Just Follow The Script

Do you have a system that is proven to work? Do you follow it…?

There are many ways to generate leads for a business, SEO and email marketing and social media and content marketing and Facebook ads and on and on…

One of the things that distinguishes those who are successful at generating leads by any of the above methods and those who are not successful is that the really successful marketers test. They try out an approach on a small segment of their list, measure the results, perhaps tweak the approach and test again. They do this over and over and over again until they are sure that they have the best approach to generate leads. Once they are sure, they repeat the process over and over and over again for just one reason: They know it works.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for sales professionals and telephone prospecting.

I have been working with a coaching client who is the CEO of his company. He is a very busy man. We developed a prospecting process for his business including a list of pre-qualified leads and a complete set of scripts; appointment setting scripts, voicemails and email templates; to enable him to schedule qualified appointments.

My client then tested the system. He didn’t have a lot of time to make calls, but when he did, he consistently converted 40% – 50% of his conversations with decision-makers into qualified appointments. He proved the model and it was clear that the process and all of the scripts worked.

Then my client hired an appointment setter.

The appointment setter’s job was to follow the system that was already set up using all of the scripts that were already written and proven to work and to make appointments for my client, the CEO.

Unfortunately, once the appointment setter started, the number of appointments plummeted. Why? The appointment setter did not use the scripts that had already been proven to work. Instead, he was winging it on almost every call.

This is very puzzling to me. When you have a system that is proven to work, why would you ever do anything else?

And, what is more curious, every once in a while, this new appointment setter would use the script. When he did, he made an appointment.

The data was very clear: Use the script, make an appointment. Don’t use the script, don’t make an appointment.

Sales professionals could learn from successful marketers. Create the approach. Test it. Tweak it if necessary. Test it again. Once you have something that is proven to work… Keep using it.

Sell or Die

September is an interesting time. You may still be in vacation mode and/or believe that all of your customers and prospects are still in vacation mode. September, however, is officially here. And after September comes the fourth quarter sprint when for far too many business owners and sales professionals it’s time to…

As we head into the fourth quarter of 2019 are you on track to make your sales revenue goals for the year?

If you’re like many, the fourth quarter can mean it’s time to panic because the end of the year is fast approaching and the finish line is much too far away. Here are some recommendations to stop the panic and to start selling more to finish out the year exactly where you need and want to be. If you manage a team have your team go through the steps below.

1.) Calculate exactly where you are in terms of your 2019 sales revenue. You also need to go back and look at your initial 2019 revenue goal to see how close you are to achieving it.

2.) Next, take a look at what’s in the pipeline and likely to close in order to get you that much closer.

3.) Go back and take a look at deals from earlier in the year that have not closed. See if you can resurrect any of them.

4.) Make a list of existing customers that might need additional products or services. Make a plan to start reaching out.

5.) Make a list of everyone that you know or would like to know that should be buying from you. Make a plan to start reaching out.

6.) Make a list of everyone that you know or would like to know that might be able to refer business. Make a plan to start reaching out.

7.) Create your Wish List of Ideal Prospects that you believe might have a need of your offering. Make a plan to start reaching out.

When you do all of the above you will not only be much closer to achieving and/or exceeding your 2019 sales goals – you’ll also be setting yourself up for an even better 2020!

If you are a business owner, entrepreneur or sales professional and you are sick of the stress and frustration of not knowing where your next client or sale will come from… If you are ready to make changes that will enable you to finish this year strong and set yourself up for an amazing 2020… Then I invite you to apply for the Master Sales Coaching program where you will coach directly with me to achieve and exceed your goals. There is no fee or commitment when you apply. We will simply have a conversation to see if the program is a fit for you.

Do You Know Your Numbers?

Are you a business owner or sales professional worried about where your next sale is going to come from? Do you wish that you had more control over filling your pipeline? The answer always lies in the numbers…

Last week we finished the last session of the Prospecting Mastery live, skills training and coaching program. In this last session, the majority of the participants said for the first time in their sales career, they feel that they have control of their sales process. They know exactly what they need to do to keep their calendars and pipelines full of the best opportunities. They also know how to control conversations with their prospects. That is a powerful feeling!

Part of that feeling of control comes from knowing the numbers.

Here is an email that I received from a client that had someone enrolled in the Prospecting Mastery program:

As a sales manager, the number #1 challenge is for sales people to know their numbers.

A sales person must know their:

    • Ratio of Dials to Conversations with Prospects
    • Ratio of Conversations to Appointments Scheduled
    • Ratio of Appointments to Proposals
    • Ratio of Proposals to Sales

When you know your numbers, you can calculate your Revenue Per Dial.

Powerful!

When you know your numbers, you can also:

    • Improve your ratios
    • Determine how much you wish to make and what it takes to make it
    • Take charge of you career

Powerful!

