A Better Approach to Cold Calling

According to the RAIN Group, a sales training and consulting firm, 58% of prospects say they currently find cold calls useless. Wow! Are YOU wasting YOUR time making ‘useless’ calls? Here is a better approach to Cold Calling.

What is a ‘useless’ call? 

If a prospect is finding your call ‘useless’, it is a good bet that you are calling people and doing what I call the “F&B Dump”. You are dumping a bunch of information, about the Features and Benefits of your product or services, on whoever is unlucky enough to pick up your call. 

That, or you are monopolizing the call with info about you, you, you.

Or maybe you are just launching into a hard sales pitch.

Or worst of all, you do all of the above!

A better approach to Cold Calling 

A better approach to Cold Calling is to start by confirming who you are speaking with. Make sure they are a decision maker and that they actually have a minute to speak with you. If they don’t, set up a time that works better for them. You are both busy, why waste each other’s time?

Asking permission like this can set you apart from all the other cold callers they encounter and sets you up for a CONVERSATION, among equals.

Make sure they are worth YOUR time 

Once you are speaking with them – not talking AT them or SELLING them, you should have a few, tightly scripted questions you can ask to determine if they have a need for your product or services.

Ask your questions and then really LISTEN to their answers. Use that information to determine if they are worth pursuing. If they are not a good fit, ask for a referral or a recommendation of someone they know who might need your product or services and then exit the call (click here for more on how to ask for a referral)

Make it worth THEIR time 

Another sales study found that 84% of buyers complain that sales reps are annoying in their efforts to convince them to buy.

If prospects are finding YOU annoying (as evidenced by rushing off the call, hanging up or otherwise uninterested in speaking with you) it is probably because you have either rushed to the sales pitch or bowled over them with all your talking.  

The initial cold call is not for hard selling – it is an exploratory call to see if they are a good fit. Going into sell mode will definitely annoy your prospect. 

Respect their time, identify if they have a need you can fill and if they ARE a good fit, move to set up a first meeting. (click here for what to cover in that meeting) 

Useless calls are a waste of time for you AND your prospects. Use our approach to have real conversations that convert to qualified appointments and sales. 

Need help? We train salespeople in the skills and tactics that deliver RESULTS – give us a call at 908-879-2911 to learn more!

Are YOU Ready for 2021?

Are YOU ready for 2021? As we look forward to the start of a new year, here are some stats to think about and suggestions to help you ROCK the coming year! 

Good odds 

The RAIN Group, an award-winning sales training company, found that ‘82% of buyers say they have accepted meetings with salespeople after a series of contacts beginning with sales cold calls’. I know it can feel like you hear a lot of no’s when making cold calls but this stat underscores that there ARE a lot of ‘yeses’ out there. Make sure you are doing everything you can to get them! 

What should you be doing? 

Here are some posts with tips on what you should be doing to up YOUR odds of getting a ‘yes’: 

  1. Envision Your Success 
  2. Make sure you are working from CLEAN, up to date, Data 
  3. Don’t give up 
  4. Reach for the Truth 
  5. Focus on QUALITY over QUANTITY
  6. Build an “A” Team 
  7. Plus more on how to build an effective team
  8. And as always, LISTEN CAREFULLY!

Don’t Dread it, just DO it! 

A recent survey of sales agents found that 63% of sales representatives say that cold calls are the worst part of their job.  I think that a LOT of this has to do with people not having a clue as to what they are doing! Too often, salespeople are given a phone and a list of numbers and sent on their way.  

That is a recipe for disaster – I can pretty much assure you of poor-quality results with that approach. And it is demoralizing for your salespeople as well.  

Salespeople need a SYSTEM, TRAINING, MONITORING and MANAGEMENT to effectively set qualified appointments and close sales.  

At One of a Kind Sales, we have seen how successful sales teams can be when they have a comprehensive approach to sales. Our unique sales program, called ‘Conversational Selling’, is a time proven system, coupled with ongoing training, monitoring and management that prepares salespeople to successfully and consistently, deliver qualified leads and appointments.  

Click here to learn about how we can train YOUR Inside Sales Team to use this successful technique. 

Or here to see how OUR TEAM can make Cold Calls and set qualified appointments for YOU! 

Persistence Pays! 

According to a Marketing Wisdom stat, almost half (44%) of sales reps said they stopped with sales follow up after receiving a negative response to a first call. REALLY?!? If you are going to give up that quickly, clearly sales is NOT the job for you! 

That same group found that ‘after reaching a prospect, salespersons need to make an average of five successful follow-up calls to close a deal.’  This is not a ‘one and done’ kind of business and is why you need a system and training to support you.  

Sales is a game of endurance – play the long game or don’t play at all. 

Are you LISTENING? 

TOPO, a sales research and advisory firm, found that 87% of prospects said that salespeople didn’t understand their needs. Well, if you are asking pointed questions and really listening to their replies, this should NOT be the case!  

We provide our teams with scripts specifically designed to elicit the responses we need to fully understand the prospects’ needs. As you can see from the stat, this alone sets us head and shoulders above the competition!  

If you your team isn’t getting the info they need to make real connections, give us a call – we can help! 

OK – so are YOU ready for 2021?  

Do your preparation and give us a call if you need help – we want to see you ROCK the coming year! 

Notes: Marketing Wizdom  RAIN Group  TOPO 

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! 

Keep Dialing – people ARE still picking up the phone and checking messages

A colleague recently shared some interesting stats related to phone usage by Fortune 1000 and S&P 500 companies during the Covid-19 pandemic: 

  • 93% kept their corporate phone number on their website.
  • 94.1% have increased calling in to check voicemail from three times per day to nine. 
  • Of the approximately 10 million employees, 83.2% have added a cell phone to their email signature. 
  • Of the approximately 10 million employees, 41% have reached out to clients and vendors with an update about using cell numbers. 
  • Of the 8.2 million employees that had company cell phones, 38% are using them exclusively. 
  • Of the 10 million employees, 89.1% have their corporate phone calls forwarded. 

These stats confirm that workers are still using the phone as a business tool and checking their phone messages. Do not let the pandemic related shift to remote working keep you from making prospecting calls! 

Whether you have a company phone number with an extension, a direct dial or a cell number, keep dialing. The phone is still an effective way to reach decision makers, whether they are in their offices or working remotely.