How to Answer Common High-Ticket Sales Objections: 7 Tactics

Source: https://www.autogrow.co/handling-sales-objections/

Selling can be… stressful. 

First, you feel like you have to walk a fine line between being pushy (I used to think this is how best to sell, but it’s not. More on that later…) and informative. 

Then you have to “read the room” and find out what your prospect’s biggest concerns are. 

And most important: you’ve got to have an answer to every question buyers have about your products, services, and/or business.

Because if you don’t have all the answers, you’re going to look foolish. And you’re going to end up losing the sale too. 

This is especially true when it comes to addressing your lead’s sales objections for high-ticket products and services

If you don’t know how to overcome objections in sales, your prospects won’t realize that what you’re selling is exactly what they’ve been looking for. The so awaited solution to all of their problems!

It’s no wonder that for many, addressing sales objections can be stressful. 

That’s why today I’m showing how to close more sales by effectively handling sales objections. 

In this article, you’ll learn: 

  • 7 data-backed strategies that will help you respond to sales objections more successfully and persuade potential customers to buy from you (without being “salesy”). 
  • 5 effective responses to the most common high-ticket sales objections. 
  • Questions you can ask leads to reassure them about your product or service’s benefits and nudge them towards becoming a customer. 

All right, let’s go. 

In a rush? Want to download this article as a PDF so you can easily take action on it later? Click here to download this article as a PDF guide.

 



 

Sales Objections: A Necessary Evil Your Sales Team Needs to Conquer

So you’ve come up with the perfect product or service. 

It solves a widespread problem. 

You’ve validated the market (an essential step especially in launching info products).

And you’ve built it based on copious customer feedback. 

But as perfect as your solution is, there are still going to be objections your customers have to buying whatever it is you’re selling. 

No matter how refined your product is, people are still going to come up with reasons not to purchase it. 

And with high-ticket products and services specifically, people are going to be even more wary of investing large sums in products they’re still unsure about. 

That’s why we always follow these sales strategies to close 481%+ more high-ticket sales.

But unfortunately, that’s just the nature of business. 

In fact, Bit.ai found that a whopping 96% of your visitors simply aren’t ready to buy when they land on your website. 

Source

That being said, it’s the job of your sales team to address those buyer objections head on and convince prospects that this is the solution to their problem. 

After all, even a perfect pitch for a perfect problem can be ruined by poor handling of a buyer’s objections. 

7 Data-Backed Techniques for Handling Objections in Sales

Now, before we get into how to handle specific buyer objections, there are a few general techniques you can use to make addressing objections even more successful. 

Rather than specific solutions to objections, then, these are more like small things you can do to make it more likely that… 

  1. Your lead will respond to how you handle their objection positively.
  2. Your lead will convert into a high-ticket sale. 

Let’s check them out. 

1. Take a Breath Before Addressing Objections

This technique is just as simple as it is powerful. 

When a lead brings up an objection to buying (price, timeframe, features, etc.), instead of answering them right away, take a second to stop and take a breath. 

Give yourself time to really think about the answer your lead needs to hear before going on to deliver a response. 

Sounds too easy, right? 

Well, according to analysis from 67,149 sales call recordings, Gong found that top sales staff actually paused 5X longer than average performers after being confronted with an objection. 

Source

Handling a sales objection successfully, then, may simply come down to handling a sales objection strategically

So don’t rush into your response. Be sure that you’re answering your lead’s questions in a way that gets to the heart of their objection. 

And never be dismissive of that objection either—a problem you can avoid by practicing active listening

2. Practice Active Listening

In order to serve your customers, you have to understand their needs, right? 

Well, the same rule applies when selling leads on your product or service. 

The more you understand their problems and their objections to buying today, the more likely you’ll be to turn them into your customer. 

That’s where active listening comes in. 

Active listening is basically a set of skills you or your sales team can use to…

  1. Better understand your customers’ objections.
  2. Let your customers know that you understand where they’re coming from. 

These skills include being attentive, summarizing what they’ve told you, and asking probing questions (more on that later). 

Source

Plus, more active listening is actually associated with a higher close rate among salespeople. 

For instance, Sales Hacker found that the bottom 20% of salespeople spent over 65% of conversations pitching their products. 

But the top closers spent just over 40% pitching—the rest was spent listening to the customer

Source

While a lot of salespeople are more comfortable with taking the reigns and controlling the conversation by talking more, the data seems to show something different,

Listeners are actually more successful in handling objections in sales and closing. 

3. Avoid Monologuing & Keep the Flow Going

When met with an objection, a lot of salespeople go into long, drawn-out explanations of how their product addresses that sales objection. 

Gong (again) analyzed the flow of sales calls and called these long explanations “knee-jerk monologues”. 

At first, conversation flows smoothly, passing from the salesperson to the lead and back again. 

But once an objection is mentioned, a salesperson will typically jump into defensive mode and overreact to that objection. 

The flow of the conversation looks like this. 

Source

Now, the interesting takeaway here is that high-performing salespeople actually spent less time monologuing after an objection was raised. 

In fact, their answer to the objection is about half as short as average performers. 

Source

Beyond that, top performers kept the flow of the conversation the same as it was before the objection was raised. 

Sales calls with average performers, on the other hand, included much less speaker switches per minute (meaning the customer had fewer chances to speak). 

Source

So if you want to address lead objections successfully and close more sales, the trick is to keep the flow of the conversation the same, even when faced with an objection. 

4. Respond to Leads Quickly

When it comes to closing sales, the early bird definitely gets the worm. 

