Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Price Trap

Price is a huge issue for everyone - sellers and buyers alike. Today, The Whetstone Group shares how you can avoid the price trap.

Problem: One of the most frequent complaints we hear from business owners, sales managers and salespeople alike is the following: "Price is the primary focus of the sale these days -- all of our prospects want the lowest price." It starts out innocently enough. Buyers lead with questions and comments like these: "How much is it? Can you give me a quote?" As the sales discussion proceeds it gets more intense: "That seems like a lot." or "Why is it so expensive?" or "I saw it for less somewhere else." Salespeople often respond by cutting price thus giving away margins and commissions.

Diagnosis: People who sell hear about price so often that they expect the conversation to dwell on price and they tend to overreact to price concerns. Sixty-eight percent of salespeople from a wide range of industries thought that price was the main concern of the customer based on a recent survey conducted by The Sales Board. Yet when customers were asked what was most important to them in a purchase their response was much different. The majority of people were more concerned with quality, service, and relationship than price.

Prescription: To get out of the price trap, you have to stop focusing on it. The only time price is the main issue is when there are no other factors that are important which is rarely (maybe never) the case. The next step is to differentiate yourself and your product so that the prospect does not focus on price. That means not giving feature and benefit presentations -- which cause you to look like every other salesperson.

Instead, change your approach in a couple of ways to focus on the prospect and her challenges and not on your product. First, suggest to your prospect that it’s important to establish an environment where you can explore the details about the prospect's situation. Mention to the prospect that your "biggest concern" is that her focus will be on price and that addressing the real issues (pain) will take a back seat to price. By addressing the price issue early on, you’ll find out where price fits into the decision-making criteria. Experience shows that it will become secondary if you are successful in refocusing the discussion to the prospect’s pain. Next, lead an interactive discussion to understand the emotional reasons behind the prospect's situation and uncover the pains that need to be addressed. By doing this you and the prospect will mutually discover if there is value in your product and remove the emphasis on price.

Whetstone Group is a sales process improvement company that focuses on helping companies implement a proven sales process that will increase sales, shorten the selling cycle, increase closing rates, and improve margins. Learn more at

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This Is Certain to Cause Early Resistance

Art Sobczak has a great way of sharing sales advice so that it's easy to understand and apply to your selling process. You'll love his advice on how o avoid causing resistance early on in the sales process.

A stranger approaches you on the street and asks for some money.

A person wielding a clipboard (or an IPad) jumps in front of you as you're walking down the shopping mall and asks if you can take 10 minutes for a survey.

A woman at a bar is approached by a man she doesn't know, who asks, "Do you want to have a relationship?"

What were YOU feeling as you read each of those? Discomfort. Resistance. Maybe skin-crawling creepiness in the last example.

Why? Because an unknown someone blindsided the target out of nowhere, asking for something without giving a reason for doing so. Therefore the natural reaction is to backpedal.

Let's look at other examples:

A sales rep calls a prospect he has never spoken with before and in the opening says "...I'm with ABC company and I'd like to set up a time to meet with you to ..."


"...I'd like to discuss what it would take to do business together..."


"...I'd like to invite you to a webinar..."

Those are all similar to the previous examples. A sales rep who is unfamiliar to his/her prospect asks for, or implies that he/she wants something from the prospect, without giving any reason why. There is nothing in it for the listener.

Of course, then, the result is similar to the previous examples: resistance.

Yet, those sales-related examples are still widely used, and I'm assuming, taught by someone--or by many. That blows me away.

often in sales, sadly, common sense is trumped by nonsense that has been passed along, for no other reason than someone had heard it or read it somewhere.

So what should you do?

Keep in mind, your calls need to be about them, not YOU. You need to have something FOR them, not give the feeling that you want to take something FROM them. You want to minimize your chance for resistance.

Here's a simple opening template based on my Smart Calling system:

1. Identify yourself and company.

2. Mention what you know about them based on your research.

3. Hint at your Possible Value Proposition.

4. Add more possible value, and move to the interaction.

For example,

"Hi Pat, I'm Dale Stevens with Atlantic Associates. In speaking with Jolene in your marketing department, I understand that one of your initiatives for 2001 is strengthening the communication and collaboration between your account management and production departments, so you can increase your customer retention rate and order frequency. With another components manufacturer we were able to help them do exactly that and raise their retention by 55% in six months, and reorder rate by 34%. I'd like to ask a few questions to see if I could provide you with some information."

Remember, it's about THEM, not you. The first part of the call is not about throwing the long bomb at the first opportunity. Give them a reason to move forward with the call, engage them, ask questions, and you'll find your calls progressing more smoothly.

Art Sobczak helps sales pros use the phone to prospect, service and sell more effectively, while eliminating morale-killing rejection. To get FREE weekly emailed TelE-Sales Tips visit:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Make Use of Metaphors to Make the Sale

Anne Miller has a way with words - specifically, metaphors. She uses them daily in her business, and today explains how you can too! Read on, and then take a look at her new book for more information.

