Did you know that there are better questions to ask? How would you know that there are better questions to ask when you're in the sales cycle? Is there a better question to ask? Are you sure there are better questions to ask?
Today is International Women's Day, and here at KO Advantage Group we #ChooseToChallenge inequality and gender bias everyday. Being led by a female boss like Kim Orlesky in a male-dominated industry is inspiration for us (and everyone in the sales industry) to challenge the long held beliefs regarding gender bias, because the truth is that women can make an impact too! KO Advantage strives everyday to promote inclusivity and motivate all women to celebrate their successes.
Has it been a long time since you've followed up with a client? Is there any that you haven't talked to in the past 90 days?
It's summer. That means it is so easy to push off work to enjoy the beautiful weather.
Sales can be a dog-eat-dog world. But developing strong relationships can boost your career. We have found 5 quotes for you to reflect on. We hope you find them as insightful as we did!
KO Advantage Group Ltd is the fastest-growing sales training company focused on high-value B2B services. This is a time to showcase the amazing team that is behind the scenes. Get to know our team a little better and reach out if you want to know more about what we do at KO Advantage.
When times of uncertainty hit, whether that is a global pandemic, a recession, or even something personally challenging, such a mass layoffs, bankruptcy, or death, should we reach out? What is the right action to take?
Currently the world is at a standstill with COVID-19. But times of uncertainty will come at various times in our lives, be it a natural disaster, a personal tragedy, or an economic recession.
Statistics and research are the differences between sales programs that get results, and those that just make the student "feel good".
What is the intention of the elevator pitch?
To get the meeting.
When the prospect starts collaborating with you to help them figure out how to fix their business troubles, expect the next stage of the journey to be a little tricky—the “challenge” stage.
Are you currently working on your closing skills? This is the moment you've worked so hard for, it's only apt that you develop an effective strategy or style for closing deals.
When it comes to sales proposals, one of the most critical segments you should prepare for is the budget talk. Make it a goal to ask questions that will lead to the much-awaited financial conversation. And when the opportunity comes, frame the subject in a way that will make the client open up how much they believe they will profit, not how much they have to spend.
As I was driving home, there was a group of students standing at city hall protesting. They carried signs saying, “There is no Planet B”, “What are you leaving your children?” and so on. I was brought to tears. I cried knowing this is the reality of what we are leaving our children and grandchildren with. And that did it for me.
After the prospect evaluates the options they have, they start to weigh in and compare the best solutions they have. This third stage in the buyer’s journey is called the collaboration phase.
As previously mentioned in one of my blog posts, the buyer's journey has five stages: awareness, seeking a solution, collaboration, decision, and experience. Customers go through these phases when looking for a particular product or service.
When I first started in sales, the very first thing I was told to learn and develop was to have a “tough skin.” In our industry, rejections are rampant and inevitable--and not to be taken personally.
"People will forget what you did. You'll forget what they said. But they will never forget how you made them feel."
How many cold calls have you done in the past week? If your tally is getting lower, it’s time to sit down and start making calls.
I was at an event a couple of days ago, and afterwards, a member from the crowd asked me if I ever had a low point--the lowest of lows--in my life, and how I soldiered through it. To tell you the truth, I’ve had those points. Yes, I have this incredible company and an excellent team, but that wasn’t always the case for me.
In this always-on world, clients are more involved than ever. They can find what they’re looking for via a quick search query, through marketing materials, or a referral from a friend. Regardless, they know what their problem is or are looking to better their situation, and they know how to look for the solution.
I want to talk about making connections. Whether you're out and about for a short vacation or a business trip, make sure that you're making conversation with people that you can connect with anywhere you go.
I’m a huge fan of today’s technological devices, especially with how it’s helped run businesses smoother. I love how I can use my smartphone or laptop to get on a Zoom or Skype meeting. Despite this, though, I’m still a huge believer of face-to-face interactions.
Those who started in sales are well familiar with what an “elevator pitch” is. If you happen to wait and ride an elevator car with a CEO, you got less than 30 seconds to sell yourself and your business to convince them to meet with you. It’s a popular concept then, and it still is now; however, it has significantly evolved as time passed.
When you dine at a restaurant and look at their 8-page menu, doesn’t it feel overwhelming?
