It’s mid-March, mid-June, mid-September, or worst of all: late November. Your sales numbers are not where you want them to be, hot prospects have cooled off. Your manager is pushing like mad and you feel like your brain and confidence are crawling through thick mud.
That, my friends, is supposedly a choke, to which I say baloney! To understand why it’s baloney and how to avoid the situation, we have to start with the origins of a “choke.”
The Origin of “Choking Up” in Sales and Why it Matters
Like many other sales performance concepts, to “choke” comes straight from sports. The idea is you’re competing in a game. The score is close, you (or your team) are behind or ahead by just a little bit. What’s key to the concept is there’s no sense of an inevitable win or loss, instead, there’s pressure surrounding the game. To “choke” is to be so nervous under that pressure your performance suffers and you lose. What does this have to do with selling? Good salespeople supposedly thrive under pressure, to which I again say baloney! or at least, “depends on the kind of pressure,” and this leads us to why the origin matters.
As noted, the origin of this concept comes from sports. That there are many other sales concepts which come from sports does not overcome this singular fact: selling is not a sport.
Embracing that reality is step one in handling the challenge of trouble at quarter-end. (more…)
Back when I was a sales pup, we reps and our managers used an equation to set expectations for performance (now known as “metrics”). The equation started at the top of the proverbial funnel with calling, flowed through several points—response, appointments, qualifying and closing—down to the small end of the funnel and new business. We used the same equation in reverse to set dials goals based on desired units of new business.
That equation is what gave us the expression sales is “a numbers game.” As I taught years ago, the underlying point was not that all we need do is make a bunch of calls and something good would come of it. The key point was we could use numbers (the equation) to guide prospecting efforts.
Alas, data needed to fully feed the equation has not been gathered for many years now. (more…)
Organizations often say they want a comprehensive or consistent approach to marketing and selling. Their various business groups often say they need something unique. Here’s a look at which things should be the same—and which should not.
Use the Same Basic Definitions
An organization that speaks the same language has good communication and consistent expectations—which feed strong performance. Language involved with ‘marketing’ and ‘selling’ should start with which is which. Here are definitions that fit no matter the department or how simple or complex the products and services:
Marketing also includes responding to inquiries from prospects and customers. This includes responding when someone calls us, emails us, or walks in and asks for information.
Why Agreement is the Best Line
No matter how sophisticated or simple the products and services, an assumptive approach generates problems. Using agreement as the gate means employees need to ask for a sales conversation, which helps prevent assumption from the start. (more…)
Back in February of 2015 I reviewed a number of CRM. I recently took a fresh look at each CRM and Nutshell has an even stronger top position than before. Here’s the full review and recommendation for Nutshell CRM. (Some of these notes may not make complete sense unless you’ve read the series on how to shop for CRM.)
What is excellent:
Their target market is not enterprise-size companies—it’s everyone else—so you will not have to fight inappropriate defaults.
It is genuine CRM with sales-tracking features (instead of sales-tracking calling itself “CRM.”) (more…)
I’m lucky to be on the email list of the Grammar Diva, Arlene Miller. Her latest article is a lot of fun so I wanted to share it. The article plays with words that are negative but have no positive counterpart. For example: We use disgruntled, but is there a “gruntled”?
Shannon L. Goodson and George W. Dudley are the authors of The Psychology of Sales Call Reluctance: Earning What You’re Worth in Sales. This shout-out and appreciation is for Dudley in particular, who coined the phrase “call reluctance” maybe as far back as 1943. That is a truly beautiful phrase!
Some years ago, I was asked to observe their training program (delivered by someone else, not Dudley or Goodson) and was given a copy of their book. The goal was to bring me up to speed because I’d deliver my “rather have a root canal than do cold calling” program the next day. As I sat quietly in the back of the room, I naturally critiqued the training and looked through the book.
I have some education in psychology (completed a BA) and love to rip apart research and its results. I thought the research portions of the book were very well-done and relevant to some concerns people sometimes have about making calls. I do not recommend or support the depth of effect the authors describe, much less the methods presented in training to address the issues.