According to a study from Lead Response Management, salespeople who respond to inquiries in under 5 minutes are 100X more likely to connect with prospects and 21X more likely to qualify them. 

Source

Part of this is due to the fact that when prospects reach out to companies, they are in the learning mindset. 

They want to learn more about your company. They want to hear why you’re superior to your competitors. They want your product or service to be the solution they’ve been looking for. 

But the longer you wait to reach back out to them, the lower their enthusiasm will be. 

They’ll think of reasons why you’re not actually a good fit. 

They’ll research your competitors and get a better idea of differences in pricing and features. 

They’ll essentially have more ammunition for firing objections at you when you do get on the phone. 

So if you want to prevent a barrage of objections, try contacting leads faster (a huge benefit of incorporating chatbots into your sales process). 

You may also want to create an email autoresponder and add that to your high-ticket sales funnel as well. 

5. Be Persistent With Your Contacting

Most contacts won’t be ready to talk (let alone buy) right off the bat. 

Instead, clinching the sale takes a lot of persistent follow-up on your part. 

When it comes to increasing your contact rates, 6 is the magic number. 

Research conducted by Velocify found that making at least 6 attempts to contact a lead dramatically increased contact rates.

Source

This plays on one of the 11 Laws of Sales Funnel Physics, “ The Law of Repetition”.

Basically, by hearing from or hearing about the same brand or person more and more over a period of time, a prospect is more likely to engage by picking up the phone or even buying a product outright.

That being said, the law of diminishing returns does also play a role here. 

As you go past more than 6 attempts to get in touch, the increase in probability of making contact drops further and further. 

As a result, it may be in your best interest to simply know when to quit to maximize the value of your time (one of many vital tips for salespeople).  

6. Ask Plenty of Questions 

Your prospects don’t just want to hear a sales pitch about your high-ticket product or service. 

If that was all they wanted, they’d be able to make a decision right from your website. 

Instead, most leads for high-ticket products or services will want to get on the phone so they can see your solution is right for their unique problem. 

And the more questions you ask to learn about their problem, the better the odds will be of closing the sale. 

For example, the team over at Sales Hacker (which actually partners with Gong.io from earlier) found that as sales reps asked more questions, their success rate actually rose too. 

Source

As you can see, the success rate actually rose with the number of questions being asked on the call. 

That’s because customers want to be treated like people, not just sales numbers. 

Salesforce actually found that this is important to the overwhelming majority of customers—84% in fact. 

Source

On top of that, SuperOffice found that customers feeling a company does not care about them was one of the top reasons they left and found another provider. 

But beyond all of that, another reason you should be asking more questions is because these questions can be especially helpful in qualifying leads. 

Lead qualification is an incredibly important step for high-ticket sales. And you should be taking extra steps to qualify your leads before you get on the phone.

But once you have made contact, it’s still your job to figure out if a lead is actually a good fit for your product or service.  

Asking lots of questions during the sales call can help you determine if, in fact, you do have the solution to the prospect’s problem. 

7. …But Don’t Ask TOO Many Questions

Now, questions are great. And they’re super important for addressing sales objections. 

But all that being said, you don’t want to ask too many questions either. 

Sales Hacker actually found that after 11-14 targeted questions per call, the success rate of the sale will actually drop

Source

The reason for this isn’t super clear. 

Perhaps it’s annoyance from the prospect for being too much of the focus of the call. 

Maybe it’s that when questions get out of hand it seems like the sales team doesn’t know anything about the lead. 

Whatever the reason is, the data seems to show that there is a sweet spot for just how inquisitive your salespeople should be. 

Techniques for Addressing 5 Specific Sales Objections

Now that you know how to approach addressing sales objections, let’s take a deeper dive into more specific types of objections. 

You’re going to run into a lot of different types of objections in your business. But in general, they’ll usually fall into 1 or more of 5 different categories:

  1. Your Product/Service Is Too Expensive
  2. Now Is Not the Right Time for Me to Buy
  3. I Need to Check With Other Stakeholders
  4. I Don’t Think This Will Work for Us
  5. We Are Going to Go With X Competitor Instead

Each category of sales objections is important to address in your sales pitch. And each can be solved by the tactics below. 

Sales Objection #1: Your Product/Service Is Too Expensive

Price is a big one. 

In a survey from HubSpot, more than 1 out of 3 sales reps finds addressing customers’ price objections to be challenging. 

Source

And it makes sense! 

Price is an important topic, especially when you’re dealing with high-ticket items and/or you’re a B2B business

So, how do you address the all-too-common pricing objection? 

  • Technique #1: Circle Back to Product Value – Keeping the focus on price alone is dangerous because if that’s the only thing under the lens, there’s no way of competing with cheaper alternatives. Instead, focus on the value your product or service provides.
  • Technique #2: Revisit ROI, Features, & Benefits – Instead using price alone, hit the features and benefits again, this time with a particular focus on ROI. Mention case studies and past success stories to strengthen the point that your solution works
  • Technique #3: Set Up a Contrast – Frame the value of your product or service in terms of what will happen if they don’t solve the problem your solution addresses. If you can communicate that a small investment now will lead to big payoff later, it can stop this sales objection dead in its tracks. 

Sales Objection #2: Now Is Not the Right Time for Me to Buy

The problem with this objection is that many of these buyers actually are ready to buy. 

The only thing holding them back is the initial commitment of spending resources. And in all likelihood, their situation won’t be any different 2, 3, or even 6 months from now. 

As a salesperson, then, it’s your job to persuade them that now is the right time to make the purchase. 

