In our phone conversation, you had asked me to do a short paragraph or two about my sales philosophy. Being a salesperson, someone who loves to communicate, that is simply not possible. Here are a few ideas that I try to keep in mind when I’m making volume calls.
The numbers work in your favor (if you’re willing to put in the work). High volume calling usually yields a high volume rejection, which is good. Find the information up-front, and disqualify those people who don’t fit YOUR criteria. Your responsibility is to avoid wasting time playing “what-if” scenarios, and avoid wasting time with prospects that have no initiative toward making a purchase quickly, and clean up your pipeline.
We don’t want “fence sitters” right now clogging the pipeline. The people who don’t give you the time to qualify them, and ask you to “send something in the mail” should be disqualified as quickly as possible with a simple, “Can you help me understand why?”
Yes, there are cases where you’ll actually find a legitimate prospect who would like to see something BEFORE he or she speaks to you, but it does take up a lot of your time – pulling info, writing a letter, stuffing an envelope, and running it down to the mailbox. Maybe YOU don’t have to do that, but someone does, and then it’s a waste of their time. It’s a lot like trying to fish in a pond with only one fish, and one lure. Sporty, but highly unlikely. I’d rather find a fully stocked pond and launch a grenade!
Don’t worry about the fence sitters. They’ll always be there if you get bored SELLING to the qualified people.
The question is, “How do I do this, without coming off as a jerk?”
Humility pays off enormously. I approach virtually EVERY call with a great deal of respect to every single person I come in contact with, from the receptionist, to the administrative assistant, to the C-Level executive. I think that being too polished, too confident, or too schlocky gets you absolutely NOWHERE in making calls. At the same time, you don’t have to be a wuss.
If you’ve done your homework, you’ve earned the right to call. You’re a sales professional who believes that your product or service might help their lives, and is certainly worth their consideration.
Think about that – YOU’RE HELPING THE QUALITY OF SOMEONE’S LIFE! That, my friends, is what we as salespeople do. Whether it’s peace of mind, recreational reward, ease of work, let them get to and from home quicker, safer, whatever, there’s got to be a reason for their consideration.
I always ask who I’m speaking with (yes, even with the receptionist), and always repeat the name (loud enough so the person on the other end can’t here me typing). For obvious reasons, knowing the name of the person who usually answers the phone is extremely valuable. Especially on a follow-up call, “Sue? Hi, it’s me, Mike from Tailored Solutions, is Jack in?”
RECEPTIONISTS ARE THE KEEPER OF ALL INFORMATION! (She’s kinda like your girlfriend’s roommate, keep her happy, and feeling important, and you’ll always be welcome to call.) On a side note, two days ago while cold calling, I was joking around with a receptionist. She thought I was such a nice guy. She informs me of who my point of contact should be, and that the best time to get in touch with him is during her lunch hour, that’s when he covers the phones for her and does his admin stuff. How cool is that?
I don’t need to say this to you, but having the courage to show a little humility OPENS the flood door to one of the greatest tools a salesman has — humor. If you can make a couple fun, light jabs at yourself, and maybe even take a couple from your prospects, PEOPLE WILL LIKE YOU.
One of my favorite lines to a prospect is, “You know Mr. Jones, I’m going to offer you the same invitation I give everyone else I call. I’m a salesperson, and this is a sales call. You can hang up on me whenever you like.” Stop. Don’t say a word. Nine times out of ten, they’ll laugh, and say something like “Oh, I’d never do that.” One time out of ten they’ll laugh and say “Okay. What are you selling.” Once, in my entire career, they actually hung up.
Okay, you’ve got them liking you, you know your objective in terms ofqualifying and disqualifying, and you know what your attitude should be. If I need to tell you anymore than “go get’em,” it might be time to look into another line of work.
Thanks for this opportunity, Jeffrey.