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How to successfully engage more prospects by no-excuse prospecting strategies

Who is this blog for:

1) Any salesperson who needs to get in front of more prospects consistently.

2) Sales managers who have people on their teams who are not prospecting and converting.

3) For the salesperson ready to own up to their true potential.

Excuses are rationalizations we make to ourselves about prospects, prospecting activity, and the current market conditions. They are invented reasons we create to defend our behavior, to postpone getting on the phone or getting out into the market. Excuses lead to regrets and stagnation.

Sales Call Reluctance® is the emotional hesitation to prospect and promote. It is a fear, which is a mental response to a perceived threat. It is based on fleeting emotions and puts the brake on sales careers.

What is your favorite excuse for not prospecting?

The first step in overcoming Sales Call Reluctance is to recognize the source of the reluctance, the fear of proactively initiating contact with potential buyers. You can do this by taking the assessment that measures the 16 types of Sales Call Reluctance. (Yes, I administer, interpret the assessment, and coach all types of salespeople.)

Fear of prospecting causes the amygdala, the brain’s fear center, to hijack your prospecting. Thought-disturbing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline rush through our blood vessels, we check the market one more time, escape from prospecting activity, and we eat another donut. Cortisol (stress hormone) makes us insatiably hungry and attaches sugar to our blood cells. Ever wonder why there is so much diabetes due to stress?

The second step to stress-free prospecting is admitting to your Sales Call Reluctance. Admission can cause discomfort; however, you can overcome this career-debilitating fear with compassionate inquiry and neuroscientific proven techniques.

The moment you admit to yourself the excuses you are making, you are already self-correcting and on the path to releasing the fear. We feel the stress of prospecting because of the meaning we assign to something. If a prospect tells you no, not interested, what do we make it mean? When a genuinely qualified prospect tells you no, that can be the beginning of your sales process unless you are a one-call close sale with an infinite number of prospects.

Five steps to becoming an effective lead generator:
1. Nutrition plays a big part toward your success in sales. Proper food, supplements, and alcohol-free beverages make all the difference in the world. Dr. Alan Watkins claims we are going nowhere fast without healthy bodies, the ability to manage emotions, and mental fitness, which is how quickly you can shift from negative to positive responses when dealing with challenges. It takes physical and psychological energy to prospect.

2. Your prospecting mentality must be cultivated daily to manage your prospecting success. Asking yourself the right questions that engage your executive brain instead of your fear brain is essential. a. What is the value you create for your prospects? How curious can you get about the perspective of your prospect? This value-genic mindset is so critical to your complete success. Going into a prospecting call with a self-centric mindset of “What’s in it for me?” “How do I get what I want?” “How can I impress them?” makes it easy for the prospect to say “no” or to give you a counterfeit “yes” to never allow you in their space again.

3. Avoid the ravages of prospecting stress through consistent exercise, restful sleep, a sense of humor, and healthy personal and professional relationships. The hypothalamus is the chemical factory in the brain; it makes and secretes hormones according to the thoughts we are thinking! We want happy hormones rushing through our blood vessels, not stress hormones that age us and add weight.

4. Techniques to help us stay calm and centered throughout prospecting activity are essential. For years I resisted listening to the experts that said “breathe” – my mindset was, “I don’t have time to breathe. I have too much to do.” What a dumb and, costly excuse. We can reset our emotions within 90-seconds, according to neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D. Try this: Put your hands together at your fingertips, close your eyes, breathe in for the count of 4 and out to the count of 6. Do this four times and you’ll reset an emotional hijack. It takes practice. It is doable, and you can master your emotions.

5. Learn Tactical empathy per Chris Voss, former FBI hostage negotiator, “use neuroscience concepts to influence the emotions of your prospects.” Demonstrate how deeply you are listening to their needs, wants and fears, demonstrate you see things from their point of view before you jump into FIX. The old-school way of listening to prematurely FIX the problem rarely works.

Many seasoned salespeople are blowing appointments because they are unwilling to up-level their skills. Interacting with prospects takes practice and mastery. Prospects are educated and savvy. They can feel your energy, attitude, credibility, and sincerity. Stop getting the gut-wrenching email that says: “Thank you. We decided to go another direction.”

