On a quick side note, I have a sinus infection and a small fever so my writing is off.
I’m always amazed at how many sales calls I get each week from people who have no chance of making the sale. For some reason Marketing Departments are starting to slack with the tools and training that they give to the sales teams. Sales can be extremely difficult and it is Marketing’s job to support the sales team and educate the whole company how to use the phone, use sales collateral and close deals. Because it seems like sales calls are getting worse and worse quality wise, and I am training sales people this week, here are 10 essential things that you need to do as a Sales Person in order to get your foot in the door, sell your pitch and close the deal. Sales jobs are tricky ones, but they can also be the most rewarding and fulfilling.
10 important things for successful sales people.
(Numbers 2,5,6,7 and 8 are the most important.)
1. Study your collateral and presentations.
One thing that many of the cold calls I have been getting haven’t been doing is studying their own marketing materials. When I ask about metrics and reporting, they stumble a bit and when I say how will you benefit or enhance my services, specifically from the presentations and collateral they email me, they just give me a fluffy statement instead of even reading off what the benefits or answers are. At that point I usually say “on this slide”, or “with this aspect of your pitch”, your company could have helped me because you offer this to people like me. Unfortunately for them, since they didn’t study or know how they would benefit me, they lost the sale right there. On the other hand, if they listened to my feedback, they now have a way to combat that question when they speak to the next Marketer who they have to pitch.
2. Research, even for just 2 minutes, the company you are cold calling.
This is the most important thing with a sales call. The biggest difference between a cold call that goes well and one that fails is knowing how you can benefit the person you are speaking to. If you are a Real Estate Agent and you are looking for listings, look up the square footage of the house you want to sell, find out the prices of the surrounding houses that are similar and also check into upgrades so you can give an awesome pitch with a number that would make any homeowner’s mouths water. If you are selling email lists to companies, look at the company’s website and evaluate which type of email list would be a good fit. Then know how many email addresses you have that are relevant to that particular company, the demographic breakdown by city, state, male, female, income, etc… Then when you are on the phone with the person you’re pitching, explain why this particular list is perfect for that person’s company. Saying you have 100,000 email addresses is great, but not targeted or good enough. Saying you have 100,000 female shoppers from San Francisco who live in zip codes with a median household income of 100K+ is a much stronger statement that will gain more attention.
3. Be polite, aggressive and memorable.
Sales can be rough when you are constantly told no or hung up on. Unfortunately that is part of the job. What you have to do is not only know your sales pitch and your collateral, as well as do your research to gain the person’s attention, but you have to be very polite and sometimes kiss some ass, be aggressive (but not pushy or to over the top) and you have to be memorable. Being polite and aggressive keeps your foot in the door, and even if they aren’t ready to shop now, if you are memorable they may keep your card or research and call you in the future when they are ready to buy.
4. Tips on being memorable.
Being memorable is important. If someone isn’t ready to buy now, that doesn’t mean they won’t need your products or services later. Other times their peers will need a product or service like the one you are selling and they may refer you if they remember you. Some of the ways that you can be memorable are by bonding with the person over a hobby, or just by giving free advice and helpful information on how to better build or help their business (only if the person is opened to it). What I like to do is look for something in their office like sports, autographs, pictures of certain cities, etc… If you know the person’s email first, look at their Facebook and Twitter and see if they have any hobbies or interests by what they comment on or are fans of. Then when you are talking to them, try and bring one or two of them up if you share the same hobby or interest and the two of you may now have a connection. If that connection is strong enough then you may be memorable to them and stand out enough to have them call you and refer you to other people to you when they are ready to shop.
