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

auto_glass_sales_crm

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.

 

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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Learn These Subtle Sales Signals to Increase Your Close Rate

 

sales signals to look for

Everyone has to start somewhere. Building your client list from scratch is tough, so where do you begin? Most salespeople hit the pavement and dial numbers, talking to one prospect after another, grasping at any potential lead. But the best place to start is getting to know your audience.

Think about who needs your product. Then look for the following signs that the prospect is ready to consider an offer. That way, you’ll work smarter (not harder) and generate a client list to be proud of.

Leadership Changes

Take advantage of changes in leadership with an “out with the old, in with the new” mentality. With new leaders comes new potential for relationships. When buyers leave their companies, so do the connections they built. If they had a strong relationship with a vendor, their exit opens the opportunity for a new relationship with a different vendor.  

LinkedIn gives you a snapshot of these changes. That’s why you should always connect with prospects on LinkedIn, especially when they’ve told you no. Why? The person, not the company, told you no. When they leave that organization, you have another chance at the deal. Plus, you may have connections to the new buyer that give you an edge.

Related: Salespeople: Fix Your Elevator Pitch to Get a Meeting With Anyone

Unfortunately, leadership changes are also the reason you’ll lose your best clients. If your key contact leaves and the CEO doesn’t know you, the door is open for other people to come in and sell. Too many salespeople fall into this trap. Realize that changes mean opportunities. If your buyer leaves, it’s time to build a relationship with the new buyer before someone else does.

New Jobs

When buyers transition into new positions, don’t let them go that easily. Reach out to them. They may pave the way for you to work with their new organization or help you do better with their past employer.

Take them to lunch and pick their brain. Ask, “How would you do business with your past employer if you were me?” They may give you special insight or even help you navigate the sale. Now that they’re gone, they have nothing to lose.

Weather- or News-Related Opportunities

There’s also a lot to gain from being in the right place at the right time. Sometimes, sales signals just fall in our laps.

Bad weather creates numerous needs in home repair and preventative services. If you’re serving an area that’s just experienced storm damage, capitalize on the needs that surround you.

Related: The #1 Question You Should Ask During Your First Sales Appointment

Also, stay aware of marketplace news. If there’s a story about your company, your competitors, or your product, seize the opportunity of raised awareness. Prospects are primed for you to reach out and build relationships with them.

Obvious Needs 

Keep your eyes open to the obvious needs that surround you. If you sell signs, look for businesses that have bad signage. If you sell uniforms, look for prospects that have worn-looking uniforms. Sometimes you’ll make a sale simply from noticing the blatant needs right in front of you.

Government or Legal Compliance Changes

Be aware of laws that affect your target markets. In Tennessee, we recently passed some of the strictest laws in the country on data breaches. If someone steals data, even if it’s encrypted, we now legally have to notify all affected people. If I were in the business of data security, I’d present to potential clients about what that means for their companies to capitalize on the ramifications for not having the service we provide.

Recent Funding and Hiring Posts

If a new series of funding hits or you see posts for hiring, those are indications that the company is doing well. Their success suggests they may now be ready to buy your product.

New Locations

When companies relocate or expand, they’ll need services for their new site. Pay attention to location changes and take the chance to meet their upcoming needs.

Looking for the right cues makes all the difference in the success of a salesperson. When you tune in to these signals, you’ll discover one sales opportunity after another.

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The Biggest Challenges for Salespeople in 2016

online groups for salespeople

Richardson Group, an internationally recognized sales training and performance improvement company, just released their 2016 Selling Challenges Study. In polling 400 salespeople, 85% in B2B sales, they revealed the biggest sales challenges in prospecting, discovering client needs, and negotiation.

Here’s what they found… but I don’t completely agree.

What Salespeople Struggle With in Prospecting

prospecting

When asked what sales associates expected their biggest challenge in prospecting efforts to be, 16% said, “identifying sales triggers/sales signals that indicate issues that you can resolve.”

Essentially, these reps and managers have difficulty finding out what they can fix. Buyers investigate solutions on the web just like the rest of us. When they go in to make a purchase, they usually know what they want. They leave the salesperson out of the decision-making process. So the salesperson never knows the client’s deciding factors, which means they also don’t know what they need to overcome to make the sale.

