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.

 

Why Securing a Relationship Is More Important Than Securing a Sale

Why Securing a Relationship Is More Important Than Securing a Sale

Loyalty still exists. Yes, it’s 2018. Yes, business can be cut-throat. But people are still capable of being loyal — you just have to earn their trust.

In sales, trust is a big deal. And consistency in follow-up is what builds that trust.

We just closed a sale we’ve been pursuing diligently since 2015. Since we initially contacted the company three years ago, we’ve followed up every quarter. Now they’re buying. It’s not like they didn’t buy before — they just didn’t buy from us. But they’ve seen our consistency, and when their old vendor stopped meeting their needs, they knew who to call. Now, instead of trying to convince them that we’re worth their trust, our conversations focus on tactically solving their problems.

Why? Securing a relationship pays off — and is often even more important than securing a sale.

Customers Want a Relationship With You

Customers know what they don’t know. They know your expertise is in a different field and they need partners they trust in these different fields. Then they can rely on you to get them from point A to point D as quickly as possible, since you’ve done it before.

Relationships 101

Every relationship has a beginning, middle, and end. Maybe at the beginning of your relationship with a prospective client, they tell you, “I’m not interested in your service — my brother-in-law handles that for me and I don’t want to make family dinners weird.” As a salesperson, you know that’s a hard obstacle to overcome, so you don’t push it. Still keep in touch with them. Let them know if they’re ever in a pinch, you’re there.

Maybe things don’t work out with their brother-in-law and they later decide to change vendors. They may not initiate calling you, but if you’re regularly in contact, they have an easy opportunity to respond. This isn’t about being invasive — it’s about being available.

Make Change Easy

A consistent relationship saves your prospects the labor of the mental gymnastics it takes to choose another vendor. They don’t want to deal with the 90 steps it takes to change from one supplier to another. They don’t want to think about those logistics. But if you’re keeping in touch with them and making yourself available, you can make the change easy. You’re giving them less to deal with as they end one relationship and start another.

Ever put something off for weeks because you dread doing it? You procrastinate, agonize, and maybe even lose sleep over it. But when you finally deal with it, you knock it out in about a minute. Changing vendors can feel like that. It’s mentally taxing. Your prospects probably won’t come right out and say, “It’s a pain to switch!” but if they do, identify with them. Recognize that switching things up can be inconvenient, but if it’s a change they’ll inevitably need to make, you can make the process run smoothly.

Stay in Touch, Stay in the Game

You have to make the right number of touches with your prospects to remind them you’re still there. The trick is making those touches non-invasive. When they say, “Call me in six months,” you need to figure out how to contact them more frequently without coming on too strong. You need to trigger their brain so they know you’re still there but don’t feel like you’re being pushy.

Carve out time to make the touches. It doesn’t bring in a check right away, but it’s a foundation piece to a customer relationship you can’t skip. If you do, you’ll risk being reduced to a commodity.

Some of your contacts can be automated — like emails. Other times, you can make a phone call or drop by their office. Get creative too. Invite them to events where they can network or find leads for them through your own network. If you do, you’ll establish consistency, enrich the relationship, and build trust. And that’s how you secure a relationship.

People are loyal — but not blindly so. They’ll know when their existing vendor isn’t working anymore. You don’t have to con them out of their current commitment so they switch to you. Most sales relationships eventually end — either needs change or the business changes. And when that happens, people are looking for a new person they trust. If you’ve invested in the relationship with consistent, non-invasive contact, you’ll have earned their business and they’ll move their loyalty to you.

 

Are Sales Conferences Worth Your Time?

Are Sales Conferences Worth Your Time?

You need some motivation. You want to build your sales skills and get inspired, but are sales conferences worth your time… and money?

Usually, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.

We often go to sales training conferences to improve our skill set and find the secret to unlocking our next level of success, but don’t get as much out of the conferences as we hope. Sure, there are a few takeaways, but for the most part, we’re inactive. We’re learning some cool tips, not building our skills.

Here’s why sales conferences don’t work and some better alternatives that will do more for your sales than any conference.

Seminars That Work (or Not)

Sales skills are tactical. Yes, you need to understand an overall strategy, but actually doing the work is when you’ll see real growth in your skills.

So skip the sales training conferences. You’ll learn more by going to ten appointments than you will by sitting and listening to someone talk about how great they are at sales. The most effective way to become a better salesperson is to pitch to more people, meet more customers, and increase your activity.

