Category Archives for "Small Business Owners"

Oct 14

4 Places To Find ‘Hidden’ Revenue In Your Business

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

In this article, leading sales expert Andy Preston talks about the problem of ‘hidden’ revenue, and how you can find the hidden revenue in your business…..

I’m often asked by business owners, sales managers and sales directors to help their sales team increase sales. And part of that focus is always on driving new-business revenue.

But what about the ‘hidden’ revenue that’s already in the business? The revenue that’s there to be had, but isn’t being unlocked currently by your salespeople? There’s often lots of that, especially in low-transaction-value, repeat order businesses!

There’s gold in them thar hills! So let’s have a look at where it might be in your business……

Hidden Revenue Number 1 – Annual Existing Customer Orders

One of the areas where you may be missing out on revenue, is in orders from your existing customer base. Don’t get me wrong – if you’ve already locked down 100% of your customer’s spend then that will help – but even then you could be missing out!

CalendarSome customers will buy on an annual basis. Especially if they buy for an event, trade show or exhibition for example. Why not think about getting together a list of customer orders from 12/13 months ago (depending on your lead-times), and calling those people to see if they need anything?

And if you make a note on your CRM or database that they are ordering for a particular event, you can ring them next year as well, talk about the event, and seem really informed and on the ball!

Some customers need a prompt to buy. And not ‘prompting’ them might mean they don’t buy. Or they don’t buy as much as they would have with a ‘prompt’ much earlier.

Hidden Revenue Area Number 2 – Your ‘Lapsed’ Client List

Another source of revenue that you’re currently losing lies in your ‘lapsed’ client list. You know the companies that used to order from you, but haven’t bought anything for ages.

You probably feel a little awkward contacting these people, as it’s likely they are now using someone else, yet they are one of the easiest types of prospect to persuade to buy!

They made a decision to buy from you at some stage. So they must have been happy at that time. They Thinking Businessmanare already set up on your system. They probably also have credit facilities with you.

You may have a problem to solve, or a difficulty to overcome when you contact them (as that may be the reason they no longer buy from you), but most people change suppliers based on ‘perceived indifference’ – so just the act of getting back in touch might bring you business!

Hidden Revenue Area Number 3 – Your ‘Lost’ Deals

Another area of ‘hidden’ revenue is your lost deals. You know, those deals you pitched for that you didn’t win? The ones that chose to go with someone else when their annual contract came up, or they called you in for a review?

Just because you didn’t win the contract, doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t buy from you! Even people who say ‘we are under contract’ and ‘we don’t buy outside of it’ often still do – especially when they need something that their existing provider cannot provide in time!

There’s no harm at all in ringing up your ‘lost deals’ 3 months, 6 months or 12 months later, to see what’s changed. Who knows, the person responsible for buying may have changed, and suddenly you have an ‘in’. Same if their existing supplier has just let them down with something!

Remember – if you don’t call them, you have no chance of winning 😉

Hidden Revenue Area Number 4 – Your Existing Client Base

Interestingly, your existing client base can also be an area of ‘hidden’ revenue that you’re not currently unlocking!

Most companies I work with tell me they have ‘clients’ or ‘customers’. Yet what they really have is ‘transactions’. Unless you have locked down the majority (if not ALL) of your customers’ spend for the products and services you provide, you’re leaving money on the table!

Improve Sales ConversionsDo you have any idea what percentage of spend you have of your clients business? How much currently goes to you, and how much currently goes to your competitors (for the products and services that you could provide).

Customers will say things like ‘I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket’, or ‘we like to keep 2 or 3 suppliers on the go’. What they really mean is they’re not giving all their business to you! But they could be giving MORE of it to you!

If you can get an idea of how much they spend with others (and perhaps in what product areas), then you can get an idea what the potential for extra revenue is for you! Remember, we don’t need to take all the business off another supplier (and usually that isn’t possible), but you CAN get more of it to come to you!

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on……..

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2004-2017. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines.

Aug 03

4 Big Lies Buyers Tell Salespeople (And What They Really Mean!)

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains why buyers lie to salespeople…..and what they really mean when they say those things to you…….

I’m often amazed how many salespeople and business owners are surprised when, after we’ve de-briefed their sales meeting or phone call, they realise the ‘buyer’ or decision maker they were talking to has lied to them.

Do buyers lie? Of course they do! Having been one, I GUARANTEE you that’s the case!

In many cases the salesperson will actually defend the buyer – saying things like ‘well they’re just not ready to buy’, or ‘they have to see all the salespeople first and then make a decision’, or ‘they need to check with a couple of colleagues first’.

If there are any sales managers or directors that are hearing things like this from their sales team, then get in touch with me right now! What the salesperson often means when they say something like the above is ‘I haven’t done my job properly’ – yet not many are willing to admit it (and some aren’t even aware of it!)

So here are some phrases that buyers or decision makers will say to you or your team – and what they really mean…….

Buyer Phrase Number 1 – ‘I’m Happy With My Existing Supplier’

Don’t you just love this old chestnut? I’m still astounded when most salespeople fall for this one, and either exit the call or almost mentally ‘give up’ when they hear this phrase.

manhairThe average salesperson hears this so often, you’d think they would have learnt to deal with it by now, wouldn’t you?!!

When the buyer says something like ‘I’m happy with my existing supplier’, in most cases what they may actually mean is ‘I don’t know you well enough to consider you as an alternative supplier just yet’ or ‘I don’t like you as much as I like my existing supplier’ or even ‘Your call or visit has interrupted me and I’m going to use a phrase that gets rid of most salespeople (but might not even be true)’.

Yet still most salespeople hear this ‘objection’ and let it affect them in a negative way – and some don’t even get as far as asking another question. How crazy is that?!! Let’s be honest here – if this is your first decent conversation or visit with the potential new client, isn’t it fairly normal for them to be ‘happy’ with their existing supplier at this stage?

It’s your job as a salesperson to understand their current solution, and how your product or service adds value to what they’re trying to achieve with it. If you only relied on being ‘lucky’ as mentioned above – you’re missing out on the majority of your sales opportunities!

Buyer Phrase Number 2 – ‘I Need To Think About This And Come Back To You’

Another classic example of something a lot of salespeople fall for! I was doing some ‘field sales assessments’ where I attend appointments with the salesperson last week. The decision maker said to the salesperson ‘I need to think about this and come back to you’. The salesperson’s reply? ‘That’s fine, here’s my card. Give me a call when you’ve had time to decide, or need some help deciding.’

