Gear Load-Out for Outside Sales Pros: 11 Essentials to Have With You in the Field

Gear load out

We’ve all seen the frumpy sales guy come into a meeting fumbling through his stuff. His pen doesn’t work, he’s scattered, and his breath stinks. Don’t be that guy.

You want to be the guy who walks into a meeting cool and calm. You know your stuff and you’ve got the right stuff.

Here’s what you’ll need:

A Mobile Device

A mobile device is a must. Have it charged and ready to access your calendar, email, and a speech-activated CRM. But keep it in your pocket until it’s relevant. Turn all notifications off and resist the temptation to check it haphazardly.

Only pull it out when you need to send your contact information to the person you’re meeting or look at your calendar.

A Swiss Army-Style USB Charging Knife

Keep a swiss army-style charger in your pocket. You probably won’t need it since your phone is already charged, but someone else in your meeting might.

Digging for a charger is a sign of inferiority. Sure, people have legit excuses about why their phone isn’t charged, but it makes them look bad. Pulling out the cool charging knife shows you are one step ahead of the world. If someone’s phone dies, just toss them this tool and move on.

Five Sugarless Breath Mints

With breath mints on hand, you keep your fresh breath AND you have a literal exit strategy in your pocket. If the meeting is going long, keep listening intently while you pull out a breath mint, pop it, and lean back in your chair. They’ll take the hint and start wrapping up.

Pro Tip 1: Take mints out of the package so they don’t rattle. Either put them in a plastic bag or an immaculately folded napkin.

Pro Tip 2: Only buy sugarless mints — sugar causes bad breath so you’ll end up with worse breath than you had before.

Two Pens

Sales meetings aren’t the place for your Mont Blanc, but you will need two functional pens. You don’t want your pen to distract anyone from the conversation. You want them to focus on you.

And if one runs out of ink, you have another.

Two Sheets of Folded Copier Paper

Take these two sheets of paper, and fold them into a square. Leave them in your jacket pocket — don’t just set them on the table. When you need to take a note, pull them out and write down what you need. Do not unfold them unless you’re just refolding to get a clean space. After you jot down your note, put them back.

Why plain paper? Sheets of paper are easier to deal with later. If you write your notes in a journal, you may just tuck it away and forget about them. But if you have loose paper, you’ll read it right away and do what’s needed.

Plus, journals and legal pads make you look like a secretary — you’re not. Don’t try to take minutes on the meeting. If you’re only writing down selective notes, it’ll highlight what you’re paying attention to. And it’ll make the things you write down seem more important.

Five Tissues

If you need a tissue during the meeting you don’t want to pull out a bulky tissue packet, but you also need enough for yourself and to offer to someone if they need it. I always put tissues in my back left pocket with nothing else. Then, when I pull them out, nothing else comes with it.

And don’t use a handkerchief — they’re outdated and kind of gross.

Five Business Cards

Don’t hand your business cards out like candy. These are a last resort — only hand out a card if someone directly asks for it.

Your first choice should be an email. (Pro Tip: Have a My Contact Info email queued up on your phone ready to send when the need arises.)

Try to avoid participating in the business card exchange at the beginning of a meeting. When everyone starts passing around their cards, pull out your mobile and email or text them directly. I typically say, “I have cards if you need them, but I’m sending you my info now so you don’t have to type it in later.”

You don’t want people looking at your card — you want them looking at you.

A Sport Coat or Suit Jacket

The sport coat is a pro’s briefcase. Use the inside pockets only (never the outside) to store your essentials. I put my paper and pens in the left breast pocket and my phone and mints in the right. Everything is always in the same place so I never have to search for what I need.

Edge Dressing on Your Shoes

Keep your dress shoes looking brand new with edge dressing. If you can’t take care of your shoes, how will you take care of your customers?

Taking meticulous care of your shoes makes you look intentional. If you pay attention to details like this, your clients will know they’re in good hands.

A Nice Wallet

If your wallet comes out of your pocket, it should look like the nicest thing you own. In a sales meeting, a high-powered wallet with no money is worth infinitely more than a beat-up wallet with $700 inside.