A sales manager can plan their sales goals if they know their numbers:

    • Know how many sales people will be needed to achieve their sales goals
    • Know at an early stage when a sales person is not going to succeed
    • Know who needs coaching and in what area
    • Improve the sales team’s ratios

Powerful!

This seems obvious, yet so many sales people and sales managers have no idea of their numbers.  This is the #1 challenge.

I am indebted to my client, Keith Oliver, Principal, Oliver Insurance, http://oliver-insurance.com/, for the outline above. He is 100% correct. When you know your numbers, everything changes.

If you are a business owner and/or sales manager and would like to have a serious conversation about knowing and improving your numbers, click here.

More Appointments Does Not Equal More Sales

Do you find that it is difficult to schedule appointments with prospects?

Do you find that although you are scheduling appointments, not many of those appointments stick?

Do you find that while you are scheduling appointments, not very many of those appointments turn into sales?

If you answered, “yes” to any of the questions above, the solution is most likely in how you are prospecting.

I started to think about this last week after a conversation with client who owns an independent insurance agency. My client told me that his new salesperson was getting a lot of appointments, he just wasn’t closing any sales. My client thought that his new salesperson needed help with his closing skills.

Upon diving more deeply into the conversation with my client, it turned out that the new salesperson also worked part-time, at night, as a bartender. He met a lot of people at his nighttime job and he set a lot of appointments with the people that he met. Unfortunately, many of those appointments did not stick and almost none of them turned into sales. (And yes, this is a true story.)

My client thought, as many do, that more appointments should equal more sales.

The real issue was, however, that while the new salesperson was making a lot of appointments, most of them were completely inappropriate. The people he had made appointments with were just not good prospects.

This new salesperson does not actually have a problem with closing. He has a problem with prospecting. He is not likely to close a lot of sales, because he is making appointments with folks that are unlikely to need, want or say yes to his offering.

Effective appointment-setting always starts by identifying the target. The answer to “what makes a good lead?” is not, “Everyone.” Step one is to identify the parameters that define the “best fit” type prospect for you in your market with your offering.

According to research done by InsideSales.com, and outlined in their report, The Power of Prioritization, “Higher-rated prospects convert 2.6x better than lower-rated prospects.” In other words, “best fit” leads convert almost 3 times better than leads that are not “best fit.”.

When the lead you are reaching out to is well targeted and a “best fit” you are much more likely to 1.) Schedule an appointment and then, 2.) Close a sale.

More appointments do not necessarily equal more sales. Better prospecting, however, will lead to more qualified appointments which will then lead to more closed sales.

 

© 2019, Wendy Weiss

Caller Beware!

From time to time readers of this newsletter or visitors to the web site will email scripts to me to ask for my comments. Here is a script I recently received. Beware. Do not let this happen to you:

Script: Hello (Prospect’s Name) this is (Name) with (Company Name). Did I catch you at a bad time?

Wendy’s Comment: Everyone is incredibly busy these days. The most likely response to this question is, “Yes.” Why set yourself up for failure in your first breath?

Script: Once again, my name is (Name) with (Company Name). The purpose of my call is to simply schedule a brief 10-15 minute phone conversation early/late next week. Can we carve out a few minutes next (Tuesday at 1:30 pm) or (Thursday at 1:30 pm)?

Wendy’s Comment: This is all about what the caller wants. The caller wants to schedule an appointment. He doesn’t even say what it’s about and yet expects the prospect to jump up and down with excitement and say, “Yes!”

Script: The agenda of our appointment is to introduce myself and (Company Name) …and the work we’re currently doing). And learn a little bit more about your (Company/Department) I only need 10-15 minutes. Can we carve out a few minutes (Day) or (Day)?

Wendy’s Comment: This caller has yet to say why the prospect should be interested in speaking with him, interested in the company or interested in the work they’re doing. In addition, prospects today have no interest in wasting their time teaching sales people about their company. They expect sales people to have done their homework, something this caller clearly has not done.

This caller was struggling and it’s not surprising. He was missing out on the very first rule of prospecting. He needs to answer the question: Why should your prospect be interested?

This script is all about the caller, what he wants and what he expects from the prospect. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work these days. These days it’s all about the prospect. Forget that at your peril.

 

© 2019, Wendy Weiss

Lessons from “The Guru”

By Wendy Weiss, The Queen of Cold Calling™

I recently had a conversation with a very well-known Internet Marketing Guru… Hereafter referred to as “The Guru.” A colleague, who I respect, had recommended that I meet him. She told me that “The Guru” was producing a big event this fall and she thought I might be interested in attending. She said she’d be there and so would a lot of other people that I know.

