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Follow Up Tips and Strategies

Leads are an integral part of any marketing and sales strategy. This issue is that it’s difficult for marketers to know which leads will convert successfully into customers. Sometimes “quality” leads can fizzle out and “suspect” leads can turn into big business.”

The best practices for lead follow up begin with a strategy. Maximizing the efficiency of the interaction and the potential of the transaction is at the core of this strategy. Your lead’s time is valuable. That said, there’s no such thing as the ideal lead, and all leads will need to be coached through the buying process to some degree. The trick is to get a quick handle on what your lead needs in order to successfully convert.

There are three basic elements you need to get right:

Timing: being fast to act, highly responsive and quick to spot the signs that a lead may be warming up

Regularity: keeping in regular contact with leads to nurture them along the sales process and keep yourself front of mind, then have sales step in to seal the deal

Relevance: only sending leads valuable, relevant and interesting information that they will want and need at any given stage of the buyer journey

A couple of extra points to bear in mind here:

  • Leads will only buy when they’re ready
  • The days of exerting relentless pressure on someone until they give in and sign on the dotted line are well and truly over. If you hit leads with the hard sell, then they’re unlikely to stick around, especially if they’re still in the early stages of the process.
  • You’ll probably need to impress more than one person.
  • The higher the price tag of the product and the longer the sales cycle, the more people that are likely to be involved in the decision making process. If your sales cycle is long then your key contacts may naturally come and go, so you need to be thinking more broadly about who you need to be seen by and how to impress them.

Here are seven tips for following up on leads effectively.

1. Strike while the iron is hot

In many cases, a lead is an asset that depreciates in value very, very rapidly. As such, it’s worth trying to respond to qualified leads as soon as humanly possible because your response time will often determine whether you close a sale or lose a sale you could have easily closed.

2. Read the lead

Common sense: it’s important to read a lead so that you know who you’re dealing with and what your opportunity may be. Fact: this doesn’t always happen. To avoid looking unprepared or lazy, it can help to create a checklist that your inbound marketers use as part of the lead follow-up process.

3. Have the right person respond

To make the most of a lead, ensure that the person best capable of following up on it is the person who responds. While new prospects may necessarily have to deal with several people throughout the sales cycle, it is often desirable to ensure that their first point of contact is someone they can start to build a rapport, if not a relationship, with.

4. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone

Thanks to technology, phone calls are more and more infrequent for many individuals, particularly younger members of the workforce. But the phone is still a powerful sales tool and if your lead contains a phone number, make a habit of picking up the phone and dialing it.

5. Get on the same page

When speaking with a prospect, walk before you run. Even if your lead came with a lot of detail, it’s important to confirm that you have a good understanding of what the prospect needs and haven’t made any assumptions that could unnecessarily limit your opportunity, or ruin it altogether.

6. Set expectations and time frames

In just about every aspect of sales and business, expectations are everything and it’s never too early to set them. If an initial conversation with a lead confirms that there’s an opportunity, take control. Once you’re on the same page with the customer and understand her needs, you should at a minimum lay out what you think the sales cycle will look like. This includes proposing dates for key milestones.

7. Always respond

Not all leads are created equal. Some, unfortunately, are less-than-desirable for a variety of reasons. But provided that the individual who submitted the lead is a real person, a response should always be provided. Not only can this help maintain your reputation in the marketplace, it could ensure that you’re kept in mind for future opportunities that may be a better fit.

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Great Tips On Following Up & Overcoming Objections

In many ways, a follow up to a prospect is more challenging than a cold call. Typically, it’s the follow up call that really gets the sales cycling rolling. It’s here where value truly begins to manifest itself. It’s here where substantive information is gathered; and it’s here where the relationship begins to establish itself.

The sales follow up is a classic conundrum. How do you effectively follow up with a potential client to maintain momentum without being annoying?

It’s a tough question and varies based on the situation, but there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of maintaining an open communication flow, and decrease the dreaded “gone dark” scenario.

So that’s why it is absolutely vital to have a superb follow up strategies and tactics so that you can make the most of the moment. Here are eight tips to making a perfect follow up.

