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Joe Marr (Sandler Training Center - Ann Arbor) has provided a tremendous service for me in my business. With his help I have substantially grown my practice. He gives great strategic and practical advice.
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Joe Marr, Sandler Training Center - Ann Arbor
One of the most common reasons I hear from salespeople not making prospecting phone calls is they’re reluctant to call because they won’t know what to say. This reason is used both surprisingly enough for “warm” calls and for cold calls, too. Now the reason for cold calls is probably easy to understand, after all, they arecalling “strangers”. Salespeople feeling reluctance about calling known contacts may be less expected, and can be caused for the same, and some very different reasons. Let’s examine both and consider some ways to keep call reluctance from becoming call paralysis.
See if any of these reasons business-people give for not making calls sound familiar:
What business people don’t often confess about these “reasons” is that they are really just excuses for not making prospecting phone calls that are uncomfortable. And almost all of these excuses are the manifestation of a feeling of inadequacy or inferiority. This feeling of inferiority has less to do with the value or potency of their product, and more to do with the role they find they have to play to sell it -- the role of “the salesman”.
Since our culture has established that a salesperson, or worse yet a telesales person, is an unsavory, unprincipled sort, when they find themselves in that role, they worry too much about what their prospects will think about them. And even when they do make the call, they’re often so worried about how they might sound that they go on and on about their product, and may never get around to talking about the prospect’s needs.
The interesting thing about all this anxiety over making calls is that the receivers of the calls actually barely even give the bad ones they receive a second thought. Most people just consider these calls they receive at work to be at worst an interruption or nuisance, and at best a call from a company they may want or need to know something more about. So when salespeople feel like the next cold call is a “make or break” situation instead of a casual inquiry, they make too much of themselves, and need to realize that their phone call is a small blip in the prospect’s busy life.
A lot of clients are at a loss about what to say to an existing customer if they don’t have any new services or products to talk about. One approach a businessperson can take to open a good conversation with any client or acquaintance is to simply call to talk about an article or story at least loosely relevant to their business. The ”Have You Read The News?” approach sounds something like:
“We hadn’t spoken with each other in a while, but I was reading a piece in the Michigan Business Review about … and I thought of you. Did you see it? What was your take on it? Would it be helpful for you to know that I (we) can help you with… OK?”
The ”Have You Read The News?” approach is also a soft way to open up an opportunity to cross-sell. This approach is a way to help a client to discover other capabilities you have to serve them with, if the article you talk about is related to a capability of your firm they are unaware of.
Salespeople that find themselves paralyzed and not making prospecting phone calls should consider three things to help them break through. One; their reasons are really just excuses, irrational and not real—so they need to face up to and dismiss them. Two; A salesperson can call anyone if they just make it about the prospect or customer, not a sale, and three; sharing the news makes for relevant business conversation and often creates opportunities for a soft cross-sell.
Joe Marr is a public speaker, sales and management consultant and trainer, and runs the Sandler Training Center – Ann Arbor. To reach him call: (734) 821-4830 or visit his website at: www.sandlerannarbor.com
© 2010 Marr Professional Development Corporation