Category Archives: Sales Strategy

Get Those Quotas Moving (Upward!) in 2018! 5 Things Your Salespeople Can Do.

Whether they had a tremendous 2017 or a difficult one, sellers likely hit the re-set button with the start of this new year. And that button push probably was accompanied by more aggressive quotas for those sellers to achieve in 2018.

So, what should sellers do to gear up for the coming year? As 2018 gets under way, here are five things I can share to help sellers get off to a good start.

1. Avoid stale quotes and proposals.

Unlike fine red wine, proposals that have been in the sales pipeline more than 45 days old aren’t getting better. Many of them, in fact, are likely to have”no decision”  outcomes.

So, if you’re the seller, what’s going on? There may be instances where your prospects have chosen a competitor and not given you the bad news. My suggestion is to send a snail mail letter, “return receipt requested,” to the highest level you’ve called on within the account. State in the letter how long the proposal has been outstanding, noting that you haven’t been updated on its status and that you intend to withdraw if you don’t hear anything back.

The hope is that your letter will cause the buyer to contact you and say there is still interest. If that’s the case, you can ask to revisit the opportunity (help facilitate a cost vs. benefit analysis) and see if a revised recommendation can be made. If your letter doesn’t elicit a response, you can safely remove it from your forecast. While that’s not the desired outcome, you’ll have the benefit of a more realistic view of the size and health of your pipeline.

2. Create add-on opportunities.

Sellers often believe that if customers have additional needs, they’ll proactively reach out. Certainly, close rates will be higher when there is an existing relationship vs. when sellers are closing new accounts. That’s why sellers should take a look at each client and try to determine potential business needs that might be addressed through the use of their company’s offerings; they should then proactively contact the key players who might be interested.

The key to initiating add-on opportunities is taking executives from latent to active need for a company’s desired business outcomes.

3. Be realistic with nurtured leads.

If the cost of your offerings exceeds $50,000, you may want to take a hard look at the entry level that nurtured leads provide. My view is that many of those leads get sellers in touch with people that are doing product evaluations. So, those people may not be working with budgets and have not identified potential areas of value/payback that can be realized through the use of your offerings.

Ask yourself if the contact you’ve been given is a potential champion who can provide you access to the key players you must call on to sell, fund and implement the offering being considered. If not, I suggest you treat the contact as a coach that may be willing to get you an introduction to a higher level that may then serve as your champion. My thought is to gain access to people who will see value in your offerings.

4. Ask for referrals.

Satisfied customers can be underused assets, especially if sellers can help them quantify results. My preference is that sellers break down benefits and values specific to titles and outcomes that have been achieved using those sellers’ offerings.

Once quantified, sellers can ask if their customers know of any other individuals or companies they could be referred to.

5. Plan a sales cycle ahead.

When I was in engineering school, I was a “just-in-time” learner in that I studiously avoided professors who assigned homework and also approached midterm and final exams with some last-minute cramming.

Some sellers follow my academic model — and that’s not smart: In terms of their year quota,  many sellers who are not YTD against their numbers believe they can close enough business in the last quarter to make up for their previous gaps. But this is a very stressful strategy, and there will be times when sellers run out of runway.

An alternative I’d suggest is for sellers to break their quota into monthly increments and multiply that number by the months in an average sales cycle. They can then estimate their close rates and set pipeline thresholds they should try to exceed.

Once they’re at the stage of interviewing committee members, sellers can then negotiate their activities and time frames via a written document with buyers (I call this pipeline “E”). Here’s an example of how to project ahead:

  • A seller has a $2.4 million quota ($200,000/month).
  • Her average sales cycle is four months and her close rate is 50 percent.
  • Therefore, her “E” target is to close $800,000 or more every four-month period.
  • At any time, if she is YTD or better, her E target will be $1.6 million in her pipeline.
  • In a given month, any shortfall from YTD must be doubled and added to that $1.6 million; business development efforts must be ramped up.

Being aware of YTD performance to date and projecting the sales cycle that’s ahead on a monthly basis can reduce stress levels during Q4.

And reducing stress is good, right? I hope these tips can help make your 2018 a great, and de-stressed, year.



5 Keys to Closing Far Bigger Deals at Massive Companies

There’s only one thing that separates the top 1 percent of salespeople from the rest of the pack — and it’s not the number of sales they close. In fact, many mediocre salespeople are closing more deals than the top performers in their industry. So what sets those successful salespeople apart?

