Friday, May 30, 2008

Sex and the City Sales Lessons

The Sex and the City movie premieres nationwide today. Legions of female fans will likely throng to theaters to catch up with their TV BFFs. Kim Duke, The Sales Diva, shares some lessons we can all learn from this cultural phenomenon. These tips are best served with a Cosmopolitan - or, if you must, your morning cappuccino.

As Kim proudly proclaims, she was a die-hard fan from the very first season and spread the word about the show to everyone she knew, as did millions of other fans. The cultural phenomenon that is Sex and the City owes its success to its raving fans - and so should you!

Kim wants to know - Does your "Fan Club" ...
  • help spread the word about your business for free?
  • notice you're taking some chances and launching new products and services?
  • supply you with ideas on how to grow your business?
  • hear from you on a regular basis - via an e-zine, event, direct mail and the phone?
  • buy everything (or almost everything) you put in front of them because they TRUST you so much?
"Creating a community of fans is the best thing you can do to grow your sales," says Duke. "It takes time, hard work and dedication to rise above the humdrum."

"Instead of putting all your time into cold calling strangers - how about speaking to the people who already love you? And then ask them to tell people about you - which they'll do anyway if they love what you do!"

Kim Duke is an unconventional, sassy and savvy sales expert who shows women small biz owners and entrepreneurs sizzling sales tips on how to increase sales in a fun, easy, stress-free way! Learn more and sign up for her free e-zine at www.salesdivas.com
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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Six Sure Tips for Selling in a Shaky Economy

Recession or no recession, the economy's not the best it's ever been. Instead of looking at the situation with terror, sales trainer and cold calling expert Wendy Weiss suggests you look at the new opportunities today's economy gives you - and start selling! Here are her tips for selling in a shaky economy:

1. Turn off your television and radio. Stop reading the paper. Above all, stop listening to the doom and gloom about the economy. The economy is what the economy is. If you spend all of your time listening to bad news, it gets more and more difficult to sell. Instead, take action. Call a prospect. Call a current customer and ask for more business. Call a current customer and ask for a referral. Call someone and sell something.

2. Stop thinking, "Recession" start thinking, "Opportunity." There is always opportunity when the market is shifting. Find it. Economic downturns can also be times when fortunes are made, so keep looking. This mind set will give you the power and energy to keep selling.

3. During difficult times vendor loyalty can be shaky. This is a great time to go after accounts that have previously been locked up and held tight by your competition. If you know your competition, you know their flaws. Where might they be susceptible? Go after those accounts.

4. Qualify your prospects. Far too many sales representatives spend far too much time chasing after prospects that will never buy. Don't be shy. Ask the hard questions that determine whether or not you're speaking with real prospects. Qualify your prospects out. Then, if you are not speaking with a real prospect, move on.

5. Focus on value. Make sure that your prospects understand the value that you represent. How will your product/service help your prospect? How will it help your prospect achieve their goals? How will it impact their bottom line? Your prospects will not figure it out for themselves. It's your job to help them understand. Ultimately, your customers want to know WIIFM, "What's in it for me?" Make sure that you help them understand.

6. Improve your sales skills. Selling is a communication skill. Skill combined with action results in sales.

Wendy Weiss, The Queen of Cold Calling, is an author, speaker, sales trainer, and sales coach. She is recognized as one of the leading authorities on lead generation, cold calling and new business development and she helps clients speed up their sales cycle, reach more prospects directly and generate more sales revenue. Learn more at www.wendyweiss.com
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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"I only need 15 minutes..."

"I hear it from sales reps all the time," says sales trainer Al Uszynski. "When asking for an appointment, they state how long the appointment will take. And often times, they cite insanely short times. 'I'd like to meet with you to discuss your corporate computer network firewall...it will only take 15 minutes.' Are you kidding me? How can you have a meaningful discussion about something so involved in 15 minutes?"

"If you sense the prospect is short on time," suggests Uszynski, "simply propose a 'short meeting' and assure them that you'll be respectful of their time. This way, you don't create impossible expectations and you have flexibility to extend the sales call when it's going well - without making it look like a shady bait-and-switch promise."

Al Uszynski is a results-focused sales trainer and professional speaker. His proven, quick-start sales training program, "15 Ways to Grow Your Sales Tomorrow," helps sales professionals ignite immediate sales growth. Learn more by visiting www.Uszynski.com
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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thinking Inside the Box

Talk about an "Aha!" moment - that's exactly what I said when I read this post on Diane Helbig's blog:

"I was speaking with a business owner today who was lamenting the fact that his salesman isn't creative with the sales process. He can't look at a scenario and determine the best solution for the client. When I asked him how knowledgeable the salesman was about the industry, he admitted that the salesman had very little knowledge of the ins and outs of the product."

"My response was this - He can't think outside the box if he's never been inside it."

"Think about it," says Helbig. "It's hard to find creative answers when you don't have the knowledge base to begin with." Helbig goes on to offer suggestions for how sales managers can give their salespeople the tools they need to succeed - but if your manager hasn't done this, you need to take action and do it for yourself.

Get inside the box - talk with the successful salespeople in your company, ask your tech people for demos, check in with customer service to see how they handle problems, and learn everything you can about your company and industry. Armed with this experience, you'll be better equipped to move outside the box and make more sales!

Diane Helbig is a Professional Coach, and President of Seize This Day Coaching. She works one-on-one and in groups with business owners, entrepreneurs, and salespeople. Visit her website at http://www.seizethisdaycoaching.com
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Friday, May 23, 2008

Sales Motivation and Summer Prospecting

Monday is Memorial Day in the U.S. - the official beginning of the summer season. While many people are thinking, "Vacation here I come!" there are still plenty of people working the entire work week. "Staying motivated to sell when everyone around you is taking time off can suck the life out of nearly anybody," agrees sales trainer Mark Hunter. On the other hand, "it's during those periods when so many people are starting to slack off that you can have your most productive prospecting time," says Hunter.

"I've always found making prospecting calls on the eve of a holiday, or the day after a holiday is a great time to reach people. First off, many people are not in their normal work mode and as a result, they'll be more open to receiving a phone call."

"I've also found that people are often extremely impressed that you're making prospecting calls when most people are vacationing - giving them a level of confidence about you."

Hunter continues, "As easy as it might be, don't slack off tomorrow, Friday, next Tuesday, or any Friday throughout the summer. Come fall, you'll thank yourself for the additional business you've done."

Mark Hunter, "The Sales Hunter," helps individuals and companies identify better prospects, close more sales, and profitably build more long-term customer relationships. Learn more at his website, www.thesaleshunter.com and check out his blog at www.thesaleshunter.com/blog/

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Sales Email that Gets Attention

Garth Moulton is the VP of Community and Co-founder of Jigsaw. His blog, Garth's World, is funny and offers up some great sales advice he's learned over the years. In this post he details an email conversation between a sales rep and Jim Fowler, Jigsaw's CEO. Read their correspondence and you'll see proof that a carefully crafted email message can reap big rewards!

From: [Search marketing sales guy]
Sent: Wednesday, May 07, 2008 12:57 PM
To: Jim Fowler
Subject: Short bullet point email

Jim,

I talked to one of your guys at Ad:Tech. I love your service.

Your Google search advertising leaves much to be desired. Here's why:
  • You're paying too much per click (by 21% to 39%)
  • Your ads are buried below your competition (screenshot enclosed)
  • You're missing many of the latest optimization techniques
If you're open to a new progressive search marketing agency, when can we talk?

[First name and signature file]

From: Jim Fowler
Sent: Wednesday, May 07, 2008 1:15 PM
To: Sales Guy, Jigsaw Marketing Folks
Subject: RE: Short bullet point email

[Sales guy],


I'm thinking about using your email as a model for how to communicate with me. Way to listen and get my attention at the same time. Please forward this to your boss and tell him I suggest you get a raise. I've also cc'd our VP of Global Sales/BizDev, as we're always looking for great sales people.

The person who has complete budget and responsibility for SEM/SEO is [Jigsaw marketing director] (she's on Jigsaw). I've cc'd her here.

Note: we are coming off a nasty experience with [your competitor]. [our director] will likely be gun shy.

Best of luck.

Fowler

From: Jim Fowler
Sent: Wednesday, May 07, 2008 1:50 PM
To: Biz Dev; Sales (All); Marketing; Garth Moulton
Subject: FW: Short bullet point email

Team,

This is one of the best examples of a sales outreach email I've ever seen:
  • He read and listened to my contact preferences/instructions
  • Used the fact that he read the instructions to get my attention
  • VERY crisp communication throughout the email - no extra blah, blah, blah.
  • He complimented Jigsaw, which is like complimenting my kid. Makes me feel good.
  • The bullet points have numbers (yes, they're probably BS, but who cares - got my attention)
  • Attached an actual real-life example of what we can do to improve
  • Provided a call to action at the end
  • Notice the response I gave him. I provided extremely valuable data - something that will happen to you too, if you do it right like [sales guy].
REALLY impressive. I would be very pleased to see the quality of our outbound 1to1 emails from our sales team be of this quality. Please make it happen!

Fowler

Read more from Garth at his blog, http://www.jigsawsblog.com
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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Why Should I Buy from You?

It's early in the sales process when your prospect bluntly asks, "Why should I buy from you?" While this situation can be enough to leave many sales reps shaking in their boots, rattling off company facts, or simply running for the door, sales trainer Colleen Stanley suggests you simply say, "I don't know."

It sounds crazy, but read on to see how 'fessing up can land you the sale.

"If the prospect asks this question early in the sales process before you've had time to ask questions, tell the prospect you really don't know why they should buy from your company because you haven't had time to diagnose what's working, not working, and if the problem(s) are big enough to fix," says Stanley. "Get permission to continue asking questions to determine if there is a good reason, for both parties, to do business."

Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership, Inc., a business development consulting firm specializing in sales and sales management training. The company provides programs in prospecting, referral strategies, consultative sales training, sales management training, and hiring/selection. Learn more at www.salesleadershipdevelopment.com

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Know Your Customer

The key to building relationships in sales is knowing your customer. Taking a vegetarian to a steakhouse for a business meeting won't exactly put you on the road to success. In a recent article, networking guru Andrea Nierenberg related a few similar gaffes that you won't believe:

-- An organization was pitching UPS for their business and "Fed Exed" over the materials...

-- A group was trying to sell SONY and showed up for their meetings with Dell computers...

-- A team was sitting down to meet with people from Visa and when asked to open their wallets, everyone had credit cards from the competition....

"Carelessness and not paying attention to close detail can make or break us," says Nierenberg. "We can have the most amazing presentation; the most polished presenters and the 'state of the art' materials - yet if we forget who we're talking to, everything else is lost."

To avoid making embarrassing mistakes like the ones above, Nierenberg suggests you make a detailed personal profile for each of your clients. Build it up over time with everything you learn about them, and you won't make the mistake of paying with an American Express when it's time to take those Visa execs out to dinner!

Here are just a few of the topics Nierenberg adds to her client's personal profile over time:

Spouse/children's names
Pets
College or grad school
Likes/Dislikes
How you met
Likes/Dislikes
Prior Job
Vacation interests
Favorite foods/restaurants
Hobbies/Interests

Andrea Nierenberg is the President of The Nierenberg Group, a business consulting firm that specializes in customized training, workshops and keynote addresses that equip business people to find, grow and keep the clients that are key to their company's success. Learn more at her website, www.selfmarketing.com

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Quote of the Week

"Habits are like supervisors that you don't notice." -- Hannes Messemer

One of the most necessary steps to building more business is daily prospecting, but its easy to let other thing get in the way, especially if prospecting is not one of your favorite activities.

Creating habits in your workday can be the answer to this problem. Instead of prospecting when you can, make it a rule that you can't have a sip of your morning coffee until you've made two prospecting calls. Or maybe you can't leave for the day unless you've spent the last fifteen minutes prospecting.

Whatever it is, just make sure you stick with it! I recently read that it takes approximately twenty-one days for something to become a habit. So, try out your new prospecting schedule for a full month. If it doesn't stick, adjust your schedule. Just be sure you give your new practice enough time to become a habit!
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Friday, May 16, 2008

Make it easy

Many people finish a conversation or presentation by asking, "Do you have any more questions?" This is good - but how many times do people actually speak up and say they have a question? Very rarely.

