Businesses that consider using call calling often ask questions about its effectiveness. At One of a Kind Sales, having made thousands of cold calls, we can attest to its effectiveness in generating leads. But I recently came across some statistics from the RAIN Group about how direct outreach, including cold calling, is regarded by business decision-makers. Their research showed that more than half of senior decision-makers prefer to be contacted by phone. When businesspeople are actually in the market for a solution, more than 71% of them say that they want a salesperson to reach out to them directly. And up to 50% of sales go to the “first mover” – the solution provider that reaches out first to the potential buyer.
Often, we hear salespeople complain that prospects don’t pick up the phone, but the statistics show that 67% or two-thirds of buyers have picked up the phone at least once for a new provider in the past year. Making a direct phone call to a prospect is regarded as the most effective tactic by almost one-third of salespeople and you’re more likely to get new business from this type of direct outreach than from an email campaign. Yet many salespeople who are tasked with lead generation don’t have specialized cold-calling skills.
For people who sell for a living and any business that has a sales objective, evaluating the effectiveness of your lead generation efforts is important. Because we have limited time those resources must be allocated effectively. We believe that a business should have multiple channels to generate leads – a mix of inbound and outbound methods. Our experience combined with the statistics regarding the perception of cold calling among decision-makers strongly suggests businesses should be using cold calling as one of the lead generation channels.
What’s important about these statistics is that they show that if you are calling a list of people that are likely to need your solution you have a strong likelihood of qualifying strong leads and converting them.
Do you wonder if Cold Calling would work for your business? If so, give us a call to find out. At One of a Kind Sales, cold calling is our specialty. We qualify leads and set up appointments for our clients so that their salespeople can go in a close new business. We also train sales teams to do cold calling and can ensure that you have the proper systems in place to maximize the impact of cold calling. Reach out to us at 908-879-2911.
As a salesperson how you manage your business can communicate volumes about how you perceive your role and the solutions you offer. Ideally, a salesperson should be perceived as having a strong conviction that they are offering something of value to clients. Also, they should be viewed as a trusted peer with your sales prospects and clients. Unfortunately, we may be communicating something very different because of the way we are managing our time and relationships. This could impact our earning potential.
As a seasoned sales professional, I’ve learned that it’s possible that a salesperson could come across as less confident about their solution than they are, and that they could be communicating in a very subtle way that they don’t see themselves as their prospects’ equal.
Let’s look at how this could happen.
Is everyone a serious prospect for you?
It’s important to recognize that not everyone will or should be your customer. The most important part of the lead qualification process is to determine if there is a need and a fit. This is an acknowledgment that not everyone needs your solution immediately and even those who have a need may not be a fit for your specific solution. When you implement a strong lead qualification process, you must take a step back and understand the value that the solution offers a prospect and assess whether the prospect is an ideal candidate for your solution. Doing this assessment with your prospect communicates that you recognize the value your solution provides, and you are not someone who works with everybody. When your prospect recognizes this, you might become more attractive to them as someone to do business with.
Are you always available?
When you connect with a new prospect are you attempting to meet with them immediately – looking for the first moment that they have available time? Or are you sharing that you have a set time each week that you have allocated to meet with new clients and proposing one of those timeslots? Seeking the first available timeslot might cast you as more “needy” than you might like. In addition, it makes sense to allow time to research your prospect before you meet. Having certain days of the week that you meet with clients suggests that your time is in demand and that you have a business process that is well-organized and thoughtful.
Are you working all the time?
We all need personal time. And with all the discussion around work-life balance, there is increasing awareness of the need for it. In fact, by placing limitations on your own time, and creating set work hours, once again, you are demonstrating that you proactively managing your business, not scrambling to meet every need. Of course, there are emergencies that we need to handle, but those should be exceptional. We all need to recharge – and that not only includes taking time for relaxation and family but for engaging in ongoing learning in our field. Placing limits on our time creates the opportunity to recharge, learn, and interact with our clients and customers when we are at our best.
In my experience, salespeople give themselves the best chance for success when they strive for these strong sales management traits.
- They realize that not everyone is their ideal customer and use a robust lead qualification process.
- They organize their time well, including when and how they meet with prospects.
- They work to balance their work activities with their non-work life.
I know that achieving this consistently can be a struggle for some of us, but there is real value in working towards this for our well-being and for how our business is perceived by others.
If you need help bringing out the best in your sales team, reach out to us at One of a Kind Sales. We love cold calling, and we understand the systems that need to be in place to do it effectively. Give us a call at 908-879-2911.
I’m feeling revitalized! I just returned from the annual Sandler Sales Leadership Summit in Orlando. I’ve been a proponent and student of the Sandler Selling System for the past 10 years. Each year I have attended this particular summit. Why? Because I always come away inspired and motivated having learned something new and having interacted with many other highly motivated sales professionals.
What Impressed Me?
The “BAT” Triangle. This is a foundational Sandler concept that describes three elements required for success in any activity. BAT stands for “Behavior,” “Attitude,” and “Technique.” David Sandler believed that the most important of these is Behavior. Engaging in the right behaviors can favorably impact your Attitude, and as you use these behaviors, your Technique will improve. David Sandler said, “You cannot manage results, only behavior.”
