How To Be Persistent (Without Feeling Like a Stalker)

November 23, 2011 at 9:25 am | Posted in sales, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , ,

Being persistent is a good thing right?

Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth and the list goes on and on of people that kept working at something until they achieved success.  So we agree…persistence is an important and positive quality!

But it’s also important to recognize that being persistent will often be received /perceived quite negatively and what you assume is a success tactic can be viewed as merely bothersome.

So, how might we make certain to not alienate our prospects by our (positive) persistence:

  • Remember that although it is extremely important for you to make contact with your prospect it just might not be that important for them! Timing is everything and your attempts might be coming to them at an extremely bad time when they have other, more mission critical events taking place. (Mellow out!)
  • Are you remembering to “add value” to the relationship even before there is a relationship?! “Checking in” and touching base” in  your attempts to get through are usually perceived by prospects as a waste of their time and ultimately self-serving. Rather than approaching your prospects in this manner, endeavor to use the three I’s (information, invitations and introductions) when attempting to get in touch. You’ll be amazed at how much more responsive your prospects will be if they see that there is “something in it for them.” (Call me if you want more details on the 3 I’s.)
  • Try to find out to which means of communication your prospect is most responsive. Phone? Email? Text? For example, don’t waste your time calling someone if they are totally phone adverse and respond most readily to text or email.
  • Lastly…always use the phrase “I hope you can appreciate my persistence.”  This statement positions your positive follow-up (yes, persistence)  in a very positive light and helps to ensure that you don’t sound apologetic or belligerent.

Any questions?  Call me and I’ll be happy to give you some more tips on how to be effective with your continued and ongoing follow-ups.

How to Divorce Your Client in 5 Easy Steps

November 20, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Posted in sales | Leave a comment
Tags: , ,

Breaking Up Is Hard To DO!

You know the signs.  You’re not getting along anymore; you seem to be on different pages and can never agree. Your relationship is bordering on hostile and you don’t seem to be making each other happy anymore.  The relationship keeps getting worse and there appears to be no other solution…it’s time to get divorced.

Yes, just like in marriage the good times with a client can come to an end. And just like in marriage, it doesn’t make sense to prolong the negative.  Here’s how you can experience a business divorce and emerge relatively unscathed:

  • Make certain that you’ve explored every possible option before making the irrevocable decision to divorce. Don’t be hasty. You never know; you just might be able to turn things around. Remember how long it takes to win a new client; is this “really” the time to set this one free?
  • Don’t leave your client in the lurch. Once you’ve told them about the impending breakup ask them if they’d like your assistance in locating another resource who can provide them with the products / services that they need.
  • (Using a well-worn cliché here), don’t burn your bridges. Refrain from speaking poorly of the client and / or the current situation in which you find yourself. You never know when your paths might cross again.
  • Be ready to move forward and learn from the situation that has just ended. Think about what went wrong and how the problems might have been avoided. Don’t fall into the same situation again.
  • Think positively of yourself. It takes a certain degree of confidence and courage to divorce a client. Many businesses will accept a dismal and less than satisfying relationship with a client even to the point when it is destructive to employee morale and profitability. Regardless of the negativity they find themselves unable to walk away.

One last point, make certain that you’ve taken the steps to fill the void that is left when you end the relationship. You don’t want to hold onto something that is bad but you want to be certain to be able to win new business in an effective and expedient manner. Your success depends upon it!

How to Have a Great Blog

November 15, 2011 at 10:22 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , ,

When the word “blog” was created from “Web” and “log” back in 1999, no one had any idea that these online diaries or journals would be as powerful as they have become.  There are now millions upon millions of blogs on every topic imaginable – from political commentary to pet care. Businesses have jumped onto the blog bandwagon too, as a way to generate interest in their products and services and improve their online visibility. Multi-national corporations, small business and solopreneurs alike are creating blogs as a marketing, promotional, and educational tool.

Blogging can be an extremely useful way to “talk” to both current and prospective customers. Blogs provide a unique opportunity for you to define yourself as an expert in the industry, enabling you to communicate on a mass scale, but in a personal manner. They are also extremely helpful when it comes to search engine optimization. For those who aren’t familiar with this term; blogs can help you improve your ranking on search engines such as Google and Yahoo! This is a good thing!

