Note: Upon her indictment on federal money laundering charges and her arrest February 8, 2022, Inc. dismissed Heather Morgan as a contributing columnist. As is our practice, we do not unpublish editorial content, and rather have added this note for full transparency.
Have you ever gotten a dozen emails and phone calls from an obnoxious and aggressive salesperson who just won't quit?
Isn't that annoying?
Why do salespeople do this? Are they crazy enough to think that this will actually work?
Many sales organizations still have quotas that are based on the number of dials or emails sent, which encourages (or even requires) salespeople to relentlessly call and email you until you respond or tell them to never contact you again.
Sales organizations that are still doing this need to seriously rethink their quotas and incentive structure to reward salespeople for being thoughtful and effective with their phone and email outreach instead of just aggressively mass-blasting everyone.
No matter what a company's sales policies are, the best salespeople know that aggressively hounding potential customers without taking the time to tailor a sales message and approach to the prospects' needs is counterproductive and won't work.
Here's what salespeople should be doing instead if they want to get more positive responses from their customers while still being persistent:
1. Always Add Value in Your Sales Communications
Whether it's the first phone call or the seventh email you're sending, you should always strive to provide value to your prospective customers in all sales communications.
It's helpful to focus a particular email or conversation on a specific benefit or pain point that your product or service can solve.
If you're sending cold emails, you can also try to add specific incentives for prospects to respond to you and schedule a call or meeting. Providing an incentive for them to talk to you doesn't mean you should try to bribe them by offering a Starbucks or Amazon gift card, though.
The best incentives often promise valuable information in exchange for a phone call, such as advice, ideas, or other useful insights.
If you're selling sales software, you might use an incentive like:
"When can we have a 20-minute call so I can share a few ideas on how you can cut down your sales prospecting time and discuss how [Company] could benefit from our sales tool?"
2. Test New Messages and Sales Strategies
Einstein once said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Don't mindlessly repeat the same sales activities over and over and expect to magically get results. Just doing a lot of work doesn't mean you're actually being effective or using your time wisely. Instead of just going through the motions and only focusing on completing a certain number of calls and emails or reaching out to a specific number of people, you should take the time to reflect on whether your approach is working.
If it isn't, your messaging might be wrong, or you might even be reaching out to the wrong kinds of people.
The same methods won't work for everyone, and so you need to decide for yourself what works best for you and your audience. Once you see what's most successful, you can triple down on that and either cut out or improve the things that aren't working.
3. Try Different Channels for Reaching Your Customers
Your customers are not all the same, and so how you reach out to them should not always be the same.
Different audiences have different preferences, so you need to test to determine which channels your audiences prefer and respond to best.
And this can change, too.
Even if you've been in sales for 20 years, and cold calling has always worked for you because you're really good at it, that won't matter if all your customers suddenly stop picking up the phone and start interacting on social instead.
If you want to figure out which channels are most effective for your customers, you should think about their habits and usual behavior. Are these people who are glued to their phones, who will pick up calls from strangers because they never know if it might be a customer, or are they more introverted and would never answer a call from an unidentified caller? Or maybe they're under 30 and spend half their day on Facebook, Twitter, and other social channels.
Do some research on your buyers if you don't know the answer to this question, take your best guess, and then test out multiple channels to see which ones give you the best results and get the most responses.