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Buyer, buyer, pants on fire

All sales representatives and new business development specialists have made discovery cold calls to a company to introduce themselves and their services to the appropriate executive decision-maker. And many times, the decision-maker will answer the telephone and respond with, “Send me information. I'll get back to you.”

After a few days of not hearing back from the decision-maker, you follow up with additional calls, only to find out that there's really no interest in purchasing your products/services.  This process is a waste of time, resources and energy you could be using to engage with a real potential sales prospect.  You are prospecting for gold (sales). Don’t waste your energy digging in the wrong place.

There are a few tell-tale signs if the prospect is going to purchase or string you along with harmless lies. Use these five tips to identify real potential sales opportunities:

First – Understand that a decision-maker defines a potential sales opportunity, issues a preliminary budget, a time-frame to purchase and an urgency to make a purchase.

Second – Identify the appropriate executive decision-maker  and know that he/she is different from a decision-influencer and an information-gatherer.

Third – Identify a real interest in purchasing by asking questions that begin with what, why, which, where, why, who and how.  This will allow you to collect key market intelligence.

Fourth – Know that the key is to engage with the appropriate decision-maker over the telephone  and that there is no substitute – not an email message, not a voicemail message and not a direct-mail message.

Fifth – Do not mistake curiosity for interest or interest for a commitment.

Please keep in mind while prospecting for new business over the telephone that for every 100 conversations with the appropriate decision-maker these are the metrics.

-     90 “ No Interests “

-     9   “ Maybe’s”

-     1   “ Yes, I am interested”

Disqualify the non-interested as quickly as possible.  Also know that 80 percent of all new business is achieved by making follow-up calls, so be sure to do it.

Instead of using the cold call to sell, market, promote and brand your product/ services, use the discovery cold call to collect market intelligence with the intent to qualify the decision-maker.

Also know that decision-makers who are not interested in switching from their current product/ service are going to say whatever they can to get off the phone, and they might try to get information from a sales rep that confirms their current vendor/product/serve. Don't mistake a “tire-kicker” for a real buyer.

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Sam Dobbins

Sam Dobbins is the founder and president of the Cold Call King, A Sales Development Consulting Firm, formed in 2004.  Learn more at www.coldcallking.com. And reach the Cold Call King at sam@coldcallking.com or (303) 954-8553.

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