At one point or another, a prospect or a client will ask more from you to close the deal. It happens, which is why there are some positions in companies built for this job role. The fact is, some people loves to negotiate, often asking for more. In your career as an entrepreneur or a sales person, this will happen.
Doing cold calls can be daunting at first. Apart from the fear of stumbling over your words, there’s that fear of rejection that sits on the back of your head. Well, let me ask you something: have you ever answered a call and started yelling or swearing before the person on the other line even got to speak? I highly doubt it.
Doesn’t it feel amazing to see your child learn how to ride a bike on their own? That’s exactly how I feel with my latest testimonial from Cameron, Managing Director in Engineering Quality Control.
Social media networks are more than just platforms for connecting with loved ones and updating your friends or followers with what’s going on with your life. Social media also plays an important role in growing your business. It can help you generate quality leads and build a relationship with potential and existing clients based on trust.
“Thank you” messages always melts my heart. Like the recent message I got from Anita Lee.
There are five stages of a relationship: attraction, dating, disappointment, stability, and ultimately, commitment.
When you’re engaged in sales conversations, have you ever experienced letting a client unconsciously lead the meeting? Need I remind you: it’s you who should be in the power position.
Let’s take a step back from the big picture and focus on two angles for now: the client’s goals and aspirations.
When meeting with prospects, are you the type of salesperson who gets in control of the conversation? Or is it the prospects that lead the meeting? Early on in the process, you have to establish your role to avert the classic case of the “blind leading the blind.”
When you make the first move to approach a client, to raise awareness and present solutions to their problems, know that you’re on the right track.
Would you rather go after the big fish—sell premium services to premium clients;
or sell your services at a low cost to numerous clients?
People like you because they feel comfortable around you. More often than not, people buy based on emotion. Selling with your heart in it, not just working on your routine or template, can help you sell more at a quick pace.
In my videos and here on the blog, I always speak from a sales coach perspective. This time, I want to talk about what it’s like to be the buyer.
The first step to get more meetings and tap on your ideal prospects is making a cold call or cold email.
2019 is just a few weeks away. If this year has yet to turn out the way you want it to, you still have time to turn it around. Don't wait for January to unfold before you re-evaluate your strategies and make plans for improvements.
Cold calling doesn’t have to be so complicated. Pick up the phone, dial the number, and start the conversation!
Hooked up to the last slide. And all you’ll ever need are 6 slides to seal the deal!
Someone went up to me before and said: “If sales is like dating, that means marketing is flirting.”
When you meet with a client, do you come prepared with a few questions to ask before, during, and after the meeting?
So I got asked something that lingered in my head a while recently. Someone who attended my event walked up to me and said, “Kim, you talk so much about empathy when it comes to the sales cycle.”
How do your weekends look like? Does it look more like rest days with two side dishes of work or full meal courses of quality time with your family?
There’s a difference between actually “Knowing” and “Thinking that you know.”
Ever get those days where you’re just unsure as to how to set up a program that teaches, educates, and most importantly, one that would sell to your clients? Admit it, we’ve all been there!
If you see all my videos, you know that I usually shoot in a studio. This time, however, I switched things up a bit. I’m here to show you what my Fridays look like and how much of a breeze it is to do business where and when I’m able to.
Referrals are a great way to build business however they can drown out potential clients. Relying on this one thing forever in the business world will be detrimental to your future growth.
If you’re like me (when I started), your hand likely nervously reaches for the phone as you prepare to cold call potential clients.
Let your nerves subside. Don’t focus on the idea that you MIGHT get a negative response. Focus on the positive outcomes that a new business connection WILL bring to your sales success.
Networking is a great way to build connections but it can be difficult to find high quality clients. Below are reasons to avoid free networking events in order to attain a quality driven client base. You are unique and your company has a niche so make sure you get the ideal customers for your business.
What’s your game plan after planning and implementing your marketing strategy?
You want to grow your business but unsure how to start. You have exhausted resources such as facebook, linked and twitter. You feel as though you are spinning around and just getting dizzy.
Ever wondered why your clients suddenly back out after sending them the proposal? Well, you should STOP emailing them the proposals. If you’re used to sending the proposals via email before, now is the time to stop it. And I’ll tell you why.
Have you taken the time to look back at your ideal customer persona since you started your business?
How do you know if you’re talking to a “Decision Maker” or “Influencer” when navigating the sales cycle?
