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  • How to get over your fear of cold calling Mar 4, 2021 at 11:26 AM

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    Fear, being scared and afraid are not necessarily bad. Fear exists for a reason, it’s a survival aid, the snake instinctively inspires fear in you because it's dangerous so you try to avoid it.

    But what is a useful feature in one context can become a bug in another. We used to gorge on scarce food in the pleistocene but now in this concrete world of abundance it leads to obesity. So you have to adapt to that specific context.

    You’re probably thinking cold calling is dead, why even bother? But what is cold calling when you boil it down? It’s communication and persuasion. If you can persuade a stranger to do something, if you become an effective communicator you’re going to have a massive advantage over your competitors. It’s one of the reasons “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie is still a best seller almost a century after its publication.

    Why are you afraid of cold calling?
    You’re afraid because you don’t want to look stupid, you don’t want the other person to judge you negatively and because you don’t want to fail. Failing sucks, it’s demoralising and it makes you feel less than, that you’re not good enough.

    So it totally makes sense to avoid something that could create those negative feelings in you.

    But here’s the thing, you can be stuck inside and never do anything because of fear but you don’t do that. Why? Because you run the risk reward algorithm in your head. Are you more afraid of failing than you are of wanting to win? If that’s the case sales isn’t for you.

    Hopefully, you want to succeed more, earn enough money to provide your family, maybe go travelling but whatever that motivation is, have it front and centre so that you can use it to drive you and overcome your fear.

    The desire to win is strong, and it can help overcome fear. It’s that I’m going to keep going mentality when things don’t go your way. It can dull fear and fire you up.

    Having said that fear can be useful. Not being afraid is bad, you need a little fear, a little of that nervousness to keep you on the edge and sharp. If you’re completely unafraid then you don’t really care, there’s no skin in the game and you’re not likely to try your best.

    So that’s all about reframing your fear into an aid alongside the motivation we just discussed.

    Dull fear with practise
    Practise makes perfect and it also dulls fear.

    Part of being afraid is the unknown, think of those horror movies, the most terrifying part isn’t the monster when you see it but waiting for it. The unknown is what really gets you.

    If you’ve never done a cold call before your mind will make it much worse than it actually is. Through practise you’ll learn from your mistakes, you’ll understand what it involves and by understanding you demystify it.

    When you practise something you typically get better at it and it becomes less stressful, think of it as a riff on familiarity breeds contempt.

    » Download our FREE guide to Sales Negotiation »
    Embrace your first failures

    Failing is horrible then you should get it over with. Like ripping off a band aid, you’re not going to be amazing from day one so go in there with an attitude of its ok if I fail as long as I learn from it.

    Tom Brady has seven superbowl rings, he’s also lost two that doesn’t negate his GOAT status, If failure terrifies you then you should see it up close and again, familiarity breeds contempt.

    I’ve had calls that didn’t go great, some of them were really tense and I felt terrible afterwards but you know what I recovered, and I got over them and on the next calls I made I was more relaxed because I’d already seen the worst and I was OK.

    Look, it’s business not a personal judgement. They’re not your friends or at least not yet.

    In fact, my attitude changed, “Hey if it doesn’t work for the guy on the other line, so be it I’ll move onto someone else where we can make something”. That’s a way better attitude and part of sales like dating is a numbers game.

    Prepare and do your homework
    Part of being able to talk is having something to talk about. Know what it is you’re selling and fundamentally know what it’s useful for. What that means in practise is what problem of the prospect does it solve?

    They don’t care about you and they don’t care about your product. They care about their problems, that’s what they’d like to talk about so when you come at a sales conversation that’s the meat of it.

    People don’t like talking to salespeople, own that but get to the meat and remember a sales conversation when its good is about solving someone’s problem. You’re helping them and they’ll be grateful if you really can solve their problems. When you come at it from that angle it’ll come across in the way you speak and what you talk about and it won’t feel like “sales pitch” even though it is.

    Watch the pros
    If you’re green then one of the best ways to figure out what to do is ask someone who has the experience. It’s ok to ask for help, and people who are experienced and are decent people will be flattered and want to help.

    You can take advantage of the hours they’ve put in to get to where they are now and get a cheat sheet for much less time.

    They can give you an idea of the curveballs that might get thrown your way and generally demystify cold calling, and therefore reduce your fear of it.

    In summary
    Cold calling still matters, and at its core its communication and persuasion. You’re going to have to talk to your prospects and persuade them to go with you.

    The format isn’t really the important bit. In these pandemic days if that’s a video call or hopefully when we’re past it in person the skills you gain being effective at cold calling can be applied in so many other contexts as well. It’s just a must have and you need to get over your fear of it. At the end of the day you have a goal you want to achieve for yourself, that’s the most important thing, and fear being less important can therefore be overcome.
  • Why your business needs a custom CRM solution Mar 1, 2021

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    What is a custom crm?
    A custom CRM (customer relationship management) system is as the name would suggest built to meet your specific needs, just as custom clothing is built around your measurements as opposed to generic off the shelf options.

    There are many compelling reasons why you would go down the road of a custom CRM for your business, but one of the most common is because you have a unique workflow that cannot be met by off the shelf options, it’s just too frustrating and costly in both time and money to get the square peg that is your business into the round hole of the off the shelf or modular CRM.

