Category Archives: The Art of Selling

Four Cold Calls Called Me Back!

How fun is that?

Maybe you’re way better than I am, but I find that it’s pretty tricky to get people to call you back from leaving a cold voice mail. Right?

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Now! That does NOT mean that voice messages aren’t important. They are!

Voice messages are an opportunity to share your style. Your voice. Make a connection. Demonstrate who you are and that you care.

As Anthony Iannarino says, calling on a person and hanging up if they don’t answer is a bit like ringing someone’s doorbell and running away. Why wouldn’t you take the opportunity to give them a flavor of who you are – so that they remember you when you email them or get them on the phone?

At any rate, I was curious about this success.  What was new? What worked so well?

Continue reading Four Cold Calls Called Me Back!

What I learned about Gatekeepers from Clint Eastwood

clint-eastwood-394536Last week, I was watching the Katie Couric interview with Tom Hanks, Clint Eastwood, and Aaron Eckhart about the making of the movie Sully.

Start watching at the 9 minute mark: https://socialfeed.info/watch-katie-couric-chat-with-clint-eastwood-tom-hanks-and-aaron-eckhart-3971287

Notice something very interesting…

Continue reading What I learned about Gatekeepers from Clint Eastwood

#TBT – THIS ARTICLE COST ME A JOB OFFER

phone-1209230About a year ago, I was testing the waters. Should I go work for another company as a rock start salesperson, or should I heed the call to go full-time as The Irreverent Sales Girl?

In some ways, this article helped me with that decision. I was deep into an interviewing process and about one minute away from a job offer, when the Global VP of Sales called me and asked if I really believed what I had written in this article.

By all means! In fact, I’m pretty sure this exact kind of outlook has made me a top producer for nearly 20 years of selling.

“Well, it won’t work here. We don’t allow cold-calling. Only social selling – you can set an appointment and talk on the phone with a prospect, but you can’t pick up the phone cold and reach out to them.

WOW! Would I love to work for his competition! While I’m walking in the door with an appointment I’ve set with the CRO, ready to do business with me, his guys are going to be knocking themselves out trying to get someone to connect with them on social media!

Needless to say, a year later and beyond happy in my business. And, I owe much of the success I’ve had this year to this article.

Love it UP!

Continue reading #TBT – THIS ARTICLE COST ME A JOB OFFER

Has this ever happened to you? The Bizarre Nature of Sales

customer-magnet-1019871You’re a smart person and I seem to see this phenomenon all over the place, but I haven’t yet been able to explain it. Got any ideas?

So, I’ve been working with a really great guy the last few weeks. His name is Scott Rabinowitz and he runs an absolutely phenomenal business.

He is the consummate pro and a huge value to his customers.

Business is good, but he’s interested in growing it 10x the size it is now.

So, he got in touch with me to see if I could help. He knew he should be prospecting more, but wanted some ideas about professional approaches to reaching out for new customers.

Together, we brainstormed (actually, don’t tell him, but he did most of the hard work) and came up with an outreach approach that he could really get behind.

After one week of trying his new approach, I phoned him up to see how it was going.

He said, “Well, it was going fine, but then I got behind on my prospecting activities because the most BIZARRE thing started to happen.”

“Oh,” said I. “Do tell.”

Continue reading Has this ever happened to you? The Bizarre Nature of Sales

Buyers are 65% of the Way to a Sale Before They Talk To You – And What To Do About It

photodune-1328178-business-woman-with-phone-and-laptop-xsI hear this statistic thrown around a lot. Maybe it’s even true.

In fact, on a recent sales call, the guy on the other end of the line said, “I’m your typical Millenial buyer. I’ve already pretty much decided what I’m going to buy before I talk to a salesperson.”

Now, being the salesperson on the end of that call, it’s pretty good news for me, right?

But, what about those people you are calling on who should REALLY consider working with you because you can make their lives SO much better? But, they don’t know about you yet?

You’re kind of in a pickle with them, right?

Here’s what I’ve found really works in those circumstances…

When people consider it so important to be 65% of the way to a buying decision before they talk to me –  but I want a shot at a deal, I have found that it’s all in the language I use when I am first talking with my prospect. There are five approaches that I find can really turn a situation around and to my advantage.

