Nancy Carter

Sales Follow Up is Where The Money Is

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The Money Is In The Follow Up

How do you know when no means no in a sales’s situation? 

It’s so true. Sometimes when we get objections or a prospect says no, we get a little bit frustrated and flustered and we don’t know what to do next.

Start to look at objections as requests for further information,

because a lot of times when people are saying no, they’re really giving you an objection. They’re asking you for more information because they don’t understand something you said, they don’t know exactly what your offer is, they may not see how it’s going to help them.

That’s what it’s really all about…them. Isn’t it?

“Treat objections as a request for further information.”

Brian Tracy
In Sales, The $ Are In The Follow Up
In Sales, The $ Are In The Follow Up

 So, how will you help your customer?

Maybe they’re really saying this isn’t the right time right now or, they don’t understand something you said. 

Maybe they’re saying they don’t have the money right now, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to have it in two days or in a week. 

There have been many times when someone told me they didn’t want to make payments on what I was offering to them, and I would think to myself, that’s it! We’re done. Then I would stop talking and not say anything – because I didn’t know what to say.

After waiting about 30 seconds, the prospect would say to me, “So I’m just going to pay it in full”. 

And that’s how I learned to stop talking after I present a dollar amount.

It’s surprising, but that’s exactly what they said! Some people just don’t like to make monthly payments – make sure that you understand what your customers’ objections really are.

It helps when you spend that time before you start to talk about what you’re selling to them, or what your offer is.

Take the time to learn about your sales prospects. 

Learn what their desires are and what makes them tick before you get into the main conversation. 

Sometimes people tell me right from the beginning that they’re not going to buy anything and I tell them that’s okay. I just want to share the information, or do whatever they wanted to see me for it to begin with. 

I actually find that those people are the people that will spend money with me the fastest. So again, no doesn’t always mean no.

Let’s assume that you’ve gone all the way through your presentation and you can tell your prospect is just not getting what you’re saying to them. You’ve lost them at this point. So ask them why they feel that what you’re offering them is not a good fit for them at this time.

Because if you don’t ask the hard questions, you’re never going to get the answers,

and you might be surprised with their answer.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised more than once. In sales, you have to ask questions so you can understand how to better help your prospects.

“Why don’t you feel this would be a good fit for your company or are you?” Listen to them and let them talk again. We have to be quiet and allow that uncomfortable silence. Sometimes 30 seconds can feel like 10 minutes.

Let them think about their answer. It’s really important to both of you that they take a minute to think about it.

They may say, “This isn’t the right time for me”, or “I don’t understand how this fits into my plan”, or “I don’t have enough money.”

Or, “I have enough money, so I don’t need this life insurance protection.” My company already has someone they’re working with and they’re doing a really great job for us. I don’t understand why I would need to switch.”

You have to go back and show them

how it would make them look better in front of their bosses, their co-workers, or their friends. You have to explain it to them again. It’s OK to go back to the part of your presentation where you lost them and start again – this time asking them questions as you go along.

And if you really do get to a standoff point, say, “I understand completely. You need some more time to think about this.  Would it be OK if I give you a call again in a week?”, Or two weeks,  depending on the situation – maybe even a month? I hate to say it, but sometimes it’s actually three months depending on what their contract is for and how long it’s for.

If they say yes, then you know it’s not a no. 

Make sure you put this sales follow up call on your calendar or in your CRM and then you remember to call them, especially if this is someone that you’ve never talked to before and you’re meeting with them for the first time. 

We’ve all heard that it takes seven touches before someone will buy from you.

They might just not trust you yet. Prospects have to gain that trust in you before they’re going to spend their money with you. 

After our meeting, I follow up with a handwritten note. It’s old-fashioned, but it’s something that not a lot of people do anymore. But it’s definitely noticed. It goes a long way to show them that you are trustworthy and that they are important to you. You also may want to send them a follow up email.

Or even a text, if you have that relationship with them. Text them the next day or later that afternoon to say thank you. “Thank you so much for your time and for meeting with me. I really enjoyed getting to know about you and your needs or your company’s needs.”

Put them on a weekly email list to let them know what’s going on with you and your company. Refer it back to what they are looking for, new things that your company is doing, something that you feel would be beneficial and valuable to the prospect.

Then make that sales follow up phone call when you promised them that what you were going to call. I think there’s so much business that is lost because we tell people that we are going to call them in a week, and then we get busy and we don’t. 

No sales follow up equals opportunity lost.

I always make sure that I have a list of people on my CRM to call and follow up with every day.

It’s like having my own personal assistant and then it pops up with the calendar reminder telling me to call and follow up with someone. So, before I leave the office at night, or even in the car on the way home, I will make that phone call.

I’ve been known to set some great appointments while driving in my car. When I leave the office, I don’t have an appointment. I go back the next day and I have the appointments that I need. It’s important to just follow up when you say you’re going to. And remember to put that appointment that you set in your car also on your calendar or your CRM so you don’t forget it.

It takes seven touches before someone will buy from you — that’s a trust issue.

Just like I’m sure you have when someone presents an idea to you for the first time, you may have to go home and think about it because you don’t understand how it’s going to work for you at first. But that seed is planted.

The more you think about it, the more it makes sense to you. Your customers and prospects are the same way. Even if they feel they want more information, they’re thinking about what you said and you. 

Bring that back to the top of their mind. That’s where your sales follow-up call works.

It’s all in the sales follow-up — don’t loose the sale. 

One of my favorite sayings is don’t work on step two until step one is finished. 

It would be like going right from the first hello on the phone with the new prospect to starting right in with your sales pitch and the asking for a sale. I guess that might work sometimes, but my clients and prospects seem to take a little bit more warm up.