Related: 5 Ways to Quickly Qualify Prospects

Closely tied to the inability to discern buyer signals, 14.4% of sales professionals also struggle to identify whom to target. Basically, when we don’t connect with the buyer in a personal way, we don’t know their true buying power. 

Qualifying prospects, a growing problem in the industry, is the primary struggle for 10% of salespeople. Why? Most likely because so few prospects respond to a seller’s attempts to reach out. 

Uncovering and Exploring Client Needs

client needs

When asked about the biggest challenge in uncovering and exploring client needs, most find it difficult to gain insight via conversations and understand the decision-making process.

That makes sense: you have to talk to the right people to get a true read of the potential. More often, sellers begin working with an individual only to find that a group of decision-makers with no clear roles will be making the final call.

If you can’t talk to the person with the power to make the decision, the sale comes to the bottom line rather than the package deal.

Challenges in Closing a Deal

closing a deal

If they had done this survey in 1976, it probably would have had the same results. Why? Because there is always someone selling it cheaper.

Related: How To Eliminate Price From Your Negotiation Process

Sure, the internet has made those options more prevalent (hence the overwhelming 48% who claim this as their biggest challenge), but it’s not unique to 2016. There will always be someone trying to sell for less. How do you overcome it? By finding what you can provide that the low-cost provider can’t.

The Bigger Picture? Distraction

Regardless of the survey results, these aren’t the biggest challenges. Rather, they’re symptoms of a bigger problem.

Most salespeople struggle because they are distracted. With what? Their smartphone. What makes it worse is that few admit the barrier phones create to connecting with clients.

All these issues stem from a failure to know your clients. You have to do the work to get to know whom you’re contacting. It’s much easier to mass-email potential prospects and to try the latest marketing gimmicks, but connection overcomes a world of challenges. When you give your full attention to your prospects, you’ll be able to qualify prospects and find the decision-makers.

If you’re getting distracted, admit it. Then take steps to zero in on your sales strategy. CallProof helps us stay focused. It records our calls and gives us the chance to learn from them. As salespeople, we need to take ownership of our day. If it takes activity to win sales, then we need to put in the undivided work of making connections.

Challenges in sales are inevitable. How will you handle them? My advice: look your challenge in the face. If distraction is your problem, do what’s necessary to focus. Build the connections with your prospects and clients to make your service worth their investment.

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How to Use Online Groups to Build Your Sales Career

online groups for salespeople
You have access to more than 1 billion people. Better yet, you can get in touch with any one of them with the mere click of a mouse.

Whether you’re reaching out to find new sales prospects or looking to connect with industry leaders like yourself, a Facebook or LinkedIn group can offer you every salesperson’s dream: connection. Here are two ways to make the most of it.

1. Start a Group for Prospects

If you want to connect with prospects, create a group they’d be proud to join. Consider appealing to their ego with group names like “Top Salespeople in Nashville” or “Sales Leaders of North Dallas,” or even “HVAC Industry Leaders.” Essentially, call the group something people want to belong to.

You can also create groups based on the solving of common problems. Consider the issues of your prospect’s industry. Then find a way to appeal to those looking for solutions. Maybe you name a group “Sales Boosting Tips” or “Top Marketing Strategies” as a means to draw in those looking to increase their sales numbers.

Once you set up the group, aim to spark conversations between the members. Ask questions or create themes that get people talking and connecting. Your goal isn’t to sell directly via the group page. Instead, you want to create a place for people to brag about recent accomplishments and talk about their industries.

Related: The Biggest Social Networking Mistakes Salespeople Don’t Know They’re Making

Your role becomes that of facilitator and moderator. Post questions regularly, like:

  • What’s your biggest win?
  • Who’s going to this conference?
  • What do you think of this tool?
  • What’s your strategy for handling ____ ?
  • What’s your biggest mistake?

Once people join social media groups, they can also connect for upcoming events. If you see that several members are attending a conference, start networking for it. Consider creating an unofficial Facebook page for conferences and inviting attendees. They can start talking about what’s going on and planning to meet up while they’re there. Most organizations fail to build those types of connections before an event. By facilitating these conversations preemptively, you’re opening the door for great networking.

