Monday, January 28, 2008

Prospecting - Overcoming the Cold Calling Nightmare!

“Part of the requirement of the job is prospecting,” said my sales manager. “Not a problem,” I thought to myself. “You will be required to spend part of your week cold calling if you are not with a customer,” he went on. “Cold calling,” my inner voice screamed. I decided at that moment that I would always be with a customer so I would not have to pick up the phone and make a phone call.

I was raised to believe that it was rude and intrusive to make sales calls to people in their homes. I had seen over the years how angry my parents were for always being interrupted. This was further complicated by the fact that I absolutely detested being on the phone. I didn’t mind talking to different people; I just didn’t want to do it on the phone. So, I developed a plan. I would go door to door. Being a visual and kinesthetic person, I believed I could be more successful meeting people face to face. Being a writer, I could write letters to people introducing myself and letting them know I would be calling them. That was at least giving them advance notice of my calling. (Advance warning!!!)

My manager, though, was insistent about cold calling. We would have call days and I dreaded them. I attempted to create diversions. I had an appointment, a family commitment, church, anything! Does that sound familiar?

I couldn’t get out of it. So, one night I sat at my desk. Several of us were making calls. The director had a main phone system and could see who was calling in their offices. I hesitantly made a few calls and was met with strong resistance. Then, I thought to myself, I will just dial the numbers while keeping my finger on the receiver. I would even carry on a conversation and I could scratch the number off my list. After all I did call it!!!

I am an honest and ethical person and one of the requirements of the job was to perform it honestly and ethically. What I was doing was being integrous to the belief system that making sales calls to peoples home was an intrusion, but I was not being integrous in the responsibilities of my job. I created for me an ethical dilemma. Not only was I in an ethical quandary, but also I was not making any appointments or any sales. My co-workers were successful at setting appointments. I had an excuse and one that other’s gave me. I recently had moved to the south and did not have a southern accent so people did not want to speak with me. There was truth to it, but I did nothing to change it.

I was sharing my frustration with my sales manager and he gave me a script and said if I stuck with the script I would be setting appointments in no time. He literally sat in my office with me and listened as I made the calls. He gave suggestions to me that made the calling easier and I began setting appointments. I decided I would make calls every day and by repetition and training, I became more comfortable with cold calling. Because of my commitment to overcoming my own objections, I resolved my ethical dilemma and I created a great income for myself!
What is your prospecting nightmare? Could it be that the first objection you need to overcome is your own thoughts and belief system? Do you have the courage to create a great income for yourself?
Author: Mary Auda

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sales Tips for Success - The Secret Power of 25!

Here's a question: Are you earning the kind of income you want to need to support the lifestyle you desire?

Each week, as a Sales Executive, I have folks in sales approach me and ask advice about what to do to increase sales. Regardless of location, someone wants to improve their income. The problem is, while many want to improve their income, few want to improve their performance.

But they all want an answer!

So, knowing that a sales executive must be a guru or at least have the inside track - I ask, "Do you know about the secret power of 25?" If I must say so myself, what a great question.

Their response? "No. Never heard of it!"

"Really! Surprised you didn't get that in your initial training. Are you sure you don't know?" Now by this time the curiosity is rising, which is good - cause if you are going to learn something you have to have enough interest to remember - otherwise, you haven't learned.

Now a good friend of mine - Gary O'Sullivan stated, "Prospecting must become a habit and a scheduled part of every day. It is important to add to you prospect based every day, because ever day your prospect list is bing depleted. Every day you want to have more people to talk to than you did the day before."

So - here's the Secret Power of 25. Follow these simple steps with ZERO deviations and I promise you'll increase you selling, your income, and your effectiveness in your sales role.

Step 1: On MONDAY of each week send out (mail) 25 solicitation letters. Yes, that means "snail mail." Hand address the envelopes and include with each letter one of your business cards.

Step 2: On WEDNESDAY do the same thing! No deviations - 25 letters, hand addressed with business cards.

