Why You Can’t Sell

When you are selling something, anything, the most important principle of all is that you believe you genuinely have a valuable proposition for your customer or client. If you don’t believe in the product you are selling, then why on earth would anyone else?

However, in this post I am going to answer a question which many salespeople and managers ask themselves on a daily basis; why on earth aren’t anyone biting on my pitch?

The Issue of a Perceived Sale

If you read my previous blog post from earlier this year where I go through how perception is everything you’ll know how I’ve just scratched the surface of why it’s more important how someone perceives something you say or do, rather than what you actually try to say or do. This is the short lesson of today’s post as well; no matter how you pitch your proposition to a cold customer, as long as their perception is telling you they are being sold to, chances are you’ll lose the sale.

So What if Someone Realizes I’m Selling?

Good question! Think of it this way, as I’ve said before in my introduction to selling anything to anyone, the art of selling is making a certain impression. To create the sense of value you need to close a sale, you need to convey a certain impression to your customer. Because each customer is different, you will essentially need to manipulate in order to sell efficiently. Though a harsh reality, it’s something which is important and helpful to be aware of when you are selling.

What happens when someone is aware you are selling to them is they feel as though you are trying to manipulate them and their guard comes up. Closing a sale requires trust, and more often than not that requires you to take other routes than the script your manager has put in front of you.

How Someone Perceives you are Selling to Them

The idea is simple; if someone’s perception of what constitutes a sale is aligned with your process of selling something, then they will experience your method as selling. However, if your sales process steers clear of your target’s idea of what “selling” is, then your chances of building trust, offering something of value and closing a sale skyrocket!

This requires a different way of selling to different kinds of people. Yet another reason why sales scripts are a bad idea. Write the main points down which you want to get across in a call or a meeting, and then feel out your customer and figure out the best way for each particular target to realize the value of what it is you are selling, and what good it would do them.

If you have any questions or topics you would like me to write about, please do let me know from the Contact Us page or in the comment section below.

 

How to Allocate Energy to Work

It’s been a while since my last post. I can only apologize, but has been for the best of reasons. I have simply been to busy with projects, to the point where this blog has been neglected and I’ve felt bad about it every day. However, you only have so many hours in the day and you only have so much energy to allocate.

It’s very much like the little games you download on your phone, where you eventually run out of energy. You then typically have to wait 30 minutes or so for every bit of energy to reload before you can keep playing. You may never have thought about it, but this is life in a nutshell. There are 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week. No matter how badly you or someone else wants you to work all 24 hours every day, it’s not humanly possible, nor should you, even if you could!

The reason is quite simple. What differs us from apps and games is that our energy does not come exclusively from time and rest. Human beings need more. We need to socialize with other human beings, we need to enjoy life, we need to laugh and love. Sounds quite cliche, doesn’t it? Well it’s cliche for a reason. It’s true. We need to disconnect from nagging clients and customers, bosses yelling, paperwork piling up or just the computer screen we stare at for hours and hours end to end. If we don’t get to disconnect we will hit a wall, or maybe even rock bottom, sooner or later, without exception.

There is no answer to what disconnecting is. It’s different for all of us. As long as it’s something which manages to take your mind off of everything work related, then it’s right for you. To me it means cooking a nice meal with my girlfriend. Playing a game of football with good friends. Or even just laying on the couch on a Friday evening watching some of my favorite shows! Disconnecting does not have to be a grand gesture like an expensive holiday, as long as it’s something that builds you back up and restores that energy you spent earlier in the day.

Don’t let yourself fall trap to the notion that you will have to give up your life for a successful company. You’ll have to make sacrifices and work your ass off, but contrary to popular opinion, you can also disconnect and you need to do it.

Think of it this way: Scandinavian countries are experimenting with 6 hour work days. What have they discovered which so many others haven’t?

Productivity vs hours on the books. I’ll take a highly productive expert working 4 hours a day, than someone working 10 hours a day and achieving half the result. Be productive when you work and disconnect when you don’t.

Do you agree with my views? No? Let me know in the comments!

Cold Calling is Dead – Do This Instead

Before you start reading, just ask yourself: when is the last time you received a cold call and enjoyed it, or didn’t hang up immediately?

Your answer is likely “a long time ago” if ever, at all. In this brief article I will show you why cold calling the way we all know it is dead, and how there’s a whole new way of reaching out which is constantly underrated, particularly by larger corporations and companies. However, by adapting to a couple of these tips, your small business can be prospecting with results unlike any other!

