Nancy Carter

How to Be Successful in Sales in 2021

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Going into a new year and being successful in sales in 2021 means re-evaluating our sales from last year- what worked this year, what didn’t, and put a plan in place for 2021.

When you are evaluating your sales and your actions, ask yourself these two questions:

1. did this action bring in results this year? and 

2. if not, then did you really give it a fair chance and put an effort into making it work or did you just make it a haphazard effort?

We all love the things that give us immediate results, but it’s not always possible. Especially this year, when we have had to be a little more creative in our selling. 

We’ve had to be a bit more strategic and put plans in place to win.

Creating and sticking to a daily schedule has been helpful for keeping my mind focused on selling.

Mornings are for phone calls and presentations and afternoons are for prospecting and reaching out to people that I haven’t spoken to before. And I end the day speaking again with people I already know. 

I prefer the mornings, because they know the people and it’s easier.

Afternoons are harder and may not bring immediate results, but I am planting seeds for future business. I end the day on a high note, with people I know again, who are closer to doing business with me or to buying this month. 

Your schedule may look different, but starting and ending the day positively is good for your psyche. Do what feels comfortable for you — just do it and stick to it.

Being successful in sales in 2021 means being regimented — having a plan and sticking with it, especially if you are working remotely and don’t have the structure you might get by working in an office.

I’ve been doing big sales prospecting email campaigns,

both to my existing and to new clients, and retargeting (or calling) only those people that open my email. 

When I can see that someone has opened an email two, three or even four times, that person gets a call. 

Use the available technology through your CRM, like Salesforce, to help you see when your emails are getting open and reach out to those engaged people.

It’s kind of like pre-qualifying your prospects through your messaging before you even meet them.

Tedious, yes, but much better than sending out letters and postcard mailers and not being able to tell who’s actually paying attention to you. 

Even if your company’s marketing department sent out emails, send your own.

Make them look different from what your company is sending. Try and create a “feeling” with your emails that will make your prospects want to read more from you and even “meet” you. Probably through a phone conversation or a virtual call.

I’ve also had to do extra things, because even now not everyone uses email!  Really!!!

So when I can’t email them, instead of just dropping that proposal into snail mail, (it’s called snail mail for a reason, trust me), I will drop it off at their front door, if they are local, or overnight it.  Then we can talk about it on the phone and close the deal.

I batch my days where I will spend the morning once or twice a week delivering three or four proposals. It’s not the best situation, but waiting for that mail to get delivered could take a week or even more. This way I know they have gotten it.

This also shows my prospect that they are worth the drive, and it creates an urgency that just saying “I’ll put it in the mail for you” does not.

I know you’ve all heard of work smarter, not harder. And I am in absolute agreement of that statement. But to me, it doesn’t mean work smarter – work less. It means work smarter so you have the time to do more!

Like doing the things to build your future business that you might not see immediate results from (remember that ongoing tedious email campaign?)

Especially if you are a new-ish person in sales.

There are so many companies looking for salespeople.

I see a lot of people getting their insurance licenses, and people getting their realtor licenses, and going into sales. 

You will get tons of product and service training, I promise you that. But not much direction on what to do with that training.

If you are new-ish in sales, get the free sales transformation roadmap right here. See how you can go from a newish salesperson to a top sales performer.

Welcome, and congratulations on your new career!

And for those of you that have persevered and continued selling this year, congratulations to you for everything you’ve done to stay relevant and successful, and adapting sometimes weekly to get the job done.

Some of you may know that I started my sales career in New York City. 

You’ve heard the Frank Sinatra song New York, New York—“If I can make it there, I’m going to make it anywhere”.

2020 – if I can make it this year, I’m going to make it any year. 

That song has become the theme song for many of us in 2020.

Think about it, whether you are new-ish or a seasoned, top-performing salesperson, if we can get through this and come out on top – or at least not too bruised, the rest should be easy, right?

Which leads me right back to the beginning, … and we come full circle.

To summarize, how to be successful in sales moving forward into 2021:

✅. Batch your time into similar tasks that you need to do. Start and end your day on a high note.

✅. Re-evaluate, keep doing the seed planting in December and January, and watch what grows.

Embrace technology like email and web conferencing to connect and stay connected – be creative if your client doesn’t have the capability printing out a proposal by personally dropping it off at their location if they’re local or overnighting it if they’re not so, that you can shorten the sales process time. Then review the proposal, answer questions, and close the sale over the phone. (There’s another thing I NEVER thought I would say!)

✅. Encourage more referrals – without even asking. Sometimes just sending a holiday card or an email can “remind” someone how wonderful you are.

✅. Take the extra time you have at home and invest in improving yourself (notice I didn’t just say sales – but taking time for personal mindset or a new home fitness program in 2021 is imperative).  

