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The phone has been ringing with incoming sales calls. I always love being on the receiving end of a cold call.

Fascinating how people with the courage to pick up the phone often have been failed by their management who haven’t trained their staff to effectively sell on the phone.

Call One a few weeks ago was from a new sales person at a company specialising in high end coaching. Her hook was that a coach I know was working for them.

The problem was she didn’t check if I rated his coaching.

It’s true that past clients are often great prospects. Often companies don’t have a systematic keeping in touch programme. It works brilliantly if the client you are calling valued the services they received.

The problem was I didn’t think the coach added enough value so the payback on my time and money invested wasn’t worthwhile.

She asked some open ended questions. She was comfortable asking follow-on questions. I let the call run because I am interested in hearing sales people working. Her tonality was good – it didn’t feel like she was reading her questions from a script.

However, she made an assumption. I’d worked with that coach in the past so she assumed I’d want to work with him again. “Wrong. When I said no thanks, she failed to find out why I was saying no. so I didn’t feel she had listened to the intent behind my answers. She was determined and kept going – so I’d give her extra marks for that. Then take off the marks for failing to clarify and discover what I meant by my answers. She didn’t get any info from me into why I said no. It felt like she’d been told not to take “no” for an answer and didn’t want to explore my “no” as it could mean she had to end the call.

So I’m pretty certain they’ll be wasting their time and will call me again in 3 months so. Marks out of 10 – 3!

We at Sandler are not a prospect for a local authority directory. Councils don’t tend to sell stuff – that’s usually spun out into stand-alone companies. So call two was never going to end in a sale.

The directory sales woman who called me was certain we are a prospect – because they have a category for training in their publication. I got the feeling that whatever category I said we were in, she’d have a category for that! She listed every other training category. She simply wasn’t listening to my answers to her questions. She’d stuck to her script – which didn’t deal with my objection that we don’t want to proactively sell to local authorities. Her main convincer is that it was really cheap and thousands would be going to county and district council officers. Not worth the time it would take for Marketing to get the copy ready. No really did mean no.

She had urgency – the publication deadline was the next day. How convenient. Really? Hmmm – maybe or maybe not.

The finish was as weak as the start. She read out the web address so I could go and check it out. Did I want the address? Hell no! But it was on her script and she’s started so she was going to finish.

I was sad after that call – they have a member of staff who is willing to talk to strangers but she was only skilled to keep going with her script, and didn’t take charge of the conversation. The process she’d been taught did not enable her to quickly qualify or disqualify me.

Again I think our contact details will remain in the database and someone else will waste their time calling us next time. What a waste of her time and the company’s investment in a sales person.

Marks out of 10 for Directory Lady? 1 – for picking up that phone and dialling. Marks out of 10 for her employer? Zero. Zero for wasting her time, the company’s resources and my time!

If you want to work out how to help your guys or yourself be more effective at prospecting by phone or following up those people you’ve met at networking, then contact your local Sandler office. We’ll figure out if we can help you or not.

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