Category Archives: sales pitches

Cold Calling: How to Bypass the Gatekeeper

gatekeeperAn Approach that Will Guarantee You More Meetings with the Decision Makers!

It is typically in the salespersons best interest to befriend the gatekeeper and other staff in order to get to the decision maker.  But what if, as a salesperson, you need to get to the decision maker and their staff cannot know any details about your business venture? How do you access the decision maker without getting you butt kicked out the door by trying to go over the gatekeeper’s head?

The majority of sales gurus these days will tell you that cold calling is dead, especially face-to-face cold calling. If that describes your situation, be sure to read my previous article on The Do’s and Don’ts of Cold Calling.  So, although this may be the case for a variety of industries, there are some that do in fact require employing this brut methodology in order to access the decision maker.

In my current role, I have been faced with this dilemma.  I have always been accustomed to being friendly and open with all staff and best utilize those relationships in order to ultimately reach the decision maker however, now my business is of an utmost confidential matter and it is crucial that I do not share the nature of my business with anyone but the decision maker.

After getting the door slammed on my ass on the way out of a business a handful of times, I decided that I needed to revamp my approach.

Empty ClinicOne prime example that stood out in my mind was when I went into a clinic that was clearly empty.  There were no cars out front, no patients in the waiting room and clearly no patients in the treatment area.  When I asked the receptionist if I could speak with the doctor for a minute, she hemmed and hawed and asked me if I had an appointment. When I told her no, she told me that he was VERY busy but she will check. She went out back and returned to inform me that he was so busy and doesn’t have any time this week.

This experience was akin to walking to an empty restaurant and the hostess asks you if you have a reservation.  In sales, having thick skin is a MUST!

So what did I decide to do?

The Strategy:

1. Write a handwritten note card in a sealed envelope addressed to the DM

Before my next round of cold calls, I picked up some blank note-cards and envelopes.  In each card I wrote a personal note:
“Dear ______

Sorry to have missed you today.  I was hoping to catch you to talk to you about a business opportunity. I will be in town (UNTIL DATE OR WILL BE BACK AT DATE) so you can call or email me anytime.  Talk soon. Sincerely,

TSW”

On the top flap of the card, I attached my business card with an adhesive  (double-sided sticky) so that the card can be easily removed.

The card is inserted into an envelope and the DM’s name is written on the front of the envelope.

2. Conduct cold call with envelope in hand and business card in back pocket

I show up at the clinic and approach the receptionist in a friendly manner and say “Hey I’m (NAME HERE). I have something for (DM NAME HERE).  Is he/she available for a quick minute? I have something for them”

If they check and the answer is YES (wohoo!):

I put the envelope away and ask to speak to the DM privately for a minute and then give them my business card that’s in my back pocket and try to arrange a private meeting.

If they check (or don’t ) and say NO:

Give them the sealed envelope and ask that they kindly pass it on to the DM addressed on your card and mention that you will be calling the DM soon to follow-up.

Since it is addressed to the DM personally and hand written, even if the receptionist does not know you. the way you presented yourself is as though the DM does.  For this reason, the receptionist or gatekeeper is highly unlikely to open the envelope or toss it out.  Furthermore, mentioning that you will be touching base with the DM  regarding what you have enclosed in this envelope will make it even more unlikely that it will be tampered with.

So far this approach has gotten me call-backs and appointments 75% of the time. 

Surely much more effective than a phone call or random email!

If you are in this type of sales, I would love for you to try this and let me know how it works out.

Also if you have any other tips, please share!

Happy sales my friends.

Cheers,

TSW

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How and When to Effectively Leverage the Power of Guilt to Close a Sale

judge hammer

…or at least lunch!

Let’s face it, not all clients are easy to deal with.  Some can be outright d!@$’s and sometimes as a salesperson that means you’ve got to play hard ball in order to close that deal.

Like most sales reps, I have had my fair share of moments where a client completely ticked me off, however it is definitely not always appropriate to react.

In sales, rejection is part of the game.  We all need to deal with it and be able to handle it. By handling it, I mean brushing it off and persisting and hence why my motto is “Suck it up Princess!”

But what happens when your client or potential client abuses your working relationship or acts unprofessionally?

In extreme cases which I have previously discussed, it may be more appropriate to simply fire your client.

In other situations however, it may be more appropriate to bring the clients bad behavior to their attention and try to leverage that into a sale.  Below are some examples from my personal experience where I did just that. They are in no particular order.

Problem Clients and How I Managed Them: 

Problem Client #1: The “No Show”

My “Guilt Trip”: Call them and outright tell them that I don’t appreciate being stood up and that they owe me a good order, or at the very least that the next time that I’m in town, they can buy me a meal.  90% of the time, I got a really good order. The other 10% of the time I got a meal or at least a drink out of the ordeal.


Problem Client #2: The “I Want to Have My Cake and Eat it Too”.  Not giving me the majority of their business after years of effort they asked me to pull strings to get them a good Christmas gift.

My “Guilt Trip”:You’re making me look bad in front of my boss”, which I said with my boss present when we were delivering their Christmas gift.  After that visit I acquired 80% of their business.


Problem Client #3: Returning My Product in My Competitors Packaging

My “Guilt Trip”: I mailed the box back to them and included an order form and a hand written note stating that it was rude of them to do that and I think they owe me one *wink* *wink*.  They faxed in a really good order and ended up being a very loyal client. 


Problem Client #4: The User Abuser: Exploited me for my knowledge but only ever bought one product from me.

My “Guilt Trip”: I barely had to say anything since he was fully aware of what he was doing and had a good idea that this was likely our last meeting. He looked at me and blurted out, “I’m an ass*^** aren’t I?”. I nodded my head in agreement and informed him that all of the free bits of information end here and now unless he starts to buy more products from me. It worked. That move got me over 90% of their business after that and they ended up being a very loyal client.


Problem Client #5: The Stuck-In-the Habit Excuse: Competitor programmed into speed dial.

My “Guilt Trip”: I told him that it was a lousy excuse and asked him to hand me his phone. I programmed my business number in the slot where my competitor was and moved my competitors phone number to a different slot.  I did the same thing with his fax machine. 100% Effective.  I acquired all of his business after that.

In reading my examples of when I thought it was appropriate to guilt trip a client and try to leverage that into a sale, I hope that you understand that this is by no means common practice. These client behaviors and my subsequent responses are rare and I would never suggest using guilt as a primary means to close your average deal. These situations are highly specific and apply when a qualified buyer has done something to blatantly disregard and waste your time and/or disrespect you.  As I  mentioned previously, rejection is integral to the sales process and by no means should you be putting a guilt trip on every potential client who refuses your product or service.

When you are a sales rep, your time is valuable too, so if you encounter someone who is blatantly wasting your time, perhaps you should move on or call them on it.

In the meantime, happy sales my friends and I hope you don’t encounter too many difficult clients.

Cheers,

TSW

 

 

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The Worst Pitches I’ve Ever Heard…

sleazysalesman

and They Aren’t All From Salespeople!

For those of you who read my previous post, Why Salespeople Are Suckers For a Great Sales Pitch, you would know that I can be a sucker for a pretty face and if that person has a great sales pitch, I’m likely to buy whatever it is that they are selling.

On the contrary, I have zero tolerance for a lousy sales pitch regardless of whether it is coming from a real salesperson or just the average joe trying to sell me on an idea. Here are some examples.

The Worst Pitches From Salesmen:

dannyD Sales

1. “Do you realize how much money you could be saving? A Mercedes salesman asked me when I drove into the dealership with a Honda Civic and told him I was also considering a VW TDI. He clearly didn’t have the slightest clue about how to qualify a buyer.

2. “You should buy from me because we know so many of the same people.” A chemical salesman who stalked me on LinkedIn and even contacted a former employer of mine! Can you say, overstepping boundaries???

3. “You must buy today because the sale is over tomorrow.” Volkswagen salesman standing in front of a sign that said the sale was over at the end of the following month.

4. The Robot Pitch. Where someone has clearly memorized a script and when you ask them a question that isn’t on their list, they draw a complete blank or just repeat the script.

There are many others including “This product makes you thin, healthy and cures cancer!” or “This is the only product you’ll ever need!” and the list goes on and on and on…

So, what is the worst pitch I have ever heard and yet hear time and time again?…Drum roll please!

winner

Men who try to “sell” me on why I should be a lesser person. 

Yes, that’s right.  It’s a sad but true reality.  As a hard-working, well established professional woman who takes care of herself, I find myself completely bewildered at the number of men who have tried to convince me to do such a crazy thing!

Below are some real life examples of what some “men” have suggested to me over the years.

Worst Pitches From “Men”:

awkward face

1. You should quit your job and become a bartender. You like people right? I think that would be a better fit for you.”-

Oh sure, sign me up to quit my six figure job and sell my house so I can rent a cheap apartment and be a bartender! F*&% retirement! Retirement is for old people.  Oh wait, does that mean I can live off of you ? That would be so romantic. I can’t wait for a man to take care of me!

2. You don’t need to make so much money. You should slow down. It will be better for your health.”

Excuse me, did you mean to say, “So you can make less than me and make me feel like a man?”

3. Why do you like to eat such good food and have nice things like your Caesar salad and red wine for dinner? You don’t have to.”

Hmm…let me think about that one. Maybe because I like nice things, want nice and I buy those nice things for myself with my own hard earned money.  Thank you for asking.

4. “Why are you dressed so nice? You shouldn’t dress so nice all of the time.”

Uuh because I like to look good? Maybe I was trying to look good for you? Can you say, jealous much?

5. Why do you have to travel so much? Are you running away from something? There is so much to enjoy at home.”

Where do I even start with this one? How about I want to explore the world? Why waste it on the couch? Do you mean to say that you can’t afford to travel and you don’t want me to travel solo so you want to talk me out of travelling period? Maybe I should consider running away…from you!

These comments may seem ridiculous but I must say that when I first met these men, the primary interaction often does not start off on this note, but rather with a bombardment of compliments and expressions of admiration for my ambition and accomplishments. The tone usually changes quite quickly.  One guy I dated had this eureka moment and told me, You treat yourself like a princess and that doesn’t leave any room for me to do anything.  I don’t know what to do.” In my mind, I think the fact that I can take care of myself should be viewed as a perk to a man but perhaps only to a select few!

Why do men think that they can “change” a strong woman into a weaker version of herself? Or rather, generally speaking, why do people think that they can change others?

The answer is simple: Because it’s easier to try and “sell” other people on changing themselves than it is to accept yourself and make yourself a better person.

Whether we realize it or not, we are “selling” to others and others are “selling” us every day of our lives.  We all try to get what we want, to make ourselves look good, funny, interesting, worthy of attention and so on and so forth. Whatever it may be, whenever you do it regardless of whether it is in a professional or personal capacity,  a good rule of thumb to live by is:

Don’t sell yourself short and don’t sell others short.

I would love to hear stories from you about the worst pitches you have heard!

Happy sales my friends and don’t get sold on a bad pitch, especially those from non-sales people!

TSW

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