Call Reluctance is Just as Popular as Ever!

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Mar 07, 2017 @ 09:03 AM

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Image Copyright Christian Chan

Last week I wrote an Article for LinkedIn Pulse that explored some of the statistics related to Call Reluctance.  Many might think that Call Reluctance is a malady that occurred back when salespeople did their own dialing and had to book their own appointments.  The truth is that most salespeople are still expected to dial and in tech companies where BDR's do that dirty work, Call Reluctance is still the primary reason why there aren't enough conversations.  While some are quick to blame the low (as bad as) 15:1 dial to conversation ratio, that number is driven in part by salespeople who don't try hard enough to get their prospects to the phone.  Those with Call Reluctance might even be heard saying, "Sure, put me through to voicemail" or "He's busy?  That's OK.  I'll call back" before breathing a sigh of relief.  How else can you explain the even more incredible industry wide statistic where BDR's book, on average, only 1.5 new meetings per week?

Keep reading for the statistics on Call Reluctance, my take on that, and the Link to the Article.

The LinkedIn article can be found here but the big discussion about the statistics - and whether I made them up - can actually be found on a LinkedIn post where Tony J Hughes shared the article.  There were close to 40 comments at the time I wrote this article so after you read the LinkedIn article, pop over to Tony's share to join the discussion.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, booking appointments, cold calling, phone prospecting

What Percentage of New Salespeople Reach Decision Makers?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Jun 20, 2016 @ 11:06 AM

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It isn't as good as the Father's Day gifts I received from my wife and son, but I love it just the same.  My team at Objective Management Group (OMG) built a great new tool and this one does not help us to more effectively evaluate sales forces and assess sales candidates.  We're already pretty darn good at that.  The new tool allows me to quickly grab and analyze data faster and more effectively than I ever could before.  For example, I used it last week for the first time and within a few minutes I was able to write this article that showed 2 of our 21 sales competencies in a completely surprising way.  While this is very cool for me, I think this could be even more awesome for you!

For example, I reviewed a new set of around 8,500 rows of data today.  I wanted to know what percentage of salespeople were able to get past gatekeepers, including voice mail systems, and reach decision makers. This was very interesting!

Overall, 46% of all salespeople are able to get past gatekeepers and reach decision makers - but that's only when we include procurement folks as decision makers.  If we filter the data on salespeople who do not begin with procurement, that number drops to just 13%!  But there's more!  When I filtered the data by salespeople who are brand new to sales it drops to only 1%.  ONLY ONE PERCENT OF NEW SALESPEOPLE ARE ABLE TO REACH DECISION MAKERS!!  And who are the people filling all of the new sales development and business development roles - the top of the funnel roles where BDR's and SDR's call to make appointments for the account executives to meet with Decision Makers?  Brand new salespeople!!  This data is only about getting through - prior to having a first conversation with a decision maker - is it any wonder that they average only 1.5 meetings booked per week?

There are plenty of people writing articles about the differences between good salespeople and everyone else.  I attempt to debunk as many of those articles as I get to see but there are more than I could ever get to. Compared to the science based data that OMG has, those articles are based on opinions and anecdotal references and generally quite false.  Do you have a theory about salespeople?  Have you observed a difference maker?  Have you worked with some great salespeople?  With this new tool at my disposal, I can accept any and all of your theories, questions, assumptions and requests, run an analysis, and report on what we learn!  I'm very excited about the process.  You can enter your request in the comments below, or if you prefer anonymity, email it to me at dkurlan@objectivemanagement.com.  I won't use your name if you don't want me to.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, booking appointments, reaching decision makers, phone prospecting, top of the funnel

What Do You Blame When Salespeople Don't Schedule Enough New Meetings?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, May 23, 2016 @ 06:05 AM

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Most salespeople suck on the phone.  If you read that article, you learned about 10 common mistakes that salespeople make on the phone.  But those are strategic and tactical mistakes - they are skill-based.  What happens when you have salespeople who won't even make calls?  Could they be suffering from call reluctance?  Objective Management Group (OMG) measures 21 Sales Core Competencies and one of them is the Hunter Competency. The Hunter has about a dozen attributes and 4 in particular determine if, and to what degree, a salesperson will have call reluctance:

  • 58% of all salespeople need to be liked to such a degree that it can have a negative effect on their ability to prospect for new business. They worry that a prospect might become upset and not like them, so they don't ask the questions they should - when and if they call.
  • 20% of all salespeople have difficulty recovering from rejection to such a degree that it can prevent them from making calls. Not making the calls is a defense mechanism to protect them from rejection.
  • 13% of all salespeople possess a "will not prospect" belief to such a degree that they won't prospect unless they are forced to by their sales manager.
  • 46% of salespeople are perfectionists who procrastinate until they believe they can do something perfectly. In the case of prospecting, it contributes to what seems like a time management problem (they didn't have time to prospect.)  

The image below, from the evaluation of a large sales force, has salespeople distributed almost equally (unusual) among the four groups:

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  • Hunters will hunt for new business without being asked.
  • Potential Hunters would hunt for new business if their sales managers held them accountable.
  • Fishermen will follow up on a lead, but won't engage in proactive hunting.
  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Prospects will not hunt, no matter what, ever.

I'll be leading a fast-paced 45-minute online presentation on The Magic Behind OMG's Sales Candidate Assessment, June 7 at 11 AM ET.  There is no cost to attend and you'll learn a lot about sales selection that you didn't know before.  Click here to register.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, call reluctance, phone prospecting, empty pipeline, not making calls

Sales Tips for the Ages - 4 Things That Really Resonate

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jan 13, 2015 @ 06:01 AM

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Copyright: 123RF Stock Photo

Friday, I made a stupid mistake and accidentally published a blog article around mid afternoon.  I had intended to schedule it for Monday morning, but clicked the publish button instead of the schedule button.  Subscribers and followers don't typically read business articles on the weekends and while this would not normally pose a problem, this wasn't a typical article and the response was not a typical response.  We have a cool VoiP Phone System at the office and my phone is configured to forward calls to my cell when I'm away from the office.  Starting about the time I left the office on Friday, my cell phone rang constantly right through to Saturday evening.  Here's why.

My Friday article resonated with so many readers that dozens of them started calling!  If you didn't read about the next big game changer for sales, read that article and feel free to do what my weekend readers did.  Yesterday, I returned every call except the one from Tom G in Atlanta who failed to leave his number.  I'll return your call too if you choose to dial.  That article resonated because it made so much sense to so many people and the tool I mentioned does not require a new skill set.  It's a no-brainer!

The last time an article got that much traction was my post about the Biggest Secret of Salespeople That Rock.  I received more calls and emails in support of my choice to tackle that topic than I could have imagined.  Why?  Because it resonated with so many people and I said what a lot of people had wanted to say, but were afraid to say in a business article.

Thousands of readers downloaded my mystery email template and I received many requests to use excerpts of the article when I wrote about Bringing Your Prospecting to the Next Level.  This article resonated because so many readers have prospects who have gone cold or disappeared and they were hoping that there was something out there that could lure them out of hiding.  It just so happened that I did!

The other article that really resonated was Leads Making Salespeople as Lazy as Golden Retrievers.  Most companies are experiencing exponential growth in the number of inbound leads, but were beginning to realize that most of these "leads" don't justify the time it takes for a salesperson to follow-up.  While 5 to 10% might be good quality leads, today, most "leads" are nothing more than contacts in need of nurturing.  As salespeople feel more pressure to do more with leads that are of questionable quality, this article was the voice of reason.  It resonated.

There are two more things that are important here.

#1 - There is a lot of noise out there.  There are so many best ways, practices, tips, and secrets that are simply masks to sell the blogger's product.  In the end, you need to filter which information you accept as truth, from that which must be labeled promotional or scare tactics.  If it resonates and inspires, comes from an authoritative source, and sounds like a practical solution to a problem you own, chances are it's advice you can trust.