And in fact, this is often the biggest challenge when it comes to successfully selling. 

Heading back to HubSpot’s survey of global sales teams mentioned in the last point, they found that a massive 42% of sales professionals rated this as the top challenge. 

Source

Here’s how to address this type of sales objection:

  • Technique #1: Get Them Talking – Many times, this objection is covering up a deeper problem (budget running out, other priorities on the table, already being sold to from competitors, etc.). This can open up the door to new problems at the root that you can solve individually. 
  • Technique #2: Give Them a Deal – If time is the problem, make it sweeter for them to commit right now by offering a discount, trial period, or a free service. Sometimes a little bit of incentive is all it takes to push the needle with a prospect. 
  • Technique #3: Bring Out the Big Guns – If all else fails, ask your CEO or sales leader to reach out (depending on the size of your company). By connecting prospects with higher-ups in the company, you’re showing that you really do care about their business. And that might get them on the phone long enough to close the deal. 

Sales Objection #3: I Need to Check With Other Stakeholders

This one is a bit tricky because you should have gotten all the decision makers on the phone in the first place. 

Doing so is actually 1 of the 11 “god-mode” strategies that can help you close 481% more high-ticket sales. 

But even still, if you do come across this objection, there are a few ways you can address it.

  • Technique #1: Set Up a Meeting With Stakeholders – Be extra careful of letting prospects sell your solution to others in their company. Because in all likelihood, they won’t be able to do it. But you can. Ask to set up a new meeting with all the major players so you can give them your best pitch, not a watered down version. 
  • Technique #2: Give Them Everything They Need to Be Successful – If you can’t set up a new meeting, make sure to provide the prospect with everything they need to present your solution in the best light. Powerpoint presentations? ROI figures? Entire pitch decks? Do whatever it takes to give them the best odds of success. 

Sales Objection #4: I Don’t Think This Will Work for Us

This sales objection either comes from a place of misunderstanding or (hopefully not) a genuine incompatibility with your solution. 

To determine which you’ve encountered, the first step is to ask more questions

Heading back to the Gong study from earlier, an analysis of 67,149 sales calls found that top performers followed up 54.3% of objections with a clarifying question. For average performers, it was just 31%. 

Source

So, how do you address this objection once you’ve determined that your solution is in fact right for your prospect? 

  • Technique #1: Walk Through the Buying Process – Sometimes hesitation can come from a point of being worried about the next steps. Let them know how it will all play out step-by-step after they become a customer. This can help make them feel more at ease about the entire experience. 
  • Technique #2: Use That Social Proof – Social proof is a salesperson’s most valuable tool for addressing sales objections. Case studies, testimonials, vanity stats, and more are all great here. But pay extra special attention to case studies of buyers that were facing the same problem as your current prospect. This will help show that, yes, this product is in fact perfect for them. It’s why we have such a diverse range of industries on our own Our Work page. See?

Sales Objection #5: We Are Going to Go With X Competitor Instead

This is a tough one. If a prospect is already working with another company that’s offering a similar solution, you may be tempted to simply call the whole thing quits. 

But question: why are they even talking to you in the first place? 

No matter how long a business partnership has been, there are always going to be sore points in the relationship. 

And if you want to overcome this sales objection, it’s your job to find out what those sore points are. 

Now, be sure to be tactful about this point. 

Bad mouthing the competition is definitely frowned upon by prospects. And there are few better ways to tear down your business’ reputation in their eyes than knock down another company. 

Even still, here are a few ways to get around this sales objection:

  • Technique #1: The Direct Comparison – First, you can call out the differences between your business and the competition. Tell them about the unique goals that other companies have accomplished when they switched from your competition over to you. And be sure to tell them why they were able to accomplish those goals by highlighting your product/service’s features.
  • Technique #2: The “Just Want to Show You Around” Approach – Tell your prospect that there’s absolutely no pressure to buy right now. You just want to give them a quick walkthrough of how your product or service is different from the company they are using now. And if you have case studies of businesses that have chosen you over the competition, then be sure to point those out. 

Conclusion

Download the “How to Answer Common High-Ticket Sales Objections: 7 Tactics” so you won’t forget to take action on it later. Click here to download it now.

Addressing sales objections can be daunting at first. 

If you don’t have all the answers right off the bat, you may feel like that sale is going to slip away forever. 

But if you go into a sales meeting with the right techniques and strategies for handling objections in sales, you can start closing more high-ticket sales and (best of all) turn selling into something you actually look forward to

Actually, becoming a better salesperson is just one of the points I cover in the 6-Figure Sales Funnel Training

This training includes everything you need to build a better sales funnel and learn how to persuade prospects that your product or service is the solution to their problems. 

Check it out. 

Now, what are some other sales objections you or your team have encountered? What other techniques or strategies have you used to solve them? And what have the results been? 

Let me know in the comments below.

Keep AutoGrowin’, stay focused.

Read more

How Lowe’s is Improving their CRM Practices Post Corona

Source: https://postfunnel.com/how-lowes-is-improving-their-crm-practices-post-corona/

Once again, we’re at it. This time with Lowe’s Home Improvement, who goes by the slogan of: “Do it right for less.”

This time around, we don’t really care about the “less” part, but for sure want to see if they are indeed doing it right, when it comes to executing the basic principles of CRM right now.

Read on to find out how they score and rank against the other brands we examined to date.

And if it’s your first time, here’s a quick reminder of the 7 basic CRM rules brands must obey in a post-corona world for successful customer relationships.