Traditional Cold Calling

What we know as cold calling today consists of getting a list of phone numbers online, from lead generators, bought from a third party (whom you allowed to sell your information by clicking “I accept”) or just about any other way companies can get their call center employees on the phone. Usually you have a group of telemarketers who use a software which dials for them. The moment someone hangs up, the software is already dialing the next prospect.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried being a telemarketer, and I respect them more than most! You have to give every bit of yourself in every phone call, and no matter the outcome you’ll have to start over the moment the call ends, regardless of its outcome. Do this about 200 times in one day and then tell me you don’t respect someone who does this all day, every day.

However, I strongly believe these skills can be put to much better use.

The new way of prospecting

New and better way of prospecting
We live in an era where there is no limit to how you can get in touch with someone if you really want it. From drones delivering parcels, to notifications on phones. It’s a beautiful thing, really. The problem is how many salespeople don’t understand the balance of what’s to vague and what’s too intrusive. Take calling as an example; I don’t even speak with my girlfriend on the phone on a regular basis. I can assure you if you cold call me, I will certainly not want to talk to you. It’s much more intrusive these days, as opposed to those times where phones and written letters where the only ways to communicate from afar.

What I’ve found, and the reason Becama is successful in helping businesses expand their “sales horizons” is how you can warm cold leads up in a way which brings massive value to your product, makes it seem personal and if done correctly, even make your prospect feel guilty for not getting back to YOU.

It’s certainly not rocket science, but it’s not commonly practiced. If you have a lead list, you need to put together an email. The email needs to be nothing short of perfect. You follow up 4 times, at distinct times which I’ll tell you later. If you haven’t heard anything by now, you can call them. However, if you have sufficient a amount of contacts within the company you are prospecting (usually go with 5-10) then you’ll hear back from someone more often than not.

How to write the perfect sales email

How to write the perfect sales email
I have a secret (until now), but deadly formula for writing emails. I’ll also tell you what’s wrong with your sales emails if you’re like 90% of other companies when they prospect; it’s way too long and/or too salesy.

Subject Line

Keep it short. Stick within 3 words, no more than 5. Hubspot have found that even the subject line “(no subject)” has 8% more opens than everything else. However, you may not want to do this as it can come off as unprofessional. An open is only so good if they’re “open” to what they find inside… See what I did there?

Good examples are using something your proposition is targeted towards. If you’re going after a banks’ business accounts, just say “Your Business Accounts.” Or if you want to install security cameras at Chelsea FC’s stadium, just make the subject line “Stamford Bridge.” Lastly, if you don’t have a direct target, just write “Good Morning” or “Good Afternoon.”

PS: Notice I capitalize all words as this is also proven to get more opens. As is including numbers in your subject line if that’s relevant to what you do.

First Name Only

That’s all you need to write. No “Hi” or “Hello,” no “Dear” or “Ms.” Assert yourself right away, show that you’re not here to smother someone with sweettalk, but that you’ll go straight to the point.

Body

This is the most important thing. The body should consist of three sentences and a link. If you don’t remember anything else, just remember this:

Sentence 1: I am looking to set up a meeting with [Company Name] with regards to your [Target]
Sentence 2: [Insert sexy one-liner about what you deliver, exactly] – No more than 1 sentence!
Sentence 3: A link to a page relevant to what you are pitching. Product page, About us page, or similar.

Ending

 

Always end with a question. This was you enforce subconscious guilt for not responding to your email. I simply end my emails to prospects with:

Would you be available for a chat this week or the next?

Some variations depending on the companies I’m prospecting, but that’s the essence. A simple, informal invitation to a conversation.

Example

Here’s an example for how I reach out when I wrote a template email for the company UBINU. The target was to get in touch with football clubs in order to install a massive solution which is based on proximity marketing to make the most out of the loyal fans.

Email Subject: [Stadium Name]

Email Body

“[First Name],

I am looking to set up a meeting with [Football Club] to discuss a potential partnership. Our technology allows you to contextually engage and interact with each of your fans through automated studying of their behavior and everyday values. Take a look at this video for a quick introduction to scratch the surface of what we can do for : UBINU for Stadiums. (link to intro video on Youtube)

How is this week for an informal chat?”

This is just starting to get into email marketing, but follow this template example and you’ll be off to a flying start, miles ahead of anyone else.

Pro Tip

It’s important to keep track when you’re sending emails to 5-10 people for every company, with about 4 follow-ups per person. I personally use Yesware to do all my tracking. I am not affiliated with them in any way, nor do I get any referral pay, I just genuinely love it for all my emailing purposes!

