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Prospecting

Given the upheavals and uncertainty of 2020, many leaders and salespeople have been asking us what we see on the horizon as the next year approaches. What skills and adaptations will be necessary not just to survive, but to thrive in 2021?

This year, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the book, Dave will revisit each of the original 49 Sandler Rules and give updated takes on their relevance to salespeople and sales leaders.

 

This year, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the book, Dave will revisit each of the original 49 Sandler Rules and give updated takes on their relevance to salespeople and sales leaders.

 

 

Mike Montague interviews Hamish Knox on How to Succeed When the Sale Goes Sideways.

Think about the last time a complete stranger called you on the telephone or walked into your place of business and started selling their product or service.

How did that make you feel?

This year, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the book, Dave will revisit each of the original 49 Sandler Rules and give updated takes on their relevance to salespeople and sales leaders.

 

Have you ever gone out shopping for something and run into a salesperson who was a little too eager to show you exactly what you were looking for?

We’re going to tell you how to get there by sharing what’s working for the most successful companies and why based on the results of Sandler Research Center’s Report: The Hunt for New Clients.

 

David Mattson, President and CEO of Sandler Training and 6-time Author, talks about his Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek best-selling book, The Sandler Rules: 49 Timeless Selling Principles and How to Apply Them.

 

David Mattson, President and CEO of Sandler Training and 6-time Author, talks about his Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek best-selling book, The Sandler Rules: 49 Timeless Selling Principles and How to Apply Them.

 

Mike Montague interviews Mike Crandall about how to succeed at prospecting during the pandemic.

 

This year, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the book, Dave will revisit each of the original 49 Sandler Rules and give updated takes on their relevance to salespeople and sales leaders.

This year, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the book, Dave will revisit each of the original 49 Sandler Rules and give updated takes on their relevance to salespeople and sales leaders.

 

Many of you reading this article right now have a team (or teams) of people that report to you in some form or another. As you think about those people, your time spent leading them, managing them, coaching them, developing them, working with them, and yes… all of the other things you have to do as part of your roles or responsibilities, it doesn’t leave much time to add on a thorough accountability process to that list… or does it?

 

Mike Montague interviews Doug Cohen on How to Succeed at The First 30 Seconds of a Prospecting Call. 

 

Mike Montague interviews Dan Stalp on how to succeed at redirecting prospects’ head trash. 

 

This year, on Fridays, Dave talks about the attitude, behavior, and techniques of successful sales managers as he shares his thoughts on the 49 Sandler Rules for Sales Leaders.

 

Mike Montague interviews Nema Semnani on how to succeed at storytelling. In this episode:

  • The right attitude for effective storytelling
  • Imagined realities are powerful motivators
  • How to tell a compelling story

I love sales!  It is a career where you, the sales professional, determine your income based on how skillful you execute the duty.  It has a feel of independence, ownership and entrepreneurship and it can be extremely rewarding.  Professional selling is regarded as one of the top earning careers on the face of the planet.  Note to you business owners out there: If your salespeople are making more money than you, don’t be jealous, be excited because they are building your business and increasing its value!

Read Time: 5 MInutes

David Mattson, President and CEO of Sandler Training and 6-Time Best-Selling Author, talks about his fifth book, Sandler Rules for Sales Leaders.

Listen Time10 Minutes

As a sales trainer, I get a lot of pushback about the word “pain.” Many of my clients reason that there are many other motives to explain why people buy. There have been multiple instances where they were offended by the very word “pain” and its negative connotation and then asked if we can call it something else instead. 

Read Time: 4 Minutes 

Marina was having some problems with the opening phases of her sales process. Her early discussions with prospects were rarely productive. She sat down with Fred, her manager, and did some role-playing in the hope of improving her interviewing technique. During the role-play session, Fred shared a strategy Marina hadn't heard of. He called it “stripping line.”

Trials and demos can be an important part of your sales cycle, especially in the enterprise space. Another term for a trial or demo, is the “Monkey’s Paw,” which is a small version of your larger service or a consulting project. A successful Monkey’s Paw has three components, which are similar to a successful trial.

Read Time: 7 Minutes

Most salespeople who need to prospect for a living will tell you that it’s a very proactive, immediate results-driven exercise that can be uncomfortable at times. Hard to disagree with that. This is a topic that we get involved with far too often as it’s a common point of frustration for many business owners and sales leaders regarding their selling culture.