Tip #1: Get commitment for the follow up.

Perhaps the single biggest mistake reps make is not establishing a specific date and time for the follow up call at the end of their initial call. Vague commitments from the prospects (“call me next week”) or the sales rep (“I’ll send the proposal and follow up in a couple of days”) result in missed calls, voice mail messages and ultimately a longer sales cycle. All you need to do is simply ask for a follow up date and time.

For instance:

“I’ll be glad to write up the proposal (quote, whatever) and e-mail it to you. And what I would like to recommend is that we set up Tuesday, the 16th, at say, 8:45 to review it in detail and determine the next steps if any. How does that sound?”

If this is not a good time, recommend another time. If that doesn’t work, get them to establish a time and date.  Creating a deadline is a simple but extremely powerful tactic. Use it.

Tip #2: Build equity and be remembered

Here’s another huge tip. After every call to a first time prospect, send a thank you card. Hand write a message on small thank you card that simply says, “John, thank you for taking the time speaking with me today. I look forward to chatting with you further on the 16th! Kind regards. . .”   No more, no less.

In today’s fast paced world, a handwritten card tells the client that you took the time and the effort to do something a little different. At some level this registers in the client’s mind and creates a degree of “equity” in you. It differentiates you and it gets remembered. And it gives the client a reason to be there when you make you follow up call.

If you don’t think a card will get there in time, send an e-mail with the same note. Just be aware that an e-mail does not have nearly the same impact as a handwritten note.

Tip #3: E-mail a reminder and an agenda.

The day before your follow up call, send an e-mail to your prospect to remind them of your appointment. In the subject line enter the word: “Telephone appointment for August16th and article of interest.” Note that the subject line acts as a reminder but it is vague enough that the prospect will probably open it. There is a hint that maybe the date and time has changed.

Your e-mail should confirm the date and time of the appointment and then briefly list your agenda:

“John, the call should only take 10 minutes. We’ll review the proposal and I’ll answer any questions. And then we’ll determine the next steps, if any.”

Notice how the words echo the words that were used when the follow up was initially set. In particular, notice the trigger phrase “. . .the next steps, if any.”  The “if any” will help reduce some of the ‘stress’ or concern a first time prospect might have. Often they skip out on the follow up call because they are worried that they’ll have to make a commitment. This is natural and okay. If the prospect senses an easy, informal, no pressure type of phone call, he is more likely to show up on time for that call.

Tip #4: Add value in a PS.

Notice in the subject line there is a reference to an article. At the end of your e-mail add a P.S. that says,

“John, in the meantime, here’s an article I thought you might enjoy regarding. . .”

The article may be about your industry, the market, a product or better yet, something non-business related that you had discussed in your initial call. This creates tremendous value even it the client does not open it. Why? Because you took the time to do something extra.  This helps get you remembered and gives the client yet another reason to take your follow up call.

Of course, this means you have to do some homework. Start looking on the web for articles of interest and value relative to your market, industry etc. Keep a file of these articles because they can be used over and over again.

Tip #5: Call on time

Don’t start your relationship on the wrong foot. Call on time. Never, ever be late with your follow up call. Not even by a minute. The promptness and respect you show on a follow up call reflects on you, your company and your products.

Tip #6: Avoid opening statement blunders that most sales reps make

Here is where so many tele-sales reps stumble and fall. Here some of the classic follow up opening statements blunders:

  • “I was calling to follow up on the proposal.”
  • “I am calling to see if you had any questions.’
  • “I just wanted to make sure you got my e-mail.”
  • “The reason for my follow up was to see if you had come to decision.”

It is not that these opening statements are poor but rather it’s that they’re routine and common place. They do nothing to position you or differentiate you. What this really means is that you are perceived as yet another run of the mill vendor looking for a sale.  You need a little more pizzazz.

Tip #7:  Build a follow up opening statement that gets through the clutter.

There are 4 simple steps to creating that pizzazz.

Step #1: First, introduce yourself using your full name.

