Last year I started a book club with my team where we all read and/or listen to an educational program and get together on Friday morning to discuss and look for practical applications of the ideas. One of our first books was Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount and it’s still top of mind a year later for underscoring one very critical point: if you want to be successful in sales, you MUST prospect.
I find a lot of salespeople (and members) obsess over the “no” and “not interested” responses they get when following up on marketing campaigns.
What should I say? What do I do? What am I doing wrong?
They allow the criticism to shut them down, reducing them to a timid, frightened, quivering pulp, thereby making them even more ineffective on the phone due to the stench of uncertainty and fear rolling off them.
When I question them about their numbers (how many did they call, how many did they actually reach and what percentage gave them the one-finger salute, telling them to bug off), they GUESS.
On the rare occasion they actually know their numbers, the percentage who were grumpy is small…1% or 2% at most.
Yet that tiny percentage is like the penny held to the eye, blocking the sun. If the percentage is high (more than 5%), we look at what they’re saying.
Usually it’s so “commercial” and forced that they’re inviting it. The script matters, but so does the delivery. My advice:
- Take a closer look at the list. Is it qualified? ICE COLD? Obviously an ice-cold list is going to be far less welcoming of your call than a list of prospects.
- If you’re calling to qualify the list, are you following the scripts we gave you? Often I’ll find a lot of “improvising,” asking for waaaay too much information and not using our recommended approach. Even then you’re not going to bat 1,000. EXPECT resistance from some.
- Send something in advance of the call. All things being equal, sending out a quality sales letter in advance will soften the beachhead and improve the effectiveness of the call.
- Stop obsessing and move on. Keep calling and let it roll off your back. If they tell you to take them off your list, then do it and call the next one. It’s ALL a number game, and you have to make up in activity what you lack in skill. If you’re so thin-skinned that all of this bothers you, get out of sales.
This process comes naturally to very few. It takes time, practice and refinement. And for many, it requires a little help – which is what we do. So if you’re reading this and feel unsure where to start, start here with a consultation: www.technologymarketingtoolkit.com/consult/