Salespeople, Don’t Ignite All Your Fireworks at Once

There once was an annual fireworks show in San Diego that encountered a major malfunction.  All 7,000 fireworks blew off at once, with the ‘show’ ending in less than a minute.

Often times, sales reps light all their fireworks at once, too.  Without investing time and energy in researching or engaging their audience, salespeople unleash an arsenal of ambiguous noise about their company, their products, and themselves.

You hear it in their 80-second voicemail messages. They do it in online presentations, while you have the mute button on. It’s spelled out in their three-paragraph emails.  You see and smell it from a mile away.

And when fireworks like that are over, you just roll-up your blanket, pack your bag and head home. Maybe the next show will include space between each explosion, allowing you time to adore, process, and absorb the value.

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The Zen of Thank You Cards

You are blessed.  If you’re a professional reading this article, you represent the Top 1% of the world’s wealthiest people.  You are surrounded by opportunity and should take none of it for granted.

1734958Living with an attitude of gratitude, and acting on it, will infuse more joy, respect, and awareness into the business world, and into your life.

When is the last time you sent a thank you card to someone?

Keep a box of blank thank you cards nearby; in a desk drawer, in your bag or purse, or your car.

When to Send Thank You Cards

There’s rarely an unacceptable, inappropriate time to send a thank you card.  However, make sure to send one after:

  • Face-to-face interviews (every person that interviews you should receive one)
  • Productive sales calls (that are in-person, by phone, or online)
  • Successful chats with an exec admin or anyone that puts you in touch with a targeted contact
  • Events sponsored by a business or person (send it to the sponsor, as well as the host)
  • Acquiring new customers (start that long relationship now, on a positive note – pun intended)
  • Losing a customer (thank them for their business, then make things better so they’ll return)

 

What to Say

It’s the gesture that counts, so write a brief note.  Think about slipping a gift card in there, too.  It always brings a little excitement when the gift card falls out of the thank you card.

In just three lines, you can say something like:

  • Thanks for this opportunity.  I appreciate your time.  Look forward to working with you.
  • Powerful advice & feedback.  I brought it right to my team.  Thanks for sharing with me.
  • The event was fantastic!  Met a ton of great people.  Thanks for hosting (or sponsoring).
  • Thanks for your business!  Here’s to many years together.  I’ll talk with you soon.
  • Such a fun time.  Thanks for including me.  Next time, dinner’s on me!

Where to Buy Thank You Cards

It takes minutes of your time, but leaves a lasting impression on the recipient.  It also demonstrates that you’re mindful of others and on top of your game.  A handwritten thank you note makes everyone feel good.

7 Sales Tips for Prospecting & Cold Calling (Part 3 of 3)

A final excerpt from 21 Sales Tips for Prospecting, Cold Calling, & Social Selling – webinar presented on May 7, 2013.
Representing InsideView, Ralph presented with Steve Richard of Vorsight, & Jamie Shanks of Sales for Life.

TIP #7 is the most important:  To practice CANI!  It’s an acronym for Constant and Never-Ending Improvement.

Work On Your SELF Harder than You Work on Your Job  
The Japanese word for this exercise is kaizen; it’s called Six Sigma at successful companies like GE; and in life, it’s simply modeling the best at your craft, achieving small goals each day, and measuring your progress along the way.

7100310If you plan to bolster your sales career, and you’ve decided that THIS is your profession, then you must aspire to master it.

Awaken the student within you.  Absorb as much information as you can.  You have the same amount of time each day as the greatest minds — take advantage of it.

What Were the Last Five Books You Read?  The Last Two?

  • Were they books about sales, sales management, business processes, or personal development?  Attitude, creativity,  execution, and all that encompasses sales?
  • What podcasts are you listening to?
  • What YouTube videos are you watching?
  • What blogs are you following?
  • How active are you in your industry’s associations?

Here are some books to consider, that are all under $12:

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When You’re Not Training, Your Competitors Are
And when you ARE training, your competitors are.  Build your sweat equity, so that you can differentiate yourself.  Commit to CANI! — to Constant and Never-Ending Improvement.

