How to Get Customers to Reveal their Budgets


A salesperson I was coaching came to me with this question: "I seem to be running into the same problem over and over, and I need your help. Too often, I put a proposal together for a customer, only to be told that my quote does not fit in to the budget. The problem is, in these cases I have specifically asked the customer about the budget before I crafted the proposal. Usually what happens is I have my initial meeting with the customer and before I leave, I ask them, “Do you have a budget in mind for this project?” The customer invariably answers with, “We are not sure what the budget is going to look like.” So I go back to my office and spend hours writing up a proposal for the … [Read more...]

Avoid Getting Boxed into a Corner by Prospects


What do you do when your prospect won't introduce you to others in the organization?  You know that there must be other decision makers who will want to have input in the deal, but your prospect insists that you only need to talk to him. In order to get the information you want, you are going to have to ask your current contact some questions that might seem awkward.  You need to know who these other decision makers are, so that you can tailor your final sales presentation to their goals and concerns. Here are some questions/prompts that you could use to broach this issue (choose one or two): Help me to understand your decision making process. What is your time frame for making a … [Read more...]

How to Establish Credibility with a Prospect


A new client recently came to me with a question: “When I meet with a prospect for the first time, I want to illustrate my company’s credibility and show the prospect what we can do. After a little small talk, I like to give a brief PowerPoint presentation discussing my company’s history and its success in the industry. I also bring out samples of our products and leave behind some company literature for them to read later. I do all of this because I think it is important that the prospect really understands my company. As my company has grown and I have hired additional sales people, I have gotten some pushback for my methods. Some of my sales people complain about having to present all … [Read more...]

Don’t Ask, Just Tell


I am often asked how to get past gatekeepers. These are the secretaries, receptionists and administrative assistants that answer the phones at businesses large and small. For a salesperson that is cold calling prospects, gatekeepers can either make or break you. How do you make sure that you will get past them? The number one thing you need is confidence. The mistake I see sales people make on cold calls is that they ask permission to speak to a prospect. They will use one of the following phrases: Can I speak to John? Can you tell me if John is available? Can you put me through to John? Asking permission gives the gatekeeper an opportunity to say no. My motto is, “Don’t ask, … [Read more...]

How to Assess a Prospect


Over the years, I have fielded many questions like this- "I have a few high value prospects that I have been targeting.  What are some good ways to assess if I have a chance of getting the business they are currently giving to our competitor?  I know my products are superior to my competitor's and I think these prospects could really benefit from doing business with me, but I do not want to push my way in the door.  How do I figure out if it is worth my while to pursue?" I really sympathize with this dilemma.  I have never wanted to be a "pushy salesperson" either.  Here are two key questions I would ask during an initial conversation with your prospects: “What are the ideal … [Read more...]