Home > Cold Calling > Can I really account for decision makers being able to talk to me

Can I really account for decision makers being able to talk to me

I'm on day 3 of a business development role. I have been given a leads database that contains contact numbers and the odd decision makers name. Most the accounts have been called recently and many of them have failed opportunities in the last 6-12 months with no feedback into why.

My product is a range of services from a global energy consultants with the most experience in the field.

My numbers this afternoon, and similar for the rest of the previous days really indicating that by telephone prospecting, out of the 20 calls I make averaging 8 an hour after completing CRM, I only got through to 1 decision maker who expressed no real interest in our product as kept the reporting in house. I set 13 callbacks due to the decision maker not being available for whatever reason

Can you really account for decision makers not being available or is there a way to get them to the phone?

I need to make 2 appt a day so it's not an impossible task but it is at this current execution rate

Thanks in advance. - by joeybside
You didn't mention why you were unable to reach the DM. Nobody here can help solve a problem if we don't know what the problem is. - by Gary A Boye
Thanks Gary

Sorry I wrongly assumed people would be experiencing similar.

The common reason's are.....

He's not in the office today
He's on holiday
He's in a meeting

I'm thinking that a percentage of these could be a cynical attempt by gatekeeper's to turn sales people away. However the high majority of gatekeepers don't actually know that I'm selling as that is never discussed. I merely ask to speak to speak to the contact and give my name and company name if they ask who I am. - by joeybside
Thanks Gary

Sorry I wrongly assumed people would be experiencing similar.

The common reason's are.....

He's not in the office today
He's on holiday
He's in a meeting

I'm thinking that a percentage of these could be a cynical attempt by gatekeeper's to turn sales people away. However the high majority of gatekeepers don't actually know that I'm selling as that is never discussed. I merely ask to speak to speak to the contact and give my name and company name if they ask who I am.
Two things I'll point out to you:

First, contrary to what many sales "authorities" advise, I don't recommend that you avoid stating the purpose of your call or inquiry--regardless of who you are initially talking to. Nobody is going to help you if they don't know what they are helping you with. Circumventing disclosure is a common mistake.

Second, I'll repeat words I've written here before, taken from study guide material in Twice as Good as 2ND Best, a Course Designed for Professional Who Sell:
Here's another tip: Drop the word "gatekeeper" from your vocabulary.

Selling is a people business. The administrative assistants, receptionists, and staff members, who are often labeled as "gatekeepers", are frequently the second most powerful people in an organization. Respect them--don't label them.
In over forty years of selling, I have never had a problem getting to talk with anyone I wanted to talk to.

Yesterday, while at a recreational function in large facility, I was given a heads up that the facility was taking proposals for a large project that I might be interested in. I was dressed very casually, and within five minutes introduced myself to the receptionist in that institution. I advised her that I had just become aware of the project and would like to know more about it and possibly create a proposal. She immediately called the decision maker and he asked that she take down contact information. He called me later in the afternoon to arrange an interview.

It's about PEOPLE! Don't ever avoid stating your purpose. - by Gary A Boye
Oh Gary, music to my ears !!!

You're exactly right. They are people and if you treat them with respect you'll generally get the same in return.

And if you explain what you are calling about and treat them like an intelligent person they'll treat you as an intelligent person that their boss might want to speak to.

Instead of thinking of them as "gatekeepers" blocking your way, think of them as guides willing to help you find the right person in their organisation for you to talk to. - by Greg Woodley
I feel that I must be missing the point of my question. I never treat "gatekeepers" (i'll use the term gatekeepers for the sake of the continuation of this thread) as anything other than people, human etc. They are a valuable source of information and a way into the business. I rarely have any issues around that. It's the next step into there. For example in the last 5 minutes alone, i've had the following.....

"I'm sorry the person you need is on holiday"
"**** is the person you need to speak to but we don't give out email addresses or phone numbers directly for people"


As an extra to this, I've had the following two objections from decision makers in the last hour also. These are objections that I really struggle to overcome and see no way past.

"I've already got 2 brokers I'm quite happy with, 16 more on file and I don't want another one so best of luck but no thanks"
"I do it myself I've never needed assistance"
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You guys are obviously sales professionals. I admit to not being one. I sense you can tell that already. However I want to learn and need to do this fast. Swim or sink.

I guess my rate of getting past the person who initially answers the phone is 50/60% so I have no issues there as I always advise early in my calls "I'm solely looking for information only today"

My dialogue with decision makers or right contacts is as follows.

Hello **** I wonder if you can help me. I've been given your name as a point of contact so please accept my apologies if it's not the case. I'm ***** and i'm calling from ******. I imagine that you already use a broker or energy consultant but I'm just looking to understand your companies energy strategy with a view to *** being able to assist you at some point in the future or to bid for your business"

I've used "I understand what your business does but I was wondering can you tell me about what challenges your business has around energy". Most people don't really want to tell me.

I'm really having a down day today and I'm concerned i'm letting opportunites slip through my fingers - by joeybside

My dialogue with decision makers or right contacts is as follows.

