Archives For sales coach

phone angryProspecting is Hard!

My clients have been telling me for years that, “No one answers the phone anymore.” So why do we keep making so many cold calls.  I know there are training programs out there that claim to change all of this, but if the person you are calling isn’t picking up the phone, it’s pretty hard to improve on your message.  If you think a better vmail will do it, you’re headed down the wrong path.

What About Email Marketing?  

Email is better. If I get someone’s vmail, I may leave a vmail, but I almost always send an email telling them I left a vmail. Some people have visual vmail services, but for those who don’t, I’m pretty sure they are retrieving many vmails at once, or from their cell, and probably won’t take the time to record my number.  The email makes it easy.

Find Out If You Qualify For Free Sales Training w/ One of Our Sponsors!

Find Out If You Qualify For Free Sales Training w/ One of Our Sponsors!

What About Sales Letters?

But what happened to sales letters?  On a recent coaching call I was talking with a sales rep who is struggling to get meetings.  He makes his 50 or so calls per week, but the conversion from calls to meetings is low.  While listening to his explanation of why, I reflected back on a recent Lunch & Learn we did together. In just four weeks he had managed to recruit 22 business leaders! All new prospects.  So while he’s only converting about 4% of his calls to meetings, in just a few weeks he was able to set up the equivalent of 22 meetings.  What’s going on here?

It might be that the 22 came because I was speaking – but I don’t think so. None of them had ever heard of me.  It’s not like Zig Ziglar’s coming to town.   No, I’m not the reason for his success.  It’s the message we used to get their attention, and the campaign strategy we used to get that message out.

The phone calling message doesn’t work for at least two reasons. First, no one is answering their phone.  But second, you only have about 6 seconds to grab your prospects attention on a phone call.  And most of the phone calls being made are to get a meeting to review company slides or offerings. No business leader has time to do that. Especially knowing that there are thousands of people just like you calling for the same meeting.

The Lunch & Learn was successful because we had first identified a specific target market. In his case we were targeting CIOs of mid-sized companies, 500 – 2000 users.  Our first point of contact was a written letter. In fact, it was a 3 page letter written with conversion in mind. Most would have chosen a one page letter, but not me. For reasons we don’t have time for in this post, the longer letter is more effective. We followed up with two more emails plus phone calls. When we finally did get through to either the CIO or an executive assistant, our call was very focused on security awareness.  This is not a new strategy. Michael Bosworth, in his 1995 book, Solution Selling, recommends setting up one-on-one meetings using a similar educational approach.  And Dixon & Adamson, authors of The Challenger Sale (Even though the author is selling against what Bosworth teaches) is saying the same thing.

In the end, we had 20 of the 22 people attend, and every attendee agreed to move to the assessment stage in my marketing blueprint.  The bottom line is conversion. If your conversion numbers are great, whatever you are doing is working (at least for now). But if not, you may need more than some phone training or a clever vmail message.

© 2015, David Stelzl

PS. Want to convert 70-90% of your Lunch & Learn audience,? Check out the Marketing Success Kit.  It comes complete with training, prewritten letters, call scripts, and everything you need to know to effectively sell through live marketing event meetings.  Click Here to Learn More!


I hope you’re making time for professional development.  I was talking with a business owner about reading the other day – he doesn’t like to read…this is a problem.  Nobody stands still – you’re either growing or shrinking.  Another business owner called in some desperation last week from the west coast.  They are looking at some new directions…their business was going great, in fact they were so busy they stopped planning, and started fulfilling business.  Looking back, their business has become such a commodity that, while they are still busy, they are not making a profit and the future looks grim.  Now they’re in trouble….what do they do?  No matter how busy you are, and how much you hate to read, you still either increase or digress.  What should you be doing?

