Some entrepreneurs are gifted salespeople. They just have a knack for selling their ideas, products, and services. Others, however, are not that great (or so they believe) at selling. So, how can an entrepreneur with a fear of cold calling get past their fears? Check out this list of great tips!
Have a plan. You probably took great care and preparation in developing your product or service. The same amount of care and preparation should go into your sales planning.
- Research your target market.
- Prepare a prospecting list
- Develop a call script.
- Research your prospect before you call.
- Develop email templates that streamline your email communications.
Fight the fear of cold calling. Here we have a few tips from our friend Wendy Weiss, the Queen of Cold Calling, regarding the “Terror of Cold Calling.”
- Pick up the phone and make calls. The only way to get over the fear of the unknown is to face it head on.
- Take time to practice through role-playing sales call scenarios with friends or colleagues.
- Start your calls off with the less important leads to get in some practice under less stressful circumstances each day.
Resist the urge to talk when you should be listening. Mr. Inside Sales, Mike Brooks, points out that we all have a “magic button” on our phones that allows us to hear what the prospect wants or needs – it’s called the mute button. Mike recommends using it when you ask qualifying questions, when asking about who they are currently working with/buying from, and when listening to objections. When you rush to overcome objections or promote your business over the competitions, you may miss out on key information that would allow you to move the sale forward (or gracefully abandon an unqualified lead).
VanillaSoft lead management software has features to help you follow the recommendations above to improve your sales game as an entrepreneur. Start your free trial today!
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Today’s spotlight entrepreneur and sales legend is Dale Carnegie. Many people think of Carnegie as an early self-help guru; however, he’s really a pioneer of adult and professional education.
Carnegie was born in 1888 into an impoverished farming family. When he was accepted into a local State Teachers College in 1906, his parents could not afford the $1/day fee that it cost to pay for his room and board. So, each day he commuted to classes on horseback. He used that time to practice speeches and fine-tune his oratory style. He was so good as a public speaker, other students offered to pay him for training. After his graduation in 1908, Carnegie became a traveling salesman for the International Correspondence Schools. When he had saved up $500, he quit his job and made his way to New York to pursue acting as a career. After one role with a traveling show, he decided acting was not for him.
After his stint in acting, Carnegie began to formulate the idea to teach public speaking classes for adults. He recalled how fellow students had offered to pay him for training, and he realized that his skills in speaking are what had made him a successful salesman. He approached the YMCA to start his first public speaking classes, which eventually developed into the Dale Carnegie Institute and led to his mammoth best seller, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Since Carnegie’s death in 1955, the Dale Carnegie Institute continues to expand. It is currently a highly respected business training firm operating in more than 75 countries. He wrote many books and gave hours of lectures, but his primary messages can be summed up by his two most fundamental maxims: “Forget yourself; do things for others” and “Cooperate with the inevitable.”
What can today’s entrepreneurs learn from Dale Carnegie?
- Focus on others – yes, you have to keep your business’ best interest in mind, but focus on your customer. When you ensure your customer has a great experience or product, you will reap the benefits of that effort to focus on others.
- “Cooperate with the inevitable” – instead of sticking your head in the sand or go kicking and screaming against a new trend popping up in your industry, embrace the change. Evolve and adapt. The same goes for your sales process – if an email drip campaign or sales script isn’t working, it’s time to evolve.
- Research success – Carnegie based much of his work on research he did on successful people. From a sales perspective, you should research your own success with your sales process. With lead management software, you can analyze what script has been successful, which reps have had the most success, and which emails have brought in more customers.
Have you read “How to Win Friends and Influence People”? What tips for success do you have to share from Carnegie?
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Here’s the next in our month-long series on entrepreneurs and sales legends in honor of National Entrepreneurship Month . . . .
If you are of a certain age, you probably recognize Colonel Sanders as the man behind Kentucky Fried Chicken, now known as KFC. If you are a “spring chicken”, here’s a hint about who Colonel Sanders is – he’s that distinguished dude represented in the KFC logo. Regardless of whether or not you know who the man is, you probably don’t realize the amazing journey he had on his way to becoming a fast food icon.
