A question was posed by Sara Allred, Branch Manager at Staffmark on the LinkedIn Group Sales Playbook, “Is Dialing for Dollars Extinct?”.
As I read the spirited discussion (I highly recommend you read all of the thread), an old saying came back to me: those who do not like to cold call cannot do it well. I started to flash back as a junior sales representative. I was handed a list and was told “go for it kid” without any direction. As a junior sales representative I struggled and bumped my head to find that coveted first sale.
Fast forward to twenty years later, I now love the ‘challenge’ and the ‘hunt’ that the cold call presents. I enjoy finding the right person at a new company, starting the relationship, learning about the prospective company’s challenges, and helping customers overcome those challenges. What made me do a 180 degree turn around? How did I learn to love what I hated so much to do?
I accepted that it was my fault not the fault of the prospect’s, nor the product's, nor the messages', or even the companies’ that I worked for. I did not want to reach out for help because I thought I knew what I was doing.
I made a game of it. Let’s see how many correct contacts that I can reach in a week, a day, an hour, a minute. I began to challenge myself to top my ‘high score’.
I worked at creating the perfect call script; and going so far as to ask the prospects that I was calling what I could do better and trying their suggestions.
After all of that, I was still not successful at the first introduction call. I realized what I hadnot done from the start. Set a goal for the call! Why was I calling? What was the purpose? What was in it for them (WIFM)? I realized that I was trying to close a sale on the first call!
I then made a bold move and I just started creating interest enough to set a conversation for a later date (set an appointment). Eureka that was it! Now before I ever dial a number I:
- Accept that my goal is to generate enough interest to set an appointment.
- Make sure I have the proper contact, company and business description information in front of me.
- Be prepared with my script and lessons learned from previous discussions with prospects.
- I am prepared to ask questions, create interest, establish credibility and LISTEN!!! Going in with the expectation that this is just the first of many more conversations to come, has helped me get past the pressure cooker of a “one call close”.
Last month I averaged 110 dials a day, I scheduled 14 appointments and 13 were of those were attended. That is a 93% conversion rate, I’ll take it. I saw myself averaging a qualified appointment, within my target base, every other day. Now that is an improvement!