1). Look at your website first to see if you are attracting enough traffic and obtaining well-qualified leads.
2). Examine your social media sites, including Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, etc. and ask yourself – Do you need them? Which ones do you need?
3) Do you have Consistent Branding across the board?
4). How many unique visitors are coming to your website per month?
5). What percentage of new and repeat visitors are coming to your website per month?
6). What can you do to improve things?
IQuantum Digital also offers a great series of blogs, including “Key Trends in Digital Marketing,” “What to do when your Website Sucks,” and “Is your Digital Marketing Strategy working for you?”
Some of the key takeaways from their blogs –
1). Consumers are spending more time making buying decisions based on the opinions of industry thought leaders from social media sites like blogs, Twitter and LinkedIn. This means in many cases salespeople are having less influence in persuading clients to make purchasing decisions.
2). Consumers are impatient when it comes to dealing with bad websites. If there is too much friction in making a buying decision online, they will go elsewhere. Given the amount of competition these days, you can’t afford to have clients walk out the door, figuratively speaking. The point – have a great website with easy to follow instructions, good visuals, and quick access to help via email or phone, and I would suggest a good FAQ format.
3). Your website must help you to quickly convert visitors into prospects, who in turn, will hopefully become sales leads. If your website has that 1990s feel and look to it, it’s time to enter the 21st century — quickly, before you lose business to your competitors.
4). Your website must look good on both your phone and tablet, along with your desktop computer.
5). You only have a few seconds to make a strong impression on visitors. If they don’t like the look and feel of your site, they will quickly move on.
6). Are you integrating your website with other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to generate more leads and brand awareness? If not, do it.
I would encourage you to check out their website. Meanwhile, please check out their video below –
While some sales experts argue that cold calling is dead, I believe that cold calling is very much alive and well – and needed, if you are going to increase your sales. While it’s great to receive inbound calls or make warm calls to prospects who are already familiar with your company, at the end of the day, you have to make your share of cold calls in order to survive.
Gavin Ingham, sales motivational speaker, argues that cold calling will make you feel more control of your destiny and more empowered.
I agree. Sure, you can sit around waiting for the phone to ring. But really, is that a great plan? No. You have to be more proactive. While social media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook) and marketing (e.g., trade shows) can help, you have to reach out to your prospects directly if you want to increase new business.
Mr. Ingham offers 10 tips for making cold calls. I will add some tips and insights of my own below.
1). Plan and prepare your opening statements. A good way of doing this is to tell the prospect upfront who you are, why you are calling, and mention that you have a product or service that could help them (e.g., save money, improve productivity, save time). And then ask the prospect if you could ask him a few questions.
For example, you may say “Hi, I’m Bob Smith with ABC software company. We offer a software program that can help you prepare taxes for your clients more quickly and efficiently.”
Then you go on to say –
“We have helped our clients reduce their workload by 40%, so they can focus their time on other activities like seeking more clients. I’m confident that I can do the same for you. Would you like to learn how?”
As Mr. Ingham points out, put yourself in the client’s shoes – what will your product or service do for my business and why should I care?
All prospects have fears and concerns. Is your price too high? Are you a highly reputable company? What is the availability of your customer service or technical support team? What is the difference between your product vs. your competitors?
And also, what value are you offering your prospect? What makes you different compared to all the other vendors out there selling similar products or services? You don’t have to go into a long explanation, but find something that stands out that your client will remember you, and hopefully, he will be asking you questions.
What you don’t want to do is use deception or tricky when you reach your prospect. Do that, and you will be dead in the water before you had a chance to proceed.
2). Get in the right state of mind, and expect success. You don’t feel like making cold calls today? Too bad. Whatever negative feelings you have, bury them deep, think positive thoughts, and start calling. Maybe watch a positive motivational video on YouTube to get you in the proper frame of mind. Or take a short walk around the block to clear your head.
3). Know why cold calling is important to you – it’s unrealistic to assume that you are going to close a sale on the spot with the first call. So why are you making a cold call in the first place? Simple – to set an appointment. That’s it. Your goal is to set up an appointment so you can go into more detail later about what you have to offer. An appointment can be a face-to-face meeting, a phone conference or schedule a webinar (demo).
4). Practice delivery. You should have a couple good opening statements written down. Practice them repeatedly until you feel so comfortable making your statements, that it sounds natural and unrehearsed.
