Archive for September, 2013

‘Baloney Prospects’

September 24, 2013

baloney-meterIn sales you will undoubtedly run into your fair share of prospects that are ‘full of baloney‘. Your prospect seemed so interested in your product at first, but something happened. Following lengthy sales calls and product demonstrations, your prospect fades into the abyss and disappears. Your emails aren’t answered. Your phone calls aren’t returned. When you do finally catch up with your prospect on the phone they seem distant, and can’t give you a decision. Turns out your prospect was full of ‘baloney’ all along.
The telltale signs of ‘baloney prospects‘ should be obvious, but because you want the sale badly you frequently overlook the obvious.
From the very first contact you have with any prospect there should be three distinct things on your checklist of qualifiers: 1) Does your prospect have a problem they are committed to solving? 2) Does your prospect have the ability to make a decision. 3) And most importantly, does your prospect have the money to pay for the product, or have a reasonable means to getting the money to pay for your product?
Often times, given your NEED for the sale, you forget to ask on purpose the critical questions that really determine whether you have a valid prospect, or one that is just ‘full of baloney’.
Doesn’t it bother you to go through all the effort with product demos, sending literature, following up, sending proposals, and providing references to ultimately find out after the fact that your prospect is ‘full of baloney’? If it doesn’t it ought to…
To avoid being frustrated by ‘baloney prospects’, you’ve got to have your wits about you when you make the cold call. STOP selling and START asking! If you don’t ask you don’t get.
The second thing you need to think about with ‘baloney prospects‘ is the need for personal objectivity. You need to come to terms with the fact that some sales are just not meant to be, and it’s far better to find that out sooner rather than later. If you can’t take a “NO” you’ll never get to “YES”.
So, instead of taking your prospect’s interest at face value and thinking it’s for real, try looking for the things that might be missing from the discourse you had on the phone with your prospects. For example, is your prospect willing to see a demo, but can’t give you an answer as to what it would take to do business? Is your prospect fixated on how much your product costs? Does your prospect ask for client references, or sales literature before they’ll agree to meet with you? These are all RED FLAGS that need to be dealt with up front. Skipping over the finer details is only going to cost you needless frustration later on.
Baloney prospects‘ are difficult to deal with because they camouflage themselves well. They know the buyer-seller ‘system’, and know that an overly eager salesperson will not ask the key questions that qualify their ability to purchase anything. ‘Baloney prospects‘ are hoping that you never ask them a direct question about the problem, or their ability to pay. That way they get to stay in control of the sales call, and lead you around by the nose until they tire of the game, and move on to something else. Game over!

Remembering 9/11

September 11, 2013

WTC 9-11Do you remember where you were when you first heard about the tragic events of 9/11?      As for me, I was attending a job interview meeting with a sales manager working for Crystal Decisions. My interview was scheduled for 0830 on 9/11 so I made my way to the Crystal Decisions office located on Lexington Avenue, and was met in the waiting area by the sales manager. We walked through a series of hallways and offices, and made our way to a conference room on the 34th floor. We sat down, shared the usual pleasantries, and just when we were about to start with the interview, someone came into the room and interrupted with, “A plane just crashed into the World Trade Center!” Shocked as we were, the interview was over before it began, and both the sales manager and I began to try and get out to the Internet for more information. We found we could not access the Internet, and our cell phones could not complete a call. What in the world is going on, we asked ourselves? Whatever happened it must be pretty serious if both Internet and call phone service are no longer working. Suddenly there was a parade of people walking down the hallway. That’s when the sales manager looked at me, and said let’s go out to the roof and have ourselves a look. So we followed the others and made our way out onto the roof of the building.
The building I was in was on 44th Street and Lexington Avenue, and the view of the World Trade Center downtown was blocked by the Grand Hyatt Hotel. As I made my way across the roof to the Lexington Avenue eastern side of the building I could see a giant pillar of silver-grey smoke moving horizontally at a height of around 1500 ft. from west to east, and covering the Park Slope section of Brooklyn. Just from seeing the smoke I could tell that something really terrible had happened.
Not being able to see anything other than the pillar of smoke emanating from the World Trade Center, I decided to head down to Lexington Avenue, and make my way to another part of the city for a better view somewhere else. When I reached the street I began walking, and that’s when I met the grim reality of the catastrophic events that happened that day. A woman walking towards me was sobbing uncontrollably. I was frozen in place as I watched her walk by. The image of that woman sobbing is something I will never forget.
Looking back, I can’t help but think that it could have been me that perished in the World Trade Center on that terrible day. I can’t tell you how many sales calls I’ve made over the years to companies located in the World Trade Center. I did business with several Japanese banks, Deloitte Touche, Fiduciary Trust, Daiwa Securities, and a host of other companies that occupied the upper floors of the World Trade Center. I came of age in my selling career visiting the World Trade Center. I can draw you a floor plan from the WTC lobby all the way to the 110th floor. I still remember the sound of the creaking as the World Trade Center swayed in the heavy wind. On other occasions while visiting the top floors of the World Trade Center I would look out of the 16 inch wide windows over the Hudson River and see helicopters and small planes flying a few hundred feet below me. The World Trade Center was an architectural marvel to say the least.
Most importantly on this day marking the 12th anniversary of 9/11, I can’t help but feel for those poor people who were killed on that dreadful day, along with the first responders that tried in vain to save their lives. I grieve for them and their families. Those that perished were innocent people like you and I going about their daily routines, and minding their own business. The inhumane way in which they lost their lives makes us angry.

How To Get Around The Request For Sales Literature…

September 6, 2013

BrochuresOne of the most popular questions I get asked by students of the Gold Call are the questions about how to get around, or avoid the request to send sales brochures, or literature.  The root problem with the request for sales literature is how the request happened in the first place. Under the weight of hearing too much product information, prospects take the easy way out and ask for literature by default. If you are “pitching” too many features and benefits in your opening dialogue with prospects chances are darn good you are going to be asked to send sales literature.
Step 1: To avoid the request for sales literature you’ve got to focus your dialogue on the problem you solve. (Example: I solve the following problem, for the following people, and for the following reason)

Step 2: Make sure you’re talking to someone that owns the problem!

Step 3: Determine the prospect’s commitment to solving the problem.

Step 4: Find out if your prospect is willing to have a quick conversation based on the premise that you may be able to solve a problem.

When you are the one asking questions about the existence of a problem, the ownership of the problem, and the commitment to solving the problem, you invariably control the course and direction of the conversation. Asking questions puts you in control!

Summary: STOP telling and start asking! When you ask direct questions you will nullify the default reactions of prospects to request sales literature. And we all know what that really means…