Inside Sales Buzz Blog

Inside Sales, Scripts & Cold Call Techniques from Michael Pedone

How to Sound More Natural on the Phone in 3 Easy Steps

by MichaelPedone 21. April 2015 05:44

Sales Question: "What can I do to get my sales reps to sound more natural on the phone when making sales calls?"
 
SalesBuzz Answer: By Michael Pedone

This is a problem all sales reps at one time or another have had to conquer. 

Here are three things I did to get my sales calls to sound more conversational:

1) Know the Road Map

Just like you would have more confidence driving from point A to point B if you had a detailed road map showing you how to get where you want to go, you need the same thing for sales calls. 

Knowing exactly how to execute the sales process from your Opener, to Qualifying, to Presenting, and finally to Closing is a critical step for sounding more natural on the phone. Knowing what your destination is will also better prepare you for when a prospect gives you a detour to handle.

Note: Some sales people would think that their destination is the “Close”, but if you go into a first time sales call with that mindset, you are sure to fail more often than you succeed. There are lots of little “destinations” you have to hit along the sales journey first in order to increase your likelihood of winning more sales.

2) The Best Friend Referral Mind-set

Sometimes you have to “fake it till you make it”. Meaning, if you’re nervous before a sales call, so be it. Just don’t let the prospect know / sense that you are nervous. One of the ways I learned to get passed that unnatural “tone” while making sales calls was to pretend that the person I was calling was referred to me by my best friend. Having the mindset that the person I’m calling was a relative of a friend of mine who said they may be in need of some help allowed me to quickly find the right “tone” for the conversation, even if on the inside I was still a little apprehensive.

3) Iron Sharpens Iron

Once you have your road map / sales process down (You know exactly what to say on voicemails, gatekeepers, or if you get the actual prospect on the phone), you have to role-play and practice with your peers. There simply is no faster way to get better other than role-playing with your co-workers. Just 5 minutes a day will help sales people fix improper tone. 

Just be sure your sales manager is involved to make sure the right sales techniques are being used in order to avoid reinforcing bad sales tactics.

- Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com. An online sales trainingcompany 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 Call Anxiety - Here's How to Overcome It!

by MichaelPedone 13. April 2015 17:22

Sales Question: "I get very nervous when I have to make cold calls – any tips on how to overcome my anxiety and fear of cold calling?"
 
SalesBuzz Answer: By Michael Pedone

I know that feeling. I know it like an old friend (or arch enemy). It used to be so bad for me that I would get nauseas on the way to work in the morning. My stress level would be at an all time high, just knowing I was going to have to pick up the phone only to be turned away by gatekeepers or (rudely) shunned by decision makers. It’s an unpleasant feeling to say the least.

But here’s what I know…

God didn’t lead you to this job so you could be a failure. HE didn't bring you to a place that would make you physically sick and emotionally ill. 

You are more than equipped to be highly successful in this business and for overcoming your challenges.

Understanding and believing that is your first step to being free of your cold call anxiety.

How Failure Helps Us Succeed

Knowing we have the capacity to overcome our challenges is the first step. Recognizing the need to change is our second.

You can’t keep doing the same thing repeatedly and expect different results. If gatekeepers aren’t putting your calls through, decision makers aren’t returning your voicemails, if deals are not closing, all those things that make selling by phone stressful, those are big bright blinking signs that you need to update your game plan. Your sales strategy is in need of some fine-tuning. 

Here’s where I would start…

Helping Others

Every time you are about to pick up the phone, have the mind-set and attitude that you are calling with the intent of helping them. That’s a completely different attitude than calling to see if you can “make a sale” or “hit your quota”.

When you are calling with the attitude of seeing if you can be of some help to someone, should they reject your help, it’s easier to move on to the next prospect. 

When you’re calling for the purpose to “make a sale” and it doesn’t happen, the pressure builds up, tension comes through to the next prospect over the phone, more rejection happens and it’s a never-ending downward spiral. 

Having an attitude of wanting to help prospects will allow you to fend off negative feelings of rejection while helping you be in the right frame of mind when you find a prospect that wants and needs your help.

Fix What’s Broken

For every sales situation, there’s a game plan. If your current playbook isn't working, get a new one. Find people that have a proven successful track record and can PIN POINT exact plays that need to be run in specific situations. Some top sales reps have intuition. They instinctively know what to do in certain sales situations but couldn’t tell you how or why they did what they did to make it work. 

It’s hard to get help from someone if they can’t show you the how or the why – they just know. If you’re not one of those “intuitive” top sales reps, that’s OK.

Make a list of where your sales call goes off the tracks. Is it right up front when you call and get the gatekeeper? Is it after your intro to the decision maker and they say “No thanks”? Is it when you find out you’re not speaking to the decision maker and you try to get an introduction but the prospect says “no”? These are just some of the common sales situations that happen every day.

By making a list and seeking out those areas that keep you from moving the sale forward and bringing them to your sales manager for help / advice will help you overcome your challenges. And once you are prepared for the sales call from A to Z before even picking up the phone, all of that anxiety you had will become a distant memory.

- 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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What to do when speaking with a Non-Decision Maker

by MichaelPedone 8. April 2015 05:27

Sales Question: "How do you get a Non-Decision Maker to put you in contact with the real Decision Maker?"
 
SalesBuzz Answer: By Michael Pedone

Ideally sales people want to only be calling the real decision makers, however, that is simply not a reality. Interacting with non-decision makers is a daily occurrence for B2B sales people no mater if they sell by phone or face-to-face.

This is why sales people need a “tool” in their sales tool kit they can use to effectively get to the next step in the sales cycle when they are dealing with non-decision makers.

