Sales, Marketing & Social Media Today

I write about the two topics that I am most passionate about; Sales, Marketing and Social Media. These topics are covered from my experiences in outside sales and marketing. My objective is to use my expertise to help business and the individual produce better results in these areas. Feel free to send me your questions. The blog is published on Wordpress and tumblr along with the LinkedIn publishing platform.

Surviving & Thriving through Cold Calls, Sales Objections & Rejection

Cold Calling

Whether you are a veteran or if you are new in sales, you will have to make cold calls to build your customer base. Many sales people dread making cold calls.

However, if you approach it the right way; cold calling can be a great way to develop your selling skills and forge great relationships with your future customers.

When you first call on an office or business, chances are that when you enter, the first person that you will have to speak with is the gate-keeper. The gate-keeper can have the title of Receptionist or Personal Assistant. The gate-keeper’s job is to act as a screener for their boss. Their boss uses them to screen or qualify people who attempt to contact them.

As a Sales Representative in New York City, I have first-hand knowledge of how to engage them in the cold calling situation. I would always sell myself first. When I made a cold call, I would first go into the office and speak with the person at the front desk. I would smile at them and introduce myself. I would say the following:

Hi my name is Dan. The Gatekeeper would then reply with something along the lines of hi Dan what can I do for you. After a bit of engagement and small talk I would tell them the company I was with and ask him or her if they were the decision maker of the product or service I was selling. (It is always important that you are in front of the people who can say yes to you.) I asked this question to validate the person’s importance. Usually the gate-keeper would reply that they were not in charge of that. I would then ask them who was in charge. My goal was to make the gate-keeper a friend. Friends’ help their friends succeed. (There were times in which this frontline person was very nasty to me and I was not able to obtain this information on the initial call. If this occurs it is imperative that you keep your cool if you ever want to have a chance to sell that business your products and services.)

Now if the decision maker was not available to speak to me, I would inquire about what was a good time for me to speak with that specific person. I would then offer them my card and product literature. (Again the cooperation of this person will vary.)

Once in a while the decision maker will make an appearance asking the gate-keeper about who you are or they may question you directly. It is imperative that you are prepared to engage the prospect and ready to answer any questions they ask you. (Objections) When a decision maker made an appearance, I would engage them in a bit of small talk; trying to make them a friend. I would introduce myself and my products. I would ask what supplier they were using and use that information to give a brief on the spot sales presentation. Once I gave this presentation, I would ask for a commitment. I would ask a closing question. Sometimes I made a sale. Many times, I had to obtain their business card and call on them again. (It is important to note that if you are selling a high ticket item you will have to close the client on the next step in the process and not the sale of the item.)

It is important to keep a record of information that you obtain during the call. This can be done on a log sheet or by updating your crm software.

Handling Objections and Stalls

In sales, everyone has to be able to overcome objections in order to be successful. The best way to overcome objections is to prevent them. This can be done by providing a thorough sales presentation that covers all the information about your products and services. Also it is imperative that you address any questions the prospect has immediately. However, objections will come up from time to time. Some of these objections are real buying signals and others are just stalls to put you off. As a Salesperson, you need to be able to tell the difference. This will come with experience and by reading situational cues in each selling situation. Remember the prospect is buying you. In other words, you are part of the offering. Below, I have put together a comprehensive list of objections that I encountered and overcame as an outside sales representative in New York City.

I am happy with my current supplier.

When you call on a prospect they say we are happy with our current supplier, this can mean one of two things. The first is that they are truly happy and the second is that they want you to get lost. (A stall) Obviously you need to be able to tell the difference. You should be able to tell by a prospects body language and level of attention. If it is the first scenario, you should find out what supplier they currently use. When the prospect tells you it is your job to demonstrate how you are better. (I mentioned this in a previous post. Once you feel that you have demonstrated how you are better, ask for a commitment or a small order. By asking for a small order, you provide the prospect an opportunity to take a chance on you with minimal risk. I have had a lot of success with approach. If the scenario is the second one, the prospect will not provide you with any information or say that they deal with a company or person for 20 years and they do not want to change. In this case, I would still ask for the order. Should the prospect say he is not interested again, I would thank them for their time and leave. You should call on this prospect a few more times and then only call on them every two months. You need to focus your time on prospects that are receptive to you and your offering.

