One Three-Letter Word can Derail a Sales Presentation

man-holding-hands-over-ears-medThis seems too simple to really make a difference.

Actually, it makes a very big difference.

There is one word, used in everyday conversation, which can derail an otherwise perfect sales presentation.

This one little word is often used when responding to an objection, but it can ruin everything else you say.

Words Matter

How quickly you capture a customer’s attention depends on how carefully you choose your words, according to Maura Schreier-Fleming, author of “Real-World Selling for Out of this World Results.”

Schreier-Fleming recommends staying away from one particular word.

Avoid This Word

“If a customer has a concern, our job as salespeople is to listen, to acknowledge and to hear that concern.

“Using the word ‘but‘ negates everything you’ve said before it,” warns Schreier-Fleming.

“What your customer hears is the disagreement that precedes an argument.”

Instead, first acknowledge the concern and follow with the word “and.”

For example, your customer might comment that the process you recommend sounds complicated.

You would respond:

“Yes, it is complicated and with our technical assistance . . . ”

Think about how much better the word “and” sounds – in the sentence above – instead of the word “but.”

Objection

“We are happy with our current vendor.”

When hearing this objection, some salespeople begin their response with “Yes, but we can offer you a lower price” or better quality products, or faster delivery, etc.

A more effective way to handle this objection is to use a soft-sell response without the word “but.”

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How to Use Bartering to Attract New Customers

One Virginia Beach business owner is using a successful form of bartering (and marketing) to add perceived value and attract new customers.

A good example of how he does it:

Barter System In September I took my car to the local CITGO station for some needed work. They have been taking care of my cars for years, with good results.

When the work was completed I checked out and paid the bill.

The receptionist gave me a piece of paper which read:

“Write a review about your service and we will reward you with a free hand car wash. Visit our website and click on the “Write Review” tab and tell us about our service. Stop in with review proof and receive your free hand car wash with an appointment.”

I made the time to write a good review and scheduled an appointment for the car wash.

On Saturday I took my car into the station for the free hand car wash and now my car is cleaner than ever except when it was brand new :)

The barter: A good online review in exchange for a free (needed) car wash.

The marketing: Good reviews add to the perceived value of the business and attract new customers.

Anyone looking online for where to have a car serviced in Virginia Beach will see dozens of positive reviews for this CITGO service station. A great way to attract new customers!

If you are looking for new marketing and/or bartering tactics, drop me a line. I have imaginative and workable ideas based on more than 20 years of experience and would love to hear from you!

6 Simple Tips to Get Your Calls Returned

Telephone-LondonThere is good news and bad news. First, the bad news. Recent marketing research has found that up to 40% of outbound calls made by salespeople end up in voice mail :(

After talking with hundreds of Weekly Sales Tips subscribers, I have learned that number is actually closer to 50% or 60%. And . . . most voice mail messages left by sales reps are not returned. (Very discouraging for salespeople.) This was especially true because of last winter’s fierce snowstorms resulting in traffic problems and empty offices.

Now the good news – yes there is good news!

We may need to dial more numbers, but we CAN get our calls returned. Read what Steve Sheffield in Vancouver, Washington wrote:

“I jotted down a short voice mail message to leave for a customer I have called 4 times in the last 2 weeks with no reply and she called me back the next day!

More about Steve’s voice mail success later.

Think about this: The first goal of a voice mail message is to get the call returned or, ultimately to result in a live conversation, so . .

. . . . Get Rid of Wimpy Words! Forget about leaving those wishy-washy messages like “please call me back if you have any questions.” Wimpy words with no call to action do not get results.

What action do you want them to take?

1.) Know what you want as a result of your voice mail message. 6 Simple Tips To Get Your Calls ReturnedWrite down in one sentence what action you want the listener to take.

2.) Organize your message so that you state the most important and attention-getting information first, since you may be cut off at any time. Include BENEFITS for the listener.

3.) Speak clearly and not too quickly. Pronounce your first and last name clearly, spelling your name if people may not recognize your name. The person you are calling could become annoyed if they have to spend time replaying the message because they could not understand it.

4.) State your telephone number twice: once at the beginning of your message – after your name and company name – and again at the end of the message. This makes it easier for the prospect to return your call.

5.) Be a name dropper. (This great tip is from urbachletter.com)

If somebody referred you, that person’s name should be one of the first things out of your mouth, even before you fully ID yourself: “Jane, I was referred to you by Barney Rubble. This is Fred …” Starting off this way will ensure your entire message will get listened to. If you don’t have a known person’s name to use, the next best thing is to reference an organization you have in common: “I’m also a member of the Bedrock Chamber of Commerce …”

6.) Prepare and rehearse your voice mail message. Reason: If you leave a bad message, you’re stuck with it, and . . . your voice message is being recorded and can be forwarded to others.

As promised, more about Steve Sheffield’s voice mail success:

“Ann, thank you for what I would consider the best ROI percentage that I have ever experienced in 18 years. I downloaded your books and read just 3 pages in your Voicemail Tips, jotted down a short message to leave for a customer I have called 4 times in the last 2 weeks with no reply and she called me back the next day!” – Steve Sheffield, Southwest Office Systems Vancouver, Washington

5 Cold Calling Mistakes

Watching a business associate listening to a cold call prompted this article.

When the phone rang, he picked it up and listened.  After what seemed like 30 minutes of listening (it was probably only five minutes, but still too long) he finally said: “I don’t need any” and hung up.

Whoever phoned him was obviously just reading a script and talking about whatever products he wanted to sell.  Borrrring. :(

5 Cold Calling Mistakes + Tips to Keep the Prospect Interested

Mistake #1. Not researching the prospect and business you are calling.

Tip:  Do some research on the prospect and her/his company before you call.

Spending a few minutes on research will yield big results.

Otherwise s/he will know that you are just “smiling and dialing” randomly.

It’s so simple these days to obtain good solid information on a prospect prior to picking up the phone.

Google the prospect’s name or check LinkedIn.com and you can get really useful information.

Mistake #2. Not Asking questions.

Tip:  If you take the time to ask questions to find out what the prospect needs and what is important to her, you will get honest answers.

If you don’t bother to ask these questions, how can you uncover needs and pains?

How can you try to sell something when you don’t even know what the prospect needs or wants?

Without asking questions, it sounds like you’re just in it for the sale, your quota and your paycheck.

Asking questions the right way prompts a conversation instead of a monologue.

Open-ended questions keep the prospect on the phone with you longer. It works like magic.

Mistake #3. Not Listening to answers.

Tip: If the prospect has something to share, stop talking long enough to listen.

Really listen, don’t just hear the words.

Mistake #4. Don’t say you “will be in the area.”

There is nothing worse than hearing those words from a cold caller.

That sales technique went out in the 80′s.

It is one of the fastest, most effective ways to induce a hang-up in record-breaking time and shut down the call.

Tip:  Be honest and ask to set up an appointment if there is any interest.

Mistake #5. Not using the prospect’s name.

There’s no sweeter music to the ears for most people than the sound of their own name.

Tip:  Don’t use his name too often because you will sound like a pushy sales person.

Remember that we are all subconsciously conditioned to respond with openness to our name and a question.

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