As a Sales Manager…Who do I push, when and how? Without being a PITA!

I was recently asked the above question, and it’s a good one. As sales leaders, we all want to be in full control of our forecast, pipeline and close to our sales team. However, as this question suggests there is a fine line between being really on it, and being a pain in the a**. …

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Are your Sales Metrics Helping or Harming your Customer Relationships?

When you think about productivity do you recognise the power of the KPI’s you choose? I want to share with you a real-life experience whilst working with a top multi-million-pound manufacturer of construction products. I discovered the impact of different metrics when working with their Technical Services Team. This team were responsible for answering all …

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Are you Leveraging the telephone technology – to its highest potential?

As we discussed last week creating powerful correspondence is a great way to engage with new prospects.

However, to get the maximum benefit from this activity you need to be really effective on the telephone. Unfortunately, today many people feel self-conscious about speaking on the phone. They hide behind email which is a shame because the telephone is one of the greatest tools for creating rapport and relationships with people.

Even more so today with the opportunity to hold interactive skype calls where you can have 1-on-1 meetings that are brief, friendly and engaging.

So, let’s think for a moment about the correspondence we created. If you haven’t seen this go to the previous podcast where you can see an example, which we will use for our telephone follow up today.

Usually, I recommend you arrange to do your follow up calls 48 hours after they receive your correspondence, so it’s fresh in mind.

Let’s look at a successful formula to make this call, and we’ll take the toughest example – someone you have written to but have never spoken with before.

I would never cold call them without having written a personal letter or email to them in advance. I like to do this for two reasons.

Firstly, you feel more confident when you’ve taken the time to write a professional letter to someone.

Secondly, it builds trust in the other person that even if they haven’t seen the correspondence sent they will give you time to explain why you wrote to them in the first place.

So, let’s look at what to say on your follow up call. First of all, you want to introduce yourself by name and your company. But here’s something most people don’t do, they don’t give their prospect a ‘first call notice’. What do I mean by that? Well, you need to say something like, “you and I haven’t had the opportunity to speak before, but I wrote some correspondence to you last week”. By saying you haven’t spoken before, you’re giving them that ‘first call notice’ it lets them relax mentally. If anyone has called you and given their name but you don’t remember it you automatically start to go through a mental rolodex! You are thinking to yourself. Do I know Peter, should I remember him? Etc., etc. They’re not concentrating on what you’re saying. So, the first call notice is important to avoid this happening.

The next area to focus on, just like the sequence of your letter, is your industry expertise. You could say something like, “I’ve been working with other professionals in your sector for x number of years now”. Then you want to site job title expertise, you can do this by saying, “some of the concerns I’m hearing from other sales professionals in your position are…”

Then you can mention some of the challenges you highlighted in your letter.

After mentioning those key issues, you can show how you can help simply by saying, “I’ve been able to help our clients solve these challenges in a number of interesting ways.

Finally, you want to create curiosity and give an invitation.  Simple say, “I’ve been sharing some of these experiences and insights recently and I’d welcome an opportunity to learn more about your own objectives and see if these ideas can add value to your operation. When do you think there might be a good time to have a chat about that in the next couple of weeks?

This follow up approach is simple, it follows the same format and content of your letter for the telephone call, you’ve shown how you can add value and offered to share some specific examples with the person to help improve their business.

All of this correspondence and telephone work is focused on how you can help the other person. You’ll notice I spent very little time talking about myself my company, products, service or how great we are!

So, with this in mind I wish you great success in leveraging the telephone to create some fantastic new business relationships.

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Creating powerful correspondence that engages them every time

How much of the unsolicited mail or email you receive goes in the rubbish bin?

I’d like to bet pretty much 90% does. Why is that? Well, typically because this correspondence is focused on them. It all about ‘How good their company is, their products or service.’

So, I’d like to flip ideas on this conventional marketing approach on its head and instead focus on stimulating interest but focusing on the key issues or interest of your customers.

But what should you include to produce this type of communication?

Here are the 4 steps to create engaging correspondence.

  1. Introduce yourself personally and your organisation.
  2. Note your expertise in working with their peers in the sector.
  3. Share how you have helped overcome key business issues they face.
  4. Invite to share some fresh ideas and experiences to see if they can add value.
  5. Include a date & time you will call to see if the issues were relevant and of interest.