Not sure what current editions show; but at that time there were several places in the book where the authors emphasized their ownership of “call reluctance,” including stern warnings about using it. I poo-pooed the warnings because it was so commonly used. My attitude changed a bit as time passed and some of my copyrighted material was ripped off: I wasn’t going to go as far as to sprinkle warnings in my own books, but I understood why they did.
Since then, I’ve periodically made efforts to avoid the phrase “call reluctance,” including removing it from articles, training materials and my own books. This has proved tough to do for one reason: It’s really a perfect phrase. In fact, I just found yet another use of it in this blog, which prompted this post.
Well Done, Dudley
So here’s a shout-out to George W. Dudley and Shannon L. Goodson. “Call reluctance” is concise, evocative, and clear without demeaning. Others may use it with no thought to the artistry that created it, but I think of that every time. The phrase is as elegant as e = mc squared, as beautiful as any of Da Vinci’s sculptures.
(And I will continue to work on using other phrases.)
A successor trustee walks in to one of your branches or calls your service center. Maybe they’re an existing customer. Maybe they chose your bank because that’s where their recently deceased parent has his or her accounts. Either way, this is a terrific opportunity… and chances are high your employees aren’t ready for it.
As our population ages, dealing with a deceased person’s living trust will arise more often. It’s a chance to earn new customers, deepen existing relationships—or not. My personal experience with the “not,” and a notary’s pithy summation, inspired this article.
Half of the Picture
Reasons for creating a living trust are fairly well-known, especially among baby boomers, many of whom persuaded their parents to create a living trust, too. What is not common knowledge are the prosaic details of what successor trustees must or may need to do. (more…)
For Internal use:
This document covers some basics about living trust accounts. It’s in Word, ready for your changes:
Remember: Suitable for California only. If you’d like this document branded and/or customized, drop me a line and we’ll talk about it.
This document is also in Word, ready for your changes. Tells customers how to complete the form, as well as covers important basics like…the answer to “Do I really need a trust account?”
Remember: Suitable for California only. If you’d like this document branded and/or customized, drop me a line and we’ll talk about it.
Designed for trustees and successor trustees of living trusts. pdf format with fields suitable for online or manual completion.
You know the caveats by now, right?
Well, I can’t give you a surefire recommendation – no one can – because the way you want and need to use CRM is unique. But I can clue you in on the real sources of aggravation, which will help you make the right choice next time.
A brief history of CRM (and why it matters)
When these programs first popped up, “CRM” stood for “Customer Relationship Management.” That’s customer as in after the sale occurred. At some point, CRM companies realized expanding their target market to sales-users would bring in a nice revenue stream. They adjusted what the “C” stood for, added some features, and successfully transitioned their product. However, the customer-focus legacy is one of the things that often turns a helpful tool into an annoyance. For example… (more…)
Most of our problems with CRM begin with the way we shop for it. We get some recommendations, cruise through a few websites, sign up for a couple free trials, and choose one. I’m not suggesting this is a casual effort, most people put in a lot of time and careful consideration.
Unfortunately, looking at potential CRM puts us on a dangerous path right away because what the CRM shows us has a strong influence on what we think we’re looking for. A different sort of effort will help you choose more wisely. I wish I could tell you it will be an easier effort but I can’t. In fact, this article turned into enough pages that it’s divided into five steps/articles. (more…)
The primary myths are that B2B is more complex, involves more sales meetings, a longer sales cycle, and higher dollars. In truth:
There are lots of products and services sold to consumers that involve complex issues, very high dollar amounts, many meetings, and more than one decision maker. Buying or selling a home is one example, investment and retirement services is another. What’s more, there are lots of inexpensive business products and services sold to a single decision maker in one meeting or transaction. As for the often unspoken conceit that selling B2B requires more skill…baloney.
Ignore B2B and B2C Labels
Despite the many things B2C and B2B have in common, many CRM identify as designed for one or the other (most choose the latter because that’s where the big bucks are). To find the right CRM you’ll have to ignore those labels and focus instead on features and functions. Clarifying a few things in advance will help you get a jump start.
