Category Archives: Buyers

The Busy-Prospect/Binge-Watching Paradox

Binge-watching is a thing. I know it. I’ve been traveling and everywhere I go – whether I sit in First Class or Coach. Whether I’m speaking to senior management or rank-and-file. Everyone’s got their guilty-pleasure binge-watch shows.

It can be Netflix or Amazon or Hulu or DVD’s of past seasons. Even those who “don’t own a TV” or “don’t watch TV” are binge-watching on their device of choice.

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Yet, we kid ourselves into thinking that our inability to get a prospect’s attention or to close the deal has something to do with the fact that they are super-busy.

The reality is that they are just too busy for you!

People make time for all sorts of things! They spend time surfing YouTube, catching up on Facebook, hanging at the bar or a restaurant with work buddies or other friends. Reading stuff, listening to stuff, or watching stuff on the treadmill at the gym.

Even in the middle of the work day, people stop everything for the “hair-on-fire” meeting – or maybe just to talk over the water cooler.

I mean, don’t you do that stuff?

The problem isn’t that your prospect doesn’t have time – they just aren’t spending it on you!

You have simply failed to become Irresistibly Relevant.

Continue reading The Busy-Prospect/Binge-Watching Paradox

Ever just called someone to see how it’s going?

If you believe that sales are founded on great relationships.

And, most of us still do. Especially in this world of complex sales.

Ever thought of calling your decison-maker up – just to see how their life is going?

It will test your ability to GET OVER IN THEIR WORLD.

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What if your customers viewed you as someone who called them because you were interested in what THEY were dealing with. Not just what you could sell them to help them. You won’t always have the answers.

Can you see how much more FUN you would have calling on people?

You have fun. They have fun.

You will find out things about their children, their marriages, their pressing concerns.

You do it because you “getting the deal” isn’t the most important thing to them. But, their life IS important to them.

Do you know that salespeople don’t do this?

Stand out. Demonstrate that you are truly out for THEM.

Love ’em UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

When they don’t respond!

Sometimes you will reach out to people and they will not respond.

I want you to remember three things:

1) Every now and then, you will not connect with people where they are now. They WANT to get back to you, but you are not front-burner. Keep connecting. Unabashedly. It takes 7 contacts to get a response. Don’t stop at the first.

2) It normally takes 7 – 10 meaningful touches to connect with your person. Don’t give up after the first touch.

3) People are busy and want messages that will help them deal with what THEY are dealing with today. You will never be able to predict what they are dealing with today, so rely on the 7-10 touch rule.

Wondering how to go from 5 to 6 figures in sales? Check out this Free eBook: http://ebook.solidsixblueprint.com/solid-six-ebook/

OOOPS! I promised THREE THINGS, but they all boil down to one thing. 7 – 10 touches is the key!

Keep playing – especially if YOU are convinced you have a good solution.

Those who ONLY play the “low-hanging fruit” are destined for a life of desperation.

Play the BIG game.

Love ’em ALL UP!

The Irreverent Sales GirlWhen they don't respond

What to do when you get kicked “down” the chain

What to do when you get kicked down the chainToday I had a meeting lined up with the head of the department who buys what I sell.

20 minutes before our meeting, she sent an email saying that she can’t make the meeting, but her employee (who she said is COMPLETLY involved with their programs) would be there instead.

Know how I responded?

I emailed back (cc: all)  “PERFECT! I am delighted to meet with Samantha…she is just the right person to take a look.”

(HINT: Always leave people knowing that everything is NO PROBLEM and JUST RIGHT – even though you may feel disappointed).

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Actually, NOW, I had a HUGE advantage

I was talking with the person who USES my competitor’s product on a day-to-day basis. SHE is more familiar with the PAIN than anyone else in the company. I can develop this person to be a real fly-in-the-ointment of her managers if she wants to switch to our products.

BUT, Beware!

I didn’t assume a single thing about the sale. I started from scratch.

First, I laid out for Samantha why her manager had wanted to meet with me and why her manager had put it on the calendar.

THEN, I turned the focus completely to her. I asked Samantha what HER expectation of the meeting was. I asked her what, if anything, she knew about my company. I asked her what she did and what her role was (don’t pretend that your search on LinkedIn or her title tells you a single bit – ask THEM.)

