How to Control a Conversation in Sales

 

Stop Talking so Much

The best sales reps are comfortable in their skin, and with their product.  They don’t just wait for their prospect to be quiet and blurt out a bunch of knowledge that they learned in training.  They listen to what their prospect has to say, and they control the conversation from start to finish.  You need to do this on every call.  

When your customer stops talking wait about two seconds before you say anything.  

You want to use the silence to control a conversation.  Often, you’ll find that if you give a customer a few seconds of silence before opening your mouth to speak, they will often volunteer useful information as well as their buying motives.

Don’t Talk Past the Close

One of the most common issue that you will find a typical sales rep have is that they will talk past the close.  They will ask for the sale and immediately launch back into the features and benefits of their product.  THIS IS A HUGE MISTAKE.  You are a closer.  From now on, whenever you ask for the sale you shut up and let the person decide.  A lot of people swear by the rule that whoever talks first LOSES.  I have found this to be true for the most part.

The only thing that you can do after asking for the sale is introduce an objection, or make them feel like you just threw a price out.  This makes people think that they’ve entered into a negotiation and you’ll often find yourself wrestling over price.

You are going to have to learn to enjoy the silence.  You can make it a little less stressful by saying something like this:

“That’ll be $500 a month.  I’ll be quiet while you decide to do it.”

Maybe saying something like I’ll be quiet while you decide to do it may come off as a little bit cocky, but this is sales.  You need to act confident, and it’s a little assumptive as well.  Do whatever you need to do to make sure that you aren’t a

Ask Open Ended Questions.

A good salesman learns to let the prospect do as much of the speaking as possible.  A great salesman asks open ended questions.  If you ask someone a yes or no question, you never can guarantee that they are going to answer it the way that you want it to go.
 

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.

 

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.