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3 Strategies for Effectively Developing the Right Calling Approach

Posted by Steve Bookbinder on Feb 23, 2017 8:19:00 PM

Whether you’re new to sales, or an experienced pro, developing the right approach to making sales calls is a strategic advantage.
 
As a salesperson, oftentimes the first impression you make is over the phone. Whether that’s talking to a new prospect, building a client relationship, or maintaining contact with long term clients.
 
Developing an effective calling approach and phone persona is essential to your sales success. But how can you develop an approach that will consistently drive results?
 
Consider these 3 strategies as you develop, refine, and optimize your calling approach: 
 
sales call approach ideas


1. Personalize Your Message

Think about who you are calling and why you are calling them before you pick up the phone.

First, we must consider what kind of leads are you calling and what’s the right strategy for each?

For example, let’s say you were just assigned a new lead. This lead came in through the website as an inbound lead who downloaded your newest eBook. What’s the approach for this type of lead?

To start, we must do our best to research who the person is, what company they work for, why they might be interested in the eBook, and whether they’ve downloaded any other resources from your website.

Why are these things important?

Because each piece of information helps you paint a picture of who you are calling. The more you know about the company, the person, or the industry in general will set you up for success because you’ll be able to tailor your message by saying something that resonates with the lead.

In this inbound lead example, you could personalize your message in a simple, yet logical way by helping them identify the key takeaways from the eBook they just downloaded and offer ideas about how the information applies to their job, company, or industry.

Taking this approach helps you position yourself as an expert, presents your company/offering in a positive light, and lets you take the role of the helpful salesperson who is educating them on new information and solutions.

 

2. Build Your Sales Story

 Identifying the right approach for each type of lead is only part of the game. The next step is to build your value proposition by crafting a compelling sales story.

We often think that facts and figures are what motivate people to take action. But the truth? Facts and figures aren’t nearly as effective as telling a great story.

Let’s say you’ve got a prospect on the line and they want to learn more about your solution. Instead of rattling off numbers that will mean nothing to them, consider walking them through the story of how you’ve helped other companies, maybe even mention a competitor of theirs, and help them visualize how your product and/or service delivered results for that company.

For example, you could say something like: “We’ve had a lot of success with companies like yours who have experienced some of the same challenges you may be facing, so I’d like to learn more about what you’re doing, tell you how we’ve been implementing solutions for businesses like yours, and see if there’s a match.”

You’re not only going to get their attention fast, they’re going to want to know how they did it, when they started doing it, how far behind they are, and what they need to do to catch up.

 

3. Understand the Rhythm of the Call

Listening is the key to a great conversation. So when we are speaking with prospects and clients over the phone, we must listen to the rhythm of the call and make certain decisions based on the rhythm.

If you ask a question and the other person responds as soon as you finish speaking, this probably means they’re tuned in. On the other hand, if there’s a long gap and their response doesn’t really relate to the question you asked, they’re probably not connected to the conversation.

As sales professionals, our goal is to ask 2nd level questions in order to create a more substantial conversation. 2nd level questions, asked in the right context, encourage the customer to share relevant information needed to understand their true interest in our business solution as well as their motivation to help their organization acquire it.

This is the type of conversation when the customer reacts to the salesperson’s interest and capabilities by sharing relevant information about their background, biases, plans as well as their power, influence, and motivation to buy.

The best way to help them make more sales is to maximize their time with people most likely to buy and minimize their investment in time with the rest.  At the same time, sellers need to dig out opportunities that are not immediately obvious but lying just below the surface waiting for a skilled salesperson to uncover and close.

 

Conclusion

Remember these 3 strategies the next time you’re ready to pick up the phone, and you’ll be on your way to building a connection with your prospects and clients while creating a more open sales dialogue.

manager_HowMuchCoachingShouldIBeDoing_Vlog.png

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2013 and has been updated.