In Sales, the Money Is In The Follow Up
The Money Is In The Follow Up

You have to plan your sales and sales follow up strategy

— and today preparation is more important than ever. 

● Having your materials ready on your computer, ready to share on a virtual call.

● Emailing quotes and proposals to people in a timely fashion.

● Being on that virtual call early so you can greet your prospects when they get on, so that they know they’re in the right place. 

Step one is the preparation, before you go to step to the virtual sales call

When I’m on a virtual call, I want to make sure that I’m sharing my screen so that my customer and I are looking at the same thing. Otherwise, they’re left wondering what the heck I’m talking about, and they may be too embarrassed to speak up.

We’ve all had to adapt to selling virtually and taking credit card information over the phone. Your prospects have had to adapt, too. 

I’ve also had to change my never sell over the phone mentality to how can I effectively sell over the phone?

I talk to my prospect on the phone, find out their needs, email them my recommendation and a price quote. Then I schedule a follow up or virtual sales follow up meeting, so they can approve or tweak the agreement with me. It’s how I’ve been doing it lately and I think it’s how I’ll be doing it for a long time to come.

How we sell may be changing, but selling will never go away. And if you’re not selling your product or serving someone else will be. 

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How To Qualify Prospects and Increase Sales

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How to Qualify Prospects and Increase Your Sales

Have you ever been in a meeting with the client, only to find that someone else needs to be in on the buying decision? What are the odds of closing that sale today? 

What, if anything could you have done to make sure that all the decision-makers were at the meeting?

This is called “qualifying the prospect”,

and there are three main things that are important in the initial qualifying of the prospect. Some of this information you may be able to find out during your initial discovery call, and save both you and your prospect the time of either scheduling a meeting or not.

Now, I can already hear some of you disagreeing with me. “But if I don’t meet with them, I might miss something they still need, or a referral” or whatever… But I am here to show you how to maximize your time and sales, and spending my day cold calling for referrals is not the best use of my time.

So, ask questions and/or do research before you call. Do they even need anything I have to offer? Will the client be a good fit for you and my company?

One of my favorite questions is—on a scale of 1 to 10, how committed you are to ________ (the result you’re trying to help them to accomplish)?

Get the right customer in – someone that needs what you have, and you are much more likely to close them, and close them faster.

Eliminate the non opportunities quickly.

The faster you can eliminate the clients that don’t match your criteria, the faster you will be able to find the right ones.

And if someone does sneak past your qualification process, and you meet with them, once you realize they are not going to be able to do anything with you, move them out of the meeting quickly, so you can free up your time to find the right customer.

How and Why to Qualify Your Prospects
How and Why to Qualify Your Prospects

When you first start in sales, you will probably have many meetings where people don’t need what you offer. 

You will get to a point where you will get tired of this, and quickly begin to qualify… It happens to everyone, so don’t be frustrated. It just depends how soon you get tired of these meetings, and wake up and start to better qualify your prospects.

Ask questions and offering solutions to fit their situation and needs.

There are two reasons in the qualifying process that I will continue on with the prospect, even if it’s a “not now” answer. 

One is timing – for a number of reasons. The fit is not right now, but there is a potential for later. So I asked the qualifying question, “when do you think you were looking to make the decision or a change?”, and I add them to my “call in the future list”, and I put the date to call them in a month, 3 months, or even 6 months in my CRM.

The other is money. Sometimes, people have money coming in later, and I try to determine that during our conversation. 

Of course, I can offer a payment plan. But I am amazed by the amount of people that don’t want to take on monthly payments. There have been times I’ve said, “well, you can pay it in full” – and they do! 

Or, “you can earn points or miles if you put this on your credit card”, and that excites them and they pay in full. 

Ultimately, you are looking for people that want to accomplish a particular result, and who are willing to pay you to reach their desired outcome. Your job is to create an urgency for them to do that now.

When you qualify your prospects, you free up your time for the customers who want the results you offer and who are willing to commit.

Is there a particular “ type” of person that you close more of?

If you look at your previous or existing customers, you may see a pattern in age, male or female, personality type or the location they live. 

Or if you sell business-to-business, is there a particular type or size of the company you close more of?

This would be your “niche”, and if you focus on more of the clients meeting these qualifications, you will find more people or businesses to sell to.

How and Why to Qualify Your Sales Prospects
Qualify Your Prospects

By asking qualifying questions, you will be able to determine if you and your potential client will be a good fit for each other. 

You will find you can easily separate people into yes’s, maybe’s, and no’s as you conversationally work your way through your list of questions.

However, you don’t want to make your potential customer feel like they are on trial. So, be conversational, and interested in their answers.

For your yes’s, you want to schedule appointments to meet with them as soon as possible. Give them your top priority and fill in the gaps with your maybe’s.

For the no’s, you want to quickly answer any questions they may have, and move on.

When you are first starting out in sales, and have more time, you will filter out fewer people then you will after you are more established and have less available time.

The three things you are looking for when you qualify your prospects are:

Need, means, and the decision maker. Don’t jump into a presentation unless your potential client meets all three.

Need — determine yes or no through questions.

Means — there’s a difference between being able to afford what you offer, and thinking you charge too much. 

If someone says your product or service is too expensive, you need to work on creating more value for your client.

Decision maker — make sure that everyone that needs to be involved in the decision is available in the room before you begin your presentation.

Set the agenda.

When you set the appointment, make sure that you let the potential customer know about how long the meeting will take, so you will have their undivided attention.

There’s nothing worse than having a prospect show up and tell you, “I have 15 minutes before I have to _____.” Stop it before it happens. 

It’s no news to you that we as sales people have had to adapt and adjust a bit in 2020.

This includes how we  prospect and how we qualify our prospects.

I find it easier to reach people over the phone and email, and I am getting more responses. However, I am also finding that more people respond because they have more time on their hands, and are thinking more. 

