Early on in The Sales Evangelist, I didn’t have an application process in place to qualify my inbound leads, and it cost me customers. I suspect you could be missing this connection, too.
On today’s episode of The Hustler’s League, I’ll share what might have prompted some of my customers to leave my program, and how an application improved my retention rates.
TSE Hustler’s League is an online group coaching program designed to help sales professionals who haven’t had sales training, as well as sales teams that want to learn and find something new.
Each semester we have a theme that we focus on, and we do a group call each week that includes a training about that topic. This semester, our focus is on business development, so we’ll spend the whole three months talking about it.
Early on, I didn’t have a lot of money to pay for sales training. I barely had enough money to pay for rent, so sales training was a luxury I couldn’t afford.
I decided to figure out ways I could learn about sales myself, but it was challenging to find relevant content or people who were willing to help.
(That struggle eventually prompted me to launch The Sales Evangelist podcast.)
Eventually, though, my company paid for sales training, and it was amazing. I was digesting new things and learning about sales, and I spent two hours every single Friday practicing what I learned.
I was determined that someday, I was going to do something like that myself, so I created inexpensive, online content that anyone could use to practice what they were learning.
Initially, we charged $1 for the first month and then $37 for the following months.
We quickly realized, though, that we needed to have an end date rather than continuing that structure indefinitely. So we focused on a semester approach and we themed each semester so our customers could return to later groups that covered different material.
We did notice, though, that people started to fall away. They weren’t committing to the program or they quit participating. Some unsubscribed.
I figured out that my problem was a lack of qualification. All users had to do was go onto the website, read through the information, and sign up to try the classes.
To address the problem, we added an application. You have to fill out an application at the beginning that asks you to share the biggest challenges you’re facing and asks you to indicate which program might be the best fit for you.
We also include the pricing up front, because we don’t have any secrets.
There’s a time commitment for those in the course of one hour per week. For that one hour, I’m virtually live with those in the program.
The application allowed the people who weren’t right for the program to weed themselves out. They saw the requirements and the price point, and they saw the value they were getting. They had all the information they needed to determine the valuation for themselves.
After the application, they schedule a time to do an interview with one of our team members. We review the application and make sure they understand what they are getting into before they even make a payment.
To some, that seems like a process that is costing me money. Just the opposite, it’s saving me headaches. I don’t have people complaining about the process and our fall-off rate has dropped tremendously.
People weeded themselves out without us having to be involved, so by the time we interviewed them, it solidified their commitment to the program.
We have a stronger retention rate and now we have a program that is easier for companies to join. Sales managers know exactly what the members get from the training, and we’ve developed a certification that confirms completion of the program.
How can you apply this to your own process?
For us, this was sales qualified leads. If they were marketing qualified leads, they might have been people who signed up and downloaded a free document, but people who still required nurturing to get to an appointment.
Simply asking applicants to type out their three biggest challenges made our conversation easier and it gave me information I could use in my discussion to see if they are a good fit for the program.
If, for example, they are having a problem building value in the conversation, I know the business development track won’t be a good fit for them, so I won’t sell them something that isn’t a good fit.
I want my retention rate to be stellar. I would encourage the person to wait for a later semester that addressed building value so they would learn something helpful.
When I’m able to make sure the expectations of the buyer and the seller are in sync, then magic happens. And then I’m able to raise the price because the value is better.
The program is $150 a month now for three months, which is a steal compared to some of the other training programs out there.
Each semester I meet new people and I absolutely love it.
If all of this sounds great to you but you still aren’t sure how to start, check out The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League, our online group coaching program that brings sellers of all levels and all industries together to share insights.
You can also join our Facebook group, The Sales Evangelizers to connect with sales professionals from all walks of life.
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Click on the link to get a free demo of what Maximizer CRM can do for you. It integrates your marketing campaign as well as your CRM.
Check out the Video Jungle podcast, your source for marketing and selling your brand using video. Plan, create and share your way to better content and strategy. Video Jungle offers top-notch, state-of-the-art advice about video which is a great way to offer relevant content on LinkedIn.
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Sales requires a predictable process, but too often sales professionals deviate from the established path. They improvise and eliminate steps, and lose sight of the overlooked basics.
On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League, we discuss why it’s important to do the fundamental things that help you close earlier.
Otherwise, you’ll find yourself lacking qualified prospects and closings, and in sales turmoil.
