Being a successful sales manager means getting your salespeople to open up as many faucets for new business as possible. Not actively prospecting or tracking those behaviors can be a recipe for failure.
But even if salespeople do those things, they can still fall into many kinds of traps. They may think they have to make calls only for practice and to get better at speaking once they do get in front of a real prospect. They may become robotic, and make calls without any real sense of the purpose of the call, even if the suspect does bite on the appropriate questions. They might do calls as fast as they can just to get them done, only to get nothing real from them but practice. They might do the same things on every call, even though no results are coming from them.
In their minds they don’t know or see any problems, because as we’ve all heard from one salesperson or another: cold calls don’t work.
Do your salespeople know why to do cold calls, the correct way to do them and how to not let them affect their personal identity? Do they understand they cannot control the outcome of the calls or how many meetings they set, but they can control their behavior in the actual calling and prospecting? Do they have the right pattern interrupt to get the suspect talking? Do they even have the right questions? Remember that we are judged by the questions we ask, not by the things we say.
Here are some good ways to get your salespeople on track when it comes to prospecting and cold calling:
Teach them to set dialing goals and how to track their calls.
Listen to their calls. Go over the really bad ones for coaching opportunities. And just as important, go over the ones they think they nailed. They are never as good as they think they are, and even if they’re near-perfect there’s always something to reinforce or learn.
Challenge them to develop a 30-second commercial, push them to keep refining it, and coach them on what to change or try to do differently. Listen to their calls for mistakes and to see where they get off track.
You learn by failing, so don’t prevent your salespeople from doing it – just make sure you are there to coach them through it when it does happen.
Put together a plan for your sales force that includes making cold calls and prospecting. Set some realistic goals. And make sure it gets done.
Just doing it is not good enough when it comes to prospecting. Going through the motions isn’t helpful – salespeople need to commit to doing it right, and sales managers need to help get them there.