Two Ways to Make Your Phone Ring (and one to make it stop)

Prospecting is hard, cold calling sucks, nobody likes it, and many salespeople will use any excuse to avoid doing it. They often hide their lack of prospecting efforts behind reasons like putting out fires, dealing with administrative stuff their boss needs, calling on existing customers, and so on. The truth is when we avoid prospecting for too long; our pipeline dries up, we get desperate, and we start to panic. Neither of these is a good frame of mind when you need to generate new business and make your phone ring.

The first way is how most salespeople try and make their phones ring and is also the slowest, least effective, and requires the most time and self-discipline. That said, when done correctly, it can work, but in most cases, it’s a very long play to make this method work by itself. The method is what I will call, for lack of a better term, outbound e-marketing or Account-Based Marketing. Using anything from LinkedIn, and other social media platforms, to sending emails to clients from your email server or an automated system like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying not to use this method as it can lead to familiarity and credibility, but again it’s the long game and likely very ineffective by itself.

The second and most immediate way to make your phone ring is to pick your phone and make OUTBOUND calls to your prospects. There are as many excuses for not calling prospects as there are salespeople. The number one excuse is “Nobody answers their phone.” While this may be true, it isn’t a good reason not to make outbound calls. To be clear, when done correctly and consistently, making outbound sales calls has been and likely always will be the best method for engaging with prospects.

I’ll admit none of your prospects, or mine, are sitting by their phone waiting for you and me to call them. So, when we do call, we are interrupting them plain and simple. We know it, and they know it. The way to make these calls effect is simple, but does require thought and planning:

  1. State the reason for your call, and get to the point quickly.
  2. Make your ask (this should be for a small amount of time exchanging something they can use, typically information they can use.
  3. Be prepared for the brush-offs or objections. Jeb Blount’s book, Objections, goes into detail on this.
  4. Make your ask again.
  5. Make the next call!

A word about cell phones: if you have a prospect’s cell phone number (and you came by it legitimately), you have implied permission to use that number. I am always surprised when salespeople will call an office number (landline) when they have the option of calling a cell phone. Another very effective option with cell phones is text messaging. Sending a brief text message is often more effective than leaving voicemail messages when engaging with a prospect.

One sure-fire way to make your phone stop ringing is to be sales-y when speaking with prospects and potential clients. Just start pitching and telling them all about your product, service, or company without leading with anything of value. This gruesome telemarketer approach is a great way to get your messages deleted without being listened to and your number blocked.

The bottom line is if you want them to call you, you need to go first!