Identify the objections you’re hearing often and address them as quickly as possible.
If, for example, your prospect fears jumping into unknown territory, address the objection by offering referrals at an appropriate point in the process. Although you wouldn’t want to inundate your current customers with prospects seeking referrals, it might help you move beyond the objections.
Think about the objections you repeatedly hear and address them accordingly.
Sales professionals often make assumptions on behalf of their prospects about what their closing schedule looks like.
Very often, misalignment on time periods creates difficulties.
Instead of allowing those misunderstandings to fester, ask your prospect what their schedule looks like. The prospect won’t be offended that you asked.
Bring up the issue of timing early in the conversation. Ask “What is your timeframe?” Then ask, “Any particular reason you’re looking at that timeframe?”
Aside from the common objections, you’ll still get random objections that indicate your prospect isn’t ready to buy.
This is why it’s so important to qualify your prospects early in the process. If you skip over that step, you’ll wind up with prospects that aren’t ready to buy.
I made the mistake of assuming once that because a prospect initiated the phone call with me, he must be ready to buy. I ignored the warnings that I should still qualify him, and ultimately I lost out.
Find the customer who is the right fit for your organization.
The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League is an online group coaching program that will connect you with sellers from all industries all over the world. We’re accepting applications for our next semester this fall, and we’d love for you to join us.
Check out our Facebook page, The Sales Evangelizers, for a taste of what our online coaching community is like.
Grab your free excerpt of the book, Stop Selling & Start Leading: How to Make Extraordinary Sales Happen from our sponsors at Wiley. It’s a fantastic way to learn what buyers are thinking and how to sell the way they want to buy.
Also, check out the Video Jungle podcast to discover how to use video to take your sales to another level.
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Today on The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League, we’ll hear a discussion about how to align our prospects with our company and how to qualify our prospects before closing.
Talk to the prospect about unconsidered need. Is there something you can share about the product that your product hasn’t thought about? Think about ways that other customers are using your product that your prospect may not have thought of.
Provide solutions that will make your prospect’s decision easier.
It’s important in the sales process to qualify your prospect. If someone clearly isn’t going to buy, it’s best to eliminate that prospect quickly.
Recently, on my The Sales Evangelizers Facebook page, I asked the group why people seem so afraid to talk about money. One member said it was because, if we do, most of our prospects wouldn’t be prospects anymore.
While that’s funny, there’s some truth to it. I should do my best to figure out as soon as possible whether a prospect is legitimate.
When prospects throw up smoke screens, can you overcome them?
The best way to handle objections is to address them early and to address them before the buyer does.
Identify the objections you hear most often from your prospects, and tackle them before the buyer has a chance to. When you do, you’ll take some of the punch out of the objection.
One of the most common objections, of course, is pricing. If you know that six of the last ten prospects you had mentioned pricing as an objection, bring it up early in the process.
“As you know, we’re not the cheapest on the block, but we’re also not the most expensive. Let me tell you why our last customers chose us.” Then you can ask what kind of budget the prospect is working with.
The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League is an online group coaching program designed to help sellers of all levels. Whether you’ve been selling for 15 years or 3 days, we’ll give you all the coaching and guidance you need to perform well.
The course is only $167 a month for three months, and it will connect you with sellers in all regions and industries who can share their struggles as you share your own.
We’re so convinced that you’ll love the book that we’re providing a free excerpt to our listeners here.
Also check out The Sales Evangelizers on Facebook, where a community of people shares their struggles and their experiences with selling.
Check out the Video Jungle podcast, your source for marketing and selling your brand using video. Plan, create and share your way to better content and strategy.
Leave us a review wherever you consume this content, and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. If you haven’t already done so, subscribe so you won’t miss a single episode.
The Sales Evangelist Hustlers League brings sellers of all levels and all industries together for an online coaching program that will help them become more effective at every aspect of their work. Today, we’ll hear from our newest team member, Leo, about his experience in the Hustler’s League as a new seller.
Leo shared with us the lessons he has learned from The Sales Evangelist Hustlers League.
At The Sales Evangelist, we understand the importance of phones for sales professionals. We also understand phone reluctance and we know that it’s common for sales people.
Getting comfortable with the script and the possibility of failure are two of the biggest hurdles.
We tackle it head on by putting people on the phones, and giving them the opportunity to fail early.
