What Part of Offline Sales Do You Find The Most Frustrating?

29 replies
Hi All,

I'd love to find out what you find most frustrating in the offline sales world, and what you'd like to learn about most.

If I can help, I'd be pleased to write a post here addressing the top one or two significant struggles people are having.

So what challenges in offline sales are you experiencing? Questioning skills? Uncovering budget? Developing rapport? Something else?

Thanks!
#find #offline #sales #sowhat #topic #upsetting
  • Profile picture of the author vip-ip
    "That's a little out of our budget..." after a 10 minute pitch and Q&A.

    Best Regards,
    vip-ip ...
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  • Profile picture of the author P1
    I'm going with convincing the business owner that the service you are offering can really benefit them.

    I always go into businesses that are closed 2 days of the week and have no sales after lunch yet they think SMS marketing can't help them.
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  • Profile picture of the author stone2010
    Customers see you as the bad guy when we are just trying to help them get customers.. they don't understand we are in their side LOL

    had to get that one off my chest LOL thanks
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    • Profile picture of the author maverick8
      i can show people the benfits. But i cant get them to commit quickly. I think i need to be more direct
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Thanks for the input everybody!

    New readers: please post your own frustrations about offline sales! I'll let this percolate for a day and respond to the top two questions then!

    Even if your issue doesn't make the top two most "popular", I'll PM you with a quick tip.

    Thanks everybody, and keep the posts coming!
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  • Profile picture of the author chrisnotes
    My biggest frustration thus far has been CLOSING THE SALE. Last week I pitched a great fundraiser to the athletic director of a BIG high school and he loved it, however he has to get the director of the boosters to sign off on it first. He said He'd get back to me later in the week and that was last Tuesday. I gave them the benefit thinking how busy they probably are so I waited to follow up until yesterday. I called and had to leave a msg with the secretary. I hope I hear something, anything!

    Then yesterday I pitched a website, Facebook page, and QR code to a local pizza shop owner in our appointment. She loved it and said my prices were great. But I didn't ASSUME THE SALE at the end and closed poorly. She took my proposal and said that the needed just a couple days to think about it and then she'd call me back.

    It is kind of deflating but I'm just going to keep trucking along and take more action, after all it's what has got me this far. I took ideas and made them real. Beats sitting on my couch watching tv and playing video games. I have really enjoyed offering my services to the businesses that drive our country...just gotta close more effiecently.
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    • Profile picture of the author StrategicCheetah
      Originally Posted by chrisnotes View Post

      My biggest frustration thus far has been CLOSING THE SALE. Last week I pitched a great fundraiser to the athletic director of a BIG high school and he loved it, however he has to get the director of the boosters to sign off on it first. He said He'd get back to me later in the week and that was last Tuesday. I gave them the benefit thinking how busy they probably are so I waited to follow up until yesterday. I called and had to leave a msg with the secretary. I hope I hear something, anything!

      Then yesterday I pitched a website, Facebook page, and QR code to a local pizza shop owner in our appointment. She loved it and said my prices were great. But I didn't ASSUME THE SALE at the end and closed poorly. She took my proposal and said that the needed just a couple days to think about it and then she'd call me back.

      It is kind of deflating but I'm just going to keep trucking along and take more action, after all it's what has got me this far. I took ideas and made them real. Beats sitting on my couch watching tv and playing video games. I have really enjoyed offering my services to the businesses that drive our country...just gotta close more effiecently.
      Sometimes you can't close it there and then Chris but its important to seem confident and assume the sale. If your out there for the meeting there is a good chance they need what you are offering immediately, so you should go in with total confidence.

      The first thing you mentioned sounds like you were speaking to an influencer and not the decision maker. If you want to increase your chances of closing deals there and then you need to focus on smaller businesses where you will most likely be speaking to the owner. In that scenario its alot easier to walk away with a cheque.

      Hope that helps out a bit
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  • Profile picture of the author barbling
    My biggest frustrations with offline sales was closing them...which is why I no longer really consider offline for myself. I know all the techniques required but I just do not enjoy the closing part.

    That being said, when I'm proactively approached to, say, design websites, I can generally get 75% to 100% of the money upfront.

