April 2014 | Click links (>>) below to read articles
  • How to Get Better Tele-Prospecting Results in 51 Minutes (or less) by Jim Domanski >>
  • How The Modern Buyer Buys by Michael Nick >>
  • 74 How Questions by Art Sobczak >>
  • Negotiation Checklist to Ensure a Successful Outcome By Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” >>



How to Get Better Tele-Prospecting Results in 51 Minutes (or less)
by Jim Domanski  

If tele-prospecting (aka cold calling) is part of your job here is a little tip that will yield big results.
It's called Sprint 51.
Sprint 51 is a process designed to maximize your telephone prospecting efforts by ensuring that you actually make the calls when you should. It's a process that brings focus and productivity. It's a way to avoid squandering your prospecting time At the end of day that spells RESULTS.
The Problem

You see, here's the problem. Most reps - field or inside - don't like cold calling. I don't either. And because of this, we tend to find ways to procrastinate picking up the phone by lengthening our post call wrap up. Oh, we're tricky about it and rationalize our subterfuge until we're blue in the face but ultimately we reduce our effectiveness simply by being less productive.
Post call wrap up: you know what I am talking about, right? We make a cold call and when we're finished we write long and copious notes in the file about getting a "no answer" and the message we left the prospect. And while we're on the page we edit a couple of other things. Net result? 4.5 minutes used up. 
Or how about this? You actually speak to a prospect who inevitably wants more information. We hang up and then put together a long e-mail with a few attachments and a link or two. In some cases we stuff an envelope and write the address by hand, get up and drop it off somewhere in the office. Heck, that could take as much as 6.5 minutes. Keep that up and the time dedicated to cold calling will be up. (Yahoo!?)
Sure enough, the hour or so you scheduled for cold calling is completed. You feel good. You got the hard stuff out of the way. Granted, you only made 5 calls - reaching two decision makers- but you are lulled into the belief that you accomplished something.
Come on. Fess up! Sound familiar? Guilty as charged?
The Cost

If this sounds like you, don't be upset. You're not alone. You're human. Cold calling is tough and often tedious. But it is important that you understand the cost of this little game we play. By not being more productive and effective we lose sales, revenue, opportunities, and we lose commissions ... and maybe, in the extreme, we lose our jobs.
What to Do?

That's where Sprint 51 comes in. In broad terms, it means dedicating 51 minutes of every hour to dialing and 9 minutes to paper work and other post call wrap up. Why 51? Because it ensures that the majority of your time is spent DIALING and connecting (you know, the IMPORTANT stuff), and less time doing admin, updates, e-mails etc. (You know, the UNIMPORTANT stuff) Here are the details:
First, schedule your telephone prospecting in one hour blocks. How many one-hour blocks you dedicate to cold calling is up to you and your circumstances. Whatever the case may be, one hour is a manageable chunk of time. You can be productive and effective without burning out.
Next, when it is time to call, pick up the phone and dial. If you don't get an answer, don't leave a message, don't note it in the file, and don't send an e-mail. Simply move on to the next prospect. You'll shave a minute or so with each call like this.
When you get a prospect who wants information (line cards, e-brochures, a proposal, quote ... the whole gamut of requests), note it on a yellow legal pad on your desk (because it is yellow, it sticks out on your desk so you are reminded of the importance of the strategy; makes it easier to see and access too). Note it along the client's name or file number and then move on to the next call. You'll save 3, 4, and 5 ... maybe more... minutes with every call like this.
And on it goes for 51 minutes. At this stage, stop your dialing, refer to your yellow pad and update your files. Of course, it might take a little more than 9 minutes to complete the tasks and that's okay. The important stuff is done and you can indulge a little with the paperwork to give yourself a mental break.
What it Does for You

Here's what you accomplish. First, you will have managed to make 5 or 10 more dials than you normally would have. If you tele-prospect twice a day, you've increased your dials by ten or twenty, give or take. Multiply that by five days and you can see the bottom line impact. You've instantly become more productive. You've instantly increased the number of dials and increased your odds of contacts, leads, sales and appointments.
Secondly, you'll feel more energized. It's called Sprint 51 because it is a sprint: short and fast. It gets you going without fatiguing your mind and your spirit. It's a positive tactic because you completed the hard stuff.

