I recently worked with a group of seasoned sales people, helping them to improve their Call Planning skills to help them sell against the competition.
Their marketplace is becoming much more competitive and these skills are even more essential than ever before. In fact, I would go as far as to say CRUCIAL!
Yet, even at their level of competence there were those who were still making contact with prospective clients armed with limited information.
Making contact with no customer focused objective for the call.
You know the type I mean;
“Hello, this is Billy Right from XYZ company. I will be in your area tomorrow and I would like to come and show you our fantastic range of widgets. We are leaders in our field and our widgets are the best in the marketplace”
“Hi, this is Billy Right, it is time for your quarterly review and I’d like to come along and update you on our new product range”
Reply from prospective client;
“No thanks, we are too busy at the moment”
“No thanks, we have a current supplier for that widget and we are very happy with them”
“Could you send me a brochure please?”
The sales people I was working with were;
- Making more and more fruitless calls
- Working too many hours
- Finding their conversion rate was falling
- Not achieving target
- Under pressure from their manager
- Playing the blame game and becoming very negative
This is TRAGIC but TOTALLY AVOIDABLE……!
By carrying out some pre-call planning.
The teams I was working with looked at their internal CRM systems first to gather as much information as they could from that source.
Things like..Past buying patterns, previous conversations, products used, etc.
Then they looked at external sources, such as the prospective clients website, LinkedIn, Google. They were amazed at the wealth of information available that gave them the opportunity to establish a rock solid objective for the call.
A solid call objective followed by benefits, next steps and a call to action will without doubt increase success rates.
Here’s an example of how this worked for me.
I was interested in working with an International Pharmaceutical Company. I put their name into google.com/alerts (I’ll explain more about this later)
A week or so later I received an alert telling me they had issued their financial report. Having read it I discovered that they had made a significant increase in profits but were being negatively affected to the tune of 5% on currency fluctuation and wanted a 5% increase in Sales Revenue the following year.
I knew I could help increase their sales to make up the shortfall and help meet the following years revenue goal. This was going to be my objective for the contact.
I cut and pasted the paragraph, which had been written by the Chairman, from the Financial report and this became the first paragraph of my email.
I followed that paragraph by the benefits I could bring to their company and used a success story to cement the claims I was making. And finished with a call to action!
What I wanted, was to attract the attention of the recipient and to “light their fire” to “raise interest” and move them to want to hear more from me.
The outcome was a reply to the email within 30 minutes, a subsequent meeting and an agreed contract to work with their sales people.
Stop making random calls with random reasons for the call.
Do some pre-call planning and make every contact you make count!
* What is google.com/alerts
Google Alert is an automated Web search service that can help people and businesses monitor the Internet for developments and activities that could concern them. Results are sent to subscribers daily by e-mail.
Google Alert can, for example, track new online appearances of a person’s name, a business name, or a particular Uniform Resource Locator or a URL. Individuals can use the service to monitor what is said about them on the Web.
Businesses have found the service useful for keeping informed about markets and competition. The service has also been popular among news reporters, writers, sales people, scientists, educators, and agencies of government.
If you would like help to identify good solid objectives for your call, email me at email@example.com and we can fix a time to talk.
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