I was recently at a meeting about sales efficiency where a debate broke out about what salespeople should do when a prospect says, “I’ll think about it.” Participants were divided. Some felt that this meant that the selling process was not complete and they should continue to engage the prospect. Others strongly believed that once a prospect tells you “I’ll think about it,” they should move to the next prospect. I firmly believe you should move on.
As a professional salesperson, I’ve had hundreds of conversations with prospects over the years. Because I’m focused on my sales objective and the need to be efficient with my time, it’s critical to know when to move on. We all know that we should not rush to close a prospect. We all know that we should be looking for signs to disqualify a prospect throughout the discussion. When these signs appear early, perhaps it’s easier to recognize that the prospect is not a fit for our solution and end the discussion. But when the signs show up later, they can be more difficult to recognize, perhaps because we are more emotionally invested. But that verbal message, “I’ll think about it” is a clear red flag to me. To confirm whether it’s really time to move on, I might ask, “Is there anything else I can tell you?”, and if the prospect says “yes,” I will address the question. But if the answer is “no,” then it’s clearly time for me to move on.
Why move on? Continuing to sell to a person who is telling you that they need to think about it after you’ve had robust discussions delays you from moving to a prospect that you might be able to more readily convert. Frankly, “I’ll think about it” is really the kiss of death. Experience tells me that this prospect is not likely to make a positive decision and I would be wasting time continuing the conversation.
You may be thinking, ‘well I’ve spent all of this time getting to know this prospect and I hate to let it drop.’ But that is not what you should do. You should move the prospect into a nurturing program with a plan to revisit them at some point to see if conditions have changed.
It might be very attractive to continue discussions with someone with whom you’ve already developed a relationship in the hope that they will convert. But you really are fooling yourself. We need to be clear-eyed about what’s going on in a sales engagement. Ideally, we never ask for the sale until the time is right. At that point, if they say they still need to “think about it,” it’s time to gracefully move on.
At One of a Kind Sales, we love selling and we are experts at sales and cold calling, in particular. If you would like to discuss how we can help you and your team please contact us at 908-879-2911.
For many inexperienced salespeople, the first thing they think about when it comes to selling a product or service is the fact that they will hear objections. They dread the word “no” and try to avoid objections even when they can clearly see that they exist. They view objections as a minefield which must be avoided. They plow ahead with their pitch hoping they’ll say some magic words that will make them evaporate. Unfortunately, they most often experience the unaddressed concerns rising up at some point and ‘tanking’ the sale.
Our One of a Kind sales team has completed thousands of cold calls. And there is no doubt that salespeople will hear the word “no” many times. But in our experience, we find it best to acknowledge a prospect’s objections and quickly determine whether they can be overcome. When you can overcome them, you can proceed with a greater likelihood of success. If you can’t, you then move on to another prospect quickly.
Disrupt the Pattern
Cold calls have a typical flow. The way this happens may vary but at the end of a preliminary introduction, our team members may say something like, “how does that sound to you?” It is at this point when the prospect might say, “I’m fine – I don’t need anything.” That is a “no.” The prospect’s expectation is that the salesperson will say “thanks for your time” and end the call. This is the normal “pattern” of a sales call. But our professional selling team is prepared with rebuttals that disrupt the typical pattern.
A disruptive response to a “no” might be, “Wow, how did you manage to avoid this problem?” What this approach does is keep the conversation going. Follow up questions could be: “Can you tell me how you did that?” or “How long did that take?” Followed by “I guess you must be hitting your revenue target then.” Moving further with “Would you like to improve that performance?”
You’ve read before that we believe in using scripts because they help us internalize our messaging. Because we prepare in advance, we have an arsenal of rebuttals at the ready. So, when the “no” happens, while it may be disconcerting, we don’t have to “figure out” what to say next.
Three Times is Enough
We adopt approach of using three rebuttals to a “no.” The rebuttals are statements we’ve prepared in advance (incorporated into our script) based on the objections we anticipate. Once we’ve had three unsuccessful attempts at this, we know it’s time to move on. We conclude the interaction, and we actually ask for a referral. For example, we’ll say, “it’s clear we can’t help you today, but perhaps we can in the future. Is there anyone else in your sphere of influence who might be able to benefit from our services?” You’d be surprised – we do get referrals in this way!
