Very early in my career in B2B sales I heard an interesting quote: “Nothing happens until somebody sells something” – it was at a Sales Training company where I briefly worked as a Sales Consultant on the phone. I wasn’t that good at it. The product I was selling was good, I genuinely believed in it, but what I didn’t know at the time was how hard selling over the phone really was – especially if you haven’t had to do it before.
I didn’t know how to connect with the customer. I didn’t know how to introduce the product into a conversation. I didn’t know enough about our competitors to be able to sell against them. I just didn’t have a clue.
I don’t struggle with this anymore, working at that company was probably one of the most valuable experiences I ever had and it came with a few perks:
• I got free corporate sales training (3 different types)
• Japanese lunches on Fridays
• 6 months work experience selling exclusively over the phone, cold calling
I didn’t know at the time, but that last one turned out to be the single best training I have received in sales.
Just the thought of cold calling can send a shiver through a sales person’s spine, we’re really at our best and at the top of our game when we’re face to face with a client, belly to belly. They can’t hang up on you if you’re IN THE ROOM, but over the phone you will hear the slam and dial tone more than you would a human voice… beyond a grunt.
Door knocking will probably be the most preferred way for most sales people to acquire new business, still cold, but at least you’re on site with the client and your charm can get you much closer to the room.
But in lockdown, live face to face meetings and door knocking is out of the question, making a phone your one and only tool and perseverance your only asset.
So when lockdown struck I knew what had to be done, back to basics cold calling, getting your patter just right and hoping for the person on the other end to engage…. Suddenly cold calling couldn’t became easy. People are stuck at home, bored, little social contact; and taking a call from the salesperson became an easier task, they actually wanted to talk. Sure, I still had to deal with a few dial tones here and there but on the whole a very positive experience.
I was able to sign eight new clients and have close to a dozen meetings lined up for when we go to red light!
So, if you are stuck at home, you’re in sales or trying to get sales, grab the phonebook and your phone; you might be surprised by the results.
(I said phonebook because it sounds better than “start googling businesses” which btw is what you should be doing).