The Portable Sales Coach
78 pages
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The Portable Sales Coach


Obtenez un accès à la bibliothèque pour le consulter en ligne
En savoir plus
78 pages


Time is money -- which means you're pouring money down the drain when you spend your time on low-percentage selling strategies.

How many times have you cold-called someone with no expectation that they'd have any interest in your pitch? How many times have you had to crowbar your way into someone's office to make a presentation? How many deals have you poured hours into, knowing that they were doomed from the start?

Don't just work hard -- work smart. Read this book for the high-percentage plays in sales that will take your game to the next level. Discover how to:
  • Craft a cold call your market wants to hear
  • Get more appointments from fewer cold calls
  • Get more sales from fewer appointments
  • Find segments of your market that no one else is selling to
  • Figure out which of your customers are making you money and which are costing you money
  • Stop wasting time on people who aren't going to buy from you



Publié par
Date de parution 18 septembre 2012
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781927483367
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0025€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


The Portable
Your play-by-play guide for success in selling
Informative, Inspiring Tips For Rookies and Veterans Alike
Lance Osborne
Copyright 2013 by Lance Osborne
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Published in 2013 by BPS Books
A division of Bastian Publishing Services Ltd.
Toronto and New York
Paperback ISBN 978-1-927483-27-5 ePDF: ISBN 978-1-927483-37-4 ePub: ISBN 978-1-927483-36-7
Cataloguing-in-Publication Data available from
Library and Archives Canada.
Cover: V. John Lee
Illustrations: Jim Hunt
Text design, typesetting, and graphics: Casey Hooper Design
Part I: Commonsense Cold Calling
1 Tell the Right Story
2 Tell It to the Right Person
3 Tell It the Right Way
4 Tell It Often Enough
Part II: Managing Yourself, Managing Your Market
5 Time Is Infinite Only If You Happen to Be a Physicist
6 All Customers Are Not Created Equal
7 The Cure for Irrational Optimism
8 Avoiding the Dreaded Sine Wave of Sales
9 Prospecting on Steroids: Referral Selling
10 The Coffee-and-Bagel Marketing Program
Part III: Unconventional Wisdom
11 Report to Your Boss, but Work for Yourself
12 Kiss Me or Blow My Brains Out
13 The Orchard in the Bramble Patch: A Sales Fable
14 Looking for the Road Less Traveled
15 A Conversation About Sales
16 Sell unto Others as You Would Have Them Sell unto You
Conclusion: You Took the Time to Read This Book Now What?
S ALES IS ACTUALLY A PRETTY STRAIGHTFORWARD PROPO sition: Identify someone who s in the market for your product or your service, and Persuade them to buy it from you.
Most books about sales concentrate on the persuasion component of selling. The sell like me books contain sections on How to Get Past the Gatekeepers and scripts and tips on Building Rapport so you can Connect with Your Prospect and turn him or her into a client. This may all be good stuff, but there s a reason that persuasion is the second part of sales. You can be the best salesperson in the world, but if the person you re pitching isn t in the market for what you re selling, all those compelling arguments and closing techniques aren t going to get you the sale. On the other hand, even if you re brand new to sales, you stand a pretty good chance of closing the deal if you happen on a guy whose pants are on fire and you sell buckets of water.
I ve spent more than 25 years selling and training people how to sell. I can tell you the best salespeople are not the ones with the most compelling pitches and personalities. Forget all that I can sell anything to anybody malarkey-that s not what defines a successful salesperson. The most successful salespeople know how to get in front of the people who want to hear from them and they stay in front of the people who want to buy from them.
If you re new to sales and you went for a few beers with a group of successful salespeople, you might be surprised by what they talk about when they get down to telling war stories. They won t be bragging about talking someone who wasn t even on the market into a big sale. They ll be talking about how many (or few) cold calls it takes for them to get a meeting with a potential client. And they won t be congratulating themselves on the big deals they managed to close. They ll more likely be deconstructing the instances where they wasted time on deals that were never going to happen in the first place.
Successful salespeople don t talk about how hard they work. They talk about how smart they work-how they get the best possible returns on the time and energy they invest in selling.
That s what I m going to show you in this book-how to get the best possible returns from all your hard work. You don t need to change how you sell. You don t have to work any harder than you do right now. You just need to spend more time with the prospects who could and should turn into customers. This may sound like an obvious, even simplistic statement. But think about how many cold calls you ve made where you had little or no expectation that the person you were calling would be interested in what you were selling. Think about how many deals you ve poured time and effort into, knowing the odds were against them ever turning into sales.
Up to now, everyone s been telling you sales is a numbers game. And they re right-it is. But it s not just about quantity of numbers. It s about quality of numbers. Successful selling is about percentages .
It starts with figuring out the people you should be selling to in the first place. Are you calling the names on that list in front of you because you have good reason to believe they might need your product? Or are you calling them because this just happens to be the list your manager handed you to call?
There may be an infinite number of names in your market, but you don t have time to call them all. You just want to call the relative few who might be in the market at the time you re calling. If you re calling people who you know have a 1 in 10 chance of being in the market for your product, you are going to make a lot more sales than the guy calling people with a 1 in 100 chance of being in the market for his product.
Cold calling gets you in front of the potential customer, but that s only half the story. A prospect is just someone who s in the market for the kind of product or service you re selling. This doesn t necessarily mean they re going to buy from you. They might buy from a competitor; they might decide to defer the purchase; their financing might fall through; or they might just change their mind.
There are many ways for the sale not to happen. Any one prospect can turn into a great customer or a big waste of time. The trick is to spend most of your time with the prospects who are likely to turn into clients and as little time as possible with the prospects who aren t.
My experience in sales comes from the world of recruitment. The company I founded and operated for more than 25 years specializes in recruiting professional accountants and accounting executives. This is a very specialized sell. The sales staff has to have a good understanding of the principles and technical details associated with accounting in order to secure the sale and then come up with the appropriate recruitment strategy.
I didn t hire career salespeople for my company. Why? Because I knew they wouldn t be able to adequately service the sales they generated unless they happened to have an accounting degree. So for the most part I hired accountants and then taught them how to sell.
