Building an “A” Team

At One of a Kind Sales, we have a LOT of experience assessing and training sales teams. Unfortunately, what we see is that most companies have mediocre sales forces with way more “B” and “C” level players than “A” grade salespeople. Here are some tips on how to assess YOUR sales team with suggestions for how to identify people worth training and how to build your own “A” team for sales. 

The first step is to assess your team.  

You probably know your “A” team salespeople. They are the ones who are making the calls, setting appointments and closing sales. These are the people you want to identify for advanced training, so they MASTER their craft. We have a good track record with training people like this to become reliable and effective producers. Click here to read more about our training, monitoring and management program, Call Center in a Box. 

Your “B” team players are the ones who might have some success but are unreliable or inconsistent in their performance. If they are consistently making calls, have a positive attitude and are receptive to training, this group may have the ability to become “A” players. We have a proven program to train “B” players to produce at “A” levels. Click here to learn more.

“C” level players are usually the ones who whine about having to make calls, push back against suggestions for new ways to approach the job and/or resist training. Here are some ways to address poor performance and to see if they are worth training:

  • Back up your assessment with data – show them their stats compared to others or a stated benchmark.  
  • Explain that consistently positive behavior is REQUIRED of them. 
  • Define the consequences of poor performance. 
  • Define the resources and/or training that is available to them. 
  • Request their ‘buy-in’ and permission to help them.  

If they are still not performing after your attempts to help them, it may be best to find them a different position or to just let them go. Having negative people who do not produce and/or follow the company’s specified approach can sap the energy and ambition of other team members, leaving you with less than stellar results.

And just because someone is NEW or does not yet have a book of business does NOT necessarily make them a “C” player. Being a “C” player is more about the lack of commitment and having a negative attitude. If they are committed and have a positive attitude, we can train new and young associates to get them to “B” and “A” level performance.

Remember, no matter how senior your people become, Cold Calling must ALWAYS continue to be a part of your sales team members’ daily, if not weekly, task list. This helps keep their skills sharp and your pipeline full.

If an experienced salesperson’s book of business IS truly so large that their entire time must be devoted to servicing clients, you need to outsource your Cold Calling in order to keep your pipeline FULL. A full pipeline is one of the only ways to ensure your company’s continued growth and success. Click here  to see how WE can make Cold Calls for YOU and deliver the qualified appointments you need to  keep your pipeline packed with prospects!

How does YOUR sales team stack up? Give us a call at 908.879.2911 if you would like us to come in and assess, train and get YOUR sales team up to speed! 

When Less is MORE

True or false? Constantly adding new leads will result in more sales.  

In our experience, this is FALSE. In the case of cold calling and lead generation, less is MORE. 

To calculate the number of leads you can follow-up on: 

Calculate number of hours you can dial per week x number of dials per hour = number of calls you can make per week.  

Anything more than that will not get touched.  

Focus on quality over quantity! 

Spend the time to speak with and really LISTEN to the prospects you reach and you will close more sales than just trying to amp up the sheer number of leads you approach.

How has the Covid-19 Pandemic Changed Cold Calling?

The Corona Virus (Covid-19) Pandemic has upended all of our lives. It has caused sadness and death around the world and has redefined how we live our daily lives. It has also transformed our workplaces and how we do business.  

Here at One of a Kind Sales, we LOVE Cold Calling and make calls all day, every day, for our clients and companies. People have asked me, ‘how has the Covid-19 pandemic changed cold calling’?  

Here is what we are seeing and some suggestions on how you can use these insights when YOU are making prospecting calls:

1. First and foremost, we are seeing this worldwide. This is an opportunity to remind each other that we are in fact, all in this together. Reminders like this can alleviate some of the fear we all feel and allow us to have more authentic conversations. Something we do NOT want to lose, once things get back to normal! 