7 Sales Tips for Prospecting & Cold Calling (Part 2 of 3)

A second excerpt from 21 Sales Tips for Prospecting, Cold Calling, & Social Selling – a webinar presented on May 7, 2013.  Representing InsideView, Ralph presented with Steve Richard of Vorsight, & Jamie Shanks of Sales for Life.

TIP #4 is to send pre-emptive emails.  Alerting your prospect that you plan to call them, during a stated window of time, increases your (and their) options.

YOUR PROSPECT’S OPTIONS

  • Prepare for your call, now that they know it’s coming.
  • Reach out to the exec whose name was mentioned in your email, to find out if you’re legit.
  • Visit Google and gather some intel on YOU.  (Googling your name yields value-added results, right?)
  • Respond with a better time for you to call.
  • Respond that they’re not interested in taking your call (hopefully explaining why).
  • Forward your message to a more appropriate person.
  • Ignore your message.  (This will happen if it’s poorly written, too long, or if it lacks relevant info.)

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YOUR OPTIONS

  • Prepare, prepare, prepare.
  • Find 3 points of research that you will actually use in the call.  Learn more about 3×3 research here.
  • Craft 2 brief emails:  One to (re)confirm the call, if they respond; one to offer more value, if they don’t.
  • Schedule the call on your calendar, so you don’t miss (or forget) the window of opportunity.
  • Save the email as a template for other prospects, especially if it’s successful.

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TIP #5 is to attract prospects to you.  The late Jim Rohn said that “success is something you attract by becoming an attractive person.”

If you bring value to the marketplace, you will become valuable.  Your prospects will seek you out vs. the other way around.  Your reputation will precede you.

Examples to consider:

  • Promote and host a webinar with industry experts and share best practices
  • Present a relevant topic at your industry association meetings
  • Start a blog and write useful articles
  • Film yourself discussing tips and techniques with your peers, and upload it to YouTube
  • Record a podcast and have your best customer join you on an episode
  • Tweet (and retweet) powerful articles, videos, or status updates

Jamie Shanks and Steve Richard, shown below, demonstrate these examples well.  Google them and you’ll see.

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TIP #6 is to make rapid-fire calls.  If your organization manages a large volume of inbound leads, you no longer need to manually dial them all.  Technologies offered by ConnectAndSell, ConnectLeader, InsideSales.com, and others manage the dialing for you.

There’s a scene in the film The Pursuit of Happyness where homeless stockbroker, Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith) finds a way to get through large lists of phone numbers — he never hangs up the phone!

He also calls CEOs and gets right through the gatekeeper.  Watch…

The days of crossing out names on a call list are over.  Check out one of the aforementioned solutions.  Note that you still need to research before calling.  You should also sort by title, industry, event, etc. which drives a consistent talk track.

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Part 3 will follow, but no need to wait.  Nothing should stop you from applying these tips today.

7 Sales Tips for Prospecting & Cold Calling (Part 1 of 3)

An excerpt from 21 Sales Tips for Prospecting, Cold Calling, & Social Selling – a webinar presented on May 7, 2013.
Representing InsideView, Ralph presented with Steve Richard of Vorsight, & Jamie Shanks of Sales for Life

The term “cold calling” is real.  It exists.  It’s completely preventable, though.  If you are looking to engage prospects for your business, connect with valuable, relevant reasons.  Applying these 7 tactics to your prospecting efforts can help.  When done right, and done consistently, you will eliminate the term “cold calling” from your vocabulary.

TIP #1 is to automate your outreach.  Mail programs like Microsoft Outlook and Boomerang allow users to send messages whenever they’d like.  If you’re a user of Hotmail or Yahoo! check out LetterMeLater.For example, you’re going through your inbox at 2:37am and want to respond to your prospect’s message.  When they awake later that morning, your message will get deleted with the spam (89% of their messages) that also arrived in the wee hours.

