How To Cope with Sales Rejection

Hi guys,

I have been wanting to take on the subject of rejection in selling professions for quite some time , BUT its not a very easy topic to write about.

I think homo sapiens are not attuned to accept rejection easily and therefore this becomes a very prickly issue in our lives.

BUT its an issues that needs attention especially for those of us in Sales who are front ending our corporate brands and bringing in the moolah.

I think that in order to be successful at sales, you need to be able to cope with rejection — an even to turn it into a goad that creates more success.

Once you understand this, rejection loses is power over you, and your ability to sell.

Your experience of rejection depends entirely upon three qualitative, subjective measurements:

  1. Frequency. Everyone can deal with some rejection, but how much rejection can you experience before you start taking the negative feedback to heart?  How many times can you contact a qualified prospect and get a negative response before you begin to take it personally?  Increase your tolerance, and rejection loses its hold over your future performance.
  2. Emotional Involvement. How emotionally involved can you become with somebody before you feel that the other person might know you so well that criticism hurts?  For example, you might be reluctant to close because you’re afraid that your customer might feel “buyer’s remorse” and stop liking you — a form of rejection.
  3. Perceived Importance.  As a sales rep, you’re likely to feel most comfortable contacting people who are of a similar (or lower) social class or educational background.  However, you might find yourself avoiding people whom you feel are more important than yourself, because their rejection of you might seem to carry more weight or authority.

Each elements is easily changed, fortunately.  Here’s how:

  1. Frequency. To make yourself less vulnerable in this area, you must differentiate between valid and invalid rejection. If the rejection is based upon something valid (like your basic approach), then you blame your approach and then change it.  If the rejection is invalid — as when a prospect “dumps” frustration — it has nothing to do with you, so you can easily ignore it.
  2. Emotional involvement. The cure for this subjective ailment is to believe in yourself and in your product.  If you truly believe in both, then there is absolutely NO reason why you shouldn’t want your true friends to be your customers.  If it turns out that your friend doesn’t want or need your offering, it’s not a rejection of you, but of the product and firm.  So it should have no power over you.
  3. Perceived importance. My mother always recommended imagining that you’re talking to the bigwig while he’s sitting on the toilet.  That doesn’t really help me, but I know what she’s talking about.  Look: most bigwigs are exceedingly average people who’ve stumbled into their success.  Their opinion means nothing in the long run, so don’t let it have any power over you.

I think the key skills that a mature sales professional needs to imbibe in himself/herself, is that of EQ (Emotional quotient)….a strong EQ will best equip you with the balance and poise to manage rejection when you go out there to get your business!!

I have extensively covered numerous aspects of selling skills and sales management in my blogs on wordpress….https://ashishtandon.wordpress.com

Please check out my blogs and feel free to ideate and provide me with your insights and suggestions…happy to learn from my peers and thought leaders.

Do connect with me on my professional FB page http://www.facebook.com/the.ashishtandon

You could also connect with me on LinkedIn http://in.linkedin.com/pub/ashish-tandon/4/427/188/

Don’t Let Your Brain Screw Up Your Sale

Hi readers,

I have often been asked by my mentees after a f_ck_d up sale on ….”where did we go wrong!!!???”

I did EVERYTHING that you taught me…EVERYTHING to the “T”, and yet the sale went to my competitor !!

Alright….

When it comes to success in selling, your brain can be your own worst enemy.

If you’re like most sales stars, your brain has a tendency to chatter away about the future, when having a conversation with a customer.  Even though you’re trying to listen, your brain is sending out all sorts of subliminal messages to your subconscious like:

  • “If I don’t make my quota for the month, my boss is gonna kill me…( Really…ask yourself this…are your KRAs all about numbers??? tch tch numbers are only 50% of your KRA my sales pro!!)
  • “If I don’t make this sale, I won’t be able to buy that Versace dress from my girlfriend…” (Man, get your priorities right, and then understand that those who love you will love you whether you got them that dress or NOT!!)
  • “I hope this guy doesn’t tell a boring story, because I’ve got a flight in two hours…” (Patience is a virtue in Good salesmanship my friend!! didnt you know this..)
  • “What should say say next, in response to what he’s saying now…” (Being presumptuous are we …)
  • Etc. Etc. Etc.

