In today’s world of sales, many of us are adept at writing emails, interacting with connection in LinkedIn, and attempting to win clients via our keyboard. While these are excellent tactics, you may not be differentiating yourself from the pack. Email blasts and social selling are phenomenal tactics for attaining new business. But, in an effort to set yourself apart, these tactics should be combined with good old phone prospecting. Following up your email blast with a phone call will help your results greatly. Many times before sending an email, I think to myself “Could I call this person instead?” Rather than get into the back and forth via email, the sound of our voices and our tonality can change the perception of what is being discussed.
Phone prospecting is one of the most successful ways to win new business. Yet, many sales reps would rather do ANYTHING other than "pound the phones" to win sales appointments. They say things like: "All I get is voicemails," or "I'm better in person."
Phone Call Avoidance (PCA) is a serious illness. Especially in a sales organization that wants to use ALL avenues to get appointments and eventually win business. While the ratios of dials to appointments set is usually low, the time management aspect of phone prospecting is excellent. Even in a metropolitan area, it is very difficult to knock more than 40-50 doors in a day. Yet, any good sales rep can bang out 80+ dials per day if they are focused on making their phone prospecting time a success.
When reps are not successful at a particular aspect of cold calling (such as phone prospecting), they will gravitate to other avenues of cold calling (networking, door-knocking, etc.) to get appointments, therefore avoiding an entire discipline of cold calling.
In order to be successful at phone prospecting, here are my 6 tips to make phone prospecting more successful - and thus more palatable to your reps:
- Have a “guideline.” Not necessarily a script, but a course of action that you take with each call. You should have a prepared voicemail that you leave on voicemails. Keep it short! And, remember the goal of a phone prospecting cold call is to get the appointment.
- Set a goal. For example: “Every Friday I’m going to make 80+ cold calls via phone prospecting. My goal is to secure 3 appointments with Final Decision Makers for next week.”
- Get “in a groove.” Rather than make 5-10 calls, and then move on to another task, block out time to truly telemarket for appointments. There are studies that have proven that this is an issue, especially with telecommuters. The distractions of working from home allows us to make 7 calls, get hung up on all 7, and then say to ourselves "I think I'll go make a sandwich.” The best way to truly "pound the phones" and achieve success in booking appointments is to block out a serious chunk of time and spend that entire time making calls.
- Remove ALL distractions (cell phone, email, radio, etc.). I once sat next to an outbound telemarketer at one of my sales training clients, and before he started dialing, I noticed he shut off the clock radio on his desk, took his cell phone and shut it OFF, and shut down his e-mail. Before he started to dial I asked him "Bob, what was all that?" He said "Pete, these two hours are how I make my living. Getting these appointments, is how I pay my bills. Therefore, before I make my cold calls I remove ALL distractions and focus 100% on the task at hand.....getting appointments!"
- Understand the best time to call certain businesses. In some businesses, depending on what they are selling, sales reps will make sure they only call certain types of businesses at certain times. For example, a firm I have done training for that sells tracking software for companies with vehicles makes sure they call blue collar businesses (electricians, plumbers, heating and air conditioning companies, landscaping firms, etc.) between 7am and 9am. They find that when they call these businesses during normal business hours of 9am to 5pm the owner is usually out with his team actually helping them do the work. Make sure you know the best time to call the different clientele that you service.
- Plan tactics for getting past the gatekeeper. Some tactics include getting the gatekeeper on your side right from the get-go. Using terms like "Perhaps you can help me" or acting a little confused about who you are trying to reach will actually work. Most people will try to help someone when they need assistance.
In conclusion, when field sales reps add successful phone prospecting to their already strong email blasts, marketing campaigns, social selling, and outside sales skills, it makes them more well-rounded, more confident, and it allows them to get into prospects that will not generally see salespeople in a door-knocking situation.
I hope this info helps!! Keep Selling!
To learn more about how to create an effective prospecting plan, attend our Sandler Training Prospecting Boot Camp on Thursday, October 26th at 2:00 PM. Register at https://sandler-prospectingworkshop.eventbrite.com.