5). Plan and prepare relevant questions – I always have a list of questions to ask before making any calls. Also, it helps to do a little research on the prospect of contacting him. A great source is LinkedIn, the company’s website and industry newsletters.
At the end of the day, you have to find out if what you are selling is going to help solve your client’s problem. But sometimes your clients may not even know if they have a problem until you ask good questions to raise some concerns.
What you don’t want to do is ask lame questions like “How are you doing today?” – especially to high-level clients who are probably very busy, stressed out, and most likely are not doing very well at all.
And never ask “Is this a good time to talk?” – because you are giving your prospect an opening to end the call on the spot before you even have a chance to speak further.
6). Have your support tools to hand – don’t forget to have pens and paper handy for taking down notes. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to have a comparison sheet of your products and services vs. your competitors, or some other notes highlighting some of your key benefits. In short, be prepared to answer questions.
7). Divert calls and minimize interruptions – If you are working in an office, from home, or in a high cubicle, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, it may be more difficult to do when working in an open space environment. Hopefully, your employer is using white noise to minimize the noise level, and you are sitting in an area where you are not going to be distracted, or dealing with a lot of multi-tasking projects.
8). Set clear objectives – don’t wing it. As mentioned above, your goal is to schedule an appointment to move the sales process further.
9). Don’t put your phone down or better yet, wear a headset. Personally, I prefer wearing a headset so it frees up both my hands.
10). Master your physiology. Sit straight. I know of some salespeople who use a small mirror to force themselves to smile while speaking to prospects.
I would also add that using scripts could help you when making calls. Eventually, you will develop your own voice and techniques and abandon the scripts altogether, but in the beginning, using scripts can help. Yes, of course, your goal is to understand the value that you can offer your prospect, understand his problems, and ask good qualifying or needs based questions. But using a script in the very beginning can help you until you feel more confident speaking to prospects until you can get it down cold.
Speed matters too. I don’t mean speaking fast, I mean have a process and system in place that allows you to make a lot of calls on a daily basis.
Michael Bernoff, a sales and business coach, makes 3 key arguments about developing better trust and rapport over the phone with prospects –
1). Tone matters – are you excited when you are on the phone or do you sound exhausted? I once received a phone call from a salesperson who was selling financial services. He sounded very exhausted and I could tell that he had been making too many phone calls. I advised him to take a break, drink some water and relax for a few minutes. He told me he couldn’t because he was required to make between 80 to 100 calls a day! I told him good luck with that.
2). Physiology check – how do you feel? Are you sitting straight in your chair or slumping over? When I speak over the phone, I always pretend that the person on the other side is seeing me. It helps me to stay focused. I’ve known salespeople who actually use small mirrors next to them while making calls. It forces them to watch their facial expressions and ensure they are projecting a positive attitude.
3). Emotional drivers – you need to better understand people’s emotional drivers. If they are worried about paying their mortgage, don’t focus on the worry, instead focus on finding a solution. In sales, our goal is to be problem solvers. Yes, find the problem, but don’t belabor the point. Instead, focus on asking good qualifying questions and then slowly arrive at a solution.
I came across this song on YouTube that I would like to share with you. It’s called “Sell it All.” It is written and performed by Kelly Anne Howard, a musician and designer.
From a sales point of view, we would all love to sell it all. And on the surface, maybe you could interpret this song like that.
But the song has an almost hypnotic quality to it. Is it criticizing rampant consumerism? Is it a commentary of today’s disposal here today, gone tomorrow attitude? Is it condemning sleazy sales tactics with offers of guarantees? You be the judge. Please let me know what you think.
Your favorite college rejects your admissions application.
Your bank rejects your car loan.
In sales, we all know so well what rejection is. We deal with on a daily basis.
You make phone calls, send out emails, mail out marketing pieces, and leave voicemails, and what do you get for your efforts?
Well, most of the time. Sometimes you do get some wins – some orders or sales. As a result, you are motivated to move forward. But after receiving rejections on a daily basis, you are bound to become frustrated and angry.
However, let’s put rejection in perspective here.
Yes, it’s a lot of work dialing for dollars, sending and replying to emails, and leaving dozens of voicemails daily.
But when you think about it, all that work is nothing compared to writing a novel or short story and trying to get it published. Let’s look at rejection from a writer’s point of view for a minute.
