Time to end procrastination and distraction with a healthy dose of accountability: Tara Bradbury tackles the vital issue of phone prospecting.
Over the last few months, I have been visiting offices to conduct coaching sessions where agents have allowed me to observe their phone prospecting. While sitting on the sidelines, I found a common trend that makes these sessions more difficult than they need to be, and passed along my tips to ensure the best possible result on future calls.
Do you find yourself:
• Responding to conversations happening across the office that have nothing to do with you?
• Getting distracted by your emails?
• Fiddling around trying to collect as much information as you can from the contact database?
• Waiting for another team member who is near you to get off the phone so that there is no background noise when you make the call?
If so, you are procrastinating! Without accountability, you will continue to distract yourself from the task at hand and get to the end of the week wondering where all the time has gone. Time isn’t the problem. You must take responsibility for your own actions and for the results that you achieve.
EVERY TIME YOU PICK UP THE PHONE, GIVE IT AS MUCH ENERGY AS YOU CAN; THIS COULD BE THE BIGGEST CLIENT YOU WILL EVER SIGN.
In order to cure procrastination, you need to bite the bullet and make that first call. No matter what challenge you are facing, the first step is always the hardest.
Most people in the industry would agree that phone prospecting is hard work. It doesn’t matter if your call is cold, warm or hot; nothing is guaranteed. Your prospects can change their minds faster than my two-year-old at breakfast time, where one minute she’s telling me she wants Vegemite toast and the next she wants peanut butter.
Each day you go into these prospecting sessions with a fear of the unknown and, once they are done, you are left with more questions than you started with.
• They said they would call Wednesday, but it’s now Thursday. Should I call?
• Will they yell at me for calling?
• Is now the right time?
• Will they want to talk with me or am I drowning them with follow-up? You’ll never know the answer to these questions unless you ask. So stop overthinking and pick up the phone!
With a bit of guidance, I am proud to say that during my previously mentioned coaching sessions leads were achieved by all members of the sales and property management departments. All of them became more confident the more calls they made. Let’s cover what they did well:
• Prior to the prospecting session, they had planned the calls that they were going to make and then doubled the amount that they could achieve in the blocked-out hour to ensure they could make the most of the time.
• They had targets set for connections they wanted to achieve with a goal of 10 connections per sessions.
• They followed the lead of opportunity – they were aiming for more property management appraisals but found opportunities for sales. So they took the information required and passed it onto the sales team.
• When they connected with a contact, they finished the call knowing when they would speak with them next or who they needed to refer the opportunity to.
The process of prospecting for new business is as stressful as you choose to make it. If you are making calls sitting down and you feel trapped and uncomfortable, stand up and move around. If you don’t have the office space to do this, move to a different room, go to your car, a park or coffee shop; you might even consider working from home.
If you thrive off competition, move into the sales department and do your daily prospecting sessions when they do. If you need an extra nudge, find a team member or someone close to you who will push you when needed and help you through the tough times.
Remember, you are only as good as your next call. Every time you pick up the phone, give it as much energy as you can; this could be the biggest client you will ever sign. Don’t waste time making excuses. Maximise your time and achieve results! ■