ACTG Sales Management Blog

Sales & Sales Management Expertise Blog  

How Telling Stories will Help Increase Sales

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Thu, Apr 29, 2021

Storytelling is a powerful tool in sales. It can take prospects on a journey, assist in developing deeper relationships, and helps them connect to you as a sales professional.

pexels-lina-kivaka-1741230

Now that my daughter is into her teenage years, our daughter-dad relationship has changed quite dramatically. Yes, I knew it was coming. Yes, I wish I could go back and retrieve some of that time when she thought I was more of a superhero than a "super dork." 

And yes, I was not prepared for the drama that surrounds teenage girls.

But I digress. One of my fondest memories of her toddler years was her request at bedtime that I tell her a story. Some of them I read to her, but the ones that she loved the most were the ones that I made up. 

Those stories captivated her attention…and, on occasion, actually made her fall asleep.

The same thing happens with salespeople, and with prospects when sales stories are told. One of the most powerful advantages to storytelling is that stories provide what Peter Guber described as emotional transportation.

Stories captivate attention. Stories, when properly told, are capable of moving prospects from their current state to a preferred state down the road. Perhaps you have heard the saying that, "If you are telling, then you ain’t selling."

But, of course, at Anthony Cole Training Group, we know that telling is the default mode for most salespeople.

I still remember the immortal words of Walt Gerano, one of the sales coaches in our organization. Walt once said, “Weak salespeople prefer to tell what strong salespeople prefer to ask.” 

He was speaking of the supreme importance of asking questions. Not just any question, but fierce questions – questions that are courageous and direct–questions that help the salesperson paint a story instead of "data dumping" a bunch of facts.

So, think about that next time you go on a sales call. What kind of sales story could you tell?

Thanks for listening…now go sell like a champion today.

Need Help?  Check Out Our  Sales Growth Coaching Program!

Topics: increase sales, qualifying sales prospects, sales stories

Why Prospects Are Like Fruit: Targeting Your Ideal Client

Posted by Tony Cole on Thu, Dec 03, 2020

Years ago, while attending the Objective Management Group International Sales Conference, Dave Kurlan, president of OMG, talked about how to effectively manage opportunities through the pipeline.  He made the analogy that prospects are like fruit and vegetables in the produce section of your local grocery – they are all perishable.

pexels-erik-scheel-95425

“In the end, we’re all just fruit.” That is one of my all time favorite lines from the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

That phrase has stuck with me all these years, and we continue to reference it when we are presenting our Effective Sales System workshops and when we are working with our new clients. 

NOT EVERYONE HAS THE SAME "SHELF LIFE"

Prospects- they have a shelf life just like fruit. Some of them a little longer than others.  Bananas – not so long, apples and mandarins a little longer, potatoes – not forever, but if they start to sprout, you can at least plant them in the ground and get more potatoes.  The bottom line is that none of them last forever.  You need to either pick them now or find a way to preserve them for later.

As you go about looking at the shelves for the produce you need for tonight’s meal or for meals over the next couple of days, you need to be somewhat selective so that the food you select is fresh enough for cooking and/or consuming.

WHEN IT'S TIME, IT'S TIME

The same holds true for prospects relative to their buy cycle.  They are not in that cycle forever. Depending on what services you sell, they could be off the shelf in a week.  They may be in the looking, considering, or “thinking about” cycle for a while, but once they decide to buy – it’s time to buy!

Years ago, I was in the market for a new vehicle.  The Chevy Avalanche had been out for a couple of years and I knew, when the day came, that was going to be my purchase. There is a Chevy dealership just down the road from my house in Montgomery, Ohio where I had purchased vehicles in the past.  When the day came – my lease was expiring – I went in, told them I had a check in my pocket and would like to test drive the red Avalanche. I asked for a salesperson who wouldn’t get in the way and just let me buy. Two hours later, I drove off of the lot in my new shiny red Avalanche.

DON'T LET PROSPECTS PERISH

Here is the point.  When going out into the market, you can find yourself wasting your time with prospects that aren’t quite ready or are already past their prime time for consumption. You may experience:

  • That the prospect is too "green"
  • They just opened a new account with their bank partner
  • Just renewed their insurance
  • Their lease expires in 11 months

If you want to close more business, more quickly at higher margins, then find the highly perishable prospects and work with them on solving their problem. Present a solution to them and get them off of the shelf.  Do not neglect the potatoes, bananas, tomatoes or green beans; continue to check on them, plant them in your database (your CRM) and, when the time comes to make potato salad, they will be ready.

Topics: prospecting skills, improving sales results, increase sales, qualifying sales prospects, contacting prospects

Who's in Charge Here?

Posted by Walt Gerano on Tue, Jul 16, 2019

A majority of sales people are so happy to get in front of a prospect that they sometimes allow them to control the sales process.

How do you get out in front of this and make sure that you are running the sales conversation? Stop wasting your time with people that don’t meet your criteria.  Failure to do so causes you to not only waste a lot of time, it keeps you from getting to real prospects that need your help.  

air-plane-fighter-night-sky-moon

A majority of salespeople are so happy to get in front of a prospect that they sometimes allow them to control the sales process.  Whatever question the prospect asks, we answer it.  Whenever the prospect asks for information, we give it to them.  When they want a proposal or quote, we go back to the office and begin to work on it.  

Who’s in charge here?

We didn’t really focus on how qualified they were, just whether or not we could get in front of them and how quickly we can present a solution.

Maybe we should find out if they are really a prospect.

  1. You have to find out why they took time to meet with you, the “why am I here?” question.
  2. You have to be of the mindset that they have to qualify to do business with you.
  3. You have the right to get all the information you need to do the job being asked of you.
  4. You have the right to make decisions that are not popular with others, remember don’t walk, talk, look and act like all the other salespeople.
  5. Finally, you have the right to walk away from anyone who isn’t a prospect.

Here are 4 things (at a minimum) you need to know in order to have a qualified prospect.

  1. Do they have a problem (PAIN) that they are committed to fixing?
  2. Do they have the time money and other resources to commit to a solution?
  3. Do you know their decision-making process, and have you met with ALL decision makers prior to agreeing to present?
  4. Did the prospect agree to a decision, yes or no, when you present your solution?

If you answered yes to all of those, then you have a prospect.

Stop wasting your time with people that don’t meet your criteria.  Failure to do so causes you to not only waste a lot of time, it keeps you from getting to real prospects that need your help.  Remember, no prospect, no problem. 

Next!

Topics: qualifying prospecting, Qualifying leads, closing sales, Business Development, qualifying sales prospects, sales preparation, prospect engagement

    Follow #ACTG

     

    About our Blog

    Founder and CLO Tony Cole has been working with financial firms for more than 25 years to help them close their sales opportunity gap.  He is a master at using science based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss his weekly sales management blog insights.

     

    Subscribe Here

    Most Read

    Recent Blogs