Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 .

At UberConference, I do a ton of calls – usually 1 or 2 every day. I’ve been doing conference calls since I was 21. I began my career in sales, selling hardware and software for a Fortune 500 Chicago tech company.

This was 1999, and one of the things that the company didn’t tell me, when they were recruiting me, was that I’d be spending 7 or 8 hours a day on sales calls, on the phone. (It was pretty naive of me to assume that being a corporate account manager meant something other than that, huh?). I really wish that before I’d taken that job, and before I’d started my own business, that I got a bit of sales advice about conference call outcomes.

Six weeks into the job, when I began taking my first sales phone calls, small business customers called in over what was called “the sequencer.” Essentially, it was the company’s 1-800 number; marketing then consisted of hundreds of thousands of computer hardware and software catalogs, mailed to pretty much every company in the USA with more than 5 employees.

Sometimes you got a great sales call off of the sequencer – perhaps you’d get a 5-laptop order, worth roughly $100 in commission.  Sometimes it was someone cold-calling from Miami trying to order 20 laptops – those deals were nearly always fraudulent.

The goal of these early calls was “sell something on every call.” What I didn’t realize, at the time, was that the goal of every sales call is definitely not “to sell something.” It’s to help the buyer make a yes-or-no decision that they feel really good about.

One thing I’ve learned in sales, especially from reading Skip Miller’s books, Proactive Selling and Proactive Sales Management, is that the sales process involves getting agreement from the buyer (and everyone that works with the buyer) on a series of intricate yes-or-no decisions. Yeses are great. No’s are pretty darn good, too. It’s the “maybes”, says Miller, that will kill you.

When a sales meeting results in a “no,” it means that the seller has encountered what’s called a “basic objection.” Usually, it’s one of 4 problems: buyer has no need, buyer has no budget, buyer has no authority, or buyer has no urgency. Most of the last three are linked to the first one – the fact that the buyer either has no genuine need, or the seller did a lousy job helping the buyer figure out if he had any need.

If the meeting doesn’t end in a “yes” or a “no” on the next buying action, then the meeting was not a successful meeting. The fancy name for maybes, in sales, are “continuances.” What they really are is a failure to accomplish anything substantial in the sales meeting.

When you’re planning a sales meeting, meeting objectives is much easier, if you think of everything from the buyer’s perspective, and the buyer’s objective. Here are four questions to ask yourself when doing your sales meeting prep:

  1. What qualifies as an advance to the next stage in the buying process on this call? How will I know when my buyer has advanced to that next stage?
  2. What critical yes/no decisions would my buyer need to make in this meeting?
  3. Have I communicated the meeting’s agenda to my buyer in advance, and adequately prepared the buyer for the meeting?
  4. Do I have validation from the buyer that the meeting’s agendas meet his buying objectives, business pain and need?

One other thing that I do after my calls – immediately after the end of the call – is allow an extra 10 minutes on my calendar to do a wrap-up. This is where I enter the necessary info into my CRM system (Salesforce), and plan what decisions I’d need to help my customer make on the next call. Give that a shot the next time you finish a sales UberConference – I think you’ll be pretty surprised by the results.

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 .

He’s a game changer and an innovator…and all over the place. Ben Huh, the guy behind LOL catsand many other internet crazes is a busy man. He says he takes at least 2 or 3 conference calls a day…and hates them! Major downer for a guy having so much fun at work. We discussed what’s wrong with the current tech and how apps like ours at UberConference (and a few others) are changing that.

Links mentioned in the podcast:

Monday, June 30th, 2014 .

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“I will only sell coffee less than 48 hours out of the roaster to my customers, so they may enjoy coffee at its peak of flavor. I will only use the finest, most delicious, and responsibly sourced beans.” -James Freeman, Blue Bottle CEO

Blue Bottle has grown into a network of cafes, wholesale partners, an espresso cart, and some vintage German coffee roasters. With more than 300 employees and locations in The Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York City and now, Tokyo, the growing business needed a seamless way to stay connected.

