Know the Difference Between a Stall and an Objection

It’s very important to know the difference between a stall and objection.  To put it simply, Objections are the real reasons people aren’t going to buy.  Stalls are typically given to get you off of the phone.

What you need to do when you are presented with a stall is sidestep it so that you can move on to what is really holding up the sale.  The easiest and most generic thing that you can say is:

“Besides (whatever stall they said) is there anything else keeping you from moving forward today?”

It is open ended and will often expose their real reason for not buying.

What a stall typically looks like

My favorite stall is send me the information.  The only time this ends up being a task worthy of your time is when there is more than one decision maker involved, and even in that case you should still be trying to get them on the phone.

When you do get this stall is to ask what they are looking to see in the information.  This will keep the conversation that they are trying to close opened, and provide you with what the reason for not buying is.  They will often tell you that they want the information to show another person.

What you must ask at this point is if whoever they want to run it by signs off on the item, will they move forward with the order.  If they say anything other than a yes you’ll next here their real objection.  If they immediately say yes than you have an ally that’ll help you get in touch with the person that will help you get the order.

An objection can sound a lot like a stall

You’ll run across many common objections.  They are usually stalls whenever the prospect does not fully understand exactly what they will be getting if they agree to go forward with the order.  Anyone who is going to buy is going to take the time to listen to you and not rush you off of the phone.

So, if they tell you that it costs to much money (espescially if it hasn’t been discussed yet) than you need address that.  Say: “compared to what?”  They should mention a competitor.  You can then tell them what differentiates yourself and how your product is better.

Make sure that you take your time qualifying your customer in order to eliminate a lot of stalls.  Never let them rush you to the price or the close.

Selling From Home vs an Office

 

Selling from home certainly does sound nice, and a lot of people have a whole lot of success with that. But, it can be an incredibly challenging proposition for someone who is not organized.  If you have an option between the two, will take a look at which one might be better for you.

Benefits of working from home
It’s nice to be able to take your work outside on a sunny day
Working from an office

Well, let’s get this one straight out of the way. It’s way easier to commute to your sofa or home desk then it is to drive all the way to work. Full disclosure, I happen to prefer working in an office environment, but it’s not an easy decision to make if you have the choice.

Benefits of working in an office

I remember reading some studies that said that a person is more creative in an office.  This makes sense.  And, specifically in sales, it can be very motivating to see your coworkers getting sales.  You’ll start to feel left out and push yourself harder.

There’s also a sense of camaraderie that comes from working in close proximity to the rest of your sales team.  Also, it can be very nice to be close to a human support staff if what you sell has a complicated fulfillment process.

Benefits of working from home

Certainly the number one benefit to working from home is that you’ll have significantly more free time before and after work.  People who work from home are generally more productive.  It’s easier to focus on one thing when there really aren’t a ton of distractions around you.

It can be challenging to get help when you need it though.  People who work from home tend to rely on instant messaging services, conference calls (yuck),  and email to communicate with their coworkers.  This can prove to be more than just a little annoying.  People who work from home find that they spend a significant portion of their daily time communicating with coworkers.

Which one is right for you?

If you are self disciplined working from home can be life changing.  It can be nice to save the money on a vehicle.  This can even allow a couple living together to survive on one vehicle.

Humans were not made to spend their days stuck in a cubicle.  When it’s nice outside you can drag your laptop out and really get some work enjoying the bounty of God’s creation.

At the beginning of this page, I stated that I prefer to work in an office.  Here’s why.  I need to feel the energy coming from a sales floor.  Also, I have two children under two.  My wife and I have spoke about it, and we don’t think that it’d be possible to draw that line and keep the children  away.  It’s not fair to them.  They wouldn’t understand.  Only you can really know if selling from a home or office is better for you.  I hope this helps you come to a decision.

How to Win Back Customers

 

How to win a customer back

Sales is like a high stakes dance that you have with your prospects.  With any luck (and skill), this dance will lead you to a sale.  As a top sales producer, one of the most annoying things that can happen is your prospect backs out after the close.  We will be dividing this topic into to section and addressing each one in turn.  The first will be on how to win your own customers back, and the second will be on how to win someone else’s customers back.

When you go into retention sales call, you need to be more delicate and gentle with the customer.  They’ve heard whatever standard pitch that the previous rep had shilled.  You need to differentiate yourself from everyone else who has called.  What you need to do to truly succeed in retention sales is put on your customer service hat and politely ask why they cancelled.  That’s it.  Why did you cancel?  It’s an open ended question if you get someone talking long enough they will tell you not only why they cancelled, but also reveal their buying motives.

The nice thing about a retention call is that you are not going to deal a whole lot with whether the cancelling customer is a good fit for the product or service.  Usually you’ll find yourself jumping right into objections after hearing their cancel reasoning.  Top sales reps do well in these situations, and will often find themselves closer to the close at the beginning of the call.

How to Win Your Own Customers Back

Retention Sales Strategy

 

The business world is brutal.  One of the best things you can do is slow or stop the loss of your own Customers.  You’ve put in the work.  You understand them and their needs, and you have a working relationship with them.  With this in mind, you already have an advantage over your competition.  Here are some typical situations, and what to do with them.d

The customer has moved on because they have found a better deal elsewhere-  You’ll hear this all of the time.  The good news here is that no matter what your client has been promised by your competition, they are still moving from you (a know quantity) to someone else (an unknown quantity).  You must leverage fear of the unknown against your customers decision to jump ship.  You should try telling.

Sometimes YOU are the problem.  You can be the best sales representative in the world, but if you deal with enough people eventually something is going to go wrong.  If you find yourself in this particular situation the best thing to do is own it.  You have to own it even if it is not directly your fault.

The most common cause of this for inexperienced sales reps is when they don’t respond to a customers correspondence or voicemail in a timely fashion.  What you need to do in this situation is let them know that you know that they have been calling and that you were on vacation or something of that ilk and tell them that you are committed to making it right.  Usually they will forgive you.

They have been slighted by your company, but not you directly.  This is a pretty common one.  I have had someone making a low wage call behind one of my customers to initiate a product consultation, and they totally botch the sale up.  They don’t think about introducing objections.  They could say something along the lines of “well this product usually takes two months to work”.  This plants the seed of doubt in your customers head.  You must return their call or email promptly.  Communication is everything.

You’ll need to explain to them that the person doesn’t understand the ins and outs of the program or package, and address the confusion.  I’d say something like “I understand the confusion.  When I spoke with you earlier we had discussed how we ramp the product up in order to do ad split testing.  This ensures that you get the very best ROI.”  If all else fails.  Throw the company under the bus.  If you do this, then the company is the bad cop and you are the good cop.  A lot of retention is just sympathizing and siding with your customer.

Winning Another Representatives Customers Back

I love to call on another reps customers.  You just need to go into it with the mindset of you are better than the previous rep who had called.  The advice listed above is still totally accurate here.  What you do not want to do though is throw the other rep under the bus if it can at all be helped.  It never sounds professional.  So, whatever you do don’t open with this:  “why’d you cancel, was it a issue with your rep?” 

In fact, it’s a good idea to never open by feeding a customer an objection.  You’ll see a lot of reps open by doing this, espescially the price objection.  “Did it cost to much money?”  Please don’t do that.  All you do when you open by mentioning the price is signal to the person on the other end of the line that you are able to offer a discount is ensuring that you aren’t going to increase their spend.  You’ll be lucky to keep it the same.

Just keep an ear open.  Try and solve whatever problems that the customer may have, and you’ll be on your way to retaining your customer base.

 

The A or B Closing Technique

Of all the closing techniques, the one that I love the most is the A or B method.  The principal behind it is that you give them two options, and neither of them is a no.  It is very effective.  It gets the person to way both options, instead of whether they wish to do it or not.