Sprint 51 is a small tip but it can pay big dividends. It's a simple routine that builds discipline and focus. Try it and see for yourself.

About The Author:

Teleconcepts Consulting works with companies and individuals who struggle to use the telephone more effectively to sell and market their products and services. For more information on consulting services and training programs, articles, and other resources visit www.teleconceptsconsulting.com or call 613-591-1998.


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How The Modern Buyer Buys
by Michael Nick

The fact remains there will be a finance person involved in most strategic buying decisions. The inclusion of finance in the process of making a B2B strategic buying decision will cause a chain reaction of additional issues for sales professionals that must be considered. However, first let me prove the point by citing a research report contracted by CFO Magazine. Martin Akel & Associates conducted a study in 2011 for CFO Magazine on the trends in procurement by US corporations. The study, "The Senior Finance Team and Corporate Purchasing Decisions..." looked at the role of finance teams in corporate purchasing decisions. This study stated the following:

  • "Nine of ten executives report that members of their company's finance team are now collaborating with business management on key issues affecting the selection of vendors."
    • 98% collaborate on developing / reviewing business and functional requirements
    • 95% collaborate on preparing / reviewing financial justification and ROI analysis
    • 85% collaborate on speaking with and evaluating prospective vendors

              This single change of using the finance department in the Buyers process will cause many additional issues for today's sales professional to consider. The first issue is the language of the C-Suite is different than mid-level management. When you communicate at the C-level they are more concerned about your value as it impacts their business metrics like, cash flow, debt to equity, profitability, DSO's, etc. These metrics are the foundation for the language of the C-Suite. Today's sales professional will need to learn what metrics are used, what the metrics mean and finally, the Seller's value as it relates to the Buyer's C-Suite metrics.

              Caution, this is not a trivial task. Learning the metrics will take time and effort. Learning how to identify your value and its impact on the most important metrics will become a must have to compete in the future. There are as many as thirty metrics Buyers will use in consideration of a major purchase. At the top of the list is, cash flow, operating costs, DSO's, Profitability, and earnings. This is a good place to start.

              We came across a great web site on financial metrics (C-Suite metrics) norms by industry from Inc. magazine. The web site is http://www.inc.com/profitability-report/index.html. Please note that the data is supplied by Sageworks, Inc., www.sageworksbenchmarking.com. The web site displays financial metric norms for 19 different industries, including mining, construction, retail, and management services, among others. It gives you the normal range for metrics like earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), net and gross margin, debt-to-equity ratio, return on assets, return on equity, and accounts receivable days’ sales outstanding (DSOs). There are about 20 different metrics divided by industry that you can examine for free.

              The next change for sales professionals caused by the finance department involved in the strategic buying decisions is the need to be able to communicate with the C-Suite. It is one thing to understand your value, it is another to be able to articulate it. In our example of the fork lift, a mid-level manager and a CFO would have very different views as to why a new fork lift is needed. The mid-level manager would discuss the issue as improving efficiency in their warehouse. i.e.. moving goods quicker and more efficiently around the warehouse. The CFO on the other hand would consider the efficiency improvements, but would want to understand the impact on cash flow, profitability, operating costs, and perhaps corporate growth strategies. The ability to communicate effectively with both positions is a major key to being a successful sales professional.  Sales professionals will need to learn to be a chameleon as they communicate at different levels within a Buyers organization. 

              In the study conducted by Martin Akel & Associates one of the questions that caused me to realize an additional issue for sales professionals was this. Check the situations that cause your firms finance team to become involved in the vendor selection process.