I want to think it over.

When you hear this, what the prospect is really saying is I am interested but I am not totally convinced. You should ask the prospect what specifically about this offer do you want to think over? You goal here is uncover the real objection. If the prospect gives you a specific answer, you are in business. Address the objection and ask a closing question. Say if I can handle xyz, is there any reason why you would not purchase this product. Should the prospect say, no you covered everything, this means that they are either stalling, not interested in your offering or will not tell you the real issue they have with your product. If this is the case, ask when they plan on making a decision and follow-up with them in that timeframe.

I need to consult another party.

This can be a stall to put you off. You will need to determine this by the prospects body language and the level of attention you receive. When the prospect tells you this, you should ask for a meeting with the prospect and the person they need to consult. Should the prospect agree to this, you have a chance. If they will not agree to a meeting, it is a stall and they are not interested in your offering. However, I would still call on them a few more times. If you have no success, call on them every two months.

Your price is too high.

Emphasize the quality of your product along with the level of service you will provide. Next, you should demonstrate to the prospect how your offering’s total cost is less than the competitors over the life of the product. Testimonials from loyal customers can also help you here. By taking these steps you demonstrate that your product is valuable and increase your chances of making the sale. (Provided this is the real objection.)

We spent our budget.

I covered this in my last post. If they say the money is not the budget, ask If I can offer delayed billing or a payment plan would you be able to take delivery? If the person needs approval from another person, ask to present your product to that individual with your prospects endorsement. Should the company really want and need your product, they will find a way to pay for it.

I am not the decision maker.

Present your offering briefly and ask who makes the decision. If you present your offering in a way that demonstrates value and this person really is the decision maker; they may show interest and make a purchase.

I had a bad experience with your company.

I would apologize to the prospect about the experience. Tell them you are the new rep and that you will not let anything bad happen on your watch. Ask them to give you a chance. This will not work all of the time.

Handling Holiday Stalls

In prior articles, I have written how to get prospects and customers to buy. However, today’s focus is getting around the customers or prospects objection “call me after the holidays”. You have to attempt to get around this objection. If your offer is time sensitive or if you can provide a break on pricing or payment through a special promotion for example no payments for 3 months; make your customer aware of them. However, at this time of the year, you will get customers and prospects who just don’t want to deal with you and your offering. As a sales rep, it is your job to be able to tell if the customer and prospect is telling you the truth. In other words, you need to qualify their objections. This means following up with every customer and prospect even when things look bleak.

Should your customers and prospects insist that call you them after the holidays, I would find out which holiday they mean. Next, I would pin them down to a specific day and time to call back. I recommend sending your customers and prospects a holiday card with a little note reminding them about the appointment; stating how you look forward to speaking with them on the specific date and time. Once this time comes, I would hold them to their promise. Deliver your presentation and ask for the business.

Most importantly, never give up! I have made some of my best sales after I was rejected by a prospect. Remember to not take the rejection personally. Having a thick skin is something that has to developed. I became desensitized to rejection over time as I experienced it often early on.

This is a quick guide on how to how to survive & thrive through cold calls, sales objections & rejection. Feel free to take this with you in the field as you make sales calls.

Posted 17 hours ago

My Top 10 Sales, Marketing & Social Media Articles of 2014

As the year is winding down, I wanted to share with you the top 10 articles from 2014 my blog. Based on the readership the honors go to:

Why Brands Should Use Visual Story Telling

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth 10,000 words. Telling a story with words alone puts the burden of visualization on the prospect. As words mean different things to different people based on life experience and culture, it is possible for your message to be misinterpreted. For brands to truly engage potential buyers, they need to tell stories visually with the use images, videos and words together. (Visual Story Telling) Using all three together can help brands to craft and convey their message to their audience. Many brands like Coca Cola have photo/video sharing contents where customers would engage with their products. This is based on the old adage that people are more likely to believe the claims of your customer (testimonials) than traditional advertising.

