Posts Tagged ‘sales scripts’

Old School Sales Still Tops New Sales

Believe it or not, old school sales still tops new sales skills.  So what are these historic old ways?

#1 – Pick up the telephone – Sure some people like texts, but using the phone is the first old school sales skill and still works.  People want responses now, not later.  Technology of emails is not fool proof and does fail.

#2 – Honor your word by doing what you say you will do.  This means return phone calls, send promised information, etc.  Be a person of character.

#3 – Focus first on the sales lead, the potential client instead of your needs.  To embrace this old school sales skill requires you to up your active listening skills and SHUT your mouth.  As has been said by many others “If the good Lord wanted us to talk more than to listen he would have given us 2 mouths and only one ear.”

#4 – Forget those sales scripts.  Sales scripts are good as a reference.  No one wants to hear a robotic delivery, those folks have had their fill of automatic messaging.  Refer to the previous sales skill – LISTEN.

#5 – Relationships are the foundation for long term customer loyalty.  Relationships take time to nurture and develop. Earning a sale doesn’t happen overnight.  Sales research suggests less than 2% of all sales are made on the first contact.

#6 – Deep six the sales presentations.  Unless you are selling in a complex sales environment, the majority of sales presentations are for the benefit of the salesperson not the sales lead. Again sales research suggests a significant part of the buying decision has already taken place before you receive that first phone call.  The Internet has become a gold mine for research by your sales leads.  If you need to present something, send a handwritten thank you note.

#7 – Leave your ego and expectations are the door.  Accept each sales lead as a fresh experience, do not think you know what the person wants or needs or how much you expect in financial compensation from this prospect.

After over four (4) decades in sales, I know the old school sales ways seem to be eagerly desired by today’s sales prospects. Maybe these words of President Teddy Roosevelt may help reinforce the old school ways:

“No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

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The Essence of Executive Coaching Is…

Executive coaching is becoming a recognized sustainable solution to improve the business leadership performance of individuals.  Yet, how often are people asked to explain the essence of this powerful solution?

executive-coachingHere is a statement that I make somewhere during the sales conversation with potential ideal customers or clients:

“Coaching be it executive, business or sales is about clarity through tools and processes beginning with assessments. These provide the information to ask the right or often unasked questions to get clear answers from you, the coachee, as to what is happening around you.”

The essence of coaching is clarity.  This is the same reason people seek out mentors.  It is not just the advice they are seeking, but gaining a very sharp, crystal clear picture of:

  • Where they are
  • Where they want to be
  • How to get to where they want to be
  • What is limiting their ability to get to where they want to be

Of course, sometimes executive coaching clients do not realize they have most of the answers within themselves. All the coach does is to ask the right or often unasked questions to have the “coachee” make that self discovery.

With business coaching and sales coaching clients, clarity is still the essence however the role of the coach may step into the role of consultant by providing answers.  Many new to sales for example do not have the tools or even sales skills necessary for sales success. The coach may provide those tools, additional knowledge and offer further guidance through role playing to reviewing sales scripts to prospecting activities.

Getting to where one wants to be is not easy especially when the path is not clear. Executive coaching helps clear that path.  Theodore Hesburgh is quoted as saying “No one can follow an uncertain trumpet.” That uncertainty is a lack of clarity.

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Let’s Return to the True Purpose of Marketing for SMB

Why do small businesses engage in marketing?  The answer to this question defines the purpose of marketing. Unfortunately, among many mid size to small business (SMB) owners, sales professionals and even so called marketing experts, fail to answer this question correctly.

purpose-of-marketing

Credit www.gratisography.com

Simply speaking the purpose of marketing, the why behind the actions, is to attract attention.  How mid-size to small businesses (SMB) or sales professionals attract attention may differ by business, industry and person.

Many believe marketing is:

  • Paid advertising
  • Glossy printed brochures
  • Social media postings
  • Signage
  • Business to business networking events
  • Press releases
  • Sales scripts
  • Direct mail
  • Email
  • You Tube Videos
  • Website (Internet)

These are all correct answers because all can attract either positive or negative attention.