But what about self-help? Improving personal skills is a strategic way to better your sales. Self-help seminars that focus on creating a healthy mindset, increasing productivity, or using organizational strategies may be what you need. Making some personal changes can drastically affect your work and improve your effectiveness.

Best Sales Conferences of 2018

Before you choose to go to a conference, think about what you want to accomplish. What are your goals?

For me, learning about my customers’ businesses is most important. So I go to my customers’ conferences to learn from the experts in their industries. Then I can understand where they’re coming from and where their industry is going.

Maybe you’re hoping to make some personal changes that will make a difference in your approach to work. Check out Tony Robbins’ and Brian Tracy’s schedule. Their seminars on business, leadership, and personal motivation are among the best.

But want to know where the truly best sales conferences of 2018 are?

Your house, your favorite coffee shop, and in your car when you arrive a few minutes early for your appointment… via the internet. With webinars, you can learn great information at your own pace and in shorter spurts. At seminars, you learn the most in the opening and closing remarks — the info in the middle doesn’t stick. But if you break that information into smaller segments, you’ll retain more.

Webinars give you the freedom to learn at your own speed — and all the experts offer them. So, after you figure out your goals, look for webinars that provide you with the training you need to reach those goals.

For more resources, check out The 7 Unlikely Sales Books Every Salesperson Should Own [2018 Guide].

Join a Peer Group

If your business has non-competing markets, peer groups are another great alternative to improve your skills and up your motivation. Try to get together with peers to talk about operations and strategy. Maybe you know someone that sells a similar product to a different region — get together and share secrets. As long as your businesses aren’t competing, peer groups can be a great place to share tips and strategies. Plus, it’s a sounding board for new ideas and a source of encouragement from people who understand your job. You can even form an official group for perks like group purchasing!

If you’re in need of motivation, a conference may not be the solution you need. So don’t just pick a sales conference by default. Check out other sources of motivation and information to really put your time and money to its best use.

 

The One Essential Habit that Transforms Good Salespeople Into Rainmakers

The One Essential Habit that Transforms Good Sales

You know those “stand-out” people — the 20-something who climbs the ladder in record pace, the salespeople who make off-the-chart sales… every month?

They seem untouchable — but what are they doing differently to really make it rain?

Bagel + Slim Jim = A Breakfast of Champions

A few years ago, I facilitated a sales training for a company. Each member of their 20-person sales team was required to attend — except for one. They didn’t want to mess with his process. We started training after lunch, but I asked to come in early. Each morning, I got there in time to watch the guy who had clearly learned how to be a good salesman begin work. Here’s what he did.

He started each day the same. This middle-aged man came in every day with a bagel and a banana. He’d eat the banana first. Then he’d eat the bagel. Then he’d make his phone calls, schedule his appointments, and spend his afternoon going to those appointments. It was the same thing every day.

Another guy worked for me a few years later. He was a rockstar salesman who started each day with a Slim Jim, Arizona Iced Tea, and a granola bar.

Seriously? Do these breakfast foods matter? Yes! The ritual of the same breakfast made a difference in their days. It was a part of their system — it put them on the trajectory of building relationships, closing deals, and working their system.

It’s not the breakfast that matters — it’s the routine. A bagel or a Slim Jim may not be nutritional superfoods, but they were a vital part of making these good salesmen great. Why? It started their daily sales routine.

Establishing Habits for a More Productive Day

In the book Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explains why habits are so powerful:

[Habits] create neurological cravings. Most of the time, these cravings emerge so gradually that we’re not really aware they exist, so we’re often blind to their influence. But as we associate cues with certain rewards, a subconscious craving emerges in our brains that starts the habit loop spinning.

These salesmen found success by starting their day with habits that cued their frame of mind for the day. When the sales guy eats that bagel and banana, he associates his breakfast with sales. It automatically puts him in the mood to sell and starts his craving for sales.

Remember Pavlov’s dogs? We’re not very different. When we start our day consistently — whether with gas station food, a green smoothie, or a particular song, we cue ourselves for the rest of our day.

Meanwhile, we also ground ourselves. We remind ourselves that it’s our world. As we interact with people the rest of the day, we’re grounded. By starting a day with routines, we create our own world so that the prospects are coming into our world, as opposed to trying to penetrate the prospects world.

Eat Your Breakfast

So how do you start each day? Your exact breakfast may not be the same as these guys, and it doesn’t have to be. The key is consistency. What will you do each day to set the stage for a killer sales day?

