Save Time. Make Money. Jigsaw.

27 12 2010

Not to get all cliché on you, but every salesperson working on commission knows that time is money.  The more time you spend on non-money-making-activities (ex. administrative tasks, prospecting, blogging) the less time you have to close business.  Because I am an efficiency-seeking nut-job, I constantly look for new ways to improve my work flow to get more done in less time.

Enter: Jigsaw.com.  About three months ago I happened upon an amazing sales prospecting tool; Jigsaw is a content-sharing searchable database of companies with the names, positions, and (this is the good stuff) direct contact information for employees.  I am talking any and everybody up to C-level executives.  And did I mention it’s free??

The basic functionality of the site involves a points system.  You can earn points or purchase them, and then use them to “buy” business cards, which cost 5 points.  Site collaborating helps you “earn” points, for example adding companies, contacts, and correcting flawed information already in the database.  Bonus- if you add a contact you get royalty points anytime someone purchases that contact card.

Previously, I could spend 20-30 minutes looking for a single person’s email address or trying to find their direct phone number.  I got to be quite the Google-search whiz, but it still was time consuming, and on non-money-making-activity nonetheless!  With Jigsaw, I can be in and out in under 2 minutes with complete contact information for several people at the company I am targeting.  Priceless.

Registering for Jigsaw

Be sure to use your company email address – Jigsaw rewards credibility.  Any Gmail, Hotmail, AOL etc. domains are restricted to only a few transactions a day, but with a known company you have unlimited access.

Choose your username carefully.   Every time you add a contact to the database, Jigsaw alerts that person via email including your your username.  You may or may not care about anonymity,  but just know that your username is important and can never be changed once chosen.

Using Jigsaw



The home-page view is simple and self explanatory with easy navigation to what you need:

…to find information: I recommend searching the database using company websites – there are many similarly-named companies and this eliminates searching.  Once you find a company, you will see a screen with all basic company information and options for searching:

 

I typically do a brief overview of the basic information and locations before going to the “Directory” tab.  In the Directory you are able to see all contacts at the company.  Often there are hundreds but there are easy filter options to help you hone in on your contact:

 

Once you locate your company and contact, you can purchase the card.  Keep in mind that if any of the information is incorrect, you will get “refunded” your points. 

…to add information: Be forewarned – Jigsaw is very strict about accurate information and will lock out anyone who “spams” up their system.   When adding contacts it is important to maintain an above 70% accuracy percentage.  As you can see from above, anyone can update your contact card at any time meaning you lose the royalty and take a hit in accuracy.

Some further tips:

  • Scrub the database against LinkedIn for content and job titles- not all Jigsaw information is accurate.
  • If you know the name of your contact but can’t find them in Jigsaw, purchase the card of someone else at the company.  You can use the “form” of their email address to find your contact’s.
  • Take one day early on and add as many contacts as you can – I spent an hour when I first started and STILL haven’t run out of points.

Try it out.  Sign up and add yourself into the database for practice.  You will be amazed at how much more time you will have to actually engage those contacts when you know where to search for them.  Good luck and happy selling!





My Love Affair With LinkedIn

10 09 2010

I am always astounded when people tell me that they do not “need” LinkedIn.  That’s crap.  Unless you live under a bridge and plan to keep it that way, everybody (especially sales people!) can benefit from using LinkedIn.  This is going to be just a brief overview – LinkedIn 101 if you will.  If you aren’t yet sure about the whole “social networking thing” here are a some key ways you can build your business using LinkedIn.  If this doesn’t convince you, maybe you do belong under a bridge. 

  • Instant Credibility

Imagine being able to present a brag book of your accomplishments and accolades to your prospect along with every single proposal.  Imagine having an interactive resume to send along to a job interview.  Now realize that you already have that ability by simply utilizing the tools on LinkedIn.  Your LinkedIn profile is a snapshot of your career.  Between the recommendations that you (should) have, the professional picture that you (should) have, and the job history that you (should) have listed – you have the opportunity to demonstrate your unshakable credibility based on past performance. 

  • Network Expansion

Like the picture above, LinkedIn allows you to view your professional network, and even goes further to allow you access to your network’s professional network.   Want to meet someone but don’t have a direct connection?  Request an introduction from your common connection!  It doesn’t get any simpler than this.

  • Jobs Jobs Jobs!

If you are in the job market, don’t waste your time on Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com or any of those other waste-of-time “job” sites.  Get the job you want by using the “Jobs” section of LinkedIn.  Fortune 500 companies list executive level jobs on LikedIn.  The application process is streamlined – simply write a cover letter and send your profile along.  Recruiters love to be able to see what your comprehensive profile and I can tell you from personal experience – if done correctly you will get an interview every single time.

  • Prospecting

Ever want to find the name of the decision maker of a new account?  It can be very expensive or nearly impossible.  With LinkedIn you simply do a combination search of the company and the job title to get to the profile of your target.  Learn about their job history, school, and other pertinent information that will help you build rapport.  Furthermore, you can look to see how your network connects with their network and even orchestrate an introduction. 

