You need to be aware there are four levels of sales people you can hire to prospect, increase your sales, profits and market share.
At the first lowest level the sales person is driven and directed by the sales manager. The sales person is driven by commission only and typically sells on price. There may also be an element of fear and worry if the sale is not made.
The next level up is when the sales person doesn’t necessarily need to be managed by the sales manager, but is still driven by commission, selling on price, and their own desire for success.
The third level at which the sales person can approach sales is to act autonomously and sells value. When they sell value they no longer sell on price, but look to provide a solution to the prospect, and no longer need to be managed by a sales manager.
If you are committed to increasing your close ratio and retention of customers you need to be aware of the fourth level of sales person.
The fourth and highest level of sales person is a very unique individual. They have a quite and strong confidence without being arrogant. This is the sales person that has gone through a personal transformation, and operates at a higher level of consciousness and awareness. At this level the sales person sees themselves as a driving and creative force with a definite life purpose.
They operate autonomously. They look to reach higher levels of personal growth and mastery. There is no fear, but a real sense of knowing, with a conviction that they are and will be even more successful.
They sell with a purpose and a mission, which is based on the fact that they are doing what they do to make sure their prospect or client is successful.
They are givers and not takers. They are committed to the company, their customers and prospects. They know when the prospect and or customer are successful, then and only then can they be successful.
When a sales person operates at this level they ask the right questions. They do not jump to submitting premature quotes. They are sure when they make their presentations it is at the correct time in the correct way that makes sense to the prospect. Their pipe line is filled with qualified prospects. The close ratio and retention of customers is high and the success and money role in.
To learn which of your sales people have what it takes to rise to the fourth level CLICK HERE:
The need for approval is one of the most common weaknesses in sales people. When you as a sales person have a need for approval from prospects you neutralize your ability to do or to say the right things.
For example, legitimate tough questions are not asked. This results in business opportunities are not qualified to the degree they should. This lack of proper qualification fills the pipeline with too many unqualified prospects. Following up on too many unqualified prospect is a waste of you valuable resources.
In my previous blog I discussed follow up as a way of improving the close ratio. While this is true you can only increase the close ratio by following up if you have a truly qualified prospect opportunity.
When you fix the need for approval you will increase your productivity by 35%. To fix your need for approval begin by setting goals and accomplishing your goals. As you achieve more and more goals you will feel better about yourself. The better you feel about yourself the higher your confidence level will become. The stronger you feel about you, the less you will need the approval of others. As your self concept increases the need for approval will decrease.
You will be positioning your self to increase your market share, sales profits, close ratio.
Did you know that 48% of all sales people never follow up with a prospect and only 25% of all sales people make a second attempt to reach a prospect? This includes your competitors. Imagine your ability to increase your sales, market share and close ratio if this was corrected.
Here is a statistic that is shocking, 12% of sales people make only three stops or contacts. By making an adjustment and holding your sales people accountable and tracking behavior you should increase the bottom line.
When it comes to close ratios 2% of sales are made on the first call, 3% of closed business happens on the second call, 5% of all sales are made on the third call, and 10% of sales are made on the fourth contact.
Did you know 80%of all sales are made on the fifth to the twelfth attempt?
So if you are looking for the secret to closing more sales and profits, increasing your close ratio and market share, just follow up more on good qualified business opportunities.
Qualify your business opportunities so you know what is real and what is not,hang in there and don’t give up. It is far better to follow up until you get a No and not walk away too early thinking it is a No.
At a business meeting I had the pleasure to meet a number of business owners and salespeople. When I left the meeting I had spoken to five people I had not known and learned about their businesses and what an ideal prospect opportunity was for each of them.
A day after the meeting which was on a Monday, I realized I could use the services of one of the salespeople I had met. I called the sales person on Tuesday morning and left the following message.
Al: “Hello John Doe we met at the Monday, business meeting I enjoyed getting to know you and learning about your business. As it turns out I need your service for this Friday please call me at 908-472-3848.”
I did not get a return call on Tuesday. On Wednesday I called and again left the same message. Later on Wednesday I received an e-mail from the sales person which read as follows…..
Salesperson’s e-mail: “Got your message. Send me an e-mail with some dates and times you are available.” I thought to myself, I want to give this person a piece of business but he is screwing up the process.
I did not send an e-mail response, but called the salesperson back and asked that he call me, because time was running out, and I needed to make arrangements. This sales person’s sales process was getting in my way.
I finally received a call from the salesperson on Friday morning. At that point in time I had made other arrangements and the salesperson lost a $700.00 sale that was a layup.
