How to Get High-Quality Sales Referrals

how to get high quality referrals

Every day, there are more than 2.4 million brand-related conversations in the US. Are people talking about your company?

Referrals transform a business from operable to booming. In fact, 65% of new business comes from referrals. As you increase your referrals, you increase your profit. Sure, referrals are hard to track, but they’re worth the work.

If you can master the art of referrals, your company will go from zero to 100 much quicker. Here’s how a lucrative referral process works.

Prime the Pump for A Referral

Talk about referrals before a customer even signs up as your client. Integrate key phrases like:

“Here’s why our customers send us referrals,”

“We’ve grown so much because of our customers’ referrals,” and

“People like to refer us because we work hard to take care of our customers.”

These remarks set the expectation that your clients refer new customers. And you should be straightforward about why you try to keep them satisfied. Tell customers you want them to be happy so they can send you other people to help too.

Ask for Referrals at the Right Time

People feel great immediately after they find relief. If you’re relieving a pain point for your customer, ask them for referrals as soon as their problem goes away. Otherwise, they forget how bad things were before you solved their issue.

Think about it like an illness. If my stomach hurt and your miracle pill made my stomach ache go away, I’d be so excited that I’d tell other people about it. But a week later, I may have forgotten my stomach ever hurt. If you wait too long to get referrals, the pain will have become too distant.

Plus, with the right timing, incentives for referrals become less important. Sure, it’s nice to offer a free month for a referral. But, if people are pleased with your product, they’ll want to recommend you to others with or without a bonus.

Know Your Referral Numbers

Do you know exactly how many referrals you got last month and where they came from? If you don’t, you have a problem. First, identify where your referrals come from. Anytime you get a client, ask them how they came to learn about your company. Make it part of the signup process.

People trust friends and family for referrals more than any type of advertising. Yet those referrals rarely show up as you calculate your website traffic or the effectiveness of your mailer.

So ask, “How did you find out about us? Did anyone recommend us?” every time you onload a new client. Then, if you see a trend, try to replicate it.

Say Thank You

Think about how much each lead costs. When someone gives you that lead for free, that’s cause for over-the-top gratification. You can’t forget to say thank you.

There are two ways to thank someone who refers you.

1. Refer them to others.

If they referred you, return the favor. Take the time to find a few people who may benefit from their business and make a recommendation.

2. Give a thoughtful gift.

A thoughtful gift shows how much you value the recommendation they gave. Consider giving gift cards to restaurants or other places you know they enjoy, or even choosing a bottle of wine. Monetary gifts are great, but thoughtful gifts help you stand out as someone who offers superior service.

Every customer has connections to at least three other potential customers. The only thing that keeps you from getting those referrals is failing to ask. Make referrals part of your organization’s culture and watch your business grow more than ever.

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5 Must-Read Books for Sales Managers

 

must-read-books-for-sales-managers

Books gravitate to the hands of those experiencing something new: a new city on vacation, a new challenge at work, a new hardship that has you sitting in the hospital. In these transition times, we take ourselves off autopilot. Life becomes less routine and we become more aware. In that awareness, we open ourselves to new concepts.

Reading is all about seeking new ideas. So if you’ve found yourself in a place where you’re searching for information to improve your approach as a sales manager, here are my top five must-reads.

1. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – Dan Pink

drive daniel pinkWhat motivates us to work hard, achieve success, and feel satisfied? Pink claims the secret is our innate desire to make our own choices, learn and create new things, and to positively contribute to the world. Pink challenges the conventional wisdom of incentivization and encourages leaders to try a fresh approach to motivating your team- an approach that centers on building autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

As you read Drive, you’ll learn more than how to motivate your team. You’ll learn what motivates your buyers. And, people who understand buying behavior make the best salespeople.

 

 

2. Hyper Sales Growth: Street-Proven Systems & Processes – Jack Daly  

hyper sales growth jack dalyIn this book, Jack Daly discusses three important areas that will help your business to grow. First of all, you should work towards building a winning culture in your company. You can do this by creating an environment that motivates your employees to come to work and moving away from the idea that work is boring.

The second area that Daly discusses is Sales Management. As a Sales Manager, you are not supposed to grow sales but to grow salespeople. Increasing the quantity and quality of salespeople will grow your sales as well.

