Question of the Month: How do I use my Call List?

by Shannon F. How do I build a Call List, and what should it include? Building a daily or weekly call list is an important step to sales success (remember: 80% of sales are made after the 5th through 12th attempt, which means keeping track of your calls is critical). What is the Call List? The Call List is a task list of the calls you wish to make today. Each time you complete a call in the Call List and set a Followup date for that company, the record is removed automatically from your Call List. Your goal at the end of the day should be to have an empty Call List (and hopefully an appointment or two.) So what should you put in your Call List? Your goal is to keep track of new opportunities as well as leads you are in the process of nurturing. 1. First, take a look at your Followups for the day, and put them all into your Call List. If you are using InsightPRM, simply do a search for the day’s Followups, mark all the results, and add them to your Call List using the Action Menu at the bottom of your screen.  (If you don’t have any Followups scheduled yet, move on to Step 2.) 2.Next, search your List/PRM for any companies you haven’t reached out to yet. A good bet is to search leads that have an upcoming move date or lease expiration date. You can add leads to your […]

Question of the Month: How many times do I have to call to get an appointment?

by Shannon F. The numbers may surprise you, but they’re really true: 80% of sales are made after the 5th through 12th attempt. A common beginner mistake after receiving a leads list is to call each contact once or twice and then let it go; in fact, only 12% of salespeople persist after the third attempt. Unfortunately, one or two calls will barely register with your prospect. Think about how many times you need to be introduced to a particular brand before it immediately comes to your mind when you have a need. (According to an early advertising guide, 20 times is the magic number.) The Right Attitude Keep in mind that your prospect is, at best, distracted and, at worst, overcommitted, stressed out, and struggling with a fragmented attention span. Those are merely the realities of the workplace today. In many cases your first call won’t be lucky enough to catch the prospect on a good day. You may be sent straight to voicemail, which is not necessarily a bad thing. You may be hung up on or lied to. It is essential to believe that your prospects need your product or service and that it is your duty to help them improve the way they run their business. Without confidence in the importance of what you have to offer, it can be difficult to make the 5 to twelve – or more – prospecting calls that you need to set an appointment and close the deal. Is the […]

Your prospects don’t have to be nice to you. 5 mean moves you can counteract when cold-calling

by Shannon F. Busy prospects don’t always appreciate getting your call in the middle of their day. Every salesperson has a cold-calling story about someone who reacted badly to repeated attempts at contact. Here’s how to deal with 5 ways that prospects may behave in a less than civil manner. Your Prospect Ignores Your Calls. Aren’t they ever in their office?! When you’ve made your 7-12 cold-calling attempts and still have not gotten your prospect on the phone, it’s time to accept that he or she may be ignoring your calls. Best Fix: Mix up your approaches. Try sending an email or even a personalized letter. If you use InsightPRM, try sending an instant email from the PRM at the same time as you are leaving a voicemail. Set up your email template to say, “I just called and left a voicemail for you regarding_________. I’d love to have a chance to discuss this with you in person.” Some phone-phobic prospects respond to emails in an instant. Last Resort: Schedule your next follow-up call for a few months out, and try again at that time. Your Prospect Lies to You. You know for a fact that they are moving their office, but they insist they are not in the market for commercial moving services. Chances are that your prospect is withholding the truth in order to get you off the phone. Sound improbable? Consider that the average individual is lied to as many as 200 times in a day. That […]

Tips for leaving an awesome sales voicemail.

by Shannon F. Do you die a little inside whenever you hear, “Please leave a message after the beep?” Many sales reps find that they are directed to voicemail more frequently than they reach an actual decision-maker. And while leaving a voicemail isn’t nearly as effective as speaking to someone personally, you should treat it as a welcome opportunity to capture your prospect’s interest and give him or her a reason to call you back. Remember that most decision-makers within a company receive dozens of voicemails a day, so you’ll have to catch their attention immediately to get them to hear your message through. Here are some of the best ways to keep prospects from pressing “erase voicemail” before your recorded self has a chance to finish a sentence. Name-drop shamelessly. For example, say you’re a moving company. Start your message with, “So-and-so told me you might be relocating and in need of moving services.” Of course, this involves actually taking the time to get a referral. Use LinkedIn to see what contacts you have in common with your prospect. If you have a mutual connection, ask for an introduction. When you drop that shared contact’s name in your voicemail, your prospect will at least take the time to hear the message through. Mention what you did for similar companies. Say, “We recently saved other local technology companies thousands of dollars with our proven IT relocation experience.” You can even name a couple of the companies you assisted. Your prospects […]

Why can’t I set appointments from cold-calling?

by Shannon F. Close your eyes and envision an all-too-common scenario. You got into work early today and are planning to stay late, because you’ve been so overwhelmed with client demands lately that you haven’t had any free time to prospect for new business. Your boss is in a bad mood—she informs you that you are due in a two-hour department-wide meeting to discuss flagging performance. Domestic problems are weighing on you—your water heater broke this morning, so you have to dash home at lunch to talk to the service person. And on top of that, you drop some Hot Pocket filling on your Burberry tie, leaving spots of grease across the iconic plaid. As you’re grabbing for a napkin, the phone rings—it’s a salesperson asking for “just a few minutes to tell you about an exciting new product.” That’s what it’s like to be the prospect on the other end of your sales call. How do you react to a sales cold call when you already have multiple conflicting demands on your time? If you’re an exceptionally easy-going person, you might hear the caller through. If you’re like most people, you’re going to say, “I’m not interested,” or “Don’t call me again,” and hang up. Depending on your mood, you may even scream a variation of “I hate you!” or just cry wordlessly into the phone. B2B salespeople should keep in mind that every cold call they make is an unwanted interruption. Even if your prospect actually needs your […]

