Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Are you waiting for your Probable Buyer to call you back?

Some people find the prospect of knocking door to door a very scary thing. This is real cold calling, when you knock on a door with no idea who or what is behind it and sell to whoever opens that door. It's a very special skill and it takes a lot of knowledge and ability to be able to do it again and again and again. You have thirty seconds to put that person at ease, get them to like and trust you and convince that person to either call you in right now or let you in later at an appointed time. If you can do it, you will make a lot of money. I know, because I did it for years and was regularly the top salesman in the company.

Some people also attribute the same level of fear to calling someone on the telephone and pitching them. I have done that too and I have seen many people fail or give up because they cannot deal with the fear factor. Many people agonise over what to say when they finally do get on the phone.

The challenge you have in selling over the phone is that you very rarely reach the person you want to speak to so you are forced, against your will and better judgement to leave a voicemail message. And then, nobody calls you back. Never. Ever.

It can get to the point where you feel discouraged, let down and even angry. You could put the phone down, walk off and get a can of coke or a coffee and think to yourself, “Why the hell am I wasting my time ringing these shmucks?”

If you sell door to door you are dealing with the public. You do your door knocking at a prime time, when you know when your customers are going to be home. You will have already worked out the area and discovered the comings and goings of the area so you know the most profitable time to do business. If you knock at any other time of day, look for another job.

When you sell B2B (business to business) you could be doing that in person (Direct) or over the phone. A large percentage of telephone selling is to business PB’s and nearly everyone who works in a large company is up to their neck in sales calls.

Work expands to fill the time available and everyone has way too much work to do, or so they would like you to think. The thing is, while you believe your product or service is the best thing around and it’s very important to you, for most of your PB’s you are way down the list of priorities.

There could be another reason other than them being too busy to speak to you. It could be that your voicemail message was rubbish!

Change jobs for a second. Imagine that you are the PB. You just came back from a meeting where everyone was shouting and making demands. You are frazzled to the extreme. You have another meeting in one hour. Your CEO is asking for a report that you had promised would be ready. When you switch on your computer, 57 emails appear.

You check your voicemails. There are 14 of them. You quickly scan through them, listening to the first 5 seconds to prioritise.

When you get to this one, what goes through your mind?

“Errm, hello. My name is Max Cost. I’m an account manager at Widget Systems. We’re a leading global supplier of software security for companies like yours. In fact we supply the system to Your Competition inc. We have some new technology that will help increase security even further and we are really excited about them and what they could do for your company.
I would love to set up a time to speak with you and determine your needs and requirements and explore how we can help. You may have seen an article in the Bullshit Times about our systems. I want to get together with you so you can find out more and hear just what we can do for you. Please give me a call at your earliest convenience to set up a time when we can get together either in person or on the phone and explore how we can help. My number is 012-345-6789. And again, this is Max Cost from Widget Systems.”

So, as a business professional, a PB, what did you think? Self-promoting? Boring? Long-winded? Load of rubbish? Did you listen to all of it/

The question is, would you do business with this person? Would you take valuable time out of your ever-increasing business schedule and call or meet this person?

I don’t think so!

No decision-maker in his or her right mind would even listen to the whole message. After 15 seconds, maximum, you would have been zapped into infinity and beyond.

You may find the message funny, or unreal, or just an example, but salespeople leave this sort of message again and again. I wouldn’t mind betting that if you altered a few of the words it would look suspiciously like a message you have left for a PB recently. I wouldn’t mind betting also that they didn’t call you back!

Do you believe me? Well, if you don’t, call yourself right now and leave yourself the message you leave on the voicemail of your PB’s. Then go into your voicemail and listen to the message your PB gets. Hear it from their perspective. Hear it how they hear it. Hear it with your customers ears.

Here's the question:

Would you waste your valuable time and call or meet YOU?

No? Well, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and rewrite the pitch.

You need to wake up and realise something. Your PB doesn’t want to ‘hear’ or ‘find out about’ your product. They despise adjectives full of fluff. They don’t want to ‘explore’ how you can help.

Plus, your PB already has a job. They don’t need another one. Your job is to do the research, make a relevant pitch and sell. Their job is purely to buy, nothing else. They listen, ask questions, sign, that’s it! You do the work because that’s what you are paid for.

While you think about what you could say on that message, think about:
· How to incorporate your pre-call research.
· Real results companies have achieved from using your product.
· How your product ‘specifically’ solves a problem your PB’s company faces.
· How your product can assist them in achieving their goals and plans.
· How you can hook their attention and pique interest.

The essence of ‘a call back message’ includes these elements. If you change your approach you will change your results.

Harry Truman, a former US President, used to say, and in fact had a wooden plaque on his desk engraved with, the words “The Buck Stops Here!” He took responsibility for the result. YOU are responsible for your outcome. You are responsible if your PB does not return your call.

Why? Because you have the knowledge and ability to create the result you want.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Author! Author!

I have been asked a couple of times about the process of writing. Once by someone about, 'In Plain Sight - the Hunt for Jack the Ripper' and again about the Dynamic-Life Sales Book 'The Pitch is Back'.

I think the best answer for all budding authors comes from my pal Jeffrey Gitomer at with...

The 3.5 tips for writing a book are:

1. Don’t get an agent. They only make deals that are good for agents.

2. Don’t listen to publishers. Not only will they lie to you, they will only do things in their best interest, not yours.

3. Be prepared for a long list of rejections and people trying to tell you which end is up. When in doubt, follow your heart.

3.5 Capture your ideas whenever they occur.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Police Intelligence?

This is a real news story just sent to me. It appears in Technology News.
Those of you thinking of firing up Tomb Raider this morning should be aware that Lara Croft is currently unavailable - a guest of Manchester's Boys in Blue after armed officers cornered the gun-toting minx in a suburban living room.
The house's owner - computer shop owner David Williams - phoned police at around midnight to report "nuisance phone calls", The Daily Mail reports. Officers duly made their way to his house in Dukinfield, near Ashton-under-Lyne (UK), but quickly spotted the silhouette of a gunman in the front room.
They cordoned off the street, called for armed back-up and, when Williams failed to answer the front door, piled in mob-handed through the rear entrance.
In the event, the armed perp put up little resistance, since she was a life-size representation of Lara Croft which Williams had taken home for disposal on eBay. He recounted: "It would have been laughable if it hadn't been so terrifying. One of the police held a gun and yelled, 'Where's the weapon, where's the weapon?'
"I didn't have a clue what was going on, I assumed they'd got the wrong house. I couldn't believe it when I realised they'd mistaken a Lara Croft dummy for someone with a gun."
A spokeswoman for Greater Manchester Police explained that "officers peered inside after Mr Williams failed to answer his front door". She added that they "believed they saw a silhouette of a person pointing what appeared to be a firearm inside the house", and had accordingly followed "correct procedure" by backing off and calling in armed colleagues.
Williams was arrested at the scene and held for 13 hours. He's now been bailed on firearms offences and will find out next month if he faces further action. He says he is "speaking to lawyers about a possible claim for wrongful arrest".
Lara Croft, meanwhile, remains "impounded as evidence".
I think the fact that the models of her have a 12 inch waist and the silhouette obviously didn't move AT ALL was a bit of a give away but you have to love the level of intelligence. It makes us all feel safer, I know.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Lesson #6. A leopard never changes its spots; but it does disguise them.

There have been times in the past when we have all been sold a dream. An idea, a plan, a future reality of how life will be if...
It sometimes pans out but many times you find that the person giving you the ‘dream’ is a habitual liar or fantasist. Yes, you know who you are.
Too much going on under the surface...

Human beings are inclined to give someone the benefit of the doubt. We assume that people will learn from their mistakes. They wouldn’t lie to you again, surely?
We tend to make a first impression in the first 30 seconds. Someone will make his or her mind up about you in that first half a minute.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression...usually. But we, as human beings, give people the benefit of the doubt. Surely they wouldn’t lie to me. Surely they wouldn’t spiral out of control. Surely they wouldn’t betray me: again?
They present a valid and interesting idea to you. You climb on board.
You are now on the highway to hell.

Lesson #6. A leopard never changes its spots; but it does disguise them.
If you have had an experience with someone that, to say the least, leaves a lot to be desired my advice to you is to heed the warning above. Anyone who is capable of lying to your face is more than capable of lying to themselves and even hiding their true intentions. They can also disguise the fact that they have an ulterior motive and in some cases have planned a completely different outcome to the one outlined to you to get you on side.

Like a cancer, festering away, these leopards eat their way through your life, your money, your possessions, and your ideas. If you decide to have a life of your own, or you decide to pull away and do your own thing, they play the victim. It is everybody else’s fault but theirs. The world has conspired against them. You will now be the enemy and they will spend a lot of time and energy trying to convince others that their idea of you is correct.

Remember that the leopard never changes its spots.
A liar is a liar and a cheat is a cheat. Leopards never change their spots. The spots are faults, dirt, lies, envy, betrayal, theft, the list goes on.

Once bitten twice shy. If you have had an experience, remember it. If you have a first impression, remember it. The leopard will disguise the spots just to get under your defences. Don’t fall for it. You have two options.
One, ignore it and don’t get involved.
Two, buy a gun and go hunting.

Coming soon...Lesson #7: Never leave loose ends.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

3 Strategies for Curing Connectile Dysfunction

An excellent post from Jill Konrath arrived today and I suggest you click on the link in the sidebar and sign up for her email newsletter...
3 Strategies for Curing Connectile Dysfunction By Jill Konrath
It was only 11:30, but already I was far behind in what I'd hoped to accomplish for the day. Despite all my best intentions, my To Do List was only getting longer.
That's when the mail arrived. A whole stack of it was plopped on my desk. Without even thinking, I started sorting it into two piles: important info and junk – which goes directly into the wastebasket. I take great pleasure in tossing out this unsolicited correspondence without even opening it.
But when I got to the postcard from Sprint, I stopped. There it was, staring me in the face – a big headline declaring: The Power to Cure Connectile Dysfunction.
It was so unexpected and such a great twist on words, that it totally jolted me out of my routine. I couldn't throw the postcard away. I even read the whole thing - something I never do.
Suddenly I was thinking about the connectile dysfunction issues we sellers face every day as we valiantly attempt to reach inaccessible decision makers. Our hopes of cracking into corporate accounts go unrealized, dashed by unreturned phone calls or brusque prospects who bring up impossible-to-address objections.
For some sellers, connectile dysfunction is terminal. For others, it's a severe handicap they try to overcompensate for by making more phone calls.
Fortunately people can recover from this disastrous condition. If you're suffering from it, here are three tips you can use to get your sales health back on track.

1. Provide a Jolt!
That's exactly what Sprint did. I was so immune to the typical self-promotional marketing messages most companies send that I literally throw letters out without taking a peek inside. People are like that on the phone too. If you say the same thing that every other seller says, you're deleted.
As you prepare your account entry campaign, ask yourself: What could I say/write that would make someone sit up and take notice?
Ardath Albee created a winning title for a white paper she wrote for Einsof that's been downloaded thousands and thousands of times. Apparently lots of people are interested in the topic: " Why Naked CRM Systems Don't Work."

2. Be Immediately Relevant
Focus your approach on a high priority business issue that the company is facing right now. Don't plead ignorance on this one. There's absolutely no reason you can't go the Press Release section on your prospect's website to find out what's happening. Also, check the local business news where you'll find lots of up-to-date reporting about the company's financial condition, primary initiatives and growth strategies.
Any time you initiate contact with a corporate decision maker, make sure you demonstrate your knowledge of their firm in the first 10 seconds. If you don't, they'll promptly delete your emails and voicemail messages or toss your letters right into the trash.

3. Shake Their Status Quo
In selling, you're fighting the status quo. Busy corporate decision makers will stay with it as long as they can, only changing when their goals can't be achieved with the current way of doing things. In order to get an appointment, stress the impact of your offering on their business.
When you tell a prospect you can slash operating costs by 23% while increasing customer satisfaction, they'll be interested. When they hear you're able to increase sales conversion rates by 23% or improve average order size by 11%, they'll be interested. When you talk about a similar customer who realized savings of $480,000 in just 3 months, they'll be interested. These kinds of statements practically demand that prospects re-evaluate their status quo. And that's exactly what you want to happen.

Here's the Good News
While you may be suffering from a severe case of connectile dysfunction today, you can be symptom-free in just days. Start by applying the strategies mentioned above and you'll notice an immediate improvement. Finally, if symptoms reappear in the future, just take out this dose of sales medicine and re-apply it to your new prospects.