    Why a custom CRM is better than a modular CRM
    This brings us neatly to modular CRMs like Zoho which differ from custom CRM options like RT Enterprise in that they come with ready made sections called “modules” like marketing or accounts but they’re likely not going to fit your business, as they’re generic and made to fit a mass of companies.

    What happens in effect is that your business tries and fails to fit the software, you end up having to create new spreadsheets and processes to get your workflow to fit the data structure of the modular CRM which undermines the whole point of having a CRM in the first place.

    If you’re a business with a complex sales process or you deal with B2C and B2B customers a modular CRM is unlikely to meet your unique needs.

    Proper integration with business operations
    If you implement a custom CRM you can ensure your marketing and sales department have access to the information they need in the structure they want it in, making collaboration between different parts of your business much easier and therefore gaining advantages in business synergy and efficiency. What that means in plain english is that you’re going to save time, your staff will find it less frustrating to use the system so they’re more likely to use it and by having all the information you need in your custom CRM you can better meet the needs of your customers and increase revenue.

    Better tracking of results
    It’s all well and good being able to access and process your customer data better but you want better analytics too. In a modular CRM you’re stuck with the reports they give you, you need to export out and mess around with Excel to get the reporting you want. It’s time intensive and not ideal.

    With a custom CRM you can implement the reports you want so that they’re always there, and you can keep track of what you care about without the hassle.

    A more attractive system
    Because the custom CRM platform is designed around you, you’re left with only the things that matter and therefore the extra fat is cut away this creates the potential for a CRM that is cleaner and less complicated, and therefore being user friendly will be an aid not another task for your sales teams. This matters because of the GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) principle. If your sales teams don’t want to use the system you’re not going to get the best out of it and leverage all of its benefits.

    Furthermore you can set the focus of the system so you maintain an eagle eye on what matters to you, for example active customers and how to meet their needs. Over time you can further streamline your CRM to reduce repetitive tasks through automation and highlight the things that make your customers happy. You just don’t get this level of customer focus and flexibility with anything other than a custom CRM.

    In summary
    By implementing a custom CRM platform for your business you can gain a competitive advantage over rivals who have an inefficient system that doesn’t match their process. Whilst they’re struggling to find information, keep track of what’s going on and maintain intra-team collaboration you can leverage your custom CRM solution to make your customers happy and grow your revenue.

    If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you with a custom CRM platform today, why not check out RT Enterprise, it’ll get your sales workflow and business processes into shape with a fully supported, customisable CRM system. With a complete, clearly priced solution you'll be free to concentrate on running your business, not your software.
  • Making smart trade offs and not negotiating alone | How to negotiate Feb 17, 2021

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    Smart trade offs
    You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.

    I love that. It’s so simple and gets the point across.

    How does this apply to negotiating a deal?

    In two ways:

    1. Never give anything away without getting something in return
    2. Never be the first to give anything away
    We’ll look at this in the context of discounts. That’s usually the back scratching prospects want.

    With RealtimeCRM we’re happy to give you a discount if you’ve tried the product and you really like it.

    On one condition, you make a prepayment for the year. They get their discount but we get a year’s worth of revenue guaranteed and it helps with cash flow.

    However, we decide what the discount is and it’s a take it or leave it situation.

    What we do not do and what you should avoid doing especially in the context of SaaS is giving one discount to one customer and another potentially bigger discount to another customer.

    They’re going to eventually talk and one of them will be really cheesed off with you because they didn’t get the bigger discount.

    So standardise your discounting and stick to it!

    This neatly follows onto the second point.

    You shouldn’t be the first to offer a concession. The prospect will always try to push you to maximise their benefit.

    If they’ve not raised the issue then don’t raise it for them. They’ll then treat that as the starting point, obviously you don’t value it so why should they?

    This especially applies to discounting and why it’s so important to standardise and to use it sparingly, and definitely not as the first tool.

    Your sales team is going to want to use the tool that gets them the deal as easily as possible. We see it all the time with sales people offering discounts off the bat without anyone even asking for them.

    Those discounts mean your margin is being eaten into and it’s going to make forecasting your income and cash flow a nightmare.

    Make sure you keep discipline among your sales team so that they don’t abuse discounting as a selling tool.

    Fundamentally, you’re selling the value you provide - make sure everyone on your team knows that.

    But they keep pushing

    So what?

    The most pushy people in the world are little kids.

    If you give in to them at every turn you’re going to get rotten kids. Prospects are the same way if you give in you’re going to get rotten customers.

    Let them huff and puff but hold the line. If your product is a good fit and valuable they’ll stay if not they were always going to go somewhere else anyway.

    For the sake of argument, you give in and they get the discount and something extra.

    They’re going to hound you about it and make more demands because you taught them that’s how they should deal with you.

    Eventually you’re not going to be able to meet the promises made and they’ll walk. You will have wasted your time and resources getting burned taking a bad deal you didn’t want.

    Being able to say no and being willing to walk away is your most powerful negotiating tactic.

    Don’t negotiate alone
    Getting other members of your team to check any prospective deals - you must do this.

