When Is the Right Time to Hire Your Next Salesperson?

You’ve hired your first salesperson, and business is going well. But you know the only way to grow your revenue is to find more prospects. And the best way to do that is hiring a salesperson. So is it time for you to make your next hire?

Consider the Demand for A New Salesperson

First, consider your supply and demand. If you have enough supply, then you need more demand. Maybe the demand just needs to be notified that you have the supply.

In B2B sales, this usually requires a representative — a person who knows all the features of the products. This rep can show your product to prospects, answering their questions and teaching them how it works for their organization. So how do you find more demand?

1. ID the Marketplace

What type of prospect is your salesperson missing? One person can’t reach your whole market. So identify the areas they aren’t reaching.

2. Segment the Field

Then decide how to divide the territory. Do you want to segment your salespeople based on types of industries, types of sales, size of the organization, or location?

3. Run the Numbers

Hire the right number of salespeople to reach your market. On average, a sales rep should have about 500 prospects to target in a year. So, if your marketplace has 2,000 prospects, you’ll need four strong salespeople.

Are You Ready for Another Sales Rep?

Before you hire your second salesperson, ask yourself these questions.

1. How many prospects are there?

Run the numbers to calculate your prospect to salesperson ratio. Remember 500:1 is the average ratio. If you only have 50 prospects, you don’t need another sales rep.

2. What’s the buying frequency?

Your specific ratio will vary based on the product and sales cycle. If you’re selling a commodity that’s needed every month, you’ll need more salespeople. After all, you have multiple opportunities to sell to the same client. If you have a contractual service where clients sign up for a year or two (i.e. health insurance or satellite providers), you may not need as many reps.

3. Can you afford to hire two salespeople?

Add to your sales team in pairs. Don’t just hire one person at a time. Instead, hire two, knowing you’ll only keep one. Only rarely will they sell the same amount. Rather, one will overachieve — and you’ll know who’s better. It’s easy to see a winner and a loser when they do the same work.

And, if you hire two competitive people, they’ll win over tons of business trying to beat each other.

How to Hire Salespeople Starting Up

If you’re just starting your business, don’t hire only one person. Hire as many as you can afford for the first two months. If you hire just one person, it’s tough to gauge how well they’re doing. You’re going to go through sales reps anyway. So begin with too many reps, and you’re more likely to find that rock star salesperson early on.

How to Build a World-Class Sales Training Program on a Budget

Most sales training is terrible. It doesn’t relate to the salespeople, and it’s outdated… if the company has any training material at all.

Back in the day, we used flip charts. Our training (like most US companies) went like this:

Introduction: Don’t stray from the script. This sales presentation is fail proof. Build some rapport, make sure the key decision maker is present, then use this flip chart.

Page 1: Our company was founded in…

Page 2: We are 20 million in sales!

Page 3: (More company history…)

Sure, company background builds credibility, but it’s no longer an effective tool. Why? You’re only talking about yourself. Today, making a sale means relating to clients — building a relationship so they can see how your product meets their needs.

Closing sales requires out-of-the-box thinking. That means it’s time for new sales training ideas to go with the new approaches it takes to sell.

Film REAL Salespeople Talking About REAL Opportunities

Interview your number-one salesperson via video. Then use their insight to teach others. Ask about recent opportunities and success so everyone learns how they’ve earned their spot as the top seller.

Then replicate this each time another sales person climbs to the top. Not only does it build your library, it also builds competition.

Stage Selling Opportunities

Want to pitch to a real client and end up with great sales training material? Hire prospects to play the part of a potential buyer.

Call a key prospect in your marketplace and say, “We’re creating training material for our reps and need to film a sales presentation. I know you’re with XYZ firm and aren’t interested in switching, but I’d like to offer you a $250 gift card if you’d be our client for the mock presentation.”

Sure, this technique may cost you a little, but think about the value of pitching to that prospect. In this scenario, you get a sales opportunity and training material. Even if you don’t need more sales training techniques, it’s a creative way to make a pitch.

