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Webinar Replay

Posted by Mike Scher

May 26, 2015 10:27:00 AM

 



The Secret to Getting More Appointments: 21st century metrics that move the needle

Hear what the experts reveal about the metrics that impact prospecting success. 

A moderated, interactive dialog will provide quantitative data and proven methodology that can drive your team to achieve a minimum of 200% more appointments with key decision makers – guaranteed.

Whatever prospecting theory or process you use today, take 60 minutes to hear this webcast.  Some things you just can’t afford to miss.

FRONTLINE Selling can help you refine your client communication processes. 

Contact us today for more information on services that help you prospect more efficiently and close more sales.

Become a prospecting pro! Learn more.

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Topics: Sales Tips, business development

Your Prospecting Approach: process or guesswork?

Posted by Mike Scher

May 22, 2015 8:27:00 AM

I took my daughter to Barnes and Noble the other day. She needed to find a book for a school report.   As she was searching the isles, I wandered around the store.   The next thing I knew, I am in the “self improvement” section.   As I peruse the titles, I couldn’t help but notice all the different diet books on the shelves. They had low carb, low fat, gluten free, etc.   This got me thinking.   Why are people overweight if there is all this great ‘advice’ out there?shutterstock_124195066

As a company that sells software to optimize prospecting, I couldn’t help but correlate this thought to the world of business to business prospecting. Like the variety of diet books out there, the plethora of opinions, discussions, blog posts, webinars and, yes -- books written on prospecting is endless.

When you ask sales people their view on prospecting, there is no shortage of responses, and many of which are emphatic.  These sales people are so sure of what to do and what not to do. And many times these actions contradict one another.  For example, some say, “I never leave voicemails because everyone deletes them.” The next person says, “I leave voicemails all of the time.”  At least one of these statements has to be wrong.

All of this got me to thinking.  If so many sales people struggle with prospecting, why are they so definitive in their opinions?  

When you peel it all back, most of these opinions are based entirely on anecdotal evidence.   Which means all this bravado and confidence is based on nothing short of guesswork.

Now extrapolate this concept from the individual to your entire sales organization. Now your 5, 10, 20, 50 sales people are all guessing their way through the process.   This approach of trial and (mostly) error is one of the leading reasons why sales people fail to uncover enough sales opportunities.

How can you and your sales team get your arms around this problem and turn guesswork into a proven process for prospecting that will actually work? Here are three steps.

  1. Recognize the problem – It’s OK to admit you don’t have all the right answers. Ask yourself tough questions and be honest with the answers.  If (for example) you say your team always leaves voicemails, ask yourself if that theory is based in fact or assumption.    

  2. Document consistently and measure - Make it easy for your team to document their activities in a consistent way.  Then you can collate the information and make objective decisions.

  3. Limit variables and test – A/B testing is essential.  Test everything from follow-up sequences, touch point combinations, email subject lines, constructs of voice messages, etc.  The RIGHT answer is there, you just have to find it.

How confident are you in your prospecting guesswork?

Want more information?  Download this free ebook today.
Become a prospecting pro! Learn more.

 

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Topics: Sales Tips, business development

Business Development: How to Get an Appointment with Anyone

Posted by Mike Scher

May 20, 2015 1:28:00 PM

(Well, anyone who happens to pick up the phone)

Your team works hard to follow-up on leads and prospect into accounts to get the attention of executives and decision makers. Most spend a lot of time researching the lead and the account. They check out websites, look up key player profiles on LinkedIn; all in an effort to find that “nugget” of information just in case the prospect happens to pick up the phone. shutterstock_136552994

This post isn’t about magically getting the decision maker to pick up the phone. We have no such magical powers. But, we have all been in the situation where you’ve done your preparation, made your call and the key player actually does answer the phone. What ensues is a rush of adrenaline and the commencement of what I like to call “the do or die death match”.

If you look at your team objectively, I think we all know who usually wins that encounter – and yes, the prospect has a pretty good record. This is one the most frustrating parts of selling and prospecting, because you know the prospect didn’t make a well considered decision to say no.   What that means is you almost always walk away with an empty feeling, “If I only had 5 more minutes, I could have convinced him/her to take that next step” -- or, perhaps the call went wildly awry.

What if you can turn the tables and walk away with an appointment just about every time?  Well, you can and it is a simple process.

As a company that has studied nearly 2 million business development activities and repetitions, we have assembled the best practices to maximize every prospecting scenario -- including that “do or die death match”. While this is one of the most stressful of prospect call scenarios, it is incredibly easy to master a better approach in just three steps that we call “Disarm, “Purpose” and “Question”.

If you use these three steps every time a key player unexpectedly picks up the phone, you will remain in control 100% of the time. and more often than not, you’ll walk away with that next step (appointment, demo, etc.). 

  1. Disarm - The objective of “Disarm” is the get the prospect to pay attention to you.  Be 100% sure that the key player was not expecting your call.  They were almost assuredly doing something else the instant before the phone rang.  No matter what, you are interrupting them. To get them OFF of what they were doing (composing or reading emails, looking at a report, proposal document, budget; whatever) and focused on you, merely identify yourself and acknowledge that you know they are busy.
  1. Purpose – Once they respond, succinctly tell them what it is you want, such as scheduling an appointment on a certain date/time to discuss the business problem your solution addresses.  

