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5 Sales Prospecting Strategies for Overcoming Call Reluctance


Sales Call ReluctanceSales Prospecting Perspectives is pleased to bring you a guest post from Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing.

It starts with a hesitation.

It becomes an objection.

It festers into a doubt.

And it costs your company leads.

What I’m talking about is sales call reluctance. It doesn’t come from the prospects; it comes from the sales reps themselves. Whether you’re a new teleprospector or a seasoned inside sales rep, everyone experiences varying levels of call reluctance when B2B prospecting.

A dip in sales can be a result of poor training that overlooks the issue of call reluctance and not combating inside sales reps with a strategy on how to address it. There are a number of reasons why an inside sales rep can experience call reluctance: a lack of confidence in the product or service they’re selling, in the approach they're going to take (whether it be phone or email), or in having a conversation with a live prospect. Inside sales managers should focus on inspiring confidence in their teleprospectors through product training, role-playing, and establishing a solid sales methodology.  

However, inside sales managers should also have a training process in place that focuses on execution. Many inside sales reps are bogged down and can become overwhelmed by their sales calls. They want to know what they’re doing. They want to know how they can track their success. And most importantly, they want to know what to do next.

Here are the five W questions you can ask your inside sales reps to keep them on their toes and ready to progress to the next step when teleprospecting:

  1. Who:  Do you know who specifically you’re about to call and why? It’s not enough to have a company name. You need the name of a specific decision-maker or sales target. You also need their specific contact information to initiate a conversation. This may sound basic, but way too many salespeople are given a phone book and/or simply a list of companies and asked to get rolling. This bogs down their process and also creates artificial call reluctance that significantly decreases their activity and results. Focus on providing your sales team with explicit lists and with accurate contact information.  It may cost a bit more upfront, but the ROI on your sales team’s time and performance will be more than worth it.

  2. What:  What are you going to say? What value are you going to provide to the prospect? You can’t script a phone call, but you can certainly script a voicemail. And a follow-up email. Without these templates, it takes way too much time to work through a reasonable prospect list.

  3. Where:  I’m not just talking about physical location, but also channel. Are you just calling? Are you leaving a voicemail? Are you following up with email? A ping on a social channel? Mapping this specific sequence is important not only to maximize the value and impact of those touchpoints, but also to make sure execution is swift and efficient.

  4. When:  Are you really trying to reach decision-makers on the phone in the middle of the morning?  When they’re all in meetings?  Are you really trying to call East Coast prospects at 3:30 Pacific time?  Dayparting your sales activity is important, especially if you understand the work habits of your prospects.

  5. Why:  Think content. Think teachable moment. Think about why the prospect would want to spend time with you and would get measurable value from the conversation. This is a high bar, higher than just avoiding a product discussion up front. But the more you can successfully build high value in the first sales interaction, the more confidence your inside sales team will have in what they’re about to execute. It will reduce call reluctance, drive higher sales activity, and create better first impressions and value with your prospects.

When I execute our own sales process for Heinz Marketing, I ask myself these questions. When I have crisp answers to the above questions, I’m far more effective and efficient at working through my sales execution.  

I’m curious to hear your perspective and/or experience with sales call reluctance as well. How would you train your inside sales reps to handle their own objections?

Heinz MarketingMatt Heinz is president of Heinz Marketing, and is a frequent speaker and author on B2B marketing and sales strategy. Matt brings more than 15 years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations, vertical industries and company sizes. You can connect with Matt via Twitter or his blog. You can purchase any of his sales and marketing books here.



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