Archive for the ‘Prospecting’ Category

Closing the Deal on the Go: Telemarketing for Appointments

February 8, 2010

Winning an appointment with a decision maker usually requires you to win over both the decision maker and their secretary.

When winning over the secretary it is best to treat the secretary with respect. Learn their name. Be honest with them. And, be willing to speak with them in the same manner as you would speak to their boss.  In doing so, provide them with a sound business reason for why you wish to speak with their boss. Offer a benefit their boss will experience from acquiring your product or service. Be specific, and again, straightforward and truthful. Also, if possible, include a reference.

Upon reaching the decision maker, the selling process begins again. You must repeat what you accomplished with the secretary, but take it further. You must introduce yourself, giving your name, title, company, and, if appropriate, the name of the person who referred you. Also, if your company is not well known, it may be necessary to explain what your company does.

When speaking with the decision maker, generate initial interest in your product or service by demonstrating a tangible benefit, while demonstrating knowledge of your prospect, their company, and its operations, goals, and needs.

Once you have provided a good reason for your call, ask for an appointment. If you encounter an excuse or resistance, politely acknowledge it, then offer a response and proceed. Before the conversation is over, reconfirm your mutual understanding, and, if you book a meeting, on the day before that meeting, call the decision maker’s secretary to make sure you’re on their boss’ calendar.

This post is based on material originally published in Closing the Deal.

For more information on Closing the Deal, check it out on Amazon.

(Richard, Burghgraef. Closing the Deal: Hot Sales Strategies that Make Money. Encouragement Press. Illinois: Chicago. 2007)

Closing the Deal on the Go: Honing Your Telephone Skills

December 9, 2009

In these economic times more than ever companies are looking for ways to cut costs. Business travel is a prime target. Conducting business by phone is a solution. It is a quick and inexpensive way to keep in touch with accounts. You are not calling to make small talk, but you are not calling to race through names and number either. Here are some tips to get the most from your calls.

  1. Know why you are calling.
  2. Stay focused.
  3. Leave a voicemail, but not a message with the wrong person.
  4. Don’t be too pushy.
  5. Be polite.
  6. Grab attention by mentioning your prime benefit early in the call.
  7. Be brief. Prime benefit. One or two equal or secondary benefits. Close for an appointment.
  8. Be able to quickly and articulately answer objections.
  9. Have prepared phone openers that work.

Closing the Deal on the Go: Market Your Expertise

November 30, 2009

You are an expert in your company’s products and services. Your have years of experience and mountains of knowledge of the market you serve. This expertise can bring you new customers if you know how to use it.

Give a presentation to a local professional organization, using the opportunity to speak generally about your product. Participate in a vendor’s night. Write an article in a trade journal or a letter to the editor in a local paper or national magazine.  Start a blog. Work a trade show.

All of these things, if done well, help build your credibility and credentials, and may lead to new business.

This post is based on material originally published in Closing the Deal.

For more information on Closing the Deal, check it out on Amazon.

(Burghgraef, Richard. Closing the Deal: Hot Sales Strategies that Make Money. Encouragement Press. Illinois: Chicago. 2007)

Closing the Deal on the Go: Clarifying Your Cold Calling Objectives

November 23, 2009

When you begin cold calling, do you know your objective? Is it to prequalify a prospect? Make an appointment? Close a sale? The more complex your product or service, and the larger the account, the more likely your goal is to prequalify than sell.  Here are some questions to ask yourself before you make your cold call:

  1. How Cold Is Cold? Totally cold means you know nothing about the person you are calling or the account you are trying to get. Warm means you did a little pre-call research, perhaps by talking to contacts, looking at brochures, checking out the company website, reading the company blog, becoming a fan on Facebook, following the company or its decision makers on Twitter, or gathering information through any number of other sources. Even warmer would be if you were following up on a company lead.
  2. What Are You After? You should view cold calls as a means to gather information, not make a sale.
  3. Who Is Your Target? Corporate giants are usually a waste of time to call completely cold unless you are following up on a corporate lead or a tip from a trusted source. Smaller companies are typically better targets for such calls, at least partly because their decision makers tend to be more identifiable and accessible.
  4. What Should I Bring? Only a briefcase. You will look professional and non-threatening. Brining more than that may make you appear as if you plan to muscle your way in and hold someone hostage in a long meeting.
  5. What Is You Story? You don’t have one. Be honest. You don’t have an appointment, but you feel you may have something of value.
  6. How Long Should I Stay? If you get in, your prospect will likely say how much time they have. Respect those parameters. Stay within them. Preferably, keep it shorter.

