Archive for the Prospecting Tips Category

Gold Bars and Golden Nuggets

Posted in Prospecting Tips, Sales Coaching, Selling Techniques, southwestern company, Southwestern Consulting with tags , , on November 4, 2010 by Dustin Hillis

Paying attention to every single word that comes out of someone’s mouth is as valuable as gold bars.

“Golden Nuggets” is the term we use at Southwestern Consulting to describe the seemingly insignificant things that people say throughout the course of conversation. A common denominator amongst most successful “influencers” of people is that they pay attention to every word that comes out of someone’s mouth.
Earlier this year, I was following a sales rep in the field for a sales performance consulting project. I was perplexed how many things the prospect was saying that the sales rep wasn’t paying attention to. It was like gold bars flying out of the prospects mouth, and instead of taking out a net and catching the gold bars, the sales rep was dodging them and trying to get through their presentation as fast as possible.

So what are the little things you should be listening for?
Here is a list of “golden nuggets”:
– hobbies and things they do for fun
– people they know that you know as well
– things that they are interested in
– what they like about your product or service
– their answer to all of your questions
– people they say would be interested in your product or service
– what they don’t like about the current service provider
– why they didn’t buy from the last person they talked with
– why they accepted the meeting with you
– what grade their kids are in
– where they work
– what area of town they live in
– where they grew up
– what they say after you answer their objections
– why they bought
– why someone didn’t buy
– what they like the best about your product or service
– what kind of dog they have
– what kind of car they drive
– their favorite sport
– how they know the referrals they gave you
– what they did before the job they’re at now

Take a look at this list and ask yourself “how effective am I at getting ‘golden nuggets,’ remembering them, and then using that information at the right time to answer objections, influence someone to see things my way, set an appointment, or close a sale?” I recommend creating a “Golden Nugget” note book that you write down all of the detailed information you gather about the people that you interact with daily. Then before every meeting or phone call where you’re talking with someone that you’ve got “golden nuggets” about, you pull out your “golden nugget” notebook and review the valuable information you know about them before engaging with them.

Have fun gold digging!

Ipad= Thumbs Up

Posted in Prospecting Tips, Sales Tips with tags on August 24, 2010 by Dustin Hillis

We are blessed to live in the information age.  The ability to communicate has never been better.

According to a Gallup study the number one way to communicate with someone under the age of 30 is text messaging, and the number two preferred form of communication is social media.  It is vitally important to use the cutting edge tools that are available help you present your message or product to demonstrate the difference between you and the competition.  Not taking advantage of the technology that is available is like in the Roman Empire days deciding that you would prefer to go to battle without a shield… it would be crazy!

Sales Tools

Sales Tools

The modern day shield of the Information Age is the Apple Ipad.  I recently started using an Ipad for sales presentations…. and I feel like I did the first time I drove a Lexus- Smooth, dependable, fast, and classy.

A crucial application with the Ipad is documents-to-go.  It transfers all your documents from your laptop over to the Ipad!  Make sure to start creating all your presentations on Keynote, it is the James Bond of power points.  Last but not least, the portable keyboard is a must!

My HP notepad is great, my Droid X is great… but my Ipad is incredible!

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The Follow-Up by Amanda Johns

Posted in Prospecting Tips, Sales Tips, southwestern company with tags , , , on June 7, 2010 by Dustin Hillis

Amanda Johns is this weeks contributor. She is an expert speaker,  sales  coach and trainer from the professional sales consulting division of the Southwestern Company- Southwestern Consulting. 

 

The challenge with follow-up is not that we don’t know how to do it; it is that we know we should do it and just don’t.

It is not that we don’t think follow up is important… We know it is important, but it is scheduling the time to do it, remembering to do it, worrying “are we being bothersome”.  So how much is too much? When should we follow-up, and for what?  Or what if we don’t have a reason? And really I think the key to having an effective follow-up system is to manage it as part business and part personal.

Part of it is your “relationship follow-up”, as much as it is your “business follow-up”. Let’s be honest, the way business is today you have to follow-up and you have to be in front of your client. To really have that long term business, you really need to have a relationship with your client… So if you’re not talking to them every week and they are not your best friend, then the best way to do that is to constantly be in front of them, on a daily weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis.

Southwestern Company

 

Here are 5 key ideas to helping systemize follow-up:

1.  The first idea to follow-up is self explanatory, schedule it. Just schedule your follow-ups. When you talk to someone, as soon as you hang up the phone, you should be scheduling out the next call or the next time that you need to follow-up with them in your day planner, outlook, or in any other sort of CRM that you use, its a gold mind. I don’t even care if it is a spreadsheet, but as soon as you leave a meeting or you hang up the phone call, the first thing that you should do is schedule in your calendar the next time you are going to reach out to them. I don’t care if it is a meeting, a phone call, a card, or even an email; schedule it the second you hang up. Because if you don’t do it, well, we know what happens, we don’t schedule it and we then forget. And two months goes by and you are like, “man I completely forgot I was supposed to follow-up with them.”   When you follow-up, when you actually verbally say you will, it makes a big difference in your prospects’ recognition of your reliability. So the first idea is to schedule it.

