Your Voice Is Your Instrument

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

On an introductory call, your voice is your instrument. During a face-to-face meeting, you have visual cues and body language available to add layers of meaning. On the telephone, you have only your voice and the words that you use. The way that you use your voice can make or break your conversation.

Imagine that you are telling a bedtime story to a child. You would not drone on in a bored tone about the “Big, Bad Wolf.” No! You would put fear and passion into your voice to have that story come alive for that child. On an introductory call, you are telling your story to your prospect. Think about it in the same manner—what you would like that prospect to hear, feel and see. 

The emphasis on any particular word can totally change the meaning of a sentence. Let’s take the phrase, “She is not a thief.” If you emphasize the “She”—the sentence means that she is not a thief, but someone else is. If you emphasize “not”—the sentence is a defense. If you emphasize “thief”—the sentence implies that she is something else that you have just not named. Think about the emphasis that you wish to make—and use your voice accordingly!

Look at each sentence in your sales pitch and determine what you are trying to convey and what is the best way to do so. Try out different line deliveries, until you are satisfied with the result. Use a tape recorder to listen to how you sound. Do you sound like someone with whom you would like to have a conversation? Listen for warmth and passion in your voice. Do you sound interesting? Convincing? Confident? Is your speech clear, professional and pleasant? Or do you sound angry, tired, tentative or bored? Is your speaking voice nasal, a monotone or singsong? Do you speak too fast or too slow? Do you mumble? Remember as you listen to the tape that you hear yourself differently than do others. By listening to your taped voice, you will hear yourself as others hear you.

Once you have determined what you wish to convey to your prospect, practice your script until it flows easily. You do not want to sound like you are reading a script. Call your friends and pitch them. Perhaps you can work with a colleague who is also making introductory calls. This way, when you have your prospect on the telephone, you will be prepared and voice the message that you wish to voice.

Why Are We All So Afraid?

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales 
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

What can strike terror into the heart of even the most successful sales professional or entrepreneur? 

Cold Calling.

What can crush self-confidence, destroy self-esteem and leave even the most seasoned sales professional quivering with humiliation and defeat?

Cold Calling.

But why?

Every culture has its myths and stereotypes, and one of ours is the stereotype of the manipulative, unscrupulous salesman. The term "sales" conjures images of untrustworthiness and deviousness. We have the stereotypes of the "traveling salesman," the "used car salesman" and, of course, the "telemarketer." 

These terms do not literally describe what the person is selling; they take on a larger meaning. For example, our cultural translation of "used car salesman" is not simply
someone who is selling used cars, but instead means someone who is unethical, uncaring and will pressure you into a sale that is not necessarily in your best interest. "Telemarketer" has come to mean not just someone who sells over the telephone, but someone who interrupts your dinner, doesn't listen and tries to pressure you into meaningless, valueless purchases. It can also mean someone who is running a scam over the telephone, usually preying on the elderly.

This is not the reality of individual telemarketers or used car salesmen. It is the stereotype. And these stereotypes do a huge disservice to most salespeople. Far too often, 
salespeople buy into these stereotypes, these images of untrustworthiness, placing themselves, in their own minds, on a lower level than their prospects.

If you buy into these negative images, you are at a disadvantage before you even pick up the telephone to call your prospect. It is imperative to change the way that you think about this process. Examine your intent:

? Is your product or service meaningful?
? Does it provide a benefit?
? Do you believe in the value and benefit of what you are selling?
? Are you doing the best that you know how to insure that your customers get what they need?

If your answers to the above questions are that you have a meaningful product or service, it provides value, you believe in your product or service, you are doing your very best to insure that your customers get what they need-if those are your answers, why then, you don't fit the
stereotype. Stop acting as if you do! Stop apologizing. Stop feeling uncomfortable. Proceed with pride and integrity.

But there are some additional reasons that people fear cold calling. When you are face-to-face with someone, you have all of the visual cues to help you through the sales process. How does the person look? How is she dressed? What are her facial expressions? Does she make eye content? Is she smiling? Is she frowning? We instantly and intuitively assess these cues, and they help us determine what is happening in our communication. 

On the telephone, you have none of those cues. That's what makes it so scary. It's as though you are suddenly blind, and you cannot tell what is going on. It is important to train yourself to listen very deeply when you are on the telephone-you must hear those cues that you would normally see. And remember-your prospect has no visual cues either! That is why it is imperative to use your voice expressively and have a clear message.

Who Should I Call?

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales  
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

Over the past several months, I have received e-mails from readers who are starting to make introductory calls. They ask how they can pinpoint whom to call. They are really asking two
questions. The questions are: "Who should I call?" and "Who is most likely to buy?"

Part of sales is simply numbers. If you open the telephone book at random and simply start dialing, if you stay at it long enough, eventually, you will reach someone who will say "yes." This would take a long time and not be particularly productive—but it would happen.

A better approach is to create an "ideal customer profile." And here you need to be very specific. You are creating the model to which you will match all of your prospects. I call this "prequalifying." The more specific you are, the easier it will be to find the best prospects—the ones who are most likely to buy. Look at all the demographics; location, revenues, number of employees or specific industries. If you are in the consumer market, look at age, income level, interests...

If you've been in business for a while, take a look at your top 10 customers. Plot out what they have in common. Look for similarities—you can assume that businesses that are similar might also need your products or services. What are the industries? Do the decision-makers have similar titles? Take the
time to fully break down all of the similarities in your customer base. The more clearly you can define your potential customers, the easier it will be to find them.

Another good place to look when creating your "ideal customer profile" is at your competition, because your competition's customers are potentially your customers as well. Call your competition and ask for their marketing materials or visit their web site. Generally, these will list past and/or current customers. You can analyze this list in the same manner that you analyzed your customer list.

Look also at why your customers buy your products and/or services and why they buy from you. Understanding the need and understanding the benefits to your potential customers will go a long way to help you target whom to call.

