How to Close More Deals by Mapping Your Sales Process

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Most builders live by the rule “Measure twice. Cut once.” Sure, it takes more work on the front end, but it saves time, money, and frustration for the overall project. It wastes less material and gets better final results.

But most builders probably learned this rule the hard way. Early on, they skipped those extra measurements and ended up with something that didn’t line up. Then they had to backtrack until they found the wrongly measured piece. In the end, they learned the extra time measuring is well worth the investment.

Isn’t the same true in sales? Sales measurements aren’t taken in inches and feet — they’re taken through a sales process. If you can check measurements of success continually, you’ll be able to catch problems before they destroy your deals.

Here’s how a measured sales process keeps your sales team on track.

Why Sales Process Mapping Works

Any time you put a process in place, you have something to measure. And in sales, a routine sales process gives your salespeople a launching point for success. Sure, people do different things. Some salespeople approach a process with more creativity. Some clients need a more tailored approach to sales before they buy. But the groundwork of a sales process can be the same for everyone.

Related: A Sales Lead Management Process You Can Count On

The Basic Sales Process

A consistent sales process keeps your customers on the same track. Perhaps your sales process steps look something like this:

  1. Schedule an initial meeting
  2. Follow up after the meeting regarding any action items you discussed
  3. Give them a quote
  4. Make sure they received the quote
  5. Make contact regularly until they buy (every 30-60 days)

With sales process mapping, not only do beginning salespeople have a foundation for pursuing prospects, but these sales steps also help you troubleshoot three common problems.

Problem 1: Low-Performing Salesperson

If a salesperson isn’t meeting their goals, you have a starting point for identifying the problem. Look at their sales process. Are they scheduling enough initial meetings? Do they respond with quotes promptly? Do they make contact regularly after sending quotes? If they’re missing one of these steps, you’ve likely found the issue they need to work on in order to improve.

Without a process, it’s hard to identify the problems. Why isn’t this salesperson performing? When you have the same sales steps in place for everyone, you can identify low performers and pinpoint the problems.

Problem 2: Disappearing Prospects

A process also keeps your clients on a marketing path. Maybe a deal gets delayed or a prospect seems to disappear for a while. At one point, this prospect seemed interested, but something happened. They managed to fall out of the sales funnel either by choice or because a salesperson didn’t follow through.

But sales process steps help you pick up where they left off. If a prospect already received a quote, you can follow up on that quote rather than starting over when you resume contact.

Problem 3: Inconsistency

A sales process gives your clients consistency. And consistency builds trust. Your clients will come to realize everyone at your business is on the same page. They trust that you’ll be in contact regularly and know the next steps. And when they know they can count on you, they’re more likely to give you their business.

Setting Up the Sales Process

Paint broad strokes as you come up with the right process for your business. You don’t want to box people in. Instead, show them what general activities lead to sales. Then tie those activities to different steps, but leave room for salespeople to tailor their approach to the clients.

Then teach the process from the top down. Use top salespeople to outline the activities that led to their sales. After they have collectively outlined their sales process, they can teach it to others. If everyone follows that outline, each salesperson will be on the same page as they move clients through the funnel.

Make Sure It Works

You’re measuring the activities of your sales team along the way, but now it’s time for one extra measurement. Evaluate the sales process itself. Look at your sales process at least every six months to see what works and what doesn’t. You’ll start to notice trends like when people buy, where people fall off, and where individual salespeople succeed or struggle. Don’t isolate individual sales situations, but look at the whole sample. Then you’ll be able to make better decisions about what actions to take.

Sales is a marathon, not a sprint. It evolves over time. As the market changes, your sales process changes. So evaluate it regularly to make sure it matches up with the results you want.

As a manager, you’ll find a sales process makes it much easier to manage your team, replicate effectiveness, and scale your success.

4 Ways Auto Glass Salesmen Can Make Their CRM Work Harder for Them

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In the auto glass industry, you can’t create sales. You can’t increase sales by closing deals. Unless you go out and smash windshields, you can’t generate a problem to solve. You’ve got to wait for something to happen.

The waiting game can be hard. After all, in auto glass sales, success depends on how well you can sell to professional sources, like auto shops and insurance agents. And it’s tough to make the top of their list. Maybe you have a great meeting, but then it’s months until they have a claim. By that point, they’ve either lost your contact info or forgotten how great you were.

So how do you stay on their radar? Stay active! And how do you stay active? Use a CRM to keep you on track.

Here are 4 ways to make your CRM work even harder for your success.

1. Keep Real Prospects in Your CRM

Make sure your CRM has the right prospects. Do you have everyone who could send you a referral in your database? Your CRM should house your clients and your prospects. So think of every potential client who could possibly refer you for a car window replacement. Then include the contact information for those professional referrals in your CRM. From there, you can organize your notes and keep track of your contacts.

