Tag Archives: prospecting

Don’t Network for the Sake of Networking

By Jeff Beals

Sounds of laughter and clinking dishes filled the room at the well-attended networking event inside the hotel conference center.

Like the other professionals in attendance, I tried my best to move about the room, meeting people and engaging in discussion – mostly small talk.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Jon and couldn’t help chuckling a bit to myself as he approached.

Jon’s a great guy, someone I have enjoyed getting to know. But I always shake my head when I think about him, because Jon is the poster-boy for inefficient and ultimately non-effective networking.

You see, Jon is the business development guy for a consulting firm. His job is to schmooze, to go out into the world, build relationships and ultimately sign up clients for his firm’s services. Jon works hard at the “relationship” part of his job but doesn’t appear to be terribly effective at the “signing-up-clients” part.

Jon is seemingly everywhere. He’s a voracious networker. He’s diligent, because you can’t go to a networking event without seeing him. He is intelligent and talented. He is engaging. Shoot, he’s even a good-looking. He knows how to play the social networking game.

Despite all his attributes, Jon has one glaring deficiency. In the 10 years I have known him, he has never once asked for my business.

It’s not just me. I was talking to a friend, and somehow Jon’s name came up in discussion. I mentioned that I’ve always been amazed at how much attention I receive from Jon without ever being asked for my business. My friend had noticed the same thing.

Jon is a guy who networks for the sake of networking. He knows it’s the right thing to do, but he doesn’t finish the job, call the question, ask for the order.

Remember that your ultimate goal in networking is to establish rapport, learn information and ultimately use it to accomplish your business goals. Sure, most of your time is engaged in chit-chat and pleasantries, but at some point it’s time to cash in.

Jon’s affliction is actually a common one.

It’s fun to do the relationship-building part, but it’s hard for many people to follow through with the asking part. Asking can be intimidating, because it’s not fun to be turned down. It’s human nature to avoid rejection. Because of that, many people put themselves out there, build relationships and simply hope and pray that the clients will come to them.

That’s too passive. Waiting for people to volunteer to be your clients might work occasionally, but it won’t generate enough business to sustain you.

It’s true that successful people must network, but networking is simply a means to an end. Your success as a networker is ultimately judged when your prospect signs their name on the dotted line.

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff Beals has presented four different topics at five of our internal events in 2016. At each event, the audience of commercial real estate principals and agents was completely engaged and motivated the entire time. Jeff facilitates his training sessions in such a way that each member of the audience was able to relate and understand how to apply it every day in the field. Jeff is brilliant, and we have hired him to continue speaking at our events in 2017!” – Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President, NAI Global, New York, NY

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had ever heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

(402) 637-9300

Stop Selling the Wrong Stuff!

By Jeff Beals

What do you sell?

If you answered “software” or “real estate” or “industrial machinery” or any other specific product or service, you got it all wrong.

The world’s most successful salespersons don’t sell products and services. They sell VALUE. In other words, instead of selling insurance, you’re selling security, protection and peace of mind. Instead of selling Pampered Chef products, you are selling prestige, coolness and an easier way to prepare gourmet food.

You don’t want to be paid for the job, hour, gig, order, product, presentation, contract, deal, project etc. You want to be paid for the value you bring to the client. And if you do a truly effective job of establishing value, you then can receive regular income from that client on an on-going basis. You must be seen as an investment, not an expense.

How do you go about convincing a client that you provide great value?

Delivery – Consistently deliver outstanding results. With so much competition in the world, clients have the right to assume that all providers are competent. Make sure you are more than competent in your operations.

Interpersonal Communication – You will have a hard time determining what the client values if you don’t communicate thoroughly and listen carefully.

Relationships and Trust – Do what it takes to build a strong bond with your clients.

After have figured out what they value (or care about) it is time to start talking about what you can do for them. Too many business leaders and sales representatives start spouting off the features and benefits of their products before it’s time.  When it is your turn to talk however, don’t be afraid to take charge.  Take the initiative!  Show the prospect how your solution best delivers value.  It’s okay to push the prospect a bit at this point because you know you have just the right product for them.

Remember, always focus on the client value. Determine what is most important to him or her.

Ultimately, you are not in the product- or service-selling business. You’re in the results-selling business. The right results, along with a trusting relationship are what your clients truly value.

