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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 Steps to Take When Closing Your Next Deal

Posted by Steve Bookbinder on Feb 2, 2017 6:30:00 PM

Closing a deal is the ultimate reward for all of the research, preparation, and follow up that goes into building new relationships and maintaining a high level of client satisfaction.

Every now and then, it’s important to remind yourself to go back to the basics of selling to ensure that you’re not simply closing a deal, but instead, opening a new relationship that has future growth potential.

So, when the time is right and you’re ready to close your next deal, remember these four tips: 

negotiating_and_closing.jpg

(SLA) Service Level Agreement

SLA stands for Service Level Agreement; in other words this is the document that outlines the timing and delivery of the products and/or services you will provide. This is a critical point in the sale because this is where all expectations need to be set and understood by both sides.

When you close a deal, it’s not enough simply to get the sale. You want to be able to leverage the sale in the future. To do this, you need to confirm with the customer that he or she feels your level of service is superior and that you did more than simply meet the minimum requirement. So, when formulating your close, review what the minimum deal is and then determine what else you can add. Be sure that you have added in enough elements to your deal to get that agreement.  

TRY THIS:

Review a sale you are closing now or have just closed. Decide what you can add (product, service, conditions terms, etc.) to enhance the service level without increasing cost to you.

On-Boarding Process

Sales continue even after the close.  As the seller, you are the “face” of the sale to the customer. So, the customer will always look to you to explain and validate every step of the implementation even after the close. Therefore, meet with your internal team and carefully review who does what, when, why and how. Then, repeat the process with the customer explaining who on your team will be taking over the implementation on your side. Be sure to always point out the value of each person taking charge of the steps in the implementation. This builds rapport and helps pave the way for future sales.

TRY THIS:

Think of a current sale and review your on-boarding process for the account once you close the deal. Use a tool like the following to think through all the steps in on-boarding. This will help you be ready to both explain the process to the customer and to ensure the process goes smoothly.

Future Opportunities

A single sale for a single deal may have a finite point. However, the superior seller knows that each successful sale leads to another... and another…. You can leverage past success into future success by ensuring that the job you do with the first sale is not only adequate but superior, beyond expectations – in effect, stellar. This way, you develop equity within the account and draw upon that equity to pursue one successful sale after another.

TRY THIS:

Review a current or upcoming sale. Review the terms of the offering. Find something that will help the sale exceed expectations – something you or your company will do, a “deal sweetener,” etc…

Strategizing the Right Time to Ask for Additional Business

 A major goal of the consultative seller is to position him or herself as the “conduit” of a range of products and services that address multiple functions within the account. This process is called “evergreening.” To successfully evergreen an account, you have to be extremely observant to what you see and hear and what you can deduce to identify opportunities all the time. Then, when you spot an opportunity, you move on to that one if your present sale is going well. This way, the present sale “evergreens” into additional business.  Account selling is not linear.

TRY THIS:

Review all your active accounts. For each, think of additional opportunities and note how you think you can transition from your present deal to the future opportunity even before you close the first one. Use a tool like the one below for your analysis.

Conclusion

Before closing your next deal, take these four things into consideration and utilize them to your advantage by ensuring that you: set expecations up front, properly on-board new clients by clearly outlining how your product or service will be implemented, understand what a future opportunity might look like, and strategize the timing of asking your client for additional business.

How to ask for the deal without sounding too

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

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Topics: sales, training, tips, managing, manager, client, cold calling, building client relationships, strategy, deal, service level agreement, client on-boarding

What’s the Cost of NOT Training Your Salespeople?

Posted by Steve Bookbinder on Dec 15, 2016 2:05:00 PM

Well, let’s just say it’s costing you a lot more by NOT training your sales team.

You’ve probably all seen the endless statistics and reports about employee disengagement, unemployment rates, and the seemingly unrectifiable skills gap. Maybe you yourself are feeling disengaged or seeing too much turnover and not enough qualified individuals to fill open positions.  

Well, if you or your company have been putting off professional development and training for far too long, then it’s time for a change. Because realizing the importance of educating, coaching, and training employees and then actually implementing effective programs is the only way to achieve long term company success.

So why does your company need sales training? Consider asking these questions:

  1. If we raise the seller’s goals, do we expect them to hit their goals without improving skills, strategies, or tactics?
  1. If we haven’t hit the goals that our competitors have reached, what does that say about our previous forms of training?
  1. If your company invested in training last year but didn’t achieve the intended results, did anyone reinforce that training or was the expectation that the effect of training would be like a tattoo on each seller’s brain?
  1. If last year’s skills are the best we can hope for, what will that cost us this year?

