5 reasons to follow up by phone after sending a sales email

Happy Summer everyone!

It’s tough to get a hold of sales prospects. It’s even worse in the summer when people go on vacation.

Here are a 5 reasons to follow up by phone after sending out a sales email:

1. Your sales email might have landed in the sales prospect’s junk mail folder and they never saw it.

2. The sales prospect may no longer work there and the email didn’t bounce back to alert you or it’s being forwarded to their replacement.

3. Whether it’s generational or a preference, some people prefer to communicate by phone over email.

4.  Some people prefer to PROCESS information verbally instead of through written forms.

5. Emails are too easy to delete, a phone call or voicemail stands out.

Hope this helps! Continue having your best summer ever!

A Short Tale of Overtalking the Sale

My wife and I make it a consistent habit to give away 10% of our income to our church, charities, and other organizations that cross our path.

Recently we received a letter from her college alma mater asking for money which is fine and expected from them on a yearly basis.

That also meant we would be getting a phone call as well.

We finally got a call on our home phone and we previously agreed to a dollar figure to give to her college. It wasn’t the best time to take a phone call but I wanted to get it over with and continue on with our nightly activities.

The gal sounded scripted, canned and very mechanical. I finally cut her off and told her we’d be happy to give and for the amount and that we’d send it in that week.

Well, the gal kept talking and talking. She was more concerned about getting done with her script than she was about recognizing the cues and ending the call with a donation she could add to her credit.

How guilty are us sales development folks of missing cues and overtalking the sale? I know I am.

When a prospect says “yes” to you about moving forward, recognize the cues, gladly and graciously accept the order and write it up. It’s okay to exchange pleasantries obviously, but don’t talk yourself out of a new client. Just because it’s important for us to want to share something with the client doesn’t mean they want to hear it.

We may in the process share too much information and cause the prospect to change their mind and give them something else to think about. Read your audience!

The power of a handwritten note

This isn’t the first article on handwritten notes and it certainly won’t be the last.

My wife and I have a sitter we use for date nights, doctor visits, etc. I’ve known this gal for over 10 years from church.

We recently referred her to a colleague of mine who have a little boy so they can have someone for date nights and other events.

On Saturday we received in the snail mail a small thank you card and a gift card to Chili’s from her thanking us for referring her to my colleague.

Wow! That was unexpected. And I’m not referring to the monetary value of the gift card.

We in sales all know after gaining a new client or referral that we should send a handwritten thank you. But we don’t. I think we get so busy we simply forget to.

3 quick observations:

1. How often do you get a handwritten note by snail mail these days? Seriously? It’s rare. Just by doing this small task more often, you’ll stand out.

2. It was unexpected and it brightened my day. Lately my allergies have been flaring up and I feel physically drained. This little act made my afternoon.

3. How likely am I going to refer our sitter to other couples and friends who need occasional babysitting help? Very much so! She took the time to send us a small note. She didn’t have to and I knew she was appreciate that we passed her name along. She stood even more by thanking us in writing.

So what can the power of a handwritten note do in your sales world?

I fired a prospect and it felt great!

Happy Spring everyone!

In March 2012, I reached out to a prospect, we engaged and he gave me a verbal commitment to move forward.

(Yes, I know that verbal commitments mean nothing legally, and yes he was the decision maker.)

Later that July, the prospect changed his mind and said they were moving forward with another company, explained his reasoning and I closed his file.

In March 2014, I was clearing my Salesforce.com and cleaning up data and reached out again to the same prospect. He responded that it was good timing to engage again. We spoke several times and and ultimately, they didn’t move forward with us. I decided to let things go and move on.

Several months later, this prospect reached out to me via LinkedIn email and wanted to restart conversations. This was him reaching out to me.

We had more discussions and he introduced me to his Director who would be heading up this initiative.

Long story short, he waffled and I may not have done a good job of building trust or value.

I finally emailed the CEO and said I won’t be pursuing him anymore as a client. I gently reminded him that he reached out to me to get moving on the project. I left the door open that when he was serious enough to talk, that I’d love to have him as a client.

I haven’t heard back from him since. Not sure what his motive was for restarting talks. Perhaps other priorities and not enough time.

Sales reps and producers: it’s okay to fire a prospect. Call them out when they are stalling and won’t give you a reason why things keep dragging out. Be bold but be polite and respectful. No need to have false hope on landing new clients if the prospect has no intention of hiring you. It will save you a lot of emotional energy and time.

You can always make more money. You can never reclaim your time. Get honest with yourself on your sales pipeline. If in doubt, call the prospect and get their intentions and decision on moving forward or not. Lots of prospects and people are conflict avoiders. Don’t keep a lot of sales prospects in your sales funnel if they have no intention of doing business with you.

Don’t take “No” personally, you never “Know”

I work out at the gym 5 days week. Unfortunately I don’t eat healthy as consistently as I should and it neutralizes my workouts but such is life.

I see this gal in her 40’s who’s married with 2 kids working out quite a bit at the gym. She’s in shape and always seems to have a smile on her face. We exchange short conversations and pleasantries from time to time.

Last week I asked how her family was doing. She said her husband wasn’t doing too good. I asked if she meant physically or emotionally. She said both and told me that her husband was going through chemo treatments. I expressed my condolences and told her I’d be praying for him and the family.

How does this relate to sales and prospecting?

You never know what’s going on in your sales prospect’s lives. Both personally and professionally.

Professionally: Is the company merging with another one (Comcast)? Is the company going out of business (Radio Shack)? Did the prospect’s boss yell at them this morning? Was there a critical client issue that came up that day? Did they just lose a key person? Are they moving offices soon? Did they lose a big account that day?

