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Sales Strategy
Dec 2, 2010 | Art Sobczak lock

Hard to believe a salesperson could make so many mistakes in a short period of time, using so few words.

But it happened. I'll explain in detail.

I overheard Steve, my marketing guy, who also answers the phone in my office, talking to the caller:

"Well, that would be Art. I'll transfer you."

He put the call on hold and said to me, "Some guy wants to talk to someone about Internet marketing. He's being pretty evasive though. Might want to turn your recorder on for this one."

Sounded like it might be good material for this newsletter.

"Hi, this is Art."

"Doug? Did you say Doug?"

What a great first impression this guy was making. (I almost laughed out loud, being reminded of the movie "Multiplicity," where Michael Keaton WAS Doug, but the mutant clone kept calling him "Steve.")

"No, this is Art."

"Oh, uh, yeah, hi Art. I'm _____ with (I didn't write down or remember the company name.) I just wanted to touch base to see how your Internet marketing was going."

"It is going just fantastic."

"Oh, good. Tell me what you're doing there."

"Look, I'm busy (isn't everyone?) and not interested."

End of call.

Wow. Let's examine how this guy never had a chance.

Mistake 1: Not Getting a Name

He didn't even get my name, therefore the comical "Doug" scenario, which blew him out of the water three seconds into the call.

He could have simply started out by initially identifying himself and his company to Steve, and then asking, "I hope you can help me... what is the name of the person there who is responsible for your Internet marketing."

Mistake 2: Being Evasive

To some salespeople not realize that the person who answers the phone for decision makers actually TALKS to the decision maker before transferring the call?

Based only on what Steve told me before I picked up the phone, I for the most part knew that this caller had zero chance of success--except for the basis for an article like this one.

Callers must be prepared to work with the personnel who are closest to our buyers, gain their trust, and discuss value where appropriate.

What do assistants, screeners, office managers and others say about you?

Mistake 3: Not Getting Smart Call Intelligence or Doing Homework

Again, because of Mistakes 2 and 3, he didn't ask any questions of Steve. Hmm, let's see, call me crazy, but it seems that if you're selling some type of Internet marketing, it would make sense that if you visited someone's website, and found out what type of Internet marketing they do now, then you would be much better prepared to put together a nice opening, and ask intelligent questions.

So, after asking for the decision maker's name, it's quite simple to say, "Great, so I can be sure that what I'm calling about has value for the boss, I'd like to ask a couple of questions. Please tell me ..."

Mistake 4: Horrible Opening Statement

To review,

"Oh, uh, yeah, hi Art. I'm _____ with ______. I just wanted to touch base to see how your Internet marketing was going."

Come on now, read this again, and think about how absurd that question is. What in the world does he expect people to say?

"Oh, my Internet marketing isn't going well at all. I'm glad you called. I bet you can help me."

Right.

There are two purposes for the opening:

  • Put them in a positive, receptive, frame of mind, by mentioning an item of interest ... a possible result or benefit you might be able to deliver, and,
  • Move to the questioning phase of the call. BUT, the first objective must be established.

Mistake 5: Asking Questions When They Don't See A Reason to Answer

Again, as part of Mistake 4, if we don't put them in a positive frame of mind, but then jump into questions, they don't have a good reason to answer, therefore the call goes down in flames.

So short of a call, but yet so many opportunities to screw up. And this guy hit most of them. Sadly, I see this all of the time.

Worse, he probably believes that prospecting for him is "just a numbers game." Make so many calls, and you're that much closer to getting a yes. Actually, he's that much closer to getting another no, and he's getting really good at making bad calls.

If you place prospecting calls, analyze each of these mistakes to be sure they're not part of your calls, and practice the right methods, the Smart Calling way instead.

And by the way, these are just some of the call-killing mistakes made on dumb cold calls that I cover in my new book, "Smart Calling-Elminate the Fear, Failure, and Rejection from Cold Calling." Of course, we cover, in-depth, what TO DO instead.

About the Author:

For over 27 years Art Sobczak has helped sales pros say the right things by phone to avoid resistance and get more "yes's" on their prospecting and sales calls. His newest, best-selling book is "Smart Calling-Eliminate the Fear, Failure, and Resistance from Cold Calling."

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