Once you have your "ideal customer profile" (and by the way—you could have several different "ideal customer profiles"), go to the library and tell the librarian exactly what you are looking for. She should be able to tell you exactly where to find lists of prospects—for free. At the library, they have association directories, trade journals, business directories…

Also, join associations in related industries where you might find prospects. This will provide you with valuable networking opportunities along with a membership directory. If you do not want to join an association, contact them anyway—sometimes they sell membership directories. You can do the same thing with trade publications in related industries. They sometimes sell subscriber lists. Your local chamber of commerce is also a good place to look for leads.

Lists of prospects are everywhere. All you need to begin is the company name and main telephone number. Everything else—the name of the decision-maker, the correct company address, etc.—you can find out in your telephone call.

Once you have your list, divide your leads into "A," "B" and "C" according to the priority you give them—"A" being highest priority and "C" the lowest. You can move leads from list to list as you gather new information. Concentrate on your "A" leads. They are the ones with the most potential. If, however, you are a beginner, are not yet comfortable and/or are trying out a new approach, start with your "C" list. It will be low priority, low anxiety, and you will get some practice and more than likely some "yes's."

Wendy Weiss © 2003

"Warm Calling" vs. "Cold Calling" Rant

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales  
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

Had another conversation with yet another entrepreneur who told me he does not "cold call," he only does "warm calls." 

I continue to be baffled by those who cut off possibilities with a semantic twist. "Cold call, warm call," it's simply a state of mind. Your mind. Your prospect does not make those distinctions. Just because you have designated a call to be "warm" doesn't mean that the person you are calling thinks it's "warm." This "warm call/cold call" concept is a smoke screen that covers the real issue.

The real issue is controlling your message. The real issue is being able to communicate with a prospect so that they understand and resonate with what you have to say. The real issue is about having the skill necessary to communicate with a prospect under any circumstance.

Prospecting by phone, introductory calling as I prefer, is a communication skill. Like any communication skill it can be learned and it can be improved upon. The idea when introductory calling is to contact a qualified prospect and entice them with your message. You have a brief amount of time on the telephone to catch and engage your prospect. If you are not able to do that, the call ends without achieving your desired result. If you have
the proper skills, however, it is possible to have extremely productive conversations with prospects no matter how you choose to categorize them, "warm" or "cold."

The idea of a "warm call" is that you've had some prior contact with your prospect and that you have somehow "warmed up" the call. The prior contact might be with a letter sent before your call, it might be that you have encountered the prospect elsewhere it could also be that you have a referral.

All too frequently callers who use the "I only warm call" approach do not adequately prepare for their calls. Instead, they rely on the appellation "warm." If you are one of these callers, stop right here and ask yourself these questions:

--> How many "warm" prospects have said "no" to me over the years?

--> Would those calls have been more productive if I had been better prepared and more in control of my message?

Although you may have sent a letter, you have no guarantee that your prospect has read it. Although you may have met previously, your prospect may not recall that. Although you may have a referral that is no guarantee that your prospect will meet with you or have any interest at all in your products or services.

When you are on the phone with a prospect you must deal with them, where they are, at that particular moment in time. If your prospect hasn't read your letter, doesn't remember the person who referred you, or is simply having a bad day, that's out of your control. What is within your control when prospecting is to have honed your skills so that your message is clear and so that you can respond in any situation. 

When you have skills, you know how to catch a prospect's attention, you know how to keep their attention, you know how to respond to questions and objections and you know how to ask for what you want. When you have those skills it's no longer about a "warm" call or a "cold" call, it's about communication, conversation and results. 

Warm Calls vs. Cold

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

Recently, a participant in one of my public seminars gave me a “warm” lead, the name and telephone number of the training director of a company with a large sales force. She told me to call. She said she knew that they needed help, and she told me to use her name.

Wow! A “warm” lead! I was excited! I called!

Once I reached the prospect, I introduced myself and then mentioned the name of the participant who had given me the referral. 

The response was not what I expected. “What did she say?” he snarled. “How do you know her?” It seems the two of them were not on very good terms, and he didn’t think very highly of her. What had just happened to my “warm” lead? (Why this woman gave me this lead is perhaps the subject for a different article.)

Does this type of scenario happen all of the time? Let’s hope not! But the point is that the difference between a “warm” call and a “cold” call exists only in your mind. Whether or not you have a referral, when you call your prospect, you must have done your homework. You still must be able to represent yourself intelligently and articulately on the telephone. If you cannot do that, you will not move to the next step.

These arbitrary distinctions of “warm” and “cold” actually make it more difficult for you, because you assume that the “cold” call is harder than the “warm” call. That is not necessarily true. Frequently, people avoid making “cold” calls, assuming that they will be more difficult and yield fewer results. Conversely, they don’t always do their homework on a referral, assuming that it is some how “in the bag.” The truth is that “cold” calls quickly become “warm” calls when the caller has done her homework and is able to introduce herself in a clear and succinct manner. Don’t limit yourself with artificial distinctions of “warm” vs. “cold.”

Whether or not you have a referral, you are calling to introduce yourself, your company and product or service. Forget “warm” calls and “cold” calls.” Think “introductory” call.

So, what happened with my “warm” call turned “cold?” I stayed calm. I got the appointment anyway. The rest I’m still working on. 

Use Testimonials to Market Yourself

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

Testimonials are a wonderful way to market yourself. They give you credibility-a third-party endorsement. It is no longer you alone saying that you and your company and products or services are phenomenal-it is someone else saying that they are phenomenal! When you place an ad, everyone knows that you have paid for it. It is you "tooting your own horn." Much more believable and credible is someone else "tooting your horn!" Use testimonials in your marketing materials, use them on your web site, use them in advertisements, use them in your media kits, put them on business cards and make sure to use them in your sales presentations and/or on the telephone as success stories.

So, how do you get all of those glowing testimonials from satisfied customers? Ask. Get in the habit of asking every single satisfied customer for a testimonial. There are many ways
to do this. Here are a few:

1. Ask your customers to fill out a brief customer satisfaction survey. Leave space for comments at the end. Make sure to also ask at the end of the survey, "May we use your name and comments in our marketing materials?" Have a space for them to check "yes" or "no," along with their signature. Most people are delighted to have you use their comments!

2. If you use public speaking to increase your visibility and generate leads for your business pass out an evaluation form to your audience. Make sure to ask at the end of the evaluation
form, "May we use your name and comments in our marketing materials?" Have a space for them to check "yes" or "no," along with their signature. Again, most people are delighted to have you use their comments!

3. Using the satisfied customer's name greatly increases your credibility. It is far stronger to have an endorsement with a name than without. Use the customer's name and the company name. Make sure to ask permission to use their name first.

4. Ask your customers to write testimonial letters. Say, "I was wondering if you could help me." (People love to help!) "Would you write a testimonial letter for me outlining how happy you are with our product/service?" (Only ask customers that you are sure are happy!)

5. Offer to write it for them, "I know that you are very busy. I'd be more than happy to draft something for you to edit." People do genuinely want to help, and people are also genuinely
very busy. This makes it easy for them to help. 

6. Every time you complete a project and/or a customer says something positive to you about your product/service, say to them, "Would you write that down on your letterhead? It would be
a big help to me, and I would use it to market my product/service."

7. Use your testimonials as success stories when speaking with prospects or even customers. This enables you to tell others what you have accomplished for your customers without appearing to brag. The model of a success story is: Your customer had a problem. You fixed it. They are now very happy. Remember to always tell your success story from the customer or prospect's point of view. That means stick to the benefits that your customers received from your work.

8. And if you occasionally suffer from the "blahs," here's another tip. Post your favorite testimonial letters on a bulletin board or clear wall space near where you work. Put the rest into a three-ring binder. Anytime you start to feel "blah," read through your letters from all of the people saying how much you have helped them. It will perk you right up!

Tis the Season

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales    
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

The holidays loom. Office parties, family celebrations, religious celebrations, celebrations with friends. Meetings are cancelled. Decisions are postponed. Too much to do, no time to do it. The sales process turns to sludge.

The holidays can be a frustrating time for sales professionals. Telephone prospecting calls end with no appointment the prospect instead saying, "call me in the New Year." Proposals languish. Decisions are on hold.

During that time from Thanksgiving through the end of the year, how do you keep from losing your momentum and how do you keep the sales process moving forward? If you are not able to keep the process moving, January can feel almost like starting over. Instead of leaping into the New Year with prospect meetings and starting new customer projects you are busy following up with all of the prospects who said, "call me in the New Year." Here are two steps that you can use to keep your sales process flowing, not only over the holidays, but also year round.

1. When prospecting by telephone for new appointments do not tamely accept the standard response, "call me in the New Year." Instead, suggest to your prospect that you schedule a meeting in the New Year and promise to call to confirm that meeting. (In the "old days" prospects would frequently say they didn't have their New Year calendar. In these days of palm pilots and contact management software that doesn't fly. After all, January is only next month!) At least 50% of your prospects will go ahead and schedule the meeting leaving you with 50% less follow up calls to make in January.

This is what you say:

"Let's pencil in a date and time for January. It's not carved in stone, I'll call you to confirm and if it doesn't work out we can always reschedule. Is early January good or is later in the month better?"

This way you'll have a series of prospect meetings already lined up for January!

2. When a prospect asks you to submit a proposal, then and there set up a meeting time with your prospect to go over that proposal. Ask your prospect when they want the proposal. When they give you a date or time frame say:

"Let's set up a time for me to come by and go over the proposal. Is (fill in date) good or is (fill in date) better?"

It does not matter if your prospect wants to meet in December or in January. The point is that you have kept the process moving forward, you have an appointment to discuss the proposal and you do not have to spend time in January making calls to follow up to schedule the meeting or get a response on that proposal.

And remember, on the appointed day, make sure to bring two copies of the proposal, both signed and ready for your prospect's signature.

Happy prospecting, happy closing, happy holidays!

The Wasted, Unproductive Follow Up Call

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales  
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

I received a telephone call yesterday. It was someone I'd met at a networking group months ago. She reintroduced herself, mentioned the group where we'd met and said she
was calling to follow up. She did not say about what. I asked the question for her, "Why are you calling? What did we discuss?"

She told me that she makes customized covers for laptops. I thought that was nice, but I didn't need one and still didn't understand why she was calling me. She then told me
she makes other types of customized covers too. I said, "Oh."

We had now been on the telephone for a couple of minutes. I still really didn't understand why she was calling me. She seemed to want me to lead-but she was the one who had made
the call! 

I try to be nice, I always talk to people who call me-it's my business. Other people are not always so nice or willing to give time to strangers who call for no apparent reason. 

Finally my caller asked if I was developing products that might need covers. I'm currently developing a new product that will go in a binder. I told her about that. She said they also could do customized packages for products. She continued to point out that the work was customized and I could get "whatever I wanted." Now what I wanted was binders, I could get them in Staples or some internet discount site or from a vendor who specializes in these
types of products, so telling me I could get "what I want" doesn't make a lot of sense.

I asked if she could give me an example. She had no samples to send and no brochure or catalogue with appropriate examples. She had a web site, which only showed laptop
covers. The caller kept reiterating that her creations are "customized" and that I could get "whatever I wanted." She kept reiterating this as if it was important. It wasn't.

She was selling features, "It's customized," rather than benefits, "It will make your product unique and it will make it stand out. It will add value. It will help with your brand and image. You will sell more because of the way it is packaged." These are benefits. What a better outcome to the conversation if she had only mentioned one of them!

Think also what a better outcome if she had suggested, "Let's get together and talk about your product. We could do some brainstorming as to how it might look and what you
want to accomplish with the packaging and I could make some recommendations." I would have gladly met with her. Who knows what might have followed that meeting?

At that point it was time for me to get off of the telephone. I had a coaching client calling in 5 minutes and I needed to get ready. As we ended the phone call she said, "I'm here if you need me." That's nice, but she had never given me a compelling reason to think that I might need her.

I was annoyed. She was probably very frustrated.

So what are the lessons learned?

1. Understand your sales cycle and the goal of your telephone call. This caller had no agenda beyond calling to "follow up." After that, she expected me to lead. 
2. Focus on the benefits not the features! Imagine your prospect thinking to themselves, "Why should I be interested? What will this do for me?" If you want your call to succeed, you must answer those questions.
3. Ask for what you want. (See #1.) Once you know the goal of your phone call, you must ask for what you want.
4. Keep asking for what you want.

