What’s the best time to make sales calls?
There are people out there who say that cold calling is dead. That the process of picking up the phone, getting past the gatekeepers and having a discussion with a decision maker is as old hat as rotary dial phones or audio cassettes.
The new world of social media, personal branding and online marketing does open doors that traditionally would have only been opened through a sales call or a sales meeting however the final step in the sales process is still done, in the vast majority of cases, either verbally or in person.
Whilst you might be able to make a decision maker aware of your presence in the market place and even aware of your products through social media the requirement still exists, particularly for those of us selling a consultative service, to contact them either verbally or in person and have a full two way conversation where their situation and goals are understood and our matching solutions presented.
So the calls might not be ‘cold’ in the traditional sense because the decision maker might have an awareness of your company but an unannounced sales call is still required to fully develop, and ultimately close, the deal.
On a separate note I prefer to talk about ‘business development calls’ rather than ‘cold calls’ as it creates a different feeling for the people making the calls (i.e. less scary) and also it describes them more accurately. It’s a call to develop business and has a high status as a consequence. You might say this is simply word play but anything that makes it easier and more likely that a person will make the calls sounds good to me.
This then leaves a new sales person or recruitment consultant with the question not of
“Should I make cold calls in this modern age?” but rather
“When do I make my business development calls?”
The answer lies in the traditional sales best practise which is that you call your clients when they are most likely to be in the office and able to answer the phone.
The traditional approach is therefore 9-noon and 2-5pm.
The world has moved on since the likes of Brian Tracy and Zig Ziglar advocating such advice and a more realistic time frame in today’s world is going to be 9.30am-noon and 2-4.30pm.
That’s because there are more things to do in business (emails, web work etc.) and consequently people’s time is more precious.
And think about the reality of a typical morning for the professionals that you are trying to reach. They are busy working their way through the overnight emails with the hope that they can get those finished and onto real work before the morning gets too old. If you throw in a sales call at 9am to their schedule I don’t think you’re going to be welcome.
And this isn’t my opinion based on casual speculation this is my opinion based on the observed reactions of decision makers across different industries and countries over the last few years as I have listened and observed consultants of all types making business development calls.
The early morning sales call is less well received now than it used to be. Similarly at the end of the day decision makers are trying to again slay their personal email hydra’s so they can leave with as clear an inbox as possible as well as being up-to-date with their other requirements.
Calling after 4.30pm is not welcome, runs the risk of looking desperate and is not to be recommended.
Now with all of this I’m assuming that we are talking about those regular, consistent sales calls that you make every day to develop your business.* The other ones, i.e. those hot leads or requested calls can certainly fall outside of the times I’ve indicated. Exceptions aside for your regular day to day business development calls you are well advised to limit your efforts to 9.30 – noon and 2 – 4.30pm.
That means that we sales people have lost about an hour out of the sales day. And so in turn we need to maximise the time we do have through making pre-researched, consistent and targeted calls.
Until next time; be successful!Stephen Hart Development Specialist, Edenchanges.com * PS If you are in recruitment and you are not making regular daily sales calls then you really should!