Sun, 27 July 2008
Today’s Top 20% Secret is about Time management.
I don't know about you, but 24 hours in a day doesn’t seem like it’s enough. And 8 - 9 hours for work just barely covers the paperwork, order follow-up, client calls, e-mails that need answering, voicemail messages, etc.
"And you mean you want me to prospect and find closing time, too? What, are you kidding?!”
Sound familiar? It should. Sales reps and their managers constantly tell me they are on the run the moment they get in the office. Just opening and answering their email can take them on an hour journey away from what they should, want, or need to be doing to drive sales (like the prospecting calls or reorder calls). What to do?
I just finished giving a seminar on time management to a company here in Southern California, and boy did I need the reminder. I'm much better - and so are they – now that I'm following these Five Keys to Time Management. Use them and you'll feel better too!
Key #1 - Begin each day with a written list of three priorities. Ask yourself: “What are the three things that are crucial for me to accomplish today?" (Hint: ask yourself what 3 things you can do today that will most affect your bottom line, meaning, dollars in your pocket?) Write them down -- in order of importance and then….
Key #2 - Start each day with your top three priorities and work each one through until it's done. Then cross it off and work on the next one. Resist the temptation to multitask. Working each one through to completeness is the key. Make sure and cross each one off when you're done!
Key #3 - Start with your most important (or most difficult) task first. Accomplishing one or two important tasks always leads to more success -- and always frees up the most energy. Once those “mountains" are out of the way, you can easily and more enjoyably take on your other priorities.
Key # 4 - Group your other activities. Paperwork, checking e-mail, checking voicemail, etc., are incredible time drains. The worst thing to do is to keep checking them every few minutes. Make a schedule - perhaps after you cross off a priority, you allow 15 minutes to check these things and then go right back to your next priority. Paperwork and other non-essential activities especially are best grouped at the end of the day.
Although these things seem important (and some are) don't keep getting tangled up in them. You must stick to your top three or five priorities (like 2-3 hours a day spent cold calling -- a top five priority that pays for itself many times over). Grouping your activities allows you to get all of the other ‘stuff’ done but not at the expense of your priorities.
Key #5 - Prepare your next day the night before. Before you leave the office, make sure you have your written list of priorities and grouped activities timed and written down. This helps you get off to a running start, and allows you to mentally prepare for your day the night before. It also allows you to get more rest because you're not worrying about or planning your day as you're trying to fall asleep at night.
These are the Five Keys to Time Management. Any one of these Keys will make you more productive, reduce your stress, and help you squeeze more out of your day. Use them and you'll get more done - and you'll feel better!
So go ahead and start right now. With your top three priorities for today?
Sun, 20 July 2008
Secrets to Assuming the Close
You know I talk a lot about the techniques that separate the Top 20% of the money earners from the other 80%. As you know, this Podcast is dedicated to providing you with the tools, tips and strategies that you, too, can use to become a Top 20% producer.
Here's what 80% of the inside sales reps currently say:
“Oh hi, this is _______ with the XYZ Company. I'm calling to follow up on the (proposal, information, etc.). Did you have a chance to review that?"
Or, another equally weak opening most sales reps use is:
“Hi, this is ________ with the XYZ Company, how are you? Good, I was just calling to see what you thought of the (proposal, information, etc.)?"
Wrong, wrong, wrong! I cringe when I hear sales reps open the close this way! First, you're giving all control over to your prospect -- why would you want to do that?
Second, you're just opening yourself up for a stall or put off – “No, I haven't had time yet, why don’t you call me back next week?"
Here is how the Top 20% start their closing callbacks, and how you can double your sales starting with your very next call:
“Hi _______ this is ______ ______ with the ABC Company. You know, I've been looking forward to getting back with you and getting you started with our (award-winning newsletter, number one industry ranked product, world-class service -- fill in your product/service/investment here). I know you'll be as happy and satisfied as my other clients are.
Now shut up and listen. Earth shattering to you? Perhaps it is. But so will be your results. This works on so many levels:
1) You're asking for the deal right away (and you’ll be surprised because some will buy on the spot!)
2) It immediately starts the close on an assumptive and positive note.
3) You eliminate any put-offs and stalls.
4) You immediately get the prospect to tell you where they stand and what they're thinking (and what you'll need to do to close the sale).
This is a powerful technique. I guarantee that if you begin using this approach on every sales call, you will be well on your way to doubling your closing percentage and income.