Stay away from negative people who play the ain’t it awful game. Also, neuroscientists continue to tell us to clean up our eating habits. Drinking, drugs, sodas, sugar, too many carbs, and smoking are detrimental to our future success.
Feel free to take a complimentary Prospecting EKG: https://www.exceptionalsales.com/services/workshop-training/your-prospecting-ekg-complimentary/ Then, if you are interested in investing in a comprehensive assessment, debrief, and coaching strategy session, please call me at 602-380-5431 or email me at [email protected].

How to stop getting counterfeit “yeses” from prospects.

Sam had fascinating first meetings with prospects. He was high on the conversation and left feeling “positive” – mission accomplished. However, he had excessive no-shows to his second appointments or aggravating last-minute cancellations. He was getting the counterfeit, yes.

Sam invested in an ECHO listening assessment and soon discovered that he was listening to FIX the prospect’s situation in his first meeting instead of listening for meaning. Listening to fix the problem is a tough habit to break. After dozens of disappointments, he finally admitted that he had to change his mindset and listen differently. It has not been easy.

Prospects do not buy things because they think they want them; they buy them because they feel they need them. Feeling always eclipses thinking. Prospects buy emotionally and justify logically.

When was the last time you had a prospect interested in your product and service, and they agreed to move forward to the next step, then they completely disappeared – cyber silent – no answers to emails, text messages, or telephone calls?

What happened?

Chris Voss, former FBI negotiator and author of Never Split the Difference teaches that there are three kinds of “yes”:

Counterfeit: When our prospect plans on saying “no” but feels “yes” is an easier escape route or wants to disingenuously keep the conversation going to obtain more information or some other kind of leverage.

Confirmation: When a prospect confirms “yes,” it can be genuinely innocent, a reflexive response to a Yes or No Question. It is a simple affirmation with no promise of commitment.

Commitment: This “Yes” is the real deal. It is a valid agreement that leads to action. They agree to meet with you in person; they decide to disclose information pertinent to their situation, and they agree that they have a problem you can help them solve.

The Mindset that causes the Counterfeit or Confirmation Yes is the Self-Centric Mindset:

“It’s all about Me.”

What’s in it for me?

How do I get what I want?

How do I protect myself?

What will they think of me?

How do I keep control?

How can I look good and impress them?

I . . . ME . . . MY.

We are less than our best, and even our worst, when we think self-centrically.

The Valuegenic Mindset that gets the Committed Yes is all about creating Value.

Success on sales calls is about the value you create, not the value you get. When you are consciously focused on value creation: You connect to your prospect’s humanness.

Your Call Reluctance goes bye-bye. You discover what is most important to the prospect. You are more present. You will sell more. You will show up authentically.

As salespeople who love the “yes,” how intuitive are you to what kind of yes you are getting?

Do you gloss over what prospects say, and it comes back to haunt you later?

Let’s admit that getting in front of qualified prospects can be challenging. So, why in the world are many salespeople so ill-prepared?

I am noticing that most salespeople lack curiosity and courage when talking with prospects.

How often do we have to blow it to learn its time to uplevel our skills?

The average salesperson misses clues, lies, and truths because when a prospect says something that doesn’t make sense, the salesperson does not stop the conversation and say, “Wait. Back up. I don’t understand.”

Salespeople, your job is to Listen.

Kate Murphy, the author of You’re Not Listening, says that in today’s economy, listening likely IS your job.

Why are salespeople reluctant to ask for clarification? Because we may appear dense. Because we listen to fix instead of listening for meaning.

Because we think we can guess what the prospect meant.

Because we think we already know what they are going to say.

Because we incorrectly assume the prospect’s logic and motivation resemble ours.

Prospects have different backstories and baggage.

If you understood everything a prospect says, you’d be them.

How often have you nodded in agreement when you had no idea what the prospect was talking about? I cringe with horror and fascination when I reflect on how much I have done this.

Graham Bodie at the University of Mississippi said that when people gloss over points in conversations that don’t make sense, this leads to costly mistakes.

We need to assume everything is relevant. If something doesn’t make sense to you, pay attention. Recognizing the importance of listening and getting yourself to listen are two different things.

