Posts Tagged ‘Telemarketing’

Don’t ‘TRUMP’ the Competition

July 27, 2015

Trump Fires GOP

Whether you are following politics or not, you most certainly have heard of Donald Trump, now GOP presidential candidate. You may also have read about some of the names Trump has been calling other candidates. For example, Trump has called Gov. Jeb Bush a “jackass”, and he also called Sen. Lindsey Graham an “idiot”. For the record, Trump hasn’t has many nice things to say about anyone, especially those he’s running against. That’s a big mistake!

You probably realize that bashing and demeaning your competitors is no way to conduct yourself in business. It’s unprofessional under any circumstances. When you bash, or ’Trump’ the competition, you only make yourself look bad, and you come off as being desperate for the business. When you appear desperate for the business, your sales prospect begins to wonder why. When sales prospects wonder why you sound desperate, they tend to stay with their current supplier? Is that really what you want?

Never have a bad word to say about your competitor no matter what, and no matter how it may pain you to do so. Take the emotion out of the picture. You lose bonus points with prospects when you sound desperate for the business and say bad things about your competitor. I suggest you stick to the business points, and put your competitive advantages across in ways that don’t demean your competitor, but serve to elevate the quality and value of your offering compared to others. Keep it professional and maintain a level head and you won’t ‘Trump up’ your business.


Talking Yourself into ‘Sales Depression’?

July 17, 2015

depressionYou choose to feel the way you do! You might not think so, but it’s true. For example, if you look out the window on a Monday morning and find that it’s raining, and realize that you now have to wait in the rain for the bus, YOU DECIDE at that moment how you feel – probably lousy!

Disappointment in sales, and with business in general, is completely unavoidable. I bet we could all write a book filled with those ‘let down’ incidents that made us wonder why we chose sales as a profession. It’s how we react, or better yet, how we DECIDE to think and feel that determines whether or not we can chase away the ‘blues’ and move on to the next sales call.

The issue is that every time you face disappointment you CHOOSE how you feel about it, and how long you are going to ‘carry that weight’. You can actually talk your way into feeling depressed if you give yourself enough reminders about how crappy things are. Do you hear that little voice in your head too?

My advice to you is to catch yourself every time you start focusing on the negative and making a conscious DECISION to feel awful. STOP right there! Realize that YOU, and YOU alone are DECIDING to feel lousy.
Here’s an important note – If you DECIDE to feel lousy, then you can also DECIDE to not feel lousy. You have the power to control how you feel and what to do about it.
So… STOP listening to that little voice inside your head that tries endlessly to talk you into feeling depressed. Turn down the volume on the negative and amplify the positive. If you CHOOSE how you feel, then why not CHOOSE to feel positive every chance you get?

You Lost Me At “Hello”!

January 20, 2015

C Ya LaterToday I received yet another poorly written sales solicitation message in my in-box. The opening sentence told me all I needed to know abut the person that sent me the message – he does not know how to write. He lost me at “Hello”.
Here’s the message…
I wanted to reach out to see if we could briefly discuss how you use documents within your sales operations”.

Reaching Out…
I wanted to…” What does this mean? Is the writer trying to tell me that he wanted to “reach out” but had second thoughts? Is he trying to tell me that he wanted to reach out (whatever that means) and decided some other way to make contact with me? I don’t get it…
I would have responded positively to this:I’m contacting you to see if we could have a conversation about an annoying problem I solve for small business owners”?

“How you use documents…”
Huh? How we use documents as opposed to what – stone tablets? What kind of documents? The problem with this snippet is that there is no specificity as to to the meaning behind why this person is writing me, leaving it up to me to interpret his meaning of “documents”. I’m busy – not a chance…

What you say vs. What you write
The problem most people have articulating themselves in the written word is that they write like they speak. It doesn’t work. What you write and how you speak are two different means of expressing your point. When you speak you are communicating in one form. When you write you are communicating your ideas in a different form. Be aware of this at all times. What you say is NOT how you should write!
When you try to articulate and transpose your speech into the written word, the correspondence loses some of its effervescence, and your words end up ‘tasting’ like flat soda.
The written word lacks emotion. It lacks energy and it lacks delivery. So… if you are writing like you speak there is a very good chance that your words will not carry the energy it needs to to get your message across and have it understood in its intended terms.

