The New Reality of Prospecting

By Gil Cargill on October 3

During the course of my sales career and my sales coaching career, I’ve seen traditional prospecting strategies – canvassing, networking, cold-calling, et cetera – become increasingly less effective.

As a matter of fact, most salespeople do their best to avoid prospecting because they know, based on their experience that it does not produce the desired effect… more first meetings.

Four Steps

When you look at prospecting through the lens of a process, there are four steps or phases to every prospecting campaign.

Research: A top-performing sales team does its research in order to assure that they only invest their time pursuing demographically desirable prospects.  Failure to do the research properly virtually guarantees that...

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How to Hire Your First Sales Rep…Profitably!

By Gil Cargill on September 22

At some point in the growth of all MSPs, IT consultants, VARs and/or software salesforces, the need to hire the first salesperson becomes apparent.

Typically, this is stimulated by one of several factors.

First is fatigue of the founder or principal.

This individual probably did not start the business with a view to being a salesperson, but necessity being the mother of invention turned the founder into a salesperson.

Secondly, the business is booming and the founder(s) would like to pay attention to strategic and tactical issues, as opposed to sales issues.

Last, the decision to hire the first salesperson is because of the mistaken assumption that hiring a sales­person will accelerate the growth of the company.

More often than not, this is a mistake and, according to The Wall Street Journal, an extremely...

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Consideration Rate – The Missing Metric

By Gil Cargill on September 20

The most important and most frequently overlooked metric, as it pertains to business-to-business marketing, is consideration rate.

Simply stated, consideration rate is the percentage of desirable sales opportunities that, at minimum, consider you.  For instance, if in your market there will be 1,000 decisions made next quarter and you are providing quotes to 100 potential sales, then your consideration rate is 10%.

Companies overlook this consideration rate metric frequently and, as a result of overlooking it, under perform against their optimum opportunities.

By optimizing their consideration rate, companies will optimize their new order revenue.  I know this almost sounds like a “duh!” but, seriously, the more often you compete the more often you’ll close business.  That’s consideration rate.

There are many ways to improve your consideration rate.  Following is a short list of strategies that are working...

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Appropriate Person Prospecting

By Gil Cargill on July 15

Recently, one of my client’s salespeople told me that he was having no luck cold-calling. I role-played with him, and his presentation was very good. That wasn’t the problem.

Doing a deeper dive, we discovered that the vast majority of the people that he contacted (if he contacted them at all) were “not interested!”

He was very frustrated in that it took him over sixty-five dials to get a decision-maker or even a decision-influencer on the phone. Sixty-four of those dials wound up in the voicemail boxes of the decision-makers.

There is no shortage of whitepapers, reports, et cetera circulating today that quantitatively substantiate the fact that...

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Your Feet Are Too Small!

By Gil Cargill on April 1

No, this isn’t an article about buying or selling shoes.

Rather, the reference that I make in the title is to the size of your marketing footprint.

In today’s very crowded, very competitive sales arena, the team that has the best and biggest marketing footprint is, more often than not, the team that gets the majority of the new leads.

Let’s examine the two components of your marketing footprint.

Reach The first of these is your reach.  Reach is determined by examining the number of demographically desirable opportunities in your marketplace.  Once you’ve determined how many opportunities exist in your market, then you should compare that number to the number of contacts in your database.  It’s relatively...

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Selling Versus Telling

By Gil Cargill on March 11

There seems to be an age-old debate regarding the differences between selling and telling.

When I make sales calls with my clients’ salespeople, I’ve noted an increase in the number of sales calls which are inappropriately identified as “selling”.

More often than not, these people are telling.

They tell the customer about their products or services.  They tell their customer about the company that employs them.  They tell their customer about the features of their products and services.

In other words, they’re quite able to disgorge all of the “speeds and feeds” associated with their product.  Salespeople that adhere to this approach to selling are really telling their customers about their product or service; they’re not selling.

Salespeople who sell solve business problems for their customers.

They understand that the application of...

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Sales Compensation with Consequences

By Gil Cargill on February 18

The Missing Link for Predictable Performance

Countless hours, dollars and efforts have been put into creating and recreating sales compensation plans.  Management frequently says things like, “If I worked for me, I’d be making a ton of money!”

We mistakenly feel that creating a comp plan that rewards sales success is the best way to produce a behavior change.

Look at the number of spiffs, dollar-oriented contests, bonuses, et cetera, all of which hang the dollar carrot in front of the sales team.  But, here’s the truth: You can’t make an adult want to earn more money than they want to earn.

All the spiffs, bonuses, commission increases, et cetera do not – and, if you’ve ever tried it, you know this is the truth – elicit a permanent, measurable change in the sales team’s performance.

You don’t get more calls; you don’t get more proposals, quotes and/or demonstrations.

But, you do get to pay more money for activities which, by and large, would have occurred anyhow.

Here’s the flaw in this reward-based thinking: We humans change our behavior much more rapidly and permanently, when we are aware of negative consequences that will accrue to us if we don’t change our behavior.

For instance, I’m willing to bet that the car you drove...

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There Is No Magic

By Gil Cargill on February 17

One of the benefits of having been in the sales coaching, consulting and training business for the past forty years is that I’ve had an opportunity to see a lot of so-called magical solutions come through our industry.

There have been training programs with “hypnotic closes” associated with the program.  There have been all kinds of gadgets and devices intended to help salespeople sell more.

With the advent of the PC (yes, I was in practice before the PC was on the scene) and now smartphones and apps, there is a proliferation of technology-based tools, all intended to help salespeople sell more.

Most...

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