Panning for gold

It’s important to have the size of you call pot just right. I call it your call pot. You may call it your database, or your prospect list or whatever. It’s the list of names you’re going to be working through in order to win new business. I cover this very important topic in Chapter 4 of my book Using the phone to sell – available from all good book shops – naturally! Or buy it directly from the link on the home page of the website and I will sign it for you too.

Your call pot is of course your fuel. Your food. And I believe it is the single most important element of an outbound phoner’s armoury. It’s worth refining to get it right. And like Goldilock’s porridge it mustn’t be too much of one thing or the other.

Too few calls means that you’ll be calling people too often. This really isn’t great for many reasons.

Too frequent calling means the receptionist will recognise your voice and will respond accordingly. You’re more likely to get blocked. It’ll sound more like a sales call to them, and you can come across as desperate. Not what you want at all.

You’ll also feel demoralised. You look at the call pot and recognise that it’s gone stale. You pick up the phone with a sense of trepidation.

8 day call cycles

I use 8 day call cycles for people I can’t get hold of repeatedly. You may have tried them 3 or 4 times in a week or so. Or perhaps you feel you’re being blocked. Or they’re rejecting your call.

If that is happening, I’ll want to try them again, but it’s no point keep calling them every day is there? Instead put them off for a call back in 8 days. Not 7 as it might be that you can never get them on a Monday morning because they’re in a management meeting. Every Monday morning. 8 day cycles help get around this.

Too large a pot

However, also having too many names to call also isn’t great either. You simply can’t keep up with them. This means you’ll likely miss out on business. Consequently you need to prioritise the ones you have. So, guard against this with some form of grading system. 1-5 works for me. Category 1s are the best ones you have. They may say they’re actively looking into the the type of product or service you provide. Or you may be following up a proposal with them. These are the best opportunity for business you have and so you don’t want to miss out.

The other element of having too large a pot is that you will be forced to make tough decisions. Try to filter as many out as you can where they don’t meet your criteria. They’re too small. They don’t buy what you sell etc. Volumes are low etc.

So work on your call pot. Love it. Nurture it. Polish it. Look after it, and it will look after you.