Tag Archives: sales motivation

The 8 Biggest Mistakes Sales Reps Make When Leaving Voicemails

By Jeff Beals

Let’s say it’s Tuesday morning at 7:30, the start of your weekly phone prospecting time.  You did your pre-call research the previous day and have your list of prospects ready to go.  You sit down at your desk, dial the first prospect’s number and…

You get their voicemail, of course.

The vast majority of prospecting calls go to voicemail.  Some sales pros gripe and grumble when they are automatically routed to a prospect’s voicemail.  They complain, that “nobody ever answers the damned phone!”

It is true that prospects are getting harder to reach.  It is also true that decision makers are more likely to let calls from unrecognized phone numbers go to voicemail.

But don’t consider voicemails to be a bad thing; see them as opportunities, little advertisements that can be customized exactly to each prospect’s unique situation.  Because you are most likely going to get voicemail whenever you call, it makes sense that you put a lot of thought and effort into each voicemail.  I know sales reps whose voicemails are so good and so effective, they would RATHER get a prospect’s voicemail than reach him or her on the first attempt.

In order to make your voicemail efforts more fruitful, here are some common voicemail mistakes that every sales rep should studiously avoid:

1. Talking too much

Sales voicemails should be less than 20 seconds.

2. Giving up too soon

It typically takes eight or more voicemails to get a prospect to call you back.  Most people quit after two or three messages, because they’re worried about being pesky or sounding desperate.  I’ll admit it feels weird to carpet bomb a prospect with eight or more voicemails, but if each voicemail highlights something of value, they are really effective.  If you are persistent there’s a good chance they’ll call you back.

3. Touching base

Never say, “I’m calling to touch base,” or “I’m just checking in with you.”  Those are annoying voicemails to receive, because they provide nothing of value to the recipient.

4. Talk about yourself

Never leave a litany of features and benefits on a voicemail.  Never talk about how great you are, how many awards your company has won or the combined years of experience your staff has.  Your prospects only care about how your product or service makes their lives better.

5. “I’m going to be in your area next week and would love to stop by and take just 20 minutes of your time.”

Just because you are coincidentally going to be in a prospect’s city, doesn’t mean that a prospect wants to drop everything she has going on and spend time with you.  Your travel schedule is irrelevant to a prospect if you have failed to catch his imagination in the first place.

6. Trying to say too much

If you only have 20 seconds to leave a voicemail, you only have time for one idea.  If you have more than one burning thing you want to say, save the second thing for the next voicemail.

7. Forget to leave your call-back number

One of the easiest excuses a prospect has to NOT return a voicemail message is if the call-back number is not readily available.  Only 7 percent of sales voicemails are ever returned, which means it’s hard enough to get call backs.  Don’t do anything that lowers the likelihood.

8. Being misleading

Some sales reps like to deceive prospects in their voicemails either by implying that they are returning the recipient’s call (even though the recipient never called them in the first place) or by name-dropping a person they don’t really know. You don’t want to do anything that comes back to embarrass yourself if you do end up getting a meeting.

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

The 5 Best Ways to Build Trust With Your Clients

By Jeff Beals

Here are a couple indisputable truths about today’s business environment:

  1. Sales cycles are much faster than they were 10 years ago.
  2. Buyers are distracted and under much more pressure than they were in earlier times.

Because we now operate in a frenzied selling environment, some sales professionals believe there is no longer a need to develop trust. They argue that there’s not enough time to build trusting relationships, and even when you do have time, many buyers prefer to keep their vendors at arm’s length.

I disagree.

True, sales professionals must try harder to build trust, but the end result is well worth the effort.  The good news is that you don’t have to go from not knowing someone to lifelong confidant in one setting.  Build trust a little bit at a time.  When you first meet a prospective client, get to know them, build rapport and establish a relationship.  As you get serious about doing business together, there are five ways you can develop trust.  Keep doing these things over time, and you’ll develop a close friendship with a person who will become one of your all-time best clients.