No, No, No, No, No! When someone says the phrase ‘I need to think about this and come back to you’ Fail Post Itwhat they might well mean is ‘I haven’t got enough information to be able to make a decision on this yet (or you haven’t given me enough!) What they might also mean is ‘I’m not sure about you, so I’m going to check you and your company out on the internet while you’re not here’. Or even ‘I’ve already decided not to use you but I’m not willing to tell you that!’

Whichever of those it is, leaving the appointment or phone call at this stage is the worst thing you can do! Even if they are considering you and truly thinking about it in more detail, what that means is that they’re going through that process (and even reaching their decision) without you being involved. What chance have you got of putting any element of persuasion into that process? None whatsoever! Not the best use of your sales skills, is it?

Buyer Phrase Number 3 – ‘I’m Under Contract At The Moment’

Another old favourite! Again something a lot of salespeople fall for. This has even got to the stage where the buyer or decision maker is starting to take the mickey out of the salesperson! I was out with a client doing some door-to-door cold calls last month when the salesperson was lucky enough to meet the decision maker when we walked in! What a great bonus you might think? Not if you don’t deal with it properly!

keep_existing_accountsThe decision maker’s first objection was ‘We’re under contract at the moment’. The salesperson replied ‘and when does that contract finish?’ (Which is a really stupid question by the way). The decision maker then said ‘Oh, not for another 5 years!!’

Now even though the salesperson knows that 5 year contracts don’t even exist in his industry, he still accepted it without challenging! Isn’t that crazy?

When a buyer or decision maker says the phrase ‘I’m under contract at the moment’, what they might well mean is simply ‘Go away!’ Or perhaps ‘I don’t want to be pitched by you right now’. Or even as a challenge, as in ‘Let’s see how he handles this one!’

Again if you fall for this, you’ve only got yourself to blame.

Buyer Phrase Number 4 – ‘I’ve Had A Better Price’

What a great negotiation tactic this is! Yet many salespeople don’t realise it and fall for it almost every time – particularly if they’re struggling for sales figures or income.

Often, when the buyer or decision maker says ‘I’ve had a better price’ what they may well mean is ‘Let’s see how much you can reduce your price by’ or even ‘Let’s get a cheaper quote from you, so I can go to my existing supplier and get their price down as well!’

Buyers and decision makers know this works because the salesperson’s first thought is ‘I need to drop Increase Costsmy price to get the deal’ rather than ‘I need to find out more about this’.

The conversation then turns to how much the buyer or decision maker wants the price reduced by – also known as ‘haggling’ – and in some cases the price ends up somewhere between 50-70% of what the salesperson originally stated.

The salesperson then justifies to themselves that what just occurred what necessary to ‘win the order’, whereas the buyer or decision maker thinks ‘Fantastic! Just got 30-50% off something I would have paid full price for!’

Not the outcome you really want as a salesperson, is it?

Want ideas on getting Buyers and Decision Makers to tell you the truth more often, and stop lying to you?  (like they do to most salespeople).

Call Andy on +44 (0) 161 401 0142 or Contact Andy here.

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2010-2019. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines.

Jul 14

5 Ways To Qualify Your Meetings Better

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston discusses 5 ideas that will help qualify your sales meetings with prospects better…..

Okay, so I’m a big fan of qualification. Qualification of the prospect. Qualification of the opportunity. Qualification of the individual. And most certainly, qualification of the meeting.

This is something that most salespeople miss (or are scared to do), that often comes back to haunt them later on in the sales process!

The task of qualification is made a little more difficult is someone else is making the calls for you, particularly if it’s not someone in your organisation, i.e. you’ve given the task to a telemarketing agency or similar. You now have two choices. You can either get the person making the initial call to do some qualification for you (if it’s an internal person) or make a call once the appointment has been booked to do some additional qualification yourself.

A good rule of thumb to use here is that the more time and energy you’re investing in an appointment (in terms of research, driving time, appointment time and paperwork), the harder you should qualify. Most salespeople should certainly thing twice about attending an appointment made for them “blind” – without much knowledge of the company, their potential needs or what they’re after.

If you haven’t made the appointment yourself, then it’s always a good idea to make a call to do some additional qualification. First of all, this will give you a good idea of the quality of the appointment, but it will also allow you to build up valuable rapport with the prospect and start to understand more about their potential needs – making the face-to-face meeting much easier.

Now I know some of you will be saying “But Andy, doesn’t that make it easier for them to cancel the meeting?” Yes, at some level it does. But let’s be realistic about it, an appointment that cancels when you ring them to do some additional qualification was very likely going to cancel anyway, or turn into a “no show” or an “I forgot you were coming”.

Also if it’s done in the right way, very few (if any) meetings cancel, and the ones that are attended are more serious!

So let’s take a look at the sort of things that we should consider qualifying or finding out before the meeting……

Qualification Question 1 – Is The Meeting With The Decision Maker/s?

I know this sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed how many appointments are booked with people who aren’t the decision maker for what you offer! There are many reasons for this, ranging from people being scared to ask the question, just assuming the person the person they’re talking to is the decision maker and even the old favourite “I need as many appointments as possible to hit my activity target, so any appointment will do!”

Qualification Question 2 – Is There A Budget For The Product Or Service I’m Offering?

Now I know this is not needed for most salespeople, but for some of my clients it’s essential! The larger the purchase and the longer the sales cycle would mean that there has to be some sort of budget set aside, or “financial sponsor” in place, otherwise the project has little chance of moving ahead.

Qualification Question 3 – What Are Their Expectations Of The Meeting?

Are they expecting you to come and do a presentation? Or come and look at their challenges and suggest potential solutions? Or are they interested in what you have to offer? Depending on what their expectations are, the meeting will need to be prepared for and conducted in a different way.

Qualification Question 4 – What Solutions Have They Already Looked At?

How have they tried to solve the problem already? Have they looked at any of your competitors? What are the other solutions they could do? (including doing nothing).

Qualification Question 5 – Have You Confirmed All The Appointment Details?

This is the last step and one of the most important! I’ve lost count of the amount of salespeople who’ve told me that they’ve arrived at the wrong premises, for an appointment with someone who works at another office! Make sure you confirm time, date, location, who will be attending, any equipment or facilities needed etc.