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Topics: sales, tips, selling, sellers, prospecting, value, skills, sales tips, sales training, digital media training, cold calling, call, small business, improving, marketing, strategy, phone

4 Guiding Principles for Successful Phone Prospecting

Posted by Steve Bookbinder on Oct 6, 2015 8:30:00 AM

Whether you’re in sales, marketing, business development, or if you’re a senior executive, everyone who prospects by phone needs to follow certain guiding principles. These include being simple, honest, direct, and conversational.

Since effective prospecting is usually such a critical factor to both an individual's success and the team's success, let’s look at these four ideas from the perspective of somebody who's trying to identify new revenue opportunities over the phone.

Woman dialing on smartphone

1. Be Simple

No, that doesn’t mean you should talk like a simpleton.

What it means is that you must work hard, ahead of time, to simplify your message for the prospect. Make your message powerful and easy to comprehend in just an instant.

You have to summarize what you are trying to say in the fewest number of words with the most repeatable sound bites. You want to paint a picture of the information you’re presenting.

It takes practice, so start rehearsing today!

2. Be Honest

Don't lie. Start being honest.

Customers often anticipate false statements or lies.

So you want to bend over backwards to tell the truth.

If it's a sales call, it's a sales call. If you don’t know the answer, you don’t know the answer. If your company is not a good fit, your company is not a good fit.

Tell the truth and don't ever apologize for telling the truth. You'll be surprised how often you generate a good conversation.

3. Be Direct

Get to the point.

Don't imagine you've got an unlimited reservoir of attention to work with.

When you’re lucky enough to get someone to connect with you on the phone, you need to remember that they’re only going to be willing to stay with you for a couple of beats. They want you to get to the point where you say, "Well, here is why I’m calling.”

They want to know the reason for the call. The longer the call goes without you clearing that question up, the more suspicious they are going to be. And you know they’re already suspicious just because you’re a salesperson!

4. Be Conversational

Being conversational means that you should try to be the most enthusiastic, authentic version of yourself. It has to be the real you.

Consider this: If you were to listen in on one of your own calls, would you sound like someone you would want to talk to? When you are at home and you are speaking to loved ones on the phone, what does that sound like? When you are speaking to somebody that you have a great relationship with and you're excited about something, what does that sound like?

It sounds like a real conversation!

Why?

Because the emotion is real!

That emotion is you in your most natural state, your most interesting state. If there is no authentic emotion on your prospecting call, you can sound dreadfully dull without even meaning to.

If you don’t have the sound of authentic emotion in your call, you will end up sounding like the bottom eighty percent of sales performers. You don’t want to be like them!

The next time you pick up the phone to prospect, remember that the very best way to do that is to keep it simple, be honest, be direct, and be conversational.

5 Simple Prospecting Tips to Increase Your Sales

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Topics: sales process, prospecting, skills, sales tips

How Real is the Sales Deal? (Part 2)

Posted by Molly Depasquale on May 21, 2013 10:51:00 AM

(continued from previous post)

At this moment, you’re asking the contact, “What do you think your boss would say?"
Fotolia_42128534_Subscription_Monthly_M
In other words, the boss is likely to already have a pre-existing bias, either toward the kind of thing you’re selling, or against it, so understand what that pre-existing bias might be. The boss may not even care that much about this issue or the problem that you’re trying to solve may not be much of a priority for him or her.  And therefore, the contact and his boss may not be inclined to act on this with urgency.  You need to delve deeper and find out what the boss is currently thinking, or what your contact thinks his boss is thinking.
Also, understand your contact’s true feelings.  So go ahead and ask, “If you’re going to be talking to your boss, and I really appreciate you doing that, will you be recommending me?”  Again, find the comfortable, professional, and consultative way to go about asking that, but find out whether you’re going to be recommended, versus “spreadsheeted.”  In other words, will you and your competitors be compiled together on some kind of a spreadsheet, with the features and benefits of each player laid out?
Or...
Is the customer going to be saying to his boss, “I’ve talked to a bunch of companies.  I really think this (you buddy!) is the right one?”  And if so, understand why.  Why is that motivation so strong?  Because the stronger his motivation, the more likely it is that he will want to work with you.  So if the contact is more inclined to say, “Well, I like your sale, your product. It will help us look good, make us more money, and I’ll get paid more. My people will advance in some way.” This is a personal motivation, and they’re more likely going to work with you when you ask, “Can we work together to get your boss on board? Can we either present to your boss together, or meet with your boss in advance of the presentation?  Can I help you create a presentation that, when you present it to your boss, will address your boss’ pre-existing biases, and more likely, gain their support?”