2. Methodically Contact Them

Now that you’ve got the right prospects and clients in your CRM, contact them regularly and methodically. Determine what activities lead to a referral. How many people do you need to see in a day, week, or month to meet your goals? A CRM will hold you accountable for making those touches.

Plus, you won’t miss a contact if you’re using a reliable CRM. Sometimes we mean to go see someone but forget. Then, when there’s a claim, the agents refer someone else because you weren’t on their radar. A CRM keeps track of your activities and reminds you when it’s time to make contact. That way, no prospect gets overlooked.

If you rely on “one-off” conversations, you’ll never make consistent sales. You need to have activities and accountability in place. A good CRM keeps you on track.

3. Inspect What You Expect

Use your CRM to follow up and keep track of your team’s activity wherever you are. If you’re managing a team, you can see who they’ve contacted in real time. So, if you expect 10 contacts a day, a mobile CRM helps you make sure your team is following through.

4. Tie Commissions to Activity

In an industry like auto glass, don’t just reward sales. You can’t rely on the same traditional compensation mechanisms that other sales industries use. Why? Because closing deals doesn’t generate more sales.

Instead, figure out a way to connect commissions to activity or offer bonuses for activity. Activities lead to sales. It’s the most important thing. If you focus on activity, orders will follow.

Being an auto glass sales rep is about keeping good rapport so that, when accidents happen, you’re the person professionals refer. So let your CRM help you stay at the top of their list.

 

4 Mobile CRM Advantages Your Sales Team Will Love

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Mobile phone use is no longer new or progressive. It’s expected.

99% of people old enough to work, own a cellphone. And 90% of those devices are smartphones. There are even more mobile devices in the world than people. So why not add an app to the device everyone has in their pocket?

If you’re not using a mobile CRM for your sales team, it’s time to start.

Keeps Your Sales Info in One Place

A mobile CRM keeps all your information in one spot. It doesn’t live anywhere else — you don’t have to upload from one system to another or worry about what information you stored where. With a mobile CRM, you know where everything is.

A Mobile CRM Boosts Confidence

Because you’ll use the CRM regularly on your phone, you’ll quickly become comfortable with it. You know the process and how it works. And the more confident you are in storing and accessing the data, the more confident you are in your delivery.

Related: How to Implement A CRM With Your Sales Team

Remember when you were scared to check your bank balance in college? You were poor, and you didn’t know how bad the numbers were. So what’d you do? Avoid it. The same happens with CRMs. If you’re not comfortable with the program, you may avoid it and skip follow-ups. But if you feel good about your CRM (and it’s helping you reach your goals), you’ll follow up.

Why Not?

As great as a CRM mobile option is, some people are hesitant to buy in. Why? Usually, it comes down to the decision maker’s needs and accountability.

Different people in the organization want different things from their CRM. Marketing and IT people want the reports and integration. Salespeople want a tool that’s easy to use. And whoever purchases the software decides which needs are most important.

Plus, a CRM mobile app is a newer concept, and some people don’t want to carry the responsibility of making a company-wide software change. It’s like my friend who was having trouble with IT equipment told me when I asked him why he didn’t change, “No one ever got fired for buying Cisco.” He knew other IT software worked better, but he was protecting his job. If a brand-name product had problems, blame wouldn’t fall on him. But if a lesser-known product messed up, he’d likely take the heat.

The Biggest Advantages of a Mobile CRM

But in reality, it’s not that big of a gamble. A mobile CRM like CallProof offers all the spreadsheet options marketing professionals love about traditional CRMs while increasing the reliability of your data and offering some great options for your sales reps. Here are its four greatest perks.

1. It Updates Data Immediately

The biggest advantage of a mobile CRM is the ability to update data as you go. You don’t put it off until later. Because you update the info right away, you won’t forget about it. After all, if you don’t have the data, you can’t get an accurate report.

Plus, you don’t miss the nuances. See, this is what usually happens: people write down their notes. Then, at the end of the day or week, they update the CRM. But they miss some things. When you wait, it’s easy to forget the details of the conversation. But if you update immediately, you keep the spirit of the message and still remember the details.

Related: Why Your Salespeople Hate Using Your CRM – And How to Change Their Minds

2. You Always Know Who’s Around You

A mobile CRM gives you the option to search by location no matter where you are. That means you can get real-time information on each business nearby. If you walk into a medical plaza, you can pull out your phone and see exactly who your customers and prospects are in the building. And if you have a GPS feature on your app, that’s even better.

3. Keeps Info Accessible

Once you see who’s nearby, you can pull up their full history. You’ll know exactly where you (or another salesperson on your team) left off and can pick up where the last conversation ended.

4. You Always Have Your Phone

A mobile device is the one thing you always carry with you. So you don’t have to think of another thing to bring to appointments. Having full access to your CRM is as simple as grabbing your phone.

