Archive for sales training

Small Businesses Need Leads

Atlanta Internet MarketingI have a member of my local Chamber of Commerce for about a year. On top of that I am also a member of a few other network group including an inventors group.

I would say that I do spend a tremendous amount of time networking.

Networking is a great place to find leads, however being in the sales training and consulting business like I am for a number of businesses it may not produce enough leads.

Some businesses need to cast a wider net. As an example my own Sales Training in Atlanta classes need a larger net than just the Chamber of Commerce. The reason, most of these businesses are fairly small in terms of the number of sales representatives employed.

The Chamber is an excellent source for me to find vendors. I have found a bunch of vendors that are now doing everything from producing my business cards to checking on the insurance premiums for my local Home Owners Association.

But for producing leads to support my Sales Training in Atlanta that particular group isn’t a great fit. Also I have notice that a lot of the members understand this point… most local business need more leads.

The traditional place for local lead generation has been the yellow pages, but with so many people turning to the web for everyday products and services the old yellow pages is quickly losing its luster.

The new tool for local lead production is local search. Local search is a method of Search Engine Optimization or SEO that allows your website to be found when someone types in a service you provide in your local area.

As an example here is one that my Atlanta Internet Marketing company produced for a Remodeler in Lawrenceville, GA. I created a site called and then submitted it to The result… my local customer in Lawrenceville is now #1 on that search term.  Google and Bing will ultimately pick up on this keyword search term as well.

It takes time to produce a good local leads using SEO practices but it can be done and should be done as the Internet quickly replaces the phone book and its yellow pages.

Did you leave something behind?

Conducting classes on sales training in Atlanta, GA I get a chance to hear and see a variety of sales techniques. I have mentioned before that often times these techniques are lacking some basic fundamentals. This isn’t to say that everyone is lacking the fundamentals but on average or collectively there are a few things that most average reps miss.

Here’s one: Did you leave something behind on your last sales call?

There is an entire industry dedicated to you leaving something behind. This industry is huge, typically made up of small mom and pop shops that cater to local businesses. The industry is called… Advertising Specialty.

The entire industry is built on the premise that you  need to leave something behind in order to be remembered.

Now salespeople in general can be a bit arrogant and they often think that their 1st impression is enough to guarantee a callback. I beg to differ.

USB Flash MemoryIt’s not that the sales call didn’t go well, it could have gone terrific. But in the hectic world we live in today the purchasing manager you just met might remember that you had a solution to his/her problem but that is about all they remembered.

Here’s a great example to prove that point, how many follow up calls have you made in which you find yourself starting at the beginning of the conversation. As an ex-sales manager I know I have heard enough of them. So leave something behind to help you be remembered.

These don’t have to be expensive they just have to be useful. One of my favorites is USB Flash Memory. These  littleWater Bottle Carrier devices run around $10/each for a 1GB model and everyone needs them. If $10 is a bit much try a Water Bottle Carrier. These little things run around $3 each and secure your water bottle while you are exercising. What makes advertising specialty items terrific is… you get to place your logo, phone number and web address on EACH unit.

On your next sales call leave something behind. You, your company and your products need to standout. If you have a marketing budget try one of these advertising specialty items.

David Peterson: President Atlanta Sales and Consulting. He conducts classes on sales training in Atlanta, GA.

Web Based Sales Training

There are so many different types of sales training classes available. On site, off site, during team and annual sales meetings. There are many choices and all of them are effective with the right sales trainer.

All of the ones I have either hosted or have participated in have been really good. I have at least one ah-ha moment in each training class that I attend or teach.

The online or web-based sales training is just now catching on. Certainly it has been around for a very long time, but most of the training has been pre-recorded and or pre-rehearsed.

It’s hard to get excited about training when you are just watching slide after slide while the presenter drones on.

What has really helped Web Based Sales Training as an industry is the online Universities like the University of Phoenix. Universities have led the way by not only offering but in a lot of cases requiring that training be completed online.

As long as the classes are interactive and lively then this type of presentation will work for sales training as well. Not to mention… You can do it from home.

Sharpen your sales skills by attending a Web Based Sales Training class on a computer near you today!

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting

ACS offers Online Web Based Sales Training – Click Here!

Can you trust a salesperson?

Can you trust a salesperson - Atlanta Sales TrainingIf you are a regular reader of this blog you will know my motto which is

Sales is a process and that process can be taught!

So I believe that every person with a few needed characteristics, some energy and tenacity should be able to succeed in sales.

So why is it that so many salespeople fail? They can be good listeners, very good at describing their products. They can follow the sales process all the way to the close and still not get the sale.

When this happens enough times the salesperson rightly so starts 2nd guessing themselves, their product, and their company. Ultimately they just move on.

They move on to another product and/or a new company and the whole process starts over – they become adequate or worse they fail again.

You have probably met this salesperson yourself. They are on their 9th job in 15 years. They appear to be great at their  job. That is why they get so many opportunities to move on to new challenges.

Again my view is that salespeople can be trained. People are not necessarily born to sell, they have to learn the skill set. That is what I teach in my Atlanta Sales Training classes. The sales process and how that process if followed can make them successful.

If they continue to fail after following the sales process then it boils down to one major point. Look at the picture above – Is this person ready to buy? The answer is obviously no.

She is missing the “trust” factor. While trying to build rapport the sales representative missed one of the fundamental tasks that must be accomplished around each phase fo the process. In this case the rep failed to build trust in himself, which leads to mistrust in his company and product.

People buy from people they trust!

The only exception to that fundamental rule is when they are “held at gunpoint,” or “over a barrel” and they have to buy. Stuck on the side of the road with a car repair is a good example or being held at gun point.

Other than that if you fail to build trust you will not complete the sale. So the next time you run into that salesperson that is on their 9th job in 15 years, help them out a little bit, talk to them about building trust on every step in the sales process.

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting

Telephone Sales Training

telephone sales trainingI spent the 1st 10 years of my career either flying or driving to my next sales call. I was a real life traveling salesperson.  A road warrior.

During this time my career excelled. I started in sales, move up to sales management, did a little brand management, and a whole lot of sales training.

It was a great job and a great company to work for. We always hit our numbers and we grew like a weed.

Then something funny happened… I started a family and the road started getting tough.

By 1999 I had enough of flying every single week to a new location. I loved the job and the company but I wanted to sleep in my own bed for at least a decade.

Here’s what I did: I made an amazing jump to an inside sales position. I went back to being an account representative making outbound cold calls for a local Internet company. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I may never go back on the road again.

What has led me to believe that I will never go back on the road again?

My 1st, 2nd, and 3rd largest sales have been made to people who I have never met face to face! That’s right I have learned that people will give you money right over the telephone!

Inside sales, telephone sales, telesales, call center sales, what ever you want to call it, it works. People buy from people they trust. You can build that trust without physically meeting them.

Telephone sales is extremely cost efficient.  You can make more sales calls from one telephone in one day than you can make in a week using your car. Add in the cost of fuel, insurance, meals, hotels and other travel expenses and you can see why so many corporations have turned to telephone sales to at least produce leads or set solid appointments.

Once you move beyond lead production and appointment setting you will need to conduct formal telephone sales training to get the telesales process down.

Formal telephone sales training is needed for your representatives so they can learn the new skills that will allow them to perform at a high level. It’s not enough to just smile and dial.

Your representatives will need to be formally trained. Here are just a few items that they will need instruction on:

  1. New listening skills
  2. Painting the virtual picture
  3. Anticipating and delivering trial closes
  4. “Reading” the customer’s emotional state
  5. Identifying time frames, budgets and decision makers
  6. Lead tracking

All of those items will have to be explored as well as training on the standard sales process.

Telephone sales can be extremely profitable, rewarding and a very fun job. But to get started on the right foot please send your sales representative to a formal telephone sales training class in your area.

Failure to do so will probably result in a lot of “pissed” off prospects and a huge ongoing turnover in your sales force. Train them right when they start. Don’t let them develope bad habits.

 David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting

Yes or No, I just need to know!

Follow-up calls, yes or no I just need to knowI just left a networking event at the Chamber of Commerce this morning. At these events I always give a free sales tip when it is my time to speak.  Today’s tip was “you have to make that next call.”

It’s true if you don’t make that next call no one  else will.

After the meeting several people came up to me to thank me for the tip and they brought up the next logical question. How do you know when to stop calling?

Does this sound like you?

“I keep calling  this solid prospect that definitely needs my product yet they will not return my call.”

This is a very common problem that I cover in my Atlanta Sales Training classes. How do you know when it is time to stop calling? How do you know if a lead is dead if your prospect will not pick up the phone or send you an email?

Let’s look at this from your prospects point of view. There are probably a couple of reasons they are not returning your calls.

  1. They might not know anything new about your project so they don’t want to return the call yet. (“I’ll call him when I need him.”)
  2. They may be very busy. (This is typically not the reason, so don’t think that this is the reason.)
  3. More often than not – The project has been delayed, cancelled, or awarded to another firm and they are AFRAID to tell you no.

That’s right. Nobody wants to be the bearer of bad news, so it is easier just to ignore your call. Their thinking is, eventually you will stop calling and they never have to tell you no.

And that is the frustrating part for sales representatives. Do you just stop calling? The answer is obviously no. You can’t stop calling until you get either a yes, no, or a  maybe. It’s pretty simple this prospect is either cold, medium, or hot. But until you can define what you have you must keep calling.

My suggestion is to change the message that you are leaving the prospect on their voicemail or email.

Change it from:

“This is David, I’m just following-up to see if  we are preceding…”

Change it to:

“This is David, I haven’t heard from you, I feel like I’m bugging you but could you please tell me if this project is moving forward. It is really okay if it isn’t I just need to know…”

A sales reps time is valuable. And by clogging up your prospects voicemail you are technically wasting their time. But in the end they need to tell you yes, no, or maybe.

Keep calling  just change your message. If it really is a no then you need to know. Nothing is worse for either the rep or the prospect than another call that is just wasting everyone’s time.

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting

New Hire Sales Training

new hire sales trainingI was rewriting my new hire sales training program last week to try to drill down to the basic points that can be achieved in a 2.5 day training seminar.

The sales process is not that complicated but it does take practice. Each of the process steps of Open, Probe, Pitch and Close could be a class on their own. However in a 2.5 day seminar each step becomes just a 3 hr class.

Within that 3 hours also comes role-playing on each step as well so each rep can practice the process. So I try to break down the 3 hour segment to 2 hours of teaching in an interactive manner and 1 hour of intense role-playing.

New hire sales people, especially those who have never sold anything need the basics of the sales process and they need the fundamental tasks that must be accomplished every day. Those fundamental tasks were spelled out in yesterday’s post.

The newly hired sales representatives should leave each step in the process with the basic understanding on WHY you need to move each sale in a specific direction. Also they need to leave knowing what happens if you skip or rush a particular segment of the sales process.

I have a lot of favorite sayings. Here’s another one –

“Watch out for the sale that closes a little to quickly, typically this means that A: Someone else around you has already educated the customer and they are going to be very mad that you just sold them or B: They just bought it and will probably return it when it doesn’t fulfil their needs.”

New hires need to stay on the path. It is always open, probe, pitch and close. Don’t rush the sales process or skip around on the process. Never open then close, or pitch then probe. It is a process for a reason.

Teach your new hire sales representatives to follow the path of the sales process. In the end they will be much more prepared for what is thrown at them on a daily basis.

To read about my new hire sales training program click here.

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting

Atlanta Sales Training

Atlanta Sales TrainingSales is a process that can be taught.

We at Atlanta Sales Training believe that if you can get your sales department to learn the  sales process then you can be successful. No question about it… sales is a process that can be taught. So if you believe like we believe then not only can it be taught it can be learned and applied.

The sales process is OPEN, PROBE, PITCH and CLOSE. Pretty simple. There are about 900 different approaches to that sales process depending on who is doing the sales training. But in the end you have to do those 4 things well to succeed.

Around that sales process is also other “fundamental tasks” that must be accomplished on a daily basis. These include prospecting, lead tracking, follow-up both before and after the sale, product training, etc. These fundamental tasks happen daily if not hourly.

The fundamental tasks all support the sales process. The sales process is used as a guide to let you know where you are in the sale and what should happen next. The process if followed properly and in order will lead you right to a close.

If your sales department is having trouble closing the sale then maybe it should take a step back and ask the question of every prospect… “Just where is this  prospect in the sales process?” You may find that you are NOT having trouble with closing you are having other process issues.

David Peterson – President: Atlanta Sales and Consulting

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