The rest of this article helps you answer those questions. It also includes some general statements about CRM to help warm up your shopping skills. (more…)
But most of us have more types of contacts than we find in many CRM. If we do not recognize this in advance some of our contacts will be ignored by the CRM’s functions, making the CRM less valuable as a tool. The best way to avoid this over-arching problem is simple: Make a list of your contact groups and use it as reference as you shop. This article gives you an example list along with things to consider. Three tips for completing this step:
1: Do not create your list using the names and groups you know are in most CRM (do not use “lead,” “opportunity,” and so on).
Using those means you’re already following the CRM’s lead instead of the other way around. Instead, identify your groups using simple titles and descriptions.
2: If you want various people with various jobs to use the same CRM, create one all-inclusive list. Do not indicate who needs which contacts, and do not create separate lists.
Creating and using an inclusive list makes it more likely you’ll find one CRM that meets more needs.
3: Put your list on paper and use it as you shop.
If you try to complete the shopping process using a list in your head, what the CRMs show you will lead your thoughts…probably in the wrong direction. A paper reference helps keep your focus where it should be: your needs and wants.
Before I go into the example I want to clarify your finished list is not a file containing all of your contacts with a type or group assigned to each. Your list should only show the types or groups of contacts with any notes of detail. Now for the example list and things to start considering.
Alright, now to how the mapping process works using the example list from step two.
Marketing is the stuff we do to gain our prospects’ attention and regain our clients’ attention. Marketing tools include mail, email, phone, and web-based interaction — to name the most common tools. (Prospecting is marketing, too; it’s the things we do more directly, like calling and canvassing.)
Selling begins once the prospect agrees to evaluate the fit between what we offer and what they want and need. We’re not selling unless and until we have that agreement. (more…)
Rating prospects helps you project new business and highlights where you should focus your efforts. Unfortunately, many rating systems and CRM pipeline features don’t really help you do that. Here are common approaches that don’t work well — and what to do instead. (more…)
PowerPoint is often the program of choice for creating any ole document — and often the wrong choice. For more about how we acquired this bad habit and why you may want to break it, see this article. This article provides tips on which program to use for what.
This article is not meant to bring the news PowerPoint tends to induce boredom—we all know that—it’s about why that happens. The inspiration is the many organizations which use PowerPoint for almost every sort of document, even though that’s less productive and most people dislike seeing it.
So how did we get to this sad state? Here’s what I think got rolling when PPT came out:
First of all, creating and decorating decks was fun. It was suddenly easy to insert spiffy clipart, add color, make text into neato shapes–kind of a business version of playing with crayons and a coloring book. It’s still fun to create and decorate slides, so much so we often forget about meaningful and effective content.
Secondly, the deck presentations were impressive. When PPT came out back in the early 1990’s, audiences were rightfully wowed. Beautiful backgrounds, fancy charts, slides that seemed to move. Zowie. The PowerPoint habit lives on, even though most people are now unimpressed and many decks are crammed with text. Which brings us to the biggee…
PowerPoint dropped the bar for acceptable writing quality to an unprecedented low. All you needed to write was headlines and bullet points–didn’t even need full sentences. This is still true and I have a hunch it’s one of the main reasons PowerPoint is still prevalent and so often used inappropriately.
The Power of a Bad Habit
A quarter-century after PowerPoint hit our PCs, many who reluctantly use it say they do so because it is expected (it’s an organizational norm). Some say they use it because it supposedly helps them quickly produce a deliverable. Here is why that speed is a myth, and why breaking the PowerPoint habit is worth it. (more…)
36 years ago, after putting it off as long as possible, I entered Professor Keston’s classroom to begin a year of required statistics. A year! Tried to sit in back but those seats were already taken by other psych-major-math-phobes. With dread in my heart, I took a seat near the front. By the time I successfully passed the final I was forever changed. (more…)
Marketing and selling are related but different. Accordingly, when it comes to complex products or services, we usually need two rating systems. The rating system for marketing-prospects is simple but you may need some background to understand why it’s effective, starting with the difference between marketing and selling.
