Picture this: you’re having a conversation with a prospect and you realize that your solution is not something that they need at this time. You might be able to help them later but right now the conversation is not going to progress. You end the conversation graciously and move on.
If this is what happens, then I think you’ve made a very common mistake. You may have let your need to move on to another prospect overtake your ability to recognize a new opportunity. In fact, you should let that recognition that the prospect is not going to become your customer right now be a signal that it’s time to ask for a referral. Assuming that you’ve done a good job establishing a relationship and listening to their needs, the prospect could be an excellent referral source for new business.
The reality is that as much as we may qualify prospects they won’t all be our customers. In fact, we expect to close only a fraction of the number of people we speak to. The prospects we don’t close may not have a need for your solution right now, or perhaps the finances don’t work for them at this time. Frankly, it never feels good to be told “no,” But you can turn this around by asking for a referral.
One approach to transition to a referral request is to say: “I realize that we can’t offer you a solution right now, and I understand that. Is there anyone else in your sphere of influence that you think might be faced with this challenge?”
When you do this, your prospect will be impressed. They might have been expecting a different reaction – perhaps a quick exit and/or a show of disappointment. But asking for a referral shows your professionalism and communicates your confidence in the solution you offer. Aside from getting a good referral, you may also be getting a prospect who decides to work with you when the time is right.
We all know that “no” doesn’t mean “no” forever. “No” means often “no” for right now. Leaving the discussion having demonstrated confidence in your solution and your strong interest in providing it to those who need it will differentiate you in a positive way.
At One of a Kind Sales, we love selling and we are experts at sales and cold calling, in particular. If you would like to discuss how we can help you and your team please contact us at 908-879-2911.
Recently I’ve heard a lot about the value of Social Selling – a process that involves connecting and interacting with prospects on social media platforms. The objective is to create a relationship first and not to sell your product or service at the time of connection. I think Social Selling has its place, but to me, nothing can replace Cold Calling as a very important selling tool. After all, human conversation is social!
Cold Calling is a direct outreach to a targeted list with the objective of having a conversation to determine if there is an immediate need for the product or service you offer. I believe Cold Calling provides faster sales results.
A salesperson’s success is measured in sales and our sales are directly related to the number of times we have conversations with people who have a specific need for our solution (qualified leads). The more frequently we have those conversations, the higher our conversion rate. There’s a misperception that business people don’t engage with Cold Callers. But statistics from Crunchbase indicate that 69% of buyers have accepted Cold Calls and that more than half of C-Suite buyers actually prefer to be contacted by phone.
I’m not saying that Social Selling is ineffective. I use it as a tool in my own business. But my experience has shown me that Cold Calling is the fastest route to actual sales. Let’s do a quick comparison.
In Social Selling, you identify a target list based on factors that suggest the prospect may have a need for your offering. You connect, engage and share content with the prospect with the objective of working up to a meeting. This could take a month or more to get to this point, and the prospect still may not be fully qualified as having an immediate need for your solution.
When we Cold Call, we work with a targeted list and make direct phone contact. We quickly establish who we are and why we are calling. We confirm whether there is a need for the solution that we offer and the prospect determines whether a conversation should continue. A successful Cold Call takes on average about 6 minutes, and ideally, during most of that time, it’s the prospect that does the talking.
I’ll admit that I am biased, but our success is our proof. We know that many people dislike Cold Calling. But because it is so effective, businesses that don’t use this tactic are missing opportunities. Crunchbase reports that businesses that don’t use Cold Calling have 42% lower growth than those that do.
If Cold Calling isn’t something that you enjoy doing yourself, or if you have an inside sales team that is not as effective as they could be, reach out to One of a Kind Sales. We love Cold Calling. You can outsource your Cold Calling to us or we can provide support and training for your inside sales team. Call us at 908-879-2911.
I recently came across an article on the CNBC website that suggested that we stop asking people “how are you?” when we’re making small talk. I focused on it because I agree. Even Harvard researchers say that “How are you?” is among the most useless statements that you can make. It’s a throwaway statement and doesn’t move the conversation forward.
But reading further into the article, I saw some suggested alternatives that quite frankly made me laugh out loud. Granted, I am looking at this from the point of view of a salesperson with expertise in cold calling. From this perspective, I think you need to be careful about taking recommendations for conversation openers because it depends on the situation.
In my experience when you’re trying to engage someone, particularly in the early stages, it has to be done a certain way.
This article suggests using the A.C.T. Criteria to create a greeting. “A” stands for Authenticity, C stands for making a Connection, and “T” represents a topic that gives them a taste of who you are. I think this makes a lot of sense.
But when it came to the suggestions in the article, I just had to chuckle. They suggested questions such as:
‘what’s your current state of mind?’, or
‘what are you looking forward to this week?’, and
‘you remind me of a celebrity but I can’t remember which one….’
In the situations I often find myself in as a cold caller, these come across as either invasive, (state of mind) or ingratiating (you remind me of…).
I don’t think these are appropriate starters when it comes to cold calling. Taking the wrong approach could put you in a “negative” starting position compared to “How are you” which is just bland and non-productive.
But still, the A.C.T. concept is quite valid. My team and I will often start a call like this:
“We don’t know each other, but I’d appreciate it if I could take just 30 seconds of your time to tell you why I am calling, and then we can determine whether it makes sense to talk more.”
A: (Authenticity): We don’t know each other
C: (Connection): I’d appreciate it if I could take just 30 seconds of your time…
T: (Topic/Taste): …to tell you why I am calling and then we can determine whether it makes sense to talk more.
Nothing is more authentic than acknowledging exactly what is happening. You create the kind of connection you need quickly and then you can jointly determine whether more time should be spent together. Your ultimate goal in a cold call is to see if there is a fit between what you’re offering and what they need.
In being truly authentic and making that connection, you’ve indicated that it’s okay for them to say ‘no’ and that you’re not going to take much of the time. What better outcome can there be in an introduction?
At One of a Kind Sales, we are experts at cold calling. if you need help with lead generation or with getting your inside sales team to the next level, reach out to us at 908-879-2911.
It’s always disconcerting when a prospect tells you that your price is too high. As a best practice, you shouldn’t even get to the topic of price until late in the sales engagement. By the time price is mentioned, you would have confirmed the prospect’s needs and that they have a budget. You would also know what the implications are if the prospect does not address their problem. So, when you hear “your price is too high” at this point, it’s time to keep your cool and start investigating to uncover the root cause.
Ultimately you need to determine whether the prospect really has a budget problem or whether this response is really “cover” for an unexpressed issue. Ideally, you should draw them into a discussion about their thought process by asking open-ended questions.
What You Can Do
Find out what they view as an alternative by asking them, “What are you comparing this to?” If they have a point of comparison that is inappropriate you will have a roadmap to address, it and reinforce how appropriate your solution is.
Explore with them how they came to this conclusion. You can simply ask: “What makes you think that?” They may have made some false assumptions, or they may have misunderstood some aspects of the solution that you will have a chance to correct.”
Assess whether the solution you offer is missing an important feature. You might ask: “If you eliminated price as a factor, would this solution fully address your needs?” This should reveal any hidden gaps.
As the discussion progresses, don’t miss the opportunity to review with them the ROI for your solution and to share the vision of what their business looks like when the solution you offer is implemented.
Not surprisingly, comments about budget and pricing can also be a prospect’s opening move to negotiate. For many of us, the price is really non-negotiable, but you might have the flexibility to explore whether different payment plans or delaying implementation to a different quarter relieves financial pressure.
“Your price is too high” can mean many things and how you address it will depend on what you uncover in your discussion with the prospect. But in my experience, the combination of being patient and working through the prospect’s thought process can diffuse this situation and move the prospect’s focus from the cost of your offering to the value it provides.
At One of a Kind Sales, we love selling and we are experts at sales and cold calling, in particular. If you would like to discuss how we can help you and your team, please contact us at 908-879-2911.
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Over the years, I have noticed that these three fundamentals are KEY to sales success. When you aren’t hitting your sales quota, or can’t seem to connect with enough qualified leads, check to see if you are missing one of these pieces.
I often see people master one or two and yet they are still struggling. But get all three in alignment, and your sales prospecting will go MUCH more smoothly and effectively. It’s like finding the missing piece to your sales puzzle!
I remember the three fundamentals by the acronym ‘MAM’ – here they are:
Putting yourself in the right frame of mind is key. Sales prospecting and cold calling are hard jobs – you need to stay optimistic and maintain a positive attitude to succeed.
Approach your calls with this mindset and you will see better results.
Need help with this? Here is a quick post that explains this further. Check out this page for quick tips. And of course, follow me here for updates and advice to keep you empowered and in a positive state of mind!
You need to actually take action to succeed. You need to actively DO the activities that are in your control, to achieve your goals.
For more on this, check out this post. And this one for some activity tracking tips and advice.
Then go PICK UP THAT PHONE!
Have a system, with a playbook, that works – then methodically work the plan.
Our proprietary ‘Conversational Selling’ system is a proven method for making calls that identify qualified leads. We can do this for you or train your team to do it effectively. Either way, the method is your roadmap to success.
We have all the tools YOU need to succeed – give us a call at 908.879.2911 and let us show YOU how.
So how many of these have YOU mastered? Can you now see the missing piece to YOUR sales puzzle? Give us a call if you need help filling in a gap and remember, anything is possible!
Here’s to a strong 2022!