It’s time for a heart-to-heart. I do appreciate your questions. I do. But I find myself giving the same answer over and over and over:
“How do I get buyers to listen to me? I can’t seem to get their attention, a callback or response.”
Many of you assume there is some sort of trick or technique to get your calls returned. But my response is always a question back to you . . .
“What are you doing differently than the other 287 sales reps knocking on their door or blowing up their inbox every single day?”
Chances are, you’re not getting responses or movement from your buyers because you are stuck in the “sea of sameness” as are most sellers.
Same messages, same approach, same emails, same phone calls, same events . . . same, same, same . . . equals, Ignore, Ignore, Ignore.
So, coming from a place of “tough love”, it is with tremendous aggravation and deep annoyance that I must declare,
“Your sales messages are complete crap.”
I’d say this even if I wasn’t a sales trainer and selling coach. I say this because I’m also the recipient of these useless, meaningless, vague, lazy – junk emails and uninspiring, haphazard voicemails.
Harsh much? Yes. True? Absolutely. And here’s why you, your sales director, or a business owner should care:
A study from TAS Group reports that 2/3 of sales reps are not reaching their individual quotas.
Two-thirds. Not reaching quota, not making bonus, not increasing revenue. If you’re underachieving, the good news is – you’re not alone. The bad news . . . you’re not in good company. You’re running with the rest of the herd.
Ever wonder why zebras all have similar stripe patterns? They blend together when they’re in the herd, making it more difficult for predators to identify individuals. For herd animals – “same” equals “safe”.
For salespeople, “same” equals “lame”. As in, ineffective at getting a response, and inept at moving prospects to take action.
We decided to get “real-time” insight to share from recipients who are barraged with approaches from salespeople on a daily basis. We talked to nearly a dozen business owners and executive buyers in our own networks and in an informal poll, we asked them to relate the most common messages they receive from salespeople and how they REALLY feel about the approach.
Step back and see if you recognize any of these as your “go-to” moves and understand how your buyers really feel about receiving these messages:
“When I receive the email that says, ‘I’d love to grab a cup of coffee and chat.‘ I think – ‘Yeah, so would I.’ I don’t have time to get half of my list done for the day, much less casually grab a cup of coffee and chat with you! This approach irks me – really irks me because it’s clear they don’t understand anything about how much I have to get done every day to run a business.”
– Office Administrator of a large law firm
“This one really floors me: ‘I’d love to sit down and learn more about your business/what you do.’ If you don’t know what I do or can’t research my business, you’re absolutely confirming my worst fears – that you’re going to waste MY time educating you on how to earn MY business. I immediately ignore this email.”
– Business Owner of a technology services firm
“This voicemail is ridiculous but it’s how most cold calls end: ‘If you don’t mind, please give me a call back at your earliest convenience.’ You called me and gave me no compelling reason to want to return your call. Don’t hold your breath. I do mind. And it’s never convenient.”
– VP of Operations for a manufacturing company
“I’m pretty sure this is in every single email message I’ve ever received from a sales rep: ‘I’m confident we can save you time and money.’ Everyone says it, so why should I believe it from you? It’s vague and unspecific so I’m not going to waste my time guessing how you would prove it.”
– Business Owner of franchised restaurant chains
“A huge pet peeve of mine is the ‘Just checking in to see if you’re ready to move forward’ email. If you don’t know where I am in the process, you are NOT part of my decision-making process. It’s a Hail Mary with no real effort and no deserved response.”
– Business Owner of The Selling Agency
Whether they’re cold calls, cold emails, or follow-up messages – these are just not cutting it. Listen to what every buyer is saying – both in the responses above and in your buyers’ absence of a reply.
Quality, unique, thoughtful outreach, combined with value-driven insights, are generally well received by prospective customers – particularly when you prove you understand your context and relevance to their business objectives. Exceptional sales efforts are appreciated – especially given how rare they are encountered.
When you don’t make quota. When you fail to get a bonus . . . are you going to blame your customers for not taking your calls or returning your emails? Or are you going to DO something about it and put forth a better effort?
We’ve written about emotional engagement, alternatives to lame emails, referral introductions . . . all to help you achieve better sales results.
The reality is that most of you will read this . . . nod your head in agreement, “mmm hmm” . . . and then keep on charging on with the same, ineffective messages and getting the same unsatisfactory results.
If you’re one of the handfuls who decide to really ramp up your efforts and create compelling, value-driven messages, this is good news for you. Your competitors are still selling like it’s 1989 . . . blending in with the rest of the sales herd – and are handing you an incredible advantage.
Until next time, stop hoping, and start SELLING (with improved messages)!
PS – There is still time to radically improve your messaging and impact 4th quarter sales results. Our 4th Quarter “Power Blitz” training and call sessions coach sales teams on how to create and use value-based, compelling messages to connect and progress prospects forward in concentrated call campaigns. Contact us to increase your short-term and long-term results.