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.

How to Master Door-to-Door Sales in 2018

How to Master Door-to-Door Sales in 2018 (2)

Door-to-door sales isn’t what it used to be… or is it?

In the past 25 years, technology has changed (to say the least). We have the internet. We communicate via Facebook, LinkedIn, email, and web forms. But before all this, we relied on good ol’ conversation. Back in the day, you didn’t get the best deal out of the phone book, so you needed relationships.

Now that we have more virtual storefronts and fewer brick-and-mortar stores, is door-to-door sales still a viable strategy?

Absolutely! But you’ll need to look at your industry to determine how prevalent its role should be in your marketing approach.

Selling Products Vs. Services

What you sell determines how effective the door-to-door strategy can be for you. Door-to-door marketing has value for everyone — but how much value depends on your industry.

Actual products tend to sell better door-to-door than services. Here’s why. The people you meet when you stop by — the receptionist or the office manager — make decisions about commodities. If you’re selling a commodity, you’ll likely meet the decision-maker if you drop by. They can look at the price you offer compared to what they’re paying and make the choice.

However, if you’re dealing with a principle-led sale, you need to talk to the CFO — who usually isn’t available without an appointment. When you drop by unannounced, you won’t get far with the office manager on these decisions. They just don’t have the authority to make the purchase.

Top Industries for Door-to-Door Sales

Door-to-door sales also works well in places that haven’t changed much with the times. It’s not that they’re resistant to change; it’s that the industry relies on traditional customer relationships. They’re used to face-to-face communication and place great value in it.

Medical Equipment

Purchases in a doctor’s office rely on consistent interaction. Doctors are used to lunch-and-learns. Vendors bring in lunch and teach them about new products, treatments, or pharmaceuticals. Doctors and their staff are used to talking to people in person about potential purchases.

Plus, most doctor’s offices don’t rely on email the same way other industries do. Why? Because spam filters filter out lots of clinical content. There are also liabilities involved in sending medical information electronically. So, if you’re trying to sell medical equipment, they still expect you to show up in person.

Are you a pharmacy rep? Check out “Why Pharmacy Reps Should Use a Sales Tracking App” for more ways to use door-to-door sales in your industry.

Car Dealerships

All business at a car dealership is client-facing. A car salesperson’s schedule is built for interruptions. If you handle auto financing, auto restyling, or another service for dealerships, stop by so you can talk to them in person. They’re used to it, and it works with their daily structure.

Grocery Stores

Grocery stores are another great market for the door-to-door approach. Click here for more info on selling food products to grocery stores (without competing on price).

Practical Tips for Marketing Door-to-Door

Whether you’re in an industry that thrives on door-to-door sales or you just use it occasionally, these five tips will help you make the most of your time.

1. Decide if it’s worth the effort

Think about what you’re selling. Will you see the decision-maker if you drop by? If you’re selling to the receptionist or the office manager, go for it! You’ll see them every time you stop in — that’s a 100% contact rate. But, if you need to speak to the CEO, you’re likely wasting your time.

2. Set a goal for each prospect

Each drop-in should help you reach a goal. This isn’t busy work.

  • Is your goal to get a name? If so, could you get that more quickly online or by phone?
  • Do you need to find out more about the gatekeeper? That may require a visit. Is there someone there you can speak with?

Have a clear objective before you walk in.

3. Work the numbers

How many people do you need to see for door-to-door marketing to be worth your time? Make sure the numbers add up before you make a visit.

4. Capitalize on proximity

How can you see multiple people in the shortest amount of time? Use your location to your advantage. You need a solution that shows you what’s near you so you can maximize your time. If you have an appointment on the West side of town, you need an app like CallProof to sort customers and prospects geographically. Then you can search for who’s nearby and drop by while you’re out.

5. Follow up

No drop-in is worthwhile if you don’t follow up. If you get a business card and enter it into your database, but don’t do anything else with it, you’ve wasted your time. You MUST follow up — and don’t let anything stop you from it. You have to close the loop for new contacts. Otherwise, it’s useless.

