Hitting the B2B Appointment Setting Wall Cure

How to cure the getting nowhere, dialing for nothing but pain, voicemail nightmare, nobody picks up, not interested, send some info, call me back blues.

You’ve hit the wall.

Dialing but no longer smiling.

Nobody picks up but the gatekeepers that shut you down.

Voicemail greetings sound like fingernails on a chalkboard.

The decision-makers you do speak to are either 100% content and satisfied or the biggest bunch of liars ever.

Common situation and the solution isn’t that difficult.

Whether you will do it is another issue.

Many years ago when I was smiling and dialing and hit the brick wall of prospecting frustration, which was normal and happened often, I would first take a step back and get a grasp of the big picture.

First of all, I would say to myself “Scott, there are tons of people out there currently buying the product/service you are offering. The client company is reputable with lots of happy accounts. There is no reasonable rational reason why you can’t get some prospecting traction. Figure it out.”

There were three areas I would focus on and make major changes on.

The first thing I would realize is that if I have been calling and getting nowhere, but people are out there buying the service left and right, then I am making some major strategic errors that can be fixed if I keep an open mind and am willing to change. I can’t play patty cake with this and expect a big difference in results. I need to do something significant. It’s ridiculous that people are out buying my offering from companies that are not as good as my client.

First issue always. Am I calling the right list? Even if I am calling the right list, am I doing a good job of identifying the correct entry point (the decision-maker) with my initial call? First correction is always to refocus the calls on the highest probability prospects. If you are calling and not getting results and on top of that learning nothing about the responsiveness of your list, that is very sad. You should be calling in some methodical manner so that even if you don’t get immediate results you get good info on the responsiveness of various segments of your list.

So the first thing I would do is always re-aim the calling gun.

Second issue, obviously I am not communicating value. If people are out there buying what you are offering and you are calling the right people, that fact that you are getting nowhere means you are not communicating value. It is all about value. Value as perceived by your targets.

Even if you are not having a lot of conversations, think about the conversations you did have with decision-makes. What happened? If the answer is nothing, then you need to step up to the plate and admit that the words you are using are just plain not cutting it. Make major changes.

Re-script what you say. You probably have a lot of wasted words. Take too long to say something meaningful to your target, you don’t mention SPECIFICS. Specific benefits, specific results, specific reasons why you are credible and worth their time. I would evaluate what I am saying with this thought, “I’ve given this pitch to 15 people and they have run away. My words obviously don’t have enough impact so I have to make major changes. Maybe changes I am not personally comfortable with but have a better chance of getting the business result I want.”

So I would go back over the script. How can I communicate more value faster with proof? Punch up the credibility statements, punch up the benefits related, and be more specific about results obtained. The words should be short, clear and powerful. I looked for words that were the equivalent of smashing my target in the head with a 2 X 4. Pulled no punches. Ratchet up the benefit message. Hit them right between the eyes.

Minor changes in word selection would get me nowhere so I would make major major changes.

Third thing I would do is evaluate my call process. If I had hit a brick wall I would look to see what I had to work with in terms of data, coding segments, titles, direct dial numbers, extensions, etc and look to “test” my changes.

If the issue is not having enough conversations I would put more focus on specific things to solve that problem. Get more direct dial and extension numbers, get more recon from gatekeepers. Push harder and be more direct on that.

Remember that the issue of not having enough conversations with decision-makers is totally separate and distinct from the issue of not converting the conversations you do have. Two separate issues. Two totally separate solutions.

To test I would do a lot of power calling calculated to have more conversations to test my new script approach. I wanted to find out quickly whether the new words I was using were powerful enough and had enough impact on the target audience. As I had conversations I would ratchet up the clarity and impact of the words I used and the value I communicated until I got a satisfactory conversion ratio. Once I knew I had the right words, then I would focus on my call process to deliver me up enough conversations with the right people.

So your lesson is this.

Assuming you have a good offering from a decent source and assuming that people are currently buying your offering left and right from your competitors, the reason you are not accomplishing your prospecting objective is in your mirror.

You are the reason.

You are calling the wrong people, with the wrong message, the wrong way.

I found that if I accepted responsibility for the temporary short coming of results, that it was always healthier and helped me to bear down and focus on the real reasons things weren’t cranking rather get frustrated with the stupid lying decision-makers or thinking that cold calling is impossible or some other delusional ridiculousness.

If people are buying from others there is no reason why they shouldn’t want to buy from you.

When you hit the wall, step up to the plate with a realistic appraisal of why you are getting nowhere, and be willing to change who you call, what you say and how.

So get out your verbal 2 X 4’s and start swinging.

Best wishes for sales success,
Scott Channell

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