Do not enroll in an “Active Listening” course. They often teach how to paraphrase and techniques; however, they don’t get to the essence of listening for meaning. Highly recommend you study You’re Not Listening by Kate Murphy. You will start self-correcting immediately.

If you are sick of blowing prospect conversations and making excuses about why you didn’t land the deal, feel free to call me. Let’s determine if the time is right for you to uplevel your skills to land more deals.
I am facilitating a Positive Intelligence® coaching program that makes a transformational difference for salespeople.

One recently said, “This is life-changing. I no longer fear to prospect.” An insurance salesman shared, “I am having higher quality conversations.” A third commented, “I easily re-set quickly after a letdown.”

Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek, the two winners of the 2022 US Open, freely admit to having a Performance Psychologist to help them with their mental game.

Positive Intelligence is based on Performance Psychology, Positive Psychology, Neuroscience, and Cognitive Behavioral Psychology. Positive Intelligence trains your brain, so you become your own Performance Psychologist.

What does it take for a prospect to trust you?

As a Certified Conversational Intelligence Coach, the image of trust says it all. When prospects first meet a salesperson, they are often in self-protect mode. We have all been exposed to a wholly self-centric and opportunistic salesperson. How did we react?

Those days of old-school selling techniques are over. It is time for salespeople to get a grip. According to my coach, Sameer Dua, for any relationship to get off on solid footing, we need:

1) Shared Interest – You are interested in having a conversation, finding out if they are a qualified prospect, providing your solution, and closing the sale. What is the prospect’s level of interest in what you are selling?

2) Shared Care – You care! Do they care about solving their problem, exploring possibilities, and partnering with you?

3) Shared Commitment – If the prospect does not commit to the next step in your sales process, you have not developed trust, or there are other reasons you have no control over. The point is that without Shared Commitment, there is no relationship.

4) Shared Possibility – When you have developed Conditional Trust with your prospect and are willing to explore possibilities, you can be assured that they feel the trust and relationship building is moving forward.

5) Shared Action – Isn’t this where we want to be with our prospects? They willingly take action on what is important to them and experience you as the catalyst in making that happen. They see you as a partner, and you have developed trust.

You put the bow on the present.

Developing a relationship with prospects is the hardest thing we do as salespeople. Ultimately, relationship failure comes down to poor communication and low levels of trust. Salespeople mistakenly believe that their job is to give prospects answers. We believe that listening is simply ‘waiting to speak.’ When salespeople talk and talk and talk, the prospect is probably asking themselves, ‘how the hell can I get out of this?’ or what they are going to have for dinner.

Communication is about transmitting and receiving information. In the first conversation, the salesperson should speak no more than 30% of the time. Yes, the prospect should be talking 70% of the conversation.

The only way to develop trust with a prospect is to get better at receiving information. Please don’t go and enroll in an active listening course. The fundamental transformation will only emerge when you do personal inner development work and realize that sales relationships are not all about you. It is about “we” partnering with authenticity, sincerity, and presence.

Developing trust with prospects is also about understanding the polarity between confidence and humility. Relationships require a self-assured presence, competent and comfortable sharing thoughts and ideas, and approachable, open, respectful, and willing to learn from your prospects. Be curious about what the prospect is thinking and how they think.

The early warning signs that you are blowing trust-building are when you become arrogant – thinking you know what is best for the prospect. (Maybe your solution is perfect, however, when it comes out of your mouth, they will doubt it, when it comes out of THEIR mouth, it’s true.) Role-playing conversations allow the sales conversation to unfold beautifully organically.

Other early warning signs are when you are talking for longer than 20-40 seconds at a time, when you start pushing your agenda instead of finding out what the prospect needs when you get impatient and start judging and condemning them in your mind. How will you help them and partner with them if you judge them? They will feel your judgment and distrust your solution. They may give you a counterfeit ‘yes,’ schedule another appointment with you and either be a no show or call to cancel with a lame excuse. This always happens, and it is on you, the salesperson. Is it time to own up to what keeps you from closing more sales?

By the way, I have blown many trust-building conversations. That is why I am so intrigued by this topic. I am a work in progress. If you are serious about personal and professional development so you can learn how to authentically and ethically build trust, please feel free to contact me for info on 1:1 coaching.

