Turn Prospecting Rejection Into Future Sales Opportunities

By Sam Manfer

Prospecting rejection hurts. Some targets are gentler with their rejection than others, but the message is the same – “NO”. Once rejected, you’ll be annoying if you keep pushing which could burn a future opportunity. Oh, there are those that attest to their tenacity in turning rejection into a sale. Unfortunately those instances are rare – ½% – 1%.

Prospecting rejection occurs because there is no interest at this moment. No budget, the company is financially strapped, or that would never get approved, are excuses and will leave you in the cold.

Become a Sales Relationship Builder

Become a Relationship Builder: As a relationship builder, the salesperson should not focus on “closing” or using sales techniques that achieve “mini closes”. The salesperson should take an active interest in helping the client’s company improve its competitive advantage, becoming a trusted advisor and valued partner in the client’s business. In the relationship-builder role, the salesperson serves a universal need that never goes away—the client’s need to keep getting better at what they do.

How do you do that?

Recipe for Success: Introductions

By Chris Carlson, ACTG Sales Development Expert

Almost every salesperson I know hates to cold call.  Instead, salespeople want to grow their business through referrals and introductions.  This certainly makes sense, but the biggest problem salespeople make is that they do not create a recipe for success for introductions.

I would like to share with you the key ingredients of the recipe for success in building your business through introductions.

Ingredient #1:   You must have a goal for the number of introductions you want to receive each week.  Without a goal, how do you know what or how much to do?  Setting a weekly goal is critical to success, yet very few actually do this.

Ingredient #2:   Know the type of client you want.  You need to be crystal clear so you can tell your Centers of Influence (COIs) what type of client you would like them to introduce you to.  If you are not clear on the type of client you want, you will receive too many introductions to suspects you really do not want to work with.

Ingredient #3:  Identify your Referral Sources.  My recommendation is this.  Take a sheet of paper and make 3 columns.  In the first column, list all of your current COIs.  These are the people that believe in you and consistently introduce you to prospects.  In the second column, list the people that you know and believe could be good source of introductions, but your relationship with them has not yet developed to the point where they are introducing you to prospects.  In the third column, write down the Big Kahunas.  These are the people that are so influential in your market or community that if they ever became your advocate, it would rock your world.  Now take that list and look at it often to remind yourself whom you need to be in contact with.  Keep it very visible, because if you put it away, it becomes out of sight, out of mind.

Ingredient #4:   As you plan your week, write down the people who you are going to ask for introductions from.  This could be somebody you have an appointment with, someone you are going to see at an event or just somebody who you are going to call or e-mail.  This prior planning is critical.

Ingredient #5:  Be committed to your goals.  Too many people are good goal setters, but not good goal getters.  Keep track of your success so you can make any necessary adjustments.

Imagine what your year would look like if you were to receive 50, 100, 150 or more introductions.  Not all that you are introduced to will want or need your services, but for most of you, all you need is a fraction of them to become your client and you will have a phenomenal year.

If you want to build your business through referrals and introductions, make sure you have the proper recipe for success.

NFL Lessons for Salespeople

This week’s guest blog is by Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales.

Currently, NFL Football is experiencing a lockout, but for the sake of this post, let us revisit seasons past….

Teams in camp, two a day practices happening, and coaches beginning to train and teach players how to get better. I read a piece by Peter King from SI.com about his conversation with Ellis Hobbs, former cornerback with the New England Patriots. He was talking about how much respect he had for head coach Bill Belichick.

He said, “Early in my career, Bill called me into his office, and we sat there – for a long time – studying film. He taught me to look for the simple things and not to make football so complicated. I got better. I was with one of the best coaches of all time, and he helped me become a better player.”

In sales, too, you can become a better producer if you concentrate on the simple things and doing them better. Here are two things you can do starting today to increase your closing ratio and make more money:

1. Keep a record of the reasons your prospects don’t close and then concentrate on qualifying these on issues up front with future prospects. This was one of the simplest and most effective habits I developed to get better.

I kept a notebook with all my prospects in it and every time they didn’t buy, I’d put in red ink the reason why not. I even boiled it down to three codes: NI, for No Interest; NM for No Money; and NC for Not Controllable. And then throughout the weeks and months I’d go back through my notebook and look for patterns and ask myself, “What do I need to focus on during the qualification stage?”

If too many prospects were not buying because they simply weren’t ready to buy right then “No Interest” needed to be addressed on the front call. I’d start by asking more questions like: “Prospect, if you find that this would work for you, what is your time frame for moving ahead with it?”

And so on. Bottom line – if you don’t get it right on the front end then you’ll never increase your closing ratio.

2. Ask for bigger orders on every close. Oh I know, you’ve heard this before, right? But how often do you actually do it? So many sales reps are afraid to ask for too much and are just happy to get a minimum order. I know because I used to be that way.

