Oct 11

How To Convert More Inbound Leads Into Orders

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains how to take the incoming enquiries you get for your business….. and turn more of them into orders…..

Whenever I’m working with businesses and their individual salespeople, this topic keeps coming up!  It seems that whole many people can often convert enquiries from their existing customers into orders (although some even struggle with that), many are struggling to convert their new enquiries into orders and grow their customer base.  This article is designed to help you with that!

So whilst, I can’t cover everything you’d need to do to convert more enquiries into orders in this short article, here are some ideas on the major things you’d need to know, in order to convert more enquiries into business, right now!

Andy’s Sales Tip No 1 – Understand Their Interest In YOU!

you samThis is something most people don’t do.  Sometimes because they don’t think about it, and sometimes because they’re scared to ask!  Most people will ask ‘how did you hear about us?’, which is a marketing question, designed to help you understand what parts of your marketing are working, so that you spend more money in those areas!

Yet they don’t often ask about why the enquirer has come to them for a price or quotation!  What interest they have in your company specifically.  What prior knowledge or experience they have of you, and what has motivated them to approach you on this occasion?  Having the answers to those questions can completely change your sales process, and how you convert them into business.

Andy’s Sales Tip No 2 – Understand Their Readiness To Buy

Another critical area is to find out where they are in their buying process, and how ‘ready’ they are to buy.  Far too many salespeople waste time on people that are just ‘shopping around’, or getting an idea of price – when they aren’t ready to make a buying decision.

Showing Your PricesLet’s face it, if someone is just after an ‘idea’ of price, but has got some prices already, they already have an idea of price, don’t they?  Giving your price when they already have a number of prices from other potential suppliers usually results in you LOSING the business, unless you have done a number of critical things first!  Unless you are by far the cheapest price of course, but even that doesn’t guarantee you winning the business!

How quickly can they make a decision?  Are they ready to buy right now?  Or do you want to discuss other things first, before entering into a conversation about price?

Andy’s Sales Tip No 3 – Understand Their Other Options

finishing lineThis something I would CERTANLY want to do before giving a price (as mentioned in the last tip).  You need to know WHO and WHAT you are competing with, BEFORE you give your price!

There are 3 levels of competition to you winning this order, and potentially this customer.  You will always come across ONE of these competitors, and sometimes ALL of these competitors, in every single deal!  And you need to know what you’re up against, in order to sell effectively against them.

The three levels of competition are…..

1)    Direct Competitor (another company that provides a similar product or service to you)

2)    Indirect Competitor (usually a competitive process that they may choose instead of your solution)

3)    ‘No Change’ Competitor (the prospect decides to ‘stay as they are’ for now)

All of the above are ‘competitors’ to you winning the deal – and you need to know which are true in each sales situation, in order to sell against them effectively, and give yourself the best chance of winning the deal!

Andy’s Sales Tip No 4 – Understand Their Buying Process

If we’re going to give ourselves a good chance of converting this enquiry into an order, we need to understand the prospects buying process.  In other words, how they are planning to buy.

Plan Your Digital Sales StrategyFailing to understand their buying process (or who is involved in it) will often result in the deal being ‘taken away’ from you, often at the last minute.

One of the best ways to find this out, is to ask them what process they went through when they last made a purchase like this.  That will give you an idea of their usual process, and potentially who is involved as well!

If the person you’re talking to doesn’t know what their process is (last time and this time), that’s a clue how much involvement they have in the decision process!

You need to have a level of influence with everyone involved in the buying process (where possible) to have the best chance of converting your enquiries into orders!  Good luck!

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.

Sep 20

Are You ‘Warming Up’ Prospects For Your Competition?

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains why most salespeople and business owners struggle to convert their sales opportunities….. and often end up ‘warming’ up business for their competition…….……

So many salespeople and businesses fail to convert their sales opportunities properly. In my Sales Training sessions, we talk about this a lot!

Some are so bad at it, they may as well have the title ‘Business Development Manager – For The Competition’ as their job title!

Here are 6 sales mistakes that a lot of people make…..

Sales Mistake No 1 – Non-Sales Staff Handling Sales Opportunities

Non-Sales staff involved with the sales process (e.g. estimators, admin staff, operational staff, office managers etc) don’t think like salespeople.

