for Sales Professionals & Industry Leaders
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9 Ways to turn call reluctance into call excitement

Take the pain out of cold calling

In the last issue we:

6. Determine if you are best served by making qualifying calls or sales calls to qualified people. Run the numbers! Do cost benefit. Find out if you can farm out qualifying and, if so, how much will it cost? Ask some providers of appointment setting or qualifying to give you a guaranteed return. You guarantee your products and services, don't you?

7. Look at mechanics. Look at process! How many keystrokes? How many things are flow charted and how many are templated? How many decisions do reps have to make? How many areas can you simplify decisions in, while still being effective, and take the pain away? This customer acquisition process, even if perfectly designed, will have pain! The less pain the more eager to call. The more eager to call, the more calls! The more effective calls, the more sales.

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Final Two Points

8-Managers-set good expectations for your reps. This could be the single most important contract you make as a leader.

Sales Representatives-Don't stop reading. The expectations you set for yourself will have the greatest impact on your happiness of anything that you do. Properly set expectations, delivered in the right way, create amazing results.

Example. Years ago the Air Force Academy tried an experiment. They pulled two different instructors in. They told instructor A: "You may not share this with anyone, especially not your students or other instructors. We have given you a gifted class. These are the best of the best-great students, smart, high-achievers"

Instructor B was told: "Sorry, but we gave you a tough row to hoe this year. Your students aren't the best of what we have. They barely cut it. You are not allowed, under any circumstances, to let your students or other faculty know this."

At the end of the term the two classes' grades were compared. As you would expect, the "gifted" class did much better than the other, less fortunate, class. Statistically they did much, much better. Only one problem. There was absolutely no difference in the two classes! This was an experiment in EXPECTATIONS!

Expectations that were intentionally disguised and blocked forced their way through with power and had a huge effect. Imagine the power of your well thought-out, carefully delivered, perfectly scripted, consistently delivered expectations! If, as a manager, you have established a pattern of setting reasonable and doable goals for your reps and given them the tools to achieve them, they will not be reluctant to accomplish any goals you and your reps set. Your reps will believe they are doable. This is ninety percent of the battle.

Your sales representatives will assume you have looked at all the factors and given them goals they can achieve. We know success breeds success, so if you have to change a culture that set unreasonable expectations, start out with infinitely doable goals and ratchet them up.

Sales reps-A very important footnote. The expectations we set with our customers, more than any other thing, determine whether we will be successful with them. Think about the most basic definition of happiness.

"Happiness results from the possession or attainment of what one considers good"

Happiness is about what one considers good. There is no mention of an objective standard. "what one considers good" is the standard. Using this definition of happiness, we are happy every time our expectations are exceeded and we are unhappy when they are not.

So if our expectation was to make 20 calls and we made 25 we would have exceeded expectations by 25%. We are happy. If boss set goal, she is happy. On the other hand if we made 50 calls and our expectation was a hundred, then we would be abject failures. And would have made double the calls!

Think about the expectations you set with customers. In our upcoming episodes on voicemail we will show you how to leave a series of messages that lead your future customers to expect you to be honest, professional, dependable, experienced, caring, persistent, and confident-all without ever having spoken to the future customer!

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9- Managers-please give your sales reps tools to be effective in their sales calls.

Sales reps-don't get lazy here. If your managers don't have the ability to get you the tools-get them for yourselves.

We talked about efficiencies. Great lists. Call processing that is fast and easy. Cutting down on keystrokes and having a template for supporting process that is quick and easy to customize. Cutting down on drive time. Now comes the culmination of all the rest.

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Effective Sales Reps

You pick up the phone to try to get the appointment or are in your car ready to knock on the door.

* Does your opening sales conversation, designed for that gatekeeper, effectively differentiate you from all of the "Bad" sales people out there?
* If you get an electronic screener-voicemail, do you know how to leave a series of effective messages?
* Do you have an opening sales statement or casting call that differentiates you for that decision maker?
* When you occasionally get to talk to who you think is the decision maker, do you know how to find out if you are right in your assumption that it is the decision maker?
* Do you know what to say when that auto-response first objection comes up?
* Do you have enough great, polished, true, appropriate short stories to tell?
* Do you understand your customers' business?
* Do you understand his competitor's?
* Have you done your research-reading, Internet, observation, talking to other customers who are in the same business?
* Do you know what questions to ask in what order to build rapport and eventually lead to the sale?
* Can you teach yourself to care and not to care?

