By Jamie MacVicar
Rarely will an e-mail, a tweet or a brochure make a sale. But personal, congenial, professional contact often does. But with the modern day computer a certain impersonalized distance has developed in the business world. A distance that could be mitigated by picking up the phone and making a sales call, the old-fashioned way.
But prospect calling isn't easy. By nature, we all want to feel accepted, and rejection is a part of any sales effort. That same trepidation can lead to inactivity, or wasted, unproductive time behind the computer. So here is how you can make it easier:
- Find your rhythm, your highest positive energy of the day. For me it's mornings. From 8 a.m. until noon I am fearless. At 9 a.m. I'd call Vladimir Putin and pitch an idea! But my confidence fades in the afternoon. So its mornings that I make my sales calls. No interruptions. I then schedule my presentations for the afternoons, leaving my mornings free — for more sales calls.
- Smile when you speak into the phone. It will show in your voice.
- Today's selling is far more consultative. Your first call isn't meant to sell anything. It's to open a dialogue, and get an appointment.
- Use referrals no matter how obscure. The prospect is more likely to listen when you start by saying, "So and so spoke highly of you and suggested that I give you a call."
- Sell like to like. People are more receptive when they hear that a company or someone they know has done a similar tie-in or promotion.
- And most important of all, focus almost solely on their "needs," not yours, and more often than not you will close the sale.
In summary, there are numerous win-win alliances that can multiply your advertising dollars. But we mustn't forget that all things start from actions — actions that emanate from the heart of a good salesperson.
Jamie MacVicar is the author of the newly released non-fiction narrative "The Advance Man: A Journey Into the World of the Circus," about his experience as an advance man for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.