If you’re worried about people starting to talk and find out you’re sending emails around – don’t be… Just imagine this. How many emails do you get in a day? How many of those do you share with your co-workers? Probably pretty few…. How many emails which you’re not even interested in do you share with your co-workers? Presumably, none…

When I first reached out to Premier League clubs, I picked 10 teams as a trial for the template I just shared with you. I got in touch with 9 of them. Manchester City opened, clicked and forwarded my emails, but I guess they didn’t like it enough to get back to me. On the other hand, I had about 10 contacts per team, and even when I got responses from several of them in the same team, no one ever mentioned I had already been in touch with their colleague, so don’t worry. Be aggressive! You have value to offer, so make sure you find the one willing to listen! This is just one example, where I’ve had similar success rates in many other verticals. Try it!

If you’d like help with writing templates for your company, or would like Becama’s 6 page prospecting guide which includes writing of emails, but also how to use Yesware and find contacts for companies when you don’t have any to start with. Just follow this link to Becama’s contact page and drop me a note. I’ll get back to you in no time.

Call Centers – Should you look into one?

We’ve all been there; we get a call, from a number we don’t know, and in the spur of an adventurous moment, we decide to answer the phone. A representative on the other side tells you they promise to not take much of your time, and depending on their reason for reaching out to you they’ll tell you one of the following:

  • Are you the one responsible for recruiting in your company? (or something similar)
  • Are you aware that you can retrieve a lot of money by letting us handle your PPI claim?
  • We see here that you were in a car accident in the past three years, is this correct?
  • Are you happy with your current energy provider?
  • … and soooo much more!

    Chances are these calls have come from a call center. This means you have a bunch of people who are constantly on the phone, calling to sell or survey. If you’ve called a large company you’ve probably also called a call center where another bunch of people sit to take calls.

    Do call centers work?

    Many look down upon call centers and find it annoying to constantly get unsolicited calls because we left our number on a website three years ago. However, as someone who has actually worked in a call center, I can assure you, they work. When you’re constantly on the phone, making a few hundred calls per day, your skin hardens and the word “no” goes from annoying to synonym for “onto the next!”

    Who works in call centers?

    The call center crew is made up of resilient, ambitious individuals, with an endless pit of energy and drive. You might see them as an annoying bunch, yell at them, use them as stress-release, but the truth is, seasoned telemarketers won’t care. If you said no, they’ve moved on the moment the next number is dialing. This is what make call centers so efficient and in turn, profitable. You’re paying bottom dollar for maximum value. Of course, you need to make sure the telemarketers hired are screened, promising and that you have someone who can follow up on them to make sure they’re meeting targets.

    How Becama helps you

    Becama hosts call center capabilities where instead of having to incur overheads, recruiting and all other associated costs of setting up your call center, you can start by simply starting with one telemarketer working full-time for your company. You pay one monthly price which includes everything; phones, computers, office space, bills, you name it… When you feel it’s time, you can start expanding to more than one full time marketer, getting higher value the more marketers you choose to get for your company. You can read more about our call center management here.

    If you have any questions about call centers, or are looking into the idea, feel free to ask us anything in the comments below or get in touch with us.

    Answering Questions vs Being Questioned

    We’ve all been there. Found ourselves in a moment of complete distrust, when you realize someone is not asking questions to learn, they’re asking questions to prove you don’t know what you’re talking about. More often than not, someone who’s an expert in their field will be able to get out of this corner at which they’ve been forcefully pushed into. However, you’ll never have the same respect for whoever put you there again. This is why, if you’re a consultant of any kind, you should not accept someone putting you there, and if you plan to ever hire a consultant in the future, you need to avoid putting anyone in that corner. I’ll gladly tell you why.

    To you as an expert

    You are a proclaimed (whether through yourself or others) expert in your field. Your input is what helps companies progress and grow as an entity, whether it’s their social media strategy or where to manufacture their hardware. They’ve reached out to you, because they have acknowledged that some advice is needed in order to best help some part of their business.

    You’ve agreed to help them and they pay the charge necessary in order to acquire your services. As you set to work, you’ll undoubtedly have the manager of whichever department requested outside help hanging over to make sure the expense for hiring you is justified. This is when you start getting questions and get into the key of this post. You need to quickly determine whether the questions are educational or simply destructive.

