View Our Sales Help Below, REMEMBER you are not ALONE!

Know the Stats of Selling

Sales Stats – A Must to Understand and Apply to Your Business.

We all have reasons why we are not successful in sales, “they just won’t answer the phone”, “this Energy city’s business is dead”, “we are just priced too high”, and “my big toe hurts”.  No matter how long you’ve been in sales, these 30 sales statistics will change the way you sell.  Discover little-known facts about top performers and learn how to become more effective and efficient in your sales process.

You can sometimes be so close to your business that you can miss the simple solutions for growing it, where the greatest opportunities often lie. Solutions that are blindingly obvious, once you’re aware of them – but are amongst the best kept secrets on the planet if you’re not.  If you understand this analytical science and statistics, it will give you greater insight into how to increase your success, let’s look at several of the stats:

  1. 57% of the buyer’s process is completed before the buyer talks to sales.
  2. 65% of a company’s new business is from referrals.
  3. You are 70% more likely to get an appointment on an unexpected sale if you join LinkedIn Groups.
  4. In a typical firm with 100-500 employees, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions.
  5. After a presentation, 63% of attendees remember stories. Only 5% remember statistics.
  6. Visuals are processed 60,000x faster in the brain than text.
  7. 82% of buyers viewed at least 5 pieces of content from the winning vendor.
  8. 70% of people solve problems by making purchasing decisions. 30% make decisions to gain something.
  9. Customers believe that sales reps are 88% knowledgeable on product and only 24% on business expertise.
  10. Tuesday emails have the highest open rate compared to other weekdays.
  11. 40% of emails are opened on mobile first – where the average mobile screen can only fit 4-7 words max.
  12. 33% of email recipients open emails based on a subject line.
  13. Only 2% of cold calls result in an appointment.
  14. In 2007 it took an average of 3.68 cold call attempts to reach a prospect. Today it takes 8 attempts.
  15. Email marketing has 2X higher ROI than cold calling, networking or trade shows.
  16. 91% of customers say they’d give referrals. Only 11% of salespeople ask for referrals.
  17. Each year, you will lose 14% of your customers.
  18. IFMA has determined that 73.4% of our clients managing a first time project are either fired, quit or transfer positions within 1 year of the project.
  19. 71% of sales reps say they spend too much time on data entry.
  20. Nearly 57% of B2B prospects and customers feel that their sales teams are not prepared for the first meeting.
  21. 88% of missed opportunities were caused because sales couldn’t find or leverage internal resources.
  22. When sales and marketing teams are in sync, companies became 67% better at closing deals.
  23. Who really knows the difference between Marketing & Sales?
    • Marketing targets the construction of a brand identity, competitive products and services offered, and pricing strategies so that it becomes easily associated with need fulfillment.
    • Sales is the strategy of meeting prospects needs in an opportunistic, individual method which is driven by human interaction. It’s simply the ability to meet a need at the right time that Marketing predicted and then it is up to Sales to secure the contract.
  24. Organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing functions enjoyed 36% higher customer retention rates.
  25. 63% of people requesting information on your company today will not purchase for at least 3-months – and 20% will take more than 12 months to buy.
  26. At any given time, only 3% of your market is buying. 56% are not ready, 40% are poised to begin.
  27. Nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads.
  28. Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 45% increase in qualified leads.
  29. Automated & enforced sales processes generate 88% quota attainment.
  30. 8% of sales people get 80% of the sales
    • 44% of sales people give up after one “no”
    • 22% give up after two “no’s”
    • 14% give up after three “no’s”
    • 12% give up after four “no’s”
    • 8% of the sales occur after five “no’s” – YES 5, that is FIVE no’s
What Makes YOU so Unique

How To Differentiate Your Firm – (When you’re not that different)

Positioning is a critical step in any business’ marketing strategy. It defines the company, forms the basis for messaging, drives the marketing approach and impacts the way in which products and services are priced. To be effective, positioning must be clear, compelling and, most importantly, differentiated.