While it’s quite simple to establish a blog, the challenge is creating a great one that attracts loyal readers. It requires more than just throwing some company news on a page. For a blog to flourish, it must be written with passion, enthusiasm, interest, and knowledge. It needs to be a “go to” site for advice and insight. Are you up for the challenge? If so, the rewards can be substantial. Here are some more tips to get you on your way to becoming a successful blogger.

Keep It Relevant

Sure, you can find countless blogs that detail the minutiae of their writers’ lives. But, if you are targeting your existing customer base and overall market, you’ll have to limit your posts to relevant, interesting information. It’s safe to assume your readers don’t have time to read about your dog or trip to the Bahamas. Instead, stay focused on valuable, newsworthy topics.

Keep Posts Current

Maintaining a blog is a commitment. If you don’t have time to stay current with your news and provide frequent posts, you’re better off simply sticking with a website. Readers expect blogs to have the most current information. If they consistently see outdated posts, they won’t return.

Keep It Reader Friendly

Don’t use complex jargon and make your points clear without ambiguity.  Use “real-speak” and readers will ENJOY reading your posts.

Encourage Comments and Dialogue

A blog isn’t just another website. It enables your readers to respond to what you’ve written. In fact, the best blogs become popular specifically because of the strength of their discussions between blogger and readers. Don’t be alarmed if you have someone disagree with you. Encourage the free exchange of ideas and opinions. You might even learn a thing or two from your readers!

Share Links

Don’t just stop with thoughtful, well-written posts. Encourage your readers to learn even more by supplying them with other related blogs or articles of interest. One blog can spread a wealth of knowledge.

Make It Visually Pleasing

Readers are more apt to return if your blog is easy on the eyes. Most of the blog publishing sites provide a variety of attractive templates that you can utilize or customize to resemble your website.

Promote It

Finally, once your blog is up and running, take the time to register it on the most commonly used search engines, as well as on a blog-only search engine, such as www.blogwise.com. And, don’t forget to include your blog’s URL in your email signature to encourage everyone to visit.

Now to the important question; are you up to the task?  If so, there’s no time like right now to get started!

How to Overcome Objections & Stalls

November 11, 2011 at 8:15 am | Posted in Sales Training | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , ,

Let’s face the facts. If you’re involved in sales, objections and stalls are simply a fact of life. While you can’t avoid these inherent frustrations altogether, you definitely have options on how to deal with them. And, it’s truly how you deal with them that will ultimately determine your success as a salesperson.

Objections and stalls can undeniably throw you off of your course and make you want to pack up and head home. However, it’s solely up to you to view them either as permanent stops or detours on the road to making a sale.

What does an objection or stall mean to you? Sure, you can look at it as your cue to find a new prospect, or if you delve a little deeper, you might just discover that the person who you’re trying to sell to is attempting to gain more information, more confidence in what you’re offering, or more selling points. This is often the case when they have to present what you’re offering to other people involved in the decision making process.

In other words, their objection might be their way of asking you to better explain what makes you different and why doing business with you will equate to some sort of improvement in their situation.

By changing your mindset and rethinking objections and stalls as simply opportunities to present more information, you definitely up your chances of winning a job. Here are some basic strategies for handling these situations:

Take a Deep Breathe

Getting thrown off and discouraged by objections is often a knee-jerk reaction by many salespeople. It’s understandable and perfectly natural. We’re all taught as children to take “no” as an answer and to not nag and continue to ask for what we want again and again. Well, salespeople have to learn how to quiet those old tapes playing in their heads. A “no” might be a veiled request for more information, and if you immediately retreat, you will be shutting the door on a potential sale.

Acknowledge Their Hesitancy

You need to demonstrate that you “get” where they’re coming when it comes to an objection. By stating that you understand how they feel, you show that you are listening respectfully, not tuning them out, and can actually empathize with their hesitancy.

How can you articulate your sensitivity? Here are a few statements that will help you keep that sales door open:

1.     Mr. Prospect, I understand how you feel.

2.     I understand what you are saying

3.     We have other clients that have felt the same way.

These three statements will go a long way to making your prospect feel more comfortable and engaged with what you’re trying to say. Remember, the goal is to maintain rapport and not to alienate or cause anxiety.

Restate Your Value Proposition

Once you’ve patiently acknowledged and responded to their objection with a benefits statement, you’ve earned yourself the right to resell. This is the pivotal point and critical moment in dealing with an objection. Don’t stop and trail off after your resell statement. You’ll only confuse your prospect on what they should do next. Instead, take control of the dialog by asking a question. Word your question accordingly so that you get a positive response or at least will know what the answer will be. With this strategy, you should now have the opportunity to resell features and benefits.

