Put Technology to Work for Sales Success

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Technology can work wonders for your business, but it can also sabotage your sales efforts if used incorrectly, according to sales and marketing consultant Lenann McGookey Gardner. Read more to learn about those technologies where usage improvements can yield sales results.

Technology can work wonders for your business, but it can also sabotage your sales efforts if used incorrectly, according to sales and marketing consultant Lenann McGookey Gardner.

"So many organizations spend a fortune on CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems - technology that, somehow, they expect will improve their sales results. But sales results are only as good as the people making the calls!" says Gardner, author of Got Sales? The Complete Guide to Today's Proven Methods for Selling Services (Jarndyce & Jarndyce).

Here are a few technologies where usage improvements can yield sales results.

Voice mail: "Pay attention to your own outgoing voicemail message. Do you sound positive, enthusiastic, capable, and is the information you provide clear?" says Gardner.

And when leaving messages on others' voice mail, how you leave messages with prospects, and how often, can make a big difference in call-backs and closed business. Matching the loudness and speed of the prospect's outgoing voicemail message, say something provocative, give your telephone number twice, and be sure the last word you speak is your prospect's name rather than "goodbye."

Then wait 24 hours for your voice mail message to be returned. If it isn't, place a second call, and leave a second voice mail. Again, matching the loudness and speed of your prospect's voicemail message, say something like, "Fred, it's Joe Smith. I've missed you twice now. I had a couple of ideas about that plan you're putting together. Please give me a ring at 505.828.1788. That's 505.828.1788. I look forward to speaking with you, Fred!" Wait 24 hours for this second voice mail to be returned.

If it isn't, consider leaving a third voicemail: "Hi Fred, Joe Smith again. We must be on exactly opposite schedules. Fred, I had some ideas that will save you some time on the X plan - I'll keep the conversation brief. You can reach me at 505.828.1788, that's 505.828.1788. Speak with you soon, Fred!" Three voicemails, each left one day apart, is enough to get more than 90% of people to return your calls, even if they don't know you!

Email: Put your contact information on every email automatically using a signature block or template. Make that information clear, concise and interesting-looking, with a link to your website if you have one. "While we know that time spent face-to-face or phone-to-phone (F2F or P2P) with prospects correlates directly with closed sales, you can use email to keep in touch, to send along articles of interest, or to share maps or other information, thus nurturing your connection to your prospects and customers," says Gardner.

BlackBerry: "Andrew Sobel's writings about how to be seen as a Trusted Advisor rather than just an Expert for Hire reinforces the idea that a quick reply to a client's or prospect's email makes you different - too many people now answer their email only once a day, so if you're quicker, you stand out," says Gardner. "Carrying a BlackBerry, on which your email is always queued up and waiting, and using it for this purpose is easy!"

Lenann McGookey Gardner, a Harvard MBA and a past #1 worldwide sales rep at Xerox, offers keynote speeches on state-of-the-art selling and closing skills and executive and sales coaching for business success. Her book Got Sales? The Complete Guide to Today's Proven Methods for Selling Services is the one guidebook highlighting all the latest research and data on what's working now in contemporary selling. More information is available at http://www.YouCanSell.com.

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