Sat, 12 July 2008
Now as I promised last week, today I’m going to give you some specific scripts and techniques to deal with Red Flags.
In fact, one of the biggest mistakes 80% of salespeople make when qualifying is to overlook or not react to obvious Red Flags prospects give during the initial call.
In their haste or desperation to “generate a lead" or to “fill their pipeline." most sales reps hope that the possible objection they just heard will miraculously go away once the prospect sees their information or product or service, etc.
But you all know from experience -- it never does. In fact, the law for calling back leads is that:
“Leads Never Get Better."
What appears to be an objection or deal killer always is.
Red Flags are those answers – or non-answers - prospects give you that make your gut hurt. It’s the answers or vague blow offs they give you that mean they’re going to be a tough close, or hard to reach, or not very cooperative when you get back to them. You know what I mean.
So what to do? Do what the Top 20% -- as soon as you hear something that triggers your intuition or that gives you that feeling in your gut, stop and ask the tough questions!
Here are some examples:
If someone says that they usually buy from ________, but would like to see your information, ask:
“Why would you switch vendors?" Or
“How many other companies have you looked at in the last six months?"
And then: "And how many did you go with?"
If someone says that they will pass it on to ________, say:
“Thanks. So that I make sure I'm not wasting her time it's best that I speak with her for just a few minutes. Can you please tell her that (your name) is holding please?" (If you're then told they are not available, make sure and get their direct line or the person's extension and keep calling until she picks up.
If someone says you can send them your information (a sure blow off), ask:
“Great, and after you see it and if you think that it can help you, when would you move on it?"
“Great. And let me ask you a question: What would you need to see in it to put me and my company to work for you?”
“Mr Prospect, I sometimes tell people I’m trying to get off the phone to Just Send Their Information, when I’m not really that interested. Is that the case here – or are you really serious about considering me and my company as a potential solution?
And so on.
The bottom line is that if you want to close like the top 20% then you have to start questioning the Red Flags.
Remember: It's better to disqualify the non buyers early then to spend your time and energy chasing and pitching people who are never going to buy.
Plus it means that you have more time to find real buyers.
So this week, write up questions to the Red Flags you currently get and begin using them! You'll feel so much stronger as a closer, and you’ll begin making more money. Believe me, it’s a win/win.
And if you need more scripts and questions like this, visit my website and check out my 110 page ebook: “The Complete Book of Phone Scripts”.
You’ll be happy you did!
Mon, 7 July 2008
You know I received a lot of email last week from people who wanted to know more about this concept of Disqualifying rather than qualifying leads.
When I was in the financial industry, I’ll always remember that the top closer in the office used to hold his lead cards over the trash while he was qualifying people. And as he got answers he didn’t like, he’d lower the lead closer and closer into the mouth of trash can.
After three vague or suspect answers from the prospect, he’d let the lead fall away and he’d move on.
Isn’t that a great image?
The bottom line is that 80% of your competition is trying to create a qualified lead from prospects who will never buy, while Top 20% producers are more interested in finding the real buyers -- not in generating useless leads.
And the way they do that this is by disqualifying prospects rather than qualifying them.
It’s the attitude shift here is that's so important. 80% of sales reps are desperate to “fill their pipelines," as we talked about last week, and they’ll send out anybody with the pulse just so they have someone to pitch later on.
It's sad, but that's how 80% of your competition spend their sales careers. This leads to poor morale, upset managers, and a lot of turn over.
The Top 20%, however, would never think of sending out unqualified leads and instead eliminate prospects who don't fit their strict criteria of a buyer. The Top 20% have the mindset to disqualify rather than qualify and usually send out the fewest leads in the office, but they have the highest closing rates and they make the most amount of money.
Now for the Top 20%, part of disqualifying means stopping and questioning the “red flags" they get,
It means asking the tough questions about budget, about real interest, about decision timelines, and decision processes.
When they are done with the qualification call they can tell you why the prospect will buy, what it will take, and in many cases they've asked trial closes and can tell you when the prospect will buy.
The bottom 80% are afraid of asking these tough questions and they pay a steep price because of it.
If you're listening to this podcast, and you’re in sales, then I know you know the difference between these two ways prospecting, and right now in your career you have a decision to make:
Either keep chasing unqualified leads, or step up to the plate and learn how to be a Top 20% producer.
If you’re ready to become a Top 20% producer, then congratulations! In next week’s podcast I’m going to give you word for word scripts on how to question some of the red flags you get while qualifying. So make sure and tune in.