Archive for March, 2010

The selling process and objection handlers

Stephan Scfiffman says there are four steps to an ideal selling process: Qualify/Open, Information, Presentation, and Close. After the initial greeting and qualifying step you reach a critical point where the prospect is likely try to drop out of the conversation. If you can turn that around you reach the information-gathering phase after which you may again encounter another critical point before the presentation stage where you recommend your product or service.

So how do you turn the response (e.g. not interested) at the critical point around? For a start learn from your experiences. The first time you are faced with a new objection it is understandable if you are not to sure how to respond; however take note of the point the prospect raised and later after your calls, work out the best way to respond to that sort of objection.

Objection!

I recommend you make a list of common objections and have prepared responses for them. Ask other sales people what they say or do when the objection is raised. Ask your colleagues, your sales manager and get a range of ways to respond. Then try them out and see which are more successful at turning the call around. Remember you can practice your script, practice responding to objections.

How do you keep track of the objections you encounter? Some people write the common objections on queue cards, flip charts or use an online knowledge base objection handler solution such as Acarda’s NowSayWhat.com service (www.NowSayWhat.com). What is your system? Can you give us an example of an objection you encounter and how you respond to it?

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Ask the “do” questions

I’ve been searching for a house to buy as a rental investment. I’ve looked at dozens of houses over the past few weeks and had four or five different real-estate agents show me round. Some of the agents ask me what I am looking for and listen to my reply. Others don’t even hear me and seem content to just show me their listings – now that’s a waste of their time and mine.

For Sale

It got me thinking about what makes a good sales person and who is more likely to close a deal with me. I think the best sales people are those that ask me questions and then listen to my answers.

Now if you use a script for telesales then that’s okay but a good sales person needs to ask questions so include appropriate questions as part of your script.

Rather than assuming you know what a prospect or customer “needs” you should ask them questions and engage them in a conversation. Stephan Schiffman talks about understanding the “do” of your prospect by finding out:

  • What they do,
  • How they do it,
  • Why they do it,
  • When they do it,
  • Where they do it,
  • Who they do it with, and
  • How we can help them to do it better.

The “do” is important because armed with that information you can make your presentation relevant to them. They will decide to buy your product or use your serve because it just makes sense to do so. Make it your goal to find out what your prospect is doing now before you tell them what they should be doing…

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Five ways you can increase your income

In Stephan Schiffman book, Telesales, he talks about the five ways you can increase your income. In my last blog I said that you needed to measure your dials, discussions, presentations, and number of sales.

Let’s say you track your calls and you have the following ratios. You make 15 dials in an hour, you typically have six discussions which result in three presentations and the final outcome is one sale. So how can you increase your income?

In theory you could double your income if you made twice the number of calls. But is this possible? It may surprise you that there are call management telemarketing dialers like our TeamMax and CallAssist tools that can double your productivity over manual dialling.

This is the main screen of the CallAssist Telemarketing Dialer.

Speaking to more decision-makers will also increase your income. By intelligently focusing your call backs, the time of the day you call people back, and using voice mail messaging strategically you can have discussions with more decision-makers.

Finding a way to have more decision-markers allow you to do presentations will also increase your sales. You could hone in on the “hooks” that make decision makers interested in learning more about your product or service. What makes anyone allow you to present to them? What catches their interest?

Now if your current ratio is one sale for every six discussions then if you could increase that ratio to say one sale for every five discussions that will increase your income. While that may not be as easy as it sounds if you can learn to close the presentation better maybe you can do this?

Finally you can increase your income by increasing the value of what you sell. That might be learning to promote the benefits of the advance edition of a product rather than defaulting to the standard edition all the time. Or maybe you can sell an extra product, an extended warranty or some other complementary service.

You don’t have to improve all five areas to increase your income but if you start monitoring your ratios and thinking about each of them you may be able to find some ways of gaining small increases which overall can significantly increase your outcomes.

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Ratios hour by hour

I stated in my last blog that telesales was a numbers game. But that isn’t really the whole story. In fact some experts would argue that selling is not a numbers game; it’s a ratios game. It’s about the ratio of dials you make to sales or appointments you set. The ratios tell you how productive you are and once you know your ratios you know how hard you need to work to achieve a desired result.

In Stephan Schiffman book, Telesales he talks about the five ways you can increase your income. We will look at these in the next blog but before you can do this you need to measure the following items: dials, discussions, presentations, and sales.

In this case a “dial” is the number of calls you make that get answered by someone. A “discussion” is when you have a conversation with someone who could actually buy the product or service from you. A “presentation” is what happens when you make a recommendation to a decision-maker and a “sale”, of course, is when someone buys your product or service.

It is a good idea to draw up columns with these headings on a piece of paper or in a notebook and then under the columns draw rows for each of the hours of your calling day. Now track your calls through the day with a tic mark in the appropriate column/hour. Do this for at least a few days if not a week or so. If you can, make it an on going habit to track these results.

One benefit of doing this is that you can see what hours during the day give you the best outcome. Do you see a recurring pattern? Are there certain times of the day where you have a higher number of presentations or sales? If so is it a reflection of the way you are working, or is it that the market you are calling has good and bad times to receive calls?

If you suspect you may not be performing so well at a certain time of the day think about ways to improve this. Perhaps recording your calls at different times of the day and then listening to them may give you some clues as to what needs changing.

Start tracking these statistics and in the next blog I will talk about how you can increase your income by knowing your ratios.

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