2. People seem open to engaging in longer conversations. Use your time with them to learn more! 

3. We have found that asking how they are handling the crisis has been a good way to break the ice with many people. They feel like you are interested in them as more than a number. 

4. And many companies have changed the way that they route calls within their organization, due to most or all of their workforce working from home.  

Most companies have had to do a complete makeover of their IVR systems and voice prompts in order to adapt to the new changes. Some set their phone systems so that the calls are directly forwarded to cell phones or home offices. Others have a gatekeeper performing that role while screening the calls, and some others don’t have the ability to transfer calls at all and can only take a message or be contacted by email only, mainly because the receptionist is also working from home.  

These changes can allow us to reach decision-makers, who were previously unreachable. 

5. In some sectors, the economy is thriving. Stay positive and focus on the silver linings.  

As we have said from the beginning, now is NOT the time to sit back and wait to see what the future brings. We need to keep making those calls and to keep digging! 

A huge THANK YOU to my team for sharing their insights and expertise for this post. And now over to you – how has the Covid-19 pandemic changed cold calling for YOU and your team? Please comment below with YOUR insights and thoughts. 

Thank you and stay safe! 

 

We are ALL Cold Callers Now!

Cold Callers use the phone, all day, every day, to meet prospects, create connections and nurture business relationships. As the coronavirus pandemic changes the way we live, interact and work, it has made us substitute live networking, trade shows and inperson appointments for voice and video calls. And it has, in a sense, made us all ‘Cold Callers’! 

A recent statistic from Verizon said it was now handling an average of 800 million wireless calls a day during the week which is more than DOUBLE the number of calls made on Mother’s Day which is historically one of the busiest call days of the year”! The LENGTH of calls was also up 33% from the average day before the pandemic.  

AT&T had similar stats reporting an increase of 35% in number of calls.  

Interestingly, internet traffic for these carriers was only up 20 – 25%.  

Many people are not used to depending on the phone like this and you may be feeling anxious or uncomfortable having to do business in this way. But now, more than ever, staying connected means staying in business so sitting by and waiting for this to pass is NOT a viable business strategy.  

Here are Seven Cold Calling tips that EVERYONE can use as we rely more and more on the phone to do business: 

  1. The phone is your friend – use it to have longer, more meaningful conversations. These deeper conversations will help you connect more authentically with your clients and prospects. 
  2. The pandemic is an icebreaker – this situation is truly unprecedented and everyone, worldwide, is being impacted. Asking how it is changing THEIR lives and routine is an easy way to break the ice and to get people talking. 
  3. The phone is your lifeline – many industries are canceling the conferences and live events that once supplied you with new prospects. Yes, you should be using the phone to stay in touch with the people you know but consider using it as a tool to meet NEW prospects as well.  
  4. Warm up a Cold Call  a quick way to warm up a ‘Cold Call’ to a new prospect is to ask for an introduction. This could be an introductory call from a friend or an email from a colleague or mutual acquaintance. As a bonus, when you are on the call, asking how they know the person who introduced you is an easy conversation starter! 
  5. Have a plan – Cold Callers have SCRIPTS that they use to keep them on track and to ensure they hit the points they want to cover. Before using the phone for a business call, think about the goal of the interaction. Make a list of what you want to cover, notes on how you can help and anything else that is key. Yes, you want to sound natural, but you also want to make sure you are moving your business forward. And no, it is NOT cheating – think of it as PREPARATION. 
  6. Stay safe – Social distancing can be socially isolating. You cannot catch the Covid virus over the phone! Stay safe by using the phone to build business and stay connected. 
  7. These are life skills – any phone skills you learn now, out of necessity will serve you well whenever we do get back to a new normal! 

Phone skills are like a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger you get! Check out our blog and follow us on Facebook (link to: https://www.facebook.com/One-Of-A-Kind-Sales-304978633264832, LinkedIn (link to https://www.linkedin.com/company/one-of-a-kind-sales and Twitter (link to https://twitter.com/oneofakindsalesfor more on how to beef up YOUR phone skills and give us a call at  908.879.2911 to set up one-on-one or team training on how to thrive in this new, phone based,  environment!

