Solution providers should have their salespeople dedicate an hour each day to prospecting and focus on building relationships through telephone calls, according to an XChange 2017 speaker.
Simple, direct telephone conversations with prospects will enable channel partners to overcome common brush-offs, stand apart from their email-dependent peers, and build true connections, said Keith Lubner, founder of Philadelphia, Pa.-based Channel Consulting Corp.
"The telephone, as crazy as it sounds, is now our new weapon," Lubner told solution providers gathered Sunday at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center is Kissimmee, Fla. "You'll go above those robocalls because people are aching to talk to real people. They're so tired of getting emails."
And given that end-user executives typically have a phone attached to their hips at all times, Lubner said solution providers can initiate that meaningful dialogue even when the client is out of the office.
"[Today's salesforces] haven't been taught to make a phone call," Lubner said. "We've gotten away from that, quite honestly."
Lubner also urged channel executives to carve out one hour each morning for their salespeople to do prospecting via phone, social media, email or text. Companies that require their sales team to spent a certain amount of time each day contacting prospects will see their sales pipeline grow within a week, Lubner said.
If possible, Lubner said solution providers should have salespeople do prospecting first thing in the morning so that they finish one of their most difficult tasks right out of the gate. This then frees up the rest of the day for the sales team to conduct follow-up calls, make visits, and take care of some administrative tasks, according to Lubner.
"Just get it done first thing," Lubner said. "They'll feel good."
Lubner advised solution providers to have their salespeople follow a five-step prospecting process that is simple, direct, and to the point. He urged channel partners to avoid starting prospecting calls with the dreaded 'How are you doing today?' and instead use the prospect's name, introduce themselves, and move quickly to the reason for the call.
"They think, 'that [starting with 'How are you doing?'] is how you have a conversation with a friend,'" Lubner said. "Yeah, once they're your friend, you can have that conversation and they'll reply accordingly. But [in this instance], you don't know them. How can you expect them to reply [honestly]?"