Then, as sales opportunities come, you know a pool of prospects you can talk to directly.

2. Start a Mastermind Group

Mastermind groups are a great outlet to share best practices and experiences together. In these groups, you figure out how to get ahead.

The number one question on everyone’s mind: How are you getting your customers?

As you share strategies and brainstorm ideas, you will hopefully motivate each other to grow your businesses in new ways. I started a SaaS group with other SaaS founders. We started off by meeting one hour per week for 8 weeks. The format was simple, with each member giving 3 quick updates:

  1. Wins
  2. Losses
  3. “I need help with…”

Once we got to know each other, we met a little less often but regularly connected for updates and insights.

Related: How to Get Consistent Results From Your Sales Team with a Mastermind Group

Social media broadens the pool for masterminding. Services like Blab allow you to create an audience or just chat with a small group. Google Hangouts works well for more people. With the ease of video conferencing, mastermind groups can form without having to find a convenient place to get together.

So how do you get started? Invite the right people. How do you find the right people? Use social media.

Sites like LinkedIn help you find people you want to learn alongside. If I were looking for salespeople, I’d search the terms payroll, top salesperson, or sales industry leaders to find contacts. Of course, anybody can manipulate their LinkedIn profile, but your search will show you connections. If they have more than 500 LinkedIn connections, you can assume they’re active in the business.

You can also search for the industry’s most well-known businesses by name. See who their leaders are—either via LinkedIn or an online employee directory—and get in touch.

Local forums are another reference point for finding industry leaders. There are many successful people who just don’t capitalize on social media platforms. For example, if you find that people repeatedly recommend a certain car salesman on a local forum, he may be a guy worth contacting to get in a sales group. Not all business leaders have taken the time to market themselves online.

You want the power players. Seek out salespeople who have been with the same company for more than five years. These members can offer more grounded insight into the industry. Then balance your age range. The best mastermind groups are a mix of people with a range of experience.

For more information on how to run mastermind groups, check this article out.

We all use social media to some extent, so we might as well use it to grow our sales career. With intentional online prospecting and masterminding, you can do just that.

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3 Strategies for Unlocking Deals Stuck in the Pipeline

sales strategies for closing a deal

You just made a killer pitch. You demonstrated how your product solves their problems, then left them with action steps – and expected an answer within days.

But that was over a month ago, and you still haven’t heard anything back. So what’s the trouble? You thought you were on track to seal the deal, but it hasn’t happened. The deal is officially stuck in the pipeline.

It’s easy for a sale to hit a snag that puts it in limbo. These strategies offer the key to unlocking those deals so you can move them to the next level.

1. Teach Your Prospect How to Sell to Their Manager

The biggest reason a sale goes on hold is because you’re not talking to the real decision maker. Maybe you’ve been dealing with the purchaser and they have to get approval from the supervisor. In those circumstances, teach your prospect how to sell your service to the boss.

Start by equipping them with the ammunition to close the sale. Explain the ROI your product carries. How will it make or save the organization money? When they go to their higher-up for a $5,000 check, they need to explain how this investment helps the organization financially. Put the return on investment in a quote, and then coach the person on the talking points.

Continue with conversations about the benefits of the service. In fact, work through product material together. Teach the prospect how this changes their organization. Essentially, you become their sales manager for the deal.

Related: 3 Common Sales Objections and How To Overcome Them

For example, if you’re pitching a website overhaul, your conversation may go something like this:

“It will cost $5,000 for a website redesign. At its core, this new improved website will increase your daily sales conversion rate. For those $5,000, you should be able to get a net return of $15,000.”

Those are numbers your contact can take to their boss.

Quotes give them something tangible. You don’t want their pitch to be, “We want a new website because it’s cool.” Instead, you want them to say something along the lines of, “We want to convert more customers through our website.” The proposal isn’t about features but about the benefits of the service.

When you’re not able to get a sales meeting with the right person, you have to help your contact make the sale.

2. Text Prospects With Direct Questions

If you shake a tree, something is going to fall out. By sending direct questions via text message, you shake the figurative tree of prospects. You’ll either move on to the next client, or they’ll move on to the next phase. Either way, you get results.