"Make it easy for your prospect to speak up about their concerns," suggests cold calling guru Ari Galper.

After they've responded that they don't have any questions, ask them once more, "Now are you 100% sure that there's nothing else I can do on my end to make sure you feel more comfortable with this situation?" You'll be surprised by how often people say, "Well, actually, there is one more issue..."

Today's quick tip comes from cold calling guru Ari Galper. Learn more at his website, www.unlockthegame.com
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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How do you handle a buyer turned non-buyer?

We've all experienced this situation - you have a prospect who says "Yes, I'm in!" and then they disappear. Phone calls and emails head straight into a black hole. The commission you thought was coming is slowly slipping away. What do you do?

In a recent blog post, sales trainer Bill Caskey addresses this subject. "I never expect anything," says Caskey. "Not because I want to cushion the fall, but because when you begin expecting something to happen in a certain way then you close yourself off from being flexible - or to having it happen in other ways."

"So, when someone who you thought 'was' a prospect, now tells you they're in 'think-it-over-land,' you have to handle it correctly. Don't beg. Just say, 'I kind of thought that was the case since I didn't hear from you. This is not unusual when considering a purchase like this. Sounds like you're having second thoughts. Let me ask you this. Are you having second thoughts about solving the problem we discussed or second thoughts about who you want to help you?'"

"Now this assumes there is a compelling reason for them to change (problem they're wanting fixed, or a solution they're urgently dying for)," says Caskey. "If you have neither of these, then you never did have a prospect."

Bill Caskey is the President of Caskey, a training firm that specializes in training and developing B2B sales teams through face to face training, teleconferencing, written materials, custom podcasts and one on one coaching. Learn more at http://caskeyone.com

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Riding the "Close Wave"


Here in San Diego, California, surfing is more of a religion than a hobby. With some of the best surfing locales in the country, we're a beach culture. Unfortunately for me, balance and coordination have never been my strong points - and I tend to burn within 15 minutes in the sun.

That being said, I can still appreciate a good surfing metaphor. In this article, sales trainer Charles Fellingham gives you the details you need to ride the wave to closing the sale.

"As a former surfer I remember the euphoria of timing the paddle to the approaching wave and finding the right moment to stand, ride and celebrate on the shore, says Fellingham. "Setting up the sales close is much the same. Salespeople become great closers when they find their timing to lead the process through to the close. If we do it right, we can create our own wave and easily maneuver a commitment, not a wipeout."

1. Control the process
We are all taught to control the sales process from beginning to end. You do this by keeping the dialogue on the sources of value that are most important to the buyer. (Price, Quality, Risk and Support). When sales people control the process from beginning to end , they have the most powerful closing statement at their disposal, "...Here's what we need to do next."

2. Setup the Close
The final close of any sales effort is the summary of how the product or service satisfies the client's specific needs and the benefits derived from its use. An effective summary is a point by point description of the solution and benefits to the essential parts of the client's issues. Each is point is followed by a trial close or test for agreement for each point and its benefit. Affirmative responses move the process forward.

3. Appeal to Logic
We all make decisions based upon logic but we move to action based upon emotion. As sales people we have appealed to logic throughout the sales process by attaching sources of evidence to each value statement (fact + benefit + evidence). It is then time to appeal to the emotional side.

4. Appeal to Emotion - Visualize the Benefits
This method creates a sense of urgency in the mind of the buyer. After the summaries and trial closes the final close is set up by asking the buyer to visualize enjoying the benefits of the product or service. You will have to craft this visualization and describe it to the buyer. If you know them well enough to hit their "why" with precision, you will win. When delivered effectively the closing statement, "...here's what we need to do next..." is a natural follow on.

5. Know the end game
The moment buyers commit is emotionally rewarding for the salesperson. Yet it is important to keep our wits about us because there is still work to be done to complete the sale through negotiation. Securing the buyer's commitment in writing is essential and, where a contract is involved, knowing the details of the completion of the deal is a must. Clumsy execution at this point can cause doubt and has been known to squash the deal. Know your process to signature well and make this a smooth and positive experience to the buyer, and a clean ride to shore for you.

