While we have heard a lot that telephone prospecting was going to disappear in recent years, I have never agreed with these forecasts. Some analysts have even talked about the extinction of the role of representative, nothing less!
Nonetheless, it is true that traditional cold call prospecting has suffered a downfall. In the golden age of cold calls, a representative could make 40 attempts in 2 hours, hope to talk with 10 decision-makers and get 2 or, perhaps, 3 meetings. However, we are far from those numbers nowadays.
E-mail and other virtual means of communication have replaced face-to-face and telephone interactions, so much so that today we have the reflex of writing instead of talking!
By spending our days communicating by email, we have come to believe that it is the ultimate means of communication for us as evolved human beings. And even if we regularly see all the limitations of email (misreading and understanding the message, subjective interpretation and even conflicts created by email), we tend to stay in the comfort of this secure mode of communication where everyone is behind their screen.
A few years ago, Pete Caputa, VP of Sales for HubSpot posted a list of the 3 best sales books that new representatives should read. In this short list figure Baseline Selling by Dave Kurlan which is the consultative sales methodology Prima Resource uses for its clients.
You may be wondering what baseball has to do with sales! The purpose of the article is to answer this question by explaining the fundamentals of the methodology.
To generate as many sales as possible, reps must be rigorous: they must follow a clear list of steps in a formal and precise sales process.
When they lose too many sales, salespeople tend to justify their poor performance with excuses such as:
Two types of companies have a turnover issue with their sales force.
First, there are those whose turnover rate is too high. Each year, they need to replace 30% to 50% of their workforce.
Then there are those where there is absolutely no turnover. As strange as it may seem, this lack of turnover is just as problematic.
This is typical: sales leaders often think they have the expertise to recruit the best representatives, but they rarely do!
For all types of positions, poor recruitment choices cause huge losses of time and money, but this is even more the case in sales. The recruitment and integration process must be seen as an investment, quantifiable by the sales objective of the hired representative. Even if sales goals should be more conservative in the first few months, if they are not met, it still means leaving money on the table. This is why it is essential for business leaders to develop effective ways to improve the recruitment of their salespeople.
Recently on our blog we’ve been putting a huge emphasis on the value of asking open-ended questions. The ability to get right to the point is the difference between a long or short sales process.
To ask your client a lot of questions can sometimes be off-putting for both of you, and so it helps if you can figure out a way for them to grasp the importance of them.
Proposing too early. The scenario is easy to imagine, having surely gone through this yourself.
The hunt had finally paid off and you’d secured an appointment with a prospect. You were new to the game, and so you didn’t quite know how to control your emotions and you probably had a high need for approval. You found yourself in front of this person who had shown interest in hearing you out.
Price conversations are the Achilles heel of many salespeople. Not only are they uncomfortable broaching the subject, but many are also unable to change the subject once it comes up.
To help transition out of a pricing conversation, it’s important to understand why it came up in the first place.
Sales managers have huge responsibilities towards their sales team. One of them is coaching.
Just like your sales rep, your sales managers are in need of coaching. So, who’s responsible for coaching sales managers ? This is an important question.
Either the sales VP or the President will coach the sales managers. However, if in some case the VP is unavailable, or the owner finds themselves incapable of coaching, then the best option is hiring an external resource.