If you sent a proposal months ago and the prospect never responded, it’s time for a text. You may send a message that says, “Hey, my boss is hounding me and wants to know where you are in their proposal? How soon can we get started?” If the response is, “Sorry, you’re out of our league in price,” you just moved to the negotiation phase. Price is the obstacle. Now you can start figuring out the dollar amount for that customer to say yes.

Related: 4 Negotiation Skills You Need to Close More Deals

You won’t get that type of response with an email. Email is impersonal and easily ignored. But we all read our text messages and usually respond within five minutes, making it a great tool to move clients down the line.

3. Insert an Expiration Date

Create a deadline on your offer to promote action. Products and services cure pain points. But if you’re scratching an itch that isn’t that bothersome, you need another motivator. The motivation may be a lower price, special training, or extra features. Put those perks on a timeline to keep the deal moving.

Then, find a reason to justify the deadline. Maybe you say, “The proposal is good until the last day of March. March is a slow month for us, but we get really busy in April.” By setting an end date, you’ve manufactured a reason for them to make a decision. Then, you can rule them out or close the deal.

No one wants a deal that sits in limbo indefinitely.

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3 Characteristics of Successful Salespeople

characteristics-successful-salespeople-

Salespeople come in all forms. Some are pushy. Some play hard to get. Either way, the best in sales have a charisma that seems to come naturally. They connect with prospects, gain trust quickly, and can find conversation points with anyone.

Yet sales require more than charm. There’s a difference in being a charismatic person and a top salesperson. Whether you were born charming or not, success in sales means capitalizing on the skills you have.

Think of your natural strengths as muscles. Yes, you were born with them, but if you don’t build them up, they won’t amount to much.

By practicing these three characteristics of successful salespeople, you’ll develop your sales instincts to their potential.

1. Tenacity

Obstacles are inevitable when you’re trying to make a sale. Top salespeople power through those hindrances to move the sale forward. You’ll hear “no” repeatedly. The tenacious person persists and keeps chipping away at the stumbling blocks.

Related: A Day in the Life of a Successful Salesperson

There are plenty of opportunities to give up. Yet the most successful salespeople understand that the customer may not really mean “no.” Often, the customer just needs help overcoming an obstacle and better understanding the product. Determination can turn that initial “no” into a successful sale!

2. Prospecting

A strong salesperson markets constantly. Most people close a sale, get busy working with that client, and temporarily stop generating new leads. This natural mistake leads to inconsistent sales numbers. Never stop looking for new deals, even right after a big deal.

The best salespeople do this to a fault. A true hunter can’t help but go out and get the kill, making sale after sale. As soon as one deal closes, they’re on to the next potential client. Often, they’ll even neglect a new customer because they’ve filled their time prospecting.

Instead, be intentional about your post-sale relationships. Pass your new clients to a customer support team if one is available. If not, build time into your schedule for existing and potential customers. When you allot time for each, your schedule can work to your benefit.

3. Mastering the Schedule

Schedules aren’t cages, but rather guidelines to maximize each day. Choose a time frame for phone calls to follow up with prospects and make appointments for the next day. Then spend the rest of your day going to appointments.

Successful sales people schedule appointments based on location. They focus on one area of town at a time rather than driving back and forth from one meeting to the next. Choose a location. Then see as many people in that area as you can. If you find a nearby prospect, stop by (even unexpectedly) to maximize your time in each place.

Related: How to Write the Perfect Sales Email

When you categorize your day by task, just looking at the clock tells you what you should be doing. I always spent my mornings booking appointments for the next day and following up from the office. Then, after lunch, I went from one appointment to the next. If it was after noon, I knew I should be out making face-to-face contact. If I didn’t have an appointment, I found a way to meet someone and generate business.

Developing Your Sales Team’s Skills

As a manager, promote these traits among your sales team. Choose people that have really developed one of these characteristics and showcase their success. 

For example, if you have a tenacious salesperson, set up mock presentations where they can demonstrate how to overcome objections. As your determined salesperson unpacks the “no” and tries to turn it into a “yes,” they’ll teach others some strategies for jumping common hurdles. If you have team members who really need improvement, use the mock presentations to help them cultivate these skills.

