Dialing for dollars is what we used to call making one sales phone call after another. Repeatedly getting voice mails is deflating and aggravating. It’s almost a surprise when someone actually answers their phone. Sometimes, leaving one message after another can have a negative impact on your ability to engage a live person on the other end of the call. Resist that!
Here are a couple things to consider when you are making those proposal follow up or appointment setting calls.
One objective should be to make every call a conversation. Yes, you have a primary purpose for the call (i.e. it is not a “check in” call). After you accomplish that primary purpose, don’t miss the opportunity to learn more. Always have a question, or two, you can weave into the call to make it a conversation. Ask about their purchasing criteria, or the buying process implemented by your customer. Ask if the last project/order you worked on with them went well. Is there something we could have done differently/better? If they tell you how wonderful you and your company are – ask for a referral, or if they would be a reference for you. Ask if there is something else you can do to make their job easier. If you know you know them well, ask about family, kids, hobbies and interests.
Second, it is important to remain fresh for this activity. Do some time blocking. Do not set aside four hours once a month to make phone calls. Better to set aside four, one hour segments to make calls. Call at different times of the day. Don’t be surprised if you only connect to a live person 25% of the time. Shorter blocks of time will keep your level of enthusiasm up when someone answers. Make this effort less of a grind and more of an opportunity to have a conversation.
Having meaningful conversations is not only more fun, it is more productive.