4 Ways Employees Can Cheat Your Time Clock System (And How to Avoid Them)

Timeclock Fraud

You’re a victim of fraud.

… if you’re running a retail store.

Time clock fraud happens to everyone in retail. If you don’t think it’s happening to you, here’s what you need to know: it’s happening to you.

People cheat the system and cost you money you shouldn’t be paying. Here’s how they do it:

1. Blaming the System

Time clock fraud takes several different shapes. Maybe someone’s late for work, so they clock in late. Then they tell their manager the system was down so they couldn’t clock in right away.

We all know the internet goes out, so we give them the benefit of the doubt more than we should. We end up paying them from the time they were supposed to start — not the time they actually arrived.

2. Buddy Punching

Other times, people call their co-workers and have them clock in for them — it’s called buddy punching. They can do it at the end of a shift too. They leave early and a friend clocks them out later.

Some companies trust the time report, but other businesses have gone all out with biometric readers or thumbprint scanning to prevent it. (But that’s really expensive — especially if you run several stores.)

3. Skipping Lunch

People also con the system when they don’t clock out for lunch. It happens often when you have a busy organization — you don’t know who’s out or who’s back from lunch when. Then you’ll start to see some overtime hours you didn’t expect at the end of your payroll cycle. When you look back, you’ll see lots of lunch hours — but you won’t know who actually worked through lunch!

People may forget every now and then, but if you look in your payroll system and see that someone has “forgotten” to clock out for lunch every day since they’ve started, you probably have a time theft problem.

4. Running Errands

Managers bring another challenge. If they’re not at your store, they’re hurting your sales. A store without a manager present will not close as much business as a store with a manager present. Why aren’t they there? Maybe they leave during their shift to make a bank deposit for the store… but it takes three hours.

Again — time clock fraud.

The App That Prevents Time Clock Fraud

If you’ve been in business at least a month, these things have happened to you. Time clock fraud is extremely common… and costly. Here’s how we’ve fixed it.

We built a system called Beaclock (iOS) that uses a beacon inside your store and an app as a time clock. When your salesperson is at the store, they can clock in. If they’re not there, they can’t. People clock in on their phones, but it only allows them to clock in if their phone is within a 60-foot range from the beacon — a small device placed within your store. When they leave, it automatically clocks them out. The result: you only pay employees for the hours they’re actually working.

How Much You’re Losing

Not sure how much time theft is costing you? Just look at your payroll report and see what trends you notice. See anyone who repeatedly doesn’t take a lunch break? Notice any late arrivals? If so, calculate what you’re paying them (including overtime) and the opportunities you miss by not being well-staffed in your store.

Related: Avoid These 4 Costly Mistakes When Hiring a Sales Team

For my 64 stores around the Southeast, we were losing about $500 per day in time theft — mostly in skipped lunch breaks and late arrivals. It was time to do something different.

Sure, any employee would love to clock in when they’re not there — but you need them working! With a tool to help keep your employees honest about their actual work hours, you’ll save money and boost sales.

Top 3 Sales Tracking Tips for HVAC Companies

hvac sales tracking

Running a business can feel like a juggling routine. Your HVAC company is getting contracts with apartment complexes and commercial businesses all over town. But as your business grows, how do you balance sales, service, and support to keep it thriving?

Troubleshooting

HVAC companies have to be multi-faceted. Your sales team grows your client base, service technicians install and maintain the units, and your support team deals with customer satisfaction. When there are this many moving parts, something is bound to go wrong, especially if you’re depending on manual reporting.

Related: Looking For A Sales Lead Tracking App? Use This Checklist

Maybe a customer complains about a no-show technician, but you have no way to track their hours and location. Perhaps technicians put in the work but don’t get invoiced. Maybe sales reps are losing track of their existing customers. An app that automatically tracks hours, communication, and location solves these dilemmas.