Write what you mean – Mean what you write!
In today’s inattentive world you need to keep your written messages simple, and get to the point quickly. Attention ‘evaporates’ at room temperature, disappearing in an instant.
Think of Twitter – 140 characters to make your point. When you write avoid using any cliche sales rhetoric. Sound like a salesman pitching product and you’ll lose them at Hello every time.

If you solve a problem, then simply explain the problem you solve and in as few words as possible and ask for the attention of your sales prospect to determine the possible fit for the solution you provide. Cut to the chase and you won’t lose them at “Hello”!

Negative People…

July 24, 2014

debbie downer  Ever spend some time with a negative person? (Wonk-Wonk) Everything is a downer. The sun may be shining, but to ‘negative people’ it is pouring rain every day. There are seven days in a week, but to a negative person, every day is Monday.
When speaking to negative people, no matter how much positive spin you put on a story, a negative person will always attach the downside perspective. I wish they would all just shut the heck up.

The big problem with negative people is that you have to live with them, work with them, travel with them, and sometimes wait on the supermarket checkout line with them. Their persistent whining about things they have no control over is worse than the sound of nails scratching on a blackboard.

The bigger problem with negative people is that their ‘vinegar’ tends to splash all over us whenever they are around. We are a captive audience to their constant pessimism. We hear the negative, and if we’re not careful we can join the “boo-hoo choir” and wind up feeling negative ourselves. Not good!

The sounds of Negative People:
“Our product costs too much”
“No sense in making cold calls in July – everyone is on vacation”
“Why can’t you be like…”
“You can’t do that”
“Why bother”
“That won’t work”

There comes a time when you have to turn your ‘hearing aid’ off and pay no attention to negative people. Negative people tend to assume they can pull friends & co-workers into the negative abyss with them. Misery loves company , but don’t let it be you!

Whenever you encounter a negative person simply nod politely and explain that you have to run to a meeting, or jump on a call. No sense sticking around to hear their ‘sob story’ – you’ve got a job to do.

Turning Lemons into Lemonade

July 17, 2014

Tim's PlaceWatch this 90-second video and I dare you not to cry.
Here is a fellow named Tim who Is not about to let life’s challenges get in the way of his dreams of owning a restaurant, and achieving happiness and success in life.
As you will soon see, Tim knows how to live. He is passionate about everything he does. He loves coming to work, owning his own business, and most importantly, Tim has a never-ending passion for showing people his appreciation.

Imagine what you could achieve in this world if you only had half of Tim’s passion, and his penchant for seeing the positive side of EVERYTHING. The power of positive thinking can propel you to new heights you never thought possible. Tim shows us how…
Watch Tim’s Place Video (90-seconds)

Go Down Swinging!

July 11, 2014

Go Down SwingingIt’s hard to be positive in a negative world. There are times when nothing seems to go right. The purchase order didn’t arrive when promised, your messages aren’t returned by prospects, your boss is an idiot, and perhaps your ‘take home pay’ ain’t enough to take you home. In a negative world there are more than enough frustrations and disappointments to go around.
If you’re stuck in a ‘rut’, and not sure what to do, the last thing you want to be thinking is about ‘throwing in the towel’. Giving up is no answer to a problem. If you’re an optimist, then you realize that there really are answers to every problem if you know how to go about it.
The first step towards filtering out the negative and focusing on the positive all starts with your attitude. Negative things that impact your career and personal life can tear down your confidence and cause you to spend more time lamenting about your circumstances rather than seeking solutions that will refresh your ability to carry on. And carry on we must!
So… How does one go about thinking positive in a negative world? Again, it all comes down to attitude.
Ever hear the phrase, “I’d rather go down swinging”? Sure you have, but what does it really mean?
Go down swinging is an attitude. It means you’d rather fight than quit. Quitting means defeat, and allowing whatever affects us negatively to conquer our thoughts, and sense of being. Is that any way for a winner to think? Certainly not, but for many people quitting is the easy way out, and for some crazy reason, quitting is actually seen as the solution to the problem by default.
Whatever your circumstances are I’d rather see you fight than quit. Don’t let that boss, customer, sales prospect, or whatever drag you down. Fight back with attitude. You can do it.

