In this episode I answer:
- When trying to make a sale, how many times should I follow up on a lead before putting it on the “not now” list?
- With all the Robocalls out there is being an inside sales Rep still a worthy job?
Episode 49 – Transcript
In this episode, I talked about how long you should chase your prospects that didn’t already buy from you, and how robocalls have changed the sales business. This is Episode 49 of The Sales Experience Podcast. My name again is Jason Cutter and I’m so glad you’re here. And without further ado, let’s jump into some questions.
So the first one, and I’ve seen this many times, whether reps asked this question or it comes up in organizations is when trying to make a sale, if you don’t close the deal in one call, or in the first call, or wherever it is, in your sales cycle, how many times should you follow up on a lead before basically putting it in your dead pile and stop calling?
And this one’s a tough one to cover for everybody who may be listening to this, because there’s so many different sales cycles. First thing it comes down to is what does your one call close ratio or expectation look like?
If you’re supposed to be closing 100%, one call close, then if they don’t buy, there is no follow-up, it doesn’t matter. So let’s exclude that group. Let’s also exclude the group where it’s super long sales cycle, where it’s enterprise level it is a six to 12 month process, removing that group as well, because that’s going to be a different follow-up and that’s a long nurture cycle.
So, anywhere in between, where you’re doing some one call close, the rest is follow-up. How long should you be chasing that lead? It’s really the ultimate question. How long should you be following up calling email maybe sending text these days, and feeling like that stalker person who’s trying to get them to answer the phone so you can ask them out on a date and they’re literally just not responding?
Instead of answering that question directly with call them three times, send four emails, and then hang up. There’s lots of great resources online, if you want to find that, especially specific for your industry. So instead, I want to take a proactive approach to answering this question, which is, why are you following up with them? Why are you chasing them in the first place?
And not the follow-up, you always want to follow-up. This is where sales reps kind of dropped the ball in one of two ways. They either go hard and too desperate and calling a lot, which is just going to push the other person further away because it’s going to seem desperate and terrible. Or they don’t do any follow-up and they’re missing opportunities that people who would have bought if they had gotten a phone call or an email, and they’ve just gotten busy, or they forgot about it, but they would have purchased.
And so I mean, proactive as in, what are you doing during your sales, call your sales interactions, that is causing the person to not answer, to not be excited, to not respond to your emails? Now, obviously, there’s always going to be a percentage of the people who don’t buy from you, and then no amount of follow-up is going to make a difference.
And no matter what you did, even if it was amazing, and you do what I’m about to cover, in my opinion, if you did that, it still doesn’t matter, they’re still not going to buy, that’s fine. There’s always going to be a percentage. But the key is, is when you’re interacting with your prospect and they have been become a client is you’ve got to make it about them and their needs, their goals, their pain, their struggle, whatever that is, you’ve got to have your conversations be about that.
Here’s where sales reps go wrong. A lot of times I listen to this, whether it’s on the phone, it’s in person, it’s at a conference in like a trade show booth; what sales reps tend to do is they come out of the gate telling great stories about themselves, how awesome they are, how awesome their company is, how awesome their product and service is.
And that’s great and all, but doesn’t matter to the prospect because really, everyone only cares about what’s in it for them, right. And so your prospect just wants to know what this is going to do for them, this product or service. Even if they’re calling you, they want to know how is this going to solve some kind of problem they have, take care of a pain that they’ve got or give them something that they’re after, and that they desire. And so you’ve always got to make it about them.
And the best way to get there, ask lots of questions. So, you should be asking a lot of questions, you should be talking a lot less than you probably feel like you should be. So, you should be asking questions and then listening and uncovering as much as possible. Going as deep as you can into why that person is on the phone or in person with you, what their needs are, what their pain, what their desire, and go as deep as possible.
In the same way, in the last episode I talked about you’ve got to have a why for why you show up every day, why you get up. And it’s not just about money, it’s about what that money does for you. And then having that house is not about that, maybe it’s about security. And then maybe it’s deeper than that because that security gives you some other sense that you’re looking for, you want to go as deep as possible.
With your prospects, same thing, ask lots of questions, go deepest possible, find the deepest level of pain or goal that they are willing to share with you that you can pull out from them. And then tailor your conversation around solving that or fulfilling that need, answering that struggle, taking care of whatever it is.
Imagine, again, I use this example all the time, like a doctor, somebody walks into a doctor’s office. The doctor is going to ask lots of questions, run lots of tests, they’re not going to explain lots of stuff until they know exactly what direction they want to go to try to take care of your pain.
And then they’re going to tell you what to do and then you know, because you’re in pain, you want to take care of it. If you go to the doctor and you’re not in pain, it’s just an annual visit. And then they run tests and they find out you do have an issue, they’ve got to make sure you understand that pain and the urgency and the chances of what’s going to happen in your life, if you don’t take care of that, and what your life would look like if you don’t solve that medical issue.
