How Medical Equipment Salespeople Can Get the Most Out of Sales CRM Software

How Medical Equipment Salespeople Can Get the Most

Who doesn’t love a good lunch with friends? And if you can expense that lunch and have the potential for sales, that’s even better, right?

People who sell medical equipment know this first-hand – their success is based on a series of touches. Doctors don’t come in and say, “Oh yeah, I need a portable ultrasound machine!” (In fact, their ultrasound machine could be on fire and they likely still wouldn’t admit they need it!) Doctors only see vendors during “lunch-and-learn” types of meetings .

Why Medical Equipment Salespeople Need A CRM

As a medical equipment salesperson, you have to plan accordingly. You know you won’t get a sale on the first meeting. Instead, your approach is all about stopping in and building relationships so that you’re the first call when they’re ready to buy.

You do that by hosting lunch-and-learns, stopping by, and following up. And since medical practices are all grouped together, you do this for multiple prospects at a time.

But how do you keep track of it all? They didn’t hire you because you were awesome at data entry. They hired you because you’re awesome at relationships. So you need CRM sales software to keep track of it all rather than making data entry your full-time job.

What’s the Alternative to Using a Sales CRM?

Here’s what most salespeople are doing in an attempt to prospect without spending all day recording data. They stop by a new place, grab a business card on their way out, make some notes on the back, and try to remember to type it in somewhere when they get back to the office. Eventually, they build up some clients, and they only focus on the ones who are buying. Then they spend all their time on those 10 clients.

Later, the salesperson may get a new job. They just bring those 10 clients with them, until their new boss figures out they aren’t finding new clients. So they move to the next job with the same 10 clients.

It’s not pretty, but it’s reality. Too many medical sales reps have limited their sales because they’ve spent too much time on too few clients.

How to Calculate the Size of Your Medical Equipment Sales World

So how do you get out of the rut? It’s tempting to stop prospecting if you don’t have a system to keep you on track. Or you waste time meeting prospects because you forget to follow up.

But when you calculate your potential, you’ll see just how many sales opportunities you have. And if you add them to your rotation, your sales potential skyrockets. Here’s how to do it.

1. Figure out which practices could possibly buy from you.

In a perfect world, who would buy from you? How many practices are out there? How many gastroenterologists could use your product? Grab a phone book, google it, or find a medical directory and make your list. When you know your numbers and start to see your potential, prospecting gets new life.

2. Figure out how to methodically contact them.

There has to be a method to your system. Why? It keeps you consistent. When you consistently contact prospects, you build trust.

Compare that to an unorganized approach. First, doctors may not remember who you are if you never stop by. Plus, if you’re unpredictable when you’re selling to them, they’ll assume you’ll also be unpredictable on the delivery of the new beam transformer for their ultrasound machine.

They need to know they can count on you — which means you need to be reliable and consistent from the beginning. So plan your follow-up. When will you contact them again, and what does that look like?

Related: How to Prospect Smarter and Bring in More Sales Leads

If you’re not tracking this stuff methodically, you’re wasting your time. You have to build your world bigger than what you can remember in a day. You need to be able to quickly input contact info into CRM software for sales and marketing so you can do something worthwhile with it.

3. Inspect what you expect.

How many times have you visited Practice A vs. Practice Z? Why? Did you visit A more because they’re a higher-value prospect? Is it closer to your house? Is Practice Z out of the way?

You have to know the reason. Then you can be more intentional with the frequency and cost of each visit.

Most medical equipment salespeople see the same clients and prospects over and over again. You build your sales on lunch-and-learns. But with CallProof, you can maximize how much return you get from these lunches and make sure you visit more potential clients.

Let’s say you’ve got a lunch-and-learn budget of $20,000 for the year. And every time you host a lunch, you spend $75 at Moe’s. So, as long as you stay in budget for the year, you’re good. But are you maximizing those funds?

How often are you buying each client lunch? Are you concentrating that money on 10-20 of your best clients? Maybe you visit your favorite practice every Wednesday — they love Moe’s and you have fun hanging out with them. You know Sally at reception and have great conversations with Joe. But why are you going every week? Chances are, you could have a better return on your investment if you expanded your rotation.

