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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Three Essential Actions in Approaching a Whale of a Prospect

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Today we have a guest post from Sherrie Roberts. Sherrie has been crushing sales goals and breaking records for over 20 years from local broadcast to national networks and rep firms. Serving in roles as salesperson, sales manager, General Manager and Founder.


It’s tempting to approach all prospects with the same strategies and tactics—it’s much easier and quicker to use a “one-size-fits-all” approach. But no two prospects are the same, especially the big ones. 

I’ve had several opportunities to earn the business of “whales.” Two of those were company record breakers, and a few were against all odds. These experiences had three common traits that stood apart from the rest. 

Topics: Setting Appointments Sales

Three Essential (Often-Overlooked) Metrics Sales Managers Should Track for Better Performance

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I surely hear a lot of talk these days about success in setting new-business appointments. Sales managers often say with a degree of pride, “Our team set 28 appointments last week.” Or, “We had a very good appointment-setting session and got 31 new appointments in only two hours.”

These numbers are impressive, and the logical sequence of events from there would be a steady increase in new business volume. But, too often, when those new business metrics come in, the cause and effect doesn’t exist. New business does not spike as one would expect after four straight weeks of appointment setting. 

So, what is wrong?

Topics: Setting Appointments Sales

"Follow Up Next Week" Does Not Mean You Have an Appointment

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One of the leading indicators for sales success is to look at the number of appointments that a salesperson has each week. (This is not the only leading indicator that you should be looking at, but it is one of them.) The idea is that if a salesperson has a significant amount of appointments each week which involve finding needs, getting assignments, presenting solutions, or delivering a proposal, that this quality sales activity will lead to good solid revenue performance.  

I think it’s fair to say that everyone in sales or in sales management would agree with this, so I’m not really going out on a limb having made that statement. But here is where I think there might be a flaw. I think many salespeople are confusing "I'll follow up with you next week" with "I have an appointment." To be clear, "I’ll follow up with you next week" does not mean you have an appointment.

Topics: Setting Appointments Sales

3 Things Every Successful Seller Should Have

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Three of the best things you can have as a salesperson are also the three things that seem the most difficult to get ahold of. Referrals, testimonials and case studies have all helped a salesperson at one time or another either get a great first appointment, or to help set appropriate expectations. But, I still get asked time and time again how one can go about getting more referrals, testimonials or case studies. The challenge is, you, as the salesperson, are the only one who can make any of this happen!

Topics: referrals case studies Setting Appointments sales strategy Sales

20 Seconds of Insane Courage will Transform Your Sales Performance

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Have you seen the movie We Bought a Zoo? It's a good movie and based on a true story. Matt Damon, who stars in the movie and plays Benjamin Mee, is talking to his son about how it only takes 20 seconds of insane courage to make something happen. 

Topics: Setting Appointments Sales

The Media Salesperson’s Appointment Dilemma

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Media salespeople struggle now more than ever to secure quality appointments with prospects that might actually be ready, willing, and able to do business. The fact is that media salespeople are typically at their best when they are in front of a prospect, finding needs, and selling solutions. The challenge is that most media salespeople, after spending many frustrating hours cold calling, only find themselves going on one or two quality appointments a week. The system is broken and it must be fixed before even the most talented sellers will see better results.   

Topics: Setting Appointments Sales media

Let’s Get Real About How Many Contacts It Takes To Get An Appointment

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There certainly is a lot banter these days about how many contacts a salesperson must make in order to secure an appointment. We all know it takes more than 2 or 3 calls, but how many does it really take and why?

Topics: Setting Appointments Sales

Make Your First Impression Your Best Impression

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There was a post on LinkedIn recently about the importance of making a good first impression. The post focused on professional men in beautiful, well-tailored suits, smiling, making excellent eye contact, and shaking hands. Surely there must be more than that.

First impressions are frequently discussed in the context of business meetings. Is it an important first meeting for a job interview? Or is it the first meeting with a client to conduct a needs analysis? It doesn’t matter what the situation, since memorable impressions are critical to both.

Topics: Setting Appointments salespeople

Think Spring! A Sales Strategy to Nurture Leads

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Lead nurturing is a bit like gardening. Most often leads or new business prospects are not ready to buy immediately. If you take the time to nurture the leads you generate now, they will bloom like daffodils in the spring.

Topics: Setting Appointments new business development lead generation Sales

When Approaching Prospects You Probably Give Up Way Too Soon

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So, what is the line between persistent and pest when it comes to securing appointments? Two calls? Three calls? Six? When have you crossed the line between getting noticed and risking arrest for stalking? Well, a national study published in the Harvard Business Review recommends at least six approaches. After six approaches is when 90% of appointments are set. So, how many salespeople make six approaches? About 4%. Yes, 4%. The majority of salespeople give up after two. To put that into perspective, making six contacts will give you a 70% increase in new appointments. Would that change your life?

So, why are so many approaches necessary? Think about your own life. Are you busy? Yes. If I am approaching you for an appointment, do you know about my company? Probably not. What do you know about me? Likely nothing, except you know I want to sell you something. What do you know about my track record in helping people like you? OK, so I have a job to do.  And, so do you. 

The numbers are very compelling but you also have to think about how to communicate your concern for indivduals as customers, the expertise you and your company bring to the table, and your problem-solving capabilities. We recommend you follow these steps: 

Topics: Setting Appointments Sales sales process