7 Conversations You Should Never Have With a Prospect via Email

Email is easy. But easy isn’t always best.

People try to send emails instead of having conversations all the time. Sometimes it works. But in these seven situations, it just doesn’t.

Even if you’re tempted, don’t have these conversations via email. It’s time to pick up the phone.

1. Anything that starts with “Just”

I was just emailing…
Just following up…
Just checking in…
Just dropping a note…

NOPE.

Call them instead. When you’re speaking with someone, you can control the conversation and really take their temperature. Listen to them and propose something that’s reasonable.

If you think they’re a hot prospect, they’re worth a call. Say, “Hey, making sure you have everything you needed. When should I follow up with you next?” They’ll tell you where they are.

Maybe you thought they’d close next week, but they tell you, “Well, I need to run it by this person…” Now you know they’re not ready, while your “just” email would have likely gone unanswered, leaving you wondering where you stand.

Related: Use These Sales Follow-Up Strategies to Replace “Just Checking In”

2. Negotiations

Don’t negotiate over email. No one gets your inflections so it’s tough to communicate nuances. It’s difficult to distinguish between value and price in text. Everything is literally black and white while negotiations work best in the gray. Sometimes negotiating via email is unavoidable, but avoid it whenever you can.

3. Introductions

Pick up the phone if you can (and if it’s appropriate) to make an introduction. The point of an introduction is to connect with a new person — and email doesn’t provide the best channel for connection. With a phone call (or better yet, a face-to-face opportunity), you’re better able to put a personality to the name and establish a connection they’ll remember.

4. Become Someone’s Friend

Email isn’t the place to build rapport and make friends. You’re not pen pals. Again, there’s no inflection in text. We all read emails according to our moods — which leaves too much to interpretation. Save rapport building for a conversation.

5. Cancel Vendors or Customers

If you have a customer or vendor that’s not a good fit, still give them the respect of having a conversation about it. You need to listen to them, and you can explain why the relationship isn’t working out. If the conversation goes well, you may even get a referral out of the deal.

You’d never get a referral from email. They’re not thinking about that. But every time you talk to someone, as long as the conversation goes well, you have the opportunity for a referral. If you ask them about it in the course of a conversation, they may know just the person to send your way.

6. Apologies

It’s too easy for an apology to be misread via email. It’ll be misconstrued depending on what the person wants to see. If you keep an email apology too brief, it seems like you don’t care. If you make your email too long, no one will read it.

Plus, it always takes too much time. It probably took you 45 minutes to craft the message that’ll be misread anyway. Just call them or make an appointment to meet so you can apologize the way you intend.

7. Pitch a Sale

Sales pitches rely on interaction, which makes them near impossible to do via email. Even if you send a video sales pitch, you end up guessing about the client’s needs. You’ll spend a lot of time on disclaimers, “I think this is probably what you’re looking for based on…”

If a client asks for an emailed pitch, you can always try it. It won’t be as effective as a face-to-face pitch, but you’ll miss 100% of the shots you never take.

Related: Tell the Story, Make the Sale: Sales Conversation Starters to Improve Your Pitch

Sales is all about the relationship… and emails don’t allow for the back and forth you need to have the conversations that build sales relationships. So, whether it’s time to negotiate, check in, or apologize, pick up the phone. It’ll be worthwhile.

How to Create a Sense of Urgency in Your Sales Team

Sense of urgency

As an employee, it’s always nice to hear, “It’s okay. Just wait until tomorrow…”

But if you want to build a winning sales team as a sales manager, you need to build a sense of urgency.

You need your sales team to get excited, to crave a win today, and to move on leads quickly. And as their manager, you have to lead the charge. It’s your job to instill a sense of immediacy. You’re the one who emphasizes the importance of taking immediate action.

So how do you do it? It all starts with casting a vision. Then you help them get there with the right tools, fewer distractions, and accountability.

Here’s how to create a sense of urgency in your sales team that keeps them focused on meeting those goals ASAP.

Clear a Line of Sight

Set clear goals for your team. What are you trying to accomplish? Cast the vision and sell them on it.

Tell them, “Here’s where we need to be by the end of the quarter. If everyone does their part, we’ll get there. If we don’t get there it’s on me — but I’m not going to fail.”

Whittle Down the To-Do List

After you set the goal, look at what tasks help salespeople achieve it… and what don’t. Start eliminating the things that seem productive but aren’t — like research, filing emails, or anything that doesn’t result in an immediate sale. You can even tell them, “Hey, we all spend time (researching, filing emails, etc. ), but we’re not going to do it for 90 days. Instead, I’ve made arrangements for how we’re going to handle it.”

It may seem that the time spent doing these non-urgent tasks is minimal, but it adds up. And when your team takes some of the little things off their plate, they’re better able to focus on more productive work.

