The Big Sales Disconnect

In one of my LinkedIn groups, a question posed was whether or not when cold calling you should leave a voicemail message. And, if you do leave a message, what type of message do you leave?

Oh, where do I begin?

Let’s not debate whether or not cold calling works or doesn’t. I don’t believe that it does, because B2B buyers continue to say – some 92% of them of according to InsideView – that they are not going to take a meeting with someone they do not know. Same goes for that cold email you may be about to send.

I realize that plenty of companies out there train on cold calling techniques and are strong advocates for the viability of this approach. Me, I think it is a waste of time. Time is precious and I can think of much better ways to use it to achieve my end goal…more meetings with the right decision makers in the companies that I’ve targeted.

I don’t argue the need to make phone calls to try to secure a sales meeting with your prospect, although statistically speaking, you still have a much higher rate of return on closing that meeting request when you are introduced either by someone credible inside the company you’ve targeted (84%) or through an external introduction by someone your prospect knows and trusts (44%). These numbers come from extensive research done by Selling to the C-Suite authors, Bistritz and Read.

Getting back to that phone call.

Yes, when making phone calls, leave a message if you do not immediately connect with your prospect. These days, pretty much everyone has caller ID, so if you keep calling and do not leave a message, that sort of feels like stalking. And, frankly, I think it is unprofessional. Sure, it would be great to be able to get people directly, but with people’s schedules so overloaded, that’s a tough proposition. Leave a professional voicemail message…every time!

So about that voicemail…

This is the world of social selling and massive amounts of information are at your fingertips that you can leverage. Are you?

Let’s go back to the LinkedIn discussion for just a moment. One person commented that he does recommend leaving a message and it looks like this…

“Hello ______! My name is ___________ and I’ve been studying your company for some time now and I am sure I can help. Call me @ ____________.”

He goes on to say that he learned this technique in a workshop and that it works about 90% of the time.

This is just so wrong. I’m not sure who this person targets (the receptionist maybe…someone in marketing…who knows), but I can tell you that the Sales VP that I’m looking to meet is not going to be impressed with this type of message much less agree to meet with me. Here’s what I’m thinking if I’m listening to this voicemail. I’ve studied your company. Who cares? Why are you studying my company?  Who are you anyway? Why would I waste time calling you? I have no idea who you are.

The depressing fact is that someone actually earns money to teach salespeople how to leave a message like this when they are making sales phone calls. Worse, these same salespeople believe that this works.

How about something a tad more relevant? With just a tiny bit of thought, you can create a message that gives your prospect a reason to call you back. Here’s a quick example of what I mean.

“Hello, Samuel. We haven’t met yet. I’m Barb Giamanco with Social Centered Selling. Samuel, in doing my homework before I called, I notice that you’ve built quite a name for yourself in your industry. I see that you are not using video yet to promote your company and you might be interested to know that video has proven to capture awareness from prospects roughly 5 times more often than simply text on a page. That increased awareness has led to a 60% increase in sales revenue for the majority of our clients. I’m not sure if our solution is a fit for you, but if you are willing to chat for 15 minutes, we could explore whether or not there is the potential to work together.” Again, Barb Giamanco. You can reach me at 404-949-0199. Thank you so much and have a great day.”

Selling is hard work. There is no quick fix. It would be nice if salespeople stopped looking for one!

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