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Creative Ways to Find Sales Prospects

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DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING I GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH MY LINKS, AT NO COST TO YOU. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

One of the biggest challenges in sales that I know —  whether your direct sales, online sales, or business-to-business, is … how do I find sales prospects and get in front of more people? And my answer is – find an online outlet where you can share what you do with more people than you ever thought possible.

Social media has helped immensely me to find sales prospects.

And I started off with nothing, with a “side-hustle” podcast and a dream of online course creation.

Whether it’s a blog, or a podcast, or on social media site like Facebook or Instagram live videos- meet your sales prospects where they are hanging out so you can let people know what you do.

The larger real estate companies provide you with your own website, where agents can post valuable information about their communities and available listings.

If you own your own business, you can do the same thing to find sales prospects. You can use Pinterest pins to drive traffic to your website, your blog or your podcast.

Pinterest, if you don’t know, it’s a search engine like Google.

You can “pin” there, which is kind of like a sales page for what you do, and actually add a  link there to the website where you want your audience to go! At no cost to you! 

And it’s not just for interior designers, scrapbookers or recipes. You can even use Pinterest for local audiences if you’re a real estate broker or an insurance agent.

On Facebook, you can currently put a link to your blog or podcast within your post, or in your header if you sign up as a business (for free).

Are you a real estate agent, an insurance agent, travel agent, are you selling a product, service, supplement, fitness program, coaching or online classes? Do you already have a blog or podcast of your own so that you can share with people about what you do?

Using the power of a blog or a podcast to find new sales prospects is incredible, even if you don’t have a following yet.

And isn’t that really what you want? Followers that come to know, like, trust and love you – I think this is sounding like an easy way to find sales prospects!

How much faster could you close a sale if your potential client already felt like they knew you, before you even met them?  How much easier would it be to connect with that person if they already knew who you are and what you can do to help them accomplish their own goals?

Let’s recap:

A blog or podcast, where you can share information about what you do.

Explain to people why you do what you do is important. Let them know what you have or do (you’re offering) does, and how it can help someone… How is this not better than making phone calls, knocking on doors, sending out endless letters to strangers to find sales prospects?

With a blog or a podcast, there are ways to help them to find you instead of you “prospecting” to find them!

Think about your own buying habits.

We have our weekly groceries, cars, clothing, makeup, whatever delivered to our door. So you have to find a way to get into your potential clients online buying habits. Meet your prospects where they are.

How do we do that?

By popping up in their search engines, like Google or Bing.

Let’s say you sell insurance or real estate in the local area. You can started a small, local podcast where you speak each week about the different types of insurance you offer. To help people become knowledgeable and educate them. 

You can sign up on Instagram and started as a local business account (for free). Then drive people from your Instagram to your podcast, where you educate them, and they get to know you. 

Eventually, you start to pop up in their search engines on Google as a local business.  When they are looking for insurance, or a new house, they will find YOU – do you get where I’m going with this?

And it will work for anyone with the product or service –

From dog walkers, to artists, to dentists. Why do you think podcasts are so popular right now? Because they can drive traffic to you and your business, while educating prospective buyers in their own space and time.  WIN-WIN.

Obviously there is a time of start-up and growth here. But what if you were to start as an additional way to find more sales prospects and get in front of more people? Continue to use the traditional ways you are using now, while you are starting up the online or social media part. Because, let’s be honest here, how well have the traditional ways been working for you lately?

With more and more people being socially connected online, and finding goods and services online, doesn’t it make sense for you to create a bigger online presence for yourself?

The cost is minimal.  I use Simplecast for $15 a month.  It does take me about 4 hours a week to publish the podcast, but I have over 1,500 downloads a month.  That’s almost 400 people a week who are listening to my message and allowing me to help them increase their sales. My listener base grows every month and allows me to expand out into even more areas.

There’s no way I could see 400 people a week, without even leaving my comfortable chair!

We can’t keep using the same old ways of direct mail and cold calling over the phone.

There are so many other avenues to use, where the people are more receptive and are already hanging out. Try something new and add it into your regular mix of prospecting tools.

Tell me — are you really seeing many of those “company-generated” internet leads? Or are they going to other people?  What if you could generate your own?

You don’t have to sell on your podcast or blog.  Just let people know what you do and how they can reach you!

Here are some statistics that may help you understand the potential of starting a podcast to find sales prospects.

According to music.com based on studies conducted by companies like Nielsen and Edison there are currently 1,000,000 active podcasts and 30 million episodes.  This is up from 2019 — 700,000 active podcasts with 29 million episodes and 2018 with 550,000 active podcasts with five million downloads.

They are growing because people are listening. Think about that, and listen to these statistics before you shake your head and tell yourself this can’t work for you.

