If you’ve been doing phone sales for more than a day, odds are high that you have heard every possible excuse to get you off the phone as soon as possible:
“How DARE you call during ‘American Idol!’”
“How dare YOU call during my mid-morning snack!”
“How dare you CALL during the Super Bowl!”
“Would love to talk more about annuities, but my daughter’s dance recital starts in three minutes!”
“Can you try me back in a few weeks? I’m washing my hair right now.”
“I’m in the middle of sorting my baseball cards and Silly Bands. You caught me at a bad time!”
Well, timing is everything — DON’T call during the Super Bowl or Christmas or Thanksgiving (even if you have nothing else to do). But conversational tone means a lot, too. Very soon the Mojo dialer will be adding a “temperature” feature for you to label each cold or warm lead with a flame icon indicating their mood and attitude the last time you called.
Why is this important? Because HOW a customer says No or Maybe is often more important than the words themselves.
I know this is true and let me testify why from the perspective of an insurance policy customer. I despise my current home insurance company. Their rates are outrageous and they are still punishing me for a tiny stove fire that caused some minor smoke damage in my kitchen a few years ago.
About six months ago, a sales agent from Company B called me up and told me that they didn’t care about the burnt pasta pot and that it is time I stop being raked over the coals for it. They gave me a quote that would reduce my annual homeowner’s policy from $1,200 to about $800 annually. I checked the company’s references and it looks like they aren’t selling policies out of the back of a van. They have their name on a major sports stadium.
But in order to save that money, I would have to switch over my car insurance policy, too. I told the sales rep to call me back in a few weeks because I really was happy with my car insurance even though she could beat that quote, too.
Since that initial call, Company B has politely followed up three times — and due to some inexplicable sense of inertia, I told the sales agent that I wasn’t ready to make a move yet. But as I’m typing these words, I’m embarrassed. It is obviously in my best interest to switch insurance carriers, and only laziness has prevented me from doing so. Now, I’m going to call her back.
A quick sales lesson from my ridiculous experience: If customers don’t want you to call them and open their eyes to advantageous opportunities, they won’t be bashful about lecturing you. But if you don’t hear a hard “No,” you should keep calling back according to your sales action plan (sign up for our Facebook or Twitter feeds to learn how Mojo’s lead management software will soon help you STICK to your action plans).
John Petrowski, president of the Independent Health Insurance Agent Association (IHIAA), recently told Mojo that fear of being rejected or yelled at (“call reluctance”) is the number one reason why sales people fail.
“I can count on one hand the number of people who got upset at me,” says Petrowski.
That’s because many people have internalized the stereotype of the telemarketer who won’t take no for an answer, the caller who goes on and on with his sales pitch. Don’t be that person. If a prospect says they are not interested, take the hint and move on.
“You don’t get anyone mad with a ‘Have a Nice Day,’” he says.
The impact of “Call Reluctance” is so powerful that some psychologists have gone as far as calling it a “social disease.”
Sticking with the medical jargon, I’d say it is a disease closer to hypochondria. With a positive attitude, the frequency of rude responses you’ll get will be minimal. Because the reality is that MANY people really do want to hear from you even if they seem rushed or harried.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a phone call to make….