Brainstorm Together

Get your sales team involved in figuring out how to achieve those goals too. Explain how activities lead to sales. Then ask for input:

  • What tasks do they see as non-productive?
  • What time-sucks keep them from making a sales?
  • What “jobs” have nothing to do with meeting people and making a sale?
  • What ideas do they have for getting stuff done in a different way?

People are probably harder on themselves than you would be on them. And the more involved they are in thinking of ideas, the more dedicated they’ll be to acting on them.

Look at the Pipeline

Also, look at each person’s pipeline. Salespeople should not have 50+ leads in their pipeline — they should have about seven. Look at each contact in their pipeline and ask the salesperson what the next step is. If the next step isn’t, “I need to call them,” “I need to get this from them,” or “I need to find out…,” move them out of the pipeline.

Related: How to Increase Sales By Returning Calls Faster

Only keep the leads you can act on now. The pipeline is not the place for delayed action. It’s the place for leads you can act on immediately.

Communicate Consistently

As their manager, communicate regularly and consistently. If you can, have salespeople call or email you after every appointment or meeting. We call it an “after-action report.” If they know you’re in the loop, they’ll automatically be urgent.

Without accountability, people move at their own pace — which often isn’t as efficient as it could be. You’re not their babysitter or their auditor. But you are holding them accountable. This kind of communication is all about sharing, working together, and staying on the same page.

Should you pay them more or offer incentives for reaching goals?

Honestly, they don’t really help. Incentives won’t fix a lack of urgency.

Creating a winning sales team is all about establishing the right culture — a culture that feels a sense of urgency and gets things done!

Gear Load-Out for Outside Sales Pros: 11 Essentials to Have With You in the Field

Gear load out

We’ve all seen the frumpy sales guy come into a meeting fumbling through his stuff. His pen doesn’t work, he’s scattered, and his breath stinks. Don’t be that guy.

You want to be the guy who walks into a meeting cool and calm. You know your stuff and you’ve got the right stuff.

Here’s what you’ll need:

A Mobile Device

A mobile device is a must. Have it charged and ready to access your calendar, email, and a speech-activated CRM. But keep it in your pocket until it’s relevant. Turn all notifications off and resist the temptation to check it haphazardly.

Only pull it out when you need to send your contact information to the person you’re meeting or look at your calendar.

A Swiss Army-Style USB Charging Knife

Keep a swiss army-style charger in your pocket. You probably won’t need it since your phone is already charged, but someone else in your meeting might.

Digging for a charger is a sign of inferiority. Sure, people have legit excuses about why their phone isn’t charged, but it makes them look bad. Pulling out the cool charging knife shows you are one step ahead of the world. If someone’s phone dies, just toss them this tool and move on.

Five Sugarless Breath Mints

With breath mints on hand, you keep your fresh breath AND you have a literal exit strategy in your pocket. If the meeting is going long, keep listening intently while you pull out a breath mint, pop it, and lean back in your chair. They’ll take the hint and start wrapping up.

Pro Tip 1: Take mints out of the package so they don’t rattle. Either put them in a plastic bag or an immaculately folded napkin.

Pro Tip 2: Only buy sugarless mints — sugar causes bad breath so you’ll end up with worse breath than you had before.

Two Pens

Sales meetings aren’t the place for your Mont Blanc, but you will need two functional pens. You don’t want your pen to distract anyone from the conversation. You want them to focus on you.

And if one runs out of ink, you have another.

Two Sheets of Folded Copier Paper

Take these two sheets of paper, and fold them into a square. Leave them in your jacket pocket — don’t just set them on the table. When you need to take a note, pull them out and write down what you need. Do not unfold them unless you’re just refolding to get a clean space. After you jot down your note, put them back.

Why plain paper? Sheets of paper are easier to deal with later. If you write your notes in a journal, you may just tuck it away and forget about them. But if you have loose paper, you’ll read it right away and do what’s needed.

Plus, journals and legal pads make you look like a secretary — you’re not. Don’t try to take minutes on the meeting. If you’re only writing down selective notes, it’ll highlight what you’re paying attention to. And it’ll make the things you write down seem more important.

Five Tissues

If you need a tissue during the meeting you don’t want to pull out a bulky tissue packet, but you also need enough for yourself and to offer to someone if they need it. I always put tissues in my back left pocket with nothing else. Then, when I pull them out, nothing else comes with it.

And don’t use a handkerchief — they’re outdated and kind of gross.

Five Business Cards

Don’t hand your business cards out like candy. These are a last resort — only hand out a card if someone directly asks for it.

Your first choice should be an email. (Pro Tip: Have a My Contact Info email queued up on your phone ready to send when the need arises.)

Try to avoid participating in the business card exchange at the beginning of a meeting. When everyone starts passing around their cards, pull out your mobile and email or text them directly. I typically say, “I have cards if you need them, but I’m sending you my info now so you don’t have to type it in later.”