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff Beals has presented four different topics at five of our internal events this year. At each event, the audience of commercial real estate principals and agents was completely engaged and motivated the entire time. Jeff facilitates his training sessions in such a way that each member of the audience was able to relate and understand how to apply it every day in the field. Jeff is brilliant, and we have hired him to continue speaking at our events next year!” – Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President, NAI Global, New York, NY

I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had ever heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

+1-402-637-9300

info@jeffbeals.com

Is Your Company Recruitment or Retention Focused?

By Jeff Beals

As a sales leader, you need a frank assessment of who you are and what your organization is really all about.

For instance, are you developing sales strategy for a “client-recruitment” or a “client-retention” shop? Some companies operate in industries or markets that are rich in prospective clients. Those are client-recruitment shops. Other companies exist in an environment of client scarcity. Those are client-retention shops.

Of course, you should always have a healthy respect for client retention. As the old saying goes, “It’s cheaper to keep a customer than to find a new one.” That said, some businesses have more opportunity to find and attract a steady stream of new clients. You have to know where you stand and in what arena you compete.

As you prepare your sales strategy, figure out how much of an emphasis you can place on client recruitment versus client retention. Look at your business honestly. Assess your industry, your marketplace and your standing within that marketplace.  The level of competitive pressure directly influences your sales strategy.

Financial resources can also play a role in sales strategy development. If your company is young, you might not have the sales and marketing budget to match that of your competitors.  Some sales leaders work for firms that don’t allocate “enough” resources to marketing and sales support.  In such cases, every client is precious.  You better make sure your client service level is high, because you’re not one of those companies than can count on a steady flow of clients.

If you do operate in an environment of client abundance, it doesn’t mean you can be slovenly – a sales team that is lazy and takes clients for granted.  But it does mean you can take more risks and have more bargaining power in price negotiations.

So, think about your company…Are you a “client-recruitment” company or a “retention-company.”  Adjust your plan accordingly.

Truth be told, you’re probably somewhere in the middle.  Think of it as a continuum with recruitment on one far end and retention on the other.

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff Beals has presented four different topics at five of our internal events in 2016. At each event, the audience of commercial real estate principals and agents was completely engaged and motivated the entire time. Jeff facilitates his training sessions in such a way that each member of the audience was able to relate and understand how to apply it every day in the field. Jeff is brilliant, and we have hired him to continue speaking at our events in 2017!” – Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President, NAI Global, New York, NY

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had ever heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

+1-402-637-9300

info@jeffbeals.com

How to Establish Your Personal Brand This Fall

By Jeff Beals

I live across the street from a high school.

Make no doubt about it; there are some negatives living so close 2,500 teenagers. You hear a lot of squealing tires and you’re constantly picking up fast-food wrappers that blow into your yard.

But there’s a big positive as well – I love hearing the marching band practice each evening.  It starts in early August and continues throughout the high school football season. When I hear that marching band, it puts a smile on my face, because it means autumn just around the corner.  It’s my favorite time of year.

September is also the best time of the year to assess your personal brand status and make plans to grow and strengthen the image people have of you.  Why is September such an important time?  Well, ever since you were a kid, September marked the beginning of new academic year.  As a professional, it’s the start of a very busy four months.  Right now is your chance to make sure 2017 ends up as a success for you.

Make no mistake…You ARE a brand. You’re a business of one, a business unto yourself. Every successful business makes annual marketing goals. As a “personal business,” so too must you. So too must all of us.

As I do each year around this time, I’m reminding you to protect and advance your personal brand, here are 12 items to remember:

Focus externally – Be active and involved outside your home or office. Show up at networking events. Go out of your way to talk to people when you are in public venues. Remember that nearly 75% of all jobs are never advertised and a similar percentage of big clients only come from relationship-building. Make it a goal to attend a certain number of events per month.

Think Like a Sales Pro – Because you are a “business” of one, you need to sell yourself the way businesses sell themselves. Read up on marketing and sales techniques. Remember that a good sales rep always has lots of prospects moving through all parts of his or her pipeline at all times. In other words, at any given time, you should be meeting new people, strengthening relationships with existing acquaintances and holding serious professional conversations (deal-making, so to speak) with people you know well.

Find the Fascinating – You need an “area of self-marketing expertise,” something about your business or career that is fascinating to people outside your profession. Feature this when you are networking or using social media.

Focus on results when networking – Determine what is most interesting about your career and your line of work and then exploit it. I call it your “area of self marketing expertise.” That’s what you talk about when you meet new people, not the mundane, technical details that will cause a lay person’s eyes to glaze over in boredom.