    If someone starts questioning your abilities with no reason for doing so, I see it as a direct insult. The moment you start questioning my abilities, maybe even before I get to work, you are either trying to tell me you’re better off doing it yourself (which makes no sense having just hired me), or that you off the bat think I’m no good for the job ahead. Here are some signs you are having your abilities questioned:

    Your manager is not the one who hired you

    Alright, this might sound a bit far-fetched, but just imagine this. You are the social media manager of a company. During a quarterly meeting the CMO decides he wants better results on the social media front and decides you need outside help. As I am sure you can imagine, there are certainly some out there who would take it as an insult, rather than an opportunity to learn and improve. Thus, when the consultant comes in, many in the social media manager’s position tend to start questioning them with the sole purpose of trying to come out on top (which just about never happens by the way, so don’t embarrass yourself in front of your company).

    Questions are not focused around a relevant topic

    This is one to look out for. You’ll notice this if someone starts asking questions, they look for the first question which receives an “uhm…” The moment they hear this, they’ll dig deeper into whatever that question revolved around, which may not have anything to do with the topic you’re actually discussing, as again, the purpose is to boost someone’s ego, rather than staying productive and on schedule.

    They think they’re ahead of you

    I know you’ve experienced this one. You’re working on something as the foremost expert and someone says “Well you might want to try this…” They say it boldly, with a bit of a snicker, making sure everyone around heard it. Though in your mind you’re thinking “I was about to get to that.” They knew you were… But now, you can’t say that because it looks like you’re following their advice, and you can’t tell him no, because you have to do it. They’re simply out to boost themselves and get the best of you in the process.

    What to do if you’re being questioned

    If you notice any of the signs, or just know someone is out to get you, rather than help you with the job you are doing, you need to stop it. If you let it go on, you will get frustrated and execute your job in a worse manner than before, which will prove them right for questioning you, which wouldn’t have happened had they not questioned you, and so on… Yea, it’s a real catch 22!

    You can’t blow up or get angry. You need to assert yourself early on. If someone tries to be tough or funny, while talking down to you in the process, cut their lifeline as early as possible. Be firm, let them know who’s the expert and don’t be afraid to let them have it, as long as you remain professional. If the questioning passed to borderline offensive, then you go directly to the person above them and let them know you’re no longer interested in working with them if this keeps up. Trust me, no company will tell you to get out. They will apologize and deal with the problem internally, where chances are, you won’t be bothered again. No one wants the reputation of failing to operate something both internally AND externally through a consultant.

    Summary

    Alright, maybe I am a little harsh, or a bit biased… but I regret nothing. Having someone ask questions about what you’re doing, how you’re doing it and why can be a great thing. It can be motivating and you’re ability to provide excellent replies will greatly help your reputation. Not to mention, the best way to learn is teaching others. It will build and bring your confidence to a whole new level.

    This is why, when someone starts questioning your knowledge with no reason to do so, very often for petty things such as age, background or even gender, it’s nothing but destructive for all parts. You can’t do your job properly and your client is wasting money. Know your place, but make sure your clients know theirs as well.

    If you have any questions on this or have a topic you’d like me to write about, don’t be afraid to let me know in the comments.

     

    What Do Motivation, Targets and Race Cars Have in Common?

    It’s always interesting to ask someone “Which of these does your company prioritize first, motivation or targets?” Because this seems to vary quite a bit, and there’s a perfectly rational explanation for it, as well as for why only one of them is correct.

    When you’re managing a sales team, you want everyone to be on the phone, meeting with potential clients, networking and just about anything in between to drum up new business, as well as retain existing customers. After all, you as a manager have targets to meet and investors, managers or even just yourself to satisfy. What many companies seem to think is that targets spark motivation. The idea that you sit with your team, go over the targets for this quarter and consequently every salesperson in the room will feel the adrenaline rush and gust of motivation needed to hit those targets! Right? Wrong… Let me put it this way, if you focus on targets before motivation, you’ll have neither. If you focus on motivation before targets you’ll have both.

    Motivation Always Comes First

    Let me give you an analogy to put it in perspective. Imagine a race car representing your company. Your company’s targets are the engine that goes in the car. It’s meant to boost growth and accelerate your company. It’s what makes your car go fast enough to win the race. There is only one problem, and you may have guessed it… the race car itself is your team’s motivation. I could even go so far as to say there are various degrees of motivation which would in turn decide if that car war was a Fiat Panda or a McLaren F1! But I’ll leave that for another time. Right now just imagine motivation as something which either is, or isn’t. Which means, if you have all your targets set, you have the biggest, fastest, meanest beast of an engine ever built, how do you intend to win the race without a car to put it in?

