Customer Engagement

How To Improve Your Lead Engagement Process

March 31, 2015

Engage leadsThere’s more to lead generation than just cold calling.

Nowadays most companies have an inside sales team of some sorts that react to incoming calls and other engagement opportunities.

In today’s world, it’s necessary for you to combine your outgoing strategic prospecting with identifying ways to engage with people who are providing you with incoming leads.

It’s the engagement of the lead that should determine the time, effort and creativity you put into dealing with it. The more engaged the prospect is with your company, the greater the chances of helping them learn how you can help their business.

Examples of this engagement could include:

  • They visit your website and make an enquiry

A quick response to this kind of engagement will set the expectations of the prospect. If you can get back to them while they are still on your website then even better!

  • They opened your unsolicited email

The research shows that the percentage of people who open these emails is in single figures, so they may be the ones who are really interested or curious. A straightforward ‘thanks for your interest’ email back may open up some more opportunities, then a follow-up with ‘we have helped companies like yours, so maybe we can help you too’ might open up a few more.

  • They typed in a relevant key phrase for your business into social media

This will help you to detect proactively what they are looking for. A simple question on social media may well lead to something more, especially if you responded in a friendly manner rather than just making a sales pitch. Something like ‘Hey there, if you want to know more about this xxx, just let me know’ won’t put any pressure on; it may be the answer they were looking for.

  • Someone may mention your company on social media

Whether it’s good or bad news, it is a prospective customer who made the link. If it’s because of a bad experience, being able to turn it round quickly could make a real difference to their future buying process. If it’s a good mention, it’s an idea to thank that person and see if there’s any way you can encourage them to look further at your company

  • They might be following your company, you or your Chief Exec on Twitter

What a great way to show your ability to assist them in knowledge or background of your company or products. No need to do overt selling; just add valuable information to the twitter feed so they feel you are interested in them, rather than just trying to get their money

  • They might request to link up with you on LinkedIn

Always, always thank them for their request and ask how you could be helpful in the future to them. The fact they have requested to link up with you rather than the other way round, shows a definite interest in wanting to stay in touch. Don’t just jump in after connecting with a brochure-type sales pitch; instead, send them items of value for their industry or their specific company. That way, you will show them it was a good idea to link up and it won’t run the risk of being just another dead number in your LinkedIn profile

  • They download one of your eBooks, comment on your blog or like your Facebook page

These are great opportunities to build your prospect base. Thank the person as soon as you see it. Identify the level they work at within their company. See what else you have that might be of interest to them. Their response will have been for some ‘stand-out’ reason, so it will be effective to follow up their interest.

As I said, you need to check out the level of engagement the prospect has with you.

Remember, these are incoming leads from people who have expressed some kind of interest in you or your products and have done something pro-active to tell you as such.

These kind of leads will outweigh any cold-calling leads any day, so make sure your systems allow you to find out about and follow-up on these leads of gold.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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How To Overcome 3 Main Limiting Beliefs In Sales

iStock_000013904313Large (1)I remember seeing a psychologist on TV talking about how he worked with people on how to change their lives for the better. He succeeded with some people and had not such big success with others.

When asked what made the real difference and what caused them, he said it really boils down to the belief system of the individual.

That is, if they actually believe they can succeed, they will create reasons to do so and will see those successes as the norm. Less successful people will find reasons why they can’t succeed and they become self-fulfilling prophecies.

That’s not to say they deliberately set out to fail; it’s just that the belief system people have will dictate how much focus they put on certain elements that contribute to success or failure.

Certain beliefs that we salespeople share can make or break sales opportunities and here’s my take on just three of them that can have detrimental effects on how we fare in sales situations.

  • ‘I believe that the prospect is only interested in price.’

This will make us focus on the actual purchase price of our products and services, the upfront outlay that the prospect has to make to gain access to our stuff. As we’ve said on many occasions, the prospect may judge the product on its price but it will judge its success on the results they achieve with it.

A friend of mine told me how he had bought a cheap mattress for him and his wife. He thought he had a good deal, but after a relatively short time he realised he wasn’t getting the quality sleep he needed to be alert and fully functioning. Persuaded by his wife, he spend a relatively high amount on a quality mattress and enjoyed better sleep than he ever had in his life.