What if you spent that same amount on 50 clients and prospects instead of 15? Your “regulars” won’t be mad. They have other people buying their lunch too. Plus, you’ll still maintain that relationship — you just won’t see them as often. Sales CRM software like CallProof helps you broaden your prospect base. Then it connects your meetings to follow-up activities and helps you track what to do with each client.

Lunch-and-learns are a great thing — you just have to spread them out! You want to spend your money on practices that will actually buy — not just places that are easy or close. You want practices that bring new business. So use a mechanism that calculates where your time and money is best spent.

It’s natural for us to make decisions about where we visit based on how much we enjoy it or how easy it is to stop by. But an app like CallProof helps you automate those decisions based on logic. You’ll be able to recognize where you’re getting the most return, who you need to contact more frequently, and where you can find new prospects. Then you’ll spend your time where it’s most valuable and the size of your world (and sales) will only get bigger!

Be Brief, Be Brilliant, Be Gone: A Lesson In Sales Cold Call Training

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The busier the prospect, the better the prospect they are. I’ve spent most of my career owning business-to-business call centers and teaching people the tricks of the cold-calling trade. And we find this to be true across the board.

If you’re finding the right prospects, they won’t have much time to talk to you. It’s not that they hate cold calls — they just don’t have time to waste. So you need to be brief, be brilliant, and then be gone.

Know Your Purpose Before You Call

Before you call, identify your short-term goal. What’s your call to action? How can you get them to take the next step? Usually, the goal is to get a follow-up call or schedule a meeting. Whatever it is, make it easy.

Unless you’re just lucky, you won’t get a demo or make a sale on the first call. So, aim for a simple next step. This is the 3-part process I use to train salespeople for cold calls with busy prospects. Use it to give the client the information they need, get their attention, and then get out of their way.

A Simple 3-Step Process for Successful Cold Calls

1. Be Brief

People only care about what it is, why they need it, and how much it costs. That’s all they want to know, so don’t waste their time with extra info at this point. Tell them what you do, why it matters, and then schedule the next meeting.

Your call may sound like this:

“Hey, I have a way for outside salespeople to never have to do reports again. You won’t be chasing down leads and you will never have to wonder what happened to a dropped prospect.

We did this for a company with 1,000 sales reps. Now, none of their 70 sales managers have had to call their team for a report since. Plus, now they can figure out if new salespeople are going to work out within days instead of weeks.

Love to talk to you about it Thursday at 10. What does your calendar look like?”

2. Be Brilliant

You’ve also got to get their attention. How is your product relevant and personalized to their needs? We know that sales managers have trouble getting their team to submit reports. We know that people lose prospects and never know what happened to the deal. That’s what we help fix — so we use it as a hook.

Look at the difference. A traditional cold call might sound like this:

“Hi, my name is Clayton Geiser. I’m with CallProof, and we’re a company that helps salespeople implement a new type of CRM. If I could show you how this works, it’d change the way you do business. Our CRM capitalizes on the use of mobile devices to track and contact your clients. May I speak with the person responsible for making decisions regarding your CRM software?”

A brief and brilliant cold call might sound like this:

“Hey, I’m Clayton Geiser with CallProof. You can look us up – it’s worth a Google. We have a way to make sure that your salespeople turn in reports on time so you can do your job and build a business. Love to talk to you about that. I know I just called you, but what does your calendar look like next Thursday?”

See the difference? You’d hang up on the first guy, but you’d take a call like the second. Why? It’s novel and relevant — in other words, brilliant!

3. Be Gone

Once the prospect agrees, say, “Great! I’ll shoot you an email to confirm the time, and I’ll talk to you on Thursday. If you have a pen handy, I’m going to give you my number just so you have it.” Even if they don’t write it down, it makes the interaction more tangible.

Then get off the phone. Remember, these people are busy, so they don’t want to deal with someone who wastes their time. By ending the call this way, they know it’s over. Plus, they assume you’ll respect their time in the future.

Related: Cold-Calling Anxiety? These 6 Tips Will Help You Overcome Your Fear

People have been telling me that cold calling is dead since the 90’s. Sure, it’s been overused in the past, but it’s still a tool that has to be in your arsenal. Good cold calling works, plain and simple. You just need to implement these three powerful steps.

What Parking My Car Taught Me About Sales Success

What Parking My Car Taught Me About Sales Sucess

A few months ago, I was doing a three-part training for New York Life agents. In these types of training, you get to know each other during multiple sessions as you observe and interact.

