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!

End of the Year Sales Prospecting Survey

This year has been unprecedented in so many ways, and sales is no exception! Things that used to be tried and true may not have worked as well as in 2020 as they had in the past and all sorts of new and exciting opportunities have arisen.  

Here at One of a Kind Sales, we have always believed that the relationship between the salesperson and the prospect is the key to any sales interaction. While the ways in which we reach out and connect may have changed, that core belief has remained unchanged.  

In this, our end of the year Survey, we would like to hear from you. Please let us know what techniques and platforms worked best to generate qualified leads for YOU in 2020.  

We will share the information we gather in an upcoming post. 

Please click on this link to take the quick, one question survey https://lmd215593.typeform.com/to/IQ7iu4l6 

Feel free to click on ‘other’ to add any comments or thoughts you may have on how the year went for you. And please share the link socially to help us reach as many salespeople as possible. 

 Thank you for helping us gather this information. And no matter what 2021 brings, we will continue to bring you insights, advice and the inspiration YOU need to succeed in sales!  

Wishing you Happy, Healthy Holidays and a Prosperous 2021! 

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 

A Step by Step Guide to Sales Prospecting Success – Step 4 – The Close

“Always Be Closing” is a popular sales phrase that you have probably heard. It is often touted as the “ABC’s of Sales”. But this phrase is often misunderstood as being all about the spurring on and encouraging the salesperson to go in for the kill – the close – and then move on to the next one.  

If you have learned anything from this series, I hope it is that sales is NOT about you, the salesperson, but it is all about THEM, the prospect. 

That said, I do believe that you always need to be working towards the close. Let me explain what I mean. 

Be clear about the process 

Closing becomes easier if you have done your work all along the way. Signing the contract should be the culmination and confirmation of all the discussions you have had. The contract should hold no surprises and is just a formality. They should be ‘buying-in’ all along. The Close is just the logical next step in the Sales process.

Is it a fit? 

Early on, you need to pre-qualify the prospect. Spending time and money with a prospect who cannot afford your product or services is time and money wasted. Discuss and get buy-in on the budget before investing time and resources.  

Tie-downs 

Periodically use phrases like, ‘wouldn’t you agree?’ and ‘did I get that right? to make sure you are on the same page and to anchor all of you in your new, advanced location as you move along in the sales process. 

Are all the Decision Makers present? 

Spending your time selling to someone who is not in a position to actually close the deal is a huge mistake. Make sure you understand, up front, who will be the one to authorize the sale and be sure that they are in on the discussions. Don’t waste your time with gatekeepers or anyone less than the decision maker(s).   

Check for conflicts 

Periodically ask to see what problems or obstacles your prospects may see with the proposed plan. It is important to identify and address these before moving forward.  

Whenever a new decision maker enters the mix, check with them as well. Request and respect their point of view.

Knowledge = Power 

You need to glean as much knowledge as you can from your prospect and the company. You need knowledge of their needs, their pain points, their past experience and most importantly, their expectations. Then you need to use that knowledge to craft your pitch and sell your solution. 

Trial closes 

We train our salespeople to incorporate ‘trial closes’ into their sales process. All along the way, they are making small ‘closes’ which make the final close much easier. Think of it as a way to ‘take the temperature’ of the room and confirm that you are on the right track. 

What would you like to see happen next? OR ‘What should next steps look like? 

I like to use one of these phrases when I wrap up my presentations. It allows THEM to bring up and request that I send a contract. This way, rather than my pushing it on them, they have requested it. This is a subtle but important difference. 

Contracts 

I send contracts the afternoon before our next meeting. This allows them enough time to review it, but it isn’t available for extensive examination. Then we go over it together, at the meeting, and get it signed.  

Since you are aware of their needs and pain points, it makes it easy to show how your solution will address them. And your contract should be in alignment with their expectations since you will have clarified these previously. There really should not be any surprises at this point. 

Legal review 

Yes, legal reviews can take time and slow down your close but if you have a well-designed solution that underscores and addresses their pain points, your prospect should be able to successfully shepherd the contract through the process.  

This is just the beginning! 

Try to identify and address any ‘buyer’s remorse’ before it has time to take root. The close is not the end but the beginning, of the relationship! 

Pro tip 

A real pro will mention, at the close, ‘Oh, and by the way – to prepare you – I will come to you in about 3 months to ask you for references. We are really looking forward to working with you and would love to work with more clients like you!’.  

They may not remember you saying this, but it sets you up for a successful conversation when you make that request for references.

Do you and your team need help to successfully close more business? Give us a call at 908-879-2911 Or click here to use my Calendly link to arrange a time to speak.  

Missed any previous posts in this Step by Step Guide to Sales Prospecting Success series?

Step 1 – The Cold Call

Step 2 – The First Meeting

Step 3 – Objections – Part 1

Step 3 – Objections – Part 2

High Kicks, Basketball and Sales

Back in High School, I was the co-captain of our Kick Line Squad where we cheered on our sports teams by performing precision dance routines in the style made famous by the Rockettes.  