And of course, the MAGIC questions:

“What would be the best use of YOUR time on this call? What do YOU want to see?”

The world opened up!

Samantha told me EVERYTHING she was dealing with as the end-user of our competitor’s product and EXACTLY what she wanted from our time. It was delicious. And, she felt important. Because she is.

The meeting went EXCEPTIONALLY well. Because Samantha felt like it was a big deal that I’d gotten kicked down the chain, she gave me everything I wanted to know about her company’s pain points.

She left the call EXCITED and wanting to hear more.

Now, what I’ll do…

I will now call Samantha’s boss and tell her how great is was that she put me in touch with the perfect resource. I will summarize our call and WE ARE FURTHER ALONG than we would have been, otherwise.

Never forget the power of RECIPROCATION

Samantha’s boss turned the tables on me. And I was GREAT with her. And, I was GREAT with her trusted-employee. Now, she owes ME graciousness. It works like a charm.

Believe me, I am 10 times more likely to close this deal than I was when I woke up this morning.

I NOW  have an internal advocate, a decision-maker who “owes” me and more information about what they are REALLY dealing with than I would have EVER gotten in the meeting I thought we were going to have.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Your job is to always be great with everyone and everything. The rest will sort itself out!

Pretty easy, right?

Love ’em UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

Dear Irreverent Sales Girl – from “Call Me in Six Months”

I received a question today from a reader (please send me YOUR questions, they will likely be published and you will become famous!)The 3 Simple Ways to Set Yourself Up For A Sale In The Future

Here is what this entrepreneur asked:

QUESTION:

“Dear Irreverent Sales Girl,

I have developed a software product that is designed for sole-practitioner-business-coaches. It is so popular that 2-3 times a month I get approached by organizations who really like it but need a more enterprise-wide solution (i.e. teams of coaches).

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I have plans for expanding my product to offer an enterprise version, but it’s still months off and it would be irresponsible to make any solid promises regarding specific timelines. I explain as much during phone calls, and my candor regarding how I don’t have anything to sell them right now is always appreciated.  We always end on a sort of “Great, we’ll be back in touch” or “keep us posted” note.

 

I can’t help but think I could be doing things a lot better for cultivating a connection for a sale down the road, when I DO have a product ready for them

 

.
What can I do to make the best of genuine interest now for an offering I will have later?

 

~ Call Me in Six Months”

Brilliant Question!

ANSWER:

Dear Call Me in Six Months:

First, let me commend you on a few things that you have done very, very right!

* You have created a product that is useful to your marketplace. Kudos!

* You are discovering a new niche (and possibly one with more money to spend!)

* You are telling the TRUTH and gaining credibility

* You are taking the time to develop what will WORK, rather than trying to kluge (yes, that is a word) a product just to sell it now – when you know it will not live up to your standards or theirs.

What is funny is that you gave yourself your own answer – in your sign-off … I will end with that revelation in answer #3. Let’s talk through the 3 simple ways to set yourself up for a sale in the future.

The 3 Simple Ways To Set Yourself Up For A Sale In The Future

#1:  Schedule an hour with the person to do an informational call. You have a crazy advantage here. You have NOTHING to sell , so there will be no pressure. Make sure this is a call that is SEPARATE from the one in which you have gained their trust by telling them you don’t have what they need … right now. If they are serious, they will commit the time.

On this call, get the answers to the following questions:

* What, specifically interests YOU about the software?

* What challenges are you dealing with that you think the software will solve?

* How are you addressing those challenges now?

* What goals do you have currently that you think the software can help you achieve?

* When you see our enterprise solution … and you like it … who else helps decide if you will buy it?

* Are you familiar with how your company buys a product like this and how does that process go?

* What other solutions are you considering right now?

* Do you have budget for this kind of solution, or would it help you to start getting the costs associated with the software, so that you can build it into your budget for the future?

* Schedule a call for six months from now – see #3 below

#2: Set up a reminder for yourself to contact that person once-every-three-weeks. Keep yourself top-of-mind, but not pesty!

