How can I let go of my negative perceptions of what sales is, in order to be the best salesperson I can be within the IT space? #Q&A

How can I let go of my negative perceptions of what sales is, in order to be the best salesperson I can be within the IT space? #Q&A

By Zeeva Viola | April 6, 2017

Question:

I generate B.A.N.T. qualified sales leads for IT firms via cold-calling/e-mail marketing. As a recent college grad, I do feel happy to have a job  in a growing industry, however I do also feel extremely cognitively dissonant about my role.  

I know that I do provide a great service for my company & their clients’ bottom line however it seems like I could get more leads by being more aggressive/persuasive over the phone, and I just can’t be that way.

Being that way makes me feel dirty inside and almost like I’m going against my core values.  I really don’t like annoying people, persuading people to do things they don’t want to do, or being extremely aggressive.

How can I get over this issue/approach ‘selling’ differently & in accordance with my own beliefs in order to progress further down this career path and be happier about myself and my job.

Answer:

There is still hope. Find a new job now.

Cold-callers and email blast marketers base their success on a <0.5% conversion rate because these methods don’t work. To be clear, I am not referring to “new calls” where you have the opportunity to research the prospect on LinkedIn, industry websites, and professional organizations…

…but I suspect that this information is not made available to you by virtue of the BANT method you’re following.

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Companies and sales professionals should know their industry well enough to determine which market participants have authority. With BANT, you disturb someone whom you know nothing about, then ask them if they are important. If they are important, then you just annoyed them because you should have known them already. If they aren’t important, you’ve just made someone feel crappy about themselves. And in either case, you’re relying on that person with whom you have no relationship to tell you the truth. Why would they?

Market participants fall on a spectrum of buying activity:

Active <–> Passive <–> Really-Not-in-the-Market (i.e. no budget) <–> Really-Not-a-Match (for various reasons).

Active Buyers are typically your inbound leads, which break into smaller groups:

  • Screamers
  • Noodlers
  • Curious George

Active Buyers are already in the market. You don’t need to call them – they’ll call you. If you are reaching them in our cold call and it’s the first they’ve heard of your product, then you’re well behind the competition.

With the Active Buyer group, Screamers have specific urgency – they will contact you well before you can find them cold-calling. Noodlers are actively looking, but don’t need to be pressured. If you have a good product, they’ll find you and ask questions. Curious Georges border on being Passive Buyers, but they are looking, sometimes continuously looking, but may not have urgency to make a change immediately. Cold-calling them does not accelerate the sale.

(Don’t be this guy…)

For the rest of the market – Passive, Really-Not-in-the-Market, and Really-Not-a-Match – your cold calls are simply bothering them and wasting your time. It is your job to find and build relationships with these people through information-sharing and earnest interest. Check out this presentation (and others like it): Sales Qualified Leads – Generating Actionable Leads for Your Sales …

My petulance is not directed at you, the individual sensible and introspective enough to ask this question. I’m glad for you that you’re asking it, and with all sincerely, I do advise that you find another job in which your contribution is identifying and solving customer problems. That’s what professional salespeople do.

Cold-calling is so abhorrent and antiquated, I giggle when I hear companies still employing it. Get on with your career and out of that box you’re in.

**This Q&A article was originally posted on Quora. Check out Scott’s Quora page here.