LinkedIn Discussion about Prospects Who Take Advantage of Salespeople

This is from a conversation on LinkedIn.  The discussion group is LinkedIn Sales / Marketing Executives (CSO/CMO).

Question:
How would you interpret this scenario?
By Mitch Emerson Co-founder, Compelligence, Inc.
Top Contributor

You’ve gone through a pretty thorough sales process with a potential customer–multiple meetings and demos for the end users and decision makers of your product or service; they say they love it and it’s what they need. They then ask for a bid so they can get it into their budget planning…and then they totally disappear–no replies to e-mails or phone calls for multiple months. They put time and interest in from multiple people at the beginning so it doesn’t -appear- to be just a competitive bid request or a fishing trip. Any tips for what you would do with that situation?

Response:
By Jacques Werth
Author “High Probability Selling”
Top Contributor

Mitch – That situation presents a valuable lesson. Many prospects take advantage of salespeople who do a lot of work in hope of getting their business.

Never do work for a prospect, unless you have an assurance from the *top decision maker* that you will get their business if you can meet his/her requirements. Then, find out what their requirements are, and figure out whether you can meet them, or not. That does not “guarantee” you’ll get their business, but it can minimize your exposure.

Regarding the described situation, respond to the request for a bid, with an offer to help them write the Request for Quotations. Then, design the RFQ so that it’s very difficult for any competitor to meet its requirements.

Using that strategy, I have sold $100s of millions, of everything from waterproofing dams, tunnels, and ballistic missile silos, to high tech capital equipment, and sales training.

 

 

 

 

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LinkedIn Discussion about Prospects Who Take Advantage of Salespeople

Guidelines for Creating a High Probability Prospecting Offer

by Jacques Werth and Carl Ingalls

Structure.  There are 4 parts to a High Probability Prospecting Offer:

  1. Identify yourself (full name) and who you represent (name of organization).
  2. Identify what you are selling in this particular offer.
  3. Identify a feature about what you are selling.
  4. Identify a different feature.

Note that the question you ask after presenting the offer is not counted as part of the offer.

Guidelines.  Keep these points in mind when creating a prospecting offer.

  • Make the offer very specific.  Do not try to create an offer that covers everything you sell.  You need to be able to call the same prospect again with a different offer.
  • Be factual and use neutral matter-of-fact wording.
  • Use simple language.  Avoid jargon, even when you are certain that the prospect would understand it.
  • Avoid persuasion.  Do not include anything that sounds like a reason why the prospect should buy.
  • Be very brief and concise.  Use a maximum of 45 words in the offer.  Less is better.
  • When you identify yourself, it is best to start with “This is”.  The results are better than if you say “My name is”.  We don’t know why.
  • Don’t say “Hello” and don’t say “How are you”.
  • Use your full name.  Never use your first name by itself.
  • For instance, “This is Jacques Werth of High Probability Selling.”
  • When you identify what you are selling, make sure your wording is simple and easy to understand.
  • A feature is a concrete attribute that describes part of what you are selling.  It is not an expected outcome or benefit.
  • A feature can be something that differentiates your product or service.
  • A feature can be used to “paint a picture” of what you are selling, in a way that makes it more real or solid in the prospect’s mind.
  • Use features to make your offer more specific.  Next time you call the same prospect with an offer for the same product or service, use a different set of features.

Having good prospecting offers is important, but it’s only part of the process.  How you use your prospecting offers is just as important.

Happy prospecting.


2016-10-28 Update by Carl Ingalls

We now believe that 45 words is far too long, and are now recommending a maximum of 30 words in a High Probability Prospecting Offer.  Less is usually better, even if it means that you have to use only one feature instead of two.

When counting the words in your offer, make sure you include all 4 parts of the offer that are listed at the beginning of this blog post (unless you skip part #4).  However, do not include the question you ask immediately after the offer.

 

Guidelines for Creating a High Probability Prospecting Offer

How to Say Ok Goodbye When a Prospect Says No

There are just three things to do when a prospect says “No”.  First you say “Ok” and then you say “Good-bye” and then you hang up.  However, the way you do each of these makes a lot of difference.  The meaning that the listener perceives is greatly influenced by your tone and timing.