The Question: To Confirm or Not to Confirm

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

Do you confirm every prospect appointment before you head out the door?


Do you not confirm, believing that it gives your prospect an "out?"

Far too many coaching clients, workshop participants and readers have said to me, "If I confirm the appointment it gives them a chance to get out of it." Let's examine this
statement and the beliefs that go with it.

The above statement implies that the scheduled appointment is something that, given a choice, your prospect would avoid. This must mean, therefore, that you tricked or
manipulated your prospect into agreeing to the appointment in the first place. Now on reflection, your prospect could only want to bolt.

If you had to trick your prospect to schedule the meeting, the meeting itself must not have any real value. It logically follows then, that the agenda for the meeting, your products or services, you and your time also have no value!

Well, that's demoralizing!

If, however, you truly believe that your product or service has value, if you have done your homework, targeted your market and are calling on qualified prospects then there is no reason that a prospect should want to avoid meeting with you. It is time to change some of your beliefs about the meeting. If a prospect schedules an appointment with you, that means they are interested in talking about what you have to offer!

And here's another thought: Do you really want to spend your time racing around your territory to meetings with prospects who don't show?

I've had some sales professionals tell me that when a prospect stands them up, they like it, because the prospect then feels guilty and "owes them." These sales professionals believe that their prospects will meet with them because of that sense of guilt. And perhaps some do. 
But barring a last minute emergency that takes a prospect away unexpectedly, someone who stands you up once, will more than likely have no qualms about standing you up again. This "guilt" approach goes hand-in-hand with the belief that prospects must be tricked or manipulated into meetings.

So here's a better approach: Change the way you think about prospect meetings and confirm them! Call your prospect the day before or early the morning of the appointment. Try to
reach the prospect directly. Say:

"I'm calling to confirm our brief meeting tomorrow (or later today) at (fill in the time.)"

(The use of any of the following sentences is optional.) 
"I've put together those samples we discussed."
"I've given a lot of thought to your situation."
"I have some very interesting ideas to share with you."
"I'm looking forward to meeting you."

If your prospect says the agreed upon meeting time no longer works, reschedule immediately! Otherwise, you now know that when you show up tomorrow your prospect will actually be there! (Do make sure that your prospect has your phone number so that they can reach you if something unexpected does happen.)

If you are not able to reach your prospect directly, and if your prospect has a secretary, ask her if she keeps the prospect's calendar. If she does, you can confirm with her. If she does not, deputize her. Give her your name and phone number and say: "I'm calling to confirm my brief meeting tomorrow at (fill in the time) with Ms. Prospect." Ask her to speak with the prospect for you and then call you back to let you know that the meeting is on.

If you are not able to reach a human being leave the following message on your prospect's voice mail:

"Hello, Ms. Prospect. This is (fill in your name) from (fill in your company name.) My phone number is (your phone number goes here.)"

"I'm calling to confirm our brief meeting tomorrow at (fill in the time.)"

(The use of any of the following sentences is optional.) 
"I've put together those samples we discussed."
"I've given a lot of thought to your situation."
"I have some very interesting ideas to share with you."
"I'm looking forward to meeting you."

Please be good enough, to give me a call back and let me know that tomorrow at (fill in the time.) still works for you."

"And again, this is (fill in your name) from (fill in your company name.) My phone number is (your phone number goes here.)"

Most prospects will call you back, either to confirm or to reschedule. 

Over the past years, many, many coaching clients, workshop participants and readers have asked me about differentiating themselves from the competition. This is one way to do it. By confirming your appointments you are setting yourself up to be viewed by your prospects and
customers as an expert and a professional. You are a consultant, like any consultant your time is valuable and your prospects will see that if you conduct yourself in that manner. Far too many sales professionals allow themselves to be treated poorly, feeling perhaps, that it
comes with the territory. It doesn't have to.

Confirming appointments is a far better use of your selling time. A prospect who will not meet with you, is not a qualified prospect! Those prospects who do cancel and are unwilling, for whatever reason, to reschedule are doing you a favor. They are saving you the time and energy you would have spent going to see them, following up with them and then not selling anything!

© 2004 Wendy Weiss

Twisted Thinking

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

One of my new favorite books to recommend to coaching clients is "The Feeling Good Handbook" by David D. Burns, M.D. This is a book about depression. The subtitle reads: "Overcome depression, conquer anxiety, enjoy greater intimacy."

So why am I recommending a book about depression to my clients? This book is about a type of treatment called cognitive behavioral therapy. The word "cognition" means "thought" and this book is a common sense look at changing the way people think and thus changing their behavior.

In "The Feeling Good Handbook" Dr. Burns lists "The Ten Forms of Twisted Thinking" that occur when people are depressed. These ten forms also exist when people are not depressed and they exist within many, many sales professionals, entrepreneurs and business owners. If you use any of these twisted forms (and most of us do in one way or another) it will negatively impact your sales. I am listing all 10 so that you can judge for yourself. The following list of "Twisted Thinking" is paraphrased from "The Feeling Good Handbook" by David D. Burns, M.D.

1. All-or-nothing thinking

Everything is black or white. If a situation falls short of perfect, then it's a total failure. An example of all-or-nothing thinking is dieters who have one cookie and then proceed to eat the entire bag since they've already blown their diet. Another example would be sales people who because they do not have the time to make 100 calls in a day make no calls.

2. Overgeneralization

Seeing a single negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat. People who over generalize use words such as "always" or "never." "Cold calling never works for me." "Prospects always reject me."

3. Mental filter

Picking out a single negative detail and dwelling on it to the exclusion of everything else. An example: You receive many compliments from your associates about your presentation. If, 
however, you receive even one mildly critical comment you obsess about it and forget about all of the positive comments.

4. Discounting the positive

You reject positive experiences by insisting they "don't count." If you do a good job, you may tell yourself that it wasn't good enough or that anyone could have done as well.

5. Jumping to conclusions

You interpret things negatively when there are no facts to support your conclusion. There are two categories here: **Mind reading: You arbitrarily conclude that someone is
reacting negatively to you with no evidence to back that up. You arbitrarily conclude that a prospect does not want to speak with you with no evidence to back that up.**Fortune telling: You predict that things will turn out badly. Before a prospecting call you tell yourself, "They're not interested." "I'm bothering them." "They'll probably say 'no.'"

