Due Date.

Blog - Aug. 16.jpg

August 16th – the day that I’ve been waiting for since December 13, 2016. Today is the day that I get to meet the person that I’ve thought about every moment of every single day for the past nine months. Today… is my due date!

For those of you who don’t already know, I’m pregnant and due any day now with who I know is going to be the most perfect little boy. Since I’m writing this post on July 6th, it’s quite possible that I’ve already met him. Maybe I’m at the hospital right now… who knows! What I do know, though, is that right now I’m more anxious and nervous and excited than I’ve ever been, all while being the happiest I’ve ever been.

Everyone has a bucket list, right? I have some of the typical items on my list like sky diving, travelling, getting married, buying a house, getting to the point of being debt-free, learning to play guitar etc., but my number one has always been to be a mom. Being a mom to me is the ultimate dream. The idea of doing laundry all hours of the day, having my normal day-to-day outfit be jogging pants with an oversized t-shirt and a messy bun, not sleeping for more than two hours through the night, taking 30 minutes to grab a bag of milk from the corner store as opposed to the 5 minutes it takes now… all of these things are, in my mind, what make up the perfect life.

I know I sound crazy. I’ve been told multiple times in the past few months. It doesn’t make any sense to some people that I’m ready to completely dedicate my life at the age of 24 to caring for and unconditionally loving this tiny piece of me and my other half for the next eighteen+ years. I’m also more than ready to give up the “me, myself and I” life that I’ve been living over the past year. Until recently I lived alone, I slept alone, I went shopping alone, and I LOVED being alone. But as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I knew that I was ready to give it all up and start this new chapter of my life. Sure I was scared at first. Who wouldn’t be? I had a million and one thoughts running through my head when I first saw the little ‘+ 2-3 weeks’ sign on the test stick:

How am I going to do this? What will my friends and family think when I tell them? How am I going to tell them? What about work? Who will take care of my customers? Will there be an opportunity for me to return when my maternity leave is up?

There were SO MANY QUESTIONS that I was asking myself in the beginning that now seem so silly because in the end, those aren’t the things that matter. What matters is I’m healthy, the baby is healthy, my relationship with my boyfriend is healthy, and we are happy and ready to embrace this change and grow and learn and make mistakes together.

As I’m sure you’ve already figured out, this will be my last blog post for a while. Instead of drafting emails, making cold calls and attending conferences, my new focus is going to be changing diapers, keeping a clean house, catching up on sleep whenever I’m able to, and doing the best that I can to make my relationship with my boyfriend a priority even when it seems impossible. With that being said, I’d like to give a huge THANK YOU to everyone who’s taken the time to read my posts over the past two years!

In closing, I’d like to share a quote that I came across on Facebook a few days after I found out I was expecting. It struck a chord with me and has since become one of my favourites. It helped me realize that despite what anyone says about us being ‘too young’ or not being prepared or not realizing the shock that we’re in for, everything will be okay and turn out the way that it was always meant to:

“Being a young parent means we met a little early, but it also means I get to love you a little longer. Some people said their lives ended when they had children, but I know my life is just beginning. You didn’t take away my future; you gave me a new one.”

Tessa-NEW

Rejection Handling – Part 2/2

rejection .png

Here we go, part two of two.

Today I’m going to discuss one of the most common rejections that we face as sales specialists working with technology: “I’m not interested”.

Talk about a blow to the ego. You’ve taken time out of your day to reach out to this person (and it usually takes more than one attempt to actually get a hold of them!) and offer them a solution that you know would serve them well to consider and they completely blow you off with three simple words, “I’m not interested”. How do you respond? What do you say to come back from it?

To start, do whatever you can to avoid having that rejection thrown in your face at all. Once you have the chance to connect with your prospect, begin the conversation by getting to know them – ask how their week is going so far, ask how they’re enjoying the sunshine, talk about the news article that you read last week about their organization etc. This sets the stage for a ‘conversation’ rather than a ‘sales call’. It will also make you seem more trustworthy if you start the conversation by asking about them and not throwing in their face whatever it is that you have to offer.

