Winging It….

If you’re not a bird, you can’t be successful winging it!

I recently recorded a show on Questioning for Better Communication for my Sales Coaching over Coffee radio show (it will air in March), where I talk about the 5 Ps of good questioning.

  1. Plan
  2. Prepare
  3. Practice
  4. Ponder
  5. Patience

Although I’m not going to go into, that whole concept here (stay tuned for the show). What I would like you to notice are the FIRST THREE Ps…. plan – no wings here, prepare – still not winging it, and practice – certainly not winging it.

To be successful in sales we have to have objectives for our calls and a plan of how we are going to achieve our objective. This doesn’t have to be unique for each call – rather many calls we make will have a shared objective and plan.

Need an example?

  • My Cold Call Objective – determine how what I do would fit into their existing sales training program.
  • Prospect Objective (this is my objective for what action I want the prospect to take) – they and one other person on their team to listen to a 15 minutes quick tip teleclass and have a conversation with me about it.
  • Opening Statement – ___________, Most people I speak with are trying to increase their sales numbers YET don’t have time to spend with the people who are already good salespeople WHO with focused attention could be fantastic.
  • 1st Question – May I steal 3 minutes of your life so we can both decide if having a conversation about sales improvement for this segment of your team makes sense?
  •  Crafted Qualifying Questions – I’m not going to share these here but rest assured I have them!

My questions in the conversation might never change, what makes it interesting is the prospects side!

This doesn’t mean I don’t tailor my objective with Trigger Events (thanks Craig Elias) or insert info I know about the company into my questions. It does mean I don’t spend hours figuring out my objective, prospect objective, opening statement, and first question for each cold call I make!

Make sure you’re ready to have a great conversation every time someone answers the phone…. or you are kicked to their voicemail. The only one’s who can soar through winging it are the birds.

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March Method vs. Madness

Here is a post that was originally seen as my contribution to the Sales Bloggers Union March Madness discussion.

If you are smiling & dialing your way through March – it is time to take a step back and use some points brought up in Leanne Hoagland-Smith’s article March Madness Marketing Mayhem.

Ideal Customer Profile
Ideal & Minimum criteria are NOT the same thing, but time after time when I work with salespeople they are looking for someone anyone who qualifies to buy what they sell.

It doesn’t matter if you sell to consumers or businesses – many of us go from deal to deal; saying yes because we need the revenue. Looking at ideal customers as a “some day – wish list” type of thing.

Take a deep breath – yes we are talking about making your prospecting pool smaller. Before you freak out: What would your business look like IF all of your customers met your ideal customer profile?

Would you:

  • Make more money?
  • Have more fun?
  • Worry less?

The crazy thing is that most people answer YES, YES, and YES – yet haven’t taken the time to figure out what that ideal customer profile looks like.

If we don’t know what our ideal customer looks like, how will we ever know when we find them?

To me there is nothing worse than the thought that my ideal customer might be on the other end of the prospecting call and I will not even recognize them!

I would like you to change your perspective and begin to think about prospecting for your ideal customer. Every single time you pick up the phone to look for new customers OR new business with existing customers; have your ideal customer profile right in front of you, check off what you know and don’t know – then have conversations to gather the answers you need.

Almost Ideal?
Don’t get me wrong, if you come up with 9 characteristics (both measurable & subjective) – don’t hang up if someone doesn’t meet all nine!

If they have 7 of 9 (*sigh* couldn’t help myself) don’t kick them to the curb; you will probably be able to have a nice business relationship.

On the contrary, if they only meet 3 of your 9 characteristics – run, run away NOW! Even if you earn their trust and business (doubtful) long term they will cost you more energy and effort than the money you will earn.

What Makes A Customer Ideal?
Step 1 – Look at your Top 5 Customers.

  1. Do you like doing business with them?
  2. Would you be thrilled if every single customer was like them?

Step 2 – If you answer YES to both questions; describe the company. Here is a short list of characteristics to consider and define for your ideal customer profile:

  • How big are they?
  • How much money do they have?
  • What does their buying process look like?
  • Who makes the final decision?
  • Who has authority to buy?
  • What do the people look like?
  • How often do they buy what you sell?

After my short list – is there “stuff” about what you sell or doing business with your company for you to add?

Step 3 – Begin to look for those types of companies when you’re calling.

An additional bonus is; when people ask you who you do business with – clearly define it for them, it is much easier to get referrals to people you WANT to work with!

Now add in your own emotional intelligence (need help? check out Leanne’s ps offer) – it takes all the madness out and leaves pure clean sales method.