As a sales professional, your primary goal is to strike up a conversation with as many qualified prospects as possible. Although a face-to-face meeting may be the ideal environment, there are times when reaching out via telephone is the best strategy.
Every sales team faces a variety of challenges. The time it takes to qualify opportunities remains a primary concern, but this may not be the only thing holding you back.
Do you ever wonder why prospects aren’t taking your calls? This is extremely frustrating, especially if you know you have something of value to offer.
Rather than cross the lead off your list, you should instead answer a very important question: why won’t the prospect take or return your call? This may not lead to a meaningful conversation or an eventual sale, but it will help you fine tune your approach for future success.
With all that in mind, it’s time to examine five of the top reasons why prospects aren’t taking your calls:
- Reaching Out at the Wrong Time
Think about your own schedule. When is the busiest time of your day? When do you have a bit of spare time for tasks that are not as high on your priority list?
Your prospects are extremely busy. If you continually reach out at the wrong time of the day, you can’t expect to make much progress.
So, when is the best time to make a sales call? SalesHQ shares some interesting advice:
- Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days for calling fresh leads.
- 4 pm to 6 pm is the best time of the day to reach out to prospects via phone.
Does this mean you should avoid other days and times? Of course not. The best thing you can do is track your successes and failures, as this will lead you towards a call schedule that generates the best results.
- Neglecting to Make Yourself Clear
Here’s a common scenario that many sales professionals regularly face. You know who you want to get in touch, such as a high level executive, but something is standing in your way: a gatekeeper. This can be anyone from a receptionist to an administrative assistant. Regardless, their job is to keep you on the outside looking in.
When you are clear and concise with your message, you have a better chance of a gatekeeper cooperating and helping you reach your prospect.
Some of the things you can do to clear the air include:
- Introduce yourself, including your name and company.
- Be quick and to the point.
- Tell the person how you know the prospect.
- Make it clear that you only need a minute of his or her time.
There is no guarantee that this strategy will work, but it definitely improves your chance of success. As you improve your approach, you’ll eventually find a technique that increases the likelihood of being “passed through.’
- A Bad First Impression
You only have a few seconds to make a good first impression. If you missed the boat the first time around, you’ll find yourself behind the eight ball.
For example, maybe you reached the prospect via phone a few days prior to your follow up call. If things didn’t go well, if you rambled on and neglected to provide any real value to the conversation, your job is much more difficult moving forward.
A bad first impression doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll never reach the prospect again, but it decreases the odds of doing so.
- The Prospect is Swamped
Get this: just because a prospect isn’t taking your call it doesn’t necessarily mean you did something wrong. It’s not always because you have nothing of value to offer.
Just as with your daily schedule, there are times when your prospects don’t have time to speak. It’s as simple as that.
Here’s what you can do:
- Record the time and day of your call.
- Schedule a follow up call at a different time (see above).
- Make note of the end result.
No two people are on the same schedule, so you may have to mix it up in regards to when you make calls. This is why keeping track of each call, including the time and day, is of utmost importance.
If a prospect didn’t take your call on Monday or Tuesday at 1 pm, there’s a good chance the same will hold true for the rest of the week. However, switch your call time to 4 pm, and you may get the conversation you have been seeking.
- The Prospect isn’t Qualified
No matter how much time you spend qualifying your prospects, mistakes and oversights are bound to happen. There are times when leads sneak into your pipeline that don’t fit what you offer.
While you may not be able to see it at first, a prospect will typically know from the get-go if they aren’t qualified. Rather than waste their time, as well as yours, the person may simply avoid your phone call.
Sure, it would be easier if he or she would communicate this to you, but that’s not the way things always work.
The best way to avoid this situation is to implement a system for qualifying leads.
In a perfect world, every prospect would be wiling to take your call and discuss your company, products, and/or services.
In the real world, every sales professional knows this isn’t the case. There are times when a prospect simply won’t take your call.
By understanding why this happens, you can adjust your approach as to achieve more positive results in the future.