Tony Gambone Interviews Jason Kanigan on Cold Calling

Tony Gambone Interviews Jason Kanigan on effective cold callingTony Gambone Interviews Jason Kanigan on the Tough Talk Radio show in this 25-minute discussion on why cold calling is almost always ineffective.

Jason shares the reason why: phone prospecting is frequently executed in a clumsy way and with the wrong purpose.

He then goes into changes you can make to turn your phone prospecting results around.

What's Wrong With Cold Calling, Explained As Tony Gambone Interviews Jason Kanigan

When you call someone who has never heard of you, and the first thing you do is try to sell them something, it's the equivalent of going on a blind date and immediately after meeting ask, "So, do you want to get married and have a family?"

Sounds outrageous, doesn't it. Yet this is what most people believe cold calling is.

Jason Kanigan is on a mission to transform 100,000 people from being perceived by the public as slimy tricksters who will say anything to get an order into trusted advisors who are well rewarded for their expertise.

A perception problem does exist between the public and salespeople! This problem has been created and perpetuated by bad salespeople. But the public has typically not encountered a true professional B2B salesperson, whose purpose is not to push a product or a service but to find out how best they can serve the prospect. And that service may be concluding, "Sorry, we're not a fit."

The idea of a salesperson NOT doing their utmost to force a prospect to buy is incredible, isn't it?

This perception is at the root of why cold calling doesn't work when attempted by untrained individuals with the wrong purpose.

Tony Gambone Interviews Jason Kanigan On How Cold Calling Can Be Effective

In the interview Jason points out how strange it is that we can slap a nametag on anyone, call them a salesperson and shove them out into the showroom to talk to potential customers. We would not do this in any other profession! Can you imagine saying, "You're a nurse now," to someone, and sending them out without any training to deal with medical problems? Or an accountant? An engineer? Yet it seems OK to do this with salespeople for some reason.

Why we would expect someone to be competent at phone prospecting without any training, with this perspective, is hard to understand. The truth is cold calling needs to have a different purpose than immediate selling to be successful. This is discussed in detail as Tony Gambone interviews Jason Kanigan. To work well, a cold call needs to reach the decision maker, and then start the conversation in an effective way so that there IS a "rest of the call". The purpose must be Filtering. Qualifying. Looking for Fit (or lack thereof, and that's OK). Qualify First, Sell Later.

Click here to listen in as Tony Gambone interviews Jason Kanigan, starting at 35:00.


SPIN Selling for Online Sales?

Spin Selling for Online Sales

SPIN Selling for online sales? Does it work? HOW does it work? What are the benefits? And the challenges?

This is the topic posed by copywriter Corey Pemberton in his article How to Use the SPIN Selling Approach to Close More Online Sales.

Relevance of SPIN Selling for Online Sales

First, Pemberton summarizes SPIN creator Neil Rackham's findings:

  1. Hammering for the Close did not help sales of medium and high ticket offerings
  2. Objections are encountered less often by skilled salespeople, who prevent them early in the process
  3. Asking open-ended questions as a tactic by itself did not appreciably help conversions
  4. Closed questions, used properly and in quantity, can advance the sale as or more effectively than weakly used open-ended questions
  5. A consistent sales process streamlines the steps and cycle for completing the sale.

Where SPIN Selling shines is in the Discovery or Doctoring phase. Salespeople typically rush to the Close, presenting and demonstrating to anyone with a heartbeat. In SPIN, we want to find out whether our prospect values what we have to offer, and the underlying or hidden reasons why they want to buy it if so. This means pushing the Presentation phase and the Close to the end of the process, and doing some serious questioning with our prospect. No dialogue = no reason to buy.

SPIN's questioning methodology is outlined nicely in this diagram:

SPIN Selling for Online Sales

Challenge of Using SPIN Selling for Online Sales

You'll note there are four types of questions in Rackham's model (one for each of the letters in SPIN):

  • Situational
  • Problem
  • Implication
  • Need-Payoff.