Additionally marketing can be:

  • Elevator speech
  • Value proposition
  • Professional dress
  • General physical appearance
  • Smile
  • Handshake
  • Attitude
  • Referrals
  • Voice mail
  • Speaking engagements
  • Seminars or workshops
  • General conversations with ideal potential customers or center of influences

Have you ever considered your professional dress or general appearance as part of your marketing?  What happens when during the work week you are out running an errand dressed in jeans or sweats and see a potential customer?  Does your professional dress or appearance act as an attraction magnet?

In today’s global economy, no longer can businesses ignore how they attract attention and believe only one or two marketing channels are sufficient.  Ignoring all these other marketing channels may doom sustainable business growth.

The purpose of marketing has never changed since mankind started trading and selling goods and services. Attracting positive attention has been “job #1” to quote Ford Motor Company.

Do not let some marketing expert tell you the purpose of marketing is something more.  No, it is 100% about attracting attention from your ideal customer as you determined through your strategic plan that is probably laying on the shelf somewhere collecting dust.  Shame you on if that is the case.

If you don’t have your ideal customer clearly defined, download this FREE Ideal-Customer-Profile-Template.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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Sales Scripts Do Require Breathing

Have you ever answered the phone and felt breathless? Not by running to the phone, but rather listening to the salespeople run through their sales scripts without taking a breath.  First you cannot get a word in and second you know the drill and have been turned off before the fifth sentence.

sales-scripts

Credit www.gratisography.com

Sales scripts are a guide; not words written in stone with a lightening bolt striking you if you misspeak.  These conversational prompts require inflection and breathing.

Yesterday afternoon I answered the phone and was greeted by the voice of a pleasant young man. He introduced himself to me and let me know he was calling on behalf of a mutual acquaintance.  Great! Before I could ask, “how may I support you?,” he launched into this rapid fire sales script and it felt like a Gatling gun of rat-a-tat-tat.

I was able to stop him after 90 seconds and told him to stop with the sales script.  May patience has grown thin with all the bad sales training and I no longer listen to these poorly delivered and badly crafted sales scripts.

What was bad about this one, it retreated to this common line “(name of person) has several openings in the next few weeks.” Then the young man continued with attempting to present benefits and rewards to me in a rather generic description for this particular industry.  Been there, heard that more often than I care to admit.

When cold calling sales leads or warm calling (calling warm prospects not necessarily100% qualified), you as the caller have already interrupted the sales lead or prospect.  Spewing something he or she has heard numerous times because the majority of sales scripts are essentially the same does not win you an appointment. Then speaking in rapid fire further nails your No Sold Coffin.

People buy from people they know and trust.  Even if you are calling for someone who knows the intended party, the intended party does not know you.  You must quickly and authentically build some relationship with that intended receiver.

Learn the all 3 Sales Buying Rules

So remember, take a breath when using sales scripts.  You are not selling Gatlinh guns, you are selling you. The goal is for the sales lead to buy you so you can set that appointment and move the sale forward.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn

 

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In Sales, Is Seduction Necessary?

If we are professional salespeople, do we need to seduce our ideal customers or potential buyers?  I recently read a marketing blurb sent to me where the word “seduce” appeared respective to sales.  For me, this word suggests that our potential customers or clients will not accept us on face value and so we must undertake some other questionable behaviors to lure them to buy from us.

sales-zig-ziglarZig Ziglar said “sales is the transference of feelings.”  I firmly believe in his simple definition because people are emotional creatures first and foremost.  When we recognize the power of feelings, we can not only increase sales, but build powerful and enduring relationships that will last for years to come.

Words are important and how we employ those words in our marketing to sales scripts are also very critical. Additionally, many in business are seeking the quick fix.  Words like “seduce” conjure an easier way, a quick fix to bolster lack luster revenue.

As William Holden noted in the 1954 movie, The Executive Suite, the quick fix starves everyone. There is no quick fix in sales, in business or in life.

Sustainable business is built upon authentic relationships where people walk the walk, talk the talk or as some say walk the talk.  When we believe we must “seduce” customers, this sounds to me like we must trick them.  No wonder so many believe that those in sales are like the carnival “hucksters” or used car salespeople where trickery is very prevalent.

If you or your small business wishes to increase sales, then just build and develop authentic relationships with your ideal customers.  Remember not all sales leads are good ones.  Be discriminating in what sales leads you wish to pursue. You may find you will not need to “seduce” less than good fit customers.