You don’t want people looking at your card — you want them looking at you.

A Sport Coat or Suit Jacket

The sport coat is a pro’s briefcase. Use the inside pockets only (never the outside) to store your essentials. I put my paper and pens in the left breast pocket and my phone and mints in the right. Everything is always in the same place so I never have to search for what I need.

Edge Dressing on Your Shoes

Keep your dress shoes looking brand new with edge dressing. If you can’t take care of your shoes, how will you take care of your customers?

Taking meticulous care of your shoes makes you look intentional. If you pay attention to details like this, your clients will know they’re in good hands.

A Nice Wallet

If your wallet comes out of your pocket, it should look like the nicest thing you own. In a sales meeting, a high-powered wallet with no money is worth infinitely more than a beat-up wallet with $700 inside.

(A Few) Keys

Of course, you need your car keys to get home. You don’t want to be the guy waiting on AAA in the parking lot as everyone else leaves. However, bring the smallest number of keys possible, make sure they don’t jingle in your pocket, and never pull them out in a meeting.

Related: The One Essential Habit That Transforms Good Salespeople Into Rainmakers

You can also use your keys as an exit signal. If the “walk you out” lobby chat starts to drag, grab your keys. The other person will get the picture without you being rude.

Leave Your Bag Behind

Notice we didn’t recommend a bag. Bags intimidate people and create an unnecessary barrier. If you can, avoid bringing one. The only time you may need a bag is if you’re doing a presentation with your computer.

Otherwise, you don’t need your laptop. You don’t need one for a calendar. You don’t need it to take notes. If you have documents to share, think about printing them out. You can carry hand-outs in a folder.

Your gear should support your killer sales strategy — not detract from it. And with these essentials on hand, you’ll be ready for each and every meeting.

5 Must-Have Elements of a Winning Sales Proposal

Sales proposal

Sales proposals aren’t magic.

They won’t make your reluctant prospect suddenly say yes. They won’t save a bad deal. They’re not the secret ingredient to your recipe for success.

But sales proposals are essential. They may not seal the deal, but you can’t seal a deal without them. When a potential client is ready to move to the next step, you’ll need a proposal to communicate your quote and provide another reason to follow up.

The Must-Have Elements of A Sales Proposal

So how do you do that? Start with these five essential parts of a sales proposal. With a winning proposal, you’ll keep the ball rolling on the road to a sale.

1. Cover Letter

Start every sales proposal with a cover letter that gives a general overview of the entire document. Limit it to one page on which you clearly address what you’re going to do for them and name your price. This is your opportunity to explain the deal in bullet points.

Plus, cover letters look great. Include contact information (for both you and the client) along with company logos. You want the client to know exactly who this came from after glancing at the first page.

With an intentional design and clear writing, you’ll start your proposal in a polished way that leaves your client ready to learn the details, not frustrated because they don’t know what they’re getting.

2. Bullet Points

Some proposals tend to drag on and on. Not yours. Write your information in bullet points whenever possible. Bullet points break up the monotony of your details. Rather than make your client hunt for the information they really need, highlight it with a clear point. Then, if you need to explain it in more detail in another section, you can.

3. Pricing Overview

The price should also be easy to find. Don’t make your client search for a price point buried in the text. Clearly state your price in the first couple of pages — you can even include it on the cover page.

If you don’t charge a simple flat rate, write out the math so they see how you came to the total cost. Maybe you charge by the user so you spell out $ x USERS = TOTAL rather than just saying, “It costs $1,000.”

You’ll quickly make your client mad if they can’t find the price. So make it clear exactly how much it’ll cost them to do business with you.

4. Next Steps

What should your prospect do next if they decide to partner with you? Tell them! You want to paint a picture so they visualize doing business with you. They shouldn’t have to figure out how to proceed. They should just have to focus on the next step you’ve already explained… or sign on the dotted line.

Related: Field Sales 101: Follow These 10 Solid Tips for Success

5. Purposeful Delivery

Give your client a hard copy of your proposal. Deliver it personally when possible, or send it overnight.

When you ensure the sales proposal gets in their hands, you show your prospect that you’re diligent with your customers. This isn’t some document you just emailed on a whim. You were purposeful in crafting it and delivering it especially for them.

What NOT to Do in Your Sales Proposals

Not everyone writes a great proposal. Some proposals drag on too long. Others seem to miss the client’s needs entirely. Others come unexpectedly. Don’t fall into the trap. Here’s what NOT to do:

Don’t Add Fluff

If there is too much writing, no one’s going to read it. Your client will just skip to the last page to try to find the price. Yes, you need to have sections of the proposal where you explain details, but organize your proposal intentionally. Consider putting pricing on the first page.

Also, only include information relevant to the client. They don’t need to read long paragraphs about your background. They need to know what the product will do for them and how much it’ll cost.

Don’t Skip Client Requests

Not including the specifics you discussed with the client in the proposal is a big mistake.

Your proposal is a chance to show your client that you’ve been listening. Explain how you’ll address their specific requests if you do business together.

Then, when you give them the proposal, point out those areas so they’ll know that you understand their importance.

Don’t Send Without Approval

Don’t push proposals on people who don’t want them. If your client isn’t ready to move forward, a proposal won’t suddenly change their mind. Instead, offer a proposal as a way to take their temperature.

Say something like, “If it’d make sense, I’d love to send you a proposal.” They’ll tell you if they’re ready for it or if they want you to hold off. Either way, it’s a great opportunity for you to figure out where they stand.

Related: 7 Rules for Getting Past the Gatekeeper

Plus, you’ll also gain insight on the decision maker. If they say, “Yeah, go ahead and send the proposal. I’ll take it to this person to see if they’re ready to move forward,” you’ll know who holds the keys to the deal.

Proposals may not be magic, but they’re they perfect next step when your client is ready to move forward. You just have to be sure you’ve written them the right way.

How to Minimize Turnover on Your Sales Staff

Turnover in sales is high — to say the least. With an annual sales turnover rate of 27%, it’s actually double the rate of the overall labor force.

Not only are the rates unfortunate, but they’re also costly. The time and money you spend on sales training are lost. Your investment doesn’t bring the return you needed. It’s back to square one every time a salesperson leaves.

Why do salespeople leave so frequently? Mainly because they don’t hit their goals. Instead of individually fixing the problem, managers usually try to treat everyone the same and find a one-size-fits-all solution to sales challenges.

But different people have different challenges.

Most salespeople don’t want to do a bad job — they just don’t know how to do a good job. They don’t know what steps to take to be successful. They need a strategy. And as their manager, it’s your job to help them find it.

Here’s how to get them on track.

1. Be Present

Good managers are aware of what’s going on with their team. They’re keyed-in and alert to how everyone’s doing and what their team needs. They look for ways to specifically equip their salespeople and help them improve.

Good managers do NOT do the salesperson’s job for them. A lot of sales managers were good salespeople who want to be friends with their sales team. But it doesn’t help anyone when this relationship turns into favor-asking and oversights. Instead, be aware of how your team members operate and show them the path to improvement individually. Give them the flexibility to decompress. Empathize with their situation. Then give them the tools they need to turn that stress into a challenge, not a threat.

2. Match Pay to Effort

No one wants to be a part of a get-rich-quick scheme. We’re too smart to think that easy money is all it seems. At the same time, no one wants to be underpaid for what they do. People start looking for other jobs when the pay doesn’t line up. If you pay too much, they don’t feel good about their work. If you pay too little, they start looking for another company who will pay them the real value of their contribution.

The compensation has to be commensurate with their efforts. The best compensation structure is typically one that mirrors the way your business makes money. If your salespeople profit as your business does, everyone is motivated to make the company more successful. If there are certain activities that are valuable to you, then pay them for it. But make sure those efforts help achieve results that benefit everyone.

3. Recruit the Right Employees

As you’re building your team and structuring compensation, you’re also cultivating a positive environment. Keep HR in the loop on how your team works. Make sure they know your core values and the positive culture you’ve established. In the interview process, ask questions that give insight on their values. You need to know if they believe in your core values. If they have the potential to become a core value violator, don’t hire them.

Also, have your salespeople recruit when you’re looking to hire a new team member. If they’re active in recruiting, interviewing, and hiring, you’ll eliminate a lot of red-flag candidates and therefore eliminate a lot of sales turnover.

Each person has a unique approach to sales, but everyone wants a boss who’s in their court. They want someone on their team who’s rooting for their success. If you’re a tuned-in manager who helps each salesperson hone their sales approach, offers fair compensation, and hires based on values and positivity, you’ll build a team that will last.

Increase Sales in Your Organization by Building a Culture of Positivity

culture of positivity

B Positive isn’t just my blood type — it’s also my philosophy.

How do people reach success? Well, the common thread in my past endeavors is happiness. When people are happy and begin to envision success, they become an unstoppable force.

If we want our organizations to be their best, we need to be positive. We need to lead by making good decisions that produce end results that benefit everyone.

How to Build a Positive Culture

Sure, there’s the mentality that if you’re going to make an omelet, you’ll have to crack a few eggs. Yes, there’s stress in any organization. You’ll need to have tough conversations with people as you lead them and hold them accountable.

Yet in a culture of positivity, people realize you’re all on the same team. You’re working towards the same goal. People with a common goal and positive attitude view tough conversations as a challenge, not a threat. Ultimately, they move forward for the good of the organization. (Or they don’t make it in sales and you’ll hire someone who wants to get on board.)

This is how you create that culture… the culture of positivity.