The customer will remember that you care. Each contact should be to either:

* Celebrate advances in the development of your enterprise solution

* Ask them how they are doing against the goals you discussed in the first conversation

* Both of the above

#3: Ask them to schedule a call with you for six months from now (see how you answered your own question!). This will accomplish the following:

* It will push you to be ready with an enterprise-wide solution

* It will demonstrate that the customer is truly interested (if they won’t commit to a conversation in the future, they are only vaguely interested)

* It will (in many circumstances) save you from trying to track them down again when you are “ready” (remember, priorities change, but when people put something on the calendar – it makes them think differently about their relationship with you – they are more invested.)

If you are TRULY ambitious…

Create an “Under Construction” newsletter – or some such thing – that you send out to tell people about you, your company, your successes, and what is coming next!

Most of all, of course, keep a database of these marvelous people with detailed notes about your interactions.

SO, “Call Me in Six Months”, I am delighted you asked.

Let’s ask other readers: What do you think “Call Me in Six Months” should do? I can’t wait to hear your answers!

Love ’em UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

 

 

Let’s cut to the C**P, shall we? You wanna be #1?

OK, I very rarely invite untoward language…

But, here it is…

On a call with Gary Hart today (http://www.salesdujour.com) I spoke with a man who has BEEN selling his whole life.

(HINT: you may be listening to sales “experts”, but check it out – Have they sold ANYTHING beyond themselves?)

YOUR CURRENT REALIZATION: “NO WONDER I FEEL LIKE SUCH A FAILURE”

Yes! You haven’t been listening to people who have DONE sales, you have been listening to people who have “studied” sales. You have been listening for people who need YOU to succeed, so that THEY can succeed.

That is why it doesn’t work. NOT FOR YOU.

At any rate, I was talking with Gary (and we can arrange a joint conversation, if you have the courage to ask)…and we boiled it down. If you want to be a top salesperson there are two things to do: (AGAIN, I post the opportunity…IF YOU WANT TO BE A TOP SALESPERSON … ASK US FOR A N INTERVIEW (free, sad thing is, you won’t.)

Wondering how to go from 5 to 6 figures in sales? Check out this Free eBook: http://ebook.solidsixblueprint.com/solid-six-ebook/

Back to the topic, if you want to be a top salesperson:

1) Decide that you will be a top salesperson (and do whatever it takes to get there)

2) Have the confidence to do it

That’s pretty much it.

Sorry to disappoint you. It’s not complicated.

Love your life UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

That’s just nasty!

As you might remember, I have been attending a GREAT BIG industry conference this week.

The other night, at a reception, I approached one of my favorite clients. I had my trusty sales assistant at my wing.
Mean girls - October 25, 2012
We were greeted warmly, by Client…who happened to be speaking with Prospect. Client introduced us to Propspect who perfunctorily shook our hands and then turned her back on us and started a new conversation with Client.

I stood next to Client (where I had been before). My wing assistant was a little crowded out by Prospect, and listened politely for a couple of minutes. When it was clear that Prospect was going to keep speaking with Client and ignoring us (I have never met this woman before), I touched Client’s arm and said “I’m going to grab a bite to eat, we’ll catch up later.” Client was gracious and Prospect at least had the decency to look a little embarrassed.

No, I’m not actually going to wait here to engage you in a conversation you do not want to have.

Throughout the conference

From time to time, we would see Prospect (there were a thousand people here, so it wasn’t often) and she always looked just downright snippy.

It’s not about you

About the third time we ran into Prospect with nary a glimpse of recognition, my trusty assistant leaned in and said. “You know. About 99% of the time that someone is nasty to you, it has nothing to do with you, but more about what’s going on with them.”

Left with compassion

When she said this, I immediately had compassion. I’m a pretty happy person and I love meeting new people. I thought, “Hmmmmm….Happy people tend to be really interested in other people. People who make a big fat difference in life seem to truly enjoy engaging.

And then I realized. She might just not be a very happy camper. And I left it alone.

Don’t let the nasties get you down

As I sit in my hotel room, preparing for the last leg of my conference, surrounded by the 20 serious connections I intended to make (and corresponding Thank You notes) and the dozen other REALLY inspiring people I got to know this week, I am reminded to focus on the great stuff I accomplished and let nasty Prospect deal with her own stuff. Which may be pretty serious stuff.

Wondering how to go from 5 to 6 figures in sales? Check out this Free eBook: http://ebook.solidsixblueprint.com/solid-six-ebook/

The point is:

Love ’em ALL UP! (and let the ones go who aren’t ready to return it).

The Irreverent Sales Girl

Everybody skims…

This post is designed for YOU to get your message across to the customers that matter.

A recent a-ha moment! 
I recently got advice from the SPECTACULAR Erika Napoletano (of www.redheadwriting.com fame – or infamy – you choose).

Erika gave me the AWESOME offer of submitting a guest post to her blog. So I submitted one. And she generously front-stabbed me (Front-Stabbing: the generosity you offer when you tell people how it REALLY is – to their face. Antonym: back-stabbing..you get the picture).

Her advice about the article I had submitted? Her words…”… try adding some subheadings that make it easy for the reader to skim (we ALL skim!)”

Then I realized…

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I may not be a great author, but I DO THIS IN SALES!
It occurred to me. I am CRYSTAL CLEAR that people SKIM my messages … in email, letters, and voice mail.

That’s why I get such a high level of response in my sales messages. I give it to ’em the way they want it.

I use BOLDED text for each new point. I use bullet points to make my points. It works!

The best part of the story…
In fact! I had a very interesting challenge a few years back. My “prospect” (for lack of a better term) was WILDLY busy. Beyond busy.

So, every email I sent her was the whole message in the subject line without scrolling. With back-up support in the body – if she could get to it. 20 words MAX.

She LOVED it. She told me that I was the ONLY person who “got” the way she wanted to be communicated with! She always got right back to me – a salesperson’s dream.

Still no guest post
Nearly every day, I revisit the guest post I am to send to Erika. Thank goodness, she is not counting on me for content!

But a great realization!
Please, please, please…when you are sending sales emails, think of the sheer amount of emails that everyone has to read. Put your requests first! Put your backup information in clear, concise terms. GET TO THE POINT!  Remember that the reader is probably emailing from her phone.

This requires work, you will have to think about what is IMPORTANT to THEM. Do NOT expect them to read every line. Boil it down to the juice.

You will ROCK over those TEDIOUS emails your competition is sending.

They will love you. They will read you. They will get back to you. They will buy from you.

And you will WIN!

Love your peeps UP!

And remember, EVERYBODY SKIMS! 

The Irreverent Sales Girl

The BUYER makes the biggest difference of all…

A true story that involves a Real Estate Agent
I had dinner with a very good friend of mine on Saturday. She is a ROCK STAR real estate agent. She works her fanny off for her clients and she KNOWS the market where I live. She knows simply everything about everything in our neighborhood. She is a great connector. She is the REAL DEAL. She IS an Irreverent Sales Girl (meaning she says it straight and she produces results).

Here’s the story she told. My good friend has a problem, one that most real estate agents face. She was talking about the inherent disloyalty of representing a buyer in the marketplace. NOW, no matter what you think of the value of real estate agents or the commissions they make or any of the rest of it, I want you to put that aside for one minute. It will be worth it.

Wondering how to go from 5 to 6 figures in sales? Check out this Free eBook: http://ebook.solidsixblueprint.com/solid-six-ebook/

Buyers are often disloyal. They will work with an agent to get educated, have that agent schlep them all over town looking at the houses that fit their desires, and then they go find a property they love, act on it, and cut the agent out of the deal. It’s not wrong. It is how the system is designed.

(MY advice: If you are so smart that you can ‘go it on your own’, then ‘go it on your own’ the whole way through.)

But, here’s the inspiring part
She went on to tell a story that I loved. She told me of a client who she had been working hard for. He was in the market. He tripped across a home he loved. It was For Sale By Owner. He was ready to buy.

Know what he did?

He said, up-front… “I don’t make a move without my agent. I want HER to manage the deal..from inspections, to attorneys, to reviewing the deal.”

He was no dummy. He has his own business. Something HE knows everything about. And he REALIZED that she does, too. She actually KNOWS something about the pitfalls of buying, the places he could get screwed up, the team of professionals required to make the deal go down, so that it benefits HIM.

