Tag Archives: sales rep

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

How to Make Your Sales Pitches More Persuasive

By Jeff Beals

We all know that certain kind of person who is so persuasive, he could “sell sawdust to a lumber mill” or “charm wallpaper off a wall.”

Some people are so persuasive they can seemingly talk anybody into anything.  How do they do that?  It helps to possess charisma, but persuasive people tend to employ certain techniques, things we can all use to make our personal and professional lives more successful.

In the 1930s, Professor Alan Monroe of Purdue University married the art of presentation with the psychology of persuasion.

The result of his scholarly work became known as Monroe’s Motivated Sequence, a concept that is still pertinent for today’s professionals. The concept was originally intended to help orators structure persuasive speeches, but it’s equally applicable for a variety of other purposes – making a sales presentation, pitching a proposal or trying to talk your boss into making a certain decision.

Whether you’re addressing a large group or a pitching a single decision maker, keep Monroe in mind as you plot your sales presentations. Monroe’s Motivated Sequence advises presenters to build their case using five distinct steps completed in exact order.

First comes the attention-getter in which you introduce a problem by jolting the audience with something bold and unexpected—a story, quote, disturbing statistic or a big “bet-you-didn’t-know” statement.

Step two is need. This is where you prove the problem is significant and worthy of the listener’s attention. You also want to cast the need as something that won’t be solved without the right approach by the right person or organization.

Monroe’s third step is known as satisfaction. Here you prove that you have the solution to the previously mentioned problem.

In step four, visualization, you paint a picture of how wonderful life will look in the future if they accept and implement your solution. You also portray how terrible things will be if they ignore your recommendations.

Finally, in step five, you tell the audience what action they should take. This is the big finish, where you powerfully and motivationally tell them to go do it!

Think about the presentations, pitches and proposals you make.  Ask yourself how they fit into Monroe’s outline. Are you skipping a step or two?  Many salespersons start with step three, the solution, without making the case strongly enough that a solution is necessary in the first place. Structure your persuasive pitch in such a way that makes the targeted listener more acquiescent to what you are pitching. Make them yearn for your solution intensely before you tell them about it.

Your pitches and sales presentations must follow a logical format that feels right to the listener and syncs with their sense of order. The approach needs to build a persuasive case efficiently and effectively. Persuasive presentations must conform to human nature, which has remained static for ages. If you use human nature in your favor, the presentation is more likely to be successful. If you fight human nature, you’re engaging in futility.

As the late Zig Ziglar once said, “People do things for their reasons, not yours.” Focus on what the listener values during the presentation and take time to draw them in by asking clarifying questions and tying things back to what they told you during earlier communications.

In the end, being persuasive really isn’t a matter of “selling ice to an Eskimo” or “talking a bird out of a tree,” rather it’s about finding what people value and then using the right techniques to convince them that you’re capable of delivering that value.

By the way, as I was looking up colloquialisms about persuasiveness for this article, my favorite was, “He could talk a dog off a meat wagon.”  Now, that’s persuasive.

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

How Sales Professionals Can Harness the Power of Persuasion

By Jeff Beals

Some people are blessed with a natural ability to get what they want.

They have an innate ability to influence people, sway opinions and win arguments.  While such “mind powers” are instinctive to some, most of us have to work hard to persuade people to our way of thinking.  Fortunately, persuasion and influence cannot only be learned; they can be mastered.

Have you ever read Robert Cialdini?  He’s the “Godfather of Influence” and the author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, one of the most influential business books of the past 30 years.  More recently, he authored Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade.

Much of Cialdini’s work is focused on helping people master “leadership’s greatest challenge – getting things done through others.”  But the skills employed by accomplished leaders are quite similar to those needed in sales.  Let’s look at Cialdini’s Six Principles of Influence through a sales lens:

Liking

The principle of liking says that people like those who are like them.  You should “uncover real similarities and offer genuine praise.”

Cialdini uses the example of a Tupperware party to illustrate how liking works. The hostess invites friends and family members. Because the attendees like the hostess, they’re far more willing to buy Tupperware products.  For example, my wife finds herself at a handful of parties each year for multi-level marketing products such as Tuppperware.  Inevitably, she ends up buying something just to please her friend (the hostess).

The two most significant factors affecting liking are similarity and praise. People are more apt to like people who are similar to them.  If you praise other people – even if that praise isn’t terribly merited – they are much more likely to like you.