2.  The second idea is to send thank you cards. Not just thank you cards, but send “cards – cards”. Whether it be a holiday card, an anniversary card, maybe you send a birthday card, it doesn’t matter. This is that personal touch we were talking about. The first key “scheduling it” is the business touch, that is logical and strategic. The second touch is the personal side, you are trying to build a relationship. Now, my favorite way if sending cards is using, Send Out Cards. You take an hour one time a year and you schedule your card follow- up for the rest of the year. You enter in their information, their address, you pick out a card and then Send Out Cards sends these cards, physical cards, out for you for the rest of the year.  You don’t even need to think about it again. However, hand written thank you cards are still very important. After, you first have an initial meeting, send a hand written thank you card; it shows detail, it shows that you want to have an involvement, or that you are relationship oriented. Those little things make a big difference when it comes to follow-up. 

3.  The third step in follow up is using social media. Some of you may be reluctant to using social media, but like it or not that is we’re we are heading. It is the wave of the future and this is personalized. Most of you have probably heard this statistic before if you have been to our conference, but the second fastest growing group of people that is on Facebook is seventy and older. Social Media is touching all generations, you can either jump on the bandwagon or you can resist it until you don’t have a choice anymore. The nice thing about social media is that you can give up to date information.  Your constantly in front of the people that you are connected to on a minute-by-minute basis. If you post something, anyone that gets on to that network are going to see you every single day that they are on there. Every single time that they log on they are going to see your face and your name. That is the kind of interaction that we want to have in today’s market. It does not matter if it is not specifically relative.  Maybe you are just posting a good summary from an article or a motivational quote, you just want to be in front of people as often as possible.

4.  The fourth idea to follow-up is monthly touches…preferably, in an email. Paper mailings are more expensive and they are kind of going extinct. Because of the eco-friendly environment that we are living in and also they just tend to get lost in the clutter. Not that emails and e-zines don’t, but they are cheaper and they have a faster delivery time. Sending a monthly email, whether it be an easing, a company newsletter, or maybe you did a blog posting once a month that you send out to everybody to get more information, but having that monthly business appeal makes a big difference to you client. So, if you are in financial services, sending out a monthly update on what the market is doing and what is going on in the industry, is probably slightly relevant to the majority of your client base; but in taking that extra effort to send out information that is important to your client.  Send out a monthly newsletter or e-zine of some sort.

5.  The fifth idea is telephone all of your current client base, if you don’t talk to them on a regular bases, you need to. I am not saying that you need to call them every month, you don’t. But you do need to make a habit of making a personal phone call to every single one of your clients on a quarterly bases. Don’t let the whole year go by without talking to your client, because probably what is going to happen is that somebody else has been calling them every month and before you know it they are not going to be your client anymore. It has happened to me and I have done it to people, but whoever is going to be in front of you is who you are going to work with. Make sure that you are always the one in front of your client. 

Those are the five key ideas of adding some systematic follow-up. It is using Outlook, scheduling it, sending out cards or using SendOutCards if that works for you.  It is social media, sending a monthly news letter or email and a quarterly phone call. I hope at least one of those ideas works for every single one of you out there and I’m wishing you a lot of good luck in your follow-up.  For more information on tips for follow-up, or to secure your own sales coach, please visit www.southwesternconsulting.com

THE TRIPLE THREAT – THREE TOP LEAD GENERATION TECHNIQUES

Posted in Prospecting Tips, Sales Tips, Selling Techniques, southwestern company with tags , , , on October 21, 2009 by Dustin Hillis

lead-generationIf you’ve been in sales for more than five minutes then you already know that generating leads is a mainstay and a staple for success.  Unfortunately, far too many sales people find lead generation to be intimidating.  The good news is lead generation and lead generation techniques do not have to be intimidating, scary, or even difficult.

While there are a plethora of varying lead generation techniques, some of them stand out among peers area this week, we’ve decided to put together a triple threat of lead generation.  Three of our very favorite lead generation techniques to help you maximize your sales potential in turn your leads into customers are as follows:

  • First of all, use your resources.  Use your social networks, newsletters, websites, question and answer forums, and any other networking opportunity that will allow you to put your name and your information out into cyberspace.  For example, check out www.dhillis.me.  Not only that, getting your name out into tangible media will also be of benefit.  For example, if you have a product that you know is persistent genre of customer will require, target that audience with newspaper advertisements, flyers, and snail mail postcards.

 

  • Put yourself out there.  Basically, if you’ve had the opportunity or will have the opportunity to speak publicly, attend a seminar, or become involved in a workshop or other events, you should spend some time networking with in that realm.  Far too many speakers will allow themselves to go in my day after speaking engagement.  If you’re speaking in public, be sure and set up a short Q&A session.  A Q&A session, or simply a meet and greet, will let your potential customers (a.k.a. your leads) know that you’re accessible and available.

