Back in 2015, there was a lot of noise, much of it negative, around a comment made online that “You have the same number of hours in each day as Beyoncé”. The implication was, Beyoncé seems to be able to run the world with HER 24 hours and so should you! The gist of the negative narrative was, “Well, yes, but I don’t have a personal trainer, or household staff or a ton of money”.
I mention this because, as we plan for 2020 – and Yes, you SHOULD be planning for 2020! – we all DO have only 24 hours in a day and we need to be sure that we are making the most of each one of them. Here are some tips on how to make the most of YOUR Sales Prospecting hours in 2020.
First, let’s do the math:
At 6 – 7 hrs of Sales Prospecting a day (most of us work longer days, you can increase it as needed) X 5 days a week (again, in an ideal world we aren’t all cranking on weekends) = 30 – 35 hrs a week X 50 weeks (hopefully you are taking SOME time off!) which leaves you with 1500 – 1750 hours a year of Sales Prospecting time.
Here are some tips for making the most of YOUR Sales Prospecting hours:
- Commit to making calls EVERY DAY. Block out that time on your calendar and USE it – every day! Do NOT use this time to complete unrelated tasks.
- If your job entails more than calls, get THOSE activities on the calendar as well. Block out the live networking events, allocate time for digital networking on LinkedIn and other relevant platforms, plan the days when you will be knocking on doors and making presentations. By consciously ‘chunking’ out your days there will be less down time spent figuring out what you will do and when, making your Sales Prospecting hours more productive.
- Use a CRM specifically DESIGNED for outbound calling and lead generation, make sure you know how to use it properly and remember to USE it for ALL your Sales Prospecting.
- Be sure that you are working from a QUALIFIED LEAD list.
- Develop, memorize and internalize a script with a compelling message. Practice it until you are comfortable and confident in your delivery.
- Have your ‘toolbox’ filled with documents and cheat sheets so you are prepared to address and overcome objections.
- Have a plan. Work the plan. Commit to success!
Here are tasks that WASTE Prospector’s time – AVOID these:
- Using an OUTDATED or OLD Call list is a HUGE WASTE of time!
- Answering email and/or engaging on Social Media during your dedicated Sales Prospecting Hours is a WASTE of valuable time.
- Extensive research is a waste of time. We have a ‘1 x 1 rule’ – spend a maximum of one-minute researching LinkedIn and the Prospect’s website before making the call. You need to know who you are speaking with and the industry they are in – nothing more.
- Don’t be distracted by colleagues during your Sales Prospecting time UNLESS it is related to making a sale!
- Spending time on the phone with influencers is unnecessary – focus directly on the decision makers!
All of us will have the same number of Sales Prospecting hours in 2020. Many will waste their time on pointless or misdirected tasks. Some will work longer days and weeks to try to accomplish more. And some will work SMARTER, focusing on what matters most. How will YOU use YOUR Sales Prospecting time in 2020?
If you need help getting YOUR Sales Prospecting team up to speed, give us a call – we train, manage and monitor YOUR inside sales team to ensure real results! Click HERE to learn more.
I am frequently asked, “is Cold Calling a waste of time?” Given that my business is to find and place, train and manage Cold Callers and that we at One of a Kind Sales LOVE making Cold Calls, I can confidently say, “YES” – when done poorly, Cold Calling IS a waste of time!
This may sound blasphemous – how can someone who LOVES Cold Calling, admit that it is a waste of time?! I am able to say this because I KNOW that it is true. I meet salespeople all the time who are wasting their time – and the time of their potential prospects – by using outdated scripts, poor techniques and/or ‘winging’ it. Too many people think that Cold Calling is just a matter of picking up the phone, dialing a number and chatting with, or worse yet, bullying the person on the other end into setting up an appointment. This could not be further from the truth!
Cold Calling is an art and a science. There are proven techniques and approaches that you need to learn in order to be effective. And you must be able to LISTEN to, and empathize with, your prospect. Most people are NOT born with these skills but with training and guidance, they CAN be learned.
Successful Cold Callers know:
- They need to be consistent, making calls daily.
- They need to be persistent – and know not to give up!
- Their KPI’s – their Key Performance Indicators (check out our post Are YOU Dialing Blindly for more on this).
