Sales Models, Metrics, and Motions Blog

Is Your Phone System Sabotaging Your Sales?

by Cindy Littlefield on Wed, May 27, 2009

I spend 1 - 2 hours a day prospecting with the majority of that time cold calling.

In my calling, I have come across a situation that needs to be addressed: Your phone system is sabotaging your sales efforts.

The accounts you are about to read are true.  No names will be mentioned to protect my future prospecting efforts......

I am armed and ready for my Power Hour of prospecting. I pick up the phone, make the call (to my VP-level prospect) and am greeted by a lovely voice that welcomes me to the company with these kind words:

"Press 1 for sales", "Press 2 if you are looking for your license key to blah blah product".  "Press 3 for finance", "Press 4 for customer service", etc. Finally I hear "Press 9 for the company directory or press 0 for the operator".  Excellent, I press 9 for the "Company Directory".

Almost there, but wait, you aren't listed in the directory, that's odd?! I can't tell you the number of times that has happened to me.  So I press 0 for the operator.  Now here is where I've experienced a very mixed bag. 

Sometimes you can't press 0 to get to the operator from the directory.  Sometimes I get dumped into the "general mailbox" with a message that says, "We are not available to take your call.  Please leave a message in the general mailbox and we will return your call promptly".  Like that is going to happen.  Who ever got a call back from leaving a message in the general mailbox?

I've experienced this as well:  At the end of all of the "Press x for y" the phone system suggests that you go to the website, for more information.   So it's back to the web site to Contact us? What????  Just email addresses.  Don't you want to ever speak with anyone?

Now any self respecting cold caller will go for the Sales prompt and ask the helpful sales person to connect you with Mr. VP.  That works in some cases, but only when there is a sales answer.  I can't tell you how many times I've gone to the sales prompt only to find that I am leaving a message in yet again another general mailbox.

This challenge prompted me to keep some stats for myself.  Here is what I came up with:

  • If I make a total of 20 calls.
  • 4 of them are answered by a live person and all is well with the world.
  • 10 of my prospects won't be found in the corporate directory.
  • Out of that 10, when a sales prompt is offered, I am put straight into voicemail 5 times.
  • That's 5 potential sales opportunities missed.

Here is my point.  I know the name of your company.  I know who I want to connect with; I'm a pro and won't give up.  But if I can't get through to you - will your prospects, potential partners or others be able to?

If it is difficult for me to connect with you I will move on to the next company.  If it is difficult for your prospects to connect with you, won't they move on the next company as well? 

If you have similar experiences, please share.  As we are all in the business of making that connection I am sure we will all find your experiences helpful.

Photo Credit: eddiemcfish

Topics: cold calling

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