Is your tenured sales staff continually looking for new sales opportunities? Are they working to grow their book of customers? They need to be! After having spoken with dozens of sales managers and yard owners, an area that frequently gets “back-burnered” by a seasoned sales team is outbound calling. Here are three calls they need to be making today and how to structure them effectively.
- In general, our industry suffers from a pervasiveness of sales people who simply sit back and wait for the phone to ring — order takers. The front line of combating this is to make sure your team is being diligent about calling back quotes. This outbound call is a sales fundamental to ensure that your team is actively, not passively, closing on current sales opportunities. The quote follow-up should be a relatively short call, it can be done in under a minute. The focus of the call must be to move the sale forward. Too often, we hear salespeople say things like, “Hi, I’m just calling to follow-up on the engine we spoke about. Were you able to find anything else?” Instead, the salesperson should stay focused on advancing the opportunity, “Hi, I’m calling to follow-up on the engine we spoke about a few days ago. Are you ready to get the ball rolling?” If the customer isn’t ready to buy, why not? In a wholesale situation, in which the shop is waiting to hear from their customer, when will they expect to hear from them? In a retail situation in which the customer isn’t ready, what else have they found? How does it compare to our offer? In an instance the customer chose somebody else’s part, why? This information can be extremely valuable in successfully courting future sales opportunities.
- Future sales opportunities can also be developed by taking the time to follow-up with customers after the sale has been completed. This outbound call is key for sales people looking to maintain and grow their book of clients. Were they satisfied with their order? Why or why not? Whether the customer’s response is positive or negative, the salesperson should never be reluctant to inquire, it will help them be attuned to their customers’ needs as well as to know how to respond to future hiccups. The follow-up after a completed sale, as well as with a quote follow-up, should always be coupled with investigating the next opportunity. “Since I have you on the phone now, is there anything else that you’re working on that I can help you find?” Maintaining this line of communication is one of the habits that distinguishes good salespeople from great salespeople.
- Whether your yard relies on Pinnacle, Powerlink or Checkmate, all modern yard management software has tools to identify clients whose history of purchases have been on the decline. These lists are ripe with potential sales opportunity. This is an ideal outbound call on days that are slow, a conversation along the lines of, “I was reviewing your order history with us and I saw that it had been a while since we’d been in communication. I wanted to touch base simply to remind you that we’re here to help out.” As with the other follow-ups, it should always be coupled with, “is there anything you’re working on now that I can help you find?”
Regardless of which outbound call your team is making, the key to success is preparedness. Your team members need to know what the outbound call should sound like before they have it. They should be diligent in getting their customers’ contact information — phone number AND email address on their preliminary call. Quotes for follow-ups should be printed out the business day prior to being contacted. Lists of customers with declining purchase history need to be compiled well in anticipation of slow business days.
Is your sales team twiddling their thumbs when the phones die down? Are they reluctant to outbound call out of a fear for how the customer will react? Do you need help holding them accountable? Let us know! We can help!
Robert Counts Chad Counts Rich Tyler Johnny Logel
Robert Counts, firstname.lastname@example.org; 512-693-6915
Chad Counts, email@example.com; 512-963-4626