 

  • And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals.  Every time a prior customer, who is happy with your service gives you a name or number of someone else who might be happy with your service also… you’ve generated a lead.  This is an area where many sales people feel intimidated are uncomfortable.  However, if you’re passionate about your industry, confident in your abilities, and you’re laid-back and your approach — your customers will be more than willing to provide you with referrals to friends and family.

 

These are just three of many, many lead generation techniques — however, we have to reiterate the fact that these three are a triple threat and stand out among the rest.  Simply adding Beasley generation techniques to your lead repertoire will provide you with results you never before thought possible.

For more info on working referrals go here: http://secure.ssnseminars.com/store/Navigate-How-to-Navigate-Referrals-3-disc-set-by-Dustin-Hillis-P641C10.aspx

Lead Generation Tips: The Golden Ten

Posted in Prospecting Tips, Sales Coaching, Sales Tips, Selling Techniques with tags , , , on October 12, 2009 by Dustin Hillis

The “Golden Ten” – how to Generate Leads and Turn Contacts into Clients!

One of the most important things you need to ensure sales success is a solid resource of leads…but that means you will have to get out there and generate those leads!  The good news is that lead generation doesn’t have to be intimidating and if you use the right techniques, it can actually be both productive and fun!  Because this is such a common sales question, we’ve put together the “Golden Ten” tips for generating leads.

So, without further adieu, “The Golden Ten”: 
 

The Golden Ten

The Golden Ten

1)      Use your networking resources!  Exchange URL links with companies or business that share your target audience but do not represent a direct competitor.  When any member of that target audience visits your “partner’s” web page, he or she will have direct access to YOU!  Increasing web traffic is a MUST in lead generation; more people use the Web as a shopping forum than another other available source. For example www.southwestern.com and www.southwesternconsulting.com shares web traffic to help increase web traffic from the Southwestern Company to Southwestern Consulting.

2)      Give your patrons a chance to hear from you.  Put your ‘opt in’ on every page of your web site. As a patron browses your site, he or she may not be immediately inclined to provide you with contact information – but providing them with more opportunities may prove enticing.  The more opportunities you take to generate leads – the better.  This option is convenient and is not overly pushy.    For example check out the Southwestern Company seminar website at http://www.ssnseminars.com/.

3)      Use a newsletter as a way to advertise your business.  No matter what’s going on with your company, customers will respond to a newsletter option.  Giving potential patrons an option to sign up for a monthly business update or newsletter is a great way to spark interest even over a long period of time.  Statistically, customers who don’t purchase immediately will make a purchase within the subsequent 12 months!  A newsletter will allow you to stay in view during this window.

4)      Using a website to advertise your service is one of the best ways to stay out in front of the sales wave, especially since so much of business is virtual these days.  Using an auto responder to automate your website is great way to keep your web page current without taking up scads of time.  Auto responders can be set up to send out a periodic update or email reminding your customers of sales, new products, etc.  Check out the Southwestern Company website at www.southwestern.com.

5)      Be personable! Send thank you notes to let your clients know that you truly appreciate their business.  After any successful transaction, issue a thank you – either in the form of a greeting card or an e-postcard.  This thank you note will help you stand out and is very well received in client circles.  People appreciate acknowledgment.  You can use this technique in all areas of business – not just sales.

6)      Potential customers like to hear what other customers are saying.  Ask your clients for testimonials that can be published on your web page or your sales copy, pamphlets, etc.  This is a great way to show your customers that other “real” people are truly happy with your services.  Video testimonials work great check out the Southwestern Company student testimonial video http://www.southwesternsummer.com/southwestern-company-students-home.aspx.

7)      Use your social networking circles.  Social networking is the wave of the sales future!  If you haven’t yet explored the option of using social networking as part of your sales strategy, today is the day to do so!  Spend some time looking into this powerful tool and don’t let the wave of the future pass you buy!  Check out the Southwestern Company Facebook site at http://www.facebook.com/?sk=messages&tid=1374284354847#!/Southwestern?ref=ts.

8)      Publish press releases for new products or services.  Believe it or not, people respond to the press in a way that most other advertising falls short.  Use the power of the press release to get your services and your name out anytime a new opportunity comes up.  You’ll be surprised at the response you get.

9)      Followup, Followup, Followup!  Did you know that most people have to see or hear a message 7 times before it is installed in the “memory bank”?  That means that a followup system that get’s your message in front of potential customers at least 7 times is ideal.  Using varying options for this followup should be easy: an email, a postcard, a letter, a phone call, a newsletter…get creative and have fun with it!

10)   Market yourself with events!  Promote events, teleclasses, seminars, and other industry related paraphernalia.  Speak publicly as often as possible and use YOU as a resource.  Marketing yourself will be just as important as marketing your business.  Plus, getting out there and showing what you’ve got and what you can do will draw customers like moths to a flame!

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