Mark Zokle shares his ideas about sales calls and how to make small changes that will increase your numbers all year long in the following Q&A.
Q: In your opinion, what is the most important thing a salesperson can do to expand his or her customer base?
Mark Zokle: Take the time to make sales calls! All too often, I see sales reps rely on email to open up a line of communication with buyers. That simply doesn’t work – people want a personal connection. A phone call is a better place to begin. The bottom line is the more calls a salesperson makes, the longer their customer list becomes.
Q: What is a realistic goal, in your opinion?
Mark Zokle: That depends on a number of factors, including industry. Let’s take an easy example, using an average 22-day month as a guide. Jim makes one call a day. Joan makes five. Each averages a 20% lead rate, which means they have turned 20% of their prospects into warm (potential) buyers. Of these 20%, 10% finalize as a sale. Jim averages a sale every other month; Joan walks away with a commission at least twice in the same month.
Q: What can a salesperson do to increase their number of conversions?
Mark Zokle: I would suggest keeping notes and figuring out at what point in the “funnel” the most customers were lost. Once you know that, you can determine what behaviors lead to the waning interest and make adjustments to your pitch.
Q: But I cannot force my customers to listen…
Mark Zokle: No, but this is where charisma and the human connection play a role. As a sales professional, it is your job to earn your customer’s trust, and that is a tough thing to do. Treat your customers and their time with respect and get to know their needs before taking a blind shot with a generic pitch.