What does that tell us?

Sales managers should sales representatives who have similar interests and backgrounds as the targeted prospects. Sales reps should take time after meeting new prospects to establish common ground.  Find excuses to compliment your prospects on their companies, products, careers and accomplishments.

Reciprocity

According to the principle of reciprocity, people have a tendency to repay in kind.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you – The Golden Rule has been scientifically proven to be true.  Cialdini says any manager can be the beneficiary of good behavior by displaying the same behavior to others first.

The same applies to sales professionals.

Gift giving is a somewhat primitive example of reciprocity, but I have had success reaching prospects by first sending them a little gift.  Simply because I mailed them a copy of my books or a unique gift that relates to their company, I am much more likely to reach them on the phone.

Social Proof

This is my favorite of Cialdini’s principles because it relates directly to sales: “People follow the lead of similar others.”  We should “use peer power whenever it’s available.”

Cialdini cites 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.

Social proof is why references, testimonials and referrals are so important in sales.  Take time to collect testimonials and make them available to prospective clients.  Get a referral from a respected source before making a prospecting call.  Your success rate should rise dramatically.

Consistency

“People align with their clear commitments,” Cialdini says. “Make their commitments active, public and voluntary.”

Cialdini says if you supervise an employee who should submit reports on time, get that understanding in writing (such as a memo or email); make the commitment public (perhaps by sharing it with people in other affected departments); and link the commitment to the employee’s values (such as the impact of timely reports on team spirit).

This is why winning mini commitments is so effective in selling. If your prospective client agrees to something up front, you are more likely to close a sale with them. Perhaps you could summarize the outcome of a meeting in an email and ask the prospect to email you back confirming that everything you said is accurate.

Authority

The principle of authority says that “people defer to experts,” and Cialdini advises you to “expose your expertise; don’t assume it’s self-evident.”

While it is critically important for sales people to listen more than they talk when sitting in front of prospective clients, you do need to take at least a little bit of time to demonstrate your credentials and backgrounds.

Scarcity

People naturally want more of what they can have less of, Cialdini says, so highlight unique benefits and exclusive information.”

Cialdini writes about a time when wholesale beef buyers’ orders jumped 600 percent when they alone received information on a possible beef shortage.  Provide exclusive information to persuade.  When you tell people they are getting information before everyone else, they are more interested.  If people know they have access to something that is closed to others, they value it more.

Sales professionals might want to make special offers or upgrades available to the best clients first, or in some cases, only to the best clients.

In the end, sales professionals can gain a clear advantage by employing  Cialdini’s six principles, but keep a few things in mind – Trust is one of the most important components to completing a sale especially a complex, high-ticket-price B2B transaction. If you use these principles with an exploitative and manipulative heart, you will hurt your chances of creating a recurring client.

The other key to selling is value. You must discover exactly what prospective clients value and then deliver products and services which deliver that value exactly. If you fail to do that, the principles of influence will ultimately be ineffective.

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

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com

Book Review: Everything You Need to Know about Sales Prospecting

High Profit Prospecting

By Jeff Beals

Prospecting is not something you do when you don’t have anything else to do. It is not something you do when you suddenly find yourself without enough customers. Prospecting is perpetual.

So says globe-trotting sales expert Mark Hunter in his new book on prospecting set to be released September 20th.

“View prospecting the same way you do taking a shower,” Hunter writes. “You take a shower daily, and you should be prospecting daily. Failing to prospect on a regular basis is putting yourself in a situation where your sales will constantly be in a peak/valley syndrome.”

Whether you’re a rookie salesperson hoping for a head start or a grizzled veteran looking to stay sharp, I highly recommend High-Profit Prospecting. (AMACOM, 2017). I’m a connoisseur of sales books, and this one ranks among the best.

Hunter, known by his epithet, “The Sales Hunter,” defines prospecting as “an activity performed by sales and marketing departments to identify and qualify potential buyers.” It’s the most fundamental task in a salesperson’s job description, but vast numbers of underperforming salespeople are so uncomfortable with prospecting, they dread the thought of it.

Perhaps that’s why so many salespeople fall for snake-oil messages that “prospecting is dead” and “telephone selling is history.” Hunter recalls sitting in the back of a room during an educational conference while a so-called sales expert explained how his social media-based prospecting system had rendered telephone prospecting extinct. The notion was ridiculous but that didn’t stop audience members from being mesmerized, enthusiastically nodding in agreement with everything the charlatan on stage was saying.

