Sales Moves

Salespeople have questions, Jeffrey has the answers

May 3, 2013
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I get a ton of emails from people seeking insight or asking me to solve their sales dilemmas. Here are a few that may relate to your job, your life and (most importantly) your sales thought process right now.

Dear Jeffrey, I have cold called in the past and didn't have a problem with it. But now I am having a hard time getting people to even hear me out. What is the best way to handle cold calls about a free hearing screening for senior citizens and follow up on a direct mailing? Sherri

Sherri, Cold calling sucks. It's for people that have no other way of marketing. Senior citizens meet in groups. They have conclaves. They have bridge parties. They have mahjong parties. They have bingo parties. Go to the parties. Stop cold calling people. It’s a waste of time. 

What you need to do is sit in a room and in a normal voice say, “How many people can't hear me? Well, I guess you're not raising your hands because you can't hear me.” And then talk about your free test and ask, “Who would like to take it?" Maybe bring the test to the group. Go to a Kiwanis or Rotary meeting. There are both retired and older people there. Your job is to figure out smarter, better ways to eliminate the cold call.

If you’re gonna use direct mail, it’s OK, but it’s passé and everyone knows it. The bottom line is if you get a response from it, then figure out a better way to communicate with those who are interested. Often, the senior citizen will have an email account. Often, the senior citizen will have a Facebook account because they are communicating with their grandchildren. Figure that out. Then make the call. Best regards, Jeffrey

Dear Jeffrey, How do you advertise and get customers to your business with no money? Jamie

Jamie, Actually, it’s easier than you think. If you have some customers, get them to start advertising. Get them to post a little bit of a testimonial for you on their Facebook page and your Facebook page. Start LinkedIn. Start Twitter. And start to use social media to build your business and build your reputation. It’s free. You don't have to worry about the cost of an ad, which may not bring you the results you’re hoping for anyway. Advertising is more free than it has ever been. Your job is to figure out a way to take advantage of it using existing customers and social media. Best regards, Jeffrey

Jeffrey, I work in the agriculture industry. Most of my customers wear blue jeans and cowboy boots. Everything I read about sales says dress up. When I do, some of my customers make comments about being a city boy, or they say I look like their banker. In your opinion, how should I dress? Doug

Doug, Wear what makes you feel comfortable. If you're uncomfortable wearing city boy clothes in front of cowboys, then stop doing it. Wear nice, fashionable cowboy clothes. Make certain that, if you're going to wear boots, they’re polished and have some nice brand name to them. The goal is that your customers will say, “Nice boots!” or “Nice belt!” or “Where did you get that shirt?” That's what you want. Wear vintage stuff. There's plenty of vintage cowboy stuff out there.

Make certain your look, even though casual, is one notch better than the customer would wear when you’re in that meeting with them so the clothes become a positive discussion rather than a drawback. Jeffrey

Jeffrey, I have recently started in sales at a radio station. I have read a few of your books and we follow all of your suggestions as far as selling. I am right out of college and I look it. I’m afraid if I try to make appointments in person, I will be turned down right away because of my age. How would you suggest I overcome this? Sarah

Sarah, First of all, stop believing that your age is a barrier. Second of all, pre-prepare a 30-second commercial (of around 90 words or less) about the customer before you ever walk in the door. Record it. Walk in and say, “Hey, I just did a commercial for you. Would you like to hear it?”

If the commercial is cool, creative, maybe a little bit edgy, and has a little music in the background, they will listen and call other people in to hear it. No one will care about your age if you prepare in terms of the customer. Best regards, Jeffrey

Jeffrey, I recently joined a business broker who has been successful for six years. I am the new boy. It appears revenue is generated from listing fees and commission on sales. Listings are obtained from direct mail, drop-ins and customers seeing our website. Lots of groundwork has to be done to build up listings from zero. Purchasers are coming all the time and converting them to sales doesn’t appear to be a problem. It only takes one purchaser and the commission is good. What concerns me is we seem to be using old methods to get listings — snail mail and cold calling. Do you have any suggestions on what you would do to fast track the listing process? David

David, When you start in a job, there is no “fast track.” There’s only what has been done successfully before. Start there. And when you do start there, you'll be seen as “fitting in” and “part of the team” or “part of the process.” Yes, you’re on your own. Yes, you make your own commissions. You know what? You can't come in and fight traffic from the first day. What you need to do is harmonize with what’s happening in your place of business. Do it the old way first and then figure out a new way on your own. If it were me, I’d be using social media. I’d be using testimonials. I’d be using every new strategy I possibly could, but not until you've made a few sales the old way. Start there. Best regards, Jeffrey

Jeffrey Gitomer’s website, www.gitomer.com, has more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at salesman@gitomer.com.

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