We know the incessant mantra around maximizing the number of calls we make every day. We know, almost daily, we have to make more calls than we did yesterday, last week, last quarter. Fewer customers are responding, so to make our numbers, we have to make more calls.
What if we tried something different?
Let’s try a thought experiment, imagine this challenge, “You have to make your number, but we’re only going to allow you to make 50% of the calls you are currently making!”
Yeah, I know you are thinking, “Dave, you are crazy, we have to make more calls. Customers just aren’t responding, they aren’t engaging. If you expect us to make our numbers, we need more customers to call!”
In my inimitably sensitive manner, I would tend to respond, “Figure out how to do it with 50% of the calls you are currently making!” (I am such a softy and have such a high level of EQ.)
You want to keep your job, the comp plan is outrageous. So you need to figure out what do do differently. What questions might you ask yourself to begin to develop a strategy?
Here are some thoughts:
- Are we calling the right customers, both organizations and individuals within those organizations?
- What evidence do we have that they may have an urgent need to change, now?
- How are we going to engage them in a conversation that will capture their attention? What might provoke them to be interested? What might provoke them to be interested in a change?
- What do we need to know to conduct a strong conversation? What do we need to know to hold up our end of the conversation? What research do we have to do, what information might we share?
- We struggle to get them to respond, how do we catch their attention? How do we stand out with all the other stuff they are deluged with?
- …and there are a few more….
Again, what becomes clear is that we have to completely rethink and change our approach. If we continue to focus on pitching our products and solutions, we won’t be able to achieve our goals. We are probably forced to have conversations focusing on the customer, their business, and the issues that interest them.
It’s remarkable, when we focus on what interests the customers, rather than what interests us, more customers become interested in talking. When we can give them new insights about those things they are interested in, they are more likely to respond and engage.
If we know, through our research, that they have a problem and need to change, or if we can find a way to incite them to change, we have the opportunity to achieve our goals through helping them more effectively achieve their goals.
As a result, we don’t have to make as many calls as we currently do. We can have fewer, higher impact conversations, with customers that really care and want to change. In doing this, we have a higher hit rate per conversation. As a result, we have to have fewer conversations to achieve our goals.
Our current approaches are failing at an ever increasing rate, yet we seem committed to continuing doing these things that aren’t working as well as they have. This is just insanity!
Try this thought experiment for yourselves. Look at what you have to change if to engage a higher percentage of customers in your prospecting conversations. Then experiment with it–it probably will take a few cycles to start mastering it, but once you do, roll this out to the organization.
And then think about what this means over a longer term. Once we figure out how to make our goals with 50% of our current conversations; think about what that means if we execute that strategy with the same number of conversations we currently conduct. Imagine how we could grow our sales!