Usually, you’ll use your mobile CRM immediately after an appointment. But there are some features even your customers will notice as a perk. We work with a lot of farmers. They love the speech-to-text feature (like I do) and the other hands-free options. Recently, I got a call from the VP at a farm equipment company. When I asked how he heard about us, he said, “Well, we were having a contest at an Ag show. As people entered, it took a while to get their answers to our questions and enter their contact information. Then this guy comes up to me and asks, Why don’t you have what my seed guy has?! He just hollers into the phone, and my seed shows up!’ When I talked to his seed guy, he told me about CallProof.”

Turns out, the seed guy used order forms on his mobile CRM. And not only did it make his life easier, it made the process better for his customers too.

A mobile CRM works better for everyone — it gives the salespeople an easy-to-use app where they can enter data in real time. And it gives the marketing and IT department information they can count on. Even the customers notice a difference in your efficiency. So, if you’re not taking full advantage of the device everyone already has, give us a call and see how CallProof can work for you.

A Sales Lead Management Process You Can Count On

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Want a more profitable business? (Dumb question. Of course you do.) Whether you’ve been around for a while or are just starting up, every smart business owner wants to increase their sales.

So what’s your lead tracking process?

Too often, a quality system for tracking leads falls through the cracks — and so do potential customers. It’s tempting to take each lead individually and patchwork your responses based on what’s worked in the past. But that’s not the most effective method.

Instead, you need a sales lead management process you can count on. And good sales lead tracking does one thing: follow the right leads systematically.

How to Qualify Your Leads

Before you meet with people, ask yourself, “Who is a real potential client?”

Make sure leads can afford what you sell. Not sure? Try this simple calculation.

Perceived cost x 1,000 = Minimum Business Revenue

Let’s say your product costs $12,000, but clients pay monthly. That means they perceive the costs to be $1,000. When you multiply $1,000 by 1,000, you’ll know you should be selling to businesses who bring in at least a million dollars. Otherwise, it’s too expensive for them.

Then find a niche so your leads can be more specific. A specific market lets you stand out as a specialist for your product, as it applies to certain clients.

Related: Looking For A Sales Lead Tracking App? Use This Checklist

Let’s say you sell scissors. Everyone needs them, and all businesses are prospects. But you’ll get a better result if you tailor your specialty. So become an expert at selling scissors to insurance companies. Now, when you sell, you can say, “I know everyone sells scissors, but I work with people just like you. Here’s my story…” Through the course of your story, you’ll show your understanding of how they use scissors in their industry and how you can help with that.

Selling isn’t just about what they literally want (i.e. the scissors). Selling is about the aggregate experience that you have in dealing with people just like them.

How to Handle Leads Systematically

Once you find leads that can afford your product and fit your niche, put them in your “mechanism” immediately. This mechanism, or system, for following up helps you know what action to take when. Here’s how it works.

1. Start the Funnel

Contact your leads at regular intervals. I start with an email and a phone call. To begin a “trust bond” — a connection point that starts building their trust — I’ll email them, “Hey! I got your name from here. I’m going to call you right now.” This isn’t about marketing or a grand introduction. It’s just a way to make the first contact.

Then I call them. If they don’t answer, I leave a message and immediately email them with the subject: Just left you a voicemail. More often than not, people will respond to the email but won’t call back, even if they’re interested.

After this first touch, I start my call funnel. I’ll call back the next day (and leave a message if I don’t reach them). Then I call back at these intervals:

  • 2 days later
  • 1 week later
  • 2 weeks later
  • 1 month later
  • every 60 days until they buy

You’ll need to tweak your timing depending on your industry. But the key is to be professionally persistent. You don’t want to be in their face. And you don’t want any of these touches to seem like triggered responses (even though they are). Instead, you want clients to feel like they’re your only lead. Make it seem like they’re the only client on your agenda.

2. Script the Process

In reality, all these responses are triggered. So establish a way to respond every single time. Whether you’re a one-man business or a 20-person team, you need the process scripted.

Related: 5 Things Your Sales Script Should (and Shouldn’t) Include

3. Tweak It

Then tweak it if it’s not working. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Once you have a place to start, you just need to edit.

Think about the sales lead management process like writing. The hardest part is getting the first draft on paper. It’s much easier to critique and edit. It’s the same with the sales process.

Get your process on paper — even if it’s wrong. Then, if you’re losing people, figure out where you’re losing them and fix it. That doesn’t mean you make changes with every piece of feedback, but you look at the big picture to see where a repeated breakdown happens. Then adjust.

If you want to know the best way to make changes, ask your clients. After they’re on board, just say, “Thank you for your business. I know you’re a new client, and I’m looking forward to working with you. By the way, how did you feel through the process?” They’ll tell you what they liked and didn’t. Then you’ll know firsthand where to improve in the future.

Solid sales lead management can make all the difference in your revenue growth. A CRM like CallProof will help keep you on track.

