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April 17, 2007

Sales & Sales Management Newsletter
For Better Results, Goals & Success


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Situation: Mary Sue was coaching Billy Bob about his pipeline. While reviewing the activity numbers linked to the pipeline, it became clear that Billy Bob was far below quota in outreaches and conversions to meaningful conversations. The result was an inadequate number of new opportunities. Billy Bob, like most salespeople hates outreaching to prospective future clients. Also like many sales people, he is also not very good at outreaches. Mary Sue explained that most of the cold calls or outreaches she receives from sales people are abysmal, fraught with clichés and not very compelling.

Problem: Mary Sue expressed that the cause of this dilemma is the ineffective use of the first 10 to 20 seconds of an outreach. Mary Sue recommended that Billy Bob visualize himself as the CEO of his own company. As CEO, he intends to carry on a meaningful BUSINESSS conversation with a peer. By reframing his position he can eliminate the clever one-liner and sales pitches that scream “I am a common everyday salesperson wasting your time…..’’

Here are some of those common phrases and what you would hear if you could read the customer’s mind:

Do you have a few minutes to talk?  (Oh sure, I was just sitting in my office wasting time waiting for your call.)

I am calling to tell you about our new ____  ____     ( So what? I am happy and I am not interested in what you tell me. Whatever you say is a lie, because I don’t need it, don’t want it, and don’t care about what you are telling me.)

If I could show you a way ________(Big deal! What you show me or tell me is not relevant to me because our company is different, and by the way, was that what the last person who called said? Do all these sales people attend the same training?)

We are giving away a free _________ with every new client. (Yes and what is the catch? You know nothing in life is free besides if it sounds too good to be true it is)

Our company is announcing a new __________ as the salesperson describes all the features and benefits without drawing a breath ( Big deal, what can I do to get this person to stop long enough for me to tell them I am happy and not interested, I know just hang up)

Prescription: Learn how to speak in a matter-of-fact, medium tone. Then adjust your rate and pitch to the person you are calling. Learn to use the psychology of pattern interrupts by doing the opposite of what one may expect. Make sure you are low -key and non-threatening.

Mary Sue went on to recommend these ideas:

  1. Acknowledge that you caught the person at a bad time, such as “Sounds like I caught you at a bad time.”
  2. Ask person if it is okay to continue. For example, “Let me tell you why I am calling, you can decide if we should continue”. Wait for the response, and have enough bravery to continue, regardless of the response.
  3. Tell the person you will be brief and to the point.
  4. Let them know you may not have what they may be interested in and that it is okay for them to tell you if they have no interest.
  5. Identify three to five COMPELLING HOOKS linked to business drivers for their industry and market. Briefly describe how these hooks eliminate pain or improve gain for people your company has worked with.
  6. Use an advanced discovery Judo question like the sample below.  One purpose of this type of question at the end of your outreach is it allows either a yes or a no answer that will not box you in. For example, “I don’t suppose these are issues you or the organization will be focusing on during the next three to six months”?

Mary Sue emphasized that the purpose of your outreach or call is to determine if the person you are talking with has earned your continued participation in the sales process. For this to occur, you must engage the person, ask questions and behave as a peer. Do not act as a humble servant begging for scraps at the table.


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