Well, apparently one guy had noticed how I parked from the conference room window. So, as I walked into the third session, he asked, “Why do you always back into your parking spot?” Little did he know, he was tapping into a life philosophy.

It all started a few years ago with a Stephen Covey book.

The book was all about being proactive, keeping the end in mind, planning, and being more confident. When someone had asked me what I got out of it, I joked, “I could probably park better.” But it was true! Beginning with the end in mind affects everything — even how we park.

You park your car best when you consider how you need to leave. What’s the easiest way out? What safety concerns do you face? What are you skilled enough to do?

I’ve realized we can also follow this new way of thinking when it comes to our sales success. So, here are three ways to begin with the end in mind, whether you’re parking your car or making a sale.

1. Be Proactive

How do you want to drive away later? Forward or backward? Obviously, forward is easier, so I back into a spot. Most likely, when I leave later, other people will be leaving too. Do we all want to be backing out at the same chaotic time? No. Why not just back in when I’m the only one parking? When I do that, I’m proactive about how I want this situation to end.

2. Plan Ahead

One the main parts of driving is planning to be safe. I know I have horrible blind spots in my truck. So, if I can pull forward rather than back out when the lots are crowded, I’m less likely to hit anyone. Hence, I plan to be safe from the beginning.

3. Be Confident

I’ve been driving this truck for a few years. I’m good at backing the truck into a tight spot, so I lean into that ability with confidence and park accordingly.

From the Parking Lot to the Workplace

Just like I implemented these strategies in parking, CRMs help you naturally implement them at work. You have to be proactive, plan ahead, and be confident to sell. And CRMs like CallProof enable you to gain these skills.

First, they help you be proactive. You’ll always know who’s around you and what’s coming up. Then you can prioritize what you want to do and spend your time wisely.

CRMs that show you location data also help you plan. You’ll know where you’re going each day and will be able to plan what else you can accomplish while you’re there.

Related: Check out Field Sales 101 for more tips on your sales approach.

Then, once it starts working, you’ll gain confidence. You’ll know you’re not missing anything or forgetting anyone because everything is in one place. You’re not lugging around notebooks anymore. Instead, you’ve got a central hub you can access anywhere with everything you’ll need to know.

Applying these principles to parking may have started as a joke, but there’s no denying the relevance. So whether it’s sales or parking, begin with the end in mind.

Sales Funnel Management: Close More Deals by Eliminating the Noise

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If you’re looking to move your prospects from possibility to purchase, it’s time to reexamine your sales funnel management. At the top of this metaphorical funnel are any people who could potentially buy. Then, as they move closer to being a client, they move down the funnel.

But how does this funnel really help the sales process? It works toward two advantages.

1. Planning Your Sales Steps

Figuring out where people are in this process helps you manage your sales steps. So, if a person is a new prospect, you know what to do. If they’re a returning customer, they’re at a different part of the funnel, and you need to take a different action step.

Related: A Sales Lead Management Process You Can Count On

See, too often people wait for the customer or prospect to tell them to go to the next step. It works better if you figure out how to get them to the next step. Don’t just wait for it to happen — make it happen.

Look at your pipeline and ask yourself, “What’s the next action I need to do?” Keep your action simple. It shouldn’t be conducting extensive research and geological surveys. It can be as easy as setting a reminder to call them tomorrow. Use your pipeline to be proactive, not reactive.

2. Balancing Your Sales Steps

Funnel management in sales also keeps you balanced. Try to spend time with prospects in each part of your funnel: the top, middle, and bottom. You should be continually prospecting, quoting, and closing. If you focus on these areas in phases, your pipeline goes dry. The key is doing all of your essential activities regularly. Maybe you start with phone calls (the top of the funnel) and schedule a lot of appointments. Well, don’t stop making those prospecting calls when you start going to appointments.

Balance every stage of the process. That way, you keep your sales steady. Otherwise, you work a few prospects through your pipeline only to realize you have no one left at the top of your funnel. Once your current deals close, you’ll have to start at square one, and it’ll be a while before you make another sale.

More Tips for Managing Your Sales Pipeline

Keep Sales Stages Simple

The way you move people through the pipeline should be easy. Know your next steps for each level. How can you get them from the top to the middle? When you have go-to sales steps, the answer is easy.

