“Take a deep breath and get back on the horse.”
Jason Eatmon offers these words to frustrated sales people across the nation. He is the chief sales officer at Sales Gravy, a consulting company that provides training and resources to improve and accelerate sales productivity. Eatmon was the master trainer featured at Synergy Solution Group’s Sales Summit, held Sept. 28-29. The virtual conference welcomed 134 attendees from 33 member companies and focused on what Eatmon calls fanatical prospecting.
“Prospecting is hard,” he said. “But it’s cumulative, like exercising to get strong or eating healthy to lose weight.”
The two-day event combined instruction, discussion, and practical application exercises via Zoom.
The first day was broken into three primary sections — phone prospecting, dealing with objection, and using a prospecting email framework. Keeping the pipeline full requires prospecting every day, according to Eatmon. Not one day should go by without prospecting, even in the busy times.
“Companies operating in feast or famine do so because they didn’t do any prospecting during their times of feast,” he said. “The No. 1 reason for failure in sales is an empty pipeline."
The reason the pipeline empties so quickly without daily prospecting is often due to the amount of customer touches it takes for a person to start doing business with a company. According to Eatmon, that number is 20 to 50 times of intentional customer connection.
VIRTUALLY ATTENDED: The virtual conference welcomed 134 attendees from 33 member companies. The two-day event combined instruction, discussion, and practical application exercises via Zoom.
“Prospecting is long stretches of suck interrupted by a few brief moments of elation,” he said. “It is necessary to prospect every day.”
Then he went on to explain how to make effective calls and leave good prospecting voicemails. Contrary to what may be said by other sales trainers, Eatmon noted that cold calling is not dead and that it should be included in a well-balanced prospecting strategy.
"Prospecting call objectives are to gather information, build familiarity, set an appointment, and engage in a conversation," he said. "Be simple, direct, and confident. If they don't answer, leave a voice message identifying yourself, saying the phone number twice, giving the reason for the call, and then repeat the name and phone number twice again.”
The third topic for the day was email. Considered one-to-one prospecting, this customer touch can be a challenge. Bad prospecting emails have no research, no differentiation, and come across irrelevant, according to the session.
“Long, boring, questions, impersonal, all cap, and emoticon email subject lines scream, ‘Delete me’,” said Eatmon. “A good prospecting subject line should be short, less than 50 characters. The subject line and the very first line of the email are the left and right hooks of email sales.”
Day two of the Sales Summit had attendees taking on time management, including the line between busy and productive. Eatmon stressed that time is something that contractors cannot get back.
“Time discipline is sacrificing what you want now for what you want most,” said Eatmon. “The greatest predictor of success is how you choose to invest your time.”
With this thought in mind, attendees listened as the instructor walked them through a time derailers exercise. Eatmon asked them to work individually and list the issues, interruptions, and people that steal their time and derail their sales day.
“Now, consider how you might delegate, ignore, deflect, or manage these derailers to minimize negative impact,” he said.
After the exercise, Eatmon suggested that attendees list all their activities in a typical day or week. He then instructed them to estimate the amount of time spent on each and categorize them as trivial, impactful, or important to their sales job.
“Answer the question: Is your current plan helping you achieve your sales goals?” he said.
Eatmon challenged those in attendance to become more accomplished in less time with the best possible outcome by being efficient and effective. He warned that multi-tasking is a losing strategy.
“You can do one thing consciously at a time; everything after that is muscle memory,” said Eatmon. “Be fanatical about making time blocks and make your calendar look like a stack of Legos.”
The event closed after the second day, but the work for those in attendance was just beginning.
Synergy will be hosting breakout sessions through Oct. 21 for members to discuss how they are taking the concepts and strategies learned during the prospecting workshop and putting those into practice. Some of the topics will include how to find leads, lessons learned, and client expectations. During this screen-to-screen learning experience attendees will participate in live presentations, breakout groups, and interactive discussions.
“We've also created a leadership program that will provide value leadership skills on a monthly basis, and we're working on a program for our owners and executives to continue the strategic planning that typically takes place during our event in November,” said Julie Bishop, Synergy executive director. “While we would all prefer to be together at an in-person event, our members have really embraced the virtual opportunities.”