Tag Archives for " Asking Questions "

TSE 1203: One Major Closing Question Youre Neglecting to ask

TSE 1203: One Major Closing Question You’re Neglecting To Ask 

 

There are times when the sale is almost a done deal but at the end of the day, it’s not pushing through because there’s that one major closing question you’re neglecting to ask. This can happen to everyone, not just for the new sales reps. 

That one closing question you’re neglecting to ask

Let’s take Dave as an example. Dave is a seller who is wrapping up things with Bob in a phone call. Dave gave an amazing demonstration but Bob is being wishy-washy in his response and told Dave that he is still going to analyze internally first before moving on with Dave’s deal. Now, Dave is upset, furious, and blurted out some things. 

Dave could have done things differently by asking follow-up questions. Seeing it from Dave’s perspective, his outburst was understandable. He’s been working the deal for three months and he thought that he already got everything right. He already told his manager about it and he’s pretty excited for it to officially close. He needed this sale to achieve his quota. 

If he remembered to ask the closing question that many neglects to ask, the result would have been different. 

“Would I make  this purchase based on the same information I know if I were the buyer?” 

Based on the things you’ve shared with the buyer, would you have made the decision to make the investment? Many take this for granted because oftentimes, salespeople are shortsighted. 

Focusing on your pipeline 

Having focus is a great characteristic, however, focusing on the wrong thing isn’t. As salespeople, we need to shift the focus from ourselves and our pipeline, rather, we need to focus on our clients and our prospective clients. 

Going back on Dave, he was too focused on himself and the need for impressing his manager. He is a rising star in the company and the deal would be 25% of his quota. Everything was about Dave. Sometimes, a similar thing happens to us. 

We tend to focus on ourselves and fail to show empathy toward the clients. Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People states that the fifth habit of becoming effective is to seek first to understand then to be understood. 

The outcome would have been different if Dave asked himself the closing question mentioned above. Dave was in a difficult situation. He just got promoted and he’s now in the big boy’s league, this means that he’s afraid. The thing is that all these situations that Dave is facing don’t help his potential client solve his problems. Bob has nothing in him to consider shifting to Dave’s offer. If you were Dave, you would have gone a different path. Instead of looking at your fears, you instead looked at what Bob’s company needs. 

Perhaps you’d look at some studies and do some homework about Bob’s industry in relation to the software that you’re selling. 

Reality in sales 

Not every deal is going to close, that’s a universal fact in sales. But when you try to ask the closing question mentioned earlier, you won’t get in an awkward situation. Take for example the close rates, it’s the sales rep’s number of prospects to the number of deals converted. A 25% close rate means closing 10 deals out of your 40 prospects. The average close rate is between 15%-23%. Some people have higher close rates and others have a lower close rate. 

The close rate would increase if we work a little more in asking the tough questions. Salespeople must analyze the situation from the buyer’s standpoint. You can start the conversion process after every call, ask the buyer the same closing question, “Based on what you know, do you feel comfortable moving forward with us to a demonstration?” “Based on what you know, do you feel comfortable moving forward with us toa proposal?” Do this in every step of the process. 

The closing question you’re neglecting to ask should be given priority now. Ask yourself and the buyer that question. Find more of your ideal customers and have more meaningful conversations with them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. 

“One Major Closing Question You’re Neglecting To Ask” episode resources

Go ahead and hit me up for concerns and questions about sales. You can also reach out to me via LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Use these practical sales tips and let me know how it works for you. 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a course designed to help new and struggling sellers to master the fundamentals of sales and close more deals. Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

The episode is also brought to you by Sales Live Miami. It’s an event put on by a group of friends and it’s designed to help sellers and sales leaders improve their sales game. It’s going to be this November 4-5, 2019 in Miami, Florida. Come and join us. You can find more about this event on The Sales Evangelist website. 

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Ludovic Vuillier, Accidental Seller, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 1202: The Accidental Seller Series 1 – “Ludovic Vuillier”

Ludovic Vuillier, Accidental Seller, The Sales Evangelist

Hubspot’s stats showed that 46% of salespeople did not intend to go into sales. That means a massive 4.14 million individuals are now an example of an accidental seller. Perhaps they were working different jobs and suddenly they decided to go into sales or the circumstances prompted them to go into sales. This series will be about the people who have become an accidental seller by hook or by choice. 

Ludovic Vuillier is an entrepreneur who runs the Good Life Manifesto. It is a tool to help you live a good life. It is a guide that’s related to health, business, finance, and relationship. 

Ludovic started his career in sales 20 years ago. He sold for myriads of companies and consulting organizations. He also helped these organizations to find success in their sales. 

But before he went into sales, he wanted to become a doctor because of his interest in the human body. The downside to that is one has to spend over 12 years in school before becoming a doctor, which is something he cannot do. That made him ditch the college path. 

The deciding path 

His father died when he was young and he inherited some money but didn’t have a clue what to do with it. The amount wasn’t big but it was enough to offer comfort. He spent a year and a half traveling. He saw places and learned about many cultures. The experience taught him to be comfortable outside his comfort zone. After that, he fell into sales. 

He started selling mobile phones door to door. His lack of social skills became an advantage because he was able to absorb and pick up the things that work and that don’t. Ludovic also ventured into telemarketing and sold cosmetics over the phone. 

It takes many things to become a salesperson. One has to have a strong will and desire, persistence, and a greater purpose. 

Ludovic started to take on different types of sales jobs including doing sales over the phone, face-to-face sales, one-on-one, one-to-many, and others. He learned how he can influence peoples’ thoughts, emotions, and actions to be effective in the sales industry. 

The challenge that was the sale 

It wasn’t just the money and the people that prompted him to go into sales, it was the challenge in sales. He was hooked with the idea that people have patterns and salespeople can study what makes them tick and influence that. Unlike other new sales reps who are afraid of rejection, Ludovic was just fearless and kept pushing head-on. 

One of the challenges in the sale is the need of doing it repeatedly, like a cycle. He gets bored easily and the thought of doing the same thing over and over again for a long period of time was a huge challenge. Ludovic was able to fight against the boredom by just keeping on. He made the decision of not quitting. 

He was one of the sales reps who didn’t make sales consistently but his perseverance reaped good results as he started to make a sale after another. 

Closing a deal

Closing a deal is exciting, elating, and motivating. He closed his first deal and kept closing deals. His career began to expand and his sales experience continued to grow. Ludovic started to use his talent to help call center companies. 

This, again, came by accident. 

His friend opened up a sales office and he tapped him for help to train his friend’s salespeople. The gig wasn’t going to last for more than a few months and Ludovic knew that. He went there and helped. Within three months, he was able to help the team grow their average revenue to five times more, totaling to $500,000 a month. After leaving his friend’s company, with his friend’s encouragement, he decided to make it a business. 

He then cold-called a few telemarketing companies and set up appointments. He observed sales offices and based his price on the noise he hears in the company. A telemarketing company that makes a lot of noise earns well while a company that doesn’t make a lot of noise means something bad is going on. When it’s quiet, it means he is needed. 

Looking back 

In Tim Ferris’ podcast, he always has this question to ask his guest: “If you could give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be?” Ludovic said that he would do nothing. Where he is right now was because of the decisions he made along the way. Being the accidental seller that he was, he was able to use all the things he’s learned and picked up while being a seller. 

Learn as much as you can. Life doesn’t happen based on what things are supposed to be. 

“The Accidental Seller Series 1 – “Ludovic Vuillier” episode resources

Find Ludovic Vuillier in any social media. He’s also got two websites, one is a personal travel blog and the other one is the goodlifemanifesto.com

Take some of the principles shared here and remember to not give up. Instead, make things happen. Reach out to Donald for any sales concerns on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. We want you to join us for our next episodes so tune in to our podcast on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can also leave comments, suggestions, and ratings to every episode you listen to. The Sales Evangelist wants every salesperson to be able to build stronger value and close more deals. Our TSE Certified Sales Training Program will help you be that. 

Sign up now and get the first two modules for free! You can also call us at (561) 570-5077. 

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Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Listening, Meetings, Donald C. Kelly

TSE 1185: Why Do Salespeople Talk So Much?

Listening, Meetings, Donald C. KellyWhen I asked The Sales Evangelist community what they wanted to know about sales, one of the questions that emerged was, “Why do salespeople talk so much?”

It annoys a lot of people, primarily because if you talk too much, you’re probably listening too little. 

Persuading people

Somewhere in the growth of the sales industry, sellers convinced themselves that talking would persuade buyers to make purchases. We believed that if we talked more, they’d hear us more and they’d more likely believe us. As a result, they’d say “yes” more. 

Unfortunately, that just isn’t true. 

Many people don’t realize that the greatest salespeople listen more than they talk. You’ve likely heard the adage that you have two ears and one mouth, so you should listen twice as much as you talk. 

If you pay attention, you’ll likely discover that the best salespeople are those who use their speaking opportunities to ask questions. They seek to understand their buyer’s perspective and to stimulate conversation that helps them gather important information. 

Stimulate the buyer

Let’s go back to the scenario we discussed earlier in the week. If someone owns a car that costs them a lot of money every month for repairs, you could ask that person questions to help him realize that he has a problem. If you walk him through the math and help him understand how much that amounts to every year, he may find that he could be driving a much newer car for the same price.

Good sales reps will ask questions that will help him realize the problem on his own. 

  • Why are you spending that much money on your car?
  • If I could show you how to spend one-fourth of that amount and get a reliable vehicle and still have money to save, would you be open to learning more?

He’ll likely be willing to at least learn more. 

Features and benefits

Without even discussing features and benefits, you’ve inspired him to consider his situation. You said nothing about the radio, or the seats, or the transmission, or the exterior of the car. You helped him persuade himself to explore the possibilities.

Many sellers dislike the awkward moments in meetings when things get quiet. Each side wonders what the other is thinking and, as humans, it just feels wrong for us to sit in silence. We assume the buyer is thinking something negative. 

A Harvard study found that when people talk about themselves, it triggers the same pleasure sensations as food or money. The study also found that volunteers who were offered a chance to earn money by answering questions about other people passed up potential earnings in exchange for a chance to talk about themselves. 

Why do salespeople talk so much?
We’re more comfortable talking about ourselves because we’re confident about it. The conclusion is that sellers who want to fill an awkward silence will likely talk about themselves.

Meeting prep 

Sellers who prepare for meetings would more likely understand the situation and the buyer and his company. As a result, they’ll be more confident in their understanding of the customer’s challenge. They’ll ask appropriate questions that help the buyers travel down the path to making a decision. 

Write some thought-provoking questions prior to the meeting. Challenge your prospects’ way of thinking. If you feel awkward about a specific question, you should probably ask it anyway. 

If your prospect seems to be avoiding a topic, see if you can find a way to bring it up anyway. The conversation will either progress toward conversion or your prospect will decide he isn’t ready for change. 

Study the customer and his company. Learn about the potential problems they are facing and figure out a way to solve them. 

“Why Do Salespeople Talk So Much?” episode resources

If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register! 

You can also connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com or try our first module of  TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free. This episode has been made possible with the help of  TSE Certified Sales Training Program, a training course designed to help sellers in improving their performance. We want you guys to go out each and every single day to find more ideal customers and do big things.

I hope you like and learned many things from this episode. If you did, please review us and give us a five-star rating on Apple podcast or in any platform you’re using – Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify.  You can also share this with your friends and colleagues. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Donald C. Kelly, BDR, TSE Certified Sales Training

TSE 1175: TSE Certified Sales Training “How to Succeed As a BDR”

Donald C. Kelly, BDR, TSE Certified Sales TrainingWhether you’re learning it for your own work as a BDR or you’re preparing to help another seller, there are five important keys to help you succeed as a BDR.

If you’re looking to move to the next level as a seller, The Sales Evangelist Certified Sales Training Program group coaching program allows you to train at your own pace, either alone or as part of a group. The next semester begins this month. 

Drink your own Kool-Aid

Make sure you understand the product or service you’re selling. In fact, I recommend that you actually use it yourself. If it’s an enterprise software SAP or something large like that, you won’t likely buy it for yourself, but you should understand how the system truly operates. Know how it will help the customers you’re pursuing. 

If you’re a BDR, you’re probably not chasing every single customer. You’ll probably have a territory or a certain kind of client. Look at industry reports to understand your customers and how your solution will help. Ask previous clients why they like your solution so much.

It will also help you speak their language and be more confident in your conversations. Know the problem that you’re able to solve for your buyer.

Be intentional

BDRs must make sure to follow their company’s process, and then they have to go a step further. They must know their ratios. 

  • How many conversations does it take to get to a demonstration?
  • How many demonstrations do you typically do before you land a sale?

Keep track of these numbers. Email me and I’ll share my own prospect tracker with you. 

When you have these numbers, sales becomes more of a science. Each day, you can specify how many new opportunities you want so you can get to a demonstration. 

You won’t be as successful if you aren’t intentional. 

Listen

Become an expert at listening. Listen to the things your prospects say as well as the things they don’t say. 

Read case studies, find out what some of your current customers are doing, and understand their problems. If you listen closely, you’ll begin to notice when they aren’t telling you the real issues. Be a silent expert.

Ask tough questions

Sellers sometimes want to appear knowledgeable, so they talk a lot. Instead, focus on the caliber of questions that you’re asking. 

Make a list of these questions you can ask your prospect. Also, prepare a list of follow-up questions. If, for example, your prospect says that he already has a solution in place, you must be prepared to respond to that. Maybe something like this: “I’m not here to break up great relationships. I do, however, know that contracts end and that people typically will look for new vendors. Would you be open to see if we could benefit your organization?” 

Lead with the intro, “Out of curiosity” to soften the edge on a question like, “Why are you waiting until next year to change?”

Make sure you find great opportunities for your team.

Personalize your approach

Take advantage of video to personalize your approach. Depending on the type of business you’re in, use a tool like BombBomb to make a simple video to the prospect and include this in your flow process. 

If you’re sending emails and reaching out on LinkedIn, your personalized videos will help you stand out among the other BDRs. Personalized videos will help you connect with the right clients and produce better results. 

Outwork yourself

Compete against yourself. If you did 15 appointments last week, set a goal for 17 this week. Push yourself. Don’t compete against your teammate’s goals. Constantly seek to improve.

Success will naturally come if you constantly out-hustle your previous performance.

“How To Succeed As A BDR” episode resources

If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register! 

You can also connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com or try our first module of  TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free. This episode has been made possible with the help of  TSE Certified Sales Training Program, a training course designed to help sellers in improving their performance. We want you guys to go out each and every single day to find more ideal customers and do big things.

I hope you like and learned many things from this episode. If you did, please review us and give us a five-star rating on Apple podcast or in any platform you’re using – Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify.  You can also share this with your friends and colleagues. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Closing, Albert Alexander, Donald C. Kelly

TSE 1173: Three Great Closing Questions

 

Closing, Albert Alexander, Donald C. KellyThere are three great closing questions that salespeople often ask because everyone in the sales arena wants to make sure that we’re closing effectively. The answers to the three great closing questions will help salespeople close like a pro. 

Albert Alexander has been a partner in a construction equipment sales company that makes parts for excavators and bulldozers for 11 years now. Albert does all the marketing, inside sales, and digital marketing for the company. 

Closing questions

Often, sales reps are good at finding prospects and having a talk with them. Things change, however, when they’re turning them into leads. There are challenges in closing. 

Sales reps have this predisposed idea about how they purchase that gets in the way when they try to close a deal. Albert’s company grows 70% every year and that’s because they stick people to a process

For other sales reps, they stop in the middle of the process and it stops the action of the process moving forward. It could be because of the fear of rejection or any other reason, but the end result is the same. It halts the closing process. 

Imposing your buying style 

There are many decision types and processes that they take. For this reason, sales reps should know their customers through their pains and needs and be completely open to the different decision styles they have. Sales reps should remove their own fears and worries of rejection from the sales process and focus on their customers instead. If they do that, they can be empathetic to the needs of the clients. 

Say, for example, the client’s million-dollar equipment is not working and it needs a $50,000 part that the company sells. For the sales rep, the amount is huge and so he’d say, “I understand you need to think about it,” but that’s not the case for the client. The client is willing to spend $50,000 for his million-dollar equipment to work, but because the sales rep put his purchasing decision in the process, the entire closing will take a hit. 

Sales reps need to change their perspective or their purchasing styles and decisions when closing a deal. Sales reps need to learn to think like the clients they’re talking to instead of imposing their fears, views, concerns, or buying styles to their clients. 

Make a good logical decision for and with somebody, even when they’re concerned. Remind them of the things that are logical and that matter. 

The first step to close a deal is to put yourself in that person’s shoes better and eliminate the fears and worries. 

Closing styles 

We all have closing styles and the first one is the assumptive close. It’s extremely easy and it’s when sales reps choose and assume the next information that you have to collect and continue down the process. It’s almost like assuming that everything’s good and done after they’ve spoken with the client. 

This works for Albert’s company. They’ve implemented the assumptive process and it improved their closing deals to 25%.

So, their sales reps ask the following questions: 

  • Hey, where did you want me to deliver that?
  • When did you want that delivered? 
  • How did you want to pay for that? 
  • Is it going to be a Mastercard or wire transfer?

Most sales reps think that closing is an event and it shouldn’t be. They think that they have to ask questions and shake hands. That’s not how it works. 

If they investigate, build rapport, and lay out the solution that’s logical and emotionally fulfilling, sales reps can assume the next information and assume. Closing is not an event, it should be a natural thing. Sales reps should do all the work upfront and the closing is part of that.

Dig into the objection 

In the case of objections during a close, it’s often not the truth and just a reaction. Sales reps should dig deeper to overcome the objection. 

In Albert’s industry, there are five reasons that clients use to decline. 

  • Time 
  • Money
  • Price
  • Value
  • Quality 

Our sales reps dig deeper by feeding either of the top reasons why clients object to a deal. They wait for their response and try not to be pushy. They just make a conversation and wait because people have different buying styles. Some people like to think about it before saying yes, and some others just agree immediately. 

After the assumption, sales reps should dig deeper into their objection to see the real issue and not just the surface-level problem. In that way, you can give a solution to the real objection. 

A good sales rep is the one who can talk well and has the tenacity to understand and get down to the reasons to investigate. 

Being able to compensate with somebody doesn’t lead to a sale, you need to have a purpose and process. 

Utilize technology 

Sales reps can connect with a customer in a building effect of value. While sales reps are closing, they can talk to their clients in the process. In Albert’s company, their sales reps would send their clients’ invoices while talking to them on the phone. They also email and text pictures of what they’re going to get. They do these things while they’re closing the clients. People love how attentive the sales reps are in the whole process. 

When their sales reps close, they strive to make the clients feel like family. It’s different when clients get all the information they need while they are talking to the sales reps. 

So, utilize technology and use text and video messaging while closing because these things make them less guarded. 

Closing 

Don’t think that closing is an event

It has to be a process that sales reps are moving forward through. As a sales rep, you need to cover all the bases because everyone is the same and the sale is the same. There are different variables but you can sum them up to a few things that you can master. 

Don’t complicate it and know that you’re closing from the very start. 

Three Great Closing Questions” episode resources

Connect with Albert in his site, ConEquip.com. You can also listen to their podcast at Sellingforlife.com where they share ideas of the entrepreneurial journey. Their company has gone from zero sales to 30 million a year. They’ve become experts in Google marketing and ad words. 

You can also connect with him on his email at al@conequip.com

If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register! 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It is a 12-course program to help sales reps and sales teams to improve their skills in finding the right customers, to know the activities and strategies that work, and how to ask the right questions to build a strong value and close business deals. Simply go to thesalesvengelist.com/freecourse to get the first two modules for free. 

This episode is brought to you in part by Audible. Enjoy the free 30-day trial and explore the thousands of books they have today. 

I hope this episode has been fun and helpful to you. Please review and leave us a five-star rating on Apple Podcast. You can also hit subscribe and share our show with your friends and colleagues. 

If you can, please provide your review and rating on Google Podcast, Stitcher, Spotify, and other platforms where you consume this podcast. 

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Retail, Sales From The Street, Sales Reps

TSE 1170: Sales From The Street: “Teach Them How To Educate”

Retail, Sales From The Street, Sales Reps

Derek Badala frequently travels with sales reps to teach them how to educate the customer in an effort to solve problems. As the director of sales at Synthax, he is always on the road traveling with sales reps and training them to become another version of himself — a skilled sales leader, influencer, and consultant. 

Technology and education

Being in the audiovisual industry, it could be said that technology and education are their biggest challenges. Making a sale is difficult, especially with new products. You must understand everything about the product and its application. Everybody is trying to get a sale and trying to close deals fast without asking all the necessary questions. With the competition in the market, there’s not enough time to learn about the new product and how it can be applied to the prospects’ problems.

Derek focuses on educating the sales reps and covering all the ways that the products can be used, and less on the features and benefits. He’s working to find ways that his products can make the clients’ lives easier. 

Sales reps must not skip this educating stage and must learn the product and its application to the lives of the client. Too much excitement over a deal that hasn’t happened yet may cause the deal to fall apart. 

Skipping steps

Derek had a client who was excited about getting a product from Digigram that would provide background music to stores. Neither the client nor the sales reps understood all the things about the product and its services. They got ahead of themselves and weren’t able to prepare the details that the client needed. Instead, the company should have better studied the client’s needs to know exactly how the products fit. 

When reps skip steps, it can cause deals to fall apart, which can negatively affect your pipeline. #SalesPipeline

Their company also sells widgets that clients can buy in retail stores. It’s difficult to educate salespeople in retail stores about the product because they have their personal favorites and they immediately suggest those products. It’s a challenge to tell them about your product and make them answer the customers’ questions.

When customers aren’t given enough information about a product, they often buy something that they’re not happy with. They are boxed into thinking about this particular product that salespeople in the retail store like. This is always a challenge. 

