales is to ask for more in the very beginning.

And the sooner you do, the sooner you’ll find prospects who say yes.

Do yourself a favor this month and starting at the top—rather than at the bottom—of your pricing sheet.

And watch as your income goes to the top as well!


Need More Proven Responses to the Selling Situations You Face Every Day?


ON DEMAND SALES TRAINING THAT GETS RESULTS!

If your team is struggling with call reluctance and is tired of the endless rejection they face, then get instant access to our On Demand training today. We provide the exact talk tracks, templates, and proven tools your team will be motivated to apply, all structured around an award winning comprehensive inside sales approach that gives your team the confidence to succeed in every selling situation they face today.

Unlimited License: One to 100 reps can attend for one low price!

Perfect for 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