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Four Keys to Getting an Appointment Set

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Getting an appointment set is likely sometimes the main goal when making cold calls. While this can often seem like a challenging task to complete, there are some simple things that can be done to improve success with appointment making.

1. Focus on the Right Goal

Focus on the right goal while cold calling prospects. It can be natural to fall into the trap of trying to sell your products and services while on a cold call. Even though your ultimate goal is to sell our products, this actually might not be the best goal for us to work on during a cold call as a cold call should only last between two to five minutes.

With that being the case, we can benefit from focusing on a goal that fits well with that amount of time. Since we cannot completely and effectively sell our products during a cold call, a good goal to focus on is one of getting the prospect interested in and committed to a conversation. In other words, a good goal to stay focused on is getting the appointment set.

2. Build Rapport

To help with scheduling appointments, we can try to build rapport with prospects. This is important due to the fact that people buy from people they like. In addition, prospects are more likely to agree to taking an appointment with someone that they have a decent level of rapport with.

Although, a cold call does not present at tremendous amount of time to build rapport, but there is enough time to use a few tactics to start to establish rapport. By doing some things like respecting the prospects time, showing that we understand the prospect, listening, disqualifying, and qualifying, we can take some minor steps toward building rapport.

3. Qualify the Prospect

By qualifying prospects during cold calls, you will actually create much better conversations with prospects as you will be asking questions and making prospects more interested and engaged in what you are calling about. Not only will this lead to a better cold call by creating a better conversation, it will also decrease the prospect’s guard since you are showing interest in making sure they fit before trying to sell to them and all of this can help to with making appointments.

4. Build Interest

Before we try to get the appointment set, we need to build interest. It is similar to trying to reel in a fish. When a fish has a hook in its mouth, we need to get it to bite down before we can try to reel in. With scheduling appointments, we need to get the prospect to bite down when we try to get commitment to move forward.

Launch Pad Solutions provides sales coaching helping sales pros to get the appointment set.

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Two Keys for How to Get More Sales

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

We all have some level of interest in how to get more sales.  Here are a few very simple and practical things that we can do to improve this area.

1.  Increase Number of New Prospects that You Touch

For increasing sales from new prospects, one key variable that we need to focus on is the number of prospects that we are able to reach and connect with.  Here are a few ways to increase productivity and effectiveness in this area.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): SEO can be one of the most powerful and effective methods for a business to use to connect with new prospects.  This is making a website more know by search engines so that targeted traffic gets routed to the business’ website.

Email Marketing: A very cost effective way to communicate with and stay in touch with new prospects.

Cold Calling: One of the most common and well known ways for a business or sales person to connect with new prospects.  Technology has changed providing both sales people with other prospecting tools, but there is still place in prospecting by picking up the phone and trying to talk with potential prospects.

Professional Networking: This is one of the best and most immediate ways to improve results with how to get more sales as you can establish immediate and strong professional relationships.

Social Media:
When focusing on how to get more sales, social media can be a great tool as you can use many of the different available platforms to connect and communicate with new prospects.

2.  Increase Referrals and Repeat Business

We will usually spend most attention for how to get more sales with getting new customers, but it can often be easier to increase sales by focusing on our existing customers.

Reciprocation: One of our top interests is to increase sales, but if we shift from first focus on trying to help others first, whether that be help our clients or help our contacts to build their businesses, we will likely see a positive impact on our own sales in terms of repeat business and referrals.

Deliver Quality Service:
Every sales strategy should include attention, investment, and energy on trying to keep and grow existing clients by delivering quality service.  It is much easier to keep existing clients and try to keep them than recruiting new business.

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Launch Pad Solutions provides sales consulting helping businesses to identify how to get more sales.

Three Reasons to Look Externally for Sales Coaching

Friday, January 13th, 2012

It is not hard to see how sales coaching can help with a sales team’s results.  Although, a company has two different options for delivering coaching as it can either be delivered by internal management or it can be outsourced to an external sales coach.  The latter has some benefits and those are summarized below.