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Troy Elmore, Sandler trainer, shows you how to succeed with the attitudes, behaviors, and techniques needed to be more successful at dealing with the competition and selling a crowded marketplace. Get the best practices collected from around the world.

Listen Time: 21 Minutes

Potential buyers of your product or service – like the rest of us – spend a lot of their time online. This gives rise to a question: What are the best ways to engage with them when a voice to voice or a face to face conversation isn’t a possibility? Here are five simple, effective steps you can follow.

Diane, a recent sales hire, got an email from her manager, Luis, suggesting that he accompany her on an initial sales call with a prospect – and then debrief with her on what he’d observed. Diane replied that she thought that was a great idea.

After the meeting with the prospect was over, Luis jotted down some notes. He shared them during his coaching meeting with Diane the next day.
“One of the things I noticed about your meeting with Francine,” Luis said, “was that you immediately answered her question about delivery-time windows. How did you feel about how that part of the discussion went?”

Clint Babcock, Sandler trainer, shows you how to succeed with the attitudes, behaviors, and techniques needed to be more successful when you have been ghosted by your prospect. Get the best practices collected from around the world.

Listen Time: 27 Minutes

Linc Miller, Sandler trainer, shows you how to succeed at the connection with prospects through the attitudes, behaviors, and techniques needed to be more successful in sales. Get the best practices collected from around the world for bonding and rapport in sales.

This strategy involves face-to-face contact with people you already know, and thus isn’t technically an example of digital prospecting. Even so, it’s a best practice we use and have coached others to use as a means of generating substantially larger numbers of referrals via LinkedIn.

Read Time: 3 Minutes

This is a truly amazing period of history for sales professionals. The information tools that help us to identify, connect with, and sustain ongoing relationships with buyers are more powerful than ever, and they allow us to do things few could have imagined just a few years ago. But there's a challenge we all face: We mustn't let the extraordinary technology we now have blind us to the importance of having a clear sales process.

Read Time: 8 Minutes

Let’s start by talking about the elephant in the room: Cold calling is almost every salesperson’s least favorite topic. In fact, the only two groups who like the idea of cold calling are those who have never done it and sales managers.

Read Time: 6 Minutes

When our clients are elephant hunting or are selling in the enterprise space, we encourage them to engage their executives in peer-to-peer selling to their counterparts at prospect organizations.

Read Time: 4 Minutes

Ryan, a salesperson in his mid-fifties, had hit a performance plateau. His commissions had been flat for the past six months, and he had narrowly missed quota in each of those months. He scheduled a meeting with his manager, Jeannine, to see if, working together, they could identify any steps that would turn this pattern around.

Matt Pletzer, Sandler trainer, shows you how to succeed with the attitudes, behaviors, and techniques needed to be more successful at dealing with too much business. It's a good problem to have, but it can prevent you from selling more and growing. Get the best practices collected from around the world.

25 Minutes

Brian, an inside sales rep, spent too much of his time chasing deals that ended up going nowhere. He knew it; his sales manager Francine knew it. Late one Friday afternoon, Francine asked him to give some thought to the matter, and to come up with some ideas about why this was a problem for him.

There are only a few weeks left in Q4, which means that lots of sales professionals are asking themselves a familiar question right about now: How do I make the most of the time between now and December 31?

David Mattson, President and CEO of Sandler Training, talks about how to introduce a manager or another team member to your prospect. Learn the best practices collected from over a thousand Sandler employees around the world.

According to research done by AYTM, over 60% of business professionals will take a summer vacation. At any given moment this summer, a third of your prospects and customers may be away from work. That can make it difficult to keep sales numbers up – and yourself or your team motivated. This summer, you can use these social selling tips to avoid a summer slump.

Summertime can be a difficult time for salespeople. Vacations, seasonal businesses, and other distractions can make it more challenging to get in touch with decision-makers. LinkedIn is a smart way to be more productive during these months. Of course, every great business deal requires a conversation. Using LinkedIn, you can make sure you have more of those conversations, have them with the right people, and have the best conversation possible.

Bert’s major frustration was dealing with prospects who couldn’t seem to make a decision.

