Sales is a Scavenger Hunt

According to Wikipedia a scavenger hunt is a game in which the organizers prepare a list defining specific items, using which the participants seek to gather all items on the list.

Sales is a Scavenger Hunt

The List

Can you see how each company you’re prospecting, every opportunity you find, as well as sales in general is a little like that?

For you to win in the sales scavenger hunt, you need to find all the items it will take to earn your prospects business:

  1. prioritizing the scarcity
  2. with more creativity
  3. without skipping any
  4. before your competition

Prioritize; make sure you understand what parts of your prospecting list are the most difficult to obtain. Then go after them immediately. Some customers and sales are won because you have a solution no one else can supply.

Creativity; remember that there is never one solution to each point on the list, an apple could be the fruit or a trip to New York city. Use your creativity to mold what you have to meet the requirements (important safety tip: this doesn’t mean lie, rather to use what you truly have).

Keep Searching; sales can be lost if you’re missing something on the prospect’s list. Ask more questions to make sure you have a complete picture of what they are looking for. That will allow you to come back with everything checked off – it is hard to say no when the solution is complete.

Timing; There are two ways to view timing – be the first and be the last. What does that mean? Be the first to prove you’ve satisfied everything on the prospects list AND be the last salesperson standing when it comes time for the prospect to order (either in support or delivery).

It’s A Game; most of all, don’t forget this month’s theme! As you are working your way through a scavenger hunt – the most important thing is to have fun & keep your sense of humor.

Creativity – Let Out Your Inner Sales Child

Over the weekend we had company, we were roasting hot dogs and the smoke was getting in the girls eyes…

Instead of complaining or living with it – they figured out a way to use what they had available to solve their own problem.

What would happen if you let out your inner sales child to:

  • solve problems
  • have more fun
  • work around obstacles

This week stop looking at your day with preconceived ideas, let your creativity run away with you!

I’m Bored…

Who knew that July was designated as Anti-Boredom Month?

Found that is from US Dept of Health & Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (how does THAT fit on a business card?)

To quote their website; Boredom is described as “the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest”.

As summer vacation gets into full swing for millions of children around the world, a familiar phrase is likely to be “I’m bored” or “there is nothing to do”.

Does sales make you feel that way? Check out this month’s edition of A Chip off the Block

I’m sorry what? (prospecting tip 5 of 5)

Early in my sales career, one of my customers said “I will give you $100 cash if you can repeat back what I just said”


no I couldn’t do it… not even close! I had taken a momentary mental vacation.

It is interesting that as I do training classes on communication ~ everyone  in the room has done some some work on public speaking ~ many have taken writing classes ~ yet in all the years I’ve been training only a handful have taken any classes on LISTENING! and 2 of that handful were music majors in college.

Here are a couple buyer complaints to give you an idea why listening is so important:

  • … they go on and on with their pitch and they don’t even bother to listen to what I say…
  • People don’t like to listen and they think they know more about your job than you do…

In fact last year Bob Hayward phoned 600 companies and found salespeople do two main things that annoy prospects: talking too much and not asking sufficient or any questions.

I would take that a step further – if you ask questions but don’t listen to the answer, the prospects become even more annoyed!

The Bad News,

  1. Improving your listening skills takes lots of effort (it pays off of course, but down the road).
  2. It is easier to fall back into old habits than it is to sustain change

I know you’re not shocked or surprised by either statement – please keep in mind that you have to want to change AND believe that the pain of the change is worth the reward you’ll reap.

3 Things To Do,

  1. Avoid Distractions
  2. Listen Beyond The Words
  3. Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic

Avoid Distractions

If you are like most telesales people, you work in the ‘gray cubes of love’, yup offices without walls where everyone is talking on the phone!

A world of easy distractions. You are the only one who can avoid them – but keep a few things in mind:

  • just because a new email message popped into your inbox DOESN’T mean you have to scan it! option 1: turn off the pop up preview pane (or pain perhaps), option 2: for two, one hour increments each day turn your email off completelysafety tip: for those of you who just said “but what if something URGENT comes in while my email is turned off, I can’t do that!”, my experience shows that if a prospect or customer REALLY NEEDS something ~ they’ll pick up the phone & call you
  • get your immediate neighbors to all do some dialing at the same time, then you aren’t distracted by their chit chat ~ you’re all trying to listen to the prospects and customers you’re calling.
  • if you’re going to check online for information that might help the person on the call with you ~ tell them what you’re doing! That will let them know you’re paying attentionif you’re not able to tell them…. you probably aren’t surfing to benefit them SO CUT IT OUT.

Listen Beyond The Words

No matter who’s statistics you read about what goes into communication ~ at best 10% of your message is the actual words you use.

Ok so in telesales, what the heck else do you have?

  • tone
  • intonation
  • pace
  • manner (formal/informal, rushed/relaxed, etc)
  • background (people talking, rustle of paper, keyboard tapping)

I also believe you can hear body language as our voices change when we lean back in our chair, stand up, scrunch our forehead while we’re thinking, or even roll our eyes in frustration.

