In an age dominated by Whatsapp, instant messaging and emailing, it seems we will try almost every available channel before simply picking up the phone and having a conversation with an individual. For salespeople, however, sales calling is an unavoidable part of the job and no matter the excuse, it must happen.

As a key channel for prospecting and building relationships, salespeople must set aside dedicated time for sales calling, yet when the time comes to pick up the phone and dial, the excuses and procrastination can begin.

You may have heard one or more of the below excuses for delaying sales calling – you may have even given one of the excuses yourself – either way, it is important to recognize excuses and understand how to overcome them, here we detail how:

“No one is ever in when I phone”

Be smart and choose the right times to contact your prospects. For instance, don’t ring a school at 3pm when it’s obvious that it’s the most hectic time for them. Importantly, never use ‘people not being in’ as a reason to give up. You might make 20 calls and only speak to 2 people. BUT all that matters is that you present yourself in a compelling way when you do reach those 2 people.

“I’m far too busy”

Just one hour every week, highlighted in your diary and acted on, consistently, WILL make a difference. Not only will it help build your pipeline and potentially find opportunities, it will do wonders for your confidence. If you’re serious about getting results, then you will find time. Believe me, your competitor won’t be too busy to find time to make calls.

“No one is interested”

This normally means you’ve called a handful of people who’ve not been positive about your call, and this has put you off. If your calls are structured in the right way and are aimed at engaging the decision maker, you’ll find people who are interested. Importantly you must believe in whatever you’re promoting. Consider some training in dealing with objections– this will help to minimize the “no one is interested” mindset.

“The list or database I’m using is rubbish”

I agree – you are only ever going to be good as the database you are working from. If you’re grappling with poor quality data, communicate this to a line manager so they can do something about it. But make sure you’ve made enough calls to come to this conclusion. This doesn’t mean ringing 7 companies and then giving up. If you want to be successful at calling, be proactive.

“There are too many companies like ours already making calls/Too much competition”

Competition is healthy. Although multiple companies appear to be selling the same product or service, I can guarantee they will each have unique selling points. This is where ‘personal branding’ is key. Sounding positive, enthusiastic and taking an interest in your prospect will get them sitting up and listening to you – you’ll immediately stand out from most other callers. Use relevant case studies to differentiate yourself. Do research and use what you know during your call to ensure they remember you. If everyone worried about competition, no one would make calls.

“We haven’t got any marketing material to send out”

Do you really believe people will reject you if you haven’t got any materials to send out? As nice as it is to have swanky brochures, people buy people first. If you’ve had a good call, the best thing you can do is send out an email after the conversation – but do check with your prospect that it’s OK to follow up via email. If you arrange to see prospects face to face, a simple business card will be fine in the first instance.

“We won’t be able to deliver what they want in a timely fashion”

This is a valid concern. Sometimes other departments or individuals let us down. If you’re ringing about a promotion, knowing that you’re low on stock, or trying to make appointments and fear the rep will end up cancelling, then you’ll shy away from picking up the phone – and with good reason. Managing your potential customers’ expectations is important if you’re serious about forming a long-term relationship. Planning and preparation are the keys to success here. Never make a call knowing you can’t fulfil what you’re proposing. Deal with any practical concerns before you pick up the phone.

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