It’s sad that at times sales people seem to know little about their potential prospects’ real objectives and goals, but it is completely intolerable that many have no idea what their own objectives are when calling on a potential prospect, and how to best attain them. This most often is the reason for their lack of success, what’s the old saying “if you don’t know where you are going, no road will get you there.” (No corrections please). That is the case with many sales people, lack of objective leads to lack of results.
At the core, there are a handful of things a sales person must master and decide before getting on the phone with a potential prospect; some of them simple but crucial. What’s more, these are not disconnected from thing they would need to deal with throughout the sale, which leaves one to wonder how invested they are in their own success. Of course, you can avoid the whole issue by lowering your standard of success, not the suggested route, but one that seems popular with some.
Let us look at two simple but ignored things when it comes to initial call. First, what do you want out of the call? There can only be two answers, you either want to secure an appointment, which is the case for most field reps. Yes, you want to qualify and make sure the appointment is worthwhile, but from an objective point of view, it is what you want at the end of the call. For inside sales, it is the commitment to engage, in essence a phone appointment. Often inside sales people try to sell well before they get a commitment to engage, and without that commitment to engage, it is just so many words flying back and forth; again, a lack of a clear objective for the call.
The reason these are important, is that without that objective, you risk losing direction and control of the call. Reps end up meandering; trying this trying that, hoping the prospect will jump on board. By having that clear objective, you will be in a better position to respond, i.e. create dialogue, and move a qualified prospect to a setting conducive to success.
The second, which is directly tied to the first, is understanding the dynamics at play, and being prepared to deal with and manage those dynamics before the call even starts. The key dynamic is the fact that unless scheduled, you are an interruption to the prospect. Understanding that you are trying to turn an interruption into a conversation, by phone or in person, makes it much easier to deal with the obvious – objections. An interruption is always objectionable until it is transitioned to a dialogue, and it is up to the sales person to manage the transition.
Remember that content and context are still paramount, but if you don’t deal with the underlying dynamics and basics, you will not succeed, and fall prey to the “no more cold calling” soothsayers. So master the basics, or just hang up, before the prospect surely will.
- Set a clear objective
- Learn to manage common objections
- Practice till you think you have it down, and then practice some more
What’s in Your Pipeline?