Close sales with the A or B method

Make Sure that Either Option is to Your Benefit.

You really need to watch what you are offering for the second option.  The way I like to do it is to reach for the stars with the higher offer, and make the “settle” offer exactly what you had originally.

“Most of my clients, such as yourself,  come in here at this level.”  “While some choose to go big straight away and go with this more aggressive option to corner their market.”  “Which one works best for you?”

You really don’t want to find yourself giving a small sale that won’t benefit the customer as your back alternate option.   Many people I will hear say: “Well at least I got a sale!”  No, no, no.  This is not the attitude that you should have.  You need an expectant attitude of success on the phone, as well as in real life.

The A or B method of closing a sale is also highly effective because it is assumptive.  You are not saying “if you decide to go with this product which option will you be taking?”.  You are treating the fact that they are going to be doing business with you as a foregone conclusion.

How to Successfully Position the A or B Close

  • This works better when your relationship with the customer is consultative.  If the customer feels like they are being sold the whole time than they are going to see right through this.
  • You don’t want the smaller option to feel cheap to the customer.  And, more importantly, you don’t want the customer to feel like it doesn’t meet their needs.  Instead you want the larger option to feel like it’s a more aggressive version of the smaller one.

Assuming the Sale

 Have you ever gotten to the end of a sales presentation and felt the awkward feeling when you ask for the sale?  It just doesn’t feel very natural when you switch gears from presentation to the close.  The best producers know that there is a much better way to close the sale, and that is to just assume the the sale.

Assuming the sale is one of the most important pieces of sales theory that you need to master.   It’s a pretty easy concept to grasp.  Instead of saying something in order of “may I have your business” you just assume that it’s a foregone conclusion.  As long as you haven’t ignored obvious red flags, and you’ve qualified your lead, this technique works very well.

Many customers are ready to buy and aren’t going to have any objections.  They are never going to be more ready to buy.  The reason this is so effective is that it doesn’t allow the customer to have time to think about what’s going on.  This closing technique works espescially well if you are a really assertive seller who has controlled the phone call up until this point.

 So it works something like this.  Instead of saying:

“Based on everything that we have discussed, I’m proposing that we do X for $154 a month.”

You would instead say:

“So what we will do is the $154 a month option.  Give me a second to pull up these documents.  All you have to do is sign them and we will be off to the races.”

Instead of being their salesman, you are their trusted consultant.  It’s a much better way.  There are many useful closing techniques out there. This is the first one that you really need to try and master.  There really is not a whole lot to it.

Prospecting Sales Through Email

While the best way to prospect for customers is to pick up a phone and get them on the line and engaged in the sales process, more and more people only want to communicate over email.  Email has definitely become the primary method of business communication  You need to be sending every customer that try and get ahold of an email.  It should short and to the point.  It should also give them some reason to compel them to get back in touch with you.

I personally don’t like to spend a lot of time crafting a case by case basis email for a customer.  It takes forever, and they don’t get much of a better response than if you’d just sent them a well written template email.  The template should be similar to what you’d say if you were leaving your prospect a voicemail.

Emailing a Prospect

If you are prospecting for a new customer from cold dead leads, or from scratch, email is a good way to let them know that you exist.  In this case you are really just looking for buyers and most of your prospects are never going to look at your email anyway.  A good rule of thumb is when you are reaching out to someone who you’ve never spoken with and isn’t expecting to hear from you.  You should be using templates.  Very few potential clients are worthy of a personalized email during the prospecting stage.  It keeps you from getting your hands on more leads.  Here is what a good template may look like:

Dear Jim,

This is Jay with RBC Holdings.  I am the representative assigned to your account.  We wanted to get in touch with you regarding your interest in XYZ.  We have competitive prices in the industry for your TPS report filing, but it really is our customer service that sets us apart. 

I would love to speak with you at a time that works for you.  If I don’t hear from you I’ll call you next week.  Have a great day.