You miss 100% of the shots you never take. So take that shot anyway, and manage your expectations to avoid a sense of disappointment and frustration later on. You have two choices to make everyday; either you’re going to allow ‘it’ to get to you, or YOU are going to go out and get ‘it’. Even in the face of possible defeat you should take pride and give yourself credit for at least trying. That’s how winners think.

So, for those of you feeling down, and perhaps feeling a bit defeated, let me suggest that you should not let the negative get the better of you. Easier said than done I understand, but still, are you going to allow circumstances beyond your control make you feel worthless? I certainly hope not. You are better than that.
It’s far better to go down swinging than take no swing at all. Consider this, right now there is someone somewhere that would benefit from your product or service, and it’s up to you to go and find them. Customers are waiting for your call, so it’s just a matter of making the effort, and realizing that sooner or later someone is going to buy your product, or hire you. Make that call…

Consider this – the plight of Thomas Edison as he tried to invent the incandescent light bulb:
When asked about failure Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” “Great success is built on failure, frustration, even catastrophe.”

Now get out there and make it a great day!

Mastering First Impressions…

March 5, 2014

first-impression-1cpq5ujIn a broadcast of ABC World News Tonight that aired back in February 2004, I learned of a study that Tufts University had conducted that studied how quickly people can draw a first impression conclusion about someone.

What you will read below is a summary of a study about how quickly people, including prospects, can draw a first impression conclusion about someone else in about 2-5 seconds. There’s no margin for error with first impressions.

What we should learn from the study is that before we make a cold call, or any call to a prospect or customer, salespeople should seriously consider the first impression they are giving to their prospects in the opening 2-10 seconds of any cold call. One misspoken word, or the weak sound of your voice can create the wrong first impression, so you have to be careful what you say and how you speak to sales prospects if you want to avoid creating the wrong first impression of yourself and hurt your chances of success. Read on…

ImageQuick Encounters, Lasting Impressions

Nalini AmbadyResearch by a Tufts psychologist indicates that humans can form a lasting impression of another person after just a few-second glimpse.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [02-17-04] Political candidates, job seekers and public figures take note: first impressions count – and they may be made a lot faster than most people think, according to a Tufts psychologist’s research. In an interview with ABC News, Tufts’ Nalini Ambady said humans can make a lasting judgment about someone after seeing their face for just a few seconds.

“Human brains, says professor Ambady, can decide a lot in [just a few] seconds,” reported ABC News. “So quick impressions matter.”

Ambady proved the point in a unique experiment she designed to test the power of brief encounters.

“She asked students to come to a classroom where she showed them short videos [10 seconds long, without sound] of teachers they’d never met,” reported ABC. “Then the students were asked to rate the teachers in a variety of categories.”

Ambady compared the results with course evaluations submitted by students who took a course from the professors over a full semester.

The results, Ambady told ABC News, were startling.

“Students who saw professors for 10 seconds gave the exact same ratings as students who knew them for months,” reported the news report.

Ambady shortened the clip from 10 seconds to just two seconds in a similar experiment and achieved the same result.

“There was very little difference [in their evaluations],” the associate professor told ABC News. “It was amazing.”

During just a brief encounter (“It passes by fast,” Ambady jokes), humans can make what appear to be quick, but lasting, judgments. The roots of the phenomena may date back to earlier, more primitive times.

“From pre-historic times, we have evolved to look at faces and make snap judgments – is he going to hurt me? Is he going to help me?” reported ABC News. “Even the briefest glimpse makes an impression – a bigger impression than you know.”

I Found My Trumpet On A Cold Call…

January 30, 2014

Pete Promo 4You’ll be amazed by the opportunities you’ll find on the other end of the telephone if you are willing to turn the door knob, or make that cold call. Every time you shy away from making a cold call you are cheating yourself out of a true adventure, and perhaps the experience of a lifetime.