Door-to-door sales may still be around, but the days of going back to the office to update your CRM form with your notes are gone. With CallProof, you can speak your notes into your app as soon as you leave a business. Then you can click on a follow-up reminder so that you’ll actually do something with that information. This keeps your notes more accurate and your follow-up timely.

Sure, door-to-door sales is old-school, but when you use it well, it still works!

4 Tips to Share With New Sales Reps Before Their First Appointment

4 Tips to Share With New Sales Reps Before Their F

1. Don’t barf on the customer’s shoes.

2. Dismal failure is highly unlikely.

These are the two most basic lessons new sales reps need to understand before going to their first solo sales appointment. New salespeople are nervous, to say the least (hence the vomiting advice)! As a manager, it’s up to you to set your new sales reps up for success.

Maybe you’re a manager who attempts to tell new hires all you know about sales before their first appointment. Or maybe you’re the type who kicks them out of the nest to see if they fly.

The key is to find the balance — new sales reps need guidance, but you don’t want to overwhelm them with new information. Here’s how to be the leader they need and four essential tips to get them started.

Be the Leader New Sales Reps Need

Inexperienced sales reps look to their sales managers for leadership. As a manager, you need to coach them in the skills it takes to be successful: consistent work ethic, deliberate work flow, strong listening skills, and realistic expectations.

Set clear expectations.

Be clear about what each salesperson should be doing with their time. Then inspect what you expect. If you expect someone to meet ten new prospects a week, check to see whether they’ve done it.

Explain the value of activity.

There’s more to the sales process than closing a deal. Just because the prospect doesn’t buy, doesn’t mean the sales rep wasted time. There’s value to each step of the process. Explain the different types of value each interaction offers: the prospect knows who you are, they’re in your nurturing process, and they may lead to a referral.

Model listening.

When you go to the first few appointments with your new sales reps, take a step back and observe. By doing so, you don’t compromise their authority with the prospect. If you interject and take charge, the prospect will want to work with you, not them.

More importantly, you model how to listen. Listening is an essential sales tool. As a salesperson, you have to listen to prospects so you can learn about their needs and figure out how to meet those needs. By listening to your reps, you teach the value of listening by example.

Tell them the realistic outcomes.

What can a new rep realistically expect from their first appointments? If they think they’re going to close a deal during their first meeting, they’ll likely be very disappointed. Then reassure them they won’t completely fail.

Four Tips That Lead to the Right Mindset

To really help new sales reps enter their first appointment with the right perspective, share these four tips. It’ll help them see the big picture without getting overwhelmed.

1. You can’t lose what you don’t have.

Let’s say you cold-call someone — you don’t have their business anyway, which means there’s nothing to lose. The worst thing you can do is nothing. Just by going to the appointment, you’re better off.

2. Set easy goals.

Your goal for a first appointment isn’t to make a sale. The goal is getting the prospect to agree to the next phone call or meeting. It’s an easy win — be brief, be brilliant, and count it as a success.

Keep setting easy goals the whole way through the process. Every time you meet a simple goal, it’s a win! These baby steps help a new salesperson focus and lead prospects to buy. Buyers need someone to guide them through the sales process — and easy goals do just that!

3. No one will remember your screw-ups.

It’s unlikely you’ll see your prospects again. You won’t run into this person weeks from now and hear, “Stop! You’re the idiot who messed up that appointment!” It won’t happen.

4. End with action.

Always end sales conversations with a next action. Even if a prospect seemingly turns you down, you can end the appointment gracefully with a next step.

If they’re on board and say, “Let’s get together sometime next month to keep talking about this.” Say something like, “Great. Let’s get it on the calendar. What about Thursday the 15th at 10:00?” Set a specific date and close the loop.

If they’re not interested, you can still have a next step and closure. Maybe they say, “My brother-in-law handles this need for me. I’m not going to mess up our family dynamics, so I’m not going to buy from you.” You reply, “I totally understand. Here’s what’s going to happen. Keep my contact info in case you get in a pinch and we’ll touch base down the road.” They agree to it, and you close the loop.

