Best Phone Sales Prospecting & Cold Calling Techniques Tips & Tools

You’ve Got 5 Seconds to Make a Good Impression
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

best effective phone sales techniques including successful cold calling business prospecting, outbound telemarketing, professional telephone calls process, and other opening selling skills, tools, methods, tips and ideas

Learn the best effective phone sales techniques including successful cold calling business prospecting, outbound telemarketing, professional telephone calls process, and other opening selling skills, tools, methods, tips and ideas.

Years ago, they used to say you had just a couple of minutes to make a good impression when selling over the phone.

As the Internet got popular and email lost its luster, they said you had just a minute to grab someone’s attention and earn the right to continue your pitch.

Then as texting became the new mode of personal communication, that one minute shrunk to about 30 seconds….

These days, as even texting is being ignored, you’ve got about 5 seconds to diffuse the myriad of emotions and reactions your prospects have to yet another sales person calling them. And you can hear these emotions in their voices: some are annoyed that you caught them picking up their phones; some are irritated that the receptionist put through another sales calls; some are angry and even mildly aggressive as you begin your pitch.

On the other hand, some are willing to talk, ask you how you’re doing, and actually seem interested in conversing with you.

The key to successfully making that good impression is how you react to the tone of their voice—and the resulting emotion behind it—in the first 5 seconds.

Here’s what not to do:

The mistake many sales reps make is not acknowledging if someone is in a bad mood or if they are annoyed that you caught them. While most reps hear it in their prospect’s voice, they just carry on and pitch as if they were oblivious to it.

Not a good idea and this never ends well.

Worse, is when a prospect is in a good mood and willing to connect with you. Again, many sales rep just steamroll over their prospect’s receptiveness and just go into their pitch…

By doing this, you are missing a BIG opportunity to build rapport, and you are actually alienating a good prospect.

Here’s what you should do:

Always react to what you’re hearing from a prospect. There is a phrase in football that says an offense should always “take what the defense gives you.” In sales, I like to say: “Take what the prospect is giving you.”

So, if you hear the annoyance or frustration from your prospect, then address that by saying something like:

“Sounds like you’re busy, so I’ll be brief…

And if you hear that someone is willing to speak with you, for example, asks you how you’re doing in response to you asking how they are, always take a minute and build that rapport before charging into your pitch! Say:

“Thanks for asking, you know, I’m having a really good day today. By the way, how’s the weather where you are?”

By stopping and taking the time to make this connection, you’ll be laying the ground work for a good conversation.

So, how do you build good rapport in 5 seconds or less?

Listen to what – and how – your prospect responds to your call, and then take what they give you.

Sales Prospecting & Cold Calling Tips Techniques Tools Ideas & Methods

Why You’re Turning Off Your Prospects
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

best cold calling and sales prospecting tips, ideas, techniques, strategies, tools and methods on how to make effective successful business calls for sales that really work

Learn the best cold calling and sales prospecting tips, ideas, techniques, strategies, tools and methods on how to make effective successful business calls for sales.

It happened just now. Phone rang at our office and I picked it up. It was a guy who read my latest book, Power Phone Scripts, and wanted to know how to handle a situation/objection he was getting. Call went like this:

Me: “Mike Brooks here, how can I help you?”

Caller: “I just read your book (no hello, or nice to actually speak with you, nothing) and I’m getting an objection I don’t know how to handle. Ah, let me just tell you my pitch. Mr. Prospect, my name is….and I’m calling with….and briefly what I do is….blah, blah, blah….

“Blah, blah, blah……”

Seriously? Just pitch, pitch, pitch at me? Unfortunately, yes, and that’s how most sales reps do it these days…

In fact three of the current clients I’m working with right now are having the exact same problem: As soon as their sales reps get someone on the phone, they spew their pitch all over them, hardly taking a breath, not connecting at all, and not even attempting to build rapport.

It’s no wonder people hate getting phone calls and why sales reps and teams are so frustrated.

What ever happened to the give and take of conversation? Has texting and emailing made real communicating obsolete? If so, then inside sales is in big trouble…

Luckily, there is an easy fix: Just imagine how you would act, what you would say, and how respectful you would be if you were face to face with someone. You certainly wouldn’t just dive into a monologue, would you? Of course not.