This mental chatter frantically pulls your attention away from the customer and towards your own priorities and goals.  That can be fatal to actually making the sale because you’ll miss cues and clues about what the CUSTOMER wants.

In short, the CUSTOMER will cease to be king in your subconscious and you will inevitable wander AWAY from a sale that YOU THOUGHT was in your bag!!

The solution is to treat selling more as a process and less as an achievement.  Here’s how:

  • STEP #1: Open your posture. Body language and engaged listening are inter-related. When the customer is talking, you’ll be more interested, and seem more interested, if your expression and posture indicates that you are interested.  This is not trickery; it’s everyday human behavior.
  • STEP #2: Look AT the customer. When you’re thinking of the future, or something that you’re going to say, your eyes will lose focus or drift slightly upwards.  Keeping your eyes FOCUSED on the customer (without staring through the customer) forces your mind into the moment.
  • STEP #3: Be aware of your breathing. Because you’re human, it’s nearly impossible to keep all of your thoughts away from yourself.  Rather than listen to your internal chatter, become aware of the sound and flow of your breathing, which won’t distract from your focus on the customer.
  • STEP #4: Stop to take notes. When the customer says something that you’re sure is important, rather than breaking your focus by glancing down and making a note, ask for a moment’s pause, and then make a note.  Segmenting the two activities ensures that you’re present during the conversation.
  • STEP #5: Trust your instincts. You may believe you need to analyze everything that’s going on in the conversation in order to come up with the “right” response.  However, you’re more likely to say the “right” thing if you’re actively listening and then responding in a way that “feels” right.
  • STEP #6: Be patient with yourself. Selling is the study of a lifetime, so you can’t expect to grasp every concept or master every technique immediately.  Fortunately, what’s most important in sales is the combination of intention and attention.  Make the sale about the customer.  It’s really that simple.

To know more about sales acumen read

https://ashishtandon.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/what-every-manager-should-learn-from-sales/

https://ashishtandon.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/what-we-can-learn-from-sales-gods-and-succeed/

https://ashishtandon.wordpress.com/2013/01/13/if-you-want-to-sell-more-get-curious/

Connect with me on LinkedIn http://in.linkedin.com/pub/ashish-tandon/4/427/188/

Steps to qualify your sales leads

Hi readers,

The process of sales involves turning “suspects” ( maybe he could be my client), to prospects ( aha!….I think he would buy from me if I could convince him)…to eventually , clients (YES! he bought from me …wooohoooo!!!)

BUT…in order to actually maximize your productivity, the star sales man has to learn the art of pre-qualifying the list of “prospects” as actual, warm, or hot leads…and thats an eclectic mix of art and science.

I have elucidated some steps that I think assist the sales rep to pre-qualify a prospect and to close the sale…

STEP 1. Define your target industries. Based upon your experience (and that of your colleagues) figure out which industries have both the greatest need for your offering as well as the money to purchase your offering. Limit your target to one or two industries at most. Now go through the generic list and scratch out everyone who isn’t in one of those target industries.

STEP 2. Define your target job titles. Within each industry there are “natural” buyers who either purchase offerings similar to yours or greatly influence such purchases. Based on your experience (and that of your colleagues) figure out the two or three specific titles that this natural buyer usually has within your target industry. Now go through the edited list from Step 1 and scratch out every remaining prospect that doesn’t have one of those two or three job titles.

STEP 3: Craft a targeted message. Based upon what you know about that natural buyer in your target industries, create a compelling message. You want a message that identifies the problem that keeps the prospect awake at night and which your offering helps to solve. The most effective messages have a high emotional content. For example- if you are selling  a video software service to a client using SMS to broadcast his marketing message, instead of saying that you are the best thing that happened after you-tube you may want to consider…” Would you consider a video software, that could compress a personal video message of upto a minute to a size that could be sent across to all your friends and business associates as a film clip, either through the SMS service or as an email?”