Now, why am I telling you this story? Because I know you have salespeople and you want them to fill the sales pipeline with quality prospects that move to a close.
The pipeline is the life blood of your organization and is driven by salespeople that have hopefully, a sales process that will close business, increase sales, profit, and increase your company market share in the shortest period of time.
Your salespeople may believe, as John Doe thought that they are working efficiently by using e-mail.
I had made a specific request as a prospect,” PLEASE CALL ME, I NEED YOU I HAVE MONEY AND WANT TO SPEND IT WITH YOU.” The sales person used technology instead of common sense. ( The prospect calls me and says they need me and my service for Friday so instead of picking up the phone and making a personal phone call which will take less than a minute and close the deal, I will send an e-mail because it is more efficient and that is the way I sell .)
You need to evaluate your sales department’s sales process.
The Sales Process Grader is an excellent tool you can use to determine, if your sales team’s sales process is as effective as it could be. ( AND IT IS FREE )
When you streamline your sales process, you shorten the sales cycle, increase your close ratio, and capture more business in the shorter period of time. The Sales Process Grader is an excellent tool for improving your sales process and closing sales. YOU CAN TRY IT FOR FREE JUST CLICK HERE
Meeting with a prospect I learned they had lost about $2,000,000.00 in potential business to their competitors. I also learned additional $1,300,000.00 in orders was no longer coming in from previous
When I reviewed the notes the salespeople had placed in the companies CRM program, I kept seeing:
- Things are slow, said they don’t need anything.
- Have plenty of stock, try me next month.
- Pete not in, I left my card.
Whenever I see the same notes repeat themselves over and over again, I always question the sales process first and then the salesperson.
As I read the notes for one account, they reflected the same message over and over again. I asked my prospect if we could visit the customer. My prospect agreed. We discovered something quite interesting on our sales call. Here is how the conversation went…..
Al: Mr. Smith, I am with the marketing department of XYZ Company. I am conducting a survey and hoped perhaps you could give us some input.
Business owner: I don’t have a lot of time we are real busy.
Al: Can we have five minutes of your time and we will be out of here.
Business owner: I can give you five minutes then I have to go, we are working on a big job.
Al: I was looking at the notes our salesperson Mike has been placing in our CRM program, for each of his visits. His notes indicated business was slow and you have plenty of inventory, and it has been hard to reach Pete. Your place seems to be jumping, and you said you are busy. Have we done something to offend you or your company?
Business owner: Not that I know of. I don’t know your salesperson Mike, and Pete has not been here for about six months.
I felt a knot in my stomach as I watched my prospect’s face turn red. I could almost see the smoke come out of his ears. Before leaving we made an appointment with the business owner to come back.
The business owner knew we were coming back to learn more about his business and discuss how we might be able to work with him to help his company be more successful. We thanked the business owner for his time and left.
On the way back to my prospect’s office we talked about what had happened on the sales call and the salesperson in question, and why we needed to evaluate his company’s sales process. The salesperson had been with the company for almost six years had a good attitude. Some months he had hit his quota and some months he had not. For all intensive purposes he was a team player and was a dependable salesperson.
I pointed out to my prospect that there was something wrong with the sales process his salesperson was using or he would have learned that Pete had not been with the company for a while and the owner of the business did not know him. Also it was apparent the company was flourishing.
When we spoke with the salesperson in question we learned he had been going into the company’s facility through the loading platform door as he always did and was talking with Louis who said he was a manager. It turned out later that Louis was not a manager.
There are a number of steps that must be followed in surgery. When steps are left out the patient could die. In the sales process if there are steps missing or out of order the sale could die. To check out if you have Sales Process CLICK HERE:
After using our FREE Sales Force Grader the business owner gained crucial insights on how to maximize the sales performance in his sales force and how to increase sales,profits and market share.
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Not too long ago I was with a sales person that had one hundred companies as targets for his business. He wanted to increase his sales volume and profits. He was under pressure from his boss to increase sales.
While he had the names and addresses of the companies he did not have a contact name. I suggested he go to the prospect’s web site and search for top executives at the company and start calling.
Executives in companies are typically found under the title ABOUT US. A week later I visited him again and he had researched fifteen of the companies and had not called one of them.
When I asked why he had not made any calls as a way of increasing his market share,sales volume and profits,I was told he wasn’t finished with his research.
At that rate it would take him almost two months before he would make any calls. In the mean time his competition would be prospecting, increasing their sales volume and market share.
A week later I was told he had not had time to make any calls yet because of other priorities. Needless to say the relationship ended. I can’t work with people who won’t do their part.