The answer is average sale size. In many cases, the top 1 percent of salespeople are closing sales 10x the size of their competitors’ average sales.

The key to closing those massive deals lies in selling to much, much bigger companies. Read on to learn five keys to closing huge deals at large companies, then implement them to crush your competition and rise to the top of your industry.

1. Face your fear.

Most salespeople are nervous or uncomfortable trying to sell to really large companies, and they let that fear hold them back. Successful salespeople, on the other hand, understand that those large corporations can actually be easier to close.

First, they often have the same problems as the “smaller fish” you’re currently selling to — just on a bigger scale. Second, they actually have the budget to really invest in a premium solution. The only way to benefit from this reality is by facing your fear and realizing that big companies don’t bite.

2. Only sell to decision makers.

When you first start looking at bigger corporations, you may be overwhelmed by all of the fancy titles. Should you sell to the CMO? CSO? Chief Happiness Officer? Brand Director? What do those titles even mean? Cut to the chase by going straight to the top of the chain.

When looking at a big organization, identify the highest-ranking person relevant to the problem you solve, and start there. The worst thing they can do is refer you back down the chain of command, but if they do, you’ll not only be connected to the right decision maker, you’ll also be introduced by their boss.

3. Use an organized prospecting campaign.

If you’ve been relying on haphazard calls and email to reach your prospects, it’s time to upgrade your approach. Before going after a high-level prospect, sit down and plan out an organized prospecting campaign, complete with unique, value-adding packages that you send via FedEx. Why FedEx? Well, even C-suite prospects open their own FedEx packages — the curiosity is just too much to resist.

Each time you send a letter or package, follow up with a call or email. Be prepared to repeat this strategy over and over until you finally get through. After all, this will be a massive sale, so you can afford to put a little more time and money towards getting their attention and establishing a connection.

4. Clarify the decision-making process.

While small mom-and-pop operations often rely on one decision maker to choose a solution, the decision-making process is often more layered and complicated with a bigger company. By failing to understand that process on the front end, you’re setting yourself up for a much more difficult close.

Try asking your prospect, “What is your typical decision-making process for a solution like this?” By asking this question, you’ll be much more equipped to present a great sales proposal without being blindsided by a dozen more people you’ve never heard of who need to sign off on the decision.

5. Leverage each sale into more sales.

Once you sell to one department in an organization, it’s much easier to close additional sales in other areas of the company. When you close a big sale with a large company, don’t simply celebrate your success and go home. Instead, ask your new customer for introductions to others in the company — or outside of the company — that they think could benefit from your product or service.

Don’t wimp out on this last step. I’ve never met a salesperson who’s missed out on sales by asking for introductions, but I’ve met tons of salespeople who missed out by failing to ask. There’s no risk and a wealth of opportunity, so this should be a no-brainer next step after any sale.


Influence: The 4-Step Process for Selling Anything to Anyone

Influence is described as “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something.” However as subtle as some forms of influence might seem as they appear in both verbal and non-verbal cues, the ability to have influence over someone, especially in the area of sales, can quite literally transform your business and your finances.

As a decades-long student of psychology, I’ve long been fascinated with the areas of human behavior. From subtle gestures of body language, to the usage of a particular color in a call to action, I analyze and I notice the non-conscious drivers of our action. It’s a useful skill to have whether you’re a poker player, an ardent litigator or a savvy entrepreneur looking to negotiate your next deal.

However, my understanding of areas such as neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), a science that helps us understand and shape human behavior to our will, pales in comparison to some of the greatest purveyors of influence of all time. Richard Bandler and John Grinder who gave birth to this science that was championed by the likes of Tony Robbins, have crafted an entire arena of human development and understanding that’s advanced significantly in recent years.

Why is NLP so important? Well at the basis of selling anything to anyone is your ability to influence that person to buy from you. When you have a wholehearted understanding of the proper approach, not only can you sell, but you can likely outsell just about everyone. And if you’re a salesperson or entrepreneur anywhere in the world, then the following information could quite literally revolutionize your business and your ability to exponentiate your income.

How to Influence People to Buy From You

In a recent conversation with influence and persuasion expert Michael Bernoff, I dug deep into the science and strategies behind the ability to get someone to buy something from you. Considering that much of our thoughts and our actions are born from our unconscious mind, your ability to leverage and control that, not only in yourself, but also in others, will dictate your chances for success.

