The Sales Process: Working with Customer Responses

Tim Rohrer shares that sellers are trained to overcome objections.  As a result, they don’t listen carefully to what is being said to them by a prospect and they assume that everything said is an objection.  His observation is that prospects make comments that can be classified into the following four categories:
1) Statements
2) Concerns
3) Blow offs and
4) Objections

Price negotiation: when the prospect won’t buy today because your price is too high

Geoff Alexander has personally used this effectively over the years when he has sold high-end products. It not only increases the perceived value of your product, but gets the prospect thinking that the pricing that he or she initially perceived as being high, might actually, in fact, be low. You can use this rebuttal with any high-end product or service that does have an R& D design and development component that’s significant. This is a technique that he teaches in his inside sales training courses, and has witnessed its effectiveness in numerous coaching calls. Add it to your Best Practices playbook.

Resume Tips for Full-Time Parents Returning to Work

The latest figures from the US Census Bureau indicate 5.6 million women and 165,000 men are stay-at-home parents. Although the Census Bureau doesn’t track the number returning to work, hundreds of thousands of parents decide to venture back to the workplace every year. Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert, has provided these tips that will help you get your resume noticed despite the gap in employment.  Visit Naviga’s website for more career services information and assistance.

How Are You Spending Your Question Allowance?

Marc Lamson asks: “Have you ever made a mistake with your question allowance from customers?”

You know the four steps in the sales process:  Introduction, Questions, Recommendations, and Commitment.  If you have been awake during any sales training recently, you know that these steps make-up the generally accepted sales communication process.  Getting past the introduction stage and talking to a decision-maker can be difficult, yes;  but it’s only then that the real challenge begins.  A prospect does not want to waste time by answering your questions – they just want to know what you do, and they’ll decide if/when they will be able to use you now or in the future. As a result, you usually only get a question allowance of 2-3 questions.  This allowance refers to the number of questions that you can ask before the prospect starts to lose interest, shorten their answers to one or two words, and begin looking for an opportunity to politely end the call.  Why do you get a small allowance?

Commission Plans and Chargebacks

This week’s blog is by Jared Jacobson, Esq., a member of Jared Jacobson Law, LLC, who has extensive experience advising individuals, businesses, and entrepreneurs in a variety of employment, corporate/transactional and real estate matters. Jared’s practice focuses on labor & employment, the creation of new business entities, commercial contract drafting and negotiation, real estate and immigration; with experience in employment and civil litigation matters.

Background:  Employers often run into problems when they attempt to pay their employees using a commission-based system.  Making the issue even more challenging is when a company has several branches or offices in various states begging the question of which states’ wage and hour laws regarding commission payments apply.

Employers’ commission plans quite often do not comply with state law governing when commissions must be paid to an employee during the course of employment and after an employee is terminated or voluntarily leaves.

For example, in New York, unless there is a contract otherwise which provides for greater salesperson protections, a “commission salesman” is required to be paid his/her commissions the last day of the month following the month in which the commissions are earned, at the latest.  Whether or not an individual is a “commission salesman” under the law is a very important determination.  Moreover, in New York, if employment is terminated, the employer is required to pay any earned commissions, no later than the regular payday for the pay period during which the termination occurred.

Penalties: Due to absent or poorly drafted commission plans, disputes often arise between employees and employers in connection with how much and when commissions are earned.  The penalties to employers can be severe, including an additional 25% of the amount owed to the employee, the employee’s attorneys fees for recovering the payment, as well as the charge of a misdemeanor for the first offense and felony charges for subsequent offenses.

Chargebacks Against Advanced Commissions:  Generally speaking, an “advance” or “draw” may not be considered a wage under various states’ laws because all conditions for performance have not been satisfied. For example, a company’s pay plan may provide that although commissions would be paid at the time of the sale, the commissions are not in fact “earned” at that time.  Therefore, if a company advances an employee a sum of money, the company may be entitled to “charge back” such employee if certain conditions are not ultimately satisfied, such as the sale on which the commission was earned not going through.

It is a good idea for employers to have an attorney draft and/or review its commission plan and for an employee to speak with a qualified employment attorney if there is a potential dispute regarding an earned but unpaid commission.

Cold Calling Quantity Versus Quality

There has been a rather heated discussion in one of the LinkedIn groups re this very subject that was generated by the question “How many calls can you do per day?” So Flyn Penoyer decided to write something on the subject.

First and foremost you must understand that these things are not mutually exclusive. You can significantly increase both quality and quantity of calls at the same time.

The motivation for this article is that it has been his experience in working with inside groups or even field sales people that make calls. Flyn has found that they’re usually quite inefficient and thus don’t make near as many calls as they could in the same period of time and without degrading the quality of their effort.