Here are 3.5 answers to 3.5 questions frequently asked by salespeople:
1. How come people don’t call me back?
People not calling you back is not a problem, it’s a symptom. Here are some of the real reasons people don’t call you back:
1. Boring message.
2. Insincere message.
3. Sales message, not a value message.
4. Self-serving message.
5. No humor employed.
6. Non-compelling message.
How should you leave a voicemail?
• Give your name and number first.
• Offer facts and valuable information on what they want to hear (not what you have to sell) — 30 words or less and ask for a callback or text.
• Give your name and number again.
Note: If you have nothing of value to say, don’t bother picking up the phone.
2. Why is cold calling a waste of my time?
The three-word definition of a cold call is “waste of time.” No one likes cold calls. Not the salesperson who makes them and surely not the prospect who receives them.
“Cold calls are a necessary evil of selling” is a false statement. “Cold calls are a necessary evil if you don’t employ the correct selling strategies” is a true statement.
Here’s what waits for you at the other end of a cold call:
You’re calling people who don’t want what you’ve got.
You’re calling people who don’t know what you’ve got.
You’re calling people who don’t want to be bothered.
You’re calling people who resent being interrupted.
You’re calling people who resent your call.
You’re calling people who will get angry at you or your company.
It’s not a “cold call.” It’s an intrusion without an invitation — a gate crash. And if handled poorly, the cold call will ruin future chances for a legitimate sales call.
Let’s see: poor timing, having a tough time getting through, and when you do, you fight for attention. Ninety-five percent of those who get through are wholly untrained and incapable of selling anything, anyway. What’s the point? Isn’t there a better way? Look at the other side — there is no worse way.
3. What is the best way to make a sale?
The easiest way to make a sale is lower your price to a point that you make no profit. Not a good option.
Real answer: There is no best way or easiest way to make a sale, but there are several elements that contain the word “best” that you must self-evaluate in order to discover why the sales takes place — or why not.
Key point of understanding: Selling is not manipulating. Selling is harmonizing.
Oh, you can occasionally make a manipulative sale. But if you’re still in the 1970s trying to “find the pain,” or “sell an up-front contract,” or “make a cold call,” or “close the sale,” you’re toast. Sales toast.
Here are a few of the best ways to make a sale:
• The best way to make a sale is to have your reputation precede you by word-of-mouth from your Google ranking and from your business social media presence.
• The best way to make a sale is to be known as a valued resource before you start.
• The best way to make a sale is to be friendly before you start.
• The best way to make a sale is to meet with the CEO or actual decision maker.
• The best way to make a sale is not to be sales-y, cocky or condescending.
• The best way to make a sale is to find some common ground before you start the selling process.
3.5 How did my mother help me make sales?
Mother’s rules make for great salespeople. I know this sounds hokey, but if you want to be a great salesperson, you should have listened to your mother.
Your mom said it best. As a child, when you were fighting or arguing with a sibling or friend, your mom would say, “Billy, you know better than that! Now, you make friends with Johnny.”
Here are two major sales tips right out of the mouth and memory of your mother:
1. Make friends: There’s an old sales adage that says, “All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends.” I say, “All things being not quite so equal, people still want to do business with their friends.”
Your mother never told you to use the alternative-of-choice close or the sharp-angle close on Johnny. She just said make friends. That may have been one of the most powerful sales lessons you ever got.
2. Say nice things: Your mother told you, “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing.” I’m certain she only told you this a hundred times.
Somehow after you got your business cards printed, that lesson was lost — especially when you begin speaking about your competition. I’m sure your mother would approve of referring to them as “my worthy competition.”
More motherly advice and answers next time. Meanwhile, wash behind your ears.
Editor’s note: Jeffrey Gitomer is on sabbatical. This column originally appeared in the Jan. 26, 2015, Business Journal.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 12 best-selling books. His real-world ideas and content also are available as online courses at GitomerVT.com. For information about training and seminars, visit gitomer.com or gitomercertifiedadvisors.com, or email Jeffrey personally at email@example.com.