This information is applicable just as much as it is in the real world as it is in the digital world. Bernoff’s understanding and knowledge is also the basis for many of the techniques and strategies taught by some of the greatest online marketers such as Tony RobbinsRussell BrunsonRyan Deiss, Jay AbrahamFrank Kern and others. It all boils down to your ability to get people to make a commitment to you.

For example, ever wonder why, at an event such as a mastermind or a marketing conference, the speakers will get you to somehow agree with them about a certain concept or principle? They’ll either get you to stand up or raise your hand in agreement with whatever it is that they’re saying or asking. The best part? It doesn’t matter how small of a commitment they get from you, as long as they get it, that’s what matters.

They’ll tell you to raise your hand if you agree with some blanket statement that likely invokes a ‘yes’ response from just about everyone in the room. Or, they’ll get you to stand up and raise your hand. While these directives might seem very subtle, they’re setting the stage for something very powerful: the offer.

In webinars, you’ll see this happen all the time as well. Jason Fladlien, arguably the best webinar pitchman on the face of this earth, talks about doing this very same things. The secret to building out a winning webinar? Get people to commit to things. It doesn’t matter how small of a commitment it might be. Just get that commitment.

Tripwires and free-plus-shipping offers work in very much the same way. You get someone to commit to something small, even if it’s $1, you can both easily identify your buyers, but then also get a very small commitment. This forms the basis for most of the mechanics behind online marketing. It leverages our innermost psychology with our tendencies toward certain behavioral patterns.

Sales funnels are founded on these very principles. A funnel automates the process of selling something to someone, but it invokes the underlying principle of getting a solid commitment from the prospect. A prospect commits to you when they provide you with their email address and download or access your lead magnet. They also commit if they order a free book from you and simply pay the shipping-and-handling fee.

However, the best funnels also interweave commitments into things like the email sequences. They train prospects to click on links or respond in some other fashion. All of these are examples of commitments, and their power is most often understated, especially from the outside looking in. However, this one single force is the underlying technique used by the world’s most savvy marketers and salespersons to propel sales into the stratosphere.

4 Steps to Influence Your Prospect

Over the past 15 years, Bernoff has perfected a variety of methods for influence and persuasion that he often teaches around the world. It involves something called micro-commitments. The reasoning? Get people to agree with you on three small details, and the 4th is almost in the proverbial bag.

How powerful is this information? It could quite literally transform your business. There is real power in commitment. For example, when you verbally commit to something, it flips a switch in your mind. You can lucidly envision it. This is incredibly powerful during sales interactions or even things like hashing out contracts and other in-person, real-time negotiations.

It’s also the basis for setting goals and building out habits. For goal setting and habits, when you make not just a verbal commitment, but one that’s written down on paper, studies indicate that you’re far more likely to succeed. With habits, the commitment is invoked when you follow through each time. Every follow-through is one more notch in the commitment belt. String them all together and you can quickly form a good habit or break a bad one.

When it comes to the actual four-step process of getting a prospect to commit to you, Bernoff explains it like this. The reason why this works is because it lowers a person’s resistance and answers the magic question of what happens next. It also makes a prospect feel more comfortable when there’s an actual process in place to follow, making it a straightforward and very powerful selling tool.

Step 1: Get the prospect to commit to the process.

Bernoff explains that the first step is rather simple. It involves expressing a question that you’re almost certain to get a micro-commitment from the prospect. You simply say something along the following lines. “Our company has setup a 4-step process and it’s very simple. The first step is that I want to make sure we get along. If you’re comfortable, we’ll move to step 2.”

Your goal? Simply get them to say yes. Might sound silly to you. But, Bernoff explains that this is part of the overall influence strategy and of harmonizing the prospects unconscious mind with the process. By saying yes, you’ve just received the first in what will likely be a string of four vocal affirmations.

Step 2: Identify the prospect’s problem.

The next step in the process is to help the prospect identify the problem. Once again, you’re looking for a micro-commitment here. Get them to agree to move forward by telling them that you want to find out what they’re looking for. They’ve already agreed to the process, now they’re agreeing to actually move forward, which would give you your second commitment.

In this step, you get them to identify the problem. By identifying the problem, you’re creating the pain point that you’ll then get to solve. All you need to do is ask them “What’s wrong with your current situation?” If you’re selling copywriting services, you ask them what’s wrong with their copywriting situation. If you’re selling online marketing services, you ask them what’s wrong with their online marketing process? Get the picture?

Step 3: Show prospects the solutions.

