How to Use a Sales Tracking App for Farm Equipment Sales

 How to Use a Sales Tracking App for Farm Equipment Sales

You’ve got to make hay while the sun’s shining if you want success in farm equipment sales.

And if you’re in the business, you know how true that is. Farming is seasonal — which means selling to farmers is seasonal. If it’s harvest or planting time, you can kiss your chances of reaching clients (or prospects) goodbye.

Too Much to Do, Too Little Time

Selling to people who work seasonally leaves you with a limited time to reach all your customers, check on their equipment, and see what else they need before the next season — not to mention calling prospects and trying to up your sales. See, everyone’s on the same calendar. And the season for farmers of one crop vs. another doesn’t differ that drastically.

So how can you make sure to reach everyone before they’re back in the fields? Well, if you’re just using a notebook to keep track of things, prospects will slip through the cracks. Maybe you had a prospect that said, “Hey, call me after the season,” but with everyone else you need to see first, you completely forgot. Without a reliable CRM to remind you, remembering to reach out to passing prospects is a gamble.

Here’s where a sales app comes in handy. You need to cover all of your prospects and clients during two very short windows of time each year. That makes efficiency a must. During these peak times, you don’t have time to procrastinate. Once their harvesting starts, your opportunity is over. But a mobile sales tool can keep you on track and help you make the most of your time.

Learn more about time management for salespeople: The Most Successful Sales Teams Avoid These Time Management Mistakes.

Making the Most of Your Selling Season

So how does a sales tracking app make you much more effective? See, the best sales apps feature instant data entry. You don’t have time to enter notes at the end of the week during peak season. And you can’t afford to let them stack up. (Check out: How Salespeople Can Eliminate the Pain of Paperwork)

Instead, you need to be able to log your meetings and enter your notes right away. So, as you leave a meeting, you can enter your notes immediately and schedule your next actions. The app will then build your calendar and schedule reminders automatically as you move on to the next customer.

That also means you don’t forget anyone. You’ll set your preferences for how frequently you contact your customers or prospects, and the app makes sure you remember.

An app like CallProof even comes with a voice-to-text feature so you literally don’t even have to take the time to type your notes and client contact info, or enter calendar events. Instead, you’ll just say the information into your phone while you’re headed to your car before you see the next person. Then you let the app remind you when it’s time to contact them again.

If you’re in farm equipment sales, you’re on the go — and you need a mobile sales tool that goes with you. So check out CallProof and see how it can change your selling seasons for the better.

Download this Sales Call Report template to track your activities in face-to-face meetings. You can even customize it to your needs. Taking the time to log your visits and plan your follow-up will take your prospecting from good to great!

 

How to Prospect Smarter and Bring in More Sales Leads

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The key to smart sales prospecting can be summed up in two easy steps.

1. Do it.

2. Follow up.

And get both down to a science.

But don’t worry — we won’t leave you to figure out the details on your own. With these three techniques for how to prospect smarter, you’ll see just how many people you need to reach to hit your goals and what to do once you’ve made contact.

1. Work Backwards

You’ve got dinner plans across town at 7:00 tonight — when should you leave your house? Well, you think about how long it’ll take to get there considering distance, traffic, and roadworks, right? You work backwards. The same is true in sales. If you want to know how to prospect for sales smarter, the answer is simple: work backwards.

Backing through your numbers to figure out how many people to see is the best place to start learning how to prospect. See, it’s all a numbers game. Anyone you contact enters your sales process. Here’s how it works.

Start with your sales goals. If you want to make x dollars, how much product will you need to sell? Then look at past averages — how many quotes and proposals does it take on average to close that many deals? Next, how many appointments does it take to give a quote? And finally, how many cold calls or pop-ins does it take to get that many appointments?

That’s how many people you need to contact during your sales term — so just divide it out to see how many people you should be contacting each day.

Then, as you talk to them, divide the prospects into three categories: active, latent, and not interested. Now you know how to follow up. My active buyers, I pursue. My latent buyers, I follow up with periodically. And my prospects who aren’t interested, I only contact annually.