Finally, Daly focuses on sales. He discusses the systems and processes that make the best sales professionals different from the others.

Jack is renowned for offering super-practical advice in his books. Hyper Sales Growth breaks down realistic, actionable steps you can take to motivate your salespeople.

3. 5 Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni

five dysfunctions team patrick lencioniLencioni provides his reader with an insightful explanation about the struggles that teams experience. According to him, five dysfunctions are the core of the problem. He has created a model and designed actionable steps with which a team can improve itself and move away from common problems.

Once again, Lencioni has published a compelling story with an intriguing yet logical message for aspiring great teams. If you’re a team leader, 5 Dysfunctions of a Team will provide you with a model you can use to improve your team and overcome obstacles.

 

 

 

4. Think Like a Freak – Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

think like a freak levittIn this book, Levitt and Dubner take problem-solving to a new level. Through an array of stories, they teach us how to retrain our brains to see the world a little differently.

Their blueprint for solving problems includes putting away the moral compass, thinking like a child, persuading people that don’t want to be persuaded, and appreciating the upside of quitting.  

When we think outside the box, we’re more productive, creative, and rational – which isn’t the norm.

 

 

 

5. Start With Why – Simon Sytek

start with why sinekSome people are successful no matter their plot in life. Others may managed success once but can’t seem to repeat their profit. As Sinek studied global leaders with the greatest impact, he found they all think, act, and communicate the same: they all start by asking, “Why?”

Whereas any business can tell you what it does or how much profit it nets, only a few explain why their organization exists and why it does what it does. These are the organizations that inspire others and generate loyal customers. Start With Why prompts people to ask the “Why?” questions about our products and services questions that make a difference in the entire sales approach.

 

 

 

What books have made a difference in your sales leadership approach? Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

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9 (Stupid) Phrases That Can Sabotage a Sale

sales-phrases-to-avoid

We’re told in simple terms and lengthy quotes that words carry the authority to influence others, often much more than intended. But what about sales? Does the way you say something make a difference? Of course it does.

The problem is we fall into the ruts of using the same sales phrases pitch after pitch. And often, the phrases we use the most are the ones that sabotage our sales.

If your numbers aren’t as high as you think they should be, maybe you’re guilty of using one of these, dare we say “stupid,” phrases that create challenges which just shouldn’t be there.

The good news is, once you pinpoint the habit, you can turn it around with some easy alternatives.

1. When can you sign the contract?

Who really wants to sign a contract? Nobody. If you bring up this phrase, you’re creating a challenge that doesn’t have to exist. The word “contract” creates anxiety because it is a power word. Don’t put a spotlight on it.

Instead say something like, “When you get a chance, do you mind signing this so we can get the ball rolling?”

It’s not about sugar coating the contract, but rather not making it more significant than it has to be. When people make too many decisions, they can get “decision fatigue” and just stop deciding anything after a certain point.

Related: A Day in the Life of a Successful Salesperson

So try not to make the contract a big decision point. When it’s in the natural flow of your conversations, it becomes less of a crisis and you’re more likely to get the commitment.

2. When can you meet?

Don’t ask. Again, it’s another decision that becomes too big. It’s too open-ended and too vague.

Instead have a few time options in your back pocket. Suggest, “How about Thursday at 3?”

Now, they just have to say yes.

3. This isn’t a sales call.

People automatically assume you’re lying when you plug in this phrase. A different approach puts you and your prospect on much better terms.

Instead discuss their pain point directly. You can say, “Hey, I just want to get some time with you to cover how our clients have founds savings in (pain point).”

Or you can be even more direct and say, “You guys have been listed as one of our perfect candidates. We know you’re spending way too much money on (pain point).”

Once you uncover the pain, you know how to sell. Just go ahead and talk about how you’re going to fix the problem.

4. Is this a good time?

When you ask this question, you give the prospect an easy way out. They’re more likely to reply with, “No, I’m busy right now,” because they don’t want to deal with something else.

People also tend to mismatch, or say the opposite of what is presented to them. So when you open with, “Is now a good time?” the likely response is, “It’s a bad time.” However, if you ask, “Hey, did I get you at a bad time?” they may mismatch it and say it’s a good time.

Instead skip this question altogether. If it’s a bad time, let them bring it up.

