Are your sales figures too low?

Are your sales figures too low?

Andy Preston
Andy Preston

In this article, telecoms sales expert Andy Preston explains why many telecoms and mobile phone salespeople often don’t prospect in the right way.

It’s always interesting when I’m talking to a director, sales manager or a sales team and the topic of prospecting comes up. The sales team always think they’re doing enough, while the managers and directors always think they should be doing more.

The real truth is that the team’s prospecting efforts often don’t bring the desired results, so therefore the management’s answer is to push for more prospecting, and the team’s response is usually to ask for better data.

But when they say better data what they really mean is ‘can you get me a list of people with contract end dates in the next few weeks, with no loyalty to their existing supplier, that aren’t talking to any other companies and won’t screw me down on price, so that I can call them and pick up their business easily’.  I’d call that dreaming.

 

Often when I demonstrate and train telecoms sales teams in smart prospecting techniques, they start to see tangible results almost immediately and a fast improvement in sales figures, compared to previous months.
So what do I mean by smart prospecting?

 

What is smart prospecting?

Smart prospecting is a method of prospecting that I created in my sales career when I as a top performer in my industry, and also that my delegates report a strong improvement when using, both in the results they get from their prospecting efforts, and ultimately an improvement in their bottom line sales figures.

So what problems do telecoms and mobile phone salespeople in particular have when it comes to prospecting?

 

Sales problem number 1

Most salespeople rely on a limited number of prospecting methods, and some only one; cold calling! Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t cold call, far from it, but if it’s your only method of prospecting, then I’d put good money on the fact that your sales figures are nowhere near where they could be.

This problem is compounded if you’re relying on your magic list of prospects that you got from your previous company/friend/your boss bought from some bloke in the pub (don’t laugh I’ve seen it happen) that has contract end dates on and you think that alone is enough to bring you all the business you need. You’re wrong.

 

Sales problem number 2

A time management guru would tell you that writing notes on a phone call, then typing them into a CRM system or database afterwards was a bad idea, and wasn’t an efficient use of time.  They would tell you that it means you’re doing the same task twice, and you should streamline your efforts and just type direct into the computer in order to be more ‘efficient’.

However, based on my experience I would strongly argue that most salespeople I’ve worked with are more effective when they write notes by hand first, as it allows them to focus on the conversation better, listen out for buying signals, key words and gain more rapport with the prospect, as well as giving them more chance of achieving their desired outcome from the call.

So if the second method takes a little more time, but it allows for a better sales result, I’m going to favour that method, every single time! So even if some prospecting methods take more time, if they’re more effective, I’d strongly suggest you and your team start doing some of them instead.

 

Sales problem number 3

If the salesperson’s main method of prospecting is cold calling a pattern quickly emerges. They make similar calls, over and over again, saying the same things like ‘when is your contract due for renewal?’ get the same objections from prospects, and then fail to deal with them effectively.

Within about 20 seconds, I can tell if a salesperson is going through the motions with their cold call prospecting, and most are. Therefore they don’t get anywhere near the results that they could do from their prospecting efforts.
If you’re going to make a call, why not put some effort into it, and then start to see some results instead of just going through the motions and then complaining that cold call prospecting just doesn’t work for you.

 

Sales problem number 4

Notice I didn’t say they don’t have enough good data. That’s often a salesperson’s excuse for underperforming. Finding quality sales leads and developing them into sales opportunities is the sales person’s responsibility, not the responsibility of the manager, or the company.

A variety of methods should be used to prospect, and a good amount of pro-active prospecting should be done, in order to reach the desired number of good quality sales leads.  Failure to do this, will result in continually low sales figures for the person, or the team concerned.

Andy Preston is a recognised sales expert who specialises in working with mobile phone companies in particular, helping them generate more appointments, stand out from the competition, and close more deals. You can see and hear more about Andy at http://www.andy-preston.com/

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