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The Upside: Killer Sales Tips

18 posts categorized "Prospecting"

November 11, 2010

[VIDEO] Sales Prospecting and the Art of Improvisation | Tom Scontras Presents at Inside Sales Boston 2010

Ever think sales prospecting is a bit like Improv acting? So do we; and it turns out, there's lots to learn from the art of improv.

Watch this 30 min. video from AA-ISP's Inside Sales Boston 2010, and learn how improvisational acting can help boost your sales prospecting skills.

Tom Scontras, VP of Sales and Marketing at Glance presents tips to help you succeed, with special guest appearance by well-known Second City Improv actor, Alex Fendrich (otherwise, known as Glance's own "Don't Be That Guy" - Steve from Synthasaurus Software).

Watch the video - Prospecting and the Art of improv - Glance Networks
Tips I learned from the Tom and Alex's presentation:

  • Today's customers are totally overloaded and don't have time for you;
  • Sales pros need to "stand out from the pack" of all the OTHER sales calls;
  • Having a call plan is good, but...what happens when your prospect throws you a curve ball?
  • That's where the art of improvisation comes in - become skilled at it;
  • Plus...having industry knowledge gives you real confidence to improvise when needed.
  • Finally, practice, practice, practice!

 WATCH now.

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing

 

November 10, 2010

[VIDEO] Glance Asks | What Is Your Most Embarrassing Sales Situation? At Inside Sales Boston 2010

We've all experienced them, whether we want to admit it or not - those awkward moments in a sales call when we realize things haven't gone quite as we had planned. At the recent AA-ISP conference, Inside Sales Boston 2010, sponsor Glance asked colleagues in the Sales industry "what's been your most embarrassing sales situation?"

Watch and enjoy! (And watch for our cameras and mic at the next inside sales conference you attend - its your turn next!)

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing, Glance Networks

September 21, 2010

"Don't Be That Guy" [VIDEO] | Most Embarassing Cold Call Moments

Although outsiders think it’s easy, it’s not; great selling requires intellect, discipline, hard work, and a boat load of courage.
 
At Glance, we get your world, we have lived it, and continue to live it every day; a Sales 2.0 company built on deep Sales 1.0 experience.
 
I guess that’s why we didn’t have to work too hard to come up with “Steve” our fictional Salesman, or should I say semi-fictional.  Most of what you see in our latest set of “Don’t Be That Guy” video series comes directly from our own gaffs; those that at the time were painful, but now, crack us up.
 
So whether beginner or wily veteran, we give only this advice, learn to laugh at yourself, or at least, at Steve. Enjoy.

Prospecting... Don't be that guy. Warm your cold calls with Glance. Spark conversation and build instant credibility.

Has this ever happened to you? Tell us your most embarassing cold calling moments. Promise, we won't laugh. We've all been there too!

>> Check out the other videos in our "Don't Be That Guy" series (and pass on to a friend who needs a laugh today!)

 

September 16, 2010

Sales Scripts: Would You Like Some Annoyance With That?

I’m a loyal Starbucks customer for a couple or reasons; the product, and the service.  More times than not; both are good.  However I’ve discovered a glitch.

Sales scripts are built to enable engagement through conversations, so they need to be embedded into a natural flow of give and take; not jettisoned through a plastic smile and corresponding tone. Like many of us uptight, type A’s, I have a routine.  My morning begins at Starbucks; Monday through Friday; between 7:20am and 7:30am, that’s where you’ll find me ordering the same thing every time: tall Pike and a Greek Yogurt with honey.

I walk in, stand in line, and watch as each customer orders their favorite drink and moves on. Process, and progress, it’s like printing money – I love it – everyday; everyday, except for Tuesdays that is. Tuesday is when Geoffrey, the way-too-happy barista works the register almost as aggressively as his up-sell-script.

My wife and kids will tell you that I am not a morning person and that to over-engage me prior to coffee can be an unpleasant experience. I think someone needs to tell Geoffrey this before he learns it firsthand. Regardless, I have been going to the same Starbucks, ordering the same thing for years. I know this, and I know that Geoffrey knows this. 

Yet, on Tuesdays, when I step up to the counter, I don’t get the same smile and instant service from him as I do with all of the other servers on any other day of the week.  Instead, I get the “up sell” – every #($&**! Tuesday for the last year:

Geoffrey:  Welcome to Starbucks can I interest you in one of our Pumpkin Spice Latte samples?

Me: That’s ok.

Geoffrey: Ok, can I get a drink started for you?

Me: Sure, I’d like one tall Pike, please.

Geoffrey: Wonderful, and can I interest you in some of our instant Via to take with you to the office?