I’d known of “The Guru” but was not really familiar with his work. I knew he was supposed to be a master of the “art of enrolling clients.” The event sounded somewhat interesting, I’m always on the lookout for additional resources to offer clients (and the “art of enrolling clients” could certainly be useful to many of my clients), I’m always looking for marketing partners… And let’s face it, I did want to see the “art of enrolling clients” in action…. My colleague thus facilitated an introduction via email.

After that email introduction, “The Guru’s” assistant contacted me to schedule a phone date for me to speak directly with “The Guru” himself. Woo hoo!

On the appointed day, at the appointed time “The Guru” called. I’d spent the previous hour reading about “The Guru” online. I looked at his website, his LinkedIn profile, Facebook, twitter… All the usual places. Google makes it easy. At the appointed time I was sitting by the phone. I was ready.

“The Guru” called. We chatted for a few minutes. In those few minutes it became very clear that “The Guru” had no idea who I was. He knew why he was calling… He just didn’t know who I was. Now, I am not saying this from an ego point of view that he should have known “The Queen of Cold Calling.” What I’m saying, is that he should have taken at least 5 minutes before he called and googled me. Clearly he did not. Not only that, he didn’t even know who had referred me. He did, however, know that he was calling to get me into his event and how much the event cost. Interesting “enrolling” approach.

25 years ago we didn’t have Google, or LinkedIn or Facebook or any of the resources that are available today to gather information. You would have your target’s company name, phone number, mailing address and that was pretty much it. If you were lucky, you might have a contact name at your target company.

25 years ago, however, prospects did not actually expect you to know much about them or their company. They were willing to answer a lot of questions… not today. Prospects today do expect that you’ve done a modicum of homework on them before you pick up the phone to engage. If you do not, they tend to react poorly… as I did… (and no, I won’t be attending the event).

So, dear reader, please take to heart this lesson learned from “The Guru” himself: if your goal is to engage and then “enroll” clients, first do your homework.

 

Letting Go is Hard to Do

By Wendy Weiss, The Queen of Cold Calling™

Every sales professional has them. Those deadly lingering prospects. The ones that never buy anything. They say, “Not just yet….” They say “Not quite ready….” They say, “Call me back in a couple of weeks…” or “Call me back in a month…” or “Call me back in six months…” over and over and over. And you do call them back over and over and over and they never buy anything. They say, “Not just yet….” They say “Not quite ready….” They say, “Call me back in a couple of weeks…” or “Call me back in a month…” or “Call me back in a few months…” over and over and over.

We’ve all been there. Calling that prospect, hoping this time will be different, hoping this time they’ll say, “yes” and that this call will make up for all the previous calls and all the time spent. Besides, if you don’t call them, then maybe your competition will… the nightmare of all nightmares… your prospect that you’ve been calling for years now will buy from someone else. You don’t want that to happen. Oh no! And so, you do call them again and they don’t buy anything. They say, “Not just yet….” They say “Not quite ready….”

So how do you end this vicious cycle that breaks so many sales professionals’ hearts?

Step one: Identify and only pursue qualified prospects. Make sure that you know what makes a prospect qualified for you. One reason prospects do not convert into customers is that they were never really qualified in the first place.

Step two: Ask the tough questions. In your conversations with your prospects, look to qualify prospects out. Ask the questions that you need to ask: Questions about the process, the budget and how that decision will be made. If your prospect gives you information that tells you that you’re no longer speaking with a qualified prospect, stop pursuing them.

Some times prospects do have legitimate reasons for asking you to call back at a later date. And that’s ok. If a prospect has a legitimate reason, then by all means call them back when they have asked you to call back. (Just make the call a little earlier than the prospect has suggested. It’s always better to be a little early than to be too late.) If, however, your prospect has not explained why they want you to call back at a later date then make sure to ask what will have changed between now and the time they want a follow up call.

And lastly, if you have prospects that you have been following up with time after time after time and getting nowhere, ask those prospects if there is a real and legitimate possibility of doing business together in the foreseeable future.

If your prospect cannot give you some assurance that there is legitimate interest, stop pursuing them. They are not going to become your customer.

Letting go of prospects is hard to do. When you let go of those inappropriate prospects, that will never buy from you, that will free you to pursue real prospects. The ones that will say, “yes.” Letting go is hard to do… but well worth it in the end.

 

Let’s Get to “Yes”

“No” to scheduling an appointment…

“No, take me off your call list…”

“No, take me off of your email list…

“No” to revisiting in the future…

“No, no, no, no, no…”

We’ve all heard it from prospects. Even The Queen of Cold Calling™ has heard it from prospects.

It is certainly true that the more skillful one becomes at prospecting the fewer prospects say, “no.” Sometimes, however, prospects do say “no” and there is nothing at all that you can do about it.