1.  More open lines of communication

It is critical to have an extremely open channel of communication between client and coach for effective coaching.  The person being coached must feel comfortable opening up and talking about what is going on.  Without this, the coaching process will be disadvantaged and this will decrease the results and effectiveness of the attempt to drive improvements.

With internal coaching, a sales person might be fairly reluctant to be completely open.  With an external resource, there will be a more open line of communication.  This is due to the fact that not only is there usually a confidential agreement between coach and client, but also because the coach is not part of the management structure that the employee reports into.

2.  Lack of shared goals

When a sales manager provides sales coaching, he or she will bring shared goals to the process as they will likely get rewarded when the sales person is successful.  And while this may sound like a good thing, it is actually a significant challenge for effective coaching as the manager will have a difficult time being objective and unbiased during the coaching session.

3.  Core expertise in coaching

Internal sales managers will likely have great knowledge and expertise.  But they may not have core expertise in the area of coaching.  Even if they have been trained in the area of coaching, it is likely that they just simply do not deliver a tremendous amount of coaching as part of their daily routine and as a result, they may not have core expertise in the area of coaching.

By using an external coach, a company will likely be using a resource that does nothing but coaching and as a result, they are much more of an expert at coaching individuals and driving results.

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Launch Pad Solutions provides sales coaching helping sales pros to improve results.

Five Challenges of being an Inside Sales Manager

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

There are many challenges that come with being an inside sales manager and effectively dealing with those can directly lead to success.

1.  Interviewing

Finding good and right resources for inside sales positions can be challenging.  Cold calling and selling over the phone takes a particular type of person and you really never know how a sales resource is going to develop in terms of results and length of employment.

By finding a way to improve the interview process, a sales manager can create a tremendous improvement on the operation and results.  Using tools and processes to effectively screen applicants to identify the best matched applicants will help with the interviewing challenge.

2.  Training

Training is not something that will just need to be handled with newly hired sales resources.  It is also something that will need to be done on a continual basis.

There will always be some level of turnover so an inside sales manager does not want to spend too much time and money training a new inside sales rep as you do not know how long they will be around.

One way to improve the area of sales training is to automate as much as possible through e-learning.  From there, there can be a division between upfront training then additional training that can be delivered later as the rep gets going.

3.  Productivity

Inside sales resources can be expensive when you factor in compensation, overhead, and the opportunity cost for their position.  Due to this, it is critical to get as much productivity out of each resource as possible.

An inside sales manager can use quantitative metrics like dials, calls answered, talk time, number of hits, etc. to manage and increase inside sales productivity.

4.  Effectiveness

In addition to making sure resources are productive, it is also important to manage their level of effectiveness.  Using tools like sales role-play, call monitoring, and sales coaching can help an inside sales manager to ensure that inside sales resources are embracing the sales training concepts and following the plan and strategy that has been developed.

5.  Retention

This cost of sales staff turnover is tremendous, especially when you factor in the cost opportunity cost from all the lost business while the position is open and new resources are being ramped up.  As a result, an inside sales manager can create positive results by minimizing finding a way to control and decrease sales staff turnover.  Managing and leading with clear goals, sufficient training, recurring coaching, and an attention on results can help in this area.

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Launch Pad Solutions provides sales coaching help an inside sales manager to improve results.

Four Ways to Deal with Sales Rejection

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Sales rejection is a major part of cold calls as it is a likely outcome with every call that we make.  Due to this, we can often dread picking up the phone regardless of our skills, knowledge, and years of experience.  The main reason for this resistance is that it is very natural for us to extremely dislike the feeling of rejection.

A first place to look when explaining this is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which states that we have a level of needs called “Love and Belonging” and this level of needs is where we have a need to be accepted by others.  This is a very important and basic need that we have and according to Maslow’s model, this is a need is so important that it is actually right behind or after physical safety and security.

Rejection causes us to take a fairly negative hit in that area of needs and this can cause us significant emotional and mental discomfort.  That being what it is, there are some very clear things that we can do to improve our ability to deal with sales rejection.

