When Being Negative is Positive

I’ve written before about the benefits of getting to ‘no’ quickly. As I wrote in my last blog, the more no’s you hear, the closer you get to ‘yes.’ But you may have challenging prospects that thwart your efforts. For example, they drag their feet on making a decision, or they don’t give you much feedback, or they repeatedly reschedule meetings. A Sandler Selling Systems technique called “Negative Reverse Selling” may help.

In Negative Reverse Selling, you do the opposite of what a prospect expects. This changes the pace of the conversation and may help you uncover information that you might not have discovered otherwise.

Here’s a cold calling example: during an initial call, the prospect requests that you send them information via email. The normal approach would be to agree to send it right away.

Using Negative Reverse Selling, your response might be, “Sure, I’m happy to send it to you, but I’ve noticed that often when I’m asked to send information, it’s because the person wants to end the discussion without hurting my feelings. I will understand if this is the case –  but is this what is really happening here?”

In this scenario, the client expects that you’ll send them the information and end the call. They don’t expect you to ask about their motivations. In response, they may admit that they aren’t interested at this time. Then you can thank them and move on. Alternatively, they may confirm they’re interested but you’ve caught them at a bad time.

Negative reverse selling has three key elements. In the first – the ‘build up,’ you make a positive statement about their comment. In the second, ‘the takeaway,’ you share an observation about that comment.  In the third element, you ask a ‘question’ to confirm whether your observation is correct.  See the breakdown below:

Element Definition Example
The build up Make a positive statement about their comment or request. “Sure I’ll send this…
The takeaway Sharing an observation based on your experience. but often when someone asks, they are trying to politely end the call. I understand if this is the case,
The Question Test to see if you are drawing the right conclusion. but is this what’s happening now?”

This is an advanced sales technique that could be of use in a variety of situations. If you choose to use it you’ll need to practice and apply it strategically. This is not an approach to use for the first time in a high-stakes sale.

At One of a Kind Sales, we are experts at sales and cold calling.  We have many techniques in our “sales toolbox” to navigate through the selling process.  If you need help generating qualified leads for your business or you have a sales team that is not as efficient as you’d like, call us at 908-879-2911 to learn more about our services.  Consultations are complementary.

No Means You’re Closer to Yes

There isn’t a successful salesperson out there who hasn’t heard the word “NO” much more than they’ve heard the word “YES.”

I’ve written before about how salespeople are in the business of “NO” because they hear it so much.  This makes sense to me because not everyone is your customer.

Sales is a numbers game. If you approach ten prospects about an opportunity, you can expect that most will say no. But the more people who tell you “NO,” the closer you are to those few – possibly two or three – who might say yes and be able to move forward and have an in-depth discussion.   If you approach 100 prospects, with the same success rate you could be talking about 20 to 30 qualified and interested prospects.

My point is that we need to have the ability to hear the word “NO” without letting it impact our future activities. In my last blog, I mentioned how important consistency is in driving results and how critical it is for us to maintain our resilience to get those results.

Here are several approaches to try either separately or in combination to help us get past the negative feelings we have associated with hearing the word “NO”.

  • Change or reframe your perspective. What if you could perceive a “NO” as being one step closer to the yes, rather than just a setback?
  • Make sure you have realistic expectations. Again, not everyone will be your customer, and not every prospect will prove to be a qualified lead.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself. Practice self-compassion and don’t beat yourself up about a failed sales call.  Accepting the response and leaving the negative self-talk behind can help you move forward.
  • Seek feedback and support from your coaches and peers. They have all experienced the “NO.” You are not alone.
  • Refocus quickly and move to the next call. We know the steps it takes to generate new business.  After the “NO” it is exactly the right time to stick to your plan.

During my career as a sales professional, I’ve seen that if you can implement one or several of these approaches, you’ll develop the ‘growth mindset’ that is critical to ongoing sales success.

At One of a Kind Sales, we are experts at qualifying leads and setting appointments.  We understand that “NO” is not a personal rejection and it may in some cases mean “not now.” We have a proven method for generating the qualified sales leads that businesses need.  If you or someone you know needs more qualified leads, please reach out to me for a free consultation at 908-879-2911 or Nancy@OneofaKindSales.com.