Related: How to Close More Deals by Mapping Your Sales Process

Limit Active Prospects

You only need to focus on a few sales-ready leads at a time. Now, you might have 500 prospects, but who are the sales-ready leads you can work through the pipeline? You can’t manage 500 records and move them to their next steps. It takes too much time. Instead, you need to be able to look at your sales-ready leads daily to figure out their next step. Then figure out who will fill their spot after they buy.

I used to be a sales trainer. Our first step was to look at pipeline reports. And so often, I’d see 100 people on their forecasting reports. They were proud of it. High numbers looked great on their report, but it wasn’t actionable, much less realistic. During our training, I’d ask them to get their prospect list down to seven people. Sure, they had more options than that, but they needed a smaller number to make it manageable. So they’d choose seven deals of various sizes to focus on, and they’d start closing them. It was way easier to close two out of seven deals than it was to close two out of 100.

De-Clutter Your Funnel

Most of the time, the pipeline ends up in an Excel file. Salespeople have reporting responsibilities, so they keep this file that they tweak and submit every Friday afternoon. But after a while, they become numb to it. They’re used to looking at the same data — after you’ve seen “oddball” on there for so long, it just stays. It’s natural, but not so effective for keeping the pipeline fresh.

If you want your team to get their funnel down to seven (or however many works for your industry), let them pick which prospects they want. Then they need to literally only focus on those potential customers until they close the deal or go back to another status. Delete the others from your file for now. They’re not your focus.

Your pipeline isn’t about how many prospects you can cram into it. It’s about what’s real. If you want to close deals, you want to eliminate as much noise as possible. The only people you should deal with are the ones you’re actively pushing through your pipeline.

Make Yourself a Better Salesperson by Focusing on the Sales Activities That Matter

sales_activities_that_matter

Salespeople will do what they like to do, not what they need to do. If it’s uncomfortable to make cold calls, they’ll find a way to justify doing something else — like sending an email or writing up a proposal. But when you’re focusing on sales activities, you need to dedicate time to the activities that matter — even if you don’t like them.

Real, Severe Commitment

There’s a difference in scheduling time and severely committing to something. I’m working with my assistant on an issue right now. I told him, “I want you to spend one hour a day on this. You can pick the hour. But during that hour, do not stop. Short of a life safety issue, commit for the whole hour. If a customer shows up and is banging on the door, ignore them. If our biggest client calls and threatens to cancel their service, so what? I’ll deal with the fall-out — you do this task for one hour.”

The next day, I asked if he did it. Nope. “Life safety issue?” I asked. “Imminent death of everyone on earth?!” No. He just bailed. See, scheduling is easy, but we avoid actually doing the tasks we hate — even if they’re important tasks. It happens all the time. And the more uncomfortable it is, the more adamantly you need to commit to the activity.

“Productive” Distractions

So what do we do instead of the activities we hate? Anything else. And if it seems productive, we gravitate towards it. Here are just a few ways we occupy our time with deceitfully unproductive tasks.

Research

Research is one of the main activities that snowballs into unproductiveness. Of course, it’s good to an extent — you need to know the basics of a company before you call, but we tend to keep searching. We get interested in a topic and over-inform ourselves. Plus, we take rabbit trails and end up learning all sorts of info we don’t need.

Let’s say you’re about to make a cold call, so you start researching the company. For three hours, you read and figure out everything there is to know about them. You know their story, who founded it, where they’re located, and anything else you’d want to know. Then you call them and they say, “My brother-in-law handles this for us. We’ll never switch.” You just spent three hours researching to get a “no” in two minutes. You wasted 180 minutes on one dead-end client.

Instead, focus your research so you know what to look for before you start. Then set time limits to keep you on track. If you set a seven-minute time limit on your research for each prospect, then call them in two minutes, you contact 20 prospects in those 180 minutes instead of just one.

The more qualified the prospect, the more time you can spend on research. Maybe you spend 14 minutes researching someone who called you or a person you’re meeting for an appointment. Still, research doesn’t consume your day. Time spent researching dead-end prospects is wasted.

Here are some other ways we waste time:

  • Calling only your current customers
  • Not being organized
  • Not finishing to-do lists
  • Not putting to-dos on your calendar

We have to direct our time we can’t let our disorganization and procrastination derail us. The more intentional we become in our work day, the more sales we make.