So, your assignment this week is to re-write your pitch to include some rapport building questions. Practice hitting your MUTE button to give your prospect a chance to fully respond to your questions. Try asking someone how they are and actually listening to, and responding to, what they say. Don’t just use it as a segway into your pitch…

One more thing: I know what some of you are thinking: “But Mike, most prospects don’t have time for me and can’t wait to get me off the phone. I have to pitch really hard in the beginning just to have a chance to get my story in…”

Two answers to that:

1: Guess what? Most prospects you talk to aren’t qualified and aren’t buying anyway. So, if you attempt to connect with them and they aren’t interested, thank them and Move On.

2: Even those prospects who might be interested are turned off by your desperate pitching approach, so Stop It!

Treat people with respect, be genuinely interested in them, make a connection, and then engage in a give and take while pitching/qualifying and seeing how/if you can help them.

Bottom line: Stop pitching and start connecting with and respecting your prospects. You’ll be happier—and they’ll be happier—and you will be more successful.

Open Ended Sales Probing Questions for Qualifying Prospective Clients

A Simple Lesson From the NFL to Close More Business
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

top strategies, ideas, ways and examples on how to increase sales qualified leads with the best open ended sales probing discovery questions for qualifying prospective clients

Learn the top strategies, ideas, ways and examples on how to increase sales qualified leads with the top open ended sales probing discovery questions for qualifying prospective clients.

Ahhhhh….. The NFL is back! Teams have played a couple of games, and coaches are watching game film and teaching players how to improve every week. I once read a piece by Peter King from SI.com about his conversation with Ellis Hobbs—former cornerback with the New England Patriots. He was talking about how much respect he had for Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

Ellis said, “Early in my career, Bill called me into his office, and we sat there, for a long time, studying game film. He taught me to look for the simple things, and not to make football so complicated. I got better. I was with one of the best coaches of all time, and he helped me become a better player.”

In inside sales, too, you can become a better sales producer if you concentrate on the simple things and doing them better. Here are two things you can do starting today to increase your closing ratio and make more money:

#1: Keep a record of the reasons your prospects don’t close and then concentrate on qualifying on these issues up front with your next prospects. This was one of the simplest and most effective habits I developed early on to get better.

I kept a notebook with all my prospects in it and every time they didn’t buy, I’d put in red ink the reason why not. I even boiled it down to three codes: NI, for No Interest; NM for No Money; and NC for Not Cooperative.

And then throughout the days and weeks I’d go back through my notebook and look for patterns and ask myself, “What do I need to focus on during the qualification stage?”

If too many prospects were not buying because they simply weren’t ready to buy right then, then “No Interest” needed to be addressed during the qualifying call. I’d start by asking more direct questions like:

“_______, if you find that this would work for you, what is your time frame for moving ahead with it?”

And so on. Bottom line—if you don’t get it right during the qualifying call then you’ll never increase your closing ratio.

(Want more scripts? Click Here for over 500 of them!)

#2: Ask for bigger orders on every close. Oh, I know, you’ve heard this before, right? But how often do you actually do it?

So many sales reps are afraid to ask for too much and are just happy to get a minimum order. I know because I used to be that way…

But my career turned around when I began asking for bigger orders on every single call. And what I learned is that you never know how much a person or company can handle. You can always go down (in price, quantity, etc.), but you can never go up.

The truth is, it’s all the same amount of work anyway, so why not ask for two times, or three times the minimum order and see what you get? If only two in ten of your prospects buy the increased amount, how much more money would that mean to you?

In addition, the good part about consistently asking for more is that you’ll end up getting more—and every time you do, you reinforce the habit to do it. And as soon as you get a taste of closing bigger deals, you begin looking for and expecting them. Try it and you’ll see for yourself. It’s one of the simplest things you can do to make a lot more money.

So there you have it—two simple ways of closing more business and making more money. Just remember, as you’re reading this, NFL players and coaches are working on the simple things to improve.

You should be doing so, too!

Best B2B Cold Call Telemarketing Sales Appointment Making Setting Tips

5 Steps to Making Appointments that Stick
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

best outbound B2B telemarketing sales appointment setting tips, techniques and strategies for making effective lead generation cold calls over the phone

Learn the best outbound B2B telemarketing sales appointment setting tips, techniques and strategies for making effective lead generation cold calls over the phone.

