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Old    Flight007 (poser007)      Join Date: Nov 2004       02-24-2011, 12:42 PM Reply   
Iv'e beenin sales for 20 years mostly Biz to Biz. In all that time I have never had a product or service that I felt more strongly about. That being said I am finding it increasingly difficult to get the decision maker of the business to even sit down with me. If I go into 10 businesses I used to be able to pretty much sit down with 6-7 or at least make an appointment to see what I had. This week has been horrifying just to get an appointment. Now when i eventually do get the appointment they love it and we can usually go forward but I was curious to see how other sales people were being responded to in this economy.

Are you seeing the same thing out there as you make your sales calls? If so what are you doing different? Whats helping you? Whats not? Im a pretty straight shooter so i don't like to beat around the bush with my customers or potential customers. It is nearly impossible to give them a 30 second glip because they wont get it or see it until they give me their full attention for at least 10-15 minutes.

Oh one more thing, I only go into businesses I know could use my service, I don't want to waste their time or my own, and remember were not talking about existing customers this is about cold calling first visit to the business.
Old    Train (ttrigo)      Join Date: Dec 2004       02-24-2011, 1:43 PM Reply   
" It is nearly impossible to give them a 30 second glip because they wont get it or see it until they give me their full attention for at least 10-15 minutes."

what I had been learning from the decision makers (prior to my getting laid off) was that they wanted to see what you had to offer up front. they dont want to spend 10 - 15 minutes listening to your pitch, or watching your powerpoint presentation. they want to know right away, if you have something that may interest them. then, you can explain how it will make their business better, save them money, etc, etc.
that is my $.02.

oh yeah, one more thing. getting to the decision maker has been a biotch in this economy, so I butter up the assistant, receptionist, etc like they are the most important person on earth. make sure you know their names, and do whatever you can to know about the people in the pictures on their desk. you dont get to the boss without going through their assistant first.
Old    Brett Burrows (Riteride)      Join Date: Sep 2010       02-24-2011, 1:55 PM Reply   
Most are not looking for anything new but if you can price compete with something they are using they seem to respond.
Old    C.I.E. J-Rod (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       02-24-2011, 2:22 PM Reply   
These days, when companies have a business challenge they need help with, they take to the web, and their networks, to see what other companies are doing. Then they visit websites, blogs, webinars, etc, and do a ton of research before they are ever ready to engage with a Sales Rep.

We have a process and software that tells us which companies are on our website, what they are looking at, how fast they are acquiring the information, and stage of of buying cycle they are in. Our system automatically alerts me when a "Lead" reaches a certain score of level of active buying behavior.

I never have the awkward introduction where I'm hoping for enough time to tell people what we do before they slam the door on me. By the time I call them, they are expecting me. And I know they are a legit buyer.

What is your line of business?
Old    Flight007 (poser007)      Join Date: Nov 2004       02-24-2011, 4:04 PM Reply   
What I found is when someone asks me to explain what I do no matter what I am selling it usually gives them an easy out to just say ohhh yeah we don't need that. So for me I really need to cement the appointment.....I do try and give a small over view but let them know that there is so much more and what I just gave them was just the tip of the ice berg.

I sell a loyalty solution that not only brings back customers better then anything I have ever seen we have a way to bring in literally hundreds of new customers with a proprietary technology. No amount of advertising these guys can do can give them what my solution can. I have been in sales for 20 years and I have never been this passionette about a service. Just drives me nuts that the majority of these yahoos have been inoculated by sales people coming in day after day and have hardened the business owners. I did just come from an appointment that went pretty well, even if I don't end up helping the business create much greater profits from doing business with me I do appreciate their wilingness to hear what I have to share.
Old    Train (ttrigo)      Join Date: Dec 2004       02-24-2011, 4:35 PM Reply   
so what do you sell?
Old    Stanfield (stanfield)      Join Date: Mar 2004       02-24-2011, 5:01 PM Reply   
You sound like a MLM representative to be honest. People ask you a direct question about what you sell, only for the question to be dodged and the response to be nothing but how much money you can make them, how many new customers you can bring, and how much you believe in this "product/service". Seriously, what is it already or STFU? In this economy, no decision maker of any business wants to hear this nonsense. You're either coming correct with a product they're already interested in before you came a knockin' or you're just wasting people's time.
Old    Flight007 (poser007)      Join Date: Nov 2004       02-24-2011, 5:16 PM Reply   
Train I could tell you that I sell technology, software, seamless paperless customer database building, Email & mobile marketing, Cause marketing, membership services and much more in one solution.....but it's easier just to say, I can bring your existing customers back in more frequently which in and of itself can raise your bottom line a minumum of 30%. Just this solution alone is worth what we charge but we give them so many ways to bring in new customers and bolster sales that it will make your head spin. In 2010 I spent nearly $10000.00 on Tv spots in our small town. in a word it brought me 0 new customers, the only one who came out smelling like a rose was Charter media. As I speak with countless business owners when they start tracking their ROI with main stream media ie... TV Radio News Paper Yellow pages etc.....what they start to realise is that they aren't really getting a return at all. Their sales reps are telling them about branding, or impressions to skate the fact the advertising is not brining in new customers that would verify or quantify an ROI of any kind. I sat with a restaurant owner last week and we went over every stitch of advertising, after we were done he was depressed, he realized how much money he was wasting with very little if any return. Together we sifted through and got rid of the waste....I then offered him my services free for the first month which was a week ago. To date he has paid me nothing and has gotten more new customers through his doors in the last 5 days then in a whole year of everything else he did combined. A total of 57 new customers verifable and trackable. More then that he doesn't want me to tell any other restaurants in my area and is offering me double to be exclusive but obiovusly I can't do that.