Which is good, but – there’s always a but, right? I am finding I need to be extra careful about qualifying the prospect.

Are they talking with me because they had a real interest and need in the product or services I offer? Or are they doing research because they have that extra time on their hands? Or even – are they looking for a job?

So, I ask a lot of questions. Even more than usual.

These “prospect qualification calls” take a bit longer than they used to, like everything else in 2020.

But after the call I have the information I need to either: 

Schedule a virtual meeting and put together a solution for them, or 

● Figure out where or even if they’re in a buying process, and put a reminder in my CRM to follow up with them, and when.

Because everything seems to take longer right now, I have to find a way to be more efficient than ever, or work a lot more hours.

I’m seeing two distinct types of buyers these days:

✔︎ those people that need and want help and are open to solutions, and

✔︎ those that really need help, but are certain, that they can figure it out on their own, if they can just pick your brain a little. The “do-it-yourselfers”.

The key with the second type of person is that you can take that opportunity and create the value of how you are able to help them.

Find out what their biggest struggle is. Are they looking to take action quickly? Is there a serious misconception you can see and their ability to solve this on their own? 

With these people, plant seeds and follow up. Some people will never be open to help, and others will come around – and you will be there.

Follow up with this person is super important. Don’t get discouraged, just be creative in your follow-up.

Another trend I’ve seen in my own sales is:

My closing rate has increased, and the average dollar amount of my sales has increased.

I better qualify my prospects by spending more time on prospecting qualification calls.

I am taking more time during a presentation to learn and understand what is most important to them. 

Because of homeschooling constraints

and coordinating their own work schedule during the week, I find more  people are looking for Saturday appointments. In fact, Saturday has become my biggest selling day!

Yes, I’ve had to adapt from a two – day weekend to maybe taking a day off during the week. But that’s sales.

So, when you qualify a prospect, ask them if perhaps Saturday might be a better time for them to meet?

And if you have children at home right now, adjusting your schedule so that you will work some Saturdays will help you manage the schooling scheduling.

Parents and Grandparents and Aunts, Uncles and even friends are all jumping in to help parents with the work – school challenge.

And more people are available on Saturdays.

Something for you to think about until a better solution is found and we can find some normalcy again, right?

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Non-Negotiables In Your Sales Presentations

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Non-Negotiables in Your Sales Presentations

or Every Customer, Every Time

Non-negotiables – what you do for every customer, every time, and why that is so important in your sales process. To your success, and your sanity.

You may not even recognize that you already have your own non-negotiables that you use in your sales presentations, but you do. Think about that. Because once you recognize your non-negotiables, you will be able to keep your client presentation “fresh” every time, while making sure you always fit in those non-negotiables in your sales presentations.

Non-negotiables are the things I do or say every time with every client.

There are two reasons I do this. 

👉🏻 Number one is because I want to know my clients are getting the best possible, consistent information from me.

👉🏻 And number two is, I hate to say this, but to cover my butt. How many of you have heard “Well, Nancy told us that , or “Nancy said this”. I’m talking here about what happens after the sale and during the delivery of your product or service, when you might not be in the room. 

I never promise things I can’t deliver. I increase the delivery time (or stretch it out) so that when it does arrive before the promise day, they love me. 

Keep Your Sales Presentations Fresh and Effective
Tips for Effective Sales Presentations

For example, when someone asks for a “ballpark” quote, I always put a little high, so when they get the actual quote for me, it’s lower than the number in their head and they’re happy. I guess you could call this “wiggle room”

I was taught to give your customer more than they expected. Better delivery, better benefits, better quality, better pricing. And the “wiggle room” helps me to do this without backing me into a corner. And it’s a great way to make the client happy, and get referrals.

Certain non-negotiables I used in my sales presentations —

Always give the customer what they asked for and told you they wanted when they meet you. Whether it’s a review of their files, a piece of literature you’ve promised them, … whatever they originally requested.

Do what I promised them within the time frame you promised, or call them to let them know that you haven’t forgotten, but you don’t have any answer yet. (that goes a long way).

Give the same sales presentation to every customer, every time.

You can reword the questions a little, and tailor it to the customer’s needs, but once you find what that is, make sure you explain all the benefits of your company, how they can use what they are buying from me to accomplish their goals, pricing, payment plans… Every customer, every time. 

You can keep it fresh while still covering what you need to.

I’m in no surprises kind of girl, and I actually say that to my customers. “Once you do this, I want to help you set everything up so there are no surprises”. And I will go to the ends of the Earth to make their experience the best possible experience for them.

I make sure I give them all of the information they need to complete as well. I even call it homework! Just like on my podcast. 

Giving homework in your sales presentations makes them interactive.

It keeps them thinking about me, and gives me a reason to contact them after the sale. “Have you completed your homework I gave you the last time we met?” “Do you need any help getting that information?”

Now, don’t ask them to write an essay or anything. Just something simple to help you help them better, and to reinforce that what they are creating with me is important, to both of you.

Non-negotiables keep yourpresentation, or demonstration, consistent. They allow you to come across as knowledgeable and an expert as what you do. Because you are.

And if someone comes back later and says you never told me that or you never told me this, you will know in your heart what you really did and said. Because it’s what you do every time!

Another way to do this is by having an agenda for each meeting.

This allows the customer to know what to expect from your meeting and keeps you on task, while making sure you give the same information, consistently, every time.

The art comes in saying it every time with the enthusiasm as if you were saying it for the first time.

The more you practice this, the better you will get at it, and the more “fun” you will be able to add in. Yes I actually have something I call the “game show portion of my presentation”. 

It sounds crazy, right? But it’s fun, I learn about the customers, and they learn a little bit about themselves. We laugh and have a good time, and they buy.

How To Create An Effective Sales Presentation
How To Create An Effective Sales Presentation

Another non-negotiable to have in your sales presentations,

Actually three more —

✔︎ be engaging, 

✔︎ interactive, 

✔︎ and entertaining. 

That’s why people call it “the art of sales”.

If you do it right, it’s an art.

I’m not saying you won’t ever sell without doing those things, because trust me sometimes people sell despite themselves.

But if you want to sell consistently, month after month, follow me…

What “non-negotiables” do you practice? Do they lead you closer to your sale, or down a bunny trail where the customer leaves informed and entertained, but not one step closer to a sale?

Which leads me to my next non-negotiable. Always ask for the sale. 

Three times at least. 

Your sales presentation should be peppered with “mini close” questions.

● Which product do you think would work best for you, this one or that one? 

● Which one do you like better, this one or that one? 

● What would you  like a price on, this one or that one? Which color do you like, this one or that one? 

Get the idea? Have them whittle their choices down until they’ve made the decision just by answering your questions.

And my last non-negotiable today,

when all else fails because they can’t possibly make the decision today – set the next appointment. “I understand you need a little time to sleep on this. Can you come back Friday at 10? Or would 2 be better?”

Let them know the next step! It seems so simple, but if you don’t tell them, they may not know. 

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How The Pomodoro Technique Will Help Boost Your Sales

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The Pomodoro Technique.

You’re a salesperson, so … what the heck is the Pomodoro Technique, and why do you even want to know what it is? Okay, be a little patient with me, because you know I’m not into wasting your time. Trust me it’s good, and it will help you so much with your time management.

One of the biggest challenges I hear from my listeners every week is “How do I get in front of more people?”

The Pomodoro Theory

is actually a very old technique that many people have used to increase their productivity – in your case, setting more appointments. And people that set goals and activities actively monitor them are 30% more productive than those that don’t.

Francisco Cirillo developed this technique in the late 1800’s to help people work smarter, not harder. I have found it helps you to focus on the task you want to do and complete it in a less stressful way.

Over time, I have definitely adapted this technique, and I’ve changed it to fit my needs. In fact, I even teach people my adopted techniques. 

The Pomodoro Technique
How to use the Pomodoro Technique to manage your time

It works really well for me, but what would happen if I went back to the raw, unedited version of the Pomodoro Technique?

So, I did a little sales science experiment, and I’ll share the results with you later in the article. I also call this time or task batching. 

The basics of the Pomodoro Technique go like this: 

1. pick a task 

2. set a timer for 25-minutes 

3. work until the timer goes off 

4. take a five-minute break and do something not work-related 

5. repeat for up to five Pomodoro sessions.

Simple, right? You can buy a cute little Pomodoro Timer, but I have just found my cell phone alarm works just fine. There are also apps to help you plan and track your Pomodoro’s. But please don’t get so caught up in the apps that you don’t get around to doing the work! Keep it simple.

First, pick your task. 

As a salesperson, I love to use this test for prospecting. Find your objective and set a goal for what you want to accomplish. For example, mine is to set three appointments a day. Then run through steps 2 through 4. 

Step four is very important, take a five-minute break, so don’t skip that!

Stand up, stretch, get another cup of coffee! Just don’t become so distracted that you don’t start your next Pomodoro. And please don’t stretch those breaks longer than 5 minutes.

The benefits to you are:

It splits up your work day into manageable and emotionally pleasing periods.

It helps you break down your to-do list into important tasks and define your goals and objectives.

It cuts down on interruptions and distractions. Put a sign out, “Do not disturb” if you need to.  You may even start a trend in your office.

It helps you to plan your day better, without trying to avoid unpleasant or difficult tasks, which relieves stress. You may even find yourself looking forward to enjoying these short, planned bursts of activities and time.

It creates a sense of urgency to complete the tasks we like to put off. Instead of thinking, “I’ll get this done by the end of the day”. 

And we all know how that goes! 5:00 rolls around, and you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything, or is that just me?

It helps avoid overwhelm by breaking tasks up into something manageable and measurable.

It helps build up your confidence level as you begin to see quick, measurable results.

I think you will soon count these Pomodoro times as sacred,

meaning you own them and nothing will get in your way of taking this time for yourself.

Try it for a week, and let me know what you think. Push through, even though it may feel awkward at first. 

This does go against everything a lot of us have learned, and practice, about staying in one place and pounding away for hours until we are done, and usually burnt out.

If you find you have a day that is busy with meetings and appointments, you may have to fit these 25-minute productivity bursts in throughout the day. 

That’s the beauty of this, and why it works so well for prospecting. Because you can plan to fit them in, sit down, set your timer, open your sales CRM or  prospecting list, and prospect for 25 minutes.

Eventually, you will have enough data to see how many appointments you average setting during each Pomodoro. And how many Pomodoro’s you need to set to get the amount of appointments you want.

Again, my goal is to set three appointments a day, and I average one appointment for each Pomodoro. So I need to plan 3 Pomodoro sessions during my day to accomplish my goal.

The Pomodoro Technique

I promised you I’d share my results,

and I hope you will come back after you try this and share your results in the comments below.

The key is, yes, you have to do the work. I know, but you won’t see results if you don’t take a new idea, or technique and try it.

Commit to becoming better and selling more.

Really commit – otherwise it’s just another good idea.

So, I usually do my Pomodoro’s for 1 hour but I have gone back to the 25-minute program for the purpose of this article. To see how I would do with the original, unedited Pomodoro Technique. And I found I enjoyed it more! 

I was able to see that my average is one appointment every 25 minutes. I knew it was two appointments every hour but sometimes it’s hard for me to find an uninterrupted hour to prospect. It was certainly easier for me to find 25 minutes!

The second thing I found is that it kept me “fresher”. I found myself smiling more when I spoke. Prospects can “hear” your smile over the phone. I was asking better quality questions, and I was less stressed and generally happier.

 Two good results so far.

The third thing I found was, I really had to work at going back and completing enough Pomodoro’s to reach my goal.  Because you know what happens once you stop one activity…your attention is drawn five different ways, and it can be hard to get back on task.  So be strong and stay focused.

Lastly, I have found I am reaching my goals of setting appointments during the business day, and leaving many days closer to 5:00! now that I didn’t expect, but I’ll take it!

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Ask For The Sale – Closing Techniques in Sales

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Why Salespeople Don’t Ask For The Sale.

When you are coming to the end of your sales presentation, do you remember to ask for the sale? Do you tell your prospects what the next step is to work with you? I know it sounds simple, but is an important step that many of us miss, or even intentionally avoid. You may be a reluctant salesperson.

In the early days of my sales career, when I was so intent on giving that perfect presentation that I often lost track of how my customer was feeling. I hear this from customers all the time. And I quote this directly from a conversation with a prospect. “He or she (the salesperson) was so intent on their presentation, that they didn’t even ask what was Important to me (the customer). So after 30 minutes of us listening to them, (the salesperson), I had to go, and I didn’t do anything.” 

This is a real conversation, people. And unfortunately, I’ve heard it from more than one prospect! At which point, I get to work. Giving them what they want, and making the sale!

Why Salespeople Don't Ask For The Sale
Why Salespeople Don’t Ask For The Sale

While your presentation is very important, it’s more important to listen to your customer. If they tell me when we first start that they only have 30 minutes, I am going to quickly determine if I can help them in 30 minutes, and get them on their way. Maybe I need to reschedule at a time where I can better serve them, if what they want requires more than 30 minutes. 

It’s a tough decision, yes. But our job is to make difficult decisions and help the customers. Possibly spend a few minutes, listen to them. Tell them the next step, share about how long it will take, and set another appointment. 

There are many reasons we don’t ask for the sale

or let the customer know the next step, other than just not paying attention to the customers needs. 

Another reason could be…

Fear. Are you afraid of rejection?

Of the prospect saying no? If you are afraid of rejection, the easiest way to avoid that is – just don’t ask for the sale! And don’t be surprised when you don’t get the sale. 

I ask three times, because sometimes people will tell you the real reason they are not buying after the third time. And sometimes that reason is just that they didn’t understand something – like the fact that you have a payment plan for that thing they cannot afford to pay all at once. 

Did you know you could overcome an objection just by asking for the sale?

Again, it sounds so easy, but it’s true.

Before you sell to your prospects, you have to sell yourself.

Some salespeople don’t ask for the sale because they don’t believe in what they are selling. I remember one sales position I had where it took me three months to understand and believe in what I was selling. After the switch got flipped, I became very successful, but it took a while. 

Maybe you don’t understand the product or its benefits to the people and prospects you’re speaking with. Or perhaps you don’t understand why your product might be a higher price than what your competitors’ offer. You have to believe in what you’re selling.

Sometimes sales people are not sure the right time to ask for a sale

or they are afraid that they might make a mistake. They wait until the time they think is just right, for example, at the end of their presentation. Again, they are so focused on that presentation that they missed the buying signals from the customers 30 minutes earlier! 

If the buyer literally asked you, “What’s the next step?”, 5 minutes into your presentation, stop and show them the next step! Sometimes sales people put off asking for so long that they just give up on ever asking at all.

Are You a Reluctant Salesperson?
Are You a Reluctant Salesperson?

Reviewing each sales call and presentation afterwards.

Analyze what you did right and what you could have done better.

Don’t be embarrassed – we’ve all been there.  That’s how you learn. 

I still do this. There are times I still want to kick myself for missing a signal or not taking the next step.  It’s OK.

I’ve had some fun putting this article together because I recognize myself in so many of these reluctant sales tendencies.

In a perfect world, after my perfect presentation, my ideal customer would tell me what they want and hand me their credit card. However, in the real world, I have to spend a lot of time with the prospect, finding out what their needs are, finding the best possible solution, and asking for the sale. 

In the beginning, I just had to get out of my own head, overcome the reluctance – the fear of rejection, the fear of saying the wrong thing, and even the fear of cancellations.  Take a deep breath and spit the question.  You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.  Because if you never ask, no one will ever buy.  

I remember what it was like, and it was hard. I also remember how I felt when I got over my fear, and closed the sale, and provided an amazing solution for my prospect, and got not only the payment, but a hug. 

Because they were so grateful that I took the time to understand their needs and provided the best solution possible to help solve their problem. 

If you recognize yourself in any of these reluctant salesperson tendencies, please leave a comment and let me know. Or head over to the contact me page and send me an email. I’d love to hear from you!

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How to Become a Sales Influencer in 7 Simple Steps

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How to Become a Sales Influencer in 7 Simple Steps.

Sales is about influencing others to make a decision to buy what you are offering. This needs to be very intentional on your part. Set your intention and carry it through using this simple 7-step process.

But before we start, let’s look at my intention statement. The one I just stated for this blog post. I do that for almost every article. 

In my mind, I already know the outcome of each article. To teach you one technique or new skill every article. That’s my secret to staying on topic, not adding too much fluff (unless it’s intentional) and sharing that technique or skill with you in as simple and as easy a way for you to understand as possible. 

That’s my intention. To influence you to take the new technique or skill and use it to increase your sales. To influence you, not manipulate you. There’s a big difference.

When you influence someone, you are showing them why your solution will work and is the best possible solution for them.

That is why it is so important to spend time with your prospect and learn about them. How can you give a  stranger a good solution if you don’t know what they are  trying to achieve? The level of importance that this outcome is to them? Or how emotionally attached they are to the outcome?

Sales Influencers don’t manipulate.

When you influence people, you guide them through a journey, learn about them and their needs. You help them close the gap of where they are now and where they wish to be. And you help them achieve their outcome as quickly as possible. 

Boom. Not to be glib, but sale made.

Yes, I am proudly and unapologetically a sales influencer. I find and create solutions for problems.

Sales Influencers Don’t Manipulate

So today, I am going to share with you the 7 steps to become an influential salesperson. If you would like to know more about becoming an intentional salesperson, which is the mindset you need to be an influential salesperson, check out this article, too.

Okay, so we know you must have the mindset of being intentional. Both in your sales presentations, and in the intentional mindset that you are going to make a sale, right?

Now you’re ready to talk about how to be an influential salesperson – let’s go with the seven simple steps: oh, and one more thing, do these in order. Don’t skip any of them. No shortcuts.

The 7 steps to become an Sales Influencer.

One – Be Fearless.

Don’t be afraid to ask those sometimes difficult questions that you need to ask to close the gap between where your prospect is and where they want to be. You are not being nosey – you really need to know this so you can help them.

And don’t be afraid to say that – “I know it seems like I’m asking you quite a few questions, and you are probably wondering why”. Expose that elephant in the room. It’s okay – and it’s probably what they’re thinking anyway.

Expose the elephant, expose the objections. 

Earn their trust. Here is my go-to trust-builder statement for you to use and tweak. You’re welcome. 

After I listen to them for a few minutes I say “I’ve been working with my company for about 11 years, and I’ve helped many people with exactly what you are explaining to me. But because every situation is a little different and unique, I’d like to ask you a few more questions about you, is that okay?”

Another way to address that elephant in the room before it even appears. Trust-building statement and permission to ask questions.

Two – then, Create the Need. 

Repeat back to them the need you have just uncovered by asking your possibly difficult questions. Confirm that you understand where they are, confirm the problem, and confirm where they want to be. 

Listen to the tone in their voices – what part do they seem more excited about when they speak? Where they show excitement is where their emotion is. 

Three – Show Them The Way.

Present your solution to their problem. Include emotional points and facts. People buy based on emotions and justify their decisions with facts.

Four – Create Urgency.

One of the difficult questions you should ask in Step One is, “When are you looking to make a change?” or, “When are you looking to have this done by?”. Now, take their answer and repeat it back to them in Step 4.

“If you are looking to have this done by ___________, you will need to take the next step by________. “

You don’t need to say what the next step is. In fact, most people will ask you what the next step is which leads to …

Five – Help Them Feel Involved.

Allow them to feel involved in the decision-making process and in control of their decisions. One way to keep them involved and interact with you is …

Six – Gain the commitment.

As you go through this conversation with them. I say conversation, not sales presentation, because a sales presentation, in my opinion, is really better explained as a conversation, don’t you agree?

Each conversation, when you have your prospect interacting with you and involved, is really just a series of mini – closes, where you are asking questions, confirming their answers, pivoting where necessary, and gaining mini – commitments. So that when you get to the end of the conversation, you’re both already in perfect agreement.

Another way to keep things interactive is to have your prospects take notes with a pen as you are talking. Say to them, “You might want to write this down” or “You might want to take a picture of this”, if you are giving them a demonstration. Get them writing and interactive.

This works really well when you show them a dollar figure of a proposal, too. Give them a pen and let them interact.

 My final step on how to be an influential salesperson is …

Seven – Show Them R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Through this series of steps, you are learning about your prospect. You may not like everything they tell you, and you may even find their ideas, how do I say this gently… Stupid.

But, they have a right to their opinions, no matter how much you disagree.  With their ideas, opinions, and answers to your questions, they are giving you the framework of what you have to work with. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide if you can work with what they are giving you.

Actually, if I can determine this early on, before I even offer them a solution – it’s even better. Because the last thing you want to do is offer them a solution and have them take your expertise to a competitor, right?

So, if in steps 1 and 2 you are realizing that, for whatever reason, you and your company are just not a good fit, be ready to walk away.

Apologize, explain that you don’t feel you’re the best fit for them, and let them walk – respectfully and nicely.

You can say, “We have some really great options that I think would work for you, but based on the information you’ve given me, I don’t feel we’re a good fit at this time”.

This will either allow them to leave, or become more interactive and possibly more reasonable. And allow you to help them by offering a solution and making a sale.

The 7 Steps to Becoming a Sales Influencer
The 7 Steps to Becoming a Sales Influencer

To review: How to Become a Sales Influencer in 7 Simple Steps

  • Be Fearless
  • Create the Need
  • Show Them The Way
  • Create Urgency
  • Earn Their Trust
  • Gain Their Commitment
  • Show Them Respect

 Until we meet again, go out and start being a sales influencer, and happy selling!

Just For Fun –

As I was writing this article, I found myself singing songs related to each of the 7 steps. Corny, yes. But just because it’s a blog about sales doesn’t mean it has to be boring.

Here are the song’s that came to mind:

Step 1 – Roar, Katy Perry

Step 2 – I’m So Excited, The Pointer Sisters

Step 3 – We Can Work It Out, The Beatles

Step 4 – Whatever It Takes, Imagine Dragons

Step 5 – Just What I Needed, The Cars

Step 6 – Sandy, Bruce Springstein

Step 7 – R-E-S-P-E-C-T by Aretha Franklin, of course!

Let me know a good song for step 2 in the comments below. Thanks for playing!

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Why You Should Consider a Sales Career

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Why you should consider a Sales Career in 2020.

The number one podcast episode on the Sales Made Simple Podcast, even after 74 episodes is … the first one, about why you should consider a sales career. Much to my embarrassment. Because when you start a podcast, your first few are not your best.

And with my analytical mind, I have tried to figure out why the first episode has stayed number one, for so long.

It was the beginning of a relationship with my listeners. I have shared with them the foundations of my beliefs in how to get better in your sales, and consistently hit your sales and personal goals each month.

It’s also helped me in my own sales career! Sometimes we forget and turn away from the basic techniques that we used to use. I can tweak them to still be relevant in this crazy time of selling in 2020.

And I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because the podcast relates to people, both those who have been in sales a while, and also people just starting out in sales or considering a sales career.

A Trend in 2020 – Sales Careers Are Booming!

A trend I am seeing recently in available jobs is that a LOT of companies are looking for salespeople. And, if you have a great attitude, and are willing to learn and put yourself out there, then you can start without any experience.

In fact, when I was a sales manager, I almost found it easier to train someone without experience, because I had a clean slate to work with.

Another reason to consider a sales career – you don’t necessarily need any experience. You can check out this article from Monster.com on how to get a sales job without any experience.

Should You Start a Sales Career In 2020?
Should You Start a Sales Career In 2020?

Right from day one, I set at the three outcomes of what I wanted my listeners to get out of the podcast. 

1. To constantly reach your goals and increase your sales each month.

2. To lower your stress, and feel more in control of your day and your outcomes.

 3. To become more confident in your abilities and your capabilities.

With short burst of learning, 10 minutes or less, that you can take action on and use immediately to help grow your sales and reach your sales goals. That hasn’t changed. Those are still my three goals for you.

And I’m working on something new to help you even more! Based on the responses, it’s working for many of you on some level. So allow me to share my story today, and why you should consider a sales career, IMO. 

So, I got into a sales career by accident.

Why? Because people always need influencers to get people to buy their products. Why do people listen to me? I don’t know. But it’s a gift. And I’m pretty good at getting people to buy. Especially if it’s something I really believe in myself.

Sales to me is a profession and a career, not just a job. I still spend a lot of time learning about people and sales, because no matter where you are in your journey, you can always get better.

One of the reasons I love my sales career is the chance to meet fantastic people.

I have met Holocaust survivors, astronauts and politicians, and I love hearing their stories. Most people love to talk about themselves, and if you can make them feel important and smart, they will probably want to keep you around, and maybe even share you with their friends.

I also love the flexibility.

You can many times set your own schedule, and even move things around within your day quickly. That’s especially helpful if you have a family and family obligations. I have found that the better you are, the more flexibility you get!

You will never have to ask for a raise!

If you want to make more money, work harder and sell more. Companies are funny like that – the more you sell, the more they pay you. And the more valuable you become to both your clients and your company, and …

A Sales Career can pay much more that your average salary.

Yes, you will probably work harder than your friends. But if you are looking to make an above average salary and stand out from the crowd, then you should consider a sales career.

Now it’s only fair to also talk about the drawbacks of a sales career.

Number one is motivation.

It’s super easy to get lazy, or distracted. Possibly know when is literally standing over your shoulder. And if someone is, that’s a good thing. Because they care about your success. They will make you do what you need to do to be successful. So be careful about getting too caught up in the activities that don’t make you money.

The second drawback is the dreaded word, commission.

There, I said it, so let’s talk about it. You may be one hundred percent commission, which means, if you don’t sell, you won’t get paid. That can be scary stuff, or you can look at it in a positive way. The more you sell, the more it you make – the only limit is yourself.

 It’s all about your perspective and your mindset. So stay positive and go out and get what’s yours.

I have never considered myself as a “typical” salesperson. I always want to help my customer make the best decision for their situation, which doesn’t always mean the most dollars for me. My customer really doesn’t care about my paycheck, not even remotely. check out of the equation. Listen to your customer, where they are, what they want to accomplish. And show them how to close the gap. The money will always come if you just consistently do the right thing for your customer.

So, if you are considering a sales career, planning on building a base of happy clients, making a fairly consistent amount of money each year with the opportunity of making more, and feeling like you were actually making a difference in people’s lives is for you, then you should really take a look at sales positions available to you!

Here are some sales tips to help you get started in your own sales career.

Tips to Help You Start a Sales Career
Tips to Help You Start A Sales Career

Take the time to understand the product or service you are selling.

If you’re not an expert, work on learning. At least know who you can turn you to get reliable, honest answers about your product, delivery, etc.

Understand your customer.

There is no one more important than the person you have an appointment with right now, so, shut off your phone and focus on that person, or people, only. They will appreciate your attention. Focus on what they are saying. If you are doing most of the talking, stop it! You are not paying attention to your customer.

Find out why they will buy by asking open ended (not just yes or no) questions. You will learn how you can close the gap and help them. For example, what is your current supplier not offering you that would greatly improve your company by saving them either time or money or both? Are they offering you someone dedicated to your account that really understands your current needs?

 Don’t get frustrated if they say no the first time. You may have to spend time learning their trust. There will be a time when you call or walk in the door at just the right time, and you will be ready. Usually it takes some effort to form a relationship. Find out how to make yourself valuable

Be gentle with yourself.

Don’t beat yourself up by comparing yourself to other sales people in your company. But do find the top salesperson and find out what they are doing to be successful, and how they got to the top. I’ll share a secret with you – most top sales people love to talk about themselves.

Find your sales niche.

I found my niche by getting a list of customers that didn’t do business with us anymore, or “the difficult clients” list, who just needed a little extra TLC. I grew these people into my client base by finding out what we had not provided for them in the past that they wanted, sometimes just a tension… And I gave it to them. I treated each one of them as if they were my best customer.

Do what you say you are going to do.

I have done some crazy and very time-consuming things to make sure I could and did deliver what I had promised. Sometimes kicking myself the whole time. Driving 200 miles to pick up something I had promised that my supplier was not able to get to me in time… But I kept the customer, and got new ones, and I did it honestly. I delivered on my promises.

Today has been kind of a sales overview of what my blog and podcast, and a sales career are all about. You will see that I dig deeper into more specific subjects with each blog. I like to keep each of them short, with one actionable thing to do each time. That you can take what I teach and use it immediately in your sales presentations, to help increase your everyday.

I talk and teach about current problems and real solutions for those problems that I see everyday in my own sales career and in talking to other salespeople. People I work with and those that email or DM me with their own questions and struggles.

And I know that that is why the podcast and now the blog continue to grow each week as I reach more people and find new ways to help sales people grow in their sales careers to reach their own personal and sales goals consistently every month. 

Thanks for joining me today! Please let me know if you have any questions or if you are considering starting in a sales career.

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Why Buyers Buy

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Perceived Value Or Why Buyers Buy

Have you ever heard of the term “neuromarketing”? From a salesperson’s point of view, it relates to how the human brain perceives value, or how and why buyers make buying decisions based on psychology.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you have probably figured out my fascination with the psychology of sales. Why people make the decisions they do, especially … why buyers buy.

95% of our thinking takes place in our subconscious minds. Our conscious thoughts analyze our behaviors.

Because your buyers are human, they make their decisions based on their subconscious thoughts, or their emotions, and they justify their decisions based on their conscious thoughts, or facts.

Why Buyers Buy
How Buyers Buy

Very simply, our brains are divided into three parts.

The neocortex–the part of our brain that analyzes and processes all the data we get every day.

The limbic system is the emotional part of your brain.

And the brain stem, which is responsible for your survival. It assesses every situation to see if you are in danger, and it tries to stop you from doing things that it perceives risky or even dangerous for you to do.

Unfortunately, some of the things that the brain stem sees as risky or dangerous are based on things that may not serve us as well as they used to.  The flee or fight mentality has strong connections to an old way or life. Survival going back to a way when we were hunters and gatherers. Luckily, we are able to recognize some of these differences and determine the danger or risk quickly.

This perceived risk can trigger hormonal responses that we can learn to overcome when we realize the risk is not really that big, or dangerous.

The brain stem is the part of your brain that responds more to the visual sense. It takes up most of your brain’s resources.

Okay, so this is a great lesson for science geeks, but how does it relate to sales?

I’ll explain.

Why buyers buy what they do.

When you are meeting with a prospect, show your prospect that where they are today, right now, is unsafe compared to the solution you are offering them. By staying where they are, they are making a decision that can ultimately hurt them or the business.

The brain likes logical things with beginnings and endings.

And the brain is always looking for this pattern. That’s why people use a “hook” in advertising, to grab the brain stem’s attention.

Once you grab your prospect’s attention in your presentation, you can logically show them the steps to your solution. Then ask direct close questions like, “Does what I’m offering solve your problem?”. Or “Does this sound like something that would be valuable to your company?”. Or even “It seems like this is a good fit for you (or the company name). Do you agree?”

The brain stem also uses emotion to help you remember things that are important.

So getting that emotional response will help your prospects remember things longer. Make your message memorable.

A great way to get to your prospect’s emotional side is with a story. 

Stories about someone that you have helped before, and the outcome that they got.  Stories evoke emotion, and people are more likely to remember a good story and relate it back to you.

How to Help Your Prospects Make a Buying Decision
How to Help Your Prospects Make a Buying Decision

Keep your messages simple.

Don’t overload your prospect’s brain with too much information. No information overload – I know some salespeople use this “overwhelm confusion” as an actual sales tactic, but it doesn’t work, so don’t do it.

When your prospects are overwhelmed, you can see it in their eyes, when they literally start shutting down on you.

Your prospect has to hear and understand that your proposal is worth buying, and you have to hear and totally understand where your prospect is coming from – why they want what they want.

Create Value.

The closer you are to completely understanding what your prospect wants, and appealing to their emotion of why they want it, the easier it is for you to create value so they will want to buy from you.

But while you are creating that value, try to also appeal to the subconscious desire of wanting the best, or the newest. Bring their subconscious thoughts and feelings to the surface. 

Show the connection with what they want, or what they fear – and how buying your product or service will make their lives better or easier.  Paint that picture about the positive results your prospects will get by working with you.

Ask your prospect questions like “What do you like best,  (and or least) about whatever solution you are offering them, and the idea are you presenting?”

Ask them to share with you any concerns they might have about things you might not have covered. Because if you don’t ask, they won’t tell you.

Ask well-designed questions.

This will get your prospect to open up to you about what they’re actually thinking, so you can see what they already know, or assumptions they already have about your product or service.

Understanding what makes buyers buy is so important to your success.

It’s not just about your product, the services you offer, or you. It’s about them. Why they think they need, or don’t need what you are offering. What will make them move forward, or not. How and why people think the way they do, and why buyers buy.

I feel like I have spent my entire sales career trying to figure this out. It’s my biggest challenge, next to how do I get in front of more people.

Look at your prospects as intelligent humans that are capable of making Intelligent Decisions they just need a little help from you to overcome their fears — the fear of looking stupid, the fear of doing something wrong. 

That fear that actually can create that hormonal response that I mentioned earlier that we, as salespeople, must learn to diffuse, either with logic or humor, before the fear overtakes our prospect and renders them incapable of making a decision.

What is your biggest fear when making a buying decision? Let me know in the comments below.

Your prospects and customers are a lot like you – they have the same questions and fears that you do.

So help your prospects overcome their fears by understanding why they will buy, and why they won’t. Help them move forward today by showing them a solution that can change their life for the better.

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