Wednesday, 23 May 2007
Are you waiting for your Probable Buyer to call you back?
Some people find the prospect of knocking door to door a very scary thing. This is real cold calling, when you knock on a door with no idea who or what is behind it and sell to whoever opens that door. It's a very special skill and it takes a lot of knowledge and ability to be able to do it again and again and again. You have thirty seconds to put that person at ease, get them to like and trust you and convince that person to either call you in right now or let you in later at an appointed time. If you can do it, you will make a lot of money. I know, because I did it for years and was regularly the top salesman in the company.
Some people also attribute the same level of fear to calling someone on the telephone and pitching them. I have done that too and I have seen many people fail or give up because they cannot deal with the fear factor. Many people agonise over what to say when they finally do get on the phone.
The challenge you have in selling over the phone is that you very rarely reach the person you want to speak to so you are forced, against your will and better judgement to leave a voicemail message. And then, nobody calls you back. Never. Ever.
It can get to the point where you feel discouraged, let down and even angry. You could put the phone down, walk off and get a can of coke or a coffee and think to yourself, “Why the hell am I wasting my time ringing these shmucks?”
If you sell door to door you are dealing with the public. You do your door knocking at a prime time, when you know when your customers are going to be home. You will have already worked out the area and discovered the comings and goings of the area so you know the most profitable time to do business. If you knock at any other time of day, look for another job.
When you sell B2B (business to business) you could be doing that in person (Direct) or over the phone. A large percentage of telephone selling is to business PB’s and nearly everyone who works in a large company is up to their neck in sales calls.
Work expands to fill the time available and everyone has way too much work to do, or so they would like you to think. The thing is, while you believe your product or service is the best thing around and it’s very important to you, for most of your PB’s you are way down the list of priorities.
There could be another reason other than them being too busy to speak to you. It could be that your voicemail message was rubbish!
Change jobs for a second. Imagine that you are the PB. You just came back from a meeting where everyone was shouting and making demands. You are frazzled to the extreme. You have another meeting in one hour. Your CEO is asking for a report that you had promised would be ready. When you switch on your computer, 57 emails appear.
You check your voicemails. There are 14 of them. You quickly scan through them, listening to the first 5 seconds to prioritise.
When you get to this one, what goes through your mind?
“Errm, hello. My name is Max Cost. I’m an account manager at Widget Systems. We’re a leading global supplier of software security for companies like yours. In fact we supply the system to Your Competition inc. We have some new technology that will help increase security even further and we are really excited about them and what they could do for your company.
I would love to set up a time to speak with you and determine your needs and requirements and explore how we can help. You may have seen an article in the Bullshit Times about our systems. I want to get together with you so you can find out more and hear just what we can do for you. Please give me a call at your earliest convenience to set up a time when we can get together either in person or on the phone and explore how we can help. My number is 012-345-6789. And again, this is Max Cost from Widget Systems.”
So, as a business professional, a PB, what did you think? Self-promoting? Boring? Long-winded? Load of rubbish? Did you listen to all of it/
The question is, would you do business with this person? Would you take valuable time out of your ever-increasing business schedule and call or meet this person?
I don’t think so!
No decision-maker in his or her right mind would even listen to the whole message. After 15 seconds, maximum, you would have been zapped into infinity and beyond.
You may find the message funny, or unreal, or just an example, but salespeople leave this sort of message again and again. I wouldn’t mind betting that if you altered a few of the words it would look suspiciously like a message you have left for a PB recently. I wouldn’t mind betting also that they didn’t call you back!
Do you believe me? Well, if you don’t, call yourself right now and leave yourself the message you leave on the voicemail of your PB’s. Then go into your voicemail and listen to the message your PB gets. Hear it from their perspective. Hear it how they hear it. Hear it with your customers ears.
Here's the question:
Would you waste your valuable time and call or meet YOU?
No? Well, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and rewrite the pitch.
You need to wake up and realise something. Your PB doesn’t want to ‘hear’ or ‘find out about’ your product. They despise adjectives full of fluff. They don’t want to ‘explore’ how you can help.
Plus, your PB already has a job. They don’t need another one. Your job is to do the research, make a relevant pitch and sell. Their job is purely to buy, nothing else. They listen, ask questions, sign, that’s it! You do the work because that’s what you are paid for.
While you think about what you could say on that message, think about:
· How to incorporate your pre-call research.
· Real results companies have achieved from using your product.
· How your product ‘specifically’ solves a problem your PB’s company faces.
· How your product can assist them in achieving their goals and plans.
· How you can hook their attention and pique interest.
The essence of ‘a call back message’ includes these elements. If you change your approach you will change your results.
Harry Truman, a former US President, used to say, and in fact had a wooden plaque on his desk engraved with, the words “The Buck Stops Here!” He took responsibility for the result. YOU are responsible for your outcome. You are responsible if your PB does not return your call.
Why? Because you have the knowledge and ability to create the result you want.