Build a “Google trail” – If you haven’t done a search on your name lately, see what’s out there. I guarantee that people are Googling you on a regular basis. A prospective client will probably Google you to know who he or she is dealing with before meeting with you. That’s why a Google trail is so important. If nothing or very little pops up when someone Googles you, there’s a problem – they’ll assume you don’t have much going on. Therefore, Google your own name on a regular basis. If you’re not very visible on line, deliberately get your name out there to build an Internet presence.

Get serious about social media – Be honest…Is your online brand inadequate? Social media are now to people what the Yellow Pages were to businesses 25 years ago – THE place where future clients and prospective employers find out about you. Don’t just have a presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Make sure you post material that is interesting and not just inane personal stuff. Use social media to strengthen your reputation by building on your area of self-marketing expertise. Social meeting is not just for fun; it’s an essential business tool.

Go Beyond the Big Three – LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are great, but don’t stop there. The more social media outlets you use, the better. You can even use Google+, Pinterest and Instagram to build a personal brand. Millions of professionals receive great benefit from their YouTube videos. Blogging has long been a powerful personal branding tool.

Use Your Real Name – In order to build your personal brand awareness, use your real name when reviewing products on websites, making comments at the end of newspaper/magazine articles and posting comments on discussion forums. Just make sure the things you write help your personal brand as opposed to harming it.

Engage the Media – Volunteer your expertise to media outlets in your industry as well as your local market. Make a point to meet members of your local and industry media and build friendly relationships with them. In addition to traditional media, you can get a lot of mileage from doing blogs and podcasts.

Refresh your value statement – Does your 20-second intro speech need updating? You need to be able to say what you do quickly, clearly and in a way that captures a person’s interest. A useful elevator speech also conveys how a person could benefit from what you do.

Ask probing questions – Don’t just chit-chat and make small talk during networking conversations. Ask some questions designed to uncover the critical information that leads to new opportunities.

Listen to your clients and colleagues – When we get too busy, it’s easy to start making assumptions. Those assumptions can cause you to lose opportunities. Instead, ask the important questions and truly listen to the responses. Don’t just go through the motions. Let the other person’s words sink in and make an impression on your brain.

By the way, never let up. When things are good, don’t let complacency stop you from perpetually marketing yourself. When things are going poorly, don’t let discouragement be an excuse for apathy.

Remember, marketing yourself is never about ego; it’s just marketing. In a loud and crowded world, hard work and talent are no longer enough. You need to make sure key audiences know about your abilities and accomplishments.

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff Beals has presented four different topics at five of our internal events in 2016. At each event, the audience of commercial real estate principals and agents was completely engaged and motivated the entire time. Jeff facilitates his training sessions in such a way that each member of the audience was able to relate and understand how to apply it every day in the field. Jeff is brilliant, and we have hired him to continue speaking at our events in 2017!” – Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President, NAI Global, New York, NY

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had ever heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

+1-402-637-9300

info@jeffbeals.com

Is Your Buyer a Liar? Here’s How to Find Out

By Jeff Beals

 “Buyers are liars.”

That’s an age-old saying in the sales profession, and I hear salespeople use it from time to time.

I’m not a fan of the saying, because using it can emotionally pull you apart from a client, but there have been times when I too have thought “buyers are liars.”

Why do sales pros feel compelled to utter these words? Is it because grizzled veterans get cynical and jaded after years of sales trench warfare?

Perhaps that’s the case for some burned-out old timers, but it’s not the main reason.

Is it because sales reps harbor feelings of hostility toward their clients?

No, it’s not that either. Most professionals are grateful they have clients.

Sales pros like to use the term “buyers are liars,” because sometimes they’ll work hard trying to find the perfect solution for a client only to have that client later say they want something completely different. It happens a lot in some industries.

Is that the buyer’s fault?

Occasionally, but not usually.

While some people choose to mislead a salesperson for whatever reason, blame is usually placed at the foot of the sales pro.  We sometimes think “buyers are liars” because we are not really listening. More significantly, we’re not listening as intensely and studiously as we should.

The key is to listen like a detective.  Think like a detective.  Act like a detective.

Ask questions and carefully listen. You need to listen as intently and actively as a detective listens while interrogating a suspect in a homicide or some other serious crime.

I have often thought that many of the activities professionals (of any industry) do each day are analogous to the work done by detectives.

Whether you are selling, negotiating, proposing or convincing, your success depends on conveying information and getting information out of somebody else. There are times when your clients, colleagues and vendors do not want you to know the whole story. Other times, they may accidentally omit important parts of the information.

