Archives for May 25, 2018

Can't Complete a Sale? Try Asking These 5 Questions

There is nothing more frustrating than having a hot prospect turn down your offer on a sales call and knowing they just slipped through your fingers. You lose out on acquiring a new customer and they lose out on the amazing product or service that could benefit their life or their business.

As a start-up entrepreneur, you have to wear many hats and one of them is probably being a salesperson. Before I hired my sales team, I conducted thousands of sales calls and I learned five key questions that helped me increase my conversion rates and get the client excited about saying “yes.”

If you aren’t doing the sales calls yourself and have a sales team, these questions can help them convert more customers and increase revenue.

For the most part, prospects are skeptical. They want to make wise decisions with their investments and you need to build trust that you can deliver. Most people enter a sales conversation looking for a reason to refuse. These questions transform the mindset of the customer from why, to why not?

These questions are great for any entrepreneur trying to close a big deal or even just getting started to ask their prospects to inspire the sale.

1. Is this a priority in your life?

This question really gets at the root of a purchasing decision. People only pay for things that are a priority for them. It isn’t about the price or product itself, but more about their willingness to make solving their problem a priority.

When you ask a prospect this question, it forces them to confront his or her own inner conflicts about what they want and what they are willing to do to get results. When the decision requires a significant financial investment, their mind will convince them that it isn’t the right time or that it is too much of a risk. When something is truly a priority, the prospect will find a way to make the investment and timing work if they believe it will help them.

2. If you don’t do this, what will you do?

I’ve heard prospects tell me how frustrated they are and how they want to find a partner, make more money or change careers and live their purpose. When the conversation turned to next steps, suddenly they had many excuses whether it was time or money that kept them from moving forward. By asking them this question, they got in touch with the reason they set up the call in the first place. They wanted the result and the thought of walking away without a plan or guide was scarier than they thought. Without pressure, the question led them to make a decision focused on what they will lose rather what they would win. Fear has a stronger emotional change than hope that motivates them to make the decision that would change their life.

3. Is it that you do not believe in my product/service or believe in yourself?

If you sell a service that involves a customer to have joint responsibility to get the result such as coaching, fitness, financial services, etc., you also have to overcome the client’s self-doubt in implementing the solution properly. This is a more personal question that may not be appropriate in more conservative corporate environments, but in small businesses that deal with mindset and psychology of the user, this question can be crucial to get into the head of the client.

In personal development there are many programs that make big promises and the prospects I speak with are fatigued with programs that don’t deliver. They begin to wonder if they can change at all. Asking the prospect this question helps them realize that the hesitation isn’t about your product or service but about their own insecurities. If you stand in confidence of your product, you can transform their anxiety about taking a risk because they will feel understood and comforted by your certainty.

4. What did you find most helpful about our conversation?

Before you pitch your product or service, ask the prospect to repeat back what was helpful about your advice or suggestions during the consultation sales call. They will literally give you all the reasons for them to say “yes” to your offer. It nearly makes it impossible for them to say refuse your service after they just told you all the ways you already helped them.

This process helps laser the conversation, summarize what was discussed and the prospect is often surprised at the things they learned in just one call that leaves them with a positive association with your product or service.

5. What was missing?

When a prospect clearly declines the offer and is ready to leave the conversation, I found that just being transparent and asking the prospect what was missing (why didn’t I earn the sale), they easily volunteered the remaining objections that kept them from moving forward. Once I understood those objections, I was able to address them. Many times, this has completely turned around the sale because the prospect knew I really cared and valued their input and wanted to make sure she had all the information to make the best decision.

You never want to coerce someone to buy something they don’t need or cannot afford. The key to asking the right questions isn’t about manipulation but about helping a prospect get out of their own way in taking a step that could change their life or their business. If you believe in your product, this should be unconsciously conveyed to them and they will feel it.

7 Business Travel Essentials You Didn't Know You Needed

As someone who makes a living doing travel for business, I have a few items that I would highly recommend for any business trip. Most of these items are small and lightweight, perfect for fitting into a suitcase. After a few mistakes and mishaps over the years, I won’t travel without them.

Whether you’re traveling to give an important presentation or want to ease anxiety by having a backpack plan, these 7 items will leave you prepared.

1. Smart luggage.

There’s a good chance you’ve felt the pain of a low cell phone battery and no place to charge it in an airport. This can be especially stressful if you need your phone to navigate an unfamiliar place. Smart luggage is a nice option in situations such as this.

Most smart luggage cases can register the weight of the bag, plus provide a GPS location (a reassurance if you’ve ever had a lost or delayed bag), remote lock functions, and the ability to power your phone via a luggage battery. However, be aware that a number of airlines now require the battery to be removable — a decision that has put a few smart luggage companies out of business.

2. Microprojector.

This is one of those items that you didn’t know you needed until you one day need it. A microprojector ensures that your work gets seen in the event of an unpredictable circumstance. Some of these devices are smaller than an iPhone yet are still able to deliver on sound and picture quality.

I once had to present an idea to a small group of investors. As my luck had it, a pipe had burst in the room where we were supposed to meet, leaving me with nothing but my laptop to present. Thankfully, one of the staff members had bought a microprojector to watch movies and was able to lend it to me for this occasion.

3. Portable scanner.

This is a necessity if you are attending a major conference with many vendors. Many of these scanners are cordless and can connect to email or apps like Dropbox. Some of these can scan nearly 30 pages in less than a minute. Sizes vary but most can easily fit in the crook of a suitcase and are lightweight.

I’ve gone to travel fairs and used a portable scanner to get information back to my team quickly. It helps us stay organized and I don’t end up with a bunch of pamphlets and papers in my suitcase. I also use it to upload receipts to keep track of my expenses.  

4. Multifunctional pen/stylus/USB drive.

A pen with a stylus makes sense. But the additional flash drive that’s included makes this item one of my staples. This 3-in-1 deal makes my life easier and always becomes a conversation starter. They are surprisingly ergonomic and still allow for beautiful penmanship.

5. Portable router.

A portable router is almost a requirement, depending on how secluded your destination is. These devices offer additional safety when working online by providing a private network. It can also be cheaper than finding WiFi in a remote location or using your phone to tether.

Some of these routers can provide service in over 100+ countries while also charging your devices. I’ve had to use this a couple of times when my internet has been dicey and have never regretted the investment.

6. Virtual keyboard.

I know this one is a little out there but a virtual keyboard is a great way to work if you don’t have access to your computer. If you’ve ever tried to type a lengthy document on a phone or iPad, you know how it can be a struggle to work quickly and correctly. This helpful device is a portable keyboard without the bulk of a physical keyboard.

If using, I recommend projecting the keyboard onto a piece of paper and on a hard surface. This will help you type more efficiently and make it easier to view. Just watch out for cats who might view it as a toy.

7. Collar stay and shirt travel pouch.

A collar stay is exactly what it sounds like – a little metal object that helps the collar stay in place. A shirt travel pouch is another useful item. It’s like a laptop case but for your individual shirt. These items are cheap, effortless, and can keep you looking professional.

I’ve found both of these items to be essentials, especially if I have to head straight to a meeting after arriving at the airport. Collar stays are those life-hack items that everyone should own, as they are sure to come in handy at some point.

While most of these items aren’t necessary, they can definitely make life on the road easier.