  • Groups

I know I already mentioned Network Expansion above… but it gets even better.  LinkedIn has forums for people to connect called “Groups.”  You can connect based on your Alma Mater, Greek Affiliation, Industry, Hobbies… the list goes on.  Once in a Group, you can view the profiles of everyone else in the Group whether they are a direct connection in your network or not.  Again, sales people take note!  This is a wonderful tool for you to get in front of the right people at big organizations.  They may not take a call from Joe Salesrep, but they will read a message from fellow Group Member Joe Participates-a-Lot. 

 

So what are you waiting for?  Get going!  Follow the simple instructions at  www.linkedin.com and start to get all the benefits of this great online community.    Oh, and be sure to add me:  





Personality Sells… Scripts Don’t

2 09 2010

Picture this: You are sitting down to a nice dinner with your family and the phone rings.  Oh joy! The moment you have been waiting for!  You answer the phone with great anticipation.  Finally, you will have the pleasure of listening to the telemarketer read off of a script to tell you how to consolidate your debt for a fraction of what you owe.  The dulcet monotone, the canned responses, the complete lack of regard for you as a human being.  Simply delightful.  Aren’t you happy you answered your phone to be read to?

Now back to reality – of course the story above is ridiculous.  People HATE telemarketers because they have to listen to a person vapidly regurgitate words off of a screen.  There is no enthusiasm, no inflection, and most importantly no interaction. 

As sales reps, often we have to make our first touch-points with potential clients over the phone.  Unless you enjoy being hung up on, you have about 3 seconds to to build rapport and differentiate yourself from the telemarketers of the world.  We need to convey that there is an actual person on the other side of the line.  Sales people as a whole are usually bright and enthusiastic individuals.  If you can just show that something special to your prospect, you have a much better chance of gaining a meeting, making a sale, and building lasting loyalty.

Here are some great tips to help you keep from sounding “phone-y”:

  • Don’t use a script – use a bullet-points of important facts and phrases
  • Be considerate of their time and always ask permission to speak to them ex: Do you have a minute?
  • Reference any current events relevant to their industry or company
  • Raise your eyebrows while you talk.  Don’t knock it till you try it.
  • Laughter is amazing at bringing down barriers.  Use it when (heaven forbid!) you mispronounce a name, trip up on your words, or do something else silly.  Chances are they will laugh too
  • Stand up

If at the end of the day, you must rely on a script, make your script sound as much like you as you can.  Use your own phrases, nuances, and flaws in the script to make sure that you are still being you.  Remember – you were hired because you are a SALES person, not because you have the ability to read.

… For your amusement, here are some fun telemarketer jokes





The Voicemail Vortex

9 08 2010

I was looking through the CRM tool at my new company today and picked up a prospect account – we’ll call it Bob’s Construction and Leasing.  While reviewing the notes for Bob’s, I realized that this account had been repeatedly called on by 4 different reps for the past year and a half – none of which had gotten a single call back.  There were no alternate forms of contact (email etc).  Right then and there I saw this for what it really was – a Voicemail Vortex. 

You may be familiar with the term, or you may not.  But you are certainly familiar with the little “delete” key on your own phone.  It’s the one you keep your finger on when entering into your voicemail box so you can listen to as little of the message as possible and get on with being productive.  Voicemails are like an intrusion on your day.  And guess what – the people you are cold calling feel the exact same way. 

So back to my situation.  After careful pondering, I decided to give it the old college try and dialed the number.  Of course – voicemail.  I left a brief, polite message and went back to the drawing boards.  If this guy won’t answer his voicemail, what can I do to get his attention? 

I decided a brief, cheeky email may be the solution to my problem: 

Hey Mike,

I hope your Monday is going great.  I wanted to shoot you a quick and candid email to follow-up on the voicemail that I just left you.  I know you have been left messages by Cogent reps before, and I also know that you have not had your interest piqued to the point that you would return those calls.  

Look, I know it is not your first priority to respond to cold calls.  They aren’t very fun on either end of the line to be honest.  But what I have to offer you could drastically improve the efficiency of your wide area network.  Cogent specializes in increasing our clients’ bandwidth while decreasing the overall cost of the network. 

Could we possibly schedule a call in the next week to determine how Cogent could be of value to Bob’s Construction and Leasing?

Take Care, 

Tara Wagner

Within 5 minutes I had his response in my inbox as well as 2 other contacts from his company that I should be talking to.   Moral of the story – don’t waste your time leaving voicemails when you know the client won’t listen to them.





Overcoming Objections With A Simple Jedi Mind Trick

7 06 2010

A while back I attended a Sales Boot Camp program hosted by the Sales Guru himself – Paul Castain.  I had a blast collaborating with my fellow sales junkies and learning all the “secrets to success” from our dear Uncle Paulie.  As with all sales meetings, I returned home with a fire in my belly, buzz words ringing in my ears and a phone in my hand determined to sell to anything in my path.   I’m sure you all know what that post-convention high is like.

