How to Make Effective Sales Calls

June 2, 2015

by Beverly Flaxington

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Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

I need to start a sales campaign to find new prospects. I worked with a firm that helped me write a letter and find contacts, but I’m the blocking point in getting it done. Day by day, my time gets pulled in so many directions that I can’t focus on this. I don’t know if it is time management or just resistance. I don’t like making these calls. Why would someone want to talk to me? I don’t have a good answer for this. I know I need to do it, but what can I do to arrange the time and focus?

Ted P.

 

Dear Ted,

Your note raises quite a few questions. For example:

  1. Do you have a plan of action for this process? Do you know who you are mailing to, when these letters will go out and how you will follow up? Sometimes we put things off when we don’t have clarity about what – exactly – we need to do.
  2. Are you spending too much time researching your prospects/targets? Advisors who like research can spend an inordinate amount of time doing the background research and gathering data. It’s nice to have some background on the target, but not if it is at the cost of action.
  3. Have you written a script so that you are confident about what you will say once you get someone on the phone? Many advisors are not salespeople. The idea of getting someone “cold” on the phone and not knowing exactly what to say can be daunting. Have some ideas for how you will approach the topic and what words you will use. Be prepared for no answer, voice mail and rejection too.
  4. Have you planned your day to allocate for the time necessary? Put it on your calendar. Plan the time for doing this just as you would for a meeting with a client. This is your future and it’s important.
  5. Is your self-talk defeating you? Maybe you are saying negative things to yourself like, “Why would someone want to talk to me?” This sets you up to expect resistance and be less confident in approaching someone. Remember that you are an expert. You have valuable information to add. You are useful to many of the people you will speak with, but of course not to all of them.

I encourage you to think about these questions. See if there is an area you can focus on to kick start the process.

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