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

When Should You Use a Telemarketing Firm to Schedule Sales Calls?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Tue, Jul 10, 2012 @ 15:07 PM

Dave Kurlan CoverIf you have no desire to find a lot of new business from new accounts, you don't need telemarketing (and you can stop reading this article).  

If you would like to establish new accounts and generate a significant increase in revenue, there are several things you can do:  

  1. You can hire hunters - salespeople who will find and close those new accounts.  While we are on the subject of hiring hunters, you can view the Webinar, The Magic Behind the OMG Sales Candidate Assessment to understand why companies use our assessments to hire all of their sales staff.
  2. You can hire telemarketers - inside salespeople who will make calls and schedule appointments for your account managers.
  3. You can hire a telemarketing firm - an outside agency that will basically perform the same services described in option #2, but for more money.  The difference is that option #2 is under your control and option #3 is not.  However, while option #3 may yield more scheduled meetings, the quality of the meetings may be stronger with option #2.
  4. You can step up your inbound/outbound marketing efforts and generate leads but you'll need either salespeople or telemarketers to follow-up and qualify those leads as they come in.
  5. You can hire a hybrid company - Companies like ConnectLeader have their own people who do the dialing and get your salespeople through to decision-makers so that they can spend their valuable time actually talking with prospects.  However, if you use this option, you'll need salespeople or telemarketers on staff.
Inbound and outbound marketing include your public relations and social media efforts too.  When those efforts are consistent over a long period of time, they generate more than enough leads.  For example, I was featured on the cover of the July Issue of Top Sales Associates Magazine and was interviewed by Linda Richardson.  You can visit Top Sales World to register and download the magazine or if you are already a member, you received an email with a downloading link.  Top Sales World is a great site with resources for all things sales, so if you haven't been there yet, it's worth a visit.
Top Sales World - the global sales community - free magazine

Topics: sales competencies, sales culture, sales assessment, Dave Kurlan, sales management, omg, telemarketing, sales hunter

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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 medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for nine 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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