If we believe prospects only focus on price, that is where our attention will be also, and it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, change that to a belief that prospects will pay what they believe supports their future goals and opportunities.

A ‘price-only’ belief will can only lead you to the path of discounts and will ultimately destroy many sales opportunities that existed but faded in the light of price.

  • ‘I believe I don’t need to be up-to-date with technological advancements.’

I’ve spoken to many salespeople recently about how they keep abreast of new ideas and what they do to keep their prospects aware of new developments, and a lot of them stare back sheepishly. Technological advances as the norm today, and unless we keep up with the advancements, we will be left behind those salespeople who use what is available to advance their success with customers.

Believe that technology is your friend and you’ll find you can use it effectively to keep up-to-date with what customers want from you and your company. Search new apps that are available to help you achieve more with your time. Identify what advancements your potential future prospects are using and get acquainted with it. When you hear someone mention a specific new product or service, seek out how you could use it to become more effective.

Change is the only constant, so unless you keep on top of it, it will crush you and leave you behind on the road of broken potential.

  • ‘I believe my career progression is up to others.’

Many salespeople think the only time they can learn new things is when their manager sends them on a course or has the time to coach them. They want someone to tell them what to do and how to do it better.

This will always limit your potential. It stunts any growth you could make because you are placing your development opportunities in the hands of other people.

You need to have a planned development programme yourself, so any outside, extra training and coaching adds to what you have learned yourself. Get hold of downloads that speak specifically about improving sales skills. Adopt the attitude that you are effectively the only person interested in your career progression. Have the belief that ‘if it’s to be, it’s up to me’ and identify the many chances to increase your knowledge about you chosen profession.

Believing you know everything you need to know and not taking improving your knowledge seriously will put you on the slippery slope where you’ll end up blaming others for your results rather than taking full responsibility for what you do and how you do it.

These three beliefs will always insidiously affect the way you perform, so be aware of what you say to yourself and how those beliefs can impact the way you approach you job and your career.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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The 7 Habits Of Highly Ineffective Salespeople

Risky contractOur brains are wonderful things, in that it always tries to find the best for us. We can justify every and any action we take simply by identifying some kind of gain for us or achievement we attain.

When we are happy to carry out some task without even thinking about it, we call that a ‘habit’, i.e. something we do without having to think about it.

As salespeople, we tend to slip into habits by default, some good and some not so good.

Very few of us would deliberately sabotage our success by habitually doing things that would damage our chances of success.

But there are things we do that drive us toward failure without even realising it.

Here are just seven bad habits that could well influence and affect our success for the worse:

1. Not Having Any New Ideas Or Perspectives To Share With Prospects

This is simply poor execution of our sales processes. Very often we think that the product or service we have should sell itself and we simply pitch it to this product in the same way we have to everyone else.

Prospects are looking for new ideas, new perspectives and new concepts that will take their business further than it is now. If you don’t get into the habit of developing new ideas, you run the risk of becoming stale and being like everyone else.

2. Thinking The Product Is More Important Than The Solution

Many prospects know about your product before you step foot in their building, so resist the temptation to revert back to the 1980’s pre-internet age and assume the prospect knows nothing about you. Instead, form the habit of thinking about solutions for the prospect that will drive their decision-making forward. Just verbalising the details or components of your products or services runs the risk of losing momentum and causing the prospect to do all the hard work of applying what you say to their situation

3. Failing To Plan Effectively

I was talking recently to a salesperson who had been in sales since he left school in 1976, and he shared with me his exasperation of seeing many people ‘wing’ their presentations with poor or no proper preparation. Even though he has been in sales for nearly 40 years, this salesman said he strived to learn as much about his prospect’s business as he could before he approached them. He said this is one habit that has kept him in good stead at all times. It’s one of those habits you should not neglect as it just causes so many challenges

4. Knowing Little About Your Competitors’ Offerings

There can’t be many things more demoralising than presenting your product and the prospect bringing up details of your competitors’ solutions that are actually better than yours, and you didn’t know about it.

Knowledge of the market is imperative if you are to keep ahead of what is being offered out there, and it is an easy habit to fall into when you don’t keep up-to-date with what is happening.

5. Not Listening To The Real Needs Of The Prospect Nor Identifying How Your Solution Can Benefit Them And Their Business

Most humans only listen at the ‘surface’ level, and it’s a bad habit to fall into, because most of what you need to know occurs at the ‘deep’ level. Premature evaluation of situations can bring many problems, so resist the temptation to jump to conclusions without finding out more information.

6. Blaming Things Out Of Your Control For Your Performance

This is a very easy habit to fall into. People are naturally defensive when it comes to analysing why things occur the way they do. If you don’t get the results you want, our default position is that something other than us must be responsible. We tend to want to justify and defend ourselves by passing the blame from ourselves to something else, so our egos and self-esteem are kept intact.

Professional salespeople understand that we have to control the controllables and leave the uncontrollable to get on with what it needs to do. Make sure you don’t fall into the habit of passing responsibility for your performance to things that are not under your control.

7. Accepting Average Performance As The Norm

This is also a bad habit to fall into, as it can lull you into a false sense of being better than you really are. What this involves is seeing yourself performing at a level you think is the best you can achieve. The truth is that most salespeople never hit their true potential. They accept the performance level they have achieved and think it’s the best they can do, with justifiable back-up excuses that seem right to them.

Instead, think of yourself on a never-ending journey towards excellence, knowing there is always going to be a higher, better, more successful step that you can take. If you have that mind-set, you will never settle for average performance, the sort of “that’ll do” rhetoric that doesn’t allow for the improvements you know in your heart is achievable.

These seven bad habits should wake us up and make us more determined than ever to professionally drive ourselves forward to achieve more than we have ever done before.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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How Do You Get Inside The Mind Of Your Prospect?

Stress and confusionYou might know the theory that people are either left- or right-brain oriented. This idea separates people into categories depending on how they think. This is definitely a generalisation, as it’s not that you use only your left brain or only your right brain; everyone uses both. It’s just that you prefer to use one side over the other. And so does your prospect.

The essence behind this thinking is that different people prefer to have different ways of thinking presented to them. So your questions can go a long way to helping a prospect thin through the options they might be faced with and then use their preference to determine the right result for them.

Left-brained thinkers tend to be heavily analytical, detail-oriented people. They are verbal, concrete, goal-oriented, logical and systems people. Job descriptions that fit left-brainers well are CEOs, engineers, accountants, scientists, lawyers and controllers.

This is because this favoured side of the brain offers more connections to neurons that communicate through facts and information. The parts of the brain that are located in the left side of the cortex tend to favour more logical thinking and step-by-step processing. If you scanned this person’s brain while they were contemplating your offer, you may see more left-brained signals light up than right-brained, and this would allow them to think in a logical way.

Right-brained thinkers, on the other hand, tend to be more creative, emotional, intuitive people. They may be more nonverbal, visual, holistic (using their intuitive nature), physical, playful and spontaneous. Artists and musicians may naturally fall into this category, but so may others who tend to have to think creatively in their jobs. People like marketing executives, advertising staff and IT personnel might be more adept at thinking in a right-brained way.

The right brain is joined to the left through a rich bridge of connections called the corpus collosum, and this right side tends to deal with more emotional and ‘big-picture’ situations. It appears as if the neurons on this side of the brain have different tasks to accomplish and hence are able to support the creative thinking that many people need to carry out.

Therefore, you need to know how to bond in a different way with these different types of thinker. If you’re a strong left-brainer, and you’re calling on someone who may be in a right-brained industry, you need to adapt effectively. You may have to ask them to elaborate on what they see happening in, say, three to five years. The will have the capacity to think to that abstract level.

You probably wouldn’t ask a left-brainer to project where he sees his company going. It’s better to ask, “If you compared the last 12 months to the upcoming 12 months, what do you see?” Left-brainers can more naturally relate to the detail of 12 months looking backward and forward, but would have more difficulty with what the picture looks like three to five years out — a big difference in your questioning technique and ultimately your ability to bond more easily.

By thinking through how your prospect sees things, you can identify which is their preferential side of the brain. Then you can adapt to their thinking style and see from their angle. It will help you achieve good rapport and definitely build the relationships quicker as they see your ability to see things as they see them.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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5 Must Have Sales Trends You SHOULD Be Monitoring

Dollarphotoclub_52147028-reWe are often asked by the media for our take on what is happening in the world of sales and what we think the future holds in that world. The question often is phrased in terms of what trends do we see emerging in various markets and how should sales teams adjust their processes to match them.

This idea of watching for trends is vital in a salesperson’s world. Too often, we see ourselves left behind simply because we react to what is happening.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. If we keep our research and studies of what is happening in our markets to a high level, we actually see the trends happening before they have an impact, so we can not only keep up with them but have a chance to adapt our procedures before they take hold.

Trends can be described as a general direction in which something is developing or changing, or a general tendency or course of events. They tend to follow certain patterns in many cases and this helps us maintain the pace with changes.

So, what are the trends you could be observing and monitoring, and what benefits would it bring if you did?

Well, you could start off with Product trends and evolutions. This means identifying the updates to your products and those of your competitors. You are able to discuss the advancements with colleagues and clients alike, identifying the benefits these advancements are making. Are they evolving to save clients more money, increase production, offer more profit opportunities, add more strength to their marketing? Whatever the improvements accomplish, they are something that would take your offering further in the market place.

Then, there are Technological trends. These will obviously have an effect on product improvements and they can add to the benefits you can offer to prospects when you discuss the opportunities they being at each level of the improvements. Technological advancements can make your product much more appealing in the market, so keep up to date with your product improvement department and assess how they affect your sales potential.

On a wider scale, Economic and Market trends will always have an effect on the way business is conducted. By being aware of what is happening in areas that concern and affect you, but over which you have little control, you are able to adapt to the changes quicker and offer the necessary changes to products and services that will keep your customers up-to-date and ahead of what changes these trends will have on their business.

Other trends are based on Buyer perceptions. These are things you can follow and adapt to as time progresses. These perceptions can be general, short, medium or long-term, and very specific. Depending on your industry, if you are able to keep up with the changes your buyers are looking for, you start to identify how those adaptations needed to process the changes can be driven to achieve the close relationships where buyers will believe and trust you to deliver what their requirements are.

Linked with this are Service Expectation trends. This requires you watching what different requests are made by your customers and the effect they are having on what you are selling and dealing with. If the expectation trends are towards a changing level of service, it means you can keep up with the expectations so you offer something your competition won’t yet have caught up with.

The main point is that, if you keep paying attention to the trends that are happening and are able to keep track of them, you offer your customers the opportunity to stay alert and in front of their competition.

The trends that affect your industry and business will be kept in view and you’ll be able to adapt to them much quicker so there’s less likelihood of you being left behind and better chances of you building closer relationships as clients see you as real assets to their future plans by informing them of the opportunities available because of the natural, and sometimes cyclical, trends developing at every stage.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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4 Ways To Stop Sounding Like You’re Begging For Their Business!

business begging man to womanI was asked to go on a sales call once by a Sales Manager with one of his sales people who wasn’t bringing home the bacon.

He asked me to observe this salesperson to see what might be done to assist his development.

What I noticed was he was being a really nice person, minding his manners, listening well and behaving in a proper business-like way.

Actually, he was being a pathetic, pitiful, grovelling, snivelling, sorry excuse of a salesperson, who was literally begging for the business!

He was saying things like “What could we do to get your business?” “How can I help you more on this?” “Yes, we’re really sorry we can’t do that…is there anything else you would like us to do?”

All-in-all, a very poor example of how to solve people’s problems and build value, and I told his sales manager exactly that!

The truth is, if we sound like we are begging for their business, we run the risk of sounding desperate and that our needs are greater than the prospect’s. You open yourself up to price reductions now and in the future, as the value you offer is a poor second best to the price you charge.

Here are some examples of sounding like you’re begging:

“What time is convenient to you?”

“When do you think you might be in a position to make a decision?”

“Would it be OK if I diarised a follow-up call in two weeks?”

“Our company policy doesn’t allow that!”

Instead, it would be good to show that you are an expert and don’t have to beg for the business. You could say something like:

“Let’s arrange a mutually-convenient time for us both”

“Let’s set a time to discuss the decision”

“I’ll call you within the next two weeks to discuss any questions you might have”

“Let’s see how we can work this out”

By being more assertive and not resorting to what can in any way be considered begging, we build our reputation with the prospect as someone who can be trusted and is offering something of real value, rather than someone who creates the impression they are totally and utterly desperate!

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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Lack Of Sales Getting You Down? Try This…

Stressed Young Businessman at OfficeI had an email from a salesperson recently, saying that he had (in his words) “become downhearted, demotivated and discouraged” about his job, as he wasn’t hitting targets and his boss was always on his back and did I have any tips for him?