STEP 4: Reality-check the list and the message. At random, call four or five of the prospects on your edited list. Do not attempt to make a sale at this time. Explain that you’re trying to understand how to sell into the prospect’s industry. Ask them to confirm that the targeted individuals inside the targeted industries are actually the people you should be calling and that the message will prove effective. If there’s a disconnect, re-examine your assumptions and return to Step 1.

STEP 5: Help Marketing create better lists in the future. Make your cold calls. If you find (as you probably will) that pre-qualifying your cold calls results in a higher number of average sales per call, save yourself some time and trouble in the future. Ask Marketing to purchase or generate prospect lists that fit the demographic of your proven target. Warning: when the marketing group sees what you’ve done, they’ll probably want you to come work for them!

Happy qualifying and closing!!!

How To Make a Flawless Cold Call- PART 1

Hi confident cold callers!!

I bet I got your confidence up by many a notch after the last 2 blogs on the subject of cold calling jitters and how to win!

So I thought that it is now the right time to discuss some key steps that will help you make flawless cold calls and deliver results!!

I have a total of 6 points to discuss with you and I shall do that in 2 parts- THIS IS PART 1, which will cover the first 3 points..

STEP #1: TARGET REAL OPPORTUNITIES

 

If you’re going to cold call, you need to target people who are likely to buy.

There are many ways to get lists of leads, but typically you’ll either get them from your marketing group or you’ll have access to an online service that allows you to pull potential prospects off the web.

The challenge is winnowing down that list to the prospects who are most likely to buy.  There are three general criteria that are always important:

  • Target Industries. Based upon your experience (and that of your colleagues), figure out which industries have both the greatest need for your offering as well as the money to purchase your offering. You should limit your target to one or two industries at most.
  • Target Job Titles. Within each industry there are “natural” buyers who either purchase offerings similar to yours or greatly influence such purchases. Based on your experience (and that of your colleagues) figure out the two or three specific titles that this natural buyer usually has within your target industry.
  • Trigger Events. For most products (especially B2B) there are key events that signal a likelihood to buy.  For example, if you sell services to help companies integrate normally-incompatible computer systems, a corporate merger or acquisition will usually open up a sales opportunity. Other trigger events are job changes, reorganizations, big sales wins in the prospect’s firm, etc

STEP #2: CREATE A WINNING SCRIPT

An effective cold calling script has the following characteristics:

  • It is about 30-45 seconds long.
  • It includes absolutely no small talk.
  • It delivers a specific, compelling reason for the prospect to want to continue the conversation.
  • It uncovers a problem in their business that you can help them fix.

If the prospect (not you) identifies something that is having negative ramifications on their business (a problem) AND they are serious about getting rid of that problem, then you “may” have a possible reason to continue.  If so, you can set an appointment to explore the possibilities of helping that prospect in some way get rid of that problem.

An effective cold calling script has the following structure:

  • Tell them your name and company
  • Ask permission for 45 seconds and tell them they can end the conversation after that if they want to.
  • Get right to the point
  • Help then identify their business problems by offering a short “menu”

STEP #3: PRACTICE YOUR TECHNIQUE

Many sales reps “sound like” sales reps — and that can be a big impediment to making the sale.  If you’re selling to decision-makers, you need to sound like a decision-maker, not a sales rep.  Every time you sound “like a salesman,” you’re communicating that you’re only there to sell and your credibility flies out the window.

So how did you find these points?? Write back to me , comment on this blog and wait for PART 2!!

Getting excited about Cold Calls!

Hi “cold feet Claude”

Is cold calling getting the better of you lately?

Is , trying to sell a product or service to an unknown and unqualified prospect getting to be so confronting that it freezes you  into a state of inaction? Are you daunted and stopped dead in your tracks at the prospect of making cold calls?

Well , Claude, you are not alone, and I have been there!!

Sadly, as the need for cold calling frequently accompanies the launch of a new business, or the launch of a new offering, such inaction

(caused due to numerous reasons)  can have dire consequences for your personally and definitely for the business.

Let’s try to fix it by looking at what actually causes our dislike and then introduce some new strategies- shall we?

