I learned this sales lesson years ago when I was selling automobiles. I have since taught this to many salespeople. Try it for 21 days.
Look at the telephone on your desk. That telephone represents $100,000 in sales each year. The telephone is your friend, even though the voice on the other end will say “No” more often than “Yes.” This lesson helps you manage that important sales asset.
Before I get started, consider this: stockbrokers are just telemarketers. They make hundreds of phone calls everyday. Sales trainers in that industry teach them how to use the telephone efficiently. If you figure that the first two hours of the day are spent drinking coffee, following-up work from yesterday, and catching up on the office gossip, then don’t even worry about making telephone calls then. Stockbrokers work in blocks of time. They will assign two hour segments of time where they do nothing but work the telephone. They do that once in the morning, and once in the afternoon. At the end of the day, they know that they have invested four efficient hours of work. That leaves the rest of the day to attend to the business they created during those four hours.
But you are a not a stockbroker, and my suggestions that follow are a lot more fun and take far less time.
Take out a sheet of paper and create the worksheet below.
Now let me explain each category.
Hot – At the end of each day, fill out your call list. Begin with the names of two people you are most likely to sell something to tomorrow. It is important to fill out this list at the end of the day so you will know exactly what your plan is going to be at the beginning of each day. So now you have two hot prospects on your list. Great!
Business – Add the names of two businesses in town. It doesn’t matter who it is. You are going to call someone at that company and tell them three things, and ask one question. You want them to know who you are, what you do, and where you do it. Then you listen. You conclude by asking if they know anyone who would be interested in knowing about your product. Write down the name and number, and conclude your telephone call. Easy. Write down two names of businesses on your list now.
Friends – Each day you will call two friends and tell them what you do, and where you are located. Ask them if they know anyone who is shopping for your product. Write down those names for tomorrow.
Associates – These are people who are not close friends, but they are people you have done business with in the past; your car mechanic, your baker, your minister. People like that. I usually call members of the Chamber of Commerce, or members of other civic groups where I am a member. Write down two names.
New Contacts – Now write down ten names of people you do not know. It could be names from the telephone directory, a list of teachers, doctors, lawyers, anyone really. Write down their name and number. When you talk to them, tell them who you are, what you do and where you are located. Ask one question, “Can I answer any questions you might have about [your product]? And of course, ask if they know anyone else who might want to talk to you about your product. If they say yes, write down the name and number and then ask, “Is it okay if I tell him/her that you said it was okay to call?” If they say yes, then you have a great introduction – a referral from a friend. “I talked to your friend Bob Smith yesterday and he suggested that I call you…”
When you are finished calling ten people, you are almost done. Take out another piece of paper and make a new list. Over time, you will notice that your new contacts will become your hot prospects, a business contact, a new associate, and even new friends. While it is fresh on your mind, fill out tomorrow’s list. Leave it on your desk. You are now finished. Two hours well-spent!
Congratulations – you just called 4,320 people. That is amazing. Let’s do the math.
Hot =2, Business = 2, Friends = 2, Associates = 2, New = 10. All of that equals 18 calls a day.
18 calls each day times 5 days of work = 90 calls a week.
90 calls a week times 4 weeks = 360 calls.
360 calls a month = 4,320 a year.
The Simplicity of Logic
If you make the calls, you will call 4,320 people a year. You will increase your sales significantly.If you do not make 18 calls a day, you will not call 4,320 people a year, and you will not get any of the sales you might have received JUST BY MAKING 18 TELEPHONE CALLS EACH DAY.
One thing remains.
You must make a commitment.
Go to your boss and tell him or her that you are going to commit to making these phone calls for 21 days. At the end of that period, you are going to analyze your sales figures and review all of the 21 lists to see if new contacts became future customers. It is important to make a commitment to someone else. If your boss says, “Wow! That’s great. Sure, let’s do this!”, ask that he or she covers for you while you make the calls. “Can you cover for me so I can be efficient in my strategy and not be interrupted?” Those interruptions take energy and can really keep you from making telephone calls. Help your boss understand that it is extremely important that you not be interrupted by routine chores.
Two hours a day. 18 calls. 21 days. That is all it takes to become a star in the business of sales.
It works. And the reason people do not do this, why they do not make a commitment, is because it is not easy to become a star.
18 calls. 21 days.