1.  It is Nothing Personal

It is helpful to keep in mind that when someone says “no” and rejects our cold call, they are rejecting the sale and not us as a person.  This may sound silly to point out, but our first natural reaction to sales rejection on a cold call can often be to take the rejection personally in some way.  It is nothing personal against us or anything about us personally as they likely do not know who we are or anything about us.

2.  Not Everybody can be a Fit for Our Products

There really is no possible way that everybody that we try to sell to is going to be a qualified prospect.  There are likely requirements or characteristics that make someone a good prospect and it is simply not likely that everybody that we reach will fit well.  Due to this, we have to get some amount of rejection from most all of the prospects that we talk to that do not fit well with what we sell.

3.  We are Still Accomplishing Something

When someone rejects us, it may feel like we are wasting our time.  But even when someone says “no”, we are actually still accomplishing something as we can now take that person off of our list of people to call.  Every “no” gets us one step closer to a “yes”.

4.  There is no Physical Pain

We can sometimes look at the phone and dread picking it up and making calls due to the potential for sales rejection. But one thing to keep in mind is that there is not any physical pain that can result from cold call rejection.  The worst thing that can happen is to get hung up on.  And there is really no real impact on us when that happens.

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Launch Pad Solutions provides sales coaching helping sales pros to deal with sales rejection.

Qualifying Sales with Light Questions First

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Qualifying sales while cold calling is an important step to improve results and one thing to focus on is to mainly try to lightly qualify first to primarily determine if it makes sense for everybody to keep investing time talking.   The key thing that we want to identify is if things are great, ok, or have room for improvement in the areas that your products have an impact.

There are a few categories of light qualifying questions that we can try to get answered to help identify if it makes sense to keep talking.

Current systems, processes, and providers

When qualifying sales, it can be helpful to identify current state details in terms of current systems, processes, or providers.  This information will provide tremendous information on whether they may be a fit and if it makes sense to talk to them at all.  If the prospect just signed a contract or invested in a system, it is likely that it would not make sense for you to invest your valuable time in a first conversation with the prospect as they are locked up right now.  On the other extreme, their answer may reveal that they have a tremendous need for change due to using out dated systems or manual process.

Rating on Current State

We can also ask rating questions when qualifying sales to get the prospect to rate areas of current state on a scale from 1 to 10.  These can help us identify if the things are great, ok, or have room for improvement.  If things are great, it might not be a qualified prospect as there might not be a reason to make any changes.

Current challenges, priorities, and initiatives

We can try to identify any challenges, priorities, and initiatives that the prospect has to lightly qualify.  Understanding what is not working well and what is important to the prospect will be very helpful when first trying to qualify.  If there are challenges and priorities that do not really apply to the areas that you can help, it might no make much sense to continue as you products and services will not be at the top of the prospects list of things to spend money and time on.  On the other hand, if you identify what is not working well and important and that fits well with what you have to offer, then the prospect begins to become more qualified.

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Launch Pad Solutions provides sales training helping sales professionals with qualifying sales.

Counterintuitive Sales Tactics – Outcomes when Disqualifying

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Disqualifying prospects is one of those counterintuitive sales tactics that we can use to trigger action from the prospect.  Disqualifying is questioning a prospect if it makes sense to continue moving forward.  When done at the right time, this can either push prospects away that are not qualified or it can get prospects off of the fence that do have the potential to purchase. is not the right fit.  As a sales tactic, we can disqualify the prospect to bring the possibility of formal disqualification to the interaction at particular times to positively impact the path forward.

It is important to be aware that disqualifying is an advanced sales tactic and there are three potential reactions that we can expect.

Potential Reaction #1 – No Reaction

We must acknowledge that sales tactics like this do have the potential to create no reaction.  It is not likely since this is such an attention getting tactic, but when looking at all the possible outcomes, no reaction should be included.

