Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Just Making More Calls Doesn’t Guarantee Sales Success

by Susan A. Enns

Do you find that there are just not enough hours in a day? Are you working long hours, making call after call, but you still don’t sell enough to even come close to reaching quota? If you answered yes to these questions, you may be one of the many sales representatives who mistakenly believe that being busy is the same as being effective.

You can be successful in sales and not have to work 24 hours a day. It may be an old cliché, but you just need to learn to work smarter, not harder.

For example, I was coaching a sales representative who was a cold calling buzz saw. From morning until night, he would bang on doors, rarely stopping to even eat. Was he busy? You bet! Effective? Not even close! In fact, this sales rep was on the verge of dismissal for lack of sales production.

It wasn’t that he was new to sales either; he had been selling for over 10 years. The problem was he didn’t have 10 years sales experience, he had 1 year’s bad experience repeated 10 times!
This sales rep knew he had to make prospecting calls to be successful. The problem was that he really didn’t know how! On every call, instead of qualifying the prospect, he was just dropping off his business card at each door he called on. When you think about it, a postal letter carrier could have done that for him!

The purpose of any prospecting call is to for you and the prospect to agree to move to the next step in the sales process, normally the fact find. Not only must it be the right solution, it also must be at the right time.

In other words, a prospecting call is considered successful if you can answer the following questions:

1.Is this company actually a prospect?
2.If yes, are they a prospect today?
3.If not today, then when?

Whether you are knocking on a door, telemarketing, or about to send an email to another social network contact, if you do not plan to answer these questions, you are only wasting your and the prospect’s time.

Before you make your next prospecting call, rehearse a headline that generates interest. Then create 3 to 5 qualifying questions to help you determine if you are working with the right prospect at the right time. For those that are not prospects today, create a follow up file system to make sure you contact them when they will be. Lastly, script a question that obtains agreement from your prospect to move to the next step in the sales process.

Would the sales rep I told you about agree this works? I think so, however, we’ll have to wait until he gets back from attending another one of his company’s monthly quota buster’s lunch before we can ask him.

Susan A. Enns is Managing Partner at B2B Sales Connections, which provides Coaching, Training, Recruiting & Resources for Business to Business Sales. www.b2bsalesconnections.com, http://www.b2bscblog.com www.linkedin.com/in/susanenns, or www.twitter.com/SusanEnns, email or call 613-825-9139.

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