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Prospecting

Given the upheavals and uncertainty of 2020, many leaders and salespeople have been asking us what we see on the horizon as the next year approaches. What skills and adaptations will be necessary not just to survive, but to thrive in 2021?

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.

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.

 

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.

 

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

 

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.

 

Many of you reading this article right now have a team (or teams) of people that report to you in some form or another. As you think about those people, your time spent leading them, managing them, coaching them, developing them, working with them, and yes… all of the other things you have to do as part of your roles or responsibilities, it doesn’t leave much time to add on a thorough accountability process to that list… or does it?

 

Mike Montague interviews Doug Cohen on How to Succeed at The First 30 Seconds of a Prospecting Call. 

 

Mike Montague interviews Dan Stalp on how to succeed at redirecting prospects’ head trash. 

 

This year, on Fridays, Dave talks about the attitude, behavior, and techniques of successful sales managers as he shares his thoughts on the 49 Sandler Rules for Sales Leaders.

 

Mike Montague interviews Nema Semnani on how to succeed at storytelling. In this episode:

  • The right attitude for effective storytelling
  • Imagined realities are powerful motivators
  • How to tell a compelling story

I love sales!  It is a career where you, the sales professional, determine your income based on how skillful you execute the duty.  It has a feel of independence, ownership and entrepreneurship and it can be extremely rewarding.  Professional selling is regarded as one of the top earning careers on the face of the planet.  Note to you business owners out there: If your salespeople are making more money than you, don’t be jealous, be excited because they are building your business and increasing its value!

Read Time: 5 MInutes

David Mattson, President and CEO of Sandler Training and 6-Time Best-Selling Author, talks about his fifth book, Sandler Rules for Sales Leaders.

Listen Time10 Minutes

As a sales trainer, I get a lot of pushback about the word “pain.” Many of my clients reason that there are many other motives to explain why people buy. There have been multiple instances where they were offended by the very word “pain” and its negative connotation and then asked if we can call it something else instead. 

Read Time: 4 Minutes 

Trials and demos can be an important part of your sales cycle, especially in the enterprise space. Another term for a trial or demo, is the “Monkey’s Paw,” which is a small version of your larger service or a consulting project. A successful Monkey’s Paw has three components, which are similar to a successful trial.

Read Time: 7 Minutes

Most salespeople who need to prospect for a living will tell you that it’s a very proactive, immediate results-driven exercise that can be uncomfortable at times. Hard to disagree with that. This is a topic that we get involved with far too often as it’s a common point of frustration for many business owners and sales leaders regarding their selling culture.

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Troy Elmore, Sandler trainer, shows you how to succeed with the attitudes, behaviors, and techniques needed to be more successful at dealing with the competition and selling a crowded marketplace. Get the best practices collected from around the world.

Listen Time: 21 Minutes

Potential buyers of your product or service – like the rest of us – spend a lot of their time online. This gives rise to a question: What are the best ways to engage with them when a voice to voice or a face to face conversation isn’t a possibility? Here are five simple, effective steps you can follow.

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

Linc Miller, Sandler trainer, shows you how to succeed at the connection with prospects through the attitudes, behaviors, and techniques needed to be more successful in sales. Get the best practices collected from around the world for bonding and rapport in sales.

This strategy involves face-to-face contact with people you already know, and thus isn’t technically an example of digital prospecting. Even so, it’s a best practice we use and have coached others to use as a means of generating substantially larger numbers of referrals via LinkedIn.

Read Time: 3 Minutes

This is a truly amazing period of history for sales professionals. The information tools that help us to identify, connect with, and sustain ongoing relationships with buyers are more powerful than ever, and they allow us to do things few could have imagined just a few years ago. But there's a challenge we all face: We mustn't let the extraordinary technology we now have blind us to the importance of having a clear sales process.

Read Time: 8 Minutes

Let’s start by talking about the elephant in the room: Cold calling is almost every salesperson’s least favorite topic. In fact, the only two groups who like the idea of cold calling are those who have never done it and sales managers.

Read Time: 6 Minutes

When our clients are elephant hunting or are selling in the enterprise space, we encourage them to engage their executives in peer-to-peer selling to their counterparts at prospect organizations.

Read Time: 4 Minutes

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

There are only a few weeks left in Q4, which means that lots of sales professionals are asking themselves a familiar question right about now: How do I make the most of the time between now and December 31?

