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Sales Prospecting Perspectives

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Make Sure You Ask Why While Teleprospecting


When you’re an inside sales rep, there are a lot of people that don’t want to talk to you. Usually it’s anywhere from 90 to 99 percent. While inside sales is, to a large degree, a numbers game, (working through the no’s to get to a yes) there is a way to make your success rate increase. What do you do with the people that aren’t interested in learning more? Let’s say you call into 100 accounts and from them you find 10 sales prospects. What do you do with the other 90? A lot of companies take those 90 and toss them into a massive marketing pile that gets emailed once a month to see if someone raises their hand. Not surprisingly, not many hands go up. “Hey you told me that you thought I was the anti-christ last month…..soooooo just figured I would drop an email to see if the same applied. Yes it does…..ok have a great day!”

The common expression is that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. (This is completely wrong by the way seeing as though at bare minimum you would also need a good amount of sugar and water to make lemonade. Just using the lemons would make horrible lemonade, but for the sake of an analogy we’ll run with it.) When your prospecting gives you not interested accounts, get something out of them. What is that something you ask? What is the lemonade? It is feedback and you get feedback by asking a simple question. Why?

In an email someone can respond to you simply by saying unsubscribe. In a webinar you have the people that attend and then the ones that don’t. In a survey prospects are limited to giving feedback only on the questions asked and it’s usually a pretty short answer. One of the benefits of cold calling is that you have active conversations. When someone says no, you have the ability to counter, “why?” “Why” is a very powerful question and the answer to “why” should be studied to get a better understanding of your marketplace and how to attack it.

You should treat the prospect differently depending on their reason for not wanting to speak with you. If their answer to “why” is “I am working with a vendor and under contract for the next 6 months” you will have a pretty good prospect in a couple of months and you will want to keep in touch with them through a sales qualified nurture process. If the answer is “Because I have a small business and can’t afford (X) amount of money”, the prospect may be too small to ever afford the solution and you can move on, never having to email or call them again. I suggest having a different marketing and sales nurture approach to your not interested accounts based on all the reasons why. If they are using a competitor, give them to sales to establish a relationship. If they aren’t a fit, take them off your list. If they aren’t believers in the solution, they may need to be pushed into a webinar series. Prospects in the “Not Interested” pile shouldn’t receive universal treatment. You will be able to squeeze some great value out of these accounts if you market to them strategically.

Competitive intelligence is something that I find very useful in my sales process. I work in a competitive market, as most of us do, and any information about what my competition is doing will help me in my next sales call. So your prospect is using xyz company. How is it going? How is their reporting? What is included in their deliverables? I heard they were expensive is that the case? Does it integrate with your ERP? One obvious use of this information is to formulate your pitch and counter points should the same thing come up again. I use the information to look at what my competition is doing well. Rather than try to argue with everything your competition does, learn about what they do well work on being able to offer the same or even better. There are other companies doing good things in addition to yours! You can also use this information to spot trends. If everyone seems to be using companies that offer SaaS model and you don’t; you may want to tell the boss that the market is demanding a SaaS model rather than banging your head against the wall and defying what the market wants.

Unless you are operating a kissing booth staffed by the modeling crew at Victoria Secret, you’re going to have more people say no to you than yes, A lot more. Instead of just studying why people say yes to you, you should look into the people that have said no to you as well. Why did they say no? Are they potential clients in the future? What could we offer them that we currently do not? Why did they choose company XYZ? Where in my pitch did I lose them? Use this information to improve your process and find a few extra clients that you didn’t think you would have. Take the lemons and make lemonade.


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