What to do after a sales cold call

by Shannon F. Sales cold calls are not usually stand-out events, either for the person making the call or the person receiving it. After the receptionist writes (or pretends to write) your name down, she or he generally forgets that you exist. Even if you get through to a decision-maker, you are probably just one of many disruptions that day. The general forgettability (we made that word up) of the average cold call is partly to blame for the staggering number of touches you’re probably going to have to make before you manage to set an appointment (between 12 and 18, ouch). Following up the right way can help you set more appointments, more efficiently. Always send a follow-up email Immediately after you hang up the phone—even if you just left a brief voicemail—send an email. It should be something like, “Hi, I recently spoke to you (or tried to reach you) regarding _____. I would like to set up an appointment to discuss_____. Please contact me at your convenience.” Busy people are more likely to check their email than answer the phone, so even if repeated call-backs don’t elicit a response, a simple email may do the trick. Connect with them online As soon as you’ve spoken to a prospect, connect with him or her on LinkedIn. This will give you another means of contact. Plus, you may be able to reach out to other members of the same company who are connected to your initial contact. Remember: the […]

Questions to ask when cold-calling

by Shannon F. Yesterday, we suggested avoiding the types of questions that frustrate and annoy busy prospects. Now that the Don’ts are out of the way, let’s focus on the Dos: provocative questions that keep the prospect interested and on the phone. “What kind of changes or events do you anticipate taking place in the next 3-12 months?” If the prospect indicates that a change such as a company expansion, merger, or office relocation is anticipated, you have your in. The Harvard Business Review identified that businesses in a state of flux make the best prospects, because they have the need, budget, and time frame for B2B products and services. (Blatant InsightPRM promotion: Customers who purchase our office moving leads already know that their prospects are relocating or opening a new location before they pick up the phone to make a call.) If the prospect has confirmed a trigger event, like an office move, say, “What kinds of challenges are you anticipating [related to that event]?” or “What steps have you taken to accomplish ______?” This gives you the opportunity not only to respond to your prospect’s concerns, but to bring up challenges (and solutions) that he or she never even considered. “We’ve been noticing that a current trend or problem in your industry is_____. How has your company responded to this?” The whole point of your call is to identify a need for your product/service. If the prospect doesn’t know they need you yet, educate them about how you […]

Questions not to ask when cold-calling

by Shannon F. Phone conversations start to go south for many salespeople when they begin asking questions. After all, no one enjoys being cold-called by a stranger only to be put through a detailed interrogation. And while certain questions are necessary for a productive phone call, you’ll find it easier to engage with prospects if you already know a little bit about their company. Don’t get all creepy or stalker-ish on them, but take the time to learn more about what they do. You can get a better idea of what their goals are and what needs they may have. Here are some questions you simply shouldn’t be asking your prospects: “What kind of company are you?” or “What do you do?” Seriously? You can find this out yourself in literally 2 seconds, so asking this on a phone call is a definite no. “Who is the decision-maker I should speak to?” Or, similarly, “Can I speak with the owner?” You’ll have a much better chance of being transferred to the person you wish to speak to if you actually know his or her name. A quick search on LinkedIn or Jigsaw should yield results (if you store your leads in a lead management system, you should be able to do some pre-call research directly from the program). “Can you tell me what your objectives are?” or, “What kinds of problems are you having?” While it makes sense to find out what your prospect hopes to accomplish (so that you […]

Do sneaky cold-calling attempts pay off?

By Shannon F. The easy answer is: sometimes, but not usually. When sales reps find that being straightforward isn’t working for them, they may resort to other tactics with varying degrees of success. Most gatekeepers are pretty good at making sure salespeople never get through to key decision-makers, so we’ve heard cold-callers try everything under the sun to keep from being brushed off. Some sneaky cold-calling practices that we dislike include: Mumbling the name of your company. If you’re not proud to say who you work for, you probably shouldn’t be selling your product. Plus, you’re crazy if you think a gatekeeper is just going to pass you off to the boss without asking you to repeat yourself. Some sales reps refuse to say the name of the company even when pressed, which brings us to the next cold-calling don’t: “It’s just a business call.” This often-used line is intended to brush off gatekeepers, but be warned: you’ll definitely ruffle their feathers. They know it’s a sales call, and because you weren’t transparent from the beginning, there’s no way they’ll put you through to the decision-maker. Pretending to be the boss’s best friend. “Oh hey, it’s Greg. Is Sarah around?” is not going to fool anyone, since you would have called Sarah’s cell or direct line if the two of you were actually close. And if you do reach a decision-maker, don’t cross the line between friendly and manic. Gushing “How are you!” is pretty off-putting if you have no […]