"I shouldn't call these prospects at 8am because they are just getting in the office. I'll give them some time to settle in."
Salespeople across all industries and experience levels ask me this question: The reason they ask is because they are trying to avoid making the calls so they as use the best time as the excuse.
- "I shouldn't call these prospects at 10am because they'll be in meetings."
- "I can't call now because it is lunch time."
- "I shouldn't call now because they are probably returning phone calls after lunch."
- "It's 3pm and calling now is a bad idea because the prospect is probably not in the mood to talk to a salesperson this late in the afternoon."
- "I can't call now because it is 5pm and it is time to go home. I guess I'll try again tomorrow."
The best time to make a call is any time you will actually make the call!
Prospecting is the most important activity in sales. It is also frustrating and uncomfortable. No matter how much you wish it to be different, the vast majority of your calls will go to voice mail, you will deal with rude gatekeepers, and you will often catch prospects at the worst possible time in their day. That is life in the sales world. And despite the ongoing fantasy that there is some magical time when prospects will welcome your call with a kind voice and an open mind, nothing will change this fact.
1. It gets easier after the first call. The first call is always the most difficult. I prospected solidly for over eight years in real estate. I never got over the difficulty of making the first call. Getting yourself to make the first call is the highest hurdle. The only solution is to just do it.
2. Establish a routine. To be successful, you should have a scheduled time for prospecting daily when that is the only activity that is being done. Treat prospecting as an appointment. Do not allow anything to interfere with your prospecting. We often allow distractions to creep into our prospecting time. The salesperson who has a set routine daily of making prospecting calls at a specific time and adheres to his or her schedule without distraction is guaranteed to succeed.
3. Big "Mo" At first prospecting will be very difficult. Your skills will not be developed to the level of an expert. Once you start the process, do not stop. Momentum is critical to prospecting. Once you get the process going, your skills will improve to generate more leads and to set more appointments. Do not break your momentum.
4. Focus on the goal or objective. Set a specific goal of what you want to happen on each call. Know what you want that prospect to do. It is hard to achieve success in prospecting without a clearly defined objective.
The true objective is to set a qualified appointment with the prospect. If you are unable to accomplish that objective, then the next best objective is to get an agreed upon action by the prospect within a specific time frame.
5. The power of scripts. Highly successful sales people use scripts. To effectively prospect, it is crucial to know what to say before you start to prospect. Scripts provide a guide and logical sequence of questions to follow. They allow you to focus on the response of the prospect rather than fumbling around to find the words.
6. It is a numbers game. Prospecting is truly a numbers game, for two valid reasons. The first is the more prospecting you do the less rejection bothers you. The best way to deal with rejection is to get as much as you can as soon as you can to reduce its effect on you. Most people you call are very nice and pleasant. They may not need your services at this time, which is fine. Rejection is rarely as bad as you imagine. The only way to find this fact out is to make more calls.
The biggest reason sales people fail is that they do not prospect enough!!!!
13. Establish a routine that allows you to be productive.
We are all creatures of habit. Some of us are more habit-oriented than others. As a result, I believe in doing everything in our control to ensure the outcome we desire. When we are beginning a new transition in our lives, such as getting our first job or moving to a new one, we want to do everything possible to reach and exceed the performance levels that we or others (such as our sales manager) have established. We've already discussed getting an early start on the day and making sure that we are well rested and always on time. Other winning strategies can include avoiding negative habits such as web surfing, which not only wastes our time but cheats our employers out of time we should be spending on the job.
Do a personal inventory of all your job-related tasks as well as any negative habits, such as long lunches, drinks during the day, excessive personal business on the job, etc. Once you have completed this list, check for your positive habits. For instance, you probably have set regular times for staying current in your industry by reading your business trades; "cold calls"; a physical conditioning program. You might also have set regular catch-up calls with your "warm list" of potential clients and regular activities in your community involving those who can use your services.
As you've noticed here, I'm stressing the word "regular" - because that's the way it needs to be. You need to develop a systematic approach to the work you do so it soon will become second nature. As you might expect, when you reach that point, you should begin to experience much more success. That's because your efforts have a foundation to them and you're building upon the work you've already done. When my clients get to this point of critical mass, they just start selling more and more. All I can say is that this approach usually works for my clients. If you get to this point and do not experience more sales productivity, you will want to find out what other factors are holding you back.
INCREASING YOUR SALES REVENUE
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June 27: Goal Setting and Planning
July 11: Asking the Right Question and Overcoming the Objections That You Know Will Come!
July 25: Sell More Solutions to your Current Customer Base
August 8: How to Get that First Appointment
August 22: Discover What Kind of Presentation to Deliver and How to Deliver the Presentation
September 12: Manage the Relationship NOT Just the Project
September 26: What it Takes to Make it!
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