In the next step, ask the prospects if you can show them your solutions. This is your third commitment. In the laws of persuasion, the saying goes that if you can get people to commit to the first three things, the fourth will automatically be true. Bernoff puts it like this. If you were to give someone three great stock picks in a row, you’d sure bet that they’d most certainly be all over the fourth one.

In this step, you’ll be showing them all the solutions that you have for their problem. If you’re selling coaching services, this is where you lay out the different plans. Show them flow charts and testimonials, and specifically how you’ll address their pain point. Make your pitch relevant and organic to whatever it is that they’re dealing with.

Step 4: Allow them to pick what’s naturally best for them.

In the last and final step in the influence-selling process, all you need to do is allow them to pick the option that’s naturally best for them. Bernoff tells me that the word ‘naturally’ is an influence word, and it should be used in this step when allowing the prospect to select the best choice that’s right for them.

At this point, the prospect has already given you three micro-commitments. You’ve primed their unconscious mind to say yes. They might not realize it, but you’ve just lowered their resistance level and increased the receptivity for your fourth and final step here. No matter what you’re selling, you can use this process to close sale after sale. It works almost religiously when used properly.


The One Strategy That Could More Than Double Your Sales

There are two basic ways you can increase sales: Close more often or close bigger deals. Most salespeople focus on trying to close more sales, but the truly successful among them instead sell to the “top dogs” in their industries.

There’s a catch, of course. If you want to reach high-level prospects at big organizations, you can’t simply make haphazard phone calls and send random sales emails. You need to implement one can’t-fail strategy: an organized sales-prospecting campaign.

Have you ever gone after a big fish in your industry before? What was the result? (If you’re unsure where to start, my free 1-Minute Sales Strength-Finder Quiz could help you focus on how your skills best match with a strategy to improve your track record.)

 Setting up the perfect campaign plan will help you more than double your sales and dominate your competition:

1. List your 10 ideal prospects.

It’s fine to start by listing the top organizations you’d like to convert to customers. But you need to be more strategic in your approach. Identify specific people you’ll need to meet within each company so you can secure the sale. Don’t waste your time with low- or mid-level management. Go after the VPs, CEOs and C-suite executives who have the power to invest in your offering.

2. Plan ahead for every point of contact.

Cold-calling doesn’t work when you’re going after valuable prospects. These people often get hundreds of sales calls every week. To stand out from the crowd, map out your plan for every prospecting touch before you ever make a call or send a prospecting email.

3. Think outside the box.

Next, brainstorm seven different ways you can “touch” your prospect. Calls and emails don’t count. Plan unique ways to offer something of real value so you can catch your prospect’s attention and stay on her or his radar.

4. Send personalized packages.

When you’re brainstorming those seven touches, look for ways to send something of value and personalize it to your prospect. Special reports, samples, case studies, handwritten notes and invitations to events all are examples. As a bonus, these valuable, information-packed offerings position you as an expert in what you’re selling. When you’re working toward a massive sale, you can afford to invest time and money in these personalized packages.

5. Send everything through FedEx.

No, I don’t get paid by FedEx to say this. I’ve simply found that everyone opens a FedEx box or envelope. Not even CEOs at large organizations can resist the curiosity. It’s a great method to ensure your prospect will open your package and actually lay eyes on the gift you’ve so carefully planned and customized.

6. Now you can call and email.

Once you’ve sent your package, follow up with a phone call or email. Because your prospect has seen your name on something of value, he or she will be far more likely to know who you are. That makes it much easier to start a conversation than a cold call ever could.

7. Don’t give up.

Some prospects will be responsive right away. Others will not. Just stick to your planned touches and rinse, wash, repeat. If you never get a response, move to another high-level prospect within the same organization and try again. Closing big sales takes persistence and patience, but doubling your sales certainly is worth the effort.


5 Tricks to Instantly Connect With Any Sales Prospect

Old-school sales trainers love to tell salespeople that they need to build rapport with prospects. These gurus say things like, “Your prospects need to like you. People only buy from people they like.” This approach is not only shallow — it’s also completely untrue.

People buy from those they trust and respect. If you can quickly connect with your prospects on a deeper level than just making them like you, you’ll start to build genuine relationships based on trust and respect. And those genuine relationships will lead to more sales.

Here are five tricks to instantly connect with any sales prospect so you can start to crush your sales goals. Check them out:

1. Ask a provocative question.

When you’re trying to get someone to like you, you’ll do or say anything to make the other person happy. Prospects don’t trust salespeople like that, whether they like them or not. Instead, they trust salespeople who challenge them to look at their problems and objectives in a new way. The best way to do that is by asking your prospects provocative questions.

Start your next conversation by mentioning two or three challenges you’ve observed in the industry, and then ask your prospect if any of those challenges resonate. If the answer is yes, the prospect will immediately view you as an expert and someone to be trusted. If the answer is no, and your prospect isn’t experiencing challenges you can solve, then you know right away that it’s not a good fit. This frees you up to move onto another prospect who will actually need your product or service.

2. Turn off your enthusiasm.

The typical salesperson greeting is one we’re all familiar with. “Hey! How are you today? I’m so excited to meet you and tell you all about how we can help your company!” This over-eager, cheesy greeting is the kiss of death for sales, yet most salespeople don’t even realize they’re doing it.

To see what I mean, try recording your next few prospecting phone calls. Play them back and listen carefully. Does your voice go up a few octaves when talking to prospects? If so, you need to drop the sales voice. Prospects pick up on that immediately, and it destroys any trust or respect you might have been able to establish. Instead, focus on being genuine. There’s no need to sound smooth or polished. Prospects find it refreshing to talk with a real person, and they’ll be more open to truly connecting with you.

3. Make it all about the prospect.

Prospects only care about themselves. But what do most salespeople focus on? Their products and services. This is a huge disconnect that prevents salespeople from establishing strong relationships with prospects.

You may be thinking, “No, not me. I’m always focused on the prospect.” But there’s a very good chance you’re wrong. If you ever talk about your product or service, then you’re not always focused on the prospect. It’s as simple as that. Great salespeople gain prospects’ trust by focusing on them 100 percent of the time.

4. Seek to understand key challenges.

As I said before, prospects only care about themselves. More specifically, they only care about the problems they’re currently facing. When you’re talking to a prospect, you’re only relevant to them if you can demonstrate how you can help solve those challenges.

Ask intentional questions that focus completely on your prospect’s biggest frustrations. Dig deep to understand how those frustrations are affecting the prospect. You can even try to get a dollar value for how much those challenges cost. Few salespeople are willing to dig in here, but when you do, you’ll start to nurture a relationship built on trust and respect.

5. Talk less.

This is straightforward and simple. Talk less and listen more. However much you talk during a conversation with prospects now, it’s safe to say you can stand to talk even less. Prospects should do the vast majority of the talking in any conversation. Keep this in mind while you’re engaging with new prospects, and you’ll set more meetings for successful sales.


6 Fatal B2B Sales Mistakes You Must Avoid

B2B sales can be incredibly rewarding and lucrative — if you know what you’re doing. Unfortunately, most salespeople in this field make the same few mistakes again and again. When everyone around you is making the same missteps and blunders with B2B selling, it can be extremely difficult to know how to fix your approach.

If you’re looking to overhaul your strategy for B2B sales so you can start to crush your competition, it’s time to start actively avoiding the most common B2B sales mistakes out there today. Here are the six fatal B2B sales mistakes you’re probably making:

1. Selling to low-level buyers.

It may be easier to get in front of buyers and purchasing managers than C-suite prospects, since you never have to deal with a gatekeeper in order to reach them. But those low-level buyers don’t have the power — or the budget — to tell you “yes.” In fact, they’re only really good at telling salespeople “no.” You won’t make money selling to low-level buyers in B2B sales, so make a commitment to seek out high-level decision makers who can actually say “yes” to what you have to offer their businesses.

2. Highlighting your product’s features and benefits.

There was a time when prospects cared about the features and benefits of your product. But they simply don’t anymore. Prospects today only care about the results and outcomes you can create in their world. More specifically, they want to know how you can solve their key challenges and deepest frustrations. Instead of highlighting your product’s features and benefits when selling to businesses, focus on specific outcomes your product or service can help your prospects achieve.

3. Giving proposals with only one option.

One of the biggest mistakes salespeople make in B2B sales is putting together single-option proposals. There are two major problems with these proposals. First, they don’t provide any context, which compels prospects to shop around to determine the value of your solution. Second, customers who really want to invest in a premium option will be limited to a lower-tier solution. Instead, provide a three-option proposal — ranging from the lowest end option that will still solve their problem to a higher end option with the most value — to boost your average sale size and the number of deals you close.

