Training Tuesday:Accelerating Sales – Part 1

Almost all companies, from the smallest to those in the Fortune 100, frequently – if not continually – face the challenge of getting sales fast: next month, next week, even “tomorrow.”

Sometimes you should rely on the tried and true methods, but sometimes you should shake things up. Often the well-established selling principles may need to be shelved.

Here are some of our key tips for improving your and your company’s sales results:

1.Set clear sales objective. Determine what sales you are being asked to make in this situation and then set a strategy for getting them. Make a plan and put it in writing, even just a couple sentences will do. Refer to your plan every day and don’t hesitate to make revisions when necessary.

2.Be certain you have pre-call credibility. Proper pre-call credibility will telegraph what benefits the buyer can expect from your sales call and get him to look forward to meeting you, or to at least listen and learn about what you have to offer.

3.Make use of sales support. Use every ounce of sales and marketing ammunition available to you: telemarketing appointments, email, pre-call letters, literature, testimonials, referrals, leads, ads, etc. Test them, then use what works and discard what doesn’t.

4.Skim the “cream” of your customers, prospects, and suspects. Make a list of prospects most ready to buy. Sort them into groups and then target them in priority order.

5.Rehearse. Even if you’ve sold the same product or service for years, one or two mistakes can kill a sale. Practice, record your presentation and review, role-play with your team; practice and perfection will pay.

Check back next week for more of our top tips to quickly improve your sales success rate.


Training Tuesday:Sales Traits Part 2

Last week we discussed several sales traits and the signals to improve them that you may be getting from your prospects and customers. This week we’re covering five more of these sales traits and signals.

Handling Resistance. If you’re running into a lot of resistance, the best thing you can do is work on analyzing needs and talking about benefits. When customers ask the same question over and over – even though you feel you’ve addressed it – you may be focusing on a benefit that doesn’t matter to them, and failing to find out their true concerns.

Selling Pressure. You’re coming on too strong if, when you attempt to close, customers become defensive or raise objections that seem irrelevant. When a customer starts defending a competitor they were unsatisfied with, that customer is telling you to back off. And if it seems the longer you’ve known a customer, the harder it is to get an appointment with them, the message is “stop pushing.”

Compatibility. Customers tell you you’re compatible by greeting you warmly, calling you when they think you can help them, and showing an interest in you that goes beyond “strictly business.” If new prospects quickly become unwilling to see you, customers are rude to you and keep you waiting, or customers keep calls short and straight to the point and refuse your invitations to lunch or recreational activities, be concerned about compatibility.

Trust. If customers don’t trust you, they may show it by withholding information you need, especially sensitive information such as budget constraints or involvement with competitors. They may ask you to put everything in writing or require proof, in the form of technical documentation and third-party references, of everything you say. If they’re calling the home office to check up on you, you haven’t gained their trust.

Account service. Simply put, this means getting in touch with your customers often enough to know about any changes that might impact future orders, and being available to handle little glitches before they become big ones. If you’re weak in this area, you may be getting these signals: Business from new customers drops off after the second or third order, or you lose sales to a competitor, even though you believe your product is better.

These are all important sales traits to work on and listening to the signals from your customers will help you determine your strengths and weaknesses. Improving these skills will improve your overall sales success.


Training Tuesday:Sales Traits Part 1

Do you provide customers with the kind of sales and service they expect? It not, they’ll let you know about it – not directly perhaps, but through indirect messages related to each of the sales traits below.

1.Professionalism: If customers keep you waiting in the outer lobby or look at their watches while you’re talking to them, they’re commenting on your professionalism. If they seem hesitant to discuss their needs with you, or don’t return your calls, you probably have not made a businesslike impression. You have two opportunities to establish your professionalism – in the initial contact and in the way you continue to keep in touch.

2.Analyzing needs: If customers seem bored and restless during presentations because what they hear isn’t relevant to them; customers interrupt you with questions that sound impatient or brusque because they see that you don’t know enough about them to propose appropriate solutions; you lose sales to competitors, even when you’re sure your product performs better, because our competition does a better job of finding out what the customer needed.