So that’s it – a simple roadmap for how to handle and hopefully overcome objections. But what if you’re faced with something not as black and white? You weren’t given an objection, but you’re instead getting the sense that they’re just putting off making any decision at all.

These are the folks that are stalling and handling them effectively will also help you to close more business. When dealing with stalls, the first and most important step is to uncover its real reason. Until you know the reality of the situation behind the stall, you cannot possibly overcome it.

In order to find out the true reason for stalling, you must utilize some effective probing. Here are some questions that you should have ready to roll off of your tongue:

“Can you tell me more about …..?”

“How are you currently handling….?”

“What is your feeling about…..?”

By using open-ended questions like these, you will encourage dialogue and eliminate the shut-down that you may encounter when using closed-ended questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”.

The reality is that there are many valid reasons for prospects to stall. For instance, an accounting firm might stall about making a decision for an office renovation because the decision comes smack in the middle of tax season. Their plate is full, their minds are distracted, and a stall about making a decision is entirely valid.

However, more often stalls beg for clarification. Here are some statements to watch out for:

“I have to think about it.”

“I’m not certain. Let me talk about it with ….”

“Call me in a few weeks/months.”

“Not now/maybe later.”

These “classic stall statements provide you with little or no insight into a prospect’s “real” situation and require you to probe for more insight. Here’s how to respond:

“Can you please clarify what exactly you need to think about?”

“What’s going to be different next week, next month?”

“How about you and I speak with (the decision maker) together?”

Are you thinking that these types of responses might be too aggressive? If you remember that your objective is to uncover the reason for the stall, you will clearly see that these questions are essential for finding out the information you need to do your job effectively.

A prospect’s stall might be based on the fact that they don’t see enough value, or that they’re just not really sold yet. By uncovering their need for more information, you put yourself in a better position to make the sale. Remember – you can’t lose something that you don’t have, and since you haven’t yet won the job, you can’t be at risk by probing for information.

No one likes to deal with objection and stalls, but they are a very real part of the sales dance. Get used to it, get comfortable with it, and by employing these techniques, you’ll find yourself in the driver’s seat and winning more jobs than you ever thought you could!

 

 

 

 

How to Increase Your Networking Success Stories

November 10, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Posted in Networking | Leave a comment
Tags: , , ,

Networking works. Or should I say that networking CAN work. We all know that it’s time consuming, often expensive and occasionally, not at all productive.

Here are a few things that you should do in order to make your networking efforts more successful:

1)   Have a goal. How many times have you attended a networking event and wandered around the room only to engage in just a few conversations before heading out the door. Or attended an event only to wind up spending the entire time talking to people that you already knew and walking away with nary a new contact or connection.  How can you ensure that this doesn’t happen? Before going to any event or meeting, take the time to investigate the group and the (potential) attendees. Is this the right place for you to go?  Will it be worth your time?  How many people would you like to meet? Do you expect to meet potential clients or referral sources? The more time you take checking it out, the more beneficial your experience. And don’t forget, if it doesn’t seem like it is the right place for you to network, don’t go. There are many other places to network.

2)   You know this sorry story. You have scads of contacts, cards galore and all sorts of names in Outlook.  Now, what to with them? The truth is that if you don’t stay on the radar screen of your networking contacts you will soon become a case of “out of sight, out of mind”. Touch point management is the key to getting return on your networking time.  How to stay on the grid?  Why the 3 I’s of course! Value-added information and email (that means links to articles and web sites of interest), cyber-introductions to other people that your contact might find valuable, invitations to events and meetings, snail mail, newsletters and more.  The most important thing is to stay visible and relevant and that means being seen as a resource and not a stalker.

3)   Patience is a virtue. Isn’t that what our moms taught us and we learned in school. The fact is that in networking patience is the only card to play. Networking takes time. While doors can be opened at events and meetings, relationships must be built before business can be earned and relationship building takes time. Beware of the networker that wants to get your business before earning your respect and trust. Don’t get caught up in a matching contest. Sure, you might find yourself on the lead “giving” side more often than on the receiving end.  Give it time and you should see something coming back to you (Remember that old patience quote!) But don’t get me wrong. If after a reasonable amount of time there is nothing coming your way it is perfectly okay to reach out to your connections and in a more direct manner, ask for their help in making introductions for you. What goes around comes around. It just might take some time.

