August 2011 | Click links (>>) below to read articles
  • The Next Step by Eric Slife >>
  • Promiscuous Prospecting By Jill Konrath >>
  • What Do You Mean By That? by Kelley Robertson >>
  • 14 Steps to Successful Cold-Calling by Mark Hunter, "The Sales Hunter" >>
  • Words to Use and Words to Avoid by Wendy Weiss >>
  • The Follow-Up Call and When They Don't Do What They Promised by Art Sobczak >>
  • Two Types Of Salespeople by Jim Meisenheimer >>

The Next Step
by Eric Slife

When you walk away from an appointment, telephone conversation, or even after leaving a voice mail message, always know the purpose of the next contact and its purpose

For example, you just completed a meeting with a prospect, and you need to reconvene the following week. Before you end the call, summarize what you just discussed, confirm what each party agrees to do before the next call, and get mutual consensus on what the outcome will be for the next call.

It might sound something like: “Sally, I really appreciate you meeting with me today. Just to make sure I understand correctly, when we meet next week, I will have the following information for you… In addition, you are going to meet with your boss on Friday to get the following information… At, the conclusion of next week’s meeting, you will be able to give me a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ if it makes sense for your company to proceed. Is this correct?”

Before the follow up appointment, email a simple reminder of the upcoming appointment regarding what will be discussed (agenda) and what will be accomplished.

Following the above simple steps will result in multiple benefits:

  • You will have a better idea where you are at in the sales process.
  • Your forecasts will be more accurate.
  • Your calls will be more productive because you have an agenda.
  • You won’t waste time with prospects that aren’t serious.
  • You are less likely to waste your prospect’s time.
  • You shorten your sales cycle, because things get done in a timelier manner.

If you are a sales manager before each call ask your reps what is their goal for their next meeting and why. You can then debrief them at the end of the call as to what is the next step. This will get them in the habit of planning each call.

About The Author
Eric Slife is president of Slife Sales Training, Inc. and developer of Team Training.

Regardless if you are a single individual or manage a large sales force spread across the globe, Team Training Program provides comprehensive sales training that is easily accessible and affordable.

Visit today and receive a free 7 day trial and download their recent program Anatomy of A Lousy Sales Pitch.

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Promiscuous Prospecting
By Jill Konrath

"How many prospecting calls did you make last week?" That's the first thing my sales manager asked me every single Monday morning. I dreaded those meetings because they put me in a no-win position.

I hated to lie, but if I told the truth I'd get in big trouble. My numbers were significantly and consistently below the sacrosanct corporate standards which were established to help us be more successful.

Behind these expectations was the pervasive belief that the more calls you make, the more sales you'll get. Selling was simply a numbers game and I was clearly failing to do my job.

Yet month after month, despite my abysmal prospecting statistics, I outperformed and outsold my colleagues. This paradox confounded me. My manager was stymied as well since it was went against everything he'd been taught. But he didn't stop too long to examine what was happening. Instead, he pushed me out the door to make more calls.

All this happened a long time ago when I first started selling. Sometimes I'm amazed at how little has changed.

I was working late in my office one night last year when the phone rang. When I answered, the voice on the other end of the line stammered, totally surprised to find me at my desk. He'd just read my article on voicemails and was checking to see if the phone number in the sample message was really mine. (It was!)

We got to talking about prospecting. He told me that he made 300+ phone calls a day. At first I thought he'd misspoken. No one could possibly make that many calls every single day. But when I double-checked with him, he reiterated that he called 300 prospects each day of the week.

Actually he was quite proud of this achievement. When he first got this job, he was in a large class of new hires. Now he was the only one left. No one else was "tough enough" to keep dialing despite the never-ending rejection.

I wasn't quite so impressed. I told him I thought it was insane and that his company needed to rethink their sales process.

Promiscuous prospecting does NOT work. It never has and it never will. Follow these guidelines to get out of the "More is Better" trap which is absolutely ineffective for selling to big companies in today's marketplace.


To be successful in corporate sales be more selective. Calling indiscriminately on every prospective buyer is a total waste of your time.

Some firms are significantly more likely to buy your products or services than others since your offering has a greater impact on their business than others.

Figure out what it is. Perhaps professional services firms benefit most. Maybe you do best with rapidly growing companies. Possibly your best prospects are going through mergers.

Identify companies that meet your best client profile and then pursue business with them. Target those firms where you have the highest likelihood of success and forget calling everyone else.


If you want to work with large corporations, don't ever wing it. To get your foot in the door, it's essential to research the organization.

Corporate decision makers expect you to have a general understanding of their business. They expect you to be up-to-date on trends in their industry and knowledgeable about how other firms are addressing the critical challenges relevant to your offering.