- The VALUE of their work – they know that the appointments they set with qualified prospects lead to CLOSED SALES and a healthy bottom line.
Cold Calling is NOT for the faint of heart. It is a hard, often harsh, business where you hear “No” way more than you hear “Yes’. But it is also a rewarding one! Cold Calling is an important and EFFECTIVE part of many business plans and well trained, accomplished Cold Callers are ALWAYS in demand.
Are YOU wasting YOUR time Cold Calling without results? Give us a call at 908.879.2911, we can provide you with the training you need turn that around! And if you would like to HIRE one or more of our well-trained salespeople to fill your pipeline with qualified leads, give us a call. Our people are snatched up pretty quickly, so get on our list!
So, is Cold Calling a Waste of Time? When done poorly, yes, it can be. But when done properly, by well-trained salespeople, Cold Calling can be one of your most powerful funnel filling tactics! Are you and your salespeople wasting YOUR time?
At One of a Kind Sales, we spend a LOT of time training our people to ACTIVELY LISTEN. Picking up the phone and dialing MAY get you to the right person but actively listening is the real secret to setting qualified appointments and sales success!
Can you hear me?
A basic Cold Calling requirement is being able to HEAR the prospect. That means setting yourself up so there is no background noise or music to distract you and having a headset with adequate volume controls. Close all your extraneous browser windows and shut off your personal phone so you are not tempted to check email, texts or social media.
It’s not just hearing them…
ACTIVE listening involves more than just HEARING what your prospect is saying. It means UNDERSTANDING what is being said, and oftentimes, being able to hear and understand the UNSPOKEN context. Actively listening will enable you to ‘hear’ the prospect’s body language through the tone, volume and words they are using. It means noticing shifts in that tone or changes in the volume and then modulating your own tone and words in response.
Active listening involves paying attention to what is said and using the prospect’s responses to formulate your own statements.
Active listening tactics
We recommend a number of tactics to do this:
- Paraphrasing – which is where you restate some of the prospects replies but in your own words.
- Summarizing – where you provide a summary of the process or discussion to give an overview and context.
- Clarification – where you restate and/or explain things to make sure you are all on the same page. ASK for clarification on a point or statement to keep the prospect talking about their issues.
- Reflection – where you reflect the prospect’s words back to them to help them understand what you are hearing.
Note that ALL of the above require you to have HEARD not just the prospect’s words but the intentions behind those words. Pay attention, listen carefully and you will be rewarded with valuable insights and you will, more importantly, earn their trust! They can tell when you are listening and will appreciate that you have HEARD them.
Because we know that ACTIVE LISTENING is such an important skill, we have collected many useful resources on this topic. Here are a few articles and videos we think can help YOU improve YOUR active listening skills:
As anyone who has ever shot an arrow will tell you, one of the KEYS to hitting the bullseye is knowing WHERE the target is located. Otherwise, it is like shooting while wearing a blindfold! Salespeople who are not totally clear on THEIR targets, are frequently DIALING BLINDLY.
The ‘target’ in this context, is NOT the salesperson’s ‘target audience’. You can be dialing blindly even if you know your ideal prospects’ name, age and serial number. The targets that I am talking about here are the salespersons’ productivity targets. Without a clear understanding of YOUR productivity targets, also known as KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) you may as well be dialing in the dark!
How many tries does it take?
Do you know how many calls you need to make before you set a qualified appointment? This is NOT a trick question! This is a number YOU need to know and keep track of, based on YOUR lists, YOUR calls and YOUR experience. I cannot supply this answer, but I can assure you that if you identify and keep track of this number, you WILL be able to improve upon and reduce it!
Peter Drucker, the man who is often credited with having ‘invented’ the management practices of the corporate business world, famously said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”. I agree!
Knowing the number of dials it takes to get to the point where you engage in a conversation with a decision maker is the first step to getting a handle on your target. The next step is knowing how many conversations, with decision makers, need to take place to set qualified appointments. You also need to know how may qualified appointments you need to set before you close a sale. Again, there is no one correct answer – this is a compilation of data based on YOUR experience.
Gather and use this information to set YOUR productivity targets
Identifying these stats will help you monitor your progress, keep you on track and close more sales. Once you have these numbers, you can challenge yourself to hit or beat them. You will be able to measure AND to improve them!
