In business today, the humble telephone remains the most effective way to grow your business. The telephone allows you to make cold calls and find more clients to connect to; you can do all of this from the comfort of your desk. That being said, many salespeople will avoid the cold calling process at any and every opportunity.
So why do so many people have a problem with calls to new prospective clients? Here are some reasons that are common in most industries today.
- Lack of organisation
- No idea of how to make the process work
- Failure to develop a habit of making calls every day
- Call reluctance
- Not knowing of what to say
So the list will go on and on. The opportunity that exists here is massive; a good salesperson that can establish an effective call contact process in their market can create massive new business opportunity. That can then mean better salary or commission depending on how you get paid for results.
So what is the secret to progress here? The secret to making prospecting and cold calling work for you is to get started today and keep it going. Do not stop prospecting for any reason; every day you should be prospecting for new clients for at least 2 hours. This single fact will keep the business coming in and your pipeline growing.
If your industry is tough or slow, go back to the basics and get out amongst your clients and potential targets. Make prospecting the number one thing that you do every day. Quite soon you will see things change around for the positive and when that happens do not stop what you are doing, but lift your efforts even higher. Top salespeople know that everything comes down to them and what they do every day.
When it comes to building your market share or establishing your market share as a salesperson, a good database program or customer relationship management system will help you greatly. Keeping in contact with the right people in the right way is really what this is all about. Systems will help you do that and open the door with more prospects at the right time and in the right way.Here are some rules to establish a contact management program in your business:
- Define your market geographically so you know where your clients are going to come from. Unless you do this first, you could spend far too much time spreading your efforts too broadly and seeing little outcome. You want results as soon as possible and on that basis you should limit your efforts to a defined area at all times. Importantly that area should contain enough clients for you to focus on and convert to new business.
- Establish a list of raw data including a list of companies and people that should be contacted as part of marketing efforts. To keep the pipeline of opportunity moving ahead, this list should be added to daily at a rate of 10 to 20 people from selected businesses. Take care in setting the right level of decision maker that should be approached regards your product or service. Keep the calls going and eventually you will have a solid database of opportunity.
- Suspects are the people that you will be making contact with. They will come from the research undertaken as part of the ‘raw data’ stage above. On a daily basis, ring down your suspects at a rate of 20 per day. You will only reach 5 to 10 on average per day, so those that you missed out on should go back into the call register for another day.
- Prospects will be the people that you have spoken to and identified a need or interest in your product or service. When they are noted to be prospects, you should be moving them towards a meeting with you if and when such can be arranged. This can take time to achieve depending on their business and their need, so keep talking to them on a regular basis until you can the meeting that you require.
- Face to face contact is important in most industries before any orders are achieved. Rarely can you sell your services and products across the telephone. It is far easier to sell a meeting over the telephone and then to get to know the right people. Relationships are everything in business today.
- Hot Prospects are those people that know you and are actively looking for something to buy or sell as part of your industry and market type. Keep in contact with them every few days to open the door on a sale or order.
- Clients that you work with should be kept at the top of your contact register. The contact made will include calls, meetings, conferences, product or service briefings, product releases, and regular client events.
- Your competitor’s clients should get a special category in your database. Over time you can convert some of them to your clients, so a strategy of high priority contact should be established with these people.
Given all of these things, it is wise to ask for referral business whenever possible. Every client and prospect in your database will know other people, some of whom will be valid contacts for future business; ask the question at the right time with the right people.
When it comes to building your market share and your business, it is very easy to get tied up in the unimportant things that happen every day. If you work in sales, this can be a disaster that will destroy your market and eventually your commission or income.
In an ideal world you want your good reputation to spread around your industry and client base. You need to be seen and known as the expert that people go to when they want help. This ‘guru’ status does not come easily and can only be built by what you do and who you know. You earn the ‘expert’ mantle of a top expert in your industry.
The key to this process is in being different in an acceptable and relevant way. Business is not all that complicated if you follow the rules.
- Build your brand with clients and prospects after every meeting or contact. Send them your business card in the mail. Write something on the business card that is personal and connecting. Thank the person for giving you some of their time.
- Speak at business conferences or community groups on your speciality. In doing this you can give relevant information and tips that help people. Do not sell from the front of the room. It just puts people off.
- Set aside 90 minutes of your day to make calls to new people that you have not spoken to before. In this way your market share will stay positive and potentially grow.
- Leave messages when you cannot reach someone. You are a brand and your name means something. Some of the most successful salespeople have very unusual names that are hard to forget. This then says that leaving your name will in some minor way form part of the bigger marketing picture for you.
- Send short messages by SMS after a meeting to thank the person that you just spent some time with. Adopt a similar process when you are to meet with a person. Send an SMS message first thing in the morning or the night before so they know that you are coming to see them as expected.
- Go beyond email and lift the telephone as often as you can. Voice contact helps you build your credibility. Most emails get lost in the world of the email trash can.