Several years ago I was selling a middle office trade management software product to Tier 1 financial institutions. One of my target prospects was Credit-Suisse. They have a huge office in downtown New York on Madison Avenue & 21st Street. I found the name and phone number of the managing director of fixed income trading, and made my cold call.

My prospect and I struck up a good conversation that led to a closed sales appointment on the calendar.

As I was confirming the sales appointment to the calendar I went through the usual process of confirming the phone number, and getting e-mail information so that I could send a calendar invite. As I gave my prospect my phone number he recognized the area code, and asked if I was from Long Island. I said yes, and then he followed up with a question, and asked whether I liked music. I most certainly do, I replied, and that’s when he told me that he played in a band, and that they were playing a concert in Rockville Centre near where I lived. So, we decided to have our scheduled sales meeting at a local pub – a first for me in 25 years of selling.

A couple of weeks later we met for lunch, and it was over lunch that I mentioned that I wished I was in a band, and said that it looked fun. I had played trumpet since grammar school, and all through high school, but never touched the horn again after graduation. My prospect told me that he knew of a retired music teacher that gave trumpet lessons, and gave me his number. So, off I went to the Sam Ash music store, bought a trumpet on display in the window, and scheduled my first lesson. That was 7 years ago…

To make a very, very long story short, after 7 years of taking trumpet lessons and plenty of practice, I look back and can hardly believe what one single cold call to a prospect has done for me.

Upon learning to play the trumpet I started volunteering to sound Taps at U.S. veteran’s internment cemeteries with a military honor guard.

I made a guest appearance with Sean Hannity on Fox News, and also played my horn on TV in a Showtime Networks documentary.

A big day for me was when I played ceremonial Taps with the United States Marine Corps. at the Pentagon in Washington D.C.

I now play trumpet with a full orchestra, am a member of a brass quartet, play in an 18-piece Big Band orchestra, and have marched in parades down 5th Avenue in New York City.

I know prospecting stinks, and you’d rather do anything else but make a cold call to a prospect. Think again! Something great can happen to you on a cold call. Look what happened to me! Chart a course for a new adventure – make that call!

US Navy Honor GuardWith the U.S. Navy Honor Guard – Annapolis, MD

The Problem With Gatekeepers

January 24, 2014

Cartoon 1The one question I get asked most often by salespeople is, “How do I get past the gatekeeper“? I usually ask in return, “Why do you talk to gatekeepers in the first place“? With so many options available to salespeople in the information age to get direct dial numbers, and the opportunity to call prospects early morning (0800) or late afternoon (after 5:30), I’m surprised that the ‘Gatekeeper Screen’ continues to be a problem for salespeople around the world.

Gatekeepers have a job to do, and we should respect them for that, but that aside, they remain an obstacle to salespeople that desperately want to make contact with decision-makers. To help us all understand why the gatekeeper remains an obstacle, let’s take an closer look at the role of the gatekeeper in modern times.

The Attention Economy
We are living in a new era called The Attention Economy. The Internet age has created the Attention Economy, and it delivers to us an overwhelming abundance of things we pay attention to on any given day. Take a look at the sheer volume of information coming at you on a daily basis in the form of e-mails, text messages, and tweets. With so much information in play there simply isn’t enough time to pay attention to it all. Under the weight of so much information sales prospects can only skim the surface in terms of interpreting all the information that comes their way, and they are very quick to discard anything that doesn’t meet their standards for being attention worthy. Consider this, if sales prospects paid in-depth attention to every piece of information coming at them in all forms, chances are they would never get anything done.
Like attention and money, anything that is in high demand and in short supply increases in value. It shouldn’t surprise you that attention in general is in very short supply, and as such, attention is treated  like currency by decision-makers. For many sales prospect’s, their attention has become so valuable that they actually need a guard (gatekeeper) outside their office door in order to protect their attention from being stolen by others, and that of course includes cold calling salespeople.