  • Not surprisingly, the biggest reaction that’s generated by cold calling is the fear of failure. We know the incidence of sale is extremely low; we know the chances of even getting to the decision-maker are slim; is it therefore any wonder we are fearful of failure?
  • Running a close second, is the fear of rejection. No one likes to be rejected at the best of times and less so when the rejection is at best, abrupt and at times, downright rude.
  • The third fear is that of giving offence. It’s natural we don’t want to be seen as a nuisance — after all, this is not the atmosphere we look to foster with a potential customer.

So, we know cold calling has a low success rate; we know it generates fear of failure, fear of rejection and fear of offending. How can we combat this and move forward with any degree of positive action?

I reckon the answer lies in our measurements of success.

Imagine you set yourself the goal of making twenty-five cold calls to set up meetings to promote your business.

Now let’s assume that twenty-three of the calls are met with either rejection or total failure to connect with a decision-maker.

In this scenario, the chances are you’d be feeling pretty miserable. You might feel like you’ve failed in twenty-three out of twenty-five of the calls. And you’d be right.

Imagine instead, you had approached the exercise with this goal:

‘To attract people who are genuinely interested in hearing about my work’

By choosing your language carefully and not linking your goal to a finite number of calls or sales, it is possible to switch the emphasis away from the fears of what may be coming (failure, rejection, offence) and more towards your sense of what you’re actually hearing.

By listening out for those ‘who are genuinely interested’ it is possible to quickly disqualify anyone appearing unsuitable or disinterested. Through these means, you’ll move more quickly to the next call and with a greater sense of purpose. What’s more, you’ll do so without being rendered inactive through fear.

Too easy? Try it and you’ll see why successful telesales people are able to make call after call, seemingly totally unfazed by any of the classic fears.

Confession– This piece is motivated by a patch in my life as a sales professional when I went through this rut myself and it was a friend of mine who worked in a BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) firm who put me through the paces and taught me how to overcome my fears on cold calling.

This piece also helps young sales reps to understand how to qualify a serious lead through the process of cold calling, which is very important!

 

How To Reinvent yourself when the chips are down, and create a new avatar!

Hi struggling sales stars of yester years!

Feeling the heat of a struggling economy? Do you have nightmares about not making your quota targets and being presented with a beautiful pink slip on your table?

Well…you are not alone and that makes two of us!!

But having weathered many situations and economic downturns myself over the last 18 years that I have been working, I have realized that mental agility (keeping your wits about), perseverance ( always a good attitude) and an open mind ( keep options open) are key to ensure that you dont get caught in a rut and are successful in reinventing yourself in a more potent avatar!!

So here’s how you do it folks!!

  • Step #1. Locate. Find the most talented and successful Key account manager in your company and ask (beg, if necessary) to let you shadow him (or her) on a couple of weeks worth of sales calls. Get your boss on your side; boss is gonna be very pleased that you are taking the initiative to learn and improve (see ..thats politically correct!)
  • Step #2. Observe. Watch how he presents himself, opens up a conversation, moves the sale forward. Observe the words he uses, the way he moves his body, the way he interacts with individuals. (Take notes on your tricorder if necessary)
  • Step #3. Investigate. After each sales call, ask your role model to describe what he was THINKING at each point in the sales call. You want to understand the basic beliefs and assumptions that support the successful sales behavior. (Always good to understand the perspective behind each action and reaction that you observed during the sales call)
  • Step #4. Imitate. After you’ve done this for two weeks, you should have a pretty good understanding of the way that a successful sales professional THINKS about selling, and how that thinking manifests itself in specific behavior. Good time for you to jot down these key observations and to think of a way to consciously imbibe that into your system.
  • Step #5. Integrate. Start trying to think and behave identically to the sales professional. It will seem odd at first and you’ll be tempted to start talking technical. However, if you emulate both the thought process and the outward behavior, you’ll eventually get similar results.

EVENTUALLY you will have evolved into a new YOU and success will be closer to you than a couple of weeks back!!

Results guaranteed!!

