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Avoid the Nuisance Call

Think about those prospects that you just KNOW should be buying from you, but you’ve come up empty thinking of new ways to approach.

Or perhaps you have customers that buy from you now, and your job description says you need to call them every month or so, but you feel awkward saying, "Well, I was just checking in with you to see how it’s going."

I’ve always said that these are some of the toughest calls to place. Because, it requires creative thinking and lots of sales pros don’t want to think that hard.

Except the best sales pros. I bet you’re in that group.

Lazy sales reps, or those or don’t know any better, are content calling to "just touch base," or to "see if there’s anything on your desk I can bid on."

These approaches are reactive, provide nothing of value, can be viewed as nuisance calls, and leave you open to being treated as a simple vendor who can be manipulated into a price war.

Calls to regular customers, and to prospects you’re clinging onto should always contain something of value…something that lets the customer feel you are contributing something useful by calling.


By the way, this is just one of the types of opening statements we cover in the teleseminar on openings. You get word-for-word ideas on how to customize and create your own


Keep in mind that your regular customers are someone else’s prospects. If they feel they are being taken for granted by a sales rep who simply calls and says, "Do you have an order for me?", might eventually fall for the wooing of a competitor who is creative enough to dangle something attractive in front of them.

Also keep in mind your prospects are likely buying from someone else, and won’t budge unless they see some value in what you have.

So, what to do?

Here are just a few ideas to spice up these calls to position you as a value-added resource, and not just a salesperson.

Begin with "YOU" 
A good way to begin these calls is by saying something like,

"I was thinking of you,"

"I heard some interesting information, and you immediately came to mind," and,

"When this news came out, I thought about you…"

Industry News
Perhaps you have some news they might not be aware of. Or, maybe they are aware of it, and you have something to help them take advantage of it. For example,

"Ms. Prospect, you probably are familiar with the new regulations regarding the reporting of waste disposal. We developed a way to make that less of a headache for companies in your situation, and I’d like to ask you a few questions to see how much of a problem you anticipate this being."

New Policies at Your Company
If you change restrictive policies that would enable you to do business with people who didn’t qualify in the past, call them again. For example, if your minimum order size has been dropped, or, you’re now carrying a line that they asked for before and you didn’t have it, or you’ve lessened credit requirements. And with regular customers, calling with changes to their advantage is always welcome.

New Regime at Your Company
This can be effective for those accounts you haven’t been able to break because of legitimate, real objections they had. If, for example, new management has cleaned house and improved quality, decreased errors, etc., call again, since you’re now selling a new company. Also, these can be spun into reasons for calling existing accounts.

New Capability
If you have products or services that deliver results you weren’t able to before, that is always a good reason to call. Just be sure you are positioning them in terms of results to the listener. Not, "Hey, we have a new product and we think it is great."

New You
Maybe you fell to pieces and self-destructed on a previous call. Since then you’ve acquired more skills and confidence. Maybe you’ve come up with new ideas, or a new strategy. And here’s the best way I know for you personally to come up with great value- added reasons for calling:

Have a brainstorming session with your colleagues. Invite customer service, production, advertising, marketing, operations…anyone who knows your products and services. Make it a game or competition. The goal is to fill in the blank:

"The reason I’m calling is ____."

The main rule is that what goes in the blank must be perceived by the listener as something that they would view as valuable and interesting to them.

Believe me, I’ve done this many times with clients in training sessions and we come up with 20, 30 or more great ideas to use.

So get creative, get working, and you’ll find yourself converting more of those prospects collecting dust in your follow-up file, and you’ll provide more value and sell more to existing customers.


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  1. 1 Comment(s)

  2. By Ted Luce on Jun 2, 2009 | Reply

    An old sales manager once explained it to me this way; “Don’t be a pestering time-waster”.
    Our customers have enough on their plate as it is (especially office product buyers who usually double as receptionists).
    A good way to approach ANY call is to ask yourself, “What can I offer in this call that will make this person’s job EASIER?”

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