The first step to hitting ANY target is to be very clear on what it is. What are YOUR current stats and what will YOUR target be? Don’t dial blindly!
If your sales team is dialing blindly and/or not hitting YOUR sales targets, give us a call at 908.879.2911 – our Call Center In A Box service includes the training, management and monitoring YOUR team needs to SUCCEED!
Cold calling success is largely based on the ability to differentiate yourself from others doing the same exact thing that you are doing. It makes sense that successful cold callers catch a prospect’s attention and build a relationship by being different in their cold calling approach. It starts with the first phone call and the cold calling script. Here are nine ways to differentiate yourself when cold calling:
- Craft a script that sounds genuine, and unique. Messaging must catch the attention of your audience. Interject something unexpected. Incorporate content to make your script your own.
- Catch the prospect’s attention. Successful cold callers make the first 30 seconds memorable by tailoring the message based on the prospect’s communication style.
- Be likeable. Incorporate a genial approach that builds trustworthiness. Trustworthiness leads to being influential.
- Inject humor. Connect with people over shared human experiences and tell stories that leave a positive effect.
- Be sincere. Differentiate yourself by being genuinely interested in the prospect and the prospect’s needs and wants. Generate trust by truly caring about your prospect.
- Ask the right questions. Ask high-value, thought-provoking questions. Ask enough deep, probing questions to really learn what the prospect needs are. Keep questions short following a response that the customer just shared to encourage them to talk more.
- Embrace active listening. Pay close attention to the prospect’s words, their tone of voice and their body language. Remember, it’s all about them. Distinguish yourself by being able to truly understand and respond to your prospect and their particular situation.
- Be prepared. Since prospects are inundated with sales calls, voicemails and emails, it is crucial to differentiate from all that noise. Come to the conversation with a knowledge of the prospect’s business and the kinds of challenges they face. Be ready with relevant open-ended questions. Sales is all about language that is pertinent to the prospect.
- Add value at every opportunity. Offer blogs, videos, white papers, etc., to be a thought-leader, not just a “seller”. When buyers see you as an expert, they will welcome your call.
Implementing these suggestions will help you cut through the noise and really stand-out when making your cold calls – and that is the first step to setting up qualified appointments and closing sales!
Need help crafting an effective script? Or does your team need coaching and management to be more productive? Click Here to learn more about our Call Center in a Box program where we train, manage and monitor YOUR inside sales team to improve YOUR bottom line. No inside sales team? With One of a Kind Search we find well trained sales people to work for you or call us at 908.879.2911 – we LOVE to Cold Call for you!
Yes, you can just pick up the phone and start cold calling but if you want to successfully set QUALIFIED APPOINTMENTS that will convert to ACTUAL SALES, you need to be prepared. At One of a Kind Sales, we LOVE Cold Calling and have years of experience training Salespeople to make calls and set appointments that get RESULTS!
Here are 5 things you MUST do BEFORE you start Cold Calling in order to ensure Sales Success!
- SCHEDULE: Make sure you have the schedule of the person who will follow up! There is nothing worse than setting up an appointment with a warm prospect, only to learn that the salesperson you are setting the appointment for will NOT be available at the date and time agreed to!
- SCRIPT: Have a script. Too many people think they can ‘wing it’ on their calls – make sure you have a script you can trust and …
- MEMORIZE: Memorize and practice your script. Really! I know you are not an actor but in our (extensive and proven) experience, memorizing the script allows you to be more comfortable on the call, to elicit the info you need and leads to more, qualified, appointments.
- GOALS: Be clear on your goals. Whether it is a set number of dials per hour, appointments set per day or another inhouse metric, be clear on what you are setting out to achieve. This will help keep you focused and help you meet (and exceed!) those goals.
- SKILLS: Polish your skills. To succeed, you need to be at the top of your game. Get the help, training and support you need to feel confident and ready to dial!
Sales is a ‘NO’ business – you are constantly being rejected and frankly, it can be difficult! Our training and management programs provide you and your inside sales team with the skills and oversight they need to succeed!
Don’t have an inhouse sales team? We can hire one for you! Don’t have the bandwidth or patience to set up and monitor a team? We can make your calls for you! We LOVE Cold Calling!
Give us a call today at 908.879.2911 to see how we can help you and your sales team SUCCEED!