Stop Overselling!

Apr 21

panicking businessman in horror looking at the laptop screen 

Last week at my weekly dart game, one of my team mates asked if I followed hockey to which I replied, “No.” He then said, “I guess you don’t play in hockey pools either.”

“Nope” was my response.

End of discussion, right?

Not quite.

He then proceeded to tell everything about a hockey pool he was organizing with the intent of trying to convince me to join the pool.

I see this happen in sales all the time, too.

It’s not uncommon for sales people and business owners to talk incessantly about aspects of their product, solution or company even though their prospects have zero interest in what they’re saying.

When I worked in the consumer electronics business, sales associates would often ask customers a question such as, “Do you have children?” and even when the answer was no, they would launch into a presentation about a child-friendly feature of the product.

The more you talk about aspects of your product, service or solution that are irrelevant to your prospect, the less motivated they will be to buy your product or to do business with you.

You may feel compelled to tell people EVERYTHING about your product but resist that temptation to “educate” people. Instead, find out what is important to them and focus your attention ONLY on those issues.

Not only will you save time…you will close more sales.


What frightens you?

Apr 15

In the 19+ years I have been conducting sales training workshops I have learned that closing is still one of the most challenging aspects of selling…at least for some people.

In fact, it used to be a huge challenge for me, too.

Summoning up the courage to ask for a prospect’s business or commitment made my heart race and my palms sweat. I was afraid of offending them, coming across as rude or pushy and of the possibility of rejection.

What about you?

Do you have any concerns, fears or hesitations about selling?

I invite you to participate in this survey that I am doing in conjunction with Deb Calvert of People First Productivity Solutions. It takes less than 5 minutes and your feedback would be greatly appreciated.

BTW: The survey is completely anonymous and you can access it here.


Are You Feeling It?

Apr 14

find your passion phrase My wife and I are fans of The Voice and we notice that some of the contestants perform a technically flawless performance of the chosen song. Others are flat, sharp or out of key but they sing with much more emotion. Can you guess which performance the judges, audience and viewers prefer? One of the most consistent pieces of feedback the judges and mentors offer the contestants is to feel the song because emotion sells. This doesn’t mean that you need to actually get emotional when speaking with a prospect. However, I’m a firm believer that salespeople need to believe in the product, service or solution that they sell. I once had a workshop participant ask, “What industry or product should I sell to make lots of money.” I suggested that he look for something he REALLY wanted to sell. I knew a retail sales person who, at the time, was earning over $70K selling shirts and ties because he was passionate about men’s clothing. A few years ago I was speaking with a food chemist whose primary role was creating spice flavours for his client’s products. He was so passionate about his job that it was impossible NOT to listen to him talk about his work. Do you exude that type of enthusiasm, energy and excitement when you talk about your products? If not, you might not be reaching your full sales potential.


The Critical Trait You MUST Possess if You Want to Achieve Outrageous Success

Apr 03


Achieving above-average success in sales requires more than consistent prospecting, developing a killer value proposition, delivering killer sales presentations and persistence.

I recently caught up with Dan Waldschmidt and we discussed what it takes to achieve outrageous success in sales or any other endeavor. This unscripted conversation offers some great insights that will help you increase your sales, close more deals, make more money and achieve the level of success you deserve .

After you watch the video, check out his new book, Edgy Conversations—How Ordinary People Can Achieve Outrageous Success.

Dan is the President of Waldschmidt Partners, a global strategic consulting company. In Dan’s words, “We solve problems in a lot of different industries for a lot of different companies. Problems with leadership and direction and marketing. They all have one thing in common. Fixing the problem means revenue growth. Lots of it.”




How to Get Your Prospecting Email Deleted in 3 Seconds or Less

Mar 24


Last week I received an email with a very good subject line so I opened it. Then, I groaned as I read the salutation, “Hi Patrick…”

It was obvious the sales rep was cutting and pasting her emails and that she had forgotten to change the salutation. I replied and said, “Addressing a prospect with the wrong name is quick way to get your email deleted. Regards, Kelley”

A few minutes later I received this reply, “Kelly, thanks for pointing out the typo.”

This time she spelled my name wrong!

Imagine making these mistakes with the CEO of a fortune 500 company!

The senior executives I know and work with would delete her email in less than 3 seconds. A simple blunder like this will cause you to lose credibility and respect which means you will have to work much harder to engage that prospect in a sales conversation.

Connecting with hard-to-reach prospects is tough at the best of times which means it is critical to properly execute every single point of contact. This includes fundamentals such as correctly spelling your prospect’s name and addressing them properly in your emails (and phone calls).