Figure out ahead of time what you're going to say if you get voicemail or if you talk to a real person. Determine how you'll address the common obstacles you invariably encounter. Practice saying these things.

Under the pressure of an actual conversation with a prospective client, I can assure you that you'll sound like a blathering idiot unless you're fully prepared.


In my opinion, the biggest error with the "make more calls" theory is the assumption that your sales approach is perfect. If it really was, every time you connect with a decision maker should yield an appointment.

Since that doesn't happen, it's imperative to analyze the multiple variables that influence your success. As such, you might want to evaluate if you've targeted the right companies or identified the appropriate decision makers.

Take a look at what you're saying in your voicemails, written correspondence or phone conversations. If you're not getting in, experiment with different approaches.

If you encounter objections and obstacles when you do connect with a decision maker, consider what you might be doing to create them. In my experience, nearly all of them can be eliminated upfront by changing your approach.

Now back for a final moment to my own story. Unlike the seller who made 300 calls per day, I focused on finding those opportunities where I had a better chance of getting in.

I was intent on learning what it took capture a decision maker's interest and gain an appointment. Everything was examined through the eyes and ears of my prospects.

This approach required me to continually change what I did. It required me to invest hours in preparation. I viewed it all as a grand experiment. Effectiveness was what counted, not numbers.

As I said earlier, being a promiscuous prospector doesn't work. You have to get smart about it. When you start out, you'll make more calls because you're new at it and making more than your share of mistakes.

Focus on learning. It's the only way you'll ever get yourself out of the numbers game.

About Jill Konrath:

Want to learn more about the new rules of selling to crazy-busy prospects? To get four FREE sales-accelerating tools and download two chapters of SNAP Selling, visit

Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies, helps sellers crack into new accounts, speed up sales cycles and win big contracts. She's a frequent speaker at sales conferences. 

For more fresh sales strategies that work with crazy-busy prospects AND to get four free sales-accelerating tools, visit

What Do You Mean By That?
by Kelley Robertson

People don't always say what they mean or mean what they say and it's not uncommon for two people to have a different interpretation of something that's been said.

Here are some examples.

"Our results were relatively successful."
What does that actually mean? Did they achieve their goals? Did they almost achieve their targets?

"We need to reduce our expenses by 15 percent this year."
Why? Is expense reduction more important than a sales increase or gain in market share? Does that mean they aren't open to new options or ideas?

"Our sales team is close to reaching quota."
How close is close? And what does that gap in sales mean in actual dollars of missed revenues?

(article continued below)


"You're too expensive."
Compared to what?

"We don't have the budget."
Does that mean all expenditures are on hold? Does it mean your department doesn't have the budget? Or, do we need to look a creative solution?

One of the most effective questions you can ask someone is, "What do you mean by that?" You can also rephrase it to, "Can you elaborate or explain that to me?"

It's easy to make assumptions but this can cost you money because your assumption may be completely wrong. Rather than assume you know what the other person means, take a moment and get them to clarify their comment. This can makes the difference between complete or partial understanding and can affect your final outcome.

© 2011 Copyright Kelley Robertson, All rights reserved.

Get your FREE copy of 100 Ways to Increase Your Sales by subscribing to Kelley’s free newsletter, “59 Seconds to Sales Success” at

Kelley Robertson, author of The Secrets of Power Selling helps sales professionals close more sales at higher profits with less effort. Kelley conducts sales training workshops and speaks regularly at sales meetings and conferences. Contact him at 905-633-7750 or

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14 Steps to Successful Cold-Calling
by Mark Hunter, "The Sales Hunter"

The vast majority of salespeople do not enjoy cold-calling. Yet, at the same time, it is an activity that most need to do on a regular basis. The biggest reason sales professionals are not more successful in this necessary endeavor is because they fall back on the defense that they have “other things to do.”

The truth is they will overcome this excuse quickly by being held accountable for making a set number of cold calls each day, each week or each month.

As much as people would like to believe there is a secret formula for being successful at cold-calling, the only valid one is being disciplined enough to do it. When people avoid cold-calling, they are generally telling themselves that either they don’t know enough about what they’re selling or they don’t believe the outcome will be successful. For this simple reason, it is necessary to be confident in yourself and what you are selling.

The following may be beneficial as you begin to practice the critical discipline of cold-calling.