Effective presentations need…

Increase Sales by Firing your Worst Customers

Everyone has that customer that is a late payer, nasty and/or a time waster that they wished they could fire. In previous posts, I have discussed how to deal with difficult customerssociopaths and how to get customers to pay on time. However, there are some customers that need to be fired. The question is how to determine which customers to fire. As Dr. Tony Alessandra puts it, the good, the bad and the ugly. He goes on to describe how companies rank their customers and fire the bottom level of customers. You want to keep the good, try to convert the bad into the good group and fire the ugly.

But how do you determine which customers need to be fired?…

Did Mobile Kill the TV Star?

Everyone remembers the popular song Video Killed the Radio star, which was a song about how the technology of television made radio and the radio star obsolete. As mobile devices and social media have become more prevalent worldwide; access to video content via video search engines/sharing services such as YouTube, Hulu and Netflix have disrupted how content is accessed. Prior to this shift, television/cable networks have controlled how video content was shared and distributed. Today the alternative content sharing methods I described above, have changed the format of television. As more and more advertising dollars are being shifted to mobile from television, the way television is run has to change.

Back to my original question, will Television suffer the same fate as Radio?…

Selling to Sociopaths: What to do when you can’t Walk Away

Have you ever had a prospect and/or customer from hell? I am talking about a customer that seemed charming when everything in the transaction was going well and did a 180 degree turn when they didn’t get when they want. I have had several experiences like this during my time in outside sales. What about those prospects that smile to your face and then actively try to undermine you behind your back? I have dealt with these kind of prospects and customers as well. Behavior like this is clearly the work of a sociopath. For our purposes here, a sociopath has two definitions: 1 A person who has no conscience and is incapable of feeling emotions of any kind. 2 A person who gets pleasure from making other people miserable.

How to be your Own Manager of Sales

In a previous article, I discussed how to deal with difficult customers. The customers/prospects I described above, are extremely difficult to deal with. People who are sociopaths are in places of power and authority. In sales, I have had to deal with sociopaths from time to time. From the customer who demands what they are not entitled to and abusive customers who got pleasure from seeing me sweat.

Now you are asking how to deal with these people?….

Anyone who is in inside or outside sales has to meet sales quotas/sales goals of a certain type. The role of a Sales Manager is to hire, mentor, train and motivate the Sales Team. A Sales Manager is also accountable for setting the sales goals of their team and making sure that these goals are meet and exceeded. Sales Managers are provided with salary and an override of the teams total sales. Each Sales Reps goals make up a piece of this total sales goal. A Sales Manager’s duties will vary by the size of the organization and it’s structure.

Now you are asking ” How could I be my own Manager of Sales? Why would I want to be?

Sales Reps: Want to Boost your Sales? Study your Sales Data & Do the Math!

Math and Sales Data are essential to improve the sales efforts of Sales Reps. The use of Math and Sales Data can provide a wealth of insights in terms of how effective a businesses sales campaigns are doing. In my previous post, How to be your own Manager of Sales, I detailed how Sales Reps could track their own sales numbers using a Closing ratio.

“Closing ratio is calculated by…

Close Sales during Cold Calling with the Colombo Technique

In previous articles, I have discussed how to overcome objections and make cold calls successfully as referenced below.

“In sales, everyone has to be able to overcome objections in order to be successful. The best way to overcome objections is to prevent them. This can be done by providing a thorough sales presentation that covers all the information about your products and services. Also it is imperative that you address any questions the prospect has immediately. However, objections will come up from time to time. Some of these objections are real buying signals and others are just stalls to put you off. As a Salesperson, you need to be able to tell the difference.”

During some cold calls to dental offices, I was not able to obtain the information that I needed to overcome prospect objections. This occurred because the person I was speaking to was not the decision maker. As a result, they were reluctant to talk for fear that they would say the wrong things or give away to much information on their bosses business. Despite their reluctance, I would continue to talk with them, build rapport and bond. I would ask to speak to the decision maker but many times they were not in the office; or the person I was speaking with would not want to disturb them for fear of getting reamed out when I left the office.

When this was the case, I would use the Colombo technique to get the information that I needed….

