Archives for April 2011

Sandlers selling rules explained

In my previous post I wrote about how I will be reading and commenting on ‘you can’t teach a kid to ride a bike at a seminar’ by David H. Sandler. In this post I will be taking the first key principles from the book and explaining what they mean to me.

The rules were:

  1. Qualify your prospects
  2. Extract your prospects “pain”
  3. Verify the prospect has money
  4. Be sure your prospect is a decision maker
  5. Match your service or product to the prospect’s “pain”


1. Qualify your prospects.

Working here at Nett Sales this was possibly the easiest to comprehend of the 5 rules, as this is what we do as a business, using the ‘Nett Sales process’ qualifying a lead is:

  1. Sending a short, targeted email to a group of contacts
  2. monitoring the response levels on the email – who clicked on what, where did they go next and for how long…
  3. Qualifying the contacts into different ‘pots’ in accordance with their actions e.g. unsubscribes, clicks on link 1, clicks on link 2 etc
  4. Then repeating steps 1 to 3, qualifying out as many people as possible until only the ‘hot leads’ are left.

To us, a no is as good as a yes, and considerably better than a maybe!

Steps 2-5 are all encompassed in the ‘follow up’ phase of the Nett Sales process. This involves what we like to call a customer service calls to the most responsive potential clients.

2. Extract your prospects pain

Once you’ve qualified out all the bad data and contacts who aren’t interested it’s time to get personal with the potential leads. We follow up the emails with a customer service call, which simply involves calling the most responsive contacts and saying “hi Alan, i sent you an email a few days ago on behalf of ***** and i was wondering what you thought, could you offer me any feedback?” Thereby letting the customer lead the call, and if they do choose to interact with us, then because they initiated what they perceived to be the most pressing issue, we know the subject that’s most critical to them.

3.  Verify the prospect has money

We tend to talk budgets fair early, for example a customer may say “i spent 2 years with xyz charging me an absolute fortune and didn’t get a single sale from it” at which point we can inquire as to how much a fortune is, and what sort of money they would be looking to invest in gaining more sales.

4. Be sure your prospect is a decision maker

This tends not to be such an issue for us, as the data we use when mailing potential clients is telephone cleansed in order to determine that we are contacting the right person within the business.

5. Match your service or product to the prospect’s “pain”

As discussed in point 2 we let the customer lead the conversation so we can discover exactly what it is they want, and as almost everybody wants more sales all we have to do is package the service in a way that’s attractive to this individual client. For example, one client had spent thousands on producing brochures to send to names collected at a trade fair they were attending.

We suggested instead of using expensive printed brochures they collected a name, email address and phone number, then a few days after the show we send an email in their name saying “hi, saw you at the show, what did you think of our offerings? If you’re interested then look here for a pdf of our brochure/website”

Understandably their response was, “won’t people just think it’s spam…?”

“How many brochures/leaflets do you get through the door every day?”

If someone is interested in your offering, they will read it no matter what the medium, and obviously you won’t know if someone has read your brochure, if it’s printed, but a digital copy is a whole other matter…


Check back soon for the latest installment of the Sandler sales process!

Tune up your sales engine

Whether you are thinking about selling your business or have just bought a new business, you want the sales team to be performing at its best.  And sales teams need new leads.  A lead is a new opportunity to engage in a sales discussion with a new or existing contact.

Sales is an engine that takes leads (raw commodity) and turns them into orders for the business to fulfil.  Depending on the business, sales may need 3, 5, 10, 20 or 100 leads to “make” an order.

But who in the business is responsible for providing the sales team with these new leads?

In a traditional company model, the marketing department is running campaigns that will raise awareness of company / product / service and cause potential customers to get in touch.  A percentage of these inbound enquiries will turn into leads which then feed sales.  If sales need more leads, marketing undertake more activities.

But what if marketing does not exist, or is not producing the leads that sales require?  Another model is required…

What are the options?