Communication

Those sales professionals who go out of their way to communicate tend to build trust quicker and more deeply with clients. Detailed and timely communication removes suspicions and reassures clients.  Tell the truth and don’t procrastinate when you need to tell prospects things they don’t want to hear.  As former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell once said, “Bad news isn’t wine. It doesn’t improve with age.”

Another important part of communication is to say you are sorry when appropriate. It’s amazing how much an earnest and sincere apology can boost trust.

Moment of Truth

At some point in any given relationship, you will encounter a moment of truth, a time in which you will be faced with an important decision. How you decide to act determines if you “pass” the moment of truth.  If you do pass it, you build trust.  Fail it and the relationship could be irreparably damaged.

What are some moment-of-truth examples? When it’s tempting to lie but you tell the truth.  When you have a choice to do something in your interest or your client’s interest and you choose the client’s. When you go the extra mile to help clients achieve their goals. When you screw up and do everything in your power to fix the situation.

Moments of truth are opportunities.  Embrace them as a chance to prove your trustworthiness and advance the relationship.  Every time you pass a moment of truth, no matter how small, trust becomes at least a little deeper.

Predictability

People trust other people whose behavior is predictable. If you are the type of person who responds to challenges in a consistently professional manner, you come across as trustworthy.

The best predictor of a person’s future actions is frequent past behavior. If you consistently establish frequent past behavior that is trustworthy, it will be much easier for you to be trusted in the future.

Social Proof

Robert Cialdini, the so-called “Godfather of Influence,” believes that social proof is one of the most important components of influence. You are far more likely to persuade someone’s thinking if you remember that “people follow the lead of similar others.”

Cialdini cited a study in which researchers went door-to-door collecting donations for a charity. When people answered the door, the researchers showed them a list of neighborhood residents who had already donated to the charity. The longer the donor list, the more likely prospective donors were to contribute.

In another study, New York City residents were asked to return a lost wallet to its owner. The New Yorkers were highly likely to attempt to return the wallet when they learned that another New Yorker had previously attempted to do so. But learning that someone from a foreign country had tried to return the wallet didn’t sway their decision one way or the other.

If social proof is so powerful, does it not make sense that you can more quickly build trust if respected people advocate on your behalf?  Smart sales practitioners assemble a group of past and current clients who can provide social proof and thus convey a greater sense of trustworthiness to future clients.

Rapid Responsiveness

Because all of humanity’s assembled knowledge is available on the little smart phones we carry in our pockets, people have become accustomed to getting any desired information immediately. That means we have to be ultra responsive to our prospects and current customers.  It’s no longer okay to wait 24 hours to return a message.  It must be done immediately.

Now that so much information is readily available, and people expect lightning-fast responses, you are now viewed as “untrustworthy” if you’re a slow communicator.  It’s almost people think you’re incompetent or perhaps hiding something if you take too long.  Speed is now equated with trust.

In closing, those who flourish in sales for many years endure because they put a premium on people. They build trusting relationships not just for financial gain but because it’s also the right thing to do.

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

K.I.S.S. for Sales Practitioners

By Jeff Beals

When I was a nine-year-old in 1978, my family went to an air show produced annually by the U.S. Air Force at Offutt Air Force Base. Countless aircraft were on display, and the Air Force even allowed guests to go inside some of the planes.

But there was one displayed aircraft that was roped off, and a couple intimidating security guards stood by making sure no guests went past the rope line. It was the SR-71 “Blackbird,” which just two years prior (in 1976), had set the world record as the fastest manned aircraft. The SR-71 achieved a speed of 3,530 kilometers per hour (2,193 mph). That meant it could travel from Los Angeles to New York City in little more an hour.

The SR-71 served the U.S. Airforce from 1964 to 1998 and not a single one was lost in combat. Ever since that day forty years ago, I’ve been fascinated by an airplane that could move so fast. I’m also fascinated that human beings had the capability of constructing such a thing in the early 1960s without the aid of computers and other current-day technology.

Despite all the detailed technicalities involved when Lockheed built the SR-71 in Burbank, California during that Cold War era, it was a surprising principle that guided the design engineers – simplicity.