3.Talking in benefits: If customers are truly interested in what you’re discussing, they will be attentive, and the conversation will continue after the formal meeting is over. If, on the other hand, they’re nice and polite, and ask good questions, but leave with a simple “Good presentation,” watch out! This is a sign that you probably didn’t do that well.

4.Technical Competence: If you avoid talking about the technical aspects or avoid the customer’s technical people because you’re afraid you’ll be tripped up by their questions, or if you had an easy time getting in the door but a difficult time scheduling further appointments, this is usually a sign that you are lacking in technical competence.

5.Asking for the order. If you don’t move customers towards a buying decision, or ask for their business, the dialogue and interest will fade away. Making a lot of calls, but not many sales, the prospect’s interest fading away, or leaving a sales call without feeling accomplished, are all signs that you may not be asking for the order at the right time.

Next week we’ll discuss some additional sales traits that you should already possess, and the signs you may get that signal a need to improve them.


Training Tuesday:Fixing Sales Talk Mistakes

“Open mouth, insert foot.” It’s a saying used to describe what we feel happens when we say something that we should not have said because it could potentially be interpreted as inappropriate, hurtful, embarrassing for either party, or just awkward. In sales, you can occasionally say something and immediately want to take it back.

There are a few reasons this typically happens:

* We’re so excited and nervous to be talking to the customer that we get on a roll and can’t seem to stop ourselves

* We get defensive when we hear an objection – about our company, office, or service, and we rush to give an explanation

* We become uncomfortable or impatient with the silence after we ask a question, and we start speaking without waiting for an answer

* We say something we know didn’t sound right, but instead of stopping to regroup, we stumble on to the next potentially bad comment

The problem with this is that we can never fully take back those words. More importantly, we can’t predict a customer’s reaction to them.

What can you do when you’ve said something you wish you hadn’t?

  1. Offer a sincere apology. Give a genuine “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” followed by specifics of what you said or did.
  2. Use humor. With the right person and context, self-deprecating humor is helpful and almost always works.

Admitting that you did or said something wrong can be powerful in building a new customer relationship. We’re all human and we all make mistakes. Your customer knows that. Sometimes demonstrating the ability to admit your mistakes, and trying to remedy them, makes a customer want to work with you even more. It lets them know that you’ll be honest with them going forward.

We all make mistakes. Very few are fatal. Apologize when you make them. Learn from them and make it your goal to make fewer mistakes and more sales.


Training Tuesday:Sales Listening

Sales listening is patient listening. Don’t anxiously wait for an opportunity to jump in and solve all the customer’s problems right away. After I ask a question I shut up and allow my prospect to speak. Sometimes I wait for several minutes. Most salespeople can’t stand a pause in the conversation. Take a deep breath, relax, and listen. Some prospects want to be listened to more than they want their problems solved. People love to talk about themselves, their jobs, and their companies; encourage them to do so.

Transportation salespeople who have been in our industry for a long time should re-visit how they qualify and maintain accounts. It’s easy to start believing that you have all the answers, but you never know what changes may have happened since your last call.

Never waste the prospect’s time. There will come a point when the customer is ready to move past the small talk, and it’s usually quicker than you might think. Everyone is short on time these days and most traffic managers, purchasing managers, and other decision-makers will appreciate you getting to the point. You can do this tactfully without jeopardizing the emerging relationship.

First, give the prospect a reason he or she should answer your questions and ask for permission to proceed. The prospect always expects to answer questions and will give this permission. When you move on to the questions, make sure you are actively listening and not just mentally preparing for the next thing you are going to say.

Take notes! Taking notes can be one of your most powerful sales tools as it will reinforce the reason you made the appointment in the first place: to learn more about the prospect and their company’s needs.

Taking notes also helps you listen. There’s something about holding an empty notepad in front of you that makes you pay better attention to what is being said and makes it more difficult to miss important points.

Taking notes puts you in a position of authority. It encourages the prospect to open up and generally sends strong positive signals to them. It says, “I’m listening to you and I won’t forget.”

Be sure to pay attention to the fine line between asking questions and making the prospect feel that they are being cross-examined. Be natural and at ease to create a comfortable two-way conversation.

Listen, Learn, and Earn.


Training Tuesday:Mastering the Sales Presentation

Increase your odds of closing more sales by practicing your presentations. After you’ve made sales presentations, they become practice sessions for presentations you’ll give in the future.

Collect the ideas you’d like to suggest or selling points you want to make; then organize them according to your purpose and the needs of your prospect. Give your words greater credibility by backing them up with data or testimonials. Keep your words as simples and direct as possible; use active, not passive language; and vary your tone, volume, and pitch to keep the prospect interested. Illustrate your words with examples and interesting stories to add color to your presentation.

Lastly, get to know everything you can about the transportation business – both SunteckTTS and the competition. When you demonstrate how much you know about your industry you’ll gain the respect of your customers and prospects. When people believe they are dealing with an expert it’s a lot easier to close the sale. Most customers want you to advise them. When they realize that you have a great knowledge of the transportation industry and of available carriers, then they’re happy to let you take control. It’s when a salesperson doesn’t know much about the transportation industry as his or her prospect that people resent a strong sales approach. However, there’s no doubt that traffic and purchasing people are better informed today than they’ve ever been.

The best way to make a compelling sales presentation is by demonstrating that you’re an expert in your business as well as theirs. When you exemplify excellence in your sales presentation, the customer is eager to find out what you can do to offer solutions to their particular transportation problems.

To make the best presentation possible, you must have conviction in the services you’re there to sell. A customer instinctively knows whether you believe in your service. If you do, they in turn will believe in you. Only then can you make a sales presentation that turns into a sale every time.



Training Tuesday:Balancing the Sales Pitch

Training Tuesday: Balancing the Sales Pitch and Silence

Often the most important part of your sales pitch is when you are completely silent. We often rush through all the great benefits of why a customer would buy, without really listening to them tell us what they need and why they might buy from us.

Most people hate mimes. Why do they exist? Are they evil? If a tree falls on a mime does he make a sound? But, silence is the one important sales attribute that mimes demonstrate in abundance. So, on your next sales call, be a mime, at least for part of the call. Silence just may turn out to be the most important piece of the sales puzzle. 

Why is it that so many salespeople think they must tell everything they know before allowing the prospect to talk? Why is it that some think the sales process involves a lot of talking when, in reality, the most successful salespeople do more listening than talking? It’s a fact that the more we listen, the more we can learn about our prospects and the easier we can find their “hot buttons.”  It’s not what we say that makes the sale, it’s what we can get the prospect to say.

Begin With Questions

Think about how many times you launch right into your presentation thinking you know what the prospect wants. Sometime later, often too much later, you find you’re on the wrong track. The prospect has an entirely different need – one you might have uncovered by asking open-ended questions that required more than a yes or no response. Then you could have focused on what the customer wanted instead of what you had to sell. Stop thinking so much about what you are going to say and concentrate on what the prospect is telling you.

It’s a paradox: the more we try to tell the prospect up front, the more barriers we create to the purchase. However, the more we listen to why he or she wants to buy, the more we can tailor our delivery to providing very specific information concerning how our product or service fits his or her needs.

Ask More Questions

The opening question is merely the first in a series of questions that guide the dialogue. It’s an approach as old as the art of miming. If we want to involve someone – the first step in convincing that person – every comment we make should end with a question that solicits more information. The person asking questions is the person controlling the direction of the dialogue. The one who is talking is providing information that helps the other adjust the direction.

After you ask a question, however, don’t be too anxious to fill the silence. Let the silence work in your favor. Too often we answer the question for the prospect by jumping in and providing him with an objection:

“Perhaps you don’t like the price,” or, “Maybe you don’t like the resources it would involve.” 

Beware of the very real temptation to fill in the silence with a product weakness – the one we are most worried about.

Don’t Rush In With Answers

Salespeople have a terrible tendency to try to get their point in as soon as the customer stops talking. Think about how often you find yourself stepping on your prospect’s last words, rushing in right after the prospect has finished making a point.

Salespeople can break themselves of this self-defeating habit by training themselves to wait several seconds after the customer has stopped talking before they begin. That gives you ample time to think about your response and answer in a way that reflects the customer’s concerns.

Get in the habit of paraphrasing what the prospect has said. This will accomplish two things. One, it reduces the likelihood of misunderstanding what was said, and two, it boosts the prospect’s ego. People like to hear their thoughts repeated – it makes them feel like what they said was important.

Learn to Listen

Don’t listen with just with your ears. Listen with your eyes and your entire body. Use body language that shows you are paying more attention, and your listening habits will automatically improve. Lean forward intently, look the prospect in the eye, and focus on the valuable information you are hearing.

And finally, listen for buying signals. You’ll never notice a buying signal from the customer when you’re doing the talking. Sure, we want to talk so the prospect will learn how smart we are. But the prospect only really knows how smart we are when we’ve “listened” to the information he or she wants to share.



Training Tuesday:Asking Questions

Training Tuesday: Asking Questions

Asking good questions can make the difference between making a bad sales call and engaging the prospect in a worthwhile conversation. Here are some important tips to remember:

Use ‘assumptive problem’ open-ended questions
Instead of saying, “Do you have any problems with moving your product now?” say, “How are you handling problems that occur while transporting your product?” If you know your industry well enough, you’re aware of the problems that everyone seems to have. You are asking your prospects to quantify and explain the implications and consequences of those problems.

Use ‘instructional statements’
Don’t ask for information; tell them to give it to you. Use phrases like, “Tell me a little about……….”; “Share with me……….”; “Give me some idea of……….”; “Detail the way………” and, “Let’s talk about how you……….”

Ask yourself questions before you make the call
Think about the call before you make it. Ask, “What do I want them to do as a result of this call?” This will determine your primary objective. Then ask, “What information do I need from them?” This will provide whatever qualifying or information-gathering questions you must ask. Finally, ask, “What do I need them to think and believe in order to take the action I desire?” The answer to this question provides the points you’d ideally like to get across….without actually making the points yourself. They are ideas for them to discover through your questions. The reasoning is that people always believe more of what they say and think than of what you say. One of the surest ways to give yourself a fair chance at making a sale is to ask the right questions.


Training Tuesday:Overcoming Objections

If it weren’t for objections everybody would be in sales. Without objections there’d be no need for companies to pay big, fat commission checks. So, while none of us likes objections, we must accept them as part of the business and make sure we know how to overcome them.

Your main goal when faced with an objection is to turn the objection around into a reason to purchase our service. If a prospect raises the ever-popular “Your rates are too high” objection, counter it by saying, “Our prices accurately reflect the value you’ll be getting from Sunteck. And good value is important to you, isn’t it?”

Occasionally you’ll run into a prospect in the traffic or purchasing department who’s sure he’s seen everything there is to see regarding freight companies. In other words, he’s seen it all. You might hear, “Get right to the bottom line and show me your rates?” Generally, all this person really wants is attention, and to show you how much he knows about our industry. Recognize his expertise and give him all the attention he craves. This is always a better way to handle a tough customer than to put him down. With compliments and kindness you can eventually win him over, or at least wear him down.

“Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect.”
– W. Clement Stone

People love to buy but hate to be sold. Objections are inevitable. Not only should you expect objections, I think you should welcome them. An objection is a positive part of the sales process. A purchasing VP who gives you an objection is listening closely. They’re considering buying your service to solve their transportation problems. And most importantly, their objection gives you an opportunity to answer the objection and add one more good reason why they should buy from you now.