How to Conquer Fear of Cold Calling

Hi readers,

Apologies for the sabbatical. Been travelling all over the place to deliver to folks who have retained my services as a consultant.

Well…. recently traveled to a client in Mumbai and he asked me to do a workshop for him for his sales team. As is my practice, I began with personal interviews with the sales team members and realized by the end of the day that the highest common factor ( remember our 2nd grade math!) that impedes their performance was FEAR OF COLD CALLING!

That set me thinking and I began to analyze first the reasons for this underlying fear…and my assessment revealed the following

  • Fear #1: Fear of Sounding Stupid. You’re afraid that once you have a target in your sights , and you are able to muster enough courage to just walk up to his door without an appointment,you will stumble and be turned away from his door by his secretary.  This is not a fear of “rejection”; this fear comes from not having mastered the skill of converting a conversation into an appointment over a telephone call.
  • Fear #2: Fear of Wasted Effort. You’re afraid that you’re not “working” the target correctly; that you are in a random pursuit.  A call here, a call there; leave this voicemail; craft an email, etc., etc. . You’re flailing and you fear your results will correspondingly flail and your efforts will be ineffective.
  • Fear #3: Fear of Lousy Process. You have the same hesitation and take the same deep breath you would take before starting to put clothes on the drying line in fierce a wind storm. Experience says that, even if you’re successful in getting the appointment, there is no efficient way to develop and close the deal.

Post this assessment, my question was- now we know the fears, so now what?

So I came up with a simple 3 point program to help address the fears mentioned and identified above – and these tips are

  • Step #1: Develop Your Skills. Either through available training or available written material work to improve the ability to control the flow of the conversation, to handle pushback’s and to secure an agreement to meet.  You must learn how to deftly and professionally handle the predictable negative responses to a request for an appointment and still secure an appointment.  As a result, you’ll feel the confidence that comes from being able to control the conversation.

Step #2: Adopt a Sales Methodology. Find (or create) a written methodology that sets in place the specific pursuit of any group of suspects, including how many times to call, the frequency of those calls and the messaging used in voicemails, emails, and/or videos. Developing the “Best Practice” model will eliminate the feeling of flailing or being caught up in a random pursuit going nowhere

Step #3: Measure and Adapt. Either manually or with available technology develop a way to execute your best practice and training in a way that enables you to track the pursuit of targets very precisely and in the most efficient way. By tracking activity you will gain control and give purpose to your telephone activity. You can begin to determine how many initial appointments you need to make quota, how many conversations you need to get those appointments, how many calls you need to make that conversation goal.

P.S- Marketing has a crucial role to play in ensuring their sales team members are empowered through various devices ( training, sales playbooks, technology, tools etc) and have the confidence to go out there and get their business and makes their quotas!!

Hope this helps my brothers in the sales teams across the world!!

The 7 Deadly Sins of Sales Teams

Hi Readers,

New of impending fiscal cliff in the US, continued bad numbers from the Eurozone, Worst GDP numbers from India in a decade do not make our work in sales any easier than yesterday.

Selling is hard work, but it’s even more difficult when the sales team starts exhibiting dysfunctional behavior in the face of serious challenges from the economy, clients and competition!

In times of crises like this, Sales reps and sales teams exhibit behavior that I jocularly refer to as “sins”! And I am giving away advice free to those who care to read and listen on how to cope with this bad behavior!!

