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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

7 Strategies for Selling Search Engine Marketing

Posted by Steve Bookbinder on Dec 29, 2015 9:30:00 AM

1. Start with a Great Target List

If you observe veteran search marketing salespeople, you will see that they receive inbound calls and email inquiries quite frequently from potentially ready-to-buy advertisers. Unfortunately, half of the calls will be less than optimal and shouldn’t be considered real prospects, but the other half will be first class opportunities.

Watching those veteran sellers, you may wonder what sort of magic makes them so effective. What is the real magic? The seller and his/her company have been prospecting for years.

The odds of cold calling someone today and reaching the final decision maker is low. But you can sow the seeds today- make sure they already know about you, and make them impressed enough to remember to contact you when they are ready.

So if you want a successful career, think ahead to the advertisers you want to be working within the next 1-3 years and begin pursuing them, without appearing desperate. Each day, given that you will have to make about 10-30 calls (especially if you are in your first year of SEM sales), you should be having at least one good conversation with a decision maker/advertiser.

writing-checklist-list.jpg

2. Prospect Every Day

Although this seems obvious, especially given the point mentioned above, it can sometimes be difficult to carry it through. Since you sometimes actually reach an interested advertiser, you lose some prospecting time.

The "interested" calls can easily go on for about 10-45 minutes. Those calls often result in the promise to send something. That something can take an hour to 3 days to prepare. Managing your time so that, despite these needs, you still find time to prospect enough, ideally, you should aim for a call to be only a few minutes long that results in a face-to-face meeting.

3. Prepare for Each Meeting Like an Investor

Before investors will put their money into a company, they want to know everything about that company. Therefore, apart from the information you will glean online and from various databases, etc., you need to make sure you understand how big the vertical is, how big a share your target-prospect has and what their plans (ideally budget) and timing needs are to grow that share.

This level of information can only be acquired through conversations with the prospect. You may even need more than one good conversation before you can learn enough about this advertiser.

Remember, you are also trying to determine if this advertiser is a good fit with your own agency. Given your competition, you may never get a second chance at getting that advertiser back.

4. Create a Presentation that Tells Your Agency's Story

The normal flow of events leading to a sale with a new advertiser goes either through the RFP process or through a process led by the search agency. The RFP process gives the customer total control while the other gives the agency total control.

Either way, you are likely to need two presentations. The first is either the RFP response or your agency's initial presentation; the second will include the agency fee structure.

If you are involved with an RFP, you will likely be presented with a variety of categories (for example Proprietary Technologies, Bid Management Strategy, Service Team Structures, etc.) with a series of detailed questions below each. Your answers should tell a story about how your agency services accounts.

If the sale is outside the RFP process, then the focus still needs to be on telling that story: the story of how your agency's philosophy of servicing accounts is a superior fit for that particular advertiser.

5. Create a Sense of Urgency

Assuming the advertiser is trying to improve the ROI of their search campaign, the seller needs to be specific about the advertiser's timing for those changes. Even if the advertiser's goal is to increase their SOV of search traffic (and conversions) to their vertical by the following year, the good search seller will be able to build up a sense of urgency in the client.

How does one do this?

By building a backward timetable.

Let's say it's currently January, and the advertiser wants to take advantage of the Q4 traffic increase. By describing each and every step leading up to October/November/December along with the amount of time needed to test and optimize each step (including keywords selection, creatives, matching strategy, landing page, etc), you can easily show the advertiser that starting in January may not even be enough.

6. Involve Your Team of Experts Pre-Sale - Without Wasting Their Time

If the seller is the smartest person in their agency, then the advertiser will suffer having to work with a not-as-smart service team. On the other hand, if the service team is a bunch of rocket scientists that the advertiser never meets, then the advertiser may have trouble visualizing the benefits of working with them.

Make sure you as a seller appear well-informed, but then top yourself by introducing the advertiser to at least one additional member of either the management or the service team - ideally both. Consider the introductions of other team members a great "next step strategy."

7. Stay Involved While Handing Off Campaign to Your Account Management Team

Some agencies ask their sellers to stay involved after the sale - some even insist that the seller joins weekly Account Manager calls. Other agencies ask that the seller cleanly hands off the advertiser, turning to focus on the next sale.

