This is from another email to The Sales Blog Mailbag. The question is: “Should I follow my sales trainer’s advice and leave a message with only my name and telephone number. The prospects I am calling on seem angry with me when they call back—which is rarely. I am uncomfortable with this.”
This question is really two questions. As such, it requires two answers.
Should I Follow My Sales Trainer’s Advice?
The short answer is, “Yes, you should follow your sales trainer’s advice.” Sometimes what your sales trainer recommends makes you uncomfortable. There is a good reason it makes you uncomfortable: all growth comes from stretching yourself beyond your comfort zone.
The recommendations that your sales trainer makes are supposed to push you beyond your comfort zone. They are supposed to help you develop new and more powerful tools and methods for achieving better results. You don’t improve by continuing to do what you have always done; you have to change something.
Your company paid to have you trained. They made a decision to purchase advice and ideas that they believe will further your results.
But of course, all sales trainers aren’t created equal.
Should I Leave a Message With Only My Name and Number?
The answer to whether or not you should leave a message with only your name and your telephone is resoundingly “NO!”
Selling effectively is based on trust and relationships. There isn’t ever any reason to attempt to open a relationship by being sneaky, conniving, or devious. There is never a reason to attempt to trick your dream client into returning your call.
More still, you are sending the wrong message—and a dangerous message, too. Instead of leaving a professional message that tells your dream client who you are, what you want, and how it will benefit them to invest time speaking with you, you are instead leaving a very different message. You are leaving a message that says that you cannot be trusted, that you don’t respect your dream client’s time, and that you don’t believe that you can create value for your dream client.
This approach doesn’t work. It may get you a few calls back, but those calls cannot go well because by saying nothing on their vociemail, you have already said too much: You aren’t worth doing business with—and even you believe this true.
Selling well isn’t easy. And there isn’t much about selling that is more difficult than just getting in. But there are no gimmicks, secrets, tricks, or tactics that are going to make getting in any easier.
You make it easier to get in by doing a couple things.
First, you have to be someone worth doing business with. That’s what is going to give you the confidence that you need to get in. Second, you have to have a compelling message around how you create value that resonates with your dream client. Finally, you don’t have to have nurtured the relationship for a long time, but it sure makes it a Hell of a lot easier to have done so.
It’s better to have a reputation as a value creator than to have a reputation as a sneaky, smarmy, confidence-lacking, time-wasting pretender. When given the choice, trade an unreturned phone message (or a rejection of your request for an appointment) for your reputation and your professionalism.
When should you accept someone else’s advice regarding your sales practices and when should you reject it?
Are you introspective enough to know when your resistance to an idea is because the idea is harmful to you and your sales results and when it is just something that stretches you?
How do you handle advice that strikes you as unethical or unprofessional? What if your company has paid for you to obtain this advice?
What message does it send to your prospective client that you leave a cryptic message, saying nothing about who you are, what you do, why you are calling, and what you want?
Why do gimmicks, secrets, tricks, and tactics seem so appealing? Do they ever work as well as advertised? Would you be better off taking the more difficult but more effective approach?
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