Tag Archive for 'prospecting'

VIDEO: Are you practicing Age of the Customer prospecting rules?

The rules of prospecting have changed and control of the primary elements have shifted along with it. As the Age of the Seller is replaced with the Age of the Customer®, it’s more important than ever to prepare for the moment of relevance. Are you ready?

Click the link below or click the image to begin the video.

Are you practicing Age of the Customer prospecting rules? from Jim Blasingame on Vimeo.

Blasingame’s Law of Sales Pipelines

Here’s a maxim: Selling is a numbers game.

A maxim is a generally accepted truth and this is one because of two realities:

1. There are hundreds – if not thousands – of things that can cause a fully qualified prospect to not complete a transaction, at least not on your preferred schedule.

2. Regardless of all of the bumps on the path to a signed contract, it’s still your job to produce enough sales revenue to stay in business.

Enter the sales pipeline.

A sales pipeline is a planning concept that helps managers and salespeople forecast sales for any given period – week, month, quarter or year. Think of your sales pipeline as overhead plumbing with faucets positioned at the calendar intervals your business requires. And from these faucets you draw the mother’s milk of any business – sales revenue.

Pipeline faucets come with screens that only allow a sale to pass through. So into the pipeline you load only those prospects you have qualified. That means the prospects that have answered enough questions to allow you to determine that what they want, and your ability to deliver, will combine to produce a faucet-conforming sale within the timeframe or your forecast. Once in the pipeline, a prospect is either on track to become a sale or a forecasting mistake to be removed.

As you record a prospect’s entry into the pipeline you must include what you know about their stage of decision-making, plus what you have to do to move them to customer status. Identifying what’s left to be done with each prospect – demo, trial, proposal, final close, etc. – will help you forecast which faucet –you can expect a sale to pour out of, whether next week or next month.

At this point, let’s refer to The Bard. In Act I, Scene III, of Hamlet, arguably Shakespeare’s most important work, Polonius famously says, “This above all, to thine own self be true.” If you aren’t honest about a prospect’s progress to faucet-conformity, you’re setting yourself up for forecasting failure.

How much revenue you draw from your sales pipeline depends on the twin standards of sales success: quantity and quality.

Here’s Blasingame’s Law of Sales Pipelines: Load the pipeline with enough prospects on Monday (quantity) to have enough qualified prospects to close on Wednesday (quality) so that you can draw the sales you need from your pipeline on Friday (success).

Forecast sales successfully with quantity, quality and to thine own self be true.

Today on my radio show I talked more about sales forecasting and the sales pipeline strategy. Take a few minutes to click on one of the links below to download or listen.

Blasingame’s Law of Sales Pipelines

Forecasting sales with a sales pipeline strategy

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Slay the evil call-reluctance monster and make more sales

You’re sitting outside of a prospect’s office in your car. You know you should go in and try to make a sale, but something is holding you back. So why haven’t you gone in yet? Well, there are lots of reasons – here are four of the classic ones:

1. Haven’t you heard? There’s a recession going on.
2. Everyone’s tightening their belts; they’re not going to buy anything from me.
3. I heard they just laid off some people last month. They’re probably just holding on.
4. The last prospect I called on didn’t buy anything, so this one will be just like that one.

Actually, these aren’t reasons, they’re excuses. No, that’s not quite right either – they’re lies you tell yourself. Even though all of the information in these four may be technically correct, it has nothing to do with the experience you will have with the prospect you’re looking at through the windshield of your car. So why do we tell ourselves these lies and, worse, believe them enough that we fail to make the call? The answer is call-reluctance.

Call-reluctance is a negative and destructive state-of-mind virtually every salesperson gets into either from time-to-time or constantly. In more than 40 years of selling, the simplest explanation for the call-reluctance emotion I have found is that you presume too much. For example:

1. You presume that if you go in, they will reject you. Actually, they might reject your offer, but not you. Everyone knows an offer doesn’t have any feelings, so separate yourself from your offer, and at least go make a new friend.

2. You presume that they will kick you out of the office. In truth, they might tell you they don’t have time to talk right now, but in that event, the worst that could happen would be that you find yourself outside of the prospect’s office. Since that’s exactly where you are right now, you will be no worse off. What part of “I can’t lose” is difficult for you?

3. You presume that they don’t need what you have to sell. Here’s a flash: That decision is above your pay-grade. Who do you think you are, answering for them? Get over yourself, and allow the prospect to speak for themselves. You might be right, but until you know for sure, you’re just betting against yourself, which doesn’t sound like a very intelligent career strategy, does it?

The slayer of sales is not a recession. The killer of commissions is not budget cuts. The most potent prospecting poison is not 10% unemployment. The greatest impediment to the success of most salespeople can be found in the wisdom of that great philosopher, Pogo the Possum, who so famously said, “We have seen the enemy, and he is us.”

Can you overcome your call reluctance and prove Pogo wrong? Remember, somebody is buying something from someone somewhere - right now! It might as well be you.

Recently, on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked with sales expert and Brain Trust member, Mike Stewart. Mike is one of the world’s gurus on eliminating call-reluctance and even offers a free assessment on his website that helps you identify how you stack up against the 12 kinds of call-reluctance. Check it out at this link. And take a few minutes to listen to what Mike and I had to say about call reluctance. And, as always, be sure to leave your thoughts.

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