Next, think of the deliver method you will choose, most people will email this content, but how many emails to you receive in a day? 30-40? And if it’s from someone you don’t know there’s a strong likelihood you will simply hit the delete button before even reading it!

How many personally addressed letters did you receive last week? Probably none right or this month even?

So, why not consider writing personal correspondence to prospects using quality stationary and even hand-write the envelope for a personal touch. Automatically, you start to differentiate yourself as someone who’s thinking differently from the herd.

Be sure to follow up at the appointed time (1-2 days from delivery) as promised.

Last week a client called me who initially rejected this as an old-fashioned snail mail approach. However, he was pleased to report some of his rookie salespeople had taken up the idea and written to twenty prospective clients. They received three calls back from prospects requesting meetings and following their own telephone follow ups a further two meetings had been arranged. He confessed he never thought this approach would work but now he’s glad they tried it out.

So, I encourage you to drop a line to some ideal prospective clients and start some new and engaging conversations this week!

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Is your approach to prospects creating interest or tension?

The vast majority of approaches to prospective clients either via emails, correspondence or telephone calls focus on you. Your company and how good you are or your product or service.

What’s the effect on prospective clients? Most of these marketing pieces don’t create much interest but rather they create tension in prospects.

So, I’d like to flip this on its head and use a different approach. One that is focused on their key objectives, the issues they face and the challenges they need to overcome to achieve great results.

Why do you want to do this?

Ultimately when you are approached you’re thinking about “WIIFM” What’s in it for me?
So, you need to stimulate interest first rather than concentrating on the immediate action you’d like the person to take. For instance, they probably already know you’d like a meeting or telephone call with them to discuss your product or service.

The problem is it’s far too early in the conversation for them to make a commitment, until they really understand what’s in it for them.

So, how can you do this?

First of all, think about the new ways of marketing. In the past, marketing was focused on outbound activity. Generally, it was an interruption, either cold calling, cold emails or interruptive ads. But today’s sales generation are really focused on inbound marketing. They are creating interest and gaining permission from the customer either through blogging, publishing relevant articles and generally creating value for the customer.

So, we need to think, are our activities still relevant and effective?

Any marketing activity that pushes services or products on customers is really using that old outbound technique. What we really want to do is use marketing techniques that rely on earning people’s interest instead of trying to buy it!

So, what I’d like you to take away from this article is really a change of mind-set. Stop focusing on your company, business and what you want and make that shift to thinking about the challenges clients face and the unique value you can add to your prospective clients.

And I’m talking about amazing value. What value could you add that would make you irresistible in their eyes…challenge yourself to come up with answers to this.

So, they are thinking not just, “That’s a nice idea” but rather “Wow that would make a dramatic improvement to our business.

Next week stay tuned as I want to discuss creating powerful correspondence, ‘How do you write to engage people?’ and Secondly, are you using that amazing piece of technology The Telephone…How can you use it to create remarkable results.

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What Is The Only Thing You Need To Achieve Your 2018 Goals?

As we reach the end of year I dread hearing people’s New Year’s Resolutions, it’s an annual circus as so many will fail even before the end of January comes! The fact is that the world is crying out for men and women who can get things done. In every company, at every level the …

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Are You Maximising The Power of The Telephone?

The prevalence of new and alternative methods of communication have caused many salespeople to neglect one of their most powerful assets. A piece of old technology, the telephone. Too many people these days prefer to hide behind Email, text and social media rather than picking up the phone and creating an engaging and meaningful conversation. …

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Is It Time To Recalibrate Your Work-Life Balance?

I’m devoted to helping individuals and companies take their success to the next level.  Achieving this type of growth requires drive, focus, commitment and enthusiasm whether you are a senior manager or a salesperson working in the field. However, there’s a tipping point. The point where overachievement becomes detrimental to your long-term success. Simply put …

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Finish Strong Start Fast!

Let me ask you a question… Why is it that some companies slow down as they reach the last quarter of the year and inevitably start the New Year slow and foggy? While others finish with a bang making the last quarter their best! Plus, they invest time now to leverage their plan for next …

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