At One of a Kind Sales, we are sales experts, and we love cold calling! If you need help taking your sales team to the next level, give us a call at 908-879-2911 to learn how we can help.
One of the most challenging parts of selling is cold calling. Like all of us, salespeople dislike rejection and don’t want to hear the word “no.” And many have never been trained how to do cold calling. As a result, many salespeople find cold calling intimidating. Aside from the fear of rejection, there is a concern that they are “interrupting” someone to make a pitch. But as professional salespeople, they need to keep in mind that the person on the other end of the call may have a need for the potential solution they offer. If the prospect sees that value in having their problem solved, it is well worth the interruption.
In a recent Zoom Info article, cold calling was deemed “very to extremely effective” by almost 30% of professional salespeople. Also, it was reported that almost 70% of buyers accept cold calls. Given these statistics, it’s clear that cold calling presents a real opportunity to prospect for new business. In our experience as professional cold callers, once our callers reach their targeted prospects, most of them get the opportunity to make their initial case without the call terminating before that point.
What goes into making cold calling more effective? I believe preparation is critical to success. Below are just some of the steps we take to make our cold calling as efficient as it can be.
- The call list should be targeted to the segment you are pursuing. This ensures that your offering is relevant to the prospects you are pursuing.
- Develop a script that lays out what you want to communicate. Don’t repeat the script word for word. Use it to internalize your message. This prepares you to be able to say exactly what you want to say the moment you get the opportunity to connect. You’ll only have seconds to make an impression.
- Check your mindset. Think of yourself as an equal to the prospect you want to connect with. Remember they have a problem, and you have a solution.
- Make sure the purpose of your call is clear to the prospect, so they understand how what you are calling about is relevant to their business.
- Remember this is a dialogue. Let the prospect speak. This is when you’ll learn whether there is an opportunity for your solution now.
- Every time you speak to the prospect remember you are establishing a relationship – one that will earn you the right to speak to them again, whether for a follow up appointment if there is a current opportunity, or for a check-in several months from now if there isn’t a current need.
If your team can incorporate this approach, it can help take cold calling outreach to the next level and bring in new opportunities for growth.
At One of a Kind Sales, we love cold calling! If you need help implementing cold calling within your sales team, give us a call at 908-879-2911 to learn how we can help.
Closing new business is the main objective of professional salespeople. Everyone knows sales is a challenging career. To outsiders who know little about sales, closing new business seems to be the hardest part- a mysterious technique that is often unsuccessful. But believe it or not, we’ve seen that closing can be easy if you’ve paved the way with your prospect by taking the right steps. Closing should be a natural outcome of a discussion between you and your prospect. By the time you get to the close, your prospect has reached the unavoidable conclusion that your solution is just what their business needs. The “hard work” of sales lies in taking the right steps throughout the process that result in an easy close.
What Makes Closing Easier?
First, be sure you are addressing the real decision maker. There is nothing more frustrating than discovering that you’ve walked through an entire sales process only to find that the person you’ve developed a relationship with needs to bring in another party who will ultimately make the decision.
Confirm that your prospect’s problem can be addressed by your solution. Take time to fully understand how the problem has impacted their business, what stress it has caused, what resources it has consumed, and what they’ve already done to address it. This allows you to adjust your script to speak directly to their challenges and their experiences.
Make sure that you are getting mini ‘buy-ins’ as you are progressing through the sales process. Do this by ensuring that this is a two-way conversation. Check for agreement at key points in the discussion. You’ll be able to assess your prospect’s level of engagement, confirm their level of interest, and address potential objections.
Above all, throughout the engagement, never forget that “people buy from other people”. Make sure that your prospect feels good about connecting with you and is looking forward to working with you.
If you’ve taken these steps, once you are ready to close, you can simply ask: “What would you like to happen next?”