    I think a mindshift about what closing really means is what definitely helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author AUKev
    Going from a verbal 'Yes', to getting a signature, deposit check and information to get started. I currently have 4 clients that have given my proposal a verbal acceptance and have been waiting 2-6 weeks for a deposit check and signed proposal. Almost $6K total on hold...
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    • Profile picture of the author Seth Bias
      Originally Posted by AUKev View Post

      Going from a verbal 'Yes', to getting a signature, deposit check and information to get started. I currently have 4 clients that have given my proposal a verbal acceptance and have been waiting 2-6 weeks for a deposit check and signed proposal. Almost $6K total on hold...
      I use a nice program called Square. It is a CC Processor works like a charm when the client at the meeting says they have no cash or checks on them... Well slide your card here and sign. (Works on the Iphone and Android) And 2-6 weeks you need to be following up and getting started with them that is way to long to wait most likely you lost a few clients that way.
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  • Profile picture of the author chrisnotes
    I bet there are a lot of us who struggle with the actual closing of a sale, and getting them to write us that check. Is there any basic "assuming the sale" script to have them reach for that checkbook?
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    • Profile picture of the author sownsow
      I would get my hands on "How to Master The Art of Selling" by Tom Hopkins. He is very aggressive on teaching you an effective way to ask questions and use tie downs, and a gazillion different closes. Very easy to read as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author dxkuk
    Initial contact i find difficult.
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  • Profile picture of the author Seantrepreneur
    By far the most frustrating thing out there is dealing with customers who want to be number one in Google or it's not good enough. PLUS, almost all the time those ppl are the ones who aren't willing to pay very much at all.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Rosenbaum
    Stop giving away free advice. People will pay you for it. Close the sale before you make the call... Especially if you were referred. I charge $250 for a 1 hour consultation and give them $500 off first bill. Tell them this when they first call you and you'll save a lot of frustration.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Thanks everybody for your posts! Here are the top two issues I’ve identified from your shares:

    Closing


    and

    Qualifying Your Buyer.


    1. Closing

    I see a lot of urgent searching for that “magic bullet” that will enable you to close 100% of your opportunities. This Does Not Exist. Just like in IM.

    The first problem with most people who are involved with offline sales is that they lack a formal sales process.

    Why is this so important? If you don’t have a sales process, you don’t know what’s going on. You don’t know what’s coming next. You’re flying by the seat of your pants.

    If you do have one, you know exactly what stage you’re at. What to ask next. And here’s the kicker:

    The “close” is the result of your sales process. So if you don’t have one, or the one you have isn’t very good, your result is not going to be effective. Does this make sense?

    You have to be honest with yourself and admit that you don’t have a sales process if that’s the truth. Myself, I was a career professional for eleven years (!) before I realized I didn’t have a formal sales process—and that it was killing me that I lacked one. Saying to yourself, “Oh sure, I have one, I do this and that,” but it’s all ‘slushy’ and you’re really flying by the seat of your pants, is self-delusional.

    The best close is no close. The best close is invisible. The best close is the one in which the prospect closes themselves. So how the heck do you get them to do that?? Read on.


    2. Qualifying Your Buyer


    Most people have a real problem with offline selling. They are trying to convert every single prospect they talk to into a customer!

    This is wrong. Frustrating. Foolish.

    We Do Not Want 100% of Prospects to Become Our Customers!

    Let me repeat that:

    We do NOT want 100% of prospects to become Our Customers!


    “Jason, why the hell not?!”

    Many—most—are not QUALIFIED to become our client, because they:

    * are not a personality fit with us
    (#1 reason! Don’t sluff this aside!)

    * cannot afford our products or services


    * are actually tire-kickers who are out for a free education.


    These are the three main reasons. In sales training, we often say, “The best sale is the one you never make.” For reason #1 especially, not getting involved with a difficult client can save your business and your sanity.

    Now I know you want to make money, but you need to qualify your prospects better to protect yourself emotionally, make sure you get paid, and ensure your time is being spent most effectively. As a result, your closes will become unbelievably easier.

    So how do you do this? You must be qualifying your prospect All The Way Through Your Sales Process. Asking questions. Asking uncomfortable questions! Not letting them off the hook—or yourself to sweep something under the metaphorical rug, either!

    First, make sure all the decision-making stakeholders are in the room with you. Assuming you’re prospecting by phone, when you set the appointment, ask: “Mister Prospect, I appreciate you inviting me in. Now, to make sure that all the right people in your organization know what we’ll be talking about and can share their input to make sure it turns out right…is there anyone else involved in making the decision concerning <your product or service>?”