Role Play

If you can’t find actual prospects to participate, hire actors or use salespeople for video role play. This works best stranger to stranger, so make sure you don’t use co-workers who know each other.

Provide the “client” with a persona. Give them a name, business details, and pain points.

Then choose a salesperson to make the presentation without knowing the client’s pain points, just like a real sales scenario.

Film their interaction and point out objections, pain points, and strategies for overcoming obstacles during a training.

Sales Program Essentials

You need more than one filmed scenario to fully train your salespeople. So, as you build your material, make sure to include these essentials.

Objections

Every organization has about 8-10 objections. Make sure your salespeople know how to handle each one. How? Ask your top 10-20 sales reps what objections they hear and how they respond to them. Then, either film these interviews or point out the objections in role play clips.

Video

Is video really necessary? Yes! It builds your library and allows people to study the details. I can train and role-play one on one, but a video is much more effective. It lets people study body language and facial expressions — repeatedly.

If you’re on a budget, use Google Hangouts to make the recording simple. All you need is a webcam.

Alternatively, you can make the video on your phone. No need to go hi-tech. Just record on your phone or in Google Hangouts, then put the footage to work.

Create for 2 Hours/Week

Sales managers, if you want to know how to develop a training program for your new hires too, start collecting these videos. It doesn’t have to take up much time. If you set aside two or three hours a week to build sales material, you’ll soon end up with an extensive resource for new hires.

You can use these videos in your hiring process. Require candidates to watch three hours of training material. Then have them “audition” for the sales role. If they don’t put in the work ahead of time, no need to waste your time.

Building a top-notch training program doesn’t require endless funds or time. With this plan, you’ll soon have the training resources you needed to equip your team with skills they’ve been missing!

3 Keys for Keeping Sales Leads Fresh With a Sales Tracking App

keeping leads fresh sales tracking app

I’m a multi-tasker. And because of that, I love Audible — I can listen to a book while doing just about anything. But recently, there was one book I was ready to read that wasn’t on Audible, so I picked up the hard copy. I hadn’t finished page one before I got distracted!

Why? My attention span is short. But it’s not just me — it’s all of us. Now, in our instant gratification culture, even a goldfish has a longer attention span than we do!

Naturally, our leads have the same issue. They have an itch to scratch when we get their referral. As soon as they find a solution (even if it’s not the best one), they move on and that opportunity disappears.

But what if you have old leads? No matter how good your CRM is, if your leads are old (10 years or 10 weeks), you’ve got a problem. So, before you blame the CRM for your sales plateau, ask yourself these questions to get to the root of the problem.

Is Marketing Talking to Sales?

Marketing and sales departments need to work together. Marketing spends major money to buy ads that bring in phone calls and find leads through outside sources. But, if they aren’t communicating with sales, your company may miss the value of your leads.

Marketing knows what a campaign costs, but they don’t always know how many leads it generates. Instead, they need to figure out the number of leads that come in because of each marketing strategy. Then they can calculate the cost of each lead — helping to develop their marketing strategy for the future and place an immediate value on leads for the sales team.

How many people filled out a form, gave information, or contacted you because of your $5K campaign? Once you get hard numbers, marketing can tell you exactly how much each lead is worth.

How Quickly Do You Respond to Leads?

Sales reps should respond to leads immediately. How do you think of leads — as a treasure or a task? Some salespeople treat leads as a task they need to complete within a week, while they need to respond within minutes. Otherwise, they loose the prime window for a sale.

InsideSales.com found that if you follow up with a lead within five minutes, you’re nine times more likely to convert them. Sales managers need to hold their team accountable to responding immediately.

Immediately? Yes. As soon as you see it. Do you want to close the sale? If so, call them right away. If a lead comes in at 4:00, don’t wait until the next day. If someone submits a form at 9 pm, call them then. And if you don’t get to it right away, call as soon as it’s acceptable to do so.