During a weekly coaching session, he told his manager, Elaine, that one of his biggest difficulties was dealing with prospects who indicated the desire to make a decision, and who pledged to do so by a certain date. When the date rolls around, though, they invariably needed more time. “They’re driving me crazy,” Bert said.

Elaine asked: “Bert, are they driving you crazy? Or are you?”

Prospecting is the lifeblood of a successful sales career... but many salespeople overlook the basic behaviors that support a consistent prospecting routine. Here are the five necessary behaviors professional salespeople need in order to become successful at prospecting.

#1 “Most of my team’s most important prospects for new business are on vacation during the summer months.”

Learning how to communicate more effectively with people who have different communication styles than you do will lead you to more prospects, more productive discussions, and more sales.

We’re sometimes asked what the bare minimum should be in terms of digital prospecting ability for an individual salesperson. Below, our list of five things we believe every salesperson, operating in any industry, should be able to do in terms of digital prospecting. If for some reason you can’t do this much right now, you should learn how, and sooner rather than later!

Learn how to measure and properly quantify your prospecting efforts with Sean Coyle, one of Sandler's top prospecting experts. Sean makes thousands of outbound dials each week with the help of ConnectandSell and he knows how to make each one count. Listen in as he discusses prospecting best practices with Dave Mattson, President and CEO of Sandler Training.

Jack lost a huge deal because of a sudden, ill-conceived emotional response.
After spending weeks preparing a presentation for Ryan, his biggest prospect, Jack was dumbfounded to hear Ryan say, five minutes into the talk, “The assumptions are all too simplistic here. This slide deck looks like something a five-year-old could have put together.”

Learn how to uncover and understand the prospect's buying motivations. What could be more important in sales than understanding why people buy? Mike Crandall, Sandler trainer and author, talks about the key factors for motivation. 

Todd finally learned that he had lost the large deal. He was confused and thought his demo had gone well.  A month had passed since he was told by the prospect that he had “done a good job presenting his software!”  What could have gone wrong?

There are numerous components which determining a seller’s success. Near the top of this contributing-factor totem pole, is behavior. If an individual cannot execute proper behavior, they will struggle to find high levels of achievement. Behavior, the action we take towards our goals, is the blueprint for success in the sales world. Following through on these plans, however, is easier said than done. A large contingent of the salespeople routinely makes the three mistakes listed below. 

Chip Doyle, Sandler trainer from the UK, talks about the importance of having a prospecting list with Dave Mattson, President and CEO of Sandler Training. Successfully creating a qualified prospecting list does many wonderful things for your sales career. Learn how in this Selling the Sandler Way podcast.

Has this ever happened to you? You’ve finally obtained the appointment. You’re looking forward to meeting with the prospect and asking the questions you carefully prepared in order to qualify the opportunity.

Jim Barnoski, Sandler trainer, talks about how to manage the prospect's emotional reactions to the sales process. Often, talking about things like budget, the prospect's problems, or even the people involved in the buying decision will trigger negative emotions in your prospect. If you can't prevent or get rid of them, the prospect might get rid of you instead.

If your goal is to find more prospects, get more and better referrals, and make more commission dollars in 2018 than you did in 2017, consider upping your social selling game. Here are four quick tips that will help you to avoid some common mistakes online.

This article discusses concepts and strategies from our No Guts, No Gain assertiveness program. This self-study program was designed from David Sandler’s teachings on goal-setting, getting tough, and avoiding game and powerplays.

Jane was having problems uncovering accurate information during her discussions with prospects. Her conversations during sales calls tended to be unfocused, and she spent a lot of time pursuing options that her prospects ended up rejecting. Her manager suggested she try something called Negative Reversing.

Every salesperson dreams of getting good leads. But what are you supposed to do when you get one?

Anita asked her manager to take part in a “ride-along” on her first sales call of the New Year… so he could offer her some constructive criticism on the best ways to improve her selling technique. Anita was out to fulfill a New Year’s resolution: she was eager to identify one specific best practice that would help her improve her closing ratio. Her goal was to identify her greatest selling weakness early in the month of January, and then work to turn that into her greatest selling strength by the end of March.

When prospects ask you a question (or use wishy-washy words, or try to mislead you, or use smokescreen tactics), wouldn’t it be nice if you knew for sure what their true intention was? David Sandler developed a tool to help the salesperson accomplish exactly this. It’s called reversing.