Many sales professionals fear hearing the word, “no.” Some feel personally rejected when they hear “no.” Some feel discouraged and demoralized. Some look into the future and predict that their prospects will simply say, “no” so they don’t even reach out. These types of emotional reactions to the word, “no,” keep sales pros from success.

What if there was a different way to think about it?

To me, there is nothing more demoralizing than reaching out to a prospect over and over again by phone, by email or by social media and getting no response at all. Over and over you reach out and over and over again, crickets. What to do? Keep calling? Keep emailing? Texting? Tweeting?

In the above scenario, I would always rather hear, “no.” If someone says, “no” to me, at least I know where I am. If a prospect says they absolutely will not make an appointment; if they ask to be removed from the call list or the email list… They have just given me an enormous gift: The Gift of “No.” The Gift of “No” sets me free from having to endlessly chase noncommunicative prospects. The Gift of “No” allows me instead to reach out to different prospects that might very well say, “yes” to me.

Don’t fear the word, “no.” It sets you free.

It’s Worse than You Think… with a Ray of Hope

A recent study by ValueSelling Associates and Selling Power, B2B Prospecting Challenges from the Front Lines, found that: “By a wide margin, the most effective method of reaching prospects was client referrals followed by cold calls.”

Some other significant findings include: 

One out of two B2B sales reps fear making cold calls.

The number one challenge that salespeople face when trying to set up an initial meeting is reaching the prospect. 

Consistently making cold calls was the skill that scored the lowest with 25% of average reps marked as poor.

More than half (54%) of initial meetings required more than five touch points to secure the meeting.

Reps are not spending enough time on prospecting. Only 18% of sales reps spent nine hours or more on prospecting each week. 

Organization, consistency, and persistence are foundational skills for effective prospecting. 

Repeated, incremental training on prospecting and setting up initial meetings is essential for success.

In addition, according to research done by the Bridge Group, annual turnover in sales positions ranges from 20% to 34%. Further, a recent study by the Society of Human Resource Management estimates that every time a business replaces an employee, it can cost, on average, 6 to 9 months’ salary. This means that for a sales representative making $40,000 a year, it might cost $20,000 to $30,000 in recruiting and training expenses to replace them if or when they leave.

We here at ColdCallingResults.com recently sent a survey to our readers asking the question, “Did you or members of your sales team hit your 2018 sales goals?” Only 20% of those who responded said that they did. That means a whopping 80% did not achieve their sales goals last year.

Prospecting is foundational to sales success. Without prospecting there are no opportunities to sell.

The ray of sunshine in all of this is that cold calling is a communication skill that can be learned and improved on. In the 25+ years that I have been conducting prospecting and sales training, I have seen over and over again that once sales people learn these skills and an easy to follow process, generally call reluctance disappears, appointments are scheduled and sales happen.

If you are a business owner or sales professional who is prospecting and/or you manage a team of sales professionals who are prospecting and you are not having the success that you envision…  if you know that prospecting is of vital importance and that it’s time to master this critical skill set, then let’s have a conversation about options to make that happen. Simply click on this link, give me some background and your best phone number and times to reach you and we’ll talk. I look forward to it.

Create Leverage

You know that prospecting is important. Without new opportunities, sales don’t happen. And yet, somehow, prospecting activity often falls by the wayside. There are simply not enough hours in the day. Sometimes all you have are a few minutes for your prospecting activities. So, then the question becomes: How can you leverage the time that you do have?

1. Become more efficient.

Efficiency requires systems. When you have a step-by-step system it’s possible to get more done, more quickly. Winging it is very time consuming. The choices are:

a.) Create your own systems

b.) Come to one of our classes and learn our systems

c.) Find someone else’s system that you like.

What you must do is follow a system.

2. Get more effective when speaking with prospects.

Every time a prospect asks you to call them back at some point in the future… and you do so, you have just doubled your workload. Every time a prospect asks you to send information… and you do so, you have just doubled your workload as it is likely that you will need to call them back. Every time a prospect tells you they are working with someone and you do not have an effective response to get the appointment, you’ve just lost an opportunity.

Prospecting is very predictable. We know that if prospects do not immediately say, “yes” to scheduling an appointment they are likely to say one of the above standard objections.

If you have a great introduction you will hear far fewer objections. And then you need to know how to handle the objections that you do hear. The really good news is that this is a communication skill and it can be learned.

3. Use the proper tools.

I continue to be amazed that in 2019 there are still sales organizations that do not use any kind of software to manage prospecting activity. You cannot do this well on paper or an Excel spreadsheet. There are a number of software products made specifically for telephone prospecting that leverage your time. (You can see The Queen’s recommendations in the Wendy Recommends section below.) Find one. Use it.