Even though you may start the conversation off positively and it may seem as though they are genuinely interested, the “we’re not interested at this time” rejection may still come out. In that case…

Consider their geographical location and their size (number of staff for example) before calling. If you’re able to compare them to another organization that is using your product/service successfully that they may be familiar with, that might be enough to make them rethink their response. If you have a good enough rapport with that organization, you could even consider the idea of requesting to use them as a reference for your prospect if you see enough potential with them. Hearing about the benefits of a product/service from a user has much more of an impact than hearing it from a salesperson!

If you’re bold enough, come out ask the question that everyone wants to ask, “What makes you say that you aren’t interested?” Hopefully their response will answer a few of the following questions: Are they the individual that you should be speaking with? Are they not able to see the value because their position wouldn’t be affected by the implementation of your product/service? Has their budget been used up for this year, meaning that next year would be a better time to connect? Do they not have a need for your product/service because they already use something similar? It may seem bold to ask, but without asking questions you won’t get any answers!

If after that point you’re still receiving pushback, you can’t force anyone to say yes or want to know more about what it is that you have to offer; at some point you have to step back and accept the “no”. I once sat in on a sales seminar where the speaker told us that no only means no in social situations, so keep that in mind. Just because they’re saying no now doesn’t mean that the answer will be no three or six months from now. Set yourself a reminder and try again later on!

Tessa-NEW

Rejection Handling – Part 1/2

rejection blog 2.jpgWhen getting into a sales career, dealing with rejection is definitely something that should be expected. Being rejected or ‘brushed off’ has honestly become part of my everyday life since starting in my role as Solution Sales Specialist with StaffStat! Everyone in the industry will experience rejection in one way or another, whether it be through email, over the phone or in person, but how you handle it and deal with it is what will set you apart from other salespeople. Something that I’ve come to realize is that the rejections that we usually face are a way for people to brush us off, thinking that we’re just another sleazy salesperson. It usually has nothing to do with what we’re actually selling.

Whenever we’re able to, the sales team likes to set some time aside to brainstorm and discuss a few of the rejections that we’ve recently encountered. Putting our heads together allows our ideas to grow and snowball off of each other, and it also ensures that we are all on the same page when it comes to rejection handling with our prospects. That way we’re constantly learning from each other and considering new approaches that we might not have thought about before.

For my next couple of blogs, I’ve decided to do a series on rejection handling where I’ll share the rejection that we discussed as well as the ideas that were brought forward during the brainstorming session. If you have any feedback or advice to share on how you deal with similar rejections, please leave it in the comments!

Rejection: “We’re happy with our current system/process. Thanks anyways.”

First things first, praise them. Obviously they’re doing something right if they don’t need to consider what you’re offering, right? By congratulating them on their success before continuing on, the call will feel less ‘salesy’ and more like a conversation. It will also help lighten the discussion and pave the way for the next step.

Step number two involves asking them about their current process. When you ask the question, “Can you tell me about your current process?”, you’re looking for them to tell you something that you can use later on to continue attempting to sell whatever it is that you have to offer. Keep a pen and paper handy for this part of your conversation; think of this as the ‘information gathering’ stage. At this point you’re likely going to learn whether or not they are using another product/service that’s similar to yours as well (If you’re lucky, you might even learn that they are using a product/service that one of your current customers used prior to switching to yours!). If they are, you now know that you’ll have to come up with a way to convince them that you have more to offer without coming across too strong or speaking negatively about the competition.

Lastly, remind them why you’re calling by referring back to their pain point. If you’re absolutely certain that they would benefit by purchasing your product/service, then you should be aware of the pain point that they’re dealing with prior to getting to this point. If not, did they happen to share a pain point that they’re dealing with during step number two? Would your product/service help with their pain point? This is where you sell yourself. This is where you make them change their mind and leave them wanting to learn more. Take all of the information that you’ve learned throughout the call and use it to your advantage!