Always have a next action, tell them what it is, and get them to agree. Don’t be bossy — just be organized.

Empowering young salespeople has benefits for everyone involved. The more successful they are, the more successful your company. Plus, if they’re successful and supported by your team, they’ll likely stick around (which means you’ll spend less time training replacements).

Do you have other newbie sales tips that have worked for you? Share them with us in the comments below!

How to Quickly Get Over Sales Rejection and Get Back to Prospecting

How to Quickly Get Over Sales Rejection and Get Back to Prospecting

No one enjoys rejection. When people don’t want what you’re selling, it can feel personal — as if they don’t like you, even though it’s about the product.

Rejection happens. There’s no use pretending it doesn’t. If you’re in sales, you’ve been rejected and you will be again.

But once you learn how to get over sales rejection, you’ll find that hearing no doesn’t have to stop your forward progress. With these six tips, you can move on and keep doing what works.

1. Put Your Product in Perspective

The best salespeople seem to believe in their product or service. They’re 100% on board with whatever they’re selling. But, if you go overboard, that’ll make sales rejection worse. You feel like people are stupid if they don’t understand how great the product is. Then you start getting mad at them. That doesn’t help. Be careful — too much belief in your product can jade you. So have the confidence to move on and not pass too much judgment on the naysayers.

2. Come Up With a Third Direction

Yes and no aren’t the only potential answers to a sales opportunity. In fact, think of a no as a not right now. Every relationship has a beginning, middle, and end — which means their relationship with another provider will eventually end. And when it does, you want to be available.

If someone bluntly says to me, “We’re not buying your software. We’re buying from your competitor. Their software is all-around better and we like them more,” I can respond with, “I get it. Thanks for the opportunity to talk. I’ll shoot you an email right now so you have my contact information and I’ll check in with you next quarter to see how you’re doing.”

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

Then I’ll call them every 60 days to keep in touch. Just because I didn’t make a sale today, that doesn’t mean I won’t in the future. Meanwhile, I keep working on new pitches and new deals every day and nurturing different relationships. I need sales in 60 days and in six years — so whenever they buy, I’ll be ready.

At some point, they won’t use their current service, so the biggest thing is to figure out how to still be involved with them.

3. Don’t Push

When people say no, don’t keep pushing. You’ll seem desperate and people don’t want to buy things that aren’t in demand. So work on your takeaway close technique. Don’t let them know you need them to buy — try backing off, knowing you’ll contact them again soon.

4. Learn From It

Look at the deals you don’t close to find the obstacles for your prospects. See if there are changes you can make based on statistical significance from your interactions with prospects and clients. Then turn that information into something you can use.

5. Remember Your Other Deals

There are other fish in the sea. You should always have more leads waiting so that success isn’t riding on one specific deal. People say no more than they say yes — that means you’ll get rejected more than you’ll close. It’s just a part of sales and we all have to deal with it.

6. Treat Your Deals Equally

As you’re learning how to not be afraid of rejection, try to mentally reframe the deals you’re working. Maybe certain clients pay more than others, but try to treat each deal equally. Don’t fixate on the return. That’s when most salespeople hit a wall — they focus so much on the “big” clients, they forget about the regular ones.

The payout from regular clients adds up! So focus on adding two new customers a month — any two clients. If you’re always adding customers, you’ve always got someone in the pipeline. You’re not only working on that $20,000 deal — you’re working on the $2,000 deal too. And when someone says no, you can move on to the next thing — you didn’t lose your only deal.

7. Don’t Forget Referrals

All your leads and customers are potential referral sources. You may not be the right fit for a prospect, but they can refer you to someone who is. The close rate is often low for the “big” deals because there’s a lot of competition, but for referrals, the close rate is pretty high. So build your referral system and have a process for bringing in new clients this way too.

