Question of the Month: How do I use my Call List?

by Shannon F. How do I build a Call List, and what should it include? Building a daily or weekly call list is an important step to sales success (remember: 80% of sales are made after the 5th through 12th attempt, which means keeping track of your calls is critical). What is the Call List? The Call List is a task list of the calls you wish to make today. Each time you complete a call in the Call List and set a Followup date for that company, the record is removed automatically from your Call List. Your goal at the end of the day should be to have an empty Call List (and hopefully an appointment or two.) So what should you put in your Call List? Your goal is to keep track of new opportunities as well as leads you are in the process of nurturing. 1. First, take a look at your Followups for the day, and put them all into your Call List. If you are using InsightPRM, simply do a search for the day’s Followups, mark all the results, and add them to your Call List using the Action Menu at the bottom of your screen.  (If you don’t have any Followups scheduled yet, move on to Step 2.) 2.Next, search your List/PRM for any companies you haven’t reached out to yet. A good bet is to search leads that have an upcoming move date or lease expiration date. You can add leads to your […]

Do your customers know how well you did?

by Shannon F. You hate to pat yourself on the back, but you went above and beyond on the last project you completed. Self-congratulations only goes so far, anyway. You want your clients to acknowledge that you provided excellent service. Here’s why they won’t: -Your client doesn’t always understand the nuts and bolts of the project, so they may think your job is simpler than it is. -You didn’t want your client to worry, so you didn’t tell them about the complications/roadblocks you encountered and conquered. -Your client doesn’t think they necessarily need to shower you with praise, since they paid you fairly for the job. But here’s why it is important to get your customer to acknowledge how great you are: -You’ll want to build a relationship with them in the event that they need your services again 5 or ten years down the road. Therefore, leaving them completely satisfied (and with a positive impression of you) is in your best interest. -Happy customers can provide testimonials and references that will help you build your image. -Happy customers don’t mind referring you or introducing you to others in their network, helping you grow your business by leaps and bounds. Here’s what you have to do to extract compliments from unwilling customers: -Let your customer know when you went the extra mile. You don’t have to brag about your greatness, but don’t downplay the lengths you took to get the job done. The client won’t appreciate all the little details […]

Selling to the Gen Y Buyer

by Shannon F. So you’re selling to a decision-maker who was born after 1980. This generation has an unfair reputation for having a short attention span, poor interpersonal skills, and a host of other negative characteristics. Sure, we were raised on ADHD-inducing cartoons, colorful and experimental food products, and the notion that we can do ANYTHING. As a result, we’re high-achievers who dream big, but we’re also a little…different. Here’s what you should know when it comes to approaching this group of prospects. 1. Your Gen Y prospect does not want to talk to you on the phone. It’s nothing personal. It’s just that we would rather have you connect with us in a less invasive way and give us more of a choice as to whether or not we want to interact with you. So send us an email or connect with us on Linkedin before or instead of calling. 2. Gen Y has already looked up you and 5 of your competitors online—unless you enter at the consultant level before Gen Y even knows she needs your product or service. Basically, as soon as a business need pops into Gen Y’s head, she is going to Google it—that’s a fact. So BE the one to introduce the need. Remember that by the time the client searches for you online, it’s too late for you to build rapport, influence the buying decision, and name your price. But by approaching Gen Y early in her buying process, you can inform […]

Don’t wait for referrals; ask for them!

by Shannon F. Referrals are a great way to grow your business, but they don’t always happen as frequently as you’d like. Think about how many referrals you’ve given so far this year, and you’ll have some idea of how hard it actually is to get business this way. For one, your product or service has to come up in a conversation between your satisfied customer and someone in your locality who is in the market for what you have to offer. If you simply wait for that scenario to happen (unprompted by you), your chances of significantly growing your business by referrals are slim. It is possible to give your referrers a nudge, however; here are the steps for driving referrals the easy way. Step 1. Wow a new client. As always, the key to getting referrals is to earn them by making sure your customer is absolutely satisfied. If your service was well-received, you should be able to ask for referrals confidently—you earned it. Step 2. Narrow down the prospects you want to be referred to. For example, say, “I often assist companies that are moving or in transition. Do you know anyone like that who might need my services?” Linkedin provides an even easier way to seek referrals, as Brynne Tillman of Business Development University taught us. Simply connect with your satisfied client on Linkedin and take a look at his or her connections. See anybody you’d like to do business with? Ask your client to introduce […]