Unsurprisingly, accountants are very logical, analytical people who tend to base their activities and decisions on hard facts and cold data. They re typically wary of sales pitches. Even accountants who decide to get into sales themselves tend to be leery of the persuasion elements of selling. You might think it would be difficult to teach people like this how to sell, but it wasn t. It was surprisingly easy because I focused my training more on the science of sales and less on the art of selling (pitches and persuasion). And much of the science of sales lies in understanding and playing the percentages of selling properly.
I taught my salespeople to evaluate all of their activities by the yardstick of the probability that the activity would result in an imminent or future sale. I told them, if activity A has a 20 percent chance of a positive result and activity B a 3 percent chance, they should totally ignore activity B and concentrate on activity A. I encouraged them, when they ran out of high-percentage prospects, to spend their time researching and planning for more high-quality prospects instead of wasting time chasing low-percentage prospects.
They didn t have to be great at the persuasion component of selling to be successful (although everyone did learn this side of sales eventually). They just needed to follow a sales methodology that (a) put them in front of people who wanted to hear from them in the first place and then (b) kept them in front of the prospects who were most likely to turn into clients.
Nothing in this methodology is rocket science, but it does take a lot of planning, preparation, and discipline for it to be effective. Fortunately, accountants take to planning, preparation, and discipline like ducks to water, so it was high-fives all around.
You ll notice as you read this book that I make virtually no effort to motivate you. I don t exhort you to try harder, work more, get your act together, or get your ass in gear. In over 25 years of managing salespeople, I ve never been able to motivate anybody. Not one. In over 25 years! And I like to think I m an inspiring kind of guy when I put my mind to it. Sure, I ve been able to stimulate sales activity when necessary. And I ve delivered countless pep talks over the years. Like most people in sales management, I m a pretty effective wielder of the old carrot and stick. But I ve learned that although I can influence people, I can t motivate them.
Neither can anyone else, by the way. Not your boss, not your spouse, not the keynote speaker at your next sales conference. Only you can motivate you.
This book contains tools, tips, and techniques that will make you more successful at sales, but only if you actually put them to work. You were motivated enough to buy this book, but it will take a whole other level of motivation for you to put its ideas into practice.
Some of what I talk about is obvious (in an it s obvious now that I ve thought about it kind of way), some of it is unconventional (see chapter 11: Report to Your Boss, but Work for Yourself), but all of it is common sense ( spend more time with people who ll probably buy from me? Sounds good so far ). Pick the one idea or technique that resonates with you the most and really spend the time and effort to implement that idea and get some traction with it. Once you ve seen some positive results with that idea, phase in the next idea and stick with that until you get results.
The trick is to thoroughly and consistently follow through on whatever techniques you try until they become part of your sales muscle memory. The more success you have with each successive idea, the keener you ll be to implement the next idea.
Bottom line: I hope these ideas make your career in sales a lot more successful-and just as important, a whole lot more fun.
A LMOST ALL COMPANIES ENGAGE IN MARKETING IN ONE form or another. Large companies inevitably have a department devoted to producing an organized, coordinated program of advertising, web presence, publicity, trade-show activities, direct mail, etc., all in an effort to positively influence potential customers. For smaller companies, especially owner-managed ones, marketing efforts are often represented by a website and some printed brochures.
Even if a company does everything right in its marketing efforts and especially if a company isn t doing very much at all, salespeople can be much more effective at making cold calls if they assume responsibility for their own individual marketing campaigns. Unless you re thrilled with the story your company handed you to sell, you re usually better off crafting your own.
Good marketing is just good storytelling. The trick is to tell a big story as a very short story. Think of the advertising campaigns that have likely resonated most with you over the years. Avis: When you re number two, you try harder. Wendy s: Where s the beef? Buckley s Cough Syrup: It tastes awful. And it works.
All of these were small stories that told big stories. One of the most effective and iconic marketing campaigns is the shortest story ever: Nike s Just do it.
When that campaign was launched in the late 1980s, those three little words told the story that people who bought Nike sneakers were cool, take-no-prisoner athletes with attitude. The campaign not only told a compelling story, but it also told it to the right audience-people 18 to 40 years old who wanted to turn the sweaty tedium of exercise into something sexy and exciting.
The Nike campaign captured the narrative of a very big story as a very small story. That s an essential element of almost every marketing or sales campaign, because whatever you sell, you ve got a very small window to get your audience s attention. People are bombarded with marketing pitches every day in every way. You have to grab their attention, make an impression, and most importantly, leave them with a message that stays with them afterwards.
Besides telling big stories as short stories (or slogans), these campaigns had one other attribute that s crucial to good storytelling-drama. Drama is what hooks the audience at the beginning and holds their interest through to the end. And if the key to good storytelling is drama, the key to drama is conflict. All good stories deal with some sort of conflict. They usually play out like this:
Introduction : The background information needed to properly understand the story, including the main characters and the conflict.
Action : The conflict, elaborated on and developed (with either a positive or negative result for those characters).
Resolution : The conclusion of the story, usually with some indication of the future fate of the characters.
Think about any story that caught and kept your attention. It followed this pattern, didn t it? Let me use the nursery tale Goldilocks and the Three Bears to demonstrate:
Introduction : There are three bears living in a house in the forest, who, for reasons unknown, decide to go for a stroll right in the middle of dinner, leaving their house unlocked. A girl named Goldilocks is wandering around hungry and tired in the same forest. She smells freshly prepared porridge and follows the scent right to the bears house. Goldilocks notices the door is unlocked and no one is home, so she walks right in.
Action : Goldilocks, being something of a wild child in her own right, eats the bears porridge and proceeds to trash their living room. Tuckered out by all this activity, but satisfied with a job well done, our girl heads upstairs for a well-deserved nap.
The three bears return home and are understandably upset at being the victims of a home invasion. In the course of documenting their losses for insurance purposes, the bears discover Goldilocks asleep at the scene of the crime. There is a chorus of remonstration from the three bears, which awakens the girl from her slumber.
Resolution : As soon as her eyes snap open, Goldilocks realizes she s in the proverbial wrong place at the wrong time and beats a hasty retreat out of the house, never to return. The three bears eventually collect on their insurance policy and use the proceeds to buy a home alarm system.

