Salespeople Failing to Get Prospects to the Phone

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Apr 28, 2011 @ 12:04 PM

Yesterday's article discussed the problems that occur when you leave things up to your salespeople.  We also discussed some of the problems that salespeople have simply getting prospects to the phone.  It isn't as simple as it should be.  Here is a real example from this morning:

A salesperson from a client company wrote in with this request:

Dave,

What would your recommendation be on handling objections or stalls like this?

So I need to be incredibly rude again and cancel today.   I have meetings scheduled on top of ours today that I can't miss.  At this time I do not want to continue to disrespect your schedules.  While I do want to learn more about [your company] I need to place this on a lower priority right now as many unexpected issues have crept up. 

Let's touch base in a couple of months and see if the timing is better.

Apparently, this was the second time this prospect cancelled.  The dialog between the salesperson and me follows:

ME: Why was Chris going to chat with you in the first place?

There isn’t any mention of the issue that needs to be resolved, only an opportunity to learn more about what [company] does.  From [prospect’s] perspective, that’s not a priority….

Assuming that you did learn of an issue in an earlier conversation, you would simply reply, “[prospect], this isn’t about me, it’s about you.  In an earlier call, you shared that you are having an issue with _______________ and we were going to discuss that problem and figure out whether we can help.  Has that problem gone away?”

SALESPERSON: Ok – Advice well received.  Have identified the issue and will use the coaching to respond.

ME: And the issue is?

SALESPERSON: Current system for the creation and distribution of [their competency] content is a time suck on key [competency] staff. 2 areas:

1.       fielding calls from sales reps to locate most up to date version of [their competency] materials. This also results in loss of sales rep productivity

2.       dealer sales channel request ability to [their competency]. Current system requires manual creation of “custom” [their competency] materials

ME:  Thanks – like we talked about yesterday, these are only issues and you’ll need to uncover compelling reasons when/if you get [prospect] on the phone.  That would be the impact – on the business as well as personally and professionally – of the time suck on key [competency] staff.

SALESPERSON:   Ok. In this situation, the compelling reason would be this…. I think:

Without freeing up the time that her [competency] is spending on administrative tasks, she will fail to reach her two primary goals for 2011: [Goals 1 & 2 omitted]. The cost of not fixing the problem is that she does not meet those goals & revenues for new sales are impacted.  Is this where I need to be or still deeper? The plan for the call was to validate that compelling reason & quantify it. Then move into demo… 

ME: Still deeper…but the first step is to regain her interest and to do that you must go back to the issues she is facing and whether those issues have disappeared.

SALESPERSON: Ok… Thank you.

.......End of email thread........

This is a great example of why so many salespeople waste so much time chasing down their prospects and why prospects do such a fantastic job of avoiding these calls and emails.  They don't have time to hear product pitches and demos (their perception of what will happen next), but they will make time to learn if your salespeople can solve their problems.

How are your salespeople doing with that? 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Coaching, Sales Advice

Subscribe via Email

View All 1,700 Articles

About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

Email Dave

View Dave Kurlan's LinkedIn profile View Dave Kurlan's profile

Subscribe 

Receive new articles via email
Subscribe
 to the Blog on your Kindle 

 

 

Most Recent Articles

Awards

Vendor Neutral Certified 100 SalesTech Vendor Objective Management Group

Sales & Marketing Hall of Fame Inductee

MVP2018_badge_winner_SPC

Leaading Sales Consultants 2018

Top Sales Awards 2018 - Individual Blog -  Silver

Top Sales Awards 2018 - Article/Post -  Silver


Top Sales Awards 2018 - Assessment Tool -  Gold

 2016 Top Sales & Marketing Individual Blog - Bronze

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 -  Bronze - Thought Leader

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Podcast - Gold

2016 Top Sales & Marketing Webinar - Gold

Top Sales & Marketing Awards 2015 - Bronze - eBook/White Paper

Top 50 Sales & Marketing Blog 2019

Dave Kurlan Top 50 Sales Influencer 2015

Sales Pro Insider Blog

Top 50 most innovative sales bloggers

Top100Strategic

Top100SalesInfluencersOnTwitter



Hubspot Top 25 Blogs

 

Free Tools

Sales Process Grader

Sales Candidate Assessment Free Trial

Sales Ghost Calculator

Sales Force Grader

Sales Hiring Mistake Calculator

FREE Recruiting Process Grader