Tessa-NEW

 

 

Outshine the Competition.

Blog - outshine your competition.jpg

What makes you different? What sets you apart from the rest? Why should we choose you?

These are questions that we’ve all been asked at one time or another. We’ve asked ourselves these questions to pump ourselves up before a big meeting, we’ve been asked these questions at the end of interviews and, if you work in sales, prospects ask you these questions on a daily basis: I’ve heard that _______ offers the same thing. What makes you different than them? Why should we choose you over them?

When you’re working for a company that you love and you’re selling a product or service that you believe in and see the value in, it’s easy to get defensive when these questions come your way. Just remember that they are doing their job just like you’re doing yours. Take this opportunity to outshine your competition; keep in mind when you’re formulating your responses that if you are being asked these questions, so are they.

So what’s the best way to answer these sorts of questions – that’s what this blog post is about. How can you take these questions and come up with responses that will make them consider and, in the end, choose you over everyone else that they speak to?

  • Focus on what you do really well.

Something that we often do at StaffStat is ask our current customers for feedback and testimonials. How else would we know if we’re on the right track? If you aren’t asking for feedback already, consider sending out an email to your customers requesting feedback on the various areas of your business (customer service, system performance, overall satisfaction etc.) so that you know what you and your team are doing well and where you could improve. From there you’ll know what made your customers choose you over the competition and you can use that information to your advantage.

  • Tell them what you do differently.

Although you might sell a product or offer a service that’s similar to something else that’s on the market, think about what you do differently than they do. Have you compared your setup or implementation costs to theirs? Do you offer additional services that the competition doesn’t? Does your product or service operate differently than theirs does? If so, in what way?

Setting yourself apart from the competition by outlining what you do differently than they do also helps leads and prospects confirm why it’s worth it for them to pay whatever price you’re proposing for the use of your service or to purchase your product.

  • Keep your promises.

This one is huge for me. This point, in my opinion, is also the most important. Keeping your promises, whether they be to your current customers, your leads or those coming down your pipeline in the near future, is a crucial part of creating trust and forming meaningful relationships. It’s important to keep in mind as well that the majority of the prospects that you speak to that come from the same sector speak to each other. Be sure that the information that you’re sharing during one conversation can be applied across the board.

Tessa-NEW

Persistence, Patience, and the End Reward.

blog - May 17On December 21st I received an email from the Director of Long-Term Care for three long-term care homes in a County, located in southern Ontario. The individual stated that she had heard of StaffStat in the past at a conference that we had attended and that she was interested in learning more about how the system could help cut down the number of calls that her schedulers and RNs were making to her 450+ staff.

This was the first time that I was reached out to personally, and it was also the biggest group that I’d come into contact with who actually wanted to learn more about what it was that I had to offer. Needless to say, I was pretty excited. I connected with her right away and scheduled a call for the very next week. During that call we discussed the functionality of the system and how it could work for her homes, the implementation process, pricing and the possibility of setting up a free trial. After a few months of communicating back and forth, I finally had a signed Free Trial Agreement in my hands on March 21, 2017.

Yes. It took me three whole months to finally get confirmation that the three homes would be moving forward with a 14-day free trial of the system.

Just ten days ago, on May 7th, their free trial ended. I spoke with the Director of Long-Term Care on that same day and received verbal confirmation that they would be moving forward with an annual, pre-paid contract to continue using StaffStat in-house.

That’s right. It took me 137 days to close the sale – just under six whole months.

I feel like I’ve said this a million times before, but working in sales is really freakin’ hard. It’s hard to pick up a phone and call someone that you’ve never spoken to before. It’s hard to draft up an email that you’re hoping will not only entice the recipient to open the email and read it, but also peek their curiosity enough for them to connect back with you. It’s hard to keep motivated after being turned down over and over and over. But you want to know what the hardest thing has been for me since starting on my ‘sales journey’? It’s being persistent, while also being patient, and never giving up.

There were so many times throughout the process where I would look at Mandy or Mel and say, “What am I supposed to say to them today?” or, “I just left a voicemail on Monday… should I call again?” I’d leave countless voicemails and send emails each week to receive responses like, “I haven’t had time to review your last email. We’ll touch base soon” or, “We have a meeting in two weeks and we’ll be discussing your software then”. Although I was happy to know that I was still on their radar, it was sometimes hard to keep my head up when I’d feel like I was being brushed off or avoided. But I kept pushing! I never stopped calling and I never stopped emailing. I wanted to make sure that they knew that I was still there, waiting patiently (sort of) for the day when they would finally say, “Okay, let’s do this!”

Especially when dealing with technology, the sales cycle is long and painful and it can often be really difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There are days when I feel like I’m right on track and others where I feel like I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. The day that I heard the words, “We’ll be moving forward with the annual pre-pay option for all three homes”, was the day that I was reminded of why I do what I do. It was exactly what I needed to hear to regain my focus, continue moving forward, not get discouraged, and remember that although it isn’t always going to be easy, it’s the rewarding feeling in the end that makes the wait and the work totally worth it!

Tessa-NEW

It’s the Little Things

Awesome.jpg

I’ve been suffering from a serious case of writer’s block lately. Not only am I struggling to come up with topics, but I’m also struggling to come up with content when I do happen to think of a topic that our readers will take time out of their day to pay any attention to. Rather than focusing on something work-related for today’s post, I thought I would introduce you to a book that I’ve recently read.

A couple of years ago I came across a book called The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha at Chapters. It was on the sale rack and a quote on the front cover caught my eye, so I grabbed it on my way out. The quote read, “Little things, it turns out, are extremely important to happiness, and The Book of Awesome will remind you of a thousand little things that will make you happier”. I’ve had this book for three or four years and it was honestly just a dust collector until I found it recently as I was doing some spring cleaning. I was going to get rid of it and I’m so glad that I decided to keep it around instead. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I hadn’t read any of the reviews on it and I hadn’t opened the book since I bought it, but as soon as I finally started reading I couldn’t put it down.

When people think of the things that make them happy, they usually think of money, or vacations, or having the perfect house or vehicle. We often forget about the little things that make us smile. We often overlook the things that happen every day that seem so small and insignificant, but we’d miss if they didn’t happen. Today I wanted to share with you a few of my favourite “awesomes” from The Book of Awesome:

  • Page 50: Tripping and realizing no one saw you•

If you say this isn’t one of the best feelings in the world, you’re lying. This is something that almost every Northerner can attest to during the winter months I’m sure. There is nothing (or very few things) that feel worse than taking the biggest tumble of your life, only to look up and see that someone got a front row seat to the show.

  • Page 61: Waking up before your alarm clock and realizing you’ve got lots of sleep time left•

I think that this was one of my favourite “awesome moments” from the book and it’s because everyone can relate to it: that feeling of waking up and feeling like there’s no way you’re going to be able to function that day, only to roll over and see 1:57 AM on your alarm clock. Back to sleep I go!

  • Page 133: Your family car growing up•

I still remember the old light blue, Mazda MPV minivan that my mom, dad and younger brother took to Thunder Bay for doctor’s appointments, to Toronto and back home to Hornepayne countless times, out East to P.E.I, New Brunswick and Quebec for a family vacation and to the States for music festivals every summer. We had that van for years and whenever I see a Mazda van or a vehicle of the same color, I take a quick walk down memory lane.

  • Page 135: Eating a free sample of something you have no intention of buying•

Costco. That’s all I have to say about that.

  • Page 174: Your favourite old, comfy T-shirt•

My favourite old, comfy T-shirt is a very faded, grey Kellogg’s T-shirt with the Froot Loops cereal logo and a picture of Toucan Sam on the front. I remember begging my mom to buy four boxes of Kellogg’s cereal so that I would have enough codes to enter in online and get two free, Fruit of the Loom T-shirts: one for myself and one for my younger brother. That was around ten years ago, and to this day it’s still my favourite old, comfy T-shirt!

