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Peak Performance Management, Inc. | Pittsburgh, PA

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I always ask for volunteers in my training sessions to role-play their prospecting call on me. The mock calls sound strikingly similar. The differences are only in the name, company, and services offered. I then ask the group, ”When the phone rings at your house or your office, how do you know it’s a salesperson? What may tip you off?” 

The answers are pretty universal, “The caller is way too enthusiastic” they tell me, or “They butcher my name” or “They try to unload as much information as quick as possible”.  The funny part is when I ask, “How long does it take to figure this out and what do you do about it?”  Everyone says “Right away and I hang-up” or “right away and I tell them I’m not interested” or “right away and I tell them that she’s not available.”     

Most salespeople are taught or assume that in order to begin the sales process they need to be excited and enthusiastic. I say that’s crazy! I prove in my workshops that enthusiasm kills when the enthusiastic one is the salesperson. In order for the sales process to continue there had better be as much and preferably MORE enthusiasm from the buyer of services than there is from the seller of those services. This paradigm shift in our thinking will go a long way in our ability to keep a dialogue going with a prospective buyer of our products and services.

Unfortunately, dysfunctional selling practices have given many people have a rather dim view of our profession. This is why defense walls go up when they get a slight whiff of a “salesperson”

I don’t want to be sold anymore that you want to be sold. I get cautious when someone is too excited about his “latest greatest got to have” product or service.

So what’s a sales professional to do you ask? The answer is easy, but doing it takes practice.

Quit sounding like every other salesperson prospecting for new business!

I use the term Pattern Interrupt to describe the first step in preventing defense walls from being raised. The typical patterns of most salespeople need to be interrupted by a more nontypical approach, one that sets the stage for an open dialogue with the prospective owner of your product or service. Like I said before, easier said than done. At least if we become aware that our current approach calls sound like everyone else, we can make the choice to change them.

There are tactics we should use and my clients have found wonderful techniques for moving past gatekeepers, getting voicemail returned, having a direct conversation with key decision makers and none of them come across as either canned, deceptive or “salesy”.

Have someone listen to your approach call, does it sound like everyone in your business or industry? Be aware that your tonality accounts for 70% of what your prospect hears on the phone, only 30% are the words that you use.

If you decide to make a better impact on your prospecting efforts, the first step will be to break down the defense walls in order to break into new accounts.  Make a shift in the selling process.

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