Tag Archives: telephone prospecting

Harness the Power of Referrals to Make Prospecting Easier

By Jeff Beals

A client of mine once needed help opening a branch office in a different city.  I called a commercial real estate company owner I knew in that town.  The owner connected me with one of his young sales reps who was excited to receive the referral.  The rep thanked me profusely. I thought, “Well, I chose a great guy to do this deal!”

But that turned out to be the last time I heard from him.

Six months later, I ran into the client I had referred, and he told me he ended up doing a deal in that city. I asked how the rep to whom I connected him. My client’s response was troubling: “I actually never heard from him, so I used someone else.”

I was incensed. I called the sales rep and asked what had happened. He stammered a bit and basically told me he let the client “slip through the cracks.”  That was not something I wanted to hear.

The rep should have given my client extra attention simply because it was a client referred by someone. He should have sent me a short email each month during the deal keeping me up to date or at least notifying me each time the deal passed a milestone. I entrusted him with one of my precious clients, and he let me down.

By blowing off a referral, the young sales rep missed out on a golden opportunity, because referrals are one of the most important tools we sales practitioners have in our toolboxes.

You want to know the quickest path to prospecting success?

Use referrals.

It’s getting harder and harder to cut through the clutter and reach influential decision makers. That’s why referrals have never been more valuable than they are today.

In an era when buyers are jealously protective of their time, a referral from a trusted source is your ticket to the show. The higher up a prospect is in a company, the more important referrals are.

Reaching busy decision makers is not the only reason you should ask past/current clients for referrals.  By asking for business leads, you could find out about prospects who otherwise would remain hidden from your view.  There are essentially thousands of prospective clients out there who you do not yet know and who have not heard of you.  A referral is your ice breaker, a chance to know someone who could someday become one of your best clients.

Additionally, referrals can get prospects thinking about making a change even when the thought of changing hadn’t previously entered their minds.

For example, let’s say there’s a client who is marginally happy with their current vendor.  They’re happy enough that they don’t feel compelled to look around but they’re not so satisfied that they wouldn’t consider an unexpected solicitation from someone who referred you.  A referral could be just enough of a catalyst to make them consider a new provider. Referrals are catalysts.

Have No Fear

Despite the power of referrals, some sales professionals are hesitant to ask their current/past clients.  Perhaps they are worried the request will be an unwanted interruption in the client’s busy day.  Perhaps they’re worried they didn’t do a good enough job for the client.  Perhaps they fear “going to the well one too many times” — they already took time from the client when doing the deal, so they feel guilty taking more of the client’s time now.

If you have done a good job of serving the client while at the same time building trust, have no fear or hesitation asking for a referral.  In fact, you could make the argument that the referral actually strengthens your relationship with them.  It’s kind of flattering when a vendor wants me to make referrals on their behalf.  It shows me that I was an important and prestigious client.

Asking for a referral puts you and the client on the “same team” and creates more of a friendship between the two of you.  Furthermore, saying nice things about you to others reinforces and reminds your client why you’re so awesome.

Some clients might actually be a bit offended if you don’t ask for a referral. I once had a client with whom I worked a long time and built a nice friendship. After a couple years, I finally asked for a referral and testimonial.  Her response?  “I was wondering why you never asked me for that!”

Who Should You Ask for Referrals?

  • A person whose name, title and profile make you look impressive
  • Someone who will say great things about you
  • Someone who is very pleased with your product or service
  • Someone with whom you have mutual trust
  • Someone who has a large number of valuable contacts

When Should You Ask?

There’s no set time in the sales process when you are supposed to ask for a referral. That said, it’s probably best right after you have done a great job and your client is basking in your good work. Some sales pros are hesitant to ask a client from long ago.  Don’t fret if time has gone by.

Simply call and say something reminded you of them and how much you enjoyed working with them.  Then ask for a referral.

Referral Process

If prospects agree to give you referral, the best option is to have the referrer connect you directly They could make a coffee or lunch appointment for the three of you or perhaps send an email introducing you (“There’s someone you NEED to meet!”). If this isn’t an option, perhaps the referral giver could arrange a three-way phone call.

The second-best option is for the referral giver to send an email or make a phone call letting the targeted person know you’ll be calling and why they should talk to you.

If the referral giver isn’t willing to do either of the first two options, you will have to initiate the contact with the targeted person mentioning the referral giver’s name.  Before making this call, make sure you have referral giver’s blessing to go ahead and make the call.

Before you talk to referred targets, learn all you can by asking the referral giver about them and by researching them online.

Keep the referral giver informed throughout the sales process. It’s simply a matter of courtesy and is especially important if the referral giver is due a commission or referral fee.