55% of the US population has listened to a podcast. 37% listen every month. That’s a hundred and fifty million people. 24% listen weekly, that’s a hundred and three million people. 6% are Avid fans.

Weekly podcast listeners spend an average of 6 hours and 39 minutes listening to podcasts per week.

People listen to my podcast, the Sales Made Simple podcast, for about 67 hours a week. For 4 hours a week of input from me! That’s like hiring a full-time assistant or two for $15 a month.

Podcasts attract wealthier and better educated people. 80% listen to the entire episode!! Where else does this happen? Do 80% of your prospects listen to your entire conversation? Check out these statistics here for yourself.  

Weekly listeners of 103 million people spend six hours and 39 minutes a week listening to podcasts.

If you would like more information on getting started with a podcast of your own, fill out your information and below and I’ll send you a free how to start your own podcast checklist and guide to help you get started with finding more prospects easily. 

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Setting Realistic Sales Goals

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DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING I GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH MY LINKS, AT NO COST TO YOU. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

Setting Realistic and Achievable Sales Goals

How are you all doing with this new 2020 way of selling? My face-to-face meetings have started back up again, socially distanced, with masks. Virtual/remote selling and email prospecting has truly saved me. 

Are you finding that it can be very difficult to concentrate sometimes? It will help a lot if you take some time at the beginning of each week to write down your weekly goals, and some time at the end of each day to write out your plan for the next day. In both cases, it’s something you can look at quickly to get back on track when you lose your focus.

I’ve always written these things down, and I use this weekly and daily planning system to keep me on track. Taking my monthly goal, breaking it down into weekly goals, and then daily steps to accomplish and reach my goals. And I would always focus on the three most important things that I needed to do every day.

Here is a link to the quarterly sales planner I am using to keep track and focus on those goals. You can get 15% off by clicking here.

Try focusing on just the top two sales goals.

What??? She just said three one sentence ago!

Even though some people don’t like to talk about it, I think it’s important to recognize that we need to care for ourselves mentally as well as physically. If you’re anything like me, lately I’ve had days where I have lots of energy and motivation, and other days… not so much. And I never know what kind of day it will be, so I try to accommodate this understanding of how my brain is currently working by taking advantage of the best days. Planning accordingly, so that you can try to keep things more level instead of that roller coaster we as sales women know so well.

When you can be more consistent in your sales each week, it stops that up and down, high weeks and low weeks roller-coaster, and helps you figure out how much money you will have each month.

Another thing I am doing is allowing for extra time to get things done,

whether it’s prospecting, preparing for a meeting, or the actual meeting with the prospect – everything, to me, seems to be taking a bit more time. 

While my goals of how many appointments I need to set each week (weekly goal number 1) hasn’t changed, I allow two and a half hours to 3 between appointments instead of two and half to 3. Between new technology and keeping lines of communication very clear, that’s what I am finding.

What would your top two things be each week?

As I said before, my number one goal is the number of appointments I want, and need, to have each week. 

My number two goal can change, depending on where I currently stand and how many appointments I have set up.

If my appointment level is low, then my second goal is prospecting. How many people I need to call, email, or text to set more appointments.

In some cases, I’ve also been putting a free Calendly link in my email tagline, so the people can click a link and set appointments with me. Or you can text your prospect a Calendly link in a quick text – like one sentence, saying “I know we’ve been trying to get together. Here’s a link to my calendar so you can pick a time and a way that works best for you. Just click here.” 

Then I send the link. Mine even comes up with a picture of me to make it more personal. They can pick either a virtual appointment or an in-person meeting.

An email or a phone call, followed up by a text is the best way I have found for setting sales appointments in 2020. 

The Calendly link works, which is very exciting!  The principle is the same as a dentist or doctor reminding you about an appointment. 

I have also found the hold ratio on appointments set this way to be 80% or higher!

You can also set up your link to include a cancellation policy that shows on the Calendly link when they set an appointment, and they can choose if they would like a text or email reminder.

After we went into “pandemic mode”, I found it my hold rates were quite a bit lower than normal. So increasing my hold rate was a welcomed feature.  The more appointments that hold, the fewer appointments you will need to set, right? Because when your hold rates are lower, it just means you have to set more appointments to hit your goal.

Which leads me to my last tip — be flexible and allow for change.

Things change so quickly lately, don’t they? What I mean by this is to keep a positive attitude when things change. This could be by being prepared to hop immediately on a virtual call with someone that you’re on the phone with, not giving up when someone needs to reschedule, or if you are just being ignored. 

That’s how I started the Calendly appointment booking system. Rather than getting frustrated, I looked for a solution. Because there’s always a solution if you look for it hard enough.

Let’s review the four tips for setting realistic sales goals for yourself. 

Write your sales goals and plans down. 

It helps you to remember and have something to quickly refer back to you when you get off track. 