  1. Have a dedicated time each day to prospect.
  2. Know the reason for calling before you call: customer benefits, not product features.
  3. Leave short voice mail messages.
  4. Assume your voice mail messages will never be returned.
  5. Always call one level higher in an organization than you believe is necessary.
  6. Be confident and competent.
  7. Phone calls placed before 8:30 a.m. are the most likely to be answered by the person you called.
  8. Respect the gate-keeper by treating them in the same manner you would treat the prospect.
  9. Prospecting calls on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons will have the worst results.
  10. Prospecting on “semi-holidays” and inclement weather days will get a higher response.
  11. Make it your goal to earn the right, privilege and honor to talk to the person again.
  12. Believe in what you’re selling and the benefits that the prospect will receive from your products and services.
  13. Believe in yourself and your professionalism.
  14. Anytime is a good time to make a call; don’t wait for the “perfect” time.

Sure, you could try to convince yourself that cold-calling really isn’t necessary.  The truth, however, is that the most successful salespeople consistently develop new leads using a variety of methods, including cold-calling. By practicing and persevering, both your skills and confidence will improve. Furthermore, making yourself accountable will help you turn your excuses into successful sales.

Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter, is a consultative selling expert committed to helping individuals and companies identify better prospects, close more sales, and profitably build more long-term customer relationships. To find out more, visit Copyright MMX.

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Words to Use and Words to Avoid
by Wendy Weiss

This week I've been listening to tapes of calls made by one of my clients' sales representatives. Listening to these calls has made me think about words and how sales professionals use words: To describe a product or service, to move the sales process forward, to close the sale... Sometimes the right word (or the wrong word) can totally make (or break) your sale. Here are some words and phrases to use and some words and phrases to avoid.

Once you're ready to close the sale, mention your 'letter of 'agreement' or simply your 'agreement.' Avoid the word 'contract.' That word conjures up pictures of long, complicated, difficult paperwork, haggling attorneys and more expense. An 'agreement' is so much easier.

And speaking of 'easy:' Always use 'easy.' Never, ever say that your product or service is 'difficult,' even if it is. In that case you can say, 'We'll make it easy for you.'

The same thing goes for the word 'simple.' Use it. Always avoid the words 'difficult' or 'hard.' Nobody wants to buy products or services that are difficult or hard.

Don't ever tell a prospect that you will 'try' to do something for them. Tell them that you 'will.' Who would you rather buy from: Some one who 'tries' or someone who comes through?

When asking your open-ended questions, simply ask: Who, how, what and why. Do not say: 'May I ask you a question?' This question gives up your control of the conversation. With this question you are asking permission. You don't need permission to ask questions.

If a prospect asks you a question and you are unclear as to the answer, it is perfectly acceptable to say, 'I'll find out.' It's bad form to say, 'I really am not sure.'

If you hear a complaint from a prospect or customer (even if the complaint has nothing to do with you) say, 'I'm sorry to hear that' or 'I'm sorry that you had that experience.' Do not say, 'I can't believe that!'

Talk to your prospect about 'owning' your product. The word 'own' will help your prospect visualize herself with your product and using your product. 'Own' can be an emotional word, as in 'the pride of ownership.' You want your prospect to tap into that feeling. Conversely, avoid the word 'buy.'

You can also use the word 'invest' in place of the word 'buy.' For example: 'When you invest in __________.' Use the word 'investment' instead of 'price.' Another example: Rather than saying, 'The price is ___,' say, 'Your investment will be_____.' This phrasing helps prospects see the value of your offering.

While there may certainly be individual cases where the above rules do not apply, paying attention to and being conscious of your choice of words will only strengthen your sales process. Your words are the building blocks that you use to motivate and persuade. Make sure they are the best words that you have at your disposal!

About The Author:
Wendy Weiss, 'The Queen of Cold Calling,' is a sales trainer, author and sales coach. Her recently released program, The Miracle Appointment-Setting Script, and/or her book, Cold Calling for Women, can be ordered by visiting Contact her at Get Wendy's free e-zine at

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The Follow-Up Call and When They Don't Do What They Promised
by Art Sobczak


Ever have that prospect who doesn't follow through with what they promised to do by the next call?

Yeah, I know, it's shocking, but it does occur. (You feel the sarcasm, right?)

Here's what I heard on a recorded call.

Salesperson: "I'm following up on our last conversation and the specs I sent you."

Prospect: "I have your information right here but I haven't taken a look at it yet."

Caller: "Oh, OK, I'll give you a call back in a few days."

Whoa! What's wrong here? Let's analyze the prospect's words, and see what kind of clue we see:

Prospect: "I have your information right here but I haven't taken a look at it yet."

This is your opportunity to say,

"Ok, well as long as you have it there, why don't you grab it, and let's go through it together."

This works beautifully for several reasons. First, you're not allowing what you sent to stand alone to do your job: the selling. That's what happens when
anything is sent with the instruction, "Take a look at it and I'll give you a call to see what you think."