Marketing vs. Selling
Marketing is what we do to gain prospects’ attention and regain customers’ attention. Marketing tools include calling, mail, email, and web-based marketing. Selling begins after a prospect has agreed to explore the fit—we’re not selling unless and until we have that agreement.
The rating system described here focuses on marketing (see this one for selling). It can be applied to:
There are four things to note before I cover the rating system itself. (more…)
Once upon a time, our homes were constantly invaded by telemarketers. They were pushy, rude, assumptive and would not take “no” for an answer unless we pronounced it at least three times. This grew from an inconvenience to an invasion so significant laws were passed to quell these calls…almost.
What remains are largely calls from political groups and charities. Most use the same annoying approach that generated Do Not Call laws. If you lead one of these organizations or a fundraising firm, take heed: adapt before you go the way of the waterbed store. And if you are raising funds yourself, don’t copy those calls — apply the tips below. (more…)
Few people are aware that Rod Mckuen, Emily Dickinson and Theodor Geisel were in sales before they hit it big as poets. Let’s honor their hidden legacy — and have some fun — with a sales poetry slam. Be it in iambic pentameter, haiku, limerick or free verse, add your own using the comments.
Oh, silent prospect
These prospects like me, of that I’m sure
Every now and then someone writes to tell me I should work on the grammar in an article. The most recent person wrote the above, which in of itself is poor grammar. (Okay, I confess, that last sentence is a teeny bit snarky.)
The thing is: proper grammar can backfire.
Scripts written using proper grammar often sound overly-scripted. Using these scripts also tends to feel awkward. This means “proper” writing backfires on both ends of the phone line.
To help people get into the swing of writing natural-sounding scripts, most articles in the cold calling section are written the way people talk. This includes purposeful bad grammar and short sentences.
Manuals and Materials that Teach
Training materials and reference manuals written using proper grammar too often utilize longer sentences which in turn require a good deal more concentration.
In other words: Proper grammar can make training materials and reference manuals harder to understand. (Since these articles are intended to teach–good grammar is tossed out the window yet again.)
It’s the Internet
People tend to scan stuff on the internet. The same is true of stuff viewed on monitors. If sentences are too long–properly constructed or not–it’s easy to lose track of the point. This is yet another reason to apply somewhat lax grammar.
You, too, May Want to Drop Proper Grammar
Next time you’re writing a script or something instructional, try using shorter sentences and grammar that mirrors how people talk. You’ll find the scripts sound (and feel) better, people learn more quickly, and references are easier to use.
You’ll also find there are fewer reasons to argue over correct use of semi-colons; but don’t worry, there will be other minutiae on which to spend meeting time. (See? Proper grammar again.)
All of that said, I work hard to write well and love getting specific suggestions for improvements so feel free to send them on in.
We think, it depends and we offer so much more. We think, we prefer strategic relationships or sell on price, lose on price. In other words, we want to have a different conversation than the prospect does. Here are tips for doing that, starting with some things to avoid. (more…)
Let’s keep it simple: The people at Headsets.com are absolutely wonderful. They’ll help you find the right headset. They also provide outstanding service. (No, they don’t pay me a referral fee.)
Those are examples of a call to action — a marketing term and practice that’s been around for over 100 years. The first two work, the third doesn’t. The question answered in this article is, “How come?” (more…)
“Qualifying” is how you figure out how hot of a prospect you’ve got. Using it wisely prevents frustration and highlights your best opportunities. But it’s not all about you. Qualifying also helps develop strong business rapport with prospects and paves the way for a great business relationship.
A truly hot, fully-qualified prospect is one that:
Think that’s a lofty title? Using the Post-it method, you can tap your creativity, focus effectively, plan and follow through brilliantly, and even sleep better at night. Who knows what that might lead to?
The method is perfect when you need to create a report, paper, plan, presentation or proposal. It’s a great tool to use when you want to reinvent or refocus or regroup.