understand_numbers_graph_chart_analyze

Your contact is more likely to work with you, if you've walked down the other two paths first.
1. Find out why, and why at this moment? 
2. Respond to requests when the client asks you to make some changes. Understand why you’re making changes to either the budget or the delivery of the service.  Is it really going to help you get the sale, or are you being asked to change it for some other reason?  The more you understand, the more sales you will make. 

  First Appointment Structure

 

About the Author:

Steve_Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder is Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training, a training partner to some of the most successful sales organizations around the world.  DMT delivers training which treats sales as a competitive sport and changes behavior needed to help sellers consistently win.  DMT is a leader in M-learning training reinforcement with a proven track record of improving sales through training. Steve has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches at national sales meetings, conducted more than 3,000 training workshops and trained, coached and managed more than 35,000 sellers and managers from leading companies around the world for more than 20 years.

 

 

Have you ever worked with a contact to put together something for his boss? How'd it go? Please comment down below to share some of your experiences. 
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Topics: training, tips, value, skills, sales tips, sales training

10 Questions to Ask Before Investing in Sales Training [Free eBook]

Posted by Molly Depasquale on May 7, 2013 8:10:00 AM

"20% of the sales force in many companies delivers 80% of the revenue"according to Salesforce.comWhy not aim to help 100% of your sales team achieve its potential? 


Many companies consider training their employees but question whether or not they are investing in the the right type of training for their specific needs. It is important to ask the right questions when considering training.

This eBook was written to help you concisely tailor a training strategy, outline what you should take into account before investing in your next training initiative, and help simplify the next steps.

In this eBook, we look at:

  • 10 Must-consider Objectives
  • Expert Opinions from Top Trainers
  • The Key Questions To Ask Out Loud

You know that the competition grows stronger and that goals are set higher every year.

Access the eBook below to help stay ahead of the competition.

 

Free eBook

 

 

About the Author:

Steve Bookbinder is Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training, a training partner to some of the most successful sales organizations around the world.  DMT delivers training which treats sales as a competitive sport and changes behavior needed to help sellers consistently win.  DMT is a leader in M-learning training reinforcement with a proven track record of improving sales through training. Steve has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches at national sales meetings, conducted more than 3,000 training workshops and trained, coached and managed more than 35,000 sellers and managers from leading companies around the world for more than 20 years.

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Topics: sales, training, value, skills, eBook, Investing in Sales Training, strategy

How to Get the Most Out of Networking

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Apr 30, 2013 8:05:00 AM

business_phone_call_smileWhat do you say when you’re on the phone with a customer trying to open up a conversation? What you say usually hinges upon the kind of relationship you have with that person.

You might bristle at the notion of somebody telling you to use a script. But if you've ever watched a movie or a television show, you know that every single actor uses a script. They have to or the other actors wouldn’t know when it's their cue to speak.  When actors enact their scripts, they don't sound scripted. Why?  Because they practice it. They don’t practice just a few times. They practice it to the point that the script sounds fluid and natural.

Well, sellers can do the same thing. The only exception is that instead of taking somebody else’s words and reading them until they become natural, we begin with our own words (thus we have more control). We’re going to begin by writing out the script of what we want to say. Remember to write in the same way as you would speak. Repeat it over and over again because your words need to come out smoothly and correctly every single time.  Also, it really doesn’t matter what we say so much as it is to get a reaction when the customer speaks.  Bottom line: The less we’re distracted by what we say, the more we’re able to tune into what they say, and the better off we’ll be. 