(A Few) Keys

Of course, you need your car keys to get home. You don’t want to be the guy waiting on AAA in the parking lot as everyone else leaves. However, bring the smallest number of keys possible, make sure they don’t jingle in your pocket, and never pull them out in a meeting.

Related: The One Essential Habit That Transforms Good Salespeople Into Rainmakers

You can also use your keys as an exit signal. If the “walk you out” lobby chat starts to drag, grab your keys. The other person will get the picture without you being rude.

Leave Your Bag Behind

Notice we didn’t recommend a bag. Bags intimidate people and create an unnecessary barrier. If you can, avoid bringing one. The only time you may need a bag is if you’re doing a presentation with your computer.

Otherwise, you don’t need your laptop. You don’t need one for a calendar. You don’t need it to take notes. If you have documents to share, think about printing them out. You can carry hand-outs in a folder.

Your gear should support your killer sales strategy — not detract from it. And with these essentials on hand, you’ll be ready for each and every meeting.

5 Must-Have Elements of a Winning Sales Proposal

Sales proposal

Sales proposals aren’t magic.

They won’t make your reluctant prospect suddenly say yes. They won’t save a bad deal. They’re not the secret ingredient to your recipe for success.

But sales proposals are essential. They may not seal the deal, but you can’t seal a deal without them. When a potential client is ready to move to the next step, you’ll need a proposal to communicate your quote and provide another reason to follow up.

The Must-Have Elements of A Sales Proposal

So how do you do that? Start with these five essential parts of a sales proposal. With a winning proposal, you’ll keep the ball rolling on the road to a sale.

1. Cover Letter

Start every sales proposal with a cover letter that gives a general overview of the entire document. Limit it to one page on which you clearly address what you’re going to do for them and name your price. This is your opportunity to explain the deal in bullet points.

Plus, cover letters look great. Include contact information (for both you and the client) along with company logos. You want the client to know exactly who this came from after glancing at the first page.

With an intentional design and clear writing, you’ll start your proposal in a polished way that leaves your client ready to learn the details, not frustrated because they don’t know what they’re getting.

2. Bullet Points

Some proposals tend to drag on and on. Not yours. Write your information in bullet points whenever possible. Bullet points break up the monotony of your details. Rather than make your client hunt for the information they really need, highlight it with a clear point. Then, if you need to explain it in more detail in another section, you can.

3. Pricing Overview

The price should also be easy to find. Don’t make your client search for a price point buried in the text. Clearly state your price in the first couple of pages — you can even include it on the cover page.

If you don’t charge a simple flat rate, write out the math so they see how you came to the total cost. Maybe you charge by the user so you spell out $ x USERS = TOTAL rather than just saying, “It costs $1,000.”

You’ll quickly make your client mad if they can’t find the price. So make it clear exactly how much it’ll cost them to do business with you.

4. Next Steps

What should your prospect do next if they decide to partner with you? Tell them! You want to paint a picture so they visualize doing business with you. They shouldn’t have to figure out how to proceed. They should just have to focus on the next step you’ve already explained… or sign on the dotted line.

Related: Field Sales 101: Follow These 10 Solid Tips for Success

5. Purposeful Delivery

Give your client a hard copy of your proposal. Deliver it personally when possible, or send it overnight.

When you ensure the sales proposal gets in their hands, you show your prospect that you’re diligent with your customers. This isn’t some document you just emailed on a whim. You were purposeful in crafting it and delivering it especially for them.

What NOT to Do in Your Sales Proposals

Not everyone writes a great proposal. Some proposals drag on too long. Others seem to miss the client’s needs entirely. Others come unexpectedly. Don’t fall into the trap. Here’s what NOT to do:

Don’t Add Fluff

If there is too much writing, no one’s going to read it. Your client will just skip to the last page to try to find the price. Yes, you need to have sections of the proposal where you explain details, but organize your proposal intentionally. Consider putting pricing on the first page.

Also, only include information relevant to the client. They don’t need to read long paragraphs about your background. They need to know what the product will do for them and how much it’ll cost.

Don’t Skip Client Requests

Not including the specifics you discussed with the client in the proposal is a big mistake.

Your proposal is a chance to show your client that you’ve been listening. Explain how you’ll address their specific requests if you do business together.

Then, when you give them the proposal, point out those areas so they’ll know that you understand their importance.