Tip 1: Keep Track of Communication

You have some great customers, right? You want to keep them connected. However, when business is booming, it’s easy to forget when you last made contact with the clients you have.

A sales tracking app allows you to see the last time your team talked to the customer. You can pull it up from anywhere to see who needs a phone call. Checking in at regular intervals lets your clients know you’re paying attention and you care about their needs.

Tip 2: Track Seasonally

Sales tracking apps also keep you ahead of your customers’ problems. HVAC needs to go hand in hand with the seasons. Two times a year, before winter and before summer, blast your marketing. Your customers will have issues during the coldest and hottest times of the year. You want to be the company they call.

Related: Tracking Outside vs. Inside Sales: How to Monitor Your Entire Team’s Progress

By marketing and making sales contacts before those needs arise, you make sure they reach out to you, not your competitors. With an app to keep you ahead of the game, you can plant the seeds a little early so you can reap the benefits during the high volume times of year.

Tip 3: Maximize Time by Location

If you’re out all day, make the most of your time by seeing as many prospects and clients as possible. Use the app to pinpoint customers on a map, so you know whom to visit based on location. When you decrease your drive time, you increase your contact time. Simply by seeing your clients and prospects on a map, you can make the most of your day without wasting gas and time.

Also, HVAC depends on annual checkups. Why not schedule those service calls based on location as well? When the technicians do their annual servicing, they should be going right next door to the next call. You drastically increase your efficiency when you eliminate the need to drive all over town. At CallProof, we’ve saved companies 20+ hours a week because they always have the option to see their customers on the map.

The days of spreadsheets are over. Sales tracking apps like CallProof make it easier to keep your sales, service, and support in balance. In turn, you gain time, your customers are happier, and your business moves forward.

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Looking For A Sales Lead Tracking App? Use This Checklist

sales lead tracking app checklist

A sales lead is like a banana: Once it’s peeled, it goes bad quickly.

Unlike the banana, leads can be costly and you don’t want to let any of them slip through the cracks. That’s what lead tracking apps are for. A lead tracking app gives you the ability to see each lead and who’s called them.

When you’re considering which lead-tracking app to download, you want to be sure your selection offers several essential features. After all, new leads are vital to the growth of your organization. Different than a CRM app, a good sales lead tracking app takes customer relations a step further. It identifies and showcases unprocessed leads so no lead goes unfollowed.

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Choosing the Right Sales Lead Tracking App

As you scroll through your choices, make sure your future app works for you. These 5 automatic features make all the difference in the dependability and value of the tool.

1. Mobile App and Web Portal Options

You’re in sales, so of course the app needs to work well when you’re on the road. But make sure your app isn’t just mobile. You need the option to access it from a computer as well to expand your options. An app that transfers from one platform to another is essential.

2. Automatically Record Website Leads

Let’s say you have a contact form on your website. A good lead-tracker automatically downloads that information into the app so you have an instant record. It then generates a pool of unassigned leads.

When a salesperson uses that list to make a prospecting call, they now own that client. As soon as that salesperson makes the call, the app removes the client from the lead list. Having an app regroup clients automatically saves you from the possibility of human oversight in moving clients from one list to another.

3. Log Calls Automatically

You also want an app that logs calls as soon as your salesperson makes contact. You shouldn’t have to wait until someone logs the call manually. Why? Because you have a team of salespeople accessing that list. If there is any delay in call logs, a lead could be contacted twice making your organization look disjointed. Automatic call log updates keep everyone on the same page.

4. Record Every Call

Your app should have the ability to record each call. If a call comes in, you need a recording of the sales person talking to the lead. Someone else, ideally the sales manager, should then listen to every call. Depending on the skill level of the sales rep on the call, a sales manager is going to hear different nuances in the conversation. In doing so, they’ll catch the missed opportunities.

Maybe the thought of listening to each call sounds cumbersome, but think of the investment. Let’s say you spend $5000 on a direct mailing campaign. If this mailing generates 100 calls, you’ve spent $50 per call. Your entry level sales rep may handle some of those calls, but at $50/call it’s worth listening to them!