He honored her professionalism and valued her expertise. She got paid. He got what he wanted.

So, what’s the point?
Here’s the point. By now, you probably know that my MISSION IN LIFE is to transform the world of selling. For everyone!

When you think about it…People LOVE to buy things they want or need, and they especially love to buy from people they LIKE!

So, where did it all go wrong? Where did sales get such a bad rap?

Well, I think we all know where…from crummy snake oil salespeople who took advantage of trusting buyers.

BUT, times they have a-changed.

From Buyer-Beware to Buyer-Be-Great
I am going to say something radical now.

How YOU are, as a buyer, makes a difference.

If you honor the expertise, the wisdom, and the education you receive from a GREAT salesperson, you will make the world better for yourself, and for everyone else.

Yes, go out and get the best deal for yourself. Yes, work with real pros. Yes, say NO to salespeople who are not getting you what you want.

BUT, be a person who is WILLING to be great in the sales process. Send thank you’s to those who have put their time in – even if you aren’t going to use them. LISTEN for just a minute to what someone has to say. Put aside the need to “protect” yourself (you are bigger than that, anyway.)

Value the work that people do on your behalf. If you are willing to wear the big-boy pants and hold people accountable for doing their work well, AND you are willing to take FULL responsibility for your choices, then we actually HAVE A SHOT at making sales great. By all means, cut OUT the salespeople who are doing it badly, and cut them out FAST. Learn to do business with style and courtesy. As a buyer.

The buyer, more than anyone else, can transform the world of sales into a beautiful and celebrated profession. One where we can ALL get exactly what we want. Please start today. That person SELLING you something may actually have your best interests in mind. Take the time to find out.

Love buying UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

Keeping the wolves at bay

Keeping the wolves at bay…

I have had a client for a long, long time. They are a signature client and many other clients come on board with me because of THEM! They are important to my past, present, and future success.

Recently, they decided that they wanted to start looking around at other options. New, sexy, exciting, (unproven) options! They have included me in the process and are giving me the chance to stay in the game with them.

Tomorrow, I present to their team – and here’s why I’m 90% positive I am going to keep the relationship…because every chance I get, I talk to them about all the great things we’ve been able to do together over the years. We have a PARTNERSHIP. When THEY wanted to make a big, unprecedented splash in their industry, I was there. IT was awesome. When they wanted to expand their reach, I was there, we have results to show for it. When they wanted to support new markets, I was there and it made a huge difference.

Wondering how to go from 5 to 6 figures in sales? Check out this Free eBook: http://ebook.solidsixblueprint.com/solid-six-ebook/

But, if I weren’t communicating these wins with them (like a walk down memory lane), then it’s easy for them to forget when something new and sparkly shows up on the scene. It’s why I am going to keep this business (they even let ME select the position I wanted in the order of presentations. I picked LAST, of course).

The principles I’m talking about are easy to apply in any industry. They go like this:

When you get a new client

Send at least a handwritten thank you note, if not a gift. AND thank the person who sent them to you. This works with selling cars, furniture, appliances, real estate, mortgages, farming equipment, office supplies … ANYTHING.

When you have had a client for awhile

Check in to see how they are using your products. Has anything changed in their life? What is coming up that you should know about?  If you are a car dealer, you will find out that a daughter is about to turn 16 and a new car is in order (probably for mom and dad, but a new car, nonetheless). If you are in furniture, you will find that a baby is on the way, or that an aging couple is moving to a smaller place and needs help with the new setting.

When you have had a client for a few “seasons”

Send tokens of appreciation and schedule a coffee, simply to “walk down memory lane”. If you are in real estate, you can reminisce about how far that couple has come from their “first home buyer” experience to upgrading to a home for babies and for helping the first child get their first home. If you are in appliances, you can chortle about the surprise new range that he bought for his wife on their fifth anniversary.

The point

The point is…if you want to have a successful book of business that builds on itself, you will keep it personal and you will remind your clients of the partnership you have developed over the years.  This may seem like a lot of work, but BELIEVE ME…the repeat business and referrals you will receive FAR OUTWEIGH the cost and effort it takes to keep getting NEW clients.

Love the partnership UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl