How is your telephone sales prospecting working? What is your ratio of outbound prospecting calls to actual decision maker conversations? And when you fail to reach a decision maker and instead leave a voicemail, how many callbacks do you get?
Indeed, salespeople need phone skills training and a sales prospecting approach that immediately gets decision makers on the phone. While effective cold call approaches are rare, our unpublished sales prospecting techniques typically have a first-call success rate of 50-80%. Regardless of the initial sales prospecting approach, it is often necessary to leave voicemails and generate decision-maker call backs.
1 – Persistence can help, but don’t become pushy. A method we teach in our phone skills training involves “polite persistence” and building relationships with support people. The bottom line: You’re more likely to get a call back if the decision maker sees that you’re respectful and committed to getting a hold of her.
2 – Find sales prospecting techniques that work well for you. For instance, good voicemail techniques include: showing you’ve done some homework and understanding critical business issues, dropping names of appropriate companies you’ve worked with and making it easy to reach you at a later time (e.g. via a direct cell phone number)
3 – Do something different! We’ve seen salespeople send express mailers, email innovative e-cards and use outside champions to gain decision maker attention. The key is to stand out from the crowd and to attract positive attention.
4 – Get marketing support. For instance, adding prospects you contact to your firm’s e-newsletter or product announcement list can help create name recognition and improve the chances you will get through on the next call. And a consistent, long-term strategy of reaching decision makers via marketing methods is a proven method for boosting sales results.
5 – Gain focus. Set up a specific time block from sales prospecting, and get rid of all distractions. Salespeople do their best work when they are focused, thinking and motivated.
6 – Enhance your prospect database. For instance, adding decision maker names and email addresses to your CRM system helps ensure you reach more decision makers and get more call backs.
7 – Get coached. Ask your sales manager or a colleague who is successful at cold calling and generating decision maker calls to help you. Learning from someone who has succeeded is much quicker than inventing sales methods and sales prospecting techniques yourself. A solid phone skills training or sales prospecting course could quickly accelerate your results.