Hello **** I wonder if you can help me. I've been given your name as a point of contact so please accept my apologies if it's not the case. I'm ***** and i'm calling from ******. I imagine that you already use a broker or energy consultant but I'm just looking to understand your companies energy strategy with a view to *** being able to assist you at some point in the future or to bid for your business"
I've used "I understand what your business does but I was wondering can you tell me about what challenges your business has around energy". Most people don't really want to tell me.
In both cases you've called to TELL THEM THEIR SITUATION instead of attempting (with questions) to LEARN THEIR SITUATION.
When you make that mistake with a prospect, it can't be repaired.

Learn to ask questions. - by Gary A Boye
Thank you Gary I will attempt to amend this immediately starting in the morning with a changed script / intro notes - by joeybside
Hello Joeybside. In my opinion, being available (e.g., In the building) to take a call and being willing to take a call are two different things. One involves "Timing" the other involves "Perception".

In my experience people are most often drawn into conversations they imagine will be "relevant" and "meaningful" - to them. You may find that some people will judge whether or not this is the case with your call (e.g., in-person, voice-mail) rather quickly, sometimes within the first few seconds. - by Jeff Blackwell
Hi Jeff

Thank you for your reply.

Thinking over this late last night, you are spot on in your last paragraph. I'm not creating enough desire in my offering during my call. One of two things goes wrong during the call.

1. I find out the customers needs around our product and don't do anything to offset objections e.g we do this is house, we already have someone, we're in a contract. I also open with "i'm calling for some information" and in a sense, that's all i'm leaving with. Info. No actual gaining of their interest in my offering

2. I'm pressuring myself to make this 1st appointment to get my new management to take the microscope off me. I had a small meeting yesterday and it was said that things need to improve fast. I think / hope that once I get this 1st appointment, I can relax a little and hopefully develop some effective flow.

A friend of mind has advised me that "It's largely around understanding/identifying clear needs quickly and creating the confidence that you have a tangible solution"

I just need to find the right way and dialogue to do that. - by joeybside
Hi Jeff

Thank you for your reply.

Thinking over this late last night, you are spot on in your last paragraph. I'm not creating enough desire in my offering during my call. One of two things goes wrong during the call.
joeybside, do you believe that what Jeff advised in his last paragraph was about creating DESIRE in your offering (as you inferred)?

Or was it about gaining ATTENTION?

Some of us, and certainly Jeff is among the top, have a lot that we can offer struggling salespeople--based on our experience and the fact that we had our own days of struggle. BUT if you can only interpret a member's words to fit what you think you know about selling, you will not get very far in accumulating knowledge of sales.

I would suggest that you spend some time Googling the acronym AIDCA. Understanding the construct would be a fresh and effective start in learning how to sell. - by Gary A Boye
Gary

Firstly thank you for the time in replying

I don't profess to know anything about selling at anything over a novice level hence why I came to this site to help learn.

I'm aware of the AIDA accronnym so AIDCA is slightly new to me.

I will however revisit this.

I'm am slightly sceptical of using this however and the reason I say this is that using "my name's ***** from ****** and we save businesses considerable time and money through tailored solutions" is quickly identified as "he's a salesman" which turns people off quickly.

Am I wrong to think that? - by joeybside

I'm am slightly sceptical of using this however and the reason I say this is that using "my name's ***** from ****** and we save businesses considerable time and money through tailored solutions" is quickly identified as "he's a salesman" which turns people off quickly.

Am I wrong to think that?
You are correct. That line of monologue is horrible. However---once again--you're inserting thoughts or advice that you didn't get here.

A major part of being successful in sales is being a good LISTENER. If you can't do it here, I doubt you can do it with a prospect--and you will not be successful. You have your work cut out for you. We ALL do. We are in sales. It's not a venue for the unprepared.

The AIDCA concept is selling 101. If you are simply "aware" of it--or AIDA (CONVICTION was later added), but have not internalized it, you're behind the eight ball. - by Gary A Boye
I'm not doing anything other than trying to come up with a solution. I think there's a big difference in "not listening' to clearly "not getting it" which is what I'm doing.

Given you have the know-how, what examples or audio do you have of effective elevator speeches? - by joeybside
Given you have the know-how, what examples or audio do you have of effective elevator speeches?
I don't use, or recommend the use of "elevator speeches." As a result, I don't collect examples.

However, most of the elevator speeches I've seen on this site are rife with strategic mistakes. The most common--almost universal--error among them is that they begin an engagement with an opening benefit statement. Often the words "We help businesses..." or "We work with businesses..." precede such mistakes.

Neil Rackham who devised SPIN SELLING seems to share my view about the folly of using opening benefit statements. His book by the same name should be studied by anyone who is serious about a career in sales. He gives clear examples of questions which he divides into four types, all which map the stages of a successful sales engagement. They are: Situation Questions, Problem Questions, Implication Questions, and Needs/Payoff Questions.

You mention "know-how." Much of "know-how" is about knowing what NOT to do.

I mentioned earlier in an attempt to help you that you should learn to ask questions. But your interest, as evidenced still, is about "speeches" or statements. Would you describe that as not listening or "not getting it?"

I'll close the dialogue between us at this point by once again suggesting that you devote yourself to proper questioning techniques. Good luck to you. - by Gary A Boye
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