When Rejection Happens Most

You’ll experience most rejection in the beginning and middle of the funnel. Remember, you’re on a fishing expedition — and sometimes you’re not in the right place at the right time. Maybe your leads aren’t as qualified as you thought. Plus, they don’t know you yet. So you’ll need to be brilliant really quick. Once you work people down the funnel, the rejection tapers off.

Don’t let rejection get you down. Get back out there and work on your next deal. If you keep building activity, you’ll soon hear a yes.

 

The Psychology of Sales: 4 Important Principles to Help You Close More Deals

The Psychology of Sales- 4 Important Principles to Help You Close More Deals

People want someone who understands, someone who “gets them.” It’s true in life, and it’s true in sales.

Salespeople aim to solve their customers’ problems. That means you have to empathize with a customer’s situation first. You have to understand the way people think: Why do they do what they do? How do they perceive the problem you’re trying to solve?

That’s the psychology of sales. The better you understand these four principles, the better you understand your customers — which means more sales and more closed deals.

4 Principles to Help You Close More Deals

1. Get to Know Your Prospect

The more you identify with your customer’s frame of mind, the more likely you are to close sales.

Otherwise, you miss the mark. Let’s say I am discussing CallProof with a government organization that keeps track of grant-funded businesses. I won’t talk to them about the sales funnel piece of CallProof. They’re not making sales, so that product feature isn’t important to them. Instead, they need a way to keep track of constituents and customers. That’s where I focus in my pitch.

Your standard pitch doesn’t apply to every prospect — so you need to understand your prospect enough to tweak your pitch to their needs.

2. Use Phrasing Intentionally

The way we use our words matters. So use words intentionally. The way you phrase questions or ask for an appointment impacts their answer.

If you need someone’s email address, don’t blatantly ask for it. Say, “I want to shoot you an email with my contact information. What’s the best email address for you?” (not “I want to send you an email. Can I have your email address?”)

If you’re trying to book an appointment, make it all about the calendar, not the appointment. So say, “What does your calendar look like Thursday at 10?” (not “Do you want to schedule an appointment this week?”)

Trying to get past the gatekeeper? When they ask what you need, reply, “I just want to see what he’s doing after lunch on Thursday.” They’ll hear “lunch” and assume you’re friends.

3. Tell a Story to Get the Sale

The biggest key to success in sales is telling the story of why you exist. What problem do you solve and how has it worked for people?

My story usually sounds something like this:

We exist because we scratched an itch. A lot of businesses have the same itch we had nine years ago. We built CallProof specifically for that. The people who buy software don’t choose the best program, because they’re not thinking about using it in real life – they’re checking boxes…

As I tell this story, I can frame the problem we solve to be similar to the problems I perceive them having. I can also paint the picture of the problems with other products without badmouthing competitors.

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

4. Know When to Say No

This isn’t quite reverse psychology, but saying no sometimes sets you up for a better long-term success. Recognize when your product won’t solve their problem. If it’s not the right fit, tell them no — even if they’re ready to buy.

Often, you’ll still get business out of that interaction. They’ll either refer you to someone who needs your product or remember you positively when their needs change.

Strategies to Skip

In the sales industry, we try tons of different tactics to see what works. In the ’80s, there were some cheesy approaches like a “yes set.” Remember that? Ask three or more questions they’ll say yes to and then tag on your real question at the end (all while nodding along for extra encouragement). That’s not one I’d recommend.

Also, I don’t endorse it, but some people swear by NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). It focuses more attention on using phrases that appeal to the subconscious mind of your clients.

Psychology and Sales Must-Reads

Psychology and sales go hand in hand. So, if you’re looking to dive in a little deeper, check out these resources for further reading.

In You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar, David Sandler talks about the psychology of sales and setting expectations. It’s not about faking excitement or lying to your prospect. Instead, he takes a fresh approach to client interaction that focuses more on clients and more on the value of listening.

Influence is the classic book on persuasion. Why do people say yes? Robert Cialdini teaches six universal principles that are the clutch for influencing others. It’s a must-read for salespeople.