1. What is it that we’re going to say when we first get somebody on the phone? This depends on how we’re connected.  Are you linked to the contact through mutual connections? For example, let’s say Mr. A tells me to call Mr. B.  Then I will call Mr. B and say,Good morning, Mr. B.  This is Steve Bookbinder.  I’m with the such and such company.  The reason I’m calling you today is Mr. A told me you were the right person to talk to about so and so, and he thought you might be interested in… You can easily make this work for your specific situation.

Another more urgent version of that same script might sound more like this:

2. You call Mr. A who directs you to call Mr. B.  Then, you call Mr. B and say, “Hi, Mr. B.  Did Mr. A tell you I’d be calling?”  Of course, the answer’s going to be “no,” especially if you hadn’t allowed much time to pass.  You might say, “Well, let me tell you what happened.  I was telling Mr. A all about the wonderful work we do and how effective it is.  He thought it was great, but suggested that I should be speaking to you.  I thought I should call you right away and try to set an appointment as soon as possible.  How’s Tuesday at 3:00?”

In the script mentioned above, you were able to create a sense of urgency.  Remember that this is a kind of template. Each seller has his or her own style, and you may have to translate the script and really “internalize” the lines to make them work for you personally.

Let’s say that you’re connected to the lead by industry.  You don’t know this particular person and don’t know anyone else who knows them.  However, what you do  know is information on other companies that are like them.

3. Use an approach that might sound like this, “Hi, Mr. A.  This is Steve Bookbinder.  I’m with the such and such company.  The reason I’m calling is that we’ve been doing a lot of work with companies in your industry, in your building, in your city, etc.… Companies such as the ABC company, the DEF company and similar ones are our clients and we’ve achieved in creating successful work together.  I’d like to get together and show you what we’ve done with them.  How’s Tuesday at 3? Or can we speak right now?”

4. Now, there's another way to make a call like that work, if the contact is not even remotely related to your industry or is in any way similar to the industry that you’ve been specializing in. It can go something like this: “The reason I’m calling – we are thinking of marketing to companies in your industry.  We’re thinking that it makes sense because we’ve worked with other companies in another industry, and it was very successful for them.  I thought it might be something that works for you as well.  I’d like to learn more about what you’re doing, tell you what we’ve been doing and see if there’s a match.  Does it make sense to get together to talk about that?  How’s Tuesday at 3? Or can we talk about it right now?”

So in this very non-presumptive approach, you are not making any assumptions about there being an exact connection or a match.  In fact, you want to actively explore any possible connections with them.  The reason you’re calling them is to see if they’ll talk to you about whether it makes sense for you to do this marketing at all.  It’s a very effective and a very soft way to sell

5. If you have a distant connection to the person that you’re calling, –let’s say it’s a long-ago, no-see kind of a person – you may begin the call with: The reason I’m calling – I was thinking of you.  I read something in the paper, and it got me thinking about you.  When we last spoke, you told me you were working on a project.  I wondered how it worked out.  I was thinking of you.”

6. Let’s say that you know the company and you’re sort of a fan. Try saying, “The reason I was calling is that I’ve always wondered about how your company did/ bought this kind of service or how your company solved this kind of problem or what kind of vendors you might have used for this sort of issue. I’ve always wondered.”  

We have now reviewed the most important ways of approaching different types of contacts and calls.  If you follow these tips and craft them into your own script, you’ll have an effective opening that’ll work for you for all the calls you’ll ever need.

   

About the Author:

Steve_Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder is Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training, a training partner to some of the most successful sales organizations around the world.  DMT delivers training which treats sales as a competitive sport and changes behavior needed to help sellers consistently win.  DMT is a leader in M-learning training reinforcement with a proven track record of improving sales through training. Steve has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches at national sales meetings, conducted more than 3,000 training workshops and trained, coached and managed more than 35,000 sellers and managers from leading companies around the world for more than 20 years.

