Inside Sales Buzz Blog

Inside Sales, Scripts & Cold Call Techniques from Michael Pedone

How to Gain Sales Confidence When You're Not Closing

by MichaelPedone 24. March 2015 06:07

Sales Question: "How do you gain sales confidence when you aren’t closing business? I’m starting to doubt that sales is for me."
 
SalesBuzz Answer: By Michael Pedone

OK, first things first… Take a deep breath and realize that all great sales people have at one time or another been so frustrated, fearful and discouraged, even to the point of wondering if a career in sales was for them.

Now, how does this fact help you? 

It allows you to realize that there is a way out. They all found a way. And so can you. There is light at the end of the tunnel. But you’re going to have to be willing to adapt, change and hold yourself accountable if you want to succeed.

If what you are doing now isn’t working, some adjustments need to take place.

First place I would start is to clearly understand your job description. 

A salesperson’s job / duty is to: 

Close as many QUALIFIED prospects as fast as possible.

The keyword is QUALIFIED. If they don’t have a problem you can solve, if they can’t make or at least be part of the decision making process, or if they can’t afford your solution no matter how bad they want it, they aren’t qualified.

It’s important to understand that sales are NOT created. They are located. Too often, sales people who are losing confidence with each passing sales call are trying to get water from a stone.

In other words, they are determined to get a square peg to fit in a round hole, with the hopes of making a sale rather than moving on to find a better prospect.

You are more focused on what YOUR NEEDS are (getting a sale in order to pay bills) and not the prospects. And that will almost always end in failure.

Calling a prospect with the intention to discover if you can help them will go a long way in making sure you have a successful career in sales.

No Captain Wing Its

With that said, you need a rock solid game plan with a successful track record.

Simply calling your prospects and saying “whatever feels right” at the moment is a FAILED strategy. Not knowing exactly what to say if you get VOICEMAIL is a failed strategy. Not knowing what to do when the Gatekeeper answers the phone is a FAILED strategy. 

To boost your confidence, create a game plan for each stage of the sales cycle (openers, qualifying, presenting, objection handling, etc) and then ROLE-PLAY with your sales manager. Ask him or her to give you constructive critiques on what you say as well as how you are saying it. And be willing to come in early to do this.

Once you take control of the problem and commit to making it go away, your confidence will rise and the sales will start to flow.

- Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com. An online sales training company that shows inside sales teams how to: avoid being rejected by gatekeepers, leave voicemail messages that get callbacks and overcome tough pricing objections. Request a proposal here to have Michael teach your sales team his techniques!


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Can You Fix My Voicemail Message?

by MichaelPedone 17. March 2015 02:48

Sales Question: "I’m struggling with getting callbacks from my voicemail messages. Our software market is in Law Enforcement, Public Safety, Fire/EMS, and Government and I’m not getting any call backs. Can you help? A copy of my voicemail script is below."
 
SalesBuzz Answer: By Michael Pedone

OK… I’ve read your current voicemail script. Let’s see if we can make a few tweaks to help you get a better response rate. Let’s start here:

Expectations

How many callbacks are you expecting? If I called and left 25 first-time voicemail messages in a day and only received a 10% callback rate, personally, I’m OK with that because that means the 2 to 3 prospects that called me back are the hot prospects. Wouldn’t you like to have a conversation with at least 2 to 3 hot prospects a day?

The problem is, however, most sales people are closer to .10% than they are a 10% callback percentage. So let’s see if we can help you increase your callback results.

Your Message:

INTRO: “Hi (prospect), this is (name) calling from (company name)”

Looks fine so far. Of course, HOW you say something is as equally important, so without having a recording of you actually leaving your message, I can only go by the words you gave me to analyze. The one adjustment I WOULD make is this: Instead of saying “calling from” I would shorten that to “with” as in: Hi (prospect), this is (name) with (company name). It might not seem like a big deal, but anytime you can get rid of non-essential words in order to shorten your message and get to the point faster, it will help you generate more callbacks.

OPENING: “I’m calling because I have an idea on how to possibly help you…”

This is where things go South real fast. Even though this opening is better than most that I hear, since you are cold calling into a vertical, I would “PERK THEM UP” by mentioning other competitors / colleagues that you’ve already helped. (I GIVE AN EXAMPLE OF THIS BELOW - BUT DON’T JUMP AHEAD YET - KEEP READING)

WIIFT (What’s In It For Them) Statement: Your WIIFT says “reduce liability in your agency through our web-based software solution.” But that isn’t specific (OR INTERESTING) enough. Sure, it’s better than saying “we save you time and money” (which is what most sales people say), but it’s still too generic. 

THE CLOSE: “I’d love to ask you just a couple questions to see if…” I understand that YOU would love to have that conversation with them, but we need to do what THEY would love. And right now, they aren’t seeing the benefit of having that call with you. 

What a Better Script Might Look Like

With that being said, you may have greater success with something like this:

INTRO: Hi (prospect), this is (name) with (company name), 

OPENER: Reason for my call, 

WIIFT: we recently helped (Law Enforcement agency 1, 2 and 3) cut/reduce (______) liability by _____% through our web-based software solution. (BE SPECIFIC WITH WHAT TYPE OF LIABILITY YOU ARE ABLE TO HELP THEM REDUCE)

CLOSE: There’s a possibility WE MAY be able to help you do the same, but I would need to ask you a few quick questions first to be sure. I’ll send you an email, if it’s easier for you to reply that way great, otherwise, you can reach me XXX-XXX-XXXX. Again, my name is (your name) with (YOUR COMPANY NAME) and I can be reached at XXX-XXX-XXXX.”

Added Bonus: If your company has an online calendar / appointment scheduler tool, include that in your email to the prospect so they can schedule a call with you.

- Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com. An online sales training company that shows inside sales teams how to: avoid being rejected by gatekeepers, leave voicemail messages that get callbacks and overcome tough pricing objections. Request a proposal here to have Michael teach your sales team his techniques!


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Cold Calling: Better Price. Still No Sale. Here's Why...

by MichaelPedone 10. March 2015 06:50


Sales Question: "How do you respond to a prospect that uses your company for pricing leverage against a current supplier? Company's that I prospect (cold call) and have quoted 10-15% lower than their current supplier agree to buy from our company but then later tell me their current vendor matched or beat my quote."
 
SalesBuzz Answer: By Michael Pedone

If this is happening on a regular basis, then it's a clear sign that your "sales process" is broke.

One of the things that stands out to me is that the only reason why you initially won them, was on price. 

Have you ever heard of the phrase "Live by the sword, die by the sword"? 

Unless a prospect is fed up with a current vendor, often times they will stick with WHO AND WHAT THEY KNOW, even if you can save them a little cash. There's a comfort level there.

Now, using phrases in your opening value statement such as "we help (industry you are calling) avoid over paying for (product or service)" is a great way to get the door open, but once inside, I would highly recommend you start asking smart engagement questions that uncover other areas of concern/desires that aren't getting solved with their current supplier / vendor.

This way, when your new account notifies their vendor that their services are no longer needed, they won't get the business back no matter how low they drop their price.

- Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com. An online sales training company that shows inside sales teams how to: avoid being rejected by gatekeepers, leave voicemail messages that get callbacks and overcome tough pricing objections. Request a proposal here to have Michael teach your sales team his techniques!


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Sales Voicemail Statistics – Is leaving a message worth it?

by MichaelPedone 3. March 2015 13:35

Sales Question: "Can you PROVE that leaving voicemails are worth it? What have you found to be the average % of returned calls? What are the statistics?"
 
SalesBuzz Answer: By Michael Pedone

Here’s my concern with your question…

Are you looking for stats to defend your stance to not leave voicemail messages? Or are you truly looking for data to determine if you should start leaving them?

If you’ve already decided that you don't want to leave a voicemail message, I’m not here to try and change your mind. If, however, you are looking for facts in order to make a sound business decision, my question to you is this:

“How many callbacks do you get if you DON'T leave a voicemail?” 

Of course, the answer to that is ZERO. 

So if I left a message with every new sales call I made in a day that went to voicemail, and I only received ONE call back per day, that’s 100% more than you would get.

I look at it this way… If you are fishing, you have to cast your line. If you’re going to cast your line, you might as well have bait on the end of it. 

Not leaving a voicemail is like casting your hook with nothing on it. 

HAVING THE RIGHT EXPECTATIONS

When I’m in “making sales calls” mode, I understand there are several factors outside of my control regarding when a prospect will be ready to buy. My goal is to find the ones who are ready now. 

The one’s who aren’t, I at least want to make sure I’m on top of mind with them so that when a trigger event does happen, they call me to help them solve it. Leaving a compelling voicemail might not get you a call back today, but it can help you get a call back when the prospect is in high problem solving / buying mode. 

With that said, I’ve found that the ones that DO call back the same day are the ones that are further along in the buying cycle and THOSE ARE THE LEADS I want to be talking with anyway. 

Here’s something to think about as well, Prospects have this thing called: CALLER ID.

If you keep calling and don’t leave a message, isn’t it a safe bet the prospect would become agitated, always seeing your company name pop up, but never knowing why you are calling? The more you call and DON’T leave a message, the more you appear to be a pesky salesperson.

Annoying your prospect before ever talking to them is not a successful strategy.

If a prospect is worth chasing, they are worth a creative voicemail message. Something that has a WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM, mixed with a little bit of your personality that will entice them to want to call you back. 

Make sure you have at least three solid first time call messages in your playbook as well as three coinciding emails that you send right after each voicemail. 

Don't give up after leaving one message. I can’t tell you how many times a prospect has taken my 2nd or 3rd attempt only to hear them say “sorry I haven’t gotten back to you till now, things have been crazy busy.” Your prospects are busy and they want to grow / improve their business. Be part of the solution to help them get what they want and you will end up getting what you want: A call back that leads to new business relationship.

- Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com. An online sales training company that shows inside sales teams how to: avoid being rejected by gatekeepers, leave voicemail messages that get callbacks and overcome tough pricing objections. Request a proposal here to have Michael teach your sales team his techniques!


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Are You Making Too Many Contact Attempts?

by MichaelPedone 24. February 2015 03:15

Sales Question: "How many attempts should I make to connect with a prospect before moving on?"
 
SalesBuzz Answer: By Michael Pedone

I’ve read statistics that says it takes 6, 12 even 18 attempts to reach a prospect. But here’s the thing, I don’t use one rule across all lead types.

I believe it is best to analyze the lead to determine how much time and effort you will put into getting that prospect on the phone. 

In order to make an educated decision in this area, you have to know a few KPI’s (Key Prospecting Indicators) such as:

Is this a cold call or a warm lead? 

Warm lead = They were raising their hand in some way – such as they filled out a form on your website asking for pricing info. Warm leads obviously tend to be a little farther along in the buying cycle, so they get top attention.

What is their Title? 

If it’s a straight up cold call, you control who you are targeting, therefore, you should only be reaching out to those with the title of someone that is typically heavily involved in the decision making process. 

Quick side note: This does NOT mean you always have to speak to the CEO unless that is the person that is almost always the decision maker for what it is that you offer. 

For example, when I’m personally working a larger deal, the CEO (for my specific industry) is almost NEVER involved. If, however, the lead is a small to mid-size business, the OWNER / CEO is almost ALWAYS involved. You have to know your targeted audience! 

If you don’t know the top three titles of those who normally make a decision when it comes to buying your product / service, that’s a problem that needs to be fixed today.

When it comes to warm inbound leads, you have no control over who decided to raise their hand. Even though a warm lead presents itself, it could be from someone that has little to no power. On the flip-side, they could have been directed by a decision maker to get some info and could really be a hot lead.

So what do you do? How do you proceed? 

I’ve found that if there’s a warm lead and the title of that person is what I know to be a non-decision maker, in most cases, if they were instructed to look into this, it won't take many attempts on my part in order for them to give me a call back. 

If, on the other hand, it’s a warm lead, but the title of the prospect is what I know to be a non-decision maker and they were looking into this on their own, it seems to take more attempts. And here’s the problem: non-decision maker + self interest = lots of chasing and little to zero ROI. 

Why would I want to have a standard rule that says I have to try and contact someone 16 times when statistically, based on the info given (lead type + title) shows there will be little to no ROI?

There is one last bit of data or KPI that I take into account when deciding how many attempts I will make and that is:

Opportunity Size

All leads aren’t created equal. If you sell software, typically the more “seats” the larger the order. If you sell “logistics” the more they ship, the higher the ROI. If you sell medical supplies, the more patients your prospect sees, the more consumables they will use on a monthly basis, the more revenue you will bring in. Hopefully you get the picture here. 

Even if I were to make 16 attempts to an individual who expressed interest in what I offered, and they finally called back and signed on, the ROI or “opportunity size” was as low as possible, next to being ZERO. Yet, look at all the work I put into that, to only get one small sale.

Therefore, I have a three strikes rule that I use as a basis. 

It works like this: I know I will make a minimum of three call attempts. Each call attempt will be immediately followed-up with an email and there will also be a LinkedIn connection request following my first call attempt. 

That is a total of 7 attempts or “touches” Three calls + three emails + one LinkedIn connection request. 

In addition to that, they will receive at least 1 of my newsletters within that week making the total touches up to 8 within a week’s time. 

If after that I still haven’t heard back from them, I will then make a decision on how many attempts I will continue to go after someone and that will be based on 1) Lead type - cold or warm lead 2) Title and 3) Opportunity size.

If it’s a warm lead and the right title, but they haven’t called me back yet, I will simply call the front desk and ask a question or two that will let me know the opportunity size. (For me, all I have to do is call and ask “How many sales people does your organization have?”) If it’s a nice size number, they stay on my attempt to make contact list. If it’s not, I move on. Simple as that.

- Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com. An online sales training company that shows inside sales teams how to: avoid being rejected by gatekeepers, leave voicemail messages that get callbacks and overcome tough pricing objections. Request a proposal here to have Michael teach your sales team his techniques!


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Michael Pedone, founder and CEO of Live Online Sales Training Company SalesBuzz.com
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