“Lights! Cameras! Action!”
At that point the preparation of hundreds of people—from producers to writers to actors—are scrutinized from multiple angles and their profitability is tied to the quality of their preparation.
What do you say when your prospect says, “hello?”
In essence, your prospect—the person that can help you put food on the table if you can help him solve his issue—is saying ACTION!
How convincing, how persuasive, are your words, your phraseology, your delivery at that moment?
Living near Hollywood, I’ve been fortunate to be given a glimpse into what makes that world come alive and I can tell you it is less glamorous and more work than it appears.
That is true for all entrepreneurs, actors, authors and athletes turned celebrity we see on the covers of magazines and filling the airwaves and our screens on a daily basis.
In May 2014 when Tiger Woods was on his way to winning his first tournament after returning from knee surgery the broadcasters showed his daily workout routine and it was impressive.
His day is scheduled from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
At the end of the weekend Tiger won by one stroke.
Most say he wins because he is big and strong and can hit a one iron left handed, upside down while hopping on one foot out of a bunker.
While he can hit that shot that is not why he wins so many tournaments. He won this last tournament because he made 52 out of 52 putts from within 6 feet.
For those of you that do not play golf that is a phenomenal performance because we all EXPECT ourselves to make a 6 foot putt because it does not require any great physical strength.
In fact, my 7 year old daughter, Ella, is strong enough to roll the ball 6 feet on a putting green. But it’s that mental aspect that cripples so many golfers.
It's All In Your Mind
It’s that mental aspect that also cripples actors when the camera switch is flipped on, and cripples sales people when the phone is picked up!
Only proper preparation using proper words in an instructive, safe, educational environment will give you the confidence you need to know that you can and will perform when the money is on the line.
And, trust me, your money is on the line each and every time you pick up the phone and/or meet a prospect face to face.
So what is the first thing you say when your prospect picks up the phone?
What you'll learn in my various sales programs includes developing a Profitable Prospecting Perspective, which includes your opening lines. (These are just a couple of the prospecting tips that will be covered.)
Here’s a glimpse at one of the better ways you'll learn to open your conversations:
Step 1: Never Appear To Be Hungry
Prospect: “So how can you help me?”
You: “I'm not sure that I can. Mind if I ask you a few questions to help us both figure that out?”
This response is delivered quietly, slowly, without a hint or tinge of pressure, hope or desperation in your voice and almost apologetically.
Because every other Tom, Dick and Harry out there desperately pushing products, under pressure from their bosses to make their numbers or else, DON’T do it this way.
That’s another angle you'll learn during in my programs, which is “analyze what your competition is doing...and do the opposite!”
Step 2: Know Thyself (& Thy Company's Results)
You know the types of results you're capable of achieving for your prospects and you need to be able to discuss that—in the form of better questions—when you're with your ideal prospect.
However, whatever you say will not be believed if it's even heard.
Sure, the prospect is there nodding and being polite—if you're lucky—but their mind is a million miles away pondering 1,000 different topics so you're not making any progress.
Whatever nuggets do make it past Broca's Area will be doubted until they can Google it because "they've heard it all before."
Timing is everything and timing is either learned on the job—where you literally bet your paycheck on your ability to do this correctly—or you can rehearse, drill, and practice it in a private community of sales professionals who want to see you succeed.
Step 3: Know Your Prospects
This is where I say that the old school cold calling that springs to mind is dead today in the B2B space.
With three to seven minutes of work—and a smart tool like Nimble's social CRM—you can find out all you need to know to make an informed "GOLD call" into a prospect who is either/or:
- In your niche
- In your area
- In your Dream 100
- The right position
- The right size company
- In the news (growing or shrinking could be an opportunity to call)
- A direct competitor to one of your best clients
- A vendor / partner to one of your best clients
With just one little nugget listed above you can deliver a better opening line than your competitors who are either cute, glib, or pushy.
Prove you're different by sounding different from the beginning.
Step 4: Schedule and Batch Your Prospecting
You don't go to one store for eggs, another for milk, another for produce, and another for cereal.
Shopping malls have a lot of stores in one place for the same reason.
It's convenient and efficient to put the items and the stores together so you can not only get what you need faster, but store and mall owners know that you're more likely to spend more money if they can present you with more buying opportunities when you're shopping.
In selling, you're going to have more sales opportunities if you set aside time to make prospecting calls in batches.
Maybe you discover that one part of the country are early risers so you need to call the top officials before 8 am.
Maybe in your niche everyone works late so you need to call between 5 and 7 pm.
Maybe you're calling into small businesses and you discover the owners / entrepreneurs answer their phones during the lunch hour when their receptionist / executive assistant goes to lunch and nobody else is available to answer the phones.
One time when I worked with a tech startup out of Austin and was calling into my territory in SoCal to set appointments I spoke with the executive assistant for the CIO of a large hospital I was trying to get into.
The assistant told me the CIO was at a HIMSS conference. I didn't know what that was so after I left a message and put a note on his record in my CRM and looked up the conference.
Within 60 seconds I knew what it was, saw the various chapters, and made my next call.
On that call I actually reached the CIO and after my opening line I asked "Why aren't you at the HIMSS conference?"
He told me he had a scheduling conflict and asked me how I was involved in HIMSS because the mere fact I knew about the conference showed I was an insider in his space, not just some pushy salesman trying to get his money.
As it turned out I did get involved with several HIMSS chapters across SoCal, Phoenix, and Las Vegas and made a lot sales during my three years with that startup primarily due to my success in the healthcare space.
