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Why Your Sales Pipeline Is Broken (And How To Fix It In One Easy Step)

Updated on June 24, 2017

How to advance every call saving yourself immeasurable time and energy building a true sales pipeline which will lead to increased sales.

In phone sales, you are going to be catching people at all times of the day and many of them might be at work, running errands, or just too busy to talk at the given moment. However, many people will just tell you that they do not have the time to talk as a way to get off the phone with you, because they do not want to be on a sales call. If you just let everyone tell you that they are busy and to call them back later you will be wasting lots of time.

Most of the people are just blowing you off and do not actually want to speak with you, but they are too nice to tell you this, so they just ask that you call back at a “better” time. Many reps mark this call as a “call back” and their calendar gets full and they feel like they have lots of potential prospects and get excited. However, I would say that 75% of these “potential prospects” couldn’t care less if you ever call them back and many will never even answer when you do.

I have a rule for myself that if I have the person on the line, I am going to always try to advance the call. So when someone tells me, “I am busy. Can you call me back later.” I will respond with, “Yes, I understand you are busy and your time is important. I will definitely call you back, but I also do not want to waste your time….Let me ask you_____________,” and I ask a question that will qualify or unqualify them in some way. For example, when selling solar we needed to make sure they had a bill over $150 per month and no plans on moving in the next 5 years, so I would say, ““Yes, I understand you are busy and your time is important. I will definitely call you back, but I also do not want to waste your time. For this to benefit you, you need to have an average electric bill over $150 and have no plans on moving in the next 5 years. Do you have a bill that averages over $150 a month?”

If they have a bill under $150, then I can just move on and not waste my time contacting this homeowner again. But if they do have a bill over $150, then I will continue to advance the call as far as I can. I will ask more questions and in many cases, that person who initially said he/she had no time to talk ended up speaking with me for twenty minutes and set the solar appointment.

Now, it is important to listen to the person’s tone of voice. If they sound like they are in a hurry and are getting annoyed by the questions then I say, “I know you have to go. Thanks for your time. It sounds as if you could benefit from this, so I will follow up with you tomorrow.” You don’t want to push too far and irritate them to the point where they won’t want to talk to you again, but you also do not want to be a pushover.

In some cases, you may get someone who says, “I told you I am busy and that I have to go. Please call me back later.” I will do a takeaway and just say, “I will definitely call you back if you are interested in saving money on your electricity bill (or whatever your benefit is to them), but if you are not interested, that is fine as well. Would you like me to call you back?” Most people will be intrigued enough for the call back, but by giving them an out, they will feel more obligated to answer and speak to you in the future.

My rule is that if someone answers their phone, they have at least five minutes to speak with me. So I try and advance the call as far as possible. If they truly did not have time to talk, then they would not have answered their phone, especially from a phone number they probably do not know.

By advancing calls, you are building a true sales pipeline that you can measure and has potential prospects, versus people that just told you to call them back.


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