So there you have it. Three quick tips to make your networking time more productive.  Now go out there and open some doors.

No Reply

November 6, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, New York Sales Trainer, sales, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , ,

As we head towards the end of 2011 I’ve been starting to review my sales results for the year, the clients that I’ve won, the ones that I have lost and the prospects that are in limbo.  It’s this last category “limbo” that causes me quite a bit of angst because I simply don’t understand why it has to be.

Let me clarify.

My prospects that are in limbo (aka unresponsive) are folks that I have met with and at the conclusion of the meeting asked me to submit a proposal for services. (Key into those all-important words please…they asked me to submit a written proposal as a follow-up to the meeting).

Now before I go on please understand that I am particularly rigorous in my “screening and qualifying” of potential clients. I want to make certain that there is a good fit between the services that I provide and the requirements that they have. I’ve been known to turn down a Request for Proposal. I don’t think that it is worth anyone’s time to propose something that you know you can’t do well.

And maybe that’s why I am particularly flummoxed by the prospects in my sales funnel that are MIA.

Of course I’ve attempted to follow-up and have used all sorts of methods to get back in touch. My voice mail messages are compelling, my emails well-positioned and still, nothing.

Why is that?

  • Are these folks feeling shy because they asked for a proposal for services but knew they didn’t have the budget? (I always inquire about budget before submitting a plan.)
  • Did they suddenly lose their decision-making power or did they fool me all along into thinking that they had that responsibility?
  • Are they particularly adverse to any sort of confrontation and do they perhaps think that by rejecting the proposal they might prompt a hostile response from me?

It seems that falling off the prospect grid happens a bit more often now even when I pay scrupulous attention to making certain that the proposals are truly desired.

And it’s not just me. I’m hearing this from more and more of my business colleagues and from my own clients as well.

Yes, there seems to be an increase in “no reply” and all we salespeople can do is just keep trying.

So remember that you can’t lose what you don’t have. Be persistent in your follow-up and don’t automatically “assume” that the prospect isn’t interested.

No reply isn’t no. You deserve an answer.

No Reply!

WTF!!! Why Network If You’re Not Going to Play The Game?

November 2, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Posted in Networking | Leave a comment
Tags: , ,

Excuse me if I sound a bit exasperated but well, I am. Seems there’s quite a bit of NFT (no follow-through) going around these days and honestly, I can’t figure out why. Sure we’re all busy but that’s not a good, or even rational, reason.

The simple question:  Why bother going to networking breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings and NOT continue to network AFTER the event?

You know the deal. You attend a meeting or event and circulate around the room, making contacts, exchanging cards and doing what needs to be done to START the business ball rolling.

Yes, that’s right…START the business dance but certainly not finish it while at the event.

Business development takes nurturing, time and attention.  You need to establish mutual respect before any sort of introductions can be made and this respect can only be established in (ongoing) follow-up conversations and meetings.

The blatant truth:  if you don’t take the initiative to reach out proactively and/or respond to your networking contacts you are simply wasting your time going to these events in the first place.  You might as well stay home.

 

Patting the Baby

November 1, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , ,

I recently watched a sneaky little 4 year old girl cuddle and pat her baby brother. As you can imagine, when her mom was watching she was extremely gentle and sweet, but when her mom turned away, even for just an instant, her pats became increasingly more rough and the look on her face changed form adoration to one of disgust.

Recognize the behavior?

Yep, sure you do. It happens in offices all the time.

Sales teams can almost always play well together when mom (aka the sales manager) is watching. But watch out when management turns away for the bonhomie can turn ugly real fast.

So what’s a sales manager to do because just like mom you often need to “look away”.

  1. Lead by example and treat everyone on your sales team with respect and courtesy. If you display poor behavior your sales reps will also and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.
  2. Provide timely hands-on coaching and feedback when team members are not “behaving” as expected. Don’t allow a lack of teamwork to become patterned behavior.
  3. Even though sales reps are intrinsically competitive, help them to focus on team accomplishments as well as individual. Provide individual as well as group incentives and motivate accordingly.

It’s easy for the “kids” to play nicely in the sandbox when you are standing guard. It’s more difficult and truly the job of the sales manager to make certain that this nice behavior is carried forward even when “parental eyes” are elsewhere.

 

 

 

 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.