 

Field Sales 101: Follow These 10 Solid Tips for Success

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If you’re new to field sales, there’s no sense wasting time. You have people to see and sales to make.

But there’s a learning curve. Being a field sales representative is tough work. You’re out of the office more than you’re in it — meeting people, building relationships, and trying to remember who said what so you know how to follow up.

So, as you navigate the obstacles, try these 10 tips and tools to take your field sales to the next level.

#1: Have a Sales Process Before You Meet With Prospects

Every sales representative needs a solid process before they meet a new prospect. When you have a process, you stay in control of the results. A plan keeps you on track and establishes a call to action. Then you know the possible outcomes and can be prepared to guide the prospect through their responses.

In doing so, you’ll show them you’re organized, and they’ll know they’re in good hands.

#2: Stay Organized

Have a plan for dealing with people at every stage of the sales process. Always know your action. And have a system for everything. Then, no matter where a prospect is in the funnel, you know the next touchpoint.

Moreover, don’t over-complicate your touchpoints. They’re molehills, not mountains. It’s easy for a new field sales representative to think of making contact as a giant task when it only takes a few minutes. Make sure you realize the simplicity of the task so you don’t put it off.

#3: Don’t Keep Anything in Your Head

As you work your system, use tools to keep you on track. That way you won’t overlook something (or someone) by accident. It’s a little easier to keep track of things mentally when you’re younger, but the older you get, the more difficult it becomes to mentally track it all.

So trust your calendar. Trust your CRM. Even if your memory is great, you cloud your judgment by mentally trying to keep track of everything. Instead, use a reliable CRM to track your data so you can stay focused on what you’re doing. A clear mind frees you up to be more strategic.

#4: Tell Your Story

Qualify your prospects before you meet with them. Then focus on your story. Work on telling the story of why your company exists and what your business brings to the table. It will allow you to see how that applies to your customers.

When you meet with customers, center your conversation on the story. Tell your story and listen to theirs. Customers need time, trust, and money before they buy. So build that into your story. How does your product bring value to their company?

Related Post: Sell the Value of Your Product, Not the Price

Once you hear their story and tell them yours, you’ll know if their needs align with your product. When you have conversations with the right people (people who want to buy now, not those who may want to buy “one day”), your stories will match up.

#5: Admit If You’re Not a Good Fit

If you’re not the right fit, be the first to admit it. There’s no problem in saying, “Hey, I can’t help you, and here’s why.”

But even if your product won’t solve their problem, point them in the right direction. Give them a recommendation of a person or company who will meet their needs. Then ask for a referral. I usually say, “I know I’m not the right person for you, but if you know someone else…” They almost always refer. And I almost always make a sale by telling them no.

#6: Balance Your Goals With the Customer’s Goals

Before you take on a customer, make sure it’s a win for both sides. You have a responsibility to your customers, employees, and vendors to make good decisions that benefit everyone involved.

To keep that balance, you need a direct line of sight to success. So figure out what “success” is to each person involved. As you sell to new clients or adjust to current customers’ needs, ask them what they need to be successful. Then see how you can help meet those needs. When your clients are successful, you are too.

#7: Keep the Price Fair

Price your product accordingly. You’re working with customers, not against them. So don’t gouge people. But also, don’t cheapen your product. Instead, charge a fair price where you can explain why you charge what you do.

When you’re offering a product that helps clients be successful at a fair price, you’ll see good results. Why? You’re working towards the same goal. With a fair price, the customer gets good value, and you make enough for it to be worthwhile.

#8: Take a Team Approach With Vendors

If you use vendors, don’t forget to consider their success. In the past, I didn’t want to hear about the vendors at all. I just wanted the results. Worst idea ever.

Vendors should be treated as part of the team. You have a responsibility to make sure the customer gets a good product. So everyone involved needs to be on the same page — including vendors.

Vendors are good at what they do. They’re experts — you just don’t need them full-time. Even if they only work for you temporarily, make your efforts collaborative. When you do, you’ll see better results for everyone involved.

#9: Communicate During Onboarding

You want new clients to become lifelong customers. Good onboarding sets the stage for a long-term working relationship. Onboarding is all about communication. Make sure you know what pieces need to be in place to make it successful. You’ve onboarded customers before. You have experience. They don’t. So guide them down the path and make them feel comfortable with the process.

Communicate every step of the way. It’s just like the sales process. In sales, you close a call with, “Here’s what’s going to happen next…” The onboarding process should work the same way. Make sure there’s no question about what comes next.

#10: Quote Quickly

Quotes need to be prompt. Don’t say, “I’ll get it to you soon.” Instead, tell them exactly when you’ll send it. Leads and deals are like fish. The older they get, the more they start to stink. So move fast — the more touches you make in a short time (especially during the quoting phase), the faster you’ll build trust in the relationship.

Your product is not their world. They don’t spend days thinking about your solution. That’s just something they did once and don’t want to deal with again. So get started, pull off the band-aid, show them what they need, tell them what’s going to happen, and deliver.

