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Prospecting & Qualifying

This year, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the book, Dave will revisit each of the original 49 Sandler Rules and give updated takes on their relevance to salespeople and sales leaders.

 

This year, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the book, Dave will revisit each of the original 49 Sandler Rules and give updated takes on their relevance to salespeople and sales leaders.

 

 

Mike Montague interviews Hamish Knox on How to Succeed When the Sale Goes Sideways.

We’re going to tell you how to get there by sharing what’s working for the most successful companies and why based on the results of Sandler Research Center’s Report: The Hunt for New Clients.

 

David Mattson, President and CEO of Sandler Training and 6-time Author, talks about his Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek best-selling book, The Sandler Rules: 49 Timeless Selling Principles and How to Apply Them.

 

David Mattson, President and CEO of Sandler Training and 6-time Author, talks about his Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek best-selling book, The Sandler Rules: 49 Timeless Selling Principles and How to Apply Them.

 

Ever lost a sale and wondered what went wrong? Everything seemed to be going well, then suddenly the prospect said they were going to get estimates from some other companies, wanted a free proposal, or just backed out altogether.

Chances are your prospect had unmet expectations. Maybe they didn't even realize it ahead of time. But whose fault was that, your's or their's?

Brian Sullivan Interviews Jonathan Farrington to bring you more information on The Hunt for New Clients.

 

Mike Montague interviews Mike Crandall about how to succeed at prospecting during the pandemic.

 

During times of adversity or crisis, it's easy to get discouraged and stop prospecting. As I write this, we're currently in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. As you might imagine, it has had a huge impact on the business world!

This crisis has caused a lot of head trash for a lot of people! Maybe you've said one of the following things...

This year, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the book, Dave will revisit each of the original 49 Sandler Rules and give updated takes on their relevance to salespeople and sales leaders.

 

Everyone loves referrals. They're the most efficient way of prospecting and building up your sales and your business. But are you actively and strategically working on building your referral network?

Or maybe you just have something like this in your email signature or on your business card: "The best compliment you can give us is a referral."

That's not active or strategic!

In sales, we tend not to dig deep enough. When a prospect shares a problem with us, often we jump ahead to a solution we provide that seems to fit the problem. But in reality, they're sharing symptoms, not the real problem! Instead, we need to dig deeper to uncover the true pain.

The Sandler pain funnel is a tool to dig deeper, uncover information, and discover emotion.

Prospecting is the life-blood of sales. But usually salespeople prospect when they have nothing else to do. Sometimes that's because they've been doing the same prospecting activities for years!

Your time is valuable. So why are you wasting it when you're prospecting? Quit doing the wrong type of prospecting!

One of the concepts we help our clients understand is active prospecting versus passive prospecting. Based off the names alone, you probably already realize that passive prospecting takes less work but is also less effective. Conversely, active prospecting takes more work but is more effective.

If a prospect is going to say "no," would you rather know right now, or months from now after you've poured tons of time, energy, and resources into following up with them? Right now, of course! That's one of the first concepts we help our clients learn. It saves tons of wasted time. And if you waste time on the wrong people, you're robbing the right people of that time. However, you can take that concept too far. If you're not careful, you can make assumptions and judgements that aren't correct, and end up disqualifying a prospect too early in the process. You end up deciding that they aren't a good fit instead of letting them discover that for themselves!

Just about everyone hates cold calling. David Sandler himself was quoted as saying, "Nobody ever had to wait in line to make a cold call." Then why are people still making cold calls?

A huge part of every sales interaction is having good bonding and rapport with your prospect. Most people do that accidentally and inconsistently, but we help clients learn how to do it intentionally and consistently.

I've met with hundreds of salespeople and business owners over the years. I have yet to meet one that wouldn't like more and better referrals.

Referrals shorten the sales cycle and your chances of success are greater. But most people have no system for building their business through referrals! And no, putting "The best compliment you can give me is a referral," on your business card and in your email signature does not qualify as a system.

So how can you build a referral system?

Clint Babcock, Sandler trainer, shows you how to succeed with the attitudes, behaviors, and techniques needed to be more successful when you have been ghosted by your prospect. Get the best practices collected from around the world.

Listen Time: 27 Minutes

In this episode, Brian Sullivan, VP of Sandler Enterprise Selling, speaks with Paul Sandford, Managing Director of Sandler’s North Hampshire’s business operations in the U.K. Paul’s career includes successful sales and sales management positions at SAP, Success Factors, Concur Technologies, Open Text and Basware. 

Listen Time: 26 Minutes

My team and I often share with people how good sales is a result of good communication. In fact, in several workshops we put on, we explain within the first few minutes that we'll use the terms interchangeably during the workshop.

Matt Pletzer, Sandler trainer, shows you how to succeed with the attitudes, behaviors, and techniques needed to be more successful at dealing with too much business. It's a good problem to have, but it can prevent you from selling more and growing. Get the best practices collected from around the world.

25 Minutes

If you're in sales, chances are pretty good you want to sell more. But selling more means better prospecting, which is often a salesperson's least favorite activity. In fact, we've done our best to boil it down to an equation: X hours spent prospecting = Y number of conversations = Z dollars in sales

Gerry Weinberg, a Sandler trainer from Detriot, shows you how to succeed with the attitudes, behaviors, and techniques needed to be more successful in connecting with your clients through advanced bonding and rapport tactics. Get the best practices collected from around the world.

Listen Time: 28 Minutes

The end of the year is upon us! And contrary to popular belief, this is not necessarily a “dead” time in terms of business development and relationship-building for salespeople. Here are four simple strategies you can use right away to ramp up your prospecting performance during the holiday season.

Read Time: 4 Minutes

Al Simon, Sandler trainer, joins us to talk about the attitude, behaviors, and techniques of sales interactions. Learn the advantages and best practices of having a system for salespeople to follow and knowing your own sales gates. Learn how to lead and control the sales interaction and teach your buyer how to make the right decision.

Prospecting is a challenge for many salespeople, and it can be really uncomfortable! And if you're not careful, uncomfortable situations can lead to something we at Sandler like to call verbal vomiting. In other words, you stop asking all the right questions and start talking too much instead. You end up sharing features and benefits instead of really uncovering if you're a good fit or not.

Brian Sullivan, VP of Enterprise Selling, and Mike Montague, VP of Online Learning discuss the challenges of selling into large organizations and how to overcome them in this Facebook Live session.

David Mattson, Sandler's President and CEO, shares his thoughts about gauging the prospect's motivation and interest. Learn the attitudes, behaviors, and techniques of top performers, who can uncover and qualify the prospect's reasons for doing business.

Learn the best practices for prospecting with Mike Montague and Sean Coyle.

Just because a prospect has a problem that we can fix doesn't mean it matters to them. One of our Sandler Rules is No Pain = No Sale. And while you can't take that too literally, a lack of personal impact definitely makes a sale much harder to make.

 

Summertime can be a difficult time for salespeople. Vacations, seasonal businesses, and other distractions can make it more challenging to get in touch with decision-makers. LinkedIn is a smart way to be more productive during these months. Of course, every great business deal requires a conversation. Using LinkedIn, you can make sure you have more of those conversations, have them with the right people, and have the best conversation possible.

It's easy to get caught up in the trap of thinking when your prospect has pain, they must not have money. But that's not always the case. Plenty of times cash doesn't mean a lack of pain, and pain doesn't mean a lack of cash. Someone you're meeting with could be in plenty of pain and still easily be able to invest in your help.

All things being equal, people tend to buy from people they like and trust.  All things being unequal, the same principal applies. 

Many well-known businesses around the country are franchises that are run by national organizations. Depending on your business and depending on the franchise, there could be some opportunity for you there, even when starting at the local level.