You can tell a lot about your prospects and customers by starting your listening exercises by what their outbound voicemail message says & sounds like!

Admit it, you are usually surfing the net waiting for the beep NOT listening. Plus my experience shows you can also gain valuable information like alternate contacts and cell numbers, but I digress!

  • how often do they change their message?
  • what can you learn about their personality?
  • are they formal or informal?
  • how busy do they sound, just from this short message?

Now tailor your message to their style, which brings us to tip 3 ~

Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic

Do you know your own learning style? Is your preference:

  • seeing someone do it first or reading how-to books (visual)
  • would you rather have someone explain it to you (auditory)
  • do you often say “just let me try” (kinesthetic)

Now that you have identified your own style, start listening for theirs. Then pick the words  that will make it easier for them to understand your message PLUS you will learn what they may need to make a decision.

Visual: “I see what you mean”, “show me”, “watch how I do…” Make sure you have pictures, charts, graphs for them to look at while you’re presenting.

Auditory: “I hear you”, “tell me”, “listen to me while I…” Your explanation of how your product will solve their problem is what will sell them.

Kinesthetic: “I know how you feel”, “let me try”, “you have a go” Allowing them to play with a sample, evaluate your product, and try it out will move the process along.

The key to effective prospecting is to capture  their attention and have a comfortable conversation about how doing business together might help them. That is really true if they are an existing customer as well!

it is YOUR responsibility to make THEM comfortable

If you’re not listening… they’re not comfortable ~ trust me, I’ve been called out on it.

UpYourTeleSales take on Voicemail (prospecting tip 4 of 5)

I’m going to start right off with the down & dirty, quick tips:

  • one messaging statement or idea per message
  • 35 words or less including contact info
  • go back to at the messaging ideas you developed as part of prospecting tip 1 and 2 – start there
  • be sure you can write down your contact info while you leave it
  • if there isn’t a call to action – why would you think they would call you back?

Recently I saw a huge Q&A string on a LinkedIn sales group that talked about voicemail, so I am going to address what I consider the Top 3 Voicemail Myths

#1 no one returns messages

Anytime you give an absolute “always” or “never” I’m suspect about your motivation, but I digress….

People call me back, so I know this myth is false. Not everyone, not even most people… but some do. So if I didn’t leave a message no one would even have the opportunity to call me back!

Start with the intention to craft voicemails that tell the prospect (or customer for that matter) how it will help them to call you back NOW:

  • be successful in their daily job struggles
  • solve a problem they currently have
  • remind them that time is tick, tick, ticking away to their deadline
  • what ever YOU know matters to them

#2 leaving voicemail gives up control of the sales process

What? Seriously, I am still shocked that people think leaving a message gives up control. That is like saying asking tough questions that I might not like the answer to gives up control of the sales process.

I’ve been known to call people I just talked with RIGHT BACK because I thought of something that might be important to them. Why is voicemail any different?

If your messaging targets the prospect (I have to say it again… or customer) in a way that calling you back will HELP them be successful, you could leave messages every 5 minutes… ok that is an exaggeration, but you know what I’m saying.

If your message is self serving and has no value to THEM

it doesn’t matter if you’re leaving voicemail

OR its a live conversation,

the customer has still deleted you!

I have even crafted little campaigns where I leave a message on Friday, then another one on Monday “over the weekend I realized…” where I also send an email with more info. Which of course came from a real life scenario where I did think about someone over the weekend and figured out an additional piece of info they would find useful!

#3 voicemail is like a commercial for my business

Its not a commercial if you want them to call you back. Unless you want to be a late night infomercial “if you call back in the next 5 minutes, we will throw in a set of steak knives.”

You do need to give them a reason for calling you back, but it isn’t the story of you or your company that will do that. Voicemail is a tool, not a strategy!

Strategy is to create long lasting relationships that bring both parties business gain (or what ever it is YOU’RE trying to accomplish). That takes conversations between human beings – not a message from a human onto a recording device.

Now let’s go back to those down & dirty, quick tips:

  • one messaging statement or idea per message – you’re not having a conversation PLUS believe me you’ll have another opportunity to leave that second thought on another message
  • 35 words or less including contact info – truly it is the first 5, maybe 10 words that will get you a call back or deleted are you wasting those with “junk”?
  • go back to at the messaging ideas you developed as part of prospecting tip 1 and 2 – start there. I mean it, start your message with what you can help increase or decrease – then leave your contact info
  • be sure you can write down your contact info while you leave it – you know your phone number, if you can’t write it down neither can they!
  • if there isn’t a call to action – why would you think they would call you back? Commercials don’t call us to action, solutions get you to do something with the information

With your new found confidence in voicemail, draft – craft – revise all those messages you’ve been leaving. If even one person calls you back, I believe it is worth leaving a message!

If you have ever had to say “I’m sorry what?” in your career, stay tuned for our 5th prospecting tip about listening.

Need a preview? Check out A Chip Off the Block: Go Fly A Kite Edition