I typically leave a meeting, send a handwritten thank-you note, email the proposal, call them to make sure they received it, then give them their next steps. The goal is to meet their needs quickly.

These 10 tips are no great secret. The real secret to success is doing them. So don’t be one of those people who know what to do but fail to follow through. Instead, let these time-proven practices change your work.

How Much Should You Really Compensate Your Salespeople?

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We all need motivation to do our best work – and money is a great source of motivation.

But the structure of salesperson commissions can only matter as much as the actual amount. We aim for salespeople compensations to reward for big sales, give opportunity for growth, and keep people motivated to sell even more. Here’s how we do it.

Foster the Mini-Business Mindset

Good salespeople have spirit. When they use that spirit to operate their sales like their own mini-business, they’re successful. Start by making them financially literate about the business so they understand how and why they’re paid. That doesn’t mean you have to divulge all the company’s financial information to them. Instead, explain how the company gets paid. Does the company earn recurring revenue from a sale, or is all payment up front? Then structure their pay similarly. If it’s a one-off sale, they’ll get paid once. If it’s recurring revenue, they’ll earn a recurring commission.

When salespeople understand how the company makes money, they’ll mimic that in their sales approach. Plus, they’ll learn that what’s good for the company is good for them. The more ownership they take in growing their own “business”, the better they become at their job. They’ll foster a consultative relationship with their customers, doing whatever it takes to keep that customer satisfied and offering additional products and services that meet their needs. In turn, they understand the business on a deeper level, which makes them an even better salesperson.

But, if they don’t get paid the same way as the company, mistrust starts to grow. If you get paid recurring revenue, but the salesperson doesn’t, they feel cheated. They start to distrust leadership. And they stop treating their job like a business.

The Average Commission for Salespeople

Since salespeople want opportunities to grow their business and income, try to match commission structures to how the company is paid. As a rule of thumb, the average commission is one sixth of what the company makes. So, with every sale, the company makes six times what the salesperson is paid.

The 3 Phases of Sales & How to Separate Them

Should you offer more commission for a new sale or a retention? If you offer more for a new sale, will your retention levels drop? How you weigh salespeople compensation depends on the business. But separating types of sales strengthens your business and better equips your team.

Think of sales as three phases: hunting, farming, and account management. We want to separate those roles as much as possible so people can focus on the area in which they’re most skilled.

Hunting

Hunters are the people who go out and find new sales. They find prospects and qualify them — and they’re good at it. If you have someone who finds new opportunities, keep them hunting. You want them capitalizing on their strength of bringing you new customers.

Farming

Once a prospect becomes active, you move them to the farming category. This is the nurturing and cultivating stage. It is where you want the salespeople who can close a deal. Farmers are people in front of customers, moving deals through the pipeline.

Account Management

These are the people who keep the client happy. They provide customer service to the client, answering their questions or coordinating repairs. Maybe this is your technology person who can keep things running smoothly. Sometimes the best technology or service people aren’t great salespeople. It’s just a different personality type.

The more separate you keep these roles, the better. But also, remember to move clients between categories. You don’t want a salesperson servicing the copier, but they can still coordinate the relationship between the client and the service technician. And, when the client is up for renewal, it’s the farmer’s turn to deal with them again.

Capping Commissions

When you have a cap on a salesperson’s commission, you’ll stop making money off of them. And it’s an easy way to make your sales team unhappy. Find a solution where, if they make a million dollars, you make six million – then it’s worth it for everyone.

The exception comes when the salesperson no longer services an account. Let’s say someone just gets paid on monthly recurring revenue from something they sold but no longer manage. In those situations, limit the timeframe on the payout or scale down the commission over time. Maybe the first year they earn 5%, the second year they earn 2%, and then the third year they earn nothing. Why? Because if a salesperson always gets a piece of the pie, they’ll stop hunting. They won’t look for new prospects because they won’t need to.

Bottom line: make your sales commission structure clear to your salespeople. Make sure they know what it’ll take to succeed and that sales are worth their time. After all, when your sales team does well, your company does well too.

Anatomy of the Perfect Sales Follow-Up Call

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Benjamin Franklin once said, “Energy and persistence conquer all things.” Well, he may have exaggerated a little, but it sure does seem to apply to sales.

Sales relies on persistence. And often, that persistence relies on following up.

When you’re dealing with clients, you should always have a next step. No matter what. Follow-up calls can be the perfect way to close the loop and provide your next interaction with a prospect.

Contact Them… Then Contact Them Again

Sales is based on a series of touches. Sometimes you call prospects, and sometimes you need to make contact in another way. Before they buy, people need trust, timing, and money.

The faster and the more frequently you can interact with them, the faster you can identify those needs and build trust. Some interactions directly affect the sale. Others focus on building a relationship with the client.