David Mattson, President and CEO of Sandler Training, talks about how to introduce a manager or another team member to your prospect. Learn the best practices collected from over a thousand Sandler employees around the world.

According to research done by AYTM, over 60% of business professionals will take a summer vacation. At any given moment this summer, a third of your prospects and customers may be away from work. That can make it difficult to keep sales numbers up – and yourself or your team motivated. This summer, you can use these social selling tips to avoid a summer slump.

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.

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.

#1 “Most of my team’s most important prospects for new business are on vacation during the summer months.”

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.

We’re sometimes asked what the bare minimum should be in terms of digital prospecting ability for an individual salesperson. Below, our list of five things we believe every salesperson, operating in any industry, should be able to do in terms of digital prospecting. If for some reason you can’t do this much right now, you should learn how, and sooner rather than later!

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.

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. 

Todd finally learned that he had lost the large deal. He was confused and thought his demo had gone well.  A month had passed since he was told by the prospect that he had “done a good job presenting his software!”  What could have gone wrong?

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. 

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.

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.

Every salesperson dreams of getting good leads. But what are you supposed to do when you get one?

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.

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.

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.

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.

Later this month, myself and Marketing Director, Lindsey Demetris, are hosting a free webinar detailing how to drive revenues through social selling. We plan on teaching our viewers how to target efficiently, connect appropriately, and build engagement.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Any professional can benefit from a strong LinkedIn profile and plan, but if you are interested in expanding your network or cultivating prospects, a presence on the busy site is a must. This professional network is just too big to ignore. Positioning yourself for success on LinkedIn means starting with a compelling profile, sharing relevant and useful content and joining industry groups and discussions.

2016 has been a year of many successes. Whether you are a sales representative, a sales manager, or simply interested in learning more about trending topics in the sales industry, we hope you have gathered some key insights from our blog this year. Before moving into 2017, we would like to take a look back and highlight some important topics from 2016.

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.

These days, salespeople get asked to participate in numerous prospecting activities that include group networking events. Often times, it can be difficult to translate these types of events into actual dollars. Networking can be an effective way to capture business and increase your brand's awareness and should be a part of any salesperson's healthy behaviors.

If you don’t start your sales calls with the end in mind, you should not be surprised when it doesn’t end up where you hoped. For example, at the end of a good presentation, your prospect leaves you with a Think-It-Over. After all, you can’t blame a prospect for doing something that you failed to emphasize is unacceptable. If you want to control what happens at the end of a sales call, focus on the beginning.

By focusing on tracking activities in a Customer Relationship Management software, you can evaluate which things influence prospects to move forward in your sales process. Understanding exactly what’s moving a deal forward will help you decide the best next steps you should take to close any similar deal in the future. Tracking activities also highlights the telltale signs that a deal might be slipping away, and helps you pay it the proper attention to keep it moving forward. 

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.

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.

Too often, sales professionals make one fundamental mistake that could be costing them thousands in commissions. They believe that their job is to sell products or services to clients by explaining why their product is superior. Success in sales (and the size of your commission check), is determined not by the information you give, but rather, by the information you collect.

Have you ever been frustrated by a friend or a colleague who was limited in life by the things they heard when they were young? Or you know someone who thinks they can do no wrong no matter what they do?

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.

The customer's always right… Right? That's great in theory, but it's not always feasible in practice. Promises made and unkept are worse than promises not made. But not making the unreasonable promises of an angry client or prospect can seem like the makings of a fight!

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.

According to Entrepreneur, we receive 193.3 billion emails every day. On average, that means each person's inbox is hit by about 120 emails a day – with some people receiving less and some receiving many more. Breaking through to your target audience when you're up against such odds can be tough. Even with all the inbox competition, email marketing can be quite lucrative when handled correctly. 

In Sandler, we have the concept of an up front contract. That’s not a signed document. Rather, it’s a clear agreement regarding how the meeting will go. It’s really about expectations.

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...

In Sandler, one of the things we talk about frequently is that your competition is every other salesperson your prospect has ever run into. In other words, they have assumptions on how you'll act based on everyone else in sales they've ever run into. Here are a couple of stories that illustrate the power of that...

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...

One of the more powerful techniques we help people learn is how to uncover expectations. We call it the "magic wand" technique. A client shared a great story a while back that helps demonstrate how it works...

I don't see a ton of movies in the movie theaters. However, a while back, I saw the movie American Sniper. Now, I certainly don't want to get into a political conversation, but there is a huge business lesson in that movie about focus...