Potential Reaction #2 – The Prospect Confirms the Disqualification

The more negative, or what appears to be negative, outcome is that the prospect confirms the disqualifying questions moving the lead or prospect to become officially disqualified.  This could appear to be negative and to add risk, but in reality as long as we are using this tactic at the right time, this outcome will actually be a good thing.

If we completely disqualify a prospect as not being a fit and move on or end discussions and that prospect did not have a likelihood of buying from us, we may have just saved ourselves valuable time that could have been wasted on trying to get them to move forward and this time saved is a very good thing.

Potential Reaction #3 – The Prospect Challenges the Disqualification

The third potential reaction is that the prospect could challenge the disqualification when using sales tactics like disqualifying.  This would involve the prospect taking a role of selling the sales person on why to keep moving forward.  This may sound far fetched or ambitious to have this type of exchange with a prospect, but if we have uncovered pain, built a level of rapport, and have triggered interest, then getting a prospect to confirm why it makes sense to move forward is a very realistic scenario.

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Launch Pad Solutions provides sales coaching helping sales pros to adopt new sales tactics.

Finding Pain to Improve Selling

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

When focused to improve selling, we need to be effective at finding out if things are great, things are OK, or things could be better for the prospect.  If we are able to identify that things are just OK or could be better, the prospect could be experiencing some sort of pain could exist and getting the conversation focused on this pain will yield strong benefits.  On the flip side of that, if things are great or if we are not able to find pain, there will be some very powerful factors that will go against everything that we try to do.

No Pain – No Reason to Meet

If we are at the beginning of the sales cycle, we may be just trying to get a meeting with the prospect.  But if we do not uncover any pain that the prospect is experiencing in the area that our products or services affect, there will actually not be a real reason for the prospect to meet with us beyond the cold call.

If a doctor’s office called up a potential patient and asked about how they were feeling and identified that there was no pain, it would be unlikely that the potential patient would be interested in making an appointment.  Of course this does not happen in the real world, but if it did below are two extreme scenarios that we can look at to see how important pain is to improve selling.

Scenario A – No Pain

Caller: Hi, this is Dr. White’s office.  How are you feeling?
Prospect: I feel great.  Never better.  Running in a marathon next week.
Caller: Oh I see.  Would you like me to schedule an appointment for you next week?
Prospect: No, I feel great.  No need.  Thank you for your call.

Scenario B – Extreme Pain

Caller: Hi, this is Dr. White’s office.  How are you feeling?
Prospect: Horrible.  My head is pounding.  Can’t sleep.  Can’t eat.
Caller: Oh I see.  Would you like me to schedule an appointment for you next week?
Prospect: Yes.  But is next week the earliest I can get in?

What to take from this is that if our goal is to schedule an appointment with a prospect, if we don’t find any pain, it might not make sense for the prospect to meet with us.  And to take that one step further, if we can’t find any pain, it also does not make sense for us to spend our valuable time meeting with the prospect.  Not giving prospects a reason to meet will not help to improve selling.

No Pain – No Change

There may be a scenario where there is no pain identified but due to effective sales techniques and strong relationships, we were able to get discussions going anyways with a prospect and create a lead and opportunity.  This is great but the lack of pain still might catch up with us as later in the sales cycle, things could possibly stall out or the purchase can get canceled due to the fact that there is not enough of a need to move forward due to the lack of pain.  In more simple terms, if there is no pain there is no reason to change.

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Launch Pad Solutions provides cold call training helping sales pros to improve selling.

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Seven Steps for How to Prospect for Clients

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

Just about every business and sales professional can stand to improve knowledge and skills around how to prospect for clients.  While every scenario is different, there are some standard steps that can be taken to improve results.

1. Identify Your Core Value

The first step is to identify how you can help the clients you work with in terms of improving their business.  More specifically, how do you help them to increase revenue, decrease costs, or decrease risk.  The way that you help companies in these areas is essentially the core value that you have to offer.  It can be very helpful to identify the core business value that you deliver to businesses and this should be able to be summarized and communicated in one or two sentences.

