How to Avoid a Wasted Call

woman-looking-at-cell-phone-tnA successful first call requires planning and preparation.  That takes time.

And it is amazing how few business people make the time to follow-up after the initial contact with a prospect or customer.

The first call is wasted if there is no follow up.

In the last few months, I can think of at least two different situations where there was no follow up.

One was a bank where I have a personal account and the bank manager suggested that I transfer my business account to his bank. He said he would call to schedule an appointment. He never followed up.

Another was a piano store where I said I was interested in one specific piano and “someone” was going to contact me to follow up.

No one ever did.

This caused me to wonder:

Why don’t people follow-up?  I believe there are several reasons.

One reason for lack of follow up:  They don’t want to appear pushy.

It may be true that following up too frequently will come across as being pushy. We can cross that line by making too many calls in a short period of time.

Another reason for sales reps not following up:  They forget.

It’s easy to forget, considering how busy we are. We may have every intention of calling our prospect but we get caught up with unexpected problems we didn’t anticipate.

We find ourselves spending more time in meetings and stuck in traffic, and because we didn’t schedule the follow-up, it doesn’t get done.

This is a common dilemma but one that can be avoided by considering the follow-up like a scheduled appointment.

Lack of follow up is where a sale can die.

If you’re going to schedule a follow-up call, get a commitment of some type.

Anytime you plan on calling back, especially if you have given them something like a price quote or a proposal, find out what’s going to happen next.

After sending information to a prospect, one way to begin a follow-up call is with enthusiasm:

“After we spoke last Wednesday, I sent you the information we talked about and I’ve been looking forward to getting some feedback from you.”

Then wait to hear a response.

What NOT to say during a follow-up call:

  • “Did you get the information I sent?”
  • “Did you look at the catalog?”
  • “I’m just calling to make sure you got the price list I sent you.”

Reason NOT to ask the questions above?

It’s too easy for the prospect to say “no” or “I didn’t have time to look at it” and that will be the end of the conversation.

Just go on to discuss whatever you were planning to discuss if they HAD received or looked at the information you sent.

Following up works!

People who need to be convinced generally don’t buy until after the seventh contact. Most sales reps stop at two!

A great way to learn how to successfully plan your day and increase your sales:

Join my 4-week once a week sales training and coaching e-Course.

BTA Educational discounts apply for this course!

Your Easiest Break-Up Ever

break_up_advice-tnWhen I saw this headline in the local newspaper, it almost seemed to jump off the page.

It was a small ad in the bottom right-hand corner of the page.

The headline immediately captured my attention, curiosity and interest.

I wondered what it was all about.

Three Seconds to Grab Attention

If the headlines in your emails, direct-mail letters, newpapers or flyers are under-performing, then it is costing you sales.

No doubt about it.

When selling products or services by email, direct mail or on the Internet you have about three seconds to make your point or lose the reader.

The headline in this ad was such a great attention- getter that I immediately read the ad then clipped it out of the newspaper.

Capturing Attention

In this ad there was a photograph of a young, attractive blonde woman next to the headline.

But I had no idea what product the ad was supposed to be selling.

The headline made me curious, so I HAD to read the ad copy and it was good – it also explained the wording in the headline.

You could actually change the text a bit and use it for any type of product or service.

This was the text:

“Your hair deserves the best.  It should not have to settle.
If your current stylist doesn’t get your hair or takes it for granted . . .
it is time to move on.”

After that paragraph, a telephone number was listed, along with the name of a local beauty shop.

So, how do you create a GREAT headline if you are not a professional copywriter?
Glad you asked :-)

Five Tips to Writing Great Headlines

Five tips that will empower you to write a great headline today.

1.   Make your headline short.

Five to seven words works very well. You can be more expansive in the sub-head, once you have your visitors’ attention.

2.   Use a question as your headline.

The point of your headline is to get people to stop long enough to read the rest of the message or consider your site. Asking a question is a great way to do this, if you ask the right question.  HINT: The right question is always one that can be answered by your product.

3.   Be clear.

Tell the reader exactly how your product will help them.

(There are exceptions. Although this “Break-up” headline was not clear, it made me curious enough to read the entire ad.)

4.   Use a “number of steps” formula.

If your product will solve a problem in a certain number of steps, say so. People love simple solutions to their problems.

Or . . . use a “number of ways” formula. Use this instead of a number of steps.

5.   In an advertisement, a good headline takes up 50% of the ad space.

Print ads should have enough white space surrounding the headline to make it a clean and obvious central focus point.

Want some help?  Join my private one-to-one e-Course and I will help you create attention-getting ads and emails!

How to Fire the Nightmare Client

ALLIGATOR_0-tnThe customer is always right?
Maybe not.

If you have ever had an annoying, troublesome, impossible-to-please client, you are not alone.

Has This Happened to You?

It was not easy.

You worked long and hard to win this large account. At first you were happy with your success.

But it turned into a nightmare.

You delivered as promised. You delivered what they said they wanted.

You provided top-quality products – fast – and world- class service.

But the client turned out to be impossible to work with.

