When You’re New to Sales

When you’re new to sales, it will take some effort to get your career rolling. I compare this to the amount of thrust that’s required to get an airplane off the ground. It takes a lot, but once you reach  a certain level, staying aloft gets easier.

To make your career launch a little smoother, start by letting everyone you already know about your new position. They may or may not be qualified to own your product, but they are likely to know someone who is qualified. It never hurts to ask others to keep you in mind when the subject of whatever you’re selling comes up. Share with them the training you’ve taken and knowledge you’ve gained about your product so they’ll realize you’re working on becoming an expert on your product and industry.

Here’s a sample introductory letter I’ve taught past students to use. It’s just as effective when delivered via email or verbally.

Hello, Aunt Sally,

Something exciting has happened in my life. I have recently been hired as an associate (salesperson, consultant) with (name of company). This company is one of the largest (best, fastest-growing) in its field. I have learned a great deal about their products and services and feel very confident in representing them. I’d appreciate an opportunity to tell you more about my experience with them.

It’s my responsibility with this company to offer my relatives (friends, clients) the latest and most innovative ways to (state a benefit — not a feature). There’s so much to share with you I’d prefer to do it in person (on the phone). I’ll be contacting you for a time when we can visit. I’ve always appreciated your support and look forward to sharing with you the benefits of this new phase of my life soon.

Change the wording to suit your personality and product, but do invest the time and effort required to tell all of the people in your world about your new and excited career opportunity. You never know where qualified leads will come from. Don’t take a chance of missing them. Aunt Sally may be more well-connected than you think!

Learn more proven-effective prospecting strategies in my free eBook here.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.


Never Wing It with Voicemail

Voicemail. It’s a wonderful way of capturing messages when we’re busy doing something where we just don’t want to have to jump to answer the phone, isn’t it? Before voicemail (and answering machines), we just missed out on information or opportunities.

For those of us in sales, the advent of voicemail is both a blessing and a curse, isn’t it? It allows us to leave important messages for our clients. It allows us to keep in touch without actually investing a lot of time chatting with the Chatty Cathy’s and Talkative Tom’s of the world. And, (the curse part) it allows the Evasive Ed’s and Indecisive Ida’s of the world to practice avoidance at the champion level.

Where we run into challenges–where voicemail just doesn’t seem to serve us all that well–is when we don’t properly prepare to use it well. You may think I’m a nit-picker, but I truly believe that any little nuance of selling that isn’t analyzed and used to its highest value could be costing you and me sales.

Understand this: Every client contact is a sales presentation. Read that line again.

You wouldn’t wing it when presenting your product or service, would you? Of course not. You’re a pro! You prepare like one.

Then, why would you not invest a couple of minutes in preparing what you will say in case you have to leave a message when calling a client or potential client? You may have a plan for what you’ll say and the goal of a conversation with that client. But what’s your goal when your “conversation” has to be one-sided because they don’t pick up? What will you say to get them interested enough in speaking with you that they’ll either return your call, meet you somewhere, or pick up the next time you call? And when will that be?

Do yourself a favor and set a goal for every client contact and then prepare accordingly. Develop the questions you need to ask in order to get the answers you want. Be prepared for that one-sided conversation with the client’s voicemail and you’ll start having more two-sided conversations because you provided value or piqued their curiosity and suggested what they should do next rather than winging it with something like, “This is Bob Smith. I was hoping to talk with you. I’ll call back another time.” That’s what winging it sounds like.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

Who are you helping? Them? Or yourself?

Before each client contact, ask yourself this: Who are you helping? Them? Or yourself? This means giving yourself a quick attitude check. Are you concerned about your production this month? Or, are you more concerned with whether or not you have the right solution for the client?

LS002546When you present an attitude of helpfulness at the beginning of every client contact, you’ll become a top closer in sales. By approaching selling situations with the goal of helping the client, you won’t come across aggressively—and by no means will you be average or typical. And, with a helpful attitude, you’ll knock the dollar signs out of your eyes, which will put the buyer at ease.

I teach my seminar attendees that a salesperson’s income is a scoreboard reflection of the amount of service he or she gives to others. If you’re not happy with your current score (aka income), it’s time to improve the level of service you’re currently providing.

Improving your service begins with taking on an attitude of servitude. It also means taking control of your personal environment. If something that’s going on in your personal life is distracting you from your job, it may show to potential clients. When they feel you’re distracted, they’ll want to extract themselves from working with you.

Don’t risk losing sales or long-term clients because non-career challenges you are facing distract you from providing the service you know you need to deliver. Do whatever it takes to give your clients all that they expect and deserve. They’ll reward you with their business…and referred leads.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

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Using Keywords When Prospecting

Products Services keyboardWe use keywords when prospecting on social media sites and when searching for information on potential clients. When we go online to search for anything, we ask questions of our favorite search engines. The search engine uses the words in our requests to search out those same words on websites so we can be properly directed.

A keyword is defined as: an informative word used in an information retrieval system to indicate the content of a document.