  1. OVERCONFIDENCE. When everyone wants to make big numbers, there’s a tendency to sell too much, too quickly.Solution: Before closing, always make certain that the customer really needs your offering and that your firm has the resources to deliver promptly. Key take away– measure your selling pace, and DONT Push the sale; it will rebound on you and your client will vanish from your Rolodex!
  2. GRANDIOSITY. If you’ve got a terrific offering, it’s all too easy to pretend that it’s a panacea. While some products do arguably “change the world” they’re few and far between. Solution: Focus on helping the customer, rather than converting them to a “product” religion. Key take away– Leverage your EQ, keep a balanced approach to sales, look at the long term and sell a “solution” as opposed to a “great product”
  3. HUBRIS. Sales professionals know what worked in the past, but the memory of past success blind the team to changing customer requirements. Solution: Become obsessed with customer satisfaction and measure it through an objective customer survey.Key take away– DONT delve in the past, that is history; learn to learn new skills everyday, absorb the changes around you, adapt your self according to the change and display dexterity in making your offer to your clients.
  4. DEHUMANIZATION. Sales technology is great, but if it becomes too pervasive it can hinder the person-to-person interaction that is the core of relationship building. Solution: Use technology sparingly and use face-to-face communication for key customer meetings. Key take away– Remember, the product or the service does not a sale make, YOU DO!
  5. OVERWHELM. During times of change, there’s a tendency demand more from everybody on the team, and management may pile on extra offerings, making it difficult for keep abreast. Solution: Stay focused on what the customers are buying today. Key take away– KISS, Keep it simple and sweet! Always works,…….
  6. STOVEPIPING. In every company there is a tendency for sales to view itself as the only group that’s really important; meanwhile, other groups start viewing the sales team as arrogant. Solution: Get other groups involved in the sales process by inviting them to meetings with key customers. Key take away– Humility is a life long mistress for the successful sales star and a future leader. Collaborate with your internal teams that support you in your efforts to get your quotas, share accolades with them and give them their due for their unstinting support to you.
  7. STRESS. Sales is, by nature, a stressful activity. If a sales team isn’t careful, it can end up creating a sales culture where stress becomes habitual, like a drug. Solution: Make humor and laughter an integral part of your personal sales process. Key take away– De-stress over a round of golf, do Yoga, meditate, shake a leg….get a life beyond your quotas, commissions and job!!

 

Dont be a sinner, become a SAINT!!!

The 7 Myths of Selling to Smaller Firms

Hi readers,

Forget G-15, Forget OECD countries, Forget the mature, developed economies of the Western Hemisphere, the future belongs to the newbie emerging economies.

The BRICS and MINT are the way to go!!

BRICS- Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa/ MINT- Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey

Do you know what is largely driving these economies even in these trying times?

An entrepreneurial spirited, and driven, SMB segment! Yes, these economies are largely fueled by small and medium firms that are driven by first generation entrepreneurs,  often betting their own financial resources to chase their dreams…

The SMB segment is fast emerging as a focus for major B2B focused businesses across the globe.

B2B businesses who wish to successfully convert SMB clients often find it challenging to generate traction and business in this fast growing segment and for lack of a comprehensive understanding of this segment, and its long term business implication in their business eco-systems and respective economies, they often lose out.

Sales reps who have had qualified successes while working with larger firms , often use myths to justify their lack of success in the SMB segment and thats where they need to revisit their sales process when working with SMB clients..

Selling for an SMB can be challenging, especially if you’re used to working for a larger firm.  There’s usually not much in the way of sales support, and people often end up doing multiple jobs. All of that is manageable, however, providing you have the right attitude about your job.  This RIGHT ATTITUDE is best explained by mentioning the 7 myths that hinder your sale to the SMB client, and what you need to do to redress this and succeed!!

  • Myth #1: Prospects won’t buy from us because they’ve never heard of us.
  • Truth #1: It’s an advantage when prospects lack negative preconceptions.

 

  • Myth #2: Prospects won’t buy because we’re new in the business.
  • Truth #2: Prospects are always interested in something new and different.

 

  • Myth #3: We can’t compete because we’re only a tiny handful of people.
  • Truth #3: It’s an advantage not to have a bureaucracy to weigh us down.

 

  • Myth #4: Customers won’t buy because our product is new in the market.
  • Truth #4: In today’s world, true innovation is (almost literally) priceless.

 

  • Myth #5: An enterprise CEO can’t possibly be interested in speaking with us.
  • Truth #5: It’s in a CEO’s best interest to learn what we’ve got to offer.

 

  • Myth #6: Prospects are asking us to do a lot of work to get their business.
  • Truth #6: We have the right to ask for major concessions in return.

 

  • Myth #7: Big companies have more resources, so they’re likely to win.
  • Truth #7: Big companies frequently bite off way more than they can chew.

Lets get us some SMB business now!!