In a world drowning in information, no one should lead, sell, or influence others without a command of metaphors – images created with words. Metaphors work because we humans are wired to respond instantly to images more than we are to information.

For example,

-When asked by an interviewer why he should be hired to sell, Cliff C., now Senior Account Executive at a leading recruitment firm, replied, "I'm just like Rocky. You knock me over and I come right back for more." Determination, persistence and energy--everything a sales manager wants in a new hire, expressed metaphorically to win a job.

-When presenting the features of her magazine's audience to a media planner, one sales rep gets her publication's readership remembered every time when she says, "Our publication reaches one million buyers for your product – that's ten Super Bowls full of potential customers for you." –a familiar image used to illustrate the significant buying power of her audience.

When to Use a Metaphor?

You are limited only by your imagination...

1. Clients confused by how your solution fits their situation? Un-confuse them with a metaphor.

2. Need to inspire a group to gain support for your ideas? Win them over with a metaphor.

3. Facing a tough objection? Neutralize it with a metaphor.

4. Selling technically complex services or products? Simplify them with a metaphor.

5. Need to close a client who is wavering on a decision? Move him to take action with a metaphor.

6. Caught in a sensitive situation with a client? Calm him down with a metaphor.

7. Need to distinguish yourself or your firm from the competition? Paint an unforgettable picture of yourself and your firm in the mind of your client with a metaphor.

Metaphor is the invaluable tool of sales rain-makers. Don't leave home without one.

Based on the new book "Make What You Say Pay!" by sales and presentations specialist Anne Miller. For a free two chapter download, go to:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Quote of the Week

"It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed." -- Napolean Hill, author

The business world can be a lonely place - after all, everyone is out to do the best for themselves, and the thought of generally helping others is not often looked at as the best way to build your business and make more money. While not generally true, I agree with the quote above - if you make helping others succeed one of your priorities, and a point of your business, people will see you as someone they should help in turn.

So give referrals freely, even if they are to your competitor. Make calls on a person's behalf, talk someone up, or take someone out to lunch just to hear how they're doing and offer any advice you can. People will respect you, and in turn, help you to succeed as well.

What do you think? Do you have experience with this? Let us know in the comments!

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Few More Compelling Reasons Why You Should Be Politely Persistent and Follow Up With Your Prospects

I liked sales trainer Jim Domanski's follow-up reasons so much, I thought we should end our week with just a few more! If this list doesn't convince you of the importance of persistent follow-up, I'm not sure what will. Just take my advice - be convinced, and see your sales soar!

1. Your prospect has put the project on the back burner or has gone with another vendor and you need to find out to have closure and stop fretting
2. Your prospect figures the ball is in your court and is wondering why YOU haven't made a further follow up.
3. You did not include a signature file with your contact information on it - and the client did not have it handy to make a quick call back
4. Your voice mail (and phone number) was delivered so rapid fire or slurred that the prospect gave up trying to decipher it
5. You accidentally sent your e-mail NOT to Brian Basanda but to Brian Adams when you used your Contact info in Outlook
6. Most of the other vendors calling your prospect fail to follow up ... which gives you the competitive edge
7. Your contact may have a gatekeeper who erased your message
8. Your prospect has a wicked sense of humor and is waiting to see how many times you will call
9.Your voice mail script needs a re-write; it simply lacked 'umph'
10. This could be the deal of your career - you'll never know unless you call
11. Your prospect deleted you e-mail on their Blackberry by accident and there's no "undo" feature
12. A poor, hungry and driven competitor will make the persistent follow up call that you didn't make ...and will get the business you should have got.
13.What do you have to lose?
14.What do you have to win?

So there you have it: Between yesterday and today, 28 compelling reasons to pick up that phone and make a few follow up calls. Print this list on a bright yellow sheet of paper. Post it at your desk and refer to it whenever you hesitate about making that follow up call. Do it now. And close more sales!

By Jim Domanski of Teleconcepts Consulting. Please visit Jim's web site at for additional articles and resources for tele-sales professionals.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Compelling Reasons Why You Should Be Politely Persistent and Follow Up With Your Prospects

Do you make phone calls and then sit wondering why no one calls you back? You may think you're being nice by not bothering your prospect, but not following up can seriously kill your sales. Need more inspiration to get back on the phone and try again? Today sales trainer Jim Domanski shares some very compelling reasons as to why you need to be persistent and follow up!

Has this ever happened to you?

You've made the call. You generate interest. Maybe you send a proposal or quote. You make a follow up call and leave a message and wait for reply. And wait...Maybe you make another follow reply.

In a short while you are convinced the client was stringing you along. Frustration sets in. Anxiety. Uncertainty. 'Do I call again? Won't I look like I am stalking? He's not interested. If he were, he would have called right. Why waste my time? Forget about it. Let's move on."

This negative self-talk is repeated every day, every week by hundreds of reps. It gets easy to convince yourself not to make that extra follow up call.