And they were always late paying their bills.

What do you do if this customer provides a large part of your revenue?

Is it Worth the Cost to You?

Your stomach is in knots every time you have to deal with this client.

Their treatment of you and your company is almost abusive.

Is this account worth the grief they cause you?

One company in Pennsylvania decided that life was too short to suffer with an abusive client.

Employee morale was suffering. “It is very important that employees not be abused by clients,” said this business owner.

Diplomacy is Critical

One way to make sure you fire with diplomacy is not to let the situation deteriorate to the point where the situation becomes very unpleasant.

Words to Use

Dismissing a client is a delicate issue.

It needs to be done carefully so that you and your company won’t be bad-mouthed to would-be customers.

Here are the words used by one business owner when he fired an abusive client:

“I’m not getting you the results you want and it doesn’t make sense to continue.
I would rather part as friends and let’s move on.”

Firing a troublesome customer is a luxury that some cannot afford.

But if a business owner has to choose between an abusive client or keeping good employees, the choice becomes very clear.

Get more good tips like this.

One Question Gets the Attention of Frazzled Prospects

person-dialing-phone-tnWouldn’t it be nice if you could get your foot in the door with your first call to a busy prospect?

Nice, but rarely ever happens.

Your prospects are getting phone calls from everyone else who sells the same products and services.

Let’s face it:

Your prospects and customers are crazy busy and they don’t have time to listen to everyone who tries to pitch to them.

To get some of our prospects’ precious time, we need to spread multiple contacts out over time – sometimes 10 or 12 contacts before we get the opportunity to make a presentation and ask the right questions.

And when we DO get their attention, we need to demonstrate that we know what we’re talking about and can provide the solutions that will solve their problems.

There is one specific question you can ask that will let your prospect know that:

  •  You have the experience and knowledge they need.
  • You have provided solutions to companies similar to their own
  • You are different (in a good way) from your competitors

The attention-getting question below is included in the book “Snap Selling,” written by best-selling author Jill Konrath.

“You already know that if you ask questions, your prospects will see you as more competent and caring, but you may not realize that some questions are better than others.

“Plain vanilla questions such as ‘What are your objectives for the coming year?’ or ‘What are your primary problems’ can be asked by any reasonably trained seller without much knowledge or experience.

“However, if you want to get to the Go Zone, you need to take your questioning skills to a whole new level.  More specific questions demonstrate your expertise.”

The Intelligent, Specific Question

To start a real conversation with prospects, ask this one brilliant question (customize for your specific products):

“Mr. Prospect, in working with other companies who were making copier decisions, I find that they’re typically concerned with 4 very basic criteria:  ease of operation, flexibility, reliability and quality.  Can you tell me which of these factors is most important to you and why?”

“See how you can bring in your experience?  This question leverages your expertise and will be more likely to start a conversation than “plain vanilla questions.”

 _    _    _    _    _

Dear Reader:  You CAN get attention plus build trust and credibility with prospects during your first call.  When they know you, like you and trust you, prospects are more likely to buy from you.  My one-to-one private e-course is designed specifically for your situation to get the results you want.  Take a look at what my favorite clients say about working with me  then contact me and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours. I look forward to helping you achieve your sales goals!

– Ann


The Worst Ever Voice Mail Messages and What to Say Instead

Some voice mail messages are unbelievable.Annoyed-woman-on-phone

You may have received one or two of these unbelievable messages.

Like the person who is eating while leaving the message.

Or someone who is chewing gum.  Not sure which is worse.

Then, the worst:

A sales rep making a cold call who actually yawned while reading (yes, reading) his voice mail message. True.

This voice mail was so shocking, I played it over and over again to make sure he really was yawning.   He was.

Two more voice mail mistakes:

1.)    Leaving only a name and number for a call back.

Some may think that not leaving a company name is an attention getter. But if the prospect returns the call and realizes it is a salesperson trying to sell something, this tactic will leave a negative impression.

There goes that first impression :-(

When leaving a message on voice mail, be sure it offers a hint of a benefit/result that sparks curiosity, but does not talk about your products or services.

2.) Saying “I’ve left 3 other voice mail messages for you and haven’t heard back from you.”  

(Otherwise known as “how to annoy a client.“)

There is a MUCH better way to get your point across and motivate the listener to return your call.

This is an example of a third or fourth voice-mail message you can leave (tactfully) for the client who did NOT return your calls:


“Hello [customer’s name]. This is [your name] at [your telephone

number] calling from [your company]. I’m sorry we’ve

been unable to connect, but I want to let you know that [time sensitive

benefit, i.e., “sale ends on the 30th of this month”] and I

would hate to see you miss out on this opportunity. Please call

me at [your telephone number.]”

You can get more voice mail scripts in my e-book Voice Mail Tips and Scripts on this page .

Better yet:

Join me for a private one-to-one coaching and training e-course designed specifically for you and your situation.  Contact me  and I’ll get back to you within 24 hours. I would love to hear from you!

Come on in!

- Ann

p.s.  Learn why clients don’t return calls on this page