Continue reading Buyers are 65% of the Way to a Sale Before They Talk To You – And What To Do About It

How The Dog Collar Mechanism Makes You Better in Sales

dog-987936Most of you probably already know that I LOVE dogs!

I’ve learned a lot about life and love from my own dogs – as many of us have.

A couple of years ago, though, I also learned an incredibly successful sales tool from my dogs. If you’ve ever been around ‘em yourself, I bet you’ll see what I mean.

So, I’m training my 12-week-old lab. Well, actually, my trainer is training ME to get him to cooperate. Which is a little bit crazy with a goofy, needle-sharp teeth, highly distractible, getting-stronger-by-the-day puppy.

She laid a nugget of wisdom on me. She told me about the dog-collar-mechanism. Which, in its most fundamental form, says – “If you pull on your dog’s collar – the dog will immediately pull in the opposite direction”. Huh!

Didja ever notice how that’s true in sales, too?

You make an assertion. And the first thing they do is tell you why you’re wrong.

How do you fix this problem with a sale? Same way you fix the problem with the dog.

Reduce the tension. Make where you want him to go more appealing than where he is now. Have HIM think he came up with the idea of going where you wanted him to go.

With dogs we use cues like treats, or distracting activity, or intriguing noises.

In sales, we use language!

Here are a few of my favorite approaches to working with a prospective client to get his buy-in. Instead of acting like I know everything to solve his problem, I will use phrases like:

“You know your business far better than I do, but it seems to me that….” (Whether they agree with you or they tell you it’s different for them, they are now talking and giving you valuable information!)

OR, I’ll say…

“This probably isn’t true for you, but I find that most of my clients seem to be dealing with this kind of trouble…”(Again, if it is true for them, they are in the same boat with other similar professionals. If it isn’t true, you’ve made them look smart and they will tell you how you can help them solve their unique business need).

OR, I’ll say…

“I doubt this has ever happened in your business, but one of my clients hired me to fix this situation…” (You are probing for information, and you are reducing the tension!)

The hilarious thing about my dogs…I take mine to the beach all the time to chase sticks and balls in the waves. People tell me how well-behaved they are. When, in reality, 99% of the time I am only asking them to do things that I know they are going to want to do anyway!

Remember the dog collar mechanism in your sales conversations and be sure to…

Love ‘em ALL UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

P.S. Want the REALLY good stuff? Subscribe here to my Totally Irreverent Tuesday newsletter where I share the best stuff that I never publish anywhere else! http://bit.ly/IrreverentTuesday.

One magical question that gives you control of the sales meeting!

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I was reading Whale Hunting by the brilliant Dr. Barbara Weaver-Smith and when I ran across this paragraph, I whooped – YES!

I have actually used this idea one time in my career. The meeting was critical to me. The company I was presenting to had already decided to work with my competitor. They had the (unsigned) contract sitting on the decision-maker’s desk.

It was my Hail Mary meeting!

Each person in the room had a different reason to use my product. I’d never met any of them before. They were busy people. And, as I mentioned, they’d already decided to work with someone else. By sheer determination, I had been able to plant enough doubt about their decision in my customer’s mind – so much that they called me in. The whole gang was there.

And I’d better be good!

Continue reading One magical question that gives you control of the sales meeting!

You’ll get more “YESes” When You Listen for the “No”

Ever thought something was going to turn out?

You were going to meet your quota this quarter?

You were going to have a full event?

You were going to have a signed contract on your desk by Friday?

But, then it didn’t.

Want to know why?

It’s not personal. Everybody has this disease.

We all listen for WHAT WE WANT TO HEAR. But, that doesn’t mean that the result is actually going to come in.

So, when it really counts, when it really matters, I invite you to do something new.

Start listening for the “no” hiding behind the “yes” you are hearing.

If someone says they are going to show up to your volunteer event, ask them politely, “Is there anything that would get in the way of you being able to make it? Do you have children you need to have looked after? Is there anything else in your calendar?”

Or, if you’re inviting someone to an event. Find out why they are going and what they want to come away with. If it’s really important to you, ask if it would be helpful for you to pick them up. Then, call a couple days in advance to confirm details.

If they are going to get a contract signed for you, ask them: “Who signs? Are they going to be on vacation or do you expect them to be around this week? Is the timing important to them, too? “

Have them walk through for you how the result they are saying “yes” to is actually going to happen, in reality.

When you need it to happen, you must inspect – dig deeper.