Akel Study on when finance is involved

              "Purchases that affect multiple functional areas or departments" is a result of involving the C-Suite and specifically the finance department. Having finance involved for this reason will cause a sales professional to perform a different deeper research effort. The future Buyer will expect the sales professional to have a global understanding of their needs. If they are expanding or contracting the business for example. Information you can only get from news articles, investor calls or an annual report. The sales professional will need to understand and learn to use research tools like Hoovers (www.hoovers.com), InsideView (www.insideview.com) or ZoomInfo (www.zoominfo.com). 

              The Buyer is going to rely on the finance department to provide strategic buying input including Return on Investment (ROI), Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and other economic impact indicators. The sales professional on the other hand, will need to learn and understand their value and its impact on these analysis reports provided by the finance professional on the Buyer's team.

About The Author:

Michael Nick is considered to be one of the foremost authorities in the world on the subject of value estimation selling. Michael’s first book, ROI Selling (Dearborn Publishing ©2004) was a business best seller. In 2010, Simon & Schuster picked up the reprint rights giving ROI Selling another five years of availability in the market.

Over the past 13 years Michael has worked with Companies like, HP, Autodesk, Fiserv, Ingersol Rand, Trane, NEC, Checkfree, Bomgar, Rockwell Automation, Oracle, Great Plains,and more.

Visit him at: http://www.roi4sales.com

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74 How Questions
by Art Sobczak

It's Masters week, the one that most of us golf geeks look forward to all year. What's really cool about the TV telecast is the number of commercials are limited to just four minutes per hour, as opposed to the normal 12 or so for regular tournaments.

I find most TV commercials really stupid. I can't believe that supposedly smart executives actually pay for some of the ridiculous TV ads. If I see that guy sitting at the kindergarten table asking little kids questions one more time my head might explode.

Maybe it's just me, but I do enjoy golf-related commercials. I saw one for Ping, the golf club company. The theme of the commercial was how Ping built its fine reputation by always asking, "How?"

HOW could they make a better putter?

HOW could they make golf more enjoyable with their equipment?

That’s when I dragged my rear off the chair, grabbed a pen and started scribbling lots of ways that we as salespeople can use "how" with our prospects and customers.
I admit, I got a little carried away.

A few points on these questions:

-I’ve grouped these questions into categories, but you’ll see that many of them are interchangeable.

-They’re not in a particular order, although some could be used as good follow-up questions in response to their answers to a previous question.

-Also keep in mind that you wouldn’t necessarily use just "how" questions exclusively. Mix in the Who, What, Where, and Why questions.

-As you read them, think about how you can use and/or adapt these for your own calls. Better yet, take notes.

-This list is not all-inclusive. Matter of fact, how about YOU adding one or more of your favorite "how" questions here?

Oh, and remember, the most important thing about questioning is that you LISTEN to their answers, use the information, and react accordingly.  

How do you get new business?

How could you get more?

How could we help you get more?

How do you plan on achieving your sales goals this year?

How does the purchasing process work at your business?

How are decisions like these typically made?

How is money normally budgeted?

How did you make the decision last time?

How could you use our product/service?

How did you select the previous vendor?

How do you evaluate new vendors?


How did that work last time?

How often does that happen?

How does that affect other departments?

How are you doing it now?

How is your situation unique?

How could it be done better?

How can we help you do it better?

How do you see this developing?

How could it be improved?

How would you describe your present level of service/satisfaction?

How are you going to fix the situation?

How did you handle it last time?

How does that problem impact other departments?

How long has it been going on?

How much does it cost you?

How much time does it take now?

How is it being handled now?

How will you handle it?

How did you/your employees/your customers react?

How does that make them feel?

How does that make you feel?

How did that happen?

How will you prevent it from happening again?

How would you define good service?

How would you describe …?

How does poor quality affect the final product?

How much do you think you would save if

that problem was solved?

How would you use it if you had it?

How can we make this work?

How can we make this happen?

How about starting out with a trial order?

How can we get approval?

How would you like to proceed?

How soon can we get started?

How about starting now?

How many do you want to start with?

How do you see us proceeding?

How fast will you need this?

How much will you need to start off with?

How can we be the ones that you’ll choose?