Maybe the lead asks for a particular product or feature that the sales rep doesn’t know you have. You could call back that customer and say, “Hey, I know ___ talked to you the other day about XYZ. What he didn’t know is that we now offer XYZ.” Afterwards, address the miscommunication with the sales rep and use the conversation as a teaching tool for growing his or her knowledge base.

When you record calls and use them to your advantage, you simultaneously save deals and invest in your sales team.

5. Sync Emails

Email sync is crucial, especially if your organization is large. A good lead-tracking app allows you to see the emails between clients/prospects and anyone in your company. Much like the automatic call logs, this prevents you from contacting prospects without knowing they’re already customers.

Seeing their correspondence also grants you insight into their customer history. You learn what questions they’ve had and give the overall impression that your organization knows them when you contact them again. An app with this feature allows you to quickly see what’s transpired before you make contact.

When you’re making sales, you’re constantly on the go. Get an app that makes the job more convenient with tools like these right in your pocket. Leads may be slippery, but with an app that does the hard work for you, you can secure even more clients.

4 Tasks Your Salespeople Hate (And How to Automate Them)

sales task automation

Let’s be honest: If you’re a high performance sales person, you’re probably not going to do sales activity reports. You want to spend your time selling, not reporting about it. And if you haven’t been productive, you’ll probably just make up the info so you don’t look bad.

Managers, you expect your sales team to be out making sales, yet you can’t inspect that with a weekly sales report. And you know there’s not much you can do to help a low sales day after a week has already passed, so you often don’t even bother to read the reports.

All in all, the sales team submits bad data and the sales manager never even sees it. What a colossal waste of time!

This problem can poison the system, but there’s a simple fix. In fact, you can automate or outsource this sales task, along with three others, to make your company more effective, efficient, and enjoyable.

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The 4 Tasks Your Salespeople Hate Most

  1. Call Reports

Most companies ask for call reports, much like the ones described above. Basically, salespeople document who they called and visited in a spreadsheet at the end of each week.

If you, the sales manager, get a report documenting who your sales guy called last Tuesday, it does you no good. But a real time report changes the game. It gives you data that tells you when to intervene. Then, you can either encourage a change in behavior or better understand the circumstance.

Let’s say it’s Wednesday at 2:00 when you look in the system and notice someone has no recorded activity for the day. You now have information that prompts action. Give the salesperson a call and say, “Hey, just following up. How’s the day going?” Asking a leading question rather than accusing the salesperson with a comment like, “Why haven’t you called anyone today?” may allow you to uncover what’s happened.

Maybe he’s been dealing with a customer support issue all morning. Or maybe you figure out that his motivation has run dry and he needs to be re-inspired to go out and start selling. A tool like CallProof gives you the gift of real time reporting and you gain the power to change the situations as they happen. Meanwhile, you’re also eliminating those dreaded weekly spreadsheets.

2. Making Cold Calls

If you have a sales department making marketing calls, consider outsourcing this task. Your sales team most likely thrives in face-to-face interactions, so keep them in those situations. There’s a different charisma needed on the phone that is best left to a company that specializes in marketing calls.

Also, booking a meeting can take an extraordinary amount of persistence. Your average salesperson may follow up 3-4 times trying to make an appointment, but in reality it might take 20 calls. A professional outsource telemarketing company will keep at it because it’s in their pocket of strength. Outsourcing cold calls keeps your sales people in meetings with prospects, rather than just scheduling them.

3. Looking for Prospects to Call

Similarly, don’t make your salespeople use their time to look for prospects. Every person in your sales organization should have a list of potential clients. Just purchase a list from a site like InfoUSA.com or generate and constantly update a list of your own. If you rely on your sales team to find their own contacts, they’re wasting valuable time and likely to do a terrible job. Don’t make them look for their own data.