This post is based on material originally published in Closing the Deal.

For more information on Closing the Deal, check it out on Amazon.

(Burghgraef, Richard. Closing the Deal: Hot Sales Strategies that Make Money. Encouragement Press. Illinois: Chicago. 2007)

As the time limit nears, qualify your prospect, and if appropriate, close for a future appointment. If you feel the prospect is hot, and only if you feel the prospect is hot, you may want to acknowledge the time limit is up, then see if they are willing to continue with the discussion. If not, then try to close for a future appointment.

Closing the Deal on the Go: Snooping around an Office

November 18, 2009

The recent popular psychology book Snoop by Sam Gosling, a professor at the University of Texas, describes how you can learn a lot about a person from such seemingly meaningless things as they way a person dresses, the manner in which they decorate their office, and their taste in music. In fact, the author holds that from these things it is possible to begin to create a mini psychological profile on a person.

I found this fascinating, perhaps partially because some years ago I wrote about how you can gleam information from a reception room to prequalify your prospects and plan your sales approach. And, although my information was not based on mountains of formal research data like Gosling’s, I still feel there’s something to it. Here are some examples:

Lean and Mean:

Style: Small, pared down, dowdy

Conclusion: The buyers have a fixation on the bottom line and put a heavy emphasis on R&D

Glitzy and Glamorous:

Style: Designer labels

Conclusion: The company is either a success or wants people to think it is. Expect a concern for packaging and an interest in products that will enhance the corporate image. However, if the reception area is the only part of the office that can be described by glitz and glam, the prospect may be more show than substance.

Corporate and Formal:

Style: Wood paneling and understated elegance. The receptionist likely sits behind an antique table. There may be original art on the walls.

Conclusions: Expect to have to justify everything. Make sure your documentation is in order and your figures add up. Expect them to place a heavy emphasis on quality.

Civic Minded and Concerned:

Style: The walls are covered with citations and photos of group outings and charity events.

Conclusion: Try to tie your product or service to their civic consciousness. If your company has something in common with theirs, let them know.

And What About Hard Data?

Beyond the qualitative information you gather from looking around the office, also look for annual reports, brochures, a visitor’s log, awards, framed advertisements, etc. All can be good sources of information, as well as conversation pieces, especially when speaking to the receptionist, yet another source of information.

This post is based on material originally published in Closing the Deal.

For more information on Closing the Deal, check it out on Amazon.

(Burghgraef, Richard. Closing the Deal: Hot Sales Strategies that Make Money. Encouragement Press. Illinois: Chicago. 2007)

Closing the Deal on the Go: When Secretaries Are the Decision Makers

November 12, 2009

Think of Joan Holloway on the AMC hit series Mad Men. How much do you think she was responsible for when she worked at Sterling Cooper? She definitely had the ear of Roger Sterling, Jr. and also had a lot of authority around the office, including the ability to make certain hiring and firing decisions. Yes, assistants like her have a lot of responsibilities. They decorate the office, select office supplies, make travel arrangements, set lunch reservations, schedule appointments, and do a whole lot else. In the recent season three finale, she was even called in by Cooper, Sterling, Draper, and the other principle characters as they were raiding their former office because she was the only one who knew where anything was.

There are assistants like Joan Holloway all over, with just as much if not more influence and authority, and that is just one of the reasons why you should treat a prospect’s secretary with respect. If you are not sure if a secretary is responsible for a buying decision, assume she is. After explaining who you are and why you are calling, ask something like “Is Mr. Sterling the person who will make the final decision.” If the secretary replies, “Can you give me some more information,” or “Maybe I can help you,” you may already be speaking to the decision maker.

But if this is not the case, you should still treat them with the respect and consideration they deserve. Treating an assistant as if they are of token importance may turn a potential ally into a hostile stranger. At the end of your conversation, with a secretary, be sure to thank them for their help, even if they told you nothing more than when their boss will be in. Few people bother to do this, but the ones who do will likely be remembered.