I think it’s time we adopt a keyword approach to prospecting…only with the words we hear people speak. We use them effectively when searching for leads online. Why not use the same strategy during conversations? [Read more…]

Get Your Foot in the Door with FSBOs

For Sale By Owner signThere are many strategies to be applied if you want to win with FSBOs.

Start by calling them as soon as you see their ad or online listing. What follows are the exact words I’d say when making my calls to For Sale By Owners.

I opened the conversation like this: “Good morning. My name is Tom Hopkins, representing Champions Unlimited. I noticed your ad in the paper this morning, and was wondering if you’d be offended if I stopped by to see your home.”

Look at the power of that question. You’re being very polite. If your tone matches the words—and you must carefully rehearse to make sure that it does—you’ll sound very cordial and deferential. Not a whiff of pushiness. Yet, in this situation where they want to say no to whatever you ask, you’ve phrased your question so that a “no” answer actually means “yes, come on by.” When you get a “no” here, go into your close for popping by. This question alone won’t get you inside many FSBOs, but it will work with some.

What to Say When They Aren’t Interested

Now let’s work with the other response that a by-owner can make to my opening question. This time a man answers, and he turns out to be tough.

“Good morning, sir. My name is Tom Hopkins, representing Champions Unlimited. I noticed your ad in the paper this morning, and was wondering if you’d be offended if I stopped by to see your home.”

“Yes, I would be.”

“You would? Is the reason that you’re intending to sell the home yourself?”

“That’s right.”

“Is that also because you’d like to avoid paying a brokerage fee?” [Read more…]

Using Phone and Email for Sales Conversions

phone email iconsAccording to Leads360’s latest report, The Ultimate Contact Strategy – How to Best Use Phone and Email for Contact and Conversion Success, “Lead response persistence is critical to maximize conversion. Making more than one call and sending even just one email can have a positive impact on lead conversion, yet 50% of leads are never called a second time and 59% of leads never receive an email.”

When leaving a voice message for a new lead keep it simple. Leave your name and number twice – once at the beginning of the message. Again at the end. Refer to the fact that you’re calling about the information they requested. Then, state a benefit of your offering to pique their curiosity to learn more (thus increasing the chances they’ll either return your call or accept your next follow up call.) [Read more…]

Make Social Media Sell for You by Provoking Response by Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander social media postIf your experience with Facebook, blogs, Twitter and LinkedIn is like most sales pros you’re struggling to create leads and sales. Most of us are failing and here’s why. We’ve been given bad information about “what works.” So here is a new, 3-step process to make sure everything you put “out there” on social media always creates leads and sales. As it turns out netting sales is all about provoking a response to what you put out onto social media, super-charging buyers’ confidence in themselves and moving them off of social media.

The Case for Confidence

Being engaging, getting re-tweeted and telling compelling stories doesn’t cause sales. High levels of confidence in buyers and clear, compelling calls-to-action do.

The most effective, practical way to generate sales with blogs, videos, educational ebook downloads, LinkedIn and other social platforms is to give confidence to buyers in ways that increase their ability to feel emotionally grounded, intellectually stronger… fully equipped to own.

If you do this well enough prospects will ask you for the sale. But where to start? [Read more…]

Closing from a Distance

In the past, most companies divided territories by geographical area. Today, many salespeople specialize in particular products or services and concentrate on clients who have needs that match the products no matter where they are on the planet. So, companies are more likely to claim as your territory any client who has a need for your specialty. That means your client base may well be anywhere in the world. If that’s the case with you, you’ll do very little face-to-face selling and a whole lot of remote closing.

What do you do when you’re not able to close face-to-face? Well, when you close from a distance, you call upon your skills as a closer and rely on the wonders of technology like phones, fax machines (yes, some industries still find this a successful way to do business), the Internet, email, and express or overnight delivery services. [Read more…]

Dressing for Business

While it’s always a good idea to be dressed professionally, being overdressed can make your potential clients feel inferior. This raises their defenses about wanting to buy anything from you. On the other hand, showing up drastically under-dressed for your potential client’s environment may cause them to dismiss you as not being serious about your career.

Champion salespeople are flexible. They keep clothing alternatives close at hand — either in their cars or in their offices. They not only consider the type of client they’ll be approaching but that client’s environment.

My best advice with regard to attire is to dress like the people your potential clients go to for advice. After all, that’s the role you want to portray with them–that of a professional advisor. [Read more…]

The Survey Approach to Prospecting

If you have access to a postal mailing list for potential clients, I suggest sending them a simple, one-page letter of introduction then following up with a phone call. [Even better, if you can network with someone else who already does business with the people you’re trying to approach, get their permission to send the letter under their name.] If you have access to email lists, consider using those addresses in a similar manner.

The letter needs to be personalized with the recipient’s name. Don’t send letters with a salutation of “Dear Friend” or “To Whom It May Concern”. Here’s a sample letter derived from my book, Sales Prospecting for Dummies. [Read more…]