● Pick your top two sales goals for the week. 

Three if you feel you can handle  more. But with two, you are still moving forward every day.

I know that sounds so strange, but I’ve lowered it two to be kinder to myself. I may have more than two goals, or tasks on the list, and if I can do more – great. But the top two are my non-negotiables that my day is centered around.

● Allow a little more time than you need to get stuff done, and

● Number four: allow for flexibility while maintaining a positive attitude.  

That’s four tips to get your top two goals accomplished this week. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you in the comments below.

There’s also a link here for my updated Sales Transformation Road-map Know Your Sales Numbers worksheet, so you can see the important numbers to focus on in your sales and how they work with figuring out your sales goals and getting off of that sales roller-coaster!

Know Your Sales Numbers
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How to Become a Top Sales Performer

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The best way to help you become a top sales performer is to start from the beginning.

So let’s see where you are in the process.

The Wishful Doer – Stage One of the Sales Transformation Road-map.

As you probably know by now, I’ve created the Sales Transformation Road-map to help you see where you are now — what stage you’re in on your sales journey, and to guide you on what you can do to push on and get to the next stage, or level, and become a top sales performer.

This article focuses on stage 1 – The Wishful Doer, because if you’re anything like me, we’ve all felt a bit like we’re back in stage one again this year, at times.

I’ve had to rethink a lot of my “sales structures” this year, relearn a new way of doing things to stay successful, like adopting new technologies and email campaigns instead of cold calling on the phone. This was super frustrating at times. As a successful saleswoman, I’ve been doing this long enough where I should have it all figured out, right?

The Sales Transformation Road-map
The Sales Transformation Roadmap

But 2020 has turned a lot upside down and kept me on my toes. Adjusting, readjusting, and going back to where I started. Back in April and May it felt like I was changing every week. It reminded me about what it was like when I first started in sales, when I was a Wishful Doer. Because I felt right back there again this year.

When you are a Wishful Doer, you know you want to create a life for yourself with more income and more freedom, but you aren’t sure exactly how to become a top sales performer.

You may have had some sales experience before, and some success prospecting and even in closing sales. But it’s not consistent, which makes it very difficult to project your monthly income.

Your company may offer some sales training to you — but probably it’s more like products training on the products or services that you’ll be selling, not necessarily how to sell it. You are probably spending a lot of time listening to  sales podcasts, watching YouTube and reading sales books..and wondering how do you relate all that to selling in 2020 so you can become a top sales performer.

So you’re a bit stressed out, frustrated and maybe even thinking about taking a break from your sales job. I get it!

In the beginning of April 2020, I was really scared about how I could possibly make sales work. Luckily, I had used Zoom for my online trainings, so I was very familiar with how it works with virtual selling. Unlike most of my colleagues that had never even heard of Zoom.

I kept pushing through, because I believe in what I am selling and how it helps people.  Ask as we speak, I am back to selling remotely from home.

In stage one, you feel like you are barely keeping your head above water, with all you have to learn and all you have to do. Between your business and your personal life, it’s overwhelming at times. 

I definitely felt like that again this year. In fact, I still do. How do you do everything you need to do and still find time for yourself and your family?

By the time I get home at night it’s hard to find energy to do much more than sit on the couch and watch TV, or is it just me? On top of that, your inner critic is mean and keeping you stuck by telling you to give up. Your inner critic is designed to help keep you safe… But sometimes I just want to lock it up! You are trying to create a positive change in your life – don’t let your inner critic stop you.

Lastly you may feel like other people are influencing your decisions and your lack of ability to move forward and find success – like that sales manager that doesn’t provide much guidance to you I say help yourself. Because no one wants success for you more than you do. No one is coming to save you, and if you want it badly enough you have to figure it out.

So how can you pick yourself up and help yourself move from Stage 1, the Wishful Doer to Stage 2, The Hopeful Doer?

Start by assessing your current habits and identifying those things that you want to change.

Take a look at the things that you are doing now or have tried before that do not work for you. Determine what is working for you right now. You don’t have to do it all – do what works for you, because that is what will make you successful.

 We all have our own strengths and weaknesses. Do what works for you.

Watch with the best sales people in your company are doing to be successful – what can you learn from them?

Also, ask yourself why you want to be a top sales performer? Is the money and the freedom to do things with your family? Is it saving for a new house or a new car?

Be very specific on why you want to be a top sales performer. Have a you have a visual of what you are working so hard for. You are more likely to not give up if you know exactly what and why you are working to achieve something.

If this sounds like you, go back and listen to episodes 1 through 6 of the Sales Made Simple podcast. When I first started this podcast, I went through the most basic things first. Episode 1 through 6 are designed help you in this stage.

Just to show you what is possible for you, and give you something to strive for,

Stage 4, the Unconscious Doer, is someone that can easily move through the sales process without even thinking about what needs to be done or said.