1. Be Transparent 9/10

Lowe’s will not make its retail employees enforce face-mask policies that are meant to curb the spread of coronavirus.

“Safety has been and continues to be our priority,” Steve Salazar, Lowe’s spokesman, told FOX Business via email. “We will not ask our associates to put their safety at risk by confronting customers about wearing masks, so we are consistently requesting that customers wear masks for the safety of everyone in our stores.”

This clearly shows that the safety of their employees is a top priority for Lowe’s. And they’re not scared to show it even though some shoppers are less likely to step into their stores for this reason. This a big statement as many violent confrontations in the country have taken place, one even causing the death of a security guard.

Here’s another nice way Lowe’s is showing the world their company values:

Even during the pandemic, consumers need Pros to complete projects around the home. Therefore, Lowe’s and HomeAdvisor announced a partnership to further their commitment to keeping Pros working by offering Lowe’s for Pros Loyalty Program members a free, year-long HomeAdvisor subscription.

“A consistent flow of quality leads remain very important for our Pro customers and we are here to make their lives a little easier,” said Fred Stokes, Lowe’s senior vice president of Pro Sales and Services. “As a member of Lowe’s Pro loyalty program, we are providing personalized offers, business management tools and now a free one-year subscription to HomeAdvisor. It’s another way to show how committed we are to helping keep Pros working during the pandemic and beyond.”

2. Incentives and Perks 10/10

Lowe’s Daily Deals section is perfect for coronavirus times. It offers different products at discounted prices, great for millions stuck at home who are low on cash.

On this same page, you can find Daily Deals at Lowe’s according to category: appliances, bath, flooring, and more. The text reads:

“Save every day at Lowe’s with daily deals on appliances, power tools and more. Whether you’re shopping for tools like drills and circular saws or outdoor power equipment like lawn mowers and snow blowers, check Lowe’s Deal of the Day to see how you can save. Our daily deals also include the best appliance package deals, best refrigerator deals and savings on washers and dryers. Deals are for one day only, so make sure to act quickly and check back every day to see new online-only deals.”

Lowe’s Gift Cards, which includes an enter FAQ section on the cards, is a unique way to engage customers and offer a promotion at this time.

In fact, no matter what webpage we were on at what step of the customer journey, we were prompted with some sort of offer, for instance 5% OFF* or 6 Months Special Financing:

 

Likewise, when adding an item to our cart (see more below) we were offered a 17% discount.

3. Be Relevant 10/10

When quickly entering Lowe’s homepage, we saw two things we love: Curbside Pickups (making life super simple for customers) and the grey banner below showing how Lowe’s is assisting small business (through a program for minorities and rural communities that releases grants):

 

Another scroll down, Lowe’s is promoting stylish work sheds, ideal for these WFH times.

And the brand remains relevant when scrolling all the way down:

 

4. Be Helpful 10/10

As previously mentioned, Lowe’s is giving small businesses the option to apply for a grant to receive assistance – a very nice gesture for these exceptionally hard times.

“7.5 million small businesses are at risk of closing permanently. As the cornerstone of our economy, we can’t let that happen. That’s why we’re more than doubling our commitment to provide $55 million in relief to small businesses and help them recover.”

In addition, Lowe’s teamed up with Dupont to support companies making PPE (personal protective equipment.

“From the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis until the end, DuPont is committed to providing protection for frontline workers.  We are proud to partner with Lowe’s, a distribution partner of Tyvek HomeWrap and Tyvek garments, and their selected converting partners in the donation of Tyvek to support the ongoing and critical needs for PPE,“  said John Richard, Vice President & General Manager of DuPont Safety Solutions.

And it keeps going and going. Most recently on other news, Lowe’s stores are said to distribute free cleaning supplies to those affected by Hurricane Hanna.

5. Realtime Personalization 6/10

When adding a lawn mower to our cart, Lowe’s automatically suggested additional items we may need to upgrade our purchase. You may think it’s basic, and you’ll be right. But judging by the brands we analyzed so far, it’s not as common is we expected.

 

We were not retargeted with the product, however, when going back to the company’s homepage or on our social media accounts.

6. Master UX 10/10

Overall, our experience with the brand was good. We enjoyed reading about the overview of each product we were interested in, in a very clear format with bullet points on its features.

We also appreciated the specifications, stars and ratings, reviews, Q&A’s, protection plans and finally – we loved the personalized product recommendations widget:

 

Lowe’s discount and payment calculator was especially useful for the customer experience as it allows customers to enter their project cost in whole dollar amounts to estimate monthly payments or discount amounts:

7. Leverage Social Media 8/10

Their updated Twitter profile reads:

As our daily routines change, so are our homes. We’re with you every step of the way as your #HomeBecomes more than it ever has before – perfect for showing support.

The following giveaway presented as a challenge, really shows how Lowe’s knows what they’re doing on social media. It even offers customers a chance to win a trip for two to the 2021 NCAA Final Four:

Their Facebook profile that boasts 4.58 followers is super engaging with high posting frequency. The posts include video content, free DIY kits, kid summer activities, coronavirus support, and so much more.

Lowe’s Instagram account does post in high frequency with the same content as the aforementioned social media channels. We were disappointment, however, to see that they don’t use the Instastory feature much, or posting different content to IG, as it has a different audience.

**

Overall, Lowe’s is getting a fantastic 63/70 here (90%) putting them in a tie for first place with Petco. Well done, Lowe’s, for properly adapting to the new reality amidst all the chaos!

Here are the full rankings of the 11 brands we measured to date.

