Perhaps Hope is a Selling Strategy After All!

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Jun 09, 2017 @ 10:06 AM

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Image Copyright 2Jenn

You've heard that hope is not a strategy - and it isn't a strategy if you're sitting there saying to yourself, "I hope I win this deal..."

As you know, hope was a big news topic this week when James Comey revealed that President Trump said, "I hope you can let this go."  All kinds of partisan and legal strategies will be discussed relative to the meaning, intent and context for the word hope.

Earlier this week, Brad Ferguson, a long-time OMG Partner in Arizona said, "They'll meet with you based on hope and buy from you based on belief."  You'll find three short paragraphs with links below to clarify the ideal way to strategize by utilizing hope and belief.

It should go without saying that for a prospect to schedule a meeting based on hope you must have the right kind of first phone conversation where you identified an issue with which you might be able to help.  See this article for more on how to have a successful first phone conversation.

For a prospect to buy based on belief they must find you credible, likable, caring, relatable, expert and trustworthy.  I call this SOB Quality and this short video explains what it is and how you can easily achieve it.

Hope, as a significant selling strategy, is when you intentionally abandon all hope of getting the business. To better understand how, and why you must accomplish that, read more here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, Closing Sales, cold call, Donald Trump, james comey

Have the Promises of Inbound Sales Come to Fruition?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Nov 14, 2016 @ 06:11 AM

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Last week, I spoke at Inbound, where 19,000 people attended this sold-out event in Boston.  Ironically, I spoke to a crowd that wanted to learn how to be more effective at engaging prospects by phone and converting those conversations to meetings.  Why is it ironic?  Well, the promise of the Inbound movement is that cold calling is dead. Salespeople will reap the benefits of inbound leads from prospects who had already expressed interest.  Has that happened?

There is no doubt that inbound has been a huge success.  Companies that effectively utilize the power of inbound generate a tremendous number of web submissions for their sales teams.  But whether we can call them leads is another story altogether.  Some of the contacts are interested and ready to buy.  More will be interested at a later date.  Most will never become customers, but were happy to take advantage of a free trial, sample or white paper.  Others subscribe to newsletters and Blogs but may never read a single issue or post.

At some point, a BDR, SDR or salesperson will attempt to contact the person whose name appears on the web form.  We know it may take 10-15 attempts before that person is reached.  But when they do answer their phone, what will happen?

The reality is that even though the caller knows something about the person being called, the contact knows nothing about the caller.  Do you know what that means?  After all the promises stating that cold-calling is dead, even the follow up calls to inbound leads are cold.  That's right, cold calling is alive and kicking, but it's less effective than ever before.

Back in the golden age of cold calling, a salesperson might spend two hours each day, make 40 dials, hope to speak with 10 decision makers and book 2-3 meetings.  And those were icy cold calls.  Today, a salesperson working the top of the funnel might spend the entire day trying to reach people who submitted a form from one of the company's landing pages.  They might make 100 dials, hoping to speak with 7 people, and book only 1-2 meetings per week!  Worse than icy, these calls are frozen solid.

Seth Godin first named what we now call inbound, permission marketing.  But most people who request a free download, white paper, sample or trial don't feel like they have given anyone permission to call.  They seem more annoyed over the calls from inept top of the funnel salespeople than prospects were in the old days when salespeople made traditional cold calls.  One reason is that most of the sellers in top of the funnel roles are millennials, many of whom are not well suited for the role.  If you want to see how poorly they fit, look at the science in this article.

None of this is bad, but it is confusing, misleading and ineffective.

Cold calling has not gone away but the approach has changed.  The problem today is that callers are still using outdated, ineffective scripts to follow up with people who requested anything except a call and are appropriately resistant.  None of the call approaches that I've heard deal with this obvious dynamic.

When we help clients make changes to their approach, teach them how to get the prospects attention, and show them how to get prospects engaged on the phone, everything changes.

But people are resistant to change and in this case, the people are often those leading sales teams.  And they have big egos.  It's simply time to set aside the egos, acknowledge that things are not working anywhere nearly as effectively as they should be, and make the necessary changes.

Some of it is simple excuse making - speaking of which, Will Barron of Salesman Red, completed a terrific interview with me and you can watch it right here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, prospecting, Seth Godin, inbound, cold call

Prospecting Trends for the Sales Force

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jul 18, 2012 @ 23:07 PM

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Three salespeople left voice-mail messages for me today.  They were all cold calls, they were all bad, and they were all following up on brochures they dropped off last week.  Nothing out of the ordinary here, as one of the callers wanted to know when our copier leases expire, one wanted to know when our commercial real estate lease expires and two wanted to introduce themselves as our new reps.

There are several reasons why they were so bad:  

  • They sounded bad on the phone - not like someone with whom you would choose to speak;
  • They were reading scripts - the first tip-off that you wouldn't want to speak with them;
  • They talked about what they wanted for outcomes from their calls instead of about what I might have been interested.  

I have always had a problem with the concept of dialing for expiration dates (think commercial insurance, commercial real estate and copiers) and following up behind brochure drops (think office supplies, hotels and copiers).  Distributing literature is not selling!

I also received 4 InMails through LinkedIn.  I responded to all of the InMails, but ignored the voice-mails.  

The voice-mails were easy to ignore - they were bad and the salespeople told me just enough to know that I didn't want to call them back.  The InMails were about me, I didn't get a chance to hear how bad they were and I was interested in what they had to say.

Salespeople should not use LinkedIn InMails to replace phone calls, as much as they shouldn't be ignoring the power of that social media tool either.  Sending well-written InMails to carefully-targeted prospects might help salespeople stand out and have a better chance of getting a response and/or meeting.  These days I get so few cold calls that anyone who is even borderline effective will stand out in good way.  In the end, these salespeople - both the callers and the writers - are being proactive, so at least they're actually doing something to drive new business!

Topics: sales competencies, sales culture, Dave Kurlan, business development, prospecting, Social Media, inbound leads, hunting, cold call

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About Dave

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

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