It’s not a matter of waiting until you get to your office to return calls. Sales don’t work that way unless you’re the only person selling something. Otherwise, leads are gold.

Is There an 800 Number on Your Contact Form?

People with wallets spend on phone calls. It’s also quicker to close on a call. A lead form (without an 800 number) tells potential buyers that their entries aren’t very important — they’ll be answered when you have time.

But any good sales organization makes time to answer sales questions. And any good salesperson would love to get a phone call from a client. The problem is solved when you add a number to the contact forms. That’s why we use custom phone numbers.

How Sales Tracking Apps Solve Your Problems

Sales tracking apps make it easy to solve these problems with two functions: displaying each prospect on a map and tracking communication with your prospects.

Provides Location

Sales tracking apps show you each lead’s location. Often, someone will fill out a lead form but not respond to your calls or emails. If you’re using the app, you’ll see your leads on a map. And a pop-in visit can be extremely beneficial.

So, if you just received a lead in Franklin, Tennessee while you’re in the area, you stop by to say hello. This person was interested in your business but didn’t want to talk to a sales rep. Now, since you’re standing in front of them, they may ask you about an objection you can resolve.

Tracks Responses

Sales managers, do you know how many leads are NOT contacted? An app like CallProof shows emails, calls, and texts sent to clients so no lead gets overlooked. See, a lot of salespeople make judgment calls on the leads. If they see a fake-looking email address, they skip it. But if their manager asks about it, they don’t say, “I didn’t call him because the email was fake.” They’ll just say they called and that he wasn’t interested. So, unless you have a record of the call, don’t assume they made it.

Other leads are only contacted once. Most of your leads are busy. You are not the only issue in their world. So, even though you could solve their problem, they put you off. In fact, 80% of sales require five follow-ups to close the deal, but 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up. So, if leads say, “I’m busy right now, you’ll need to call me back,” don’t assume they aren’t interested. You have to reach out several different ways to get their attention.

Here’s how I tell the salespeople in my organization to handle a lead: call, email, and text.

The next day: call, email, and text.

And the next day: call, email, and text again.

And the text message matters. Texts can’t be random, generic, or impersonal. Make the message understanding: “I understand you’re busy. What’s the best time to call?” Don’t text about your product and if they want to buy. Rather, ask a question about when they’d like to communicate.

Leads are valuable. When your marketing and sales departments work together and each lead is contacted promptly and repeatedly, you’ll see your numbers climb.

What’s the value of a lead that you don’t call? Nothing.

The Value of Having ALL Sales CRM Data in One Place

value of having CRM data in one place

Have you ever made a list, only to lose it before it was even used?

It’s frustrating to take notes and keep track of information, only to misplace it later. But while it may be frustrating in some circumstances, it’s costly in others. Client information is one of the most valuable resources in business. If you misplace it or the right people can’t get to it, your business suffers.

We want ALL client information in one spot. No matter who talks to the client at what time, all calls, emails, files, interactions, and notes need to be in one place.

How It Helps

Centrally located information helps in many areas, but transition periods reap huge benefits. When you promote a salesperson and reassign their territory, a new person shouldn’t start from scratch. Often, outside salespeople work a territory for a few years, and when they leave, they take their information with them. Then the new person gets a new prospect list and spends months re-creating those relationships.

But what if they could pick up where the last person left off? With a CRM that stores information in one place, they can. And the transition becomes smoother for everyone prospects, customers, and salespeople.

How It Works

So how does that happen? You could require salespeople to log all client interactions diligently (and hope they do it). Or you could use a system that automatically updates itself.

That is what CallProof does. It logs all the phone calls, emails, and meetings automatically. Salespeople handle clients the way they always have, while CallProof syncs up and logs the interactions.

Here’s what used to happen. First, I had to remember to call or email Joe. If I remembered (and didn’t snooze my calendar alert for six months), I logged into the CRM afterwards, and made my notes.

Now, CallProof tells me to email Joe. I email Joe, and CallProof automatically updates itself. If I included an attachment, it automatically uploads that attachment to the client’s file. If anyone else on our sales team emails Joe, it stores the information too. CallProof aggregates the information for us.

I hate change. So I do the same things I always did. But CallProof figures out the way I work (so I don’t have to change), and then puts the information where it needs to be.

Why It Works

CallProof offers this solution, but no one else does. Why? We found out what the people who buy and use CRMs want. Only after talking with usability experts, aesthetic consultants, and many marketing and IT buyers, did we build our CRM.

Salesforce.com was one of the earliest “software to service” solutions. Buyers consider it a safe buy because it’s well known. No one will fault them for buying this age-old service. But just because it’s popular, that doesn’t mean it’s the best solution.

The Right CRM

If you want to buy the right CRM, recognize each solution for what it is. Figure out why it works the way it does. Was it built to market or built to work?

CallProof was built to work, then we just happened to sell it later. We built it because we realized that the other CRMs didn’t work. They operated, but they didn’t fit with sales culture. When they were effective, it was because salespeople changed their mode of operation. They took on extra work to get data into the system.

Marketing buyers think about the end goal. They want to be able to market to any potential demographic middle-aged dog owners who live on the east side of town and drink coffee. They want options to create “cool charts” with the variables. But they forget to think about how that information gets in the system to start with. Sure, the marketing options and campaign potentials are appealing, but they’re useless without accurate data.

IT people look at solutions in terms of technology. They want a solution with a solid operating system. Since they know how to build systems, CRM services sell to these buyers with discussions on certifications and firewall technology. CallProof has all that too, but that’s not the most important factor.

No matter how solid the technology or what demographic specifications it pulls (which CallProof does too), the solution won’t work without data. And that’s the last thing people think about when they’re buying, even though it should be the first.

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How to Calculate the Real Cost of a Sales CRM

calculate cost of CRM

The best deal on paper isn’t always the best deal. Your CRM invoice may look like you’re spending a few hundred dollars when you’re actually investing thousands. So how do you know the true cost?

When you’re calculating the real cost of a CRM, start by adding up the setup fees and monthly costs, but don’t stop there. You also need to calculate the value of your time.

Time: The Hidden Expense

Time is money especially when you’re on the job. When a CRM requires a large time investment from you and your employees, you lose money. So ask yourself, “Do I make more money for the company updating the CRM or doing my job?”

Here’s an example. If an engineer’s billing rate is $100/hour, and they spend six hours managing the CRM, that time investment results in $600 lost revenue.

If you decrease the time you spend managing the CRM, you save major money. Let’s say this same engineer now uses a different CRM that only requires two hours to manage. That time shift saves the company $400.

How to Figure Out Your Total Cost

Start with setup fees and monthly fees. Then factor in the time it takes to set up the CRM, who does it, and what their time is worth. Now, add the amount of time that each employee spends in the system every week according to their approximate hourly rate. That’s your true cost.

Here’s how it adds up. Which of these solutions costs less?

  1. You spend $10 per user/per month. Then each user spends 40 hours a month updating data.
  2. You spend $30 per user/per month. Then each user spends five hours a month updating data.

When you factor in time value, B is your obvious deal.

A CRM may seem like a good deal on paper, but when employees have to spend numerous hours working for the system (rather than it working for them), you lose more money than you may realize. Instead, calculate the real deal. Spending a little more on an efficient solution saves you thousands in time.

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Why Everything You Know About CRM Is 100% Wrong

Everything You Know About CRM Is Wrong

Successful companies have always recognized the need for a CRM. They have a responsibility to their employees, vendors, and customers to keep information organized. But old CRM methods no longer make the cut.

Now, as people work anytime from anywhere, salespeople need customer information at their fingertips. They need data in one place that they can access or enter from a phone. Fancy spreadsheets and unique demographic pulls are no longer the priority any service can do that. What matters is accessibility.

The Problem

When business leaders decide to shop for CRM solutions, they usually delegate it to marketing or IT. Some plan to use that information from a marketing perspective to nurture prospects. Others send it to the IT department because it’s a technology solution. And IT technicians can figure out what will work with current software. What leaders don’t think about is the end user the salesperson.

