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- Telephone Power & Using PIE™ to Master the Telephone! [ARTICLE]
Telephone Power & Using PIE™ to Master the Telephone!
The reality of selling and business development, is to grow you need more new business or your need more business from your existing clients. And in every professional selling profession, reaching the unknown market can be done in many ways: Internet marketing, social media, hard lead generation, referrals and recommendations, advertising, awareness campaigns, media, engaged COIs, networking, face-to-face area canvassing, trade/exhibit show booths, internal campaigns from existing clients/members to generate qualified leads, and at the end of the day … making phone calls.
Businesses can automate the calling campaigns for the sales team, CRMs can be designed to systematize outbound calls for sales professionals to keep them on the phone and outbound call centers can be engaged. But, at the end of the day it is the responsibility of the professional sales person to own their market and all the strategic and tactical responsibilities associated with that book of business.
No matter what your business, the reality is that the analytics of every super achiever in sales will demonstrate at the fundamental level, every selling professional has some degree of new lead flow into their Sales Funnel/Pipeline™ on a regular basis – phone calls. My work with the largest Real Estate Firms in America demonstrate that one hour minimum daily for new listing is the start of their Sales Funnel/Pipeline™ research in best-practices. For the Pharmaceutical industry it is 10 to 12 doctor office visits each day, feeds their Sales Funnel/Pipeline™. The Financial Services industry benchmarks off of a set number of new outbound calls made and contacts reached each day for their Sales Funnel/Pipeline™ for new associates until their portfolio is built. My work with Military Recruiters that consistently exceed mission, shows they to maintain a daily routine of new outbound calls per day with a goal of meeting and having a substantive conversation with five new people daily to feed their Sales Funnel/Pipeline™, for a total of 1,825 new contacts annually. And individuals in the professional services industry, PIE™ is the secret to success, more on this formula later.
The telephone is your power tool for making calls and sending action oriented texts. The number of contacts that can be made via the telephone as compared to actual face-to-- face contacts, is significantly greater and successful sales professionals recognize that the telephone is an instrument or tool in essence for success attainment.
Most sales professionals shy away from using the telephone as a strategic instrument that can be used to increase Suspect and Prospect contact. To listen to most sales professionals, they would prefer to use the telephone for visiting and not selling. Others tend to shy away from using the telephone as a way to maximize selling time and avoid using the telephone for the majority of the day – untrained sales professionals hate cold calling and tend to see the telephone as the instrument of death always associated with that process.
Turn “Cold Calling” into “Warm Calling” with a simple adjustment in your mindset and your use of technology you have access to.
- If I have a new name and their email, I can create a simple email to send prior to my calling campaigns; Then whether I reach the person live or their voice mail, I can start the conversation with a reference to the email I had sent …
- Send them a value based message with a powerful WHY that you want to talk to them, send this 24-to-48 hours in advance.
- In the email make it easy for them to see you call back phone number in case your message is so compelling to them and addresses a need they have right now, then they may be motivated to call you before you can call them.
- I would tee-up 25 to 50 new people each week to call, send them an email on Monday/Tuesday (i.e. defer to Rule 1-52-X™) and thus holding yourself accountable to call them then on Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday for discussion, appointment setting, etc.
Sales professional must recognize that the telephone should be used to maximize selling associated activities and a means to really maximizing time. Use the telephone to:
- Reach out and introduce yourself and your offers
- Use the telephone to call people that have been referred to you by clients and “Advocates”
- Use the telephone during down time and non-presentation times to follow-up with happy customers for additional opportunities
- Have all hot leads Names and cell phone numbers in your phone contacts list, so in between meetings and in awkward idle minutes you can call or text for connectivity
- Use the telephone to establish meeting times with Prospects and Customers
- Use the telephone to close sales
- Use the telephone to reach out and make those return calls of low importance during down times or times when you can be multi-tasking
- Use the telephone after hours to reach out and make significantly more calls if the sole intent is to leave action oriented information packed voice mail messages
- Use the telephone during what may be prime time calling time to reach others when they are least likely to have gate-keepers at their site
- Use the telephone to just make short cycle contacts when situations present themselves as appropriate to be connecting with someone for a specific situational agenda, make that connection and then terminate your call – move on
As sales professionals one must recognize the time frames each day that seem to be high yielding contact times and low contact times, and then coordinate your schedules accordingly. For example, if Monday mornings are difficult times to reach contacts (for what ever the legitimate reasons are), then don’t plan for Monday mornings to be heavy outbound calling times. If you keep a contact log (diary, data base management system, personal calendar) with notations of individuals that have been talked to earlier and whom have requested a follow-up on a specific date and time, then over-coming call resistance is easily attained – now you have set calls to be made for a purpose.
Given the reality that most sales professionals SUCK at making outbound sales calls and can give you an endless list of what they would call reasons for not making outbound calls, let me frame it this way. There is always a statistical correlation between:
- How many times you dial? Think of this as feeding the top your Sales Funnel/Pipeline™,
- How many times you dial, leave a message? Think of this as feeding the top your Sales Funnel/Pipeline™.