4. Relying solely on the phone and internet.

There’s been a big movement in B2B sales towards selling online and on the phone. In some cases, this can be efficient and helpful, but if you’re selling an expensive, high-end product or service that requires a serious investment, you simply can’t skip out on meeting face to face. Hop on a plane if that’s what it takes to sit across from a valuable prospect. You’ll increase your close rate many times over, and being able to close big deals at huge companies is well worth the cost of travel.

5. Failing to clarify your value proposition.

Every time a B2B prospect asks what exactly it is that you do, you should have a quick and rehearsed response that succinctly describes the value you create. Clarify, script out, and memorize your value proposition. This is the only part of your sales presentation you have to memorize, so there’s really no excuse for hazy, rambling answers to this question.

6. Rushing to offer deals and discounts.

Low prices only attract bad prospects in B2B sales. Your ideal customer cares about value, not price, so quit offering deals and discounts. It only lowers your value in the eyes of your prospects. Instead, focus on the value you create, and be proud to offer the premium solution on the market. This attitude will attract the type of customer who values you for years to come.

Which of these mistakes have you been making in B2B sales? How will you correct your mistakes and start crushing your sales goals? Check out this free Ultimate 3-Step Prospecting Call Template for more powerful sales advice.


5 Simple Ways to Get Prospects to Stay on the Phone with You

Let’s face it. Phone sales aren’t easy. Ask any salesperson about phone prospecting, and you’re bound to hear a litany of complaints. “Prospects hang up on me all the time! I can never get through to high-level prospects! I leave more voicemails than I can count!” Sound familiar?

But there’s good news. Instead of giving up on phone sales entirely, you can start implementing a few simple strategies that actually work to get your best prospects to stay on the phone with you.

Once you start using these surprisingly easy techniques, you’ll see that the phone is still the most effective way to get your prospects’ attention today. Here are five crazy-simple ways to get your prospects on the phone, so you can start crushing your sales goals.

1. Say the opposite of what’s expected.

Remember, your prospects are getting dozens of sales calls every day. And salespeople always sound alike. They’re over-the-top with excitement, constantly cheerful and way too loud.

Make an effort to stand out. Avoid sounding like a salesperson by saying the opposite of what’s expected, in any unexpected way. Set yourself apart by lowering your enthusiasm, taking the volume down a few notches and speaking in a measured, calm way. You’ll be amazed at how much more willing your prospects will be to stay on the phone with you.

2. Make a commitment, and stick to it.

Getting sent to voicemail isn’t a lost opportunity. Use it as your chance to show that you’re committed to connecting with prospects. Give them an exact date and time when you will call them back, and stick to it.

For example, instead of leaving a voicemail in which you ask for a return call or promise to try to reach them later, be specific. You can say, “If I don’t hear back from you, I’ll call you on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 3 p.m.”

3. Be persistent.

Don’t give up after just a few voicemail messages. One of the biggest phone sales mistakessalespeople make is to assume prospects aren’t interested just because they don’t call back after one or two voicemails. Nowadays, it can take up to 10 voicemails before you can get a qualified prospect on the phone.

They key to success is not getting discouraged. While other salespeople are giving up on the same hard-to-reach prospect, you need to stick to your guns. It might mean months of leaving messages, but you’ll get through eventually. Persistence is one of the most effective ways to get your best prospects on the phone.

4. Be provocative.

Voicemails don’t need to be the bane of your existence. In fact, they can actually be fun for both you and the prospect. Try saying something like, “I’m having a hard time getting through to you. Either you’re super busy, or you want nothing to do with me.” Using humor in your voicemails will set you apart from the competition, since most salespeople sound ultra-professional and stiff when they leave messages. Loosen up and get their attention.

5. Have contingencies.

At first, almost every prospect will try to get off the phone with you as quickly as possible. But don’t let that scare you away. Even the best, most qualified prospects will push you away on the phone, but that doesn’t mean they’re not interested in what you have to sell. That’s why you need to have contingencies in place to get high-value prospects to stay on the phone with you just a little bit longer.

If a prospect says they’re too busy to talk, shoot back with a contingency like, “I totally understand. What if I just take 20 seconds to tell you why I’m calling, and if it doesn’t make sense to you, we can hang up afterwards?” A response like this will catch any prospect off guard and buy you just enough time to stay on the phone and make your way toward closing the sale.

Which of these crazy-simple tips will you start using in your phone prospecting? You can also check out this free 9-Day Sales Intensive to help transform your selling approach.


3 Good Questions for the Non-Salesperson’s Sales Process

We all sell, even if the word “salesperson” is not part of our job description. And to many entrepreneurs, the sales process is a great mystery. How does a non-salesperson sell? The answer — keep it simple.

Here are three key items to discuss with your customers. From these, you can design a “non-salesperson’s” sales presentation. They are simple, they are straightforward, and they help you understand your customer’s needs — which will help you offer an ideal solution.

1. “Tell me what first got you thinking about …”

Begin your discussion with a consultative approach to help you understand your customer’s current dilemma.

What happened before they contacted you? What was the trigger event that initiated their interest in your product or service? What problem in their life is driving them to look for a solution? You can build an entire sales presentation around the information gathered from this one query. It’s that powerful.

Note: This discussion can open the door for follow-up questions like, “Tell me more about that” or “Why do you feel that way?”

2. “Tell me how you want to feel when your problem is solved.”

You have identified the problem the customer is moving away from. Now, you’re attempting to discover what the customer wants to move toward. By having your customer describe their ideal future state, you connect with them on an emotional level.

At times, the customer’s future state will be crystal clear. But in many cases, it will still be somewhat vague. By having the customer describe how they want to feel, you can gain insight into what they want their future to look like. At this point, you can share the benefits and values of your product or service, including all the terms. That will lead you to step three — the opportunity for your customer to purchase.

3. “Let me explain the process to you.”

Having identified the problem (step one) and shown your customer the best solution (step two), you can move on to explain the purchase process.

Keep this very simple and just hit the highlights. Make it easy and exciting. “Should you decide to purchase, let me walk through the steps with you. The first thing we would do is …” Share a half dozen or so top-level steps in the process, and then go back to step one and ask if that’s the step they wish to take.

Example: “So the very first step is to sit down and write a purchase agreement. Is that what you want to do?” It’s a simple yes or no question. It’s not scary or manipulative or tricky. You’re simply asking for the commitment to take the next step in the process.

The sales process isn’t as complex as some people make it sound. Even “non-salespeople” can do it. Keep it simple. Design your conversation around these three basic questions. If you do, it will put you on the fast track to changing your customer’s world.


3 Steps to Blowing Up Your Business

All businesses are built on sales. Selling is to an organization what food, water and oxygen are to the body. Take time to learn the mechanics and true art of selling and you’ll be a millionaire. Despite the myth, no one is “born a salesman.” I am an expert in sales, but trust me I was not born a salesperson. This is why you must take every opportunity you have to learn the art of selling.

My good friend and business partner Victor Antonio spoke on selling at 10XGrowthCon discussing three steps you should be aware of to blow your business up:

Victor Antonio: “When I moved into selling, they gave me a territory and I still remember the conversation with the president. He said, ‘Victor, I’m putting you in charge of the territory, and this territory has never made more than $14 million. Whatever you do, do not sell less than $14 million.’ That was the mandate. So, I had to go to work. What did I do?

Step 1The Assessment

First I analyzed the territory. I looked at my territory for 90 days. I traveled with salespeople, went with them on their meetings, basically watched their presentation. And what was I looking for? Were they meeting with decision makers, yes or no? Were they positioning the value, as opposed to selling price? At the end of 90 days, I had to make a decision. I had good clay and bad clay.

When you study your salespeople for 90 days, it shouldn’t even take that long. You could probably figure out who were the best salespeople within the first 30 minutes. But I spent 90 days with these salespeople and I had three categories. There were people who were exceptional, 20 percent of my salespeople were exceptional. Then at the other extreme, I had 20 percent of the people who simply didn’t know how to sell, who were what I call “bad clay.” What did I do with those? I fired them.

What I typically find out is 20 percent of salespeople are great and 20 percent are not that good, so get rid of them. But right in the middle, if there are people who are good clay — that are on the bubble — then all you need to do is train them.

Step 2: Mark Territory.

One of the things that wasn’t happening is that we had not basically segmented the market. And what I did is immediately I started marking the territory. I split the region into seven territories. Why was this important? Because here’s what I found out, salespeople were flying across regions, trying to sell something, instead of selling locally, which drove up my cost.

It was also causing conflict with my sales team, because people are going into their backyards to sell something they shouldn’t have sold. Also, the customers were confused because two to three salespeople would actually visit them from the same company. If you’re not marking your territory, if you don’t give them a territory, they’re confused. Remember, ‘Clarity breeds confidence.’ This is the whole thing about eating an elephant whole, you can’t do it. So, segment your market, mark your territory.