#2 - Your message, to your prospects, must resonate with them.  How can you tell?  They will let you know!  And if they aren't letting you know, if they aren't telling you, if you aren't hearing very strong affirmations from your prospects, that you are right on, different in a good way, and the one they want to work with, then you are doing something wrong.  If that's the case, contact me and we will help you get it straightened out.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales tips, lead follow up, phone selling, phone prospecting, sales rock stars

Top 10 Mistakes Salespeople Make on the Phone (Funny Read)

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Aug 13, 2014 @ 06:08 AM

 

Seller on the PhoneEarlier this week, I wrote the "Get Your Butt Out of Your Head" article.  At that same tournament, I heard an even funnier story from its director.  He told us about a team who went 0-7, losing each game by the mercy rule.  For those of you who aren't familiar with it, if a team is losing by 12 runs or more after 4 full innings, the game is stopped, showing mercy to the team who was getting slaughtered.

As the story goes, while the parents were back in their hotels, contemplating suicide, worrying about the mental health of their kids, and calling their therapists to deal with their horrible week, the kids on the losing team threw a party!  They even invited the beloved tournament director, and when he arrived, he asked each kid for a word that described their week.  All the answers were great, but when he asked the last kid for his word, the kid said, "Joy."  When pushed for an explanation, the kid simply said that, "When a team plays against us, we give them joy!" 

Isn't that a great way to frame losing?

Speaking of losing, is it any wonder that most salespeople lose when it comes to their prospecting calls and emails?  Most calls end with a polite, but disappointed, "Thanks for your time" and most emails are either deleted or ignored.  Would you like to know why?  Well, both the calls and emails suck!

To help you understand why, take a look inside your junk or spam folder.  As you go down the list, I'm sure you'll see emails from people who want to give you free vacations, make your body parts larger, hook you up with people who want sex, need your help to transfer millions of dollars into your bank account, offer discounted prescription drugs, or a myriad of other offers.  Additionally, most of the subject lines are in ALL CAPS, all small letters, have ,punctuation' and/or "spellling errrors", or all of the above.  When you look at the FROM column, you'll see that most of these emails are from the name of an offer instead of the name of a person.  If you ever wondered how the spam filters and email programs know which emails to move to your junk folder, it's because they look, smell, feel and sound like spam!

Now think about most prospecting calls.  It's not a question as to whether or not they are bad, it's probably more about how bad they really are.  If you or your loved ones are guilty of any of the following 10 mistakes, the calls really do suck:

  1. The calls are scripted.
  2. They begin with "Hello", "Good morning", "Good afternoon", or "Yes".
  3. They have "My name is" or "This is" early in the call.
  4. They fail to ask a question in the first 5 seconds.
  5. They fail to get the prospect's attention in the first 5 seconds.
  6. They fail to engage the prospect in the first 10 seconds.
  7. They fail to sound like someone I would choose to speak with.
  8. They ask for a meeting without a compelling reason to meet.
  9. They sound too professional.
  10. They offer a demo without qualifying.

And as for the emails, they tend to be even worse.  The only thing keeping most of them out of the junk folder is that they usually begin with my name and, "I know how busy you must be."  Geez!  Emails are great for inviting people to events, but only if it's the right audience and the right event.  Emails are great for sharing a quick piece of information or asking a quick question, but they don't replace prospecting calls!  You can't have a conversation over email!  By default, that makes all forms of prospecting emails bad.

Sure, if an inbound web-generated lead comes your way, it's OK to respond with an email.  After all, that's pretty much how they reached out to you and it's fair to respond that way.  Other than that, if you want to succeed, pick up the phone, but make sure you don't sound like any other horrible salesperson who might still be using the phone for kicks.

 

Image Copyright: rawpixel / 123RF Stock Photo

Topics: Dave Kurlan, cold calling, telemarketing, telesales, funny sales story, phone prospecting

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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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