   Make LinkedIn Work for You Infographic Download

 

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Topics: skills, customer's perspective, how to negotiate, dealing with a customer, opening up calls, sales script, non-presumptive approach, soft-selling, strategy

Negotiation: How to Develop Trading Currencies

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Apr 29, 2013 8:00:00 AM

When you’re negotiating with a customer, how do you develop specific trading currencies?  Think about a sale that reaches the proposal point. Often times, the customer might say, “We want to negotiate.” Very often, we’re thinking, “I have to lower the price to get them to agree to get to sign it, and hopefully my company will allow me to get away with a deal with this lowered price.  That, my friends, is not negotiating.  That’s simply discounting.  Let’s revisit the terms of this trade.   

Pretend that money wasn’t involved.  What do you really want from the customer, or what are you willing to give up in exchange?  Well, as we develop our trading currencies, there are four things that we want to consider:

1. What do you need? 

2. What do you have? 

3. Free

4. Unbalanced

You’re going into a sales meeting, and you’re hoping to close the sale.  What is your goal?  Simply another sale?  Well, if you’re a new salesperson to the organization, sometimes what you really need is a first sale.  Without that first sale, you’re not going to get anything else.  There’s a psychological barrier that prevents you from getting anything else until you finally acquire that first sale.  On the other hand, your company might need the cash right now.  So what you really want is not simply just a deal. You’re saying to yourself:

“I need to get paid today.”

Or

“I need an account receivable today. Must invoice today.” 

Or

“I need to be able to render a service now, because my people are available now. “

Or

“My people are busy now, but three months from now, I expect them to be more free.  It’s normally my slow season, so I want to think ahead and prepare for that.”

You want to be as clear as possible. And you may want to even share that with the customer.  You might want to introduce new ways of thinking:

  • “What I’m really looking to do is not only do business with you, but I want you to introduce me to somebody else.”

  • “I want to be considered for some other future expanded service.”

  • “I want to avoid an RPF process.”   

  • “I’m looking to market my services to other people, and you can help me by agreeing to do a case study about the work that I’m doing with you. If we could do it that way, then I would be willing to give up something in exchange for that.”

  • “I want market share, and I’m willing to give something up in exchange for that.” 

valueSo the clearer we are in our own heads, the better we will be at communicating value to the customer, and the more likely it is that they’ll work with us to develop that trading currency we need. 

2. Now, what do you have?  Well, you always have two kinds of resources, and what we’re looking for are resources that could be valuable to the customer. You have resources in great abundance at the time of this negotiation or trading.  What resources are these? 

Look at your arsenal of unused resources.  We have knowledge, and what we know is worth money.  We have experts willing to help right now, and they can do an audit.  Maybe your  customer needs an analysis or a delivery of a customized solution, which we don’t always make available, but could at this time because the resource is in abundance now, perhaps exactly at the right time.

money_flying_out_walletYou may have cash now, so you’re willing to take on a deal where the customer will pay you on a future date and you can afford to extend the terms.  This, in and of itself, becomes its own currency.  Do you have the opportunity to introduce your client, or somebody who works for your client, to other people of value and interest to them?  You might even have the ability to help your clients market their services through your marketing efforts, and through some of the webinars or speeches or the other kinds of marketing campaigns that you carry out.  All of these become currencies.   

 

 

3. Now, what’s free?  What could you give to the customer at absolutely no cost to them?  When you bundle a group of services together that includes one free thing, whatever it may be, your customer can  no longer compare your services as apples to apples  against any of your other competitors.  So whenever possible, load up your bundled offer with a free piece.  It could be consulting, coaching, or something that allows the customer to remove an expense. We’ll do some work for you that you normally do on your own.  And in that way, we can save you time, resources, or money.