Harland Sanders described himself in his 1974 autobiography in these terms, “a sixth-grade dropout, a farmhand, an army mule-tender, a locomotive fireman, a railroad worker, an aspiring lawyer, an insurance salesman, a ferryboat entrepreneur, a tire salesman, an amateur obstetrician, an (unsuccessful) political candidate, a gas station operator, a motel operator and finally, a restaurateur.” (http://colonelsanders.com/bio.asp). Sanders faced a string of hardships and failures before he ever achieved any entrepreneurial success at the age of 65! When most of his peers were retired, Harland Sanders was hitting the road in 1955 striking “nickel per chicken sold” deals to develop his chicken restaurant franchise. As his reputation grew, not one but two governors gave him the honorary title of Colonel thanks to his contributions to regional cuisine.
Josh Ozersky wrote this in 2010 for a Time magazine piece: “He was a failure who got fired from a dozen jobs before starting his restaurant, and then failed at that when he went out of business and found himself broke at the age of 65. He drove around in a Cadillac with his face painted on the side before anybody knew who he was, pleading with the owners of run-down diners to use his recipe and give him a nickel commission on each chicken sold. He slept in the back of the car and made handshake deals.”
Harland Sanders’ Original Recipe is still a fiercely protected company secret and greatest asset for Yum! Brands, the parent company of KFC. The recipe is kept in a vault in the Lexington, KY, headquarters surrounded by surveillance cameras and motion detectors. Only two executives have access at any given time, and the recipe in the vault is recorded on a piece of notebook paper, written in pencil by the Colonel himself. There is no single ingredient supplier – multiple vendors blend portions of the formula to ensure KFC maintains this valuable trade secret.
What can today’s entrepreneurs learn from Harland Sanders?
- Never give up. Follow your passion through to fruition. That doesn’t mean you stay on a losing course: you just redirect your efforts to ensure success. Sanders had a gift and love of cooking. However, he was a failure as a restaurateur. Selling his spice blend and equipment to start a chicken franchise allowed him to follow his passion for food while bypassing restaurant operations.
- Protect your product’s uniqueness. Colonel Sanders never sold his recipe – he gave franchisees his blended spices. Yum! Brands still protects the recipe under incredible security. Never underestimate your own “original recipe” and its uniqueness. Let’s face it – fried chicken isn’t unique. However, the original recipe’s secret herbs and spices are unique. Even if your offering is something you think others consider a dime a dozen, ensure your customers and prospects understand why your offering is, in fact, a breed apart. Use clear and compelling call scripts and email marketing to ensure consistency of message no matter which sales rep may be delivering the sales pitch.
- Persistence is key. Sanders drove around the country seeking diners and restaurants to become part of his franchise. Thankfully, low-cost technology solutions will help keep you from going on a mad-dash, cross-country sales trip in your family car. But, just because technology makes the logistics of selling easier, it doesn’t mean that you need to put in less effort than Sanders did when it comes to building your business. Develop your prospect list and keep those calls going. If you execute your sales efforts via phone, use a lead management solution with auto dialing that allows you to make a higher volume of calls more efficiently and productively.
VanillaSoft is here to support you on your entrepreneurial journey. Start your free trial today!
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As you know from our previous posts this month, November is National Entrepreneurship Month. This week is also Global Entrepreneurship Week. This month we are highlighting entrepreneurs and sales legends along with some lessons they can bring to entrepreneurs today. In today’s post, we bring you a snapshot of the entrepreneurship today.
Entrepreneurs are a vital part of the U.S. economy. Did you know . . .
- Over 50% of the working population in this country is employed by small businesses?
- Over 65% of new jobs created since 1995 have been generated by small businesses?
- Approximately 543,000 new businesses are started per month?
Small business is vital to the U.S. and global economies. Without entrepreneurs willing to take a risk on their ideas, a lot of us wouldn’t have jobs. Even some of those who are at mega corporations can look back through the company history and see the brave individual or two who took the entrepreneurial risks that provide them a job today. Even with all the risk facing an entrepreneur, did you know that a recent Gallup study found that business owners are among the top 3 happiest professions in this country? Entrepreneurship can serve everyone well! (source: ttp://www.inc.com/francesca-fenzi/5-surprising-entrepreneur-health-stats.html)
One way VanillaSoft helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses is by offering lead management software that changes with the needs of the business. Whether you are flying solo or have a small team of sales reps to help you grow, VanillaSoft has a plan for you and your needs. These features will help you improve efficiencies and increase your call productivity:
Start your VanillaSoft Free Trial today and take advantage of the lead management software solution that grows with your business.