Then follow your system for sales. If you don’t have one, it’s time to start. Have you been wondering how to be a better salesperson? Using a process for managing your prospects and clients is essential.

Want to learn more about creating and honing your sales process? Check out this article: How to Close More Deals by Mapping Your Sales Process

The one essential habit to boosting your sales is establishing a routine to begin your work day. The hardest part of the day is getting started — and Slim Jim may be just the place to begin.

The 7 Unlikely Sales Books Every Salesperson Should Own [2018 Guide]

The 7 Unlikely Sales Books Every Salesperson Shoul

Most of the time we’re stressing the importance of activity in the field. Get out there and sell! But in the midst of all that activity, don’t miss the value of taking some time to read. You pick up sales skills, broaden your scope of experience, hone your grammar, improve your writing skills, and better understand your customers. Reading gives you another means of connecting with people — something you can always use in sales.

But not every book that builds your sales skills is a “sales” book. Here’s my top seven list — some of which may surprise you.

1. You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar (David Sadler)

You Can't Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar

You don’t build sales skills by sitting in a classroom. Sales is all about doing. It’s tactical. I came across this book later on in my sales career. I was already following a similar approach to training and managing, but it helped to hear someone else articulate it.

Reading it reinforced what I’d seen as most effective — sales doesn’t have to be about forceful presentations to anyone who will listen. There’s a better — and much more natural — approach.

2. The Richest Man in Babylon (George Clason)

The Richest Man in BabylonYou may not think of this as a sales book, but it totally is. It’s about personal financial responsibility, learning to let your money work for you, and choosing wise investments. And it has two vital takeaways for salespeople.

First, salespeople need to be financially literate. The better they understand finances, the more they’ll treat their job as their own business and make better business decisions. Plus, they’ll relate to a higher level inside the organization. They’ll be able to see the financial implications of a sale for their own well-being and the well-being of their clients.

Plus, salespeople need to learn the concept of investing money so it can “have children.” What does that mean? People need to invest their money in places where it can grow and reproduce. The same is true in sales with leads and customers. How can you get your leads and customers to multiply? If you buy a lead, how will you close it and get referrals from it? Sales should reproduce.

 3. SPIN Selling (Neil Rackham)

SPIN SellingI actually didn’t love this read, but its core concept is a clutch sales strategy. It teaches you to follow a process based on the acronym SPIN. It’s an easy acronym that simplifies the steps to creating the processes you need to really boost your sales volume. You won’t reach your potential if you just shoot from the hip in your sales approach. This book gives you tools to work on your systems.

4. Simplify (Bill Hybels)

SimplifyIf nothing else, read the title — it’s a motto for salespeople. Sales is as over-scheduled and cluttered as any career. Simplify your approach. Simplify the next steps in your sales process. When you think about closing an individual piece of business, it can seem like there’s a long road ahead. Figure out the next step and focus on that. Don’t get so overwhelmed with the entire process that you can’t move forward.

5. Predictable Revenue (Aaron Ross)

Predictable RevenueEven though it’s written by one of our competitors, we still recommend this read. It’s a great guide for putting a scalable process in place that boosts your sales figures and improves your work culture.

6. The Game (Neil Strauss)

The GameThis book may be controversial for some, but here’s why we included it. It’s really about the art of breaking the ice. This is an easy book to get your salespeople to read but also helps them learn the secret behind sales — just ask! That’s it. After all, asking, “What does a guy like me have to do to buy a girl like you a drink?” isn’t much different from asking your prospects how to get from point A to point B.

7. The Ultimate Sales Machine (Chet Holmes)

The Ultimate Sales MachineThis book touches on every single aspect of closing a sale and helps you improve each part of the process. The secret is getting your team (and clients) on the same page. Need to improve your prospecting approach? Focus on it. How do you find the dream prospects, the dream appointments? Get all of your salespeople and customers active in finding them!

 

 

 

There’s not ONE right book everyone should read. You may get one or two nuggets from each book. Take those and implement them. That’s how people become successful — learn what you can from others and put it into action.

The 3 Critical Roles of a Perfectly Structured Sales Team

The 3 Critical Roles of a Perfectly Structured Sal

In a perfect world, sales departments hire three different types of people — then they let them play to their strengths. There are different types of sales jobs for different types of people. As a manager, you need to use that to your advantage.

There are hunters, farmers, and account managers. And typically, a person good at making phone calls isn’t good at closing… and vice versa. Usually, these three different roles require three different personality types. If you want to get the most from your sales team, you need to make sure you have all the needed personalities covered.

