"Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never,
never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty..."
-Winston Churchill

Aug 122009
 

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In this article I’m basically going discussing “productivity.” Though it is an old cliche, prospecting, or cold calling, is a numbers game. This may be even truer today that it was just 10 or 15 years ago. By the way these techniques are totally valid and workable for any sales effort and not limited to cold calling. They are just more important for cold calling because of the nature of that game.

Why is this true? Because of the advent of technology and possibly the pace of business you’re simply going to reach less people each day. With voice mail and automated attendants decision makers can better protect their time and your access. Twenty years ago you would talk to more people than not. Today you’re lucky to talk to anyone at all in a whole day of calling – researched or not.

All of this makes it critically important that you play the numbers game with maximum efficiency.

The first secret here is “focus.” Focus is all about avoiding distractions during your efforts. When you sit down to make cold calls or prospect you MUST completely avoid any kind of distraction. You need to make sure you are ready to call and call without interruption.

Experts claim that interruptions cost a minimum of 11 minutes to recover from and many say that is conservative. That’s almost 20 percent of your hourly calling time eaten up by any interruption.

The second secret is “concentration” which is closely related to focus. In order to be effective and efficient you must keep your concentration on the matters at hand. When you lose concentration on your prospecting not only does it effect our efficiency but you also potentially loose your effectiveness in responding to the prospect.

You will find working fully focused with energy and concentration that you get on a roll – especially if you rack up a good call early in the effort. Once on that roll you’ll find that you begin working much faster than you were when you started. This is the right way to cold call or prospect or for that matter sell.

I suggest that you work in spurts of 50 minutes and then take a 10 minute rest. During the 50 minutes put all your effort and concentration on making the maximum number of calls you can, no sacrificing quality of course. Then take a 10 minute break and get away from your desk and the calling completely. Think about something else do something that is fun or relaxing, then get back for another concentrated period.

I managed a team years ago that I taught this trick to. Using this method they were able to make an average of 30 percent more calls than our peer groups and team members and they did it in 75 percent of the time. My group worked a solid 6 hours with total  focus and was able to make more calls that other team members working 8 and 9 hours per day. Why, focus and concentration. And by the way they had better results as well.

Finally I want to introduce “work flow.” Most salespeople and manager’s pay no attention to this subject. You will find if you work at the work flow of making calls that you can produce some incredible results. Here’s an example.

Most people would say that making 50 calls in six hours is a reasonable number. And if you just cruise along you can probably do this consistently. However if you test and work some work flow tactics you may actually double it.

First, most people answer the phone by the third ring, thus, is you don’t need to leave a message you can hang up on ring 3 without much risk.

Second, if you create a prepared voice mail message and learn it well, you can deliver that message with enthusiasm and more quickly and efficiently saving even more time.

Third, use time after dialing the number while the phone rings and the time you spend speaking to the gatekeeper to fill out the contact record as if you “didn’t” talk to the person with a note that you left a message if you are going to do so. You’ll be right 90% of the time and ready to move to the next call immediately.

If they answer, you can simply edit as you talk and you’ve lost no time.

Consistently using the above tactics you’ll be able to move from call to call very quickly. This will result in far more calls, messages, and contacts in the same period of time.

In fact, don’t be surprised if you double your call numbers (Which has to improve your results). You will also notice with this focused approach that the day moves much faster and you feel far better and less tired at the end of the day.

Surprise yourself, try it!


Cold Calling Secrets Focus, Concentration, Work Flow

In this article I’m basically going discussing “productivity.” Though it is an old cliché, prospecting, or cold calling, is a numbers game. This may be even truer today that it was just 10 or 15 years ago. By the way these techniques are totally valid and workable for any sales effort and not limited to cold calling. They are just more important for cold calling because of the nature of that game.

Why is this true? Because of the advent of technology and possibly the pace of business you’re simply going to reach less people each day. With voice mail and automated attendants decision makers can better protect their time and your access. Twenty years ago you would talk to more people than not. Today you’re lucky to talk to anyone at all in a whole day of calling – researched or not.

All of this makes it critically important that you play the numbers game with maximum efficiency.