Nothing is more frustrating than making an appointment with a good sales prospect and then calling and getting their voicemail at the time of meeting.

Actually, there is something more frustrating: having to then chase these sales prospects and never connecting with them again!

If you would like to make your appointments more “sticky” and actually have your sales prospects be there when you call, then follow the 5 steps below:

Step One: Don’t just send a meeting request and then think the prospect will show up. That’s much too passive. What I always do when setting an appointment is to first test them to see how cooperative and engaged they are.

I always say, “Let’s look at our calendars to see what works best—are you in front of your calendar right now?”

This is crucial. I want to see if I can get my prospect to actually do something (open their calendar) and while I book a day and time, I instruct them to put it in their calendar as well. I actually wait for them to do this.

Oh, sure, I’ll send a meeting request as well, but I always see if they are willing to do this first. If they brush me off with a, “Oh, just send me a meeting request” and they won’t take the time to open their calendar, then that’s a Red Flag.

Step Two: Send a meeting request while you’re still on the phone with them. I tell them I’m sending a meeting a request, and I do it right at that moment. I then instruct them to open their email and accept it while I’m on the phone with them.

This is another test I use to see how cooperative they are. If they balk at doing this, then I know I’ve got a 50/50 chance they will show up.

Now I know that not all prospects will do this, but I direct as many people to do it as I can. It’s sort of a “pre-qualifier” for the appointment.

Step Three: After you’ve scheduled the appointment, and with the prospect still on the phone, ask them to reach back out to you—by phone or email—if something comes up and they can’t make the meeting.

I know, that sounds negative and you’re probably afraid to let them know they can cancel, right? Don’t you think they already know that??

Here is the best way to phrase it:

“{first name}, I’ve got you confirmed for (day/time), and you’re on my calendar. I’m in yours, right?

“Great!. Listen, I know things can come up for us both, and I respect your time and would like you to respect mine as well. So, if something changes and you need to reschedule our appointment—or if you’d like to meet earlier—would you make sure and shoot me an email or give me a call prior to our appointment time?”

[Must get buy in here]

“Thanks. Then if I don’t here from you, I’ll look forward to speaking with you on (confirm day/time again). And, by the way, what is your direct line phone number you want me to call in on?”

Step Four: Follow this up with an email essentially stating the same thing in the script above.

Always send this as soon as possible after hanging up…

Step Five: Call and confirm your appointment the day before the appointment time.

It’s amazing how so many people don’t do this, but when you do, several things can happen:

a. They aren’t available, so you leave a voicemail reminding them about the appointment call the next day and how excited you are to speak with them.
b. They come onto the phone and you can pitch them one day early!
c. They tell you they’re not interested, and you can begin overcoming objections and get into your pitch that way.

Don’t underestimate the importance of this step! Very few sales professionals do this, and I’ve found it’s amazingly effective at getting into the pitch a day early.

Bonus Step Six: Send out a reminder email the morning of the appointment. You are doing this now, aren’t you??

So there you have it: 5 proven steps to increase your number of appointments/presentations. Compare these to what you’re doing now, and if you find you aren’t using some of these techniques, then incorporate them this week.

And watch your appointment turn up rate soar…

Sales is a Numbers Game | Track Phone Cold Call Lead Activity Daily

Some Will, Some Won’t, Who’s Next?
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

sales is a numbers game and using a daily phone cold call lead activity tracker and prospect management system such as a team goal tracking spreadsheet or calendar is vital

Find out why sales is a numbers game and why using a daily phone cold call lead activity tracker and prospect management system such as a team goal tracking spreadsheet or calendar is vital to success.

Ever found yourself staring at the phone, unable to pick it up to make some prospecting calls?

Ever convinced yourself that you must research a company’s website first, pour through their social media posts until you have the golden nugget that will get someone to speak with you?

Ever ended the month below your sales quota?

Guess what? These two things: resistance (fear) of picking up the phone and cold calling, and not making your sales goals are 100% related!

I know this is going to sound “old-school” (and it is), but it’s also completely true: Sales is still a numbers game. The more calls you make = the more people you speak with = the more qualified sales prospects you meet = the more sales you make.