Step 3: On FRIDAY do the same thing! Get it?

Step 1A: On WEDNESDAY and THURSDAY - call (yes, using the phone) the 25 people whom you mailed letters to on Monday. Do not stop until you have made direct contact with those 25 people. Well, gee Chuck what do I say? Hum...what about, "I sent you a letter and I wish to follow up. Did you receive it?" Then proceed to discuss with them why it is in their best interest to visit with you about your product or service.

Step 2A: On Friday/Saturday/Sunday - call the 25 people you mailed letters to on Wednesday. By the way, a great time to call - especially if you're doing individual sales is Sunday afternoon around 2:30 p.m. Why...folks don't expect it so their guard is down and hence they are more open to the call. Plus often they will set the appointment just to get you off the phone. (Now, I didn't say it was pretty, but it is effective).

Step 3A: On Monday and Tuesday - call the 25 folks you mailed letters to on Friday.
Ahh...the Secret!

Follow these steps without fail for one full month. It's almost like a waltz - Mail, Call, Call - Mail, Call, Call - Mail, Call, Call (O.K., now you get the picture).

Why Does It Work?

Two reasons: (1) You are taking positive action. Not only are you getting your name in front of your potential customers, but you have given them your business card/contact information. Even if they are not ready to buy from you today, you have improved your odds of a future sale dramatically due to your action(s); and (2) your actions are the first step to creating a habit and habits (well good ones) yield positive results.

Gary says, "Every day you don't prospect, the next day you must settle for a lesser degree of performance."

I agree! So The Secret Power of 25 is really simple. Adopt a structured system of consistent prospecting and do that for 5 consecutive weeks and you'll be amazed at the results.

My guarantee...for the people under my leadership I have made this offer. Do exactly what I outline for 5 consecutive weeks and if you don't have a measurable increase in your sales I'll pay you a $250 bonus just for your trouble.

Wow, Chuck - so how much have you had to pay out?

ZERO! Yep, not a dime, cause one of two things will happen: (1) you will do the program - make more money - actually a lot more - and you won't want to quit; or (2) you'll find that the discipline is just too demanding and quit. I don't mean the program, I mean quit sales in general cause you aren't committed to your personal success.

Are you willing to access the POWER OF 25?

If you elect to use this - let me know just how much of an improvement you achieve in your sales.

Meanwhile, Happy Sales To You!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

SALES SUCCESS – Not if You Listen to the Ghosts from the Past

“You’re stupid!” exclaimed mother as she scolded me with disgust in her voice. “You’ll never amount to anything,” said the father full of contempt for me. “You could be whatever you want to be, but you will never succeed at anything.”

These were the words I heard growing up in my family and without realizing it I bought into it to the degree of becoming homeless with a small child when I heard those words again shortly after my husband left. I overcame those circumstances by going to college determined to become somebody worthwhile. I enjoyed a different life but in many ways still bought into the words of the past.

Ten years ago I joined the sales organization of my company. It was at that time that I began hearing words contrary to what I knew throughout my life. The company gave me the opportunity to sell their product. I had all the ability in the world to be successful, but it was a slow start because of my ghosts. I blamed the weather. I blamed the season. I blamed the lack of direction from my manager. I blamed the economy. I felt guilty for not succeeding but I looked at circumstances for my excuse.

One day, it hit me that if I were going to succeed, it was completely up to me. I had to change my thought processes and tune out the “ghosts”. Once I accepted personal responsibility for my success and stopped the self-limiting behavior, only then did I become successful. I moved out of being a victim of circumstances to empowering myself to succeed. I created opportunities and the means for unlimited income for myself.

If you are struggling in your sales environment, you might want to consider what self-limiting thoughts and behaviors are influencing your performance. What ghost messages are you listening to at this moment? Once you determine the messages, you can change your thoughts and break those chains that bind you. You can enjoy unlimited and soaring sales success.

Author: Mary Auda