I wrote back and helped him to determine what he could do to deal with this situation, and I’ll share some of the ideas here.

Basically, feeling discouraged and demotivated normally occurs when you are going through a bad patch. Nothing new there – but what perpetuates it is what you focus on.

For example, if I read the newspapers for my daily motivational push, I would soon be down in the dumps because of what they always seem to focus on…bad news sells, as they say.

When you are going through a bad spell, you tend to keep your focus on what is going wrong, the poor results you’re achieving and the rejections you constantly keep getting.

It might sound profound and pie-in-the-sky, but you have to be focusing on your purpose, that is, the significant reasons why you are doing what you’re doing. What gives you your passion? What makes you see your future as something to look forward to? Your purpose has to be bigger than the current results you’re getting. If it isn’t, you will simply equate your whole persona with things that are out of your control.

There’s one thing that normally drives bad results, and that is the inability to take personal responsibility for what is happening in your job. If you check back, you’ll see that your successes were mainly down to you putting the effort in, making the calls, seeing the right people, identifying the common objections, negotiating well and being positive about gaining commitments.

When things start to go badly, you may well notice that most of the reasons are put down to things outside of your control being against you. In other words, you are happy to take the accolades when things go well, but tend to blame others when things go poorly.

Learn from past successes. Identify what you did right then and see how you can apply those ideals in the future. You need to make plans that you can have control over.

Remember how that word is actually broken down: dis-courage-ment. Yes, it takes courage to look to the future, accept responsibility for what is happening now and identify what can change to make it something you could start looking forward to.

Your focus has to be on what you can do to help others, rather than moping around or blaming everything else for your situation. Concentrate on how you can get your biggest and best customers to be even better than they are now. Concentrate on success. Whatever problems you think you may be facing will probably fade into insignificance when you see the much larger problems your customers are facing, and then you can switch perspectives to help them overcome the challenges, which in turn will help you refocus on yours.

Discouragement and demotivation are just attitudes that you choose to display through focusing on what’s wrong. I’m not suggesting you behave Pollyanna-ish and close your eyes to what’s really going on. No, when you see weeds in the garden, don’t ignore them…do what needs to be done and get on with life.

Focus instead on what action needs to be carried out to get yourself back up and running. Action is the antidote to misery and when you think of what needs to be done and how you can do it, you create a more positive mind-set and start taking more courage to turn things around and get moving in the right direction.

I sent an email back to that salesperson, and received a nice message back, thanking me for my uplifting words. Hopefully, they will help him, and you, to overcome any discouragement in the future.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image courtesy of dollarphotoclub)

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The Top 10 Sales Blogs Of 2014 As Voted For By You!

Award Winner EnvelopeAnother year has sailed by and what a fantastic 2014 it has been.

It’s at this time of year at MTD Sales Training we like to get sentimental and reflect on some of the best sales tips, advice and general musings we have offered you through our blog over the last twelve months.

In one of the only top ten’s you will see this festive season that Simon Cowell has no control over, we look back at the blog posts that have been shared the most to your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ networks.

 

 

Top 10 Sales Blogs Of 2014

1. 7 Things Successful Sales People Never Say – Shared 279 Times

2. 53 Takeaways From The Wolf Of Wall Street’s London Seminar – Shared 260 Times

3. The New Breed Of Sales Person – They Don’t Actually Sell – Shared 192 Times

4. 10 Lessons A Great Sales Person Can Learn From Einstein – Shared 173 Times

5. The Sales Manager’s Guidebook – Everything You Need To Become A Top Performing Sales Manager – Shared 138 Times

6. The Top 10 Sales Movies That You Must Watch – Shared 137 Times

7. The 10 Most Common Mistakes Sales People Make – Shared 101 Times

8. The 8 Essential Skills You Need To Become A Perfect Listener – Shared 100 Times

9. The 11 Worst Excuses Sales People Make When They Miss Their Targets – Shared 99 Times

10. Two Things That Kill Motivation In Salespeople – Shared 78 Times

I hope you have enjoyed the weekly tips we have been giving you on this blog – there is a lot more to come from us in the New Year.

Happy Christmas!

Sean

Sean McPheat
Managing Director
MTD Sales Training
http://www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image by dollarphotoclub)

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