4 reasons to make sales calls

September 2, 2011 6:15 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

4 reasons to make sales calls

The rise of social networking has, in my observation, caused some confusion among smaller businesses about the need to make direct sales calls. I'm talking here about the time investment of identifying prospects and then calling them on the phone or visiting them in person to offer your services. Large corporations, like IBM, have not abandoned or even diminished their direct sales efforts just because Twitter and Facebook are on the rise. But smaller companies are.

Most salespeople have to face some level of call reluctance. Sales trainer Brian Tracy says the average salesperson comes in to work, drinks some coffee, shuffles business cards, does paperwork, makes a couple of calls from 10 to 11, then tells themselves: "Well, I don't want to bother people at lunchtime" and then they go to lunch themselves. When they come back, at 1:30 or so, they might make a few calls, until 3:30 or 4. They figure most people are wrapping up their day, so they start to wrap up. In other words, any excuse NOT to do the thing that actually makes them and their companies money.

Now we have some new excuses: Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. I use them myself. But you won't see the big players trying to tweet their way to sales success, and neither will I.

I personally have demonstrated cold-calling to a handful of small business owners. One of them tweets prolifically. About three months after her lesson, I asked her how her business was doing, and she said: about the same (not great). I asked if she was making sales calls. She said she just can't do it. And yet I see tweet after tweet from her.

So here are 4 of my reasons to make sales calls. Send me some of yours:

  1. Because it works. I can trace many of the biggest sales of our company directly to calling on, by telephone, the companies with whom I'd like to do business. Just to reinforce the point for myself, I track all of our business and then review the sources at the end of the year. We get lots of referrals and follow-on business from existing clients. People find us on the internet. We send letters and emails. We do business with friends and members of our network. Yet more than 30% of our business in 2008 came from sales calls.
  2. If I don't make the calls, my competitors might be. It happens. I can't help being outsmarted, but I don't want to be outworked. When I've been away from my leads database for a period of time, and start calling some old leads, I'll find some who have been called on by a competitor and then signed up with them.
  3. I'm good enough at it, and you don't have to be that good. Jim Rohn, a motivational speaker, says that even a bad salesperson will make sales if they make the calls. Someone will feel sorry for you, or just happen to need what you're selling. Now, obviously, if you're going to do something, you should try to do it well. That doesn't mean slick or manipulative. It does mean pleasant and considerate. And read a few books and listen to some audiobooks to improve yourself. You're just offering your services; you're not trying to persuade someone to buy something they don't need (at least you shouldn't be).
  4. Here's a really personal one, but I'm going to share it because I think it might help you: I feel more confident after I make sales calls. Even when I'm reluctant to make the first call, I decide to do at least 5 without stopping. By the third call, I'm good. After 10, I rule the world. Try it.

I'll save the last 6 reasons for the next edition of this column. Have I sold you on the idea of reading the rest?

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This post was written by Michael Byrd

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