Here’s how we get to know your future clients and move them through the buying process.

Ask, “When should I follow up next?”

Always pin down the next action step at the end of a sales meeting. Just ask them, “When should I follow up next?” so you know where the prospect is in the buying cycle. This closes the loop for the meeting and helps you plan your next steps accordingly.

Mail a Handwritten “Thank You” Note

Always drop a “thank you” note in the mail after your meeting. And, if you can, make sure it’s sent from their town. I write a note as soon as I leave a meeting and mail it right away.

Send Your Quote ASAP

If the call to action is to send a quote or proposal, send it soon. It’s helpful to tell your prospect exactly what to expect. I might say, “I’ll send you an email right now to make sure you have my contact information. I’ll get a quote together for you later today or early tomorrow.” Now, they have your information and know when to expect the proposal.

Follow Up Immediately After Sending the Quote

After you send your proposal, call your client ASAP. That way, you can make sure they received the quote before they can form an opinion on it. This conversation isn’t about finding out what they think about your quote, but rather confirming they have the information. I might say, “Hey, I just sent you the quote and wanted to make sure you received it…. Great! When should I follow up with you next?” They’ll tell you.

Call Back

Now, when you call for the next step, they’ve given you permission to contact them. Check and see where they are in the process since they’ve had some time to think about the quote.

As you take these steps, you build in touches along the way. From your first sales meeting, you’ve worked in three more interactions before discussing the quote. Some people say it takes 6 to 7 touches to close a deal. Obviously, that varies with different products and services, but consistent contact builds trust and moves prospects toward a sale.

If You Don’t Follow Up

Consistency takes discipline. As a salesperson, you need to follow a plan — not just for the sake of checking items off your to-do list, but because follow-through builds confidence and increases your likelihood of success.

People want excellent customer care. If you don’t follow up when you’re in the sale phase, you probably won’t respond to them in time once they’re a client. The sales process is like an interview. Prospects want vendors who stay organized, respond immediately, know what they’re doing, and know the next steps. And with good sales follow-up, you get to show them what it’ll be like to do business together. If you don’t follow up, they won’t want to work with you.

How to Make a Great Follow-Up Call

Before you reach for the phone, do your homework. Check your notes so you know what to say in a follow-up call. You’ll need to remind yourself when you last spoke and how you left the conversation. Here’s the basic outline for a great call.

1. Immediately say your name and your company.

2. Remind them when you spoke last and what you spoke about.

3. Quickly recap any of their concerns and provide solutions. This will remind them why they’re on the call.

4. Be persistent and polite, not obnoxious or pushy.

When to Follow Up

Generally speaking, you want sales follow-ups to be tight. Leads are like fish — the older they get, the more they stink. So keep leads fresh with a quick follow-up. If you’re selling to a really busy person, make their next steps easy so you can keep them in the sales process without taking up too much of their time.

Active and Latent Buyers

Also, consider what kind of buyer you have: are they active or latent? Active buyers are an active opportunity in the pipeline. You’re following up with them in 60 days or less, and they’re ready to buy a product.

But, if a prospect asks you to wait more than 60 days for your next follow-up, consider them a latent buyer. That means you’re nurturing them to become an active buyer in the future.

How a CRM Helps You Follow Up

A good CRM makes sure you don’t miss anything as you work to close the loop and set your next follow-up actions. Successful people in sales do two things:

1. They schedule a follow-up action every time they speak with someone.

2. They make notes about every interaction. Sometimes they even add notes that say, “Nothing to note.”

That’s why you need a CRM that plays well with the tools you use to keep track of your life. It needs to integrate with your calendars and to-do lists so no one falls through the cracks. You’ll also want a solution that files notes with each action step. That way, it’ll be even easier to access the information you need to make a great follow-up call. And, if the CRM is easy to use on the go, you can make your updates and action steps immediately — which is even better.

Sell the Value of Your Product, Not the Price

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Don’t compete on price.

But if you do, you’d better be the cheapest… and stay the cheapest.

See, when you sell the value based on price, both you and the customer treat the product like a commodity. There’s no relationship, and there’s no loyalty.

Instead, take the consultative approach. When you position yourself as an expert and a true partner with your customers, you sell the value in the advice you offer. And if you do that, your relationship will outlast your price point.

Current Customers = Best Prospects

Your current customers are your best prospects — if you have a relationship. When you know your clients, conversations about other products or services you offer happen naturally. Plus, they’re open to giving referrals because they trust you. But if you’re competing on price, you won’t have a good enough relationship with your customer to expand your wallet share with that business. Plus, they lack the incentive to give you referrals.

Start With the Right Pitch

To avoid selling based on price alone, you need to craft your sales pitch in a way that builds a relationship from the beginning. But how do you do that if the typical customer only cares about three things?

1. What is the product?

2. Why do I need it?

3. How much will it cost?

There’s one other element of a sales pitch that matters: the story. If you want to hold their attention and get them to think the way you want, tell the story and make the sale. Tell them why you’re in business. Then they become involved.

