You Decide if You Want the Appointment or Your Call Could Be the Most Important a Prospect Takes.
In working with a client this last week, it wasn't surprising to see how dispirited they were. It was an inside sales team of 20 people who had to make 125 calls a day (puuhleeese) and were finding it difficult to make appointments for their outside sales specialists. In fact when a customer said yes to them they would jump for joy. Not an easy job.
While teaching them new techniques (which I will delineate in a second) I told them two things that completely changed their perspective for the better:
1. Since they were selling enterprise voice solutions that leverage a prospect's strategic investments, taking an appointment with them could be the most important thing that prospect could do
2. Therefore, they should be confident and assertive when calling, not apologetic, shy or feel like they were bothering people, NO MATTER how many times they had to call, email, text, use smoke signals or carrier pigeons to get the appointment
So what did we discuss and change so they would get more appointments:
- using our 3 stage process (credibility - benefits - close) we shortened each phone call from 3 minutes to 20-30 seconds.
- we taught them how to leave a voicemail that was intriguing and would capture somebody's interest AND how to get out of voicemail to see if they could get them live
- using the "no scroll rule" they can now send emails that are tight, succinct, relevant and easy to read and decide upon
- we increased the number of attempts to get somebody using a mix and match of techniques that would increase the odds of getting to someone
- how to use social media, blogs, LinkedIn, FB, Phinkit, Twitter, databases and more to get to people more easily
- how to anticipate and handle objections more effectively to get more appointments
- finally, their job was to get the appointment AND THEN DECIDE if it was a good one, or they should delay the meeting. Kind of like catching a fish and deciding if it was big enough to keep vs. begging the fish to go on the hook.
Before I got home or in less than 12 hours I received two emails saying how the techniques we discussed got people appointments they otherwise couldn't get.
What do you do? What questions do you have?
Shortening a sales cycle could be the best way to increase productivity. Accelerate the Sales Process by Turning it Upside Down!
In working with a client in helping define their sales process for an enterprise solution, we went through the usual steps of what has to happen when and who has to do what.
We created a master list and then we chose the items they could apply to existing deals in order to shorten the sales cycle. This was extremely helpful in having them see what they could do.
Finally we turned the whole sales process upside down and started with the end in mind. So here is what we suggested:
- In first meeting the client, tell them what your objective is which is to demonstrate a significant cost savings. In fact, the account they are speaking to was chosen from the few that met their criteria. If they didn't meet the criteria, they, the vendor wouldn't have reached out.
- The vendor is so confident of their offer they will do real testing and modeling showing the prospect what their actual savings is (you may have to offer something else based on your company's capabilities).
- Of course, the vendor needs to show them how it will be done and answer questions, but
- After that is done they are asking the person they are meeting with to sponsor this project in the organization.
- If the prospect doesn't know how to make this happen, the vendor will show them how it has been done in other organizations.
Of course in the real world there will be many prospects who will not respond to this and the vendor may have to go back to a more traditional model.
In addition, the vendor and salesperson has to avoid being too verbose or arrogant but present the offer in a way where the prospect can see the opportunity in front of them.
I hope you like this idea. Try it in some accounts to see how people react.
Sales productivity boils down to how efficient you are at closing business opportunities, and so much being written today is about automation, lead gen, social media, SEO, etc.
#salesprocess #salesproductivity #salesenablement But what if you can't afford any of these services, or for whatever reason you are not using them. What if you are a small company or even a sales person working on your own?
The most important thing you can do is to understand the SOE (sequence of events) that increases your close ratio.
Sales Time Line
Bring to mind a deal you are working on or have won in the past that you would like to repeat as often as possible. Do you recall what steps you took with the prospect during their buying process?
It is important to know that the more you can get a customer to do with you the more likely it is you will get the sale since they have committed a lot to you. They will want to recoup their investment of time, energy and sometimes even money.
Here are some ideas of things you can do during the sales process:
- Have a reference call the prospect
- Send some information or a white paper if you have one
- Use Google Alerts or other source to keep track of what is happening with the client or their industry and use that to stay in touch
- Have them visit your office or set up a time for entertainment
- Use LinkedIn or others to see where you have common connections and let the person know
- If you know their personal interests or hobbies, send info about these.