Prospecting is the lifeblood of a successful sales career... but many salespeople overlook the basic behaviors that support a consistent prospecting routine. Here are the five necessary behaviors professional salespeople need in order to become successful at prospecting.

The key to good sales is good prospecting. And a huge portion of that is making your prospect feel OK. In Sandler, we talk a lot about the importance of bonding and rapport. Good bonding and rapport is not about finding a family photo or sports memorabilia in someone's office and commenting on it. It's all about the subconscious ways you can connect with someone. Then they feel OK and can have a real interaction with you without becoming defensive.

Learning how to communicate more effectively with people who have different communication styles than you do will lead you to more prospects, more productive discussions, and more sales.

If you're like most salespeople, chances are good that you could be way more active in your prospecting. You obviously want to make the best use of your time. But often, I find that salespeople are staying inside their comfort zone and engaging in passive prospecting instead of active prospecting. They're being lazy!

Have you ever eaten something so often that you got sick of it? Or maybe you find something you like, and you end up eating it so often that those around you get tired of it? The same thing can happen in sales!

I hate sales scripts. Of course you need to be prepared for a sales call, but preparation doesn't mean you map out every single word you say. That's way too unnatural! Staying flexible is extremely important, whether the call is in person or over the phone. In fact, if you're doing the sales call the right way, you can't know ahead of time what will come out of it!

Learn how to measure and properly quantify your prospecting efforts with Sean Coyle, one of Sandler's top prospecting experts. Sean makes thousands of outbound dials each week with the help of ConnectandSell and he knows how to make each one count. Listen in as he discusses prospecting best practices with Dave Mattson, President and CEO of Sandler Training.

Our money concepts can really trip us up if we're not careful. What may be a lot of money to us personally or in business may be nothing to someone else. A few years back, I was on the phone with a prospect I'd never met in person. He actually lived in another state and had been referred to us by someone else.

Learn how to uncover and understand the prospect's buying motivations. What could be more important in sales than understanding why people buy? Mike Crandall, Sandler trainer and author, talks about the key factors for motivation. 

One of the steps we talk about in the sales process is uncovering your prospect's decision-making process. That includes the who, what, where, when, why, and how.

There are numerous components which determining a seller’s success. Near the top of this contributing-factor totem pole, is behavior. If an individual cannot execute proper behavior, they will struggle to find high levels of achievement. Behavior, the action we take towards our goals, is the blueprint for success in the sales world. Following through on these plans, however, is easier said than done. A large contingent of the salespeople routinely makes the three mistakes listed below. 

Prospects and clients often use ambiguous terms without realizing it. In fact, we all do it. We say things like, "I need this cheap," "Get that taken care of ASAP," or "I don't have a budget for that." Any of those sound familiar? When your prospect or client says them, they're meaningless until you actually dig in.

Learn how to empower your employees to take ownership and learn how to solve problems on their own. Mike Jones talks about how to know which things to take off your plate and put them onto someone else's. You can't be great at everything, but you can build a team that is.

Chip Doyle, Sandler trainer from the UK, talks about the importance of having a prospecting list with Dave Mattson, President and CEO of Sandler Training. Successfully creating a qualified prospecting list does many wonderful things for your sales career. Learn how in this Selling the Sandler Way podcast.

Jim Barnoski, Sandler trainer, talks about how to manage the prospect's emotional reactions to the sales process. Often, talking about things like budget, the prospect's problems, or even the people involved in the buying decision will trigger negative emotions in your prospect. If you can't prevent or get rid of them, the prospect might get rid of you instead.

If your goal is to find more prospects, get more and better referrals, and make more commission dollars in 2018 than you did in 2017, consider upping your social selling game. Here are four quick tips that will help you to avoid some common mistakes online.

Have you ever been frustrated because a prospect changed their mind in the middle of the sales process for no apparent reason? A while back, one of my clients...

This article discusses concepts and strategies from our No Guts, No Gain assertiveness program. This self-study program was designed from David Sandler’s teachings on goal-setting, getting tough, and avoiding game and powerplays.

Proposals and estimates can be a huge waste of time, especially if you're not diligent about sorting prospects before doing them. One method I use for sorting prospects is a white paper. Here's how it works.

 

When prospects ask you a question (or use wishy-washy words, or try to mislead you, or use smokescreen tactics), wouldn’t it be nice if you knew for sure what their true intention was? David Sandler developed a tool to help the salesperson accomplish exactly this. It’s called reversing.

A couple years back, I had an interesting experience. I was at one of our regional Sandler meetings in a room with about 15 other Sandler trainers and coaches. We get together and talk about a number of different things. Often, the Sandler office that's hosting us will have local experts come in to share something with us.

 

Guest host, Lindsey Demetris, interviews Mike Montague, VP of Online Learning at Sandler Training and the creator of our new Social Selling Success course. Mike shares the best practices of today's top social sellers and attitudes, behaviors, and techniques for social prospecting in 2018.

As salespeople, it's our job to identify the root of the problem when qualifying a prospect. It's our job to diagnose, because if we don't properly diagnose, we won't know if we can actually help.

Welcome to Selling the Sandler Way, with your host Dave Mattson, the president and CEO of Sandler Training. He is a five-time bestselling author, speaker, trainer, and consultant to hundreds of international organizations. In this show, he talks to other Sandler trainers about the Sandler selling system.

Welcome to Selling the Sandler Way, with your host Dave Mattson, the president and CEO of Sandler Training. He is a five-time bestselling author, speaker, trainer, and consultant to hundreds of international organizations. In this show, he talks to other Sandler trainers about the Sandler selling system.

You've probably heard the saying that people do business with people they know, like, trust, and value. One of the things we frequently ask our clients in Sandler is, "Are you doing enough to get in front of people so that they can get to know, like, trust, and value you?"

This blog will illustrate several techniques to nurture those prospects in your funnel and how to effectively turn them into clients. The ability to do this is what separates good salespeople from just good networkers. Below are four keys to developing a successful nurture funnel and how to convert your prospects into clients. 

Welcome to Selling the Sandler Way, with your host Dave Mattson, the president and CEO of Sandler Training. He is a five-time bestselling author, speaker, trainer, and consultant to hundreds of international organizations. In this show, he talks to other Sandler trainers about the Sandler selling system.

First, let’s understand what social prospecting is and what it isn’t. Social prospecting simply means using social media and online networks to add more prospects, information, or sales opportunities to your pipeline. In other words, social prospecting is using modern communication and information networks to start a sales conversation with another person to determine if there is a reason to do business together.

Have you ever known anyone who refused to ask for help? Or perhaps you struggle at asking for help, whether personally or professionally. It's not an uncommon trait for many people, but learning to ask for help can open the door to important conversations.

Welcome to Selling the Sandler Way, with your host Dave Mattson, the president and CEO of Sandler Training. He is a five-time bestselling author, speaker, trainer, and consultant to hundreds of international organizations. In this show, he talks to other Sandler trainers about the Sandler selling system.

It’s pretty common for people to wait until their pipeline is completely empty to do something about prospecting, when they should have been doing it all along. Keeping a balance between active and passive prospecting can help keep people in your pipeline.

When it comes to finding the right prospecting mix, it may take some time to analyze your results and decide what's most effective. In last week’s blog, we talked about increasing the number of prospecting activities to find new options and to invest the most time in the most effective activities. Here are three more steps to help find the right prospecting mix.

One of the things we learn when we work with clients is that there's often not a very good mix, if any mix at all, of prospecting activities. But having the right prospecting mix is critical for success in sales. Here are the first of several steps to analyzing and creating the right prospecting mix.

One of the biggest challenges in the sales world is properly executing a cold call. Cold calls can be awkward, nerve-wracking, and even detrimental if not initiated correctly. However, cold calling isn’t a complex obstacle to tackle. In fact, the skills are quite simple, and it’s a necessary skill that every top seller must master. Below is a four-step guide to follow when cold calling to increase your efficiency and effectiveness.

