• September 8, 2015

Phone Calls Are the Lifeblood of Sales

Phone Calls Are the Lifeblood of Sales

When you rely on emails and voicemails to get in touch with prospects you may as well be that kid who used to talk to himself in the back of class. Just because you’re chattering away doesn’t mean anyone’s listening.

What it boils down to is this- you can’t avoid the dreaded phone call in sales. It’s the only thing that’s effective (well, that and using Spiro) when it comes to establishing a relationship with a prospect, and if you’re afraid of being annoying, well, you better get over it now or move the hell on.

At my last company, the inside sales team made about a hundred dials a day and only reached maybe ten people. Let’s say you’re a sales guy and working on twenty opportunities and there are three people involved in each. If you called each one twice a day that’s 120 phone calls. For the average sales noob that sounds like a lot, but it’s not.

How often you call a prospect depends on where they are in the sales funnel. And stellar apps, like Spiro, remind you who to call and when to call. Market research shows that the faster you speak to the new lead, the more likely you will close on them. I personally think you should call frequently on new leads – twice a day for a couple days.

What’s the downside? The odds are that if you don’t get ahold of them in two days, there won’t be a lead to follow up on anyway. You really have nothing to lose – either they get pissed off at you for calling too much or you kiss that lead goodbye.

Establish a Regular Cadence with The Prospect

Follow up after the first conversation very quickly. A third of the leads you have great conversations with are blowing smoke up your ass and you’ll never speak to again. For the rest of the bunch, I would follow up with a bit of relevant insight (I give some tips further down the page).

NEVER say “I’m just checking in.” That’s the definition of lame and annoying. If you were smart you could even could save some important info from the first conversation for the follow up call.

The amount of following up you do also depends on your pipeline. Dealing with 100 opps is very different than three, but you should at least touch base with your contacts twice a week. I know it sounds daunting. Even I’m guilty of not following up enough. Whenever I was a sales manager they always had to encourage me to followup more with prospects more frequently.

How to Not Be Annoying

The natural reaction for new sales guys is that they don’t want to risk bugging their prospects. I get it. And that’s why I don’t think you should leave voice mails or send cold emails. How is clogging up someone’s inbox making you any friends?

Whats really annoying is just calling to check in. It’s superficial. At least talk about something relevant that you saw in the news, that you read about their company, even a baseball team they love. You can’t just call up and say, “you guys ready to buy yet?” Ease into it with some context.

Recently I’ve been trying to connect with the head of sales for a fast growing tech company. I’ve been following this method: call 2 x week, email 1 x week. I give the guy progress updates on Spiro and also talk to him about his progress making HIS number for HIS company.

It’s been slow going because he’s a busy guy and only last week I managed to have a full conversation with him. I was a concerned I was reaching out too much so I simply asked him if that was the case. He actually applauded my persistence because he was interested in what we were doing, just very busy.

Being Busy and Being Productive Are Two Different Things

If you’re still afraid of bugging your clients with calls and would rather hide behind an email or voicemail I suggest you start looking for a career outside of sales. I know it sounds mean, but it’s just the cold truth.

While Twitter or LinkedIn messages are great ways to open the door, they’re also still nowhere near as effective as a phone call. Be persistent and you’ll eventually reach someone you can charm with your high-value pitch. Next stop, deal city.