If you read my blog often you know that I am really big on having a process for everything. Why? First, most salespeople thrive when structure is present. Second, I am a roll with the flow kind of guy and I recognised long ago that randomness kills my ability to be a raging success.
So, as I looked to refine how I host my sales calls, I looked for a simple, repeatable pattern of success. I found that pattern when I changed my typical sales call into small defined segments. I soon realised I could host a really solid sales call in 10 minutes or less.
Because most salespeople lack a process when they make sales calls, this simple approach really boosts confidence and creates a plan for success. Plus, it also stops those long, boring sales calls that result in little more than a request for a blind proposal that often goes nowhere. In my ad sales training workshops, I teach what I like to call “The 10-Minute Sales Call”.
We start by breaking up the 10 minutes into five segments. Each segment is two minutes long. Thus five times two equals ten. Now, just in case you feel that two minutes is too short, please hold your breath for the next two minutes. Ready… go. Each two-minute segment serves a unique purpose.
Segment 1 of 5: personal connection
Since birth you have been taught not to talk to strangers. So, you face “stranger danger” from the moment you walk into any sales call. It is imperative that you prep for the sales call by visiting LinkedIN or the clients’ web site.
We are looking for non-creepy points of connection. Perhaps you share a past work reference or a hobby. All the time, at my ad sales training workshops, I am asked if this has ever backfired on me. I have never, ever had a client call me creepy or a stalker. I am researching them in an effort to be exceedingly relevant and beat the “stranger danger” taboo in this two minute part of The 10 Minute Sales Call.
Segment 2 of 5: sharing success stories
Smart people surround themselves with others that are successful. If you don’t, you should. So, sharing success stories of other advertisers that have worked with your media is very important.
People love to hear about success. They want success. You can be that person that brings them success. The other aspect of this segment, that is important to note, is based in science. If I tell you to NOT think about success, what do you think about? So, collecting and sharing your four best marketing or advertising success stories is critical in this second two-minute step of The 10 Minute Sales Call.
Segment 3 of 5: asking critical questions
Salespeople are masters of controlling the conversation. Most salespeople will talk and talk and talk. Only when the advertiser appears sleepy do they stop talking. Salespeople hate silence.
To be effective, you need to stop talking and start listening. I coach all my ad sales training reps on this point. You need to have at least 10 great sales questions. Questions that lead to a point. Not questions that are just open-ended to start a conversation.
Worst question ever…“tell me about your marketing goals?” Come on! You can do better than that. How about, “If you decide to run an ad with me, what would you want to have happen from that ad? Please be specific.”
Or, another good one…“In what areas do you outperform your competitors?”
The goal of this segment is to gather recon so you can make your pitch sound custom to them and not generic. Find your critical questions. Rehearse your critical questions. Share them with others on your team. Critical questions rule the sales call and you need them in this two minute part of The 10 Minute Sales Call.
Segment 4 of 5: presenting your pitch
What? We are just now pitching our products? Really? OMG! I only have four minutes. What about my PowerPoint? What about my demo on my laptop? Really?
How about this. Have three sales sheets with you and craft your pitch around these three sales sheets. Be specific and weave into your pitch all the things you have learned so far on the sales call.
The sales sheets I bring are:
- a data sheet
- an offerings sheet and
- a price grid.
That is it. Who we are. What we have to offer. Here are our pricing options. Your pitch should be tight, simple and ROI focused. What’s in it for them is critical in all you pitch. Without steps 1-3 you can not expect to close a sale and that is why the pitch is in segment 4 of 5 of The 10 Minute Sales Call.
Segment 5 of 5: closing the deal.
90 per cent of salespeople are afraid to ask for the order. It is very easy. First, ask if they like the idea. If they say yes, then ask what they feel is a solid next step together.
If they say they have no money, ask again if they like the idea. If they like the idea then ask them what your fee needs to be to make this happen. Go back to your success stories and use the old feel, felt, found sales tool when money becomes the focus. Get them off of the money: “I know how you feel. John Doe business felt the same way. Then they ran an ad with us and three months later they were back on top.”
Don’t over-promise. Instead, paint a picture of potential. This is such an important two minutes of the 10 Minute Sales Call.
Practice your best ad sales calls
So, how do you become a master of the 10 Minute Sales Call? Practice. I know. I know… role-playing stinks. I get it. But, it works.
Grab a stopwatch and start the process toward success. If you can promise your clients 10 minutes then you are not wasting their time. Everyone has 10 minutes for a good idea or conversation.