Anyway as you can see i am passionette about this and it just drives me crazy walking our of a business I know i can help but they refuse to listen do to past experiences with sales reps. Ok so back to my original question -

What are u guys doing to sell the appointment? I like the idea of getting in good with the gate keeper but already doing that. Ive even tried going in without my ipad and nothing in my hands to ease the situation. Check this out the other day I walked into a Deli, there was nobody there except the person behind the counter. I asked if she was the owner and she asked why? I told her I needed to ask the owner some questions about the business to see if what I had was something that would warrent a 10 minute presentation? She said Im not not interested. I asked what she wasn't interested in? She said everything. I laughed it off and asked more questions. She told me she was busy, so I looked around (It was 1:30) and said hmmmm ok it looks like you are busy. Then I asked if her customers were all invisable? She snickered and told me to not be a smart A$#@!. I ended up buying a bagel and leaving my card but these are the things I am talking about, not even asking what I had who I was or what I could bring to the table. I could have been from publishers clearing house with a $10,000,000 check in my pocket and she would have missed out.

Sorry man I am ranting.
Old    Flight007 (poser007)      Join Date: Nov 2004       02-24-2011, 5:28 PM Reply   
Look my original question was what are you guys seeing out there? how are you getting the appointment? Im looking for positive responses here. Im not looking for a fight or a debate. Im not comparing my services with yours to see which one is better, Im not your competion. Just a guy who wants to share ideas with other sales people who are seeing results from certain practices you may have developed. i am open to criticism but looking for the constructive kind. To touch base on Stanfields post I have found that trying to explain what I do when I don't have the customers full engagment or focus never ends in a sale. It always ends in an I will think about it, and we all know where that ends up.
Old    J Brewer (wakecumberlandky)      Join Date: Feb 2011       02-24-2011, 6:01 PM Reply   
"and said hmmmm ok it looks like you are busy. Then I asked if her customers were all invisible?"

That prob wasn't a good response in my own opinion. Now she will tell everyone she knows that you are a smart A$%!
Old    Flight007 (poser007)      Join Date: Nov 2004       02-24-2011, 6:44 PM Reply   
Lol actually it sounds harsher than it was. She laughed cause I called her out. I'm very respectful when Im in your business. I guess I just need to realize it's all a numbers game.
Old    Rob VLX (skull)      Join Date: May 2002       02-25-2011, 4:39 AM Reply   
I find we are having to propose a much higher amount of deals in order to reach the numbers we need. Also, and obviously, are margins are down the last couple years compared to 2007/2008. I am still having success... you won't see waiting for an Obama handout anytime soon but it is definitely tougher. My main vertical market is health care and Obama has nearly destroyed all plans for privately funded hospitals. I believe 60 physician-owned hospitals were scrapped in 2010 alone. Once the Chicagoland Conman get's voted out things will pick-up but I am predicting 2011 will be an extremely tough year-- far worst than 2010.
Old    Adam Curtis (acurtis_ttu)      Join Date: May 2004       02-25-2011, 6:15 AM Reply   
I've only had 2.5 years B2B sales....here's my advice. #1 hit more doors...I used to hit 20-30 dorrs a day, lol. At the end of the day it's still a numbers game. Be persistent, in the example above......keep going back. On big accoutns I wanted , by the time I aactually made the sale , I knew everything about the gatekeeper, lol, family, hobbies, ect....with 20 year exp your obviously good at what you do...you have an idea of who is ripe for you services. It may sound gimicky but people love free stuff, lol. I used to drop off bottles of water with my company label , for the "owner" . My thought was they would at least see the comapny name drinking the water, or at a min it would sit out for people to see. It's very cheap, alot cheaper than 10k on advertising on TV. Everyone hands out cards......My opening line would alwasy inlude me proving service to their competiion...or somewhere close by, and that I just wanted to stop in and let them know what I was doing for them and if they may be interested. People alwasy want to know what the competion is doing....and what's making them better....your service
Old    C.I.E. J-Rod (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       02-25-2011, 7:35 AM Reply   
Flight, I currently work for the fastest growing SAAS company in the country. I can tell you our secret.....we engage with people that are in a buying cycle, instead of trying to drag them into a cycle. In my opinion you're engaging to early. You need to know who has pain, and who is kicking tires to fix those pains. We're in a Sales 2.0 world. Engaging with the Sales Rep happens later in the cycle, it's no longer the first step, and it hasn't been for years.