One thing that David Sandler always taught was how powerful it was when you combine guts and humor. An experience a client of mine had a while back demonstrates that. A client of mine had been calling on a potential referral partner...

Sometimes, prospects you're working with will feel uncomfortable. Maybe a question you asked made them feel that way. Perhaps it was someone else involved in the conversation. Or it might just be the situation itself. Of course, different people feel uncomfortable in different situations. But the more you can do to make them feel comfortable, the better! A client of mine...

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!

It's probably very common for someone to tell you, "Hey, you should give this guy a call. He really needs your help." And if you're not careful, you can waste a lot of time and energy in situations like that! Let's look at how you can best deal with referrals and avoid wasting time and energy.

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?

In every sales interaction, you should get a yes, get a no, or get a clear next step. But regardless of which of those happen, you need to learn a lesson. Can you think of a time where you made the same mistake over and over again before you learned your lesson? Or maybe you still haven't learned that lesson yet.

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.

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!

How many commercials, advertisements, and even salespeople have you heard share how great their product or services are? Often times, it's way over the top! If you're not careful, you end up sounding just like everyone else.

Chances are, whether you knew it or not, you've been tested at some point by a prospect, or even by a client. Sometimes it's conscious on their part, sometimes it's just ingrained in their subconscious. How you react is huge!

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.

If you're interacting with someone who has experience in your industry, it can be a landmine! Maybe they have a relative that works in the industry, or maybe they used to work in the industry themselves. Regardless, if you're not careful, you can end up blowing yourself up.

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?

It may seem counter-intuitive, and its definitely counter to traditional sales. One of the concepts we have in Sandler is that of the pain funnel. While traditional sales asks questions to get more yes's, Sandler asks questions to get more pain.

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...

If you're like most people in sales, there have been times that you didn't make a sale, and didn't know why. Other times, you may have been brave enough to ask why someone didn't buy. But the truly dedicated find that out during the sales process, even if it's a really unusual reason. As a salesperson...

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.

A client of mine recently turned a wrong phone number into a great opportunity. Let's take a look at what happened, and a few lessons we can learn from the situation. The phone rang at my client's office...

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...

One of the frequent issues people raise during any sales interaction is price. The price is higher than they expect, or they can't afford the price. But by using some disarming honesty, you can strip away the "price excuse" and either make it irrelevant, or uncover what the real issue is.

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?

I was recently speaking with someone about doing some training. They shared the story of how one of the people they wanted me to train had blown a half a million dollar deal in just thirty seconds.

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...

Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there in sales that promise the world to their prospect, then either under-deliver, or charge more than they claimed they would. It's amazing how you can set yourself apart simply by doing what you say you'll do, and not over-promising. One of my clients was recently...

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.

Perhaps you've experienced this. You're booked up so far in advance, that you end up losing sales opportunities. Some of those can't be avoided, but in some cases they can. Recently, I had a client come to me with a problem.

I was recently speaking with another Sandler Trainer. He shared with me a story of selling to a couple car lot owners that demonstrated the power of a concept we in Sandler call negative reversing. It can really change who is doing the selling in a sales interaction.

Recently I saw the movie American Sniper. While watching it, I heard a quote I have used for some time. However, in the movie they put a different spin on it. In the movie, the sniper instructor told Chris Kyle, the main character, "Aim small, miss small. Aim big, miss big." As you can imagine...

Imagine a sales person that sells only one product. On a sales call, they discover that what they sell doesn't help the prospect in any way. They now have a choice: To honestly say, I'm sorry, what we sell would not be a good fit for you. Or they can attempt to force a fit. Which do you think happens most often?

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!

I've been working with a nonprofit that relies on members. Specifically, the local "chapter" of that group. They shared with me last year that they'd made a change in how they talk to people about prospective memberships.

I've written a number of sales articles, but also many articles on the topic of management. This should be no great surprise, since management is one of the areas I coach and train in. Let's take a look at the top five management articles over the last few years.

As a salesperson, you've probably been taught that if you want to sell more, you have to have more sales meetings. Nothing could be a bigger waste of your time!

Negative reversing is a core concept we teach at Sandler Training. We compare it to fishing. When a prospect nibbles, you should let out more line. It can actually result in your prospect telling you all the reasons they should buy from you. However, it goes counter to what traditional sales is all about.