Welcome to Selling the Sandler Way, with your host Dave Mattson, the president and CEO of Sandler Training. He is a five-time bestselling author, speaker, trainer, and consultant to hundreds of international organizations. In this show, he talks to other Sandler trainers about the Sandler selling system.

Eileen, a brand-new sales hire, found herself struggling during her first week on the job. At her initial coaching session with Juan, her supervisor, she asked for some guidance on identifying promising lead sources. Instead of making suggestions about that, though, Juan decided to begin the process by asking a few basic questions.

Guest host, Lindsey Demetris, interviews Mike Montague, VP of Online Learning at Sandler Training and the creator of our new Social Selling Success course. Mike shares the best practices of today's top social sellers and attitudes, behaviors, and techniques for social prospecting in 2018.

Today’s the perfect day to take control of your prospecting behaviours, measure your sales activities and plan for your success.

Welcome to Selling the Sandler Way, with your host Dave Mattson, the president and CEO of Sandler Training. He is a five-time bestselling author, speaker, trainer, and consultant to hundreds of international organizations. In this show, he talks to other Sandler trainers about the Sandler selling system.

Later this month, myself and Marketing Director, Lindsey Demetris, are hosting a free webinar detailing how to drive revenues through social selling. We plan on teaching our viewers how to target efficiently, connect appropriately, and build engagement.

Welcome to Selling the Sandler Way, with your host Dave Mattson, the president and CEO of Sandler Training. He is a five-time bestselling author, speaker, trainer, and consultant to hundreds of international organizations. In this show, he talks to other Sandler trainers about the Sandler selling system.

Welcome to Selling the Sandler Way, with your host Dave Mattson, the president and CEO of Sandler Training. He is a five-time bestselling author, speaker, trainer, and consultant to hundreds of international organizations. In this show, he talks to other Sandler trainers about the Sandler selling system.

First, let’s understand what social prospecting is and what it isn’t. Social prospecting simply means using social media and online networks to add more prospects, information, or sales opportunities to your pipeline. In other words, social prospecting is using modern communication and information networks to start a sales conversation with another person to determine if there is a reason to do business together.

One of the biggest challenges in the sales world is properly executing a cold call. Cold calls can be awkward, nerve-wracking, and even detrimental if not initiated correctly. However, cold calling isn’t a complex obstacle to tackle. In fact, the skills are quite simple, and it’s a necessary skill that every top seller must master. Below is a four-step guide to follow when cold calling to increase your efficiency and effectiveness.

Welcome to the How To Succeed Podcast. The show that helps you get to the top and stay there. This is How to Succeed at Cold Prospecting. The show is brought to you by Sandler Training, the worldwide leader in sales management and customer service training.

Welcome to Selling the Sandler Way with your host, Dave Mattson, the President and CEO of Sandler Training. He is a five-time bestselling author, speaker, trainer, and consultant to hundreds of international organizations. In this show, he talks to other Sandler trainers about the Sandler Selling System. For more information on Sandler Training, visit sandler.com. Now, it's time to learn how to succeed by Selling The Sandler Way with your host, Dave Mattson.

One of the biggest mistakes made by hardworking business development professionals is the failure to prepare effectively for a sales call and understanding the true goal of your efforts. Result: Sometimes an order. Always a tired salesperson.

Today’s prospects are more and more email-savvy. They will often consider discussions with salespeople when these are the result of email referrals that come from a trusted third party. You can accelerate your sales cycle, and generate more revenue, by reaching out to people you know well on LinkedIn and asking them for email introductions to key contacts with whom they are connected.

As a professional, your reluctance to be perceived as that “pushy salesperson” may cause you to have trouble being up-front about money issues. This can cost you money. Here are two common money pitfalls that I often see amongst sales people, and ways to avoid them:

Sam was surprised when his boss, Juanita, called him into her office, closed the door, sat him down, and asked him: “So what is it you guys do?”

This was not the question Sam expected to hear from his sales manager that morning. He was expecting Juanita to start grilling him about his quarterly numbers, which were not anywhere near where he wanted them to be. But when Juanita repeated her question – “I’m serious, what do you guys do?” – he knew he had to take the request seriously. But he still wasn’t quite sure how to respond.