Step 3: Define Your Verticals

If you have your territories marked out, now the real key is how much money are in the vertical segments of these territories? How do you size your revenue?

Let’s pretend for a moment you’re selling a software system and it’s a payroll software system. If you’re selling software, then you might want to go after healthcare providers. So maybe a vertical would be dentist. Maybe another one would be chiropractors. Then grid everything out. What do I mean by that?

I looked at each vertical market, looked at each segment and say ‘What is the revenue potential in those markets?’I want to give you a simple formula for sizing your market. Look at the number of opportunities in your market. Multiply it by the win rate and then the average deal size.

This is how you can scale your business — figure out your revenues by finding the number of opportunities in your area, multiply it by the win rate and multiply that by the actual deal size. You can then size the region.

Let’s pretend for a moment that there are 250 dentists in your territory of Miami. I would write down 250. If you believe that you can close 10 percent of those deals and your average deal size is $20,000 then you know you have a $500,000 market.

You’ve got your territories, you’ve got your verticals, now you have to make a key decision. How do you get the business? Anything that has a million dollars, scale it…because if there’s a million dollars potential revenue, you should hire a direct salesperson.”

Victor gives a great overview there of what you need to do to blow your business up. Much more will be talked about at the next 10XGrowthCon where we will look to take you and your business to the next level.


4 Ways to Make It Easy for Customers to Give You Their Money

Marketing and selling are part art and part science, but sometimes, the simplest of tactics are truly the most effective. If you want to grow your business, make it easy for current and prospective customers to give you money. Here are four simple tactics to do so.

1. Contact them.

Far too many businesses are reactive when it comes to customers. Businesses wait around for the customers to contact them about purchasing their products and services instead of proactively reaching out.

My old cleaning service that I used prior to moving always waited for me to contact them for an appointment. Given my busy schedule, my home was often way overdue for their services by the time I got around to make an appointment. Now, my current cleaning service owner texts me regularly, which forces me to make the appointment a priority. This means that my new cleaning service probably gets almost double the revenue from me each year that my old one did.

My Gyrotonic teacher does even better. He doesn’t let me leave his studio without making sure that I book my next appointment. Again, if it were up to me to fit the time to contact him into my schedule, he would certainly see me less often.

If you own a spa, book the next appointment before the customer leaves. If you are an estate lawyer, contact your clients about reviewing their estate plans to make sure they are up to date. Being proactive with your existing customers can lead to a significant uptick in revenue and be helpful to managing your clients’ time in the process.

This can work with prospects, too — offer to book a free or discounted service for them when they inquire for information before finishing the correspondence, whether it’s by phone, text, email, in person or in another format.

2. Create pre-payment plans.

If you have the ability to create bundles or plans for your services upfront, getting a commitment and prepayment not only can help your business’s cash flow, but it can also increase your clients’ utilization of your services. For example, I outsource my information technology (IT) support to a company who sells prepaid blocks of time for their services. This encourages clients, like me, who know they already have some support coming to use it; and, as a bonus, they don’t have to track the customers down for payment after the fact.

3. Upsell.

Existing customers already know you and your business. They hopefully like and trust you, too and for those who do, it’s fairly easy to find ways to get them to purchase more product just by asking for it. My IT support vendor, mentioned above, started working with me by migrating my email to the cloud. From there, it was easy to talk to me about purchasing general IT support, cloud back-up services and more.

Make sure that you are reviewing your customers’ purchase history to see what additional products and services you can be marketing to them, as add-ons or otherwise. If you don’t have ancillary products and services, poll your customers and clients to find out what services and/or products they might want from you that can help you grow with your existing customer base.

And, of course, borrowing from the advice above, don’t wait for them to come to you — reach out to tell them about it.

4. Don’t turn away a sale.

Finally, be smart about how you respond to inquiries from prospective and existing customers, which is a fancy way of saying don’t forget to do it! I have a client who was dying to buy new accounting software for his multi-million dollar business, but he couldn’t get a rep to return a call. I have another client who tried to purchase digital rights management software, but couldn’t get anyone to return his inquiries. I have yet another client who was talking to a business development manager at an ecommerce company about an opportunity, who ostensibly fell off the face of the earth.

You get the picture — your marketing efforts are useless if you drop your leads before converting people into customers (not to mention if you forget to continue to nurture your customers and lose them).

Customers have needs that are addressed by your products and services, so don’t make it hard for them to give you money and you will find your business rewarded in the process.