~~The Introduction: An Introduction to Introductions or Tom Niesen, what’s so Texas about him?~~
Tom Niesen worked as Director of Sales for Fuji Film and he was immersed in the training material and opportunities offered by that company. Throughout his time there, the experience of Sandler was the most compelling training that he went through. After seeing an ad on a flight, Tom reached out to Home Office and asked if he could buy Texas. Tom’s from the Dallas / Fort Worth area.
He’d spent a lot of money on himself with the belief that training improves and assumed all sales people functioned the same way. The reality turned out to be the opposite and Tom grinded through his initial opening experience to help facilitate the awareness of the need for training and the benefits that come from it.
~~The Conceptual: Call Centers the Sandler Way or You Mean That Redefining a Culture Changes a Culture?~~
Tom had a client for 15 years that went from 4 sales people to 300 sales people and that progress helped him learn a lot along the way on the difference between face-to-face and phone and what you have to work on to find success there. The timeline on the phone is much faster, but the sale could still be a 3-4 month sale. So, Tom put effort into squeezing down the principles of Behavior, Attitude, Technique into a Call Center to efficiently track everything and compress what tracking they need to do in order to find success.
Call centers are a vital part of today’s business and business strategies. When people think cold-calling doesn’t work, they miss out on a fair amount of success that can come from a sales force that dials for dollars. The question for owners should be whether or not cold-calling is a good use of your time. If you believe calls don’t work and spend time knocking door to door consider how much time would be spent going door to door versus how many conversations you could have over the phone.
The old-fashioned version of cold-calling, list-calling, is dead. But, you don’t need to call from a list—within a few seconds you can know whether or not a potential buyer is a qualified lead to reach out to. Calling out with knowledge can facilitate a sale and help you make a decision on whether to pursue.
Part of the issue is call reluctance, and you may not be able to get over that, but in order to make money in the long run you need to figure out how you can find the most success with that tactic. There are ways to tactically approach this. If there are 1000 people that buy your stuff in your territory, out of those 1000, 50 are in big pain and need your help. The other 950 are just okay with things the way they are. The job of a sales is to find people who can’t buy, so that the time spent chasing unqualified leads is unwasted. In the morning you don’t know if someone will say yes, but you do know someone will say no. Trying to eliminate people at the beginning of your pursuit of business is the most productive way to enrich your prospecting plan and enable yourself to find the most success by measuring the things you can control.
Tom’s been helping companies get out of their comfort zone and embrace proactive prospecting by getting out of their comfort zone. As prospecting goes, you don’t have to like it, you just have to do it. Phones can be far more efficient than feet on the streets. It’s easy to get a list by googling or using a variety of services or list-seller services that can isolate and help you create the exact qualifications of individuals in a demography that you are looking to find perspective and potential buyers within.
There’s some companies that can provide a lot of information and these companies can facilitate the growth of lists which can facilitate prospecting in a new way in the 21st century.
So, what does a dynamic environment for calling look like? The culture that you build in your business defines its success. You must have a strong culture and this is primarily important in a call center. You know you have a strong culture when you have a polarizing environment that has some people saying I love working here, and some people saying I don’t want to work here. The culture of your company will set up attitudes and behaviors that control your company. CEOs and sales managers need to control, manage, and mold the culture of their company. There needs to be a mixture between ambition and fun, because prospecting isn’t fun, but success is.
By removing cubicles and the ability to hide from each other, then the issue of call reluctance can build behind hidden walls. If there is an open environment to that allows visibility then accountability merges with peer pressure in order to motivate people to find success whether or not they find it comfortable. If you hang up the phone and everyone else is on the phone, you’re going to pick the phone up again. The behaviors you motivate and build induce others to act in a similar way. Tom’s rules also include having individuals stand up when they got on the phone. Rather than having the body language of a funeral attendee, you drive energy into your body and express tonality in a vibrant way.
This works in two ways, if everyone else has stood up once, you want to stand up as well. The benefit of driving energy into a phone call is growth and creating an environment that motivates people to get on the phone. It’s important for Tom to also have a lot of noise and energy in the area. He wants his managers to have a bull horn and when someone is number one in the morning then it’s bull-horned out. Everything is measured and everything is announced to create a competitive sensation of both success and movement that motivates individuals to work hard.
Some people may walk in and hate this, but getting those type of individuals that would drive the culture down in a negative out allows managers and owners to create a motivational area which drives individuals to success and helps them facilitate an environment that drives itself.
~~Compressing Systems Into Succinct Consumption, or You Mean There is Technique to Scripts?!?~~
Call centers can sell quarter million to twenty thousand-dollar items, services, or products. It’s vital to use the seconds provided on an initial phone call and scripts work as a means to immediately develop success with methods that build rapport, set an up-front contract, and provide an option for inbound calls to turn into something worthwhile. Answering: “Hey, this is Tom with IT Software, what made you call today?” These open-ended questions allow for immediate explorations of pain issues rather than literal questions with regard to cost.
These scripts built around measuring the activity will help build a comprehensive understanding of what the outcomes of a technical execution are. If there is a clear limitation past the scripts then coaching must happen after the fact. Some techniques can facilitate a two-direction process response which helps build your own script in a live-interaction in order to facilitate the most likely pattern interrupt to either facilitate a sales or get them off the phone in order to get on to the next prospect.
We need to build scripts that get us to pain or to no really fast. This compressed cycle to look for a phone call helps us get to the next appointment. When you don’t want to hear no, you don’t encourage people to tell you no. The biggest thing you want to discover is to get to the pain points by telling someone they are not interested, rather than waiting for them to tell you that they’re not interested. “From what I’ve heard so far, I don’t know if spending this kind of money on your problem is worth it, do you?” If the person on the other end of the line is kicking tires and spending their own time then you want to push them to the no.
Frequently, if you’re getting limited responses, they’re not willing to engage in a serious manner, then you need to work hard to push them toward a no. Building a series of scripts based on the Sandler equation can lead to success. We need to start with a strong pattern interrupt, “I’m looking for help, but you’re probably the wrong person to talk to. If I tell you what I do can you transfer me to the right person?” These momentary lapses in the expected performance of a cold-call or phone marketing message allow you to maneuver past the gatekeeper’s defenses and into a warmer relationship which facilitates a desire to find no and a strong attitude driving the call, rather than being led.
The gatekeeper’s goal is to get off the phone with you, your goal is to get a few more seconds. Any positive responses to our questions lead us to another script, a no leads us to a new script. If they don’t know anyone then we want them to refer us to potential people who might be interested which digs for more information. We want to track and measure where we find success. Sometimes the decision maker may not be the person to drive the sales. Some executives may be difficult to get to so the best way has been to drive traffic to IT users and service users to discover enough pain to get them to open a conversation with us and their boss. This sequence of meetings with various individuals from the ground up allows for the most growth and success possible. Remember that if you aren’t executing your sales process for technical success then you’re winging it every day and while your good days may be good, your bad days will haunt you. Reach out to us if you have questions or thoughts or want to know more about getting involved with Sandler.