Would You Listen to You?

Many new sales people often take it personally when a prospect says ‘NO’ and fail to persist with their prospecting efforts while others turn prospecting into stalking not knowing how to engage a prospect effectively.

Topic – knowing when and how to stop

Mentor – Sue Barrett

  • Over 50% of sales people give up at 1st contact if they get a ‘NO’
  • At the 5th contact 7% of sales people are left
  • At the 8th contact there is only one sales person left

Here is a link to today’s feature blog by Sue

Developing your leadership style – Jacob Aldridge – Blackboard Friday Golden Moments


Kevin Turner: Sue Barrett returns again this morning, and Sue is our guest all week as our guest mentor, Sue Barrett from www.barrett.com.au. Use the links to find out more about Sue and her team and the business that they operate, if you’re looking to bring some real discipline into your sales team and give it a lot more meaning.

Kevin Turner: Sue, welcome back to the show. I want to ask you this morning about the blog article that we have published already this morning for you that relates to what we’re talking about, “Would you listen to you? And the no.”

Kevin Turner: A lot of sales people, particularly new sales people, find it difficult to get past that, don’t they?

Sue Barrett: They absolutely do.

Kevin Turner: So how do we overcome that?

Sue Barrett: Persistence, but also, purposeful persistence. I think that, one of the things, you might know, there’s a fine line between persistence and harassment, so we don’t want to end up becoming, you know, a stalker, if you like. So we’ve got to think cleverly about how we’re going to connect with people and engage them, and I think this is where learning how to actually make effective prospecting calls really helps people get over that kind of initial, no rejection.

Kevin Turner: Should you get to the stage where you almost expect a “No”, and if you do, you relish it because you know that’s one step closer to getting a yes?

Sue Barrett: In one sense, yes. Well, there’s a couple of reasons why people say no. One of the reasons is that they’re not ready yet. It’s not the right time for them, so that’s okay, keep them in your pipeline, find out when it might be appropriate for them and get permission to follow up.

Sue Barrett: Another reason why they might say no is that they have other, you know, relationships that you can’t break into yet. You just haven’t found the right angle to get in, and again, depending on how tight they are.

Sue Barrett: But another reason that they might say no is because you just didn’t give them a reason to want to say yes. And the way you actually positioned yourself wasn’t relevant to them. It may have been all about you rather than something of interest to them. So how do we actually stop what they’re doing now and have them pay attention to us and go, “You know what, you sound really interesting, I want to keep talking to you.”

Kevin Turner: It’s interesting, you’re talking there about listening more, understanding more, and actively listening. How many conversations, in your experience, do we need, or contacts do we need to have so that people become more comfortable with dealing with us? Is there a number you can put on that?

Sue Barrett: Well, once again, it will depend on … You know, a lot of people think, you know, oh, there’s the right time, you know, when I get someone. But we look at the sort of statistics, and about 50 percent of people will give up when they get a no on the first contact and never go back to that prospect again, which is kind of silly, because of the reasons I just gave earlier.

Sue Barrett: We do find that depending on the prospect, that it may take, you know, five contacts to actually get in front of that person you want to talk to. Like I said, they may not have been ready at the time you called them. They may have other relationships. And if we hang in there, by about the eighth contact, usually we’re the only one left, because everyone else has fallen off.

Sue Barrett: But you can actually tighten those numbers up if you approach your prospecting efforts by having really interesting reasons that are relevant to the prospect that you’re calling.

Sue Barrett: One of the things that I like to get people to think about is how do they create a valid business reason, a valid business reason that prospect will go, “You know what? This is interesting to me, whether it’s the first or the fifth or the tenth call, I want to actually talk to you.” And you’ve got to think about it from that person’s perspective, from their company perspective, from their industry perspective. So you should never be short of reasons why you could engage someone.

Kevin Turner: You mentioned, I mean, you’re looking at attrition. You’re looking at just being consistent coming back and basically doing what other sales people don’t do, and that is continually come back to try and look for things that interest people, to get them involved.

Kevin Turner: Sue, in your experience, is this the secret? Is this what you see a lot of successful sales people do that others don’t, is that they are persistent?

Sue Barrett: Absolutely. Well, I’ll give you an example from myself personally. There’s been a company that we spoke to 10 years ago, so in 2008, and we had a look at some opportunities there. They’re in our database, but we didn’t get any business from them back then. But we persisted by providing them with, you know, every now and then, a relevant EDM, you know, it might have interesting topics. We also provided them, we prospected to them every now and then. Now, people come and go in organisations, but, funnily enough, this year, 10 years later, we have now picked up a huge body of work from them.

Sue Barrett: Now, that’s 10 years. I mean, we weren’t calling them every week or every month, but we made sure as part of our database that we engaged people. So we have done some statistics in our business, and that about 35 percent of our revenue at this point in time comes in from our, you know, data, where we actually do our social media, content marketing, those sorts of things. Around 25 percent of our revenue comes in from how we work our database. You know, existing contacts that are there, even if they’ve been hanging around for 10 years, like I just described.

Sue Barrett: And then the other elements are going out and doing new, new prospecting and bringing in new opportunities, so we never see a lead as dead. You know, we see it as maybe not ready yet, but it’s finding different ways to engage, be interesting, and have people go, “You know what, I’m ready now.”

Kevin Turner: Yeah. That’s such an interesting insight, and once again, it talks about success and being patient and understanding and I love that concept that the “No” means “I’m just not ready yet.” Yeah, it’s very optimistic, but it’s also very real.

Kevin Turner: Hey, Sue, thank you so much. Tomorrow, we’re gonna round this whole series out with a great question on the blog article we’re gonna publish, and I want you to hear what the question is, or the comment. It says, “If you complain about price being a barrier, make sure you wear a bicycle helmet.” We’ll tell you what that means tomorrow.

Kevin Turner: Sue, look forward to talking to you then. Thank you for your time.

Sue Barrett: Thanks, Kevin.


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