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

Tell the Story, Make the Sale

How much does a polar bear weigh?

Answer: Enough to break the ice.

Okay, maybe it’s the cheesiest pickup line ever, but it accomplishes an important task: it opens the door to conversation.

The best sales conversation starters do the same. They tell a short story to open conversation — a story about what problem you can solve for other people and how it might help your prospect, too.

Make Your Story About the Solution

Successful companies don’t exist because people needed something to do. They exist because they solved someone’s problem.

Think about a screw company. No one said, “I’d just really like to make screws!” Instead, someone likely heard, “We need a screw for this material, and no one makes it.” They thought, “I could do it!” And now they have more orders than they can fill.

When you meet new prospects, center your story on the problem you solve. Explain, “Here’s what I do and here’s how it helps you.” It’s less about I and more about you. The story stays focused on the customer’s needs — you just happen to be delivering the solution.

With Callproof, sometimes when we’re meeting new prospects we don’t even show them the demo. Once we tell them why we exist, they say, “This is exactly what we need.” I just agree and show them where to sign.

People also like to know why you decided to solve the problem in the first place. Think about any reality show from Shark Tank to American Ninja Warrior. How do they introduce each contestant? They tell the story of why they do what they do. Why did they invent this new gadget? What pushed them to train so hard? Then, if we identify with their story, we’re rooting them on to the end. The story does two things: it captures our attention and then gives us something to believe in.

Apply this to sales. If you want people on board, start with a story worth listening to.

How to Tell Your Story

How do you come up with such a great hook for your future customers? First, describe how your company started. When were you first introduced to the problem you now solve?

Then think about your first two customers. What was their biggest problem and how did you help? What did your solution do for their business?

Sounds simple, right? But there’s a catch — you need to know why your customers use you. If you don’t know, ask them.

Once you identify the why, you’ll be able to tell a story that helps prospects envision how you’ll change things for them too.

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

Make the Sale

Then the story sells the product for you. You’ve built your pitch into the story when you tell them why people choose you. Don’t push a traditional sales pitch on them. You’ll never hear me spitting facts out about our 90% repeat customer rate, etc. Skip the statistics and stick with the story.

Then ask about them. What’s their story? They’ll tell you their story, the problem you solve will likely show up, and they’ll buy.

What About the Numbers?

When the conversation starts to get into the numbers and facts, be prepared. Either know the stats they want to know or set up a time for their technical people to connect with your technical people. Just keep the stats in perspective. The story will sell better than the fact sheet any day.

In case you’re still wondering about those polar bears, the females tip the scales at about 550 pounds and males at 990.

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!

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

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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.

The Biggest Challenges for Salespeople in 2016

online groups for salespeople

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

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

What Salespeople Struggle With in Prospecting

prospecting

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

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

Related: 5 Ways to Quickly Qualify Prospects

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

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

Uncovering and Exploring Client Needs

client needs

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

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

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

Challenges in Closing a Deal

closing a deal

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

Related: How To Eliminate Price From Your Negotiation Process

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

The Bigger Picture? Distraction

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

 

 

 

Strong Sales Presentations: How to Leave Prospects Begging for More

sales-presentation-strategies

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

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

When the Sales Pitch Goes Wrong

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

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

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

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What Do Prospects Want To Hear?

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

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

Be a Storyteller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

How to Set the Right Expectations So Clients Don’t Run Your Life

setting client expectations sales

Think for a minute about your internet going out. If your service provider sends you an alert that your connection will be down for 2 hours, it’s inconvenient, but you can adjust. You’ll go to a coffee shop during that time or schedule something away from your computer. This simple notification enabled you to adjust your expectations so you didn’t waste time. Rather than sitting at the office trying to figure out, “Is the internet down for 2 minutes or 2 hours?” you planned accordingly.

The same applies to Lyft and Uber. They’ve eliminated transit anxiety because they communicate appropriate expectations. You know where the car is, when it will arrive, and how much it will cost. Their cars and drivers are practically the same as those of a taxi service, but taxi services don’t communicate well. Because Lyft and Uber do, their rides offer a drastically improved experience.

E-commerce companies run on the same principle. As long as my product arrives when I expected it too, I’m happy. But what if there were no shipment notifications? Their call volume would be off the charts with customers wondering when their orders would come.

The same is true with sales. A salesperson’s goal is to solve the client’s pain. You need to set the right expectations for when the problem will be solved. If I have a leak in my roof, my main concern is, “When will the leak stop?” If the company does what they said on the timetable they claimed, I’m satisfied.

What Expectations to Set

You know you need to set expectations, but which ones? What matters to your client? Clarifying these four basic expectations keep your clients happy so you can focus on your prospects.

Related: 4 Negotiation Skills You Need to Close More Deals

1. Delivery Time

When will the product or service arrive? Your client wants to know. Amazon sets a high bar for delivery communication. When you order, you get an anticipated delivery date. Then, you receive a shipment confirmation and notifications as the package is en route. Who actually has to call Amazon? No one.

Take your cue from Amazon and make sure your clients understand when they can expect to receive your services.

2. Delivery Method

Who physically provides the service? Is there a crew that comes out? Will you be there? Is someone else in charge? If so, make an introduction between the client and the person who will now be working with them.

A contractor, for example, sells the house but probably has a project manager carry out the day-to-day business. The contractor needs to introduce the manager to the buyer. By saying, “He knows this business in and out and will take good care of you. If you need anything, call him,” the contractor frees himself up from little issues (like the bathtub being the wrong color) and can continue finding new clients.

Who is bringing the product? Let the customer know what carrier you use (FedEx, UPS, USPS) so they can look up their own tracking information. If it arrives another way, tell them so they know what to expect and won’t need to call you with unnecessary questions.

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3. Payment Time and Types

How should your client pay? Is there an automatic draft option? What forms of payment do you accept? Let them know from the beginning so they don’t have to wonder.

4. Communication and Response Times

When can your client expect to hear from you? Go ahead and set reasonable response times from the start. If you want 24 hours to respond to an email, tell them so they don’t expect a reply within five minutes of sending a message.

Related: How to Write the Perfect Sales Email

Also, find out the best way to reach your client. That way, if a problem arises, you know how to get in contact with them.

When to Set Expectations

Use these expectations to your advantage, not your detriment. Set the bulk of the expectations after the client signs the contract.

They may have unrealistic ideas about how your product or service works. If you go through a list of expectations before securing the sale, you may unintentionally create an issue that wasn’t there before.

For example, let’s say you’re about to sign a contract with a payroll service. What if the representative first said, “Just so you know, you’ll have to submit all paycheck stubs from the last three years and get employee signatures on this document and I’ll need your banking account information….”? You’d probably stop them, thinking it’s not worth the effort.

In reality, those steps may not be as complicated as they sound, but they lost the sale. Just wait until the contract is signed, then administer the expectations in a reasonable dose.  

Laying the right expectations for your clients sets both parties up for success. They’re pleased because you did what you said. You’re pleased because not only did you deliver, but you protected your time.

Salespeople: Here Are 3 Ways To Save An Hour Per Day

salespeople time management

If you were to analyze a typical salesperson’s day, what would you see? Most likely, you’d find them filling out paperwork repeatedly, making conference calls, meeting at specific times (in inconvenient locations), providing customer support for current clients, creating a list of prospects to call, and, let’s not forget, making sales.

Sure, there’s value in some of these activities, but as a salesperson, are you really spending your time in the best ways possible? What if you could get some of the wasted time back?

Too often, large chunks of the day are consumed with low-value tasks. The biggest obstacle to recovering this time is reversing the old habits to form new ones. These 3 routines can make you more effective in less time.

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1. Eliminate Social Media Notifications.

Time Saved: 1+ hours

Turn off social media notifications on your computer and mobile device during the workday. What do those notifications do? They suck you into a world of unproductiveness. Every time that chime sounds, your attention breaks and your current task derails. Make your job easier and stay logged out during work hours.

2. Digitize Sales Info.

Time Saved: 1+ hours

Imagine a world without paperwork. It almost sounds too good one true, but an app like CallProof makes it possible. Just use your phone to capture data and record it without filling out paperwork or sales reports.

