How Often Should You Reach Out to Prospects?

There are a few different answers to the question, ‘how often should you reach out to prospects?’

Frequency of calling 

First, let’s talk about how often you should be picking up the phone and having conversations with prospects.

I am a strong believer that ALL salespeople should be cold calling on a regular basis. Yes, even senior salespeople!

Dialing and engaging with prospects keeps your skills sharp, models good habits to your younger employees and helps you stay ‘in the game’. Making calls is the best way to stay familiar with current tools, aware of the latest objections (though those do seem to stay the same over the years) and helps you formulate new and innovative ways to interact with potential clients. 

How many days a week you set aside for cold calling and how many calls you make per day should be based on your goals and your call/ appointment ratio. See our post Know and Monitor Your KPI’s for Cold Calling Success for how to calculate this ratio and other KPI’s you should be monitoring.

And check out our post Less is More for more on how many calls YOU should be making.

Follow-up calls 

The second answer to the question of how often you should reach out to prospects is related to following up after that initial call.

I refer to this as our ‘Cadence’. We use a four-week cadence where we reach out to a prospect at least two times each week for four weeks. If, after those contacts, we have determined that they are a good fit but have not yet set an appointment, we put them into a rotation where we will reach out to them again in 90 days.

Note: this rotation may vary based on the number of leads you have. I never recommend exceeding 120 days.

So, while there is no single ‘right’ answer to how often you should reach out to prospects, this post should give you the information you need to determine the right answer for YOU.

Remember, phone skills are like a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it gets! Check out our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedInand Twitterfor more on how to beef up YOUR phone skills and give us a call at  908.879.2911 to set up one-on-one or team training on how to more effectively use Cold Calling to build YOUR business!

Optimism increases Sales

They say that optimists see the glass as half full. I say that optimists see a full sales pipeline!

Let me explain.

Which would you rather spend time with – a person who is grumpy and glum or a positive, happy person? I would take the positive one every time! And when making cold calls, that positive attitude can be the difference between keeping a prospect on the phone until they set an appointment and having them hang up.

Now don’t get me wrong, hang ups happen, and sometimes, if they weren’t a good fit, that works in your favor – saving you time and effort. But if you want to keep people on the phone long enough to see if they ARE a good fit, a positive outlook is key.

Put on those ‘Rose Colored Glasses’.

Optimism is defined as “A tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation.”

In a business where so much of your day can be determined by the actions of others, it is great to know that this is something you can drive. What you ‘expect’ and what you ‘dwell on’ are both within YOUR control.

Control those and you gain more control over your results.

Data supports the claim.

Studies show that optimists outsell pessimists, in some cases by many times over! Here is an example of the results from a study done by Dr Martin Seligman, an expert in ‘positive psychology’, from just two industries:

                  Insurance 

                  Optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 38 percent, and extremely optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 88 percent.

                  Real Estate 

                  Optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 33 percent, and extremely optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by a whopping 319 percent. 

This doesn’t mean that you have to be unrealistically optimistic. You need to be able to acknowledge challenges and obstacles. I am suggesting that you confidently address them and move one. That you focus on the silver lining rather than the clouds. Don’t dwell on the hang-ups or the unanswered calls, rather, focus on the person you are going to speak with next. Be present and enjoy meeting them. Learn about their needs and see how you can help!  

And yes, you can take this too far. Being blindly optimistic can be detrimental to your sales goals. Sitting at your desk, or worse yet, on a distant beach, imagining that prospects will start calling YOU probably won’t fill your pipeline.  

But a good dose of optimism WILL boost your confidence, your outlook and your bottom line! 

For more on this see our post Control What You Can in Sales and follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter for daily sales tips, advice and periodic boosts of optimism!

Cold Calling Tips: How Much Should YOU be Talking on a Sales Call?

How much should you be talking on a Sales call? I recently came across a post from SalesHacker, which suggested that “the best talk-to-listen ratio is 55%:45%.”