Period.

I work with hundreds of sales reps and teams every year, and I’ll tell you right now, call reluctance seems to be getting worse. So many sales reps are scared these days of actually getting on the phone with someone if they don’t know everything about them first. It paralyzes them to the point of making just a handful of calls per day. In fact, they think that if they make 25 “well-targeted” calls a day, then that’s a good day…

But ask yourself this: How many of those calls result in you actually getting through to the decision maker? And how many of those contacts result in qualified leads that turn into a sales presentation?

If you’re like most of the sales reps out there, the answer is: Not many.

And how many of those so-called leads actually turn into a sale? In other words, what is your closing rate?

Hate to break it to you, and you can compare your own results, but he national average is 2 sales out of 10 presentations. And if you then divide the number of sales needed to make your numbers, you will probably realize that you need A LOT more presentations, don’t you?

And this leads back to number of phone calls…

So how do you overcome this fear of making more calls? The answer is simple: Just recognize that about 8 out of 10 people you actually get to speak to aren’t going to end up being a sale.

In other words, most of the people you finally reach aren’t going to result in a qualified lead!

And that’s okay! Expect it! The saying you need to turn into your mantra is:

“Some will, some won’t, who’s next?”

As soon as you adopt this attitude, cold calling becomes much easier.

I often teach that qualifying is more about disqualifying than it is about qualifying. Your job when you cold call, prospect, (whatever you want to call it) is to find, reach, and disqualify as many leads as you can—as quickly as you can—so you can move on to and find the real buyers (who are few and far between).

And this brings us back to: Sales is a numbers game.

So, do yourself a favor and stop spending hours of your precious time every single day searching through social media looking for the Golden Goose. And stop thinking that if you found just the right email or voice mail message then you’ll finally get buyers to call you back…

Instead, your goal should be hundreds of actual dials—cold calls, warm calls, prospecting calls, again, I don’t care what term you use—each and every week.

Keep track of those calls on an hourly basis and record: 1) How many dials did you make per hour? 2) How many decision makers did you reach per hour? 3) How many qualified leads did you get per hour?

These are the stats that are going to make a difference in your sales results and success.

And if you’re a manager or business owner, these are the metrics that YOU should be measuring and studying each and every day as well.

Remember: the thing that hasn’t changed in sales—and isn’t going to change—is that sales is still a numbers game.

And remember: Some will, some won’t, who’s next?

So, how many calls are you going to make today?

The Art of Cold Calling | How to Make B2B Cold Phone Calls for Sales

5 New Cold Calling Openings
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

art of top B2B cold calling scripts, tips, techniques, openers and best practices on how to make effective, successful cold phone calls that really work to get appointment for sales

Learn the art of top B2B cold calling opening scripts, tips, techniques and best practices on how to make effective, successful cold phone calls that really work to get appointment for sales.

I’m working with an inside sales team who are having success with a cold calling opening that previously I had recommended against using. After listening to their recorded calls though, I’ve been surprised by how effective it is!

While experimenting with variations of this prospecting approach, I’ve developed 5 new cold calling openings and listed them below. My new recommendation is that you try these for yourself to see how they work for you:

Surprise cold calling opening #1: “Did I catch you at a bad time?” I know, seems counter intuitive to give your prospect a way out at the very beginning, and that’s why I’ve recommended against it for so long. But…it’s been working well, and prospects are actually stopping and giving the reps a chance to keep talking. Try it for yourself and let me know how it works for you…

Sales prospecting opening #2: “Is this an okay time to speak?” Again, my instinct (and experience) has taught me this isn’t a good way to open your call, however, I think it’s been working because it gives the prospect control of the call initially, and this seems to encourage them to grant permission to continue. Again, try it and let me know…

Cold call opening #3: “Didn’t think I’d catch you in person, can you spare just a couple of minutes right now?” Again, asking for permission seems to be working for the team I’m consulting with, and this variation puts in a bit of a softening statement.

Sales prospecting opening #4: “Sorry to disturb you, have I caught you at an okay time?” Variation on the theme here—once again, we combine a softening statement with asking for permission…

New cold calling opening #5: “Oh, I’m so glad I reached you. Can you take just a moment to speak with me right now?” As you can see, this, too, is a new opening, continuing the theme of asking for permission.

