Closing Crappy Sales Leads

My head is still spinning! Rewind. Back to the beginning.

Last September, I had a conversation with a business owner that sells software, but the big money is in selling consulting along with the software. The owner told me that they get leads from the software company but they’re garbage and they never buy.
We’ve been working together since. A couple of weeks ago, we spent some time working on the first phone call. Last week, my client called me and said, “I might deny it if asked, but I’ve been making calls today and I had fun.” I immediately thought, “This one made it!” They realized the truth behind my #1 rule of selling. “If it’s not fun, you’re doing it wrong!
Then we broke for Thanksgiving. On today’s call, my client starts telling me that last week, she got two of those crappy leads from her software provider. They closed one of them Friday. Huh? That’s right. They closed one of those crappy leads that never buy on Friday.
Wait a minute…..The rest of the story.
My client told me that they called the other ‘crappy lead’ and had a 35 minute conversation (also on Friday) with a CEO that was fully engaged, answering questions freely, and was leaning toward buying. My client asked (I paraphrase.), “So, have you thought about what kind of investment would be necessary and doable to reach your business goals?” The prospect answered, “Not exactly.” My client asked, “Would you like me to help with that?” The prospect answered, “That would be great!” (Are you ready for this?) My client replied, “I’d love to, but I’ve got to get on a call that should have started 5 minutes ago. Would you like to schedule another call next week so we can wrap this up? He agreed and they scheduled a call for tomorrow.
I am very proud of this client for three reasons.
  1. They put a CEO ‘on hold’. Awesome posturing. No ‘puppy dog’ selling here. This is peer to peer.
  2. They knew to leave the CEO ‘wanting’. The CEO wants the answer to budget and therefore wants the next call. My client told me that theyir plan is to start the next call by asking if anything had changed and recap what was covered on the first call.
  3. My client had the presence of mind to schedule the next call AFTER our coaching call so that we could debrief, strategize and rehearse for tomorrow.
So, here’s the lesson. Sometimes the leads aren’t crappy, but that doesn’t mean that you should blame it totally on the salesperson either. Selling in the 21st Century requires new skills, new approaches and a new mindset that allows the marketing process and the sales process to become one. Want to learn how? Check out this webinar. Indicate that you were referred by The RainMaker Maker.

Do Buyers’ Opinions Matter?

I bought a new laptop a few weeks ago. I also got a new tablet. Very cool. I got this idea that I wanted to get a new briefcase to protect my laptop, tablet, camera, flipcam and all the cords, drives, etc. Elaine needed to go to Macy’s at Whitney Place on Black Friday and Macy’s at Solomon Pond on Saturday. I went over to the luggage department in both stores to check things out.

OK, so all the briefcase boxes have catalog numbers and a description. All the sale placards have a list of descriptions that are not the same as the descriptions on the boxes along with the regular prices and the sale prices, but no catalog numbers. How the heck am I supposed to figure out how much a briefcase costs? IMHO, I’d make the descriptions on the box match the descriptions on the signs.
Maybe my opinion doesn’t matter?
I also bought a new garage door opener to replace the one that got fried in the electrical surge that also fried our alarm clock, our phone system, our fireplace, our electric blanket, my laptop, our microwave, our coffee maker, our receiver and a few light fixtures and outlets. I used to be handy and I convinced myself that it would be easy and fun to install the garage door opener. That was on 11/11. Today is 11/26 and the box is in the garage unopened. I’m sure it might have been fun, but I’m never gonna have the time. So, I called Lowes where I bought the opener. I told my story to Brian in millwork and ended with I wanted someone to come out and install it. Brian said, “Oh, too bad you didn’t do that when you bought it. I could have saved you the sales tax. (Boy! Am I stupid!) So, I ask Brian how much to install the garage door opener. He says gotta send a guy to look over the job. That costs $35. He comes back. Tells me what needs to be done. Then we can sign a contract and get it done. Brian. There’s an opener there already. It has to be removed and you put the new one in. Pretty straightforward. How much does it usually cost? Brian asked, “Are you trying to get this done over the phone?” Yes Brian, I am. So, how much? Brian finally says “$97″ I said, great. Let’s get it done. He tells me that I have to come into the store to arrange for the $35 inspection, then back in to sign the $97 contract. Is he not freaking listening? If I had the time to go back to the store (twice), I’d install the darn thing myself!
So, do you think that marketing is telling sales that customers like coming into the store? Or do you think that they’re not listening when sales tells them that some customers don’t need to come into the store? Or, does it not matter what the buyer thinks or wants?
Last one – repairman comes to the house to fix my fireplace. Grunts. Groans. Looks confused. Finally cuts the four wires that are connected to an electronic gizmo and says, you need a new one of these. I say Great. He says, let me know when you’ve got it and I’ll come back to install it.
Huh? I call you to fix my fireplace and you want me to go get the parts?
Needless to say, it didn’t happen that way, but seriously. Is marketing not listening to sales or is sales not listening to marketing or Do Buyers’ Opinions NOT Matter?
Want to take the first step to marketing and sales alignment? Click the link.

Sales Words

Dave Kurlan’s recent post talks about the lack of understanding of “Sales 2.0″ outside of a group of early adopters and early followers and suggests that he was going to stop using the term. Frankly, salespeople, business people, consultants and experts do this all the time. They want to differentiate themselves. They want to appear to be leading edge. So, they make up a name for it.

Now, Dave didn’t make up the word, but he is part of that group that gets it, practices it and can teach it. As a matter of fact, the guy that made up the term probably didn’t make up the process. He saw how good salespeople were using their tools and named it. However, it doesn’t necessarily follow that customers will want it just because he gave it a name.
Think about your own world. How cool do you think you are? What are your words? When you say your words, do you prospects’ eyes glaze over? What are their words? If you use a word before your prospect is asking what the process is called, you’re going too fast. Frank Belzer’s  most recent ebook talks about alignment between the sales process and the buying process.
Smarketing is one of those words. It’s a guess at what to name a process. Will the name catch on? Probably not. Will the process? You tell me.
Do your salespeople ever complain about the quality of their leads?
Do your marketing people ever complain that your salespeople couldn’t close a door?
Do either, your salespeople or your marketing people not know your customers’ words?
Does your inbox look like a mall parking lot during the Christmas season? So many customers but not enough salespeople or time to figure out who are the buyers?
Did your salespeople used to have a healthy, flowing predictable pipeline, but now they’ve got 5 times as many opportunities in the pipeline, but their sales are down?
If you want the answers now,
send me an email
. If you’re not in a hurry, stay tuned.

Sales, Marketing or Smarketing

First, an apology. As you may know, I’ve posted 720 blog articles since March of 2006. If you do the math, that’s an average of 2.4 articles per week. So, it’s not normal that it’s been over two weeks since I asked you to stay tuned for more on 21st Century RainMakers. A foot of heavy, wet, concrete-like snow knocked out power, cable, internet and phone, fried my laptop, propane, fireplace, microwave, electric blanket, and several other small appliances including our automatic coffee maker. (Have you ever tried living normally without the coffee being ready when you wake up in the morning?)

So, we’re getting back to normal, and although I’m still going to ask you to stay tuned, I want to let you know that yesterday, the Smarketing Team began the transition. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be explaining what you, your marketing people and your salespeople need to do differently and the changes that are necessary in the way that you attract, acquire and retain customers, as you make the transition to inbound marketing.
At this point, you can subscribe to The RainMakerMaker, join Smarketing RainMakers on LinkedIn, Smarketing_Gurus on Twitter and/or Smarketing RainMakers on Facebook. There’s a lot coming!