- How many times you dial, leave a message or reach a gate-keeper and then actually connect with your target prospect or customer? Think of this as pulling the lead from the top down into the middle of your Sales Funnel/Pipeline™.
- How many times you have to dial and connect before you get a face-to-face or phone presentation opportunity? Think of this as pulling the lead from the top down into the middle of your Sales Funnel/Pipeline™.
- How many opportunities to present and determining how many times you actually convert all those calls into a new sale? Think of this as pulling the lead from the top down into the middle as a contact and now down and out of the bottom of your Sales Funnel/Pipeline™!
So, in all the dashboard analytics you have in your reporting system, if these five obvious data points are not easily ascertained, then take a piece of paper for one week and make your own home-grown manual tracking form. Make a check mark under how many times you dial in any one day. A check mark for left message, a check mark for talked to someone live and left a message, check mark for actually talked to contact, check mark under proposal made or sent. Now you can see at the end of any day how many dials you actually made and how many of those dials it took to generate meaningful interaction. The drill here is to determine your “Magic Number”, wouldn’t it be nice to know that for you it takes ten dials to get one solid contact, and it takes ten proposals to get one new client. This would tell you as a minimum how many dials you need to make every day to be successful at what ever level you desire to attain.
A common frustration for sales professionals is in leaving or receiving telephone messages that seem vague and leave one wondering exactly what they are supposed to do next. In leaving a message for someone else (whether it is in an electronic voice system or with an actual person at the other end of the telephone), make sure that your message is action oriented. Consider:
- Leave your name, spell it.
- Leave your telephone number for follow-up, repeat it twice.
- Leave an action oriented message that tells the listener exactly what you want them to do.
- Your message must have a significant value to the listener that indicates to them that by calling you back you can make their life better
And, if your leaving a message with an actual person at the other end, before you do any of the above four items, start by politely asking the other person, “do you have something to write with and on?”
WOW! You will be amazed how many times by asking that question the other person will say, “just a moment let me get something.” Yet, the sales person was about to leave a message with someone, who in actuality was not writing anything down.
If you are leaving the message in someone’s electronic voice mail system, consider standing up as you leave the message, as this change in physiology makes your voice sound significantly firmer, solid and more energized!
Just as with face-to-face interactions, remember that sales professionals should always have a purpose for that conversation (Remember, “Stacking-N-Linking™” previously presented in this series) and the telephone is an interruption in the other person’s life (unless they specifically requested that the sales professional call them), so the conversation must have a purpose and once accomplished don’t violate that purpose by continuing.
To maximize over-all sales activities, monitor your own daily activities and account development activities to recognize what times during each day are best times to place and receive calls, consider working across time zones if applicable and how that can allow you to maximize your over-all daily productivity.
Recognize that your ability to cultivate relationships with people over the telephone will be essentials for sales transactions. Getting the “gate-keeper” at the other end to accept you may make the difference in getting through to the intended contact or merely leaving endless messages. Knowing others voice mail system extension numbers allows the sales professional to reach out and leave action oriented messages before and after traditional work hours.
With the telephone, ensure that you use it to peak performance, arming yourself with the reference materials, files, computer access, work space, etc., in easy reach of being on the telephone. If one needs a cordless phone, a longer receiver cord, a headset, a cellular phone, etc., then get it, even if your organization won’t!
Like it or not, the telephone is a powerful selling tool through which relationships can be fast-tracked and greater levels of efficiency attained.
For those professionals in the solo-practitioner space or if you are a professional services provider, I have found the formula best used when face-to-face selling is not possible, is the PIE™ formula.
- “P” is for PHONE calls made outbound, as discussed above.
- “I” is for phone INTERVIEWS engaged in or discussions with qualified conversations, whereby you are consultatively exploring the other persons needs and your ability to provide meaningful solutions to them …
- “E” is for EMAILS with hyper-links to your website, social media, or attachments that represent a meaning next step in the sales phone (or SKYPE, GoToMeeting, etc. platforms) conversation whereby you have sent them a proposal, application, documents, etc., that moves the person from Suspect to Prospect to Qualified Contact in rout to becoming your next customer/client/enlistment to your Sales Funnel/Pipeline™.
Just as with any lead flow analysis, you want to reverse track each sale, to determine how many conversations you must have, and from those finite number prospect conversations, how many people in general (Leads) did you have to connect with? This again, becomes your “Magic Number” and every successful sales professional has a general if not very specific number in their head for each phase through the Sales Funnel/Pipeline™ from top to bottom, do you know our “Magic Number”?
The reality of selling and business development today, is that you can automate a lot of the market contact and selling processes, and if you can do everything this way it is called order taking – no need for a professional selling force. If you are a professional sales representative/recruiter, then the reality to grow you need more new business or your need more business from your existing clients, and that means you need to be where the market is and where the market will be – the phone is your power tool!
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