Month: February 2016

The Terror of Cold Calling

By Wendy Weiss, Sales Trainer, Sales Coach, and Author, Weiss Communications

The Terror of Cold Calling. But fear not! Here are: Top Ten Tips for Terminating Telephone Terror

1. Make telephone calls
Few things are more terrifying than the unknown. The fear you create for yourself is far worse than the reality of cold calling. Once you start making telephone calls and continue making telephone calls, it gets easier. You overcome fear by doing.

2. Make a lot of telephone calls
If you have only one prospect to pursue, that prospect becomes overwhelmingly important. If you have hundreds of leads, no one prospect can make or break you. The more calls you make, the more success you will have.

3. Prepare
Prepare for cold calling the way you would for any major presentation. Know what you want to say, how you want to say it and how you want to represent yourself, your company, your product or service. And know the goal of your telephone call.

4. Practice
If you are new to cold calling or uncomfortable with cold calling, practice your pitch out loud. Role-play with friends or colleagues. Practice various sales scenarios. This way, you will not have to worry about what you are going to say. You will be prepared, and you can focus in on your prospect.

5. Start with less important leads
It will be good practice and less stressful. Once you feel more comfortable, start working on the more important leads.

6. Stay calm
You will, for the most part, be talking to people who will appreciate your call. If a prospect is rude, remember: This is not personal. They may just be having a bad day. Move on.

7. Your priorities and your prospect’s priorities are different
You want an immediate “yes”; your prospect may want to finish a report, finish a conversation, start their vacation… Be very careful not to read negative or extra meaning into early conversations with your prospect or prospect’s secretary. If, for example, your prospect’s secretary says that your prospect is “on the phone,” “in a meeting” or “out of the office,” that does not translate to, “My prospect knows that I am calling and is avoiding me.”

8. Some things are out of your control
If a prospect does say “no,” ultimately, that is out of your control—but what is within your control is continuing to prospect and continuing to make calls. It is also within your control to improve your cold calling skills, take seminars, read books or hire a coach—then, fewer prospects will say “no.”

9. Arlene’s Game
The object of Arlene’s game is to focus on rejection. The goal is to reach 100 points. You get 1 point for every rejection. Give yourself 1 point for every “no” answer. If your prospect says “yes,” that’s a bonus! Focus on acquiring points. The more calls you make, the more points you acquire. When you reach 100—You Win! Give yourself a prize!

10. Have fun
This is not life or death—it’s only a cold call. The fate of the world does not rest on you and your telephone. You will not destroy your company or ruin your life if a prospect says “no.” Loosen up, be creative, have some fun!

Success Negotiating: How to Leave with More Than You Asked for

By Anne Warfield, President, Impression Management Professionals

Do you ever feel as though you have to put on your armor when you’re negotiating with a prospect or client? Have you ever wished you could find a way to negotiate that was strong and firm – yet creative and consultative at the same time?

Do negotiations naturally need to be difficult?

Actually, the negotiation phase can be a time to build a relationship and speak honestly and directly with the other party. Even with a one-time negotiation, you don’t need to use tricky ‘lines’ or manipulative tricks to get what you want. Most people are willing to be flexible during a negotiation if they believe the other party perceives them as knowledgeable, honest, and able to make a deal.

Three key strategies to keep in mind when negotiating:

1. Have a Game Plan or Strategy
Your game plan or strategy is a starting point – a brief outline of what you’d like to accomplish and how. It is not a rigid rulebook to be applied throughout the negotiation. It is instead a guideline that allows you a place to start.

Remember, you are working with another human being, someone who doesn’t appreciate being backed into a corner any more than you would.

Set a strategy with clear goals and possible tactics but be willing to revise it as circumstances and interests warrant.

2. Begin with the Right Mindset
Most people go into negotiations thinking one of two things:

“I have to win at all cost. I don’t want to look stupid. I have done my homework and, by gosh, I know what X, Y, and Z cost. I am not going to be taken advantage of!”

Or

“Please, please, just be reasonable and give me X, Y, and Z without a hassle. I really don’t want to fight with you over this.”

Do you see any problem with these approaches? Each one has faith in you but not the other party.

That immediately makes negotiation difficult. If you believe the other party will try to take advantage of you, then you lose your biggest edge – the perception that the other person will do anything they can do to help you.

That’s the mindset you have to start with. And trust me, people can tell whether you believe in the best or worst of them. They will try to live up to either expectation.

3. Know What Kind of Person You’re Dealing with

This is your most important step…

Most people make the mistake of assuming there is a single list of ‘tough negotiating tactics’ that works with everyone. When I first started negotiating multi-million dollar deals, I really felt I had to have all these ‘hardball tactics’ in place. I practiced saying, “Is that the best you can do?” in a mirror with a serious face. Hardball was my style. I liked to negotiate fast – and I liked to win!

But there was something missing. I noticed that every time I went to negotiate, I had to roll up my sleeves and out-think my opponent again. The process got combative, it wasn’t fun, and I don’t believe I always got the best deal I could.

I was leaving out the human equation – what makes different people tick? What is it that they want not what is it that I want? This small shift will actually make a major difference in how you negotiate.

What I am about to share with you works whether you love to negotiate or you hate it with a passion. It works whether you know whom you are negotiating with ahead of time, or you are surprised on the spot. It often results in your leaving the table with more than you came to ask for! Clients are continually amazed by how much more they get and how much stronger the relationship is when they use the ‘Outcome Focus Approach’.

Not every person negotiates from the same point of view. Each person has a different stake in a negotiation and you need to know what concerns the other party the most. You also need to know what your own style is. Most people negotiate in the style they are the most comfortable with, and they try to bring the other party around to their way of thinking.

Let me walk you through a brief example so you can see how all the different styles might negotiate the same situation:

    • The Connector

 

      This person usually hates to negotiate and often walks in wanting to do what gives the least amount of friction in a negotiation. This means they may often give up too much. They often become uncomfortable in the negotiation.

 

    • The Networker
      This person tends to be funny, energetic, and may seem to be very easy-going during the negotiation, but if it doesn’t work their way they quickly flip to being a barracuda. This style likes to generalize key things, is easy going, may seem light and fluffy, and prefers not to put anything in writing.
    • The Analyzer
      This person tends to want all facts, figures, and everything laid out in a slow methodical manner. They want to make sure you go through everything in a precise order and they often may not want to give in on a point they feel is critical to them. Sometimes, a style just wears you out because they go item by item by item.
    • The Producer

 

    This is the one style that loves to negotiate. If you give them your very best deal right off the bat they will actually feel disappointed. They will actually leave the table feeling they could’ve gotten more. So with this style you don’t want to offer your very best upfront, you want to go back and forth until you come to a solution that you both feel is agreeable.

Now each of these styles approaches negotiations very differently because they each try to protect something different for themselves. You need to figure out what it is that they’re protecting and how to make it easy for them to actually reach the negotiation with you.

Always remember that people are not trying to do something to you but they are instead trying to protect themselves. This is so true during a negotiation. No one likes to feel like they are being taken advantage of, so it is your job to show why each point is beneficial to the other party as well as yourself.

I once had a client call and say they wanted to book me for a speaking engagement but they could only pay 1/3 of my fee. Now, I had been working with this prospect for almost 2 years so I knew she knew our pricing and value, yet she was insistent. Instead of being angry or trying to justify my pricing, I said, “Look, I know you realize the value of our programs, because you have been working with me for two years. I also realize you might be working with budget constraints. I want to work with you, and I also want to be fair to my clients across the country. Quite frankly you have stumped me. I am having a hard time rationalizing how to do this event at the pricing we are talking about. Can you brainstorm with me on how we can make this work?”

By using that approach, she never had to defend her offer and I never had to defend my pricing. You see – I realized that it was not me she was trying to attack or my pricing, it was actually that she is trying to protect herself. So we took our energy and focused it on how to get the event done. We ended up finding some creative budgeting ideas that made the deal work!

Putting It All Together
Once you start noticing and looking for the personality styles, you will be able to spot them easily. And once you stop worrying about you and focusing on what the other person is trying to do, negotiations become less about winning and more about connecting.

The Bottom Line
Make sure you add value to the other person. This is why it is so important to be able to read the other person’s personality style and speak from his or her perspective. If you ignore someone’s hot button or try to pull him or her over to your style of communication, you will lose. Have a game plan and be flexible with it, read the other person effectively, and add value by speaking from their perspective. If you do this, you will find that negotiations are really ‘brainstorming sessions’ with another party.

How to Build a Sales Pipeline

By Philippe Lavie, President, KeyRoad Enterprises

How do you get prospects who are not looking for the “things” you are offering to start to look?

Many of my clients have asked me what their sales people can do to increase their pipeline with qualified leads. The simple answer is to spend more time on effective business development activities. Such activities necessitate at least 20% of a sales reps time and include, but are not limited to:

  • Networking with existing friends, colleagues, and acquaintances.
  • Attending industry/trade meetings and walking the floor
  • Securing speaking engagements at local and regional associations or interest groups
  • Hosting breakfast meetings for like titles
  • Cold and warm telephone prospecting
  • Direct mail/e-mail/fax prospecting followed up with direct telephone callsThe most effective way to build one’s pipeline is to engage in a five to seven touch-point campaign combining direct mail introduction, followed by phone calls, in a very specific sequence. The thing I don’t understand is that most sales reps know that sequence, but most sales reps will also stop doing it if they can find any excuse to use their time somewhere else.

    So Where Do We Start?
    Warren Culpepper, author of the Culpepper Report, writes that there is a 5-year cycle in IT purchasing. Therefore 20% of your total potential universe is actively looking for a way to improve its operation through the use of your technology at any given time. By the way, your competition knows that too. It also means that 80% is not actively looking at any given time. Not looking means that they do not perceive, at this specific moment, that they have a need to satisfy, a goal to achieve, or a challenge to address. So my question is: Do you want to spend your time calling on the same universe that the rest of your competition is also calling on, or do you want to spend your resources and energies calling on the 80% that are not actively looking today, and bring to the forefront of their priority the understanding that their operation does need your offering to help them achieve a goal, solve a problem, or satisfy a need? Imagine two companies, one that is looking and one that is not. Both have similar profiles, work in the same industry, and have a similar history. Do you think that their C level executives share similar goals? If no one has contacted them because they are not looking at that present moment, do you think you could leapfrog your competition if you were to call on them first, and get them to discover that they need your offering?

    So What Works, and What Does Not Work?
    The Kenan-Flagler Business School of the University of North Carolina interviewed senior business executives to understand the circumstances under which they would accept a telephone call from a salesperson. The findings were as follows:

    Always Usually Occasionally Never
    A recommendation from someone inside the Company 16% 68% 16% 0%
    A referral from outside the Company 8% 36% 44% 12%
    A letter(s) from a salesperson followed by a direct call 4% 25% 40% 31%
    A contact at an off-site meeting 3% 16% 28% 53%
    A direct telephone call from a salesperson 0% 8% 19% 73%

    This research clearly shows that cold calling does not work very well. Although important to do, (as one the business development activities), a sales rep could quadruple her chances to reach the desired executive if the call was preceded by one or two introductory emails. Such emails or snail mails would sensitize the executives to challenges, pains, or goals (s)he could relate to. We suggest a five to seven touch-point campaign using email, snail mail, and phone calls for the highest return.

    Whom Should I Call On?
    Now, before you even think of sending an email or making a call, it would be important to identify whom to call. While for some sales reps it appears obvious, I would recommend that for each potentially important account, a targeted conversational list be developed. The two main reasons are that “You can’t sell to someone who can’t buy” and “Buying is always a committee decision”. Another thing that amazes me is the length of time and number of resources sales reps and companies spend talking to people that have no buying power or no idea or understanding of the prospect’s critical business issues that would justify them buying from you. Often we talk about “the power line”, this imaginary dividing line that exists between executives that have a budget to manage, and those that can create/define/allocate a budget. When your sales people call on a company to create a vision of what the prospect could do with your offering, are they better of calling above or below the line? Would her opportunity be better qualified if she was able to talk with the “above the line” decision maker who has the authority to secure unbudgeted funds? Would her opportunity be better qualified if she could get the prospect to realize that the way they do business is costing them ten times more than the benefits they could generate by implementing your offering? Would her opportunity be better qualified if her sales cycle was aligned with her prospect’s buying process? Remember, “People buy from people who empower them to achieve their goals”.

    What Conversation to Have With a Specific Title?
    How many times have you been delegated down to the project manager when you started to have a product feature function monologue with a C level executive? Aside from being upset, did you understand why? People get delegated to people they talk and act like. Should you prepare yourself to talk at the level of the title you want to reach? Of course you do. But many sales executives do not know how to get ready for such calls, nor are they interested in taking the time or applying the discipline necessary to prepare. Our suggestion is that Marketing is, or should be, responsible for preparing the necessary conversational tools and prompters for sales people to have intelligent conversations around critical business issues with their prospects’ C level executives. We recommend you check into the process called Sales Ready Messaging to create these conversational prompters, scripts, tools, and aids. You will empower your sales people with the information and the discipline to have these intelligent conversations and marketing will once again become relevant to the sales organization. We call this “ loading the lips” of the sales people with business issues and information relevant to a conversation with a C level executive, while staying far away from product demo or technical presentation.

    Your Next Steps
    After having identified the universe for your offering (territory plan), having decided whom you should be calling on (targeted conversational list), and after having created the tools and prompters for your sales people to engage in prospecting and selling your offering (sales ready messages), it is also important to remember to:

  • Write your prospecting letters
  • Pick up the telephone and call
  • Manage the rejection that comes with selling
  • Set aside “sacred time” on your calendar dedicated to prospecting (at least 20% of your time)
  • Track your response rate and successes
  • Change your message if it does not work
  • Be prepared to have that conversation if the prospect says: “Tell me more, I am interested”Spending an equal amount of time or more prospecting with people that are not yet looking, will generate better qualified, less competitive, and an easier selling cycle than focusing on those prospects that are already looking. That said, if you get a call from someone who really wants to buy from you, please take the order.