    You can’t be brilliant in every area and you’re a little compromised. How so?

    You’ve been working on this deal from the beginning and you really want to win it. You’ve been dealing with the prospect and you know what they want. You know their objections but you think you can get past them. Because you really want the deal the temptation to sweeten the deal is always there. You’re emotionally invested in it because of all the time and effort you’ve put into it.

    That’s why you need your team to review the deal. They need to interrogate it and that’s going to be uncomfortable.

    They haven’t really been involved like you so they don’t have that investment. They don’t know the prospect like you do. They don’t care that he’s a nice guy and you both have the same birthdays.

    Back in the old days we started doing this because of how badly we had been burned we noticed something that you just had to laugh at.

    The member of our team who was primarily negotiating the deal would really take the side of the prospect, arguing hard from their point of view.

    That’s great to care about the prospect like that but you’re on our team not theirs.

    Look, it happens to everyone. There’s an old joke about the British foreign office.

    The Prime Minister listens to one of his ambassadors and exasperated responds “I thought the purpose of the British foreign office was to represent British interests abroad, not foreign interests in Britain”.

    Going native can happen to anyone so get neutral team members involved to check that natural tendency. They’ll be able to see where you’ve compromised and question why you’ve done this.

    Use your team to bat away awkward requests

    You’re in the meeting and the prospect is asking for something that you don’t really want to give but if you say no it’s going to kill the mood, and make it much harder to show the value of your product.

    You know if you can get past this you can demonstrate the value.

    So how do you take the steam out of that request? Use your team who aren’t there and can’t answer the question.

    Just say “Look I’m sorry that’s not something I can give here. I’ll have to discuss this with the rest of my team”.

    You’re under pressure but you haven’t said no and you’ve used your peers who aren’t there to take the sting out of it.

    If you had said no they could have spent the rest of the time pushing on this and screwing up your game plan. Now you can move on and get them invested in your offer so that you’re in a stronger position to say no down the line.

    » Download our FREE guide to Sales Negotiation »
  • How to deal with a prospect with lots of sales objections Feb 1, 2021

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    Ask the right questions at the right time
    When you’re asked a question your natural instinct is to answer as simply as possible.

    What are the two most common most simple answers a question could have?

    Yes or No.

    What you don’t usually do is answer by asking a question.

    Well, start doing that because you’re not with the prospect to simply answer their questions - you’re there to make their life better by selling them your product which will solve their problem.

    Let’s use RealtimeCRM as an example.

    So we’ve got a prospect and they ask “Can we create reminders and tasks easily in the system?”

    We don’t answer yes. We instead ask a question, “Before I answer can I ask what the use case is?”.

    The prospect responds “We have to be really prompt with getting quotes out. It’s a huge frustration for us”.

    We then answer “OK, yes you can create tasks. You can also connect your calendar to RealtimeCRM and set up reminders too but I think we’ve got a better solution for your problem”.

    “RealtimeCRM allows you to store templates and then it’ll automatically fill them with the information you want. We already have all the quote information in the Opportunity record. You can then turn it into a one click process saving your team time. You can set it up as its own stage so you can see immediately all your opportunities that are still waiting for quotes to be sent out and intervene.

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    The prospect responds “Wow that’s so simple and really useful for us”.

    By asking a question instead of simply answering their question you achieved two things. You got more information out of the prospect which you then used to place your product in their context.

    The context being your product being a solution to their specific problem. You demonstrated the value of your product to them.

    » Download our FREE guide to Sales Negotiation »

    Don’t abuse it
    Use this tactic where it’s appropriate. Don’t let it become a Monty Python sketch where you answer every question with a question of your own.

    At first it’ll be difficult to figure out when to ask a follow up question. It’ll be difficult to get over years and years of conditioning where you always answer the question.

    But given time, experience and some common sense you’ll see when it’s most appropriate to ask a question.

    It’ll enable you to show value to the prospect and make you a trusted source, an advisor who stands out from the rest of the crowd.

    They’ll just answer the question but you’ll dig deeper and provide valuable insight.

    The questions should be natural not robotic
    What does that mean?

    You’ve probably got a list of questions which are fine but don’t robotically go through them and not listen to the answers.

    Your questions should naturally follow and aid the conversation not be jarring interjections.

    The way to do that is to make sure your questions dig deeper and then are informed by their answers. You don’t want to turn it into an interrogation so soften the tone with phrases like:

    • Do you have an example so I can understand better?
    • How does that work?
    • Can you walk me through your workflow?
    The exact questions you’ll ask will depend on your product and the specifics of their company but they’re geared towards getting more information, making them feel like their needs are being listened to and then using the information you get to put your product in their context demonstrating how valuable it will be to them.

    How to deal with prospects with a lot of objections
    We all know them.

    The prospect who wants this and that and the other. He’s machine gunning objections at you and you’re sitting there thinking this is really going south.

    Your natural instinct is to save it by trying to respond to every point. Whatever he pitches you’re going to knock it out of the park.

    Don’t do that.

    You’re going to get into a pointless argument that won’t go anywhere. They’ll keep making demands and bringing up something else that your product is lacking or this feature that they want.

    It’ll become a competition and someone has to win. That’s not why you’re there.