4. Writing Template Sales Emails

Not everyone is good at writing an email. Follow-ups, welcome emails, and newsletters should be left to a professional writer, not your sales team. After all, you don’t want a poorly crafted document to degrade the reputation you’re working to build.

If your company has a marketing position, this should be a part of that job. The marketing department’s goal is to stay in front of clients and prospects. They relay information about products and services to your customer base. You’re on the same team – act like it and use marketers and writers to your sales team’s advantage.

Your salespeople want to do just what their title implies: Sell! Take away the tasks that keep them from working to their full potential.

Recording Sales Calls: Should You Fear “Big Brother”?

recording sales calls

Mention that you want to record calls at the office and the dirty looks (along with an accusation of “Big Brother”) will quickly follow.

But despite the bad rap that accompanies listening in, there’s nothing to fear and everything to gain. Professional athletes replay game tape over and over to scrutinize their every move and see how to improve. As a salesperson, you should do the same. It’s normal to feel apprehensive, but analyzing your calls isn’t a means of punishment. It’s a means of improvement.

What Happens When You Listen to Your Own Calls?

When you take a moment and listen to your own calls, two things will happen. Number one, you’ll hate it because everyone hates hearing their own voice. Number two, you’ll realize you say things that don’t help during the sales scenario.

Everyone has a set of negative words that derail their sales. What are those negative terms for you? Here are a few common words that could hurt your sales.

1. Contract

Contracts equal commitment. When you ask a customer, “Would you like to sign a contract for…,” it’s too much too soon. Rather, ask if you can provide a free consultation for your service.  

2. Appointment

Appointments are formal commitments. Make the meetup more casual and say, “I’d like to visit with you” or “I’ll just stop by.”

3. Cheap

Cheap doesn’t just imply less money, cheap implies poor quality. Don’t lower the value of your service unintentionally by using this word.

4. Purchase

You put on the pressure when you ask the prospect to make a purchase. Skip that word and save talks of purchasing for a later date.

Hindsight is 20/20 and listening to your calls gives you a clear view of what unfolded. Maybe you misunderstood a question in your call and therefore misinformed the client. Maybe you just talk too fast. It’s natural to talk quickly when you’re nervous or new, but the client will match your pace and speed isn’t your friend. A quick pitch equals a quick no.

Delivering a sales pitch requires finesse. You can fix these issues with relative ease, but you’ll never know about them if you haven’t listened.

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When Should You Record Calls?

When you record calls, you build a resource center for learning what works and what doesn’t. But which calls should you record? Both outbound and inbound calls serve their respective purposes for evaluation and improvement.

Outbound Calls

Imagine you have 50 recent calls that resulted in an appointment. These calls give new salespeople access to live-action footage of overcoming sales obstacles.

They hear how to get past the gatekeeper. They hear a way to navigate past the numerous objections that come up. When the typical “He’s not here right now” or “He wouldn’t be interested” responses happen, your newbie learns multiple tactics for responding.

They’ll also learn how to build rapport with the gatekeeper to get to the actual decision maker. It’s often the nuances of chit-chat that get you through.

A new salesperson may also learn how to rephrase. For example, instead of asking, “Are you available next Tuesday at 2:00 for me to come by and talk about your business needs?” successful salespeople say, “I’m going to be in your area to see a client across the street at 2:00, so I’m going to stop in and see you.” Just a slight change in phrasing can make the difference in securing an appointment or closing a sale.

Inbound Calls

If you’re spending money getting prospects to call you, take the time to listen to those calls. Let’s say you spent $5,000 on an ad that resulted in 50 calls. Is listening to each one worth it? Yes! You paid $100 for each of those calls.

Listen to see how each call was handled and if any missed opportunities can be recovered. Did you ask enough questions? Did you give misinformation that led to non-sale? Did you build rapport? Some prospects can be salvaged if you call them back.