This came up the other day on a call with a basketball playing colleague. I mentioned that basketball had been my favorite team to cheer for. I loved the energy, the pace and, most importantly at the time, that it was played indoors! 

Though, I said, I don’t know why they didn’t give each team 100 points and let them just play that last 5 minutes of the last period since that always seemed to be when the game was won or lost. It always seemed to be a tie til those last plays. 

My colleague quickly pointed out, ‘No, no, no! You are missing the point.’ Basketball, he explained, is a game of ENDURANCE. It is a game won or lost based on the focus and stamina of the players over that entire 48 minutes – all four of those 12-minute periods. Yes, it may come down to the last play at the buzzer but the team that trained and practiced and stayed focused the entire game, will be the one who wins. 

I got it. And I immediately realized the similarity to the SALES process! 

Sales too, is a ‘game of endurance’. It can be a tiring slog and can frequently come down to a last minute play – a close – at the buzzer, but it is the player and team that has trained, focused and practiced that will more reliably deliver and more importantly, succeed. 

Do you and your team train regularly? When was the last time you actually had someone ‘coach’ you on your approach, scripting and tactics? 

At One of a Kind Sales, we train you and your team on the sales tactics and techniques that WORK. Then we monitor progress and meet to track and improve delivery. This work helps ensure that you can get past all the ‘no’s’, properly identify and convert the ‘yeses’, to deliver the leads and sales you and your company need to succeed.  

Think YOU or YOUR team could benefit from some sales ‘coaching’? Click here to set up a time to discuss how we can get YOU and YOUR team into the big leagues!

A Step by Step Guide to Sales Prospecting Success: Step 3 How to Overcome Objections – Pt 2

This is Part 2 of our post on how to Overcome Objections when Sales Prospecting. (Click here to see Part 1)  

Objections are often a Salesperson’s nightmare, keeping them up at night and making them reluctant to pick up the phone to make calls in the first place. Knowing you will face objections and having a plan and scripting to address and overcome them, is a sure way to reduce some of the frustration. Here are some techniques for re-directing discussions once objections have been raised.

  • Say something they DON’T expect

Frequently, when on a call or in a meeting with a Prospect, we can find ourselves going into ‘sales’ mode. And Prospects, in response, will go into ‘defense’ mode. You are using all the stereotypical ‘sales’ techniques and they are responding in kind. But that gets you nowhere.

If you find yourself in this type of situation, I suggest saying something they do not expect. Rather than doing and saying what is EXPECTED – a classic hard sell – we can approach it differently in order to get a different, more positive, response. We show our people how to ‘sell’ differently – in our case, through conversation and building relationships – and Prospects respond differently, by trusting us and doing business with us.

When someone says, ‘we’re good’, they often think that will get them off the hook. With most salespeople, that means the conversation is over. You can change the outcome by continuing to talk with them, asking them ‘gee, what are you doing right?’. By continuing to be curious, you are no longer pushing a ‘sales call’ but you shift it to ‘having a conversation’.

  • Stay curious

The goal is to keep Prospects talking about their problems. You do this through questioning and listening. When a Prospect starts speaking, you begin ACTIVE listening.

Follow up with questions and make statements such as:

“Wow, I can’t believe it’s been going on that long”

OR

“Wow, that must be frustrating! Tell me more.”

Sometimes you may need to play ‘Dummy’ to keep the conversation going, saying something like:

“Gee, you know, I’m really not sure I am getting it, can you please explain that again?”

Stay curious. Include statements and questions which will elicit conversation. LISTEN to their answers.

  • Call their bluff

Sometimes, Prospects will say, ‘We don’t need help, everything is great!’. I suggest asking more questions or making more statements and possibly calling their bluff. You can say something like:

“Wow! So, you and your sales team will hit your quota, even despite the pandemic? How have you managed to do that?”

This will allow you to continue the conversation and to learn more. If they ARE in fact in great shape, you may not be able to help but might learn some insights about how the organization works. If they are NOT doing as well as they originally said, it is an opportunity to add value and to continue the conversation.

No matter what, be POLITE! We are trying to create relationships here, not burn any bridges.

  • Rule of 3

I train our salespeople to address objections and stalls three times. After that, if the Prospect is still not on board, I suggest you ask for the referral and move on.

  • Memorize your script

Yes, hearing obstacles may feel like a kick to the stomach but by expecting them, have SCRIPTED responses (which you have memorized) and being prepared, you can take much of the sting out of them.

  • Stay UNemotional

Stay unemotional – this is NOT a verdict on your self-worth or a personal failure. It is a ‘no’. And this is a business where you will hear a LOT of no’s. Move on, your next call is waiting to be made – Keep Dialing and get to that ‘YES’!

If you or your sales team need help with scripting or preparing to address obstacles, give us a call TODAY at 908-879-2911- we provide the words, encouragement and support you need to face obstacles like a PRO!