"The best surfers I have known have complete control of the ride," says Fellingham. "They anticipate the subtle changes that their environment presents and make adjustments accordingly. So, when you find yourself in the end game: create the wave, stay agile to sudden changes and celebrate on the beach."

Charles Fellingham is a former surfer, a certified Dale Carnegie Instructor and Sales Trainer for the Forum Corporation of Boston. In addition, he is Founder of www.QAlias.com, a personal branding tool for personal web search optimization. You can also find his writings on www.PersonalBrandsOnline.com
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Monday, May 12, 2008

Quote of the Week

"The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word "crisis." One brush stroke stands for danger, the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of danger - but recognize the opportunity." -- John F. Kennedy

Current economic conditions seem to be spelling "crisis" for most businesses. Now is the time to recognize the opportunity for you to shine with your customers. How can you help them weather the storm? What can you do to seize opportunities that now exist because of the economic "crisis"?

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Friday, May 9, 2008

SalesDog Quick Tip

Never assume that a prospect received, saw, or heard your message. When prospects don't respond, instead of feeling rejected or wondering what you did wrong, it's much more productive to ask yourself, "What should I try next?"

Don't let your self-doubt get the best of you. A prospect's lack of response has no meaning unless you give it one. There's no way for you to know why you didn't get a reply; it may have nothing to do with you at all.

Today's quick tip comes from C.J. Hayden, author of Get Clients Now! Learn more at her website, www.getclientsnow.com
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Thursday, May 8, 2008

What You Need to Succeed in Tough Times

If you are a manager worried about maintaining sales momentum in a shrinking economy, you will want to check out Selling Power's Sales Leadership Conference to be held next month in Philadelphia.

This is your opportunity to:
  • Learn how to inspire your team and build a high performance sales organization
  • Discover exactly how top organizations are outselling their competitors using the latest sales productivity technology.
  • Network with the CEOs and sales leaders from America's top companies (The face-to-face networking opportunities alone are priceless.)
You have until midnight tonight (Central time) to get the early bird discount. Click here for full details. While you're here, check out the video about the event on the page - very interesting.
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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Monitor Your Messages

Communication is the key to success in sales. Whether it is in person, over the phone, or via email, your clients are buying because they have communicated a need to you, and you have communicated a solution to them.

If communication has stalled between you and your prospect, it could be due to incongruence in the messages your words and body language are sending. Change management expert Kevin Dwyer suggests you watch out for the following communication sin - most people don't realize they're committing it.

Incongruence

When a person speaks, the audience is attempting to assess whether we are sincere or not about what we say, and they take into account the following:
  • The words we use - The content and knowledge of our topic, counts for 7 percent of their perception
  • How we speak - Including our tone, pitch and inflection, counts for 35 percent of their perception
  • Our visual presence - Our body language counts for 55 percent of their perception
Some examples of incongruence between words, tone and body which scuttles our message are:
  • Talking about open communication and frowning at difficult questions (body language versus words).
  • Reading from a speech in a monotone voice about how excited we are about the future (body language and tone and pace of voice versus words).
  • Saying, "I take full accountability" for an error without expressing what the consequences of the accountability entail (words versus words).
The next time you're communicating with a prospect, try to monitor the messages you're sending. Do your words and body language match up? Do the words in your sentences support each other? Do this, and you'll get the message across - and get the sale!

Kevin Dwyer is President of Change Factory, a change management company that helps businesses get better outcomes by managing a change in their people's behavior. Learn more at www.changefactory.com.au

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Jeffrey Gitomer's The Sales Bible Revised Edition Released Today


Jeffrey Gitomer is releasing a revised version of The Sales Bible today, Tuesday, May 6. It's been reworked, added to, rewritten, and has the look and feel of his other popular title in his Little Book Series - complete with cartoons, a page marker, and Jeffrey's all new 10.5 Commandments of Sales Success. This 300-page bible is THE must-have title for sales professionals who've already come to know and trust Jeffrey's inventive, irreverent sales wisdom through his Little Book Series.

When you get your copy at Amazon today you can receive hundreds of dollars worth of downloadable e-books, white papers, audio and video files from top sales and business growth leaders, including SalesDog.com. For more details about the offer, go to: http://www.gitomer.com/newsalesbible.