What Typically Happens

CRM solution companies know who buys their solution and it’s not the individual sales rep. Therefore, most products appeal to marketers or IT technicians and disregard the ease (or difficulty) of entering the data.

After salespeople make calls and visits, taking notes and tracking appointments, they need about five hours each week to enter all that data. But they lack either productivity or time. Low performers often make up their data, completely skewing the CRM information, while top performers don’t have time to enter all their activity.

Instead, you need a CRM system that updates activities automatically. When a CRM depends on each sales rep spending hours each week correctly recalling their activities, your data won’t be reliable.

With old CRMs, you needed to remember to email your prospect. Then you’d craft the email, send it out, log into the CRM, and make a note of what you did. Now, CallProof reminds you to email your prospect, you send the message, and then it automatically copies your email to the contact record (along with any attachments). The activity is automatically updated, and you’re free to move to the next task.

CallProof also updates in real time. Why? So you can manage in real time. It’s not about micromanaging, but rather keeping your thumb on the pulse of activity so you know what’s going on. You can check in or follow up as needed.

The 3-Minute Sales CRM Test

How long does it take to enter data in your CRM? If it takes more than three minutes, that’s too long.

With CallProof, you can make any data entry in under three minutes. You can also find information you need for a visit, select the result of your appointment, or book a new meeting within that short time.

Your sales team (and people in general) procrastinate tasks that take too long. In fact, they often put tasks off so long, they never complete them. That’s why CallProof keeps the process quick and easy.

CallProof gives you a solution that stores functional, accessible, and accurate data in a central location. Because of that, our adaptation rate is stellar. It’s the easiest CRM for salespeople to use, which means companies get more reliable information and better results than from any other service.

Instead of thinking of CRM as a tool to generate reports, focus on how you’re going to get the information into the system. How can you take this burden of documentation from your day-to-day employees, and yet have data at your fingertips? CallProof is a solution that automatically does this for you.

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5 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Sales CRM [CHECKLIST]

choosing a crm

You’ve realized that your company needs a sales CRM? Good. Now how do you choose?

Keeping customer data under control is key to growing your business. So ask these questions to choose the right CRM.

1. Are There Extra Charges?

CRM solutions were built for sales, yet most CRMs are purchased by marketing and IT departments. Therefore, most CRM services prioritize IT and marketing needs over the needs of a salesperson, which creates data problems. And fixing those problems costs extra. Here’s how it usually works.

For IT and marketing people to get the data they need, salespeople need to spend four to five hours each week entering their information. But salespeople can’t afford to spend that much time entering data. So they input data inconsistently, and the reports are unusable.

Then IT/marketing asks the CRM solution for different types of reports which cost extra. These companies were built to sell, so they’ll nickel and dime you as they offer extra services to “solve” the problem.

CallProof takes a more proactive approach. We built our service for sales reps. It’s easy to enter the information into the system, which makes the data reliable. Moreover, we offer a lot of support at the beginning, and the system is completely customizable. We charge one flat fee without a maintenance agreement or other up-charges. If we have to customize a report, it’s included in the price. We’re not smart enough to charge for every little thing, and we want to give you a service you need for the long haul.

2. What’s The Length Of The Contract?

Most companies offer a six-month or year contract. They want to get your revenue, so they use contracts to ensure your business is worth their investment.

CallProof uses month-to-month contracts because we feel it’s important that we earn our clients’ business every month. Plus, it proves that we’re on the same team we want our product to work for you.

Let’s say I have a year-long contract with the CRM vendor, but they charge for extra support. We’re not on the same side anymore. I’m tied to a CRM that should be working well, yet they earn extra if it does not. The model gets me to call in and spend money, leaving me and the vendor with different goals.

We want everything working so that if you don’t call us, we’ll make more money. If you don’t have problems, we’re in a better position. That way, we’re truly on the same team.