The trouble is there can be any number of reasons why the prospect has yet to get back to you. You should follow up because:

1. The squeaky wheel often gets the oil
2. The contact lost your number
3. The contact inadvertently deleted your voice mail message
4. The prospect/client simply forgot to call you back
5. Your e-mail was sent to their SPAM folder and never seen
6. Your e-mail was lost "in space" and never made it to the client.
7. Your e-mail was lost, misplaced or forgotten in a pile of other e-mails received
8. Your client is swamped with work and has been too busy to call
9. The contact is putting out a major fire and her priorities, for the moment, have changed
10. Your prospect inverted a number or two when copying down your phone number and was not able to reach you
11. The client or prospect expects YOU to follow up and keep them on track
12. Your prospect or client is grotesquely disorganized and needs someone to keep them on track
13. Your contact figures if YOU don't show interest in following up, you and your product can't be all that important
14. Your prospect has had a minor delay and needs to someone (you) to get them on track

So what are you waiting for? Get back on the phone!

By Jim Domanski of Teleconcepts Consulting. Please visit Jim's web site at for additional articles and resources for tele-sales professionals.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Are You Struggling to Make Appointments with Prospects?

The first part of the sales process often takes place over the phone - and this makes it easy for lots of mistakes or misunderstandings to derail your sales. Today sales trainer Jim Klein shares some prospecting tips that will help you stay strong on the phone - so you can get that meeting and make the sale!

Prospecting Tip #1: Prospect Daily
Sales prospecting is like eating. If you don't do it every day you'll die. With prospecting you won't actually cease to exist, however, your business will.

Professional salespeople prospect every day. It's important to block off specific times on your calendar for prospecting activities such as phone calling and mailing.
Treat your prospecting time the same way you would any other appointment, otherwise it will never get done.

Get focused on your prospecting activities by closing your office door and having messages taken for incoming calls until your prospecting time is up. I've found the best time to prospect is first thing in the morning. You're fresh and it gets the most important task in the sales process done first.

Prospecting Tip #2: Become a Specialist
This is the age of specialization. People want to do business with people who specialize in their particular problem. You wouldn't go to a foot doctor to have a heart bypass. And you wouldn't go to a criminal lawyer if you need to set up a corporation.

What is your specialty? Find one and use it in all your prospecting activities. If you don't know what it is ask your past and current clients why they bought from you. They'll give you some insight in to your specialty.

Then use it in all your promotional pieces. Advertise it every where. Put it on your business card. Use it to attract the kind of prospects you're looking to work with.

Prospecting Tip #3: Use a Script
Don't sell 'from the hip'. There's only one thing worse than listening to a salesperson read a script over the phone and that's listening to one without a script. It's important to not only have a script but to practice it until it flows from your lips.

You should know the script word for word without reading it. Don't read it when you're talking to a prospect, however, keep it in front of you to refer back to when you get off the track. Keep refining and making your script better and more powerful. After all it is the life blood of your sales business.

Prospecting Tip #4: Sell the Benefits of Meeting With You
Many salespeople want to tell the prospect how great their company is or how great they are. People don't care about you. People want to know what's in it for them. So make sure you include in your script the benefits the prospect will gain by meeting with you personally.

Make a list of the features of your product or service and then list the benefits of each of those features. If you need some help with this your past and current clients can be a great help. The best way to get the appointment is to show them the benefits they will receive by meeting with you.

Prospecting Tip #5: Don't Try to Sell Over the Phone
The purpose of prospecting is to get face to face with the prospect so you can qualify them and sell them your product or service. That's all. Don't try to sell your product or service over the phone. The main focus of sales prospecting is to sell the appointment, so concentrate on that outcome.

I know there are salespeople who are only selling over the phone, however, that's a subject for a different article.

Using these prospecting tips can send you on your way to having a calendar filled with appointments that lead to sales. Ignoring these sales tips can leave you with a lot more time to prospect. The choice is yours.

Jim Klein helps sales people fine tune the sales process so they can confidently close more sales and create long term relationships. Get free sales training by subscribing to our free newsletter "The Sales Advisor".

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sales Quick Tip

I saw this quick tip from sales trainer Kendra Lee, and thought it was a great idea! As sellers in a fast-paced business world we need to use everything we can to reach customers with our value.

Use Your Email Signature to Your Advantage

Start building a relationship with your prospects through your email signature. Include a links to your social network profiles and something interesting about your company, such as an article, recent report or cool free tool.

Kendra Lee is a Prospect Attraction Specialist and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group helps companies rapidly penetrate new markets, break into new accounts and shorten time to revenue with new products in the SMB segment.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Quote of the Week

"Your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing." -- Abraham Lincoln, 16th U.S. president

What is is that you really want to do? Make more sales? Develop stronger relationships with your clients? Gain more clients via referrals? Whatever it is you want to do, first you have to decide you will succeed, before taking any other steps. If you're determined, there's nothing stopping you!

Friday, September 17, 2010

How to Not Sound Like a Telemarketer

When cold calling, the worst thing you can do is sound like a telemarketer. Today sales trainer Mike Brooks tells you how to avoid just that!

I don't know about you but I can always tell when a telemarketer is cold calling me. From the moment they begin speaking, "Hi is that Mr. Brooks?" to the way they mechanically read their scripts, I have them pegged before they get past their first sentence. And like I'm sure it is with you, too, I am immediately not interested.