Jay Plumb,

 That’s it.  Get in and get out.  Most prospects are not going to read a novel.  You want to generate interest without getting to specific.  You certainly don’t want to be hitting them with any sort of pricing or super specifics.  You are the sales rep.  You’re looking to get an appointment here.  You can get specific then.

Please note that at the end of the email I mentioned that I would follow up with them again over the phone if I didn’t hear back from them.  This is a great call to action that works.  Just make sure that you follow through with it.   I’ve left a prospect a voicemail and email, and followed up the next week.  The potential customer is going to open the call in one of two ways:

  1. They are going to give you a hard time for calling to much.  This rarely happens, because if the customer was ducking you, they’d just keep ducking you and not pick up.
  2. They are going to be apologetic for being so difficult to get ahold of.  When I hear that apology I know that I’m speaking with a potential buyer already.

You’ll need to make a good template for you and your business.  Make sure you hit these points.

  • Who you are and who you are with.
  • Why you are contacting them.
  • Something that sets you apart from the 20 other emails they have gotten from your competition.
  • Contact information: Don’t assume that everyone is smart enough to hit reply.  Some people will need to write your email address down and write later.  God as my witness I have seen this happen.

Thoughts on Email and Warm Leads

First let’s get this out of the way.  By warm prospect I mean someone who has reached out and expressed some sort of interest in your product/service.  Your company has than assigned this customer to you and you were unsuccessful getting them on the phone.  You should always call a warm lead as long as it seems appropriate.  Email may be the driving force behind much modern business, but the phone is still the way that deals get done.

I’m a big believer in looking for buyers.  Many of the best sales we get are from people that were going to buy the whole time.  Sending out the proper email will insure that you are maximizing your incoming warm buyers.

 

 

Leaving Voicemail

How to leave a good sales voicemail

Times certainly have changed.  Voicemail’s, fax machines, and Yellow Pages.  These used to be staples of getting business done.  Now we have email, email, and the internet.  Voicemail is still a vital part of a days prospecting.  It does not matter whether you are calling a warm lead or not.  If you’ve already gone through the process of letting the phone ring and rolling into a voicemail, you may as well try and get something out of it.

If you are calling a warm lead than you’d want to leave it so you are absolutely sure that your prospect will know that you’ve called.  If the lead is relatively cold, than you are going to really want to leave a voicemail.  Think about it.  Say you dial a one hundred people in a day, and you leave fifty voicemail’s, and only one of them is returned.  That’s 2% of your voicemail’s being returned.  Why bother than?  Because these should be warm leads.

Say What You Mean to Say

The best way to ensure that buyers will call back is to be very upfront about why you are calling.  That’s why i’m a big believer in not obfuscating my intentions when I leave a voicemail.  I prefer having buyers call me back who know exactly why I am calling, and you should to.

Here is a basic template that you can change around to get a returned call:

Hello there Mr. Customer, my name is Jason with XYZ Widget Co.  I was trying to get in touch with you regarding your recent interest in our product,   Whenever you get a moment, I can be reached directly at 314-555-0891.  I’m also emailing you as well.  Thank you and have a great day.

That’s really all there is to it.  You don’t want to be specific about anything.

Leaving a Sales Voicemail Best Practices

  • Don’t leave a price on anyone’s voicemail.   All this effectively does is shoot yourself in the foot.  You may have a customer that would have spent way more, but once they get it in their   head that they can pay a certain rate, that rate becomes their price ceiling.
  • Don’t vomit a bunch of useless product knowledge.  You are a sales professional.  Just like leaving prices on someones voicemail, you don’t want to corner yourself into a product that may not fit the customers needs.
  • Do use some sort of script.  The second that someone hears you stutter or think about what you want to say on a voicemail is the second that that person hangs up.  The format should be:
    1. Introduce yourself
    2. Why you are calling
    3. Interest generating remark
    4. How to contact you
    5. Thank them for their time
  • Keep it under a minute.  You are going to lose anyone’s interest if you go over a minute.  Short and to the point is what you are looking for.