2. Plan Your Pitch

Once you know how much to prospect, work on your pitch. You need to make contacts with new people every day. So the more you focus on your goal for the conversation and polish your approach, the better those cold calls will go.

The Goal: Gather Information

When you talk with a new prospect, you’re collecting information. You’re looking for info that gives insight into their needs, potential solutions, and their level of interest in solving those problems. You want anything that tells you what category they fall into. Every prospect falls into one of those three categories by the end of this first contact: active, latent, or not interested.

Script Next Steps

Why do you need to know what category they belong to? Because then you know potential outcomes for each type of prospect. Based on their interest, you can start the next action. If they respond in a way that makes them active, you’ll offer them an appointment. If you see that they’re latent, you’ll send them your contact information and keep in touch. And if they seem to be uninterested, you’ll call them next year. Whatever it is, you need to know the call-to-action based on their broad situation and follow your system after that.

Related: A Sales Lead Management Process You Can Count On

3. Approach Phone and Face-to-Face Prospecting Differently

Cold Call Prospecting

If you’re prospecting with cold calls, use a script. Write out what you’ll say to collect the information you need to gauge their interest. Then script out how you’ll respond if they’re active, latent, or uninterested. It’s more difficult to move people to the next step when you’re not staring them in the face. That makes a script invaluable!

Also, you get more rejections when you’re prospecting over the phone. There’s often a lot of volume and distraction, and people say no quickly. Yet, phone calls make it easier to get around the gatekeeper. So don’t get discouraged with rejection and keep calling new people.

Face-to-Face Prospecting

Face-to-face conversations make it much easier to gauge people. Plus, people tend to be less terse in person. On the other hand, it means you have to take the time to visit these businesses. And if they tell you no, you’ve wasted more time than you do on a phone call.

However, it’s productive if you plan to hit a lot of business in one area, especially if you can tie visits with existing sales-ready appointments. Planning to make two pop-in visits near every new appointment can be a great strategy.

The best tip for face-to-face prospecting is to do something with the information you get. Once they gather a name, most people forget about it or log it in their CRM. That’s when prospecting puts you at a disadvantage. It’s happened with us before — we were good at face-to-face prospecting, so we spent time doing it. But we didn’t make the most of the information we gathered, so we still wasted our time. Our competitors weren’t prospecting at all, but they had extra time for things that were more productive.

So, if you take the time for face-to-face prospecting, make sure you follow up. Put them in your process. Send them a card, email them, go back to visit, call them — whatever you need to do to make contact again. Don’t just log them in the CRM or put their details in your binder. Make your time count.

Download this Sales Call Report template to track your activities in face-to-face meetings. You can even customize it to your needs. Taking the time to log your visits and plan your follow-up will take your prospecting from good to great!

Why Questions Matter When Qualifying Your Sales Leads

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In the early ’80s, there was a saleswoman who was awesome at selling mainframes. But really, she just walked into businesses and asked questions. Then she took their responses back to the engineers, they told her what the client needed, she told the customer, and they’d buy.

Obviously, the company loved her, so they sent her to school to learn more about the interworking of the mainframes. After six months of intense training, she knew everything there was to know about them. And her sales were thoroughly average after that. Why? She stopped asking questions. She thought she knew what the customers needed and stopped listening to them.

Being a rock star doesn’t mean knowing the most about a subject — it’s knowing what questions to ask so you can find the right solution.

Questions Start the Story

Qualifying sales leads is all about asking questions. Then, as you come to understand the environment of the company, you can tell your story and make a sale.

As you ask questions and talk with them about their business, you’re not only learning the information, but you’re often validating what they’re doing. Plus, they’re thinking through why they do what they do. Either way, you’re now on a deeper level of conversation.

Now you have the chance to reassure them they’re in a good spot or show them how your product meets their needs. If it’s not a good fit right now, it’s okay to admit it. Every relationship has a beginning, middle, and end. And when the timing is right for them, maybe you’ll be able to work together.

But if you ask the right questions, you’ll know if they have needs you can meet. Then you share your story as a part of that conversation. Maybe you say, “This is why we’re here. Our clients are the same way you are. That’s why I asked you the question. We can solve your problem. You just need to decide how important this need is to your business.”