    Make sure everyone who’s involved in the decision is in the room. Husband and wife. CEO and CFO. Just about everyone has at least one other individual they bounce things off of before buying, and you don’t want to get a Think It Over or to have to sell twice. This is exactly what's happening to some of you who posted.

    For those who have problems with getting prospects to understand the value of what you offer, try this (if you’re meeting with more than one person, ask them both to weigh in):

    “Miss Prospect…I appreciate you taking the time to see me today. Just before we begin, could I ask you a question?” (wait for the Yes) “Could you share with me a little about what you were hoping <my product or service> could accomplish for you?”

    If they shoot back a rainbow list of happy results, then you know exactly what to confirm for them, don’t you? Sounds like they have an urgent, emotional need to me. Lovely!

    If they say they have no idea, then you begin to qualify them Out. Time to ask an uncomfortable question: “Gee, Mister Prospect, that surprises me. I really had hoped to find out if I could help you today.” <ACT uncomfortable> “Would you be able to let me know what it was that made you want to meet with me?”

    Remember, the uncomfortable question now is fast to ask and get answered, and saves you weeks of frustration later.

    There is a third possibility. The prospect may fire back: “Well, you’re the expert! You tell ME what you can do for me.”

    In response to this, a big smile and a friendly little laugh is in order. Then you can reiterate, “Sure, I could list a bunch of features and benefits. But I have no idea which ones would be of interest to you, and I don’t want to bore you. To make sure that you get the most out of our time together today, I’d appreciate it if you could tell me what YOU were hoping <this product or service> could do for you. Even just ONE thing. Then I can quickly let you know if, in truth, it does that or not, and we’ll find out if we’re a fit. Does this make sense?”

    If they won’t give you a straight answer, you know they’re tire-kicking. Continue to qualify them out, because tire-kickers end up being the worst kind of prospect: a Think It Over with a Free Torture Treatment. They’ll disappear, you’ll “follow up” trying to get ahold of them, and eventually they’ll tell you No. Get this over with now.

    For those who have trouble with budget, this is another stage of the qualification process. Our society has told us since birth that it’s rude to talk about money (so true! Many salespeople had mothers who told them as children this was impolite, and it’s made them uncomfortable talking about money as adults!). If you are one of these folks, here’s a quick thing to say to your prospect as you sit down with them:

    “Miss Prospect, I have a favor to ask you that I’m hoping you will help me out with. You see, I’m uncomfortable talking about money. So when we get to that point, if we do, can you help me? Will that be okay?”

    They will ‘rescue’ you. It’s human nature.

    Now an interjection: DO NOT DEMO before you have discussed budget. This is the major flaw of nine out of ten salespeople on the planet: they show the prospect what they’ve got before they even know whether the prospect can afford it or not! In addition to that, they don’t qualify their buyer prior to demonstrating, so they give away a free education to tire-kickers. Stop doing this! A demo should be the *hardest* thing to get out of you.

    Back to budget. After you’ve gotten some pain on the table, and the prospect has shared with you what they’re hoping you can do for them, it’s time to bring up budget. If you’re uncomfortable talking about money, now’s the time to say: “Mister Prospect, remember at the start when I told you I have trouble talking about money? This is where we are now. Can you help me?”

    And they’ll rescue you again.

    “Mister Prospect, could you share with me, off the record and in round numbers, what kind of a budget you have set aside for <this product or service>?”

    Off the record. In round numbers. People will share figures with you just because of these phrases!

    If they give you a number or a range, you can then confirm or deny whether that matches your requirements or not. More qualification. If the figure they gave is low, you can say: “Mister Prospect, thanks for sharing that figure with me. Well, here’s the fact of the matter: projects like the one we’re discussing typically range from X to Y. So we have a little issue here. I’ll tell you what.” <only do this if it’s true—if you cannot meet their budget, qualify them out> “We can meet your budget. There is a way. What features would you like to cut?”

    Watch them jump!

    If they tell you they have no budget, or no idea, qualify further. Lots of times you will end up speaking with people who have no money. That’s OK. Qualify them out.

    “Mister Prospect, I appreciate that. Well, let me share with you that a typical project like yours usually runs between $X and $Y.” If you have a small, medium and large version of what you offer, you can reword this to reflect that. “Which of these best fits your needs?”