Me: No, but thanks.

Geoffrey:  How about one of our lovely pastries, bagels, or muffins from our baked good case?

Me:  No thanks.

Geoffrey: We also offer warm breakfast sandwiches?

Me:  Had breakfast already.

Geoffrey: If you would like a pound of freshly ground, your coffee is free?

Me: That’s OK.

Geoffrey: Anything else?

Me:  The Yogurt.

Geoffrey: That will be $4.85, would you like your receipt?

Me: No.

Geoffrey:  I can stamp it and you can return this afternoon for a free tall coffee?

Me: I’m good.

Geoffrey:  You sure?

Me: I’m sure.

Geoffrey: Thanks for coming in.

Now I know Geoffrey is only trying to do his job, but he sucks at sales. Sales scripts are built to enable engagement through conversations, so they need to be embedded into a natural flow of give and take; not jettisoned through a plastic smile and corresponding tone.

Maybe some people ARE that happy in the morning, but not me; which is one reason why I have never, nor ever will buy anything from Geoffrey –  he doesn’t care about me, the conversation is not genuine; and it is abundantly evident that he is more concerned with completing his sales script for corporate, than building rapport with the client – sound familiar? 

So next time you are working with your Inside Sales team, remember my weekly encounter with Geoffrey;  and make sure to stress genuine conversation and rapport as the priority.  Sure you may not get through all of the questions you would like, but at least you will leave the prospect open and agreeable to taking your follow up call; even if it comes early on Tuesday morning, before coffee.

-- Tom Scontras, VP Sales and Marketing, Glance Networks

>> Try Glance to warm up your cold calls - try free for 7 days.

June 21, 2010

Overcome Fear of Cold Calling with These 5 Tips From Sales Experts

Hate cold calling? So do 95 percent of sales professionals. “Only 3 to 5 percent of all sales pros don’t have any problems doing it,” says Bill Grimes, president of Grimes Associates.

You heard right! They hate cold calling so much that, according to BSRP, the average sales person sells only 1.5 hours per day, and doesn't make a call until 11:00 am. Many sales professionals won't even call a prospect back a second time.

Yet, we all understand that prospecting is absolutely necessary to build any business. So why is it that this basic task becomes so overwhelming? And how can you overcome fear of cold calling?

Sales coaches will tell you that this fear goes back to common childhood fears of not fitting in, fear of rejection, and other deep rooted anxiety. Unfortunately, and by definition, prospecting has a crazy way of throwing all those fears and hurts you thought you had overcome, back in your face. And, the more “no’s” you hear, the more you develop further fear of rejection and dread of prospecting in general.

Here is great advice on conquering your fear of cold calling, from five of the wisest Sales gurus I follow everyday on Twitter:

1) Get Good Sales Training; and Keep Up the Personal Development. Starting out with great skills can help build your competence and your confidence, removing any fear of failure, any shred of doubt that you can succeed for yourself, for your company, and for your client. Personal development is the key to unlocking the confidence and the courage to succeed in sales. Your prospects and your dream clients will recognize these attributes and skills in you, because you recognize them in yourself. [Anthony Iannarino]

2) Start Out Expecting the "No". Sales is a world of "no" - 98% of your calls will result in "no". Get used to it; expect it; don't take it personally. Prospecting is simply discarding all the unqualified leads and retaining the "gold". [Steve Harper]

3) Prepare Better. Have a compelling reason for the call. Reference something relevant to your prospect's business, their industry. Use personalized, customized information in your openings and voice mail, coupled with on-target value statements. Practice your phone presentation. Tape yourself, and call others who will give you honest feedback. "Having a compelling reason and a compelling message can help reduce your fear big time!" [Paul Castain]

4) Break Your Call Blocks Into Small Chunks and Set Goals for Those Chunks. It is much easier to set a goal to make 10 calls than 100, or to dial for 15 minutes rather than an hour. It is much easier overcome your initial fears and trepidations a few calls at time. You can get your mind around these small chunks. [Jeb Blount]

5) Accept That You are Dealing With Their Reality, Not Yours, and you can get over your hang ups about rejection and objections. Prospects are not rejecting you, they rejecting what you represent, an unwanted interruption. The objection is not to your “value proposition”, but to being taken off track. Their response is intuitive, not intellectual, so it is up to you to deal with it on that level, rather than worry yourself about it and get hung up. The question becomes not how you can avoid it, but how do you use it to your advantage to get what you want, namely their attention long enough to get them engaged. [Tibor Shanto]

If you're one of the 5% of Sales Pros who are comfortable with cold calling, or you've figured out how overcome the fear, comment on our blog, drop me an email (marketing@glance.net), or tweet us @GlanceNetworks, and let me know how you do it!

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing

Follow Glance Networks on Twitter and Facebook for daily tips on Sales 2.0.

May 20, 2010

You CAN (and Should) Use Twitter for Sales Leads

A recent survey on Twitter usage in the US by Edison Research/Arbitron Internet shows that your prospects and customers are out there on Twitter, and if you're not, you're missing an opportunity

Twitter Usage in America: 2010, conducted this past February and released last month, concludes that Twitter is more of a broadcast channel than many realize. The majority of users don't post...but they are definitely reading and clicking.

Highlights of Twitter usage include:

  • 87% of all Americans are now aware of Twitter (the percentage of Americans who are aware of Twitter actually supersedes the percentage of those who have Internet access (85%))!
  • That 87% is compared to just 26% who knew about Twitter's existence last year. (By comparison, Facebook had 88% awareness among those surveyed, with 41% saying they had a profile.) 
  • 42% of respondents are using Twitter to learn more about products and services, and 41% are using it to swap reviews.
  • 28% are using Twitter to look for discounts and sales, and 21% are using it to purchase products and services.
  • 19% of Twitter users are out there seeking customer support.
  • When asked "Do you follow any brands or companies on social networks", 51% said they follow brands on Twitter.

Highlights of Twitter demographics include:

  • Twitter users are well-educated (30% attended a four-year college, compared to 19% of the general population; 63% have a college degree) and relatively well-off (nearly half have a yearly household income above $50,000.)
  • Twitter users index very highly for technology ownership (49% own iPods, 23% own iPhones, and 28% own a Blackberry).
  • 53% of Twitter users are women; compared to 47% men.

In summary, although the name is goofy, and the channel is often disparaged for it’s frivolous number of tweets, the fact remains that many intelligent, well-educated consumers are leveraging Twitter for their buying decisions. Buyers are consuming information on Twitter as an alternative to traditional channels;  and this shift is a huge sales opportunity.

(And BTW, if Twitter is still a black hole to you, go to amazon.com and buy this book right now, title not necessary to mention.)

- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing, Glance Networks


Follow Glance Networks on Twitter and Facebook for daily tips on Sales and Marketing 2.0.

April 30, 2010

What I Really Think About Sales 2.0, or "A Fool With a Tool is Still a Fool With a Tool"

OK, I’ve had it. I’m calling B.S. on this Sales 2.0 thing.
 
If you want to be successful in Sales, the critical tools required are a brain and common sense.
 

You may laugh, but, as a VP at Glance Networks, I have been called on by hundreds of Sales people, but rarely is their approach impactful, intelligent or credible. It’s amazing to me.

Top honors would have to go to a sales rep who wanted to pitch her tool allowing Sales pros to be more knowledgeable about their prospects prior to making outbound calls; she asked me - the VP of Sales & Marketing at Glance Networks - if we could do a WebEx! A WebEx! Are you kidding me?!

Quoting my friend Steve Harper: “A fool with a tool is still a fool.”  

I am a believer that there are people in the world that just “get it”, and others that, well, just don’t. 
 
So do tools help?  Of course they do. In fact, in my barn I have a top-of-the-line Craftsman tool chest, filled with every type of screw driver, wrench, saw, bolt, nut and nail you can imagine. I’ve spent a fortune on it, but do I use any of it? I try to; the only issue is that I couldn’t nail two boards together if my life depended on it.
 
I’m a duct tape man.
 
It’s not that I don’t understand what a hammer is, or a saw, I just wasn’t born with that ability to look at building materials, and well, build anything.
 
All I’m saying is that there are many Sales people, who can use Sales 2.0 tools and technology to gain intelligence about prospects, or have LinkedIn profiles with 300 recommendations, or 1,000 friends on Facebook -- possibly they make a million outbound calls a day; maybe they even use Glance!
 
But can they speak to prospects intelligently?  Can they look at 30 parts of a deal and put them all together? Do they understand the value of a well-placed question? Or equally so, of well-placed silence? Do they get that all humans are different in how they make decisions? Can they recognize a prospect's personality type within the first two minutes of meeting them, and engage the conversation accordingly? -- Do they get it?
 
Glance is a sales 2.0 tool, we market ourselves as such.
 
We tweet, we blog; we use awesome products like InsideView and Salesforce.com; but we also pride ourselves on being human and building the best customer relationships possible. In fact, if you have ever called Glance you know that we don’t have an automated attendant. Humans answer, every time. And that’s all I am saying. Tools are great, but they don’t make the salesperson; in fact, it’s just the opposite.

Ok, my rant is over now. I feel better.

-- Tom Scontras, VP of Sales & Marketing

 

Follow Glance Networks on Twitter and Facebook for daily tips on Sales 2.0.

February 13, 2010

"I have not yet begun to fight!" | What Did John Paul Jones Have in Common with Today's Elite Sales Pros?

In Portsmouth, NH, this weekend, taking a mini-break from work, we came across the "John Paul Jones House" on Middle St., where the famous Revolutionary Naval War hero lived between 1777 and 1782.

John Paul Jones is most famous for NOT giving up, even as his own ship, the U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard, sank around him.

As the legend goes, after conducting sea raids on the coast of Britain, he took command in 1779 of a rebuilt French merchant ship, renamed the U.S.S.Bonhomme Richard to honor Benjamin Franklin. On September 23, 1779, Jones engaged the British frigate Serapis in the North Sea, daringly sailing in close, lashing his vessel to the British ship, and fighting the battle at point-blank range. During the fight, 2 of his cannon burst, and the British Captain asked Jones if he was ready to surrender. Replied Jones: "Sir, I have not yet begun to fight!"

The American crew finally boarded the Serapis after the British had surrendered her colors, and from the deck of the Serapis they watched the U.S.S.Bonhomme Richard sink into the North Sea, but having won the battle and captured the Serapis.

So, what did John Paul Jones have in common with elite sales pros of today?

  • He had a good team;
  • He thought highly of his abilities;
  • He took risks;
  • He assumed he would win the battle, even as his ship was sinking around him;
  • He never gave up;
  • He psyched out the competition, who must have thought he was crazy for not perceiving his own eminent defeat;
  • He inspired his team with his stated confidence in his and their abilities.

Who knows what was the key to Jones' victory....was it his belief in himself and his team, or did he intimidate the competition with his loudly proclaimed self-confidence?

Today's sales pros face similar odds: According to a recent CSO Insights report, only 52.4% of sales reps at the companies surveyed made sales quote in 2009. As a point of comparison, that number was 61.1% in 2007. So what do you do? Think like John Paul Jones....get together a good team, take risks, think positively, psych out the competition, and above all, as the ship is sinking, yell out, "I have not yet begun to sell!"

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing

Follow Glance on Twitter and Facebook for daily tips on using Glance's sales enablement tool to maximize every conversation throughout your sales cycle.

January 26, 2010

Adherence to Sales Process Drops, With Negative Results

More interesting insights from CSO Insights' Sales Performance Optimization 2009 Survey:

Sales process, sales tips, sales methodology, prospecting, qualifying, glance.net
I was surprised by the fact that 62% of all companies surveyed have a random or informal sales process! The CSO Insights Report points out that, in fact, year over year, companies using formal or dynamic processes have decreased, and that loss was converted to increases in informal processes.

Why does all this matter? Well, businesses that have implemented more formal or dynamic sales processes have:

  • higher conversion rates throughout the sales cycle,
  • better predictive ability to forecast, and
  • better ability to adapt quickly to changes in the marketplace (e.g., recessions)
Clearly, it takes much more discipline and rigor to implement and maintain formal sales processes than not (I know because I watch my friends in Sales here at Glance do the hard, sometimes tedious, work of maintaining our formal process!) But it's worth it. In difficult times, sticking to formal sales processes can give you a significant competitive edge.

A few resources on sales processes, to get you started:

And of course, my own plug: Make every conversation count, throughout your sales process -- Try Glance, the only screen-sharing tool built for sales pros, free for 7 days...

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing

January 24, 2010

How Are Your Sales Leads Generated?

Like last week's blog post, this week I'm posting more interesting observations from CSO Insights' Sales Performance Optimization 2009 Survey:

Leadgen, lead gen, sales leads, glance.net, prospecting, sales reps, sales tips, smarketing

If you're like us here at Glance, you'd probably rather have your sales reps spend more time actually selling rather then generating leads, right? The CSO Insights Report goes on to suggest that the best way that Marketing can help Sales find more leads is to improve the company web site. In fact, 54% of Sales reps interviewed in this study, feel their company web site needs improvement!

Marketing: point taken! After all, the first step in any prospects' buy cycle is visiting web sites to research purchase options, hopefully registering (friending, following, etc.) for more information, and therefore, becoming a lead. For prospects, your company web site needs to engage their attention, garner their interest, and make them take an action to become a lead.

What about your company -- how/where do you generate most of your sales leads? How is Marketing helping Sales generate leads?

Follow us on Twitter for more daily tips about effective sales and lead gen.

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing