Keeping the Funnel Full: The Definitive Authority on Solution Selling

Keeping the Funnel Full: The Definitive Authority on Solution Selling

by Don Thomson


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780973579000
Publisher: Mardon Publishing
Publication date: 10/30/2004
Pages: 156
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

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Empowering the Screening Source

This approach results in success rates of over 80% for obtaining that important first interview, because it empowers the screening source. The traditional approach views the screening source as a potential obstacle, and looks for ways to get around him or her. Given that Senior Executives often take their Executive Assistants with them to a new job or company, the Executive Assistant becomes well versed as to who gets to meet the boss. Empowering the screening source involves four steps.

i. Write a one or two short paragraphs stating the objective of the meeting. Include one valid reason why the Senior Executive should wish to meet with you. This is not a form letter; it needs to be tailored to the person you wish to meet. It is not an easy task to write this short letter. You need to put yourself in the position of the Senior Executive, asking: "What's in it for me?" Ensure "what is in it for me?" will positively impact the screening source.

Here's what someone in the business of helping companies going global in Asia, might say.

"I enjoyed reading about your company in yesterday's Chronicle and note that you are planning to expand your operations into Asia. We are in the business of assisting companies in increasing their revenues particularly into global markets. A number off clients will attest to how we have assisted them. I would appreciate a half-hour meeting with you to learn more about your expansion plans. At the end of this meeting, I'll have more insight into whether we can be of value to you. You will then know if you would like to continue discussions".

ii. Determine the name of the screening source and the Senior Executive prior to your phone call. Techniques for doing this were discussed in the traditional approach. iii. Phone the Senior Executive for the appointment, knowing there is a 90%+ chance that the Executive Assistant will answer the phone. You are going to say something like this:

"Mr. Brown, this is Tony Smith of the ABC Company. How are you today?"
"Just fine, and feel free to call me Ron."

"Ron, I would appreciate having a half hour appointment with Ms. Green. May I send you a very short letter outlining the purpose of the meeting?"
"Sure go ahead and send it Tony."
"Do you mind if I send it by e-mail?"

When he agrees, ask if it can be sent as an attachment to the e-mail, as many people will not open unknown attachments, and a formatted word document looks more professional when printed and presented to the Senior Executive.
You would then say:
"Ron, after you've read the attachment, if you think that Ms. Green would benefit from this meeting, do you mind setting up an appointment?" This is the empowering statement; you're assigning the decision to the screening source.

iv. Call the Executive Assistant the next day to confirm that he received the e-mail and could open the attachment. By letting the Executive Assistant make the decision to schedule the meeting, you have empowered the screening source. One of the following four scenarios will likely occur:
· The Senior Executive will agree to meet with you.
· The Senior Executive does not want to meet with you (unlikely if you've written a compelling letter).
· The Executive Assistant will make the decision and get back to you with the time and date for the meeting (not as rare as you may think).
· The Executive Assistant will screen you out (rarely in my experience if you use this approach).

In addition to mailing a thank you letter to the Senior Executive, also e-mail a separate thank you note to the Executive Assistant after the interview. On your first phone call to the Senior Executive, designed solely to request an appointment, the Executive Assistant is likely to ask: "What is the purpose of this meeting?"

By giving the screening source the opportunity to ask this question, you risk not knowing the direction the questioning will go and what answers will be acceptable to win the appointment. Your success rate will be much higher if you are able to pre-empt this questioning, and obtain agreement to e-mail a short letter articulating the purpose of the appointment. The only difference between this and the traditional approach is the way in which the reason behind the meeting is communicated. In this approach, the reason is given in a well thought out document, whereas in the traditional approach, the reason is given on the phone. If the Senior Executive answers the phone, however, opt for the traditional approach.

Table of Contents

1. The Greatest Sales Tool
2. Why a FUNNEL
3. Benefits of the FUNNEL
4. FUNNEL Concept
5. The Balanced FUNNEL
6. The Accurate Sales Forecast
7. Managing Your Sales Program
8. Key Points

9. Introduction
10. Creating a Low-Risk Image
11. Sources of Prospects
12. Prospecting Seminars
13. New Prospect Criteria
14. Target a Senior Executive
15. The Six-      Step Prospecting Process
     Step 1 Obtaining the First Appointment
     Step 2: Preparing the Cal.
     Step 3: Qualifying Face To Face
     Step 4: Handling the Good Fit
     Step 5: Handling the Bad Fit
     Step 6: Reviewing the Call
16. Key Points for Making an Effective Prospecting Call

17. Solution Selling
18. Decision-Making Process
19. Developing the Coach
20. Getting to Senior Executives
21. Brainstorming
22. The Sales Plan
23. Selling To Committees
24. The Sales Call
25. The Call Report
26. The Proposal
27. The Real Reasons for Losing a Sale
28. Lost Order Report
29. Key Points

30. Ten-Step FUNNEL Design Workshop
     Step 1: Choose FUNNEL Design Team
     Step 2: Determine New Prospect Criteria
     Step 3: Choose Number of phases
     Step 4: Choose Phase Names
     Step 5: Determine Sales Criteria
     Step 6: Allocate Sales Criteria to Each Phase
     Step 7: Sort Sales Criteria Chronologically
     Step 8: Assign Percentage Probability to Each Phase
     Step 9: Determine New Customer Criteria
     Step 10: Design THE Balanced FUNNEL
31. Creating an Accurate Sales Forecast
32. Introducing the FUNNEL to the Sales Force
33. The Two Indispensable Sales Tools
34. Key Points


Selling has been my profession for 35 years and I've had the opportunity to work with many highly skilled and successful sales professionals during that time.

Don Thomson is unique among that group!

KEEPING THE FUNNEL FULL details a wide range of time-tested processes, tactics, and strategies that will enable any sales representative to obtain more meetings and close more business. Using real life experiences from his career, Thomson bridges the gap between the clinical "how to" and the "overly simplistic" approaches to this topic. The Charlotte story is an example of a major victory thanks to some common sense and flexible action while being level locked throughout the campaign.

The author brings more to the topic than a formula - he brings a lifelong passion for selling, a true respect for the customer, and a dedication to being prepared for any surprise in a campaign. It is no accident that Don has exceeded his sales quota every year of his career.

The concept of empowering the screening source is vintage Thomson at his best - a chapter worth the price of the book, and a process that Don developed uniquely and still practices to this day.

Read the book, absorb the content, implement the concepts, make more sales, enhance your career, and watch your FUNNEL grow!

Fran Moynihan
Vice President, Sales

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