Don’t Send Without Approval

Don’t push proposals on people who don’t want them. If your client isn’t ready to move forward, a proposal won’t suddenly change their mind. Instead, offer a proposal as a way to take their temperature.

Say something like, “If it’d make sense, I’d love to send you a proposal.” They’ll tell you if they’re ready for it or if they want you to hold off. Either way, it’s a great opportunity for you to figure out where they stand.

Related: 7 Rules for Getting Past the Gatekeeper

Plus, you’ll also gain insight on the decision maker. If they say, “Yeah, go ahead and send the proposal. I’ll take it to this person to see if they’re ready to move forward,” you’ll know who holds the keys to the deal.

Proposals may not be magic, but they’re they perfect next step when your client is ready to move forward. You just have to be sure you’ve written them the right way.

How to Increase Sales By Mining Your Existing Inbound Calls

Increase Sales By Mining

Wireless retailers get LOTS of incoming calls. What if you could use those calls to make more sales? It’s not just about great phone skills, it’s about looking back through calls that didn’t convert and seeing if there’s potential for a future sale.

Mining for Gold

Think of it like gold mining. See, gold can be tough to find — only one out of every billion atoms of rock in the world is gold. But rather than sifting through every rock in the world, geologists use tools to find “load deposits” — places where the ratio of gold is higher. Once it’s found, they can mine.

If you want to find more gold in your wireless retail store, it’s time to starting mining.

Step one: find the load deposits. With Beaclock, we’ve made that easy. See, we’ve found that by identifying the carrier of incoming calls, we can better identify our best prospects. If someone is already using us as their carrier, that’s not an opportunity, but if we can find the calls that come from our competition’s service, we’ve found the potential for gold.

Using the Right Filter

Beaclock filters that out for us. It lets us sort the calls by carrier. Then we can listen back to see if we missed any opportunities. Increasing your conversion by just a few percentage points can make a big impact on your bottom line.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you hear this call as you listen to yesterday’s call log:

“Hi, thanks for calling Anywhere USA Wireless. How can I help you?”

“Yeah, I’m interested in buying four phones for my family. I was wondering if you could price match this online offer for five phones?”

“No, my boss won’t let me do that here.” Click.

If you’re the owner or manager of this store, wouldn’t you want this caller’s business? Maybe someone missed the opportunity to make this sale on the first call, but it’s not too late to call them back. Say something like:

“Mr. Customer, I know you called here two days ago. I don’t know what we were thinking, but I absolutely think we can offer you special pricing. Are you available next Tuesday at 2:00 to come in so we can give you a quote?”

Once you identify the people who would bring new business to your carrier, be proactive and work to make the sale.

Making It Worth Your Time

Yes, listening to previous calls takes a while, but it’s a great task for your team to do in their downtime. They can analyze calls and see who’s worth a callback to try to schedule an appointment.

When you find a gem worth $1,500, is it worth your time to call them back? Absolutely.

When you call back, either admit you made a mistake or tell them the offer they asked about returned. When you convince a person who was originally told no to come back for an appointment, your chance of a sale skyrockets.

But don’t stop there. Track the appointments and results. If someone doesn’t show up for their appointment, find out why. Call or text them to see if you can reschedule the appointment — you don’t want to lose that opportunity.

Finding gold takes effort — in mining and in your wireless store. But with a little work sifting through calls, you’ll earn a big pay-off.

How to Increase Sales By Returning Calls Faster

How to Increase Sales By Returning Calls Faster

Online leads are great — customers come to you, ready to talk about what you offer! With this kind of killer lead, wouldn’t you want to jump on the opportunity to sell? Of course!

So why aren’t you responding faster?

Companies who respond to their online leads within an hour of receiving their query are seven times more likely to have a meaningful conversation with the decision maker… but only 37% of companies follow up that quickly.

Even one hour makes a difference.

We’ve had this problem too. See, lots of leads come in when it’s not convenient. Your future customer is chillin’ at home, watching Netflix, and surfing the internet on their phone. Your company piques their interest so they fill out a web form and you get their info. Soon, they’re going to move on, so you need to engage them immediately, while you’re still on their radar.