They went on to explain, “as a salesperson, you’re taught to do more listening than talking. This is true in some stages of the sales process, but not in a cold call. Gong.io says the most successful talk-to-listen ratio is 55% : 45%, with agents talking more than the prospect. A good rule of thumb is to prepare to carry the majority of the conversation and calibrate yourself to keep your talk level at just over half of the potential customer’s.”

I disagree!

We recommend a 70/30 ratio with the sales person doing only 30% of talking.

A Cold Call is a DISCOVERY call – the only way you will discover if it is worth scheduling an appointment with the prospect is if you let THEM do the talking!

Your job, when Cold Calling, is to engage the prospect in a conversation and ask key, probing questions to determine if they are a good fit for your product or services. To do that, you need to LISTEN more than talk.

Yes, you need to be prepared with questions but you need to be sure to leave time and room on the call to HEAR the answers.

How much should YOU be talking on a Sales call?

Here are some more posts and podcasts on this topic:

Active Listening: It is more than just hearing what your prospect is saying

Prepare for Cold Calling Success

My podcast with Laurel Bernstein on ‘How Active Listening Can Help You Sell More Effectively’

Need help mastering the art of Listening? Give us a call! Our time proven sales system will show you what to say, how and when to say it and how to really listen.

Contact me at 908.879.2911 or nancy@oneofakindsales.com to learn more and to get started TODAY! 

Prospecting Post-Covid

As we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I wanted to provide you with some tips for prospecting postcovid and on how to re-engage prospects as the pandemic starts to wind down.

First, let me congratulate you on weathering the storm! This has been a stressful time for all of us and my condolences go out to any of you who have lost loved ones during this difficult time.

And congratulations for having a business that is still alive. As I said early on, it won’t be easy and the strong and persistent will be the ones that are still standing at the other end. Take a moment to appreciate your accomplishment.

In sales, we tend to only look forward but this is a moment, if there ever was one, to look back, take stock and appreciate what you still have. 

OK, enough of that – back to looking forward! Here are 5 ways to re-engage prospects as the pandemic starts to wind down and you are prospecting post-covid.

1. Pick up the phone: 

Yes, the phone is still one of your best tools for engagement and in this case, re-engagement. Dust off that list of prospects who didn’t have the time/budget or bandwidth during the pandemic and start dialing.

2. Be human: 

Be a bit more patient and compassionate as you reach people. A lot of people have been struggling and may need to re-enter slowly. A hard pitch is NEVER the right approach but now, more than ever, warmer, more human outreach is needed.

3. Adjust your script: 

If you haven’t been re-working your script all along, now is the time to re-visit your wording. Consider adding some warmth, updated stats and some post pandemic optimism.

4. Go live: 

As the world starts to re-open, consider making some live appointments. Not everyone will be receptive but offering this option may help you stand out in the crowd and make those authentic connections that lead to real sales.

5. Don’t quit! 

Use all your Social channels and resources to connect and engage with your prospects. Don’t be discouraged.

When prospecting post-covid, picture yourself as a shark in the ocean – keep moving!

As we all begin to re-enter the wider world, I want to thank you for being a part of my community. Thank you for reading and sharing my content and please let me know what you would like me to address in the future.

Drop me a line at Nancy@OneOfAKindSales.com – I am always looking for great questions to answer here!

Thank you and stay well. 

For more tips on prospecting post-covid, check out these posts:

How long should a Cold Call last?

Optimism increases Sales

 

Cold Calling Objection #1: “Send me an Email”

‘Send me an email’ – are YOU hearing this Cold Calling Objection? It is always one of the top five Cold Calling Objections Salespeople face. In this post I will address why you may be getting this objection and how to deal with it.

Send me an email 

Does this sound familiar? There you are, in the middle of your conversation and the prospect says, ‘send me an email’.

This is frustrating and, if you are not well prepared, it can leave you flustered. But you CAN turn this around.

First let’s look at WHY they might be saying this and then some things you can say to keep the conversation alive.

Why are they saying this? 

When prospects say ‘send me an email’, they may mean any number of things. Your job is to figure out which it is so you can respond more appropriately.

    • Are they trying to blow you off?  

If they are blowing you off, (and chances are good that they are) you want to professionally challenge them to get to the truth.

