Selling Skills

Shortage of new prospects? Really?

A friend of a friend asked me for some ideas about building his sales funnel. He makes 20 -30 outbound cold calls every single day and he is starving for new business.

OMG! Anyone willing to tilt at windmills by truly making (and I absolutely believe him) that number of calls each day should have so much business (given the good product that he reps) that he should be his company’s top sales person. But he isn’t.

We talked about his process and if it sounds like yours, you may be working waaaaaaaaay too hard.

He gets on the phone and begins with a brief introduction (Hi, my name is ______ with _____) and provides a touchpoint (and your name was given to me because [I’m making this part up for his sake] you are a veterinarian…. Okay, not exciting but truthful, answering the prospects two unasked questions (unasked because we’re talking!): who are you and why are you calling.

Then, comes trouble. His next words are: Do you have a few minutes to talk?

And he means it. He is a kind, good person and doesn’t want to shove himself on someone who may be busy. I love that except that by offering a way to disengage so quickly and not providing a reason for the prospect to want to agree to engage, all that does is give the prospect a loving and kind way to dismiss you.

“Oh, thank you. I am really busy right now but if you’d like to call me back in 3 months, maybe that would be better.”

My friend’s friend then thinks he has a “lead” because he was invited to call back, but why in the universe would the veterinarian remember the sales person’s name when he does call back? He created no memorability, no reason to be remembered – just a reason to save himself rejection and give the good doc a way out.

Flash forward 3 months. He calls back. He opens his conversation with, “Hi Doctor Name, This is Name (intro) and you suggested I phone you back in about 3 months (touchpoint),” what do you think he’ll say next? “Is this a better time for you to talk?” This, of course, alternates with the following words: “How are you?” But is that what he wants to know…how the doc is? More importantly, is that what the doc has time for, to tell a perfect stranger how is feeling at the moment?

Oy vey!

I’m not saying that you can’t ask is this a good time but please give yourself a break and give them a reason to say “yes, I have a few minutes” before you ask that question. (I’m also not saying that you should ask that question. If you can engage them by quickly helping them to vision their success with you, you never need to offer them a way off the phone.)

What could he say? He can give the doc a good reason to stay on the phone in the first place. Hi Doctor Name, This is Name with ____ and your name was given to me because you have a thriving veterinarian practice and I’m wondering if you’ve considered additional revenue producing items that pets and their people go nuts about….

Evoke emotion. Tell a quick story. Create the success you deserve.

Note to my friend’s friend: You can do this!! And when you get them to this point and they say, “Yes, we carry X and Y, and we’re pleased with that,” what will you say next?

Tell us what you would say to keep your sales funnel overflowing.