Proven Success

Build your business based on processes and proven successes. Not recording your calls is like starting from scratch every day. Once you start recording calls, use a trainer to listen to calls and find ways to improve them. If you have someone who does this well, you’ll improve your results by 5-30%.

Managers, to see truly positive results, you’ll need the salespeople’s buy-in. Make sure your team knows the goal. You haven’t lost trust in them; you’re growing their resources. When the business improves, everyone benefits.

Recording calls is like capturing opportunities in a giant net. If someone goes through that net at the end of a week, they may find some hidden gems. There may be a lot of junk that to sort through, but there also may be treasure.

Tracking Outside vs. Inside Sales: How to Monitor Your Entire Team’s Progress

Tracking Outside vs. Inside Sales-

At first glance, outside and inside sales seem drastically different. An inside salesperson sits in an office, making calls and selling the product over the phone or internet. They work in response to the easy and less profitable sales.

Alternatively, an outside salespeople is in the field initiating face-to-face conversations with prospects. They work towards more personal relationships with the customers and are responsible for high-valued targets.

Although they play different roles, inside and outside salespeople are really on the same team, just two sides of the same coin. As a sales manager, your task is to determine who is successful where, and how they will best benefit your organization. If you monitor, and even automate, these three basic metrics, you can make much more informed decisions about how to get the most from your team.

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3 Metrics to Track for Your Sales Team

1. Activity

First, look at daily functions to gauge how often your salespeople attempt to generate new clients. How many pop-in visits or cold calls do they make each day? What other sales-generating activities do they perform? With a tool like CallProof, you can automate these reports and see a clear picture of the actions of your sales team.

A lot of companies use a point system to measure the value of their time. Any activity that generates clients is worth one point: calling a prospect, dropping by an office, etc. Activities that simply respond to clients who have already expressed interest are worth zero. Salespeople, particularly those in outside sales, must earn credits. They have to do the work and talk to more people to gain points. The more people that hear their story and what they’re selling, the more sales rise.

2. Close Ratios

When you’re able to see this activity, you can place your strongest lead generators in outside sales. Considered hunters, these salespeople spend their time prospecting, calling people who aren’t already customers, and making appointments. Keep these sellers in the field and then reassign their customers to someone who will cultivate a relationship. Hunters aren’t long-term oriented.

For those not as effective in meeting strangers and starting those relationships, look at their close ratios. If they close a high number of their prospects, they could also close sales from the connections made by others. These gatherers will invest long-term with their customers and nurture those relationships.

Generally, a salesperson’s strength is also what he or she enjoys most. By asking your sales team what they like doing and comparing that with their activity reports, you can place your hunters and your gatherers accordingly. Typically, you won’t have a salesperson good at both.

3. Talk Tracks

Even if you have the right people in the right positions, the language of the sale can make or break a deal. If you have a playback of sales from the beginning to the end, you’ll notice language patterns in sales that close versus those that don’t. Certain buzzwords kill a sale.

Here’s an experiment to try: What if you pay your prospects to come in for a sales presentation and record the sales pitch? If you do this enough, you will hear phrases that scare the customer off and can revise your language. Re-framing the sales presentation can drastically change the result.

For example, a solar panel company spent the bulk of their sales pitch emphasizing the environmental benefits of the panels. No one cared. When they re-framed the pitch to emphasize return on investment, sales changed. Same product, different language. The talk track made the difference.

How Do Customers Find You

In the midst of the time and energy spent finding the clients and maximizing the skills of your sales team, don’t overlook how the client finds you. If there’s a recurring way they come to you, invest in that. Most people attribute client interest to referrals. So, ask yourself, “Am I doing my best to get more referrals?” Most people aren’t. Do what it takes to gain more referrals. It’s worthwhile.

