Have I ever told you how much I love telephone prospecting?
Yes. It’s good when I make a connection and open the door to an interesting and potentially lucrative new business opportunity and I like to talk to new people. But, let’s be honest. Not a lot of dials end that way.
But for the dials that do end with a connection, I’ve found it’s very hard to get their attention. Although they might prove to be interested in what you have, there is a natural reflex that promotes a mindless blow-off, even from normally thoughtful people.
Lately, they sound a lot like this:
- You’ve got the wrong person
- I’m in a meeting
- Thought you were my conference call
- We’ve got that all taken care of
- I’m too busy to talk, and of course, the perennially popular
- I have no money for anything
What differentiates a blow off from a genuine objection is that there is no thought behind it, it just comes tripping out of their mouth. To my eternal embarrassment it’s only recently that I’ve realized that most of those people who told me they were in a meeting were lying,. Ditto the conference call dodge. (No wonder sales people tend to be distrustful skeptics).
I’ve found five things that help to deal with the mindless blow off:
1- Always leave a preplanned voicemail when I don’t connect and follow it up with an email that offers something I hope will be of value and maybe build up a little equity with a contact before we connect.
2. Refer to previously provided information in my opening to both refresh their memory and try and cash in on the equity.
3. In the face of a blow off, address it head on. For example,” I’m in a meeting.” might be immediately met with ” When can I call you?” It’s surprising how many too-busy-to-talk people were suddenly ready to open up the conversation with ” Well, what’s this about?”
4. Ignore the blow off and dive in. This is not my favorite thing to do, but I include it as a possibility because I have so many people do it to me and sometimes it works.
5. Rework your opening line. You have VERY little time to get someones attention so you have to learn to skip that deadly boring recap of your name, your title, your company, their leading clients, etc, etc. Why not trying something different – like jumping directly into what you hope to be able to accomplish for someone even before you give them your name? (They don’t care who you are until you have something they want anyway). What are your main points? Now re-order them to get the stuff that your contact will care about upfront.
And finally, while I said there were five points, let’s just throw in number six – Most of us are resistant to change, but if what you are doing right now isn’t working, stop wasting your time (and your financial future- not to mention your mental health) throwing blame onto the market, your leads or the people you’re talking to.
Accept the responsibility and work with what you can control. Look at what you’re doing and find ways to improve it for a better result.