Remember that you have to have conflict to have drama. Without conflict, you don t have a story, at least not one that anyone will pay attention to. That s why sales books always tell you to talk about your product s benefits, not its features. Features don t mean anything unless they solve a problem or fulfill a need. That s where the drama is-in the problem or the need that your product addresses.
Keeping in mind the fundamentals of storytelling, take a 360-degree look at your product or service and your market and figure out where the drama is. There are many ways to analyze the drama specific to your offering: Can your product solve a problem common to the segment you re selling into? Does your service make it easier for your clients to cut costs or eliminate waste? Can your product or service offer an extra something that all of your competitors have missed?
Most salespeople tell the same story as everyone else in their space, explaining what their product does or how it works. But you won t grab anyone s attention unless you can relate your product to a problem it solves. Whatever drama you discover, it needs to be specific, it needs to address a current problem, and it must be fashioned into a short, attention-grabbing story.
Please avoid using motherhood statements in your story, those overused tropes salespeople have been trotting out for years such as quality , service , and fair pricing . Unless your competition s marketing campaign slogan happens to be overpriced junk consistently delivered late, these terms don t really mean anything to anybody.
When you re looking for the drama in your product or service, don t settle for one. One drama and one story usually translate into one market. If you can figure out a number of different aspects of your product line that translate into different stories, you can expand the range of markets or sub-markets you can sell into.
Here s a simple example of how Robin the stockbroker could develop multiple story lines to attract audiences.
Robin s Story to People Anticipating Retirement
For clients and prospects contemplating retirement in the next decade, Robin tells a story about safety and protection, offering her prospects a basket of low-risk, income-producing investments.
Robin s Story to Young Professionals
For young professionals with lots of disposable income and a long-range investment horizon, Robin presents a portfolio that includes growth stocks and maybe some high-risk/high-reward investments.


