We’re in sales and our income depends on how much our clients spend with us. Sure, we need to retain and grow our current clients. Let me ask you a question. How much time do you spend prospecting for new clients? More importantly, what’s your reason for calling?
Picking up the phone is the fastest way to get on a client’s calendar, but too many of us fear the phone vs. viewing it as the lifeline to our business. Most of our fear revolves around the potential of being rejected or being hung up on. Every great seller has been hung up on, but those who had the courage to push forward likely found all sorts of long-term rewards for the temporary disappointment they may have experienced when the line went dead.
Here are some points to think about when making calls:
• In 2007 it took 3.68 attempts to reach the decision maker. Today it takes 8 attempts. You could be passing on a potential sale if you give up too soon.
• The best time to call is between 4:00–5:00 p.m.
• The best days to call to reach a contact are Wednesdays and Thursdays.
• Referrals calls are the most effective way to grow our business, but only 11% of us ask for referrals from our best clients.
• Establish a Valid Business Reason (VBR). Before you reach out to a prospective client, know the VBR for why you are calling. Here is an example of a VBR: “I have key market research that could benefit your company. I would love to share the research with you if you are open to seeing it.” You will have more confidence by being prepared with the reason for your call.
• Technology is our friend. Have you done your research? Have you Googled a business or industry to learn more about them and develop your VBR?
• Schedule your call times. Have you scheduled time on your calendar to make focused calls? By scheduling the time on your calendar, you will be more in control.
• The key is your mindset! Do you approach your calling sessions as “cold calling,” which has negative associations, or have you shifted your mindset to “power hour,” where you’re in control? Your focus should be set on helping the business owner understand the benefits of advertising on the radio to reach new customers.
• We learn from each call we make. Take a moment to capture and analyze the situation in order to benefit from the call. You will see yourself improve immensely with each call as you get more experience.
In your next sales meeting, discuss how you can identify potential target accounts that are not currently doing business with your company. Take the list of prospects and divide those accounts across the team. Have them identify the most important reason for why they are calling. Does your company have appointment-setting scripts for your team to use to create a consistent message when calling on a new prospect or for certain business verticals? Is there an opportunity to practice the script with your team so they gain more confidence prior to making calls?
Next, let’s take the list of accounts you identified and shared across the team. Establish those set times with your team to make calls on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4pm-5pm. You could title those hours “Power Hour” or “Referral Hour.” Each member of the team needs to share with the team what their VBR is for calling prior to making the call. Gather the team together five minutes before the call session to get everyone in the right frame of mind. After the hour, have everyone share their successes and what they accomplished.