1) Sales can generate their own leads. This requires (often expensive) sales resource to “hit the phones” in the hope of uncovering leads from yellow pages, old customers, competitors, industry publications, etc, etc…
2) Pay a telemarketing firm to call on your behalf
3) Use social media to generate leads (good luck :))

And that’s about it…

But here is a different approach:

1. Decide who your whole market is (eg Facilities Managers in companies of more than 100 staff, Sales Directors in Southern England, etc.) and acquire their contact details.  If you already know how to build a list of clean, opted in contacts, we suggest you start here now. But if you don’t, talk to us and we’ll show you.

This should give you tens of thousands of contacts who fit your customer profile but who have probably never heard about you.  But this contact list is too big to telephone everyone economically…

2. send a series of emails to this contact list, sharing knowledge, market insights and resources with them.  The aim is to build your credibility in their eyes over a period of months.  Then they will get in touch with you and buy – right?  Wrong!  These contacts, if they are interested, will click through on the links you include in the email but won’t get in touch with you.

3. Qualify. So then you call up the ones that have clicked on links as they are leads?  No!  What these contacts have done is to make an “Expression of Interest”.  They may be nosey but with no need, bored, vaguely interested or interested right now.  All these contacts require a qualifying call to discuss the issue raised in the email they clicked on.  This is not a sales call – view it as a customer service call.

Then (finally!) contacts that in this call express interest and qualify (they have a need, a budget and authority) are the leads that get fed to the sales team and get turned into orders.

4. Repeat. The remainder of the contacts are recycled by next months email and can be re-qualified time and again until they are ready to be fed to the sales team.

Now that is a repeatable process to feed the sales team with leads!

To see more on this new sales process follow this link. And if you are looking for advice on retaining or regularly communicating with your contacts, take a look here.

Nett Sales has put together a special offer for Businesses For Sales members.  We will undertake a 50 minute free review of how you sell and leave you with at least three actions you can use immediately to improve your sales.

To book your free 50 minute sales review, email Simon West  ( or call me on 01672 505050.




waving your member(ship)

Our pet hate is the email that starts “I…” or “We…” and then carries on for 3 paragraphs to say why they are so great and what they have been up to.

So What?  What’s in this email for me, the recipient?

Here is the text from a great (bad) example I received today (***** replaces the company):

The ******* Link – April 2011

March was a really strong month for ***** Bristol and a great way to round off what has been a really encouraging first quarter – we’ve already written 40% of the new business that we wrote in the whole of last year.

Your referrals are keeping us busy and the pipeline is still looking healthy – thank you for your support.

I’d also like to thank those of you who came along to our wine tasting event on the 12th April. It was a great turn-out for a ‘school night’ and, judging by the number of thank you emails we have received, everyone had a good time. We have further events planned, so watch this space!

March was quite a month for ***** Financial Services – in fact, a record breaking one! We beat our previous best on just about every key measure, notably:

  • A new monthly record of 170 deals
  • A record breaking month for debts factored! Just under £400m
  • Advances reached a new high of £327m

In addition to these fantastic results the latest ABFA stats show some extremely positive findings in which **FS once again outstripped growth within the market in 2010.

Highlights from the ABFA Report revealed that…

  • **FS increased domestic market share from 14% to 16.7% in the space of just 12 months

In terms of factoring client numbers we have also outperformed the market. We have increased our position from 10% to 17.3% in 2010

Looking at total client numbers we have increased our market share by around 1 percentage point over the last 12 months from 8.1% to 9.2% and have almost doubled it in the past 3 years.

I hope that these results firmly demonstrate that **FS are open for business and committed to supporting small businesses in a difficult lending environment.

Are you on the plane?

A few seats on the plane to Prague have been secured but there are plenty left. This trip is not to be missed!

Just 3 deals will ensure your place!

If you’d like more information about our Prague incentive or have a client to refer to us please contact your local Regional Manager or call me directly on 07834 ******.

Feeling motivated to do anything other than reply with a big UNSUBSCRIBE?  It amazes me how many businesses are willing to put their membership at risk by sending blatant self promoting rubbish to their recipients in the belief that they care.

It comes all the way back to our first comment of “give your recipients something of value to them”.  It’s their inbox, not yours.  Ignore this at your peril!