That’s why I created Beaclock — a way for salespeople to get leads instantly no matter what time it is or where they are. If we want to increase our chances of making a sale, we need to contact leads immediately, before they get distracted and lose interest.

The Danger of the Spreadsheet

Lots of systems automatically document online contact forms in a spreadsheet — that’s what our old system did too. We’d then look at the sheet, ask the salespeople to reach out, and hope they followed through.

Beaclock does things differently. As soon as a lead comes in, the app notifies the salesperson on their phone so they can call right away. This has tripled our conversion rate. If you want to increase your sales, you have to interact with the leads while they’re hot — and that means contacting them ASAP.

Gain Momentum

Leads no longer die waiting on the spreadsheet. With immediate notifications, you have the chance to capitalize on their interest. So, when you follow up, do it with energy! Capitalize on the momentum of their initial interest to book an appointment and make a sale.

The purpose of your first call is to book an appointment — not to answer all their questions. Maybe your call sounds like this:

“Hi, Mr. Customer, I just got your information. I see that you’re interested in exploring what it would take to switch to our service. I would love to schedule a time to meet you. Are you available tomorrow at 2:00 to come in and check out what we have?”

Then give them an incentive to come. Offer them something for booking the appointment that gets them into your store ASAP. If you book too far out, you’re less likely to close the sale. You want to have the chance to close the deal before they’ve mentally moved on.

Leads have a quick expiration date — if you don’t act quickly, you’ll be too late. So, right out of the gate, you want to respond with energy and schedule an appointment.

How Fast Is ASAP?

We’ve been talking about following up ASAP, but let’s look at how that actually unfolds. Follow-up should always happen within an hour of getting the lead and use three points of communication: call, text, and email.

When a lead comes, call them immediately (until 8:30-9:00 pm in their timezone). Not all calls will be answered, but numbers with the same area code are answered more often. With Beaclock you can use that to your advantage and automatically push the lead to a salesperson with the same area code.

If they don’t answer, leave a friendly message, then contact them with two other points of communication: email and text. Maybe the customers can’t answer because they’re at work, in school, or in a place where they can’t talk. You can still open the conversation! If you initiate the conversation via email or text, you can start having the same discussion as you would on the phone.

Choose First Responders Wisely

Not all salespeople are created equal. Some are better on the phone than others. So decide who’s going to call back your leads… and do it well. Your top salesperson won’t always be your best choice. To choose the best fit, ask yourself these questions:

1. How valuable is the lead?

How much did you spend on the name? Was it a $2 lead for a slightly interested prospect or a $50 lead who’s ready to buy? The more you pay, the more carefully you need to choose the follow-up person.

2. Who has the best phone skills?

Not everyone is good on the phone. Train your employees on how to make a good phone call and make them practice. Role play works great. Employees should literally sit with their managers and pretend to call ten leads (or more!) before calling their first lead. Otherwise, they won’t do well. It takes work.

We’ve struggled with this too. Great salespeople sometimes don’t have the confidence they need on the phone. Maybe they think the sale won’t convert so they just call out of obligation. But, if they call because they want to win the sale, you’ll hear a different level of confidence and energy in their voice — and those qualities convert more sales!

So don’t assume you know who’s best. Listen back to the calls so you know just how your salespeople do on their calls. Just because John is a great salesperson doesn’t mean he’s always your best phone follow-up guy. If a lead costs $50, it’s worth the 30 seconds it takes to listen to that call. You don’t have to listen to all the calls your team makes, but listen to enough of them to decide how to delegate the next lead that comes in.

3. Who has the capacity to follow up?

Some of your salespeople may be too tired or busy to call back. Make sure you choose someone who can give the prospect time and energy.

Then hold them accountable. As a manager, you should know:

  • Did they make the call?
  • What was the call quality?

When you can answer those two questions, you’re on your way to building a scalable marketing plan that drives sales to your store. But if you don’t have time to listen to a recording from yesterday and coach your people on better calls, you won’t win in the online marketing world.

For more resources for training your sales team, check out these 7 Unlikely Sales Books Every Salesperson Should Own.

If you’re gathering online leads, make sure you’re being intentional about how you follow up. When your team has the chance to contact these leads while they’re hot and you have your finger on the pulse of that follow-up, your investment in online marketing will multiply.