If you are reading this article, it probably means you have to pick up the phone - either to make appointments, call prospects back, return calls to clients, etc. - and if so, then you need to learn how to sound natural on the phone and avoid putting your prospects, gatekeepers, assistants, etc., on notice that you're trying to sell something.

The way you do that is by learning how to sound like you're not selling anything, and you do that by learning how to disarm prospects, sound natural yet professional, and how to be friendly without being phony. Use these 5 techniques to not only sound natural on the phone, but to also close more business:

#1 - Always use the prospect's first name. I know that there are two schools of thought on this, one being that you should show respect for someone you don't know and so use either Mr. or Mrs., but I don't agree. I think you can show respect for someone by being courteous and professional, and I think you're going to make a lot more progress if you use a person's first name. Here are the two reasons to do so:

a. First, by using a person's first name you aren't immediately signaling that you're a sales person! How do you feel when someone you don't know calls you and addresses you by "Mr." or "Mrs."? Also, when you use a person's first name, you are starting the call on equal footing, without giving them all the power.

b. Second, everyone likes the sound of their own name. In fact, psychologists have found that everyone's favorite word is their first name! By starting with that you are immediately making a connection, and a personal one at that.

#2 - Be polite. You'd be surprised by how many sales reps still try to trick or get around gatekeepers and assistants, and how many are even rude in doing so. Always, always use please and thank you when speaking with anyone over the phone (or in person for that matter).

Words like "please" and "thank you" go a long way when trying to make a connection with a prospect, and they work especially well when you're trying to get through to a prospect also. Examine your current scripts now and do all you can to insert the proper courtesies wherever you can.

#3 - Be brief. Most reps go into pitch mode the moment they reach their prospect, and it's no surprise they can't wait to get the rep off the phone. I review scripts all the time that essentially read the company's brochure to the prospect the moment they reach them.

You can turn that around and sound so much better by briefly delivering your presentation and checking in with your prospect. Try things like:

a. Briefly _________, the reason I'm calling is that we've been working with many companies like yours, and I just wanted to see if we could help you as well. Can I ask you just a couple of questions to see if we'd be a fit for you?

b. __________, you probably get a lot of calls like these, so I'll be brief. I'll just ask you a couple of quick questions and if I think we can save you between 15 to 20% I'll let you know and, if not, we'll part friends, is that OK?

Get the idea?

#4 - Make a connection. This is one of the easiest of all and it's a great way to get your prospect talking. All you do is find something that you know is affecting your other clients (like new laws in their industry), and ask how it's affecting your new prospect as well. Try:

a. "You know ________ a lot of my clients have told me of the changes they are having to make because of (the new law/change in regulation, etc.), how is that affecting you?"

b. "__________ what are you planning to feature at the September trade show?"

By addressing something that they are dealing with now, you can instantly make a connection and get valuable information. Warning: you have to fit this in after you've established rapport, and you have to address something that is relevant to them.

#5 - Listen more. This may not sound like a way to sound natural on the phone, but believe me, it's probably the most important of all. Because most sales reps are so busy talking at their prospect, they usually lose them at the beginning. In most cases, the prospect has turned off and are just waiting for an appropriate pause to get rid of the rep.

By listening you actually create space for your prospect to speak (and to think), and because of that you are allowing the conversation to flow. When you give the prospect a chance to get their thoughts and feedback out, they feel comfortable with you, and that is the best way for the conversation to unfold naturally. Hit your mute button after you ask a question and count three 1000's if you're having trouble remaining quiet.

There you have it - five easy ways to avoid sounding like a telemarketer and ways to sound more natural on the phone. The good news is that they are easy to implement, and, once you do, you'll make more connections and you'll feel more comfortable on the phone. And this will come across to your prospects and you'll end up qualifying better leads and making more sales.

Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales, offers free closing Scripts, and a free audio program designed to help you double your income selling over the phone. He works with business owners and inside sales reps nationwide teaching them the skills, strategies and techniques of top 20% performance. Learn more at

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Top 5 Networking Gaffes

We've talked about ways to avoid the big networking gaffe - forgetting someone's name - but what other mistakes are important to avoid? Today sales trainer and Adrian Miller shares her top 5 networking gaffes - and what you can do to avoid them!

Number 1 - Not Saying Thank You to the Person Who Made the Introduction
An introduction is a gift. Treat it as such. Thank the person who gave it to you, regardless if it leads to a sale or not.

Number 2 - Not Following Up with Introduction in a Prompt Manner
We're all busy, but following up with an introduction should always be prioritized. Without a timely follow-up, you are sending a clear message that you don't care, and you very well could miss out on a potentially lucrative opportunity.

Number 3 - Blowing off an Introduction Because You Don't Think They're Worthy
Don't ever make assumptions when it comes to introductions. Often times, it's those that seem the least plausible that become the most valuable to you. Keep your mind open and treat every introduction equally.