3. How Is Training Handled?

Make sure you know what training you’ll receive for the CRM you purchase. Ask:

  • Are we responsible for it?
  • Is there a link to a YouTube channel, or is there formal training?
  • How much does it cost?

4. What Types Of Integrations Are Necessary?

You also need to understand how this software will work with your current technology. Ask:

  • What types of integrations are necessary with line-of-business applications and other ancillary software that our organization uses?
  • Are emails, phone calls, and day-to-day activities automatically updated?

5. How Does Existing Data Get Into The Solution?

Someone needs to import, manage, and clean up your organization’s existing data. Will you or the vendor be responsible for this process?

You want the vendor to make the transition for you. If you import and convert data for the first (and only) time, the result is probably going to be poor. It’s like tying your shoelaces. The first time you do it, it takes a long time and the knot isn’t very good. But someone with experience does it perfectly.

If you rely on a person who manages the software daily, they’ll get a better result. Why? They “tie shoelaces” all the time. And when they do it, it gets done quickly and there’s a solid knot when they’re finished.

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How to Cut Your Sales Training in Half and Improve Retention

Cut Your Sales Training in Half

When you hire a salesperson, you look for a few basic qualities: confidence, assertiveness, strong communication skills, and so on. The right strengths always help new salespeople, but there’s another piece to the puzzle of success.

If you want new hires to succeed, you can’t just hire the right type of person. You need a person who puts in the right type of activity.

Why Don’t New Salespeople Work Out?

Here’s what often happens when you hire a new outside salesperson:

  1. You train them for a few weeks on products and services.
  2. They put together spreadsheets/activity logs to show what they’re doing.
  3. Six months later, you realize their sales numbers aren’t there.

Our first instinct is to blame the salesperson. Are they not capable of closing deals? Do they understand the product?

But their ability isn’t usually the problem. The issue is their activity level. If they don’t talk to enough prospects, they won’t have the numbers needed to make enough sales.

Salespeople have to make phone calls and meet people face to face regularly. Yet, most salespeople would rather walk into a burning furnace than make a sales call. So they find things to do that keep them busy: making logs, running reports, putting together proposals. And activity suffers.

Salespeople fight this by making tons of cold calls at once. Then they spend weeks following up on those calls by traveling to appointments and making quotes. After they finish, they start from scratch again. That way, they end up in a good quarter/bad quarter cycle.

Instead of leaving salespeople to figure out how many cold calls to make and when, sales managers should set clear expectations and hold them accountable. Work backwards through the data to see how much activity produces the desired number of sales. Then track activity in real time with CallProof. If you see a person isn’t hitting their daily numbers, the sales won’t follow.

When you work through those numbers, you’ll be able to calculate exactly how many phone calls and meetings individual salespeople need weekly, even daily, to achieve their goal. Then you can check if they’re doing that.

Without a real-time CRM, it takes about six months to see a salesperson’s activity. Only then can you determine retention. CallProof cuts that time in half by showing you activity in real time. When you use the tool that lets you inspect what you expect, you’ll see how successful they’ll be within 60 days (including two weeks of training).

The Value of Training Your Salespeople

Training aims to turn sales talent into sales productivity. And that’s done through activity. So focus your salespeople’s training more on interactions than product knowledge. First, help new sales reps understand the importance of activity. Then teach them how to ask prospects questions to find their pain point. That’s what brings success.

Back in the ‘80s, there was an IBM saleswoman who sold record numbers of mainframes. She went out and asked her prospects questions, then brought the information back to the technical people to find solutions. Realizing how astounding her sales numbers were, IBM decided to give her in-depth training on the technicality of their products. After about a year of this intense training, she returned to the field. Her numbers were thoroughly average. Never did she achieve great sales figures again. Why? Once she knew everything, she no longer asked questions.

Many companies emphasize product knowledge in training. But the best training is learning to complete the activities that lead to sales (like making phone calls and meeting face to face). That’s more important than the person knowing what they’re talking about.

