Aaron Janmohamed, Global Head of Product Marketing for XANT hosts this webinar with guest speaker Michael Pedone, CEO at Salesbuzz on the number one mistake reps are making right now, other sales mistakes, and other tips for getting the most from your sales team.
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In this article:
- Meet the Speaker
- Sales Mistakes – the #1 Mistake
- How to Fix the Problem
- When’s the Right Call Block Time and How Can I Accelerate Performance?
- How to Deal with Negative Pushback
- Don’t Waste Time on the Wrong Activities
- How do You Lock Down the Next Steps?
Sales Mistakes and Tips for Getting the Most from Your Sales Team
Meet the Speaker
Michael Pedone is the founder of Salesbuzz.com, an online training company for B2B sales teams that need to overcome call reluctance.
Michael has been a straight commission sales rep for over 25 years. “He launched an internet marketing company during the dot com meltdown and defied the odds by turning it into a massively successful venture. A large factor in its success was Michael’s ability to teach his proven phone sales techniques to his ever-expanding staff, creating swift growth for the company”.
Sales Mistakes – the #1 Mistake
The main sales mistake reps make is probably the same mistake they were making pre-COVID-19.
When reps are making outbound sales calls, they are making the ‘follow-up call’ first. When sales reps try to close those deals, they are spending a lot of energy on those calls and pushing back the ‘first-time’ calls in the afternoon.
This means reps have a lot less energy and don’t make as many calls as they should. They then tell themselves they will do the calls the next day but the cycle repeats, a bit like a farmer that wants to keep reaping but never planting seeds.
This is how sales slumps happen. The bigger issue is that when reps feel the effects of the sales slump, they change their sales process because nothing’s working.
The pipeline disappears because of the lack of first-time calls and desperation kicks in causing reps to make ineffective changes. Usually what’s getting changed is what was working when reps were putting in the energy.
How to Fix the Problem
When sales slumps happen the best way to get through them is to get disciplined and create some call blocks in the morning between 9am-10:30am for first-time calls. The follow-up calls should be done in the afternoon.
Following that simple step, be disciplined in that area, and you’ll see your numbers take off; possibly not in the first few days or week, but eventually you will see a solid pipeline and you’ll eliminate and minimize those drastic sales slumps.
When’s the Right Call Block Time and How Can I Accelerate Performance?
There are more segmented sales roles and more things on our plate now than before than ever before which means there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach, but with people working from home, one common thread is reps are having a hard time getting the ‘first-time’ call done first.
There’s no right or wrong, there’s only what’s better for you.
If you know that you have to do your prospecting, get up early if you have to and get it done before the day starts, build that list, and always have a list ready to go when you start your working day.
Have a list of people that are prospects/suspects and make a commitment to do nothing else until you knock out 10/20/30 ‘first-time calls’. Then go to your follow-up calls but your day’s tasks should be broken down in that order.
The reason sales reps do follow-up calls first is because it’s easier, less stressful, and they want to close a sale or book an appointment as soon as they can.
Here’s the problem – people typically have more energy in the morning, so why do the easy task when you have the most energy? Do the harder task when you have the most amount of energy and in the afternoon do the easier jobs.
If you commit to taking that ‘cold shower’ at the start of your day, and do all of your first-time calls before noon, you can come back after lunch and the rest of the day is cake! The pressure is off!
Schedule your follow-up calls from 1-5pm, and maybe take a 30-minute break around 3pm to build your prospect/suspect list for the following day. Then finish the day strong, have a power hour for the last hour of the day, and complete any calls that you haven’t done.
Discipline yourself to do that enough and you will have a great pipeline, and you won’t have to worry about a sales slump, due to not ‘planting any crops’.
How to Deal with Negative Pushback
A lot of people get negative pushback from making sales calls because they are disrupting people at home, for example, while people are home-schooling their children.
What’s bothering them is that it’s not that they’re getting the call but that the message isn’t resonating, and the opening statement is the problem. Many salespeople don’t realize their low responses could be due to their message being off.
The opening value statement when contacting prospects by phone has 2 objectives:
- Piquing interest
- Gaining permission to ask questions/continue with the call
If you have a solution to specific problems, you need to know how to ‘pick your zebra out of the herd’ (who have that problem) and how to contact them – whether phone, email, LinkedIn or a combination, etc, to pique their interest.
Be tactful and empathetic but go straight to the question and target the pain.
If you learn how to agitate that pain, scratch that itch, pique curiosity in the first 5-15 seconds, your customer will be responsive. Make sure you’re ready for that response and be prepared for the next stage of the sales process. Once you learn how to master that process, you’ll start making money and sales becomes fun again!
Don’t Waste Time on the Wrong Activities
Salespeople have been oversold on the need and value of research. Although important, there should be a two minute cap on researching to determine if your customer qualifies as a prospect/suspect. If you get to know your ICP (ideal customer profile) you will reduce research time.
Spending longer researching could be down to call reluctance which comes back to sales skills, which if you fix, the call reluctance will go away.
Again, there’s no one size fits all approach, consider outsourcing that part, or get an intern or junior sales rep to build the list.
If you’re not satisfied with the results you’re getting, break the mold and think outside the box and make things work for you.
How do You Lock Down the Next Steps?
Whether a cold call or a warm lead, the process is the same and actually hasn’t changed since sales began.
There are four phases to getting a sale.
- The opening value statement. openers have a specific job and must pique interest and ask permission to continue with the call.
- Qualifying (3 steps)
- Problem recognition – the customer needs to recognize they have a problem even if that is with their current product which they believe is the solution.
- Identify the person’s real role in the decision-making process.
- Provide pricing options so the customer can clarify if the product is within budget. One of the biggest objections that sales reps have is that the customer can’t afford the product, so qualifying this at the early stages eliminates that objection early on and shoots the closing numbers up after the presentation.
Watch the full webinar to learn more sales mistakes and tips from Michael Pedone
For more free info on inside sales, go to the SalesBuzz.com blog and use the search function to find anything you need.
If you have any questions about Playbooks or XANT, go to xant.ai/playbooks where you can watch a great ‘day in the life’ video and get a flavor of how reps and managers connect to customers quickly.
What time of day do you do your first-time calls? What sales mistakes have you made in the past? Please share your sales mistakes and thoughts in the comments section below.