I’m setting you a task for next week. It’s something rather bold, and certainly very challenging!
I am going to challenge you to overcome something that may be holding you back in your sales success.
“What fear”, I hear you ask? “I love talking to my customers and prospects who have called in.”
Yes, but what about doing some telephone prospecting?
I had previously spoken at an event (BC – before Covid) for small business owners on improving sales success. When I asked how many people did any form of telephone prospecting, less than 5% of the audience raised their hands.
I wanted to know some of the reasons the 95% didn’t do any form of telephone prospecting, and the most common answers were:
- “I don’t feel comfortable disturbing people.”
- “If I make unsolicited calls, people will hate me for it.”
- “The idea of it makes me really uncomfortable.”
- “I’ll get loads of people just saying no.”
Do any of these reasons for not picking up the phone resonate with you?
The 5% of small business owners who are doing it know that unless you have embedded a marketing system that is generating more “hot leads” than you can handle and these leads are leading directly to a sale, you’re going to have to roll your sleeves up and start engaging with your prospects over the phone.
Picking up the phone can be a daunting task and I completely appreciate it’s a challenge! How many times have we all mentally talked ourselves out of it?
I also know plenty of people consider it a waste of their time. However, if you do it the right way and at the right time, I guarantee you will start seeing a lot more of your leads working through your sales funnel.
It will all be worth it when you get that precious “yes, let’s move forward” note from your perfect customer
Here are three types of calls you could be making in your business.
I only recommend 2 out of 3, and a big tip is that number 1 isn't one of them!
The least favourite! This involves finding someone’s number and trying to speak to them to sell them something.
As a person who, once upon a time, sold double-glazing over the phone, this does actually work (eventually). But it’s bloody hard going! On average, straight cold calling of any sort gets only a 1-2% success rate.
The problem with cold calling is the time it takes to get those results. It’s also pretty soul-destroying. You need skin thicker than a rhinoceros to put up with people telling you “no” a lot.
You need to be prepared to spend a lot of time (and therefore money) when cold calling. Relying on cold calling only may not be an effective investment of your time if this is your only strategy.
Instead, consider one of the other calling strategies I’ll discuss below.
This is a little more comfortable for most people, but many people don’t really know how to approach this type of call correctly, so they still avoid doing it.
A warm call is one where you have a lead that has come to you. Perhaps it’s a business card you collected at a networking event, or maybe someone responded to an ad or an online contact form. Perhaps an existing client has given you someone’s name and number.
Success rates for warm calls tend to be much higher- in my experience, about 30% to 40% if you approach them in the right way.
Targeted cold calling is ideal where you have a very specific product or service that is of benefit to a very specific group of businesses because it solves a problem that they have.
Most people spend time and money using marketing methods like direct mail and direct email, often spending a lot of money on fantastic brochures, videos and other materials to get in front of their prime section of the market.
These are all great but picking up the phone to these targets is also something you should do if you want to get ahead of the competition!
Picking up the phone and talking to them allows you to have a 2-way interaction. This means you can ask them some questions which will prompt their interest and make them want to continue on the conversation with you, or to arrange a time to do this
I expect that this might still seen by most of you as a “cold call”, but if you really can give these businesses something that really will solve their problems, then phoning them up to tell them about it is doing them a huge favour.
It’s your duty to help them!
Remember, you don’t want to go in guns blazing and just blast them with information about you and your business. You need to approach these calls in the right way and with the right techniques to get fantastic results.
All of these types of calls do work (with varying degrees of success, of course) but only if they’re done in the right way. Don’t get me wrong, I know the last 2 are definitely easier and a little more comfortable, but whatever type you do you need to use a similar approach.
Here are the 5 main points to remember:
Smile! It’s going to go well and you’re going to have a positive outcome. Your mindset really can help you succeed… or fail.
Have a script or framework ready for your calls. Knowing what you are going to say in advance is key.
Know your script so well that it doesn’t sound… scripted! Actors learn their lines so that they can concentrate on the delivery, not the words. The same goes for the best salespeople.
BE A PROBLEM SOLVER
Focus on their challenges and problems. Find out what they need by asking great questions.
Put them first. Remember, the call is all about them, not you. They need to feel that if they work with you going forward you are going to look after them and care about their outcomes.