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Inside Sales Experts Blog

Can't Get Anyone on the Phone?

by Matt Bertuzzi on Thu, Feb 24, 2011

Yesterday I was extremely lucky to see Steve Richard, Vorsight’s Head Sales Prospecting Trainer, present at the Boston Chapter of the AA-ISP. The topic, "I can't get anyone on the phone" certainly had everyone's attention.

Steve led off with this question:

How many dials does it take your Reps to get 1 connect?

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He then shared the following metric from the folks at ConnectAndSell: 22

Based on millions of calls across all industries, and into small, medium & large businesses, the system-wide Connect Rate so far for 2010 is 4.5%. Or 22 dials for 1 connect with the person you are trying to reach.

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Steve laid out a series of factors that are contributing to 21 of 22 dials resulting in non-connects. Here are 3 points that really stood out for me:
(warning: I was scribbling down notes as fast as I could – to get the real gold you’ve got to reach out to Steve)

  • Lack of direct dials
  • The realities of Caller ID
  • Failing to use call windows
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Lack of direct dials

Caller ID just looks different when calls are coming from the switchboard versus a direct dial. This has a major impact on connect rate. Some of Steve’s internal call metrics showed a direct (& significant) correlation between % of direct dials on a contact list AND average meetings per month.
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The realities of caller ID

Calls coming from a local area code (meaning local to the prospect) are more likely to be answered. This makes perfect sense! But it never would have occurred to me think about area code management as a prospecting strategy.
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Failing to use call windows

Beyond simply “calling late & calling early”, Steve shared calling 5 minutes before the top of the hour, using “in-between” holidays (aka yes we’re working on President Day) & doing the math to learn which times block are your specific buyers most likely to pick up the phone.
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Being slightly nerdy (well perhaps more than slightly), I thought I would put together a graphic on how these factors are stacking to drive down connect rates. 

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The dark blue is the theoretical ideal rate. Each factor serves to drive down the connect rate (the angle of the triangle) and brings us to the small red triagle - where we are today.

So what do you think is impacting connect rates? And "I only email"-anistas, this is a discussion about using the phone to sell. Feel free to sit this one out.

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(By the way, Steve shared a bonus tip on how to get the magic 10 digit direct dial numbers from an Audix phone system. It is well worth checking out & sharing with your team.)
  

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Topics: sales tips, lead generation

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