Maximizing Your Time

Don’t let fruitless work fill your day. Instead, surround yourself with high-payoff people and do high-payoff activities. Meetings, calls, customer contacts, and prospect interactions all lead to sales. So spend your time doing those things — not the little stuff. It also pays off to figure out your process.

Related: How to Close More Deals by Mapping Your Sales Process

These activities fit into two categories — strategic and tactical. Give time to each. There can be high-payoff tactical activities and high-payoff strategic activities. There can also be low-payoff strategic and tactical activities. The goal is to be both strategic and tactical in your choice of high-payoff activities.

I do this with my phone calls — for every two customers I call, I call one prospect. Then I hold myself accountable to reaching out to new people and maintaining current relationships — both with high payoffs.

Be strategic about who is refilling your funnel and tactical about how you approach your current prospects. You’re only as good as your last sale so focus on the activities that help you to close.

Cold Calling Anxiety? These 6 Tips Will Help You Overcome Your Fear

 

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Nobody likes to be told no. We didn’t like it when we were three years old, and we don’t like it now.

But what happens on cold calls? We get told no. So we avoid cold calls and drop-ins to save ourselves from the rejection. But at what cost?

1. Understand That Rejection Is Better Than Avoidance

In reality, what’s the worst thing that can happen on a cold call? They say no. So don’t sweat it. It’s not that bad. You probably will never see or talk to that person again. They won’t call you and say, “You’re that sales rep I didn’t want to buy from!” The worst result is them turning down the product and leaving you in the same situation you’re in now.

It’s like the two vacuum salespeople who go into town to sell door-to-door. At every house, they get the same response — no. They get to the last door, with just a few minutes before the end of the day, and one salesman says to the other, “Hey, let’s skip this one. We know they’re going to say no.”

The other one says, “So, if they say no, where will we be?”

“Exactly right here.”

Rejection doesn’t mean you lost — you just haven’t progressed yet. But you’ll never progress and never make a sale if you don’t ask. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. So if you ask and they say no, at least you can move on.

2. Move Past Mean People

Yes, some people are mean and nasty. But do you really want them as customers? Probably not. So if they’re rude, shake it off and move on. A rude “no” doesn’t leave you in any worse condition than a polite rejection. So let go of the emotional attachment to these brief prospects. They rejected the product, not you. Don’t take it personally.

If you’re going to make a sale, you’ve got to make calls. It’s worth the risk of dealing with a rude person if you have a chance of making a sale.

3. Use Objections to Improve

So when you hear “no” (you will, so just accept it), use each prospect’s objections to help with your sales approach. Why aren’t they interested? If you can find out why one customer says no, you can use the information to overcome that objection in your next pitch. Then you can tell your next prospect how you’re different than what they expect and why that objection isn’t such a big deal after all.

Related: How to Build Trust Over the Phone With Cold Prospects

4. Be Confident in Your Product

Cold-calling anxiety is real — especially if you’re new to sales. So will you ever get over it? Absolutely, yes!

If you’re wondering how to overcome sales anxiety, the solution is confidence — in your product, pitch, and solution. To move past the nervousness, you have to be truly confident in the solution you’re offering. You need to believe it’s good value that will help your clients. And if you really believe that to your core, you’ll carry confidence in your voice, attitude, posture, stance, and persistence.

5. Trust Your System

Then rely on your system. If you have a plan for dealing with each potential cold call outcome, you’ll know exactly what to say, no matter how the prospect responds. No matter what a prospect says, there are only three potential response categories: active, latent, and not interested. There’s no fourth option. So, based on your conversation, identify which group they’re in, then follow your process for that response.

Related: A Sales Lead Management Process You Can Count On

6. Work in Your Strengths

Being good at sales doesn’t mean you never have anxiety. But some people’s mindsets and personality types work better with either prospecting or closing deals. So, ideally, separate the roles so that people work in their strengths.

Early on, I made mistakes by hiring people to make cold calls because I thought they would be great in sales. It turns out some people just aren’t wired that way. They can do it for a short period of time, but eventually, they’re done. However, many of them were still great at closing deals.

When it’s possible, separate your sales team into different roles: hunters, farmers, and account managers. If you have someone awesome at keeping clients happy, make that their main job. When someone is great at closing deals, designate their time for appointments with qualified prospects and let others make cold calls.