If you follow these practices, you’ll be well on your way to becoming excited when your phone rings, because buyers are on the other line.

How to Succeed at Cold Calling

 

For the purposes of this page, let us define cold calling as when you call on a business and they absolutely were not expecting your phone call.  Many businesses may tell you that the leads that you get are hot.  Maybe they have salesforce and tell you that you are calling a market generated lead based on this persons interest in your product or service.

It’s a numbers game

Sales truly is a numbers game.  You need to know exactly how many dials it is going to take to make a qualified lead.

If they aren’t specifically expecting you to call you need to know

You are going to get blown off (a lot)

You are going to spend many hours of your day speaking with people who are specifically trying NOT to let people like you speak with their boss.  Here are some helpful hints to get you past the gatekeeper:

Do not obfuscate or otherwise hide why you are calling them.  Gatekeepers hate that, and will see right through it.  Many companies and sales managers are going to ask you to ask for the decision maker like you two are old buddies.  They’d have you say something like this:

“Is Tom in.”  While that may work on some gatekeepers, it’ll often get you hung up on.

Instead what you want to do is give them a firm instruction.  Nearly all gatekeepers are used to taking instruction.  They are not leaders.  They will respond to a command.  I’m not saying be rude, because that’ll get you hung up on quick as well.   Here is a good intro: “Hi Jan, It’s Jay calling with BRP Company.  Tom had filled out a form on my website.  I’m trying to get in touch with him regarding that.  Could you put me through please?”  You let the decision maker know who you are, a little bit about why you are calling, and a clear order to put you through.

The phrase “could you put me through please” has a ton of benefit.  You’ll be amazed at how many people will put you just go ahead and put you through.  Instead of saying that though, you could say:  “Would you tell Tom that Jay from BRP Co is holding please?”

There are a lot of sales people that would describe themselves as “sharks” or “cold blooded killers”.  I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that, but it is a good idea to lock that portion of your personality up when trying to get a decision maker on the phone.

Overcoming the Fear of Rejection

One of the more common issues that you may run across is the fear of rejection.  If you ‘ve ever had a difficult time picking up the phone and calling someone you know what I am talking about.  It’s just not in human nature to be OK with being constantly rejected.  And that is what sales is, so you may as well get used to it.

The trick to overcoming rejection is how you handle it.  If you are keeping track of how many calls it takes to create a lead, and how many leads it’ll take to create a sale than this part will be easier for you.  Your attitude needs to be one of gratitude whenever someone tells you no.

Every time someone tells you no it is just bringing you one step closer to your next sale.  That needs to be your mentality.  Rejection is your fuel.  It powers you and makes you stronger.

One call at a time

When dealing with the fear of rejection, you’ll start to find picking up the phone and making dials to be difficult.  You’ll find yourself doing things to not call on potential customers.  I have seen plenty of people with poor sales skills make a ton of sales.  They are not afraid of the phone.  They are not afraid of rejection, or sounding dumb.

Don not let yourself think to far ahead of the process.  The best sales representatives know their product inside and out.  They do not judge the leads ahead of time, and they certainly don’t sit there for fifteen minutes thinking about what the customer is going to say when they give their pitch.  Calls rarely go the way that you see them going in your head.  It’s better to not waste that precious selling time.

Set yourself some goals.  Tell yourself that you’ll make ten calls and talk to at least one decision maker, and then you’ll allow yourself to go get a cup of coffee.  Break your day into mini segments and plan on making a certain amount of calls.  Stick with it and in no time calling on customers will become second nature to you.

 

Just go for it

What is the worst thing that could happen.  Somebody says no.  So what!  As yourself, is this going to matter at all in my life tomorrow?  The answer is always going to be no.  Life is more important than what you do for a living.  Try and keep perspective.  If you take it one call at a time, eventually you will have no issues whatsoever with