3 Tips For Tracking Door To Door Sales

tracking door to door sales

Is door to door selling dead? Not by a long shot. In fact, this sales tactic is growing. From 2013 to 2014, U.S. retail sales in the direct selling channel increased 5.5%, bringing in an estimated $34.47 billion, an industry record high. You may try to dismiss this tactic as dated and ineffective, but the fact remains: this is a $34 billion industry still on the rise.

Which Industries Should Use This Approach?

For some, door to door is clearly the best option. For instance, if a neighborhood experiences severe weather, salespeople can go door to door to address repair needs for the houses. For other industries, door to door sales are often overlooked. However, nothing works better than an actual person having a conversation with a potential customer.

Consumers are bombarded with marketing information, but a face to face encounter carries more weight than a media message. Most people will answer with a resounding, “NO!” if you ask whether they like someone coming to their house to sell them something. Yet, people buy from door to door sales people all the time. Think of all the Girl Scout cookies, solar panels, or alarm systems purchased this way.

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What Skills Are Needed to Sell Door to Door?

For door-to-door sales to work to their potential, the salesperson must have strong conversational skills. Unfortunately, it’s becoming harder and harder to find someone with those skills. Millennials don’t have the conversation skills of previous generations. They’re great at communicating through a chat window or via text, but haven’t cultivated the ability to talk to a stranger and build rapport.

The good news is, anyone can learn the skills needed to be a salesperson. The obstacle lies in the practice. Inevitably, there will be uncomfortable days and unreceptive customers who make going to the next door just a little more difficult. Tracking adds a layer of accountability to this process, providing a little more motivation for overcoming those obstacles.

3 Ways to Use Tracking in Door to Door Sales

Tracking sales eliminates the frustrations involved in sales reports. It also boosts effectiveness of sales. These three main components go a long way in improving the success rate of direct selling.

1. Report GPS

If you have an app that reports GPS, you can accomplish two goals with one tool. First, the app tracks each location a salesperson visits, without having to enter data into a spreadsheet. Second, with the click of a button, the salesperson can report who they spoke with and if the prospect was interested or not.

2. Report Time

Whether you use commission or time as your pay structure, you need to track the hours involved with the sales. The old method, paper, lacks validity, but if you have a GPS-stamped app that reports time, there’s no longer a question of reliability.

Some may argue that it doesn’t matter if a salesperson falsifies their time in a commission only structure. If they don’t sell anything, you don’t pay. However, if you have the facts, you can coach your team towards success. You can use the data of top salespersons to teach those with lower numbers, and in the process, raise the success of the whole team.

3. Use Automated Tools for Follow-Up

In the reality of door to door sales, sometimes people just aren’t home. When that happens, an app like CallProof enables you to follow up with those you missed with the click of a button. You can create custom connections between the app and your fulfillment house for follow-up. So if you miss a face-to-face sale, you can make contact with them in a different form, like a mail out.

We understand door to door selling is old-school. It’s not that attractive at first look, but it’s effective. Tracking through an app like CallProof enhances this effectiveness and gives you a bigger piece of that 34 billion dollar pie.

 

Sales Call Tracking Software – The Instant Replay of Sales

instant replay sales call tracking software

It would be very difficult for an NFL coach to improve his team’s performance without taping the game and using instant replay. The same is true for sales managers. It’s impossible to track high-quality, high-yield sales activities without the right applications.

Here are 5 ways sales call tracking software can help managers and sales teams increase sales.

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1. Improve Call Quality

I’ve seen many salespeople with a high volume of activity and a decent amount of sales, who also lack quality in their cold calling. Using sales call tracking software, a sales manager can listen to call recordings and analyze the phrasing a salesperson is using. This can greatly improve the quality of the salesperson’s calls, and rather than making more cold calls, they can make smarter calls with better results.

2. Track Sales Activity

If you want to improve your team’s performance, you can’t depend on memory alone. Your activity-tracking needs to be automated: number of dials, number of meetings booked, number of proposals sent, the last time your best clients emailed or called you, and the last time you called or emailed them.