    So what do you do?

    First, let them get it out of their system. Eventually they’re going to run out of steam especially if you’re not engaging them so they don’t have anything to rile them up further, to bounce off of.

    Back during the second Punic war. You may not remember this but I’ll remind you. So the Romans are getting their behinds kicked all across Italy by Hannibal. Not that Hannibal, instead the one that crossed the Alps with a bunch of elephants.

    Now the Romans are a really aggressive people. They like to win and they don’t like retreating in front of an opponent. They don’t like losing, in fact they really hate it. So they keep sending bigger and bigger armies at Hannibal that get destroyed.

    Eventually, a Roman named Fabius says “Hey guys don’t engage Hannibal, that’s what he wants”.

    The Romans ignore this guy and get smashed some more

    Finally, they go back to Fabius and listen. So they employ his “Fabian strategy” where they avoid decisive battles and slowly by picking and choosing small skirmishes they wear down Hannibal's army.

    You don’t want to fight every objection. Don’t engage, let them wear themselves out and then ask “OK I hear you but which of those are the most important to you, your deal breakers?”.

    Everything that they just threw at you is not going to be a deal breaker. By asking this question you can focus your energy on what actually matters and therefore save the call or meeting.

    Most of their objections are going to be nice to haves or kind of important but if you can identify the deal breakers and you can meet those deal breakers you’ve still got a deal on your hands.

    Ignore the nice to haves. They don’t matter and when you’re done going through the deal breakers ask if you’ve addressed them properly.

    If they say yes then fantastic you can move the sale forward if they say no then ask what you’re missing.

    By doing this you cut all the unnecessary stuff and you can prioritise on what will actually get you the sale.

    It’s easy to get frustrated but it's your job to keep the conversation focused. If you spent the entire call or meeting arguing over irrelevant details you messed up.

    You’re the one who is qualifying the prospect. You’re the one who has to demonstrate that your product is valuable and you can’t do that if you can’t identify what matters and keep the focus on that.
  • How to find a prospect's email address Dec 17, 2020

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    Writing the perfect email to a new prospect you’ve never spoken with before can be difficult, we’ve written a lot on how to write the perfect cold email but today we’re going to take a step back and write about how to find their email in the first place.

    There are a surprising number of ways to do this and a few tools that bring the harder to find emails within reach, so without further adieu.

    Using Linkedin to find emails
    A lot of people ignore this because they don’t think they’ll find any emails on here and simply use Linkedin to research the interests and pain points of a target prospect before launching their cold outreach.

    But you should always check their profile for their email address, a lot of people leave their email address up. Just expand their contact info details and see if their email is there alongside the usual social media links.

    It won’t always work but at least when you do strike gold you know it's a legitimate email and it’s a quick first pass to run when looking for a prospect’s email address.

    Use Hunter.io
    Hunter.io allows you to find emails to connect with the people that matter for your business. All you have to do is type in the company name and it'll go out looking for the emails of people within that organisation. You get 100 requests a month for free.

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    Use the Contact Out plugin with Linkedin
    Contact Out is a free chrome plugin that allows you to find email addresses, it goes hunting for a prospect's email address through all of their social profiles online.

    Contact Out has over 600 million emails in their database. They claim all the emails provided are triple verified and 97% accurate. As of writing it has over 100,000 users and a 4 star rating from over 500 reviews.

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    Email Permutator
    Email Permutator is an awesome tool that takes the name of the prospect and their company domain and comes back with all the possible permutations that email can take.

    In addition, it places the most common email formats at the top which is doubly helpful. Then all you need to do is verify the email address with something like email checker and you’re good to go.

    Another easy way to verify is posting the email address into gmail and then hovering over it, if the prospect’s face shows up you’ve got their email, that's not an unimpeachable rule but usually it works in most cases.

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    Check social media
    Twitter profiles, check them for an email address. If you find nothing then you can try twitter’s advanced search. Just enter (at) (dot) in the “all of these words” box, and the Twitter handle of the person’s email address you’re after in the “from these accounts” box. If they’ve ever mentioned an email address in a tweet, you’re going to get it.

    Call the prospect
    If all else fails you can always call them. You presumably have their name, their company name and so the company contact details and hey with the cold call you can warm them up for the email which will give you a better shot at getting something out of the interaction.

    There’s an old saying; don’t ask don’t get. So ask. We’ve created a pretty awesome video guide on how to cold call prospects you can check out here.

    You can find the original post here.
  • The top ten books for growing your sales Nov 17, 2020

    A mind can only hold so much information and when that mind ceases to be its contents if not passed on are forgotten. Then too not all minds are alike, and where one person seems to have a photographic memory another is incessantly forgetful which is why writing has allowed lesser mortals to stand atop giants and learn from them and push further than would have been possible without writing, and without books.

    Think of it as our first technological augmentation that increased the brain power of humanity. I don’t know of any majorly successful person who isn’t interested in learning and therefore reading, Take it from Bill Gates: “You don't really start getting old until you stop learning, every book teaches me something new or helps me see things differently”.

    Reading allows you not just to learn new ideas but can spark invention by inspiring you to mix old ideas into something new, to improve upon your existing ideas.

    With that in mind we’ve compiled a list of ten books that’ll help you rethink and reinvigorate your sales strategy, these are some of the most famous and tried and tested books in the sales space.

    » Download our FREE guide to Sales Negotiation »

    The ten best sales books

    1) Spin Selling by Neil Rackham

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    Based on 12 years of research and 35,000 sales calls, Neil Rackham distilled the lessons into a single powerful sales technique. It’s pretty simple and can be boiled down to a sales methodology where you just ask the right questions instead of focussing on closing.

    • S: Situation
    • P: Problem
    • I: Implication
    • N: Needs payoff
    By asking the right questions you demonstrate empathy for the prospect, build trust and get to the bottom of what they want.

    Successful people ask a lot more questions during sales calls than do their less successful colleagues. We found these less successful people tend to do most of the talking.

    Situation questions are there to provide you with the background information you’ll need to properly assess the prospect’s needs. Problem questions are designed to get to the pain points of the prospect and the issues they face daily when trying to operate their business. They’re designed to get to the core needs of the prospect.

    Implication questions are as the title would imply the consequences for the prospect of the problems. By asking them you want to impress upon the prospect that the problem(s) are significant and in need of being redressed.Needs payoff questions on the other hand focus the prospect’s attention on your solution. By asking these questions you get the prospect to understand that your solution can alleviate the problem and get them to parrot back the benefits.

    2) Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion By: Robert B. Cialdini

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    This classic sales book and New York Times Best Seller has sold over 3 million copies and been translated into thirty languages, not bad for a book that seeks to influence and persuade people.

    The book can be broken down into six principles:

    1. Reciprocity
    2. Scarcity
    3. Authority
    4. Consistency
    5. Liking
    6. Consensus
    Dr. Cialdini dives into each one with what they are, the power of each principle and real world examples of how they work to persuade and get something from people whether it be how the Hare Krishnas exploded their donations to this little gem from the chapter on reciprocity from a student of Dr. Cialdini:

    About one year ago, I couldn’t start my car. As I was sitting there, a guy in the parking lot came over and eventually jump-started the car. I said thanks, and he said you’re welcome; as he was leaving, I said that if he ever needed a favor to stop by. About a month later, the guy knocked on my door and asked to borrow my car for two hours as his was in the shop. I felt somewhat obligated but uncertain, since the car was pretty new and he looked very young. Later, I found out that he was underage and had no insurance. Anyway, I lent him the car. He totaled it.

    3) How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie

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    So the only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.

    This is one of the first best selling self improvement books, it discusses how to use people’s desires and ego to move them to your advantage, it’s a classic of the genre and with the best title of any book on this list.

    Part of persuasion and sales isn’t simply having the best pitch in substance but it’s about style too, to be able to flatter and move people with charm is a huge advantage over the charmless.

    It describes the various techniques to get people to like you, how to handle people and win people over to your way of thinking and change people without giving offense or breeding resentment.

    4) The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson

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    Challenger sales were developed by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson in 2011, they looked through thousands of sales reps and found that there were five common profiles:

    • The Hard Worker: A self motivated striver who puts in the work and loves feedback.
    • The Relationship Builder: Is great at building a rapport with clients and is generous with the amount of time they give each prospect.
    • The Lone Wolf: An independent type that follows their own instincts
    • The Problem Solver: A reliable and details oriented type.
    • The Challenger: Focused on the end goal, loves to debate and doesn’t mind pushing the customer out of their comfort zone
    Out of these five profiles the challengers represented 40% of the top performing reps in Dixon and Adamson’s analysis.

    Challengers win by understanding the way the prospect works and seeing the flaws and drawbacks and pointing out a better way, to get the prospect out of their comfort zone and see a new way of doing things. The challenger sales method is especially useful in complex sales situations where taking charge can be more beneficial in moving things along.

    5) The Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer
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    What are the 12.5 principles?

    1. Kick your own ass.
    2. Prepare to win, or lose to someone who is.
    3. Personal branding IS sales: It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.
    4. It’s all about value, it’s all about relationship, it’s not all about price.
    5. It’s NOT work, it’s NETwork.
    6. If you can’t get in front of the real decision maker, you suck.
    7. Engage me and you can make me convince myself.
    8. If you can make them laugh, you can make them buy!
    9. Use CREATIVITY to differentiate and dominate.
    10. Reduce their risk and you’ll convert selling to buying.
    11. When you say it about yourself it’s bragging. When someone else says it about you its proof. 1
    12. Antennas up! 12.5. Resign your position as general manager of the universe.
    This little book is a must read for entrepreneurs and business owners as it gives you a crash course into selling, from finding the decision maker to being able to pitch in a way that is both understandable and excites the guy who cuts the cheques.

    The book is relationship driven, referral orientated and finding out what the core buying motives of the customer are and then taking the right actions to get the sale.

    6) Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross and Marylou Tyler

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    If you generate leads through outbound sales then Predictable Revenue is a must read for you. It provides a how-to guide to create a repeatable and scalable lead generation process without cold calling.

    Instead of making cold calls to get in touch with prospects, they recommend sending cold emails to generate referrals to the decision-makers first, who then are likely to expect your call.