Read the Right Stuff

There are a million things to read, but reading lots of books isn’t necessarily the right program to be on.  I like to read, but I spend more time on one book, and therefore read less books.  I firmly believe, especially having worked with my wife to home school 7 children for the past 20 years, that it is better to search out the right books and study them in detail, than to read lots of books.  A couple of things I have found helpful:

  • Read and reread the stuff that matters
  • Mark the things that really matter and make notes in the margin
  • After a tip from a friend, I started making an index of key points on the first blank page in the book
  • Forget about selling the book on Amazon.  If it’s worth reading, add so many notes that no one else would want it
  • After reading, I make a list of notes in Evernote by chapter to inculcate what I just read
  • I keep the book on my desk for a few weeks after finishing (while beginning the next book) and refer to it often –  I make the information usable and therefore memorable.

Turn off Talk Radio and Turn on Great Audio Programs

If you drive or fly (I fly all the time), turn your smart phone into a classroom – add audio programs that help you build in the areas you are weak. Talk radio might be interesting, but it isn’t really useful.  Most of it is hype and entertainment, not true value.  If you want the news, watch the news or read the Wall Street Journal in 30 minutes.  Some key topics I include on mine:

  • Marketing strategies
  • Sales – strategy and motivation
  • Spiritual truth
  • Great books on tape related to my field

Note: People learn through different means, but many of us are visual, so while audio books are great, having a book to write notes on might be better – reinforce the good ones by audio.  This is not true for everyone so know your own personal learning style.

Seminars and Workshops

Training – I have said this many times, but it demands repeating…Professional Athletes are always training, and then they might play a few minutes or more (in season) once or twice a week.  Sales people are the opposite; they train one day a year and play 364 days (Assuming they are still thinking about work over the weekend – which many are).  A few key points:

  • At the start of the year, figure out what kind of training you need and schedule it…it won’t happen if you don’t plan ahead.
  • If you aren’t the person with the budget, lobby your management to make it happen.  Even if they don’t bring it in house, you should appeal to go or do something online.  I personally feel that, if all else fails, the individual should make the investment personally – but that is a last resort.
  • Most of the “Sales Training” provided is really product training – this is largely a waste of time.  Study the data sheets as they come out, a few minutes each week, and you’ll have it.  You need training on sales and marketing – don’t assume you know it all.
  • If you go somewhere for training – plan to go for the training, not entertainment.  The high achiever avoids the late night party, fattening foods, and spending each session in the lobby answering email.
  • Remember, you are either growing our shrinking – if you avoid training, you are shrinking, even if you don’t believe it.  One day you’ll be out of business.

Hire a Personal Sales Coach

I can’t say enough about this one.  Every great athlete has a great coach behind them.  Business coaching is somewhat new – but quickly growing because it works.  I don’t mean “Life Coach” – you probably don’t need one of these.  I mean someone who understands your business and who can help you achieve greater things through collaboration, strategy, accountability, and encouragement.  If they don’t understand what you are doing, they can’t really help you.  Some things to consider:

  • It might be costly.  Sales managers might not pay, but what if you grew your business by 25% through a coach…the ROI would be there.  Some studies show a 700% ROI on sales and executive coaching…I’ve had coaches and have a coaching program simply because it works.
  • Not every coach is  great for every person.  Coaches have a philosophy they work by, and they all approach it differently.  You need a coach that gives you what you need, which may not be what you like.
  • There must be a common worldview for this to work.  Ethics, spiritual views, customer views, values and family, etc.  Many things may come into play here, but you don’t want an adviser that will take you down a path that violates your personal convictions.