While some sellers and managers may view sales training as “optional” or as a “luxury,” that thinking is short sighted and unrealistic. Simply “checking the box” on training won’t cut it anymore. If it actually worked, then everyone would do it that way.

Professional football teams would take the week off before a big game and then just sort of warm up before each game. Actors and actresses on Broadway would meet a few weeks before the show so the director could hand them the script and say “obviously you’re a professional, so you know how to perform the script. No need for rehearsal, see you opening night…”

But this doesn’t happen. And there’s a reason professionals make a habit of practicing and fine-tuning their skills.

When people are training all the time, they develop a "muscle memory" and get really good at processing information.  They become accustomed to finding something that resonates and then they are able to apply it to their daily activities. But when people rarely attend training, their skills fade and they struggle process and apply the training information.

Benefits of Sales Coaching and Training

Okay, so now that we’ve covered a few key considerations and reasons why you should invest in sales training, let’s look at some of the benefits:

Improved Performance

Employee education and training is designed to give your people the proficiency and tools they need to learn new skills and refresh old ones. It’s key in every industry to stay on top of new trends, timesaving technologies, and how to stay competitive. Providing training will make sure the entire team is fully competent and can help you set clear expectations with regards to new goals. Whether the company’s output is struggling or already doing a stellar job, training will only help to increase its performance further and deliver a great return on investment.

Higher Engagement

It’s no secret that unhappy, disengaged, and uninspired employees can eventually become less productive. Ensuring employee happiness with appropriate benefits and perks is only one part of the formula. Keeping them truly engaged by cultivating their specific skills further, as well as, providing education in the areas where they aim to improve, will increase their interest in their work and new projects.

Higher Retention Rates

Re-engaging employees through training and further education will improve their overall job performance and satisfaction. They’ll be less likely to let their eyes wander for other career opportunities since they’ve increased their skill level and hopefully intend to conquer new challenges. Investing in your company’s employees helps to show them their value, potential expertise, and the company’s focus on maintaining a long-term relationship with them. Having higher retention rates will decrease the huge costs often involved in employee turnover. Making the small additional effort to train your current employees will save your company the headache of later trying to replace them.

Cohesive Onboarding

If your company has been expanding and adding to its staff then you’re probably already familiar with the difficult task of getting new members up to speed. If not done properly, you may later experience many unforeseen problems and confusion. Thinking ahead and providing onboarding training to your newest employees will help eliminate future turbulence due to unclear expectations and potentially unfamiliar methods. It will also convey the company’s desire to engage with and improve upon the skills new workers bring to the table.

Elimination of the Skills Gap

Some companies are having trouble finding the right people to fill open positions. Closing the skills gap is something that your company can do with training. Whether there’s a current employee who has shown incredible potential and just needs some more knowledge to transition into the open position, or a prospective hire that’s promising if it wasn’t for their minor lack in a certain area, why shouldn’t you just train them? It’s unrealistic to believe that if you’ve already been waiting for months, that if you just wait a little bit longer, the perfect, ideal, absolutely spectacular candidate will come along. That’s not to say you should lower your standards, but accepting that you will most likely have to teach anyone coming into the role a thing or two, why should you contribute to the growth of the skills gap if you could just rectify the situation and start training?

Reduction of Skill Fade

Do you remember everything you’ve ever learned? Of course not. Even the most dedicated and skilled employees will eventually start losing grasp of things they learned decades, years, months, weeks, or even days before. Having regular training sessions or better yet - ongoing training - will help reduce the previously inescapable skill fade-out phenomenon. Reinforcing previously learned material will ensure employees are always current with their knowledge and continue to increase their performance.

What it comes down to is that sales organizations must redefine what training and learning means to them. Success in sales means being prepared, nimble, and continuously developing the right skills that will have a positive impact on the entire business.

What is your company’s biggest excuse for not training their employees? Is it too expensive to train them? Or is it a bigger expense if you DON’T train them?

The 12 Days of Selling - Free DMTraining eBook Offer

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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Topics: sales, tips, sales training, managing, digital media training

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?"
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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

Challenge Accepted: Conquering the Sales Callback

Posted by Molly Depasquale on May 15, 2013 9:47:00 AM

When trying to set up an initial meeting with a prospect, you should both call and email the person. Combining these two approaches will make your message a more memorable as well as easy to respond to for both email and voicemail people. The key to this approach is to use the same wording for both messages and send them at the same time. Both the voicemail and the email should include your name, phone number, company name, reason you are calling, and your phone number (again).

red_phone_receiver_call

1. "Reason for Contact" Statements

Your "reason for contact" statement should be the shortest possible description of your lead source. For example, if you received a referral from Roger Smith, your reason statement should be something like "regarding Roger" or "regarding Roger Smith." If you acquired the lead from a trade show, the reason statement should be "regarding the trade show;" if you met at a networking event, the reason would be "regarding last week's conversation."