1. Create a Clear Line of Sight

Show your employees the big picture. When we understand the reason for our work and our role in the team’s success, our work becomes easier because it’s purposeful. So explain to your team:

  • What’s the end goal?
  • What happens when the organization is successful?

Then make sure each person knows how they fit into the big picture. How do they help the company reach its goal? Why is their role important?

One of the best ways to do this is to explain what problem you’re solving as a team. Everybody is happier solving problems than they are identifying problems. So focus on how you’re effectively resolving issues and making the workplace better.

2. Set the Tone

As a leader, you need to cast a vision and lead by example. Communicate your focus and then lead from the front. Think of it like pulling spaghetti. When someone makes spaghetti, they have to get in front of the machine and pull the noodles out. They don’t sit in the back and jam it through. They actually guide the dough from the front.

That’s your job as a leader. You guide your employees in attitude, work ethic, and values.

3. Surround Yourself With People who WANT to Be Part of Your Culture

You need people on your team who are willing to be positive. Establish core values and hold people accountable to them — even your customers. Only work with companies that align with those values. If you have any core value violators — customers, employees, vendors — get rid of them immediately. Core value violators are like a virus that can infect your entire organization.

Once you have your goals and culture established, make sure you’re recruiting people who are willing to join that culture. Everybody from the bottom to the top needs to feel as though they have a stake in the outcome and be willing to positively contribute to the team.

What’s So Bad About Negativity?

It isn’t hard to find negative people. We can write negativity off as the norm or even chalk it up to humor. But who really wants to be in the culture negativity creates?

We’ve all been part of a negative culture — even if we didn’t realize it at the time. In these organizations, you’re told what you did wrong… constantly. You’re never told what you did right. Your boss brings their shortcomings and negativity to the table. They’re leading by example. They don’t feel successful, so you don’t feel successful. You feel like you’re barely scraping by as you eat your way through each day, ready for the evening. You’re watching the ship sink without the energy to run any rescue ops.

No one wants to work in a place like this. No one thrives in these cultures. See, most of what goes on in our lives is internal, not external. If we’re not in a positive culture, it affects our internal selves. We’re negative about life, finding faults rather than silver linings.

I just talked to a friend who was promoted this week. The new job is awesome! She’ll be doing what she wanted to do and earning more money… but not as much as she expected. Now, she doesn’t know if she should take the promotion. She’s been in a toxic culture for a while and that negativity is skewing her perspective.

I told her, “Life is going to be better! The only negative is that the money isn’t exactly what you wanted — but you’ll enjoy what you do. You spend about 70% of your awake time at work — the money isn’t as important as actually enjoying your work!” That’s the big picture. But because she’s been in a negative culture, she couldn’t see it.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest when we’re in the trees. And even the best of us can lose perspective when we’re surrounded by negativity.

Start With You

A positive culture starts at the top and works its way down. Effective leaders create the vision. Then they take their vision from “me” to “we.” They cast that vision for the entire team and get everyone working in the same direction.

Leaders impact and administrators preside. Be the leader. Leaders make changes and grow their people. They make a difference. Administrators just make sure there’s governance on what everyone’s supposed to be doing. Leaders make it happen. They’re leading the pack to accomplish goals that benefit everyone.

Great leaders, positive leaders, do what it takes to make the entire team successful and create a culture that keeps that success going.

4 Ways Employees Can Cheat Your Time Clock System (And How to Avoid Them)

Timeclock Fraud

You’re a victim of fraud.

… if you’re running a retail store.

Time clock fraud happens to everyone in retail. If you don’t think it’s happening to you, here’s what you need to know: it’s happening to you.

People cheat the system and cost you money you shouldn’t be paying. Here’s how they do it:

1. Blaming the System

Time clock fraud takes several different shapes. Maybe someone’s late for work, so they clock in late. Then they tell their manager the system was down so they couldn’t clock in right away.

We all know the internet goes out, so we give them the benefit of the doubt more than we should. We end up paying them from the time they were supposed to start — not the time they actually arrived.

2. Buddy Punching

Other times, people call their co-workers and have them clock in for them — it’s called buddy punching. They can do it at the end of a shift too. They leave early and a friend clocks them out later.

Some companies trust the time report, but other businesses have gone all out with biometric readers or thumbprint scanning to prevent it. (But that’s really expensive — especially if you run several stores.)

3. Skipping Lunch

People also con the system when they don’t clock out for lunch. It happens often when you have a busy organization — you don’t know who’s out or who’s back from lunch when. Then you’ll start to see some overtime hours you didn’t expect at the end of your payroll cycle. When you look back, you’ll see lots of lunch hours — but you won’t know who actually worked through lunch!

People may forget every now and then, but if you look in your payroll system and see that someone has “forgotten” to clock out for lunch every day since they’ve started, you probably have a time theft problem.