One of the common complaints I hear from salespeople is that their company’s positioning sounds the same as everyone else’s. Their products are “innovative”, their services are “world class”, and are “customer focused.” These are all examples of buzzwords that marketers use to try polish their position with spin. Instead, business leaders need to find or create real differences they can leverage in the market.  But how do you differentiate yourself when you’re not that different?

Technology companies have been great at market positioning strategy. Take Apple, for example. Its components may not be that much different technologically, but its focus on both the physical appearance of its devices and their user interfaces have turned Steve Jobs’ passion for design and simplicity into the most valuable company in the world. In its early years, Dell was able to turn commodity computer parts into a multi-billion dollar business by delivering a manufacturing process which enabled it to deliver customized PCs at low prices. It was a unique approach that drove the established PC manufacturers crazy and revolutionized the market. And, IBM has been able to strengthen its position by turning itself into a services juggernaut after moving through the Mainframe and PC eras.

So what can a small to midsized growth company do to differentiate itself in the market?  The key is to find the hook that can set you apart from your competition in a unique way. Some ideas include:

Design – If you produce something physical, you may be able to differentiate based on a unique design aspect. Think, for example, of the bakeries or cupcake shops that develop creative cake designs or innovative flavors. They clearly set themselves apart from all the other cake and cupcake outlets and are able to charge premium prices for their products. Who ever thought someone would pay $5 or more for a cupcake, especially when there are so many lower-priced alternatives available?

People – This is probably the “differentiator” I hear most often when I asked CEOs what makes their business different. But it’s not enough to say “our people make us different”, there must be something specific you can leverage. Specialized knowledge, for example, is something concrete you can point to as is specific experience. Recognized business or industry proficiency can also be highlighted to demonstrate how your company and people are different from your competitors. The key here is to ensure the recognition moves beyond the individuals and is leveraged to the benefit of the company as a whole. Otherwise, you will face a gap if and when those individuals leave.

Service Model – One of the most effective ways to differentiate is to highlight your service model and processes. This can be an especially beneficial way to demonstrate how “your people” are different in a sustainable way. Do they follow a specific process for example, to onboard or service new customers that is different and more effective than others in your space? Companies that can demonstrate a more effective way to service their customers often gain a competitive advantage and a compelling way to differentiate.

Technical Expertise – This last one refers to domain knowledge, not necessarily technology (although that too can be a differentiator under the right circumstances). It has elements of the People and Service Model examples above, but goes beyond them to the level of institutional knowledge. It may, for example speak to the ability to address a specific concern – think of the mechanic who specializes in vintage cars – or deep-seated knowledge around a set of regulations. The breadth of expertise is just as important as the depth, as it will define the market you go after (all cars, only vintage ones or just a specific make or model?).

Create Quiet Opportunities – This can be difficult. As you’re putting together the best team, best product, and best marketing, you want to keep a low profile. If you’re overexposed, your competitors will notice quickly and begin fighting back for market share. Try to keep your company under the radar as long as possible, while also gaining valuable and dedicated customers. Once those customers understand the quality and reliability of your business, they will remain loyal — despite increased attention or competitors who might offer lower prices or more blatant promotions.

Maintain Your Lead – You should know your business better than anyone. Be proactive and deliver a quality product or service consistently. The most successful entrepreneurs anticipate future advances in technology, customer service, and production, and incorporate them into their game plans. You need to constantly push yourself and your team to new heights through active research and by attending professional conferences to avoid losing your edge to the competition. Team-building and potential contacts enrich the overall experience.

Emphasize Your USP – The term USP, which stands for either unique selling proposition or unique selling point, is frequently thrown around in business seminars, books, and articles. It’s actually been in use since the 1940s, long before the Internet age; it’s not simply a trendy idea but a fundamental aspect of marketing. A USP should be fundamental to your business’ identity. That’s why you shouldn’t hesitate to mention it frequently, especially in all of your marketing efforts. It may even be part of your logo or official slogan. The point is that if you have found a powerful USP, you want to let everyone know about it and it will differentiate your company and help it stand out, regardless of its size.

While a magic formula to benefit from the competition’s weaknesses — and boost your business — doesn’t exist, conducting extensive research is the key to see how your business can better connect with customers. Once you find your niche, you can begin building and maintaining your momentum by delivering quality service and a unique experience. The way to the top can be a war. Make sure you are motivated and diligent enough to be the victor.

