Thursday, September 13, 2007

Should You Wait for Your Prospects to Call You?

by : Tammy Stanley

Worried about being perceived as "a pushy salesperson," direct sales entrepreneurs often resist making prospecting calls and follow-up calls to their prospects or current customers. They often tell me that they just don't know what to say once they do pick up the phone and call prospects. It seems that they're looking for the perfect script that will serve as a magic cure all.

I find that a good script or properly preparing for your sales call is a very wise technique that can dramatically increase the success of your sales calls. However, it most likely is not the sales process that trips you up. The most difficult part is picking up that 100 pound phone!

One theory about sales calling is that it's dead or obsolete. What is meant by that is there are ways to implement savvy marketing in order to get your prospects calling you instead of you calling them.

Does anything sound better than that? Just think about that for a moment. Wouldn't your job be peach perfect, if all your prospects called you? The truth is, you probably would not have your current job, if it were that easy to get prospects to call; no business would need to hire sales professionals, if the prospects did the work!

Don't get me wrong, I believe in savvy marketing. Anything you can do to make the sales process better, more effective, and easier definitely gets my vote. However, reciprocity is part of any healthy relationship. And when it comes to developing a healthy customer/salesman relationship, calling your customers is one of the smartest marketing strategies you can use. So why would you really want to forgo it?

It never ceases to amaze me how often I hear about the frustration sales professionals experience after leaving a message or two and the potential prospect never calling back. When this happens, it is often assumed that the prospect is not interested. After years of being in the sales industry, one thing I have definitely learned is to stop waiting to call my prospects, and to stop hoping and waiting for my prospects to call me back. One of the best ways to explain this is to give you an example of me as a customer.

It just so happens that I love Longaberger products. If you have never heard of it, it is a direct sales company that has beautiful baskets and pottery. A while back I started collecting their pottery. I was so pleased with my first set of dishes that I wanted more almost immediately. In fact, for nine months I wanted to order another set of dinner plates. Now understand that I really did want those dinner plates. When we had guests come over, it bothered me that I only had a 6 place setting (that is probably a woman thing). Every week, I thought, "I really need another set of those plates."

I had the phone number of the sales person, but even though I really wanted those plates, week after week went by without me picking up the phone and ordering them. That may sound illogical. Just understand that I knew I would be parting with $100, once I made that call, so I continually resisted the process. The flip side of this is that I would have been thrilled to order, if the sales person had only called me. I had received several flyers in the mail from her, but never a follow-up phone call.

When I analyzed the situation, I realized that as a customer, I felt that the sales person needed to provide me with service, before I should open up my wallet and grant HER the commissions! Ultimately I did not want to do what I believed was her job to do. So keep in mind that it is your job to stay in touch with your current customers and it is your job to connect with potential customers.

It is not the job of the customer to find you. It is your job to find your customers. That is why you are being paid as a sales professional. Your customers know what your job is, and they know it is not their job! If you remember that, you will not fall into the trap of feeling rejected quite so readily.

One super star seller I know once told me that most people put themselves last on the list. They may want to order more of a product, but they will not take the time to call and order. Time after time, customers will end up saying that they have been meaning to call and order more, but just have not had the time to do it!

Have you ever gone to the store to buy a gallon of milk, but come home with $40 of food? When something is placed before us, we tend to see the desire or need for it. Then, it is a challenge to resist. Our potential customers gain a fuller sense of their desire or need for our product, when we place it before them.

Never expect your customers or prospects to do your job. Place expectations only on yourself. Place the expectation on yourself to follow through and keep trying until you connect!

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