Trade shows 

Derek’s company does a lot of trade shows where he teaches classes on audio networking, and how to do audio over IP net. He also teaches classes on how to choose the right audio interface for musicians so that they won’t be sold products they don’t need.

The company’s goal is to educate the market and the customers through webcasts, webinars, and a whole lot more. 

Lunch and Learn 

The company also does a lot of lunch and learn while traveling. While the internet is an efficient tool in disseminating information, there’s still nothing more effective than getting in front of people and teaching them. Buying them lunch and then educating them about your products in a graceful way is very effective. 

Derek travels with many sales reps and while traveling, he continues to teach them how to educate others as well. They attend sessions and they learn from him by example. Instead of telling them a litany of features and benefits of certain products, Derek tells them a story. 

It is important to have success stories to tell about the products. Share little nuggets about the product to catch the clients’ attention. 

Competition 

The industry is growing and with it, competition grows as well. With every product line added, there’s new revenue being added into the business. Even when a company experiences growth, it’s still hard to miss that others are growing as well. 

There are competitors out there who are as good as, if not better than you. Regardless of the competition, we’re now seeing more resellers who are interested in knowing more about the products they sell. 

Derek’s company has grown since he joined in 2017 and he has seen a lot of improvements. They’re now seeing great improvements in the Ferrofish brand as it’s now being used for Broadway shows, the Superbowl, and for broadcast.

It’s always a battle to be on the top line funnel. You always plant sales and cultivate the leads to turn them into closed deals. 

Be the best listener 

In sales, it is important to be the best listener. One of the biggest mistakes in sales is owning the talk. You want to know more about the customers to be able to present solutions to their problems. You need to listen to them and see how you can help. 

After listening, you need to ask questions and listen to their responses. These steps are more important than presenting your clients with the features and benefits of the product. 

“Teach Them How To Educate” episode resources

Stay connected with Derek via his LinkedIn account. You can also visit the company website, RME-USA.com.

If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register! 

This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Training Sales Program. It is a helpful guide for sales reps and sales leaders to become better in doing their pitches and presentations. It has 12 courses to help you find the right customers, ask the right questions, and close great deals. You can get the first two modules for free! 

Or you can also check out Audible as well and explore this huge online library with thousands of books. Register now to get a free book and a 30-day free trial. 

Thank you for tuning in and if you liked this episode, do give a rating and review on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, and Spotify

Pipeline, The Sales Evangelist, Sales Coaching

TSE 1157: The Pipeline Hoax

Pipeline, The Sales Evangelist, Sales Coaching

 

The American dream or the pipeline hoax? The American dream is about owning a home or a piece of property that belongs to you. But homes are expensive and not everyone can afford the American dream. In the year 2000, people who shouldn’t have qualified for home-ownership started owning homes and this occurrence caused a worldwide crisis. 

The housing crisis connects to sales in two ways: greed and improper qualification. Bankers wanted to get more mortgages so they could sell these mortgages to the secondary market. The problem with this is that people who were getting houses were not qualified for the mortgages they got. The bankers did whatever it took to get people through the door. When prices went up, these homeowners fell short and eventually lost their homes. 

Sales pressure

As sales leaders, you face this situation often. You need to bring in the dollars, and you’re judged based on how much money you can help the company make. Sales reps are expected to have as many deals as possible in the pipeline. This is where the hoax comes in. 

Salespeople sometimes mask leads in later stages of the pipeline as opportunities. These deals don’t close because the people were never truly qualified. They don’t have the money or the time frame. 

Sellers are marking leads who are investigating, doing research, and window shopping as though they are opportunities. The sales reps may have 50 of these deals but only 10 truly qualified people. The sales reps keep adding these people to the pipeline because they’re told to add opportunities. The quality decreases because they’re adding leads instead of real opportunities. 

Similar to the housing crisis, the sales reps report these numbers to you. As the sales leader, you present it to the VPs and they make decisions based on the potential revenue sources. When the time comes for the revenue to start coming in, you look bad, the VPs look bad, and the company looks bad. As a result, someone is getting fired. 

This situation causes a crisis within the organization. Sales leaders take the fall because they’ve been deceived by the sales reps who try to sell leads as opportunities. 

Consistent education 

As sales leaders, it’s your responsibility to make sure that the pipeline hoax doesn’t happen again. Yelling at your sales reps won’t solve the problem. What you need is consistent education. 

One-on-one coaching time 

One-on-one coaching time with your sales reps is critical. Make sure to establish a distinct definition of a lead versus an opportunity. Don’t assume that sales reps know this because it’s in the sales handbook or in the orientation. Play it safe by reiterating it to the sales reps so that the quality of your leads won’t deteriorate. 

Watch the internal culture. Numbers are good but they must be the right numbers. Teach them that a proper lead is someone who shows interest, has the budget, and has a specific timeframe. Sales reps must be able to gauge this information in their business conversations. 

Give the sales reps a rundown of the important steps in the process. Print them and put them on their desks to keep the culture focused on quality. 

Sales leaders can talk about all these things with their sales reps in one-on-one meetings. Discuss these subjects with them, see how they take on deals, and don’t be afraid to identify and fix the problems. 

Role-playing 

Role-playing is another excellent method for educating your sales reps. 

  • Have your sales reps do a role-play of how they talk to their clients
  • Have your senior sellers who excel in their jobs demonstrate how they qualify their leads properly
  • Point out how and what should happen or how they go about getting the proper information. 

Doing all these things protects you from falling into the hoax. 

Re-education is the answer to an organization’s problem. When the sales reps aren’t asking the right questions and when they don’t understand what leads and opportunities are, they’ll bring in numbers that look crazy at the end of the quarter. 

Foster the proper culture in the organization so your sales reps will bring in the right numbers and close more deals. 

“The Pipeline Hoax” episode resources 

Take care of your sales team and help them improve. Learn more about that with The Sales Evangelist Certifies Sales Training Program. It’s a helpful tool for salespeople and sales leaders to help them improve their skills and abilities in finding the right customers, asking the right questions, and closing a great deal. There are 12 modules in all but you can get the first two modules for free.

If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register! 

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Personal Branding, Content, Sales Leader

TSE 1153: Creating An Authentic Personal Brand

 

Personal Branding, Content, Sales Leader

Creating an authentic personal brand is important because everything that we develop in business is based on creating a personal brand. As sales reps, polishing your personal brand must be a priority to stand out to everyone no matter where you go or where you are. 

Emily Soccorsy and Justin Foster are co-founders of intrinsic branding practice Root + River. They have combined their experience and expertise in branding and passion for personal growth to guide individuals in combining authentic original brands that attract new opportunities and levels of possibilities. 

The intrinsic practice 

Both Emily and Justin believe that every great brand is a spiritual experience. As coaches, they guide individuals regardless of the roles they play in the organization. Their goal is to make them understand that deep foundational soul of their brand and put that into practical use every day. 

Branding is a practice, which means you need to do it every single day whether you are aware of it or not. Intrinsic practice will help you be aware of the things that you do and get organized around them so that those things will have far greater impact for a longer time. 

What is branding?

In simple terms, a brand is how other people experience what you believe. The brand is how people experience you in everyday situations and conversations. If you understand what that experience is giving to people, you can tap into that in a more conscious manner to help build your brand in a way that has greater impact. 

Frank Rogers is a good example. He is a great salesperson who developed a thought leadership brand. He doesn’t wait for the market to tell him what to say. Instead, he leads from the front. 

Chip Scholz from North Carolina is another example. He is an executive coach with a very memorable brand who uses a direct and Socratic approach in his coaching. 

Regardless of the audience you are talking to and the role you have, whether you’re a coach or a sales leader, you must follow the same principles because you are responsible for two brands. First, you’re responsible for your personal brand, and second, you’re responsible for the brand that you are representing. 

There are three specific qualities in intrinsic branding: inner traits that show up in the outer world. 

  • Be original. 

Don’t be a karaoke singer or cover band. Be an original thinker, an original producer. 

  • Articulate well.

Learn how to tell your story eloquently, consistently, and compellingly. Do this without hesitation and insecurities. Share your story from the heart with conviction. 

  • Be vulnerable.

Do not give a packaged version of yourself. It is best to carry the lightest armor you can because when you do, you emanate something. 

All three traits help to make a brand a positive contagion. 

Originality 

Anyone in any position has an opportunity to take an inventory of what their true expertise is and what they are better at doing than anybody else. If you are good in sales, ask yourself how it manifests, what it looks like for you, and in what aspect of the selling process you are crushing it. 

These are difficult questions to answer because most times, what comes easily to us doesn’t get much value. But if you are able to tune into the things that you are good at and able to share those with people, you’ll have the opportunity to be an original thinker and brand yourself as a thought leader in whatever sliver of space that is. 

Make sure that you share the tips that you have and give feedback to people who are open to it. You begin to build your brand by being a thought leader when you differentiate yourself in those conversations. 

Fear

Many feel apprehensive in speaking and expressing their original self because of two reasons: the fear of becoming an over-promoter and the social emphasis on humility. 

There is a fear of overdoing things and the feeling of bombarding people with content they don’t really need. But sharing is a moral obligation if the content is good and you are producing something that is helpful for the community. 

The second one is humility. 

While humility is a beautiful trait, it is unfortunately a terrible brand strategy because you have to suspend the idea that you’re not special. 

Conditioning

From a very early age, we are conditioned to put the emphasis on other people and not on ourselves. People who talk about themselves are looked down upon. 

But the truth is you have a voice and you have a message. You have something that transcends the product or service that you are selling, and you have a piece of yourself to offer to the world. You can’t do these things if you choose the road of humility. 

As a sales rep, it is your role to share your gifts with the world, and the way people can access your gifts is through your products and services. 

Consistent authenticity 

Authenticity comes from knowing who you are and what you can do. It stems from acceptance and conviction. When you discover who you are, the next thing you need to master is how to achieve consistency. 

Austin Kleone mentioned in his book Steal Like an Artist that you need to steal from the people who inspire you instead of copying them. 

Brene Brown is a great example. She built her brand by investigating what she found interesting and curious about the world. She shares what she learns and talks openly about it, and she is authentic and consistent in what she does. 

The same is true for Gary V. Many would say he is  “too much” but that’s the way he builds his brand. He shows up, answers questions, and talks a lot. But still, he is being paid for it because he is sharing something that he is good at. If you’re going to hold yourself accountable to something, hold yourself accountable to authenticity.

Inspiration

The TSE brand prides itself on being personal to our clients. Even now with thousands of people listening to our podcasts, we make it a goal to be the same people we were before. When people connect with us on LinkedIn, we try to communicate with them and send something personal.  

In Justin’s assessment, The Sales Evangelist brand strives to be inspirational before it’s informational. As it turns out,  peoples’ brains are full of information, but there’s always room for inspiration. People welcome inspiration because it’s nourishment to the soul. 

Listen to your audience 

Listen to your audience. People often talk about the ideal market in terms of sales but we don’t like that language. We favor the ideal audience and what you need to do with an audience is to take in their feedback. Your audience can give you energy and you can respond to that. It will help you hold things a little bit longer and move through things a bit quicker. 

Salespeople must be responsive to the audience from an emotional standpoint. You don’t do this by sending out surveys every other day. You do this by asking them questions, listening to them, and incorporating the things they said through your work. 

Articulate 

When you have something to say, you need to say it well, which means you need to write and speak with a level of excellence. Building a great authentic brand requires one to both write and speak well because it’s the only way that the audience can access you. You need to find a balance. 

You can make a system where you go out, do things, and speak. Learn how to produce interesting and consumable content. Learn how to create an explanation that’s going to incite curiosity and interest to engage people in conversation. 

It is important to simplify your message and infuse energy and emotion as much as possible. It’s got to have the unexpected quality as well. 

Simple, unexpected, and emotional are the three ingredients in making interesting content that people would be inclined to share it to the world. 

This is what articulation is and it comes from practice. It is a type of discipline. The skill of articulating well isn’t a natural ability; it’s a product of frequent practicing. 

Vulnerability 

You have to push back against several thousand years of biological and social programming to become a great brand. Branding is far more about conviction. It comes from having an open front and strong back, according to Brene Brown. It is important to show your audience a little bit of the behind-the-scenes. Vulnerability means sharing your true self to the world. It is about being honest and telling people how you are doing or what you are doing. 

Many find this challenging, however, and the line between what’s private and what’s public is difficult to cross. 

Being vulnerable means sharing parts of the journey: the little lessons and failures along the way and opening yourself up to feedback. Contrary to what many think, vulnerability isn’t about confessing everything. It’s about showing your client that you are human and that you are relatable. 

Michael Jordan failed so often that he was cut from his team, but he was able to push through, and that made him more human. It made him relatable and people have hope because of his story. They believe that they can do it, too. 

Show the mess a little bit without being too self-deprecating. Vulnerability means a lot of different things but for us; it’s a behavior and an action. 

Who you are as a brand

Set aside time to dive into who you are as a brand. Ask some thought-provoking questions and do the deep work with the intention of translating that into your action. Remember that you are your first client. It is important to practice self-care and to take care of the energy centers of physical health, mental health, emotional health, and spiritual health. 

Be better so that everyone around you benefits. The world needs the best version of you, not a worn-out version of you. There is no better brand than vibrancy, and vibrancy comes from nourishment. 

“Creating an Authentic Personal Brand” episode resources 

Check out rootandriver.com for resources on how to create an authentic personal brand. Connect with Emily Soccorsy and Justin Foster on LinkedIn.

Sales Management Simplified by Mike Weinberg is a great book that teaches simple concepts about sales leadership. Check it out and tell me what chapter of the book you liked the most. 

This episode is brought to you in part by Audible, your one-stop shop for thousands of books across genres. Go ahead and check out audibletrial.com/tse to get a free book and to enjoy the 30-day free trial. 

It’s also brought to you in part by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, a helpful course for sales leaders and sales reps in finding better prospects, having more meaningful conversations, and knowing how to ask the most powerful questions to close deals. Don’t miss the opportunity of becoming a sales savvy and check out the program. The first two episodes are absolutely free. Visit thesalesevangelist.com/freecourse to find more information about the program. 

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Sam Mallikarjunan, Hubspot

TSE 1136: How HubSpot Grew From 150-1500 Individuals!

Sam Mallikarjunan, Hubspot

Whether you’re a sales rep or a sales leader, a sales manager or a business owner, we can learn valuable lessons from the study of how Hubspot grew from 50-1500 individuals.

Sam Mallikarjunan has sold for a variety of organizations, from the five-person startup to the Fortune 500 company, so he has seen the sales story at a couple of stages. He’s a fellow at Hubspot and he teaches digital marketing at Harvard University.

New revenue

Sam loves the idea that whoever chases two rabbits catches neither because it’s a reminder to him to focus. He has spent the last year focused on teaching, speaking, and research. He points to doing one thing at a time and doing it really well before moving on.

A weird pivot exists for startups that are growing from “we’ll take anybody’s money” to losing cash faster than you can acquire new cash. The core pivot occurs when you reach the point where you’re struggling for customer retention, because the economics of your model will break down.

It’s a matter of sales reps making time to ensure that they are bringing in new revenue.

One new customer was upset because she couldn’t access her email after signing on with Hubspot. She had cancelled her Internet provider because she thought that’s what Hubspot was.

It cost the company money because they had to service the issue. The problem didn’t arise because the seller was a bad person. He just didn’t verify that the customer was going to be successful.

Healthy revenue

The company implemented clawbacks which withdraw commissions from sellers if the customer cancels their account within a certain window. Sellers are heavily incentivized to ensure that the person they are bringing on will result in healthy revenue.

Because Hubspot is a SAS, a recurring revenue model, the company loses money acquiring customers. The company doesn’t break even for some months. If the customer cancels too quickly, the business loses money.

Cashflow is more important than your mother.

Keeping customers

Many companies miss the core principle, which is that you can’t spend money to get customers unless you’re good at keeping them. If you’re selling iPad covers that are cheap, people will likely only buy from you once. But if you’re really good at keeping customers, it’s not necessarily how much they pay in the first transaction, but rather the lifetime value.

If you’re good at keeping those customers, you can pay your sales reps really well. You can give them lots of collateral to help them close deals. You can also spend a lot of money on marketing to tee them up for good conversations or on training for their reps.

Sales sequence

Sam recalls being a cell phone salesman in a mall. He asked his customers questions about cell phones, but he didn’t listen to their answers because it didn’t matter what they said. He was going to ask the next question in his sequence. Either they would sign on the dotted line or walk away. It didn’t matter to him.

The company had more than 50 percent cancellation rate coming out of the kiosks, but the sellers never missed quota. He got big bonuses for his teams because they always met their quota. It cost the company a lot of money in support costs, lost device costs, and refunds, so they shut down the entire unit and retrained the reps.

The company was designed as a subscription model, which meant they would lose a little bit of money to acquire customers.

Platinum rule

The platinum rule goes a step farther than the golden rule, which only requires that you treat people the way you want to be treated. The platinum mindset demands that you treat people the way they want to be treated.

Trust is core to the sales process, and trust begins by taking the time to ask questions and understand who you’re selling to. People like to be personalized.

Sam points to Netflix’s business model as an ideal one because it has motivated him to rate more than 800 movies. He said he does it because he knows that Netflix will use the information to improve his experience. He points to the fact that prospects will volunteer their information when they know it’s being used to help them make better decisions.

Negative reviews

When Jeff Bezos of Amazon first added negative reviews to the Amazon website, his investors thought he was crazy to include information that would discourage people from buying things. His response was that you don’t make money when you sell things, but rather when you help people make purchase decisions.

He said that sellers often lose sight of the fact that it’s more important to help people make the decision that’s best rather than making the decision the seller wants them to make. It’s sometimes powerful to not sell to a buyer when you can’t find the value proposition. They may figure it out themselves because you’ve built that trust and then buy from you anyway.

You aren’t costing the company money and you’ll improve your retention.

Talking least

He points to the fact that he always thought if he talked the most, he would leave with the most. He discovered, though, that when he asked meaningful questions, he talked the least, and he did well.

Sam discovered that holding his meetings at a cigar lounge helped him monitor how much he talked, because if his cigar went out, it meant he talked too much and didn’t listen enough.

Candle problem

A famous psychology study challenges people to fix a candle to a way in a way that it doesn’t drop any wax when it’s lit. People try melting the candle to the wall but nothing works. The right answer, he said, is to dump out the box of tacks, tack the box to the wall, and then add the candle.

If you give people the right incentive, you fire up the part of your brain that excites them. If you need someone to turn a wheel, the best way to accomplish that is to give them a dollar for every revolution they make.

The hardest thing to do is to convince people to give something a fair shake. When what you’re doing isn’t working, you tend to do more of the same with greater intensity.

When you shift your conversation and slow down your sales cycle and ask more questions and give more answers, you’ll make it easy for people to reach out to you.

“Hubspot Grew” episode resources

Connect with Sam Mallikarjunan on his website or on LinkedIn.

Connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com.

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump. If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that.

Tools for sellers

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Donald Kelly, Eventbrite, Networking, Sales Outreach

TSE 1117: How To Effectively Use Networking Events In Your Sales Outreach Efforts!

Donald Kelly, Eventbrite, Networking, Sales Outreach

We’ve all encountered the guy who attends events just to see what he can get for himself, but there are ways to effectively use networking events in your sales outreach efforts.

You know the type: his conversations are one-sided because he’s only focused on his next big opportunity, and he has no time to learn about your business. His pitch kicks in when he finds out you’re a business owner.

But he could have fixed his approach. And you can make sure you’re not like him in your outreach.

New clients

No matter what type of sales you’re in, you need to get clients in the hopper. The way you get new leads varies based upon your industry. Some demand door-to-door while others require phone calls. Today, we at The Sales Evangelist use social media and other efforts as well as networking events.

Typically, at networking events, I encounter potential clients or people who can connect me with other people who are potential clients. Outreach done well can be very rewarding. But as we mentioned in the teaser, you can’t become the obnoxious guy that others avoid.

He may not even realize he’s coming across that way. He has likely had just enough random success to believe that he’s effective. But he could perform a lot better and gain more leads and opportunities if he changed his approach.

Plan

Before you attend a networking event, do your best to find out who will be there. Will the people there tie in with your demographic? Will they represent your ideal customer?

It may be impossible to find out who will be there, but it’s worth the effort to try. If you know the organizers, ask them about the top companies that will be represented there. If they give you names, research them before the actual event. Use tools like LinkedIn to gather data about those companies.

Plan who you want to connect with at the event. Develop a short list. The spray-and-pray mentality that involves giving out 10,000 business cards doesn’t look good. Instead, be intentional about the cards you give out.

Broaden your reach

Identify people you’d like to do business with as well as those who can become potential partners for you. Then, consider those who may not purchase directly from you but who can introduce you to other complementary partners.

You could even consider connecting with those you consider competition. I’ve had a good working relationship with companies I compete with, and we were able to help each other out. Whether we’re pursuing the same customers or different ones, it doesn’t make sense to burn bridges unnecessarily.

It’s also good to identify people that you could potentially help.

Be genuinely interested

People don’t necessarily care about you but everyone cares about their own problems. We’re all trying to solve problems, so the obnoxious seller might do well to understand our challenges. Perhaps he should have been curious about our business and asked additional questions.

Then ask follow-up questions. We did a great episode with Bob Burg who gave us great insights on this issue.

It’s worth mentioning, too, that we’re having a local sales meetup where Bob will be the guest speaker. We’ll be talking about his book, The Go-Giver.

Bob recommends having a list of questions you can ask.

  • Why did you get involved in this business?
  • What’s the biggest challenge you are seeing?

This leads to deeper discussions that will help you identify issues.

Simple message

Be prepared for their questions. Don’t begin by telling them what you have to offer, but be prepared for them to ask. Give a simple clean message that’s no more than 30 seconds. Let him know what you do.

Consider something like this:

“We help small businesses who are interested in growth, build out a sales process that’s actually going to help them increase revenue. We do this through consulting as well as through sales training.”

