I live, sleep, eat and breathe prospecting. I LOVE Cold Calling and know how well it works. So when companies tell me ‘Sales prospecting doesn’t work’, I always disagree and say, ‘Yes, it DOES!’.
When they tell me sales prospecting doesn’t work, I know the real problem is probably not the tactic, but something else.
First, I check that they have a plan. I can’t tell you how many companies that just ‘wing’ this. Doing it when they have time, having random people do it for them, ignoring it when they aren’t successful and generally just kind of hoping something will work.
If this is the case, the first thing needed is to get a plan in place.
We help companies set up and train their own inhouse prospecting teams. Or our highly trained Cold Calling experts can do your appointment setting for you. Either way, it starts with a plan designed to meet YOUR goals.
Our plans include scripting as well as role playing to ensure proper implementation.
You can have a well-designed, highly customized plan, with excellent scripts but if your people are not following it or have no clue how to properly approach and engage with prospects, it probably WON’T work.
We train our clients’ teams so they understand what they are doing, why they are doing it, how often they need to make calls and what to say on those calls. We prepare them, monitor them, review their progress and assist as needed.
Properly trained people have better attitudes and higher success rates.
Lack of Patience
If someone is complaining that a properly implemented plan, by a well-trained team is not working, my next question is, ‘how long have they been working the plan?’ Unsurprisingly, when the answer is ‘a week’ or even, ‘a month’ the reason is that they haven’t given it enough time.
See this post for more on how Good Sales Reps Need Time to Produce.
Plant Those Seeds
Our time-proven process works by reaching out to people, continuously, over time to build relationships with qualified prospects. It is then up to you to nurture those relationships and convert them to closed sales. We can help with that as well, but it does take some time.
Some Industries have a shorter timeframe from initial call til close, than others. This is to be expected and planned for. An unrealistic expectation can lead to frustration and a pre-mature end to what would otherwise have been a productive plan.
Not sure how to set realistic expectations for YOUR team? We have extensive experience in many industries – give us a call to see how we can help YOU more effectively reach YOUR most qualified prospects and close more sales!
Sales Prospecting WORKS!
Sales prospecting isn’t a silver bullet – it isn’t a single shot, quick fix. But it does work successfully, across industries, to keep your sales funnel full of qualified leads. If you aren’t prospecting, you are leaving money on the table. Call us today at 908.879.2911 to see how we can help YOU prospect effectively to keep YOUR sales funnel full!
Salespeople often want to know, ‘how long should a Cold Call last?’ Here are some guidelines and advice.
According to a Sales Hacker stat from Jan 2021, “The most striking difference between cold calls that result in a meeting and those that don’t comes down to how long you can keep the prospect on the phone.”
Successful calls, which they defined as resulting in a “held, follow-up meeting”, lasted on average, 5:50 minutes vs 3:14 for unsuccessful calls.
This aligns with my advice which is that Cold Calls should be between 4 – 9 minutes long.
Calls that last less than 4:00 minutes don’t give you enough time to get the information you need and/or reflect the prospect’s lack of interest and attention.
Cold Calls that go beyond 9:00 minutes DO NOT usually result in a meeting. And if you are on for 11, 12 13 minutes, that is usually just wasted time.
It is important to remember that you don’t want to get into a lengthy conversation. If you are on too long, you will find yourself going into sales mode – which is NOT good!
Cold Calls are for discovery – we are trying to evaluate whether or not they are a good fit and to set an appointment – not sell.
Once you set the appointment, you will have time to research and prepare for that first-time appointment which will be longer. That call should be a 30 – 45 minute conversation.
To get there, make the most of those first 4 – 9 minutes. Have a Cold Call script which is filled with the questions you need answered to determine if this is a qualified prospect. Then be sure to LISTEN to those answers and if appropriate, set that appointment.
The timer is ticking – pick up that phone and get dialing!
Do YOU need help crafting a more effective Cold Calling Script? Give me a call at 908.879.2911 – we can get you and your team up and running with a tight script that gets YOU more qualified leads!
How many of YOUR Cold Calls are going to voicemail? How many of your voicemails are getting returned?
According to a 2019 survey by RingLead, 80% of cold calls go to voicemail. And that is actually an improvement over the 2013 stat, by sales strategist Jill Konrath who stated that, at the time, 97% of calls were going to voicemail.
Either way, having your call go to voicemail is a VERY common outcome when Cold Calling. This is true for ALL calls. This post will address how to leave a voicemail when Cold Calling and more importantly, how to leave a voicemail that will get a return call.
First, let’s be clear – you should ALWAYS leave a voicemail when Cold Calling. It’s free. It’s a chance to make a connection and a positive impression – do it!
Don’t do an info dump!
I cannot stress enough that you should NOT use this opportunity to dump all your info on your prospect’s voice mail.
You should NOT do an info dump face to face either, but that is a topic for another time.
Make it compelling
Be interesting. Be curious. Be intriguing. Give them a reason to return your call.
For example, say, “your name came up recently in a conversation and it motivated me to reach out to you.”
Keep it short and simple
Use a script
As we noted above, the odds are good that you will be sent to voicemail. Don’t treat it like an afterthought.
This interaction is just as important as your live conversation with the prospect. Have it worked out and written down so you can follow it seamlessly.
Don’t have a script? Don’t know what to say? Call us at 908.879.2911 – we can craft an effective script that gets helps YOU set more qualified appointments and leave voicemail messages that get returned.
But be sure that you don’t sound like a robot when you are leaving your (scripted) voicemail message. People get enough robocalls! Differentiate yourself by being natural and human.
Be prepared to WOW them if/ when they do return the call.
There is nothing worse than someone returning your call to follow up on what you said in the voicemail, and you don’t remember or know what they are talking about!
A WARM call
When they return your call, it is no longer a COLD call. They have ‘met’ you – they have heard your voice and have an idea of how you can help them.
This is now an opportunity to build a relationship with someone who has expressed some interest. Don’t blow it!
Tech is your friend
We use VanillaSoft Sales Engagement software to pre-record our voicemail messages. This allows us to perfect the scripting, tone and cadence so we can drop a great version into their voicemail every time!
Click here to learn more about VanillaSoft.
Not a Deal Closer
A voicemail is just one of many touchpoints with a prospect. It is not designed to close a deal but to open the door to having a productive call.
Good luck and keep dialing!
Do you need help with YOUR Cold Calling scripts? Would you like our pros to take care of your Cold Calling for you? Give me a call at 908.879.2911 or click here to set up a time to talk!
Need more Cold Calling tips? Check out:
Prepare for Cold Calling Success.
A Better Approach to Cold Calling.
A Step by Step Guide to Sales Prospecting Success – Step 1: The Cold Call.
As we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I wanted to provide you with some tips for prospecting post–covid 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
‘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?”
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.
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!
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!