The importance of listening in Sales

THE IMPORTANCE OF LISTENING IN SALES

Did you know that effective communication can be a secret weapon to closing more sales? Communication between sales reps and prospects has always been strained, but below, we can see just how different their respective expectations are. There is a significant gap between what prospects and salespeople want to discuss in a sales meeting.
As a salesperson focusing on and improving listening skills by truly understanding your listening habits and those of your prospects can have a dramatic impact on the bottom line. The ECHO Listening Profile can help you do just that.

Whether you (or your clients) are in B2B or B2C sales, the ECHO Listening Profile can help by: Identifying your listening strengths and challenges. Identifying the listening habits of your prospects to help tailor your presentation to deliver the message that resonates with them.
email [email protected] for more information on ECHO Listening Profile
Content and graph on listening are used with permission from www.echolistening.com.

How many prospects are stuck in your sales process?





Several of my clients have recently told me, “I have prospects stuck in my sales process who are not moving forward.”

Seasoned sales pros admit only 30% of their warm prospects will ever become clients, making your ability to move them through your sales process vital to your continued success.

So how do you move stuck prospects forward?

1) “It is what it is, it’s not what it’s not. It becomes what I make of it.” Neutralize the negative; if they aren’t going to move on, you should! Sometimes this is indeed appropriate.

2) Call and remind them about the last time you spoke, their concerns, and precisely how their problem impacts them. It’s okay to say, “if we don’t set up our next appointment, we’ll close your file within the next couple of weeks.” This strategy sometimes works as the nudge they need to move forward.

3) It’s always good to analyze why the prospect is not moving forward. So often, when I review these situations with my clients, we find they ignored a red flag in their initial conversation.

Here are some red flags you should be looking out for:

a. The prospect won’t share factual information key to you understanding their situation.

b. They are interviewing other providers. When this happens, get your ask in gear and say to them, “I’m curious; what are you hoping to hear from me that you haven’t heard from others?” or “How will you know you have found the right solution provider?”

c. They speak negatively about a previous vendor and take no responsibility for their part in the dynamic.

d. They have struggled for an excessive amount of time. The proverbial “let me think it over.” When a prospect is reluctant to move forward, get your ask in gear with, “What’s at stake if nothing changes?” Listen deeply!

e. They tell you their spouse is too busy to get involved in the sales process, but who is the decision-maker? How would you respond to the above red flags? Email me at [email protected] and share; I love to learn from sales pros!

Where else in your sales process do you ignore red flags? Please note them now so you can bring awareness to them. IGNORE NOTHING and get your ask in gear.

Ask questions in a curious tone so you aren’t blindsided later in the sales process when the red flag waves in your face.

When you IGNORE NOTHING, you call the prospect into a certain level of integrity.

What do Happy High Achieving Salespeople have in Common?

Happy High Achievers know what they care about, and they take care of what they care about. They are not easily distracted.

So often, salespeople who suffer from Sales Call Reluctance take the assessment that measures for the 16 types of Call Reluctance. They usually have another performance component that is an underlying factor in their lack of consistent prospecting. It looks like they experience Call Reluctance because they are not prospecting and managing their visibility. However, there is a deeper performance issue. They do not want to prospect. Their “want to” is not there. They are not emotionally connected to the why behind what they say they want.

What do you care about?

Please sit down with a legal pad and write at the top, “What I care about.” Start writing and keep writing until the entire page is filled. Write whatever comes to mind – the micro and the macro – you care about your first sip of coffee in the morning, your morning exercise routine, your financial security, your family, your dog, eating healthy, your investments, a nice haircut. You get the drill, right?
Hand writing in a notebook
When you are finished, notice what matters to you, i.e., your family, your business, your health, your financial security – then sit back and ask yourself, “Am I taking care of what I care about? Am I committed to taking care of what I care about?”

Do you care about yourself? Self-Care is vital for happy high achievement. Some clients share that they feel selfish if they put their own name on their care list. We cannot give what we do not have. You cannot love someone else unless you love yourself.

When you emotionally connect to what you care about, your actions and focus take on a completely different priority. You will find yourself moving into action! It is a miracle to connect to what you care about because that is what makes your life meaningful, fun, happy and joyful.

