In 1928 Sales and Marketing Management magazine concluded a study and found that the average sales person was only working 20% of the time (1.5 hours/day). 60 years later in 1988 Sales and Marketing Management magazine revisited this study and found that average sales person was only working 20% of the time (1.5 hours/day). Nothing had changed. Though we don’t know if this study was repeated now 30 years later, we suspect the same.
Though some have attributed this to the fact that the phone receiver weighs 100lbs - The actual reason is that sales people have the freedom and autonomy to manage their day and tend to do other things than to speak to potential new customers on the phone.
“You’re only working if you’re speaking to a prospective client on the phone”
Brian Tracy – sales trainer motivational speaker
We suggest that you stress that your sales people must always be on the phone doing one of the 3 following things (all require speaking to potential customers):
Prospecting, Presenting, or Following-up
Prospecting: If we are marketing for you, just picking up the phone when it rings and not allowing it to go to voicemail can be a significant improvement in sales efficiency and call time.
Presenting: This requires a few minutes of rapport building and getting to know your customer (they will only buy from you if they like you and trust you) before presenting the value of your product or service. After this, remember to express the benefits of your product or service and after each statement close it with a tie-down. “You see how this will benefit your company, right Bob?" Tie-downs make your customer consider buying now. But you can take this a step further by actually asking for the order. It’s fair to say, “let’s get you started!” multiple times during the presentation. Studies show that asking for the order 5 times or more during the presentation increases the likelihood of getting the sale by 80%.
Following-up: We are appalled how many businesses never call back after extending a quote. They just wait for something to happen. No, no, no! Call back and ask for the order. Open the conversation with, “Hey Bob, I was calling in to see if you’re ready to get started.” This simple technique shows that you have confidence in your product and that you care enough to follow up and often gets you the sale.
There’s a lot to do in the sales process. Make sure your sales personnel are doing these three productive things that require talking on the phone! Their call times will go up as will their efficiencies and your sales!