Tag Archives: successful

Checklists – By Ciaran McGuigan

The next time you have your car serviced look at the bill. Usually there will be a complete inventory of all the tasks, inspections and repairs that the garage conducted on your car. These are not the same for every car, each car will have a different procedure dependent on the brand of the vehicle, its age and the mileage.

When your car is brought in, the mechanic does not just look at it, pop the hood and guess what needs to be done. They have a series of diagnostic tests which are tailored for that vehicle at that moment in its life. These are essentially checklists, the right person doing the right thing, in the right order in the right way.

The most experienced mechanic will use the same system the apprentice uses. Checklists are the way to streamline and co-ordinate your sales activity so that it is more productive and profitable.

So if you find yourself or your team arriving at the office, looking at your desks and then figuring out what you should be doing you need to start putting when and what you do down on paper. These checklists don’t have to be very complex. Simple and clear is the way to go.

For instance, a key philosophy of mine when running a sales campaign is 10 x 10, that is ten prospecting calls every day by 10 a.m. I also compound this by having 5 after 5, that is five sales letters after five p.m. These tasks are part of my daily activity management and I have a checklist to follow my progress.

If you don’t know where to start, find the top sales person in your business and ask if you can ‘shadow’ them for a day or two. Observe what they do and when and write it down. You can use this as the foundation for your own series of pro forma checklists which will give you the freedom to grow your business sales.


Tele-prospecting Is Tough

By Richard Lee

Client Services


At Strike Force Sales we often describe being an operator in an outbound contact centre as taking part in a “contact sport”. This is because some of the responses you receive over the phone from both gatekeepers and decision makers can be brutal and at the end of a long day it sometimes feels like you have gone 12 rounds with Mike Tyson. If you’re not tough enough to keep getting up after you receive verbal punches again and again day after day then it will be an early retirement for you from this sport.


So how can we stay in shape and make sure we have what it takes to dodge the punches and throw a few of our own?


The best way to do this is to avoid the common mistakes we hear everyday when we answer the phone and it’s yet another telemarketer from overseas on the other end of the line.


– Talking Too Much


One of the most common mistakes is to talk at your prospect rather than with them and engage them in conversation and actually listen what they have to say. If the prospect isn’t speaking much, chances are they could be bored and stopped listening a while ago.


– Failing To Close


Lots of telemarketers are scared of rejection which leads them to not even ask their prospect if they want to buy the product. Don’t be scared of rejection, it’s not personal and the no’s are just as important as the yes’s.


– Following The Script


Reading a script can be (and usually is) disastrous. When your whole knowledge of a certain product comes from this one page of badly written spiel in front of you, you will always fail if someone asks you question that’s not covered in the script.


– Stopping At The First no


Don’t stop at the first no you are given. The chances are that it will probably be a knee jerk reaction from the prospect to get you off the phone. Dig a little deeper, find out if they have a genuine reason to turn you down.


– Are You Interested?


This is probably the worst question you can ask as it gives the prospect the opportunity to say no. Knowing when to use open and closed ended questions is vital in keeping the prospect engaged and giving them less opportunity to say no.


– Boredom


Depending on your target market the decision makers can be difficult to get a hold of. Keep yourself active whilst waiting to make contact, nobody wants to listen to someone who sounds bored as it reflects badly on the product you are pitching.


These are just a few of the many common mistakes that you need to avoid to be successful in this sport. Remember tele-prospecting is tough and if you’re not tough enough to get back up after you have been knocked down then maybe you should consider another career.

St Patrick was in Sales

celtic_cross_of_saint_patrick_lg3By Ciaran Mcguigan

Joint Managing Director


March 17 is Saint Patrick’s Day. The traditional patron saint of Ireland’s day is usually celebrated around the world with green beer, fried food and bad Irish accents. I thought this year as we are in the season we could all benefit from a little more background on why he was so successful when so many had failed before hand.


Before St Patrick went to Ireland there had been many unsuccessful missions [read sales trips] attempting to bring Christianity to pagan Ireland. Ireland, like many other parts of pagan Europe, consistently resisted attempts to convert the population. Now back then as a missionary if you were unsuccessful it generally meant that you were dead; so we can assume that every missionary prepared thoroughly and was personally committed to the outcome. So what did Patrick do which was different?


There are three lessons for us all.


Lesson One: He spoke their language


All previous missionaries arrived speaking classical Latin which naturally no one in Ireland understood. Because of Patrick’s years in slavery he could speak in the local tongue and he understood local customs and behaviour. At a fundamental level he could engage with his prospect base. Ask yourself how many of your sales team can speak CEO or Marketing, Finance or Distribution. Learn how to speak your customer’s language and you will write more business.


Lesson Two: He worked for the long term solution


Patrick was after long-term fundamental change – he wanted to convert core beliefs and systems which had been established for millennium. He knew that simply to arrive, build a church and start converting would not work over the long term. His predecessors had arrived with this strategy and had approached local chiefs and tribal elders with the goal that if they converted the chief then everyone in the tribe would follow. That’s fine – the only problem is if the chief then changes his mind – so does everyone else. No one was ever really converted. Rather than follow this, Patrick looked for the people who looked after the future of the village or tribe; the children. Patrick specifically targeted and spoke to the women in each community knowing that if he can influence them then they in turn will bring up their children, male and female, with their beliefs; beliefs which will stand the test of time.


Lesson Three: He leveraged existing symbols


In Ireland, as in many parts of the ancient world, the Sun was worshipped as the main diet. It made sense, after all the sun brought life everyday. It was one of the few constants in a dangerous world. Patrick knew that he could not replace the sun symbol which was worshiped and symbolised in art, jewellery and custom. He had one symbol; the crucifix and what he did next was one of the smartest marketing strategies I have ever come across. He combined them. What we now know as a ‘Celtic’ cross is in fact the pagan symbol for the sun in combination with a cross. Here is our lesson; We should all ask ourselves – How does our product or service compliment our competitors. If we can change our pitch from either / or, to ALSO then we can win more business and grow accounts.