Blue Bottle’s CFO, David Bowman discovered UberConference when he dialed into his first call without a PIN number–he’s been a loyal user ever since. Bowman not only handles the company’s finances, but also has some responsibility for IT (what software the com- pany invests in and services it) as well as managing the company’s eCommerce site.

UberConference Makes Acquisitions Easier

UberConference made things especially easy for the Blue Bottle team during the acquisitions of both Tonx and Handsome Coffee in Los Angeles. Bowman was constantly on the phone with lawyers on the other side going back and forth with paperwork. He found these calls were effective and specific features of UberConference had a strong advantage over his previous service, freeconferencecall.com. There were two features of UberConference that Bowman clearly preferred up front.

First, was that UberConference gave a much more professional impression. “Tactically, I hated hearing, ‘Thank you for calling freeconferencecall.com,’” he said. “Secondly, I like the ease of dialing in with UberConference–no long PIN code to remember. The annoyance of dialing in was eliminated, and that’s actually a huge deal for us.”

UberConference Helps Connect a Spread Out Team

With a geographically spread out staff, much of David’s week involves checking in over conference calls. Each major Blue Bottle department has an UberConference line, and UberConference provides a quick way for everyone to dial into meetings. Keeping connected from The Bay Area to Tokyo can be a challenge, but UberConference has elim- inated that communication barrier.

“I love using UberConference with Google Hangouts–the controls in the sidebar are useful when monitoring large calls. There have been a couple of times where our founder has led a call to announce something, and in that case there are 50-80 people joining. When that happens, I’m able to look over everyone and mute those who need to be muted to keep the call running smoothly.”

Other factors Bowman cited were UberConference’s reasonable pricing, the integrations with Google Apps, and the thoughtfulness behind its user experience. “It’s a really solid product,” he concluded.

Read more about Blue Bottle Coffee and our other customer profiles, here.

Saturday, February 9th, 2013 .

Learn how to add UberConference lines as “resources” in Google Calendar to quickly add UberConference meeting information to Google Calendar events.

At LTech we email, schedule, and manage our documents exclusively in the Google Apps Cloud.

As a Premier Google Apps Reseller and Amazon Consulting Partner, we’re always looking to find ways for our clients to take advantage of cloud-based business tools to help them streamline all aspects of their business.

UberConference was a natural fit for us. It allowed us to replace our old conference bridge service with a cloud-based service that was integrated with Google Apps.

Since we do all of our scheduling through Google Calendar, we decided to add our UberConference lines as “resources” in Google Apps. By doing this, we were able to “book” the UberConference line in Google Calendar through the “Book a Room” feature.  The UberConference dial-in number and URL was then automatically inserted into the Google Calendar invite and sent to our customers.

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The setup process only took about twenty minutes.   Here’s how we did it:

  1. We created a spreadsheet with a row for each of our team member’s UberConference phone numbers, PINs and custom URLs.
  2. We logged into our Google Apps control panel with Administrator access and added each conference line as a “resource” to Google Calendar.  You can learn more about adding resources to Google Calendar by following this link.  A Google Calendar resource is anything you can schedule that isn’t an event, like a car, a computer or a bridge line.image
  3. We then changed the sharing settings for each resource to “see all event details” so that the bridge lines could be viewed and booked by all LTech team members.

When an employee is hired or terminated, we simply add or remove their bridge line resource from Google Calendar.

Now, when we need to schedule a meeting with UberConference, we simply click “Rooms,etc.” in the calendar event and click Add but our personal UberConference bridge line.

This method allows us to quickly schedule and share UberConference meeting information more efficiently because we can do it all from the Google Calendar interface.
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Our guests then receive a calendar invitation with the meeting URL and phone line.  When it’s time to start the meeting, we log into UberConference and click “New Conference” to send out the invites again, but guests can also just dial in with the open PIN without the conference being created beforehand.

Please tweet us at @ltech if you have a question about booking UberConference resources.

You can learn more about LTech and our services at Ltech.com or by following us at @ltech.