Would you rather call or email a prospect? Sure, you can send off a bunch of emails, (and I’m not saying you shouldn’t) but we all know the data on email conversions. Has anyone ever responded to an email by thanking you and saying that they are ready to buy? My experience is that you are much more likely to have a break through from a phone conversation than an email.
So why don’t you make more calls? Call reluctance and fear of rejection results in procrastination. Do you recognize any of these symptoms (excuses)?
- It’s too early call. It’s after 5. It’s lunch time.
- I will call right after I (fill in the blank).
- People don’t answer their phones, and I don’t like leaving voice mail.
If you are going to be successful you are going to have to face up to the fact that you are going to have to make phone calls. Here is how to get over your reluctance and have successful calls:
1 | Know your value proposition.
No one want to hear you prattle on about how great your company is, its cutting-edge technology or how it is the industry leader. What can you do for them? What problems do they have that you can fix? When you call, tell them how you just helped their competitor reduce costs by 15%, improve average transaction speed by 30%. Check my favorite sales book Selling to Big Companies, by Jill Konrath. $10 on Amazon. A classic on how to break through to busy executives.
2 | Turn your cold call into a warm call.
Don’t you dare call and say, “I’d like to learn about your company’s needs” or anything of the kind. They are too busy. LinkedIn groups are full of rants about how much people hate that. At the very minimum, look them up on LinkedIn, confirm that they are likely to be the right person, or can get you to the right person. Review their website, and Google the company and click on the news tab. You will come away with something to open the conversation: “I see your new initiative targets millennials; our event has thousands in your key markets”.
3 | Use a script.
I frequently hear people tell me they don’t like scripts because they don’t sound natural. My response is always that every academy award winning performance you have ever seen is based on a script and dozens of rehearsals. One of the most common reasons that people stumble during calls is because they are trying to figure out what they are going to say while they are talking. You can create a decision tree for any script based on responses. Knowing what you are going to say allows you to be and sound comfortable which is much more likely to get you a positive response.
4 | Know when to move on.
Some prospects are just going to be a no. Even if you think they are wrong you will waste more time trying to change their minds than it is worth. Move on to the next call.
5 | Study and Practice.
If you want to get in shape you wouldn’t expect to go to the gym and start bench pressing 200lbs the first day. Call your own phone and leave a message that you would leave your prospect. How did you sound? It’s no different than checking yourself in the mirror before you head out the door. You should know how you sound. Do you sound upbeat and positive or like you are grinding it out?
Tip | Don’t call your best prospects first.
Call your least important prospects first. Consider them a tune up. If you mess up with them you haven’t lost a big opportunity.
I have had plenty of people tell me that I’m a “natural” on the phone. Nothing could be further from the truth. In my twenties, I had horrible stage fright and would have done anything to avoid making a telephone sales call. Really the only difference now is that I have lots and lots of practice and experience. I still prepare for making calls every time. I make sure my value proposition is on target, that I have a premise for why I am helping my prospect be successful, I use my script and I don’t get my feelings hurt if it is a no. A no just means I’m getting closer to my next yes.
Most of all keep in mind that if you are doing it right that you are going to help your prospect be more successful, get promoted, maybe even turn around their business. You may be opening the door to a long-term business relationship. They may really need your product or service, the only thing in the way of them buying may be your ability to pick up the phone.
For more details, please contact me.
About Larry Weil:
Sponsorship engagement strategist and customer acquisition specialist for some of the nation’s most recognized brands Larry has over $200MM in sponsorship transactions to his credit. He has a Rolodex of over 4,000 brand and industry contacts. Larry is an expert seller, negotiator, presenter, and strategist. He has successfully represented properties and sponsors in numerous categories including Conferences, Trade Shows, Convention, and Visitors Bureaus, Entertainment and Sports Properties, and Tech.