This will lead to further discussion and it will open opportunities for you to talk more. It may even provide more time for you to pitch in front of the group.

Jason Lynette, who appeared in episode 1081, gave a masterful message about situations where you have more time to share your message.

Draw in the room

Jason told the story of a murder. A woman came into his office with a horrible fear of bugs. She was a high-powered attorney who backed out of the case of a lifetime because she saw a cockroach in the courtroom. Within 10 days after their first meeting, she killed a housefly with her bare hands.

Draw in the room. While everyone else shares what they have to offer, you demonstrate that you’re a human. Entertain them. Share a story. Prove that you’re someone they could work with.

Connection

Then you can ask whether or not they know others who might benefit from what you offer. Consider, too, whether you might be able to help them by identifying people who can benefit from their product or services.

After the event, connect with all of those same people on LinkedIn. Remind them that you connected and nurture that relationship. Then you can utilize those connections to build your business.

I shared this with you because I want to help. I don’t want you to be that guy at a networking event. I want you to find more ideal customers. I want you to build stronger value. I want you to close more deals, but most importantly, I want to challenge you each and every single day to go out and do big things.

“Effectively Use Networking Events In Your Sales Outreach Efforts” episode resources

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester. You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561) 578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

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Donald Kelly, Sell Me A Pen

TSE 1112: Sell Me This Pen!

Donald Kelly, Sell Me A Pen
You’ve likely heard the scenario before where an interviewer asks a seller to “Sell me this pen,” but how much value does this approach offer??
This scenario will likely throw your prospective sellers into a nervous panic because you’re asking them to sell something they know nothing about. So how much will it really tell you about your seller?

Features and benefits

Sellers who don’t know much about the product they are selling or the audience they are selling to usually revert to features and benefits. They sell the aspects of the product that they can see.
“It’s comfortable.” “It has a good grip.” “It has a clicky thing and even a laser pointer. That’s great for folks who do presentations.”
“It writes smoothly and it isn’t too expensive. In fact, it’s cheaper than many of the pens on the market. And if you buy it today, I can throw in a notepad and a pocket protector.”
Why would people even do this test in the first place?

Quick thinking

People often conduct this test to see how well you think on your feet and how you perform under pressure. And though I can understand those motivations, this test won’t truly work unless you’re selling something that might be a consumer sale.
Typically, sellers aren’t selling simple products like pens. Rather they are selling something like a software solution that is much more expensive and has a much longer sales cycle. In those cases, it won’t matter as much how good you are with your words. You won’t be able to persuade someone within one minute to buy your expensive product.
If you’re selling inexpensive trinkets on the side of the road, it might just work. But if you’re selling something with a significant price value, it won’t.

Reviews

This idea to “Sell me this pen,” might have provided a good judge of a seller’s abilities in the 80s and 90s, but today’s buyers rely on reviews.
So as a sales leader, what if you stopped using this unrealistic test and offered a better one? What if you gave your sellers a scenario and ask them to prepare for it?
Test your sellers to see whether they can find true problems or interesting facts, figures, or statistics that will help you win the deal. Determine whether the sellers will try to “wing it” instead of coming prepared.

Sales scenario

You want a sales rep who is prepared, so use your interview opportunity to determine their ability to prepare. Ask your receptionist to send a scenario to the interviewees. Let them know they will be asked to role play a selling scenario like this.
Present a scenario in which a particular business owner has a certain set of challenges. He is already working with a particular vendor. The sellers’ job is to show up prepared to understand the product and services and have a meaningful conversation selling this service to the business owner.
If the sales rep shows up with information about the company in-hand and prepared to have a meaningful discussion, you’ve likely found a good seller. If the seller shows up with the intention to “wing it,” you’ll know what you’re up against.

Selling pens

The secret to successful selling lies with asking appropriate questions, even in the case of selling a pen. If you do use the pen test, expect your sellers to begin by finding out whether the buyer even needs a pen.It doesn’t matter how much ink it will hold or how great the cap is if the seller doesn’t need it.
Instead of spending the time pressuring the buyer to spend money on a pen, expect your sellers to begin by asking questions.
Meaningful questions about the buyer’s situation will either qualify or disqualify the buyer. It will also communicate that the seller understands the buyer’s actual situation. The seller will demonstrate a desire to identify the pain point and solve the problem.
Maybe the customer needs a computer more than a pen. Don’t waste your time pitching a product the customer doesn’t need.

Consultants

Seek sellers who will serve as consultants rather than those who will try to trick the customers. Help the buyer feel like he is making a buying decision rather than being sold to.
Jeffrey Gitomer said that people love to buy but they hate to be sold to. Help your customers understand the true pain that exists and then help them solve it. If you do this, they’ll evangelize about you and ultimately help you get more business.
Empower your sales reps to sell on their own. Teach them to become consultants who ask meaningful questions to identify challenges that the buyers may not even realize they have.
He’ll be successful and he’ll have great clients who love him.
If you create a meaningful scenario for your interviews, you’ll have more meaningful discussions and dialogues and both parties will enjoy the process more.
Besides, we probably already have enough pens.

“Sell me this pen” episode resources

If you haven’t connected with me on LinkedIn already, do that at Donald C. Kelly and watch the things I’m sharing there.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561)578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Oscar Trimboli, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Prospects

TSE 1096: How Do You Listen To What The Prospect Isn’t Saying?

Sometimes we lose out on promising deals because our prospects are giving us indications that all is not well but we’re failing to listen to what the prospect isn’t saying.

Oscar Trimboli is a deep listening expert who is on a quest to create 100 million deep listeners in the world, and he starts by helping us understand what we should be listening for when we interact with our prospects.

Taught to speak

We all learned to speak, to do math, and to study literature, but none of us can remember our listening teacher. As sales reps, we spend a minimum of 55 percent of our day listening, but only about 2 percent of us have been taught how to listen.

Remember these two bits of statistics as you listen to the information in today’s podcast.

  1. The 125/400 rule. I can speak 125 words per minute, but you can listen at 400 words per minute. You’re programmed to be distracted and filling in 300 words. You’re contemplating what to have for dinner or what to do over the weekend when you realize you have to get back into the conversations.
  2. The 125/900 rule. Your prospect can speak at 125 words per minute but you can think at 900 words per minute. The likelihood that the first thing your prospect says is actually the thing he means is about 1 in 9 or 11 percent. If you had 11 percent chance of a successful surgery, you probably wouldn’t proceed without a second opinion.

Most likely, your prospect is well-rehearsed and is speaking like a well-oiled machine. The most powerful thing we can do is explore the other 800 words per minute that are stuck in their heads.

Unblocking pipeline

When we grab on to those unspoken words, we can unblock pipeline and begin to understand our prospects.

We must be mindful to ask our prospects what they are thinking and to listen for the things the prospects aren’t saying. Oscar spends his days teaching people to be obsessed about the cost of not listening.

We often don’t do this because we assume our competition is those people we normally compete against. Many of us are listening for code words that a prospect might say that would link to a product or benefit.

The really skillful sales reps focus on the customer’s customer’s problem. Instead of thinking about the person in front of you, think about the customer that this person must go speak to.

The pipeline becomes shorter and more qualified, and you avoid unexpected surprises.

Change the question

We should consider the power of asking the question, “How does a business case like this get approved in your organization?” We’re good at asking who approves deals without asking how they get approved. Once we ask how it gets approved we will understand who else we’re being compared against.

Many large organizations have a project management office that filters the funding for all new projects. If you don’t know when that group meets or who participates or what other projects you’re being evaluated against, you may find your deal slipping away.

  1. Understand the 125/900 rule.
  2. Help the prospect sell the business case rather than what you’re actually selling.
  3. Help your prospect orient on the customer rather than on your offering.

If you do these things, your pipeline will look very different.

Help your team

Build some muscle around listening for what isn’t said.

Find the organization’s website and determine what matters to them. Use the words the company uses in your selling process. Don’t use your language rather than their language.

If the CFO can’t read and understand the first page of your proposal, you’ve failed.

Help your reps become fixated on their customers’ customers’ problems. It’s the difference between good and great.

Teach in a way that can’t be misunderstood and figure out how your clients make money.

Listen in color

Many of us listen in black and white. Oscar is trying to teach the world to listen in color. How do we notice the energy of the person across from us?

Oscar also asks his client, “If this organization was a movie or an actor or a book, which one would it be?” Many people listening might call it Titanic.

The question gives them a permission slip to tell the truth in a different way. Use a metaphor to figure out what the prospect is thinking in a different way.

You can carry the metaphor forward and discover who the villain of the movie is.

If we talk in this colorful metaphorical language we can quickly get much more from our prospects. Listen to what your prospect isn’t saying.

Get to the truth

Your prospects will tell you as many lies as you think they will. They aren’t doing it intentionally. It’s just that your questioning isn’t helping them get to the truth.

You can help them bring their truth to life using these techniques. Make it as conversational as possible.

If the person you’re talking to is a jock, ask which sporting team the organization would be. If he’s a nerd, ask him what character on The Big Bang Theory the company would be. They won’t suspect where you’re headed with that question.

The art of selling is your ability to be in the moment.

Ping pong questions

Don’t go into the room asking, “What keeps you awake at night?” Oscar calls it a disrespectful question and says that if you ask it, you haven’t even earned the right to be in the room.

Try to ask more how- and what-based questions rather than why-based questions. People may perceive your why-based questions as judgemental. People often feel more defensive with why-based questions.

Instead of “Why is this project being funded,” mention that you’re curious how projects like this are funded. Just by changing the language, you make it more comfortable for them to explain.

How-based questions

How-based questions move conversations along more quickly. This truth emerged with suicide counselors who discovered that why-based questions slow a conversation down and buy them time with people who are in danger of making poor decisions.

Hostage negotiators also stick to when, how, and what-based questions.

Listen for what’s unsaid and remember the difference between how quickly the prospect can think and how quickly he can speak.

Help them explore their thinking rather than helping them explore what you’re selling. You’ll become a trusted advisor.

“Listen To What The Prospect Isn’t Saying” episode resources

Connect with Oscar at his website, and if you visit oscartrimboli.com/listeningmyths, you can find a hack sheet with five tips that explore the things we’ve discussed here. It will help you listen beyond the words.

Connect with me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com.

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

Tools for sellers

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Troy Rackley, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Water

TSE 1090: I’m Selling More Than Water

Troy Rackley, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, WaterHearing from other sellers can help us improve our own techniques, and today Troy Rackley shares his own killer message and how he communicates that he’s selling more than water.

Troy grabbed my friend Stephen Hart’s attention and Stephen told me I had to interview him. Big shoutout to the Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council for connecting us with entrepreneurs like Troy.

Water problems

Troy’s company, The Next Level of Performance, operates everywhere water flows: residential, commercial, or agricultural.

He always begins by asking people what problem they are having with their water. They usually say it tastes bad or smells like chlorine.

Troy customizes his solution for the problem the prospect is having.

He then asks, “Do you drink out of the tap?” to which most of his customers say no. Troy challenges that answer by pointing out that because our skin is the largest organ of our bodies, taking a 15-minute shower is the equivalent of drinking 8 glasses of water out of the tap. The water is absorbed into your skin.

So whatever you’re avoiding out of your tap is being absorbed into your body anyway.

Educating customers

Troy educates his customers through a questioning process. It pulls the customer in and they naturally want to close the story loop. They want to know how they can fix this problem.

Troy starts by administering a third-party test to the customer’s water. He insists on a third-party test for integrity purposes. He figures if he’s the one providing the solution, he can’t also be the one telling you what the problem is.

When water companies claim to have tested water for their clients, it’s akin to the fox guarding the henhouse. They can literally tell you anything. Troy offers an independent, third-party assessment of what’s wrong with the customer’s water.

Custom filtration

Troy educates his customers about the undesirable things in their water and then describes the custom filtration system that will address those problems.

Troy calls it water math. The municipalities add all kinds of chemicals into the water to kill bacteria. Troy’s company works to subtract those things so it doesn’t get to the customer.

Troy personalizes the message. Unlike big box companies who want to push a single idea or product, Troy offers unique solutions to his customers. He’s selling more than water.

Not only does it help the customers, it helps his business. He hasn’t done any marketing in his business since he started. All of his growth has resulted from word-of-mouth growth. His attention to detail has built a great reputation for him.

Selling more than water

Troy’s focus isn’t simply on customer service; he strives for customer success. If he can make his customers more successful in their health and finances because they aren’t having to buy bottled water, the service becomes secondary.

By making sure that the customer is educated moving forward, he distinguishes between customer service and customer success. Troy eliminates the number of problems that families have to worry about.

If, for example, a customer falls under a boil water advisory, the system eliminates the need to actually boil the water. The company designs the system to create minimal disruption because he says you never know what will happen with municipalities.

His ultimate goal is to make sure that your family never has a disruption to its water supply.

Company growth

Troy’s company operates in about 15 states as well as Canada, Amsterdam, Sweden, and Australia, because water is a global issue.

Water touches everything in life.

The company installed its system in a fish farm it owns and they reduced the harvest time by three to five months. The water is so clean that the food is more bioavailable for the fish.

Troy is doing something the industry hasn’t even seen. It’s an example of disruptive technology.

They moved into residential work because the consumer must be educated. Municipalities will say that your water is clean when it leaves their plants. As a result, it’s the customer’s responsibility to address any water problems that exist.

Troy wants to help the customer make an educated decision.

Clear or clean

Troy is fond of the phrase, “Just because it’s clear doesn’t mean it’s clean.” There are things in water that you can’t see that can hurt you. Often, the things you can’t see are the greatest threat. Cruise ships are notoriously dealing with norovirus, which originates from the water.

Troy said they have answers to every water issue because they study it and design amazing solutions.

He points to the fact that only one man made minerals, and those are the natural minerals they leave in the water. He’s selling more than water.

Sell on value, not expense.

“Selling More Than Water” episode resources

Connect with Troy at nlpaqua.com. There’s a contact form you can use to initiate the water testing process on your way to restoring your water.

Learn more about the Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council.

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Brian Robinson, Donald Kelly, Sales Malpractice

TSE 1084: Sales From The Street – “Sales Malpractice”

Brian Robinson, Donald Kelly, Sales MalpracticeWhen we convince ourselves that we have nothing more to learn, we fail to ask enough questions and we sometimes even commit sales malpractice.

Brian Robinson has been in sales for more than 20 years, but he said that he only thought he knew how to sell while he was in corporate America. He calls his plunge into entrepreneurialism the hardest thing he has ever done, and while it was successful, he said his eyes were opened when he entered the world of “you don’t sell, you don’t eat.”

Brian is the author of the book The Selling Formula, which codifies the steps he used to succeed in that venture.

Intentional questions

Many salespeople do the old “show up and throw up.” We’re so anxious to get to the presentation that we neglect to ask the very best questions we can ask to uncover the needs. We’re seeking sincere engagement from our prospect, so this is the most critical component.

Brian noticed that the best physicians diagnose illness with a list of carefully-crafted questions. That information became especially important when he worked for Johnson and Johnson selling internal devices for laparoscopy. Though the device was clinically superior to anything on the market, he wasn’t getting any responses for trial evaluations.

He knew the device was superior, so he combed through the features and benefits and put together a list of questions related to them. He structured them in a specific order and the wording of each was intentional as well.

Asking questions

He tested the questions, and within about 30 days his trial evaluations doubled because of that list of questions.

When word got out that he had produced those kinds of results, people started asking for his list of questions. He passed it along and found that when people followed the questions exactly, they got the exact same results: they doubled their results.

Brian grew fascinated with the whole idea of going deep on questions. He even developed a personal mantra that questions are the key to life.

Although it took several iterations for Brian to get the list and order of questions exactly right, he stuck with it and he achieved success. There’s still an opportunity to make it even better, but it’s working very consistently now.

Malpractice

Brian defines sales malpractice as providing a diagnosis before you really understand the underlying issues. You won’t be able to give your prospect the best possible answer, and until you’ve uncovered a need, you won’t be able to proceed to the sales conversation.

You have to earn the right to have that conversation. If you rush too quickly into the presentation, your sales presentation won’t be nearly what it could have been.

The key to all of it is how you create your questions.

Get started

Begin by making a spreadsheet with three columns. The first is your features, the second is the benefits related to the feature, and in the third column write down every question you can think of related to those features.

Then take an 80/20 approach. Of the questions you’ve written, which 20% of questions will elicit 80% of the most critical benefits of your product? Start with general fact-finding questions and move into those 80/20 in the most appropriate order to identify the needs.

Imagine you’re selling premade home-cooked meals. What are two benefits to that service?

One is that you’re saving about 60 minutes per meal on grocery shopping, food prep, and cooking time. The other is simplicity. Now generate questions from those benefits.

  • On a weekly basis, how many dinners do you cook for your family?
  • How much time does it typically take you to make dinner?
  • If all you had to do was move something from the freezer to the oven, how would that affect the frequency of your family meals?

Now order the questions from general fact-finding to more specific. Then place the most compelling ones at the top 20 percent of the questions you ask.

Emotional level

Get down to an emotional level. We unfortunately avoid this, often because we aren’t comfortable going that deep into our conversations. We also tend to approach these conversations with a transactional mindset instead of realizing these are human beings with deep emotional and physical needs.

Go the levels that can motivate us to change. We’re trying to make a difference as salespeople. Approach each situation with the mindset that you want to go deeper and ask heart-level questions.

Strive to be seen as a trusted advisor instead of as a sales rep. You’ll have a connection at the human level.

Selling the concept

If someone is willing to grab this idea and test it in their own sales conversations, the proof is in the doing. People have been shocked at the effectiveness of this practice because, shockingly, people don’t think this way.

Brian said he camped out on the questions because that’s where the gold is.

Sometimes management and metrics prompt us to rush the sales process. That causes us to focus on the wrong things. As a result, we end up working twice as hard with less impressive results.

Instead of focusing on outcomes, focus on being so connected to the prospect that the outcome will take care of itself.

We get comfortable where we are, so we live in ignorance. We are amazingly connected to our comfort level. We’re addicted to it. But in order to grow, you have to embrace struggle.

“Sales Malpractice” episode resources

You can get the first three chapters of Brian’s book, The Selling Formula, by going to brianrobinsonbook.com. He also has content associated with the book available at thesellingformula.com.

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Donald Kelly, Sales Coaching, Sales Training

TSE 1080: TSE Certified Sales Training Program – “Discovery Meetings”

Donald Kelly, Sales Coaching, Sales Training

Building value is a critical part of any sales process, and the discovery meeting is an important step in that process.

How much should you prepare for the discovery meeting beforehand? What should you know? What should you do?

The insights I’ll share come from the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, designed to help sales reps perform to the best of their ability, find more ideal customers, build strong value, and close more deals.

What is discovery?

The discovery meeting is an opportunity to learn about the challenge your prospect is facing. It’s a chance to go a little more in-depth.

It’s not necessarily a chance to get all the information about the company or about its history. That’s boring for the client who doesn’t want to have to educate you. The client is likely meeting with other sellers and they aren’t interested in working to educate all of them.

Do your research beforehand so your discovery meeting can focus solely on understanding the prospect’s true problem and understanding how you can bring value and help them learn more about what you have to offer.

Research

You can easily find information about the company and its history on the Internet or the company’s website. If you show up to discovery seeking this kind of information the prospects will likely think less of you.

I’ve said it before, but you also have the option to call into the company and ask the receptionist for more information. The organization may be able to share an information page or other company literature. The PR department may be able to provide the information you’re seeking as well.

This information is vital to the discovery meeting because it will help you have a meaningful discussion when you meet with the prospect.

Understand the industry

Make sure you also understand recent developments related to the industry and the company’s role within the industry.

If the company is in the housing industry and I discover that the housing industry is booming in states like Arizona, California, and Florida, then that will impact my presentation.

If I’m selling marketing services to companies in the housing market it will be important to know that the market is growing. I’ll also need to know the top challenges that companies within the housing market are facing.

Then, determine how those trends will correlate to your product or service.

Case studies

If you have a previous or existing client that is similar to your prospect, consider sharing that information. Has one of your clients faced the challenges of growing in a high-growth market? Have you helped a client tackle some of the issues inherent in that situation?

Is there a business case study I can share that helps my prospects understand the challenge they are facing?

I did an episode some time back about case studies and the folks over at Gong outlined four main steps that should exist within every business case study.

  1. Identify the problem. What is preventing the client from growing? What challenges are hindering the company from accomplishing its goals?
  2. Develop a measurement. How can you measure the challenges the company is facing? How can you quantify the issue the company is facing?
  3. Determine the consequences of the company losing those deals or opportunities. Did they have to let people go or close their doors? Make a dramatic point without going over-the-top.
  4. What transformation did your product or service cause in this company?

Prepare questions

What things did the company try previously that didn’t work?

The more questions you ask the more you’ll learn about them. Go deep. Ask them to tell you more.

You may discover that they are currently working with a company that isn’t providing the kind of results they need. Why don’t they like the current company? Incorporate those facts into your own presentation so you can address their challenges.

Find out who will be making the decision and how they will decide. Find out what their budget will be and when they are hoping to make the change.

Is there an unconsidered need they aren’t aware of?

TSE Certified Sales Training Program

This stuff works. We teach it in TSE Certified Sales Training Program and we’re seeing fantastic results.

If you or your team want to check out the program, we’ll let you try the first module risk-free. If you love it, we’d love to have you join the TSE Certified Sales Training Program to improve your selling skills.

I share this because I want to help you find more ideal customers, have more meaningful conversations, build stronger value, close more deals, and I want to challenge you each and every day to do big things.

“Discovery Meetings” episode resources

Try the first module of the TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

 

Donald Kelly, Building Value, Selling

TSE 1067: 5 Things You Get Wrong When It Comes To Building Value

Donald Kelly, Building Value, Selling

If you’re giving your customers things that you value instead of focusing on things that your customer needs or wants, you should be aware of the  5 things you get wrong when it comes to building value.

We’re dedicating the month of April to a discussion of building value, and we’re starting with the fundamentals of building value.

1.  We fail to solve the problem.

People will only change if they see a distinct need for it, and sometimes our customers don’t even recognize that they have a problem. Or, in other instances, they may have found a solution or a band-aid to the problem that seems to be working.

People don’t fix things that seem to be working.

Your job as a seller is to ask the right questions to help them consider or see the importance of addressing their challenge. Once you’re able to help them identify the problem, we must provide a clear solution to help them address it.

Donald Miller has a wonderful three-step process that lays out exactly how you can move through the process.

If the buyer doesn’t have confidence in your ability to guide him through the solution, you’re likely going to lose the deal like I did when it happened to me.

2.  We focus on what we like. 

I’ve taught this principle over and over again as the platinum rule: treat others the way they would like to be treated. It’s a step up from treating people the way that you’d like to be treated.

Don’t focus on features or benefits that you like. Focus on things that the buyers like.

Buyers may choose to work with you for a variety of reasons, but not all of your product’s features will be important to the buyer. Not all of your service’s benefits will matter to him.

Once you’ve identified the problem that the buyer needs to address, and you’ve given the buyer a clear plan, avoid the urge to give the buyer things he doesn’t need. Give him the things that are important and necessary for him and nothing more.

You may have 100 features, but the buyer likely has one problem that is costing him a lot of money. He needs the feature that will solve that problem. Yes, he’ll get much more than that with your product or service, but focus on his main problem to start.

Over time you can educate him about additional features.

3.  We don’t listen to the customer.

This ties closely to number 1 because we often continue talking even after the buyer has agreed to buy.

Our conversations and discovery meetings are intended to help us discover things about our prospects. It’s not intended to be a lecture.

Sometimes sellers believe that if we’re talking, we’re winning, and that simply isn’t true. Think of it like dating: you want the other person to perceive that you’re interested.

Studies indicated that you shouldn’t talk more than 30 percent of the time, and that will only happen if you come prepared with meaningful questions. That will help the buyer express himself and his challenges.

Once you’ve listened, you can pitch to the one thing he needs the most.

4.  We think we must have the lowest price.

This issue emerges frequently with sellers who think that value means having the lowest price, but it simply isn’t true. I’ve lost deals before to companies that were bigger and more expensive than my own product or service.

When I looked back, they didn’t care that we were cheaper. They were concerned that I didn’t focus on their problem and show them a clear path to solve it. They didn’t have the conviction that I was the one who could best help them.

If you’ve done a fantastic job of identifying their problem and you’ve helped them find a solution, they’ll see the value in what you’re offering. If, for example, their problem is costing them $50,000 a year but your solution will cost them $5,000 a year, that’s a good saving for them.

Show me that you understand my problem and that you have a solution. Then show me that you’ve solved this kind of problem before. That will give me, as a buyer, confidence in you as a seller.

5.  We believe that more is better.

We often mistakenly believe that offering our customer more is better because it’s a way to increase value.

You might be giving away so many add-ons that your company loses money. In the future, your customer will likely expect the same kind of discounts and bonuses. If the customer stays with you for only a year, you will have lost the client before you could recoup your losses.

Resist the urge to give away everything for free. Enjoy the silence in your conversation. Don’t jump out and start talking too quickly.

They may not be looking for more value but rather just contemplating the purchase.

Keep things simple for your buyers and remember that less is often more. We know a lot more than our buyers about our product, and they don’t need to know everything that we do.

Avoid these mistakes and you’ll have much better success building value.

“Building Value” episode resources

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester in April.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group. The program includes 65 videos altogether, and we just completed a beta group that helped us improve the program and maximize the information in it.

If you and your team are interested in learning more, we’d love to have you join us. Call (561)578-1729 to speak directly to me or one of our team members about the program.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Reddit, Why Should I Buy?

TSE 1064: Sales From The Street – “Why Should We Do Business With You?”

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Reddit, Why Should I Buy?One of the most important questions you’ll answer is “Why should I do business with you?” and it’s vital that you get it right when you do.

When the question comes, you’ll be tempted to point out how long your company has existed, how great your product is, and how great your customer service is, but those answers won’t likely work.

Sales From the Street tackles actual problems that sellers are facing and allows a sales rep just like you to provide an answer that worked for him.

Loaded question

People frequently get on Reddit seeking advice about how to answer this question. I love checking in there because it gives me a great opportunity to connect with sellers and share my own insights and expertise.

They frequently listen to the podcast after our interaction and it presents a great opportunity to grow my business. If you haven’t checked Reddit for a page related to your own industry, you definitely should.

“Why should I do business with you” is a loaded question, and I’m going to answer it in two different ways.

When I was a young seller, I was quick to point out the features of my product and to preach about why we were the best company, but it never addressed the client’s true issue.

Initial conversation

Your answer to the question will largely depend on whether this is the first time you’ve spoken to this person. Do you have a relationship already, or this your very first contact?

If you’re speaking to the customer for the very first time, he may be testing you to see how you’ll respond. You could play a seller’s version of whack-a-mole and blindly try to guess the right answer, but as a sales professional, that’s not how you want to operate.

Instead, take control of the situation. Your first priority should be to find out why she is asking this question in the first place.

You can respond with a listicle or with a question of your own. Or, consider this:

“You know, David, when people ask that question it’s usually one of three things.

  1. To see if we have the proper expertise
  2. Testing whether I’m quick on my feet. 
  3. To determine whether we can solve their problem.

Which one of those are we dealing with David?”

His answer to your question will help you understand how to proceed.

Take control

Ask questions about the sales process that will help you determine what the customer is seeking. Take charge of the sales process by controlling the conversation.

If the prospect is wasting your time and has no intention of hiring you, you’ll determine that more quickly rather than wasting time on a deal that will never close.

If the prospect is interested, he’ll answer the question and you can continue from there. Pose a question in response to his question.

Ask him why he’s inclined to ask that. If he indicates that his company has encountered other sellers who couldn’t solve its problems, then you’ll know how to respond.

Address the concerns

“I don’t ever want to do business with you if I can’t solve your problem. We want to make sure we’re a fit. I don’t want to waste your time or mine.”

“If you are open to it, I’d love to see what you’re doing now to see if we can help you just like we’ve helped many other companies in the past.” 

You can even mention at some point that you’d love to be honest enough to acknowledge if the two of you aren’t a good fit. That will keep you on the same page.

Your customer expects you to rattle off a list of features and benefits. They expect you to be a submissive seller.

They may not realize that as a professional seller, you’ve helped a lot of people, and you’re an expert at doing so. You’re going to stay calm and confident.

Surprise the customer

If, on the other hand, this is a customer that you’ve worked with for some time, he may be truly trying to determine whether he should work with you. Your goal is to communicate to him that you’re the best at solving his particular problem.

You’ve done it for thousands of other clients, you’ve run the protocols, and you know you’re the best. You can turn the tables on the customer at that point.

“Why should you not do business with me?”

Be confident. Make sure you understand why the customer is asking the question.

“Why Should We Do Business With You?” episode resources

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. I developed this training course because I struggled early on as a seller. Once I had the chance to go through my own training, I noticed a hockey-stick improvement in my performance.

TSE Certified Sales Training Program can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Value, Bob Britton, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist Ppodcast

TSE 1063: How to Instantly Increase the Perceived Value of Your Offer

Value, Bob Britton, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist PpodcastThe marketplace is crowded, so if you understand how to instantly increase the perceived value of your offer, you’ll be better able to differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Bob Britton got his start in business as an auto mechanic and he had an opportunity to buy an existing business. He figured owning a business couldn’t be that hard, so he jumped in, assuming he could do a better job than the people he had been working for.

He endured a season of failure but eventually started to improve as he learned the sales game. He realized that auto repair involves selling something that no one wants to buy, that no one is prepared to buy, and that no one ever has the money to buy.

He grew the business from a one-man show to a multi-million dollar business and then went on to other things.

Communicating value

If you can’t clearly communicate your value and what sets you apart from everyone else, you’re competing constantly on price. It’s the only way people know how to measure. But if you’re a value proposition, people will focus less on price and more on what they’re getting. It’s up to business owners to figure out what those value propositions are.

Begin by understanding what value really is. What you think is valuable is probably 27th on your prospect’s list of what’s valuable.

Consider even the smallest thing that might be considered valuable. Look beyond the obvious things like saving time or money because everyone claims to offer those.

Starting point

Understand that perception is everything. When you’re creating your value proposition, if your prospect believes it’s important, it is. Perception is everything.

That determines how we start. Begin by looking at the business drivers which are often saving money and making money. But drill down deeper.

  • Why would a customer use your offer?
  • What does the customer really care about?

Think of things like operating cost, downtime, uptime, labor cost, customer retention, market share, productivity, profitability, time to market, lifetime customer value, and any number of other concerns.

Asking good questions

Too many salespeople “wing it” when it comes to this process. They don’t think about the questions they ask and they rely on general ones instead of working to be specific.

People will give us a limited amount of time and effort. Ask specific questions that move people in a distinct direction.

Many sellers will ask about concerns, but that’s too general. Limit the question instead. What is your number one concern? Being specific will give you a lot better information from the customer because they’ll talk about the thing that is top of mind.

Then, flip that around. Ask your prospect the one thing that he hates about your industry. It takes some guts to ask this, but the information you get back will be the most valuable feedback you’ve ever gotten.

Bob asked people the number one thing they hated about auto repair on his way to building a million-dollar company. He used all that feedback to differentiate himself from his competition.

Digging deep

Your clients can give you information that will help you tweak your business and increase your revenue. You won’t have to push harder. Your clients will give you a to-do list that will help you improve.

Be willing to ask what your current clients dislike about working with your business. It will feel intimidating but they won’t crucify you. They’ll help you identify the things that are keeping them from buying more.

You may not need to dump more money into your business. You may not need to increase your leads but rather to just improve your close rate.

Next steps

Once you’ve identified the business drivers, identify some sort of movement. People won’t change unless your offering is significantly better than the status quo. People don’t buy offers; they buy new things.

What’s your movement? Increase, improve, accelerate, reduce, enhance, balance, free up, eliminate, minimize, revitalize, shrink, maximize. What kind of movement can you offer your clients?

Then add metrics to your value proposal to make it stronger and more believable.

Avoid using round numbers which sound less credible. When Bob was running the auto repair business, while everyone else was charging $87 an hour, he charged $98.68 an hour. When people asked how he came up with that number, he said that he figured out with his accountant the exact minimum he could charge to deliver the best service.

It’s a psychological effort that will surprise your customers and shift their thinking. It will position you as different than everyone else.

Do your homework. Don’t wing it because it won’t give you the results you desire.

Prepare

People may throw little tests out at you to see how you’ll respond. If you aren’t prepared, you’ll end up losing credibility because you don’t answer well.

Business drivers, movement, and metrics are the three things that create a tremendous amount of value for your business.

Do your homework. Position yourself as different, new, unique, and special.

Be creative. The competition has never been greater and the market is shifting. More people are becoming salespeople so you have to do everything you can to differentiate yourself.

“Increase the Perceived Value of Your Offer” episode resources

You can connect with Bob at his website, marketingautomationgroup.com and opt-in for a free 7-day course. He constantly produces new content designed to help you increase your perceived value.

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester in April.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group. The program includes 65 videos altogether, and we just completed a beta group that helped us improve the program and maximize the information in it.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Jacquelyn Nicholson, Rapport, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Female In Sales

TSE 1058: How to Genuinely Build Rapport With Any Prospect

Jacquelyn Nicholson, Rapport, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Female In Sales

Many sellers struggle to connect with their customers, but on today’s episode, Jacquelyn Nicholson addresses how to genuinely build rapport with any prospect.

Jacquelyn is an enterprise seller and one of the inaugural members at Alpha Sense where she acts as an evangelist for the company and its work.

World of sales

Jacquelyn landed in sales after a strange recession in Chicago prevented her from finding a job as an engineer for a defense contractor. She moved to New York and took a job as a sales engineer.

Sometime after, she found herself heading a project for Johnson & Johnson and reporting directly to the vice president of the division. He told her to put together the very best team possible and trusted her to get the job done.

During the course of the project, she made two unexpected realizations. She discovered that she didn’t like buying from salespeople because she thought they were horrible. Secondly, she discovered that she really missed sales.

She didn’t like salespeople because they talked nonstop about how great their technology was. She found herself wondering, “Do you even know what I do? Do you even care?”

“At the same moment, I was drawn back to the world of sales and also slightly repulsed by what I saw in the sellers I knew.”

She decided then to return to sales, and she vowed that she would never be that kind of seller.

Solving problems

Jacquelyn discovered that people buy things from people who can help them solve their problems. If I have a problem and you can solve it, I’m going to buy your stuff.

But I also have to be able to trust the person I’m buying from. People buy from people they trust or they like, and they can spot fake people. Sucking up isn’t the same, and customers quickly learn to spot genuine people.

She determined that the key was getting to know the people she was selling to. Learning about their problems and the things they care about. That only happens after you build rapport.

The problem, she discovered, was figuring out how to do that at scale.

The good news was, she discovered, that it doesn’t take additional time to be authentic. Researching to understand your client’s problems takes time, but kindness doesn’t.

Segue into sales

Jacquelyn realized that she wasn’t going to land in a quota-carrying role until she got some experience in front of customers. She ventured into the consulting world and she gained experience solving client problems and earning their trust.

She loved the idea of solving problems instead of simply pushing products.

Jacquelyn also realized that her time managing a project for Johnson & Johnson taught her that executives aren’t any different than anyone else. Many sellers struggle to have the confidence to approach them, but she said she was fortunate to learn early on how to interact with them.

She counsels sellers now to be respectful of their time. Executives are short on time and short on people who want to be helpful to them for who they are rather than for what they can do.

Don’t put them on a pedestal. Don’t become a “yes man” for executives. They are often surrounded by “yes men” who don’t want to rock the boat, but what they often need is real insight.

Initiate a conversation around something relevant that matters to the executives.

Bad rap

Sellers have gotten a bad rap from some of the bad behaviors of our predecessors, but the world has changed an awful lot. Consumers now have the ability to do extensive research before they ever reach out to a seller.

Sellers must honor the time they have put into the process.

At the same time, you deserve to be treated as more than just a vendor. If your customers don’t treat you with a certain amount of respect, you always have the option to walk away. Sometimes you have to fire prospects.

Taking risk

There isn’t a lot to be afraid of anymore. Jacquelyn faced a rare and aggressive form of leukemia and survived it, so she calls herself “fearless on another level” now.

She defines success as being the best person she can possibly be. She wants to be the woman her husband would marry again; the seller her boss would hire again; the mom her kids are proud to introduce to their friends.

If you constantly define your success in terms of other people and what they think of you, you’re doing it the wrong way.

Help

Jacquelyn believes that help is always available. Sometimes you’re the one giving the help and sometimes you’re the one seeking it. Don’t be afraid to keep your eyes and ears open for the help that’s available.

We have a tendency to believe that we have little to offer, but the truth is that you intrinsically have value because you’re you. Be aware of those who can help you, and those that need your help each day.

Sales is a noble profession because we’re selling something that will help someone else.

“How to Genuinely Build Rapport With Any Prospect” episode resources

You can connect with Jacquelyn on LinkedIn, and if you’re interested in her personal journey, you can go to lxu.training/jacq. She’d love to connect with you.

We are currently in the Beta portion of our new TSE Certified Sales Training Program. The first section is about prospecting, the second is all about building value, and the third is about closing.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. If 2018 wasn’t the best year for you, check out TSE Certified Sales Training Program. We can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist Podcast

TSE 1057: Be Willing To Let Them Mess Up!

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist Podcast

Sometimes business leaders find themselves wanting to make sure that their team members get everything exactly right, but unless you’re willing to let them mess up, they’ll likely never learn.

Perfect situations don’t exist. Imperfection is a factor in life, but it’s also where our growth happens.

Maintaining control

Control often gives us the sense that we can force everything to work. As a result, we avoid letting our team members try things their own way because we fool ourselves into believing that our way is always the best.

In my own story, I landed an appointment with a huge organization, and I invited the CEO of my small company to go along. I wanted his support, but I also wanted to show my boss that I was working hard. I wanted him to see the opportunity I had landed.

Most importantly, I wanted him to support me through the unknown parts of the appointment. If I found myself struggling in the conversation, I knew he could help me out.

Turns out he took over the whole show. Instead of acting as a ride-along on my appointment, I was the tag-along.

I had been talking to the client for months, so he felt a little bit ambushed. I had promised him one thing and then given him something completely different. Instead of a meeting with a sales rep, he found himself sitting in a meeting with an executive that he wasn’t really prepared for.

My plan

I imagined myself leading off the meeting and asking for his input along the way. I didn’t imagine it becoming his return to the glory days.

Because I wasn’t operating from a playbook, there was no real structure. The deal did close, but it was challenging.

If you find yourself asking why it’s a big deal, the problem was that it eroded my confidence as a seller.

Sometimes, because CEOs and entrepreneurs started out selling their own product or service, they have a tough time letting that go. They see a problem and they address it themselves because it’s how they operated before they hired sellers.

My CEO misunderstood my request for help and he took over the meeting instead.

In a previous episode, Kevin Davis talked to us about the challenges that sales managers often face, and the book he wrote, The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness, that addresses many of those issues.

Learning process

When I finally had the opportunity to go on meetings myself, I fell into a habit of mimicking what I had seen my CEO do. I shared the same stories, even though they weren’t my own stories, but I hadn’t gained an understanding of the problem I was trying to address.

Because there wasn’t any substance to my conversations, my opportunities started falling away. I wasn’t having a problem keeping things in my pipeline, but I was struggling to get them to close.

The old adage of the butterfly struggling to get out of the cocoon applies here: the struggle makes the butterfly stronger. If you were to cut open the cocoon so he could easily slip out, he would never develop strong wings that would help him fly.

You’ll never set the vision for your company moving forward if you’re busy doing the work that you hired your sales team to do.

A better option

We should have developed a gameplan before going into the meeting. By deciding who would say what and how we would build rapport, we could have avoided the awkward meeting with the client.

My CEO could have reviewed the questions I was planning to ask to ensure that I was properly prepared. Then, he could have assured me that if I got into trouble, he’d be there to help.

That scenario would have allowed me to at least try running the meeting.

The sooner you prepare your sales team to operate on their own, the more room you’ll have to grow your company.

Coaching is the correct answer. As you grow a more experienced sales team, you can add to is, and you can create repeatable success.

You will have to let them mess up. That doesn’t mean you ignore any train wrecks that are happening, but you can help them understand where they went wrong so they won’t make the mistake again.

Specify roles and responsibilities before the meetings so your team will learn to fly on their own.

Helicopter manager

Sometimes, in the role of coach, it’s tempting to give your team members the correct answers so they’ll learn more quickly. Don’t do it.

Helicopter managers tend to erode the team’s confidence and they actually lengthen the learning process by creating people who rely heavily on their help.

When they discover the answers on their own, the learning will be more meaningful.

Send us your stories about helicopter managers so we can all learn from the experience.

“Let Them Mess Up” episode resources

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester in April.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group. The program includes 65 videos altogether, and we just completed a beta group that helped us improve the program and maximize the information in it.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Paint a Picture

TSE 1050: TSE Certified Sales Training Program – “Paint A Picture”

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Paint a PictureIf you paint a picture for your customers of where they are now versus where they want to go, you can help them make a buying decision.  Show them how the positive change will happen, or what might happen if they don’t change. It will allow them to logically justify an emotional decision.

Jeffrey Gitomer was my first ever guest and he taught us something interesting on that very first podcast: People love to buy but they hate to be sold.

Think about that.  Nobody wants to feel tricked or manipulated. That is the last thing that you want to do as a sales rep. You want to help them to buy.

Your job is to guide clients through a process that educates them.

Become an artist

The key is to paint amazing pictures that feel so real and so vivid that your clients can see the value being offered.

Imagine we have presented our business case and the prospect is loving it. They know it is amazing but they will naturally start to compare it to their current situation.

What are we doing? What are our sales reps doing? How much time are they spending? Are we wasting time?

It is time to paint the picture for them.

Asking ‘why?’

Toyota once used the ‘Five Whys’ concept to get to the root of a problem; to fix the real issue of any problem instead of the surface-level problem. As an example, suppose I take my car into the shop because I have a flat tire from hitting a pothole.

As a sales rep, there are many things you could sell me. I need a new tire, for sure. Do I also need glasses so I can see potholes in the future? Maybe I didn’t see the pothole because I was speeding. Perhaps I was late and I need to buy an alarm clock.

What if I was running late because I am not disciplined enough to properly prioritize my day? Will a new tire or a pair of glasses help with the root of my problems? No.

When it comes to your prospect, once he agrees with your business proposal and realizes that he is in the same scenario you’re describing, that is the time to share with him how you can deliver.

Paint the picture that directly represents his business and his situation. Ask him what you need to know.

Do you feel the scenario that I’ve presented fits your situation? Why do you think that is the case? What have you tried before to address this same problem? What are your goals?

Become a consultant

Become a consultant that will help solve their problems. You’ve already painted a picture with your business case. Once you have your answers – once you have more details – you can effectively execute the demonstration.

Know your client’s timeframe and budget.  Go over who will be involved in the process and the criteria for future decisions. Everything discussed during the buyer’s journey needs to be referenced during the discovery call as well. It helps make the closing that much easier.

Underpromise and overdeliver

If I know I can deliver 4x, I often promise 3x because it is a simple fact that my clients will be much happier if they accomplish more than they expected.

You can help the prospect realize that the decision is theirs. It is not being forced upon them and it is not manipulative. Rather, with your help, they realize where they are and the challenges they face in moving forward. We have had meaningful and educating dialogue that provided solutions and opportunities for change. The buyer’s decision is now up to them.