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

If You Don’t Qualify Leads

So what happens if you don’t qualify a lead? Well, a number of things can go wrong. Here’s a few:

  • Lose sale opportunities
  • Waste time
  • Send wrong marketing material
  • Nurture prospects in the incorrect way
  • Propose the wrong solution
  • Never figure out what’s really going on

Some of those problems can be avoided if you plug prospects into a marketing analysis to see user variables. But qualifying a lead through conversation takes the business relationship to the next level. Sales happen when you have conversations that lead to the right solutions.

Signs of a Qualified Prospect

So how do you know if a prospect is a good fit? Well, during the conversation, you’ll know if your product lines up with their needs. But in order for them to pull the trigger, they’ll need trust, timing, and money.

Trust begins as you start the relationship and develops over time. As you’re building trust, be consistent. Stay in contact and follow through with what you say. The timing also has to be right. If you have the right process, you’ll know if it’s the right time for them. Money is the easiest factor to check. Look at their business size compared to your cost and see if they can afford it.

Deal With the Decision Maker

You’ll never sell if you’re not talking to the right person. Knowing how to qualify leads is irrelevant if you aren’t dealing with the decision maker. Ask yourself, “Does this person have the authority to make purchasing decisions?”

In a business, there are asset owners (the owner of the business) and asset custodians (the directors). And the priorities of owners and custodians are completely different. If you’re selling a commodity that’s all about lowering the price per product, talk to the asset custodian. The focus is on offering products for less money.

However, if you’re selling value of service, talk to the asset owner. A service is all about the relationship. So you need to explain the benefits of the service to the person who has the most liability. Once they’re on board, they might pass you off to the asset custodian to work out the details, but it takes owner buy-in first.

Qualifying prospects doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s all about a conversation. Ask questions that help your prospect talk about their needs. Then you’ll know if you have the solution to make the relationship worthwhile.

 

Why Pharmacy Reps Should Use a Sales Tracking App

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Ever played the game “telephone”? You know how it goes — you give someone a message, and they pass it on down the line. Maybe they think they heard you clearly, but by the time the last person says it aloud, the message isn’t so clear anymore.

Isn’t that how it is to be a pharmacy sales rep? Your job is giving someone a message they can clearly repeat to someone else. Maybe you thought you had a good conversation with a doctor, but the results don’t turn out like you’d hoped.

Pharmacy sales is all about professional referrals. The customers are the patients. But the patients choose you because of their physicians. So your job is to maintain those professional relationships so the doctor remembers you when it’s time for a referral. And the best sales tracking apps will help you stay at the front of their minds.

The #1 Mistake: Being Forgettable

Your success depends on doctors remembering you and your product at the right time. Maybe you have a great conversation with a practice provider at a “Lunch and Learn” event. You tell them all about the advancements in your therapy, medication, or pharmacy, and they realize you’re a great match for their practice. But, if you never talk to them again and a referral opportunity doesn’t come up for months, they won’t remember you. Why? Keeping up with your information isn’t their main job. So you need to stay on their radar.

You want to be their first thought when the opportunity arises. So, for actively writing practices, visit every 30 days. For practices in your nurturing process (maybe they already use a compounding pharmacy or it doesn’t come up much), visit once a quarter. Meanwhile, keep in contact via email or messaging to develop your relationship and raise their awareness of your business.

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

Multiplying Your Efforts

What’s great about the rep-doctor relationship is that a referral partnership with one doctor usually means a relationship with many. Doctors tell their colleagues what works. So news spreads fast.

That means your return is exponential when you meet new clients. Establishing a relationship with one new doctor could lead to many more referrals. So don’t just visit your current clients. Make time to see new practices where you hope to gain referrals. Because a new relationship with one client may unlock the potential to work with many others.

Essential Tools for a Pharmacy Rep

Now, you need a way to keep track of it all. Here’s what you need:

  1. Reminders for maintaining relationships
  2. Opportunities to build more relationships
  3. A way to keep track of meetings in real time
  4. An easy mechanism for managing follow-ups

A sales app like CallProof gives you all those tools. First, you’ll get regular reminders to visit your clients (based on how frequently you need to see them). Then you’ll have access to a non-typing mechanism that shows you even more prospects. As you meet those prospects, you’ll be able to log their location and contact info with the push of a button on your phone. Plus, you can track your notes with a voice-to-text feature so you don’t even have to take the time to type it out. After that, you’ll just select your frequency for making contact. Then the app will remind you when it’s time to contact them again.