Mr./Ms. Prospect, my name is Court Wiekenkamp and I m with Acme Cartage. I read in the trade press recently that your firm has been experiencing some difficulties with your on-time delivery guarantee.

My company has worked with other firms like yours that have faced similar challenges and have helped them meet spikes in demand by supplementing their fleet with ours. We can design a custom program that takes the strain off in peak periods and supplements regular delivery schedules on an on-demand basis.

If you have a minute right now, I d like to ask you a few questions about your operation and if you re interested, give you some details on how we might help you out.
Robin s Story to Doom and Gloomers
To the people who think the sky is going to fall in, Robin sells gold bullion and related hard assets that will preserve their value should the financial system crash.
Don t make the mistake of trying to be all things to all people. Figure out what the drama is, craft your story, tell it succinctly, and tell it well. Remember, cold calling is usually not about making the sale. It s about opening the door to future conversations that will lead to a sale.


Everybody s been on the receiving end of a bad cold call, and there s a reason why people react with some version of Go away and quit bothering me. I bet they didn t react that way to their first cold call. They might not have reacted that way to their 17th call either. But by the time they re answering their 147th cold call, and the caller is offering the same inappropriate product in the same generic fashion, the recipient can be forgiven for being somewhat less than charming. In fact, I bet you re also somewhat less than charming when the phone rings at home during dinner and you re offered the opportunity to invest in a timeshare in Belize.
I ve been a business owner for more than 25 years. When I first started my business, there was so much I didn t know, and one of the biggest struggles I faced was finding good suppliers.
I needed everything-copiers, computers, database software, a coffee machine, an accountant, a lawyer, and so on. I thought it was great when someone called me out of the blue and presented a product or service that directly solved one of my problems. Every time I got one of those calls, I either bought from the person or at least listened closely to what he or she had to offer.
To me, these weren t cold calls but timely business presentations. I still got the bad cold calls. I had ample opportunities to buy time-shares all over North and Central America, and I treated those calls for what they were-an unwelcome intrusion on my time. On the other hand, I treated the thoughtful, professional, on-point calls for what they were-useful business presentations.
A bad cold call is someone telling the wrong story to the wrong person in the wrong way.
A good cold call is someone telling the right story to the right person in the right way. That s how cold calls become business presentations.
Y OU WOULDN T READ W AR AND P EACE TO A ROOMFUL OF fifth graders, and you wouldn t read The Cat in the Hat to an audience of business executives. So once you ve found your story, the next step is to identify the right prospects to tell it to.
Think about this for a moment: Why doesn t the salesperson at the local car dealership hesitate to approach you when you walk through the doors? Because he or she can correctly assume that you re not there to buy a refrigerator or a puppy. You re there to buy a car. You may not end up buying one from that dealership, but the act of walking through the door sets up the presumption that you are currently, or someday soon will be, in the market for a car.

I ll assume that you re not in a business in which potential customers walk through your door. Like most salespeople, you need to reach out to prospects to tell your story. Although you may have a good story to tell, it s not the right story unless you tell it to the right person . And the litmus test for whether or not that prospect is the right person is the presumption of need. Presumption of need is the problem at the heart of your story that needs to be solved.
This is where I encourage you to get a bit creative. You want to be able to integrate your story into someone else s story. Think of yourself (and your product) as a solution looking for a problem and start with the big-picture questions: What fundamental problem does my product solve? Who would have this kind of problem? What kinds of circumstances might trigger this kind of problem? How would this problem manifest itself and what are the consequences of not solving the problem?
Once you can really visualize a hypothetical customer s nar

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