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Increasing Teleprospecting Connect Rates


A question we often ask ourselves here at AG is "How do we increase our conversion and connect rate?" Let's face it, the traditional methods of prospecting have a much higher likelihood of failure than success.  If you've spent enough time in the trenches making cold calls, inevitably you've had that day where you feel like nothing has been accomplished. Eight frustrating hours of constantly leaving voicemails, assistants pushing you to a vendor-line, emails getting caught in a prospects spam filter...the list goes on. The unfortunately reality is even on a good day this will happen on a few occasions. 
The numbers simply don't lie, from what we've seen you should be prepared for an abysmal response rate from voicemails (1%) and email (7%).  It is the nature of the beast, and as much as we hate to admit it to ourselves, cold calling really is a numbers game. You could send out a well crafted email and leave the most compelling message, but if you are not doing it with consistency and volume, you aren't going to get very far. So with those numbers staring us in the face, we often ask ourselves" what else can I do to increase my response rate?" Our answer - send Outlook Invites. 
Have you ever sat down to figure out how much time is spent when you actually get someone live on the phone? Even when you uncover an interested much time do you really need? Generally we see that 5 and at most 10 minutes are all that is that is necessary to gather the information for a fully qualified sales lead. So why not leverage Outlook by sending a simple invite asking for 5 minutes of prospects time to discuss current initiatives?  
Those of us that make dials have been there before:  you manage to finally get your target prospect live and it feels as if you've caged a wild animal. All they want to do is find a way out of their situation  "I'm heading to a (fake) meeting, call me back in an hour," and of course they don't pick up when you dial back in an hour later. My point is that most prospects want to feel that they control and can dictate how much time they want to spend with you on the phone. By extending a quick 5 minute invite, they know they are not committing to listening to a lengthy pitch. We simply want to know if they have potential interest and leave it up to them to either accept or decline the invitation. If they decline, we typically ask if there is a more appropriate time to follow-up and then move on. The great thing is we are not spinning our wheels with someone that does not have interest and we focus our efforts on the next person on our list that could be.  On the positive side of things, when you do receive an accepted invite, you would be very surprised with the level of detail you can pull from a prospect, because they feel the discussion is more on their terms and generally seem to be more willing to share in the details of their upcoming projects.
With many of us dealing with limited marketing budgets we need to find creative ways to get on our prospects' radar. Though extending an invite to get on someone's calendar may seem a bit forward,  we need to leverage everything at our disposal to uncover the next big opportunity.  Good luck and happy prospecting!



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