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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Selling Techniques for Getting that First Appointment

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You called. Left a message. "Maybe they're busy," you think. Or, "maybe they just don't return calls." Perhaps it's neither of these. Maybe it's on you.

Maybe you just haven't given them a compelling enough reason to call you back.

If you want people to call you back, you need to give them a reason. If the reason you are providing is something along the lines of, "I have a really great idea to share with you," then you sound just like the other 25 calls they've received.

Your prospect doesn't want your ideas. They want solutions to their problems.

Topics: Setting Appointments sales strategy Sales

A Few Simple Probes Can Prevent You From Missing Critical Information

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As a sales manager and a sales consultant, I have witnessed literally thousands of sales calls with competent and hard-working salespeople—professionals who have done their homework on the prospect, prepared thought-provoking questions that make it obvious they know something about the prospect’s business, and who pose questions with a genuine interest in hearing the answers. Sometimes it is magical and they help the prospect clarify a specific problem that needs to be addressed or an opportunity on which they would really like to capitalize. And, sometimes, all they do is get their questions answered and move on. Too bad. 

What makes the difference between an interactive conversation that engages the prospect and one that is rote and turns into simply an information-gathering exercise? Follow up questions. Good follow up questions are never scripted. Good follow up questions show you were listening, that you are interested, and that you really need to learn more about the headline the prospect has just shared. Some simple open probes can reveal a lot of context and detail you need to know about a problem or opportunity—information you will probably never get if you simply move on to your next beautifully-crafted question. For example:

  •  That’s interesting. Tell me why you say that.
  • What do you mean by that? 
  • Really? Tell me more about that.
Topics: successful sales meetings Sales

10 Things You Can Do To Increase Your Conversion Rate In The Next 10 Minutes + More

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We hope you've had a great week! It's Friday, and today we're sharing what we've been reading online this week! Here are our "best" from around the web.

110 Things You Can Do To Increase Your Conversion Rate In The Next 10 Minutes — Sleeknote

Conversion funnels are complex. There are lots of pieces that need to be moved to create a system that consistently turns web visitors into leads and leads into customers. But opportunity lies in each element: landing pages, form fields, design, copy, etc. If you make some small tweaks to optimize these individual elements, guess what happens? They will come together to create a leaner and more efficient conversion funnel. Here are 10 key steps that will take you about 10 minutes each to implement.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Curiosity Killed the Cat, but Saved the Sales Rep

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Have you ever noticed how many questions little kids ask? Every parent has a story to tell about the funny or embarrassing questions their kids have asked at the most inopportune times, all those occasions their child has scrunched up their little face and asked, “Why is Grandma so wrinkly?" or "Why do we have to go to school every day?" or "Why do I have to eat those gross green things?” If you don’t take control of the conversation, the third degree can go on indefinitely—because the curiosity in children is limitless!

Somewhere on the journey from childhood to adult professional, though, much of that unfettered curiosity gets left behind. I would argue that we have become a society of head-nodders where people are often afraid they’ll look dense if they ask a question. You’ve seen it—people nodding in agreement, as if they completely understand, when you are certain they don’t. Their fear of losing the respect of others actually keeps them from learning. 

As we grow up, we naturally become more self-conscious, so much of this may be related to those normal insecurities. Or, who knows, maybe all those times our parents said, "Stop asking so many questions!" curbed a bit of our inquisitiveness. Or maybe expressions like "curiosity killed the cat" have actually impacted our innate desire to pry.

Topics: new business development Needs Analysis Sales

Why You Should Be Using Your Content to Build Social Proof + More

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We hope you've had a great week! It's Friday, and today we're sharing what we've been reading online this week! Here are our "best" from around the web.

1Why You Should Be Using Your Content to Build Social Proof — Convince and Convert

Consumers have come to trust the opinions of their peers or other online experts far more than brands. Here are three tips on how you can establish valuable social proof.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

Close More Deals and Build Long-term Customers Using a No-surprise Proposal

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Surprises are fun when they are part of a birthday; not so much when they are involved in selling. Salespeople should do their due diligence to minimize surprises during the sales process, especially when presenting and closing proposals.

Salespeople can improve their closing ratio and improve customer results using a no-surprise proposal (NSP) technique by clarifying these five things before they build and present a proposal:

Topics: Proposal Sales

4 Simple Ways to Capture Client Testimonials

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We all know how powerful testimonials and success stories are as a tool to open doors with prospects who don’t know you yet. But, capturing such information has traditionally been time consuming and difficult. How many times has a client promised to write a testimonial letter for you and then never did it? It's usually not because your client is insincere; more likely they just got too busy with other things that were a higher priority. Besides, who writes letters today anyway?

Topics: customer satisfaction referrals Sales

This Is How To Actually Work Smarter, Not Harder + More

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We hope you've had a great week! It's Friday, and today we're sharing what we've been reading online this week! Here are our "best" from around the web.

1.This Is How To Actually Work Smarter, Not Harder — Fast Company

Here are eight unexpected (and counterintuitive) ways to squeeze more out of your workday.

Topics: inbound marketing Sales Wrap-up

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Rely on Your Sales Team to Generate Leads

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One of the first signs that a sales organization of a small company is growing and maturing is that they no longer rely on the sales team to generate leads. In the early stages of development, a new company requires that everyone “wear multiple hats”. Consequently, the salesperson usually plays the role of Chief Marketing Officer, Marketing Campaign Manager, and Business Development Specialist. It’s quite simple really—if the salesperson doesn't generate leads, no one will. But as an organization matures, the various Sales and Marketing disciplines should be divided as soon as possible. Not doing so simply makes achieving growth objectives more challenging and makes your life tougher than it needs to be.

Unfortunately, many organizations get stuck in this first stage of organizational development, and they continue to rely on the sales team to generate their own leads. Salespeople should really never stop prospecting. They should always be on the lookout for new business opportunities. But an organization that completely relies on Sales to generate leads are putting their growth objectives at risk. Below are three primary reasons why.

Topics: lead generation Sales sales and marketing alignment

10 Tips for Creating PowerPoint Presentations That Don’t Put Prospects to Sleep

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Slide presentations are supposed to help salespeople make sales. However, if they are poorly designed, slide presentations can drive sales away. A slow-moving, confusing, lackluster and lengthy PowerPoint is hard to endure — buyers will assume if they buy anything from you, they’ll be in for more of the same as long as the relationship continues.

On the other hand, an engaging and enlightening PowerPoint establishes you as efficient, expert, and tuned in to the customer’s needs. In other words, it will bring you closer to a sale. Here are 10 ways to make your presentations stand above the competition. 

Topics: Proposal Sales