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Does Your Sales Script Include “I’m Sorry?”

The problem with sales scripts is they are taken to heart and deviation is forbidden.  Yesterday I experienced another failed sales script when I went into a national office supply store after my luncheon meeting.

sales-scriptsAs I entered this newly remodeled store, I glanced at the signage and started making my way toward where I believed the tabbed dividers would be located.  A young male associate asked if he could help and I told him of my request.  He quickly showed me to the aisle that I was already walking toward.

Then he asked me if I wanted a coupon because this store was now selling mobile phones?  I told him “No thank you” with a polite smile. This did not stop him from saying “It will just take a minute to see if you phone is ready for an upgrade.” I politely told him “No thank you” again and proceeded to search for the dividers.  Then he said “Are you sure?” 

By this time I was annoyed and told him rather sternly “I told you no thank you. I am not interested and you need to listen instead of continuing your sales pitch.”  Instead of realizing I was now an annoyed customer, his sharp retort was “I was only trying to save you money.”

Given I was in a hurry as I had other appointments and tasks to be completed, I refrained from any further verbalized comments, but that did not keep my brain from going a mile a minute.

  • Why should he get huffy as he was the one not listening?
  • Did he realize he was taking up my limited time and that was costing me money?
  • What did he think I had all day to spend at this store for something I did not want?
  • Where in the heck was the apology given he was the person interrupting my shopping experience?
  • What crazy sales training firm crafted this sales script without emphasizing about listen to the customer’s response before you continue your sales pitch?

Truthfully if I had not needed the dividers for a project to be completed later that same afternoon or if there had been another office supply store nearby, I would have left the store right then and there.

The last thing any sales associate should do is to show annoyance with the customer.  Yes sometimes customers can be wrong and annoying. However, this does not excuse unprofessional behavior on the past of the salesperson.

Now this salesperson’s behavior because of some stupid sales script has me not wanting to go into that store any more.  Yes it does only take one bad experience to turn a loyal customer onto the path of being disloyal.

My advice is to make sure your sales script includes the words “I’m sorry” when the customer or even prospect becomes upset.

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Stupid, Damn Sales Scripts @#$%&?!!!

When will organizations learn that sales scripts are stupid when they fail to engage customers and worse yet tick off customers?

sales-scriptsYesterday I went to visit my mobile phone carrier because I received an email notice of a FREE upgrade to a new iPhone 5C. Of course, the store did not have it nor was I told any other stores.  So, I decided to order the phone and wait the 2 weeks.

I realized early on into the conversation with the salesperson she was “sales script” trained.  However, I also noticed she lacked active listening skills because her sales training was driving her behaviors.

When  we were discussing shipping the phone to my home address, she asked me “Do you want the device insured?” Coming from a 20 plus year inside sales career, I always stayed with the current conversation until I confirmed agreement and then was very specific in moving to a new topic.  So I asked “Why should I insure the phone? Doesn’t Verizon pay for insurance shipping?

Her response was “Do you want the device insured?” 

She did not answer my question.

Damn sales scripts @#$%&?!!!

Strike #One

After several additional moments of conversation, I finally was able to confirm the insurance was for after receiving the phone and not for shipping. Then she provided me with the total that was $30 more than I had originally expected. The extra $30 was for the upgrade. When I questioned the additional $30, she told me “Everyone charges for the upgrade. After all, you are getting a $200 phone for $30.”

For me free is not free plus $30. The email message did say upgrade, but also said free. What the marketing message should have said is “Upgrade your phone for $30 and receive this $200 5c iPhone at no additional charge.”

Also, personally I do not give a rat’s behind what everyone else charges. That is not my problem. And I really, really hate surprises when I am making any purchase regardless of price.

Damn sales scripts @#$%&?!!!

Strike # Two

This young salesperson was quite taken back with my reluctance to buy this free phone for $30 as evidenced by her repeated statement of “You are getting a $200 phone for $30.” And when I said “Please cancel the purchase,” she said “Okay” and did not have any further response.  She was letting a qualified sales lead out the door because she did not know how to deal with some basic sales objections by an unhappy customer.

