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Do you know what salespeople hate? The telephone. That’s right. The phone.
More precisely, most salespeople do not like to make outbound phone calls.
“I always have to leave a voice mail,” they say, as though reminding a customer that you care about them in a voice mail is some kind of detriment.
“Nobody likes getting cold calls,” they say, as though there are no other kinds of phone calls.
Guess how many hours per week, on average, salespeople spend on the telephone. Hint: It’s probably a lot less than your guess.
The number is four hours. My own research among my many clients has shown this. Others have arrived at the same number. It’s a fascinating discovery.
The work of selling revolves around talking to humans, right? Salespeople do this for four hours per week, on average. What in the world are they doing the other 36 hours of their work week?
I ask them this question. These are the answers, and a quick analysis of each:
They email. I’ve sent an email, I’ve succeeded! No you haven’t. You don’t know if the email even got into their inbox. And if it did, you don’t know if your customer even saw it. And if she did, you don’t know if they spent more than 10 seconds on it (probably not). And if she did spend time reading, you have no idea how she reacted, if she hasn’t written you back. Here’s the truth: if you sent an email instead of made a call, where are call could have been made, you’ve done basically nothing. And whatever you did accomplish, you’ll probably never know if there is no reply.
They research. I need to make sure all my ducks are in a row before going to the customer. Okay, get it helpful, not perfect, and then go call the customer. Researching does not make you money. Speaking to people makes you money. Don’t try to make it perfect before calling. Because it will never be perfect. You will never feel like it is perfect. Plan less, do more.
They drive in the car. I’m driving to appointments! That’s great! Does the phone work in your car? Is there a signal? If so, there are few better times to make the kind of proactive phone calls that good selling requires than when you have free time in the car. It’s incredibly valuable, highly productive time. Use it to call customers, build your relationships and offer them more help.
Let me address the cold calling objection. I teach my clients to call customers and prospects who they already know. You should know these people, and they should know you. As one client put it recently, these are “friendlies.” They know your work and value. And, listen to me carefully on this: there are hundreds of them. Maybe more.
Let me give you some examples:
Call customers you haven’t talked to in six months or more. They’re not the squeaky wheels. Which means they’re probably not hearing from you, because they aren’t calling you. This is an extremely prosperous activity.
Call customers who used to buy from you but stopped.
Call prospects you once talked to about working together, but they did not buy.
There you have three categories of people that need a long list of names and phone numbers. Make your lists. Then make your calls. Help these people with your amazing value. They deserve it.