A few weeks ago, I hosted a webinar through the Verizon Wireless Women in Sales efforts at SalesGravy.com.  Alice Kemper, my Sharpenz partner, and I were sharing our tips on how to sell to and with different Types of people.

Verizon Wireless, as the sponsor, was represented by Debra Palme, a Business account Manager in Minnesota. Debra shared a tip to the hundreds of participants that day – and I’ve asked her to share it with you!

Debra’s tip on a strategy for those ‘stuck’ prospects or the ‘no call back’ customers  is powerful!  No-Art

I have been working in outside sales for almost 10 years and I have been a sales manager for over 5 years.  One of the top challenges my sales professionals encounter is a customer who will not return follow up calls or emails after an appointment.  The sales representative will wonder if they are not following up with the customer enough or maybe they are “stalking” their customer too much.

I encourage my sales reps to be more aggressive and ask the tough question, “Are you still interested in Verizon Wireless?   It is ok to tell me no.”

This question comes in various forms, but the intention is the same.  The sales person wants to know if they have a chance of winning the opportunity.  Each one of my sales representatives has encountered a non-respondent customer and every time they use this form of questioning with the non-respondent customer, they have received a response back within days and sometimes hours.

Many times the customer will say, “Yes we are still interested,” but when a customer says they are no longer interested it allows the sales person to move on and spend more time working on other opportunities.

As a manager, coaching your team members to ask the “tough” question is a good way to monitor and measure those sales people who put all their eggs in one basket; this teaches them to fill up their funnel.

Think of how much time and effort you can say when you KNOW where you stand with a prospect.  Funneling your energy and time into probable prospects is a good time management – and successful strategy.

I thought you might want to know more about Debra. Read about her success in leading her team, wouldn’t you like someone like Debra to be YOUR manager?

I started as a Business Account Executive at Verizon Wireless and after three years I was promoted to a Major Account Manager.  I was a MAM for a year and I have been a Business Account Manager for over 5 years.

I inherited a team that was not achieving quota, but by the end of my second year of management the team was averaging over 120% of quota.  My team has been very successful and over the last 5 years 7 people that have been promoted.

The two objectives I focus on with my team are prospecting and attending their customer appointments.   After prospecting or attending appointments I offer constructive feedback to help them improve sales aptitude.  How we sell has evolved throughout the last 10 years and it will continue to change.  It is important to focus on the basics, but it is imperative to be informed on new ways of selling and evolve with market demands in order to become a successful sales professional.

Thank you Debra!!!

And this was a great reminder of a fantastic book, Go for No, by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz, see this post for more information. Yes is great – but being open to NO makes the difference!