With the number of delayed or cancelled deals recently, sales leaders are expecting their people to be on the phone. Since sales reps haven’t had to prospect to the extent they are expected to do so now, the old bad habits are showing up. I thought we dealt with this kind of ‘sales prevention’ years ago. Below are three common prospecting rules being broken today that I have learned from my colleagues.
1. Stop Being Needy
This happens when the rep reaches the first live person and greets them with the demand: “I need to speak with…” You need…based on whose orders? Your demand just lost your opportunity to elicit my assistance. Had you asked, “Could I ask a favor? Would you be kind enough to connect me with…?" That’s not being wimpy; it’s being courteous. This guard at the gate may hold the keys to the door of the person you want to reach.
2. Be Unjust
You have skillfully reached your targeted contact. Instead of a rapport building or an engaging question, you immediately state your purpose and defend your reason for calling. "I just want to tell you…, I’m just calling so I can…, we just began to offer the best…" Isn’t it just wonderful that you have something to talk about right now? Learn how to uncover compelling reasons by asking questions that intrigue, such as: “In the current business world, how have your people been able to keep adding qualified new deals to their pipeline?”
3. No HAYT Crimes
The easiest way to detect a cold call from a very bad salesperson comes in the greeting: ”How Are You Today?” These kinds of ungracious questions are a very poor way to begin a prospecting call. Do you really care about this stranger? And they know it. If you cared at all, you would deal with your interruption. Do you want to get off to a good start? Deal with the interruption. “I’m probably catching you at a bad time.” Have you ever addressed the interruption before? Didn’t think so. Neither did the last 100 salespeople that your prospect received calls from.
These three rules are just some of the ones that say to the prospect, “This is a call from a stranger who wants to take money from me for something I don’t even know I need”…the traditional cold call. Why do salespeople avoid making cold calls? Because we don’t like to make the call that we don’t want to receive. And it’s easy to correct. Don’t make that call!