    Many might say “well the analogy could just be inverted; the car could be targets and the engine could be the motivation.” Let’s use the same analogy to show why this is not the case. You have the same car, the motivation is there, but you have yet to fit an engine. No matter what engine you bring, as long as it fits in the car, it will make it go around the track. It may not be the best engine for the car, but at least you will eventually reach the finish line. On the other hand, if you don’t have the car, but the engine is ready, no matter how small or insignificant it is, it will not go around a race track on its own.

    Don't be the same, be better

    In Conclusion

    Targets cannot exist without motivation, whereas motivation can exist without targets. If you are an entrepreneur trying to set targets for yourself, make sure you have a proper car to fit that engine in first! If you manage a sales team and would like to dominate the market and win the race, make sure you have the baddest car of them all to handle that engine! (By that I mean you need to make a significant investment in motivating your team)

    That’s all about race cars for now, but be sure to check out my other posts and let me know in the comments if you agree/disagree. If you have a business and would like me to cover a topic in one of my blogs, contact me directly or let me know in the comments. Don’t forget to subscribe and follow for all the most recent updates and tips.

    You’ve Got Consulting All Wrong

    People often look at the wrong side of the coin when it comes to consultants – They’re reluctant to bring in outside help because they think it’s a sign of weakness. What kind of leader are you if you can’t even take care of your own social media, create your own marketing strategy, or even implement a CRM for your business?

    But the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. There is nothing weak about getting a consultant to provide their expertise in order to grow your business. Before I get into the specifics of why, let’s first all be clear on what a consultant actually is.

    What is consulting

    What is a Consultant?

    The term “consultant” has, for some reason, developed a somewhat negative connotation over the years. Often when I talk to people about hiring a consultant, it’s as if I was waving a string of garlic in front of Dracula himself.

    The truth is, just about everyone has acted as a consultant in one way or another at some point in their lives by providing their expertise. The only thing separating you from someone making a living from consulting is getting paid for your advice. That’s all a consultant is – someone who has a greater level of expertise than the average person. Experience which can come from education, self-teaching, but perhaps most commonly, from having worked in that field and done well.

    That’s it. That’s all a consultant is. Someone who gets paid to provide their expertise. So, why should more companies look at hiring consultants?

    Economics: Specialize and Trade

    When I started Becama, I began consulting in sales, marketing and business development. But I’m an economist by education, which I am eternally grateful for as it has given me a different perspective on a lot of things, consulting being one of them.

    One of the most basic principles of economics is the idea of specialising in what you’re good at. If you’re the best designer the world has ever seen, don’t lose valuable time by trying to also make homemade hamburgers on the side to sell. Instead, let Bob sell his signature hamburgers, which he’s had tremendous success with. If you need burgers, you go to him, just as he’ll come to you if he needs that 30-year-old sign replaced with something more modern.

    If you think about it, this is something we do all the time, but if it’s not our industry, we don’t think about it. We go to restaurants for a nice meal, we go to the bank for someone to handle our money, the car dealership for a vehicle, and so on…

    If you look at it, as an individual or as a company, there is very little we do in-house. But that’s easy for me to say, because who would build their own car to drive around in? Right? Not to mention the costs associated with building your own car, both monetary and time-wise.

    Specialize and Trade

    Why is hiring a consultant any different?

    It’s not. Someone who already has the expertise and experience will not only save you time and money, they’ll greatly help your business (depending on the quality of your consultant, that is). If you run your own business, there is nothing more important for that business than you getting to spend your time doing what you do best, rather than spending time trying to do something you feel you don’t have a grasp of.

    You wouldn’t perform surgery on yourself, so if you’re a developer with no prior sales experience, why are you trying to also market and sell the product? Just like a marketer would come to you for development, you go to them to get your name out there.

    What if I Can’t Afford a Consultant?

    When you’re just getting started with your business, the reason you do a bit of everything is simply because you can’t afford paying anyone for their help. Believe me, I completely understand this and I am not telling you that you should hire someone for their expertise if you can’t afford it.

    If you’re in the situation I just explained, I’m happy to announce that Becama has been working on a project which will provide consulting completely free to start-ups. The “BecamAccelerator” will give you the opportunity to strategize with industry experts to help grow your business. I know what it’s like trying to build something with nothing. The BecamAccelerator is simply an attempt to give back to the community which has given me so much over the years.

    Rethink Consulting

    You may have noticed that this as Becama’s slogan, but what does it mean? Rethink Consulting… It means it’s time to see that getting help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Focus on what you do best, let others do the same and work together to grow a truly successful enterprise.

    Consulting and making a deal

    If you’re looking for some expert advice for your business, Becama is always here to help. Ask questions in the comments if you’d like some help in growing your business or if you’d like me to highlight something in particular in my next blog.