Number 4 - Not Taking the Time to Learn About the Introduction
Do your homework before you pick up that phone. By learning about the introduction beforehand, you'll have a good foundation for determining how you can help each other.

Number 5 - Being Overbearing or Overreaching
Just as you don't say "I love you" on a first date, don't scare away an introduction with being too aggressive. Take your time to determine ways to best work together and let your relationship flourish.

Adrian Miller is the President of Adrian Miller Sales Training, a training and business consulting firm delivering sales-level performance training and executive-level business development consulting. A nationally recognized lecturer, she is also author of "The Blatant Truth: 50 Ways to Sales Success".

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Update Your Prospecting Method

With every new technological advancement out there, the world of sales is changing. Are you changing with it? Today sales trainer Mark Hunter explains how changing your prospecting methods will keep you in touch with your clients, and keep them reading your messages!

Has it been years since you really refined and updated your prospecting process? Try to do it at least every quarter to capitalize on changes in your industry and in the economy. Without a doubt, I truly believe your sales motivation — and your sales success — is impacted by how well you prospect.

Every quarter it is essential to assess the effectiveness of your prospecting process. Too many companies with which I consult only assess their prospecting process every couple of years...or even longer if they don't see a significant loss of new customers. This is really too bad!

By waiting this long, they're missing out on major pieces of business. Here's an example of what I mean. Over the past year, the percentage of emails being read on a Blackberry, iPhone, or other smart phone has increased significantly. This means how you write your message must change. More messages are being deleted before they're even opened, based solely on what the first 10 – 20 characters of the message! That never used to be the case, but technology has enlightened us to this reality.

Another example is the percentage of voice mail messages that are not being transferred to text form for delivery. Again, this forces you to think through how you prospect. I say this is a prospecting problem and not a customer problem, because your prospects aren't going to tell you if they're blowing off your messages. They'll just do it and you'll never know.

In what ways have you changed your prospecting to keep up with technology? Share in the comments!

Mark Hunter, "The Sales Hunter", is a sales expert who speaks to thousands each year on how to increase their sales profitability. For more information, to receive a free weekly email sales tip, or to read his Sales Motivation Blog, visit

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I'm Sorry, What Was Your Name?

Today sales trainer Kelley Robertson shares a few tips to help you remember people's names when you first meet them - a small, but incredibly important thing!

Names are VERY important to people and being able to recall a name can help you improve your credibility and earn the respect of others. When you meet people - from customers to prospects - you can differentiate yourself by remembering their name.

While this sounds simple, I have encountered many people at networking events who forget a person's name a few moments after they meet.

Here are three strategies you can use to prevent this embarrassment.

1. Make the effort. To recall someone's name, you need to focus on hearing it when you are first introduced. Instead of thinking about you will say, listen carefully to the other person as they greet you. If you don't hear their name or you can't understand it, ask them to repeat it by saying, "I'm sorry, I didn't catch that."

2. Repeat their name. After they introduce themselves say, "It's a pleasure to meet you, (insert name here)." This helps drive their name into your memory bank.

3. Use it a few times. During your conversation, look for two or three opportunities to use the other person's name. This is an excellent way to prevent you from forgetting it.

This is not a typical "sales skill" but it is helpful to create long-term relationships with new prospects and people you meet at networking events.

As President of The Robertson Training Group, Kelley has helped thousands of professionals improve their business results with his engaging approach to sales training and speaking. He specializes in helping businesses increase their sales, develop better negotiating skills, coach and motivate their employees, create powerful work teams and deliver outstanding customer service. Learn more at

Monday, September 13, 2010

Quote of the Week

"Our mind is for having ideas, not for holding them." -- David Allen

Have you been holding on to an idea for expanding your business or going out on your own? What about a way for your company to streamline the sales process? Getting these ideas out can only move you forward, while holding on to them will get you no where. Take a chance, and talk with others about your idea. It just might be a money-maker!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Deadly Sins of Questioning - Part 3

Today is the final day of our "deadly sins of questioning" series. Have you come to realize you commit some of these errors? Taken steps to change your questioning tactics? Let us know!

Today sales trainer Jim Domanski shares the final questioning sins you could be making, and what you can do to fix them!

Deadly Sin #9: Not Asking Questions that Quantify
Uncovering a pain or gain is a good start but it is rarely enough to close the deal. The pain or the gain might be minor at this particular stage and not important for the client to take action. You need to quantify the motivator. Quantify means getting the client to evaluate the nature and extend of a problem or an opportunity. Often they don't readily see the implications of pain or gain and they need you to help them assess the situation.

For example, you can ask how often a problem occurs. What does it cost the client when it occurs in terms of both time and money? This creates magnitude. The greater the magnitude the greater the motivation.

Deadly Sin # 10: Not Using Questions to Respond to Objections
The trouble with an objection is that you can never be certain if it is the REAL objection or if it is a false objection. The way to deal with virtually any objection is to a) pause, b) empathize and c) ask a question to determine if the objection is real or if it is hiding something else.

For instance, suppose the prospect objects to price. Ask him to "explain" what he means by price. Does he really mean budget or is it an issue of value or is he comparing apples to apples? Who knows? So use questions to solve objections.