30-sec Elevator Speech

Elevator pitches will always be a necessary evil of the sales hunt.

We can change the name, eliminate the elevator, and avoid the awkward intros – but that, “So tell me about yourself/what do you do?/who are you?” question is inevitable, and we know it. Though everyone has different ideas of what makes a great elevator pitch, when we get back to basics we realize that there are only three true rules to consider:

  1. It should be 30 seconds or less.
  2. Your skill (or how you benefit a potential employer) should be clear.
  3. There should be a goal (or ask).

Everything else is up to you.

I’ve gone through countless elevator pitches (some very good and some very bad) and I’ve narrowed the elevator pitch down to four key pieces that you can customize, personalize, and play with to fit all your networking and new job searching needs.

Question 1: What do you do…well? (Skills)

What you do is the foundation of any elevator pitch. While there’s no need to delve into specific job jargon, you need to be able to identify and articulate (for yourself and a potential employer) what you can deliver. Consider these:

  • Your professional accomplishments (awards, recognitions, certifications, etc).
  • What’s the common thread in all your jobs? Take a look at your transferable skills and identify the one or two where you really excel.
  • Focus on your essential skill set, what ability have you continued to strengthen in every role?
  • Still in school?! Use your major and assess your other interests. What clubs are you in? Who do you admire? What’s your favorite subject?

Have a clear skill set but looking for new ways to talk about it? Try these:

  • Adept at…
  • Proficient in…
  • Accomplished…
  • Prowess…
  • Dexterity…
  • Expertise in…
  • Savvy…

Question 2: What is your greatest strength in this area OR the best compliment you’ve ever received about your skill? (Confidence)

If you say that your skill set is communications no one is going to doubt you. However, if you say that your skill set is communications and you have “a knack for persuasive storytelling” then an employer has a clearer understanding of your value. Your concise and clear understanding of your abilities will not only lead others to believe in your abilities but also help employers more readily identify how you fit into the bigger picture of your department, field, or industry.

Not sure what your strength in a particular area is? Think about some of the feedback you’ve received. Popular Millennial career coach (and my career coach), Ashley Stahl, advises others to use testimonials. Also consider:

  • Where are you most assured?
  • The opportunity to do ____ (fill it in) is what really drew you to your current role. (Hint: Look at job descriptions that really excite you and ask yourself why.)
  • This is also a space for the interpersonal – perhaps you are an amazing team player because you have a knack for seeing both sides of a an argument – feel free to include that here as well!
  • Check out this Forbes article on finding your workplace strength – there are four key types (envision, design, build, operate) and at the end of each type there are outlined strengths.

Looking for different ways to talk about your strengths? Try:

  • Have a knack for…
  • Talented at..
  • Effective
  • Penchant for…

Question 3: What would you like to do? (Goal)

Really consider what result you want – is it a job? Is it to learn a new skill set? Is it to pick someone’s brain about best practices in your field? If you’re afraid to make the ask, remember that what your seeking is also seeking you. Your elevator pitch positions you as a solution, and open positions mean problems that hiring managers need solved. So go ahead, make the ask – remember there’s a win-win.

Try framing your aspirations like this:

  • Gain exposure or credibility in the industry
  • Hoping to find a role in…
  • Suggestions as to how I can…
  • Opportunities for me to develop…
  • Looking to write for…
  • Insight on how I can apply…

Question 4: What’s your “why?” (Motivation)

Leadership Expert, helps people find the why in everything they do…and that’s important because it’s the why that keeps us inspired and motivates us to take action. Studies have shown that decision making, although a complex process, is really rooted in emotion (That’s right logic and emotion and not in opposition!)