It’s ideal when you need to get a handle on preparing your organization to roll out new products, comply with regulations, or handle a merger. Same goes for marketing strategy or scheduling the timing to apply the strategy.
The Post-it method is effective when you want to create a work aid, and vital for creating training programs or comprehensive curriculum.
If you need to determine what to delegate and what to do yourself, when you’re not sure which resources you have and which you need to locate – start with the Post-it method.
You can use it to figure out what should be on your vacation to-do list. If the moving parts in the move-Dad project have been keeping you up at night, the Post-it method can give you some peace.
The method helps you prepare for questions and objections. You can use it to figure out website navigation. When you have a decision to make and the good old pros and cons list isn’t cutting it, upgrade to the Post-it method.
Those are just some of the situations for which the method is the perfect tool. Here is why it works so very well: (more…)
You need a bunch of Post-its and something to write with.
It helps to use just one size and one color Post-it. However, that’s not vital — use what you have as long as they are large enough to write on. (But do not plan to use different colors or sizes to organize, prioritize, and so on because that will be counter-productive.) (more…)
Reports of younger people being afraid to pick up the phone to call prospects have become numerous. Is this fresh scourge of phone phobia different from what ails older people? The answer is no… and yes. The no part: The end result is the same–not making calls and/or being unsuccessful in that. However, the reasons behind fear of phone are different for younger people. Resolving those fears takes a slightly different approach, too.
Definitions: “Younger” and “Older”
For the sake of simplicity let’s say everyone born on or after 1985 is “younger.” Everyone else, moi included, is “older.” (sigh) (more…)
It drives me crazy when people say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result. Pun intended.
The miss-use of a quote along those lines is not just wrong, it reveals ignorance of what a colon does. (The two-vertical-dots kind of colon, not the lower intestine kind.)
Here is the quote — which Einstein said he never said: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Here is how that quote is garbled: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over…”
Let’s be clear on something. The definition of insanity is the condition of being insane. The colon in Einstein’s non-quote is presenting a statement, not a definition. If you want to re-word his non-quote without a colon that should be, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insane.”
Rant over. Thank you for reading.
People who are nervous or uncomfortable when cold calling are often told to “just do it.” Call 30 or 40 times and you’ll get over it — that’s the idea. Though there is a kernel of truth in that, it’s a teeny, tiny kernel. So before you decide to grit your teeth and just do it…
30 or 40 Calls Won’t Reach 30 or 40 People
People aren’t always at their desk or home. You’ll get lots of voicemail, which means you mostly get used to leaving voicemail. This also means nervousness about talking with humans in a cold call acquires a layer of “Whew, got their voicemail.” So how many calls will you need to get over feeling nervous? That’s not how it works, so read on. (more…)
There are two schools of thought about voicemail and both are valid.
One school of thought says not to leave voicemails — just keep calling until you reach a person. There are positives about this approach but one common negative: frustration. If you begin to think of reaching a prospect’s voicemail as a “bad” call that frustration will snowball. So pay attention to how you’re feeling and change tactics to before it’s too late: apply the other school of thought, which says heck yes leave voicemails! Here are some tips.
Your voicemail messages have a lot in common with two other marketing tools: Radio ads and postcards.
Voicemail messages are part radio ad because they help increase name recognition. Voicemail also makes it easy to add some style, personality and ad-worthy information.
Voicemail is part verbal postcard because of message brevity and because the response rate for voicemail is about the same as the response rate for traditional mail.
Let’s start this article by defining “gatekeeper.” It’s anyone who picks up the phone who is not your direct prospect. That includes the prospects’ co-workers, staff, operators, receptionists, administrative assistants, and secretaries. And I’m now going to tell you absolutely everything you need to turn these gatekeepers into people who help you. That’s right: everything. You ready? Here we go…
Treat them nicely. Treat them with respect. Treat them the same way you treat your direct prospects. Read on for examples of how to do this, and a brief lecture on why schmoozing, manipulation and lying are not just wrong — they’re not worth it. (more…)
There’s lots of mythology floating around, including: You should customize each and every call to each and every prospect, it takes seven messages before they call you back, you need compelling solution statements, you’ll sound better if you stand up (which is sometimes true).