Lockheed’s lead engineer was Clarence “Kelly” Johnson, who preached the importance of simplicity even when designing what would become the world’s fastest aircraft. Johnson once gave his designers a handful of ordinary tools, with the challenge that the aircraft they were designing must be repairable by an average mechanic in the field under combat conditions with only those tools.

Additionally, Johnson developed an acronym that we still use today: K.I.S.S., which stands for “Keep It Simple Stupid.”

Ever since that time, U.S. military branches and countless companies and organizations have used that acronym as a reminder to professionals not to over complicated their work. I sometimes tell myself, “Keep It Simple Stupid” when I find myself making projects unnecessarily complicated.

I’m not sure why so many people are tempted to make things more complicated than necessary. Perhaps it’s some subconscious way for us to justify our professional purposes, our highly-paid jobs and our expensive college educations. Whatever the reason, too many of us fail to break it down and get it done.

Sales practitioners are just as guilty as any group of professionals when it comes to unwarranted complication:

How many of us spend copious amounts of time on excessive prospect research instead of just calling the prospect?

How many of us obsess over the perfect sales pitch with all the audio-visual bells and whistles as opposed to figuring out what prospects truly value and proving how our solution perfectly satisfies that value?

How many sales leaders bury themselves in their offices developing complicated systems as opposed to simply sitting down with their sales reps and coaching them one-on-one?

When you find yourself getting bogged down in needless minutiae for no apparent benefit, it’s time to give yourself a K.I.S.S. moment. Be like the legendary aerospace engineer Kelly Johnson and break things down to their simplest, most fundamental level.

If a commitment to simplicity can contribute to the development of the world’s fastest aircraft, what can it do for your sales practice?

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

Would You Benefit by Having a Coach?

By Jeff Beals

What do Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Wayne Gretzky have in common?

They’re all world-class athletes who have won championships?  Yes.

They’re all incredibly famous?  Yes.

But there’s something else they all have in common.  Each had coaches who helped them reach the pinnacle of their sports.

Not only do athletes benefit from coaching, they probably would never win a championship without it.  Well, if coaching is so advantageous for professional athletes, it makes sense that other professionals would gain similar benefits from coaching.

I would argue that sales professionals benefit more from coaching than your typical professional.  Sales is not necessarily rocket science, but it does require you to master an array of differing skills and attitudes.

Mindset is incredibly important in sales, because the profession requires you to be passionate.  An accountant, for instance, can be bored to tears yet still do an effective job.  In many professions, you can hate your job, and even be turned off by the products your company sells, and still manage to be effective.

That’s not the case in sales where it makes a big difference when you’re excited about the product and a believer in the company.  But sometimes even passionate sales reps become discouraged when things go wrong: you hit a prospecting slump; the economy goes south or deals fall through at the last minute unexpectedly.  A coach can help you with mindset, keeping your energy and enthusiasm flowing when things don’t go your way.

Sales also requires a person to master somewhat dichotomous skills.  You need to be both an attentive listener and compelling presenter.  You need to have strong emotional intelligence skills yet be analytical when determining the profitability of a potential deal.

Should you have a coach?  That’s a personal decision, but the research tells us that those sales professionals who have access to coaching enjoy more success.  And that applies to sales professionals of all levels – from chief sales officer to entry-level sales rep.

Coaches come in a variety of forms, but most are informal coaches.  The typical way to get a coach is to find someone in your company who can advise you and help you grow as a professional.  That can be a boss, an experienced colleague who wants to give back or even a person from a different department or company who enjoys helping people succeed.  Some sales pros will work with a retired sales leader they happen to know.

Of course, you can also hire professional sales coaches.  There are many companies that provide this service.  If you go that route, ask around and find someone who has had a good experience with a sales coach and feels like they got a lot of value for their money.

What do you look for in a coach?  First and foremost, you want a good listener.  You want to find a person who wants to see you succeed but won’t just simply give you all the answers.  A good sales coach will do some teaching and advice sharing but mostly helps you come to your own conclusions about how to build a more successful career.

I recommend you share your goals with your coach and use those as part of your conversations.  Great athletes have goals they’re trying to achieve.  Along with their coaches, those athletes constantly monitor the progress they’re making and push themselves to greater heights.