Either way, the seller is well advised to make sure they schedule a conversation (or 2, 3 or 4) during the first week/month of the new advertiser's campaign with both the Account Manager and the client. The last thing a search seller wants is to learn - too late - that the advertiser was unhappy and unable to get resolution through the account team.

How to Transition into Digital Ad Sales - eBook

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Topics: training, sales process, prospecting, value, sales tips, sales training, marketing, strategy, phone, account manager, agency's story

Transmitting Value: Turn Down the Noise, And Turn Up the Signal!

Posted by Molly Depasquale on Feb 27, 2014 1:30:00 PM

By Buff Parham, President of Parham & Associates, LLC

Great value propositions need to be transmitted as clearly as possible.listen_huge_ear

How many times have our best pitches gotten lost in the process of being conveyed to the customer? To understand why that happens, we need to understand the difference between "signal" and "noise." Everything that we convey is either one or the other--a zero sum game. Therefore, we can also establish "ratios" on signal to noise for every message that we send. Achieving a consistently high “signal to noise” ratio is the name of the game…

"Signal" is the pure essence of the message, "noise" is everything else.

Far too often, we assume that the recipient can figure out which is which--big mistake. In a world where everyone is constantly bombarded with messages, and coping with "information overload", it's only natural for almost anyone to tune out as much noise as possible. Getting a clean signal through that environment is a task that shouldn't be taken lightly. Customers get a lot of noise from a lot of sources on a regular basis.

A signal is relatively short, while noise is excessively long.

That makes sense, right? But guess what? By definition, most of our messages are way too lengthy, thereby allowing them to be mistaken for noise. Think about how you react to a short voice mail as opposed to a long one. The same applies to emails. This is especially true when the sender is someone that we don’t know very well. Sometimes, we almost have a knee jerk reaction to lengthy messages…that puts them in the "noise file" without even listening or reading them.

A signal prompts someone to take specific action, while noise simply does not.

Think about an NFL quarterback about to snap the ball. A fair amount of what you hear is "noise" just to distract the defense--but the teammates are listening for the actual signals that will define the upcoming play. We are all conditioned to listen and look for signals. It can be as simple as a traffic light or an oven timer or an alarm clock--all signals that we know and hopefully respect. Your value proposition should be transmitted in a "signal" fashion too.

If we don't send a clear signal, we have no reason to be disappointed with the lack of desired results.

As salespeople, we often blame our customers/clients for not taking the action or making the decision that seems "obvious" to us. Next time that happens to you, take a moment to ask your customer/client if he/she had a clear idea about what you were trying to convey. It's a fair bet that you'll find that there was some "confusion" that came into play. "Noise" causes confusion. If your customer/client says that they had a clear understanding of your message, and chose to do otherwise, then you can move on to having a dialogue about what terms and conditions still need to be addressed. So asking the question about the quality of your signal will give you useful information no matter what the response from your customer/client.

Work on enhancing your signals with your team members before you transmit them to your customers and clients.

Those dry runs will help clarify and refine with no downside risk. Once you're engaged in the actual process, there's no second chance. So do whatever it takes to get that critical signal right the first time. You've worked hard on your value proposition…give it the launch that it rightly deserves!

 

About the Author:
Digital Media Training is excited to announce the addition of Buff Parham, a widely recognized thought leader and outstanding coach in the media sales and sales management field. With 35 years of sales experience, Buff has worked at Univision, FOX, Belo, ABC and CBS. He started in the mailroom at CBS, but quickly moved on to selling locally at KABC/Los Angeles and nationally for ABC Spot Sales in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York. Buff then continued on to spend almost 12 years with Univision, first as General Sales Manager at KUVN/KSTR in Dallas, and then 5 years in New York as SVP/Sales. Buff will be contributing a new blog article to Digital Media Training once per month about various sales and sale management topics. Stay tuned!


Connect with Buff via LinkedIn
Check out Buff’s Blog www.BuffParham.com
Follow @BuffParham

 

Make LinkedIn Work for You Infographic Download

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Topics: sales, value, business, creating value, business value, customer service, value propositions

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

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

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.

dice_hand_probability

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