My success in that space was jump-started because I batched my calls and leveraged the information I learned from one call to the next while it was fresh on my mind.
Step 5: Know Your Numbers (Try this free sales calculator)
Whatever can be measured can be improved.
That's why I batch my calls.
It's easier to detect trends around:
- Time of day
- Region of the country
- Job titles
- Opening lines
When you know what is working you can double-down.
When you know what is not working you can adjust. And adjust you must.
Trees don't grow to the sky and opening lines and offers don't work the same forever.
This is why the best sales people in any industry know and track their numbers. Will you?
Step 6: Make The Calls
Having a list, an opening that you think is great, a great smile, and a winning attitude won't make you any money if you don't pick up the phone or go knock on the door.
That's why I recommend setting an appointment with yourself to batch your prospecting efforts and dive in.
Once you're in the flow you'll develop a rhythm and you'll perfect your pitch, you'll reach decision makers, and you'll set more appointments.
When you follow The Sales Agenda, you'll set firm appointments with a mutually-agreed upon agenda, which will enable you to keep the meetings on track, help you get to the truth, and eliminate stalls and put-offs like...
I want to think it over."
Step 7: Have a Multi-Media, Multi-Touch, Sequential Follow-Up System
If you think you can scale and grow and have a life with Gmail and Sticky Notes you are in for a rude awakening.
Technology has changed how buyers buy and how they engage with salespeople.
Yes, salespeople are still needed, but we're needed in a different way.
In the 80's and 90's and even the early 2000's our prospects would come to us for information because things were still hard to find.
Today information is everywhere so now our prospects need us to help them sort through all the information to find the truth and make a decision.
And their inboxes are full.
So are their voicemails.
But they are engaging on social media.
They are replying to text messages.
They are clicking on videos in their emails and watching them...usually on their smartphones.
They are opening their old school, physical mail.
They still need to hear from you 5 to 7 to 10 times before they make a buying decision, but those touches need to be coordinated and synchronized to make the greatest impact.
While you're writing in spiral notebooks and setting Outlook reminders on your desktop I'm offering free guides that include
- email series,
- social media,
- retargeting ads,
- phone calls, and
- text messages.
And the beauty of it is that most of this runs automatically.
Sure I have to set it up to start and that takes time, but once a free report is created with 5-7 reminder emails it literally runs forever.
For example, back in the fall of 2008 I created my first free report and email series called "The 7 Deadly Sins of Selling," which you can access below.
Back then it was maybe five pages with a few reminder emails and a simple offer.
That turned into a 12 page report, then a 22 page report, then 30, then over 60 pages.
It then turned into a live talk, then a recorded CD, an on-demand MP3, and now a video series hosted on a private training site I own.
This same series has been running, gathering leads, and generating sales 24 hours a day, 365 days a year since 2008.
So what if it took me five or 8 hours or a week to make it then 10 hours to update it once a year. What's the ROI on a decade of free lead generation?
To make that happen you need the right CRM that has the correct features for you including:
- landing pages
- list segmentation
- marketing automation
- sales automation
- pipeline tracking
- smart content
- email marketing
- webinar integration
- permissions for your team members
- 24/7 phone support
- social media publishing and tracking
- smart calls-to-action
Step 8: Surround Yourself With People Who Want To See You Succeed In Sales
After months of nudging I attended my first Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class with a friend of mine in January 2017.
I was a few months shy of my 47th birthday and this was the hardest sport I had ever done, and that includes playing football at Air Force.
Literally for months I was so sore I'd wake myself up when I rolled over in bed.
My shoulders hurt. My back hurt. My hands down to the last joints on my fingers hurt.
My forearms got knots in them from gripping my opponents.
My neck was stiff.
The skin was rubbed off the tops of my feet and big toes.
I got tennis elbow in my left elbow.
I twisted my left knee in the first two weeks doing drills and it hurt for months.
I twisted my right knee a couple of months in and it hurt for months.
My same "friend" that invited me choked me so hard with an "Ezekiel choke" that it hurt to swallow for nearly three months.
(Are you sold on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, yet?)
Then I lost 15 pounds.
My cardio got better.
My skills got better.
I got my first stripe on my little white belt...then my second...then my third.
I got pummeled by the more experienced guys but I started beating newbies.
And I made some great friends.
Business owners. Salespeople. Electricians. Contractors. Moms. Dads. Kids. Police. Fire. Veterans. Active duty military.
They stay after class and give me tips and advanced lessons.
They encourage me when I get down on myself for not advancing as quickly as I'd hoped I would.
They push me because we all know that iron sharpens iron.
And I pay for it.
I pay 16x more than what I was paying to attend the Fitness 19 one mile from my house.
I pay 16x more to drive across town, often in traffic, to get a 90 minute to two hour workout in and learn valuable skills with mentors and friends.
And I get 20x and 200x more out of it than I was getting by doing minimum workouts alone at the nearby gym.
Because we're not meant to got it alone.
There's an old African proverb that says if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with a team.
To grow as a salesperson, entrepreneur, and/or business owner you need to surround yourself with a great team.
Great teams will require an investment of your time and your money.
Great teams will give you back 5x or 20x or 100x what you put into it.
Are you willing to commit the time, money, and energy to master the new and evolving skills you need to meet your growth goals you've set for yourself for the next 5 years? 10 years? Your life?
I offer private, group, live at your location, and on-demand training to help you do just that.
If you'd like to discuss what might be right for you contact me here to set a time for us to talk.
You can also...
Understand that you need to sell you and your ideas in order to advance your career, gain more respect, and increase your success, influence and income.” ~Jay Abraham