If you can identify the tactics that work best, you can put them into your process and just remind yourself with Outlook or some other tool to remind you what to send and when to send it. It will have the same impact as the more sophisticated solutions available in the market.
Gerhard - WOW this is an INCREDIBLE document with very valuable insights! I shared it with my CEO (the good old way, printed-it and put it on his desk)
There is a lot of insight in this document and the stats are very telling at what speed/ and in which particular direction the mobile workforce is going.
THE SALES PERFORMANCE PUZZLE - How to Solve it. In this 9 minute video, Gerhard Gschwandtner and bestselling author John Doerr discuss why most sales training doesn't work and offer proven concepts that will help sales leaders create a highly effective sales organization. Collaborate online using or hit "reply" below to share your insights. Download your PPT slides or a PDF to present this content in your company. This is a commercial free service for SalesOpShop members. Click on any image below to play the video.
In this 6-minute SalesOpShop Video - Gerhard Gschwandtner and Anthony Iannarino talk about the key trends in selling that impact all sales organizations. This video contains five insights designed to help you win. Collaborate with us online using this hashtag , or hit "reply" to share your comments below. Want to share the key insights with your sales team? Download your PPT slides or a PDF now. This is strictly educational, no commercial messages included.
Join the conversation with S. Anthony Iannarino, the Gold Medal Winner of the Top Sales and Marketing Blog. In this five-minute video he talks about Sales Training and what B2B needs to learn from B2C sales
Thanks for including my question, guys! Here's some response/commentary from me.
I couldn't agree more with creating a culture of ongoing training and coaching. The quote Gerhard cites about doing what others won't today, to do what others can't tomorrow, is so insightful and true. When I started in sales, I was thrown to the wolves with little training and no coaching. So, I read and listened to everything I could get my hands on. Because of my background in music, I audio and video-recorded myself several times a week, practicing like crazy, rehearsing the things I read and heard. It made a world of difference. That year, I personally outsold an office of 5 other people. When I finally became a manager, I trained and coached constantly. Our office grew by over 600%, year over year. It works.
I do, however, understand why sales leaders hesitate to take reps away from sales activity to train and coach. Most sales training does NOT produce the desired results (see below for why), so just committing to do it more often, may not matter. In fact, it could make things worse, contributing to the false belief that "sales training doesn't work." Argh! That drives me nuts. Poor sales training doesn't work (or even good sales training poorly executed). Good sales training, done well, produces great results.
- It needs to be the RIGHT training, preferably culled from top producers in that industry, company, using that product set, with their target customer-base. It has to produce results, if used in the real-world. If you pick even a great program off the shelf (without customizing) and implement it poorly, don't be disappointed when results don't improve.
- The training needs to be well designed for learning to occur. It should separate knowledge and skill, and treat each appropriately. For skill, there must be PRACTICE (just like the quote) and FEEDBACK, with a chance to re-do, after feedback. (Role play, baby. It's what's for dinner. Stop whining and eat your spinach. ;-) Your comment about squeezing training in on another agenda or creating a massive content dump… so true. Neither of those is "good, well-designed training." Let's all get real with each other in 2013, and stop this insanity.
- Management must understand what is being trained, and know how to diagnose how well it is being used and how to coach to close skill and performance gaps. Management must understand what is being trained, and know how to diagnose how well it is being used and how to coach to close skill and performance gaps. (Yes, I am aware that I wrote that twice ;-).
- The behaviors must then be further reinforced and coached *over time*, so the rep adds the skills to their long-term tool belt, and use them appropriately.
So, having said all that, let's go back to my original question. I think sales training does need to change. If buyers are doing so much research on their own, engaging sales reps later and later in their decision-making process, and buying through growing leverls of consensus, reps had better be prepared with new mindsets, dialogue and diagnosis skills, engagement capability, value-creation behaviors, and be able present solutions in new ways rather (if I hear the word "pitch" one more time, I might scream). They need to understand how to create partnerships, at the appropriate levels (meaning with the appropriate roles/levels in the prospect organization and at the right depth, based on the match between the prospect organization and their own). If we think the same ol' set of sales behaviors of the past are going to differentiate us for the future, well, let's just say we're in for a rough ride in 2013 and beyond.