5. Learn and use proper spoken English.
I was shocked when I got a call and the person on the other end was “talkin bout gittin her nails did” “Like OMG (actually saying the letters) could you believe”. So I asked, believe what? If you want to impress or give a good sales call, you have to be professional. I don’t care who you are or how amazing you think you are with your friends. When you are in the workplace and giving a first impression, make it professional and use proper spoken English when talking. If you can’t do that, then choose another career. I’m not saying you have to speak like Shakespeare, you just have to pronounce all of your words so that they are understandable and you also have to avoid saying texting shortcuts, etc… I was almost in shock when someone was selling a fairly expensive system and was saying OMG and TTYL to me on the phone thinking she did a good job. The response I wanted to give instead of saying thank you for calling was “Like OMFG. Seriously! ROTFLOL. FYI this 411 is sooo over.”
6. Ask for the person on the phone or for the person you need to talk to’s contact information.
This is extremely important and something that almost all successful sales people do. You have to ask for the person you are speaking to’s information. Not only does it put them on the spot and they usually will, but it gives you a way to reach back out to them a second time. If they aren’t the right person to talk too, ask for the person who you need to talk to’s information. Most people are taken off gaurd by this and want to be polite so they will actually give it to you. You then make a note in your CRM system and put down the conversation you had and how to reach back out to the right person and update the contact info for the person who wasn’t the person you needed to speak to.
7. Set up the next phone call or in person meeting.
It doesn’t matter if the person wants to talk right then or if they try to blow you off or just want to talk later. You have to get a follow up call. In number 6 you asked for their contact information, now you will use it when you ask them when a good day to follow up is. You may want to say something like “when is a good time for you to talk later this week”, or “how about we set up a meeting two weeks from now on Monday” and give a time. By doing this you have another chance to ask for their phone number so you can call them and ask for their email address so that you can email them the meeting invite and any collateral, etc… you will need for the call. What’s even better for you is that you have a time frame in between calls to prepare for the call, to answer any objections they had and you know the amount of time they have set aside for you to pitch them because you set up the meeting invite.
8. Write down every single obstacle and question you cannot answer.
This is extremely important for any sales team. By writing down all objections and questions you cannot answer, you’ll not only be able to pass those to Marketing so that they can get the answers for you, but you can also see how your peers are answering these same objections. Ignoring these obstacles or questions and getting frustrated won’t help you or your company get past these blocks. Writing them down and sharing them is what will help to overcome them and also make your sales team and sales efforts stronger.
9. Keep a detailed record of each conversation and interaction with potential accounts.
You never know if you will stay with a company, if you will remember the conversations and the details about them, or if you will get promoted and someone else will take over your accounts. After every single phone call, put a note in your CRM system about what you talked about, what the person liked, what to avoid, their main questions and concerns as well as what they liked the most. You may also want to put in a couple of notes that didn’t seem important, but if they were issues that you can find answers to give on your next call, to address on your next call, you’ll show that you paid attention to everything the person said and show you care.
10. Get Over Yourself!
It doesn’t matter how smart you are. Nobody cares how many languages you speak. It doesn’t matter that you went to the best schools or have lived in 50 million countries. What does matter is that you can connect with people and know your products and services. You are going to be spoken down to, treated like garbage, insulted and hung up on. You have to remember that you are bugging people and pitching them products or services that they weren’t expecting. If your voice sounds to aggressive, if you speak with arrogance, if you cannot adapt to any situation and if you cannot keep your own ego in check, chances are that you will not succeed in sales. This is one of the hardest things for newer sales reps to get over because most of them don’t even know they sound arrogant, that they are full of themselves, or that their educations don’t matter and they really aren’t that special. When they realize sales is about being a people person and being able to make a connection, then learning how to do it, that is when they’ll succeed.
Sales is all about knowing your products and services. Knowing how they will benefit your potential accounts and clients as well as how to sell them. Sales is about selling your products and services and keeping your foot in the door, and you have to be able to bond with the buyer. If you cannot do that, chances are that you will not succeed within sales. Education, years of experience, being from a rich neighborhood, etc… doesn’t matter. What does matter is your ability to sell and hopefully the ten things above will help you to not only increase your leads, but also help you close more sales.