  1. Lowe’s 90%
  2. Petco 90%
  3. Uniqlo 86%
  4. Best Buy 78%
  5. Etsy 76%
  6. Tommy Hilfiger 70%
  7. Walgreens 70%
  8. Fiverr 67%
  9. Next 63%
  10. Patagonia 61%
  11. Burberry 60%

Watch this space for more brand analyses coming your way!

Meanwhile, check out the previous ones:

 

The post How Lowe’s is Improving their CRM Practices Post Corona appeared first on Post Funnel.

Read more

American Eagle is Going Home

Source: https://postfunnel.com/american-eagle-is-going-home/

Sweatpants and leggings have become the wardrobe necessity during these WFH times. And American Eagle Outfitters is the latest retailer to launch an athleisure label to reply to the demand. 

This week, the brand launched OFFLINE by Aerie, its intimate apparel and lifestyle retailer. Ironically, it’s currently only available for shoppers ONLINE. Built for “REAL movement and REAL comfort” with soft and cozy materials – the brand does plan on opening two brick and motor outlets sometime before the year ends. 

It seems like AEO, largely popular for its denim wear, made the perfect move at the perfect time – though it created the plan before the pandemic struck. 

According to the Washington Post, the pandemic has taken a real toll over jeans sales, which were already weak for the past five years. Many well-known jean retailers filed for bankruptcy since April, including True Religion, G-Star RAW, J. Crew, and Lucky Brand. 

10 Actionable Insights for Online Retailers

Other retail giants, like H&M, have been negatively affected by the crisis too. The Swedish fashion brand is planning to close 170 stores worldwide after experiencing a drop in sales and is about to let go of 20% of its COS brand’s head office personnel. 

“We have proposed several changes to our London head office and Europe region organization,” said the COS spokesman. “We are making new roles available while also removing and diminishing select roles. We aim to find a suitable alternative role within the brand for as many affected colleagues as possible and have a thorough consultation process in place.” 

On the other hand, activewear brands are benefiting from the shift towards sweatsuits, jeggings, and yoga gear being seen as essential items alongside makeup and cosmetics, for instance. Lululemon saw market share gains and may not face compression anytime soon as long as the trend remains prevalent. 

That’s why some may feel confident that AEO’s new OFFLINE brand is set to succeed. It’s a unique offering, and personal messaging not only targets those who enjoy working out, but it also addresses those who simply feel like wearing relaxing, comfortable loungewear. And are working out, or at least working – from home. And we still spend more time at home, it’s appealing to a much wider audience. 

“OFFLINE’s unique take on active lifestyle products celebrates REAL life when some days you feel like you can take on the world and other days you need that extra push to get off the couch,” said Jennifer Foyle, Aerie Global Brand President.  

During the first quarter of 2020, American Eagle has already seen robust +33% growth in e-commerce purchases. Last month, the brand launched another label, Unsubscribed, calling it “the beauty of modern simplicity and taking things easy.” 

AEO plans to hire fulltime employees to join its team, supporting the local economy through stable job creation. A drive-thru hiring event at the Hazleton Distribution Center will take place on August 4-5th – tapping into another corona-times trend of everything-drive thru. 

Candidates won’t have to leave their cars to interview, and coronavirus guidelines will be enforced, including wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. 

The post American Eagle is Going Home appeared first on Post Funnel.

Read more

Say Hello to Good Hires w/ Our Proven Skill Test Template

Source: https://www.autogrow.co/skills-assessment-test-template-hiring/

Hiring someone new can feel like a gamble.

Gambling time, money… Crystal balls can’t predict how they’ll do. 

You kind of just have to cross your fingers.

However, there’s a great way to weed out potentially bad hires early on.

A well-developed skill test (AKA skill assessment) can shed ample light on a candidate’s…

  • Ability (what do they know and what are they able to do now)
  • Attitude (fit for your time)
  • Aptitude (ability to improve over time)

From interviewing and evaluating 10,000’s of applicants, the best hires I’ve found are the ones who do two things. 

  1. Show they can follow instructions and 
  2. Show they can think creatively & critically (i.e. display good judgement toward accomplishing a goal when the exact process of how to get there is left unclear)

A great skill test for this is combining the right exercises, questions, and tasks.

So stop with your old “resume” / “tell us where you went to school” system, because in today’s article I’m showing you a better way:

  • How to create a skill assessment with our skill test template that you can download and tailor to your business needs.
  • How education and experience alone is no guarantee that a candidate will be a great hire for your open job.
  • And how you can evaluate a candidate’s current skill set and true potential with a simple skill test template.

Candidates who are hired on merit, rather than background, tend to stay longer and perform better over the long term. 

So let’s get started finding those great hires. Dive into section #1 below……

In a rush? Want to download this article as a PDF so you can easily take action on it later? Click here to download this article as a PDF guide.

Skill Test Template Section #1: Set Up a Deadline—Test Applicants’ Responsibility & Punctuality (No Late Submissions)

Skill tests are standardized evaluations designed to measure potential hires’ skills, intellect, personality, responsiveness, and other important characteristics.

And according to Harvard Business Review, skill tests should come early in the hiring process.

And one of the first and most important skills to test in new applicants is responsibility and punctuality.

You want to avoid at all costs hiring someone who doesn’t make it on time for work.

In fact, in 2019, the average absence rate of U.S. employees was 2.8 days according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

In addition, CareerBuilder revealed that 25% of employees showed up late to work at least once a month in 2018.

To test punctuality and reliability in applicants, set up deadlines for each skill test and/or on-spec project you assign to them.