They think ‘how can I do my job efficiently and give the customer all the information they require’. Not ‘how do I turn this sales opportunity into an order?’

Without proper training and a ‘sales mindset’ for all staff involved with the sales process, I can guarantee you that you’re losing business you should be winning.

Sales Mistake No 2 – Your ‘Opportunity Qualification’ Is Awful

I’m often very surprised just how poor most people are at qualifying their sales opportunities. Sales Qualification should happen on EVERY sales opportunity, and the bigger the deal, the more important it is!

Yet most companies (especially on incoming leads or sales pipeline) don’t ask the right questions and qualify the opportunities properly. They just give out information, be ‘nice’ to prospects, and ‘hope’ to win the deal.

Pathetic. That’s costing you money too.

[PS – If you don’t know what sales questions you should be asking, REQUEST YOUR FREE ‘7 AREAS OF QUESTIONING’ VIDEO HERE to find out the areas you should be asking questions BEFORE sending ANY proposal!]

Sales Mistake No 3 – Not Making Sales A Priority

I can never get my head around this. Why don’t companies make sales a priority? Sales should ALWAYS be a priority!

If you’re not closing sales you don’t have a business. Regardless of how good your product is. Regardless of how good your customer service is. Regardless of how nice your staff are.

Sales is THE most important thing to a business. If you don’t get the prospect to buy from you, they’ll likely buy from your competitor.

That’s costing you money! Why would you throw it away like that?

Sales Mistake No 4 – Emailing Instead Of Calling

This is one of my personal favourites! Far too many salespeople email instead of call!

I know. It’s hard to get through to that prospect.oops
I know. It’s more ‘time efficient’ to send an email.
I know. There’s less rejection if you send an email.

But sending emails instead of calling will cost you business.

One of my favourite sayings is ‘Emails Inform, Salespeople Persuade’.

If you’re just informing people of something (like confirming a verbally agreed meeting time and venue, or sending an agenda etc), then email is fine.

If you need to PERSUADE someone to do something, then voice or face-to-face is infinitely better!

Failure to do this is also costing you money. Got it?

Sales Mistake No 5 – Not Getting Back To People Fast Enough

One of the most important factors in influencing a prospect to your point of view, and even converting the business (if they are making a fast decision) is your speed of response to their enquiry.

If you’ve been to a sales training session or seminar of mine, or seen me online, you’ll have heard me mention this before. Probably several times. But are you doing it?!! And are you doing it every time!

Being first-to-respond gives you the advantage. Do you want the advantage? Or are you giving it to your competitors?

Sales Mistake No 6 – Failure To Train Your Team Properly

When was the last time you properly trained the people dealing with your sales opportunities?

And I don’t mean watching how someone else does it, or ‘learning on the job’. I mean getting some expertise from outside the business, who has specific expertise in this area, to help you and the team formulate a specific process for winning more sales opportunities?

Done properly this is the best investment you can make, and will provide pretty much immediate payback and ROI, and produce improved sales results for months and years to come.

Why wouldn’t you want to do that?

If you are interested in me working with you or your team to overcome some of their problems with sales pipeline,managing their sales opportunities, cold calling and prospecting, or converting incoming leads then contact me here, or call +44 161 401 0142 to see how I can help 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 2004-2019. To copy or syndicate this or any part of this article contact Andy Preston for guidelines).

Sep 12

The Death Of Account Management

By Andy Preston | Sales Management

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston talks about the death of Account Management… and in particular, how many Sales Leaders failure to recognise this vital point – and how this then causes problems in their sales process, their recruitment process and how it negatively impacts on the activity, behaviour and ultimately the sales figures of their sales team!…..

Account Management is dead. For most companies it died a while back. But people have been pretending not to notice. Trying to keep the body warm. Keeping it on life-support, desperate to try and pretend it’s still alive.

But it isn’t. And it hasn’t been for a while.
You see, things have moved on. I’m not saying that Account Management belongs back in the 1980’s with luminous socks, ‘Relax’ t-shirts, and the Rubiks Cube . (Okay, so we will perhaps make an exception for the Rubiks Cube, it’s still kind of cool!). But Account Management certainly belongs in the past.