Fear may be the most powerful motivator affecting your buyers’ decisions. However, in their effort to maintain an image of power and control, buyers will be reluctant to share their true anxieties and concerns with you. You’ll increase your sales production when you help buyers discover and overcome their fears, show that you are sensitive to those issues, and then lead those buyers to the conclusion that your product will replace their fear with peace of mind.

Any professional can benefit from a strong LinkedIn profile and plan, but if you are interested in expanding your network or cultivating prospects, a presence on the busy site is a must. This professional network is just too big to ignore. Positioning yourself for success on LinkedIn means starting with a compelling profile, sharing relevant and useful content and joining industry groups and discussions.

Ken’s closing ratio had been the lowest on the team for four months running. Juanita, his manager, asked him to meet with her privately so they could figure out, together, what the possible obstacles to better performance might be.

 

2016 has been a year of many successes. Whether you are a sales representative, a sales manager, or simply interested in learning more about trending topics in the sales industry, we hope you have gathered some key insights from our blog this year. Before moving into 2017, we would like to take a look back and highlight some important topics from 2016.

Betty’s quarterly numbers were low. Her manager, Milt, asked her to do some role-plays so they could identify potential areas for improvement. They spent about 20 minutes roleplaying through various scenarios – at which point Milt called a time-out and asked, “Betty, do you realize you’re positioning us in exactly the same way with every person to whom you speak?”

Betty looked at her boss quizzically and asked: “Is that a bad thing?”

Milt gave a little smile and said, “It could be.”

After Thanksgiving, many of us sales people feel fat and happy, and decide to pull off the throttle and take some down time. After all, nobody really wants to talk to sales people, make decisions, or think about expenditures. Right? Wrong! The little known secret is that the holiday season is a fantastic time to assemble a powerful framework that builds your business, and sets you up for a great first quarter.

These days, salespeople get asked to participate in numerous prospecting activities that include group networking events. Often times, it can be difficult to translate these types of events into actual dollars. Networking can be an effective way to capture business and increase your brand's awareness and should be a part of any salesperson's healthy behaviors.

If you don’t start your sales calls with the end in mind, you should not be surprised when it doesn’t end up where you hoped. For example, at the end of a good presentation, your prospect leaves you with a Think-It-Over. After all, you can’t blame a prospect for doing something that you failed to emphasize is unacceptable. If you want to control what happens at the end of a sales call, focus on the beginning.

Jane was struggling. Most of her deals weren’t moving forward, and her quarterly income target seemed well out of reach.

By focusing on tracking activities in a Customer Relationship Management software, you can evaluate which things influence prospects to move forward in your sales process. Understanding exactly what’s moving a deal forward will help you decide the best next steps you should take to close any similar deal in the future. Tracking activities also highlights the telltale signs that a deal might be slipping away, and helps you pay it the proper attention to keep it moving forward. 

People buy emotionally; we’ve all heard that. But what does it mean? It means that people make buying decisions emotionally; they justify these decisions intellectually. To further understand this concept, it helps to know who is making the decisions and who is justifying the decisions. 

It can be tempting for companies and salespeople to coast through the slower-paced summer months. The seasonal slowdown will cause many organizations to just give up on the season, and save their goals for the months ahead when the pace picks up. Taking the time to lay the groundwork and planning now, however, can help you set up to have a fantastic fall, and lead to strong year-end results.

A salesperson striving toward success and prospecting for new clients may think that he or she must do something grandiose to draw customers away from the competition. Occasionally, something spectacular may be just what's needed, but it's not practical to do on a regular basis. Incorporate the following four simple gestures into your interactions with potential clients to experience greater conversion success.

Too often, sales professionals make one fundamental mistake that could be costing them thousands in commissions. They believe that their job is to sell products or services to clients by explaining why their product is superior. Success in sales (and the size of your commission check), is determined not by the information you give, but rather, by the information you collect.

Juan’s sales numbers for the quarter were sharply down; lately, he felt he was struggling with his prospecting. He asked his manager Anita for help.

“There’s a lot we can talk about when it comes to prospecting,” Anita said. “But let’s start with the simplest question first. Are you asking your current clients for referrals?”

 

 

 

Many sales organizations get caught up in the details of educating or convincing their prospect to buy. Some sellers might even ask “What do we need to do to earn your business?” and worry about what they can do to facilitate the buying process. “What do you see as next steps?” is another common question that salespeople ask. These sellers lose sight of the fact that it’s the prospect that needs to do something for a sale to happen.

