Or for you people from the future, Stop Complaining and Pick Up the Damn Social Selling Media App.
Or if you're from prehistorical times - Stop Complaining and Pick Up the Damn Smoke Signal Blanket.
What the hell am I talking about?
Well, I know I get a lot of grief about my take on Phone Prospecting - and I'm sure there's countless people out there that will either a) ignore this post or 2) fill my comments to this post with colorful statements as to how wrong I am. (of the two, I prefer #2 please)
My dislike of the phone as a prospecting tool isn't because I don't like it as a tool to communicate. People who have worked with me know I can work a phone. I even know how to use the dialy thingy and how to speak in the mouth hole (my father once worked for Bell for awhile, so those are the accepted industry-approved terms...)
I've been calling people on the phone and asking for money for a very long time...and no, not just to my parents.
My first sales job in Detroit Michigan. It was after school (I was in the 10th grade) and I spent four hours an evening cold-calling people out of a Bresser’s Directory - interrupting their dinner time mind you - selling magazine subscriptions.
You want to know how hard phone sales can be? Try to pull an exhausted auto-worker away from his family and his Tuesday-night meatloaf dinner and get him on the phone to sell him a subscription to US News and World Report. Close that guy and you’ll earn my respect.
That’s was how I started in sales. And I sold a lot of magazines to blue collar guys with ketchup on their chin and a fork in their hand, talking to me on an old kitchen wall phone. The kind with the 87 foot long loopy cord - remember?
I'm no daisy on the phone.
Heck - I have a cell phone myself and aside from giving it to my daughter to watch Pokemon cartoons, I use it to talk to people I know. It may shock you to learn I actually am one of the four people in America to still have a LANDLINE - much to the consternation of my wife. And by "consternation" I mean "hysterical laughter."
My dislike of the phone for sale prospecting is simply because of this - as a business medium to communicate my value proposition to people I don't know, it's outlived it's usefulness as a tool.
This happens to every communication tool - smoke signals, snail mail, telephones, email, social, the thing after social, and the thing after that - all of them.
These tools cease to be valuable to communicate to people we don't know because TIME HAPPENS.
How much junk mail did you recycle this week? How many phone calls from toll free numbers or out-of-state area codes did you let GO TO VOICEMAIL. How many smoke signals did you ignore?
How many emails went to DELETE without being read? Yep - there's the next article from me, BTW. Soon.
I recently read that 80% of phone calls made from out-of-state area codes or toll free numbers in the Caller ID go UNANSWERED.
8 of every 10.
I know, I know...here comes the "But, I...." arguments.
Every time I hear "phone prospecting works" someone tells me a story about how they sold a single deal by calling someone on the phone 187 times.
Funny, but when the same argument is made about sales made with inbound or email or social, the "I HEART Phones" crowd is all "that's not sustainable!"
Well neither is calling a list of 300 accounts 187 times each. That's 154 calls a day 365 days a year. Don't worry, if you don't sleep that's only six calls an hour.
Listen if your "single deal" from phone prospecting is $10 mill or $1 mil or $100,000 then by all means, tell me to take a flying leap and keep doing what you're doing. I got nothin' for ya.
But what if your average deal size it $10K - or $1K - or $10,00 bucks?
How many calls do you have to make now to eat lunch? To pay rent. To pay for your cell phone bill?
My issue is simply this - our job as sales people is to "inform" and to have "conversations."
And you can't have a conversation with only one person talking - that's called a marriage <rimshot>
Seriously, it's not just about making more calls. And it's not about setting fire to your PBX, VOIP or iPhone and pouring everything into social selling. Or whatever comes next.
It's about figuring out ways to communicate with YOUR prospects. The ones you DON'T KNOW.
Not some other person's prospects - YOUR prospects. The people, that if they knew about you, would actually BUY stuff and things from you.
If your prospects still answer the phone when you cold call them - and they talk to you - and your message is compelling enough to get a discovery meeting - and then you do the demo - and then you give them pricing and they you close them....well then for goodness sakes - KEEP CALLING THEM UNTIL YOU DIE OR RETIRE. And stop listening to me.
But if you're on the other side - where you 8 out of every 10 calls you make goes to VM and the remaining two treat you like a side dish of creamed beets they didn't order (be gone!) then let's start having a real conversation about prospecting in 2017.
Let's figure out ways we can talk to people that don't pick up the phone. Let's stop being so caught up in a "thing" and let's find what "works." And when we beat that tool to death, let's find something else.
Because TIME HAPPENS.