Different Jobs Need Different People

People need sales roles that fit their personalities — which I learned the hard way in my years running call centers. A person great at sales typically isn’t great at prospecting because they don’t like to be told no.

There’s a high turnover for telemarketers too. It’s grueling low-wage work that pushes most people outside their comfort zone since they’re cold-calling strangers all day. The average telemarketer only stays six weeks.

Most companies accommodate for this by giving their marketers a script. Then they deliver a live version of a pre-recorded message. But we were in a different situation. We sold high-ticket items to executives. We couldn’t expect good results from our employees just reading scripts. So we focused on finding the right types of people and creating a sales team structure that worked for everyone. Consequently, most of our telemarketers worked for us for years (not months), and our sales were top notch.

Here’s how we did it.

1. We figured out WHO to hire.

We gave all applicants a version of a personality test to see if they’d fit with the demands of the job.

2. We optimized the work environment.

For cold-calling, more breaks are better. So we gave all workers a ten-minute break every hour. Now, they didn’t need to have conversations about who’s going to the bathroom at what time. They just had to stay with the calls for 50 minutes of every hour.

3. We stopped work at 2:00 p.m. on Fridays.

In business-to-business sales, not much happens on Friday afternoons. So we gave our employees the afternoon off each week. They got a long weekend. Plus, they had a few business hours left to schedule doctors appointments or run to the bank so they didn’t have to take time off during the week.

4. We sold them on their work.

We all want to feel satisfied — like what we’re doing matters. So we helped our telemarketers believe in what they sold. They didn’t need to understand all the details, but they needed to believe in our product’s ability to provide solutions.

In call centers, we were looking for people that could go out and find new prospective buyers. These had to be people that could bounce back from rejection and move on to the next prospect. But this is only one step of the buying process. To take someone from prospect to client to satisfied customer, you actually need three types of people to work three different stages of the sales process.

3 Essential Sales Roles of the Perfect Sales Team

The sales process is broken into three stages: prospecting, closing, and managing accounts. Rather than make each salesperson responsible for different clients as they walk through each stage, designate the roles of hunters, farmers, and account managers.

1. Hunters

These are the salespeople who find new leads and generate more business. They hunt for the next big sale. They’re responsible for keeping active opportunities in the pipeline.

2. Farmers

These are your cultivators. They take the leads from the hunters and cultivate the relationship. They’re great closers — they know how to move people from interested to sold.

3. Account Managers

These salespeople keep your current customers happy. They maintain the relationship and boost sales by meeting the needs of the clients you already have. They treat each customer like your best prospect — because they are.

Rather than force your salespeople to play all these parts, give each salesperson one role to master. Use their giftedness to determine where they fit best — then let them focus on clients for that particular stage of the sales process before passing them to the next person.

When sales teams manage their accounts singularly, they have lots of ups and downs in sales. They’re reactive to their pipeline. They have an on-quarter, then an off-quarter. Why? They make a lot of calls, get a lot of appointments, and go to these appointments. But while they’re following up with their leads, they stop making the calls to keep their pipeline filled. When the smoke clears, they have to start all over again.

So, if it’s possible, have different people in each role. People will work where they thrive to boost the sales of the entire team.

For more on hiring, check out this post: Avoid These 4 Costly Mistakes When Hiring a Sales Team

What If You Only Have One Salesperson?

Maybe you’re not to the point where you have three salespeople that can meet these three different roles. That’s okay. Knowing these three roles can still improve your approach to sales. Here’s how to make it work:

1. Spend time in each role.

Realize that there are three stages of the process — and each stage needs attention.

2. Focus on getting activity.

Keep making those cold calls. Keep making those appointments. If you keep up the activities that generate sales, sales will eventually follow.

3. Establish processes.

How do you follow through on leads and clients to keep everyone on board? Create timelines and scripts for follow-up so you don’t neglect any particular area.

4. Minimize data entry.

You didn’t hire your salespeople so they could do reporting. You hired them for sales relationships — so that’s where they need to spend their time. Yes, you need to know their activity levels. And typical CRMs require about 3-5 hours a week of data entry. If you could cut that down to 1-2 hours, what would that mean to your company? Rather than plugging in records, your salesperson gets to keep generating leads and managing clients.

Now, if you have 20 salespeople, how much more does less data entry impact your company? If every salesperson saves just one hour per week, you now have 20 extra hours of sales-focused time. That’s 20 more appointments or 200 more cold calls… and that means more clients!

