Summer’s Here – Heat Up Your Prospecting Pipeline!

Summertime. Is there anything better? While we would love to spend these days vacationing — or golfing if you have that bug — there is selling to be done!

When it comes to tracking your sales activity, there are two types of pipelines — a sales pipeline with pending orders and a prospecting pipeline. We all need both of these pipelines to be stronger…but right now we’ll concentrate on the prospecting side of things.

Although we all want to schedule meetings with potential new customers within a two week window, we also know it’s important to plant seeds for the future. All too often, we have goals to reach and focus on what’s right in front of us. While I am a firm believer in cold calling as one of many effective prospecting strategies, none of us should “cold call” a prospect more than once. It can be avoided.

Your prospecting pipeline represents prospects that did not agree to a first appointment on the first call, but can be warmed up for an effective follow up call.

Let’s think about our prospecting pipelines in terms of a golf game. We want to tee up our prospecting calls, get a strong first shot, and set ourselves up for the next shot. Here are some ideas to make par:

1.  Give yourself the best shot for them taking your call again. 
On the first call, if you are asked to call back in three months (after you have attempted to reposition a reason to meet sooner), set yourself up for an effective follow up call.

Example: John, I completely understand you needing me to call you back in three months. Why don’t I call you back on September 26th (select a date for exactly 3 months later) and we can schedule an appointment at that time? Does that work for you?
Note: I am not recommending you send an Outlook invite for a specific date/time, but simply gain a verbal agreement. This will help you tee up your follow up call! Also consider sending a LinkedIn invitation to connect and/or adding the prospect’s email to a marketing drip-campaign to make you and/or your company more memorable.

2. Don’t miss your tee time — make sure to call on the date you said you would. 
People are testing you. This is a great opportunity for you to prove how organized you are and that you do exactly what you say you will do. Utilize your CRM, Outlook, or any tool you have for staying organized, but call on the day you said you would call.

3. Reference the date of your last shot/conversation and the agreement they made to talk again today!

Example: John, the last time we spoke on June 26th, you and I agreed that I would contact you today to set an appointment. How does your schedule look on Tuesday at 2pm?

4. Master (not THE Masters) following up on voicemail. 
If you get voicemail, leave a simple message.

Example: Hi John. This is Stacia Skinner from Creative Training Solutions. My callback number is 847-577-4115.  I’m calling regarding our last conversation on June 26th. Again, my number is 847-577-4115. Thank you!

Remember, the #1 reason most people do not return voicemail is that it sounds like a sales call!  Keep it short, sweet and intriguing. Your #1 goal of voicemail is simply to get a return call.

Golfing, when done well, can make you feel like you’re on top of the world. Cold calling, when done well, can yield excellent results and a steady flow of first appointments. Mastering a great follow up call will truly set you apart from the rest and give you the competitive advantage you need for sales now…AND in the future. Good golfing…and good selling out there. Enjoy your summer!

Golf Etiquette – It Matters!

Well, it’s that time of year when the sun is shining and the golf clubs are swinging. Whether you have a chance to play in a company outing or a charity event, how you conduct yourself on the golf course matters!

To add to the golfing advice given in a CTS newsletter two summers ago…with the help of etiquette guru Peter Post and his book called The Unwritten Rules of Golf…here are some tips to help you make a good impression regardless of your final score.

1. Respect the course. This important rule includes repairing divots and ball marks, not tossing or slamming down your clubs in frustration, and raking the bunker surface smooth as you leave it. Your goal should be to leave each hole in as good — or better– shape than when you started to play the hole. Follow the rules set by each course for the necessary repairs.

2. Drive and park your cart properly. Be sure to follow signs for where carts may be driven. Never drive a cart on a green or through a bunker. When you’re putting, park your cart parallel to or beyond the green, and not before it, so play is not needlessly delayed when you’re ready to go on to the next hole. Also, don’t be tempted to allow a walker to stand on the back of your cart to get a lift to the next hole. Safety first!

3. Hold your tongue at key moments. Golf is a fun, social game, but knowing when to keep quiet is critical. Sharing stories or joking around should cease any time someone is taking a swing. As a general rule, cell phones should be on silent during the entire game. Cell phones are the biggest source of rudeness in society today. Allow yourself, and those around you, to concentrate and really enjoy the experience.

Remember, on the golf course and on the job, manners do matter. Good luck with your game and good selling!