And so you want to do the same thing with your prospects; go deep, find their deepest struggles, pains, goals, wishes, desires, whatever that is, and then bring that up in the conversation and solve it. You want to make sure that they understand that you’ve got the solution for them if you do, and that they need you more than you need them.
When you get to that point in the conversation, and they know that they need you, if for some reason that deal doesn’t close at that moment; maybe they’re driving, maybe they’re at work, maybe they don’t have the required information, paperwork, you know, credit card in front of them. Whatever that might be, if they know that they need it, and there’s a burning desire for what you’re offering, then that follow up will be a lot different because they will most likely be calling you.
If you call them they will have been sitting by the phone waiting, anxious, nervous, excited. So again, going back to the doctor example. You go to the doctor, they run tests, they say, “Hey, we think you might have an issue. We want to run some tests. We’ll call you tomorrow at three o’clock.”
What are you doing between now and three o’clock? Are you dodging calls? Are you like putting your phone aside and not even wanting to answer it? Anytime somebody calls, maybe it’s a doctor, you’re just like no, I don’t want to deal with that right now, I’ve got other stuff going on.
No, you are holding your phone in front of your face that whole time waiting for a call anxious, nervous, concerned, excited, whatever it might be, you are literally there. And as soon as they call nothing else in the world matters except answering that phone call.
That is the kind of situation you want to set up with your prospects, where you’re solving their issue in such a way they are looking forward to your calls, not dodging you. And then you’ll have a different response during your follow-ups.
If your follow-ups feel like you’re chasing somebody, and nagging somebody and trying to get somebody to do something that you think they should do, but it’s really to meet your own goals, then you did something incorrectly prior to all of that happening.
If your prospects more and more over time are calling you back and saying, “I am ready. Let’s go, I got my paperwork, I’m ready to go. I’ve got my wife here with me and she has some questions, but we want to do this right now.”
If they’re coming to you and being proactive instead of you hunting and chasing them, and being desperate, and lots of calls and emails and calling from different phone numbers are trying different strategies. If they’re reaching out to you, that means you’re doing something right in the beginning.
So hopefully, that helps you avoid this and ultimately, gets rid of the question of “How many times should I follow-up?” Because the follow up isn’t as important because now it’s a relational thing because you know that they know that they need what your product or services offer.
Hopefully, that helps and addresses that question that everyone always has about pipeline management. All right. Second question here now that I’ve gone eight minutes already on question number one.
The question I get a bunch of and I’ve seen online is, with all the robocalls out there, all the like the IRS tax scams, the calls from overseas, just people getting pounded with robocalls; how hard is it to be an inside sales? rep? Is the job actually worth it? And is it possible?
And my answer that is yes. If you listen to yesterday’s episode, when I talk about telemarketing, and how to keep people on the phone, all of those strategies also play into this if you’re on the phone, and you’re competing for the attention of your prospects versus robocalls.
In my opinion, I actually love the fact that there’s lots of robocalls going on. Because if I can get somebody to actually pick up the phone and answer or they’re calling in, which means they have so much need they’re willing to call in anyway, even with all the scammers in the world out there, all over the world trying to get money away from people and get one over on them. If that person’s still calling in, I know they have a need.
If I’m calling and they answer, it means there’s something inside, they’re hoping somebody magically is going to call and solve for them. When you look at that combination, you actually get someone on the phone, and you do what I talked about in the last episode regarding telemarketing, and you don’t sound like a telemarketer. And you don’t sound like one of those guys who’s doing those things with the robocalls and all the examples, right.
And we’ve all gotten those phone calls. We all know what it sounds like on our side, don’t be that person. So, when you’re talking to a new prospect, whether it’s outbound or inbound, and they get the sense that you’re different, you will immediately have a leg up over all those robocalls. That differentiation is so key because they’ll instantly know, wait a second, this is not what I’m worried about.
This is not who keeps calling me. This person is different, this person is taking a different approach. I’m going to listen to them because this seems like it’s not the standard script, the standard playbook that all the scammers are doing and all the people who are calling me over and over again. This man or woman seems to be doing things different, and so I want to listen.
And that by itself will give you a leg up that will help you be more successful in spite of all these robocalls. The robocalls themselves don’t ruin the whole industry for everybody. They just ruin the industry for all the bad people who will then have to figure out a different way to rip people off and scam people and get people’s attention.
But if you’re a good guy, and you can do things differently than what they do, and literally, that’s the way you could just go about it. Do everything different than they would do, do what you know is best, be authentic, be a person, and then you will win. So, that’s the easiest answer to that one is I don’t think robo calls are a bad thing for the industry as a whole.
Now, of course, what it does, it makes people not want to answer their phone. It makes people hesitate, it drives that wedge even further where people just don’t want to answer their phone only want to do maybe stuff via text or maybe calling themselves. But if you get somebody on the phone, it’s a home run if you just don’t act like them.
Hopefully, that helps. Just keep focusing on doing the right thing, creating the right sales experience, having your prospects move forward in the right way where they’re super excited that they got to deal with you instead of somebody else, and you will be winning long term. And as always remember that everything in life is sales and people will remember the experience you gave them.