Tag Archives: call

Always be direct

Another key challenge for salespeople in many instances is finding the right person to pitch. Few things in sales feel worse than taking the time to build rapport, present your pitch, and then find out you’re speaking to someone who has little or no influence in the decision but instead listened to you simply because they wanted to seem important. In my early days as a sales rep for a tech firm, this happened to me a lot. There is, however, a simple solution for this: qualify the prospect right away, or as one salesman I knew years ago liked to say, ‘Don’t qualify him, disqualify him!’

Now, this isn’t to say that you really should try to disqualify your prospect, but rather that you should develop your own way of quickly weeding out the unqualified, pretenders, tire-kickers and people who just won’t pull the trigger because for whatever reason they’re oh-so-happy with the status quo.

One of the ways I do this is by being as direct as I can be without being rude. I might open with something like, ‘I provide dynamic sales training that increases productivity AND will result in qualified referrals even from prospects who don’t business with your company. I’m wondering if you handle the sales training budget for your company, and if so, what would I need to do to earn your business?’

At this point, I just wait for an answer. Very often a direct question will often elicit an honest answer.

Why? Over the last 15 years, one thing I’ve noticed is that important  people in a company are nearly always direct and to the point when they speak. By being direct, you establish yourself as someone important with no time to waste. It also creates a chance to see whether you really should invest your time in pitching the prospect.

If you’ve got the right person on the phone, it’s pretty likely that at this point they’re going to tell you exactly what you can do to earn their business. When this happens, don’t trust your memory no matter how good it is. Write it down for use in future conversations.  Now, there’s always a chance that they may just tell you there’s nothing you could do to get their business, in which case, they’ve just saved you from wasting your time pitching them. Either way, you’ve got clear direction as to how to proceed. This doesn’t mean you just give up if they do say no, though. You can try to uncover what the underlying objection is and see whether you can catch their interest, anyway, but if at that point they still refuse to hear you out, you’re better off making the next call.

Remember: Always be clear and direct.

How to get referrals more easily

I haven’t asked for a referral in more than a decade, and I’d like to tell you why.

Most sales trainers and managers will tell you to ask for a referral as soon as you’ve gotten the sale. Some will even tell you to make a recording of yourself saying ‘I always ask for referrals,’ and play it on your CD player or MP3 in your car and other similar nonsense. Yes, I called it nonsense. While asking for the referral can work sometimes, in my opinion, it is somewhat presumptuous and can be perceived as a risk by the new client. Continue reading

Stand up for a sale

I’ve been in some presentations where the presenter makes a fatal error: he or she introduces himself/herself, and then sits at the table with the group to conduct the presentation. Now, this doesn’t always spell gloom and doom for the sale, but one thing I’ve found to be true over the years is that it’s much easier to keep the attention of a group if you’re standing. Continue reading

A simple way to engage decision makers

Okay, so you’ve gotten past the gatekeeper, and the key decision maker has picked up the phone. You introduce yourself, and now they want to know why you’re calling. Even if the gatekeeper already gave them some version of the reason for your call, it’s likely that the decision maker will still ask, and usually for one or both of two reasons. Sometimes the gatekeeper didn’t communicate the purpose of the call clearly. This happens more often than you might think. In other cases, they’re checking for hesitance or uncertainty in your voice, or they’re just feeling you out to see whether it’s worth their time to speak with you. Continue reading

How to sell if you’re an introvert

I’d have to say I’m fairly introverted. INTJ all the way. When I was younger, it wasn’t easy for me to start conversations with strangers. However, there are some things I learned over the years that after my first two years in sales made it possible for me to always be among the very top sales reps at any company i worked for. I was pretty good before then, but lacked the charisma to be a top producer without having to make twice as many calls or presentations… that is, until I developed a few consistent habits that made it very easy for me to be comfortable in any first contact situation.

Stay busy

My father used to tell me as a kid ‘If you stay busy, you can’t get in trouble.’ The same goes for nervousness and discomfort in social or sales situations. Keep it moving and you won’t have time to be awkward, uncomfortable, or scared.

Get out there

Go outside, take a walk in the park, get around people. In the same way that you don’t need your GPS to get somewhere once you’ve been there a few times, going out in public a bit more will make it easier for you to talk to people.

Help others get sales

This habit I didn’t develop on purpose. Even in my less social years, I was still a pretty good salesman, so the companies I worked for usually sent newer people over to me to be trained… so I had no choice but to  talk to them. This will also get you more comfortable with your pitch, as well as with the process of engaging someone, establishing rapport, and adjusting your close. It was after I started helping others to get sales that I began to consistently rank among the top salespeople at that company… so give it a try, you can only get better.

Greet everyone you see

I was never much of a smiler, and this put me at a disadvantage when conducting sales in-person, since my serious demeanor could easily be misinterpreted as being unfriendly or worse. However, one day, I met a man named Mark, who wasn’t in sales, but seemed to be able to get anyone to like him. I noticed after a while that Mark would smile and greet everyone who came near him, and usually, they’d smile back. So I began to do the same, and to this day, this habit leads to new connections… and new sales referrals. Why? Remember, sales is a numbers game. The more people you have positive contact with, the more of a chance you have of meeting someone who just happens to know someone else who needs your product or service and will introduce you just because they thought you were such a nice guy. However, be genuine! You don’t need to try to network this way, just be really interested in others, and they will find you more interesting.

Do some public speaking

One of the best ways to get comfortable speaking with new prospects is to speak in front of audiences. Join Toastmasters, and you’ll find a good number of people who also want to improve their communication skills, and who are willing to help one another in doing so.


So, get to it already, and have a profitable week!