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Pick Up the D@#$ Phone

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“I don’t make cold calls,” said the seasoned senior sales rep in a meeting I attended a few months back. She went on to talk about all of her great warm contacts, and her good intentions for leveraging more business by reaching out to them. Her manager and the other leaders present said nothing and did nothing, thus endorsing this belief and behavior. Three months later, this very tenured, very talented salesperson has no new customers and has barely sustained the level of business she had on the day of her proclamation.

This is just one of the many examples of justifications and rationalizations spouted by salespeople across the globe as to why they need to make less instead of more calls. Others include:

1. They tell me they prefer to receive e-mails.
2. It always goes to voicemail.
3. Isn’t it better to just drop in since face-to-face contact is a better relationship builder?

Since when is it prudent to allow prospects and customers to dictate a poor communication method, like e-mail, that can so easily be dismissed or misunderstood? Why are salespeople looking at voicemail as such a problem when it’s a tremendously effective branding opportunity? While face time is valuable, does every prospect deserve your limited and valuable time.

Pick up the d@#$ phone!

While phone calls are not the do all, end all, they are and always will a vital part of the sales process. The phone allows you to stay in touch more often, gain faster access to some buyers, and even allows you to win some business without a face-to-face meeting.

Having spent the past 14 years consulting with thousands of companies and tens of thousands of people, one fact stands out:

Those who make more calls, make more money. Those who make less have lots of excuses and reasons why they don’t make quota.

If you’re one of those salespeople who, after reading this, still thinks you can get away with not making more calls, I have a suggestion. Go be one of those customers who tells salespeople to send them an e-mail.

Scott WintripPick Up the D@#$ Phone

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  • David Searns - January 24, 2013 reply

    Scott, totally agree with the advice to pick up the D@#$ ohone. In staffing, if you wait for an email response or your LinkedIn contacts to reach out to you, you’re not going to be in business for long.

    But I totally disagree that calls need to be cold. You know I’m a marketer, and I have seen time and time again that when you integrate marketing with the sales process, you can more effectively get the attention of the people you are going to call, give them an interest in wanting to speak with you, and elevate the quality of the initial calls. Marketing’s job is to create familiarity, start the process of building trust, and create a more favorable environment for selling. And then it’s to help the sales person stay top of mind until the organization is ready for a new staffing vendor.

    So yes, make the D@#$ call. Just do it when integrated with marketing and those calls will be A LOT more successful.

    Scott Wintrip, PCC - January 24, 2013 reply

    David,
    As the guy who sells marketing to the staffing industry, I would hope you feel that way about the importance of marketing.

    I agree with you about the impacts of marketing on making some calls warmer. However, it’s impractical to believe that there will never be a need to make cold calls. For example, if a sales rep learns today about a new lead that has an immediate need and is ready to buy, it would be unrealistic to rely on a marketing campaign to get their attention, generate interest in speaking, and elevating the quality of the initial call. If that were true, we would not need salespeople. Salespeople who pick up the phone the moment they get a hot lead often convert those into immediate clients when they sell value that solves the customer’s problem. Can they and should they also integrate that lead into their ongoing marketing as well? Of course!

    So, yes, marketing is important. So are warm and cold calls. It’s about using the right tools that fit the situation…instead of using a screwdriver to pound in a nail.

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