This isn’t a slideshow. This isn’t an informational company history. It’s a way to connect. Think of it like a good movie.

Take our story, for example. Several years ago, I was looking for a CRM solution. Like anyone, I wanted something that would store all my information in one place, keep me from missing a client, and allow me to see data in various ways. So I went out and looked at several solutions. I even liked some. But when I tried them, set them up, and rolled them out to the sales team, they’d just do the same things they’d always done. They would stick to their systems and write down their notes. But now they needed 4-5 hours a week to enter it into the system. We got a lot of garbage in the CRM. The top performers arguably didn’t have time to deal with it, and other people weren’t entering data that’d make them look bad. So I needed to find something different.

I realized CRMs were just built to sell. They were made for IT and marketing people from large companies — because that’s who had the budget for the software. But the people who actually use the CRM daily weren’t considered. When I made a list of what my salespeople needed and what I needed as a manager, I realized nothing did that. So I built CallProof.

We started using it successfully. Then our clients started asking what we were using. They wanted it too. Here we are, 9 years later, with a mature solution that provides thousands of users with a bug-free, simple way to keep track of their sales.

That’s our story. A good customer will relate to that. If I’m selling to an IT or marketing person from a large company, I’m going to tell them a slightly different story to show them how our product meets their needs.

Showing Your Product’s Value

Once a prospect invests in your story, figure out their motivation. If you can understand their goals, you can show them how working with you helps them get there. Do they have a problem you can solve? Can you show them how your solution helps them reach their end goal? If they’re starting to connect with you and you connect to their goals, your product just became much more valuable.

Avoid Prospects Who Only Buy for Price

There are two types of decision-makers: asset owners and asset custodians. Asset owners care about the well-being of the business. As you deal with owners, you’re dealing with the people who have a stake in the success of the company. So you sell to them based on what your product or service means to the company and the bottom line.

Asset custodians are just trying to avoid problems. They’re trying to get their job done and avoid extra work. They’re much more likely to “kick the tires”, so you need to be ready to change the conversation to deal with their main priorities and keep them from focusing solely on price.

Your product is valuable. Don’t cheapen its value by reducing your sales pitch to the bottom line. Instead, sell the total benefit you and your product offer your customers.

How Women In Sales Can Succeed In The Male-Dominated Industry

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Sales used to be an industry dominated by men. Why do you think we still default to “salesman” rather than “salesperson”?

However, there are more women in the job market today than ever before. In fact, women make up about 45% of the workforce in the United States. And sales is no different; as the number of women in the workplace rises, so does the number of women in sales.

Men vs. Women in Sales

Like men, women can be excellent at sales. And like men, some women struggle at it. The qualities of a top salesperson are the same. Everyone needs confidence. And everyone needs a process for collecting leads, following up, and closing sales. But a person’s level of confidence and the quality of their sales system depend much more on the individual than on their gender.

That being said, there are parts of sales where women generally have an advantage. For example, many women get better results in prospecting. Women listen differently than men. And whereas men may listen to see how their solution fits your problem, women hear the emotional undertones of the conversation. They can often figure out a customer’s real problem and offer the best next step. Men, however, often push people to the next step without considering what the correct next step should be.

That also means men generally close more sales, more quickly. They’re less concerned with the emotional implications, not overthinking each step, so they negotiate to close and then move on.

Yet, these are just stereotyped advantages. While some women hold an advantage in face-to-face or phone prospecting and men take the advantage in negotiation, individual work ethic is much more important.

The Most Successful Women in Sales

Some of the most outstanding salespeople I know are women. And, though the sales industry is often perceived as a “man’s world”, some of our most groundbreaking leaders have been women. From Mary Musgrave, who used fur trading posts to establish peace with the Europeans during the 1700s, to Estee Lauder, who introduced the idea of incentivizing purchases, to Oprah Winfrey, who is often called “the most powerful woman in the world”, women have been revolutionizing sales for hundreds of years.

Those women were successful in their own right. They didn’t do the same thing as everyone else in their time. They didn’t learn how to succeed in sales by copying the people before them. Instead, they listened to others and found the approach that worked best for the surrounding needs. They didn’t let gender stand in the way of using their strengths to succeed.

Sales Tips for Women

People who make it in sales are disciplined and intentional. They have a plan for how to do business and who to work with, and they make it all better with their personal strengths. So, if you’re wondering how to succeed in sales, here are three tips for moving in the right direction.

1. Have a System

The single biggest differentiator in your performance is how you move prospects through your pipeline. Man or woman, you need a way to keep track of people, no matter where they are in the sales process.

2. Capitalize on Your Own Talents

What are your talents as an individual? Leverage those to your advantage in the sales process. Whether your strengths are gender-specific is irrelevant. It’s all about how you use your best qualities to move clients through your system. Focus on your own strengths.