If you are in the B2B high-value services industry, start thinking like Jerry Maguire: Fewer clients, more personal attention.
When targeting ideal clients, sometimes the best approach to connect with them the very first time will be a cold call or a cold email.
Do you CHOOSE your clients? Or do you pick your clients based on if they have a credit card and a pulse?
I want to hear from you! What's your favorite question to ask your clients?
I want to hear from you! Do you believe the sales plan or the marketing plan should come first when working to build revenue?
When you are sitting with your prospect you want to make sure they get high value out of their conversation.
What do you say when you first meet a customer?
When I meet people for the first time and tell them I coach teams in sales, the question I get the most is how can they close business faster. It seems everyone has a story about the deal that is currently sitting in a stalled position. Many cases it’s about taking a step back and revisiting an earlier area in the sales process. Other times it’s about asking the right questions. As you build your skills, here are the 5 areas every deal needs to be focused on so you can close even more business faster:
How do you promote your business to an even bigger audience?
When I open my Facebook my feed is filled with posts about the top ways to gain more business through webinars, email, and Facebook ads (among other pay per click advertising). The struggle is the average e-commerce only site converts 3% of the traffic that comes in, which means we spend a lot of time and money on trying to get people interested in our business before a sale is even made. How are successful companies able to get more business? They use a directed sales strategy!
How do you get creative with your promotions and ads?
Sales is both an art and a science. The art consists of the finesse that it takes to speak smoothly, steer a conversation, and promote your product or service in a way the person on the other side hangs off your every word. Unfortunately too many people focus on the art and not enough on the science. The science consists of knowing how many new contacts you need to approach every week or month, and how many follow up meetings you need to have in order to get to the sale. Both can be taught, however if you only focused on the science you would still make the sales, it’s not necessarily true of the art.
How do you quantify a solution that is entirely service based? When you show the prospect the price, how do you show a return on their investment when they aren't receiving a tangible good?
When we are speaking to a new prospect it's completely okay when our conversations come across stumbled and imperfect. Often times if we are launching a new product or service, or if you are new to a role, it can be difficult to structure what we want to say correctly. Don't worry. Done is better than perfect.
By stepping outside the business and participating in a creative venture, it can actually help you in your business.
The gatekeeper serves an essential purpose for any business - it helps the company they work for focus on their work and avoid sales calls. But as a salesperson, this gatekeeper prevents us from having our product or service heard by those that could buy.
I'd like to pose a challenge. When was the last time you contacted your previous customers?
We have to customize our questions for each individual prospect and customer, however the introductory questions are often the same.
When creating a pitch we often think about how we can improve the life for our customer. But if you're really interested in closing deals faster consider including the "third-box thinking" which allows you to think of your solution from your customer's point of view.
How can you make better business-to-business cold calls?
For all the entrepreneurs, small business owners, and people that are wanting to provide a product or service to the world, we need to stop being afraid of the word "sales".
The quickest way to work with a prospect on the sales cycle is not to take the prospect on the steps that we will go through in order to get them to where they want to be, but rather on the final destination that the prospect wants to be.
What's your objective when making a cold call? You only have one. It's to secure the meeting.
The biggest fallacy that exists is the idea of a "self-made" millionaire. There is no way a single individual is able to grow their business completely on their own.
“The best way to sell something is to be sought after yourself”- Codie Sanchez
“I wanted to create something that I needed and that I wanted to listen to.” - John Lee Dumas
When we find ourselves struggling to move a sales cycle forward it often has to be with our own beliefs that we can actually close the deal.
The cold call objection is the objection that we receive more than any other. It's the quick way that the prospect tries to get us off the phone. Lines such as "I'm too busy", "I'm dealing with a competitor", and the all too common, "send me some information" are common ways we are dismissed and then left with a sales cycle that doesn't get started before it even began.
“In a startup there are only two fundamental tasks: somebody’s got to make the product, and somebody’s got to sell it”
- Guy Kawasaki
Rejection by a prospect or a client can be hurtful. Often times we suffer the greatest from rejection when we don't have enough deals and opportunities on the go. We let ourselves suffer because we were so caught up in a single deal and we didn't take enough time to continue to prospect and see what else is out there.
“I used to equate things as failing and not failing, But really, everything is growing” - Ash Kumra
One of the reasons we cold call people is to invite them to our events. Events are a great way to get people interested in your product, service, or business without putting out the same time commitment that a one-on-one meeting consists of. Events are also great ways to engage both your previous clients and prospects in the same way. However events are meaningless if you can't get people there, that's why you need to invite people with excitement.
“Whatever you do initially, your product and your service is easiest way to begin to build your business” Jeffrey Gitomer
The Oxford Dictionary 2016 word of the year was announced to be "post-truth", which had an increase in use because of post-truth politics. Post-truth is defined as objective-facts being less influential than appealing to someone's emotional or personal belief.
“Whatever product or service you have, lead from the front with something that’s going to allow people to step into your world” -Nathan Chan
When deciding on your goals, are they achievable? Is there a way you can make your goals even bigger?
“If I did things differently, would my life be different? Would I be able to make more sales working less?” - Jill Konrath
When I was in the middle of my world travels, I rented a scooter in Cambodia. Unfortunately halfway through the journey my scooter ran out of gas and I was stuck in the middle of rural Cambodian unable to speak the language.
“The first thing we did was ask lots of questions.” - Michael Houlihan
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An empty calendar is a no-good calendar. When we don't have anything scheduled we can't move sales cycles forward. Therefore we must work to ensure our calendar is completely filled.
“Once you've got (people’s attention), you want to engage them right away.” - Diane Currie Sam
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As salespeople, entrepreneurs, and small business owners we give do often that it can hurt. We're giving value and giving what we can, but sometimes we have a hard time getting something in return.
“In sales, It's about helping another make the decision, and making it with them and becoming part of the decision team.” - Sharon Drew
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Often times we look for ways to speed things up. We're constantly searching for tips, tricks and hacks to make things go faster for us. As salespeople we are constantly trying to speed up the sales cycle at the expense of the customer. When we try to speed up our meetings and move quickly to the proposal and the negotiation process we risk missing out on critical information that we might need to help the client meet their needs.
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“It’s not where you start, it’s how you adopt tools and values in order to get where you want to go.” - Ryan Blair
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Often times as a salesperson we focus too much on how we can sell more to the clients without realizing there are opportunities for us to actually help our buyers buy
One of the most fear-inducing moments as an entrepreneur is asking for the business. Even seasoned sales people, when moving into a position where they now have to sell themselves as the expert in the field feel that moment where the thought of rejection is just too much.
What if you could be instantly more productive? The truth is, you can! Often times we find that it's not that we aren't productive, it's that we are procrastinating too much. We see a task and instead of just responding quickly to it, we would rather push it off and deal with it when we're ready. Think of your email inbox. Often times as notifications come through we dismiss them thinking it will be easier to go through our entire inbox at once. Instead if we immediate deleted, archived or answered the emails we would find ourselves immediately more productive.
Your previous clients and customers are a goldmine when it comes to creating new prospects. The information they share in their testimonials can help you be able to speak to even more prospects.
Back to school time for students is also back to routine for many people. This is a great time to set up your routine with the things that you didn't make time for before. For many people, this means scheduling time for personal recharging. Whether that be reading, working out, or meditating. If it isn't in the calendar it will never exist.
Take the next 30 minutes to create a list of all the prospects and clients that you began to engage with at the beginning of the year that didn't quite make it to the end of the sales cycle. In another list create a new target list of demographics, businesses, and people that you are interested in targeting. When the lists are complete choose 5 to go after and create a strategy and a plan to include them in your laser-focus. By creating this strategy you will be able to focus on bringing them into the end of the sales cycle. Only through this laser-like focus, you will be able to create the actions that are needed to bring your goals into better alignment.
Sales come to those that ask and ask again. The best sales people don't take the first "no" as the final answer. They continue to pursue, change their solution and work with the prospect to create the best solution - the one that the client knows will work for them. As an entrepreneur and salesperson you have worked too hard to allow the sale to end suddenly. Continue to ask questions, work with the client, and create something that holds the relationship high, and the client will buy.
Customers are looking for solutions to their problems. By creating creative packages you can address their needs far better. This may mean collaborating with people that offer complimentary products and services to yours. By putting something unique together the client will feel you are delivering them services wrapped up.
People buy from people they like. And typically we like people that we feel an immediate connection with.
Throughout the process of a sale, it can take many steps before the actual sales is achieved. There are numerous calls that are made before a meeting is booked. There are several meetings before it is finally time to propose a solution. Proposals will sometimes go through several iterations before they are at a point where you and the potential customer agree on the product and service offering.
How do you make a promise without sounding like a snake-oil salesperson? There is a fine balance between making a promise and without committing to something that you couldn't deliver.
It was an all too familiar moment. My hands hovered above the keyboard waiting for that lightning bolt of inspiration to hit. That moment when I would start typing, typing, typing, and like magic 800 words would magically appear. A perfect post. One that only requires minimal editing.
Most people shy away from selling because they believe you need to be assertive or aggressive to get what you want. This misconception puts people in a position that is just not natural to who they are.
Tradeshows… they are the love and hate of a lot of business owners. There is a lot of foot traffic and you either get the opportunity to create a lot of connections quickly, or you spend a lot of money with little results. Trade shows are a lot of work and it’s not as easy as setting up a booth and going.
When communicating the difference between price and value with a client, the client will typically want to negotiate price if they don't understand all the value behind the price. I like to ask, "besides price, what else is really important to you?" This then gets the customer to talk about all the other elements that they could be interested in.
Integrity is one of my top values. Integrity is saying what I’m going to do and then doing what I say. However, sometimes I get so involved in my own work that I over commit to tasks. I often believe that I am fully capable of more than I have time for.
How many times should you contact your customer? Is there such thing as too many times?
I sat in the middle of the circle of people. I was leading the discussion on using LinkedIn as one of the best social media tools to attract prospects, job opportunities and connections around the world. The people around me looked surprised. I was encouraging them to engage with people that they didn’t even know.
What are your clients actually buying? They aren't purchasing the product or service that you are providing, that is just the gateway to what they will ultimately receive. For every feature that your product or service has ask, "So What"? Why would the client care? What are they really after? Sell the client on the ultimate goal and then use your product or service as the means to get there.
The follow up in a sales cycle is your opportunity to keep current clients engaged and prospects informed on new products and services. It ensures you keep your sales funnel full by bringing in new opportunities with contacts with whom the timing is right for them.
“My event in Sydney is only three days away, and I only have two people registered for it,” I texted my friend in a panic.
Why are you calling someone and only talking about yourself and your product and service? Look at the cold call as an opportunity to start the relationship. Find out about the other person and let the natural segue flow into what you offer and how it may answer their needs.
I started running again. A couple of years back I ran my first marathon, a wonderful achievement that gave me a three-day high in accomplishment, and an IT band injury that took much longer to heal. After that, I stopped running because the pain would become unbearable. But this year I was asked to compete in a half marathon at the end of May, which meant I need to get back to running and training.
When you are wanting something in your life, it is necessary to have to ask those around you for what you want. Be shameless in your ask. If you want it, own it. Go for the ask. Be bold!
I attend a lot of networking events. I’m actually quite good at it, because I am genuinely interested in other people and what they do. Not because I think I can use every person’s product or service that I meet, but because I believe I know someone that can. The more I get to know a person, the more I understand their business and what they do, and the more I can help connect people within my network. I love being known as the person that can connect. I love being the person that if someone is looking for something, besides using a google search, they will contact me and ask me if I know anyone offering that particular service or product. Word of mouth is so powerful, and being an entrepreneur, it is how a majority of my business and the business of so many others find their clients.
I paddled out as far as my arms could carry me. My upper body was burning. I was digging deep for every pull of energy when another wave would come and smash into my surf board, carrying me back towards the beach. For every two strokes forward, the ocean had other plans and pushed me away from the waves I needed to catch. I wanted it bad. I wanted to be where the rest of the surfers were. Catching the green wave before it crested white. That’s where a surfer is almost certain to pop up on that board and be able to ride that wave.
If you are hoping to achieve massive success but are not willing to take any risks, you're never going to achieve what you strive out to do. By deciding that you are willing to not just fail, but fail massively, you put yourself in a situation where you are willing to take the risks necessary to get you to where you need to be.
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The end of the sales cycle or project is not once it's complete, it's actually after a postmortem of the project has been done. In both successful and unsuccessful projects you need to take time either by yourself, ideally with your team, and better still with the client or any third party's to ask the questions on what worked well and what could be done even better. Use the opportunity to gain insight and hone your skills.