Referrals and introductions should be central to building a quality pipeline for our business. In my research, most of us are leaving up to 75% of the available referrals and introductions on the table. Most of us get referrals and introductions even if we do not ask! However, having a well-thought process and goals for pursuing them can dramatically increase our referral business.

According to Entrepreneur, we receive 193.3 billion emails every day. On average, that means each person's inbox is hit by about 120 emails a day – with some people receiving less and some receiving many more. Breaking through to your target audience when you're up against such odds can be tough. Even with all the inbox competition, email marketing can be quite lucrative when handled correctly. 

Rosita had been behind quota before, but never by this much and never for this long. When her manager, Sam, offered to take her out to lunch, she figured she was either looking at very good news … or very bad news.

“There’s no easy way to say this first part,” Sam said quietly once they were seated at their table, “so I’ll just say it. You’re on probation. You’ve got sixty days to turn things around or we’re letting you go.”

Bad news. Rosita took a deep breath, nodded, and then asked: “OK. Is there a second part?”

“There is,” Sam said, smiling. “Fortunately, it’s a lot easier to talk about. I don’t think any of this is your fault.”

Rosita had no words for a reply. She hadn’t seen that one coming.

Social selling, or using social media during the prospecting and sales function, may very well be the “three-point line” of the sales world. It is a modern-day creation that can be perceived as a marketing gimmick or a cheap stunt, but it has been around for almost 20 years and people are now starting to see its real value.

The key to creating an effective prospecting approach is to first understand who your ideal prospects are—the challenges they face, the outcomes they desire, and the potential roadblocks they face.

Investing time to learn about your prospect before “pitching” your product helps build rapport and trust. When you understand your prospects, it’s easier to understand their points of view. Similarly, prospects must have a sense of your sincere interest before they can become comfortable with you—and seek your advice.

Many salespeople feel uncomfortable discussing money issues with prospects and clients. It's important to understand that talking about money—fees, price, terms, etc.— is an integral part of selling. This discussion must take place before considering a presentation.

Have you ever been giving a presentation to notice that the prospect had tuned you out? Prehaps you should stop and take their "temperature" to determine if you're on track or if they have already make a decision one way or the other.

 

If prospects use terms such as “looking into,” “thinking about,” “considering,” and “exploring," they are probably not a prospect. Time to move on!

All too often, we lose a customer to the competition because we decide to share loads of information before we’ve identified the prospective buyer’s emotional motivations. We don’t uncover the pain the prospect is trying to eliminate.

Forget about features and benefits. Build your prospecting calls around relevant, appropriate questions that connect to some pain that you can remove from the prospect’s world.

When you apply a reversing strategy, prospects will reword or expand their question to reveal the motive behind it.

Sales limbo — the perpetual exile prospects call “very interesting” — for one reason and one reason alone. You didn’t qualify the prospect’s decision-making process.

If you can’t get a prospect's commitment for a yes-or-no decision, don’t make the commitment of delivering a presentation.

Money issues must be addressed early in the selling process. Without this information, it is unlikely that you can present a best-fit solution. More likely, stalls and objections that revolve around price issues will develop during or after a presentation.

Prospects will sometimes make statements that, on the surface, sound positive, but on closer inspection, reveal no actual commitment. They contain indecisive, play-it-safe words or phrases that allow prospects (and customers alike) to avoid making commitments.

 

A Monkey’s Paw is a simple seafaring contraption comprised of a small rubber ball that is used to help maneuver a ship's heavy rope to the dock so it can tie-up. In sales, a monkey's paw can help you get in the door for a larger sale.

Has this ever happened to you? You're in the middle of a discussion with a prospect, and suddenly you're caught flat-footed by what seems like an attack.

Transactional Analysis (TA) in psychology, defines three ego states that influence our behavior—the Parent, the Adult, and the Child. It’s the prospect’s Child that starts the buying process.

If your goal is to find more prospects, get more and better referrals, and make more commission dollars in 2016 than you did in 2015, consider upping your social selling game. Here are four quick tips that will help you to avoid some common mistakes online.

Hopes and dreams (not to mention time, energy, and money) vanish in an instant. Of course, that would never have happened. Why?