3. Look for Leadership

It’s always helpful to work with and for strong leaders. It’s not as common as we’d hope for new salespeople to surpass the leaders who train them. Usually, you’ll find the best people in sales have a good leader… and good leaders have good salespeople.

There aren’t just good salesmen. There are great salespeople. And today, we’re glad that more of those people are women.

The Most Successful Sales Teams Avoid These Time Management Mistakes

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As a salesperson, you have a say in how your day unfolds. But as you balance working in the office with prospecting and helping clients, are you really making the most of your time?

Below we’ve listed the most common time management mistakes that salespeople – and sales managers – make. If you want your sales team to run smoothly and effectively, avoid these mistakes and follow the steps listed for a more productive schedule.

The Biggest Time Management Mistakes That Sales Teams Make

Being busy doesn’t mean you’re effective. So look at how you spend your time and schedule your day to see if you’re maximizing your work hours.

Mistake #1: Spending Time on Software Updates and Data Entry

A salesperson’s day should be focused on talking to prospects. You have to work within the office hours of your potential clients. So spend your day making those connections. Other activities can be done other times. The CRM software can be updated anytime. It’s not bound to the 9-5 workday. So save it for a less valuable time of the day.

Mistake #2: Leaving the Schedule Open

Each night before you leave the office, figure out the best plan of action for the next day. If you don’t have a plan, you won’t accomplish as much. Make a schedule of when you’ll prospect and contact clients so you don’t spend your best hours figuring out what to do next.

Managers, help your team by setting clear goals for activity and creating a sample salesperson daily schedule. Then your salespeople have a model of how to structure their day to best use their time.

Follow These 3 Steps to Increase Your Sales Productivity

As you look to increase productivity every month, the key is knowing what works. So, after you set activity level goals for each individual and teach them to schedule their day, you need to check on what’s happening. It’s all about the plan, the reality, and looking for ways to improve.

1. Know the Plan

As a manager, I want to know how my salespeople schedule their day. I want to know who they plan to see and how they envision spending their time. For example, they’ll tell me, “These are the 10 people I’ll see today.”

2. Know What Actually Happened

Next, I need to know how the plan unfolds. What really happens? Do they see all 10 people? Maybe they only see 7 of 10 prospects on their list for the day. Now I can follow up.

3. Calculate the Difference and the Cost

What’s the difference between their plan and reality? In this case, they missed three of their planned contacts for the day. So I ask why. The salesperson says, “The expense report took up my time so I could only get to seven people.”

Now I know the expense report is costing us three visits. If we close 30% of our contacts, that expense report costs us $35K in potential earnings. If my salespeople have to do one expense report a month, it costs us $420K per year per salesperson. Sounds like I need to figure out how to eliminate the expense reports for my sales team. And with that amount of potential profit, I can afford to hire someone that handles expense reports for my team.

When you crunch the numbers and see the differentials, you’ll see what’s standing in the way of closing more sales. Don’t let the we’ve always done it this way mentality stand in your way. Instead, take an honest look at the numbers and eliminate the tasks that create unnecessary obstacles.

Time Management Tips for Sales Managers

Managers, with intentionality, you can teach each member of your team how to be a successful salesperson. Don’t leave it up for them to navigate on their own. Here’s how.

1. Figure Out What They Should and Shouldn’t Be Doing

What’s getting in their way of meeting prospects and closing sales? If you can eliminate unnecessary tasks, do it.

2. Find Solutions

Are expense reports getting in their way? Hire someone to handle those. Is CRM reporting taking up too much time? Find a CRM that automates activity reports. There are solutions out there for these time-consuming tasks — you just need to implement them.

3. Check Activity Levels

Work backwards with your numbers. How many average clients will they need to meet their sales goal? To close that many clients, how many people should they quote? In order to get that number of quotes, how many prospects should they see? How many prospects is that per day?

Then, if you can tell a salesperson exactly how many prospects they should see each day, you’ve taken out your guess work. With an automated CRM, you can hold them accountable to maintaining the activity level they need to meet their goals.

Time Management Tips for Salespeople

1. If It’s on Your Calendar, You HAVE to Do It

It’s easy to snooze a task for later. Don’t do it. Make your calendar sacred. If there’s a task on it, it’s not optional. If you get into a cycle of picking and choosing which tasks you’ll do, you’ll always avoid the most difficult (and maybe most lucrative) ones.

2. Focus on the Highest Payoff Activities

When you have the choice, pick the activities with the highest payoff. Sure, updating your data for the week is important, but what’s the payoff? Cold-calling prospects may be more taxing, but it holds the biggest potential return. So, when your list gets long, don’t start with the menial tasks that don’t make much difference. Instead, start with the ones that pay.

If you’re not using your flexible schedule to your advantage, it’s time to start. Choose activities that bring the most reward and delegate the tasks that don’t.