And don’t accept applicants that take longer to complete your test or project.

You can always find ways to literally assess candidates in any way possible.

And a good starting point for your skill test is to set up a realistic but a bit tight of a deadline.

You see, candidates who are truly interested in making it onto your team, they’ll move heaven and Earth to make that happen.

So if they start pushing deadlines back because they have personal or other commitments, it could be a sign that the candidate isn’t willing to complete the work on time.

In fact, we consider this one huge red flag in our hiring process and we always look to stay away from that.

Testing for applicants’ responsibility in your skill test template will absolutely help you bring in more stellar results in your hiring process.

How Did Applicants Perform in This Section of the Skill Test Template?

Once candidates agree to submit the skill test by the established deadline, now it’s time to follow up with their punctuality.

Did they really submit the skill test on time?

Did they come up with excuses why they couldn’t submit their skill test?

If they didn’t meet the deadline, you know what to do (hint: dismiss them).

And if they did submit it on time, then let’s move to the next step or section in your skill test template.

Skill Test Template Section #2: Test Their Knowledge, Skills, & Ability to Complete Project(s) Related to Their Area of Expertise With Medium/Difficult Tasks

Knowledge is all the information an applicant must possess about his/her area of expertise.

Skills are learned or intrinsic behaviors needed to successfully perform a specific task or work. 

And abilities are observable behaviors or possession of the means or skill to do a specific assignment or task.

In this section of your skill test template, you’re going to be testing all of the above.

BUT you’re going to evaluate how applicants use all of their skills, abilities, and knowledge in one specific field: their area of expertise.

This is truly important because it will give you a better sense of how capable the applicant is in performing their job role and how potentially successful they can be.

In fact, the lack of skilled and high-quality candidates is the biggest challenge in hiring for 67% of recruiters according to Jobvite.

 

Source

You see, it’s not a secret that most successful people and/or multi-millionaires in the world didn’t have a specific level of education.

Some of them didn’t even go to school or didn’t graduate.

In fact, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg all left college before getting their diplomas.

Here’s actually an image that illustrates some of the wealthiest men in the U.S. who dropped out of school…

Source

But what makes these people truly admirable is that they never let lack of a traditional education interfere with their future success.

So you shouldn’t base your hiring decisions only on the applicant’s schooling degree level or diploma.

Because candidates who are hired on merit, rather than background, tend to stay longer and perform better over the long term. 

But for some companies, GPA matters.

And in fact, 67.5% of employers surveyed said they screen candidates by GPA according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

And the strongest growth in demand by 2030 is predicted to be technological skills according to McKinsey & Company.

So even though some job positions do require applicants to have some sort of education degree, some others don’t.

Look instead for someone who really knows everything about the job role’s area of expertise and who can do great work regardless of their education background.

Ideas to Test Applicants’ Knowledge, Abilities, & Skills

In this part of your skill test template, you’ll add a section where you’ll test:

  • How well applicants know their stuff (even if they didn’t get a diploma).
  • How competent and diligent they are in completing a specific project or task related to the job position.
  • And their abilities to solve any problem that may pop up while completing the task(s).

Here are some ideas of what this section should look like.

Follow this simple formula to create this section of your skill test template.

1. Add Logo: To create more brand awareness, add your logo at the top of your skill test so applicants can easily recognize your brand and company.

2. Add Greetings: Welcome applicants to this step of your hiring system. Encourage them to complete the skill test with a short and simple message like the one below…

3. [Optional] Write a Short Overview of Your Company: At this point applicants should have a good idea of what your company’s services or products, vision, mission, and values are. But in case you want to create more brand awareness, this could be a good place to add an overview of your company.

4. Add Job Overview: You can add a brief overview of the job position’s responsibilities to remind applicants of what skills they must have for this job role.

5. Add Instructions: Be clear about your directions here. Instruct applicants to complete the tasks by following the guidelines you set up for them.

6. Create a Task: Ask your team what are the most common assignments the job position you’re looking to fill often has and create the tasks or exercises. 

a. Ideas of Tasks: Depending on the job position you’re looking to fill in, your tasks will vary. Here are a few ideas you can assign to your applicants:

i. For Copywriters: 

1. Copy for lead magnet landing pages

2. Copy for lead magnets

3. Write email sequences

4. Write long and short-form sales pages

5. Write ads copy

6. Write copy for exit pop-ups

7. Write products descriptions

8. Email newsletters copy

ii. For Content Writers:

1. Write a full article (2,500 min)

2. Write an outline for an article

3. Write an introduction and conclusion for a full article

iii. For Designers:

1. Create a landing page design

2. Create ads design

3. Create a PowerPoint presentation 

4. Create a lead magnet design

5. Create banners

6. Create flyers

7. Create illustrations or images

8. Create animations

9. Create logos

iv. For Editors:

1. Edit a full article

2. Edit landing pages copy

3. Edit email sequences or newsletters

4. Edit a lea magnet (an ebook, guide, checklist, etc.)

vi. For Web Developers:

1. Install a client’s site to WordPress on a local computer. Edit the current theme. Write a small code on the PHP that will select the data from the database and display it on the homepage.

vi. For Digital Marketing Strategists:

1, Create a funnel strategy diagram for a client.

2. Record a video walking a client through their account

vii. For Ads Managers:

1. Describe your thought process for setting up an ad campaign and targeting the people who are likely to want these services

Of course, you can combine 1 or more tasks for their skill test depending on the level of complexity.

For example, assigning the creation of one logo to a designer wouldn’t show a lot of what the person is capable of doing.

Instead, combine creating a logo with designing a long-form landing page and a header image.

Which by the way, if you’re looking to have any design or copy-related digital marketing tasks, check out our Marketplace to order any task you want to get done for you.

So anyway, the idea to assign more complex tasks to your applicants is to set the bar higher for them to see if they can reach it. 

If the bar is too low, then anyone will be more likely to pass it and you don’t want that.

You want to retain applicants who are able to diligently complete their work without even being trained yet for the job role.

How Did Applicants Perform in This Section of the Skill Test Template?

In this section, you’ll evaluate a candidate’s performance, their talent, and whether or not they reached out to you if they had any questions throughout the process.

As you can see, evaluating them via written and oral tasks lets you assess their knowledge, abilities, and skills all in one place.

For this, when going through this section of your skill test, ask yourself:

  • Did the applicant meet expectations? And if he/she didn’t, how far away from those expectations were they?
  • Did they show they know their ”stuff”? Or does it look like the applicant has no knowledge in the field?
  • Were they able to solve any issue, problem, or question that popped out throughout the process? Or did they ask you how to solve the problem after submitting the task?

Knowledge, abilities, and skills will be great predictors of your candidate’s success.

Want to say hello to good hires w/ our proven Skill Test Template and avoid hiring bad applicants? Click here to download your template.

Skill Test Template Section #3: Test Applicants’ Ability to Solve Any Problem (Not Necessarily Related to Their Job Position)—You Need Thinkers, Not Soldiers

Wow, how many times have I said that.

I like working with thinkers, not soldiers.

But problem-solvers are hard to find. 

In fact, the top missing soft skills that companies look for are problem-solving and critical thinking according to SHRM.

Source

But those are exactly the skills in team members that’ll help your business scale.

Why?

Because as much as you have all your processes and systems documented, there’ll always be problems or unexpected situations popping out.

And for this, you need team members who are capable of stepping up and solving those issues on their own (or at least look for the solutions).

You need critical thinkers.

People who you don’t have to push to go do their job.

In fact, 83% of companies require both social and analytical skills according to The State of the American Job Report Pew Research.

Source

And it’s no wonder that the top traits or skills employers look for according to NACE are:

  • Critical thinking / problem-solving (80.9%)
  • Teamwork / collaboration (78.7%)
  • Professionalism / work ethic (70.8%)
  • Oral / written communications (67.4%)

Ideas to Test Applicants’ Ability to Solve Problems 

For this section of your skill test template, create a task where candidates need to solve a problem not directly related to their field.

For example, for a content writer, ask them to edit a blog post, article, or some sort of long-form content.

Because even if they don’t have experience as an editor, they’ll face a different challenge related to their area of expertise that will make them think outside the box.

And this is great because it makes them not only deal with a different area of your business than the one they initially applied for. But it’ll also give you a good idea of how much they’re willing to be involved in other areas of the company.

Of course, you won’t ask a designer to complete a task about web development. Or a project manager to write a copy.

But something where they can prove to you how worthy they are of being flexible and willing to face new challenges.

Another idea of a task for this section is to create hypothetical situations where applicants must react to a specific situation.

This will let you see how they deal with the situation, if they struggle to handle it, and how they react to it.

How Did Applicants Perform in This Section of the Skill Test Template?

Did the applicant show signs that he/she is a problem solver?

Did they actually solve the problem without any help?

Great! You’re very close to hiring someone who could potentially be a great great fit for your business!

Skill Test Template Section #4: Evaluate Candidates’ Verbal & Written Communication Skills (How Well Do They Communicate With Anyone)

Ok so in any business you need team members that are capable of clearly communicating.

No questions asked.

Impeccable communication isn’t only for members of your team who work with clients.

Everyone on your team needs to properly communicate both written and verbally.

Otherwise lots of things could get lost in translation. 

And as a result, this could bring misunderstanding and miscommunications.

So always look to test for this important ability.

In fact, 82% of employers seek proof of solid written communication skills on a candidate’s resume and it’s the #1 skill they look for in candidates according to NACE.

Source

And on top of that, a survey by SHRM showed that of 400 companies with 100,000 employees, each stated an average loss per company of $62.4 million per year because of poor communication to and between employees.

Ideas to Test Applicants’ Verbal & Written Communication Skills 

So for testing applicants’ ability to properly communicate verbally, and most importantly, written, create a task in your skill test template to assess this.

For this, you’ll ask the candidate to write a message to another team member or a client with a hypothetical situation.

Ask them too to record a video communicating about a different situation to another team member.

The situation can be anything so be creative here.

How Did Applicants Perform in This Section of the Skill Test Template?

How were the applicant’s communication skills?

Did he/she clearly communicate through writing and audio?

Was his/her communication free of typos and grammatical errors?

Are they still a good fit for the position you were considering hiring them for?

Remember, if someone cannot clearly communicate because they simply don’t have the skills or don’t speak the same language, that may be a red flag to watch out for.

Skill Test Template Section #5: Test Their Reliability & Personality to See If They’re a Cultural Fit

There are some other important aspects in your hiring process you need to test besides responsibility, punctuality, skills, talent, and knowledge.

As a matter of fact, some other soft skills employers want the most are creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and time management. This according to LinkedIn.

And they also state that 92% of professionals say soft skills matter as much or more than hard skills when they hire. 

Source

So getting a better sense of applicants’ personalities and reliability are key factors when hiring someone.

It’s happened to us that after hiring some people on a trial basis, we later on found out that they weren’t really a fit.

