Do It! Marketing Blog: Marketing for Smart People™

Your Biggest, Nastiest, Stupidest, Most Expensive Sales Mistake

doit marketing, biggest dumbest most expensive sales mistakeOne of my favorite sales gurus is Scott Messer of Sales Evolution. Not only is Scott a good friend, he is a sales expert and master sales coach.

This post will help you solve Your Biggest, Nastiest, Stupidest, Most Expensive Sales Mistake... and give you several of Scott's brilliant sound bites to help you improve your sales success.

We're talking about a BIG sales mistake you probably made last week, will make again this week, and -- unless you heed Scott's wisdom -- will make next week again. 

All of which will cost you THOUSANDS if not TENS of thousands of dollars in lost sales. 

Scary, right? 

What is this big, nasty, pervasive, expensive sales mistake? 

Here it is: Not being a fanatic about collecting decisions from prospects.

Scott says selling is 100% about collecting decisions.

It's not about getting yeses, it's not about closing gimmicks. It's simply about being tenacious about taking prospects down a path (aka your sales process) to help them make a clear and definitive DECISION. As in "Yes" or "No."

Not "Let me think about it" - not "I'll get back to you" - not "circle back with me next week" - not anything other than a firm date and time on the prospect's calendar for you to hear "YES" or "NO." 

How do you do this? Simple - Scott recommends that at every step of the sales process, put a date and time on the calendar for a "decision call." Here's how to ask: 

  • Let's put a date and time on the calendar for us to discuss your decision
  • Let's put a pushpin in the calendar for us to reconnect about your decision
  • Because you and I are both so busy, let's put a date and time on the calendar so you can tell me "Yes" or "No" or to answer any final questions you may have for me

Scott recommends that you forget about your sales pipeline - forget about your number of first appointments, forget about your number of "hot leads" - there is ONE and ONLY ONE measure of how healthy your sales pipeline truly is. 

That measure is - how many decision calls are on your calendar? A decision call, by the way, needs to be not only on YOUR calendar - it needs to be on your PROSPECT'S calendar because it is their responsibility to make one AND communicate it to you on that call. 

Example: I had a prospect call me two weeks ago. Let's call him Paul (which is cool because his name is really... Paul.) 

All was going well. Then I got a little derailed when he asked for references. Ordinarily, I would set a decision call by asking him, "When will you make time to call my reference folks? Let's make a time to discuss your decision after that." 

But I goofed. I was in a hurry. I let Paul wander off with no decision date on the calendar. When I called him this morning to circle back, he told me that he had gotten "distracted" and had not called the references at all. He then said, "I'll get back to you within three weeks." 

I laughed. 

Instinctively, I said, "You'll get back to me in three weeks because you're the kind of guy who likes to take lots and lots of time to make a decision and have people like me chasing you endlessly and leaving message after message and email after email when the real answer is no." 

Yup, I said that.

Out loud.

Right to Paul's face. 

Why? Because to quote another Scott Messer sound bite - "You can't blow up a good prospect." 

Paul laughed and admitted that he did NOT, in fact, enjoy being chased endlessly. 

So I put Paul out of his misery and fired him as a prospect. Here's how that sounded: 

"Paul, I'll put you down as a "No" for now. If you'd like to revisit working together, you know where to find me." 

He was perfectly cool with that. So I knew the deal was dead.

I've used that "No for now" line in the past and GOOD prospects will jump in with "No, no, no I definitely want to work with you. I just need more time to..." and they put themselves back into the active prospect column.

What do I do then? You guessed it - we set a decision call on the calendar. 

Anyway, back to Paul... I wanted to put a nail in the coffin so I sent the following email after we hung up the phone: 



Because you are no longer an active prospect, please do NOT call the folks I sent as references.  

As I'm sure you can appreciate, references are precious and I do not want to burn out my reference folks by speaking with less than 100% committed prospects. (I probably should not have given you references this early in the process anyway. My mistake.)  

Best of luck on your adventures and thank you in advance for respecting my wishes.  

-- David


So the lesson is - be relentless with setting your decision calls. There is no other single determining factor that's more important to your sales success.

Trust me - I make more money when I relentlessly implement Scott's "decision call" philosophy. And I make less money when I don't!

Tags: sales prospecting mistakes, big nasty dumb stupid expensive sales mistake, doit marketing, marketing speaker, marketing coach

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Use the COMMENTS area below to leave your advice, insights and recommendations on these ideas to boost your sales success...

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Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing for coaches, thought leadership marketing, marketing professional services, trusted advisor marketing, marketing professional services firms, sales rejection, sales prospecting, marketing coaching, marketing coach, success tips, marketing consultant, marketing for authors, marketing for consultants, doit marketing, do it marketing, doitmarketing, sales and marketing, frustration

Marketing Coach: Master the Cold Call Once and for All

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You hate cold calling, yeah, yeah, I know BUT...

Truth is, nothing beats having a voice-to-voice conversation with a real prospect. And when you reach prospects, you have less than 30 seconds to interest and engage them. Make a mistake and there are no second chances.

You need to have a solid, proven plan to engage your prospects by phone and consistently win them over so that more sales happen.

Join me as I interview Wendy Weiss, the "Queen of Cold Calling," for this empowering call where you will get specific answers to:

  • Why cold call at all? Is it old-fashioned? Does it even work?
  • Haven’t e-mail and social media replaced cold calling?
  • How do I know whom to call?
  • What should I say? 
  • What is a good generic script?
  • How can I convince prospects to speak with me without giving them the feeling I’m trying to ‘sell’ them something? 
  • How do I deal with voicemail? Should I leave a message?
  • Why doesn’t anyone ever call me back?
  • And a whole lot more...

We'll have room on the teleseminar line for 100 people so take 10 seconds to register now so you don't miss out.

Tags: marketing for speakers, consultant marketing, thought leadership marketing, keynote speaker, business coaching, trusted advisor marketing, marketing expert, sales rejection, sales prospecting, marketing coaching, marketing coach, marketing for authors, marketing for consultants, doit marketing, do it marketing, doitmarketing, sales and marketing, lead generation

Marketing Coach: Close More Sales

doitmarketing close more salesClosing effectively is all about answering this question: "What can you do to minimize the risk to the prospect of buying your product or service?"

Look at all the products out on the market that offer risk-free, money back guarantees. Do you offer guarantees, warrantees, refunds, free trials or make-ups?

In today’s “do more with less” business environment, many economic decision-makers have a new top priority – and it’s NOT “Making the very best choice.”

It is “Not making a mistake that will cost me my job.”

If you can reassure someone with this mindset that buying from you is smart and safe and risk-free, you will automatically close more sales.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How can I provide a free version of my product or service?
  • What can I learn from the auto industry’s new trend of “the 24-hour test drive”?
  • What does the buyer have to lose if they buy from me?
  • What do they have to gain?
  • How can I ensure the buyer’s success – not just their satisfaction?
  • How can I employ the concept of risk-reversal – meaning that the risk is all on my side if they don’t achieve success?

When most sales training programs talk about overcoming objections, they usually don’t discuss the real objections that are in most buyers’ minds. These are things like:

  • "I don’t trust you"
  • "I don’t believe this will get the results you say it will"
  • "This sounds too good to be true"
  • "If this works, I would have heard of this solution already"
  • "Who says so besides you?"

You should understand (and expect) that people probably will not trust you in the beginning of the sales process.

They have been sold stuff all their lives “against their will.”

They bought the steak knives, the late-night infomercial real estate program, the Girl Scout cookies, the raffle ticket, or the used car and regretted it later. (OK maybe not the cookies.) Trust has to be earned over time.

To address these aspects of buyer resistance, you can use a battery of smart sales tools.

You may be using some of these already, but the more you pile on, the more effective they will be.

Start to collect, document, and use:

  • Client testimonials (letters are good; audio and video are even better)
  • Awards and industry recognition of your product/service
  • Press clippings and articles mentioning you or your clients using your product/service
  • Objective, fact-based side-by-side comparisons with competing products/services
  • Cost analyses and comparisons between using your product/service, using the competition, doing it themselves, and doing nothing

All of these items will help you reduce risk, build credibility, and pave the way for closing more sales - even to your toughest prospects!

Tags: Marketing speaker, marketing coach, close more sales, marketing for speakers, marketing for authors, professional services marketing, selling professional services

What do YOU think? Please use the COMMENTS area below to share your advice, insights and recommendations on these ideas and join the conversation...

