There’s a lot of talk and concern about contagions lately. I see both extremes, some people wearing masks while sitting in the car by themselves and others not wearing anything while hanging out with a crowd of people around them because they think they are immune. I’m not going to express an opinion on that. I’m not an expert in that field.
I will say this though. There is one thing that I can guarantee is 100% immune to any virus floating around out there. Sales Fear! That garbage in your brain that convinces you that no matter what, the one thing you need to do is avoid calling prospects.
I’m working with a few different sales organizations right now and I see several versions of this.
- Can’t call people now. They’re busy with kids at home.I’ll email them.
- No one is buying right now. Not worth the time to reach out until things calm down.
- I need to really deeply research my prospects before calling them, and that means I don’t have time to make a lot of calls.
- The phone doesn’t work anymore. Everyone just sends you to voicemail jail.
- It’s all about social media nowadays. I’ll just post videos on Linkedin
This garbage in your brain is based on what it has always been based on. Fear. F.E.A.R. False Evidence Appearing Real. If your calls seem to be confirming this nonsense, it’s not because you’re calling on the phone. It’s because of what you say when you’re calling. Sales is and always has been at its core a human to human connection. Tonality, pace and enthusiasm come across on a phone call in a way that they never can on email. So if your calls feel off right now, here’s a quick checklist of what you may be doing wrong.
- Leading with product info. Selling isn’t telling and NO ONE cares about your product. They care about what it can do for them. If your pitch is filled with info on how your product works, you’re leading with information and not with confirming the existence of pain.
- Singing. I’ll never forget that scene in the movie “Office Space” where the main guy is losing his mind because the person in the cube next to him is singing her phone greeting. You’re not a DJ. You’re not Demi Lovato. Speak like a human.
- Beldaring. The opposite of singing. Remember the movie “Cone Heads”? Remember how the Dan Akroyd’s character, Beldar, speaks. With. No. Rythm. Or. Humanity. Yeah. You’re not a singer and you’re also not a computer. SPEAK LIKE A HUMAN!
- Intent. You know what everyone who owns a phone can spot a mile away? Commission breath. If your intent is to make a sale, even my 13 yo son can spot that. It’s skeevy. In the same way the guy with the hairy chest, open satin shirt and exposed gold chain walking up to every girl at the bar is skeevy. Your intent should be on finding a fit. That means it’s about them, and what they want, not you and what you want. That shifts you into qualification mode. “How youuu doin?” works for Joey on Friends, but not on sales calls.
- Lack of abundance attitude. There are plenty of fish in the sea. Obsessing over one like it’s the white whale makes you come off as desperate, needy and triggers all kinds of defense mechanisms. Acting as if your sales success is based on convincing any one prospect is based on fear as well.
- Lack of detachment. You can care about your customers, and you can care about your products, but if you care about who buys and when they buy, you’re emotionally attached to their decision and hence going to get “beat up” by making calls. I love my customers. I love making them happy. When one of them cancels or rejects me, I don’t get emotionally upset by that. This is sales, not therapy. If you are seeking emotional validation in your prospecting, you are going to get hurt. Get a dog. They’ll love you unconditionally and all you have to do is pet them and occasionally give them some bacon.
I made 33 cold calls yesterday in a two hour call block. I did it within one of my client’s teams to prove that phone calls still work. Of the 33 calls, 2 were bad numbers, 6 of them converted into a conversation (disqualified two of them, set 1 meeting and got the right contact to set a meeting on the other 3). The rest went to voicemail. 6 conversations out of 33 dials is an almost 20% conversion rate. That’s a good call block. I still followed up with emails on the others. Might as well, but the point is that people are still answering the phone, and if you call them and talk/ask about things important to them, they will talk to you. The phone is not obsolete. Sending out 150 emails a day isn’t sales. It’s marketing.