  • Page 255: Successfully moving all your clothes from the washer to the dryer without dropping anything•

This is something that doesn’t happen to me very often. No matter how hard I try, a sock or two always seems to sneak out! I’ve had it happen once or twice, and I will definitely agree and say that the feeling is awesome!

  • Page 294: Sweatpants•

Need I say more?

  • Page 357: New Socks Day•

I never buy socks for myself because I know that every year, on December 25th, I’m going to be getting my new socks in my stocking. I’m sure having more than one “New Socks Day” each year is satisfying, but just take a second to think about how exciting it is for me to wake up on December 25th and know that that day, 365 days later, I get to put on a brand new pair of socks!

Have you read The Book of Awesome? If so, what were your favourites? If not, go to Chapters and pick yourself up a copy! You won’t regret it!

Tessa-NEW

What Makes Up a ‘Good’ Salesperson?

3 Things That Make a Solid Salesperson..jpg

I’m not claiming to be an expert by any means when it comes to sales; in fact, I’ve only been in my role as a Solution Sales Specialist with StaffStat for 8 months. But you don’t have to be working in sales to recognize what makes up a ‘good’ salesperson. Some people may say that it’s the ability to change the minds of others, some may say it’s their ability to grab the attention of those passing by or those that they’re reaching out to, others may say that great salespeople are measured by the number of sales that they’ve made since starting their career. To some, those may be the three main reasons that salespeople succeed. But what have they done to get there? Do they continue to harass and annoy those who have said no or not expressed an interest? Did they lie to their prospects in order to ‘trap’ them and make the sale? Did they make promises that they weren’t able to keep?

As I already said, I’m not an expert when it comes to sales, but over the past 8 months I’ve come to learn some of what makes up a good salesperson from my own experiences connecting with people and being on the receiving end of personal sales calls. Today I’d like to share with you three main things that I’ve come to believe help make up a good salesperson:

  1. Think outside of the box.

 Since working in sales I’ve learned that no two situations are going to be the same, no two sales’ pipelines are going to look the same, and the needs of each customer are going to be very different on a case-by-case basis. If I treated every situation the same, I doubt I’d get very far. It’s important to think outside of the box in order to do what’s best and easiest for your customer. If doing everything online doesn’t work for them even though it works for everyone else, arrange a trip to visit them at their location. If you normally only offer monthly or annual payment plans, consider 6-month contracts or a contract that takes them to the end of their fiscal year. Whatever you can do to make the process easier for your customer will make them appreciate what you’re doing for them so much more and, in turn, will make them appreciate the product or service that much more as well.

  1. Do what you say you’ll do.

There are very few things worse than being told that you can rely or count on someone and having them drop the ball on their end. As a salesperson, it’s important that you gain and retain the trust of everyone that you speak with – prospects, leads and customers alike. If you’re making promises that you can’t keep, it won’t go unnoticed. I could rhyme off countless times that I’ve ordered packages online with a ‘guaranteed’ 2-day delivery, only to receive it 5-7 days after I completed the order. I could also tell you the names of the companies who failed to keep their promises, even though it might have happened months ago. As soon as you lose trust with your prospects, leads and customers, it takes quite some time to gain it back and you don’t want your product/service/company to be known for that.

If I can give a little piece of advice when it comes to doing what you’ll say you’ll do, and this is something that we like to do here at StaffStat whenever possible, is under promise and over deliver.

  1. Love your product.

It’s pretty obvious when you come into contact with someone who doesn’t love their job and the work that they do. In my opinion, one of the most important things that all salespeople should possess is a love for whatever it is that they’re selling. I’ve learned to love StaffStat because I know the system inside and out (I know exactly what it can and cannot do), I know that it can be utilized by anyone due to its simplicity and ease of use, and I’ve seen the positive impact that it has had and that it continues to have in the organizations that we deal with.

If the salesperson doesn’t love and believe in what they’re selling, why would anyone else?

 

Tessa-NEW