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Polite Persistence - A Key Teleprospecting Skill


As I mentioned last week, I try to encourage the creativity of every rep on the phone in order to keep their approach fresh. Though my top performers employ their own unique style, ultimately they all produce the volume and the quality of leads that I am hoping for. That being said, there are without a doubt some similarities in what makes them successful. The primary trait, as I mentioned last week is their capacity to adequately manage each hour spent on the phone throughout their day. Though I would consider that to be #1 overall trait, I recognize that there are other common themes that I tend to see which would also be described as "core components" of their success. If I would have to pick my #2 overall trait (or really 1a) it would definitely be "persistence," or as we prefer to call it at AG Salesworks, "polite persistence."

In working with my teleprospectors, one of the biggest things I feel I need to manage to is rejection. It is pretty common for one of reps walk into my office saying something like "man, I am getting beat-up on the phones today". While we all can provide our reps with some inspirational words, we can't get around the fact that they will see much more rejection than they will success when they dial. Our numbers say that approximately 90% of your effort will end up resulting in rejection ... so you might as well get used to it. My point is, a core part of your reps make-up has to be resiliency and persistence since it is inevitable that they will run into that rude prospect that blows them off the phone. The difference is that the successful reps realize that is the risk they inherit when they dial. They just pick up the phone with the mindset that next prospect they contact will be interested in what they have to say, rather than stewing over a rude response for an hour.

With all of that said, you do owe it your reps to put them in the best position to produce. Even if your inspirational words don't provide the appropriate motivation, then maybe setting daily call goals will. Consider setting a specific number for them to shoot for each day, then they are not afforded the time to allow that mean prospect to get to them. Along with a call number, think about a call strategy for your team. We've devised a call plan at AG that we've honed over the years, which provides a suggested guideline on when to leave a message, send an email, pull in another contact...or just cut bait all together. The whole idea of the plan is to be politely persistent with a prospect without annoying them.
Polite persistence is certainly a balancing act, so you owe it to your reps to also devise a call plan based on your target prospect/industry that you feel works best related to who you are calling. As a result, your rep will most likely gain respect, and lessen the chances of becoming thought of as an annoyance. The key is to remind the prospect that you were pointed in their direction as the person to speak with, present yourself as someone that is trying to make their job easier....and if the timing isn't right ask when it would be appropriate to call again.

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About the Author   |   Craig Ferrara

Craig Ferrara is the Vice President of Client Operations for AG Salesworks. He has extensive experience in the sales and teleprospecting process. Craig joined AG Salesworks in 2003 and has successfully managed several teams of high-performing Business Development Representatives. To read more of his articles, click here.

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