The tone should be emotionally neutral, matter-of-fact, as if you were making a simple statement that has no “attitude”.  It should not convey your frustration about hearing “no” from yet another prospect.  It should not reveal your boredom with the process of making call after call.  It is also very important that your tone does not communicate an enthusiasm or friendliness that the prospect is likely to presume is faked.

The timing should clearly separate the “Ok” from the “Good-bye”.  Say these two words as two separate statements, with a pause in between.  Do not act like you are in a rush.  After you say “Good-bye” wait a while in silence before you hang up.  It’s best to let the other party hang up first.

Keep the intended meaning of each of these three things clearly in your mind when you do them.

  • Ok means that you acknowledge and accept what the prospect has just said.  It means that you are not going to argue.  It demonstrates that you did not have an emotional attachment to that particular outcome.  It demonstrates that you listen.
  • Good-bye means that you are done with this call.  It means that you have nothing more to say.  It demonstrates that you are moving on in a businesslike manner.
  • Waiting for a while before you hang up means that you are not dismissing the prospect.  You are not “slamming the door”.  It also gives the prospect an opportunity to ask you not to hang up yet.  This does happen, especially after you have called that prospect a few times.

To hear a sample of how to say “Ok … Good-bye”, you can click on this link

How to Say Ok Goodbye When a Prospect Says No

Secret Sales Tips and Tricks

by Jacques Werth

Why are those words so alluring?

The most successful salespeople seldom read articles with those words in the title.  Such articles are for salespeople who think that selling is just a bag of tips and tricks.

There are no secret tips.  There are no magic tricks.  Effective selling is about finding a sales process that works, following that process carefully, and measuring the results.  Pay attention to doing it right.  You can’t learn how to sell just by reading articles or participating in sales discussion groups.  Although it is possible to learn to sell by reading a lot of books, this doesn’t work for most people.

Books and CD’s can teach you a great deal about selling, but not much about the step-by-step details on how to actually do it.  For that, we recommend training and practice.

The idea of “tips and tricks” is just another sales trick.

Secret Sales Tips and Tricks

10 Tips for Prospecting Success

by Jacques Werth

The ability to prospect efficiently, effectively and enjoyably will enable you to meet with prospects that need, want and can afford your products and services – now. Your confidence will soar and empower you to develop a consistently superior income stream.

1. Start with a highly targeted telephone prospecting list, consisting of people or companies that are most likely to buy your type of products and services. Use a highly reputable list broker to find such a list. Start with a list of no more than 600 names. You cannot afford to develop your own list; It is much too time consuming. If you already have a book of business, follow this prospecting process with your existing clients as if they are new prospects.

2. Call every name on your list every 3-4 weeks. Understand that only a small percentage of your list will be ready to buy the first time that you call. Many more will be ready each successive time that you call. People buy in their own time for their own reasons; not because you have to make a sale this week. Calling them frequently is vital to prospecting success.

3. Present a “prospecting offer” of no more than 45 words that clearly states who you are, what you are selling, and two features of your product or service. Finish up with “Is that what you want?” Each time you call, change the two features. That will prevent most prospects from getting annoyed. It will also eliminate most of the rejection that is caused by traditional cold calling.

4. If the prospect says “No” or “I am not interested,” you say “Okay, good bye.” Do not press for an appointment. Do not try to engage the prospect in a conversation or ask any questions. This will be the most pleasant sales call they ever get. It will assure that very few prospects will ask you not to call again.

5. Schedule your prospecting sessions for 3½ hours. Take a fifteen-minute break between each hour. This is more productive than five prospecting sessions of one hour each.

6. Tape yourself. Use a tape recorder with an open microphone to tape your side of each call. Start the tape when the prospect answers. Listen to how you sound. The goal is to hear yourself using your usual conversational tones. Do not try to sound like a professional salesperson. Do not come across as overly enthusiastic, unusually friendly, or enticing. Just relax and present your offer without persuasion.

7. Always be in a “Disqualification” mode. Be determined to spend your selling time only with High Probability Prospects. Disqualify Low Probability Prospects quickly and courteously. Don’t allow desperation or anxiousness to deter you from your mission. If the prospect says “Yes,” you ask “Why?” Let the prospect convince you that he/she is a High Probability Prospect.

8. Accept the fact that prospecting really is a “numbers game.” The most important numbers are your Dials per Hour and the ratio of prospecting Offers to Dials. Most agents dial at least fifty numbers per hour.