Most sales professionals assume that qualification is about talking and selling. In fact, it’s less about talking and more about listening.
You should be seeking the right people with the right background and the right capabilities at the right time.
Ask questions. Listen. The client will tell you everything you need to know: what he needs and when he needs to get it done.
We have a feature in the Hustlers League that we call the hot seat. One member addresses a challenge he has faced and the other members offer critiques and feedback.
The hot seat allows sellers to identify mistakes they are making and to hear from other members of the group about their own experiences.
It’s a sort of accountability partner.
Sales professionals often try to speed the process along in an attempt to close deals. The client, however, may have different expectations.
When sales people sync to the prospect’s timeline, it prevents frustration on the part of both people and it allows the process to flow better.
Simply finding out what the client needs and how soon he needs it offers a great starting point.
You can also become a leader to your buyers by presenting value and building relationships. The book Stop Selling & Start Leading, offered by our friends at Wiley, provides a blueprint for your customers and what they are seeking. Read an excerpt of the book here.
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Audio provided by Free SFX.
Qualifying represents a vital piece of the sales process. Qualifying is perhaps the most underserved part of the process, and most of us are doing it wrong.
Truth is, it doesn’t matter how well you close if you don’t have a good pipeline.
On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, we’ll talk to John Barrows about the important questions you should be asking during qualification, and why being direct with your prospects will save you time.
Everyone in sales understands that quality is important. We don’t spam. We don’t make generic phone calls. Still, though, we have daily numbers we have to reach like 50 phone calls or 100 emails.
Those are competing agendas.
We want quality, but time is our challenge. Many of us sprinkle phone calls and emails throughout the day, but doing so is a complete waste of time.
Instead, tier your accounts. Organize them by industry and call similar accounts in a single day. Doing so allows you to craft a message specific to that group, find a case study you can refer to if necessary, and prepare a few questions that are relevant to those prospects.
It streamlines the calls and allows you to be more targeted and relevant in your communication.
Realistically, not all of our leads deserve the same amount of our time.
To help sellers, John has identified questions they should ask during the qualification process. (The full list is available in the show notes.)
1. What are the details of the decision-making process?
Without understanding the full buying process, you won’t know how to proceed.
Ask how these decisions have historically been made, or ask about the next steps in the process.
If you find yourself meeting with someone who isn’t the decision-maker, research to find out who will make the decision. Then matter-of-factly ask, “When does Sarah need to be involved in this process?”
2. Are you ok telling me no?
Most people are very uncomfortable saying no.
Say something to your prospect like, “As we go through this process, if it’s pretty obvious to you that we aren’t a good fit and I somehow don’t pick up on it, are you ok telling me no?”
Allow silence while you wait for an answer.
If your prospect suddenly goes dark later on, you can remind him in a voicemail or email that he said he was comfortable telling you no, which will usually bring him back to the table.
3. Do you have your calendar in front of you?
This question works well when a prospect asks you to send him information.
Very often, that’s a blow-off move, but you can follow up by asking what information they’d like to see. If your prospect is legitimately interested, the questions will be easy to answer.
Then, ask when he would like to schedule the follow-up call. If he says something general like, “Next week,” you can follow up with, “Great! Do you have your calendar in front of you?”
Again, allow the silence that will likely happen.
There’s a huge difference between being direct and being rude.
Being direct gets you to “no” faster if that’s where you’re ultimately headed anyway. The more direct you are, the more quickly you’ll get them in or out.
It’s a matter of setting expectations and then being accountable to them.
Note, too, that the Rule of Reciprocity says that if we have just spent time on the phone providing value to a prospect, there’s a fleeting moment in which he will feel obligated to do something in return.
Take advantage of that moment.
Here’s John’s full list of 10 Sales Qualification Questions To Always Ask Your Prospect.
Connect with John at his website, where you can find links to his social media as well as his LinkedIn.
Share this podcast with others who want to learn more about qualifying leads. Leave us a review wherever you consume the content, and subscribe if you haven’t already.
Check out The Sales Evangelizers on Facebook to connect with sellers of all levels in a variety of industries.
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Most businesses know their target audience. They probably know their customers’ pain points and they think they know how to influence their customers. Most businesses overlook the psychology of marketing that will help them convert those customers.
In today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, Chris Dayley talks about the psychology of marketing and how it leads to more conversion.