Obviously the suggestions on the list above are purely ideas of qualifying questions you could ask. Depending on your market, your role and your industry you will have various things that you may need to qualify before it’s worth going to an appointment – including distance, potential spend, potential of future business etc.

The exact questions asked are entirely up to you. Just make sure you ask them and start to qualify your appointments properly!

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on……..

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2004-2017. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines.

May 03

Sales Lessons From A Barber Shop…..

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains what sales lessons we can learn from a barber shop…. and we can do to implement the learning to improve our own sales figures….

Recently I needed to get my hair cut. Those of you that know me know that I like to keep my hair fairly short, and therefore go to my local village hairdresser about every 2 weeks or so. On this occasion, the hairdresser wasn’t able to fit me in, and as I was travelling all around the UK as normal, I needed to find a hairdresser in central London.

So what do I do? Use the internet of course! I knew I wanted more of a barber than a hairdresser, as I’d heard horror stories of central London prices for a simple cut like mine being £50 or more.

Starting The Search…..

Therefore I searched for barbers in the London postcode that my hotel was in and looked at a few. A few of those were eliminated straightaway as they didn’t have websites – there’s a lesson there about being accessible! I was only looking for simple information – opening hours and pricing, but if I can’t even get that, you’re unlikely to be winning much business from that source.

Anyway, I managed to find a barbers that I liked the look of, was local to the hotel that I was staying at and was able cut my hair for £35 – not bad in central London I thought. Therefore I made a note of the address and opening times, and decided arrive there the minute they opened to get my hair cut and make the rest of my appointments for the day.

Now, before I tell you any more, there’s something really important here. £35 is nearly 3 times the price I pay for my haircut at my local hairdresser at home. Why was I willing to pay nearly 3 times as much for perceivably the same service?

Andy’s Sales Lesson No 1 – Be Convenient

Firstly, I was willing to pay a much higher price, because it was convenient! I was able to get the information I needed in order to make a buying decision. How many of you are preventing your customers from making buying decisions right now?

How convenient are you to your customers? If they need you out of hours, can they get essential information on your website? This was the first lesson – in the example above, some barbers that were more local to my hotel missed out on my business because they didn’t have a website! I wasn’t looking for anything fancy, just some basic information.

If they didn’t have that, they missed out on my business. How much business could you be missing out on right now by not being “convenient” enough to your customers or potential customers?

Andy’s Sales Lesson No 2 – Demonstrate Value

Secondly, I was happy to pay a much higher price because the barbers I chose were able to demonstrate value. Whilst I was looking for the basic information on price and opening times, the look and feel of the website was able to demonstrate value to me.

Classic yet contemporary, I immediately felt I was not just going for a haircut, but more of a time to relax and unwind. They’d obviously spent time thinking about their target customers and what they wanted and this was evident when they’d had their website put together.

How often do you demonstrate value to your customers or potential customers? Or is your website just a list of your products and services?

Andy’s Sales Lesson No 3 – Motivate Your Buyers

Thirdly, I was happy to pay a higher price because the barber shop got me motivated to spend my money! Once I’d been on their website and seen what they were about, I actually became more motivated and excited about spending my money with them.

I was motivated by their company brand as well as what they offered in terms of products and services (they also sold shaving and grooming products).

How often do we think about what would motivate and excite our buyers? How often do we include this within our core messages, whether that be from our salespeople, our marketing or our website?

If we’re looking for our buyers to be excited, motivated, and enthusiastic we need to help make them that way! If they’re bored, tired or disinterested when they examine our products and services, is it any wonder they don’t buy, or don’t buy as much as they could?

Andy’s Sales Lesson No 4 – First Impressions Are Vital

Fourthly, think about how crucial the first impressions of your business are to your customers or potential customers. The first impression of your company may come from one of your salespeople, your website, your marketing literature or even perhaps their first “inbound” phone call to your business.

It is imperative that you get this right – that is if you want to maximise your potential new business opportunities. If you don’t create that positive first impression of our business you may be missing out on business that you didn’t know existed – from a lot of potential customers that have chose to “walk away” rather than spend their money with you.

And this unfortunately was where the barber shop fell down. They managed to do the other 3 points really well, but failed to impress on this point which will result in them losing business.

The barber shop in question opened at 9am, so I decided in my wisdom that I’d turn up at 8.50am in order to get my hair cut, then get on with the rest of my appointments for the day. Finally at 9.25am, just as I was beginning to wonder what on earth had happened (no one was answering the phone either) a guy came to unlock the door and said “do you have an appointment?”

Was I The Inconvenience?!!

What on earth was he thinking? Talk about destroying most of the “goodwill” and any positive impression the shop had already built up with me! He arrived 25 minutes late and was asking me if I had an appointment, as if it was my fault!

In one sentence (added to the fact he was late) he managed to destroy most of my positive impressions and potentially lose future profitable business. I did proceed with my haircut, but left feeling a little deflated and like my expectations hadn’t been met.

Which lead me to wonder….how many of you do that to your potential customers? People who actually want their problems solved? People that are actively looking to spend money with you on a regular basis and you do something that prevents that from happening?

You can also ask any questions about this article or sales in general, by contacting Andy here

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on……..

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2010-2019. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines.

Aug 10

5 Reasons Why You Struggle With Negotiation…..

By Andy Preston | Sales Management

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains why clients beat you down on price…… and what you need to do about it to get your profits back where they belong!….

As an ex-professional buyer, ‘negotiation‘ is always an interesting topic for me! Whenever I’m working with salespeople or business owners, they often fail to get the price for their products or services that they wanted – and often get even less than they deserve for their offering!

This has become even more true in the current market conditions – where savvy buyers and decision makers are looking to get the best value when they’re purchasing. Therefore to get good results, the salesperson or business owner has to be able to ‘stand their ground’ in a negotiation in order to get the price they deserve. Sadly, this often isn’t the case?

So why is it that the buyer or decision maker often has the ‘upper hand’ when it comes to negotiation?….

Andy’s Reason Number 1 – They’re Better Prepared To Negotiate

One simple reason why the buyer or decision maker often does better than the salesperson in a negotiation, is that they’re better prepared to negotiate than the salesperson is! Often a salesperson gets caught up in a negotiation when they aren’t ready for it – and this is a recipe for the salesperson losing the majority of the profit from a deal!