Gatekeepers Are ‘Human Attention Filters’
Because of the enormous value of their bosses attention, gatekeepers are constantly on guard against any threat to the theft of their superior’s attention. That’s why you are constantly asked about the purpose, or to explain the nature of your call. Upon hearing something that sounds like a sales call the gatekeeper defaults to asking you to send information, or tells you that the boss is in a meeting. (Yeah right…)
Gatekeepers know how to play the game. If you want proof of this, have a listen to any of the recorded interviews I’ve conducted with real live gatekeepers on the telephone.
On these recordings I candidly ask gatekeepers to reveal their tricks of the trade. I ask how they know it’s a sales call? What are the tell tale signs that a salesperson is cold calling? And finally, what do you say to salespeople to screen their calls? The information they share may, or may not surprise you. One thing is for certain in the Attention Economy, veteran gatekeepers know a sales call right away when they hear one.

What to do about Gatekeepers?
There’s no simple answer to the question about how to handle the gatekeeper screen. Some experts say that you should befriend the gatekeeper, and make her your ally. In principal I agree. On the other hand I think with so many ways to avoid the gatekeeper altogether I suggest doing whatever it takes to make direct contact with your prospect. Either call them very early, or stick around the office and try prospects between 5:30-6:00 PM, or even later. Some of the best sales appointments I’ve ever set have been with chief executives that answer their own phone around 6:00 PM.
I will also go as far as to suggest that if you call your prospect and the gatekeeper won’t put your call through, that you should simply say “thank you”, and say that you will call again later. There’s no need for you to suffer through 20-questions, and still wind up having to leave a message that will never be returned. In some cases you might want to consider saying that you have the wrong number and apologize. With gatekeepers in The Attention Economy, why subject yourself to a zero sum game with very little chance of a positive outcome?

That’s my take on things with gatekeepers. What are your thoughts? I’d like to know…

Cold Calling is NOT Forever (Thank God!)

January 13, 2014

Sun_peeking_through_the_cloudsIf you are a salesperson that makes cold calls I need not tell you that it is the hardest part of the profession. Calling complete strangers and trying to make sense and command attention is no easy task. It is also an activity wrought with failure. However, if you can find a way to ‘stomach’ the effort your chances of succeeding in business are much better than someone that never, or hardly ever cold calls. If you really want to succeed bad enough, you’ll find a way to put up with the mundane dialing that telephone everyday. The pain of failure is far worse than the pain associated with trying to succeed.
Here’s some good news – cold calling is not forever! While cold calling is generally a required task for new salespeople starting in their careers, over time ‘rookie’ salespeople should find themselves not having to do much cold calling at all – there will come a time when there should be more emphasis placed on networking and working off referrals. It will take some time, but it will happen.
For now, think of cold calling as an investment. You are putting the time and effort into the process (paying your dues). While you are working at making calls you should be keeping track of everyone you come in contact with and store it away for future reference. Also, it makes sense to connect with as many people as you possibly can through your LinkedIn profile. Keep in mind that it’s one thing to connect on LinkedIn, and another to have a real working connection with someone. So, only connect with the people you feel can do you some real good, or have a specific relevance to your business, or career. Additionally, you should keep an open mind to returning the favor. As you reach out to people on LinkedIn about getting referrals, you should let it be known to your LinkedIn contacts that you are more than willing to reciprocate. What goes around comes around, right?
I am reminded of Zig Ziglar’s book, Secrets of Closing the Sale. In his book Zig explains that if you help enough people get what they want, and put their needs ahead of yours, that people will help you get more of what you want. Manage your networking efforts like a ‘pay it forward’ system.
If you are frustrated with cold calling I feel for you. Dialing the phone can wear you down, and burn you out. To avoid burnout try to think of prospecting more objectively. Think of cold calling as an investment you are making now for the freedom of not having to cold call later on in your career. It is an investment well worth making on all levels. Just do it!

Most importantly, don’t let the ‘turkeys‘ get you down. There is a brighter side to cold calling that can actually make the experience bearable. Want proof? Listen to any of my recorded gold calls on Who says you can’t have any fun on a cold call? Not me…