Winning with Leslie Groene March 2015
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Selling Best Practices! Part 1
Prospect Sometime!!
Salespeople across all industries and experience levels ask me this question: What is the best time to prospect? The reason they ask is because they are trying to avoid making the calls so they as use the best time as the excuse.
The best time to make a call is any time you will actually make the call!
Prospecting is the most important activity in sales. It is also frustrating and uncomfortable. No matter how much you wish it to be different, the vast majority of your calls will go to voice mail, you will deal with rude gatekeepers, and you will often catch prospects at the worst possible time in their day. That is life in the sales world. And despite the ongoing fantasy that there is some magical time when prospects will welcome your call with a kind voice and an open mind, nothing will change this fact.
One way to follow up with senior-level decision makers is to call either quite early in the morning (say around 7:30am) or late in the day (after 5pm), without leaving a message if I don't get a person. By calling at these times, the decision makers are often alone in the office without a gatekeeper, and therefore more likely to pick up calls themselves.

Phone a Friend!
Being a business development sales rep can be challenging and sometimes overwhelming. When you need an encouraging word to stick it out and stay in the game (you can't play or win if you're not in the game) have a friend or colleague you trust give you a reality check or pep talk. Sometimes we need to "phone a friend" that understands the complexities of a relationship sales career. It is crucial that we surround ourselves with strong mentors and supportive colleagues!

Refreshment Delivery
How about a bagel, donut or coffee delivery to help build relationships? We have all been in environments where there are snacks and everyone comes to that area to enjoy a treat. Use this to celebrate a small holiday celebration, thank a client, meet new contacts, and at the same time you can leave a snappy, relevant sample or compelling case study. Make the effort to go see your clients in person! Many clients don't have time for lunch these how about bringing in lunch that will result in a low key way to have an effective meeting? You will discover that folks will come out of their offices to enjoy the food you bring. One of my clients has a favorite gourmet sandwich shop that he told a client all about in advance of his scheduled group presentation. He ordered their sandwiches and then picked them up prior to the meeting. It was a big hit for them and the sales rep!

Getting Ready or Getting Busy?!
In sales, there are getting-ready activities, and there are getting-busy activities. Unfortunately, too many salespeople (one in four) are getting ready to get ready. There is a time to get ready and a time to get busy. Getting ready is planning, preparation, and rehearsal. Too much getting ready and you're procrastinating, which is really avoidance behavior. These are the people who stare down the gun sight of life but rarely pull the trigger. Getting ready is important, but getting busy is imperative to your success. You have to be willing to pick up the phone, go out and visit a client and continue to build relationships.

Focus Point
46. Spend your time with people who won't waste your time.
In real estate circles, we've all heard of the Looky-Lou, a seeming potential buyer who is either unwilling or unable to actually purchase a property. Other business settings have their Paper Tigers who act as if they have the authority to deal but don't. But the reality is the same for the sales people who encounter either: Usually a complete waste of time.

Some prospects require more time to close than others. For example, I called on a large bank for two years before the buyer gave me my first order. I had to spend more and more time with her and build up her trust in me until she had the confidence to give me a chance.

Conversely, try to identify real decision-makers in companies, families and other settings as soon as possible. Tom and I have heard war stories about salespeople who wasted hundreds of hours with clients who were not prepared or able to consummate the deal. When it happens to you, and it will, simply cut your losses and move on to the next qualified buyer.

Unfortunately, there is no way to categorically know someone is not going to deliver. So I advise my clients to set a limit in their minds in terms of time and energy. When they reach that limit, my clients find a professional way to either terminate their efforts or "close the deal." This latter option can be a delicate process; we'll discuss examples in later chapters that dissect the sales process.

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