  2. Question – The most important step is asking a question on how to accomplish the purpose in #2 above. 

Example:

You: Hello John, this is Mike Scher from FRONTLINE Selling.  (DISARM) I am sure I caught you in the middle of a few things.

Key Player:  Yes you have.  I am waiting for a conference call to come in.

You:   I’ll be brief.  (PURPOSE) The purpose of my call is to set up time on Monday or Tuesday to talk about how our Staccato solution will help your sales team get 200%-300% more first appointments with the right people………(QUESTION) What is the best way to schedule that time?

If you get any push back or questions, repeat the three steps above.

Example:

Key Player:  Can you be more specific?

You:  (DISARM) Sure, I know you have a lot going on, so I am not going to take a lot of your time, but the   (PURPOSE) purpose of my call is to set up time on Monday or Tuesday to talk about how we have helped technology firms like yours to leverage a proven Staccato technology and methodology that doubles (and more) the opportunities your sales people will have to tell your story to the right person.   (QUESTION) Would Monday or Tuesday be better for you?

These techniques have been used successfully for the past 12 years. If you or your reps are not doing this today, and not getting the results you want, perhaps it might be worth a try. As they say after all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.   So, why not give it a try.   What do you have to lose -- another “do or die death match”?    Exactly!


Want more information?  Download this free ebook today.
Become a prospecting pro! Learn more.

 

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Topics: Sales Tips, business development

How do Gatekeepers become Gatekeepers?

Posted by Mike Scher

May 15, 2015 1:49:00 PM

Prospecting is hard work.  Whether you enjoy prospecting or not, it is work that must be done. Unless you are a sales rep in the fortunate situation where your phone is ringing off the hook, if you don’t go out and make something happen, then nothing will happen.shutterstock_152943488

Having the privilege to talk to many smart sales organizations that need to proactively reach out to prospects, the discussion usually turns to dealing with “the gatekeeper”.  This is the person (usually an administrative assistant) who answers the phone of your decision maker.

Many of you routinely execute strategies to “get around” or avoid the gatekeeper. This may include calling before/after regular business hours or sending emails.   While this approach occasionally yields a positive result, these strategies are becoming less and less effective as more and more admins not only answer the phone, but also are tasked with checking voice messages and screening/categorizing the hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of emails the executive receives.

There are others of you who look to befriend the gatekeeper. Still, these attempts, more often than not, don’t yield the most desired outcomes.   Despite all your efforts, the results often end in frustration and lack of success.

It doesn’t have to be that way.  At FRONTLINE Selling, we have studied over 1.8 million outreach efforts, including more than 500,000 conversations with executive administrative assistants. The reality is these so called “gatekeepers” aren’t born gatekeepers; they become gatekeepers by both the intentional actions of those looking to circumvent them, and the often-unintentional actions of the sales people looking to make friends with them.

What I mean is (for the most part), the gatekeepers are not there to keep you or your sales reps out.  They are there to determine if you are worthy of being let in.  After all, their boss should not only WANT to talk to your reps; they have an obligation to talk them because they have solutions that the boss is unaware of, that can help them run their business better, faster, smarter.

Gatekeepers become gatekeepers mostly because of the actions of sales people. Think about it for a second. When someone knocks on your door or your phone rings, what is the first thought that comes to mind? -- “Who is it?”   We want to know who it is because our Limbic system is making a “friend or foe”  / ”fight or flight” emotional decision. 

The same thing goes on for the administrative assistant when you call. Like yours, their Limbic system is naturally suspicious of who is calling and what they want. They are protective and often make a snap, subconscious, emotional judgment.  If they sense (even to most remote level) unfamiliarity or uneasiness, e.g., thought:  this sales person doesn’t provide value, is trying to circumvent me, manipulate me or not respect me, then the defense mechanism activates and voila’ -- you just created a gatekeeper!

How can your reps avoid creating a gatekeeper?  Here are four simple things:

  1. STOP thinking of them as “gatekeepers”.  Think of the administrative assistants much more as “tour guides”.  Your subconscious will help drive appropriate behaviors.
  2. Always identify yourself (first and last name) and your company name before uttering any other words. This lowers (notice I didn’t say “eliminates”) their suspicion as much as possible.
  3. Ask them their name, repeat it and ask them for help.  Everyone loves to hear his or her name spoken. This will further humanize your interaction, keeping their natural suspicions from creeping back up.
  4. Get to the point of what you want.  This could be a conversation, appointment or whatever makes sense for your sales process. Avoid chit chat about the weather, the Super Bowl, etc., unless they initiate it.

    Now, go help your team create some new tour guides.

Want more information?  Download this free ebook today.

Think Differently eBook

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Topics: Sales Tips, business development

Webinar: The Secret to Getting More Appointments

Posted by Mike Scher

May 12, 2015 4:05:00 PM

The Secret to Getting More Appointments
21st century metrics that move the needle

May 20  |  11:00 am EST

Join Kerry Cunningham, Research Director at Sirius Decisions and Mike Scher, CEO at FRONTLINE Selling on Wednesday, May 20 at 11:00 am EST to hear the experts reveal the metrics that impact prospecting success.secret_to_getting_more_appointments_webinar-01

A moderated, interactive dialog will provide quantitative data and proven methodology that can drive your team to achieve a minimum of 200% more appointments with key decision makers – guaranteed.

Whatever prospecting theory or process you use today, take 60 minutes on May 20 to hear this webcast.  Some things you just can’t afford to miss.

Register today.

Read More

Topics: Sales Tips, business development

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