Account Management comes from the days where we labelled salespeople ‘Hunters’ and ‘Farmers’. It comes from the days when we were making enough profit out of an account to let a salesperson ‘sit’ there and deal with them without any concerns over what they were doing. It comes from the days when customers were loyal and kept their business with a particular supplier for years.

Those Days Are Gone…..

But those days are gone. Long gone. In these economic times, customers want more from their suppliers, but are prepared to pay less for it. Buyers are more ‘promiscuous’ with potential suppliers and play them off against each other. Prospects in some cases verge on ‘bullying’ suppliers to get the best deal for themselves.

Account Management wasn’t designed for these times. Therefore, in order for you and your Sales Team to be as successful as you COULD be… and make sure you aren’t missing business opportunities…. you need to re-evaluate the roles within your sales team, and see if ‘Account Management’ still fits in. I think you’ll find it doesn’t.

So if Account Management is truly dead, what should be the roles in your Sales Team right now?….

Re-Define The Roles In Your Sales Team

It’s my belief that there are now 3 roles in your Sales Team. Of course, depending on the size of your team then one individual may have to wear more than one ‘hat’, but it’s important in the first place to define these roles, as that may affect what actions you take next.

1) The first one is ‘New Business‘. This is where the individual brings in NEW, fresh business from prospects that don’t currently spend money with you. Using a variety of prospecting methods, the ‘warmest’ this role gets is trying to win back a lost (or lapsed) customer. Otherwise it’s all about bring it in from scratch!

2) The second role is ‘Account Development‘. The main function of this role is about bringing in MORE BUSINESS from existing accounts – i.e people who are ALREADY spending money with you. This role is about getting those clients to spend more – whether that’s increasing order value or order frequency, up-selling or cross-selling other products/services, taking business off your competition that may be active in those accounts, or finding new ‘buying points’ in those accounts (and getting them to spend with you), that’s the focus of the Account Development role.

In other words, it’s like having a ‘New Business’ focus within your existing accounts, and therefore requires a different skillset to the ‘new business’ role, and most definitely a different skill-set to the old ‘Account Management’ role!

3) The third role is what I refer to as ‘Account Servicing‘. If I was being harsh, I’d label this ‘Customer Service’ or ‘Project Management’ – in effect the focus of this role is to MAINTAIN the account, to keep the customer spending with you, deal with any complains, problems or queries, and ‘service’ the account.

Okay, so now we’ve defined these roles, what else do you need to do?

‘Separate’ These 3 Roles

So, now you know the roles involved, it’s about ensuring you separate these roles in your team to give yourself the best sales results!

The skillsets are different for new business, account development and account servicing. Yes there can be some ‘crossover’. Yes, in a smaller sales team, one person could undertake two roles (or even all 3). But it’s highly unlikely they’ll be good at all three, and therefore will be costing themselves, and the company, business. Definitely not advisable in a sales team when it can be avoided!

But What If I Have To Get People To ‘Cover’ Two Roles Of The Three?

It’s obviously not ideal, as ideally each salesperson should do the single role must suited to them, and their skills and abilities.

Sometimes however, in smaller businesses with smaller teams, people will need to cover two roles, rather than be able to separate everyone into separate roles, and solely focus on that one role.

For clarity…. there is no ‘best role’ or ‘best type’ of Salesperson – it’s what’s suited to their individual styles and skillsets.  Typically they can be great at one type of role, average-to-good at another role closest to their main role, and typically awful at the role furthest from their main role!

Someone who is best at NEW BUSINESS can cover Account Development but will be hopeless at Account Servicing.
They are typically great at bringing in “cold’ or ‘fresh’ business, and can be great at developing existing accounts (especially when they first get given to them!), but lose interest after a while.  And they get really frustrated at dealing with complaints and ‘hassle’, aren’t very good at it.  They get bored with dealing with existing accounts (especially once they’ve had them for a while and there’s no ‘new’ stuff to come from them!) and want to be out winning new stuff!  Ultimately that costs them business 

Someone who is best at ACCOUNT DEVELOPMENT can cover either New Business OR Account Servicing (but not usually both!).
Thinking BusinessmanThey are typically good at relationships.  At getting on with people.  And also good at generating more business from an account – whether that be more business from the same contact, finding new contacts within the client, or selling additional products/services into the account.  But not as ‘sharp’ at new business from fresh, or sorting out complaints for example.