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Today’s spotlight entrepreneur and sales legend is David Ogilvy. You may recognize him as the ad man behind iconic campaigns for Dove, Schweppes, and Rolls-Royce. However, he started out in door-to-door stove sales for Aga Cookers. He was so good in his role as sales rep that he wrote a guide for Aga salesmen in 1935, which Fortune magazine recognized as one of the best sales manuals ever written. A sample of the guide illustrates Ogilvy’s keen insight into the successful sales process: “The more prospects you talk to, the more sales you expose yourself to, the more orders you will get. But never mistake quantity of calls for quality of salesmanship.” (source: http://www.ogilvy.com/About/Our-History/David-Ogilvy-Bio.aspx)
Ogilvy emigrated to the United States from England in 1938. He worked for George Gallup’s Audience Research Institute followed by a stint in the Intelligence Service at the British Embassy in Washington during World War II. He tried his hand at farming in Pennsylvania after the war, but finally moved to New York in 1948 to found his ad agency Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather. In 1965, his agency merged with Mather & Crowther, his London backers. A year later the company became one of the first advertising agencies to go public. Oglivy & Mather became a global presence as a top agency in all regions.
Ogilvy believed in ensuring that advertisements weren’t the stars themselves. He said, “Successful advertising sells the product without drawing attention to itself, it rivets the consumer’s attention on the product. Make the product the hero of your advertising.” Creative awards to agencies, he said, had no correlation to the amount of sales that agency could bring. (source: http://www.infomarketingblog.com/ogilvy-mather-direct-ad-4-how-to-create-advertising-that-sells/)
Obviously, Ogilvy was a successful entrepreneur, a great salesperson, and often seen as one of the fathers of modern advertising. The lessons today’s entrepreneurs can take from Ogilvy are:
- Don’t be clever for the sake of being clever in your product messaging. Ensure your product’s positioning and benefits are clear to your prospects in your email marketing, telesales scripts, and other marketing content.
- Don’t be a bore. Here at the other end of the spectrum from the point above, Ogilvy underscores an important point in advertising and salesmanship. Don’t bore your prospect. Be direct, be informative, help them, but don’t bore them. Ensure you have a script or email that helps you craft a story that’s compelling to your prospect.
- Know the product and all the objections backward and forward. A good salesperson, Ogilvy believed, has in-depth product knowledge – or at the very least appears to have more knowledge than he or she actually has. Train yourself and your team on products and potential objections.
VanillaSoft would love to help you facilitate your sales story. Our lead management software can help you ensure your product pitch and information is used consistently by your sales team. Start your free trial today.
“You cannot bore people into buying your product. You can only interest them in buying it.” (source: http://www.nytimes.com/1999/07/22/business/david-ogilvy-88-father-of-soft-sell-in-advertising-dies.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm)
Check out David Ogilvy’s work on the Ogilvy & Mather Website.
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If you read the first post in our November series on entrepreneurs and sales legends (in celebration of National Entrepreneurs Month), you learned a little about John H. Patterson – an entrepreneur who became known as the father of modern sales training. Today’s spotlight is on a great sales person who became an entrepreneur: Mary Kay Ash.
What drove Mary Kay Ash, a skilled sales agent, out of the traditional workplace and into the role of entrepreneur? It was a protest of sorts after seeing yet another man she had trained get promoted above her. In 1963 at the age of 45, she began her entrepreneurial endeavor: Mary Kay Cosmetics. A business that started with an initial $5,000 investment and a group of nine salespeople is today an empire that exceeds $2 billion in sales with over 1.6 million sales people. (source: http://www.biography.com/people/mary-kay-ash-197044).
What makes Mary Kay Cosmetics so successful goes back to the passion and guiding principles of the founder herself. She believed that people are a company’s greatest asset, and approached business with the golden rule in mind – treat others as you would like to be treated. She instructed her sales representatives to demonstrate how the products could improve the customer’s appearance–no high-pressure sales tactics.
“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says ‘Make Me Feel Important.’ Not only will you succeed in business, you will succeed in life.”-Mary Kay Ash
The golden rule didn’t just apply to customers for Mary Kay. She believed in rewarding her direct sales representatives with diamond jewelry and the iconic pink Cadillac when they achieved certain sales goals.
What lessons can new entrepreneurs take from Mary Kay Ash?
- You are creating an experience when you are selling. Make the potential customer feel important and understand how your product makes their life/business/situation better. Use a good scripting for sales calls to help ensure you or your sales team is well prepared to deliver a great sales experience for the potential buyer.
- Treat others as you would like to be treated. Following up in a timely manner with potential customers is important. Use lead management software to ensure you are proactively reaching out to those web leads, following up with customers, and sending email drips to those whom have expressed interest in your product or service.
- Encourage and reward your sales team. Train your team, encourage them, and reward them when they hit or exceed goals.
We admire the example of Mary Kay Ash and her contributions to the sales profession. I invite you to take the VanillaSoft free trial and learn a bit more about how we strive to espouse Mary Kay Ash’s philosophy to treat our customers the way we would want to be treated.
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Did you know that November is National Entrepreneurship Month? Throughout November, we plan to highlight some legendary entrepreneurs who are also considered sales greats. We are kicking off our series with a profile of John H. Patterson.
John H. Patterson formed the National Cash Register Company in 1884. The company grew from producing only 16,000 cash registers in its first decade to producing 110,000 cash registers per year by 1914. (source: http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/John_H._Patterson) Patterson’s aggressive sales & marketing push helped catapult the company to success. He is considered by many to be the father of modern sales training. (source: http://www.inc.com/ss/10-greatest-salespeople-of-all-time).
John Henry Patterson (1844-1922), chairman of the board of directors of the National Cash Register Company.
As well as being among the first entrepreneurs to organize sales training programs and retreats, Patterson is known for his use of sales scripts with his sales teams. The first N.C.R. sales script contained both instruction on what to say and what to do while saying it. In the Primer, as the script came to be called, an asterisk indicated to the salesman when he should motion to the item to which he was referring at that point in the script. (source: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/1143.html)
The Primer outlined a four-stage process for every sale: the approach, the proposition, the product demonstration, and the close. His script and technique essentially set up the sales person as a consultant:
- The Approach: The task of the salesman at this step in the sales process was to explain how he wanted to help the potential customer increase his profit.
- The Proposition: The “win” here was to gain an agreement to schedule a demonstration of the register.
- The Demonstration: Here the salesman demonstrated the features of the equipment and attempted to lead the potential customer to the point of purchase.
- The Close: The salesman would ask for the sale when the time seemed just right. If the prospect objected, the Primer laid out a series of ways to overcome objections.
(Check out this great article on the Harvard Business School website to learn more about what happened during each step in the approach: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/1143.html)
Recognize any of those strategies in today’s sales efforts? The main difference between today and John H. Patterson’s time is the use of telesales methods. One might even say that well-crafted scripting is more important than ever since a sales representative does not have the luxury of seeing facial expressions and body language of the prospect during the course of the sales pitch.
Here are the key takeaways from the example of John H. Patterson for sales people and entrepreneurs in the 21st century:
- Training – ensure your sales team receives adequate training. Use an inside sales software solution that has monitor and eavesdrop features for that critical onboarding period when a new sales rep is brought on board.
- Scripting – help your sales team by providing great scripting that helps them overcome objections. Telesales software with logical branch scripting can assist your sales reps with overcoming objections and closing more sales.
- Control of the Message – beyond the actual call, your reps have more ways than ever to communicate with customers. Be like Patterson, and ensure you have control of the message by implementing systems that use management-approved email templates and an audit trail of email history.
- Appointment Setting: if your first line reps set appointments for demonstrations for other agents, ensure you have appointment setting software made for team-based selling.
Get started building your empire by tightening up your sales process. Start your VanillaSoft Free Trial today!