Welcome to the How To Succeed Podcast. The show that helps you get to the top and stay there. This is How to Succeed at Cold Prospecting. The show is brought to you by Sandler Training, the worldwide leader in sales management and customer service training.

We all run into painful situations with clients and prospects. Some more painful than others! Of course, we have to determine how to resolve the situations. But there's something else you should do. It's something that's easy for me to say, but likely not easy.

If you're not willing to dig in and ask a few questions of your prospects, it's easy to get things misaligned. If you don't have the guts to ask questions up front, you can end up in a very bad situation.

Welcome to Selling the Sandler Way with your host, Dave Mattson, the President and CEO of Sandler Training. He is a five-time bestselling author, speaker, trainer, and consultant to hundreds of international organizations. In this show, he talks to other Sandler trainers about the Sandler Selling System. For more information on Sandler Training, visit sandler.com. Now, it's time to learn how to succeed by Selling The Sandler Way with your host, Dave Mattson.

Antonio Garrido, Sandler trainer, and new author of Asking Questions the Sandler Way joins us to talk about the best sales questions. You will learn his favorite questions, the right attitude for asking questions, and why you should be asking more and better questions in the first place.

If you're working on a prospect and having trouble getting past a gatekeeper, consider switching your role.

A client of mine who's in manufacturing walked into a company he'd never been to before. When he attempted to talk to a specific level of decision maker...

A while back, I was in someone else's office. On their desk was a thank you card I sent them. The back was pointing to them, which meant that everyone that sat down to meet with them saw the other side with my logo on it.

The reason? The back of that thank you card...

If you're like most successful professionals, your calendar gets filled up pretty quickly. You also know that if something isn't on your calendar, there's a good chance that there simply won't be time for it. That's just a time-management fact for a lot of professionals. And it becomes even more important when...

Prospecting can either be a huge time sink for you, or it can be an efficient, valuable part of your sales process. What it looks like for you is going to depend a lot on whether you have a plan for prospecting or not. If you don't already have a prospecting plan, here's what you'll need to do to create one.

Professionals sort, amateurs sell.

What do I mean by that?

There’s an important balance you need to strike when you’re engaging in sales conversations, especially when you’re in the beginning parts of those conversations.

Are you getting useful, worthwhile referrals? Or do you get referrals that rarely end up doing business with you—and worse, eat up a lot of your time too?

Think about times when you have prospects calling your office. Maybe they're returning one of your phone calls; maybe they remembered meeting you at a networking event and wanted to reach out; maybe they are even calling you based on a referral they received from a mutual contact.

Networking events can be useful prospecting activities for some people, as long as you go in with a strategy. But they're not a good fit for everyone.

A while back, a client of mine shared that he was struggling with being put into voicemail jail. He had people—CEOs and business owners—he wanted to maintain contact with. He would call and reach the person responsible for screening their calls, known in sales as the gatekeeper.

Prospecting is all about tiny, incremental changes over time. That helps you improve your skills, so you can truly know if a prospecting activity makes sense in your world or not.

The first time you try a new prospecting activity, it will probably fail miserably. And that can create an enormous disconnect.

There are three ways you can grow your sales. You can talk to more people, you can talk to better people, or you can have better conversations. The first one requires more time than most people have. The best results come from focusing on talking to better people—people that are more likely to be a good fit for you—and having better conversations.

In sales, you'll find many of your prospects have raised a lot of defenses because of bad salespeople. Bad salespeople can be greedy, taking advantage of their prospects. Often, those of us...

Fear may be the most powerful motivator affecting your buyers’ decisions. However, in their effort to maintain an image of power and control, buyers will be reluctant to share their true anxieties and concerns with you. You’ll increase your sales production when you help buyers discover and overcome their fears, show that you are sensitive to those issues, and then lead those buyers to the conclusion that your product will replace their fear with peace of mind.

Everyone's method or mode of communication is different. It's true with people of different ages. It's true in different industries. It's definitely true with business professionals versus those not in the business community. One method of communication doesn't fit all people! A client of mine...

It's crazy how many salespeople want to show up to a meeting and share all the features and benefits of their products. We like to call that "show up and throw up." In reality, they should be making the conversation about the other person. In fact, talking too much about yourself could end up costing you millions of dollars...

When you're asked a question about your industry or your product, how often do you think the question you're asked is the main question? If someone asks you about the type of work you do, it's possible they're interested in doing business with you. But it's also possible that they used to work in your field and hated it. Or they might have a complaint about someone else in your field and you're about to hear it.

Having a big pipeline of “prospects” is typically seen as desirable. The more prospects you put into the pipeline, the more will eventually emerge as customers. At least that’s the theory. And the theory is partially true. Some of the people you put in the pipeline will become customers. The question is, “How many will be customers and how long will it take for them to materialize from the other end of the pipe?”

After Thanksgiving, many of us sales people feel fat and happy, and decide to pull off the throttle and take some down time. After all, nobody really wants to talk to sales people, make decisions, or think about expenditures. Right? Wrong! The little known secret is that the holiday season is a fantastic time to assemble a powerful framework that builds your business, and sets you up for a great first quarter.

It's usually pretty easy to think of a time when you've spilled candy the wrong way. Maybe you made a presentation long before the prospect was ready to decide; maybe you spent a lot of time and energy sending promotional material to a prospect who wasn't a good fit in the first place.

When a prospect says something to you that seems like it's coming straight out of left field, the way you respond can quickly determine rest of that sales dynamic. One of my clients recently shared a story with me that made me think of how powerful that response can be, either positively or negatively.

One of my clients recently shared an insightful question with me, a question that helped him move forward with large contract for a relatively new client.

One of my clients works in the roofing industry, and he was recently at a networking event where he met someone else in his industry. When the other person asked my client about his business, my client answered, saying, "Oh, you wouldn't be interested in what I do."

One of my clients recently talked with me about how challenging himself to make his prospects comfortable has benefited his commercial real estate business.

Not long ago, he was meeting with an acquaintance to look at a very large property. My client talked with his prospect about the building and the surrounding area, but he also shared with his prospect how and why he works with people the way he does.

Want to shorten your sales cycle? Learn how to qualify and disqualify leads early on in the process. Stop chasing leads that aren't going anywhere!

Most people spend an incredible amount of time chasing leads who aren't going to do business with them. People will often get a long-awaited appointment with a prospect, do a well-prepared presentation, and then realize that they weren't a good fit after all.

People buy emotionally; we’ve all heard that. But what does it mean? It means that people make buying decisions emotionally; they justify these decisions intellectually. To further understand this concept, it helps to know who is making the decisions and who is justifying the decisions. 

It can be tempting for companies and salespeople to coast through the slower-paced summer months. The seasonal slowdown will cause many organizations to just give up on the season, and save their goals for the months ahead when the pace picks up. Taking the time to lay the groundwork and planning now, however, can help you set up to have a fantastic fall, and lead to strong year-end results.

One of my clients has been in conversation with a prospect for many months, and there's been a lot of back and forth between them. After an initial proposal and another, revised, proposal to this prospect, my client finally got a phone call with the decision-maker himself.

A salesperson striving toward success and prospecting for new clients may think that he or she must do something grandiose to draw customers away from the competition. Occasionally, something spectacular may be just what's needed, but it's not practical to do on a regular basis. Incorporate the following four simple gestures into your interactions with potential clients to experience greater conversion success.

One of my clients who is a trainer received a couple of referrals a while back. When he got in touch with one of them, she was immediately ready to get started training her staff, which is not typical in his world.

He called to follow-up on the referral and...