Your emotions support your decision-making abilities. Use this knowledge to demonstrate that your reasons for your goal and your ask aren’t just about the money. Focus on the intrinsic motivators that really keep you moving ahead. Ask yourself:

  • Who do I want to help or inspire?
  • Who benefits from my work?
  • Why do I enjoy the work I am doing?
  • Or try these four questions from Forbes

Also try using words like:

  • Because…
  • On behalf of…
  • I owe it to…
  • I’m inspired by…
  • I want to inspire..
  • I believe…

How to put it all together

You’re at a workshop and you meet Martha, a senior in college. You ask her what she does and she says…

I’m currently studying education at [insert college]. One of my greatest strengths is my ability to make the conceptual practical and I’m interested in securing an entry-level role at a nonprofit that allows me to teach and develop curriculum. Because nonprofit programs and fellowships were a key part of my development, it’s important for me to pay it forward and help student develop to their highest potential.

You’re on the subway and you are sitting next to James. You ask him what he does and he says…

I’m currently working as Human Resources Manager at [insert company]. My supervisors frequently commend me for being able to weigh and consider multiple perspectives and negotiate conflicting perspectives. I’m looking for suggestions/advice on how I can further cultivate my expertise in this field because because my ultimate aim is to help organizations develop more ethical and inclusive workplace cultures.

You’re at a personal branding conference and you bump into Katie. You ask her what she does, and she says…

I’m a communications professional with a knack for persuasive storytelling. Considering my colleagues often complemented me for my thoughtful and engaging presentations, I’m looking for insight as to how I can best position myself for a role in production or videography at social impact start-up. Because I’m inspired by documentaries, I want to help companies express their missions in compelling and relatable ways in the age of social media.

As you exit an entrepreneurial conference you meet Sonia. You ask her what she does, and she says…

My core skill sets are civil engineering and psychology. I’m endlessly curious and all my friends, family, and colleagues look to me for answers on everything from mood swings to mindcraft. As I’ve always been exceptionally passionate about social issues, I’m looking to write for publications/websites focused on climate change so that I can create content and campaigns urging others to take action and increase sustainability future generations.

Non-Shivering Cold Calling

Ten Sales Techniques To Warm A Cold Call…!

How many of you actually got excited about picking up the phone and trying to make a sale with someone you’ve never met before? I bet there aren’t that many of you out there.  For most of us, cold calling is a dreaded and daunting task that strikes fear down the backs of even the most fearless of marketers. However, it’s a part of the game. And when done correctly, it can be a powerful and effective sales tool.  So to make sure that you’re perfecting your cold call, here are 10 sales techniques to never cold call again.

1. Define Your List

It could be tempting to open the Yellow Pages or scroll through your contact and begin making calls. The problem with that is that’s not effective. Instead of casting a wide net, narrow down your list and target your audience. Create a list of companies or individuals that fit the profile.  When you discover vital information like age, location, gender, income, etc., you have a better understanding of how to approach your prospective customers or clients because you’ll be aware of their wants and needs. For example, if you were selling a new line of ski products, would you want to be cold-calling people in Texas? Or, would you rather target people in Colorado?

2. Making a Warm Call via LinkedIn

Within the last year or so, there was a lot of discussion surrounding the idea that cold calling was dead, thanks to LinkedIn. The truth is a resource like LinkedIn has become an extension of cold calling since it can be used for “warm calling.”  This means that you can use LinkedIn, or any other means of networking with prospects, to make an introduction. It could be a brief email to introduce yourself and your company, which also mentions that you’ll be calling in a couple of days. By doing this, you’ve already broken the ice and have already established a connection with your prospect.

3. Do Not Use a Script

You want your prospective clients or consumers to trust you. And, you can forget about establishing trust if you come across as just another salesperson. Even if you believe that you’ve constructed a script, most people can see this pitch coming from a mile away. It’s an impersonal tactic that immediately turns people off.  If you’ve defined your target audience, then you should be able to address their specific wants and needs. Which that you don’t have to rely on a generic set of questions or responses to peak their interest.

4. Comparing Yourself to the Competition

When you compare yourself to the competition you’re risking the chance of putting the customer into a “no-decision”!  “Why? Because when you force a customer or client to compare the features of you and a competitor you’re not standing out from the status quo.”  “Make the decision easier when cold calling and be different than everyone. Focus on why they your prospects should chose you over the competition by highlighting what features make your brand unique and beneficial. Focus on strategic sales through referrals which implies you have all warm calls and the closing ratio goes up.”

5. Don’t Be Pushy

Whether it’s that overzealous car salesman or cable provider representative that won’t let you cancel your subscription, people can’t be a pushy salesperson. In fact, we just plain loathe these type of people. So, why would you think that this technique would work for your cold calls?  Believe it or not, there are ways to sell your product without just screaming “buy, buy, buy!” in their ears. For example, you want to prove that your product or service has value to them by making their lives easier or more secure.

6. You Have 30-Seconds To Connect

Your prospect only has a limited amount of time to talk to you on the phone; which is why it’s important that you grab their attention immediately and retain it. You don’t want to give them an easy way to get of the call by asking them questions like “Do you have five minutes to talk?” or “I’m Sean from Awesome Business Inc. and I want to tell you about our amazing product.” Here it what I do over and over again and it works every time:

Hi Priscilla, I’m Larry Horning with FurnitureBasix.  I understand that your company may be in the process of relocating its office or possibly about to redo the current one.  Are you the person that will be managing the process?  YES, I AM

Let me ask you a quick question “how in the world did you get that job, did you make someone angry at you??”  (LAUGH or GIGGLE), YEAH I MUST HAVE!

So now, not only do you have your daily job to do, but you have this second job!  Have you ever done this before?  NO, IT IS MY FIRST TIME!

(……………….. let Priscilla think about what she just likely realized)   Fear not, I have been making sure for the last 30-years that my clients in your exact position do not get fired, and have not lost one of them yet in the process!   GREAT I NEED MY JOB, IT IS A SCARY TIME IN HOUSTON

Have you lived here all your life?  NO I ACTUALLY MOVED HERE FROM UP NORTH

Me too, from where…?   NJ, BACK IN 2010

I’m an Eastern PA guy, so which exit of the NJ Turnpike?     ….BLAH BLAH BLAH

Blah Blah Blah…okay so now that we are probably related, when may I stop by to see what you’ve gotten yourself into?   SURE

7. Giving Prospects a Chance to Say “No’

Hearing the dreaded word “no” is bound to happen. That’s just something that you’re going to have to live with. However, doesn’t it make sense to not give your prospects that opportunity?  In trying in with the previous statement of leaving easy-out questions or statements, don’t give prospects that chance to say “no.” For example, instead of asking them if they would like more information about your brand, ask them where you could email or mail brochures or other vital information. Again, you don’t want to be pushy, but you do want to attempt to generate a follow-up.

8. Do Not Only Focusing on Making a Sale

“The purpose of a cold call is to engage a prospect in a conversation about their needs and determine next steps.” This means that you’re not selling anything right off the bat. You’re planting the seeds for future sales. The initial call should instead focus on engaging the prospect in conversion and identifying their needs by asking the right questions. Once you answer these questions you can determine which steps you’ll need to take to make that sale in the future.

9. Leaving a Darn Voicemail

Unless you have an appointment, there’s a very good chance that your prospect won’t be available to take your call. So, what do you do? Hang-up without leaving a message or leave a message that could be used to spread brand awareness?  While not every voicemail message will be returned, you still have to give it a chance. But, how can you make a prospect interested in your company over a voicemail? Remember, you’re not going for the sale, so stay away from the sales pitch. Just a simple introduction and where you can be reached should suffice. You can also state that you will be calling them back at another time. This way if they don’t return your call, at least they can expect one in the future.

10. Not Following-Up

Research has found that “80% of sales happen AFTER the fifth contact attempt.” This means that you can’t expect to make a sale after just one phone call. Which is why it’s important that you follow-up with a prospect.  But, how can you achieve this without being too pushy or annoying?  For starters, you could send an email thanking them for their time and sharing an article that they may enjoy. You could also make sure to set-up another appointment before concluding the first cold call.

Effective Emails that get Results

Always Break the Rules when Mass Emailing…!

The conformists state – “Everyone on your mass email list must be an opt-in subscriber.  If you send unsolicited email messages, that is considered to be spam. You can avoid the dreaded spam label (which will hurt your mass email deliverability and your business’s online reputation) by only using opt-in subscriber lists.  Also, don’t ever rent or buy mass email lists. And include an easy way for subscribers to opt out in each email you send, in case any of them do not wish to receive any more of your email messages.”

The only five true rules to consider:

  1. Use MailChimp, it is Free up to a certain number of emails –
  2. If you are NOT Bulk / Mass Emailing, you are wasting a valuable resource
  3. You need to Brand your company weekly or at least twice a month
  4. Remember the last Rep or Contact in the door, gets the spec
  5. Always Break the Rules when Mass Emailing…!

Things to remember when sending out mass emails:

    Your mass emails must look professional and follow the “Brand” of your firm.  Keep clean with mostly white, Simple, Modern & Elegant and no Orange Flames.
    Send people content they want and give them something.  Email newsletters offer features like groups and segmentation to help you make your content relevant to the people reading it.
  • TEST
    Before you send out your mass email newsletter, test it!  Make sure everything is speled corectly and displays correctly on computers, tablets and smartphones.  Think of it like this, “If I have one screw-up on the email, for that is 5,000 screw-ups!”
    Add a personal touch. Because you’re trying to get readers to know, like, and trust you, aren’t you?
    Use the word “you”. Because it’s one of the most persuasive words in the English language.
    Add personality, use words and expressions only you can use, be a freakin’ human.
    Infuse your emails with personality, you can do that simply by using more descriptive or emotion-driven words.
    Be a rebel and try something new. Dare to be different. You’ll be surprised by what works and what doesn’t.
    “Puss in Boots” and “Work for Food” Emails generate leads, why because they are funny and people like humor.

    • One response to my “begging” email from an A/D person:
      We are also ‘beggin’ SO maybe we can beg together. We may have a few projects that do need furniture but have been waiting on people to sign leases, move forward and actually create some action.  If you want to come over next week that would be fine and we can see what we can work on together and you can show us your cool tech stuff.  I’m open Thursday and Friday morning if that works.
    You need a “Strong” subject line and put your name up there………Larry D Horning
    Use a number, because digits — like 4 or 37 catch your eye
    Use Emoji and symbols in your email subject lines – Emoji Images
    Examples – Violate The Office Furniture Status Quo, How You Ask?  (read more…)
    Examples – To Knoll or Not to Knoll
    Examples – 💰 We Now Offer 0% Interest Financing to FBX Customers 💰
    Examples – ✈ Come Fly With Me, Baby ✈
    Insert multiple links (to the same page), because it increases your chances of people clicking that link.
    Don’t include too many images or graphics in your mass emails.  A lot of images can make your emails slow to load and may cause display issues, unless you learn “link” to your company’s web images.  Also, many subscribers do not allow images to display, so they may just show up as a blank space.
    In most cases, try to keep your mass email newsletters short, subscribers tend to skim and not read longer email messages anyway, use bullet points.
    In order to make your mass email effective, you need to add calls to action with a button like “Ask Us How”, “See More Colors” or “Schedule a Consultation”.
    Others – “Click Here to Remove From Our Mailing List” – Will be caught and sent to SPAM filters
    Larry – “Click here to miss out on future, helpful emails  – Larry’s Opt Out, not ever caught by SPAM filters
    Days and times to send out emails – Begin at 10:10am on a Tuesday and End by Thursday at 2:30pm
    Eliminate AOL, GMAIL, SBCGlobal, Yahoo, etc., they will get caught in SPAM filters, and those personal addresses harbor ‘Remove Me’ people…;-)
    So you are not getting a response from individual emails after 4 days, this tactic actually works – I could use a bit of help….Larry Horning [Reminder1]
    Who responded and when, who clicked, where did they click, how many times did people view it, what is industry average opens vs. your opens, who unsubscribed, did a different Subject Line prove to be better, etc.
    And for God’s Sake – DO NOT STALK THEM!!
    Scrape LinkedIn Competitors
    Scrape your own LinkedIn, Facebook, Public Info i.e., I created two lists of CBRE and JLL of 10,000 current emails for each in 15 minutes!
    View Larry’s email list
  • SPAM WORDS LIST – Spam Words