5. I don’t know.

Sure, you may not know the answer to everything, but this phrase signals you don’t know your product (which is not something you want to indicate to a potential client).

Related: 3 Characteristics of Successful Salespeople

Instead reply to any unknowns with, “That’s a question I haven’t heard before, but I can get the answer to it.” Yes, that’s just another way to say, “I don’t know,” but it lets you follow up without making them doubt your product knowledge.

6. I’m going to be honest with you.

They will probably wonder, “Have you not been honest with me until now?” When you use this phrase, you make them question everything else you’ve told them. Plus, you give that false facade of friendship before you’ve built the trust. Don’t try to be buddy/buddy too soon.

Instead always be honest and build the relationship over time. Then they’ll believe that you’re being honest with them.

7. We take care of our customers! Our service is unmatched!

These cliches fall on deaf ears. They’re so overused, the customer places no value in them. It doesn’t make you any different than the competition.

Instead, if you want to highlight your customer care, tell them, “If you ever question whether we treat our customers well, we’ll provide testimonials you can call to verify our performance.” That’s a different, more provable way of showing your great customer service.

8. Just checking in…

Your intentions may be good, but you’re asking for a response without providing anything valuable in return.

Instead give them useful information. Maybe say, “Hey, I came across this new information the other day I thought you’d find helpful…”. Then you can talk about the reason you needed to touch base.

9. Are you the decision maker?

You insult the person you’re speaking with when you ask them this question directly. However, as a salesperson, you still need to find out who makes the decisions so you can pitch accordingly.

Instead ask, “Before we get started with our meeting, is there anybody else in the organization who needs to see this information to make a final decision?” That way you open the door for them to tell you about any other decision makers.

Whether you’re calling, emailing, or talking to someone in person, eliminating these phrases makes a big difference in your sales numbers. With CallProof, you can track and identify these (and other) trends on your recorded calls.  

Are you familiar with other phrases that kill sales? Share them in the comments below!

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How to Save 10+ Hours a Week on Manual Sales Reporting

save-time-sales-reporting-compressor

Hours a week? Sounds crazy, right? But your sales team spends countless hours each week just reporting what they did. We added up some real-time numbers to see how much time you can realistically save with automated reporting.

The Salesperson’s Time

On a typical day, a salesperson spends about 20 minutes manually entering reports. That’s 100 minutes per week per employee. Multiply that by 52 weeks a year, and you’ve got 86 hours (more than 2 weeks) each employee wastes typing in data.

Related: A Day in the Life of a Successful Salesperson

From the salesperson’s perspective, that’s time they could have used to make sales. Add a group meeting each afternoon where everyone shares their daily activity and you’ve just doubled the amount of time your sales team isn’t selling.

The Manager’s Time

What happens to that data? The sales manager compiles it into one spreadsheet to analyze daily activity. Even if the manager spends only 20 minutes a day working with the data, they’ve lost the same 2 weeks a year as the employees.

sales report

Instead, managers could use this time to act on the actual data. They could be mentoring and motivating their sales team. Yet, they’re using part of each day to compile spreadsheets.

Yesterday’s or Today’s Data?

Automated data reporting saves actual time, but it also salvages days that started off wrong. Managers, when you’re working through manually reported data, you see yesterday’s information. If you notice a sales rep had an unproductive day, you can’t intervene to make that day better. It’s over. What if you saw their reports in real time?

Related: Time is Money: 4 Ways to Reduce Costs for Your Salespeople

When you get data as it happens, you can act on it immediately. Let’s say it’s 12:00 and I look at my team’s activity. If I see that one guy hasn’t done anything, I can call him and say, “Hey, let’s get back to work. Let’s see what you can get done in the last few hours today.” Maybe there’s something holding him back, or he just got demotivated by a tough prospect. As you see his data suffer, you have the chance to motivate him again.

With yesterday’s data, there’s nothing actionable you can do. But real-time data shows you when to step in so you can salvage the rest of the day.

The Solution

You save time and boost sales when you see activity in real time. Make the switch to a sales activity tracking program, like CallProof. It automatically tracks emails, calls, and meetings, usually without sales reps entering anything.

Automated sales reporting gives you and your team weeks back each year. In fact, if you have 10 sales people, making this change adds the equivalent of one extra sales person a day.