    The next stage involves setting up the qualification call to figure out whether there’s a mutual fit between the prospect and sales rep, then from there you can focus on “selling the dream”. It’s a process that allows you to measure your effectiveness at every stage and then over time hone it to become a successful sales conversion machine.

    7) How to master the art of selling by Tom Hopkins

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    Tom Hopkins earned himself over one million dollars in his first three years as a salesman, and he distills the lessons learned in this excellent guide to selling. He examines every stage of sales and selling, from sales calls to initial meetings, follow-ups and long-term strategies providing useful tools and tips to level up your sales skills.

    He also goes into “money study”, the learning to earn fivesome which when mastered allows you to acquire new knowledge quickly and thoroughly.

    1. Impact
    2. Repetition
    3. Utilization
    4. Internalization
    5. Reinforcement
    Take impact for example the more you’re interested in a subject the more details you’ll remember about it and the better you’ll be able to talk about it. This applies in sales, if you can motivate yourself to master your pitch and speak with enthusiasm it’ll help you when dealing with prospects. If you can psych yourself up to learn you can do it more effectively and faster.

    8) To Sell is Human by Daniel H. Pink

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    Everyone is always selling, you’re trying to move someone to do something that you want them to do. You’re selling them on it, and there are no natural born sales people. It doesn’t matter if you’re an extravert you can still be a terrible salesperson because you talk too much and listen too little, and if you’re an introvert you’re too shy and timid to close; ambiverts make the best sales people.

    Daniel offers great exercises to hone your skills and tips to make your offering more clear from offering less choices to empathising the potential of the product, not the achievements. He also covers how to approach clarifying the motives of others so you can then proceed to move them in the direction you want.

    9) Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff

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    In this book Oren Klaff uses the latest developments in neuroeconomics to hack the brain and take advantage of how the brain reacts to make sure you stay in control of every stage of the pitch process.

    The three processes to help you pitch and sell anything are:

    Your pitch must speak to your audience’s neanderthal brain. Make yourself the prize. Use multiple so-called frames to trigger a gut decision in your favor

    Let’s take number 3, there are multiple ways to create a gut decision such as a time frame i.e. we’re likely to sell out next month which creates a fomo (fear of missing out) reaction in the prospect.

    10) Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes

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    Chet Holmes was a selling master. He doubled sales for nine divisions of a Charlie Munger company, in the book he goes over the 12 key strategies you need to implement to succeed:
    1. Effective time management
    2. Instituting higher standards and regular training
    3. Effective meetings
    4. Becoming a brilliant strategist by taking a strategic approach by educating your prospective customers so that you set the buying criteria.
    5. Hiring superstars.
    6. Targeting your best buyers
    7. The seven musts of marketing - You can't rely on just using one marketing method to attract new customers.
    8. Better presentation skills
    9. Winning the best buyers
    10. Sales skills
    11. Follow-up and client bonding
    12. Goals and measures - Standard material done well.
    It’s a really thorough book that focused on continued action and maintaining focus in order to succeed in sales.

    Link to original post
  • 9 techniques for customer objection handling (Your sales team will love) Oct 20, 2020

    What is objection handling in sales?
    Objection handling is simply dealing with any concerns a prospect might have about the product or service you’re selling. These concerns get in the way of you closing the deal. They tend to revolve around price, product fit, need, competitors or they just don’t want to talk to you.

    Your response should alleviate these concerns and move the deal forward, that’s all objection handling is.

    Through the rest of this post we’re going to go through common objections prospects have and common sales objection handling examples so you have a source to mine for your own prospects:

    Why objection handling matters?
    Being able to handle these objections is critical to winning sales. Think about it, you’re going to send your kid on a ride and you ask is it safe? If they can’t answer that simple question to your satisfaction little Timmy isn’t going on the ride, same thing in sales they’re not going to buy from you if you can’t answer their concerns.

    If you ignore them or just barrel on about the key features of whatever you’re selling those objections won’t disappear. They’ll fester and stew in the prospect's mind so you should not be afraid of them.

    In fact, you want to bring them to the fore and deal with them because they will be the factors that decide whether they buy or not.

    Objection handling is about selling to them. If you fail here you’ll never get to the sales negotiation - don’t make that mistake by assuming you can negotiate until you’re certain they’ve bought into what you’re selling. This is really important.

    Technique 1: Be calm and don’t interrupt prospects with sales objections
    You’re at a ten you need to be at a two.

    When a sales target has an objection it doesn’t mean they’re a bad person and it doesn’t mean their concern is illegitimate even if they’re factually wrong about something.

    Handling objections in sales isn’t just about the substance but about the style too. If you come across as too eager to rebut their objection they’ll think that there’s more to it than there is. They’ll read your body language and the increase in your talking speed - interpreting this as a gotcha.

    If you come across as flustered you’ll seem less trustworthy and it’ll build tension. If you just shut up and listen to their whole point, and then calmly and here’s the critical part, slowly respond to their objection in a matter of fact way you’ll deal with it substantively and in style.

    There’ll be no build up in tension and you won’t make it seem like a big deal with your speech pattern and body language.

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    Remember when Mark Zuckerberg went to congress - his body language and speech pattern destroyed him and made him seem shifty and untrustworthy. Before that he was seriously being considered as a future President of the United States, afterwards the idea was laughable.

    The most successful sales people stay calm under pressure and take the air out of any tension that could arise. It’s not just the substance of the response but how you do it. You want to reassure and be professional.

    Technique 2: How to deal with a customer with a lot of objections
    The prospect who wants this and that and the other. He’s machine gunning objections at you and you’re sitting there thinking this is really going south.

    Your natural instinct is to save it by trying to respond to every point. Whatever he pitches you’re going to knock it out of the park.

    Don’t do that.

    You’re going to get into a pointless argument that won’t go anywhere. They’ll keep making demands and bringing up something else that your product is lacking or this feature that they want.

    It’ll become a competition and someone has to win. That’s not why you’re there.

    So what do you do?

    First, let them get it out of their system. Eventually they’re going to run out of steam especially if you’re not engaging them so they don’t have anything to rile them up further, to bounce off of.

    Back during the second Punic war. You may not remember this but I’ll remind you. So the Romans are getting their behinds kicked all across Italy by Hannibal. Not that Hannibal, instead the one that crossed the Alps with a bunch of elephants.

    Now the Romans are a really aggressive people. They like to win and they don’t like retreating in front of an opponent. They don’t like losing, in fact they really hate it. So they keep sending bigger and bigger armies at Hannibal that get destroyed.

    Eventually, a Roman named Fabius says “Hey guys don’t engage Hannibal, that’s what he wants”.

    The Romans ignore this guy and get smashed some more

    Finally, they go back to Fabius and listen. So they employ his “Fabian strategy” where they avoid decisive battles and slowly by picking and choosing small skirmishes they wear down Hannibal's army.

    You don’t want to fight every objection. Don’t engage, let them wear themselves out and then ask “OK I hear you but which of those are the most important to you, your deal breakers?”.

    Everything that they just threw at you is not going to be a deal breaker. By asking this question you can focus your energy on what actually matters and therefore save the call or meeting.

    Most of their objections are going to be nice to haves or kind of important but if you can identify the deal breakers and you can meet those deal breakers you’ve still got a deal on your hands.

    Ignore the nice to haves. They don’t matter and when you’re done going through the deal breakers ask if you’ve addressed them properly.

    If they say yes then fantastic you can move the sale forward if they say no then ask what you’re missing.

    By doing this you cut all the unnecessary stuff and you can prioritise on what will actually get you the sale.

    It’s easy to get frustrated but it's your job to keep the conversation focused. If you spent the entire call or meeting arguing over irrelevant details you messed up.

    You’re the one who is qualifying the prospect. You’re the one who has to demonstrate that your product is valuable and you can’t do that if you can’t identify what matters and keep the focus on that.

    Technique 3: Sales objections about price and budget
    Firstly, don’t talk about price if they don’t bring it up until near the end of the sales call because you want them to understand the value of your product first.

    If you can impress them with the value of your product the pricing is less of an issue.

    That follows onto what to do when they bring up pricing and budget objections.

    The key here is to find out what exactly is the problem and that’ll allow you to decide how best to approach it.

    So if it's that they think that it’s too expensive for what you’re offering then you need to pivot the conversation to the value your product provides. If you can quantify the ROI and show how costly it will be in the long run if they don’t buy your product then you can neutralise this objection.

    Overcoming pricing objections is not about arguing the pricing but arguing the value. If you can persuade the prospect that your product can solve their problem then pricing becomes less important. So remember it's the value proposition stupid not pricing.

    What if they have budgetary constraints?

    If they don’t have the money they don’t have the money - you might just have to disqualify them right?

    Not necessarily, if you offer different tiers for your product you can find out what the deal breakers are and offer a lower tier that meets those deal breakers within their budget and win the sale.

    Maybe, they don’t have the budget right now but in the next financial year they’ll have a freer hand, there is nothing wrong with delaying until then. You want to provide options that can help them without you giving away the store.

    A small note on discounts - don’t give them away like skittles, and don’t do special deals for one customer and then another deal for another customer. Word will get around and customers will get annoyed if they find out someone else got a better deal. If you offer discounts make sure they’re standardised.

    But more importantly, don’t give away discounts from the get go. Sometimes you can tell with a prospect who's trying to get blood out of a stone they’ll be more trouble than they’re worth. We’ve had this with certain RealtimeCRM users in the past when we made this mistake but that’s a judgement call you’ll have to make.

    A price objection is not the end of the world. All you have to do is demonstrate the value of your offering, provide some options and don’t panic and give away discounts in the first instance.

    Technique 4: Sales objections around your competition
    If they’re already with a competitor, don’t panic. In fact it makes your job in some ways easier because clearly they have problems that your product can solve if they’re already using a competitor.

    A large chunk of the argument has already been made for you.

    But still how do you muscle your competitor out?

    Well it depends on what the objection is. We’ll use an example of a customer we won in real life from a competitor who will remain nameless.

    But the competitor was a very significant and a large player and they had them tied into a contract.

    That seems pretty formidable right?

    Wrong!

    There was something rotten in the state of Denmark. The prospect had been promised many things by our competitor that didn’t pan out and they had to pay a significant chunk of change for more support.

    We went in and we offered them a heavy discount to offset the cost of moving to us. In addition, we don’t charge an arm and a leg extra for support and we didn’t over promise and under deliver.

    We weren’t afraid to compare ourselves to our competitor and we were willing to probe the relationship the prospect had with our competitor to find out what the issues in the relationship were, and then explain how we’d better manage those problems for them.

    What if they’re happy with their competitor?

    Same rules apply, probe and find weaknesses and then explain how your product is better.

    Technique 5: Sales objections around need
    No one really needed the automobile. Horses were just fine. Genghis Khan conquered the known world on horseback.

    You’re going to run into prospects who think they don’t need what you’re offering. They might be right but we verify before we trust.

    So how do you do that?

    You should know the pain points your solution solves so ask questions to tease out what their pain points are. If they are pains that match up with your offering then spell it out to them.

    You want to create a narrative that goes something like this:

    Problem - Solution - Payoff

    Your product should be couched right in the middle of that.

    But let’s say they don’t get your product. Ask them to clarify what part of the product description they don’t understand and rephrase it so it makes sense in their context.

    However, sometimes if a prospect doesn’t have a need for your product it means they don’t have a need for it. That sales objection cannot be overcome so you shouldn’t waste any more valuable time on them.

    Recall, you’re trying to qualify them as well as sell to them. If they’re not the right fit for you and you recognise that - that’s good because it means you can move onto other prospects who you are more relevant to, and just as importantly are more relevant to you.

    Technique 6: Use social proof to overcome sales objections
    If you’re on a cold call or sent a cold email they won’t know who you are and your trust capital will be low.

    This is why social proof from testimonials of other similar businesses are really important. As soon as you can you should get some.

    You can see them on our shop window as soon as you land on the RealtimeCRM website or more in depth case studies like this one. They’re important because they demonstrate that you may be relevant to them as you’re already helping similar businesses.

    And if you can bring to the table case studies where you can show cost savings, increased efficiency or boosted ROI it’ll create a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out). That’s a powerful tool to move a prospect.

    Just look at the toilet paper apocalypse during the Covid-19 pandemic. There’s enough toilet paper for everyone but monkey see monkey do and you get panicked hoarding.

    That’s the power of the group and social proof on the behavior of the individual.

    Technique 7: How to deal with an “i don’t have time” objection
    Do not ever barrel into a sales pitch without first getting permission to pitch to the prospect.

    If you don’t get permission you are machine gunning yourself in the foot as you’re going to really annoy the prospect.

    How do you get permission? Check out our post Cold calling - Using mini upfront contracts to deal with “I don't have time”.

    But what if they say they don’t have time can you send me some more information?

    Oftentimes when you get through to a decision maker they don’t want to be influenced by you and want to get you off the phone.

    Most of the time you want to avoid conflict so you acquiesce and meekly say OK and give the initiative to the prospect - now you don’t want to fight the person on the other line but neither do you want to just give up, you have no idea if they’ll actually open your email.

    So what do you do?

    You say “Yes, sure I can”. Then ask for their email.

    Now here’s the Jedi mind trick, all you have to do is say “Just so I send the right information to you…” and then just ask the questions you were going to ask anyway. How many people are working at your company at the moment? What’s your budget? And so on.

    If you're a good conversationalist you’ll end up having the call you wanted with the prospect without them realising. Now of course sometimes they’re going to push back “Hey I really don’t have time”.

    That’s fine, be polite and friendly and come back with “Look I want to make sure I’m doing my job and sending you the relevant information so I don’t waste your time sending you an irrelevant email, then having to waste my time sending a follow up email and then calling you again to have another 5 minute conversation, that’s why I want to ask you these questions to avoid that”.

    You have to judge it but don’t be afraid to push back when the prospect pushes, just remember to be polite and friendly.

    Technique 8: Make sure you’ve addressed their objection
    Part of the art of objection handling is making sure the prospect feels heard and their concerns addressed.

    You might think you’ve done that but only the prospect can confirm this so after you deal with the sales objection all you have to do is ask two simple questions.

    Firstly, don’t assume you know what their concern is without confirming it first. You do this by asking this question:

    Can you explain that further so I can understand better?

    That’s it. Then you just rephrase what they said to confirm your understanding and you can then move onto dealing with the objection.

    Once you’ve done that you ask one more question:

    What part of your objection remains unaddressed?

    This way you can be sure you’ve addressed the prospects concern and hopefully move on. You don’t want it to be left buried to fester and stew in the prospect's mind.

    Technique 9: Produce a sales objections and responses template
    As you interact with more and more prospects you should be recording what sales objections come up. What deal breakers got in the way of closing the deal?

    You’ll notice common objections appear again and again. That’s normal.

    So you should therefore produce a sales objections and responses template. The benefit of this is that every time that same objection rears its ugly head you don’t need to compute the answer again and again leading to awkward pauses.

    You’ve got your objection management document and you can calmly respond to the objection.

    Now when writing an answer to a common objection you don’t need to write a novel, a couple of lines or bullet points that get the gist of your rebuttal across is all you need.

    So if you don’t have one then make one.

    originally published here.