4 Tips to Share With New Sales Reps Before Their First Appointment

4 Tips to Share With New Sales Reps Before Their F

1. Don’t barf on the customer’s shoes.

2. Dismal failure is highly unlikely.

These are the two most basic lessons new sales reps need to understand before going to their first solo sales appointment. New salespeople are nervous, to say the least (hence the vomiting advice)! As a manager, it’s up to you to set your new sales reps up for success.

Maybe you’re a manager who attempts to tell new hires all you know about sales before their first appointment. Or maybe you’re the type who kicks them out of the nest to see if they fly.

The key is to find the balance — new sales reps need guidance, but you don’t want to overwhelm them with new information. Here’s how to be the leader they need and four essential tips to get them started.

Be the Leader New Sales Reps Need

Inexperienced sales reps look to their sales managers for leadership. As a manager, you need to coach them in the skills it takes to be successful: consistent work ethic, deliberate work flow, strong listening skills, and realistic expectations.

Set clear expectations.

Be clear about what each salesperson should be doing with their time. Then inspect what you expect. If you expect someone to meet ten new prospects a week, check to see whether they’ve done it.

Explain the value of activity.

There’s more to the sales process than closing a deal. Just because the prospect doesn’t buy, doesn’t mean the sales rep wasted time. There’s value to each step of the process. Explain the different types of value each interaction offers: the prospect knows who you are, they’re in your nurturing process, and they may lead to a referral.

Model listening.

When you go to the first few appointments with your new sales reps, take a step back and observe. By doing so, you don’t compromise their authority with the prospect. If you interject and take charge, the prospect will want to work with you, not them.

More importantly, you model how to listen. Listening is an essential sales tool. As a salesperson, you have to listen to prospects so you can learn about their needs and figure out how to meet those needs. By listening to your reps, you teach the value of listening by example.

Tell them the realistic outcomes.

What can a new rep realistically expect from their first appointments? If they think they’re going to close a deal during their first meeting, they’ll likely be very disappointed. Then reassure them they won’t completely fail.

Four Tips That Lead to the Right Mindset

To really help new sales reps enter their first appointment with the right perspective, share these four tips. It’ll help them see the big picture without getting overwhelmed.

1. You can’t lose what you don’t have.

Let’s say you cold-call someone — you don’t have their business anyway, which means there’s nothing to lose. The worst thing you can do is nothing. Just by going to the appointment, you’re better off.

2. Set easy goals.

Your goal for a first appointment isn’t to make a sale. The goal is getting the prospect to agree to the next phone call or meeting. It’s an easy win — be brief, be brilliant, and count it as a success.

Keep setting easy goals the whole way through the process. Every time you meet a simple goal, it’s a win! These baby steps help a new salesperson focus and lead prospects to buy. Buyers need someone to guide them through the sales process — and easy goals do just that!

3. No one will remember your screw-ups.

It’s unlikely you’ll see your prospects again. You won’t run into this person weeks from now and hear, “Stop! You’re the idiot who messed up that appointment!” It won’t happen.

4. End with action.

Always end sales conversations with a next action. Even if a prospect seemingly turns you down, you can end the appointment gracefully with a next step.

If they’re on board and say, “Let’s get together sometime next month to keep talking about this.” Say something like, “Great. Let’s get it on the calendar. What about Thursday the 15th at 10:00?” Set a specific date and close the loop.

If they’re not interested, you can still have a next step and closure. Maybe they say, “My brother-in-law handles this need for me. I’m not going to mess up our family dynamics, so I’m not going to buy from you.” You reply, “I totally understand. Here’s what’s going to happen. Keep my contact info in case you get in a pinch and we’ll touch base down the road.” They agree to it, and you close the loop.

Always have a next action, tell them what it is, and get them to agree. Don’t be bossy — just be organized.

Empowering young salespeople has benefits for everyone involved. The more successful they are, the more successful your company. Plus, if they’re successful and supported by your team, they’ll likely stick around (which means you’ll spend less time training replacements).

Do you have other newbie sales tips that have worked for you? Share them with us in the comments below!

