When a rock star sales rep starts complaining, you know there's an issue with traditional cold calling.
Yesterday I had a chance to connect with one of my closest friends who I haven’t connected with in about 9 months. Yes, life is that crazy.
Michelle is a sales rock star! She’s one of the best sales professionals I know. And that’s why it was tough to hear her (of all people) complain about how brutally tough her job is. At first I thought she was just whining. But then I realized that wasn’t the case at all. She told me in detail how she had tried different ways to get in front of her prospects and nothing was working.
She’s been at this for a long time. She was one of the few people I got my hard core and classic cold calling training from. When someone with this much experience complains, it’s time to listen.
By the way, Michelle doesn’t sell anything goofy. She sells technology solutions for one of the largest companies in the world. Her company has over 1,000 sales people globally and is Top 3 in their industry. She joined the company from a smaller regional competitor about a year ago for the stability that a huge brand name like this can bring. They’ve even provided lots of sales training to her on “advanced techniques”.
Here are the 4 main sales and cold calling complaints and frustrations she expressed from all this.
1. She’s Lucky to Get a 5% Contact Rate on Cold Calling
No one is picking up their phones anymore. Gate keepers are notorious for blocking sales reps. Folks just aren’t interested in listening to the same canned and generic pitches.
2. You Can’t Prove Value in One Minute
When no one wants to listen, how can you prove the value of your product or service? How can you use titles like “Trusted Advisor” when people don’t know you and you can’t get them to budge on the phone? Plus they’re not too happy with being interrupted.
3. No One Returns Voicemails
In the last 5 months, she hasn’t had a single prospect return her voice messages. Sure, she’s had tons of training on how to “stand out” in voice mails, but, how much can you really stand out? Let’s call it the way it is, most times messages are deleted.
4. Most Emails Are Ignored
She gets the occasional e-mail replies from prospects, but they’re few and far between. The replies she does receive usually say “thanks, but no thanks”.
As I’m listening to Michelle, my biggest thought is: NOW MULTIPLY THIS BY 1,000+ REPS!
When you’re doing something that’s not effective and then multiplying those results, there’s something massively wrong.
This company has spent millions of dollars on sales training programs, yet no one has taught the sales team the basics of prospecting using social selling. No one has figured out that buyers are going online to do their research. Sales leaders are in a slumber!
Cold Calling Trainers are Confusing!
If you’re in sales and you don’t have these complaints above, I’d like to hear from you. To add to this mess and confusion, are old-school cold calling trainers.
One cold calling trainer actually told me this: “Less calls mean that MINE are more likely to succeed. I see it as an opportunity” [when cold calling contact rates decrease]. Say what?!
The Bottom Line
I’m not suggesting social selling is the silver bullet today, but it has shown to help. It has shown to produce more leads in a pipeline when it is practiced effectively. We’ve got lots of proof around this.
As a sales industry, we need to wake up and stop ignoring the pink elephant in the room. Sales reps are suffering today. I firmly believe this is the reason for the attrition problems in the industry today.
Sales leaders, are you listening? Social selling is here to stay.