 

handshake-1

4. Finally, when you’re presenting your deal, you want to unbalance it.  Give the customer a deal that looks so good they can’t refuse it.  So I have had the occasion of saying to customers INSIDE MY HEAD, “What I really need is this amount of money right now in order for me to hit my goal, so I’m willing to give you all these other free services of value.  In exchange, I want the contract today or the delivery of that service today. I have the ability to invoice you right now, and I’m going to make your side of that contract robust with extra added-on value, so that I can obtain what I want.”

If you really think of it this way and you’re clear about what you want, and truly understand what it is that would be of value to the customer, you’ll be able to put together a deal that’s a win-win every time.

 

 

About the Author:

Steve_Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder is Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training, a training partner to some of the most successful sales organizations around the world.  DMT delivers training which treats sales as a competitive sport and changes behavior needed to help sellers consistently win.  DMT is a leader in M-learning training reinforcement with a proven track record of improving sales through training. Steve has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches at national sales meetings, conducted more than 3,000 training workshops and trained, coached and managed more than 35,000 sellers and managers from leading companies around the world for more than 20 years.

 

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Topics: skills, dealing with a customer, sales tips, setting goals, negotiating, trading currencies, strategy

4 Easy Steps: How to Become Your Own Coach

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Apr 26, 2013 8:05:00 AM

3. Veering off course.  Should you make a left as part of your big plan, or do you make a left and call that ‘"veering off course?" Just because you’re making a left turn doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re veering off course.  What matters is this: Think about what you want to accomplish and why you want to accomplish it. Why is it so important to you, and are you trying to achieve something positive or avoid something negative?  If the energy associated with your reason or desire for wanting to accomplish this goal is strong enough, it will force you take at least 1 step forward every day.  Now, whether you take that step by directly heading forward or moving towards the left just a little, - as sailors do sometimes when trying to reach a destination -  consider veering if your other alternative is stopping. 

       success_failure_choose_roads

4. Movement.  One of the things I like to consider is how similar people are to the planets in the solar system. In the same way that planets revolve, rotate, have a gravitational pool, and are part of an orbit, some very important people have an orbit of things and people that go around them. For example, the earth has satellites that go around us; some bigger planets have many moons going around them.

universe_space_never_ending

Both you and I are in pursuit of our goals. Often times, that goal is at least in part accomplished by meeting someone or getting that someone to buy into our concept, approve us, hire us, agree to train us, and work with us. Often in life, it’s about who we meet.  Well, the people that we want to meet or get an introduction to will be moving all the time, and they each have an orbit of things around them.  If you want to meet with them, you need to recognize that you’re trying to hit a moving target while you yourself are on the move You are indeed moving even if you’re standing still because you’re growing a day older (and wiser) every day. Everything that you’re trying to do is now one day closer to being accomplished, but this also means that one more day was spent in pursuit of this goal, adding to your weariness.

As you’re trying to hit a moving target consider the kinds of activities that will put you in the right orbit so that you’ll be more likely to “bump” into people that you need to bump into.  How long will it take?  Well, it’s going to be a long process, but it is exceedingly long if you’re not at it every single day.

 

 

 

About the Author:

Steve_Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder is Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training, a training partner to some of the most successful sales organizations around the world.  DMT delivers training which treats sales as a competitive sport and changes behavior needed to help sellers consistently win.  DMT is a leader in M-learning training reinforcement with a proven track record of improving sales through training. Steve has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches at national sales meetings, conducted more than 3,000 training workshops and trained, coached and managed more than 35,000 sellers and managers from leading companies around the world for more than 20 years.

 

 

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Topics: deadlines, training, tips, selling, sellers, value, skills, sales training, team, veering, one step closer

How To Be Your Own Coach: Dealing with Deadlines (Part 1)

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Apr 25, 2013 8:00:00 AM

running

When you’re going after a big goal, are you more likely to succeed if you begin with a deadline? 

If you’re going to accomplish a big goal, - something bigger, better, and greater than you’ve ever done before - there are questions you need to ask yourself.  Are you going to be doing this for the rest of your life until you achieve it?  Or are you saying to yourself, “Well, I’ll pour my heart into it for a couple of years, and if that doesn’t work, then I’ll go back to my old life and lower my sights and change my goal.”