Deadly Sin # 11: Not Listening to the Answers to Your Questions
Perhaps one of the deadliest blunders is asking a question but failing to listen to the answer. Some reps dutifully ask questions but instead of listening they are simply waiting for their turn to speak.

To solve this, stay focused on the words being uttered. Use a pen and pad and take notes because it forces you to concentrate. Next, focus on the tone of voice. The way a client speaks offer nuances that can indicate agreement, disagreement, confusion, indifference, annoyance etc. If you hear something in their voice, ask about it: "Eric, I think I hear some confusion in your voice. Is there something I can clarify?"

Deadly Sin #12: Not Asking Verifying Questions
The last blunder is failing to ask verifying questions. This is particularly important in the world of telephone sales, lead generation or prospecting. Verification questions are those that seek to determine if the client understood YOU. For instance, after providing some information to the client (e.g., a product description) ask, "Does that make sense to you?" or "Do you follow my logic?" or "How does that sound to you?" Then shut up and listen. Gauge the response but more importantly gauge the tone. These questions will ensure that you are staying on track and more importantly, that your CLIENT is staying on track with you.

Questions are the very best of tools in the selling process. But use them wisely by avoiding these blunders. Does that make sense?

By Jim Domanski of Teleconcepts Consulting. Please visit Jim's web site at for additional articles and resources for tele-sales professionals.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Deadly Sins of Questioning - Part 2

Yesterday sales trainer Jim Domanski shared 4 of the deadly sins of questioning - and what you can do to fix them. Today he's back with even more tips to help you make more sales!

Deadly Sin # 5: Asking too Many Close Ended Questions
Closed ended questions are short answer or yes or no type answers. When used wisely they are handy little helpers that verify, clarify and confirm information. In addition they can help direct the questioning so you can identify needs more quickly and easily. The problem occurs when they are overused which tends to make buyers feel they are being grilled or interrogated. Surveys reveal that after three or four consecutive close ended questions buyers feel frustration; beyond that they are annoyed or hostile and will disengage from the conversation. Regrettably, the majority of reps tend to use more closed ended questions than open ended.

The Incredible Questioning Guide
The trick to balancing close and open ended questions is to create a Questioning Guide Chart. Take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left side, list all the INFORMATION you need to help understand the client's situation, needs, wants etc. On the right side, list the QUESTIONS that you need to ask in order to get the information. What you will find is that most of your questions end up being close ended. Revamp those questions so there is mix of open and closed. You can use this chart to help you deal with virtually all of the blunders listed here.

Deadly Sin #6: Not Asking Bold Questions

Bold questions are qualifying questions that many reps seem to avoid or forget. They are called bold because sometimes it takes a little nerve to ask them but in doing so you can save time by cutting to the quick and determining if the prospect has potential or not.

One bold question is the decision maker question: "Apart from yourself, Jim, who else is involved in the decision making process?" Another bold question is the budgetary question, "Tara, let me ask you: have funds been budgeted for this project (product, service)?" A third bold question is the time frame question,
"Wendi, when will the decision to buy be made?"

What are your bold questions? Add them to your Questioning Guide.

Deadly Sin # 7: Assuming that One Person Has All the Answers to Your Questions
Depending on the nature of your sale, there may be several stakeholders that could be impacted. Each stakeholder has different needs and requirements and it is vital that you ask each of THEM questions that are relevant to their situation.

Here's what you do. First, ask your contact who does this sale affect? Second, use a bold question and ask your contact for the names of those who might have a stake in the sale. Third, create a Questioning Guide for each particular stakeholder.

Deadly Sin # 8: Not Asking Pain and Gain Questions
Pain questions are those that query about a problem or a predicament or a concern that a client might have that you can fix. Gain questions query about opportunities or enhancements that you might be able to provide. Both questions deal with the issue of motivation. Find a pain or find a gain and you'll begin the motivation process.

How do you do this? Simply develop a list of questions that pinpoint pain and gain. (Your Question Guide is the place for these.) For instance, "Mr. Gunderson, one thing teachers have been telling us is that creating daily class plans is time consuming and frustration. Let me ask, is this similar to your situation?"

By Jim Domanski of Teleconcepts Consulting. Please visit Jim's web site at for additional articles and resources for tele-sales professionals.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Deadly Sins of Questioning

The rest of this week will be devoted to questioning - we all use questions to probe for interest, for problems, and for understanding. But, when not used correctly, questions can take you far away from the sale. Over the next three days sales trainer Jim Domanski we will share the 12 deadly sins of questioning, so you know what to do - and what to avoid!

Deadly Sin #1: Not Asking Questions at All
Still, after the millions of words that have been written about the importance and value of questioning, there are sales reps that continue to ignore the advice and simply pitch the product. Asking questions gets clients involved by getting THEM to tell YOU what they want or need or think is important. When they're involved, they are more likely to buy. To solve this blunder, stop talking and start asking.