The most harmful myth of all: Only rookies and losers make cold calls.
In fact, successful and experienced people often pick up the phone to call total strangers. The myth lives on mostly due to semantics. These old pros tend not to describe their calls as “cold” because they don’t resemble the kind of “cold” calls they were taught to make. So what kind of calls are they making?
Here’s the scoop:
People making calls of any temperature do not want to sound “canned.” They want to sound professional, confident and relaxed. If possible, they also want to feel professional, confident and relaxed. Here’s how you do all of that:
Do not try to “sound” professional or “make” prospects feel something
You are professional — talk the way you normally talk. Use the kinds of words you normally use. As for using words that supposedly make prospects pay attention or become interested… forget about it. We really cannot make people do stuff or feel a certain way. If you have the idea that you can or “should” be able to do that, you’re setting unrealistic expectations and frustration will mount when you’re not able to meet those expectations. (more…)
Q: The cold calling program description says B2B and B2C are covered. Aren’t they too different to lump together?August 7th, 2013
Your question actually raises two issues: Are B2B calls different from B2C calls? And when there is a mixed group, how does the program handle each person’s need to focus on their particular target market? Let me tackle those one by one.
Are B2B and B2C Calls Different?
Oh, wait… I bet you also want an explanation of that answer. When people think these calls are different, they usually mean calls to businesses should be more sophisticated. Prospects are business owners, C-suite executives, decision-makers — they are highly intelligent and very busy. We have to respect that or they’ll shut down our call in a hot second.
Okay, all of that is true. Now picture those intelligent, busy people as they leave work. Do they dumb-down, become less busy and drop their demand for respect on the way home? No, they do not. (more…)
Yes it does, but perhaps not in the way you might think. This program does not teach people how to “warm” calls up. The reasons why also bust some common myths so here’s a sneak peek.
Reason 1: The things people do to try to warm calls up rarely have a good return on investment. (more…)
Someone recently asked me why Savage and Greene cold calling training does not include torturing students by forcing them to make cold calls in front of all of their peers. Well…I slightly edited their question but you get the idea.
The short answer: Making calls does not have the desired effect (not even close) and wastes a ton of time better-spent on things that will help students succeed. The longer answer is shown below, including a bit of fascinating history. (more…)
Where Lists Come From
The types of data available is absolutely mind-boggling. We’re talking anything from what kinds of soup people in Oregon buy, to web-traffic habits of male executives who buy soup, to all soup can manufacturers in Ohio with between 501 and 723 employees.
There is tons of data, but there are only a handful of organizations that gather and compile data. (Dun and Bradstreet is one compiler you might have heard of.) Compilers organize the data in lists; anything from generic lists, to lists based on very specific requests.
Some Lists Are Like Beer
You need to know that in many cases you don’t buy lists, you rent access to the data on them. Keep your ears and eyes open for the phrases “single use” and “multiple use.” Single-use means you get to use it once. Multiple-use means you can use it as often as you want over a period of time (e.g., a year).
Marketing pros will tell you that you usually need to market more than once for best results. So single-use is cheaper but also a big gamble. Now, I can hear the wheels turning…how will they know if you use it more than once? Well, the list-compilers salt the lists so they know when you use the data more than once. Remember that the data-compilers own the data. They have the right to bill you for multiple-use and they will. (more…)
“Instead of having participants make calls, we’re interested in having two or three calls made and recording them so they can be analyzed and discussed in training.”
That seems like a reasonable compromise but the bottom line is an even stronger “no” because recording involves the issue of consent.
Consultants who must also sell often experience a number of challenges. Let’s tackle them one by one.
Discomfort With the Sales Role
If our picture of “selling” includes a pushy unprofessional person who cares mostly about their own wallet… It’s no wonder we don’t want to take on that role. Fortunately, that’s an outmoded image no one need take on. The perfect sales approach for consultants is “consultative” selling:
Uncovering each prospect’s wants, needs and interests. And then – when appropriate – offering services and products to meet those wants, needs and interests.