6. Magnification

You exaggerate the importance of your (or your company or product or service) problems and shortcomings. You also minimize the importance of your (or your company or product or service) desirable qualities.

7. Emotional reasoning

You assume that your negative emotions necessarily reflect the way things really are. "I am uncomfortable making cold calls" therefore "People do not like cold calls" therefore "Cold
calling does not work."

8. "Should" statements

You tell yourself that things should be the way you hoped or wanted them to be. "I should have made that sale." "Musts," "ought's" and "have to's" are similar offenders. Should
statements that are directed against yourself lead to guilt and frustration. Should statements that are directed against other people also lead to anger and frustration. "My prospect
should call me back."

9. Labeling

Labeling is an extreme form of all-or-nothing thinking. You attach a negative label to yourself or to others. Example: You make a mistake and then say to yourself, "I'm a loser." 
Labeling is quite irrational because you are not the same as what you do. These labels lead to anger, anxiety, frustration, and low self-esteem.

You may also label others. When a prospect does not respond as you had hoped you may tell yourself, "He's a jerk." Then you feel that the problem is with that person's character instead of with their thinking or behavior. This makes you feel hostile and leaves little room for constructive communication.

10. Personalization and blame

You hold yourself personally responsible for an event that isn't entirely under your control. An appointment with a new prospect is cancelled because that prospect has left the
company. You think, "If only I was better at prospecting, this wouldn't happen."

Some people do the opposite. They blame other people or their circumstances for their problems and they overlook ways that they might be contributing to the problem. Blame doesn't usually work very well.

© 2006 Wendy Weiss

The Terror of Cold Calling

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

What can strike terror into the heart of even the most successful sales professionalor entrepreneur? What can crush self confidence, destroy self esteem and leave even the most seasoned quivering with humiliation and defeat? But fear not! 

Top Ten Tips for Terminating Telephone Terror  

1. Make telephone calls.  Few things are more terrifying than the unknown. The fear you create for yourself is far worse than the reality of cold calling. Once you start making telephone calls and continue making telephone calls it gets easier. You overcome fear by doing. 

2. Make a lot of telephone calls: If you have only one prospect to pursue, that prospect becomes overwhelmingly important. If you have hundreds of leads, no one prospect can make or break you. The more calls you make, the more success you will have.

3. Prepare: Prepare for cold calling the way you would for any major presentation. Know what you want to say, how you want to say it and how you want to represent yourself, your company, your product or service. And know the goal of your telephone call.

4. Practice: If you are new to cold calling or uncomfortable with cold calling practice your pitch out loud. Role-play with friends or colleagues. Practice various sales scenarios. This way you will not have to worry about what you are going to say, you will be prepared and you can focus in on your prospect.

5. Start with less important leads: It will be good practice and less stressful. Once you feel more comfortable, start working on the more important leads. 

6. Stay calm: You will for the most part be talking to people who will appreciate your call. If a prospect is rude, remember: This is not personal. They may just be having a bad day. Move on.

7. Your priorities and your prospect’s priorities are different: You want an immediate “yes,” your prospect may want to finish a report, finish a conversation, start their vacation… Be very careful not to read negative or extra meaning into early conversations with your prospect or prospect’s secretary. If, for example, your prospect’s secretary says that your prospect is “on the phone,” “in a meeting,” or “out of the office,” that does not translate to “My prospect knows that I am calling and is avoiding me. 

8. Some things are out of your control: If a prospect does say “no” ultimately that is out of your control—but what is within your control is continuing to prospect and continuing to make calls. It is also within your control to improve your cold calling skills, take seminars, read books or hire a coach—then fewer prospects will say “no.”

9. The object of Arlene’s game is to focus on rejection. The goal is to reach 100 points. You get 1 point for every rejection. Give yourself 1 point for every “no” answer. If your prospect says “yes,” that’s a bonus! Focus on acquiring points. The more calls you make, the more points you acquire. When you reach 100—You Win! Give yourself a prize!

10. Have fun: This is not life or death—it’s only a cold call. The fate of the world does not rest on you and your telephone. You will not destroy your company or ruin your life if a prospect says “no.” Loosen up, be creative, have some fun!

Telephone Etiquette Sounds Right

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

A true story. In the course of sending out a mailing to prospective clients, I found it necessary to verify some addresses. I called the main telephone number for one of those prospective clients. The receptionist answered the call, and a conversation ensued…


WENDY: I have some correspondence that I'm addressing, and I need to verify some information. Your mailing address is 123 Main Street?

RECEPTIONIST: Sounds right.

Sounds right? (Question: How did she get to work that morning?) Sounds right? Does this sound right to you?

The person answering the telephone at your company is your representative to the world. This is the person who makes the first impression for your company, and the world sees this
representative as YOU. In this conversation, the receptionist seemed unconcerned, careless and not too bright. A caller could easily assume that this is the way the entire company functions, that it's the way YOU function. 

Think about the impression you wish to make. Do you want to be seen as clueless (I don't know my own address) or as intelligent, businesslike and professional?

Here are some tips to help make an intelligent, businesslike and professional impression on the telephone:

1. Hire someone whose speech is clear, articulate and pleasing. (Tip: Have your job candidates leave a voice mail for you. If you do not understand what they are saying, or
you do not care for their tone or speech quality—no one else will either.)
2. Make sure that your telephone representatives know all key company information (your company name, address, etc.). Have that information posted prominently for easy reference.
3. Develop a plan to route and handle all calls. Have the plan in place before problems occur. 
4. Make sure that anyone answering your company telephone knows the responsibilities of various individuals at the company. Again, have that information posted prominently for easy reference.
5. There is an old saying, "The customer is always right." Bring that saying back. Treat all callers, even ones that call to complain, with respect and concern.
6. Try not to put callers on hold. (Do you like being put on hold?) If you must put a caller on hold, explain that you are doing so and that you will be back in just a moment. If that moment is longer than anticipated, go back to the caller and tell them it is taking longer than you anticipated. Offer them the option of calling back, going to voice mail or continuing to hold.
7. Do not chew gum, eat, drink or have conversations with other people in the room when you are answering telephone calls. Keep background noise to a minimum — no loud conversations or music.
8. Treat your callers the way you would want to be treated. If you're not sure, ask yourself, "How would I feel or react if someone said or did this to me?" Act accordingly.

