Part of what is hard about being in sales is that most of society makes a very false negative assumption about you. Many people look at a sales call or prospecting interaction as an intrusion, a disruption, an interaction based on a one sided equation of value.
To be fair, sales people often bring it on ourselves because many actually do make prospecting calls solely based on their agenda of making a sale. Hence the prospect feels bombarded, disrupted, and manipulated by the whole interaction and defense mechanisms kick in, causing that false assumption to be dominant any time they are called on by a sales person. If you’re not careful, you can easily start internalizing that belief, making you feel like you are begging or harassing people when you make prospecting calls.
Here is a better baseline assumption for you to operate from.
A sales professional owns the responsibility of making the prospecting experience pleasant for the prospect!
Seem like a stretch? Consider that as sales people, we initiate this interaction. Our prospects are not calling us. We are creating the experience, hence we are responsible for making it an excellent experience. We are. Not them.
It’s actually relatively simple to do that. Just don’t be part of the noise. Everyone is dealing with their agenda and their priorities, and waging a constant battle to work through “the noise” of distractions and conversations based on agendas not important to them. Management guru and expert Stephen Covey built a whole time management system based on re-prioritizing what is “Important” over what is “Urgent”. When you prospect someone, be it with a drop in or a phone call, you are creating an urgent scenario in their life. A phone ringing on a desk is urgent. So is a text, or someone at the door. Even an email, bolded as “unread” in my inbox has a touch of urgency to it. It’s like a pop up on the desktop of life. What prospects need most of all to have a pleasant experience with you, is a quick determination of the importance of the conversation. Their determination, not yours.
This is why your sales process needs to be built on making that determination the leading agenda item of any prospecting interaction. People lose patience fast when they don’t see relevance (the measure of importance) in your agenda.
Take a look at your prospecting script. Are you talking about things that matter to you or are you talking about things that could matter to them? The words we choose determine our success because they reflect the thoughts and beliefs in our head. If you convey the impression that you are only interested in yourself and what you have to gain, then you are just part of the noise in your prospect’s world. Choose to not be part of the noise.