It is difficult for me to find an industry and salesman who would not have to grab a phone at a certain moment and look for new customers for his company. Based on salespeople behavior, you can quickly distinguish two groups – sprinters and marathon runners. Both of them have their own advantages, however, in cold calling the long-distance durability is more important than showing off on short distance…
Cold calls are really cold
Salespeople often avoid cold calls, considering them as a last resort. Let’s be frank – this is not the easiest way to reach new customers, and a novice can wait for weeks to arrange a meeting over the phone. The question is: is he a good salesman then?
Long distance condition is key, among other things, because cold calling requires perseverance – statistically almost a quarter of salespeople will abort the mission of contacting their prospect after the first phone, if it will not be effective.
Probably only 1 out of 10 sellers will reach the stage where the fate of “to be or not to be” of the deal will be discussed. Today’s statistics are not quite optimistic. Therefore, we cannot suppose that salespeople will be calling with a though:
Phew, if I can’t make it now, it’s only 7 more calls to go, and I will finally talk to that guy.
Of course, we can recommend the salesman to run personal statistics. It’s good when he knows how many calls he needs to schedule a meeting. Even more important are the statistics that will tell him how many meetings end with a positive decision, and how many of them results in signing the contract.
Crouching salesman, hidden decision maker
Another problem is reaching the decision maker. It happens that the salesman first hugs an army of non-decisive people, who will eventually say: “I have to introduce this to the management board. I’ll let you know what is their opinion”. We know that it happens way too often… And it’s not really a serious fight yet. It’s just tickling.
Client’s objections can kill at a meeting. It’s even worse over the phone. And of course, the never ending story of the competition:
You are way too expensive…
But it is the positive scenario (when he talks about his doubts). The worse one is when he collects valuable information from us and brings it straight to our market rivals. In the end, he “just wanted to make an offer comparison”…
Salespeople dodge or refuse cold calling, because:
- They do not believe in their effectiveness
- They hear “no” or “I have to think it over” too often
- They associate them with routine, stress and failure
- They are convinced that it is not worthy of them – they finally offer professional financial, consulting, medical, technological services, they are not some door-to-door sellers
- They lack motivation to grab the phone at all
- They complain about complicated decision-making processes and it’s difficult to keep track of it
- For weeks they try to arrange a phone call with the decision maker, who is almost alway “away”, “at a meeting”, “on vacation”, “on leave” or “he just left”
The situation needs a wider perspective:
Why do customers do their best to dodge salespeople?
- They have bad experience with “sprinters”, whose only goal in mind was to close the deal ASAP
- They have a habit of saying: “I’m not interested right now. I will contact you in the future”
- They are allergic to any kind of “overly professional behavior”, i.e. “I’m so happy to talk to you, sir!” meaning “I’m desperate to sell you something today and I think it’s my lucky day!”
- They do not believe that the salesman’s goal is to make their real problems disappear
- They are just busy
There are many more excuses. However, what you can see at a first glance is a kind of a game between the salesman and the client:
I should pretend to care about your company’s problem, and you should pretend to like my product.
Of course, it’s not like that in every situation between the seller and the buyer. But… breaking this illusion can only cause multiple positive consequences.
What’s more important. How to do so?
How to motivate salespeople to grab the phone?
First of all, we can all reverse the whole situation – reward salespeople for their failures, not only for their successes. I often show our clients an example of a mission that we have created in Sales Pistols. We pick one day on which we reward salespeople for every phone call ended with a customer’s refusal.
Secondly, we can help salespeople implement a number of new techniques (not to be confused with manipulations!), which will allow them to reduce stress during a telephone conversation and increase their authenticity.
Finally, we can do what we like to do the most – cause a shock. Why not persuade the salesman to do something seemingly crazy – but something that can increase his effectiveness and shorten the distance between him and the customer.
Example? Why not reward any phone call, in which the salesman suggests to the customer that probably making a decision to sign the contract at this stage is a wrong idea? The result of such practice can be quite different than what you expect.
Ultimately, success in the cold calling sales is not showing what the salesman knows about the product and how great it is.
There are some factors that turn out to be way more important. Factors such as courage and motivation to perform non-standard steps, external motivation supporting determination, and feedback, which should be given at each step.
The last question we should ask ourselves is:
Since when will we are going to help our salesmen?