How can we be part of the bidding process?

How do you want to pay for this?

How do you want this delivered?

How much is "too much"?

How could we solve that?

How much resistance do you expect internally?

How can we both make this work?

How much of an issue is that, really?

How do we get around this issue?

How can you/we find the money?


How can I help?

How can I be of service?

How could we improve?

How are we doing?

How can we change?

How can we do it better?

How can I fix it so you’re satisfied?

How have we done for you?

How can I change?

How could I increase my sales and production by 30% this quarter?

How am I going to reach my goals?

How should I start?
How are you using a how question? Leave yours here.

Now, continue making this your best week ever!

About the Author:
Art Sobczak, President of Business By Phone Inc., specializes in one area only: working with business-to-business salespeople--both inside and outside--designing and delivering content-rich programs that participants begin showing results from the very next time they get on the phone. Audiences love his "down-to-earth,"entertaining style, and low-pressure, easy-to-use, customer oriented ideas and techniques. He works with thousands of sales reps each year helping them get more businesses by phone. Art provides real world, how-to ideas and techniques that help salespeople use the phone more effectively to prospect, sell, and service, without morale-killing "rejection." Using the phone in sales is only difficult for people who use outdated, salesy, manipulative tactics, or for those who aren't quite sure what to do, or aren't confident in their abilities. Art's audiences always comment how he simplifies the telesales process, making it easily adaptable for anyone with the right attitude.

Contact Info
Art Sobczak
Business By Phone Inc.
Phone: (480)699-0958
Fax: (402)895-9399


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Negotiation Checklist to Ensure a Successful Outcome
By Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter”

Want to go into negotiations with the best selling skills possible?  Want to increase your sales motivation and your profits? Make sure you’re following this checklist on every negotiation.

1. Never negotiate with anyone who is not qualified to negotiate.  If in doubt, ask how they’ve handled a similar type of negotiating in the past.  Listen for names, dates, etc. that will provide clues as to their level of responsibility. When you negotiate with someone who is not qualified to negotiate, you’re at a huge disadvantage. At no time should you put anything on the table they could then pass along to someone else.  If you do find yourself negotiating with someone who is not qualified, you should shift your approach to only looking to obtain information.

2. Never put things into writing unless you’re prepared to live with them. Once an item is put into writing, it becomes an anchor either for you or the customer.  This is especially critical when negotiating with a professional buyer who will use anything put into writing as leverage.  Keep in mind a few simple rules. Are you prepared to have whatever you put into writing shared with the competition?  Are you prepared to have a competitor use your information to secure a better deal?  If you do put anything in writing, it must include specific expiration dates and include information that could be interpreted in several different ways to give you the ability to control how the information is used.

3. Always have room to give something the other person will deem as a perceived benefit.    This is why it is so important to sell first and negotiate second. By selling first, you have the opportunity to ask questions and validate the key benefits for which the customer is looking. During the negotiation phase, a customer will attempt to mask the benefits they desire, making it harder to determine exactly what the customer wants.  This continues to emphasize the importance of the selling process and to never allow yourself to enter into a negotiation phase until you have sold first and have not been successful at least twice.  By going through the selling process first, it will give you the opportunity to uncover the real benefits the customer wants.

4. Know when to walk away and be confident in doing so. To execute this requires the “walk away point” being shared in advance with others in your company to ensure accountability is in place if and when this tactic has to be used.  If you enter into a negotiation without knowing what your walk away point is, you will be destined to give away more than you should in a final negotiation.  Sharing with your superior what the walk away point is will give you the confidence you need to do so.  If your superior is not in agreement with you as to what the point is, there is little chance you will actually walk away. Instead, you will allow yourself to get “nickel and dimed” into a price lower than you can afford to offer.

5. Know at least 5 things the other person wants that you can offer. Again, this is why it is so important to sell first and negotiate second. By doing so, it will be possible to know in advance of the negotiation phase what can be offered.   Negotiations are lost when one party does not have the ability to leverage things the other party wants.  When you don’t know in advance what the other person is looking for, the process becomes nothing more than extortion.