Someone who is best at ACCOUNT SERVICING can cover Account Development, but will be hopeless at New Business.
They are typically great at sorting out logistical issues, designs, paperwork, problems, complaints, and organising things, but don’t often prioritise sales (or sales activities).  They also hate new business and picking up the phone to do any of the ‘colder’ type of activities.  You’ll see call avoidance, ‘phone fear’, and doing anything else, rather than pick up the phone to sell!  They don’t want to be calling people they don’t know, and expecting them to do this without being ‘pushed’ to do it is dreamland!

I have yet to meet (in training 130,000 Salespeople in 42 countries) anyone who is great at all 3 roles.  Of course people try and convince me, but no-one has succeeded – yet!

So you know that it isn’t IDEAL to have someone cover more than one role, but if it’s forced upon you, then make sure they are ‘covering’ the closest role to their main one!

But What If I’m FORCED To Have People Cover All Three Roles?

This is obviously a worst-case scenario, but likely if you have only one salesperson, or it’s a startup, so the only salesperson is you!

The key tip here is to know which ‘hat’ you are wearing at any one time.  Make sure your salesperson blocks out their time for new business, account development, and account servicing and (where possibly) only allow yourself to do the tasks that you are wearing the ‘hat’ for in that moment!

Then hire as quickly as you can to avoid this situation going on for too long!


Make Sure You Avoid Pushing Salespeople Into Account Servicing

One of the biggest problems is when either of the first two categories are pushed too much into ‘account servicing’ mode – even temporarily. The true ‘new business’ person hates this for example, and avoids it at all costs – leading to customer complaints, and lost contracts/business because the ‘new business’ person didn’t follow though or sort the issues quickly enough (which they don’t see as their job by the way).

This is where the distinction between the new role of ‘account development’ and the old role of ‘account management’ is even more critical. The true ‘account developer’ understands that customer service, complaints, queries etc are part of the ‘account servicing’ role. Whereas the old ‘account manager’ would get dragged into account servicing/customer service issues all the time.

Part of this would be because it’s their comfort zone – helping the customer is part of good account management, right? So they’d take that on board and spend all their time doing customer service or admin tasks, which is a great excuse for not picking up the phone and developing their existing accounts isn’t it? And partly because they often believed no-one else in the business would sort it out. The ‘account servicing’ role deals with that sort of nonsense immediately.

Spending too much time on customer service/admin tasks was a habit of the old ‘account managers’. They usually weren’t paid for that. Their managers didn’t want them doing that. But in some cases up to 75% of their could be spend in that area. That’s the role of ‘account servicing’, which is on a completely different pay-scale to what the old ‘account managers’ expected to be paid.

10 Signs That Your Company Is Still Trying To Keep ‘Account Management’ Alive…..

Here are 10 common signs that you or your team) are desperately trying to keep ‘Account Management’ alive in your company – and if you are guilty of one or more of these, we DEFINITELY need to talk!

1. You have/hire ‘Account Managers’ that seem reluctant to pick up the phone?
2. Your team spend too much time in ‘Account Servicing’ mode (admin/service tasks) rather than Selling?
3. Your Sales Team tell you they ‘don’t have time’ to Prospect or do New Business?
4. The team seem to focus on ‘developing relationships’ rather than closing sales?
5. Your sales team keep finding ways to justify why THEY personally (not colleagues) should solve an existing customer problem?
6. You have existing accounts that are also spending money with your competitors?
7. An existing client’s spend doesn’t increase year-on-year – in fact in some cases it goes down?
8. One (or more) of your sales team start telling you why an existing customer can’t spend more?
9. You get the feeling your sales team are complacent, or stuck in comfort zones?
10. You have low activity levels for new business (or lower than you’d like?)

If you’re experiencing ANY of the above symptoms right now, we DEFINITELY should have a conversation. If you or any of your team are still in the old ‘Account Management’ mindset right now, I GUARANTEE it’s costing you sales…..

You can contact Andy on +44 161 401 0142 or through the web here

Aug 12

Are You REALLY Giving Your Best?

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

Are You REALLY Giving Your Best?