9. Keep accurate records of your prospecting sessions. We have trained thousands of agents to be successful prospectors. The most successful keep accurate records. The least successful don’t. The act of keeping records will enable your subconscious mind to constantly improve your results.

10. Most top producers make fewer appointments, but close most of the prospects they meet.

You can learn more about efficient, effective, and enjoyable prospecting by going to www.HighProbSell.com.

10 Tips for Prospecting Success

Prospecting and the Gatekeeper

By Miles Sonkin, High Probability® Selling

If you’re calling business to business, and you’re reaching the administrative assistant, chances are that they know all about what the decision maker wants and doesn’t want.

The concept of getting past the gatekeeper usually ends badly. This article provides a different approach.

Q. When making prospecting calls, the prospect often ‘isn’t in’. When should I call next? Won’t the gatekeeper get irritated if I keep calling?

A. Here’s how we handle this common, and frustrating, situation in High Probability Selling:

Joe Prospect, please.

“Who’s calling?”

This is Miles Sonkin with High Probability Selling.

“Is Mr. Prospect expecting your call?”

No he isn’t. Are you Mr. Prospect’s gatekeeper?

“Well … yes.”

I am calling Mr. Prospect to make a twenty second offer. Is it okay if I make the offer to you right now and you can determine if you are willing to put me through, or not?

“Sure.”

[Give Offer] … Is this something Mr. Prospect would want?

At large companies, the gatekeeper typically knows Mr. Prospect’s business as well as he does, and can answer the question with a “Yes,” “Probably” or “No” answer. When you get a “Yes” or “Probably,” they’ll do one of the following:

  • Put you through to Mr. Prospect, if he’s available
  • Specifically ask you to leave the message on Mr. Prospect’s voicemail. (When this happens, leave the message, but start it with: “This is Miles Sonkin with High Probability Selling. I just spoke with Gatekeeper Name, your assistant, and after I told her why I was calling, she specifically asked me to leave you a voicemail message, because she thought it was something you might want.” Then give your offer and leave your phone number.
    Take as much time as needed to write your message down and commit to reading it to Mr. Prospect.
  • If the gatekeeper is not willing to put you through, say, “OK…Goodbye.”

This type of conversation rarely happens because other aspects of the HPS prospecting method make this type of conversation rarely necessary. There are a number of factors, one of which is calling with a new offer every 3-4 weeks. This makes gatekeeper blocks an increasing rarity for the HPS prospector.

Prospecting and the Gatekeeper

Persuasion is a Great Way to Sell If…

Another story from my observations of top producer selling methods…

Bill Silvers was the top producer for the largest textile manufacturer in North America. He was the second of hundreds of top salespeople that I observed working with prospects and customers. During the first sales visit that I went on with him, he was showing his company’s new seasonal textile samples to the owner of a dress manufacturing company. The owner said, “Bill, none of these samples are what we want for this spring’s line. We’re going in a different direction.”

Bill said, “Okay Manny. How about telling me about any changes you plan for your summer line?” They discussed that for the next fifteen minutes and then we left.

Walking to his car, I asked Bill why he didn’t try to persuade the customer that his samples would sell. He said, “Manny knows his business far better than I do. If I tried to persuade him, he would feel disrespected, resist my persuasion and he would resent me for trying. This way, I kept his respect and enhanced the probability of doing business with him in another few months.”

Persuasion is a great way to sell if you can find people who want to be persuaded to buy. But, think about how you would react when someone tried to persuade you to buy something you did not want. You would probably resist and resent them, too. That is why prospects who want to be persuaded are so rare that finding them is a real long shot.

If you really think you are a good persuader then you probably make appointments with people who are interested in your products and services. Interested people may seem to be in need of persuasion, though they seldom want to be persuaded and most of them resist. Salespeople who prospect and sell that way make loads of appointments. However, most of them don’t do much business.

Salespeople who think they are not great persuaders often sell a lot more. They gain a big advantage by focusing on finding and making appointments only with people who already want to buy what they are selling.

Good Selling,
Jacques
______________________________________

If you want to read more about the advantages of not persuading, the first 4 chapters of our book is available online.

If you want to experience what it feels like to talk with a High Probability salesperson, give us a call at 800-394-7762 (disconnected in 2015 – see updated contact page).

Persuasion is a Great Way to Sell If…