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When to Fire a Salesperson – 9 Signs It’s Time to Move On

When to fire a salesperson

No one likes the idea of having to let go of a salesperson, but there are times when a working relationship needs to end.

In some cases, the offender simply isn’t a good fit for the particular organization. In other cases, there may be obvious signs that the person just isn’t cut out for the sales industry in general.

If you’re facing a tough decision in your organization about severing ties with a salesperson, consider the following nine signs it may be time to let go: Read More…

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10 Team-Building Exercises that Make Your Sales Team Stronger

sales team building exercises

The strength of your sales team as a whole plays a huge role in the success of the salespeople within it.

Sales teams can support each other’s efforts, teach and learn from one another, and encourage each other to continue growing for the company and for the customer.

As a result, team building is a crucial part of the puzzle when striving to reach goals together. Thankfully, there are plenty of great team-building exercises you can employ.

Here are 10 smart team-building exercises that will make your sales team stronger:

1. Best sales-related ______________

This idea is simple whether your team is in an office or working remotely.

Task people on your team to come up with the best sales-related __________.

  • Joke
  • Meme
  • Podcast episode
  • YouTube Video
  • Motivational Quote
  • Blog Post or Article
  • Read More…

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    5 Bad Questions that Derail Sales Calls (and What to Say Instead)

    Bad sales questions to ask on a sales call

    Asking questions drives the sales process by allowing you to understand the challenges, fears, hopes and desires of your prospect.

    They’re especially important on that first cold call.

    After all, good questions invite good answers. The more you can do to make your prospect reveal themselves (while you engage in active listening, of course) the more likely you are to solve their unique problems and make a sale.

    But a bad or untimely question can derail a call… or invite an answer that’s not at all helpful to your cause.

    Here are five questions that you should avoid asking during your sales calls, and what you should say instead.

    1. How are you?

    Asking someone how they are doing is usually a nice thing to do. It’s second nature for some. And few can argue that it’s good conversation starter in all kinds of situations.

    Just not on a cold call.

    The person on the other end of the line doesn’t know you yet. They may not be particularly happy to hear from you. So a nicety such as “how are you?” is the wrong way to start off.

    Instead, your first sales call should open with a killer script that 1) introduces you 2) piques their interest by hitting on a hot button issue or pain point and 3) opens the door to a conversation.

    2. Is this a good time? Do you have a moment to talk?

    In business, virtually every decision maker is busy all day long, so asking if someone if it’s a good time, or if they have a moment to talk is pretty useless. Even if they do, you’re portraying the stereotype of the disingenuous sales person by asking the question. Instead, focus your script on showing value that will grab attention and hold it long enough to either speak at length now, or schedule a followup call.

    3. Are you looking for a way to _____ ?

    Your goal is to find prospects who are open to your solution and the benefit it provides. But there’s a lot of room between them being open to something, and actively looking for it.

    Don’t ask questions like “are you looking for” or “are you interested in.” Even if you hit on the right value proposition, you’re wording your question in a way that’s likely to elicit a “no” response.

    Let’s use PhoneBurner as an example.

    Option 1: “Are you looking for a way to improve your outbound sales efficiency?” (easy to say “no”, even if it’s a benefit they want)

    Option 2: “I help outbound sales teams have 3 times more sales conversations, without spending any more time on the phone. I was hoping to ask you a couple questions to see if our software could do the same for you. Would that be okay?
    (more specific, easier to say “yes”)

    4. What’s your budget?

    It’s important to know whether a lead has a budget for the product or service you provide. But asking someone outright, “what is your budget?” Not ideal.

    Even if you do get an answer, which is unlikely, chances are it won’t leave you much room to get the kind of deal you want.

    Instead, establish an interest in what you provide first. Then, provide a range that’s conditional upon some factors/features that can be addressed in the subsequent discussion.

    For example, “Our product typically ranges from $__ – $___ depending on ___ and ____. If after learning more you think it will be good solution to help you _____, does that seem within a workable range?”

    Not only are you the one setting the range in this case, you’re also guiding your prospect to say “yes” without having to commit.

    5. What can I do to make this work for you?

    When interest has been expressed, but you can’t cross the finish line, it’s tempting to ask a prospect what you can do, or offer to get them to say yes. But this is not the right question to ask.

    You’re in this situation because you haven’t established enough value, or overcome certain objections.

    Yet, you’re asking what you can do to make them take the leap anyway.

    A better tactic is to ask what’s holding them back from getting started. This gives you an opportunity to address their concerns and remove the obstacles that are in the way – without having to sacrifice margin.

    Wrapping up 5 bad questions that can derail your sales calls

    Asking the right questions can give you an edge in selling, but the wrong ones can sink a call in seconds. Give yourself more opportunities to have a discussion, and better chances to close with a sale by avoiding these 5 questions:

  • How are you?
  • Is this a good time?
  • Are you looking for a way to ______?
  • What’s your budget?
  • What can I do to make this work?
  • Read More…

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    Should You Leave Voicemails on Sales Calls? The Clear Answer.

    Should you leave sales voicemails

    There’s a good amount of debate on whether sales professionals should bother to leave a voicemail during sales calls.

    Where do YOU stand?

    The Arguments Against Leaving Voicemails

    The biggest arguments against are that it takes a long time, it’s a slog, and that response rates are low. Let’s examine each…

    Leaving voicemails eats up a lot of time

    Obviously, speaking your message is bound to take 20-40 seconds per message. But, that’s only half of it. When you factor in listening to the contact’s recording and waiting for a beep, you’re looking at close to a minute.

    Multiply that by the number of times you reach voicemail (over 70% of calls), and it’s easy to see how much of prospecting time can go toward this activity.

    It’s suuuuuch a drag

    Repeating the same message over and over is a chore. Your heart sinks just a little lower each time you realize you’ve reached voicemail.

    And then there’s the response rates

    An overwhelming majority of voicemails don’t result in a callback. So naturally, it’s worth asking is it worth all of this time leaving messages for that rare returned call… when I could be doing something else?

    We think so.

    For a lot of reasons actually…

    The Arguments For Leaving a Voicemail

    While the time-sucking nature and low response rate arguments are valid, they don’t really tell the whole story.

    Here are some very compelling reasons why sales professionals should leave voicemails when they prospect.

    Leaving a voicemail can be fast. Like really fast.

    Are you convinced that there is better use of your time than leaving voicemail after voicemail?

    Then why not use a dialer with a voicemail drop to leave your pre-recorded messages for you?

    In the same amount of time it takes you to hang up the phone, you can drop a pre-recorded message at the click of a button. You don’t even have to wait for the beep. The software hangs on the line until the right moment and drops your voicemail, while you’re already dialing the next contact.

    Better voicemail scripts have better response rates Read More…

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    Hate No-Shows? These 7 Tips Drive Up Attendance of Demos & Appointments

    Reducing no shows for sales meetings

    You’ve got a warm prospect.

    Maybe they signed up for a demo on your site. Or you connected with them on LinkedIn. Or perhaps you called them, and piqued their interest for a follow-up meeting.

    So, you agree on a date, and put a meeting on the books. When the day of the meeting arrives, you’re excited. You feel like a sale might be just around the corner.

    Except… they never show up.

    How often does this happen to you?

    No-shows are a painful reality that take a real toll on your sales numbers. Frankly, there’s no way to avoid them completely. But… there are actions you can take to dramatically reduce the number of no-shows and cancellations you encounter.

    Here are 7 surefire tips to reduce no-shows and compel prospects to show up!

    1. Establish a clear plan, and real value for the appointment

    People show up for sales meetings when they know what’s in store, and it’s something they want to do or discuss. This may sound obvious, but people often sign on or agree to a meeting without a clear picture of what that next step is.

    When that happens, by the time the meeting or demo arrives the importance of your meeting has diminished in comparison to something else in their life or work.

    To avoid that, be crystal clear what the plan is (ie. here’s what we’ll cover), and make sure that there’s value there for them. The more value, and the more compelling the subject of the meeting – the more of a priority it will be for them to show up.

    2. Give them a say in the meeting time

    Ideally, you could schedule meetings so they fit perfectly into your schedule. But as a salesperson you’ll have much better attendance if you work with your prospects’ schedules.

    So rather than, “how’s Thursday at 3pm,” start with “are mornings or afternoons generally better for you” or “what day of the week is best for you?” You’re more likely to get an open time slot than sandwiched between other appointments that way.

    3. Make the meeting convenient (as possible)

    You can set up in-person meetings, phone meetings, screen-shares, or video conferences. Of course, the more convenient the place, the more likely your prospect is to show up.

    So, consider when a face-to-face sales meeting is truly necessary.

    And if it is, whether a virtual meeting will work (we love using Zoom so we can demo our software). If you do virtual meetings make sure the software you use is user-friendly and reliable. Clunky software installs and bad connections are a surefire way to drive up cancellations.

    4. Get in their calendar!

    People are busy. We have all kinds of responsibilities both professional and personal that compete for our time. That’s why so many of us use a calendar (i.e. Google Calendar) to manage our schedules.

    Make sure your appointment gets into your contact’s calendar. Otherwise, you’ll end up with people who forget, or double-book the time you’ve agreed to. Both will drive up your no-shows.

    After you agree on a time, send out a calendar invite that they can accept with a click. Or use software that facilitates the scheduling and syncing of an event into their calendar of choice.

    5. Remind (and remind again)

    Getting on the calendar is a start. But reminders are key to keeping your scheduled appointment visible and top of mind.

    It’s wise to send multiple reminders, and if possible, use more than one medium – including email, text, or phone.

    6. Reinforce the value

    What’s more effective than simply reminding someone you have an upcoming meeting? Reminding them why they wanted that meeting in the first place!

    Keeping “selling” them after the appointment is set. Reiterate and reinforce the value through your reminders or other assets.

    There are all kinds of ways to do this. Invitations and email reminders can feature a short bullet list of topics, value propositions, or incentives. You can create a web page that lets people know what to expect and why to get excited about their meeting. (PhoneBurner shares this page, for example, after someone books a demo with us.)

    Have you ever registered for a webinar and got taken to a confirmation page with a video from the host? These videos are used to drive up attendance. Why not do the same or similar for your meetings?

    7. Work referrals and shared contacts

    The colder the outreach, the more likely someone is to cancel or no-show. The inverse is true for warmer leads and referrals. So seek out referrals and leverage shared contacts whenever possible. Your prospect will be more emotionally involved when you have some connection.

    Summing up tips to reduce no-shows

    Whether you’re appointment setting for clients or for your own sales pipeline, getting an appointment on the calendar is hard-earned. And it feels good. That’s why no-shows are so deflating. While some level of cancels and missed appointments is to be expected, you actually have a lot of control over how many prospects show up.

    So take some responsibility and focus your attention on reducing your no-show rate. To summarize, here are 7 tips that will move the needle in the right direction, and give you more opportunities to close deals:

  • Have a clear and value-filled plan for the meeting
  • Set a time that’s good for them
  • Make it convenient to attend
  • Make sure your prospect puts the meeting in their calendar
  • Send multiple reminders
  • Reiterate value in those reminders
  • Work referrals and connections
  • Read More…