Most salespeople get negotiated with before they’re ready! So if you think that a meeting or phone call could result in a negotiation, make sure you prepare for it beforehand! If if a negotiation starts before you’re ready, don’t be afraid to postpone it and re-schedule it for another time when you’ve had chance to prepare!

Andy’s Reason Number 2 – You’re Too Desperate!

Another main reason that salespeople struggle to get better results from their negotiation is that on most occasions, they’re so ‘desperate’ to win the deal that this comes across to clients, and the clients use that as ‘leverage’ to swing the negotiation in their favour!

Prospects and clients can ‘smell’ desperation. It isn’t big. It isn’t clever. And it certainly isn’t attractive! One a client knows the salesperson is more ‘desperate’ to do the deal than they are, that’s just given them the ‘green light’ to get the best deal they can – at the expense of the salesperson!

It’s about time as salespeople that we got some pride back. And realised that prospects and clients often want to do the deal as much (or sometimes even more) than we do – but often we don’t know it….

Andy’s Reason Number 3 – You Fail To Spot Their ‘Tricks’

Sell New Products To Existing Customers : Sales TipAny buyer or decision maker worth their salt will attempt to play ‘tricks’ during a negotiation. If you can spot these and deal with them, then you’re usually fine. However, most salespeople aren’t even aware what the other party is doing, think that their ‘tricks’ are real, and end up falling for them!

I remember back to my days as a professional buyer, on my first ‘buying’ course. By the afternoon we’d been given a list of 5 tricks to play on salespeople to negotiate better deals, and squeeze their profit margins to a minimum. By lunchtime on day 2 it was 10. By the end of day 3 it was 20!! Can you see why some salespeople struggle to get the best deal when they’re negotiating!

If you can learn how the buyers and decision makers are ‘tricking’ you into losing profit, then learn how to deal with them, then you’re fine. Fail to identify them however, and you could continue to struggle……

Andy’s Reason Number 4 – You Don’t Know Enough About The Other Party

Another reason salespeople often come off worst in a negotiation is that they fail to find out enough about the other party before the negotiation starts! The buyer or decision maker might well have strong reasons for wanting the product or service the salesperson is offering, and strong reasons to purchase now!! But often the salesperson doesn’t find that out, and ends up ‘worse off’ in the negotiation.

Very often there are pressing issues, or demands on the buyer or decision maker’s time – which would force them to do a ‘quick deal’ – but often the salesperson fails to find that out! Therefore they end up the ‘keener’ party to do the deal – and often miss out on vital profit that could have been gained, had they bothered to find out more in the first place!

Andy’s Reason Number 5 – They Have More ‘Skills’ Than You

Think for a moment….. When was the last time you went (or sent a member of your team) on a professional negotiation skills course, lasting from between 1 and 3 days in total? A course that taught you all the ‘tricks’ a buyer or decision maker could play on you, how to spot them, and what to do about them? My guess is that it’s been a while….possibly never!

Think about the other side….. If they’re a professional buyer, you can GUARANTEE that they will have been on such a course. If they’re a decision maker in a business, they’re also likely to have been on a similar course! At the very least, they’re far more experienced at negotiation than you!

If you’d like to ‘right the balance’ and get an advantage over the other side in a negotiation, call Andy Preston now on 0161 401 0142 or contact us here – and we’ll happily help you and your team get back on top!

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on……..

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2004-2019. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines.

Apr 08

Email Selling Mistakes….

By Andy Preston | Digital Selling

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains why most people struggle with ‘selling by email’ – they don’t understand it, they don’t know when to use it (and when not to) and they don’t know how to use it for best results.

After reading this article you’ll be able to utilise email to add value to your sales efforts – instead of hampering them – and get your sales figures back where they belong!……..

When I working with sales teams all over the world, Sales Managers and Directors often tell me that they believe all salespeople are inherently lazy. I’m not sure I agree with that hugely sweeping statement, but I do think salespeople often look for the quickest way to do something!

I think this is partly down to the fact that a lot of salespeople only start earning real money when their commission kicks in, so any task that isn’t directly related to bringing in new customers, orders or money, they tend to try and find the quickest way to do! Hence why the managers think they’re lazy.

As salespeople though, this ‘quickest route’ habit can often cause us problems! Particularly as technology has advanced and email is a popular communication method for many. However, this often results in salespeople resorting to email communication – at the expense of their own sales figures! Have a look at the examples of common email sales mistakes below, and see if any ring true for you……

Email Sales Mistake Number 1 – Using It To ‘Follow Up

Let’s look at this from a ‘new business’ perspective. You’ve spoken with (or met with) a client previously, you’ve started to develop rapport, but they’ve probably got an existing supplier, or existing way of doing things. So you didn’t pick up their business from your initial call or appointment.

Your boss has probably been putting pressure on you about your sales figures or your sales pipeline. So you decide you need to ‘follow up’ with a few people, this particular prospect included. So what do you do next? Pick up the phone and call them, establish their current situation and needs and potentially see how you may be able to add value to what they’re trying to achieve over the next few months? Close for another appointment, attempt to dislodge the existing supplier (or existing process) and pick up their business? Or send an email?

If you’re in the ’email’ category, stop it! Right now!

Email Sales Mistake Number 2 – Just ‘Adding‘ People To A Mailing List

Another great idea from the marketing department. Sending an email newsletter or similar to keep people ‘informed’ of your products and services. The funny thing is, how many newsletters do you get that you don’t read, or you don’t read in full? I bet it’s quite a few. If you don’t know the sender well, you probably don’t read it at all. Sometimes even when you know the sender well you still don’t read it!

Don’t sit back and think that just because someone is on your generic email list that that’s helping you ‘sell’ to that person. In most cases it isn’t. The responsibility to move that person through your sales pipeline is still yours!

Email Sales Mistake Number 3 – Sending Mainly ‘Flyers’ By Email

Please tell me you don’t do this? Even worse if the email is titled ‘offer of the month’ or similar! If the person hasn’t used you before, you’re relying on ‘luck’ for the person to buy from you. And the more competitive your marketplace and the higher the price of what you sell, the less likely people are to buy!

Plus as mentioned in my last point above, it’s hardly ‘personal’ communication to that prospect, is it? Is this really the professional sales job you were employed to do? If this is the best you can do in terms of ‘sales persuasion’, you’re in trouble!