Don’t be worried about asking.

You are supporting the person to do what they already told you that they wanted to do. Done well, it demonstrates your leadership.

Too often, when someone is trying to tell us “no” – we don’t listen and find out more. Sometimes we even leave the conversation thinking that now they are going to figure out a way to make it work.

But, that’s not how people are. They are uncomfortable telling you that they are not going to act on your newest suggestion. They just aren’t going to do it.

It should be a true and rare surprise to you if you are expecting someone to act and then they don’t.

If you are masterful at listening, you will hear the “no” instead of hearing what you want to. When you hear the “no” – you have a shot at turning it into a real “yes”! And that is power!

Love ‘em UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

Want the really entertaining stuff? Sign up for my: Totally Irreverent Tuesday newsletter for stories I will never publish anywhere else (unless I write a book, of course!): http://bit.ly/IrreverentTuesday

#TBT – OWN UP! How Vulnerability Makes the Sale

rsz_sad-316424This is an article that got a lot of love back in 2012. I still hate reading it, but it worked so well, I just have to share! Love it UP!

“Ever had that one client, that one boss, that one family member that EVERYTHING you do with them doesn’t work? No matter what they need, you screw it up?

I had a presentation with THAT customer today! 

Today I had a presentation in the last stages of a competitive bid for an important contract.

EVERYBODY was on the phone.

The Executives, the decision-makers, the business unit people, the purchasers. EVERYBODY.

This presentation went the way all of my other interactions have gone with this customer. Wild technical difficulties to start. Fumbling my words. Stilted maneuvering through the product I was demonstrating. It’s been like this since the beginning…

A fun history

It’s been a train wreck the whole way through.

My first meeting with them I had to cancel because I was driving to see them mid-winter and I couldn’t get out of my neighborhood, the roads were so bad.

In my first presentation with them, they were ALL ice cold. I could not get meaningful eye contact with any of them.

Submitting my proposal – well, that went OK.

The technical call with my Senior Vice President of Product Development and their whole team – I was a FULL eleven minutes late to the call (unprecedented).

This last presentation – just BARELY ran at all and BARELY got it done in the time allotted.

OY! 

I was disenheartened after this call. It was my last opportunity to make a good impression. But, here’s the thing. We really do have a GREAT solution for what this customer needs.

What’s a girl to do?

My first inclination was to let it ride

I had done what I had done. It was over. RIGHT?

Then, the scary move

I wrote to the icy-est (is that a word?) business analyst. I wrote (paraphrase):

“Have you ever had that ONE client, that ONE boss, that ONE family member that you could never get it quite right with?

“For some odd reason your company seems to be that for me. I apologize for the technical difficulties I put you through. My presentation was stilted and I hope I didn’t put everyone to sleep. In nine years, I have never had this experience of everything going wrong. I hope that people can let the great products and services shine through, in spite of my bumbling. Is there anything else you need from me?”

I HATED looking this ridiculous, but you know what happened? 

This Icy person sent me a warm email. She said “The technical difficulties didn’t bother any of us – it was a simple thing to manage. I have passed your email to the head of purchasing.”

Two birds with one stone!

Pretty cool! Not only had I been a “human” with the business analyst, but she gave me the opportunity to be a “human” with the purchasing person, too.

We might just win this thing! 

We might not. But at least I can rest knowing that I have put the best possible foot forward for my company with products and services that deserve to win the contract.

MORAL OF THE STORY

Do not be afraid to let people know that YOU know that you could have done better and that you care that you didn’t do your best. People are amazing.

Love your vulnerability UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl”

Didja ever think about THIS referral source?

I was at a CEB conference in June geared toward Small Medium Businesses and I heard a most provocative idea. Since data is CEB’s “THING”, I found it especially compelling!

They talked about how important it is to ask for referrals when you are growing your business. Nothing new here.

They talked about how much more effective we are when we’re selling to someone who was referred to us – rather than us reaching out to them cold – Yep!

They talked about how to go about the business of asking your clients for referrals. Need help with this? Google is your friend. “How to ask a customer for a referral”.

But, then they said something that really got my attention!

They showed that your absolute best referrals come from sources you might not be thinking about. In fact, these people are the best influencers in your marketplace:

  • Supplier Reps
  • Other Business Owners

Huh!

Continue reading Didja ever think about THIS referral source?