Personally: Did a family member just pass away? Are they going through a divorce? Did they get in a car wreck recently? Did they wake up on the wrong side of the bed? Did their pet just pass away?

I could go on and on but I hope you catch my drift.

When you reach out to someone on the phone, you don’t know what they’re going through. Don’t take it personally if someone tells you “No” or “No interested” and hang up on you. Move on and try back another time.

Just like the gal from the gym, you never “know”, so don’t take “no” personally.

Happy Monday everyone!

The Serenity Prayer and Sales Prospecting

I’m sure you’ve read or seen the Serenity Prayer many times in your lifetime:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.”

I was reading an article and came across this prayer again. It started making me think in the area of sales prospecting and cold calls.

I can’t control the weather, economy, luck, timing or company decisions.

BUT I can control the number of sales cold calls I make. I CAN control the amount of networking I initiate. I CAN control the number of referrals I ask for. I CAN control my sales activity and effort and hard work.

I may not be able to control the results fully but I choose to be responsible for what’s in my control.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Photo Credit: https://www.posterama.co/collections/serenity-prayer-posters/products/serenity-prayer-by-reinhold-niebuhr-poster

I misspelled my prospect’s last name on the proposal!

I recently was referred to a VP of Sales for a technology company based in Iowa but had a local presence here in Kansas City.

There have been several clients I’ve never met in person before.

This was different. We chatted by phone, had lunch when he was in town and exchanged several emails and his name and signature were in his emails.

I placed a “K” instead of a “G” in his last name and emailed over the proposal.

He noticed it immediately just like I would if someone misspelled my name. He pointed it out and fairly asked if he should be concerned about my question to detail.

Ironically I’m really good with remembering names and spellings. I blew this time.

I apologized profusely and corrected it and he signed up to become a client.

2 takeaways which I know I’m stating the obvious:

1. Take extra time and proofread and double check every proposal that goes out.

2. When you make a mistake, apologize profusely and immediately.

Thankfully he was gracious enough to point it out and not let my mistake kill the deal.

No matter how long we’ve been in sales, it’s the little things that count and make the difference.

Sales Lesson Learned From A Recent Presidential Debate

(Disclaimer: I’m a registered independent voter.)

I watched about an hour of of a recent Republican debate and then I went to bed.

I won’t go into the subject matter of the debate or my opinion on the issues or the candidates. It’s irrelevant.

One of the rules last night was that once a moderator asked a question, the candidate had one minute to answer the question with a 30 second rebuttal.

Sales takeaway: Is your sales or marketing message clear, concise and to the point? Can you articulate your value proposition in one minute or less?

If not, why?

Remember, people have attention spans shorter than a goldfish.

(The human attention span went from 12 seconds in 2002 to 8 seconds in 2013. A goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds.)

Ouch!

People are distracted, overworked and too busy to sit through a rambling speech about what you do. Less is more. Get to the point. Get to the point quickly.

Allergies, Pain and Sales Hunting

I’m a typical guy. I don’t go see the doctor unless somethings really wrong.

Until last week, I hadn’t seen a doctor since June 2005, when my wife strongly suggested I go in for a yearly physical. We had just gotten married and she said I should see a doctor. I visited my doctor and everything checked out fine.

The past month I’ve been struggling with sinuses and allergies and at times, I’ve felt miserable constantly blowing my nose and dealing with watery eyes.

(Compared to cancer and other illnesses, sinuses are very minor.)

So I found an allergist doctor and went in and got checked out and he made some recommendations.

It took me being miserable and slightly in “pain” to finally call the doctor and get in.

What does this have to do with sales hunting and sales prospecting?

Most prospects tend to buy solutions that solves their “business” pain before they buy solutions that will enhance their company.

People will reach for an aspirin to comfort their headache before they buy vitamins to make themselves feel even better.

When reaching out to prospects, ask them questions that brings up their “pain”.

Take care of their “pain” with your solutions and you’ll have success in sales.

Shaving My Head and Sales Positioning

I have a confession to make.

I am bald.

BUT, I’m bald voluntarily. I started shaving my head in 2000 and am thankful I have a decently shaped head with no scars or nicks anywhere. I give credit to Bruce Willis who made being bald cool and in fashion.

Typically I get my head shaved every 10 days. I usually go to Great Clips and it cost between $5 – $14 depending on if I have a coupon or not. They serve the masses and Great Clips is not for everyone. My hairdresser, Carol, rocks and I request her every time I visit. She does excellent work and is a pro. After I get my head shaved, I go home and shower and get all the little hairs out and it’s highly convenient since it’s about 2 miles away. It’s very obvious who Great Clips targets as their customer.

Recently I received a complimentary hair cut coupon and decided to use it at The Gents Place in Leawood Town Center. I made an appointment and showed up. I get there, check in and the gal behind the desk offers me something to drink. Then she comes around and takes my jacket and puts in a locker and hands me the key. I finally get called to my hairdresser and as you may tell, this place caters to Leawood middle to upper class business men. It has a pool table and spa rooms and locker rooms and even a bar for members. Top notch and it definitely caters to a high end clientele.

I got my head shaved, massaged, rinsed, washed and completed with a hot towel service. I’ve never had that before and it felt great. Normal cost was $45 or so and I tipped my hairdresser and left.

So as a sales organization, who do you cater to? Who’s your ideal client?

Is it targeted towards anyone or do you have someone specific in mind?

Target everyone and you sell to nobody.

Is your product or service targeted to the masses out there like Great Clips?

OR

Do you have someone specific in mind with a certain income level, profession, geography, or type of business?

Take a few minutes and reflect on your ideal client. Do you have several transactions with small dollar amounts or fewer transactions with higher dollar amounts.

Happy Monday!