So having said that here are The 3 Secret Keys to Growing Your Business.
Secret Key #1- Stop the research. You only need one phone number and name to start making calls.
Secret Key # 2- Do something… Make a call.
Secret Key # 3- Did I mention do something… Make a call.
Due to bad weather and road closings in our neighborhood the Halloween trick or treat holiday was postponed to this past Friday.
My younger son had decided to trick or treat in a townhouse community near our home instead of our neighborhood, not wear a costume. He told me he didn’t want to trick or treat in our neighborhood because the houses are too far apart and there were not enough houses to go to. He was going as himself.
He also told me some people might think the Halloween celebration was last week and if he wore a costume they might not answer the door. If they saw a boy without a costume ring their doorbell they would be more likely to answer the door when they looked through the door window.
When we arrived at the town house community we found that many houses were dark, no one answered the door at some of homes even those that were lighted. In other cases people came to the door and were eager to see the children trick or treating.
On the way home after three or so hours of trick or treating, I asked Adam if he had fun even though there weren’t many people home. He said he had fun, it didn’t matter how many people were not home or answered the door, because there were many that were home and gave out candy.
There are 7 Prospecting & Sales Lessons to learn from Adam’s Halloween experience.
1. You need to have a large suspect pool to call on. (People or Companies that could possibly use your product or service).
2. When you prospect go as YOU; don’t wear a sales person costume.
3. Not everyone is going to be there when you call.
4. Some people will be there and not answer the door or take your call.
5. It doesn’t matter how people are not there or won’t talk with you.
6. There are plenty of people out there that will talk with you; you just have to put in the time.
7. If you are going to do it, HAVE FUN.
How to Get Past the Gate keeper & Overcome Cold Calling Reluctance Part 3
There Are a Finite Number of People That Call a Company
Here is a breakdown of the types of people calling a company on any given day.
Employees Calling in Sick
Friends and Family Members of Employees
Sales People Trying to Get to Decision Makers
How to Get Past the Gate Keeper.
The receptionist has been viewed by many cold calling sales people as the ENEMY. The receptionist is perceived as the person with the power to let you in or not. He/She is not the enemy.
The Receptionist Recognizes the Cold Calling Sales Person Just by Their Opening Lines.
Which is very different from a customer, current vendor or friend of an employee? The real enemy is the sales person’s opening line which in most cases is the answer to the key question; Can I tell him/her what the call is about?
Here is lesson number three in getting past Cold Call Reluctance.
Stop acting like a sales person making a cold call and relax.
If you were calling a company to speak with your friend or family member you would be relaxed and would most likely not tell the receptionist what your call was about and you would just say... Please put me through to his/her voice mail. I need to leave him/her a message.
Getting Past the Gate Keeper
Based on a survey I conducted, a number of years ago, I learned the average receptionist in an average company receives between one hundred to two hundred calls in a day.
The Unsung Hero
I learned from asking many receptionists that almost no one person ever took the time to find out their name or exchange any type of pleasantry.
The receptionist has a difficult job of directing calls, putting people on hold, getting back to them, taking messages and not to mention greeting people as they arrive for appointments and accepting deliveries.
How to Stand Out From the Crowd
When I make a cold call I always make it a point to ask the receptionist their name. Most of the time I will get their name which I then log in my Act data base for the next time I call.
Occasionally, when I ask, “Who I am speaking with?”, I will hear, “This is the receptionist”, to which I reply, “I know I was just trying to be polite and address you by your name.
I don’t imagine that many people take the time to ask you."
A True Story
The first time I called a prospect I learned that the receptionist name was Mary. When I called the fifteenth time and was still getting “He is in a meeting”, “Out of town”, “Not in today”, or “Left for the day”, I asked Mary a very tough question.
“Mary, whenever I call Mike he is never available. If he is telling you to tell me he is out of town, etc. because he just doesn’t want to talk with me, please tell me.”
How Mary Became My Ally
Mary said the following, “Every time you call you are always so nice to me. Mike is really always on the run and hard to reach. Sometimes I don’t see him for days. I will give you his cell phone number, I know he is in his car. I am not supposed to do this but you have been so nice.“
The Thing to Remember
You can create a relationship with the receptionist and she/he does not have to be your adversary.
Try This Cold Calling Strategy
Hello, Please put me through to, excuse me, who am I speaking with? This is Mary. Oh high Mary this is Al. Please put me through to Bob. I am sorry he is not in. That fine, just put me into his voice mail thanks Mary, make it a great day.
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