“Let’s face it, no one likes rejection. And though some of us may deal with it better than others, I think it’s safe to say that no matter how professional you are, or how “”trained”” you might be, most of us still genuinely hate it. Well I don’t merely hate it. I’m horrified by it. It gives me the willies. I do all that I can to avoid it at all costs. If you’re a fan of the old Jim Carrey movies, “rejection” causes me to do that “”vomit”” motion with my mouth. I admire those people who can just let it roll off of their back as if they don’t care. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them.
On several occasions I have been told “”well then maybe you’re in the wrong business. How can you be in sales + marketing and not be able to deal with rejection?”” Indeed a very good question, but my view is completely opposite. I actually feel that I’m in the perfect business. Since I hate rejection so much I do everything in my power to ensure that every marketing assignment has a great gameplan guaranteed to have as little rejection as possible. My goal is to generate plenty of “yeses” – while keeping my “nos” to an absolute minimum. If we send a direct mail piece out to 10,000 prospects, I want all 10,000 to say “yes”. Sure, it may be a tad unrealistic, but that’s what I’m aiming for. Even 1 “no” is 1 too many in my book!
Soliciting your product to someone who doesn’t know you, opens you to TONS of rejection. So if you’re going to try, you should do everything possible to give yourself the best odds of a getting a “yes.”
Whether you’re using a letter, an email, or a good ole fashioned phone call, any prospect you don’t already have a relationship with is considered “”cold”” – which is always the toughest type of customer to convert. The key is to try and make the prospect just a tad warmer. The warmer you can get it, the better your chances are of getting them to say “yes”. So here are a few pointers to make things a bit “warmer” and keep the rejection to an absolute minimum. Since the telephone is quite possibly the most brutal, we’ll start with telemarketing:
In case you haven’t noticed, asking the receptionist “who would I speak to about such and such” is pretty much a dead give away that you’re selling something. Not only is the receptionist trained to screen this type of call, in many cases they may not even know the answer! PLEASE know the name of the person you’re targeting. It makes everyone’s life much easier.
And know something about this person before you call. You don’t want to be the guy that calls and knows absolutely nothing and is just hoping they may be interested in what you have to offer. Do some homework. Make sure this person has somehow indicated they have a need for this product. Maybe they’ve issued a statement saying they just launched a product themselves (and thus could really benefit from your product). Maybe something significant has recently happened in their industry that applies to them and your product can help. Maybe they just merged with another entity. Maybe some key person just got fired. The possibilities go on and on, but know something. ANYTHING.
Assuming they can afford it, people typically buy something under 1 of 3 conditions:
1. They know and trust you
2. They have a need / problem that has to be solved
3. They have a good incentive to buy
Since this a “cold” call, unfortunately we’ve missed out on number 1. But if we did our homework (as mentioned above) we can at least cover number 2. And if we can somehow also include number 3, we now have a sales pitch that is very hard to say “no” to!
I often hear people say “it’s a numbers game.” They feel that the pitch doesn’t really matter as long as you simply target enough people. Well I couldn’t disagree more. A bad pitch is one of the easiest ways to kill a campaign. If your presentation sucks, it doesn’t really matter how many times you give it – it still sucks. What you say is just as important as how many times you say it. Your pitch matters. Greatly!
Once you actually get your target on the phone, think baseball. You just got on first base. Your goal should be to get to second. Just second. Get them to commit to a meeting. Get them to agree to review some information. We’re not asking for marriage, just second base. Eventually, we try to get them to third base (a proposal). And eventually, we’ll try and bring them “home” (close the deal).
With a good list and a good pitch, your direct marketing campaign will produce plenty of “”yeses” while keeping the “nos” to a minimum – even if they don’t know who you are. If you do still get a few “nos” don’t despair because in time we can actually turn them into “”yeses.” We’ll cover that in the next topic.