But my career turned around when I began asking for big orders on every single call. And what I learned is that you never know how much a person or company can handle. You can always go down (in price, quantity, etc.), but you can never go up.

The truth is, it’s all the same amount of work anyway, so why not ask for 2 times or 3 times the minimum order and see what you get! If only one in ten of your prospects buy the increased amount, how much more money would that mean to you?

The fun part about consistently asking for more is that you’ll end up getting more—and every time you do, you reinforce the habit to do it. And as soon as you get a taste of closing bigger deals, you begin looking for and expecting them. Try it and you’ll see for yourself—it’s one of the simplest things you can do to make a lot more money.

Just remember, as you’re reading this the NFL players and coaches are working on the simple things to improve. You should be doing so, too!

For Better or for Worse — How to Help Your Partner Through the Job Hunt

By Debra Donston-Miller, The Ladders
When one half of a couple is out of work, it requires extra effort from both to keep the household on the move.

The “for better or worse” vow has been put to the test during the past few years as millions of couples’ relationships have been affected by long periods of joblessness.

While the burden of unemployment is certainly stressful for the person who has lost a job, it also represents huge new responsibilities for a spouse who still has a job. One of the biggest is bringing home a paycheck while supporting your partner in the search for a new job. This role requires patience, a positive attitude and flexibility — as well as generosity with your network.

Monica Wright and her husband, Tim, have experienced this firsthand. Tim lost his job as a morning radio host in August 2010. Monica, a search marketing executive, lost her job two months later but was fortunate to land another full-time position shortly thereafter.

Tim has not been so lucky, and the couple’s lives have changed substantially as a result. While searching for a job, Tim stays home and takes care of the couple’s two children, ages 4 and 10. Monica works her full-time job and freelances to help make up for Tim’s lost salary. She estimates that she works an average of 60 hours a week.

Monica said the situation has not been easy, but she realizes that both she and Tim are doing what needs to be done to keep the family and each other afloat. “It’s been tough. … We sort of fell into assumed roles,” she said. “I’ve got to work, so I can’t necessarily spend time doing things such as calling the tax guy or following up on personal things or taking the kids to the dentist. It’s a little stressful on my end, where I don’t spend as much down time, and I’m afraid of burnout. But it is what it is right now.”

Acknowledgment and acceptance, as well as compromise and collaboration, are key to keeping a relationship healthy, said Dr. John Duffy, a clinical psychologist, certified life coach and author of “The Available Parent: Radical Optimism for Raising Tweens and Teens”. “Couples need to work together through the challenge, and often crisis, of job change, to ensure they are allied with one another,” Duffy said. “They also need to tend to their relationship by spending some time talking about something other than the job search, and enjoying one another.”

The longer a person is away from the routine of the workforce (and the more rejections one receives), the more difficult it can be to maintain motivation. This is where the employed spouse also comes in, say experts — providing advice, perspective and, when needed, cheerleading.

Keep Your Spouse Connected

“Encourage the spouse as much as possible to stay out there, keep networking and remain connected with the professional community,” said Deb Brown, a business coach and licensed psychologist. “People who are depressed are often tempted to withdraw, which is one of the worst things a job seeker can do.”

That connection to a professional community should apply not only to the job seeker’s network but to the employed spouse’s network, as well, said career experts who spoke with TheLadders. Even if you are not in the same industry as your partner, you never know which one of your contacts knows someone who knows someone who is. The trick, experts add, is to be able to clearly articulate your partner’s skills and experience in a professional manner — something that can be difficult to do, to be sure, when there is so much emotional baggage attached to the situation.

“Serve as an advocate for your spouse by actively networking among friends and family,” said Roy Cohen, career coach and author of “The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide”. “But don’t do so out of fear or desperation. Be clear on what your spouse does professionally and how to best explain it. Your messaging will make a difference if it’s clear, concise, and not fear-based.”

Monica Wright opened up her professional network to her husband and said it resulted in a few follow-ups. She admits, though, that the opportunities seem to be scarce given the nature of her husband’s work.

Indeed, in the radio industry, a new job often means a new market — a move the Wrights are not sure they want to make at this time. Tim has been exploring new professional options for the “next phase” of his professional life, a process Monica is supporting.

“It’s been about giving him space and being supportive in terms of providing ideas and access to a network,” she said. “I don’t get resentful. I like what I do for work. It’s not like I’m digging trenches. He just needs to figure out what he wants to do for the next phase, and I just give him the tools. … We’re just trying to make it all work out.”

Debra Donston-Miller covers work-life issues and difficult job-search situations for TheLadders.

Salesperson or Hustler?

By Skip Anderson

Almost anybody can sell almost anything, If they lie.

Lying is not a sales technique. it is not a skill. It isn’t clever or cool. It doesn’t require intelligence or sales ability.