How to Quickly Get Over Sales Rejection and Get Back to Prospecting

How to Quickly Get Over Sales Rejection and Get Back to Prospecting

No one enjoys rejection. When people don’t want what you’re selling, it can feel personal — as if they don’t like you, even though it’s about the product.

Rejection happens. There’s no use pretending it doesn’t. If you’re in sales, you’ve been rejected and you will be again.

But once you learn how to get over sales rejection, you’ll find that hearing no doesn’t have to stop your forward progress. With these six tips, you can move on and keep doing what works.

1. Put Your Product in Perspective

The best salespeople seem to believe in their product or service. They’re 100% on board with whatever they’re selling. But, if you go overboard, that’ll make sales rejection worse. You feel like people are stupid if they don’t understand how great the product is. Then you start getting mad at them. That doesn’t help. Be careful — too much belief in your product can jade you. So have the confidence to move on and not pass too much judgment on the naysayers.

2. Come Up With a Third Direction

Yes and no aren’t the only potential answers to a sales opportunity. In fact, think of a no as a not right now. Every relationship has a beginning, middle, and end — which means their relationship with another provider will eventually end. And when it does, you want to be available.

If someone bluntly says to me, “We’re not buying your software. We’re buying from your competitor. Their software is all-around better and we like them more,” I can respond with, “I get it. Thanks for the opportunity to talk. I’ll shoot you an email right now so you have my contact information and I’ll check in with you next quarter to see how you’re doing.”

Related: Why Securing a Relationship Is More Important Than Securing a Sale

Then I’ll call them every 60 days to keep in touch. Just because I didn’t make a sale today, that doesn’t mean I won’t in the future. Meanwhile, I keep working on new pitches and new deals every day and nurturing different relationships. I need sales in 60 days and in six years — so whenever they buy, I’ll be ready.

At some point, they won’t use their current service, so the biggest thing is to figure out how to still be involved with them.

3. Don’t Push

When people say no, don’t keep pushing. You’ll seem desperate and people don’t want to buy things that aren’t in demand. So work on your takeaway close technique. Don’t let them know you need them to buy — try backing off, knowing you’ll contact them again soon.

4. Learn From It

Look at the deals you don’t close to find the obstacles for your prospects. See if there are changes you can make based on statistical significance from your interactions with prospects and clients. Then turn that information into something you can use.

5. Remember Your Other Deals

There are other fish in the sea. You should always have more leads waiting so that success isn’t riding on one specific deal. People say no more than they say yes — that means you’ll get rejected more than you’ll close. It’s just a part of sales and we all have to deal with it.

6. Treat Your Deals Equally

As you’re learning how to not be afraid of rejection, try to mentally reframe the deals you’re working. Maybe certain clients pay more than others, but try to treat each deal equally. Don’t fixate on the return. That’s when most salespeople hit a wall — they focus so much on the “big” clients, they forget about the regular ones.

The payout from regular clients adds up! So focus on adding two new customers a month — any two clients. If you’re always adding customers, you’ve always got someone in the pipeline. You’re not only working on that $20,000 deal — you’re working on the $2,000 deal too. And when someone says no, you can move on to the next thing — you didn’t lose your only deal.

7. Don’t Forget Referrals

All your leads and customers are potential referral sources. You may not be the right fit for a prospect, but they can refer you to someone who is. The close rate is often low for the “big” deals because there’s a lot of competition, but for referrals, the close rate is pretty high. So build your referral system and have a process for bringing in new clients this way too.

When Rejection Happens Most

You’ll experience most rejection in the beginning and middle of the funnel. Remember, you’re on a fishing expedition — and sometimes you’re not in the right place at the right time. Maybe your leads aren’t as qualified as you thought. Plus, they don’t know you yet. So you’ll need to be brilliant really quick. Once you work people down the funnel, the rejection tapers off.

Don’t let rejection get you down. Get back out there and work on your next deal. If you keep building activity, you’ll soon hear a yes.

 

The Psychology of Sales: 4 Important Principles to Help You Close More Deals

The Psychology of Sales- 4 Important Principles to Help You Close More Deals

People want someone who understands, someone who “gets them.” It’s true in life, and it’s true in sales.

Salespeople aim to solve their customers’ problems. That means you have to empathize with a customer’s situation first. You have to understand the way people think: Why do they do what they do? How do they perceive the problem you’re trying to solve?