Always be grateful for any referrals you receive. When clients allow you to use their names to seek business from their cherished contacts, they are putting their reputations on the line just to help you.  That means you have an obligation to treat those referrals with the utmost care and respect.  Caring for referrals is a sacred trust in the sales world, so take your job seriously.

New Prospecting Masterclass Will Help You

If you want to get your prospects’ attention, you need compelling language that convinces them you bring relevant value.  That’s what my prospecting masterclass is all about.

If your sales team is not prospecting as effectively as it could, schedule this in-depth masterclass for your office.  It can be a half- or full-day program.  Either way, it will give the sales reps in your company actual language they can use to turn cold prospects into paying clients.

Click HERE for an outline of this interactive prospecting workshop!

  Jeff Beals helps you find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share. He is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant.  He delivers compelling speeches and sales-training workshops worldwide.  He has spoken in 5 countries and 41 states.  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.

The Bad Words You Should Never Use in a Sales Call

By Jeff Beals

During the summers in high school and college, I worked as an outbound telemarketer.

I hated it, but because I was a good salesperson, it paid a lot more than the typical summer job.

For four hours each evening, I’d sit in a call center with 150 other college kids (and a few adult “lifers”) selling a vacation membership program to unsuspecting people who made the mistake of answering the phone.

There was a catchy little phrase we telemarketers used to say to each other back in those days:

“Smile, dial and push trial.”

What did that mean?  The vacation membership program came with a 30-day trial.  If you were not completely satisfied, you could get your money back as long as you cancelled in the first 30 days.

Our employer didn’t allow us to push trial, instead preferring us to sell the membership on its merits.  From the telemarketers’ point of view, however, it seemed so much easier to make a sale if we could simply say, “Hey, if you don’t like it, you can always cancel it within 30 days!”

Well, our employer was correct.  It’s never good to put a lot of emphasis on free trials.

In fact, a recent Gong study listed the term “free trial” among the worst words you can use in a sales call.  Uttering the words, “free trial,” to your prospective customer decreases your likelihood of securing the next step in the sales process by five percent.

Here are the other taboo sales-call words:

1. “Show you how”

2. “We provide”

3. “Competitor”

4. “Billion”

5. “Discount”

6. “Roadmap”

7. “Contract”

8. “Absolutely” and “perfect”

9. “Implement” and “implementation”

10. “Payment”

11. “However”

12. “For example”

13. (Your company’s name)

As I consider these worst words, a few observations come to mind.

Prospective clients don’t respond well to anything that demands a commitment, comes across as cheesy, makes them feel overwhelmed or is focused on the seller rather than the buyer.

When choosing the words you’ll say in your next sales call, use collaborative words and focus on what your client values rather than what your company offers.

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.  He has spoken in 5 countries and 41 states.  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

“Jeff Beals is a consummate pro. With short notice, he put together an engaging, fun, sales-focused presentation full of specifics – just what our exec team needed. We’ll ask him back for annual company retreat again next year.” – John Baylor, President, On to College, Lincoln, NE

“You brought great value to our event. The 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

(402) 637-9300

How to Get Glowing Testimonials & Valuable Referrals

Social Proof cover 150 RGB

By Jeff Beals

The sales manager got a lead on a nice piece of business. It was big enough of a deal that he assigned two sales reps to the account: Julie and David. Those two had worked together many times and had landed more than their share of big deals.

As expected, Julie and David did their due diligence before meeting with the prospect. During the first meeting, they asked questions and focused on what the client truly valued. After three meetings, it was time for the client to make his decision. Julie and David were confident. They’d really hit it off with the client. Everything “felt” right, so it was quite a surprise when they got the bad news: the client had chosen a competing company.

What happened? Julie and David did a post-mortem call to find out why they didn’t win the business. “It was very close,” the client said, “but the other company had a lot of testimonials.”

Seriously?!!? They lost a multi-million-dollar deal because of some testimonials?

This is actually a true story.

Even in sophisticated, high-ticket-price transactions, winning and losing can actually come down to little things like references and testimonials.

It’s called “social proof” and it’s one of the most powerful tools in a sales professional’s arsenal.

Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion and 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.

Simply put, social proof is why testimonials and referrals are so important in sales.

But social proof has grown in importance in recent years. Why is that? The Internet.

Prospective clients can access social media reviews of your company with the simple click of a mouse, which means it’s getting harder to hide bad service and inferior products. But because so much information about companies and products is so readily available, buyers have come to expect social proof. Prospects want hard evidence that you’re a safe choice.

Social proof can literally be the difference between success and failure in today’s ultra-competitive selling environment. Make sure your sales tool box is stocked with the best tools available…

To continue reading about testimonials and referrals, download Jeff Beals’ brand-new eBook: “Social Proof: How to Get Glowing Testimonials & Valuable Referrals.”

You can download it for FREE by clicking here 

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