Step # 2: Second, give your company name. Okay, so far it’s pretty obvious but Step #3 is where you differentiate yourself.

Step #3: Remind the client why you are calling; remind your client what prompted the follow up call in the first place. This means going back to your initial cold call and reminding the client of the “pain” or the “gain” that was discussed or hinted at in your previous call.  For instance,

“Debbie, this is Michael Powers calling from ABC Educom. Debbie, when we spoke last week you had two concerns. First, you  indicated that you were concerned about having your current on line training program renewed automatically before you had a chance to review it in detail, and second, that there were several modules whose content was questionable.”

Michael reminds Debbie why she agreed to this call. He does this because he knows that clients are busy; that they forget; or that the urgency of last week may not seem so urgent this week. So he scratches at the scab. Remind your client of the irritation and the move on to

Step #4, the agenda: What I would like to recommend at this stage is two things. First, we review those modules that have you so concerned, and second, we’ll take a closer look at the current contract. Then we’ll determine the next steps, if applicable. How does that sound?

Clients like a clear, concise agenda. They want a vendor who is organized and doesn’t waste their time. They want someone to takes control and move the call forward. This gives them confidence.

Finally, notice how the rep repeats a theme that he established in the first call and in his follow up e-mail. He indicates that they will “determine the next steps if applicable.”  It’s a nice touch and reduces client resistance.

Tip # 8: Be persistent, be polite, and be professional but not a pest

If you follow this formula, about 70% of the time the client is there. But, that leaves 30% who are not for one reason or another. If the prospect is not there, leave a message so that he knows YOU called on time. Say,

“Hi Debbie, it’s ____ from ________ calling for our 8:45 appointment. Sounds like you might be tied up for a few moments. I’ll call in 10 minutes if I haven’t heard from you. In the meantime, my number is ______”

Next, call in 10 minutes. Exactly. If the prospect is still not there leave another message:

“Hi Debbie, it’s ___ from ___, following up on our 8:45 appointment. Looks like you’re still tied up. Please give me a call when you’re free at —– —–, otherwise I will call you later this morning or early this afternoon.”

So far you’ve been persistent without being a pest.  Now, give the prospect a chance to call. A good rule of thumb is a half a day.  Four hours is plenty of time and space for the prospect to call you and more importantly, it doesn’t make you look desperate or annoying. Here’s what you can say,

“Debbie, it’s _____ from ________I called a couple of times today but as of yet we have not been able to connect. When we last spoke you where concerned about the contract expiry date and the content of some of the modules. I ‘m sure you don’t want that date to come and go. . .So, my number is _______.”

Notice how the reps reminds the client of the call but does not make her feel guilty or embarrassed by using the phrase “. . . but as of yet we have not been able to connect.”  Also, notice that the rep reminds the client about their early talks and the “pain” the prospect was experiencing. In effect, he wants Debbie to think, “Oh. . . ya . . .that contract is nagging me . . .I better get back to him.”

If that doesn’t work make four more follow up calls but space them three business days apart. This shows persistence but the calls are spread far enough apart that the client doesn’t fell like she’s being stalked.  If there’s no response by then, you probably won’t get one but at least you took a good stab at it.

 

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Summary

Having solid follow up strategies and tactics will separate you from the dozens of other sales reps who calls the same prospects as you. This gives you a distinctive edge. Make the most of your follow up calls and watch your sales grow.

Tips To Make Your Audience Listen To You During A Presentation

Presentations can be really good or really bad.

Even the “okay” presentations–the ones that are well put-together but don’t particularly stand out–end up being really bad, and usually it’s for one reason:

They’re boring.

Boring presentations are reputation killers, and they can turn a room full of attentive professionals into a room full of sleepy zombies, checking their phones and counting the slides.

“I want to engage my audience,” is what over half of the presenters I coach tell me. Here’s what I tell them. First, many people in your audience are tired—probably at least a third of them just don’t get enough sleep. They’re sitting there hoping they won’t embarrass themselves by nodding off. Part of your job is to help them stay awake, to actually pay attention and consider what you are saying. Next time you practice a presentation, note how many of the following strategies you actually use. Then add a couple more. You don’t want your audience to look like this.