Let’s imagine you’re reviewing a list of your top 100 clients and you discover 30 of them have not talked to your sales department in the last 60 days. Automated tracking alerts the Sales Manager to make sure the sales team contacts those 30 clients.

3. Monitor the Sales Cycle

It’s been said, “At the end of the day, sales are all that matter.” That’s not always true, especially if you don’t know what your salespeople are doing over a long sales cycle.

For example, let’s say you need to determine if your salespeople are making high-quality calls and whether or not they can fill your sales funnel. After 6 months, one of your salespeople hasn’t made any sales, but without tracking software you don’t have any data. You don’t know the quality of your salesperson’s calls or if he has even worked at all.

4. Change Sales Activities in Real Time

Real-time software can tell you exactly what’s happening at any time with your sales activities. If you check your team’s call volume at noon and see that one salesperson hasn’t made any calls all morning, you can still save the day. Real-time sales data alerts you to exactly what’s happening with your team, allowing you to coach your salesperson and help turn the situation around.

5. Eliminate Self-Reporting

Relying on self-reporting simply doesn’t work. Everyone needs to be held accountable, and having accurate, real-time information is critical. You need an app that automatically inputs your team’s e-mails, clients and prospects directly into a CRM system.

Without the right tracking software, your sales team will never reach their full potential. A sales call tracking software like Callproof will help improve their sales call quality and most importantly, lead to more sales.

10 Sales Mistakes That Will Make You Look Like an Amateur

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Even in the best of times, sales mistakes can cost your business. When business is financially tight and during economically challenging times, sales mistakes can really cost your business. But let’s face it: Even the most seasoned salespeople can make mistakes now and then. Sometimes, some of the most embarrassing mistakes salespeople make aren’t done on purpose. It’s when we shift into “autopilot” and fail to give it our best that we can look like newbies and make the same mistakes we made years ago—from which we should have already learned.

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Here are the top 10 sales mistakes that will make you look like an amateur, even if you’ve paid your dues.

Amateur sales mistakes

  1. Acting as if you have all day to take care of a lead. Research has shown that scarcity causes consumers to act. So don’t let on that you have all day, even if you do. Give prospects the impression that you have to fit them in, and it helps you not to come off as desperate—a surefire sales-killer. Letting customers think that you’re busy enhances the scarcity tactic, making your product/service more desirable so they’ll act (or buy).
  2. Taking your time to follow up on a sales lead. One of the most important steps you can take to convert a lead is to respond right away. Make it a habit of using a three-step process to contact prospects: Call the lead, then follow up with an email and a text. As a rule of thumb, it’s generally acceptable to contact leads until 8 p.m.
  3. Talking to the wrong person. Don’t waste your time—and your customers’ time—by giving your sales pitch to a person in the household or business who can’t make the decision to purchase. Before you call someone, know who is the decision-maker, and speak to that person only.
  4. Trying to sell to a non-qualified lead. You’re wasting your time if you try to sell your services/products to a customer that doesn’t fit the parameters of your demographics, or who ins’t a qualified lead. For example, if you sell payroll services, it’s a waste of time to try to sell to prospects with just one or two employees. These people don’t need payroll services. Know what makes a qualified lead before you give your sales pitch.
  5. Forgetting to follow up after a presentation. When you’re done giving your sales presentation, be sure to discuss with the lead what comes next. Will you follow up by email? Is there a window within which the prospect should make a decision to purchase and qualify for discounts?
  6. Mixing up your intentions. If all you need to do is make an appointment to talk to a prospect face to face, don’t try to sell your product over the phone during the initial contact. Establish the incentive upfront for meeting with you in person, instead putting all your cards on the table during the cold call.
  7. Being inefficient with your time. If you’re setting up face-to-face meetings with a prospect, take advantage of opportunities nearby, like scheduling other meetings on the same day with other prospects in the area.
  8. Haphazardly tracking your daily activity. This is an important task, especially if your sales cycle is a long one. If you don’t track your activity, you’ll have no idea of where you stand with the prospect, or how well the process is going (including how many calls or sales you’ve made). If you use a tool like CallProof that employs an automated system to track your activities, you’ll know instantly where you stand.
  9. Hanging around with the wrong people. The company you keep can either help or hinder your performance as a sales person. That is particularly true if you spend a lot of time with underperforming salespeople.Jim Rohn famously said “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” The same holds true for your income potential: It is the average of the five people you spend the most time with. So don’t hang around ineffective, inexperienced salespeople that don’t make any money!
  10. Failing to ask enough questions. It’s critical that you ask prospects enough questions to get a sense of where they stand and know their pain points. Only then can you offer an effective solution—i.e., your product or service.