Teaching Customer Service Reps: The Art of Listening

Guest blog by Adrian Miller

Effective listening is perhaps the most valuable skill you can teach your Customer Service team. It is the linchpin in a needs-based, consultative service strategy that determines and delivers what the customer needs and wants.

Simply put, listening enables reps to draw customers into an interactive conversation in which they can ask perceptive questions, probe for reactions, and respond to those reactions appropriately.

But most people aren't natural listeners, let alone trained in the art of listening. That's probable because real listening involves letting go of ego---temporarily subjugating one's own agenda in the interest of understanding another's message. The fact is, however, that most of us either don't hear the message at all, or hear it but misinterpret its meaning.

Listening can be especially, and understandably, difficult for Customer Service Reps because they are under pressure to handle a volume of calls, and therefore are concentrating on what they have to say next instead of paying close attention to what the customer is actually communicating. Nevertheless, there are techniques you can teach reps to use that will demonstrate real interest in the customer--an excellent way to establish rapport and a powerful form of communication.

Tips and Tactics

Listening involves several steps: hearing what is said; interpreting what it really means; and responding in a positive way that shows that the message has been understood and is considered important. There is virtually no better way to create a favorable impression than by showing others that you are interested in and value their opinions. Moreover, it is sometimes the only way you can elicit attitudes and discover needs--information that is crucial to satisfying the customer.

Here are some simple tactics for effective listening:

? Tune out distractions and focus on each call as if it were the most important of the day

? Concentrate on what the customer is saying rather than thinking about what YOU want to say

? Don't interrupt; a customer's willingness to talk, within a reasonable time period, represents a golden opportunity to find out the problem / situation

? Don't jump to conclusions

? Become attuned to tone of voice and inflection; these can be as telling as the words themselves

? Occasionally repeat what the customer has said--it shows attention and comprehension

? Ask for clarification if a statement or objection is vague

? Create rapport by smiling (even in telephone sales a smile can be HEARD through the phone!)

? Take notes to be sure you remember the customer's key points

? Be familiar with common questions and problems and practice responding in a natural, conversational manner

? Control your emotions and be courteous, no matter how rude the customer might be

? Continually evaluate whether you are asking the right questions to uncover and solve the problem

Other Management Tools

Managers who provide reps with good training and thorough preparation on how to provide excellent customer care will give reps the confidence to be extemporaneous--to listen and respond--without losing sight of the ultimate goal; to satisfy the customer you. Teaching by example is, of course, a great way to make a point. Managers who listen to employee needs and encourage listening in staff meetings and informal group situations will help reinforce the value of this important skill. 

Finally, keep in mind as you train your reps in the art of listening that the process requires not only strict attention to what is being said, but its nuances and innuendoes. The exceptional listener is one who has learned how to use intuition to sift through the verbiage, find the salient nuggets, and turn them to advantage.

What goes around comes around. Respect rights of others, especially your parents. Your children will learn from your good example and if you are lucky, they will not throw out your precious "junk" behind your back when you are old. 

Talking to a Prospect as if to a Friend

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

While working with a new coaching client, I asked to hear her sound bite. Everyone needs a good sound bite. A sound bite, sometimes also called an "elevator speech," is a 10- to 15-second commercial on what your company does, offers or stands for. Use it when you meet someone new in business, use it at networking meetings, and use it on the telephone as part of your introductory calling script.

Here is the sound bite from my client:
Client: We offer complete marketing solutions.
Wendy: (With eyes glazing over…) Huh?

The idea behind the sound bite or elevator speech is to communicate clearly, easily and effectively what you do and why someone else should be interested in what you do.

I asked my client, if a friend asked her to explain what she does, would the answer be "complete marketing solutions"? Probably not. And there's your litmus test. If a phrase would make a friend think you'd suddenly lost your mind, don't use it in a conversation with a prospect! Most likely, it sounds artificial and probably doesn't actually mean anything. That same phrase may be fine in writing, for your brochure or web site, but it is not as effective in spoken language, because written language and spoken language are different.

These differences come into play when you are writing an introductory calling script. Write your script down the way that you speak. If your script is in written language, you will sound phony. Real people do not speak with capital letters at the start of sentences and periods at the end. People actually speak more in
phrases or fragments, with pauses and the occasional "ah" or "um..." Write your introductory calling script with no punctuation and no capitalization. If there is a point that you particularly wish to emphasize, underline or highlight it. It is imperative that you sound real, so you may want to try talking into a tape recorder, then playing it back and writing down what you've said.

Try to stay "jargon-free." Every industry has its own jargon, but you must know and use jargon appropriately. If your prospect does not understand your industry jargon, then she will not understand you when you use it! Instead, become conversant with your prospect's industry jargon—then, she will see you as an expert who understands her industry and her issues and concerns.

When you are writing your script, keep in mind a particular individual to whom you will be speaking. Picture this person as a friend, as someone who is open and receptive to what you have to say. Speak to that person as you would to a friend, and not in formal business language taken from your company brochure.

I have seen perfectly reasonable, articulate human beings become stiff, formal and uncomfortable while trying to speak in a manner they believe to be "businesslike." They use unwieldy phrases like "complete marketing solutions," because someone told them it sounds more professional. It doesn't. If no one understands what you are talking about, no one will buy your product or service. Be yourself, and speak as you would to a friend. Remember your litmus test: Do not include anything in your introductory calling script that would make a friend raise an eyebrow.

The very definition of an introductory call is that you are talking to a stranger. You are telling your story to someone who knows nothing about you, your company and your product or service. You must be clear. For the ultimate test, before you get on the telephone, try role-playing your script with an eight- or nine-year-old. If that kid does not understand what you are talking about—no one else will either.

Stuff We Make Up About Our Prospects

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

"Please tell (your prospect) that (your name) from (your company) is on the line."

Hardly a phrase to arouse conflict—but astonishingly, it does!

"Please tell (your prospect) that (your name) from (your company) is on the line" is the phrase that I advise introductory callers to use with secretaries in answer to the question, "What is this in reference to?" [Note: Do not use this answer with a receptionist—that is a different situation with a different response. Receptionists aren't screening—they're saying, "There is no one here by that title."]

Routinely, when I'm conducting workshops or working one-on-one with coaching clients, people tell me this phrase sounds "rude," "pushy" or "too aggressive." They fear that in saying this phrase to a secretary, that secretary may respond negatively and keep them from their prospect.

This is fascinating. The words themselves are neutral. "Please tell (your prospect) that (your name) from (your company) is on the line." There's even a "please" at the beginning of the sentence to make it polite!

What causes this uproar? Let's imagine that Andrea Jung, CEO of Avon Products, Inc., calls your prospect and says to the secretary, "Please tell (your prospect) that Andrea Jung from Avon is on the line." Is she being "rude," "pushy" or "too aggressive"?

How about President George W. Bush? If he calls your prospect and says to the secretary, "Please tell (your prospect) that George W. Bush is on the line," is he being "rude," "pushy" or "too aggressive"?

If you believe that Andrea Jung and George W. Bush can say this sentence and you cannot, what does this say about your belief system? Do you believe that you and what you have to say are not important enough? If so, it is time to change the way you think. "Pushy," "too aggressive," and "rude " are all judgments that you put on yourself. Put another way, it's "stuff you make up." 

Remember that on an introductory call, your prospect's secretary (just like your prospect) is a stranger. You have no way of knowing what that prospect's secretary is thinking. You can choose to believe that she will view you as "rude," "pushy" or "too aggressive" or you can choose to believe that she will view you as confident, in control and having something important to say. In the first scenario, your expectation is that she will "screen you out." In the second scenario, your expectation is that she would put your call through, that you and your call are important.

Your expectations can become self-fulfilling prophecies. The first expectation is self-defeating. You are "doomed before you dial." The second is empowering—whether or not you actually reach that prospect. There are always more prospects, and you have the power to make more calls. Your expectation that your call is important and that you will eventually reach your prospect puts you in control.

© 2003 Wendy Weiss

Survival Strategies for Entrepreneurs

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales  
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

1. Do the moneymaking things first.
For an entrepreneur, generating income is the most important job. Without income, your business will cease to exist.

2. Develop a sales and marketing plan.
What are you selling? Who is going to buy it? Where and how will you find them? Establish your sales goals, and then view your plan as your map to reach those goals.

3. Follow your sales and marketing plan.
While plans do sometimes change, one of the biggest challenges faced by entrepreneurs is how to be proactive rather than merely reactive. Having a plan in place and following it allows the entrepreneur to move the business forward.

4. Do at least three things every day to promote your business.
In the immediacy of day-to-day business life, it is easy to let sales and marketing activities fall by the wayside. Keeping on top of and servicing existing accounts seems to always take
precedence over developing new accounts. But without new accounts, there are no future accounts! Keep your momentum by doing at least three sales/marketing/promotional items every day.

5. Do the things you do well. Hire people or partner with others
to do the rest.
You cannot expect yourself to do everything perfectly. Even if you did, there are not that many hours in a day. Do what you do well. Do what makes money. Delegate the rest.

6. Delegate appropriately and effectively.
Find people whom you trust to do what needs to be done. Be clear about your expectations and their responsibilities.

7. Give employees some autonomy in their decision-making process.
Once you have the appropriate people in place, let them do their job. Micromanaging is not a good use of your time. You have hired your employees to do the things you cannot do or do not want to do. Let them do it.

8. Encourage employees to think creatively.
Encourage an atmosphere of ownership and responsibility by allowing employees to offer suggestions, make changes and discover new possibilities.

9. Minimize paperwork and bureaucracy.
While accurate records are important, records and paperwork are meant to help, not be an end in themselves. Always ask yourself if a particular procedure helps or hinders. Decide what to do accordingly.

10. Schedule time to have fun.

Enough said.

Summertime Blues

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

It's summertime!

1.   No one wants to be bothered.
2.   It's too hot.
3.   It's a beautiful day; everyone is out.
4.   No one is thinking about work.
5.   Prospects are getting ready to go on vacation.
6.   Everyone is o I'm preparing to go on vacation.
9.   I'm on vacation.
10. I've just returned from vacation.
11. My assistant is on vacation.
12. Their assistant is on vacation.
13. No one is in on Mondays.
14. No one is in on Fridays.
15. Prospects are catching up midweek.
16. Prospects leave the office early.
17. Prospects go to the office late.
18. Prospects take long lunches.
19. No one makes appointments till after July 4th.
20. No one makes appointments till after Labor Day.

Print this list out. Send it to your competition. Then, get on the telephone!

Life and work continue, even in the summer! If it's too hot, then your prospects will be in their nice, air-conditioned offices-where you should be, too, making calls. If it is a beautiful day, 
some people may be out. The rest will not.

Everyone is not on vacation every day. If you happen to call someone who is on vacation, call him or her back when they return. If they are planning a vacation, schedule the meeting for
when they return. If they have just returned from their vacation, schedule for a time when they say they will be caught up. If you are going on vacation, schedule for when you return.

Prospects are in the office on Mondays and Fridays, early and late. They are frequently at their desks during lunch-especially when you are calling the boss.

Prospects make appointments all summer long, just as they do in the fall, winter and spring. If a prospect asks you to call back after a holiday, suggest that you "pencil in a meeting for after the holiday." Promise that you will call to confirm it. Do so!

© 2005 Wendy Weiss

Sales Tips I Learned from My Cat

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales  
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

I love my cat. Her name is Ms. Kitty. She was named after Mr. Cat, who died 11 years ago, and after Amanda Blake of "Gun Smoke" fame. Ms. Kitty and I just celebrated our birthdays. She's 11. I'm... well, I celebrated a birthday, too. 

Those of you who are cat lovers are nodding your heads and smiling. The rest of you probably think I've totally lost it. But before you tune out completely, let me share some of the fabulous sales tips that I have learned from Ms. Kitty and from all the cats in my life.