Best practices for presentations, including practicing and structuring your presentation effectively, are important to make a quality show. However, it’s the little things, the speaking and body language tricks you use, that will keep your audience awake long enough to hear it.

  1. Start off with something shocking. Don’t start off a presentation with something general and clunky, like a conventional introduction to your topic. If you have a bold conclusion planned, why not start out with a tease of it? For example, if your presentation builds to a conclusion that your company can change the way people talk to each other, start out by introducing a vision of that change. Inspire a bit of interest right off the bat, and people will be desperate to know how you got there. You can also use surprising statistics or eye-opening facts in the same way.
  2. Tell a story. Humans take naturally to stories. Narratives are an evolutionary social tool we use to convey experiences, so we find it far easier to listen and relate to a story than we do a list of facts or statements. Transform anything you can in your presentation into a story format. Use real-life and invented examples, and use illustrative metaphors to prove your points. The more narratives you can weave into your overarching presentation, the more people will want to pay attention.
  3. Go off script. It’s a good idea to prepare your presentation in advance, and even practice it a few times so you can iron out all the kinks. But once you’re on stage, you should probably abandon the cue cards altogether. At this point, you should be so familiar with your subject matter and so engrossed in your presentation that you can talk about it naturally in your sleep. Veer off course. People will be able to tell which lines you’ve rehearsed and which ones you haven’t.
  4. Use emotional inflections in your voice. If you aren’t emotionally invested in whatever it is you’re presenting, you probably shouldn’t be the one presenting it. Be sure to show that emotion to the people listening to you. Get angry if the statistics call for it. Get excited about the solutions you propose. Get animated on the stage, and use emotional vocal inflections to put some real texture behind your words. Without that emotional inflection, you might as well hand your presentation to a robot to read.
  5. Use the power of different pitches. Speaking in one constant tone will bore your readers, even if you somehow manage to put some emotion behind it. Certainly, some sections or your presentation are more compelling or more important than others. Use the power of louds and softs to accentuate those differences. Speak softly when you can afford your users to trail off, and rise back up to a higher volume when you drive home an important point.
  6. Alternate your pacing. Similarly, it’s a good idea to vary your pacing. Talk fast when it comes to background information that most people already know, or when you recap sections from earlier, then slow way down when it comes time to hammer in an important piece of information. Use the power of silence, but don’t become trapped in a predictable pattern of speech.
  7. Call out individuals in the audience. This one demands a degree of improvisation, since you may not be able to predict the makeup or participation willingness of your audience until the day of your presentation. Try to get individual people involved in your presentation however you can. This may include taking them onstage for a demonstration or something far more innocuous like pointing to them when making a point.
  8. Set up some jokes. Even the most serious of topics deserve some kind of humorous break. It’s your job to help people find humor throughout your presentation. If you can get them laughing, or at least smiling, you’ll keep their attention firm. Obviously, you’ll want your jokes to be appropriate, but don’t be afraid to push the boundaries–confident, unexpected humor tends to facilitate likeability.
  9. Skip the data. If you can, avoid mentioning statistics and facts at all. Put them on a background slide for people to visualize independently of your presentation. People don’t attend presentations to be read information they could read themselves. They want new insights and personally related beliefs.
  10. Never read a slide. Last, but certainly not least, you should never read from a slide directly during the course of your presentation (assuming you have some kind of slideshow in the background). Your audience can see the slides for themselves. Reading those slides aloud insults their intelligence and makes your presentation flat-out boring. Say something different, and let your slides speak for themselves.

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Inviting Prospects: Tips & Tricks

New leads, prospects and clients are the lifeline of our industry and like any network marketing professional, you WILL need to learn some skills to achieve success in your small business.

The more you educate yourself about network marketing, the more likely you will have massive success in achieving the residual income you desire for your family and your future.

Unlike most high paying professions like a doctor or lawyer, you will NOT need a large amount of money for your education, yet the network marketing professional can create a greater income for themselves than virtually any other profession.