“Paint a Picture” episode resources

We are currently in the Beta portion of our new TSE Certified Sales Training Program. The first section is about prospecting, the second is all about building value, and the third is about closing.

This episode is brought to you by the TSE Certified Sales Training Program. If 2018 wasn’t the best year for you, check out TSE Certified Sales Training Program. We can help you out of your slump.

If you gave a lot of great presentations and did a lot of hard work, only to watch your prospects choose to work with your competitors, we can help you fix that. The new semester of TSE Certified Sales Training Program begins in April and it would be an absolute honor to have you join us.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

Mailtag.io allows you to see around the corners. You can see when people open your email, or when they click on the link you sent. Mailtag.io will give you half-off your subscription for life when you use the Promo Code: Donald at check out.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode. Share it with your friends who would benefit from learning more.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Asking more questions, Listening, Fear

TSE 1047: Start Asking “Stupid Questions”!

Asking more questions, Listening, FearThe more information we have about our clients, the better we’ll be able to serve them, and we can begin by asking “stupid questions.

In 2013, I was working on a speech for Toastmasters and I wanted to talk to everyday people to find out whether or not they think the American Dream is dead.

What better place to find everyday people but on the train?

I was nervous. I didn’t want anyone to yell at me or be rude to me and I certainly didn’t want to get into a political debate.

Eventually, I mustered the courage to ask the guy sitting closest to me for his thoughts. I prepared for the worst but got the exact opposite instead. He answered my question and gave me the insight I needed to put together a great speech.

In today’s episode, I will share ways to overcome the roadblocks we create in our minds so that we can get the information we need to best help our clients.

Dumb, stupid questions

We tell ourselves that our questions are dumb and stupid. When we think that way, we end up with dumb and stupid results. We need to present our questions well so that we can get the right information from our clients.

When we ask only surface-level questions, we get surface-level answers in return.

When we then use those answers to create a quote, we find that the client is not interested or ready.

It is the same situation every time. We worry and feel like we suck at our job. Other people selling the exact same product to the same type of client are performing so much better.

How does this happen?

Clear and meaningful questions

Too often, we are so focused on how we come across to others that we don’t ask the right questions. We don’t want to appear rude or pushy.

Or, we worry that we might embarrass ourselves by asking a question that everyone else already knows the answer to. We also hesitate to “bother” an executive, or challenge the way he already does business even though our suggestions could benefit his organization.

Push the norm

We are afraid to push the norm.

Many executives are surrounded by ‘yes people.’ This creates a void that, as a consultant, you could fill.

To prepare for more clear and meaningful questions, you need to first understand where the questions will lead.

As an example, the brake light on my car went out. I did everything I knew to try to fix it without success. A mechanic, on the other hand, would have the experience and the knowledge to ask me the right questions about my problem in order to isolate the best solution.

I would not assume that any of the questions he asked me were stupid even if I already knew that, of course, I should check the bulb before coming in.

He would be viewed as an expert because he would ask all the necessary questions in order to fix my problem.

The more confident you are on a topic, the less stupid the simple questions will seem in your mind. You will know and understand that people who are not as well-versed on the subject will make mistakes with the small things.

Asking clear and meaningful questions will get you clear and meaningful results.

Know the landscape

Read industry magazines and trade journals of your targeted clients. Know why they need what you are offering.

Study and prepare so that your questions are clear and meaningful. Understand the intricacies of their business. It will make you more effective in presenting your case.

You will be able to ask questions with confidence.

When you know where the questions might lead, and you won’t be afraid to ask them. You will be prepared. Keep the questions simple and clear.

Don’t ever assume that any of them are stupid.

Start Asking “Stupid Questions” episode resources

This episode is brought to you in part by our TSE Certified Sales Training Program, which teaches you to improve your sales skills, find more customers, build stronger value, and close more deals.

The next semester begins in April.

If you’re not familiar with the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, it’s a program designed to help brand new sales reps, as well as those who have been selling forever. The 12-week module offers videos you can watch at your own pace, as well as the option to join a group discussion. It’s broken into three sections: finding, building value, and closing. It’s amazing and it’s fun!

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out.

You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

The episode is also brought to you by prospect.io, a sales automation platform that allows you to send cold emails in a personalized manner. To find out more about how it can help you automate your sales process, go to prospect.io/tse. Your prospecting will never be the same.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode, and share with your friends!

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Tamara Thompson, Donald Kelly, Convincing, Closing

TSE 1033: How To Turn A No To A Maybe To A YES!

Tamara Thompson, Donald Kelly, Convincing, ClosingAs sales reps, we all want to know how to turn a ‘No,’ to a ‘Maybe,’ to a ‘Yes!’

Tamara Thompson is the owner of a creative video production company that brings compelling stories and brands to life; from events to influencers to business owners. It is for those who need marketing assistance or who seek to broadcast their authority across different social media platforms.

Video is her forte’. She is very passionate about it and has directed several documentaries.

Tamara started using a video camera at the age of 7 and followed her dream into film school before launching her own business, Serious Take Productions, in 2012.

She is now focused on building her sub-brand, Broadcast your Authority, to help empower more female business owners – from taking the stage, to gaining media exposure, to implementing video that will attract and keep attention.

Tamara knows full well that receiving a ‘No’ in sales is inevitable. She used to take it personally until she read The Four Agreements, a book which she credits with changing her life.

Moving beyond ‘No’

Now, she views ‘no’ with a different mindset. That ‘no’ can turn into a ‘maybe’ and then into a ‘yes’ when you have the mentality and are able to think abundantly in order to handle rejection. Taking rejection personally only allows it to spiral out of control into negative feelings about one’s abilities.

The more positivity flows around you, however, the more you are able to deal with objections. To handle the conversation, you have to be able to listen to why they are saying ‘no.’

It is a preemptive process. It is the preemptive way of thinking when entering into any conversation: don’t expect a ‘no,’ but recognize that it may happen and be prepared.

When facing ‘no’ as an answer, it is time to discover why the hesitation exists. In this way, you can provide a different solution that caters better to the needs of your clients.

As the owner of a professional video company, Tamara knows she has the one-up in many situations simply because, in order to build a relationship with her clients, she needs to know exactly what entices them most and what they need most.

As an example, Tamara recalls hosting a ‘sale from the stage event.’ It’s a selling opportunity to a massive amount of people who are then invited to ask questions and to sign up for video retreats.

One woman, in particular, had many questions about her unique situation. Tamara was able to zero in on the specific hesitations of the prospect and cater to her needs as a result.

Relating to the prospect and fully trying to understand the reasons behind any hesitation is how Tamara is able to turn a ‘no’ into a ‘yes.’

Listening

She doesn’t view ‘no’ as a rejection or a lack of interest but rather as a call for more information. A weak seller might give up but a great seller will try to be helpful, to relate, and to listen.

When you truly care about the people you are working with and for and want to build a relationship with them, it is easier to steer conversations toward ‘yes.’ Once you understand the struggles and objections, it is easier to respond properly.

Tamara is passionate about her business. She is confident that listening and empathy can go a long way in helping sales reps close deals even if they are not particularly passionate about their product.

New sellers sometimes don’t know what to listen for.

Tamara recommends doing research on any person you hope to speak with. Take time to learn their lifestyle and interests and what their brand and business look like. Then tailor your questions accordingly.

The right questions – the right amount of interest in what the prospect is already doing – can open them up to tell you more.

Find out why they do what they do and where they want to go.

Most prospects are passionate about their business and when they are hesitant to make a change, you can hear it in their voice. Once you understand their goals, you can help them past the hesitation.

Being persistent

If a hesitant ‘no’ is still the answer, Tamara recommends follow-up.

Aim for a ‘maybe’ even if it means following-up multiple times, or several months later, because people are busy and can’t always respond the first time.

Once the prospect realizes that the sales rep is attempting to provide a solution and to help versus just trying to make a sale, it opens doors.

Persistence and the ability to listen to the real concerns of any prospect are Tamara’s key pieces of advice.

The more they can see the value in what you offer, the more ‘no’ moves to ‘yes.’

“How to turn a ‘No,’ to a ‘Maybe,’ to a ‘Yes!’” episode resources

Check out Tamara’s video content and learn about upcoming events on the Director Tamara Thompson Facebook page. You can learn more about compelling videos, event videos, and influencer and speaker trailers produced by Serious Take Productions at www.serioustakeproductions.com.

This episode is brought to you in part by our TSE Certified Sales Training Program, which teaches you to improve your sales skills, find more customers, build stronger value, and close more deals.

The next semester begins in April.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out.

You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode, and share with your friends!

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

 

 

Kory Angelin, Motivational Speaking, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Sellout

TSE 968: How To Ask A Potential Customer The Right Questions That Make Them Feel Comfortable And Not Pushed

Kory Angelin, Motivational Speaking, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, SelloutOn today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, we talk to Kory Angeline about the right questions, and how you can help your customers feel comfortable without feeling pushed.

No matter what industry you’re in, you’re probably going to find yourself selling. And truthfully, a lot of us aren’t good at it.

Kory offers the idea that perhaps we sell too much, so we’ve trained our customers to immediately put up a sales wall.

No skillset

So why do salespeople immediately ask, “How can I help you today?”

We don’t have a skillset. We aren’t aware of the different tools we can use at different times.

Most sellers don’t even have an effective elevator pitch in which they can build interest in their product within about 10 seconds. We don’t know how to distinguish ourselves from everyone else.

If we can’t distinguish ourselves, we’ll sound pretty average.

Instead, salespeople should learn to ask great questions.

Great questions

If it’s truly a great question, it should be able to do three things:

1. Plant seeds

You should be able to plant a seed without selling because once you’ve moved into selling, you’ve crossed the line. Since a sale is a transaction of money, it should only happen at the end.

Discuss price at the end. Planting a seed is understanding their needs and wants.

2. Overcome an objection.

A great question overcomes objections before they even come up; common objections like, “I’ll think about it.”

A great question is this: “Other than yesterday, when would you really want to start using this product or service?” If your customer says, “Now,” you’ve already overcome an objection.

3. Activate emotion.

The emotional part of the brain makes decisions. Tap into that part of the brain using really great questions that are intentional and that tap into our feelings.

Developing great questions?

Compare these two scenarios:

If I ask a customer to rate his commitment to buying a new product on a scale of 1-10, and then I ask him why he isn’t a 10, I’m going to get negative answers.

If I ask a customer to rate his commitment to buying a new product on a scale of 1-10, and then I ask him why he isn’t a 2, I’m going to get positive answers.

You’ve flipped the script and asked him for positive answers. It’s a philosophy.

You have to be relatable. Relate why you do what you do. Don’t forget to tell why you do what you do because it levels the playing field and makes you more personable.

Build an experience

1. Build rapport with your customer.

Use great questions to accomplish the three objectives above.

2. Talk about goals. 

The goal is the most important thing. You have to understand why your customer is looking to buy software.

Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action teaches that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. The goal should always be to get the customer to believe in what you believe in.

Understand why the customer walked in the door that day.

One-minute drill

Kory uses an active listening drill that pairs two people up for 60 seconds.

One person talks for 60 seconds about something she’s really passionate about. The speaker can’t stop talking and it has to be something she is truly passionate about.

The partner is encouraged to do everything but listen. He can get on Instagram, take a selfie, browse on his phone. He isn’t allowed to listen.

That one minute teaches how bad it feels to speak to someone who isn’t actively listening.

Closing

Kory realized the key to selling when he asked a waitress in a restaurant for a recommendation. When she suggested a certain menu item, he asked her why, and then he went with her choice based upon her answer.

The key to asking for a sale is to give a recommendation and then share why you think it’s the right one.

We do it when we try to encourage a friend to try our favorite restaurant or when we try to convince him to see a movie with us.

At the end of the experience, you’re the subject matter expert. Recommend a product that you want to sell that meets the customers’ needs and then back it up with a reason.

Then close with, “Can you see how that would work for you?” and let the customer answer.

You must have a skillset and you must practice. There’s a lot of good material out there, and you can’t just show up on gameday and expect to succeed.

Practice every day until you feel really comfortable and confident.

“The Right Questions” episode resources

Connect with Kory at KoryAngelin.com and grab a copy of his book #Sellout: How a Great Experience Can Help You #Sellout of Your Product. You can also find him on Instagram.

This episode is brought to you in part by Maximizer CRM, personalized CRM that gives you the confidence to improve your business and increase profits. To get a demonstration of maximizer, go to the sales evangelists.com/maximizer.

Click on the link to get a free demo of what Maximizer CRM can do for you. Maximizer is intuitive, simple, and personable. Maximizer integrates your marketing campaign as well as your CRM, and it works whether you’re a small organization or a large one. It works throughout the whole organization and it’s customizable to the way you sell.

This episode is also brought to you in part by prospect.io, a powerful sales automation platform that allows you to build highly personalized, cold email campaigns. To learn more, go to prospect.io/tse. It will help you with your outbound to expand your outreach and it allows you to set it and forget it. Your prospecting will never ever be the same.

We’ll use prospect.io in the upcoming semester of TSE Hustler’s League to focus on prospecting. We’ll give you insights and tools that will help you gain new customers and provide training and strategies that you can implement today to ensure constant flow in your pipeline.

Check out TSE Hustler’s League and apply to see if it’s a good fit.

Leave us a review on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content, and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode, and share it with someone else you think might benefit.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Trust, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist Podcast

TSE 937: The Questions You Ask Are NOT Building Trust

 

Trust, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist PodcastSometimes as sales professionals, we unintentionally erode the trust we have with our clients. The way we pose a question or the way we treat our clients can prevent us from closing a deal. Sometimes the questions you ask are not building trust.

On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, we continue our month-long discussion about closing, and how the questions you ask are not building trust. Many of us make common mistakes that keep us from closing.

Trust

Trust is truly valuable. If you don’t have trust as a sales professional, your clients will never buy from you.

People do business with people they know, like, and trust. You’ve probably also heard that it’s not what you know, but who you know.

The truth is that closing begins early in the sales process.

We have to realize that the questions we ask our prospects will determine whether they trust us moving forward. When we don’t ask them well, they’ll cause our prospects to see us as superior or misleading.

They’ll perceive that we have an agenda and that you’re using your questions to frame your plan. If, for example, we ask questions that we already know the answer to, it erodes your trust because it’s not genuine.

Manipulation

Asking a question isn’t bad unless you’re asking a question in an attempt to get your prospect to give you a specific answer.

Imagine your prospect runs a print shop and has a printer that is down.

“What do you think will happen if you don’t get it fixed?”

Clearly, the salesperson knows the answer to this question. If the printer doesn’t work then the company won’t make money.

Asking that question will likely make everyone involved feel stupid because both parties already know the answer to it. Instead, I’ll ask something more specific that helps me learn more about your situation.

“Clearly it’s not good for business that your printer is down, but how much would you say you guys do on a day-to-day basis?”

Fears

If you’re talking to a prospect about changing from a current supplier and the prospect insists on staying with the current provider, you can safely bet that fear is the driver.

They’re probably afraid of your price. It’s possible that they’re afraid of changing to a new company. They may fear setting up a new process or going through the process of canceling services.

Instead of asking if they think it’s a good idea to stay with the current provider, ask if you can share your own observations. Your prospect usually won’t say no, and if you’ve built a good rapport, they’ll usually be willing to hear what you have to say.

When the prospect sees that you have no hidden agenda and that you’re being authentic, it builds trust.

Authority

We had a client in a similar circumstance who didn’t want to switch from his current vendor because he had been with the vendor for 10 years. Although there were problems with the vendor, it was easier to stay than it was to change.

The decision to stay cost them a lot of money, and eventually the prospect changed to our company. Because he knew that we cared about his business and we were trying to guide him, he trusted us.

They need you to help them make a good decision, and when you ask for permission to share your knowledge, they’ll give it to you.

Questions

We can become top-performing sellers if we use questions and psychology to make our buyers feel comfortable. We can help them recognize their true challenges and guide them toward the decisions that is best for them.

The Sales Evangelist is building a new course this month and we’d love to have you take part in it. Email me at donald@thesalesevangelist.com for more information.

“Questions You Ask Are NOT Building Trust” episode resources

Check out the video of Jean being set up by his girlfriend.

You can read the article by Dr. Rom Brafman here.

Even if you don’t buy my course, if you don’t engage with our business, we’re glad you’re here listening to the podcast. You’re taking advice and you’re applying it to your own situations. That’s what we care about the most.

This episode is brought to you in part byMaximizer CRM, personalized CRM that gives you the confidence to improve your business and increase profits. To get a demonstration of maximizer, go to the sales evangelists.com/maximizer.

Click on the link to get a free demo of what Maximizer CRM can do for you. It integrates your marketing campaign as well as your CRM.

This episode is also brought to you in part by prospect.io, a powerful sales automation platform that allows you to build highly personalized, cold email campaigns. To learn more, go to prospect.io/tse. It will help you with your outbound to expand your outreach. Your prospecting will never ever be the same.

Leave us a review on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content, and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Closing, Sales, Donald Kelly, Sales Podcast

TSE 932: How Do I Close The Deal?

Closing, Sales, Donald Kelly, Sales PodcastMost sales professionals understand the importance of closing. They also understand that the more prospects they interact with, the greater their odds of closing will be. But sometimes challenging situations arise, which leave us asking, “How do I close the deal?”

On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, we’ll talk about closing more deals and increasing our win rate by answering the question, “How do I close the deal?”

Talk to the right people

Many salespeople speak to the wrong person when they try to close a deal.

The person you’re connecting with may want the product or service you’re selling, but if he doesn’t have the buying decision, it won’t be enough to close the deal.

It’s tempting, of course, to focus your efforts on the prospect who wants to buy your product. That’s easier than interacting with people who may not yet be convinced.

If you truly want to close, you have to identify the key decisions makers or stakeholders who are actually able to say yes.

Understand the true problem

If you’re addressing a problem that isn’t actually the true problem, you’re not likely to close a deal.

Ask deeper, next-level questions.

It’s not enough to know that they have a problem with emails. Do they need an easier way to send them or do they need better quality emails?

Make sure you understand the problem they are trying to solve.

Identify timeframe

Understand the timeframe your prospect is working within, and how it will impact the buying decision.

The prospect may be excited about your product, but you can move the process along by gathering facts instead of making assumptions.

Is there a big event driving this purchase? What are the negative consequences if the prospect doesn’t make a purchase decision?

Make sure you understand the timeframe.

Recognize common challenges

Eventually, you’ll begin to identify the common challenges that arise when you’re trying to close. Figure out a way to address those challenges before they become a major issue.

Identify the top five objections you hear most often, and tackle them before your prospects have a chance to mention them.

Address it in discovery, or through a testimonial.

Share stories of customers who were similar to your prospect and how you helped them overcome their similar set of challenges.

If you diffuse their objections before they have a chance to mention them you take some of the impacts from them.

Mitigate risk

If your prospect has never worked with you, she may be apprehensive about jumping into a large recurring contract. If things don’t work out with your contract, it can reflect poorly on her.

Help her address that fear by reworking the contract when possible.

If, for example, you sell software, can you cut back the number of licenses and shorten the length of the contract, you can mitigate the risk for your clients. That allows your prospect to verify that your company is a good fit before committing to a lengthy, expensive contract.

Include an invitation

Sales professionals have to be bold without being overbearing. We have to ask prospects to commit to change.

Be prepared at every step with an invitation that moves the prospect to the next step.

Paint a picture of what life will be like when they buy your product or service.

“Close The Deal” episode resources

This episode is also brought to you in part by prospect.io, a powerful sales automation platform that allows you to build highly personalized, cold email campaigns. To learn more, go to prospect.io/tse. It will help you with your outbound to expand your outreach. Your prospecting will never ever be the same.

This episode is also brought to you byMaximizer CRM. If you aren’t sure you have the right CRM, Maximizer CRM is a personalized CRM that gives you the confidence to improve your business and increase profits. Get rid of the boring CRMs and customize to your team’s selling abilities.

Click on the link to get a free demo of what Maximizer CRM can do for you. It integrates your marketing campaign as well as your CRM.

Leave us a review on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content, and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Story Selling, Prospect.io, Maximizer, Story

TSE 930: TSE Hustler’s League-“Storytelling Questions”

Story Selling, Prospect.io, Maximizer, Story

 

 

 

 

 

It’s tempting to think that when a lead contacts us first, the transaction should be pretty simple. We’ll ask about the company; about the challenges the company is facing; we’ll try to determine how we can help. But what happens when the conversation goes nowhere? You must make sure you’re asking storytelling questions.

On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League, we’ll address the questions you’re asking of your leads and discuss how storytelling questions will help him tell his story.

Maximize leads

Even when people land on your website looking for information, they may be a little shy about opening up. They may not immediately volunteer to share the problems they are facing.

So what do you do? How do you qualify the lead to determine whether you can help?

You have to begin by learning about the lead, and the best way to learn about your leads is through their stories.

Storytelling

I recently had Paul Smith on the podcast, author of Sell With A Story, and he talked about capturing attention, building trust, and closing a sale. He talked about the importance of stories.

We know that stories date back eons, and we’ve done countless episodes in the past about how you can improve your storytelling skills. What we haven’t addressed often is the fact that stories can help your buyer reveal important information to you.

When you need to understand his business and his challenges, you can do that by having him tell you a story.

In his book, Paul outlined 5 ways to get your buyers to open up:

1. Listen

Don’t be afraid of silence. Fight the urge to break the ice. Give your buyer time to process the decision.

Once you have rapport and relationship with a prospect, it’s ok to give him time to consider all sides of an issue.

Silence can be very powerful for both seller and buyer.

2. Ask

Ask the question that requires story. Use open-ended questions.

“When did you know you had a real problem on your hands?”

Unlike the question, “What is your biggest challenge,” this question prompts prospects to tell a story. When they do, they’ll include other characters, other situations, and specific instances that led to this moment.

Stories reveal a lot of information. They require people to recall a time something went wrong and identify all the problems that occurred.

That will help you identify true issues that will help you frame a demonstration or present a solution in a way that will help your prospect.

3. Research

Find out the prospect’s current role. Research on LinkedIn to discover what his position is and use that to build rapport.

Again, ask a question that prompts a story.

“How did you end up in your current role?”

You can bring up something you saw on the prospect’s LinkedIn and initiate a conversation. Ask the prospect to tell you about something you saw on the page, and it will lead to specific conversation and stories.

4. Meet

Consider having the prospect meet you somewhere outside of work. Go to lunch or dinner, or meet at a trade show event.

Get the prospect away from the office mindset and ask him to tell you a story.

In this setting, he won’t be thinking about his role in the company. He’s outside, and that allows him to share more freely.

Don’t use it as a fishing expedition. Do this with customers who have already expressed interest in the product or service you’re selling.

5. Share

Share your own story first.

Tell about a challenging situation you overcame. It may prompt him to share a similar experience he had.

Seed the story. If you sell office furniture, share your own story about office furniture to encourage him to share a challenge he has struggled with.

“Storytelling Questions” episode resources

Check out Paul Smith’s book Sell With A Story for more information about using stories to sell well.

This episode is also brought to you in part by prospect.io, a powerful sales automation platform that allows you to build highly personalized, cold email campaigns. To learn more, go to prospect.io/tse. It will help you with your outbound to expand your outreach. Your prospecting will never ever be the same.

This episode is also brought to you byMaximizer CRM. If you aren’t sure you have the right CRM, Maximizer CRM is a personalized CRM that gives you the confidence to improve your business and increase profits. Get rid of the boring CRMs and customize to your team’s selling abilities.

Click on the link to get a free demo of what Maximizer CRM can do for you. It integrates your marketing campaign as well as your CRM.

Leave us a review on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content, and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Jeet Banerjee, Lead Generation, Digital Marketing

TSE 926: Lead Generation Through Digital Marketing

Traditional marketing options will always exist for business owners and people in sales. Digital marketing, however, can be a more cost-effective way to grab people’s attention and guide them down a path to purchasing.

On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, Jeet Banerjee discusses how lead generation through digital marketing can help you bring customers into your funnel.

Jeet is a serial entrepreneur who wrote the book Limitless Thinking: How One Young Entrepreneur Found Success With No Degree, Experience or Money, and he’s a digital marketing expert and a TEDx speaker. Share the tips you hear today with your team to make your process easier.

Digital marketing mistakes

Digital marketing is the concept of using technology as a medium to promote a business, concept, idea, or service; basically, anything that needs promotion.

A lot of people make the mistake of assuming that everyone is their ideal customer. That really means you don’t know who your customer really is.

Jeet launched a company years ago to help students get into college, and he knew so much about his ideal customer that he could tell you what he’d be doing on a Friday night.

Jeet believes you have to get that specific. He also believes that the more specific you are, the more successful you’ll be.

You aren’t leaving other customers on the table when you do that. You’re simply making your process easier by focusing on the people who are more likely to buy from you.

Once you’ve done that, you slowly scale out. Then you can try to convince the random guy on the street to become a customer.

Know where to start

Once you know your customer, you know where to start. You go where your customer is.

If your ideal customer is a private practice doctor, what digital marketing medium is this doctor who owns his own practice using? Is he on Facebook? On doctor forums? Reddit? What is he doing with his time?

Figure that out, and go there first.

There are a few different ways to figure out where they are spending their time.

  1. Offer your product free to a select group of ideal customers in exchange for a conversation about them. Ask where they spend time, what they do, and what their hobbies are.
  2. Go to forums like Reddit, discussion boards, or other forums and post a question. Use the same questions above.
  3. Use Google to search for surveys and articles that address your customer group.

Collect the data to get insight into where you should dig deeper.

Launch your digital marketing strategy

Once you have data, use the feedback your customers gave you.

Keep in mind what they said about marketing and colors and approaches, and then create a campaign. It might be a video, photo, blog post, or whatever you think will work.

Don’t rely on one thing. Try several variations to see what gets the best reception and what’s profitable.

There’s no silver bullet to digital marketing.

It’s true that content is still king, but it has become tougher to really succeed because you have to compete with sponsored ads. Consumers will see those before they see your content.

Also now everyone knows that content is king, so it’s more competitive. You have to elevate your game even further.

Create great content that people will organically share themselves. Once you do that, you’ll have your own audience and your own consumers sharing it for you.

Focus on content that’s shareable, not necessarily content that’s buyable.

Find the right people

You have to put the right product in the hands of the right people.

You can’t put a football in a tennis player’s hand, but if you put a football in Tom Brady’s hands, you know what he’s going to do with it.

You don’t have to create multi-million dollar content. You’ll get massive results if you create content that hits home and put it in the hands of the right people.

Make sure you’re authentic as well. Don’t copy your competitors simply because they are having success with their own campaigns. Establish your own voice.

Your voice will get lost, and you’ll inadvertently point to the other company because your voice sounds so much like theirs.

There will always be people who hate your “voice” and others who love it. Be authentic and be you. Don’t try to be someone you’re not.

“Digital Marketing” episode resources

You can connect with Jeet at his website, jeetbanerjee.com. Grab a copy of his book Limitless Thinking: How One Young Entrepreneur Found Success With No Degree, Experience or Money

Click here to see his TEDx talk If Not Now, When? and connect with Jeet on LinkedIn.

This episode is also brought to you in part by prospect.io, a powerful sales automation platform that allows you to build highly personalized, cold email campaigns. To learn more, go to prospect.io/tse. It will help you with your outbound to expand your outreach. Your prospecting will never ever be the same.

If you aren’t sure you have the right CRM, Maximizer CRM is a personalized CRM that gives you the confidence to improve your business and increase profits. Get rid of the boring CRMs and customize to your team’s selling abilities.

Click on the link to get a free demo of what Maximizer CRM can do for you. It integrates your marketing campaign as well as your CRM.

Leave us a review on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content, and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Leads, Inbound, Prospecting

TSE 922: Don’t Take Your Leads For Granted

Leads, Inbound, Prospecting

Sometimes sales reps neglect their leads. We stop doing the things we know we need to do because we assume things will continue working the way we expect them to. Don’t take your leads for granted.

On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, we’ll talk about the things that sales professionals sometimes neglect and why it’s so important that you don’t take your leads for granted.

This isn’t simply a sales problem; it’s a human problem. We do it with our families, with our homes, and even with the water that is always there when we turn on our faucets.

It isn’t until those things go away that we appreciate their value.

“Unicorn” leads

Some of us work for companies that generate leads for us and some of us don’t.

Those of us who don’t often get them tend to value those precious leads because they aren’t frequent. It’s not unusual, however, for those of us who consistently get leads to expect them.

Even worse, we allow ourselves to focus on the “unicorn” leads so that we aren’t interested in the others. We want those rare leads that have a challenge, that have money, and that are ready to buy right now.

When we get leads that aren’t as perfect as the “unicorns” we might push them away to focus on the better leads.

Maybe we hurry through the conversation and invest less of ourselves in their needs.

Rare leads

Sales reps who can’t depend on getting leads have to approach their leads differently. They aren’t sure when the next one will come, so they have to do their very best every time.

These sales reps ask appropriate questions and seek to gain a deeper understanding of the prospect’s needs. They invest time in solving the buyer’s problem. They seek to treat them as individuals.

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” 

Wayne Dyer

 

 

The first sales rep discounts the lead because he expects others will come after it. The second sales rep invests time in nurturing the lead and listens to the prospect.

Maintain excitement for leads

Make sure you provide all your leads with the same attention and effort.

See them as people trying to solve problems for their organizations, and keep in mind, too, that they have personal goals as well.

Your lead might be trying to get a promotion, or she might need someone to educate her about the buying process. Your lead called you above everyone else.

Find out why your lead called your company. Not only will that be good information for your marketing department to have; it will give you important insight into the prospect and help you connect with her.

Change the way you look at things

You have to work at relationships, and leads are relationships.

If you work hard even on the leads that don’t seem like “good leads,” you’ll do what Wayne Dyer said and you’ll change the way you see those leads.

The same is also true for your team members.

If you’ll change the way you view your underperforming team members and try to understand the challenges they are facing and truly try to see them as individuals, you’ll be better able to help them.

Don’t take your leads for granted, and don’t take your team members for granted.

 

“Don’t Take Your Leads For Granted” episode resources

When it’s time to follow up with your leads, Prospect.io can make your followup that much better. It has literally changed the way I prospect, and I love it.

This episode is also brought to you in part by prospect.io, a powerful sales automation platform that allows you to build highly personalized, cold email campaigns. To learn more, go to prospect.io/tse. Your prospecting will never ever be the same.

If you aren’t sure you have the right CRM, Maximizer CRMis a personalized CRM that gives you the confidence to improve your business and increase profits. Get rid of the boring CRMs and customize to your team’s selling abilities.

Click on the link to get a free demo of what Maximizer CRM can do for you. It integrates your marketing campaign as well as your CRM.

Leave us a review on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or wherever you consume this content, and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

Sales Questions, Paul Cherry, Ultimate Sales Pros, Donald Kelly

TSE 906: Questions That Sell-The Powerful Process to Discovering What Your Customer Really Wants


The Sales Evangelist PodcastSelling is always a challenge. When sellers are confused about what they’re selling or about what their customers want, selling is impossibly hard. Learning to ask questions that sell will absolutely make a difference in your sales process.

Paul Cherry talks to The Sales Evangelist audience about identifying the customers’ pain issues and getting them to verbalize and vocalize their concerns. He helps us understand how to craft questions that sell.

A veteran of sales for more than 20 years, Paul has written a book called Questions That Sell: The Powerful Process for Discovering What Your Customer Really Wants, and he’ll share a bit of his wisdom here today.

Revamp your questions

Paul’s experience suggests that the more seasoned we are at sales, the more likely we are to fall into the trap of talking, telling, educating, or solving problems. We want to get to the point.

Empathy and building relationships won’t go away, no matter what century we’re in.

The biggest mistake sellers make is failing to understand the customer’s business. And because it’s such a common problem, it can become a differentiator for sellers who are willing to take the time to discover what their prospects are looking for.

Whether they’re brand new or highly experienced, 87 percent of sellers ask questions that deal in the present state:

  • What projects are you working on?
  • What problems are you facing?

Ten percent of sellers ask questions dealing in the future:

  • What are your goals?

About 3 percent ask questions related to the past:

  • How has our service been in the past?

If you want to change your sales approach, get out of the present, because you’re boring people.

Don’t overlook the past

The secret to selling, though, is getting into the past, but sellers overlook it because we assume it’s dead; there’s no money there.

The truth is that the past is where experiences, challenges, frustrations, and hurdles reside. People are often willing to disclose past issues because it’s done. They feel more comfortable talking about it now that it’s over.

A key indicator is this: what challenges would you share with other people to enlighten them to your industry?

Paul points to two main reasons that salespeople won’t discuss the past.

  1. They don’t want to dig up pain issues that their company has caused the customer.
  2. They want to be respectful of the customer’s time by getting to the point.

The truth is that this conversation isn’t about the seller. Furthermore, Paul says that sellers routinely waste time talking about things like sports, hobbies, and other chitchat for 20 minutes.

If you want to stroke someone’s ego and really get them to develop a connection, start in the past.

Ask questions in a better way

Instead of the usual who, what, when, where, why questions, develop more engaging questions.

If, for example, you want to know if the person you’re speaking to is the decision-maker, how do you ask that? It’s an important question, but it’s a risky one because you chance offending or belittling the person.

Could we ask that same question in a more comfortable way with a descriptive opener, like “describe” or “tell me.”

Describe your decision-making process for me.

By asking descriptive openers, you address multiple questions with one question. In this case, you might find out who’s involved, how decisions are made, what priorities are involved, and when decisions are made.

I get more insight asking a single question, and it doesn’t feel so much like an interrogation.

In the case of disrupting an entrenched competitor, we tend to ask questions like these:

  • Who do you use now?
  • What do you like about them?
  • Is there an opportunity there?

If the prospect is fairly content, you will get pushed out. You’re wasting time.

Instead, try this:

  • Tell me about some of the changes going on in your marketplace.
  • Tell me about the criteria that was important when you chose this vendor. Has that changed?

When you ask about change, people won’t give you a knee-jerk response to stay where they are. If you can get them to talk about change, you can address voids or disparities that the current vendor isn’t addressing.

Thoughts for new sellers

New sellers are often in a great position because they don’t know what they don’t know.

Begin by asking about the challenges the customer is facing, as well as what’s working and what’s not. Realize that where there are problems, there are opportunities.

  • What changes is your organization experiencing right now?
  • How are you looking to differentiate yourself from the competition?

Start at 10,000 feet before you dive deep and start asking your prospect how you can help. Salespeople want to go right to 500 feet but the customer isn’t there yet. It feels like you have your hand in their pockets.

Avoid the temptation to ask a question and then zone out when your customer starts talking. It’s tempting, after we’ve asked a question, to focus on the next thing we’re going to say or ask instead of hearing what the customer has to say.

If you’ll simply listen, the customer will give you the next question to ask.

If the customer mentions he’s thinking about pursuing new projects. Paul suggests using what he calls lock-ons. Which word will you lock on to? Listen to the verb.

In this case, he is thinking of pursuing new projects. Lock on to that word and structure new questions around it.

  • Describe your thought process.
  • What criteria are you considering?
  • What are you hoping to see?

Your whole job as a sales professional is to understand emotional drivers.

Remember the following three things to make selling work:

  1. Ask the right questions.
  2. Engage the right people.
  3. Qualify the right opportunities.

Focus your energy and resources on people who are receptive and motivated for change.

If the customer did most of the talking, it’s a great call. If you did most of the talking, not so great.

“Questions That Sell” episode resources

Grab a copy of Paul’s other book, The Ultimate Sales Pro: What the Best Salespeople Do Differently for more wisdom from Paul’s long history in sales.

Connect with Paul Cherry at his website, and download his 75 Best Questions to Close More Business. You can also request a 20-minute consultation at no charge.

Buy a copy of Neil Rackham’s book Spin Selling for more information about getting into a customer’s pain issues.

Maximizer CRM allows us to mold and personalize our CRM to our needs. Customize it to your needs and focus on helping your sellers close more deals.

 

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Joe Pardo, The Sales Evangelist, Empower, Podcast

TSE 896: Empower Yourself First Before You Can Empower Others

Joe Pardo, The Sales Evangelist, Empower, Podcast

In order for your organization to operate at its best, the people within must be empowered. The team must feel confident working together and it must believe in the process. But believing in the process begins with the leadership, which is why you must empower yourself before you can empower others.

On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, Joe Pardo, who is an accomplished business coach, consultant, speaker, podcaster, author and DJ, shares his experience working in his family business, and his thoughts on learning to empower yourself first before you can empower others.

His newest book, Sales Won’t Save Your Business: Focus on the T.O.P., addresses the importance of developing confidence in your team, your customer, and yourself on the way to increasing profit.

Consistency

Joe believes that processes are the cornerstone of every business. They affect how your team operates, how you structure offers, and how your customers see you.

It’s the concept behind his new book, because you may land a deal, but if your customer has a bad experience, he won’t be back. He’ll tell others how horrible the experience was and your business won’t be in a good place.

Organizations that find themselves with frequent turnover, which results in constantly training new people, should immediately look to their processes.

Consistency makes a difference for your client base. You need a system that makes people want to come into work.

Leadership

Sometimes negativity seeps into an organization. Even if it doesn’t exist within the leadership, negativity within a team can become visible to your customers.

Before you can help your team, you have to figure out what makes you tick. You have to be able to remind yourself of the “magic” that keeps you doing what you do.

During a period when Joe was working for his family business, his team was resistant to an upcoming structure change. He wasn’t really “in charge” of anyone, so he wasn’t empowered to fire anyone.

He immediately understood the danger of publicly second-guessing those in leadership above you, because it forces the team to choose sides. As a result, he understood the importance of hiring the right people to start with, so that no one second-guesses each other.

Mission

Leaders who understand people’s “why” will be better equipped to create a place people want to be. If you communicate to your people that you care about them and about their goals, they will buy into the mission and they will grow.

They will want to help your company and they’ll be open to your guidance.

What do your team members have on their walls? What kind of books are on their bookshelves? If you’re willing to take time to learn a little bit about the things they are interested in, it will carry you so far with your team members.

Your goal is to create as many touch points as possible so you can relate things back to them.

If one of your team members has interest in writing a book, put him in contact with a friend who has walked through the process before.

Give away baseball tickets that your vendor gave you to a team member who loves baseball.

Processes

If you’re in a leadership position, or you want to be, get used to creating processes for yourself and your team. Processes don’t have to eliminate spontaneity; they simply ensure that certain things happen within a certain time period.

You might, for example, ensure that new employees spend time with veterans of the company. It allows them to see the opportunity available within the organization.

Consider simple ideas like creating a budget that allows you to buy a breakfast sandwich for your team members as a way to build community with them.

Make a point to get to know people personally. Your team members will feel a loyalty if you tap into their personal lives.

Processes can be passed on to the next person when you move on to something else.

“Empower Others” episode resources

You can connect with Super Joe Pardo at his website, where you can also find a copy of his book, Sales Won’t Save Your Business: Focus on the T.O.P.

Check out the Video Jungle podcast, which teaches you how to utilize video to stand out from your competition. Plan, create and share your way to better content and strategy. You are a brand, and video can help you set yourself apart.

Our friends at Wiley have provided a free excerpt of the book Stop Selling & Start Leading. Based on research and interviews with buyers, the book provides a blueprint for sales professionals. Read an excerpt of the book here. Grab your copy of the SlideShare.

Leave us a review wherever you consume this content, and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. If you haven’t already done so, subscribe so you won’t miss a single episode.

Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

 

TSE Podcast, The Sales Evangelist, Donald Kelly

TSE 855: TSE Hustler’s League-“Think About The Prospect”

TSE Podcast, The Sales Evangelist, Donald KellyWant to change the way you sell?

Think about the prospect. Seek one individual you can help every day, and it will change the way you operate.

Today on The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League, we discuss how to empathize with your prospect and put yourself in his shoes. By doing so, you’ll add value and you’ll become the kind of seller buyers want to buy from.

I learned this paradigm shift in the book, Stop Selling & Start Leading: How to Make Extraordinary Sales Happenfrom our sponsors at Wiley. It’s a fantastic blueprint of all the things buyers say they expect from sellers and want from sellers.

I’m offering a free excerpt of the book to this community of sellers so you can check it out for yourself.

Understand your customer

Understanding your customer is such a basic concept that sometimes we overlook it.

As a man of faith, I’ve been known to pray and ask God to lead me to someone who could benefit from my services.

If I can put myself in the customer’s shoes and understand his difficulties, then I can help him solve problems. I have to listen, understand his struggles, and focus more on solving his problems than on making the sale.

I recommend you remind yourself to think about the prospect every day.

Stephen Covey, in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, says we must seek first to understand people, and then to be understood. Far too often we try to push something to our prospects that they don’t need.

Also, though, we have to understand the hurdles they are up against.

If, for example, you’re an interior house painter, and your prospect needs his walls painted, but he doesn’t have the time to wash them first, seek to understand his situation. He has other fires to put out. He has other priorities.

Demonstrate understanding by acknowledging his dilemma. Perhaps you’ll even incorporate washing the walls into the cost of painting them and wash the walls for him.

Adopt your customer’s point of view

My own clients tell me they are trying to grow their organization, or that they don’t feel comfortable talking to prospects. Sometimes they tell me that cold calling isn’t working for them.

These are the problem I’m helping them solve. The solution, of course, is sales training, but my focus in on the problems I’m helping them solve.

View your product or service as a solution instead of a sale. Understand that you’re selling them a way to operate their business so they can continue collecting money from their customers.

Take 30 minutes today to look at your product or service from the customer’s point of view. Ask what issues you can help him solve.

Do you feel a personal obligation to help him? If you don’t, your performance will be haphazard, and you won’t enjoy your work.

Your customers are tired of sales people. They want sales leaders. They want you to think about the prospect.

“Think About The Prospect” resources

If all of this sounds great to you but you still aren’t sure how to start, check out The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League, an online group coaching program that brings sellers of all levels and all industries together to share insights.

You can also join our Facebook group, The Sales Evangelizersto connect with sales professionals from all walks of life.

Leave us a review wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode.

Audio provided by Free SFX.

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Social Selling, LinkedIn, Donald Kelly

TSE 842: The Social Selling Experiment Part 3

Social Selling, LinkedIn, Donald Kelly

If you’ve been with us for the last couple of weeks, you know that we’re in the middle of a social selling experiment to determine whether connecting on social media improves our sales outcomes. Today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist will update our findings, and address a change we made in our program, as well as the reason for the change.

If you haven’t been with us for the last couple of weeks, we’re using traditional sales techniques such as phone, email and snail mail to connect with 40 prospects. At the same time, we’re connecting with 40 other prospects using all the traditional means, plus social media connections as well.

Over the course of the experiment, we’re reporting our findings to you so you can see the effects without conducting your own experiment.

The social selling experiment

Over the past two weeks of the experiment, I stumbled onto the realization that I’ll need more time than I originally thought to build effective connections on social media. Because some of our prospects don’t check their LinkedIn accounts every day, the connections we make often take more time than we might have assumed.

As a result, we’ve determined that our ramp-up period for social selling will be longer than we originally planned. Because of that, we don’t want to continue doing things that aren’t working.

Instead, we’ll adjust our plan to allow for the new discovery we made.

We realized that we aren’t the center of our prospects’ world, and they have obligations that prevent them from getting back to us right away.

We pivoted to increase the odds that we’ll connect with our prospects.

Dream 100 list

I read a book called How to Get a Meeting With Anyone by Stu Heinecke, and I recommend it for anyone seeking to connect with prospects. He addresses account-based marketing, and although it isn’t a new idea, he calls it “contact selling.”

It’s about your Dream 100 list; your list of vetted prospects that would be ideal customers for you.

Your goal is to capture their attention, and the best way to do that is through personalized contact. Personally connecting with your ideal prospects takes a great deal of work, but calling hundreds of prospects does, too.

Your Dream 100 clients are an ideal fit. Your goal should be to find the key contacts, get information and phone numbers from the website, and learn a little bit about them. Then you can determine what problems they’re trying to solve and address them specifically.

Gate-keepers and assistants

Receptionists and assistants have a lot of information about the decision-makers you’re trying to reach, as well as the organization you’re pursuing.

Stu recommends that we recruit those gate-keepers onto our team so they’ll help us influence the decision-makers.

As part of the experiment, we contacted the executive assistants who were connected to our decision-makers, and figured out the problems they were trying to solve. Once we had that information, we put together a package for each of the prospects we were targeting.

There was a ticket-shaped note with a hand-written message, along with popcorn, and a specific candy and drink. The whole package cost us about $10 per lead, but the ROI will be significant because it could net anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000.

After the packages are mailed, we’ll follow up with phone calls and emails. We’ll also send gift cards to the executive assistants to thank them for their help and to recruit them to our effort.

We’ll couple all of this with our social media efforts as a way to connect with decision-makers.

In the weeks to come, we’ll also update you on some new tools to help you find prospects and gather information about them.

“The Social Selling Experiment” resources

If all of this sounds great to you but you still aren’t sure how to start, check out The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League, an online group coaching program that brings sellers of all levels and all industries together to share insights.

You can also join our Facebook group, The Sales Evangelizersto connect with sales professionals from all walks of life.

There’s a reason I continue suggesting the book, Stop Selling & Start Leading: How to Make Extraordinary Sales Happenfrom our sponsors at Wiley. It’s a fantastic blueprint of all the things buyers say they expect from sellers and want from sellers.

I’m so convinced of its message that I’m offering a free excerpt of the book so you can check it out.

We want to help you find more ideal customers. We want you to build stronger value and close more deals. Most importantly, we want you to do big things.

Leave us a review wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. If you haven’t already done so, subscribe to the podcast so you won’t miss a single episode.

Audio provided by Free SFX.

Travis Chippell, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Facebook Groups

TSE 833: How To Connect In Facebook Groups Without Being That One Person

Travis Chippell, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Facebook Groups

Facebook is a powerhouse social media platform. Its 2 billion users make it a great place to connect in Facebook groups and a great vehicle for targeted online networking.

On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, we’ll talk with Travis Chappell, founder and host of Build Your Network podcast, about how to connect in Facebook groups.

Proper philosophy

Just like asking directly for the sale with no relationship doesn’t work in a face-to-face setting, it doesn’t work in an online setting.

Your philosophy should include the following:

  • Be giving. Add more value than you subtract.
  • Be genuine. Build true connections.

Understand that networking and friendships don’t have to be separate entities. In effect, networking is creating friendships with people who have similar interests to yours.

Marketing is a long-term game.

Profile cleanup

Go to your profile and evaluate what people see within the first 10 seconds of visiting your profile.

The first thing people will do when you connect with them in a Facebook group is visit your profile. Your first impression online is as important as your first impression in person.

Make sure your photo represents you well. If your photo has a group of people in it, consider changing it to a photo that reflects you only.

Use your profile photo and your cover photo to show visitors what you’re all about.

Many people are going to view your photo and it’s essentially a free billboard.

Increased engagement

Sales professionals have a tendency to make relationships into transactions. They sometimes ask for business right out of the gate.

In Facebook groups, this kind of conduct won’t benefit you.

Facebook algorithms prefer people who engage with community, and it doesn’t like external links. As a result, if you aren’t engaging with the people in a group and you show up simply to post a link, Facebook won’t show your link to many people.

Be smart about joining Facebook groups. Do it the right way. Grab a copy of Travis’ book Groupology: How to network in Facebook groups without being “that one person.”

Long-term goals

If you engage with people in Facebook groups, consider it a long-term investment. Expect to spend three to six months building relationships and engaging with people there.

Post valuable things that make it easy to engage. Ask questions. Seek feedback.

If you post something of value that generates responses, make sure to respond to those comments. Rather than simply collecting comments, engage with the people who are responding.

There is no silver bullet for any sales activity. Instead of looking for shortcuts, put in the work to build relationships in the group.

Episode resources

Find Travis and his podcast at buildyournetwork.co, and connect with him on social media from there.

Grab a copy of the book Stop Selling & Start Leading, offered by our friends at Wiley, to help you become a leader to your buyers by presenting value and building relationships. The book provides a blueprint for your customers and what they are seeking. Read an excerpt of the book here.

Then, check out the Video Jungle podcast, your source for marketing and selling your brand using video. Plan, create, and share your way to better content and strategy.

The podcast is part of our newly-launched Sales Podcast Network, designed to provide specialized sales content for sellers of all levels and all industries. To learn more, email us at SPN for more information.

Leave us a review wherever you consume this content, and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message.

Audio provided by Free SFX.

 

Donald Kelly, The New Guy, Business Development Rep

TSE 830: TSE Hustler’s League-“The New Guy”

Donald Kelly, The New Guy, Business Development RepThe Sales Evangelist Hustlers League brings sellers of all levels and all industries together for an online coaching program that will help them  become more effective at every aspect of their work. Today, we’ll hear from our newest team member, Leo, about his experience in the Hustler’s League as a new seller.

Leo shared with us the lessons he has learned from The Sales Evangelist Hustlers League.

Get comfortable with phones.

At The Sales Evangelist, we understand the importance of phones for sales professionals. We also understand phone reluctance and we know that it’s common for sales people.

Getting comfortable with the script and the possibility of failure are two of the biggest hurdles.

We tackle it head on by putting people on the phones, and giving them the opportunity to fail early.

Understand qualification.

Most sales professionals assume that qualification is about talking and selling. In fact, it’s less about talking and more about listening.

You should be seeking the right people with the right background and the right capabilities at the right time.

Ask questions. Listen. The client will tell you everything you need to know: what he needs and when he needs to get it done.

Sit in the hot seat.

We have a feature in the Hustlers League that we call the hot seat. One member addresses a challenge he has faced and the other members offer critiques and feedback.

The hot seat allows sellers to identify mistakes they are making and to hear from other members of the group about their own experiences.

It’s a sort of accountability partner.

Respect the timeline.

Sales professionals often try to speed the process along in an attempt to close deals. The client, however, may have different expectations.

When sales people sync to the prospect’s timeline, it prevents frustration on the part of both people and it allows the process to flow better.

Simply finding out what the client needs and how soon he needs it offers a great starting point.

Episode resources

You can also become a leader to your buyers by presenting value and building relationships. The book Stop Selling & Start Leading, offered by our friends at Wiley, provides a blueprint for your customers and what they are seeking. Read an excerpt of the book here.

Leave us a review wherever you consume this content, and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. If you haven’t already done so, subscribe so you won’t miss a single episode.

Audio provided by Free SFX.

John Barrows, Donald Kelly, Best Sales Podcast

TSE 818: 10 Effective Qualifying Questions Salespeople Should Ask Each Prospect

John Barrows, Donald Kelly, Best Sales Podcast

Qualifying represents a vital piece of the sales process. Qualifying is perhaps the most underserved part of the process, and most of us are doing it wrong.

Truth is, it doesn’t matter how well you close if you don’t have a good pipeline.

On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, we’ll talk to John Barrows about the important questions you should be asking during qualification, and why being direct with your prospects will save you time.

Quality

Everyone in sales understands that quality is important. We don’t spam. We don’t make generic phone calls. Still, though, we have daily numbers we have to reach like 50 phone calls or 100 emails.

Those are competing agendas.

We want quality, but time is our challenge. Many of us sprinkle phone calls and emails throughout the day, but doing so is a complete waste of time.

Instead, tier your accounts. Organize them by industry and call similar accounts in a single day. Doing so allows you to craft a message specific to that group, find a case study you can refer to if necessary, and prepare a few questions that are relevant to those prospects.

It streamlines the calls and allows you to be more targeted and relevant in your communication.

Realistically, not all of our leads deserve the same amount of our time.

Qualifying Questions

To help sellers, John has identified questions they should ask during the qualification process. (The full list is available in the show notes.)

1.  What are the details of the decision-making process?

Without understanding the full buying process, you won’t know how to proceed.

Ask how these decisions have historically been made, or ask about the next steps in the process.

If you find yourself meeting with someone who isn’t the decision-maker, research to find out who will make the decision. Then matter-of-factly ask, “When does Sarah need to be involved in this process?”

2. Are you ok telling me no? 

Most people are very uncomfortable saying no.

Say something to your prospect like, “As we go through this process, if it’s pretty obvious to you that we aren’t a good fit and I somehow don’t pick up on it, are you ok telling me no?”

Allow silence while you wait for an answer.

If your prospect suddenly goes dark later on, you can remind him in a voicemail or email that he said he was comfortable telling you no, which will usually bring him back to the table.

3. Do you have your calendar in front of you?

This question works well when a prospect asks you to send him information.

Very often, that’s a blow-off move, but you can follow up by asking what information they’d like to see. If your prospect is legitimately interested, the questions will be easy to answer.

Then, ask when he would like to schedule the follow-up call. If he says something general like, “Next week,” you can follow up with, “Great! Do you have your calendar in front of you?”

Again, allow the silence that will likely happen.

Psychology of being direct

There’s a huge difference between being direct and being rude.

Being direct gets you to “no” faster if that’s where you’re ultimately headed anyway. The more direct you are, the more quickly you’ll get them in or out.

It’s a matter of setting expectations and then being accountable to them.

Note, too, that the Rule of Reciprocity says that if we have just spent time on the phone providing value to a prospect, there’s a fleeting moment in which he will feel obligated to do something in return.

Take advantage of that moment.

Episode resources

Here’s John’s full list of 10 Sales Qualification Questions To Always Ask Your Prospect.

  1. What are the details of the decision making process and who is involved?
  2. How have decisions like this been made in the past?
  3. What are your top business priorities for the upcoming year?
  4. What are your top priorities when making this decision?
  5. Are you okay with telling me no?
  6. What’s the best way to communicate with you moving forward?
  7. Will you be my Champion?
  8. What happens if this decision doesn’t get made?
  9. Do you have your calendar in front of you?
  10. Based on today’s conversation, do you think our solution would add value to your business?

Connect with John at his website, where you can find links to his social media as well as his LinkedIn.

Share this podcast with others who want to learn more about qualifying leads. Leave us a review wherever you consume the content, and subscribe if you haven’t already.

Check out The Sales Evangelizers on Facebook to connect with sellers of all levels in a variety of industries.

Audio provided by Free SFX.

Handle Objections, Jim Jacobus, The Best Sales Podcast, objections

TSE 811: How Do I Handle Objections?

Handle Objections, Jim Jacobus, The Best Sales Podcast, objectionsYour success as a sales professional depends largely on your ability to handle objections.

Give up too quickly and you’ll miss an opportunity to dispel your client’s concerns. If you view the objection as a buying signal, you’ll create an opportunity to collaborate with the customer.

On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, Jim Jacobus shares his experience with objections and explains why sales professionals must learn to handle “no” if they want to succeed.

Objections create opportunity

Customers often object to price without realizing their concerns might actually lie elsewhere.

Objections give us an opportunity to ask questions and identify what their true objections are. Is the payment too high? Is it outside of their budget? Is it truly too expensive?

Objections create dialogue which provides clarity.

Objections require education

Most sales people give up too quickly because they have never been taught to handle objections.

Inexperienced salespeople will address objections by immediately discounting the price. Very often, though, the price wasn’t the true problem.

Honor the objection, clarify it, and then respond to it.

When the client presents an objection, you have to respond as quickly and unemotionally as you would if he asked your birthday.

Don’t flinch. Get good at responding to objections.

Objections help you prioritize

Three possibilities exist in any transaction: great price, great quality and great service. You can have two, but you can’t have all three.

Objections determine which two are most important to your customer. If your customer is less concerned with service, you’ll adjust your presentation to focus on quality and price.

When sellers and buyers are on the same page, the relationship becomes collaborative instead of subservient.

Each party gets to decide today whether to do business with the other.

Resiliency counteracts “no”

“No’s” are part of sales.

If you can handle objections, you’ll develop the ability to bounce back at the highest level when the stakes are high.

If someone says no to listing a house with you, and it keeps you out of the game for two weeks, the agent that bounced back the same day will be more productive than you are. She’ll sell more.

If you can’t learn to handle  adversity and objections, you don’t belong in sales.

If you learn to handle objections, the second part of the process is turning “no” to “yes.”

Handling objections is your greatest opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and your competence.

Episode resources

Understanding how to overcome objections enables you to provide tremendous value to the customer.

It is possible to learn to address, overcome, and even prevent objections.

The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League is an online coaching program for sellers of all levels and all industries, and we can coach you through objections. We can teach you what to look for and how to avoid getting stuck.

Our spring semester begins this month, and we’d be honored to have you join us.

If you enjoyed this podcast, subscribe to it so you won’t miss a single episode, and then tell others about it.

Consider leaving us a review wherever you consume the content so others will have a better chance to find us.

To connect with Jim, find him on Facebook, or email him at jim@jjacobus.com. You can also connect with him on The Sales Evangelizers Facebook page by tagging him in a question or comment.

Additionally, Jim recently launched a podcast called The “Man Up” Project 2020 aimed at helping men navigate their lives as husbands, fathers, businessmen, and leaders. If you love it, subscribe, and share the message with others.

Check out the The “Man Up” Project 2020 Facebook page, engage with the content, and share it with others who might benefit from it.

Audio provided by Free SFX.

 

Asking Questions, TSE Hustler's League, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 665: TSE Hustler’s League-“The Art of Asking Questions”

Asking Questions, TSE Hustler's League, Donald Kelly, The Sales EvangelistToday’s episode is taken from one of our sessions over at the TSE Hustler’s League, If you haven’t yet check out our two-tracked training happening this October where we will focus on building value and business development.

Asking Questions

Stop winging it! Ask meaningful questions.  A study that was done on the Journal for Applied Psychology suggests that the likelihood of voting increased if they’re asked the question. Questions generate that mindset for people to give answers when asked.

The Benefits of Asking Good Questions

  • It helps you tailor your presentation.
  • It shows that you’re listening and mindful of the buyer’s needs.
  • It makes you seen as a consultant.

Your buyers’ brains are wired to answer questions whenever asked.

The Start-Stop Question:

The prospect jumps towards the end of your presentation even when you’re still in the middle of it and they ask about the cost, for example. Using this strategy, you start to answer the question. Then you stop to ask them a question.

Example:

  • Client: How much is the system?
  • You: Great question. It’s generally between…(stop here) But first, how many users will use the system?

The Reverse Question

This works by redirecting the person to where you want them to be by asking them a question in return.

Example:

  • Client: What kinds of features does your system have?
  • You: It depends. What kinds of features do you guys want to see?

Today’s Major Takeaway:

Take control of the meeting and the conversation. Don’t jump right into giving them the answers.

Episode Resources:

Maximum Influence by Kurt Mortensen

Join the TSE Hustler’s League.

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/tse with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

What do you like about our podcast? Kindly leave us some rating and/or review on iTunes. This would mean so much to me.

 

Asking Questions, Donald Kelly, Sales from the Street, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 664: Sales From The Street-“Great Questions Are The Key”

Asking Questions, Donald Kelly, Sales from the Street, The Sales EvangelistAre you struggling with having business conversation with your clients? Let me help you deal with this today as I share with you what I did to overcome this.

A Personal Struggle

At some point, I was having trouble having business conversations with my clients. I would give them information and do a demo. Then I’d simply wait and follow up.

I was trying to close them in the demo. Why? Because I wasn’t building value in the conversation. I was simply trying to use the demo as a crutch.

The way to build value in the conversation is being able to have business conversation.

Strategies for Having Business Conversations with Your Clients:

  1. Go deeper and deeper into your probing.

An example of this is Toyota’s questioning model where you ask the 5 why’s until you get to the root of the problem.

Ask more meaningful questions. Do role plays to practice.

  1. The 3-Level Questions

In the book, The Science of Selling By David Hoffeld, he discussed the three levels of questioning.

Level 1: Surface-Level Questions

Never assume in sales. Don’t assume clients know their problem because they may not.

Level 2: Meaningful Questions

Don’t be afraid of asking a second question and think you’re going to irritate them. Don’t just jump into giving them a demo.

Level 3: Revealing the Actual Problem

Go even deeper and ask the client how they think your solution can change their business. Build your value around the idea of how this can impact their business.

  1. Practice, practice, practice.
  2. Join the TSE Hustler’s League

Episode Resources:

The Science of Selling By David Hoffeld

Maximum Influence by Kurt Mortensen

Leave a comment on our Facebook Group – The Sales Evangelizers

Join the TSE Hustler’s League.

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/tse with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

What do you like about our podcast? Kindly leave us some rating and/or review on iTunes. This would mean so much to me.

 

TSE 660: TSE Hustler’s League-“The Reverse”

This is episode is part two of the discussion we had last week on Episode 655 where we talked about how you can create an experience for your customers, specifically around the idea of asking powerful questions.

Last week, I discussed how to do the start stop question. This week, I’m going to teach you how The Reverse actually works and how you too can use this strategy to help you create more powerful experience for your customers.

The Reverse

This involves answering the question with a question.

Example:

Customer asks: “What kinds of features does your system have?”

Then you answer this with:

“Well, it depends. What kinds of features do you want to see? “

Take control of the meeting.

One common mistake I see from sellers when they encounter a question like this is they immediately jump out and use everything.

You have to take control of the meeting. Take control of the conversation.

You can give them some answers but you still have to make sure you’re in control. Otherwise, the buyers want to take you every which way and it’s not going to work.

When the Price Question Comes Up

When this question comes up in the very beginning, you know they’re just trying to fish you out. So try to turn the question to them.

Sample answer: How much do you print everyday? (If you’re selling copiers)

Slow down. Get composure. You don’t have to answer all the questions right away.

Situations where you can use The Reverse:

  • When people are trying to throw you off.
  • When people are trying to dominate the conversation.

Going Beyond Surface-Level Questions:

The reason for asking questions is for you to be able to dig deeper into the issues of your customers.

Surface-level questions will only give you surface-level answers. This does not bring enough value. Go deeper down into the process.

This allows you to share something that they may not have considered. Help them recognize a problem other companies might have which they may not have thought about and which poses them to think.

Episode Resources:

The Science of Selling by David Hoffeld

Join the TSE Hustler’s League.

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/tse with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

What do you like about our podcast? Kindly leave us some rating and/or review on iTunes. This would mean so much to me.

Help us spread the word out by leaving us a rating or review on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play or whatever platform you’re using.

 

Donald Kelly, TSE Hustler's League, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 655: TSE Hustler’s League-“Create & Experience”

Donald Kelly, TSE Hustler's League, The Sales Evangelist

Today’s snippet taken from one of our sessions over at the TSE Hustler’s League is all about creating an experience early in the sales process for your customers.

Asking Hard Questions

You have to be willing to ask hard questions. These may not be the easiest questions to ask but once you do, they’d give you the respect and the time. They will recognize you and you will be seen as a valued professional. You will be seen as a consultant.

  • Write questions you can ask in each stage of the sales process.
  • The more meaningful questions you have, the easier for you to share the proper insights your buyers need.

Why Questions Are So Powerful

Studies on the election showed that the likelihood of someone voting increases by 25% if they’re asked the question.

We have been conditioned since we were kids to answer questions. It’s a wired behavior that if you’re asked to do something, it enhances the probability it will get done.

The Benefits of Asking Good Questions

  1. Meaningful conversations

It helps you tail your presentations and it shows you’re listening and being mindful of the buyer’s needs.

  1. Brain stimulation

Your brain and the buyer’s brain are wired to answer questions whenever asked. When the questions are meaningful, this stimulate our mind. Then you start to think. Studies also show they get excited when presented with meaningful questions.

Question Strategies You Can Incorporate into Your Sales Process

  1. The Start-Stop

Start to ask then stop to get clarification from them in the process.

  1. The Reverse

Redirect the person to where you want them to be by asking them a question in return. This helps you get back on track but be sure to make it sound natural.

 

Episode Resources:

The Science of Selling by David Hoffeld

Join the TSE Hustler’s League.

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/tse with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

What do you like about our podcast? Kindly leave us some rating and/or review on iTunes. This would mean so much to me.

Sales from the Street, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 654: Sales From The Street-“The First Few Seconds Suck”

Sales from the Street, Donald Kelly, The Sales EvangelistIt’s a common prospecting scenario where you pick up the phone and then a live person answers on the other end of the line. Now you find yourself stuttering, not knowing how to start the conversation or what to say.  Now, what? Cat got your tongue?

Or you may probably ramble through the conversation that it was bad enough to make you feel embarrassed and flustered. So you decide to move on to the next call. Seven calls after, you get to a voice mail.

You see, the first three seconds of your call can either make or break a deal.

Here is a simple outline to help guide you through your prospecting calls:

  1. Define the purpose of your call.

Have an outline on your desk or something you put in front of your computer or whatever. First, recognize the purpose of the call.

  1. Define the role of the person you’re reaching out to.

Put that role down and understand these roles. Understand the challenges of these individuals.

  1. Grab the client’s attention and get the appointment.
  • Verify if it’s the right person: Ask the client and verify who the person you’re talking to is. (ex. “Is this Mary?“)
  • The purpose of this is that it gives you time to gather yourself together and to focus on the commission at hand – to grab attention and get an appointment.
  1. Ask a business question focused around the unconsidered need.

The idea here is that you have knowledge about something they don’t know or you’ve been able to identify a challenge that they’re not even thinking about.

For example:

You: What are you doing to bring down your cost per lead?