Email Sales Mistake Number 4 – Responding To New Sales Enquiries Via Email

Let’s think about this one. You or your company has expended time, money and effort in producing the incoming sales lead. Whether it’s come from a previous phone call by you or a colleague, networking, advertising or over the internet, you’ve managed to get a precious incoming sales lead.

The next question is, what are you going to do about it? Pick up the phone and find an excuse to start a dialogue to understand their needs in more detail, positition a ‘next step’ in the sales process and look for some committment from that person. Or just send a quick email giving some information and leaving them to ‘wander’ on their own, with no idea how motivated they are to purchase, their timescales, or what other options they’re considering?

Looks like you’ve missed your chance again, doesn’t it? In most cases if they come back to you, it’s because when they enquired with your competition, they did a worse job than you did (hard to believe I know, but it could be true). Is this really the best way of dealing with that precious incoming sales lead do you think?!!

Email Sales Mistake Number 5 – Sending Proposals Or Quotes By Email

Now it’s time for my personal favourite! Sending proposals or quotes by email. You’re in field sales and you’ve had the meeting with a potential client ……the prospect then asks you to ‘send a proposal’……and you put it in an email. Really?!! Now you’re in trouble.

Why on earth didn’t you position your offering when you were face to face with the client? When you could read their body language and reactions to your offering (and your price) best….when you could judge whether you had got the proposal right or not?……when you had the best chance of getting them to say ‘yes’?

Even if you needed time to put the details together, why on earth didn’t you organise a second meeting to discuss it in more detail? Crazy! You’re giving other salespeople a better chance to win that business over you – why on earth would you want to do that?!!

Note – if you’re in internal sales or do most of your selling over the phone, it may not be practical to go out and see the prospect face-to-face, and if you can’t get them to come and see you, you’re almost ‘forced’ to send the proposal via email – however, you know when you do this it’s less persuasive.  As an ABSOLUTE MINIMUM you should have covered my ‘7 Things To Do BEFORE You Send A Proposal’ – otherwise I’m still going to be hard on you!!  Anyway, back to my ‘field sales’ example….

So Why Do Field Salespeople Send Quotes Or Proposals Via Email?

Normally field salespeople send quotes or proposals by email for a few reasons. The first reason is fear of rejection. It ‘hurts’ less to send it by email as at worst, they just send an email back saying ‘no thanks’ – much easier to deal with than them saying it to your face, isn’t it?

Or if they don’t reply to you (or send an email back saying they’re thinking about it) they haven’t really rejected you at all, have they? Can you see how that kind of thinking is holding you back from making more sales?!!

The second reason is laziness. You probably would say it’s because you’re busy, but it’s laziness. This is one of the most important parts of the sales process, and you’ve decided to email it because it’s ‘easier’! From an objective perspective, how stupid is that?!!

The third reason is because is ‘normally’ do it that way! Does that mean it’s the best way? Or even any good at all?!! Let’s think about this – it could be the most important part of the sales process, and you’re just sending it off into the ‘ether’ and hoping they’ll give you a positive response. Again – the more competitive the marketplace, the higher the price of your product/service and the longer the time elapsed from your initial conversation/meeting the less likely you are to get the business!

You can also ask any questions about this article or sales in general, by contacting Andy here

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on……..

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2004-2017. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines.

Mar 29

3 Classic ‘Follow Up’ Mistakes Most People Make With Their Sales Calls…..

By Andy Preston | Cold Calling

Here’s the challenge…’ve spoken to a potential client in the past, and now they’ve come up again in your “follow up” list….

Now, depending on the quality of your “follow up” call, the opportunity for you to do business can be won or lost at this point. Which puts a lot of pressure on you for this call, doesn’t it?

It won’t surprise you to learn that the majority of follow up calls that I hear made are fairly poor (and some are truly awful) so here are a few mistakes you need to avoid, in order to get more business from your calls.

Mistake Number 1 – Being Desperate And ‘Lying’

Now I know we’re in sales (or have to do sales as part of our role), and sometimes we may have to “bend the truth” a little on occasion, but I’m not sure that outright lying helps our cause as a professional, trying to build profitable business relationships.

An example of a call I heard made earlier this month went like this…….”Hello Mr X, we spoke 3 months ago and you asked me to call back today to make an appointment with you”.

Why was this so bad? Not only because the potential client hadn’t said anything of the sort, but also because the salesperson had never even spoken to the client before!

What could that potentially do to your credibility in the eyes of the potential client? And if you’re speaking to a decision maker with any level of authority, expect to be challenged on it quite strongly with something like “No we did not” or “I don’t remember that” – leading to either an argument or a rapid climb-down on your part – and probably the end of the call.

Now whilst the above statement by the salesperson is quite unusual, it does have a similar, more common “cousin” – the “Hi we spoke 3 months ago and you asked me to call you back today”. Usually said by salespeople who are desperate and don’t have a better opening “statement” or in their misguided belief that lying will help get them “rapport” with the decision maker – not likely!

Mistake Number 2 – Talking About Literature (Or Emails)

Be warned – many of you are going to cringe when you read this one! A lot of you are probably guilty of doing this, and this may be painful reading for those amongst you still doing it.

The biggest mistake I see most people make when they follow up literature or an email is when they say something like this……

Hi Andy, it’s Fred from XYZ company, we recently sent you some literature…..I’m just calling up to make sure you received it…..

No, No, No, No and No! This is truly awful, yet how many of the calls I hear made go something like that? That’s right, nearly all of them! And a large number of you make a similar call, don’t you? Go on, be honest!

Let’s think about this for a minute….what are the two most likely responses from a decision maker that you don’t have that much rapport with? Something like “No I didn’t, would you please go through the same rigmarole again, just for my amusement?” Or how about the other option….”Yes I did, and I’ve got all the information I need right now, thank you”.

Where on earth are you going to take the call now?

Even if you’ve sent literature and been lucky enough to get the decision maker to take the call (as a request for information can often be an objection – but more about that in another article) you run the risk of the call being very short, with another “call back” scheduled for a later point in time, but without having moved forwards with the prospect in any way.

Mistake Number 3 – Having Endless Call-Backs

This is another big mistake that many people make without even realising it! Far too many salespeople end their previous call badly (or without a defined outcome). What kind of impact do you think that has on the potential success of their next call? That’s right, a negative one!

How do you think this affects your attitude when the call comes up in your “call back” list? Might the fact you got nothing from the first call and the person won’t even remember you in some cases play on your mind a little?