My comeback is, “I am not suggesting this is you, but often, when people say this, they are not really interested but don’t want to hurt my feelings by saying so. Is that the case here? Please let me know – it’s OK”

This can save both of you time and free you up to move to your next prospect.

    • Are they just trying to get off the phone?  

Maybe they really are short on time, going into a meeting or onto another call. Maybe they were in the middle of something and really can’t talk. Respect their time and ask to schedule a time that would work better for them. This will probably get you farther than just plowing ahead.

I’m sensing this is not a good time for us to speak, what day/time would be better? (if they don’t commit to date/time they may be blowing you off)

    • Maybe they prefer to read vs hear information 

Some people do really prefer to read information or they know they will need written documentation to make a decision. Be sure that you have quality, written collateral that you can forward via email and schedule a call to discuss it.  

Make sure they commit to the follow-up call date and time. If they don’t, especially if they say, I will get back to you, then they are probably blowing you off. Send them the information. move on and recycle the lead for a future conversation.

What NOT to do 

Most sales people will just say, “Sure, give me your email address and I will follow-up in a day or two”. That is typically what happens and then you just sound like everyone else.  We never recommend doing that!

What to say 

If they do ask you to send an email, get that email address. It is a crucial addition to your database.

Then, explain that you need a bit more info to be sure you send the materials that are right for THEM. Try, “Sure, and please let me know what you would like to see” or “what would you like to learn more about?” 

Other tactics 

Another way to address this is to explain that you have entirely TOO much information to send and would like to be sure to only send what is relevant. Ask them, “What have I spoken about that is most relevant?” or “Which of our products/services seem like the best fit?” or reinforce, “What are the issues you are experiencing right now?” 

Jeb Blount, a well-known Sales trainers, has a great tactic – he says, “I am happy to bring you information, it all comes attached to me, see you Thursday at 2”. As he points out, this only works if you are super confident.

Either way, be sure to add “The content is much easier to understand with my explanation” and set up a time to call back to discuss it. 

Buy yourself some time 

All of these options buy you a bit of time to ask the key questions you need answered to see if they are even worth pursuing as a prospect.

Be confident 

We always train our salespeople to be clear and confident when Cold Calling. Ask them if they are busy or just blowing you off. No matter what the real objection is, getting to that TRUTH, sooner than later, will save you time and frustration.

Click here to read more about this.

Facing objections is never fun but when you are prepared, you can more successfully address them and move on! 

If you and/or your team need help practicing how to effectively address this and other frequently heard objections, give us a call at 908.879.2911. We are Cold Calling pros and can get you up to speed quickly! 

Successful Cold Calling Starts with Asking Permission

I have always found that successful cold calling starts with asking permission. The other day, it really paid off!

It started with a routine call to a branch bank manager. The woman who I spoke with listened for a while then explained that she had zero need for my services. Rather than get flustered or frustrated, I replied, “Well if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!” and went on to ask her for a referral to someone who might be a better fit.

What she said next, made my day!

“You know, I LIKE you Nancy!” and she explained that she really appreciated that I has asked her permission to start our conversation. “You are GOOD at this!”

She went on to say that I sounded “different” and proceeded to give me the direct dial number of someone in corporate since other branches might, in fact, need my services.

Ding, ding, ding – we have a winner! 

Her closing comment was, “when you are in my area, you come visit me honey!”  

This a great example of my ‘Conversational Selling’ approach to cold calling. I teach people to have CONVERSATIONS that are both memorable and that lead to qualified leads and SALES.

I show people how to have meaningful conversations that are genuine – not salesy, where the goal is to build a relationship as two equal business professionals. We know that relationships like those that last longer than the typical 2minute sales call will lead to more work and sales today AND down the line. That type of successful cold calling starts with asking permission. 

And if you are lucky, on a good day, it may end with making a new friend in a new city! 

Do YOU need help figuring out how to have more productive cold calls? Give me a call at 908-879-2911 or click here to set up a one-on-one with me to see how we can help YOU and your team build real relationships that convert to more sales. 

For more Cold Calling tips see:

How Long Should A Cold Call Last?

Optimism Increases Sales