Many sales organizations get caught up in the details of educating or convincing their prospect to buy. Some sellers might even ask “What do we need to do to earn your business?” and worry about what they can do to facilitate the buying process. “What do you see as next steps?” is another common question that salespeople ask. These sellers lose sight of the fact that it’s the prospect that needs to do something for a sale to happen.

Referrals and introductions should be central to building a quality pipeline for our business. In my research, most of us are leaving up to 75% of the available referrals and introductions on the table. Most of us get referrals and introductions even if we do not ask! However, having a well-thought process and goals for pursuing them can dramatically increase our referral business.

When you introduce yourself and what you do for a living, do you often see other people tense up? You're not alone. And it's probably not you they're reacting to. Experiences lead to expectations—and you can see it so quickly in a conversation.

Social selling, or using social media during the prospecting and sales function, may very well be the “three-point line” of the sales world. It is a modern-day creation that can be perceived as a marketing gimmick or a cheap stunt, but it has been around for almost 20 years and people are now starting to see its real value.

In Sandler, one of the things we talk about is disqualifying prospects. If you go into an interaction with a prospect looking for red flags, you're likely to save a lot of headache later. However, as with all concepts, you can definitely overdo it. We call that literal versus reality. If you're too literal in applying the concepts we teach, and don't adjust them to fit your reality, you can shoot yourself in the foot. A client of ours who is in online marketing has been with us a number of years, and realized this not too long ago...

Special guest, Brian Sullivan, Sandler trainer and author shares his thoughts about how to succeed at enterprise selling. It is an inside look at the new Sandler Training book, Sandler Enterprise Selling: Winning, Growing, and Retaining Major Accounts.

You've probably been asked before to discount your services. If you agree to the discount, you may gain that prospect as a client. If you say no, it may cost you in the short run-but could lead to better opportunities in the future...

You don't have to be a tech wizard to grow your business through social selling. You can use your network of business contacts, to take a proactive, client-centered view of prospecting on social media. This special bonus podcast cuts through all the noise, tech-speak, and misconceptions about LinkedIn and social selling.

One of the things I often see in salespeople is nervousness about asking people for their contact information. Too often, they accept, "I'll get back in touch with you," from their prospects, when they should really take more ownership for the next step. I've got a simple method I use that gets me the right contact information every time. In fact, with CEOs, it's gotten me their cell number every time but one!

When is the right time to start a new habit? When is the best time of the year in your industry? When is the best time to actually start a business? When is the best time of day to make cold calls?

Success is great. Maybe you recently made your best sale ever. Maybe you had your biggest year ever. Whatever the case, congratulations! But have you really dissected that?

Misunderstandings can lead to lost sales. Often, just asking one or two more questions can clear up roadblocks and lead directly to a sale.

Unless someone is in a lot of pain, they often don't seek out a solution to a problem they're having. As someone that has a solution, it's your job to find those people by asking the right questions. That's what prospecting is all about, and why it can always work, if you ask the right questions.

At Sandler Training, we believe in not solely talking about features and benefits during your sales call, but rather focusing on the prospect’s needs. However, there is a time for presenting, once you have qualified the opportunity. Once a prospect is fully qualified in Pain, Budget, and Decision, then it is time for you to make the presentation, and you want to make that presentation as persuasive as possible.

Often, prospects you talk with will have an expectation about what doing business with you will be like. If the reality turns out to be different, that can be a challenge. Their expectations are formed by past experiences. And if you're not careful, your prospects may have those expectations and you don't even know about it!

If your goal is to find more prospects, get more and better referrals, and make more commission dollars in 2016 than you did in 2015, consider upping your social selling game. Here are four quick tips that will help you to avoid some common mistakes online.

While traditional sales typically tries to get an appointment at all costs, in Sandler we talk about a different viewpoint: Disqualifying people rather than qualifying them. That way, you don't waste their time or yours if you can quickly uncover that you're not a good fit for each other. However, that can be taken too far. In fact, it's hard to disqualify accurately without exchanging two way information first.

Discovering the communication style of your prospects and customers is extremely important. It can often help you cut through the noise and communicate effectively, making a real conversation possible. One of my clients recently discovered...

One of our rules in Sandler is Sandler Rule #47 - Selling is a Broadway Play Performed by a Psychiatrist. In a play, people play different parts. In your role as a salesperson, how do you know which part to play?

Trade shows can be one of the greatest uses of an organization's resources. Or it can be one of the biggest wastes. It all depends on having an actual trade show strategy. At most trade shows, people are...

Everyone is steered by expectations. Sometimes they may not even be able to verbalize those expectations. And other times, they may actually result in you thinking the wrong thing is important to your prospect. Think about when you first talk to a prospect on the phone...

A major frustration for salespeople is dealing with prospects that can't seem to make a decision.  Perhaps the biggest of those frustrations is struggling with prospects who indicate the desire to make a decision (and to do so by a certain date), but when the date rolls around, they invariably need more time. How many times have prospects told you, "I need more time to make a decision"?  Too many? In those situations, it's easy to blame the prospect for being indecisive, uncommitted, and a procrastinator. But, does the prospect deserve all of the blame?  Shouldn't some of it fall on your shoulders?  Perhaps, the major share? 

When someone hands you a business card and says, "you should call this person", it's not really a referral. Without more information, it is more like they're sending you on a cold call. Cold calling is way down the list of favorite prospecting activities for most salespeople, and sometimes that frustration can spill over to referrals.

Prospects come in with different behaviors, and different expectations. Sometimes, prospects make up their mind before you ever interact directly with them. It may be that they want to do business with you, or it may be that they don't. Or they may not know yet. Regardless, the earlier you can figure it out, the better.

When people call you, if you're not careful, it's really easy to get sucked into wasting time. If people don't value their own time, they're never going to value yours. The quicker you can figure that out, the better it is for all parties involved. A client of mine...

Why are you in business? Many people are in business because they have a unique skill set or background, and want to use that to help others. Unfortunately, in some ways that can end up limiting them, and can ultimately hurt them. Sound familiar?

It's funny how some people don't realize they're confusing people by using industry lingo. Of course, if you're the one losing sales because you don't even know you're doing it, it might not be as funny to you. I met with someone last year who was in the digital marketing space. Talk about an industry with a lot of industry lingo and acronyms!

When talking to prospects or leads, have you ever heard someone say something like, "Oh, my brother-in-law does what you do"? If that's something you hear on a fairly regular basis, especially during sales meetings, it's time to start disarming that bomb before it goes off, not after. So how do you do that?

The question most buyers default to is How much? That's especially true when they don't buy what you sell very often, if ever. So if you set yourself apart by having high quality, it's entirely possible they'll balk at the price. There are three things you can...

In Sandler, we recommend a somewhat different approach to talking to new prospects. If your approach is to try to get as many meetings as you can and sign as many clients as you can, you end up with a lot of bad fits, and that can result in bad situations. Instead, we recommend making every attempt to disqualify new prospects.

There's huge power in finding out more information when you get a referral. Not just if the person was referred and who referred them, but actually WHY the person referred them to you. Recently a client of mine got a referral from...

There's danger in letting your prospect end a sales call or sales meeting. Often times, they do it for the wrong reasons. You need to pay close attention to their behaviors, because those are signs of underlying expectations they have. And they may not be based in reality!

Have you ever had a sales meeting, only to lose the deal later to a competitor? It's fairly common. But what's even worse is when you thought it was a sure deal, and didn't even know your competitor existed. So how do you find out?

A key to a successful organization is establishing what a good prospect looks like (and doesn't look like), then training all of your team to keep their eyes and ears open for that person. It's not just the job of your salespeople. It should be everyone's job!