Of course it might! Have you ever had a situation where you’ve gone down your list of prospects and thought….”I’ll ring that one……(miss a few out) then that one…..(miss a few out)…then that one?

If you’re like most people, of course you have! One of the reasons for this “cherrypicking” is that you know you got nothing from the call last time and you’re worried that the same will happen this time and you’ll “ruin” the prospect.

Also, because your attitude has been affected, might that affect your confidence in making the follow up call a little? Might you sound a bit less certain? A bit more timid? Less likely to handle objections well and give up too easily? You bet!

Are You Falling Into The Classic Trap?

Therefore, most follow up calls start something like this…..”Hello Mr X, we spoke about 3 months ago about you xyx and I was just calling to see how things are going for you at the moment”……

Awful, awful, awful! Let’s imagine you were the senior decision maker you were trying to reach with that statement (you were going for the person who makes the decisions, weren’t you?!!). What would you think of a call like that, that interrupted you doing whatever you were doing to take the call? That it has real importance and value for your business? Or that it’s pretty much a waste of your time, exactly like most of the other calls you receive on a day-to-day basis? My guess is for the second one 😉

Is it any wonder that the response decision makers give to that sort of opening is something like “Things are fine. What do you want?” Hmmmm. Now we’re under even more pressure, aren’t we? It’s pretty hard to rescue the call from here, unless you just happen to get lucky (which may happen on occasion).

So, if you’re about to do a follow up call session, or try and reach people you’ve spoken to in the past, make sure you don’t make any of the mistakes shown above and you’ll have far greater successes with your calls!

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on……..

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2004-2019. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines.

May 27

Can You Ever Be ‘Too Expensive?’

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

In this article, leading sales expert Andy Preston talks about the objection ‘you’re too expensive’….…..

I recently noticed a fellow professional speaker post on his Facebook page that a potential client had told him that the fee he wanted to charge them to speak was ‘too expensive’. He went on to say he was a bit surprised, as he doesn’t normally get that kind of reaction!

Now I know this particular speaker pretty well, and I know that he’s good value for money, but what was most interesting was one of the responses to his post! The person who commented wrote ‘You can’t be too expensive. And you’re value for money. They must have cash flow issues!’

Now whilst I would agree the speaker concerned IS most certainly value for money, there are 4 quick things we can learn from the other person’s comment…..

Andy’s Sales Tip Number 1 – People’s Beliefs ARE Reality – To THEM!

The problem I see here is that I think you CAN be too expensive!! One of my favourite sayings when it comes to sales (and pricing in particular) is that ‘people’s beliefs ARE reality – to them!’.

What I mean by that in this example is that if someone says ‘that’s too expensive‘ it may be that in the moment they DO consider you too expensive – as long as it’s not a negotiation tactic to bring your price down of course!

Now of course there will be some context behind them saying that. They might think it’s too expensive compared to their budget. They might think it’s too expensive compared to what they’ve paid in the past. They might think it’s too expensive compared to what they were expecting to pay.

However, unless you deal with the fact that right now, they consider you too expensive – it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to win this deal, and bring them on board as a customer. Fail to change their belief (and therefore THEIR reality), and you’ll fail to pick up their business!

Andy’s Sales Tip Number 2 – It’s Not Their Fault – It’s Yours!

If someone says to you that you’re ‘too expensive’, make sure you don’t dismiss them (and the sales opportunity) too quickly! As an ex-sales director, I often used to hear my team come back from new business appointments with excuses like ‘they weren’t ready to buy‘, ‘they didn’t have the budget‘, and ‘our price was too rich for them‘.

My response was usually something like ‘Ahh, so you failed to deal with their price concern then?‘ 😉

My belief is that the majority of the time, a price concern (or price objection) is normally the salesperson’s fault, not the prospect’s.

– It might be that…. the prospect doesn’t see enough value in your offering to think it worthwhile paying the price you asked for – YOUR FAULT for not positioning your value to them correctly!

– It might be that…. the prospect doesn’t have the budget to pay the price you want – YOUR FAULT for not finding that out, or speaking to the person who can make a NEW budget!

– It might be that…. the prospect has bought a similar product/service in the past and not paid anything like the price you want to charge them now – YOUR FAULT for not finding out their buying history and positioning correctly against it!

– It might be that…. the prospect won’t get enough value from your offering, in order to generate enough ROI to justify the purchase – YOUR FAULT for not qualifying the Sales Opportunity well enough in the first place!

How many of the above are you and your team guilty of right now? Stop putting the ‘blame’ for price concerns on the client, and see what you and your team could do to handle them better!

Andy’s Sales Tip Number 3 – Find Out – Or Set – Their Expectations

One of the biggest reasons people get price objections, is that the price they want to charge isn’t what the prospect was expecting to pay!

Thinking BusinessmanThis often occurs when the salesperson fails to find out, manage, or on some occasions – set – the price expectations of the prospect.

In the old days, Sales Managers used to lecture their reps ‘make sure you get the customer’s budget BEFORE talking about price!

Whilst back then that was pretty solid sales advice, these days people don’t always have budgets. They don’t always have cash available right now. But they ALWAYS have price expectations – and if you don’t find out what they are, re-set them if necessary – or even set them in some circumstances – then you’re always going to struggle with objections to your price!

How well do you and your team set prospects’ price expectations currently?

Andy’s Sales Tip Number 4 – Qualify Harder Early In The Process

Another reason I find that salespeople come up against price objections is that often they’re sat in front of (or speaking to) the wrong people! People that may not have the money to be able to pay the price the salesperson wants to charge, or have the authority (and ability) to find extra money if necessary!

This is usually caused by a failure to qualify well enough (or hard enough) earlier in the process! Then often results in the salesperson spending lots of their precious time dealing with people that aren’t able to buy what they offer at the price they want to charge!

Often this leads to the salesperson becoming frustrated, having to ‘walk away’ from deals, or heavily ‘discounting’ just to win the business – none of which are good outcomes for the salesperson!

How well do you and your sales team qualify your opportunities right now? Check by reading my article on ‘7 Things You MUST Do Before Sending A Proposal’

Follow the tips above and watch your performance and that of your sales team soar!  I look forward to hearing about your future success…. 

You can ask any questions about this article or sales in general, by contacting Andy here

About The Author:

Andy Preston is a leading Sales Expert, Trainer and Motivational Speaker

You can get Andy’s free cold calling and sales tips HERE

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2010. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines. Media enquiries – details here
Mar 18

Sales Failure 2!! Katie tries to sell Social Media services …. and fails!!

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

In this edition of the ‘Sales Failure!’ series, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston takes real-life examples of ineffective selling, and uses them as tools to learn how you can avoid the same mistakes, and what to do instead to improve your own sales results….

In this edition of ‘Sales Failure’ we take the example of Katie (real name withheld to protect the ‘guilty party’ from further embarrassment).

Katie attempted to ‘sell’ me her company’s Social Media services via LinkedIn recently, and this serves as a useful example to dissect her approach, and examine the lessons you can learn from it, in order to improve your own sales approaches and increase your sales!

So first of all, let’s take a look at Katie’s LinkedIn message ‘pitch’….

Hi Andy

If I could win you more client through Social Media would you want to chat?

Katie x’

Okay, so let’s dissect Katie’s approach….

Now, selling over LinkedIn isn’t easy, as I teach in my course on the subject, but there are various sales lessons we can take from Katie’s poor approach here (aside from her spelling mistake, but I’m letting that go for now)……

Sales Failure Lesson No 1 – Lack Of Research

Here’s where Katie fails….. she fails to do any research on me or my company WHATSOEVER, and then sets herself up for Sales Failure!

Unless you’re making over 200 calls per day, if you’re going to make a sales approach via ANY means, make sure you do some research on your potential prospect first!

This doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out affair – a quick look around their website or social media profiles will give you enough of an idea of your ‘angle’ to go in with.  Sales pitches with an ‘angle’ are far more likely to get someone’s interest than a general approach.

If Katie had bothered to do some research here, she would have come across some interesting figures….

At the time of writing this article, she currently has 618 ‘likes’ for her company on Facebook.
I have 2,802.

She currently has 8 testimonials on LinkedIn.
I have 233.

She currently has 1,669 followers for her company on Twitter.
I have 19,603

Does anyone else see a problem with her trying to sell me Social Media services here?!!

The big problem is she’s trying to sell me services in an area that I’m positioned far better than her!  Now I’m not saying that it should be ME teaching HER Social Media (although that would have been a funny response to her message!), but I’m saying that she needs to approach this one carefully.

This is all research she could have done from my LinkedIn profile BEFORE she contacted me, and found an ‘angle’ that would have had a far greater degree of success than the one she chose!

Sales Failure Lesson No 2 – A Generic Approach

Here’s where Katie fails….. she doesn’t personalise her message enough!

Katie then compounds her first mistake by making it a very generic approach.  Now I don’t know about you, but it looks very much like a ‘cut and paste’ email to me, even though she’s put my name at the top.

My guess is that this same message has gone out to a number of people, and she’s just changing the name on each one.  The problem is, that’s an obvious approach and it will cost her sales!

One of the keys of selling effectively over Social Media is to make your communication personal, not generic!  Recipients don’t want to feel like they’re just a ‘number’, they want to be treated as individuals.  If you fail to do this, your chances of selling via Social Media are very much limited.

And don’t forget, this message is coming from someone trying to SELL Social Media services here, so she actually demonstrates her lack of knowledge and awareness of her supposed area of specialty in her sales approach!  Not good.

Sales Failure Lesson No 3 – Closing Too Soon!

Here’s where Katie fails….. she hasn’t ‘warmed up’ her prospect!

Let’s look at the sales situation here.  This is a ‘first approach’ – the first message I’d got from this person.  There was no ‘warm up’ of initial emails, messages or conversations of any kind.

There was no questioning prior to this email, no research (as illustrated in Lesson 1 above), and nothing at all before the message ‘if we can do xyz for you, would you want to chat’.

Quite frankly as a sales approach, that stinks.

That has a negative impact on prospects, and you might as well be saying to them ‘you know, I can’t be bothered asking any questions, taking any interest in your company at all, or doing any of the hard work, so I’m just going to get straight down to my closing question’.

In order to influence other people, you need as much rapport as possible.  How much rapport did she have with me by coming straight out with that question in her first approach?  None whatsoever.  Poor.

Sales Failure Lesson No 4 – Over-Familiarity!

Here’s where Katie fails….. she’s far too ‘over-familiar’ with her prospect in her first message!

Now this is something you have to watch over email and Social Media.  Because there isn’t ‘human communication’ like there is face-to-face or over the phone, it’s much more difficult to read emotions and understand meaning.

This is meant to be an introductory message, introducing me to her and her company, what they do, and trying to give me a professional opinion of them and their credibility.

And she puts a kiss on the end of her message?!!!!!

While that might be suitable for her friends, or for people she knows really well, do you think it’s suitable for professional business communication here, particularly on a ‘first approach’ message?

Out of the 10 people I’d shown the message to before writing this article, every one of them thought it was inappropriate.

Now if you’ve been to any of my seminars, trained with me, or heard me speak at an event, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of ‘eradicating’ anything in your sales approach that is likely to put people off you early in the sales process.

If even 2 or 3 of them had given negative feedback, I’d be advocating eradicating it from your sales approach, let alone all 10!  That kind of feedback was enough for me to advise you to be very careful of over-familiarity.

It might be something she just naturally does.  It might be something that she’s just used to doing.  But it’s getting a negative reaction from people, so you need to be careful of it.  At best it’s showing her naivety and lack of experience – exactly the opposite of what you want to do when you’re trying to persuade someone to buy from you!

Sales Failure Lesson No 5 – Compliment To Gain Rapport!

Here’s where Katie fails….. she misses a HUGE opportunity to gain rapport!

Katie missed a huge trick here.  One of the ways to gain fast rapport with someone is to SINCERELY compliment them on something that they’ve done that is impressive, or you find interesting.

As a salesperson, one of my favourite things to do while waiting in reception  for meetings with prospects, was to read their company literature, awards and press cuttings while waiting for my prospect to arrive.

That usually gave me 3 or 4 things to ask about, or compliment the person on, let alone anything I got off the website!  Which meant the start to my meetings were easy, and I had huge rapport when I started to talk about MY products and services – which gave me far more chance of winning the business!

Taking that same approach into the Social Media field, in this example the first thing Katie could have done was compliment me on the number of followers/fans/testimonials I have.  From a ‘sales persuasion’ point of view, that would have been an easy way to deal with the fact that she has far fewer ‘numbers’ than me, and would have got rid of the major objection whilst raising rapport at the same time!

It was absolutely CRIMINAL not to do that.  Make sure you learn from that!

The crazy thing is, I was actually in the market to buy some Social Media support when Katie approached me.  I already see the value in Social Media.  I already get good business from it.  How difficult would I have been to close at that moment?  Not very!!

Yet she failed to even gain any knowledge or understanding of that, and her sales opportunity was over, even before it really started.

So, In Summary….

You can see that with all the areas that Katie has made mistakes in that have led to his ‘Sales Failure’. Think about them when you’re conducting your own ‘new business’ sales efforts, whether that’s over the phone, face-to-face, or online. Then think about what you can do to improve them.. and of course, drop me a line here if you’re struggling! Good luck with your Sales!

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on……..

About The Author:

Andy Preston is a leading Sales Expert, Trainer and Motivational Speaker

You can get Andy’s free cold calling and sales tips HERE

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2012. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines. Media enquiries – details here
Feb 26

Business Owners -Thinking Of Outsourcing Your Cold Calling? READ THIS FIRST!!!

By Andy Preston | Cold Calling

In this article, leading sales expert Andy Preston explains the problems of outsourcing your cold calling, and what to watch out for if you’re determined to outsource….

Recently I’ve been asked by a number of small and micro business owners how best they should outsource their cold calling. Their thinking behind doing this is normally one for of three reasons

Reason Number 1 – They Don’t Want To Do It Themselves!

Not a great reason, but they have the fact that they would have to do it themselves and therefore are looking to avoid it!  This is normally a terrible reason to do it!

Reason Number 2 – They Don’t Have Cold Calling Expertise Within Their Team

They’re thinking of outsourcing because they’re concerned or that they’d have to get their one of their team to do it, who isn’t a ‘natural salesperson’, and isn’t looking forward to the prospect of doing it either.  This isn’t a great reason to do it.

Reason Number 3 – They Think By ‘Outsourcing’ It Or Getting Someone Else To Do It, It Gets Rid Of The Problem!

There may well be one of, or a combination on the 2 above reasons here.  Either way, at the moment the ‘sales call’ issue (or lack of them) has become a problem in the business and by outsourcing it, they think they’re getting rid of the problem!  This isn’t a great reason either.

Here’s my main point.  If you ARE going to do it (and there are reasons why you should, and reasons why you shouldn’t) then you need to take one of my phrases on board right now.

You Can Outsource The ACTIVITY, But You Can’t Outsource The RESPONSIBILITY

This is a statement that will hit some of you like a brick.  It’s meant to.

Many small business owners are far too quick to outsource their cold calling or sales calls just to get rid of the ‘problem’ of making the calls themselves, or giving them to a colleague who doesn’t really want to do them.  Just because it’s ‘easy’ to outsource the calls, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right decision!

However, if you ARE going to outsource the calls, here are some things to think about…..

Andy’s Tip No 1 – Consider Where They’re Going To Work From

Is the person you’re outsourcing your calling to going to work from their business premises?  Their home?  Your business premises?  Your home?

How are you going to handle call costs?  CRM access?  Managing them?

Andy’s Tip No 2 – How Do Their Calls Fit Into Your Sales Process?

How does their sales call fit into your sales process?

In other words, what is the outcome of the call?  Is it a meeting?  A conference call?  A web demonstration?  How is it moving the sales process forward?  What is the next step after that – you don’t want lots of pointless meetings!

Andy’s Tip No 3 – How Are You Going To Pay Them?

Percentage of sale basis?  Payment per hour?  Payment per appointment?  All these 3 methods have their benefits and pitfalls, and will affect the type of outsourcer you should go for!

A typical example I see often is a small business owner tries to convince someone to do their calls for them and expects the person to do it for just a percentage if the business owner makes a sale from that appointment!!

That rarely works, if ever!

Andy’s Tip No 4 – How Are You Going To Manage Them?

Yes, that’s right!  I did say ‘manage’ them.  Even if you’re outsourcing you calls to a company, you still need to manage the organisation and the person making the calls!

In addition to that, what do you consider ‘underperformance?’ Do the outsourced organisation and/or the individual have the same perceptions?  What are your expectations of success on this project?  Have they been clearly communicated to all parties involved?

Andy’s Tip No 5 – How Well Do You Know The Person?

Are they someone you’ve known for a while?  Or just someone employed by a telemarketing organisation you’re talking to?

What’s this person’s reputation?  Their experience?  Their knowledge of your market sector and the people they’ll be calling?  How much do they know about you and your company?  What do other people say about them and their work?

Andy’s Tip No 6 – What Training Are You Giving Them?

What training are you giving the person?  If they’re from an outsourced company, they may well so some sales training in-house – but it will only be delivered by their manager (not an experienced trainer) and if they’re an individual they probably haven’t done any for ages – not a good sign!

What training are you planning to give them on YOUR products and services?

Andy’s Tip No 7 – Who Are They Going To Be Calling?

In other words, where are they going to get their prospects from? Do you have a list of prospects on your CRM system or database that you want them to contact? Are you going to purchase some data to give them some leads to work on?

Have you arranged access to your CRM system for the person to use?  Is the system able to generate the reports that you want?

Are they using their own data?  Have you got unlimited rights to contact the data in future?

Andy’s Tip No 8 – How Long Do You Want Them To Work For?

If you can only cope with a certain number of additional appointments per week, it might not make sense to employ someone on a full time basis. Perhaps someone in that role one day a week, or one day per fortnight might be sufficient?

If they’re starting to make more appointments for you than you can cope with (and the quality is good) then perhaps it’s time to spend more time on sales, or hire a full-time salesperson to make the calls and do the appointments for you?

Andy’s Tip No 9 – How Well Do YOU Understand The Process?

Don’t forget, as I mentioned previously that YOU still need to be responsible for this process.  And as an old manager said to me many years ago ‘you can’t manage what you don’t understand’.

What’s your experience with making sales calls and cold calls?  Is it enough to support and direct an outsourcer that’s not delivering the results you want?  Or are you just going to ‘blame’ that company for not delivering and kiss goodbye to your investment in them?

Follow the tips above and you’ll avoid most of the problems involved with outsourcing your calls.

This article is copyright Andy Preston 2010. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines.