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Sales Commandment #10: Thou Shalt Never Answer the Un-Asked Question

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Thu, Dec 15, 2022

Has thou been answering the un-asked question? Find out why you should never, ever answer the un-asked question in the final commandment of the 10 Commandments of Sales Success. 


Watch all 10 Commandments Here!


Hi, this is Mark Trinkle, Chief Growth Officer for Anthony Cole Training Group. And believe it or not, we have made it all the way to the final commandment in our series that we've titled "The 10 Commandments for Sales Success."

Commandment number 10 is Thou Shalt Never, Ever Answer the Un-Asked Question. It's fascinating to me that so many salespeople have a tendency to do that sometimes, to the point where they even sell past the yes. Never, ever answer the unasked question. If your prospect isn't asking you about scheduling, don't answer or ask a question about it. If your prospect isn't asking you about the rest of the team, and I'm not saying they're not important, then don't answer or ask a question about it. It's as simple as that. See, we believe at Anthony Cole Training Group that questions well, there's an art part to it, there's an artistic part to it, a little bit of artistic flair, and there's a science part.

By science part we mean that open-ended questions are better than close-ended questions. Think about this. How good are you as a salesperson at getting your prospects to the point where they can't stop thinking about the conversations or the discussions that you're having with them? And the reason that's important, is because people can ignore you, right? They can ignore your email, they can ignore your voicemail, they can ignore you. But the one thing, prospects can't ignore their own thoughts. They cannot escape their own thoughts, hopefully, about the meeting that you've just had with them.

You need to ask the right question, the right way, at the right time. You certainly should be asking questions that you can reasonably predict or know the answers to. And lastly, don't answer questions that your prospect isn't asking. Remember, don't sell past the yes. Thanks for listening. Have a great day.


Do You Need More Leads? –  Free Sales Prospecting eBook Download



Topics: Prospecting, sales skills, Sales Activities

Sales Commandment #9: Thou Shalt Always Remember to Follow the Rules of Engagement

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Thu, Dec 08, 2022

Are thou always remembering to follow the Rules of Engagement? Learn why it's important by watching our new series with Chief Growth Officer Mark Trinkle. Today, Mark will discuss Commandment #9 of the 10 Commandments of Sales Success. 



Watch all of the Commandments Here


Hello, this is Mark Trinkle, and believe it or not, we have made our way to commandment number nine, the 9th in our 10th installment of our series that we have called The 10 Commandments for Sales Success. Commandment number nine for today is Thou Shalt Always Remember to Follow the Rules of Engagement.

I don't know whether you have seen Top Gun, the original or the sequel that came out, Top Gun Maverick. It captivated the nation. Seemingly, it captivated me. It was a great story. That was actually a movie you could invite your whole family to watch. And if you watched that movie, whether it was the original or the second one, particularly the original, you know the trouble that that Maverick, Lieutenant Mitchell got into when he, when he flew below the hard deck, that altitude level at which it was no longer safe to carry on the competition.

And the problem was he violated Top Gun's Rules of Engagement. Salespeople do the same thing. Actually, they don't violate rules of engagement, quite frankly. Most of the time they don't even have rules of engagement. They just chase prospects. They don't have a standard of what they're looking for. They don't need a prospect to qualify for them. What's interesting is that those salespeople spend a lot of their time trying to argue that they would be a great fit for their prospect. They spend very little, if any time, trying to investigate whether or not that prospect would be a good fit for them. There are three qualifying questions that as a salesperson, you need to ask of yourself when you're deciding whether or not to chase a deal. Number one is, do I wanna win this business? Well, I get to decide. That's one of the great parts about being in sales.

You and I get to decide who we do business with. Do you want to do business with them? The second question you should ask is, can you win the business? If there's a budget, can you meet the budget for the deal? If there is an incumbent provider, can you dislodge that incumbent provider? It's a question of whether or not their current relationship is breakable. Number three, the third question you should ask is, well, how do I win this business? And that's a matter of sales strategy. You know, our coaches and training group receive a lot of calls during the week from salespeople that are frustrated about a variety of things. But the number one thing that prompts them to call in is that they're working on a deal and it's stuck. It's not moving. It's been in the pipeline for a while. Maybe the prospect has gone radio silent.

And here is my concluding thought for you. You know what? Those deals that are stuck in the pipeline, they were always destined to get stuck. They were never qualified. And who's to blame?

The salesperson who worked it, who either didn't follow or didn't have any rules of engagement? Thou shall always remember to follow rules of engagement. Have a great day.


Do You Need More Leads? –  Free Sales Prospecting eBook Download



Topics: Prospecting, sales skills, Sales Activities

Sales Commandment #8: Thou Shalt Always Remember to Add Value

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Thu, Dec 01, 2022

Are you following the Ten Commandments of Sales Success? Find out by watching our new series with Chief Growth Officer Mark Trinkle. Today, Mark will discuss Commandment #8: Thou Shalt Always Remember to Add Value.



Watch all of the Commandments Here


Good day everyone. This is Mark Trinkle, Chief Growth Officer with Anthony Cole Training Group. We’re going to continue to march forward in our series, the 10 Commandments for Sales Success. Commandment #8 is Thou Shalt Always Remember to Add Value. Now, remember this right from the get-go. If you don’t add value at the beginning of your sales process or your sales cycle, it’s going to be really hard to defend that at the end. So let’s get that straight. You’ve gotta add it at the beginning to defend it or sell based upon it at the end. Maybe this screen is summarizing some things that you’ve heard recently about price or about rate?

Maybe you’ve heard, “Hey, your rate or your price is too high.” Maybe you heard a prospect say, “Well, you know what, I’ve got better terms from you.” Fill in the blank. Maybe you’ve heard your prospects say, “Hey, I’m gonna look around at some other options.” Maybe they’ve come back to you. Your prospect has come back to you and they said, “Hey, what would it look like if you took your proposal and you did X, Y, or Z?”

Now, look, there are three immutable truths about a prospect and their mentality and their strategy for asking you for a rate or a price reduction. Number one, the first immutable truth. It doesn’t cost him anything to ask, right? I mean, what’s the worst thing that could happen? They might hear no. Number two, your attitude and how you respond to your prospect when they do make that ask is going to set the tone for all future negotiations. And number three, if you don’t move the conversation with your prospect away from rate and towards value, then you are always going to be negotiating on rate or on price.

Now, if you want to be strong at this, if you want to get it right and you want your response to be as effective as it can be for things, you gotta be assertive. You gotta be able to assert your value. You have to know what that value is. You cannot be scared. Number two, you better be really good at asking questions and listening. That was one of the other commandments in this series, by the way. Number three, I alluded to it at the top of this video. You’ve got to be introducing value all throughout the sales process. There must be something unique. You have to stand out from the competition. You better be teaching your prospect not what to think, but how to think. And number four, you had best be really good at negotiating. That’s it for this commandment, Thou Shalt Always Remember to Add Value. Have a great day.


Do You Need More Leads? –  Free Sales Prospecting eBook Download



Topics: Prospecting, sales skills, Sales Activities

Sales Commandment #4: Uncovering SMA

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Thu, Nov 03, 2022

SMA stands for Severe Mental Anguish. Is this something that your salespeople are uncovering in their prospects? This video is a part of our new series with Mark Trinkle: The 10 Commandments of Sales Success. Watch Commandment #4 now! 


Watch all of the Commandments Here

Today we will discuss the fourth commandment of the 10 Commandments for Sales Success. Today's commandment is, thou shalt always remember that a prospect without severe mental anguish is actually not a prospect at all. Now, we use the acronym SMA for Severe Mental Anguish. If you don't have pain, then you don't have a prospect. I'm not saying you don't have somebody that might not eventually be a prospect, but you don't have a prospect today. Maybe you've got someone that you should build a relationship with. You should continue to drip on and nurture that relationship. But let me tell you for the last time what you don't have. You don't have somebody that you ought to be presenting to without a doubt. 

Listen, at some point in your conversations with your prospect (and while we are huge fans of you asking open-ended questions, because those facilitate conversation) there is one close-ended question that you should feel comfortable asking, and that is simply, "Hey, Mr./Mrs. Prospect, do you have to solve this problem? Is your problem just a problem? Or is it a priority that you have to fix? Not one you'd kind of like to fix. Do you have to fix that problem? Is it a top-of-the-pile kind of problem? Is it something maybe you can just wait on while you deal with other priorities?" You need to know that. And of course, it's not that easy. In our track record as a company of over 30 years of working with salespeople and sales organizations, we know that there's always something that gets in the way of salespeople asking that question.

And the answer is, typically, they're either afraid, or they have a really low pipeline, and they're just thankful that they've even got the chance to deliver a presentation. Now, I'm going to guess that in your organization, you don't make much money, if any, delivering presentations to prospects who aren't qualified or even deemed worthy of receiving them. Remember, at the end of the sales process, just like at the end of this road in the beautiful countryside here, your prospect has a decision to make. They can either make a change and deal with the problem, or they can decide, you know what? I'm gonna turn my car to the right. No change from me. We're gonna continue to deal with the status quo.

Here's my last question as I close, when do you want to know their answer to that question? Have a great day, everybody. Take good care.

Do You Need More Leads? –  Free Sales Prospecting eBook Download



Topics: Prospecting, sales skills, Sales Activities

How to Prospect in Sales – It’s an A Priority

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Sep 08, 2022

In analyzing those salespeople who are successful year after year, we find significant consistencies in prospecting behavior and practice management. These top sales producers adhere to “The ONLY "A" priority is prospecting” principle. Successful salespeople service accounts just like everyone else. They also have fires to put out and meetings to attend. But nothing gets in the way of consistent prospecting.

So, following their lead:

  1. Schedule a time each day to make phone calls and stick to the schedule. First thing in the morning works well. The longer you procrastinate, the better chance there is of something getting in the way of this critical activity. You don't have to like prospecting; you just have to do it. Every day. The more of this activity you do, the more proficient you will become.
  1. Don't look, act or sound like every other salesperson. Create a unique approach – Don't just say that you are different. Put yourself in your prospect's place. Would you take your phone call and be responsive? If not, work on your strategy and script. For example, when you get your prospect on the phone, say “Hello.” and be silent. Wait for the prospect to respond.

Buyers are conditioned to hear “Hello. This is Joe from ABC Company and I am calling you to ….” Prospects hear this, immediately recognize a sales pitch and quickly disconnect.

  1. Successful prospectors understand that the purpose of a call is to set an appointment with a qualified candidate. Stop selling on the phone. Stop seeing just anyone who will see you. Make sure the prospect qualifies to do business with you. On the phone call identify that the prospect has a problem and get him to invite you to come and talk about it.

The quality of the phone call determines the quality of the appointment.  At this point, your goal is to identify if your prospect has a problem that you can solve. Ask questions like “Can you tell me about the problems you are experiencing?”

Ask the question “Why is this problem a problem?” so that the prospect reinforces, in his own mind, that this is something he needs to address. If he can’t answer this question, chances are the problem isn’t big enough for him to spend time and money on it.

Ask the question “How much is this problem costing you?” Asking this will make the client put dollars to the problem. If the money involved is more than or equal to the price of your product, he is more apt to invite you to visit. Establish that he would like to fix the problem.  At this stage, you are trying to get enough information and “pain” to justify a meeting.

Keep the following questions handy when you are on prospecting calls. They will help you weed out the “tire kickers.”  

  • Tell me about your current problems… in administering your 401K (for example).
  • How long has this been a problem?
  • What have you done to fix it?
  • When you spoke with your current provider what did he say?
  • What has he done to make this problem go away?
  • What happens if you don’t fix this?
  • How much is it costing you?
  • Is that a problem?
  • Do you want to fix it?
  • But not today?
  1. Understand that prospects want to meet professionals through introductions, not cold calls, so always ask for introductions as your first prospecting strategy. Ask your best client advocates the simple question “If you were doing what I do, who would you talk to next?” Then ask them if they would be willing to make a call on your behalf. You can find more information on How to Get Introductions here.

You know that prospecting is essential to your selling success. And you know that you can't consistently grow your business unless you consistently prospect. You can't count on market conditions or new products or low pricing to create opportunities. You must find prospects that fit your profile and qualify to do business with you.

So ask yourself which of the above might help you most today. Implement this change for the next 30 days, until it comes naturally. Commit yourself to changing one prospecting behavior or business practice that will dramatically impact your business.


Do You Need More Leads? –  Free Sales Prospecting eBook Download

Topics: Prospecting, prospecting skills, sales prospecting


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    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.


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