Lying doesn’t (or shouldn’t) count in selling. It’s too easy. Anyone can do it. All you have to do is pick something about your product or service, it’s warranty, your company, or yourself and either exaggerate something about it or make something up about it or say the opposite of what’s real and true. Who can’t do that?

I can’t. And hopefully you can’t either.

It’s not surprising that the general public looks down (either some or a lot) on those of us in the sales profession. The reason they do is because some of us in our profession are not professional. They’re liars. They’re in it to win it, at virtually any cost. Those without a strong set of personal values or without a conscience are perfect for candidates for this behavior.

I’ve had the good fortune to work with many professionals in our field. I take pride in the people who have influenced me positively, and I’m thankful I’ve had an opportunity to influence others. There are many truly good people who earn their living selling.

I’ve also had the disappointment and even disgust of working with people who lie and feel good about it. One of them, I remember, called selling “a hustle.” Some have become very wealthy via their dishonesty.

It’s easy to lie about…

… Your product’s capabilities;

… Services or items included that really aren’t included in the purchase.

… Delivery or installation time frames.

… The future by promising things that cannot be promised or aren’t real.

Some salespeople lie all the time. Some lie some of the time. Some lie big lies. Some tell white lies.

Enough is enough. Some salespeople never lie. There’s no place for lying in our profession. Those who do it don’t deserve to wear the badge of honor that hard working, ethical salespeople deserve to wear. I believe selling is honorable, but only if it’s done in an honorable fashion.

Otherwise, you’re just a hustler.

9 Ways to Overcome Objections (Before It’s Too Late)

The Brooks Group

Here’s a magic formula:

> as trust in you and

> confidence in the value of what you’re offering rises,

> fear of buying disappears.

I’d like to say a few things about building confidence in the value of what you’re offering…

Price objections occur when you haven’t built enough value for what you’re offering in the minds of your prospects. However, that shouldn’t be a problem because YOU can always make your product or service more valuable. Here are 9 ways to differentiate your offering in order to defeat price objections…

  1. Providing expert advice and a high level of professionalism. Lots of consulting organizations, accounting firms, and medical professionals are paid a tidy sum for the level of advice that they provide. However, for you as a sales professional, to provide value, you need to understand that you have to provide a level of advice that is significantly higher, more sophisticated and more valuable than that of your competition. That means you’ve got to develop a higher level of sophistication, wisdom, and understanding about what you do.
  2. Bundling and packaging.  This extends beyond the way your product or service looks. It’s also about building desirable packages or purchasing levels. You might even offer a series of added benefits that are significant in value. In fact these “added benefits” might be a whole lot more valuable than the product by itself.
  3. Service levels. Is it possible for you to differentiate yourself by adding different levels of service based on someone’s size, frequency, or amount of purchase? For example, you may want to have gold, platinum, or silver levels of service that people qualify for (or are willing to pay for).
  4. Transition and education. As new customers come on stream with your organization, you may want to provide action or transition teams to help them to be better able to use the products or services you’ve sold them. By the same token, the more education they have related to those products or services the more capable they’ll be at using them. What does that mean? Happy, satisfied customers who eagerly buy more.
  5. Recognition and reward levels. This is different than “frequent buyer programs” in that, with this concept, you actually recognize clients or customers for their ability to use your product or service. I’m sure you’ve got some customers who are maximizing the potential of your offering. Why not recognize them for being outstanding customers? Several years ago, we incorporated a “Hall of Fame” into our newsletter. We used it to recognize some of our best clients. We literally had people calling to find out how they could be recognized! It’s a fantastic way to utilize good relationships and good will.
  6. Qualitative preference. Based upon someone’s level of purchase, involvement or interaction, you provide higher quality of product, perhaps a more sophisticated level of service, dedicated personnel, dedicated phone lines, fax lines, or the like, that gives them a greater opportunity to be treated better than a run-of-the-mill customer.
  7. Dedicated personnel. This works particularly well if you have a technical product or service or one that requires extensive support. It is not difficult to understand that the more someone is familiar with another customer’s account, products, machinery, equipment or way of doing business, the easier it is to do business with them. In this scenario, you can simply assign dedicated account people to handle your customer’s accounts personally.
  8. Speed of service or delivery. One of the ways to differentiate yourself is to guarantee some sort of on time or faster delivery. It is very well known that on time delivery is a key component for charging full or maximum pricing. It is also a component as it relates to providing value-added services and products.
  9. Insider information. This is very common when people are selling information related to technical products, new and innovative products, or anything related to information or time specific data. Utilizing this process you may want to consider a regular newsletter (electronic or printed) that updates customers on a regular basis as it relates to very key and important information that they need to have.

Add value to your day-to-day sales activity with these nine ideas. They require creativity, innovation and a willingness to out-work your competition. But they’ll pay off!

We have been training salespeople on dealing with objections for more than thirty years. We continue that tradition in all of our sales training programs.