The bottom line: Manual sales reporting costs each manager and each sales person about 2 work weeks a year. And it reports old data.

It’s worth making the switch. Who wouldn’t want to save all that time?

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The 5 Elements Every Elevator Pitch Should Include

elevator pitch examples

You never know when you’ll get a small window of time to talk to a prospect. Maybe you meet someone unexpectedly. What about when that cold call is about to hang up? In these cases, you need a sales elevator pitch in your back pocket. Plus, no one likes a long-winded salesperson.

An elevator pitch offers a quick delivery for the opportunities that come out of nowhere. These 5 must-haves will help you shape a pitch that piques interest and leads to sales.

1. Ask Questions

Open with a question you know the answer to. A phone provider may ask, “You know how frustrating a dropped call is? Our company has the lowest number of dropped calls.” 

A mattress sales associate may say, “You know how it feels to toss and turn all night and never really get comfortable? We guarantee a good night’s sleep.”

Related: How To Craft An Effective Sales Pitch For Any Attention Span

At Callproof, I may say, “You know how it feels when outside salespeople leave the office and you don’t know if they’re actually doing anything? We have a tool that solves that.”

These sales elevator pitch examples each ask a question about the pain. Quickly identify the problem the customer experiences and offer a solution.

2. Use a Story

Stories make you (and your product) relatable. People like to think they’re logical, but we’re emotional. A story appeals to emotion. It pulls people into a narrative while showcasing your product.

Think of stories as a song. Each one should have a beginning, middle, and end. Your pitch should start with a problem, transition into the solution, and end with a result. The more you craft that into an engaging story, the longer people will remember it.  

3. Make it Real

We all know pictures speak louder than words, but something tangible speaks volumes. When a prospect can touch the physical product, you make them understand that it feels better, works smarter, etc. with very few words. That’s going to communicate a lot faster than you.

When you’re selling an experience or a saving, still work to make it real. If your product is more cost-effective than most, you may ask, “How many employees do you have?” “100,” the prospect replies. “We save an average of $10/month per employee. That means we’d save you $1,000/month for xyz.”

This instant ROI quote capitalizes on the specifics of the prospect’s business. All managers can tell you how much they sell each month or how many employees they have. Use the data to create a tangible situation for their company. 

4. Set a Time to Meet Again

The point of a sales elevator pitch is to set a time to meet at another date. Your goal isn’t to sell instantly, but rather to book a time to continue your conversation. This may sound more difficult than it is. Just ask, “Hey, do you have your phone on you?” Most people will immediately grab it.

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

If you can get them to do one thing without knowing it (pulling out their phone), then you can make them take the next step and book the meeting. Ask, “Are you free next Friday at 2:00? Yes? Then what’s your email address, I’m going to send you an invite.” Now you have both a date and their contact information. Don’t just say, “We’ll be in touch.” Lock it in while they’re in the moment.

5. Expand Your Time

Find ways to get more time with your prospect. Share an Uber or Lyft with someone for a chance to pitch right then and there. If you are at a conference chatting with someone who’s about to get in an Uber, ask “Where are you going?” Maybe you’re headed to the same hotel or airport. If you can share a ride, you’ll then get the opportunity to build rapport over 10 minutes rather than 20 seconds. Often there are speakers that everyone clambers to talk to. Cheat the system and wait until they leave. If one of them will share a Lyft, you’ve just stretched out your elevator pitch.

If you can share a ride, you’ll then get the opportunity to build rapport over 10 minutes rather than 20 seconds. Often there are speakers that everyone clambers to talk to. Cheat the system and wait until they leave. If one of them will share a Lyft, you’ve just stretched out your elevator pitch.

A sales elevator pitch is all about maximizing your time. Spend some time working on your approach so you’ve got it down when the time comes.

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What to Look for When Researching Prospects

researching-sales-prospects

We’re always talking about tools to use for research, but how should you go about actual research? Knowing what information to look for is as important as knowing where to find it. With these ways of qualifying prospects, you’ll gain an edge when you make the pitch.

Find Relationships

As you look through LinkedIn or Facebook, find ways that you’re connected. If you’re in your prospect’s social circle, they are less likely to treat you negatively. Without connections, it’s easy for someone to dismiss you as a routine salesperson. But connections are game changers. They make you a person worth hearing.