IMO you're doing the right thing by leading with your value proposition. Tell them you can help them acquire more customers faster. Who doesn't want to do that? But if this is not a pain, you're going to loose them.

Here's a screen shot of my CRM. I can see every company that is visiting our website, who the people are, how often they are visiting, and the products and services they are looking at. As leads reach a minimum lead score, they pop up on my dashboard.
Attached Images
 
Old    Dave (bcrider)      Join Date: Apr 2006       02-25-2011, 11:51 AM Reply   
I am in the commercial telecommunications business ( I sell business phone systems). The biggest success I have had that last while is working with my existing base instead of getting in to a numbers game on new business. Existing customers are easier to deal with and less likely to shop you, plus you already have an advantage if they are happy with your service so why would they risk going somewhere else. Others are right though, there is a lot of shopping going on and people aren't as loyal as they used to be. Hard to stay away from price but that is what everyone is looking at. I try and push the company backing the product rather then the product.
Old    Andy Graham (ottog1979)      Join Date: Apr 2007       02-25-2011, 12:36 PM Reply   
It is a numbers game. Everyone in sales knows that. That being said, just about all of my business now comes from referrals. Happy clients that tell others they know about what I've done for them. Instant credibility vs. none for the guy who just walked into the lobby asking to see them. Your customers seem to love what you do for them. Ask them for other contacts of theirs that they'd like to help out with your product. Maybe make it worth their while with a referral fee ($$). A warm sales lead is worth at least 5-10 cold calls. I like those odds much better.

Go to trade-group networking functions of your best industry. Ask Bob, Joe, Sue or Bill what functions/groups are particularly helpful to them. Ask if you can tag along for the next one. Lunch old or existing clients.

When business is slow for me, the absolute best marketing I can do is start calling contacts I haven't spoken to for a while in my rolodex. "How's it going? What are you working on these days? How are your contacts doing? I just heard ____.", etc. Just trading the street buzz. Have something to tell them instead of just getting info or asking for business. Make it worth their time. Swear to God, every time I work my rolodex, 2-3 weeks later I've got a desk-full of stuff to work on.

It's much harder to show up at an office, where the decision maker is already busy during his day and ask to interrupt for 15 minutes especially for someone they don't know and for a problem they are not working on at the moment. If decision makers already know you, if they know you may have some information that might be helpful to them or if they're already in a networking mode or at a function, they're generally much more open to discussing your ideas.
Old    C.I.E. J-Rod (jarrod)      Join Date: May 2003       02-25-2011, 4:50 PM Reply   
It looks like customer satisfaction translating to referrals is working for you Andy, so what do you mean by "It is a numbers game?"

Pretty surpised that no one is falling out of their seats over what I shared above. That's the holy grail of sales that I just shared with you. Never make another cold call. Just call the people that are visiting your site that are clearly showing interest in what you do, and have a need.
Old    Flight007 (poser007)      Join Date: Nov 2004       02-25-2011, 10:15 PM Reply   
J-rod yes indeed you have the holy grail for leads there that is just amazing. Some great comments here guys. It's always nice to share ideas and see whats working for other people.
Old    Andy Graham (ottog1979)      Join Date: Apr 2007       02-26-2011, 9:56 AM Reply   
J-rod,

I'm a commercial real estate loan broker. The close rate for deals I work on is somewhere around 10-20%. It's a long and complex sales cycle generally 60 days to 6-9 months. I close (and get paid) 3-12 times a year but the paychecks are LARGE. Just the way the industry works. The purchase falls out, the refi doesn't make sense after analyzing, someone else has the slightly better terms, after looking the client just changes their mind. Long-time clients gives you the opportunity to work on deals but not necessarily exclusively. So, it's still a numbers game. The more deals that cross my desk, the more I close. The ratios, however, are much, much better for long-time clients and warm referrals than for cold calls. Still, being a salesman, I enjoy the "hunt" of cold calls periodically and finding new clients.

Your software looks very cool! It made me think of several friends who own businesses that might benefit greatly from it. I'm going to check it out further. For me, however, virtually none of my business comes from website traffic even though I have a website. It's generally all personal face time.

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