A top sales performer.

They can easily handle objections, and asking for the sale is a piece of cake.

So you see, it is possible!

If you want to download the entire roadmap / guide click here. You will see all five stages or levels of the sales success and what you can do to grow from one step to the next, until you become a top salesperson! Let me know what stage you relate to the most with where you are now.

The reason I thought it was so important to do this with you and walk through is because we are all waiting for that day in the near future when we can travel and be with our friends and family again.

Don’t you want to know you have the resources and money to do that when we can?

So work on your success. What you choose to do now will affect how you were able to live your life next year at this time. Keep moving forward, even if it’s only a little every day.

 Focus on where you want to be, not on where you are now, and thank you for letting me be a part of your journey. 

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Handling Objections in Sales Pro-Actively

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How to Pro-Actively Handle Sales Objections

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING I GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH MY LINKS, AT NO COST TO YOU. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

Many of us see sales objections as a sign of rejection or even the start of negotiations. If you have this mindset, just waiting every time for the battle to begin, you will battle – every time. Because it’s what you expect and you’re waiting for it to happen, and you’ll probably end up lowering your prices.

But, what would happen if you started your presentation with the mindset that objections from your customers are really just questions that you haven’t answered yet?

And what if you started handling sales objections pro-actively, right from the start, before your prospect even had a chance to bring them up?

How to Handle Sales Objections

Part of what should be in your sale toolbox should be the top objections that you and other salespeople in your industry get. 

These are objections that will come up in every sales presentation, almost every time.  So doesn’t it make sense to include the answers in your presentation before the prospect even has a chance to bring them up? 

That way, when the prospect brings them up again, (and they will) you can say “Remember earlier when I said ________?” and review what you said again. Meanwhile, this will be the second time that they hear it. Whether they remember it or not, thereby making the objection addressed twice and easier to overcome.

When you do this, you are not doing objection rebuttals and being reactive,. But you are being proactive and addressing objections conversationally.

You can overcome sales objections in a way that will show your prospects that you are experienced in handling how they are feeling. This goes a long way in earning your prospect’s trust and confidence. It also show them you are capable of doing what you say you can do.

Mindset — handling sales objections proactively or reactively? Managing sales objections smoothly and showing your experience, or planning to go into battle (drama)?

And if you do find an objection that does need to be better clarified for your prospect, use this five-step sales objection system.

1. Listen to their objection, without interrupting.

2. Restate what their objection is to make sure you understand completely what their objection is.

3. Respond carefully and quickly. When you talk about the objection for too long, your response starts to sound insincere.

 4. Describe how you can remove the barrier and

 5. Ask your prospect if your answer solves or answers their objection.

 Professional and battle free.

But what if the objection is price?

Are you asking for more money than they think they are willing to pay or are your products or services are more than they thought they would be (sticker shock)?

While I am a big believer in letting your prospect feel like they have won, when you automatically lower your price, you are also lowering your value that you have worked so hard to establish during your sales presentation.

Right from the start, make sure you are helping the prospect see how the solution you are proposing will meet his needs.

Many times when a prospect has a price objection, they are really saying, “I don’t see the value” or “I don’t trust what you were saying”. Work on perfecting your presentation so that you establish trust and show your value right from the beginning.

Ask mini-close questions,

like “Do you see how this would work for you?” throughout your presentation. If your prospects says, “Not really”, you can stop and go back and address that right then. Instead of getting to the end of your presentation and having to start all over again, and trying to guess where the disconnect happened.

Handle sales objections pro-actively before they become harder to overcome.

If you are not doing these mini-closes, or trial closes, and a prospect has an unanswered objection or early on in your presentation, it becomes difficult for them to focus on anything else you say. Because all they are thinking is, “I don’t see how this will work for me”.

Remember a sales presentation is a conversation, not a one-sided Ted Talk from you.

If the prospect says, “It’s more than what we thought it would be”, ask, “Well how much did you think this would be?” And let them tell you.

Ask them what they thought would be included in that amount, or what the amount was based on. Sometimes it’s based on a price that they spent on something 5 or 10 years ago. So find out what the price objection means before you start lowering your price.

And instead of lowering your price, change the options or services and give them a new price on that.

Try to close the price gap from where they are and where you are. At the same time create value for the items or services you are removing from their proposal.

When you quickly drop your prices without making any changes, it creates mistrust with your prospect. You will see that they will adopt the mindset of “how low can I get them to go?” Now it’s a battle.

One reason I may offer a discount is if they pay in full, or if they purchase by a certain date. Make your discounts interactive, where the prospect needs to do something to “earn” the extra discount. Allow them to win, if they earn it.