This global re-set that we are experiencing has many salespeople turned inside out and upside down when prospecting. The sales world has changed. If you are suffering from Call Reluctance and not getting in front of enough ideal prospects, please feel free to call me. Call Reluctance is nothing to be embarrassed about, living with it needlessly is.

Do you suffer from Monday Morning Blues?

Recently a client shared that he woke up on Monday and was looking forward to the week! That is music to my coaching ears.

Call Reluctance is nothing to be embarrassed about, living with it needlessly is.

There are four steps to Overcome Call Reluctance:

1) Become acutely aware of how you feel about your day. If you are dreading the day,  the negative feeling is worthy of your attention. It’s okay to name the emotion. Hiding, denying and suppressing negative emotions is detrimental to your health.

2) Assess your call reluctance. Feel free to take the complimentary assessment https://www.exceptionalsales.com/services/workshop-training/your-prospecting-ekg-complimentary/ and invest in the comprehensive assessment that measures the 16 types of Call Reluctance. Taking a diagnostic evaluation is vital to moving forward. When salespeople see their answers to the questions, it shocks them into taking action to solve their call reluctance problem. Please email [email protected] to take the comprehensive assessment or call 602-380-5431.

3) Admit that your call reluctance is costing you big bucks, and more importantly, your self-worth is taking a big hit. Admitting/Accepting the fact that you are experiencing call reluctance is vital to your future success. Accepting is the most misunderstood emotion. Accepting does not mean that you like or endorse it. It only means you see things as they are.

4) Apply proven techniques to Overcome Call Reluctance, customized by the type of call reluctance you experience, plus my many years of coaching with specific tips and techniques in my coaching tool belt.

What will it be like to wake up on Monday looking forward to your week?

Using Neuroscience to Overcome Sales Call Reluctance

Did you know that the Hypothalamus in the brain is the chemical factory of our body? Whatever thoughts you are thinking trigger emotions and the Hypothalamus secretes and releases hormones to match that thought. If you are experiencing negative emotions around clientele building and find it stressful to consistently prospect, guess what? Stress hormones (cortisol and others) are being released throughout your body. It takes 26 hours to clear the body from a cortisol rush. What if you are stressed all week about prospecting? Your body is in a consistent stressful state.

Cortisol is a steroidal hormone produced by the adrenals. In stressful situations, cortisol increases blood sugar for energy, suppresses the immune system and ensures that consumed food is stored as fat around the stomach. This is a primal response to stress. Cortisol increases the appetite for sugar. Excess cortisol decreases collagen production, which is why stress leads to wrinkles. In a nutshell, Cortisol makes us insatiably hungry and gives us wrinkles – meaning stress makes us look old and fat!

When salespeople are stressed, they are in survival mode and their ability to creatively problem solve and initiate contact is inconsistent at best.

Elevated emotions such as happiness, optimism, contentment, playfulness, curiosity, and fascination are key to increased confidence. Why? Because when we are experiencing elevated emotions, the good ole Hypothalamus is secreting and releasing oxytocin (happy hormones) into the brain. It seeps into the amygdala (survival and fear center of the brain) and it shuts the amygdala down. Our energy level increases, and we feel gratitude for being alive. This is proven by neuroscience, positive intelligence, positive psychology, cognitive psychology and performance science.

I am facilitating a coaching program that is making a world of difference for salespeople. One recently said, “This is life-changing. I woke up happy and it is not the weekend.” Another one shared “I am setting more appointments.” A third said “Hum . . . I learned why I have never been promoted and have been stuck in the same position for years.” If you are committed to fulfilling your potential and want to put an end to your Call Reluctance for the rest of your career, put yourself on the path to life-mastery with this program.

The seven-week program only takes 1.5% of your day. The unique component of this program is that it has a daily app where you have 2-minute focuses and 2-minute coach challenges. We change when we are challenged. If you commit to working the program and self-reflect, you may not be jumping for joy when it comes time to prospect, however, you will have the tools to pull yourself forward neutralizing the negativity and stress around new business development and in time, you will start enjoying the process and learning how to re-set yourself quickly after any setbacks. You will set more appointments.

https://www.exceptionalsales.com/positive-intelligence