Sales strategy may be rooted in natural ability, but it doesn’t stop there. If you want to learn how to be a successful salesperson, develop these traits and build yourself into the sales typhoon you hope to be.

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

sales follow up strategies just checking in

You’ve just met with a prospective client. The meeting went well and you gave the guy a business card, but let’s be honest. That card probably went in his pocket and will eventually wind up in the sock drawer.

Now, you need a killer follow-up strategy. Thanks to the onslaught of social media, emails, and texts we’re faced with each day, your follow-up won’t naturally stand out. But a follow-up email is your virtual business card, and if done well, it can rise to the top of an inbox rather than fall to the bottom of a sock drawer.

No More “Just Checking In”

What’s wrong with saying “Just Checking In” in your follow-up email after a sales call? You’re not asking for a response when you “check in.” Instead, ask something crazy that demands attention and a reply.

Related: Which Sales Follow-Up Strategies Work Best for Your Prospects?

Imagine you’re a salesperson pitching payment processors. To make this tough sale, you may say, “In your wildest dreams, what would it take for you to make a decision to save 1% on your payment processing?” Or you could ask, “If a magical fairy came along and sprinkled pixie dust over our solutions, how would the solution change so that you would buy it?”

It doesn’t really matter what you say as long as it’s outlandish enough to grant their response. You want your prospect to think and respond.

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The Best Sales Follow-Up Strategies

You jump in your car after a sales pitch, but before you put your car in reverse, follow-up. You made promises in that meeting to get some prices or put together a quote. Do it right away.

Outline the discussion points of your meeting and make a list of the next steps you need to take. Then, generate a thank you email. Include a recap of your meeting and the next steps in your message. This tells the client that you’re paying attention and helps each of you know what to do next.

Related: The Pocket Follow-Up Formula: A Simple Trick for Improving Sales Lead Follow-Up Success

Sure, you can send the email right away, but it’s better to send it first thing the next morning. As a part of your rapport building, ask the client what time he or she comes to the office each day. (You’ll notice your high-performance leaders get there early.) Then, send your email at that time. You want the client to read it before they enter the chaos and drama of the regular workday. A software like YesWare will allow you to set the send time for your email regardless of when you write it.

It’s Been a While

If you haven’t heard from your client in a while, the wild statement approach could do the trick to get a response. Maybe you say, “I’d love to deliver my invoice to you with some doughnuts. How can we make that happen?” Determine your own quirky approach. Once you find something that fits you, you’ll catch their attention and get a reply.

 

 

Strong Sales Presentations: How to Leave Prospects Begging for More

sales-presentation-strategies

You’ve made it past the cold calls into the conference room, and now it’s your time to shine. The typical slide shows with bar-graphs and pie charts don’t exactly leave your listener begging for more. So how do you get to the place where prospects are asking questions and ready to sign? What are the best sales strategies for closing the deal?

First and foremost: know your audience. Too many presenters forget this basic principle, but if you want people to listen to you, you have to connect with them. And to build that connection, you need to know your prospective client.

When the Sales Pitch Goes Wrong

Want to know what doesn’t build a connection? A history of your company and a 50-slide PowerPoint presentation on how your product works. Nobody cares.

Related: Salespeople: Fix Your Elevator Pitch to Get a Meeting With Anyone

Instead, clients want to know how this product will improve their business. If you’re selling internet marketing to farmers, you don’t bother explaining the online mechanics. Instead, you talk about the benefits your product will bring and how it has helped other farmers.  Prospects want to know how your product directly affects their company.

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What Do Prospects Want To Hear?

The best sales strategies require getting to know your potential clients. Your future clients don’t have time for a song and dance. They want to know how your product will help them, and that means you have to do your homework.

Ask them questions that grant you insight into their needs. Once you know the needs, you can tailor your presentation to explain how your product solves their dilemmas.   

Be a Storyteller

It’s time to ditch the pitch. You need to get people’s attention, and what’s the best way to do that? Tell a story.

