Wednesday, June 29, 2011

SHOULD "NO ANSWERS" BE PART OF YOUR SALES EVALUATION?

What is a "No Answer"? They are the times that seem to happen all too often when someone does not pick up the phone when you are trying to establish a sales contact or when the phone is constantly busy or when you are too unprepared to leave a message in their voice mail. For myself I have tended to forget them and certainly not record them. Are they important? It depends.

The minimal point of any sales effort is to either give or learn some information. If nothing happens what information is there and who cares?

Unfortunately in sales a lot of what you learn is negative. They aren't the least bit interested in what you are selling, they haven't the money or they aren't even the right person to talk to. You might learn they don't like the available colours or the way it plugs in. All this information and other negatives can help you to refocus or redirect your efforts. Some people believe there is no room for negativity in sales, but I believe there are positives even in negatives.

An unanswered phone call is delivering negative information. They aren't there, they don't choose to pick up the phone or maybe you dialled the wrong number. Maybe they are on vacation, out of business or even dead. If the matter isn't urgent you will move onto other efforts. Maybe you will try again in a few minutes or a few days. In some cases it might drag on for a long time.

With a busy signal it could of course indicate they are very busy, but it also could be the phone is off the hook or that you have the wrong number.

Eventually the situation might be resolved. You learn you have the wrong number, you find the right time or the right person or you find out it is a dead end (at least for the time being). On your data base you enter more refined contact details such as a better number or a better time.

If you leave a voice mail you are at least giving some information. Even though they do not pick up the phone there often will be a voice message that you can learn something from. They still are in business or not, maybe a name can be confirmed or pronunciation or gender determined.

Maybe before all of your unanswered calls are resolved you try to measure your efforts against your results to determine if you are making progress. Whether your results have been good or bad shouldn't you measure all your effort?  In the long run you want to avoid wasting your time so it might be a good idea to learn how you have spent your time and determine if there is a better way. Ultimately you should arrive at a figure that indicates how much total effort you made to get a result (a sale or a dollar figure).  Your goal is to improve that figure, not by avoiding negative outcomes, but pushing past them. You will find that to be successful in sales you have to keep going despite the all too often negative results.

Wouldn't it be good to realize just what times and days you have made an effort so that weeks later you can make sense of your efforts and minimize wasted time.

Sometimes you give up just because no one seems to ever answer the phone. Check the possibilities that you have the wrong number, or that you are phoning when they just aren't there. You might have to concede that they just don't want to talk to you. When you are able to determine the situation you can move forward. At least you have recorded an effort and can take some comfort that you aren't just waiting for someone to contact you.

If you aren't afraid of a no answer you will make more calls, some of which might be no answers or worse, but you will be moving closer to positive results.

If all information were positive we wouldn't need to measure it as much. As we gain in experience our efficiency and effectiveness should improve. Measurements that include all our efforts are more accurate. When we make targeted and informed efforts we will make progress.

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