This makes sense to me. If we focus on results and have no supportive behaviors directed at achieving those results, we end up frustrated about our performance. This brings to my mind a scenario in which a sales rep is worried about achieving her sales plan, but not making any sales calls.
At One of a Kind Sales, we see daily proof that intentional, consistent deployment of key behaviors or practices drives our results. And those results support our positive attitude (team morale). As a leader, I reinforce those behaviors with training focused on honing our technique.
And Next Year?
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking, ‘I’ve been doing this for my entire career, so I don’t need to go to a conference where I will hear something I’ve possibly heard before.’ But I know I will gain a different way of seeing things, reinforcement of best practices, and a strong commitment to continuing this proven approach. As a result, I will continue to attend these Sandler Leadership Summits. (I’ve already reserved my spot for next year!)
My team and I engage in weekly Sandler training sessions. The Sandler Selling System has contributed directly to our success and I believe it sets us apart from the rest. You need to invest in yourself so that you can utilize your best skills on behalf of your clients. As my team and I work with our clients, we know that we are using best-in-class approaches and we can consistently get results, even in an increasingly competitive environment.
At One of a Kind Sales, we love selling. We are experts at cold calling, in particular. If you want to discuss how we can help you and your team, please contact us at 908-879-2911.
Salespeople hear the word “NO” often, and that can be very demotivating. If your business depends on a sales team for growth, it’s important to ensure that the team can weather those disappointments and not lose momentum. Cold calling, in particular, is one of the most difficult aspects of sales. As an expert in cold calling, I know we will hear a lot of NOs before we hear the YES response that makes all the negative feedback worth it. In my experience, it’s critical to keep the team motivated. Here are some steps I recommend you take to keep your sales team moving towards their next win.
Develop a personal relationship. Show interest in your sales team members as individuals. Set aside time to meet with them individually, get to know them, and let them get to know you. You’ll begin to develop a deeper understanding of what motivates them.
Facilitate a “team-centered” approach. Encourage the team to share wins and losses in an environment that is non-threatening. They can learn from the successes and failures of team members, and this will make your team stronger and build trust within the team.
Be open to and seek feedback. Being on the front line, your salespeople may be the first to recognize gaps. By engaging and addressing these issues directly with your team, you demonstrate your respect for them and their important role in the business.
Set achievable goals and compensate them for what they deliver. Competitive salespeople are goal-oriented, and they will have a good sense of what is realistic versus what is not. For cold callers, the goal is to make an appointment with a qualified prospect. When that happens, they should be rewarded for it, and they should not be penalized if the appointment must be rescheduled.
Invest in your team. I’m a strong believer in ongoing training. If you value your salespeople, you should want them to have the strongest sales skills that they possibly can. This will drive excellent performance and increased sales. Investing in your salespeople with training communicates to them that you value them. This will maintain their motivation and increase their loyalty.
Cold calling is our specialty. At One of a Kind Sales, we create the plan, establish the tracking process, build the skills, and make the calls. If you need help creating an environment that supports an effective cold calling team or want to add cold calling to your sales mix, give us a call at 908.879.2911.
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.
A quiz for you:
Communicating your expertise and product knowledge to your prospect leads to a successful sale:
I came across this question in a session with a world-class expert in the Sandler selling method. This is one that can spark a lot of debate.
I’m aware that many salespeople are trained to be product experts. In fact, product or service training may be the lion’s share of the formal training that they receive from their company. Often, salespeople are coached to share their knowledge in order to establish their expertise with a prospect. This might be because the business perceives that the offering is so differentiated that once a prospect fully understands it they will jump at the opportunity. So, an encyclopedic knowledge of the offering and the ability to communicate it is often perceived as a major sales success factor for a salesperson.
However, consider the problems that could arise with this approach. What if we miss something critical because we are so busy “communicating” about our offering? When we first meet with a prospect, I believe it’s important to let the prospect communicate with us. What are their current issues? Why are they even talking to us about our offering? What problems are they trying to solve? If we move into “presentation mode” without knowing the answers to these questions, we risk losing the prospect’s attention by not addressing their core concerns. In order to get at these concerns, we need to take the time to ask the right questions and then engage in active listening so that the prospect can communicate with us and so that we can internalize what they are saying. We need a two-way conversation and, particularly early in the discussion, it’s ideal if the prospect does most of the talking. This is where we learn what we need to know in order to confirm if they are a good fit for our solution and then close the sale.
So what’s my answer to this question?
False: I’ve concluded that product knowledge and expertise aren’t enough to close the sale.
- Avoid getting into the “nuts and bolts” of a product presentation immediately with a prospect.
- Slow down and take the time to get to know prospects in order to learn what motivates them.
When you truly understand their situation, you can then start to use your understanding of your offering to highlight how your solution will make a real difference for them. In my experience, taking this approach will improve the likelihood of a successful outcome.
At One of a Kind Sales, we love to sell and are lifelong learners when it comes to selling. Cold calling is our specialty. If your business needs help with getting appointments with qualified prospects, give us a call at 908-879-2911.