2. Identify How You Differ from the Competition

There is always competition on every deal.  Even if there are no direct competitors, we compete against the option to do nothing.  With that being what it is, it can be very helpful to clearly identify what our differentiation is from the other options that our prospects will be considering.

3. Identify Your Ideal Prospect

It is likely that you can sell your products to many different types of businesses and individuals.  But your core value might fit better or deliver better returns to one particular segment of the market than others.  It can help to have a laser focus on this segment so that you can get the most out of your investment of time, energy, and money.  To get the right focus set to help with how to prospect for clients, it can help to clearly identify what your ideal prospect looks like.

4. Build Your Target Attack List

Once you have your ideal prospect identified, you can build an attack list of businesses or individuals that fit those characteristics.  This will then be the list that we will work along in our effort to find new clients.

5. Build Out Your Outbound Strategy

Once we have our list of prospects that we want to try to sell to, we need to figure out the best way to communicate with them.    There are many different outbound options, and a good strategy might be some sort of mix of the available tools and tactics and these include everything from cold calling to email marketing to using social media.

6. Invest in Your Inbound Strategy

Outbound solutions is not the only component for how to prospect for clients as we can have an inbound strategy as well.  One of the most powerful ways to create leads and inbound traffic is to invest time and resources in search engine optimization, or SEO for short.

7. Expand Your Network

Business networking is one of the most effective ways to find and connect with prospects.  In today’s world, networking does not only refer to going to events, joining organizations, and meeting contacts face to face.  But now there is also a tremendous amount of work and progress that can be made networking virtually through social media.

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Launch Pad Solutions provides sales consulting helping businesses to identify how to prospect for clients.

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Eight Ways to Improve Outbound Sales

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Many organizations and sales professionals rely on some amount of outbound sales efforts to generate leads.  With being the case, it is can be advantageous to identify ways to improve this area and below are some very clear and practical ways to drive improvements.

1. Invest in Cold Call Training

There are a number of techniques and tactics that can be used when making cold calls and performing outbound sales activities.  Just simply working hard and making a high volume of calls by itself is not enough.  This is why there can be tremendous benefits to investing in some form of cold call training.

2. Prepare for Objections

We will face objections on just about every outbound sales call that we make.  Being prepared for these in terms of know what objections to anticipate and having responses prepared improve the odds of keeping the call going this alone can have a big impact on our results.

3. Qualify the Prospect

Since time is limited and valuable, we must find a way to spend more time with the prospects that are most likely to buy something and decrease the amount of time that we spend with the prospects that aren’t.  The best way to accomplish this during outbound sales is to improve our ability to effectively qualify the prospects that we chose to work with.  To help with this we can focus on asking questions that qualify the prospect to measure how much potential they have for purchasing.

4. Focus on the Ideal Prospect

We can likely sell our products to many different types of prospects.  And if we look at the different types of prospects in terms of characteristics, there are likely some prospects that fit better than others in terms of need and ability to buy.  These could be called our ideal prospect and are likely the prospects that fit best with the business value that we have to offer and have the best chances of purchasing from us.

5. Have Some Sort of Script

We never really know where a cold call is going to go so it can be difficult to plan exactly what to do and what to say.  But even with that being the case, we can still have some sort of script to work off of to improve our results.  this does not need to be some lengthy script that needs to be read word for word.  But some sort of outlines that identifies an introduction and key questions and goals of the call can improve results.

7. Sales Coaching

Investing time and energy in sales coaching can help improve outbound sales results as it can help to build and manage a growth plan.  Sale coaching could be provided informally between piers or from a manager or could be implemented formally from an external sales coach.

8. Sales Outsourcing

One available option for improving outbound activity is to simply outsource it.  There are many firms that businesses can transfer cold calling or lead generation over to.  There are many benefits to this arrangement as a business that focuses solely on outbound selling can often generate better results at a lower level of cost.

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Launch Pad Solutions provides sales training to improve outbound sales.

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