Advice for Cold Calling during the Covid-19 Pandemic

These are challenging and unprecedented times but as Cold Callers, we can THRIVE!  Here is some advice for Cold Calling during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

As more and more people are working from home and depending upon virtual interactions, Cold Callers will have an edge! Cold callers know the importance of HUMAN CONVERSATIONS and create meaningful connections via telephone.

My advice for Cold Calling during the Covid-19 Pandemic is ‘don’t stop prospecting!’ Keep making those calls and take the time to really CONNECT with prospects. 

Now is the time to stay focused. Remain calm during conversations and address the elephant in the room. Your phone skills are now more critical than ever! Be sure to EMPATHIZE and ACTIVELY LISTEN to the prospects’ struggles and concerns.    

Many people are displaced and may have more time on their hands to talk. They want to speak, especially with a voice that is genuine, confident and calm. 

Remember, you can’t get the Coronavirus over the phone! People ARE answering their phones – this is an opportunity to develop relationships and offer something of value!

There are companies out there that NEED your services – by prospecting during the Covid-19 Pandemic, you WILL find them. The phone is your best friend – use it in good health!

 

For more Cold Calling Advice, check out:

Keep Digging!

Are You WASTING Your Time Cold Calling from OUTDATED Data?

Let the Human Touch be YOUR Sales Differentiator

Let the Human Touch be YOUR Sales Differentiator

Our 21st century world is NOISY! And I don’t just mean the audible assaults. I am including the constant barrage of media, social and otherwise, as well as the incessant arrival of emails and robocalls. As a Salesperson, cutting through all this noise to find and connect with prospects can be a real challenge. My suggestion is to let the Human Touch be YOUR Sales differentiator.  

According to a recent Hubspot statistic, “the average person deletes 48% of the emails they receive every day”. This does not bode well for ‘cold’ emails as a sales tactic. These days, the likelihood of someone opening an unsolicited email from someone they do not know, is slim to none.  

Reception of audio and/or video messaging is similar. These ‘one-way’ broadcast messages are seen for what they are – advertisements of YOUR products or services without regard for the recipient. A bit like billboards, these are a ‘one-message-fits-all’ approach that just adds to the noise! 

Yet people DO still pick up the phone.  

Your competition may be using phone calling as a Sales Prospecting tactic but more and more of them are using AUTOMATED calls. These so-called ‘robocalls’ give legitimate callers a bad rap and make getting through even more difficult.  

What can a Sales caller do? My advice is to KEEP DIALING and when you DO get through to someone, be human! Be a real person who is honestly interested in learning more about THEM and THEIR business. Be warm in a world of ‘cold’ calls! 

People do business with people they know, like and trust. Human dialog and conversation can build all of these.  

Use your time with the prospect to ask questions and to really listen.  

Listen for their passion and their pain points. Create PAUSES in your conversations that allow for hearing and responding, something that just is NOT possible in an email, text or any other ‘one-way’ broadcast messaging. Actual human conversation, between two people, leads to real engagement.  

And I want to loop back to emails. Emails DO have value, just not as a substitute for ‘cold-calling’. They are a useful tool for setting up appointments and sharing information and documentation. And they can also help you stay top of mind once you have established a connection. 

Let the Human Touch be YOUR Sales Differentiator

So, KEEP dialing and when you DO connect with someone, make sure they know you are a REAL HUMAN! 

Need help with YOUR cold calling skills and scripting? Give us a call at 908-879-2911 – our training programs will get you and your team up to speed and on track to succeed! 

 

And here are some more helpful Cold Calling tips:

Habits to Develop if You Want to be Successful in Sales

Active Listening – it’s more than just ‘hearing’ what your prospect is saying!

Control what you can in Sales