Below are a few marketing tips to get the most out of your network marketing small business. Make sure you apply ALL of the following advice to maximize your results.

 Tip # 1: Invite using Mobile Phone

It’s always better to use a mobile phone for inviting your prospects, rather trying to invite them face to face. If try to invite them face to face, prospect always tries to take as much information from you, and you will not be able to provide many details then & there.

When you invite prospects on the phone & then they ask question / queries, you can simply ask them to meet you & discuss the things more professionally over a table.

Tip # 2: Don’t talk unnecessary stuff while inviting the prospect

I would ask you to check the meaning of the word “Invitation” in the dictionary. It only says “inviting someone”. I see many people giving unnecessary information to the prospects while they invite. Telling the company name, products, a business plan is totally not recommended while you are inviting your prospects. Keep it as simple as possible.

Tip # 3: Be Excited, Maintain CURIOSITY & Talk with Conviction

Very important! Walk & Talk while inviting This will help in keeping your blood circulating going in your body & your voice will not be dull. Don’t lie down while inviting. You need excitement in your voice while inviting.

When the person on the other side feels you have got something, he will be willing to meet, as simple as that. Maintaining the CURIOSITY is very important if you are able to do that the prospect will definitely turn up to see the business opportunity.

And obviously whatever you talk, talk with conviction. If you are convinced half the work is done. If the prospect feels you are not sure yourself about what you are talking, chances are he will not have any interest in meeting you & listen to what you had to offer.

Tip # 4: KISS, don’t KILL

“KISS: Keep It Short & Simple”

“KILL: Keep It Long & Lengthy”

You invitation call should be maximum 3 – 5 minutes. You can use FORM:

F – Family Chit Chat

O – Occupation

R – Recreation

M – Message

Start like this (in the following example I had used FORM, on telephonic conversation):

Hey (prospect name), how are you, buddy? How’s life going? (give a pause & let Sachin speak)

(Use of F) How’s uncle, aunty, his bro / sis ?

(Use of O) How’s your Job / Business going? You must be earning well by now & enjoying your life, am I right? (let him speak. Always appreciate prospects profession)

Most of the prospects will say they are not earning sufficient. You can relate it to yourself, saying “even same was the case with me”, “but now I had found a great opportunity”, “and it seems that financial crunch won’t remain anymore & I will be a free bird soon”

Now the prospect will surely ask you: What you have got? What is that? What are you doing?

(Use R & M) As you know I am in Job / Business, but was not fully satisfied with it, so I was looking for some extra income options & I came across this project… (give very brief introduction of your opportunity).

This is where you give a solution for example…..Hey “………”, how about having a look at the opportunity? would you be open to that?

Tip # 5: Always give Time Choice to the prospect

After having the above conversation it’s important for you to give 2 time choices to the prospect so that prospect can choose any of the given time.

Giving an only 1-time option to the prospect to meet you is not recommended because prospect might not be ready for that. But if you give 2-time choices, psychologically prospect will Accept 1 of the given time.

Tip # 6: Invite the prospect 24 – 48 hours before Business Presentation

You should give an invitation call to the prospect 24 – 48 hours only before the business presentation. If you invite him 5 – 7 days before business presentation, you will again call him a day before or same day of business presentation to confirm if he’s coming or not.

And the prospect might feel that you need him & you will lose your Posture (I have explained Posture in next para). In spite of calling him again & again give a call 24 – 48 hours prior to the presentation so that the prospect also remember & you need not call him again & again.

Tip # 7: Maintain Your Posture

This is something very important while inviting the prospect for network marketing business opportunity presentation. While you are inviting the prospect, make sure the prospect SHOULD NOT feel that you need him.

Always remember / keep in mind, You are GIVING an opportunity to the prospect to help him change his life. You should always keep your self-respect & never beg him to come to see the business presentation.

Tip # 8: Take Confirmation

On the scheduled day when you are supposed to meet the prospect, before leaving for the meeting venue you should call the prospect & confirm if s/he’s coming on time for the meeting. This is important so that if in the case due to any reason s/he’s not coming you can utilize your time.