BTW: The third strike against this sales person was the length of her email. 826 words! Effective prospecting emails should be 100 words or less.


The 3/3/2 Knockout Approach to Prospecting

Mar 17

One of the most frequently asked questions I get asked about prospecting is “How often and for how long should I follow-up with a prospect?”

In last week’s webinar, How to Synergize Email and Voice Mail, Jim Domanski shared his insight to this challenge. His advice is this 3/3/2 knockout process:

Make three follow-up attempts to connect with a prospect, spaced three business days apart, with both email and voice mail (two touches). Also, before you leave a message, make multiple attempts at various times of the day to connect with your prospect i.e. 8:15, 10:20 and 1:00.

You might think this is overkill and too much follow-up in a short time frame.

However, it is critical to remember that your prospects receive dozens of calls and hundreds of emails every day. The likelihood of them remembering your email or voice mail three days later is slim.

Also, you can’t simply send a broadcast email and drone on about your company, product or solution and then follow-up with a long voice mail message. The key is to pique your prospect’s interest with a targeted message that indicates you might have a solution to a potential pain point.

Lastly, every touch MUST be brief. Emails should be less than 100 words and voice mail messages should not be longer than 20 seconds.

Use the strategies I outlined in last week’s post and Jim’s 3/3/2 knockout process and you should see better results.

BTW: If you missed last week’s webinar you can still get access to the entire program. Check it out.


7 Keys to Integrating E-prospecting with Tele-prospecting

Mar 10

Interested in improving your telephone prospecting results? Reaching more decision makers? Setting more appointments? Selling more?

The trick is to integrate e-mail into your calling efforts. A well-crafted e-mail combined with a solid telephone follow up strategy can double and even triple results.

Here are 7 keys to making the most of your e-mail and telephone prospecting efforts:

Key #1: A Hell’uva Subject Line

The first key is to create a subject line that catches the eye of your prospect; something that is different and unique; something that makes him or her curious enough to open the e-mail rather than delete it. And that’s the challenge. Most people have never been taught how to craft a subject line that screams “open me.”

Key #2: An Intriguing Message

An intriguing prospecting message is a one-to-one message, not an e-mail blast. This is a targeted approach, not a shot gun approach.

It is also one that poses a problem that the prospect might be experiencing; something that picks at a ‘scab’, so to speak, and agitates the reader. It then goes on to offer a possible solution (your product / service) but without the details. In other word, it teases rather than sells. It makes your prospect want to learn more.

Key #3: Timely Follow Up

Prospecting e-mails have a short shelf life. You must make your follow up call within 24 hours of sending your e-mail; not a week or three days or even two days later.

Key #4: A Gatekeeper Strategy

You can use the e-mail proactively or reactively to get past the gatekeepers. Your e-mail gives you a legitimate reason for calling and this increases the odds of reaching more decision makers.

Key #5: A Superb Opening Statement

A superb opening statement is the key to a good prospecting call. A good opening statement cleverly leverages the message in your e-mail. In effect, it creates a one-two punch by combining the power of an audio message with the power of a visual message.

Key #6: A Compelling Voice Mail

You can leverage your e-mail with your voice mail, much like you can with your opener. Again, the key is to leave a voice mail message that echoes the message in your e-mail. This increases awareness and interest and it increases the odds of a return call.

Key #7: Persistently Polite Follow Up

Finally, the seventh key is to politely but persistently follow up. A combination of a voice mail and e-mail can help stimulate a response. Send an e-mail and then make a follow up call the next day like you did with the original e-mail. Leave a voice mail message if you don’t reach your prospect. Direct the prospect to the e-mail. If you don’t get a reply, wait three business days and then repeat the process.

Putting these seven keys together is not particularly difficult but it does require some planning and implementation. Learn EXACTLY how to put these ideas into practice here.

Today’s post was provided by Jim Domanski of TeleConcepts Consulting.


Use This Message To Get More Return Calls

Mar 03


During a webinar in late January, Tibor Shanto shared this voice mail message to get more call backs from prospects.

“Mr Prospect, Bob Jones calling from Great Solutions. I can be reached at 555-1234. I’m calling in reference to (prospect’s competitor).”

A colleague recently told me that he uses a slightly different variation and gets 50 percent of his messages returned.

“Mr Prospect, Bob Jones calling from Great Solutions. 555-1234. When you call please reference (prospect’s competitor).”

The reason this message is so effective is that when business leaders hear a competitor’s name their natural instinct is to think “What are they doing?”