For most of us, that’s a really tough question to answer honestly.

Because if we’re honest with ourselves, most of the time the answer is probably ‘no, not my absolute best’.

The moving ‘Facing The Giants’ has a great scene that talks about this…. and it’s especially good if you’re at any level of sales, but particularly if you’re a top performer or have a leadership responsibility.

So watch the clip…..then ask yourself ‘am I giving my absolute best?’

And what would happen if I did that more often? #StandOutSelling

Aug 07

Stand Out Selling Lessons – From Colombia, South America!

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

I was invited over to Colombia to speak at a large Sales event as the headline Sales Motivational speaker – at events in Medellin and Bogota.  It was the largest gathering of salespeople in the region and I was looking forward to sharing my ‘Stand Out Selling – The New Rules For Salespeople’ speech!

Travelling with a speaker friend of mine, Gilan, the reaction to our speeches was fantastic.  A big thank you goes to our two interpreters (Constanza and Jennifer), without whom 75% of the audience wouldn’t have been able to understand us!

It’s always interesting as a speaker, when you know most of the audience is relying on simultaneous interpretation via headsets, making sure your pace is good and you are understood by the English speakers in the audience, and also making sure you’re not speaking too fast for the interpreters to keep up!

Anyway, here are 3 quick lessons from my trip to Colombia……..

Andy’s Sales Lesson Number 1 – It’s Always Worth A ‘Final’ Check

Having spent most of my prior successful sales career in Print sales, I’m a big fan of ‘final’ checks of any document. Back in the day this meant proof-reading a client’s brochure word for word with a colleague – as the client would usually blame us for any mistakes, even after they had signed off their proof approval!

These days it’s doing your ‘final’ check on any proposal or tender documents you’re sending out. Checking again that email you’re about to send. Checking that attachment for spelling mistakes etc.

Prospects and clients are making judgement on what you send them. Why give them a reason not to trust you with their work, or not to use you at all?

Before you take this too lightly, I’ve personally seen accountants that made mistakes adding up. Language translation companies (that pride themselves on accuracy) having spelling mistakes in their LinkedIn profile and corporate literature. And design companies with poorly designed websites!

Colombia tee shirt
In this instance, I was preparing my final draft of my presentation, when I noticed my computer was automatically correcting ‘Colombia’ to ‘Columbia’. A BIG problem if you can’t even get the name correct of the country you’re speaking in, right?!!

It’s such an issue in Colombia, that there’s even a T-Shirt that ‘greets’ you as you transfer at Bogota airport!

So remember, it’s ALWAYS worth a final check!

Andy’s Sales Lesson Number 2 – Sometimes When You Don’t Feel Like Doing Something…..

Sometimes when you don’t feel like doing something…. that’s the very time you need to go and do it!

I remember being given that advice years ago by an old Sales Manager of mine. And let’s face it, we all procrastinate over things. Whether it was a piece of ‘homework’ that needed to be handed in, a complaint from a customer that you know is going to be awful to deal with, or your cold calling/prospecting that needs to be done – we all procrastinate!

And sometimes when you don’t feel like doing something…… that’s the very time you need to go and do it!

On this occasion, for me, it was climbing El Penol y Guatape. This is a large rock, about 90 minutes from Medellin. I’d heard that it was tough to climb up the steps to it, but that the views from the top were spectacular, and well worth the climb!

No Mist

El Penol y Guatapate – no mist!

Mist view

El Penol y Guatape – with mist!

The problem was when we got there, the top half of the rock was covered in mist and cloud, meaning we wouldn’t be able to see anything! So we started the ‘shall we/shan’t we’, ‘is it worth it?’ conversation!

Will we be able to see anything from the top?  Or will it just be covered in cloud?  Is it worth the climb in that case?

So We Climbed Anyway

Gilan Mist

Gilan – misty at the top!

Having decided that we were there anyway, and me might not get the chance to come back, we set off to climb up 750 steps. It was just as hard as we’d been told it was.

And when we got to the top, all we could see was cloud! – as you can see from the picture of my friend Gilan here, on the right!

Top of El Penol

Once the mist cleared……

After a while however, the mist and cloud cleared and we could see some great views around the place – and it was definitely worth the wait, and well worth the visit!