Will you always receive a referral? No, not always. But you have nothing to lose by asking. And, even if you don’t receive a referral that day, you will have planted a seed for future cultivation.

The more you know about your prospects, the more they will want to engage with you, and the more focused you will be in identifying opportunities.

Ask salespeople to list their least favorite selling activities, and you can count on “prospecting” being at the top of the list. And, the least favorite of all prospecting activities is unquestionably making cold calls.

Before you begin working up designs, proposals, or anything that requires an investment of your time, you must discuss exactly what the prospect wants. Confirm that the investment they are prepared to make is indeed within the range you charge. 

The explosion of social media has created lots of new opportunities for your company when it comes to sales prospecting. Utilizing the tools available to you can expand your business and be a source of continuous lead generation. Or it can cause a very embarrassing publicity nightmare. Here are five rules you should follow to cash in on social media opportunities and become a successful sales professional:

No matter your age or experience level, LinkedIn is the platform for social networking when it comes to business. Today, there are more than 300 million registered LinkedIn users with 100 million of those users residing in the United States. And while that statistic makes it seem like everyone is already on LinkedIn, that's not entirely true. More people are joining every day.

Think about the last time someone asked you to tell them a little about yourself. Did you stumble? Did you regret how you answered? Did you miss an opportunity to fit in something important? Sandler Training advises that all professionals – especially salespeople – take time to craft their "thirty-second commercial." Thirty-second commercials can be used for prospecting and to introduce yourself at networking events. A great thirty-second commercial does two things, lets a prospect know what you do and answers the question "why is this person and their business relevant to me?"e

If you've heard the any of the following statements from prospects, then keep reading to learn more about how to determine when to walk away and when to continue investing time and energy. "I need to confer with other managers here." "I need more time to decide." "Call me in about a month."

It's a fast-paced world and today's salesperson needs to be one step ahead of the prospect and working as efficiently as possible. In addition, we're more connected than ever and clients and prospects expect quick turnaround times and faster response rates. While it may seem like there aren't enough hours in the day, there are more than enough apps available to us to help us manage our time, stay on task and find even greater success. Here are a few free apps that Sandler Training's associates and clients use often in their everyday life

Prepare a digital version of your 30-Second Commercial...and include that text in your LinkedIn profile. (tweet this!)

Does this sound familiar to you? Prospect A says, "This looks very good. I think there's an excellent chance we'll do business." The salesperson thinks, "I've got one." Prospect B comments, "Your price is higher than we expected." The salesperson thinks, "I'll have to cut the price to close the deal." Prospect C reveals, "We were hoping for a shorter delivery time." The salesperson thinks, "I'll have to push this through as a rush order to get the sale."e

A lot of sales people and business owners are struggling with how to add social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter into their prospecting or marketing plan. Social networking is the #1 online activity, used by 1.2 billion people worldwide. Nearly one in five minutes online is spent on social media websites, and 75% of that is on Facebook. But how does that help you sell anything? Attitude First, you have to have the right attitude to make social networking work for you

My Mom was a funny lady and during my youth, she was constantly throwing riddles at me. Some of herriddles came in pairs and the pairs typically had a point. One such pair of riddles has been a huge lesson forme as I have gone through life. Here they are. Riddle 1: What did Tarzan say when he saw the elephantscoming down the road? "Here come the elephants." Riddle 2: What did the elephants say when theysaw Tarzan coming down the road? Nothing, elephants don't talk

Two weekends ago, I got to take my youngest daughter to a 4 year-old's birthday party. I'd forgotten how elaborate some of these parties get, and this was a nice reminder. The parents of this little boy had hired an animal trainer to bring some critters and let the kids see them.

Ask most salespeople to describe the purpose of each interaction with a prospect and they'll probably say something like: "close 'em" "build the relationship" "educate them" "solve their problems" All good answers, but the real purpose of every interaction with a prospect is to get to the truth. What's uncomfortable about getting the truth in an interaction with a prospect? Ask any salesperson this question and most of the time their answer will be something like "I might not get their business!"e

That's a headline straight out of sales training boot camp, but it's true. There is a question most people want answered when they go to a sales training program or read one of the many sales how-to books; that question sounds like this, "Is there really one secret weapon or magic formula to make me better and increase my sales?" Wouldn't it be wonderful to find one ... so would winning the lottery, but not many do it