Closing the Deal on the Go: The Sales Letter

November 6, 2009

If you decide to write a sales letter to a prospect, this first step can determine the success or failure of the relationship. When writing the letter, keep it simple. Stick to a single goal such as setting an appointment.

Without being there you cannot see how your prospect responds to the information you give them. Giving them too much information can inadvertently give them a reason not to buy.

At this early stage the goal should be to raise the possibility that you have something of value to sell. Inform them of the principle benefit your are offering and nothing more. Don’t give them a list of features. Keep it to the point and concise.

Also, know who you are writing to and tailor the letter to that person. Do not talk around them with a letter that could have been written to anyone at that company, or worse, anyone in their industry.

And finally, be sure in your letter to prepare the person for your call.

This post is based on material originally published in Closing the Deal.

For more information on Closing the Deal, check it out on Amazon.

(Burghgraef, Richard. Closing the Deal: Hot Sales Strategies that Make Money. Encouragement Press. Illinois: Chicago. 2007)

Closing the Deal on the Go: 7 Rules for Examining Prospects

October 23, 2009
  1. Research each prospect.
  2. Qualify each prospect.
  3. Ask yourself what you have that your prospect needs, wants, or can use.
  4. Ask yourself how much your prospect may be worth over time.
  5. Ask yourself how much of your time and energy is your prospect worth.
  6. Find out who is the best person to contact.
  7. Never get caught up on any one prospect.

This post is based on material originally published in Closing the Deal.

For more information on Closing the Deal, check it out on Amazon.

(Burghgraef, Richard. Closing the Deal: Hot Sales Strategies that Make Money. Encouragement Press. Illinois: Chicago. 2007)

Closing the Deal on the Go: Referrals are Gems

September 22, 2009

Referrals are gems. In prospecting they are crown jewels. However, many sales people are reluctant to ask for them. Why? They fear rejection and do not want to appear in need of help. But the truth is most people like to be asked for help and will likely be flattered by the request. In fact many people ranging from Benjamin Franklin to today’s social psychologists have found that a good way to make another person find you more likable is to ask for a favor.

So, try asking your customers for referrals, especially right after you close a deal. Not only will this lead to more potential clients, but it will help strengthen the relationship you have with the client that gives you the referral (research shows that this causes your clients to further justify doing business with you on a subconscious level). Also, feel free to ask prospects, friends, relatives, and other referrals for referrals. Be specific when you ask. And, when possible, ask for the referral face to face. The eye contact will help you batting average go up.

Then, when you get the referral, ask for more than just a name. Try to get the person making the referral to make a call. If they say no, see if they will write you a note. A line on the back of a business card will suffice. And, if all they will provide is a name, see if they will allow you to mention their name, because without that, the potential of the referral goes down.

After you receive the referral, be sure thank the person who provides it, inform them of how it went, and ask for another.

So, do you ask for referrals? Take our poll, or leave a comment.

Do you ask for Referrals?
(polls)

This post is based on material originally published in Closing the Deal.

For more information on Closing the Deal, check it out on Amazon.

(Burghgraef, Richard. Closing the Deal: Hot Sales Strategies that Make Money. Encouragement Press. Illinois: Chicago. 2007)

Closing the Deal on the Go: Where to Find New Leads

September 17, 2009

Here’s a quick list of potential sources for finding new leads:

  1. Current Clients or Customers
  2. Non-Competing Sales People
  3. Newspaper Business Sections
  4. Industrial Directories
  5. Yellow Pages
  6. Employment Ads
  7. Company Generated Leads
  8. Friends, Relatives, and Social Acquaintances
  9. Land Developments and other Physical Indicators
  10. City and County Public Records
  11. Receptionists and Other Employees
  12. Lead Clubs
  13. Retailers and Other Merchants
  14. Trade Shows and Expositions
  15. Online Databases

So, what do you think? Which of these works best for you? Did we leave any out?

This post is based on material originally published in Closing the Deal.

For more information on Closing the Deal, check it out on Amazon.

(Burghgraef, Richard. Closing the Deal: Hot Sales Strategies that Make Money. Encouragement Press. Illinois: Chicago. 2007)