The Power of The Screen Shot & The Hash Tag: How Marketers Can Connect with Customers & Amplify their Reach

Screen-shots and hash-tags are an invaluable tool for marketers to reach and sell products to their audience. The old adage is that a picture is worth a 1000 words. As the fields of Marketing and Advertising shift to digital and mobile formats, the power of the image to tell stories and get your message across are the new tools of the 21st Century.

Hash-tags are also valuable tools because they…

Poor Customer Service Costs Businesses Sales

Poor customers service costs businesses sales. I observed this first hand yesterday.

I was in the supermarket yesterday and I observed a man who was wanted to buy mussels (seafood). These mussels were packaged in bushels. As you can imagine, there were long lines in the supermarket. There were scales to weigh food items both at the Deli counter/Meat Department and at the checkout lines. After a long wait on the checkout line, the cashier was ringing up the items. When it came time to charge the customer for the mussels the cashier said, ” the mussels have to be weighted and priced by the Meat Department”. Mind you there was a scale right at the cash register!

As a result, the customer stormed out of the store in frustration leaving a large order behind. Clearly, the store should have done one of two things:

10 How Dating Reminds Me of My Time in Outside Sales

Dating reminds me of my time as an Outside Sales Rep in New York City. When looking for prospects, I cold call on women at various social venues Bars/Clubs at night, Parks, Stores and the Subway. I network with friends for leads on potential single women and networking. I use various online social networking/dating sites for dating along with singles networking events. First dates are like sales interviews and networking events; you need to sell yourself to get the next step. This next step can be a first or second date another appointment or a commitment.

As you can see like selling their is plenty of hit and miss. In efforts to find the right person;…

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the readers for their support during 2014! Feel free to contact me with topics that you want me to cover in 2015. See you in the New Year!

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How Dating Reminds Me of My Time in Outside Sales.

Dating reminds me of my time as an Outside Sales Rep in New York City. When looking for prospects, I cold call on women at various social venues Bars/Clubs at night, Parks, Stores and the Subway. I network with friends for leads on potential single women and networking. I use various online social networking/dating sites for dating along with singles networking events. First dates are like sales interviews and networking events; you need to sell yourself to get the next step. This next step can be a first or second date another appointment or a commitment.

As you can see like selling their is plenty of hit and miss. In efforts to find the right person; I stand tall in the face of rejection especially when you want the customer and date that everyone wants. Knowing your competition along with prospects is essential for sales and dating success. It all boils down to being yourself.

My ability to persevere, has lead me to a lot of dating and sales success. Although I haven’t met the “one”,

I have met a lot of great people along the way. My goal is to meet women who are as attractive and intelligent as me in their 20’s. I know that it is a only matter of time before this happens. Just to give you a little idea about myself, I am a Native Yorker and Italian American with an Athletic build. I have attached some pictures of myself.

If you would like to date me, send an email with pictures to Dan@dangalante.com.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Why Brands Should Use Visual Story Telling

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words and a video is worth 10,000 words. Telling a story with words alone puts the burden of visualization on the prospect. As words mean different things to different people based on life experience and culture, it is possible for your message to be misinterpreted. For brands to truly engage potential buyers, they need to tell stories visually with the use images, videos and words together. (Visual Story Telling) Using all three together can help brands to craft and convey their message to their audience. Many brands like Coca Cola have photo/video sharing contents where customers would engage with their products. This is based on the old adage that people are more likely to believe the claims of your customer (testimonials) than traditional advertising.

Effective presentations need to have visuals and videos to emotionally engage prospects to buy. In a previous article, I discussed the power of the hashtag and the screenshot where I discuss how hashtags and screenshots allow messages to go beyond the traditional reach of social networks. I have used photo/video sharing services such as InstagramPinteresttumblr and YouTube to upload screenshots of tweetsFacebook postshead-shots, videos etc…

Visual story telling allows brands to connect with many more people on an emotional level. This will ultimately lead to higher product sales numbers.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Why You Should Cast Me

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Why You Should Publish Me

Posted 4 weeks ago

A Fun Look Back at My Professional Journey

Posted 4 weeks ago