Which approach will more likely lead you to success? Well, there are four things to consider:

 

1. Working hard

2. Danger of dates

3. Veering off course

4. Movement

 

(1.) Working hard? When you wake up well-rested, it’s relatively easy to begin the day with a new mission and a new purpose in life and a new energy in your step; you’ve got that adrenaline flowing and you can keep going and that’s great. What happens when you get tired?  When you work hard, you will get tired.  And when you’re going after a goal that’s bigger than any you’ve gone after before, you will no doubt work hard on both a physical and a mental level as well as every other level in between. 

 

And so the question is, “What happens when you get tired and know that you’ve got a built-in arbitrary time period?” You've set a deadline for yourself. 

(2.) Well, now we’re talking about the danger of dates. Let’s say you’re planning on giving your best efforts for two years. Well, that was the original plan, but now you’re 18 months into it and you go, “Well, you know, I’ve got six more months left before the deadline, and I’m kind of coasting toward the end because I can see now that I’m not going to make it.” How do you tend to react when you see that deadline up-front? Is it a relief? Is it an oasis?  Is it an excuse to get off the treadmill and stop running towards your goal? That’s the danger in dates for some people, especially those who grow weary after working hard.  Who can blame them? We all get tired at some point. Reflect on how you personally deal with arbitrary deadlines. The situation might be unique for different people. 

**** 

Should you make a left as part of your big plan, or do you make a left and call that ‘veering off course’?

 

 

 

About the Author:

Steve_Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder is Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training, a training partner to some of the most successful sales organizations around the world.  DMT delivers training which treats sales as a competitive sport and changes behavior needed to help sellers consistently win.  DMT is a leader in M-learning training reinforcement with a proven track record of improving sales through training. Steve has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches at national sales meetings, conducted more than 3,000 training workshops and trained, coached and managed more than 35,000 sellers and managers from leading companies around the world for more than 20 years.

 

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Topics: deadlines, training, tips, value, skills, working hard, goals

Isn't It "Obvious?" (Part 2)

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Apr 22, 2013 8:52:00 AM

(3.) Their perspective.  Not only do you need to ask the right questions and do so by thinking from the perspective of the customer.  How do you reach their perspective?  It starts off with an understanding of their business and here are a few steps that I like to go through:

 marketing_cloud_seo-1

First off, after all of the research you have conducted, boil it down in terms of the kind of company you’re dealing with.  Do you understand how this company went to market and how big of a market share they have?  Who are their competitors?  Even if you can’t sell to this particular company, consider the possibility that their competitors have the potential to become your next leads. So actively seek out that kind of information, determine their go-to-market strategy and how they make money.

 

 What’s their distribution strategy?  How do things operate within the company?  And once you understand how things operate there, you have a sense of the kind of departments they’re likely to have, the services they’re likely to need, and learn about why they would be more willing to expend more resources in one area than another.  Understanding the business of your customer is what’s going to help you ask better questions.

 

(4.) And, finally, provide explanations  Some people are so afraid to ask the obvious question, thinking that that’s what’s going to end the sale.  But let’s just say that that terrible fear was realized. After asking the obvious question,  your customer looks back at you with a question mark as if to say, “I can’t believe you’re asking such an obvious question.”  You need to be ready for that moment just like any moment in sales.  Be ready for anything that you can anticipate and say to them, “Well, the reason I’m asking is…” and then deliver an answer which sounds credible and basically translates into, “Because in the analysis of my prospects, I need to learn certain things about my customers’ business in order for me to evaluate whether or not I am qualified to deliver that service to you, and I wanted to make sure because I have an obligation to you to understand your problem and figure out early on if I can bring any value to the equation.”  This is the reason to ask obvious questions.