Client: Our sales rep does that stuff.

You: One of our companies was spending close to $7 per lead and we were able to get them down to only 15 cents per lead. If I’m able to share this with you and show you how you can do this with your company, would you be interested in a conversation?

  1. Practice.

Make sure you’re prepared. The better prepared you are, the better you’re going to perform. The better you perform, the money you’ll make.

Episode Resources:

The Science of Selling by David Hoffeld

The Three Value Conversations by Cheryl Geofrrion, Concrad Smith, et al.

Join the TSE Hustler’s League.

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/tse with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

What do you like about our podcast? Kindly leave us some rating and/or review on iTunes. This would mean so much to me.

Help us spread the word out by leaving us a rating or review on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play or whatever platform you’re using.

 

Donald Kelly, Demo, Sales Presentation, Value

TSE 652: Stop Using The Demo as a Crutch (DaaC)

Donald Kelly, Demo, Sales Presentation, ValueAre you relying solely on your demo thinking that is what’s going to close the deal? Well, you better stop it as early as now because it won’t get you anywhere. See, it’s not how many demos you get to present. It’s not a numbers game in this case. It’s about quality.

When I was working in the SaaS world, what I noticed all the time was that salespeople would focus on the demo. They would expect the demo to close the deal for them. I had that same mindset as well. That’s because I sucked at selling and didn’t have the capability to help persuade my clients to make the decision. But it didn’t work!

That is not how you sell. That is not the way to sell.

Too many sales reps are crutching on the demo. Way too many of them are just waiting for the demo and hoping it would close the deal that when the person sees the software, they’re going to instantly buy it.

What to do before doing any demonstration:

  • Get to know the prospect.
  • Check out their website. Find out what they do. Look at their products and services to get an idea.
  • Understand their business model and how they make money.
  • Understand their top 3-4 issues and why they would purchase your solution if they came to your website.

Things to consider during your first call:

  1. Your first conversation is just to call them to set the appointment.
  2. Go deeper into that business question.

In the book, The Science of Selling, David talks about the science of asking powerful questions and he recommends these three levels:

  • 1st level: Surface-level answers like asking them for a review about some information you gave them. It’s just a basic follow-up question.
  • 2nd level: What features did you and your team think were most important?
  • 3rd level: Go down to the reason and the true root of the problem. (Ex. If you had that feature, how would that positively impact your role?)
  1. Find out who else needs to be on the demonstration.
  • The CEO is not the only person making the decision. There may be an office manager, a spouse, or a partner involved in the decision-making.
  • Stop making assumptions. Make sure you get to the right people in the demonstration.
  • If there are other key individuals in the decision-making process, find out what’s most important to them. You may need to do multiple calls.
  1. Find out the budget.

Figure out their budget and their time frame.

Stop using Demo as a Crutch!

  • Before giving any demo, have a meaningful discussion around the things I’ve mentioned above. Only then will your demos are more likely to close because you’re going to focus on things that matter the most and emphasize that.
  • Today is the day you start your independence from just being dependent on the demo to close. You need to make that mental decision.
  • If you’re a sales leader, train your seller to be a really good seller. Take time to train them, mold them, and teach them.

Episode Resources:

The Science of Selling by David Hoffeld

Join the TSE Hustler’s League.

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/tse with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

What do you like about our podcast? Kindly leave us some rating and/or review on iTunes. This would mean so much to me.

Help us spread the word out by leaving us a rating or review on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play or whatever platform you’re using.

 

TSE Huslter's League, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Closing

TSE 650: TSE Hustler’s League-“Early Stage Deal Closing”

TSE Huslter's League, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, ClosingClosing is one of the most important aspects of a sales process. But it has to be a natural progression in converting prospects into buyers.

Today’s snippet taken from one of our sessions over at the TSE Hustler’s League is about a concept I highly recommend which is about early stage deal closing. It doesn’t mean you close the deal right away. But these are principles you can put in place in your sales process to help you start converting more customers.

Strategies for Early Stage Closing

1. Identifying the challenges

  • Oftentimes, the salesperson doesn’t recognize there are issues or objections the prospect is going to bring up.
  • Figure out what objections you might get that will prevent you from helping the client move towards that goal. Then come up with the best known replies towards those objections.
  • The problem is we don’t have any ammo so once these objections come out, we aren’t able to provide the best answers.
  • Identify the objections early for that part of the sales process. Ask the client the top three challenges they have in the organization.
  • Figure out an “considered need” they might have then offer them compelling reasons why they should look at doing it.

2. Qualification

  • Figure out the things needed for the client to be qualified for the next level. What are the objections others might bring up in their organization be it in the budget phase or the closing phase?
  • Follow the 6 why’s and let the client answer those so you get to the bottom of the challenge. And try to uncover it in each stage of the process.
  • Do not skip stages in your sales process. Don’t just wing it. Go as deep as you cant. Do your upfront work in the beginning.
  • Don’t set appointments with people who are not qualified otherwise you get bad results eventually.

3. Commitment

  • Create a demonstration qualification document which includes all the qualifications needed at this point.

Episode Resources:

The Experience Economy by Jason Pine II and James H. Gilmore

Join the  TSE Hustler’s League.

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/tse with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

What do you like about our podcast? Kindly leave us some rating and/or review on iTunes. This would mean so much to me.

 

The Sales Evangelist, Donald Kelly, Sales from the Street

TSE 639: Sales From The Street-“I REALLY Started Listening”

The Sales Evangelist, Donald Kelly, Sales from the Street

To succeed in sales, one must know how to listen. I mean to really listen what your client is telling you. And along with that comes asking the right questions, using the right tools, and having the right process in place.

Today’s guest is Shauna McGee Kinney and she shares with us how she took some of our podcast episodes and how this was able to help change the way she did her business and how sales has increased. Shauna is a writer, particularly in the software manufacturing and construction industries.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Shauna:

Shauna’s major challenge:

Not getting any business from the clients who were taking work overseas because of the cost

How she fixed her problem:

1. Learning from past TSE episodes and applying them

Feb. 21, 2017 – Shauna listened to a previous TSE episode on Sell Me What I Need, Not What You Want and it struck home with her. She realized she was wasting her client’s time.

Mar. 11, 2017 – She listened to another episode on the TSE Hustler’s League about Questions Your Customers Want You to Ask – Part 1. After listening to the episode, she realized her clients were going out to do a presentation or trying to get a proposal ready over the weekend to make a Monday deadline for the proposal.

2. Creating awesome proposals through PandaDoc

Another thing she picked up from TSE previous episodes was the use of PandaDoc. She had a client who didn’t have the time to pay her by the hour to sit there and interview the client to get the proposal done. So she made sure to listen to the client and ask the questions they wanted him to ask.

3.

She also offered them the office manager’s type of service where she offered to find a local printer, get their files over to them, and all they had to do was walk in and pick them up or the printer will deliver the finished materials to them. This marked the end of transactional sales and the beginning of a good relationship.

Results Shauna has seen from her strategies:

Shauna is now working with clients over the long term and she now has a team of four writers working on a project with her. Trust has been built between her and her clients.

Shauna’s Major Takeaway:

Think about the client first and what they want. Think about what they want you to ask them. Look beyond just your product especially in the beginning of that conversation. Work backwards from there. Build that trust.

Episode Resources:

Connect with Shauna on Twitter @shaunamkinney and check out her website www.smk-writer.com.

TSE 512: Sell Me What I Need, Not What You Want

TSE 525: Questions Your Customers Want You to Ask – Part 1

PandaDoc

Maximum Influence by Kurt Mortensen

Join the TSE Hustler’s League.

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/tse with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

What do you like about our podcast? Kindly leave us some rating and/or review on iTunes. This would mean so much to me.

 

Sell the way prospects buy, buyer-centric, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist Podcast

TSE 615: TSE Hustler’s League -“Sell The Way Your Prospects Buy”

Sell the way prospects buy, buyer-centric, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist Podcast

The way most businesses are set up is that the company or seller pushes something on the buyer. And that’s not cool. Totally not cool! By doing this, your prospects will feel they’re being tricked into something. You don’t want people to feel like that. You have to build trust with your prospects.

Today’s snippet taken from one of our past sessions over at the TSE Hustler’s League is about selling the way your buyers would like to buy.

When you focus on the buyers and give them the things  they want, you will stand out from the crowd and have a greater chance of winning the opportunity.

The Platinum Rule

Treat others the way that they would like to be treated. And the way people like to be treated is they like to be individualized.

Why do you feel your clients buy from you?

  1. People love doing business with other individuals.

It’s very difficult whenever they feel like you’re just one of “them” where you’re just like an entity and not an individual. Be honest with your prospects. They just want to feel special.

  1. It’s the human connection.

It when people feel a connection with you that they buy from you. Even if you’re selling to a big corporation, it’s an individual who’s making that decision so figure out to make that human connection.

How to Sell the Way Your Buyers Buy:

  1. Outreach or problem recognition

The bottom half is your process and the top part is your customer. Figure out what the buying process of your customer is. Then write this out. The prospect does not know about the problem yet so they don’t realize it. Some of us have warm leads where someone calls in and they may have recognized a problem they think they have.

  1. Try to qualify them to see if they’re going to fit into what you’re capable of doing.
  1. Evaluation or deeper discussion

This is the part where you have a deeper conversation with them or the members in their team.

  1. Demonstrate your product or your service.

Demonstrate your solution to the prospect then talk about the budget and you close. They purchase.

The Incremental Closes

The actual closing really starts at the very beginning. Your job as a seller is to have commitments the buyers make throughout that process. There are different things based on the industry that you can offer that makes that buyer commit to each of the phases.

The 6 Why’s the Prospects Must Answer

  1. Why do I need to change?
  2. Why now?
  3. Why your industry solution?
  4. Why you and your company?
  5. Why your product or solution?
  6. Why spend the money?

*They have to answer each of these questions and these could be the incremental commitments that you offer.

Why change and why now?

Help them recognize the problem. Dig dip and help your customers truly understand that.

Do not skip a step!

The biggest issue why deals don’t close is because many sales reps skip the step and they quickly start to move on to the next phase. They try to share the features and benefits and sell on the price. But the consumers are still in the research phase.

The Unconsidered Need

If it’s a warm lead, what do they not know that they think they may know? If it’s a cold lead, they may not even recognize they need it. How can you share something that they truly don’t understand yet.

The 5 Why’s

Why do people buy your product or service? Dig deeper into each answer trying to ask why every after each answer until you get to the core issue or problem of your customer. Why do people buy your product or service? What are the symptoms they have? How is this affecting their business?

Learn more about the TSE Hustler’s League. Join our 12-week program. This semester is focused on how to become more buyer-centric and increase your win rates.

Episode Resources:

Join the TSE Hustler’s League.

Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day free trial at audibletrial.com/tse with over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle or mp3 player.

What do you like about our podcast? Kindly leave us some rating and/or review on iTunes. This would mean so much to me.

 

Sales Prospecting, The Sales Wizard, The Sales Evangelist Podcast, Donald Kelly

TSE 478: The Sales Wizard Hugh Liddle-“Prospecting Strategies The Work”

Sales Prospecting, The Sales Wizard, The Sales Evangelist Podcast, Donald KellyAs you’ve probably noticed, we’ve done many episodes on prospecting because it’s one of the things salespeople find to be challenging. Either they don’t know how to do it or they just don’t like it. Today’s guest is “The Sales Wizard,” Hugh Liddle, who is an expert sales trainer. He is going to share with us how we can better improve our prospecting skills and come up with an effective process to do it.

Hugh works with business owners and help them double their income in 90 days or less, which is actually attainable provided they do the things they need to do.

If you’re scared to ask for a sale or a referral and if you’re afraid you’re going to bother people or people will look at you as being pushy and aggressive, then you need to learn the skills and the right words to say to enable you to be great at sales.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Hugh:

Why the fear of rejection?

  • Sales has been done so badly for so long that it has created a bad reputation.
  • People are still afraid of being perceived the old way.
  • People are afraid of what other people are going to think about them.

How to combat the fear of rejection:

  • Change your “what if’s” from negatives into positives.
  • Know what to say and when to say it to build confidence in your conversations because people will feel your energy.

“You get back what you put out.”

Strategies in having effective sales conversations:

  1. Ask.

Research is important but there are things about client that you don’t know and you will never know unless you ask them.

  1. Get down on the emotional level of people.

People buy emotionally, not logically. They don’t buy with their heads, they buy with their hearts. People buy based on emotions and then they justify the purchase by logic.

How do you do this? Ask good, open-ended questions. Ask them how they feel about a particular situation or how it’s impacting their life.

  1. Make your content about what’s in it for the prospect.

Make your prospecting or sales conversations about what’s in it for them and what’s going on for them emotionally.

Best outbound prospecting strategies:

  1. Do an advanced search on LinkedIn

This is one of the best resources you can use especially when you’re selling B2B because most high-level executives are all on LinkedIn because it’s designed to be a business-oriented site.

Go to the “advanced search” (found at the top of your LinkedIn page)

Put in keywords. Click the link to “2nd level connections.”

  1. Narrow down your search to your ideal clients.

Put in the zip code (if you want to tap into people in a particular area) or other filters such as income level, etc. to narrow it down to your ideal clients.

Click search and then LinkedIn gives you a whole list of people who fit that criteria.

  1. Write a personal message.

Send them a connection request. Do not send the default request but make it personal.

  1. Bring value first. Don’t be in a hurry to sell.

1st contact: Don’t sell them anything when you send out your first message. Send them something nice.

2nd contact: Ask them to chat with you for a few minutes so you can get to know them better and so you can refer them better.

3rd contact: Ask them to talk about how they may be able to double their sales and their income.

People need a little time to really find out who you are so you need to take some time and effort to find out who they are to find some common ground with them.

  1. Build your credibility while bringing value to people.

Write a short article that is informational and post it as a blog on LinkedIn. Every time you make a new connection, send them the article as a gift. An article written by you establishes your credibility. If you have written book, send them a free PDF as a thank you or welcome note. This makes you an industry expert in the eyes of your readers.

Hugh’s Major Takeaway:

Don’t be afraid and let things stop you from being successful. Don’t try to wing it or figure it out all by yourself and get with Donald or with Hugh or with somebody else that you know, like, and trust and get some help. Get some coaching so you can see things at a different angle and gain new strategies and ideas.

Episode Resources:

Get connected with Hugh on bit.ly/HughsCalendar and schedule a free 1-hour appointment with him.

Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross

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Consultative Selling, Value, Asking Questions, Listening

TSE 406: How Can I Sell In A More Consultative Manner?

Consultative Selling, Value, Asking Questions, ListeningToday, you’re going to hear more about how to go about Consultative Selling. What it is, how to get started with it, and how to really rock it without sounding like an FBI agent.

So I’m bringing Ryan Ayres on the show today to talk more about the consultative selling approach. Try to see if this is something you need to be doing to help you win more customers. Basically, it all boils down to giving clients real value and doing the things that stick to who you really are as a person.

Ryan Ayres is a business coach and virtual COO. He helps business owners who struggle with running their business be able to run their business better. Ryan gives “deep coaching,” which is a one-on-one (by referral or invitation only) coaching. Wherein what starts out as business really turns into some core things they work on together.

He is the host of Focus 53 Podcast where he dives into business processes and people talking about sales, the processes, and micro-processes around sales and running better businesses.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Ryan:

What is Consultative Selling?

Lead with value and your concern is wholly based on you becoming the person they know, like, and trust by being transparent, delivering great value, and prescribing fixes for them. The real, real value is when it doesn’t benefit you all the time because that allows them to trust you.

How consultative selling can benefit you:

  1. Give your customers a quick win on the consultative side.

This turns your customer’s perception of what you are from a salesperson into a trust advisor. When you assume this position for them mentally, you could be anything to them and ask you even questions outside of business because they trust you.

  1. Be true to yourself and be authentic.

People can sniff out when someone is being fake at a certain point in time. If you’re being that, they’re going to be on guard and you can’t add as much value to them as you want.

How do you get started with consultative selling:

  1. Do this early and often and don’t be a know-it-all.

Do consultative selling in nearly every conversation. Don’t be a know-it-all telling what the customer should do or not. Do it with best intentions.

  1. Get as much information as you can.

You’re not doing this to “leverage” it to try to find an in but because as much information as you can have, the better the conversation is.

  1. Understand why they allowed you to get on their calendar in the first place.

Find out through a series of questions what their true need, problem, or challenge is and work through how you can both solve it or the things around it that influence it.

  1. Being consultative means telling them instances of how you were able to solve a similar problem without mentioning your product or service.

Your clients want to hear how you’re going to fix your weeds, they don’t want to hear about your weed killer. When you offer solutions and things that they know aren’t yours, it builds that trust. Simply offer information and consulting services and be true to yourself.

  1. Be candid about it if you see you’re not a good fit.

Sometimes when you’re candid in not being a good fit, they may even adjust what they need to match what you provide. Now you’re switching roles as they’re trying to sell you on working with them.

  1. Have a cheat sheet or a guiding board.

Make a list of all the things you want to cover. Be careful not to be reading off a piece of paper as they may not necessarily like that.

How to be a consultative seller (without sounding like an FBI agent):

  1. It takes practice.

Be with people. Some people are naturally easy to talk to but if you think you’re not good at it, make sure you practice.

The key is talking about their weeds and problems and the things you’re doing in a way that your weed killer is not really the conversation and they forget where you’re from and what you’re selling.

  1. Have many entry points to get to those weeds vs. just pitching.

Hold the conversation with them on 5 or 6 or 10 different topics. It can be about the relationship side of the organization or their favorite football team.

Biggest pitfalls people make in consultative selling:

  1. Coming off as a know-it-all

When you act as if you have the answer to every problem they have, that turns people off.

  1. Not being prepared
  2. Not having a vetting process for your prospect.

Understand who you’re talking to before you just go in there and let it rip. Again, you just don’t give the weed killer to the weeds they don’t want you to look at in the first place. Let them lead you to their problem and make sure you have your duck in a row.

Ryan’s Major Takeaway:

Make sure you do your research and that whatever you’re doing is really true to who you are. Whatever your approach is, make sure you feel good about it. You’ve done it, have taken some practice, leaned into your edge, and taken some practice swings.

Episode Resources:

Connect with Ryan through his website www.Focus53.com and check out Ryan’s Focus53 Podcast where he dives into business processes and people talking about sales, the processes, and micro-processes around sales and running better businesses.

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Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Kati Whitledge, Sales Podcast

TSE 374: Sales From The Street-“Help Them Open Up To You With Their PAIN”

Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist, Kati Whitledge, Sales Podcast

Today’s episode on Sales from the Street features Kati Whitledge. This is Kati’s second time on the podcast and once again, she’s dropping a bomb of tremendous information where she’s giving us key insights and things we can apply to our business to help us become more successful.

Being an entrepreneur, podcaster, speaker, and author, Kati is a real hustler, captaining her own ship so to speak. Listen in as she talks about a major challenge she faced in her business and how she handled this to maneuver her ship in the right direction.

Here are the highlights of my conversation with Kati:

Kati’s major challenge:

Selling the features and benefits (and thinking that alone is enough!)

What Kati did to fix this problem:

  1. Identify the customer’s pain point first.

Then you know exactly what to sell to. Dive deeper into those pain points to discover why it’s happening. You can’t provide a solution to a problem until you know what the problem is.

  1. Quantify the pain.

Find out what the pain does to the client everyday? What kind of time are they investing in it? How is it affecting their bottom line and culture of their organization? Quantifying pain is not on financials but also involves time and energy. Unless you’re able to quantify their pain, you won’t be able identify the value.

  1. Practice, practice, practice.

Find someone else who’s in sales in a non-competing environment who’s willing to get together with you for coffee and practice talking to each other about these things including some verbiage, getting to those pain points, and how you respond and quantify the pain points.

Results Kati had from correcting her course:

More in control of things for having a process

Time-saving

Psychological wellness

Building real, lasting relationships with clients

About Kati’s Meet Your Stylist:

  • An online marketing tool for hair salon owners
  • A client fills out a unique survey where they will be matched with the top three stylists at your salon that will be the best fit for them.
  • A way to make sure your client retention improves (Quick fact: Only 3 out of 10 new clients that walk through the salon’s door is going back for a second time)

Episode Resources:

Visit Kati’s website www.katiwhitledge.com or connect with Kati Whitledge on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Overcoming Fake Talk by John Stoker

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Conservation, Value Driven, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist

TSE 355: TSE Hustler’s League-“Valuable Conversations”

Conservation, Value Driven, Donald Kelly, The Sales Evangelist How do you better establish value? How do you create valuable conversations with your prospects? How do you move conversations to the next level?

Today, I pulled out a snippet from one of our training sessions at the TSE Hustler’s League which focuses on the idea of establishing value. I’m giving a concrete example of leads coming to you and what you can do to take those leads and not let them fizzle out.

Here are the highlights of today’s episode:

Scenario:

A buyer comes to you and is interested in buying your product/service. They want to see a demonstration. It went good. They asked questions and sounded like they were prepared. When you asked them what’s the next step, they said they’d call you back up as they’re still thinking about it.

They are ready to look, but they’re not ready to buy. What do you do?

Possible cause:

It’s the status quo. – Buyer could be scared of the changes when going with something else. Status quo is more comfortable and more secured than anything else. Nothing is wrong anyway.

What you need to do:

Help change that perspective.

74% of executives indicate that they give their business to the company that establishes buying visions as opposed to 26% who do a side-by-side comparison.

Establish a buying vision as to why they should buy from you now. You don’t have to talk about your product or service.

You just have to establish that the status quo is dangerous. And if they were to continue at this rate, what would happen? Get the prospect to visualize and understand that.

Today’s Major Takeaway:
Recognize and understand their status quo and why it is dangerous to be in that status quo right now. Establish value with your prospects.

Episode Resources:

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The Sales Evangelist, Donald Kelly, Donald C. Kelly