Lastly for today, I couldn't agree more with your take on Product vs. Sales Training. They must be combined. Product training is facts and figures. It's head stuff, and a little skill in talking about it. The real value lies in creating realistic scenarios, where the rep must USE what they learned in sales training and match and discuss products appropriately, solving problems in real-world, complex cases. Simulations. That's how you prepare people for the real-world, and hone the skills that matter to buyers.
Well, thanks again for the great content and for addressing part of my question. I have to run for now and hope this has added some value to the discussion. I look forward to future videos and any thoughts in return.
If you have seen this interactive video "Stop Making Noise and Start Making Music by Selling Better in 2013" share your comments (click on the "reply" button below), or tweet
For me the points that stood out were: can B2B learn from B2C . At Hubspot's conference last year, their CEO Brian Halligan talked a lot about learning from Amazon.com, and having our websites recognize the viewer and provide them with the appropriate content. I think that's a part of the approach as well.
The trust triangle is interesting, as well. A big debate/discussion right now is how senior sales people need to lead with provocative ideas about how to improve a prospects business, but can you do that without a relationship and with trust. The emotional aspect of trust, and needing to obtain that emotional aspect first, is an interesting angle I hadn't thought of yet.
Great conversation gentlemen. We need more leaders looking at this partnership between sales and marketing like the two of you. Very refreshing and spot on.
Gartner predicts that by 2014, 80% of gamification projects will fail. Bunchball, a gamification vendor fires back saying, "bad gamification works." Should we send a "attaboy" badge to Gartner for having the guts to predict the future in round percentage points, or hit a gong to salute Bunchball's courage to contradict Gartner? What's your experience with gamification?
I'd bet on a large chunk of gamification efforts failing to produce intended results, only because a large percentage of change efforts fall short, in general, because of poor execution.
This isn't a slam on gamification, it's a slam on how poorly we drive change in organizations (on average). Just like with sales training, gamification done poorly will produce poor results, compared to expectations or the full potenjtial.
Done well, it will produce great results. No rocket science here, right?
I'm hoping that the goodness in well-executed gamification will strongly influence training for years to come. And good grief, I don't mean more Jeapordy games (*groan*), but the use of gamification concepts to create interest, and encourage engagement.
In the end, though, it kind of makes you want to focus on sharpening our execution skills, doesn't it? ;-)
We live in a world of technology and often make the mistake that technology is the most important factor in increasing productivity.
I would say the biggest factor is the human element, desire, focus, motivation, etc that takes advantage of technology to increase productivity. What do you think?
Hey Jon, I think you're right. And it's often the human factor that is missed in tech implementations, in my opinion.
For a long time, most of the technology I saw or experienced was really designed for management purposes, and was a real drag for frontline sales, without much regard for ease of use, ease of data retrieval in real-time, integration into real sales workflow, and enhanced ability to move deals forward with a higher win-rate. And companies seemed to either take a non-chalant "use it or don't" or a hardcore "use it or else" stance.
I see this changing, but I still hear about some of the same old thoughts and behaviors when I talk to my peers. You probably see a much wider slide of reality these days with this than I do, being an employee. What's your take on my view and how much have you seen it change in the past few years?
Jon- completely agree with your statement.
Slightly different from Mike, I am actually seeing the tools fall into 2 categories these days: The first, very much as he describes with managment focus and little regard to usability. The second almost the complete opposite with ease of use and productivity uplifts the core of the technology, and many of the tracking and success measurements of the tool almost an afterthought.
Being directly involved in all phases of a new technology release for our sales teams I can tell you that for us the most challenging part is always the "what is in it for them". Often the adoption of a tool is not so much a matter of how great it truely may be, but how well we actually sell it to our teams.
About this channel
- 672 views
- 46 posts
- 0 followers0 members are following updates on this item.