On the other hand, when you request that you examine it together, you're walking them through the finer points; areas you know they have interest in.

Also, you get them physically involved. When your prospect does something in response to your request, he/she has moved from the passive state of simply talking on the phone, to proactively engaging their senses of sight and touch.

(Of course, if you can avoid the initial follow-up, all the better... if they need to see something, get them to a web page, do an online demo, email them a PDF, etc.)

OK, back to this situation where you do need to send something. You'll also save time by using this technique. If you meekly say you'll call back, what are the chances you'll reach them the very next time you phone?

One in three, maybe?

How much time do you spend on pre-call planning, and writing or typing notes each time you don't reach a person? Five minutes at the least? This time adds up. Time that is gone forever. Time that could be invested in more productive opportunities. Time that doesn't need to be lost if you seize the opportunity when it arises.

Here are steps to keep in mind as you prepare your follow-up call so you're ready in case they "haven't read the literature."

1. Your preparation for the follow-up call actually takes place as you end your initial prospecting call. You need to be convinced that they indeed are a good prospect according to your criteria, and that they do have interest in what you're offering. Be stingy with your time and materials. Don't be of the mindset that the more collateral stuff you flood the marketplace with, the better. This results in disappointment. There's nothing wrong with saying,

"Pat, if I'm reading this conversation correctly, it seems that if you like what you see when I send the specifications, we have a great chance of working together. Is that right?"

2. Before your follow-up call, be certain you review your notes so you have their primary hot button in mind. For example, "primary interest was in cutting down cost of unscheduled maintenance." If you can't pinpoint a hot button, your first call wasn't strong enough. You shouldn't place a follow-up call unless you know the person is interested in some aspect of your offer.

3. Have in front of you a copy of the material you sent. Be prepared to direct them to a page, a paragraph, or whatever is appropriate to get them talking.

4. Don't be discouraged. If you do indeed need to give them a call back, IF you have at least tried to engage them during this conversation.

Even if they haven't looked at your material, take advantage of the situation and get them involved!

Continue having 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.
13254 Stevens St.
Omaha, NE, 68137


Two Types Of Salespeople
by Jim Meisenheimer

Actually "There are three kinds of salespeople; those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who are wondering what happened."

You've probably heard that one before. In fact, there are two different types of salespeople and they are very easy to spot.

The first type is the improvisor. He seldom prepares, his preferred style, is to take things as they come. He likes to be spontaneous. He usually relies on his instinct and counts on his intuition to carry the day.

His days are fun filled and exciting, because he literally treats each sales call as an adventure. He's the Indiana Jones of selling, foot loose and fancy free, whatever that means.

The second type is the professional. He also enjoys his work, for different reasons. He anticipates everything, especially the routines and repetitive stuff. He knows the routines which gives him the opportunity to prepare in advance.

For example, he handles recurring objections. He knows he'll get them over and over again, so he prepares in advance how he will deal with them.

He plays with words, until he creates power phrases that work like magic. Once prepared, he knows that to execute a perfect delivery, he must practice what he's prepared until he nails it.

He records his power phrases into a digital recorder and plays them over and over until they are anchored into his subconscious.

His sales calls are different because he treats them as opportunities not as adventures.

There are two types of salespeople and of course they achieve two different results.

Each one follows a pattern, one is unstructured and one isn't.

Each can be seen as a formula. One formula gets better selling results than the other. Here they are:

I + I = I (Instinct + Intuition = Improvisation)

P + P = P (Preparation + Practice = Professionalism)

The secret to achieving consistent selling success is that there are no shortcuts, no quickies just plain old fashioned hard work.

These are the formulas and you get to choose. One doesn't require much preparation.

One pays better than the other.

Remember this too, preparation trumps improvisation every day of the week.

Also remember, your customers can tell the difference between "Improvisation" and "Preparation."

When you combine preparation with practice you get professionalism which enables you to meet with a success you never before imagined.

About The Author:

Make sure you check out Jim's Sales Trailblazer program:

Jim is a Sales Strategist and is the creator of No-Brainer Selling Skills. He shows salespeople and entrepreneurs how to increase sales, earn more money, have more fun, and how to do it all in less time. His focus is on practical ideas that get immediate results. He offers Advanced Sales Management Workshops, Sales Coaching, Consulting, In-house Sales Training Programs, and a wide variety of Learning Tools i.e. books, special reports, sales manuals, and CDs.Jim Meisenheimer is a member of The National Speakers Association, where he earned the C.S.P. designation, Certified Speaking Professional. He has authored five books including, "The 12 Best Questions To Ask Customers," and the recently published “57 Ways To Take Control Of Your Time And Your Life”.


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