The CRM screen looked like a spreadsheet with entries made that all looked the same. Written on every line was, "Called, Left Message, no Response." I scrolled down the page on my screen, and there must have been 50 such entries, all the same. Some of the calls were made several days in a row, some dates skipped a week or two, some longer, but the results all looked the same. Later that day, I spoke with the salesperson that handled this account. They told me how they had the CRM tool up to date with all their entries. I then asked, "Why were they all the same?" The response was that the representative could not get the prospect to return his call, to which I replied, "Then stop doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."
As professional salespeople, the very last thing we want to hear is No. I think that salespeople believe that as long as they do not get a No, there is a possibility of a Yes. And while that might be true, it can be a soul-destroying process when the sale takes an inordinate amount of time. During my selling career, I was never told by a prospect that they were waiting for my call. Nor was I ever told that the very day I called, they had been hoping for my call as they started their day. Unfortunately, in sales, we are often an afterthought, much to our chagrin. Timing, as much as anything, ranked as one of the top reasons a sale was eventually made. My management never wanted to hear that to them it was the product, the value, the process that was driving the business. More times than not, something changed with a prospect to accelerate discussions. That change was often something I said, shared, or did differently to kick start the process. Was I changing the timing?
Salespeople are a very resilient bunch. However, we need to be smart about our interactions with prospects to avoid falling into the trap that so many salespeople do.
"Mr. Johnson, this is Bob from Acme Services. Can you give me a call a