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

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 Steal Your Competitor’s Clients

By Jeff Beals

Most people don’t know this, but from 2003 to 2009, I taught a commercial real estate sales-and-leasing course at my local university as an adjunct professor.  It was an upper-level course offered in the spring semester, so I typically had a lot of graduating seniors in my class.

One of my students passed her real estate licensure exam upon graduating and affiliated with a large residential brokerage company. She came from a prominent family, was active in the community and had a large network of friends. She was dismayed on two separate occasions when a family member and good friend chose NOT to use her as their real estate agent.

You see, those people had bought and sold houses before and chose to keep their former real estate agents.

Why? The agents had done a great job for them and had built relationships that were too strong for the unproven newbie to break. My former student was persistent, however. She kept prospecting and promoted her services to thousands of people. A year later, she had built plenty of professional relationships and was doing big deals.

I share this story with you to demonstrate that long-standing relationships are difficult to break. That’s why those relationships are so valuable. It’s hard to crack the bond your competitors have with their existing clients no matter how awesome your company is and how talented you are as a sales professional.

But it’s not impossible.

Here are some things you might consider if you’re trying to wiggle in between a client and your competitor:

Just One Thing

Some sales professionals have success by building a relationship with a prospective client and then asking for just a small piece of business.  You can say something like this: “I know you have a strong relationship with XYZ Company, and I respect that. They certainly do a good job.  But I know I can provide value too.  What if you gave me just one account, just one small piece of business, so I can prove myself to you?  At the same time, you spread your risk by having more than one company working on your account.”

Send a Gift

One way to get the attention of a competitor’s client is to send a strategic gift.  I like to find the newest business book on the market especially one that relates to the prospect’s business or interests.  Send a note explaining why you think the book is relevant to that person.  It sometimes helps to shrink-wrap your note and the book together, so it seems like a big deal to the recipient.  You can then call the recipient a couple days after they receive the gift.  You’ll find the recipient likely will be more interested in talking to you because you sent an impactful gift.

Read the Reviews

In some industries, clients write reviews about companies online.  Study the reviews written about your competitor.  If you see a number of negative reviews that form a pattern, you might be on to a vulnerability you can exploit to get between them and their current clients. One disclaimer to keep in mind – if a client blasts your competitor online, it could mean the client is the problem and not your competitor.  That could come back to bite your company if you take on that client.

Be Persistent

Perhaps the most important piece of advice is to be in the fight for the long haul.  If you walk away immediately upon hearing that a prospective client already has a relationship with one of your competitors, you’re giving up too quickly.  Perhaps you could start a nurturing campaign in which you send compelling, value-laden emails to the prospect thus building a relationship slowly over time.  You could periodically send them valuable bits of information or advice that show you are both thinking about them and coming up with unsolicited value.  That will make you look good vis-à-vis their current provider who is likely taking the client for granted and no longer going above and beyond the call of duty.

Plant High Hurdles

Determine one or more things that you do better than any of your competitors.  Then, when you’re trying to steal away one of your competitor’s clients, set a high hurdle.  In your conversations with that client, say something like this: “Whoever provides you with this service should always do ‘X.’”  Of course, “X” is the thing you do well that you know the other company can not do.

But Don’t Do This:

There are a number of techniques you can try, but there’s one technique I don’t recommend: discounting your price.  That’s the easy way out, and it’s a short-term way of thinking.  Some sellers think they’ll win over a new client by giving them a drastic discount.  It might work, but know this – once you give a discount, the client might always expect that price.  Plus, if you discount too much, you may end up losing money.  Finally, a willingness to discount may make your project appear to be of diminished value.  If you want a good client for a long period of time, you need to earn them the old-fashioned way (by providing value) as opposed to the easy-but-temporary way (discounting).

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 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

“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 Stay Motivated in Sales

By Jeff Beals

Leading a sales team is not easy. Consider these scenarios based on true stories:

Scenario #1

Your sales team is in the running for what would be the biggest contract in company history. You invest countless staff hours and other resources to win the business. For a while, it looks promising.  You build a trusting relationship with the primary decision maker and have demonstrated how your offering perfectly fits their need.  The prospect starts using phrases like “When we work together…” and “You will be responsible for…” and “We really need you…”  You now consider that decision maker to be a friend.

Then suddenly your main contact starts being vague and evasive and is slow in returning calls. Two weeks later, the decision maker, your new “buddy,” sheepishly tells you they chose a different provider. It makes no sense to you that the other company was chosen, because they don’t provide the things that the prospective client originally told you were the biggest priorities.  You feel frustrated, defeated and misled. Worse yet, you were counting on that business and it vanished.  You’re incredulous and wonder, “Why did they lie to me?”

Scenario #2 

It’s never easy to attract an elite sales rep from a competing company despite your  non-stop recruiting efforts.  You need a couple more sales reps but at least the ones you have are good especially, your top producer, Jim.  It seems like there’s nothing Jim can’t do. Year after year, he breaks records. And he has such a great attitude!

Then one day without warning, Jim resigns to take a new sales position elsewhere.  He thanks you for being a good leader and for providing the resources he needed to succeed over the past 10 years but says he needs a change. His decision is final.  You never had a chance to make a case for him to stay.  The pit in your stomach feels terrible. You and the rest of the leadership team talk and act as if there was a death in the family.

*****

If you have been leading sales teams for any significant amount of time, these scenarios likely ring true.  While sales is not rocket science, it’s not easy.  One of the most important skills a sales leader can possess is the ability to bounce back when life punches you in the gut.

With all the emotional, high-risk/high-reward scenarios playing out each year and with so much riding on your ability to lead the sales process, how do you cope with disappointment?  How do you cope with the pressure?  How do you avoid burnout and stay motivated?

These ideas will help you keep it fresh and keep the completed deals flowing:

1. To cope with the inevitable rejection in a sales career, concentrate on your victories. Celebrate each one of them in your own way. Some people will tell you that if you simply expect success, you don’t need to celebrate victories.  I disagree.  Appreciate everything.

2. Keep in mind that selling is a noble profession. Without sales activity, the wheels of commerce grind to a halt.  Your work creates jobs and feeds families. Sales is the lifeblood of your company.  Without you and your team, there would be no company.

3. Remember that character is king. Focus on people – the hopes and dreams of the clients you serve and the real needs of the team members you lead.  Draw inspiration and motivation from the people who surround you.  When you remember that the things you sell have real impacts on real people, it helps you ride through the rough patches.

4. Embrace the competitive side of sales.  Do you enjoy sports?  If so, you probably love competing and watching other people compete.  Sales is game.  Try to accumulate little (and sometimes big) victories each day.  Playing to win removes the drudgery of day-to-day work.

5. Take pride in your resilience. It feels good once you have successfully persevered through difficult times.  Remember that feeling anytime you feel hopelessness and then do what it takes to feel that way again.  Great leaders are resilient. Three of my favorite quotes from former British prime minister Winston Churchill will help your bolster your resilience:

  • “Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.”
  • “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
  • “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm”

6. Make it fun for both your team and yourself.  Those who don’t find ways to enjoy their work typically don’t survive long in a brutally competitive industry. Find the joyful and positive aspects of your work and focus on them.

7. Tell the truth even when it hurts.  Integrity leads to success. You will be rewarded with high levels of client and employee retention.

8. And finally, as you sell today, imagine what your legacy will be years down the road.  Your work in leading a sales team literally shapes the future.  Isn’t that pretty important?

ATTENTION SALES LEADERS:

If you hold a leadership position in sales, I have the perfect resource to help you become even more successful!

It’s called the “Sales Leader Mastermind Group,” and it kicks off this fall.  I will personally lead and facilitate this group along with my partner Beth Mastre.  I’m recruiting members for it right now.  There are four in-person meetings per year – All the other meetings are virtual, so you can join in no matter where in the world you might be.  My mastermind group members will also have their own personal discussion forum.

Sales leadership can be a lonely existence.  Joining this group will help you create a stronger sales culture, attract talented sales reps and drive more revenue while you better manage both your personal and professional life. Click here to see an info piece about this mastermind or contact me personally at (402) 510-7468.

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

“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

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…