A friend of mine recently attended a trade show and heard a variety of lame sales lines all intended to get him to make a buying decision. In an email, he suggested that I write a post about lame sales lines people use in order to capture a prospect’s interest and increase their sales.
I thought this would be a fun post to write so here are a dozen lame questions and lines that make sales people look stupid. Warning: there is a serious dose of sarcasm in this post.
“What will it take to earn your business?”
Uh, maybe you could act like a professional and show me how I’m going to benefit from your product or service.
“Is price the only thing holding you back?”
No, but the fact that you think price is the most important issue shows your complete lack of sales ability.
“Here’s the phone, why not call your wife right now and talk to her?”
“Don’t you want to save money?”
No, I’m an idiot. But, please insult my intelligence again by asking another stupid question like this.
“If I could show you (insert benefit), would you be interested?”
How about you ask me a question or two so you can figure out how your product will help me?
“This price won’t last long.”
Really? You can’t come up with anything better than that?
“At this price, we’ll be sold out by the end of the day.”
Sure…and your new shipment arrives tomorrow morning.
“I don’t think we’ll be offering this incentive next week.”
Yeah, I bet it will be better so maybe I’ll wait.
“What do you know about us?”
Didn’t your CEO get sued for something?
“What do I need to do to get you into…”
You’re not “getting” me into anything with that approach.
“Have you heard about us?”
No and do you really think this question is going to make me want to listen to your sales pitch?
“What are your needs?”
Why don’t you ask me some good questions that take a bit of thought and effort and I’ll tell you.
What about you? What lame or cheesy sales lines have you heard? I love to hear them so please feel free to add them in the comments section.
Connecting with executives and decision makers in today’s business world has never been more challenging. And it’s no wonder.
Their schedule is packed from the time they walk into their office in the morning until they leave the building that evening. They race from meeting to meeting and take call after call. Several years ago I read that the average executive has at least 40 hours of unfinished work on their desk at any given time and I’d bet that that figure has increased.
That means if you are fortunate enough to secure a face-to-face meeting with a key decision maker, you need to be ready.
According to Nicholas Read and Stephen Bistritz, authors of Selling to the C-Suite, here’s what they expect you to know.
What are the most recent trends in your prospect’s industry?
What is their position within the industry? And how does this compare with industry leaders?
What are the prospect’s goals and/or mission?
What are their key business drivers and initiatives?
What payback will the prospect achieve if the initiative is successfully implemented?
This is your pre-meeting homework assignment.
You may not be able to fully answer every question but investing the time to do the necessary research will help you develop key questions to ask that prospect. And those questions will help you fill in the blanks.
This research will also show that you respect your prospect’s time because you won’t have to spend time asking basic questions about their business.
Today’s business executive does not have the time to spend educating you.
They expect you to be informed.
They expect you to be armed with relevant information.
And they expect you to be able to offer a solution that will help them achieve their goals.
Is it a lot of work?
But the payoff is tremendous.
What about you? How do you typically prepare before a face-to-face meeting with an important prospect? Please feel free to leave your comment.
A couple of days ago, I was speaking to a future guest for my “How to Succeed in Sales” podcast series and one of his strategies is to do something remarkable for one client every week.
Here’s an example…
One of his clients is from Germany so Mike went to local market and found bought six bottles of premium German beer and hand delivered them to his client.
This approach has helped Mike stand out from his competition and develop a stronger, more powerful relationship with his customers.
On the surface it seems easy to do. However, the execution is a bit more difficult.
First, you need personal insights into each customer.
You need to know them at a personal level, not just business and this knowledge and insight takes time to develop. You need to carefully listen to people every single time you have a conversation with them. And you need to take notes so you don’t forget these insights.
Every client must be treated individually.
You can’t photocopy 100 copies of an article and send it to your entire customer base and expect incredible results. Every action must be individualized for each client or customer.
That’s why Mike only focuses on doing something remarkable act for one client each week.
You need to be selective.
This act of remarkability is not something you do for every customer in your database. You need to carefully choose your best customers or people who have the potential to grow into better customers. This will cost you some money so you want to make sure the investment is directed towards people who deserve it.
You also need to be creative.
Doing something remarkable requires some brain energy and creativity. Whatever action you take has to stand out for your client and demonstrate that you put some serious thought into it.
It must become a priority.
Most of the sales people I talk to are busy, busy, busy. Most of them don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done (just like their customers and prospects). So, in order to execute this act of being remarkable, you MUST schedule it and make it a priority.
The challenge for many sales people is that they want an instant result. Immediate gratification. A quick and fast outcome.
Unfortunately, being remarkable is not a fast-growth strategy. However, it will separate you from your competition and solidify your relationship with your customers. In turn, it will help prevent your more aggressive competitors from squeezing you out.
What about you? What do you think of this concept? What act of remarkability have you taken with a client? Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section.
BTW: Mike will be sharing his sales success secrets later this year. In the meantime, feel free to visit his blog.
In case you didn’t know, I speak at conferences, sales meetings and other related events. From a short break-out session, to a keynote presentation, to a full-day (or longer) workshop, I can help you achieve great results at your next function. Drop me a line or give me a shout: 905-633-7750.
I think it would be a fair statement to say that almost everyone in sales has had to deal with an upset or angry customer.
In today’s complex world, a myriad of things can go wrong. From a system crash or breakdown, to shipment delays or mistakes, clerical errors, or an oversight, there are often dozens of things that can cause a problem.
However, a customer complaint can actually help you increase your sales.
Several years ago I read that a complaint that has been effectively resolved can generate three to four times more revenue from that customer compared to someone who has never experienced a problem with your company.
In a recent issue of Fortune magazine, the Executive VP of World Service for American Express discussed how he has changed how their customer service agents approach each call. The result has led to an impressive 10-15 percent increase in customer spending and four to five times increased retention.
Let’s face it; dealing with an angry or irate customer is never enjoyable.
However, if you manage the situation carefully you can increase customer satisfaction and retention, improve brand loyalty, AND most importantly, increase your sales.
Although many sales people are effective at solving the problem, their efforts could be improved. Here is a four-step process that will help you turn an irate customer into a raving fan.
Listen to the Complaint
Sounds simple, right?
In my experience, most people don’t fully listen to the person who is complaining. When someone starts venting on us, our natural instinct is to defend ourselves, explain why the problem happened and jump to offering a solution.
However, until the customer is finished expressing their frustration, it can be difficult for them to accept a solution. To effectively resolve a problem, it is important to allow the other person to vent and carefully listen to them. Resist the temptation to quickly offer a solution.
Empathize with the Customer
Empathy is act of verbally demonstrating that you understand, respect or appreciate the other person’s situation or perspective and it is one of the most powerful tools when dealing with upset customers.
It sounds like this, “Mr. Jones, I understand how frustrating this is for you; I would be upset too if my order was delayed this long.”
This approach often diffuses the hostility and helps you and the customer get focused and on track.
Apologize to the Customer
Another powerful act is to actually take the time to apologize for the situation. The mistake or problem may not be your fault but apologizing goes a long way in making the customer feel that you care about their situation.
“I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you.”
It may sound like a simple concept but I am constantly surprised how few people take the time to apologize for the problem.
Resolve the Problem
The last step is to actually resolve the problem. Resist the temptation to skip through the first three steps because they help deal with the emotional aspect of the situation and they help everyone move forward.
Customer complaints can be gifts. They can identify problems and when effectively handled and resolved can go a long way to helping you increase your sales and improve customer loyalty.
Could your team use some help dealing with difficult customers? Give me a shout and we can discuss the best way to help you achieve this. 905-633-7750.
Yesterday I was crossing the Canada/US border enroute to work with a new client. The custom’s officer asked typical questions such as “What’s your citizenship?” “Do you have any food or alcohol?” along with a few others. Then, as she handed me my passport, she asked, “What else would you like to add?”
A dozen thoughts ran through my head before I smiled and said, “It’s a great day isn’t it?” We exchanged a few more pleasantries and I headed toward the interstate.
For several minutes I wondered why she asked that question, because in my mind, it seemed very random. However, I started to think about the possible responses she might hear and reactions she might see as a result.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this could be a great question to ask new prospects. It could uncover additional opportunities, potential challenges or roadblocks, or reveal another motivator behind the buying decision.
I once spoke to a manager who told me about an interview he had recently conducted. During the interview he asked, “What else should I know that you haven’t told me yet?” and the person he was speaking with replied, “I have a criminal record.” Further questioning uncovered that the potential candidate had been jailed for fraud. Needless to say, he wasn’t hired.
During your next sales meeting—face-to-face or telephone—consider asking this question when you think you have all the information you need to move forward. You may just uncover something important that will influence your approach, affect your solution or improve your offering.
Planning a sales meeting, sales training or other related event? I might be able to help you get a higher ROI. Give me a call and we can discuss. 905-633-7750.
A call with an upcoming guest on my “How to Succeed in Sales” podcast series reinforced the importance of finding ways to keep your name in front of a hot prospect.
It’s not uncommon for buying decisions to take several months—or longer—and keeping your name in their mind can help increase the likelihood of generating a solid sales opportunity.
However, how you approach that objective will influence your prospect’s decision to consider you when they finally make the decision to move ahead with the buying decision.
Here are three wrong ways to keep your name in your prospect’s mind followed by a more effective approach.
The “check-in” call
A common approach is for a sales person to make a “check-in” call—either by telephone or a face-to-face visit. The conversation usually sounds something like, “Hey, Mr Jones, just checking in to see if anything has changed or if you’re ready to discuss that project now.”
I could be wrong but I don’t know many sales people who close deals when they use this approach.
Sales people often send corporate brochures and other marketing materials related to their solution. They believe that these materials will give the prospect the information they need to make a buying decision. However, having worked in the corporate world for many years I can say that most expensive brochures end up in the circular file (aka trash can).
I’m going to step out on a limb here and suggest that if you use either of these approaches you’re probably not getting very good results. That’s because you are behaving like most of the sales people competing for the same business or that prospect’s attention.
The corporate newsletter
Many companies send newsletters to their customers. However, I have often found that the newsletter focuses on the selling company and contains information about new products, services, or other “stuff” that is largely irrelevant to the customer’s company.
It’s okay to send prospects information like this once in a while. But, if you really want to stand out from your competition, you need to give them information they can actually use to improve their business.
Become a valued resource
If you want to differentiate yourself AND keep your name in your prospect’s mind, you need to do something different.
Research trends in your industry and send your prospect an article outlining the top three trends that are affecting the industry. Even if they are aware of these trends, you will catch their attention and position yourself as more than a sales person.
You will become a valued resource.
What about you? What do you do to keep your name in your prospect’s mind and stand out from the competition?
Planning a sales conference, training program or other related event? I might be able to help. Give me a call and we can discuss strategies to help you achieve your goals. 905-633-7750
This is the third installment in my “How to Succeed in Sales” podcast series. These interviews are with real life sales people who are on the front line selling their products or services every day and they are willing to share their success secrets with you.
Today’s guest is Theresa Carroll Pryor who is a benefits specialist. She focuses primarily on group and corporate health programs and I am confident you will enjoy her insights.
BTW: If you would like to be interviewed for this podcast series, drop me a line and tell me why you would be a great guest.
This week marks my 10th anniversary in business and to celebrate this milestone anniversary I decided to throw a party.
For the next 10 days you can get MP3 audio programs and e-books for just $10.
You can choose from these 16 MP3 audio programs:
- Become a Master Closer
- Cold Calling Made Easy
- Conquering the Dreaded Price Objection
- Ditch the Pitch
- Fatal Negotiating Mistakes That Cost You Money
- Getting Voice Mail Returned
- Getting Through the Gatekeeper
- Getting Through to Top Decision Makers
- How to Hire Top Sales Performers
- How to Increase Your Bargaining Power
- How to Negotiate Price
- Leveraging Voice Mail to Connect with Decision Makers
- Negotiating Tactics Every Sales Person Must Know
- Sales Proposals & Presentations That Sell
- Selling to Your Most Difficult Customers
- What Sales People Need to Know about Negotiating
The regular price of these MP3 programs is $32 which means you save $22 or almost 70%!
If you prefer to read, you can also get these e-books for just $10 each:
- Secrets of Power Selling
Stop, Ask & Listen
Strategic Account Management
Complete details on each item are available here.
If you have been thinking about brushing up your selling skills, now might be the time to do it.
Go ahead…get all the details here.
The Canadian government recently announced that it is eliminating the penny from production later this year.
I personally believe that the penny is obsolete.
Pennies have a nasty habit of building up and collecting in jars around the house. I can’t even be bothered to roll mine and bring them to the bank.
Not everyone feels the same way, though. Some people claim that greedy corporations will round up every retail purchase and take advantage of unsuspecting consumers by overcharging them a few cents on every transaction.
However, that’s not point of this post.
When the Finance Minister made the announcement he told reporters that the penny costs 1.5 cents to make. He went on to say that it does not make good economic sense to continue producing something that costs more than it’s worth.
Some sales people could benefit from this concept because they still engage in tasks that produce few results or cost more in time or resources than they generate.
Yet, it can be difficult to wean yourself from low-activities because they are often part of a person’s routine and habits.
Also—and very few people will admit this—eliminating those tasks frees up time to focus on higher-return but often more difficult tasks.
Here’s an example…
I was recently coaching a sales rep and her preferred approach to generating new business was networking. She would attend a dozen networking events every week even though the payoff from those events was relatively small.
When I suggested that she reduce her networking and increase her direct contact with prospect, she balked. In fact, she cited several reasons why my suggestion would not work.
It was very evident that she was not willing to change her behaviour and replace a low-revenue activity with one that might generate better results but that was also more difficult to execute.
Here’s my question to you…
What’s your penny? What low-return sales activity should you consider eliminating?
Looking for a dynamic presenter for an upcoming sales meeting or conference. Check out my video or contact me to discuss your specific goals & objectives. 905-633-7750