Buy the book at Amazon today, then email your receipt to: [email protected] to get your bonus gifts. It's that simple.
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Monday, May 5, 2008

Quote of the Week

"Never let anyone tell you no who doesn't have the power to say yes." -- Eleanor Roosevelt, U.S. former first lady, U.N. diplomat, humanitarian

Wise words for every selling professional. Keep them in mind the next time you find yourself stymied by lower-level operatives. Remember: aim high!
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Friday, May 2, 2008

SalesDog Quick Tip

Don't send information before the cold call. Busy decision-makers toss unsolicited, bulging packages of literature with form letters. Starting out a cold call with, "I sent you a letter, didja get it?" rarely elicits a response like, "Oh yeah. You're that guy. I want to meet with you!"

Today's quick tip comes from Art Sobczak, president of Business By Phone Inc.
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Thursday, May 1, 2008

4 Essential Tips on How to Make a Perfect Follow-up Call

Most people look at cold calling as the hardest part of the sales process. After you've made that first call, it gets easier from there, right? Maybe not, according to telesales expert Jim Domanski. "In many ways, a follow-up call to a prospect is more challenging than a cold call," says Domanski. "Typically, it's the follow-up call that really gets the sales cycle rolling. It's here where value truly begins to manifest itself. It's here where substantive information is gathered, and it's here where the relationship begins to establish itself."

For those reasons, it's absolutely vital you have superb follow up strategies and tactics so you can make the most of the moment. Here are four tips from Domanski to make the perfect follow-up call:

1) Get commitment for the follow up. Perhaps the single biggest mistake reps make is not establishing a specific date and time for the follow up call at the end of the initial call. Vague commitments from the prospects ("call me next week") or the sales rep ("I'll send the proposal and follow up in a couple of days") result in missed calls, voice mail messages and ultimately a longer sales cycle. All you need to do is simply ask for a follow up date and time. For instance:

I'll be glad to write up the proposal (quote, whatever) and e-mail it to you. And what I would like to recommend is that we set up Tuesday, the 16th, at say, 8:45 to review it in detail and determine the next steps if any. How does that sound?

If this is not a good time, recommend another time. If that doesn't work, get them to establish a time and date. Creating a deadline is a simple but extremely powerful tactic. Use it.

2) Build equity and be remembered. After every call to a first time prospect, send a thank you card. Handwrite a message on a small thank you card that simply says, "John, thank you for taking the time speaking with me today. I look forward to chatting with you further on the 16th! Kind regards..." No more, no less.

In today's fast paced world, a hand written card tells the client that you took the time and the effort to do something a little different. At some level this registers in the client's mind and creates a degree of "equity" in you. It differentiates you and it gets remembered.

3) E-mail a reminder and an agenda. The day before your follow up call, send an e-mail to your prospect to remind them of your appointment. In the subject line write, "Telephone appointment for August 16th and article of interest." Your e-mail should confirm the date and time of the appointment and then briefly list your agenda:

"John, the call should only take 10 minutes. We'll review the proposal and I'll answer any questions. And then we'll determine the next steps, if any."

Notice how the words echo the words that were used when the follow up was initially set. In particular, notice the trigger phrase "...the next steps, if any." The "if any" will help reduce some of the "stress" or concern a first-time prospect might have. Often they skip out on the follow up call because they are worried that they'll have to make a commitment. This is natural and okay. If the prospect senses an easy, informal, no pressure type of phone call, he is more likely to show up on time for that call.

4) Add value in a P.S. Notice in the subject line there is a reference to an article. At the end of your e-mail add a P.S. that says,

"John, in the meantime, here's an article I though you might enjoy reading..."

The article may be about your industry, the market, a product or better yet, something non-business related that you had discussed in your initial call. This creates tremendous value even if the client does not open it. Why? Because you took the time to do something extra. This helps get you remembered and gives the client yet another reason to take your follow up call.

Jim Domanski is the President of Teleconcepts Consulting Inc. Since 1991, Teleconcepts Consulting has been working with B2B distributors, resellers, manufacturers, service related industries and others, helping them increase the bottom line of their tele-sales programs. Learn more at www.teleconceptsconsulting.com
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