<<Be clear in knowing your goal>>

Ms. Kitty always knows what she wants. Whether it'smore food or to be petted or not to be petted, she knows what she wants and when she wants it. She spends much time pondering her wants. All that time spent sleeping on the coach is not what it appears. She's really planning her next move.

<<Ask for what you want>>

Once Ms. Kitty has determined her goal, she asks for it. Clearly and concisely. "Meow." She lets me know in no uncertain terms what she wants. And if I'm not clever enough to understand the first time, she is patient with me until I do. 

<<Ask again>>

If at first you don't succeed. Ms. Kitty asks, and asks and asks. She won't go away. She won't stop saying, "Meow." She wants what she wants when she wants it, and she lets nothing stand in her way.

<<Ask a lot of people>>

Ms. Kitty has learned over time that I don't always immediately accede to her demands. That's okay. She just asks someone else. And then someone else. Eventually, some human being says "yes."

<<Be persistent>>

Ms. Kitty never judges herself. She doesn't worry about being "too pushy" or "too aggressive." She doesn't worry that her prospect might be "too busy" or "already have a cat." She believes in herself, she knows what she wants, and she keeps asking until she gets it.

<<Don't take "no" for an answer>>

Ms. Kitty is clever and creative. She keeps asking. She asks many people. She reworks her pitch and starts over. She does not hear "no." She realizes that sometimes humans are slow and she just has to keep after us till we "get it." It's a process.

Eighty Percent Of Success is Showing UP

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of: Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

The above quote, "Eighty percent of success is showing up." is from Woody Allen. It was particularly appropriate this past weekend.

I went to take a dance class. My favorite teacher was back in town for a short time. I was thrilled and ready to dance! This teacher is incredibly talented, an excellent dancer, good
choreographer and her class is high energy and fun! I had often wondered why she was not more successful as a teacher or why she never got into a decent dance company.

I rearranged my entire schedule to be there. So did a number of her students. One cut short her holiday weekend with her parents to get on a plane and fly back in time for the class. Another rearranged her work schedule, going in to work at 4:00 a.m. in order to be done in time for the afternoon class.

The class never happened. My favorite teacher called in "sick" at the last minute.

When she taught regularly in New York City this teacher had a habit of canceling classes at the last minute. She'd been gone for six months and was scheduled to teach only four classes over the holidays. So far she's only made it to the first class. She called in sick for the second. Was she sick? Perhaps and who cares? 

I'll never again rearrange my day to take her class. I know several other dancers who also will never again rearrange their days for her and even more dancers who will simply never take
her class again! Now I understand why this teacher never got very far in the dance world.

I was raised on the old show business adage, "The show must go on." It has served me well. As a young dancer it was drilled into my head that the audience didn't care how I felt. They were there to see me dance. They'd paid a lot of money to see me dance and it was my responsibility to be at my best, no matter how I felt.

While that "nobody cares how you feel" message may not be the best message for a child, in business and in sales it's the truth.

Your prospects and customers want what they want when they want it. It is your job to deliver. If you do not, they will find another source.

The first rule of prospecting and selling: Show up.

Most sales are made between the 7th and 12th contact with a prospect. Most sales people stop at about three to four contacts. All you have to do to sell more is show up a few more

Want to build trust and rapport? Show up. Keep showing up. Do what you say you're going to do when you say you're going to do it. No excuses. Prospects and customers like and trust people who do what they say they're going to do, when they say they're going to do it!

Want to close the sale? Show up and ask for the order. If you do not get the order that time, show up and ask again.

It doesn't matter how smart you are. It doesn't matter how talented you are. It doesn't matter how great your product is. If you don't show up, nothing else counts.

© 2004 Wendy Weiss

Sales Plan? What's a Sales Plan?

Guest blog by Wendy Weiss
Author of Cold Calling for Women: Opening Doors and Closing Sales
Watch her interview on The Woman's Connection YouTube Vlog

In the past, if you said the word "plan" to me, I would bolt and run. I'm the "creative type," a former ballet dancer and choreographer-I'm terrible with details. When I was dancing professionally, all the details were taken care of; all I had to do was show up and dance. Even when I was choreographing, as long as I met my deadline for when the dance needed to be complete, I could go with the moment, go with the impulse and see where the dance led.

A hearty dose of reality hit when I began to run a dance company. All of a sudden, I had people-employees, volunteers and dancers-waiting. I had to know where we were going and how we were going to get there. It was a different world. Every decision had impact
down the line. If we were going to have a spring season, I needed to know what we would be performing and where we'd be performing it. How many dancers would I need? What about costumes? Were we going to commission music? What would it cost? How would we pay for it all?

It took a long time for me to grasp the impact of having a plan. Because I was running a small, grass roots organization, there never seemed to be enough time, people, money or resources. I was always putting out fires. Every plan I developed changed the moment I keyed in the last sentence and printed it out. Plan-who has time to plan? Especially when the plan keeps changing!

Over time, I began to see the planning process as a road map. You know your ultimate goal. You figure out the best way to get there. Your plan needs to include contingencies and have enough space that you can deal with fires and still move forward. And
sometimes, the plan changes; it might need some adjustment or "tweaking." As long as the goal remains the same and as long as you keep taking steps forward to achieve that goal, your plan will help you get there.

In sales, your goal is revenue-driven. How much money do you want to make? Or a better question: How much profit do you want to make? Then, how are you going to achieve that?

Your basic plan should start with a dollar amount and work backwards. If, for example, you want to gross $500,000 in sales this year, on average, how many sales would that be? What is your average sale? On average, how many prospects do you have to see or speak with to close one sale? So, how many prospects would you need to see or speak with to close the number of sales you would need to reach your goal of $500,000? What steps do you need to take to see or speak with that many prospects?

Wow! What a mouthful! Here is a mathematical formula:

Value of average sale =______________
How many prospects to close one sales: _______________

Gross sales ? average sale = total number of sales needed

Number of prospects to close one sale x total number of sales needed = total number of prospects

(This formula is from a dancer who counts up to 8 and starts over again! If I can do it-you can do it!)

How will you reach those prospects?