2. Keeping It Simple and the Same 

According to studies where sellers carefully tracked their ratios, shortening the message to a single word or a short phrase seems to work the best. For example, if you are selling your product or service to an insurance company, you would leave a message that says "Re: Met Life." When they call back (and they will), you can finish the thought by saying "We've done a lot of work with insurance companies like Met Life, and I thought we should get together to discuss." Again, the key is to use the same wording for both messages and send them at the same time.

merge_combine_mix_connect

3. Getting the Call 

Do not type your entire sales pitch or toss your manifesto in the emails you send to fresh prospects (avoid the "See the attached 400 page document on why we are so great"). Emails should read more like reminder notes you leave for your spouse or roommate. The business version of "please don't forget milk today" might be something like "confirming our appointment for Tuesday." You might even leave out their name and all niceties (such as "greetings"). Just get to the point. In this age of ubiquitous iPhones, Droids, Blackberries, smartphones, and iPads, your message recipient will appreciate this more as they walk and read.

Common sense tells us that those who read or listen to our complete messages are much more likely to respond to us!

Action Steps 


To improve your sales success, focus on:

• A Reason for Contact
• Keeping it Simple and the Same
• Getting the Call

 

Question: What was the best callback you've ever received? How did the conversation flow?

 

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: calling, reason for contact, emails, tips, prospecting, value, call, improving, strategy, user engagement

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 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.

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

How to Be a Great Interviewer

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Apr 18, 2013 11:26:00 AM

The interviewing phase is where we’re going to learn whatever we need to learn in order to eventually close the sale. There are four things we need to consider if we’re going to do a great job interviewing:

 

1. Know what to ask. 

2. Sound curious. 

3. React versus respond. 

4. Learn buying patterns. 

 

(1.) Know what to ask before you go into the meeting. Think about the following:

  • Have we ever worked in the past with similar organizations? 

  • What’ve we done with them? 

  • When we went into those sales, who did we encounter?  What sort of political things were going on?

look_for_binoculars_surprised_faceIf you’re meeting with the head of one division, are you likely to have to meet with the heads of the other departments or people in other locations? What type of sale are you likely to  get from that kind of company?  And if you’ have to meet with the other influencers, you need to ask about who those people are.  The more you think about the potential sales opportunities you have within that organization, the more likely it is that you'll be directed to the other kind of questions that will provide you with insight into your customer.  Think about all of those questions up front and write them down.

(2.) When you’re asking a question, you want to sound curious.  Because when you do, it will sound like you’re having a great conversation.  Note the use of the terms “conversation” and “interviewing” and not the more common word, “probing,” which sounds so clinical and cold. This term will benefit no one.   

To have a good relationship with someone, a great conversation is a way to get there.  There’s a lot of things that need to be done.  First, make sure that when you’re speaking, you sound like the way great interviewers sound on shows – which I encourage you to listen to or watch to observe the way that they sound. Interviewers do the majority of the asking, and the interviewee is actually does the majority of the talking.  The person who’s doing the majority of the talking is not the one leading the meeting.  If you get me to answer your questions, then you’re in charge and the one who is leading the meeting. You are the leader, and that’s the position you want to be in. How do you get there? One way is to take notes.  When we take notes, we’re sending a nonverbal signal to the other person, implying that we think what they’re saying is important.

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The more you write, the more they tend to talk. 3. React versus respond.  When we react, we’re listening closely to what the other person just said.  We’re clarifying ambiguous statements about the need, budget, or timing.  Be on the alert for things like the word “soon.”  You want to say, “When you say soon, do you mean next week?  Next month?  Next year?” 

“When you say that you’re willing to spend a lot of money to solve that problem – when you say that - do you mean $1,000.00?  $100,000.00?  $1 billion?”  We want to get that out of the way and come to a mutual  understanding. When we ask those kind of questions, we’re clarifying what they said.  This makes it sound more like you’re listening and not interrogating.

“Well, never mind about what you were just telling me, Mr. Customer.  What about what you’re going to buy from me?” This sort of thing sounds very self-serving.  We do not want to respond, but rather react. Clarify ambiguous statements about timelines, budgets, and need. 