Expect objections, but never create them. Prepare a list of the top ten objections your customers and prospects have had with all their motor carriers in the past and then prepare two or three appropriate responses to answer each one.

When faced with an objection, first restate the question or statement.

  • “The rates are too high?”
  • “You feel your service is too slow?”
  • “You’re worried about damage?”
  • “You wish we offered next day service to Cleveland?”

Give the prospect an opportunity to confirm your understanding of his objection, and hopefully your prospective client will give additional reasons for his or her objection.

Clarify the objection.

  • “I’m curious why you feel that way?”
  • “Could you be more specific, please?”
  • “Do you need more information?”

Remember this is not a contest. Nobody should win or lose. This should be a conversation where two people are answering questions and gathering information.

After you’ve re-stated the question, and clarified the objection, and you’re sure you understand the objection fully, then answer it. Don’t just handle your customer’s objections, instead answer them. Answer the objection head on, honestly, simply, and succinctly. Handle objections early and often. A direct approach to handling objection guarantees greater sales results.

The right questions at the beginning of your presentation can help prevent objections at the end of it. For example, ask questions to confirm that your prospect has the authority to make a decision by himself to make sure you don’t hear, “I need to talk to Mr. Anderson about this,” right before you’re ready to close.

Be careful about what you say when faced with an objection based on one of your competitor’s services. I handle a prospect’s question, “What makes you think your truckload service to Akron is better than XYZ Truckload Carriers?” by responding, “I’ve never been a customer of theirs. I can only tell you what our customers say about Sunteck’s excellent service to Akron. I can be very specific with you about what Sunteck’s services are like. Then it’s up to you Mr. Prospect, to make a comparison.”

If I’m told that another carrier is also presently under consideration and asked to give an opinion of them, I reply, “It’s a fine company. The key is for you to determine who can give you the greatest value. Who’s going to help your bottom line? And when you run into difficulties, who is going to be there to solve your problems? I am. I’m the person who’s going to provide all of that for you. Through me and my access to all of the resources within Sunteck, we’ll get the job done.”

If you worked for a company that offered objection-proof service, you’d have no competitors. Every transportation company in the country has a shortcoming or limitation. If your prospect finds it, don’t try to prove him wrong. The fact that our service isn’t perfect doesn’t lower its potential value to the prospect, but the fact that you acknowledged the objection’s validity might help you build trust and rapport. Admitting our service’s imperfection also helps give the prospect a sense of control that may reduce his fear of making a buying decision.

When possible, let prospects answer their own objections. Sometimes you can stop an objection in its tracks by asking, “Could you tell me why you feel that way?” If your prospect can’t answer, then you and the prospect know the objection has little or no validity. If your prospect does answer with a more specific objection, you have a chance to eliminate it and move one step closer to the close.

Buying decisions are risky for your prospects. Choosing the wrong carrier can be harmful to the prospect’s career. Objections are the only way they have to help make sure that risk will pay off for them. If you can eliminate those objections, you’ll help provide the reassurance they need to say yes.



We are beyond thrilled to reveal our updated site and we hope you like the result. We will constantly be improving our site over time; in the meantime, here are some early updates we think you will love:

Use it everywhere
Our world has changed dramatically over the last decade, largely driven by technology advancements. Here at Sunteck, we strive to keep at the forefront of this growing momentum. Our new website was created to be universally accessible, on as many platforms and devices as possible. It’s important for us that our busy audience can view the information they need, whenever they need it – especially on the go.

This is for you
We invest a lot into our proprietary technology systems and our website now showcases our commitment to bringing the best information to you using the latest technology. The site layout, language and content were all major decisions in our site road map. However, our #1 priority has always been to focus on you. We have worked hard to make every section of our site easier to navigate so you can quickly find the information you’re looking for when you want it.

Please take some time to explore our new site. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.


Dave Dallas
Chief Marketing Officer
President, Brokerage Division