4. Running Errands

Managers bring another challenge. If they’re not at your store, they’re hurting your sales. A store without a manager present will not close as much business as a store with a manager present. Why aren’t they there? Maybe they leave during their shift to make a bank deposit for the store… but it takes three hours.

Again — time clock fraud.

The App That Prevents Time Clock Fraud

If you’ve been in business at least a month, these things have happened to you. Time clock fraud is extremely common… and costly. Here’s how we’ve fixed it.

We built a system called Beaclock (iOS) that uses a beacon inside your store and an app as a time clock. When your salesperson is at the store, they can clock in. If they’re not there, they can’t. People clock in on their phones, but it only allows them to clock in if their phone is within a 60-foot range from the beacon — a small device placed within your store. When they leave, it automatically clocks them out. The result: you only pay employees for the hours they’re actually working.

How Much You’re Losing

Not sure how much time theft is costing you? Just look at your payroll report and see what trends you notice. See anyone who repeatedly doesn’t take a lunch break? Notice any late arrivals? If so, calculate what you’re paying them (including overtime) and the opportunities you miss by not being well-staffed in your store.

Related: Avoid These 4 Costly Mistakes When Hiring a Sales Team

For my 64 stores around the Southeast, we were losing about $500 per day in time theft — mostly in skipped lunch breaks and late arrivals. It was time to do something different.

Sure, any employee would love to clock in when they’re not there — but you need them working! With a tool to help keep your employees honest about their actual work hours, you’ll save money and boost sales.

How to Increase Sales By Mining Your Existing Inbound Calls

Increase Sales By Mining

Wireless retailers get LOTS of incoming calls. What if you could use those calls to make more sales? It’s not just about great phone skills, it’s about looking back through calls that didn’t convert and seeing if there’s potential for a future sale.

Mining for Gold

Think of it like gold mining. See, gold can be tough to find — only one out of every billion atoms of rock in the world is gold. But rather than sifting through every rock in the world, geologists use tools to find “load deposits” — places where the ratio of gold is higher. Once it’s found, they can mine.

If you want to find more gold in your wireless retail store, it’s time to starting mining.

Step one: find the load deposits. With Beaclock, we’ve made that easy. See, we’ve found that by identifying the carrier of incoming calls, we can better identify our best prospects. If someone is already using us as their carrier, that’s not an opportunity, but if we can find the calls that come from our competition’s service, we’ve found the potential for gold.

Using the Right Filter

Beaclock filters that out for us. It lets us sort the calls by carrier. Then we can listen back to see if we missed any opportunities. Increasing your conversion by just a few percentage points can make a big impact on your bottom line.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you hear this call as you listen to yesterday’s call log:

“Hi, thanks for calling Anywhere USA Wireless. How can I help you?”

“Yeah, I’m interested in buying four phones for my family. I was wondering if you could price match this online offer for five phones?”

“No, my boss won’t let me do that here.” Click.

If you’re the owner or manager of this store, wouldn’t you want this caller’s business? Maybe someone missed the opportunity to make this sale on the first call, but it’s not too late to call them back. Say something like:

“Mr. Customer, I know you called here two days ago. I don’t know what we were thinking, but I absolutely think we can offer you special pricing. Are you available next Tuesday at 2:00 to come in so we can give you a quote?”

Once you identify the people who would bring new business to your carrier, be proactive and work to make the sale.

Making It Worth Your Time

Yes, listening to previous calls takes a while, but it’s a great task for your team to do in their downtime. They can analyze calls and see who’s worth a callback to try to schedule an appointment.

When you find a gem worth $1,500, is it worth your time to call them back? Absolutely.

When you call back, either admit you made a mistake or tell them the offer they asked about returned. When you convince a person who was originally told no to come back for an appointment, your chance of a sale skyrockets.

But don’t stop there. Track the appointments and results. If someone doesn’t show up for their appointment, find out why. Call or text them to see if you can reschedule the appointment — you don’t want to lose that opportunity.

Finding gold takes effort — in mining and in your wireless store. But with a little work sifting through calls, you’ll earn a big pay-off.

How to Increase Sales By Returning Calls Faster

How to Increase Sales By Returning Calls Faster

Online leads are great — customers come to you, ready to talk about what you offer! With this kind of killer lead, wouldn’t you want to jump on the opportunity to sell? Of course!

So why aren’t you responding faster?

Companies who respond to their online leads within an hour of receiving their query are seven times more likely to have a meaningful conversation with the decision maker… but only 37% of companies follow up that quickly.

Even one hour makes a difference.

We’ve had this problem too. See, lots of leads come in when it’s not convenient. Your future customer is chillin’ at home, watching Netflix, and surfing the internet on their phone. Your company piques their interest so they fill out a web form and you get their info. Soon, they’re going to move on, so you need to engage them immediately, while you’re still on their radar.

That’s why I created Beaclock — a way for salespeople to get leads instantly no matter what time it is or where they are. If we want to increase our chances of making a sale, we need to contact leads immediately, before they get distracted and lose interest.

The Danger of the Spreadsheet

Lots of systems automatically document online contact forms in a spreadsheet — that’s what our old system did too. We’d then look at the sheet, ask the salespeople to reach out, and hope they followed through.

Beaclock does things differently. As soon as a lead comes in, the app notifies the salesperson on their phone so they can call right away. This has tripled our conversion rate. If you want to increase your sales, you have to interact with the leads while they’re hot — and that means contacting them ASAP.

Gain Momentum

Leads no longer die waiting on the spreadsheet. With immediate notifications, you have the chance to capitalize on their interest. So, when you follow up, do it with energy! Capitalize on the momentum of their initial interest to book an appointment and make a sale.

The purpose of your first call is to book an appointment — not to answer all their questions. Maybe your call sounds like this:

“Hi, Mr. Customer, I just got your information. I see that you’re interested in exploring what it would take to switch to our service. I would love to schedule a time to meet you. Are you available tomorrow at 2:00 to come in and check out what we have?”

Then give them an incentive to come. Offer them something for booking the appointment that gets them into your store ASAP. If you book too far out, you’re less likely to close the sale. You want to have the chance to close the deal before they’ve mentally moved on.

Leads have a quick expiration date — if you don’t act quickly, you’ll be too late. So, right out of the gate, you want to respond with energy and schedule an appointment.

How Fast Is ASAP?

We’ve been talking about following up ASAP, but let’s look at how that actually unfolds. Follow-up should always happen within an hour of getting the lead and use three points of communication: call, text, and email.

When a lead comes, call them immediately (until 8:30-9:00 pm in their timezone). Not all calls will be answered, but numbers with the same area code are answered more often. With Beaclock you can use that to your advantage and automatically push the lead to a salesperson with the same area code.

If they don’t answer, leave a friendly message, then contact them with two other points of communication: email and text. Maybe the customers can’t answer because they’re at work, in school, or in a place where they can’t talk. You can still open the conversation! If you initiate the conversation via email or text, you can start having the same discussion as you would on the phone.

Choose First Responders Wisely

Not all salespeople are created equal. Some are better on the phone than others. So decide who’s going to call back your leads… and do it well. Your top salesperson won’t always be your best choice. To choose the best fit, ask yourself these questions:

1. How valuable is the lead?

How much did you spend on the name? Was it a $2 lead for a slightly interested prospect or a $50 lead who’s ready to buy? The more you pay, the more carefully you need to choose the follow-up person.

2. Who has the best phone skills?

Not everyone is good on the phone. Train your employees on how to make a good phone call and make them practice. Role play works great. Employees should literally sit with their managers and pretend to call ten leads (or more!) before calling their first lead. Otherwise, they won’t do well. It takes work.

We’ve struggled with this too. Great salespeople sometimes don’t have the confidence they need on the phone. Maybe they think the sale won’t convert so they just call out of obligation. But, if they call because they want to win the sale, you’ll hear a different level of confidence and energy in their voice — and those qualities convert more sales!

So don’t assume you know who’s best. Listen back to the calls so you know just how your salespeople do on their calls. Just because John is a great salesperson doesn’t mean he’s always your best phone follow-up guy. If a lead costs $50, it’s worth the 30 seconds it takes to listen to that call. You don’t have to listen to all the calls your team makes, but listen to enough of them to decide how to delegate the next lead that comes in.

3. Who has the capacity to follow up?

Some of your salespeople may be too tired or busy to call back. Make sure you choose someone who can give the prospect time and energy.

Then hold them accountable. As a manager, you should know:

  • Did they make the call?
  • What was the call quality?

When you can answer those two questions, you’re on your way to building a scalable marketing plan that drives sales to your store. But if you don’t have time to listen to a recording from yesterday and coach your people on better calls, you won’t win in the online marketing world.

For more resources for training your sales team, check out these 7 Unlikely Sales Books Every Salesperson Should Own.

If you’re gathering online leads, make sure you’re being intentional about how you follow up. When your team has the chance to contact these leads while they’re hot and you have your finger on the pulse of that follow-up, your investment in online marketing will multiply.

Wireless Retailers: How to Drastically Improve Your Employees’ Phone Greetings

Wireless Retailers_ How to Drastically Improve You

No one actually makes a phone call anymore, right? Who would call a wireless store before they buy their phone? They can see stock online, map their own directions, and do their own research, so does anyone really call?

Yes! And as a wireless retailer how you answer the phone matters!

If you don’t have a great greeting and a way to connect with your customers immediately, you’re losing up to a third of your business opportunities. But don’t worry — it’s an easy fix.