Too often, I talk with people that are working with clients they shouldn't have. It could be that their client doesn't pay on time, can't invest the time needed to solve the problem, or just plain isn't a good fit. If you're honest, it's happened to you at some point in the past! There are two reasons people take on business they shouldn't have.

Prospects get defensive. They fortify their castle, and don't want to let any salespeople inside. Something causes them to raise their drawbridge, and retreat inside. And it's always because of a past experience!

Disqualification is completely up to us. Just because somebody comes in, wants what we have to sell, and has their checkbook ready, doesn't mean we have to sell it to them. For those that really like to help people, that can be a challenge. You can see your prospect is in pain, so it's hard for you to disqualify them, because you know you can help them.

Most salespeople operate on a scarcity mindset. They believe that there's not enough business out there for everyone. So the tendency is also there for your competition to bad-mouth you, whether it's really true or not, and whether you're really even their competition or not. The key is ...

Most successful business owners are pretty sharp. When you offer them an idea or service that will save them money, they will immediately consider a couple decisions: First, the business owner may decide if you're "speaking the truth". This is easy.  If you can demonstrate cost savings and/or revenue growth, it will make sense for them to purchase your product and/or service. Second, they may come up with their own ROI calculation to answer this age-old question..

You can't be more committed to fixing a prospect's problem than they are themselves. If you are, you'll end up in a bad situation at some point. A client of mine...

No matter your age or experience level, LinkedIn is the platform for social networking when it comes to business. Today, there are more than 300 million registered LinkedIn users with 100 million of those users residing in the United States. And while that statistic makes it seem like everyone is already on LinkedIn, that's not entirely true. More people are joining every day.

Think about the last time someone asked you to tell them a little about yourself. Did you stumble? Did you regret how you answered? Did you miss an opportunity to fit in something important? Sandler Training advises that all professionals – especially salespeople – take time to craft their "thirty-second commercial." Thirty-second commercials can be used for prospecting and to introduce yourself at networking events. A great thirty-second commercial does two things, lets a prospect know what you do and answers the question "why is this person and their business relevant to me?"e

LinkedIn can be a great tool for prospecting, but only if you invest time and resources in knowing what it's really capable of, then actually taking time to utilize it on a regular basis. A client was recently on LinkedIn, and saw someone had looked at his LinkedIn profile. He then took five seconds to...

Typically when we think of professions that are universally respected, we don't think of salespeople. We may think of policemen, firemen, doctors, or even professional athletes. One of the things all those professions have in common is that they're always ready.

 

There is huge power in taking the time to slow down and be intentional about your actions. All too often, we rush around so much that we don't actually get anything done. But when we take that time and are purposeful with our actions, there can be huge impact.

One of my clients recently changed that very thing in her organization. She began to implement what sounds like a fairly simple step, and was able to uncover something that made a huge difference.

If you've heard the any of the following statements from prospects, then keep reading to learn more about how to determine when to walk away and when to continue investing time and energy. "I need to confer with other managers here." "I need more time to decide." "Call me in about a month."

Having the guts to ask the important questions can really pay off. In the case of one of my clients, it recently dramatically increased his importance to a referral partner.

Some of you probably struggle to actually ask for someone's business. I was recently working with a client who lost a major opportunity because of that very issue. I was in a meeting with about twenty salespeople. They were all talking about...

You never know who around you is a potential prospect and who isn't. Because you can never know without having a conversation, it's important to engage in conversation with those around you. And in order to make it memorable for the other person, you have to make it much more about the other person than yourself.

Have you ever talked yourself out of a sale? Selling is not about telling. It's about helping the prospect relate to your product or service to the satisfaction of their wants and needs. It's also about helping them discover needs of which they were previously unaware. How do you accomplish this? By asking thought-provoking questions and then listening, really listening!

If you get nervous about cold calling on prospects, you're not alone. It doesn't matter whether it's in person or over the phone, plenty of people don't like cold calling, and it makes them nervous. In Sandler, we have a rule about prospecting in general:

Sandler Rule #7: You Don't Have to Like Prospecting, You Just Have to Do It.

If you are unaware of the relationship between ambiguity, anxiety and fear, then you are probably lengthening your sales cycle and reducing your close rate. When you sit across from a prospect, no matter how long or personal your relationship, you are still a salesperson who your prospect fears will sell them something instead of allowing them to buy

Today I asked a group of salespeople to share something that they wished they'd said to a prospect when they had the chance. I explained they were in a 'safe environment' so it was okay to be honest. The comments were interesting. And when I say interesting, I mean somewhat reserved, restrained and polite.

Creating an effective sales pipeline can be a massive headache for sales leaders because reps have been known to stuff the pipeline with opportunities that have zero chance of closing. In a previous life, I took over a product specialist role selling a web-based media monitoring and crisis communications program. My first six weeks in that role was spent culling a $3 million pipeline down to $160,000 of real, qualified opportunities

When a prospective client shares that your competition is way cheaper than you, how do you respond? Your response can make all the difference in the world. It's all about knowing your own value.

The CEO of an IT services company recently shared his belief with me that every two years for one hour, his prospects are so angry with their existing supplier that his company had a chance to take the business away from his competitor. This is not an unusual belief. He was talking about demand fulfillment, which is safe and easy

I want to take you back about 10,000 years ago to the savannah in Africa. There are only about 1,500 human beings on the planet, and life is a scary existence. As far as predators go, we don't stand much of a chance. We don't have claws, or razor sharp teeth with fangs. We aren't very strong or fast, and we don't have any cool defense mechanisms like shells, venom, stingers, or even camouflage. Needless to say, it paid to be fearful on the savannah. Fear, vigilance, and worry kept us alive. Luckily for us, we got smart fast.

The question is a bit of a puzzle. Ideally, there would be a reference book that lists, by industry, how much time you should invest in prospecting activities. Unfortunately, there's no reference book. Why? How much time you invest will depend on the number of prospecting activities you plan, the nature of the activities, and the intended results of the activities

How often have you been sitting in the car after a sales call, and you thought of something you should have done that would have been more appropriate than what you just did? "I shoulda said...," "I shoulda asked...," "I shoulda...," "I shoulda...," "I shoulda..." You make a mental note of the shouldas...and then what? Nothing! With everything else that goes on during the day, your shouldas become a distant memory—lessons that could have been learned, but were lost instead.

Have you found yourself making assumptions when it comes to how your prospects make decisions? Recognizing and stopping that are huge, and the key is in asking questions. A client of mine was having trouble connecting with a lead for about a month. His general philosophy was, If I haven't followed up with someone within a week or so, why would they want to do business with me? Thankfully, this time he...

When is the toughest prospect to sell the easiest prospect to sell? Give up? The answer is simple: when you call on him. Some buyers acquire a reputation for being tough, overbearing, demanding—just plain impossible to deal with. And guess what? Salespeople stop calling on them. Why put themselves through the abuse? Why endure the indignity? Why indeed, you may be thinking

Prepare a digital version of your 30-Second Commercial...and include that text in your LinkedIn profile. (tweet this!)

How does a screenwriter create one movie that's a box office blockbuster and another that's a flop? How does a playwright write one play that runs continuously for years and another that opens and closes in the same night? How does an author write one novel that's a number one best seller for 26 weeks straight and another that never makes the best-seller list? How

Hot off the presses...the Fall Edition of The Sandler Advisor. Click here to read. Please enjoy this newsletter excerpt, highlighting when and how to talk about money with a prospect. The Two-Minute Coach By Howard Goldstein, Sandler Corporate Today's question comes from Tracy, the owner of a graphics design company for which she does most of the selling. This is how she explains her problem

All too frequently, salespeople schedule appointments...and then forget about them until the day before the scheduled dates. Do you? Is preparation a last-minute activity often consisting of nothing more than a quick review of the notes from the original phone conversations when the appointments were scheduled...and perhaps a review of the prospects' web sites, advertising, or marketing materials? Can you answer the following questions about your next prospect appointment

I just returned from Las Vegas where I spoke to business owners in the construction industry. I admit, I do get excited about wagering, especially in Las Vegas, but I realized how I was getting suckered in when a slot machine caught my eye. It said "99% payout guaranteed," which sounded like a good thing. You essentially put in $100 and over time, you will get $99 back. When you aren't emotionally involved, it's easy to see the futility of gambling in Las Vegas. But the lights and the bells and the buzz of excitement reels you in and sure enough, in an hour, I handed over $60 to the resort.

