A Helpful Lesson on What Not to Do on a Initial Sales Call

After receiving an unsolicited sales call yesterday, I thought I would share some insight on how not to approach someone or a Company on a ‘cold call’.

Let me set the scene for you. Phone rings “Hello, I am looking for Larry”. This is Larry. “Hi Larry, this is _________, (reading from a script obviously) we have not met but we have mutual connections through LinkedIn (named off some names…PS. I have almost 3000 connections on LinkedIn so not hard to do) and I was wondering if we can schedule a meeting next week in your office” I have a home office…our Corporate Office is in Edmonton. “That’s ok we can meet there” Ah, no we can’t. What’s this about? ” I represent a Company that specializes in custom made man’s suits”. That’s where the call ended.

Beginner Sales Training Point 1: Do your homework. What does the Company do? Does it fit with a profile of ‘Corporate Suits’ that have an office in a downtown city that is known for white collar workers? Data mining a large list of just random prospects only wastes the potential clients time and yours. Qualify your list with initial research for better conversions. This will also increase your confidence as you will get more positive responses and appointments.
Just because I wore a suit in my profile pick on LinkedIn does not mean I wear suits everyday. I don’t.

Beginner Sales Training Point 2: Ask questions first. Learn about your prospect. ” Larry, I am curious about your Company, can you fill me on what you do? Does your business require you to be involved with allot of meetings with clients? Are these meetings usually formal or just casual? Are you a ‘big suit guy’ or do you like to dress business casual? The reason I am asking..” If you receive, ” I am not interested”  Ask for a referral. “Ok, great Larry, I understand how a custom made suit may not be important to you at this time, can I ask a favour? Obviously you are a influential person in your Industry and you may know someone would benefit and enjoy a new custom suit, would you mind doing an introduction for me on LinkedIn? I will send you a $50.00 off your next suit as a thank you”

I understand that for new sales people, a script is a great way to stay on topic and be consistent on all calls.
Beginner Sales Training Point 3: If you are going to use a script, memorize the script and practice so it sounds natural and has your own personality in it. It’s ok to go off script every once and awhile and interject some humour or learn more about your prospect. The goal is test a couple of scripts and eventually have one that is perfect for a positive response and leads to appointments or sales.

To recap, do some homework on who you are calling to make the process easier and give you more confidence. Ask questions and try and learn whether the prospect would even qualify for your product or service or would have an interest. Become a master at your craft. Practice and memorize your script and make it more believable. Monotone reading won’t get it done!

Finally, I am hopeful that the gentleman who called me yesterday will read this post as I plan on posting on LinkedIn as well. My goal is to help sales people be more successful in their efforts and treat sales as a worthwhile career.

Best Regards,

Larry J Clark
My Personal Blog: www.larryclarkblog.com
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