Each is valuable and uncovers information a salesperson who rushes forward to the Close will not about why this prospect may buy.

But this leads to the challenge of using SPIN Selling for online sales, and the one big issue I have with Pemberton's article:

Pure online selling uses sales copy (text, video, audio scripts), which are one-way communication, to attempt conversions.

So how can the powerful questioning techniques advocated by SPIN Selling be made use of in online selling?

Advantages of Using SPIN Selling for Online Sales

Here's my answer:

Sales copy is frequently written with an avatar in mind. We could also use a Buyer Persona, which outlines how our customer buys. In either case, we enter the dialogue going on in our customer's mind--imagined or as best as we can simulate based on collected data--and duplicate that conversation using SPIN's format.

In other words, we write our sales copy using the process SPIN lays out.

Ask the SPIN questions, and answer them with the responses our ideal customer would give.

What Situation is my prospect in that screams they have a problem I can fix? And answer.

What Problem does this situation shove a Harrison Ford finger in the direction of my prospect having?

What Implications does this problem open up a bottomless pit of doom for my prospect about if my prospect doesn't jump to fix it right now?

What Need-Payoff does this implication lead straight to by the Yellow Brick Road if my prospect buys and gets started immediately?

For those copywriters wondering, "How do I fit the benefits of my client's offering into the product or service, and when do I do that?", this could be an extremely effective method. Get it right, and your prospect will be saying, "Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes!" to themselves all along the process. And when that's the case, how can they not buy.

>> Jason Kanigan is a copywriter and sales force developer. Questions about SPIN Selling for Online Sales? Comment below to let us know! And if you know someone who this discussion could help, please Like or Share! <<


Sales Transformation: What Does It Mean?

Sales Transformation sales report cardSales Transformation is one of those phrases. The kind that many people bandy about without understanding, like "optimized solution". This leads to "mutual mystification", a common problem in selling, where the two people believe the other person in the conversation knows what they're talking about and agrees on the definition...but they do not. Not at all.

What Sales Transformation Is NOT

Sales Transformation is not an "upgrade" to existing selling skills.

It is not using the same process or techniques we were using before to achieve higher conversions.

It is not upselling.

This is the principle misconception we have to get past.

"Transformation" means, like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, the salesperson's entire approach must be different.

I have read many complaints that selling--especially as perceived by the public--is only about the salesperson collecting as many scalps as they can in a week; dropping the project right after collecting the money; and in general not giving a damn whether the whole thing works out for the client or not. In fact, retail sales expert Bob Phipps points out how Staples is concentrating on short term sales targets by using outdated techniques.

If this is true, Staples is in need of a genuine sales transformation.

Can you see the difference?

What Sales Transformation IS

The true sales transformation isn't in technique or even in approach. It's in PURPOSE.

Is your sales team genuinely interested in helping people?

If the solutions your company offers are not truly the best answer to your prospect's problems, are your salespeople willing to instantly and politely rule them out as a potential customer at this time? (I can hear the gasps.)

Having open and honest conversations with prospects--ones where the prospects really open up--is much easier when this is the case.

Training firm Force Management explains with statistics just how important ongoing reinforcement is in achieving this sales transformation. It isn't a one-time Rah Rah seminar and everyone's converted. It's WORK.

Check out these numbers, from the Force Management article, on how much a difference ongoing reinforcement meant to performance...and we're talking about average orders of $137,000 here:

Customer Retention 74% vs 67%
Teams Meeting Quota 79% vs 71%
Reps Meeting Quota 63% vs 55%

About an 8% increase in performance with the companies who had ongoing reinforcement. With a $137K average deal size, do you think this makes a huge impact on their income statement?

So how do you know whether your team can handle a sales transformation? This is a "There's No Going Back" decision. Your salespeople must be coachable and trainable. The truth is you will probably lose one or two top performers, who resent the change. It's the same as when you alter their compensation structure. Be ready for that. And realize you will need a program of ongoing reinforcement: the change is not going to happen overnight.

But the fact is it's necessary for survival in the world ahead.