Every other day, I get a call from the same number. I ignore it. Straight to voicemail. Every other day. It’s someone trying to sell me something. God bless his persistence. After months of being blown off, he keeps at it in the same pattern of call, call, call, call, voicemail. Call, call, call, call, voicemail. Email. Call, call, call, call, voicemail. Call, call, call, call, voicemail. Email.
You probably have one of these dudes calling you too. We all do. Usually a few of them. So what makes some sales folks get the blow off and others your attention?
It all boils down to one simultaneously simple and complex reason: communication.
So often, when a sales rep is focused solely on making the sale, communication common sense and courtesy get coat checked.
How often do you take a call only to have the voice on the other end dive right into the pitch? That might work if you’re a telemarketer selling accidental death and dismemberment insurance, which I’m somewhat proud and somewhat ashamed to admit was my first job — because who wouldn’t buy that over the phone from a teenager?
Most sales calls I receive remind me of the giant-headed salesman on Pee-wee’s Playhouse who torments Pee-wee by ringing the doorbell and going right into his pitch the second Pee-wee opens the door. “I’m going door to door to make you this incredible offer…” He never gets past that point because Pee-wee quickly closes the door in his face and says to the camera, “Ahhhhhh, salesmen!”
I get why this approach happens. Nervous people under the stress of hitting quotas are eager to jump right in to make a hundred million, trillion, billion dollars. (Another Pee-wee reference; this one of the Big Adventure variety.)
But just like a person in a bar coming up and just jumping right into a longwinded soliloquy about himself and how great he is doesn’t work in dating, acting like that on a call doesn’t work in sales.
What will work? Starting with seven words that when combined are among the most powerful in the English language but are used with a surprising lack of frequency by salespeople today. Or at least by the ones who call me. Do you have some time to talk?
Then take it down about five notches and go slower. Sloooooower. A lot slower. Get to know the person you’re calling. Actively listen. Provide value (real value, not just a sales pitch). Care about the client. Basically be a good human being who is there to help and serve.
It might seem like this approach will take longer to break through to this prospect, but you’ll eventually break through…and not just when the person accidentally answers your call.