My guest this week is Mark Hunter, author of the highly successful book, High-Profit Selling, which came out in 2012. His newest book that just came out recently is called High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results which I got to talk to him about on this week’s podcast. Click the play button above to listen to our conversation. Below is an excerpt of a story from his book that he shared, plus a short list of some tips he shared.
When Management is Wrong But Thinks It’s Right (excerpt from chapter 1)
While walking through John Wayne Airport [in Orange County, California] one morning on my way to catch a flight, I heard someone calling out my name. I turned to see the president of a Chicago-based services company. His company sells primarily to large corporations and typically with multi-year contracts. Our paths had crossed at past industry conferences where I had spoken. The president grabbed me, said we needed to talk, and asked when he could arrange a conference call or meeting to discuss his problem.
His problem was the same one I’ve heard from numerous other CEOs and VPs of sales. All the money they had been spending on marketing was simply not working as well as the board and the investment companies that owned the company expected. The company had grown dramatically, and along the way, it had developed a great reputation in its industry. The problem was the industry was now stagnant. As a result, so were sales, and the investment firms were restless. The company president knew it was only time before the board began challenging him.
He went on to say how he no longer had faith in his VP of sales. I challenged him as to why, and his comment was again something I’ve heard from numbers others—he said his VP of sales had for several years touted how good the sales force was and how they had nothing but superstars. Truth be told, what he had weren’t superstars, but merely salespeople who did a great job of responding to high potential leads because their industry had been so hot.
During a period of solid growth, the sales team simply walked away from prospecting. The didn’t feel it was necessary, because the phone kept ringing. Making matters worse, the marketing department believed all of the success the sales team was having was due to the marketing department’s great marketing efforts. When business began to soften, the task was given to marketing to simply increase spending, which would lead to the return of business.
After two years of increased spending by marketing, the business didn’t return, because it went instead to their competitor. You see, even when times were good their competitor remained aggressive with prospecting efforts. The competitor could have taken the easy way out and stopped prospecting when times were good. In fact, they probably could have reduced head count and saved money, but they knew prospecting works and is a critical process in both the good times and bad times.
What kind of things can people expect to learn from reading High Profit Prospecting?
1) Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and use it. It usually takes a series of calls to the same person to even get an appointment for a sales call. See chapter 12 for more telephone advice.
2) Don’t leave a 30-second voicemail. Leave an 11-14 second phone call. Suggested scripts are in chapter 14.
3) Email – Your emails probably loo dumb on a smart phone where most people read it. “Hi, Bob, I’m so and so. . .” Delete. Start with a better subject line. You’ll find good ideas in chapter 15.
4) Social media without social connection is social stupidity – Don’t treat it like a mass market tool, but like an extension of your telephone to create one-to-one communications. See more in chapters 17 and 18.
5) Make your first prospecting call to an existing customer. It’s an easy way to get started. More ideas in chapter 9.
To find out more about Mark, visit www.thesaleshunter.com.
Special Offer: As a thank you and reward for listening to or reading this new podcast series, I’m giving away three free copies of the Audible edition of the book it’s based on, Sell with a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale. That’s the downloadable audio version that you would listen to on your phone or in the car. If you’d like to win one of those, click this link and play this podcast directly from iTunes. You can skip to the last 60 seconds of the podcast where you’ll find instructions for how to win one of the free Audible books. I’ll leave the contest open for 2 weeks after this podcast first posts. Good luck!
Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on business storytelling. He’s a keynote speaker, storytelling coach, and bestselling author of the books Lead with a Story, Parenting with a Story, and Sell with a Story.
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