Research suggests that users to new websites spend 2-3 seconds making decisions about the information they find there. Does it feel credible? Is it relevant? Much of the decision-making happens subconsciously.
As a result, it’s critical in those few seconds that you are clear and deliberate in your messaging and that you don’t distract. Don’t make the mistake many companies make of shoving too much information on your users.
The existence test, for example, involves systematically removing things from your page to determine if any of the components are distracting your users. Dayley shares that most pages he tests have at least one distraction that is hurting the conversion rate.
Understanding your target audience’s needs is one thing; communicating with them on your website is totally different.
In both sales and marketing, you must sell people on value. If you can build value, you have a better chance of conversion.
Additionally, the value you offer must be worth the cost to the user. Is your value proposition worth an email address? A phone call?
Note, too, that if your site requires users to dig to find your value proposition, it likely won’t help the conversion process.
No salesperson does the same sales pitch for their entire lives; it constantly evolves as he determines what works well and what doesn’t. He adjusts his message based upon the pitch.
Don’t assume you know what is best for your audience. Be willing to be proven wrong and try different approaches, even when your content is performing well.
Be willing to challenge assumptions.
Chris Dayley helps businesses test their websites and their content. Using design principles, psychology, user information, and loads of other details, he helps businesses create websites that will convert.
Find Chris designed a free A/B Testing Starter Guide at to train the new people at Disruptive Advertising, and he offers it free to users who would like to try A/B testing.
If you feel stuck in your own silo and you’d like to learn more about marketing so you can better align with others in your company, check out The Sales Evangelist Hustler’s League, an online group coaching program for sellers of all levels.
We’ve been in your shoes before and we want to help you become more effective at qualifying leads without spending a fortune on quality training.
Qualified leads are some of the most important things to salespeople. However, often times when leads come in, they are not qualified effectively.
Today, I’m sharing some business development concepts to help you get to the next level of success. You will learn my most leads seems they are not qualified. Listen and learn more.
So you get a lead then you think they’re not ready. They have no money, they have no time, or they’re still using other systems. Marketing is giving us all these “leads.” And you see, there’s a misalignment here.
First, make sure you define what you’re looking for from the get-go.
Just let your business development rep get you appointments.
That’s just their job. It’s the closer’s job to educate the customers. This way you get to have a more qualified lead.
Again, really define to your business development reps what they’re doing. You need to clearly explain them what kind of leads you want so you get better, more qualified leads
Are you just setting appointments with anyone in your ideal customer profile?
Or are you really qualifying and getting someone a lead on a silver platter?
To get yourself better at getting better leads, check out The Sales Development Playbook if you’re trying to build a pipeline or trying to build some processes in place.
Or if you want to figure out how you can attract qualified companies into your pipeline, check out Donald Miller’s book, Building a Story Brand.
The Sales Development Playbook by Trish Bertuzzi
Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller
Check out the TSE Hustler’s League.
Lead generation is one of the major challenges we have as sellers and you can actually improve the way you generate leads through thinking smarter, not working harder.
With the launch of our new website, we will be implementing a technology that will help us communicate better with you and also find a way for us to generate in-house leads.
Be a “smarketer.”
This term, which I got from Marcus Sheridan who was one of our past guests, refers to the idea of the evolving role of sales professionals. We can’t just do the same old things and expect to close deals. New things have to be done. We have to figure out new ways to be able to keep on the forefront of our prospect’s mind and to help them convert.
Join the Summit of Content Marketing!
It’s an online, worldwide conference featuring over 100 speakers happening on May 22 to June 02, 2017. Registration fee is $199 before May 8 and $299 afterward. I will be one of their speakers where I will talk about using bots and messenger so you can generate more leads.
Today, I’m going to share a few tips on this topic so you too can implement this into your system
Not All Leads Are Created Equal: It’s Time to Use Bots!
Sometimes a lead comes into your funnel as given by your marketing team but you haven’t really qualified them. Why not prepare your website in a way that instead of having your sales go out and make the calls right away, you’re able to qualify them by using bots?
Basically, a bot is an animated sequence of messages that will allow you to initiate the conversation and qualify someone. For instance, you’re getting ten people subscribing to something on your web page and instead of you calling all ten of them, you can actually let the bot engage with them. Now, your salespeople don’t have to waste their time on leads that don’t match up to your ideal customer. The bot can notify you or you can follow their messaging to see word triggers at certain points in the conversation.
Use of Messenger Apps
Since 2015, Messenger apps have had more active monthly users than social media platforms. Whether it’s Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, etc., they’ve actually out-beaten the big four social media networks as far as active users, which means people are now communicating with each other via messaging.
It’s important to take note of trends so you’re able to get ahead of it. Email marketing, for instance, people used to be so apprehensive about giving out their email addresses. Today, however, we utilize email both for personal and business purposes.
Now with the messaging apps, people are utilizing them for all purposes, not only personal but also business-wise. Another stat showed that Facebook has around 1.2 billion people utilizing their Messenger app. That is such a significant number. People want to communicate quickly and easily.
Tying this back into lead generation, consider using a Messenger app to communicate with your customers. Instead of just sending emails, send messages through Messenger.
Benefits of Using Messenger:
This would feel more authentic instead of an email that goes into the inbox and people would be more skeptical towards it.
Obviously, it allows you to directly connect with your prospect and have a chat with you. It just makes things so much easier for you. It’s more of a less formal way of doing things and you get a quick response too. You can get them to instantaneously connect with someone on your team and vice versa.
A lot of major companies are now utilizing this technology. Through bots, they’re now able to engage in conversations and basically tag you in whenever you need to come into the conversation when the leads have now qualified. This also makes it easier for your customers to get information quickly. Then you can find out instantaneously if someone is interested in your product or service.
Today’s Major Takeaway:
Think smarter instead of working harder. Utilize these trends coming out which have been tested and proven. We have used them in our webinars/live events and the results we’ve gotten so far are pretty cool!
Summit of Content Marketing (May 22 – June 02, 2017)
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You’d probably think catering to the luxury market is all glitz and glamor. But the more you’re getting paid, the more is expected of you to bring great value to the table. In today’s episode, Marley Majcher, the events planner to the biggest stars and celebrities, shares with us some tips in dealing with the luxury market and some nuggets about charging what you’re worth.
Going to Georgetown for education she couldn’t manage her own company, she decided to write a book to solve her own problems around chasing revenue instead of profit. Writing her book, But Are You Making Any Money? has put her into a space of business consulting and helping entrepreneurs charge what they’re worth.
Wearing two hats, she runs her business by day and helps other businesses solve their problems by night.[Tweet “@ThePartyGoddess Thank you so much for your great advice on the #TheSalesEvnagelistPodcast W/ @Donaldckelly @TSESales”]
Here are the highlights of my conversation with Marley:
Marley’s coolest experience being the customer was with Ruby Receptionists. Check their website here and see why people and Marley love them so much.
Let Ruby Receptionist know they are loved. Click the tweet link below.
Charging what you’re worth:
Selling to luxury market:
Luxury today is giving your customer:
Shifting how we think about the luxury market
Not judging a book by its cover
Taking yourself out of the equation
Tips in selling to a luxury market:
Knowing your numbers:
How to know if luxury market is for you:
The hardest lessons for small business owners to learn are:
Lesson 1: Saying no to other clients:
Lesson 2: Charging your worth:
Lesson 3: Hyper-focused customer service mentality:
Lesson 4: Firing a customer:
Marley’s Major Takeaways:
Know your numbers.
The way to charge what you’re worth, whether with a luxury client or selling, when your numbers, not only how much it costs to provide your product or service, and even if the service is just you, and you think you don’t have cost. YOU DO!
Know how much time really it takes to service that particular client.
What client is more of a match?
Take Marley’s Productivity Quiz at www.theprofitgoddess.com/tse
One of the major challenges that I faced as a new seller was my over excitement for the products and services that I sold. As you can tell, I get pretty excited about things that I find valuable. The problem was whenever I met with someone, I was “that guy” who spoke way too much! As I matured and learned through the school of hard knocks/received training from other experienced sellers; I came to realize that too much excitement was not always a good thing in sales.
As one of my sales trainers said “I was showing up and throwing up”. Obviously I have since adjusted my errors and have seen dramatic improvements over time. So if you are not supposed to show up and throw up, what is a seller to do?
In this episode I share some of the best practices I have implemented to prevent “showing up and throwing up”. Here some of the major takeaways:
Come and listen to the episode to learn more. I know you will enjoy it.