It was also a good reminder that in sales (and in life), sometimes we have to do things we’re not sure about, or that we might not want to do – but often, it’s definitely worth it!

In sales, that might be things like, prospecting, cold calling, calling clients back to answer a complaint, dealing with requests to be sent more information, etc etc.

If you’ve been to any of my seminars around the world you’ll know one of my favourite saying is ‘the more ‘new business’ the activity is, the more people will naturally try and avoid it’….

Andy’s Sales Lesson Number 3 – Is Your Message Being Understood?

I remember hearing a long time ago ‘If your message isn’t being heard, you need to change how you’re communicating’. And that’s a pretty good phrase that applies to your sales process as well.

A lot of sales messages aren’t heard. Whether they’re online, direct from a salesperson, in an email, in a presentation, prospects and customers don’t always get your messages in the way you intended!

Andy and Gilan

Gilan with Andy – Bogota event.

We were reminded of this in Colombia.  Especially because we chose to arrive 3 days before the first event, in case of any flight delays, to get used to the time difference, and to see some of Colombia while we were there.

In the first 3 days we were there, we only met 2 people whose English was god enough to have even a brief conversation with!  Aside from that we were relying on some of my (very) basic Spanish from a few holidays in Spain years ago!  When those 2 people include airport staff, taxi drivers and staff at the hotels, you can imagine what is was like trying to be understood!

Then we spent time with the 2 interpreters, checking the Spanish translations on our slides, and the ‘local’ pronunciations of some of the place names and other Spanish that was going to be included in our speeches.  Not only are there variations between traditional Spanish and South American Spanish (where the attendees were from), but even variations between the different cities in Colombia!

I see tmanuelhis a lot in Sales situations.  The message that was understood isn’t always the same as the one that was intended to be communicated. Presentations, slide decks, emails are often misinterpreted, let alone telephone conversations and face-to-face meetings and product demonstrations.

So, where does your communication need improving?  What message is not being heard by your prospects and customers right now?

If you want some help getting your team to get better sales results, call +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.

Oh, and just in case anyone is wondering, I highly recommend a trip to Colombia!  One of the best places I have been to.  Drop me a message if you want to hear more about the ‘social’ parts of the trip! #LoveColombia

Combo image - Colombia

Aug 06

Recruiters – Got A ‘Fee Problem?’ Handle The Objection? Or Read This…..

By Andy Preston | Recruitment

This was one of the key points in my speech, last time I spoke at the Federation of African Professional Staffing Organisations (APSO) Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Many recruiters and recruitment company owners come to me for help, complaining that they can’t get high enough fees or rates, for potential placements they are working on.

Now of course, fees are just one of the objections that I deal with in my Recruitment Sales Training sessions, but they are a major concern, so let’s look at this first!

Those recruiters and recruitment company owners tell me ‘the market has got tougher’. They tell me ‘competitors are desperate to win business’. They tell me ‘clients won’t pay the fees they used to’.

I tell them in return ‘you don’t have a fee problem, you have a differentiation problem’. Let me explain a little more…..

Thinking BusinessmanIn any sales situation, if the buyer can choose from a number of different vendors, and they consider those products or services as ‘the same’, how will they make their decision on who to use?

Quite simply on 2 factors. Relationship, and Price. Which in effect are – the vendor that they know/like/trust the most, and the vendor that will give them the best ‘deal’.

Let Me Give You An Example….

Think for a moment…. If you’re a hiring manager (or in HR), and all the recruitment companies and all their candidates appear very similar, how will you choose who you go with? Probably the agency you know/like/trust the most and the one that gives you the best ‘deal’ on fees or rates!

Therefore the problem occurs earlier in the sales process. And it’s caused by your failure to differentiate! Because if the prospect didn’t see you (or your candidate) as different, it forced them to decide on Relationship and Price as mentioned above!

Are You Falling Into The ‘3 Question Trap?’

Most of the differentiation problems are caused early in the sales process, and often by the recruiter themselves! A typical example of this is when the recruiter falls into what I call the ‘3 Question Trap’.

The Trap is when you ask the same three questions that most of your competitors do. And you probably ask them early in the call (like your competitors do), so the impression on the hiring manager or HR person is ‘ahhh, you guys are all the same!’ – which immediately puts their buying (or non-buying) decision down to Relationship and Price as mentioned above!