Deadly Sin #2: Asking Dumb and Destructive Questions
Don't be fooled, there ARE dumb questions. For instance, "What do you like about your current supplier?" is a particularly dumb and destructive question. This question gets the client to open up and verbally 'testify' why they like your competitor. In effect, it justifies and reinforces their rationale for choosing their vendor which makes your job even tougher. What to do? THINK about the questions you are going to ask before you ask them.

Deadly Sin #3: Asking too Many Questions
While questions are good and necessary in the selling process too much of a good thing can be dangerous. Asking too many questions can overwhelm, bore or frustrate your client and YOU. Ask yourself: What do I really need to know from the customer or prospect?" Focus on these questions to ensure you get what you need.

Deadly Sin # 4: Asking too Many Open Ended Questions
Open ended questions are often positioned as the Holy Grail of questions because they get the client to 'open up' and provide vital information on their problems, predicaments, pains, opportunities, challenges and the like. However, the truth of the matter is too many open ended questions can be destructive. Unless they are relevant and pertinent, they can confuse, bore, annoy, overwhelm, and bewilder the client. They can often lead you down paths you don't want to go. The solution is twofold: carefully select your open ended questions and then direct and point the discussion with the judicious use of closed ended questions.

Come back tomorrow for more essential tips to help you get the most from your questions!

By Jim Domanski of Teleconcepts Consulting. Please visit Jim's web site at for additional articles and resources for tele-sales professionals.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Overcoming the Price Objection

Sales trainer Mike Brooks is an expert on inside sales, and often shares phone scripts that have worked for him and his clients. Today he shares his favorite script for overcoming the dreaded price objection.

Have you ever been on a close with a prospect who is objecting to your price, even grinding you to lower it, and yet is still on the phone with you?

Have you ever had someone complaining about how your price is too high, about how they can get it cheaper with a competitor, and yet is still not buying from them? Instead, he's still arguing with your price??

If any of these things has happened to you, then I've got the perfect script for you. Use this:

"___________ you can always get it (your product or service) for less money. Heck, we could do a Google search right now and I'll bet we could come up with a few different options that are even cheaper than what you're telling me you can get it for now. The question is - why aren't you going with them? Isn't it because there comes a time when price isn't as important as the loss in quality, service and results?

And that's why our clients keep doing business with us. When you begin getting (the results of your product or service), you'll also understand why our price is worth the value and results you get with us. You can always get it cheaper, but you can't get our results that pay for themselves over and over again. Let's do this...(suggest starting with an introductory package)."

This script works because it says exactly what you're thinking - "If you can get it cheaper somewhere else, then why aren't you going with it?"

The reason they aren't is because they are sold on your solution, but they just want to grind you for a lower price. And why not? Most sales reps (the other 80%) often cave in and lower their price.

But not the Top 20%.

They know that if someone is on the phone talking about their solution, then there is some real interest. They know not to drop their price, but rather, they know to build value. And you should, too.

The next time you're dealing with a prospect who is complaining about the price, or telling you they can get it for less money elsewhere, then use this script before you drop your price.

It will work, and you'll make more money!

Mike Brooks,, is creator and publisher of the "Top 20% Inside Sales Tips" weekly Ezine. If you're ready to Double Your Income Selling Over the Phone, then sign up to receive your FREE tips now at:

Friday, September 3, 2010

Revisit Your Goals

As we go into the weekend, I thought this tip from sales trainer Kendra Lee was especially appropriate. Use some of your time this weekend to think about where you want to be, so when you go into the office on Tuesday (remember, Labor Day holiday on Monday!) you'll be ready to sit down and set out a plan of attack to meet those goals.

There are only 4 months left in the year. How are you doing against your 2010 goals? Revisit the account growth and lead generation objectives you had. How are you doing at bringing in new customers? Consider what lead generation actions you can take to impact the last 4 months of the year.

Kendra Lee is a Prospect Attraction Specialist and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group helps companies rapidly penetrate new markets, break into new accounts and shorten time to revenue with new products in the SMB segment.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Three Steps to Getting High Quality Referrals from Your Clients

Referrals are essential to building a business that lasts. They not only build your sales, they build your reputation as well. Today sales trainer Paul McCord shares three secrets that will help you get those high-quality referrals you deserve!

Are you finding that you're just not getting the number of quality referrals you want from your clients? Chances are you said yes because that's the case with most sellers. Oh, sure, we all have some clients that will give us referrals all day long. Just ask and they'll give you name after name. Other clients, the majority, aren't nearly as generous with their referrals.

The biggest problem in both cases is so often the referral we get isn't much better than pointing at a name in the phonebook at random.

How can you guarantee that you get great referrals? Simple. Make sure the client gives you a great referral by finding the referral for them to give you, rather than relying on them coming up with a quality referral to give.

The reality is that clients really don't know who we're looking for and most of them just don't have a real incentive to invest the time and energy to come up with a great referral for us.

But we know who is a great referral for us. And certainly we're willing to invest the time and energy to find a great referral (if we're not, we have some real serious issues to deal with).

Since we're the one with the need; and we're the one with the desire; and we're the one who knows who makes a good referral for us, why would we rely on anyone else other than our self to come up with the referral?

So how can we come up with the referral for our client to give us?

Here are three steps to guaranteeing you get great referrals from your clients:

1.Get Your Client On-board to Give Referrals. Most sellers wait until after the sale has been completed before they bring up the idea of referrals. Bad idea.

Most clients need time to get comfortable with the idea of giving referrals, so bring up referrals early in the relationship. Don't ask for referrals; just let your client know that your business is built on referrals and then drop referral seeds as the sale progresses. Since your prospects and clients aren't stupid, if they hear you mention referrals often in a casual manner, they'll get the impression referrals are important to you and they will be expecting you to ask for them at some point.

2. Find Out Who Your Client Knows. We've already established that in order to get great referrals you have to do the work for your client, so do it by discovering during the course of the relationship who they know that you know you want to be referred to.

How do you find out? Through small-talk (who do they mention in conversation they know); paying attention to what's in their environment (pictures, association directories, membership plaques, and such); their background (where did they work previously); their work (what vendors and suppliers do they interact with). Your job is to be a detective and to uncover the relationships they have with people or companies that you know you want to be referred to. The more you uncover the more quality referrals you uncover.

3. Don't Ask for Referrals, Ask for THE Referral. Now when it comes time to ask for referrals, you're not going to be like every other seller and ask a weak question such as, "Donna, do you happen to know anyone else (or another company) that might be able to use my products or services (or that I can help--or any other such weak question)?"

Instead you're going to ask for a specific referral: "Donna, I've been trying to connect with David Jones for some time without success. You mentioned that you've worked with David for several years, would you be comfortable introducing me to him?" You know she knows David. You have reason to believe David is a good prospect for you. Don't waste Donna's time with that weak general referral question; ask to get connected to a person you know she knows that you know you want to connect with.

Referrals can be the foundation of your sales business if you just develop the skills necessary to be a referral-based salesperson. If Donna knows three people or companies you know you want to be referred to and you can get introductions to them from her, how much time and energy have you saved getting those three introductions through referrals instead of cold calling or sending out direct mail or hoping to bump into them at a networking event?

Forget what you've been taught about asking for referrals. Referral generation is a PROACTIVE process where you do the work, not your client. Your client doesn't have the motivation, you do. They don't have the understanding of who makes a good referral like you do. Your client doesn't have the time to invest in figuring out a good referral like you do. It's your business, not theirs. Make it easy to give quality referrals--you'll get a ton of them if you do.

Paul McCord, a leading Business Development Strategist and president of McCord Training, works with companies and sales leaders to help them increase sales and profits by finding and connecting with high quality prospects in ways prospects respect and respond to. An internationally recognized author, speaker, trainer and consultant, Paul's clients range from giants such as Chase, New York Life, Siemens, and GE, to small and mid-size firms, as well as individual sales leaders. He is the author of the popular Sales and Sales Management Blog.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Easy Way to Get Bigger Sales

Here's a story from sales expert Art Sobczak that will teach you to think big! Enjoy!

A newer sales rep came into a company, in an industry he had never sold to before. Within two months he was kicking major butt and became the Number One rep. By a lot.

One disgruntled and jealous rep, in another region, who had been there for a few years, asked the manager what the new rep was doing that got such great results.

"He's going to the top level of the companies we're selling to, and selling bigger deals." The rep responded, "How does he sell to those people? I always get stalled at the mid-management level?"

The manager replied, "He doesn't know that it is even possible to talk to mid-managers and sell our product. We told him that the only people he can talk to are those at the highest level, and that bigger deals are all that we sell."

Hmmm. Pretty simple point this week:

All that limits us is ourselves, and thinking and acting BIG gets BIG results

Here are some thoughts along those lines:


It takes just as much energy to ask for a large order as it does a small one. As long as you're asking anyway, why not ask LARGE?


When you EXPECT to sell large, that notion becomes part of you; your thoughts, your
actions, and your results.


Even when you don't get the large sale or project you ask for, you will probably end with something more than you would have gotten otherwise if you had thought small.


The pros with the highest average orders, and the most overall sales are typically the ones who shoot for--and ask for--the biggest sales. The math works on this.


Where you target in the organization usually determines the size of the sale you're able to get. Where are you calling? Aim high.


Percy Ross wrote a syndicated newspaper column, "Thanks a Million," where he gave away millions of dollars to people who wrote in, and ASKED in the right way. In his now out-of-print book, "Ask for the Moon--and Get It!" he also suggested asking large: "Take a chance; ask for something big! Most of us have a tendency to shy away from the things we want the most. What is it your heart desires? What is it you want the most? Who could give it to you or make it come true? Go ahead, ASK THEM!"


John F. Kennedy said that "Only those who dare to fail greatly will succeed greatly." He practiced what he preached; he asked for the moon, got it approved by Congress, and received commitment from the thousands of people who ultimately made it happen in 1969.

Art Sobczak helps sales pros use the phone to prospect, service and sell more effectively, while eliminating morale-killing rejection. To get FREE weekly emailed TelE-Sales Tips visit: