Social Media Marketing World 2015 conference next week!

Don’t Forget – The “Social Media Marketing World 2015” conference will be held from March 25th through March 27th. The event will be held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego. This is a great event if you are interested in social media.

Speakers will include the A-list of social media experts. Here is a partial list –

Guy Kawasaki
Mari Smith
Jay Baer
Kim Garst
Darren Rowse
Ann Handley
Brian Clark
Ted Rubin

Below are testimonials from Social Media Marketing World


How to get past the gatekeeper, Part 3

In parts 1 and 2 of this post, I shared with you videos from experts on how to get past the gatekeeper. Here is another selection of videos to help you.

Jeffrey Gitomer, a sales expert, argues that the best way to get around the gatekeeper is to stop wasting your time going after lower level people. Instead, focus on going after the higher level people by offering them ideas that will improve their business. In short, don’t promote your product or service, but offer something of value that will gain the interest of the decision maker and get you the appointment.

Here is his video –

Warren Greshes, a best-selling author, argues that one of the best ways of getting around the gatekeeper is to call when they are not in the office, e.g., early in the morning, during lunch or after hours. He makes a strong point that you should never argue with the gatekeeper – try to get them on your side.

Here is his video –

Claude Whitacre, an author, argues that the best way of getting past the gatekeeper is not to sound like a salesperson when you call. Instead, you should sound like someone the decision maker has already spoken to and is expecting a call.

Here is his video –

How to get past the gatekeeper, Part 2

In part 1 of this post, I shared with you two videos from sales experts on how to get past the gatekeeper. In this post, I will share with you two more videos from YouTube.

Melilizwe Gqobo from Hubspace Khayelistsha has an entertaining video below on how to get past the gatekeeper. He argues that if you ask directly for something, people are incline to give that information to you. Mr. Gqobo also advises you to always be polite and friendly because that will work in your favor.

Here is his video –

Cesar L. Rodriguez, a sales consultant, offers some strategies to get past the gatekeeper. For example, he argues that you shouldn’t sound like a salesperson or be too professional. Instead, sound casual and conversational with the gatekeeper, and try to bluff your way around the gatekeeper by pretending that you are calling to solve a problem. Your goal, Mr. Rodriguez argues, is to go to the top and work your way down until you find the decision maker.

Here is his video below –

How to get past the gatekeeper, Part 1

The gatekeeper. Every salesperson’s nightmare. You know what I mean – the person who is preventing you from reaching the decision maker. How to you get past the gatekeeper?

In the next few posts, I will share with you videos from YouTube from experts who will offer their advice. In my last post, I will offer you my opinions.

Alan Gordon, author of “The Big Book of Sales,” offers several techniques below in his video on how to deal with “the put off.” For example, when someone says “just send me something in the mail,” rather than just send it, ask needs development questions to determine exactly what the prospect is seeking. Sure, you can send a bunch of brochures and wait until Hell freezes over before your prospect calls you back; but the better solution is narrowing down what really interests your prospect. Mr. Gordon offers other techniques too.

Here is his video –

Ann Wagner, author, argues that your goal isn’t to get past the gatekeeper, but work with that person and try to develop a relationship. Ms. Wagner feels that you should offer the gatekeeper a value proposition or elevator pitch, e.g., that you are offering a product or service that solves a particular problem the company has. While some sales experts argue that you shouldn’t leave a message with the gatekeeper, Ms. Wagner takes the opposite position. By working closely with the gatekeeper and keeping that person in the loop, Ms. Wagner believes that you will have a better chance to reaching the decision maker.

Here is her video below –

Are inquiries sales leads?

When a prospect inquiries about your products and services, is that a sales lead?

No. It’s just an inquiry.

There are two kinds of prospects – curiosity seekers and serious buyers.

The curiosity seeker is usually someone who is inquiring about your products or services. Maybe he did a Google search and came across your company and has some questions. Maybe he stopped by your booth at a trade show and wanted to learn more about what you do. Or maybe he picked up your sales literature and actually read it, and wants to know more about what you do.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the curiosity seeker is a sales lead. You may be able to turn the curiosity seeker into a sales lead. How? By asking good qualifying questions, determining need, discovering problems or pain points, and uncovering the timeline. If you are getting a lot of vague answers or the classic “I’m just shopping around” response, mention one or two options and see if the prospect bites. If you are still getting vague answers, it’s time to move on.

Curiosity seekers can drain your time, energy and motivation.

Curiosity kills the catTo twist an old saying, not only does curiosity kill the cat but it can also kill your sales.

On the other hand, a serious buyer is a real sales lead. He’s done his homework. He asked around seeking referrals. Sure, he went to Google to check you out. But he also checked out your competition too. So he’s not just window shopping – he’s comparison shopping. And most important of all, he has a budget. He’s ready to pull the trigger. You just need to make sure he pulls the trigger your way.

Inquiries. Sales leads. Just make sure you know the difference before spending too much time with a prospect.

Is Inside Sales the same as Telemarketing?

telemarketerAs any new job hunter out of college will tell you, one of the most difficult things to determine when pursuing a sales career is what is the difference between Inside Sales and Telemarketing. Many job postings seem to use those words interchangeably and the job descriptions appear to be the same. Frankly, I don’t think even some employers even know the difference between both terms.

First, there definitely is a difference between Inside Sales and Telemarketing.

Telemarketing is the quick and dirty sale. You make tons of phone calls every day, do a quick sales pitch and see if the prospect will bite. No real sales techniques are used. No qualifying questions. No establishing rapport. No building relationships. Before the prospect can even get a word in, the telemarketer is blasting away, speaking a mile a minute in hopes you will listen before you hang up.

Telemarketers usually use scripts and are required to stick with them. There is no improvising. It’s simply a cold calling technique used to make a transactional sale. Very short sales cycle. You either get a yes or no answer. If it’s no, you move on. If it’s yes (which is rare), you then expand more on what you are selling, obtain the credit card information, thank the new customer, and move on.

No lead generation required on your part. All the leads are provided in a Customer Relationship Management  (CRM). If the phone number is bad, or if the contact is bad, you quickly move on to the next call.

telemarketerOn the other hand, inside sales require a more long-term and strategic approach to selling. You use all the basic sales techniques that you have been taught – asking qualifying questions, determining needs and problems, being an expert in your field, finding the right decision maker, handling objections, asking trial questions, and closing the sale.

Inside sales require a lot more patience and discipline because the sales cycle can be long. You may be required to do some research before calling on prospects. You have to take good notes, schedule follow-up phone calls, and stay on top of your game.

While you may not make as many phone calls as a telemarketer, you still have to hit the phones. But besides making calls, you also need to send good emails and maybe even some direct marketing material. Also, unlike a telemarketer, you are required to update and correct your customer/prospect files in your CRM. That means not just correcting contact information, but entering good notes too.

Inside sales require a lot more thought and planning. You are usually working more closely with your sales manager and marketing team. Depending on what you are selling and the industry you are in, you may not have a large pipeline compared to a telemarketer. In fact, a telemarketer really doesn’t have a pipeline per se; instead, he just has an endless list of prospects he calls on based on time zone and geography.

So when seeking a new sales position, if you see the terms “telemarketing” and “inside sales”, you now know there is a difference. Just make sure your employer knows the difference when you go on a job interview.