That’s YOUR fault, because it’s your behaviour that caused them to think like that!

So what are 3 questions that might mean you’re falling into the 3 Question Trap?

Here are some examples….remorse

‘Have you got any vacancies/are you recruiting at the moment?’
‘When are you next recruiting?’
‘What fees do you pay your current agency?

How many recruiters ask these questions? Most of them! Therefore when you ask them, the impression on the hiring manager or HR person is ‘you guys are all the same!’

This is a common problem, and one of the reasons I wrote my ‘Stand Out Selling’ sales methodology (and adapted a specific version just for recruiters – which I also talked about at the conference), helping you to stand out from your competitors, win more business, and do so at higher fees! That’s something I go into more in my training sessions, but here are a few ideas that will help you for now….

Andy’s 5 Top Tips For Standing Out From Other Recruiters…

So, if you’re going to try and Stand Out from your competition, what sort of things can you do?…..

Andy’s Tip Number 1 – Differentiation Starts From Early In Your Sales Call

Firstly, make sure your calls don’t all sound the same as your competitors do!  That they don’t start in the same way.  That they don’t sound the same (because believe me, most recruiter calls do).  That they don’t give the impression you’re exactly the same as every other recruiter that rings up!  Otherwise you’re going to struggle…..

Andy’s Tip Number 2 – Sell You And Your Company, Not The Candidate!

If you want to win a ‘customer’ rather than a ‘transaction’, stop selling in candidates! You might win this time, but next time the client may well choose a better candidate from your competitor! Not good for building long-term business!

This obviously means making a change if all you’ve been trained to do is ‘market out’ candidates in the past.  But well worth incorporating some Stand Out calls into your prospecting activity!

Andy’s Tip Number 3 – Get To Them BEFORE They Are Ready To Buy!

If you’re really interested in a long-term relationship with that person and their company, start talking to them before they have a vacancy – because at ‘vacancy’ stage they probably have a preferred agency they want to use – and it probably isn’t you!

Andy’s Tip Number 4 – Change Your Questions!

Stop falling into the same 3 Question Trap all your competitors do, and use some better questions on your sales calls!  Come on, you don’t really want people to think you’re the same as all the rest, do you?

Andy’s Tip Number 5 – Start Being More ‘Choosy’ Over Vacancies You ‘Work’

Most recruiters will work any vacancy they come across…. Without any real thought as to their chances of filling it – which means they stop doing new business! Make sure you and your team don’t fall into that trap!


If you want some help yourself, or you want help getting your team to be more ‘Stand Out’ than Standard, and getting past stubborn fee objections (or any other Recruitment Sales Training needs), call +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.

Aug 01

Recruiters – 5 Common Cold Call Mistakes Most Recruiters Make

By Andy Preston | Recruitment

In this article, leading Recruitment Sales Training Expert Andy Preston looks at 5 common mistakes most Recruiters make, when it comes to cold calling prospects/clients in particular…….

We already know that being (or getting to be) a top performer in Recruitment isn’t easy. There is usually hard work, long days and plenty of low points (as well of high points) along the way – candidates not turning up for interviews, clients not giving feedback, candidates getting counter-offers and many things like that.

And one of the hardest parts of the job? Cold Calling.

The art of winning new business and new clients over the phone is one of the toughest parts of any sales job, but especially in recruitment. We’re calling people that already have an existing agency they use, have a PSL, or refuse to use agencies at all!

And yet it’s our job to convince them to use us, and to let us find someone on their behalf. And they have to pay a not-insignificant fee for that privilege.

We know we’re going to face objections, rejection and probably ‘stubborn refusal’ from the majority of people that we’re going to be calling. So how do we ensure we get the best results possible, start to fill our pipeline full of vacancies and generate sustainable revenue going forward?

Let’s start by making sure we’re avoiding these 5 common Recruitment cold call mistakes…..

Cold Calling Mistake No 1 Failure To Prepare Properly

A common mistake that most Recruiters often make, is that they fail to prepare for their sales calls properly. This can range from not having the right details for prospects, or sometimes not even having a list of people they want to call prepared BEFORE the day (or the calling session) starts!