Now, before you get your back up the against the wall and think that this tactic is manipulative and under-handed keep this in mind…

The competitor you mentioned MUST be someone that you have done business with and helped through your solution. That way when you get a return call you can say, “Mr Prospect, we recently helped (competitor) (mention results) and I was curious to know if you have any similar initiatives on the go?”

Regardless of how they respond, you say, “Great, the reason I am calling you specifically is…”

I asked both Tibor and my colleague how often a prospect gets upset when they call back and they both said, “Very few.”

Resist your natural temptation to reject this strategy. It may be uncomfortable for you but it’s been tested. And it works. Remember, the goal of a voice mail is to get a call back. And that gives you the opportunity to ask your prospect a few questions to determine if there is interest and opportunity.

BTW: If you want some more ideas to improve your cold calling results, check out this webinar.


Why Prospect’s Aren’t Returning Your Calls

Feb 24

sad telephone


Cold calling is still a widely used prospecting tool and sales strategy. Whether it’s an initial cold call, a subsequent follow-up call, or a “keep-in-touch” call, sales people still rely on the telephone to connect with busy prospects.


However, making that call and getting a return phone call are two different things.


Here are seven reasons why prospect’s don’t return your calls.


1. Your voice mail message is too long. The majority of voice mail messages decision makers receive are far too long. Decision makers are too busy to listen to a long, rambling, and disjointed message. That means you need to get your message across in 30 seconds or less. In fact, I suggest that you try and limit your message to a maximum of 20 seconds.

2. Your voice mail message is too cryptic. On the reverse side, a short, terse voice mail with no details will not likely motivate someone to call you back. You MUST give a prospect enough information to capture their attention and say, “I need to talk to this person.”

3. You leave the same voice mail message. It is important to keep trying to connect with your prospect which often means leaving multiple voice mail messages. However, if you want someone to call you back you need to leave a different message every time you call. Plus, it must be compelling (see the next point).

4. Your voice mail message is not compelling. Most voice mail messages do little to motivate someone to pick up the telephone and return your call. A compelling message MUST demonstrate that you understand your prospect’s industry, situation or circumstances and portray that you might have a solution.

5. Your voice mail sounds like every other sales person. The average executive receives dozens of sales calls a day so if you want a busy executive to call you back, your message MUST stand out from every other call he or she receives.


I once sat in a Vice President’s office as he listened to his voice mail messages on speakerphone and was fascinated how similar every sales call sounded. I was equally intrigued by how quickly this person deleted the messages, too. His finger hovered over the delete button, and in most cases, he erased the message in the first few seconds.


6. Your product or service does not interest them. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone needs your solution and when you call companies that are not the right fit for your product, service or offering, you are simply wasting your time and that of your prospects. Improve your results by more closely targeting your prospecting calls to companies who can actually use your product or service.

7. Your prospect is simply too busy. Most sales people fail to realize exactly how busy executives are. A client of mine once said, “I’m so busy right now I can’t possibly take on any more projects.” This sheer volume of work often prevents decision makers from returning your call because they don’t have the time to talk to you and because they can’t fit another project into their schedule. Unless your product, service or offering is something they desperately need right now, they probably won’t return your call.


If you are serious about increasing your sales and improving your sales approach it is essential that you give prospects a reason to call you back. Then, and only then, will your telephone prospecting methods be effective.


BTW: This webinar will help your increase call backs from prospects. Check it out.


Can This Little-Known Trick Improve Your Cold Calling Efforts?

Feb 10


I recently came across a strategy that can improve your cold calling efforts. A surprisingly simple concept, yet an effective one. I shared it with a colleague who has been working with telesales reps for more than 20 years and he agreed.

Here it is…

Focus all of your calls in a specific time period on one vertical.

Rather than making several dozen calls in one morning to companies in a range of industries, concentrate your efforts on one industry or vertical. Here are the benefits of using this approach.

You can fine-tune your message so it will resonate with your prospects.

Your message will get stronger the more you recite it (and develop it).

You will hear the same objections so you can respond to them more effectively.

You will be able to give relevant examples of the results your solution has achieved.

Most sales people make calls to a wide range of companies every day. This means they have to adapt their message to each person they call. However, when you call companies in the same industry, you can use the same approach, stories, and examples. Plus, it gets you in the zone and gives you the opportunity to speak to the specific challenges your prospect’s face in their particular business.

If you plan to make cold calls this week, group them so you are calling similar companies during the same period. I am confident you will quickly see better results.