Archive for December, 2013

Finding the VBR to Make the Call

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

by Susan Novicki

Decision-makers are in the office at this time of year and this is a great time to aggressively get on the phone and make calls.  Most people tend to get in “holiday mode” but this is a time to initiate conversations – when decision-makers are not on the road.  And having a “Valid Business Reason” for making the call is the easiest way and creates the most success.

In last week’s issue of Sellers Source,I learned that “Kellogg’s Kashi brand has launched a new single-serve pizza in two flavors, Greek Tzatziki Pizza, with spinach, artichokes, tomatoes, feta, mozzarella and sauce of Greek yogurt, cucumber, dill and garlic, and Indian Tikka Masala Pizza, with mozzarella, fire-roasted eggplant, spinach, tomatoes, crushed red pepper and a spicy Tikka Masala sauce.  The crust is made with Kashi Seven Whole Grains, flax and sesame. These two new flavors complement the six varieties that are already in store.”

Now first I have to figure out how to say Tzatziki but this is a great reason to make the call – new products being introduced.    The new flavors are not yet even on the website but I always like to make sure that the product I am calling about is sold in my area and I found that the Kashi pizzas are sold in every major grocery chain so this solidifies the reason to make the call.  Once I find a decision-maker and prepare to get on the phone I want to create a script so that I make sure that I have every chance to get a call-back (not that I will say it verbatim).

It could go something like this: “Hello Lara, I understand you are one of the brand managers at Kashi.  My name is Susan Novicki with Morrison and Abraham.  We put together fully integrated sales and marketing programs for companies like yours and have had proven success with these programs, including ones with Kellogg’s.  I read that you are introducing two new flavors to your portfolio of frozen pizzas and I would like to talk to you about your initiatives for 2014 in getting these products onto the shelves and through to the consumers.  Would you be available for a call on Friday at 9 AM PST so that I can talk about our success in moving product but more importantly so I can hear about your focus so that I can create a program designed to meet your objectives?  If this time doesn’t work let me know a time that would work for you.  Thank you, Lara and I look forward to our call.”

Follow this up with an email and you are on your way to a close.

Practice Makes Perfect

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

by Ginny Speaks

Practice makes Perfect is a statement all of us have heard in our lifetime.  We practice a lot of things on a weekly basis and it has become a part of our everyday fabric of living.  For those that have kids, we shuttle our youngsters back and forth from basketball practice, soccer practice, ballet practice, band practice, etc.  This list could go on and on.  Even the NFL conducts scrimmages prior to kicking off the regular season.  Think about all the wonderful shows that we attend during the year, before opening night of any Broadway musical or play there is plenty of practice beforehand.

So the question is —  how many of us practice our sales presentations during the year?  Or take time to brush up on our selling skills by practicing?  Take a moment to give this some thought and then take heed of the following tips to help develop a path to success in 2014.

Develop an “elevator pitch”
This is a 20-30 second story about your product or service and what you do to make things happen.  It should be designed to elicit questions and interest.  Once developed, practice it with friends and family.  Give it a whirl in front of a mirror or record yourself.  Do this until it becomes fluid.

Listen and Observe
Make these two actions part of your everyday goals when working with clients.   Turn your talking and pitching into listening and then observe.  You will gain tremendous knowledge and close more sales when you ask questions, talk less and listen.

Expect Rejection
Intrinsically we know rejection is part of our job, so prepare for it and do not take it personally.  Make a list of the reasons your programs were rejected this year and then figure out responses to overcome these in the future.  Put them on paper and again, practice the art of turning the rejection into an exploratory conversation.  Most of the time, if we continue to ask probing questions and dig deeper, we eventually will uncover a specific need.

Practice with Smaller Prospect
We learn from our mistakes, so take time to work with smaller prospects while perfecting your presentation and sales skills.  Then, approach that large potential client and make the appointment with confidence.

Become a Good Story Teller
We all love good stories and stories build your credibility.   Make a success story list and share them with your clients.  Be sure to include how you solved a client’s problem or increased their revenue or market share.   And once again, practice so that you have these in your hip pocket to share during your conversations with prospects.

Networking is Critical
Get out and network to increase your prospecting list.  Join a local business organization in a category of business you want to learn more about.  Sign up to become a member of the Small Business Chamber of Commerce or start a lead sharing network.  The goal is get out in the community and meet others and learn.  This is a great way to practice your elevator pitch too.

Ask for the Sale
This is expected from the prospect, so make it a habit to ask for the sale.  Use the following verbiage, “on a scale from 1 to 10, where does this program rank?”   Depending on the number you are given, you then follow up with a closing question.  Such as, “if I can get this package to an 8 would you be ready to give us the green light?”

Practice does make perfect and December is a great month to begin the process.