A subscriber of this list called me and told me that she found a tip on this website that has worked well for her. A few weeks ago she started ending every seemingly going no-where conversation with a decision-maker with a question.
“Mr. decision maker, I don’t want to be a pain but we obviously service many companies like yourself, could you suggest a time I should be back in touch with you?”
Then she did the hardest thing for a salesperson to do. She shut up and listened.
That person told her to call back in 6 weeks. As I recommend,she then asked another question. “Happy to do that. May I ask why that is a good time for me to call you?” Again, she shut up and listened and let the prospect babble.
She learned specifics about what their needs, problems and internal timetables were. She asked a couple of open ended questions to enable the prospect to continue to tell her what they wanted, needed and why. When the prospect was done talking she simply leveraged the knowledge she had learned by asking her strategic questions to hint at the type of information she would be providing the prospect when they met in six weeks.
After listening to what she was going to get at the meeting the prospect asked, “Can you come in tomorrow?”
Bottom line? Meeting held. $475,000 deal signed within two weeks. This account was closed from what was a seemingly dead-end conversation.
What can we learn from it?
1. Just because somebody says “No” to your carefully crafted 30 second set the appointment pitch, then “No” to your strategically crafted response to their objection, doesn’t mean that they don’t have needs that you can fill or that they are not open to options. You need to enable them to tell you how they can be sold.
2. I am still shocked when someone has said “No” repeatedly but when you ask the “when should I call back question” they tell you to call back in two weeks or a month or 3 months because then they will be buying a gazillion dollars worth of the stuff I am selling. You need to have a strategy to get them to tell you when they can be sold, even if you can’t get a meeting immediately. Many of those dead-end calls become very worthwhile when you do this.
3. Notice that your fellow newsletter subscriber didn’t try to be Sally Super Salesperson and push info at them or try to convince them of anything. She just asked very brief calculated questions, listened, asked more questions, listened, then leveraged what she learned to tell the prospect what info she would get when they met. She didn’t try to sell the account. She simply related the value that would be provided at the meeting. She got the meeting and the account.
4. Note that she didn’t say “How about I call you in 3 months, OK?” She let the follow-up date come from the prospect, not her.
5. Much of success in prospecting and appointment setting comes on the edges. That little extra 2% will make a 100% difference or more when you are prospecting. It is not about making more calls, that usually is not the issue. Making more calls using poor strategies and lousy scripts isn’t going to help you. Getting more from the calls you make will.
One other thing.
Your fellow newsletter subscriber said there was one other thing she stopped doing which dramatically changed the substance of your calls.
She stopped asking people how they were?
She replaced that worth nothing – insincere – shoot yourself in the foot – question with a credibility and value statement and it has totally changed her interactions with prospects. People who need what she has to offer, because she has given them information about her credibility and benefits, talk to her… rather than sighing, pegging her as another worthless phone pest and getting off the phone.
Success in calling is in the details. Those who think it is about “making more calls” or “building rapport” dwell in low-probability land.