As a “detective,” you need to keep digging. Turn over the rocks. Scratch the dirt. Use your Sherlock Holmes magnifying glass. Don’t take things at face value. If you have any doubts or feel like there is even the slightest hole in the information you are receiving, you need to keep questioning – and listening – like a detective.

During interrogation, criminal suspects have a vested interest in the outcome, which is why they lie, withhold, mislead and evade. Detectives look for inconsistencies in their stories and take cues from suspects’ body language. When detectives get the sense that they might be making progress in an interrogation, they start to go deeper, asking more detailed and intricate questions.

Hopefully, your professional interactions are not as grave and adversarial as a criminal interrogation. Nevertheless, you must know that many of the people with whom you interact feel compelled to withhold information. You need to get that information out of them, because it has a direct impact on your success.

Even when the other person and you have a mutual interest, it’s not uncommon for the truth to lie beneath the surface. Keep questioning and listening intently until you are convinced you have unearthed the whole story.

ATTENTION SALES PROS:

I want to make you aware of a unique prospecting resource available to you. My colleague Beth Mastre and I are offering the “Sales Prospecting Masterclass” on Tuesday, August 29th in my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.  It’s sponsored by the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, but anyone, regardless of whether they are a chamber member, is welcome to register.

This class will change the way you prospect.  It’s a “deep dive.”  We’ll spend the whole day covering what actually works in today’s challenging sales environment.  Every participant will leave with a step-by-step, personalized prospecting plan and actual language you can use to engage prospects the very next day. Click here for information or to register!

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff Beals has presented four different topics at five of our internal events in 2016. At each event, the audience of commercial real estate principals and agents was completely engaged and motivated the entire time. Jeff facilitates his training sessions in such a way that each member of the audience was able to relate and understand how to apply it every day in the field. Jeff is brilliant, and we have hired him to continue speaking at our events in 2017!” – Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President, NAI Global, New York, NY

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had ever heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

“Our corporate partnership team had great takeaways regarding how to network smarter while also understanding the importance of our personal brand to current and prospective partners. Jeff does a great job weaving in real-world examples and how you can apply his teachings to growing your business and building long-term partnerships.” – Jason Booker, Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, The Kansas City Royals Major League Baseball Team

+1-402-637-9300

info@jeffbeals.com

Video: Buyers’ 8 Most Common Concerns

Click here to watch this week’s video!

As a sales professional, your job is to figure out exactly what prospective clients care about. How do you do that? It’s easy — ask your prospects questions based on the eight things that buyers typically care about.

All eight of those buyer concerns are revealed in this week’s Blue Chip Sales Tip Video!

How to Overcome the 4 Biggest Prospecting Challenges

Sales Prospecting Class Logo NARROW

By Jeff Beals

Prospecting is not just something sales professionals do to fill their pipelines. Prospecting is a mindset, and for the most successful sales pros, it’s a way of life.

If you work in sales, nobody has to tell you that prospecting today is exponentially harder than at any other time in history.  Why is that?  Here are four reasons:

  1. Prospects are busier than ever, making them distracted and difficult to reach.
  2. Products are services are now commonly considered to be mere commodities.
  3. Salespeople all sound and act the same. Too many of us utter the same meaningless jargon and gimmicky sales lines.
  4. Prospects have access to unprecedented information about products and services. They can find out anything they want about your company through a simple Google search. In many cases, they can find online reviews about your offerings.  They can go onto a discussion forum and solicit opinions about you and your products. The problem with all this information, however, is that it tends to be overwhelming, unfiltered and often taken out of context.  Prospects are highly informed but not necessarily accurately informed.

The combination of these four challenges has turned prospects into price-sensitive buyers who are hesitant to engage with salespeople.

So, what can we do to rise above the fracas and succeed in an highly competitive selling environment?

Prospect like “your hair’s on fire” – Because prospecting is harder than ever, you need to be more diligent.  Like I mentioned earlier, prospecting is a mindset, a way of life.  You could even call is a “lifestyle.”  Embrace it. Welcome it.  Do it every single day of the week.  While prospecting can be nerve-wracking and frustrating, push through it.  If you are positive about it, you’ve won half the battle.

It’s not about you – Always focus on what the prospects value, not what you care about.  It’s never about you. It’s not about your company. It’s not about your product’s features and benefits.  Think of yourself as a detective assigned to figure out how you can best help the mysterious person known as your prospect.