Everyone knows someone. Actually, everyone knows several someones. Your customers - as well as the prospects you call on - have some contact with, or at the very least know of, people who can benefit from your product or service. Unfortunately, they are not programmed to automatically disclose the names of those people to you. That doesn't mean that they won't; you must initiate the action.

Have you ever been in a sales situation where someone was trying to beat you up over price? There's a technique you can use that, in my experience, is the absolute best thing you can do. You've got to be ready to walk away from the sale, but it's a phenomenal tool to use in situations like that.

Whose fault is it when things don't work out in sales? Is it the prospect's fault? Or is it yours? If you're answering honestly, it's always your own fault! So what should you do when you screw up a sales call?

Does this sound familiar to you? Prospect A says, "This looks very good. I think there's an excellent chance we'll do business." The salesperson thinks, "I've got one." Prospect B comments, "Your price is higher than we expected." The salesperson thinks, "I'll have to cut the price to close the deal." Prospect C reveals, "We were hoping for a shorter delivery time." The salesperson thinks, "I'll have to push this through as a rush order to get the sale."e

Companies have a systematic approach to complete almost every task; from the production line to accounting and payroll. Companies rely on clearly defined ways to get the job done effectively and efficiently. There are some areas of organizations that are commonly left to play by their own rules; like the sales and business development departments. Management exclaims, "go get 'em; bring in some new business! We believe in you!" In the current competitive and entitled market, the fly by the seat of your pants sales team almost never achieve the results they are looking for.

Many salespeople believe that they should respond to all proposal requests that come across their desk where the scope of work falls within the capabilities of their companies. It's easy to see the allure. Working on an opportunity that "fell out of the sky" is far more desirable than "beating the bushes" to turn up an opportunity. Desirable, yes. But, is it smart? Responding to a request for a proposal (RFP) carries with it associated costs. What are they

Who really likes to be told what they're doing wrong? If you're like most people, you don't like to be "told". So how do you think your prospects feel when you "tell" them something? It feels like you're a critical parent! And how likely do you think people are to buy from a critical parent? Instead, we should...

I read an article recently that slammed sales people for using the "hard sell" tactic of asking for a decision at the end of a presentation. To paraphrase David Sandler, don't make presentations without a prior commitment to make a "no" or "yes" at the end of the presentation. Two valuables a sales person possesses are information and time. Making presentations without a commitment by a prospect to make a choice between "no" and "yes" at the end is a waste of both. Now, there are two instances when asking for a decision at the end of a presentation is a hard sell tactic

In sales, planning is huge, especially when it comes to prospecting. Without a prospecting plan in place that you're actively working, you're really just relying on luck. And why rely on luck when you can rely on a plan instead?

Talking about price too early in the conversation is dangerous! If you concentrate on giving a better price during the sales cycle, you can fall into the trap of discounting and becoming a commodity. But how often is price the first thing a prospect wants to talk with you about?

A lot of sales people and business owners are struggling with how to add social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter into their prospecting or marketing plan. Social networking is the #1 online activity, used by 1.2 billion people worldwide. Nearly one in five minutes online is spent on social media websites, and 75% of that is on Facebook. But how does that help you sell anything? Attitude First, you have to have the right attitude to make social networking work for you

At Sandler Training, we develop professionals in sales, management and customer service. Professionals have a commitment to be the best they can be. They do things a little differently than the average performers. What do the most successful professionals in any industry have in common? They study. They invest in themselves. They practice. They have systems and processes and they use them. Finally, they are driven by passion and purpose

Always going. Yes, I am. My thoughts spin as fast as my tires when I'm driving to my Sandler Training center every morning. Of course, often these thoughts are on Sandler as I mentally prepare for my Foundations or President's Club sessions.

Salespeople could significantly increase their earnings if they stopped saying and believing "I know why."

The most common complaint we hear from the heads of professional services firms (lawyers, accountants, engineers, marketing or PR agencies) is that their people are technically brilliant, but have a serious aversion to business development. Totally understandable considering the training the majority of professionals receive relates directly to delivering services they provide (e.g. how to conduct a better audit or how to create a crisis communications plan)

David Sandler said, sales is no place to get your needs met, but too often salespeople get their needs met by eagerly jumping through the hoops their prospect puts down, not for the chance at getting an order, but because they want their prospect to like them. Salespeople mistake their prospect liking them for success because they have "I/R confusion." What this means, in simple terms, is they mistake their self-worth or identity (I-Side) with the role (R-Side) they play, like salesperson. When someone confuses their I-Side and their R-Side they exhibit two primary behaviors

My Mom was a funny lady and during my youth, she was constantly throwing riddles at me. Some of herriddles came in pairs and the pairs typically had a point. One such pair of riddles has been a huge lesson forme as I have gone through life. Here they are. Riddle 1: What did Tarzan say when he saw the elephantscoming down the road? "Here come the elephants." Riddle 2: What did the elephants say when theysaw Tarzan coming down the road? Nothing, elephants don't talk

Do you know what your ideal prospect looks like? When thinking about your ideal prospect, it's important that you be able to describe their observable attributes. There are a couple reasons for this.

Two weekends ago, I got to take my youngest daughter to a 4 year-old's birthday party. I'd forgotten how elaborate some of these parties get, and this was a nice reminder. The parents of this little boy had hired an animal trainer to bring some critters and let the kids see them.

The ABA Journal published a wonderful article about the legendary Texas lawyer "Racehorse" Haynes. In his very first jury trial, he accidentally stepped on a spittoon and fell to the floor in front of the judge and jury. After his client was later acquitted, he reasoned that it may have been because the jury felt sorry for the defendant being represented by such an inept attorney.

Remaining flexible is why we need a lot of tools in our sales toolbox. Coming prepared with a variety of tools mean we can deal with a variety of situations. And some of those tools can, if uses properly, help us avoid unwanted surprises during sales calls.

 

Ask most salespeople to describe the purpose of each interaction with a prospect and they'll probably say something like: "close 'em" "build the relationship" "educate them" "solve their problems" All good answers, but the real purpose of every interaction with a prospect is to get to the truth. What's uncomfortable about getting the truth in an interaction with a prospect? Ask any salesperson this question and most of the time their answer will be something like "I might not get their business!"e

Having worked for some large, large organizations, I’ve had the following conversation several times.

Co-worker who isn’t in sales: “I want to be in sales.”
Me: “Why do you want to be in sales?”
Them: “They’ve got the best life. They don’t work very hard!”

Really? When that co-worker of mine punches their clock out at five o’clock, they’re done.

 

It is very easy for us as sales professional, business owners and professionals to look at certain prospecting activities and say to ourselves, “Oh, that would never work for me!”

Really?

You can’t say that without putting effort into it and really see if it would work. You can’t say that without actually trying it first.

 

A prospecting plan is instrumental in making sure you actually reach your prospecting goals, and therefore your sales goals. After all, prospecting is the life-blood of sales.

Let’s take a look at five key components for your prospecting plan.

 

Prospects generally don’t intend to lie. They’ve been conditioned that way by bad salespeople. In fact, many people wouldn’t like under any other circumstances. But when dealing with a salesperson, it’s a defense mechanism that pops up.