Strike #3

Now I am researching other carriers because my business is being taken for granted and my ten plus years as a loyal customer does not count for a hill of beans. No I would not recommend my carrier.

When salespeople stick to sales scripts and fail to truly engage the customer especially those multiple year loyal customers, this reflects poor sales training, poor sales management and overall poor leadership.  As I was leaving the store I truly felt like:

Can anyone hear me now?

 

 

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Face to Face Sales Script Anyone?

Orchestrating sales success through in person meetings is something very much like dancing.

face-to-face-sales-scriptYour dance is your face to face sales script.

The movements may change.

The rhythm may increase or decrease.

However at the end, we all have several face to face sales scripts because our dancing partners are always changing.

Possibly we start out with a center of influence within the organization.

The we are sent to another center of influence with just a tad more leverage.

Finally, we have an opportunity to meet a key decision maker.

Then we learn she is not the only one because of some recent personnel changes and new strategic initiatives.

What is essential in face to face sales scripts is they are always sharp, crisp and never flat.

Each delivery sounds authentic and connects with our dancing partners (a.k.a. the prospect).

We avoid stepping on toes or leading when we should be following.

Our potential customers never for once thinks our face to face sales script is us “just going through the motions.”

After all, people buy from people, not from some automated best sales practice or some sales training generated sales script ever.

Knowing what you may say is essential because each correct response (move) should move you closer to earning the sale.

Also knowing what not to say is equally essential.

This is where “just in time” editing of your face to face sales script happens.

Maybe what we must remember is those important words are not etched in stone, but the behaviors (positive business ethics) in the shadows behind each of those words are.

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Are You Hindering Your Sales Success?

Sometimes people do not recognize what may be hindering their sales success. For example, “bells and whistles” are part of many selling solutions.  These add-ons are all the extra stuff that some people find of value.  And therein lies the key “some people” not everyone.

sales-bells-and-whistlesUnfortunately to achieve sales success the powers to be (sales management to executive leadership) look to the bells and whistles to be the profit centers. Go into any car dealership and after you buy the car you are sent to someone else for all those add-ons from fabric protectors to body rust  protection.  All you want to do is get the hell out of Dodge because you have traveled that route before and discovered all those bells and whistles more of a hindrance than any value.

The buying process should be easy for any potential customer.

The sales process needs to be in alignment with the buying process.

Yet many small business salespeople put sales objections in the pathway of the buyer.  Bells and whistles are sometimes those obstacles to sales success.  Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Up selling is adding the bells and whistles to the potential sale.

Possibly part of the reason for the unintentional establishment of these selling obstacles  is the salesperson has not completed his or her fact finding.  By investing the time to understand what the buyer really wants based upon his or her existing situation can determine does the  prospect want and need the good, better or best solution. Sales Training Coaching Tip:  Understanding the difference between wants and needs is essential to determine if those extra sales bells and whistles are potential hindrances to you achieving sales success.

To avoid having those bells and whistles lead to potential sales objections that hinder sales success may suggest the following:

  • Invest more time in active listening
  • Think twice before speaking
  • Seek clarity before moving onto the next question

Remember selling is not that complicated for the majority of businesses.

Ask yourself are you making the buying/selling process more difficult by focusing on all those sales bells and whistles?

If you truly want to increase sales, then scheduled a no risk 20 minute Business Growth Accelerator Session with Leanne Hoagland-Smith at 219.759.5601 CST where you will receive:

#1 – Quick assessment of your current sales process

#2 – One business growth strategy to increase results by 20% in 60 days

Consider giving her a call especially if what you have tried has not worked and you are ready to challenge and then change the current status quo.

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What Monkey Calls Are Being Heard in Your Small Business?

small-businessDid you ever think the customer service or sales communication in your small business sounds like all the other communication your customers hear on a daily basis.  From the perfunctory “Did you find everything?” or “Your call is important to us” to  “Stay well,” these crafted customer service to sales scripts sound more like the monkey calls reverberating through the jungle than authentic, real, communication.

People buy from people.

To enhance that small business customer service buying experience requires all communication to be authentic, real and yes still be consistent.

When your customers begin to hear the same “monkey calls,” they may turn off that screaming monkey chatter or worse yet leave your small business for another that truly cares about them.

 

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