How to Cut Sales Training Time in Half

Managers, you don’t have to wait six months to find out if a rep is going to be a good fit. With a solution like CallProof, you can find out in two months or less. First, train them in the science of activity level and give them clear activity goals. Then teach them how to make calls and meet with prospects. Give them just enough product knowledge to solve pain points and offer a great service to your clients.

All the while, keep your finger on the pulse of their activity to see if they’re booking the numbers. If not, you can correct or move on quickly. If they’re doing well, you can encourage them to keep doing what works.

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Salespeople: Avoid These Costly Social Networking Mistakes

salespeople social networking mistakes

Staying off social media all day is tough. Checking your news feed is a habit that’s hard to kick. But we all know it impairs work productivity, so when we jump online to check in or check up on what’s going on in the social media world, we tell ourselves, “It’s for work.”

Social media potentially helps your sales game – if you use it correctly. But these five mistakes may be getting in your way.

1. Confusing Social Media With Lead Generation

Is your time investment in social media going to pay off? We often tell ourselves there’s a prospect out there we might find through our connections. But nine times out of ten, it’s not worth your time. In fact, the risk of being sucked into other feeds is far greater than the potential reward of finding a prospect.

So here’s the rule of thumb: only browse social media during situations you have no control over (like standing in line). But, if your industry can’t benefit from browsing social media, don’t get on it at all during your workday.

2. Lack of Strategy and Schedule for LinkedIn

LinkedIn provides you the opportunity for seeing who’s changed jobs and if new decision-makers have entered the scene. However, we often use it aimlessly. It’s easy to get lost in the posts of articles, updates, and advancements.

When you get on LinkedIn, set a goal and a time frame for browsing. LinkedIn’s primary benefit for salespeople is showing when a key prospect moves to a new business. So schedule a time to browse your feed to look for new decision-maker opportunities. Then only visit the site once a week to see if those connections have changed.

3. Wasting Time on People Who Have Nothing to Say

To make browsing simple, hide the people that aren’t beneficial to your network. If someone doesn’t add value to your organization, you don’t need to see their posts on your News Feed. Change these settings on both LinkedIn and Facebook.

Also, follow the right people. Some people use Facebook as a channel to whine and complain. Block them. You want to follow the people who contribute in beneficial ways, not those that drain you. It’ll make finding the right posts much easier.

4. Alienating Your Audience

As a salesperson, your income relies on making people happy and getting people to like you. So be careful about what you say. Don’t post about topics that offend your customer base.

Don’t post political opinions. You’re bound to offend someone if you endorse Trump or Hillary. You’re entitled to your opinions, but don’t advertise them at the expense of your sales career.

Don’t brag about your lifestyle. High-end salespeople bring in big bucks. If your client base doesn’t have a similar income, don’t post about your high-dollar purchases. Be aware of how clients perceive posts about vacationing in Tahiti, meeting celebrities, or buying a new car. With these types of posts, you no longer relate to your average-earning client, and they may even grow to resent you.

Don’t complain. People get frustrated with online whiners. In fact, I just told you to block them. So don’t be someone others dread hearing from.

Instead, use Facebook to post pictures that make you a “real” person. Pictures of family time, for example, are something people identify with. Also, stay positive and post content that adds value to your followers.

Use LinkedIn to remind your audience what you sell and what you do. Your posts should always point back to your products and how those benefit your clients. Also remember that on LinkedIn your title is key. Think of it like your email signature and phrase it effectively.

If you want a more personal outlet online – for things like posting pictures from your nights out – use Snapchat or Instagram. Typically, buyers in professional organizations pay more attention to Facebook and LinkedIn.

5. Spending Too Much Time Browsing

The biggest problem with using social media isn’t the research you’re doing; it’s the distractions along the way. Media posts and story hooks are designed to grab your attention and draw you in. But no online story is going to get you a sale.

There’s undeniable benefit to using Facebook and LinkedIn to research your prospects. So schedule a time for it. Otherwise, steer clear from social media during the work day. You’re far better making prospecting calls than browsing meaningless content.