(4.) And finally, you need to know about buying patterns.  How did the customer buy the last time?  Who was involved?  How did they process the buying?  How did they onboard?  And why do they do it that way?  And has this person ever been part of that process?  Did he or she lead it last time?  Why did it turn out the way that it did?  And why did company reject previous offers?  And did you ever try to get that piece of work before?  Why hasn’t the company already bought from you? 

How come they bought from the companies they bought from?  When we learn the buying patterns, we are more likely to get the sale because we’re going to fit our sales process into their buying process.  But if we ignore their buying patterns, we will look like pushy salespeople.  A pushy salesperson ignores your buying patterns. 

Remember these 4 factors before going into that next interview:

 

Know what to ask. 

Sound curious. 

React versus respond. 

And learn their buying patterns. 

 

 

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, tips, sellers, value, skills, sales tips, sales training, strategy, interviewing

4 To Dos to Improve Sales Everyday

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Apr 17, 2013 8:30:00 AM

Everyone who’s serious about accomplishing their goals will find a way to inspect their work to ensure that they’re making progress.  You should too.

To Do List:

1. Do a daily pipeline check.

2. Inspect your calendar.

3. Check your KPIs.

4. Keep testing new strategies.

1. There is nothing more sobering than either beginning or ending the day by looking at your pipeline.  Oh, my goodness!  Although you’re very busy, you may realize something new and say to yourself, “What am I so busy doing again?  Because - whatever it is - it’s not changing my pipeline.”  Your income is going to come out of that pipeline.  Everything you do needs to be coming out of that pipeline.  You want to make sure that you’re doing the things that can actually shape and improve the look of that pipeline. 

 

 desk_calendar_month_800_clr_38922. Inspect your calendar. If you look at your pipeline first, you will bereminded  of certain call opportunities. It will help you make decisions about calling or emailing some folks and the  decisions you make will impact your time.  Now, go look at that calendar on your desk or phone and ask yourself, “Where’s my time going? Am I spending my time in a way that makes the most sense, given what my pipeline looks like and what it needs to look like?"  Align your activities with your goals.  The single biggest mistake that people make is being unable to focus on the activities that will bring them closer to their goals on a daily basis. Don't make that mistake!

 

3. Track your KPIs.  In sales, KPIs are the number of dials, completed calls, visits, and sales.  What does each one mean? Track the dials that lead to first meetings, introduction meetings, meetings that begin a new sale either with an existing customer or a new one. Don’t count the number of times that you simply pick up the phone and call someone.   Track the number of completed calls or the number of times you actually speak on the phone with that person.  Track the number of First Appointments, or first meetings that initiate the sales process on the verge of a new opportunity, and track how many of the First Appointments are closed.

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After a while, you will begin to learn your ratios and find a pattern.

How many dials does it take to get a completed call?

How many completed calls are required to get an appointment?

How many appointments result in a certain number of sales?

What is the average value of each sale? 

When you start to work with those ratios and develop new strategies, you will gain an understanding of what you’re really accomplishing. If you don’t, you will inevitably do the wrong things because how else will you know if you’re generating the right number of leads or allocating the right amount of time unless you know the number of dials it takes to get a sale?  Track your KPIs all the time. When you track things, you’re subconsciously driving yourself towards an improvement in behavior. 

 

4. Keep testing new strategies.  It’s very common to conclude that the best way to drive from point A to B is this one route and to do everything in a pattern that utilizes that proven method. Yes, indeed consistency is great. However, how do you know that there isn’t another smoother or more efficient way to double up on productivity?  Unless you’re testing out new strategies all the time, you won’t.   

 

 

 At all times, think about:

“What’s another way that I could get old leads to come back and talk to me?” 

“What’s a way that I could get sales that had stalled out to come back?”

“How do I get sales that were this big to be a little bit bigger?”

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 You will begin to develop a certain amount of energy derived from this type of creative thinking and before you know it, you’re suggesting things and doing things, spending time in a way that you hadn’t done before.  Your focus will be on making these newly found strategies work for you. The energy associated with testing these strategies is something that can’t be measured, but it is the single most common factor evident in all great sales people.

 

So there are four things you want to be doing:  check your daily pipeline, inspect your calendars, track your KPIs, and test out new strategies all the time.

 

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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, tips, sellers, value, skills, sales tips, sales training, call, business, strategy, A to B, optimize, dials, KPIs, First Appointment, Completed calls