Instead, your message could arrive at 7am, or on a weekend afternoon, when they’ll likely READ the email.

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TIP #2 is to use three sentences in your emails (no more than five).  The average professional receives 115 emails a day, and reads 43% of them from their phone.

If you send a novel of an email, it’ll get trashed, skipped for “later viewing” (which won’t happen), or partially read.  People have time to read texts and tweets, so write brief, concise emails.

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TIP #3 is to have sales intelligence pushed to you.  Sales reps and account managers have overwhelming amounts of data and insights available to them, but they waste time gathering it.

If they, instead, used an intelligence offering like InsideView, key insights would get pushed to them via email or right within their CRM.  And the email would contain the essentials:  leadership changes, new product offerings, earnings, expanding operations, etc.  Try out InsideView’s free offering here.

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Parts 2 & 3 of this article will follow.  In the meantime, work smart by putting these three tips into practice.

The Secrets of Prospecting Ninjas

This article was originally posted to the InsideView Blog on March 4, 2013.  
It followed a webinar that Jill and Ralph hosted on February 26, 2013.

Ninjas are experts in ninjutsu, which is a technique in espionage.  Espionage is the practice of collecting information and gathering intelligence.

 

4935005Today’s sales world requires superior, relevant, and timely information about prospective accounts and key contacts.  To master this effort, salespeople should model the ninjas.

Jill Konrath is recognized across the globe as an expert sales strategist.  Last week, Jill teamed up with InsideView to broadcast a webinar and share theSecrets of Prospecting Ninjas:

PROSPECTING NINJAS HAVE MAXIMUM IMPACT

  • They slash time to the initial meeting
  • They chop months off your sales cycle
  • They eliminate competitors
  • They catch the incumbent sleeping
  • They prove themselves to be a worthy resource

PROSPECTING NINJAS ACCOMPLISH THESE FEATS BASED ON INSIGHTS

Salespeople that have insights on their prospects have an advantage.  According to Craig Elias, the creator of Trigger Event Selling, insights from company and people alerts see a 24%-32% lift in response rates.

Insights and intelligence must come from thorough (but smart) research.  InsideView harvests critical insights on companies, buyers, connections, and industries, to name a few.

Once you gain insights on…      Make sure to also uncover…
The company                                How did it perform last year?  The last 5 years?
The buyer(s)                                 What recent purchases did the company make?  How?
Your connections                          Do you or does a colleague already know the prospect?
The industry                                 What challenges does it face?  What trends does it experience?

Jill makes The Buyer’s Matrix available online and in her most recent book, SNAP Selling, to guide salespeople through the buying process.  You can download The Buyer’s Matrix here:  http://bit.ly/how-to-prospect.

PROSPECTING NINJAS USE TRIGGER EVENTS

Trigger events are internal or external changes that influence an organization’s priorities.  When trigger events occur, and you’re aware of them, they can bring forth big opportunities for you.  Jill unveiled some common trigger events, and highlighted what InsideView calls “smart agents:”

Trigger events…Uncover “tells”…Leadership changesNew decision maker might mean new strategy & new prioritiesEarnings resultsPoor earnings might create opportunity for your offeringCompetitive movesCompanies don’t like to be beat by their competitorsNew strategic initiativesInitiatives often come with urgency that could expedite buying cycles
NINJAS USE A FORMULA

When the rubber meets the road, prospectors must engage with relevance.  This means that messaging must be right on point — whether done via email, voicemail, by phone, or in person.  A study by UNC’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business uncovered that 92% of prospects do not answer their phones or emails.

PROSPECTING NINJAS SEND KILLER MESSAGES

Using newly-captured insights, and knowing the right person to contact, ninjas:

  • Build credibility
  • Pique curiosity
  • Close graciously

And guess what?  Prospecting ninjas get responses to their messages!

NINJAS DON’T QUIT

The business world constantly changes, often by the hour.  Unless you keep your finger on the pulse – by monitoring insights, leveraging connections, and watching for trigger events – the prospecting ninjas will leave you behind.

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