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Are you haunted by your current lead management solution? Then it’s time to take your VanillaSoft free trial! VanillaSoft has
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Sales by phone agents have long work days and do not always have a lot of down time. Thursday, October 24th, is Take Back Your Time Day! We’ve become so entrenched in working long hours that we had to create a special day to remind ourselves that we need to take some time to relax and enjoy life. Sales agents are constantly working and networking so it’s extremely difficult for them to get down time. Here are some tips to help you start taking back your time.
Identify Daily Objectives/Goals
Nowadays, most people are multi-tasking in their jobs and it can sometimes be overwhelming. If you’ve got multiple things to do each day, it may sometimes feel as though you don’t know where to start or like you didn’t really accomplish anything at the end of the day. Make sure to set daily goals that are obtainable within your workday. This will help you to stay more focused and accomplish more by the end of the day.
Stop Wasting or Misusing Time
Each day sales by phone agents spend a lot of time researching, responding to emails, looking up numbers, leaving messages, etc. The list can go on and on. Find ways to maximize your productivity in your workday with lead management software. For example, VanillaSoft offers progressive dialing and message drop features that allow your sales agents to avoid wasting time on tasks that are not a good use of their time and focus more on increasing productivity.
Stick to Your Work Schedule
It can be easy to get caught up in working past quitting time hours. There’s always something else that needs to be done, but it will still be there the next day. Obviously, there will be times where you need to stay late to meet a deadline or a special issue arises; however, this should not occur each day. VanillaSoft’s calling period feature will help your sales agents take back control of their work and personal lives by only allowing calls to be routed during certain times for specific time zones. This feature not only helps to keep your sales team on track, but also creates a happy customer.
Happy workers make hard workers. Make sure to take time today to identify ways to help your sales agents take back their time professionally and personally. Identifying the right tool for your sales team is the key to increasing productivity and decreasing wasted time. Sign up today for VanillaSoft’s free trial to see what the #1 software for sales by phone can do for your business!
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Managing virtual sales teams is becoming a common theme in the workplace. As times change, so does the average worker. Many companies are turning to managing virtual teams in order to save money on office space and create a flexible working atmosphere. This trend will most likely continue to increase with the development of new technologies. Are you ready to manage your virtual sales agents? Here are some tips for managing virtual outbound sales teams.
- Define Expectations – It’s extremely important to define expectations. Review your company’s policy on virtual agents and make sure your reps fully understand what’s expected of them. This will help to alleviate any misconceptions.
- Set & Review Goals – Make sure your teams know what goals need to be met and by when. If they have a clear goal in mind, then it makes it easier to obtain that goal. Make sure to review the goals and timelines with them regularly to keep everyone on track.
- Assign a Mentor – Identify someone that can be a mentor to your virtual sales agents. Your agents will have questions, and it’s important that they have someone they can turn to in order to get the answers they need. A mentor program gives the agents the opportunity to reach out to someone else when the supervisor isn’t available.
- Be Available – Virtual agents are not in the office; therefore, it’s important for them to have resources available to them when questions arise. If virtual sales reps are not able to get their questions answered, then they won’t be successful and neither will your company. This is where a mentor program can really pay off if your office hours are outside of the hours of some of your agents’ shifts.
- Take Time to Train – Training is essential to ensuring your sales reps – virtual and in-house – are successful. Make sure to have a training program set up to teach them the things they need to know in order to do their job – product knowledge, software training, etc. If your virtual agents are on the phone with potential customers, it’s important to have a tool that allows you to jump on calls with them easily to monitor their progress and join the call when necessary. VanillaSoft’s Monitor and Eavesdrop feature is a great tool to use during training for outbound sales reps.
- Respect the Time Zone – Make sure your agents are able to make calls according to the prospects’ time zones. VanillaSoft’s Calling Periods allows you to set time zones for your agents and routes the calls based on each prospect’s time zone. This will save you time and prevent calls from occurring at too early or too late an hour.
VanillaSoft’s lead management software is an important tool for sales managers who need to manage virtual agents. We understand the importance of making sure your virtual agents have what they need in order to succeed. VanillaSoft’s lead management software is designed to help your sales reps increase call productivity and efficiency. Sign up for a free trial today!
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