On a recent webinar with Renee Walkup, we were discussing ways to get people to return our telephone calls. The answer is pretty simple really. Consistently get back on the telephone. Yet, surprisingly, many people will often give up after just one or two calls. I’ve met countless people who complain that they never receive a call back and when I dig deeper, I discover they called their prospect just once. Really? Frankly, it can take as many as 7, 10 or 15 calls just to connect with someone. Given how pressured people are in business these days, that makes sense. What doesn’t make sense to me is why people give up so easily.
Using the telephone as a component of your social sales process is often forgotten these days. In my opinion, too many people with something to sell are hiding behind email. Just this morning, I received a sales pitch from someone that I don’t know. We happen to share a LinkedIn group, but beyond that I have no idea who they are. Still, I’m receiving their sales pitch as the very first connection with me, not to mention that their message was all about them. So what? What’s in it for me? This spam approach is a surefire way to lose a sales opportunity before it even begins. I’m not sure if “phone phobia” is about fear of rejection or because someone thinks that sending a mass email is easier than picking up the phone. But in my experience, once you have a qualified lead (I emphasize qualified) in hand, using the telephone is a great way to move the sales process forward more quickly.
Let’s face it, sales success is about follow up and follow up is tough. As I write this post, I’m staring at a stack of business cards that are screaming at me to connect with the people I’ve met this last week who expressed interest in my services. So, I get it, especially if you are a smaller business where most of the hats are being worn by you.
Here are 3 things that you need to accept about the sales process; otherwise, you’ll drive yourself crazy.
- People are busy. Your prospect has their own work to tend to. It’s not personal, and it is your job to stick with it. Follow up and remaining visible are critical.
- You aren’t the only game in town. Hate to put it so bluntly, but all of us have competition and they are just as hungry for the deal as you are. Remember that you need to find ways to stand out – be memorable. By the way, your competitors are probably giving up pretty quickly themselves. If you don’t – you have the edge!
- A sale rarely happens immediately after a first meeting. People buy from people that they know, like and trust. Building a relationship takes some time.
Let me put it into perspective…
In Dan McDade’s book, The Truth About Leads, he points out that 45% of “qualified” leads will close within a year. He goes on to say that:
- 10% will close in 3 months
- another 16% in 6 months
- another 19% within the year
That suggests a big sales problem if you are giving up after a couple of phone calls. I find that it’s a delicate balance between closing business now and nurturing the sales potential that won’t close until later down the road.
Look at it this way…if you give up too quickly, you are guaranteed not to close the sale. What have you got to lose by continuing to stay in touch?