Other traditionally hard-copy processes have been simplified as well. Proposal software options ease the burden of submitting proposals. Online document signature services eliminate the need to fax documents back and forth.

The time saved with electronic documentation and automatic data input is well worth the time you invest to learn the new programs.

3. Prospect Based on Location.

Time Saved: 1+ hours

Think of all the time you spend in the car getting from one appointment to the next. Why not book your appointments based on location rather than spreading your meetings across town?

Be very intentional with the meetings you set. Then, after each meeting, use CallProof to identify nearby prospects and clients. Taking the opportunity to stop by while you’re already close builds your rapport with the client and saves you time in the long run.

For the Sales Managers

If you’re in charge, you can make a few additional decisions that benefit everyone. Scrap the end of the day meeting to save outside salespeople the drive back to the office. Also, do whatever you can to keep your hunters in the field and delegate their customer service issues to someone else.

Finally, give salespeople a list of prospects rather than having them create their own. Data is too cheap to not acquire it for them. Your sales team will thank you… as will your sales numbers.

We all want more time, not so we can add more to our plates, but so we can do a better job with the work we already have. What will you do with your extra hour?

How to Use Facebook Messages to Increase Sales

facebook messages to increase sales

Salespeople typically don’t think of using Facebook for lead generation or increasing sales. That’s probably because the top reason most people use Facebook is to waste time.

I like using Facebook to reach prospects and clients because it’s a place where people aren’t contacted often. If you do it right, it’s wide open for prospecting. Before you dismiss the idea, let’s walk through the process for using Facebook for lead generation.

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When To Use Facebook For Initial Outreach

Facebook is somewhat of a “last resort” for reaching out to a new prospect. It can be effective when:

  • You can’t reach a cold prospect over the telephone
  • You can’t get through a gatekeeper
  • You don’t have an email address for the prospect
  • You have a unique, time-sensitive offer

How To Reach Prospects on Facebook

Many people don’t know Facebook lets you contact someone outside your network for $1 per message. Let’s say you’ve found the CEO of a prospective company using LinkedIn. However, you don’t have a paid LinkedIn account to contact them. You may think that without paying the $20 fee to send an InMail message you can’t communicate with them.

facebook for lead generation
Well, think again! You can find them on Facebook and send a direct message for $1 – much cheaper than buying a LinkedIn subscription or sending an InMail message.

It’s All In The Phrasing

The effectiveness of your message depends on your phrasing. If you send your prospects a canned pitch too many times, Facebook will consider it spam and block it.

Here are the basic rules for reaching out with a Facebook message:

  • Make your offer unique and timely
  • Make your message direct
  • Make it easy – ask simple questions

For examples, let’s pretend you sell communication systems. You know that your prospect is constructing a new building and in need of a phone system. Your Facebook message might read:

“Hi, I realize you’re currently building on 33rd Avenue. Have you picked out your vendor for phone systems? Can I come in and give you a proposal?”

Here’s another example: If I sold cell phone accessories to dealers, and just got a new line of Samsung 6 cases in stock, I could send a message like this:

“Hi, I realize you are launching the Samsung 6 on Friday. I just got the new line of cases in the following colors and models. Are you interested in stocking up before the launch?”

As I’ve mentioned before, 95% of all text messages are read in the first 5 minutes. A Facebook message has a similar immediate effect of a text.

Friend Requesting Clients

You can also communicate with existing clients by adding them as friends on Facebook. However, it’s smart to first connect with a business prospect on LinkedIn and then add them on Facebook. Linkedin is easy and direct – they either say yes or no.

If you decide to direct message or send a friend request to business clients, it might also be necessary to hide some of your personal Facebook posts. You can segment your posts and decide who sees them in your privacy settings. Some posts that are great for family and close friends may not be appropriate for business associates. Make sure to double check your settings before reaching out to clients and prospects.

Using Facebook to increase sales and generate leads can be both effective and cost-efficient.  Just remember to keep it unique, direct, and simple. One brief message could reignite a prospect’s interest in buying from you!