Hunter was not surprised that the audience of salespersons was unreservedly lapping up the message; they were tired of being rejected, having phone calls ignored and not being able to generate good prospects. If someone promises a struggling salesperson a panacea, no matter how pie-in-the-sky it might be, the temptation to embrace it can be irresistible.

No doubt prospecting is hard work. It can make you feel uncomfortable, but it has to be done. If prospecting was easy, salespeople wouldn’t be so well compensated. If you make a commitment to prospecting, you will grow as a salesperson and eventually be that person who makes so much money your friends and colleagues marvel at you.

Hunter’s prospecting philosophy essentially boils down to five components:

1.     A Positive Attitude – You need a can-do mentality and a healthy respect for prospecting. Believe you will succeed!

2.     Preparation – Prospecting is inefficient if you don’t do the necessary background work before making the call.

3.     Execution – Top-producing sales professionals are action-oriented. They resist procrastination, the biggest thing separating poor prospectors from good ones.

4.     Discipline – Prospecting is a daily activity. You need to do it even when there are a hundred things you’d rather do and dozens of things that seem more urgent. Prospecting is an investment in your future production.

5.     Time management – Don’t allow your time to be wasted by prospects who will never buy from you.

So what are some of Hunter’s pearls of wisdom? Here are a few:

Making Initial Contact

Ultimately, your prospects really don’t care about you. They care about themselves and their goals. Too many salespeople start the first email or phone call wasting everyone’s time by introducing themselves and their company. As Hunter says, “You can permanently delete the ‘capabilities presentation’ the marketing department built for you five years ago.” Cut to the chase and explain why the two of you need to connect quickly.

Does Anybody Listen to Voicemails?

Voicemail might feel like a black hole, but if you leave the right messages, voicemail is your friend. The key is leave messages that expresses a value you could give the recipient. But you don’t have much time. Hunter says voice mails should never exceed 18 seconds. Twelve seconds is ideal. What’s more, a single voice mail rarely leads to a call-back. Craft a series of voicemails periodically leaving them for prospects over an extended time.

The Lazy Way Out

Sales reps who always choose email instead of picking up the phone are lazy prospectors. Hunter says email is a fine prospecting tool but not if your reason for using it is to avoid having to call someone. Make email one part of your prospecting plan, not your crutch. The same thing applies to social media. It’s a good tool but just one tool. You can’t depend on it exclusively.

Getting Past the Gatekeeper

When your prospects are major decision-makers, you’ll encounter gatekeepers – administrative assistants whose jobs are to protect the boss from interruptions. Hunter recommends you see the gatekeeper as a partner. Ask them the same questions you would ask the boss. That will win their respect, plus if the gatekeeper realizes they don’t have the answer, they just may pass you on to the senior person you seek. Don’t back down too quickly if a gatekeeper puts up barricades. “If it’s hard for you to get in,” Hunter says, “then it’s hard for your competition.”

I could go on and on recounting Hunter’s salient advice, but you’ll have to read the book for yourself.

It’s rare for a book to deliver so much actionable advice chapter after chapter, but that’s exactly what Hunter provides. Similarly, it’s unusual for a content-heavy book to be such a quick-and-easy read.  Upon finishing it, you’ll be ready to roll up your sleeves, pick up the phone and hit the streets.

As Hunter likes to say, “Great selling!”

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 is sure to deliver an engaging and motivating speech! He cleverly ties together his stories and makes the speech end with a punch. Being the closing speaker is tough, but he stepped-up to the challenge and hit a home-run. Due to the high ratings and overwhelming response to re-watch his speech, we are planning on using his video during our NextGen watch party.”  – Megan Dotson, Senior Client Success Consultant & Event Director, GovLoop.com, Washington, DC

“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

“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

“If you are considering hiring Jeff, I will only say this: do it now. His ability to connect with an audience and explain the importance of telling the story is nothing short of extraordinary. The true litmus of any great speaker is authenticity. And when authenticity is coupled with an incredibly high amount of energy, humor, and engagement – you get Jeff.  I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a speaker attendees will talk about for a long time to come.” – Alison Cody, Executive Director, Manufacturers’ Agents Association for the Foodservice Industry, Atlanta, GA

“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

+1-402-917-5730

info@jeffbeals.com