I’m a strong believer in cold-calling and other strategies to develop sales, but I’m amazed at how people allow their motivation level and their views of the economy to impact their prospecting. Last week I was talking to an inside transaction-focused telephone sales manager who has watched his divisions’ sales fall dramatically over the past six months. In our conversation, he lamented about how the economy was impacting each one of their customers. When I asked him what he was doing to develop new customers, he said they weren’t doing any cold-calling because there wasn’t any business out there anyway so it just wasn’t worth their time. Needless to say, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, especially considering this person is a transaction-focused telephone sales manager in his company.

Now more than ever, you have to be prospecting. There is business out there! The difference is that unlike a few years ago, the business isn’t just waiting to be had. Now you actually have to go after it. I’m having another discussion with this sales manager in a couple of days and I’ve developed a list of the things I intend to tell him. Keep in mind as you review the list that the sales manager operates in a transaction-oriented telephone sales department. Feel free to use these same ideas as appropriate in your industry.

  1. Each week, contact every customer you’ve done business with in the past three years.
  2. Make 25 cold-calls each day, targeting key industry segments on a weekly basis. By targeting a particular segment, you can pick up various pieces of information along the way that can be used with other customers.
  3. Conduct a “business review” with the top customers that made up 75% of their business last year.
  4. Conduct a mini sales meeting each morning to pump people up for the goals of the day, and to reflect back on the big learning or success from the day before.
  5. Conduct a mini sales meeting at the end of each day with the sole objective of having each person share the “big” thing they uncovered that day and what their goal is going to be for the next day.
  6. Praise each employee in the office at least three time each day.

There’s no reason for a sales manager to not be highly motivated.  My message to the sales manager’s boss is going to be simple: either the sales manager gets a good attitude and fixes his sales motivation or he needs to be removed from his position.  The consequences are too high!  There’s no way a company will ever be successful if the sales manager is not at top of their game with their attitude and sales motivation.

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