As with all of these cold calling or sales prospecting openings, you’re giving initial control to your prospect in the hopes that they will grant you permission to have a brief conversation. And, as I said, this seems to be working well.

Pick one of the opening above, customize it so it fits your style, and let me know how it works for you. By providing each other feedback (especially sharing on LinedIn), we’ll all be helping one another get better at prospecting over the phone!

Inside Sales Force Team Performance Management Training Ideas & Tips

Inside Sales Management Made Easy
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

effective inside sales force team rep performance management training ideas, tips, techniques and plan with best practices.

Learn effective inside sales force team rep performance management training ideas, tips, techniques and plan with best practices.

Being an inside sales manager is tough these days.

Technology (which is supposed to make your job easier), is overwhelming and there are just too many new data points technologies allow us to measure:

Top, middle, bottom of the funnel?

Attention time on the demo?

Lead conversion rates per vertical?

Recording metrics measuring keywords, talk time, etc.,

I mean, where do you spend your limited time?

Oh, and don’t forget the meetings, the reporting, the personnel, the emails, and the hundreds of other things you need to do. And, by the way, how are sales and how are you trending this month?

And you’re also asked to train and improve your team—daily. So how can you do that effectively?

Here’s how: sales management is easier than you might think if you break it down to its three most important elements.

If you concentrate on the three areas below, and make it a priority to implement them, your job will get so much easier, and, more importantly, you and your team will start closing more business and the metrics your technology is measuring will look much better.

Here’s what they are:

1) Give your team a consistent, best practice approach. Provide your team with clear, easy to follow sales messaging. Write this messaging down and give them scripts and rebuttals to follow—specific qualifying questions, proper closing techniques, rebuttals to objections, etc.—and get your team’s buy in on them.

Once you do, then:

2) Role play this sales messaging and then implement and monitor the use of this best practice approach.

Think of a great football team. The coaches come up with the best game plan (the system—messaging, if you will), and then they teach it to their players and practice every play and every technique. They drill over and over, and they watch film of each practice and each game to make sure their players are following the plan and using the best techniques.

And that’s what you need to do with your sales team as well.

Once you’ve given your team the best sales messaging and techniques, it’s up to you to train them on it and reinforce adherence to it. You do that by:

• Observing your sales reps as they are on the phone with their prospects and customers (listening in live).

• By recording their calls and reviewing them with each rep.

Then you make sure they are using your messaging.

If you do that—actually get your reps to use the sales messaging that you know works—then they will finally improve and make more sales.

3) Next, you need to discipline your team members when they aren’t following your sales best practices.

When I say discipline, I don’t mean to beat them up if they don’t use your sales messaging. Instead, discipline comes from the Greek work that means to teach, not to scold or make others feel bad.

The proper role of a teacher, coach or sales manager is to point out when a student or sales rep isn’t following the proven tools needed to succeed, and then to help them, or “teach” them to do it better. And that’s where your skills as a manager (and where your time) will be most effective.

You can do this in your one on one’s with each sales rep, and you can do this in sales meetings where you can play recordings of reps who are doing it correctly, and you can do it by feeding lines to a rep while they’re on the phone, or by instant messaging while you’re listening in, etc., or by role playing.

The bottom line is that it’s your job to give your team the right sales messaging to succeed, train them on this, and then monitor and teach them to use it consistently.

Getting your sales team to follow a winning sales message (consistently) is the ultimate key to your success as a sales manager.

And by the way, as an individual producer, you can manage and coach yourself by doing the three steps above. Your success is always up to you, so if you don’t have proven scripts and you’re not recording yourself and you’re not coaching according to your recordings, then get busy—as soon as possible…

Inside Sales Force Management Closing Techniques & Training Ideas

Inside Sales Management: Are you Measuring What Matters Most?
By Mike Brooks, www.MrInsideSales.com

successful inside sales force performance management closing strategy, process techniques, training ideas, prospecting tools and best practices for managers and representatives

Learn about successful inside sales force management closing strategy, process techniques, training ideas, prospecting tools and best practices for managers and representatives.