These connections can take various forms. Personal connections work well. Having a close friend in common boosts your credibility. Yet, if the connections are too far removed, they’ll lose their effect.

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

Business relationships help you relate as well. If you see a shared client, use that to your advantage. One of the best examples of this was a financial advisor I met with. He called saying, “Hey, I know PanAmerican Electric does business with you and I want to get on your schedule next Tuesday.” As a business owner, my instinct was to meet with him. Because my customer may have referred him, I took the appointment, if for no other reason than to satisfy my customer.

You may also find local groups you share. Perhaps you’re both involved in the same benevolent program or business association. Use those shared experiences to build your rapport and earn their ear.

Understand the Company

Look up the size and reach of the company. If you see there are only a few connections on LinkedIn, the company may be too small to require your product. If the company has a large volume, you can gauge how your product would best fit in their organization.

Troubleshoot the Problems

Look for problems an organization may be experiencing, either localized or industry-wide. A simple Google search of the company (type in “company name” + review) sheds light on areas for improvement. Also, search for news articles that comment on the company or their competitors. Maybe the industry is going through a lot of change and you can help them navigate it.

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

Glassdoor and Quora offer insight into employee complaints and HR issues. If you sell payroll services, you may see businesses where employees complain about the way they’re paid. That’s an immediate indication that you can help them. Through these sites, you’ll also find industry problems, as well as CEO responses. Again, look for struggles you can address. Then align your product pitch to solve that problem. If you can ease their pain, you’ve found a way in.

Research Works

The time you spend qualifying prospects shows. The clients notice when you go the extra mile to understand their companies. A templated email means nothing up against the person that has done some research. I know when I’m being sold, but I like to see how it plays out when someone knows my business.

If you can only do one thing, find your prospects on LinkedIn and go from there. The 80/20 rule applies. If you can just put in 20% more effort researching, you’ll find yourself reaping 80% more results.

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3 Characteristics of Successful Salespeople

characteristics-successful-salespeople-

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

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

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

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

1. Tenacity

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

Related: A Day in the Life of a Successful Salesperson

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

2. Prospecting

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

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

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

3. Mastering the Schedule

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

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

Related: How to Write the Perfect Sales Email

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

Developing Your Sales Team’s Skills

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

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

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

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4 Lessons I Learned About Entrepreneurship From High School Band

high-school-band-sales-strategies-compressor

I never realized being a band geek was leading me to entrepreneurship. I grew up in Germany on an army base. With my dad as my music teacher, I started playing alto saxophone in seventh grade and continued through high school. The endless hours of practice and the cut-throat competitions did more than just make me a better sax player. They taught me a lot of sales strategies and made me an entrepreneur. Four principles took root in me back in my band days, and they continue to prove true in business year after year.

1. Fail Before You Sail

The first time you blow into a horn it sounds like a dying animal. No matter your natural ability, no one just picks up an instrument and plays it like a pro from the start. In fact, the first few songs you play will be sporadic noise, not fluid music.

Related: Do You Have What It Takes to be a Sales Manager?

Similarly, you’ll probably fail before you sail when you’re starting a business. Accept it and learn from it. Just because you struggle at the beginning doesn’t mean you won’t eventually succeed.

2. Learn to Practice

Hours upon hours of practice go into learning to read music, control air flow, and coordinate finger dexterity before an attempt on the horn sounds like music. Then, that practice must continue in order to perform well.

Entrepreneurship also requires regular practice. You don’t just practice at the beginning and then claim you’ve learned all there is to know. You work unceasingly to perfect each note and anticipate your next moves.

In band, you read music and take lessons from the experts to improve. There’s sheet music for business too. Books such as E-Myth provide a note by note explanation of how to start your business. Take the proven strategies and balance them with your own approach.

Once I understood a piece of music, I learned when and where to improvise solos. In business, there’s also a place to do your own thing. The people that cause waves in the business community are the ones improvising.

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3. Play the Same Piece of Music

A band works as a team playing the same sheet of music at the same tempo to create a greater melody. If the drummer can’t keep the beat, it throws off the whole band. If a director doesn’t know the piece of music well, he may cue the wrong people and mess up the piece entirely. In band, it’s not too difficult to identify the weak player and correct the mistake. In business, this proves a little more challenging.

