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Move Prospects UP or Out With 3x48:
How to Tele-Prospect Effectively

By Nathan Jamail

These days, many companies are coming to the same conclusion: In order to make their sales numbers, the sales team cannot rely merely on existing databases, but must go out and get new business – in some cases, a lot of new business. Over the past couple years, many businesses have gotten comfortable seeing sales growth from current customers and good, old fashioned word-of-mouth. And because of this success, many sales leaders are discovering just how out of commission their sales teams really are – discipline and practice must be re-instilled.

Just because sales in your industry might be down 25 percent, it doesn’t mean your company has to be down 25 percent. A company can increase sales in any economy by increasing their share of the market. And keeping in mind that a sales leader’s goal is to capture more of the marketplace, it is important your team reaches as many people as possible. For that, we have tele-prospecting. Unfortunately many salespeople don’t like tele-prospecting, but the truth is, in order to grow the business your sales team will not only need to do it, but be effective at it!

Here’s the scenario: How many times do salespeople in your organization leave the same voicemail for a prospective client over, and over, and over again? It’s common practice for many sales reps to make a call, leave a message and then schedule a follow-up call in their calendars for the following month or so. While this process creates activity, it very rarely creates results. First, the prospect receives hundreds of calls every month, so by the time your sales rep calls back two months later, he doesn’t remember the first call. Second, the calls are so infrequent that the prospect is easily able to ignore the call and hope it goes away. Third, while most people hate getting rejected, they hate rejecting others even more. Compare it to your personal life. How many times have you known someone who wants to break up with her significant other, but doesn’t want to do the rejecting, so she tries to make him mad so that he breaks up with her? Business is no different. A prospect would rather ignore the salesperson than reject him.

Here’s where tele-prospecting comes in. The 3x48 program will not only put an end to the scenario above, but it will move the process along and allow a salesperson to move the prospect up – to a possible client – or out of the call rotation altogether. This is referred to the “move them up or out” program.    Here is how it works: 

The salesperson will make three calls, each one 48 hours apart. For example:  The first call Monday, the second Wednesday and the third Friday. Each call has a different goal, and each is a step to get the prospect to return the call.

Call Number One: The goal of the first call is to introduce yourself to the prospective client and ask him or her to call you back. Here’s an example:

“Hello my name is John Smith and I’m with ABC Company. The reason for my call is to introduce myself to you and to offer you a free business analysis of your 2009 sales plans. We have helped many clients increase their profits in difficult and changing markets. I would greatly appreciate it if you would call me back at 972-555-0000.   Thanks and have a wonderful day.”

Call Number Two: The goal of the second call is to let the prospect know you are following up to the call you left a couple days ago.

“Hello Mr. Prospect my name is John Smith with ABC Company. I left you a message a couple days ago and wanted to follow up with you regarding your free business analysis.   Again my phone number is 972-555-0000.   Thanks again and I look forward to hearing from you soon.”

Call Number Three: The goal of the third call is to let the prospect know you are not trying to pester him, and give him permission to reject you (this call is key).

“Hello Mr. Prospect, this is John Smith with ABC Company. I know I left you a couple messages this week and don’t mean to be overbearing, but I want to make sure I do a good job following up and let you know that I would love the opportunity to visit for few minutes.   I was hoping you would do me a favor and let me know if either (A) you would like to talk to me but you have just been too busy, or (B) you don’t feel it would be a good time for us to meet and would prefer I don’t call again. I know your time is valuable and I would appreciate your direction as to how to proceed next. Thanks again and have a wonderful day.”

This method is successful because:

  • The calls are close enough to each other that the prospects remember you (after the third call, they definitely know who you are).

  • The prospects start to think that if they don’t call you back you may never stop calling.

  • You gave the prospects permission to reject you, so they feel more comfortable calling you back.

  • You are assertive but not aggressive. Your calls are consistent and direct, but not generic or too “salesy.”

Prospecting is the worst part of any sales position; you might compare it to the bar exam for lawyers or spring training for baseball teams. But much like in baseball, to have spring training is not good enough to win; the coach and team must work hard every day, just as salespeople must continuously tele-prospect to increase their business. The companies that play to win will get new customers and take the market share.

Read other articles and learn more about Nathan Jamail.

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