In many industries, there's a common problem. Phone calls aren't returned in a timely manner, and so-called "professionals" may not even show up for appointments. One of my clients was recently able to take advantage of that issue.

In sales interactions, if you ask enough questions, and you ask the right questions, you'll end up uncovering pain that your prospect has. At Sandler, we call that putting someone through the pain funnel. It's extremely powerful! And if we do the pain funnel right...

There's probably been a point where you thought a deal was a sure thing. You came back to the office, and when someone asked you how your meeting went, you told them you had a sure winner. Then you found out later they went in a different direction. How can you keep that from happening?

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?

For people and organizations with big ticket items, the sales cycle is more complex. And the more complex the sales cycle, the longer it typically takes. So how do you prospect differently for those complex sales cycles?

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!

Have you ever been frustrated because doing business with a certain company was harder than you thought it should be? Have you thought about your own organization the same way? It may be difficult to do business with you, and you may not even realize it.

The explosion of social media has created lots of new opportunities for your company when it comes to sales prospecting. Utilizing the tools available to you can expand your business and be a source of continuous lead generation. Or it can cause a very embarrassing publicity nightmare. Here are five rules you should follow to cash in on social media opportunities and become a successful sales professional:

In Sandler, we have a rule: No pain, no sale. It means that unless you can find an actual pain a prospect is experiencing that you can solve, you shouldn't sell them anything. Pain is the reason someone does business with you. If someone has pain, you have to figure out...

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 ...

One of the greatest things you can do as a salesperson is to disqualify prospects. Because if are unable to disqualify them, then by default you've qualified them. I've been through dozens of huge sales programs where that was never taught! Until, of course, I got involved in Sandler. It reminds me of one of my jobs before I got into sales.

It's fairly common knowledge that you should know what a good prospect for your organization looks like. But do you know what a bad prospect looks like?

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...

There are two things everybody brings to every communication situation: Behavior and expectations. Understanding those can lead to sales, and not understanding them can lead to missed opportunities. You almost have to be a detective!

Happy ears is a concept we have at Sandler. It's all about hearing something, and making more out of it than you actually heard. If you're in sales, your even more likely to suffer from this than other people. And it can hurt you!

Because traditional selling is so bad, prospects often have their defenses up before they even meet with you. I like to use the analogy of a castle. They may have the drawbridge drawn, they may have the moat filled, they may even have alligators in that moat. The trick is to be aware of that, and to work through it.

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

If your role has anything to do with sales, you likely spend a lot of time networking, and maybe even prospecting. It's not unusual to meet someone who may leave you feeling a little intimidated. If you're not careful, that can lead to lost opportunities. A client of mine...

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.

We've been publishing helpful sales, leadership, and management articles on a regular basis for the last two years. One of the things we're able to track is which of those articles is the most popular. Since you may not have been a reader of ours for the entire two years, I thought it would be beneficial to share the 5 most popular sales articles.

The one constant in the world is change. If we're not careful, we can lose opportunities because we try to rush things and do them on our timeline, not the timeline of our prospect. One of my clients recently modified their sales process. They adjusted...

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.

It's a fast-paced world and today's salesperson needs to be one step ahead of the prospect and working as efficiently as possible. In addition, we're more connected than ever and clients and prospects expect quick turnaround times and faster response rates. While it may seem like there aren't enough hours in the day, there are more than enough apps available to us to help us manage our time, stay on task and find even greater success. Here are a few free apps that Sandler Training's associates and clients use often in their everyday life

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...

Often, others ask me to help them pre-brief before a sales call, and debrief after a sales call. When I was recently asked to do so, I discovered a huge waste of time, energy, money, and resources. Fortunately, I also knew how to avoid that waste.

Equal business stature is a concept we've talked about applying to interactions with doctors. But it can also apply to interactions the other way around as well. Let's see how one of my fellow Sandler offices saw this first-hand.

 

In Sandler, we have a concept we call equal business stature. When you're talking with a prospect, you really have to believe and get them to believe that your stature, from a business level, is equal to theirs.

Here's one situation where we can see that play out.

Often, the difference between you and your competitor can be obvious to your prospects. The key lies in asking a lot of questions, and not confusing surface pain indicators, or symptoms, with the actual cause of the pain.

It's very common for executives, CEOs, and VPs of Sales to come to me and say, "Our people need to get better at closing." And nine times out of ten, it's not a closing problem, but another specific problem.

Have you ever wasted your time with a game of phone tag? Not only does it waste your time, but the other individual's time as well. Having a clear next step at the end of every communication interaction is huge! And it's all too common for it to not be there. But if you don't have it, you can lose out on a lot of opportunities.

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.

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.

One of my clients helps his clients with their online marketing. He recently shared with me a story about how a blogger greatly affected a prospect of his. Let's look at that story and the three valuable lessons it can teach us.

I was at an event recently, sitting at a table with other professionals of varying ages. We were discussing the differences in the current generation from previous generations. One of the executives there responded, somewhat tongue in cheek, "This is all because soccer moms." Of course...

It's not what you say, it's how you say it. It doesn't matter whether we're talking about sales, management, or even your personal life. Tonality and body language plays a huge role! And even then, you need to make sure you respond, not react. I had a client recently...

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.

Even though they may not be clearly defined, you likely have some long term objectives for yourself, your family, your career, your business, etc. Recently I heard some advice about being insincere that bothered me greatly and has since I heard it.

Why do you think so many of your buyers and prospects like to haggle on price? Because salespeople give in! But when you give in on price, you're really letting people know you're nothing more than a commodity, and all of a sudden they'll be going to whoever can get them the best deal. Do you really want to be the cheapest option?

When someone tells you repeatedly that they're fine, and don't need your services, then changes their tune, do you jump at the opportunity? If so, you're setting yourself up for failure. It's not uncommon...

Getting involved in organizations can be hugely beneficial. Whether it's a nonprofit, an association, or a local chamber. But you've got to be more than just a member! Let's look at a couple ways that might benefit you.

If I'm talking with someone, especially someone who is very direct and analytical like I am, I'll often start out the meeting with reasons we won't work well together. In other words, why they won't want to work with me. Rather than waste time, I want to get all that stuff out of the way! And it's amazing what it does to the conversation.

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...

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

When you think about different activities you do where you interact with others, are you thinking of how to maximize those interactions? What's the key to getting the most out of any interaction with any person?

A lot of conventional sales knowledge is just plain wrong. Before I was involved in Sandler, I was just as guilty of buying into it as the next salesperson! One thing many salespeople do that they shouldn't is buying food, snacks, or entire meals for prospects.

Have you ever been taped giving some sort of a presentation, then listened to your audio later? Or, even worse, watched yourself on video later? Was it what you wanted to see? For many of us, the answer is no! Our response is, "That's not what I'm like!" Did you know the same thing happens on sales calls?

There's a characteristic that very few people track about their prospects, that really every salesperson should be tracking. If you're not tracking it, you aren't alone. But if you start, it can make a huge difference in understanding past interactions, making the most of future interactions, and ultimately your sales.

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

Setting goals is an important part of sales, management, and leadership. But frequently we try to accomplish them by ourselves. We don’t live in a vacuum! But when we run into obstacles, we make the mistake of acting like we’re alone.

When something gets in the way of your goals, it doesn’t always work to ask, “What do I do?” Sometimes, you need to ask...

Have you ever met with someone and then felt like you just didn't click? It may have been a sales situation, a management situation, or even a personal relationship. Whatever the case, you just didn't feel like you connected? Or maybe the opposite has happened to you. So what's the key to that emotional engagement?

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...

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?

Sometimes we can see pains our prospects have that they can't see themselves. We know the problem is there, and know we can fix it, but they just don't see it. For all intents and purposes, the pain isn't visible to them. So how do we get them to acknowledge the pain?

In Sandler we have a concept called the three foot rule. Put simply, if someone is within three feet of you, talk to them, because they're a potential client. It's a habit that when practiced, can lead to a lot more opportunities, without the need for presentations. In fact, I recently experienced this myself while on vacation.

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?

Dress can play a huge role in sales and customer service. If you're not dressed right, it can make or break whatever piece of business you're working on. So how do you make sure how you dress contributes to what you're doing, rather than detracting from it?

In sales and in customer service, it's frequently the little things that matter. There may be sales you've made where something very small tipped the scales your way. Or possibly you've lost a long-term client over something you didn't even know had happened.

What do you look at as great customer service? Most likely it's not something huge, but some set of little things. Or it may even be just one little thing. Why are those little things so important?

Regret is, unfortunately, all too common in the sales world. Sales professionals, managers, leaders and business owners often wish they had asked a certain question during a meeting, and wonder how it would have turned out differently if they had. Fortunately, we have a philosophy or tactic in Sandler that can make it much less uncomfortable.

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

Robert was at the doctor's office to get a shot. The only problem was, Robert was not entirely comfortable with needles. Robert was called back into the exam room. As they were getting everything ready, he thought he was pretty calm and relaxed. But he know that any moment, that needle was going to come out.

Finding out and using your customer's preferred method of communication is huge. I've seen it make or break a deal more times than I can count. Just recently, I had a client share a story about how it nearly ruined a relationship.

There's a technique you can use to help discover what remaining concerns your prospect has. It's called the thermometer technique, and it is really powerful. If you're not familiar with the thermometer technique, here's a story to explain how it works.

It doesn't matter whether we're meeting with a prospect or talking to an existing client. When we meet with someone, we need to get enough information from them to know whether we can help them or not. It should be all about asking them questions.

People will buy how you sell long before they buy what you sell. How you treat people speaks volumes. People will remember if you treat them better than your competition treats them. In one case, practicing this technique led to a customer of mine raising their annual purchase order from half a million annually to nearly four million dollars a year.

Have you ever had a prospect bring you a problem that you knew you could solve, you decided to business together, and it all fell apart? Often that's because the prospect brought you what they thought the problem was, but it turns out that the real problem was completely different. Is that really their fault? Or should you have taken steps to discover that ahead of time?

If we don't ask questions, we can waste time, energy, and even money. It leads to unpaid consulting and making assumptions. Some people are much more comfortable than others at asking questions.

How often have you asked a prospect about their budget, and they tell you they don't really have money for your service or product? Do you give up then? Plenty of salespeople do. But there's no reason to throw in the towel!

Too often, we lose the opportunity to make a sale because we become emotionally involved in a sale. While it's important that we show emotions, actually getting emotionally involved can have many negative consequences. We've all done it at some point or another. So how can that impact us, and how can we avoid it?

When something seems to be self-evident, the truth is it may not be evident to everyone else. "Self" is the key word there. We can't make assumptions that everyone knows what we know. To assume is to lie to yourself.

In every communication situation, somebody's buying and somebody's selling. Inside of us, subconsciously, we think that they're always the same. If you look at yourself and how you buy, you're going to sell the same way. You put yourself in your prospect's shoes, even when they don't think the same way you do. And that can be dangerous.

We all know that sales is no place to get your needs met. But some of us are wired where we want to be liked more than we want the sale. That can really goof you up! It's a major, major weakness.

How many of you would like to double your sales? If you are like most people you answered a quick yes to this question - let's look at the 3 ways we can do that?

If only I would have asked … (fill in the blank)...? This is one of the most costly questions professionals have. It is also an extremely common thought that sales professionals, managers, leaders, and business owners share. How often have you left a meeting and thought to yourself I wish I would have asked………... or wish I would have said………....? If you are like most people these thoughts cross your mind on a regular basis. We find that many people know what they should ask or say – they just do not do it, or they are not comfortable doing it. This is a frequent issue that holds most people back – it keeps them from achieving the goals they have and the growth they seek. The big question is why does this happen? You might be surprised to know...

 

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.

In every communication situation that we’re in, there are two primary things at play. There’s their expectations, based on their experiences and the experiences of other people they’ve talked to. Then there’s our behavior.

Which part of that do we have control over? We have the ability to make good connections really quickly, or blow it really quickly.

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

Bonding with a prospective client and establishing rapport early on are hugely important. If we aren’t careful, we can unintentionally cause someone to disconnect from us. A mistake in the first few seconds, and we can potentially be done for.

Those subconscious things that we connect or disconnect with are so far down deep inside us that we don’t even register them sometimes. In fact, several years back we had a dog that helps demonstrate this. 

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.

 

Do you worry about wasting time at networking events? Or maybe you enjoy going, but all you’re doing while you’re there is socializing. You might even be someone that knows you need to network more, but then stand by yourself and talk to almost no one.

If any of those fit you, then you’re not really networking at those events, you’re just not working. So what’s the secret to making sure you’re really utilizing those networking events like the master networkers do?

 

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.

 

That's a headline straight out of sales training boot camp, but it's true. There is a question most people want answered when they go to a sales training program or read one of the many sales how-to books; that question sounds like this, "Is there really one secret weapon or magic formula to make me better and increase my sales?" Wouldn't it be wonderful to find one ... so would winning the lottery, but not many do it