My husband tells a funny – and embarrassing – story about me and my tendency to say “no”. In our early years together he would often call me at work with an invitation to go somewhere or do something. He’d be all enthused about a concert or dinner invitation or day trip out of the city. It didn’t matter what it was because roughly 99% of the time, my answer was “no”.
This was connected to my extensive to-do list and how I plan. I get things done because I look quite far ahead and determine what day or hour or evening I’ll work on which project. I place a lot of importance on meeting deadlines, self-imposed or otherwise. My “no” came from my inability to quickly revise this schedule. Because David sounded like he wanted an immediate answer … the answer was “no”.
It didn’t take him long to figure out a different approach … one that I didn’t even notice until he pointed it out. He’d call with an idea instead of a request and he’d end our conversation with “Well, think about it and we’ll talk again”. Can you guess what happened? I’d start mulling things over, mentally moving things around on my schedule, figuring out the “how” of his request and … quite often my answer became “yes”.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because many of you, like David years ago, are calling your prospects and inspiring their automatic “no”.
It is vital today that we remain cognizant and empathetic to the fact that everyone we are calling has too much to do. This is one of the unintended consequences of technology. Our phone call is an interruption; the executive we’ve reached has a big to-do list and they’ve likely planned their day, week, month not only in terms of their time but also in terms of their effort.
Then we call and ask them to consider something new, to make time to read our information or meet with us or walk through our demo.
If we call our prospects and begin the conversation by mentioning their health or the weather … we’re setting ourselves up for “no”. When we focus solely on ourselves and our desire for the sale, appointment, demo … the answer we are creating is “no”. When our tone of voice is robotic or tired or rushed … the answer will be “no”.
Your success on the phone is directly connected to your ability to inspire a “yes”. This involves crafting and delivering a thoughtful 20-second pitch and expressing your genuine interest in the prospect, their work and their priorities.
Getting to “yes” is within your control. If you aren’t getting there as often as you’d like, it’s time to analyze your conversations. Are you inspiring the automatic “no”?
Enjoy your phone work, everyone!