At One of a Kind Sales, we are sales experts. We provide services that help qualify leads, improve sales performance, and close more business. Want to learn more? Give us a call at 908-879-2911.
Cold callers are faced with challenges every day. In our previous blog (Part 1), we suggested tips that cold callers can use to manage their well-being: leveraging training to be as prepared as possible, focusing on learning opportunities as they make calls (continuous improvement), and understanding what they can control and what they cannot control.
Other aspects of cold calling success are tied to environmental factors – in particular, with whom and where we work.
In my experience, I’ve learned that it’s most helpful to work in a TEAM environment. This way you’re surrounded by others who are doing the same thing and facing the same challenges. You can get support from your team, and you can celebrate wins with your team. You can learn from the experiences of other team members, and you can share what you’ve learned as well. You’re looking for a team that loves what they do. Whether you are working virtually or in an office with the rest of your team members present, leverage the opportunity to share and exchange experiences and ideas.
Another aspect of environment is the type of organization you work for. Ideally, you should work for an organization that understands and VALUES THE SALES FUNCTION. I’ve found that organizations that value sales tend to be more successful in their missions. Clearly, as revenue generators, you have high value to the organization. Your skills are critical. An organization that values sales will reward achieving the objective and won’t penalize a salesperson for factors that are beyond their scope. For example, my sales team is responsible for setting appointments and they are rewarded for this accomplishment. They are not penalized if the appointment needs to be changed or cancelled because we value the fact that they have achieved their objective.
Working in a team environment in an organization that values the sales function will set you up for success and you can anticipate having many more GOOD SELLING days than bad selling days.
And what’s a good selling day? At the end of a good day you’ve had wonderful conversations, helped build relationships that will lead to potential revenue, learned something in the process either from team members or from your own experiences, and shared what you’ve learned with others to strengthen your team.
Cold calling is our sweet spot. We LOVE creating the plan, building selling skills, and making cold calls. If you need help creating an environment that is supportive for an effective cold calling team or want to add cold calling to your sales mix, call us at 908.879.2911.
Recently, I’ve seen a lot of articles about self-care. Why? Probably because of the pandemic and the additional STRESS we have experienced dealing with a situation that is out of our control. Often these articles are about “self-care for parents,” or “self-care for people balancing work and family.” Self-care means taking action to preserve your physical and/or mental health so that you can do what you need to do without causing yourself harm.
It occurred to me that nobody ever talks about self-care when it comes to salespeople. We have highly stressful jobs – and no part of selling is more stressful than cold calling. A good percentage of the time people are saying “NO” to us. Clearly this is a situation that is ripe for stress. We need to engage in self-care to continue to do it well.
So, what is self-care for cold calling?
In my experience, self-care for cold calling starts with the basics:
Be PREPARED. Train, practice, review the script, and internalize it. Honing your skills as a salesperson will strengthen your sales capabilities and increase your confidence. You’ll reduce your stress levels as a result.
Next, think of each conversation you have as a LEARNING opportunity. Listen to what the prospect is telling you and pay attention to what you are picking up indirectly from the conversation. Can you draw any conclusions that might lead to a smoother discussion the next time? If so, then you’ve learned something new!
Another important part of self-care is understanding what you can CONTROL and what you cannot control. For example, in cold calling your mission is deceptively simple: call someone you don’t know with the objective of gaining agreement to move to the next step. What can you control in this situation? You control what you say, your level of preparation, and the number of dials. But you can’t control other things. You can’t control the number of conversations you have, and you can’t control how the prospect responds. So, if you get a negative response, you should be aware that factors outside of your control are influencing the decision.
In my opinion, cold calling is one of the most challenging aspects of selling. And it takes a special person to do it well. Self-care is key to ensuring success.
Stay tuned for Self-Care for Cold Calling – Part 2 for more on how you can keep ‘on point’ in this challenging business!
Cold calling is our specialty – from creating the plan, to building the skills, to making the calls. If you need help creating an environment that is supportive for an effective cold calling team or want to add cold calling to your sales mix, give us a call at 908.879.2911.