150_calendarI can guarantee you that a lack of preparation will almost ALWAYS show up in your calls somewhere. Whether it’s an objection that you weren’t prepared for (and therefore don’t handle that well), a question a prospect asks you that you can’t answer or getting caught out because you don’t know a key piece of information, it WILL catch up with you!

Make sure you are prepared and ready BEFORE your calling sessions! You ARE running calling sessions properly, aren’t you?

Cold Calling Mistake No 2 – Not Separating ‘Existing Customers’ And ‘Prospects’

This is a mistake I see many salespeople (not just Recruiters) make. They fail to separate existing customers and prospects in their mind. Not just into separate calls lists that they should call at separate times (although they need to do that too!). They fail to separate the two types of calls in their approach.
So what do I mean by that? I mean that they call prospects as if they were existing customers. They don’t mentally separate between the two. Which means they’re often caught off-guard and unprepared for the sort of reactions and objections they can face from ‘new business’ prospect calls.
This also appears in their questioning. In other words, they ask prospects the same questions they would ask their existing customers. This makes no sense. Especially when you consider they don’t have the same level of rapport with them, same level of business relationship with them, and definitely not the same history as them! Definitely a bad idea.

Cold Calling Mistake No No 3 – Failing To Differentiate!

This is a major problem I often see in a competitive sales environment, and especially Recruitment! Failure to differentiate from your competition in a very competitive market is sales suicide!

fishDifferentiation MUST start early in the process, for the decision maker to even have a chance of seeing you as different at the end of it! And these days, differentiation is very difficult to do based on your product or service, or even your company name and reputation. Therefore differentiation is down to the salesperson, or consultant in the case of recruitment.

In order to be perceived as different, you need to behave differently. You need to say different things to competitors, do different things to competitors and behave differently to competitors, all as early in the sales process as possible!

You can’t say, act, and behave like the competition, then complain when decision makers don’t see you as different from them! Start to differentiate, now!


Cold Calling Mistake No 4 – Not Being Resilient Enough

Let’s face it – if you’re going to cold call, you’re going to get rejection. However the majority of consultants making business-to-business phone calls aren’t resilient enough.

As an example, think about how many times that you (or a member of your team) haven’t handled an objection well enough? Think about how many times someone you know has got up to make a drink, started reading their emails or called an existing customer when they were meant to be cold calling?

You have to have a certainly amount of resilience to be in recruitment to cope with the ‘knockbacks’. It’s even more important in cold calling, where you’re going to get more rejection than ever!

Do you or your team fall over at the first objection? At the first bad call? Or are you resilient enough to carry on and get results from your calls?

Cold Calling Mistake No 5 – Not Getting Enough Commitment From The Prospect/Client

Okay, so the 4 mistakes above were important, and this one is probably THE most important of all. The majority of Recruiters fail to get enough commitment from their clients, and this is very much the case when they’re cold calling as well.

The problem is, most of the commitment falls on the Recruiter’s side. Ever committed to sending some information? In that case the commitment probably was more on YOUR side than theirs. Who committed to sending the information? You did! Did they even commit to reading it? By a specific time? If not, the commitment was probably all yours! Can you see how this happens?

The more commitment you can gain from a client, the more likely the ‘next steps’ you have proposed will happen. Fail to gain commitment and be prepared for the client to ‘forget’ you next time you call, not do what you asked, or fall into an endless loop of call-backs where they keep saying ‘I haven’t had time to look at the information you sent yet’. Sound familiar?

If you want some help getting your team to get far better results from their cold calling and prospecting efforts, call +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 25

How To Deal With The ‘Summer Holiday’ Objection….

By Andy Preston | General Sales Tips

In this article, leading Sales Expert Andy Preston explains why so many people get the ‘call me back after the summer holiday’ objection…..only to find that after the break, they can’t get hold of the person ever again!…..

It’s always interesting as we head into the summer holiday period, how many people fall for the ‘call me back after the summer holiday‘ objection!

Have you ever had anyone say those words or something similar to you? For most salespeople, this objection starts to rear its head from the middle of July onwards.

How about when you ring those people back after the break. The people you were trying to get a buying decision from? The people who needed to ‘run your proposal past a few people?‘ Or maybe the people you were trying to get an appointment with?Continue reading