If you’re an inside sales manager, then you know all about metrics. In fact, whenever I consult with new clients, the owners and managers automatically begin showing me their call monitoring reports. They show me metrics on how many calls a rep is making, how much average time each rep spends on the phone, what the top of the funnel looks like, what their conversion rate is, and so on.

When they ask me what I think, I tell them they are missing the most important thing. Now don’t get me wrong—those things are important and they should be monitored. The problem, though, is that those metrics are not what drive sales.

You see, it isn’t the activity around the sale that’s most important (and that everyone measures), but rather, it’s the activity that happens during the sale (during the calls) that matters most.

In other words, as a manager you need to know exactly what and how your reps are responding and dealing with their prospects and clients during each sales interaction.

There are two times to monitor and coach this:

1) You can either monitor your reps while they’re actually on the phone with a prospect or client (by listening in live), or:
2) You can record the call and spend time reviewing and coaching your rep as you go over their actual sales performance.

Both of these methods will give you the most important information that matters most: Are your reps using the best practice approaches to successfully handle the selling situations they run into 80% of the time when trying to open and close your product or service over the phone?

If your reps either don’t know how to best handle these selling situations, or if they simply aren’t using effective techniques and skills—or worse, if they just don’t have the talent or willingness to consistently use proven best practices—then it doesn’t matter how much time they spend on calls, or how many calls they make or how many leads they generate.

Again, it’s how they perform during a sales call that matters most.

And your number one goal as a manager is to know how each of your reps perform while in the sale, and then to teach them the most effective, best practice techniques to open and close more sales.

Once you’ve given your team the skills and techniques to succeed in your selling environment, and you’ve trained them thoroughly on these techniques, then managing becomes much easier: it becomes a job of coaching adherence to your best practice approach (see numbers one and two above).

And when you start putting emphasis here, you, and your team, become more effective.

How to Sell & Closing More Sales Leads with Follow Up Calls Skills

The Sale is in The Follow Up
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

how to sell and improve sales skills with secrets of closing more leads and deals via follow up prospecting message, phone call and letter techniques

Learn how to sell and improve sales skills with secrets of closing more leads and deals via follow up prospecting message, phone call and letter techniques.

As a homeowner, I’m always having to fix something. Those of you who own homes know exactly what I mean. I’m in the habit of getting a variety of quotes for the big stuff, and it’s amazing how some companies/sales reps follow up on a sales quote (and so get the business), and others don’t. Here’s a recent example:

My air conditioning coil went out (my existing heating and air company—we’ll call them Air Quiet—quoted me $2,500 to replace it), so I decided to have another company—we’ll call them Air Aggressive — come out to give me another quote.

Air Aggressive came out with two guys: the guy who crawls around and the “closer”—a guy who doesn’t get his hands dirty. After they looked at everything, they immediately tried to upsell me to a whole new unit (including a new heater). They said there wasn’t any reason to replace the coil on a ten-year-old compressor, etc., and it made sense. Their quote was about $9,600.

I then called Air Quiet back to give me a quote on a comparable new system. A very knowledgeable guy came out and quoted me on a better system (apparently, according to him, the first company was giving me an inferior system), and the new quote for a “better” unit was just $8,300. I told him I’d think about it.

So, here’s what happened next. The first company, Air Aggressive, followed up five days later. I got a call from the office and a nice woman said I had work that needed to be done and was I ready to schedule it? (That was a nice assumptive close). I told her I was thinking about it. She stopped there and told me she would be in touch.

Four days later, I got a call from the closer himself: Was I ready to schedule the work? No, not quite yet, I’ll be in touch, I told him. Zero come back to that stall, instead, he just said he’ll look to hear from me.

Three days later, I got a call from the closer’s manager: Was there anything I needed to know, and was I ready to schedule the work I needed? No, I replied, I’m still thinking about it. Zero attempts to overcome that stall either…

I received one more voice mail from the company, Air Aggressive, and they have left me alone since then.

The other company, Air Quiet—you know, the one with the good quote? Nothing. Not a phone call, not a voice mail, not an email. Nothing.

If I hadn’t received such a good quote from them, and, especially, if I hadn’t been informed by them that the other company was using lessor quality products (a model down in rating), I’d have gone with air aggressive already. And if Air Quiet had followed up, they’d probably have the business by now….

