Friday - Finding New Business & Sales Part 2 - How it's Done

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, Feb 07, 2014 @ 13:02 PM

This is the second weekly installment of Finding New Business and Sales.  You can read Part 1 here.

This week I was interviewed by Jason Kanigan and he asked some great questions about using the phone for prospecting. The interview is a terrific listen if for no other reason than it has MY RECIPE FOR GETTING VOICE MAIL MESSAGES RETURNED, ALONG WITH HOW THE MESSAGES SHOULD SOUND!  

Here is a link to Wednesday's terrific Webinar on Leading the Ideal Sales Force Part 1 in case you missed it.  Register for Part 2, on March 12 at 11 AM ET.

WEBINAR SERIES - Baseline Selling Open Enrollment
Begins February 20 for 12 Weeks
More Information: http://hub.am/1fhbMvv 
WEBINAR - How to Get the Most from OMG's Sales Candidate Analyzer Tool
February 26, 11 AM ET
Register 
SALES 2.0 CONFERENCE IN PHILADELPHIA - What to Ask To Determine If You Need to Implement Sales Force Transformation
March 10 
Register
ECSELL SALES COACHING SUMMIT IN CHARLOTTE NC - What Does Commitment to Sales Success Mean?
April 15
Register
EO AUSTIN TX - How to Shorten Your Sales Cycle and Close More Sales
April 23
Email me 

Topics: Dave Kurlan, business development, prospecting, getting voice mail messages returned

Prospecting Trends for the Sales Force

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

inmail

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

Are Your Salespeople Still Cold Calling? The Ugly Truth

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jan 25, 2012 @ 08:01 AM

cold callCold calling.  It sounds so...20th Century.

Some industries still break-in their salespeople by putting them on the phone and having them dial - more than one hundred times a day - and attempt to schedule appointments.  You still receive calls like this from new, and sometimes not so new salespeople selling insurance, investments, copiers, office supplies, commercial real estate and long distance phone services.

Today, more salespeople are using the Social Network to find opportunities.  Whether it's incoming leads from Blogs, researching and requesting introductions on LinkedIn, or simply finding the target audience from a Google search, salespeople are using these tools to connect more and more often.

Of course, one thing that will never change is word of mouth.  Referrals and introductions from happy customers and clients will always be the finest method for generating new business.

Given all of the options, which salespeople are smartest?  Is it those that are cold calling, those who are getting introductions or those that are using the Social Network?  The answer depends on how you decide to measure what being smart means.  

If smart is measured by the easiest method, with less work, and no human contact, then those using the social network are as smart as they come.  

If smart is measured by following the path that most often leads to success, then those who ask their customers for introductions and get them are even smarter.  

If smart means making sure that no matter what else happens during the course of the month, the salesperson adds the required number of new opportunities to their pipeline, then those who are cold calling are the smartest salespeople on the planet.

Cold calling isn't enjoyable (for those salespeople who are truthful about it). Cold calling isn't effective except for the most brilliant of callers.  Cold calling isn't efficient anymore.  One thing that cold calling will always be is controllable and manageable.  

You can't control the number of inbound leads your salespeople will get.  Of course, if you are generating more leads than necessary to keep the pipeline full of quality opportunities my argument doesn't work.  But most companies aren't accomplishing that - yet.  

You can't control the number of introductions you will receive from your clients and customers.  

You can't control the number of introductions your social network will make on your behalf, even if you are asking for them.  

You can control the number of cold calls your salespeople make.  Even if the numbers are as ugly as this:

Attempts - 100
Connects -   10
Meeting Scheduled - 1
 

At least you can control that.

I don't think cold calling should still be the default approach for new business development.  However, if a salesperson needs to add 20 new opportunities to their pipeline each month, and the other methods deliver only 7, then cold calling becomes a necessary method to secure the remaining 13 opportunities required.

Cold calling is slowly but surely declining in use but some salespeople have discarded it before its time.

Reevaluate what your salespeople are doing, how they are doing it, and make sure that the emphasis is on the result, not the method.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, business development, prospecting, cold calling, in bound leads, introductions

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for eight 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.

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