Now, almost a year later I started thinking about what has really benefited me in my day-to-day sales.  I have written a lot about the creative impact this training had on my cold-calling approach (See: Creative Cold Calling Experiments #1 and #2) , but I want to tell you about a simple yet genius method of overcoming objections that I use almost daily.

The magical phrase is simple, yet powerful and goes a little something like this:

  • Me:  So I’d love to get together to discuss your needs further, does next week work for you?
  • Them: No.  I am very happy with my current provider and can’t see any reason why I would be interested in speaking with you further.
  • Me: Okay, I hear that.  Let’s meet anyways.

Typically, this phrase strikes confusion into the heart of your prospect, soliciting the “I don’t know how to deflect that – she still wants to meet me?!” response that ultimately turns into an appointment.  Now for you over-zealous hunters out there, the goal is NOT to turn your phone call into a battle of wills.  People still only buy from people they LIKE.  This handy little trick will help you overcome absolutely any objection and get the face time that you need to demonstrate why working with you will make their projects, jobs, and very existence happier, healthier, and easier to navigate.

One small note, the conversation doesn’t always end right there with the magic line, you may need to do a little further convincing with reasons like:

  • We aren’t trying to toss out your provider, our services truly complement what you already have
  • This way you will feel comfortable calling me if you ever DO have a need and I will know what you are asking about
  • Your organization could benefit from knowing what other services are out ther!

Now go out there and give it a try!  Happy selling!





Hello, Can You Hold Please?

6 05 2010

Did you know that 60% of phone callers who are put on hold will hang up and 30% of these callers will not call back.
Don’t leave revenue that comes calling on the table. 





Don’t Be A Debbie Downer

5 05 2010

It’s 6:30 am and your alarm clock is blaring that awful beep that seems to reverberate through your skull and give you an instant headache.  It’s time to get ready for work.  And you are NOT happy about it.  You worked a long day yesterday, and the day before, and it looks like your weekend is once again going to be spent (you guessed it) at work.  You aren’t the only one feeling the strain of this grueling pace – everyone at work seems to be in a slump.  Negativity is hovering like a cloud over each and every desk – it seems like all anyone can do is grumble about their jobs as they half-heartedly plod away at the ever-expanding pile of work on their desk. 

Sound familiar?

The US Bureau of Labor found that US companies lose $3 billion a year because of negative attitudes and behaviors in the workplace.  $3 BILLION!  That’s a lot of missed sales commission.  Now, there are all sorts of resources out there for handling negativity for managers, but what is out there for us salespeople?  Not only are we dealing with Debbie Downers in our own work places, but we put ourselves up for rejection from multiple other workplaces daily.  Here are a few simple steps that I have taken to try to rev up my positivity and try to keep it alive in others.

Check Your Own Attitude

All salespeople all have down days.  It’s just the nature of our jobs!  The important thing is that you don’t let it slow you down or infect those around you.  When I feel like just quitting life I have a few go-to coping methods:

  • Zoloft.  No wait just kidding!
  • Make a list of goals that you can accomplish quickly and cross off the list.  This helps keep you moving and gives a great feeling of “getting it done.”
  • Spend a few hours working remotely from a local from a local coffee shop with a calming atmosphere.  Not only will this calm you and keep you from bringing coworkers down, but I have gotten several clients just from striking up conversations at my favorite spot –The Coffee Exchange!
  • Call your favorite client – just to “check in.”  They will undoubtably be glad to hear from you and express appreciation for your courtesy call.
  • Keep a file of the thank you letters and letters of recommendation you have gotten from clients along the way.  I love looking at these to remind me why I enjoy my job and that I am good at it.

Negativity in Coworkers

  • I keep a jar of candy in my desk.  Whenever I hear someone complaining I take it out and ask them if they want a piece.  Not so sly, but it does seem to change the person’s attitude instantly!
  • If you have a close friend at work, have a talk with them about avoiding negativity.  Hold each other accountable and really strive to keep your work area positive.
  • Thank people when they do something to support you.
  • Compliment people on a job well-done.
  • Ask coworkers about NON-work related things like kids, weddings, pets, families etc. to get their mind off of their stress and into a happier place.

Negativity in Clients

  • I try to NEVER open myself up for client negativity, unless it is something serious.  I strive to be the ray of sunshine that pierces their workplace gloom- the person they look forward to seeing.  You can do this any way you want – bring cookies, donuts, flowers, send thank-yous, or even just a genuine interest in the client and you are sure to make your positive mark.
  • A lot of the points for co-worker negativity apply here as well.

Above all, you can really only control yourself in these situations.  Keep yourself positive and avoid situations that will make you feel otherwise!

If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.  ~Mary Engelbreit