Apply discipline to your prospecting – Even though there are more enjoyable things to do as a sales professional, you have to make prospecting one of your top daily activities.  You even have to do it on days you’re closing other deals.  Top producers reserve blocks of time for prospecting and they don’t allow any distractions during those times. I know of no other use of your time that is more likely to lead to long-term sales success than being a dedicated, disciplined prospector.

Value-based language – When emailing prospects, leaving them voicemails or talking to them face-to-face, ask questions that determine what they value and then explain things in a way that shows how you deliver that value.  Good prospectors research and test language they can use when engaging potential customers.  Ultimately, you want language that captures a prospect’s attention, conveys value, makes them feel comfortable sharing sensitive information with you and then compels them to make some sort of a commitment.

Make a plan – While you need to be an exuberant and disciplined prospector, you do need a plan. If you run to the nearest phone and start dialing cold prospects haphazardly, you’re wasting your time.  Your plan should include what types of people you target, where you get leads, how you do pre-call research, the language you use to establish value and the tactics you use to push them further down your pipeline.

This comes as a surprise to a lot of people, but did you know that prospecting is the number-one deficiency among salespeople and sales departments?  It’s true. Most of the problems that salespeople complain about are ultimately caused by poor prospecting methods or a lack of prospecting discipline.

I want to make you aware of a unique prospecting resource available to you. My colleague Beth Mastre and I are offering the “Sales Prospecting Masterclass” on Tuesday, August 29th in my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.  It’s sponsored by the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, but anyone, regardless of whether they are a chamber member, is welcome to register.

This class will change the way you prospect.  It’s a “deep dive.”  We’ll spend the whole day covering what actually works in today’s challenging sales environment.  Every participant will leave with a step-by-step, personalized prospecting plan and actual language you can use to engage prospects the very next day. Click here for information or to register!

Video: What’s the Single Most Important Thing to Know about Sales?

Click here to watch this week’s video!

What’s the most important thing to remember when it comes to selling? It’s not about you! That’s it. Always remember, whether you’re prospecting, presenting or closing, focus on the buyer, not your features and benefits. But be careful to avoid the “biggest sin in business.”

You’ll hear all of that and more in this week’s “Blue Chip Sales Tip” video!

PROSPECTING: Sales Pros Should Be Seemingly Everywhere

By Jeff Beals

The most successful sales professionals tend to work long and hard.  A significant chunk of those hours is typically dedicated to prospecting activities: networking, making phone calls, placing outbound emails, responding to emails, hosting guests, visiting people who refer/recommend them to clients and developing raving fans who champion their cause.

Prospecting must be perpetual. No matter how busy you may be, you need to get out of the office and show up at networking events. We need to reach out and engage the world around us. As a rule of thumb, you need to have meaningful encounters with people in your network every day—including weekends.

I admit that’s a demanding standard.

The good news is that these encounters don’t necessarily have to be at formal functions held in formal venues. Your sphere of interest is ubiquitous. Strike up conversations with people around you. Reach out to people and get to know those who might refer a desirable prospect to you some day.

Many prestigious, big-time clients in the typical industry can only be reached through relationships. They do not commonly walk into your office asking to be your customer. They are not amenable to cold calls, and they won’t respond to your direct mail piece no matter how pretty it is. You have to go out and meet them face-to-face in the places where they live, work and play.

“Big elephant” clients know they are important, and they expect to be wined and dined, so to speak. They are big deals and expect to be treated like a big deal.  That requires sales professionals to go out into the world and actively communicate. Getting access to the highly desirable clients requires you to be among your sphere of interest on a regular basis (or get a referral from someone they trust).

Get out there and meet everyone you can. Ask questions. Be like a detective turning over every stone, looking for any shred of evidence that can help you make the sale.

Great salespersons are seemingly “everywhere.” They live their lives so actively that other people feel as if they see them everywhere.

If someone ever says to you, “I see you everywhere,” you know you’re doing something right.

Jeff Beals shows you how to find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share.  Jeff is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.”