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6 Easy Ways to Get Past the Sales Gatekeeper

getting past the gatekeeper

You’re out building your network, ready to meet people in charge and make sales. You enter the office, walk up to the reception desk, and see someone sitting there engrossed in their US Weekly. As you ask for Dr. Jones, the receptionist flippantly replies, “He’s in a meeting.”

What do you do? You drove across town to get here, and now you can’t even see the person you came to meet!

Getting past the gatekeeper can make (or break) your sales game. And this process isn’t about making the pitch to the person guarding the door. It’s about learning to talk to strangers. Save your sales talk for the actual decision-maker.

As you aim to pitch to the right person, use these six tips to earn the gatekeeper’s trust and navigate your way past the front desk.

1. Take the Temperature

Before you jump into why you came to the office, gauge the gatekeeper’s temperature. You don’t want to walk in and interrupt whatever they’re doing without building rapport.

So make small talk. Look around for items on the desk that lend themselves to discussion. The receptionist is trying to figure out if you’re a friend or foe. You want to convince them you’re a friend.

2. Don’t Hold Literature in Your Hand

Since you’re looking to be a friend, not just another salesperson, avoid giving away that you’re there to sell. If you come in strutting your sales look with presentation materials in hand, they will have no reason to help you.

3. Dress the Part

Consider your audience as you dress for these in-person cold calls. It’s best to mimic the way people dress in the office. Don’t come wearing a suit if that’s not the culture. But don’t be underdressed either (it’s better to be overdressed).

That means you need to do your homework. If you’ve never been to the office before, search Google images for the business and look up their LinkedIn profiles to figure out their standard attire. If you’ve been there before, use the way they dressed as a guide.

Men, your best outfit is usually khaki pants and a golf shirt. You want clothing that breathes while keeping your look professional, especially when you’re traveling to multiple businesses. If you’re wearing a coat and tie getting in and out of your car all day, you’ll end up sweaty and wrinkled. And there’s nothing worse than a well-dressed person sweating on a cold call.

4. Ignore Negative Body Language

A good gatekeeper gives negative body language to scare people away. You have to ignore that. If salespeople left every time they read negative body language, they’d never be successful. Instead, high-performing salespeople ignore negative body language and try to overcome it. Sure, it’s uncomfortable to stay where you’re not wanted, but you have to power through.

You want to give off the right body language too. Don’t walk in looking like you’re about to spew a five-minute monologue. Instead, assume a more casual posture, or even look confused and say something like, “Wow, the parking lot is full today…” The goal is to be personable and non-intimidating.

5. Use the Gatekeeper’s First Name

Name exchange is paramount to building any kind of rapport. So, when you walk in, your first goal is to get their name. Then use their name in a sentence. Look for something on the desk with their name on it, maybe a nameplate or a plaque on the wall.

If you don’t see it, consider asking, “Hey, are you new here? What’s your name?” I usually do a quick age test before asking this question. If the person is older, I assume they’ve been there a while. But if there’s a younger receptionist, I go ahead and ask.

You can even lead into a conversation with something like:

Hey, my name is Robert and I’m here to see Dr. Jones, what did you say your name was? …Great, Susan! How long have you been here, Susan?”

With this approach, you find out their name, show you’re listening when you repeat it, and build rapport.

6. Find Signs of Affiliation

Connect with the gatekeeper in a conversation that could exist outside of the business. If you see a sign of a sports team, networking group, or hometown, use that to start a conversation. Or look up the business on social media before you make your visit. Often, posts are made by someone at the front desk. So see if you can identify a subject for conversation.

Next time you walk into an office on a cold call, act like you know the person in charge.

If the boss is in a meeting, be comfortable with that. Just reply, “No big deal. I need to do a little work on my phone, so I’ll just wait here until they’re done.” The more comfortable you are with yourself and the more personable you are with the receptionist, the more likely you are to meet that decision-maker.

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