You spend months, if not years, writing a novel. You are working alone (or maybe in a coffee shop). You are attending seminars and workshops where your work is sometimes trashed by your teacher or classmates. You post your work on Wattpad and read negative comments. You submit your publication to agents and publishers, and they reject your work.
Sound familiar? Sure, but the difference is that a writer is pouring his heart and soul into his work. It’s personal. He’s also spending a hell of a lot longer writing than you are making sales calls.
Here is a list of some famous writers who were initially rejected –
William Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” was rejected 20 times before it was published.
Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen received 134 rejections for “Chicken Soup for the Soul.”
Robert Persig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” was rejected 121 times.
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter was rejected 12 times.
Madeline L’Engle’s book “A Wrinkle in Time” was rejected 29 times.
Stephen King’s “Carrie” was rejected 30 times before it was published.
My point? Don’t give up. Embrace rejection. Sure, you can always fine-tune your sales techniques and strategies. Seek advice. Get a mentor.
Still not convinced. What do the experts have to say?
Below are two videos from YouTube how to handle rejection in sales –
Jan Buermans, a sales trainer, says that when faced with rejection, you should ask one question “What do you mean?” and then shut up and wait for the answer.
Lily Rubio, Creator & Owner at Cupcake Covertops, offers some of the best advice I’ve heard on how to deal with rejection. For example, she mentions that for every 10 no answers, you get one yes. The key is to get out there and make sales calls and not take it personally.
Some love the challenge of achieving quotas while others hate them.
Quotas can make or break you. In most cases, if you achieve or exceed your quotas, you will earn higher commission checks. If you don’t meet your quotas, in most cases its goodbye job and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Some complain that quotas are too high and unrealistic – and they may have a valid point. I’ve seen cases where more than 50 percent of salespeople are fired or just quit because they don’t meet their quotas. The turnover in some sales departments is so high, that they constantly having to hire and train new salespeople Very costly.
While I don’t offer a solution to helping you meet your specific quotas, I do have a suggestion that could help.
Below is a great video from YouTube from Reggie Rivers at TEDxCrestmooreParkED. Mr. Rivers, a former Denver Broncos Running Back, speaker and author, makes the argument that if you want to achieve your goals, don’t focus on them. Now, I know what you are thinking – this is beginning to sound like psychobabble. But hear me out – what Mr. Rivers is suggesting is that you focus instead on changing your behaviors in order to achieve your goals.
Let’s say you have a monthly or quarterly quota to achieve. You are anxious. You are worried that you are not going to make your numbers. You get stressed out. You complain to your co-workers. You procrastinate.
Why? Because you are focusing on the quota. What you should be doing is focusing on how to improve your behavior to achieve your quota.
Let me give you some examples –
1). Rather than coming to work on time, why not come to work 20 minutes early to start making phone calls to catch decision makers before the gatekeeper arrives.
2). Rather than make 50 calls a day, whynot push to making 60 or 70 a day.
3). Rather than leave work on time, whynot try staying a little later to catch decision makers after the gatekeeper leaves.
4). Rather than ignore the advice of your sales manager, why not sit down with him on a one-on-one meeting and map out a plan on how you will achieve or exceed your quota.
5). Rather than envy the better salespeople, why not ask them if you can sit in on their conversations and listen to how they work the phones.
6). Rather than sending long emails that no one is going to read, why notsend shorter and more concise emails that a prospects may respond to. (More people than ever are reading emails on their mobile devices than on their desktops).
7). Rather than do administrative paperwork throughout the day, why not set time aside to perform that work so that you can focus more time on making sales calls.
8). Rather than just repeatedly make call after call, whynot spend about 3 minutes quickly reviewing your prospect on LinkedIn to ensure you are actually calling the right person.
9). Rather than rewrite the same email each time, whynot create templates of emails to send that you can customize on a case-by-case basis.
10). Rather than bitch about the bad prospects you are receiving from the Marketing Department, whynot find your own prospects from Data.com (formerly Jigsaw), LinkedIn or other sources. (I actually bought prospects out of my own pocket in some of my previous jobs in order to increase my sales). Do you see my point?
If you have a quota to achieve, don’t panic. Sit back. Relax. Review your sales process. Create a list of ways you can quickly improve your behavior. Then go. Move forward.
Sounds easy? No, it’s not. It takes time to change your behavior. Don’t try to do everything on at once. Take it in baby steps. As the old saying goes, the first step in achieving your goals is to take the first step.
So take it.
Below is Mr. Rivers’ video presentation from YouTube –