Tag Archives: Prospecting

#TBT – WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE!

As we conclude the week of “Gatekeeper Relations/Ethics/Methods”, Thanks to Tom Tenseth @smgamesafari https://twitter.com/smgamesafari/status/780440816602845184 – I want to re-publish one of my very favorite articles – this is probably the third time I have re-published! I like it that much!

This one is from June of 2013. Enjoy!

I was giving a cold-calling training yesterday and my participant told me that her boss wants her to come up with two scripts….one for talking to a GATEKEEPER and the other for talking to the DECISION MAKER.

Oh, those words he is using! Gatekeeper? Decision Maker? Seriously?

Let’s talk about Star Wars for a second.

Remember those Storm Troopers – dressed from head to toe in armor and tinted face masks? (If you don’t – be sure to Google the image, you’ll see what I mean).

Know why they dressed them this way? What I’ve HEARD is so that the audience doesn’t HUMANIZE them. So, it was OK to kill them. No one would feel a shred of conscience about rooting for the Rebellion to take them all out! Dead!

 Now look.

What does this have to do with my revulsion to the words GATEKEEPER and DECISION MAKER? 

Yup! It takes the HUMAN out of the mix. So, NOW, when you are talking with one of these people, you sound like a GREAT BIG DORK, because the foul language you are using automatically puts you at cross purposes with the HUMAN on the other end of the phone.

Continue reading #TBT – WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE!

My Three Favorite Articles (So Far) About Sales Gatekeepers

Dear Tom Tenseth (@smgamesafari)

This week’s for you!

A couple of weeks ago – you asked for more information in dealing with Gatekeepers – you said it is your biggest challenge and struggle.

While I have a lot of opinions about working with gatekeepers – which I will share in Wednesday and Thursday’s blog articles, I thought I’d do a bit of research before I weighed in.

DISCLAIMER: If you’re familiar with my stuff, you know I hate the word “gatekeeper”! Why put yourself in an adversarial position from the get-go? That said, I promised a week of articles related to the topic, so here we go!

In my research, I found some articles I really liked:

  1. Interview with a Gatekeeper

This interview with “Alice the Gatekeeper” is quite informative. She is brutally honest about what she does and doesn’t like about dealing with salespeople on the phone. My favorite observations include:

“I like helping people, I really do.”  and “…I am a warm soul-filled person. Let’s have a real conversation and then be done.”

Want to get into the “gatekeepers” head? Read this one.

http://www.cobizmag.com/Articles/An-interview-with-Alice-the-gatekeeper/

Continue reading My Three Favorite Articles (So Far) About Sales Gatekeepers

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?

telephone-586268

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!

#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

Your Jump-Start 90-day Prospecting Plan

success-1237378Since the whole week has been dedicated to one of my very favorite subjects, Prospecting, I thought you might enjoy a little formula that I’ve used with people to get their business jump-started again and get them back into the practice of prospecting regularly.

Feel free to use it or modify it to meet your own needs and your own style. Then, make sure to tell me how it went!

If your business has been stagnant, and you feel like that phone is too hard to pick up, here is my recommended 90 Day Prospecting Plan to get you moving again!

The first part of the 90-Day Plan is really quite fun and SURPRISINGLY rewarding!

Step #1: Ask the Magical Question

A) Find 15 people each month in your professional sphere to reach out to out of the blue. Ask them to set aside 20 minutes with you to catch up.

On this call, find out what they are up to. What’s new? What are they working on?

They are likely to ask you the same kind of questions. Be ready to share some recent client victories and let them know that you are now focusing on growing your business and looking for customers who are looking to accomplish exactly what your other customers are accomplishing. Don’t ask for referrals. Just let them know.

THEN, ask the Magical Question:

Continue reading Your Jump-Start 90-day Prospecting Plan

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

Five Ways We Fool Ourselves Into Failure

0216red_WinInsider

Didja ever notice how some people are reliable to produce results while others simply can’t seem to get what they want?

I see it all the time in sales. MY sales.

I have DEVOTED myself to studying and learning to be reliable to produce results. And, it’s not by lowering the bar. It is by being on a MISSION to find the ways that I have fooled myself into failure. Hopefully, you can just learn these from me and you don’t have to make all these mistakes yourself.

#1 Way We Fool Ourselves Into Failure:

Thinking that email is the same as having a conversation or making a real request.

Email is an excellent vehicle for transmitting data, getting information, and exchanging ideas. Sometimes you can get people to agree to act through email, especially if it is a personal email.

But, if you think that you are going to fill your seminar, or get a babysitter for your children, or set a meeting with a prospect simply by sending out a blanket email, you are fooling yourself.

When the stakes are high, you’ve got to make SURE that you reach the other person, get their buy-in, and that they are willing and able to act on your request.

Many salespeople think that because they sent out 500 emails that they have accomplished something.

Not until someone responds to you with the favorable outcome you were hoping for have you achieved anything. Counting that email as a true sales activity is fooling yourself into failure.

 #2 Way We Fool Ourselves Into Failure:

Continue reading Five Ways We Fool Ourselves Into Failure

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?

WWISGD about Prospects Who Waste My Time?

rsz_meeting-1019995Dear Irreverent Sales Girl,

I enjoy your blog posts, and have a question I hope you can help with.

Forgive the long intro, but I want to put the question into context:

Two weeks ago, I was introduced to a prospective client by a mutual business friend. Let’s call him “Bob.” Bob wanted to meet face-to-face. I tried to schedule the meeting at a half-way point for us.

His response? “I’m so busy I wouldn’t be able to vacate the office unless we have billable work to discuss.”

Again… this was a “meet and greet.”

So I hustle out to their office on a Thursday, which is 35 minutes away. I also discover that Bob’s ‘office’ is actually within another company’s office. The owner of that company (“Tom”) was also in the meeting and seemed to be the driver of the meeting, not Bob.

We had a good meeting. Tom tells me he was impressed with my communication. And when I left, he told me he’d be out of the office on Friday but he’d get back to me on Monday.

I followed up the following Friday. Then I followed up again the next week on Wednesday.

No response.

I followed up again today with a more pointed question:

Hot or Not?

Was the project they discussed with me still hot or was it put on the back burner? I clarified that I didn’t want to be a pest but I do follow up. I said I would respond accordingly to the status.

So, Irreverent Sales Girl, my question: do you have any suggestions on how to handle one-on-one meetings for the ‘solopreneur?’ I am seriously considering not meeting in person anymore unless a consulting fee is paid.

I’m looking for action-takers not time-wasters. Any input from you would be appreciated!

Thank you,

Signed,

What to Do in Columbus!

Continue reading WWISGD about Prospects Who Waste My Time?

My mom is the best cold caller I know.

rsz_laura-128Allow me to introduce you to the amazing and fabulous Laura Posey – Founder and CEO of Simple Success Plans (www.simplesuccessplans.com). She wrote this post on Cold-Calling. And, frankly, I think it’s the best I’ve ever seen on this topic! So, I asked if I could steal it and she said “GO FOR IT!”

So, thanks to the wild generosity of Laura Posey, I give you: My Mom Is The Best Cold Caller I Know. Enjoy!

“She’s retired now but she was so good at cold calling she lost her job. That’s because she sold the entire inventory her company had available. (It was cemetery plots that time)

Seriously, she has sold everything from burglar alarms to siding to charitable donations starting with cold calls. And she was the top performer in every company she worked for.

So what is her secret?

It is so simple you’re going to wonder why you didn’t think of it. Here it is:

She never tries to convince anyone to set an appointment when she calls.

What???

Isn’t that the point of the call?

Not according to Mom.

You see, she views calling as a survey. The purpose of the call is to sort people into three lists:

  1. People who are curious about what you are selling
  2. People who are not ready to talk about what you are selling
  3. People who are too dumb to be curious about what you are selling

As she tells it, when you cold call someone who isn’t already curious about your product and you push to convince them to set an appointment, all you end up with is a crappy appointment.

Instead of wasting your time trying to hammer the wrong people into meeting with you, why not just call enough people and find the ones who are interested now.

Recognize that the ones who say “no” are really just saying “not now”. You can always call them back at a later time when they might be in the “yes” pile.

If you’re skeptical about how this would work, imagine this scenario.

I give you a list of 100 people to call. Your job is ask them 1) if they like chocolate ice cream and 2) if they would like a free sample if they do.

That’s it. I’ll pay you $100 to do the survey and give me the tally sheet of results.

Could you do it?

Of course you could! A survey is so simple to do because you don’t care about the outcome. You aren’t trying to convince people to like chocolate ice cream; you are just seeing who does and who doesn’t. And you only offer the free sample to people you know want it.

That is all that cold calling is – a survey.

Your job is to dial enough numbers to fill in your ‘’yes” column with quality appointments.

That’s it.

No more freaking out about…

  • “What if they hate me?”
  •  “What if they hang up on me?”
  • “What if they are mean to me?”
  • “What if I don’t know what to say?”
  • “What if I can’t get the appointment?”

You are just doing a survey – there is nothing to hate.

(And, while we are on the subject, even if they did hate you, they would forget about you the moment you hung up the phone.

Seriously, can you remember the name of the last person who cold called you?)

Your job now is to grab a sheet of paper and make four columns like this:

Screen-Shot-2016-05-10-at-10_29_01-AM

Write your list of prospect names in the first column. Then just start your survey calls, making tick marks in the appropriate column after each name.

That’s it.

I can tell you this technique saved my butt when I first got into sales.

And it has saved countless other entrepreneurs and salespeople over the years.

It requires no fancy software, no automatic dialers and no manipulative call sheets.

Give it a shot and let me know how it goes. I’m willing to bet you are making more appointments than ever by the end of next week.

For more ideas on how to generate consistent, profitable sales, check out our 144 other strategies for making more sales and growing your business.”

Did you love this advice? Check out Laura’s Simple Sales Magnetism Plan! http://bit.ly/29r10Xd

Love ‘em ALL UP!

The Irreverent Sales Girl

And go here to get the Truly Irreverent Tuesday Newsletter from me! http://bit.ly/IrreverentTuesday