And this happened because we didn’t test their personalities or how reliable they were.

And in case you’re wondering “What the heck does someone’s personality have to do with filling in a job role?”…

Well, the answer is it has a lot to do with it.

You see, skill tests that assess or measure specific aspects of a candidate’s personality will determine if that person will be beneficial for a role that requires a particular demeanor.

Because for example, a highly extroverted person would be a great fit for a role that has a lot of customer interaction like sales.

Ideas to Test Applicants’ Personality & Reliability

Be creative here.

We always ask our applicants some fun questions to get a better sense of their personalities.

Here are some examples of the questions we ask…

For instance, try to make them talk about their likes, hobbies, and dislikes but without being pushy or annoying.

They won’t appreciate that.

Conclusion

Want to say hello to good hires w/ our proven Skill Test Template and avoid hiring bad applicants? Click here to download your template.

That’s it.

The goal of your skill test template is to help you filter bad applicants in your hiring process and retain only the good ones.

Your skill test template will help you ask a variety of questions in different formats to see how candidates perform on each task.

And relying too much on a score? That isn’t a good idea. 

That’s why the best hiring decisions actually consider many aspects of a candidate’s personality like their knowledge, skills, abilities, behavior, and reliability. Not based on a systemized scoring.

For instance, use the data gathered by the skill test you’ll create with this template to embark upon the next round of your screening process.

Here are the sections for your skill test template for your reference:

  • Skill Test Template Section #1: Set Up a Deadline—Test Applicants’ Responsibility & Punctuality (No Late Submissions)
  • Skill Test Template Section #2: Test Their Knowledge, Skills, & Ability to Complete Project(s) Related to Their Area of Expertise With Medium/Difficult Tasks
  • Skill Test Template Section #3: Test Applicants’ Ability to Solve Any Problem (Not Necessarily Related to Their Job Position)—You Need Thinkers, Not Soldiers
  • Skill Test Template Section #4: Evaluate Candidates’ Verbal & Written Communication Skills (How Well Do They Communicate With Anyone)
  • Skill Test Template Section #5: Test Their Reliability & Personality to See If They’re a Cultural Fit

And if a candidate meets every criteria you’re looking for, then that could mean stellar results will lead you to a final hiring decision. 

Now tell me something, what other sections from your skill tests did I leave out?

Do you often struggle with hiring, skill tests, interviews, etc.?

Let me know in the comments below.

Keep AutoGrowin’, stay focused.

Read more

Scratch “Streaming”. Prepare for the “Cleaning Wars”

Source: https://postfunnel.com/scratch-streaming-prepare-for-the-cleaning-wars/

We love it when brands show flexibility, utilizing their equity to offer new, helpful, and timely products and services. And Lysol – one of America’s biggest cleaning and disinfecting brands – is now launching a hygiene consulting business! 

Yup. On Robinhood’s “Snacks” newsletter, they called it: The Deloitte for Hygiene. Nice. 

According to the report, on the back of sales surging 70%, the report indicates Lysol’s partnerships with Hilton and Delta airlines – where the travel and hospitality companies will try to gain customers’ trust back by showing that they are following Lysol’s protocols. The disinfectant experts! 

Hotel Trio is also following this trend. But with robots – who could soon provide you with room service or change your sheets and blankets. 

A better way to define your VIPs

“For guests who prefer contactless deliveries, Rosé, the ‘social distancing robot ambassador,’ provides them with peace of mind as she can deliver items to their suite,” Scott Satterfield, general manager of Hotel Trio, said in a statement. 

Robinhood’s report also reminds us that Lysol’s main competitor, Clorox, has been a United Airlines hygiene partner since May. These new cleaning and operational changes intended to reassure passengers about their safety during travels. 

This emerging Cleaning Wars is answering one of customers’ most important trend – the search for trust. 

Edelman’s Brand Trust Barometer of 2020, published a couple of weeks ago, showed how crucial a brand’s transparency and awareness of different social issues have become in the decision-making process of customers. And initiatives such as these are an excellent answer to the new normal. 

The Brew highlighted these figures from the report: 

  • Only 24% of U.S. respondents said that celebrities are credible spokespeople for brand trust, whereas 59% said they’d trust a “person like themselves.” 
  • 62% say they want brands to inform them about ways they’re helping with the pandemic. 
  • 70% of U.S. respondents said trusting a brand today is more important to them than it was in the past. 

 What we like about it, is that this is all falls perfectly in line with our seven commandments for CRM in a post corona world that you might want to keep tabs on to win relationship marketing’s ever-evolving challenges. 

The post Scratch “Streaming”. Prepare for the “Cleaning Wars” appeared first on Post Funnel.

Read more

How Are We Doing? Operationalizing Customer Satisfaction: Part 1 Of 2

Source: https://www.square2marketing.com/blog/how-are-we-doing-operationalizing-customer-satisfaction-part-1-of-2

This is part one of a two-part series on customer service.

Customer Advocacy Is Currency And You Need To Grow It

Do you know how happy your customers are right now? You should! And you should be operationalizing the processes around collecting that data, turning that data into tools that accelerate your sales cycle and creating a more remarkable customer service experience so that your customers are exponentially happier.

Yes, that sounds like a big lift, but without it you might just be wasting almost all of the money you invest in marketing and sales.

If you can’t keep your customers, if you’re customers aren’t happy, if they’re not buying more, if they’re not telling your story for you, if they’re not referring and if they’re not actively participating as advocates for your business, then you have work to do.

Read more