Too Much Consulting, Too Little Selling
This issue is part nomenclature and part…well, part conceit (not that yours truly is personally familiar with that). Here’s the scoop:
Normally, consultants ask questions to gather information to assess the situation. In selling this is called “uncovering wants, needs and interest.” That’s a matter of nomenclature. Once consultants recognize how to apply these familiar skills they’re part way to success.
After some sort of informal assessment, most consultants then give general or high level advice. They talk about how they would solve the problems, improve the situation, help reach objectives. In selling this is called “presenting.” Again a matter of nomenclature but here is where many consultants run into difficulty.
Consultants can get so caught up in showing off their marvelous advice-capacity, they forget the deal is not yet set. They leave the meeting feeling great—then crash when the “client” doesn’t come through with a contract, after all.
There is another problem to bring up before covering how to address the above issues. (more…)
Got any “errors and omissions” insurance? Do you really need that? (Does it actually exist?)
Whether you need or “should” have liability insurance becomes a sales issue for many consultants, in particular. Since I often provide training to commercial insurance brokers I have access to pros who can answer that question. This Primer was created with their help — and includes sales tips related to the issue. The primer was recently updated. Feel free to pass it on.
Many people are extra-annoyed when they get a cold call on their cell phone. How did they get that oh-so-special-private-number!? What kind of evil conspiracy is afoot and how do you report these dastardly callers? Before you dash off an angry email to, um…somebody… you should know a bit about the history of telephone directories.
Long, long ago, before internet tubes and email, only super heroes had phones in their cars and there was one phone company. Yes, you read that correctly: One. Telephone. Company.
When people needed to find a phone number for a person or a business, they would dial – actually dial – a zero and a human operator would look up the phone number for you. “May I have the phone number for the Woolworth’s on First Street?” “Do you have a listing for a Shawn Greene in Livermore?”
Later, the number for directory assistance was changed to 411. However, whether we dialed one digit or three, the ability to find phone numbers was an important service most people very much appreciated and often relied upon. (more…)
The training, teaching, and performance development field has its fads and slang — like any other. Ages ago, training was often described as an “intervention,” prompting an image of someone running into a classroom and yelling, “Stop! Stop!” These days it’s common to see we pros described as “learning” professionals. Now, most of us are into learning on a lifetime basis, that’s certainly true. However, calling us “learning” professionals is so, so wrong. (more…)
Read “Rating Prospects” first. Otherwise these tips will make no sense. (more…)
There are many different ways to organize sales conversations. I teach and use variations of the one you see below. Its major parts are shown in caps with a bit of explanation below each. See other articles for more on certain elements, and on how to manage selling over several conversations. (more…)
The short answer is yes, of course! As much as some may say it’s different, the new wave, will supplant in-person networking… The interactions you have on LinkedIn, specific listserves, Twitter, and even Facebook are indeed networking. Include these activities in your networking analysis, giving them their own rows. (See “Is your networking working?” for more on analysis.) (more…)
Networking can be an excellent marketing tool to include in the mix. Because networking is often a favorite, it’s also easy to spend more time, money, and effort than it’s worth. Here’s how to use a simple matrix to make informed decisions. (more…)
Meetings can be a colossal waste of time. Here are tips for avoiding that, especially for sales and service team meetings held on a regular basis. (more…)
I get motivated when I feel I am making a meaningful difference in the lives of others. I think this could hurt me because of how I perceive negative reactions on the phone. Any suggestions for people like me to remain motivated when cold calling? (more…)
Service reps deal with lots of customers who are irritable, impatient, annoyed, and downright rude. It’s understood that behavior comes from frustration, worry, and the idea that the angry-squeaky wheel gets the grease. Here are the questions for this article:
Why do customers stay that way even when they got what they wanted? Why don’t more of these customers say, “Thank you” or even apologize for giving the service rep a hard time? Why are so many customers still grouchy when they hang up? The short answer: biology. (more…)
Do you pay your sales or service reps “incentives”? Are you working on strengthening your sales culture? Here is some insight into how one can undermine the other. (more…)
You’ve heard that the elements of communication are body language (55%), tone of voice (35%), and words (10%), right? Who hasn’t? This idea was based on a study done in 1967, and became very popular in the 1970’s. Body language ended up with star billing and its fan club unfortunately continues today. That’s unfortunate because it doesn’t particularly deserve the center stage.