Related: The Single Most Important Quality of a High-Performance Sales Culture

A business team needs to follow the same plan. If people are off track, there needs to be a way to bring them back on course. This concept spurred the idea of CallProof. I want to catch mistakes as they happen because of the value of correcting in real-time. Then, we get to fix them before they became a real problem.

4. Earn Your Chair

Competition pushes us to excellence. In band, we competed for first chair, challenging each other to see who could play the music better. Sales is the same. You’re all vying for top spot, but just as one person is clearly best, someone else is worst.

As the leader of your company, you have to make tough decisions about firing weak employees so the best people can propel the business forward. In band, it was always clear who spent more time practicing music based on their performance. In sales, the results tell who’s invested their time, but CallProof makes that clear as day.

I knew that my practice hours on the sax, working my way up to first chair and then to All-European Jazz Saxophonist, made me a better musician. In reality, that time also birthed in me these principles that apply to much more than high school music. To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to know your content, your presentation, and your audience. And no matter how long you’ve been in the business, you can’t stop practicing.

 

 

 

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

sales follow up strategies just checking in

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

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

No More “Just Checking In”

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

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

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

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

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The Best Sales Follow-Up Strategies

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

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

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

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

It’s Been a While

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

 

 

How to Build Trust Over the Phone with Cold Prospects

build trust cold calling strategies

We’ve all answered a cold call, but how many times have these interactions won us over? Much of our cold call reluctance comes from how few of these calls actually convince us to buy.

I like to use the calls I receive to improve my own cold calling strategies. What made me stay on the line? Which strategy did they use that worked? In each situation where I became a customer, I’ve found that the salesperson used three tactics to win me over.

1. Name Drop

Do you know someone that your client knows? A name drop will get you a little more time on the phone. You may have a client who will make an introduction to a prospect they know, but a simple LinkedIn search shows shared connections.

Related: Hold Your Breath Cold Call Technique

When you begin your conversation with, “Hey, you know my friend…,”  your prospect will listen a little longer. You’ve gained legitimacy by making that personal connection, and now you’re more than just a voice on the other end of the line.

2. Be a Friend

Your prospect immediately wonders “friend or foe?” as soon as you begin your conversation. Paint yourself as a friend – or at least someone they may know. The longer they take to identify that you’re cold calling, the longer you have to build trust.

To buy yourself time, ask questions and make references that make it seem like you already do business together.  As you talk, speak with authority. Don’t timidly ask if they have time to get together. Instead, ask questions in a way that expects an answer.

Imagine you’re in roof sales. You call an owner of a building and ask, “Is this Bill Smith with ABC Supply on 9th Street? Is that your building, the one with the brown roof with the shingles that are kind of ajar?” He doesn’t know you’re selling roofing yet. He may think that you’re coming to his business to buy something and you just need him to verify the location.

Through these questions, you build trust, gain time, and confirm you’re speaking to the decision maker. After all, it’s the building owner that’s going to spend money on the new roof, right? Once you confirm he’s the guy in charge, you say, “Hey listen, I appreciate you taking my call. I wanted to let you know we’re offering a free quote service for roofs. We’re doing Jim’s across town…” and as you explain your offer, you also name drop to build more trust.

FreeEbook

3. Use a Local Number

Always, always use a local number to make your marketing calls. Too often, people transfer to a new town and use their old number. Consequently, they’ve damaged their trustworthiness before they’ve even started the conversation.

Related: How to Hack Your Sales With the “Overheard Selling” Technique

A friend of mine quickly learned this lesson when he used an out-of-town number to confirm appointments. He found that people either avoided the calls or answered the phone defensively. He actually had to work to regain the trust he had already built with them. It’s much easier to get a new number than to start your battle uphill.

Fortunately, this big mistake has a few simple fixes. CallProof sells custom numbers. Google Voice allows you to change your number as well. And even once you have a local number, it never hurts to prime your call with a text. If you left a voicemail, send an immediate text that says who you are and what you do. This lets your prospect know this was more than just an automated sales call. You’re a real person who wants to do real business with them. As a bonus, now you gave them a searchable term when you put the product name in print. If they’ve been looking for your product or the need later arises, they can easily search for it online.

Building trust makes cold calling work. Whatever your method, when you establish yourself as a friend and support for your future client, the sale becomes much more likely.