Let’s take a look at three lies prospects tell, and what we can do about it.

 

Your time is valuable. So when prospecting, you obviously want to make the best use of that time. If you’re mostly using passive prospecting techniques and don’t like wasting time, you’re making a huge mistake. Instead, the prospecting activities you invest time in should be active. What qualifies as an active prospecting activity?

 

Every salesperson probably already knows that prospecting is the life-blood of sales. Yet how many of us prospect with no real plan? Either that, or we just procrastinate our prospecting totally. You need to make an actual, written prospecting plan, then execute on it. Don’t go into it without planning, but don’t plan so much that you never actually do the prospecting. Let’s look at how you can create a step-by-step prospecting plan.

 

When you get an email from a prospect with one of the following requests, what do you do? Send me a quote for.. Provide us with more information about.. We'd like a proposal.. Forward us a brochure on.. If you thought, "reply by email," you just put your prospect firmly in control of the sales process. How? The reason is found in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)

Before you choose to answer your prospect's "how much" question, consider if you are unintentionally helping your prospect lower your prices. While a common trick of the amateur salesperson is offering increasing discounts to win business, I haven't met a professional salesperson who uses this tactic. Unfortunately, the professional salesperson can still be guilty of helping their prospect lower their prices by "anchoring" their prospect

The bottom line of selling is going to the bank; however, prospects are more likely to offer hope instead of an order when meeting a salesperson. "Hope is the only thing stronger than fear,"---President Snow, the Hunger Games. "A little hope is effective; a lot of hope is dangerous." Because hope is stronger than fear, a salesperson is comfortable taking their prospect's hope ("we're giving you top consideration") instead of overcoming their fear of losing a deal and gently asking what does "top consideration" really means

The two words that are guaranteed to trip up most sales people are "better" and "value." The latter we'll talk about in another post. Typically the "better" trap is set by a prospect at the beginning of a meeting. After introductions and polite conversation your prospect says, "so tell me how you are better than my current supplier." If your instinct is to jump to a features-and-benefits presentation, STOP! There is no way for you to answer that question and have any chance of closing the sale. There are three reasons why your prospects set the "better" trap

A common death trap salespeople fall into is having "happy ears," meaning, they tend to hear what they want to hear. In actuality, what they (salespeople) heard does not reflect the real intent of what the prospect said. Sales Tip

I am a "serial goal setter"! I have used goals all my life to chart my path and measure my progress. Perhaps it's my need to be in control that has driven me to do this or my desire to anticipate what may be looming over the next horizon. Be that as it may, I do know that far too many sales people allow others to chart their course.

Clients and prospects tell on a regular basis about how they spend 5 - 20 hours a week preparing proposals for business they are "hoping to get;" however, most of the time their efforts are unsuccessful. Why are we compelled to provide proposals when our 'gut' tells us we are wasting our time? Let's explore some of the reasons we feel inclined to provide proposals: The prospect asked for it. 'If I don't provide the proposal I definitely won't have a chance at getting the business.

Albert Einstein's definition of insanity was, "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." That's also the literal meaning of Sandler Rule #9, "every unsuccessful prospecting call earns compound interest." In sales, we take for granted that we will fail more often than we succeed. So on the surface David Sandler's rule about unsuccessful prospecting should give us hope that the more times we fail the closer we get to a sale. As Sandler-trained salespeople will tell you, hope is a terrible thing

If you're like most salespeople, you don't know how to network effectively. Usually you'll wing it, improvise, or spend time with colleagues or clients you know really well instead of engaging prospects. When I ask, "why you don't approach prospects at networking events?", I'd get a lot of "I don't knows." What you don't know, or don't even realize, is your problem is mom. Specifically in influence the messages mom drilled into your head in your first six years like

Last time we discussed the tension of wanting to rescue a prospect sales process. Now let's look at the situation between the buyer and seller as objectively as possible:

How do you convince someone to buy your product or service? Think about how you buy a product or service. Even the richest people in the world with "money to burn" do not buy for the sake of buying. Yes they can buy whenever or whatever they choose, however there is a reason that they buy. People love to buy, they just don't like to be sold.

Make sure your customers know when you put forth extra effort. Sandler Trainer Randy Hnatko explains Sandler Rule #32.

Make a mutual decision with your prospect. Sandler trainer Danny Wood discusses Rule #16: Never ask for the order, make your prospect give up.

Let's admit it. No salesperson likes making cold calls. Prospecting is perhaps the most stressful and anxiety ridden aspect to sales. 

I was sitting in a coffee shop reading a book in early November when I overheard two salespeople talking about the current state of their business. One was explaining to the other that he looked forward to this time of year because all his customers were out of money and all of his prospects were going to wait until next year to purchase.

Why should we buy from you? What makes you different than my current _______? Why should I invite you in to see me? We are already doing business with you so why should we look at this new product /service? Sound familiar? A bit tired of hearing this? Get used to it. This is simply what customers and prospects say to sales people. And we can't fault the prospect/ customer for asking the question. They don't have time to waste, and they need a good reason to spend time with salespeople who know how to sell value-whether through a meeting or to view a new product or service

"How and when you discuss money during your sales process has a greater impact on selling success than your price"

As a salesperson, your job is to go to the bank. Go to the bank as often as possible, repeat the steps that have gotten you there in the past, and lose the habits that ever slowed your progress there.

Not everybody learns the same way, and there is no singular solution to every challenge. Dave Mattson, Sandler Training's CEO, touches on the variety of options offered with Sandler Training.

What really goes on with a doctor's visit? Ideally, you realize that you have some symptoms that are preventing you from functioning at 100%. You then get an appointment with the doctor, they ask you a fair amount of questions about your symptoms and lifestyle, and then they make some recommendations-usually involving a prescription of some sort. So how would you feel if you just went into the doctor and they gave you some pills without investigating the problems

So much has been written in various sales training blogs about time management that you hardly have the time to read about it. There are numerous time management programs, processes and tools, and even with all this help, you still can't manage time no matter how hard you try.

The best definition of a heated political climate is the constant "clarification" of what was said yesterday, the day before, and the day before that. When what you said is not what is heard - or if what you heard was not what was said - that is "mutual mystification." Actress Lily Tomlin said it best, "Have I reached the party to whom I am speaking?"e

Sandler's CEO, Dave Mattson, explains how someone comes to figure out their recipe for success. After countless trials and experimentation, you have to take the time to sit down and analyze what strategies have worked for you, and what strategies could use some more work. 

What do you really learn by getting a "yes"? Job well done. Keep doing what you're doing. Get comfortable. Right? That's all fine, but realize that while your "yes" may make you happy, it doesn't necessarily make you a better salesperson.

As a salesperson, your objective is to get your prospect to make a decision. Obviously, a "yes, I will work with you" is better than a "no, thanks." But even getting to that decision can be a chore for some. 

After any amount of time in dealing with salespeople, you're bound to come across some overzealous characters — those people who treat a prospect more like a rabid predator than a professional. Nobody wants to deal with a salesperson who is obviously waiting to pounce, so you do the only thing you can do to shake them off the scent of a sale — you lie.

Acronyms, industry buzz-words, technical jargon — we've all used them at one point or another in our jobs. But if you've been using them when you're first getting to know your prospect, you may have made a big mistake.

The change in the economic climate in the last two years has affected everyone, and one of the more dramatic effects is the cultural impact it's had on organizations. Employees no longer feel safe, and they don't like it. They are feeling left out, they are angry to see their friends laid off and their pay cut, and all they hear as a reason is that sales have dropped 30, 40 or 50% - and they now demand to know more! They want to know why the results are so poor.

The following summarizes what many salespeople have been saying as I've spoken with them this week, "Wow, it was hard to find buyers before all this financial mess and now it's impossible ... it's killing me!" I get a sense that fear is strangling a major portion of the sales world.

In sales, there's a big difference between knowing what to say and knowing what to think. Sandler Training CEO Dave Mattson explains the seven deadly sales sins to avoid now and forever. 

"Can you get me an estimate?"

"Why don't you write up a proposal for me?"

"Well, just get me an outline of your plans for us and we'll get back to you."

Do these sound familiar? Possibly a "free consulting" nightmare that sales professionals see way too often?

It may be in the salesperson's best interest to stop talking from time to time. Share your product expertise after you've qualified the prospect. 

What does a marathon runner know about making prospecting calls? Probably very little. Maybe nothing! However, the strategy the marathon runner uses to prepare for a race can help you become a better prospector. No runner started out as a marathon runner. They trained over time to build their strength and endurance to go the distance. The first day they couldn't run 100 yards before gasping for breath. The first week was torture. The second week was a little better. The third week better yet, and so on. With continual practice, desire and effort, they became a marathon runner

The late, great Arthur Ashe, for whom the Stadium Court at Flushing Meadows Tennis Complex in New York City is named, was not only a great pioneer in the sport, but was also known for his intellect and ability to teach in both words and examples.

Wouldn't it be wonderful for a prospect to accurately and honestly lay out all of their issues for you in your first meeting? This means no more seemingly-perfect deals to disappear, no more "perfect matches" to end with unreciprocated phone calls, and best of all, no more "What went wrong?"

Through any sales training seminar you may have attended or any job training you've experienced, people seem to put a lot of energy into teaching you how to avoid or resist one word: "No." The fear of rejection alone is enough to drive the timid and easily — bruised away from sales altogether.

Sure, it's easy to externalize your problems if things aren't going well. Remember: as a salesperson, it's your job to sweep those excuses aside. You'll never grow as a sales professional if you leave every call thinking you're just unlucky to run into the world's pickiest prospects.

Watch a Sandler trainer Kevin Hallenbeck explains why it is absolutely necessary to always keep your options open. 

We are right in the middle of summer, and I love the summer. And in the midst of this nice warm weather, it may be strange to say that I also love the winter-but I do. That's when the business world almost uniformly decides to go into a slumber because they believe buying slows down. That's called a self-limiting belief. That's when I'm at my best because this is what I have found-people actually still have money and are willing to spend it if you're good enough to find their pain

I propose a ban on proposals! I find them to be an enormous waste of time as no one has ever in the history of sales purchased anything solely based on the proposal. We unwittingly taught all prospects that they simply have to ask and we will provide them with all the information they need in order to deal with their problem

Q: What's the one thing a salesperson must avoid if they are to be successful? A: I study salespeople for a living. The majority of them don't lose because of product inferiority, pricing excesses or poor sales technique. They lose because of low self-esteem! We all start out with perfect self-esteem. Ever met any three-year-olds with self-esteem problems? Didn't think so

How's your memory? Do you fall into the category as described the old adage, "I'd forget my head if it wasn't connected to my body"? Are you constantly setting traps for yourself to be on time for meetings or where your car keys are placed or what's supposed to be happening on your schedule from hour to hour?

If I asked you casually in passing, which would you consider analogous to your sales style -beinga greyhound or a thoroughbred- you might pause and consider the characteristics and traits of both, and after pondering, see value in both. It might be a difficult choice on the surface, however, if you look more closely, you would reconsider. I was listening to a minister recently break it down in an interesting way, so let's consider his analysis.

Why do people buy milk or bread or cereal or soda at the gas station convenience store when those items are far less expensive at a grocery store? Obviously, they have a need for the items. More importantly, buying at the convenience store is quick, and you guessed it, convenient. And "quick" and "convenient" represent value. They fill up with gas, run in and pick up the items they need, and they're on their way. No hunting for a parking space. No grocery carts to dodge. No long checkout lines.

Growing up, I was raised by an optimist and a pessimist. My mom was probably the happiest, funniest, friendliest person you could ever meet. She made sure that I was raised with an altruistic mindset, wishing nothing but good for everybody and doing my best to help people out. As I started to learn and mature, I asked her about why she was helping some people she really did not like. Her response was simple. "Matt, everybody can be better off and helping them helps the community.

Last week, I found myself trapped in a fast food restaurant. This restaurant boasts that they have served more than six billion. Still, the people in front of me seemed to be having a new experience; they simply could not decide between meal one and meal two. To call them indecisive would be an insult to equivocators all over the planet.

"Dump the jute, man, on the burning ground." Van Morrison serves that to us in a song called "The Burning Ground." I'm rarely sure what he's singing but you can count on whatever it is to be unique. I dig that. All hip cats dig that. "The Burning Ground" is arguably one of Van Morrison's most intense forays into personal and spiritual allegory. More importantly, it's just a dang good tune. Within it, though, is a message that makes me think of the plight of so many unknowing salespeople: the challenge of head trash

Salespeople are not wise to the ways of great sorcerers and for that we can all be thankful. Sorcerers are known for exotic blends, flash powder, potent broths and a willingness to pluck the eyes out of living things. Sorcerers spend an inordinate amount of time consulting the bones, looking to see what the future holds - which usually ends up about half-right. There's every reason to believe that consulting those dried up old bones might be about as successful as the "winging it" strategy employed by many sales amateurs.

"Equal business stature, that's all I want--to be treated as an equal. I have earned that right. Yet to a gatekeeper or prospect, I am the lowest form of humanity." So lamented a friend of mine over a recent lunch of burgers, fries and a heaping plate of frustrated sales efforts

There are a lot of good reasons to pick up the phone and reach out to new prospective customers. When it comes to finding new business opportunities, the phone offers a high level of efficiency, is relatively inexpensive, and is a great way to gather valuable information that can help us find business.

While some salespeople might see voicemail as a dead end or a link in a long game of phone tag, opportunists see it as a chance to learn even more about the prospect before interacting with them. If you listen closely to a prospect's outbound voicemail message, you can pick up clues to help you adjust your style to be more like theirs

We don't ordinarily think of sales as one of the "helping professions," but maybe we should. People tell their problems to psychologists and clergymen. They pour out their hearts to their neighborhood bartender. But they tell their troubles to sales professionals, too, so we should develop our "helping profession" skills. I have often noticed, when a sales pitch is going well, how the conversation resembles what I understand a therapeutic session to be like. That is the way it should be, if the salesperson knows what he or she is doing

Planning on an economic rebound, companies in the U.S. and Canada are beginning to up their investments in new product and service introductions, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey released in August. Businesses are also investing more in information technology and in marketing and sales promotion.

That's encouraging, especially since it should mean more purchases of the kinds of good and services high-level sales professionals represent.

The end of summer's gloomy retail sales figures, coming after two months of modest gains, are giving rise to considerable pessimism among sales professionals. While understandable, this pessimism is also, I believe, completely unwarranted but not for the reasons you might think.
 Yes, back-to-school sales at the big chain stores are rotten. The housing market in many areas is lousy. Consumer confidence is weak and may be even weaker by the time you read this. I don't disagree with any of that. Facts are facts

When the economy took a nosedive, most sales professionals quickly responded in one of two ways. There were those who lost confidence and basically hunkered down, hoping to wait out the recession. They adopted a "base camp" mentality, wanting only to hold onto what business they had until the weather cleared, and they could start their ascent again

I'm going to let you in on a secret. There are hundreds of consultants out there that will tell you they fully understand Twitter and other trendy "social media" tools. They will also tell you exactly how they can help you use these tools-at a steep price, of course. Well, most of them are blowing smoke. The fact is, we live in a time of rapid technological change and a great deal of confusion. Nobody knows what tomorrow may bring, in terms of technological change, but also in terms of the economy and foreign affairs