If you were excited about your skill set, your tools, even if you hadn't done all of the rest of the things you needed to do to maximize your efficiency, you would have less call reluctance!

I suggest, if you have not already done so, that you look at definitions of an engaged sales force and what factors affect engagement. Gallup has done the most complete analysis of engagement that I am aware of.

Number one on most people's list is: Do I have the tools to do my job effectively? These tools are not the newest high-tech gadget or computer or phone, or flashiest piece of collateral or snazziest ( how cool is that word?) computer or phone.

* Tools are perfectly practiced skills and readily accessible knowledge.
* Tools are confidence and courage.
* Tools are appropriate true short stories that engage the emotions.
* Tools are honorable ways to deal with objections or turn the screener into an ally.
* Tools are mastery of your own products and services and expertise in your customer's.

Sales reps-make sure you have the tools to do the job.

Managers-Make sure your reps have the tools to do the job.

10-I know I said 9 ways to cut down on call reluctance, but this is another free lesson. Always under promise and over deliver. Always. We will. Managers-Make sure that you have done a reality check on all of your goals and processes. Sit down one day and knock out a call block. If it is by phone, then smile and dial. If it is face time, get in your car and call on a day's worth of potential customers. Practice that smile and hand shake. Feel what it feels like to make the call.

1. Are your prospect lists good?
2. Are your goals reasonable?
3. Do your reps have the tools, (use their current skill set to sell not yours. I know it is hard to put yourself in someone else's shoes. You should be able to sell with your skill set and years of experience. The question is-can your sales reps with theirs?)
4. When you do get an order, put it through the system as if you were a sales rep, not with the special papal dispensation of the boss.

Then reflect and revise.

11-Sales Reps and Managers

Reps-Give yourselves permission to practice and not be perfect. Take a few hours a week to pick up the phone or knock on doors and FAIL-SUCCESSFULLY!

Managers-Help Your People Practice and fail successfully!

So what in the heck does that mean? It means that you will be bad before you are good. It means that you will be uncomfortable and slow and not smooth and be lacking in confidence whenever you try something new. Whether it is process or a new territory or a new opening or a new way to quickly establish rapport.

If you are going to make sales calls by phone, bullet point your opening, and practice in your mind and then verbally-by phone until the words feel good coming out of your mouth. We will spend a few episodes on practicing and preparation, probably in the new year.

Call people up or knock on doors where you don't think you have a a snow balls chance in heck of making a sale and go for it! You wouldn't dream of playing in a tennis tournament without hours of practice or getting up on stage to present a play without perfect practice. Many of us will not practice the skills that put food on our table and a roof over our heads!

That's why we practice-to iron the kinks out.

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Take Action

Each e-letter will encourage you to take immediate action to implement consultative selling skills and positive leadership principles. 

Action Items:

8. Managers and reps set realistic and reasonable Expectations
9. Managers-make sure your sales reps have the tools to do the job
Sales reps-make sure your acquire and perfectly practice with your tools
10. Managers-go sell using your sales reps skills and process-reality check
11. Reps-give yourselves permission to fail successfully, and managers-support them in this!



1. Realize that the first objection you hear is probably an autopilot response to your call
2. Review the most effective objections or push-backs you use yourself
3. Review the objections or push-backs that stop you and ask yourself if they can possibly be true. How many people statistically, out of all the people you call, could have just renewed their contract or have brothers-in-law who sell insurance?
4. Give your prospective customers permission to value their time just as you value yours.
5. Need to convince your reps or yourself that resistance is ingrained, natural, and OK? Then try the following experiment: Call on a few people and try to give money away!
6. Decide whether you are making qualifying calls or sales calls. And then follow up with all the ground work that decision entails.
7. Improve Process-cut down on key-strokes, drive-time, decisions, dials. Make the mechanics of a painful process less painful.
8. Set good expectations
9. Have the tools to do the job
10. Managers-put yourselves in your reps shoes. Make calls with their skills, put orders in with their deadlines.
11. Give yourselves permission to practice. Fail successfully until you can practice perfectly.

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