Maximizing Peaks and Minimizing Valleys in Sales

I meet periodically with a group of professional salespeople who are dedicated to sharpening their sales skills using the Sandler Selling Methodology. In the most recent session, we discussed something we all see at times – the peaks and valleys of sales. We’ve all had that experience in which sales cycle up and down, making a sales revenue line that has repeated peaks and valleys. What we all prefer is that sales continue on the upward swing and never trend down. So why does this happen?

We talked about the contributing factors. The consensus was that these peaks and valleys represent the daily level of effort we put into our sales process. We all know what activities we need to do to generate sales (for many of us, cold calling is a critical part), but we’re not consistent from day to day or month to month to the level of effort that we put forth. And this inconsistency is reflected in our sales numbers.

And why weren’t we being consistent? As we talked more, it seemed that the most common challenge was procrastination due to anxiety and stress associated with the outreach process. Although we all know that cold calling is the first step to qualifying leads that generate revenue, we fret over it.

So a critical success factor is the ability to handle that stress and overcome procrastination.  As a sales professional and a professional “cold caller”  who uses the DISC personality profile to understand my sales team and my sales prospects,  I realize that each of the four DISC personality types requires a different approach to stress relief.

Stress Management Recommendations by DISC Personality Type

If you are a D (dominant) personality type, physical exercise is most likely the best solution for stress management.

If you are an I (Influencer), then social interaction is a great stress reliever as you thrive on connecting with others.

If you are an S (Steady Relator), getting adequate rest and having good sleep hygiene are important to recharging and handling stress daily.

If you are a C (Cautious/Compliant), then having time alone is going to help manage your stress.

Wherever you fall in the DISC profile, it’s important to make sure that you take active steps to reduce stress to remove the most common reason for procrastination.  By doing this you’ll be able to act consistently on the activities that you know will generate consistent revenue and you’ll see fewer valleys and maximize those peaks.

At One of a Kind Sales, we are masters of consistency and we love cold calling. We can help your team become better cold callers or we can take on that task for you so that your team can go out and convert the new clients that we have qualified. Call Nancy at 908-879-2911 to learn more.

Cold Calling vs. “Dropping In”

When it comes to lead generation and closing new business, it’s probably not going to be a surprise to hear me say that I believe that cold calling is a critical component. I have had potential clients challenge me, asking: “Why not just ‘drop in’ to a likely customer? If you drop in and they’re willing to talk to you, you might even  be able to close business that day.”

As owner of One of a Kind Sales, I work with businesses that provide solutions that may represent a significant investment for their customers.  In my experience, a successful, same-day close is highly unlikely for this type of sale

The Pitfalls of the “Drop-In” visit

  1. An in-person visit requires non-productive travel time. A 30-minute drive means an hour wasted.
  2. If you happen to catch a prospect who is willing to talk to you, this person may have agreed because you’ve asked for a very short period – not what you’d need to close new business.
  3. You may be unprepared to have an in-depth discussion because you can’t predict which of the prospects you plan to visit will be able to see you.
  4. It is unlikely your prospect is prepared to have the conversation that you would need to have to close new business.

Ultimately an in-person visit to someone who does not know you (a cold visit) should have the same objective as a cold call: to qualify the prospect and make an appointment for a more substantive meeting.

Why Cold Call?

  1. Since the objective of the call is to qualify the prospect and set an appointment, there is no need to do any research on the prospects you speak with. Preparation is minimal.
  2. You can qualify more prospects more quickly by cold calling. There is no wasted “windshield time”.  There is only the gap between one cold call and the next.
  3. Making an appointment allows your prospect the time to collect their thoughts so that the discussion will be more fruitful.

There is a direct relationship between the number of appointments with qualified clients and your sales numbers. Increasing the number of qualified appointments we make will result in increased sales. As an experienced cold caller, I would place my bet on using cold calling to drive sales growth any day. Cold calling is a skill that is often neglected in sales training.

If you would like to explore how cold calling can impact your business, please reach out to me at 908-879-2911.  At One of a Kind Sales, we are experts at cold calling and would love to help.

