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.

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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

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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?

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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

3 Valuable Lessons I’ve Learned from my Leadership Team.

Blog - lessons from leadership2.pngSince I’ve started working with the teams at Plan A and StaffStat, I’ve learned a lot about many different things. I’ve learned the importance of stepping outside of my comfort zone and being comfortable with where it takes me. I’ve learned that there will always be individuals who cross your path that are going to make you feel as though you aren’t enough or you don’t know enough, and you have to learn to ignore their opinions and keep moving forward regardless. I’ve come to realize that just because I’m young doesn’t mean that I don’t know what I’m doing or what I’m talking about, even though some people may think otherwise. Like I said, I’ve learned a lot.

Today I wanted to share a few of the quotes that we often use in our office, the meanings behind them and the lessons that they’ve taught me. To others they may have different meanings, but here is what they mean to the Plan A and StaffStat teams

1. “Do the right thing, even when no one is looking”. I’ve learned how important it is to do the right thing, even when no one is looking; integrity is everything. I was taught that there’s never a reason to be dishonest with yourself, your co-workers, your customers or anyone that’s relying on you and trusting you because it will come back to bite you. There will be times when you’ll be faced with making a decision and you’re forced to choose between what’s cheapest or fastest or easiest for you and what’s right. Not only will you feel good after making the right decision, but it will also show later on to those that matter.

2. “Trust your gut”. This is something that was pushed on me when I first started in my role at Plan A as a recruiter. When I was in charge of hiring healthcare professionals who would work within our contracted homes, I was responsible for hiring the right people and weeding out those who didn’t quite fit our vision. I would look at the obvious things, like their work history, the responses from their references, their answers to my interview questions etc. But one thing that I was always told to take into consideration was my gut instinct. If I had a bad feeling about someone after their interview, for any reason at all, I was told to trust the feeling and not spend any more time on them. When I first started, I would check their references anyways just to be sure. Almost every single time that I went ahead and called their references there would be some sort of red flag; there would be an issue with attendance, their punctuality, or their ability to follow instructions and do what was asked of them.

“Trusting my gut” has become something that I do on a regular basis not only in my professional life, but also in my personal life. Try it out, you’ll be surprised with what your intuition does for you.

3.“Run into the fire”. When issues arise and there are problems to deal with, we always use the term, “Run into the fire”. Rather than waiting for our customers to come to us and express their concerns, we are always quick to send them an email or give them a quick call to tell them what’s going on before they have the chance to come to us. In my own personal experience with cell phone providers or banking companies, I find it’s much more respectable when I’m called and notified before I even notice that there’s something going on. If I realize that my cell service is out or that my card has been locked before I’m connected with by the company, I get frustrated and wonder why I wasn’t told before being inconvenienced by whatever the issue is.

This is one of those choices that are often difficult to make since you’re usually faced with choosing between what’s easiest for you and what’s right. It would be easier to ignore the issue and hope that no one notices until it’s resolved, but is that the right thing to do?

TessaSignatureRevised

The Painful Realization That You’re an Option When They’re Your Priority

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Since starting in sales I’ve come to realize one thing: You better get used to being an option, or you’ll drive yourself crazy.

One thing that we often talk about in the office is how difficult it can be to make someone a priority – prospects, leads and current customers alike – while they treat you as an option because, technically, you are. They don’t have to choose you. They don’t have to listen to what you have to say or take time to learn about what you’re selling. But why does it seem so unfair? Because all that we do as salespeople, day in and day out, is learn about our prospects, leads and customers, how they operate and how we can help them utilizing whatever it is we have to offer.

The feeling is hard to describe/understand unless you’ve experienced it firsthand. If you haven’t worked in sales, imagine this: you’re putting a ton of time and effort – 40+ hours a week to be exact – into a friendship or relationship and no matter what you do, it’s never enough to get their attention, make them want to talk to you or get them to even answer your calls. You call them, you leave voicemails and you email them, over and over and over, but nothing works. So how do you deal with it?

Step 1: Take a look in the mirror. Although you might think you’re doing everything right, you should take a step back and look at your approach with said prospect/lead/customer. Are you reaching them in a way that works for them? Did you look at different ways to reach them that may prove to be more successful? Have you outlined everything that you need from them in a way that’s easy for them to follow and understand? 

Step 2: Get used to it. As I said in the first line of this post, you better get used to being an option right away or you’ll drive yourself crazy. It hurts at first, just like rejection, but it’s what goes along with being a salesperson and it’s not something that you can just avoid. It’ll come with time, don’t worry!

Step 3: “There are plenty of fish in the sea”. Yes, I use this cliché phrase to describe a tactic that I use to ignore the fact that half of the calls that I make aren’t going to lead to anything. Whenever I log the sixth call that I’ve made to one prospect or send out that final email as a last attempt to connect, I remind myself of how big the sea really is! For every person that doesn’t respond or pick up their phone, there are hundreds more that are waiting to learn about whatever it is that you’re selling. Keep your head up!

TessaSignatureRevised