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Tags: marketing for speakers, thought leadership marketing, marketing professional services, professional services marketing, trusted advisor marketing, sales rejection, sales prospecting, marketing consultant, marketing for authors, marketing for consultants, doit marketing, do it marketing, doitmarketing, sales and marketing

Do It! Marketing Podcast: Speaker Marketing with Jim Mathis

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Late to the party but still ready to have fun... share smart marketing ideas... and put money in YOUR pocket...  

Please give a warm welcome to...

The Do It! Marketing podcast!!!

In this episode, my guest is author and professional speaker Jim Matthis. 

Jim is an international Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), business strategist and best-selling author. He helps business leaders who want to reinvent their businesses in changing economic climates.

Jim is also the author of the best-selling book: “Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results,” and “Reinvention 101: Bold Ideas for Reinvention.”

Jim talks with me about the business of speaking AND how executives and entrepreneurs can punch through the noise and sell more effectively - even to prospects who are lazy, busy, and befuddled!

Listen in and then share YOUR advice, insights and recommendations in the COMMENTS area below... 

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Marketing Coach: Killer Sales Question for Trusted Advisors

Killer Sales Question for Trusted AdvisorsAs a marketing coach who works with thought-leading executives and entrepreneurs, I conduct between 4-7 sales conversations every single week with new prospects.

Some of these folks know me from having heard one of my marketing keynotes, seminars, or teleseminars.

Others are total strangers.

You are probably in the same boat if you're an independent professional, consultant or high-fee trusted advisor... 

As a point of reference, my prospects are looking for coaching or consulting around a variety of issues like:

  • Self-marketing for non-selling professionals
  • Speaker marketing strategy
  • Thought leadership marketing
  • Live Content Platform programs for business leaders who speak
  • Book marketing, packaging and coaching

In all of these cases, I field questions very similar to the questions YOU must get from your prospects: 

  • What can you guarantee?
  • What kind of concrete ROI can I expect?
  • Can I get references from people you've worked with?

Here's the Killer Sales Question that will take your prospecting to a whole new level by getting to the REAL root cause of these types of questions... 

Are you ready? 

Jot this one down, 'cuz it's a keeper... 

YOU: "I understand your question and you'll get my answer in a minute. But first, let me ask YOU a tough question... It sounds like you're not sure if this program will work for you. So are you having doubts about ME -- or are you having doubts about YOU?"

More often than not, this one question will turn the entire selling conversation into a much deeper, more meaningful dialogue around expectations, client responsibilities to implement, previous disappointing experiences they've had with other trusted advisors, and so on.

The moment someone mentions a negative previous experience with a trusted advisor of any kind, I stop the conversation dead in its tracks and ask this:

"When you say you were disappointed in your previous marketing coach, how much of that was on YOUR side of the equation, and how much of that was on THEIR side?"

NOW the real truth comes out - they'll admit that they THEMSELVES were partially (or mostly) responsible for the disappointing results.

Either they didn't implement, or they had crazy expectations, or they weren't fully committed to the relationship, or they kept some key information secret from their trusted advisor which hamstrung the work, etc., etc. 

You would be amazed to discover how often bad client behavior is attributed NOT to the client, but to the trusted advisor brought in to fix the situation. It's a classic case of "shoot the messenger" mentality. 

My answer? I shoot the prospect. I say, "Well, it sounds like you've been pretty badly burned in the past. We're probably not a fit since you have such a bad taste in your mouth from working with other people like me. If I had your horrible experience, I wouldn't hire me either! I don't want to waste any more of your time. Thank you for this conversation and I'm sorry that we won't be working together."

If they push back on this and they want to re-enter the sales conversation, great...

And if they don't, great! Let them go. They are not a good client for you. 

That's just the plain, hard truth. 

What do YOU think? Use the COMMENTS area below to share your advice, insights and recommendations on this topic... 

Killer sales question for coaches consultants advisors

Tags: marketing for speakers, marketing concept, thought leadership marketing, professional services marketing, trusted advisor marketing, sales prospecting, marketing coaching, professional speaker marketing, marketing coach, marketing consultant, marketing for consultants, doit marketing, do it marketing, sales and marketing, small business marketing coach