Ultimately, if you believe you are providing the best solution for your prospect at the best price you can offer,  and the price gap between what you were asking and what they are willing to pay cannot be closed, you may need to walk away. Knowing that some people’s decisions are purely based on price but won’t budge on services. Champagne taste on a beer budget.

You can certainly get their permission to follow up — maybe they will come around. It’s hard to walk away, but sometimes it’s necessary.

So, you know I’m all about the mindset of a salesperson, and it’s no different with handling sales objections.

Are you looking for a smooth transition to close the sale, or do you expect a battle on pricing? Because you will get what you expect.

How do you react when you get objections from prospects? Especially the ones you just can’t seem to get past, no matter how well you explain them.

Do you get defensive, or do you stay calm? Do you become frustrated, or do you keep moving forward? Keeping your emotions in check can be a challenge — sales can be exhilarating and exhausting. The less reactive you are, the more likely you are to move past a difficult situation and get the sale.

How to Handle Sales Objections Pro-Actively

To review how to handle sales objections pro-actively:

● Know the most common objections 

● Have a conversation 

● Provide an amazing solution 

● Create value 

● “Discounts” should be interactive 

● Mindset is everything. 

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How To Quickly Kill A Sale In 2020

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Sales Mistakes to Avoid in 2020

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING I GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH MY LINKS, AT NO COST TO YOU. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

It’s easy to quickly kill a sale especially in 2020 when the world is a bit more confusing already.

Some of these things are mistakes I’ve made, even with being in sales for a long time. Because we are forced to do things differently to stay relevant and keep selling. There are times I make a mistake, or do or say something I wish I could take back, but it’s too late and now I’m in damage control. 

And I’m going to talk about the mistakes I see myself and other salespeople  making in 2020 – so you have the most up-to-date information. 

How to Quickly Kill a Sale
How to Kill a Sale

Mistake number 1 – not being prepared for the sale.

I think the biggest mistake is to not have everything you need ready and where you can find it easily.

Let’s talk about virtual sales calls –

Make a list of anything you might need, including email addresses and phone numbers. There are times during a virtual call that someone will ask me to email them something they need immediately, while we are still on the call.

Actually, I like to have two computers, or a computer and an iPad going at the same time. That way, I can stay on the zoom or WebEx call with them, and email them anything they ask for right then.

My goal is to not give them any reason to end the virtual call, or to have to set another meeting. Because I have found when this happens, it can go on forever, back and forth. This increase the chance of killing the sale. Being prepared can shorten the time of the sale significantly and increase your odds of closing the sale quickly.

I’ve also used this strategy so that I can email and send a link to someone else my prospect says should be on the call, after we have started.  Even though I always ask this when I set the appointment originally. But things happen… Surprise!

So instead of rescheduling, I will reach out to the third party with the second phone, email them a link to the meeting, and get them on, too.

It feels like command central—two devices, two phones. I try to plan for anything I can do to stop any objections that are easily solved. It is so easy for the prospect to find “2020″ stalls. So be prepared –

Also, make sure you are both in the same place at the same time. Avoid quickly killing a sale before you even have a chance to start.

Confirm in advance with a link to the meeting and make sure you are both in the same room.

 Mistake number 2 – not following up on sales presentations.

It’s easy to get frustrated with the amount of times you have to follow up with some people. This is not anything new for us, but having that CRM (Customer Relationship Management) program, like Salesforce, to remind you to call or follow up with someone, will make your life so much easier.

It’s like having a built-in personal assistant to help you get through the day, and remind you about what you need to do, right? 

It also helps me to ensure that I get a certain amount of prospecting done each day. 

I’ve always liked the 10 before 10 rule. 10 calls before 10 AM. And if I don’t get that done, then I do the 10 at 5. It helps me keep the pipe my pipeline full, ensures I get to follow up with everyone, and I don’t leave any unclosed sales to fall through the cracks, or even worse, fall to a competitor because I didn’t follow up when I said I would.

People are looking for someone they can trust, now more than ever. And a quick phone call can go a long way to earning that trust and saving a sale.

 Mistake number 3 – not doing the research before you reach out to your prospect.

Find out as much about your prospect as possible, before you call or reach out to them. Without stalking them, of course. Are they on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram? The more you know, the more you will know the right questions to ask them. Which leads to…

Mistake number 4 – not asking the right questions

And I’ll add not listening carefully to their answers. There’s nothing worse than asking a prospect the same question twice, or asking a prospect something that they already told you five minutes ago.

By asking relevant questions and retaining the information they share with you, it shows you care enough about them and respect them enough to give them your undivided attention.

Write things down so you don’t forget. And put it in your seat or CRM later.

Prospects are impressed when you remember their dog’s name, their favorite sports team, or their favorite restaurant. It also gives you something to talk about later on. Just make sure you enter the right information under the right client—or you will quickly kill the sale.