 

Below are helpful questions to keep in mind as you’re conducting research or trying to think from the perspective of your customer:

 
  1. Have you ever considered buying from us in the past?

  2. Do you work with any of our competitors? Why them? Why not us?

  3. How come we haven’t already done business together?

  4. Why did you buy the services you have now?

  5. How do you determine the budget for new services?

  6. How does your business make money?

  7. What has to happen for your company to exceed its goals?

  8. What has to happen for your department to exceed its goals?

  9. Is your department affected if sales increase or decrease?

  10. How is your department affected by changes in the marketplace?

  11. Are people in your department worried about losing their jobs?

  12. How did you obtain your current position?

  13. Are your customers, partners, and distributors global, national or local?

  14. What would we have to do to gain your business?

  15. Who does your company compete against?

  16. How does your company gain a competitive edge over your competitors?

 

And don't be afraid to ask obvious questions. 

magnify_question_mark_400_clr_4858
 Embrace it and keep these 4 reasons behind asking at the forefront of your mind: 

(1) Great stories, (2) The right questions, (3) Their perspective, and (4) Explanations.

  

 

About the Author:

Steve_Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder is Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training, a training partner to some of the most successful sales organizations around the world.  DMT delivers training which treats sales as a competitive sport and changes behavior needed to help sellers consistently win.  DMT is a leader in M-learning training reinforcement with a proven track record of improving sales through training. Steve has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches at national sales meetings, conducted more than 3,000 training workshops and trained, coached and managed more than 35,000 sellers and managers from leading companies around the world for more than 20 years.

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Topics: training, selling, sellers, skills, customer's perspective, sales tips, sales training, team, competitors, research, obvious questions

Isn't It "Obvious?" (Part 1)

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Apr 19, 2013 7:26:00 AM

There are four reasons why I want you to ask the "obvious" question during an interview with a customer. The reasons are as follows:

1. Great stories.

2. The right questions.

3. Their perspective

4. Explanations.

What's obvious to one person can be a source of oblivion to another.  This is applicable to when a salesman meets a customer. Why?  Because the salesperson works for one kind of a company, and the customer works for a completely different kind of a company in a completely different kind of a role.  And so the two of them are not likely to agree on what "obvious" may be.

They worry about asking an obvious question – as if there was a death penalty associated with it.  I’ve spoken to 30,000 salespeople and none of them have ever told me that they were kicked out of an office for asking a too obvious of a question.  But what sometimes happens – and many times does in fact happen – is that the obvious question triggers a story.  So it’s not the question; it’s the story answer it produces.  That’s the key concept.  So what question is going to get you onto the very subject about how important solving their issues are and how you can help? How are you going to get into that conversation if you’re not talking about that subject?  How are you going to get there if you’re not talking about some “obvious” question?

Ask the right questions. You need to think about the world from the point-of-view of the person you’re meeting with.  Imagine being in that kind of a company which makes money in a certain way and has organized itself with a certain go-to-market strategy. It is constructed in a unique way and has a certain kind of market share and they do things in a particular way.  What questions can you ask will really get to the heart of the matter? 

Really get into the customer’s shoes, so to speak, and imagine the world from where they are and the only way to do that is to research.  But once the thorough research is completed, you’re now able to ask the most important question. It’s as if you’ll be the "mirror" organization and this client was meeting his counterpart (you) and the two of you now completely understand each other. How can you solve your client's challenges?  What is that one problem that is the trickiest  of them all? 

This is the kind of question that you want to be asking: How is the client solving those "obvious" issues?

 

 

About the Author:

Steve_Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder is Co-founder and CEO of Digital Media Training, a training partner to some of the most successful sales organizations around the world.  DMT delivers training which treats sales as a competitive sport and changes behavior needed to help sellers consistently win.  DMT is a leader in M-learning training reinforcement with a proven track record of improving sales through training. Steve has delivered more than 500 keynote speeches at national sales meetings, conducted more than 3,000 training workshops and trained, coached and managed more than 35,000 sellers and managers from leading companies around the world for more than 20 years.

Read More

Topics: training, tips, selling, sellers, sales process, value, skills, sales tips, sales training, client, call, strategy, reaction, coaching