Questions to ask when cold-calling

by Shannon F. Yesterday, we suggested avoiding the types of questions that frustrate and annoy busy prospects. Now that the Don’ts are out of the way, let’s focus on the Dos: provocative questions that keep the prospect interested and on the phone. “What kind of changes or events do you anticipate taking place in the next 3-12 months?” If the prospect indicates that a change such as a company expansion, merger, or office relocation is anticipated, you have your in. The Harvard Business Review identified that businesses in a state of flux make the best prospects, because they have the need, budget, and time frame for B2B products and services. (Blatant InsightPRM promotion: Customers who purchase our office moving leads already know that their prospects are relocating or opening a new location before they pick up the phone to make a call.) If the prospect has confirmed a trigger event, like an office move, say, “What kinds of challenges are you anticipating [related to that event]?” or “What steps have you taken to accomplish ______?” This gives you the opportunity not only to respond to your prospect’s concerns, but to bring up challenges (and solutions) that he or she never even considered. “We’ve been noticing that a current trend or problem in your industry is_____. How has your company responded to this?” The whole point of your call is to identify a need for your product/service. If the prospect doesn’t know they need you yet, educate them about how you […]

Questions not to ask when cold-calling

by Shannon F. Phone conversations start to go south for many salespeople when they begin asking questions. After all, no one enjoys being cold-called by a stranger only to be put through a detailed interrogation. And while certain questions are necessary for a productive phone call, you’ll find it easier to engage with prospects if you already know a little bit about their company. Don’t get all creepy or stalker-ish on them, but take the time to learn more about what they do. You can get a better idea of what their goals are and what needs they may have. Here are some questions you simply shouldn’t be asking your prospects: “What kind of company are you?” or “What do you do?” Seriously? You can find this out yourself in literally 2 seconds, so asking this on a phone call is a definite no. “Who is the decision-maker I should speak to?” Or, similarly, “Can I speak with the owner?” You’ll have a much better chance of being transferred to the person you wish to speak to if you actually know his or her name. A quick search on LinkedIn or Jigsaw should yield results (if you store your leads in a lead management system, you should be able to do some pre-call research directly from the program). “Can you tell me what your objectives are?” or, “What kinds of problems are you having?” While it makes sense to find out what your prospect hopes to accomplish (so that you […]

Stop using these stale sales words.

by Shannon F. The world is cynical when it comes to sales and marketing professionals. We don’t trust them, envisioning pyramid schemes and faulty vacuum cleaners. We hang up on their cold calls, mark their emails as spam, and hope they won’t engage us in conversation at parties. But I happen to think that bringing B2B sales out of the dark ages can be accomplished with a major vocabulary overhaul. If sales and marketing people couldn’t use words, phrases, metaphors, and analogies from the following categories, they’d be forced to come up with creative new ways of expressing themselves. Sports metaphors Is anyone else tired of hearing phrases like, “hit it home,” “knocked it out of the park,” or “covered all bases?” If only sales were as exciting as a ball game. Plus, everyone likes different activities, so maybe, “I really went to the library on that deal,” or, “I gardened the heck out of my competition” would be more inclusive. If you must use a sports metaphor, at least try to pick a slightly less obvious athletic pursuit, e.g. “I certainly dropped the discus on that one.” “Leverage” as a verb “Leverage” is a noun, i.e. “I gained leverage during the bidding war by offering my services as a consultant.” (The verb form is ‘lever.’) You can’t “leverage” your sales tools any more than you can “strategy” or “maximum” them. I know that leverage as a noun has come into common usage; I just hate it. (If you would […]

Is Your CRM Stressing out Your Sales Team?

If your sales team is frustrated by their CRM, you’ll see some signs like:   Decrease in productivity Failure to meet sales goals Low morale Outright refusal to use sales software Mood swings Teeth-grinding, hair-pulling, or general listlessness   As a sales manager, you’re understandably concerned when your salespeople aren’t performing to the height of their potential. Poor performance can’t always be attributed to insufficient tools and resources, but in the case of slow sales software in today’s fast-paced marketplace, it’s easy to understand why sales reps are getting frustrated. Let’s take a look at the average sales software. It’s designed for managing existing clients, so making cold calls to new prospects and suspects using this software can be arduous. Every salesperson knows that reaching prospects on the phone (and getting them to listen to your pitch) is now harder than ever. In fact, it often takes twice as many calls to reach a prospect as it did ten years ago. But does each call have to take so long? Sales reps use as many as 300 mouse clicks per ten cold calls and take an average of six minutes to log a single call. Since it takes about 7 calls on average to make contact with a decision-maker, a sales rep could be spending upwards of 35 minutes just getting a single prospect on the phone, once. (And of course, the prospect probably won’t say yes the first time.) That’s why faster CRM is a trend we’re seeing a […]