“If every unscheduled call is defined as a ‘cold call’ then your sales team are likely to end up out-of-work.”
~ Chandell Labbozzetta
Selling Strategies for a Changing World
As the world slowly regains it’s equilibrium many companies (from multi-national behemoths to smaller or medium sized) find themselves struggling to make the volume of sales they need and they’re calling me in to help them diagnose and solve the problems with their sales team. It’s been a fascinating experience because I’ve been shifting between strategic assessments, overhauling sales systems and processes, and hands-on training so I’ve really had a 360º view of what is going on.
The reality is that things have shifted during the pandemic your sales strategies need to shift to meet the new situation – or at least they do, if you want to survive and thrive.
Here are 3 areas of potential change:
- Your clients and customers’ circumstances may have changed meaning that your solution may now be too large or too small for their new needs;
- Your team membership may have changed as people retired, moved elsewhere, or came to work with your expanding demand;
- Your processes and systems may have changed – or they may need to change – to meet new circumstances;
All of this change means that you cannot take anything for granted, so it’s more important than ever to:
- Nurture relationships,
- Educate and inform clients as well as prospects about your services,
- Assess your offerings and adjust them to meet demand,
- Implement sales systems and processes that help you do all of those three things.
Over the past decade of rampant growth, many people have felt comfortable in sales roles because all they’ve needed to do is close leads that have been funnelled to them in almost endless supply. This meant that a 30-50% close rate was still acceptable, because there were always more leads to tap.
BUT… The math changes when the leads (and I’m talking about qualified leads here) dry up.
The Hungry Sales Professional
One of my most popular reports is “How to Talk to 10 Hungry Buyers this Week” (if you’re interested, you can download it HERE). It’s popular, but I’ve noticed that some of the sales professionals in my trainings turn up their nose when they are expected to implement its lessons to increase their close rate… they’ve become so used to the old world of sales that they’ve forgotten (or never learned) that Hungry Sales Professionals can create Hungry Buyers almost out of thin air IF they are willing to do one thing…
Get on the phone and call people.
Cold Calling has an Extended Definition These Days… And it’s Killing Your Sales!
Later in this series we’ll talk about the art of classic ‘cold calling’ and when and where you should consider using it.
Here, I’m going to focus on an attitude I’ve been addressing in many of the business owners (which is possibly expected) and sales professionals (where it’s inexcusable) I’m working with… The idea that they need to wait until someone else schedules a call.
In other words, the new definition of cold calling includes: “all calls which have not been pre-booked by a third party.” I’m extremely keen on attraction marketing and pre-qualifying prospects, but this approach is ridiculous, because it assumes that your prospects and clients know what they need and why they need it!
Let’s get this straight, once and for all:
Unscheduled calls to clients and prospects for the purpose of discovering how they are doing; what they need; and even letting them know about updated packages are NOT cold calls!
In fact, they are beneficial to you because they provide valuable feedback… And productive for the recipient because they have a chance to vent or celebrate.
These calls are extremely valuable opportunities for sales people to hone their conversation, communication, and listening skills, and they often end up yielding sales, referrals, and other opportunities.
The Qualifying Question
I believe that people should enjoy their work and find it satisfying, so… Early on in my sales training (after we’ve talked about the importance of sales skills in every area of life and looked at the way that skill benefits both parties) I ask this question:
Are you committed to changing people’s lives and future enough to step out of your comfort zone?
There’s no right or wrong answer – the choice lies with each person. BUT… If anyone’s answer to that question is, “No. I want to stay in my comfort zone when it comes to sales calls,” then they probably aren’t suited to sales or business ownership unless that attitude changes.
In Part 2, I’m going to talk about how you can use unscheduled calls with clients and prospects to do all that critical information-gathering and keep your organisation in the lead when it comes to service delivery and product offerings in any industry.