Does Cold Calling Work?

Businesses that consider using call calling often ask questions about its effectiveness. At One of a Kind Sales, having made thousands of cold calls, we can attest to its effectiveness in generating leads.  But I recently came across some statistics from the RAIN Group about how direct outreach, including cold calling, is regarded by business decision-makers.  Their research showed that more than half of senior decision-makers prefer to be contacted by phone.  When businesspeople are actually in the market for a solution, more than 71% of them say that they want a salesperson to reach out to them directly.  And up to 50% of sales go to the “first mover” – the solution provider that reaches out first to the potential buyer.

Often, we hear salespeople complain that prospects don’t pick up the phone, but the statistics show that 67% or two-thirds of buyers have picked up the phone at least once for a new provider in the past year.  Making a direct phone call to a prospect is regarded as the most effective tactic by almost one-third of salespeople and you’re more likely to get new business from this type of direct outreach than from an email campaign. Yet many salespeople who are tasked with lead generation don’t have specialized cold-calling skills.

For people who sell for a living and any business that has a sales objective, evaluating the effectiveness of your lead generation efforts is important. Because we have limited time those resources must be allocated effectively.  We believe that a business should have multiple channels to generate leads – a mix of inbound and outbound methods.  Our experience combined with the statistics regarding the perception of cold calling among decision-makers strongly suggests businesses should be using cold calling as one of the lead generation channels.

What’s important about these statistics is that they show that if you are calling a list of people that are likely to need your solution you have a strong likelihood of qualifying strong leads and converting them.

Do you wonder if Cold Calling would work for your business? If so, give us a call to find out. At One of a Kind Sales, cold calling is our specialty.  We qualify leads and set up appointments for our clients so that their salespeople can go in a close new business.  We also train sales teams to do cold calling and can ensure that you have the proper systems in place to maximize the impact of cold calling.  Reach out to us at 908-879-2911.

Cold Calling Is About More Than Making a Sale

When people think about cold calling, they envision an aggressive phone call in which the caller pressures the person on the other end of the line into making a purchase. To me, this is the worst example of cold calling. This is what gives cold calling a bad name. One thing they have right is that cold calling involves making a call to someone the caller does not know, but there is a great deal of difference between what professional cold callers do and that negative image.

My business, One of a Kind Sales, uses cold calling to qualify leads and set appointments. Generally, we work from a curated list of prospects that have been identified because of their specific role in a business. Our objective is to understand whether any of these prospects have a need for or an interest in a particular product or service.  This is sharply differentiated from attempting to sell the solution. Often the selling process is handled by a different person who is a solution expert. In our process, which we’ve used successfully thousands of times, if the caller determines there is no need or no interest in the solution, we end the interaction on a positive note.  However, if a lead is qualified, meaning that they have a need and an interest, our team sets up an appointment for the expert who will speak to the prospect about the solution.

These cold calling interactions also have the potential to generate referrals. For example, if a lead is not qualified, the caller may ask whether there is another business they might recommend that we speak to that may need the solution.

Beyond the objective of near-term sales, cold calling can be used in other ways:

Market research –  Speaking to a potential prospect is an effective way to gauge interest in a new product or service and get a better understanding of market needs.

Competitive research – Talking to your ideal prospects can help you gain insight into competitive activities.

Education – When a product or service is complex, cold calling can be done to provide general information that will give the prospect a better understanding of the product.  Sometimes this is done in anticipation of the launch of a new product or service.

No matter the objective, cold calling should always be thought of as a way to establish a positive relationship with a connection that would enable you to re-approach them as a “warm” contact at a future point in time. Well-trained professional cold callers are skilled in establishing rapport quickly, and they have a genuine interest in learning more about their prospects’ needs.

When thinking about cold calling, it’s time to leave behind that old stereotype of the-high-pressure phone call. Given the competitive marketplace and the proven utility of cold calling, we need to think strategically about all of the options in the sales toolbox and deploy them when and where they can have the greatest impact.

If you are wondering whether cold calling could be a good approach for your business give me a call at 908-879-2911 or email me at nancy@oneofakindsales.com.