When you trim back the activities that don’t lead to sales, you can maximize the activities that get results.

How Much Time Should You Spend Prospecting Sales?

How Much Time Should You Spend Prospecting Sales_

My first sales job was prospecting… exclusively. All day, every day I looked for new clients. Maybe this sounds miserable to some of you, but it gave me an advantage in the long run. Where most people have a lot of different jobs competing for their time, prospecting sales was my only focus. I came away with some great insights that a lot of people never learn.

Even though some people avoid prospecting in sales, it’s vital to sales success. So whether you’re wondering how many (or few) hours you need to spend prospecting sales leads or just need the motivation to re-engage in this part of the process, these tips will get you started.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Sell

If you don’t ask people to buy, they won’t just start calling you out of nowhere. If you’re not out there prospecting leads, you won’t make sales. There has to be an invitation — you have to ask. So designate specific times in your schedule to find new clients and invite them to use your product.

Prospecting Is Sacred

Guard the time you schedule to find new leads. Understand the gravity of prospecting. Prospecting time is sacred. It’s one of those things you HAVE to do if you’re going to get the sales you want. Make it non-negotiable. Tell yourself, “Unless the building is on fire, I’ll be doing prospecting activities.” Make calls, meet people, do whatever you can to meet new potential clients.

How often? Well, that requires a little math.

Work Your Numbers Backwards

How much money do you want to make this year? Use that figure to determine how much time you need to spend prospecting. Work backwards through your numbers, starting with your sales goal, to figure out exactly how much prospecting you’ll need to do.

Ask yourself:

  • How much do I need from sales each year?
  • How many clients (of what size) will that take?
  • How many proposals will it take to convert that many customers?
  • How many quotes to get that number of proposals?
  • How many contacts with decision-makers to make those appointments?
  • How many dials should I make to speak with those decision makers?

Now, just divide that number by days/weeks/months to see exactly how much prospecting you need to do.

Work Your System

Just like you systematically figure out how much time to spend prospecting, you need to have a system for dealing with your leads. Sales is all about working systems. Once you get in touch with a decision-maker, you need to have a process for how you communicate with them after that call.

What Kind of Buyer Is Your Prospect?

Based on your conversation, determine your action steps. What will the sales process be for this specific buyer?

Categorize your prospects into three groups: Activelatent, and not interested.

Make sure you have a sales process for each group. Then you just have to follow the plan you’ve already scheduled.

Active Buyer: These are the people who are ready to buy. You’ll usually follow up with them within 60 days.

Latent Buyer: These are the “tire kickers” of the world. Nurture them until they’re ready to buy. Most of your “interested” prospects fall into this category. Close your call by telling them you’ll call next quarter. Really, call them every 60 days and email them once a month until they become active.

Not Interested: These aren’t likely buyers. Maybe the prospect says, “My brother-in-law handles this. I don’t want to make Sunday dinner weird.” Just call these prospects once a year.

Related: A Sales Lead Management Process You Can Count On

Exactly How Many Hours You Should Prospect

So how much time should you spend prospecting? Just do the math. Now, you know how many dials you need to make in a month. How many can you make in one hour? If you can make ten calls per hour and you need 100 calls a month, you need to schedule 10 hours to prospect each month.

It’s all about activity. Don’t focus on results at the beginning and compulsively calculate your conversion rate. Work on getting in the habit. Once you have the activity levels, sales will follow.

Why Home Restoration Businesses Are Wasting Their Time Without Sales Lead Management Software

Why Home Restoration Businesses Are Wasting Their Time Without Sales Lead Management Software

Restoration companies need to be in the right place at the right time. When the flood comes, the fire consumes, or a pipe bursts, your company wants to be on speed dial.

But how do you get your restoration company on their short list? In home restoration, you depend on referrals. Sure, you go through regular advertising channels, but professional referrals make you stand out. To have a testimony to the professionalism and quality of your home restoration company is clutch to a homeowner or business in need.

So how do you create a strong referral program? You build intentional relationships with professionals.

It’s all about keeping in touch. You need a rhythm — a way to reach out to people regularly so you don’t fall into the rut of contacting the same agents repeatedly. Instead, you need to give your attention to as many professional contacts as possible to make sure it’s you they call when it’s time to rehab.

Consistency = Trust

A lead management tool makes this rhythm work. It helps you keep track of information so you see the right people at the right frequency.

