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. 

Video – Cold Calling and Dealing with Pandemic Related Objections

Last week, we were pleased to be able to sit down (virtually), one to one with Mark Hunter, the Sales Hunter to discuss how to address Covid related objections when making Cold Calls.

As Mark noted, these pandemic related delays and excuses are going to be around for a while – it was great to hear his practical and insightful suggestions on how to address and overcome them.

In addition to offering down to earth solutions for addressing these objections, he also answered questions from the group.

Click here to watch the recording of this session and to hear his useful advice!

2020 Sales Prospecting Planning Begins NOW!

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.

Are YOU Dialing Blindly? Tips for Improving your Cold Calling Results

Would you like to improve your cold calling results? 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 calling without being 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! 

Here are some tips to improve your Cold Calling results:

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 usthis information to set YOUR productivity targets  

Identifying these stats will help you monitor your cold calling 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? Improve YOUR Cold Calling Results – 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! 

Call Center in a Box Case Study 1: When Your Inside Sales Reps and Sales Producers Aren’t Setting enough Appointments

This is the first in a series of Case Studies that outline the ways in which we have helped our clients. This post is a Call Center in a Box case study.

 About a year ago, I met a Senior Vice President of Sales from a premier insurance, risk management and financial services firm, at an industry event. 

The Problems: 

 He had three Sales Producers who weren’t ‘producing’ enough first-time appointments. They were still growing their books of business, had been trained and were responsible for cold call prospecting but it was not getting done. While they claimed to be making the calls, there were very few qualified, first-time appointments in their schedules. Management had no tools to monitor their activity. He knew they needed to be managed in prospecting but didn’t have the time or bandwidth to do it himself.  

He also had a full-time appointment setter with over 8 years of experience who set appointments but at least 50% were cancelled or no-shows. 

The rest of his team was comprised of senior sales Producers who had established books of business but didn’t do cold calling.  

The Plan: 

They retained us to implement our Call Center in a Box Services where we: 

  • Assessed the team’s skill levels 
  • Provided their Sales Producers and Appointment Setter with new scripting 
  • Set the company up on our recommended CRM 
  • Monitored their progress 
  • Met with them weekly to train, role play and discuss challenges and successes.  

The Experience: 

We started working with them at the end of the Summer of 2018 and it was immediately apparent, based on the new monitoring system, that the salespeople were NOT calling when they were supposed to. As part of the training, we established schedules to follow and through our ongoing monitoring, we were able to ensure that the calls were made during the desired timeframes.  

One-on-one coaching allowed us to work with them individually, giving each the attention and skill training THEY needed to improve.  

At the weekly meetings we listened to actual calls and provided role modeling to show them what to say and HOW to say it to achieve better results.  

The Results: 

Immediately, the quality of call conversations went up markedly and each team member we had worked with was consistently setting QUALIFIED appointments every week! 

The number of appointment cancellations was significantly reduced. Feedback from producers who took the appointments became more and more positive and has led to more sales. 

By January 2019, the company chose to move ALL their sales team members onto the CRM tool.  

The CRM has allowed the SVP of Sales to know and track what is being done, enabling him to better manage the team. And having more competent salespeople setting qualified appointments has freed him up to go out on more of those appointments with producers leading to better closing rates and an opportunity to model successful closing techniques.  

Are YOU having a hard time monitoring or managing YOUR sales team? Know they need training but just don’t have the time, energy or patience to train them yourself? Are your producers delivering poor quality leads that just won’t close?  

Click here and GIVE US A CALL AT 908.879.2911 to see how our Call Center in a Box services can help YOU! 

And click here to check out another Call Center in a Box Case Study

Month to Month Lead Generations Services Deliver Disappointing Results

In our experience, retaining Lead Generation Services on a Month to Month basis leads to disappointing results and increased salesforce turnover.  

We have noticed that some of our competitors are offering this type of lead generation services option. We think that this option is a shortsighted strategy which is a waste of your time and money and as such, we do NOT offer this option.

Month to Month Lead Generation Services are a shortsighted strategy 

Strong Sales Reps need a good 6 – 9 months to get their ‘mojo’ going. See our previous post on nurturing a successful sales team for more on this. If a sales person is on a month to month retainer, they may not have the time needed to show real results.  

It takes time to learn the ropes and to develop connections that will result in real sales. Unrealistic expectations of immediate sales production creates pressure, causes quality to slip and can lead to premature turnover.  

Month to Month Lead Generation Services are a waste of your time and money 

It may LOOK like you are saving money in the short term but in reality, you are probably going to churn through salespeople and prospects more quickly and way less effectively, if you retain people solely on a month to month basis, costing you more and delivering you poor results.  

Long term lead generation services will result in lower turnover, higher quality leads and stronger sales 

Commit to the time necessary for salespeople to get up to speed and to develop the relationships they need to deliver the results YOU want! 

When you are ready to invest in long term lead generation services with QUALITY salespeople who will deliver quality leads, give us a call! Our salespeople are trained to deliver solid results, consistently and over the long run. Click here to learn more and start getting the results YOU want, TODAY!