Mistake number five – not creating a solution that will work for your prospect.

This, to me, is really a continuation of mistake number four, because if you don’t ask the right questions and listen carefully to the prospects answers, how can you offer a solution that is customized for them?

If you do not offer a solution that the prospect feels will work for them and solve a problem, the prospect will not buy from you. Give the prospect a chance to say yes instead of offering nothing relevant and killing the sale.

Mistake number 6 – not pressing the right buttons as you complete your sales presentation.

In our digital information age of entering information into our computers and creating a great proposal, make sure you have pressed all the buttons. Review the choices with your prospect before you show them the total, so you don’t have to readjust your final proposal.

It’s an instant trust (and sale) killer, especially if the updated total is significantly higher and you have to backtrack to explain why.

Reviewing your numbers first is also important when explaining financing terms. Quickly review your numbers before you give your prospects the information.

 My last way to quickly kill a sale is 

How to Kill a Sale Quickly in 2020

Mistake number 7  –  not showing the prospect The Next Step.

Including asking for the sale. Don’t assume that because your prospect is sitting in front of you (either in real time or virtually) and looking at your proposal, that they know what to do next.  Because most of them don’t.

There’s always that one that will say “Great, how do we get started?” But usually, you have to make the first move.

You can ask a simple closing question like, “Do you want to go with the extended payment or would you prefer to pay in full?”, or “So, what do you think the next step should be?” (It works — I was surprised, too!)

Or, if you have created the agreement/contract as you were doing your presentation, by pressing those buttons, just keep going. Create the agreement, give them the pen, and let them start signing.

By asking questions throughout your presentation, getting their buy-in with the mini-close questions, like “Which one do you prefer?”, many of your objections should already be eliminated by the time you ask for the sale.

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Setting Sales Boundaries

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Setting Sales Boundaries

DISCLOSURE: THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS, MEANING I GET A COMMISSION IF YOU DECIDE TO MAKE A PURCHASE THROUGH MY LINKS, AT NO COST TO YOU. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

Setting sales boundaries with your clients, and your co-workers, requires patience, and strength. It’s something you have to decide ahead of time and plan for it. Stick to your decision, or you will find yourself feeling frustrated and resentful — with people calling you early in the morning, late at night and on weekends.

For phone calls, you can record a welcome message stating what “open” hours are. I don’t check my emails after work hours. But you can’t do that for texts. 

The hardest type of communication for me to avoid are texts, because you can’t miss them. A text requires a more immediate answer than a phone or an email. Although I have found a way to put an “out of the office message” on my iPhone. If you would like that tip please send me an email and I will share that amazing tip with you.

Setting Boundaries In Your Sales Workplace
Sales Boundaries In Sales In 2020

Sometimes it is easier to do some work at home after the kids go to bed. That way can have everything set up and laid out for you when start working in the morning. It has allowed me to work 4 days a week when they were little, so I could spend more time with them. There’s always a trade-off, and the choice is yours.

The point is, set your sales boundaries.

For example, right now, when I am off, I am off. Because sometimes I work weekends, I may take a day off during the week. I had to work to get people in my office to understand that the day off is not a day for them to send me messages and expect me to call clients back. And I give them the sames respect.

When I did take those call and messages, I found I ended up working for 4 or 5 hours, on my day off.

When you’re in the sales, people will always have something they need from you.

But if you are not taking the time you need to work out, get basic housework done, go to the dentist, do laundry, etc, you will become tired, overwhelmed and resentful. So now, when people call me on my day off, my office tells them, “Nancy is not in the office today but will be back tomorrow”. And I haven’t lost a customer yet because of it.

How about setting sales boundaries with your clients.

Do they call or text you regularly after hours or before hours? If you’re okay with that, fine. If not, you may have to change your phone greeting to reflect the hours you will be “on call” and available. I think the biggest thing is to let your customers know and keep them informed. 

Part of why customers get frustrated with salespeople is because prospects and customers don’t know what to expect. So be clear in your message — your clients and your co-workers will learn to respect that space.

Setting sales boundaries with “perpetual prospects”.

Have you ever had a potential client continue to set up a meeting after meeting, where you were hoping, and they were promising, to spend their money with you? When was the point that you realized that they were just using you to get some work done for free? Or they were using you to provide that third quote they needed to make their decision, or they just came in to chat and pick your brain?

Has that ever happened to you? In my earlier sales career, I would spend time with these people, sometimes hours. And the more I gave, the more they wanted. But when it came time for them to buy something from me, they would have excuse after excuse. Sometimes going so far as becoming upset with me for having the nerve to ask for a sale. I call these people “perpetual prospects”.

This includes people that repeatedly stopped in to see you without a sales appointment.

Over the years, I have gotten better at asking questions to weed out these “time suckers”. For one, I limit my meeting times with them to 20 minutes. Set the boundary. 

If I find they are price shopping, and I am number two on a list out of three, I ask them to see me last. I want to be the third person they see. Some prospects will accommodate me. When they do come in to meet with me, we can usually come up with an agreement. 

Others become angry, especially if I ask them to come to my office. Not only am I am in a bidding war, but they want me to go to their home or office. Draw the line. They have probably already made their decision. They just want you to make them feel better about their decision, without even having enough skin in the game to get into their car to meet you at your location, where you can show them how you can solve their problem in a better way than your competition can.

I have found the more demanding a sales prospect is, the less likely they are to buy from you.

So, we’ve talked about setting boundaries with your co-workers, and setting boundaries with your clients. There are times it is okay to nicely and respectfully say no.

Now let’s talk about setting boundaries with yourself.

There are some times that we want the sale so badly that we may compromise our own values. If you have a vision for what you want your life to look like, it’s easier to set boundaries with yourself. This will allow you to reach your goals faster.

An example of this is – how many hours you were willing to work each week. I will work up to six days a week, but I need that one day off. 2 days would be even better, but let’s remember you were in sales and probably working on commission or salary plus bonuses. If you want to make the good money you have to be laser- focused at work to accomplish what you want in the shortest amount of time possible.

When you are planning your calendar, enter the things you need to do for yourself first —

Those things that will help you run at optimum capacity, like doctors appointments, oil changes (you can’t drive anywhere if you don’t maintain your car), even work-out time and time with family and friends. You need that time to unwind. Then plan your client appointments around that.

By setting your personal boundaries and deciding how to handle the “boundary breakers” before they even happen, you will save your sanity and be better equipped to politely put your foot down, while still being able to serve your clients, and your entire business, in the best way possible.

Take your power back and make the decision yours.

And remember those people that become very demanding. Are they a customer or a Perpetual Prospect – demanding more of your time and resources without showing any signs of buying, except on going, long-term promises?

Ultimately how you run your business, which is what you are doing in a commissioned position., is up to you. The better the plan you have in place, the happier and more productive you will be.

Setting Sales Boundaries in 2020
Setting Healthy Sales Boundaries

2020 has been a different kind of year for everyone, hasn’t it?

It’s been the biggest year of changing and adapting ever, and while the basic sales tips and techniques still serve me well, I’ve had to adapt to more virtual and remote selling, even better preparation before presentation, using new technology – the list goes on.

One thing I’m really struggling with is taking time for a “vacation”. For one, it’s not like I can hop on a cruise ship and disappear for a week. 

I have found the opportunity for virtual and remote selling means that I am taking sales calls even when I am home, because I can! I think customers expect you to be more available, as the days seem to run together for all of us. Is it Sunday, or is it Tuesday?

Setting sales boundaries has become something I’ve had to work at even harder.

While I love my sales career, I also need to clean the time for myself. When will I take calls and texts, and at one point do I let them wait for the next day?

As a salesperson, it’s extra hard, because many of us are paid only on our sales performance. It’s hard to set those boundaries when it affects my livelihood and the opportunity to make money.

It’s harder to tell people that I’m going away for the weekend, or even the day – with social distancing and all. Especially when my prospects for spending more time at home, too.

Because I’ve been very clear, and adamant about setting boundaries, it’s all working out, but it has taken some extra planning, and my being a little more comfortable with saying no. I have been limiting the amount I spend “checking in”, or checking messages on my my phone.

So, if you are feeling like you are having a tough time separating your business life from your personal life, and creating a new work/life balance for yourself, here is another tip for taking that time for yourself, without alienating your customers.

Stand your ground.

Set the times that you were available, and not available. It helps if you are clear in your voicemails and email auto-responders about your availability, and when or how long it might take before you get back to someone.

I stay a bit later at the end of the day to make sure I return every phone call and email I have gotten that day. I have always done this, but setting that boundary, and lettering people know that may take me a little longer to get back to you is working. 

It did take a while for people to get used to this, but there’s only one of me and I want to give everyone the attention they deserve, not just jumping from one client to another and getting nothing completed.

I don’t think I’m the only one feeling this way, which is why I feel it’s important to talk about. We are just trying to figure out our “new normal” and learning how to get through a very stressful time.

In fact, according to Teachable, there has been a noticeable increase in sleep disruptions. As our routines and schedules change, and with the extra stress placed on us… I am either sleeping really well or I am up aimlessly wandering the house in circles at 3 in the morning. I know it’s not just me, because I can see those emails from you all come over at 3 a.m., too!

It can be tempting to get some work and if you can’t fall asleep. Fight that urge and do your best to stick to a “work schedule” to help you maintain those boundaries you are working so hard to set up.

Just know that you are not alone in trying to figure out how to make this year and it’s new challenges work for you.

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