6. Know at least 5 things you can say that will discount what the other person is offering (price not included). Never negotiate on price. Negotiate using other items, such as technical performance, operational efficiencies, etc. that will provide the leverage needed to avoid a price-oriented discussion.  The most successful negotiations are those where you have a balance of information both in terms of what the customer is looking for and in how you can discount things they might try to offer you.   Having your responses developed in advance will allow you to be far more confident when you’re negotiating and need to respond quickly.  Do not go into a negotiation without first having developed the answers you’re going to provide to questions you may be asked. Likewise, be sure to know what questions you’re going to ask.

7. Always treat the other person with respect and dignity. Negotiate over things and services, not personal matters.  Never allow the negotiation to become personal in nature. This even applies to those situations where a close personal relationship may exist.  A quick rule to keep in mind:  If the relationship is so good, then why is anything being negotiated anyway?   If a negotiation does become personal in nature, do not hesitate to step away and arrange a follow-up time to resume negotiating.  By adhering to this you can minimize the potential the negotiation winds up being emotional.  Should either you or the other party become emotional at anytime during the negotiation phase, then it is absolutely essential you stop negotiating immediately.

8. Never enter a negotiating process until both sides are clear on what is being negotiated. At the start of a negotiation session, it is appropriate to state exactly what is up for discussion. By doing this up front, it’s possible to avoid a waste of time and, more importantly, inadvertently negotiate things that don’t need to be discussed.  How can you negotiate anything if you don’t know what is being negotiated?   Keep in mind a negotiation that is only dealing with price is not a negotiation — it’s a “blank-check” discussion where the only thing that can happen is you lose money.  This is another reason why it is so important for us to spend as much time selling the customer before entering into the negotiation phase.  By spending as much time as possible attempting to close the sale via the selling process will allow you to identify specifically what the other party is looking for.  Never attempt to enter into any negotiation process without first being able to identify with the other party exactly what is being negotiated.  Keep in mind the more things you have to negotiate about, the less the process will focus on price.

9. Use the sell/buy approach first. Only move to a negotiating phase if you are unsuccessful closing the sale first.  Minimally, no negotiating should begin until the customer has rejected the close at least twice and the customer has provided you with at least one buying signal.   Too many salespeople lose the negotiating event because they failed to sell first.   Professional buyers will always attempt to get to the negotiation phase as soon as possible especially if they feel they’re dealing with a weak salesperson.

10. Never offer up options until after you’re deadlocked on price and the customer has provided you with additional information.This includes providing you with a buying signal and credible benefits as to what the customer desires.    As soon as something is offered up to the customer, it becomes very hard to take back and, therefore, you have to be very cautious about putting anything on the table until you know if it is something the customer wants and they’re willing to provide you with other information.

11. Always put the negotiated outcome in writing immediately. Do not leave issues open for further discussion.  The person who puts the outcomes in writing first wins by being able to position things in the manner they want them to be.  Putting things into writing first also provides the opportunity to make one final modification with minimal risk.  The person who puts the information into writing first is the person who will always have the upper hand. This is particularly true if the negotiation process is going to extend over several meetings.   When putting the information into writing, it is acceptable to put the information into writing as you see it. This then becomes your opening position when the negotiation process resumes.

12. Upon reaching an agreement, thank the other party, but do not celebrate! Celebrating the outcome of a negotiation sends the signal to the other party that they have been taken advantage of. Sending this signal will jeopardize the long-term potential of the relationship.   View every negotiation as if it is merely another step in the long-term process, which it typically is.   Celebrating the completion of a negotiation will always leave the other party feeling you “won.”  It will automatically put you at a disadvantage when the next sales or negotiation event begins.

Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter, is author of “High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.” He is a consultative selling expert committed to helping individuals and companies identify better prospects and close more profitable sales. To get a free weekly sales tip, visit www.TheSalesHunter.com. Read the first chapter of his instant-classic “High-Profit Selling” here.

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