One of the most time consuming and challenging aspects of selling is just trying to get your sales prospect on the phone. Whether it’s a cold call or a follow up to an already “engaged” prospective customer, we spent countless hours every week dialing the phone, talking to gate-keepers, leaving voice mails and sending emails just trying to connect one on one.
Doyle Slayton had a great article on his SalesBlogcast – 8 Follow Up Strategies to Keep Your Prospect Engaged – with some awesome tips. I especially like his suggestion of giving your prospect a referral!
If you add up the average number of times you call a sales prospect without reaching them, multiply that by the 1 or 2 minutes it takes to make the call and leave the voice mail and then multiply that by the number of new prospects you pursue each month, it adds up to a LOT of time!
I believe it’s a key reason that sales people can get so frustrated and discouraged by cold calling. They’re not in control. They can’t even get to talk to their prospect. You can get a feeling of inadequacy because it feels like you’re dialing the phone a lot but, you’re not talking to anyone that can buy. Most sales people find themselves calling the same list of prospects that they called last week and wondering, how many times have I called this guy? How many more time will I have to call to get to talk to him? Will his secretary be inviting me to her birthday party after all the compliments I’ve thrown her way?
Well, there are many things you can do to improve your results. You can work on your “script” for talking to the gate keeper, your script for voice mails, as well as your emails. You can look at new sources of leads that you can connect with more easily. In all cases though, you need to have a prospecting plan that tells you what to do on each attempt to contact the sales prospect. On the first call, you take one approach – you might have an introductory script for the gate keeper, you might choose not to leave a voice mail or you could choose to leave one introducing yourself. On the second call you mix it up again, and so on…
Of course, this means you have to know how many times you’ve called each prospect. That means you’ll need a basic contact management system or CRM. Imagine if every day you could pull up a call list that told you who to call, how many times you’ve already called and what to do on this call! Believe it or not, that’s pretty basic stuff in most CRMs or contact management systems.
But here’s the payoff! You’ve got to “give up” on a prospect after some number of calls. You wouldn’t want your contact management or CRM system to remind you to call the same person every week for the next 12 months! So, when it’s time to give up, you get to Fire Them! That’s right! You, the salesperson, get to FIRE your prospect! I know, it sounds crazy and also fun doesn’t it?
The good news is that this is not just a way to get some “pay back” after a prospect has repeatedly ignored your messages. Done right, as soon as your fire a prospect, they will call you back post-haste.
How can that be? Well, your customers are used to being chased by sales people. They expect it. In fact, your aggressive pursuit of them relieves the sales prospect from the need to remember to stay in touch with you, even when they’re genuinely interested in your products and services. If they’re too busy to worry about it now, they can delete your message knowing that you’ll call again in a few days.
Well not anymore! Now your CRM or contact management system is going to tell you to call sales prospects 3 or 4 times, leaving various messages and then on the 5th call, the CRM will say “5th attempt – Fire Them” and you’re going to leave a message like this –
“Hi, this is Craig Klein, with SalesNexus online CRM. We help companies like yours grow sales by helping them market and sell more effectively. I’ve left a few voice mails and sent a couple of emails and haven’t heard back from you. At this point, I’m going to assume that this is just not a priority for you at this time and I’M GOING TO TAKE YOU OFF MY CALL LIST. If there is anything I can do for you, please feel free to contact me at 800.862.0134”
The key phrase is “I’m going to take you off my call list”. No one wants to be taken off the list. You’ve just told your sales prospect that you value your own time and won’t be calling again. Believe me. If they have any interest in your company, your product or your service, they will respond. At a minimum, they’ll shoot you a quick email saying “Sorry, I’ve been swamped. I do want to talk. Can you call me in 2 weeks?” or something to that effect.
This really works! If you don’t trust me, then just try it 3 or 4 times this week. Print out this tip sheet I’ve prepared for you –
You’ll be amazed how often genuinely qualified sales prospects respond to your firing them by calling you back straight away!
So put a couple of leads in your CRM or contact management system and set yourself reminders to call them 3 or 4 times and then a 5th time to fire them.
It’s going to be fun and it’s going to work. Enjoy!