My point here is that follow up is the key to getting the business. And it’s not just this way with heating and air companies. I’m amazed (and I’ll bet some of you are as well), at how laid-back many sales people are. It’s surprising they get any business at all!

One of the things that has always made me a top producer (even now in the consulting world) is that I’m on it. And on it. And on it some more. I have specific follow up appointments scheduled, I’m sending emails and cards, etc., in between those meetings, and when I get a stall, I use three or four closes to overcome them or at least understand exactly what is standing in the way.

In other words, I don’t give up. I’m persistent and tenacious. I act with a sense of urgency. And this has always been a key contributor to my success—in and outside of sales.

So I’d like you to ask yourself whether in your own company you are more like Air Aggressive or Air Quiet?

My advice: If you want to close more business and make more sales, you need to follow up a lot more than you probably do. Don’t leave it to your prospects to get back to you—they rarely will.

Phone Sales & Business Prospecting Calls Tools Tips Methods & Ideas

Avoid This One Error when Prospecting by Phone
By Mike Brooks, http://mrinsidesales.com/

best creative, effective phone business prospecting scripts, tools, tips, process, methods and ideas to help you successfully close more sales

Learn about the best creative, effective phone business prospecting scripts, tools, tips, process, methods and ideas to help you successfully close more sales.

On Facebook last week, there was a very brave soul who was making cold calls live. I clicked over to hear him doing it (he sells SEO services), and as I watched I noticed he was making one crucial error that was leading to him not getting very far with prospects. I want to share with you what this common prospecting error is and how to immediately fix it.

Before I do, I just want to acknowledge the guts it took to put himself out there, live, for all the world to see. Good for you! After hearing him, and watching him be so courageous, I wanted to help him. So I contacted him and offered to do a complimentary coaching session with him to help correct this fundamental error. Prior to the call, I asked this sales rep to send over recordings, so I could play and point out exactly what he was doing wrong.

OK, so here’s what it is: He was calling prospects and his pitch went like this:

“Hi, this is {first & last name} with {his company}, and I know you’re probably busy, so I just want to ask you a quick question to see if it makes sense for us to talk…

“If you could wave a magic wand and change two things about your online marketing, what would they be?”

The responses he got were generally negative, along the lines of, “Look, I’m in the middle of something right now and can’t talk to you…”

As you read this article, can you identify what the mistake in this approach is?

When I was coaching this rep, I told him that the problem was that he wasn’t making any connection in the beginning and wasn’t allowing his prospect to engage with him at all. Instead, he was barging in on someone’s day and asking a question that required the prospect to stop doing what he was doing and then give a ton of information he probably didn’t want to give.

I said it was analogous to saying, “Hey, you don’t know me, but give me your time and tell me how to sell you.”

I also told him that my reaction as a business owner would have been, “Who are you, and how dare you ask me to tell you that!”

What was missing was the common courtesy of human interaction to set up the call. Plus, what was missing was a value statement of what might be in it for the prospect. I suggested he revise his opening to:

“Hi, this is {first & last name} with {his company}, how’s your day going?”

[Wait and respond accordingly—engage!]

“{first name}, I know you’re probably busy, so I’ll be brief. The reason for the call is that we provide affordable SEO services to small companies like yours so you can have a big footprint on the Internet and drive more qualified leads.

“Question: how are you going about doing that right now?”

Note: this is just one of many different qualifying questions I would ask based on how they sounded to me. The point is to 1) Make a connection first, 2) Give the reason for your call—your value statement, 3) Ask an appropriate, quick qualifying question. This is the best practice approach.

After our coaching session, I received an email the next day from this rep. He said he listened to the recording of the session several times and something clicked. He told me that he attends many face to face networking events, and he realized he would never use his phone prospecting script with anyone in person. It would be inappropriate and even rude!

Instead, he said, he would make conversation first, connect and interact with someone. He figured it would probably be true in sales over the phone as well. I told him that was the perfect analogy! I couldn’t have said it any better.

So, for all you inside reps and companies that are making outbound prospecting calls, just ask yourself: Would your technique work face to face? If not, then change it so it would. You’ll do much better when you do.