Want to know how to separate your team into their best roles? Read 3 Ways to Increase Sales Without Hiring a New Salesperson

I used to own call centers. I’ve dealt with cold-calling for over 20 years in sales. I know how it feels to pick up the phone, but when it’s all said and done, don’t sweat it. Just do it. Not calling is even worse than being rejected.

Jim Rohn says, “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” So don’t carry around that extra weight of regretting the times you didn’t try! Pick up the phone — you’ve got this.

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.

 

How to Prospect Smarter and Bring in More Sales Leads

how-to-prospect-for-sales

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.

 

3 Ways to Increase Sales Without Hiring a New Salesperson

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Improving your sales team comes at a cost. But what if you could pay for it in time you’re spending elsewhere rather than the actual price of hiring a new salesperson?

An increase in sales productivity doesn’t have to mean hiring another person — sometimes it just means using the team you have more efficiently.

So what do productive sales teams do? Collectively, they increase their market share. You want your business to gain as much of the market share as possible. The company’s success depends on it. Highly effective sales teams also create “sticky” clients. Once you onboard a customer, they won’t slip away to your competitors. When you’re highly productive, you’re able to do more for your clients than anyone else.

So, if you’re a sales manager looking to make your team more effective, here are three tips that can boost your productivity.

Tip #1: Play to Your Strengths

Here’s a secret: a highly productive sales team comes from highly productive individuals. When each salesperson is working efficiently in their area of strength, the team becomes a more productive force. Then you’re able to do more with less.

It’s important to understand role distinction. Someone who’s great at finding new business may be horrible at following through with account management. So rather than trying to solve the problem by giving each person fewer accounts, separate the roles. Then you may not need more people and you can give each person a more specific job.

The sales job consists of three different roles: hunters, farmers, and account managers. Ideally, people work only in their area of strength. People who are great at connecting with prospects and closing deals are hunters. Farmers then cultivate those relationships and onboard customers. Then another person manages the accounts in the long term. Usually, individuals who do best in each of those phases aren’t the same people. If your company is big enough, you’ll divide those job responsibilities for the best results. Your hunters find new business, farmers bring them home, and account managers keep them around. When people have specific roles, they become experts at their work. They’re more efficient, and customers stick around because their experience is so good.

Related: The Average Salesperson Wastes 2 Hours a Day — Here’s Why

Tip #2: Create Systems, Not Cycles

Systems boost productivity too. Sales managers usually notice the need for a system from fluctuating sales cycles. If sales aren’t consistent, even after you factor in the time of year and the product, a system may be your solution.

Maybe you have a top salesperson with a great month, but then two bad months follow. Once you dig a little deeper, you’ll find those salespeople have created a cycle for themselves. They focus on prospecting one month, appointments the next month, and then on closing deals.

But you want them on a system, not in a cycle.

If prospecting, appointments, and closes can happen at the same time, months won’t rise and fall. Instead, sales will steadily increase. So help them find a routine of scheduling time for each of their tasks. Rather than spending an entire month prospecting, help them designate specific time weekly for working on each task.

Tip #3: Use Sales Productivity Tools

Rather than adding personnel when you need to up your productivity, use tools that maximize effectiveness. An app like CallProof keeps people accountable to the systems you set and makes their job easier with follow-up reminders, a database of prospects, and easy note-taking. It helps each salesperson maintain a system of prospecting and follow up on a pre-scheduled basis so that they can close deals year-round.

The right tools can also help people schedule their time more efficiently. Think of an account manager who only visits current clients. Let’s say they visit a customer on Tuesday. On Thursday, they go back to the same area to see another customer. They’ve just wasted hours. But if the account manager looks at client assets and group visits together to save time, they become significantly more efficient. Then you’re positioned to grow and scale more quickly. And that kind of efficiency becomes much easier with the right tools.

Tools can also help you measure productivity. As a manager, it’s tempting to use closed deals as your only measure of effectiveness. But there’s more to it. Instead, measure activity. Use an app that tracks real-time activity. When you see how many prospects someone meets, how many phone calls they make, and how many meetings they have, you’ll know how productive they are. So focus on the numbers. Activities lead to sales. You can fix the details later if necessary, but the key is getting the numbers up.

The tools you need to improve aren’t far-fetched. They can be right at your fingertips with an app like CallProof. If you have the right people in the right roles, the right tools will skyrocket their success.