Why Customers Call

There’s a common misconception that no one calls businesses anymore — it’s just not true. Yes, live chats, emails, and messaging give customers other ways to communicate, but those options haven’t completely replaced the phone call. We discovered that 27% of all our business comes through a phone call — that’s almost a third of our sales! If you’re in retail, I bet your figures are similar.

See, before your potential customer invests their time and gas money into making a visit to your store, they want to know it will be worthwhile. So they call to see if you’re really open during the hours you advertise online. They want to know if you’re located where they think.

Customers also may want to check your inventory. Do you really have that space gray iPhone?

They’re also giving your customer service a trial run. The phone call is a test — will you price match that accessory? Remember, this is an investment. They’re trying to see if you’re someone they want to do business with.

The Best Way to Answer the Phone

Want to know how NOT to answer your phone? Call any corporate wireless company and you’ll likely hear an automated phone tree that sounds like this: “Thank you for calling Anywhere Wireless USA. Please press one if you have a question about your bill. Press two if you’d like to sign up for our service. Press three if you have a technical issue.”

The best way to show your customers you care is to actually answer the phone. When a real person picks up the phone, you’ve already communicated that you care about your customers.

But you can’t answer haphazardly — there’s a technique to it… and your employees will likely need some phone-answering lessons (especially if they’re under 30 — remember, they’ve grown up in the world of texting and video messaging. Phone calls aren’t in their repertoire).

Here’s the best way to answer your calls:

1. Answer with energy

Stand up! It’s time to talk with a customer. When the phone rings, get on your feet and answer with energy.

Think of it like an audition. If you were trying out for American Idol, you wouldn’t walk on stage and sit down in a chair to perform. You’d stand! Standing gives your voice energy, excitement, and inflection you wouldn’t otherwise have. It helps you stay engaged and sound interested. Your goal is to tell the customer you care.

So when you open with, “Thanks for calling Absolute Wireless! This is Robert. How can I help you today?”, you’re telling the customer, “I care about you! You’re worth my time and energy!”

2. Exchange names

After you answer, they’ll likely launch into their questions, “Where are you located? Do you have XYZ?” No matter what they ask, your response is the same…

“Great! First things first. What’s your name?”

“Julie.”

“Pleasure to meet you, Julie. Again, my name is Robert. You’ve called the right place. Now let me answer your question…”

See, before you deal with the question, you need to exchange names. Say their name back to them. We love to hear our own names. When we hear our names spoken, it builds rapport and increases the opportunity that we’ll close a sale together. But why should the customer know your name? They need to know who to find when they visit your store.

Here’s what you don’t want: You don’t want Julie to come in the store and say, “I talked to some (old/young/white/black/loud/raspy) guy.” You want Julie to ask for you by name.

Related: Why Securing a Relationship Is More Important Than Securing a Sale

So you’ll also repeat your name throughout the call. Find a way to say, “Again, my name is Robert. Just ask for Robert when you come by — I’m your new wireless guy!”

3. Book an appointment

Your goal on a call is NOT to close a sale — it’s to book an appointment.

Sometimes we’re tempted to answer all the customer’s questions on the phone. Wrong approach. They could be on their computer ready to buy from someone else and you’re just helping close someone else’s deal. You want them to come in and buy from you.

Your mission is to set an appointment. You start the rapport over the phone and continue to build it when you meet in person. Once people are with you face to face, it’s easier to handle their objections and they’ll feel more obligated to buy. It’s far easier to close the sale in person.

However, don’t mistakingly assume they know where you’re located. Always confirm your location before they hang up. They may think they called another store (your competitor!). You don’t want to work on booking an appointment and let someone else close the deal. So double-check your location during the call.

To learn more about how to make the sale when you meet, check out Tell the Story, Make the Sale: Sales Conversation Starters to Improve Your Pitch

4. Master the perfect exit

I’m always amazed when I call a store and hear a flat, “Hi, thanks for calling Anytime USA Wireless, how can I help you? Uh-huh, uh-uh, uh-huh,” and then silence — not even a goodbye. You don’t build any rapport when you hardly speak to your customer.

Think of a good call like a song — you need energy, dynamics, a beginning, middle, and end. Don’t just fade out. Instead, keep that energy going until the end of the call. Recap what you talked about and confirm your name, the appointment time, and the location. Your close may sound like this:

“Hey, Julie, it was a pleasure to speak with you. I’m excited that we can work together. I can’t wait to see you at 2 o’clock today. As a reminder, this is where we are located. If you’d like, I can text you our address so you don’t lose it and you have my name. If you ever need anything or you need to reschedule, I’m here to help. Thanks, Julie. You have a great day now. Travel safe.”

You’ll notice there’s a lot of name repetition and reminders of the location. When you close a call like this, your customer knows they’re in good hands.

Phone calls may not be the newest technology in communication, but they’re still relevant. If you’re not training employees on how to answer the phone well, it’s time to start.