Several years ago, a skeptical friend of mine dug into the original research that started this craze and found a bunch of problems with the concepts and the statistics, especially. Here’s the scoop: (more…)
Audio, visual, tactile, experiential, kinesthetic…these are learning styles, right? Not quite. It’s true that adults tend to prefer one of those for receiving information. However; adults learn new skills such sales or service skills only one way: by doing. (more…)
When teaching skills such as telemarketing, selling, or service, you need to cover concepts and then provide lots of time for practice. Alas, workshop time is almost always at a premium. If you spend a lot of time teaching concepts, you won’t have enough time to practice applying those concepts and the results will be unsatisfactory.
To free-up workshop time, you can teach concepts and information ahead of the workshop in self-study pre-work. (more…)
I didn’t get a sales job I really wanted. In the interview, my potential boss said he was looking for people with a fire in their belly. I think in my answer I blew it. How could I have shown him that I have that fire?
Shawn says: (more…)
Not long ago, I had a problem with a product purchased from a small company. When I called, the phone was answered by a very nice person who told me to call so-and-so in a few hours. Since I didn’t want to wait a few hours, I asked the nice person if she could help me: Did she happen to know if…
The nice person responded with several questions of her own and I answered them. This back and forth went on for a few more minutes. I repeated some form of my original question, she responded with questions of her own… Pretty soon I was plenty irritated. Annoyed, I told her I’d call back later and slammed down the phone. (Like that would help, right?)
As I angrily planned to call the head of the company and thinking about what I’d say, it hit me: The person who took my call did not know the answer to my question but didn’t want to tell me, “I don’t know.” (more…)
Everyone knows that holding meetings is the absolute best way to promote productivity, right? Ha! Most meetings are a waste of time.
Meetings that waste time usually falter in two areas: There’s no real objective or set of objectives, and the meetings are not conducted effectively. This article tackles potential objectives for sales meetings in particular. Tips for conducting effective meetings in general will be covered in a separate article. (more…)
Many service reps, especially those in call centers, deal with customers who are irritable, impatient, annoyed, and downright rude almost all day long. We know that kind of attitude can come up when people are confused, frustrated, angry or disappointed. Here’s the question for this article: Why do so many customers call or come in with a bad attitude already in gear? Why do they start things off that way? (more…)
The idea of the 80/20 rule is that 80% of something good – like revenue – comes from just 20% of something else – like customers. Or for another example: Only 20% of your work is actually productive, as in producing 80% of whatever.
Now, Pareto was a real person who really did throw the 80/20 figure around, but things go downhill from there. Let us begin the myth-busting with clarifying who Pareto really was and where those figures came from. (more…)
Ever heard of anyone who has been in sales forever suddenly catching call reluctance? I used to make hundreds of cold calls each week, but that was years ago. Now I’m struggling to pick up the phone.
Yes, I have heard of successful, experienced sales reps suddenly experiencing a hefty dose of call reluctance. In fact, there are two ways that experienced reps can have even more trouble than rookies. (more…)
After reading your book (great book, by the way), I have been cold calling every day and tracking results. I’m not getting the appointments I need. I’m calling homes during the day. My best day, I called 87 people and connected with 16 and got 2 appointments. But on the other days I made almost 150 calls and only connected with maybe 35 people, and got only one appointment. I don’t want to call during the evening. Am I doing something wrong?
Shawn says: (more…)
A Definition: Selling versus Marketing
Many people use “marketing” as a euphemism for selling but they’re really two different things. Understanding the difference helps set appropriate expectations, which helps prevent frustration. Understanding the difference also helps focus your efforts. Last but not least, understanding the difference prevents behaviors that send prospects running in the other direction. (more…)