The first secret here is “focus.” Focus is all about avoiding distractions during your efforts. When you sit down to make cold calls or prospect you MUST completely avoid any kind of distraction. You need to make sure you are ready to call and call without interruption.

Experts claim that interruptions cost a minimum of 11 minutes to recover from and many say that is conservative. That’s almost 20 percent of your hourly calling time eaten up by any interruption.

The second secret is “concentration” which is closely related to focus. In order to be effective and efficient you must keep your concentration on the matters at hand. When you lose concentration on your prospecting not only does it effect our efficiency but you also potentially loose your effectiveness in responding to the prospect.

You will find working fully focused with energy and concentration that you get on a roll – especially if you rack up a good call early in the effort. Once on that roll you’ll find that you begin working much faster than you were when you started. This is the right way to cold call or prospect or for that matter sell.

I suggest that you work in spurts of 50 minutes and then take a 10 minute rest. During the 50 minutes put all your effort and concentration on making the maximum number of calls you can, no sacrificing quality of course. Then take a 10 minute break and get away from your desk and the calling completely. Think about something else do something that is fun or relaxing, then get back for another concentrated period.

I managed a team years ago that I taught this trick to. Using this method they were able to make an average of 30 percent more calls than our peer groups and team members and they did it in 75 percent of the time. My group worked a solid 6 hours with total  focus and was able to make more calls that other team members working 8 and 9 hours per day. Why, focus and concentration. And by the way they had better results as well.

Finally I want to introduce “work flow.” Most salespeople and manager’s pay no attention to this subject. You will find if you work at the work flow of making calls that you can produce some incredible results. Here’s an example.

Most people would say that making 50 calls in six hours is a reasonable number. And if you just cruise along you can probably do this consistently. However if you test and work some work flow tactics you may actually double it.

First, most people answer the phone by the third ring, thus, is you don’t need to leave a message you can hang up on ring 3 without much risk.

Second, if you create a prepared voice mail message and learn it well, you can deliver that message with enthusiasm and more quickly and efficiently saving even more time.

Third, use time after dialing the number while the phone rings and the time you spend speaking to the gatekeeper to fill out the contact record as if you “didn’t” talk to the person with a note that you left a message if you are going to do so. You’ll be right 90% of the time and ready to move to the next call immediately.

If they answer, you can simply edit as you talk and you’ve lost no time.

Consistently using the above tactics you’ll be able to move from call to call very quickly. This will result in far more calls, messages, and contacts in the same period of time.

In fact, don’t be surprised if you double your call numbers (Which has to improve your results). You will also notice with this focused approach that the day moves much faster and you feel far better and less tired at the end of the day.

Surprise yourself!

Aug 082009
 

There are two keys to telephone sales that will make or break your ability to be successful. Unfortunately, both of these subjects are mostly if not completely ignored by most telephone sales skills trainers. When they are touched on it is often so lightly that telephone salespeople rarely gain competency with them. For additional data see The Inside Sales Training Solution.

The first barrier is Lack of Vision

In a normal telephone communication the ability to see provides over half (55%) of the communication. When we talk to someone in person we get all kinds of visual clues about our conversation via what we observe in them. The very popular use of NLP techniques is heavily based on this vision and observation.

Not only does one loose the visual clues about the individual but they also loose the clues in the environment. Even if your product doesn’t sit on the desk or in plain view there will likely be visual clues in the environment that are very helpful to the telephone sales effort.

To be really successful on the telephone you must be aware of the obstacles and challenges this lack of vision creates. Not only so you can avoid problems but so that you can leverage your telephone sales efforts.

The second barrier is “Telephone Sales Presentation Skills”

This second barrier to telephone sales success is a derivative of the first barrier.

Because of the fact that all vision is gone in a telephone sales call, the whole call and relationship with the prospect becomes highly dependent and focused on the “audio” part of the exchange.

In a normal face-to-face conversation the audio part of the communication is about 37 percent of the communication. This jumps to over 75 percent in a telephone sales call.

When we talk about telephone sales presentation skills we are talking about tonal and communication delivery aspects of your conversation with the prospect such as volume, speed, and other factors.

If you haven’t mastered the various aspects of your vocal presentation and learned how to use your voice for effect you are missing one of the very keys to telephone sales success.

Summary

As a telephone sales person you should study and investigate these two barriers as they will make a difference in your effectiveness on the telephone.

The key thing that happens to telephone sales people is dropping into what I call “causal voice.” Your casual voice doesn’t contain the energy, enthusiasm, and passion that is necessary for a successful telephone sales call.

If you are a sales manager you need to know that the only way to really address these two skills is consistent and regular training and coaching of your people. These are both things that are very subject to “lazy” habits by your telephone sales people – without regular coaching they will become non-optimum behaviors.  For more help and information on how you can solve this issue, check out the new page on this blog site. The link to the page is in the upper right: “Inside Sales Training Solution.” Or CLICK HERE.


Aug 052009
 

This is something that I learned in my early years in selling from the consumer industry and it has be a powerful asset to my success in sales and management of inside groups.

Listen to the “tone” and “tonal” qualities of your prospect and listen carefully.

With the lack of visual contact in a telephone sales call the information you get from the prospect or client is significantly reduced. In normal communication we get 55% of our information from our eyes – yes 55% of communication is visual.

Feelings and other information are transmitted in your voice and it’s almost impossible to be incongruent. Try say “You’re a bad dog.” in and angry tone with a smile on your face. It simply doesn’t work well.

Thus when you talk to prospects and clients on the phone, if you listen to the tonal qualities of the voice, you will hear a lot more than you have ever heard before. You can, especially with practice, learn to read quit a bit of information just buy paying attention to the other person’s voice.

This allows you to hear the gestures of disbelieve or upset that you would normally get from facial and body clues in a face-to-face meeting. It gives you lots of extra information and power for your selling effort.

This is not a big tip but it will produce a huge result if you use it.

Here’s just a little personal example of this technique in action.

When I was in consumer telemarketing at the very beginning of my sales career I was taught to listen very carefully when the husband or wife answer the phone. If the person answered in a very friendly manor I would use their first name — if they didn’t I would increase the respect I showed them by being more formal and saying Mr. or Mrs.

This little adjustment made all the difference in the world to the success rate of the calls. This is only the very simplest application of this powerful technique.

Aug 032009
 

This is one of my pet peeves when it comes to telephone sales. There is a very critical and important distinction between “telephone sales training” and “sales training” that few if any make.

It’s a pet peeve because of the great importance the difference holds. To this day I have not discovered another trainer or author who makes this difference and actually teaches real “telephone selling skills.”

Why is this important?

Telephone selling skills are different from “sales skills” in that they address those issues specific to the telephone. These differences are created by the differences in the relative environments of the telephone and face-to-face selling.

Quality telephone sales training needs to address the critical issues of the phone such as lack of vision and the implications of not seeing the prospect and the prospect not seeing you.

I submit to you based on my own observations that it is these specific factors that make the biggest difference in the success of inside sales success. They are only surpassed by the quality and power of the unique selling proposition being used by salespeople.

Jul 302009
 

The discussion to the last post brings me to write this explanation of cold calling.

As I said in the previous post, I think the heart of the debate about cold calling is a simple changing of the definition. Unfortunately, most of the nay sayers don’t define the terms.

To start I believe this circumstance and debate have come about because most people have no clue how to cold call effectively. The main reason for this is companies don’t invest the necessary time to teach people how to cold call for their product; they simply make the assumption that they know – a fatal error.

In over twenty years of active sales consulting to the high tech industry I found only a hand full of people who really had high level cold calling skills.

The starting point of the problem is the lack of a good and powerful unique selling proposition. Most salespeople think they know what that is but don’t, and most companies don’t do anything to help the sales team develop one.

Most cold calling is done via the phone and most salespeople don’t know how to use the phone properly. They don’t know what makes it tick and how to leverage what they do so it will succeed on the phone. One key reason for this is almost no one actually teaches these skills. Most telephone sales training is based on standard and classical sales theories and has nothing to do with what makes the telephone different – which is the key to succeeding.

Without real telephone selling skills, a powerful unique selling proposition, and some training on how to apply them specifically to the product at hand you can expect dismal results in cold calling.

If you are interested I have a telephone sales quiz you can take for your own entertainment and hopefully learning. Click here for quiz.