Don’t let these amateur sales mistakes bring you down. Boost your income potential by staying on task, giving your best every day, and following best practices for optimal sales results, and leave your inexperienced, unpracticed sales days where they belong—behind you.


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How to Give the Perfect Business Gift

perfect business giftThinking about customer service from just one perspective—what you do after a customer is upset, angry or has had a bad experience—limits your business’ ability to acquire and keep customers. I like to think about customer service as a proactive, business-growing step that keeps revenue coming into my business. Giving the perfect business gift accomplishes this task—and then some.

Why are gifts so important in business?

Simply put, gifts are important because who doesn’t like getting a gift? In the consumers’ eyes, they get something for free.

From a business’ perspective, you’re giving away a $10 or $20 product for free, but what you’re getting in return is invaluable. An impactful gift that secures customer loyalty translates into untold revenue over the customer’s lifetime.

Generally speaking, then, gifts were well received by consumers; however, as more and more businesses use gifts as a way to lure customers, consumers have become immune to their impact.

But that doesn’t have to be true in your business.

Let’s delve into why it’s important for businesses to learn the lifetime value of a customer first, and then assess how much to spend on a gift, er… I mean, customer service.

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Make an impact

It’s almost more important to learn HOW to give a gift, than to decide upon what kind of gift to give.

Why?

Because the impact of how the gift is given leaves a huge impression on a customer. Here’s an example:

Not too long ago, I was prepping my condo for a new weekend renter attending a business conference in town. The couple arrived early, while I was still prepping the home.

While I normally like to be out of the space before clients arrive, I seized the opportunity to make a good impression. After introducing myself and showing the couple around, I gave them a bottle of wine as a thank you gift for renting the space. I said something to the effect of:

“Thanks for your business. I got you a bottle of wine to show how much I appreciate you choosing to stay here. I grow my business by maintaining relationships and being available to customers, so I wanted to let you know I’m super excited for your stay here.”

Notice how I combined the physical gift with impactful words. The couple was able to walk away with something tangible that they can hold in their hands. They’ll remember the gift and who gave it to them.

The experience was hopefully so impactful that they will tell the story to a circle of friends, some of whom may need my services in the future. The gift just made the experience more memorable.

In fact, that same couple ended up renting the space four more times that year.

A guide to gift-giving

The gift that you give customers by its self is not the most important aspect in giving the perfect business gift. You can give gifts of food, flowers or any other experience (think of a hotel where making temperature adjustments or running a bath are part of a stellar experience). Just make it impactful, and follow these tips:

  • Clearly communicate the value of what you’re giving to people. Use impactful words that let customers know that you value them.

  • Choose something special. For example, take a product off the shelf and give it away for free. This kind of gift has more impact in the eyes of customers than getting a “freebie” from the back storage room.

  • Make the experience share-worthy.

Giving the perfect business gift involves choosing an impactful gift, making the experience memorable so that first-time customers become repeat, loyal ones, and creating an experience that people will share, spreading the good word about your business. This kind of gift qualifies as proactive, memorable customer service that helps your business stand out from the crowd, and gain loyal, repeat customers who hold a much higher value over their lifetime than the actual cost of the gift you give them.