Archive for 30. November 2009

For it to work you have to use it!

New hire sales training Atlanta, you should be workingI know the picture is a little over the top but I was just reading a post on and it made me think of sales reps just not doing what they are supposed to be doing.

The post on the other blog was just how much technology has changed everything we do in sales. I agree the technology has really advanced everyone’s knowledge. As an example, by searching the Internet, your prospect will certainly know as much as you know if they do their homework.

And lead generation and lead nurturing have advanced beyond everyone’s dreams with the new CRM tools on the market today. So why is it that sales reps still don’t use the tools available to them? I mean really, back in the day I didn’t have ACT! or I had 3×5 index cards to track my prospects.

Today’s lead tracking tools are incredible and getting better but it’s still the hard-working sales rep that takes the time to USE the tools.

How do I know they are not being effectively used???

During every Atlanta new hire sales training class I ask all the reps to bring their lists of prospects into the training. I use this as their homework. I want to know if they even have a list. What am I going to do with their lists… I’m going to quiz them on what they know about each cold, medium, and hot lead on their call sheet for the day. If they are using the tools then they should know the answers to the quiz.

You can’t be sleeping all day in sales. You need to be working. This work includes updating your lead tracking software. For these new tools to work you have to use them.

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting

Just Keep Calling

sales advice just keep callEvery sales manager says it and all sales reps say it to each other up. The phrase… “Just make one more sales call.”

It’s tough to keep calling. If you have been at it for a couple of hours with limited success then it would be easy to quit for the day. Back in the day, I could see it in my reps body language and hear it in their voices when they were ready to quit for the day. I would be walking the sales floor and yep, I would say… “Just make one more call.”

I know its tough but this is sales. If it was easy everyone would do it. As it is everyone seems to try their hand in sales at one time or another. Most fail. The profession can be rewarding with unbelievable highs when sales are good, and unbelievable lows when sales down. However the successful sales representative will make that next call.

What brought this topic up this week is that I was making calls, the day before Thanksgiving and it was going okay. A few good warm leads came out of my work but nothing fantastic. As any sales manager, sales trainer, or sales rep will tell you outbound calling around the holidays is tough work. No one is in, and the ones that are in are thinking about the holiday not work.

I was just about to pack it in when I  forced myself to make one more sales call. I went back to my list and started dialing. Then BAM: I caught a whale. What are the chances of catching a hot lead, much less a whale, at 4pm Thanksgiving Eve? Not good, but then again the more calls you make the more chances you have of catching anything.

Again, It’s tough. Sales is a tough profession. To be successful you have to make the next call regardless of what  has happen over your last few hours.

I don’t know that you can teach this to new hires in the sales profession it’s more of an attitude. I don’t know if it is your job to get them to make that next call. They have to want to succeed and the only way to do that is to have them call even when they are tired. You can teach them this, but the newly hired sales associates have to want to do it if it is really going to get done.

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting, Atlanta New Hire Sales Training



Confidence = Sales

to gain confidence you have to use what you sellI was reading a blog post a few minutes ago that dealt with the issue of sales people “self-destructing.” He called it self sabotage. I call it lack of confidence

In order to sell you have to know your product. Inside and Out – NO EXCEPTIONS. I repeat you have to know your product. Yes it is up to the company to train you on the product but it always up to the sales representative to LEARN the product.

It is not enough for you to sit in a classroom and daydream through the obligatory sales and product training. After the sales training is over it is up to you to use the product so you can fully understand how it works. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Your prospects are going to be firing objection after objection your way. If you don’t know exactly how the product works then may I suggest the classified ads or maybe  a new head hunter because  you will be moving on in a few short months.

Today’s professional sales people are really good at what they do. You need to be just as good. The only way to speak intelligently and speak confidently about your product is through company product training and through self-study. Self-study must include you using the product that you are trying to sell.

If you don’t sound confident about your product then the professional sales representative will win the order every time.

Here’s a tip… Confidence = Sales

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting

10 Sales Calls A Day

make at least 10 sales calls a dayHere is a simple rule of thumb. Make at least 10 sales calls a day to new prospects. Put it in your calendar right now.

We all need more solid sales leads. The only way to get them on your own is to increase your own activity. Don’t wait for the marketing department, that could take weeks or even months. Remember they are thinking about the next release or the next advertising period. Not what is happening right now.

Set aside time to do this task everyday and this will be your results.

10 sales call a day =

  • 50 per week
  • 200 per month
  • 2400 hundred per year

Now that is on top of what your marketing department supplies you with! Do it now… set aside at least 1 hour a day for good old prospecting. Make at least 10 new calls to new prospects and you will have 2,400 new sales leads this year!

Good luck and happy hunting.

David Peterson – Atlanta Sales and Consulting

Business Networking

business networkingTo succeed in business you must have leads. One method of lead generation for your business is networking.

 The point of networking events is to get to know the people around you. To expand your sphere of influence. Networking may not work for you today, or tomorrow, or even next year but if you stick with it and work the program laid out by the event managers then your are certain to leave knowing more people than before you attended.

The theory goes… The more people who know you well, that trust that you are the expert in your field then the more people who you  will have recommending your business. Pretty simple – Networking Works!

If you don’t know where to start I would suggest your local Chamber of Commerce. From there you will meet people who are also attending other networking events.

Most networking events are setup to allow you to tell your story or paint the picture for the other attendees on exactly what you do.

Some networks are OPEN which means there could be any number of banks or promotional products people at the same event. Some others are CLOSED which means there will only be one bank or one person promoting a particular product.

I attended one yesterday morning that had a slight twist to it. This networking group fashioned itself as a continuing business education meeting. Each meeting focused on different topics. Yesterday’s topic was on the applying gratitude into the sales process.

Most of these networking groups charge for you to join. You can attend for free for a couple of times then you have to pony up the cash. They can be costly. The Chamber runs me about $600/yr and another I attend runs of $200/year.

My advice if your business needs more leads is to attend one of the many networking events in your city or state. Get from behind your computer and go meet people. My only word of caution is that there are so many networking events that you can spend your whole day networking which means you are not doing all of your other job functions.

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting

Budget and Time Frame

budget and time framesI’m guilty of this one. Sales 101 says… You have to (HAVE TO) get your prospect to specify their budget and time frame before you try to move forward.

I know this, I preach this, I teach this, yet here I was last week wondering what happened to my prospect. I sent them the proposal on exactly what they said they needed. In fact I know and they know that they need this service. So what happened?

It boils down to their budget and their time frame. Even though they were in a hurry with an incredible sense of urgency when it came down to sign the contract the objections started flying.

I know better. This is sales 101. What tripped me up was the incredible sense of urgency. Money was flying in so many directions that I didn’t think that this little bill would be an issue. Whoops… my bad! Turns out the owner was getting so many little bills that it became overwhelming.

If you have ever owned a small business then you know what he was going through. I should have clarified the time frame and the budget for the project before moving forward.

You know what this is… this is a reminder that I will be discussing in every single training class that I teach. Hey I made a mistake. I might as well use it to help others.

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting

That's not exactly what I want

selling on actual needs vs specifications

Salespeople are constantly running up against specifications. Specifications are the bible of any large project. If you don’t put in the exact equipment or lighting that has been required by the engineer or the owner then the whole project may come to a halt.

The problem is you rarely have exactly what is required on that specification. I was just writing my latest sales article called Paint the Picture when I noticed that in both examples I wasn’t offering the customer exactly what was in the specs.

For those non-salespeople reading both statements in that article they are probably thinking that neither scenario  is giving the customer what they need. Both are giving them a substitute. Isn’t that what specifications are for?

Real salespeople know specifications are written by another salesperson trying to keep you out. Car salespeople know that if you don’t have a red one it typically doesn’t matter the blue one will do just fine.

I’m not suggesting that you should ignore specifications. What I am suggesting is that many times you can use substitutions for those items that are specified. A lot of times these are needs that must be met by any number of products or vendors.

In other words the original writer of the specifications is using that document to create objections. You have to overcome those objections.

Here is a real life example: One time I bid a large landscaping job for a local contractor. In the specs it called for hardwood mulch vs. pine straw. There was a tremendous amount of area to be mulched. So I went to the owner and asked… “I see you are using mulch here, that is going to be extremely expensive, have you thought about pine straw?” The owner said… “I thought I had already switched that are you still seeing that in the specs?”

Specifications are written to ensure the proper products get placed on the job. That doesn’t mean that substitutions can’t occur. Make sure you treat all specs like a giant objection. If you do that then you may be able to place a lot more of your products on the job than you thought.

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting

Cold Calling – The Gatekeeper

Gatekeep Sales Training

The gatekeeper…

The gatekeeper instills fear to every cold caller except me. Here’s the way I look at it: Gatekeeping is a job, and a damn powerful one as well. Get past the gatekeeper and you have a shot at millions of dollars. Get shut down by the gatekeeper and you get to move on with your tail between your legs, your hopes  smashed by someone who probably makes less than $50k a year.

With that being said gatekeepers are people. Your job in getting past the gatekeeper is to try to build rapport quickly with them. Try these small tips:

  1. Listen to exactly what the gatekeeper is saying.
    • Don’t put words in their mouth and DO NOT talk over them.
  2. How does the gatekeeper sounds to you (old/young/southern/etc).
    • You may want to mimic their dialect.
  3. Empathize immediately to begin building rapport.
    • If you hear anything that you can use to start a conversation then by all means start using it.
  4. Be friendly and respectful – try to have fun.
    • Remember you are not the only one calling or interrupting their day today.
  5. Be Concise.
    •  Do not waste their time. If you want to have a bad day waste a gatekeepers time.
  6. Ask for the gatekeepers help.
    • My favorite method of getting past this person.
  7. Sometimes you have to punt and move on.
    • There are a lot more fish in the sea don’t take it personally.
  8. Always remember this is THEIR job.
    • If they don’t keep the gate closed they don’t get to keep their job!

Personally the one I use is to ask for the gatekeepers help. To me if you sound sincere and ask for their help the gatekeeper will move you on in your sales process. You might not get exactly where you wanted to go but… at least you move past that darn closed gate.

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting



Everyone knows that they need to build rapport but I find that this is one of the areas that inexperienced sales representatives fail on over and over again. The customer “gives” them something to work with and they miss it or avoid it. Typically… the sales representative is just not listening.

Sales representatives know that they have to be good listeners to be successful. So why do they miss the opportunities to build rapport when they get the chance?

Here is  an example, review this opening:

Me: Good morning Mr. Jones, my name is David Peterson with Corporate Sales Advice the online sales magazine. The purpose of my call is to get a moment of your day to discuss your participation with our magazine. If you don’t mind I would like to ask you just a few quick questions…

Mr. Jones: David I would love to but the traffic this morning was terrible and I am pressed for time.

What does the inexperienced or the lazy rep do when they hear this from the prospect?

Inexperienced Rep: Mr. Jones I can appreciate that but just let me have 3 seconds to ask you a few questions.

What would  I do? I would build immediate rapport!

Me: Mr. Jones I had that same problem this morning. Living in Atlanta it is a daily occurrence. What tricks do you have to do in your city it avoid the traffic?

When you are trying to open a call you need instant rapport. You don’t always get a chance to move on to the probing questions, nor should you always seek that chance as the inexperienced rep is trying to do. When a prospect gives you something to talk about you should talk about it – not ignore it 

People buy from the people they trust. Building rapport is the most important method to build that trust. Don’t waste an opportunity. Listen for it, then respond as soon as you hear it.

What is the worst thing that could happen with this strategy? You may not get to 2nd base TODAY with this strategy but you will at least get to 2nd base more often than not and you will be moving the sales process forward.

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting

$5, $5, $5, $5

out of stockEver since my son was a little boy I started to teach him about money. We love playing this counting game together. It goes like this…

When you walk into any location that has a set price and a lot of people just start counting. Paying for parking at a baseball game then it’s $10 per car so start counting $10, $10, $10, etc. At a gym working out, start counting the monthly fees of $40 per person – $40, $40, $40, etc. We always share a smile when we run across this type of situation because as a reoccurring revenue stream or a captive mass market the $$$ really start to add up.

This weekend we went to the University of South Carolina to watch the Gamecocks take on the Florida Gators. It was packed, full house, sold out! As usual we started counting $10 to park, $55 per ticket, $3 per coke, peanuts, program, the dollars collected at this one event has to be in the millions.

At halftime we went down to get a couple of hotdogs and cokes. This would have been another $5 at least for each of us. I said would have been because the upper bowl concession stands ran out of hotdogs and a lot of concession stands ran out of diet coke. I saw person after person being turned away (-$5, -$5, -$5, -$5). My son looked at me, smiled, and said “imagine the amount of revenue this event is losing.”

Not to mention we didn’t roam the whole stadium looking for food, we went back and watched the rest of the game and got something to eat after the game. The Subway’s down the Interstate was pack with families and students (+$5, +$5, +$5, +$5).

One of my “rules of thumb” is that when someone is trying to give you money for your product or service you need to take it. It sounds so simple but… the manager of concessions at the stadium blew a whole lot of revenue. He has history on his/her side. He should know (I’m being kind after countless games he DOES know) that 80,000 people will eat “x.” It’s not like they haven’t had sold out games before at that stadium.

You only have so many chances to make a good impression on your customers. Don’t create customer dissatisfaction with unacceptable stock levels. I could see it if you were a new small business heading into the Christmas season for the very first time. If you are an established business you really have no excuse.

People are trying to give you money… take it or someone else will.

PS: Take the revenue because it adds up quickly, on the other hand the opportunity costs adds up quickly as well. So  at this event depending on who you are  you either had a very good night or you could of had a very good night.

(Subway +$5, +$5, +$5 or USC =-$5, -$5, -$5)

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting