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.

 

The 30-second Elevator Presentation

Elevator

Prepare an Elevator Presentation, Not an Elevator Pitch

A short while ago, I ran a contest on Facebook for the best Elevator Presentation. In more common terms, it’s often call “the elevator pitch,” but those of you who are already familiar with my training, know that “pitch” is one of the nasty words I teach sales pros to never say.

The idea behind the Elevator Presentation is that you should be able to describe what you do for a living in a clear and concise manner. Usually the drill for this starts with “Let’s say you step into an elevator with one other person and will be traveling 10 or more stories together. Since you’re in sales, you are always on the lookout for new leads. What would you say to this person to build their curiosity and earn the right to contact them after the elevator ride is over?”

We had dozens of entries to the contest. Many were very good. Some made me realize that I need to teach this concept in greater depth. All were interesting to read and analyze.

The first key to a successful elevator presentation is to be able to give the other person a mental picture of the benefits you provide. This means you use great descriptive words. What you don’t do is say, “I’m a real estate agent.” “I sell insurance.” “I do taxes.” Saying those things allows the listener to mentally picture whatever their pre-conceived notion is about those fields of endeavor. You want to engage them, not turn them off.

Many of the contest submissions began with “I help people…” or “I help companies…” which can be a good start. Think about how you would finish that sentence for the industry or product you represent.

Another key element in a good elevator presentation is to end it with a question. It could be as simple as “Isn’t that great?” which is a request for agreement from the other party. Or, it could be an involvement question related to one of your benefits such as, “How would something like that impact your business?”

To give you some real-life examples, I’ll post the three winning presentations here along with my comments.

3rd Place Winner – Claudio Ingleton, Century 21 King Realtor®

“I help homeowners professionally market and sell their homes. I also help first time buyers invest in the ownership of a home.  We have an exciting way to ensure people get what they want in the time that they want. Isn’t that great?!”

Note that Claudio does not start the conversation with “I’m in real estate.” Remember the purpose of the 30-second elevator presentation is to explain benefits and build curiosity. Ending his description with a question encourages the listener to respond and engage.

2nd Place Winner – Steve Cohen

“I help companies generate more income by getting them found online and make sure they have the right marketing message so their phone rings and people walk in the door.”

The benefit of generating more income will almost always be of interest to anyone in business. Online marketing is a very hot topic these days with most businesses. Most people in business after hearing this statement will say, “How do you do that?” That opens the door for Steve to either continue the discussion or get permission to contact them after the elevator ride is over. Remember, you aren’t trying to sell your product in 30 seconds. You are selling yourself just enough to capture a new lead.

1st Place Winner – Eddie Allen

“For nearly a decade, as an independent broker, I have specialized in identifying and providing solutions, by utilizing an efficient consultation and an effective educational approach with successful measures. My quality services are designed to help people with their personal, business, and financial goals, in regard to their risk management, retirement planning, and wealth preservation needs, by making available economical, value-added, timely protection options. Is protecting the people you love, along with your future,and the things you value the most, important to you?”

Even though this entry is a little longer than the others, Eddie has built in credibility by mentioning his longevity in the field and that he specializes (great word). The adjectives used help build positive mental pictures in the mind of the listeners. And, Eddie ends with a question that’s difficult to say “no” to. Few people will ever say that protecting the people they love is NOT important. Once they agree with him, Eddie has earned the right to ask for their contact information and the opportunity to serve their needs.

Invest 10 to 20 minutes as soon as possible to write your own elevator presentation. It will help you be prepared the next time you have a brief encounter with someone who might either need your service or know others who do.

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc. For reprint permission, contact Judy Slack (judys@tomhopkins.com).

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…]

Rapport Building – Step 8: Act Relaxed

If you have a nervous or stilted manner when trying to establish rapport with clients, instead of relaxing them, you’ll put them on edge. If you’re nervous, they’ll get nervous and start raising their walls of sales resistance. They’ll question your reasons for wanting to talk with them. They’ll become suspect of your every move.

In selling situations, many of your clients will respond to your demeanor in kind. What that means is that if you come across friendly and non-threatening, they’ll feel friendly and not threatened by you. In other words, you get what you give. That’s why it’s so important to be well-prepared before meeting with your clients. [Read more…]

Rapport Building – Step 7: Giving Sincere Compliments

Step #7 in the Rapport Setting process is to give a sincere compliment to your potential clients. This doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Something simple is fine as long as it’s sincere. That means it must be honest. You would never compliment someone on their “lovely home” if it was a disaster. Likewise, you wouldn’t say you like anything that you don’t honestly like.

Rule of thumb: If you don’t like something, say nothing about it. Instead, look for something else that you do like or can honestly compliment them about [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…]

Rapport Building – Step 6: Finding Common Ground

In the rapport setting stage of selling, your #1 goal, as stated in other blog posts on this site, is to help people to like you, trust you and want to listen to you. If you think about selling situations you’ve been in yourself, you’ll have to admit you have the same preference. The sale just seems to flow more smoothly when you learn that you have something in common with the salesperson. So, part of your job in this stage of the sale is to learn something about your buyers that you have in common and talk about it briefly to demonstrate that commonality.

Here are some areas to consider in consumer sales (B-to-C):

  • Are they married?
  • Do they have kids? If so, how many? What ages? Are the kids involved in sports, music or other activities?
  • Are these people sports fans? What sports? What teams? (Take note if they’re wearing a local team’s jacket, shirt or baseball cap.)
  • What part of town do they live in?
  • Have they always lived in this city? If not, what area of the country did they move from? If you moved to the area from elsewhere you can briefly talk about first impressions of the area or what they enjoy most about living there. [Read more…]

Rapport Building – Step 5: Match their speed and volume of speech

From the old Western movies of my childhood the phrase “fast-talkin’ city slicker” comes to mind when teaching this topic. It was a term used to describe the outsider, someone not to be trusted. And, building trust is critical to the forward progression of every sales situation.

Since people tend to feel comfortable buying from someone who is like them, it’s important that you pay attention to the little nuances of communication that help them feel (consciously or subconsciously) comfortable with you. How much attention you need to give this nuance will depend upon the demographic of your potential clients and the territory you work within. [Read more…]

Rapport Building – Step 4: Making Good Eye Contact

There are all sorts of sayings about eye contact such as:

  • If you won’t look me in the eye, I can’t trust you.
  • The eyes are the mirror of the soul.
  • The eyes have a language of their own.

These few sayings alone demonstrate the power of eye contact. They tell you that you must use your eyes to build trust, demonstrate sincerity and speak honestly.

I teach nine steps to building rapport at my 3-day, high-intensity Boot Camp Sales Mastery program. The fourth step, making good eye contact, is one of the most challenging for some people who are new to sales. It’s also a challenge for some veterans who aren’t closing as many sales as they would like. They just don’t realize it.     [Read more…]

First Impressions

Most of my staff members have been with me for over 25 years. Working with our content day in and day out, they know it very well. When they go about their daily lives, they really notice the nuances of selling in their own personal purchasing situations. Some have recounted stories of salespeople who have literally cringed when they learn who my people work for. The salespeople will say things like: “Well, you already know what I’m going to do and say, don’t you?” (At least they use the tie-downs!) Or, “Are you grading me on my sales skills?” If you know any of my staff members, you’ll know they would be like me in these situations and just have fun with it. When their “sales experience” stories are related back to me, we often discuss how our training could help improve the sales process. In some situations, it might be awkward to make suggestions because the people they’re working with don’t seem to know they’re in sales.

[Read more…]