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How To Build Mutual Connections in Business

Most people understand that to be successful, they need to network. But actually going out and doing it is another matter. People “are daunted by the task and believe it requires inauthentic, uncomfortable behavior and is an activity that is inconsistent with focusing on job performance.

Our business network should be a qualified, selective group of people we count on, tap into and rely on for support, direction and insight. We have to find that balance of being givers and takers. We can’t just give or take, we need both. Far too many people don’t ask for help when they need it and that can be fatal in small business.

Selectivity, consistency and engagement are essential for finding great people and growing relationships with them.

Here are ways to build lasting business relationships in today’s professional world.

1. Be Authentic

This is pretty simple. Be who you are and accept others as they are. It’s easy to create a false persona, especially online, but that is not the way to start a relationship and short lived when we start qualifying people and companies. Find people and companies you feel a natural connection and ease of communication with and things you both have in common. The authenticity of connecting personality, beliefs and point of view can accelerate relationships.

2. Identify Shared Goals and Values

We seek out people in life we like, share similar goals and values with. Are they honest, kind, knowledgeable, helpful? How do they treat others? This is about moral character. Do we respect them? I have sadly seen too many people present themselves one way only to take advantage of people, once they have their trust. We may not always share the same point of view with everyone, but the shared values are a must.

3. Develop Mutual Respect

I find this takes time, unless someone is referred to you by a trusted connection. We prove ourselves over time and through different activities and experiences. Join a chamber, professional group, or online community which are all great environments to develop relationships. Be patient, selective and watch people in action. Building mutual respect is an essential for growing relationships.

4. Share Some Vulnerability

We are human and sometimes that means sharing and supporting people through difficulty, challenge and change. Showing our vulnerability is part of our authenticity. One word of caution: this is best shared with a select few rather than more publicly. Use good judgment here.

5. “I’ve Got Your Back”

Let people know that you have their back as a way of showing loyalty to them. I have been at way too many events where gossip and unnecessary conversations go down among people that simple shouldn’t be doing that. As tricky as this can be, I have selectively addressed certain people directly and respectfully asked them to reconsider those conversations and choose not to continue interacting with them.

6. Make Meaningful Connections for People to Network with Each Other

The greatest compliment in business is a referral. We should be thoughtful, have the right motives and be connecting people for the right reasons. Not all referrals work out. It takes two to make it happen and work, so don’t be doing all the work.

7. Get More Personal

If you really want to get to know people, ask them to go for coffee so that you can talk more personally, one on one. Be willing to share experiences, ideas, points of view and simply learn more about each other’s story, family and professional history.

8. Plan Something Fun to Do Together

All work and no play makes us dull! Be willing to go out and do something fun together that may not have anything to do with work. Music, art, entertainment, meetups and community events are all fun things to do to see different sides of people. Not to mention some random and memorable conversations and laughs that can come out of it.

9. Let Go of Expectations

Always go into relationships with an open mind, realistic expectations and never assume. People are only who we think they are based on what our interactions have been with them. One of the best pieces of advice I got from a client was: accept the way people are not as you want them to be. If we have preconceived expectations of people, then we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.

10. Schedule Brainstorming Time

Block out dedicated time to brainstorm, engage and do business together. Best to set a regular time, a time limit and an agenda for what you want to accomplish in it. Leave some time unexpected discussion.

11. Offer Something Before Asking for Something

In 2010, Trendwatching.com came out with a trend brief that highlighted “serving is the new selling”. They put a name on what we were already knew was the trend shift in sales and marketing and now it is the norm in business, social media and content marketing.

When we educate, help and inspire others with our experience and expertise, we are building the foundation for trust that underlies relationships that endure. When we blog, create content, speak, do a workshop, webinar, write an ebook, go to events, we are serving and helping.

When we get more serious and engaged on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media where community gathers and exchanges ideas, we are serving and helping . Serving and helping builds trust like nothing else.

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Trust is the one ingredient that builds strong, long lasting business relationships.

If you put in the time and work, you will be rewarded.