The problem is when a sales person recognizes they aren’t speaking with the true decision maker, they typically ask one of the following types of sales questions:

  1. Can I speak with your boss?
  2. Can you put me in touch with your boss?
  3. Is your boss available?

Now we all know what happens next. The sales person is going to hear an emphatic “NO”. 

99.9% of the time when a sales person asks a non-decision maker if they can speak with their boss, the sales person is rejected. It’s a FAILED sales strategy. Yet, most sales people keep running that same play and get nowhere with it.

New Game Plan

Once you’ve identified a hot button / pain point that the prospect is interested in solving, there are several better plays to run once you’ve identified your prospect as a non-decision maker. 

Here’s one that is simple to execute and is met with little resistance from the prospect:

“Mr. Prospect, if you were me, how would you proceed from here?”

Possible answers your prospect may give you:

“Well, I’d recommend you reach out to….” 

BINGO! They give you the person’s name that you need to speak to and you can even use a “referral opener” when contacting the true decision maker. (Hi Mrs. Decision Maker, I was speaking with “NON-DM’s Name” regarding “HOT-BUTTON” and he asked me to give you a call…”

Another way they could answer is:

“You can give me the information and I’ll bring it to him/her.”

In which one reply you could use would be:

“I appreciate that however here’s the problem – If we go down that road, chances are high that this will get pushed aside which means you don’t get a solution to help you solve/overcome (hot button). So to avoid that from happening, what else would you recommend?”

In essence, you are selling them on why it’s in their best interest for them to help you get in touch with the real decision maker, without asking them directly, which almost always leads to “no”. 

What if They Still Say “NO”?

If they make a case for why they are the person to go through first, you have a decision to make.

You CAN close deals and never speak with the ultimate sign-off person IF the person you are speaking with is a HIGH INFLUENCER. 

If, however, they are low on the decision-making totem pole (like an end-user) and have no power, you are better off PLANTING A SEED.

PLANTING A SEED

There are several “Planting a Seed” plays in my sales book and the one I’m referring to here is when you have a non-decision maker who is resistant to bringing in the other needed parties to the conversation. 

What I do is this… I give some basic highlights around the hot buttons / pain points of theirs that I discovered during the qualifying period, then I give them a price range (low to high) and tease it with the hint that some possible incentives may be available. I let them know I will email them the outline / info and if they want to talk further after discussing this with their boss, to let me know. I do NOT do a full presentation. I won’t waste my time. 

As I mentioned earlier, there are several plays you can run when you are speaking with a non-decision maker. Just like a mechanic will have certain tools to use in specific situations, you want to have several different sales plays you can run, depending on which sales situation you are faced with. The play outlined above has been very successful in getting me on the phone with the ultimate decision makers and I hope you find it useful as well.

- 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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The "Just email me something" Blow-off

by MichaelPedone 31. March 2015 06:46

Sales Question: "How do you handle the “Just email me something” blow-off?"

 

SalesBuzz Answer: By Michael Pedone

If you are hearing "just email me something" on a regular basis, your sales process is causing that to happen. Having a snarky response prepared means you aren't fixing the real problem.

The reason most sales people get that response is because they:

1.    Get the prospect on the phone;

2.    Ask if they’re the person who makes decisions on XYZ;

3.    Try to establish control by asking a few probing questions;

4.    Which is then capped off with a mini "spray and pray" of what they offer.


To most sales people, this is the sales process (or very close to it) that they use and were taught day 1 on the job.

The real danger zone for sales people is they think getting "just email me some information" is part of the process. It’s Not. Or at least it doesn’t have to be.

So How Do You Avoid It?

Well, for one, you should at least know the TITLE of the person that normally is involved in the decision making process for your product / service. Title doesn’t always guarantee they make the decision and every company has their own unique purchasing process, but if you look at 10 of your last deals, you will see a pattern of two to three titles that seem to almost always have a part in the process.

Knowing who to speak with (to get the ball rolling) isn’t enough. You also need to know the WIIFT (What’s In It For Them). Saying you provide “blah blah blah to help save time and money” is going to be darn near what every other sales person is saying to them. You need to separate yourself from the rest of the herd by piquing their interest in the first few seconds of the call. You do that by having an opening value statement that hits their hot buttons. Agitate a pain, scratch an itch. 

Once you’ve passed the opener, deep-six the controlling probing questions and start asking what I call Engaging Questions. You want to have a conversation, not an inquisition.

But What if They Still Say “Just Email Me”?

If you are executing the advice above correctly, the “just email something” blow-off should no longer be a factor. However, if you do hear it while you are working on perfecting the three steps above, you may want to do this:

1.    Agree to what they asked. This drops their guard.

2.    Confirm their email address (And add them to your company’s drip marketing campaign).

3.    Plant a seed.

Trying to push the prospect after they’ve said “just email me” is right out of the 1970’s pushy salesman playbook. You blew the call. Own it. And live to fight another day.

By planting a seed, I mean end the call with hitting a few hot buttons that will make them THINK of you after the call, every time one of the pain points happen.

For example:

“Thank you for confirming your email address. I’ll send that over ASAP. In the future, if your sales team starts to struggle with hitting their monthly quota due to being shut down by gatekeepers, prospects ignoring their voicemails or because they can’t get decision makers on the phone, we may be able to help. My contact info will be in the email I send you. Feel free to call me anytime.”

Now end the call, send the email and move on to the next prospect. And if you’re using a tool such as InsideSales Power Dialer, you’ll get notified when down the road they start opening that email again and poking around your website. A good indication that a PAIN POINT or a TRIGGER EVENT has happened - and it might be a good idea to reach out to them again.

- 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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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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