That’s the psychology of sales. The better you understand these four principles, the better you understand your customers — which means more sales and more closed deals.

4 Principles to Help You Close More Deals

1. Get to Know Your Prospect

The more you identify with your customer’s frame of mind, the more likely you are to close sales.

Otherwise, you miss the mark. Let’s say I am discussing CallProof with a government organization that keeps track of grant-funded businesses. I won’t talk to them about the sales funnel piece of CallProof. They’re not making sales, so that product feature isn’t important to them. Instead, they need a way to keep track of constituents and customers. That’s where I focus in my pitch.

Your standard pitch doesn’t apply to every prospect — so you need to understand your prospect enough to tweak your pitch to their needs.

2. Use Phrasing Intentionally

The way we use our words matters. So use words intentionally. The way you phrase questions or ask for an appointment impacts their answer.

If you need someone’s email address, don’t blatantly ask for it. Say, “I want to shoot you an email with my contact information. What’s the best email address for you?” (not “I want to send you an email. Can I have your email address?”)

If you’re trying to book an appointment, make it all about the calendar, not the appointment. So say, “What does your calendar look like Thursday at 10?” (not “Do you want to schedule an appointment this week?”)

Trying to get past the gatekeeper? When they ask what you need, reply, “I just want to see what he’s doing after lunch on Thursday.” They’ll hear “lunch” and assume you’re friends.

3. Tell a Story to Get the Sale

The biggest key to success in sales is telling the story of why you exist. What problem do you solve and how has it worked for people?

My story usually sounds something like this:

We exist because we scratched an itch. A lot of businesses have the same itch we had nine years ago. We built CallProof specifically for that. The people who buy software don’t choose the best program, because they’re not thinking about using it in real life – they’re checking boxes…

As I tell this story, I can frame the problem we solve to be similar to the problems I perceive them having. I can also paint the picture of the problems with other products without badmouthing competitors.

Related: Tell the Story, Make the Sale: Sales Conversation Starters to Improve Your Pitch

4. Know When to Say No

This isn’t quite reverse psychology, but saying no sometimes sets you up for a better long-term success. Recognize when your product won’t solve their problem. If it’s not the right fit, tell them no — even if they’re ready to buy.

Often, you’ll still get business out of that interaction. They’ll either refer you to someone who needs your product or remember you positively when their needs change.

Strategies to Skip

In the sales industry, we try tons of different tactics to see what works. In the ’80s, there were some cheesy approaches like a “yes set.” Remember that? Ask three or more questions they’ll say yes to and then tag on your real question at the end (all while nodding along for extra encouragement). That’s not one I’d recommend.

Also, I don’t endorse it, but some people swear by NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). It focuses more attention on using phrases that appeal to the subconscious mind of your clients.

Psychology and Sales Must-Reads

Psychology and sales go hand in hand. So, if you’re looking to dive in a little deeper, check out these resources for further reading.

In You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar, David Sandler talks about the psychology of sales and setting expectations. It’s not about faking excitement or lying to your prospect. Instead, he takes a fresh approach to client interaction that focuses more on clients and more on the value of listening.

Influence is the classic book on persuasion. Why do people say yes? Robert Cialdini teaches six universal principles that are the clutch for influencing others. It’s a must-read for salespeople.

 

Why Securing a Relationship Is More Important Than Securing a Sale

Why Securing a Relationship Is More Important Than Securing a Sale

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

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

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

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

Customers Want a Relationship With You

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

Relationships 101

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

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

Make Change Easy

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

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

Stay in Touch, Stay in the Game

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

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

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

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

 

Are Sales Conferences Worth Your Time?

Are Sales Conferences Worth Your Time?

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

Usually, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.

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

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

Seminars That Work (or Not)

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

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

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

Best Sales Conferences of 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join a Peer Group

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

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

 

The One Essential Habit that Transforms Good Salespeople Into Rainmakers

The One Essential Habit that Transforms Good Sales

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

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

Bagel + Slim Jim = A Breakfast of Champions

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

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

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

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

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

Establishing Habits for a More Productive Day

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

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

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

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

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

Eat Your Breakfast

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

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

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

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