Related: 7 Must-Have iPhone Apps For Salespeople

But I’m Already Great at Finding New Prospects…

Many providers and practices are in medical complexes. So, when you stop by to see a regular client, you can visit other doctors nearby to develop new relationships. Ever realized the problems that can cause?

Without the right tracking mechanism, meeting unscheduled prospects costs you time. The first problem is forgetting to follow up. If you spend time beginning those relationships but do nothing with it, you’ve wasted time you could have spent more productively.

But maybe you mean to follow up, so you take their contact info, spend Friday afternoon entering them into your system so you can follow up — but you never do. Why? Following up is easy to put off. There’s almost always something better to do, so you rationalize your way out of it. Then you’ve wasted even more time. Making new contacts is great, but if you don’t do anything with the new leads, you’ve cost yourself time that doesn’t pay off.

Until you have an app to help you manage new contacts, you’re giving your competitors the advantage. They may not be out there getting cold leads, but they’re also not spending their time on fruitless activity.

Use Tools to Make Work Actionable

The key is getting a tool to make your work actionable. With a sales tracking app that tracks your contacts in real time (so you don’t have to take the time to enter them) and reminds you when to follow up (and won’t leave you alone until you do!), you’ll be miles ahead of the competition.

Rely on the best sales tracking apps for your business. You can’t rely on the individual diligence of your entire sales team. Not everyone is a top performer. Let technology do the work of logging contact info and reminding you who to contact. Then you can focus on building relationships, advocating for your pharmacy, and being the one physicians remember.

 

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

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

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

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

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

1. Keep Real Prospects in Your CRM

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

2. Methodically Contact Them

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

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

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

3. Inspect What You Expect

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

4. Tie Commissions to Activity

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

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

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

 

A Sales Lead Management Process You Can Count On

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

So what’s your lead tracking process?

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

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

How to Qualify Your Leads

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

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

Perceived cost x 1,000 = Minimum Business Revenue

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

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

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

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

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

How to Handle Leads Systematically

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

1. Start the Funnel

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

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

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

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

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

2. Script the Process

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

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

3. Tweak It

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

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

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

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

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

 

Field Sales 101: Follow These 10 Solid Tips for Success

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

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

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

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

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

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

#2: Stay Organized

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

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

#3: Don’t Keep Anything in Your Head

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

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

#4: Tell Your Story

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

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

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

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

#5: Admit If You’re Not a Good Fit

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

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

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

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

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

#7: Keep the Price Fair

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

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

#8: Take a Team Approach With Vendors

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

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

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

#9: Communicate During Onboarding

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

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

#10: Quote Quickly

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

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

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

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

Anatomy of the Perfect Sales Follow-Up Call

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

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

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

Contact Them… Then Contact Them Again

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

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

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

Ask, “When should I follow up next?”

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

Mail a Handwritten “Thank You” Note

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

Send Your Quote ASAP

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

Follow Up Immediately After Sending the Quote

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

Call Back

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

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

If You Don’t Follow Up

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

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

How to Make a Great Follow-Up Call

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

1. Immediately say your name and your company.

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

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

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

When to Follow Up

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

Active and Latent Buyers

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

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

How a CRM Helps You Follow Up

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

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

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

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

Sell the Value of Your Product, Not the Price

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Don’t compete on price.

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

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

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

Current Customers = Best Prospects

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

Start With the Right Pitch

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

1. What is the product?

2. Why do I need it?

3. How much will it cost?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Showing Your Product’s Value

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

Avoid Prospects Who Only Buy for Price

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

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

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

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

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

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

Men vs. Women in Sales

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

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

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

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

The Most Successful Women in Sales

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

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

Sales Tips for Women

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

1. Have a System

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

2. Capitalize on Your Own Talents

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

3. Look for Leadership

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

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