Archive for the ‘Customer Relationships’ Category

Voicemails: Old School or Still Appropriate? Results May Vary.

February 24th, 2014

Like it or not, times have changed and the usefulness of a voicemail is up for debate. With email, text messages and Caller ID, some people find it irritating to see that they have a blinking red light or a notification alerting them to check their voicemail. And as sales professionals, the last thing we’re trying to do is annoy a prospect or current client.

Above all, I recommend trying to establish a rapport voice to voice if possible. (Of course, face to face is best, but not always an option in our business.) Try calling the contact at different times of the day – first thing, mid-day, after 5 p.m. – on different days to catch them on the phone. Careful though, with Caller ID you need to make sure you’re not over-doing it.

The following are questions to ask yourself when trying to make contact with a business connection.

1. Have I ever met this person before? If the answer is no, then I highly recommend not leaving a voicemail as the efficacy is practically diminished. If you’ve tried calling and feel defeated on that front, then leave a brief message that includes your name, company, number and a compelling, emotional reason for them to want to call you back. (Max voicemail time: 30 seconds.)

2. Have I been referred to this person by a mutual connection? If a friend or contact has made an introduction for you and there’s an identifiable connection between the two of you, then it’s acceptable to leave a brief voicemail.

3. Have I left a voicemail for this person already with a response? I recommend hanging up and continuing to try to reach the person on a phone call or consider other means of connecting.

4. Is the information I need to convey better for an email? If a complex subject matter needs to be shared and a phone call can’t take place, then send an email. No one wants a 3-minute voicemail that they need to repeat two or three times to understand.

5. Have I considered the age of the person I’m trying to reach? The more I work with the younger generations, the more I understand them. If you’re able to identify a contact’s age through LinkedIn or other means, then take that into consideration. What I’ve seen is that the 35 and younger crowd are more likely to be irritated by a voicemail, while the 35 and older crowd still rely on this as an effective form of communication. But, there are always exceptions to the rule. One thing everyone agrees on – a phone call is the fastest way to do business and move a conversation forward.

6. Should I text them? This is tricky and largely subjective. Just because you have a contact’s cell phone number doesn’t mean they want to receive a text message from you. I never recommend using this form of communication on a prospect. When it comes to a current client, only send a text when they’ve open the door to this and encouraged you to text them. No exceptions.

Now I’m curious to know your style when it comes to receiving voicemails? Comment below.

By: Dave Hiatt, International Training Director, Global Accounts at Sandler Training

Old Clients, New Business

October 1st, 2013

A mistake too many salespeople make is not keeping in touch with former clients. It’s not uncommon for past clients to come to a point where they need your product or service again but don’t remember how to get in touch with you. They are more likely to have your competitors’ information handy. (Your competitors are still calling on your client even though you are not).

The odds of obtaining business from a former client are typically better than the odds of obtaining business from cold prospecting. So, keeping in touch with former clients is not only the professional thing to do, it also makes good business sense.

“Keeping in touch” doesn’t mean pestering them – pushing for a sale. It simply means letting them know that you are still there, ready to provide service when necessary. This can be accomplished in various ways: a regularly scheduled phone call – just to say “hello;” a monthly or quarterly newsletter about industry events and trends; or a monthly e-mail regarding new products or services. Don’t try to overwhelm your client; just make it easy for them to find you.

Are Your Customers Buying from Your Company or Your Salesperson?

October 10th, 2012

The good and bad of relationship-based sales.

The Good

Relationship-based sales methods are ideal. Most of the time those relationships are the only thing protecting you from competing solely on price. In sales training, we have a saying: “All things being equal, people buy from people they like. All things being unequal, people still buy from people they like.” (more…)

Your Knowledge is Worthless… Until Someone Pays You For It.

October 2nd, 2012

In regards to your business, the expertise you have gained over the years is completely worthless… until someone gives you money for it. If you have a medical doctorate, all you really have is a bunch of student loans until you have patients, and get paid for your knowledge. (more…)

Networking Works!

September 1st, 2011

By Abby Donnelly

Attending a networking event? WHY??

That may seem like a strange question, but time is one of our most limited resources! Taking a few minutes to evaluate why you should attend THIS particular networking event may save you hours of unproductive time and energy. (more…)

A Proposal: To Send Or Not To Send

August 8th, 2011

By Carol Rosdobutko

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:
1. The prospect asked for it.
2. ‘If I don’t provide the proposal I definitely won’t have a chance at getting the business.’
3. ‘I can show the prospect all the other things that I or my company can do for them.’
4. My proposal will give all the details of how I would solve their problems.
5. ‘I’m not great at asking questions – the proposal will cover the things that I’ve missed.’ (more…)

Perception is the New Reality and Content is Dead

July 13th, 2011

By Paul Lanigan

What happens when Joshua Bell, one of the world’s finest musicians goes incognito in a busy subway in Washington’s business district? What happens when a musician who can command $1,000 per minute, takes his priceless Stradivari, dons a baseball cap, occupies a corner in a busy Washington subway, and puts on a virtuoso performance for people who would normally think nothing of paying $150 a ticket to see him perform in a tuxedo.


How Your Mom Prevents You From Networking Effectively

July 13th, 2011

By Hamish Knox

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 Iask, “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:

- Don’t talk to strangers

- Be seen and not heard

- What would you say if you did talk to them?