Master Mind Groups

Don’t confuse this with a leads group…and it’s not exactly coaching either.  A Master Mind Group is usually made up of a group of people that do what you do, with a facilitator.  A group without a facilitator can also work, however a great facilitator can take a group from mediocre to exceptional.  A leads group might be helpful, but this is not a collaboration group since the people in it generally do different things (Rarely do I think these actually work – however there are times…).  The Master Mind Group is set up to allow people that do the same thing, in non-competing territories, to review what is working, and to help each other figure out what will work as they tackle the challenges of daily business.  I’ve been in a master mind group for the past 4 years and it has really paid off.  Here are some important considerations:

  • Synergy – the selection of who is in the group is key.  Everyone must be a contributor.  The sluggard must go.
  • The leader is a facilitator, not a teacher.  While it is good if this person knows the business, it should not be a teleseminar each time you get online.
  • Each person must be committed to meeting – it’s a priority.  It might be weekly or monthly.  I like the 90 minute monthly meeting model with some form of collaboration in between.  I have a private forum set up for those who are in the Solution Provider Master Mind Group I run.
  • The group should not be run by a manufacturer or distributor – why?  It cramps the meeting – participants suddenly can’t openly discuss changing their business, using different distributors, or taking on new products, or how to get the most out of JMF.
  • There should be NDAs in place…I would not allow unethical people to participate, but having things in writing just makes it all the more clearer.
  • Avoid the free group…free usually leads to a lack of long term commitment.  You get what you pay for in most cases.

What else are you doing to grow professionally?  I would love to hear your comments right here!

© 2012, David Stelzl



My son's first Dentist Appt.

My new book goes into great detail on this subject, as well as the upcoming webinar on Oct 14 – which is filling up fast: (CLICK) to sign up.

One issue I bring up is the availability of funding – how many times have you been told, “We don’t have any money”, or “Our company doesn’t provide JMF”?

One of my clients received both of these responses…made a call, followed some of the guidelines I give in my book, and a few minutes later received $4000 in sponsorship!  How did that happen?

A few tips on acquiring funding…

1. It helps to have a track record.  Don’t engage in marketing events that don’t really produce anything.  Funding sources don’t want to hear things like, “This is just a customer appreciation event.”  Track your results as you go along so that you can use them to sell future potential sponsors on supporting you.

2. Schedule the event – then invite the sponsors to join you.  It’s easier to get money when people see you taking off – rather than sitting around looking for handouts.  If you have momentum, people will want to join you.

3. Work for those that sponsor you…help them make their numbers.  Leverage this with future sponsors.  If your partners don’t support you there is no reason to stay with them.  There are many great solutions out there…don’t stand by those who don’t stand by you.

4. Have a plan.  Show your potential sponsor how you plan to sell their product.  In our case we have close to 40 decision makers lined up for this week’s event.  Our reports show that we should close about 30 of these attendees on conducting a discovery process, and from there, more than half should turn into some type of business.  No one can turn this kind of results away…
Join me on Oct 14 to find out how we did, and how we did it….(CLICK)

© 2011, David Stelzl

Where’s’ the ROI for Lunch & Learns?  The biggest problem is getting the right people there, closely followed by effective follow up.  I recently worked with one client as he was preparing to host such an event. The challenge here – there were three solution providers involved, not just one.  The others made some calls I guess, but we worked out a script that focused on business leaders and the threats that target their most critical assets.  We positioned this, not as a lunch & learn, but rather a briefing – an urgent briefing for business leaders in the community.  A forum to get influential leaders in a room to review the situation.  My client made the calls personally, using this messaging – the results speak for themselves…

  • 70 some people signed up
  • 58 of them signed up because of my client’s calls – the other solution providers jointly contributed about 25!
  • 47 of the 70 signed up through my client’s efforts, and 43 of his invites actually showed up. In other words, 43 out of 58 came for the business leader meeting…
  • My client was prepared to work the room.  He made contact with everyone there (while his competitors sat as spectators)…his next step is to take a follow up message, which we have already prepared, out to their offices.  His competitors are probably trying to figure out what to do next – he’s on the phone right now, just one day after the event, setting up qualified meetings with decision makers.

The ROI comes in understanding how to make a meeting like this work.  I just got off the phone with a major manufacturer who has often contributed to these types of events.  His comment…He doesn’t see the ROI.  It’s hard to track results from these types of events. He’s right, but the problem isn’t the event…it’s a misunderstanding of how to make the event work…learn this and you’ll be way ahead of the competition.

© 2011, David Stelzl