Are You Listening?
Do you ever wonder why spammers and telemarketers irritate you? What is it about them that gets under your skin? Why do they even annoy those of us who make a living in sales? The answer is simple. They don’t care about you or what you want or don’t want. They work the numbers. The theory is that if you throw enough mud on the wall, some of it will stick.
Telemarketers used to get one “bite” for every 100 cold calls. I have no idea what spam gets. In any case it doesn’t have to be very high. The cost of spam is negligible to the spammer. The recipient is the one gets aggravated, and who has to spend time deleting it. Spammers don’t care about that. They only care about the bites and the potential sales.
Please note that there is a huge difference between indiscriminate cold calling, spamming, and targeted introductory business-to-business calls. Professional salespeople are trained to make professional sales calls. The others, many of whom don’t even understand the language, read from prepared scripts and hope to get a live person on the phone. Spammers simply don’t care. They know that even a miniscule response rate can mean huge profits.
The problem facing salespeople today is that the general population is so tired of indiscriminate solicitations that they instantly reject all sales calls. That makes it tougher for legitimate salespeople. We can blame the new age of high speed technology that makes it easy to reach almost anyone. We can blame a system that allows virtually anyone access to all sorts of personal information about people and their lifestyles. We can blame the Federal Government for not doing enough to protect us, or we can blame the companies who don’t train their salespeople properly. Heck, there’s lots of blame to go around.
But wait. Are those of us in professional selling part of the problem? Are you, or are your salespeople guilty of the same bad behavior in your sales activities? Are your people just smiling and dialing and hoping to talk to a live body … any live body? Are they assuming that everyone is a potential customer? Is it their hope to find someone to answer the phone and then, dazzle them with all the great features and benefits of your products so that they buy? This approach may work for TV infomercials but seldom works in business-to-business sales.
So what’s the answer? How do you make more effective telephone sales calls? I am honestly not sure that you can without ticking somebody off. I do know that if you don’t have enough qualified prospects in your pipeline, and you need to find some quickly, cold calling is the most effective way of doing it.
Here are a few tips that will make your calls more effective:
- Begin with as targeted and detailed list as you can get.
- Have a calling process that you have practiced and mastered.
- Use the right tone.
- Ask permission.
- Always be polite.
- Qualify your prospects as quickly as possible.
- Understand the difference between random cold calling and introductory calling.
- Be a great listener.
- Always thank the person for taking your call.
The above list is by no means exhaustive but some of the tips will set your salespeople apart from those who just dial mindlessly.
Oliver Connolly coaches and mentors sales managers. For more information please go to http://www.clevelstrategic.com