When your narrative shows the benefits of your product for a similar client, prospects find themselves in the story. If your product worked wonders for a restaurant, use that story to when you pitch to other restaurants. When you talk to a tire company, rewrite the narrative to center on a tire store. As you visit clients, start collecting these stories. You want your content so specifically tailored to someone that they have no doubt you’re talking to them.

Related: Telling Stories During a Sales Pitch: Do’s & Don’ts

I’m a storyteller; you give me a subject, and I can tell you a story about it. It’s a skill I want to pass on to my kids, so I do an experiment with them­ at bedtime. They always ask to hear a story, so I make them improvise with me. I’ll say, “Once upon a time…” and my son says, “There was a dog named Frank.” Then it comes back to me, “and Frank was the biggest dog in town…” We keep going back and forth until the story resolves.

Think of your sales pitch like this storytelling experiment. You ask questions, your prospect answers, and you write their problems and patterns into your plot line. You end up with a tale that’s extremely relatable to them.

You can also use your fact-finding to paint a picture of what their business will be like once they have your product. If you find out your client’s pain point is the two hours it takes to enter payroll data each week, you can build your story around what their life will be like with 104 extra hours each year. Your product then solves one of their biggest problems.

Write a story your prospects want to be in. Create a narrative of a better business and your sales presentation will leave them begging for more.

 

Salespeople: Avoid These Email Etiquette Mistakes

sales email mistakes

How many emails do you click through in a day? 75? 100? More?

Reading emails is an exercise in snap judgement. You see an email that isn’t visually appealing – trash.

Another one has a generic subject – trash.

Then, you come across a message from a salesperson. They have a product that may actually work for you, but the email has some mistakes at the beginning. What’s your reaction? Trash.

Now, let’s flip the scenario for a minute. Do you make these common mistakes in your messages? If so, these issues could be the reason your sales numbers aren’t adding up.

1. Capitalization…Or Lack Thereof

We all work from our mobile devices. When typing an email on your phone, it’s easy to skip the capitalization without thinking much of it. Resist that temptation. Take the extra time to capitalize and punctuate your emails correctly.

When you make obvious errors, you seem lazy to your prospects. In fact, most people won’t give a message with typos a second thought. They’ll consider you or your business illegitimate and unprofessional. Why would they want to work with that type of person or company?

Fortunately, this is an easy fix. Take a few extra minutes to proofread for obvious mistake – even if you are on your phone.

Related: The Biggest Social Networking Mistakes Salespeople Don’t Know They’re Making

2. Not Asking Hard Questions

In sales, you’re looking for the objection so you can negotiate past it. In an email, you can find that objection a little easier than in a face-to-face conversation. Use your emails to get straight to the point.

Maybe you’ve called a prospect repeatedly, but he hasn’t returned your calls. When you email him, don’t hesitate to say, “I know you’re busy, but let’s be frank. Are you still interested in the product?” Rather than waste everyone’s time, get to the heart of the issue.

If the price is too high, you need to know so you can either negotiate or move on. Email acts as the perfect vehicle for delivering the tough question that lets you know how to proceed.

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3. Too Much Content

Think about how many emails you receive each day and assume your client receives more. They don’t have time to sit and read long paragraphs in the course of clicking through their mail.

Think of email like a chat rather than a content provider. Use only a few sentences per message so your recipient can answer and then move on.

To help with the brevity, add a tagline to your signature that sums up your business. It should communicate basic information about your company including general products and services. Don’t write a long explanation of what your company does as a part of your email. No one wants to read a paragraph of standard jargon about your business.

Related: How to Write the Perfect Sales Email

Also, choose a clear goal for the email and only focus on that. Do you need to talk to the person so you can unpack the details? If so, you could write, “Do you have time this afternoon for a quick telephone call?” as one of the first lines of your message. Your signature will do the rest. If they agree to the call, you can elaborate on your business as you talk.

Maybe you’re taking a new approach to prospecting and asking potential clients to be survey participants. Your email goal is to ask them to answer a few questions to see if their pain points are the same as others in the industry. Focus on that alone. Then, your signature will communicate the products that may solve some of the problems they were questioned about.

Emails can make or break you. Don’t let these common errors ruin your chance at gaining a client before you even start selling.