    Let me wrap this up for now. Once you’ve qualified your buyer, by having them share with you the reasons why they want to do business, that they can afford your product or service, and that you’re a fit personality-wise, only then is it time to demo. And here’s how to do that:

    “Miss Prospect, I’ve heard everything that you’ve had to share with me about your hopes and needs for this project, and I’m really excited for you. I can share with you exactly what I can do for you, and how—but I need a promise from you first.” <pause briefly, to see if they say anything> “I’ll show you what we do. What I need you to do in response is tell me Yes or No, that it is a fit for you or not, today. If it’s not a fit, that’s OK; I won’t get mad, I promise. If it turns out we are a fit, then we’ll figure out what the next step looks like. Can you do this?”

    If they can’t, don’t demo.

    If they can, be tough and hold them to their promise. It’s OK for them to have you leave the room for awhile so they can discuss the project, or take a couple hours to get back to you. But if the day expires and they don’t respond with a Yes or No, qualify them out. Move on and don’t look back. Do not chase!

    Finally, if you haven't yet gone to www.painfreeprofits.com and signed up for the free audio sales training (top right sidebar), go do that now!

    Does this help you? Please leave some feedback, and thanks for the opportunity to share!
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  • Profile picture of the author forextruffa
    Thanks for sharing this idea for which i was searching since so many days
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  • Profile picture of the author Warrior Ben
    Jason, your long post above is GOLD for newbies and experienced marketers alike.

    Qualifying prospects is one of the most important part of sales and can really determine whether somebody is chasing fools gold or going after the real thing. I've had experiences where I did not qualify the prospect and kept holding on to the hope that I would land a deal because they kept taking my calls and would talk to me. Almost without fail it ends up being a waste of time. Of course persistence pays off, but being able to accurately identify a tire-kicker will save hours of wasted time.

    One thing I'm not so sure I agree about is waiting to to the demo until after discussing price. From my experience of selling Mobile Websites linked to QR Codes, showing a demo really gets business owners excited to move forward. They start seeing all the possibilities of the technology and then start asking what the price is. Once they start asking price questions I go for the close.

    With that said, there is not one and only one correct way to do sales. People need to figure out what works for them and then go for it. It is much more important to be confident in your presentation than to follow some script that sounds rehearsed and unnatural.

    Anyway, great thread, I hope other Warriors can add to it!

    -Ben
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    • Profile picture of the author GilNelson
      Agreed! Jason, your thread about qualifying is gold.

      Qualifying prospects out is doing everyone a favor. It doesn't mean that they're not nice, or you're a jerk, or anything like that. It's all about realistic expectations of the performance of a product or service in solving a need.

      When I was selling Wang Office Automation in the 80's, in order to sell the system, we had to address the time and inconvenience cost to the customer, as well as the actual cost of the hardware and support... lots of money, right?

      But, at the end of the day, the decision makers knew that they had to automate and that it was going to cost a lot. So, their real decision, between the 3 vendors that could all supply the computing power, was about which vendor would supply the best hands-on support team and take the time to custom automate for their business. When we felt comfortable enough to proceed, then we'd offer a custom demo. Not before we had qualified them out.

      For me, in most circumstances with small businesses, this is still a good approach.

      Industries that are more familiar with SMS campaigns, like restaurants for example, may have an idea about the typical cost range for SMS list building campaign already and want to see a demo or get a walk-thru.

      Easier to do when you've got cookie cutter programs or campaigns and you're just selling them access.

      It all depends on who you are and how you see yourself - how you've defined your particular service. I like to offer customization to my clients that will help them to be remarkable. That takes a lot of focus and time. So, for me - the closing is all in the prospecting.

      In qualifying them as a client, their questions and mine are being answered. If it's a good fit, then we proceed to the terms. It's a bit of poker sometimes, but in my experience, once you've clearly defined who you are in your industry, then your sales become a great service to the community... and it then gets even easier.

      Thanks for the post Jason.
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      • Profile picture of the author sownsow
        As of this moment... My current most frustrating thing is trying to figure out who to find to outsource the work. Do I use someone here in the WF? Do I use Elance, ODesk, or one of the million other sites out there???

        I pretty much want to be hands off and do 100% outsourcing. I just want to get to the residual income by any means necessary. That is, as long as the people that I am working for are actually getting something out of it.
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  • Profile picture of the author forexnachrichten
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  • Profile picture of the author bit twiddler
    I've been reading about the pain that many Warriors express regarding getting off the ground with their offline business. A parallel I haven't seen mentioned yet is that experienced offline marketers learning to become online marketers often experience similar pain to those that are experienced online marketers becoming offline marketers.

    I have a long history of selling in many market places. I've managed car dealerships, supper clubs, nightclubs. I owned and operated a national mainframe computer supply company in the late 70's and through the 80's. Now, I've been a Realtor for 8 years. As well, I have many independent consulting contracts under my belt in associated fields with these businesses. For me, the offline thing is easy. However, the online thing has long been a challenge for me. I understand it, I've studied it extensively, but getting it off the ground and profitable has proven to be my weakness.

    My point is, when you move into an arena of business you have no experience with, you must know upfront that there will be weaknesses you must overcome and strengthen. Usually, it is easy to find the instructions, but finding coaches and training can be a little more daunting because there are so many choices and you often don't know which person and service are going to be a good fit for you.

    Jason and Gil have made many great points, pay attention to them as they are the result of experience! My simplistic outline for you is: "Sell Yourself, Sell Your Product, and you won't have a difficult time Selling the Price"!

    I've long thought, since offline marketing in the forum has become popular, that I might build a set of videos demonstrating the interactions between marketers and clients. Never doubt the power of a demonstration. We see people mimicking actors, musicians, politicians, etc. They do this after seeing them perform. They don't mimic them after reading the actors script, but mimic the actors performance after having seen the performance. For example, all little kids when I was young loved to mimic John Wayne, but it was his performance that we mimicked and not our own interpretation of his script.

    I had a phone room attached to my computer supply & manufacturing business (Automated Data Supply) that called on mainframe clients all over the country and we had weekly role play training. Yeah, for phone sales people. Your emotions, mental status, and mood all come across to your prospects when you talk to them on the phone as well as in person. This is where it all starts for me. I practice and rehearse my pitches, my qualifying techniques, my phone conversations, and my closing techniques. I practice these to this day. That way I am ready to fire back the questions and answers that I know will work.

    I guarantee that if you practice what to say and do before you meet or speak with a prospect, your closing ratios will sky rocket. That's a PROMISE!

    T J
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  • Profile picture of the author David Tan
    sounds like i'm not doing the qualifying part so well after reading this thread. nice wake up call though, thanks.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Bit Twiddler pointed something out that I missed the first time I read his post. His phone salespeople ROLE PLAY and get better because of it. This is a very effective technique. Yes, there is almost always resistance from some of the salespeople who lack imagination and are uncomfortable with the idea at first, but MAKE them do it (on the other end of the spectrum are guys like me who want to volunteer at the first chance of taking on a temporary "other" persona).

    @Dresden14: I saw a video series on direct mail by a fellow Warrior awhile back and thought it was so good I posted it on my LinkedIn group. The source (not via my LI group) is here.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanmckinney
    Great posts in here, I am just soaking up all this information, I love it.

    I ordered "How to win friends and influence people" , I have heard so much about the book, but never cared because all of my marketing has been online.

    What would you recommend to someone trying to start offline that works a 9-5? I currently work in the Finance field full time, using online marketing to supplement my income. I was happy with that and now I am not, I want to go full time offline.

    So, contacting potential clients , setting up the meetings, all has to be done around my day job. Has anyone experienced business owners willing to meet in late evenings or weekends? Or would that be a shot in the foot, and present my self as a "non-expert" ?
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  • Profile picture of the author rolltide
    Hands down the hardest thing is finding enough people to get in front of. I take my chances if I can sit down face to face.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    @ryanmckinney: small business owners are often in their office at weird hours. During the day they're wearing their sales & marketing hat, and that means the bookkeeper and planner hat gets put on after the standard 9-5 is done. They may even be happy that you're only available to meet with them in the evening! But when you call, make sure you let them know that you appreciate that they are probably working late and you want to be conscious of their time.

    @rolltide: sounds like your question is about prospecting. Check out my free training (link in the sig) for starters.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanmckinney
    Thanks Jason, good points. All the years in IM, I stayed away from this forum (and all forums for that matter). Wish I would jumped in here sooner, some really smart people and some great information -

    I'll prob check our your free training to -
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