Here’s Why Should You Choose Jeff Beals as Your Next Speaker:

“Jeff Beals has presented four different topics at five of our internal events in 2016. At each event, the audience of commercial real estate principals and agents was completely engaged and motivated the entire time. Jeff facilitates his training sessions in such a way that each member of the audience was able to relate and understand how to apply it every day in the field. Jeff is brilliant, and we have hired him to continue speaking at our events in 2017!” – Lindsay Fierro, Senior Vice President, NAI Global, New York, NY

“Your workshop was a huge experience for our attendees by giving them the opportunity to improve their work in the critical environment in which we are living today. Your talent as a speaker and your qualities as a person made the difference during your time with us. I would certainly recommend you to anyone who asks.” – Ana Paula Costa, Educational Planner, Febracorp, Sao Paulo, Brazil

I’m in Phoenix and had breakfast earlier this morning with our semi-retired sales representative who is doing some continued work for us here.  He attended your sales meeting last week and told me that in 43 years of selling, you were the best he had ever heard.  Thanks for a great experience.” – Drew Vogel, President & CEO, Diamond Vogel Paints, Orange City, IA

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Replying to RFPs Is a Waste of Time (Most of the Time)

By Jeff Beals

When I was in high school (circa 1986), I auditioned for a couple of Hollywood movies.  One of the movies was being filmed here in my hometown while the other one held auditions here in addition to several other cities. I tried out just for fun, and knowing the long odds, I never expected to be chosen.  Though I wasn’t offered a part in either film, the experiences were eye opening for a 17-year-old kid.

The first audition was a positive experience. It was a comedy film written for a teenage audience. I tried out for the lead role, which was fittingly enough, a nerdy high school kid who was forced to fight an intimidating bully who had just transferred in from another school. I had an appointed time to show up and spent about 30 minutes with the casting director and his entourage. I read several scenes and then answered interview questions. I felt like I was actually being considered for the part.

The second audition was a “cattle call,” in which several hundred would-be movie stars showed up at a local hotel ballroom. After waiting a couple hours, I was brought into a separate room with a group of six other guys. They lined us up, looked at each of us in comparison to one another and then told half of us to go home. I was one of the guys told to leave.  That was it.  I waited for hours only to be sent packing having never said a word.

Do you want to know why I received so much more attention in the first audition than the second?  I was actually recommended for the first movie by a local talent agency that had been hired by the movie producers.  At the second audition, I was just one of 250 nameless, faceless unknowns.

Why do I tell you this story?

Because it reminds me of the Request-for-Proposal (RFP) process in the world of sales.  As a general rule, I hate RFPs and I only respond to them under rare circumstances.

I hate RFPs, because they are just like that cattle-call movie audition. Think about it this way:

  • A company decides it needs a new vendor, so several employees sit down and think of all the things they do and don’t want and then dream up a bunch of hoops for would-be vendors to jump through.
  • They send the RFP to every potential vendor they can think of.
  • Prospective vendors practically do backflips trying to meet all the RFP requirements and end up rushing to meet the deadline.
  • The company that issued the RFP then examines all the proposals that were submitted and compares them.  Ultimately, they decide that some of the proposals are basically offering the same products/services, so they choose the lowest-priced bid.
  • And it can get even worse.  The finalists are sometimes pitted against each other in a bidding war to see who is willing to discount their price to the lowest number. It’s a race to the bottom.
  • The “winner” ends up doing a lot of work for too little money.

This is not a recipe for high profitability.

Generally speaking, I recommend you respond to RFPs only when your relationship with the client is so strong that you are essentially guaranteed of winning.  Some companies have policies requiring that vendor relationships go out to bid periodically. If this is the case at one of your best client companies, tell them you will help write the RFP.  You can then write the RFP to favor you and the way you do business.

If you don’t write the RFP or at least have heavy influence on the RFP, it very well could be an expensive waste of your time replying to the RFP.  An exception would be when the RFP is a mere formality designed to make shareholders feel better and you are the pre-chosen winner.

Now, I realize that there are some industries where RFPs are a rooted part of the culture. In other words, they’re so common that there’s no getting around them.  That’s not the case in most industries.  When at all possible, avoid RFPs.  Just like the cattle-call audition, you have little chance of winning.  Meanwhile, you spend tons of time and money preparing a proposal and get no revenue in return. If by some miracle, you are chosen, you’re probably going to get skewered on price.

Just say “no” to RFPs!

By the way, that movie for which I was actually considered turned out to be a box-office flop, earning only $1.5 million during its opening weekend. But it did play on cable television for many years.  To this day, I’ve never watched the entire show but have seen bits and pieces of it.  I’ll never forget the first time I stumbled upon it. I was flipping through television channels and landed on something that looked mildly interesting.  As I started watching the show, it felt so familiar. Then I realized that I was watching the very scene I read during that audition.  It was fun to think what could have been…