How? First, it tells you who’s nearby. If you drive across town for one appointment, you’re not maximizing your time. You may or may not get a return. Instead, when you drive to meet a contact, you need to see 5-10 other people too, whether new prospects or people you already know. Sales lead management software that shows you who’s close makes this easy.

This tool helps you to see your professional contacts regularly. That consistency builds trust — and trust is essential to earn professional referrals. See, insurance agents are recommending you to their customers. This recommendation implies you’re an extension of both the carrier and the agent. If you don’t do a good job, that’s a direct reflection on the insurance agent and company. So, if you want to be the person they refer, you need to give them a reason to believe sending clients to you is an intelligent decision. The right tool keeps you on track — it only takes one slip to ruin that relationship. But, if you’re organized and consistent, you’re building the trust they need to feel comfortable recommending you.

Related: How to Get High-Quality Sales Referrals

Improving Your Compensation Structure

The best software for sales lead management also helps you better compensate your salespeople. See, salespeople in other industries are paid based on their sales productivity. They earn commission by getting dollars through the door. But, in restoration services, salespeople can’t exactly create their sales — they’re not starting fires or busting pipes. So instead of basing commissions on sales alone, they need a structure that incentivizes activity. Why? Activity leads to phone calls that ultimately lead to sales.

We’ve worked with numerous companies to restructure their commissions based on activity levels. Let’s say we start with a 2% commission on sales from one of your referral sources or commercial accounts. Then give your salespeople the opportunity to increase that commission percentage with activity levels. As salespeople hit the target number of appointments, lunches, phone calls, and meetings with professional references, they bump up their commission to the next level.

Related: How Much Should You Really Compensate Your Salespeople?

The goal is to keep your sales team out of research mode and in the field meeting people. It’s the face-to-face meetings that earn money — it’s walking through office doors, having lunch, and playing golf that builds the relationship.

Plus, there’s not much to research — if you need to know where the agents are, just open your CallProof app and it’ll tell you.

The Two Most Ignored Markets in Home Restoration

Most home restoration salespeople know to stay in touch with insurance agents, but there are two vertical markets they miss — and both are clients with lots of toilets.

Sounds like a joke, right? It’s not. If a property has lots of toilets, they’ll have a water problem at some point. So they need to be on your radar. Here are two specific markets this includes:

1. Property Managers of Multi-Family Properties

The more property someone owns, the more likely they are to need restoration services. Properties with multi-family units likely have a lot of toilets and water lines. So stay in contact with them. After you meet with them and initiate the relationship, tell them you’ll call once a quarter to check in. Really, call them every 60 days to make sure they’re doing okay. Then see them (face-to-face) twice a year.

If you cover a specific geographic area and you know an ice storm came through, send them an email, “Hey, I hope you’re okay. Not all of our clients are. Do you need anything?” Whether they need you or not, they’ll know you were alert and ready to help.

2. Businesses With Lots of Toilets

Businesses and other commercial entities are another missed market. Churches, libraries, factories, and school districts are prime contacts for restoration. They have assets they need to protect from fires, floods, and storm damage. Any business you assume has an on-staff maintenance person or any building over 40,000 square feet is a contact you want to have.

Let them know about the risks they have too. In the event of a sewer backup, is their maintenance staff blood-borne pathogen certified? Do they want to handle that? No, they want to outsource to eliminate risk. I guarantee, if the risk manager at their insurance agency found out that someone who isn’t blood-borne pathogen-certified was working on the sewer backup, there’d be issues. They don’t want to do that — it just puts them at risk.

When you meet with asset owners of these businesses, make them aware of the risks they face. Here’s just one (true) story of why letting the pros handle cleanup is best.

During a busy time of year, a restoration company hired a temp to help with janitorial work. The guy they hired had a history of heroin use and intravenous needles. He worked a few hours of a sewer cleanup (wearing full protective gear) before he quit and walked off the job.

Later, he sued them because he tested positive for hepatitis C… and he won. He had 20 years of needle usage in his history, but after working less than a day on a cleanup with blood-borne pathogens won the lawsuit. And they’ll win every time. That’s how dangerous some of these issues are.

The Real Value of Relationship

Having a relationship with your company is helpful to you — but it’s valuable to agents and owners too. Sometimes, they don’t understand that the best deals don’t come out of the phone book. If they start looking for a restoration company during a 2:00 a.m. emergency, they won’t get special treatment. In fact, they’ll likely get a hefty bill and a lot of stress. Help them understand this. A pre-existing relationship with your company protects their assets (and bank accounts) during unexpected crises.