- Follow-up the prospect or client after every sale to ensure that they are happy with what they purchased from you or your business. It also gives you the opportunity to answer any questions that they may have on product use or application.
- Spend 50% of your day out of the office visiting clients. It is harder to win business from your desk, so make it a part of your diary each day to get out and talk to people.
Is business all that hard? Is there something that some salespeople do that is special? No, the answers are quite simple; the top salespeople in any industry know that personal contact and branding will help them more than anything else. You are in charge of your branding, so build your contact system and start moving it forward every day.
Many salespeople struggle with the cold calling concept and process. Most salespeople never do it for very long simply because they really can’t get started. Their mindset holds them back from ever gaining momentum.
Making lots of cold calls is easy once you get started and many top salespeople know that. They understand that the process creates lots of opportunity. If you work on a commission based salary, you cannot overlook the cold calling process as part of your business model.
One Real Tip
One easy tip to develop and use as part of your cold calling process is to stand up as you make the calls. This one simple fact helps you converse, improve your thinking in the conversation, and helps your tonal voice as you talk. You actually convert more people to your requirement for meetings or sales.
So if you are struggling to get the calling process up and running as part of your business model, this single factor can help you greatly. Here are a few more tips to use as you get your calling model up and running.
- Make the calls at the same time each day so you develop a habit
- Get a good database software program that you can use as part of building your call momentum
- Many customers will take 3 or 4 telephone conversations before they will let you have a meeting with them
- Progressively work through your market on a logical basis
- Look for the competitors clients that you can feed into your contact calls.
- Treat the call process as a conversation and not a pitch.
- Build trust and relevance in the conversation by practicing your approach and key questions.
You can make the cold calling process more effective by sending a letter to those hard to reach business leaders that hide behind receptionists and gatekeepers.
Decide to make your business and income ‘fly’ higher than ever before. Take steps to improve your cold calling processes and start today.
In sales and business today, the salesperson that masters the cold calling process will build market share and customer relationships faster than others in any business team.
That being said, it is remarkable how few salespeople consistently make calls every day. Most salespeople choose to avoid the cold telephone call. They give the issue a name of ‘call reluctance’. It is a real problem in business.
Let’s say that your business success is really important to you personally. Perhaps it impacts your pay packet or commission. On that basis you should have some clear goals and targets set so you can ‘win’ when it comes to making the calls and building your business.
Here are some rules to help you with making and converting cold calls to opportunities.
- Set a time to make calls and a different time to have meetings. They are two different things that should not be allowed to interfere with each other.
- The call contact process should be made to people that you have researched the day before. In that way you will keep up the momentum in your calls.
- Understand who the right people are and the best times that they should be contacted. Some executives are best contacted early or late in the working day. The rule here is to start calling early and finish your day with calls.
- If you strike any gatekeepers or receptionists that are restricting your access to the decision maker or the target person for your call, show them total respect as you converse. They have a job to do and allow them to do that. If you strike some resistance with them, devise another mode of contact that will reach the decision maker a different way; a targeted letter is the best way to do this.
- If the ‘Do not call register’ is a factor that exists in your location, then research the register and call the people that are correct to call. Do not make the mistake of calling without the right research.
Today you can drive better market share and significant client contact from a call contact program. Make it an essential part of your working day.
Every business should have a solid and defined system when it comes to finding new clients and converting them to customers over time. I like to split the system up into just 3 stages of;
- Follow up
At the end of each week you can do your numbers analysis of each of these pipeline phases. In that way you will know that you are moving forward. As a business or as a salesperson, you have to be moving somewhere positive over time. It takes about 3 months of prospecting to build positive momentum and new market share. It takes the same amount of time for a business to slide backwards in their market.
Great salespeople prospect continually so the 3 months factor never seems to be a problem; the good salespeople just keep driving more market share.
Ultimately the follow-up phase will be the precursor to an order or a sale. This ratio of sales success will change from salesperson so salesperson and will largely be established on experience and relevance of each salesperson to the client.
Most clients will base their decision on the value of the deal and the quality of the product over the experience of the salesperson, but the experience of a salesperson will greatly impact the factors of repeat business. If you want repeat or referral business then the quality of your sales team will have a lot to do with the results that you get.
Here are some tips for new salespeople in any industry:
- Make prospecting your lifeblood so that it features in your diary every day for at least 2 hours.
- The best time to prospect is first thing in the morning before the day gets away from you.
- Focus on making calls to new people for at least 50% of your prospecting time. In this way you will grow your client base.
- Spend more time in face to face meetings each day. The office paperwork can wait to the end of the day.
- Clients like to trust the people that they do business with. Would your prospects regard you as ‘trustworthy’?
In any business at any point in time, there will always be challenges that will arise. If you can be a ‘solutions based salesperson’ you will find that the deals are easier to find and close. Most clients like to work with experts that can relieve the pain of any decision. When you negotiate or close on a deal with a client, provide facts and figures that support their agreement and order to be placed. Top salespeople do that all the time.
If you want some more tips for salespeople or your business team, join our Newsletter on this site.